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.

12/31/2008

Our Guests


The Rev. Daudi Ndahana, his wife Olivia and their infant son Frank are spending a month with us as they take a break from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin where Daudi is finishing a Masters in Theology program. They are pictured here on a trip with Celeste and Lene to the Jacksonville Zoo.



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12/30/2008

The party wouldn't have been complete



The grace of God means something like:

Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.

—The Rev. Frederick Buechner (1926- )

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1 Comments:

  • At 12/30/2008 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well then, let's get the party started! Thanks be to God!

     

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12/29/2008

Time for Something Amusing

At the risk of another irate phone call, I offer some less lofty fair to keep this site from getting too bogged down in theological minutia and the like.

Pimp your own nutcrackerWhile we are still in the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas (which end with Epiphany on January 6), here are a few amusing things to do on the web especially if you are fortunate enough to have today off like I do:

Make your own snowflake at this interactive website which lets you cut out paper with scissors and then view the results. Hint: the less paper you leave, the more interesting the design. See examples below.

I am not making this up, you may Pimp My Nutcracker online, creating much more fanciful versions than the one I created at left.

Finally, and closer to home, you may color the nativity scene online in King of Peace's own online coloring book.

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

Frank's attempt at a make your own cut-out snowflakeAnother attempty by Frank at a make your own snowflake

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1 Comments:

  • At 12/29/2008 8:19 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I can't believe you're encouraging us to pollute the environment like this. Do you know what the carbon footprint of one of these things is? You're just mocking the global warming crowd by making snowflakes anyway!

     

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12/28/2008

Lift Up Our Hearts

William TempleIn the days of His earthly ministry, only those could speak to him who came where He was: if He was in Galilee, men could not find Him in Jerusalem; if He was in Jerusalem, men could not find Him in Galilee. His Ascension means that He is perfectly united with God; we are with Him wherever we are present to God; and that is everywhere and always. Because He is "in Heaven" He is everywhere on earth: because He is ascended, He is here now.

Our devotion is not to hold us by the empty tomb; it must lift up our hearts to heaven so that we too "in heart and mind thither ascend and with Him continually dwell": it must also send us forth into the world to do His will; and these are not two things, but one.
Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple (1881-1941)

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12/27/2008

In the Meantime



In tomorrow's Gospel reading we will read the prologue to John's Gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it....And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.
I have preached on this passage before by reading alongside it W.H. Auden's Christmas Oratorio, For the Time Being. The work was written soon after the poet came to faith in Jesus Christ and it gives Auden’s understanding Christianity, especially of Jesus’ birth—the Incarnation. Auden looks to the excitement of the holidays with the realization that God never wanted our Christmas Day, but our everydays, the plain days with no celebration,

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes—
Some have got broken—and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe
must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Leftovers to do, warmed up, for the rest of the week—
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted—quite unsuccessfully—
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.

Once again
As in previous years we have
seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.

To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door
where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.

In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.


The sermon is here For the Time Being. It is based on both this poem of Auden's and the prologue to the Gospel of John.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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12/26/2008

Singing that will make you cry

While we are still here in the 12 days of Christmas, I offer a diversion—two versions of O Holy Night. Each one will make you cry, but for different reasons:



This is the painful one, which will make you cry in a bad way.



This is the heart-warming one which will make you cry in a good way.

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4 Comments:

  • At 12/26/2008 9:03 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    First video: Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! Boo hoo hoo, sob, sob and waaaaaaaahhhhh some more!!!!!!!! He butchered my favorite Christmas song!!!!!!

     
  • At 12/26/2008 4:19 PM, Blogger anything but typical said…

    NO! NO!! NO!!! I only lasted 46 seconds into the first one.

    Debbie

     
  • At 12/26/2008 7:18 PM, Anonymous Tamara said…

    Thank you for the laugh! Seriously, my beagles started baying about halfway through the first one. I'm surprised it took that long, because I was baying within seconds after the start! Where's the gong when you need it?

     
  • At 12/28/2008 9:23 AM, Anonymous Rachel said…

    EW!!!!!!

    NONONO!

    =C

    NONONO!

    NOBODY EVER DO THAT EVER EVER EVER AGAIN!!!!!

     

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12/25/2008

Santa's Request

The following poem is by King of Peace's own Dale Bundy, written for this Christmas and shared here as his gift to us all:

I climb down chimneys
On Christmas Eve,
I get all covered with soot,
And I ride round the world,
In that creaky old sleigh,
That seat is real hard on my butt.

My bag is full of presents and toys,
But it always brings tears to my eyes,
That I can’t fill some of the children’s requests,
No matter how hard I try.

You see,
I can’t wrap up a daddy whose left,
Or a mommy whose died and is gone,
I can’t send someone,
To hold little children,
Who spend much of life all alone.

I can’t cure the sick,
I can’t take back words,
I can’t mend lives torn apart,
I only have one night,
To accomplish my task,
But these undone things,
Still weigh on my heart.

I wish I could stop at every house,
But in some there’s just no Christmas there,
And it’s only because I have so much to do,
And believe me,
I really do care.

I see many homes,
On my trip round the world,
And each year the number grows,
Of the homes that I leave full of sadness,
And I can’t find my HO HO HO’s

So If you can please help Santa,
Just reach out to someone in need,
And spread Christmas cheer ,
To those who have less,
No matter how small the deed.


And don’t forget a prayer of thanks,
To God who reigns on high,
And remember those who need it the most,
But for his grace go you and I.

Thanks,

Merry Christmas, Santa Claus

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1 Comments:

  • At 12/25/2008 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mr. Bundy,

    A very nice poem! As a child I sat waiting for Santa with the hope he could make things OK.

    Last night, I saw my oldest doing the very same.

    Thank you, for the hope, for the thought that one can make a difference.

     

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12/24/2008

The True Light



Josh and Abi with their Christingles at the early service on Christmas Eve as this night shines with the brightness of the true light from heaven.

The text of the play/sermon is online here: The Christmas sermon - A Play. Thanks to Robin and his Dad, Victoria, Griffin, Jim and Jason for being the cast for the sermon.

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2 Comments:

  • At 12/25/2008 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sweet picture of Josh and Abi! Funny how that Spidey dude (see shirt) shows up at King of Peace every year for Christmas. I remember a couple of years back he was sitting in the front row on Christmas morning all lit up. Spider Man must be Episcopalian!

    Very nice service last evening!

     
  • At 12/26/2008 6:37 PM, Anonymous Denise said…

    I hear that all his heroes are epscoplian! Cute cute kids!

     

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Shining Light into Darkness

Tonight, our Christmas Eve worship will be at 6 and 11 p.m. The early service will be more kid friendly. Children are encouraged to come 20 minutes early to make a Christingle. These are "Christ Lights" made with an orange. They are a tradition created in Britain 40 years ago with The Children's Society creating a more child-friendly Christmas eve service to raise awareness and funds. We don't add a fundraising element at King of Peace, but enjoy sharing the light of Christ.

The 11 p.m. worship service will also be a candlelight service with a quieter, more reflective feel than the earlier service. We will worship on Christmas day at 12 noon.

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12/23/2008

Christ Is Born - Glorify Him

The Arabic text reads Christ Is Born - Glorify Him

The theme in Bethlehem this Christmas is "Christ Is Born - Glorify Him" which is what the Arabic calligraphy pictured above reads. The caaligraphy is by Palestinian artist Adel Nasser. A recent Episcopal Life news article Town of Bethlehem rests more peacefully this Christmas tells of this Christmas in Bethlehem. A million tourists are expected this Christmas booking more than 5,000 rooms in the area, which is 5.5 miles south of Jerusalem. Presumably, there is still room in a stable or two, but they may be about it this Christmas.

The Christians in Israel are mostly Palestinians and there are numerous shows of Palestinian art, music, theatre and folk dancing timed for the Christmas celebration in the town of Jesus birth. It wasn't so many years ago that there was violence in Bethlehem (see previous religion column here: Put people First on the Path to Peace).

This year, we give thanks for peace.

There is also an interesting Episcopal Life article: TENNESSEE: Myanmar refugees bring Advent story alive for rural church

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12/22/2008

Nativity Pageant


King of Peace Episcopal Day School held its annual Nativity Pageant this past Friday to a packed house. The show was a resounding success as the preschoolers taught told the story of Jesus' birth through words and song. Mary and Joseph gave the show two thumbs up.














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4 Comments:

  • At 12/22/2008 8:57 AM, Anonymous kellu said…

    10+ on the cute-o-meter! :)

     
  • At 12/23/2008 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love the pan-o-rama. Very cool montage.

     
  • At 3/23/2009 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best school in Camden County. Gilliam is wonderful and her staff is unbelievable.

    Perkins Family

     
  • At 11/19/2011 5:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear friends I am the chair of the Methodist District in Nottingham and Derby England UK. I would like to use the thumbs up photograph on my Christmas cards that I send to church leaders I found it on Google images
    Is it possible for you to give me that permission please?
    Every blessing Revd Loraine Mellor
    chair@methodist-nd.org.uk

     

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12/21/2008

A Christmas Prayer from India

Today is Saint Thomas day in the church calendar. Thomas is usually remembered as Doubting Thomas for the doubts he expressed about the resurrection before he saw Jesus for himself. But in India, he is remembered as the Apostle who brought the Gospel to that subcontinent.

The following prayer by Savithri Devanesen, is one that comes out of a part of Christianity facing persecution this Christmas season:

Lord, there is enchantment in the air tonight
casting a mysterious spell of expectancy on all creation
fulfilling the promise of the birth of God on earth
as a human child.
And as I watch with trembling hope
the wondrous pageant pass by
of poor shepherds and powerful kings
the radiant serenity of the night
is suddenly broken by a storm of power-drunk winds
spewing bullets of hatred, hurling stones of violence
on men and women, on frightened children
all fleeing from the grips of oppressive structures,
from bondage of sorrow and broken lives,
from explosive knowledge which has not yet
solved the problems of hunger and poverty,
from crumbling values which confuse the mind,
from death itself...
searching for the manger
where God's love and goodness for all humanity
blossoms in the heart of a Babe
and lets us know anew this Christmas morn
all people
as our brother,
as our sister.

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  • At 12/22/2008 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    beautiful prayer. Brings things to the light we forget and take for granted each day.

     

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12/20/2008

God’s word of hope

During tomorrow's worship service, the Revised Common Lectionary gives us two passages from Luke's Gospel. In the first, we will say together the Magnificat, the divinely inspired song which is Mary's response to her pregnancy. For the Gospel reading, we will read the context for that song which is Mary's visit to her elderly relative, Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the baby who will become John the Baptist.

Kathleen Norris wrote of these texts for The Christian Century:
My favorite Christmas book is The Donkey’s Dream, which is about the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. Meant for young children, Barbara Helen Berger’s story is a brilliant and subtle work of theology. Or perhaps antitheology, as it allows simple images to tell us more than words can convey about what the incarnation signifies. As the donkey ambles and dreams, we see that he is carrying a luminous city, with many gates and towers. Next we see on his back a sailing ship, rocking on the sea like a cradle, and then a flowing fountain, and then a rose. Finally we see what he has been carrying all along—a pregnant woman in a blue robe spotted with stars.

The child who trusts the wisdom of these pages has a head start on David, who had to be convinced by Nathan that it is not we who must build God a tabernacle, but God who chooses to dwell in and among us. Our job is to accept the burden. Human concepts of grandeur change—David’s cedar house might today be a McMansion of fake stone, with chandeliers, central air and cedar-scented room fresheners -- but God’s designs endure forever. It is in people, and not things, that God wishes to live.

In the passage from Luke that replaces the psalm in this Sunday’s readings, we see one result of God’s insistence on human beings as tabernacles of the holy. When we know God’s voice and answer his call, we sing, and as our soul "magnifies the Lord" we ourselves are magnified, becoming greater than the sum of our parts. Biblical scholars know that an illiterate peasant woman could never have made such a song, and we know that while Mary had little idea of what would be required of her, she could express her wonder and joy. This is one of those happy occasions when everyone is right. The point is that we need this hymn to restate and magnify our entire salvation history, to draw on Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel, as well as on prophetic warnings about the day of the Lord as a time when all that we value will be called into question. One thing only is clear: God has promised to come to our aid and be with us always.

It is no wonder that Mary’s song of praise has become one of the church’s most potent prayers. Traditionally recited in the evening at the close of vespers, it prods us to reflect upon how we have responded, this very day, to God’s call. Have we tried to ignore it, relying instead on our status, wealth or power? Or have we been poor and simple enough to receive it and take it to heart?

We hear the Gospel readings in the wrong order today, but small matter, as both are essential to our understanding of Christmas. The annunciation of the good news to Mary makes it clear that she was able to sing her song because she had listened well and said yes to God. With all the wealth of mystery provided in these texts, we do still wonder if God is foolish to choose human beings as the foundation of his kingdom. We are not only mortal, we are fickle and unfaithful, and easily distracted. All too often, in the noise of our busy lives, we give God a deaf ear, And we are glad to do so, because listening to God requires more of us than we are willing to give.

Denise Levertov begins her poem "Annunciation" with a line from the Agathistos hymn, "Hail, space for the uncontained god," reminding us of the great mystery that is enacted in Mary. But Levertov disconcertingly puts us in sharp contrast with the young woman of scripture. While annunciations of one sort or another come to most of us, Levertov insists, there are all too often those strange and risky moments

when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or a woman
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

And so it goes with us, much of the time. We cling to what we know, the ordinary life that pays the bills. But God keeps calling and, surprisingly, is often answered by the least among us, the most unlikely people from the provinces. It is the barren Hannahs, the young Davids and innocent Marys who hear and believe, and further God’s reign on earth. As many times as we turn away from their witness, God has put us together on the road to Jerusalem. It is never the right time, and we are never ready. We have other, more important things to do and places to be. The burden is too great for us to carry. But once we say, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord," the angel will depart, and the path will open before us. We can trust that even in this violent, unjust and despairing world, God’s word of hope is true, and we will sing it "from generation to generation."

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12/19/2008

Why Be Religious?



Father Matthew Moretz offers his take on the expression, "I'm spiritual, but not religious."

My own take on this ran in the Tribune & Georgian back in July: Spiritual, but not religious and it didn't have the funny bits that Matthew at which Matthew is so adept.

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12/18/2008

Living Right

A man who lives right, and is right,
has more power in his silence
than another has by his words.
The Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

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12/17/2008

Go Public with Sins?

Denise pointed out the following news item, Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public. The article tells of a church in Mandarin, Florida harassing a woman even after she has left the church:
A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to "go public with her sins" and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend.

Rebecca Hancock said harassment from Grace Community Church in Mandarin over her sex life caused her to leave, but she said that didn't put an end to the problem. She said she received a letter from the church's elders telling her the church plans to make her personal life very public.

"I'm basically run out. I'm the church harlot," Hancock said.

The 49-year-old said she has been dating a man for a while and she said members of the congregation at Grace Community Church haven't been happy about the relationship.

"Because I have a boyfriend that I'm involved with … to not be married to that person is a sin," Hancock said.

She said the issue caused her to leave the church. However, she said the church has not let go of her.

The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, "you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ" … "In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to 'tell it to the church.'"

"On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends," Hancock said.
The irony is that the church is named "Grace." Grace is God's free, unearned gift of love. Oh well.

In partial defense of the church, scripture does have higher expectations of the faithful than of the newcomer. We are to be transformed over time by God's presence in our lives. This ongoing work of sanctification (being made holy) is the work of a lifetime. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in the very act of adultery, but he also told her to "go and sin no more."

So much for defending the church. This story sounds like opposite day in the Kingdom of God. When I was in elementary school, you could tell someone, "You are handsome, well dressed and the smartest person in school." Then follow it up with, "Haha. It's opposite day." They read the Gospel about the woman caught in adultery and then said, "Haha, it's opposite day. Let's stone a woman for her sins."

Kidding aside, Grace Community Church is clear about who they are. Their website lists one of the purposes of a church as, "The church exists to provide accountability to the purity of the church (Matthew 18)." Their holding this one member publically accountable is not some arbitrary decision, but is part of a core value this congregation maintains for itself.

I know that they will see my views as being conformed to the culture and not to God's will, but I think they got the letter of the law, but missed the spirit of it. Jesus said that you know a tree by its fruit. The fruit of this decision will be to encourage more highly judgmental people to seek out Grace Community Church as their kind of church, one that will be pure. But the Body of Christ is messier than that.

We are a mixed body in the Church made up of saints and sinners alike. And this is not just in the church, but within each of us. Each of us is within ourselves a mix of saint and sinner. Until my whole life is in conformity to God's will, am I in a position to condemn another person? And when my whole life is in conformity to God's will, would I still want to condemn another person?

I see that the church opted to publically judge this woman for her sins. I just don't understand where they found the person to cast the first stone. Jesus said he wouldn't do it. Neither will I. I trust you, gentle reader, would not do so either.

Some of those who seek out this congregation as their kind of church will find themselves on the pointy end of the finger, with the judgment of the congregation falling on them, because life works out that way. In fact, life usually works out so that it will be the pastor whose own sins will be made public one day. I hope not. I truly do. But this kinda thing has a way of happening so frequently as to almost be predictable.

One final note, the church did get its way. She made their judgment public as a way to condemn their actions against her. So they don't have to wait for January anymore. Jacksonville television news has already let everyone know about the boyfriend. It sorta takes the punch out of condemning her in church now that their plan of action has been broadcast by the media.

I still think that Jesus words apply here and we should judge not, lest we be judged in the same manner. That's my take. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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23 Comments:

  • At 12/17/2008 8:56 AM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    Hey Rev.

    I guess we should just chuck I Corinthians out of the Bible then, huh? After all, Paul cast that first stone against the guy who was shacking up with his step mother.

    Did you ever consider that they talked to her, as Matthew says to do, about her sin privately first, and she continued to sin some more. Then they went back to her with another, as the Bible and Jesus told them to do, and she chose to leave the congregation and continue to sin some more. So lastly they tell the congregation so that they may separate themselves from someone living a hedonistic lifestyle just as Paul reprimanded the church at Corinth to do! This woman is still calling herself a Christian, all the while reveling in her sin. She is the one who "outed" herself on the local Jacksonville affiliate. She is the one who told the WORLD that she was, indeed, having sex outside of marriage. And she said that was between her and Jesus. But the Bible says otherwise. I am shocked that you just ignore sin. What was it that Corinthians says about a little yeast? Would you allow a small rattlesnake in your house saying "after all, it is just a little snake"?

     
  • At 12/17/2008 1:13 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    By your statements Mathew it apprears you would advocate stoning because Paul did and that you are without sin as Jesus was and in a position to judge others.

    I think the actions and teachings of Jesus should serve as a guide to our own actions rather than the actions of Paul, don't you? If you look hard enough in the Bible you can find a passage to justify just about any position you like.

    She revealed this story to the world I believe because she did not appreciate being extorted by her church consisting of people she considered to be her friends.

    If one had to be without sin in order to call themselves a Christian, there would be no Christians.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 1:40 PM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    As a matter of fact, I am without sin, Jesus took my sin upon the cross. I am no longer a sinner, but a new creation, a saint is how my God looks at me. I quit being a sinner when Jesus came to live within me.

    Interesting how you find the Bible not worth following. Jesus indeed would approve of what Paul did. Think about it for a minute. If the woman caught in the act was brought before Jesus, where was the guy? Jesus told her to go and sin no more, but do you think that if she kept on doing the horizontal mambo with guys that he would continue to say "Oh, that's OK, you are doing the best you can". Jesus said "if you love me, keep my commandments" and he said it was better to enter heaven with one arm, or one eye rather than fall into sin. Jesus said "change your ways" Ms. Hancock did not change her ways.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 2:38 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    Your attitude toward people and willingness to judge and condem indicate otherwise.

    Jesus taught love, not things people like you advocate who call themselves Christians. It is a real shame people put so much emphasis on things written in the Bible rather than following the teachings of Christ. Men wrote the Bible, not God.

    I do not see any love and understanding in your words so we will part this discussion.

    Au Revoir

     
  • At 12/17/2008 2:47 PM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    Paco,

    Funny how you find it convenient for yourself to judge others and then condemn them for a judging spirit. I judge nothing, she has admitted that she is having sex outside of marriage. That is fact, not judgment. And the Bible makes it clear that it is sin.

    I think your issues are found most in yourself!! Have fun being a hypocrite. Or else, turn to Jesus and ask him to open your eyes to the sin which still so easily ensnares you.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 3:25 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    I knew you could not resist an argument even though you are supposedly without sin and you have just proven my point.

    I have not judged you nor did I call you any names.

    I, also am not the hypocrite as I have merely pointed out what Jesus preached, not a word about my beliefs so how could I possibly be hypocritical.

    I am not a Christian and as the religion is populated by your ilk, I have no desire to be. I simply believe in right and wrong and believe what the woman does is her own business and none of the church's or anyone else's.

    The most irritating thing about Christians and all other religions is they want to tell everyone else how to live their lives and think anyone who does not believe as they do are wrong and sinners.

    So spare me your preaching. You are ill-equipped to advise anyone.

    So now do you strike back or turn the other cheek?

    I failed to respond that your previous inept comment about what about the guy and Jesus approving of what Paul did. Jesus did not approve of stoning nor condemning the woman or he would not have said let ye who is without sin cast the first stone but you have made it clear you do believe in stoning people to death because the bible states it's ok, right?

    In words not in the bible, "people who live in glass houses should not throw rocks". We all live in glass houses and the ones of us who do not delude ourselves know that.

    My issues are with incompetents and disrespect for truth and unlike you, I require no book to tell me how to live my life.

    I also could care less how anyone else lives their lives, especially behind closed doors, just as long as it does not threaten me or mine.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am shocked how you two respond to each other. Although I do understand why Paco eventually just let it out. Matthew- I do call myself a Christian and everything you write strikes me as you telling everyone that you are perfect and commit no sin. I agree that Jesus did die on the cross to take away our sins. But we are human and not Jesus so we do sin even though we have intentions not to. Do you gossip? Do you tell little white lies? Do you put Jesus and others before you? We all try to but fall short. That is being human. Jesus said -'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' That is what I live by and that is what I teach my family. I hear from your words that you are better than everyone. Are we not suppost to take the lowest seat and be asked to sit in the highest. You have just gone right up and taken the highest. I hope you will find love towards others some day. If we want to be forgiven we have to first forgive. Paco- I'm sorry you feel the way you do about Christians. Please don't think other are like Matthew. I agree that there are good people out there that do not call themselves Christians and that some that do call themselves Christians you have to wonder why they do. But we should all try and follow Jesus' teachings and spread God's word. And of course help others.
    I hope you both including the woman this all began with find peace,love and joy in this time of year we remember how God came to be with us.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 5:15 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    Dear Anonymous,

    I do realize there are real Christians in the world and I am sure you are one of them as is the Pastor who left the original remarks expressing genuine Christian tenets.

    I envy you your faith and thank you for your comments.

    Vaya con Dios

     
  • At 12/17/2008 8:10 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Paco,

    I completely understand what you are saying!!! But, not all Christians are judgmental and cruel. Some of us really do love people just the way they are. That's how I try to live my life in Christ.

    Matthew,

    Wow! I've never met a sinless Christian! Good for you!!! But, you make statements that are judgmental against judgmental statements that really aren't judgmental-- your statements are hypocritical to say the least. Also, I don't appreciate you calling my pastor "Hey Rev." He has earned the title of Reverend and Father.

    I would not look to you as an example of what Christianity represents. Nor,would I want to be like you or attempt to learn about what you think that you know!

    I want people to know Christ the way I know Him--Loving, Forgiving, Kind, Unconditional,Caring, Healing, Gentle...therefore, I would never want to expose somebody's sin, let alone judge them for it!

     
  • At 12/17/2008 8:36 PM, Blogger andrew travis pantazi said…

    I am a member of this said church. We followed an outline given to us through Matthew 18. First, she was addressed in private by one who informed her of scripture that tells us a sexual relationship outside of marriage is sinful. However, she ignored the person and continued in her sin, so the person who had first come to her then came with two witnesses to show her that she was living in sin. Finally, our church is now seeking the final act, which is telling her that because she is continuing to live a life of sin and not seeking to put to death the works of the flesh, then we must regard her as an unbeliever. I had been, at the request of her son, actively praying for the woman as she refused to accept that scripture speaks clearly on the issue of sexual morality. Our church does not claim to be perfect and without sin, our pastor openly confesses to his sinful life prior to salvation as well as to the sin in his life after salvation. Apart from Christ, we all are equal sinners. However, the mark of a Christian is that we hate our sin and we are striving, through fellowship, to kill our sin.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 9:01 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    Regardless of what rights you think your church has due to any passage in the bible your church has violated that woman by extorting her to either end a relationship she is in or be publicly humiliated. Not only is that unconscionable, it is a crime in Florida. I cannot imagine how in this day and time you can use scripture written thousands of years ago to condemn her. This is not Spain during the 15th century when the inquisition was in full swing.

    Pastor Frank Logue summed it up well when he described what sort of individual would be a member of your church. In spite of what you think, you and your fellow church members had no right to malign or persecute that woman. I think the acts of your church are despicable.

    It will serve you right if she sues your church for all it's worth for defamation of character.

    You have no right to torment that woman you act as if she has no rights. This is the United States of America where we do have rights.

    Religious persecution has gone on long enough and good Christians as you can see in previous posts do not share your myopic views.

    Grace Community Church seems more of a cult than a church.

    The 2008 Florida Statutes

    Title XLVI
    CRIMES Chapter 836
    DEFAMATION; LIBEL; THREATENING LETTERS AND SIMILAR OFFENSES View Entire Chapter

    836.05 Threats; extortion.--Whoever, either verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse another of any crime or offense, or by such communication maliciously threatens an injury to the person, property or reputation of another, or maliciously threatens to expose another to disgrace, or to expose any secret affecting another, or to impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another, with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatsoever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened, or any other person, to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will, shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andrew
    In our home we do not practice our religion the way you feel it should be done. We look at the bible as a guideline on how to live. If you tried to take the bible word for word, women would not be allowed to speak in church, no one would ever remarry after devorce, birth control would not be allowed, if you looked at a woman in a sexual manner you would be required to gouge out your eyes, I could go on. So if you followed word for word everthing you would have to take this woman out and stone her to death.
    I define a Christian much diffrently than you do and from the sound of it everyone in your congregation. It is truly sad to hear that a church acts in this manner. I'm not saying I support what this woman is doing. But I also don't believe what you all have done as a congregation is right. Leave it to Jesus to judge. That is what we are taught.

     
  • At 12/17/2008 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ya'll need a catapult to chunk the stones ya'll are throwing.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 8:57 AM, Anonymous Denise said…

    Man, I really know how to get things going, don't I? While I'm glad to see a dialogue going on, I hope we can somehow get back to a respectful exchange.

    Ill be the first to tell you I AM A SINNER. Sometimes I break several of the good Lords commandments in one day, and yet...I still fit in the door at king of peace. I have yet to make the holy water boil, and no one has asked me to hit the road so far. My head is not so big that I believe I am above sin, and that's how I still fit through the door. My heart IS so big that I have the strength to open those same doors to all sinners; especially this woman, and her boyfriend. Who are we to deny the Lords house, the Lords table to anyone? Who are we to deny the Lords love to anyone? My Father (Frank) taught me better.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 9:02 AM, Anonymous Valiance Weaver said…

    Hyporcrites, and sexual morality? Christians in different camps sharpening their spears, you cannot deny the work of God in this story. See that a woman sins are threatened to be revealed amongst the Church right, but instead she publicly announced it and also brought light to the situation within this Church. All things brought to the light. Second of all how could anybody regard another person as an unbeliever, who gives them the right to consider that? And being a hardnosed " I am a perfect Christian because...of MY GOD" Is being very detrimental and all I can say is " Are you serious?!" Its human weakness to exploit another human being, and to use their trespasses against them? That is ethically and moraly wrong, so the logic is " This woman sins, so we will fix it by running her name through the mud, in front of her children?" How would that help anybody, I am confused. Tell you what for you "perfected" Christians, this woman can worhip next to me on any given Sunday , and she can bring her boyfriend too, and please do get angry at me for feeling this way. "Because anger and being judgemental is the whole point of being a "Perfected Christian" right? Exploiting people, and doing it while shamelessly quoting scripture is the point to following Jesus, right? And instead of beating her over the head, and reminding her of how she is messing up. I will remind her that people care, and I will pray. So keep debating, the rest of us are going to take the message of this event and walk on. Peace

     
  • At 12/18/2008 4:43 PM, Anonymous Kristen said…

    I was just wondering if the ends justify the means? If this "heathen" woman marries this man with whom she has had relations outside the bounds of holy matrimony, do we then say that this was a marriage given first by God and followed then by what the community recognizes? Even the church community? If a couple is married by a lawyer or judge or even someone who got their certificate off of the internet rather than by a priest or reverend, are they not the same as this woman? Living in sin without the blessing of the church? At what point is an emotional / sexual relationship accepted? Are we saying that it is okay as long as there is a Christian ceremony sanctifying the relationship? I lived in sin with my husband for four years before we were officially married by a church. And yet if you ask either of us how long we have been together we would say fourteen years. Go ahead and start throwing.

    I believe that relationships are sanctified by God way before our community does, even our church community.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 5:00 PM, Anonymous denise said…

    Interesting point at the end there, Kristen! Is it possible that we are very smug about blessed unions, so smug about it that god will only bless a union at church or if clergy asks him to? Hmm.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 5:52 PM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    I am amazed at the lot of you who say you have yet to meet a Christian without sin, and in so doing call Jesus a liar!!!! If it was not possible for us, as believers, to live a life above sin, then why would Christ have commanded us to “... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”? I never said that I have not sinned, I said that I was sinless. Jesus took my sins upon himself. My righteousness is not my own, it is Christ's. We have been tranformed, or at least are called to be transformed. We are no longer slaves to sin, but too many of us live a life of servanthood to sin rather than servanthood to Christ Jesus!!! You sin because you choose to sin. Don't give me that bull that you cannot control yourself. Christ freed you from sins bondage. Why then do you refer to yourselves as sinners saved by Grace? That is not something you found in the Bible, it is a lie being told you by Satan himself!!! Why look at your Bible. You will find yourself referred to as “saints” in Romans 1, in 1 Corinthians 6, in 1 Corinthians 14, in 2 Corinthians 1, in Ephesians 1, in Philippians 1, in Colossians 1, and Philemon 1. God calls you a saint and you want to be a sinner. Why? Why do you, like those wrote about in Galatians, want to fall back to a life a sin? Why do you choose to become once more a slave to sin. Yes, you may sin, but you have forgiveness from God available when you repent the sin and ask His forgiveness. How can He forgive you when you continually remind him that you sinned that one time, seven years ago. God looks at you and says “I don't remember it”. You are sinless in His eyes. Yet you continue to cry out that you are sinners. That is foolishness!!!! Must I remind you of what Paul wrote to Galatia, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Stop putting on the yoke of sin, that life is over. It is entirely possible for any one of you to be perfect, any time you choose to die to self and accept the gift of freedom that Christ Jesus gave you. You speak of gossip and stealing, what need of that do I have when I am a child of the King? Grow up!!!! Stop being a child, you are giving a blessing from God. You cannot be a child of God and be a sinner. God forgave your sins, you have none! Why is that such a hard concept for you? This is not a case of how far can I be from God and still be his, either you are His or you are not. It is not like someone drew a circle around God and said as long as you are on one side of the line, no matter how close to that line you go, then you are a Christian but if you are on the other side of the line then you are not. If you are a Christian, you are sinless. If you choose to live in sin, then you are not His.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would encourage everyone to read the story published in the Florida Times Union, www.jacksonville.com. It has a few more pertinent details in it, namely that the woman did not leave the church.

    I find it fascinating that christian people will form a "judgement" of an entire group of believers based on one 90 second news report delivered by a local television station. I hope you all are consistant in your blind faith in the media. You are all jumping to so many conclusions without really knowing the motivations and hearts of the individuals involved.

    By the way, if you are going to quote John 8 you should do it in context. In John chapter 8 Christ Jesus was addressing the issue of mob justice being delivered by the pharisees. They wanted to stone her to death for an external sin while they were dead inside. Their act was not an act of love but an act of deception and hate. Christ Jesus knew the motives of their hearts and reacted appropriately. And lets not forget Christ Jesus did hold her accountable for her sin after those with logs in their eyes left.

    Also, whether you agree with Him or not, Christ Jesus did command the process of church discipline. It's even written in red in some Bibles.

     
  • At 12/18/2008 11:30 PM, Anonymous Paco said…

    Oh but she did leave the church.

    This story has gone national:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,469928,00.html

     
  • At 12/19/2008 12:28 AM, Anonymous Paco said…

    Dear Anonymous,

    I would encourage you to read the article in the Times Union as I am now questioning if you can in fact read because what did you think the following in that article meant other than she has left that church:

    Her boyfriend sent an e-mail asking for her removal from church membership

    I personally do not feel inclined to be disciplined or extorted by anyone nor do I wish to have anyone think for me.

    It seems most Christians would have the Bible do their thinking for them.

    Anyone who can believe the Earth is only six thousand years old is obviously accustomed to not thinking for themselves.

    You can only shove so much religious non-sense down the throat of anyone with a brain before they regurgitate.

     
  • At 12/19/2008 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anonymous,
    Seems like you take the bible word for word also. When you were referring the the stoning the woman to death. I do feel like this church is taking things a little too far. I'm not saying they are bad people. I'm sure they think what they are doing is right. But I do not. That is all I am trying to say. As Paco said before this is America and I can express what I feel. I am allowed my own opinion. They bible passages mean so many different things to so many people. No one knows for sure what every book is supposed to teach us. We just do our best to follow our hearts and listen to God's word. If it was so clear what the Word meant then why do we have all the denomonations and then which one is correct? That is just it we do not know and we will not until we come to live with the Father in heaven. Until then I do my best to follow the scripture the best I understand it and then leave the rest to God. Now I hope everyone can get past this and have a Merry Christmas. There is already enough hate in this world. Oh and I did do some research thank you. I checked out the church that this blog started out with. So maybe as Paco said you should do some reading also. I'm sorry if you are hurt by this but I am doing my best to be a Christian and sometimes it is hard when things like this come up and I feel so strongly about it. Again I hope you all have a blessed Christmas even the ones I don't agree with about his topic.

     
  • At 1/18/2009 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Like all prohibitions, the prohibition against loose sexual conduct has deep roots. It isn't merely to keep folks from scroggin thy neighbor. I believe, it is meant to protect the institution of family. And, in turn the family upholds the community.

    Today, sex is merely sex, we rarely even blush about it. But, in the not so distant past sex was, aside from a pleasurable expression of love, a way to bring children to a committed relationship. Loose sexual relationships are one of the biggest reasons for the ailing concept of Family. A woman who calls herself Christian should, above all others, know the power she holds. She controls Family through her behavior and as a Christian has accepted a certain prescribed mode of behavior to ensure the continuity of the family she brings forth through the grace of God.

    This debate is not about one woman and her desire to be free of the responsibility for her actions, but one about the very underpinnings of family. If family and community are dependent upon one another, then she needs to be publicly reprimanded as a statement to the fact that that behavior is not acceptable. How is it that anyone can not see that?

    Her personal sin is between her and God, her public sin is against family and community and she tacitly agreed to accept responsibility for her behavior when she joined that particular church.

    She and others like her threaten society. Just because everyone does it, does not make it right. It is all well and good to talk about the words in the bible or her personal rights, but the very act she is guilty of is NOT A PERSONAL ACT. It took two to accomplish and could potentially harm children who then may become a public concern. And, what of her example? I can't even guess at how many people she could have hurt.

    Why is it in this day and age, no one wants to hold anyone else responsible for their own behavior?? Her deeds are not up for debate, she is guilty. What good are rules if no one is willing to hold anyone accountable?? I am not without sin. However, that does not preclude me from making a judgment call. We ALL make judgments everyday about many things. Why be so picky about what you CHOOSE to be judgmental about it? Judgment is Not a bad word. It is what is supposed to hold society together.

     

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12/16/2008

The Vulnerable Pay the Price

The following is the Christmas Letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:

Human beings, left to themselves, have imagined God in all sorts of shapes; but—although there were one or two instances, in Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, of gods being pictured as boys—it took Christianity to introduce the world to the idea of God in the form of a baby: in the form of complete dependence and fragility, without power or control. If you stop to think about it, it is still shocking. And it is also deeply challenging.

God chose to show himself to us in a complete human life, telling us that every stage in human existence, from conception to maturity and even death, was in principle capable of telling us something about God.

Although what we learn from Jesus Christ and what his life makes possible is unique, that life still means that we look differently at every other life. There is something in us that is capable of communicating what God has to say—the image of God in each of us, which is expressed in its perfection only in Jesus.

Hence the reverence which as Christians we ought to show to human beings in every condition, at every stage of existence. This is why we cannot regard unborn children as less than members of the human family, why those with disabilities or deprivations have no less claim upon us than anyone else, why we try to makes loving sense of human life even when it is near its end and we can hardly see any signs left of freedom or thought.

And hence the concern we need to have about the welfare of children. As we look around the world, there is plenty to prompt us to far more anger and protest about what happens to children than we often seem to feel or express. In the UK this year there have been several public debates about childhood, as research has underlined the lack of emotional security felt by many children here, the high cost of divorce and family breakdown, the disproportionate effect of poverty and debt on children, and many other problems. We look forward to the publication here in the New Year of a nationwide survey about what people think is a 'good childhood'—sponsored by the Children's Society, with its long association with the Anglican Church.

Elsewhere we see far more horrendous sights—child soldiers still deployed in parts of Africa and in Sri Lanka, the burden laid on children in places where HIV and AIDS have wiped out a whole generation, leaving only the old and the young, the fate of children in areas of conflict like Congo and the Middle East and the insensitive treatment that is so often given to child refugees and asylum seekers in more prosperous countries.

'Though an infant now we view him, He shall fill his Father's throne' says the Christmas hymn. If it is true that the child of Bethlehem is the same one who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, how shall we stand before him if we have allowed his image in the children of the world to be abused and defaced? In the week I write this, the British public is trying to cope with the revelation of the shocking killing of a very small child. Recently I accompanied a number of students and British faith leaders on a pilgrimage to the extermination camps at Auschwitz, where some of the most unforgettably horrifying images have to do with the wholesale slaughter of Jewish children—their toys and clothes still on display, looted by their killers from their dead bodies.

Rowan Williams with children in the SudanChristmas is a good time to think again about our attitudes to children and about what happens to children in our societies. Christians who recognise the infinite and all-powerful God in the vulnerability of a newborn baby have every reason to ask hard questions about the ways in which children come to be despised, exploited, even feared in our world.

We all suspect that in a time of economic crisis worldwide, it will be the most vulnerable who are left to carry most of the human cost. The Holy Child of Bethlehem demands of us that we resist this with all our strength, for the sake of the one who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor, became helpless with the helpless so that he might exalt us all through his mercy and abundant grace.

With every blessing and best wish for Christmas and the New Year.

+Rowan Cantuar

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  • At 12/17/2008 8:17 AM, Blogger sie.kathieravelu said…

    Please find below my opinion of solving the problem in Sri Lanka.The suggestions can be applied to any country including India. Anyone is free to comment on it because it is my firm belief that if a sustainable society is to be reached, it will not be political leaders who would show us the way. More likely, small groups of us will emerge who have found the way, and spread that message to others. When a critical mass of the electorate has already adopted a more developed sense of society, only then will our leaders follow.

    The main cause for all the ills of any country and every country is the present democratic system of governance which allows "corruption" of all forms to thrive unchecked.

    In my opinion "Corruption" includes any kind of waste, neglect and every form of malpractice, dishonesty, abuse, misuse, unreasonable exercise of power, failure or refusal to exercise power, anything and everything left undone which results in the right of the people being denied or impaired.

    Without a "just society" in existence much talked about "terrorism" cannot be eradicated. For the creation of a "just society" there should be "good governance" in the country. For the creation of "good governance" in the country "corruption" of ALL forms must be eradicated. And to eradicate "corruption" the present democratic system of governance, where full power to make final decisions ultimately rests in the hands of one person, must be changed.

    So the only way to salvage a country is to change the present system of governance to one that is truly democratic where the final decision-making power will NOT be in the hands of ONE person BUT shared by as many people as possible. Thus restricting individual and hasty decisions leading to trouble everywhere.

    To make a country truly democratic, the powers of the Parliament (the decision making supreme body of a country) should be split and separated and each of the separated powers must be handled by separate groups of persons selected and elected by the people for the purpose of administering EACH SET OF POWERS or duties as the case may be. Particular care should be taken to see that all powers are NOT CONCENTRATED in one place and that they do not overlap and there must not be a secret budget to be handled by a single person.

    All transactions should be transparent including Diplomacy which has to be diplomatically transparent.

    One set of powers dealing with the development of the country should be given to the set of representatives at the village level. The people of each and every village must be empowered to determine their way of life (lifestyle). The life-style of a village, its lands and resources shall not be disturbed by external forces. All plans of development of a village or remotely/indirectly affects the village must have the concurrence of the people of that village concerned.

    Even now the administration is from village level unto National Level in many countries with many stages in between - one above the other - with powers overlapping and the final decision-making power is at one place - the top. That is the problem and so that system must be changed.

    The decision-making powers with regard to every set of powers must be spread through-out the country.
    We can lead the world with such a REAL DEMOCRACY with a parliament encompassing representatives from all the villages and starting the administration of the country at the village level and going unto national level.

    Mahatma Gandhi wanted the villages of India to be empowered but it has not implemented by the government of India yet due to human nature of not willing to lose the little power each person (office) is already in possession.

    A change in the people's attitude and understanding of the problem is important. They must be made aware of the benefits it will bring to them in the long run. Now they are after short-term profits. They are not considering the future generations. A corruption-free society will bring-in good-governance that will benefit everyone other than the crooked politicians.

    In my opinion the people are ready to change the present system but they are not being given the opportunity by power hungry politicians. I think the countries of the World must move towards this goal and like-minded persons from all walks of life must join the movement and strengthen it. Only then can the people be able to give a send-off to ALL the corrupt politicians of ALL political parties and usher-in a new era of a corrupt-free society in any country. Rajaji (the last Governor-General of India) tried it in India but was not successful.

    Rather than continuing to express and analyze the problem of the day we must move towards a solution.

    They (the people) should move away from race/religion/language/class-centered/oriented politics and move towards a needs-focused administration that which is race-blind, religion-blind, language-blind and class-blind for sustainable peace, prosperity and a pleasant living for ALL the people in a country.

    Sie.Kathieravealu

     

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12/15/2008

No Strings Attached


The youth group met yesterday afternoon and completed the shopping for Christmas for Camden Kids. Then we went to downtown St. Marys to give away dollar bills. It proved not as easy as you might think to give a stranger a dollar. If the person took the dollar they were given a business card which read,

It's a free dollar.
There really are no strings attached.

This is just an exercise
to help our youth group
learn about the
free gift of God's love.
Thanks for helping.

Then we gathered and talked about buying the toys and sending them off with no strings attached, the children who get them will have no idea who bought them. And then the dollars given again with no strings attached, not even the name of the church given (which could be viewed as advertising). These are both tangible signs of how God gives us so many gifts out of love, rather than because we earn or deserve God's love.

We can give for what we get in return, making sure the person knows that we gave him or her something. Or we can give without the recipient even knowing who gave the gift. The second option best models the agape, the self-giving loving we find most fully revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Thanks Kelly and Ginger for helping out!


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2 Comments:

  • At 12/15/2008 5:55 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    You are most welcome! It was a fun adventure!

    I'm very happy to see that everybody has their heads in the top photo!!!! :)

     
  • At 12/16/2008 12:34 PM, Blogger Peter Carey said…

    This is such a wonderful idea and I am going to get something going along these lines! Awesome.

    Advent Blessings,

    Peter+
    http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com

     

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12/14/2008

The spring will come

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime.
Never make a negative decision in the low time.
Never make your most important decisions
when you are in your worst moods.
Wait. Be patient.
The storm will pass.
The spring will come.
—Robert H. Schuller (1926- )

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  • At 12/14/2008 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to say, it’s like Irenic Thoughts has a way of putting me in my place.

    I ALMOST made a very negative decision last night at a very low time.

     

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12/13/2008

Testifying to The Light

In tomorrow's Gospel reading we meet John the Baptist. The wild and wooly saint of Advent is out on the fringe of society calling people to repent as they prepare for the coming of the Lord.

In preaching on this passage, The Rev. Kirk Alan Kubicek has written,
John was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. John did not come to decorate everyone and everything for Christmas. John did not come to announce the beginning of the Christmas sale season. He did not come to stir us into a frenzy of shopping and spending. He came to remind us and to bear witness to all who will listen that the darkest forces of the world are not as powerful as they claim or appear to be.

We begin this Third Sunday of Advent by praying, “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with Great Might come among us.” Will we take the time this Advent to allow God to stir things up within us and within our parishes and throughout the Church, so that we might become more like John, “a man sent from God?” For that is, in fact, who we really are – men and women sent from God as witnesses to testify to the Light, so that all might believe through him.

And maybe, just maybe, as we testify, bear witness to, and proclaim the glory of the Light, we will embody the Light and become those who reveal the life of Christ anew in the world – a world that increasingly is desperate to see and know the Light.

As it says in John, in the Light is “life, and the life was the light of all people.” All people look to us to see the Light. When all that we say and all that we do bears witness to the Light, heaven and salvation will be understood not as a time and place after death, but rather the world as it should be, here and now.
The full text of his sermon is online here: Third Advent.

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12/12/2008

Meaningful Gifts Redefine Christmas

What do you give to the person who has everything? What about a goat? Or perhaps a flock of chickens? Not only will the gift of a goat or chickens be unforgettable, it will be a more lasting present than most of the gifts given this year.

Of course, I’m not actually suggesting that you pack up a goat and ship it off to your Mom and Dad. The goat might keep the grass cut and the chickens could well provide some tasty eggs for breakfast, but livestock would be more imposition than gift for most Americans. But if the animals are given through Heifer Project International, the gift of livestock can transform a whole community over time.

I have seen this on the ground while working in Tanzania. The church I worked with there as an intern in 1998 took part in Heifer Project. The community had a cow that was donated by a person in America. The cow had gone to one family who raised it until the cow gave birth to a calf. They kept the cow and gave the calf back to the project, making their local Heifer chapter self perpetuating. Through a single donation, many families came to have a steady source of milk and a minor source of income. This is just one example of the many development programs offered at www.heifer.org. Any of these gifts will still be helping another community long after the latest electronic gadgets have become obsolete.

Heifer Project itself is just one example of several ways in which you can change your pattern of giving in a way that makes the world a better place to live. After all, Christmas is a time of giving to others. Yet much of this giving does a little to stimulate the economy, but does nothing to provide any lasting change. Much of the giving we do accomplishes nothing toward Jesus’ command to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and clothe the naked.

The rest of today's religion column is online here: Meaningful Gifts Redefine Christmas

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2 Comments:

  • At 12/12/2008 6:04 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    In my previous church, we participated in a project like this one with our VBS children, and, we managed to buy livestock with loose change. The first day the children donated all the pennies they could find around the house, in the car etc. The next day it was nickels, and so on. By the last night, our 80 kids had enough loose change to buy livestock for a family in Africa. I actually think it was a goat! :)

     
  • At 12/13/2008 9:26 AM, Blogger Lauralew said…

    I talked to my family about reducing the gifts to the grandkids and buying a goat for a family, etc, and the hostility to that idea was incredible. So hopefully time will help with that particular paradigm shift!

     

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12/11/2008

Brandon's Gift



Brandon offers the above video of King of Peace as his gift to King of Peace. Enjoy his evocative look at our/his congregation.

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4 Comments:

  • At 12/11/2008 7:45 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    Brandon,

    Thank you for the beautiful gift!!!

    Many Blessings to YOU!!!

     
  • At 12/11/2008 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The video is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you
    Amber

     
  • At 12/11/2008 10:08 AM, Blogger Maggie said…

    Brandon this is lovely. You are a gift to KOP, along with your God-given talents. Peace be with you.

     
  • At 12/12/2008 8:37 AM, Anonymous Valiance Weaver said…

    I am very happy to have the oppurtunity to create something like this for everyone, and there will be more in the future. Thank you all very much

     

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12/10/2008

Put Your Faith to Work


A new ad campaign by The Episcopal Church uses the tagline "Put Your faith to Work." The idea is that youcan get actively involved in making a difference in your community through a community of faith. The campaign also uses the words:

Serving Christ in Everyone.
Everywhere. Every Day.
The Episcopal Church welcomes you.

The website for the campaign is here: Put Your Faith to Work and you can see a video of a TV ad there. I think the ads are fine. Certainly working in the soup kitchen at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Rome, Georgia, was part of how Victoria, Griffin and I got more fully connected to the church and found some meaning in our lay ministry there. That said, I don't plan to use the new ad campaign locally. On the national ads alone, I probably wouldn't have found my way into an Episcopal Church. I would probably be a Mormon if not a Methodist, or perhaps I would worship at an Interstate Batteries distributor (see previous blog post: Powered by God's Love).

That's my take. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
the Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5 Comments:

  • At 12/10/2008 6:29 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    A MORMON???!!!!! Oh yeah...the free Bible campaign thing...

    Do you really believe any of those national TV and AD campaigns are successful? Seriously, as long as I've lived here I've only met two members of the Mormon churh and maybe one member of Interstate Batteries. :) The two main Methodist Churches in the area have huge congregations, but the many members that I know are cradle Methodists.

    I do appreciate that the campaigns are reaching out though! It would be interesting to know their success rate. But, alas, I'm a mom in the Christmas season with barely enough time to write this, let alone do research! :)

    Y'all have a blessed day and "bear the bears!"

     
  • At 12/10/2008 7:33 AM, Blogger anything but typical said…

    I think my main objection to the ads is that while preaching a social gospel is fine, it seems to put the "social" before the Gospel and it should be the other way around. Our relationship with Christ should be driving our actions.

    Debbie

     
  • At 12/10/2008 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    An old debate. How far should a church go to get people in the door.

     
  • At 12/10/2008 3:53 PM, Blogger Peter Carey said…

    I think that the Episcopal Church has so much going for it, and I'm not sure that cutting carrots and such are our strength!

    More on this later,

    Peter+
    http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com

     
  • At 5/12/2009 4:57 PM, Anonymous HP Laptop Battery said…

    Wow I wish they had something like that down here in California! I mean there are a lot of people down here and it would most definitely be a memorable day in a kodak moment type of history!
    It really does look like a fun event and I wonder what other events like it they have planned! :)
    With events like this Im sure with its positivity it will only bring people to more of these all around the world!

     

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12/09/2008

Diocesan Profile

click here to view the profile onlineIn the ongoing work toward the election of the 10th Bishop of Georgia, the hardworking nominations committee has completed and released the diocesan profile. The 40-page color document gives an excellent overview of the Diocese of Georgia, its current strengths and future challenges. The document is available online only. Click the artwork here to view the Adobe PDF file, which also contains the nomination forms for use in supplying prospective nominees as our next bishop.

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2 Comments:

  • At 12/09/2008 4:31 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Very nicely done! Father Frank, did you help design this? I noticed a few "local" pictures. :)

     
  • At 12/09/2008 4:42 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I wish I could take credit for the excellent design of the profile. It is very well done. I just submitted photos as everyone was asked to do and ended up with some in the profile. The end result is quite nice and very much a group effort on photography. I know Fred Richter in Statesboro did a wonderful job pulling the writing together from different sources and the Rev. Lonnie Lacey oversaw the design done by a professional firm. So I am flattered that you thought of me, but thankfully I didn't have to pull off that big project. I got to email a few photos and see the beautiful result.

     

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12/08/2008

Thorny Issues of Religion Online


This blog and the King of Peace website it accompanies online work together with email lists from the church to provide our congregation's online presence. It's taken almost as a given these days that a church will maintain at least minimal presence in cyberspace. But there are downsides and these are explored in an interesting article Sacred Texting: When Religious Writ Gets Wired by Rachel Wagner for Religion Dispatches. She writes in part,
Is something important lost in the 2005 translation of the entire Bible into SMS, when the first passage in Genesis becomes: “In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth?” And what are we to make of the “Text Mary” service, embraced in 2005 in the Philippines, which allows worshippers to send text prayers via cell phones to then be included in the Catholic mass? Should Muslims consider a divorce legitimate if the husband, who is required to tell his wife three times that he wishes to divorce her before it is final, simply texts her or emails her instead of telling her personally, a problem that Malaysian Muslims have recently been addressing? In Malaysia, the practice was banned, but Egypt was still debating the issue in January 2008.
The article is interesting and the full text (Sacred Texting: When Religious Writ Gets Wired) is worth a read.

I know that the Incarnation (God becoming human in Jesus) was not virtual reality (as some early heretics claimed) and that the practice of Christianity must involve real people coming together in real space and time. But I find that the article's quote of Pope John Paul II captures well enough my own thoughts when he wrote,
While the Internet can never replace that profound experience of God which only the living, liturgical and sacramental life of the Church can offer, it can certainly provide a unique supplement and support in both preparing for the encounter with Christ in community, and sustaining the new believer in the journey of faith which then begins.
Christians do not need an internet connection, but there are, nonetheless, sites and tools on the internet that can enhance your spiritual journey. I consider these toe holds in cyberspace essential for faith communities as there is also much online to distract or tempt the faithful off the path. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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1 Comments:

  • At 12/10/2008 7:31 AM, Anonymous Valiance Weaver said…

    This is actually funny, because I sat in the chow hall and mistakenly thought a few guys where praying before they ate. Turns out they where text messaging, but the looks on their faces reminded me of a person in prayer. Then I remembered a bad B rate movie where humans worshipped machines.

     

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12/07/2008

An Important Step


At the close of our worship service today, we held a parish meeting at which the congregation voted by acclamation to petition the upcoming 186th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia to move King of Peace from mission to parish status. It's a step toward autonomy sometimes not taken for 50 to 100 years, though more commonly taken sooner by more recent church plants. We also collected and burned pledges unopened in keeping with our ongoing pattern of committing of finances to God.








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