Last Sunday we went to Lovers Key State Park for a little pre-vacation sunning. There were several large flocks of shore birds there, including Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, and Ring-billed Gulls. There’s also a pair of nesting Ospreys near the southern end of Lovers Key. Here are two photo sets showing these Shore Birds and Ospreys. (The two pictures of the 2 Royal Terns are worth commenting on: I presume this was a courtship ritual, as the terns have the distinctive black breeding plumage on the crown of their heads, but for at least ten minutes, one was trying to get the attention of the other; (s)he was either not interested or playing hard to get!)
Here’s the slideshow of the two Osprey and their nest just off the beach. They appear to be on the smaller side for the species (at least to my untrained eye).
A Facebook friend (FBF) recently shared this article from On Faith, an interview with theologian Walter Brueggemann. As the interview demonstrates, Prof. Brueggemann — one of the most influential Old Testament scholars in the U.S. — is pretty clear about how much of contemporary American culture is out of sync with an accurate understanding of the message of Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus. I suspect there are many who would be afflicted by his words, calling to mind that old adage that one of the purposes of the Gospel is “to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” I particularly find Prof. Bureggemann’s notion of neighborliness on point, especially living in a part of the country where so very, very many people live in “gated and guarded communities,” neighborhoods where entry is limited only to residents. This map (from Gated Communities: Are you in or out? Naples Daily News, July 26, 2013) shows how much of the area in this part of SW Florida is “off limits” to neighbors outside the gate.
On another issue, I was particular edified to read Prof. Brueggemann’s response to the first of two questions about LGBTQ people and how many who claim to be Christian treat them. Here’s what was asked, and Brueggeman’s first words in response.
You talked about the poor and healthcare. What about the LGBTQ community, especially when people use the Old Testament to argue against that community?
The discussion needs to start with what it means to be made in the image of God [emphasis added]. The confession of Christian faith is that all of God’s human creatures are made in the image of God. That means that they are to be treated with dignity, offered maintenance and security, as is necessary.
Brueggemann claims that the starting point of this discussion must be the recognition that LGBTQ people are made in the image of God. That understanding is the very reason for the title of this blog. If we are not able to see in ourselves and others a reflection of the Divine, then what possible hope is there for dealing well with any of the myriad problems this generation or any generation faces? If we can’t see the presence of God in every person — especially those whom we so readily label as “other” — then how can Christians claim to be followers of the One who came to lead all people to God?
After briefly dispatching with concerns about what some of the various texts of Scripture supposedly say about homosexuality, Brueggemann’s concluding words are worth repeating:
The texts that are determinative are those that talk about the love of God that has been shown to us in Jesus. We can’t compromise that.
Earlier this year, I happened to see this first scene in an Australian pine across the street. When I went to get the paper this morning, I saw two hawks perched atop that same tree. As I got closer, one flew away, but the other stayed there for quite some time, confidently surveying all that s/he could take in.
This was a much better way to observe “Black Friday”! Took a pontoon boat ride around Estero Bay with visiting family. Here are just a few of the wildlife we saw.
Even while there are many hopeful signs about the Church moving forward on the subject of God’s gay daughters and sons, there are some who still call for an expansion of “ministries” that ask LGBT Catholics to be less than who they are. One of these is called “Courage,” and Fr. Roger Landry’s commentary in the Boston Pilot’s online forum, Echoes, pronounces the virtues, nay necessity, of this organization for LGBT Catholics. Here, in part, is my comment to the contrary.
“The secret to life is to ‘die before you die’ — and find that there is no death.”
— The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle