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.

9/30/2009

An Update on Jay+

Father Jay and AlisonThe Rev. Jay Weldon is now installed as the fifth rector of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Albany. You can see a nice local Albany TV story on him at New priest, goals for St. Pat's.

The updated church website, redesigned since Father Jay has been there is online at: stpatricksalbany.org which offer his sermons online here Sermons.

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9/29/2009

What Love Looks Like

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
—Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

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9/28/2009

Deep Peace


Jesus came to bring peace. Yet Jesus wants no lesser peace to take the place of true and lasting peace. Unless the drug use stops, how can their be peace for the drug user or peace for the family? Unless the affairs stop, how can their be peace in the marriage? But all too often we grab hold of a lesser peace and we don’t rock the boat. Rather than having the courage to speak the truth in love, we hold our peace and prevent real peace from entering in.

We can allow old wounds to be healed in this way. You get hurt by someone, but instead of dealing with the hurt and resolving the issues, you just act as if nothing happened. Then things heal over on the surface. But it’s like a stabbing wound where the outer flesh heals, but underneath infection takes hold, and when it finally erupts, things will be much worse.

Is God using this short reflection to speak to your heart? Perhaps there is a way you need to speak the truth in love. When you do so, it may divide a household two against three or mother against daughter. But if God is speaking this truth to your heart, you may be being led from a lesser peace to true and lasting peace.

The cost is high. So high in fact that most of us shrink back and become lesser men and women. We let coworkers steal from the company, friends cheat on their spouses, brothers fall deeper into drug use. We do all of this to keep the peace. But instead we are simply trading a lesser peace for the deep peace Jesus wants. Is there some lesser peace you need to confront in order to get to the deeper, pasting peace that Jesus has for you.

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5 Comments:

  • At 9/29/2009 8:30 AM, Anonymous Dancing In The Attic said…

    Come to me Child, I'm listening,
    I'm waiting here for you.
    My arms are open wide,
    You know my words are true.

    I'll take from you the sadness,
    The anger, hurt, and pain.
    I love you and I need you,
    On you my peace will rain.

    My hope is waiting for you,
    If you'll only run to me.
    Can't you hear me calling?
    Come, I'll help you see.

    You don't need to be hiding,
    You don't need to run away.
    Child, I won't leave you,
    I'm here for you, I'll stay.

    I'll take from you the sadness,
    The anger, hurt, and pain.
    I love you and I need you,
    On you my peace will rain.

     
  • At 9/29/2009 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dancing,

    Please email me the link to your site again.

    Love, Monkey

     
  • At 9/29/2009 10:25 AM, Anonymous Dancing said…

    Monkey, I no longer have a site, just my pencil and me. LOL

     
  • At 9/30/2009 11:09 AM, Blogger contact said…

    Dancing...this is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

     
  • At 9/30/2009 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dancing,

    It is beautiful! You need to blog again!!!!!

    Love you!!! Monkey

     

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9/27/2009

Reversal

Frank's photo from ItalyThe diagnosis of the world’s sickness (and, therefore, of the individuals who comprise the world) is that the power to love has been wrongly directed. It has either been turned in upon itself or wrongly given to the wrong things. The outward symptoms, and the results, of this misdirection are plainly obvious (at least in other people) in what we call “sin” or “selfishness.”

The drastic “conversion” which God-became-Man called for is the reversal of the wrong attitude, the deliberate giving of the whole power to love, first to God, and then to other people. Without this reversal He spoke quite bluntly of a world doomed to destruction. Where it genuinely takes place He spoke plainly of men being able to “know” God, to begin a new quality of living which physical death is powerless to touch.
—J.B. Phillips, Your God Is Too Small

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9/26/2009

Not Against Us

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Mark tells us of an incident which troubled the disciples in writing,
John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward."
The Rev. Ken Kesselus writes on this passage saying,
Where do we find commonality? ? Why not begin by looking to our earliest roots? Those who can declare that “Jesus is Lord” are not against us, and therefore are for us, and for Christ. Those who can follow the steps of Jesus, taking up their crosses and denying themselves for the sake of God and God’s children are not against us, and therefore are for us, and for Christ.

The story of today’s gospel is about the disciples’ attempt to draw a circle around Jesus and themselves – shutting out the one who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Perhaps a concise, powerful poem by Edwin Markham can help us remember that Jesus ordered the disciples not to exclude that man and to recall that those who are not against us are for us.

In his poem “Outwitted,” Edwin Markham writes:

“He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”
The full text of the sermon is online here: Drawing a Circle

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9/25/2009

Plant My Church


Victoria and I are just home from the Plant My Church Conference at Kanuga, the Episcopal Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I taught or tag-team taught several sessions on the initial phase of church planting (gathering folks), buying land, and building a building. Victoria also facilitated a discussion on spouses in a church plant. It was a great several days with some awesome church planters working all around the country, together with clergy and lay leaders feeling called to this ministry. We were meeting alongside the Start Up! Start Over! Conference for people looking to kick start congregations that are stalled or declined. It was a great group and some wonderful learning even as I taught. Here are a few views of the sessions.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Church Planter






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2 Comments:

  • At 9/25/2009 5:40 PM, Blogger Thomas said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 9/25/2009 5:41 PM, Blogger Thomas said…

    Thank you for posting these pictures and your thoughts. You and Victoria brought such great gifts to our conversations -- your experience, your patience, your humor, but most of all, your hearts.

    Thank you for the witness of King of Peace and the encouragement that you offer to all of us.

    With hope,


    Tom

     

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9/24/2009

To the Glory of God



If you are going to create a building dedicated to God, you need to REALLY use the building. I made this short video for/at The Episcopal Church's Plant My Church to give an idea of the variety of things that all happen within the relatively small space of King of Peace's building. There are other ways of using the space that could have been fit in, but this gives a thumbnail view.

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Come Quickly Lord Jesus

When I was in seminary, I would often say, “Lord, if you are going to return soon, please do so before I have to actually get around to writing this paper or before I have to take that test, because I would hate to waste the effort on all this school work only to have you come back right afterwards.” Now I see that same thought in many problems, which are much more serious. Lord, if you are coming soon anyway, come before this person gets the results back on the biopsy. Come before that person has to go through chemotherapy, or this couple’s marriage breaks apart. Come Lord before this teen has yet another friend stab them in the back, saying mean things to others only to act like their friend when they are together. Come quickly Lord before all these things happen.

Of course, that sort of prayer is all wrong. Jesus taught that he has already come and by the power of the Holy Spirit he is present still in the class with the teacher you think has it in for you, at work with the boss who won’t give you a break or the co-worker who drives you crazy. Jesus is already here in the marriage that is falling apart and in the frightening news you await from the doctor. When we pray “Come quickly Lord Jesus,” it should not be an invitation for Jesus’ to come back in glory to make all our problems go away. Instead we should pray “Come quickly Lord Jesus into my problems and my pain.”

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 9/24/2009 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Emanu'el God is with us in Christ. The Kingdom is already here and as we journey each day we are one step closer to meeting him on the road....and one step closer to understanding. We must be in the moment to appreciate the past and the future.

     

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9/23/2009

A Small Difference

I know a retired chaplain who works not too far away bagging groceries for a large supermarket. He considers this his ministry. And the smile, the thoughtful words of encouragement are how he lives into that ministry. He also makes it a point to pray for every person who passes through the checkout where he works. No one knows this is his ministry. Or do they? Perhaps there is a reason why folks prefer being in the line where he’s bagging their items.

How many encounters do you have in a typical day? More than you might first think. There are the people in line with you at a store. The folks you pass in a parking lot coming or going. The person next to you at a red light. The list just gets longer of the people whose day you can effect for the better. A smile works wonders. A kind word is even better. But how about letting that Mom with the baby she’s trying to handle get ahead of you at the grocery store? It adds two minutes to your time on line, but decreases her stress in greater measure.

It’s about using small encounters, the briefest of exchanges, to create a real connection with someone else.

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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9/22/2009

Holy and Sacred

When we deal with each other, we should do so with the sense of awe that arises in the presence of something holy and sacred. For that is what human beings are: we are created in the image of God.
—–National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All

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  • At 9/22/2009 8:45 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    It's hard to remember that your sibling is sacred when they've just taken the last hamburger or drunk the last cola. How much harder is it to remember that everyone is your brother?

     

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9/21/2009

Grief

God heals through time. It’s true: time heals. The loss of a loved one is a kind of emotional amputation. Frank's photo of a cemetery statueA real part of you is gone, and it is hard to get used to that idea. We have read of people, for example, who have had a leg amputated, but still feel an itch in the foot that is no longer there. The brain has not adapted to the fact that the leg and foot are gone. In time, the brain does seem to adapt, but this does not occur immediately. It is a slow process; it takes time. In like manner, the emotional amputation in the grief process takes time.

A key to understanding the grief process is to remember that grief is a journey, a pilgrimage—something we “pass through.” The psalmist spoke of “going through the valley of the shadow.” Jesus spoke of the strength that comes from “going through mourning.” Grief is a journey, and it takes time to make the pilgrimage.”

—James W. Moore, When Grief Breaks Your Heart

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9/20/2009

Results?

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9/19/2009

Where True Honor Is Found

In tomorrow's Gospel reading,Jesus disciples argue which one of them is the greatest as they make their way along the road. Then Mark tell us, that Jesus
sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."
John J. Pilch offers some interesting cultural notes on the role of children in the time of Jesus:
In antiquity, childhood was a time of terror. Infant mortality rates sometimes reached 30 percent of live births. Sixty percent were dead by the age of sixteen. These figures reflect not only the ravages of unconquered diseases but also the outcomes of poor hygiene.

Moreover, while Western cultures tend to place children first and risk everything to save the child above all, ancient Middle Eastern cultures would place the child last. The medieval Mediterranean theologian Thomas Aquinas taught that in a raging fire a husband was obliged to save his father first. then his mother, next his wife, and last of all his young child. When a famine came upon the land, children would he fed last, after the adults. Such priorities are still common in many non-Western cultures.

Within the family and the community, the child had next to no status. A minor child was considered equal to a slave. Only after reaching maturity did a child become a free person with rights to inherit the family estate. When Jesus compares his adult compatriots to children who do not know how to respond to cultural cues (Matt 11:16-19), he effectively insults them....This does not mean that children were not loved or appreciated. Mediterranean discipline fuses love with violence as parents explain: “We only do this because we love them.” Even God disciplines “him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Prov 3:11-12).

Children are loved because they provide “social security” for parents. Obviously if they survive to adulthood, they also assure family continuity. Children are so greatly desired in the family that a wife will never be fully accepted into the patriarchal family setting until she bears a child, preferably a son. The emotional bond between that son and his mother is the strongest of all ties in the typical Mediterranean family.

By asking the disciples to extend hospitality (“to welcome”) a child, a creature of low status in their culture, Jesus further shames these grown men. Hospitality is extended to complete strangers to guarantee safe transit in unfamiliar and hostile territory. To extend hospitality to children (“to welcome them”) would be a laugh to everyone else in the culture. Further, though guests are not expected to reciprocate hospitality, they are expected to broadcast the kindness of the host far and wide, thus extending his honorable reputation. Unpredictable children couldn’t be counted upon to do that, so why bother?

Jesus teaches that life is full of surprises. True honor can be found in the most unlikely places.

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9/18/2009

Blessings like grains of sand


How many grains of sand on the beach?
How many blades of grass in the meadow?
How many drops of dew on the tree?
If you could count all these,
You could count the number
of God's blessings.
Do not even try to count.
Just trust, and enjoy,
and give thanks.

—From an old Celtic saying

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9/17/2009

Our Critical Day

John Donne's Death Shroud

Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life: I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.
—John Donne

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9/16/2009

The Common Good

Frank's photo from Nepal
He does much who loves much.
He does much who does what he has to do well.
He does well who serves the common good rather than his own will.
—Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ

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9/15/2009

Participation, Comprehension, Co-operation

The Gospel is not one thing in the midst of other things, to be directly apprehended and comprehended. The Gospel is the World of the Primal Origin of all things, the Word which, since it is ever new, must ever be received with renewed fear and trembling. The Gospel is therefore not an event, nor an experience, nor an emotion—however delicate! Rather, it is the clear and objective perception of what eye hath not seen nor ear heard. Moreover, what it demands of men is more than notice, or understanding, or sympathy. It demands participation, comprehension, co-operation; for it is a communication which presumes faith in the living God, and which creates that which it presumes.
—Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans

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9/14/2009

Make Room for Silence



Above is the latest Father Matthew Presents video. This is on centering prayer. If interested in finding out more, in the King of Peace archives, we have the related sermon Make Room for Silence and a Brochure on Centering Prayer in PDF format.

As long as we are sharing a YouTube video, those who haven't seen it will want to check out Brandon's latest video posted to the King of Peace's YouTube Channel:

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9/13/2009

For love itself


Without expectation, do something for love itself, not for what you may receive. Love in action is what gives us grace. We have been created for greater things—to love and to be loved.

Love is love—to love a person without any conditions, without any expectations. Small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace. To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness.
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

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9/12/2009

The 10th Bishop of Georgia Is Elected


The Rev. Scott A. Benhase in a photo from the Albany night of the "walkabout." Photo courtesy Julius Arial.

In an easy second ballot win, the Rev. Scott Anson Benhase was elected 10th Bishop of Georgia. A confirmation process will follow over the next 120 days as other dioceses around the country affirm the choice, but that is a formality in the case of the able Rector of St. Alban's Church in Washington, D.C.

Victoria and I got to know Scott and his wife Kelly while travelling around the diocese with the nominees. While not being elected carries a unique blend of disappointment and relief, we are also confident that the Benhases are good people. The quick win also shows that the Diocese is of one mind about our one mission. Scott+ has support all around the Diocese and he can count on mine.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor


Map of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia

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4 Comments:

  • At 9/12/2009 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am truly surprised that you, Fr. Frank are not our 10th Bishop of Georgia. That means that God still needs you at King of Peace to continue the good works that you began with this Church. We love you and although we are disappointed for your disappointment, we are so very happy to have you remain with us for a while longer. Perhaps, the
    11th is more suitable for you.
    God Bless You, With love, Melodie

     
  • At 9/12/2009 10:24 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Wow, what a strange empotion I'm feeling right now. It's a weird combination of sadness and relief. I am glad your staying with us but I don't want you to feel rejected. I think you were the best choice for Bishop in my mind but I was nervous about our continued progress if you left. Well, enuff "splaining" I'll see you tomorrow.

     
  • At 9/13/2009 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with D-Ray. I was not looking forward to the pulpit search at all, and was quite anxious about KoP reverting to being one of those stuffy, boring, "no newbies welcome" Episcopal churches.

    As far as the Bishop-Elect goes, I'm glad that the convention was of one mind, but there'a a lot that I would like him to know about the rural and semi-rural Deep South. We could have a lot of fun with that.

    Debbie

     
  • At 9/17/2009 10:59 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Fr. Frank,

    I believe you were/are the best man for the job but the collective wisdom said differently. I'm glad you'll be around but very sad that you will not be at the helm. Thank you for being such a good friend and a man of God. Everyone who knows you knows how special you are.

     

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Electing the 10th Bishop of Georgia

logo for the Bishop Search
The following is from the Rt. Rev. Harry Shipps, who served as the 8th Bishop of Georgia:
On September 12, a Special Convention of the Diocese of Georgia will gather in Dublin to elect the tenth bishop of our Diocese. The election will be from a group of six nominees selected by our Nominating Committee. Our diocese, larger than the countries of Portugal or Austria and dating back to 1733, is a family of seventy-two congregations. By and large, we have been a happy and responsible diocese.

Seal of the Diocese of GeorgiaThere is no one Anglican procedure for selecting a bishop. In The Episcopal Church, the diocesan convention is divided into two electoral groups, clergy and laity. Each group votes separately for a nominee (termed a Vote by Orders) until each group has given one nominee a majority of their votes. That person is then the bishop-elect. The number of ballots varies from few to many. In other Anglican Provinces the procedures differ, from appointment by the Queen in England, to an election in which representatives of all dioceses participate, as in the The Church of Ireland. Our way reflects the American democratic approach, which also recalls the style of our Congress.

Our election then will be ratified by a majority of diocesan bishops and Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church. This is because all bishops are a part of and responsible to a greater whole, The Episcopal Church, in which they participate in its life and governance. When such consent is obtained, a date is set with the Presiding Bishop for consecration of the bishop-elect. At present, consecration of the bishop-elect is tentatively planned for 23 January 2010 in Savannah, the See City. All bishops are invited to participate in the consecration. A minimum of three is required by ancient canon, the Presiding Bishop normally being the chief consecrator. Oftentimes many more attend.

We would all do well to review the liturgy or the Ordination of a Bishop beginning on page 512 of the Book of Common Prayer. We will find therein what really is expected of our Bishops.

+ HW Shipps
Pray today for the Holy Spirit to be felt in a mighty way in the electing convention and for God's will to be done. Results will be posted as they are available online at www.georgiabishopsearch.org

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9/11/2009

The Heroes of 911

From a Christian point of view of course we do want a peaceful world, and I think September 11 did actually make people aware not only of vulnerability and how transitory life is, but there are forces of good and honor and justice which speak to us of God and his love for us.
George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Connecting to Ground Zero
If you want to connect to Ground Zero on this 911 anniversary, you can send a tweet through twitter.com with #stpauls911 in the message and it will appear on a scrolling screen at Saint Paul's Chapel. This Episcopal Church is an altar of Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street and it became an important comfort/rest station for rescue workers at Ground Zero.

The Heroes of 911
My religion column for today's edition of the Tribune & Georgian is online here: The Heroes of 911.

peace,
Frank+

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9/10/2009

Humility



If we learn not humility,
we learn nothing.
John Jewel (1522-1571)

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9/09/2009

God and Dog



This charming little video was shared with me by Dr. Stephen Cook, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Virginia Theological Seminary. As he put it
Once you get into the video a bit, you can't help but be warmed a little by the message of God's unconditional love. Far from the complete scope of the Gospel, but certainly a part of it...

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9/08/2009

Harmony

How is it they live in such harmony—the billions of stars—when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.
Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

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9/07/2009

Time-Tested Words


The photo above is of our wedding 24 years ago today at St. George's Episcopal Church in Griffin, Georgia. It was a black and white that was never printed and so recently discovered as a negative and scanned. A lot changes in 24 years. Two of the men visible in the photo (my father and Victoria's grandfather) have since died. My brother Michael, a groomsman out of the frame on the right, did years ago as well.

But much has also stayed the same. I tend to think the couple getting married that day would recognize the current us as themselves and would not be too surprised at either the books we have written together or being church planters. And I know we would be so pleased and proud on that day to know of our daughter Griffin (named for her great-great grandmother, not the town where we were wed) and how wonderful a woman she is.

I saw an episode of Dexter recently where they were writing their own vows and wondering about how to capture their relationship and promises in words. I am so thankful for the Book of Common Prayer which has sustained my life in varied times with well written words that stand the test of time. Our vows that day did just that:

The Declaration of Consent
Frank, will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

The answer "I will" was a much stronger one than the mere "I do" found in so many TV weddings. Of course we did those things on that day, the real promise was to say we will.

The Marriage
In the Name of God, I, Frank, take you, Victoria, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Victoria, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


My words would have fallen short. These time-tested words were stronger. While living into them has not been easy, it has been a deeply rewarding 24 years. I think the version of ourselves that made those promises that day would agree.

with love for my bride,
Frank+

3 Comments:

  • At 9/07/2009 4:07 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Congratulations to you both. Lisa and I are 17 years and counting.

     
  • At 9/08/2009 1:44 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Congratulations!! When Geoff and I renewed our vows last year at 10 years of marriage it was amazing how much more the ceremony meant to us. We wrote our own vows and organized everything together to celebrate with our family and each other what incredible love God had blessed us with!! I look forward to many more year together. God bless you and Victoria!! We are so thankful your family came into our lives :)

     
  • At 9/25/2009 12:13 PM, Blogger averagecandy said…

    I'm gonna go ahead and say happy early anniversary for next year.

     

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9/06/2009

Baptisms



This morning at the 8:30 a.m. service, Harlie and Christian were initiated into Christ's body through baptism.



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Too Dangerous, Too Small

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth,
and too small for anything but love.
—William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

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9/05/2009

Our Grateful Response

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus casts a demon out of the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman and then heals a deaf/mute beinging hearing and speech. Both of these persons were outcasts within Israeli society. John Kavanaugh, S. J. of Saint Louis University writes about this passage,
There is no doubt he accepted and loved rich and healthy people, especially those who knew their own wounds and poverty. But he always had time for the marginal and the dispossessed, the maimed and the broken. If we were to measure the amount of space in the Gospels devoted to the hurt or poor and compare it to any other pet issue we cherish as the “litmus test” of our faith, there is little doubt that the sick and needy are more important than any other reality.

Witness Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. He attends to the deaf man, a passive mumbler. He draws close. He touches him and prays. And his power shines forth. If we say that we are disciples of Jesus, if we hold that he is not only our savior but our way as well, then his manner of concern must in some way be our own.

Our attentiveness and care for each other and especially for the poor is not a tactic to win us paradise. It is rather our grateful response to God’s promised love for us in our own poverty and disability.

Perhaps this is why it may well be the old bag lady in the back, so marginal to the world, or the quiet penitent near the door, reluctant to approach the altar, who brings a greater gift of prayer than any of us laden with talent or largess.
The full text of the reflection is online here: The Word Encountered.

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9/04/2009

Religion in public schools?

The On Faith forum for Newsweek and The Washington Post is asking their panelists about the Texas Board of Education deciding how to characterize religion's influence on American history as the K-12 curriculum is revised. As the second largest public school textbook buyer, a lot of eyes are watching their choice On Faith states that several consultants have recommended "emphasizing the roles of the Bible, Christianity and civic virtue of religion." They ask,
As America's children go back to school, how would you advise the Texas board? How should religion be taught in public schools?
Columnist Chuck Colson writes,
Professor George P. Landow, from my alma mater, the very liberal Brown University, said, "[Without the Bible] it's like using a dictionary with one-third of the words removed." Professor Ulrich Knoepflmacher at Princeton said that the lack of "Bible knowledge is almost crippling in students' ability to be sophisticated readers."
American Baptist pastor Willis Elliott observes the irony that religion has made a comeback in Russian schools, but not American ones. While Rabbi Brad Hirschfield writes seeking a middle ground,
Most Americans are somewhere in the middle on this issue, as we are on most of the so-called hot button issues. We know, even if we are believers, that there is a difference between teaching about the history of religion in America and preaching the Gospel to a captive audience of children in our nation's classrooms. Most people would like to see the former and reject the latter. But they need leaders who will advocate for that sane middle ground which neither turns teachers into preachers nor ignores the role of religion in general or Christianity in particular, as crucial to our shared history.
I think that the rabbi is right in his middle ground approach. I also agree with Colson that learning the language and stories of the Bible make any one in the West better able to understand the ongoing conversation in literature and philosophy that springs from the Bible.

To bridge that gap, I advocate for private schools to fill that void. I am a product of a private Christian school and King of Peace is working to create a private school that builds on the proven success of our preschool. This gives parents, who choose to do so, a quality education that unapologetically includes a religious dimension. Public schools must limit their treatment of any faith to the approach Hirschfield describes. But private schools can provide a high quality of education, which includes familiarity with the Bible in a way not possible in public education. That's my take. What's yours?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, President
King of Peace Episcopal Day School

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9 Comments:

  • At 9/04/2009 8:28 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    The cynical, militant, evangelical in me wants to know why President Obama can preach his religion to the kids but Christianity can't be preached as well.

     
  • At 9/04/2009 10:25 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    I love the idea of private schools. But there are many out there including me that can not afford them. So we have to do the teaching of the bible at home and at our church. Of course we would prefer for our children to also learn about the bible in the school but our pocket books can't make that happen at this time. So we deal with how the public schools are and pray that they will change.

     
  • At 9/04/2009 12:52 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Well said.

    We, as parents, have to stay involved as teachers ourselves, examples, defenders, and active overseers of what the public schools do. God help us.

     
  • At 9/04/2009 3:33 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Kenny: Why exactly is President Obama speaking to schoolchildren about education any different than any other President doing so? After all, he IS the President!

     
  • At 9/05/2009 1:02 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Our country was founded on freedom of religion. Our forefathers made sure, in the Constitution, to have separation of church and state in order to protect this freedom. Frankly, when you put religion and God into the school system, you are opening up doors for governmental control. I personally don't want the government in my faith and religion, period!

    Also, freedom of religion encompasses all ways of worship and all entities that are worshipped. If God is allowed in schools, then Allah, Buddah, and even Satan will have to be allowed equal opportunity. I don't want my kids to be forced to learn about or be exposed to things that go against our faith. In turn, I don't believe we should force God onto those who believe otherwise and have the right to do so.

    And, believe it or not after reading this, I am actually rather conservative politcally. :)

     
  • At 9/05/2009 1:55 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Sorry Kelly but I have to say this. Just remember I still love you!! I believe we are to spread God's word and help show them the way to the Lord. Now of course they have a right to say no, that is free will. But we have to do our best. I know their would be other religions but we are in America so most would be Christians. I would love for my boys to be able to pray before their lunch and not get looked at funny or told they can not do that. Also to be able to learn about the bible as well at school would be wonderful!! But unfortunately I do not see that in the recent future. So I will do my best to continue to teach them at home. But again I think religion brought back into school would help our youth more than it would harm.

     
  • At 9/05/2009 1:56 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Tom, so as long as everyone else is doing it, it's OK if it's done again?

    I admit I don't like Obama's politics all that much and I did say that this opinion was just part of my total views on the subject. Still, having teachers who've passed strict exams of their qualifications along with strict reviews of curricula is one thing. Having a divisive politician come in with no screening of what he's going to say is quite another.

    It is interesting, though, that the President can afford the time to "reach out" to our kids when he couldn't allow our Representatives the time to review and debate his stimulus package earlier this year.

     
  • At 9/05/2009 2:38 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Just remember Amber, that the government controls cirriculum and it will dictate how God and the Bible is taught to your children in public schools.

    And, if the Bible is taught in the public schools and becomes part of the cirriculum, then the people who don't want it don't have the right to say no anymore. As far as the majority being Christian: What's the one correct way to teach Christianity to Catholics,Episcopalians,Lutherans, Baptists, Greek Othodox, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc... AJ was told in kindergarten by a Baptist little boy that we were going to hell because we're Catholic. So, how could you incorporate so many different views of Christianity into one cirriculum? That's hard enough. Then try to expand that cirriculum to include all religious beliefs as to not exclude anybody and their rights as Americans who pay taxes to the school system too.

    Once you allow governmental involment in religion, then you're paving the road to laws and restrictions governing the way we worship. You're opening up the road to our churches being taxed.The government is already too involved in the rest of my life. I'll be responsible for my children's religious education and faith.

     
  • At 9/05/2009 3:16 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Not all Baptist are that way. My parents happen to to Baptist and love to visit our church. There are some common grounds in the religion that you mention and we could focus on that. Yes it would be difficult but what isn't in life. I feel that that religion should be allowed back in school. Maybe that would help children with life challenges and so on. I see that you do not feel the same and others. But that doesn't make it right. Like I said before if I could afford private schools and have them hear God's word in school I would. But I can not at this time and would love to have them hear this in public schools. But because of so many others I believe this will never happen. Which makes me sad and I will have to continue with what I do now. What I do like, and I'm not sure that they still do this is that our school had an after school program that was Christian. It was not run by Episcopalians and yet Chris went and was in influenced to become Methodist,Baptist, whatever. He was simply given the message that God loves him and everyone and he was sent home with some scripture to look up and read. He was not told what they thought it was trying to teach us. So if we could just get that message that would be a start. But we do have the problem of other religions that do not believe our beliefs and yes I feel they are wrong. I believe I am to spread God's word and message and teach others about his word. Ok well I think that is it for now.

     

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9/03/2009

Church Growth



Noah Skyler Bayliss was born yesterday to Kalyn, who is as longtime a member of King of Peace as anyone, having been at the service at Honey Creek welcoming Victoria, Griffin and I to Camden County in June of 2000. Kalyn was our first ever acolyte and has been both married and baptized at King of Peace. Her grandfather was the first person buried on our grounds. Her connections here run depp.

Kalyn's baptismYet, as Kalyn is married and her husband is in the Navy and will be moving immediately to Charleston, Noah may never spend much time, if any, at King of Peace. Yet, I trust his life will be influenced by what Kalyn learned and experienced in our church and in diocesan youth programs.

This is one way the Body of Christ has always grown, by new babies being born into Christian homes and nurtured in the faith. Certainly it is not the only way for a church to grow and there is great value in reaching out to those who have never known the love of God as we experience it day by day. We need the growth that comes through conversions to the faith. But for now, I pause to consider a big baby boy who came into this world on a very rainy day, with the name Noah already picked out for him.

Kalyn as our first acolyteIt will take not just everything Kalyn and Josh have to raise their son up in the faith that has formed their lives. It takes the Body of Christ too made real within a church. This is why at each baptism service, the people in the congregation are asked if they will do everything they can to support the one being baptized in his or her life in Christ. If the congregation can't say a hearty "We will" then the whole process of baptizing infants should be stopped.

Kalyn holds a doll while Gregory 'baptizes' herFor we baptize infants planning on their growing up in the faith and coming to the point of making a profession of the faith on their own. For in the end, God has children, not grandchildren and it will be Noah's faith that will matter. He will have to make that choice on his own. But for now, this new little family needs a supportive community to help them in their tasks of raising this newest part of our church family in faith in Jesus Christ.

What I notice is how raising children in faith can enlarge the faith of the parent. How much more do we learn in order to answer their questions and to try to set a good, positive example. When we really work as a church at teaching our children well, the adults learn also and the church grows in grace as well as numbers.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

For more on infant baptism read the sermon Marked as Christ's Own Forever which explains the scripture and tradition that support the pratice.

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9/02/2009

Spiritual Maturity


The proof of spiritual maturity is not how "pure" you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace.
—Philip Yancey

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9/01/2009

Imaging Ubuntu



Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts (ECVA) has a new online art exhibit "Imaging Ubuntu." Ubuntu is the Bantu concept that the identity of the self is understood to be formed interdependently through community. For this show, the jurors "looked, not only at the art work that was submitted, but at the underlying stories, seeking evidence of bridges being built, of barriers being crossed, and of the common threads that unite humanity and call us into action on one another’s behalf."

Victoria, Griffin and I were asked to enter images and didn't feel we had anything to match the theme solidly. You can see the work that did at the thumbnail gallery then click on any image to see the art and the story behind it.

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