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.

3/31/2009

Our Last Five Minutes

Known best for her book, The Color Purple writer Alica walker said this to a group in receiving the California Governor's Award for Literature as she wondered what we would do if we knew we had just five minutes left on earth:
Let our awareness of and our tenderness to the most helpless be our diamonds and our gold. Our last five minutes on Earth are running out. We can spend those minutes in meanness, exclusivity, and self-righteous disparagement of those who are different from us, or we can spend them consciously embracing every glowing soul who wonders within our reach… Perhaps the greatest treasure left to us, maybe the only one, is that we can still choose.

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/31/2009 11:08 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    "I'm living the next five minutes
    Like these are my last five minutes
    Cause I know the next five minutes
    May be all I have
    And after the next five minutes
    Turn into the last five minutes
    I'm taking the next five minutes
    And start it all over again"

    - Steven Curtis Chapman, "The Next Five Minutes"

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/30/2009

Ultimate Concern

We who must keep the church going and keep it alive have certain basic guidelines to follow—to preach good news to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted...to set at liberty them that are captives. You see, the church is not a social club. The church is not an entertainment center. The church has a purpose. The church is dealing with ultimate concern. Sunday after Sunday, week after week, people come to church with broken hearts. They need a word of hope.... The church heals the broken-hearted.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/29/2009

Miracles

Frank's photo of Assissi, Italy
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/28/2009

The old bosses are GONE

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
In writing about this passage at her blog Sarah Laughed, my friend Dylan wrote,
That's what Jesus says in this Sunday's gospel. It's quite a statement. I wonder how we might live, what choices we'd make, if we were going to live into this more deeply. What would it mean to say that the "one day" of the prophets was NOW? What would it mean if the "ruler of this world" will be driven out NOW?

For one thing, I think it would mean that it's time to stop kissing up to all prior candidates and all wannabees for the title of "ruler of this world." It's astonishing how often we get sucked into some path we didn't exactly choose, but seemed like the thing to do—the respectable thing, the thing that successful people do, the thing that responsible people do—and then structure every other choice around this one unchosen and unfulfilling fact. Or maybe our master has been some idea of self-sufficiency, of somehow accruing enough money or status to be "free" to do what we want, get what we want, be who we want to be, but it never seems to be quite enough—we discover new ways in which we are vulnerable, and try to get more money or status to make it go away, but then discover we're still vulnerable, and we start the cycle over again. As U2 puts it, "you can never get enough/of what you don't really need" ("Stuck In a Moment," All That You Can't Leave Behind).

Well if the time is now, there's no reason to remain stuck in all that. The old boss—all the old bosses—are GONE. Their power was illusory, and now even the illusion is passing away. That's what we mean when we say "Jesus is Lord." That's why all of this talk about "the judgment of this world" is GOOD news -- because, as I've preached about before, the judge is Jesus, the one who loved us enough to give his very life for us. "The judgment of this world" is not a gorefest like the Left Behind books; it's the culmination of Jesus' work on earth, the end of everything that separates us from one another and from God. We expect nothing less than that, the answer to our prayer that God's kingdom would come and God's will be done—on earth as it is in heaven.
The full text of her reflection is online here: Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/28/2009 11:59 AM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    I recently saw a TV interview of a historian of the Great Depression who talked about the fact that when people's fortunes evaporated in that great economic conflagration, many people rediscovered the things that really matter--home, family, love, loyalty, relationships--over against the rampant consumerism of the "roaring" 20s. Sound familiar?

    Perhaps, as he said, this "Great Recession" is an opportunity to get off the consumer mind-set and recapture a sense of what really matters. Might not be as good for the economy in the short term as a return to rampant spending, but perhaps it would be good for our souls. Maybe the church can lead in this area.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/27/2009

First

Frank's photo from Italy

If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.

William Law (1686-1781)

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/26/2009

Self Dedication

Frank's photo of Griffin on the coast of France

Different prayers strike me at different times. The one below on pages 832-833 of the Book of Common Prayer has been significant to me this Lent. I have it taped up in sight as I sit at my computer at home.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray thee, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
What prayers stand out for you as the days lengthen toward Easter?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/26/2009 8:12 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    "Lord, please get me through another day, and, may I have some sleep tonight?" Amen

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/25/2009

Gifts

Corinne Collymore Peters' The Widow of Nain
Corinne Collymore Peters' The Widow of Nain

Laura Fisher Smith's Annunciation 1The Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts (ECVA) has a new exhibit online called "Gifts." The Call was ECVA's first Open-Studio Exhibition, meaning artists were encouraged to submit art, not based on a preset theme, but a favorite work which had not previously been shown at ECVA. The name of the show is taken from "a primary characteristic of the artist's life, of the spiritual life, that of gift-giving and gift-receiving."

You can see a small picture of all the art at the thumbnail gallery and may click on any of the small pictures to see a larger version together with the artists statement. My contribution to the exhibit is Planted by Streams from a portfolio of infrared black and white photographs I took in Israel.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Margaret Parker Adams' Winter Stream
Margaret Parker Adams' Winter Stream

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/24/2009

The Truth About Forgiveness


Bernard looks at a photo of his son.

The Washington Post magazine section had a wonderful article this past weekend, The Truth of Forgiveness. Karen Houppert's well-written article begins:
After his son was murdered, Bernard Williams became consumed by anger and depression. There was, he came to realize, only one way to save himself.

Fourteen years ago, Bernard's neighbor shot his 17-year-old son on a Baltimore street. Shot him with a semiautomatic rifle that left a hole in his chest so big that Bernard's wife swears she could see the pavement, plain as day, through the giant wound. Shot him in a fit of pique, a moment of vigilante justice. Shot him when the teen and some friends were goofing around, dribbling a basketball down the street. Shot him after Bernard's son had knocked into the neighbor's Toyota 4Runner truck, set off the car alarm, roused him from his slumbers. Because he was angry at kids who'd been harassing him with that car alarm, because he had a Ruger Mini-14 handy, because he knew how to use this lightweight version of the military's M14 as he fired out of his bedroom window just after midnight. Shot Vernon Williams dead on May 21, 1994, one month after his 17th birthday.

For Bernard Williams, even 14 years later, it is hard to think about the man who killed his son. The scene still plays out in his head over and over. The sirens. The police helicopter. The flashing lights. His dead son in his arms. The police leading the suspect, William Norman, out of the house. Norman's girlfriend spying Bernard hunched over his son's body. "That your son?" she asked. And again, "Bernard, that your son?" And then an awful recognition. "I'm sorry."

But for Bernard, forgiveness comes hard. It requires peeling back the layers of a life, tracing the arc of relationships, recasting a narrative over and over to worry some telling detail. Sometimes it means going right to the source, confronting the offender in a quest for answers. And, as Bernard has come to realize, it also requires forgiving yourself.
It is a true story of forgiveness worth the read.

Labels:

3 Comments:

  • At 3/24/2009 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Forgiveness is something that we all need to look into deeper. I try to forgive my husband each and every day.

     
  • At 3/24/2009 4:56 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    What an awesome story!!! Long, but awesome just the same!:)

    I'm usually one to forgive and forget with no problem. There may be a short time span before finally getting there, but it usually happens.

    After our tragedy though, I'm finding out how difficult forgiveness really is. Not only am I angry at the woman who caused the accident that changed our lives for good, I'm also angry at my husband for buying a motorcycle that I begged him not to buy in the first place. And sadly,it will probably be easier to forgive the woman than my husband. That makes me an awful person!!!

    Wow, I've really bared my soul here! Maybe some advice is in order!!!

     
  • At 3/25/2009 11:25 AM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    Kelly,

    No you are not an awful person. You are one of the most kind and caring people I know.

    Your feelings are understandable. You have been given a huge task, it will take a lot of work on your part, and your feelings are justified.

    My friend I love you!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/23/2009

Debaptism?

"The growing amount of interest in the concept of de-baptism
indicates that people are not just indifferent to religion –
which has been the traditional British approach –
but are actually becoming quite hostile to it."
-Terry Sanderson. President, National Secular Society

In England, atheists are pushing back against the idea of having the Church of England as the establishment faith by being "debaptized." The idea is that one holds a brief ceremony of renouncing the Christian faith, signs a certificate and is removed from the official rolls of the Church of England.

The rub is that the church says it won't remove a record as the books record events that happened and one can't make the earlier baptism not happen with a ceremony now. Beside that, the church notes that it doesn't count its members based on baptism.

The particulars on debaptism come from the website of the National Secular Society of England whose certificates have been downloaded more than 100,000 times. The certificate reads,
The certificate declares:
I ________ having been subjected to the Rite of Christian Baptism in infancy (before reaching an age of consent), hereby publicly revoke any implications of that Rite and renounce the Church that carried it out. In the name of human reason, I reject all its Creeds and all other such superstition in particular, the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed by Baptism of alleged ORIGINAL SIN, and the evil power of supposed demons. I wish to be excluded henceforth from enhanced claims of church membership numbers based on past baptismal statistics used, for example, for the purpose of securing legislative privilege.
The website adds,
Obviously, our irreverent certificate of debaptism is a bit of fun. After all, the concept of baptism is a complete fantasy that has no meaning outside the heads of the religious.
Italian Campaign
A similar campaign has been underway in Italy where lapsed Roman Catholics want to separate themselves from what they see as the superstition of the Church. The Italian Union of Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR) website offers a download of the actus defectionis, the official document which one must send via snail mail to the parish church where the baptism took place. The priest then makes a note in the register that the person has permanently strayed from the flock. While ninety percent of Italians are Catholic, only a third attend church. UAAR site manager Raffaele Carcano says, "We see a traffic spike every time the Pope says something unpopular."

The full text of the BBC News article is online here: Atheists Call for "Debaptism", the video version is embedded below:

Labels:

7 Comments:

  • At 3/23/2009 7:38 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    I have not heard of this before. One of the first thoughts that came to my head was "where are the parents of these people? Did they not raise them in the church to understand baptism?" This makes my heart really sad. Hopefully some day they will understand and have Jesus in their lives.

     
  • At 3/23/2009 10:30 AM, Anonymous Val Weave said…

    Parents or not it wouldnt make much a difference. My question is, "Is it really such a big deal to have a print out that you dont believe?" Really how does that make anybody special, perhaps they can make wallet sized prints to show off at parties. Its just some bored athiests trying to make a name for themselves in the tabloids. But really if they want to go this far, they might as well walk around with name tags that explicitly says " Hi I am So'n'So a self claimed Athiest" At least that will save time and direct believers away from such folks. Maybe its just wishful thinking on my behalf. Really, Photoshop, Microsoft Word and a cheap printer, and your set up right from you own home, why even bother the church with it. But if the so called athiest doesnt believe in any god whatsoever, then why ask the church to do anything? Becuase a church, any church is for a god, and if you believe a god doesnt exist, then the church really doesnt have any meaning either. Just saying, its odd to say you dont believe and then ask a religous system to reverse something you dont believe in anyway. So would they really be athiests? Or are they really acknowlegeing that the so called "superstition" holds some sort of tangible power over reality to the extent that they have to go back and reverse it? Athiests are curious people in my opinion.

     
  • At 3/23/2009 4:15 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    I think the point that is being made is not a request that the church somehow legitimize a lack of belief or a renunciation of belief, but that for the purposes of counting "baptized members" it should be realistic about exactly who is a current member and who is not. If a church, for instance, touts 3 million members for the purposes of either ecclesiastical or secular political clout, but only 2 million consider themselves members and only 1 million show up to church regularly, there are obviously not 3 million members in any but the academic sense.

    The Episcopal Church is hardly immune from this. I've seen churches that have under 100 on a Sunday morning touting hundreds of "baptized members" as if simply having 200+ people on their rolls counts for something. This is also why, when dioceses in developing countries start throwing around figures of X million members, I wonder where such numbers come from.

    I think it interesting that in The Purpose-Driven Church Pastor Rick Warren makes the point that churches really should have more people in the pews on Sunday morning then are on their roles as members, since that assumes a large percentage of members regularly attending plus a significant number of newcomers. Whatever you may think of his politics, he makes a good point.

     
  • At 3/23/2009 4:27 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Val Weaver,

    I disagree that parents don't make a difference. If you are raised in a family that upholds the baptismal vows and the ways of Christ then you tend not to become an atheist and deny Him.

    I do agree that it is ridiculous to be "debaptised"! If you don't believe, then why bother?

     
  • At 3/24/2009 8:30 AM, Anonymous Val said…

    Where I think you disagree with me is that I left my opening sentence kind of drifting, for the subject at hand of the Depatism article, and I said "parents or not it wouldnt make a difference". What I mean by that is that it doesnt matter and wont matter how these people were raised, they are going to exist. They make choices usually to assert themselves against their parents. But I agree parents make all the difference to children, they may unkowingly define a child to adulthood. This is good and bad, because no parent is perfect, and no parent gets it right. Does that make sense, sorry for the confusion. My post was in reply to Ambers comment of " Where are the parents of these people" but my argument is, are the parents relevant to this case, thats all.

     
  • At 3/24/2009 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Some parents do get it right with their children. And, it does matter how they are raised.Parents are relevant to this argument. True, some people are rebellious against their upbringing but not all.

     
  • At 3/24/2009 3:04 PM, Anonymous denise said…

    As parents, we take a pretty big risk in baptizing our children, it's foolish to think otherwise. Even if you are "raised in the church", there is no gaurantee that you will come to know God...an unfortunate fact as intelligent human beings we must accept.
    I too would be angry at being associated with a religon that I didn't believe in, especially against my will. I think that's what these folks are so ticked off about. It's a shame that they aren't having this dialouge with their parents, but I guess that would make too much sense!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/22/2009

Stations of the Cross for Children


Ayden Wills
Kids in the Kingdom today was a special Stations of the cross for children with object lessons for each station on the last hours of Jesus' life. We also jumped ahead to the joy of Easter and resurrection in our stations for today.

Thanks to Kelly, Amber and Rhonda for putting the event together and making it so easy to put on for our kids. And thanks to Amber and Rhonda for these photos.










Labels: , ,

4 Comments:

  • At 3/22/2009 4:29 PM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    Thanks to Father Frank, Kelly and Amber for a wonderful morning.

    Rhonda and Harlie

     
  • At 3/22/2009 6:21 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Our family has been looking forward to this for weeks. Evan was explaining it all to me when we got home. I was so happy to hear that he was listening!! :)
    Thanks Rhonda, Kelly and Father Frank and of course the children :)

     
  • At 3/22/2009 6:27 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Evan listening? Of course, he was. Evan is a sharp boy. I would bet he did a GREAT job and retelling the story.

     
  • At 3/22/2009 8:57 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    I love the Children's Stations of the Cross! I'm so sorry to miss it this morning!!! :(

    Thanks to y'all too for participating in this meaningful experience for the children!!! Next year, Evan will have to be the "co-leader"! :) Now he has some understanding of what we're all doing at 5:30 on Friday evenings!!!!!!!!!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

Your God

Whatever your heart clings to and confides in,
that is really your God.
—Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Labels: ,

3 Comments:

  • At 3/22/2009 7:44 AM, Blogger santospopsicles said…

    Great quote, and image!

    Brilliant...

    Peter+
    http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com

     
  • At 3/23/2009 11:14 AM, Anonymous Val said…

    I will do thy bidding, oh marvelous master of the carafe! The jubilous jehovah of the joe! Mine lips are stained with the divine bounty found in thy sacred thermal chalice. My pilgrimages to thine holy houses of Waffle and Huddle be my laments heard as I pace and twitch forever more fighting off the evils of slumber,decaf and dreams. May your starbucks shine in the eyes of professionals, carpenters, truckers, and college students all around the world young and old. In the name of the great bean, JA-VA!, lol

     
  • At 3/24/2009 5:13 PM, Anonymous denise said…

    ditto!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/21/2009

King of Peace Honored as Center of Distinction

Press Release: King of Peace Episcopal Day School in Kingsland was recently named one of the top child care centers in the state. The honor came this past Friday (March 20) as the State of Georgia’s Bright from the Start department named the school a Center of Distinction.

This is the premier award given by the State of Georgia to recognize the centers that provide the highest quality care for children from birth through four years of age. The Center of Distinction honor is part of the Standards of Care program which seeks to encourage centers to improve well beyond the minimum requirements of licensing. King of Peace was the only center in Camden County considered for this prestigious award.

The honor comes after a year long process with the state’s licensing division that culminated in a two-day on site evaluation looking into every detail of the school’s operations. Consultant Denise Jenson evaluated the school using the nationally recognized Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale which provide a basis for objective assessment of preschool classrooms. Jenson rated the school as “excellent,” and noted that King of Peace is unusual in being “supportive of both staff and parents.”

“Our director, Gillian Butler, and her team not only provide a quality preschool education, but they do so in a loving environment,” said Frank Logue, pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church and president of the school.

He added, “We are pleased to have the State of Georgia affirm the hard work our teachers do every day to meet the highest of standards in preparing the children entrusted to us for school.”

Bright from the Start is the department of state government dedicated to child care and early education for children from birth through four years of age. The department administers Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers, registers home-based child care providers, administers the Standards of Care program, and works collaboratively with other agencies and stakeholders to enhance early care and education.

Labels:

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Now show me your darkness


In tomorrow's Gospel reading we hear that verse so famous that even the numbers 3:16 bring it to mind:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
The passage continues
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
Lindy Black offers an intriguing illustration:
The cave heard a voice calling to it: "Come up into the light... come and see the sunshine. The cave replied: "I don't know what you mean; there isn't anything here but darkness." Finally the cave ventured forth and was surprised to see light all around. Looking up to the sun, the cave said: "Come with me and see my darkness." The sun agreed and entered the cave...."Now show me your darkness." But there was no darkness
The light of the love of God is meant to shine everywhere. How has the love of God shined light into the dark places of your life?

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/20/2009

Those People with Mental Illness

I spent some time in a mental health facility this past week. It was not the first time.

Even as I write those words, I realize that there is potential scandal attached to them. Someone might read a little and misunderstand. Rumors start. Reputation is ruined. All because the word “mental.” After all, there is nothing negative about visiting health care facilities. It’s the mental health part that creates the problem.

I was there to visit a client of the facility. I had to wait for an hour first in the waiting room with anxious families, then in the client area surrounded by those being treated for mental illness. During my wait I read a bit and chatted some with other clients curious why a priest in uniform was waiting in their midst. It was a pleasant wait.

Though this facility was quite nice, I was reminded of the six weeks I spent as a chaplain intern at St. Elizabeths, a large, underfunded public mental health hospital in Washington, D.C. That was my first immersion in the world of mental illness and its treatment.

It was in this sprawling psychiatric facility that I faced the stigma of mental illness and learned that there is no “us” who are healthy and “them” with problems. There is no “those people.” There is only “us.” I can safely hazard a guess that you, my dear reader, know someone dealing with mental health issues and so I ask you to read further to understand why that is so.

St. ElizabethsSt. Elizabeths was founded in 1852 as the first federally funded psychiatric hospital. It had a storied past in which it treated thousands of persons at a time, including some famous patients. By the time I was there in the late 90s, the client population (the word patient was no longer used) was about 800. Today, half that number are treated at the ever decaying facility soon to be taken over by Homeland Security who values the bluff on which the hospital sits, with its eye-catching view of the District of Columbia.

During my time at the hospital, it dealt with many of the homeless in our nation’s capitol. Persons living on the streets with mental health issues would from time to time be picked up by the police, triaged into mental health at a hospital and sent to acute care area at St. Es. There they would be stabilized on medications, moved to a step down unit and counseling and eventually sent back out into the world.

Others were in the hospital as an asylum, seeking long-term, even life-long care for that very small percentage of persons for whom medical options didn’t seem to adequately work to prevent their being a threat to themselves or others. As a chaplain, I split my time between the acute ward, with the newly arrived, and a behavior modification unit with persons who were frequently violent. Once a week, I also got to spend some group time with those about to go back out into the community and so was there for the arrival and departure of some of our clients.

I remember so clearly the behavior of those fresh from the streets and in the midst of crisis. I don’t like telling those stories, because this is what leads to the stigma. Of course, I have stories of people acting crazy. It was acute care and they were in crisis. But I also remember the ways in which treatment could help stabilize them so that light could find its way into the darkness of paranoia, or depression or whatever caused the client’s suffering.

Years later, I would begin to have anxiety issues. I was not anxious about something in particular. It was free-floating anxiety. I was just anxious and sometimes dizzy. It turned out that the problem was an under-functioning thyroid, something common on my mother’s side of the family. I now take a daily dose of thyroid medicine and face no issues from the problem. A simple medical problem with a straightforward medical solution.

Yet, some of my symptoms were what we might think of as mental health symptoms. But no stigma here. The issue was my thyroid. Why then do we attach something negative to the person who needs daily medication to keep the symptoms of bi-polar personality disorder in check? Still sometimes referred to as being manic-depressive, persons who are bi-polar have enough to deal with without the additional weight of judgment.

Chances of long term health increase greatly when others understand the illness and work to make sure that the course of treatment is followed. We do this readily for persons with diabetes and cancer, but can be unkind to persons with mental health issues.

I particularly wonder about the stigma when all of us face some mental health issues. After all, mental health is something of a sliding scale, at one point on the scale you are just depressed and you will work out of it, at another, you have chronic depression which needs a different type of treatment. But each of us knows something about what it is like to be blue or to be anxious.

This common experience with mild mental health symptoms is probably the problem. After all, we deal with it. We buck up and get over the depression or tamp down the anxiety and go on with life. Why can’t the other person? They can’t because the problem is larger for him or her. The chemical imbalance is greater. What we knew in part, this person knows in whole.

Leaving the person to “get over it” is the same as telling the person with diabetes to get over it, when all he or she needs is counseling on diet and exercise and some insulin to bring things under control. The diabetic needs support and so does the schizophrenic and the others with mental health problems. But we get so tied up in the stigma that we don’t want to let others know about the real problem.

This covering up or ignoring the problem is why so many persons who face mental health problems self medicate with abuse of prescription drugs and use of illegal drugs and too much alcohol and other destructive behaviors. If they got the right treatment and were supported in facing the underlying psychiatric cause, so many people could live healthier and happier lives.

We deal with cancer so much better now. Once cancer patients faced a stigma that caused to the person to be cared for out of sight. Now we treat cancer patients as fighters battling the disease. This is wonderful. Why can’t we do the same for mental health problems? Why can’t we all celebrate the ways in which they fight hard against a health care problem?

In Jesus’ ministry, I find that again and again his healings brought people back into community. The leper was healed and could return home, the blind received their sight, stopped begging and joined Jesus’ on the way, and so on. Jesus sought physical healing that brought people into community. In supporting persons facing mental health issues, we can help restore community, which was part of how Jesus was seeking to change lives.

The above is my religion column for today's Tribune & Georgian.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/19/2009

Only One King


From the folks at Beliefnet.com Elvis, the quotable king of rock and roll, on his faith:

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything
that would hurt my family or offend God...
I figure all any kid needs is hope
and the feeling he or she belongs.
If I could do or say anything
that would give some kid that feeling,
I would believe I had contributed something to the world."

"I believe in the Bible.
I believe that all good things come from God.
I don't believe I'd sing the way I do
if God hadn't wanted me to."

"The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away.
I might be herding sheep next year."

"There's only one king...and that's Jesus Christ."

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/19/2009 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything
    that would hurt my family or offend God...


    Too bad Elvis didn't remember his words as he was pumping himself full fo alcohol and drugs and having affairs!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/18/2009

Repentant stranger gives "manna"

A friend of mine was in an Episcopal News Service article with an unusual story. The ENS article reports that money has been turning up at Church of the Resurrection in Dallas, but not in the collection plate. It's been stuffed into a back pew, or slid under the door. The story started like this:
Parishioners were mystified in January when a repentant stranger left a cashier's check for $3,255 along with $13 in cash and an itemized list of his past misdeeds in a back pew.

An attached note signed by "Michael" explained: "I paid every single debt I had in life but could not find or locate 14 of them or I wasn't sure." A list of 14 crimes, ranging from stealing candy to CDs and a car followed, each with an estimated dollar value, totaling $3,268—the amount of the donated check and cash.

The list included: a $100 robbery at White Rock; $300 for a set of knives taken from another soldier in Iraq; and "a lot of CDs in a Velcro pouch from an ex-friend in Tyler, Texas, when I was a kid, $300."

A week later, cash began showing up at the financially strapped church.

An anonymous donor shoved $300 in twenty dollar bills through a space between the doors of the church's vestibule. When part-time parish secretary Joanne Stephens discovered it, "I counted it three times, to make sure," she recalled in a telephone interview from the church office. "I thought it was manna from heaven," she said, adding: "And I said anytime the Lord wants to put that manna down again, I'll take it."

More cash turned up a week later. This time, the generous but secretive donor left $100 in smaller bills scattered in the vestibule and triggered an alarm in the process, according to the Rev. Alfredo Williams, Resurrection's vicar.

He investigated, but found no one inside the church. "It's very, very strange, all these things happening. We don't have words to explain but we do need the money," he said.
The Rev. Canon Victoria Heard is in charge of the congregation. We have known one another for a dozen years as church planting circles in the Episcopal Church are small and she helped me get connected with church planting while in seminary. Victoria reports that as news of this story has gone out, even more money has been turning up. People were looking for ways to pay back debts when they could not locate the person to whom they owed the money.
Donated money went into the general fund and was spent on helping families. "It paid the rent for a Burundi family" when the primary wage earner was laid off and for clothing for the children of two other families who were burned out of their apartments.

"And it went for our expenses," she added. "Our fuel bills are highest in January. It went to pay our lights and things like that. It also went to the Angel Food Ministries, and to helping our parishioners who have been laid off. The Burundians have been hard-hit by these economic times in the manufacturing industry. You know, last hired, first fired."

She estimated that about 40 percent of the congregation's $150,000 yearly budget is subsidized by the diocese.

Heard, who is celebrating 25 years of ordained ministry this month, said she is thankful, both "for the money and for the changed life" of the congregation's mystery donor. It is "very moving that somebody experienced the power of God and the grace of God so powerfully in their lives they would write a letter and place a check in the church," she said.

"This man tried to do something; he tried to give back, to make a difference. That's the Gospel at work."
The full text of the article is online here: Repentant stranger gives church 'manna from heaven'.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/17/2009

A "countryfied" exile

Saint Patrick is much known, loved, revered, but like many from his time period (389-460 a.d.) he left behind few writings. The quote below is from one of two writings widely agreed to come from his pen and not just something attributed to him:
I am, then, first of all, countryfied, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.

Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things? Me, truly wretched in this world, he inspired before others that I could be—if I would—such a one who, with fear and reverence, and faithfully, without complaint, would come to the people to whom the love of Christ brought me and gave me in my lifetime, if I should be worthy, to serve them truly and with humility.

According, therefore, to the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity, one should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear, in order to leave behind, after my death, foundations for my brethren and sons whom I baptized in the Lord in so many thousands.
The full text is online here: The Confession of St. Patrick (450 a.d.).

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/16/2009

Our Brother's Keeper?


Over at the Washington Post/Newsweek's online forum On Faith, the panelists recently responded to the question:
In tough times, do those of us who handled our finances responsibly have a moral obligation to bail out those of us who didn't? Are we our brother's keeper economically?
University of Chicago Divinity professor emeritus Martin Marty wrote,
If I handed over a generous amount to even every fifth homeless person within a one-mile radius, a person with outstretched arm ending with a cup, what is left of our retirement funds would disappear as fast as it does on what's left of the stock market. Whether religiously or prudentially . . .even the most generous make discriminations....

I mention prudence, since the morality in question and prudence of pragmatism can be webbed, so it's time to note that in this case being generous through governmental social policy—ouch! even when we weren't asked—can leave the nation better off than if foreclosures, unemployment, stock losses, and setbacks occur only to people who were foolish. The economy is worse off than if we can figure out ways to use intelligence and vision and even a warm heart in efforts to keep citizens fiscally afloat and alive. The price of many going down can be that every one goes down. But as we sink, some will find pleasure in indiscriminately judging all whose investments went sour to be cheaters.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz wrote,
The obligation to be "my brother's keeper," and to make an effort to be really helpful—perhaps a more expensive act than just allowing the recipient to survive—is not always an easy task. And this is especially true when the recipient, himself, may be partially responsible for his failure. But we are not to consider guilt of the recipient, but rather his need. And, in this case, we still have an obligation toward everyone who needs our help.
And Bishop N.T. Wright answered:
So: the ancient Israelite command to have a 'jubilee year' when debts were forgiven makes a whole lot of sense. A lot more than what we've been working with. And anyone who says it doesn't, have a look at your investment portfolio and see where your vested (or invested) interests lie. And the point of forgiveness is, yes, that you may have got it wrong but it's time for a clean start. And if you look at Luke 19 you'll see that when rich tricksters get a fresh start they know they have to make substantial repayments to those they've defrauded. Obviously lots more could be said about this, but this is for starters. Anyone who wants to see more can look at my speech in the House of Lords on December 8.
All the panelists responses are linked from this page: Are we our brother's keeper economically?

That's their take. What do you think?

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/16/2009 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I get most frustrated when those who advocate the government taking from me (living paycheck to paycheck) and giving to others are living WAY above my standard of living. It would be easier if they were not guilty of that hypocrisy.

    I'll take them seriously if they restrict themselves to what I live on and give the rest away.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/15/2009

By It I See


I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/14/2009

Away from the hungry marketplace

In tomorrow's Gospel reading we read in John's Gospel of how Jesus cleared the Temple,
In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Why is Jesus' angry? The Temple has become a marketplace instead of a house of prayer. In a culture that seems like wall to wall marketing from billboards to print ads to logos on the clothes we wear and advertisements filling the airwaves, how can we settle away from the back and forth of sales to find a quiet place to be with God? In response to the Gospel reading, here is a poem from the Center for Liturgy at St. Louis University:

Christ,
help us turn away
from the hungry marketplace

and come to your Father’s house.

Let us drink your
quiet.

Please give us your hands,
clutching nothing
but love.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/13/2009

Fish and Chips Friday

We enjoyed a Fish 'n Chips Friday at King of Peace this evening. We began with the Stations of the Cross at 5:30 p.m. and continued with the meal.







Labels:

3 Comments:

  • At 3/13/2009 9:15 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Also, it will be three dollars for kids 5th grade and under--preschoolers eat free!

    Joe is looking forward to seeing everybody this evening!!! :)

    Be there or B2(square)!!!! :)

     
  • At 3/13/2009 8:29 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Thanks everyone for a GREAT evening!! I still have a big smile on my face. I love my King of Peace family!!! It was a great evening, I was able to get to know more of my King of Peace family :)

     
  • At 3/14/2009 11:32 AM, Anonymous Joe, Kelly, AJ and Zachary said…

    Thanks to everybody who worked to make our third Lenten Fish Fry a terrific success!!!!!!!!!!!! We had an awesome time--Joe was soooooo happy to see everybody!!!

    Love to you all!!!!!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

Let myself be known

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/12/2009

Ways to Return

Frank's photo of Assissi, Italy
Unfortunately, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has often been reduced to the question: “What are you giving up for Lent?” This is a fine question, but it can only take us so far.

The real question of the Lenten season is: "How will I find ways to return to God with all my heart?"
—Ruth Haley Barton

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/12/2009 12:29 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    This is the first year I can say I have truly participated in Lent. I'm am enjoying it very much and noticing things. So far it is mostly how so many people that don't have anything to complain about, do complain. The ones that should complain do not, wierd huh? I gave up chocolate and at first I was struggling!! Trying to find things to fill that taste. But it didn't work. Kind of like others in this world that try to find other things to fill their hearts instead of Jesus and it just doesn't work. I feel Him closer to me during this lent season. So I believe what Father Frank said that a lot of people look forward to this part of the year. At first I was like sure, ok. But I believe it now.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/11/2009

Flowing Life



I'm sorry for the false start this past weekend, but Brandon's video on baptism is now online, honest. Click the play button above to see the video showing baptismal imagery and some baptisms at King of Peace ending with Brandon's words remembering his own baptism as a Marine in Iraq.

It's the latest clip at King of Peace's YouTube Web Channel.

Labels:

2 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/10/2009

4th Anniversary

Four years ago today, Irenic Thoughts went online. Several hundred thousand visits later, the blog is still rolling along. At that time King of Peace was finishing its fifth full year. Church attendance was about 100, or forty less a week than it is now. It was also news that King of Peace Episcopal Day School had reached full enrollment, where we have for years now had an embarrassingly long waiting list.

Of the 1,630 blog posts so far, the ones to generate the most heat and light are A loving response to abuse, which was one on domestic abuse from August 2007, and Going too far, the one on the fake drug arrest for youth group (gone bad, but not real bad).

The post that has meant the most to me has to be the one whose text I search from time to time to share with folks going through difficult times. It has spoken to me more than once and continues to speak to others:

Trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will) will make them tomorrow.

Only God could say what
this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—the Rev. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

Labels:

2 Comments:

  • At 3/10/2009 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "A Loving Response to Abuse" led me to one of my best friends ever!!! :)

     
  • At 3/18/2009 8:23 PM, Blogger Ben D-Ray said…

    Hey! Good for the church and ... Christianity in general. My blog is in the 2nd year of nearly no posts, but now that I reminded myself I should be able to come up with some more. Again, good for us!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/09/2009

A Greedy Pursuit

Solange De Santis write of American sins in a column for Episcopal Life saying in part:
One of the founding American documents, the Declaration of Independence, famously proclaimed that among the inherent rights of all were "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Solange De SantisWho doesn't know that phrase? Yet how truly revolutionary/unique it is among national manifestoes.

Canada's constitution promises "peace, order and good government." France's extols "liberty, equality, brotherhood." This nation, however, makes a search for "happiness" part of its national persona.

The declaration's ringing phrase has drawn millions of individuals to make this country their home, yet its underbelly might be considered the American sin. The current economic situation must be laid at the feet of those who pursued "happiness" in the manner of Ebenezer Scrooge, described by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol as a "wrenching, squeezing, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner." Notice the author doesn't call him a "banker" or a "miser."

We are in the midst of the fallout from a greed mania, beginning with the idea that ever-rising home prices would support fundamentally flawed lending practices. Greedy lenders colluded with borrowers who believed the real estate boom would support a debt-fueled lifestyle. Unscrupulous lenders found ways to trick borrowers into taking on mortgages that contained triggers that later made the debt difficult to afford. The stock market's crash has exposed "investment managers" who lied to their clients and stole their money—but the customers lined up to get returns they thought no one else could match and were, in the end, too good to be true.

No one would argue with the idea that "the pursuit of happiness" includes the desire to create a better life for current and future generations, but why should "the American dream" only stand for things—for the house, the car, the overstuffed closets?

Jesus had a fair bit to say about greed. He talked about "those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God"; about how "life is more than food and the body more then clothing."

The church has something to say about it, too, something about knowing when enough is enough, when it's time to share, when there are more important things than things, when sacrifice is called for in order to better the life of another.
The full text of her editorial is online here: The American Sin.

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 3/09/2009 11:39 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Could not have put it better myself. Our family has been going back to the at home activities, playing catch in the backyard, crafts, boardgames and my famous saying " lets watch something from the Wills movie gallery" I always get at look from Chris on that one. I grew up in the country with dirt and my little brother to play with. And you know what our family is close and happy and we have lots of great memories!! I think everyone should try and slow down and realize what they already have family and friends. That is what matters right?
    Just my thoughts.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

3/08/2009

Worship at King of Peace


In accommodating the schedule of a Godparent's deployment to Afghanistan, we had a rare Lenten baptism today in which we intiated Jonathan Feeley into Christ's Body, the Church. Click on any photo to see a larger version of it.

Ensemble and musicians.

The King of Peace Ensemble singing special music.

Jonathan keeps up with the service in the bulletin.

Jonathan is baptized.


Jonathan is sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism
and marked as Christ's own, forever.

Prayer for scouts and leaders on Girl Scout Sunday.

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home