Monday, November 14, 2016
Friday, February 6, 2015
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
“This reaffirms why I never liked your restaurant! Since day one I have never appreciated what you brought to town. Thanks for making your private business public so I know where you stand. To bad you didn't stay wherever you came from In the first place.”
– Anonymous reply to my earlier blog post (subsequently deleted by its author).
Friday, January 30, 2015
My first reaction was fairly joyful. Knowing these particular folks and how much I dislike their political and religious views, I was happy to learn that they wouldn't be coming into my restaurant anymore. Not that they were all that regular to begin with. I'm guessing we maybe saw them once or twice a year, but that's probably a stretch. But each time they came in, my stomach would get tight and I had to swallow my true feelings of them in order to follow through on my overriding desire and responsibility to be hospitable, after all that's the business I'm in. Needless to say, I never once confronted them about how much I disagreed with their views on so many topics. Perhaps I should have.PLEASE remove us from you7 e-list as we do not plan to ever eat there again. We do NOT agree with your stand on gay marriage and will NOT support your establishment again Sorry as you were are favorite place to eat in RL
My mind started racing with all the things I could say in response. I shared my ideas with my wife knowing that it was probably wise not to fire off a quick response. Ultimately, I considered that no response was probably the smart play. But no response also meant little to no satisfaction.
Then again a few days ago, I received another email:
We can no longer support your place so please remove us from you ex. group and e-mails. Having felt you were the best place in town to eat this dose make us sad to say the least. However we can NOT give our money to those that approve in supporting gay marriages which is against the LAW of God. Try reading I Cor. 6:8 and following, Rom 1, Lev.11:22 and 18: 22 & 23. We are very sorry about this but we feel VERY strongly about this so will be eating elsewhere.
This whole episode has given me more than enough to occupy my mind and I'll most likely be posting some more thoughts here as I process it through. I'd be curious to know your thoughts too.I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to respond to you and what would be an appropriate way to counter your claim as to why you’re choosing to discontinue dining at Bridge Creek. I’ve actually had more than a bit of fun coming up with a whole host of clever comebacks. These witticisms were grounded in the wide range of emotions that your declaration brought out of me: sadness, joy, anger and frustration, to name but a few. Ultimately I came to realize that sharing any of them with you would have accomplished little beyond momentary satisfaction.Your most recent email suggested that I “try reading” and “following” a few selected verses from the Bible. I have read and continue to read the Bible and if there’s anything I hope to follow, it’s Jesus. I am, however, not willing to read any one verse of the Bible without considering the entirety of the biblical witness. And it’s when I challenge myself to follow Jesus, that I’m most convinced my understanding of sexuality and human relationship reflects God’s promised future. As much as I would wish it otherwise, I also know hardly anything I could say to you, or list of verses I would suggest you read, would have any chance of changing your mind.Your ‘decision’ to stop patronizing our restaurant saddens me as well. It’s not sad because we will miss having you dine with us. I’m sad for you. Not only are you going to miss out on “the best place to eat in town” and “your favorite restaurant,” you’re not going to be able to experience the hospitality that we love to shower upon all of our guests, regardless of their political or religious convictions. I believe if we had taken efforts to make sure our customers opinions matched our own, we wouldn’t have stayed in business for very long. I’m sad for you because the world is going to become a very small place in a very big hurry now that you’re taking this step. I can only imagine that it's must be frightening to be closing yourselves off from so much of this world that God has created.Finally, I will pray for you. I trust that God will strengthen and care for us in the days ahead, keeping our hearts wide open to see others as they are.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
If a vice can be defined by the “inner disposition to perform morally wrong acts,” then the question arises, is the instrument (the drug, the behavior, the activity) the vice or is the desire to engage the instrument the vice? Another way to approach this question would be to consider a common addiction and its instrument: alcoholism. Some are quick to vilify alcohol as the problem, or more specifically, the possibility that alcohol possess addictive qualities. Because of this, alcohol is often referred to as a vice. It is also certainly the case that many are prone to fall victim to the consequences of alcohol over-consumption. But is alcohol the problem or are the behaviors attached to alcohol consumption the true source of the vice?
The definition above, proposed by The Pocket Dictionary of Ethics, would suggest that the nature of vice is rooted within the individual and not the instrument. Though this is seemingly contrary to popular opinion, it more closely positions vice in relation to morality and the conventions of modern thought. It’s conceivable then, to imagine how it’s possible to experience shifts in whether or not certain instruments are considered to be vices. Again, consider popular moral opinion concerning alcohol in the United States during the 1930’s verses the 1970’s or today. Given these shifts however, we are left to wonder if there are any underlying commonalities for any vice that stand outside of moral interpretation or thought? In other words, what do all vices hold in common?
On the other side of the “inner disposition” coin from vice, sits virtue. Similarly defined by morality, virtue and its quest has been the fascination of ethicists since the earliest Greek philosophers began classifying human behavior. The concept of how humans should be or what they should do is in direct correlation to virtue. Lists of desired virtues are all over the place. The tenets of most religious and cultural traditions include descriptions of virtuous behavior.
It’s interesting that in Nicomachean Ethics, virtues are valued in how they help a person navigate their way in the world, in particular through relationships with other and in the quest to find happiness. Here again we see how the role of the other, like in determining the morality of the day, is integral in determining what is or isn’t virtuous. It could be argued that some virtues, like temperance or justice, can only be understood in relationship with the other. Whereas virtues like wisdom or courage hold a certain presence outside of relationship but the degrees to which they are employed may only be valued in community.
To understand virtue, it’s also important to acknowledge the differences between character and conduct. One’s character is not necessarily readily apparent until one’s conduct is made plain. To hold a particular behavior as virtuous may not matter until said virtue is put to the test, presumably in relationship to the other. For example, if justice is said to be virtuous, then how that justice is exercised towards the other makes manifest the virtue.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
There are days, and they grow seemingly more frequent, when the challenge of doing what I do* is totally derailed. While the source of such derailments can be varied, most common among them sits one very curious culprit, the Bible. If this fact offends you, perhaps this posting is not for you (though I think you should read on anyway). If you’re nodding your head in agreement, be careful as you proceed because I’ll most likely offend you at some point along the way. The idea that the Bible can do anything at all is a bit preposterous from the outset but what the bible could do is exactly what I want to explore in this posting.
The Bible, after all, is just a book. It’s a collection of historical writings, thousands of years old, filled with contradictions, antiquated customs and admonitions, overflowing with stories of a time and place that couldn’t feel more disconnected from us here today. Still, the Bible remains one of the most re-printed and re-distributed texts of today, far surpassing the collected works of J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (note to self: change byline to “P.A. Christ”). The Bible serves a lot of functions, unfortunately more often than not as ammunition in a battle, as justification in times of oppression, as a set of blinders in the midst of unsettled and unwanted realities. Yes, the Bible can do lots of things but I want to suggest that it could do one very important set of things. In a world that seems increasingly fragmented and in a time that seems vastly more chaotic than ever before, the Bible could help us face all this disconnection by connecting us to God, to each other and to ourselves.
Put plainly, you should read the bible because it could connect you…
The Bible is about God. Try to think of something less tangible that we are more desperate to have be tangible. If God is real, if God truly matters, if God should have any place at all in our lives then why wouldn’t we want to be able to see, hear or feel God? The Bible is something very real. We get to hold it in our hands, scroll through its verses on the screen, let its images fill our minds. More importantly, as we listen to the narrative contained within, we discover accounts of people who have seen, first-hand, a God that’s active in this world. As God’s presence shaped their stories, so too God can shape our stories. Perhaps the most important story contained in the bible is the one about Jesus. This is a story about how God has already made the intangible tangible. To know the story of Jesus is to know the story of God. No, the book isn’t God. But, it points to where God is and if we don’t pick it up, we’re making it a whole lot harder on ourselves to reach out and be touched.
The Bible is about relationships. Of course God wants a relationship with you but that can only be fully realized in the relationships we have with each other. Our families, our friends, our co-workers, the UPS driver, the kid in the drive-thru window, the person processing your mortgage application, it’s through these relationships that God is able to create, with us, the kind of world where we can thrive. Making meaning of the Bible is only possible when we work on it together. I can’t make sense of it if you don’t help me and I won’t trust how you make sense of it if you don’t include me in your deliberations. If we don’t read the Bible, it’s also harder to make a counter argument when others start to make claims that seem contrary to the sense we’re trying to make of this world. When we read the bible we also become connected to a rich and deep history of others doing the same. Their struggles, their questions, their reactions, all give us more ways to be drawn into the story ourselves. Reading the Bible draws us together in the midst of a world that seems to want to push us apart.
Finally, the Bible is about you. Let’s be honest, you really need some help and so do I. Reading the stories of the Bible helps us to make sense of our own stories and there’s more than enough that just doesn’t make sense. When we compare our experiences of joy and sadness and certainty and doubt with those chronicled in the Bible, we gain glimpses of the truth and the value and the relevance of our lives. These glimpses help build our imagination for the possible. There are many who think the Bible is some sort of rule book or even a play book on how to live life. I think that really sells it short. Much more than providing us with easy answers, the Bible provides an opportunity to ask better questions. As a result, we’re encouraged to experiment, to try and to fail and then to try again. Each time we take a step forward we have the chance to learn something about ourselves and every new learning moment builds on the last. Sometimes even, the failures build the strongest foundations for the future. If you’re anything like me, you feel pulled in countless directions. Home and family, school and work, friends and play, all have us going every which way. The Bible might just be where it all comes together, the one story that makes the most sense, the place you get to find the real you.
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still not offended, then I promise I’ll try harder next time. If you did get offended but kept on reading, thanks for sticking with me. Hopefully, even for just this moment, I’ve exposed you to the possible. Yes the Bible can do lots of things, but only if you pick it up is it possible that the Bible could do the most important things of all.
*What do I do? Well to quote from some essay I wrote on my “sense of call:" helping others experience a connection with God.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Peter’s "Pause, Listen & Learn" Goals for July: (Will posting the here make them any more attainable?)
- Listening Team – be an active participant, looking for God and helping others do the same.
- Field Trip Co-Leader – facilitate fruitful experiences and get to know Becca better.
- Plan & Facilitate Sharing of Outcomes – be intentional about how we can share all the we experience and learn to our broader constituencies.
- Facilitate a renegotiated lease at Field that includes a storage solution.
- Re-structure/energize Sunday morning volunteer recruitment process.
- Get the signage finished for Longfellow.
- Finish all the writings for June classes.
- Find new ways to support & encourage my staff in MT.
- Exercise at least 6 days every week.
- Try yoga at least once.
So I recognize immediately how ambitious this list reads. Already have fallen short of the exercise goal but still feeling good about it. That last one, the one about yoga, well that will be an interesting one to pull off. At the least, I'm sure it will be fodder for another blog entry.