Saturday, September 29, 2007
St. Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares
of the Devil.May God rebuke him,we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Courtesy of: " What's In Kelvin's Head..."
....Each Eucharist I celebrate teaches me something new...Each time fresh. Each time something that God offers back to us, increasing the knowledge that we have in justice restored, hope revealed, holiness amongst us and resurrection life itself.
Today I celebrated a Eucharist in circumstances which were new to me but which felt old and traditional all the same. A new addition to the range of things that human beings have wanted to mark with the sharing of the bread of heaven and the wine of new life. Today it was in celebration of a Civil Partnership between two people whom I have come to know through my work.
Duncan wrote last week of his sense of holiness in being with a couple as they vow to be with one another for life. I know that feeling well, yet every time it surprises me just a little. The most intimate of moments a couple ever have, but shared with their families and friends and in the awesome presence of the living God. Today was no different.
As I helped the two men through their vows and then served communion to them and their friends in thanksgiving, I knew the Eucharist of old. And I knew the Eucharist afresh. I know Christ at that meal every time. Today it was knowing him holding the beloved disciple in his arms as he shared with his friends on his last night and as he has done at every Eucharist since.
People like me have been waiting for services like the one I celebrated today for so long....Christ the beloved one has been waiting much longer.
Kelvin Holsworth is Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is what all the fuss seems to be about in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and indeed, as our world changes, an issue that all Christendom will have to revisit for good or ill! There is no doubt the language and image this post conveys can provoke strong feelings. For some, disgust and utter rejection, for others rage yet for some determination, encouragement and hope.
Even though the Bible seems to be clear in its condemnation of same gender sexual intimacy, to hear people from varying perspectives discuss the Scriptural implications as they apply to modern day Christians,one would think they were reading completely different texts! For some it is a forbidden choice that uniformly leads to hell and damnation...Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!!! What's in that guy's head???? For others it is a given, a natural orientation to be lived out in the context of fidelity and committed love, as all Christian relationships. To spice it all up...its not just about concepts but about persons, some of which we may know and love and whose lives and relatioships stand the most to lose by the tenor and substance of our conversation.
I must admit to not being able reconcile these two seemingly logical and absolutely passionate yet divergent points of view. There is of course Christian tradition to consider as we interpret Scripture, yet, sometimes we have been as blind as the Pharisees were, and like them, just as unable to recognize in the disturbing words and actions of Jesus the good news of God!
Will this one issue be the destruction of TEC and the Anglican Communion or will it be as others an oportunity for growth and discernment? God knows and time will tell...!
Senate Passes Children’s Health Plan
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: September 28, 2007
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — The Senate gave final approval on Thursday to a health insurance bill for 10 million children, clearing the measure for President Bush, who said he would veto it. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, one of 18 Republicans who voted for the bill, said the White House had shown “little if any willingness to come to the negotiating table.”
Republican opponents of the bill, like Senators Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and John Cornyn of Texas, said it would be a big step toward socialized medicine, would shift people from private insurance to a public program and would allow coverage for illegal immigrants and children in high-income families....
It seems unthinkable that in a country like ours, touted to be the richest in the world, where billions have been spent on war over the last several years there is such a thing as children without health insurance!!!
Makes one wonder about properly formed conciences....? Republicans, many who claim to be prolife, need to remember that term is not defined just by opposition to abortion! It is about the promotion of life, "abundant life" as Jesus spoke of! Pro-life must necessarily involve work on the erradication of violence, poverty, abuse, neglect and disease....health insurance making access to care for all children...rich poor, illegal or not is really a no -brainer!
Charity begins at home...!!! Kudos to those in the Senate, Democrat and Republican alike who decided to put differences aside and the welfare of children first!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
September 27, 2007
HIV-infected condoms sent to kill Africans, claims Archbishop.
...Mozambique's Roman Catholic archbishop has accused European condom manufacturers of deliberately infecting their products with HIV "in order to finish quickly the African people". The archbishop of Maputo, Francisco Chimoio, told the BBC that he had specific information about a plot to kill off Africans. "I know that there are two countries in Europe ... making condoms with the virus, on purpose," he alleged. But he refused to name the countries. The Catholic church has resisted pressure to amend its opposition to the use of condoms despite the Aids pandemic. Archbishop Chimoio told the BBC that abstinence was the best way to fight HIV/Aids…..
I am speechless....conspiracy theorists of the world rejoice...mayhem in Mozambique!!! While I wholeheartedly agree that abstinence is the best way to fight HIV...for the millions of HIV infected the world over and for those whose husbands, wives or significant others are infected, it seems insane to deny at least a measure of protection.
If there ever was a case of dogma dooming the devout,the delusional or the dumb this is it! Lord have mercy....
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners
"I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:23
The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners. We believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue. Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God's call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.
* We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
* We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
* We commend our Presiding Bishop's plan for episcopal visitors.
* We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
* We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
* We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
* We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
* We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.
Will anyone be even remotely satisfied with this statement? I wonder...???
“…Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…”
There is, for the Christian, no book as sublime as the Bible! It has for us the story of God and his dealings with humanity, and in its pages, in a real sense you encounter the very Word of God. The Bible for me has been not just formative in my religious thought, but a source of guidance, strength, consolation and peace. Yet, as I struggle to live my life as a follower of Christ I find that, beautiful and inspiring as it is, its message can be misunderstood! There are concepts taken at face value in different time periods and cultures where the original words were penned and .... some have changed. People engaged in that inspired writing had ideas we no longer hold! Our modern concepts of God, humanity, sin, life have all been the subject of conversation, study, prayer, investigation and debate for at least two millennia and wether we like to admit it or not....have evolved.
I have also found that sincere, wonderful Spirit filled people can have very diferent perspectives on what a particular passage of the Bible means and how it should be applied to our times. Sincere Christians have disagreed on the propriety of slavery, the rights of women, individual reading of the Bible, the use of instruments in church, speaking in tongues, the Eucharist and a host of other things. Sometimes, as society and the church have evolved, Christians have ended up on the wrong side of issues , and their interpretation of particular texts of the Bible found to be quite nearsighted...! Sometimes it has happenned, even ilustrated in Scripture, where sincere folk quoting Bible passages quite right have been dead wrong! Even the brightest light can not iluminate eyes that want to remain shut, nor the Words that free penetrate our plugged ears.
It is for these reasons that my study and application of Scripture must be full of prayer, openness and love. Whereas it is, for me useful, for all instruction, and contains those things necessary for salvation, a generous attitude has to be given to its interpretation. The rigid dogmatism of the “letter” has been known stifle the movement of the Holy Spirit that leads us to ever more freedom, knowledge of Christ and love of neighbor.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
From Where I Stand by Joan Chittister, OSB. Published Today in the National Catholic Register.
The question the Anglican communion is facing for us all right now is a clear one: What happens to a group, to a church, that stands poised to choose either confusion or tyranny, either anarchy or authoritarianism, either unity or uniformity? Are there really only two choices possible at such a moment? Is there nowhere in-between?
The struggle going on inside the Anglican Communion about the episcopal ordination of homosexual priests and the recognition of the homosexual lifestyle as a natural state is not peculiar to Anglicanism. The issue is in the air we breathe. The Anglicans simply got there earlier than most. And so they may well become a model to the rest of us of how to handle such questions. If the rate and kinds of social, biological, scientific and global change continue at the present pace, every religious group may well find itself at the breakpoint between "tradition" and "science" sooner rather than later.
Theological questions driven by new scientific findings, new social realities, new technological possibilities abound. How moral is it to take cells from one person for the treatment of another if all human cells are potentially life generating? Is that the destruction of life? If homosexuality is "natural," meaning biologically configured at birth, why is it immoral for homosexuals to live in homosexual unions -- even if they are bishops? After all, isn't that what we said -- in fact, did -- when we argued "scientifically" that blacks were not fit for ordination because blacks weren't quite as human as whites? And so we kept them out of our seminaries and called ourselves "Christian" for doing it. Without even the grace to blush.
It is not so much how moral we think we are that is the test of a church. Perhaps the measure of our own morality is how certain we have been of our immoral morality across the ages. That should give us caution. We said, at one time, that it was gravely immoral to charge interest on loans, that it was mortally sinful to miss Mass on Sunday, that people could not read books on the Index, that the divorced could not remarry. And we brooked no question on any of these things. People were either in or out, good or bad, religious or not, depending on whether they stood at one end or another of those spectrums.
Clearly, the problem is not that definitions of morality can shift in the light of new information or social reality. The problem is that we don't seem to know how to deal with the questions that precede the new insights. We seem to think that we have only two possible choices: the authoritarianism model, which requires intellectual uniformity and calls it "community" or a kind of intellectual anarchism, which eats away at the very cloth of tradition in a changing world.
The problem is that threatened by change we are more inclined to suppress the prophetic question than we are to find the kind of structures that can release the Spirit, that can lead us beyond unthinking submission while honoring the tradition and testing the spirits ...
From where I stand, we need those who can develop a model of faith in times of uncertainty in which the tradition is revered and the prophetic is honored. Unless we want to see ourselves go into either tyranny or anarchy, we better pray for the Anglicans so that they can show us how to do that.
A beautiful piece...Yes; Pray for the Anglicans ..we all need them!
read the whole article here: http://ncrcafe.org/node/1336
Yesterday I got to meet with a group of men which whom I have shared the life of faith for the past 13 years. We are all very different, yet by God ‘s grace have been able to pray for one another, speak into each other’s life and together endure some pretty difficult moments in the life of our church.
Honestly, I do not think it was a total surprise to them that I was the more liberal of the bunch. Let’s see what could have given that away? ….I can not think of a thing! I wonder if the endearment “socialist of the bunch” could possibly mean they contemplated the possibility? Hmmm! Yet, it is one thing to suspect it, another to hear it from the horses own mouth.
As they very patiently listened to my convictions on topics such as the ordination of women, empowerment of the laity, a yearning for the “soft margins” which seemed to be the hallmark of our community in times past I must admit to feeling very blessed. At no point did I perceive disrespect, rejection, accusation nor judgment; although in many things they probably hold views very different from my own.
In the essentials unity….Christ , His love, the One Spirit that lives in us all, the One cup we have drank of so many times, the friendship and struggles we have faced , all seemed to be at the forefront of our conversation and allowed us to be truly all part of one body, one family…the church. The rest…well, in non-essential unity and in all the rest charity. I saw that yesterday in practice and am encouraged by that demonstration of concern and brotherly love.
Now if they could just see things my way ….all would be great….!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
I have just finished this book a friend passed on to me. The title did sound a little odd and fun.... I liked it right away!
Well, never judge a book by its cover did not prove completely right this time. The more I read the better it sounded....wow...a better written, very edited, better thought out transcript of conversations and random thoughts me and others have had throughout the years. Some one actually thought this stuff out and put it in print...! My hat goes off to Brian McClaren.
As an Anglican in the CEC, having had the opportunity to interact, learn and love Christians from almost every conceivable tradition, I identified completely with many of the concepts and ilustrations in this book. A coincidence or the Spirit at work in many different places in the Church????
Yes I can relate to that.... I am a Christian...and would hope to be that kind the...
missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN."
"I don't see why it matters what is written. Not when it's about people. It can always be crossed out"
These are the delightful words of Adam; Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of this World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, Lord of darkness...AND.... eleven year old boy head of the "Them", an unlikely gang of boys and even a girl raised in the town of Tadfield.
As he faces Metatron voice of God, Beelzebub, the Four riders of the Apocalipse, Crowley an unlikely demon, Aziraphale his angelic counterpart and a confused group of bystanders, Adam proves to be a surprise for all. The Antichrist child raised in an average home, complete with friends and a dog is found to be less and much more than the host of hell and heaven's armies expected.
I loved this book and this line in particular. How true it seems in the light of the Scripture writings whose protagonists include the likes of Jacob, Sampson, Rahab, Mary Magdalene, the Sons of Thunder, a lucky thief.....and as this truth of grace applies to our lives, often on a daily basis...crossed out indeed!
The humorous take on theology, angelic relations, the end of times, made for very fun reading . In a lighhearted and often irreverent manner, the authors touched, questions we often are afraid to ask about the plans of God, the nature of truth and the contradictions that so often are a halmark of being human.
...a must read!
PHILADELPHIA - An Amish community that lost five girls in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse shooting massacre last year has donated money to the widow of the gunman, the community said Wednesday. The Nickel Mines Accountability Committee, which was set up to handle more than $4.3 million in donations from around the world after the shootings, said it had given an unspecified "contribution" to Marie Roberts, a mother of three.
"Forgive our debt as we forvive our debtors"....Oh really???
It is one thing to pray these beautiful words but, I dare say, most of us would shudder at even the possibility of putting them into practice, particularly under these dire circumstances.
Tragedy and pain brought out the sympathy and generosity of many around the world towards the obvious victims, this in itself is admirable! Yet to see the Amish community, so horribly affected by the murder of their children, reach out to this family is inspiring. The grace to look beyond their pain allowed them to see hurt in places many would have not wanted to look...
Violence and evil have more victims than we initially see and, in choosing to reach out even to those connected to the perpetrator, there is a healing and blessing that speaks louder than any sermon....! It takes words out of the pages of our religious books and out of the realm of speculation and prayer into a practical reality....