Irenic Thoughts

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.

12/31/2006

900,000,000 Christians

Bread of Life
There are more Christians than that in the world, but 900 million is the approximate number of Christians who belong to churches that use a similar lectionary to determine the readings for Sunday. On any given Sunday, we are listening to the same texts as millions and millions of others. It's nice to all be on the same page.

Now that we are all hearing the text, we just have to learn to live it. I'm working on living the Gospel out the best I can and I bet you are too. It's a worthwhile goal for the 900,000,000 of us to share for 2007.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/30/2006

Extending an Olive Branch

The Olive Branch




The latest issue of our newsletter, The Olive Branch is now online here kingofpeace.org/ vol8no1.pdf. Print copies will be at the church on Sunday for you to pick up and will go into the mail afterwards for those not in church to pick up their copy.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Light shines in the darkness

statue of Saddam pulled down ealry in the war
In tomorrow's Gospel reading we hear the prologue to the Gospel of John. In it, John writes in part,
What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
These are interesting words about which to write on a morning when the news is dominated by the hanging of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and others convicted with him of "crimes against humanity." Light and darkness still contend with one another.

There is no denying that Saddam's reign in Iraq was one of darkness rather than light. Arrogantly brutal, he was a cruel dictator in a world where that has been all too common. And Hussein was an nationalist who used the conflict among the factions of Muslims in his country (Sunnis and Shi'ites) to his advantage creating a tension very like the Roman Catholic/Protestant fighting in Northern Ireland. Then he used that tension to create control by giving power to some in exchange for building up his own base of support. Much of the Sunni/Shi'ite violence tearing that nation apart is due to the way Sunnis found favor under Saddam and oppressed the Shi'ites. Now Shi'ites look for revenge and Sunnis are fighting back. And this from a man who seemed from afar to be a Muslim only when it suited his political needs.

The Cycle of Violence
I am not so naïve as to misunderstand why the current Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, was pleased to tell the press of hearing Saddam's neck snap. For he also said, "Saddam's execution puts an end to all the pathetic gambles on a return to dictatorship." And so Maliki's government no longer has to worry about overthrow by Saddam himself. But everyone knows and our own president has already said that, "Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq."

Darkness can never be dispeled by darkness and the way to break a cycle of violence is never with more violence.

Fight darkness with light
Jesus nonviolently opposed Roman oppression and Jewish collusion with it. He brought life and light to a time of death and darkness by preaching, teaching and living love. Light does not overcome darkness by using the the tools and techniques of darkness to shed light.

Hussein in 2000Killing Saddam could create a martyr, while letting him live could have allowed for his redemption. And if you don't believe Hussein could have been neutralized as a threat without putting him to death, recall Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega who is cooling his heals in a federal prison in Miami for racketeering, drug trafficking and money-laundering as part of a 40-year term. No one in Panama is worried about his return to power.

Creating scapegoats
We have an uneven history of dealing with dictators but it is possible for the world to help a nation hold its leaders accountable by bringing them down without putting them to death. Otherwise we create a scapegoat, attaching all the ills of a country to one person, which is never the whole story. With the one person gone, the system that put them in place will largely remain. Countering darkness is not so easy as removing one person. It takes an ongoing campaign of letting light shine in the darkness.

Rather than creating and eliminating the scapegoat, we are better served to work to dismantle the systems that fuel dictatorial power. For example, the end of World War I gave Hitler more power rather than less as it fueled German nationalism. The end of World War II, in which we helped rebuild Japan and Germany had vastly different results. Likewise the light shining in the darkness in the real world of governments looks more like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa at the end of Apartheid.

So today is a day for praying for the family and friends of Saddam Hussein in the name of the one who taught us to pray for our enemies. That's what light shining in the darkness looks like—showing love in times and places when love could least be expected.

In the archives is the sermon Enkindle Our Hearts.

Now I've mixed a lot of stuff around while failing to stick to the main point. But you probably get the idea. Now I'm wondering what do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

  • At 12/30/2006 9:13 AM, Anonymous Bill+ said…

    Thank you, Frank, for this thoughtful reflection. At least from my perspective, you are on target about the effects of scapegoating. Paul tried to remind us that it wasn't individuals at the heart of the struggle between light and dark... but what he called powers and principalities... the underlying attitudes of conflict, violence, retribution... and scapegoating.
    The message of Jesus still reminds us that Caesar's kingdom isn't the problem (specifically)... the problem is in acting as if it was the kingdom of our citizenship.
    It isn't that Sadam deserved forgiveness. (By almost every perspective, he was a brutal thug) It's simply that I don't deserve forgiveness either.

     
  • At 1/03/2007 10:16 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    At his blog Everyday faith Ryan Whitley tells of praying for Saddam Hussein in the Prayers of the People last Sunday and the reaction to it. The post is here: We Pray for Those who Have Died, Especially...

    peace,
    Frank+

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/29/2006

Good Intentions

The Widow
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) wrote in his book Works of Love,

Take the story about the woman who placed the two pennies in the temple-treasury, but let us poetize a little variation. The two pennies were for her a great sum, which she had not quickly accumulated. She had saved for a long time in order to get them saved up, and then she had hidden them wrapped in a little cloth in order to bring them when she herself went up to the temple.

But a swindler had detected that she possessed this money, had tricked her out of it, and had exchanged the cloth for an identical piece which was utterly empty—something which the widow did not know. Thereupon she went up to the temple, placed, as she intended, the two pennies, that is, nothing, in the temple-treasury: I wonder if Christ would not still have said of her, that "She gave more than all the rich?"

1 Comments:

  • At 12/29/2006 9:59 AM, Anonymous elementaryhistoryteacher said…

    Interesting. I seem to remember there is a verse in the Bible that discusses our intentions. God knows what is in our heart and based on the details of the story the woman had the right intentions and her heart was in the right place.

    I'm sorry you had a problem finding Georgia On My Mind.....it's so new that Google hasn't indexed it yet. The link is http://mymindisongeorgia.blogspot.com :)

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/28/2006

Scripture, Tradition and Reason



The above movie on YouTube is a puppet show explaining the Anglican concept of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. It is part of Father Matthew Presents, an ongoing series of short films by the Rev. Matthew Moretz, the Curate at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Yonkers, New York.

I know Matthew from the Diocese of Georgia who sent him away to seminary and I am proud of the way he is forging a new path on the Internet as well as in his curacy in Yonkers. So here is a bonus episode on the truth about Mary Magdalene whose reputation has been unecessarily sullied for 1400 years:



And, no, I am not jealous of Mattew. And, Yes, I am challenged by what he is doing in that it makes me wonder what opportunities Christians are taking advantage of and what are we missing in teaching the faithful and intriguing those on the outside looking in?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

3 Comments:

  • At 12/28/2006 9:45 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I love this! Thanks for sharing it.

     
  • At 12/28/2006 1:50 PM, Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said…

    You have a very interesting blog. I'm putting together a blog carnival for Georgia bloggers. I'd be very honored if you would participate. I have more than one blog, but the Georgia Carnival blog is Georgia On My Mind. There is a post there that gives an explanation about the carnival.

    Happy New Year!

     
  • At 12/28/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Thanks for letting us glimpse that Matthew is doing the Diocese of Georgia proud. When do we get him back?

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

Another Diocese of Georgia YouTube

St. Michael's Church in Waynesboro, Georgia is also streaming video through YouTube. The Christmas Eve sermon there is online below:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/27/2006

Where and How to Pray

looking up
Three men were discussing the proper position and attitude for prayer. One said, "You should be on your knees with your head bowed in reverence to the Almighty."

The second man spoke up and said, "Remember that you were created in God's image. The position in which to pray is to stand up looking into the heavens into the face of God and talk to Him as a child to his father."

The third man spoke up and said, "I know nothing about those positions, but the finest praying I ever did was upside down in a well."
In our recent Advent study on prayer, we didn't look at this joke. But we did consider that to relegate prayer to emergencies is to cut yourself off from the real purpose and power of prayer. The Bible tells us that we are to "pray without ceasing." This is not possible if we are speaking of set prayers. But if prayer means also a life lived before God then everywhere we go and everything we do is a prayer as long as we realize God's presence in those times and places. And then within that life lived before God we'll have times of speaking to God and times of listening as well as times of just being aware of being in God's presence, whether we are stuck down a well or not.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/26/2006

Let’s Say Thanks

The title of the blog post sounds like I mean say thanks to God and we should do that too. But at the moment I am making y'all aware of a program sponsored by Xerox in which you can send a thank you note to a soldier for free. Go to the From the Troops page for more information or just head on to the main page to select and send a card.


After sending a card, you can always stop in on King of Peace's Prayer Vigil in Time of War to pray for those involved in the current conflicts in the Middle East.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/25/2006

Christmas

Dawn Eggenberger Nativity
In these latter days, God leaned toward the earth
and spoke to us by a Son, Jesus the Beloved.
Born of our sister Mary and the Holy Spirit,
guarded by our brother Joseph with fatherly care,
Jesus came among us as a baby, humbly born,
cradled beside the beasts and warmed by their breath,
human as we are, in need of human love.
Yet kings bowed down before him, bringing gifts
and emperors were troubled by his reign –
this Child in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
—The Rev. Jennifer Philips
from her Eucharistic Prayer for Christmas


altar flowers Spiderman

Christmas Day worship at King of Peace with Spiderman in for the communion. Peter Parker was not there. Those two never worship together (with great power comes great responsibility).

1 Comments:

  • At 1/02/2007 5:50 PM, Anonymous maris said…

    So sorry to have missed Spiderman!!! I hope he will worship with us again sometime!!! mc

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/24/2006

Christmas Eve at King of Peace

King of Peace's altar for the candlelight service

This night we had a wonderful candlelight service for Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we'll worship at 12 noon. Click the photo above to see a larger photo of the altar decorated for Christmas and the one below for a larger picture of our candlelight worship.

King of Peace's candlelight service

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

O Little Town of Bethlehem

artwork by Lonnie Lacey Virginia SeminaryO holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

Reknowned Episcopal preacher, Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, after making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He saw Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine at night and wrote the lyrics matched with a tune by his Philadelphia church's organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) created for the Sunday school children's choir. The words still speak to us this day.

We are also reminded of Bethlehem today, which is a much less than peaceful place due to tense Muslim-Christian relations. The Archbishop of Canterbury was just there and asked
This Christmas, pray for the little town of Bethlehem, and spare a thought for those who have been put at risk by our short-sightedness and ignorance; and ask what you might do locally to raise the profile of these brave and ancient Churches.
More information is at an Anglican Communion News Service article Bethlehem welcomes church leader's visit and the Times Online article Pray for the Little Town of Bethlehem.

candlelight worshipPlease join us tonight for a candlelight communion worship service. Kids are invited to come at 5:30 p.m. or so to make a Christingle (or Christ Light) from an orange, ribbon and candies. Our Christmas Day worship will be tomorrow at 12 noon.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 7/14/2008 3:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Rev Frank,

    Just passing through looking at certain things...

    Your comment that there is no peace in Bethlehem because of Christian and Muslim tensions is really quite inaccurate. The reality is that christians and muslims are brothers in Bethlehem (and Beit Jalla and Beit Sahour).
    The reality is that there is no peace in Palestine because Israel continues to occupy Palestine and deny Palestinian citizens basic human rights - such as the right to live in their family homes, to travel unimpeded, to have their own nation...

    See some of our photos from a recent trip there with the Christian Peacemaker Teams who stand with the oppressed, just like our Lord Jesus stood with the oppressed people when he was around 2000 years ago.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=50854&l=39883&id=694926264

    And if you are interested in CPT check out www.cpt.org

    Apologies if I misunderstood your post, but from what I read it stirred quite a reaction from me.

    Peace,
    Casper

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/23/2006

Christmas Program

Last Sunday, as our worship was ending, Tammy McCaulley lead our kids in a wonderful Christmas presentation in words and music. The kids sang through the 12 days of Christmas and gave the Christian meaning attached to each of the 12 days. The program acknowledged that this may or may not be the genesis of the song, it still teaches us about our faith. Here are a few photos from their presentation.

Christmas program at King of Peace
Christmas program at King of Peace Christmas program at King of Peace
Christmas program at King of Peace

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Magnificat

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Mary sings the Magnificat, which is what we call the hymn of praise from Mary in Luke's Gospel. In the sermon God's Kingdom Breaking in, I once preached,

Peggy Parker's Statue of MaryBut, the most intriguing thing for me in Mary’s Song is the way she takes the ideals of God’s kingdom and presents them as if they are already accomp- lished facts. The song uses an amazing number of past tense verbs. Everything is already accomp-lished for Mary. For some things, that is not so surprising. God has already look with favor on his lowly servant Mary. The almighty already has done great things for her....

Listen to these words of Mary’s song and ask yourself if the changes in the way the world works have even yet occurred 2000 years later:

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

There are few kings in the world today, but the seats of power still belong to the mighty. The lowly rarely if ever get lifted up. The hungry often continue to go hungry, while those who have seem to get more. Yet, Mary speaks of lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry with good things in the past tense....

Mary has come to see that what God is doing through her is a sign that all of God’s promises are as good as fulfilled. God is faithful and the old way of doing things is as good as gone now that God is becoming human through her child Jesus. God’s kingdom is breaking into our world in a new and marvelous way that makes it clear that the lowly are as good as lifted up and the hungry are as good as filled with good things.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/22/2006

The exception that proves the rule

Mount
News from Greece this week is that rival religious factions have been struggling for control of Mount Athos (pictured above), that most holy site for monasteries in the Greek Orthodox tradition. The monks there have long been reknowned for their holiness of life and religious devotion. They are now making headlines with fights involving crowbars and a fire exstinguisher.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew IThe battles are over moves to closer relations with the Vatican made by the head of that church, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (pictured here). The rebel monks violently oppose the slightest steps toward unity. You can find more here from an English language newspaper in Greece: Athos Monks Injured in Clashes. While the fights are unfortunate, the relatively tame fighting has made news because the combatants are monks. It's best to remember that no denomination would like to be judged by its most extreme members. I would certainly rather not have to account for all that takes place under the umbrella of Anglicanism, nor do I think anyone should have to explain the actions of all in their denomination.

Anglican-Orthodox Connections
With this exception to the rule in the news, I thought it best to highlight how close relations have long been between Anglicans and Orthodox Christians. We find our theology to be similar in many ways, though our outward expression of it in worship does differ. Since 1989, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue has met to discuss what unites us in our theology. The co-chair of that commission is the retired Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mark Dyer, who was an advisor of mine in seminary.

I have benefitted both in and since seminary from reading Orthodox writers and am currently reading an Orthodox perspective on counseling by Archbishop Chrysostomos. And, of course, at King of Peace we have studied Russian Orthodox Bishop Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray.

About Orthodoxy
The word "Orthodox" means "right belief" or "right doctrine" and they are the churches east of Constantinople divided from those west of that great city in Turkey around the year 1,000. More information on their beliefs is online at the Orthodox Church in America page About Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox tap into a rich vein of Christian tradition which has nourished millions of the faithful for centuries with reverent worship.

Our nearest Orthodox neighbors are the fine folks down at St. Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, where they are looking forward to a joyous celebration of our Lord's birth. So take what you read in the news with a grain of salt, knowing that it is the exception to the rule that makes headlines.

In the archives are a few Orthodox-influenced sermons from King of Peace:
The Jesus Prayer
Windows into Heaven and
Becoming Like God

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

  • At 12/22/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    As an Orthodox Christian, a member of St. Justin Martyr and a personal friend, I say thank you.

     
  • At 12/22/2006 10:14 AM, Anonymous Steve+ said…

    I have long loved the Orthodox tradition. I had a chance to meet the priest at St Justin Martyr (Fr. Ted?) at the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of South convention in Atlanta. I am good friends with an OCA priest in Columbia, SC. Fr. Ted (if he is still there) was a lot of fun.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/21/2006

Out of touch

I don't think I am out of touch with reality, but I know for a fact that I am out of touch with the virtual reality of cyberspace. Despite my ability to log on here to Blogger and even to receive emails, I have a pesky problem with my antivirus software that is not letting me send emails since yesterday morning. I'm working on the problem as I have time, but there is little of that this week. So, I am not ignoring those who have written, me I just can't respond. For things urgent, I will call. Other replies will have to wait for the moment.

In other communication news, my cell phone has been replaced! After months of deteriorating reliability, my poor overused cell phone passed to the great unknown of defunct techonology. So even as I lost ability to stay in touch with email, I regained use of my cell phone after having been out of touch via phone.

Thank God, the Incarnation—God becoming man in Jesus—is not virtual reality, and a large part of my job involves face to face encounters with real people.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

  • At 12/21/2006 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's really sweet how the Lord sends His angels to mess up our technology every once in awhile, so that we have to slow down for actual person to person encounters!

     
  • At 12/21/2006 8:10 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I think it's pretty cool how you turned all this stress that technology brings you into an inspirational point. Technology will fail, that's a given and that's how I keep my job.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

Unto us a child is born!

The new exhibit is now online at the Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts.

Called Unto Us a Child Is Born, the exhibit centers on the Incarnation—God become human in Jesus of Nazareth. The online thumnail gallery is a great place to start your tour of the 33 pieces of art that make up the online exhibit.

The painting featured above is by Miguel Conesa from a real world exhibit of his Christmas Celebration art from the 1979-2006. At right is Joel Haas sculpture, Fear not, of an angel addressing you with the Good News.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/20/2006

A Spiritual Fight

"In Rocky, if he's just a fighter, then it's just a boxing story,
and I told the producers in the beginning,
'It's not a boxing story; it's a spiritual journey’,"
—Sylvester Stallone in New Man Magazine.

Classic Rocky These words are from an electronic press kit for pastors I received on the new film Rocky Balboa. I get these movie promos for pastors from time to time. Usually they are for films like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Nativity Story that are more overtly Christian. So, I was a bit surprised to find Rocky resurrected as a spiritual journey.

So here's the confession. I saw and enjoyed the first Rocky movie. It had heart along with the courage to let the hero fight well, but lose the match. I never saw the other movies in the franchise and I have not, of course, seen the new movie.

Confession aside, I did want to give y'all a behind the scenes tour of how a movie promotes itself to pastors in order to get at their flocks. The pastors page is online at www.rockyresources.com which has quotes from leaders evangelical to Roman Catholic and in between. And though I am right here and now pointing you to resources on this movie (which they hoped I would do) I am not endorsing the film.

Instead, I am questioning the practice. I see the quotes on the leaders page and wonder if they were paid for the endorsement. I hope not.

But why be harsh on Rocky? I don't want to pick on it in particular. After all the website says,
Rocky taglineRocky Balboa motivates us to face our own challenges with perseverance, community support, and prayer. The story presents a dynamic opportunity for insightful discussions about where we find our courage, how we overcome losses and remain faithful, and what we define as victory.
That is no doubt true. I find that most any movie can be used to start a discussion on things deeper than the surface of the film. I just wonder what y'all think about the practice of having pastors endorse movies? I do recommend movies all the time at the personal level. I wonder if I would lend my name to a marketing campaign and I tend to think not. But I'm not sure why (other than that no one would think to ask me for my opinion). What do y'all think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

4 Comments:

  • At 12/20/2006 9:34 AM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Ultimately that's a decision that needs to be made bewteen you and your bishop. Personally, I don't see how you could do it would out being perceived as a sell out.

    There are enough real characters in the real world that exhibit these same values. The Saints for example. Why not promote them and tell their stories?

     
  • At 12/20/2006 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A smart man once told me that "perception is everything and we can not control someone elses perception of us or our actions." With that said, to promote or not promote a movie, book or political agenda, the decision is between you and God.

    Robin R.

     
  • At 12/20/2006 8:26 PM, Anonymous BobinWashPa said…

    When I worked for the Roman Catholic Church the diocesan paper had a movie review each week. The priest would rate the over all content, M0 for morally ofensive,pg-13, F for family etc...

    I respected his opinion and he did recommend a lot of movies that weren't "religious." There were comedies (God gave us the gift of laughter), docudramas, historical films, dramas, mysteries and so forth. He even saw the Friday the 13th movie which he found MO.

    I like the idea of a priest recommending a movie. I didn't with always agreed with Fr. Al (I think was his name) but it's nice to see another persons take.

    BobinWashPa
    Ps. Do we stop going to see certain operas because they're boderline bawdy? Some masterpieces such as Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier or Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti would certainly be shelved to our detriment.

     
  • At 12/21/2006 6:57 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The following is from National Public Radio's program Day to Day:

    Day to Day, December 20, 2006 · Sylvester Stallone is going to new heights to promote his latest film Rocky Balboa. He's trying to tap into the huge evangelical market that powered the success of films such as The Passion of the Christ, even hiring the same marketing company behind that film.

    Stallone held a teleconference with Christian leaders, to talk about what he says is his own spiritual reawakening.

    Rocky Balboa, the sixth movie in the Rocky series, opens today nationwide. It's actually getting decent reviews from film critics, and from the pulpit.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/19/2006

Christmas Party

A bit belatedly, here are a few photos of the fun from last Friday's Christmas Party at King of Peace. The big hit at the gift exchange was the Super Dooper Reindeer Pooper. Clearly we are easily ammused!

Joe, Will, Melissa and Robin enjoying the fun
Jim gets the reindeer pooper Kenn with a feather pen stuck to his head
Kelly Max gets the pooper
some of the tables
Geoff and Evan Victoria
The singing Rabbi with his guitar

Not exactly an uptight group are we?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

An Unflattering Group Portrait

Americans have much to be proud of

An article in The New York Times, Who Americans Are and What They Do reveals that, as a nation, we remain the fattest people on the planet, thanks in part to the fact that we are consuming twice as much high fructose corn syrup this year as in 1980.

Some changes over time include that we are now back to 3.7 divorces per 1,000 marriages, the lowest divorce rate since 1970. During that same time period we apparently got more pragmatic as in 1970, 79 percent gave their goal as "developing a meaningful philosophy of life." In 2005, 75 percent said "their primary objective was to be financially very well off."

And more of that money is going to health care, which brings us to the one part of the article that pointed to religion saying,
With medical costs rising, more people said they pray for their health than invest in every form of alternative medicine or therapy combined.
That prayer time must be limited for while an 8-hour work day is the norm, we spend 8.5 hours per day on leisure including "watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies or reading." How much time is spent blogging is unknown, but we do know that 13 million Americans admitted to creating a new blog last year.

So what does it say about you that we are an obese nation of bottled-water-logged TV watching Internet users who produce more than 4.4 pounds per day of solid waste each? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zip.

So don't ask, "Does this census make my butt look big?" These sorts of numbers relate to a group of people and none of us is a group. Numbers like this help predict what a mass of people are up to, but tell nothing about a single person. So maybe you are working on a meaningful philosophy while the rest of the nation pursues money. Or perhaps you have cut out soft drinks while the rest of us guzzle Coke by the liter.

So the statistics don't pick on you but they do reveal something about us, and the group portrait looks pretty self-indulgent. It's no wonder that as I have traveled in other parts of the world, I find people very friendly to me as an individual, while shaking their heads at America as a nation. We are known for our exports of violent movies, immoral TV shows, pop music, and high-fat fast food. And for most people in the rest of the world it is hard to separate fictional Desparate Houswives from reality in America or Gangsta Rap from American Values. They know us by the face we present through those exports.

Yes, I do think we are a great nation with wonderful gifts to offer the world. We could point not just to democracy exported from the colonists to France and then around the world for two centuries, but also to great American philanthropists who have recently come to include two of our richest citizens, Bill (and Melinda) Gates and Warren Buffet. Yet that is not the whole story. When others look and see Americans, they do see our great accomplishments, but they see more as well, the more that is reflected in the group portrait that our census data gives us.

In the religion column, What do people around the world see when they look at U.S.? I wrote,
If Bin Laden and other marketers of hatred find it easy to convince masses of Islamic Fundamentalist that we are an immoral nation infecting the world with our godless ideals, can we hold ourselves completely blameless?
I wrote that five years ago and this recent compilation of census data shows that the picture of us is probably unchanged. I think we have both much to be proud of and also much of which is in need of change for the better. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor +
King of Peace Episcopal Church

A healthy tree produces good fruit,
and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit.
A good tree can't produce bad fruit,
and a bad tree can't produce good fruit.
So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down
and thrown into the fire.
Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person
is by the kind of fruit that is produced.
—Jesus (Matthew 7:17-20)

1 Comments:

  • At 12/23/2006 3:45 AM, Blogger CSL said…

    Yikes - all things I've read before and yet always painful to be reminded. Maybe the most useful way to use the data is to measure yourself against each point and decide if that is an area that needs change in you. You know, be a small part of shifting the statistics. Become the sort of American that doesn't cause others to shake their heads in dismay.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/18/2006

Like protesting Mom and Apple Pie

The statue of Billy Graham in NashvilleBilly Graham is back to preaching on a street corner, and looking more statuesque than ever at it. The Southern Baptist Convention unveiled a stature of the famed preacher last Wednesday on the corner of Eigth and Commerce Streets in Nashville, in front of a building for the denominations publishing arm, LifeWay Christian Resources. Graham himself is uncomfortable with such honors, but the group wanted to honor the man who is their best known evangelist.

Not everyone may care for the 9 foot, 4 inch arms upraised preacher next to a 17 foot tall cross, but the statue is on private property and was viewed as non-contraversial as it was in the planning stages. However, the Rev. Fred Phelps, of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas had said that he wants to picket the Rev. Billy Graham's Funeral. Apparently he couldn't wait. Phelp's church, which is made up mostly of family members, took a break from protesting at the funerals of soldiers who have died in Iraq to protest Billy Graham at the statue's unveiling.

In the Greensboro News-Record article Group to Protest at Southern Baptist Convention Phelps said of Graham, "he has departed from the faith and gone off into heresy." The heresy for Phelps is that the evangelist is soft on homosexuality. Neither Billy Graham nor the Evangelistic Association he heads commented on the protest.

Another view of the Nashville statue of Billy GrahamBilly Graham has preached to 210 million people worldwide over more than six decades of ministry. He leaves matters of doctrine to others. While Phelps and his church push a doctrine of hate, Graham has consistently refused to get involved in controversy and seeks only to say that God loves you and wants a relationship with you. Whether you like or dislike the statue, being against Billy Graham seems to me uncharitable. It's like being against Mom and Apple Pie. And I think that's the part that is hard for the folks from Westboro Baptist Church to stomach as they seem to see hatred as a central Christian value and Billy Graham has never preached hate.

The only effect Westboro Baptist Church's ongoing protests are likely to have is to cause people to view homosexuals less harshly. Most Christians want to distance themselves from the 76-year old preacher Phelps who sends his young grandchildren out to spew hate while holding signs that say "God Hates Fags."

I have personally been picketed against by this group and have seen their anger first-hand at The General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It just made me sad to see the way the children and grandchildren had been fed a steady diet of hate until it is all they know, the only focus for their lives. It makes me sad still as I hear of their ongoing and ever expanding protests. How can they name so confidently who God hates? Why would they want a church where everyone is not welcome to come in and worship? It's hard to believe they have ever read the Gospels.

If you want a bigger dose of the topic, you can see Shirley Phelps-Roper on Tyra Banks show with her two daughters. Shirley is pastor Fred Phelp's daughter and the groups chief spokeperson. The link is here Phelps Family on Tyra.

In the archives is the religion column Soldier's families need love, not protests.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor +
King of Peace Episcopal Church

2 Comments:

  • At 12/18/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Jim Morrow said…

    I watched this video. I can barely think of anything to say. I don't see these views set out before us in scripture.

    This kind of publicity makes it hard for me to do my job.

    Frank, keep bringing out the "elephants." They are there can't be ignored.

     
  • At 12/18/2006 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The first time that someone realizes the Holy Spirit, and feels Him completely, there is no hate, judgement, or personal opinions left in your being. My experience left me completely full of love and forgiveness, and able to accept...differences. This was a completely new me. I can only imagine how it would feel to be called into His service as a member of the clergy.

    Billy Graham expresses all of this and more.

    Fred Phelps,the preacher of hatred, obviously does not deserve the title of Reverend. I don't know where he got his calling, but it was not from HIM!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/17/2006

Pray for Our Daughter

Pastor Linda McCloud, the founding pastor of our daughter congregation The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek, is asking for people to pray daily for that church plant at 11:04 a.m. The time is because the anticipated first public worship service for the new congregation will be 11/4/2007. We want as many people as possible to set their cell phones to alarm at that time or use some other reminder so that you begin to pray daily for Our Savior at Honey Creek.

As we know well at King of Peace, planting a new church is first last and always an act of prayer.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/15/2006

A Voice from the Wilderness

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, that wild and wooly Saint of Advent, John the Baptist, is at it again calling people a "Brood of Vipers" and the like. Talk like that can get a person killed, and that's what would happen to John.

In the sermon
A Voice from the Wilderness, I once preached,
What a great way to build a following. Perhaps we should try that at King of Peace. Invite your friends and family and when they come, I’ll scream at them for having the nerve to show up in church at all. I wouldn’t try that method, but it worked for John. People lined the banks of the Jordan for John to baptize them, anyway.

However, John was clearly not interested in the cleansing power of the muddy waters of the Jordan River. There was no sense in wading out into the waters if you had no desire to change your life, making love of God and loving your neighbor as yourself as your top priorites. John was very concerned that the people he baptized lived their lives differently after the baptism than before.

In our Gospel reading for this morning he says, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” Repentance means saying that you are sorry for the things you have been doing wrong, the sins in your life. But repentance also means stopping doing the things you know are wrong and starting to do the things you know are right. To bear fruit worthy of that repentance meant to act like someone who had changed....

“Bear fruit worthy of repentance!”

No, we can not earn our way to heaven by mending our ways. No you do not have to get your act together before returning to church. But, yes John’s message is still true.

If we want to avoid the scorching heat of his blast against the Pharisees and Sadducees as a Brood of Vipers then we should ponder if our lives are changed in any way because we are Christians. Do we live any differently because we believe? What would fruit worthy of repentance look like in our time? In our lives?
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Is Christmas pagan?

click to find out about our pagan-looking Burning of the Greens

A reader asks, "Did Christmas start as a pagan holiday?"

The short answer would be yes, as December 25 was the Roman feast of Saturnalia, and their were other pagan (pre-Christian European religions) holidays which fell near the winter solstice, marking the shortest day of the year. But that's the short answer and it misses the larger point.

The longer answer is that there is nothing pagan about Christmas. What it is in fact is an attempt to wipe out pagan practices from a culture. And that attempt was quite successful.

The first change to making a pagan holiday Christian was when in 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. This was so that it would take over a pagan celebration. But the best explanation of the intent in changing pagan holidays comes in some correspondence that would follow centuries later.

Augustine of Canterbury was a monk sent Pope Gregory to evangelize the Angles (from which we get the words anglo and anglican among others) living in Britain. After Augustine and a group of monks arrived and begin to live and pray among the peoples around Canterbury England, they ran into a lot of sticky problems and Augustine wrote his boss, Gregory to ask for advice on some of these problems. Their correspondence survives in a book by the author Bede called The Ecclesiastical History of the English People written in the year 731. In that book, it notes that Augustine and his fellow monks were successful in coverting the people because,
They practiced what they preached, and were willing to endure any hardship, and even to die for the truth, which they proclaimed.
A key problem was that pagans once converted still wanted to return to old holy sites as they were fond of them and they liked the old pagan festivals to which they were accustomed. Gregory wanted these pagan places and holidays "baptized" or made holy through Christian use. They were to use pagan places of worship, but to do so by destroying the idols found there and exorcising the place, then building Christian altars and bringing Christian worship to the spot. Then the people could worship the one Triune God in the place now sanctified for that worship.

Gregory wrote to Augustine,
For if these temples are well built, they must be purified from the worship of demons and dedicated to the service of the true God. In this way, we hope that the people, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may abandon their error and, flocking more readily to their accustomed resorts, come to know and adore the true God.
Further, they were to take pagan holidays and end the slaughter of animals as sacrifices, but substitute for those solemnities other Christian holidays. In this way Christmas and Easter were attached to pagan holidays and given an all Christian significance. The date of December 25 may have been a pagan choice, but the purpose was now to be a celebration of the incarnation, God becoming man in Jesus.

Gergory wrote,
They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the Devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of God, and give thanks to the Giver of all gifts for the plenty they enjoy. If the people are allowed some worldly pleasures in this way, they will more readily come to desire the joys of the spirit. For it is certainly impossible to eradicate all errors from obstinate minds at one stroke, and whoever wishes to climb to a mountain top climbs gradually step by step, and not in one leap.
Gregory's plan, which may seem like a marketing ploy, bore good fruit. The people worshipped in new ways in familiar places and times and in generations the old sites and practices were fully Christianized. People came to think of December 25 only for its new Christian message of “God with us” in the celebration of the Christ Mass or communion service held in honor of our Lord's birth.

The struggle to Christianize pagan practices continued for centuries more. Christmas trees are a remainder from a German pagan celebration at the winter solstice. In 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany/France. A Lutheran pastor declared: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ” and brought the evergreens into Christian use for Christmas.

There was a holy purpose accomplished in the ongoing process and while Christmas fights secularism now even the secular meaning of Christmas, which seems to be attached to gathering with family and friends to share gifts, at least flows from the Christian ideal of celebrating the gift of God's own self in Jesus. We are in danger of losing the "God with us" message of celebrating Immanuel's birth, but that is due to our own consumer culture and commercialism taking over a Christian feast and not because of Christmas' pagan roots. The old solstice holidays of Christmas and Easter were truly baptized and did come to hold Christian meaning rather than pagan ones.

In the archives are the sermons,
Have yourself a materialistic Christmas and Making Room for Christ.

Note: Our King of Peace Christmas party is tonight at 7 p.m. You may bring a snack to share. You should also bring a cheap (dollar store) wrapped gift to exchange. Gag gifts are encouraged. This is not a pagan practice, but a great way to get to know your fellow church goers.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor +
King of Peace Episcopal Church

Christmas at King of Peace

Last Christmas Eve at King of Peace

5 Comments:

  • At 7/05/2007 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know its not Christmas anymore, but I was wandering around the internet when I happened upon your blog. I respect your Christian views and therefore won't say anything cruel or unusual. But instead I will thank you for posting your blog in such a way I didn't feel any offense in reading it, although I can't recall a time I've praised satan.

     
  • At 12/31/2007 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am reading this over a year after your post. I thank you for your views on Christmas being a pagan holiday. I have heard that over and over again, while I didn't believe it I didn't have much knowledge to object the statement. Now, thanks to your post I have some information to go by which will lead me to study and pray more on the subject so that when the topic comes up again, I can have some understanding of the subject matter. I enjoy Christmas and am offended when someone says that I am participating in a pagan holiday because that isn't what I represent Christmas to be. I believe it is the celebration of Christ's birth, not his birthday per se.

     
  • At 12/23/2008 3:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wipe out their beliefs....Just because you belief something different gives you no right to wipe out a religion regardless of who you are. Christians try to dominate everything we do, our government, etc etc. Christmas, the 25th, is pagan in its root, like you said, but stop plagiarizing the original ideas as your own, you can worship your god, let me worship my goddesses, tolerance, not wiping out ideas!

     
  • At 12/30/2012 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice try. There are no pagan holidays (Holy Days). The Sun moon and stars, or their alignments and/or positions that Paganism worships are creations of God (I'll be clear, Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, Lord of all creation).
    In the earliest records found the world worshiped the Son of God from 6000 - 4500 years ago. The worship of the sun appeared 4400 years ago, and 200-300 years later Pantheism reared it head.
    All days were created by God. The days declared by Pagans as them their own are stolen from God. Whatever the process and perversion of these days, all of them were created for the purpose of worshiping God (see above).
    For example: On the day that the wisemen left Jerusalem, they were folloing a star, the star of King David, or Jupiter. This Planet was in retrograde motion. It stopped directly above the small building in Bethlehem where the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ was living. They went to this building and inside they found the Blessed One, Immuael, Jesus Christ and delivered their gifts. Gifts fit for a king, to the King of the Universe. That day was Dec 25. The day Christians celebrate today as the day the Gentiles came to give gifts to the Christ Child.
    What do Christians do on this day? We read this account to our children and in the spirit of the wisemen, we give gifts to children and each other and most importantly to Christ.
    Historically there have never been holidays for pagans. The reasons Christian worship the Christ are verifiable facts.

     
  • At 11/18/2017 12:23 PM, Blogger Jade Graham said…

    That is what many people do year after year. It’s an unofficial holiday which refers to a Winter-Christmas-themed celebration held in July.

    click here

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/14/2006

A game that does violence to the Gospel

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
—Jesus (Luke 6:27-28,36)

screen shot from the Left Behind game

Perhaps wanting to leave no cash behind, perhaps wanting to spread the fear of God through another outlet, the creators of the mega-popular Left Behind series of books, etc. have lent their names and storylines to a new video game—Left Behind: Eternal Forces. The makers say,
Parents need a substitute for the degrading moral values of games like ’Grand Theft Auto.’ We’re giving the industry an RTS [real time strategy] game that is fun to play as well incorporating inspirational content.
So they made prayer an essential way to keep up your points, and they avoided sexual content. The game makers also have Christians shooting up non-believers by the truckload with a few demons thrown in for sport in a battle royale of apocolyptic proportions on the streets of New York City. So what gives with the Gospel of the Machine Gun with its message of convert or die? At their FAQ page is the following Q&A:
Does the violence depicted in the game run contrary to Jesus’ message on “love your enemy”?

screen shot from the Left Behind gameAbsolutely not. Christians are quite clearly taught to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies. It is equally true that no one should forfeit their lives to an aggressor who is bent on inflicting death. Forgiveness does not require absolute defenselessness. Apparent contradictions on behalf of Christians are often the result of them placing greater importance on the message, than in caring for others. LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces is a game which provides great entertainment while encouraging fascinating discussions about matters of eternal importance.
This could not be further from the heart of the Christian faith which is found in the cross of Christ. Jesus willingly died on a Roman cross and the first Christians were also faithful unto death as they too were persecuted for their faith. This witness of the martyrs helped spread the faith as non-believers saw the amazingly strong belief that allowed a believer to sing a song of praise as he or she was led to their death. Those earliest Christians showed real power through powerlessness, not superior firepower.

screen shot from the Left Behind gameThe game makers have created not just poor theology, but have drained Christianity of the power of the cross and belief in the reality of the resurrection. I could quote a stream of scripture from Jesus warning that those who follow him would face persecution to the myriad martyrs robed in white in Revelation. But this game is so far from the Truth that it doesn't deserve a lengthy justification for steering clear of it.

Rather than providing a better option than the much bloodier Grand Theft Auto, or other games, Left Behind is worse from a Christian perspective as it seeks to sanctify wholesale slaughter of those who disagree with us. The concept of holier than thou homicide is deeply frightening. This is not harmless fun. This is not a Christian alternative to anything. The Left Behid video game is dangerous stuff that does violence to the teachings of the Rabbi Jesus who not only said to love your enemies, he showed love for those who would be his enemy in calling for their forgiveness even as they tortured him.

Love is central to our faith. Agape love which is more concern about the other person than yourself and the screen shots and game description provided by the manufacturer are as diametrically opposed to that love as a game can be no matter how they try to mask the killing in a shroud of holiness.

Two sermons more theologically grounded than this rant are:
The Problem with the Rapture
and
Peace, Peace

End of rant. What do y'all think? One word of warning: if you do not agree with me, I will shoot you.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Jesus said, "Don't let anyone mislead you,
because many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah.
They will lead many astray.
And wars will break out near and far,
but don't panic.
Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately.
—Jesus (Matthew 13:5-7)

screen shot from the game

8 Comments:

  • At 12/14/2006 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I AGREE! Don't shoot!!!!!

    I started to read the first book out of pure curiosity of the popularity of the series. It was the first book that I did not finish. The writing was juvenile and dull. The story line was ridiculous, just as this video game!

     
  • At 12/14/2006 7:27 AM, Anonymous Linda McCloud+ said…

    This is really scary! A lot of people who buy into this line of thinking have not read their Bibles and therefore have no point of comparison in their heads as to "What would Jesus do?" The exponential possibility of this mindset is another Crusade.

     
  • At 12/14/2006 11:39 AM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    EEWWW!

    It's one thing to speculate how the end of the age will transpire.

    It's another thing entirely to make a game of it and turn the apocolypse into fun.

     
  • At 12/14/2006 3:06 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    This is as bad a perversion of the truth of the Gospel as the church that protests at the funerals of slain soldiers and has a website called www.godhatesfags.com.

     
  • At 12/14/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    When you read the Bible from the back to front, you can become very paranoid. The "End-Times" believers have spawned most of the christian-like cults over the years.

    Just like a train-wreck attracts gawkers so does The Apocalypse. This morbid fascination with death and destruction has been a very popular theme for years.

    The disturbing thing about this is that we are proving the point of the apologists that argue that Christianity is false because it preaches peace but foments violence (e.g. The Crusades, The Inquisition, The Salem Witch Trials).

    Jesus did not condemn the non-Jew or non-religious. Au Contraire, he criticized the religious and the pious.

     
  • At 12/14/2006 6:03 PM, Blogger CSL said…

    Bad theology! Bad! We are in complete alignment in our posts on this one.

     
  • At 12/14/2006 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Apart from the improper and irreverent use of the Rapture in this game, what would be the ethics of cheat codes?

     
  • At 12/16/2006 4:37 PM, Anonymous bobinwashpa said…

    How the Gospel has been mangled. Will we ever get back to the true message?

    As for shooting those with whom we don't agree with, is there any help to deal with the polarization of society and esp. Christianity?
    People don't listen.

    At times it looks a bit bleak, but I'm hopeful.

    As for the game, I'll by my kids a new book.
    Bob

     

Post a Comment

<< Home