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.

9/30/2006

Stumbling Blocks

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.
In a sermon on this passage Sticking Close to the Center I said,
Jesus is not advising us to start strapping millstones around our necks and take a flying leap into the sea. Jesus is showing how serious it is when we cause a fellow Christian to stumble in their walk of faith. Rather than choosing to leap into the sea with a great millstone tied to our necks, Jesus was kind of hoping we might decide not to cause one another to stumble in our faith....

I think Jesus is challenging those who follow him to consider the costs of discipleship. Jesus is not holding out a cheap grace in which following him leaves our lives unchanged. Instead, Jesus is suggesting that we might have to make some changes that cost us dearly, as dearly as losing a limb. And further, the cost will not be the same for everyone, for each of us has different things that cause us to stumble....

Jesus warns that whatever it is that causes you to stumble, whatever it is that leads you further from God rather than closer to God, whatever those unwholesome, unhealthy influences are, you are going to need to cut yourself off from those influences or you may find your whole self lost body and soul.
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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9/29/2006

43 hours a day

Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still
Be.

multitasking gone too far
Feel like you are busy 24/7? The number may actually be higher according to a recent Reuter's article Familes pack 43 hours of activity in one day. The article is based on a study for Yahoo Inc. and media buyer OMD. The study found that we multitask, with the TV going while we surf the Internet or talking on the phone while watching TV. We are often doing two or even three things at a time.

The study found that families own roughly "12 technology and media-related devices" per household. For the creators of the survey, this presents a challenge as they sort out how to reach key demographics with ads.

But for me, I'm aware that I am as bad about multitasking as anyone. I have learned, for example, to put down the book or magazine or mute the TV when my wife or daughter are talking. OK, I'm still working on that, but I am trying not to multitask family time like I used to.

And then there is that competitive side that says "43 hours in a day by multitasking? I can beat that. Let me get on the cell phone with the Internet on the laptop and CNN Headline news going in the background (it might not be the first time for that combination anyway!) and I'll be cranking out hours three for one."

Then I wonder how God gets through to us humans at all anymore.

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

PS: Today's column for the Tribune & Georgian The pulpit vs. the taxman is now online. It is a longer and hopefully more thoughtful version of Monday's blog entry The IRS v. All Saints.

1 Comments:

  • At 9/29/2006 11:46 AM, Anonymous William said…

    We gave my daughter a cell phone so she could have it in the car in case she ever had problems. Suddenly it became invaluable to her. It’s amazing how things once believed to be luxuries suddenly become necessities. Maybe our ancestors were just as busy, manning the parapets, keeping the moat clear and plundering the natives.
    There are some situations, such as being a 911 dispatcher, when multitasking can be an asset. They can truly do five things at once. I have seen them answer telephone calls, talk to several people on the radio, fax a report to someone, take notes and carry on a conversation with another dispatcher, all at the same time.
    Personally I struggle keeping my focus on doing just one thing much less three or four. Hummm….what was I saying?
    But seriously, your point is well taken. Many times the relatively unimportant clutter in our lives blinds and deafens us to the things that are truly important. My days are always better when I start and end them with quiet time and time in prayer. My days are also always better when I put my daughters and wife ahead of my own wanting to withdraw into myself to escape the white noise that impinges all day every day.

    I wonder where blog reading and blog maintenance fits into the equation?

     

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9/28/2006

Holy Guacamole

Over at Church Plant My Eye Tony has an inspirational post on an incident at Starbucks:
Tonight my wife and I slipped out to Starbucks for a late evening treat. As I waited at the counter the lady asked what we would like. I told her I wanted three beef enchiladas with chipotle sauce. She asked if I wanted sour cream and guacamole with that. I of course said yes. We all laughed and ordered our usual Starbucks beverages of choice. She then proceeded to tell me her co-worker, the one making our beverages, went out to get some Mexican food but neglected to ask if she wanted anything. I asked her if she had gotten any supper to which she replied no.

We collected our drinks. My wife knew what I was thinking before I asked. So, after a very short conference between my honey and me, we slipped down to Guadalahara restaurant. We ordered her...wait for it...three beef enchiladas, sour cream, chips, hot sauce, rice and beans. It was great because they put it all in one of their neat carry out bags. We went back down to Starbucks, waited in line, and BAM - put that bag of chow on the counter. The look on her face was priceless. She knew exactly what was going on. She exclaimed "NO WAY? YOU DIDN'T!" Her beverage making buddy was stunned.

We quickly left out of the store. We didnt tell them we went to church. We didn't say anything about Jesus. We simply blessed her and jetted. I love that kind of stuff. I love reminding people that there are kind souls in the world who put random acts of love and kindness into play without strings attached.

In a selfish kind of way, I think that stuff makes me feel better than it does the recipients. But that's ok. The look on her face was WAY worth it.
It reminds me of the saying, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty."

peace,
Frank+

2 Comments:

  • At 9/28/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger Victoria said…

    Mmmmm . . . enchiladas with chipotle sauce. Imagine how good they must have tasted to the Starbucks employee. As Marge Simpson would say, "The special ingredient is love."
    I hope that I can learn to be that open to similar opportunities which will always present themselves - it is all about being outward centered AND willing to respond. It's about being Christ-like.

     
  • At 9/28/2006 7:01 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    A pastor friend in our community often says that the world should be a better place just because we are in it, just because we are a blessing to others. And how often have I heard from those who wait tables that the Sunday lunch after church crowd is the most demanding and lowest tipping group of the week. Thank you, Tony, for being a blessing.

     

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9/27/2006

Faith Beyond Fads

Jim MorrowSt. Marys UMC youth pastor, Jim Morrow published a well written article for the United Methodist Church's General Board of Discipleship page for Young Adults in which considers how churches can follow after the latest fad:
We have a lot of well-intentioned trends that begin in order to shake up complacency, but then the new trend becomes complacent and it’s off to a new one. In the mean time, the seeker and cynic are left in the dust. I’ve been listening to a lot of conversation about traditional, contemporary, and emerging worship. An unspoken benchmark of success in many churches now is whether or not they have a contemporary service. It doesn’t have to be a good service; it just needs to be there. But, why? Why does every youth group have to have a Taize worship service this year? The funny thing is that in all of our effort to buy into these trends, we burn out and the trend never takes. Meanwhile, both churched and unchurched souls riddle the ground—people hurt by the trend-seeking. Things like change and experimentation are not bad, but you must be sure that the why of the change is led by the Lord.

If you are looking for a church and you haven’t found the right fit or if you are in a church and you are unhappy, I invite you to seek Jesus in your discontent. It may be that your community of believers has deviated from worshipping God and has tried to fill the gap with an exciting new adventure. It may be that you have deviated from true worship and you are trying to fill the void. Only God can fill that empty space.
The full text of the article is worth a read for the story of his own collision with fads at age nine.

If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why do we follow trends? As someone who uses PowerPoint and other multimedia with some fluency, I hope that it isn't about being trendy. I think Jim's point "you must be sure that the why of the change is led by the Lord" is one to take very seriously.

Pulpits, pews and pipe organs were all innovations at one time. We don't have to enshrine one way of worshipping God. But neither should we enshrine change and following fads. Right?

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

PS: Jim Morrow's blog is The Greatest Story Ever Told.

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9/26/2006

Apprehend His silence

Igantius of AntiochIn our Education for Ministry course this past Sunday, the third year group was reading about some early Christian writings beyond the scope of the Bible which are sometimes referred to as the Apostolic Fathers. One important group of these writings is the seven letters the Bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote to churches as he was en route from Antioch to Rome for his own martyrdom in the Colosseum. They give us a glimpse into the early Christian church which fits what we find in the New Testament, and while not scripture, they are inspirational.

Here is a section from Igantius' letter to the Ephesians, which he handed to a group of Ephesian Christians headed by their Bishop Onesimus who came to visit Igantius as he was traveling to his death. One more connection to scripture is that Bishop Onesimus is believed to be the freed slave of the same name who was the subject of Paul's letter to Philemon. While this connection is not conclusive, it is likely. Here then is some of what Igantius wrote to the Christians at Ephesus:
As the tree is known by its fruits, so they who claim to belong to Christ are known by their actions; for this work of ours does not consist in just making professions, but in a faith that is both practical and lasting. Indeed, it is better to keep quiet and be, than to make fluent professions and not be. No doubt it is a fine thing to instruct others, but only if the speaker practises what he preaches. One such Teacher there is: He who spake the word, and it was done; and what He achieved even by His silences was well worthy of the Father.

A man who has truly mastered the utterances of Jesus will also be able to apprehend His silence and thus reach full maturity, so that his own words have the force of actions and his silence the significance of speech.

Nothing is hidden from the Lord; even our most secret thoughts are ever present to Him. Whatever we do, then, let it be done as though He himself were dwelling within us, we being as it were His temples and He within us as their God. For in fact, that is literally the case; and in proportion as we rightly love Him, so it will be clear to our eyes.
Here is the full text of his letter to the Ephesians, though in a more dated translation than the one I have in a book.

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9/25/2006

The IRS v. All Saints

interior view of All Saints PasadenaOur Episcopal faith, "calls us to speak to the issues of war and poverty, bigotry, torture and all forms of terrorism… always stopping short of supporting or opposing political parties or candidates for political office." says, the Rev. Ed Bacon, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California. He went on to tell the L.A. Times that it was imperative to "defend the freedom of pulpits in faith communities throughout the land."

Bacon is in the hot seat with the Internal Revenue Service who are threatening to revoke his church's status as a non-profit due to what the government calls improper campaigning during teh last presidential election. Specifically at issue was a sermon by a guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, who was the previous pastor of the church. Regas October 31, 2004, sermon was titled "If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush."

The first words of that sermon were: "Jesus does win! I don't intend to tell you how to vote." And he never did tell the people in the pews how to vote. The sermon was critical of both candidates for their views on war and poverty yet the IRS noted the statements against the President as politicking on behalf of John Kerry.

the rev. Ed BaconTo read what the Rector has to say about the controversy, you can see the Adobe PDF of his sermon Neighbor Love is Never Neutral which begins,

I want to begin this sermon by once again expressing my gratitude to the Internal Revenue Service. Those brothers and sisters really know how to shine a spotlight on a church and swell the numbers of worshipers.
He went on to say,

The current administration of the IRS apparently thinks that religious organizations should stay neutral when political issues are concerned.What that thinking totally misses is that we do not have a choice about whether or not to be neutral in the face of dehumanization, injustice, and violence. Our faith mandates that always stopping short of endorsing or opposing political candidates, the church can neither be silent nor indifferent when there are public policies causing detriment to the least of these.
the pulpit at All Saints PasadenaI believe that the statements I have read from All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena are dead on accurate that the church should neither be silent in the face of injustice nor should it endorse candidates. I also believe that the IRS needs to be neutral on preaching as to take a position seems to break the barrier between church and state in a way that should concern people of any faith and any political persuasion. What do you think?

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

5 Comments:

  • At 9/25/2006 9:44 PM, Blogger Robert Christian said…

    I was always afraid the Episcopal Church was getting to be to liberal for the old traditional Episcopalians, to slanted toward the democratic party. I remember the reputation of the old Episcopal Church as one with old families with old money sipping single malt Scotch and bridge clubs. There was even a joke about using the wrong fork at dinner and going you know where since it was a sin to to be an Episcopalian and not know proper etiquette.

    Now I look at the church and I'm proud. TEC has really become a church that wants to build the Kingdom of God right here, right now. We stand up and say war is wrong, social injustice is a sin, discrimination is clearly against the teachings of the Gospel, Etc...
    I'd be proud to be a member of All Saints.

    I use to worry about people leaving because they didn't like the message but it's the message Jesus gave us, "love one another as I have loved you." What other message is there?

    Just my humble opinion

    God's Peace,
    Bob

     
  • At 9/25/2006 11:02 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    I believe it is wrong to try to politicize a church from either end of the political continuum. I cringe every time I hear of The Episcopal Church contributing to or participating with a political organization. My son has been studying Machiavelli's "The Prince" in World History and what I see in the church supporting organizations like NOW or the UN, for example, is very much an "end justifies the means" sort of action that degrades our citizenship in the Kingdom of God. While we all want peace, justice, etc., we have different ideas of what that looks like and how it should come to pass.

    And to be very honest, when we use the end to justify the means, it is easy to forget that our purpose is to advance the cause of Christ. Justice, Peace, and Mercy are byproducts of our lives when we serve God. We should be politically involved as individuals and live out our faith as Christ guides us, but no political party or organization is on God's side. There are good men and evil men on both sides of the equation. The Church should stand above it all and be faithful to Christ first, foremost, and always.

     
  • At 9/26/2006 7:03 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Machiavelli's The Prince...Nothing could be further from the sermon I preached this past Sunday How to find peace and Happiness as Machiavelli wants The Prince to rule with no interest but self interest. He espoused no morality in the public sphere. For Machiavelli the only way to answer the question of whether a choice was a good or bad one was whether it served the interest of The Prince. Yes, Machiavelli would want The Prince to look out for others if it was to his own long term benefit, but I think there must be something more behind it. I think without a transcendent source (a source beyond us) to use as a norm in moral choices, rebellion will come more quickly, not less so.

    Of course, I also feel that Machiavelli was only writing the book out of self interest anyway. Far from being a detached philosophical thinker he pretends to be, Machiavelli hoped to use his book to try to wrangle a way into the inner courts of power in Medici and he was more than willing to tell The Prince to look out for his own self interest to get there. It didn't work. If this was a try out for a job it failed, as Machiavelli never got the job he seems to have been trying out for.

    Hopefully churches don't use his "the ends justify the means" approach. For our end is the Kingdom of God and the means matter. No political party is beyond the critique of the Gospel and certainly no person in power, so of course the Gospel needs to stand apart. When we get too close to the government, it can go as it did in Nazi Germany with the church providing the backing for some very unholy actions.

    peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 9/26/2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    I think the comment from Debbie was more along the lines of watching who you choose to work with. While the goals that Bob mentioned are worthy, choosing to ally oneself with groups such as NOW (in particular) can negate the value of the gains one might make.

    There's an old saying about bad company corrupting good character and it applies in this case. Working with other groups both religious and secular is fine if you don't put the association itself ahead of the work and the values that are supposed to set you apart.

    For instance, NOW may do good work in promoting equal rights for women but they also have a reputation for promoting abortion, sameness of men and women as opposed to equality, disregard for parental rights, and an alarming choice of their own allies in political fights, particularly those that fight for acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

    We need to remember the message to love God and our neighbors as ourselves but we also need to remember that the same Bible sets out pretty clear guidelines about right and wrong and what we should not tolerate.

    For example, we should take a lesson from Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. He loved her and accepted her but he also told her to "sin no more". There was no tolerance for wrong-doing.

     
  • At 1/11/2008 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank God for people like Rev. Ed Bacon, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California. Every Church and its leaders have a Constitutional right to free speech and their religion free exercise of religion. The claim that the modern-day Internal Religious Service and its System with the Internal Revenue Service and its Codes respecting an establishment of religion is a “religious legal system” has long been, and continues to be a correct and proper observation. This “religious legal system” imposes the Internal Revenue Service’s own particular brand of religion, without any regard for others own beliefs or the faiths of Christian families.

     

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9/24/2006

A Youth Explosion

I have spent this weekend as the spiritual director for the Middle School retreat Fall Explosion with kids from around the Diocese of Georgia. We've sang, played, eaten and worshipped together this weekend at Honey Creek.

It's another reminder that we have great youth programs in our Diocese. King of Peace has always benefitted from the many youth events including New Beginnings and Happening - which are put on by teens for teens and others like Fall Explosion which are created by the teens and adults on the Youth Commission of the Diocese. King of Peace has been well represented on the youth commission by Meredith Maxwell and Jason White in earlier years and now by Kalyn Dial and Griffin Logue (who helped staff this weekend).

Great programs like this don't just happen. It required funding and the right staff, both of which require a commitment. Fortunately in our Bishop, Henry Louttit, and our diocesan youth coordinator, Gina Jenkins, we have two key people in place to keep our excellent program thriving. The same sort of commitment of people and funding are needed in the local congregation as well.

This afternoon from 4-6 p.m. Camden County Episcopal Youth will meet at King of Peace.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 9/28/2006 7:13 PM, Anonymous Meredith Maxwell said…

    We LOVE youth programs in the Diocese of Georgia(and everyone who supports it)!! Congrats to Kalyn and Griffin! I'm so excited for them!

     

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9/23/2006

Welcoming a Child

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus takes a child in his arms and tells his disciples,
Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.
Colby crawling under his Mama's legs in the entry hallYet despite this church can be an unwelcoming place for a child as you get lost in big chairs and among the legs of adults in a whole event geared for those older than you. Like many churches, we try to break out of this at King of Peace to make the church welcoming. We offer tips on Welcoming Children in Church and we have a Children's Church with its own choir program, and we have Kids in the Kingdom Sundays and a Kids in the Kingdom Week and we have a pretty awesome preschool.

three families are represented in this photo of adults talking to children after the serviceYet as important as all these things are (and they do matter), what creates a welcoming environment for children is when other children and especially adults know them, look for them and speak to them. Want King of Peace to be a more welcoming place? Then welcome people, all people, young, old, and even infants. In general, I think kids find King of Peace to be a homey place for them and it is this sort of welcome that creates that environment.

In the archives is the religion column Recapturing Child-like Faith.

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

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9/22/2006

Twentysomething Faith

A new study by the Barna Group shows how active teens are involved in religion and considering questions of faith. They note,
Teens on a youth group tripHalf of teens attend a church-related service or activity in a typical week. More than three-quarters discuss matters of faith with peers and three out of five teens attend at least one youth group meeting at a church during a typical three month period. One-third of teenagers say they participate in a Christian club on campus at some point during a typical school year....

Overall, more than four out of five teens say they have attended a church for a period of at least two months during their teenage years (81%).
Disengagement
But the study found that once the teen years are left behind, so to is church participation:
Twentysomethings continue to be the most spiritually independent and resistant age group in America. Falling flatMost of them pull away from participation and engagement in Christian churches, particularly during the “college years.” The research shows that, compared to older adults, twentysomethings have significantly lower levels of church attendance, time spent alone studying and reading the Bible, volunteering to help churches, donations to churches, Sunday school and small group involvement, and use of Christian media (including television, radio and magazines).
The big pull has traditionally been the move to parenthood, but the study found,
The new research pointed out that just one-third of twentysomethings who are parents regularly take their children to church, compared with two-fifths of parents in their thirties and half of parents who are 40-years-old or more.
Adressing the need
The Barna group concludes their report saying,
David Kinnaman, the director of the research, pointed out, “There is considerable debate about whether the disengagement of twentysomethings is a lifestage issue – that is, a predictable element in the progression of people’s development as they go through various family, occupational and chronological stages – or whether it is unique to this generation. While there is some truth to both explanations, this debate misses the point, which is that the current state of ministry to twentysomethings is woefully inadequate to address the spiritual needs of millions of young adults. These individuals are making significant life choices and determining the patterns and preferences of their spiritual reality while churches wait, generally in vain, for them to return after college or when the kids come. When and if young adults do return to churches, it is difficult to convince them that a passionate pursuit of Christ is anything more than a nice add-on to their cluttered lifestyle.”
The full report is online here: Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years.

What should be changed?
click to read a blog entry on the lesson from this skating tripGiven the undeniable fact that 20 year olds are rare as hen's teeth in churches, what can we do to help? How can King of Peace or any church improve its connections to those in their 20s? Or what can we do in teen ministry to prevent the disengagement with faith?

In the meantime, I'm off to Honey Creek this weekend to serve as a spiritual director for Fall Explosion, a Middle School retreat. Then Sunday from 4-6 p.m. we will have Camden County Episcopal Youth at King of Peace.

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

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9/21/2006

Authentic community

At his blog World of Your Making the Rev. Rick Lord cites a Duke University study that shows how isolated we are becoming as a culture. sharing the peace on Ash WednesdayA Washington Post article on the study states,

A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.

The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties—once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits—are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.
Of this, Rick Lord writes,
exchanging the peace at King of Peacea central aspect of God's dream for the human race is authentic community, and God has created and called the Church to make that happen. God’s dream is to form a people, an inclusive community of young, old, rich and poor, as a visible sign of God’s loving reign in the world today.
fellowship after churchLord's full blog entry Living the Vision - Shaping the Future is worth a read. What do you think about how the churches you know live into this ideal of creating that intentional community for each other. The Bible says a lot about how we should treat one another. You can read those here. As Rick Lord asks, "How would we do church differently to make such connections a reality?"

In the archives are the religion columns,
Build a sense of community in church
and
Why a non-believer may want a church

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

3 Comments:

  • At 9/21/2006 9:33 AM, Blogger Rick Lord+ said…

    Frank,

    Thanks for the link and for your additonal links on community,

    Rick+

     
  • At 9/21/2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous William said…

    I also believe that the responsibility is our own. We have the community we choose to create. If we want our congregation to be a place where people are loved, accepted and encouraged, a place where they feel safe to peel off the mask, then we need to be part of the solution.

    Each congregation is as different as each faith tradition with different values, beliefs and traditions. I have been to some congregations of a fairly liberal and accepting denomination that I thought would be warm and welcoming but were instead cold isolationists simply getting their Sunday morning fix. I have also been with congregations that appeared friendly but were seething with anger and back-biting. For the record, I stayed with both.

    Fortunately, church can be more than a surrogate family. It is family in the truest (if not most literal) meaning of the word.

     
  • At 9/23/2006 1:00 AM, Blogger Robert Christian said…

    I will agree with everything said.
    For the last month I've had some stomach issues. I was in and out of the emergency room test and test and more test (nothing so far, Amen). Luckily, I moved home to help out my parents several years back so I have them, for now to help when things like this come up. Then I talked to a teacher colleague who is in her early 50's and also single. We both talked about being involved in our churches, socially active at school etcc but when your sick your alone. This made me think what do people do in these circumstances? What is the churches role? What about the sick? the shut ins? support for caretakers? regular visits from people? how do we monitor needs, address needs?
    What other people might be in need? Single people? People in need of say a support group? Ladies who want to get out of the house or women who are working and need a support group? So many pastoral issues for the whole parish to address and not be the sole burden of the clergy.
    I sometimes think we pay the clergy to pray for us, to care for other for us, to be the sole teacher.
    Laity has to learn it has a role too.

    I haven't read all the information on the listed links but I'm so happy to see someone talking about this. If we are to grow we need to think about these issues.

    God's peace, and please excuse the rambling. I really was happy to see this subject in print.

    Bob

    Ps. I'm reading a book called "The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts No. AL284 by Luther K. Snow."
    It is aobut realizing our talents and gifts and making the best use of them. Just an idea to share.

     

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9/20/2006

Infallibile apology?

While this is not of direct concern for Episcopalians and other non-Roman Catholics, Pope Benedict's recent comments on Islam have caused many to wonder how an infallible person can take back something he said, or even quoted. This is not actually a concern, and no matter what you think of the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, one can see that the present problems for the papacy do not conflict with that doctrine.

Specifically, in the context of a university lecture, Benedict XVI quoted a 14th century Byzantine Emperor who said
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
Does this quoted statement now become settled doctrine? By no means.

Benedict XVIThe idea that the Pope can make infallible statements did not get settled as policy for the Roman Catholic Church until 1870. That year the First Vatican Council ruled that when the Pope speaks "ex cathedra" on matters of doctrine that those statements are guided by the Holy Spirit and will not err. "Ex cathedra" means from the chair and it is used to refer to the Pope issuing a papal bull of decree in his role as successor to Saint Peter. The idea being that when Bishops are divided on an issue, the Pope can be trusted to settle matters of doctrine due to his unique role in leading the church catholic. The Pope's opinions on the weather or the Chicago Cubs chances at winning the series are not covered by the doctrine.

Only one such papal bull has been issued and that was Pope Pius XII's 1950 statement on the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Based not on scripture, but on traditional Roman Catholic teaching, this is the only statement any Pope has ever made claiming the infallibility of St. Peter's Office. Some have said that John Paul II strongly considered a similar statement on the ordination of women, but he did not do so and that is conjecture or rumor. The present Pope is considered unlikely to make any such "ex cathedra" statements.

So there is no problem with Pope Benedict taking back his words. Benedict XVI sitting in the chair of St. PeterOver at Yahoo News, they say that it is actually Christians who were most criticized by Benedict in his lecture,
Actually, the pope's talk was mainly directed against the West. He criticized modernist thinking that relegates religion to a "subculture" (a point on which many Muslims might agree), arguing that such thinking erroneously concludes that faith and reason can't coexist.
So where should all this head? The Rev. Dr. Martin Marty recently wrote,
Rather than point to the "evil and inhuman" nature of Islam's, Judaism's, Christianity's, Hinduism's, Buddhism's and other holy wars, the pope will serve better if he can still find dialogue partners in search of the good and human.
I think there are signs that the current occupant of the chair of Saint Peter does desire some sort of dialogue with those who wish to reclaim what is the best and brightest of their own faith tradition.

All religions have blood on their hands when we look through history. And even in looking to or own day, we are not without our guilt. Rather than looking to convert one another by the sword, we would do better to try to outdo one another in love and thereby win others over by Jesus' command to "love one another." That is one statement that all Christians agree is infallible, even if we don't always live up to it.

In the archives is the religion column Become a Christian Extremist.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 9/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    I think it is unfortunate that Benedict quoted this text in such tense times. With the reaction to the characture of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper I would think that the papal advisors would be more vigilant. We need to really look at healing and understanding why so many of these people react the way they do to us. Is it mistrust, hurt, fear??? Reconcilation is and should be a priority for our Govt. our church, the Church at large, everyone.

    Bob

     

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9/19/2006

Intelligent Design

I think it would be fair to say
that the Episcopal Church
really does not have a position on Evolution,
much in the same way
the National Science Foundation
does not have a position
on the Resurrection.
—The Rev. David Simmons

At the Ask The Priest Blog where I am a sometime contributor, David Simmons answers the frequently received question about The Eiscopal Church's position on Intelligent Design, evolution and the like including the text of a resolution from the most recent General Convention on the matter. In his thoughtful response, David says,
We simply cannot use the Bible as a science text. To do so is perilous to both science and to religion.
David's whole response Religion and Science is thought provoking. In the archives are the religion column It doesn't have to be science vs. religion and the sermon Thoroughly Postmodern Paul.

1 Comments:

  • At 9/19/2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    Frank+

    This really spoke to me:

    "In the 17th and 18th century, science and reason sought to confine God to a shrine made of human hands. God was confined to what we could prove by scientific method. This is not so different from Paul questioning the people of Athens on why they confined God to the imagination of mortals. Paul challenged the Athenians noting that God had set up the world so that in groping for God we would find him, for God is not far from each one of us as it is in God that we live and move and have our being. "

    After reading the Borg's of the world my faith is still shaken. I learned that Christianity was more than getting to the next life, of rules and regulations but I also had never thought about is the incarnation true. Your quote above re inforces that old faith I've been wanting to believe in.

    Thank you,
    God's Peace,
    Bob

     

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9/18/2006

How forgiving are you?

The real Mother TheresaI'm no Mother Theresa. That's the result from a BeliefNet quiz I took called "How forgiving are you?"

The result for me was that I am a balanced forgiver. I didn't rate as "Out for revenge" or "Very merciful." So, while I don't hold a grudge, I'm no saint.

You can try the quiz
for yourself at:
The how forgiving are you quiz

Yeterday's sermon
Mercy trumps justice is now online.

In the archives on forgiveness are the post
A prayer to forgive
and the religion column
Forgive others and unlock your heart
and the recent sermon,
The Hypocrite and the Septic Tank.

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

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9/17/2006

I Protest! or perhaps not.

this Christ Maryknoll icon of Jesus solidatary with those imprisoned hangs in my officeWhen do Christians need to gather with others of courage to stand against unjust practices? When is enough, enough and when do we participate merely with our vote? In an entry at The Questing Parson called To protest or not protest? the parson reflects with a group of seminarians on how and when to respond as pastors knowing that
Not everyone feels the role of the pastor is necessarily to oppose evil in the manner of public protests and such.
The parson, who is given to using stories to settle most things debatable and all other matters of inquiry as well, ended with this brief story:
“Henry David Thoreau was once thrown into prison for refusing to pay his taxes because a portion of it went to support the Mexican War. While he was in prison, Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit him in his cell. Emerson looked through the bars and said to Thoreau, “Thoreau, what are you doing in there?”

Thoreau replied, “Waldo, what are you doing out there?”
The full entry To Protest or not protest is worth a read.

When should Christians get involved? When should we lead by example? When should we protest injustice in the society around us?

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

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9/16/2006

Only through prayer

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus comes back down the mountain with Peter, James and John immediately after his transfiguration. His disciples have attempted to assist a father who wants his son healed of something that reads a lot to modern ears as epilepsy. We are told that Jesus casts a demon out of the boy who is thereby healed. Later his disciples ask, "Why could we not cast it out?" and Jesus replies, "This kind can come out only through prayer."

It begs the question, "Didn't the disciples try prayer?" Perhaps not. But I think that Jesus is telling his closest followers that they already needed to be "prayed up" so to speak. When a miracle is needed that connection to God needs to already be a live one.

What do you think?

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

3 Comments:

  • At 9/16/2006 10:21 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    Perhaps it has to do with the difference between praying to God about someone and praying at someone about God. I am particularly thinking about those instances when extemporaneous prayers that turn into sermons and there I sit wondering if I still need to keep my eyes closed.

     
  • At 9/18/2006 5:59 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    I have used my prayer beads to sit and place or at least try to enter the presence of God, to be able to listen and discern God's will. I'm not often successful but at times I've learned what I wanted and what God wanted aren't always the same.

    I remember we had +Scriven coming for the yearly bishop's visit. My parish is a mixed bag of people but we're firmly Episcopalians (in the Dioces of Pittsburgh). I found myself angry and thinking I'd not go to the service but after prayer I decided to go. I even gave +Scriven a set of prayer beads I made.

    I think prayer can be a two way conversation. Sometimes we don't listen.

    In the instance of the disciples I think the disciples thought they could perform the miracle on their own. Doing things without God is like closing a window that's broken. Make sense? We need God to always be a part of the equation.

    Bob in Washington, PA

    Ps. Your Church site helped me develop the bead ministry at my church, Thank you!

     
  • At 9/19/2006 10:10 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Robert,

    I'm glad the site has been helpful to you. For others interested in Anglican Prayer Beads, the section of our website Robert to which Robert is referring is http://kingofpeace.org/prayerbeads.htm.

    peace,
    Frank+

     

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9/15/2006

The Playstation Prophecies

iPods have more memory than everything in this photo

We humans are pretty woefully bad at predicting the future. After all, if the future of my youth had come about, we would be zipping about on jet packs, vacationing on the moon etc. And more to the point, no one predicted the ubiquity of home computers or the creation of the Internet, much less its influence. The latest technology news to cross my screen is that IBM is harnessing the power of 16,000 Playstations to create the world's fastest supercomputer. You can read more in the BBC News article Fastest supercomputer to be built which tells of an IBM project to build Roadrunner—four times faster than the current world's fastest. And another article on how the Playstation3 itself is plagued with problems (even as the chips prove ideal for supercomputing).

ye olde computerThere is something ineffably right about this. Making toys has become a multi-billion dollar a year business. With so much creativity and techonological savvy going in to their creation, perhaps it should have been predictable that toys could be used to create an alternative to underground nuclear testing (I am not making this up). Perhaps, but I never saw it coming. I'm guessing that you didn't either (nor did Asimov or other science fiction greats).

This is a church's blog and here comes the ecclesiastical punch line: Why do Christians waste even the least little time and mental energy on attempting to figure out how current world events can or do relate to Biblical prophecies? Given the nature of prophecy and our laughably poor prognosticating performance, why bother?

Someone will no doubt claim that the non-Biblical Nostrodamus predicted a computer built of Playstations, if they don't credit the prophecy to Ezekiel or Revelation. Even Jesus said that not even he knew the hour or the day of his return, but could only look to the signs to see the seasons.

How much better to put our time and energy in to those things Jesus did ask us to do: Loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Once all widows, orphans and others in need have been provided for, we can perhaps then turn our attention to prophecy. In the meantime, we have enough to worry about. Unless you want to join the Kenyan cult that moved into bunkers this week.

In the archives is the sermon The Problem with the Rapture. Today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian, From Anxiety to Abundance is also online.

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

4 Comments:

  • At 9/15/2006 10:19 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Frank,

    While I agree with you that our primary energies shouldn't be spent in trying to predict the future through interpretation of prophecy, there is a blessing for those that do attempt to understand them.

    (Rev 1:3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

    I was just curious what you thought of passages like this in light of your comments for today.

     
  • At 9/15/2006 10:27 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Kenny,

    I do see that those who read the words of Revelation and keep the words therein recieve a blessing. I value the last book of the Bible (unlike John Calvin and Martin Luther, both of whom avoided it). But I think the blessing comes through the overarching message of God being in control of history and even in the details of being neither hot nor cold lest you be spit out, etc.

    I think the particular efforts at aligning current events with prophecy pushes the language of Revelation too far. For if Jesus said he couldn't know the hour and day, but only the season, then that level of attention is probably not in keeping with intention of Revelation to be used in that way.

    But for more on what I think about this book, we have a page of Revelation resources at kingofpeace.org/revelation.htm. So even with the cautions noted above concerning paying more attention to widows and orphans than to prophecy, I have spent some time with the book as well.

    -Frank

     
  • At 9/15/2006 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have long wondered why so many people spend so much time trying to find out the exact day and hour when Christ will return and/or the world will end. There are whole businesses and ministries built upon this most feeble of foundations. Our job is to be ready, to be people of prayer,to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, to be people of peace. Nothing we can do will hasten or delay the end times. He is omnipotent and He will decide. It is a waste of time and resources, and extremely pretentious, and to pretend to have received divine personal revelation about the exact time of the world's end. It is a mystery and apparently He wants it to remain that way.

    -William

     
  • At 9/18/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Both you and William have hit the nail on the head. Thanks for your comments.

    I was raised in and have spent most of my life in churches where the rapture was taught. But even there, there were so many different interpretations of how it would all come together that I've eventually come to the conclusion that, since God is in control and ultimately loves us and cares for us as His children that we should concentrate on making sure we are doing what He wants us to.

    Along with several other things, I'm still working out the differences between Episcopalian/Anglican theology and my own! Be patient with me. :)

     

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9/14/2006

Public Language

Dr. Walter Brueggemann lecturing the the clergy of the Diocese of Georgia

We finished up the the fall Clergy Conference of the Diocese of Georgia at lunch yesterday. In his final session with us, Old Testament professor Dr. Walter BrueggemannDr. Walter Brueggemann spoke of the need to recapture public language. He noted that our statement as we end the Lord's Prayer, which we pray each time we gather for worship, is "for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory." This he said is "an assertion that the world does not belong to Caesar, Herod, Pharaoh or their ilk."

He then went into the language of the liturgy of ancient Israel still found within the Psalms, which were used in worship then (and now). This includes passages such as Psalm 47:8 "God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne" and Psalm 98:7, "With trumpets and the sound of the horn, shout with joy before the King, the Lord." In these texts and many others we see that part of the worship in ancient Judaism was acknowledging the kingship of God in the performative language of liturgy which makes the thing so for us.

Dr. Walter Brueggemann looking very prophet likeThe prophets then picked up these poetic lines and broke the language of the liturgy back out into the world. In these texts Babylon stands in for nations who think their might, wealth and wisdom put them over and above God. The prophets speak against this and note that the world is hard wired so that unjust nations are brought down. In Amos 1-2 for example we get an appeal to creation theology that God's mercy and compassion stand in judgment against these minor states who do not show mercy.

Dr. Brueggemann said that the task of the preacher then is not to draw out connections to the public sphere so much as to let the people have the texts. Preach the texts, teach the stories, and let the scripture itself get into people's bones so that it can come to affect the decisions they make in the public sphere.

"We are to line out an alternative account of world history with God's mercy at its center," Dr. Brueggeman said.

If you would like a more ably rendered accounting of this theme and the scripture behind it, you will have to wait, but not for long. Dr. Brueggemann is working on a book on how the Torah of The Old Testemant promotes The Common Good and as the author of 58 books he says he hasn't had an unpublished thought. You might not have to wait that long.

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

Clergy talking informally
It looks a bit idealistic, but here is a spontaneous grouping of clergy on a break talking about how they make room (or don't) for sabbath time in their lives. It was great, thoughtful conversation.

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9/13/2006

Steadfast love, justice and righteousness

I'm still at the Clergy Conference for the Diocese of Georgia. Yesterday included an ordination and an excellent 3-part presentation on end-of-life issues by a palliative care physician and a chaplain. And Dr. Walter Brueggemann continued his series of talks...

Dr. Brueggemann pointed out two triads, as he called them—the Triad of Death and the Triad of Life:

Brueggemann's two triads

This comes from other places within scripture as well, but is stated clearly by the poet/prophet Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.—Jeremiah 9:23-24
Bruegemann noted that Paul quotes this in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 when he writes, "As it is written, 'let him who boasts, boast in the Lord'" after having already contrasted God's wisdom with the wisdom of the world and God's strength with worldly power.

I do know from my styudy of Hebrew that the three words translated here as steadfast love, justice and mercy are very important words in the theology of the Old Testament and are picked up by New Testament equivilents by Jesus and the epistle writers.

So as with yesterday's entry, this is a repeating pattern of which these are two examples suggesting that we chase worldy wealth, power, and wisdom only to get anxiety for our troubles. Yet, there is a Godly option in which we pursue God's agenda of steadfast love, justice and righteousness and in the process find the freedom and abundance of which I wrote below. The problem is that if your standard is wisdom, wealth and power, then like Pharaoh or even King Solomon you will never have enough and will always be trapped into anxiously chasing more.

The question is which do you pursue and I have to admit that while I don't chase after wealth and power (if I do I am a poor pursuer of those things) but I do value wisdom. For Brueggemann though, the wisdom was knowledge for the purpose of control (my example is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden). So maybe I'm not doing that one either. Great. But how is it that I pursue Steadfast Love, Justice and Righteousness. Are these priorities of God my priorities too? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Mostly I pursue getting through the day and week with mundane tasks more than I like to admit.

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

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9/12/2006

Pharaoh's Dream vs. God's Dream

I was at Honey Creek yesterday and will be back today and Wednesday through lunch for the Clergy Conference of the Diocese of Georgia. The main speaker is the well known and highly regarded Old Testament professor Dr. Walter Brueggemann.

I speaking with us last evening, Dr. Brueggemann lamented that as we encounter scripture in short passages each week, we miss over arching themes. The theme he pulled out for us was the repeating pattern of the move from slavery to freedom, which is also the move from scarcity to abundance. He showed this pattern with Moses in Exodus, with Elisha in 2 Kings and with Jesus in the Gospels.

In explicating the theme, Dr. Brueggemann noted that the move from the anxiety of scarcity to the freedom of abundance takes an unexpected act of generosity. In the Exodus story we find this pattern in Pharaoh who is the richest man in the world yet dreams of lean years and pushes everyone to work harder.

Once the Hebrews are out from under his yoke, the miracle of God providing bread in the wilderness (called Manna, which literally means "what is it?") is just such an act of unexpected generosity which proves that creation is ongoing and the creator can make fruitfulness where we can not generate that fruitfulness ourselves.

Then we find in the Sinai encounter that the Hebrews are given dreams of freedom and abundance through the Law of Moses which shows how to care for your neighbor so that all have enough.

Dr. Brueggemmann showed how this pattern and theme repeat in scripture with a some other examples. He noted that so many people whom we pastor (he too is an ordained minister) are anxious and driven to do more, more, more by fears of scarcity. He said in this, Pharaoh's command is "make more bricks," while God's comman is "love the Lord your God..."

I'll close with a quote from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus lays out this promise of abundance over and against the world's anxiety of scarcity,
"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. "And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! "So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.—Matthew 6:25-34
The whole of scripture calls us again and again to come out of Egypt with its anxiety and dreams of scarcity to enter in to the Promised Land which is a land flowing with milk and honey.

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

3 Comments:

  • At 9/12/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Very interesting topic. Seems we don't always go far enough even in that idea. It's good and right to move in our thinking from worrying about scarcity to trusting in God's abundance. Then we have yet another leap to make - the one where we don't worry even about the abundance but just resting in God's providential care.

    It's funny. This is another of those things I can see but can't seem to master!

     
  • At 9/12/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous Bobinwashpa@yahoo.com said…

    I really like this thread. We have always bound ourselves and each other in so many shameful ways. The other day I saw a song about the woman who broke the jar of precious ointment (oil) and rubbed it on Jesus. I got two messages, first, a woman anointing Jesus. Secondly, I thought about the role women played and the rules broken by this women in even engaging Jesus. The bounds society put on women in Jesus' time.

    We enslave people not God. We put up the barriers. I'm a music teacher in a special education school. I see how people treat my students. They're afraid, they can't look at them or moved as far away as possible. The autistic children and profoundly retard frighten people the most. We're all precious and we all need love.
    We bind them with labels.

    I wonder what is God's abundance? Are we God's abundance and the love God gives us, the love that we sometimes don't share?

    Peace and I really liked this
    Bob S. Washington, PA

     
  • At 9/14/2006 10:10 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The Rev. Steve Rice's take on this smae lecture is online here: Fear, Axiety, Anger, and the Pharaoh.
    -Frank

     

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9/11/2006

We grope for words to pray

Hymn writer Carl P. Daw wrote this hymn text shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It debuted on September 18 and we sang it at King of Peace that following Sunday five years ago:

When sudden terror tears apart
the world we thought was ours,
we find how fragile strength can be,
how limited our powers.

AJC front page from 9-12-01As tower and fortress fall,
we watch
with disbelieving stare
and numbly hear
the anguished cries
that pierce the ash-filled air.

Yet most of all
we are aware
of emptiness and void:
of lives cut short,
of structures razed,
of confidence destroyed.

From this abyss of doubt and fear
we grope for words to pray,
and hear our stammering tongues embrace
a timeless Kyrie.

Have mercy, Lord, give strength and peace,
and make our courage great;
restrain our urge to seek revenge,
to turn our hurt to hate.

Help us to know your steadfast love,
your presence near as breath;
rekindle in our hearts the hope
of life that conquers death.
In the archives is the sermon from last September 11, Hitting Rock Bottom and Finding a Firm Foundation.

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9/10/2006

Demanding Gospel

Renowned preacher and Methodist Bishop William Willimon has preached,
When I consider how demanding the gospel is, I can't believe how many of you got dressed this morning and came down to hear about it.
In the archives is The Warning Label Sermon

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9/09/2006

Ephphatha

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus heals a man who is deaf and mute. But the healing takes place with some extra work on Jesus' part. Mark's Gospel tells us
He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
So why putting his fingers in the man's ears and spitting and touching the man's tongue? If the question is who needed those extra touches, Jesus or the deaf and mute man, I think it was the man in need of healing who needed more. I'm prepared to be wrong, but as this is Jesus who was amazed at the faith of the Centurion who asked that Jesus just say the word rather than come to his house, I won't be wrong by much. Perhaps this is just because I guess I might have needed something more than a word, something physical as well.

What do you think? Could you be healed without Jesus even coming near, or would you need something more?

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

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9/08/2006

Keeping the Faith

A recent New York Times article reveals that there are more Zoroastrians in the U.S. (11,000 adherants) than in the next two countries combined. But the ancient faith is dying out quickly. The article conjectures why this may be so stating,
The very tenets of Zoroastrianism could be feeding its demise, many adherents said in interviews. Zoroastrians believe in free will, so in matters of religion they do not believe in compulsion. They do not proselytize. They can pray at home instead of going to a temple. While there are priests, there is no hierarchy to set policy. And their basic doctrine is a universal ethical precept: “good thoughts, good words, good deeds.”
Couple this with problems of intermarriage and death rates exceeding birth rates, with almost no converts to speak of, and you have a slow progression toward Zoroastrianism being as viable an option as Baal or Asherah worship.

Zoroastrian woes point out that any faith is one generation away from having no followers. While sharing the faith with others is vital, it is also important to raise your children to share your beliefs. This past Sunday's worship had as its first reading Deuteronomy 4:1-9 which ended with,
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children.
In the archives is the religion column Teach your children the language of faith.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 9/08/2006 3:34 PM, Anonymous William said…

    Very interesting. Many other faith traditions have suffered the same fate as the Zoroastrians. According to the NY Times story this entry comes from many of the tenets expressed by the Zoroastrians can be found in Judaism and Christianity. Just to play devil’s advocate, are they worshipping the same God?

    And this does clearly demonstrate that we must pass on to our children, through our example, what we would have them believe. As always, the test will be in what we do, not in what we say.

     

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9/07/2006

Always seeing beauty

He hath made everything beautiful in its time.
—Ecclesiastes 3:11a

click here to see Anglicans OnlineThe always thoughtful essay at Anglicans Online features this week portraiture by George Richmond (1809-1896) who was a faithful Christian of the Anglican variety while being a successful painter. Here at left is a picture of the Rev. Christopher Wordsworth and below one of his wife Julia at age 13.

The essay quotes Laura Foster, a family friend, as saying,
I do not know when it struck me first, but it must have been very early, and it struck me with surprise, that where we saw other people's blemishes, Mr. Richmond always saw their beauties, and where we criticised freely, he whose life turned upon what was lovely, praised freely. Later on this attitude, which I first appreciated in the physical world, I saw applied equally to the spiritual world, and whilst he never shrank from correcting by look or tone or word, anything he disapproved of in the conversation around him, so also did he never speak an unkind word or make a harsh criticism of any human being.
click here to see Anglicans OnlineWhat a lovely thing to have said about oneself, that where others saw blemishes and made criticism, that you only saw beauty and gave praise. Perhaps his craft caused him to look deeper to find the beauty in all. Having found the beauty in more than 2,500 subjects, it might have become easier to see the beauty in all.

The full essay remains online here even after the home page is updated with a new one. Anglicans Online is always worth a visit.

On our wedding dayIn the archives is the blog entry Some loveableness in us all which tells a parable by Søren Kierkegaard on a similar theme and features artwork by the painter who created The Last Supper which hangs at King of Peace.

In the same vein—always seeing beauty—I am thankful today for 21 years of marriage to my bride, Victoria.

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

3 Comments:

  • At 9/07/2006 10:02 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    That's what I hear from a lot of people about my father. People like that make the world a better place just because they are here.

    -And Happy Anniversary!!! Kenny and I celebrated 19 years last week.

     
  • At 9/08/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    Happy anniversary!
    How well I remember the day!

     
  • At 9/09/2006 11:36 PM, Blogger Terrell said…

    Happy Anniversary!!

     

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9/06/2006

Make her a deacon...

Christ Episcopal Church in St. MarysThis is a reminder that King of Peace will be worshipping tonight with our nearest Episcopal neighbors at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Marys. Jennifer Highsmith will be ordained as a deacon there tonight at 7 p.m. with Bishop Louttit leading the service. There will be neither a communion service nor a book study this evening at King of Peace so that we may join in the worship at Christ Church.

The ministry of deacons is largely one of taking the ministry of the church out into the world, particularly as a servant to those in need. This is something all Christians are to do by virtue of their baptisms. But it is also particular to the ministry of deacons as found in the Book of Acts and in the tradition of the church. Please pray for Jennifer as she enters this order of ministry.

For those looking for more information on the ministry of deacons within the Episcopal Church, the Deacons Home Page at the Diocese of Georgia's website is a great place to start.

peace,
Frank+

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Whose on first?

First President of the USAA recent cover story for U.S. News & World report was on famous firsts. They report that George Washington wasn't the first person to go by the title of the President of the United States of America. He wasn't even the second. It turns out that the man called "First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen," was the nascent nation's eleventh president. The problem is a matter of definition. The previous ten served as leader's under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The job was a very different one as it worked from both a different fouding document and different idea of how separate the states being united would remain.

One article in the magazine, Does being first matter? noted,
Perhaps that's ultimately what makes first so special: its simplicity, devoid of nuance or subjectivity. Deciding whether something is best is often nearly impossible, as everyone brings his own measurements to the equation. But placing the number 1 next to a name lends it an undeniable instant credibility, plus heft, praise, and attention.
Jesus named the whole project as misguided in saying the last would be first and the first would be last. Whose on first was the wrong question. For Jesus it is how God sees you that matters. And the way to make yourself the top banana in Jesus' eyes was not to be served but to serve. Humility not hubris is the ticket to the top (or is that bottom) of the heavenly heap.

Wondering who was the first President of the United States of America? It was Samuel Huntington of Maryland who resigned after four months due to "work related fatigue."


The photo above shows Victoria fueling her P.T. Cruiser on Labor Day at a gas station in Waynesboro, Georgia built on the site of a home where George Washington once lodged. It is sort of an anachronistic "George Washington fueled here" marker now.

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9/05/2006

My fault too?

"He always pushed himself to the very limits
but I thought he was invulnerable
and I think he did too."
—Steve Irwin's friend John Stanton
quoted in Adelaide Now.

You have no doubt heard the news that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while being filmed off the coast of Australia (Washington Post story here). I wasn't the 44-year old Croc Hunter's biggest fan, but I enjoyed his show and appreciated his movie. Like many, I questioned his judgment in the incident with taking his son in the croc pen a while back. But I liked the guy's work and I loved his enthusiasm. And perhaps because of that, I miss a guy I never met. I also feel like I helped egg him on toward his death.

OK. I know that is overstating things, but if I stood in a crowd that encouraged someone as they did cliff diving, wouldn't I feel somewhat responsible if the last jump of the day went bad and the diver died? This is different, but is it so very different? At some level, we are only responsible for ourselves. I never made Steve Irwin's choices, but I did help make his dangerous profession more lucrative.

Cain told God that he was not his brother's keeper. Should he have been? What level of responsibility do we have for the behavior of others?

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

4 Comments:

  • At 9/05/2006 10:35 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    You, me, and everyone else who ever watched his show did indeed contribute to his death.

    That said, though, we made a deal with him. We didn't ask him to die for us and we didn't even ask him to risk himself for us. We asked him to show us the things he loved. He gladly did that in exchange for the opportunity to try to protect those things.

    We all have to die sometime. I would hope we all wanted to go out doing something we loved, having provided (extremely well) for our families.

    I have no idea what his spiritual condition was but that's the bigger concern.

     
  • At 9/05/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Steve+ said…

    On the other hand, I watched Steve Irwin in an interview with Matt Lauer the other day (replay) in which Matt was strongly questioning his behavior with his infant son and the croc. Steve put the question back on Matt (I'm paraphrasing here)asking him if he puts his child in a car. Isn't that inherently more dangerous? It may be apples and oranges, but I think the point is taken. Everyday is a gift and any one of us can go at any moment from any number of things. Do we participate in certain activities that increase the risk? Yes. And driving is certainly one of them, yet I will put my child in a car seat today and hit the road.

     
  • At 9/05/2006 6:40 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    I think Steve Irwin would have done exactly what he did, even if no one was watching (he was raised in his family's zoo, after all).

    Sure, he was someone who lived on the edge, but it was his edge. I'm pleased that we were able to walk there with him, meet the creatures he introduced us to, and have some laughs and gasps along the way.

    It's a dangerous world, even if you're just sitting in your kitchen. But he helped me see some of the beauty of God's creation in all that "dain-jah, dain-jah, dain-jah!"

     
  • At 9/05/2006 9:50 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    Mr. Irwin was certainly passionate and changed the minds of many because of his passion. Would that we were as passionate about our Creator as he was about the creation.

     

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9/04/2006

Taking Christ Seriously

Joe Ratulowski's baptism
The Rev. Dr. Hans Kung wrote,
New possibilities arise whenever a priest in the pulpit...preaches this Jesus; when parents give Christian instruction; an individual, a family or parish prays seriously without a lot of words. They arise when a baptism is carried out in the name of Jesus Christ, when the Eucharist is celebrated in a community committed to drawing the conclusions for everyday life; when in the power of God forgiveness of sin is incomprehensibly assured.

New opportunities arise therefore whenever in the service of God and the service of humanity, in instruction and pastoral care, in conversation and chritable service, the Gospel is truthfully proclaimed and life is lived and seen to be lived in accordance with it.

In brief, the following of Christ takes place when the cause of Jesus Christ is taken seriously.

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9/03/2006

For no other purpose

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) wrote of why churches exist. It's not bad to be reminded of this on a Sunday,
He works on us in all sorts of ways. But over all, He works on us through each other. (People) are mirrors, or "carriers" of Christ to other (people). Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the Church, the whole body of Christians sharing Him to one another, is so important.

It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects—education, building, missions, holding services...The Church exists for no other purpose but to draw (people) into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason.
Today's sermon is online here The Hypocrite and The Septic Tank

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