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.

5/31/2006

Make a pearl (or die)

The Rev. James Liggett writes,
Everybody knows that oysters sometimes make pearls; and that fascinating reality has been used to illustrate many a point. But here’s an old truth said in a new way, a way that gives it more power. It seems pearls aren’t automatic. When an oyster -- who must ordinarily have an enviably calm life lying around eating soft, pleasant food -- somehow gets a bit of sand inside its shell, then one of two things will happen. The oyster will create a pearl, or it will die. The pearl, a thing of beauty and value, is the oyster’s way of staying alive after something very irritating has gotten past its shell, into its heart...

And we get confused when we forget that the Lord does not call us to be powerful or effective as the world sees power and effectiveness. The Lord calls us to be faithful -- to live his life, to follow his steps. Part of that involves remembering that, of the twelve disciples, Judas was the most effective at using both money and the powers that be to get what he wanted. Just trying to fix things doesn’t get rid of our problems, either.

This is grit, not pearls. We don’t have a list of rules telling us how not to be of the world because we know that it isn’t that simple. Still, we do know, and we must never forget, that the way we treat each other, and the way we treat our bodies, and our time, and our money, and the things we call “mine” -- these are and will remain very important. And our Lord has something to say about them. We also know that all the good works, reforms, and changes we make, as important as they are, will not take away the problem, either. This side of the Kingdom, the world as Jesus spoke of it of business as usual, this will always, in one or another, be the alternative to faithfulness, and not the means to it.

We need to make our own pearls, or we will die. We need to look honestly at the world, at the culture around us, and at we are -- and who the Lord would have us be. We must always make choices. We may even discover that Jesus was right, and that, in one way or another, the world will hate us. But the Lord continues to pray for us, we are promised all of the help we need. And pearls come from the oddest places.
the full text is online here and here is a related post: Growth from Pain and Suffering.

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5/30/2006

Love the questions


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be
given you because you would not be able
to live them. And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then
gradually, without noticing it, live along some
distant day into the answers.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet
I know that sometimes I want an answer now, a solution now, and for whatever reason it can not yet come. Not until I stop working it out my way. Not until I stop asking. Not until I am still and waiting and at peace with the wait, or as Rilke puts it "Loving the question."

I am reminded of an earlier post, Trust in the slow work of God, which quoted Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. In part he wrote
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.
The full text is online here: Trust in the slow work of God.

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

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5/29/2006

Letting Go


Letting Go does not mean to stop caring—it means not to take responsibility for someone else.

Letting Go is not to cut myself off from others—it's realizing I can't control others.

Letting Go is to admit my own powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

Letting Go is not to try to change or blame others—but to make the most of myself.

Letting Go is not to care for—but to care about.

Letting Go is not to fix—but to be supportive.

Letting Go is not to be in the middle of arranging—but to be on the sidelines, cheering.

Letting Go is not to be protective—it is to permit another to face reality.

Letting Go is not to deny—but to accept.

Letting Go is not to nag, scold, or argue—it is to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

Letting Go is not to adjust to my desires—but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

Letting Go is not to criticize and regulate others—but to be what I can become.

Letting Go is not to regret the past—but to grow and live for the future.

Letting Go is to fear less, and love more.
—from the newsletter of Church of the Holy Cross in Shreveport, Louisiana

2 Comments:

  • At 5/29/2006 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Letting go is no easy task! Using the very words from the previous posting relating to Baptism, we can say,

    "I will,(let go) with God’s help." For we know that we cannot do all these things (letting go) without the assistance of God working in our hearts and minds. As we do have the power of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have no excuse for not conforming our lives more and more to Jesus' life.

    With the wisdom and discernment given to me (us) through the incredible power of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can endure the painful application of letting go and allowing God to work in and through all life situations, whether it be letting go of a child, a job situation, or whatever. I believe that God is just waiting for me to move over, to let go, so that HE can finally get into the situation to (get the job done correctly, without any help from me!!) and everything in the situation will turn out to be for HIS GLORY!!

     
  • At 6/20/2012 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Outstanding . . .spirit filled words!

     

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5/28/2006

Marked as Christ's Own

Joe's baptism

Joe's baptismAs noted in the post below, Joe Ratulowski was baptized today at King of Peace. Two photos of the joyous event are shared here.

Today's sermon A Marked Man is now also online.

peace,
Frank+

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Marked as Christ's own

Tre's baptism

Tre is baptizedLast Sunday Jackie "Tre" King was baptized at King of Peace (pictured here). Today Joseph Ratulowski will also be received into the household of God through baptism. Joe's will be the 49th baptism at King of Peace in the just over five years since the church was founded and the 13th adult baptism.

My favorite line in the baptism service is when right after a person is baptized, following an ancient Christian tradition, I mark the sign of a cross on the person's forhead in oil and say the person's name and add "You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own foreever."

We could decide that this is entitlement. The indelible sign of the cross on our forheads marks us as a Christian, so no matter what we will go to heaven when we die. It may be true that we will go to heaven, but we are marked as Christ's own not just for the future, but for the here and now.

Tre is sealed in baptism with the sign of the crossWe are marked as Christ's own and then expected to go out and live like it. If you wonder what a life lived as Christ's own looks like, then look no further than the five questions Joe will answer in today's worship just after affirming his belief in the ancient Apostle's Creed:
Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The answer given to each of these questions is "I will, with God’s help." For we know that we cannot do all these things without the assistance of God working in our hearts and minds. But as we do have the power of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have no excuse for not conforming our lives more and more to Jesus' life.

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

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5/27/2006

Oil and Water

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus prays
I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
The Rev. Richard J. Fairchild suggests teaching children about the in-the-world-not-of-it principle filling a clear bottle about 1/3 full with water, and add enough brightly-colored food coloring to make it readily visible. Add vegetable oil until the bottle is about 2/3 full. The oil will float on the water, but when the jar is shaken vigorously, the oil and water will appear to become one. But, if left to stand for a brief period of time, (about 30 seconds) they will separate again. Then tell the children,
There are two things in this bottle. Can you guess what they are? Colored water - and oil. When we look at this bottle with oil and water in it, the first thing that we notice is that they remain separate from one another. Now, watch what happens when I shake the bottle. The water and oil appear to become one.

Have the oil and water really become one? Let's let the bottle stand for a little while and see what happens. Look! The water and oil have become separate again. That shows us that even when they were all mixed together, they were never really one.

This bottle is a pretty good picture of what Jesus wants us to be like in this world we live in.

Before Jesus was crucified, he prayed for his disciples. He prayed that as they lived in the world, they would not become part of the world. He wanted them to add the gifts he had given them to the world - just as the water added some color to the oil - but he did not want them to become stained by the world. He wanted them to remain the person God made them to be. He wanted them to know his love and to share that love with others.

This prayer is for us too. Jesus said that just as his Father sent him into the world, he has sent us into the world. We must live in this world, but Jesus has called us to be separate. Just as this colored water remains separate from the oil, Jesus wants us to be separate from the world.

Dear Jesus, help us, as we live in this world, to remain faithful to your call to be separate from the world.

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5/26/2006

eU2charist

Photo from a eU2charist

This announcement is from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Jesup, Georgia:
It is in the spirit of this diversity that I am pleased to announce a very special evening in the life of St. Paul’s. On Friday, June 2nd at 7PM, we will be offering a service which is known as the U2 Eucharist. Basically, it is a service which uses the communion liturgy from “Enriching Our Worship” along with “hymns” of recorded songs from the fabulous and timeless rock band U2. The congregation is invited to sing along – the words are printed in the bulletin – as loudly and enthusiastically as we can. Because Bono, U2's lead singer, has probably the strongest voice and the greatest tonal range of any singer alive, we can all relax knowing that our voices will be beautifully and powerfully led!

Please spread the word about this unique evening. The excitement and buzz is already spreading through Jesup and the entire Diocese so let’s make sure that everyone who would enjoy this worship experience is invited and welcomed..

One last thing. I heard someone here at St. Paul’s said, “If we can do U2, when are we doing a Merle Haggard service?” All I can say to that is that I’m already on it – although I think Johnny Cash might work better...
This U2-inspired communion service is very much of the moment. Haven't heard of it yet? There are typical news articles on an Episcopal church's u2charist here: Church holds U2 Eucharist and here: ‘U2charist’ gains worldwide fame .

Over at Sarah Laughed, Dylan who "was among the organizers of a eU2charist in April of 2004, and was a contributor to Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog", writes a thoughtful post U2 and Liturgy. She writes
Preaching inspired by U2 and the GospelSometimes people experience shows where something goes "wrong" as the best shows of all because of the ways in which one person's weakness brings out another's strength. The Edge sings lead vocals for a verse or a song when Bono's voice is gone. The rhythm section keeps the song going when a key guitar string breaks. The crowd's energy carries Bono along when his father has died and Bono's grief is fresh and raw, and strength is surprisingly made perfect in weakness.
While Dylan is particularly good in the way she writes about U2 and liturgy, this sort of thinking is common around the web, particularly among those in what are sometimes called the emergent church. Here's another example: 7 things I learnt from Bono about worship leading.

If you want to experience this form of communion for yourself, the service in Jesup is a pleasant evening drive away. The Rev. Chris Schuller and the congregation at St. Paul's will enjoy worshipping with you.

As for me, I listen to U2 with some regularity and certainly I get what those who put on a eU2charist are talking about when they connect to the spirituality in the band's music and the liturgical nature of their concerts. Yet, I am not jumping on the bandwagon to create a similar worship service at King of Peace. Done well, I imagine it could be quite moving. Done poorly, it would be an embarassing dip into the Spirit of the Age, which we would all laugh about in later years. What do you think?

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

Dylan is in the yellow circle in this concert photo

6 Comments:

  • At 5/26/2006 6:52 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    It sounds exciting and I imagine God thinks just the same about it. It does seem as though people show their emotions more so at a concert or sporting event. This eucharist with U2 music will probably stir up some emotions not normally stirred. I think this is a great thing to draw the youth or unchurched. I would actually enjoy something like this from time to time.
    I do ponder however, about Christians stuck with what they "feel" and not moving past the goose bumps to settle down with knowing and communing with God. I am not saying it's a bad thing, just a thing is all.
    Oh, and the merle haggard eucharist or the johnny cash eucahrist, not.....

     
  • At 5/26/2006 12:30 PM, Anonymous Steve+ said…

    What happens when we replace the hymn sung by angels and archangels and all the company of heaven with one that is sung by rockers and rappers and all the company of the mosh pit? That may not be fair - God knows the Church has Christianized many pagan things and we can Christianize rock-n-roll. But my concern is whether the eu2charist is catching on because the words are far and beyond a theological gem or if because people like the music of U2 and think Bono is a great guy? I read somewhere that the Church can try to give people what they want but the problem is - the people don't know what they want. My other question is, and Celeste has brought this up, how do you move youth and the unchurched who have been brought in by the eu2charist to the principal service of the Eucharist that is not U2? Can they go from Bono to Prayer B? I don't know. It will be interesting to see.

     
  • At 5/27/2006 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Frank.

    I confess I have never written a blog or a comment on any blogsite so it was fun to see the U2 Service description on yours. As one of the K. of P. bloggers mentioned, the service is mainly gauged at reaching folks who have never set foot in a church. I am also convinced that there are a number of people who aren't fed by much of contemporary Christian music but who are stirred by what we've placed outside the "sacred music" fence. For me, Rock n' Roll has been the most consistent and reliable door to God since I was 8 years old. When Nirvana plays and I hear Kurt Cobain scream out every known emotion in a single song, I'm hearing Holy Spirit even though I know the same song to others might sound like proof of Satan's existence.

    As for getting this service right, or doing it well, please keep us in your prayers. Unlike the photo on your blog-site, we won't have projected lyrics and graphics, but I am sure we will have joy and prayer-filled hearts. We also have great acoustics in the sanctuary so we know the music will sound really good at just a medium volume. It will all be in the name of Love. Also, if you think it matters to folks, you can tell them that the offering will go to Bono's D.A.T.A. (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) charity.

    Again thanks.
    Peace, Chris

     
  • At 5/28/2006 2:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We went to Dublin right after 9/11, and one thing that gave me the creeps was that the words people used to describe Bono was "our Messiah". A good man, yes, but Messiah?.... I don't think so.

     
  • At 5/03/2008 11:35 PM, Anonymous Sarah Dylan Breuer said…

    Many thanks for your irenic thoughts on the U2charist!

    Since you link to some articles with factual inaccuracies about this, I'd be very grateful if you clarified that that the U2charist didn't start in 2005 in Maine, but rather the first public service was held in 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland -- and the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland deserve credit for making the keynote service of the diocesan clergy conference in 2004 a U2charist. The combination of the Internet, word of mouth, and the Maryland bishops' backing led to countless congregations adopting the U2charist (much to my astonishment, even as its creator!) being adopted from Maine to California as well as Canada to Australia and beyond.

    Info on the U2charist and how it started is available at the U2charist resources page and the U2charist FAQ. Please feel free to give me a shout if you'd like any more information, or if there's any other way I can be of help.

    Blessings,

    Dylan
    _________________
    Sarah Dylan Breuer
    http://www.sarahlaughed.net
    dylan@sarahlaughed.net

    "We live as though the world were what it should be, to show it what it can be." -- "Deep Down," *Angel* season 4

     
  • At 1/14/2010 9:54 PM, Blogger Douglas Bienert said…

    Now, I love U2. I think they are excellent musicians who explore Christian ideas in their music. I am often quite inspired by their work.

    However, their music is not appropriate for use in Divine worship. A Eucharist where U2 songs replace sacred hymns is ignorant foolishness at best, and sacrilege at worst. It simply is not a matter taste or emotions, but of theology. The goal of the Eucharist is to Sacramentally share in Christ's "...oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world" (Book of Common Prayer).

    The hymns of the Church show us how U2 songs are not appropriate substitutions.

    4th century, Liturgy of Saint James

    Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
    And with fear and trembling stand;
    Ponder nothing earthly minded,
    For with blessing in His hand,
    Christ our God to earth descendeth,
    Our full homage to demand.

    Thomas Aquinas, 13th century.

    Therefore we, before him bending (not rocking)
    this great Sacrament revere;

    ...[it is] my duty is to exhort you to consider the dignity of that holy mystery, and the great peril of the unworthy receiving thereof (from the exhortation, Book of Common Prayer).

    "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

     

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5/25/2006

Abundance of Possessions

The eBay Mom's House
"Not even when one has an abundance
does his life consist of his possessions."
-Jesus
Luke 12:15

Looking for a little fright? Forget horror movies and visit Crazy eBay Mom's House online. As her son writes at the website:

The eBay Mom's bedroom with neither bed nor room
And here's my mom's bedroom. You were probably expecting a bed or something. It's there, somewhere underneath all those boxes. My mom decided storing this stuff is more important that having a place to sleep. So where does my mom sleep? Remember that 2/3rds of a couch back in the living room? Yep, every night. No I don't know what's in any of these boxes either. Most of them are from eBay and have never been opened, just put straight on the pile.
A tour of her house on the website is enough to make even the most hardened packrat a little queasy. It makes me want to straighten my office at the church. As for a spiritual perspective on stuff, we have in the archives the sermon Life Is More Than Stuff which says in part,

Take care of yourself and your family. But don’t bet your happiness or theirs on accumulating just the right stuff. Even if you get that whole living room you want from The Pottery or the bedroom set that would put the Dream House to shame, it will not bring you happiness. Stuff is just stuff. Right now, as at the end of your days, what matters more than stuff is relationships.
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 5/25/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    That reminds me of your office Frank. ha,ha !! Just kidding, I did notice you had cleaned it though.

     

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5/24/2006

Why am I here?

Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm, I say to Thee, "Lord, why am I here? What is there here to stir my gifts to growth? What great things can I do for others—I who am captive to this dreary toil?"

And seven times a day Thou answerest, "I cannot do without thee. Once did My Son live thy life, and by His faithfulness did show My mind, My kindness, and My truth to men. But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.
—from Hebridean Altars as quoted in Celtic Daily Prayer edited by the Northumbria Community.

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5/23/2006

Touched by a blog

You never know who drops in here and is touched by what she or he reads. While googling to find an old entry here, I found a link to Krystin Hovanes' website with an assignment for her Professional Writing 4760 class at Eastern Illinois University which contained the following reference to this blog:
At the library, I began crying after reading the most recent post on this blog site. The site is called “Irenic Thoughts,” which means peaceful. It is created by the congregation of King of Peace Episcopal Church. I have no idea about their beliefs or religion but I was able to relate to so many of their articles. It didn’t preach about their congregation but encouraged anybody to write on their blog. It also included recent events that were going on at the church for those a part of their chapel. Their articles included everything from religion debates to things happening in the modern news. The article entitled, “A raging mad God?” is the article that made me pursue this site. The photos alone had made me upset. I found this site on April 20 th, and this article had been posted April 20 th. There had already been two comments made and I think it will have a lot of success. The actual format of the site is designed more like an everyday website. It has a multi-tone background of black and beige, and the only ad is from Amazon offering 10% off an King of Peace book. . It has recent posts, to “blogging Episcopalians,” and different links to Georgia Dioceses.
I'm often amazed by the positive connections possible on the Internet, even as I have had to help people work through some of the connections possible through the dark side of cyberspace.

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

One of the photos from April 20 commented on above

2 Comments:

  • At 5/23/2006 10:24 AM, Anonymous Steve said…

    Neat. My favorite connection was when I member of 5th Ave. Presbyterian googled the controversy at her church and found a sermon I had preached that mentioned it. We became pen pals of sorts. Imagine that, an Episcopal priest in small town Georgia connected to a parishioner who works in the Empire State Building and goes to a very large and influential church discussing theology and church life. The world is flat.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:24 AM, Anonymous steve said…

    when a member of 5th Ave, not "I" member...sorry

     

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5/22/2006

Who Am I?

In case this blog has gotten too serious, try a quiz or two. Here are my results with links:
You Should Be a Joke Writer

You're totally hilarious, and you can find the humor in any situation.
Whether you're spouting off zingers, comebacks, or jokes about life...
You usually can keep a crowd laughing, and you have plenty of material.
You have the makings of a great comedian - or comedic writer.


Your Career Type: Enterprising

You are engertic, ambitious, and sociable.
Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas.

You would make an excellent:

Auctioneer - Bank President - Camp Director
City Manager - Judge - Lawyer
Recreation Leader - Real Estate Agent - Sales Person
School Principal - Travel Agent - TV Newscaster

The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.


You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul


You Will Die at Age 85

Congratulations! You take good care of yourself.
You're poised to live a long, healthy life.

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

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5/21/2006

Never failing agape

James Peterson recounts a story of agape love in his book More I Could Not Ask:
One morning, a man in his thirties arrived at the rectory wanting to have a priest to take care of his father, who was dying. We traveled in his jeep over very rugged hillsides to the edge of the island. There was a lonely thatched hut, which seemed to me to be a piece of Africa. Inside, the only furniture was a thin hammock strung from one side of the room to the other. A thin, skeletal remnant of a man was lying in it. He was wrinkled, gray, breathing with difficulty. His wife, herself just a wisp of a human being, was gently swaying the hammock to cool and comfort him. She said nothing, but she was obviously glad at my arrival. She and her son left for a few minutes. The boy had told me his father had not received the sacraments for years, and I wanted to hear his confession. After confession, I called them back in, and they knelt there as I anointed the man. However, when I tried to give him communion, he pointed to his throat and shook his head.

The woman was on her feet almost at once; she took a small piece of cotton from a box and pointed to a glass of juice. Her husband had some throat obstruction, but if she dipped the cotton in juice and placed a small particle of the host on it, when he sucked in the juice, she knew he could receive communion. No theology; no embarrassment. She just wanted to give her husband communion before he died. I agreed readily, and she gave him communion. As soon as he received communion, she fainted. I realized she was hardly breathing, and while her son went for the doctor, I anointed her and prayed for her. She died just after her son returned. After a while, he said we ought to go back to the rectory. On the way back, I learned that he was one of ten children, but the only one who survived infancy. He loved his mother and would miss her a great deal, but he was convinced that she had gone on living for years after she was not strong enough to live simply because she did not want to die without helping her husband to make peace with God. When that happened, he knew she realized that her work was done. He didn't expect that his father would outlive her by more than a few days. The faith and love and simple reverence for the Eucharist that were brought together in that thatched hut were enormous.
He concludes by saying of the woman, “The strap of her sandal I am unworthy to loose.” Loving someone as much as you love yourself is what God’s love looks like. God’s love is more concerned about the other than your own self, but it is not about self-loathing, or being abused. Do you want to experience that sort of godly love for your friends, your family, your spouse? Then the love you have for them cannot start with you and go out to them. The love you have for others must start with God. See the other person as God sees them and loves them with all their faults. Seeing another person as God sees them is not always easy, but when you can do it, this love will never fail.

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

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5/20/2006

The Easiest Commandment?

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
In a sermon in our archives, The Easiest Commandment I noted that someone pointed out to me this command comes just as Judas has left to betray Jesus. The question is, was Judas one of the "one anothers" Jesus wanted us to love? In the sermon, I said:
Judas betrays Jesus with a kissKnowing that Jesus’ commandment to love one another could include loving Judas changes everything. Jesus’ commandment to love one another is a command to love those near and supposedly dear to us. Yet giving that message as Judas is slinking through the night on an errand to betray Jesus puts a different spin on things. We are reminded that those close to us can sometimes be the most difficult to love of all...

Reaching out to the other while missing those close to us is so easy that Jesus thought it needed a commandment all its own. Jesus could see all the strife and division to come and he said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” We are to be peacemakers in our own churches, in our own extended families, and in our own homes. We are to bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joys. Jesus calls on us to reach out in love to the unlovable in our own midst. Even when the one another you are loving betrays you, keep on loving. Far from being the easiest commandment, loving one another might turn out to be the hardest commandment of all.
Jesus calls us not just to love some faceless "enemy" out there somewhere, but to also love those we know very well who have caused us hurt and pain.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 5/20/2006 8:05 AM, Anonymous Laura said…

    Last night I read C.S. Lewis's little piece on forgiveness in "The Joyful Christian." He stressed loving the person/hating the action, and compares that to how he goes on loving himself even when he's disgusted by his sins.
    I think so many of the stories about Jesus illustrate his love and forgiveness of sinners, even while he is saddened by the sin.

     

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5/19/2006

Resolving Complaints

please take a numberIt is fairly common that some thoughts about the blog generate an email to me rather than a comment being posted online, which is perfectly fine. Yesterday, one reader wrote to comment on how the blog entry was a reminder of the infighting within Judaism in Jesus' time. We still can bicker in church. Not much changes. It reminded me of a sermon on Acts 6, Ordering Our Lives for Mission which said in part:
One group in the church insists that the pastors are playing favorites in the congregation. Some of the widows are not getting cared for properly and they have noticed that it is always the Gentiles who converted to Christianity who come up short, while the Jewish converts to Christianity are never lacking. For their part, the pastors, who are the 12 disciples of Jesus, say that they need to concentrate on the word of God and they don’t need to get bogged down in waiting tables...

In Acts, the 12 disciples call together those who are called out and they suggest a solution. The disciples say that they need to concentrate on sharing the word of God, but as the distribution of food to those in need is an essential part of what their church does, then they need to assign that task to some folks. The disciples charge the congregation with selecting seven men of good standing with the group who are full of the Spirit and wisdom. The disciples lay hands on the seven and ask God to empower them for service in the church. The word to serve in Greek is diakanos, and so these seven become the first deacons.

Notice what a master stroke of diplomacy. The first seven deacons all have Greek names. They were Gentile converts to Christianity. There was dissension in that group charging that the disciples, who were all Jewish, were playing favorites. The disciples charged not just the Gentile converts, but the whole congregation to pick deacons, and they chose seven from among the underrepresented group to take up service on behalf of the church. It’s the first evidence that if you complain about something, you will be placed in charge of the solution.
The full text of the sermon is online here: Ordering Our Lives for Mission.

Sometimes God lays a thing on your heart not so that you can complain, but in order that you can be part of the solution. Of course, sometimes you do need just give someone else constructive criticism and not take on the whole Christian Ed program in a church just because you thought of a helpful change that could be made. So it does take some discernment. But the thing that bothers you may be bothering you because the solution God has in mind is the one staring back at you when you look in a mirror.

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

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5/18/2006

Jewish Jesus

Last night in our book study using Mealtime Habits of the Messiah we read author Conrad Gempf's take on Matthew 5:17-24 in which Jesus says in part,
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
In Mealtime Habits Gempf writes,
Jesus was neither a Protestant nor a Catholic. His spirituality, rooted with his Father and expressed through his prayer life, is at heart a Jewish spirituality. It's understandable we so often have trouble remembering that. He and his followers had frequent disagreemtns with the way Judaism was practiced in their day...But it's important to recognize they were internal criticisms. The major players—Jesus, Peter, James, even Paul—were as Jewish as chicken soup and matzos. If the New Testament emphasizes the differences, it is not because Judaism is so wrong it needs constant hammering but because the two theologies are so close that the differences become significant.
The "Suggestions for further thought" at the end of our reading last night asked,
Why would Jesus undermine food laws but then keep to kosher law himself?

If Jesus was so Jewish, why shouldn't we become Jewish?
We worked through these questions ourselves in an interesting discussion. Rather than jumping to fill in with our conclusions, I'll leave you to think through your own.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 5/18/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    It reminds me of the poster in your office: "Jesus came to take away your sins, not your mind". I think this passage and the book confirm that Jesus does not want us to "change" in order to have a relationship with Him. We do notice changes happening the closer we grow in Him, but He set a good example of us remaining in the life we have at the same time accepting and believing in Him.

     

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5/17/2006

Coming Attractions

A still photo from the movie The DaVinci Code

Would I be remiss if I didn't give The DaVinci Code more free publicity? Probably not. Though King of Peace could go farther and do what Episcopal Churches in Augusta and Waynesboro are doing and take groups to the movie. Instead, folks ask me daily what I think and so I had the column in last week's Tribune & Georgian, The DaVinci Disclaimer on the book itself and its sources.

This Friday I will have a column The Good News beyond the Code in the Tribune & Georgian which you may preview here. The column looks briefly at a couple of problems with the myth of Christian origins which underlies not just The DaVinci Code but other current writings on Christianity. As I say in the column
The myth states that the Church suppressed hundreds of documents about Jesus. In this view, Christianity as we know it was not the result of the life and ministry a first century Palestinian Rabbi named Jesus. Instead, Christianity is said to be the brainchild of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who in the 320s made Christianity the religion of the empire for political reasons...

The new myth of Christian origins says that the real Jesus was lost to time and the faith as we know it was a self-serving invention of a clever emperor and a self-serving hierarchy of priests. This view ignores the solid historical data we have on the early Christian movement which was persecuted by Rome up until Constantine. Furthermore, if Christians had believed for centuries that Jesus was merely a great human teacher, then no vote by the emperor’s council would suddenly convince them that Jesus was God.

More importantly, the New Testament is far from the sort of text any emperor would choose to shore up support of the kingdom. At its heart, the good news is that Jesus is Lord and therefore Caesar and any other person is not. Jesus was no friend of the emperor. Rather he was put to death as a revolutionary. Jesus’ teaching found in the Bible turns the world on its head making the first, last. This story of Jesus is not exactly congenial to any emperor.
The full text of the column is online here: The Good News beyond the Code.

Yes, all of this writing is overkill for a movie, but people ask and I try to respond. As to the movie itself, this BBC review says you'll like it if you like that sort of thing, but finds it an "unwieldy, bloated puzzle."

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

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5/16/2006

Peace

Peace is not a goal. It is a starting place. It must be lived not sought. It is a gift to be accepted not an ideal to be discovered. The time for peace is now, the place is here and the way is by loving one another.
—The Rev. Charlie Palmgren, author of "The Chicken Conspiracy"

1 Comments:

  • At 5/17/2006 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    According to our prayer book, the church mission is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. Why some people at church think it's okay to be rude or cold shoulder someone is beyond my understanding. Yes, peace is what we need now, inside and outside our churches.

     

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5/15/2006

Not exactly a miracle

The Reuter's article It's a Miracle caught my eye. It seems that Laura Lee Medley, a 35-year old wheelchair-bound woman who had sued in at least four California cities over injuries she claimed she received in trying to get around by wheelchair jumped from the chair and ran to elude police attempting to arrest her for fraud. Her sprint served only to prove the allegations of fraud while not effecting her escape from quick-footed policemen.

Perhaps because of yesterday's post on expectation of a miracle it is disheartening to see someone using a ruse of disability for financial gain. No big theological point to be made here. I'm just glad she didn't choose to stand up and walk at a healing service and later reveal the healing was faked.

In trying to work the system unfairly to her advantage, Medley hurt herself, which is justice in action, but she also likely caused some to suspect the credibility of persons with real problems and that ain't right.
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/14/2006

Expectation of Healing

Writer and editor Dee Dee Risher wrote for Sojournes on The Stumbling Block of Healing
One thing the research seems consistent on, though, is that while prayerful healings occur in every part of the world, they predominate in cultures that are less influenced by the scientific, rational, and technical mind. Which is to say that at the moment, more healings and more-dramatic healings seem to occur in the global South. It isn’t just that some of the “healing evangelists” from the North who go South testify that they heal many more people in that setting. Even smaller bands of ordinary Christians like those from my own church who have had the opportunity to travel and pray for healing in different settings have experienced a different receptivity in some of the cultures of the global South—with more dramatic healing results.

It is not coincidence, in my opinion, that many of these cultures also have a deeper belief in the spiritual, supernatural domain than do the North and West. I believe that the community’s expectation of intervention does affect the degree to which such intervention comes. While it in no way ensures such intervention, it creates a climate of expectation and openness that makes it possible. This is why the disbelief of the community—and its ultimate disparagement—noted in Mark 6 had such an enervating impact on Jesus and on his ability to do miracles there.

The question of disbelief is a question for the faith community—not the individual seeking healing. Individuals who had no belief in healing or Jesus or the existence of God have been suddenly and inexplicably healed. And individuals who have believed with their entire lives have not been healed.

WHILE IT IS A challenge, I do not believe that there is an inherent and irresolvable tension between embracing what science and technology offer while still maintaining a deep sense of spiritual power—and powers—in the world and a belief in the miraculous intervention of God...

Many contemporary U.S. Christians need to reclaim the tradition and possibility of miraculous healing in this ill and reeling world. We need to expect it and pray for it. We need to confess and repent of our skepticism. Expectation of healing does foster a climate in which healings are more likely.

Yet even deeper than Jesus’ message of healing is his message to love one another. Ultimately, the two messages are the same. In Jesus’ ministry, healing was both restoring the individual and bringing them back into the whole as a precious and loved member. In my own experience, I have never prayed for anyone’s healing without feeling a deep increase in love, compassion, and active commitment to that person.
The full text is found online at: The Stumbling Block of Healing.

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5/13/2006

Love in truth and action

In tomorrow's epistle reading, we'll hear from the letter we call First John in which John writes
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
John is writing here to a congregation that has just gone through a painful split. Some, who held that Jesus was not really fully human, but only divine, were teaching that Jesus only seemed human. They have now left to form their own church. In a sermon on this I wrote,
John gives the congregation a quick test to see if they have made the transition from being hurt by someone, through the process of feeling the pain of that loss to the other side when they can once again love and pray for the very people who caused the pain. John writes, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love one another.” Passing from death to life is a conversion of the heart. John says the test is whether you love one another, even the one another who has hurt you most. This is no easy test.

John ties love to concrete actions. He asks how anyone who has the ability to help someone can see a fellow human in need and not help out. For John it’s not possible to say you have love without acting on that love. John writes that we are to love not in word and speech but in truth and action. This fits so well with John’s teaching in the Gospel and his three letters. For John, Truth is not something you are aware of. Truth is not a fact to learn. Truth is a verb. Truth is something you do.
The full text of the sermon, Doing the Truth, is in our archives.

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

2 Comments:

  • At 5/14/2006 2:55 AM, Blogger chefpierre said…

    "Are you gonna go my way?"

    How can any true Christian believe in being "P.C." while they meditate on scripture like this, or many others? I guess that 2000 years ago, an author of the "Spirit" needed a heavier hammer to call the barbarians from the hills?

    How does this really translate to me, today?

     
  • At 5/14/2006 6:46 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Chef Pierre, I'm not sure what "Are you gonna go my way" relates to. Perhaps to the church split I mention above, but John's group is the one left, the group that didn't leave.

    Nor do I understand how you point to any real problem with meditating on how we should not just talk about love, but put that love into action.

    The linked sermon connected the text quite closely to the formation of Koinonia Farms which itself lef to Habitat for Humanity. These were concrete examples of how to put our love for God into action. Saying you love God without putting those words into action is meaningless. That's what the scripture I quoted says, that's what the post and the sermon say. I can't translate it any better than that.

    Is there some problem you have with this that I am missing?

    peace,
    Frank+

     

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5/12/2006

Not One, Not Two

"How does one seek union with God?"

"The harder you seek, the more distance you create between Him and you."

"So what does one do about the distance?"

"Understand that it isn't there."

"Does that mean that God and I are one?”

"Not one.
Not two."

"How is that possible?"

"The sun and its light,
the ocean and the wave,
the singer and his song
— not one.
Not two."
—Anthony DeMello

I just ran across this at the blog Camel Wisdom. I don't know if I understand it, or believe it. But I found it intriguing. It reminds me of the Sufi mystic who said, "You think because you understand 'One' and you understand 'two' that you understand 'one and one are two' but you must first understand 'and.'"

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

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5/11/2006

The eBay Atheist

This just in from the Truth-Is-Stranger-Than-Fiction Department:

Hemant MehtaHemant Mehta auctioned off an opportunity to save his soul on eBay. Specifically, the 23-year old atheist pledged that he would spend one hour in a church service for every $10 in the winning bidder's entry. The group Off the Map placed the winning bid on their very own atheist (50 hours of his time anyway). It was a natural as the group had already spent five years paying folks to attend a church and fill out a survey as a means of gathering data. Since then, the group and their pet atheist have been on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and were featured on Fox's The Big Story.

An example of one of his church visit reports is this from his last visit, which was to Vineyard Church of Evanston
The sermon was spoken by a woman, Debby Wright, who was visiting from a British Vineyard church. She told stories of how the church had helped people back home (as opposed to a sermon talking about a Biblical passage). The stories were powerful, but as a skeptic, I did question some of them. For example, she told one story of helping a prostitute back home. The prostitute had a baby (I think she did, anyway… the point is that a baby was involved). The baby got sick. They all prayed together. The baby got better. Her conclusion was that the prayer worked, and obviously I disagreed– I would think there’s a natural explanation for it.

However, I did like her stories of her church just doing random acts of kindness for homeless people and those less fortunate, even though it was in the name of Jesus. In general, I’m never really interested in the reason you do good things, but I’m glad you’re doing them. I wish more churches were more like that. And it doesn’t matter if it’s because of Jesus, Allah, or No One that you do these things. Clearly, her group was helping people out. And for that, she should be commended. Atheists do this, too, but not as often as we should.
On Joel Osteen, Mehta writes
Well, first the positive. I enjoy watching Joel for the same reason many Christians don’t watch him– it’s Christian-lite! He’s not solely dependent on the Bible to make a point. Instead of using the Bible to write a sermon, it always seems to me that he wrote the sermon with a life lesson in mind, and then consulted the Bible to back up his points. And I walk away from watching him thinking, “I do need to make better use of my time!” instead of “I should read Mark because Chapter 2 (or whatever) said some interesting things about Jesus.”
The eBay Atheist reaches the conclusion on Osteen's method
Christianity works best for non-believers when we hear stories that sound like something we would see or do. Joel tells me to not be dishonest by telling a story from his college days (Hey, I went to college, too!) and then supports his message with a story from the Bible. Dobson tells me I shouldn’t be dishonest because Proverbs 6:16-19 says so (as he does in the April issue of Charisma). Period. Who would I be more inclined to listen to?
The eBay Atheist Blog is here. You can also read The eBay Atheist Update, Hemant's Church Surveys, a lot more media links on the story, and Hemant's personal website: The Friendly Atheist.

So, you may ask, did it work? Well, if by work you mean Off the Map got publicity for their marketing dollars. Then yes, it worked. Or if you mean did OTM get a discussion going on how Christianity looks to those on the outside, then yes, it worked. But as for Mehta and Christianity, The Wall Street Journal article ends,
With about half his obligation to Mr. Henderson fulfilled, Mr. Mehta says he's no closer to believing in God, although he does admire churches for the communities they create. Church, he has decided, is "not such a bad place to be."

1 Comments:

  • At 5/11/2006 7:33 PM, Blogger chefpierre said…

    ...Or Mammon? Love over gold?

    Quantify (or try to...) God, and you get this little cloudy picture that appears to be Elvis ascending into heaven while deifying his peanut butter and banana sandwich.

     

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5/10/2006

Hell Revisited

Hell freezes over

A post at Leadership Journal's blog has pastor Brian McLaren and evangelist Tony Compolo talking about Hell in some interesting ways. McLaren asks
When God created the universe, did he have two purposes in mind—one being to create some people who would forever enjoy blessing and mercy, and another to create a group who would forever suffer torment, torture, and punishment? What is our view of God? A God who plans torture? A God who has an essential, eternal quality of hatred? Is God love, or is God love and hate?
From scripture he argues that Jesus' descent to the dead (obliquely referenced in I Peter 3:19 and Ephesians 4:9-10) shows that those who have died can get a second chance. Cartoon from the Baptist StandardTony Compolo says
Yes, I believe there will be people in hell eternally, but somehow, I believe from Scripture—note I said from Scripture—that in the end everybody gets a chance to choose.
This idea of a second chance post death is not new, but hearing it from a respected evangelical leader like Compolo is. The two are offering an alternative view to the binary choice of 1) a very strictly exclusive heaven with few making the cut or 2) universalism in which EVERYONE eventually ends up in heaven.

You can read the full two part post here: Part I | Part II.

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5/09/2006

The DaVinci Disclaimer

"It's not theology or history." That statement is from Ron Howard, Director of The DaVinci Code in response to calls for a disclaimer at the start of the movie noting that the film is a work of fiction. Howard went on to tell The Los Angeles Times that "Spy thrillers don't start off with disclaimers" and neither will this new flick.

The controversy comes as the movie, like the book, makes the claim that Jesus married Mary Magdelene and fathered children. A claim that many flakes (one example is here) and almost no reputable historians or theolgians (see link below) hold as true. Making similar claims about the prophet who founded Islam would get you killed, but Christians are more tolerant.

Are Christians tolerant to a fault? Does not standing up for our faith cause some to go astray? Either way, a disclaimer about fiction wouldn't likely change anything.

Here is what will happen disclaimer or no disclaimer. The movie will draw large crowds and then those people will decide for themselves what they think. Most will think about the merits of the movie only—was it entertaining? Many, however, will consider their faith, positively and negatively, in light of what they hear and see in the movie. Some will be drawn back to faith in Christ and some pushed away, most will just find it something to talk about. This is what DaVinci author Dan Brown hoped for the book in a page at his website
My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.
If nothing else, the book has done just that and the movie will similarly spark discussion.

A well-reasoned response to the claims of the book are offered from respected Anglican theologian N.T. Wright here online: Decoding The Da Vinci Code.

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

2 Comments:

  • At 5/10/2006 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you know for sure that Jesus DIDN'T marry Mary? When you get the proof please let the world know.

     
  • At 5/10/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Proof. That's an interesting corner to paint me into as it is notoriously difficult to prove that something did NOT happen compared to proving that something did happen.

    The closest thing one can offer as proof is that there was no need of a cover up. There were no prophecies predicting a celebate Messiah. And as a 1st century Israeli Rabbi Jesus would be expected to be married (as some of his disciples were). Scripture had spoken of marriage as a sign of God's love for humans and so there was no reason why Jesus could not marry. So, the fact that he is presented as single is mpre awkward than a wife and children would be. That's not how we see it now because Jesus was single and so Christians have always been taught that way. But had we always known he had been married, that could have fit equally well.

    So, no I can't offer conclusive proof that Jesus never married. But likewise, no matter what you may read in The DaVinci Code, we have no authentic account of Jesus' life that presents him as married to anyone. Some have stretched to suggest that the wedding in Cana was Jesus' own wedding, but there is NOTHING in that story to suggest anything of the kind. Even the Gnostic Gospels make no such claim about Jesus.

    A more reasoned view on all of this than I can present is found at The Challenge of Historic Christianity to Post-Modern Fantasy.

    peace,
    Frank+
    The Rev. Frank Logue

     

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5/08/2006

Believe+Receive=Become

We need to clarify for the unchurched that intellectually believing in Christ is only part of the answer. One way is to use a Bible verse that provides a spiritual equation that spells out with math-like efficiency what it really means to become a Christian.

As I recite John 1:12, I ask them to listen for the active verbs: "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."

Those verbs make up the equation:

believe+receive=become

To believe is intellectually to agree that Christ sacrficied Himself to pay for the wrongs we've committed. That's important, I tell them, but don't stop there. Some people sit in churches for years, stuck at this point, and they wonder why their spiritual life is stagnant. The next verb in the equation is critically important, too. We need to receive God's free offer of forgiveness and eternal life. We have to claim it for our own, because until we do that, it's not ours; it's just something we know about in our head. So it's necessary for us to admit wrongdoing, turn away from it, and humbly accept Christ's payment on our behalf.

That makes sense, doesn't it? Jesus said, "I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners."
—Lee Strobel

I think Lee is on to something. I particularly find it interesting how in reading the verse he pulls out the verbs involved in becoming children of God. Yet I note that the verse actually says receive+believe=become. Is there a difference if the order of the equation is changed. Not mathematically, but perhaps theologically and I can't put my finger on it.

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

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5/07/2006

Why preaching works

An African student came to the United States to get a Masters degree at an American seminary. While there, he came to love his theology professor. So later, when the African pastor had returned home, it put him in a bind. The professor wanted to come to visit his African student. This pastor knew what would happen when the theology professor came. His congregation would want to hear this great theologian and the theology professor would want to preach. The problem was that the theology professor was just that, a theology professor, and he was given to difficult to follow talks on dense theological subjects.

There was no way around it. The professor came to Africa and while there he preached. That Sunday, the professor took to the pulpit and his former student stood nearby to translate for the Swahili speaking congregation. The professor began, “There are two great Epistemological theories in the world today.” The African pastor paused just a beat and translated, “Let me tell you about my friend, Jesus.” And so the sermon went. The professor expounded his views on Epistemology and the African pastor told the congregation about his friend Jesus. All agreed it was an amazing sermon.

That is why preaching works. Preachers do their best to pray through the scripture and prepare to feed their flock from God’s word. Then despite our best efforts, we take to the pulpit and in our own ways we blow it. In essence we say, “There are two great epistemological views in the world today.” The only reason it works is that God handles the translation and the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear, ‘Let me tell you about my friend, Jesus.”

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor +

Note: This post is adapted from a sermon in our archives, A Poor Substitute for The Good Shepherd

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5/06/2006

The Good Shepherd

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus declares
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
The Center for Excellence in Preaching website notes of sheep:
In the Middle East to this day you can sometimes see three or four Bedouin shepherds and their flocks all arrive at a watering hole at about the same time. The sheep quickly mix and mingle together until the three or four individual flocks have disappeared in favor of forming one big mega-flock. But the shepherds don't fret this mix-up. Because when it's time to go, each shepherd gives his own distinctive whistle or sings his own unique little song, and immediately his sheep leave the others behind, form back into their own flock, and follow the shepherd they've come to trust.
In the present world all sorts of flocks mingle together and that is good, but we must remain in tune to our shepherd Jesus' voice to know when to break away from the other herds to follow where he is leading us.

1 Comments:

  • At 5/06/2006 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm,is this yet another stepping away from The Inner Ring identifying with an earlier posting???

     

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5/05/2006

Justice and Peace Among All People



Will you strive for justice and peace
among all people,
and respect the dignity
of every human being?

This is the final question asked of those being baptized in the Episcopal Church (all the questions are here for those curious about the others).

The New York Times ran an article this week on Sweatshops in Jordan which tells of "some foreign workers in Jordanian factories that produce garments for Target, Wal-Mart and other American retailers are complaining of dismal conditions — of 20-hour days, of not being paid for months and of being hit by supervisors and jailed when they complain."

This is the sort of thing I use as an example of sins we help to commit without either being of aware of it or intending for it to happen. I shop at Wal-Mart because it is convenient and cheap. Some suppliers to Wal-Mart make inexpensive things without enslaving their workers. However, in other places serious abuse takes place in order to maximize corporate profits while minimizing the price I pay.

The article went on to say
In interviews this week, five Bangladeshis who used to work in Jordanian apparel factories and four who still do had similar tales of paying more than $1,000 to work in Jordan, of working 90 to 120 hours a week, of not being paid the overtime guaranteed by Jordanian law, of sleeping 10 or 20 to a small dorm room. The National Labor Committee helped arrange interviews with the Bangladeshi workers, who spoke through interpreters.

The largest retailer in the United States, Wal-Mart, and one of the largest clothing makers, Jones Apparel, confirmed yesterday that they had discovered serious problems with the conditions at several major Jordanian factories.

In addition, a factory monitor for a major American company confirmed that Jordanian factories routinely confiscated their guest workers' passports, doctored wage and hour records and coached employees to lie to government and company inspectors about working conditions.
Doing something about this is difficult, if not impossible in the store itself. The inspectors found severe problems, but only in a quarter of the Jordanian factories. Not buying clothes from Jordan would punish the three quarters who do follow more acceptable standards. The answer comes at the corporate level where Wal-Mart and others learn that it doesn't pay to buy products from companies whose factory conditions are so abusive. Yet, policing this sort of thing would be daunting for any company, and they are left to reacting when reports like this recent one come forward. It reminds me of the public relations nightmare Kathy Lee Gifford found herself in years back when her name brand clothes were being made in Central American sweatshops without her knowledge.

I only offer this news here as an example of the way in which we can get caught up in the evil of this world without meaning to do so. It's an unintended consequence of our decisions. Such unintended consequences make it all the more important to stand up for what is good in situations in which we do have some control or influence. What do you think?

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

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5/04/2006

The Inner Ring and The Face of God

Weistlings painting Kissing the Face of GodConnections. That is a strength of the Internet. Two recent connections made here were June connecting an earlier post to C.S. Lewis' 1944 speech "The Inner Ring" and Celeste connecting yesterday's post to the card Victoria sent her with the Morgan Weistling's painting "Kissing the Face of God"(shown here). The speech and the painting don't inherently go together, but I place them alongside one another in this post as yet a further connection.

In the Inner Ring, Lewis warned a group of college students about the self-defeating goal of pursuing being in the Inner Ring, which for Lewis was a desire to be in with the in crowd rather than simply aspiring to genuine friendships. Lewis said,
I believe that in all men's lives at certain periods, and in many men's lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.
Lewis went on to say
And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still-just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naif, or a prig-the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which "we"-and at the word "we" you try not to blush for mere pleasure-something "we always do." And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man's face-that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face-turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel...

There'd be no fun if there were no outsiders. The invisible line would have no meaning unless most people were on the wrong side of it. Exclusion is no accident: it is the essence.

Weistlings painting of Jesus and Jairus daughterThe quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow... if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the center of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that its secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship.
The full text of The Inner Ring is online. You are also encouraged to make and share connections of your own as this blog is an open place to share.

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5/03/2006

Sitting in God's Lap

Frank's photo of a cemetary angel
The mother picks up the child and says—in the oldest myth in the world—“Let me kiss it and make it well.” . . . She picks up the child, kisses the skinned place, holds the child in her lap, and all is well. Did her kiss make it well? No. It was that ten minutes in her lap. Just sit in the lap of love and see the mother crying. “Mother, why are you crying? I’m the one who hurt my elbow.” “Because you hurt,” the mother says, “I hurt.” That does more for the child than all the bandages and medicine in the world, just sitting in her lap.”

“What is the cross?” Craddock asks. “Can I say it this way? It is to sit for a few minutes in the lap of God, who hurts because you hurt.”
—the Rev. Dr. Fred Craddock from Cherry Log Sermons

3 Comments:

  • At 5/03/2006 12:12 PM, Blogger St Michael's Episcopal Church said…

    It's very discouraging to come home after feeling as if you have preached a good sermon and then you pick up and read some Fred Craddock. It makes you want to quit and start selling vacuum cleaners door to door. I'm just thankful I had the chance to hear hiim preach in person.

     
  • At 5/03/2006 9:57 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    That is a perfect description of how I feel now with my grandson, Gray. He has me wrapped because when he cries it breaks my heart that he hurts. Yes, I spoil him because I want to see him happy all of the time and I try to satisfy his needs (wants), at least to a point. It also reminds me of a card I got with a picture of a woman (Mary perhaps) kissing a baby in her arms (Jesus perhaps) and it reads "Kissing the Face of God" which is exactly what it must be compared to. The love of a mother (grandmother) with her baby. I don't know how to attach a picture to this blog but perhaps Frank can. It's worth taking a look at.

     
  • At 3/25/2008 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I at times wish that I were able to sit in the lap of God for just a few moment. To feel his love for me, feel his arms around me promising me that my hurt will go away and he will make it better.

    To feel someones arms around me and make the hurts go away, what does that feel like?

    Dear Lord make me strong enough to make the hurt go away. Hold me in your love and never let me go.

    Searching

     

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5/02/2006

Not Exactly Average

The results to a survey of the Episcopal Church are now online. King of Peace was one of the 4,102 churches to fill out the survey. Sometimes this means we are in the heart of the big numbers, such as being in the 98% of Episcopal Churches whose worship regularly or always is a communion service, we also are among the 74% to have good to excellent facilities, and we are in the 74% of Episcopalians worshipping in a church that seats 101 to 250 persons, and among the 72% to have only one clergy person on staff.

But there are some ways in which we stand out from the norm including being founded since 1990 (3.3%) and among the churches whose worship often or always includes visual projection equipment (3%) and drums or other percussion (6%).

Perhaps most important, we can count ourselves among the 40% of Episcopal Churches to have worship "filled with a sense of God's presence" and the 39% that are "welcoming to newcomers."

In one interesting insight, the survey reports that
Growing congregations were more likely to strongly agree that they have a clear mission and purpose, are spiritually vital and alive, change to meet new challenges and are a fun place to be.

Reponses to: “is like a close knit family,” “celebrates its Episcopal heritage,” and “desires growth in attendance and membership” were unrelated to growth.

Congregations that say they are like a “close knit family” tend to be smaller churches and are more likely to be located in rural areas and smaller towns.
Come and GrowWe are definitely among the churches reporting growth and so apparently, the survey finds that King of Peace is "spiritually vital and alive" and "a fun place to be."
It's hard to argue with those survey results. Right? :-)

You can check out the full survey results online.

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

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5/01/2006

Sacred Space

A thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe
that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture,
and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor,
who sees by her genius what she can make of it. (St Ignatius)
I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.


The above quote is from a portion of today's prayers at Sacred Space, a daily-updated place of scripture and prayer recommended to me this morning by the Rev. Amy McCreath as we were leaving the liturgy conference and headed home. Now safely back home, I offer the web link here in thanksgiving for the sacred space of DaySpring where I have spent the past few days and closer to home, Honey Creek, which is our comparable camp and conference center. Both are also sacred spaces.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 5/01/2006 8:51 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    This reminds me very much of the Pray as you go -http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/ - I listen to it on either ITunes or my Ipod while I walk. Takes about 10 minutes!
    (check your link on your posting - I had to change it to get it to connect to http://sacredspace.ie/

     

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