Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

5/31/2008

A Firm Foundation

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus says "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell— and great was its fall!"

The Rev. Dr. Susanna Metz of the School of Theology at Sewanee has written on this passage saying,
We might say to ourselves, “If I lived in that time, I certainly would believe everything Jesus told me.” But we mustn’t forget that those people were just as human as all of us. Isn’t it true that even today some folks miss the incredibly obvious? Some people – some of us, maybe – are so self -absorbed that they see very little around them. We read about lots of folks who were like that in the scriptures. Most often it’s the Pharisees and Scribes who get pigeon holed like that, but they certainly weren’t the only ones.

Building a house on sandAnd it’s no different today. We don’t have to look far in our own society to find people who say one thing and do another, or even worse, who try to make us think they’re doing us a favor when they are really lining their own pockets. Jesus is saying to his followers – and to us – make sure your actions and your motives match.

Today’s gospel is a stern reminder that we can’t get away with appearing to do good while we pick and choose who it is we do our good deeds for. Jesus isn’t kidding when he says he won’t be pleased.

Jesus says over and over that all we have to do is hear his words and act on them, hear and believe, hear and obey. Building a house on rockAnd the important thing is to remember that those early Jews already knew what they were supposed to do. Jesus wasn’t giving them a whole new set of rules to live by. He’d already reminded them at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that he hadn’t come to abolish the laws they already had, but to fulfill them – to help them live the life they knew more faithfully.

It’s the same for us. We know what we have to do. It’s just hard to do it all the time. Hearing the word of God, hearing what Jesus says to us, isn’t something we do once and then check off our list. We have to keep listening all our lives, learning more and more about how God would have us live.

We have our baptismal promises, we have the words and actions of Jesus, we have the commandments. What Jesus is telling us today is that we need to be faithful, that we need to examine our motives and make sure that what we do and say fits with the life God asks us to live.
The full text of her sermon is online here: Proper 4a

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5/30/2008

The Light of the Resurrection

When Orthodox Christians recall the Resurrection, they are not primarily concerned intellectually with how that miracle actually took place. In fact, they think less of an empty grave and more of an open tomb, which remains an open invitation to those who believe. The miracle of Resurrec-tion calls for an openness to confess the reality of the darkness within us and around us, admitting our role and responsi-bility in refusing to eradicate the suffering in our world. Then, when we stand honestly before the reality of our evil – in earnest recognition and prayerful confession of the hurt we inflict upon our neighbor within society and within the global community, and the abuse with we treat the earth’s resources – at that very moment of realization are we also able to perceive the hope and light of the Resurrection. Only then are we able to apprehend the relationship between the Resurrection and the presence of war, racism, global warming and terrorism in our world. For then, we shall also be able to discern the light of the Resurrection in our hearts and in our world.
Bartholomew I (1940 - ), Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, the full text of his essay is here: Another Way of Living

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5/29/2008

Introducing yourself to God

Anne Trogdon gave me a book in the last weeks of her life. It's called Ever Wonder: Ask questions and live into the answers and it is a short, wide book with a single question on every two-page spread. They are thought-provoking questions like:

If you think life is hard, what are you comparing it to?

Do you realize that nothing is too good to be true?

If you don't have all the things you want,
are you grateful for all the things you don't have
that you don't want?

Do you let yesterday use up too much of today?

If you had five minutes to live,
who would you call and why are you waiting?

How do you nurture your soul?

The one that intrigued Anne and led to her giving me the book was the one:

"How would you introduce yourself to God?"

Anne died this past Sunday night and I know that she has since confirmed what we together surmised—the wonderful thing about meeting God in the life eternal is that no introductions are necessary. I'm glad that she already got to know God. I'm also glad that I got to know Anne.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 6/12/2013 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is the first step to introducing yourself to Him?

     

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5/28/2008

A long-distance race or a sprint?

Francis MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries writes,
I once prayed with a man whose life had been devoted to working with psychotic patients: he broke into convulsive sobs and shared that he was often tempted to commit suicide. This is a normal human reaction. When we share in the pain of our suffering world, we can be overcome by the enormity of its evil. When we see so much suffering, we find it hard to take time out to enjoy life: to go out to dinner, to play tennis, or to watch sunsets. These seem such a waste of time when Lazarus is starving outside our door (Luke 16:19-31). How can we be so heartless as to leave him, while we got to laugh and play?

The only way I have learned to deal with this guilt is by remembering something I heard many years ago in the seminary: "You have to decide whether your life is a long-distance race or a sprint." Early on, I decided that I could ultimately help more people if I treated my life and ministry as a long distance run (as best I can, realizing my life's length is up to God to determine), rather than burning myself out. I am a limited human being and the best I can do sometimes is to pass by this one person sitting outside my door so that I can have the energy and enthusiasm to answer God's call to minister to the ten, twenty or hundred that will be there tomorrow.

Yet that is so hard, isn't it? I need to pray to decide what to do in each instance, and not always be ruled by my heart. Not that my heart is always that tender: sometimes it needs to be warmed, but more often it leads me to do more than the Lord might be requiring in a particular situation....

We must learn to ask the Lord if HE has sent the people who come for help at inopportune times. Often he has not! Sometimes our pride is appealed to: "I have to talk to you. Only you can help me!" This is just not true. There is only one Savior and we are not him.

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5/27/2008

Because God Loves It

In this vision he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought "What may this be?"

And it was generally answered thus: "It is all that is made."

I marveled how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: "It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it."
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)

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5/26/2008

In Thanksgiving and Memory


Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Additional verse for submariners:
Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep.
May peace their mission ever be,
Protect each one we ask of Thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray,
For their return by night and day.

Some prayers appropriate for today are online at King of Peace's online prayer vigil in time of war.

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5/25/2008

Abundance and Providence

Greed and selfishness, which are the cause of most wars and human conflicts, are rooted in an underlying anxiety about material goods. With the psychology of scarcity, there is not enough to go around, so I'm going to hold on to what I have and get more if I can.

Jesus much preferred a psychology of abundance shared, there is plenty to go around if we let go of our anxiety and greed.
—the Rev. Richard Fewkes

When we see the lilies spinning in distress, taking thought to manufacture their own loveliness. When we see the birds all building barns for store...twill then be time to worry, not before.
—Uncle Ben’s Quote book

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5/24/2008

Strive First for the Kingdom

In tomorrow's Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus says,
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?...But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The Rev. Tony Clavier offers this in a sermon on the passage:
If the pressures and cares of daily life are not enough, today’s readings bluntly inform us that the Kingdom of God is our first concern. We are “stewards” of the “mysteries.” What on earth does that mean? It sounds suspiciously as if this is an excuse for the stewardship committee to start telling us to increase our pledge or support the MDG project. No doubt we will shortly be urged to give money to the poor, use less gas, make our homes “green,” and find a way to combat global warming. It’s as if paying the mortgage, college tuition, affording gas for the cars, dealing with illness, the trials of being young or old, are not enough. Don’t we go to church to get comfort?

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteous-ness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Now that sounds better. Maybe, we think, that’s a bargain we can keep. God seems to like us to worship and sing all those strange hymns, give a bit, support our parish when we have time; and in return, God will give us all we need.

That is exactly not what Jesus is saying. God doesn’t bargain with us. Jesus starts this section by telling his hearers to get their priorities right. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Jesus is using one of the most demeaning institutions humans can experience or impose on others to tell us the facts of life. Slavery was a reality in first-century life. Jesus doesn’t condone slavery, but he uses something frightful to demonstrate total goodness. A slave belonged to an owner and was forced to serve that owner exclusively. In one of the most extraordinary passages in the New Testament, St. Paul reminds the Philippian Christians that although Jesus knew of his relationship to God, he emptied himself and became the equal of a slave and gave his life. In that self-emptying, Jesus demonstrated just who he is. He is the one to whom every knee shall bow.

As an old Anglican collect puts it, it is when we serve God that we discover our freedom. Stress, compulsive worry, unacknowledged bitterness and resentment easily become our owner. We can’t serve two owners. Sometimes whole communities, parishes, even larger Christian groupings become enslaved to anxiety, to fear of loss, and to dysfunction. Those destroying demons become alternative owners. “No one can serve two owners.” Ironically, what Jesus calls “wealth” can be a wealth of troubles to which we cling and which define us and the way we live our lives. In our loneliness, such a wealth of troubles may well own us.

In our baptisms we were called out of such ownership. The fellowship of the church is given by God to enable us to share together the wonder of God’s love experienced in community. The community of Christ supports us as we learn to offer up the dreadful things that capture and own us, and love takes their place. This isn’t a “once and for all” process. We don’t give our lives to God and all becomes lovely. We give ourselves to God daily, hour by hour, and God gives us what the Prayer Book describes as the “means of grace and the hope of glory.”

In community, as stewards, servants of God and God’s world, we are strengthened in the Holy Meal. And we are strengthened as we read and hear God’s Word to act out love toward all whom we meet, and to take responsibility for a world God made, a world God said was “good” and a world which God intends to restore.

There’s no bargain here. Life will continue to be tough. Tragedy happens. Suffering is real. The difference is that, as Christians, we face these dreadful realities, these “crosses,” knowing that God in Christ has “been there, done that” in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and that together, in Christ, we are enabled to expose and overcome those dreadful owners we allow to dominate our lives.
The full text of his sermon is online here: Proper 3A

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5/23/2008

Fanatically humble

Think of people you consider fanatical. They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian, but because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathic, forgiving, or understanding—as Christ was.
—Tim Keller, The Reason for God

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5/22/2008

The Story of God

I am thankful to Pastor Rick Barger whose book A New and Right Spirit, I recently quoted, for dropping in to comment at the blog. I asked him to assist me in answering a question as to what he meant in the earlier quote and he was gracious enough to do so. Here is another thought of his from the same book about the tension between the worldview of Christianity and that of the rest of the world:
The world organizes itself around the story of unresolved human conflict, power struggles, greed and violence. The church organizes itself around the story of God, who comes to dwell with us, beginning as a defenseless baby, declaring peace and amnesty; being crucified, raised from the dead, and available and accessible to the church as the Living One. The distinction between the stories is the question of whether sin and death hold the last word or whether God does. Being grasped by one story necessarily requires being in tension with the other.

Today the world's story tells our teenagers that their value comes from looks, the "right clothes," sex appeal, popularity, and accomplishments. The church's story tells them they are inherently valuable just as they are. The world's story tells us to take control of our lives and eliminate uncertainty. The church's story calls us to trust in the God who raised Jesus from the dead, and to accept that living in ambiguity is not only healthy—it is also unavoidable! The world's story tells us that personal failure is greatly to be feared. The church's story lifts up Jesus Christ crucified as the one rejected by all. The world tells us that we have only limited resources. The church's story, declaring that the is enough for all, calls us to reorder our lives so that others might live.

The church's story will always be in tension with the world's.

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1 Comments:

  • At 5/22/2008 12:58 PM, Blogger Maggie said…

    The idea that living with ambiguity is not only unavoidable, but healthy is comforting. We can reorder out lives to accept the greys of all situations, and in doing so think spiritually of our choices. Thinkging of God's will in our choices, instead of the world's, leaves peace instead of anxiety. What a blessing!

     

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5/21/2008

The triumphs of his grace

On this day in 1738, Charles Wesley was sick with pleurisy. He had returned to England two years earlier from a stint as secretary to the governor of the Georgia colony. Charles WesleyThe future co-founder of Methodism was plagued with doubts about the Christian faith.

A group of Christians came and offered him testimony as well as care in his sickness. Charles reported later that their visit touched him. He read from his Bible "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and believe, and thou shalt be healed of thy infirmities." Charles was deeply moved and felt at peace with God. Then strength returned to his body and his doubts receeded. John would have a similar experience three days later.

One year to the day later (May 21), Charles wrote an 18-stanza poem, 'For the anniversary day of one's conversion.' The seventh stanza began "O for a Thousand Tongues" an is now the first verse of the now famous hymn of the same name, whose text follows below. It is a hymn written in thanksgiving for the truth of the Gospel being confirmed in the life of the sick and doubting Charles Wesley, who was first touched by a group of Christians visiting him in his infirmity.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my dear Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
he sets the prisoner free:
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

He speaks; and, listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive,
the mournful broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your Saviour come;
and leap, ye lame, for joy!

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim
and spread through all the earth abroad
the honours of thy name.

Hymn text above taen from Common Praise (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2000).

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5/20/2008

Prayer for Use of Technology


Lord, I am so often overtaken by machines, trapped by technology. My older skills are dying: I telephone instead of writing letters, I put on the CD instead of opening the lid of the piano, I drive to the shops in a sealed box well out of reach of my neighbours. And sometimes I feel controlled by what I should be controlling.

Help me to find my life again, enhanced and not eroded by these technical aids. Help me to take control, at least in my heart, and put them in their place. I do know that it is really a useful, impressive place: a place worthy of products of the highest human ingenuity. But I know too that it is a place where they are subordinate to human needs and human cares.

Help me, Lord, to rejoice at the machines, and to be hopeful about the future benefits they can bring.

May technology serve us Lord, so that we may better serve one another, and you.

Amen
—written by Jeff Astley and found at the After Sunday website

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1 Comments:

  • At 5/20/2008 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Look how technology has improved the life of the woman in the picture. She can do all of her shopping from the TV, never having to leave home. Now she can spend all of her time cooking and cleaning while wearing her dress and heals with the pearl earings. Not to mention that she is perfectly coiffed. Must be one of those valium hallucinations from the Fifties.:)

    Personally, I prefer phone calls to letters. I thank God for the CD player and CDs considering that I was not given the talent to make my own beautiful music. The mall is a great place to take the neighbors; I do prefer the rocking chair front porches though. But, at least we can shop together on line! :) And, if I do venture out alone and anybody may need me, I'm only a cell phone call away.

    "May technology serve us Lord, so that we may better serve one another, and you."

    Amen!

     

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5/19/2008

Liturgically correct sock-wearing

On May 11, we celebrated Pentecost at King of Peace and encouraged all to wear red. The participation was great and our seats were filled with red-wearing worshippers. That day, our Senior Warden Robin Davenport-Ray announced that we don't always wear the same color, but jokingly added that "next week the color will be blue." Yesterday, more than the usual number of folks were wearing blue, though none seemed to be in response to the remark made in announcements the previous week. Perhaps it was coincidence, or maybe a subliminal response to the suggestion.

In any case, it seems we have nothing on the mother church of the Diocese of Georgia. An Episcopal Church News Service article reports that the group at Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah has taken to liturgically correct sock-wearing as a playful way of being community. The story is online here: Episcopal joy persists in Savannah despite trying times.

6 Comments:

  • At 5/19/2008 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Are Robin D-Ray and Robert D-Ray the same person? (A few posts below you referred to him as Robert)

    PS I vote for no sox!

     
  • At 5/19/2008 10:35 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Yes, Robert and Robin are one in the same. I usually call him Robin and refer to him to others as Robert. I typed it without thinking.

    PS: No socks sounds more Lenten to me.

     
  • At 5/19/2008 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    But, if we were all sockless, we would always be sure to be coordinated. :)

    No socks sounds more summer/comfortable to me. We could pick up liturgically correct colored ankle bands at the door.

     
  • At 5/19/2008 4:08 PM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said…

    It would be hard to convince a Yankees fan to wear red sox.

     
  • At 5/19/2008 4:40 PM, Anonymous Searching said…

    Oh that was bad, but I'm also a Red Sox fan (lol) Go bosox!!!

     
  • At 5/19/2008 6:56 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Just to give you a little background on my "given nickname". I was given a specific nickname for Robert, "Robin", so that I would not be called Bob or Bobby which are "Engish Nicknames".

    See this Wikipedia article on the name.

    Robin was originally a diminutive given name of Robert, derived from the prefix Rob- (hrod, Old Germanic, meaning "fame"), and the suffix -in (Old French diminutive).

    More recently, it is used as an independent name. The name Robin is unique, being a masculine given name, feminine given name, and a surname. In the United Kingdom, it is generally regarded as a male name, although it is sometimes given to females.

    In the United States, it is more popular as a female name -- during the 1990s, for example, it was the 325th most popular name girl's name and the 693rd most popular boy's name.

    My family descended is mostly Scottish settlers from the 1600's and during that time the name Robert was very popular as was the diminutive nickname. This was mostly because of the Famous Scottish King Robert the Bruce.

    Robert I, King of Scots (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329) usually known in modern English as Robert the Bruce (Mediaeval Gaelic:Roibert a Briuis; modern Scottish Gaelic: Raibeart Bruis; Norman French: Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys; ) was King of the Scots from 1306 until his death.

    He was quite famous for his indepent nature and resisting the English. {Or was that Anglicans ;) }

    Peace,
    Robin Davenport-Ray

     

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The Vicar's Study & Where God Is



As my official church title is Vicar (meaning I serve King of Peace vicariously for the Bishop) and as my home office (where I do the real writing) has books and computer equipment kinda like this one...here is cartoonist Dave Walker's view from England of an office not unlike mine. Pretty accurate considering he has never come by my house. He also has a nice cartoon for showing where God actually is, that fits well with the Kids in the Kingdom yesterday where we went on a hunt to find all the places where God is present and discovered God is everywhere.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5/18/2008

The Church Is Not Ours

The church is not ours. The church is God's. The story is not ours. The story is God's. We are simply stewards of God's story. God's story tells us what God is up to, and God is up to the work of transformation. Transformation happens in the church, not because we are so smart or good at what we do. Transformation happens because God is good and is still at work reconciling the world through Christ. After all, the church's claim is not "He was risen," but rather, "He is risen!"
—Rick Barger, A New and Right Spirit

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3 Comments:

  • At 5/18/2008 7:51 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    When the author says "transformation" does he mean theosis? If not what does he mean?

     
  • At 5/19/2008 7:46 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    November,
    Determining authorial intent is a tricky thing as it involves putting words in someone's mouth. As Rick Barger is a Lutheran pastor, I suspect he would use the word santification, as the theological term behind the word transformation as he uses it. One further quote from the same book illustrates this.

    "Imagine the reaction to a marketing piece that said something like this: 'We invite you to come to our congregation. Here you will be immerses in a story that exposes much of what our world has handed to you about human life—its values and its purposes—as lies, declares our world and all of its schemes dead, and promises to put you to death and raise you to new life. You will be so grasped by this story and pulled into our congregation that lives out this story that you will one day find yourself at odds with the values, attitudes, and priorities of many of your neighbors and maybe even your own family."

    But his use is also quite close to the Orthodox idea of Theosis. As another quote reveals: "Biblical transformation means a complete change, brought about by the activity of God, in which people become different than what they were before—not cosmetically different but really different."

    This fits with those classic formulations given by the Church Father Athanasius of Alexandria when he wrote theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature" (De Incarnatione, I). I have preached on this before in the sermon Becoming Like God.

    So, my real authorial intent guess is that as Barger is referring to a real and lasting life transformation in which one is conformed more and more to the image of Christ—a process his Lutheran training would call "sanctification" and which an Orthodox trained person would call "theosis"—both of which can claim the same biblical foundation in verses such as II Peter 1:4 which says that we have become " . . . partakers of divine nature."

     
  • At 5/20/2008 5:55 PM, Blogger RBarger said…

    Well said. On page 26 is a sidebar that uses Romans 12:1-2 as an entree into the biblical understanding of transformation.

     

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5/17/2008

The Trinity

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus tells his disciples,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
That phrase "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" is perhaps the clearest formulation of the three persons of the Trinity we find in scripture. While we look and find things that point to the Truth of this understanding of God, the word "Trinity" itself is not found in the Bible. And yet, because of this quote from Matthew and some other passages, we would be hard pressed to declare the idea of the Trinity to be unscriptural. I bring this up as tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the church year devoted to a doctrine. As I said in my sermon last year, The Mathematics of The Trinity,
A seminary professor of mine asserted that if you can describe The Trinity, clear and distinctly so that anyone can understand it, then you are a heretic. Keep talking and we’ll figure out which kind. This is because our language and our under-standing fall short of being able to describe God.

John Wesley put it this way, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God!” God is more than we can wrap our minds around and that is necessarily so.
Yet, we believe that God reveals God's inner life through nature (general revelation) and through scripture (specific revelation) and that though we can't comprehend fully who God is, we do trust that the outer self God reveals to us is a trustworthy guide to the inner life of God. And as Jesus was a full expression of that, we believe that within the Trinity, dwells all the love and compassion we saw manifest in Jesus. So while we fall short of comprehending God, we do gain much in the exercise of thinking about who God is and how God has acted. For a different take on this, there is the sermon in the archives Three Short Sermons on The Trinity.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5/16/2008

An Ardent Desire

All day today and tomorrow through lunch I will be at Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro, Georgia. They are the church that sponsored me for the ordination process. I will be there as a member of the Commission on Ministry, the group with the Diocese of Georgia that approves persons for ordination. It is a great honor to hear what God has been doing in the lives of the women and men who come before us. In that spirit, I offer this quote from Henri Nouwen:
Frank's ordination at Trinity in 2000It is not enough for the priests and ministers of the future to be moral people, well-trained, eager to help their fellow humans...the central question is, Are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God's presence, to listen to God's voice, to look at God's beauty, to touch God's incarnate Word, and to taste fully God's infinite goodness?
I pray for those seeking to respond to the call God has placed on their lives to do, not something higher or better, but to a particular ministry of ordained leadership within the ministry of Christ's Body, the church, which is the work of all the baptized.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

PS: Newly in the archives is Jay Weldon's Pentecost sermon, which he gave at St. Mark's Woodbine: We Need to Be a Little Crazy and my religion column for today's Tribune & Georgian: Consuming God.

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Expanding Opportunities


Today, King of Peace will present a proposal to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Georgia. Their approval is needed for any borrowing of money and building. I will be traveling to Statesboro, Georgia with Bill Bruce, JoAnn White, Colby Stilson, and Robert Davenport-Ray. We will ask for permission to get a line of credit of up to $100,000 to give us the room financially to take on a two-stage project.

In stage one, we will hook up to the City of Kingsland's sewage system, replacing our currently overtaxed septic system. This is the biggest facility issue blocking not only future building expansion, but also increasing use of the church and preschool. This project is estimated to cost $30,450 and to take less than two months to complete.

We are also working on plans to add an office and meeting space on what is currently the back porch of the church. That project is still in the engineering phase, but is estimated to cost $68,300 for the 1,300 sq. ft. addition. The proposed floor plan is online at kingofpeace.org/building/ As shown online it has not been completed by an architect or approved by the State Fire Marshall's office and so is subject to their changes.

Beginning phase two depends upon our completing the sewage project on budget and taking care of minor leak issues in the gutter and roof without incurring major expense while keeping the church's offerings up to meet the church's expenses. If these indicators stay in line, we will be building more meeting room before the year is out. This is all your church working to follow A Vision for the Future we laid out last fall to accommodate our future growth in a way that is both forward looking and fiscally responsible.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 5/17/2008 8:00 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The Standing Committee gave approval to the plan and we will begin work on the move from our presently overtaxed septic system to the city sewage system as soon as our contractor can get to work.

     

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5/15/2008

Five Heavy Words

The Eighth Bishop of Georgia, the Rt, Rev. H.W. Shipps, offered the following reflection for the newsletter of St. Paul the Apostle Episcopal Church in Savannah, where he attends:

Discussion of the means of our redemption, a major issue during the 16th century Reformation, is never out of date. Christians today must know the means by which we are saved. Several of the terms overlap in meaning, but point to the same divine action.

Justification How are you, a sinner, justified and brought into a right relationship before a righteous God? By the merits of the wholly righteous Son of God who offered himself as a propitiation or expiation for the sins of the whole world. Some would say forensic sacrifice. This unmerited gift is imputed or imparted to an individual at baptism.

Sanctification Although we are also sanctified at baptism, what usually is meant is the growth in holiness that follows baptism. The Christian matures in faith and practice while living in the context of Christ’s Eucharistic body, the Church. This is an infused gift of Grace.

Righteousness We have none of our own devising. All righteousness is a gift of God, imputed to us from Christ’s righteousness. Thus we can stand before God as redeemed sinners in a right relationship with God. We cannot earn righteousness by good deeds. St. Paul is very clear on this.

Redemption We are redeemed from our lost selves by Christ’s oblation of himself once offered for the sins of the whole world. Some would say a substitutionary sacrifice. Christ’s resurrection then completes our salvation.

Atonement Our at-one-ment with God is obtained by the self offering of the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Our sins treated as non-existent, as never having occurred, after our repentance and the confession of them. By the pure offering of Christ we thus are reconciled to God.

+HW Shipps

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5/14/2008

Prayer Anywhere

You can set up an altar to God in your minds by means of prayer. And so it is fitting to pray at your trade, on a journey, standing at a counter or sitting at your handicraft.
John Crysostom (347-407)

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3 Comments:

  • At 5/14/2008 6:16 AM, Anonymous Searching said…

    I find myself doing just this so often.

    I most often find myself praying while washing the dishes. It sounds crazy but I dislike using the dishwasher. I find washing dishes calming and very often a good time for prayer.

     
  • At 5/14/2008 7:14 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Here is a prayer by a 17th century saint:

    “Lord of all pots and pans and things, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.”

    More info on Brother Lawrence is in the archives Dragged apart by distractions

     
  • At 5/14/2008 9:10 AM, Anonymous Searching said…

    Thanks Father Frank, my son got a kick out of this one. After hearing me say this prayer while washing the breakfast dishes he is now running around the house saying "Saints washing plates". I don't often pray aloud but this one was too good to keep to myself. ;o)

     

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5/13/2008

The Good Samaritan and the Tipping Point

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell tells of an expirement into the context in which someone would help someone else in need that used a retelling of The Good Samaritan as the context and then created a fake scenario in which someone needed help. They found that the telling of the story mattered less than those conducting the study thought it might:
Some years ago two Princeton University psychologists, John Darley and Daniel Batson, decided to conduct a study inspired by the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. As you may recall, that story, from the New Testament Gospel of Luke, tells of a traveler who has been beaten and robbed and left for dead by the side of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Both a priest and a Levite—worthy, pious men—came upon the man but didn’t stop, “passing by the on the other side.” The only man to help was a Samaritan—the member of a despised minority—who “went up to him and bound up his wound” and took him to an inn. Darley and Batson decided to replicate that study at the Princeton Theological Seminary. This was an experiment very much in the tradition of the FAE, and it is an important demonstration of how the Power of Context has implication for the way we think about social epidemics of all kind, not just violent crime.

An African rendering of The Good SamaritanDarley and Batson met with a group of seminarians, individually, and asked each one to prepare a short, extemporaneous talk on a given biblical theme, then walk over to a nearby building to present it. Along the way to the presentation, each student ran into a man slumped in an alley, head down, eyes closed, coughing and groaning. The question was, who would stop and help? Darley and Batson introduced three variables into the experiment, to make its results more meaningful. First, before the experiment even started, they gave the students a questionnaire about why they had chosen to study theology. Did they see religion as a means for personal and spiritual fulfillment? Or were the looking for a practical tool for find meaning in everyday life? Then they varied the subject of the theme the students were asked to talk about. Some were asked to speak on the relevance of the professional clergy to the religious vocation. Others were given the parable of the Good Samaritan. Finally, the instruction given by the experimenters to each student varied as well. In some of the cases, as he sent the students on their way, the experimenter would look at his watch and say, “Oh, you’re late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. We’d better get moving.” In other cases, he would say, “It will be a few minutes before they’re ready for you, but you might as well head over now.”

He Qi's painting of The Good SamaritanIf you ask people to predict which seminarians played the Good Samaritan (and subsequent studies have done just this) their answers are highly consistent. They almost all say that the students who entered the ministry to help people and those reminded of the importance of compassion by having just read the parable of the Good Samaritan will be the most likely to stop. Most of us, I think, would agree with those conclusions. In fact, neither of those factors made any difference. “It is hard to think of a context in which norms concern helping those in distress are more salient than for a person thinking about the Good Samaritans, and yet it did not significantly increase helping behavior,” Darley and Batson concluded. ”Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literal stepped over the victim as he hurried on this way.” The only thing that really mattered was whether the student was in a rush. Of the group that was, 10 percent stopped to help. Of the group who knew they had a few minutes to spare, 63 percent stopped.

What this study is suggesting, in other words, is that the convictions of your heart and the actual contents of your thoughts are less important, in the end, in guiding your actions than the immediate context of your behavior. The words “Oh, you’re late” had the effect of making someone who was ordinarily compassionate into someone who was indifferent to suffering—of turning someone, in that particular moment, into a different person.
—pages 163-166 of Malcolm Gladwell's, The Tipping Point

It reminds me of an earlier post in which Brother Richard Carter of the Melanesian Brotherhood told of a boy who didn't want to pass by even though it was just a play: I don't want to walk past.

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Pentecost in Photos

May 11 was Pentecost Sunday. We celebrated both the birth of the Christian Church and Mother's Day. We also sent the Rev. John Rogers off for a year to be the interim rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Georgia.




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5/12/2008

The Episcopal Church Aids Mayanmar


Episcopal Relief and Development is, once again, responding to tragedy with support. ERD has a proven ability to find partners with whom to work to get the aid in after a natural disaster. Now that the low-lying Irrawaddy River Delta has been flooded with a 12-foot wall of water, food is short, the water supply is tainted and more suffering is anticipated. Abagail Nelson, ERD's VP for Programs says,
Episcopal Relief and Development's programs in Myanmar have helped people achieve economic stability through education, vocational training, and micro-finance initiatives. We have also provided tools and training to improve the food supply and access to clean water. This is a major disaster that will require a strong and committed response. Survivors urgently need water, food, and shelter. We must respond generously to save lives now and help people recover.
To help people affected by the cyclone in Myanmar, make a donation to ERD's "Myanmar & Cyclone Response" online here, or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development "Myanmar & Cyclone Response" P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058 or click the ERD link above to donate funds online.

You can also find online an Update from the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar.

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  • At 5/12/2008 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I certainly pray that these victims do get the help and supplies that they need. I read a sad story this weekend that the Red Cross momentarily haulted sending supplies because the government was hoarding them and not giving them to the people. So, when you send donations, ask God to send the angels along also to help get everything where it is needed!

     

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5/11/2008

The highest perfection

The highest perfection consists not in interior favors or in great raptures or in visions, or in the spirit of prophecy, but in the bringing of our wills so closely in conformity with the will of God that, as soon as we realize that He wills anything, we desire it ourselves with all our might, and take the bitter with the sweet, knowing that to be His Majesty’s will.
—Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

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  • At 5/11/2008 1:17 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Dixie over at http://www.byzantinedixie.blogspot.com has a wonderful post on her struggle to find God’s will and how coming to the Orthodox Church helped her find the answer. She comes to believe that...“God's will is oneness, with Him and with each other. This is what we are called to.” This is a good post that's worth a read.

     

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5/10/2008

Receive the Holy Spirit

In this Sunday's Gospel Reading John's Gospel tells us,
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
Sarah Dylan Breuer writes of this reading at her blog Sarah Laughed saying,
In John 14, Jesus promises the Spirit that he breathes upon them in John 20, and which comes upon the believers gathered to observe Pentecost in Acts 2. As Christians, we celebrate at Pentecost the coming of this Holy Spirit.

That statement doesn't have a lot of content for a lot of people, though. Coming on the eve of release for Star Wars' Episode III, we might be tempted to think of the Spirit Jesus promises as being like “the Force” that Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars describes impersonally as “an energy field created by all living things” that “surrounds us and penetrates us,” a mysterious phenomenon that gives those very few who can perceive and channel it hidden powers, as well as the temptation to become rulers of the galaxy.

But in John, the Spirit is described in far more personal terms. In John 14:16, the Spirit is an “advocate,” a term for a person who defends others. And John particularly emphasizes that the Spirit Jesus sends is “the Truthful Spirit” (14:17, 15:26, and 16:13 -- I go with Malina and Rohrbaugh in that rendering of the phrase usually rendered as “Spirit of Truth”), a phrase that describes someone with nothing to hide, a person whose character is fully manifest. “Truth” (aletheia—with the 'e' being an eta) can also mean “reality”; a truthful person is one who makes what's real manifest for any to see.

If we look at what the Spirit does, not only in John, but in Luke's (the NT author, not the Skywalker) and Paul's works, that seems an apt description. The Spirit manifests and makes visible in the community of Jesus' followers, the Body of Christ (to use one of Paul's favorite images) what is really the case, what God is doing in the world. If a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of God's grace, you might say that the Spirit is what makes sacramental living possible, who makes the Body of Christ an outward and visible sign to the world of what God's grace is accomplishing.
Her full essay is online here: Day of Pentecost.

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5/09/2008

He calms the storm inside us



Sometimes the Lord rides out the storm with us and other times He calms the restless sea around us. Most of all, He calms the storm inside us in our deepest inner soul.
Lloyd John Ogilvie

5 Comments:

  • At 5/09/2008 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And at other times he stands by and watches while the storm rages within and around. Is the storm too loud for him to hear my plea? Is that it?

     
  • At 5/09/2008 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And sometimes He has sent us a helicopter, a boat and a log. But, we're so busy listening to the noise of the storm within and without us that we can't hear the whisper of His answer. He ALWAYS hears our pleas; we just don't always like His response.

     
  • At 5/09/2008 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that we are in the middle of the storm having to scream for mercy and He merely whispers. I know from my own experiences that it is a constant struggle to figure it all out. I am at the point wondering why I bother at all. I feel like the prey, teased and tormented until the cat finally goes in for the kill.

    Sorry to be blunt but it would be nice to hear a definitive Yes or No rather than having to solve riddles and wondering if I got it right.

     
  • At 5/09/2008 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did He, maybe, tell you not to go out into the storm?

    Many people blame God for their trials and tribulations but these are actually natural consequences of our own actions.

    To be quite blunt, for example, the people killed by the Indian Ocean Tsunami were victims of disregard and exploitation of the natural environment.

    The adjacent marshes and mangroves were totally undamaged.

     
  • At 5/09/2008 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes storms in our life can appear without warning and even we may find ourselves thrust right into the middle of a torrential down pour and violent waves of despair threatening to drown you. When faced with such a storm it is easy to panick. Its very scary to feel like your on the edge of life or death. Its at that moment you have to decide, can you control this storm by yourself or do you call out for help and do you believe your cry for help will be heard. This is where faith comes in to play. There are stormy areas of our human nature that we feel God can't or won't work. It at this time we must remember that God can and will calm the storms of nature and the storms of a troubled heart. We must call out to him faith. God will take control when it is the right time. When I look back in my own life at the storms that almost took me under for a third time. God always came though for me. Not ever when "I" thought he should, but when it was the right time.
    Robin Rapp

     

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5/08/2008

"Functional Atheism"

This term, functional atheism, is one the Roger Ferlo used in his presentation on leadership for the clergy of the Diocese of Georgia. It comes from Parker Palmer's work (see post below for link) and the idea is that you live your life as if you have the ultimate responsibility for everything, then whether you believe in God or not, you are functionally an atheist. Palmer puts it this way,
Functional atheism is the unexamined conviction within us that if anything decent is going to happen here, I am the one who needs to make it happen. Functional atheism is the reason why the average group (according to studies) can tolerate only 15 seconds of silence; people believe that if they are not making noise, nothing is happening. Functional atheism is an inner shadow of leaders that leads to dysfunctional behavior on every level of our lives.

The great gift we receive on the inner journey is the certain knowledge that ours is not the only act in town. Not only are there other acts in town, but some of them, from time to time, are even better than ours! On this inner journey we learn that we do not have to carry the whole load, that we can be empowered by sharing the load with others, and that sometimes we are even free to lay our part of the load down. On the inner journey we learn that co-creation leaves us free to do only what we are called and able to do, and to trust the rest to others’ hands. With that learning, we become leaders who cast less shadow and more light.
I find the term to be challenging in a very helpful way as I consider to what degree I live into the faith that is in me. I do earnestly believe that the Gospel involves risk. I know we should do things that are so big, if God is not in the endeavor it will fail. I also know that God does not give the whole solution into the hands of one person, but to the Body of Christ.

Those risky things that involve doing something big for God are never the work for one person alone. Palmer shows that to cast more light than shadow, we have to realize that it is not our work, but God's work and our part is just that to which we are called to do and are able to do. To do our part knowing that the whole project is God's is to function as a Christian.

I also think we can push this image beyond Palmer's use of it and say this can work itself in the life of a church that professes faith in Jesus Christ, while (for example) putting its real trust in the biggest donors to the church.

What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 5/08/2008 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What do you mean by the "biggest donors of the church?"

     
  • At 5/08/2008 7:20 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I mean that a church can defer to the people who give the most money to that church in offerings. This can't happen at King of Peace as we do not take pledges from people and so there is no power in someone withholding his or her pledged giving to the church. But it does happen that some churches look to the few people who give the most money as the idea is that without them the church may fold. I was stating above that as this view of church finances depends ultimately on those givers and not God's Providence, then this too is functioning atheistically rather than from a place of faith, hope and love.

    peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 5/08/2008 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's what I thought you meant the first time I read the last paragraph. But after reading it again, I interpretted something else that didn't quite make sense.

    In defense of my confused state, I did read this BC (before coffee!)

    Thanks for clarifying!

     

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5/07/2008

Leadership

The Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo

Since Sunday evening, I have been at Honey Creek for the Diocese of Georgia Clergy Conference. We were led in thinking through issues of leadership in the church by the Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo, Associate Dean and Director for the Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership at my alma mater, Virginia Theological Seminary.

We looked at leadership as shown in some large swaths of scripture (Exodus 3-4, 18; Galatians 2; and Luke 22) as well as some models for leadership and how power is exercised, including Carl Dudley's Three Styles of Pastoral Leadership; Goleman's Emotional Intelligence; Roy Oswald's Power Analysis of a Congregation; and French and Raven's Five Bases of Social Power. In the photo above, Roger is getting us to consider positive aspects of leadership and the challenges.

One scriptural example was Exodus 18 in which Moses' early pattern of doing all the leading on his own was dealt with by his father-in-law Jethro who said, "What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you."

Throughout his time with us, both in and out of formal discussions, Ferlo led the gathered clergy through a biblically grounded, thoughtful consideration of leadership in the church, both lay and clergy. I enjoyed the presentations as well as a chance to be with my fellow clergy in the Diocese of Georgia.

Looking for more of what we covered? Try this online version of one model we considered: Parker Palmer's Leading from Within: Reflections on spirituality and leadership.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

The Rev. Jim Shumard comments in a discussion.

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5 Comments:

  • At 5/07/2008 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Considering the Exodus 18 example, and the picture at the top with words under leadership such as "tired as
    hell", "scapegoat","lonely", "paranoia," and "anxiety"...

    Are you trying to tell us something?

     
  • At 5/07/2008 3:58 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Actually, I thought the juxtaposition of Roger laughing with those words in the background worked really well. The truth was that the clergy gathered together found it easy to fill the positive side of leadership and he had pushed us to fill the challenges. For the record, I added "humility" as a positive leadership trait and "control" as a negative trait.

    peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 5/07/2008 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Really, it did work well. And, I got it. Just a little worried, that's all.

    I agree that too much control is definitely a negative trait in leadership. The priest from my previous church had/has a big problem with that trait. Part of the reason I took flight!

     
  • At 5/07/2008 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anonymous,

    Don't worry I don't believe Father Frank is going anywhere. I don't believe that Scapegoat, lonely, paranoia and anxiety are part of his daily life but I have to say I would understand the "tired as hell" one.

     
  • At 5/07/2008 11:09 PM, Blogger Peter Carey said…

    Great photo!

    I am a big fan of Roger Ferlo ... he rocks; thanks for sharing a bit about the conference! I was at Shrine Mont with Lord Robin Eames...which was also quite excellent and interesting...

    peace to you!

    Go fightin' friars!

    Peter+

    http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com

     

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5/06/2008

Twenty-first Century Beatitudes

Matthew Moretz writes:

The Beatitudes sting me every time I hear them. What are the ramifications of Jesus’ poetic words in our day?

Blessed are you who have no second chances;
Blessed are you who have no health care for your families;
Blessed are you who cannot move away from the gangs and their stray bullets;
For yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who beg for their daily bread;
Blessed are you who have eaten out of the trash;
Blessed are you who eat junk food as the affordable option;
For you will be filled.

Blessed are you who lost your partner to cancer;
Blessed are you who lost your child in battle;
Blessed are you whose world was taken by a storm;
For you will find joy.

Blessed are you who fade away in prison;
Blessed are you who were kicked out of your home;
Blessed are you who weren’t invited;
For that is what your ancestors did to the prophets.

The Rev. Matthew Moretz is curate at Christ’s Church, Rye, NY and creator of the You Tube series Father Matthew Presents.

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5/05/2008

Four Little Greek Words

The Eighth Bishop of Georgia, the Rt. Rev. H.W. Shipps, wrote the following reflection for Saint Paul the Apostle Episcopal Church in Savannah where he attends:

Life as Christians active in parish or diocesan mission and ministry can become complicated and in need of prioritizing. There are four Greek words that clarify our discipleship and provide a way forward.

Kerygma The proclamation of the Good News through preaching, renewal, and evangelism. Holy Scripture is the basic source of our salvation history, and every sermon should have good news as a component. Evangelism to the un-churched and lapsed is a Gospel ministry laid on all baptized persons. Our personal and parish renewal and commitment enhances this ministry.

Leitourgia, literally the ‘work of the people’. Liturgy is the worship of the Triune God by the people of God, especially in the context of celebrating the sacraments, as well as in the Daily Office. Here we may note the three orders of clergy; episcope, presbyter and diakonoi in the Greek. By virtue of Holy Baptism, all baptized persons engage in liturgical worship, especially as we keep Holy Day.

Diaconal is the servant ministry of the Church to the world. This is carried on at all the different levels of the Church, from individuals through parishes, dioceses, and provinces. Community outreach in its several forms is perhaps the most common servant ministry. Again, a ministry of the baptized. In addition to hands-on ministry, we have opportunity to make offerings to special ministries: Episcopal Relief & Development, United Thank Offering, The Church in Jerusalem, Episcopal Youth & Children’s Services, amongst others.

Koinonia describes our life in the Church, the Body of Christ. As baptized Christians, we are in fellowship, in communion, with one another. We are a community of believers which transcends denominational lines. Christianity is a societal religion, in contrast to some others. It is “Our Father,” not “My Father”. It is “our Church,” not “my Church”.

Our life as Christians is fulfilled by living into these four ministries. Each of us is called to utilize the skills God has given us in order to enhance our discipleship with intentionality and purpose. None is free to ignore them.

+HW Shipps

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5/04/2008

Praise and Silence

What are you, my God? What are you, but the Lord God himself? You are the highest, the most righteous and the most powerful being. You are the most merciful, and yet the most just. You are the most mysterious, and yet the most present. You are the most beautiful, and yet the strongest. You are stable, yet incomprehensible. You are unchanging, yet changing all things. You are never new and never old, yet you are constantly renewing all things. You are always working, yet always at rest. You create great riches on earth, yet you need nothing yourself. You support, nourish and protect all.

You love, and yet you are without passion. You are jealous, and yet have no fear. You recoil at our sin, yet you do not grieve. You are angry, yet remain serene. You alter your plans in response to our actions, yet your law and purpose remain firm. You take as you find, yet never lose. You have no needs, yet you rejoice in all goodness. You have no envy, yet you require us to multiply the talents you have bestowed. You pay debts, yet owe nothing; you forgive debts, yet lose nothing.

What shall I say, O my God, my life, my holy joy? What can any man say when he speaks of you? Silence offers the greatest eloquence, yet woe to him who does not sing your praise.
—Saint Augustine (354-430)

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5/03/2008

The Only Plan

In terms of the church year, we are now between Ascension (which was this past Thursday) and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost 10 days later. In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus tells the Father concerning those who believe,
All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
I preached in this passage six years ago saying in part,
There is a story told about what happened in heaven when Jesus returned from his earthly ministry. It’s not biblical. It’s just a story to make a point. Jesus AscensionIt goes like this. Jesus returns in glory to heaven. All the angels gather round to give the Son of God a high five and a pat on the back. Everyone is pretty fired up at first. As the excitement dies down a bit, the archangel Gabriel, who was so involved in announcing Jesus’ birth, speaks up.

“So what happens next?” Gabriel asks. "What's the plan?"

Jesus explains, “My disciples take over now. They’ll spread the Good News to the whole earth so that everyone will come to know that God loves them and wants a relationship with them.”

“You mean those fisherman, that tax collector and the like that you’ve been walking around with?” Gabriel asked with more than a little concern creeping into his voice.

“Yeah, those guys,” Jesus answered. “They’ll take over now. The Holy Spirit is with them. They’ll do great.”

There was a long pause. Then Gabriel asked tentatively, “What’s the backup plan?”

Jesus looked Gabriel in the eye with great seriousness and said, “That’s the only plan. There is no backup plan.”

That still is the only plan. The only way God has to reach the world with the Good News of Jesus is through his disciples. Had those first disciples hoarded their knowledge of Jesus, then there would have been no Christianity.
The full text of that sermon is online here: The Only Plan.

There is also the reflection at Day One from the Rev. Dr. James Lemler You can't keep a good man down.

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5/02/2008

Today at King of Peace Episcopal Day School





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In the real world


Sometimes, things don't go as planned. What I wanted this week was to work with Pastor Leon Washington of Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church on a religion column for the Tribune & Georgian in which we gave a more reasoned response to issues raised by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The idea would be to distance the mainstream of Christianity from his most problematic statements while acknowledging that there is some truth to some of what he says, even if we wouldn't agree with how he puts it. That's the short version, but it really would be better to work with my brother pastor in crafting a more thoroughly thought out response.

Pastor Washington is interested, but the press of ministry made that impossible as news one person received that the cancer has returned and another family dealing with the death of a loved one bring up the need for ministry that can't wait, while the idea for a column could. So I went to the hospital and he handled a funeral and next week we will try again. Each of us would have had the time, but we didn't have a time when the two of us could both be free to meet face to face to put our ideas together.

This week's column When fires rage is that sort of column I don't prefer to do—a sermon cut into a column. The sermon version felt right, where as a religion column, it feels like Plan B. Oh well. There is always the next column.

For a theological take on this, there is the sermon in our archives Plan C.

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5/01/2008

Not because we are good

The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a sunhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.
—C.S.Lewis (1898-1963)

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  • At 5/01/2008 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is this true? Because every morning at three for the past two weeks I've been startled awake by thoughts of "You're getting older and what have you done?" "You need to be better!" "You could have done more for that family or stranger!" "You shouldn't have gotten that upset or angry in that situation!"

    Am I under a storm cloud where the sun doesn't shine? There has got to be more that I can do as a Christian. Right? When do we know that He is working on us? Do you just become different?

     

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