Saturday, October 18, 2014

Beautiful quote from Mary Oliver and wonderful photo from pro cyclist Ben King!

Beautiful quote from Mary Oliver and wonderful photo from pro cyclist Ben King! 

"A prayer heard and answered lavishly, every morning, whether or not you have ever dared to be happy, whether or not you have ever dared to pray"-Mary Oliver. 

Check out Ben on Facebook, here:

The Farmer is the Harvester - Sermon from 17 July 2011

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon – 17 July 2011
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA
“The farmer is the harvester”

“The farmer is the harvester”… the good farmer, planting the good seed, and then the weeds, or tares, or thistles come up…and the workers wonder what is going on…didn’t the farmer plant only good seed?  And then the farmer says to let the weeds, tares, or thistles come up alongside the wheat.  If not, the wheat may get pulled up alongside the weeds…the implication being that the worker would not have the ability, the gift of discernment, to see what was good and what wasn’t.

This passage has particular relevance for me, for I have a pretty good green thumb, but when it comes to trying to figure out what is a weed and what is a flower, or what is a thistle and what is not, I have no real clue.  Beyond that, I have a kind of a radical nature when I see some weeds, because some weeds look to this untrained eye, more beautiful and more interesting and of more “value” than the so-called flowers. I have very little ablilty when it comes to this department.  However, one plant I have a keen keen eye when it comes to poison ivy.  I can spot poison ivy a mile away.  Even among the huge patches of pakisandra in our yard, I can spy out the invasive and evil poison ivy amidst the “good” plants.  I must say I’m a bit arrogant about my abilities when it comes to poison ivy, and am often amazed that people allow the poison ivy to grow so near their hammocks or pools or flower gardens.

I think many of us look out at folks and feel that we are quite skilled at discerning the “good” from the “not good” the one with “high ability” from the one who has “low ability.” As a long-time teacher and coach, I must say that I fell into this kind of thing all too often. Especially as a coach, I would see young athletes at 8, 10 or 12 years old and I might make some predictions about their trajectory.  Of course, when a young athlete is amazingly quick or strong, it is only natural to imagine them playing sports at a big-time college, or beyond.  Think about a young Michael Phelps in the pool, or a young Serena Williams on the tennis court.  Also, if someone is hampered by slowness or lack of strength, many coaches might assume that this person would not even make a varsity team in high school.  And, it goes beyond sports to ability in school, and work, and life.  However, the reality is, that I have been wrong far more often than I’ve been correct.  One of the joys of Facebook is that I have been able to reconnect with former students who could barely sit still in 7th grade who are now pediatric surgeons at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or and awkward and tentative young soccer player who now wins ultramarathons and Ironman triathlons.

You see, I am not the sower. I am not the farmer.  I am, on a good day, one of those workers.  I am one of those workers who asks the farmer – what shall we do with these wheat and weeds.  What shall we do with these “good ones” and the “not good ones.”  And the farmer answers, let them all grow together, and at harvest time, I will separate them – and take in the good wheat into the barn, and to the fire I will send the weeds.  The farmer takes the long view.  God is the farmer who plants the good seeds, and the farmer is the harvester.  We are the workers who have a limited view.  God is the farmer and the harvester. 

God plants only good seeds, but that there are thistles, weeds, and tares which do come in.  We can’t deny that there is brokenness, darkness, and evil.  We live and move and have our being alongside thorns and weeds and thistles, but also among good wheat.  The good and the not good are intermingled.  But God plants, and cares for, the good seeds.

Another implication is that we should pray for patience, for what we might perceive (in the short term) as something that is a weed, may, in God’s time be wheat that offers bread for the journey.  Like the child who might develop far beyond the predictions of her teacher, what we may perceive as thorny and weedy, may not be.  God is the farmer, and also the harvester.

The kingdom of God is like a farmer, who plants good seed, and though the weeds come in, God will not give up on any strand of wheat, and does not want to risk losing any wheat. God will bring in the harvest, God created us, loves us, cares for us, and though we often feel intertwined with weeds, God will sort it out and bring us home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Let's go around the room" ~ From Seth Godin

"Let's go around the room"

If you say that in a meeting, you've failed. You've abdicated responsibility and just multiplied the time wasted by the number of people in the room.
When we go around the room, everyone in the room spends the entire time before their turn thinking about what to say, and working to say something fairly unmemorable. And of course, this endless litany of 'saying' leads to little in the way of listening or response or interaction or action of any kind.
The worst example I ever saw of this was when Barry Diller did it in a meeting with 220 attendees. More than two hours later, everyone in the room was bleeding from their ears in boredom.
Leaders of meetings can do better. Call on people. Shape the conversation. Do your homework in advance and figure out who has something to say, and work hard to create interactions. Either that or just send a memo and cancel the whole thing. It's easier and probably more effective.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Move to a village!

"You can create your own village effect. Get out of your car to talk to your neighbors. Talk in person to your colleagues instead of shooting them emails."


Forget Facebook, Abandon Instagram, Move To A Village

In the parts of the world that we cover in our blog, many people live in villages.
Villages have their problems, to be sure. There may not be a doctor or clinic nearby. Girls may not be able to go to school. Clean water might be a long walk away.
But a new book points out that village life has its advantages.
We asked psychologist Susan Pinker, author of The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarterto explain the benefits of living in a community of about 150 people, the average population of traditional villages throughout history around the world.
What is the village effect?
The village effect is a metaphor for the social contacts we all need as humans in order to thrive. These are the strong social ties that develop naturally in a village, where by necessity you cross paths with each other repeatedly every day. When you think of most villages, there is a central square, a public area where everyone converges or passes by going to the grocer or the post office or city hall or to sit at a cafe. And that is something we have less and less of today in our era of online connections. Commerce is moving online, everything is moving online, and these traditional village spaces are disappearing.
Why is 150 the ideal number for a village population?
One-hundred-fifty is the number that comes up time and again in the types of social interactions that work smoothly. We see it throughout history — whether we're talking about the number of people in traditional hunter-gatherer societies, Neolithic villages, an English country village or the number of Christmas cards we send out. These are people with whom you have strong enough ties that you could ask to borrow $10 until the next payday.
How do these 150 "village" ties compare to online ties?
Not all types of social ties are created equal. Oxford evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar posits 150 as the maximum number of meaningful relationships that the human brain can manage. We know from our own lives there are only so many people that you can invest in that way, that you can call and invite to dinner or check in on when sick.
Read more HERE

Reading actual books may be good for you!

Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books

Read an excerpt below, and read the whole article HERE
It's no secret that reading is good for you. Just six minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress by 68%, and numerous studies have shown that reading keeps your brain functioning effectively as you age. One study even found that elderly individuals who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their peers. But not all forms of reading are created equal.
The debate between paper books and e-readers has been vicious since the first Kindle came out in 2007. Most arguments have been about the sentimental versus the practical, between people who prefer how paper pages feel in their hands and people who argue for the practicality of e-readers. But now science has weighed in, and the studies are on the side of paper books. 
Reading in print helps with comprehension. 
A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback. Lead researcher Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University concluded that "the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does."
Our brains were not designed for reading, but have adapted and created new circuits to understand letters and texts. The brain reads by constructing a mental representation of the text based on the placement of the page in the book and the word on the page. 
The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page. Mangen hypothesizes that the difference for Kindle readers "might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you're reading."
While e-readers try to recreate the sensation of turning pages and pagination, the screen is limited to one ephemeral virtual page. Surveys about the use of e-readers suggest that this affects a reader's serendipity and sense of control. The inability to flip back to previous pages or control the text physically, either through making written notes or bending pages, limits one's sensory experience and thus reduces long-term memory of the text. 
Read the whole article HERE

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WE have Ebola! - great post from Seth Godin

We have Ebola

It's tragic but not surprising to watch the marketing of another epidemic unfold.
It starts with, "We" don't have Ebola, "they" do. They live somewhere else, or look different or speak another language. Our kneejerk reaction is that "they" need to be isolated from us (more than 55% of Americans favor a travel ban for everyone, not just the sick). Even fifty years ago, a travel ban was difficult, now it's impossible. The world is porous, there are more connections than ever, and we've seen this before.
Tuberculosis. Polio. AIDS. Fear runs rampant, amplified by the media, a rising cycle of misinformation, demonization and panic. Fear of the other. Pushing us apart and paralyzing us.
The thing is:
We are they.
They are us.
Education—clear, fact-based and actionable education—is the single most effective thing we can do during the early stages of a contagion. Diseases (and ideas) spread because of the social structures we have created, and we can re-engineer those interactions to dramatically change the R0 of a virus. Ebola doesn't 'know' that large funerals are traditional, but it certainly takes advantage of them to spread. Ideas don't 'know' that bad news travels fast, and that the internet makes ideas travel faster, but they take advantage of this to spread.
Cable TV voices that induce panic to make their ratings go up are directly complicit in amplifying the very reactions that magnify the impact of the virus. Attention-seeking media voices take us down. All of us.
It's tempting to panic, or to turn away, or to lock up or isolate everyone who makes us nervous. But we can (and must) do better than that. Panic, like terror, is also a virus, one that spreads.
We have an urgent and tragic medical problem, no doubt, but we also have a marketing problem.

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Narrow is the gate

Jesus said, ‘Narrow is the gate that leads to life and few there are who enter it’
~Matthew 7:14

Passing Through the Narrow Gate - from Richard Rohr

Passing through
the Narrow Gate

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My friend and fellow teacher in the Living School, James Finley, describes the gate to life that is within us as follows:
“Jesus said, ‘Narrow is the gate that leads to life and few there are who enter it’ (Matthew 7:14). What a great metaphor for the spiritual journey! We can think of the path along which we are awakened to oneness as a process of passing through a narrow gate into this realization. It is only narrow, I think, because it is so simple and does not demand our attention! There is in the depths of every moment a gate that grants access to the depths of God. And it is through this same simple gate that God accesses the depths of us.
“We understand life as God and ourselves taking turns passing through this gate into each other until there is one common Being. With each passage through the gate, union deepens, until we are fully at home on the other side of the gate.”
Finally, we realize that all of our faults and ego possessions are just heavy and burdensome luggage that keep us from walking through this always-open gate—or even seeing it in the first place.
Gateway to Silence:
The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Genius Hour In The Classroom: 6 Principles Of Genius Hour

Genius Hour In The Classroom: 6 Principles Of Genius Hour
by Terry Heick

Genius Hour in the classroom is an approach to learning built around student curiosity, self-directed learning, and passion-based work.

In traditional learning, teachers map out academic standards, and plan units and lessons based around those standards. In Genius Hour, students are in control, choosing what they study, how they study it, and what they do, produce, or create as a result. As a learning model, it promotes inquiry, research, creativity, and self-directed learning.

Genius Hour is most notably associated with Google, where employees are able to spend up to 20% of their time working on projects they’re interested in and passionate about. The study and work is motivated intrinsically, not extrinsically. The big idea for Google is that employees motivated by curiosity and passion will be happier, more creative,  and more productive, which will benefit the company in terms of both morale, “off-Genius” productivity, and “on-Genius” performance.

Read the rest at

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. -Babe Ruth

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why is online learning important?

Why is online learning important?

Read this excellent post by Dr. T.J. Locke of The Episcopal Academy (where I taught from 2000-2004) about the importance of online learning!

Check out his whole blog entry HERE

I do not feel the need to pit online learning against “bricks and mortar” learning. And for us at EA, it does need to be an either/or situation. It is my hope that all of our courses are academically rigorous, interesting, and inspiring-no matter the format. It does seem to me the field of online learning is becoming increasingly relevant and that we have a responsibility to gain some experience.Consider these three statistics from the Sloan Consortium study.
  • Over 7.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2012 term, an increase of 411,000 students over the previous year.
  • Thirty-three percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Ninety percent of academic leaders believe that it is likely or very likely that a majority of all higher education students will be taking at least one online course in five year’s time.
If our students have not already experienced online learning, it seems obvious they will soon. As a part of our college preparatory mentality, we need to be helping students develop the skills needed to succeed and thrive in this learning environment. Taking an online course is not easy. It takes persistence and diligence. I like the idea that EA will be there to help challenge and nurture our students side by side, as they enter this new world.
Check out his whole blog entry HERE

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prayers for 9-11

For the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne. Amen.

For Peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

For Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For those in the Armed Forces of our Country
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.

For Heroic Service

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer attributed to St. Francis
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Life is short,
And we do not have much time
To gladden the hearts of those
Who travel the way with us.
So be swift to be kind,
And as we go,
May the blessing, the love,
the joy, and the peace
Of the Holy One
Who is in the midst of us
Be among you and remain with you

Sunday, September 07, 2014

From Seth Godin: Different kinds of broken systems

From Seth Godin's blog:

Different kinds of broken systems

From healthy to toast...
Something is broken, we know it's broken, we can fix it right away and we'll learn from it.
It's broken, we know it's broken, we fixed it, don't worry, but we learned nothing, it will break again, I'm just doing my job.
It's broken, we know it's broken, but we don't think we can afford to fix it.
It's broken, but we don't know it's broken.
It's not broken (it is, but we're not willing to admit it).
It's broken, we may or may not know it's broken, but mostly, we don't care enough to try to fix it, to learn how we could fix it better or even to accept help from people who care.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Power offers an easy substitute...

Power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.

~Henri Nouwen

2 Tao te Ching - When people see some things as beautiful


When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

1 Tao te ching - "The tao that can be told"


The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One of the trademarks of a champion is that he can outlast you. -Lou Brock

One of the trademarks of a champion is that he can outlast you. -Lou Brock

I should be suspicious of what I want

My Upper Division Convocation Address was based on this poem by Rumi, one of my favorite poets, and poems!

~Chaplain Carey

Who makes these changes?
By Jelalludin Rumi

Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
and end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others
and fall in.

I should be suspicious
of what I want.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T.S. Eliot

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T.S. Eliot

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From Seth Godin's blog: Why drafting works

From Seth Godin's blog:

Why drafting works

The other day, a speedster on a bike passed me as I rode along the bike path. For the next ten minutes, I rode right behind him, drafting his progress.
Sure, there's an aerodynamic reason that this works--there's less wind resistance when you ride closely.
But the real reason is mental, not based on physics. Drafting works because, right in front of you is proof that you can go faster.
Without knowing it, you do this at work every day. We set our pace based on what competitors or co-workers are doing. One secret to making more of an impact, then, is figuring out who you intend to follow. Don't 'pace yourself,' instead, find someone to unknowningly pace you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Service of Institution

We had a a wonderful Service of Institution of me as the Chaplain of Berkeley Preparatory School on Wednesday!

Many thanks to the Bishop of the Southwest Diocese of Florida, The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith the Headmaster, Joseph Seivold, and the Chair of the Board, George Gramling who helped to install me as the new chaplain at this outstanding school.  In addition a dozen or so students and a group of faculty also played an essential role in the service.  Thank you all!

The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Chaplain

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Patheos: Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church

Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church

About 40 years ago a profound shift took place in many Christian congregations across the country…for all the right reasons…with one troubling unintended consequence:

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, my generation, Baby Boomers, rebelled against the “institutional church” just as we did with every other institution our parents built/supported.  We rebelled by dropping out: 2/3rds of my generation dropped out of church.  In the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, innovative pastors and congregations of all sizes and denominations looked for ways to draw Boomers back to church.  They began to create worship experiences based on the unique “personality” of the Boomer generation. These churches went “contemporary,” “seeker,” and/or “seeker-friendly.”  Because these were the primary parenting years for Boomers, these congregations recognized the need to not only provide Boomer-friendly worship experiences for adults, but the need to create dynamic experiences for their children as well, knowing that if the kids wanted to come back, the parents were more likely to come back.  XX Sunday Morning-p7 dk

So began a shift from kids worshipping with the big people for one hour followed by all ages attending a second hour of Sunday School, to churches creating Sunday School experiences for kids that ran concurrently with their parents’ worship service.  In other words, kids and parents were separated from each other, having different Sunday experiences.

Again, the reasons were right…or so we thought.  Because these new Boomer services had a sense of evangelism about them (trying to win Boomers back to the church) we didn’t want anything to interrupt their focus…like squirming or crying or screaming kids. Church leaders sensed that Boomer parents wanted the one hour break from their kids—that they wanted to focus on their own spiritual life for an hour away from the distraction of their children.  And, again, we assumed, reasonably so, that worship targeted to adult boomers would not be all that engaging for kids.  So dynamic Sunday school programs were created to engage the kids at their level in their language while their parents were in worship.  In fact, some churches didn’t (and don’t) allow kids into big people worship at all.

The result: Many of these innovated congregations had a positive, significant impact on the lives of disenfranchised Boomers and their kids.  Many saw their congregations and their children’s ministries grow exponentially.  The evangelism imperative to reconnect with Boomers seemed to work.
But there was (and is) one huge unintended consequence:  We have raised the largest unchurched generation in the history of our country.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Taylor Mali, "What Teachers Make"

What Teachers Make
by Taylor Mali
He says the problem with teachers is
What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life
was to become a teacher?

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true
what they say about teachers:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.
I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?
And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-­‐kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A-­‐ feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time
with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?
It’s no big deal.”
And that was noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.
You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.
Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?
Mali. Taylor. “What Teachers Make.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)
See more at Taylor Mali's website, HERE   ...

A wonderful sermon - "I'm through with love," The Rev. Matthew Gaventa

A wonderful and challenging and hope-filled sermon by my friend Matt Gaventa is really a must-read, as we are all reminded once again of the ways that Depression can strike right at the heart of what is good and true and enduring.

I'm through with love, The Rev. Matt Gaventa 
Sunday sermon from Sunday, August 17, 2014
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Given at Amherst Presbyterian Church, Amherst, Virginia 
When I was 15 years old my father disappeared without leaving the house. His body didn’t go anywhere new, but he disappeared, and this pale imitation showed up in his place. In some ways, it was a pretty good copy. For a while, he could go to his job, he could go to the grocery store, he could drop off the dry cleaning. I’m sure the clerk at the gas station didn’t notice anything different. But we knew, mom and I, we knew. Or at least she knew. I’d like to tell you that I was right there, that I was in the room when we first noticed that real Dad had been swapped out for some cut-rate photocopy, but I was 15, and life was busy, and I was busy with everything except the emotional health of my own parents, which had never in my life been something that I had needed to take care of. I can’t swear that I was paying close enough attention to notice that my father had in fact disappeared, but it makes me look a little better in this story if I loop myself in, so let’s just say: when I was 15, my father disappeared without leaving home, and only a very few people knew, but Mom and I, we knew. 
The thing was, once you noticed, you couldn’t not notice. My father — and some of you have met him, and maybe you will recall enough to back me up — my father can talk to anyone. He’s got no end of charisma; he’s got no end of charm. He smiles with his eyes, and the way he does it is just to let out for a split second some fractional gasp of the joy that radiates in his heart, and it lights up the room, and when he disappeared, everything changed. When that pale copy of my father entered the room, you could feel the temperature drop five degrees. You could taste the shadow of a few scattered clouds drifting in front of the sunlight. He was a grayscale ghost in a technicolor world, and when you looked in his eyes – when you looked in its eyes – there was no smile. There was no joy. He didn’t want to talk to you; he didn’t want to know you, he didn’t want anything, because he wasn’t there, because he’d disappeared, without leaving home. 
I don’t remember when I first heard the word “Depression,” I mean, in a clinical sense. Anybody can be depressed; everybody gets depressed, lower-case D, every once in a while. I get depressed when the Braves are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, which, judging by their performance as of late, will be any moment now, but that wasn’t this. This was the real deal. On my 16th birthday my parents, in conjunction with my dad’s therapist, decided that my father was under such a cloud of acute Clinical Depression as to merit hospitalization. As a birthday present, they waited until the day after to let me know, which, in retrospect, seems fair. He checked himself in to the psychiatric wing of Princeton hospital, the acute ward, which is the one where they take your shoelaces and your belt and anything else that you can make into a noose. It was a very grayscale place, and it fit him perfectly. 
Mom and I didn’t really talk about it with the outside world, not much. What do you say that possibly sets anybody up to ask a follow-up question you might want to answer? “Well, my father’s in the hospital with acute Clinical Depression” invariably led to something like “What’s he so sad about?” which may be actually the worst possible follow-up question. Were there parts of my father’s biography helping to gather the fuel for his Depression? Absolutely. He grew up in a family where expressing your emotions wasn’t exactly smiled upon, and as a consequence it was always going to be harder for him to process anger, shame, anxiety, fear, you name it. And were there parts of my father’s life in 1995 that helped light the match? Almost certainly. His office routine was stressful in ways I don’t think anybody else has ever entirely understood, and, you know, he had a bratty teenage son who probably wasn’t helping anything. Well, I told him I loved him. More than a few times. We all did. What else can you do? I told him I loved him, because it was true, and because I didn’t know what else to say, and because I didn’t know how else I could help, and because I thought it might help, and because I thought “how could anyone be sad who is so well loved?,” and because I thought “Love never fails,” and because I thought “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” and surely, if we love him enough, if he just sees how much we love him, surely he’ll come back.

Read the rest HERE at Matt's blog -

Friday, August 15, 2014

Who will be the next leader of The Episcopal Cafe?

I received word that my friend and colleague, Jim Naughton, will be stepping down as the intrepid leader of The Episcopal Cafe.  If anyone is interested in taking up the mantle, do be in touch with him or with the news team!  I was delighted to be a news editor of the Cafe for a year or two, and also contributed a few essays to the Daily Episcopalian.  I agree with Jim that we in the Episcopal Church need an independent news source and I hope that there will be folks who will take on the challenge.

In the meanwhile, blessings and gratitude to Jim Naughton and all the wonderful folks who have made the Episcopal Cafe a wonderful source over these last 9 years!


Peter Carey+

See the posting below or HERE:

Dear friends and readers,
After almost nine years of blogging at the Episcopal Café and its predecessors, I have decided to pursue a new project. I will be stepping down as the editor of the Café by the end of the year. I have loved bringing you the news each day and participating in the debates and conversations about what God is calling our church to do, but I am eager to devote my energy to a different kind of writing.
The news blogging team and I haven’t determined whether it is time to close the Café, and we’d like to hear from some of you before we make that decision.
In its eight year of operation, the Cafe draws more than 330,000 visitors per year, and it is flourishing on Facebook, where it has more than 11,600 followers, and on Twitter, where it has more than 10,600 followers. Yet several key news bloggers, including Ann Fontaine, who not only works on The Lead each Tuesday, but who also manages the Daily Episcopalian and Speaking to the Soul blogs, are ready for a break from the rigors of keeping the Café running. Additionally, the Café is still running on the same now-outdated software on which it was launched in April of 2007, and Bill Joseph, our ingenious web master, can only keep us afloat for so long.
To remain viable, the Café needs a significant infusion of cash and a new content management system. It also needs to be redesigned, not just to give it a fresh look, but also to reflect the tremendous growth of social media that has taken place since the Café was founded. (The Video blog, for instance, is obsolete thanks to the proliferation of content on YouTube and Vimeo.) I’ve explored a few partnerships and sources of funding over the last few years, but, in the end, it is difficult to get large institutions to give you money without trading away some editorial independence, and I thought that was a bad idea.
What we are wondering is whether there is anyone, or, more likely, any ones, who have an interest in keep the Café going. Most of the news team is at ease with the decision to cease publication before the end of the year. But if there are folks out there who have the interest, energy and expertise to keep the Café going, I’d be willing to listen to your ideas. I wouldn’t want to hand the Café over to a person or group that wasn’t entirely committed to the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the church, or who had any doubts about the ordination of women to all orders of ministry. I am not interested in having the Café become a platform for people who want either to diminish the authority of lay people in the church, or diminish the role of the General Convention in shaping the social justice policies of the church. It is also important to me that the Café continue to be good at what it does. I’d like to know that a group of conscientious and committed people with at least a modicum of experience in curating news stories and catalyzing online conversation was going to be at the controls.
I would be delighted if the work of the Café could continue. The Episcopal Church needs an independent news source. It needs an outlet at which new ideas can be raised and evaluated. It needs a website and social media presence that can call attention to the good work being done by independent bloggers with whom much of the church is not yet familiar. But after almost nine years as a church blogger and church news editor, I’ve done that particular kind of work long enough, and most of the news team, including original cast members John Chilton, Ann Fontaine and Andrew Gerns are also ready to give up what can be a time intensive weekly commitment.
If you are interested in attempting to sustain the Café, please contact me or leave your name in the comments.
We will keep everyone posted if there are developments.
With gratitude for this great ride,
Jim Naughto

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The rise of the helicopter teacher

Interesting food for thought here in this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Rise of the Helicopter Teacher
A week before the first paper was due, a young woman in my class raised her hand and asked where the rubric was. 
Shamefaced and stuttering, I had to admit that I had no idea what a rubric was. She helpfully explained that this was a set of guidelines explaining what I expected them to write, how I expected them to write it, and how each aspect of the paper would be evaluated. A set of boxes that students could check off to guarantee that they had met my expectations. For all intents and purposes, in other words, an outline for the paper.
Oh, I replied. No, I continued, there would be no rubric. And as I saw the crestfallen faces in front of me I realized what these students expected me to be: a helicopter teacher.
We have all seen (and made fun of) helicopter parents. They hover. They are endlessly accommodating. They put up with rude, spoiled behavior from their children without offering much by way of discipline or punishment. 
Over the last generation or so, teaching has come to resemble parenting in several ways, swayed by the currents of hyper-parenting that come from the larger culture and responding to the dictates that come down to us from higher up our institutional food chains. 
Read the rest HERE

The call never lies within our own power

Obedience to the call of Jesus never lies within our own power. If, for instance, we give away all our possessions, that act is not in itself the obedience he demands. In fact such a step might be the precise opposite of obedience to Jesus, for we might then be choosing a way of life for ourselves, some Christian ideal, or some ideal of Franciscan poverty…. The step into the situation where faith is possible is not an offer which we can make to Jesus, but always his gracious offer to us. Only when the step is taken in this spirit is it admissible.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer