Dress Up Day
Photos of Dress Up Day at The Preschool are now online.
Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.
If you've never had human flesh before, think of the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture. Contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken.Dartmouth Review denounced the product citing it as a particular example of
today's culture of multiculturalism and moral relativism, [where] we are increasingly reluctant to make judgments about ideas, practices, or pieces of art. Sure, they say, cannibalism might seem wrong to your hetero-normative, Judeo-Christian culture, but who are we to judge the Aztecs or the indigenous cultures of Papua New Guinea?The Review is right, we can't get around our cultural bias on this one and don't need to do so. If the idea of eating human-flesh-like food bothers you, good. We humans were wired to be repulsed by the idea.
without knowing our own wretchedness
makes for pride.
Knowing our own wretchedness
without knowing God
makes for despair.
Knowing Jesus Christ
strikes the balance
because he shows us
and our own wretchedness.
However, if we wear a cross we should not expect people to be nice to us because they recognize us as Christians. Instead, we should care for them and serve them. We should not overburden one another, or anyone else, in the name of God. Because there is church maintenance to be done does not give us the right to say that there are "Marys" and there are "Marthas" and I will only be one of them. We are called to be both of them.Serving God is its own reward and we are not to try to coaxe others into being impressed with a holier than thou attitude (besides, they would never buy it).
When we attend meetings we are not more special or know more about God than the one who did not attend. And, when we are in mission, truly in mission, we are not any holier than the one who is at a different point in their journey. We are simply obedient. And loved in a particular way—the way all God's children are loved. And when we are doing the work of God we are growing into our triune God. And, that is somehow miraculously and transformationally part of the reward.
Jesus meets Thomas in his doubts, just as he met Mary in her grief, and just as he met Peter in his guilt. Go ahead; touch me, says Jesus. In your blind doubt read the Braille of my wounds.Jesus can take you where you are, and give you the sign you need to answer your present doubts before moving you to the place where believing is seeing. Do you have reasons you can't trust in God's presence? Give the doubts to God and ask for God to give you some sign. It probably won't be a mountain appearing over Saint Marys. Often it is something small to others, but that shows you within yourself the reality of God's presence in your life. Give it a try. As the Psalmist says, "Taste and see that God is good."
Faith is the evidence of things hoped for;
the conviction of things unseen.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
—II Corinthians 5:7
Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity, you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke, or St. Paul, or St. Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas...But I would advise him to read the old....I don't know that I follow C.S. Lewis' advice to the letter, but I do know that the passage above has been helpful in redirecting me back into the deep traditions of Christianity to read spiritual classics, which have earned their place by speaking to generations of readers. Books such as the slim little Practicing the Presence of God of Brother Lawrence, or the anonymous Russian work The Way of a Pilgrim leap to mind. But there are other spiritual classics such as St. Augustine's Confessions and the anonymous The Cloud of Unknowing and many others. Additionally, there are more recent works that can said to have already have stood the test of time including the writings of Thomas Merton as well as those of C.S. Lewis himself.
The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity ("mere Christianity" as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be aquired only from old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
Note: The artwork accompanying this entry is the work of Hyatt Moore, who painted The Last Supper with Twelve Tribes, a 10-foot wide canvas giclee print of which graces the entry hall at King of Peace. His work exemplifies Kierkegaard's artist who finds beauty in all people.
Suppose there were two artists, and one said, "I have travelled much and seen much in the world, but I have sought in vain to find a man worth painting. I have found no face with such perfection of beauty that I could make up my mind to paint it. In every face I have seen one or another little fault. Therefore I seek in vain." Would this indicate the artist was a great artist?
On the other hand, the second one said, "Well, I do not pretend to be a real artist; neither have I travelled foreign lands. But remaining in the little circle of men who are closest to me, I have not found a face so insignificant or so full of faults that I still could not discern a more beautiful side and discover something glorious. Therefore I am happy in the art I practice. It satisfies me without my making any claim to being an artist." Would not this indicate that precisely this one was the artist, who by bringing a certain something with him found then and there what the much-travelled artist did not find anywhere in the world, perhaps because he did not bring a certain something with him! Consequently the second of the two was the artist.
Would it not be sad, too, if what is intended to beautify life could only be a curse upon it, so that art, instead of making life beautiful for us, only fastidiously discovers that not one of us is beautiful. Would it not be sadder still, and still more confusing, if love also should be only a curse because its demand could only make it evident that none of us is worth loving, instead of love's being recognized precisely by its loving enough to be able to find some lovableness in all of us, consequently loving enough to be able to love us all.
A young man I know was stunned when he went to Thailand and tried to join a Buddhist monastery. Go back home and become a Christian monk first, they told him, learn your own tradition.
At an interreligious conference of Buddhists and Christians monastics held not long ago in a Trappist monastery, a reporter asked the Dalai Lama what he would say to Americans who want to become Buddhists. "Don't bother," he said. "Learn from Buddhism, if that is good for you. But do it as a Christian, a Jew, or whatever you are. And be a good friend to us."
Sit with this a while. What in his comment outrages or repels you? What attracts you? Where do you find yourself resisting what he says? Where do you find yourself assenting? And where does it lead? The Dalai Lama is not Miss America, and does not say what we want to hear. His remarks go to the painful paradox at the heart of religious inheritance: "whatever you are" is what you are born to and raised in. What matters is transformation, the life you make of it. And that is up to you.
the thrust of this passage for me comes in the closing words, “Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’” This statement is, for me, both immanently practical and clearly metaphorical.
First, the practical. Lazarus was prepared for burial. His ankles would have been tied together and his wrist bound in front of him. He would have also had a strap around his chin. Then rather than being wrapped mummy-style, there would have been a large burial sheet under the length of his body that in once piece went up his back over his head and down the front. This shroud would have been further strapped around in place with wrappings. Lazarus was quite literally bound up in his burial clothes.
Beyond the practical, Lazarus was bound to death. Lazarus needed to get separated from the power of death. Yes, he would die again one day, but Lazarus did not have to live under the bondage of death. For each of us without Jesus is bound to death and we need Jesus to unbind us from the power of sin and death....
Jesus is still declaring that death is not the ultimate answer and the grave is not stronger power than the love of God. Jesus calls to you to come out of the grave. Grab hold of the certainty of eternal life. It’s not some distant prospect. You can be unbound right now.
When you rise in the morning,—from Celtic Praise, edited by Robert van de Weyer
what fills your head?
Are you thinking of
food and drink,
the pleasures ahead?
Are you planning
the work you must do,
the labor ahead?
Are you fearful of
snares and dangers,
the evils ahead?
Are you hopeful of
all you'll achieve,
the successes ahead?
Let all those worldly thoughts
swirl in your mind;
Then let them flush away,
like dirt in a river.
Empty your head;
Let your brain be at peace.
Quietly, calmly, serenely
Offer the day to God.
"`You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."Writing about this passage in Christian Century Martha Greene wrote,
Jewish scholars had surveyed the Torah, counted carefully and discovered 613 commandments. Applying all 613 at once was virtually impossible, even if they could be remembered. If one were to hang all of these laws on one nail, what nail would it be? Jesus uses two nails: love of God and love of neighbor. The formula is memorable and its simplicity appealing. It could almost be a motto on the company stationery. Yet I wonder if the result for those repeatedly exposed to these basic tenets of Christianity has been not simplicity, but dilution, or even a "dumbing down"...
We know that loving God is not the same as loving our neighbor. Frankly, loving a neighbor may at times be easier than loving God, just by virtue of the concrete visibility of the neighbor. And neighbors might make fewer demands on us. But the converse is also true. Humanistically oriented Christians assert that love of neighbor is worship, thereby concluding that worship is superfluous. I contend, however, that worship is still our primary expression of our love for God. Calvin said in his Institutes, "Surely the first foundation of righteousness is the worship of God. When this is overthrown, all the remaining parts of righteousness, like pieces of a shattered and fallen building, are mangled and scattered."
On the other hand, worship-without-neighbor-love deletes the logical conclusion of loving God. The foundation of neighbor love is to recognize that, as God's own, we are called to love what God passionately loves. The inseparable unity into which Jesus brings love of God and neighbor has its meaning not in the similarity of God and neighbor, but in the nature of love itself. To love God and neighbor is to enlarge the boundaries of the self so that universalizing love is possible.
“Children and their parents will be able to go round the garden, which actually has drugs growing in it, and talk about the whole issue,” the Duchess explains. “Apparently, this is a first—and it’s very good to have these discussions in a garden rather than in schools.”Special government permission was obtained for the cannabis and coca plants, and in addition to 24-hour security, the garden has some plants in cages keeping fingers away from the dangerous leaves, stems and roots.
Visitors are only allowed into the Poison Garden in escorted parties—three parties of a dozen at one time—and two or three people staff it on busy days to make sure that nobody is picking or touching anything, which is very labour-intensive. “I’ve landed myself with another problem, but that’s the story of my life, really. When I hear people’s reactions as they go round, I know it’s worth all the flak to get it right.”No doubt the Duchess wanted to boost publicity and attendance to help cover the £42 Million cost of the garden overhaul, but there is also a strong anti-drug message to The Poison Garden.
We watched a pattern develop. Twenty years ago, seniors went to the beach after the prom and then to someone's house for breakfast. From that, it's turned into a weekend-long orgy that every year has become incrementally more excessive.Last year Hoagland felt problems reached what should be their peak when 46 seniors at his school made a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 rental house in the Hamptons for a post-prom party. The students were forced to cancel the contract, but some parents went ahead and rented a Hamptons house anyway. This year, the school is fighting back declaring the excess of the prom to have gone too far with 11 school administrators signing a letter to parents declaring the prom to be, "an exaggerated rite of passage that verges on decadence." The school has canceled this school year's prom.
It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake—in a word, financial decadence.Amy Best, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University in Virginia and the author of Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture has written, "It is a huge misperception that the kids themselves are totally driving this." She also sees parents who foot the bill as sharing the blame. Find out more about the high school's change of plans in an article at MTV.com or another article at the Guardian Limited.
Raise a child up
in the way he should go
and when he grows old,
he will not depart from it.
If a newborn child does not cry out and scream, then it must be slapped until it does. No one has joy in slapping a child—only the longing that it makes full use of its lungs and draws in life-giving air. So in perfect love, God may strike us with blows and stings of pain so that the breath of prayer flows freely through the lungs of our souls. This is the only way we can become strong and fit for eternal life."So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too." I Peter 4:1a
Look at the pearl. A pearl is a product of pain and suffering. Tormented by some foreign matter against its soft flesh, the oyster responds by embracing the irritant and transforming it into an object of great beauty. The creation of the pearl not only provides relief to the oyster but is also a source of wonder and pleasure to many others. But beware! The unique luster of the pearl can be easily destroyed. Ink or oils can contaminate and destroy its beauty. Pearls laid in ancient tombs often decay with the corpse of their owners; the dust of the pearls is then mingled with the dust of the dead.
Spiritual life—like the pearl—grows out of pain and suffering. And even when the pain has been transformed into a thing of beauty, the lustre of our spiritual lives can easily become contaminated and decay.
Thousands of years of heat and pressure come to bear on black carbon before it is transformed into a precious diamond. Even then, diamonds do not dazzle unless they have first been cut. When cut and polished, then the rays of the sun make them shine with wonderful colors. Scientists may manufacture artificial diamonds in laboratories, but careful examination exposes their inferiority. Likewise, we cannot attain spiritual perfection without passing through pain and suffering.
To each, he says, must be given what belongs to him. This, surely, is a judgment full of heavenly wisdom and instruction. For it teaches that authority is twofold, having an earthly and human aspect, and a heavenly and divine aspect. It teaches that we owe a twofold duty of obedience: to human laws and to the law of God.
The coin bearing Caesar's likeness and inscription must be given to Caesar, and the one stamped with the divine image and likeness must be given to God. We bear the imprint of your glorious face, O Lord.
We are made in the image and likeness of God. So you, O Christian, because you are a human being, are God's tribute money—a little coin bearing the image and likeness of the divine emperor. Therefore with Christ I ask, whose likeness and inscription is this? Your answer is, God's. To which I reply, Then why not give God what belongs to him?
If we really want to be God's image, we must be like Christ, for his is the image of God's goodness and the perfect copy of his nature, and God foreordained that those he has chosen should take on a likeness to his son.
I heard of a boy once who was brought up an atheist. He changed his mind when he saw that there were a hundred-odd species of warblers, each bedecked like to the rainbow, and each performing yearly sundry thousands of miles of migration about which scientists wrote wisely but did not understand.
No 'fortuitous concourse of elements' working blindly through any millions of years could quite account for why warblers are so beautiful. No mechanistic theory, even bolstered by mutations, has ever quite answered for the colors of the cerulean warbler, or the vespers of the woodthrush, or the swansong, or—goose music. I dare say this boy's convictions would be harder to shake than those of many inductive theologians.
—Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac
There is considerable discussion these days concerning creation, evolution, and religion, and what should be taught our children in public schools in the nation.In the King of Peace archives are religion columns for the Tribune & Georgian. One is on the Scopes Trail, Teach your children well and another considering why It doesn't have to be Science vs. Religion.
Much depends on how one understands the Holy Bible of Christians and Jews, and how it relates to scientific inquiry. Creationism is the belief, usually held by evangelical Christians that the Genesis account of the Bible is literally accurate, that God is Creator and that the earth is approximately 4,400 years old. Intelligent design, a recent version of creationsim, holds that creation evolved through a divine designer, God, but that scientific inquiry is apporpriate. This is "faith-based" science. Evolution, first set forth by Charles Darwin in 1859 in "The Origin of the Species," holds that through mutations and natural selection, the human species evolved from lower forms of life. The 1925 Scopes trial in Tenessee found in favor of Creationsism but nonetheless opened the discussion of so-called Darwinism throughout the nation.
Recently the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vienna wrote: "Necessity and chance" and "Neo-Darwinism" cannot explain creation. "Unguided evolutionary process—one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence—simply cannot exist."
How should science, biology, and philosophy classes handle these subjects in public schools? Can various propositions be presented objectively, with the student deciding as he wills? Eventually our courts will decide, but not easily or quickly.
Creation, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, calls for an "unmoved mover," which we call God. The undersigned Christian believes that the scientific explanations of the "Big Bang" fourteen billion years ago, and the emergence of life four billion years ago on this piece of rock we call home, are entirely consonant with Christianity. Science tells us "how." Religion tells us "why." Rather than mutually exclusive propositions, both "how" and "why" are necessary for understanding creation.
Many of the victims were schoolchildren, who had just begun classes when school buildings collapsed on top of them.In prayer for those suffering in this great loss, We remember especially those who have lost their children. These prayers are from Enriching our Worship 2,
Children made up half the population of the affected area and were particularly vulnerable, the UN children's agency Unicef has said.
The BBC's Andrew North in Balakot, where two schools collapsed, says relatives have been frantically digging with bare hands for the several hundred children trapped inside but hopes are fading.
Merciful God, you grant your children an abundant entrance into your kingdom. In your compassion, comfort those who mourn for their children who died in this earthquake and grant us grace to conform our lives to those childrens' innocence and faith, that at length, united with them, we may stand in your presence in the fullness of joy; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
God of compassion and strength: keep safe the soul of your children who have died in this earthquake now that their moment of pain and fear is passed. Send your healing to their parents, other family and all who mourn, that their suffering may find peace and resolution within your love, whose Spirit gives life in Christ our Savior. Amen.
And if thy heart be straight with God,
then every creature shall be to thee a mirror of life
and a book of doctrine,
for there is no creature so little or so vile,
but that shows and represents the goodness of God.
—St. Thomas à Kempis
The reason why God’s servants
love his creatures so deeply
is that they realize how deeply Christ loves them.
And this is the very character of love
to love what is loved by those we love.
—St. Catherine of Siena
One of the things that bars us from entrance through the door of meaning is our attempt to interpret the meaning of the parables as though the stories are meant to be understood literally. As with our initial scene, such a response flattens out the meaning, makes it comic or banal. Simply put, then, the meaning of today's Gospel story of the marriage feast might be: "You had better get your costume ready if you want to go to the wedding feast or you will be booted out; or, worse, you might be thrown to the dogs!" We leave deeper meaning behind and take off for the mall. The better we look when we go into church for the wedding, the more likely we are of being able to pass into heaven. But for those people with a bit of training in interpreting metaphor (and few could be dull enough to take this parable literally) there would be fewer trips to the mall. There is no section at the mall for symbolic wedding garb, or for symbolic brides. Let's leave the literal and try doing the work of seeing through different lenses, in a way that will
give us a new heart.
If literal interpretations of the parables bring us to a dead end, what will symbolic interpretation open for us. In today's Gospel, Jesus is using the image of a wedding feast, a favorite of his, to speak of his Kingdom of God. There is little mention of the bride in the story. It is not because she is not there. Rather, it is because she is everywhere, for she can be compared to the entire body of Christ's people. Jesus was really talking about a sacred marriage between God and man; between the bridegroom who is the Word and human nature. Jesus himself is the bridegroom and the bride is every one of us. We are being given a picture, Jesus' vision, of the "married land." As in Revelations, the Bridegroom has come. It is heaven where, as we know, there is no marriage in the earthly sense; no human beings split into halves that have to get together. For in heaven all are married. The divine and human in heaven have been united in our minds.
And when he comes, will we be ready? Will we be foolish enough to say that as there is a sale this week we will certainly be able to look our best for the wedding in church? No, the costume in the story is to be understood metaphorically. It is our lives we must change, the contents of our consciousness, our hearts, our vision—not our clothes! These are the intangible garments that concern Jesus...The purpose of a parable is to make one point and the point here is to get ready, to stitch together for ourselves the garments of truth, of the Way, so we will be open to God.
Hot topics emerged from the moment the bishops sat down Monday. Among them were a purported shortage of priests, the debate over letting priests marry, and whether communion should be offered to divorced Catholics or to politicians who support abortion rights.But perhaps this should come as no surprise. The bishops had gathered to discuss Holy Communion. And communion should bring up other questions. As we draw closer to God in communion, it should heighten our concern for those with whom we share communion and for those with whom we can't yet share communion.
The Vatican clamped down on information emerging from a meeting of the world's Roman Catholic bishops Wednesday after some of the prelates had expressed concern that details of their debates had been released.Yet, the 250 bishops are still considering some weighty matters and need our prayer. Why should non-Roman Catholics such as ourselves pray for the bishops? Out of concern for our fellow Christians. If it is God's will for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion, then of course we would want our friends and neighbors who this affects to receive the benefit of the sacrament. And if God is moving the Roman Catholic Church toward an end to clerical celibacy, then we would, of course, want that denomination to follow God's will for them. Our own understanding of the communion we share on Sunday and the Communion of the Saints necessitates our prayers for them. The Synod of Bishops will meet for three weeks.
I thought that no man had been so blind to ask why light should be showed to them that walk in darkness, where they cannot but stumble, and where to stumble is the danger of eternal damnation.—William Tyndale A Pathway into the Holy Scripture, 1531.
Realising he could not translate the Bible in England, Tyndale accepted the help of a London merchant and went to Germany in 1524. He never returned to England, but lived a hand-to-mouth existence, dodging the Roman Catholic authorities. In 1525, he and his secretary moved to Cologne, Germany and began printing the New Testament.Tyndale was betrayed by a friend, Philips, the agent either of Henry or of English ecclesiastics, or possibly of both. Tyndale was arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Vilvoorden for over 500 days of horrible conditions. Then on the morning of October 6, 1536 William Tyndale was tied to the stake, strangled and burned. His last words were: "Oh Lord, open the King of England's eyes."
But Tyndale was betrayed, and fled up the Rhine to Worms. Here he started printing again, and the first complete printed New Testament in English appeared in February 1526. Copies began to arrive in England about a month later. In October, Tunstall had all the copies he could trace gathered and burned at St Paul's Cross in London. Still they circulated.
Tunstall arranged to buy them before they left the continent, so that they could be burned in bulk. Tyndale used the money this brought him for further translation and revision. At the same time, he wrote polemical treatises and expositions of the Bible.
He began the Old Testament, apparently in Antwerp: Foxe tells how, sailing to Hamburg to print Deuteronomy, he was shipwrecked and lost everything, 'both money, his copies, and time', and started all over again, completing the Pentateuch between Easter and December.
Back in Antwerp, Tyndale printed it in early January, 1530. Copies were in England by the summer. Revisions and shorter translations followed.