Test Drive Our Savior
A few of the 60 sermons in the book will be familiar to those who regularly attend King of Peace as they were preached at our church since Linda moved to Camden County. Others are from her time as the pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church in Moultrie, Georgia. All of the sermons offer an insightful look at how the scriptures speak to our lives today.
We will also be offering the book for sale at King of Peace as a way of raising funds for and awareness of our daughter congregation, which is set to start regular public worship on Sundays this coming November 4. The church will meet in the chapel at our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center, Honey Creek, which is in Waverly, Georgia (5.5 miles east of I-95 at exit 26). For more information visit the church's website www.oursaviorhoneycreek.org
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
The Church as Thermostat
There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed in. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.—the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”. But they went on with the conviction that they were a “colony of heaven,” and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” They brought to an end such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.
Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.
Labels: Martin Luther King
Toilet dispute boils over into the courts
of bullying and terror, as parish priests struggle
to lead congregations dominated by neurotic worshippers
who spread havoc with gossip and manipulation."
—from The Future of the Parish System report
This blunt assessment of congregational life among our fellow Anglicans was issued last year at the end of a study of the Parish System which described a new illness called, (and I am not making this up) "irritable clergy syndrome" which comes in part from the fact that "one of the most stressful features of ministry is the effort to be nice to difficult people." An article on this is found here: Evil-minded Parishioners Making Life Hell for Clergy.
I bring this year-old report up because of something in current events showed how right that report was.
St. Michael Church, which is in a toilet dispute that could
oust him as Vicar of the church.
It all began when the Rev. Dr. Tom Ambrose sought to modernise with bathrooms the 14th century church he serves as Vicar in Trumpington, Cambridge, England. Ambrose had made other changes before—like moving the day of the Harvest Festival from Friday to Saturday—that had already started trouble brewing, but the toilet issue boiled over into the church courts and therefore the press.
The Daily Mail offers The vicar who may be flushed out of his parish in a row over church toilets, the Telegraph went for Move to oust vicar in loo row, while the Cambridge Evening News said Furious flock puts vicar's job on the line. You can find more about the dispute at those links. But the short version is that it is now headed to an eccesiastical court that could remove Ambrose from his job, or the priesthood. For his part, Amrose says,
This is not doing the Church of England any good - to see Christians behaving like this. I wasn't doing anything particularly radical, I haven't tried to overturn any traditions but I made a few changes which I believed would improve the parish and make it more inclusive."I believe Ambrose and trust that the Church of England will find a way to solve the dispute gracefully. I know that Christian community is messy, but I find that a good thing more often than not. Good because it means that those who gather are different and bring those differences to church. And in a diverse church, we will sometimes rankle one anothers feathers and learn how to love our neighbors in the process of benefitting from the gifts of all in the congregation.
Where ever two or three are gathered, there will be some politics and struggles. I was once on the vestry of a church that spent several contentious months on whether to paint or side the church office. It was unpleasant, yet didn't lead to blood-letting. It did give me a chance to see the nasty political side of things on a minor issue. However, that tempest brewing in a teapot was resolved when a member who felt strongly about paint offered to pay to have the building scraped and painted, ending the cost issue and calming the stormy waters before things got too far. The issue had merely been one of money and so the issue went away.
So I observe that thankfully that while wherever two or three are gathered there are politics, we also find that when they are gathered in Jesus' Name, our Lord is in the midst of it. Thankfully my experience among Episcopal Churches (and other denominations) here in South Georgia is not near so dire as the description of our fellow Anglicans. Yes, Jesus may be shaking his head at why we major in the minors worrying more about little things than big, but I think he is also empowering us to meet the real spiritual and also physical needs of our community.
It is a shame to see churches bogged down in distractions like this toilet dispute when the world is ever more than ever in need of the life-changing Good News of what God has done in Jesus Christ. I pray that Ambrose and the parishioners at St. Mary and St. Michael Church will be able to work past the current issues to get to the part where they are transforming the lives of people in their neighborhood to the glory of God.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Faith in the Sudan
Cover us with your wingsMarc R. Nikkel's English translation of a Christian hymn written by the Dinka of The Sudan, quoted in the Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand's article Faith in Sudan.
Like a bird covers her chicks;
Embrace us intimately, O God, hold us intimately
In these bad years
So that we may have life through faith in you.
Look upon us, O Creator who made us.
God of all peoples,
We are yearning for our land,
That we may pray to you in freedom.
Hear the prayer of our souls in the wilderness
Hear the prayer of our bones in the wilderness
Hear our prayer as we call out to you
Hear the cry of our hearts in the wilderness.
His work is also cited at Dr. Stephen Cook's Biblische Ausbildung concerning Sudanese readings of scripture and which stories stand out from their perspective:
Among texts of the Hebrew Bible of special interest to Christians in Sudan are Psalm 68:31 and Zephaniah 3:9-10. The Sudanese often see the former text to be an announcement of the blossoming of Christian faith that Sudan has now been seeing. The psalm declares that though Egypt and Cush (read Sudan) were formerly hostile to God's people, they will certainly turn to God.In certain times and places, some of scripture speaks more directly than other parts. For example, the story of The Exodus spoke powerfully to slaves in this country in the 1800s.
Like Psalm 68, Zephaniah 3:9-10 speaks of new worshippers turning to God from "beyond the rivers of Cush." Sudan is the land of the "two Niles," so a reference to "rivers [plural] of Cush" really hits home to the Sudanese. That the African people are called "dispersed ones" here also hits home hard in light of the huge refugee crises in Sudan. In modern times, millions of Sudanese people have been displaced both within Sudan and externally to surrounding countries.
I notice that in our own context some stories from scripture are also much more popular than others. Some often mentioned to me are 1) The parable of The Prodigal Son, 2) The woman caught in adultery, 3) The Thief on the Cross, and 4) The Samaritan Woman at the Well. Though I find the Psalms are also very popular, but more generally, and other than Psalm 23 not so specifically. This short list is VERY unscientific. What stories from scripture do you think are favored here in our little corner of the Kingdom of God? Not so much, what are your favorites, but what do you think are our culture's favorite?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Yesterday's sermon is online here: Believe What You Breathe.
A Graduation Prayer
O God, from whom we come, and to whom we go, and by whose will the time between coming and going is time to find ourselves and time to find you: We offer thanks for this time of change, for new knowledge and new friends, and new perspectives in our lives. Help us to remember. Help us to become. Help us to be of use. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
Shared by the Rev. Peter G. Cheney in Network, the newsletter of the National Association of Episcopal Schools.
Come Holy Spirit
Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, once said, “only a fool would pray for the Holy Spirit” and then went on to say “only fools for Christ do”. To ask for the Holy Spirit may indeed be a dangerous thing. But to experience it we must ask for it. We must be willing to abandon ourselves to it. We must begin by an acceptance that the Spirit is not somewhere ‘out there’ or in some Never Never Land; but here, waiting to be invited in. The distance between us and the Kingdom of God is but a thin film that can easily be penetrated - if we intentionally seek to do so. Sadly, most of us intentionally seek other things...
In my own life, the Spirit comes not only in the "rushing mighty wind" of felt presence, but also in the still, soft dew, of waiting in silence and solitude, the lifeline of my relationship with the Lord.
Veni Sancti Spiritus - the ancient prayer and chant of the Church, is answered in so many suprising and generous ways, when we pay attention to our desire and thirst for the living God.
Are you willing to pray: Come Holy Spirit?
Pure, Undefiled Christian Teaching
Note:What follows is my religion column for today's issue of the Tribune & Georgian on a candlelight vigil held by a dumpster in a local apartment complex where the murdered body of a then unidentified girl had been found a week earlier.
Candlepower turns out to be more than a measure of light intensity. On Monday evening, 150-200 people took part in a candlelight vigil at the dumpsters of The Pines Apartments in Saint Marys. The experience of that event was more luminous than the power of the candles alone.
At one level, it was the simplest of events. The group gathered. We sang Amazing Grace and The Old Rugged Cross. A half dozen pastors offered prayers for the perpetrator or perpetrators, for the victim and her loved ones, for the neighborhood and more. Then we sang Kumbayah as we processed around the apartment complex still carrying our candles. One more brief prayer and the service was ended.
Yet there is a power in this simple service. There is power in standing alongside a dumpster where a murdered girl’s body was found dumped to stand up for the value of human life. There is value in going to a place of fear and speaking words of peace. There is value in showing the light of hope in a time of despair and there is immense value in speaking words of love into the face of hate.
The power of the dispelling darkness with light was much more intense than 150 candlepower or so. It was also the power of Christians, who sometimes seem so divided over matters of doctrine and worship practices, setting aside the differences to focus on the love of God shown in Jesus Christ. That was the real power on Monday evening—the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection shining in a place of death and abandonment.
If we had decided to take up a theological discussion of some point of doctrine or another, perhaps we could have found room to disagree. Or if we had focused too much on how we worshipped that night rather on that we could join together in worshipping God alongside a dumpster, then perhaps we would have disagreed. But instead, it was the simplicity of knowing that the common faith we have in God through his son Jesus is much more important than any issues which divide us.
If you’ll permit a small aside, I want to add some scripture alongside this idyllic image of Christians in action to bring some more depth to the story. The practice of regular Bible reading has a way of crashing in on your life in unexpected ways. A text written nearly two millennia ago can speak with the force of a word written just for you for just that day. And the scripture crashing in on my life lately comes from a Bible Study I’ve been leading on the Book of James.
James was written by the brother of Jesus. James had been such a faithful Jew in Jesus’ lifetime that he could not see Jesus as the Messiah, that is until Jesus appeared to him after his resurrection. Then James became a leader in the early Christian church in Jerusalem. From that position of leadership, he wrote a letter to the faithful scattered around the Roman Empire.
James speaks with crystal clarity to speak against favoring the rich over the poor. He writes that we are to be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry. He also says that we are to keep what he calls “the royal law,” which is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is the not so fine doctrinal point we got right on Monday evening. As we walked around the apartments singing, “Someone’s weeping Lord,” we joined ourselves with the mourning and the fear of our neighbors in The Pines. Knowing full well of the problems of drugs and violence, we showed love rather than judgment. We did so not for the people there, but together with our neighbors in The Pines.
I do know that right belief matters and I do try to read and study and have good biblical basis for what I teach about God. But I also know that if I get more concerned about doctrine than people, I look a lot more like the religious folks in the Bible that provoked Jesus’ wrath. Jesus showed great love to many people, but he had a short fuse when it came to outwardly religious people who had no real concern for others.
We find this also in the book of James. James writes, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
The orphans and widows were those in his society who had no standing, no one to care for them or speak for them. In that same way, the murdered girl whose name we do not yet know was, at the time of her death, an outcast with no one to speak for her. In lighting candles, singing songs and saying prayers, we showed that we know she was a beloved child of God who our Lord would never have wanted treated so shamefully. We also showed those still living in The Pines and that neighborhood, that they too are beloved by God.
So matters of doctrine and points of division aside, I think that Monday evening showed that pure, undefiled Christian teaching is love. Showing love of neighbor in a place where hate for another was so violently clear is to shine a light in the darkness. Speaking up for someone who another saw as refuse is a way to declare that all people are beloved by God and no one is beyond redemption. And for that task, there is no finer altar than a dumpster. And I am proud to be part of a community willing in large numbers to gather at that altar and put our faith into action.
Note:After I sent this column in, I read Jim Morrow's blog post and realized he had done a better job capturing the event and what mattered with fewer words. His post is here: Light Shines in the Darkness.
For those who have not seen the news, the murdered body was identified yesterday as that of a 15-year old Jacksonville girl. Her identity was discovered through a fingerprint database. A news story on her identification is here: Body in dumpster was teen from Jacksonville.
Image and Likeness
Just before Lent ECVA artists were invited to observe Christ’s presence in the world in which we find ourselves. Where might we see Christ as he continues to be present with us through the worship of the Church, our spiritual practices, our daily habits, our homes? As the curator for this exhibition, Image and Likeness, I too allowed this invitation to guide how I experienced the holy season and I found myself pondering several questions:
- What role does the image of Christ play in our understanding of Christian discipleship?
- How do we learn to look for Christ in our lives?
- And how does this practice of intentional observation affect how Christ might be present not only in the things we observe but – and perhaps more importantly – in ourselves?
- Is there a reciprocal relationship between seeing Christ in others and others seeing Christ in us?
Favorite hymns and Idol Moments
I had a old-time hymn sing at church tonight, with a few hymns whose titles I at least recognized (”Bringing in the the Sheaves” among a very few others) and others billed as being well-loved but which I just didn’t recognize to save my life.What hymns or other Christian songs speak to your heart and which leave you out in the cold?
And I just wasn’t moved. It was all tweeting birds and babbling brooks and how God saved me and walked with me and boooooooring. I mean, it was fun singing with people I love, and there are some really lovely voices there, but nothing spoke to me and I don’t get why these hymns in particular are so well-loved.
I know why “Amazing Grace” moves me, because my own “hour I first believed” wasn’t that long ago. I’m not sure why “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” makes me a weepy puddle, but it does. (If I remember the incident correctly, I think I started breaking down at the line, “If with his love he befriend thee,” but it’s a bit hazy and muddled, and I think part of me wants that to be where I started crying.)
I think what I need right now is a religious psychoanalyst, because I’m really not understanding why I find certain things just corny and other things terrifying and wondrous to my soul.
If your looking for a more Pop sound, the folks at BeliefNet are offering their Top Ten Religious Moments on American Idol noting,
Church choir training is a hallmark on "Idol," as is thanking God for one's vocal ability.Or if that doesn't work for you, there is the satire at Tom in the Box called Church Idol Gains Momentum.
Finally, there is the old post here Praise Music vs. Hymns where each genre is defined by someone familiar with the opposite.
Light in the Darkness
There is also a post about this event at Sunrise on the Marsh called Candles in The Pines
Labels: King of Peace event
La Lajas Cathedral in Columbia
Check out the 10 Divinely designed churches in the Neatorama archives. I would have placed National Cathedral on the list. Do you have any favorites that didn't make it?
Wonder who owns the churches? In our case, King of Peace is held in trust by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. And as great a guy as our current Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Henry Louttit, is, it's not his, but belongs to his office.
At Vintage 21, a postmodern kinda church in Raleigh, North Carolina, one doesn't become a member of the church. What other churches would call members, Vintage 21, calls owners. As the Vintage 21 website puts it,
A member of an organization uses the facilities, gains from its services, takes a shower, and heads about their business. An owner makes the organization happen. Jesus wants His followers to make the church happen—go out and love people, nurture each other, and serve with your whole life. Ownership is a higher calling than membership. If you are a follower of Christ, then you are a co-owner of His church. Make Vintage21 happen.They like the word "owners" and I appreciate where they are going. My take is that no matter who holds the deed to the land and building, King of Peace belongs lock, stock and wheelbarrow out by the shed to Jesus Christ. The church is the people who worship here and they were all bought and paid for by Jesus' blood shed on the cross out of love for us. The Bishop holds the building in trust, but I am quite confident that our Bishop does so knowing to whom it all belongs.
I don't actually think the folks at Vintage 21 have different theology in this regard, but our vocabulary is much of what we have to express what we believe. What do y'all think about members vs. owners and whose church it is?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Tonight at 8 p.m., we will gather at the dumpsters in The Pines Apartments, which are on Douglas Drive in St. Marys at its intersection with Martha Drive. The brief service of hymns and prayers, Light in the Darkness is in response to a woman being murdered and having her body hidden in a dumpster there a week ago. Please come and stand alongside our neighbors who are in fear.
The Whole Faith
The council of Nicea, authors of The Nicene Creed
There is a post quite worth reading at Glory to God for All Good Things, the blog of Father Stephen, an Orthodox priest in East Teneessee. He wrote How Much is too little? How much is enough? in which he teaches that all of Jesus' acts in Salvation History are essential parts of the story of our faith. He rightly contends that Jesus' descent among the dead and his ascension are as important to our salvation as his death on the cross.
This is not a typical Bible Belt statement of faith, but he is right. This is the faith we affirm each week in the Nicene Creed and at each baptism in the Apostle's Creed. This is the whole faith of the church through the centuries. Father Stephen writes in part,
Actually writing or summarizing the teaching of the Church in which all of the major events in the story of our salvation are given their proper weight is a minimal requirement if one is actually to be or become an Orthodox Christian. What is it about the Descent into Hades that is necessary to our salvation? What is it about the Resurrection that is essential to our salvation? What does the Ascension have to do with being saved (and it does)? What does the second and glorious coming of Christ have to do with our salvation? What does being born of a Virgin have to do with Christ’s saving of mankind?What he teaches here fits both with the teaching of the New Testament and the witness of the earliest Christian writers (those writing before Constantine's converting the Roman Empire to Christianity beginiing in 323). The full text of his rather long post is online here How Much is too little? How much is enough?
In Orthodox understanding, all of these things are integral parts of Christ becoming what we are in order to make us what He is. The metaphor of the substitutionary atonement, though not unknown, is simply too thin and weak to bear the full weight of the story of our salvation. Christ became fully human, that we might have a share in His divinity. It was into the depths of our humanity that He descended when He entered the Virgin’s womb, having done no damage to the freedom that belongs to mankind. It was into the depths of our damnation that He descended, when, dying on the Cross, He entered Hades and loosed the bonds of the captives. Now there is no where we may go that He has not filled with Himself. It was still in glorified union with our humanity that He rose from the grave, having trampled down death by death. It is our humanity that he bore (”like a yoke” we sang last night) into the very heavens themselves and in that union sat our humanity down at the right hand of the Father.
These actions, all primary statements in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, not only provide a summary of the events in the life of Christ - they are the utterly essential elements of our salvation. As the Creed states: “…who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven…”
All that Christ did is and should be an integral part of any proper account of Christian salvation. They should thus be integral parts of the worship and prayer life of the Church. Where they have been relegated to some lesser status - there you may be sure that some essential part of our faith has been laid aside and remains in danger of ceasing to be part of the Christian faith - except for the fact that it will remain a part of Scripture.
His post shows why we have a church year celebrating the fullness of Jesus' life and ministry from before creation through the end of time. Christmas, for example, is not a time for remebering Jesus died for our sins. It is a time for remembering Immanuel, that in Jesus God is with us. Pentecost is not a time for remembering that Jesus died for our sins, but a day for giving thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and others there that day.
The creeds do limit us, taking away the fullness of what we find in scripture. The creeds present the faith of the early church (the Apostle's Creed was written before 150 a.d.) in a way that points us back to scripture to find more of the fullness of what is contained there.
Yes, Jesus died for our sins and yes that is an essential part of our Christian faith, but it is not the only essential part of our faith.
The whole faith passed on to us by the saints who came before us is that which we saints are to pass on to our children and those who follow us in following Christ. This is part of why I found my way into a liturgic churches where the whole story of the faith is told each week in the liturgy as we recall his death, resurrection and ascension knowing that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again. What do you think?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
That the world may see and believe
Another one of our pastors suggested that Christians have a "branding" problem. Kim observed how companies go to great lengths to brand themselves in ways that communicate not just a catchy slogan or a superficial tagline but their core identity, what they most want the public to think of when they hear their name. Good branding is powerful; just think of all the corporate jingles that you can't get out of your head even if you tried.These negative views of a faith that is about love and hope show all the more why Christians should be united in reaching out to our communities in love, even as we continue to worship in our own ways.
Kim then proposed an interesting thought experiment: "What do you think the average person on the street, in the grocery store, at the gas station would come up with if we went around and asked them to sum up in just a few words what the Christian church was all about? In many cases our branding tag line for the most part would be something like— 'We’re right. . . you’re wrong. Let us correct your behavior. Give us your money for something irrelevant to your life. Withdraw from normalcy and join our weird little subculture. Welcome to worship. . . and let us tell you how to vote.' Whether we like it or not, we have been branded in these ways by a culture that for the most part sees the church primarily outside of the mainstream of current life."
On Monday, we will get a chance to show how we Christians are united as we gather to pray alongside a dumpster at an apartment complex. With the approval of the management of The Pines Apartments, we will pray and sing hymns this coming Monday at 8 p.m. at the dumpter where a woman's murdered body was found earlier this week. We will be there a week after the woman died to stand alongside the residents and give hope in a place of fear and to shine the light of Christ's love in the darkness.
In Unison 2007
Labels: King of Peace event
Labels: The Preschool
In Unison 2007
Tonight at 7 p.m., King of Peace will host In Unison 2007, a Celebrating Camden's Sacred Music featuring musicians from:
ay Honey Creek
The event is free and a brief reception will follow. Please come out and support Camden County's churches in giving glory to God through their singing and playing instruments.
From The Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982
Hymn 420, text by Fred Pratt Green:
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried
How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound
So has the Church, in liturgy and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue,
And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night
when utmost evil strove against the Light?
Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight,
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always
Labels: King of Peace event
Today is the fortieth day after Easter, which is the feast day of the Ascension, celebrating Jesus' return to the right hand of the father. The following story is posted to fit with this theme:
Perhaps you have never heard of Giacomo Puccini. He was an Italian composer. He left the world some wondrous music. But in 1922, only 64 at the time, he was diagnosed with cancer. Though very ill, he continued to work on the opera Turandot, which many people consider to be his best. Many people tried to convince him not to waste his limited energy on a piece he could not possibly finish but he pressed on.
When he death was near, he said to his students:
"If I do not finish Turandot, I want you to finish it for me."
He did not finish the opera. Immediately after his death his students gathered together all of the scores and his notes, studied them with great care, and then finished the opera.
The opening performance took place in 1926 and was conducted by one of Puccini's students. When he reached the place where the his teacher had stopped composing the conductor put down his baton, turned to the audience and said to them, "Thus far, the master wrote, and then he died."
No one moved and no one made a sound for several minutes. Then he picked up his baton again and smiled through his tears. He said, "But his disciples have finished his work."
Tears flowed with the music and the sound of the applause went on and on.
A Real Christian of Genius
Waiting on the World to Change
Labels: You Tube
A Supportive Community
In the keynote address, I said in part,
We have deeply theological reasons for supporting the belief that “all persons, regardless of their disability, have the right to a comprehensive and appropriate education that will lead to active participation within one’s own community.” But I will trust that persons of faith already understand our belief that every person should have the God-given gifts within themselves nurtured and so I don’t need to dwell on that. Instead, I prefer to ask you to let your imaginations wander to the place where anything seems possible, the land of fairy tales and make believe.I went on to demonstrate why I consider TASC a fairy tale program and why I think it is essential to a happily ever after ending. The full text of the address is online here A Fairy Tale Come True.
Then having given the speech, I sat to watch and listen as dozens of students came forward and I learned how they were integrating their learning to practical aspects of shopping or work. So that math is not just something in a book, but a task undertaken in a store while calculating a sale price. And vocabulary is not just on a test, but is written on the signs at a restaurant. I was impressed with the obvious love and devotion of the teachers and their paraprofessionals and the obvious hard work put forth by students on gaining important life skills. It is an honor to be a part of the supportive community which makes this program possible.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Weblinks concerning people from King of Peace:
Carlene is a therapist new to our area and the church and this news article on the web tells something about her: Dog, horses help therapist reach patients
Bob, is a church member who serves on the Mission Vestry, and is the author of: Parris Island Daze: My Drill Instructor Was Tougher Than Yours
Married Man Ordained as Catholic Priest
Cardinal Roger Mahoney put it this way,
The practice of ordaining such persons in Germany goes back at least to the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. This practice is not so much an example of relaxing the discipline of priestly celibacy as it is an instance of an extraordinary act of compassion on the part of the Church in regard to someone whose whole life had been spent in both preparation for, and the exercise of, pastoral ministry.Lowe has been married for 44 years and has 3 children and five grandchildren. He will certainly bring different life experience to his new ministry than his fellow Catholic priests. As an Episcopal priest in his 22nd year of marriage, I have no interest in a future as a Catholic priest but neither do I have anything against the idea. I knew of this provision which has led to more than 70 married men becoming Catholic priests in the past 27 years and I thought I would share it with y'all.
Certainly, married clergy are the historic norm in the eastern churches with an unbroken succession of married priests in Greek and Russian Orthodox and other churches in that part of the world. So married priests have always been so. I'm just intrigued by how this practice, though a rare exception, may or may not form a precedent for future actions by the world's largest Christian denomination. On this point Cardinal Mahoney adds,
This is not a precedent that implies any diminishing of the value of celibacy in priestly ministry, but an instance in which the Church acts in an exceptional way to strengthen and ennoble the gifts brought by its newest members.My one thought is that Cardinal Mahoney's words notwithstanding, it will be difficult for those in Father Lowe's church and the clergy alongside whom he serves not to see this as setting a new precedent. Catholic children who see him with his wife at church functions will grow up seeing a married priest as a model of ministry within their church and may find it odd to learn that this is, other than a loophole, against the norm, if not rules.
AskthePriest has a previous post on priestly celibacy at Clerical Nookie.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Stone sinners or love them?
Ever tilting at windmills, The Questing Parson offers a conversation among pastors where he asks what he considers the fundamental question, "Are we going to stone sinners or love them?" The question is not what we label sin, but how we will respond as a church to sinners. It's online at The Fundamental Question.
Now in fairness to the Gospels, while Jesus does not want the woman caught in adultery stoned to death, he does want her to go and sin no more. Yet, I'm sutr the Parson knows the "Go and sin no more" part of the story and I suspect he is more interested in our welcome and the tone of our churches, while leaving judgment to God. But I could be wrong about that. He writes in part,
"The fundamental issue is whether we are going to stone each other or love each other. And I don’t really give a damn what you do or do not define as sin. It won’t change the fact that the fundamental issue of our faith is whether we are going to stone those we consider sinners or whether we are going to love them."
“It’s not that simple,” said Phil.
“No it’s not,” said Mike in a hushed tone.”
“But it is,” said the parson. “Why would you want to make it more complicated than that?”
Is he right? Is it that simple?
Is the question for a church (and for individual Christians) not what we call sin, but how we respond to sinners?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Who Jesus Heals
Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids-- blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me." Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.The Rev. Dr. Homer Henderson has preached on this saying:
Who is he? He's a real bum, that's who he is! He had no gratitude, no faith, no humility, no guts. He didn't deserve to be healed. He didn't deserve anything. This is the one Jesus healed...Jesus healed this man not because of who the man was, not because of who the person was, but because of who Jesus was.The Rev. John Jewell has noted of this passage:
In this miracle story, there is no rejoicing and no thanksgiving to God. The crowds are not amazed with the goodness of God, but instead, people commit themselves to eliminating Jesus from their midst.
There are however, some very important lessons to be learned from this strangest of miracle stories.
- Unawareness of miracles—it got by the Jews—we miss miracle all the time because we, like them, are caught up in the present circumstances
- Though we are too often unaware of God—God is very much aware of us.
- The goodness of God is not dependent upon the reciprocal goodness of us! i.e. God is good whether we are good or not—God is not dependent or co-dependent!
The Wrath of God
The biblical doctrine of God’s wrath is rooted in the doctrine of God as the good, wise and loving creator, who hates — yes, hates, and hates implacably — anything that spoils, defaces, distorts or damages his beautiful creation, and in particular anything that does that to his image-bearing creatures. If God does not hate racial prejudice, he is neither good nor loving. If God is not wrathful at child abuse, he is neither good nor loving. If God is not utterly determined to root out from his creation, in an act of proper wrath and judgment, the arrogance that allows people to exploit, bomb, bully, and enslave one another, he is neither loving, nor good, nor wise.—Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham, England quoted at A New an Unending Kind of Life
Does God Suffer?
Jesus called out with a loud voice,
"Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?"
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Since Christ suffered physical pain,
you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had,
and be ready to suffer, too.
—1 Peter 4:1 (NLT)
...If God were in every respect incapable of suffering, he would also be incapable of love. He would at most be able to love himself, but not anything other than himself. But if he is capable of loving something other than himself, then he opens himself for the suffering which love for the other brings him, while still remaining master of the pain which is the consequence of his love. God does not suffer out of deficiency of being, like created beings. But he does suffer from his love, which is the overflowing superabundance of his being. And in this sense he can suffer.—Jürgen Moltmann (1926- ) from his book Jesus Christ for Today's World quoted at Biblische Ausbildung where my Old Testament professor and friend previously took up this question here: Does God Suffer?.
That post offers a link to a very interesting PDF chart by Matthew R. Schlimm of Duke University working with the Old Testament texts on suffering. The chart is here: Does God suffer as humanity suffers. Schlimm concludes that there is definitely shared suffering on God's side of the equation, but, that differences remain between God's suffering and human suffering.
As for me, I look at tragedies in the world such as the recent deaths at Virginia Tech and the tornadoes in Kansas, etc. and knowing that God love's us so much assume that he suffers with those who suffer and feel that scripture and our experience of God's compassion in our own lives back up this assumption. What do you think?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
all the commands I have given you.
And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Leaning in to generosity
His first opportunity arose when someone hit his car and cracked the frame around his license plate while parallel parking into a space he was saving for a moving truck. He tried to tell her off and then choked. Yes, he got angry and said something (not too bad). He immediately apologized and ended up telling her he was an Episcopal priest and seminary professor. She ended up loaning him her car keys, trusting him who she had just met, who had intended to enjoy telling her off. Interesting.
Using the story, he pushed on to suggest, among other things, that Christians are called to "lean into God's generosity" and in so doing the here and now and the hereafter are shown to be interconnected and permeable. Faith then becomes an acknowledgement of what God is already going in our lives.
Professor Danaher had said in the previous days talk that character flaws are not states to overcome through spiritual technologies, but wounds that are not fully healed in this life. Our own character flaws teach us of the radical need for grace. This leads to the first virtue of humility before God and others. In line with this talk on humility, he challenged us to learn "How to fail better" for failures are more instructive than successes.
And one final thought I am left pondering. During a question and answer time yesterday he spoke with optimism about the institutional church and institutions in general from the knowledge that God can be present in those institutional structures and not just in spite of them. He made this connection sacramentally. Just as Jesus is present in real bread and real wine at communion, he can be present in the very real, sometimes messy Church.
Yes, it is an institution with all the problems that means, but the Church can be the place where we encounter empathy, mutuality and equality in a world where all three are in short supply. The church is also the place where we are awakened to God calling us to love, justice and generosity. For all of these we need others, which is why the Church is essential as we must move beyond an individualistic faith as we move toward the Kingdom of God where the community is essential.
I found his talks thought provoking and hope we provided a helpful place to think through his book, which I look forward to reading once complete.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Yesterday and today, I am at the Diocese of Georgia's Priest Conference where our main speaker is the Rev. Dr. William Danaher, professor of Ethics at General Theological Seminary. He's been sharing with us from his book in progress called Fractures. In the book, he is trying to counter the typically American spirituality which wants to transcend the body rather than taking seriously our bodies and the human condition. Danaher counters that our bodies are how we encounter revelation as well as through the Body of Christ in communion and through the Body of Christ, the Church.
A stark example of the realness of bodily reality came as he shared with us a photograph, shown here. He said that the 1987 photo by Andres Serrano is beautiful, or at least that how it appears if we know nothing of it. But it became infamous by title of the image Piss Christ as it is a photograph of a plastic crucifix floating in the artist's own urine mixed with cows' blood.
Dr. Danaher then shared the poem Piss Christ by Andrew Hudgins which says in part,
If we did not know it was cow's blood and urine...Danaher pointed out the that desecration of the cross didn't work. The image is still beautiful. Agreeing with the poet, he said the sign value of Jesus' cross still shines through the blood and urine. All of this as we consider that God comes to us not in spite of our bodies and the human condition, but through our bodies and into the human condition.
we would assume it was too beautiful.
We would assume it was the resurrection,
glory, Christ transformed to light by light...
I remember hearing it said that St. Francis' idea of a living nativity (which he invented) was shocking as the animals in the live nativity can be smelly and do create unseemly messes. And yet it was to smelly humans who make messes that God became flesh in Jesus. So no matter the artists intent, which could be argued, the effect is still beautiful Danaher argues because the sign still works. The image still points to the core of the Christian teaching. The reality of the Incarnation comes through in the photo as it shows that God came to us in the real world in which we live.
What do you think? Not just about the photo, but about the idea that the Incarnation (God becoming flesh) means that God comes to us through our bodies and into the human condition. Or are we to always transcend the body to be merely spiritual beings? Or is there yet another option?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor