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.

11/30/2009

Response Time


Today is the feast day of St. Andrew, the brother of Peter. Priscilla Marck writes of this day:
The feast of Saint Andrew invites us to ponder his response to Christ’s call: "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets…" (Mt. 4:19-20). With his brother Peter, Andrew immediately left his fishing nets to catch souls for the Kingdom.

Are we hesitating to respond to Christ this Advent because we are waiting for just the right moment, those perfect circumstances that will allow us to be just as quick as Andrew? Sadly, we may discover that while we were waiting for that illusive moment, we failed to be attentive to the here and now invitations of everyday life, missing opportunities to respond with the generosity of a true follower of Christ.

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11/29/2009

Incarnate for Us

Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time.
—Fire of Advent, from Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac


King of Peace's Advent materials are online here: Advent Resources and we also have a very popular PDF file in our archives: Celebrating Advent in the Home which includes a simple Advent wreath service for use each evenign between now and Christmas.

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11/28/2009

The Tools of Grace

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus warns of the End of Time with a parable:
A fig tree in IsraelLook at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
The Rev. Ben Helmer writes of this passage challenging a congregation to always be ready saying:
Not long ago a couple went to a church, a large and prosperous one, for the first time. As they walked down a corridor they smiled at a number of people, but no one greeted them. Everyone was preoccupied with herding the choir and acolytes, getting business attended to about the coming bazaar, and depositing their children in Sunday school. As they entered the church, an usher in the back handed them a bulletin while engaged in earnest conversation with someone else, his face turned away from them. Afterward, the couple agreed the congregation was too preoccupied to engage in the simple act of hospitality.

And so are we, too preoccupied. Eugene Peterson translates part of this passage from Luke today, “Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping” (Luke 21:34). A season of preparation and expectation should permeate all that we do, from expecting and welcoming visitors, to focusing on what’s really important: our relationship with God and the Messiah who is to come.
Later in the same sermon, Ben says,
Let’s play that scene from the church again: It’s Sunday morning. A couple arrives for the first time and they are greeted at the door by someone who says, “Welcome. May I sit with you this morning?” After Church, they are taken to the coffee hour and introduced to the clergy, and others. It’s all about them, and suddenly they’re not strangers, but part of a new community of welcome and light instead of the preoccupied one above....

In Jeremiah, we get a short and pithy message: “God keeps his promises.” Nobody has to wonder about that. Jeremiah had to tell his wealthy friends and others that things weren’t right between them and God. But he also got to say that God was going to do something about that, even if they weren’t. He was going to re-establish righteousness, a right relationship between God and God’s people. In this brief passage one has the feeling it’s a done deal, so you might as well enjoy the show! The passage also proclaims God’s intention of justice and righteousness in the land—a hope that has sustained faithful people through many faithless times, and continues to do so. God redeems messes.

In the passage from I Thessalonians the writer prays that the people who are the beloved believers will be blameless before God at the coming of the Lord Jesus with all the saints. And it all comes out of the boundless love that they share with one another. They have imitated Christ, and their reward will be Christ’s sustaining love forever.

So, we have the tools of grace, faith (promises kept), and our capacity to imitate Christ to use in our Advent journey. We can still shop, maybe even go to a party or two, but they’re not the main thing. The main thing is that even when the news is bad, and it’s not very good right now, even when terrible things are happening and we get them flashed live into our homes, they are not God’s message. God’s message is a response. “Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The full text of his sermon is online here: The Tools of Grace

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11/27/2009

Christian Hope

The Rev. Andrew Greeley is a Roman Catholic priest and novelist who sermons use stories to convey a Gospel message. Below is his story of Christian hope:
When Mollie Whuppi and her friends were in eighth grade, they discovered at one of the parks in their neighborhood a game called women’s softball. It wasn’t really sixteen inch softball like we play in Chicago but smaller softball which is played in most of the rest of the country which is not as civilized as Chicago. Anyway, they liked the game and decided that there should be a women’s team at Mother Mary High School. So the first week of their Freshman year in high school Mollie walked into the principal’s office and demanded that their be a team. The principal had yet to learn that Mollie was the boss, so she said. Go organized your team Mollie. We don’t have money for coaches or uniforms or a team bus but we can buy a couple of bats for you. Mollie said that was just fine. She’d be manager and coach too and they’d save money to buy their own uniforms. So, even though she was busy with other things like being class president and president of the chess club and chairman of the social action committee – and lots of other things besides, she organized the softball team. Now as everyone knows young women are much more serious about sports then young men so they practice very hard. Mollie told them it would take three years of experience before they could win city.

The first year, they were terrible, the second year they were pretty good and the third year they surprised everyone by getting to the city finals. They had to ride across town in their parents’ SUVs and the reception was very unfriendly. The crowd booed them. Boys shouted bad words at them. The other team snarled and made fun of their uniforms. But with Mollie on the mound Mother held the others scoreless and hitless for six innings. In the first half of the seventh Mollie hit a home run so going into the last of the seventh (softball games last only seven innings) Mother Mary was up 1-0. Mollie struck out the first two batters. Then she pitched three straight strikes to the last batter. But the umpire, who made no secret of which side he was on, called them balls. Everyone knew that Mollie’s four pitch was a strike too, but the ump waved the batter down to first based. Then the next batter hit a long foul ball – everyone knew it was a foul ball, but the ump called it fair. The tying run scored. The throw from right field was slow but Mollie caught it and ran to the plate to tag the hitter out by a mile. The ump called her safe. The crowds went wild with laugher. The winners stalked off the field. The Mother Mary players didn’t curse, they didn’t shout. They just cried. All except Mollie. Chill out, she shouted, we’re still on our game plan. Next year we will play them at home and we’ll win, just like we planned. The players from Mother Mary stalked out of the field chanting, “wait till next year” the battle cry of defeated sports teams and political parties–a hint of the Christian Hope that next year will be better even when this year is the last year of our life.

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11/26/2009

Beyond the Myth of Thanksgiving


The myth of Thanksgiving has everything to do with the Pilgrims celebrating a joint feast with their neighbors, the Wampanoag people to offer thanks for a successful harvest. No Thanksgiving passes by in schools without a plethora of pilgrim costumes and vaguely western-looking Native American headdresses. Yet in some dim way, we know that Thanksgiving has not been continuously observed since that fall of 1621.

Thanksgiving was born out of revolution and civil war. Its history is perhaps more noble for its bloodstained roots than for its Pilgrim ideal.

The first thanksgiving was November 26, 1789 and it was created by proclamation of George Washington in thanksgiving for the establishment of the new government of the United States of America. That day was to be devoted “to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

The Continental Congress and its President were thankful for the new nation but beyond that they also sought forgiveness. Washington’s proclamation said the nation was to, “beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.” These are the words of a general who led troops in battle. He knew the price of the peace enjoyed by the new nation.

That first thanksgiving was a stand-alone event. From time to time other president’s issued similar proclamations for thanksgiving. We did not get a national day of thanksgiving as an annual event until the country was in the midst of the Civil War.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the national holiday. It was this document which inaugurated Thanksgiving, though not as we now know it now. That proclamation, written by Secretary of State William Seward and signed by Lincoln, called for prayers for forgiveness as well as thanks.

Seward cited the better than usual harvest of 1863 and the continued progress of mines and the expansion of cleared territory to the west to all be signs of God’s Providence even in the midst of war. He wrote, “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Yet this first true Thanksgiving holiday was also marked by a call for prayers of forgiveness. He asked of those gathered for the feast that they “do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation.”

No mention was made by Washington or Lincoln to that fall of 1621 when Pilgrims ate with Native Americans. It is not that the meal didn’t happen. It was just that those creating our national day of thanks made reference to revolution and civil war, not to the more idealized gathering of native and migrant populations joining for a common meal. The holiday remained the last Thursday of November until, as Europe was at war in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt moved the observance to the fourth Thursday.

Later these annual feasts in thanks to God would look back to 1621 as the ideal template for Thanksgiving. The records of the Mayflower settlers record a three-day feast during which the Pilgrims provided the initial meal and the Wampanoag added to it with five deer killed during the course of the festival. People who could have been enemies sat together to share a meal. Tongue in cheek I should add that this image of potential combatants enjoying a meal may have more to do with our family gatherings than we would like to admit.

Yet beyond the myth of the first Thanksgiving being that Pilgrim meal, we find the truth of what two of our greatest leaders actually did. They each called the nation to give thanks to God for the good gifts of creation. They also asked for prayers for forgiveness for the ways in which we had dishonored that gift of God.

Thanking God for his goodness while asking for forgiveness for our disobedience were two sides of the same coin. Both were at the heart of what forged the desire for a national holiday following the Revolution and while in the midst of the Civil War.

When you join hands to give thanks this coming week, what would it be like to reinvigorate the “thanks” of Thanksgiving by also acknowledging what we have done with the gifts God has given us? I imagine this would make for a downer of a family meal. It wouldn’t be a practical switch from the more typical “What things from this past year are you thankful for?”

Setting the meal itself aside for the moment, how can we recapture that spirit of asking for forgiveness which was also the purpose to which Washington and Lincoln called us? For adding the prayer for forgiveness is what makes it possible for us to separate out the good gifts God has given us from the real pain and suffering we cause one another.

Beyond the myth of the first Thanksgiving being a noble feast we find a nation whose great leaders acknowledge both God’s gifts and our own shortcomings. Without beating ourselves up, we too can remember, “the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

The above column was my contribution to Episcopal Life last November.

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor


1 Comments:

  • At 11/26/2009 11:02 AM, Blogger eric said…

    Your article brings to mind something that came to me in the midst of an experience I might otherwise have found defeating and overwhelming, rather than the transformation blessing all events can be provided we have the proper perspective: When you give your life to God, everything you do becomes a Sacrament.

    I would like to share the perspective of a friend, particularly her post entitled "The Perfect Gift" ... a way of sharing with you what I have found uplifting, inspiring and provocative. http://adifferentwayoflookingatthings.blogspot.com/

    Thank you for your inspiration and service. Happy Thanksgiving!

     

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11/25/2009

Saying Grace


The folks at Beliefnet are getting us ready for Thanksgiving with their page Thanksgiving Prayer: When Words Fail, Borrow a Line which includes:

A Moravian Blessing
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

A Hebrew Blessing
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Eternal King,
Who feeds the whole world with Your goodness,
With grace, with loving kindness, and with tender mercy.
You give food to all flesh,
For Your loving kindness endures forever.
Through Your great goodness, food has never failed us.
O may it not fail us forever, for Your name's sake,
Since You nourish and sustain all living things,
And do good to all,
And provide food for all Your creatures
Whom You have created.
Blesses are You, O Lord, Who gives food to all.

In the archives here at King of Peace, we have a booklet on blessings for food: Saying Grace at Mealtimes

Then there is the blessing which the children sing for each snack and meal at King of Peace Episcopal Day School and on our Kids in the Kingdom Sundays at King of Peace:
We are thankful. We are thankful.
For our food. For our food.
And our many blessings. And our many blessings.
Amen. Amen.

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  • At 11/25/2009 12:27 PM, Anonymous Kay Guest said…

    Thank you for the poem by George Herbert the other day. Another thing that he said, which I like to remember this time of year is this: "Lord, you have given me so much. Give me one thing more - a thankful heart".

     

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11/24/2009

The Pearl

The following is a poem from George Herbert (1593-1633), an Anglican priest and poet. On his ordination, Herbert went to Bemerton, a rural parish 75 miles southwest of London where he preached and wrote poetry. The son of a wealthy Welsh family, he helped to rebuild the church out of his own funds. Herbert died of tuberculosis three years after being ordained to the priesthood, leaving behind a treasure of poetry.

The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls; who, when he had found one, sold all that he had and bought it.—Matthew 13.45

I know the ways of Learning; both the head
And pipes that feed the press, and make it run;
What reason hath from nature borrowed,
Or of itself, like a good huswife, spun
In laws and policy; what the stars conspire,
What willing nature speaks, what forced by fire;
Both th' old discoveries, and the new-found seas,
The stock and surplus, cause and history:
All these stand open, or I have the keys:
Yet I love thee.

I know the ways of Honour, what maintains
The quick returns of courtesy and wit:
In vies of favours whether party gains,
When glory swells the heart, and moldeth it
To all expressions both of hand and eye,
Which on the world a true-love-knot may tie,
And bear the bundle, wheresoe'er it goes:
How many drams of spirit there must be
To sell my life unto my friends or foes:
Yet I love thee.

I know the ways of Pleasure, the sweet strains,
The lullings and the relishes of it;
The propositions of hot blood and brains;
What mirth and music mean; what love and wit
Have done these twenty hundred years, and more:
I know the projects of unbridled store:
My stuff is flesh, not brass; my senses live,
And grumble oft, that they have more in me
Than he that curbs them, being but one to five:
Yet I love thee.

I know all these, and have them in my hand:
Therefore not sealed, but with open eyes
I fly to thee, and fully understand
Both the main sale, and the commodities;
And at what rate and price I have thy love;
With all the circumstances that may move:
Yet through these labyrinths, not my grovelling wit,
But thy silk twist let down from heav'n to me,
Did both conduct and teach me, how by it
To climb to thee.

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11/23/2009

A Season of Healing



A Season of Healing: 365 Daily Readings, A Year Long Journey Toward Wholeness is now finished. Thanks to Maris, who came up with the idea and edited the project, the book is now cleaned up and ready for order.

The book contains hundreds of quotations together with original material. The text does not dwell each day on grief. Many days that topic does directly concern mourning. But there are also themes that run through the year dealing with love, forgiveness and healing. The idea is that the book creates a year-long journey weaving these themes through each day. Certainly some days will speak more strongly or directly to a given person than others, but I trust that the Holy Spirit who guided the selection of the material will also add to the words with inspiration beyond the text itself.

The downside is that at 412 pages, the book costs $24.98 from LuLu.com. The good news is that through the end of the month, they will give you 10% off is when you order, you put the code "GREATBOOK" in the box for special offers on checkout. Order from Lulu here: order A Season of Healing at Lulu.com.

The better news is that through a volume buy, those who attend King of Peace will be able to purchase the books at the church for $17, and $5 of that (all the profit) will go to the discretionary fund, which is used to assist those in need. The even better news is that the book is online in PDF form for free here: A Season of Healing.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Author/Compiler of Quotations

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  • At 11/23/2009 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Frank+ for a wonderful and powerful tool for healing,encouragement,and inspiration.

     

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Patience, Trust, Bearing Witness

I will be patient with my Christian brothers and sisters and my Church as God works in us all to make us what he wants us to be. I will trust God to convince others of his will. I will not try to manipulate or pressure others to do what I think is best. I will simply bear witness of what I sense God may be saying to us and watch to see how the spirit uses that witness.
Experiencing God, by Blackaby and King

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11/22/2009

What to Expect in Heaven

Early in his ministry, Billy Graham went to a small town Baptist church to preach a revival. He needed to mail a letter and so asked a boy on the street where he could find the post office. The boy gave him the directions and Graham, wanting to be concerned about the souls of all he met told him, “If you’ll come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.” Graham loves to tell of the boy’s reply, “I don’t think I’ll be there. You don’t even know your way to the post office.”

If I ever reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had expected to see there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there.
—John Newton (1725-1807) author of the hymn "Amazing Grace"

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11/21/2009

Perceptive young fellow


Barely visible in this wide photo of King of Peace is a youngish hawk who has been frequenting our church grounds, finding our yard a good place for hunting. While his hawkish ways might not seem to fit with a church named for peace, he assures me that he's just a young bird trying to make his way in the world by handling what could be a pest issue for us. What's not to like?




Above is Ron Lindquist's photo of the same hawk taken from the gazebo.

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Ad-o-Rama

Below is an advertisement which The Episcopal Church ran in a full page add in USA Today:



I posted a challenge on Facebook for ideas to do a quick and dirty mock up of another ad for The Episcopal Church. Two friends from seminary responded with ideas last night which I worked up into ads. On any of these, click the photo to see a larger version, which will be easier to read.


The Rev. Keith Johnson came up with the No shoes. No shirt. You still get service idea and I found a photo of the Soup Kitchen at Holy Apostles Episcopal in New York City that worked well. Victoria and I used to work with the soup kitchen at St. Peter's in Rome, Georgia and loved that ministry. I also like to think that even with our stuffy reputation all sorts and conditions of people are welcome.


The Rev. Kit Carlson played off the oft used expression in England that the Church of England is the "Tory Party at Prayer" in order to say that The Episcopal Church may be more diverse than you think, or as someone else at Facebook put it, It's not my grandmother's Episcopal Church, but my grandmother is welcome. I found a photo online at the Evangelical Education Society of The Episcopal Church and created a mock up of Kit's idea. This one seems more exclusive and divisive to me while reaching for its opposite, but I think Kit likes it and it does speak to the fact that the Episcopal congregations I visit are not filled with the elite, but with folk like me and you.


My mother-in-law, Laura Campbell, said, "The last is too divisive, and most Americans (including me) wouldn't get the Tory connection. Of these, the middle's most promising, but we need one that says there's room for everyone under our umbrella." So the above ad is a very quick and dirty change over to her concept.


In the comments below, Sarah Dylan Breuer recommended some ad copy, which I worked into the above version. The strength for me is the story. The photo shows members of two churches in our area helping build a home for a single mom and her daughter. The daughter was in the youth group at one of the churches. It was a Habitat for Humanity build, but entirely undertaken by a church for one of its own. Certainly, we should and do look out for others, but part of having a community is that it is also concerned for those in need within.

What do y'all think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Art Director

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20 Comments:

  • At 11/21/2009 9:47 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    The first is still my favorite, love the whole idea of it.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 11:08 AM, Blogger SUSAN RUSSELL said…

    Brilliant! Just "cross-blogged" your great piece ... keep 'em coming!

    http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2009/11/pilot-for-tec-episode-of-mad-men.html

     
  • At 11/21/2009 11:16 AM, Anonymous Bob/San Diego said…

    Now these are ads that will get folks attention and which carry a single, powerful message. Good for you. Thanks.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 11:39 AM, Blogger Bruce Robison said…

    We still have plenty of great Republican Episcopalians in these parts, and in most places--and while most folks have a good sense of humor, I find the second advert more trouble than it's worth. In a way the ad calls our attention to the the critical issue I think for the Episcopal Church right now, which is how to leave one enclave without simply creating another . . . .

     
  • At 11/21/2009 11:42 AM, Blogger mojnun said…

    YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! THIS is advertising. THIS is "branding." It is also EVANGELISM. Forget that prolix dreck running in USA Today. THIS is what you need to be running in your local paper, folks--it's catchy, creative, thoughtful. For what it's worth, you have my wholehearted endorsement!
    --The Rev. Jan Nunley, former TEC Deputy for Communication

     
  • At 11/21/2009 11:49 AM, Anonymous Lee Shaw said…

    As a non-Republican I agree with Bruce Robison on this. That so-called slogan about the Republican party at prayer is old and worn out. This is about who we are, not about who we are not. Leave the political labels out of it. If TEC is inclusive - really - then such labels do not matter anyway.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 12:09 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Say what you really think, Jan! (Grin). Seriously, Frank, these are brilliant. You need to start a section on your web site to put them so that the rest of us can grab them, tweak them, and use them! Beyond the prosaic nature of the USA Today Ad, I almost spit up my coffee when I saw "If you want to customize this ad, email..." It's the 21st century--give us the blank, editable copy and we can do our OWN modifications!

    Go Frank, go!

     
  • At 11/21/2009 1:53 PM, Anonymous Sarah Dylan Breuer said…

    This is brilliant. The "no longer the Republican Party at prayer" thing is my least favorite as a slogan -- these days, I don't think the issue is that people have a clear and negative idea of The Episcopal Church. A great many people wouldn't recall ever hearing of TEC.

    I often say that lots of people are explicitly desiring spiritual community, but don't think that they would find either spirituality OR community at a church. We need to let people know that we strive to form real, honest, spiritual community within and outside of our church buildings, and that we welcome all to join that adventure.

    I wish that our Church Center's communications department held contests like this to come up with ads and ideas!

     
  • At 11/21/2009 2:33 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I still like the no shoes, no shirt... the best. Simple idea that most people are acquainted with but has a twist that will grab their attention.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 4:53 PM, Blogger Rev Dr Mom said…

    I like the ad that ran in USA Today...it says something people need to hear. But I LOVE your ad with the umbrella--awesome.

    Most of us can't afford to run ads like this--but we could put them on our web pages, or use them as posters. Any way you can make them available?

     
  • At 11/21/2009 4:57 PM, Blogger SUSAN RUSSELL said…

    Here's mine:

    http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2009/11/think-you-already-know-enough-about.html

     
  • At 11/21/2009 5:05 PM, Blogger Melodie said…

    How about "Food for Thought," featuring a woman priest holding bread and wine? Copy could reference that we welcome men and women clergy and that we feed both souls and bodies through feeding ministries. We also welcome thinking.

    Melodie Woerman

     
  • At 11/21/2009 5:07 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Rev Dr Mom,

    Permissions would be needed to do more than play. The Spiritual Community ad at the bottom is one I created from a photo I took of people I know enough to feel comfortable saying that one would be fine to use anywhere. The others are more tenuous, though I did send a note to the persons who had those photos at their website as a heads up.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 6:00 PM, Blogger Grandmère Mimi said…

    I like the umbrella. I also like the idea of "no shoes no shirt", but wouldn't you have people in the picture without shirt or shoes? Or perhaps I'm too literal minded.

     
  • At 11/21/2009 7:39 PM, Blogger Ann said…

    Did you see this one? here

     
  • At 11/22/2009 1:20 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Grandmere,
    Having someone without shows or shirt would have been great. To create the rough version of the ad, I went online and was amazed to find the great photo I did use at the Holy Apostle's NYC website. The photo is of the servers and so the assumption one must make is that they will serve those who are without shoes or shirt. It seemed to fit, without having the literal connection.

     
  • At 11/22/2009 1:30 PM, Blogger Grandmère Mimi said…

    Frank, I linked to your post, and there's further discussion at my blog.

    I hope that our small efforts to suggest something better and more creative gets the attention of someone at 815 before they spend more money on ads.

    Also, one of my regular readers, Amy, is in your picture.

    Peace.

     
  • At 11/22/2009 3:58 PM, Blogger Joe Rawls said…

    I can't believe 815 spent however many thousands of dollars for that insipid USA Today ad. Well, actually, I can.

     
  • At 11/22/2009 5:46 PM, Blogger Wayne said…

    When I meet people in Southern California and tell them I work at an Episcopal Church, the most common question is: "Is that a Chirstian church?"

    Of course, they are reflecting the common perception around here that Chirstian = evangelical. They are ware of "Christian" churches and "Catholic" churches, which by extension are NOT "Christian."

    Most of these folks have no clear concept of any of the mainline churches: they are equally confused about Lutherans, Methodists, or Presbyterians -- unless the congregation is more evangelical than the denomination and then it is a "real Christian congregation."

    My answer, of course, is always, "Yes, we are Christian, of the most ancient variety. What exactly did you mean by your question?"

    I don't have an ad for it yet, but I think we specifically need to address the co-opting of the entire "brand" by one narrow, fairly recent strand of the tradition.

    ~Wayne

     
  • At 11/23/2009 1:45 PM, Blogger janinsanfran said…

    I wish I trusted more that we were actually good with those who have no shirt or shoes -- but about time we met them! Jesus says they are important, perhaps more so than we who write blogs.

    These are wonderful.

     

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I Am The Truth


In tomorrow's Gospel reading, we get an enigmatic exchance between Pilate and Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. John tells us:
Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."
We get this reading on what has come to be known as Christ the King Sunday as all the readings related to the kingship of Jesus. Here Jesus defines that kingship very differently from that of earthly kings. Theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965) put it this way:
The truth of which Jesus speaks is not a doctrine but a reality, namely, He Himself: "I am the truth."—a profound transformation of the ordinary meaning of truth. Jesus is not the truth because His teachings are true. But His teachings are true because they express the truth which He Himself is. He is more than His words. And He is more than any word said about Him. What Jesus said and what was written about Jesus is not the liberating truth. For this is the greatness of Protestantism: that it points beyond the teachings of Jesus and beyond the doctrines of the Church to the being of Him whose being is the truth.
Anthony F.M. Clavier has preached on this passage saying:
Our king likes to go out into the streets in disguise. He turns up as a street person, a homeless, battered woman, a black teen being taunted by young racists, and whispers to us that as we care for everyone, we care for him. As we care for him, we learn what loving sacrifice means. When we are humble enough to learn how to serve, we are ready to acknowledge Christ as king.

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11/20/2009

Help Us Care for Our Trees


This photo shows the sawdust at the base which is the sign of insect activity in the standing dead tree.

The Georgia extension agent came out to talk with us about the trees dying in our Memorial Garden and surrounding area. The trees are being attacked by bugs and they have jumped to multiple tree species. The extension agent says we must get the dead trees down as soon as possible to keep the problem from spreading.

R.J. McCaulley and Al Virgin got a number of trees down today. They need to have the limbs cut off and burned and the trunks cut up and hauled off. If you can assist with this, Al Virgin will be at the church at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, November 20) to get the trees limbs off and burned. We already have a lot of the wood cut up. If you want to burn it in your fireplace, it is good hardwood. You or anyone you know who can use it is welcome to the wood.

If you have a chainsaw or other equipment to help with the work, or are just willing to work to haul limbs and feed the fire, please come and work tomorrow. It will help us save our remaining trees.


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God’s special time with those in prison


“I was in prison and you visited me.” Jesus says this is an important test of who is truly one of his followers. He mentioned visiting those in prison alongside feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty and clothing the naked. These acts are the outward signs of the inward change of heart that comes with faith in Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of serving alongside some wonderful Christian men from around this area who were living into Jesus’ command. I was on the team for the fifteenth Kairos weekend to be held at D. Ray James Prison in Folkston. Kairos is a multi-denominational ministry which seeks to share Christ with those in prison.

If you are familiar with Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, and Tres Dias retreats, Kairos is a similar short-course in Christianity tailored just to those in prison. Like those other retreats, the goal of Kairos is not the weekend itself, but the ongoing Christian walk which follows the weekend. So the Kairos weekend is not an end in itself, but a means to pass through a given experience and into the ongoing Kairos community within the prison, made up of the many prisoners who have taken part in the weekend and seeking to live into their faith while in the institution.

The word “kairos” is from the Greek of the New Testament. In Greek, there are two words for time. The first is “chronos” which refers to quantity of time, like that measured by a watch, which is also referred as a chronometer. In addition, ancient Greek thought had “kairos” which refers to a quality of time. It means “the proper time,” “God’s appointed time,” or “God’s special time.” The Kairos weekend is to be God’s special time to come into the life of the men in prison in a new and more powerful way.

I know that some people see prison ministry as leading to jailhouse conversions that are less about changed hearts and lives and more about a desire to impress a judge, jury, or parole board. I can say that was not my experience with the Kairos weekend. The 42 men who participated in the weekend were genuinely focused on issues of forgiveness and redemption. I heard no talk of getting off, or getting out early or anything similar and only heard men seriously coming to terms with the deep wounds in their own lives and how the love of God could reach in and redeem those tragedies.

There is a tremendous power in having Christian men from outside the institution willingly come inside the razor wire ringed compound to remind the men that God has not forgotten them. I heard again and again how amazed the men were that we took a weekend that could have been devoted to any thing we wanted and spent it in prison. That witness of care from the outside is combined with the Kairos community of fellow prisoners who share the love of God inside the prison.

The strength of Kairos is that it is not a weekend detached from prison life. The Kairos ministry at D. Ray James is ongoing and the team goes back into the prison each month for reunion meetings. In addition, the prisoners have ongoing prayer and share groups in which they hold one another accountable for living out their faith. This serves as leaven in the institution and like a little yeast can cause the whole loaf of bread to rise, the hope is that the growing group of men who have participated in Kairos weekends will affect prisoners who have never been in the program.

At this most recent weekend, the closing speaker was a man who had attended the previous weekend (there is a Kairos weekend every six months at D. Ray James). He spoke movingly of the pain in his life, much of which was caused by his own gang activity. He shared how he had forgiven the many people who had hurt him while on the Kairos weekend. He went on to speak about the difference God was making in his life as he continued to live into his commitment to Jesus. He told how hard he was and how God’s love broke through and changed his heart. The man’s testimony was a moving tribute to the profound effect that a Kairos weekend can have, not just during the weekend itself, but in the months following.

If you are intrigued about this ministry, there are a few ways you can help:

  1. You can sponsor an inmate. The cost of providing food, Kairos materials, etc. adds up to a $150 per participant cost. You can sponsor an inmate’s Kairos weekend. This can also be done by an individual or by a Sunday School class or Bible Study all giving together to sponsor one man to attend the weekend.
  2. You can assist Kairos with its creation of a cookbook which will be sold to fund the ministry. The cookbook is coming together, but still needs about 200 more recipes.
  3. You can bake cookies for a Kairos weekend. Each weekend, the group takes thousands of home baked cookies into the prison as a gift to the staff. This friendly gesture adds to a great relationship with the guards.
  4. Twice a year, Kairos can also provide a special meal in prison. The next will be Thanksgiving and Kairos needs help buying turkey breasts (approximately 10 lbs. each). This can be done by donating money toward the turkey or by donating the actual breast meat.
  5. Christian men can take part in serving on a Kairos team. Pray about this and ask if God is using this column to lead you to answer Jesus’ call to visit men in prison knowing that when you visit even the least, it is as if you are visiting Jesus Christ himself. Team training for the next Kairos weekend, to be held the last weekend in April, will begin in March.

To follow up on any of these five possibilities, please contact Mack Jackson at mackjack66@tds.net, by phone or fax to (912) 576-1819 or by mail to Kairos Prison Ministry, 480 Mallett St., Folkston, GA 31537.

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

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11/19/2009

Everything I hope for

I asked for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for—
but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my
unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men,
most richly blessed.

—Anonymous Confederate Soldier

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11/18/2009

Keep short accounts

Years ago a wise woman instructed me to keep short accounts with the Lord as a path to grow in God’s ways. By bringing my sins before him on a regular basis, I stayed current in my relationship with him, not allowing offenses to mount up inside me. Then as I consistently sought the Lord for counsel through his Word, prayer, confession, and fellowship, I was free to become more familiar with the sound of his nurturing voice, which protected me from disparaging influences like the adversary’s screeches. My friends advice has held me in good spiritual stead.
—Patsy Clairmont, Mending Your Heart in a Broken World

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11/17/2009

The daily and the mundane

The Christian creeds used to seem like a ‘grocery list’ to me, and I found them very difficult to incorporate into my fledgling faith, as I made my way back to church after twenty years away. But now I see them as an admirably compact form of storytelling, and this makes me glad, for story places the creeds in the realm of the daily. It is in ordinary life that our stories unfold, tales of conceiving, bearing and giving birth, or trial and death and rising to new life out of the ashes of the old. Stories of annunciation, incarnation, resurrection, and the spirit, the giver of life, who has spoken through the prophets and enlivens our faith.

As wondrous as these mysteries are, Christianity is inescapably down-to-earth and incarnational—I say ‘inescapably,’ as most of us, at one time or another, try to avoid the implications of incarnational faith. The Christian religion asks us to place our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and who desires to be present to us in our everyday circumstances. And because we are human, it is in the realm of the daily and the mundane that we must find out way to God.
—Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries

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11/16/2009

NTHBGNNNGGDCRTDTHHVNSNDTHRTH

If someone asked you where to find the Bible verse that begins, “For God so loved the world…you’d probably know he was asking about John 3:16. If you had a Bible, you could find it for him in no time. But there was a time when no one could find a single verse in the whole Bible. There was no John 3:16, Genesis l:l or any other verse because the Bible wasn’t divided into verses or even chapters. Worse yet, there were hundreds of years when there weren’t even any word divisions. Punctuation marks, capital letters and even vowels were omitted. In those days, if Genesis had been written in English, it would have started: NTHBGNNNGGDCRTDTHHVNSNDTHRTH.” You would have had to spend hours or days just to find your favorite verse.

Words were divided by Jesus’ time, but vowels weren’t used in Hebrew Old Testaments until the sixth century A. D. Gradually, capitalization, punctuation and paragraphing worked their way into the Old and New Testaments. But Bible chapters such as we have today didn’t come into being until the 13th century. They were the work of Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

For the next 200 years, the Bible, now divided into chapters, continued to be copied by hand. Then in 1448, Rabbi Nathan startled the world by breaking the Old Testament into verses. The New Testament wasn’t divided into numbered verses until 1551 when a French printer, Robert Estienne did the job. He was planning a study Bible that would have side-by-side columns in three translations when he got the idea. He was so rushed for time he decided to do the dividing on a trip from Paris to Lyons. Some people have suggested he did the work on horseback and his sometimes awkward divisions resulted when his “jogging horse bumped his pen in the wrong places.” Yet, with a few exceptions, Estienne’s divisions provide us with the verses we have today.

So just as number of people were used in writing of the Bible over a period of centuries, it was the contribution of countless scribes, hundreds of years, and three men in particular—a Catholic archbishop, a Jewish rabbi and a Protestant printer—who turned “NTHBGNNNGGDCRTDTHHVNSNDTHRTH” into Genesis l:l.
—Miller Clarke, Campus Life, March, 1981

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11/15/2009

Faithfulness

Briton Roviere's painting of the jailed poacher and his faithful dog
The fruits of the Spirit get less and less showy as we go on. Faithfulness means continuing quietly with the job we have been given, in the situation where we have been placed; not yielding to the restless desire for change. It means tending the lamp quietly for God without wondering how much longer it has got to go on. Steady, unsensational driving, taking good care of the car. A Lot of the road to heaven has to be taken at thirty miles per hour. It means keeping everything in your charge in good order for love’s sake, rubbing up the silver, polishing the glass even though you know the Master will not be looking round the pantry next weekend. If your life is really part of the apparatus of the Spirit, that is the sort of life it must be. You have got to be the sort of cat who can be left alone with the canary; the sort of dog who follows, hungry and thirsty but tail up to the end of the day.

Faithfulness and Goodness—they are doggy qualities. Fancy that as a Fruit of the Spirit! But then the Spirit is Love, and doggy love is a very good sort of love, humble and selfless and enduring.
—Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) The Fruits of the Spirit

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  • At 4/01/2011 11:11 AM, Blogger Irmgarde said…

    Hope you don't mind. Used this image as an illustration for post today:

    http://irmgardebrown.com/2011/04/01/cant-disown-himself/

     

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11/14/2009

Annual Holiday Bazaar


Our Holiday Bazzar was a big success with a number of vendors selling art and handmade crafts. There was a large children's area and lunch as well which included homemade white chili, Brunswick Stew and more. At left is Melodie as Melfe the Elf in the children's storytime area in one of our preschool classrooms.

The approximately $5,000 raised by King of Peace goes to support outreach in our community through groups like Habitat for Humanity, CASA, Camden House, and other's with whom we share the proceeds.






Church mice made by the women of King of Peace.




The silent auction area.

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11/13/2009

Backward Christian Soldiers

On Wednesday evening, we ended our communion, which had used the readings for soldier turned saint, Martin of Tours, with a rousing Onward Christian Soliders. Since then I was shown an alternate text called backward Christian Soldiers.

Holiday Bazaar
I am thankful that we at King of Peace are moving ahead and this Saturday we are doing so with our annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Bazaar which raises thousands of dollars for our community. We will have lots of handmade crafts and wonderful homemade food and treats as well as a larger than ever kids area. It's all tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The alternate text to the hymn, attributed to George Verwer, is as follows:
Backward Christian Soldiers

Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.

Christ our rightful master
Stands against the foe
Onward into battle, we
seem afraid to go.

Chorus:
Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.

Like a mighty tortoise
Moves the church of God.
Brothers we are treading,
Where we've often trod.

We are much divided,
Many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, but
Not much charity.

Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the cross of Jesus
Hidden does remain.

Gates of hell should never
'gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ's own promise, but
we think it might fail.

Sit here then ye people,
Join our sleeping throng.
Blend with ours, your voices
in a feeble song.

Blessings, ease and comfort
Ask from Christ the King,
But with our modern thinking,
We won't do a thing.

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11/12/2009

Required Communion?

In 1779, students at Cambridge University in England were required to receive Holy Communion at least three times a year. That year, 20 year old Charles Simeon (1759-1836) entered the university in January interested in horses, games, and fashion. Baptized as an infant, his family was not religious. Simeon said that at that point in his life, Satan was as prepared to receive communion as was he. But Simeon decided that he must prepare for Easter communion. He began reading scripture and religious books.

He read of the sacrifices in the Old Testament, and later wrote that he thought, "What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an offering for me, that I may lie my sins on his head?" He said that on realizing that he had sinned and needed the forgiveness offered through Jesus, he immediately laid his sins "upon the sacred head of Jesus."

On the Wednesday of Holy Week, he wrote, he "began a hope of mercy. On the Thursday, that hope increased. On the Friday and Saturday, it became more strong. And on the Sunday morning, Easter Day, April 4, I woke early with these words upon my heart and lips: Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Halleluja, Halleluja!"

Simeon was ordained to the priesthood and served Trinity Church, Cambridge for nearly 50 years. His church tried to literally lock him out at first as he preached scripture to a university congregation not accustomed to such evangelical preaching. Over time, the congregation came around and supported Simeon's preaching and teaching ministry which would come to have worldwide effect as a third of all ordained ministers in the Church of England had sat at one point in his Cambridge pews.

It was the seriousness with which he took the requirement, which changed Charles Simeon's life. Who could imagine that a university requirement to receive communion would be to such effect? We celebrate him on this day each year as a saint of The Episcopal Church.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

O loving God, we know that all things are ordered by your unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see your hand; that, following the example and teaching of your servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve you with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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  • At 11/12/2009 11:00 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    The irony, of course, is that actually requiring something like regular communion, especially from someone as unprepared as he was, is so un-Episcopalian nowadays.

     

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11/11/2009

Welcoming the Next Generation


This video was created created by young adult and Youth Ministries Coordinator Lydia Kelsey of the Diocese of Iowa.


Father Matthew Presents "How to Become a Saint"

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11/10/2009

Islam and the Fort Hood Shootings

Over at Newsweek and The Washington Post their On Faith Forum is discussing "What effect will the Fort Hood shootings have on the American public's perception of Islam?"

Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld wrote in part,
With 13 dead, 30 wounded and a Muslim officer who shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as he opened fire on them, we must do three things: first, most importantly, we must care for the injured, support their families, and comfort the mourners. Second, we must fight all efforts to use this tragedy to cast aspersions upon an entire tradition and all of its followers. And third, we, and more importantly those followers, must ask tough questions about the relationship between the faith which the shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, followed and the actions which he took.

The human issues really are job one. And the test of that commitment will be in the way which people not only reach out to the families of the victims, but also to the Hasan family as well. They too, by all accounts, are victims. There is no evidence that they supported Maj. Hasan in his terrorist attack, and they are among the most vulnerable to any potential backlash which may occur. While the military and the FBI will certainly continue to investigate all aspects of this case, including Hasan's family, until we know otherwise, they too deserve our compassion and concern....

All this having been said however, when a man commits mass murder and shouts 'God is great' as he does so, hard questions must be asked. And the place they must be asked the most, is where they seemed to be asked least i.e. the community from which the murderer came. It's not enough to say that this was the work of a lone madman, or that this "has nothing to do with Islam". None of us operates in a vacuum and clearly for Maj. Hasan it did.

Collective guilt is never appropriate, but collective responsibility always is. In fact, it is the hallmark of any ethical community.
The full text of his response is online here: For God's Sake

Muslim and 25 million record selling pop star Salman Ahmad wrote
The Qur'an teaches us that "Killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity and saving one person's life is like saving all of humanity". Obviously the solitary shooter's disturbed and tormented mind could not grasp that clear and unequivocal edict to treat all people with compassion and mercy.
His full response is here: Act of One man, Not an Act of Faith

The rest of the panelists responses are online here: What effect will the Fort Hood shootings have on the American public's perception of Islam?

I think it is a given that the attacks have already damaged public perception of Islam. I hate to see Christianity as a whole tainted by the acts of the few and so feel sympathy for those who will be prejudiced in the eyes of others all the more because of the Fort Hood attack.

I have no doubt that there are many Muslims who do abhor this act of violence. I am sorry that this one man's actions put a burden on the backs of Muslims in America. Yet, though it is faulty reasoning to see the actions of the one as representative of the many, the burden does (as the Rabbi writing above states it) fall to those many to repudiate the actions in word and deed and so to show Islam in America to be a religion of peace. That's my take. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 11/11/2009 7:14 AM, Blogger Clarence said…

    Being politically correct is not from God, but man. Those who are not with us, are against us. Tell me about all of the humanitarian acts of Islam. Consider this fact, If Muslims laid down their weapons, and turned them into plow shears, there would be no aggression in the world.

    Swamp Yankee!

     
  • At 11/11/2009 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There has always been aggression in the world, and no faith is immune from condemnation. Remember the Crusades....those were Christians. There is aggression within families, within communities, between countries, ideologies, and theocracies. I would think God is weeping for our human frailties that all peoples perpetrate every day.

     

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11/09/2009

Grief (for 365 days)

I am working on finishing up a project with 365 daily readings for folks in grief. This does not necessarily mean people going through the loss of a loved one, but can include loss of ability due to illness, grief after a divorce, or any time one is healing after a loss.

I have written large parts of the book, but it mainly consists of daily quotations from others. I am writing this to cast the net wide before wrapping up the project. Does anyone have quotes short or long that have helped in times of grief? Below is Day 6 of the 365 day project to give you an example.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

"He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it."
~Turkish Proverb

"Every one can master a grief but he that has it."
~William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
~Jesus (Matthew 5:4)

It’s all right to cry. What are you saving your tears for if not for this? It’s also all right to laugh and enjoy yourself when you can. Just because you laugh or have some fun, does not mean that your loss is any less real. Grief has lots of ups and downs. When you are feeling a little better, nourish that feeling, don’t fight it out of a misplaced sense of guilt. Both laughter and tears are gifts, receive them as such and be blessed. Fight back the tears, hold back the laughter and you hold back the healing they can bring over time.

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11/08/2009

God actually likes you

A lot of people feel, "God loves me because he has to. But does he like me?" God actually likes you. He made you, and he’s got a beautiful purpose for your life.
—Luis Palau

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11/07/2009

Holding Nothing Back


In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Mark tells us of an incident in the temple,
Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
I wrote a sermon on this passage three years ago for The Episcopal Church's Sermons That Work series in which I said in part,
It would be nice if Mark filled in more details for us. Was Jesus’ arm around the woman as he said, “This poor widow has put in more …” or was the woman blending back into the crowd, never to be seen again? Or perhaps Jesus asked his own keeper of the purse, Judas Iscariot, to give something to this woman so that she would not go hungry that evening. Or better still, did the widow come to be a Christ follower? Did she join with the other women who journeyed with Jesus from Galilee to the cross and beyond?

The Gospel never answers these questions. The nameless widow who gave two small coins fades into the background. We may want to know her name in order to name churches, schools, and hospitals in her honor. We may want to give her a place of honor in Jesus’ stories alongside disciples whose names we know, though their trust in God wasn’t always so exemplary.

But perhaps namelessness is appropriate for this living parable. And maybe it is best, too, that we don’t find out how her story ends. The nameless woman whose ultimate fate we never know is perhaps an even better icon of trust, for her story was a precarious one. She went to the temple that day not knowing if she would ever have two little coins to call her own again. It could have been her path to a life of begging or even a station on the road to starvation.

But in facing an uncertain future, the widow reached out to God. She trusted that if she gave everything she had to God, even the little she gave would be honored. And whether she was repaid handsomely by Jesus himself, or God cared for her in some other way, we, too, have to trust. We trust that the widow’s story turned out all right. We trust that whether she lived or died, she was God’s.

And by her example, Jesus shows that what we withhold may matter more than what we offer. The widow was a woman of great faith, who held nothing back. She knew what Jesus’ disciples were just learning: we are to give, knowing that everything we have is God’s already. We can’t give God anything. But we can offer our very selves to the Kingdom of God, holding nothing back.

She was a woman. She was poor. She was a widow down to her last two coins. She was a child of God who placed her whole life back in her loving creator’s hands.
The full text of the sermon is online here: Holding Nothing Back.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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11/06/2009

Can we get mad at God?

Face it. Sometimes God does not do what we want when we want. Who am I kidding? God often does not do what we want when we want it done.

Of course, that is probably a good thing. I am as capable as the next person of praying for something that may cause more harm than good in the long run. We trust in God’s heavenly perspective that the way God does act on our prayers will be for the best.

What about the other times? What about the times when things happen that leave us mad at God—not a little bothered or upset—but burning with anger mad.

If the Bible is our guide in answering this question, then you will see that God can take the heat. You could turn to the Book of Job or elsewhere, but I think the Psalms are the best example of anger at God. Some of the words the psalmist uses are burning hot with anger.

Psalm 22 begins “My God, My God why have you forsaken me and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?” Psalm 88:15 cries out, “Lord, why have you rejected me? Why have you hidden your face from me?” Psalm 44 is a lengthy cry for help that accuses God of having fallen asleep in a time of need. In Psalm 39, the Psalmist has had enough of God’s attention and says, “Turn your face from me, that I may be glad again, before I go my way and am no more.”

The Psalms are bold in the way they speak about God and to God. In fact, the most common type of Psalm is the lament Psalm. The lament Psalms are usually vague about the circumstances that have led to the distress, but they are vividly clear about how it feels.

The Psalmist writes in 6:6, “I grow weary because of my groaning; every night I drench my bed and flood my couch with tears.” Psalm 129:3 proclaims, “The plowmen plowed upon my back and made their furrows long.” These metaphors are strong images of very real emotional pain and turmoil. I think finding these expressions in scripture frees us up to get in touch with our anger, hurt, and disappointments. The Bible is a very realistic book and in the real world people suffer and feel abandoned by God. Scripture gives voice to these feelings.

Like Job, the lament Psalms rail against God refusing any false hopes or too pat answers. The Psalms take trust in God to a deeper level in which even our anger and disappointments with God are not out of bounds. It would seem that ancient Israel had a broader range of emotions in prayer than one finds today. The loud groan and the angry cry found their places alongside praise in the Psalms.

What is even more interesting is that Psalms were collected for public worship, not simply private devotions. The Temple in Jerusalem once rang out with people singing these Psalms in worship. In the process, they must have taken hold of a different understanding of how their times of personal prayer might sound.

The most important thing to me about the laments is that they are not simply cries of anger about a situation or cries of anger at God. The lament Psalms are also cries to God. No matter how hot the anger burns, the Psalmist stays in contact with God. The typical movement in a lament Psalm is from the lament to praise. This happens in a single verse without any description of a change in circumstances. The lament Psalms switch from angry cry to confident praise without missing a beat.

In Psalm 6, the mood switches like this, “My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all evildoers, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

We get no report of an actual change in circumstances. This too is realistic. We turn to God in prayer and trust that God will take care of things, but there may be no immediate change or no change at all. The lament Psalms cause for rejoicing seems to be that the Psalmist has finally summoned up the courage to take all this anger and resentment about God to God. Having laid all the anger at God’s feet and not been struck by lightning, the Psalmist is now ready to praise God in advance believing that God will act for the best.

The lament Psalms teach that God can deal with your anger better than your silence. When you are angry with God, don’t be afraid to say so. If you are at a loss for words, try strolling through the Psalms as you will find plenty of anger directed at God within these ancient hymns. Tell God exactly how you feel. Don’t hold back. It may not provide an instant miracle of praise, but you will reopen up the channel of communication with God through prayer, which is what the lament Psalms accomplish best.

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

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11/05/2009

Advent Starts Sunday at King of Peace



Yes, I know that Sunday is November 8 and that means we have seven Sundays to go before Christmas. And yes, I know that expanding Advent seems more like what store owners might do than what a Christian church should do. But bear with me just a moment.

I shared a PDF here some weeks back that I have been reflecting on in the meantime: Anticipated Returns: The Advent project in which liturgist Bill Peterson shares the idea of expanding Advent back to its historic seven weeks as still practiced by Orthodox churches.

As we have a website visited by thousands each year for our Advent information and thousands more for our booklet Celebrating Advent in the Home which tout a four-week Advent, we will be practicing something other than what we preach. But at least we will be doing more, not less, than advertised.

This Sunday, we will begin the anticipation of Advent earlier than ever. We will see how this goes, reflect, report back to the project and decide what to do in future years.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Liturgical Experimentor

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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Kairos


I am going to prison this afternoon. In doing so, I am joining a group of men from a variety of Christian denominations to put on a Kairos retreat at D. Ray James Prison in Folkston. Similar to Cursillo, the Kairos Retreat is a short-course in Christianity, but it is designed for prisoners. The main thing for Kairos is "Listen, Listen. Love, Love." Then you just repeat that process. By listening to prisoners and loving them it shows that God cares for them, for it is in response to the love God has shown us that the team goes into the prison. The strength of Kairos is that it has follow up weekends and welcomes the new participants into a community of previous participants, so that it is not a stand alone retreat, but part of an ongoing follow up.

Kairos is the New Testament Greek word for God's time, which is the right time or the appointed time. Unlike, Chronos, which is the time registering on a watch, Kairos describes things that happen at the time appointed by God. Chronos is a quanitfiable measure, while Kairos is a qualitative measure. Kairos describes how God's timing is right and perfect and fits in ways we could not have seen beforehand. In a Kairos retreat we pray for it to be a special time of a prisoner with his loving creator.

More information on Kairos is online at www.kairosprisonministry.org. Please pray for the Kairos weekend. I get out of prison on Sunday!

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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11/04/2009

What Will Matter Most?

When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?

Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?
—Max Lucado

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11/03/2009

It Is Well With My Soul

Hymns are an important source of our theology. The words work into our very being and speak to us when we need to hear them.

Sunday evening, I led a getting to know you session that kicked off our currently meeting Diocese of Georgia Clergy Conference. One of the tings I asked was for the group to go around and name favorite hymns and why they spoke to them. A couple of people mentioned Horatio Spafford's "It Is Well With My Soul." We sang it at my father's funeral and I have sung it many times elsewhere.

The story behind the hymn is an important window into its words as the hymn was written after series of crushingly traumatic events in Spafford’s life. His only son died in 1871. Close on the heals of that death came his financial ruin in the great Chicago Fire. Two years later, he was to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville du Havre, but business delayed him and the family went first. In making the Atlantic crossing, the Ville du Havre collided with another boat andquickly sank taking Spafford’s four daughters with it. Anna, his wife, survived the sinking and sent him a two word telegram, “Saved alone.” Spafford sailed to reunite with his grieving wife, and as his ship passed near the spot where his daughters had died, he penned these words:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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11/02/2009

All Saints Day Photos



Yesterday was the Feast of All Saints. Bishop and Jan Louttit were with us for the last visit as diocesan bishop and wife. Eden and Arden were baptized. The bell choir made it debut playing together with the ensemble. The Memorial Garden was dedicated and a covered dish lunch wrapped up the morning. It was a great celebration. Here are some of the photos. Click on any picture to see a larger version of it.






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  • At 11/02/2009 2:08 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Not enough pictures of them ding-a-lings!!

     
  • At 11/02/2009 4:36 PM, Anonymous Amber said…

    I agree!! We worked hard :)

     
  • At 11/02/2009 8:45 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    The BELLS sounded awesome!!!!

    Question: Where's Debbie's other leg in the fifth picture down?

     
  • At 11/02/2009 9:03 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    That's funny Kelly! I do imagine that Debbie has one foot placed in front of the other from this angle.

    As to bell photos, I would LOVE to post some. The bell choir was awesome. But I arranged for two photographers and both were blocked by the Ensemble, who I though would be to the right. Did Geoff get video? We could use that to cut a short video.
    Peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 11/07/2009 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, I like it when the ensembles sings from the right like a choir, but there was no way to do that and Lee and I not have our backs to each other. Geoff has video and maybe we can get pictures from that.

    Debbie

     

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