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.

10/31/2009

If You Had Been Here

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Lazarus has died and his sisters Mary and Martha express their disappointment that Jesus did not arrive in time to prevent his death. After weeping at the tomb, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

In a sermon I wrote for The Episcopal Church's Sermons That Work site, I said in part,
John tells us that, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’”

Then in that shortest verse in the Bible, we are told that “Jesus wept.”

Jesus loved Lazarus. He weeps at the grave of his friend. Yes, this makes sense in Jesus’ humanity, but if anyone believed in the resurrection, it should have been Jesus. Yet Jesus wept. This shows us that grief is not unchristian. Christ wept at the grave of his friend. We too weep over the graves of those we love. On this All Saints Day as we remember not just the great saints of the church, but also the saints in our own lives, we remember those we love who have died. That remembrance comes with sorrow.

It is a sorrow that does not go away. Real grief stays with you. In fact, not only can one not expect grief to go away completely, we also shouldn’t want it to. For as the person you loved is not returned to you, how can you stop grieving? The loss remains, and so does the sorrow. But grief can and does change. We pray not for an end to the grief, but for an unbearable sense of loss to be replaced by a sorrow we can bear. And in this, we are helped by the hope of the resurrection.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus knew people would continue to die. He taught that not only do we find death in the midst of life, but we find life in the midst of death. Those who die will live again. This is Christian teaching and it is why even at the grave Christians can and do praise God.

So while grief is a Christian response to death, Mary and Martha’s line of reasoning is flawed. They said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” They assume Jesus was absent from the situation. But we know he was well aware of what was happening in Bethany and waited two days before going. After his resurrection and ascension, Jesus is even more fully present by the power of the Holy Spirit with those we love at the time of their death.
The full text of the sermon is online here: All Saints Day sermon.

Bishop Louttit will be with us at King of Peace tomorrow as we celebrate our tenth All Saints Sunday at King of Peace with our 92 and 93 baptisms on this anniversary of our first baptism.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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Trunk or Treat Video

2 Comments:

  • At 10/31/2009 6:56 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Great video Father Frank as always. It actually brought tears to my eyes. I was so happy it turned out so well after all that hard work, SO worth it!! We are already planning our costumes for next year :)

     
  • At 10/31/2009 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow that looks like it was a fabulous time. Kudos to those who put this wonderful safe event together.

     

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10/30/2009

Trunk or Treat



Tonight's Trunk or Treat was an amazingly successful event. We enjoyed more games, more folks giving out candy and more families there to Trunk or Treat than ever. We had a great turn out and a LOT of fun.

Thanks to everyone who made our safe and free event fun for the kids. Thanks to King of Peace Episcopal Day School for the train ride and the horse rides. Hundreds of people came and enjoyed our community event, for which we are thankful.






















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Halloween is Christian - Wonderfully So!

The Garrett family last Trunk or Treat

Tonight, from 6-8 p.m., King of Peace will hold its annual trunk or Treat. The event is free and the community is encouraged to attend. There will be horse rides and a tride ride compliments of King of Peace Episcopal Day School. Bring your costumed kids and grandkids, or come prepared to give out candy from the back of your truck or the trunk of your car. In the meantime, enjoy this reflection which the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, now Bishop of Virginia wrote the following in October 2005 (before he was bishop) which bears repeating in full:

Miriam as a black catWhen I was a child, I loved Halloween. All of my family participated enthusiastically, decorating our house with witches, devils, black cats, and ghosts. It was innocent fun, filled with imagination and creativity. Looking back, what made Halloween so great for this child was its contrast of silliness and fright, the supernatural and the known, the permitted and the forbidden, the secretive and the public. Halloween was unique; no other occasion was anything like it.

As an adult—and as a priest—I still love Halloween. And I do mean HALLOWEEN, not a “Fall Festival” or the like. Every year, I carve two pumpkins–one playfully smiling and the other “very scary.” I love seeing the children’s costumes and making a big fuss over them. How sad now that Halloween is being spoiled and even taken away from us by the absolutely outrageous ideas that it is “satanic,” pagan, or of the occult. Father Frank with Josh dressed as Father FrankSuch notions are poorly informed, terribly misguided, and absolutely untrue. There are many materials circulating these days, all pretending some sort of scholarly knowledge and/or religious authority, that strive to show that Halloween is “really” celebrating the powers of darkness. In response, I must be absolutely clear: pretenses of authority notwithstanding, these materials are at great odds with centuries of commonly accepted theology, not to mention scholarship with proven accreditation. The so-called “exposure” of Halloween is nothing more than a skewed, self-serving agenda from various churches that make up only a tiny minority of Christianity, indeed a minority within Protestantism.

Of course I am aware that satanists, Wiccans, and other occult groups are indeed active on October 31. It is also true that some pseudo-spiritualists and some plain ole’ nut-cases use Halloween as an excuse to act out. NONE OF THIS CHANGES WHAT HALLOWEEN ACTUALLY IS OR WHAT IT MEANS IN THE CHURCH’S LIFE AND WITNESS. Much of the occult association with the day arose long after the Church’s observances began in the mid 300's. Our answer to those Christians who bristle at the celebration of Halloween is that we will not allow occultists to steal it away from God’s Church. Moreover, several Christian observances have pre-Christian ancestry or pagan parallels (the date of Christmas, for example). Whatever the case, the fact is that the Christian truths proclaimed on such days are not affected.

A big part of the problem here comes from the people who do not understand the Liturgical Year because their churches do not follow it. It’s hard to keep a clear perspective on something so rooted in history and tradition if you belong to a church that has no such roots, or to one that rejects as irrelevant or “suspect” the ancient practices from the earliest Christian centuries.

Princess Harlie at our last Trunk or TreatThe bottom line is Halloween’s relationship to All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1), one of the Church’s seven “Principal Feasts.” The celebration of any Principal Feast may begin on the evening before—thus, Christmas Eve, Twelfth Night (before Epiphany), Easter Eve (the Great Vigil), etc. Halloween is simply the eve of All Saints’ Day, which is also a baptismal feast. The great truth behind Halloween’s revels is that which we declare at every baptism: “YOU ARE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN BAPTISM AND ARE MARKED AS CHRIST’S OWN FOREVER.”

The most important thing to remember is this: Halloween is the time when Christians proclaim and celebrate the fact that Satan and the occult have no power over us and cannot disrupt our relationship with our Lord and Redeemer, as long as we live faithfully to Christ. We show this by making fun of such pretenders, lampooning them in their face. This is why our costumes and decorations certainly should be witches, devils, and ghosts. In the victory of Christ, Christians are privileged to do this and we must not be timid about it!

Mariah at our last Trunk or TreatOurs is not a fearful faith, cowering from the prospect of falling unawares into Satan’s grasp. In God’s grace and your faithfulness, you ARE Christ’s own forever. Nothing supersedes that fact. Halloween is therefore one of the boldest Christian witnesses, precisely because of its highly public, graphic, and lampooning nature. Personally, I suspect that those who cannot embrace this are living a fear-driven and even insecure faith. If so, they have bigger problems than the highjinks of Halloween.

In Christ,
Shannon+

horse rides last year

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10/29/2009

If you want to mean the words more

James Keifer's brief online biography for former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple (1881-1944) tells of an inspirational moment in a revival service:
William TempleIn 1931, at the end of the Oxford Mission (what is known in many Protestant circles as a Revival Meeting), he led a congregation in the University Church, St Mary the Virgin, in the singing of the hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." Just before the last stanza, he stopped them and asked them to read the words to themselves. "Now," he said, if you mean them with all your heart, sing them as loud as you can. If you don't mean them at all, keep silent. If you mean them even a little and want to mean them more, sing them very softly." The organ played, and two thousand voices whispered:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
For many who participated, it was a never-forgotten experience.

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  • At 10/30/2009 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Wherever did you find this story? Have you read a book about William Temple? Please let us know. THANKS!

     

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10/28/2009

Memorial Garden


These pictures show the Memorial Garden wall as it looks now, finished with tabby but with no one yet interred and so no bronze plaques over the inset holes showing where the 22 niches are located.

This project is indebted to Al Virgin who designed the wall and all but singled handedly saw it through to completion. The garden will be an important source of comfort for generations to come for those whose loved ones are buried in this beautiful setting on church grounds. We are now ready to offer all three options intended inthe garden design, interrment of cremains in the ground around the gazebo, interrment of cremains in the wall, and memorial bricks remembering loved ones no matter where they are buried.

We remain grateful as well to the family and friends of our own Marcus Dickman. Memorial gifts in his honor are what led to the creation of this memorial garden.








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The Maasai Creed

An African depiction of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Debbie passes along the following, which she heard on NPR's Speaking of Faith. It is a Christian Creed written in 1960 within the context of the Maasai culture of Eastern Africa:
We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Man and wanted Man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light. God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

An African depiction of Jesus' crucifixionWe believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptised in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.
The artwork is from the Jesus Mafa project which depicted Jesus in an African context to aid teaching about the Life of Jesus in Africa. Click any photo to see more of that series.

An African depiction of The Last Supper

1 Comments:

  • At 10/28/2009 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Beautiful! Makes much more sense and seems more personal than the Creeds in the BCP.....

     

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10/27/2009

World on Fire

This is a Youth Sunday sermon by high school senior Jeremy Douylliez given at First Presbyterian Church in Saint Marys, Georgia this past Sunday, October 25, 2009:


1 Kings 19: 11-13

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Mark 5: 36

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”


Have you watched the news recently? It’s pretty scary. Everyday there are more murders, burglaries, kidnappings, acts of terror, and the list goes on and on and on. Children in Africa die of AIDS and starvation at unimaginable rates. Teachers in schools no longer worry about talking or passing notes because they have to worry about guns and violence. Everyday more people are tortured and more unnecessary lives are lost in war. Everyday more people are forced to live in fear. Everyday hope fades in the lives of so many. The world is on fire.

Tsunamis crash on Indonesian soil killing thousands. California forest fires leave countless homeless. The aftermath of Katrina is still very real, and it will still be many years before the Gulf has fully recovered. Earthquakes destroy entire cities. And Mother Nature’s fires unfortunately have a tendency of causing us to point fingers. We blame ourselves for global warming. We blame FEMA for poor disaster response. We blame God for letting it happen.

The last is the easiest…and perhaps the most common. God holds the universe in his hands. He can control anything and everything. He can stop bad things from happening…but he doesn’t. Blame God. Blame God. Blame God. If God loved us soooooo much, how could he allow what happens to us to happen to us?

Better yet, we reverse that viewpoint and say things like this. I wonder what those people in Indonesia were doing to deserve the tsunami. I wonder what was going on in the lives of the Katrina victims that God drowned. I wonder why God would kill those people, destroy those cities, and sentence them to hell.

Almost everyday at school I am challenged with the question, “If there’s a God, why does he let bad things happen?” I like to respond saying, “Well how would you feel if the next time you were about to do something wrong, God stopped you?” Isn’t it ironic that God loved us enough to give us free will, but the second something goes wrong we don’t want it anymore! The second a child is kidnapped, we want God to intervene! We want God to force the hand of the kidnapper! We forget about that gift called free will, when it stops being convenient, but no one better try and take it away from us.

At the Gathering Place last summer, a room filled with a little over a thousand teenagers was informed by a speaker that Michael Jackson is burning in the lowest level of hell. Really? The general theme of that message was that God will destroy you if you do the wrong things. God is sitting up in his big throne with a finger pointed ready to zap you. Better watch out.

The world is on fire.

And it’s not only burning because of the natural disasters, the crime, the starvation, or the unimaginable amounts of pain inflicting millions across the planet. It is also on fire with two types of people. The people who blame God set the world on fire and the people who accredit every disaster to God’s wrath set the world on fire.

Our passage from 1st Kings this morning refutes both of these viewpoints. There was a wind, but the Lord wasn’t in the wind. There was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. There was a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire. God isn’t in the fires of our world. He doesn’t start them, he doesn’t stop them. The kicker is in that final verse. After the fire, there was a still small voice.

God answers in a still small voice. Instead of posing the question, “Where is God in disaster?” I think the better question is, “Where are we, God’s people, in disaster?” Are we on the front lines aiding injured, rebuilding walls, instilling hope? Where are we? God isn’t in the fires, he’s in the response. We have to be the still small voice of God.

Not a sparrow can fall to the ground without God noticing. But the sparrow still falls. The fires still burn. The still small voice is what will pick the sparrow back up off of the ground. It is what will rebuild where the fires have burned.

So what if God isn’t in the fires, but in the response? That doesn’t make them any less frightening. The world still burns and I’m still afraid. On Jesus’ way to raise a young girl to life he preaches the shortest sermon in his career. “Do not be afraid, just believe.” When the Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the fields he said, “Do not be afraid.” When He appeared to Martha and Mary at the tomb he said, “Do not be afraid.” Christ says it numerous times throughout the gospels. “Do not be afraid.”

Just believe.

The world is on fire. Nations are raging against other nations, famine is striking down thousands a day, homeless rates continue to grow, the world is on fire. The world economy continues to fail, jobs are lost, wages are cut, employees are furloughed, the world is on fire. The polar ice caps are melting – it is not a political statement it is a scientific reality the world is on fire. Hope, faith, and love are becoming things of the past, the world is on fire. But the Angel of the Lord says, “Do not be afraid.”

For a time is coming: a time when God’s new city will descend on Earth and He will live with his people. Live for that day. Live for the day when God will wipe every tear from our eyes and death and sorrow will be no more. Live for the day when cries of hunger are replaced with songs of thanksgiving around a plentiful dinner table. Live for the day when swords are beaten into plow shares and spears into pruning hooks. Live for the day when love has conquered any and every obstacle. Live for that day. And do not be afraid.

Amen.

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2 Comments:

  • At 10/27/2009 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    THIS IS FROM A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR?
    THANKS, FRANK, FOR SHARING THIS WITH YOUR READERS.

     
  • At 10/27/2009 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amen, little brother in the faith.

     

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10/26/2009

Worshipping at St. Gregory the Great, Athens


Yesterday, I enjoyed worshipping with family at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia. Yes, I was there with my mother and my wife. But that's not all I mean by family. I am trying to convey that in worshipping with that congregation, I felt at home.

There were things that were different from King of Peace. The music was a different mix of hymns and service music than typically found at King of Peace. And yet when their choir led an anthem by Rutter, it reminded me of our ensemble so beautifully singing another piece by Rutter a capella. No sense of competition and one being better. Just a sense of connection between the two groups and the way they led us in praising God.

The sermon was thoughtful and well delivered. While I trust that is not so different from King of Peace, I enjoyed the way the Rector, Beth Long, made a connection between Job and Bartimaeus and then moved to those of us in the congregation. It was a nice change for me to listen and reflect on the sermon.

A concrete area between two buildingsAt communion, the back row came up first and the ushers worked their way to the front row. Each group called up, would go stand in a circle around the altar for communion. But even with this difference, I noticied the similarity of seemingly distracted children taking commmunion with such seriousness and reverence, even if I did smile at the way one girl licked her lips after taking communion with real bread (we also use real bread at King of Peace).

Our worship spaces are different, but share a wooded setting, lots of natural light and simple lines. From the happy noise of a congregation greeting one another before the service, to the fairly late arriving crowd, to the energy of the children going out for their service and coming back in to nave later, there was also much that was the same. This was especially true of the words of the liturgy themselves as we confessed, repented and were offered absolution, gave one another the sign of peace and then continued speaking the story of our redemption, which had begun with the scripture readings and sermon, and then we continued to Christ's presence in bread and wine.

This is the familiar worship I have encountered again and again in Episcopal churches large and small and I am always amazed at how in different settings with different people, the feeling of being with family is what comes through the strongest. So I am thankful to that part of the Body of Christ, the family of God, worshipping at St. Gregory the Great in Athens, for welcoming us in and making us feel inwardly that which was already true, that we were at home. I pray others feel the same in visiting King of Peace.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2 Comments:

  • At 10/26/2009 1:47 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Father Frank
    Geoff and I understand what you are saying. When we visit family in Missouri we attend service at the Christ Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau. We felt right at home from when we walked into the door. And this church is even more special to us know after renewing our vows there on our 10th anniversary. The service is so similar and different from King of Peace. But we do feel that we are among family in both congregations. It is a wonderful feeling!!

     
  • At 4/11/2010 2:52 PM, OpenID neatnik2009 said…

    I am glad you found the experience rewarding.
    Kenneth Taylor
    (late of the Diocese of Georgia)
    Member, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia (and member of the choir you heard)

     

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10/25/2009

Making the Sabbath Holy

Anybody can observe the Sabbath,
but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.
—Alice Walker (1944- )

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10/24/2009

How Should We Pray?

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus encounters a blind beggar beside the road as he leaves Jericho headed toward Jerusalem for the last week of his earthly ministry. Mark's Gospel tells us of this beggar Bartimaeus,
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
My friend, Sarah Dylan Breur has written about this passage from the standpoint of prayer and I find her thoughts very helpful:
People often ask me how they should pray. I'm happy to answer, but I think the way the question is most often put shows some assumptions about prayer that are worth considering before buying into them. I particularly have in mind the "should" part of the question, which seems to me to imply that there are right and wrong ways to pray, a kind of prayer etiquette that's important to follow.

That's not something I see in scripture, though. This Sunday's gospel is an excellent case in point. Jesus and his followers are traveling when they encounter Bartimaeus, who shouts, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" It's not a demure, "if you're not too busy" request. There's no "if you want to do this," or "if you think it's best."

Bartimaeus shouts out a demand — "have mercy on me!" — that presumes a relationship between the two of them: Jesus as "Son of David" and therefore king of Israel is obligated to Bartimaeus, an Israelite and therefore his subject. Jesus heals him. He doesn't heal him because Bartimaeus has used the "right" title for Jesus. In Mark, Jesus' preferred title isn't "Son of David," but "the Son of Man." In calling Jesus "Son of David" and therefore king of Israel, Bartimaeus is treading in effect into territory that brought a stern "shut up" (the "charge" there is not the wording of a warm "you're right and I'm glad you said so, but please be discreet") from Jesus just two chapters before, when Peter called Jesus God's anointed (Mark 8:29-30).

In other words, far from being healed as reward for saying the right thing in the right way, Bartimaeus is healed despite his addressing Jesus loudly, repeatedly, and presumptuously before a great crowd in a way Jesus would rather not be addressed in public, if at all.

And Jesus not only answers him, but also heals him. Jesus is not one to hang back waiting for us to get it "right" before responding with compassion.
The full text of her reflection is online here: How should we pray?.

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10/23/2009

Tear Down the Walls of Division

When you hear of Baptist burning Bibles, you know something is wrong with the story. And now that I have discovered what is happening, it just strengthens my resolve to work with my fellow Christians. After all, there is only one Jesus, yet, with so many, seemingly irreconcilable ideas on how to follow Him you would never guess we Christians are all on the same team.

This issue of the differences among us hit home for me a few days ago. I read of Amazing Grace, an independent Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina, that is hosting a Bible burning on October 31. I know well that my brothers and sisters in Christ who attend Baptist churches love the Word of God. I share that deep love for the Bible. That’s why the story of this 14-member church got my attention.

It turns out that the congregation is one that adheres to the 1611 Kings James Version only. That’s not a problem for me as most of the scripture I know by heart I know in the words of that very version. And while I do not agree with those who see that translation as the only English version which carries the authority of God, I certainly understand their love of that translation.

But for that congregation’s pastor, Marc Grizzard, other translations such as the New International Version are “satanic” and “perversions” of the true Word of God. So his church will be burning other translations of the Bible on Halloween. They will also toss in the flames Christian books by authors they consider heretical. Their list of heretics includes the Revs. Billy Graham and Rick Warren. And their list of heretical music includes southern Gospel and contemporary Christian music.

I want to be clear that I defend the pastor’s right to hold to the 1611 King James Version and to not listen to or advise others to listen to contemporary Christian music. But I will admit to taking exception to his rounding up Bibles and Christian music, naming them satanic and casting them into the fire.

The main reason I care is that this sort of thing could give non-Christians the wrong idea. Those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ could use this Bible burning, a decidedly fringe event in Christianity, as yet another way to show how we Christians are so deeply divided. And while I will acknowledge divisions within the one flock who is following Jesus, I also know that which joins us together is so much stronger than that which would divide us.

The same week in which I read of bonfire plans in North Carolina, I also met with a diverse group of Christian men. I am taking part in an upcoming Kairos weekend at D. Ray James Prison in Folkston. Kairos is an ecumenical program bringing together folks of a variety of denominations to work together to open the hearts of those in prison to the freeing and life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have attended two Kairos team meetings so far and have been mightily blessed from better getting to know Christian men from a variety of churches. We are Baptist, Methodist, Church of God of Prophecy, Catholic, Episcopal, and more. There are certainly many practices of the Christian faith which could divide us. But we share a desire to follow Jesus who taught us that to visit someone in prison, is as if we are visiting Jesus himself (Matthew 25:36).

For a Kairos team, we set aside some practices of the faith which matter to us (such as communion and baptism) knowing that these are areas of disagreement. Instead, we trust that those important matters will follow. But first we come together to share that which completely unites us and that is sharing the love that Jesus first freely shared with us.

From nearly a decade of serving in Camden County, I know of the many ways in which churches work together. There is the inspiring Christmas for Camden Kids program and then other groups like Habitat for Humanity and Missions for Camden, all of which run because Christians of various denominations come together to make these important ministries happen.

There is a joke told about two Christian working together in disaster relief and coming to really enjoy one another’s company and to see Christ in each other. As they part, the one man says, “You know, I don’t know about the others in your denomination, but you are all right by me.” The second man replies, “I feel the same. So why don’t you keep worshipping God in your way and I will keep worshipping God in His way.”

The joke makes the point, that we even when we agree there will still be things which divide us. Yet, I think that is a gift to be received rather than a problem to be solved. After all, God created us as unique persons with a variety of abilities and interests. And so, there will naturally be a variety of ways in which people feel called to live into their common faith.

When we tear down the walls of division between our churches, we don’t have to give up on the particular beliefs or worship styles meaningful to us. We are all free to still worship in the ways we feel God has called us to worship. We also don’t have to give up on matters of doctrine we consider essential. Yet, we should acknowledge, the more walls of division we tear down, the more inviting Christianity becomes to those who remain outside the faith.

Jesus prayed for exactly this. One the night before he died, Jesus asked God the Father, to make us one. He prayed, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20).

The walls of division among Christians make it more difficult to non-Christians to come to believe in Jesus. And the more we tear down those walls and work together to share the love of God, the more the Kingdom of God is made a present reality.

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

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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10/22/2009

All that bear me evil will

The following prayer is ascribed to Thomas More (1478-1535). He may or may not have written it, but as he said at the trial which condemned him to death that he hoped to share the joys of heaven with those who condemned him as Saints Stephen and Paul are together there, then it is safe to say the sentiment is his.

The prayer is to pray well for those who bear us evil will and would harm us, which is a very Jesus thing to do:
Almighty God, have mercy on [insert name] and [insert name] and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine together, by such easy, tender, merciful means as Thine infinite wisdom best can divine, vouchsafe to amend and redress, and make us saved souls in heaven together where we may ever live and love together with thee and they blessed saints, O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet saviour Christ, amen.

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4 Comments:

  • At 10/22/2009 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How can I pray for love from God to someone who hurts me? How can I wish them peace in heaven when they give me Hell on earth??

     
  • At 10/22/2009 10:00 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    I understand that this is what is asked of us as Christians, but, Anonymous, you're right. I still don't completely comprehend how the Amish community forgave the murders of their children in the school house a few years back. I so admire them!

    Maybe we should pray the prayer anyway. It doesn't mean that God will ignore justice being served. Maybe the prayer is a means to self healing through forgivenss. Maybe the prayer is really for you.

     
  • At 10/23/2009 6:23 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I agree Kelly. I don't think any one of us is likely to be able to pray this prayer as a heartfelt wish, but I do suspect that praying the prayer could help effect that change within just the same. Yet, forgiveness is not usually an act, but a process, which begins with an act of will.

     
  • At 10/23/2009 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just don't understand, I'm trying to but how do I forgive for the pain given? How do I forgive every time he is mad and...When he is the man he is.

    I can’t forgive the man he is, I can’t pray for his peace in heaven when he does not care that he is hurting another, the one he is supposed to love without condition.
    I’m just tired is all; thank you both for your comments.

     

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10/21/2009

The Gift of Children

Children are a wonderful gift. They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.
—Desmond Tutu (1931- )

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10/20/2009

Hope

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 15:13

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
—Sarah Ban Breathnach

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
—Barbara Kingsolver

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you're slamming the door in the face of God.
—Charles L. Allen

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.
—1 Peter 1:21

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10/19/2009

Episconinjas!



The Episcopal Church created a short video on Who We Are and posted it online here. Brandon Watson wrote his take on answering the same question and posted it on Facebook. So I took Brandon's text and created the video above using someof his footage and various photos of Episcopal Churches from here and there on the web. Enjoy!

With a larger budget for dynamite, chariots and tigers, it would have been more impressive, but with a budget the above video was created without going over its $0 budget.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Vicar

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4 Comments:

  • At 10/20/2009 3:21 AM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Frank: Outstanding! You DO know that this is sweeping though the 'net like a brush fire, don't you?

     
  • At 10/20/2009 7:42 PM, Blogger Jane Ellen+ said…

    It really is an awesome effort-- very cool. The only real criticism I've heard is that the grammar/punctuation could use some tidying up. Without sounding like the grammar police... would that be possible? I'd love to show this around my churches, without that distracting from the message.

     
  • At 10/20/2009 9:54 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The grammarians remix is now online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ_lUoloW4M

     
  • At 10/21/2009 10:20 AM, Blogger Jane Ellen+ said…

    Very nice. Thanks!

     

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10/18/2009

"Heretics Like Billy Graham"



The 14-member Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina has gotten a lot of ink and air time this past week. The church is planning a Bible burning on Halloween to destroy what it calls "Satanic Bibles" which refers to any translation, but the orginal King James Version. Even the New King James will be tossed in the flames. The group will laso burn other Christian books by writers it considers to be heretics, which includes Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and Rick Warren. Not stopping there, the congregation will also burn "Satan's music" which includes southern Gospel and contemporary Christian music.

One news article quoted Pastor Grizzard saying that "the Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the preacher." You can also hear him for yourself in the video embeded above.

I know that any preacher in an independent church has no accountability and can become their own dictatorial pope. There is simply too much room to go off the rails. It's one of the things I like about denominations, even if the words "Institutional Church" should be an oxymoron. There is at least some accountability. Don't believe me? try planning a Bible Burning in a more hierarchical denomination (Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, etc.) and see what happens to the pastor. Even in a more congregational church, which is in a denomination, there will be a reaction.

Yet, this church is not simply wrong, but they are damaging the faith. The harm comes in gaining the sort of broad publicity (and yes I know I am adding to that) which turns off those who admire Jesus and might want to find out more about Him, if it weren't for the assorted nuts (me included) who are Christians. Gandhi reportedly said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." When I read stories like this one, I tend to agree with him.

I don't really care if Pastor Grizzard doesn't want to own or read The New Living Translation. I just wish he wouldn't drag down the faith I know can transform lives for the better with a stunt like the one they have planned.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 10/18/2009 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WOW! Shocking! I can’t put into words how this made me feel. If his actions cause people to turn away from God, God help him! I wouldn’t want to be standing next to him because I am afraid of lightening.
    Robin

     
  • At 10/19/2009 9:10 AM, Blogger J. L. Watts said…

    I wish he was alone in his thinking, but coming from a KJVO background, I know the stories of book burnings across America. It is a shame.

     

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10/17/2009

Today on our labyrinth


A few of the women of our church walking the labyrinth today as one part of a Sharing Day for women at King of Peace.

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