Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Beatitudes: You are Blessed!


My friend Steve, over at draught-ing theology has quoted Eugene Peterson's 'translation' of the Beatitudes in The Message...as I am working on preaching on this text coming up, I really appreciated this translation and also Steve for posting it...I guess I need to buy The Message, eh? What a great message, YOU ARE BLESSED!!!!!

From Eugene Peterson's The Message:

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. (The Message)


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

News Flash, My Bishop (Coadjutor) Loves Halloween!


My Bishop Coadjutor loves Halloween:

In a blog post over at "Creedal Christian," I read a piece that The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston wrote before he became a bishop here in Virginia about loving Halloween and I thought it was good enough (scary enough?) to re-post over here....

YES! HALLOWEEN IS CHRISTIAN - WONDERFULLY SO!
When I was a child, I loved Halloween. All of my family participated enthusiastically, decorating our house with witches, devils, black cats, and ghosts. It was innocent fun, filled with imagination and creativity. Looking back, what made Halloween so great for this child was its contrast of silliness and fright, the supernatural and the known, the permitted and the forbidden, the secretive and the public. Halloween was unique; no other occasion was anything like it.

As an adult - and as a priest - I still love Halloween. And I do mean HALLOWEEN, not a “Fall Festival” or the like. Every year, I carve two pumpkins – one playfully smiling and the other “very scary.” I love seeing the children’s costumes and making a big fuss over them. How sad now that Halloween is being spoiled and even taken away from us by the absolutely outrageous ideas that it is “satanic,” pagan, or of the occult. Such notions are poorly informed, terribly misguided, and absolutely untrue. There are many materials circulating these days, all pretending some sort of scholarly knowledge and/or religious authority, that strive to show that Halloween is “really” celebrating the powers of darkness. In response, I must be absolutely clear: pretenses of authority notwithstanding, these materials are at great odds with centuries of commonly accepted theology, not to mention scholarship with proven accreditation. The so-called “exposure” of Halloween is nothing more than a skewed, self-serving agenda from various churches that make up only a tiny minority of Christianity, indeed a minority within Protestantism.

Of course I am aware that satanists, Wiccans, and other occult groups are indeed active on October 31. It is also true that some pseudo-spiritualists and some plain ole’ nut-cases use Halloween as an excuse to act out. NONE OF THIS CHANGES WHAT HALLOWEEN ACTUALLY IS OR WHAT IT MEANS IN THE CHURCH’S LIFE AND WITNESS. Much of the occult association with the day arose long after the Church’s observances began in the mid 300's. Our answer to those Christians who bristle at the celebration of Halloween is that we will not allow occultists to steal it away from God’s Church. Moreover, several Christian observances have pre-Christian ancestry or pagan parallels (the date of Christmas, for example). Whatever the case, the fact is that the Christian truths proclaimed on such days are not affected.

A big part of the problem here comes from the people who do not understand the Liturgical Year because their churches do not follow it. It’s hard to keep a clear perspective on something so rooted in history and tradition if you belong to a church that has no such roots, or to one that rejects as irrelevant or “suspect” the ancient practices from the earliest Christian centuries.

The bottom line is Halloween’s relationship to All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1), one of the Church’s seven “Principal Feasts.” The celebration of any Principal Feast may begin on the evening before - thus, Christmas Eve, Twelfth Night (before Epiphany), Easter Eve (the Great Vigil), etc. Halloween is simply the eve of All Saints’ Day, which is also a baptismal feast. The great truth behind Halloween’s revels is that which we declare at every baptism: “YOU ARE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN BAPTISM AND ARE MARKED AS CHRIST’S OWN FOREVER.”

The most important thing to remember is this: Halloween is the time when Christians proclaim and celebrate the fact that Satan and the occult have no power over us and cannot disrupt our relationship with our Lord and Redeemer, as long as we live faithfully to Christ. We show this by making fun of such pretenders, lampooning them in their face. This is why our costumes and decorations certainly should be witches, devils, and ghosts. In the victory of Christ, Christians are privileged to do this and we must not be timid about it!

Ours is not a fearful faith, cowering from the prospect of falling unawares into Satan’s grasp. In God’s grace and your faithfulness, you ARE Christ’s own forever. Nothing supersedes that fact. Halloween is therefore one of the boldest Christian witnesses, precisely because of its highly public, graphic, and lampooning nature. Personally, I suspect that those who cannot embrace this are living a fear-driven and even insecure faith. If so, they have bigger problems than the highjinks of Halloween.

In Christ,
Shannon+

Amen to that!!!




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Another giveaway-Starbucks Card


Since I spent many many hours last year writing my master's thesis at Starbucks, and I now am ecstatic to live .3 miles from one, I've decided to offer another giveaway, ...for my beloved coffee-company.

Enter below for a $5 Starbucks gift card...all you need to do is to enter a comment...also, click on the "Fall Y'all" Link below for over 500 other giveaways...some cool stuff to check out ...


I will make the "drawing" at 6pm on Sunday, November 4th...

Fall Bloggy Giveaway - 3 Free (New) books




My friend Laura over at My Quotidian Mysteries did a Summer giveaway hosted by Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer this summer and it looked pretty fun, so, I am offering 3 books in this Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway. The way this works is that you comment on this post and this "enters" you in the giveaway, then one of the entries is picked at random and I will send you the books. The winner takes all three! I am unable to send to international addresses due to the cost, but if you're in North America, enter away!

The three books I'm offering are:

A Theology of Liberation, Gustavo Gutierrez
One of the the seminal works on Liberation Theology, outlining the claim that God shows a "preferential option for the poor," and that the Church should also stand with the poorest of the poor against the powers that oppress and enslave them. The book is thought-provoking and a wonderful inroads into this controversial topic, one that makes the hierarchy of nearly every church body very nervous. However, for just that reason, it is a must read!


We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People, Gustavo Gutierrez
Another amazing book from Gutierrez, more spiritual in focus than theological, very accessible to read, and really an amazing work for anyone doing ministry, striving to live a life of holiness, and striving to care for those in need. From the book jacket: "We Drink from Our Own Wells remains a classic expression of Latin American spirituality by a pioneer of liberation theology."


The Apocalyptic Literature, Stephen L. Cook
This is an amazing book, written by my Old Testament professor from seminary. I (for some reason) bought a second copy of this book (my other one is VERY marked up!) Dr. Cook takes on a rather difficult and strange subject matter but has the amazing ability to make it readable and understandable. He is an amazing teacher, and his gifts at breaking down difficult topics into digestible portions also comes through in his books. This book allows the reader to enter into the amazing visions of the apocalyptic literature from the Hebrew Scriptures, and then helps the reader understand those visions. Really a wonderful book.

So, there they are - I own my own copies of each of these books, but am ready to part with these "extra" copies and hope there are some budding scholars, interested students, ministers, priests, and others who might want to put in an entry for three great books. So, offer a comment to enter.

So, comment below to make an entry....

I will make the drawing at 6pm on Sunday, November 4th...good luck!

Monday, October 29, 2007

God exists, and he exists even more, the farther you feel from him

God exists, and he exists even more, the farther you feel from him.
God is closer to you when you think he is farther away and doesn’t hear you.
When you feel the anguished desire for God to come near because you don’t feel him present,
then God is very close to your anguish.

~~Archbishop Romero~~ The Anguish of Love



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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Approved for Ordination to the Priesthood



On Friday, I received a call on my cell phone while I was teaching a class of 3rd graders about Anglican Worship at Williamsbug during colonial times.

The substance of the call was that I was approved for ordination to the priesthood which was the final hurdle in a 6 year discernment process which included 3 years of parish work, 3 years of seminary, and the last few months as a transitional deacon. While I expected to be approved, strange things sometimes happen in these processes, so it is a great joy for me to move through to this step of the process and I rejoice. So, if you are in Philly on December 15th, come by the Philadelphia (Episcopal) Cathedral, and send along your prayers and good thoughts if you cannot be there.

Peace and blessings,

Peter

my posting on "discernment" over at Seminar on Conflict Ecclesiology

I've posted an entry on the Seminar on Conflict Ecclesiology and you can read it HERE, check it out, if you're feeling "church geeky" or are really into thinking why we use this term "to discern" so often in the church...

Check out my entry HERE.

It's "Reformation Sunday" ... a few reflections


First, from Stanley Hauerwas, courtesy of the "Covenant" Blog...

Stanley Hauerwas: Reformation is Sin

By Sam Keyes | October 28, 2007

As much as I love singing “A mighty fortress is our God,” I see little reason to celebrate “Reformation Sunday,” observed today by many Lutherans and other Protestants. (No doubt many reformed Anglican congregations observe it as well.) Hauerwas’s rhetoric is, unsurprisingly, provocative, but in a divided Church I think it important to remember this day not as a triumph but as a failure:

I realize that this perspective on Reformation Sunday is not the usual perspective. The usual perspective is to tell us what a wonderful thing happened at the Reformation. The Reformation struck a blow for freedom. No longer would we be held in medieval captivity to law and arbitrary authority. The Reformation was the beginning of enlightenment, of progressive civilizations, of democracy, that have come to fruition in this wonderful country called America. What a destructive story.

You can tell the destructive character of that narrative by what it has done to the Jews. The way we Protestants read history, and in particular our Bible, has been nothing but disastrous for the Jews. For we turned the Jews into Catholics by suggesting that the Jews had sunk into legalistic and sacramental religion after the prophets and had therefore become moribund and dead. In order to make Jesus explicable (in order to make Jesus look like Luther - at least the Luther of our democratic projections), we had to make Judaism look like our characterization of Catholicism. Yet Jesus did not free us from Israel; rather, he engrafted us into the promise of Israel so that we might be a people called to the same holiness of the law.

This whole sermon is online here.


Second, from Fr. Logue at "Irenic Thoughts"...

Reformation Sunday

On October 31, 1517, a seminary professor and monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 propositions for debate to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church. Luther nails the 95 Theses to the doorThis action touched off what we now call the Reformation. There is joy in what the Reformation brought about in that having the Bible and the worship in the language of the people (rather than Latin) is a direct result of the debate Luther began within the church. But, the Reformation also led to the prefusion of denominatons and led to more persecutation of persons of varying Christian beliefs.

Read the rest HERE.




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on Dr. Cook's Blog: The Bible and Climate Change on Today's "All Things Considered," NPR

My former OT professor, Dr. Stephen Cook has an interesting post today on his blog, Biblische Ausbildung about the Bible and Climate Change. Check it out...

Biblische Ausbildung: The Bible and Climate Change on Today's "All Things Considered," NPR

On Today's "All Things Considered," NPR's Neda Ulaby discusses Climate Change and Bible Tales. Two brief segments from an interview with my friend Dr. Ellen Davis of Duke Divinity School appear in the piece, which is only about five minutes long. That interview actually took place this summer in my office here at VTS.

Here is one quote from Ellen in the piece: "The biblical writers have always maintained that the world is not a permanent entity as we know it; it can change; is likely to change; for better, or for much worse." Ulaby comments: "That vision of a much worse world bridges the doctrines of secular science and biblical literalism. Both see the destruction of the world as a consequence of man's actions." I think the term "literalism" was an unfortunate choice of words to link up with Ellen Davis, but perhaps more unfortunate is the inclusion a bit earlier of a sound clip from a Jerry Falwell sermon.

Read the rest HERE.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Installation services


We had two great services of Installation of our new Head of School this week that took a lot of work, coordination and planning, but were great services of celebration for her new ministry. I am so thankful for everyone who played a part, and especially those who were on the planning teams who helped this rookie clergyperson to pull of some really fine liturgy. Here's one photo from the Celebration for Students from Tuesday of this week that shows just a few of the participants. I am full of gratitude for the many gifts and offerings made during these two services (and each an every day in this place.)

Thanks to all!

Peace and Blessings,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quotes on a Friday...

"One of the most difficult things is not to change society - but to change yourself."
~Nelson Mandela: Anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa.

"What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that 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, In the Name of Jesus, 1989

Testimony is an integral part of the Black religious tradition. It is the occasion where the believer stands before the community of faith in order to give account of the hope that is in him or her.
~James Hal Cone

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.
~Dalai Lama

The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything.
~Julian of Norwich

Is God a Christian? ..., Desmond Tutu


Father Jake Stops the World has a great piece on "Is God a Christian," which was a speech that Desmond Tutu gave in Pittsburgh .... It's a must read...lots of food for thought ... I really love his line, "Can anyone say to the Dalai Lama, 'You are a good guy. What a shame you are not a Christian'?" ... a challenging and helpful speech that we really need to hear and discuss...

~from Father Jake Stops the World


From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday thanked Pittsburghers who worked to end apartheid in South Africa and received an unprecedented dual honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

He also threw down a theological challenge on a doctrine that the worldwide Anglican Communion is threatening to split over.

In his sermon, he poked fun at the belief that only those who accept Jesus as their savior can enter heaven.

"Can you imagine that there are those who think God is a Christian?" he said to laughter from a mostly appreciative audience. "Can you tell us what God was before he was a Christian?"

...The church was filled with those who supported the archbishop's social justice concerns both now and 20 years ago, when black people couldn't enter white South African neighborhoods without a "guest worker" pass. He opened his sermon with thanks to those who had prayed, marched and gone to jail to protest apartheid.

"One of the great privileges ... is to be able to come to places such as this and say to you: We asked for your help. You gave it. We are free. Thank you, thank you, thank you," he said.

He spoke of marching side by side with rabbis and imams.

"They were all inspired by their faiths. I have yet to hear of a faith that says it's OK to be unjust," he said.

"Injustice and oppression isn't just evil, which it is. It's not just painful, which it certainly is for the victim. It's like spitting in the face of God."

He invoked his friendship with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader who has been exiled from his homeland for nearly 50 years. Although others would be embittered, the Dalai Lama is filled with "bubbly joyousness," he said.

"You have to be totally, totally insensitive not to know you are in the presence of someone who is holy and good."

He then asked, "Can anyone say to the Dalai Lama, 'You are a good guy. What a shame you are not a Christian'?"

Read it all HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Waking Up to War with Iran? (from Brian McLaren)

Are we ready to take to the streets if the Bush Administration puts us into war in Iran?
Or, are we ready to enlist?
Should we be more afraid of our own government than of Iran?
What should Christians do in this context of protracted war?
Brian McLaren has challenged us in his blog entry on the "God's Politics Blog" that begins to address these questions.

Will we have ears to hear?


Waking Up to War with Iran (by Brian McLaren)

I am afraid, but not for the reasons our government is telling me to be afraid. I am afraid that I may wake up one morning soon to discover that our government has launched a preemptive attack on Iran. While our government is issuing national orange alerts about "them," I wonder whether we Christians should be issuing global orange alerts about our own government.

I am disgusted, concerned, appalled, and furious about the current saber-rattling of our government - so reminiscent of the buildup to the invasion of Iraq. My feelings intensify in many of our presidential candidates' forums, where each candidate seems to be in a hissing contest, declaring that he or she is the loudest hisser against terrorism - as if the only danger in the world is posed by an evil "them" and not by evil resident within us. Our Congress' bipartisan vote last month, which labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, seems to me to be handing our president a "go to war free" card, another rather frightening development.

Meanwhile, our media are becoming an echo chamber of fear: after all, fear keeps people tuned in, which means better ratings, and thus more advertising income. Fear pays - economically and politically - but sadly, we haven't reached the point yet of fearing fear itself and what it may do if it keeps accelerating.

On top of these fears, I suspect that many of my fellow Christians will, in the name of God and Jesus and Christianity and the Bible, support and justify a preemptive war on Iran before and after it happens - no matter how unprovoked, no matter how brutal, and no matter how foolish and costly, both financially and morally. Forgetting even the traditional Christian criteria for just war, and forgetting the falsified "intelligence" used to justify our last preemptive war, we Christians in the U.S., I fear, will once again be high on credulity and low on scrutiny - all too eager to believe what our government tells us to legitimize a pre-emptive attack and feed our growing fears. We Christians who cannot follow this path into another war must ask ourselves two kinds of questions:

  1. What will we do if we wake up and find our government has attacked Iran while we were sleeping? What actions - public and private - would be appropriate?
  2. What can we do now to decrease the possibility of that occurring? What will we wish we would have done in the weeks and months before the morning after?
Follow along with upcoming Brian McLaren blog entries HERE.

The Church of England Evangelical Council uses various means...


The Church of England Evangelical Council makes an appearance on Dave Walkers "Cartoon Blog," I've posted the cartoons below, you can also find them HERE. You can also click on the image below for a larger version of them. Do check out Dave Walker's awesome "Cartoon Blog," he is talented, bright, witty and also a great gadfly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Heroic Geniuses - Ansel Adams













I just watched a wonderful American Experience program on PBS highlighting the amazing photographer Ansel Adams. His work is incredible and I have long loved those photos, the beauty of God's creation, the black, white, the capture of the wondrous gift of this natural world. Amazing!

put on the armor of God



quote of the day on God's Politics blog....


Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

- Ephesians 6:11-12

Bluesy Tuesday...

...gotta check out Taj Mahal and Corey Harris, "Sittin' on top of the world."....



Awesome.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Meditative Monday - Rowan Williams on "Children are not expendable"

Striving to offer some structure to the blogging week, I'm offering a "Meditative Monday" in which I will share video, audio, and writing from challenging, hopeful, and even prophetic individuals.

Today, I offer this video from Rowan Williams on children, "Children are not expendable!" - Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams



Do check it out...

Challenging
Important
Hard-Hitting
Thoughtful
Hopeful in the midst of struggle

Those Seven References, book by John Dwyer



My friend from seminary, John Dwyer, has had his senior independent study published. It is a study of the Bible's seven references to homosexuality. I have not yet read it, but know John and his work well, and know that it will be excellent. So, I am putting a plug in for everyone to get this book and read it. I know that his will be an important voice in the discussion of Homosexuality, the Church, and the Bible. Check it out HERE on Amazon.com.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

not a huge Boston Red Sox fan, but a pretty exciting series!


Wow, Boston Red Sox win after being down 3-1...now the're in the World Series...pretty cool...

Sunday Blogrollin' .... some blogs I read

Sunday Blogrollin', Logrollin'....on a Sunday in the Fall...

To give this blog a little (but not too much) structure, I'm going to start giving some blog recommendations on Sundays...themes for other days of the week to come soon....

Here are some of the blogs that I read, described here for your amusement and enjoyment, and (sometimes) edification and learning...

CoreyHarris.com
Corey Harris is an absolutely incredible blues and reggae musician who also was an honors graduate of Bates College in Anthropology back in 1991. He was featured in a PBS Documentary by Martin Scorcese on The Blues, and has won numerous awards. He and I graduated from Bates together and I knew him a bit at Bates and had some mutual friends in common. He's currently on tour in France. September of 2007 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that Harris is among 24 people named MacArthur Fellows for 2007. The award comes with $500,000 to be given over five years, with no strings attached. You really should check out his music! Here is the video from the MacArthur Foundation.

Father Matthew Presents
Matthew Moretz is an Episcopal priest up in the Diocese of New York and has an amazing ability and gift with making short videos on elements of the church. He can boil down Anglican Theology to a 3 minute YouTube clip, or can breathe life into a visit to a church attic. He is funny, brilliant, and down to earth. Check him out, whether you give 2 bits about the church, or not.

Sojourners and God's Politics
I have long loved to read Sojourners Magazine and their online work at "Sojo.net," now, with a partnership with Beliefnet, Jim Wallis and others are presenting some challenging and wonderful stuff over at "God's Politics Blog." Really helpful stuff for people who want to see transformative change in the world in order to help the poorest of the poor, and all those who are oppressed. There is a lot of good stuff going on here, and some wonderful visionaries are featured here as well. From the Blog's own descrition, "Join the God's Politics dialogue with Jim Wallis and friends Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, Becky Garrison, Gareth Higgins, Shane Claiborne, Mary Nelson, Gabriel Salguero, Tony Campolo, and others."

A Guy in the Pew
I really like this blog that looks at religion, science, and a nice variety of subjects, but many of the posts are about the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Chuck Blanchard has a really fine take on many of the controversial topics in our church and in our world. I tend to read his postings nearly every day and I marvel at his ability to analyze and reflect upon some important issues. Check out his stuff!! He also writes for the "Episcopal Cafe" Blog over at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (DC).

PoetProph
I really like this blog by Dr. Kathleen (or Kathy) Staudt. She is a wise spiritual director, great poet, and wonderful teacher. She played a significant role in my own spiritual and religious development while I was in seminary at VTS, and I thank her for her tremendous wisdom and courageous witness. Check out her blog, it's really good. She also blogs every time and again at the "Episcopal Cafe" hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (DC).

Episcopal Cafe

Ok, now that I've mentioned the "Episcopal Cafe" blog which is hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (DC, that is), I need to give them some props. The blog started (I think) as a reflection on that short-lived TV Show "Book of Daniel" (or, something of that sort) but now has morphed into a really great Blog site with art, poetry, a daily reading, video clips, and some great Episcopal Church gossip and discussion and dialogue and stuff. I have a good time on this blogsite, but then, I am a church geek. But, I think there is a lot here for just about everyone on the church-geek spectrum...

Slow Leadership
I'm not sure where I first heard about this blog about "slow leadership," though it may have been on the Episcopal Cafe blog (go figure). Wherever I heard about it, this is a blog I read often, as it offers an incredible corrective to the hyperspeed life of a leaders and managers. I find this philosophy of leadership to be harmonious with a Christian theology of leadership while also reminding me of my academic studies of Taoism and even reminds me of the Sufi mystic, Rumi. The blog has some great posts, and some wonderful reflections.

Seminar on Conflict Ecclesiology
I recommend this blog, not just because I am one of the members of this seminar (though I have only written very infrequently on the blog). The reason I really like this effort is that there is some really good analysis and reflection on the issue of Ecclesiology, or "theology of the church," that is, I think so essential for Christians to consider and debate and discuss and pray about in these days that some have called "post-Christian," or at least "post-Christiandom" ... I urge everyone to take a good look at the blog, and then offer your thoughts ... there is a lot here, and it lands pretty far up on the "Church Geek" meter, but I think the discussion is getting into some really interesting and cool topics. Check it out!


Ok, that's about enough for today, but I"ll highlight some more good blogs next Sunday...have a great week!

peace and blessings, Peter

Check out the Seminar (on Conflict Ecclesiology)!!

There are some good posts and discussion over at the Seminar on Conflict Ecclesiology .... come on over and let us know what you think!

I think the discussion on "discernment" is a very interesting one, as we (in the churchy world) use this term, discernment, a great deal -- perhaps without much common understanding of it ...

Come on over, and put in your 2cents!

Peace, Peter

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stephen Colbert: Running for President!? ;)


Stephen Colbert has "guest written" Maureen Dowd's New York Times opinion letter this week, and,...he's running for president (but only in South Carolina)...he cracks me up:

I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)

Surprised to see my byline here, aren’t you? I would be too, if I read The New York Times. But I don’t. So I’ll just have to take your word that this was published. Frankly, I prefer emoticons to the written word, and if you disagree :(

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.

So why I am writing Miss Dowd’s column today? Simple. Because I believe the 2008 election, unlike all previous elections, is important. And a lot of Americans feel confused about the current crop of presidential candidates.

For instance, Hillary Clinton. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to be scared of her so Democrats will think they should nominate her when she’s actually easy to beat, or if I’m supposed to be scared of her because she’s legitimately scary.

Or Rudy Giuliani. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to support him because he’s the one who can beat Hillary if she gets nominated, or if I’m supposed to support him because he’s legitimately scary.

And Fred Thompson. In my opinion “Law & Order” never sufficiently explained why the Manhattan D.A. had an accent like an Appalachian catfish wrestler.

Well, suddenly an option is looming on the horizon. And I don’t mean Al Gore (though he’s a world-class loomer). First of all, I don’t think Nobel Prizes should go to people I was seated next to at the Emmys. Second, winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.

While my hat is not presently in the ring, I should also point out that it is not on my head. So where’s that hat? (Hint: John McCain was seen passing one at a gas station to fuel up the Straight Talk Express.)

Others point to my new bestseller, “I Am America (And So Can You!)” noting that many candidates test the waters with a book first. Just look at Barack Obama, John Edwards or O. J. Simpson.

Look at the moral guidance I offer. On faith: “After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up.” On gender: “The sooner we accept the basic differences between men and women, the sooner we can stop arguing about it and start having sex.” On race: “While skin and race are often synonymous, skin cleansing is good, race cleansing is bad.” On the elderly: “They look like lizards.”

Our nation is at a Fork in the Road. Some say we should go Left; some say go Right. I say, “Doesn’t this thing have a reverse gear?” Let’s back this country up to a time before there were forks in the road — or even roads. Or forks, for that matter. I want to return to a simpler America where we ate our meat off the end of a sharpened stick.

Let me regurgitate: I know why you want me to run, and I hear your clamor. I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong. And I don’t intend to tease you for weeks the way Newt Gingrich did, saying that if his supporters raised $30 million, he would run for president. I would run for 15 million. Cash.

Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.

What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like you — if you have a TV show.

James Alison: Fragments, Catholic and Gay


Over at the Episcopal Cafe, they are serving up another great (and short) video of a wonderful challenging and thoughtful theologian, James Alison. The video can be seen HERE, and I found not only the video to be very thought-provoking and interesting, but also the comments written so far are well-worth a read. More on this video soon...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rowan Williams on Atheism

I'm a big fan of our Archbishop of Canterbury, and I enjoy reading his theology as well as seeing and hearing him speak. His generosity and compassion and kindness comes through when I hear and see him. Recently he gave a lecture at Swansea University and you can see it through the University's website. I ran across this on the "Connexions Blog" ... , "The blog of Richard Hall, a Methodist Minister in South Wales." You can see the video HERE.

Archbishop’s lecture in Swansea

by Richard

You can watch a media stream from the University’s website here. A transcript should soon be available at Rowan William’s website, but that may take a little while — he delivered the lecture without a script, so it will have to be typed from the video.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bruce Springsteen - American Prophet?





Bruce Springsteen
True Patriot!

View the 60 Minutes interview video HERE.




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I'm a week late on this post, but if you missed the 60 Minutes interview with Bruce Springsteen, you need to check it out HERE. A few excerpts are below; he rocks!!!! (on so many levels!)

Are rock stars serving as our most public prophets these days? Bruce seems to be calling our nation back to its original dream, its original mission and reason for being. In this interview, he mentions that things like wire-tapping and torture are not "American" but are "anti-American." His sense of where we are is insightful and fascinating. Rather than just blasting the war, and blasting the Bush Administration, he raises the question of whether we have moved off-course from our tradition -- he is rooted, deeply, in the best of the American tradition ... like the prophets of old, he may be calling us back to our original "covenant," ...

I wonder if the Church would be as willing to raise these questions as our rock stars? (and, in so many ways, represent the Church....his critique points at our politicians but also at me!)

_____________________________________________

(CBS)
It's hard to picture, but Bruce Springsteen turned 58 last month. His breakout hit, "Born
to Run," is 32 years old. While rock stars his age are content to tour with their greatest hits, Springsteen launched, last week, what may become his most controversial work as a songwriter.

Even now, Springsteen is an artist in progress, having moved from stories about girls and cars to populist ballads that echo the dust bowl days of Woody Guthrie. Springsteen has put all that together now in his first tour with the E Street Band in four years. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, he has returned to full-throated rock and roll, and a message that's sharper than ever, damning the war in Iraq, and questioning whether America has lost its way at home.



Springsteen told 60 Minutes his concert is part circus, dance party, political rally, and big tent revival. "You're the shaman, you know? You're the storyteller. You're the magician. The idea is whatever the ticket price, we're supposed to be there to deliver something that can't be paid for. That's our job," Springsteen says.

"You have got to be, wild guess, worth somewhere north of 100 million dollars. Why are you still touring? You don't have to do this," Pelley remarks.

"What else would I do? You got any clues?" Springsteen asks. "Got any suggestions? I mean, am I going to garden? Why would you stop. I mean, you play the music and you know, grown men cry. And women dance. That's why you do it."

"It's good to be a rock star," Pelley says.

"I would say that yes it is," Springsteen says. "But the star thing I can live with. The music I can't live without. And that's how it lays out for me, you know. I got as big an ego and enjoy the attention. My son has a word, he calls it 'Attention Whore.'"

"But you have to be one of those or else why would you be up in front of thousands of people, you know, shaking your butt. But at the same time, when it comes down to it, it's the way it makes you feel. I do it because of the way it makes me feel when I do it. It gives me meaning, it gives me purpose," Springsteen explains.

"Some of the pieces in the new record are gonna be considered controversial. Give me a sense of what you think has to be said. Why are you still writing?" Pelley asks,

"It's how I find out who you are, and who I am, and then who we are. I'm interested in that. I'm interested in what it means to be an American," Springsteen says. "I'm interested in what it means to live in America. I'm interested in the kind of country that we live in and leave our kids. I'm interested in trying to define what that country is. I got the chutzpa or whatever you want to say to believe that if I write a really good about it, it's going to make a difference. It’s going to matter to somebody." See the rest of the transcript from the video HERE.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sermon from last Sunday - Habakkuk


Proper 22
Habakkuk 1:1-13; 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10

You may have heard the quote of Karl Barth that preachers should practice reading the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other hand. Well, most of the Barth scholars I have talked with say that he probably did not say this quote. Nonetheless, it is still a good practice; living our lives while trying to be aware of the world and aware of the vision of God. This is a pretty hard thing to do. Habakkuk tells us that this is what he was trying to do in the reading we heard today. Habakkuk does not really occur very often in our lectionary. It is a short book; only three chapters. In some ways, it has a certain famous quality, because it has a line that St. Paul uses, and that line has to do with Faith and the importance of Faith. And we have the Protestant Reformation, and importance of being justified by Faith which we find in both Paul’s letter to the Romans and his letter to the Galatians.

Today I want to talk with you about Habakkuk because he is a unique prophet. The traditional theology of prophecy in the Old Testament is that a prophet would be sent by God to proclaim judgment on Israel or Judah. So what we have in most cases is not so much a predicting of the future, not the way we call people “prophets” today. A prophet would usually tell of a dire warning of what would happen if the nation does not shape up. In some cases, such as Jeremiah, it is a proclamation of judgment that the nation is going to punish the nation. Generally, what we see in prophecy is that the prophet is not in dialogue with God, but is the mouthpiece for God, saying that the world events have a reason for occurring. If you are about to be invaded by the Neo-Babylonians, by the Chaldeans, it’s because you must have sinned. You must have broken the covenant.

Now Habakkuk, by contrast, does things a little bit differently. Instead of merely proclaiming judgment in the reading today, he asks God the basic human question of “Why are you punishing us?” What we have in Habakkuk, is that he sees what is going on, he sees injustice. How can you do this, Lord? “O Lord how long will I cry for help and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are bfore me; strive and contention arise.” There is a “disconnect” for Habakkuk between what he believes is a loving God of justice, and a world that does not look so loving or just.

We see a God of justice and love and mercy and yet we don’t have to go very far beyond our newspaper to see the lamentation of our time. Right here on the cover you’ll see here on the cover of the New York Times a dire story of a rape Epidemic in Congo. So I skip to the Sports section and then I see a story of Marion Jones one of my heroes, who comes out as saying she did all kinds of steroids to win those wonderful races.

Then you look to the Washington Post: A story about Arlington National Cemetery and you see that there were more burials there in the last fiscal year than ever before. And yes it is, in part, because the World War II era veterans are dying, but it largely to do with this onslaught of death and destruction in Iraq. On Friday, there were thirteen funerals in the morning and thirteen funerals in the afternoon. And then I was just listening to NPR before this service and I heard about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and I heard that there is a higher proportion of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC than in some parts of Africa. One in twenty people in Washington have HIV/AIDS.

And so we call out to God and we say, “How can this be?” “How can this be? How can a just God allow this to happen?” And it is a dark question. It is a question that takes us hits us way down deep somewhere. It is there where we stand in between that just God that we believe in, that loving God, and yet the World does not look so loving. It is there where the prophet stands. And Habakkuk asks God, as Job does, he queries God. He asks, “How can you allow this to happen?” He asks God, and God at first answers that God is going to come in and wipe out the people. God says that he will use the Neo-Babylonians, the Chaldeans, let by Nebuchadnezzar to punish the nation.

But then in the next interchange you have a very interesting response from God. It is so interesting that Hebrew scholars are still struggling with exactly what it means. So God says, “Write the vision, make it plain on tablets so that a runner may read it, for there is still a vision for the appointed time. It speaks to the end, and does not lie, if it seems to tarry, wait for it. It will surely come, it will not delay. Look their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.” And here faith means steadfastness, diligence, allegiance. It is some kind of hopeful allegiance for our forgetful world, even though our world does not often look like a hopeful place.

And so that is where we sit at times. That may be where you are sitting and where I am sit in some ways in the tension within my own church. Where on one side we say we welcome all people regardless of sexual orientation, while on the other hand we don’t exactly do that. So we sit in that tension, that place of some inner tension because of the outer tension of the just God and the unjust world. The loving inclusive church and yet not inclusive church. It is not a good place to sit. It is the already, but not yet. We have the promise of Christ in the past when Christ was amongst us, and God revealed to us in the past, but we also await a time when things will be better.

And so we see some vision of hope, in what seems to be at times a hopeless time. And so we have some ide A hope for a vision of the future. And we know from Proverbs that “Without a vision, the people perish.” And so it is our role to see a vision, to write a vision for the future. And so there are perhaps a few items that let us know the importance of looking ahead, and writing a vision.

Thirty-three years ago, there was something that happened in Philadelphia called the “irregular” ordinations of women. “Irregular ordinations” of women in our Episcopal Church. Now if you said to someone then, “There is this 17-18 year old woman who in 32 years will be the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church,” that would be an audacious, and courageous and foolish thing to say. That vision would be audacious, courageous and foolish. Really foolish!

In the mid-1950s, the first African American graduate of Virginia Seminary was John Walker, who later became Bishop of Washington. I recently graduated from Virginia Seminary and 10% of our class was openly gay. This is a place that didn’t even have women or African Americans until a few decades ago.

So, we can see some vision when we look to the past and see that things do change, that vision leads to hope. We look to the past and remember that we have hope, yet the world looks hopeless. We have the words of that that great warrior for peace, William Sloane Coffin, Jr. said “hope is a state of mind independent of the state of the world.” He said he was not an optimist, but he was a person of hope. That that is our call, we are people of hope, even though we are surrounded by hopelessness. We also have that wonderful poet and farmer, Wendell Berry, who said “be hopeful, though you have considered all the facts.” And, so read the paper, and somehow still have joy. Now this is a most audacious, courageous, and foolish thing, but that is what we are called to be.

It causes us to look to the future, to take the long view. To look to the long view is not so comforting in the moment. It is not so comforting, in the moment, to realize that a thing may not be accomplished in our lifetime. But we have a long history of this. We have Moses, who after 40 years in the desert did not actually get to the Promised Land. There is Martin Luther King, Jr., who, on one hand said, “I have a dream,” and he had a clear understanding that he would probably be killed because of the actions that he took because of that dream. On the other hand he wrote a book, “Why we can’t Wait.” So it is both looking to the future and also getting busy in the present. So he is looking to the long view, but also things need to be done today.

Another hero of mine is Oscar Romero, the deceased Bishop of El Salvador, who did not start out as a Liberation Theologian he was a member of the elite, until some of his priests were killed by the death squads. In the end, he was killed at the altar while celebrating mass by those same death squads. He had this long view. As I said, it is not a comfortable place to stand.

To be joyful, though we have considered all the facts.

To be hopeful, though in some ways the world seems to be hopeless. And so he has this wonderful poem, “a future not our own:”

A Future Not Our Own

It helps, now and then, to step back
And take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
The magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
Which is another way of saying
The kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

So be joyful, even though you have considered all the facts. And be hopeful, even though hopelessness may surround you. Amen.


The Rev. Peter M. Carey
7 October 2007
Proper 22
Habakkuk 1:1-13; 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

God = not a Republican .... or a Democrat


I always loved this bumper sticker from Sojourners/Call to Renewal...you can now buy one for the upcoming election...

Interview with the Presiding Bishop


There is a short and wonderful video interview with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori on KOCO TV in Oklahoma City. See it HERE.

"Who else would send you Hooker on a Wednesday morning"


A wonderful colleague of mine sent me an email with the title above and quoted the collect for the feast day of Richard Hooker ... probably a very helpful prayer to pray today. More on Hooker in a later post, he is wonderful (difficult to read, at times), but very wonderful!

The Collect for Richard Hooker's Day (Nov. 3):
O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion. Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hearts filled with Joy - Where do YOU find JOY?

.

The school at which I teach has within its list of core values that we want students to take JOY in their learning. I love this statement and this sentiment, and I am so happy (shall I say Joyful?), that those who crafted these statements have included this statement. Joy is perhaps a somewhat underused word, perhaps even somewhat old fashioned, but the concept of JOY is a wonderful one. Where we find joy is really where the Holy Spirit is at work and thriving in our lives. In addition, the affirmation of JOY in our lives is an affirmation that God wants us to live abundant lives. John 10:10 is one of my favorite verses, "I am come so that you may have life and have it abundantly." God does not want us to live lives of slavish service, but rather joyful lives of caring for ourselves, caring for one another and finding JOY and LOVE and Peace in life.

I had my students write an assignment on where they find JOY, and these were some wonderful papers to read - there was a wide variety of ways that students find joy, in family gatherings, running in the rain, making food, having a cup of tea with a mentor, playing sports, writing, reading, teaching, learning, watching zombie movies...you name it, they mentioned it -- and I find joy in reading these wonderful papers.

Then I ran across this quote from Mother Teresa, a sort of a different take on the quote attributed to St. Francis ("preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words"), Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

"One filled with joy preaches without preaching." -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Where do YOU find JOY?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bishop Steven Charleston on the House of Bishops Meeting


I found this piece by Bishop Steven Charleston to be particularly challenging and also helpful as I try to weave together the many strands of thought that I read, hear about, and think myself about the recent meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops down in New Orleans. He wrote the piece on the Episcopal Cafe blog and I am including a section of it below, to read the whole piece, click HERE.

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Reinventing Ourselves: A spiritual look at New Orleans

By Steven Charleston

By now most of us will have read all about what the Episcopal bishops said (or didn’t say) at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. As usual in political controversies some of us will be happy while others are disturbed. But what ever your reaction to New Orleans might be, there is one common denominator that I believe unites all sides of the argument: for better or worse, the church is reinventing itself. We may not like it. We may not admit it. But that is what is happening.

I know it is not popular to say that we actually invent the church each generation. Many people like to think that there is a rock solid core of tradition that never changes. But even the most core beliefs of any religious community are continually transformed by the interpretation, the nuances, each generation brings to their understanding of those beliefs. Did people in medieval Europe believe Jesus was the Son of God? Yes. Do Christians in Iowa today believe the same thing? Yes, but beyond that the cultural values and historic realities of these two communities make that single belief a prism, not a rock. We are not building on the firm foundation. We are building on the ever shifting sands of culture.

What is happening in the church now, whether from the Left or the Right, is the reinterpretation of the culture we call church. The forces of change are played out in the kind of negotiation process we have been witnessing for several years around subjects like human sexuality and church governance. The actions taken in New Orleans are only a small piece in a continuing process. In effect, we are negotiating our future, shaping the community to fit the assumptions we hold about the values we cherish arising from the beliefs we have interpreted from the past. Therefore, New Orleans is not the last word, but only more words in the chain of change that will make the Episcopal Church a radically different community within the next decade.

Should we be made anxious by this process? Yes and no.

Yes, if we abrogate our role in the negotiations. We should be anxious if others are doing all the talking, making all the choices, or defining all the terms.

No, if we are fully engaged in designing our own future. We should not be anxious if we are actively listening, learning and negotiating no matter how difficult or frustrating that effort may seem.

Read the rest HERE.



Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Hope is a state of mind independent of the state of the world."



"Hope is a state of mind independent of the state of the world. If your heart's full of hope, you can be persistent when you can't be optimistic. You can keep the faith despite the evidence, knowing that only in so doing has the evidence any chance of changing. So while I'm not optimistic, I'm always very hopeful."

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. in "A Passion for the Possible"

Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Be joyful though you have considered all the facts" - Wendell Berry

Manifesto:
The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry


Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry

Friday, October 05, 2007

Anglican Church Geeks...The Anglican Scotist: The Case of Christ Church, Savannah

For Anglican Church geeks: Check out the Anglican Scotist's comments on the recent actions by Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia ... very insightful analysis - and some interesting conclusions reached...check it out...

The Anglican Scotist: The Case of Christ Church, Savannah

Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela convene "The Elders" - thanks be to GOD!

Will, over at "Yearns and Groans" blog has posted this item, and I feel some hope and gladness at what this group may offer us in our times of ghastliness!


"From "The Elders" website:

Despite all the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. They are the ones who have a commitment to try and make the world a better place. We – The Elders – will endeavour to support those people and do our best for humanity. - Desmond Tutu

Out of deep concern for the challenges currently facing all of the people of our world, Nelson Mandela, Gra├ža Machel and Desmond Tutu have convened a group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackling some of the world's toughest problems.





Please check out the Associated Press story about "The Elders" visit to the Sudan. Click here to read "The Elders" arrival statement.

KABKABIYA, Sudan — Former President Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security services who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet with refugees from the ongoing conflict.

The 83-year-old Carter walked into this highly volatile pro-Sudanese government town to meet refugees too frightened to attend a scheduled meeting at a nearby compound. He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into the town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.

"You can't go. It's not on the program!" the local security chief, who only gave his first name as Omar, yelled at Carter, who is in Darfur as part of a delegation of respected international figures known as "The Elders."

"We're going to anyway!" an angry Carter retorted as a crowd began to gather. "You don't have the power to stop me."

U.N. officials told Carter's entourage the Sudanese state police could bar his way. Carter's traveling companions, billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, tried to ease his frustration and his Secret Service detail urged him to get into a car and leave.

"I'll tell President Bashir about this," Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Carter later agreed to a compromise by which tribal representatives would be brought to him at another location later Wednesday. But the refugee delegates never showed up."

Read the rest of Will's post HERE.