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Archive for July, 2008

Question about a tragedy faced by a chaplain friend

Posted by tawodi on July 25, 2008

A short while ago I answered a question posed by a chaplain friend of mine. A man in his comunity had killed his family and himself and this friend had to assist police fire ambulance personell and the families involved. This was part of my answer to him.


What do we tell people when some thing horrible happens and what Gods role is, in allowing evil to exist?



As clergy we have a responsibility to teach the flock, we are, after all, supposed to be shepherds.

Whirledpeas is right when she says the “Sky Daddy” approach is wrong. But it makes a certain amount of sense when we consider that we constantly tell people that God has a plan, God knows all, God is in the details. Well in many ways He is, but those self same details are the ones, we as a species, are given responsibility for!!

The three Abrahamic faiths are instructed to raise their children responsibly. Do we?? Watch television tonight and answer the question then.
Listen to the heavy metal, with all of it’s symbols of death and, answer the question.
Listen to hip hop with all the Ho’s and beatches and the gangbangers and look at the kids with their pants at half mast, “jailin'” that’s what that is called, you know, when they take your belt and shoe laces away from you in the slammer so you don’t snuff yourself, after being arrested……yeah, that’s the signifigance of the pants at half mast. I see this garbage, here in the preppy capitol of the world, on the high school kids and it’s just soooo cool!! NOT!!! I could go on and on, but what is the point, as soon as this gets read there will be those who call me an idiot for interpreting it this way.

Do you, any of you, out there, have any idea how many families I have consoled after their kids have been killed in cars?? Or overdosed on, of all things, horse tranquillizers!! How many after their kids have been arrested for assault, or even murder?? How many after they have been hospitalised for the same reasons?? Or, to accompany a set of parents on the way to the morgue to view remains of their kid, or worse, kids plural.

GEE T!! Where are you going with all this, that is not what we asked!!

Oh…..isn’t it??

Well, lets see, you want to do what ever you please and when there is a consequence, then “Sky Daddy’s supposed to save your sorry butt…..I don’t think so. Read the book, if you don’t listen, you pay the piper, it’s just that nasty, but just that simple.

And then we come to the part where the good people have something terrible happen to them, and every one turns and says….SEE T you’re wrong!! Good people suffer too and it’s not supposed to be that way!!! Once again, read the book where does it say that???

We are told time, after time, that the slings and arrows of this world will befall even the righteous, but that we will be seen through it, we will be given the strength and grace to weather the storm and indeed we are, when we trust in the Lord. Does it still hurt?? You’d better believe it does, we are after all human too, but grace goes a long way to carrying us through. Fellowship of our congregations is also a powerfull tool, family and all of the support networks that exist in a church and nurturing family setting, carry us as well.

Use these things, they are real and, they work!!

I won’t cover prayer here but it IS effective when you know how to use it, see “crippled prayer” in the different thinking thread.

One other thing that is a creeping horror to be avoided.

When children are exposed to tragedy, they are very often told something incredibly stupid, like God needed another star in His sky, or was lonely in heaven and needed your dad. Well!!! Why didn’t he turn on a light and leave my daddy alone!!! Why did He kill my dad if He was lonely!!! He could have visited!!!

Do you see the damage done by these platitudes?? Always tell a child the truth….what is the truth??? People die, sometimes for no good reason and we have to continue on, with the support of God, our friends, family and others, to get through it, to the other side. We WILL be healthy again, but for now, and for some time, it will hurt and then, we will start to feel better, a little at a time. And, I will hold you and you can hold me, ’cause I hurt too.

I know as a Pastor, there have been too many times to count, where I said nothing, as there was nothing to say, and just reached out and held someone for awhile and have been told many, many times that, that was what they needed, not empty words, that at the time, they couldn’t believe anyway.
Now the answer IS in there, but you will have to dig for it. It’s not too deep, it is in the many things I have described and still comes down to the simplicity of being human and the overwhelming complexity of …….being human.

No one man has all the answers, we, even clergy, just sometimes must muddle through, but these are the things I have learned.

C.J.’s response;

Yep, thanks Bruce. If I would not have seen some frustration in your post I would worry about you brother! You speak from conviction and experience. Innocent death always hurts and scars. Sometimes it makes me so angry I have to walk away before speaking and allow myself time to calm down. How can we blame GOD for something man does while removed from Him? The opportunity of “Free Will” is a wonderful thing as well as a horrible thing. I’ve found the best words to say in this situation are nothing. Being there, standing by ones side, simple touch holds more sincerity than speech. Unless you have actually experienced what a person is experiencing you can’t understand, but you can be there for them.

How can GOD let this happen? Because he promised. He promised Free Will.

Immediately after some one asked C.J. what he meant, What follows is my response.

What C.J. means is this, the gift of free will comes with a price,

Simply put, it is a non interference agreement with God. He will not interfere with free will, no matter how bad the decision making process involved in our actions.

When we are rolling along and everything is just peachy keen, we don’t ask for Him to do so do we? Now we might have a beautiful family, a nice little business, a lovely home, some money in the bank………..and a mistress on the side. Suddenly the wife finds out about our pecadillo and sues for divorce….the little business is no longer sufficient to meet the costs, the nice home is going to be taken from us, the kids go to the wife and we fall down on our knees and scream no! no, this is too much, it isn’t fair, what I did does not deserve this, you don’t have the right to take all this from me!!!

Oh really?? You lied for God knows how long to your wife, family and, who knows who else, about your entire existence and now when your actions have a price, you scream for God to relieve you of the burdon of your lies…..nope, not gonna happen………BUT< if you beg forgiveness and make all the restitution in your power to make, rededicate your self to the truth you abandoned, beseach your wife to forgive and to accept you back into the fold of your family, that YOU have thrown away, it just may happen.
OR it may not. She may not allow that pain and risk to re-enter her, or the childrens lives again and, you will have to learn to live with the new reality YOU created.

And now, we come to the crux of it, your new reality DOES include the forgiveness of God, go and sin no more, re-create your life in truth, and new beginnings, and live it out in that truth with a new wife and new kids and all the fulfillment that a forgiven person may expect.

Yes there was a price, and yes it was terrible to behold, and endure, but it was paid and forgiven. You go anew, you got another chance, don’t blow it!!! Too many don’t get that chance, they die in their transgressions, or because of them, and those are the ones that C.J. means when he mentions anger. Yes I get angry when reading of a foolish act, that has taken lifes blessing, the chance for renewal in Christ away from the innocent and, cursed them with an early death by some beknighted fool and now we are left to explain. And, there is no real explanation possible. So we fumble in our anger and helplessness, like any other human being pick up the remaining pieces of the survivors lives and desparately hope, to help them survive all this, heal, and live again.

You are a brother, you have felt all of these things, maybe you have not been able to articulate them, but you have felt and dealt with all of these things and I have blessed your courage and the loving support you have given your family all through it, as a man of God with great inner strength, which is so obvious, to those of us who choose to see it in you my friend. THIS is the difference that you show the world and not the cowardice of the one who destroyed himself and his family for whatever reason he had. Your brother in Christ……..Bruce

It must be stated that there were about ten others who prayed with and for all concerned that day and C.J. closed with this brief note to all of us.

Well it certainly has been a day…

Thank you. All have helped.

All Ministry comes with problems. Today it brought the reality of the human condition to this town. It bears witness to the responsibility we have with “Free Will”. As we deal with the aftermath; the hurt, the pain, for some the shame. We say our prayers, we tell our parents, our children, our husbands and wives how much we love them. We try to rest and get ready for tomorrows challenges. Myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted from the day. I will quietly shed my tears of frustration in the arms of the one who understands me so well as I pray for them, for all of us. I thank Him for allowing me to be strength for others, and for her, and her strength for me. Through Him, we are a strong team. God Bless you all…

Kerr ESD

I thought a long time about these exchanges and finally decided to post them here as there are some profound considerations for adults as well as children to consider and learn from the things said.





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The Tree of The Mustard Seed

Posted by tawodi on July 17, 2008

   I was checking my blog stats today and somebody clicked in looking for a picture of the tree of the mustard seed. SO, being for once in a good mood, with my daughter in law entering labor this afternoon with what portends to be the birth of my fifth grand child, ( praise God!!)  I figured what the hay!!!  Have a little fun for once preacher!!!!   So, here for who ever it was, is the tree which grew from just a smidgen of faith, to be a tree with branches that will support song birds with out number, to bring the beautiful music of God’s creation to us for generations.

Be well all….Rev..Bruce………………………………………..Tawodi

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Operational Notice!!!!

Posted by tawodi on July 16, 2008

Posted at The People of Abraham  tuesday  July 15 2008
Today I announced, on Tawodi’s Hawks Nest, that today, the Board of Advisers is open for questions. We have the great honor and good fortune to have as volunteers, Nine people very knowledgable in their religions. Some have Masters and upward degrees in their disciplines and worship practices. Welcome to all of them!!
To take advantage of this service, you can contact them at the following E Mail address…. Pose your question in a proper form, your email address WILL NOT be given for any reason to anyone after your question is answered it will be discarded. We will keep the questiion and assign it a file number but your name and any information, will be deleted. SO! don’t get angry with us if we don’t remember you!! On your answer you will recieve this file number, keep it! Use it to refer to the first question if you want to correlate them for some reason, to us.
The second way to pose a question is to use the comment section on this blog. Yep, that’s right, you can do it right here. We have expanded the comment section to full page size!! This is to give you plenty of room to pose multiple questions and even submit an article!! That’s right, you can post here!! It will be moderated, (for obvious reasons) and then, posted if you wish. Or we will simply answer your multiple questions.
You need not be a member of The People of Abraham to use this service, we’d like it if you were, but it is not necessary. This service is open to all. And, more importantly free!! We are all volunteers, everything here is FREE, there is no charge to join, no charge to use the services, no charge for anything you copy and use elsewhere. This is our Calling, take advantage of it!!
The most important thing to remember is this, we will allow NO cross religion debate, NONE!! It is devisive and sometimes destructive and will not be tolerated. If you want to fight, go somewhere else!!
The form to pose a question, is as just that, a question.
Items that are submitted such as “Did you know that such and such religion does/believes thus and such.” Any question posed this way will be considered a “challenge question” and will be given a file number and discarded. The second submission of this nature, after the first one has been flagged, will result in your being banned from ALL of our sites, NO EXCEPTIONS!!
This group is kind of unique in one way. Most are for people who are professionals in their faith structure. We are for ANYBODY, blue collar, white collar, any religion, anywhere in the world.
Welcome to all,   Be well friends………..Rev. Bruce…………….Tawodi

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From The Pastor’s Page, Tree of The Mustard Seed Ministries

Posted by tawodi on July 10, 2008


Today, after listening to the archived version of my show, a very important thing occurred to me. Prayer, yes I know it is second nature to me,  but is it to you?
While I was listening, I decided to create a segment for the show and flashed on this new site and thought, WOW  what a way to introduce the page, and people, to just what it is we do here at The Tree of The Mustard Seed! After all, we don’t sell anything, why are we here!! We are here to bring to people a little something they don’t get anywhere else. Themselves and their relation to God, most that we serve can not go to church, for health reasons, or debility due to age. One of the nursing homes I serve, down loads my show and plays it on M.P.3. players for their residents and  it is enjoyed by them. It is free this way and they can make as many copies as they want by loading it into their computer and downloading to all their M.P.3’s!!
                     So,  here is the first installment of The Pastors Page
Have you ever heard of active listening? In relation to prayer? What it entails is learning to find that still small voice you may have heard so much about, but don’t know how to hear. Remember God speaks to us in the stillness, or the quiet places. His voice is often lost among the hurly burly sounds of life as we struggle through our daily existence, you are not alone in this maelstrom of noise and confusion. Even the people who are homebound, feel the pressures of life, just in a different way.
   I myself, must actively create a quiet time for prayer, usually in the early morning when my wife and daughter are still asleep. First you must compose yourself as best you are able, it will take some time to learn to do this. Then you simply pray as you normally do. The difference comes now, still yourself, listen.Allow at least fifteen minutes to do this.  People usually ask at this point, “what am I listening for! This is the question! What you are literally trying to hear is, God!  Will you?  Eventually yes. How?  By feeling mostly, it is a hard thing to accept that God would talk to you isn’t it?  But ask yourself, why wouldn’t He? After all,  your Bible, your preachers and pastors,  have been telling you all of your life, you are a child of God haven’t they? Well, then why wouldn’t He talk to you!!
   Maybe this is the problem,you don’t really, deep down, believe that do you? Your not worth talking to, at least by God are you?  WRONG!!!
You certainly are worth it!!  How do you know this Rev. Bruce? ? How…’s simple…..Jesus gave up his life for you didn’t He!  Why.  WHY,  Would He do that,  if you weren’t worth it!!!  By your lack of faith in your own worth, you have been crippled in your prayer, probably all of your life! If your prayers are crippled by this lack of faith in you. How can your faith in anything He told you be believed? This is really terrible to think about isn’t it? Well don’t give up, faith takes time, time well spent in listening. You WILL hear that still small voice. When?  When you are ready, it can not be forced,  it can not be willed,  it can not be wished into existence,  it simply must be accepted. That is terribly difficult to believe I know, but if you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed you will be rewarded! It is written! And, it is true. I have seen so many times, when people are ready to give up,  when their hearts are broken when they think not even God can love them He shows them that He does indeed love them. You see God didn’t go away….You did! Come back to His unlimited love, it is waiting for you still, in the silence of compassion and love that God is, in the stillness, that He will share with you, God is still there, always was, always will be.
   May his blessings sustain you,  may His peace fill you,  may this coming week be full of God’s enveloping grace, Selah,  AMEN.

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Posted by tawodi on July 5, 2008

Today is the fifth of July, there have been a few changes and additions, for this blog site and, other places on the net, concerning The People of Abraham.

The first order of business is the inclusion of this site in The Tree of The Mustard Seed Ministries, web site index of links and organizations. Look on the right, you will see a widget that contains the link to get there it is a short web page with full support used to promote various aspects of our, and others, work in interfaith efforts. It is run and maintained by me and others, of these ministries. A short word is in order here as another change is going to take place. It is important to not give the impression of the new Ministries link being a “doorway” to the People of Abraham or any other site. The Tree of The Mustard Seed Ministries is a local church,  visitation  and Bible study conducted by me and other people whose calling is to homebound people and those in nursing homes and Hospice care. Since I am one of the founders I don’t mind, but encourage to some degree, the group. T.P.O.A. but, the work I do locally for it, is recruitment and organizational in nature. There are people who do participate in one place only. They have their own churches, or places of worship, but help in our efforts toward peace. The other thing to realize is that neither I, nor anyone else in this ministry, takes one red cent for anything we do…ever.  Donations, sometimes offered, are referred to  nursing home, resident moral funds, or gifts to Ronald McDonald House, or other charities in the name of the person donating it,  or they may do so in our name. We accept no fees whatsoever,  and never will. The same can be said for membership in,  or affiliation to,  The People of Abraham. I felt it important at this time to clear the air on that issue, thank you for your forbearance. It is also for what ever search engines are looking at us!!!  They don’t like “doorways” !!  And now, back to the point!

We are just about ready to field our Board of Advisors. These are people who possess degrees in various fields of religious study, some Masters degrees, others baccalaureates, two with DR. after their name. The purpose of these people is to answer questions from members and non members alike. Too much dissention occurs between people of different faith systems of belief, especially when a person makes a statement about someone’s faith and they don’t even have a firm grasp of their own!!

How anyone can tell me what I believe, when they do not worship in my faith, is a mystery to me, as it is to almost everybody else! Cross religion debate, is not allowed on any of The People of Abraham sites. It too rapidly becomes contentious and destructive and our purpose is to bring people together. Not foster dissention and enmity!!

So, the existence of a board of advisors. If you are engaged in discussion on another site and someone raises a question you would like the REAL answer to, from a scholar trained in that discipline, well, come to one of our sites, pose your question and it will be forwarded to the appropriate person and you will recieve your answer via e mail, ( you must leave an address) If perchance, you do not mind an open posting on this forum here, we will answer it openly, but will not use your name and no information about you will be divulged.

The open posting of questions can take place in the comment section, available after any post. These have been expanded in size, so that an entire page is available to insure you have room to be as thorough as possible, or may have more than one question.

Also if you would like to post an article you have written or present material from you or somewhere else you can use this feature as there is a whole page available, and if you need it, you can simply fill a page, stop, file it by clicking send or submit, and then logging back in and finishing what you are writing and completing your submission. PLEASE! Be aware of copywrite laws and credit material from other sources, as we cannot control access and /or dissemination of material once you post it, we do not want to face copywrite infringment lawsuits!!( niether do YOU!!!)

How do I become a member of The People of Abraham?? EASY, go to the face book site via hyper link, and sign up!! OR do so right here, click on “the google help group site for us, and sign in there, it is more secure as we control access, your information will not be shared. We make no money from these efforts, so there is no reason, at all, for us to give your info to anyone!! We are setting up a directory of benifits and/or activities. You will be asked for opinions, on chat sessions, or maybe even occasional guest appearances on talk shows, if you want to address certain aspects of faith or the group’s outside activities for gatherings and rallies, that sort of thing, to increase the group’s size and scope that you may participate in, or even organise yourself!

Printed materials, to bring to your Church, Synagogue, or Mosque, to share with your congregations to invite people to join us in this effort. We will be making downloadable forms you can download your self and disseminate that way, there is no cost except for the paper, no postage, no printing, etc. etc. This way we can operate with no dues, no membership fees, and each in his, or her own way, can participate for pennies and we can reach so many more people this way.

Print this page if you wish, it is a blue print for all the things that are taking place, or are on the horizon for The People of Abraham. We need you!! Please join in this important work toward peace. So many say they want it, but so few are willing to do anything for it. We are setting this up so most can be of vast benefit to the work right from their office or living room, it doesn’t get easier, or cheaper, than that!!!

Be well all, Rev. Bruce………………………………..Tawodi

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