Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
The trees are beautiful, even if they block the pathways.
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Today it looks like this:
It's not even really that cold, just snowy. I don't have the shoes for this. Hello K-Mart in Penn Station when I get my refund check.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
- In all our sadness
- In darkest moments
- With great humility
- In great compassion
- When we are tired
- When we are hurting
- When we are broken
- With all we have
Friday, February 19, 2010
The crosses (including the Sunday night children's cross) shrouded in purple in the sacristy.
Lent is a time that we get rid of the clutter in our lives. I'm taking a mental health day today from homeowork and exercising to get rid of some clutter:physical, mental, and emotional. That started with doing my taxes(which I've just finished), which clears space and gets some anxiety about money gone; I can work on financial aid now.
I'm about to clean my room while I have a movie on. I have a lot of clutter that I'll try to reflect on as I clean and listen to the story. I've been writing emails the last two days and I realize how much I miss that. That will icrease. Reading will get rid of some of my stress.
All shall be well.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010
to remove this place of starkness where I come to know the wilderness within me,
where I learn to call the names of the ravenous beasts that pace inside me,
to finger the brambles that snake through my veins,
to taste the thirst that tugs at my tongue. But send me tough angels, sweet wine,
strong bread, just enough.- Jan L. Richardson
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
When I was a kid, I needed hell to exist. I didn't understand that at the time, but I needed it. Being fundamentalist was pointless without hell. With no hot and fiery pit existing somewhere below the soil, our views and beliefs lost a good deal of meaning. It was our fear of hell that fueled our motivation for living the way we did. Perfect. Separated. MedievalWhat's strange is that how we lived didn't save us from eternal destruction. The only happened by being born again in the blood of Jesus. But being perfect, separated, and content with living in the Dark Ages helped us feel born again.That just makes sense in my head. I remember that we got saved, but there were lots of things we were supposed to do and not do. It's the spirit behind Derek Webb's "New Law." And like Turner says, those things didn't save us, Jesus did...but we were supposed to do them to show Jesus that we loved him? Not make him mad? Feel separated and born again? I thought of Derek Webb again, at another part in the book that I felt was my experience but not just with Fundamentalism, but through at least a year or two of college and is still my experience somewhat with my family but that's just because changing it is easier over time: life being about perception more than reality. Turner says
How people viewed you was much more important than how you actually were. The truth didn't matter. What people believed to be the truth mattered. I learned early on that if everybody believed I was the well-behaved, good-natured boy without a sin in the world, it didn't matter what the truth was. The truth was secondary to a person's opinion or perception of truthWebb talks about that in his intro to "I Repent" on The House Show. I think it's "I Repent." Anyway, he talks about repentance and walking in the light. My family thinking that I'm the conservative Republican that I was in ninth grade has persisted until recently, or scales fall away more every day. For parts of college I wasn't honest with people about my general life because I was more concerned with what people thought of me. I preached on this last year at St. Mark's.I think that quotation from Turner needs to be fully evaluated and thought out not just from a fundamentalist perspective. There's a lot in life in general that isn't based on truth but is based in perception about a whole host of issues, political, theological, whatever. And being truthful requires correcting people's assumptions about you when they're wrong and calling attention to yourself to someone when you've fallen into sin that you may repent - turn around - and return to the Lord. Not misleading others by your silence about yourself and speaking the truth about your silence is repentance.Those are two things that I identified with from my experience or that made me think or give me something to offer here. Part two is just two quotations that I think are good to reflect on. Read the book. It's a good read, but it didn't change my life or make me say "Yes, yes, yes!" at any point. If you're on the Close and don't mind my marginalia, you're welcome to borrow it.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
O God, you have spoken through the prophets and scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts, give to us (especially me!) a sense of humility that I may serve you and others through Jesus, who served his disciples and washed their feet. AmenIt just felt like I needed to pray, and out popped a collect. I hadn't pre-written it, but the form is there. After praying I thought about something in The Noticer that Dr. Klein talked about in his class. If you want to be a good leader, read the biographies of leaders. I think if you want to learn to pray, read the prayer book. The Holy Spirit's interceding and giving words of prayers doesn't have to be spontaneous. Words that have comforted, consoled, and helped generations can help us, too. And I think that by learning forms of prayers and the content of prayers we can move beyond "me" praying and move beyond vending machine praying, and focus our prayers so that we aren't "Just asking you Lord to _____________" ad infinitum.Am I perfect at praying? Goodness no. But I've noticed that I'm far more likely to pray as I go, without ceasing, as it were, now that I'm so immersed in a community that continues in the prayers. When I can't find words, I can find others' to make my own. And sometimes I have them, but am now able to organize them. My prayers are far more Trinitarian now, and I couch what I'm asking in a rationale and demonstrate a why (I'm very partial to collects).Off to end my day with sung Compline.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I thought I'd take a minute to share all the tweets that I've written myself or re-tweeted from others with the #episcopalianbecause hash tag:
I'm an #episcopalian because...
- question marks are even more welcome than exclamation points.
- we pray for those whose faith is known to God alone, not by naming people and things we don't like about them.
- The Episcopal Church opposes the Death Penalty.
- we know tectonic plates are to blame for the Eathquake in Haiti, not Voo Doo.
- if I get tired of anglo-catholic worship in the Twin Cities, I can go to a service in Hmong or other languages .
- my [future] daughters [will] see women in leadership roles in the church.
- we don't pretend to believe the same things, but we gather and pray together the same way.
- from St. Mary the Virgin Times Square to St. Gregory of Nyssa San Francisco, there's a liturgical style for you.
- Common Prayer is the best way we have to draw the largest number of people possible close to Jesus.
- we have good news to share and are willing to change certain aspects so that we can get that message out.
- regular reception of the Eucharist changed me: because it's a God thing not a me thing.
- even when I don't feel like praying the Daily Office it shapes me and surrounds my day with prayer.
- we treasure the historic roles of bishop, presbyter, and deacon and value ordination and its preparation.
- I'd rather revel in the mystery than argue facts.
- the worship of the church has shaped and formed my life, both from its consistency and its theology.
- I'm part of a "we" church versus an "I" church. We believe. We celebrate seasons.
Are you an Episcopalian? If so, why?
Many of you who read this and many won't will recognize the title of my blog. On twitter, a way to aggregate information is to put a # sign in front of it, called a hash tag. The Episcopal Church launched #episcopalianbeacuse a few months ago to tell the story of TEC, it's people and mission. They saw many topics and discussions and wanted to engage the Episcopal audience in an open-ended question with good results. This is ground up advertising: the people on twitter who are Episcopalian tweet that they are and why. All their followers get the message, and people who are searching for the hash tag can share the response if it resonates with their experience. And followers will see enough on their feed to consider going to an Episcopal Church. Rather than spending millions of dollars on ad campaigns, this is a way for people to share their stories.
Some have asked (and this isn't meant as a passive-aggressive rant directed at them; I'm just expounding on some of my thoughts, not throwing stones) why not #Christianbecause. A United Methodist mentor put it very succinctly when he said, "Because saying we are Christians doesn't identify how or with whom we live this out." I think I latched on to this so much because it's so right in my mind. Christian means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I've been through three denominations. I'm very much a "company person." If I'm in a church I want to know why I'm in said church, what it believes collectively, what its polity is (how things should run), who all is there, what kinds of personal or mid-range group deviations there are (what kind of freedom exists within form, different interpretations of all our texts, Bible, BCP, Hymnal).
How We Live This Out. Saying that I'm a Christian doesn't tell people a lot about how I live my faith. It could immediately make them think of the Catholic diocese that contributed so much money to fighting LGBT marriage. They might think of "Jesus is My Friend." It could be a group whose congregational statement of beliefs starts with the importance of the innerancy of the Bible or a group whose Creed starts with "We believe in one God." There could be no mention of baptism or communion, or pages about them. The earthquake could've been the result of a pact with the devil or an unfortunate event that calls us to show love to our sisters and brothers without making any kind of judgmental statement.
Saying I'm an Episcopalian says that nine times out of ten the service will come from the Book of Common Prayer, wherever I am in the world, that there will be readings from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles, and one of the Gospels. Even if the service isn't straight out of the Book of Common Prayer, we will gather together, hear the Word of God proclaimed, pray for the Church and for the World, exchange peace with one another, share in the Body and Blood of Christ, and be sent into the world to do the work Christ has given us to do. It says that we look at the Bible and read it with a sense of tradition and reason applied to it. It says that we aren't afraid to unpack all the metaphors in the text which actually make it richer, rather than detracting from it. It says that we believe that in baptism we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ's own forever. (BCP 308).
Identifying as Episcopalian gives me the freedom of not having to scramble for an answer to the question, "What do you believe about...?" Between the Catechism and the texts of our prayers that's answered. (What we pray, we believe). It says that I've promised to continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers; to persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever I fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord; to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself; to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.
With Whom We Live This Out. As Derek Webb points out on The House Show, "If you divorce the people of God, the local community, from the gospel, then it ceases to be the gospel. There is no other context for your faith as a Christian than to be in community with other people." By necessity we live our Christian lives in community. Saying I'm a Christian could mean that I go to a church that's mostly middle-class white people or of mostly African Americans or mostly LGBT people. Saying that one's non-denominational Christian church is "diverse" but only having white men as clergy and in any other leadership suggests otherwise without further explanation about what kind of diversity you embody.
Saying I'm an Episcopalian says that there are people who dance around the altar and people who do figure-eights so that the deacon and "sub-deacon" are on the correct sides of the presider as (usually) he moves around. That statement says that we have women, people of color, and people different sexual orientations in all four orders of ministry: laity, bishops, priests, and deacons. When I personally say "I'm an Episcopalian" it says that I live my Christian faith with people who know grace and show grace, striving to be in love and charity with all people. It says that we have congregations that meet outside in the Castro in San Francisco on Sunday evenings, in buildings enormous and historic like Washington National Cathedral all throughout the week, and that we have congregations that are made up entirely of prisoners that meet on Sunday mornings with a supply priest presiding for them.
I am a Christian. I worship a vulnerable child, a non-violent teacher, a crucified troublemaker from an occupied land. I worship the One who sent Jesus to us to live and die among us and reconcile us to God the Creator of us all. I worship the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. Saying I'm a Christian and stopping there might imply those things (at least nominally). Saying I'm an Episcopalian says that the three parts of the trinity will be named many times through our prayers (almost all of them) and during our hymns. To me, saying I'm a Christian because is too general a statement. Saying I'm an Episcopalian says "I am a Christian whose tribe believes x, y, and z with lots of different kinds of people. And we welcome you.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Now I'm co-planning the Sunday night community Eucharist, which is using all paperless music. This week I'll be sending an e-mail recruiting people to lead the music, and hopefully we'll get a nice little community of singers who lead, eat, and sing together that in time starts writing music which we then workshop together at our eating times. That's what I'm envisioning and hoping for...and hoping that I'm not really the only one leading music the rest of the semester, but if that happens God will be praised and I'll have a good time doing it.
I'm also now a sacristan, which is very neat. I started yesterday and have already learned a lot about the chapel that I didn't know before. I'm really looking forward to serving in that role the next two years. My day is Friday which is funny because I have to work my homework routine around it, but it works. It makes sure that I get up in the morning, and adds my evensong attendance to at least once a week.
Additionally, I'm getting myself a cupcake today. That is my reward for having exercised every day this week. 35-40 minutes on the elliptical three days and weight machines on a circuit the other two. Yesterday was one of them and my muscles feel it and it's the best kind of sore. Not throbbing pain, but good. And the stuff is getting easier and it feels good. In addition to the exercise I've cut back on my carb intake, and only had fruit for dessert in the refectory all week. Thus, I'm getting a cupcake today as my reward before I go sing.
Today is a Sacred Harp day. Tomorrow I don't know where I'm going to church. I'm leading songs at Eucharist tomorrow night and really need to do a decent amount of practince on one of them today, which I'll make work. I ned to get some reading done, which I'll make happen, too. We sang a Sacred Harp song last night as the Office Hymn at evensong, which almost made up for the rest of the office.
Dinner with the bishop and others from Alabama and Florida. Was very good. Very relaxed. Informal. Questions about field ed and CPE. Good wine. Good conversation.
Time for homework. It's snowing here.