Reflections on a Sunday in Lent

Reflections on a Sunday in Lent

Each of us is on our own spiritual journey, despite the promptings of the institutional Church; responsible for our own seeking our own way down the path, with our own compass, We are always seeking new ways to bring sense to being “here”, to experience the transcendent and the Divine presence in life around us. But setting out on your own is a spiritually lonely journey.  The spiritual path was meant for partners. Jesus walked with others. He joined seekers on the road to Emmaus, then sat and broke bread. Sharing a meal brings us together, leads us to engage, to be open.  Being together on that spiritual path, sharing our stories on the road, can be “Church”.

The Kingdom Belongs to...

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New Fragments of Ancient Scripture Found; Authentic Says Hierarchy, Requires Faith

Rome – October 4, 2012 – The Feast of St. Francis - Officials within the Vatican have confirmed the recent discovery of fragments of early scripture hidden deep in the archives of the Vatican Library that reportedly support Church teaching on a variety of current moral issues and social teachings.

In a statement issued today, The Vatican Under Secretary for Social Control confirmed the discovery saying, “This is an important finding, one in which the teaching of The Church, and of our brother Christian Churches throughout the world, is confirmed.”   The Vatican would not confirm how the scripture fragments were discovered or where they were authenticated and translated.

Hailed by conservative thought leaders and political action groups throughout the United States, this discovery “only continues to provide the scriptural underpinnings of ‘right behavior’ that have been preached since early times, and confirms the need for continued vigilance against the forces of darkness that seek to bring down America”, according to one source.

In announcing this discovery, The Vatican provided the following narrative of the ancient fragments as translated and interpreted by scholars.

“The disciples, seeing that He was tired, began to send the children away.  When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these…..except the gay kids.  They are intrinsically disordered.  Send them into the wilderness where they will succumb to temptation”.

Commentary provided by Church officials states that “the sinner is always welcome, as we can see, into the life of wholeness in the Kingdom, a life where he is free to express and use all the talents of God, but only when that life is lived chastely, or to create new life.”

Additional newly discovered fragments purportedly provide new insights detailing Jesus’ explicit relationship-based thinking for the first time.

“When the Disciples arrived for the Passover Supper, Jesus greeted them at the door. ‘Peace be Upon You’, he said.  ‘Truly I say to you, before you enter this house, exam your conscience, and ask yourself if you agree with my position on same sex relationships.  If you do not, depart from me, for you are not welcome to dip your hand into the same bowl’.”

A statement released by an anonymous spokesman for the office of the Most Rev. John J. Meyers, Archbishop of Newark, NJ, stated that “the Archbishop, and other Church Hierarchy throughout America, absorbed a great deal of undue criticism for his recently released pastoral letter on marriage equality. Some of the Faithful were concerned that their brothers and sisters were excluded from sharing at the Lord’s Table because of their lack of credence in Church teaching on marriage equality and contraception.  This now proves, without a doubt, the validity of Church instruction. There is little left to say.  Only compliance is required.”

In the final early fragment translation, Cardinal Archbishops throughout the United States hailed the discovery as a “gift of the Spirit”, saying that Christians of all denominations were obliged by faith to respond through appropriate ballot action in the upcoming November Presidential elections. They, however, failed to give a firm directive to the Faithful.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Go out to all those whose treasuries are full with the coins of Caesar and seek reward from them.  For God and Caesar must work together to allow you to worship, and keep the unclean spirits of those that seek contraception away from the houses of healing’.”

An unnamed spokesman for the Most Rev. John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN,  confirmed that the newly discovered scriptural fragments provide a theological basis for the recent fundraising campaign directed toward Diocesan Catholics for the purpose of approving the State Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.  The work of the state, when properly governed, and the Church are not incompatible, as confirmed by scripture, the spokesman added.

Evidence is still being sought as to how long the scripture fragments have been in the possession of the Vatican. Scholars having access state that it must have been after Vatican II given the radical change of thinking in the Church. Other, non-Church connected scholars state that the authenticity of these new words of Jesus is greatly questioned and is certainly not the basis of faith.

Despite efforts by Church officials to inhibit investigation into this revised scripture based thinking, further dialogue is continuing.

For further information, please…Oh forget it, there’s nothing left to say!


Authors note:  This is a satirical piece. No offense is meant towards any particular religious denomination or belief, or persons of faith, of which the author is one.


©2012 R.T. Saunders

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 An edited version of this piece was published on The Daily Kos, October 11, 2012

For the Losers Now will be Later to Win

To The Editor, The New York Times

RE:  The Rottweiler’s Rottweiler - June 17, 2012


Bill Keller in his Op-Ed piece, The Rottweiler’s Rottweiler (NY Times, June 17, 2012) gives far too much credence to Bill Donahue and The Catholic League, who is in the “bloviating ignoramus” category with other unnamed spokesmen.  That Dr. Donahue speaks for the Church is evident by the rise of his hierarchical supporters, but is anyone listening?  As Bill Keller points out, the faithful are steps ahead, as the ideas of Emerging Christianity show us. 

Many years ago only a  priest, with consecrated hands,  was able to handle the sacred bread and distribute communion.  Mother Church feeding her people.   Now, believers take communion in their own hands. 

We are older now, and wiser.  We can feed ourselves.  

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Spy Wednesday

Today, the Wednesday before the beginning of Christian Holy  Week, is known as “Spy Wednesday”,  the day  that Judas Iscariot put into motion the workings of the plot against Jesus, the betrayal of friendship and leadership for pieces of sliver, thus beginning the journey to Easter.  Judas!  The name forever connected to breaking the trust.

As we contemplate this time, consider the betrayals our organizations and we, as its members, have engaged in.  The conspiracies to get ahead in our career, the misinformation put out to our staff and employees, the power grabs, the concealed plans to eliminate those we find redundant, the illicit and contrived performance review.   This week, the conjunction of Passover and Holy Week, provides an excellent opportunity to review our own actions and that of our organizations. Are we sharing the meal with those we will cast aside? Are we dipping our fingers into the bowl with those with whom we are disingenuous?

And how do we forgive those who have betrayed us?  The office gossip, the intrique, the confidant who has abused our trust?  

As we leave the office early to attend the varied religious services at this time of year let's think more deeply about the changes we need to bring back.

This brings faith to work.

Originally posted on The Daily Kos, Wednesday, April 4. 2012 


False Apologies

Bill Maher,  in his opinion piece, Please Stop Apologizing (NY Times, March 22,2012) asks us to stop being hurt by every perceived slight, to stop taking offense at the slightest wrong word.  What Mr. Maher doesn’t mention is how that perception of hurt, widely disseminated, is advantageous to many and is used as a starting point to create a platform of perceived righteousness.  This is not only disingenuous but serves to create a climate of false dialogue and fallacious sense of caring about others.
Let’s save our righteous indignation for things that really matter. Let’s speak truth, and truly stop hurting each other when there are more important things out there waiting for us.

Letter to The New York Times, March 22, 2012

Do We Hate Each Other THAT Much?

In the last week, Hon. Richard Cebul, Chief United States District Judge (Montana), wrote a letter to President Obama apologizing for a racially charged joke sent from his court email account. In his apology Judge Cebul wrote,

“I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded. I accept full responsibility; I have no one to blame but myself.”  Politico 
Given what appears to be a sincere apology, as well as Judge Cebul’s letter to the Chief Judge of the Ninth District asking that an inquiry be opened regarding his “misconduct”, one wonders if this issue will disappear into the hall of fame of lettered “wardrobe malfunctions.”   This however, appears not to be the case, as Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, in an appearance on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC on Friday, stated that an apology is not sufficient and that only resignation will be a satisfactory outcome

Judge Cebul takes his place on the hot seat beside Rush Limbaugh who recently equated a young woman who testified before Congress on the necessity to uphold the payment for contraceptives under reimbursed health plans, with being a “slut” and “prostitute”, going so far as to offer to pay for a sexual performance by the woman, or perhaps any woman who dares to use insurance reimbursed contraceptives.  This, of course, might cause us to wonder if Mr. Limbaugh’s own previous illicit drug use was reimbursed.

These and many other recent nasty social encounters (not limited to politics!)  have us questioning, “What is the limit to societal coarseness and individual nastiness?”

 Sen.Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in her news conference announcing her plans to leave the Senate senses the barriers to insensibility are ever expanding when she said, “The sensible center has virtually disappeared in Washington.”
Yet in an appearance on “Hardball with Chris Matthews”  on MSNBC on March 2nd, Joan Walsh of said in reference to Limbaugh’s unrestrained gutter mouth,
“I think something different is going on here, and I think we have reached the tipping point in this country where people are talking back to this kind of garbage and misogyny.”
One wonders if the tipping point has been reached.  Much like the beginning of the end of “The Summer of  Love” in San Francisco in 1967 submerged by homelessness and rampant drug use, uncivil American discourse may have reached its denouement, dragged down by the weight of anger, falsehood, and unsustainable self righteousness.

One can only hope!

published on The Daily Kos - March 3, 2012