Saturday, November 1, 2014

HOMILYARCWP: Ordination on Nov. 1, 2014-by Bridget Mary Meehan “We Are Partners: Called to Minister Side by Side”

  HOMILY: Ordination on Nov. 1, 2014- Bridget Mary Meehan
“We Are Partners: Called to Minister Side by Side”
                     Today the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain 3 women to serve inclusive Catholic communities where all are welcome.

Judith Bautista, from Colombia, South America is a therapist, renowned poet, musician and educator. In her words: “I work to support leaders who accompany communities hit by poverty and violence, some of them are defenders of human rights, but others are leaders who accompany resistance in building solidarity amid the difficult living conditions of the people.” Judith is 47- years old. For 27 years she has been working in spiritual direction and pastoral care. As a religious for nine years, she ministered to women and youth. In the church of the poor, she continued nourishing her lifelong encounter with God through her studies in the Bible, theology and human rights and by becoming close to the suffering and needs of those around her. "My call to the priesthood”,Judith said,  “was always present. Now I've found through ARCWP that it can happen. God's people can continue living fully and in joy. I live my baptism, together with my brothers and sisters."  
Like deacon Phoebe, whom St. Paul praised in our second reading as an outstanding leader in Romans 16, our newly ordained deacons, Sally and Janet, will continue to co-preside at inclusive liturgies, to preach,  to offer educational opportunities for theological discussion, and to serve the needs of others in ministries of compassionate care.

Sally Brochu is the mother of 3 children, grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 4, all of whom she delights in. She has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. She has served in a variety of ministries including Lector, Eucharistic Minister and a RCIA Team member. After fulfilling Clinical Pastoral Education requirements, Sally became a Board Certified Chaplain through The National Association of Catholic Chaplains.  For ten years Sally served as Director of Pastoral Care for a Catholic Regional Medical System in Maine. For over a year, Sally has co-presided at liturgy here at MMOJ and has been called forth by this community for ordination.  
 Janet Blakeley has a Master's degree in Clinical/Pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston. In addition  she has taken graduate courses in Scripture and Theology at the following institutions: University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Lay Ministry Training Institute, Boston Andover-Newton Seminary, Boston College and Boston University  After a lifetime of various ministries - church musician, parochial school administrator, parish adult education leader, volunteer in Haiti, spiritual director - and after raising a family of three children and a second family of grandchildren, Janet Blakeley is saying "yes" to God and to the call of our community for ordination.  Accompanying her in ordination will be her partner of 20 years, Sally Brochu.“Together we love our life at Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota,” Janet writes “ and we look forward to serving there…Thank you for holding onto the dream until we could be part of it.”

In the Beatitudes Jesus introduces us to a God who delights in us, works through us and blesses others through us. Every time we listen to or console someone who is grieving, every time, we say a kind word to mend a broken heart, every time, we sign a petition against the death penalty or demonstrate for peace through non-violence, we are living as a blessing, Every time we act with compassion, witness for justice, or even smile with love, we are blessings and blessed. We, like Mary, in the Magnificat, are proclaiming God’s empowering presence doing great things for us. We are living blessings, mystics and prophets through whom God is loving, comforting, healing, and challenging injustice today! We could ask ourselves, how are we “walking, talking blessings” to the excluded? How can we nurture our inner mystic?  

In the Beatitudes, Jesus said; “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their struggle for justice, the kindom of heaven is theirs.” When referring to the kindom of God, Jesus used the Aramaic word Malkuta, the root Kut meaning empowerment.  This is what our women priests’ movement is about empowering all including women to live the fullness of their baptismal call as spiritual equals created in the divine image.

 This means that we begin our theological reflection by listening to and learning from the lived experiences of the poor, of women, of the excluded and marginalized, of the Earth and of all creatures. Option for the poor is at the heart of the Gospel. Sounds a lot like the emergence of Liberation, Feminist and Mujerista theology to me!

In her new book, The Elephant in the Church, Irish theologian Mary Malone thinks that the Church should treat women as the “significant theologians that they are.” She argues: “For women have always done theology and ministry in both word and deed… that provides the living guide for more than half of the church.” The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests’ Preparation Program fosters circular leadership in communities of equals and honors the spiritual, educational, professional, life and faith experiences of women (and men).

Change is in the air at the Vatican. Even though Catholic bishops failed to approve their draft document welcoming gays, Pope Francis’ call for open dialogue and new ways of thinking in the Synod of the Family has fostered an open and bitter debate between prelates on greater acceptance of same sex couples. In the draft document, ‘relatio” released on Oct. 12th
the Vatican said that gays and lesbians have "gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community"  and acknowledged that same-sex couples can give "precious support" to one another

While the bishops will meet in Oct. 2015 and the final report will be issued then, I believe that a major seismic shift is already taking place as marriage equality becomes the law in more and more places. In living the Beatitudes we are called to treat everyone as the beloved of God with equal human rights. May the people of God lead the way in honoring our LGBT sisters and brothers for who they are, for the holiness of their being and the gifts of their ministries.

This transformation of consciousness will lead the church to embrace true change not only in its tone, but also its teaching on homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, contraception and women priests!  

My sisters and brothers, the Spirit is a’moving in our midst!

In sacramental communities like Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, we are healing the soul wound, the grave dishonesty that has been so damaging to the LGBT community and other marginalized groups in our church by welcoming all the Banquet Table of God’s extravagant love.
I look forward to the day that Pope Francis will address women priests as
"beloved sisters and partners" and witnesses to Gospel equality! Now this would cause the mother lode of all seismic shifts in the Catholic Church!

Let me share a few recent examples of how women deacons and priests are living the Beatitudes today:

On July 18, 2014, The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests donated $1,000 to a Catholic Worker house that shelters homeless women after the Cincinnati archdiocese retracted its funding because a woman priest led a prayer service at the shelter.

On August 27, 2014, The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Marriage Equality cases from the states of Indiana and Wisconsin. ARCWP Priest Mary Weber accompanied by her husband Gary Meister attended a rally in Indiana supporting Marriage Equality. On Oct. 23, 2014, ARCWP Priest Diane Dougherty attended a rally for Marriage Equality in Atlanta, GA and wrote an article about it.

On October 7, 2014, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Kathy Kelly, and Georgia Walker, a deacon with ARCWP, appeared before Judge Matt Whitworth in Jefferson City, MO, federal court on a charge of criminal trespass to a military facility. The charge was based on their participation, at Whiteman Air Force Base, in a June 1st 2014 rally protesting drone warfare. Kelly and Walker attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the Base Commander, encouraging him to stop cooperating with any further usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, (drones), for surveillance and attacks. (Article by Kathy Kelly,

There are many more stories of women priests and our inclusive communities living the compassion of God in our times! Read my blog! It has seven years of stories about our adventures on the margins! Jesus calls us to step out of the boat, and like Peter, trust that God is leading us as we walk on water!
 Now we ordain our beloved Sisters:Judith, Sally and Janet. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests rejoices that 3 women called by their communities, will be ordained today to serve God’s people.  May they be living blessings who bring justice, compassion and love to our Christian community and beyond!

Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books, including   Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God, The Healing Power of Prayer and Praying with Women of the Bible . She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Meehan can be reached at and

Friday, October 31, 2014

Judith Bautista ARCWP from Colombia sings a song of gratitude at rehearsal in preparation for her priestly ordination

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Ordain Two Grandmothers and Partners and a Latin American Songwriter, Musician and Poet on November 1, 2014

 From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
 Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media) 859-684-4247,
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004,
 Partners called “to minister side by side”
On Sat. Nov 1, 2014, at 2 PM the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain a woman priest and two deacons at St. Andrew UCC 6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Fl. 34238.  The presiding bishop is Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, Fl. All are welcome. Judith Bautista will be ordained a priest and  local women, partners  Sally Brochu and Janet Blakeley, will be ordained deacons.
 There is good news in Sarasota! Two Catholic grandmothers and partners are going to be ordained deacons.  Janet Blakeley and Sally Brochu, partners for 20 years, co-preside regularly at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community (MMOJ). They are shining forth love, emotional honesty, mutual partnership and the values of the Gospel.
Today one of the hot-button issues of our time is gay rights. In sacramental community we are healing the soul wound, the grave dishonesty that has been so damaging to gays and lesbians in our church. In the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests we are leading the church in  affirming the full equality of gay women by publicly ordaining Sally and Janet  as deacons.
The Vatican is considering a groundbreaking change in their attitude toward gays. In a recent document they stated that homosexuals had "gifts and qualities to offer" and raised the issue of greater acceptance of same sex couples.
 Now will the Vatican take the next step and let their gay priests out of the closet and accept them as they practice their priesthood? Will the Vatican give LGBT the public recognition of honoring  the holiness of their being and the gifts they bring to the people of God?
The Vatican must not only change its tone but also its teaching on homosexuality and welcome all to the Banquet Table of God's love. 
From South America, ministering to the caregivers of the vulnerable
To be ordained a  Priest:
Judith Bautista ( of Colombia is an educator, popular song writer, musican, poet and therapist. She provides pastoral care for caregivers who live and face difficult situations in the areas of violence in her country. Judith is 47 years old. She has spent 27 years dedicated to spiritual direction and pastoral care.  As a religious for nine years, she ministered to women and youth. In the church of the poor, she continued nourishing her lifelong encounter with God through her studies in Bible, theology and human rights and by becoming close to the suffering and needs of those around her. “My call to the priesthood was always present. Now I’ve found through ARCWP that it can happen. God’s people can continue living fully and in joy. I can live my Baptism together with my brothers and sisters.”
To be ordained a deacon:
Janet Blakeley, 80, of Nokomis, a suburb of Sarasota, raised three children and a second family of grandchildren. Janet earned a Master’s degree in Clinical/Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. In addition, she has graduate courses in Scripture and Theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Lay Ministry Training Institute, Boston, Andover-Newton Seminary, Boston College and Boston University. She has spent a lifetime in various ministries – church musician, parochial school administrator, parish adult education leader, volunteer in Haiti and spiritual director. “Sally and I love our life at Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and we look forward to serving there. We see it as a tremendous blessing to be moving toward full involvement with ARCWP. Thank you for holding onto the dream until we could be part of it.”

Sally Brochu, 73, of Nokomis has three children, 10 grandchildren and recently four great-grandchildren from a 32-year marriage. Involved in parish life, Sally was invited to attend the Center for Parish Ministry in Maine, a three-year commitment of learning and preparation for ministry. She earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. After fulfilling Clinical Pastoral Counseling requirements, Sally became a Board Certified Chaplain through the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. She worked as the Director of Pastoral Care for a Catholic Regional Medical System in Maine for 10 years. “I loved working with a compassionate and professional chaplaincy team and our ministry to so many people at their times of need, but I also observed and experienced some of the inner workings of a hierarchical church that has lost its way. It became clear to me that there needed to be another model of church. To find it in ARCWP is remarkable and exciting as we work together to build a new model of Church with Jesus as the center and the Spirit guiding us forward.”

In ARCWP we embrace liberation theology, feminist and mujerista theology, Judith Bautista, our South American candidate for priesthood, lives in Columbia, a country whose people have endured much suffering.  Judith provides pastoral care to the caregivers who minister to people whose lives have been shattered by violence and trauma.

 “In Latin America indigenous people inhabiting land lying above oil and mineral deposits are killed or displaced; those organizing for a living wage and collective bargaining are killed and disappeared; anyone working to reduce poverty, ecological disruption and the violence and militarism essential to international and development agreement risks exile or assassination.” (

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Nov. 2, 2014 All Souls Day by Beverly Bingle,RCWP

What is resurrection?
What do we mean when we say that Jesus rose from the dead,
and what does it mean to say
that we will be raised on the last day?
For the early disciples
it had to have been both difficult and inspiring
to be caught up in the day-to-day experience
of Jesus as their teacher and friend,
only to see him killed
and then, within a few days of his death,
to begin, one after another,
to experience him as alive in their lives.
That’s what we remember as the resurrection—
their experience, and the resulting conviction,
that the Spirit of the Messiah—the Christ—the Anointed—
lived in each of them
and among them whenever they gathered.
Hearing the “good news” of Jesus’ life, and death, and resurrection
in and among them
brought even more followers to his Way.
Followers like us.
We follow the Way of Jesus as best we can,
loving God and our neighbors with all our being
and trying to walk strong in peaceful non-violence.
Like our forebears in faith,
we too experience the Divine Presence among us—
the risen Christ—
and the peace that surpasses understanding.
Today we remember Jesus
as the unique expression of the Divine Presence
And we remember each of our loved ones—
our family, our friends—
as unique expressions of the Divine Presence.
Our ancestors in faith, those first followers of the Way,
had to study their scriptures
to fit their new experience into their tradition.
So too, today we read from Paul’s letter to the Romans
and we also have to peel away
the ancient cosmology and the atonement theology
until we find
that it’s the love of God
poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit
that we’re reconciled to God
because we follow the Way of Jesus.
It’s the same with John’s Gospel:
we have to peel back the Johannine cosmology
that sees God as “out there” somewhere,
sent to save us because we’re a sinful people
incapable of making any restitution to an angry God.
Once we look through the lens of present-day cosmology,
we see that we’re living a new story
that knows a universe bigger than ever,
and the science of the Cosmic Hatch
and the Higgs boson
and string theory
so that the concept of God as the ground of our being
takes on wider and deeper meaning than ever before.
Brain theory is expanding, too,
and the power of prayer has been proved,
even when the people we pray for
don’t even know that we’re praying for them.
When we take a look at the scriptures with our modern eyes,
we can recognize the experience of those early Christians
as they prayed together
and encountered the risen Christ in one another,
among family and friends,
and in strangers on the road.
Many of us have had experiences
of loved ones among us after they died,
experiences that we can’t explain
but that we understand as real and holy.
When we gather and read the scriptures and break the bread,
we experience ourselves as the body of Christ,
individually and collectively.
The abiding presence of the risen Christ
remains in each and every part of us
and in all of us together as God’s people.
Today we gather to remember.
We walk the way, confident that it’s the right path.
The kin-dom of God is at hand.
It’s a mystical experience,
with all the communion of saints here in this chapel with us—
those who have gone before,
those who are with us now,
and those who are yet to come.
We are all one in God and God in us.
Our brother Jesus has shown us the way,
and he is with us;
we are his body.
It’s a companionship of empowerment,
as Diarmuid O’Murchu calls it.
We are all one,
and we will always be part of the journey, on the Way,
one with the One God of All That Is.
So we remember.
We remember the named and nameless people
who have gone before us,
and the known friends and unknown strangers
who are with us around the globe today.
We ask their prayers, and we pray for them.
The book of Wisdom tells us
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God.”
They remain with us.
Our saints.
No one is rejected.
No one is lost.
We stand together in the kin-dom of God;
we are companions on the journey,
empowered and empowering one another,
on the Way.
We now pray especially for them, with them, and to them:

Litany of Our Saints

Jim Aust
Elizabeth Dwaihy-Barr
Lloyd & Martha Bardus
Cletus & Marie Bingle
Bill & Anne Bingle
Trudy Klear Bogue
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Lois & Jack Daly
Marshall Desmond
Marshall & Agnes Desmond
Megan Desmond
Bob Donnelly
Bill Eggleston
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Paul Ewing
Phil & Jane Flis
Kern Geoffrion
Ila Geoffrion
Baby Geoffrion
Susan Geoffrion
Mark Geoffrion
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Bill Gillespie
The Gillespie Family
Aunt Lottie Gillespie
Marie & Joe Grogan
Susan Grogan
Maureen Grogan
Deceased members of the Haverbusch Family
Sheila Heiman
All you holy men and women, pray for us!
Ken Holland
Ruth Houk
Jake Howell
Conrad & Sarah Hughes
Grace & Paul Joyce
Departed members of the Joyce and Glover Families
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Michelle Kelsey
Antoine Madden
John & Mary Mandula
Carole Mandula
Margaret McCarty
Ann McCrory
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Jack Mermer
Heidi Mermer
William & Saloma Molony
Patty Montegno
Colleene Riddle Palicki
Jay Peace
Susan Massari Prendergast
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Filomena & Felix Rosa
Dutch & Eleanor Stocklen and Members of the Extended Stocklen Family
Dorothy VanAsdale
Diana Wilburn
Maureen Williams
All you holy men and women, pray for us!


Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Womb of All Creation" Meditation on Divine Feminine by Jann Alderdge-Clanton

ARCWP Ordination of Deacons on Oct. 29th, 2014: Judith Bautista, Patty Zorn and Nelly S (catacomb not in photos)

ARCWP celebrated the ordination of 3 women deacons on Oct. 29th in Sarasota, Florida.
Judith Bautista, Patty Zorn, and Nelly S.

Olga Lucia, Bridget Mary and Judith Bautista

Maureen McGill, Janice, Dotty, Olga Patty, Bridget Mary, Judith and Janet

Janice, Maureen, Janet

Judtih, Janice

Left to right: Janice, Olga lucia, Bridget Mary, Judith, Janet and Sally

Patty and Judith

Janice and Maureen

Dotty and Sally

Janice, Olga, Bridget Mary, Judith, Janet, Sally

Olga and Dotty

Patty and Judith

Sally Brochu


Sonica Sanctus for Women and Liturgy Celebrating Creation in Abundance

Sonica Sanctus with Eve Ward de Roo:  Friday, Nov 14  1 - 3:30 PM  ($20 upon arrival)

Sonica Sanctus for Women is a sound healing circle of vibrational nurturing based on mindful listening, soulful sounding, ritual drumming, improvisational playing and musical journeying.  Evelyn Ward de Roo will engage us in sounding for personal well-being.
The Sonica process is fertile ground to explore, to get unstuck, or to simply be blessed. It offers a safe, sacred space for promoting sound mind and body, as well as for mediating community building and creative play. Come, enter sound and energy as a way to connect to your true feminine essence.
You will be invited into group humming/sounding/chanting. This helps us to get out of the ‘monkey mind’ and into the present embodied experience. Under Ev’s ‘artistic direction’ we will then create individual sound rituals, or ‘soundscapes’, for healing and blessing. Everyone participates on some level; striking a bell, playing a drum, shaking a shaker, humming, offering their energy. The instruments are easy to use, some rhythmic and some ambient. You do not need musical training in order to participate. 
Liturgy Celebrating Creation in Abundance with Michele Birch-Conery, Priest ARCWP and Barbara Billey, Deacon ARCWP: Friday, Nov 14  4-5:30 pm  (free will donation accepted)
In this season of harvest, creation is filled with extravagant abundance seen in blazing colors, in crisp air and rising winds, and in golden fields under clear, blue skies. We gather to celebrate our God's active presence in creation, to give thanks for the many gifts given to us, and to receive sustenance in being harvest for others.
You are welcome to attend one or both events.
1978 Katella Ave, Windsor, Ontario (street parking)
Register by email or by phone (519) 735-3943 before Nov 10th.
For information about Sonica Sanctus by Evelyn Ward de Roo see
Barbara J. Billey, M.Ed., M.A. (Counselling), D.Min. (in progress)
Canadian Certified Counsellor
Registered Canadian Art Therapist

(519) 735-3943

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reflection on Creation by Mary C. White ARCWP

Mary C. White
Reflection on Creation
In 1996, I submitted three short biographies to NASA for publication.  Gus Grissom, Ed White (no biological relationship to me), and Roger Chaffee died in a fire that had erupted during a routine test of the Apollo 1 space capsule on January 27, 1967.  I wrote their biographies to help NASA create an online memorial to honor these three courageous men on the 30th anniversary of their tragic deaths.  These biographies remain on NASA's website to this day, to remind future generations that humankind's ventures into space have been filled with both triumphs and tragedies. 

I am a writer, not a scientist.  Still, my work on these biographies triggered a keen interest in space travel, and a much deeper appreciation for our magnificent universe.  At NASA's invitation, I attended the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1999.  Eileen Collins, the first female space shuttle commander, was at the helm.  July 23, 1999 was a perfect night for the launch.  Talk about a light show!  NASA had put me in the VIP stands with Hillary Clinton and other dignitaries and celebrities, but I was not focused on those around me.  I could barely take my eyes off Columbia, which was standing only about one mile from us on the launch pad.  As the countdown began, the engines roared to life.  I could feel the intense vibrations as I stood watching a massive explosion erupt under this great beast.  The vibrations reached a peak, and suddenly, the shuttle majestically rose up amidst huge bursts of flames and massive clouds of white smoke. 

After seeing that amazing launch, I became more interested in NASA's work, in general.  I love seeing all of the photographs featured on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.  The photograph for October 1, 2014 showed a stunning image from the Hubble telescope of the Butterfly Nebula (  Every time I view one of these photographs, my jaw literally drops in awe over the sheer beauty of the universe that surrounds me.  Each photograph of a star cluster, nebula, star cloud, or supernova remnant fills me with an overwhelming sense of the Creator God, from whom I believe our universe first began. 

The book of Genesis shares its own version of creation.  The descriptions are similar to many creation stories from other civilizations of the same general time period.  Some modern individuals still cling to the literal translation of this story, insisting that God created the world in six days.  However, science simply does not support the literal translation of creation as described in the book of Genesis. 

I value science, and I also believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God.  So, how do I reconcile science with Scripture?  I focus on the general similarities between the two accounts, rather than on the specific differences between them. 

By focusing on the basic process of evolution described in Genesis, the writings reveal that the Biblical account actually shares amazing similarities with current scientific theory. 

If I break the Genesis story down to its most basic elements, it describes the creation of the universe as a process that unfolded in multiple stages.  It does not matter that Genesis describes the creation of the universe over six days, and that the Big Bang Theory uses a time frame of 13.7 billion years.  The fact is that both describe creation as evolving one step at a time.

Both accounts speak about impenetrable darkness at the beginning of the process.  Genesis talks about there being "darkness over the deep" (Genesis 1:2).  Scientist David Christian describes the period before the evolutionary process began as follows: "Imagine the darkest, emptiest thing you can, and cube it a gazillion times" (

Both accounts then describe the creation of light.  Because Genesis was focusing specifically on the six day period of creation, it talks about the creation of light in terms of day and night.  Still, the basic evolution in Genesis goes from sheer darkness to the introduction of light. 

Similarly, the second threshold of evolution as described by scientist David Christian is characterized by the creation of stars, which allowed our universe to evolve from a period of utter darkness to a period in which light emerged.
The ancient writers did not have the technology to help them understand the concept of an entire solar system.  However, they certainly recognized that the earth was separate from that which was above in the sky.  In fact, they described a vault, or solid dome, which separated the waters of the earth from the waters in the heavens.  This vault also contained lights that ruled both the day (the sun) and the night (the moon and stars).    
We have the benefit of scientific advances that have allowed us to peer deep into the universe to unlock many of its mysteries.  After the creation of stars (light), the next scientific threshold involved the explosion of these large stars, which led to the formation of all the elements in the periodic table.  Our solar system ultimately evolved from the combination of these elements, with various planets and moons coming into existence over time.  Our technology allows our understanding of our solar system to be much more detailed than what is described in Genesis. However, both accounts share the same basic concept: our earth is not the only end result from this amazing evolutionary process of creation.

The book of Genesis includes significant references to water.  "Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass" (Genesis: 1:9). Water plays a crucial role in the scientific theory of evolution, as well.  Science teaches us that, in order for life to evolve on earth, a perfect set of conditions had to be present, which David Christian refers to as "Goldilocks Conditions".  Three separate pieces of the puzzle had to be
​ ​
present at the exact same time in order for living organisms to evolve on earth.  First, a perfect amount of energy had to be produced; not too much, and not too little.  Second, there needed to be a diverse number of chemical elements present in the environment.  Finally, there needed to be a medium that allowed atoms to hitch up and create molecules.  Gases caused atoms to move far too quickly, preventing them from connecting up.  Solids trapped atoms, and did not allow them to move.  Only a liquid medium could allow atoms to move about freely at a reasonable speed and connect with one another.

Earth was the perfect distance from the various stars, which allowed a perfect degree of energy to exist.  Earth also contained a wide variety of elements.  Last, but certainly not least, the newly formed Earth had the perfect medium for generating more complex life: huge oceans of water, just like the "waters under heaven" described in Genesis 1:9.
According to Genesis, "God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures... and God blessed them saying, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas" (Genesis 1:20, 22). 

Scientific theory tells us that water allowed atoms to form molecules, which ultimately stabilized themselves in the form of DNA, which copied itself and spread throughout the oceans.  Different organisms were able to develop, because as the DNA double helix replicated itself, it experienced an "error" in approximately every billionth copy, causing the final result to be slightly different than those copies that preceded it.  As a result of this DNA replication, earth's vast oceans ultimately were filled with a wide variety of living organisms. 

Genesis also discussed the life that stemmed from the earth.  Plants came first, followed by the more complicated life forms, e.g. "cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds" (Genesis 1:24).
​ ​
Again, this progressive form of evolution mirrors the scientific explanation.  Life began as single-celled organisms which evolved into multi-celled organisms, such as fungi, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and ultimately, mammals.

At the end of the creation story, Genesis finally addresses the creation of human beings.  According to the Genesis account, God blessed humans, and instructed them to "be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth..." (Genesis 1:28). 

Science shows the exact same thing.  Our distant ancestors started out in Africa, but ultimately migrated to practically every nook and cranny of this vast earth.  We also went from a simple hunter-gatherer lifestyle to farming, which allowed human populations to survive and multiply at a much greater rate than ever before. 

Genesis made it clear that all of God's creations were good, but the writer wanted to specifically clarify that humans were different from all other creations because both male and female were "created... in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). 
But, exactly what does Genesis mean when it talks about being made in the image of God?  The Hebrew and Christian traditions often have portrayed God as a male.  Paintings, carvings, and words often reference God as a male.  However, Genesis insists that both male and female were made in the divine image.  So, what is it that truly separates us from the rest of creation?  What is it that makes humans created in the image of God?

Science supports our uniqueness. Scientist David Christian considers the appearance of humans some 200,000 years ago to be yet another major threshold in the evolution of the universe.  The main difference that separated humans from all other life forms was language.  Many species of life have the ability to communicate.  However, as Christian states, "what makes humans different is human language.  We are blessed with a language, a system of communication, so powerful and so precise that we can share what we learned with such precision that it can accumulate in the collective memory.  And, that means it can outlast the individuals who learned that information, and it can accumulate from generation to generation.  And that's why, as a species, we're so creative, and so powerful, and that's why we have a history (

We know that virtually everything on our planet leaves its own unique carbon footprint, simply by having existed.  However, humans do more than simply leave a carbon footprint.  Humans have the ability to think and reflect.  We also have the ability to speak about those thoughts and reflections through human language.  Basically, we have the ability to communicate in such a way as to create lasting representations of our thoughts, reflections, and experiences.  As David Christian states, "We seem to be the only species in four billion years to have this gift... It's what makes us different". 
Science shows that human language is what distinguishes us from all other creations.  We think.  We reflect.  We speak.  We create.  How is it that we were virtually the only species in four billion years to develop the gift of human speech?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the book of Genesis.
Genesis consistently portrays God as speaking prior to each creation being made.  God does not simply make the various parts of the universe.  The ancient author indicates numerous times that God speaks, and creation results from God's spoken words.  "God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).  "God said, 'Let there be a vault"... and so it was" (Genesis 1:6).  "God said  'Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.'  And so it was" (Genesis 1:9).  "God said, 'Let the earth produce vegetation'...

And so it was" (Genesis 1:11).  "God said, 'Let there be lights in the vault of heaven... to shine on the earth.'  And so it was (Genesis 1:14).  "God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures'... And so it was (Genesis 1:20).  "God said, 'Let the earth produce every kind of living creature'... And so it was" (Genesis 1:24).  Finally, Genesis describes how "God said, 'Let us make humans in our own image'... and God created humans in the image of God... male and female God created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).

Genesis described God as speaking.  Scientist David Christian insists that human language is what makes us different.  So, perhaps we are made in the image of God because God can communicate... and we are the only species in four billion years capable of doing the same.
If I had to use speech to describe God in only one word, I would use the word love.  1 John:4:8 uses the same language: "God is love."
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If I had to use speech to describe how God created the universe, I would say that 13.7 billion years ago, God reflected upon God as Love.  God's intense reflection upon God as Love was communicated through the monumental event that triggered the creation of the entire universe, the event we now refer to as the Big Bang. 

If I had to use speech to describe why humans are different from all other creations, I would say that approximately 200,000 years ago, God reflected upon God as Love once again.  This time, God's intense reflection upon God as Love was communicated in the form of male and female humans.  These humans were different from all other creations, because they alone had been infused with an essence that would allow them to develop the ability to think and reflect, speak about themselves and their own experiences, and create lasting representations of those thoughts and experiences. 
David Christian states that 200,000 years after humans came into existence, "... we seem to form a single global brain of almost seven billion individuals, and that brain is learning at warp speed."

I believe that the creative spark that began some 13.7 billion years ago continues to unfold.  I also believe that for the past 200,000 years, humans have played a significant role in that evolutionary process.  As I referenced in my first paragraph, we have used our human language... our collective memory... to go so far as to even break free of the boundaries of our own planet, and adapt to life in outer space.

The possibilities related to being created in the image of God are virtually endless. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

CHURCH SYNOD RECAP: MICROMANAGING THE MORALS OF OTHERS by Mary Hunt/Great article by a top Catholic Feminist-Enjoy, the humor, click on link

..."The voting men were ostensibly horrified by the notion that same-sex couples might have any redeeming features, or that there might be “charity in its caring…” rather than “weakening of its faith…” (par. 46 of the early draft) if divorced and remarried people receive communion. Dear God, what crumbs they quibble over and fall on their croziers to defend. Have they missed the fact that the worldwide pedophilia crimes and cover-up on their watch have left them without a fig leaf of credibility? No wonder no one looks to them to be helpful about the moral issues at stake in Ebola, terrorism, or environmental threats.
What about the much-vaunted changes in tone? Changes in tone are no substitute for changes in substance. It is as if instead of saying, “Go to hell,” one were to say “Have a lovely, safe trip to your eternal damnation.” This time around, contraception and abortion did not even get a kind word. Tone deaf to women’s lives is how I read the document.
Still, the report of the doomed upbeat first draft gave millions of people a glimpse of what it might be like, what could be, and just how important it would be if the Catholic institution came kicking and screaming into the 21st century..."
(hit link to read whole article!)