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.

3/31/2006

The sin of racism

The bishops of the Episcopal Church have recently issued a pastoral letter on the sin of racism. The letter says in part
The fundamental truth undergirding this vision is that all are made in the image of God. It is in our diversity that we discover the fullness of that image. If we judge one class or race or gender better than another, we violate that desire and intent of God. And when our social and cultural systems exacerbate or codify such judgments, we do violence to that which God has made. Racism is a radical affront to the good gift of God, both in the creation described in Genesis, and in the reality of the Incarnation. Jesus came among us to bring an end to that which divides us, as Paul so clearly identifies in Galatians 3:28, "in Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female."
It goes on to say that
The world has witnessed the evil of institutionalized racism and classism in the United States in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2005. The poor and persons of color were often served last—or not at all—while wealthy and privileged residents had greater resources to escape the immediate danger of the hurricanes and begin the process of rebuilding. We are all shamed by the sin of racism in the reality of inequity in housing, employment, educational and healthcare opportunities, and the disaster response.
The full text of the pastoral letter is found online at: The Sin of Racism: A Call to Covenant

4 Comments:

  • At 3/31/2006 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was with them until they invoked the hurricanes, and then I lost what little respect I had for them. Hurricanes do not choose where they hit on the basis of race, and I don't think the inadequacies of the disaster response had anything to do with race. It was just a matter of inadequate preparation, imcomplete communication, bureaucratic incompetence, and overwhelming catastrophe. In fact, the poor, "minority" neighborhoods got much more media coverage than the "nonminority" areas did regardless of poverty. I saw more racism in the media coverage than in anything else.
    My father has gone to on hurricane relief trips several times and the one thing he has said is consistent among all the disasters he has worked is that disaster makes stupid differences like the shade of ones skin disappear. Everyone is in this together. I hate to see the Episcopal Church grovel in false humility because they are jumping on the racism bandwagon. "Oh look how pious we are, we're apologizing for racism." If we truly want to rid ourselves or racism, our behavior will change to treat all people equally regardless of the darkness or lightness of their skin. And while I refuse to treat anyone differently because of the color of their skin, I refuse to apologize for the color of my own.

     
  • At 3/22/2010 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    One “Poor White Peoples” Response
    (Or, This Honky's Turn To Talk)

    I don’t want your sympathy.
    I don’t want your sarcasm.
    I just want simple human respect.

    I’m not responsible for slavery.
    I’m not responsible for Jim Crow.
    My mother wasn’t even born yet.

    I never kept you out.
    I never took your seat.
    I can barely remember segregation.

    I don’t deserve your anger.
    I don’t deserve your hate.
    I certainly don’t treat you like that.

    I’m not out to get you.
    I’m not out to hurt you.
    So, don’t stereo type me with that.

    I see you as a person.
    I see you as God’s own.
    What more can one expect?

    I don’t want your sympathy.
    I don’t want your sarcasm.
    I just want your respect.

    @ copyright April 2001, by T. M. M.

     
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3/30/2006

A Matter of Priorities

One recent suvey by the Barna Group reveal that 62% of Americans identify themselves as being "deeply religious." A second survey showed that 34% of the adult population (76 million people) "has not attended any type of church service or activity, other than a special event such as a funeral or wedding, during the past six months."

Perhaps it is a matter of priorities as the first survey also found that 51% percent of Americans place their highest priority on family with just 16% making faith that top priority. It is understandable that many would make that choice. I place a high priority on my family as well. By the way, the other priorities were: health (7%), lifestyle (5%), vocational matters (3%), money (3%), achieving success (3%), friendships (1%), leisure pursuits (1%), and having influence (1%). But scripture tells us that God must come first, and that this will help create a better family. So the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you."
—Matthew 6:33

In our archives, you will find pro-church-attendance religion columns:
Create a sense of community in church,
Why a non-believer may want a church,
Christianity is a team sport,
The dollar value of attending church, and
We are the messy, mystical Body of Christ;
and the sermons
Baptism and Community and
Why bother with church?

Apparently I preach and write about little else.

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

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3/29/2006

The deep, dazzling darkness of God

“There is in God (some say),
A deep but dazzling darkness.”
—Henry Vaughn

Dazzling darkness is just the sort of paradox writers of the middle ages and previous often used to describe how the deep and hidden things of God can break into our lesser understanding of God. In the Exodus account, we are told of Moses entering a cloud to experience God more deeply. Solomon asserted that God has said he will live in deep darkness. Alongside the imagery of God as light, we also find scripture that speaks of darkness. We learn from this darkness imagery primarily that God is God and we are not. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, God’s ways are not our ways.

In a sermon titled The Dark Night, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ puts it like this,
If you think devotional practices, theological insights, even charitable actions give you some sort of a purchase of God, you are still playing games. On the other hand, if you can accept and even rejoice in the experience of darkness, if you can accept that God is more than an idea that keeps your religion or philosophy or politics tidy—then you may find a way back to religion, philosophy, or politics, to an engagement with them that is more creative because you are more aware of the oddity, the uncontrollable quality of truth at the heart of all things.
God cannot be controlled. Sometimes we will seek God and not find God, not because God is not there, for God is present in the silence, but because God avoids our every attempt at making God predictable, tame, safe.

Carry this with you as we continue our journey through the season of Lent to Easter. When you reach out to God and experience darkness and silence, God is in that darkness and silence. Sometimes darkness and silence are the only ways the God of light and word can get our attention. Don’t give up on God but pray for a deeper experience of him even as you feel most deeply God’s absence.

Note:
The above is adapted from a sermon in our archives, The Darkness of God

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

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3/28/2006

I am a Christian

writer Maya Angelouby Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on!

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow.
Note:
Abdul Rahman has been set free. He is the Afghani man who was awaiting trial on conversion to Christianity. Pressure from outside Afghanistan led to his release. Meanwhile, around the world, others continue to be persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

1 Comments:

  • At 3/28/2006 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Praise the Lord that Abdul is free.
    Wonderful poem.

     

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3/27/2006

Silent Slander

I ran across a link to a Thomas Watson (d. 1686) essay on the Ninth Commandment. What I find interesting is how this 17th century Christian writer noted that through our silence we can also slander someone. We need to have the courage to stand up for those falsy accused, even when remaining silent would be easier, or better for us. Good stuff to consider.
The mandatory part of the commandment implied is that we stand up for others and vindicate them when they are injured by lying lips. This is the sense of the commandment, not only that we should not slander falsely or accuse others; but that we should witness for them, and stand up in their defence, when we know them to be traduced.

A man may wrong another as well by silence as by slander, when he knows him to be wrongfully accused, yet does not speak in his behalf. If others cast false aspersions on any, we should wipe them off.

When the apostles were filled with the wine of the Spirit, and were charged with drunkenness, Peter openly maintained their innocence. ‘These are not drunken, as ye suppose.’ Acts 2: 15.

Jonathan knowing David to be a worthy man, and all those things Saul said of him to be slanders, vindicated him. ‘David has not sinned against thee; his works have been to thee-ward very good. Wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?’ 1 Sam 19: 4, 5.

When the primitive Christians were falsely accused for incest, and killing their children, Tertullian wrote a famous apology in their vindication.

This is to act the part both of a friend and of a Christian, to be an advocate for another, when he is wronged in his good name.

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3/26/2006

Visitors and opinions sought

Come and GrowThe Episcopal Church is trying to improve its online presence. They are asking for a variety of people to visit the Visitor's Center portion of the website and then fill out a very quick and easy survey. Take a look at the Visitor's Center website here and then take the survey here. It won't take but a few minutes.

One area I found interesting at the Visitor's center was the amazingly thorough An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church. The entry that caught my eye (out of the hundreds there) is the one for:

Cathedral Car
Bishop William D. Walker of North Dakota faced many difficulties in his missionary work. He conceived the idea of a traveling chapel which would carry the church to those outlying places where there were no facilities for services.
the cathedral carIn 1889 he approached friends in the east for money to build a railway chapel. The sixty-foot car was built by the Pullman Palace Car Company at a cost of $3,000. Eighty persons could be seated on portable chairs in the coach. Painted on the car were the words: "The Church of the Advent," and "The Cathedral Car of North Dakota." Bishop Walker sometimes referred to the car as the "Roaming Catholic Cathedral." The Cathedral Car was sold in 1901.
Our own Diocese of Georgia has no Cathderal (or primary church of the diocese) and our Bishop, Henry Louttit, spends his time on the road in his big Ford Expedition with its distinctive tag "Aslan" for the Lion who is the Jesus' character in C.S. Lews' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought that was the cathedral car. I guess one does learn something new every day.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 11/17/2012 6:28 PM, Blogger Jerry LaBoda said…

    Just a note to say "Thank You!" for sharing the photos of the Cathedral Car of North Dakota. As a railfan who has an ongoing interest in all forms of passenger cars I try to keep my eyes open for any shots of Chapel cars because they were an important part of early railroad history.

     

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3/25/2006

Meager becomes overflowing

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, the Gospel of John recounts Jesus feeding a crowd of thousands with five barley loaves and two fish. As with other miracles in John's Gospel, this is referred to as a "sign" for it points to Jesus' identity. As the Gospel says,
"When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."
The Rev. Barbara Beam is vicar of St. Nicholas Church in Noel, Missouri notes that it was Jesus presence that made the difference that day. In preaching on this passage she noted that is still true:
Jesus IS with us. We must remember that it is the presence of Christ that makes possible anything we may be able to accomplish. We come bringing our meager resources, our meager selves, saying, along with Andrew, "But what is this when the need is so great?" And Jesus takes what we offer and somehow it becomes enough—not just barely enough, but overflowing—just as the fragments of leftover loaves and fishes overflowed and filled twelve baskets. Our offering is transformed—and so are we, because now God can use us to make a difference in the world.

There is one more thing we must remember to do. Following the example of Christ, we must never forget to give thanks for all that we have been given. Most especially, let us give thanks for the opportunities we are given to be instruments of God's love and peace, right here in the little corner of God's world where we find ourselves.
In the archives is the sermon, The Story of Bread which tells of the two types of bread found in scripture and their importance for how we live our lives.

Note: Today is the Feast of the Annunciation, on which we recall the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would be blessed among all women to become the mother of the Messiah. This date was selected as it falls nine months exactly before Christmas Day, the Feast of the Nativity. As noted in the post on New Year's Day, March 25 was the first day of the year for more than 1,200 years of Christian history.

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3/24/2006

We will hurt and be hurt

Forgiveness is the act of admitting we are like other people. We are prone to make mistakes that cause confusion, inflict pain, and miscommunicate our intentions. We are the recipients of these human errors and the perpetrators. There is no way we can avoid hurting others or being hurt by others, because this is exactly the nature of our imperfection.

the cycle of interaction is not always irenic, or peacefulThe only choice we have is to reconcile ourselves to our own flaws and the flaws in other people, or withdraw both from our humanness and our connection to the sacred....

To fully live, we must choose to enter freely the cycle of interaction in which we will hurt and be hurt, forgive and be forgiven, and move on with love intact....Lack of forgiveness destroys the peace in our hearts.
—Christina Baldwin in Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest

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3/23/2006

Potential for Perfection?

The Rev. Bill Kolb writes,
I was reminded of something I was taught at seminary by a great theologian—a native of Meridian, Mississippi—the Rev. Albert T. Mollegen, or "Molly," as we all called him. One day in class he was answering a question about a particularly difficult passage from St. Matthew's Gospel, "…Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." We students were having a tough time imagining that Jesus had called us to be perfect, perfect just as God is perfect. Molly told us something that has helped me ever since. What is meant by this instruction about our lives is more clearly expressed this way: "Be perfect within your potential for perfection just as God is perfect within God's potential for perfection."

Now I know that I do not have the potential, in this life, for perfection. I am human, therefore imperfect. So the standard against which I need to measure myself is most certainly not God—we know that God IS perfect. The standard against which I should measure myself is, at best, my potential for excellence but never perfection. We all have the potential for excellence. It is when we think we can be perfect that we get into trouble.
The full text of this is part of a sermon on the portion of The Lord's Prayer on forgiveness and is found online here.

I'm not sure if I want to lower the bar quite so readily as Mollegen, though I do agree that God knows us well and does not judge us against an unattainable standard. A slightly different take on this passage is found in the sermon Become Like God which is in our archives. What do you think? In what way can we be perfect as God is perfect?

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

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3/22/2006

Praise music vs. hymns

Praise songs from a hymn perspective
our musicians on Sunday morningAn old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended a big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses?" said his wife. "What are those?"

"They're sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer.

"What's the difference?" asked the wife.

The farmer said, "Well, if I said, 'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' that
would be a hymn. But if I said, 'Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,' that would be a praise chorus."

Hymns from a praise perspective
Carol plays a hymn on Christmas DayA young Christian went to his local church usually, but one weekend attended a small-town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."

"Hymns," said his wife, "What are those?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.

The young man said, "Well it's like this: If I were to say to you, 'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry.
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by,
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain?
There in their heads is no shadow of sense.
Hearkenest they in God's sun or His rain,
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea, those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

"Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."

—from an anonymously circulating email.

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3/21/2006

Reject Christ or Die

This is the choice facing Abdul Rahman, an Afghani man who converted to Christianity. The laws of Afghanistan permit Christianity, but prohbit conversion. Rahman's conversion came 16 years ago when he was working alongside Christian aid workers in Pakistan. The issue came before the courts now as part of a custody battle with his estranged family over his two children.

Articles on Rahman are found at:
BBC News
ABC News
Associated Press via The Boston Globe

the judge displays the Bible taken from Rahman at his arrestThe 41-year old Rahman was carrying a Christian Bible at the time of his arrest and does not deny his faith in Jesus Christ. The office of Afghan's president has said that they will not interfere in the case. Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told BBC News, "We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him."

Prosecutor Abdul Wasi told the Associated Press, "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one." Wasi went on to say, "We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."

Barring his rejection of Jesus and conversion back to Islam, the death penalty is in fact likely, though not yet a given. Pray for Abdul Rahman as he faces this ultimate test of faith.

3 Comments:

  • At 3/21/2006 11:40 AM, Anonymous William said…

    What an example! While so many of us are unwilling (or afraid) to proclaim our faith here in a nation where freedom of religion is one of the pillars or our republic, this man stands by his faith while surrounded by enemies.

    He is clearly someone who has met and been changed by our risen Lord.
    Psalm 23 says it all.

    Sadly, he seems headed for martyrdom. Every one in every corner of Christendom should lift this brave man and his family up in prayer and ask God to give us the courage to follow his example.

     
  • At 3/22/2006 7:25 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    There is an update on this story on this page at ABC News at which it is claimed he may not be fit to stand trial. Rahman looks happy in the photo on the page, which may unnerve prosecutors, but is not atypical in Christian martyrs.

     
  • At 3/22/2006 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That may be their way of saving face without having to kill him.
    —William

     

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3/20/2006

Back to Biloxi

the ruins of Redeemer, BiloxiKing of Peace is part of the group of partner churches working to assist The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi, Mississippi with ongoing recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We have been asked to supply additional crew members for the following upcoming weeks:

May 1-6, July 15-22
and November 6-13

Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Bethesda, Maryland will be going down to work in Biloxi from May 1-6. All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Frederick, Maryland will be leading groups July 15-22 and November 6-13. On any of these trips, accommodations will be at Camp Biloxi, the Lutheran-Episcopal Disaster Response area set up on the grounds of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Work will be available for anyone at any skill level and can range from working at Camp Biloxi itself in the kitchen or tool shed to cleaning up debris to rebuilding houses. Any willing workers will find something within their range of abilities.

The accommodations are bunk beds, hot showers (in a shower trailer on the grounds) and porta potties. Food is provided on site in a dining tent. Participants are expected to pay $20 per day to offset the cost to the church. Scholarship for this is available from King of Peace. If you have any questions, or want to sign up to go one of these weeks, contact me at the church, (912) 510-8958 and I will get you more information, release forms, etc.

Some photos of Camp Biloxi and other information on the Church of the Redeemer are found online at kingofpeace.org/redeemer.htm

In the archives are the previous posts on my trip to Biloxi in early February: Hope on the Gulf Coast, More from Biloxi, and Perspective

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

Camp Biloxi

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God's seed

The famed American Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968) wrote,
There are two things you have to look out for, two extremes: On the one hand, an impractical realism, and on the other hand, a sort of passive realism. The impractical idealism is the kind that says, "I've worked it out beforehand, and that's the way it's got to be." On the other hand, the passive kind of realism says, "Well, this is the way it is, what can I do?" And just does nothing.

Both these views are basically static. They never get anywhere. In between, there is the kingdom view, which is:

"In the reality which I have and am now, there is a possibility for growth which God has put there. There's a seed God has planted there and is going to make grow, and what I have to provide is the love and assent that's going to permit it to grow."

1 Comments:

  • At 3/20/2006 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Churches tend to fall in the "this is the way it's always been done" mentality and they need to start looking for more ways to grow spiritually with new ideas.

     

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3/19/2006

What if we didn't exist?

an aerial view of King of Peace
Today, God will be worshipped at King of Peace and in more than 100 other churches in our county alone (there are 159 counties in Georgia). It would seem redundant at best to have so many churches in this one place. God would seem to be more of a major property owner than is necessary. Yet, instead of wondering why so many, consider where we would be without them. What would Camden County be like if every Christian church in the county had never existed?

I read a statistic this week that, "the average church...provides $150,000 of social services to the community." I'm not sure of the accuracy of the data, but I do know it points to a reality that the whole community benefits from churches.

In starting King of Peace in 2000, one of my primary goals was that in 10 years, if King of Peace closed that people who never attended the church would be sad to see it go. The idea was that the new church would grow to become such an important part of the community, through the ministries it provided, that the community would miss the church if it went away. I think we have already arrived at that goal in 6 years. Through the Preschool, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, we have already become an important part of the lives of many people who will likely never attend King of Peace.

Each week's local newspaper always features something that is going on at King of Peace, often several events—we are booked pretty solid. Yesterday, the Habitat for Humanity homeowner training was taking place in another part of the building while our Quiet Day on forgiveness was going on. And the things taking place at the church building are not just some community event, but they are ministries as well. We do what we do as a natural outgrowth of the love of God we have experienced in Jesus Christ.

Looking around I also realize how important our fellow churches are to our community. I wouldn't want to imagine Camden County without its many churches worshipping and serving our Lord alongside us.

In the archives is the fairly recent religion column for the Tribune & Georgian that looks at it from a personal perspective, rather than a community-wide one, in telling of The Dollar Value of Attending Church.

There is also the sermon How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place which I preached at the dedication of the building for St. Margaret of Scotland in Moultrie, Georgia. The sermon warns of not making decisions for sake of the building, but for sake of the Gospel.

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

King of Peace seen (top right) alongside our nearest neighbor, Camden County High School

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3/18/2006

Church or Marketplace?

Jesus driving out merchantsIn tomorrow's Gospel reading we get the Gospel of John's account of Jesus cleaning out commerce from the Temple in Jerusalem. It says in part, "He told those who were selling the doves, 'Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!'"

I wonder about this passage as we have books for sale in the entry hall at King of Peace. Is there a difference between what was taking place in the Temple which Jesus opposed and that which is now taking place at King of Peace? I hope so, but that could be self-justification.

The doves were sold out of convenience for those wanting to honor God's commandments by offering the required sacrfices. We know from Luke's Gospel that Jesus own mother and father offered two doves in thanksgiving for his birth, though we don't know whether they brought them in or bought them in the Temple. The things we are selling are books not otherwise readily available in or county, which can help someone draw closer to God in this season of Lent. Is there any difference between the two?

coffeehouse churchI don't think that our current practice crosses over into making our house of prayer into a marketplace. But it is always worth considering our actions in the light of the Gospel. What do you think? Have we gone to far? What about churches that have a Starbucks in the lobby? I once bought a Starbucks coffee in the lobby of Chicago's Willow Creek Community Church while there for a conference. Would Jesus have joined me for a Cappuccino or tossed the Lattes out in the gutter?

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

2 Comments:

  • At 3/22/2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Jesus' issue with the people selling in the temple was not so much that they were selling, but that they were extorting for personal gain those who had come to make a sacrifice to the Almighty to preserve their souls and were cheating them in the process. I don't think the church offering things at cost or as a fundraiser is immoral as long as things are done appropriately and in good order. I do find a Starbucks inside the church disturbing. Someone IS making a personal gain on that one, I am sure. Jesus' example was one of being a servant. It's hard to say your are truly being a servant if you're turning a generous profit in the process.

     
  • At 12/22/2008 3:50 PM, OpenID stewarthines said…

    I wondered this my self when i was at Willow last spring. They have a book store a cafeteria a starbucks, they have EVERYTHING. it's like mall. I did not get to attend a service, but my wife went there for a year or so. She loves the place, however, from what she describes to me it's like a feel good session. They do great things but you do bring up a great point.

     

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3/17/2006

A miraculous event

In his book, Forgive and Get Your Life Back, the Rev. Dr. Dennis Maynard relates the following story:
The story is told of a little girl in a remote village who reported to her parents that she was having conversations with God. Her faith was so sincere and her descriptions so believable that the parents reported her experiences to the village priest. The priest was also astounded by what appeared to be a truly miraculous event. The priest reported the happenings to the bishop.

The bishop came to the village church for a visitation. He interviewed the little girl. He decided to test her experience. "Next time you talk with God," the bishop counseled her, "Ask God to list for you the sins that the bishop reported in his last confession."

A few weeks went by and the bishop returned to the village to meet with the little girl. "Did you ask God to list for you the sins that this bishop recited in his last confession?"

"Yes, I asked God for a list of you sins," the little girl responded.

"And what did God tell you?" the bishop asked.

The little girl began to laugh and dance around the room. "God told me he forgot!"

Note: Tomorrow, we will have a Quiet Day devoted to learning about the process of forgiveness at King of Peace from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Forgiveness is almost a selfish act
because of its immense benefits to the one who forgives.
—Lawana Blackwell

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3/16/2006

Pimp this blog?

Pimp your own nutcrackerI got a phone message at the church yesterday asking me to remove the blog entry from January 2, 2006 called Amusing Websites which told about:
Pimp My Nutcracker,
Make your own snowflake
and
color the nativity scene online
web pages (the last is hosted at King of Peace's website).

The caller, who did not identify herself was clearly offended by the post, which she said did not glorify God. I mentioned in the post that it was an effort not to have this blog take itself too seriously, which I do from time to time. I thought the context of the other more appropriate posts made it OK to share something that was simply amusing.

I am prepared to be wrong. Any thoughts? Should the January 2, 2006 post Amusing Websites be banished from the Internet?

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

5 Comments:

  • At 3/16/2006 7:01 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I read it again and I am not offended. It may not glorify God but it also doesn't insult Him. I wish I was clear on what offended her about it. I know that is never your intention. It doesn't really matter to me if it stays or goes. I can choose not to look at a lot of things on the web that don't glorify God.

     
  • At 3/16/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger St Michael's Episcopal Church said…

    Keep 'em all.

     
  • At 3/16/2006 11:41 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I think the issue was the word "pimp" as the caller referred to it as "that nutcracker site" without using the word. The issue may be the more current use of the term. As I confirmed at one online slang dictionary:

    pimp n 1. a male in charge of prostitutes. Note: in recent years, has come to mean nothing of the sort. Today it's a very ambiguous term, used as either a compliment or an insult towards a male. In its positive form, it means that the person is "cool." In its negative form, it insults their attitudes, clothing, or general behavior. ("He is such a pimp.")

    The term has changed and with regards to the nutcracker had to do with a style of dressing rather than an unseemly occupation.

     
  • At 3/16/2006 10:02 PM, Anonymous Loren said…

    Inoffensive and amusing...I was a fan of that one.

     
  • At 3/17/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    pondering:
    I certainly don't want to turn this into anything too serious, because I do agree that it is for fun. Just hear me out in this scenario. It actually seems silly as I try to write it.
    I have a huge and growing appetite right now. A friend does also, but the difference is that she is dieting and I am not dieting. She got short with me the other day about my "pigging out" around her and after feeling somewhat confused for a few days, I believe God revealed to me that if it offended her, I shouldn't do it. I have decided that I can just as easily munch on carrots around her than cookies and candy.
    Now, this web log thing came to my mind so I ask whether this is the same thing? What if you do remove "Amusing Websites" and then someone wants another one removed? Where do you draw the line?
    Just sharing is all. Thoughts? Should I duck?

     

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3/15/2006

God's Design

The Rev. Jon Hall writes in the March 2006 newsletter of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Harrodsburg, Kentucky,
staircase in a Shaker villageRecently I walked the grounds at Shaker Village. The simplicity and beauty of the architecture ministered to me deeply. Seeing the shapes and lines of Shaker design gave me the strong impression that the beauty we carve from and into is ultimately of God's design. Therefore the key is not to make the world reflect ornate busyness, but to reflect God's goodness. How do we do that? By creating God's handiwork whenever we invite the Lord to dwell in us. We share in God's abundant grace when we foster encouragement of our own faith lives and those around us. Lent is about making space and time to be with the very same One who created all of the world's most extravagent beauty. You too are beautiful and I pray that God's light continually shines on, in, and through you.

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3/14/2006

The slow work of God

a slot canyon in Utah
Trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will) will make them tomorrow.

Only God could say what
this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—the Rev. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

1 Comments:

  • At 3/15/2006 8:09 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I love that poem.
    One way I can related to that is about smoking. When I finally gave up worrying about it and admitted to God I couldn't quit, I began noticing other things He was showing me that I thought I couldn't do. It was very gradual, several years, but it was setting up circumstances to look back on and know without a doubt that it was Him working.
    "Trust the slow work of God" we want it now, or yesterday preferrably.
    Thanks for the blog.

     

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3/13/2006

What's Your Personality Type?




Your #1 Match: ENFP



The Inspirer
You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're qutie the storyteller!

You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

Your #2 Match: INFP



The Idealist
You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.
Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.
It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.
But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.

You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

The Episcopal Church is big on this sort personality test (the Myers-Briggs inventory) for whatever reason. The above shows my results. Curious about your type? Try this quiz: What's Your Personality Type?

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

2 Comments:

  • At 3/15/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always come out different. Mostly, I'm just "N" and other things are in play depending on stress, my mood, etc.

     
  • At 6/06/2017 12:16 PM, Blogger Marlene Saffan said…

    To avoid failing situation abiut boring beginning phrases, try to start your essay with writing something unexpected. Write your memory and get right to the point. have a glimpse at weblink for more info.

     

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3/12/2006

Who broke the wall?

the scene as found in The Brick Testament
A pastor asked a Sunday school children, "Who broke down the wall of Jericho?" A boy answered, "Not me, sir!" Upset, the pastor asked the teacher, "Is this typical?" She replied, "I believe this boy is honest, and I really don't think he did it."

The pastor went to on of the deacons. "I've known the boy and the teacher for years," said the deacon, "and neither of them would do such a thing." Aghast, the pastor went to the chairman of the church board. "Pastor," said the chairman, "let's not make an issue of of this. Let's just pay for the damage and charge it to the upkeep."

Note: Speaking of breaking down walls, Dancing on the Head of a Pin carries and update on an earlier story. The Rev. James Tramel, the convicted murderer ordained to the priesthood while in prison, was just given parole.

Joshua and the walls of Jericho

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3/11/2006

Radical expectation

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus makes clear the cost of discipleship in saying,
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
We can approach our faith as if it is all about self actualization—helping you to be the best you that you can be. Or we can approach faith as something to meet our needs and see ourselves as consumers of church and so seek out a church that meets our needs. There are many similar ways we can approach our faith. But Jesus challenges those who would follow him to die to themselves in order to live to God. As Daniel Berrigan put it, "If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood."

Jesus' words also come with the warning that whatever you profit in this life, even if it gains you the whole world, will not gain you anything in the next unless it is of God. For Jesus, the path to life is death. And if that wasn't clear, he lived out this teaching on Good Friday and then Easter.

Jesus does not call you anywhere he was not first willing to go, nor to anyplace he will not go with you now. But make no mistake that Jesus' call is a radical demand to place your relationship with him first no matter the costs.

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

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3/10/2006

Irenic Anniversary



Today marks the first anniversary for Irenic Thoughts as the first entry, with a link to the Ship-of-Fools Mystery Worshipper page, was posted here March 10, 2005. More than 350 entries later, I trust this web log has become a source for inspiration, humor, news, etc. for many of you who stop by.

As greatest hits on the web are determined by visitors and for blogs by comments, the #1 post from our first year was the October 10th post Going Too Far on my fake arrest for cocaine possession during a youth group trip. More recently the blog has generated comment (though not as voluminously) without the need for me to resort to being handcuffed.

Is there a type of entry you prefer? What do you get out of dropping in here at Irenic Thoughts?

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

1 Comments:

  • At 3/10/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    Thanks for keeping the blog up Frank and for being so honest in the posts. I enjoy reading all types that you enter, but I guess I prefer the ones that hit us closer to home, which makes sense. Some are of course way over my head but that's the case with everyone I guess.

     

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3/09/2006

How's your approval rating?

Cleobis and Biton: the ancient Greek ideal examples of good sonsI ran into an interesting thought in a post at Sunday! Sundae! Sunday!. Rhiannon writes,
I'm never going to have a 100% approval rating. No secular politician does and no religious figure even comes close. Hell, I'd be surprised if God hisownself would even make it past 50% in the Gallup polls most days and that's with favorable market conditions and a good report from the Fed.
How much do we concern ourselves with how others see us? That we consider ourselves through others eyes at all can be problematic as it is God's opinion (and our own opinion of ourselves based on that first one) that matter. So don't try to figure out the answer to the title of this blog entry based on how others see you. That's the wrong frame of reference. Your approval rating with God matters more than how your boss, co-workers, family and friends see you.

In the archives, the sermon The Good Life works on a similar theme in considering how can we know what is the highest and best way to live our lives.

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3/08/2006

The Day Religion Died

What follows is a devotion written by Vince Lichlyter based on the Jonah33 song "The Strangest Day" from their new CD of the same name.

Jonah33You can see a video of Vince's story here online which tells of his descent into drug addiction beginning at the age of 13 and his subsequent conversion to Christianity.

We all have to admit that Noah Webster was a pretty sharp guy. Not only did he give us the greatest reference book of all time, the accuracy of his dictionary has to be admired. Let’s give two of his definitions a quick glance:

Religion - "the belief in a God or group of gods to be worshiped."
Relationship - "the condition of being related; connection."

Genius! That’s what this is! So, when it comes to your walk with the Lord, are you a member of a religion or are you really involved in a relationship with Him? Are your beliefs just about something or truly in Someone? I’m not saying that religion or traditions are all bad, it’s just that when you are talking about Jesus Christ, relationship is just so much better! Let me explain.

Scripture tells us that even the demons know who Christ is. When Lucifer was booted out of heaven, he took a third of the heavenly host with him because they worshipped Lucifer instead of the Lord. So it’s safe to say that even demons have “religion.” They probably even have a “relationship” with Satan as well. Look around. The world is filled with sleepwalkers who settle for religion when they could have relationship. Or they settle for a relationship with a creation rather than with the Creator. Far too many of us are lulled into a false, inferior religion of habits, distractions, and addictions instead of being transformed by the insane truth that we can actually be related to God in Christ! Ephesians 1:5 says, "He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will."

The Strangest Day CD coverReligion provides identity (who you are), security (what you’re worth) and community (who you’re with). But, so can alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, gangs...and so can materialism, intellectualism, workaholism, and peer pressure. There’s only one REAL option: to wake up from whatever lifeless religion we practice and trade it all for a living relationship with Jesus Christ! Later in Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes:

"’Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.” Ephesians 5:13b-17

I didn’t wake up from my sleep walk until I was 21 years old. I was shaken awake by my parents’ prayers and by the strong love and witness of a youth pastor in my community. Isn’t it time all of us woke up? Or time we helped wake-up our friends? Don’t waste another day!

Today’s prayer: Lord, it IS the strangest day when we wake up to find that everything we think is real and meaningful ISN’T real or meaningful without You. Help me continue to lay aside anything that keeps me from growing closer to You. Lead me to share Your new life with my friends and family. Help me to understand Your will through Bible study, fellowship, and prayer with You. Thank you for the relationship I have with You through your grace and love. Amen

The band's name is taken straight from Jonah 3:3, which reads in part: "Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh." Here's another link to the same video of Vince's story here online.

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3/07/2006

Episcopal Bears?

Being a pastor does bring a variety of challenges. I read with interest how the Rev. Vienna Cobb Anderson presided over a bear funeral Saturday in Richmond, Virginia (shown at right, though Anderson is not in the photo). The bears were Zoo animals put down to test for rabies after a four year old had been bitten. Much has been written on it in the area including:

Bears' ashes buried near former habitat
Hard to Bear
Child's mother speaks out and
Why do bear's deaths illicit more sorrow than humans?

In a little web crawling to find out more about the priest who was asked to preside at the zoo funeral, I found an interesting article at Episcopal Life that told of Anderson's 25 years working with grief through a hospice, the St. Francis Center and several parish ministries. In that article, she said, "We are afraid of death. We don't know what to do. We don't know what to say. We need to learn that we don't need to know, we just need to love."

Of those (human) funerals she has worked with Anderson says, "People need the holy. They need the raw edge of holiness. They need to know that God is there in that rawness with them. They need to feel free to cry."

She went on to say, "We put Kleenex in every pew. Every single pew, to remind people that it is OK to cry. I let myself cry. It is when you let yourself be touched personally that you are able to really be moved, and to be moving and enable others to grieve ... and at the same time rejoice."

How appropriate for a priest who had long experience in helping humans work through grief at the loss of loved ones, to assist a city at coming to terms with the death of two zoo bears (Episcopalians or not), which many considered senseless.

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3/06/2006

Dad, Tell me about Elijah

Reading the Bible in a blacksmith's shop
In a recent issue of Spiritus Gladius, the newsletter of St. Paul the Apostle Episcopal Church in Savannah, Harry Shipps, retired bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, wrote,

One need not be a theologian or biblical scholar to be at home with some of the great Bible stories, such as the notable ones listed below, which comprise our priceless cultural heritage. Familiarity with them is not likely to occur on a Sunday morning. Group Bible Study is great but often more focused on theology. Reading the Bible in the home with children, old fashioned and non-electronic, can be fun and help us all recall who we are and where we came from.

Are you or your children familiar with some of the delightful, sometimes humorous, often intriguing events that occured in the Old Testament? Get out you Bible (a contemporary translation, not a paraphrase) and delight your children (and yourself) with these stories.

  • Creation, Genesis 1-2
  • Adam & Eve, Genesis 3
  • Noah & the Ark, Genesis 7-9
  • Abraham and Isaac, Genesis 22
  • Jacob's Ladder, Genesis 28
  • Joseph's coat of many colors, Genesis 37
  • God calls Moses, Exodus 3
  • Crossing the Red Sea, Exodus 14
  • The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20
  • Balaam's Ass speaks, Numbers 22
  • Joshua captures Jericho, Joshua 6
  • Gideon & his army, Judges 7
  • Samson & Delilah, Judges 16
  • David & Goliath, I Samuel 17
  • David & Bathseheba (PG-13), II Samuel 11-12
  • Elijah vs. Prophets of Baal, I Kings 18
  • Elijah taken up into heaven, II Kings 2
  • God calls Isaiah, Isaiah 6
  • Jonah and the "whale," Jonah 1-2
In the archives is the religion column An Introduction to the Bible.

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3/05/2006

Love Bade Me Welcome


Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them:
let my shame Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

—George Herbert, 1593-1633

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3/04/2006

Enter the water and walk the desert

Jesus' baptismIn the Gospel reading for tomorrow Mark tells of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. This reading falls on this First Sunday of Lent as the Lent is a season of preparation for celebrating Easter and Easter was considered the primary day for baptisms (specifically the night-long Easter vigil service).

After his baptism, Jesus is driven into the wilderness by the spirit. He goes from too much water to too little water very quickly as he moves from being plunged into the Jordan River to being driven into the desert for 40 days. Either too much or too little water can be lethal.

John Kavanaugh of Saint Louis University notes,
Lent invites us to enter the water and to walk the desert—to stare death itself in the face. Lent focuses on the two dominant symbols of our terror and asks us to pass through them to the other side.

God incarnate invites us. Jesus calls us to enter the waters of death with him, so as to rise. He leads us through the desert of godforsakenness to arrive at the land of promise. Lent is about our destiny.

Having not sinned himself, Jesus (Paul reminds us) became our sin and tasted its fruit of death in order to disarm it. As the "promised one," the promise of God, he also transforms the great images of dread to signs of life.

Christ is water that does not drown us but slakes our thirst and cleanses our sin. And he himself walks all the deserts of our lives to be the path through exile and serve as food and drink along the way.

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3/03/2006

John and Charles Wesley

John WesleyToday, in the Episcopal calendar of saints, we remember John and Charles Wesley, brothers whose ministry included time surving in our own Diocese of Georgia. While the movement they started within the Church of England may have grown into a separate denomination, the two remained Anglicans their whole lives (even if taking actions that made the division likely). The movement they started became known as Methodists when there were still but a handful in the group. At Oxford College they were given this name as a term of derision from a student who, according to John, did so "in allusion to the ancient sect of Physicians so called, from their teaching, that almost all diseases might be cured by a specific method of diet and exercise, or from their observing a more regular method of study and behaviour than was usual with those of their age and station."

Charles WesleyTheir Method of being strict in observing the worship of the Book of Common Prayer took off and in time became a thriving denomination of its own. When it was still a movement within the Anglican Church, John Wesley wrote out The Character of a Methodist spelling out what a Methodist was not saying
THE distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort. His assenting to this or that scheme of religion, his embracing any particular set of notions, his espousing the judgment of one man or of another, are all quite wide of the point. Whosoever, therefore, imagines that a Methodist is a man of such or such an opinion, is grossly ignorant of the whole affair; he mistakes the truth totally.
Instead of those sorts of distinguishing marks of doctrine, John wrote that a Methodist is determined by their faith alone. He wrote,
"What then is the mark? Who is a Methodist, according to your own account?" I answer: A Methodist is one who has "the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him;" one who "loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul; which is constantly crying out, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee! My God and my all! Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever!"
That being the case, I would like to be a Methodist myself, though I prefer to do so within the Episcopal Church. While not for all Christians, it is where I can most truly live into and nurture that "love of God shed abroad in my heart" with the liturgy that nurtured the Wesleys. But I give thanks today for the millions of Methodists (in denomination as well as Method) and the ongoing impact that two priests who briefly served in our diocese continue to have on the world.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 3/03/2006 2:55 PM, Anonymous KAY said…

    THIS MADE ME GO AND LOOK UP SOME NOTES THAT I HAD TAKEN ON SOME OUR WONDERFUL HYMNS. AFTER SOME DIGGING, THIS IS WHAT I HAD JOTTED DOWN: CHARLES WESLEY WROTE OVER 6,500 HYMNS (COULD THIS BE CORRECT?) AMONG THEM, "O, FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING", "HARK, THE HERALD ANGELS SING". JOHN WESLEY TRAVELLED OVER 250,000 MILES IN THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL. HE AND HIS BROTHER CHARLES, WENT TO SAVANNAH TO WORK AS MISSIONARIES TO THE INDIANS. ON THE SHIP GOING TO GEORGIA, THEY MET SOME MORAVIANS AND WERE IMPRESSED BY THEIR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH AND JOY IN THE LORD. ("O, FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING" WAS INSPIRED BY THEM.) Thanks for the writing about the Wesley brothers. There is a very well written piece about Charles Wesley on the wikipedia website that your readers may enjoy. Peace.

     

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3/02/2006

The commandment of men or God?

As Lent begins, this story from the 4th century Egyptian desert serves as a reminder that there are sometimes good reasons to lighten whatever you have taken on for Lent for the sake of another:
stone carving of a monk of the egyptian desertThey made a rule in Scete that they would fast a whole week before celebrating Easter. But it happened that in the week some brethren came to Abbot Moses, from Egypt, and he cooked them a little vegetable stew. And when they saw the smoke coming up from his cell, the clerics of the church that is in Scete exclaimed: Look, there is Moses breaking the rule, and cooking food in his cell. When he comes up here we’ll tell him a thing or two. But when the Sabbath came, the clerics saw the great holiness of Abbot Moses, and they said to him: O Abbot Moses, you have broken the commandment of men, but have strongly bound the commandment of God.

1 Comments:

  • At 3/02/2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous William said…

    Is it more important to fast with our mouths or with our hearts? Like prayer, fasting should be done without calling attention to oneself. As you so correctly point out, it is our intent, our relationship with God that matters.

     

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3/01/2006

Ash Wednesday

The Rev. John Beddingfield writes in Angelus On Line Newsletter, of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in New York

Archaeologists tell us that the people of Israel were not alone in using ashes in rituals of purification. Ashes appear in Phoenician burial art and Arabic expressions. Ashes were a sign of grief, mourning, humiliation and penitence. When Job loses everything, he sits among the ashes. Cursed and overrun by enemies, the Psalmist "eats ashes like bread, and mingles tears with drink." Ashes are what are left after destruction. After chaos or catastrophe, ashes are what remain.

Ashes also remind us of a common origin. The second chapter of Genesis tells of how we were created from the dust of the ground. Though we may spend our lives trying to distinguish ourselves from others, running after success and trying to feel different from others, the dust and ashes remind us that we are all made of the same stuff. We are reminded not only of our beginning but also of our end. On the First Day of Lent, ashes are imposed with the words, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Those words apply to us all.

While ashes may signify and remind, they also invite. They invite us to repentance. They invite us to turn again to God and to receive new life. Isaiah brings glad tidings to the people of Israel, "to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning." Ashes are not the end but are just the beginning. They begin a season that moves us through silence and longing into a season of joy and resurrection....May the ashes we receive be a sign of our humility and our penitence. May they remind us of our individual sins and the complexity of corporate sin. But more than anything, may the ashes invite us into God's presence, into God's love and into God's gift of new life.

3 Comments:

  • At 3/01/2006 7:43 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Some of the photos from last night's Mardi Gras party at King of peace are now online. These are from early in the event. Look for more photos to be added this evening. Also, remember our 12 Noon Ash Wednesday worship service is at Christ Episcopal Church on Wheeler St. in St. Marys. 7 p.m. tonight the two churches will join together at King of Peace for the Ash Wednesday worship service.

     
  • At 3/01/2006 9:39 AM, Blogger St Michael's Episcopal Church said…

    Where did you get that shirt????

     
  • At 3/02/2006 6:55 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The rather noticeable clergy shirt in the Mardi Gras photos came off the rack from Woolrich and was adapted into a clergy shirt. Most of the ones I have adapted came from Wal-Mart.

     

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