Monday, January 19, 2015

Remembering MLK,Jr.







Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last; Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

J.R.R. Tolkien surprised by the appearance of Strider!



This fascinates me about the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as his writing process....

"Tolkien confessed that 1/3rd of the way through The Fellowship of the Ring some ruffian named Strider confronted the hobbits in an inn, & Tolkien was in despair. He didn’t know who Strider was, where the book was going, or what to write next. Strider turns out to be no lesser person than Aragorn, the unrecognized & uncrowned king of all the forces of good, whose restoration to rule is, along with the destruction of the evil ring, the engine that moves the plot of the whole massive trilogy."

the Light of the world!



Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

2nd Sunday after Epiphany Readings

2nd Sunday after Epiphany Readings


The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Old Testament

1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20)

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down. The LORD called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, `Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." [Then the LORD said to Samuel, "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever."
Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." He said, "Here I am." Eli said, "What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you." So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, "It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him."
As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.]
The Psalm

Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 Page 794, BCP

Domine, probasti



1
LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
2
You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.
3
Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.
4
You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.
5
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
12
For you yourself created my inmost parts; *
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
13
I will thank you because I am marvelously made; *
your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
14
My body was not hidden from you, *
while I was being made in secret
and woven in the depths of the earth.
15
Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
all of them were written in your book; *
they were fashioned day by day,
when as yet there was none of them.
16
How deep I find your thoughts, O God! *
how great is the sum of them!
17
If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand; *
to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours.

The Epistle

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

The Gospel

John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Re-reading is inefficient. Here are 8 tips for studying smarter.

 Re-reading is inefficient. Here are 8 tips for studying smarter.


The way most students study makes no sense.
That's the conclusion of Washington University in St. Louis psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel — who've spent a combined 80 years studying learning and memory, and recently distilled their findings with novelist Peter Brown in the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
The majority of students study by re-reading notes and textbooks — but the psychologists' research, both in lab experiments and of actual students in classes, shows this is a terrible way to learn material. Using active learning strategies — like flashcards, diagramming, and quizzing yourself — is much more effective, as is spacing out studying over time and mixing different topics together.
McDaniel spoke with me about the eight key tips he'd share with students and teachers from his body of research.

1) Don't just re-read your notes and readings

167068424
Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images


"We know from surveys that a majority of students, when they study, they typically re-read assignments and notes. Most students say this is their number one go-to strategy.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First Sunday after Epiphany - 11 January 2014 - Readings

Genesis 1:1-5Psalm 29Acts 19:1-7Mark 1:4-11
The Collect
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Old Testament

Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Psalm

Psalm 29 Page 620, BCP

Afferte Domino



1
Ascribe to the LORD, you gods, *
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his Name; *
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the LORD is upon the mighty waters.
4
The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.
5
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees; *
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
6
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7
The voice of the LORD splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; *
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
8
The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.
9
And in the temple of the LORD *
all are crying, "Glory!"
10
The LORD sits enthroned above the flood; *
the LORD sits enthroned as King for evermore.
11
The LORD shall give strength to his people; *
the LORD shall give his people the blessing of peace.

The Epistle

Acts 19:1-7

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" They replied, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." Then he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They answered, "Into John's baptism." Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied-- altogether there were about twelve of them.

The Gospel

Mark 1:4-11

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Statement from the Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia



A Statement from the Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia

1/9/2015
 The news today from the Diocese of Maryland is sad and painful. A bishop suffragan of the Church, the Rt. Rev. Heather Cook, will be charged with manslaughter in the death of Thomas Palermo, a 41-year-old bicyclist and father of two small children. Bishop Cook also faces other charges, including leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving under the influence and causing an accident by texting while driving.

Many important issues are raised by this tragic situation. Deeply substantive and pressing conversations within the Church and the broader community lie ahead. But our prayerful focus today is on Mr. Palermo, his family and his friends. Indeed, we pray for all those whose lives have been or will be impacted by these events.

We commend Bishop Eugene Sutton for the leadership and forthright transparency he has displayed from the very beginning of this tragedy. Our entire staff stands in solidarity with the staff of the Diocese of Maryland. Moreover, we are mindful of our calling to keep Bishop Cook in our prayers. We know this news will impact the hearts and minds of every person in that diocese.

Together with our Diocese, we will work to help the broader Church find its witness in a meaningful way. We pray that justice will be served. And we will continue to pray that all those troubled, angered, frustrated or in despair will experience the healing power of God.  

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick Jr., Assistant Bishop

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Epiphany - 6 January 2014 - Readings



Isaiah 60:1-6 
Ephesians 3:1-12 
Matthew 2:1-12 
Psalm 72:1-7,10-14
The Collect
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Old Testament

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

The Psalm

Psalm 72:1-7,10-14 Page 685, BCP

Deus, judicium



1
Give the King your justice, O God, *
and your righteousness to the King's Son;
2
That he may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;
3
That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
and the little hills bring righteousness.
4
He shall defend the needy among the people; *
he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
5
He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
from one generation to another.
6
He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
like showers that water the earth.
7
In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
10
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
11
All kings shall bow down before him, *
and all the nations do him service.
12
For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, *
and the oppressed who has no helper.
13
He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; *
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
14
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.


The Epistle

Ephesians 3:1-12

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- for surely you have already heard of the commission of God's grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

The Gospel

Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The New Year Begins: "It's not the critic who counts"


It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. 

~Theodore Roosevelt

You beat cancer by how you live...~Stuart Scott


"You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live."
~Stuart Scott

Second Sunday after Christmas - 4 January 2014 - Readings



Jeremiah 31:7-14 
Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a 
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23 
or Luke 2:41-52 
or Matthew 2:1-12 
Psalm 84 or 84:1-8
The Collect
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Old Testament

Jeremiah 31:7-14

Thus says the LORD:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
"Save, O LORD, your people,
the remnant of Israel."
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame, those with child and
those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock."
For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the LORD.
The Psalm

Psalm 84 or 84:1-8 Page 707, BCP

Quam dilecta!



1
How dear to me is your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! *
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
2
The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *
by the side of your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
3
Happy are they who dwell in your house! *
they will always be praising you.
4
Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.
5
Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, *
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
6
They will climb from height to height, *
and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.
7
LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; *
hearken, O God of Jacob.
8
Behold our defender, O God; *
and look upon the face of your Anointed.
9
For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, *
and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God
than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.
10
For the LORD God is both sun and shield; *
he will give grace and glory;
11
No good thing will the LORD withhold *
from those who walk with integrity.
12
O LORD of hosts, *
happy are they who put their trust in you!

The Epistle

Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.


Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean."
or

Luke 2:41-52

Now the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
or
22

 


Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"



Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

"Reading Scripture Creatively" ~ GREAT advice from Kathy Staudt!

My friend Kathy Staudt has a wonderful piece on her blog from last September on "Reading Scripture Creatively" which I will be using (in an adapted form) in my classes in the new year.

Just great!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey


Reading Scripture Creatively 
(Also on episcopal cafe Sept 10 2014)A good deal of my teaching this fall turns out to require some open reflection on the way that I read the Bible . I keep discovering that my habitual way of reading Scripture is not obvious to everyone, though it comes naturally to me as a reader of literature and poetry ( It is probably no accident that some other thinkers about the contemporary church and the Bible – including Verna Dozier and Brian McLaren and probably others, started life as English teachers – and that is also my background, training, just my way of reading Marcus Borg gets us to this approach when he writes about taking the Bible “seriously but not literally.”220px-Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpgTaking Scripture seriously, not literally, means that I am always coming to a Biblical text, in daily meditations or in small group, with the assumption that there is something that I can learn about God by engaging with this text, simply because, as Scripture, it contains the record of someone’s experience of God, or of what it means to think of ourselves as in some sense “God’s people.” So I’m always trying to read the text in some ways “faithfully,” even when I don’t completely accept or believe – indeed even when I might be appalled by -- the ‘plain sense’ of what I’m reading. This assumption that the text has something to teach us is the difference between approaching a Biblical text simply as a “message” to accept or reject and approaching it as “Scripture,” a text that has been given to us, as the prayer book says, “for our learning.” So – here are some questions I’ll bring to a text of Scripture that I’m reading for a class or for my personal meditation. 


1. What kind of text is this? Is it poetry, or history, or folk story, or is it a parable or lesson to be learned? The Bible contains a lot of different kinds of texts and reading it faithfully requires having a sense of where we are. It makes a big difference, for example, whether we read the opening of Genesis as a poetic text (which it is closest to being) or as a scientific treatise (which it can’t be because they didn’t write them back then). 

2. What do I know about the context that gave rise to this text,what it might have said to the people who first heard or wrote it down. What comes right before it in the text? What questions was it answering for people then? How do those questions compare to my own questions? Are they the same?

3. What do I know about this text in relation to other parts of the Bible? Sometimes this can give us some good insights: talking about a passage in a group can be a great source of wisdom around this question 
4. What do I know about how this text has traditionally been read? What questions did that tradition bring to the text? Are there insights to be gained by looking at different translations of the same text (often these are clues to interpretive decisions). What questions does this raise for me? All of which leads to. . . 
5. What question am I bringing to this text? Where is it speaking to me or challenging me? Identifying these questions can become a good signal to pause for prayer and “listen” to what the text might be saying – what words or phrases jump out or speak to me? What is the process of reading this text telling me about my own search for deeper understanding of the mystery of life with God? 

6. How might I pray with this text? After a time of meditation, alone or in a group, I might ask: what am I learning from this passage of Scripture today? About myself? About God? About being part of “God’s people”?
What this kind of approach avoids is simply reading into the text whatever we bring to it, or getting hung up on what we don’t like about a particular text of Scripture and so dismissing it . – It allows us to step back and let the text “speak” first and acknowledge that any act of reading is an entry into a kind of relationship. I like it that the Rabbinic tradition of interpretation or midrash has known this for a long time: that the act of reading Scripture, and especially wrestling with the parts that we don’t understand or like, and trying to make new sense of them, is always a religious activity – a process of drawing nearer to the Mystery regardless of whether we can get an interpretation fully “right” . It is a gift to read the Bible as Scripture in this sense -- as inviting a process of learning, as something organic and “still speaking” --rather than as something fixed and rigid. The approach that these questions sketch out helps us to experience Scripture as “word of God” – as a way we’ve been given to respond to the generosity of a God who for some mysterious reason keeps on trying to get through to us.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Learning to celebrate




We must learn to celebrate. I say learn to celebrate because celebration is not just a spontaneous event. We have to discover what celebration is. Our world doesn’t know much abut celebration. We know quite a bit about parties, where we are artificially stimulated with alcohol to have fun. We know what movies and distractions are. But do we know what celebration is? Do we know how to celebrate our togetherness, our being one body? Do we really know how to use all that is human and divine to celebrate together?

Jean Vanier

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Disease of Being Busy

The Disease of Being Busy 


BY OMID SAFI (@OSTADJAAN),  WEEKLY COLUMNIST



I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.”
Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.”
The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.
And it’s not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right.
After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.”
Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.
How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?
Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?
What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?
Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?
This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.
Since the 1950s, we have had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago.
For some of us, the “privileged” ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time.
Read it all HERE at onbeing


Courage




“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”
~Yeats

Do you need a "walkabout"? Bishop Steven Charleston recommends one!




"Among the Aboriginal People there is the tradition of the walkabout, an intentional time when young persons go out in search of themselves in the Outback, the remote places of interior Australia. I think there are times when we all could benefit from taking a walkabout of the soul, times when we let our spirits roam free, out into the wilder places remote from our comfortable dogma. We need the new. We grow in the strange. We learn from the challenge. God is not always found in the tame spaces, but in the outback of faith. So I think I will wander into the welcoming wilderness, looking to discover what waits beyond my own horizon."

Bishop Steven Charleston

Monday, December 29, 2014

From Seth Godin's blog: But what if this was your only job?

I find a lot to think about and ponder over at Seth Godin's blog.  Today's offering was no different.  

But what if this was your only job? 

Okay, I know you have competing priorities and that your organization has grown and that maybe this isn't the most important thing on your agenda any more... 
The thing is, your competition might actually act like the thing that they're doing is their only job. They might believe that in fact, treating this customer as if she's the only person in the world is worth it. That fixing that squeaky door, addressing that two-year old bug in the software, or taking one extra moment to look someone in the eye and talking to her with respect is worth it. 
We don't become mediocre all at once, and we rarely do it on purpose. Instead, we start believing that the entire project is our job, not this one thing, this one thing we used to do so brilliantly. 
The day the organization installs the, "your call is very important to us..." message is the day that they announce to themselves who they are becoming. Customers rarely care about your priorities. 
Getting bigger is supposed to make us more effective and efficient. Alas, the way to get there isn't by doing what you used to do, but less well.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Revised edition of "A History of the Episcopal Church" by Robert Prichard

Glad to see that my former professor from seminary, Dr. Prichard, has published a revised edition of his quite excellent book on the History of the Episcopal Church!




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VTS announces the Publication of Revised Edition of The History of the Episcopal Church by The Rev. Robert W. Prichard
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11/19/2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

Alexandria, Va. – VirginiaTheological Seminary (VTS) announces the publication of The History of the Episcopal Church - Third Revised Edition: Complete through the 78th General Convention (Morehouse, 2014), written by the Rev. Robert W. Prichard, Ph.D., the Arthur Lee Kinsolving Professor of Christianity in America, and Instructor in Liturgicsat Virginia Theological Seminary.
This insightful, all-encompassing chronicle spanning more than 400 years traces the fascinating rise of the Episcopal Church, founded in an age of fragmentation and molded by the powerful movements of American history: the Great Awakening; the American Revolution; the Civil War; two World Wars and the Depression; and the social upheavals of the post World War II years. This thorough, carefully researched history sets church events against the background of social changes. This third revised edition is be up-to-date through the events of the 2012 General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

"The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Prichard is judicious, thoughtful, and fair.  He has the gift of summarizing the most complex of questions," said the Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary. "The new edition will continue to serve as the definitive history of our Church."

Prichard first taught at VTS as an adjunct faculty member in 1980, joining the faculty full-time in 1983. He is currently the Arthur Lee Kinsolving Professor of Christianity in America and Instructor in Liturgy. He completed his Ph.D. in church history at Emory University in Atlanta, where he focused on theological discourse in the 19th - century Episcopal Church. He previously earned an M.Div. at Berkeley at Yale Divinity School and an A.B. in Spanish at Princeton.

He is the author or editor of 9 books, including A History of the Episcopal Church (Morehouse 1991, 1999, 2014), the Nature of Salvation: Theological consensus in the Episcopal Church, 1801-73 (University of Illinois, 1997), and Cohabiting Couples and Cold Feet: A Practical Marriage-Preparation Guide for Clergy (Church Publishing, 2009). Prichard has served broadly in church and academy. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Episcopal Church Canon Law, the president of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, and a clerical deputy to General Convention (2006, 2009, 2012) from the Diocese or Virginia.