It is interesting to read what past generations of Christians thought of a reading. John Chrysostom (347-407) is reported to have been the greatest preacher of the end of the fourth century. He saw this parable as being one about the need to offer hospitality to those who can not repay you. In preaching on this parable, he once said,
It is worthwhile inquiring why the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham's arms, and not in the company of some other righteous person. The reason is that Abraham was hospitable, and so the sight of Lazarus with Abraham was meant to reproach the rich man for his own inhospitality.
Abraham used to pursue even passers-by and drag them into his home, whereas the rich man disregarded someone lying in his own doorway.
Although he had within his grasp so great a treasure, such an opportunity to win salvation, he ignored the poor man day after day. He could have helped him but he failed to do so.
The patriarch was not like that but just the opposite. He would sit in his doorway and catch all who passed by. And just as a fisherman casting a net into the sea hauls up fish, yes, but also quite often gold and pearls, so Abraham whilst catching people in his net finished by catching angels, though strangely enough without knowing it.
Even Paul marvels at this and gives the advice: Remember to welcome strangers into your homes, for some by so doing have entertained angels without knowing it.
And he did well to say without knowing it, for if Abraham had welcomed his guests with such kindness because he knew who they were he would have done nothing remarkable.
He is praiseworthy only because, without knowing who the passers-by were and taking them to be simply human wayfarers, he yet invited them in with so much good will....
Anyone wishing to show kindness should not inquire into other people's lives, but has only to alleviate their poverty and supply their needs, as Christ commanded when he said: Imitate your Father in heaven, who makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
Amazing. After a couple of days of tech support purgatory (see below) the last call this morning which promised success in 12-24 hours, actually got the website back up and email running in less than an hour.
So I am receiving email again, but the old emails did not come pouring through the floodgates. Anything sent after Tuesday (I think) and before about 7:30 or so this morning, did not reach me and will need to be resent if you want me to get it.
Email and website woes
Yes, I know that my email went from poorly functioning a week ago to not working at all two days ago and then this morning the whole kingofpeace.org site seemingly disappeared from cyberspace. The short answer is, we are working on getting things restored.
The longer answer is that here is what happened: King of Peace's website has for a year been bumping up against full. After seven years of placing things online, we had filled the hard drive space we rent from iPower in a building in Arizona. I continually deleted old things (like back issues of the newsletter and audio files of old sermons) to make space for ne things. As email shares hard drive space with the website, when the website was filling the hard drive, my in box would fill up quickly with email, if it was available at all. iPower told me earlier this week that all could be solved with a move to different software on a different server which would allow us to increase hard drive space four fold. In that move, problems ensued. Each of the lengthy chats with tech support has resulted in a promised fix and each fix takes 12-24 hours to test in the real world as that is how long it takes a change in register entry to propogate around the World Wide Web.
I just got off the phone, and there is another change, which could later today result in the website and email running smoothly once more. In the meantime, assume any emails to me this week have not arrived. This is certainly true for any since Tuesday. If you need to get word to me, a phone is the only solution for the next 12-24 hours.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
The Nation's Church at 100
Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the laying of the first stone for Washington National Cathedral. Begun September 29, 1907 and completed in 1990, the cathedral cost 65 million dollars, a cost covered by the donations large and small of hundreds of thousands of people. An Episcopal Life article, The Nation's Church quotes a construction worker from the 1920s saying
Every time we thought we must stop building because funds were lacking, someone has made it possible for us to go on. I think the Lord must want this place built.Officially named the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and Paul, it is called the National Cathedral as it has become the venue of choice for state events such as President Ronald reagan's funeral. Perhaps the nation's best known Episcopal church, the cathedral is dazzling, a real European-style cathedral built in America during the last century. The gothic architecture pulls the soul upward, with nooks and crannies that emphasize the mystery of God. While details like the famous Darth Vader gargoyle make it truly a product of our own times.
In other news
Today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian is online here: The Gospel and the Jena Six.
Death and Resurrection
Last night I was honored to speak at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Albany Georgia where they had an impressive turnout for a meal to kick off their stewardship campaign. As I told them, I feel that what has happened in their church is the most impressive thing to occur in the Diocese of Georgia during my seven years of ministry here. Like many churches, St. Patrick's was seven years ago in the wrong building (there were tough maintenance issues) in the wrong place (off the main road, and few people knew where they were). Unlike other churches, St. Patrick's was willing to go through the hard work of trusting that death and resurrection are still open options.
They bought land at a main intersection in an area of Albany with new housing growth. Then they sold their building, moved to worship in a Methodist Church at an inconvenient time for more than a year and have this year been reborn in their new church building. Not surprisingly, God is blessing their step of faith. Here are a few photos of that courageous congregation with whom I spent last evening.
They say the layered earth rose up—Parker J. Palmer, in The Weavings Reader
Ancient rock leviathan
Trailing ages in its wake
Lifting earthmass toward the sun
And coursing water cut the rock away
To leave these many-storied walls Exposé of ages gone
Around this breathless emptiness
More wondorous far than earth has ever known
My life has risen layered too
Each day, each year in turn has left
Its fossil life and sediments
Evidence of lived and unlived hours
The tedium, the anguish, yes the joy
That some heart-deep vitality
Keeps preesing upward toward the day I die
And Spirit cuts like water through it all
Carving out this emptiness
So inner eye can see
The soaring height of canyon walls within
Walls whose very color, texture, form
Redeem in beauty all my life has been
The darkness and the light, the false, the true
While deep below the living waters run
Cutting deeper through my parts
To resurrect my gravebound heart.
Where God calls you
Let yourself be plumbed to the depths, and you will realize that everyone is created for a presence. There, in your heat of hearts, in that place where no two people are alike, Christ is waiting for you. And there the unexpected happens.—Brother Roger of Taizé (1915-2005)
The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.—Frederick Buechner (1926- )
Where God is calling me today is Albany, Georgia as I am driving west to be with the congregation of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church as they kick off their stewardship campaign. I find theirs to be one of the most exciting stories in our diocese as they sold their old building and land, moved to worship in a Methodist Church and are now in their new building in a better location. They are a congregation who had the courage to die to everything they had been in order to be resurrected into the church God was calling them to be. I am honored to be with them.
There is no 7 p.m. study tonight at King of Peace.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
A Pastor's View of Ministry
Over at Resurgence, in a series on Death by Ministry, Mark Driscoll asks,
In what ways should a pastor view their ministry?I disagree with the second point above and find something to like in all the rest.
- Ministry is your fourth priority after being a Christian, husband, and father.
- Ministry is your job, not your life.
- God rewards faithfulness, not just fruitfulness.
- Your salvation and righteousness are gifts from Jesus and not contingent upon your performance.
- If you do not Sabbath, God will impose a Sabbath upon you.
- A series of sprints, with nine natural breaks out of the pulpit, rather than a marathon.
- Jesus is the Senior Pastor and the church is His.
For me, I tend to think of being a priest in terms of who I am called to be, more than what I am called to do. I am called to be a person who wants to be at the hospital in the middle of the night when someone needs me there. That instead of I am the one who has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night because someone called. Though to the degree that is true, I suspect that it applies to all Christians. We are all called to be increasingly more like Jesus, and it is the being that matters.
Do any of these work for you or is there another way you view the role of a pastor? What about the role of all Christians?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Father Steve is tring to help us get off the fence at St. Micahel's in a thought-provoking short film.
Father Matthew presents a fascinating art history piece from his trip to Italy—Jesus' life shown through the mosaics in Ravenna, completed in the 500s. The pictures of his life and miracles feature a beardless Jesus, while the scenes of his passion show Jesus with a beard, but Jesus is the one with the moasaic halo. There is also his last film from St. Paul's.
This is a serious short showing a woman quite upset over an Anglican Vicar drinking beer at sidewalk cafe. She goes to his group and gives them tracts as she is concerned for their souls. I see the scene and don't see good guys vs. bad guys and can make neither the person concerned for their souls, nor the beer drinking vicar into the bad guy here. Where do you find God in this scene?
Her actual vows were:
I, Victoria, give myself to our Lord Jesus Christ, to serve him for the rest of my life in company with my brothers and sisters in the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis, according to the Principles of the Order, seeking to spread the knowledge and love of Christ, to promote the spirit of love and harmony as the family of God, and to live joyfully a life of simplicity and humble service after the example of Saint Francis.
Nourish our lives
If we nourish our lives—Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
with the Eucharist,
it will be easy for us
to see Christ
in that hungry one next door,
the one lying in the gutter,
that alcoholic man we shun,
our husband or our wife,
or our restless child.
For in them, we will recognize
the distressing disguises
of the poor:
Jesus in our midst.
God and Wealth
the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.Then Jesus clases saying, "You cannot serve God and wealth."
The Rev. Lee Griess writes of this passage,
Jesus and the Rascal! That's what this morning's gospel reading is about. The difficult to interpret story of the seemingly unethical servant who is praised by Jesus. But hidden in the story is the person who knew that it was important to act, to risk and respond to the moment. How often our life of faith is cold and calculated, almost without life because we have it so well planned out.You may also find meaningful, the Rev. James Kavanaugh's short refelction on this passage, The Long Run, in which he compares this passage to a recent break in and robbery at his house.
In the parable this morning Jesus is urging us to respond to the moment, to jump at the chance to follow, to trust that God's goodness is sufficient. At the very heart of stewardship is this understanding - a trust in the abundance and goodness of God - how else do we dare to offer anything to our God if we only have a God of scarcity.
In this fascinating parable this morning Jesus want us to respond as whole-heartedly to our God and to invest as much of ourselves into the kingdom of God as the unethical servant does to save himself. Remember Jesus' closing words: No slave can serve two masters. The slave will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. You can only serve one God. May our hearts trust in our abundant and gracious God alone.
Labels: Gospel reading
Unconditional love not approval
We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior.-Henri Nouwen, (1932-1996) Bread For the Journey, 1996
God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God’s love.
Teens, talk to your parents
What experts label “adolescent risk taking” is really baby boomer risk taking. It’s true that 30 years ago, the riskiest age group for violent death was 15 to 24. But those same boomers continue to suffer high rates of addiction and other ills throughout middle age, while later generations of teenagers are better behaved. Today, the age group most at risk for violent death is 40 to 49, including illegal-drug death rates five times higher than for teenagers.What does it mean to honor your father and mother, when you are acting more responsibly than they? The question is serious. I do think that one can honor a Mom addicted to crack or a Dad who likes to hang out in bars until late into the night. But honoring parents in these situations is different from how Beaver and Wally might have honored Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver on the 50's show Leave it to Beaver. Chances of actually sitting down your parents and talking to them about the problems are very slim.
How can a teen walk that line of love and respect in such a setting? I know that there is no simplistic answer and every situation would bring up its own challenges, but it would be made better if the teen found an adult or adults, such as grandparents, a scout leader, etc. to whom they could look up.
What do you think?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Erring on the Side of Grace
St Andrew by the Wardrobe
St Francis in the Redwoods
St Clare in the Cove
All Hallows by the Tower
St Giles, Cripplegate
St Matthew, Heart's Delight
Nicholas, Leading Tickles
Holy Innocents, Paradise
But my favorite is Transfiguration, New York City, which is better known as "The Little Church Round the Corner." The reason for the name found in the church's history is that:
It was in 1870 that Joseph Jefferson was rebuffed in arranging for the funeral of his friend, George Holland, an actor. Told that there was a little church around the corner where "they do that sort of thing," Jefferson fervently exclaimed, "God Bless the Little Church Around the Corner" and that famous benediction has echoed down through the years. This brought about a close relationship with the people of the theater which has continued to this day. It also brought about the founding, in 1923, of the Episcopal Actors' Guild, which carries on an active program at its national headquarters in the Guild Hall.The Episcopal Actors Guild has had notable actors as officers including Basil Rathbone, Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Fontaine, Rex Harrison and Charlton Heston.
Founded in 1848 to "to embrace all races and classes" the church lived up to its name by welcoming those other churches would not welcome, like actors. The church in its earliest days was involved in the abolition of slavery and harboring runaway slaves. They also had bread lines for the unemployed.
I think in all of these ministries, they were the church that would err on the side of grace when other churches were setting clear boundaries. It seems better to make the mistake of being too loving rather than too judgmental. Somehow "The Little Church Around the Corner" sounds like a church that Jesus would like a lot.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
The Beer Test
I actually said that on more than one occasion, but as Bishop Louttit visited the seminary each year and ate lunch with me and John West in our Refectory (churchy name for cafeteria), people knew that my bishop (pictured at left) was unlikely to beat up anyone, much less someone else's bishop. He is a great man and a wonderful pastor to us pastors. I don't care that he doesn't have mad nunchuk skills or bow staff skills.
I thought of this because a blog post at Resurgence in which a pastor enamored of The Ultimate Fighter contends that he knows why men aren't so big on church:
So, I'll just say that while young men are watching tough men compete, the reason they don't go to most churches is because they could take the pastor and can't respect a guy in a lemon-yellow sweater, sipping decaf and talking about his feelings.I ran across this by way of a response from from Henry's Web which said,
If you determine whether someone is worth listening to based on whether you could take him in a fight, if you despise someone because they wear a lemon-yellow sweater, sip decaf, or talk about their feelings, then you need to seriously reexamine both your intellectual and your spiritual life.He might be right, but the point still holds. Even though I don't own a lemon yellow sweater and I wouldn't wear one if you bought it for me, I wouldn't last as long as a bull rider in the rodeo if you put me in the ring on The Ultimate Fighter. I did once show a video clip in a sermon from the movie Fight Club, but I am quite sure that's not the same thing.
What I heard at The Church Planters' Boot Camp as I was working on preparing to start King of Peace was that a founding pastor has to pass the Beer Test. Now this was said in a non-denominational, but largely evangelical church setting where drinking alcohol at all, much less for communion, is not always permitted. But the idea was that if the pastor isn't someone you would drink a beer with (or coffee or whatever) then you would probably wander on away from the church before getting connected. They said this mattered less with established church's as there are many more reasons than the pastor to join a church once well established. The claim was that in the early days of meeting in a school (or in our case a house) the pastor has to be someone you would want to spend time with even if it wasn't at church.
So I don't know if this is a more highly evolved answer, but I guess I am suggesting is that guys don't tend to look for a pastor who can blacken their eye or bloody their nose, but someone with whom they wouldn't mind drinking a beverage of choice with while watching The Ultimate Fighter. If you think, I'm right, leave a comment. If you think I'm wrong, meet me on the playground after school and we'll settle this thing there and then.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
A Case of the Mondays
Monday is my day off, so this blog was put together last week and just posted this morning. It is a group of prayers from the Church of England's Prayer page at their website. These are work-related prayers for those headed once more into the breach, rather than enjoying a day of rest (rest in the sense of the domestic bliss of cutting the grass and buying groceries that is). Enjoy!
Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labour to pursue,
thee, only thee, resolved to know,
in all I think, or speak, or do.
A Commuter’s Prayer
I failed to get a seat – again,
too many people on the train.
We’re stuck in a tunnel;
we’re not moving.
I breathe in –
‘Let me know your peace and grace.’
I breathe out –
‘And help me share it with the people here.’
For the sake of my sanity.
For the sake of your kingdom.
Great creator God,
maker of all things,
you called forth beauty
Is it heretical to ask:
Was it so effortless for you?
Did you struggle, Lord,
to shape the mountain ranges?
Or did you just speak and it was so?
This work you’ve given me, Lord,
it’s supposed to be ‘creative’
but so often it is toil, and pain, and struggle.
Sometimes bringing something new to birth
is like trying to blow a boulder uphill
with a straw –
the effort is exhausting.
Lord, would you help me?
And would the same Spirit that hovered
over the face of the waters,
that breathed human life into being,
be with me in this work?
These prayers are taken from Pocket Prayers for Work, Church House Publishing (2004), compiled by Mark Greene.
A Dangerous Prayer
May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness.
That you may experience
the powerlessness and the poverty of a child
and sing and dance in the love
of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
Lost and Found
Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.Dylan has an intriguing take on this story at her lectionary blog, where she ends the post for this weekend with,
you might have heard a few sheep quietly noting the shepherd's absence and wondering where the shepherd had gone, as one silhouetted figure made its way toward the horizon and the stray ... and some wolf howls echoed in the distance.We find Jesus ever heading out into the night looking to snatch yet another sheep from the wolves. Sometimes in my job as pastor, I am called to head into similar situations that I hate to characterize as it might seem like I am talking about things best left private. But I get glimpses into lives torn by drug and alcohol abuse, violence and death, and in these instances I am called to bring the light of Christ into a dark place, bringing the love of the shepherd to sheep well away from the herd.
Where is the shepherd?
Where are the ninety-nine?
If one sheep is with the shepherd and ninety-nine aren't, who's really the stray?
But the thing I notice, is that I am called to do this not so much because I am a priest, as because I am a follower of Jesus. Each of us who wants to follow Jesus will occasionally find ourselves way on the edge of the herd, looking into the eyes of someone who doesn't realize that their shepherd Jesus still loves him or her and wants what is best, which is the safety of home and the herd. Then we are not with the 99, but out in the night with the Good Shepherd. Your job then is to be the shepherd's eyes, ears, hands, and feet. You are the one to offer God's love to the lost sheep.
It's not that you have to save the whole world, or even a whole herd. But sometimes God will place you in a situation where you can bring the love of the shepherd to people who thought they were all alone.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Labels: Gospel reading
The Value of Staying Put
Today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian is on stability. Even for those who have to move every few years for work, stability is possible. The article says in part:
A generation ago, Camden County was a much more stable place. The people you went to school with, worked with and went to church with were the grandchildren of the people with whom your grandparents had done the same. There were exceptions, but mostly you knew the measure of a man or woman because you knew their people and their people knew yours.The full text of the religion column is online here: The Value of Staying Put.
Today, Camden County is a much more transient community. By necessity, many people leave our county every year due to a military or other job transfer, while many others arrive. There is nothing to bemoan here. It is a fact of life.
Yet, we can let the transient nature of the community effect other areas of life. We can come to look at the greener grass on the other side of the fence and long for those pastures, rather than our own.
For example, someone can look at his husband or her wife and think that it is time for the upgrade. The struggles in the marriage can seem like too much and it would be easier to let the marriage die and then move on to later find another person who doesn’t have all those faults of your spouse. The only problem with that plan is whoever you marry next will still be married to you.
This is just one example, but the same can be true for friendships, jobs, church, and even a club or volunteer organization. In time, any relationship may seem like it needs to come to an end. First, I should acknowledge that this is true. If your spouse is abusing you or your children. Set down the newspaper now and set about leaving. If your job is neither fulfilling nor meeting your family’s financial needs, then finish this column and flip back to the classifieds.
But for the rest of us, who are just grumpy, but not abused, there may be something else going on here.
Labels: religion column
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.—N.T. Wright
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.
Labels: N.T. Wright
A systematic purge of religious books
In some prisons, the chaplains have recently dismantled libraries that had thousands of texts collected over decades, bought by the prisons, or donated by churches and religious groups.The purge is a post-911 move to throw out any materials which could lead to the prison system becoming a recruiting area for militant Islamic groups as wells as militant fundamentalist in any religion.
“It’s swatting a fly with a sledgehammer,” the article quotes Mark Earley, president of the Christian group Prison Fellowship as saying. He goes on to say
“There’s no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism.”The article outlines the disparity in the selection of the permitted materials so that there is a lot of material by some authors and none by others even though none of the works in question could be viewed as advocating violence. The bias includes 80 of the Jewish books all coming from one orthodox publishing house.
You can see the process of thinking that went into this, so that the goal would have targeted one religion over and against others. Impartiality required by the separation of church and state demanded that all religions be treated equally in the decision, so lots of great Christian materials get dumped. But rather than dumping peaceful materials from Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism, they should have seen the need to do so as a sign that they were on to the wrong solution. Better to work on the actual problem of recruitment to militant groups than to remove vast sums of books which were there to help serve the legitimate religious needs of the prisoners, including those of Muslims.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Labels: news item
Faith, doubt, certainty and the leap of faith
he shall end in doubts;
but if he will be content to begin with doubts
he shall end in certainties.
—Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
John Humphrys writes in a Times Online article In God We Doubt what sounds like a thinking man's agnostic position. In the lengthy article he tells of the atheist philospher AC Grayling who co-wrote the play On Religion in which
The night before I got married my brother sat me down in an Indian restaurant and (too many beers) got me to make a list on a napkin of why this girl was the right person for me to marry. One side of the napkin had all the pros and the other side the cons.I certainly find comparing faith to love to be not a stretch at all and quite helpful as the essence of the Christian faith is love. So quoting an atheist philosopher or not, this agnostic had me intrigued. Humphrys goes on to write in the the Times article,
What was fascinating about the list was that nothing I could write down – kind, pretty, warm, sexy, etc – could ever add up to “I love her”. To marry and make the love commitment is the nearest thing to faith I know because it is something done with the same degree of risk.
Would a person who needed everything fully evidenced and rationally demonstrated ever be in a position to say, ‘I love you’? Couldn’t [an atheist] make a case for love being a fiction, a function of human need, a function of biology and selfish genes? He may have many useful and persuasive things to say but there is something deeply mistaken about thinking love is simply reducible to the chemistry of the brain.
Love, like faith, is to make more of a commitment than one can prove. But there is a truth to it that I won’t—indeed can’t—back away from. Of course, there is much to say about all of this and I can think of a dozen reasons why faith and love might look different. But the truth of both is, for me, found in the poetry, not in the science.
This is not an intellectual game. Even if we know what is true – and we don’t – you cannot reduce life to a set of provable realities. Humanity is too complex for that. In the end, it comes down to whether the world would be a better place without religion; and that is a matter of judgment, not certainty.Here is a man unable to prove God's existence to himself, but quite comfortable in seeing how that belief in God has helped millions of people lived more noble lives, rather than deluded ones.
Yes, we loathe and fear the fanaticism that leads to a man strapping a bomb to his body and blowing up other human beings. But we should also fear a world in which the predominant values are materialism and consumerism, and the greatest aspiration of too many children is to become a “celebrity”. The existence of religion can offer some balance in a society obsessed with image, which turns vacuity into virtue....
As for the fanatics – religious or secular – history suggests they succeed only to the extent that we allow ourselves to be defeated by our own irrational fear. For every fanatic there are countless ordinary, decent people who believe in their own version of a benevolent God and wish no harm to anyone. Many of them regard it as their duty to try to make the world a better place.
He is looking from outside the faith in and while I can't share that viewpoint completely as I know there is a God, I can get close to his viewpoint. I do this by not looking at my own faith in God as revealed through Jesus Christ. Instead I look to the faith of a devout Buddhist. Strictly speaking, Buddhism is nontheistic, but it still works as an analogy. I do not believe in the tenants of Buddhism. I just don't. Yet, I do see that Buddhist practice has been very valuable to millions, helping them to live more enriched lives. I suspect this is something like how Humphrys views all faiths.
Where I part company with with him is that I am certain that there are different ways of knowing and some ways of knowing slip throw the net of science and reason. This is why the love analogy above works so well.
I can remove the logical obstacles to faith, but I can't reason someone all the way to heaven. There is a gap that demands a leap of faith. But what I have found, and I hope that you, gentle reader, have as well is that once you make that leap, there is another way of knowing in which one gets the blessed assurance that God is real. The problem is that I can not graft that experience on to a rational explanation and I can not give that experience to others. It takes the leap of faith first, and then comes the assurance.
That's my experience. Does it fit with yours?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
the evidence of things not seen.
The Ministry Fair underway in the entry hall.
Alison and Jay speaking with Stephanie about the youth group
Sophia looking back during the worship service
The covered dish lunch after worship
Labels: King of Peace event
The camera used was a Holga camera on 120 format black and white film. The pictures use the particular nature of that less-than-perfect, all-plastic toy camera from China to create images designed to look less like contemporary photography and more like found artifacts. They are new images made to feel as if they have been lost in the photo album of a well-traveled, eccentric uncle; collecting dust on a forgotten shelf in the attic since between the world wars.
The photos are exhibited online at planetanimals.com/foundartifacts/. Our travels from a more up-to-date, digital photography perspective are found here Irenic Thoughts: Travel.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
The full information on this meeting is found online here Connections at Honey Creek
Labels: honey creek
The highest act
It not only stretches him
beyond all the limits of his finite self
to affirm the divine depth of mystery and holiness
in the living and eternal God,
but it opens him at the deepest level of his being
to an act which unites him most realistically with his fellow man.
-Samuel H. Miller (1935-1978)
Counting the Costs
The Rev. Paul Allick has preached on this passage saying,
In our gospel teaching today, we hear that “large crowds were traveling with Jesus.” If Jesus were a good church pro-grammer, he would have dis- patched some of the apostles to get everyone’s name, phone number, and home address. He would have made sure everyone felt welcome. Perhaps he would have fretted over his sermons, making sure that each one was a practical, uplifting message that the crowd would come back for again and again. If they were singing psalms, he would have made sure the tunes were easy and appealing to the largest group possible.The full text of his sermon is here Sermons that Work.
Jesus wasn’t a good church programmer. This is because Jesus wasn’t calling crowds; he was calling disciples. Jesus wasn’t concerned with being popular; he was concerned with helping people transform their lives. Jesus knew that no matter the size of the crowd, it was all temporal anyway. It didn’t matter in the larger scheme. Jesus was leading people toward eternity, not temporal things like material success.
When Jesus sees the crowds, his instinct is not to wow them. His instinct is to make each person aware of the cost of being his disciple. It is this awareness of the journey that brings about transformation. He tells the crowd that unless they can detach completely from everything they are holding onto emotionally and physically, they can never really be his disciples. He tells them – and us – that we have to detach from our family systems, from our very lives as we know them. We have to be ready to take up a cross.
Jesus wants those who will follow him to place their relationship with God in that most important spot in their lives, making all other relationships and commitments less important. I have preached on this as Redefining Commitments.
In what ways is your life different because you follow Jesus? Does God get the God-spot in your life as the most important thing? Or do other relationships, other things, take priority?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Between the 8:30 and 10 a.m. worship services tomorrow morning, we we hold a Ministries Fair with an opportunity for you to find ways to get connected to King of Peace through service with anything from the Floral Guild to the Boy Scouts. A covered dish lunch will follow the 10 a.m. worship service.
Labels: Gospel reading
I am raised by your arms
I have said these words to my wife on occasion and for a while emailed this to her every Friday (as the Jewish sabbath begins sundown on Friday and continues through sundown on Saturday). I reproduce the text here now in thanksgiving for 22 years of marriage this day. As you can see in the wedding photo here, my wife looks the same as when I married her, though that kid she married looks pretty young in the photo. We are celebrating tonight by eating at Boy Scout Troop 226's spaghetti supper at King of Peace, which is from 4-6:30 p.m. for those heading next door to the football game. It's a great meal for $5, so come join us in raising money for a good cause.
IN LOCO EISHES CHAYIL
(Husband embraces and kisses wife, then takes her hand and recites:)
I love you
What you have done for me this week,
privileging me with your grandeur,
I shall never have the skill,
Dragged down again and again
by mundane and commonplace
jobs and burdens,
I am raised by your arms
to your visions of
Because of you
I will never know despair
or the claws and clutch
You are a constant revelation,
a reminder of all the Noble
and the Upright of the Earth,
and I shall never know for what reason
I have been graced by your love.
Companion. Ineffably precious friend.
Each moment is a Bracha-blessing
because of you,
each day a portion of the primal mysteries
of Sinai and Creation,
each tomorrow a taste
of Future Worlds.
For you move my soul in ways
only the eloquence-of-silence can express.
I must speak.
I love you.
From And God Braided Eve's Hair by Danny Siegel (United Synagogue of America, 1976).
That ain't right
Before this post is over I will sound like an unenlightened romantic at best a luddite or heartless troglodite at worst. But this NPR news report got my attention Scientists Hope to Create Human-Animal Embryo and not in a positive way. The short version is that
Two teams of British scientists had applied to Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for permission to create what are known in Britain as cytoplastic hybrids, or cybrids, in order to overcome a shortage of donated human eggs.That's where I feel unenlightened. I certainly want relief for persons suffering from Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's and Parkinsons's. Who wouldn't? But I wonder about the cost of help and what the unintended consequences might be. The article goes on to say:
The process involves injecting human DNA into an animal egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed.
Researchers hope to use the hybrid embryos, which must be destroyed after 14 days, which would create stem cells. The stem cells could be used to help find new medical treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, and Parkinson's.
Scientists have said they understand that the idea of the process — which would create a hybrid embryo that is 99.9 percent human and 0.1 percent animal — might be shocking to some people. But Dr. Stephen Minger of Kings College London says the public should not be alarmed.Britain's Times online also features a Question and Answer on the issue.
"What we do when we take an animal egg, is we remove the nucleus from the egg. We remove not only the genetic identity but we remove the species identity. What makes a cow egg a cow is its nuclear DNA. And we take that out — it's no longer a cow," Minger says.
Maybe I have watched I Robot one too many times (including last night), or took Jurassic Park or The Lost World too seriously, but I do wonder about the slippery slope and what it means to begin creating hybrid tissue for research purposes. My gut instinct is that we humans are not smart enough to pull this off without running into profound problems we can not yet forsee.
I could and probably should throw in some biblical rationale for my opinion. Certainly the distinctions among species found in Genesis 1:4,6,7 with each animal reproducing after their kind shows a concern for keeping distinctions in a way that would see no problem with dog breeding and real cataclismic problems coming from recombining very different species. I'm not actually fearful of the urban legend pictured here coming true, but I do think it is dangerous precedent. Yes, I have read a few articles on this and understand that the intent is to remove almost all that is cow from the egg and make it human. But what is created will be a new sort of hybrid and we won't know the problems down the line until it is too late to reverse the course. I wish I didn't see it as market-driven research interested in boosting medical company profits as being the main factor in this continual push ahead trying to find ways to bend the ethics to make the new research acceptable to the broad public's sensibilities.
But I also need to admit that at this point, this is just a gut-level reaction on my part. I do think we should do all we ethically can to help prevent needless suffering from disease. I just think this solution crosses that line.
What do y'all think?
The Frank Logue, Pastor