Posts Tagged ‘remembrance


Can the Church Reconcile with it’s Own Victims? (Part 1)

Like almost every human endeavor, the approximately 2000 years of Christianity have periodically been marred by brutal and violent events, and have been fraught with human failures.  Historically, the church[1] has been both oppressed by the prevailing society within which it existed and oppressive during the many times when it represented the dominant culture. Its checkered and sometimes sordid history has led to the propagation of an amazing number of denominations, with competing factions within them, which have varying levels of difficulty co-existing due to dogma, doctrine and/or practice. Within this history the church has perpetrated social violence, in the name of God, that has had lasting and debilitating consequences for the victims  – many times, if not all, in concert with the dominant political powers of the various cultures within which it has functioned. Can the church truly reconcile with the victims of its past, aiding in the healing of centuries of violence? The goal of this paper is to examine the possibilities that may exist for reconciliation. Continue reading ‘Can the Church Reconcile with it’s Own Victims? (Part 1)’


A Tradition of Equality?

flagThe summer seems to be a great season for patriotism. It begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day, well not officially, but certainly in practical terms. Both these holidays celebrate what has made and still makes the U.S. the U.S. – people. In between these holidays, of course, we have Flag Day and Independence Day. July does seem to represent the peak of summer and, I think, the peak of summer patriotic fervor, perhaps a lasting effect of the fireworks and cook-outs. Between the celebrations of people, we celebrate nationhood, freedom and this great land.

Just like a church, however, a nation does not exist without people. The land certainly does, but it is the people who make it a social, political and communal place. Freedom is an empty concept without people – the freedoms we celebrate are those that are the inalienable rights of the people of this land. But just who are these people, you know, the ones who have had this freedom? Continue reading ‘A Tradition of Equality?’


Recovery – A Poem of Survival


Children survive.
They seem to be built to survive almost anything.
The pain of loneliness, war, crime, rejection,
being ignored, being abused,
being smothered, being used,
predation, exposure,
abandonment, over-protection;
these are just some of the things kids endure.
Continue reading ‘Recovery – A Poem of Survival’


Imperialism, Colonialism and “Disciple-Making”

The adherents of Christian religions include upwards of 2 billion people – almost one-third of the world’s population, according to David Barrett, an Evangelical Christian who is the compiler of religious statistics for the Encyclopedia Britannica.[1] While Christianity began in the Middle East, it is generally considered a European/American religion. Those areas, however, do not encompass the majority of adherents. More Christians, in fact, are found in the “third world” – those areas that were formerly colonized by various European powers.  The story of the spread of the world’s most prolific religion during the second millennia of Christianity is at least interesting, if not informative of the current political and military efforts of the West, most notably the U.S., seemingly aimed at making converts of another sort – disciples of Western democracy and capitalism. Continue reading ‘Imperialism, Colonialism and “Disciple-Making”’


Critical Life Incidents – Entering Seminary

In August 2001, I began my seminary education as a “special” student. The special classification was because I had no undergraduate degree. I was allowed to take three courses for each of two semesters, after which the admissions committee would decide if an exception to the undergraduate degree requirement would be granted.

Two seminary professors I had met in different circumstances had originally told me of the exception. Each had been aware of my interaction with students who were experiencing difficulties – some while on an immersion trip in Mexico, and another while doing her internship at a church where I worked. In each case the exception was used as a trump card when I played my “I can’t go to seminary – I don’t have a degree” card. Continue reading ‘Critical Life Incidents – Entering Seminary’


Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 4)

Continued from LEARNING TO THRIVE. Or return to INDEX.

LEARNING TO SWIM – I was in the big pool now.

In the week prior to starting at seminary, I had moved into an apartment on campus – completely furnished and outfitted from the generosity of my Liberty Church supporters – and I had finished up a six-month, 10-hour per week consulting gig at Sterling Commerce, a division of the telecom giant, SBC. I had hated the thought of returning to the business world, but the opportunity had cropped up within hours of deciding to go back to school. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 4)’


Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1 – Learning to Learn. Or go to INDEX.


The first few years in Ohio were emotionally devastating for my mother. We lived in abject poverty even by our standards, my mother’s family proved to be more dysfunctional than our own, and work, except for the lowest paid positions, was tough for her to find. I began working before and after school to help out, lying about my age to avoid problems. I also found my missing childhood. My ‘toys’ were different than anyone had hoped, but they succeeded in dulling the pain. By sixteen I drank constantly, was addicted to speed, and had forced my mother to seek a community more conducive to a normal childhood. We moved to Newark, Ohio during my junior year. The school administrators were a little worried about my record, but seemed encouraged by my high grade point average. I graduated in possession of a full scholarship from OSU, twenty-five credits when seventeen were needed, damage from a heart attack I suffered during a speed overdose, and a new addiction to qualudes, which the doctor prescribed for “sleeping problems”. I also held the school record for drinking the most beers in a single sitting. Life was good. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 2)’


Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 1)

I was tempted to call this “Nobody’s Autobiography”, but thought that may be just too self-deprecating. I love autobiographies – not of famous people – just of ordinary people with ordinary lives. They reveal details about the individual to which most people can relate – rather than the larger-than-life situations of the rich or famous that, if digested, lead to hero worship and fantasy. A good autobiography, it seems to me, is less concerned with fact and more concerned with perception. It is entirely plausible, then, that an autobiography may not be factual down to the last jot and tiddle, but reveals truly how an individual perceives themselves and the memories of their lives. In that respect, it is a more accurate portrayal of someone’s life than an encyclopedia entry would be.

There is an ego trip involved in posting an autobiography, I suppose. I mean, why would I think anyone would care? Well, I am supposing there are others out there like me, who find the famous boring and the mundane interesting. I also think that, while we are each individual, there are commonalities to people’s stories that give cause for community building and empathy. Anyway, as egomaniacal as it may or may not seem, the following portions are the snippets of my life thus far that I consider integral to who and what I am at this moment in time. Continue reading ‘Swimming Upstream – an Autobiography (Part 1)’


The Gift that Gives and Gives …

… and gives, and gives, and …

I have posted this message on every blog because it just too important to keep a secret.

On Tuesday morning I checked my emails as usual, only to find the most unusual message:


(Courtesy of the Pastor) Dear Kathy, Please accept, as a donation towards the work of the choirs there, the attached PDF files of some of my unpublished choral music. Feel free to download and make copies of any items that you’d like to perform…with my compliments.
With best wishes, Colin Brumby, DMus

While Kathy Jensen is an accomplished musician, I am a very pedestrian appreciater of music. I am no judge of fine music by looking at notes on a page, so when I opened the seventeen attachments I was clueless about the nature of the melodies. I know words and theology, however, and when I read the lyrics I saw hymns at least as beautiful, expressive and meaningful as any of the best hymns in our hymnals.

I wept. Such a gift to a tiny congregation striving to leave a faith legacy to its community is priceless. To be able to sing original works that were donated to them because the composer was touched by their efforts, to be able to use these hymns to minister to each other and their neighbors is just – well, breathtaking.

When I spoke to Kathy yesterday and told her of the gift, she was almost speechless. She had yet to read the music or words but, I am supposing, as she understands the creative process of writing choral music, she was amazed at the depth and breadth of the heart that would share this gift with her church. If I know Kathy, by now she has played each and every one of these hymns, probably not just once. I can’t wait to talk to her when we reach a decent hour this morning.

To Colin. I do not know how you feel about having your gift publicly acknowledged, but I hope (with your permission) to replace your initials with your name to more fully recognize you as one of the saints of our church.

May God continue to bless you and keep you, my dear brother in Christ,



The Storm of the Century

-or- The Idiot of Pensacola Beach

 By mid-March 1993, the storms occurring all over the Eastern half of the US lined up perfectly with those occurring in my body, mind and soul. It was a time when every part of my being was railing against the abuse I was inflicting upon it, just as the winds, ice and snow battered communities already preparing for a change of season. I had undertaken the impossible four years earlier, and had poured all of myself into creating a miracle for which I, in my own mind, would be solely responsible. The storms were relentless, however, and my body and mind were beginning to snap like the heavily ice laden power lines in the coastal south. Continue reading ‘The Storm of the Century’


Another One of Those Days

This is a re-post of Rick336’s thread on Soulforce. I loved it so much, I was envious, so I asked to re-post it here. Rick, being the ever so kind person he is, granted me that permission. It amazes me that Rick has summed up amost exactly the same recollections of history that I remember. Thanks Rick – you make me look good.

Continue reading ‘Another One of Those Days’

... or, preaching from both ends


That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

Readers since Jan 2009

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