Author's details

Name: Kim
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Tzedaka — July 24, 2014
  2. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Now and not yet — July 23, 2014
  3. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Workers in the Vineyard — July 22, 2014
  4. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Voice and Image — July 21, 2014
  5. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Tapestry — July 9, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Interrupting — 1 comment
  2. connexions: Millay’s “Conscientious Objector” on International Conscientious Objectors Day — 1 comment
  3. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Remembering Religion but Forgetting God — 1 comment
  4. connexions: 3 short quotes from Bonhoeffer (b. 4th February, 1906) — 1 comment
  5. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Park Benches — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Jul 24 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Tzedaka

Original post at

I was reading a giving article in a magazine this morning.  The author, David Kottler, spoke about "the Hebrew concept of tzedaka.  The word is commonly used to refer to charity, but it's much more.  It also carries a sense of obligation to recognize what we have comes from God and we're merely a conduit for redistributing it."

My understanding of stewardship is much the same as this.  Stewardship isn't fund raising, as so many churches have defined it.  Stewardship is putting what we have learned as a disciple into action.  As a disciple, we learn about how to live our lives - as stewards, we live them.  As a disciple, we learn that the gifts we have come from God; as s steward, we use those gifts.  As a disciple, we learn the calling God has placed on our lives; as a steward, we act on that call, putting all we have been given to work in the mission God has given us.

As a church leader, it is important to remember, I think, that moving people to stewardship isn't about funding a budget.  It's about shepherding people from discipleship to action.

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Jul 23 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Now and not yet

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Therefore you must be ready, for the son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Matthew 24:44

I remember, years ago, a pastor said in a class I was taking, "The kingdom of God is now."  It was a revelation to me to consider that the Kingdom of God is not (or not only) something in the future, but it is a present reality, right this minute.  The  now and the not yet.

The verse above is part of an apocalyptic passage in Matthew.  I don't like those kind of passages, because I feel helpless in the light of the them.  God is coming; something will happen.  We don't know when or where or what, but we need to be prepared.  And I always feel woefully unprepared, and it makes me anxious.

Barbara Brown Taylor in her book The Seeds of Heaven, says:
The truth is that Christ comes again and again and again - that God has placed no limit on coming to the world, but is always on the way to us here and now. The only thing we are required to do is to notice - to watch, to keep our eyes peeled.
God is here now.  He is coming, but he is also here now.  Right now.  In my office.  What difference does that make in the way I live my life?

Taylor says that the passage in Matthew (24:29-44) speaks of three virtues - enduring love, discernment, and alertness.  We are called to keep watch - God is here now and God is coming.  Be aware and notice.  And while you are doing that, remember enduring love.  Remember the mission we have been given, which is to reach out to the lost, the hungry, the homeless and to act with enduring love.  We don't know when God may come, but we do know that God is here. (I love that idea.)  And if God is here, then we had better be about God's work.

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Jul 22 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Workers in the Vineyard

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Matthew 20:1-16.  

The day had been a long one.
The sun had pounded heat into his skin,
burning with its impact.
Sweat had tracked into his eyes
and down his back.
He could feel the stab of blisters
on his hands and feet
as his heart forced blood
to his aching muscles.
The exhaustion of working
from sun up to sun down
was melting his bones.
He stood worn down
waiting in the field
for the pay that had been promised him.

He watched as the vineyard owner
paid the man who had worked only for an hour.
Jealousy and hatred
hotter than the sun at midday,
filled him.
How dare the vineyard owner pay this worthless impostor
the same pay
that he had earned?

The other man stood
holding the coin in his hand,
feeling its surface through the grime
straining his skin.
The long day had begun
with the worry that he would earn nothing.
He had stood in the sun
praying for some kind of salvation
for the family he was unable to feed.
When the vineyard owner had hired him
at the very end of the day,
he had been grateful.

With the coin in his hand
he knew what real gratitude was
he knew what grace really meant.
He stood with what he had not earned.
He stared at what he hadn't ever imagined
would be his.
Tears mixed with the sweat on his face.

Who are we?
Are we the man who stands in the stink
of hatred and jealousy,
claiming that the reward is not fair?
Or are we the man who knows salvation
is not earned,
it is given.
A gift of grace that brings us life.
When will we come to see our own unworthiness
for the amazing gift we have been given?
When will we allow the beauty of that gift
to change us?
When will we realize that we are the one
who come late to the field,
and who has not earned what we have been given?

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Jul 21 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Voice and Image

Original post at

Sorry for my absence.  We were on vacation and for some reason, the internet and the cellular signal were not very good.

I'll be posting beachy pictures soon, though.

For today:
In the beginning God spoke all things into being -- and for the rest of time all things are speaking of God. This is a sacramental vision of the world: God comes to us in and through the very stuff of the earth.
-- On Our Way: Christian Practices for Living a Whole Life, edited by Dorothy C. Bass and Susan R. Briehl
We make Christ real for people.  If you focus on being transformed by God - to being confirmed into God's likeness, then you will become a transforming power (thoughts from Joe Hill's sermon in April, 2014).

Think about those two thoughts for a moment.

  • God spoke us into being, and we are created in the image of God.  
  • As we are transformed into the image of God (through God's sanctifying grace), we become the way in which God speaks into the world.

If you find that Christ is not visible in the world around you, then what change can you allow God to make in you so that Christ is seen?

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Jul 09 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Tapestry

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I have heard more than one person - especially those in ordained ministry - speak about their calls to ministry.  Often they regret that they waited so long to act on the call.  This always disturbs me.

There is a scene in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Picard explains that life is a tapestry.  Pull at one thread and the entire picture is changed.

It could be that I am wrong, but I want to say the following to these who voice regrets concerning the timing of answering God's call.  Nothing is wasted.  God has been involved in your life from the beginning.  A call is not like a telephone ringing that you have refused to answer.  A call is a transformative action in your life.  God has been at work, preparing you for when you were ready to say yes.  Don't be so arrogant as to assume that if you had said yes when you first started hearing the call that you would have ready.  How has God used your life to equip you for where you are now?  Could it be that part of that was the work of your call?  Could it be that your "no" was indicative of the state of your readiness to answer?  Be grateful that God has brought you to where you are, and don't regret the time of preparation.

Don't pull at the threads with regret.  The picture in the tapestry will change, and probably not how you would predict.

And most importantly, you cannot change the past.  It's done.  So be in the now and be grateful.

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Jul 08 2014

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Not right now

Original post at

I was reading the blog An Unfinished Symphony, and was stopped by this post.    It's about Jason Gray's song called Not Right Now.  The first link it to the blog post, and there you can read the lyrics.  The second link is to a YouTube video of the Jason singing the song, if you would like to listen to it (go listen to it).

Sometimes, I think, when a friend is hurting, we don't know what to say.  Sometimes, I think, when  friend is hurting, we just want to FIX it.  This song reminds us that there are times - perhaps more often than we know - that the best thing to do is to be present and just listen.  Offer no judgement or answers or reasons - just listen.

Think about Job and the visit of his friends.  At first, before they started talking, they just listened.  They were quiet.  They were present.  It can be a reminder to us of the necessity and possibilities of just listening.

From Jason's song:
While I wait for the smoke to clear
 You don’t even have to speak
 Just sit with me in the ashes here
 And together we can pray for peace
 To the one acquainted with our grief

I know someday
 I know somehow
 I’ll be okay
 But not right now

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