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.

12/05/2006

Beware!

St. Botolph's AldgateI've been a fan of the Rev. Kenneth Leech since reading his book We Preach Christ Crucified prior to going to seminary. Leech is the priest at St. Botolph's Aldgate in London. Built outside the old gate in order to reach the outcasts, the church stays focused on that mission in its current setting where Christians are the minority in that part of London.

So, I read with interest the Times online article A street theologian outside the city gates I found linked at Anglicans Online last week. In the article, Leech thinks out loud about the challenge of doing "street theology." Intrigued, I went to find his church's website, which offered this text on its About the Church page:
St Botolph's is a friendly and inclusive church.

BEWARE!

Here we practice the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This means you may be mixing with tax-collectors, sinners, adulterers, hypocrites, Greeks, Jews, women as well as men, female and male priests, homosexuals, lesbians, the disabled, dying thieves, and other sinners; black people, Asians and other ethnic minorities, Muslims, Bishops, bigots, peoples of other faiths, strangers from Rome and Nigeria, heretics, etc, etc - even you, dear guest are most welcome in fact anyone like those who Jesus mixed with.

So beware, this is not a private club...

WELCOME TO ALL!
According to the Times article, Leech sees his church's mission as being a "sacramental presence" in their community. As a sacrament is "a visible sign of an inward grace" I would like to think that King of Peace (along with other churches in our area) offers an outward sign of Christ's love to Camden County.

I wonder we might be able to more fully embody a radical welcome. What might that look like? And if Kingsland had a wall around it, would we be within, with the elite, or on the outside with the outcasts? And finally, as someone working in Camden County, how can the theology I write, reflect most fully the struggles of our commmunity? These are the questions I am pondering after encountering Kenneth Leech and St. Botolph's once more.

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

3 Comments:

  • At 12/05/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    I think that for all practical purposes there is a wall around Kingsland, and probably most communities. Here there are certainly the haves and the have-nots and we live in a community where there are still white churches and black churches, white funeral homes and black funeral homes. There are numerous subcultures within our county/region that some would consider as the outcasts.

    Having a “radical welcome” is one thing (and a good thing), but it’s probably more important to have a radical message. It’s one thing to accept people where they are and as they are, it’s an animal of a different stripe to tell them that while the love of God is unconditional, it requires them to change. It’s not enough to say, “Come on in we love ya.” We must also be faithful to the truth with which we have been entrusted.

    It’s one thing to get a warm fuzzy thinking we are willing to live our faith and actually mingle with folks of different creeds/ethnicities etc. The difficult part is to truly be the "sacramental presence" in the deepest meaning of the words.

     
  • At 12/05/2006 10:46 AM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    I'm particulary fond of this subject. God loves everyone even ME! We truly become children of God when we become imitators of Him. When we put aside our preferences and safe zones to reach out to someone we find distasteful or disgusting.

    In expressing God's Love knowing the right thing to do and doing it is enough. You don't have to prove that it is the right thing or argue for its universal acceptance.

    I think sometimes that we get so bound up in publicizing, defending and telling our beliefs, that we forget to practice them.

    If you belief in a pure life, LIVE IT!

    If you say you love everyone, even the depraved, SHOW IT!

    The time is short; the Lord is coming. It is time to act. To speak good words but live a poor example is bearing false witness (a Lie).

    "We are (people) of action. Lies do not become us." (The Princess Bride, 1987)

     
  • At 12/05/2006 4:12 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    I've been thinking of a particular song for the last few weeks. It's "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows" by Petra (yes, I am dating myself).

    Another sleepy Sunday, safe within the walls
    Outside a dying world in desperation calls
    But no-one hears the cries, or knows what they're about
    The doors are locked within, or is it from, without...

    Looking through rose colored stained glass windows
    Never allowing the world to come in
    Seeing no evil and feeling no pain
    Making the light as it comes from within, so dim...


    Out on the doorstep lay the masses in decay
    Ignore them long enough, maybe they'll go away
    When you have so much you think, you have so much to lose
    You think you have no lack, when you're really destitute

    Looking through rose colored stained glass windows,
    Never allowing the world to come in
    Seeing no evil and feeling no pain Making the light as it comes from within, so dim...

     

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