Trunk or Treat Photos
Thanks again to Amber and Geoff for pulling off this event and for Gillian and her excellent team at The Preschool for their hard work and for providing the train and horse rides.
Labels: King of Peace event
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.
Labels: King of Peace event
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and became Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self-feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.I know it can be trendy to bash mega churches, but I visited Willow Creek in 1999, attending worship while there for a conference on church planting. While I didn't care to copy their church, I did like the way they were careful about thinking through what they did and why. Obviously that continues. Now the founding pastor is concerned that created a multi-million dollar Christian Education program that
did not equate into an increase in members capacity to love God more deeply or to love their neighbor in any significant way.At least I agree with their bottom line. The thing for a church to ask is whether people are more involved in loving God and loving their neighbors as themselves than they were before coming in contact with the church (unlike the parody magazine cover to the right). In other words, are those who attend more likely to live out Jesus' teachings than not. Obviously, there will be an immense amount of indiviual differences. But what is the trend within a church?
Because religion and science are the two most powerful forces in the world today, including especially the United States. If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem would soon be solved. If there is any moral precept shared by people of all beliefs, it is that we owe ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment.The full text is here Letter to a Southern Baptist Minister. In the letter, he lays on the line his own secular humanist beliefs, while making room for joining with those Christians who want to find common cause, particularly the most literal interpretors of scripture.
Pastor, we need your help. The Creation—living Nature—is in deep trouble. Scientists estimate that if habitat conversion and other destructive human activities continue at their present rates, half the species of plants and animals on Earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century. A full quarter will drop to this level during the next half century as a result of climate change alone. The ongoing extinction rate is calculated in the most conservative estimates to be about a hundred times above that prevailing before humans appeared on Earth, and it is expected to rise to at least a thousand times greater or more in the next few decades. If this rise continues unabated, the cost to humanity, in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life, will be catastrophic.Separate from issues of whether global warming is good science or bad, anyone can see that we are raping portions of the earth rather than caring for them. The earth is resilient and may well recover, but it could do so with a billion or so less humans on board. If this happens, it may not be God's judgment so much as God's built-in corrective for us not following the command to care for the gift of creation we have been given.
The biblical writers have always maintained that the world is not a permanent entity as we know it; it can change; is likely to change; for better, or for much worse.If our own free will leads us to saw off the limb on which we stand, we will not have God to blame. Perhaps this is yet another implication of this past Sunday's sermon When Fires Rage.
Labels: Science and religion
Labels: Journey to Wholeness
Labels: King of Peace event
Labels: King of Peace event
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.A few years ago, I preached on this passage, showing how a whole strand of Christian tradition—The Jesus Prayer—came from this story. I wrote:
This prayer of the humbled tax collector forms the basis for The Jesus Prayer—a prayer central to the Orthodox understanding of Christianity. The Orthodox churches, such as Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox were separated by political divisions from Christianity in the west for more than 1,000 years. There is within the Orthodox understanding of Christianity vast depths of wisdom which many of us who live West of Constantinople have never experienced. I want to offer this decidedly Orthodox form of prayer—The Jesus Prayer—as a possible new avenue for you in your life of personal prayer....The full text of the sermon is online here: The Jesus Prayer.
For the Orthodox monks who developed and passed down this practice if interior prayer, the goal was nothing more or less than leading one’s own heart into God’s presence. This was not a way to pray for something, but a way to be with God. This form of prayer was never taught to be a quick fix or an easy path. Nicephorous emphasized patience in using the Jesus Prayer. He wrote, “patiently continue with this activity for some time, and a way to the heart will be opened for you without any doubt. We have learned this by experience. If you do this with great desire and attention, the entrance into the heart will bring about a host of virtues: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, humility and others.”
If this all sounds a bit like transcendental meditation or some other iffy new age practice, remember that The Jesus Prayer has been practiced within the Christian Church for more than 1,000 years that we know of by millions of Christians. Those who taught the Jesus Prayer were always careful to note that the content of the prayer is Christ and the experience is not of ourselves, but of a pathway to God.
Labels: religion column
It was formal high Mass, none of that "hi and how are we all doing this morning" chumminess, and the homily only summarized the scripture texts about healing, it didn't turn into an essay on healthcare. Ten voices strong and true in the choir and positioned as they were under the great arch of the chancel, their tender polyphonic Kyrie and Gloria infused the whole building with pure kindness.The full essay from which this excerpted is online at Slate.com here Sunday morning coming down.
The singing was O my God just heartbreakingly good. There were less than 30 of us in the pews, fewer than the names on the prayer list, and to hear "Behold, how good and joyful it is; brethren, to dwell together in unity" sung so eloquently as the priests swung to their tasks was to be present in a moment of extravagant grace that does not depend on numbers or any other measure of success for its meaning, just as the Grand Canyon does not depend on busloads of tourists to be magnificent. Most of our brethren, bless them, are off enjoying brunch or reading the funnies or lifting weights at the gym, and our faithfulness does not make us better people. We simply happened to walk by and see this vast canyon of God's love and stand looking into it....
But here in an old brownstone church at an ancient ceremony, there is a moment of separation from all the griefs of this world. Ten men and women are singing a cappella, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name," and their voices drench us fugitive worshippers kneeling, naked, trembling, needy, in the knowledge of grace, and when we arise and go out into Baltimore, the blessing follows us.
We thank you gracious God for the gift of fire, fire which enables industry, fire which propels our cars, and fire which keeps us free from winter’s chill. But this day, O God, your gift has again turned dangerous and destructive. Humbly we ask your intervention in our county to help save us from the blowing winds and growing fires that threaten our neighbors. Bring a change in weather to this district, that the winds may drop and the ocean’s moisture may weaken the burning flames. Send helpers to our neighbors who suffer shortness of breath with the smoke in the air. Protect those who fight these fires, and heal those who have suffered burns. Sustain those who have lost homes. Help us each in our own way to be good neighbors to those who need our compassion and care. And at the last, heal us within, that fires of jealousy and the winds of intemperance may die down, that at the last we may dwell in peace and find in you our soothing balm. By the grace of our savior we pray this. Amen.
Labels: news item
most people passed on accurate gossip and used it for the common good. They rewarded cooperative behavior even when they themselves weren’t directly affected by the behavior.Then in two rounds, participants were given both hard facts and gossip, knowing that they were being given "facts" and told what others participating in the experiment thought. The researchers found that they were 20% more likely to follow the gossip rather than the facts.
Leviticus 19:16"What everybody knows" and reality are not always connected. Look at the odd article also found in the Times that tells how crime is going down in Japan, but sales are up on bizarre disguises (such as a Coke machine and manhole cover) to protect people from danger Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place.
"Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. "Do not try to get ahead at the cost of your neighbor's life, for I am the LORD.
They visit me as if they are my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunkards sing about me.
A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
A gossip tells secrets, so don't hang around with someone who talks too much.
Just because you see something, don't be in a hurry to go to court. You might go down before your neighbors in shameful defeat. So discuss the matter with them privately. Don't tell anyone else, or others may accuse you of gossip. Then you will never regain your good reputation.
Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.
2 Corinthians 12:20
For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won't like what I find, and then you won't like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior.
Labels: news item
Labels: Diocese of Georgia
"In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, `Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, `Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"It is a way to make a case that Jesus likes a lot in which he argues from the lesser to the greater. So, in this case, if even an unjust judge will do what is right when someone cries out continually, how much more will God grant justice to those of us who are continually crying out about the injustices we see inthis present age.
Labels: Gospel reading
He's built a tent city to handle the overflow. With no air conditioning in the blistering desert heat and just two spare meals a day that cost the county 15 cents each, the conditions there rival the prison for enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay. The jail seems geared to punishment, rather than rehabilitation.Good Shepherd's Rector, the Rev. Glenn Jenks says that the sheriff misunderstands the basic drive fueling the illegal imigration,
The drive that brings them here is one of the most basic and powerful drives, and that is for a father to feed his children. And I think a lot of people underestimate that -- they think that if they can just make it a little uncomfortable for them they'll go home. Some will, but the vast majority won't. More will just come. And they'll keep coming and keep coming.But the church has become a flash point for some. Last year, the American Freedom Riders targeted the church program. See a Sonoran News article American Freedom Riders Return. The AFR believes churches and other nonprofit organizations facilitating illegal activity should have their nonprofit charters revoked, which is something the group has discussed pursuing.
From our side as the town's administration, we think the Episcopal Church is one of the best assets in our community.The program has become a "signature ministry" of the church according to its rector who says that goals is letting day laborers "know they're cared for, loved, welcomed and safe. Just the fact that they are here on a daily basis reminds us always of why we're here."