Response #36 Dust Bunnies

Mysterious Theologian: Chase
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Dusty God, you tangle yourself up with us. You twist yourself between our skin cells and strands of hair. We have vacuumed you up and packed you tightly away in the Bible, but you are persistent and every baby born is a child of yours shedding stories of you with them. Help us to look closely at each other and ourselves without cleaning up so much. And when we look that closely reveal yourself there between the hairs and skin. Help us gather around the Bible, burst its tightly packed pages open on the floor. Let its holy stories mix and mingle with our own so that we may see you more fully in our dustiness and not just flail around in the refuse of our own frail and crumbling bodies of sin.

Amen.

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Response #34 Grease

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Mysterious Theologian: Chase

Greasy God, you stain my fingers when I’m working hard… whether I am sealing toilets, repairing bikes, or lubricating skid steers and backhoes. You got your hands dirty when you created me. You got your hands dirty when you saved me. You get your hands dirty when you love me. I give thanks for you, Greasy God, and ask that you stick with me and stain me. I ask that you continue to form me and shape me and as often as is necessary stain my fingers and remind me that though these may be my hand they were meant to do God’s greasy, grimy, good work.

Amen.

Response #24 Vomit, Morning, Post Patty’s Day

Mysterious Theologian: Rev. Eric Hoffer
Let us pray. Gracious God, when we encounter the spoils of a whole city’s night of debauchery, do not let us dash our foot against the vomit. Do not let our furry companion have a breakfast of barf. Do not let us stumble on the slip and slide of sick. Instead, when we gaze upon the pukey mess, we are reminded of your abundance. Just like a party-goer drunk on green beer, you fill us with grace, forgiveness, and love until we can no longer contain it. Your abundance of goodness and mercy overflow out of us like a slurry of Guinness and colcannon. Unlike the vomit of last night, let your abundance, Lord, bless the sidewalks, our communities, and our world. And so, we give thanks for St. Patrick, in whom we imbue beloved folklore, compelling myth, and an excuse to binge drink, for faithfully proclaiming to us the fullness of your love for us and for the world—it can never be contained—even when it gets messy sometimes. AMEN.
 
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My challenge to Evan: After a long, hard day at work, my cat is always there to welcome me home with a cuddly face…and a box full of poop. The litter box is a curious thing–we literally keep a container of feces in our home, and then we squat over it, our faces dangerously close to, well, everything, and clean it. Only to do it all over again soon. Ugh.

Response #23 Celebrity Reality Shows

Mysterious Theologian: Chase!

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

God you put the weakness and innocence of cute little puppies in my arms and in so doing reveal your caring and compassionate nature that lives in me. Thank you for revealing your spirit in me. But when I look at the celebrities on the TV on my wall with their “reality” shows I see their brokenness and ridiculous peccadilloes and I don’t feel the same way. These people reveal the tyrant in me, the pharisee who prays out loud thanking you for not making me like them. They reveal the weakness of King David in me, looking down on Uriah’s wife and seeing with the impervious eyes of imperial privilege that see no one but themselves with empathy. Compassionate God fill me with your image and your spirit so that there is no space left over for the tyrant inside. Let me look with compassion on all my brothers and sisters.

Amen 

Challenge #24 comes from Stephanie Bliese, independent grimy theologian. She challenges Rev. Eric Hoffer with this grimy and oddly religious image.

Consider Eric, finding God in the vomit you find right in the middle of the sidewalk the morning after St. Patty’s day. There is nothing more disgusting than taking your dog out first thing in the morning, to then discover a minefield in the front of your building. Have fun!

Challenge #16 Pink Eye

Ben, things have changed since the beginning of Lent. Don’t you feel like a whole different person? I bet you don’t even remember how into the Olympics you were. You probably don’t remember checking Twitter every 7 minutes to find pictures of toilets and curtains and glasses of weird water. But I bet you remember this…!

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Ahhh! Dreaded pink eye. It makes em blood shot, seals em shut, and might even get you kicked off the TV for scaring children and/or winking “too harshly” in general… allegedly.

Response #15 Used Gum

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God be in my heart and in my hands and in my mouth. Freshen my breath with the words that embody your will, your way, and your hope. Let me speak communion and reconciliation to my brothers and sisters. Do not let me drown you out, but speak through my breath and spit and lips. And when I go to share you with others send your spirit to remind me to give them their own stick of you to chew on, not mine. So that they may come to know you not through my breath and spit and lips, but through their own.

Amen.

Hey people, Chase here, used gum seemed like a really rich and disgusting image to me. If you are inspired by some aspect of it and want to create and share a prayer go ahead! Post it in the comments!

Challenge #14 Allergies

There are many types of allergies, but let’s focus on hay fever. I am afflicted with this sensitivity and I can therefore confirm that it is disgusting, embarrassing, and one might even say grimy. Look Ben, you know the deal it’s sneezing, it’s coughing, it’s mucus in the throat that causes people to clear their throats constantly, it’s itchy red eyes, it’s swollen parts of the face, it’s… gross. And to think, it’s our reaction to things like flowers. We are told to consider the lily of the valley… “Ok, but only from a distance.” Sniffles, sneezes, and snores result from allergies, but will a prayer also result from them? You tell me.

Challenge #10 Acne

Ben, that last one really hit home. This one does too, I’m just glad I don’t have to write a prayer about… acne! You know the stuff don’t you? Or, were you born with that 5 o’clock shadow of yours? Acne is a plaguing and embarrassing thing. Medications can cause it, stress can cause it, being a teenager can cause it, anything and/or nothing can cause it… but it seems like we humans, old and young, are stuck with it. So, God must be in it somewhere… right?

Response #9 Dandruff

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A Three in One Prayer

Giving God, bless us with the courage to wear love and compassion on our sleeves like snot we’ve wiped from a child’s nose. And the courage to wear hope on our faces like chronic acne. And the courage to wear faith and trust on our shoulders like dandruff. And let that faith, hope, and love be your faith, hope, and love. It will be disgusting and unbelievable to some but to others, your children, it will be a beautiful and broken sign that points to the wholeness there is in you.

Amen

Challenge #8 Stuffed Animals

Yeah Ben, that’s right, stuffed animals. Obviously not any old stuffed animals. Stuffed animals in store windows and other glass cages are fine. What I’m talking about are kids’ favorite stuffed animals. The one they drag through preschool with them, sliding it along the table during snack time, laying on it like a pillow on the floor during nap time, and sucking on it all the time! I’m talking about the stuffed animals who announce kids’ entrance. “Oh, stop s-w-e-a-r-i-n-g hunny, I can smell Timmy coming.” Those are the stuffed animals I’m talking about, the ragged, beaten, broken, and rank stuffed animals that even parents who sleep with their living-breathing animals won’t allow into their beds.