Follow up: New Testament with Psalter purchased

I went ahead and orderod what seemed to be the most practical New Testament with Psalter; it arrives on Wednesday. Not in love with the theme and it seems to be (non-leather) softback, but the size, translation and price are right. And I can use the “helps” as a substrate to paste on prayer material.

Faith-Sharing NRSV New Testament with Psalms (Cokesbury)

If that doesn’t do, I’ll go for one of these.

Six projects Christians could share to help a new congregation

Unitarian Universalist Christians have no mission society or support base to help new Christian churches organize. And while that would probably be helpful, you have to work with what you have. Better to build from attainable work than to plan and plan fruitlessly.

So I commend to my readers six projects or habits that Unitarian Universalist Christians could undertake to make the work of starting new churches that much easier:

  1. Talk up funding, whether it be by Faithify, some other crowdfunding platform. private pledge or Chalice Lighters. Stand ready to give.
  2. If you preach, be willing to license sermon texts to be read in the new congregation.
  3. Be available to attend worship of a new congregation, if one gathers within a reasonable travel distance.
  4. Commit to praying for the new congregation regularly.
  5. Research online for meeting locations for the new congregation. Prepare a spreadsheet with the map coordinates.
  6. Survey what talents you already have that might be useful to a congregation — copy editing, digital image processing, sewing, contract review  come to mind quickly — and offer your services. Be prepared to decline graciously.

I dashed these out in less than fifteen minutes. I bet you can think of more.

Brooks: the How of Universalism

This quotation from Elbridge Gerry Brooks’s Our New Departure (page 14) sticks with me. Again, this has an echo of familiarity.

Has not our effort been to convince the head that ‘orthodoxy’ is not true, and that God is good, and that all men are to be saved, rather than so to present the fact of God’s persistent and pleading love, and of the ultimate repentance and obedience of all, as to convict the heart of sin, to quicken the conscience to a sense of guilt, and to bring the people, in penitence and a confession of personal need and obligation, to their knees? In a word, has not our labor been theological more than experimental, aiming to make Christian Universalists, and to build and consolidate a Universalist denomination, rather than to make Universalist Christians, compacted and consecrated in the Universalist Church?

The deepest and most interior meanings of Christ’s work have never been wholly overlooked among us; but, as the rule, we have given more attention to the fact that he is to save, than to the question, How ?

Hurrian Hymn No. 6

The oldest known melody…

A hymn to Nikkal, a Ugarit and Caananite goddess of fruit and wife of the moon god, Yarikh (and namesake of Jericho.)

All I know from memory about the Ugarit language is that it’s an ancient Semitic language that you could learn in the religion department at my alma mater, UGA (University of Georgia) and the co-incidence made me laugh.

But no youthful trifles here. This is a beautiful work, and fitting at high summer. If I only had grapes and figs and apricots. I am entranced by this music, nearly three and a half millenia on. (Thanks to hymnologist and Esperatist Leland “Haruo” Ross for posting this on Facebook.)

Bleg: a portable NT and psalter

Dear readers: I’m looking for a New Testament and Psalter. A very specific kind, for daily prayer, and I want to know if you’ve seen what I want. This is a bleg: a blog beg.

It ought to be:

  1. Compact, say smaller than 4×6 inches
  2. Hard-bound to survive a book bag, and not leather bound (as I’m a vegetarian)
  3. Ideally a modern but literary translation
  4. Loosely bound a plus, so I can paste in prayers in the covers

I suppose a Bible on my phone would work, but that’s a depressing, fiddly thought. Second best so far is a little KJV Gideon New Testament and Psalter, but they’re more portable than useful.

Any ideas? Any suggestion much appreciated.

Revisiting the Disapora* distributed social network

I don’t have much love for Facebook, so why do I use it so much? Because other people use it, and I use it to attract people to this blog. But revelations about post manipulation and human social experimentation is coaxing me to try alternatives. I could use some, er, independence.

I’m revisiting the Disapora* social network, a decentralized and more privacy focused alternative. But its strength is its weakness. Personal privacy means its hard to find your friends, and if your friends aren’t there, you be back to Facebook to find them. It would be hopeless and dispiriting, unless you remember that AOL was once king of the hill…

So, I’ll use both and encourage you to reach out to me there.

Later. See https://joindiaspora.com/ to learn more. To sign up: You’ll need a “pod” — a node on the decentralized network — and the link I previously shared may not work, since it seem in the time I drafted this post, my pod has stopped taking registrations.

Here is a list of other nodes. Some people choose them based on the country they’re hosted in; others favor uptime or the version of Diaspora used.

I’m bitb on the joindiaspora.com node.

A project out of General Assembly (for lectionary preachers)

It was a good General Assembly, but for (me, anyway) the soft relationships defy programming. Trust and relationship building, arts of the ministry, stories that shape identity. Evidence about strength and weakness, and a willingness to address both. There was a spirit, and I don’t want to crush it with explanation. It was so good that I didn’t finish this thought on-site!

So, what’s the takeaway? Unclear. Perhaps we can experiment by spinning up some projects. Experimentation is also in the air. I mentioned Faithify for those that need funding, but sometimes there’s an itch that needs scratching at no cost than the doing.

I was lunching with a couple of colleagues in Christian churches who preach from the Revised Common Lectionary. We identified a need to share notes: ideas, themes, resources. Something simple.

Is this something you could use? Be interested in participating in? If so, please say so in the comments.

I’ll blame Putin

Horrible for Daisy the Dog! Some of her favorite sniffing places at the little, angular park in our neighborhood are trapped behind chain link fencing and barbed wire. The park has no formal name, but its impossible to not call it Schevchenko, for the large monument to Taras Shevchenko, “bard of Ukraine” in the middle of it. It has also been the site of rallies and demonstrations since the Russian-prompted annexations of Ukraine. Someone tucked a Ukrainian flag under Schevchenko’s right arm.

Not that you can get to the monument now. The fence went up yesterday, and when I walked Daisy last night, the plaza had been plowed up to the concrete slab.

Putin’s doing? More likely the National Park Service. Many of the plaza’s concrete tiles had come loose or eroded to reveal sharp reinforcing wire. The fountain hasn’t worked in our time in the neighborhood. Time for restoration. If Daisy can cope.

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