Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Check out Laura's Blog: My Quotidian Mysteries !!!

After doing a little surfing around on Facebook, I realized that my colleague from Seminary, Laura, has a wonderful blog called My Quotidian Mysteries which is just excellent and wonderful. You can see the first post in her blog here. She has a deep sense of God's work in the everyday, and her blog reflects this sensibility.

Quotidian - (adj.) everyday, ordinary, commonplace
the space where mothers often dwell and out of which great mysteries emerge

Here is her first post (from April, 2007) for a little taste of her reflections:

"Two months after my daughter was born, I read a terrific book by Kathleen Norris entitled "The Quotidian Mysteries." In it she argues that the hum-drum aspects of life are avenues into the incarnational reality of Christ. Laundry can be a spiritual discipline if you have the eyes to see it. I've been lurking in "mommy blogs" lately, and I've been really impressed with the women that write them who are living faithful, often uncelebrated lives. These are my quotidian sisters, and this blog is one more contribution to the quotidian mysteries of which we partake: nap schedules, food preparation, laundry, lonely times, confusing times, joyful times; developmental milestones and setbacks; marriage ups and downs. I loaned the book to a friend on Tuesday who loved it and loaned her copy to someone else. She needed another read. Hopefully I'll see it again. In the meantime, I'll press on with today's mysteries."

Do check out her blog, Laura is great, and this blog is also quite wonderful. She is headed to Qatar with her husband (who works for the State Department) and young daughter. I imagine her reflections and thoughts will become even deeper and broader in coming weeks and months.

My Quotidian Mysteries Blog
at http://myquotidianmysteries.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 25, 2007

God has a way of speaking to us ... I really drove by this yesterday!

On the way back from my grandparents' 65th (!) Anniversary Party, we drove by this sign:

There is no vacation from my vocation, however, this summer, I am learning a deeper level of humility, kenosis (self-emptying), and how to function on little sleep and much caffeine as I continue to care for my two sons (4 yrs, and nearly 2 yrs). I am learning much about caring for their souls (and bodies, and minds...), and learning much about serving those in need while I set aside some of my own wants.

Many of my friends are serving as curates for their transitional diaconate, and the traditional term "curate" meant "cure" or "care" of souls - that to serve as a curate an ordained person would care for those people surrounding the church and would be specifically charged with care for their souls. The role of a deacon is a wonderful calling, or vocation, and really has to do with leading the laos (ALL the people, "laity" and "clergy") into the world to serve those in need, especially the poor, the sick, those in prison, and those in need. In addition, the deacon "brings" the needs of the world into the worshipping community of the church -they are bridge-builders and servant-leaders.

So, there is no vacation from our vocation, and I know I would do well to remember the vocation of the deacon, and also the important vocation of a curate, which all ordained people should remember (imho) and try to embody.

There is no vacation from our vocation!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

The Persistence of God: Prevenient Grace

I have long given thanks for God's persistence in calling people into action to bring about God's Kingdom. In my own life, God has time and again called me to worship, to follow, and to serve God. God's Grace is ever-present, and sticks to us like fly-paper, theologians call this "Prevenient Grace," (going back to Augustine of Hippo) ... God's action in our lives moves alongside us and is wrapped up in our lives. God's persistence in calling Samuel is clearly evident in this morning's reading from the Scriptures in the Daily Office:

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room;
3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!"
5 and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.
6 The LORD called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.
9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cars can be an occasion for Sin!-- the Vatican offers "driving commandments'

I have often wondered whether we need a theology of driving, especially when I'm driving on the road and there is a "Lane Ending, Merge Right" lane where I have seen some of the darker sides of our nature exhibited as people cut each other off, drive dangerously fast down the shoulder and I can feel my own dark impulses as I try to jockey through the lane ending as quickly as I can.

Well, the Vatican has now come out with "driving commandments," which may or may not help our driving difficulties. If God is really in the "little things," and in the everyday, surely God has some interest in the way that we treat our neighbors (and ourselves) on the road! I've posted just one article below (of many that are already online about these "Commandments") from the BBC. There are other articles here, and here, and here and here.

You can read the document from the Vatican here.

What do you think?
Is the Vatican being frivolous with its time and energy when it should/could be addressing "larger" issues?
... or...
Do you find it a sign of hope that the Church is involving itself in the concerns of people in their everyday lives?

Vatican's 'driving commandments'
(From the BBC online)

The Vatican has issued a set of "10 commandments" for motorists to promote safer driving.

The "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" call on drivers to respect speed limits, refrain from drinking before driving and avoid cursing.

Roman Catholics are also urged to make the sign of the cross before setting off on a journey.

This is said to be the first time the Vatican has specifically dealt with the growing worldwide problem of road rage.

'Occasion of sin'

The 36-page document was put together by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People.

We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads
Cardinal Renato Martino

"Thou shalt not drive and drink", "thou shalt not make rude gestures behind the steering wheel" and "help accident victims" are among the 10 recommendations for motorists.

The document also warns that driving can bring out "primitive" behaviour in motorists, including "cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility".

It says that automobiles can be "an occasion of sin" - particularly when they are used for dangerous overtaking or for prostitution.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's council, said it was important to address the issue because driving had become a big part of contemporary life.

"We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads," he said.

"That's a sad reality, and at the same time a great challenge for society and the Church."

There is not much speeding going on in the Vatican City itself, the BBC's David Willey in Rome says.

A 30km/h (19 mph) speed limit has been enforced for years in the tiny state.

The last recorded accident there was a year-and-a-half ago, our correspondent says.

Read the article here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New York City, Chopping Wood, Carrying Water

Riverside Park,...NYC...just a beautiful place.

We arrived today and my wife began her program at Columbia. I had the great pleasure of walking around with my two boys and also checking out some of the amazing sights and sites of New York City. It is exhausting to be watching two kids under 5, but also exhilarating and a tremendous blessing. As a person who grew up in the woods of Vermont, I still am surprised at the trees and nature that can be found in cities. I give great thanks to the visionaries who set aside these areas, and also great thanks to those who continue to maintain these oases in the midst of concrete and steel.

There is an eastern proverb which I believe is either Taoist or Buddhist in origin that says:

"Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water....
after enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water."

Essentially, even after profound spiritual and mystical experiences our lives remain enmeshed in the everyday. For me, my ordination to the diaconate was a mountaintop experience, and I have had a few of these deeply connecting spiritual experiences. However, I have learned that these experiences are deep, yet do not last forever in their intensity. I know now that I cannot remain on the mountaintop forever, and there is much "chopping wood," and "carrying water" to be done. It seems that a key goal is to find a way to have these seemingly mundane tasks become enlivened and deepened. In the Christian framework, we believe in the Incarnation, that God really became human, as Joan Osborne* asks, "What if God was one of us...?"

Well, that is what we, as Christians, believe, that God became one of us, and is here among us, between us, within us even today. So even our "chopping wood," "carrying water," "changing diapers," "finding snacks," and "playing in the playground," are all enlivened and deepened through the work of the Spirit.

*Shout out to CB for the reminder that it was Joan Osborne and not Alanis Morisette that sang this song!!! (Thanks!!)

Lincoln Tunnel

Our lady of the highways-Childs,MD

We're off to nyc!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Love your neighbor" Sermon 5 April 2007

Chapel Address, Peter Carey, 5 April 2007

Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and love your neighbor as yourself, this is the first and greatest commandment, on this commandment hang all the laws and the prophets. Mt 22:34
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
It sounds basic doesn’t it? It sounds so basic that we may tend to hear it, and then just move on. It sounds self-evident, a cherished chestnut of religious wisdom. Oh, yea, of course, we’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have probably heard it in some form many, many times. It is in three of the gospels in some form: Been There, Done That.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
So, how basic is this idea? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Before thinking about people around the block, or around the globe, think about your own neighbors. Think about the real people who live near you, who live in your neighborhood, who live in the house next door, who live in your dorm, who have the desk next to yours in class; think about those neighbors. How easy is it to love those people? How easy is it to be a good neighbor? I think about growing up in a small town in New England where across the street lived Mrs . Jenkins, an older lady who lived with her mother. My parents recently reminded me about what a wonderful person she was, but at the time I thought of her quite differently. You see, she had an area in front of her house near the road where she let plants, flowers, and grasses grow wild. What she loved were her “cat-tails,” those long thin stalks with these awesome brown, fuzzy cylindrical part on the top. Well, we kids also loved those cat-tails, but not to look at and enjoy. We loved to pull them out of the swampy ditch and then smash them on the ground, on trees, and on each other. Well, of course the day came when she arrived home while we were having our own form of Jedi – Knight training. She was livid and screamed at us. Forever after she might as well been the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz. I came to find out that she was extremely active in several social service organizations in town, helping the poor, giving away much of what she earned, and was a true neighbor to so many people. My own understanding of her as neighbor was rather narrow, and I did not practice large-heartedness. We can chalk it up to youthful rudeness, but how often do we let these type of misunderstandings get in the way of love of neighbor?
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Thinking of your own neighbors now, or in the past, how easy has it been to love your neighbors? Put a different way, do you even know anything about your neighbors? I have lived in places where I didn’t even know the names of my neighbors. In North Carolina, I had no idea of the names of my neighbors until a hurricane hit and we all were outside trying to get our cars out of the parking lot, trying to grill up food together, and trying to find ways to stay cool in the heat with no air conditioning. Does it take a crisis for us to even know our neighbors, let alone love them?
Love thy neighbor as thyself?
Hopeful that I’ve convinced at least some of you of the tricky aspect of loving neighbors, I want to pose the question, “Why should we love our neighbors?” Yes, it is in three of the Gospels, but perhaps that is not enough for some of us.
Often, the answer to the question might be, “because we should do unto others, to make the world a better place.” I am all for that, and you have probably heard that before (and will hear it again, I’m sure).
If you take nothing else away from this homily, I want you to hear that it is in the coming together in closeness with others that we are each transformed. It is in the coming together in closeness with others that we are each transformed. Put another way, when we have to encounter someone who is not us, who is perhaps not very much like us, that is when we are transformed down to our heart, soul and mind. In encountering others, we get a clearer understanding of who we are, and we can appreciate and respect the other without obliterating the differences. In coming here to Episcopal, and then when you move on to college and beyond, the world needs you to be who you are. You are needed, in your own unique self to offer something to the world. As Frederick Buechner has said, “the place where God calls you is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep need, meet.” In this interaction, we need to be open to transformation with those who might be termed other than us.
The transformation that happens between people is a transformation from having hearts that are small to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called, “large-heartedness.” In loving thy neighbor as thyself not only do the others experience that love, not only does it (perhaps) help them, but it transforms us as well. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Theologian who experienced personal and spiritual transformation when he was studying in New York City at Union Seminary in Harlem. He began to worship with an African American congregation, and he encountered those who were other than him, he learns to really love his neighbors as himself. Upon returning to Germany, because he had learned this radical “large-heartedness,” he was not willing to allow his church to be taken in by the Nazis. In the run-up to World War II and during the war, he spoke out against Nazi atrocities against the Jews and others. In the end, he was executed by the Nazis after he was implicated in a plot to kill Hitler.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
In the coming together in proximity we are each transformed to a life of large-heartedness. In loving our neighbors as ourselves (as hard as that is), we learn to see a broader world. Meanwhile, we gain a stronger understanding of, and love for ourselves. An image I have of this transformational process is of hiking in mountains where we look forward to getting that view that only comes after work, that view that happens once we reach an elevation where we can see beyond the trees and rocks around us. Hiking through the maples and oaks we climb to an elevation beyond the pines, the scraggly alpine shrubs where we emerge above the tree-line where we can see beyond our own limited horizon. We can look out and see a larger world.
Love thy neighbor as thyself

It may, indeed, be harder than it sounds, and it may be a message that is good to hear and consider from time to time. How well do we love the neighbors all around us? Let’s be honest, like me trying to love Mrs. Jenkins, it may be hard to do. But once it becomes our habit, our practice, we might be more willing to see that the world is made up of our neighbors, and that our own sense of the world is transformed when we encounter others. Our own hearts, souls and minds will experience transformation and we will live into a sense of large-heartedness. I encourage us all to consider this cherished chestnut of religious wisdom and take up the challenge of living it out. And remember that as we take up the challenge we also each need to be gentle with “thyself.” “For thy yoke is easy, and thy burden is light.”


Friday, June 15, 2007

Other "U2Charists" in the Works ... ?

Sarah Dylan Breuer was the first instigator of the U2Charist...I'm not so sure how I feel about the U2Charist...but she certainly has a sense of humor about what other versions are not in the works, you can read her blog entry on this topic here.

Here's her entry:

"top 10 rejected alternative worship themes

A lot of people have been asking me, as instigator of the first U2charist (held in Baltimore, Maryland in April of 2004) what other liturgical developments are in the pike. What I can say is that, having carefully pondered cultural and liturgical trends, I've decided that the Next Big Thing is most definitely NOT:

  • The Kazoocharist -- in which the service music is led entirely by 30 people playing kazoos.
  • The Magoocharist -- which would have been gravely insulting to blind people.
  • The "I Melt With You"charist -- which may have been well-received by those from my generation who are lovers of one-hit pop wonders. Sadly, I could find no theological justification for such a service, and even those from my high school graduating class couldn't stand singing it ten times in a single hour.
  • The "Chattanooga Choo-Choo"charist -- for lovers of 40's jazz and railway enthusiasts.
  • The R2D2charist and Naboocharist -- for lovers of the Star Wars film franchise.
  • The ShihTzucharist -- for lovers of expensive and diminutive dogs, in honor of which the altar party would wear their hair tied up with a ribbons on the tops of their heads
  • The HoodooGurucharist -- for lovers of obscure alternative Australian rock.
  • The Dewcharist -- a service for computer coders in which Mountain Dew would replace the sherry or port normally used; rejected when no one could figure out whether a Twinkie was or could ever be 'bread.'
  • The Moocharist -- in which chocolate milk would replace the port or sherry to appeal more to children.
  • The Booboocharist -- for fans of the diminutive animated bear of Jellystone Park.

What I CAN say with some authority is that I will be preaching at the U2charist -- held to the glory of God and to inspire deeper engagement with God's mission to end extreme poverty -- in the Diocese of Michigan on Saturday, June 16, at 4:30 p.m. More details forthcoming!"


Check out Sara McGinley's Piece on the Episcopal Cafe Blog

Sara McGinley: My Piece is on Episcopal Cafe
Since I was just ordained to the transitional diaconate 6 days ago, my wife and family are just at the beginning of the adjustment period for learning some of the issues of being a "clergy family" and a "clergy spouse." Luckily, my sponsoring rector and his spouse have been good models for us, as well as several other priests that we know. Also, during seminary my wife made close friends to discuss some of the implications of being a clergy spouse.

I was on the Episcopal Cafe blog and found this entry on "A Priest's Wife Buys Underwear" written by Sara Mcginley, which is just wonderful, insightful and hilarious. I surfed over to her other blog called "Sara Mcginley" and it is also great ...

We are about to move to New York for the summer, where I will be exercising my diaconal ministry mostly serving those in need ... in this case, I will be watching my two young boys (under 5 years old) while my wife pursues a master's degree. After she has supported me in seminary for three years (as well as the discernment process before that!), it is really the least I can do. Do I have some trepidation about being in New York City and have as my charges two energized young boys for 8-9 hours a day? Well, yes I do. I hope to reflect upon this intensive parenting and "incarnational" spiritual practice in this blog, as well as post them in a new blog dedicated to my deacon summer in NYC.

There is a lot to do in NYC and I am excited about the adventure, I'm sure it will be formational for me!

Biblische Ausbildung: Dr. Stephen Edmondson Leaving VTS to Become a Rector

Biblische Ausbildung: Dr. Stephen Edmondson Leaving VTS to Become a Rector

Over at Dr. Cook's Blog, he reports on the news of Professor Stephen Edmondson leaving VTS to become a rector.

Dr. Stephen Cook quotes Dean Martha Horne's statement that she sent to the VTS Community:

Here is the announcement just emailed by Dean Horne:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is with very mixed emotions that I write to let you know that the Reverend Dr. Stephen Edmondson has accepted a call to be the next rector of St. Thomas Church in McLean, Virginia, effective July 16. Stephen came to VTS in 1999 after completing his Ph.D. in theology at Yale. During his eight year tenure here, he has taught courses in Church History and Theology. Stephen has been a splendid teacher and mentor for our students and a wonderful colleague and friend to members of the faculty.

The rest of the letter can be read here.

Here are my comments on the Rev. Dr. Stephen Edmondson...

Dr. Edmondson is an excellent teacher, and his course in Church History during my first year of seminary opened my eyes, mind, and soul to not only Church History, but also the history of Theology. He prepared impressive lectures, and punctuated them by deep scholarship as well as wonderful examples, humor, and insight. He is a great priest-scholar and it does not surprise me that he feels called to do parish work at this time, and I really appreciated his statement that revealed his prayerful discernment regarding this decision. As someone who is beginning my ministry this fall in the Diocese of Virginia, I am excited to be able to call Dr. Edmondson a colleague. As someone who will be beginning my ministry as a school chaplain but who wants to do further academic work as well as work in a parish before too long, I am glad to see that he will be bringing his depth of scholarship, theology, and practice into that setting.

I will always be so appreciative of Dr. Edmondson for his teaching of Church History and for the way that he introduced me to the theological tradition of our church.
Blessings and peace to you, Dr. E!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

9 Years ago, Michael Jordan's Dream "Ending"

Where were you 9 years ago today? I was watching what I thought would be Michael Jordan's last game as he was instrumental in the Chicago Bulls 6th NBA Championship.

Well, it turned out that this incredible game, and especially the amazing ending, was not MJ's final game, but it WAS dramatic and poetry in motion ...

I must be getting old...this was 9 years ago!

You can also find this clip here on youtube.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rowan Williams is in DC for the Summer, and I'm moving!

Alright, I just realized through some sniffing around on the blogosphere that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is in DC and will be here (at Georgetown) for the summer. On the Episcopal Life page here, it mentioned that the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori met with the Archbishop last week in DC.

"Jefferts Schori also outlined her travel schedule and the various groups and people with whom she has met. Most recently she spent time with Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams while she was in Washington D.C. last week to testify on global warming before a U.S. Senate committee hearing. Williams is spending much of a three-month sabbatical at Georgetown University." (From Episcopal Life)

From the Episcopal Cafe blog:
"The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, will spend much of his summer sabbatical at Georgetown University sources in England and Washington confirmed today.

Williams, has stayed at the Jesuit university twice previously during seminars of interfaith scholars, and is friendly with the university's president John J. DeGioia.

In March 2004, in partnership with President DeGioia, Williams convened the third Building Bridges seminar at Georgetown. The fifth Building Bridges seminar in March 2006 was also hosted by Georgetown. Williams initiated the annual Building Bridges seminars to promote dialog between Christian and Muslim scholars.

Williams has not visited Episcopal churches during his previous visits, although he has held breakfast meetings with prominent local church leaders. He has refused numerous requests to participate in Episcopal Church events."

The Archbishop is quite a lightning rod these days for many people, and I must admit that my own understanding of, and feelings about him are complex. However, I spent 12 months writing an M.Div. Honors thesis that had him as a central voice - along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and James Cone; and I would have loved to get the chance to hear him speak this summer.

The bummer about this for me is that I am moving to NYC for the summer, and then to Richmond in August to begin work as a chaplain.

Episcope Blog

I just came across the "Episcope" Blog which has a wide variety of articles regarding the Episcopal Church ... and has a wonderfully diverse list of blogs....and while I do not any longer see things as merely linear in terms of "left and right," there are some great blogs listed here, and good articles..."eyes left," "eyes center," "eyes right." Check it out when you have a chance, some great items here...

Life of Brian, ....


Here is the trailer from 1979....I can never stop laughing at this one...God certainly has a sense of humor, thank God for Monty Python!

You can also access it here on www.youtube.com




Hope in a time of War from Thich Nhat Hanh

"In April, we cannot see sunflowers in France, so we might say the sunflowers do not exist. But the local farmers have already planted thousands of seeds, and when they look at the bare hills, they may be able to see the sunflowers already. The sunflowers are there. They lack only the conditions of sun, heat, rain and July. Just because we cannot see them does not mean that they do not exist."

~~Thich Nhat Hanh, quoted on the Fellowship of Reconciliation, forusa.org website


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reflection on Psalm 5

Reflection on Psalm 5

Hear me God, turn your ear to my words,
be here in my meditation.
In the morning, God, I seek your presence,
as the coffee brews I call to you and see your signs.
For you are a God who does not cultivate the consuming darkness,
you are at the intersection of dark and light.
You do not tolerate those who take rewards for themselves,
without knowing the vast interconnections.
Your spirit does not flow freely when we speak lies,
and when we seek vengeance we move away from your gaze.
I know these things, and I move on the path towards your sacred place,
I will not profane what you have made sacred.
Give me beacons towards the truth,
I am so easily distracted on the way.
You, God, will bless those who live in the truth,
you will defend them and comfort them with compassion.
Help me to be one of them.

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Welcome Back Kotter on DVD!

God is Good,

....and now we have more reason to rejoice; "Welcome Back Kotter" is now on DVD.

This is a terrific show, great fun, great characters, and some real wisdom shoehorned in between the jokes!

from the Washington Post...

Go Back to Class With 'Kotter'

washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More than 30 years after the Sweathogs burst onto America's TV screens, are they still funny? You bet that rubber hose up your nose they are.

Fans of "Welcome Back Kotter" -- the '70s sitcom that catapulted John Travolta into the teen-idol stratosphere, gave John Sebastian a hit song and launched myriad infantile catch phrases -- have been waiting patiently for a full season of the show on DVD. Today they finally get their wish, thanks to a four-disc set (retail price: $29.98) packed with all 22 installments from the Buchanan High School crew's first season. ...for the full article, read here.

Rowan Williams Interviewed by Time

The current European edition of Time magazine interviewed Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, there are two articles there that are well worth reading. You can find them here, and here. You can also listen to Archbishop Rowan Williams' interview here on a Time Magazine podcast. (Shoutout goes to Will at the Yearns and Groans blog for letting me know about the articles).

A Four - Fold Franciscan Blessing

Four - Fold Franciscan Blessing

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts. Amen.

May God bless us with anger at injustice,
oppression, and exploitation of people
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war,
so that we may reach out your hand to comfort them
and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in this world,
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Rev. Janice Robinson and me at my first Sunday serving as a deacon - 10 June 2007

The Rev. Janice Robinson and me at my first Sunday serving as a deacon at Grace Church, Silver Spring, Maryland.  June 10, 2007

First Sunday Serving as a Deacon

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It was really quite wonderful to serve as a deacon today at Grace Church, Silver Spring, MD, my old field education site from seminary. It was a great service and it was just excellent to proclaim the gospel and serve at the table!

Ordination to the Diaconate

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

This is the table

This is the table, not of the Church but of Jesus Christ.
It is made ready for those who love God and who want to love God more.

So come, you who have much faith and you who have little,
You who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time or ever before.

​You who have tried to follow and all of us who have failed.
These are the gifts of God for the People of God.

Adapted from The Iona Community, Iona Abbey Worship Book

(Glasgow, UK: Wild Goose Publications, 2001), 53

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pre-Ordination Retreat

Early Morning over the Elk River

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Can we get these guys to teach us to sing? - Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo in South Africa in 1987...Wow, this version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" is incredible!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ordinations this Weekend


There are a plethora of ordinations this Saturday, June 9th, Dioceses of Washington, Los Angeles, Central PA, Eastern North Carolina, and Pennsylvania...and probably others, congratulations and blessings on all those who are being ordained this weekend.

From the Philadelphia Cathedral Website

One of the greatest joys of Cathedral life is to witness the consecration of those who have offered their lives to God in the ordained ministry of the Church and have been commissioned to serve as servants of the servants of God.

On June 9 the Bishop of Pennsylvania will ordain these seven men and women who will serve initially as deacons before being ordained as presbyters later this year or next. Please pray for them and the parishes that have nurtured them and the churches where they will serve.

Christopher Mark Bishop
Peter Michael Carey

Wilda Clydette Magee Gafney
Jennifer Emily Gregg
Christy Elisa Laborda

Peter Carlson Lane
Kathleen Marie Walter

The Ordination liturgy is at 10.00 am on June 9 and is open to all. Please come and rejoice.

Father Matthew Rocks on YouTube!

If you haven't seen Father Matthew Moretz on YouTube, you just have to check him out. In his weekly 3-5 minute videos he really packs a punch and not only teaches about the church, but shows us a lively mind and spirit ... in his February 7th Video, he takes on the question of Unity and Diversity in the Episcopal Church. No matter your perspective on the issues at hand, his discussion is worth 4 minutes of your time for reflection!

Trinity Sunday (just a few days late)

This last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, on which we celebrate our Christian belief that God is 3 in 1, 1 in 3. The icon above is a depiction of the Russian artist Rublev's depiction of the 3 visitors to Abraham (Genesis 21), which is now referred to as Rublev's Holy Trinity Icon.

With my family, we went to the childrens' service at at St. Columba's in Washington, DC this Sunday and heard a wonderful and amazingly understandable description of the Trinity from the Rev. Martin Smith (former Superior of SSJE, and Chaplain to the House of Bishops):

To the childrens' service, he said this at the dismissal:

"Remember that today's service was brought to you by the number 3.
One - Who created us;
Two - Who saved us;
and Three - Who is with us always."

After much examination of the theology of the Trinity this year on my thesis and in the Ecclesiology of Communion Blog, this description kicks my own efforts in the backside! It was excellent, simple and grounded in the history of the tradition. Kudos to Martin Smith.

Compost and Flowers

The wise wise Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has written much about the connection between the flowers that we enjoy and the nutrients that flowers attain from compost, manure, or other natural fertilizers. Today, as a part of our moving process, I finally put into the ground a bunch of compost that we had been creating from our leftover food waste (for more info on why to do composting, watch Inconvenient Truth!). And, man was it NASTY smelling! Yuck!

I pulled the old trash bin out of the ground and dumped the compost into a section of our little yard that will be (for the next tenants) a wonderfully fertilized section of soil, rather than a brick-like section of Virginia clay. That bin smelled like a port-o-john!

After this terribly stinky work, I went out the front door, and what had the earth offered up after a weekend of soaking rain, but an incredible flower. The connections between decay and growth, between the everyday and the holy, between death and resurrection are profound, and perhaps all around us, if we have eyes to see. That is my hope.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Memorial Service for Jim Kelsey

[Episcopal News Service] A memorial eucharist and celebration of the life of Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan Bishop James Kelsey will be held June 8 in Marquette, Michigan.

Visitation will be at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 201 East Ridge St. The memorial eucharist will be at 4 p.m. at St. Michael Roman Catholic Church, on the corner of College Street and Presque Isle Avenue.

The full article can be read here.

The family issued a statement earlier today (June 4). It reads in full:

"The world became a darker place with the passing of James Arthur Kelsey. James gained love and respect from everyone he met in his professional and personal life. James spent his life giving. Giving of his time, his heart, and his soul to help anyone and everyone in need. His levels of compassion and kindness were unparalleled. A courageous man, willing to stand up for his beliefs, James Kelsey was the benchmark to which great men are judged. Not only a great man, but a great husband, and father. There was no better model for how to be a truly wonderful human being than the one he provided for his sons and daughter.

"If the world were full of more men like James Arthur Kelsey, it would be a wonderful place. Sadly, today we find ourselves with one less."

Bishop Jim Kelsey

Along with many others, I mourn the death of Jim Kelsey!

Before serving in Oklahoma and Michigan, Jim Kelsey was a beloved priest in my home Diocese of Vermont in the late 1970s and the early 1980s and I came to know him when I was a camper at the diocesan camp, Rock Point in the early 1980s. He was the leader of a 10 day camp conference of high school students and was the "producer" and "director" as we put on a video of "DANIEL." I remember well his inspired and grounded leadership, always punctuated by his lively humor and ability to connect with high schoolers, with counselors, with volunteer staff, and with all ages. He helped us see the book of Daniel in a new way as we dressed up as lions to fight Daniel in the lions' den, as we climbed into a cardboard "fire hut" and danced to the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" depicting Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednago, Daniel's three friends...I have vivid memories of Jim, and would be blessed to be but a fraction of the person and priest that he was.

From Episcopal Life Online
June 3, 2007

Auto accident claims life of Northern Michigan Bishop James Kelsey

[ENS] Bishop James Kelsey of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan was
killed in a road accident at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, while
returning to Marquette from a parish visitation...

..."The Episcopal Church has today lost one of its bright lights," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said. "We will be less without the easy grace of Bishop James Kelsey -- Jim to most of us -- and we shall miss his humor, insight, and passion for the ministry of all. He gave us much. We pray for the repose of his soul, and for his family. We pray also for the Diocese of Northern Michigan. All of us have lost a friend. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."

View the entire article here.

I wrote about him in a paper for seminary this spring, an excerpt of it is below...

Presider over the Mysteries
The priest has an important sacramental function in the life of a Christian community. Priests take on the task of gathering the people together around the Altar, the Lord’s Table and stands in the place of Christ to take, bless, break and give the Eucharistic Feast to God’s people. As my liturgics practicum teacher said, the priest is the “presider over the mysteries.” At the time, I was quite a bit intimidated by this description, but my own sense of this role has grown and deepened while I have been in Seminary, and as I have functioned as the deacon of the table at my field education site. I have grown to see that this role of presiding over the mysteries is, indeed, a powerful and important part of the priestly functions. The priest who embodies this in a deep and powerful way is someone who led summer conferences at the diocesan camp that I attended back in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, he is bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, Jim Kelsey. The reason he comes to mind is that he does, indeed preside over the mysteries, but he does it with an amazing spirit of joy, gratitude and enthusiasm. I was reminded of his joyful presiding when he ordained a good friend of mine last year at VTS. When Jim says, “The Lord Be with You,” he says it because he really means it, with a deep sense of earnestness and authority. He knows the Eucharistic prayers well, but does not seem at all to be going through the motions, he is really celebrating the Eucharist, and as he offers himself to the mystery, he opens it up for the congregation who are also celebrating the Eucharist as well.

We really have lost one of the bright lights of our church and our world.

Come check out the new blog!

Santos Woodcarving Popsicles

As seminary has ended, and I am soon to be ordained to the transitional diaconate, it is a good time for new beginnings...so, come on over to http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com/, which you can also access easily from www.petercarey.org ... "Santos Woodcarving Popsicles" ... themes taken up by the Ecclesiology of Communion will be revisted on this new blog, and will be expanded to include a full range of thoughts about the holy and the everyday, about the church and the secular world .... come to visit!

- Peter Carey

Santos Woodcarving Popsicles

The inspiration for this blog came from the photo that was taken at Chimayo, New Mexico a few years ago while I was visiting my wife's parents in Santa Fe. We drove up to Chimayo, which I will write more about soon in another post. The words on the wall of the shop advertise these three items: Santos - those small carved figures of the saints (santos) that are very common in the Southwest; Woodcarving - there are all kinds of woodcarvings to be purchased, many with a religious/spiritual theme; and finally, Popsicles - if I need to describe what popsicles are, I am sorry for you, but I love popsicles.

What I really love about this sign is that these three items are not expected to be advertised together, they point to the holy, but also to the everyday, and make no excuses for the everyday and the holy to be merged and unified.

I will (Godwilling) be ordained this week to the transitional Diaconate in the Episcopal Church and am keen to stay connected to the holy, but also be fully integrated and involved with the everyday.

With this blog, I hope to reflect upon the everyday and the holy and perhaps explore the ways that we have a tendency to separate the everyday and the holy, to separate the santos from the popsicles ...

...however, in our moments of deepest connection to one another and to nature, and to God, I believe that we do see the profound way that there is no separation between the Santos, the Woodcarving, and the Popsicles...(more to come...)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Which Theologian Are You?

Check out this site, and see which theologian you most closely resemble...clearly, as evidenced by my results below, VTS has has some effect on me!

You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'



John Calvin


Karl Barth


Friedrich Schleiermacher


Charles Finney


Jürgen Moltmann


Martin Luther




Paul Tillich


Jonathan Edwards


Which theologian are you?
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