29 December 2007

For the time Being, W.H. Auden

hat tip to "Inward Outward" blog...

By W. H. Auden

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes—
Some have got broken—and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Leftovers to do, warmed up, for the rest of the week—
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted—quite unsuccessfully—
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
“Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake.”
They will come, all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God’s Will will be done, that, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world, of its triumph.

In 1942, British poet W.H. Auden completed the words to a Christmas oratorio he called For the Time Being. This extended poetic work tells the Christmas story by interweaving modern scenes and speeches into the ancient narrative. It can be found in W.H. Auden: Collected Poems, edited by Edward Mendelson.

27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto

There is a lot of news coverage of the assasination of Benazir Bhutto - appropriately so, in my mind. I found the following article, posted here by Ruth Gledhill of the London Times to be particularly interesting and helpful as I try to understand her life and work more fully. Below the excerpt from Ruth Gledhill's article I've posted a bit from the New York Times obituary.

Clearly she was an incredible woman and we have much to learn from her life and work. I pray for Pakistan and those who knew and loved Benazir Bhutto.


Benazir: 'I am not afraid of death'

Benazir_001_3 'I am not afraid of death,' Benazir Bhutto told me when I interviewed her for the Daily Mail in November 1985. She was just 31 at the time. 'My religion teaches that I will rejoin my father and my brother when I die. It is the living who have to suffer the grief and the pain,' she said. In an attempt to pay tribute, although nothing I can say will ever be enough,

You can find the entire article HERE .


Benazir Bhutto, 54, Lived in Eye of Pakistan Storm

Douglas E. Curran/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Benazir Bhutto in front of a poster of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, after she won first parliamentary elections in 1988. More Photos >

Published: December 28, 2007

Charismatic, striking and a canny political operator, Benazir Bhutto, 54, was reared amid the privileges of Pakistan’s aristocracy and the ordeals of its turbulent politics. Smart, ambitious and resilient, she endured her father’s execution and her own imprisonment at the hands of a military dictator to become the country’s — and the Muslim world’s — first female leader.

You can find the entire New York Times obituary HERE.

26 December 2007

Christmas in the Empire - by William Willimon

I wonder how many of us have ever played a role in a Christmas or Epiphany pageant. Was it an animal (for me, a donkey), a shepherd, one of the Magi, an angel, Mary, Joseph...? One of my favorite writers is William Willimon, who is now a United Methodist Bishop and used to be Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He offers a challenging and helpful reflection about where we (as Christians in the United States) might place ourselves in the story of Christmas. I have posted an excerpt below, and you can read the rest HERE.

Christmas in the Empire, by William Willimon

On Christmas Eve we read a story about how a poor couple named Mary and Joseph were forced by imperial political decrees to pack up, to journey across the countryside (even though Mary was expecting a baby), to hold up in a cow stable, all as the result of Caesar’s enrollment. The Romans had the most power, and the biggest army of any Western country ever to conquer the Middle East. How are you going to keep these Jews in their place if you don’t enroll them? So Caesar Augustus decreed, and cruel King Herod enforced, the order that everybody had to go to the city of his or her ancestors and get registered. Mary and Joseph were Jews, under the heel of the vast Roman Empire, the greatest Empire the world has ever known, with the largest army of occupation — that is until us.

When I read the Christmas story, it is unfair for me to read myself into the places of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, or even the wise men. This was their home. They are under the heel of the Empire, their lives jerked around by imperial decrees.

I live in Rome with Caesar Augustus, or maybe in Jerusalem up at the palace with that King Herod, lackey for the Roman overlords. I’d rather see myself as one of the relatives of Mary and Joseph. I wouldn’t mind being one of the shepherds, out working the night shift, surprised when the heavens filled with angels.

But that is not my place in the story. My place in the story is as a beneficiary of the Empire. I am well fixed. I don’t live up in the palace, but I live in a home which -- with its modern conveniences and security -- the majority of the world’s people would call a palace.

Read the rest HERE.

Christmas Messages...

From Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas Sermon

Eleven days ago, the Church celebrated the memory of the sixteenth century Spanish saint, John of the Cross, Juan de Yepes – probably the greatest Christian mystical writer of the last thousand years, a man who worked not only for the reform and simplification of the monastic life of his time but also for the purification of the inner life of Christians from fantasy, self-indulgence and easy answers. Those who've heard of him will most likely associate him with the phrase that he introduced into Christian thinking about the hard times in discipleship – 'the dark night of the soul'. He is a ruthless analyst of the ways in which we prevent ourselves from opening up to the true joy that God wants to give us by settling for something less than the real thing and confusing the truth and grace of God with whatever makes us feel good or comfortable. He is a disturbing and difficult writer; not, you'd imagine, a man to go to for Christmas good cheer.

But it was St John who left us, in some of his poems, one of the most breathtakingly imaginative visions ever of the nature of Christmas joy, and who, in doing this, put his own analyses of the struggles and doubts of the life of prayer and witness firmly into an eternal context. He is recognised as one of the greatest poets in the Spanish language; and part of his genius is to use the rhythms and conventions of popular romantic poetry and folksong to convey the biblical story of the love affair between God and creation. Read it all HERE.

Pope Benedict's Christmas Message

"God Finds a Space, Even If It Means Entering Through the Stable"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 24, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of Benedict XVI's homily today at Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"The time came for Mary to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Lk 2:6f.). These words touch our hearts every time we hear them. This was the moment that the angel had foretold at Nazareth: "you will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1:31). This was the moment that Israel had been awaiting for centuries, through many dark hours - the moment that all mankind was somehow awaiting, in terms as yet ill-defined: when God would take care of us, when he would step outside his concealment, when the world would be saved and God would renew all things. Read it all HERE.

Archbishop of York, Christmas Sermon

25 December 2007

What are we saying when we say "OMG"?

Take a look at this Washington Post article "Exclamation or Expletive, OMG is Omnipresent"... "OMG," or "Oh My God" and let me know what you think? Is this taking the name of the Lord in vain, something to take seriously and offer our considered response, or should all of us "religious" folks just lighten up a whole lot? What do you think?

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 25, 2007; Page C01

"Oh my God!"

The expression, once considered taboo in polite conversation, has become as commonplace as "that's cool" or "see you later" in American parlance. The acronym, OMG, is nearly as ubiquitous. Room-chatters rely on it, so do text-messagers. The search engine Yahoo now uses OMG as the name of a gossip-alert service.

It's a sign of a free-speech society, right? Say what you want when you want. But for many, the omnipresent phrase sounds like a sinful swipe at the Almighty. Or at least another iceberg of disrespect cracking away from the icecap of civility.

Rosie Brecevic catches herself mid-sentence and says, instead, "Oh my gosh!"

In town for the holidays, the kindergarten teacher from Colorado Springs is taking a break from shopping at the Pentagon City mall. "You try to pick a better way to say it," she says, especially this time of year and "in front of the little children."

Working at Sophisticat Boutique on Kenilworth Avenue, Vera Abel, in red shawl and long gold skirt, says she can't imagine anyone ever uttering the phrase. As she moves merchandise from spot to spot, she invokes one of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not call the name of your Lord God in vain."

The Rev. Patrick T. Gray agrees with Brecevic and Abel. Curate of the Church of the Advent in Boston, Gray preached a sermon on the subject earlier this year. He exhorted his flock: "There's one thing, or type of thing, that you'll never hear me say. And for some reason, it still makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable when I hear someone else do it. If I learned anything in my Baptist upbringing, it's that you never, ever say, 'Oh my God!' in casual conversation." He finds other words.

But others, such as Brian Gibson, don't see a need to hold back. Playing with his son at Clemyjontri Park in Langley, Gibson says, "I always say 'Oh my God!' " He's aware that the phrase occasionally rubs people the wrong way. "Some people are more religious than others," he says.


It's impossible to muddle through a day without hearing someone -- even on the public airwaves -- call on a higher being for a lower purpose. Just recently:

Hannah Storm cried out, "Oh my God!" during her final telecast as a co-host of "The Early Show" on CBS.

Read the res of the article, HERE.

What does the Lord of the Rings have to say about Christmas?

Every year as the days grow shorter in the Northern Hemisphere and we move through the season of Advent, into Christmas and then into Epiphany, I have picked up J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and read these books as I await the light coming back to the world. Lately, I have also taken the time to watch the wonderful film depictions by Peter Jackson, and I find that these books (and movies) transport me to thinking even more deeply about the Incarnation, about light and dark in the world, and about our mission in the world to bring light, and hope and love to places of darkness and despair. Largely, our mission (to me) seems to be that of the simple hobbits, for, as Galadriel says, "even the smallest person can change the course of the future"...

I was glad to see that over at "Stand Firm" one of their bloggers also reflected upon the Fellowship of the Ring and Christmas (and found a very interesting, and perhaps significant coincidence about when the Fellowship set off from Rivendell)...

From "Stand Firm" blog...but well worth reading!


What The Lord of the Rings has to say about Christmas

It's getting on for dusk on Christmas Day now here in the U.S.

It was a cold grey day near the end of December. The East Wind was streaming through the bare branches of the trees, and seething in the dark pines on the hills. Ragged clouds were hurrying overhead, dark and low. As the cheerless shadows of the early evening began to fall the Company made ready to set out. They were to start at dusk, for Elrond counselled them to journey under cover of night as often as they could, until they were far from Rivendell.

'You should fear the many eyes of the servants of Sauron,' he said. 'I do not doubt that news of the discomfiture of the Riders has already reached him, and he will be filled with wrath. Soon now his spies on foot and wing will be abroad in the northern lands. Even of the sky above you must beware as you go on your way.'

The Company took little gear of war, for their hope was in secrecy not in battle. Aragorn had Anduril but no other weapon and he went forth clad only in rusty green and brown, as a ranger of the wilderness. Boromir had a long sword, in fashion like Anduril but of less lineage, and he bore also a shield and his war-horn.

'Loud and clear it sounds in the valleys of the hills,' he said, 'and then let all the foes of Gondor flee!' Putting it to his lips he blew a blast, and the echoes leapt from rock to rock, and all that heard that voice in Rivendell sprang to their feet.

'Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir,' said Elrond, 'until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you.'

'Maybe,' said Boromir. 'But always I have let my horn cry at setting forth, and though thereafter we may walk in the shadows, I will not go forth as a thief in the night.'

Gimli the dwarf alone wore openly a short shirt of settl-rings, for dwarves make light of burdens; and in his belt was a broad-bladed axe. Legolas had a bow and a quiver, and at his belt a long white knife. The younger hobbits wore the swords that they had taken from the barrow; but Frodo took only Sting; and his mail-coat, as Bilbo wished, remained hidden. Gandalf bore his staff, but girt at his side was the elven-sword Glamdring, the mate of Orcrist that lay now upon the breast of Throin under the Lonely Mountain.

All were well furnished by Elrond with thick warm clothes, and they had jackets and cloaks lined with fur. Spare food and clothes and blankets and other needs were laden on a pony, none other than the poor beast that they had brought from Bree.

The stay in Rivendell had worked a great wonder of change on him: he was glossy and seemed to have the vigour of youth. It was Sam who had insisted on choosing him, declaring that Bill (as he called him) would pine, if he did not come.

'That animal can nearly talk,' he said, 'and would talk, if he stayed here much longer. He game me a look as plain as Mr. Pippin could speak it: if you don't let me go with you, Sam, I'll follow on my own.' So Bill was going as the beast of burden, yet he was the only member of the Company that did not seem depressed.

Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. A gleam of firelight came from the open doors, and soft lights were glowing in many windows. Bilbo huddles in a cloak stood silent on the doorstep beside Frodo. Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him. The others could be seen as grey shapes in the darkness.

Sam was standing by the pony, sucking his teeth, and staring moodily into the gloom where the river roared stonily below; his desire for adventure was at its lowest ebb.

'Bill, my lad,' he said, 'you oughtn't to have took up with us. You could have stayed here and et the best hay till the new grass comes.' Bill swished his tail and said nothing.

Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things that he had stowed in it, wondering if he had forgotten anything: his chief treasure, his cooking gear; and the little box of salt that he always carried and refilled when he could; a good supply of pipe-weed (but not near enough, I'll warrant); flint and tinder; woolen hose; linen; various small belongings of the master's that Frodo had forgotten and sam had stowed to bring them out in triumph when they were called for. He went through them all.

'Rope!' he muttered. 'No rope!' And only last night you said to yourself: "Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it." well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.'

At that moment Elrong came out with Gandalf, and he called the Company to him. 'Ths is my last word,' he said in a low voice. 'The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. on him alone is any charge laid; neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the COuncil, and only then in gravest need. The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside into other paths, as chance allows. The further you go, the less easy will it be to withdraw; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.'

'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli.

'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'

'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli.

'Or break it,' said Elrond. 'Look not too far ahead! But go now with good hearts! Farewell, and may the blessing of Elves and Men and all Free Folk go with you. May the stars shine upon your faces!"

'Good . . . good luck!' cried Bilbo, stuttering with the cold. 'I don't suppose you will be able to keep a diray, Frodo my lad, but I shall expect a full account when you get back. And don't be too long! Farewell!'

Many others of Elrond's household stood in the shadows and watched them go, bidding them farewell with soft voices. There was no laughter, and no song or music. At last they turned away and faded silently into the dusk.

They crossed the bridge and wound slowly up the long steep paths that led out of the cloven vale of Rivendell; and they came at length to the high moor where the wind hissed through the heather. Then with one glance at the Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night.

So what on earth does this have to do with Christmas?

In Appendix B, titled The Tale of Years, we have a number of chronologies of various histories, including the chronology of The Great Years, which includes the years of 3018 and 3019 -- the time of the great quest of Frodo the ring-bearer.

And according to this chronology, in the year of 3018, December 25, "The Company of the Ring leaves Rivendell at dusk."

An interesting way to look at Christmas Day, isn't it?

Canterbury England celebrates the Feast of St. Nicholas

Feast of St. Nicholas from Canterbury England...

...and reflections by the Archbishop of Canterbury...


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2007

From Advent to the Nativity: On the Way to Bethlehem

As I reflect upon the very short transition from the 4th Sunday of Advent (today) to Christmas Eve (tomorrow), I am living in the midst of Expectation (Advent) as I make the transition to the Incarnation (Christmas). [These feelings have even deeper meaning as we are expecting a child to be born later this winter!]

I was so glad to find that a poet friend of mine who blogs over at poetproph, has posted one of her wonderful and rich poems on her blog.

She writes:
The poem was originally from my book, Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture (Edwin Mellen Poetry Press, 2003). Here is a slightly revised version

On the Way to Bethlehem

The timing could not be worse
But it’s the law. My husband has to go,
Even though I’m well along.
You are lively within me, moving and kicking me.
Your kicking hurts. It wakes me in the night,
Reminds me, as I walk
More and more laboriously,
You are coming soon.

I suppose we are safe enough
After all, it was an angel who came.
Looking back, I have never doubted that.
My husband has been tender, despite my disgrace.
He is sure, too, about the angel.
So I suppose we have no cause to worry.
It’s only my aching back
The sharp pains from your tiny feet,
The smell and press of crowds, and all the delays.

The only thing that matters now, is bearing you safely
Into this messy world
And now even that I cannot control.
I did what I could do, but it’s all left behind.
At home, we had a place prepared for you.
I longed to see you soon.
Then I hoped you would come later, after our return
But now I know for sure that you will be coming
To a place we did not know.

I catch my breath at a sudden squeeze of pain.
My body recognizes the agony,
Already begun.

poetproph: On the Way to Bethlehem

22 December 2007

Article on our ordination in Richmond Paper...

Va.'s Episcopal Diocese ordains 16 new priests
The infusion comes a year after 25 priests left with 15 splinter congregations

Saturday, Dec 22, 2007 - 12:08 AM


(Read the Richmond Times article here.)

RT. REV. PETER JAMES LEE Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

A year after 15 congregations left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, taking 25 priests with them, the diocese is celebrating the ordination of 16 new priests.

The priests were ordained in three separate services this week. They made up the largest class to be ordained from the diocese since the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee became bishop in 1985. They will join the 450 priests in the Virginia diocese, which has had a net gain of 100 priests under Lee's leadership.

"We have a vibrant group of new priests in the last 48 hours," Lee said to applause from the congregation that packed St. James's Episcopal Church on West Franklin Street in Richmond for Tuesday night's ordination service for five priests.

Four other priests were ordained Sunday at Grace Church in Kilmarnock by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston. It was his first ordination since becoming bishop coadjutor in May. Seven more were ordained Monday at Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke by the Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, suffragan bishop.

After the service, Lee said he felt very encouraged.

"It's especially encouraging since a number of these new priests are in their late 20s and early 30s. They bring a variety of life experiences and deep commitment. We have people from small churches. We have people in big churches. We have school chaplains," he said. "Working with newly ordained people is a highlight because they bring such energy."

At the same time that the diocese is celebrating the ordination of new priests, it is involved in a court fight over ownership of church property with 11 of 15 conservative congregations that pulled out of the denomination a year ago. The churches that left were upset about the national church's approval of an openly gay man for ordination as a bishop and other matters. A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge heard arguments in the case during a five-day trial in November but has not issued a ruling.

. . .

During Tuesday's service, the ordinands promised to obey their bishop and others with authority over them and affirmed their belief in the Old and New Testaments as the word of God. They also promised to love and serve the people with whom they would work, to preach and to declare God's forgiveness. They acknowledged a belief that they had been called by God to the priesthood.

Presbyterian layman E. Carson Brisson, associate professor of biblical languages, and associate dean for academic programs at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School for Christian Education in North Richmond, gave the sermon. He had taught some of the ordinands in seminary and they invited him to preach, said Louise "Weezie" Blanchard, a newly ordained priest who is associate rector at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church on Grove Avenue.

Brisson likened the new priests to a Bedouin shepherd who took her 15 sheep one at a time across a rain-swollen creek. Once the flock was safely on the other side, the shepherd spoke to each one by name. Brisson quoted Jesus' words: "I am the good shepherd because my father wants me to love my sheep, and that's what I do."

For Whitney Bland Zimmerman, who was ordained Tuesday and is associate rector at St. James's, Brisson's message was clear. "You love first. Everything else is second," she said.

Being ordained makes Zimmerman feel "deeply engaged in the community in a way that is so intimate that it's hard to describe," she said. The service is a reminder to her that her role is about serving God, not about herself, she added.

. . .

This week's ordination was the second for the priests. They were ordained deacons last summer. Deacons serve six months to a year in servant ministry, meaning they keep the church informed about the needs of the world. That is a reminder to the priests that their ordination is rooted in servanthood.

Johnston, who will succeed Lee as diocesan bishop when Lee retires, attributed the size of the ordination class "to the sense of commitment to mission that is very much alive in Virginia."

He added: "The Episcopal Church is an exciting church, a church that has a lot of attractiveness to people because of its history. Young people are responding to that."

The church is also "very tolerant of broadly diverse points of view. . . . I think questions that are so pressing in our society are being addressed by the church in a way that cannot be addressed in other discourses," Johnston said. "I'm encountering and experiencing the church in Virginia as being extraordinarily vibrant."

19 December 2007


Many thanks and blessings on all those who have supported me to this point in my vocation; I feel blessed to be a priest!

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

17 December 2007

Priesthood (almost)

Tomorrow I will be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. This official process has taken 7 years, but I first started feeling a sense of call to this vocation nearly 30 years ago when I was about 8 years old ~I will say more about that in a later post. There is much I can say about the process, and I hope to do so, but at this point my mind turns to prayer, that I might be given the strength, wisdom and patience to live out this calling.

A prayer I love from the ordination service sends me into some reflection this evening:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

As I have moved through the last week towards ordination I have re-read Archbishop Michael Ramsey's book, The Christian Priest Today, which is an excellent book, and offers much food for thought.

Also, I re-watched one of my favorite movies, The Mission, starring Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons (and Daniel Berrigan!)...watch a clip below for a taste of it, and then rent it!

Thank you for your prayers, your presence tomorrow, and for all those who have supported me along the way!

Peace and Blessings,


The Mission (excerpt)

16 December 2007

Elf Yourself...

this application has been making its way around the 'net, but here is my version of "elf yourself"...do you recognize anyone...maybe we just need Santa to help us get along!

Click HERE for a bit of humor...


15 December 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Message

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has issued an Advent message that has already provoked response from a wide variety of people in the Episcopal Church and others.

You can read the entire message HERE.

Rev. Tobias Haller has THIS to say in response to the letter, and I found his comments particularly helpful as I am striving to read, mark, and inwardly digest the Archbishop's prose.
Well, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued his Advent letter, strangely enough a day after his Christmas greeting.* The form and content of the Advent letter perhaps make it clear why it was delayed: it is no brief
greeting but a rather detailed examination of the situation in which the Anglican Communion finds itself. For the Archbishop of Canterbury it represents something of a breakthrough in clarity, even though the situation it
describes remains rather fuzzy; it is rather like a very sharp photograph of a painting by Monet — perhaps of a
cathedral in the late afternoon sun.
You can read the rest HERE.

Bishop Epting, the Ecumenical Officer of the Episcopal Church offers his early reflections on this letter HERE. A brief excerpt from his blog entry can be seen here:
"As always, with Rowan Williams’ writing, I shall want to take some time to parse it more deeply instead of making some kind of knee jerk response (of which there will be, I am sure, many!). He has rightly summarized our current difficulties as being every bit as much about the scripture and ecclesiology (especially the ministry of bishops) as about Christian ethics and the presenting issue of the place of gay and lesbian persons in the Church."
Read the rest HERE

Stephen Bates, the British journalist who writes in the Guardian, and also the blog Thinking Anglicans, has some interesting reflections on this Advent letter, read it HERE. An excerpt is below:
Archbishop slams the splitters
Stephen Bates
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican communion, yesterday condemned attempts by conservative church leaders to undermine the US Episcopal Church for its support for gay rights and effectively refused calls to disinvite American bishops from next year’s Lambeth Conference of all the church’s bishops. Read it all HERE.

13 December 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams' Christmas Message

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams' Christmas words of wisdom

12th December 2007

from the Archbishop of Canterbury's website

The Archbishop gave the following message today on the Chris Evans show on BBC Radio 2:

“One of the main things that Christmas means to me is that God actually likes the company of human beings, God starts living a human life in the middle of the world when the life of Jesus begins, and that suggests that as the Bible says - God actually loves the world, he likes to be with us, he likes us to be with him. And what flows from that for Christians, is the sense that human beings are just colossally worthwhile. God thought they were worth spending a lifetime with and all that spills over into how we see all kinds of human beings; the ones we don’t like or the ones we don’t reckon very much, the ones we don’t take very seriously. But they are all to be taken very seriously, they are all to be loved. And so Christmas, as I see it, is the very beginning of that sense of huge human dignity in all the people around us, and that’s what I think we are celebrating, that is the most important thing. I hope everyone listening has a very happy Christmas.”

11 December 2007

Three years ago this week

Adam P. Goren, RIP

My friend Steve, over at "Draughting Theology" has a post today about our friend and seminary colleague, Adam Goren, who died three years ago this week. Adam was a wonderful person and while I knew him mostly on the Flag Football field, his passion for life and joyful presence was wonderful and contagious. It sounds sorta trivial and not that profound that I knew him mostly from running into each other on the line down on the Trotter Bowl at football practice. He was strong, a good leader, and loved being at seminary and was on his way to be a wonderful priest in the Episcopal Church. As I am about to be ordained to the priesthood next week, I remember Adam and am sad that the church and the world missed out on experiencing more of what might have been a rich and long ministry among us. It was a profoundly sad time three years ago as we mourned the loss of Adam and my heart is heavy still. One of his good friends posted this entry on a blog entry shortly after Adam's death, and it is a fitting tribute.
This isn't a picture of Adam, but we are playing with the kind of intensity that he modeled

Rowan Williams on "God the Creator"

For my Christian Theology class, we are looking at "God the Creator", and what this means in its fullest sense, and are using Rowan Williams' Book, Tokens of Trust, as well as Gunnar Urang's An Inquirer's Guide to Christian Believing to begin to explore God the Creator.

"Faith doesn't try and give you an alternative theory about the mechanics of the world; it invites you to take a step further, beyond the nuts and bolts, even beyond the Big Bang, to imagine an activity so unrestricted, so supremely itself, that it depends on nothing and is constantly pouring itself out so that the reality we know depends on it. Creation isn't a theory about how things started; as St. Thomas Aquinas said, it's a way of seeing everything in relation to God. Whatever you encounter is there because God chose that it should be there."

07 December 2007

Bible Briefs from VTS

Ever looking for a brief introduction and discussion of every book of the Bible?

Well, you are in luck because Virginia Theological Seminary and Forward Movement Publications have teamed up to present short tracts that introduce each book of the Bible. I like the title, Bible Briefs, for these are short introductions, but also should be supportive (like briefs of another kind?)...hmmmm, I wonder if they thought about the double meaning....?

Check out the downloadable tracts HERE, on the VTS website.

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Biblische Ausbildung: Bible Briefs

05 December 2007

Adam Sandler...

Happy Happy Happy Happy ...

A Day late, but here is Adam Sandler...always cracks me up!

04 December 2007

Dalai Lama on limit-setting ...

Back in the fall of 1990, the Dalai Lama visited my hometown, Middlebury, Vermont, for a symposium on "Spirit and Nature," which featured leaders and scholars from Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim world views. The question of how religion and spirituality might aid (or block) an environmental ethic was an important one then, and (it could be argued) the issue is even more important today. I had the pleasure of going to all the sessions, while on a break from my senior year in college. There is a book that was produced with transcripts from all the presentations and there is also a video that was produced by Bill Moyers by the same name, "Spirit and Nature."

I was excited to find this short clip (1 minute) on YouTube of an interchange between Moyers and the Dalai Lama about where reverence for the environment (in this case a mosquito) might have boundaries. What I find most wonderful about this interchange is not only the Dalai Lama's rich practice of his 'belief,' but also his wonderful spirit of humor, lightness, and playfulness ... check it out HERE. (Oh, and whoever loaded it on YouTube called it "the Dalai Lama kills a mosquito," however, it seems that isn't quite accurate...but I don't want to spoil the punchline...)

Do check it out; priceless.

03 December 2007

SPACE, the Final Frontier...

No, I don't mean Star Trek - space...for surely that is the final frontier (I always wanted to be an astronaut, but couldn't hack the 3D motion sickness)...but "Space" in our lives also seems to be the final frontier. How can we make space? How can we take the time for rest? How can we make the time and the space for Sabbath, which is, afterall, one of the commandments!? (sorry to sound so biblical and religious...!).

Can we make space for the angels to come to us as Mary did?
Can we hear God's voice among the cacophany of voices?

Henri Nouwen has some comments on space and time and such that I found helpful as I am striving to live into a Holy Advent:

By Henri Nouwen

Empty space tends to create fear. As long as our minds, hearts and hands are occupied we can avoid confronting the painful questions, to which we never gave much attention and which we do not want to surface. “Being busy” has become a status symbol, and most people keep encouraging each other to keep their body and mind in constant motion. Occupation and not empty space is what most of us are looking for. When we are not occupied we become restless. We even become fearful when we do not know what we will do the next hour, the next day or the next year. Then occupation is called a blessing and emptiness a curse.

Many telephone conversations start with the words: “I know you are busy, but…” and we would confuse the speaker and even harm our reputation were we to say, “Oh no, I am completely free, today, tomorrow and the whole week.” Our client might well lose interest in one who has so little to do.

02 December 2007

Corey Harris: Blues at the crossroads

I graduated from Bates with blues musician Corey Harris and his is a career well-worth following. He was recently named a McArthur "Genius" Grant recipient. This is an article on Harris in the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch from today. A excerpt is below, read the entire article here.

Blues at the crossroads
'Genius' grant recipient is knee-deep in a career that is certain to leave a legacy
Sunday, Dec 02, 2007 - 12:03 AM

CHARLOTTESVILLE Beneath the unassuming exterior of Corey Harris beats the heart of a musical genius.

At least the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation thinks so.

In September, the foundation chose Harris as one of 24 people nationwide to receive a $500,000 "genius" grant from its Fellows Program, distributed over five years and to be used in any capacity. Others on the list range from a spider silk biologist from California to a neuroroboticist from Seattle to a water-quality engineer at Virginia Tech.

Mention the accomplishment to Charlottesville-based blues and reggae musician Harris, though, and he merely smiles -- proud, yet very humble.

He will likely never know who discovered and nominated him -- it's a secret process. His initial $100,000 will arrive next month, he said, and he's already thinking about long-term uses for the money.

"There is some research that I want to do, specifically in Ethiopia and Guinea. They're both places I've been to, and my goal is to eventually have a small place where I can not only learn music for myself, but invite people over . . . not for me to teach them, but for them to have a place where they can stay and be taught from people from that area," Harris said on a recent afternoon, sitting against a window in his small, neat living room.

. . .

Music, family and traveling are the touchstones of Harris' life. He doesn't watch TV, mostly because it bores him ("I'd rather read a book or listen to music," he said), but also because of a schedule that keeps him racking up worldwide frequent-flier miles.

His music -- an organic amalgamation of Delta blues, roots and reggae -- is greatly inspired by his travels. Last week, Harris jetted to Australia for three days to participate in the Adelaide International Guitar Festival. The past couple of years have included jaunts to Morocco, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. In 2008, Switzerland, France, Spain and Turkey are all on the itinerary of places to perform.

But his more exotic forays are the ones that truly shape his songs.

Harris, who was born in Colorado and educated at Bates College in Maine, made his first trip to Africa in 1990, when he spent three months in Cameroon, later returning there and to Equatorial Guinea the next year for 10 months. He then landed in Louisiana for a few years, where he taught middle school French (he's fluent) and English.

01 December 2007

James Cone & Rowan Williams videos

I spent last year reading three theologians for my thesis at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS): James Cone, Rowan Williams, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I was so excited that the Black Liberation Theologian, James Cone, was interviewed by Bill Moyers on the "Bill Moyers Journal" last week. You can see the four sections of the interview here, here, here and here, check them out! His is an important voice for all of us in the church to hear.

In addition, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams recently gave an important comment on World AIDS Day that can be seen here.

29 November 2007

my new video "Who Are You?" on Youtube

Peace be with you!

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Birthday today of C.S. Lewis, Lousia May Alcott, and Madeleine L'Engle

Three of my favorite authors all have their birthdays today, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine L'Engle. In their own ways, each of these authors have informed my understanding and helped to form me as a person. Recently, I have been thinking much about C.S. Lewis in part, I think because we purchased two wardrobes when we moved into our house. Wardrobes always remind me of C.S. Lewis's wonderful book, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in which the wardrobe was an entry point into the magical land of Narnia, so I remember C.S. Lewis today along with authors who shared his birthday, Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine L'Engle

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

From Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac"

It's the birthday of C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis, (books by this author) born in Belfast (1898), who grew up an Anglican, but he found religion cold and boring. He preferred the Irish, Norse, and Greek myths he read in storybooks. He created an imaginary world called Boxen and wrote stories about it. He said, "My two chief literary pleasures [were] 'dressed animals' and 'knights in armour.' As a result, I wrote about chivalrous mice and rabbits who rode out in complete mail to kill not giants but cats."

He became a teacher at Oxford, where he taught literature and mythology, and it was there that he met J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, and they would take long walks around the Oxford grounds, debating the existence of God. The morning after one of those walks, Lewis went with his brother to the zoo. He said, "When we set out [for the zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought. Nor in great emotion."

Lewis went on to become a prominent Christian apologist in the world, recording a series of radio lectures about Christianity, broadcast during World War II. People gathered around their radios to listen to him during bombing raids. At the same time, Lewis was taking evacuee children from London into his house, and they all seemed poorly educated and unimaginative to him.

So he began thinking about how he could give contemporary children what he had gotten from the fairy tales he read when he was a child. One day, one of the evacuee children asked him what was inside the big wardrobe in his house, and that gave him an idea for a story about four children — named Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund — who are staying at a country house during World War II when they discover a secret doorway in the back of an old wardrobe that leads to a land called Narnia. The first of seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950). Today, the Narnia books still sell about a million copies a year

28 November 2007

King Kamehameha and Emma

I preached about King Kamehameha and Emma today in chapel, and found this wonderful write-up on the Episcopal Cafe Blog:

Daily Reading for November 28 • Kamehameha and Emma, King and Queen of Hawai’i, 1864, 1885

If we are Christians according to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, we cannot withhold our belief in the Holy Catholic Church established on earth by Jesus Christ our Lord. There are branches of this church in every land. How the church has come down from the times of the apostles to these days in which we live is not a matter about which the generality of men are ignorant. It were useless perhaps to set forth how she has taken root sooner or later all over the world. She is planted in America, in Asia, in Europe, in Africa, in the islands which stud the ocean, and now, behold! She is here with us in these islands of our own.

Let us see how she felt her way and reached us at last. Our ancient idols had been dethroned, the sexes ate together, and the prohibition upon certain articles of food was held in derision by the females to whom it had been a law, the temples were demolished, the kapu had become no more than a memory of something that was hateful before, and the priests had no longer any rites to perform—indeed, there were no priests, for their office had died out. These changes came no doubt by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, acting through blind, unsuspecting agents. These revolutions were greatly furthered and helped along by those devout and devoted men who first brought here and translated into our mother-tongue God’s Holy Word, and we, while these lines are being written, see the complete fulfillment of what the Bible enjoins in the establishment here of Christ’s church complete in all her functions.

The church is established here in Hawaii through the breathings of the Holy Spirit and by the agency of the chiefs. It is true that the representatives of the various forms of worship had come here, and there had been many controversies, one side generally denying what some other sect had laid most stress on. Now we have grounds to rejoice, and now we may hold fast to the hope that the true Church of God has verily taken root here.

A reading from Kamehameha IV in the Hawaiian Book of Common Prayer, quoted in A Year With American Saints by G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2006. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org

24 November 2007

"Be still; Christ the King" Sermon 25 November 2007

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Christ the King Sunday, 25 November 2007
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Richmond

Being Still
Knowing that God is God
Knowing God
Knowing God is God
Breathing in
Breathing Out
Knowing God
Knowing God is God

“there is a God, and you’re not him!”

I like to think of Jesus as a wandering holy man, who will come to us, and teach us, and enlighten us, teach us, and heal us from all our ills. I get a little uncomfortable with the idea of Jesus as King. Jesus as KING! This isn’t to say that I don’t like putting people on pedestals. I remember clearly when I got to see Chuck Berry (the real King of Rock and Roll!) playing in a small venue – and even at 65 years old he got down and did his signature move ….wow! I also love to play the “six degrees of separation”game, thinking how close I might be to various celebrities and so-called powerful people. I realized that I am a two-degree of separation from three nobel peace prize winners as well as Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Cool., but what does it really mean? It means I am captivated by celebrity, by royalty. So, I wonder why I have trouble seeing Jesus elevated?

We sometimes like to think that we are so enlightened, especially here in the United States, that we have moved beyond the fascination with royalty, the honor that we afford people when they are kings and queens and such. I remember as a young adolescent in youth group at my church that our rector worked to have interesting people come to speak with us from time to time. Well, he announced one Sunday afternoon that we’d be having a visit from a student at Middlebury College who was from England, and who was a duke, and the grandson of Earl Mountbatten – (who had ruled India until the time of her independence). Our rector said that this student was something like 14th in line to be King of England. Well, you should have seen the reaction of people (especially girls) in the group – it might as well have been the Beatles in 1964. We are still fascinated with royalty (especially when they are cute).

Being Still
Knowing God

We have a tendency to get ourselves swirling; to get into the swirl of all that has to be done. Take out your to do list, how long is it? Or, do you have it on your palm pilot or your blackberry….can you even fit all your to do items on it?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it” And I feel fine. Time I had some time alone.

And, our lives are full of stress, challenges, anxieties. Our health, our wealth, (or lack of it), our time, our careers, our children, our families, our mental well-being, our addictions… We all hit some steep stretches along the way. Sometimes, all we can do is put one foot in front of another, be conscious of our breathing and just hope that the steep stretch will, indeed, be over soon. At other times, even in the steepest part of our lives, we can find a rhythm, perhaps we are reminded of a happy moment, perhaps our faith gives us strength in our legs and heart and soul, and often there are others who minister to us and give us a sense of rest, even in our most trying times. Sometimes another will just walk along with us for a stretch of time, share their time with us, share their own experience, and we realize that we will make it after all!

Even in these moments of stress and challenge, (and perhaps especially in these moments), God is there. Even, and especially, in these moments of stress, God is there. “Be still, then and know that I am God.” The psalmist knows that life is full of motion, of busy-ness, of action. The psalmist does not live in a fantasy-land. No, the psalmist calls out the words of God, “Be still and know that I am God.” Well, we all know how hard it is to be still, especially in the spinning top that is our life. And, then we are about to begin the season of the holidays, and our “to do” lists look like they’ve taken steroids.

We all know how the schedule starts spinning and all we can do is jump on and try to enjoy the ride. However, the physicist and the dancer among us might remind us that there is also a place where we can go where the spinning is not so treacherous. “At the still point of the turning world….there the dance is.” ~ from T.S. Eliot’s the Four Quartets… Or, as Augustine would reminds us, “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”

Augustine knew that we are in some major way restless, anxious, and stressed with all the changes and chances of our lives, and can know true rest only in God’s embrace. The hope is that God is with us, that God loves us, and does not wait to care for us, to offer us rest, but is immanent and holding us in the palms of God’s hands! The prayer in the Compline service is based on Augustine’s notion of our restlessness until we find rest in God. And then the psalmist reminds us, “Be still, then, and know that I am God.”

And the psalms, these prayers and hymns are rich and deep. Their words are on the lips of monks and nuns today, and have been for 2 thousand years. Their words were on the lips of Jews in the time of Jesus, and also they were on his lips, even to the end of his time here on earth. They were his prayer book.

And, what does Jesus say to us when we stop?
What does Jesus say to us when we are still?
Are we anxious about what will be said?
Is this why we stay busy, so we don’t have to risk the judgement and the love being poured out on us?
Do we stay busy so we can avoid the moment of contact?

What does Jesus say to us when we stop; when we are still?
What does Jesus say to us when we are still, and know that God is God?

“There is a God, and you’re not him!”

Sit still.
Know God.
Know God is God.

Jesus turns to us in those moments of doubt, of darkness, moments when we think we are far far away from God. Jesus turns to us, and says, “you are forgiven!”, “I have put away all your sins,”“you will be with me in paradise”…are we ready to hear this good news? Be still. Can we sit long enough to calm our inner swirling – can we sit long enough to recognize the still point in the turning world? Sitting there, in fear and trembling ~ awaiting a judgment, and the judgment is given – you are forgiven, I have put away all your sins, you will be with me in paradise.

Be Still
And know God
And know that God is God

For there is a God, and you’re not him!

But God loves us and forgives us, and we have no need to put off this knowing until our last moment.

So take a moment to be still, and know that God is God,…
…and that God loves you….
…and that God forgives you…

21 November 2007

Ordination Invitation

You are all invited to my ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church on December 18th at St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond at 7:00 pm. So, please join in this celebration, and if you can't make it, please send your prayers and good thoughts on this special day.

[If you are wondering, "whaaat? I thought he was a priest!?" I have not been an imposter the last 5 months, rather, those who are moving toward ordination to the priesthood spend at least 6 months as a "transitional deacon." These deasons are also clergypeople in the Episcopal Church, but whose ministry is largely a "servanthood" ministry of "bringing the church to the world, and the world to the church" and whose ministry is largely that of reminding the church about those in need in the world. I plan to say more about the "transitional diaconate" after the Thanksgiving Holiday, so stay tuned for a new video!]

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

16 November 2007

Bill Moyers narrates short video on Bonhoeffer

Click here to watch a short video on Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
the theologian and 20th century martyr, narrated by Bill Moyers.

Thanks to the Episcopal Cafe for posting this great (short) video!

from the Episcopal Cafe: End of Schism in Sight?

I ran across this article on the Episcopal Cafe blog that outlines a possible end of the schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches ... I'm sure more will be said about this news, but to me it seems to be a sign of hope that amidst our many differences we can find a way to live in Unity, while acknowledging that there will not be uniformity.

End of schism in sight

Almost a thousand years ago, one of the longest lasting schisms in Christianity happened between the Eastern and Western branches of the Church. According to a report in the Times, representatives of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches have signed a document that provides a roadmap to ending the split. The Pope would be acknowledged as the Universal Pontiff of the Church, but would give up his claim of Infallibility.

From the article:

The 46-paragraph “Ravenna Document”, written by a special commission of Catholic and Orthodox officials, envisages a reunified church in which the Pope could be the most senior patriarch among the various Orthodox churches.

Just as Pope John Paul II was driven by the desire to bring down Communism, so Pope Benedict XVI hopes passionately to see the restoration of a unified Church. Although he is understood to favour closer relations with traditional Anglicans, the Anglican Communion is unlikely to be party to the discussions because of its ordination of women and other liberal practices.

Unification with the Orthodox churches could ultimately limit the authority of the Pope, lessening the absolute power that he currently enjoys within Catholicism. In contrast, a deal would greatly strengthen the Patriarch of Constantinople in his dealings with the Muslim world and the other Orthodox churches.

Pope Benedict has called a meeting of cardinals from all over the world in Rome on November 23, when the document will be the main topic of discussion. The Ravenna “road map” concedes that “elements of the true Church are present outside the Catholic communion”.

...If the proposals move forward, the Pope would be acknowledged as the universal Primate, as he was before the schism. Although it is not stated outright, he would be expected by the Orthodox churches to relinquish the doctrine of infallibility. The proposals could also allow married priests in the Catholic Church, as already happens in the Orthodox.

Read the rest here.

15 November 2007

In a Bonhoeffer frame of mind...

the weak need the strong...the strong cannot exist without the weak

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows ‘unemployed’ members to exist within it will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.

Source: Life Together

...simple stillness...under the Word of God

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God. We are silent before hearing the Word because our thoughts are already directed to the Word, as a child is quiet when he enters his father’s room. We are silent after hearing the Word because the Word is still speaking and dwelling within us. We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God….

Silence is nothing else but waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing. But everybody knows that this is something that needs to be practiced and learned, in these days when talkativeness prevails. Real silence, real stillness, really holding one’s tongue comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness.

Source: Life Together

Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.

- Thomas Merton
from Passion For Peace

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord--
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent--its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

- Isaiah 65:21-25

12 November 2007

Installation of Virginia Theological Seminary Dean and President - Live Feed

On Tuesday, November 13th, The Rev. Dr. Ian Markham will be Installed as the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). There is a live feed on the VTS website to watch this installation tomorrow at 4:30. I hope to tune in, if I can. I am hoping to see my old friend Steve on the webcast...so watch out Steve!

Information on this live feed is below:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Installation of Dr. Ian Markham as Dean & President - Streamed Live
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:15 pm
Location: Lettie Pate Evans Auditorium

Reception in Scott Lounge and Refectory immediately following.

The Chairman, the Board of Trustees, and the Faculty of the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia request the honor of your presence at a Celebration of New Ministry for The Very Reverend Ian Markham, Dean and President.

If you are unable to attend, please be sure to come back here to watch the Installation live. The latest version of Windows Media Player is required to view the event. To update or download Windows Media Player:

* For PC: Windows Media Player 11
* For Mac: Flip4Mac

101 Ways to cope with stress...

It's that time of year at school...exam week...meetings...preparing for holidays...weather getting colder...daylight in short supply...a good time
to acknowledge stress and find ways to cope with it!

11 November 2007

November 11th - Veteran's Day and Armistice Day

Today is a day to remember and honor the veterans of the United States of America and also a day to remember the Armistice (end of fighting) on the 11th month of the 11th Day in 1918 when the "War to End All Wars" came to an end. Of course, it was not the war to end all wars and our veterans have born the greatest burdens in this century as we have sent them into harm's way countless times. I have many friends who are veterans and I honor their sacrifice and their dedication on this day while I also pray and work for peace in our time.

So, thank a veteran today and also work for peace and justice!

10 November 2007

Good things all around us - A day in the life!

The word "Incarnation" is one that we hear as we approach that holiday we call "Christmas," which is also called the Feast of the Incarnation. I realize I am getting ahead of myself as it is only November (however the Christmas decorations are all over the place!), but the concept of "Incarnation" is the recognition that it is our belief as Christians that God became human and dwelt among us. Further, that through the Resurrection, Christ is amidst us and among us and within us -- this is often hard to grasp conceptually. However, we know the beauty of a sunrise, the joy of friends, the satisfaction of a a job well done, a good cup of coffee or tea, and when we begin to turn aside and recognize these good things all around us we are beginning to experience the Incarnation of God in our midst.

One of the true joys of doing ordained ministry in a school setting is that it is so easy to catch people doing good things for one another and it is so wonderful to experience God's presence in chapel services, but also in classrooms, in the Senior lounge, in the cafeteria, at an extra help session, in a musical recital, in a rich conversation .... I hope we can all take a moment and recognize the good things all around us, and take delight in the gift of the Incarnation - Emmanuel, God with us (and not only at Christmas!)

Here is a montage of some of today's moments at school...

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey