30 July 2007

Archbishop George Carey at Duke University (from Feb, 2007)

On my way driving down from NYC to Virginia I listened to the podcast (available on itunes) of this excellent and interesting lecture given in February by Archbishop George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, at Duke University back in February.

While I disagree with some of his thinking, and his approach to scripture differs from mine, I thought this lecture to be very very interesting, and make sure to listen to it online, because both Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and Dr. Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University make comments and ask questions.

When Archbishop Carey came to VTS to speak in the spring of 2006, I was not all that impressed, and thought he dodged some earnest and probing questions. In this lecture I appreciate his take on the issues and the situation in which we find ourselves ... well worth the time to listen ... check it out and let me know what you think!

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Speaks at Duke Divinity School

Read text and see video of the Feb. 7 address by Lord Carey of Clifton, "Anglican Communion: Past Blessings, Present Challenges and Future Hopes"

February 7, 2007

I must begin this address by thanking Jo Wells for her welcome and all those who have made it possible for Eileen and myself to make this trip to North Carolina. We are especially delighted to be here at Duke University and gain a flavour of the life and vitality of this place.

View video of Lord Carey's address

Duke’s Methodist roots are well known, of course, and remind us of the debt that both Anglicanism and Methodism owe to each other. I served my Title as Curate at St.Mary’s Islington in London and recall noting with delight on my first day there, that the great Charles Wesley had been a curate at the same church in the 18th century. Episcopalians are indebted to our young sister’s commitment to evangelism and social action.

However, the 18th century Church of England did not take too kindly to Methodism’s enthusiasm and direct spirituality. An ironic and somewhat bizarre witness to this is found in a church near Cambridge where a memorial plaque records the ministry of the Rector, of whom the plaque states ‘served for 38 years in this parish without the slightest trace of enthusiasm.’

That astonishing memorial was not erected by disgruntled parishioners but actually delighted ones who were clearly pleased that, during their Rector’s time the ‘enthusiasts,’ that is the Methodists, were kept at bay. Sadly, the division between our two churches today is due to that kind of attitude which prevailed all too often at that period.

Both John and Charles Wesley were disappointed by the reception given by the Established Church to the fledgling ‘methodistical’ preachers of their day. They died priests in the Church of England, even though both knew with reluctance that it would be only a matter of few years before the inevitable split between mother and daughter came about.

Dr.Wells invited me to speak about the Anglican Communion today, and I offered the title of: “The Anglican Communion; Past Blessings, present Challenges, future Hope.” I do so with some hesitancy because I run the risk of some telling me, yet again, that I am interfering and that I am undermining the work of Archbishop Rowan Williams.

My response is twofold; it is difficult to accept the accusation of interfering when I am speaking of my own Communion, to which I gave so much in eleven exhausting and fulfilling years. I love this Communion and I love the Episcopal Church of the United States. One only ‘interferes’ if the matter has nothing to do with one. This is scarcely the case.

Secondly, I fully support the present Archbishop of Canterbury in his desire to hold the Communion together and to find a way out of the present serious situation we are in. The Windsor Report, if accepted by all, would strengthen the Communion and heal our brokenness. Alas, it has already become clear that its strong medicine does not please parts of our body and has been rejected by some. The coming Primates Meeting in Tanzania should be in all our prayers as the leaders of the Communion seek a way forward to hold the family together.

So, let me reflect with you from this place, Duke University, a former bastion of Methodist life. What would the Wesley brothers have made of the Anglican Communion; indeed, would it have been a reality in their day?

read the rest HERE....or, ... HERE.

It is not you who shape God, it is God who shapes you

By Irenaeus

It is not you who shapes God, it is God who shapes you.
If then you are the work of God, await the hand of the artist
Who does all things in due season.
Offer God your heart, soft and tractable,
And keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you.
Let your clay be moist,
Lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of God’s fingers.

Source: www.inwardoutward.org and Shalem News, www.shalem.org

29 July 2007

I am Dumbledore, who are you?


I actually wanted to be Fred or George Weasley, or Hagrid, but Dumbledore rocks the house, so I am honored at the claim that I might "be" him...(and also think it's quite a reach)...so, what about you, "who are you?"

...(shoutuot goes to the "No Claim to Sainthood" blog, read it HERE!)

The other thing that is cool, is that Dumbledore looks strikingly like two of my other heroes:

Gandalf the Grey and Rowan Williams

You scored as Albus Dumbledore, Strong and powerful you
admirably defend your world and your charges against those
who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can
fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause

Albus Dumbledore


Harry Potter


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Ginny Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
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Sermon on Hosea and the Whore

I heard a wonderful sermon today at St. Paul's Memorial, Charlottesville, VA - just great! Well worth a read. It is also HERE, online.

Hosea and the Whore

The Rev. David McIlhiney, Associate Rector and Chaplain

email: david@mcilhiney.net

July 29, 2007

Perhaps it’s just a modern legend, but it’s said that when “Gone with the Wind” opened in 1939, hundreds of movie-goers across the South fled their theatres upon hearing Rhett Butler’s parting words to Scarlett O’Hara, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Back then, in those more innocent days, the word “damn” was considered sufficient to scandalize many polite citizens.

I think it’s safe to assume that no rector of the time ever chose today’s Old Testament passage as his sermon text. He could have pointed out to his congregation that its startling word—“whoring”—came straight from the Bible. But such a rector would have had a very short tenure, I suspect. There are some things nice people just don’t talk about.

In fact, no Episcopalian anywhere has ever heard a sermon on this text before, because—until this year—these words from Hosea have never been included in any Anglican lectionary. Yet here they are this morning, thanks to our Church’s recent embrace of the Revised Common Lectionary. Now the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and the Lutherans have all been using this lectionary for years without becoming too obviously depraved. Maybe our Church has decided that we’ve finally grown up, too. But I wonder how many Episcopal preachers today will choose to ignore this reading altogether.

And that would be a pity, because Hosea’s relationship to his unfaithful wife is one of the glories of the Old Testament. The story is this: Hosea has fallen in love with Gomer, a woman with a bad reputation—she’s slept with so many men that everyone calls her a whore. Despite this, Hosea makes Gomer his wife. Marriage doesn’t improve Gomer’s behavior, however, and soon she’s presenting Hosea with children whose paternity is at best debatable. Hosea gives them names indicating that he’s not their father—a daughter is called “Not Pitied,” for example, and a son “Not My People.” Then, when we read beyond today’s passage, we learn that Gomer eventually runs away with another man, abandoning her husband and children. Yet Hosea seeks her out and brings her home again. Perhaps to mollify her, Hosea renames his rejected children: from now on, “Not Pitied” is called “Loved One,” and “Not My People” becomes “My People.”

The symbolism is obvious. Like Gomer, Israel has been repeatedly unfaithful to God, whoring first with one strange god and then with another. That’s the message Hosea—like all the prophets—has been preaching to the people, warning them of God’s coming judgment. But gradually Hosea realizes that just as he always takes Gomer back, so God is always willing to have Israel return. God uses Hosea’s own family to teach the prophet how much he, God, loves Israel.

This theme of family runs throughout Hosea’s prophecies. Toward the end of his book, he gives us the sweetest picture of God in the whole Old Testament. Here Hosea shows God despairing over his wayward child, Israel. “I brought her up from infancy,” God says. “I taught her to take her first steps. I lifted her and held her against my cheek, I bent down and fondled her. How can she do this to me?” We can all understand God’s question. Many of us have asked it ourselves.

Last week I talked with a woman who had been paying the college bills for her niece and her nephew until she lost her job in the dot.com collapse. As soon as she couldn’t pay their bills any longer, her niece and her nephew stopped talking to her. I know a family here in Charlottesville whose seventeen-year-old daughter ran off with a boy nearly twenty years ago. They haven’t heard from her in all that time; they have no idea where she is today. Many of us have stories like these in our own families—we know what Hosea was going through. The prophet is showing us, through his own life, what the love of God is like.

Our gospel lesson continues the theme of family. “Is there anyone among you,” Jesus says, who, if your child “asks for an egg, will give [her] a scorpion?” Just as we love our children obsessively, to the point of distraction, so God loves us in the same way. “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” We learn what God is like by looking at our own families. It’s no wonder that Jesus teaches us to begin our prayers with the words, “Our Father.”

Now this is not a complete picture of God. Moses emphasizes—as do all the prophets—that God will judge us for our behavior. But the picture of God as our judge can get out-of-hand. My Presbyterian grandfather—the son of immigrants from Belfast—thundered constantly about God’s fearsome judgment on our unworthy souls. My grandfather’s mentality seems to have infected even some quarters of the Episcopal Church recently. We hear Episcopalians quoting Leviticus at us, invoking God’s anger at gay people. Against all this—against judgmental Hebrews of his own time, against my grandfather, against all our new Episcopal nay-sayers—Hosea confronts us with his realization: God loves us just as the prophet loves Gomer. She’s not worthy of anybody’s love. Yet Hosea loves her, and God loves us in the same way. It was a necessary correction in Hosea’s time. And it may be a necessary correction in ours.

The next time you hear someone invoke God’s ire, think of Hosea. Think of the God who says, “When Israel was a child, I loved her. I taught her to take her first steps. Whatever she’s done, I love her still.” Whatever they do, we continue to love our children. Whatever we do, God continues to love us.

In some ways it’s a dangerous message, for it could lead us to think that whatever we do doesn’t matter. But if we’re faithful Christians, Hosea can inspire us to another conclusion. If God loves his children to distraction, if God loves us so much, then we want to live in such a way as to be worthy of that love. May you and I take heart from Hosea, and may we resolve this morning to become more and more deserving of that love, the love of the One we call “Our Father.” Amen.

27 July 2007

Sermon Preached at my Ordination to the Diaconate by the Rev. Robert L.Tate

Bob Tate sponsored me for ordination out of St. Martin in the Fields, Chestnut Hill, PA and he preached this challenging and incisive sermon at my ordination to the (transitional) diaconate.

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Diocese of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Cathedral, Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Sermon Preached at the Diaconate Ordination Service

A sermon preached by the Rev. Robert L. Tate, Rector, Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia, on Saturday, June 9, 2007 on the occasion of the Diaconate Ordination Service at the Philadelphia Cathedral.


Last week I picked up my teenage son from his AP US History exam. Now any parent can tell you that some of the most important conversations happen in the enclosed environment of the automobile. “So, Andy, how did your exam go?” “Ungh ” “How do you think you did?” “Uh-uh-ungh.” See what I mean? Quality conversation.

I kept pressing. “So what do you think was the most important thing you learned this year in AP US History?” Long silence. Then. “OK Dad. We learned that your generation has completely ruined this country for our generation. Social Security. Health Care. Public Education. The tax system. Our cities. Our reputation in the world. The environment. You want me to go on?”

I didn’t know quite what to say, so I just kept driving. Because I know in my heart he is right.

I have spent the last three days leading the pre-ordination retreat with our seven ordinands at the Diocesan Conference Center at Wapiti. In several of our sessions I heard their comments about the current state of the church. “The parish church model is bankrupt. For 400 years we have basically perpetuated an anachronistic 18th century English agrarian model of living the Christian life that no longer works. Our aging buildings are killing our parishes and stifling ministry. Many, maybe even a majority, of our parishes seem to be expending all their energies and resources simply trying to meet the ever-rising costs of everything and trying to survive. That is not why Jesus Christ lived and died for us. That is not ministry.”

And they did go on. “We haven’t even begun to realize the vision of the ministry of the baptized embodied in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Clericalism is still a cancer in the church. And the leadership of the church, not to mention the people in the pews, are clueless about the paradigm shift that is required.”

I didn’t know quite what to say, so I just kept listening. Because I know in my heart that they are right.

Read the rest HERE or HERE.

26 July 2007

Persistence in the Journey of Faith

Genesis 18: 20 - 33 (RCL)

20 Then the LORD said, "How great is the outcry against Sod'om and Gomor'rah and how very grave their sin! 21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know."
22 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sod'om, while Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham came near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" 26 And the LORD said, "If I find at Sod'om fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake." 27 Abraham answered, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." 29 Again he spoke to him, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." 30 Then he said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." 31 He said, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it." 32 Then he said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." 33 And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

GOSPEL: Luke 11:1- 13

Luke 11:1 (NRSV) He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2 He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial."
5 And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7 And he answers from within, "Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

There is a clear connection between the Old Testament lesson from Genesis and the Gospel reading in this coming Sunday's lectionary ... persistence in the Journey of Faith.

First, in Genesis 18, Abraham shows great compassion for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and because of this compassion, Abraham works to haggle with God about how many sinless men need to be there to have God spare the rest of the people. I preached on this two years ago, and one of the parishioners said that for many years he has tried to find some Biblical basis for his chosen profession, that of a lobbyist; in this lesson, he heard Abraham as the lobbyist (or even the defense attorney) for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham is persistent, and keeps haggling and bargaining with God, seemingly (almost) to show greater compassion (at first) than God is showing. In the text, at least, we see God respond to Abraham's pleas, and we see some of the depth of the relationship that exists between God and Abraham. Abraham is known for obeying God, for having faith in God, AND here we see that that obedience and faithfulness includes the quality of reasoning, the quality of persistence, and includes even haggling and communication.

In the Gospel, we hear the assurance from Jesus that the we are told to ask for what we need, to search for the answers, and that doors will be opened to us when we ask, and that the way will be set out for us when we turn to God, 9 "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Can we imagine having a deep enough faith in God, and deep enough trust in God's faithfulness, that we would turn to God with all our haggling, with all our concerns, with all our compassion, and all our persistence? Can we imagine that the doors really will be opened to us if we have the courage and the persistence to ask? I know that sometimes I imagine that my prayers and practices need to be sanitized for God, but as I turn to this text I am reminded that God is bigger than all of it and that God can even take my deepest, most relentless concern and compassion when I turn to God. And, when my faith is strong I believe Jesus when he assures us that "everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

May I (and we) have the courage to haggle, to search, and to knock on the door! (and believe that God will respond!)

25 July 2007

I've been "away" for a bit...visiting my folks in Vermont, along with my two sons...we had a great time, visited many friends and just enjoyed the wonder that is God's creation up there in the "Land of Milk and Honey" (they really call it that!!!), or also called the Green Mountain State. I will post more, soon, and many thoughts came to me as I spent time out in nature, biking in my hometown, and also eating the best donuts in the whole world! I miss the sugar and fat already!!!

Also, I broke down and bought the new Harry Potter book, in the morning of the Saturday that it was released, supporting the local book shop, The Vermont Book Shop ...I finished it today. I will not say more than it was good. I would hate to give anything away, but it was good.

19 July 2007

A Song of Creation

Some walks in Vermont gave me these wonderful views and a reminder of the wonders of God's Creation,

"Oh ye works of the Lord, praise him and exalt him forever."

A Song of Creation Benedicite, omnia opera Domini
Song of the Three Young Men

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; *
praise him and magnify him for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; *
praise him and magnify him for ever.

II The Cosmic Order
O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord; *
O ye waters that be above the firmament, bless ye the Lord;
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; *
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord; *
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord;
O ye showers and dew, bless ye the Lord; *
praise him and magnify him for ever.

(from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979)

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18 July 2007

Having Children, A Poem By Barbara Tanner Angell

I am spending the summer caring for my children each day while my wife is working on a Master's degree. I have traveled up and down the East Coast with them a few times, putting nearly 3000 miles on the car, and on us. My wife calls them (and me), "precious cargo" so she tells me to be careful; which I am. I love my kids deeply, and I strive to make my love and my caring for them active verbs and not just feelings in my heart.

The task of caring for them, watching them, feeding them, changing their diapers, playing with them, creating with them, disciplining them is a large task. Also, it is something that is, at times, a heavy weight to be "on" with them for many hours of the day (and night), but it is a glorious weight, a burden that is also light because of the love I feel for them.

It is the most difficult thing I have ever done, akin to triple session practices (that is, three practices in one day over the course of a week or more) when I played soccer and lacrosse in high school and college but even those practices did not extend into the nightime, and we didn't have to change any diapers! But this "toughest job I'll ever love" is a blessing!

This poem was on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac today, entitled "Having Children," by Barbara Tanner Angell; it spoke to me about the deeply emotional side of caring for, and about children.


(from the Writer's Almanac webpage....)

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Having Children" by Barbara Tanner Angell, from The Long Turn Toward Light. © Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Having Children

A siren goes by,
the scream cuts through me
even though my child is home.
For a moment I think...

Where am I?
In the middle of the night
a cry, dreamed
or heard, a wave washes
over the body of my child.
I have let her drown

or fall. She has fallen
from a high balcony
and I have let it happen.
Negligence. I feel
as if I'm plummeting...

Oh let this be a dream.
I'll be better next time.
I'll watch, I'll watch, I'll watch.

17 July 2007

Helpful Letter to the NYTimes Editor by Bishop Bruno

The Episcope blog has posted a very helpful letter to the NYTimes Editor by Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles on the recent article about the adult film star who was supposedly on the priesthood track...

July 17, 2007

+Bruno writes the New York Times

The New York Times
To the editor:

I would like to clear some factual errors in the article by reporter Sharon Waxman, “Man of the Flesh to Man of the Cloth,” (Sunday July 15, Fashion and Style).

Mr. Ronald Boyer is not in any process for ordination in The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles. He has expressed an interest in ordained ministry, as do dozens of people every year. But the path to ordination is a long, careful, deliberate process, beginning with a discernment committee in the applicant’s own congregation, which over a period of time arrives at a prayerful recommendation as to whether or not to support the person’s application.

Read the rest of the Letter to the Editor HERE.

Agreement to Disagree, a proposal by Paul Stanley

In light of all that is going on in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, this post by Paul Stanley (not the KISS performer, at least I think not) on "Fr. Jake Stops the World" blog has some very interesting proposals...and there have already been nearly 300 comments on the post ... it is worth a read if you have the time!

Peace, Peter

Here's a portion of the proposal:

In the comments of the previous post, Paul Stanley proposed "An Agreement to Disagree." I think it is worth further consideration. Here it is:

(Note that the ordering of the specific points has been amended from the original, with Paul's permission. The original order, to which the early comments refer, can be found here - J.)

1) We agree to disagree. We accept that some Christians conscientiously believe that same sex relationships are legitimate and holy. We accept that some Christians consider them to be sinful. We do not regard the expression of either of these views as incompatible with full membership of the Church, and we specifically resolve that we remain in communion with those of both views.

(2) We agree, however, that where people choose to live in a same sex relationship, that relationship must be lived on the same principles as marriage between people of different sexes--with faithful and loving stability. We provide accordingly for the marriage of persons of the same sex.

(3) No minister will be compelled to marry people of the same sex. But if asked to do so, a minister whose conscience does not permit him or her to perform such a marriage must ensure that the couple are referred to a minister who is willing to do so, and must treat the request with pastoral sensitivity. Pastoral sensitivity is not necessarily inconsistent with making it clear that the minister's own view is that same sex marriage is wrong, but due restraint must be exercised, and the minister must always make it clear that this view is his own and one on which others disagree.

(4) No church will be required to have as its priest in charge or as an ordained minister a person who is married to a person of the same sex.

(5) No church will be required to have as its priest in charge or any ordained minister a person who is conscientiously unable to perform marriages for persons of the same sex.

(6) Where a diocese has a bishop who is married to a person of the same sex, arrangements will be made to delegate episcopal functions to a bishop who is not so married in relation to any parish that requests it.

(7) Where a diocese has a bishop who is conscientiously unable to perform marriages for persons of the same sex: (i) the bishop may not refuse to permit clergy in his or her diocese to perform such marriages and (ii) arrangements will be made to delegate episcopal functions to a bishop who does not have such conscientious objections in relation to any parish that requests it.

(8) But nobody may (i) refuse communion to a person on the grounds that he or she is married to a person of the same sex or (ii) deny the validity of the orders of any member of the clergy on the ground that he or she is married to a person of the same sex.

I don't think either side would or ought to be altogether happy with this. But I don't see why it couldn't be a modus vivendi.

For the entire text, check HERE.

Love and Suffering Essay by Frederich Buechner

One of my absolute favorite authors is Frederich Buechner, if you haven't read any of his books, they are just wonderful and he explores the highs and lows and the joys and sorrows of the life of Faith. While reading Will's yearns&groans blog, I ran across the Inward/Outward blog which had this wonderful essay on Love and Suffering by Frederich Buechner. I am posting it here in full:

Love and Suffering

By Frederick Buechner

Love is a key concept in Buddhism and Christianity both. Buddhism, in the long run, seems to come out against it except in the sense of something like upekha, which is a love so vast and passionless, so disembodied and impartial, that it ceases to resemble the Christian form in any very apparent way.

Buddhism comes out against it not just for one’s own sake in the sense that to love another is to open the door into a whole new realm of vulnerability and suffering for oneself, but for the sake of the other also in the sense that unless we can break all the fetters, including love, which bind us to the wheel of rebirth, we can never achieve that Nirvana-like state of selfless detachment which is the only state in which we can be of any real use toward helping others to achieve it.

Bloodless, remote and mythical as these Buddhist insights are apt to seem from a Christian perspective, they are nonetheless greatly useful, I think, in deepening our understanding of love in a Christian sense.

That to love other people is to suffer when they suffer is a truth of life which Christianity recognizes no less than Buddhism does. It is a truth which has much to do, of course, with what the Cross is all about. To say that Christ takes upon himself the sins of the world is to say that he takes upon himself the suffering of the world too. It is to say that in a sense his suffering on the Cross continues for as long as any of us suffers. Furthermore, in being called to take up our own crosses and follow him, we are called to participate in his suffering.

But unlike Buddhism, Christianity nevertheless affirms this love that suffers and, what is more, affirms it not in spite of the fact that it suffers but because of it. It affirms it for the reason that to love others to the point of suffering with them and for them in their own suffering is the only way ultimately to heal them, redeem them, if they are to be redeemed at all.

It is God’s way in Christ, and as we are called to participate with Christ in his suffering, so we are called to be partners with him in his work of redemption. For our own sakes as well as for theirs, we are called to be Christs to all humankind, in other words, and that is close to the heart of our faith and of our lives together as Christians.

And yet. And yet. Having spoken this Christian truth, we must also, I think, remember the Buddhist truth which may be closer to it than at first glance it appears. If love is a matter of holding fast to, and identifying with, and suffering for, the ones we love, it is a matter also of standing back from, of leaving space for, of letting go of. To become, through loving and needing them, as involved in the lives of others as I was involved in the lives of my children is in the long run to risk being both crippled and crippling. Because we love our children as helplessly as we do, they have the power to destroy us. We must not let them, for their own sakes no less than for our own. A distance must be kept - not just from our children but from everyone we love.

I think of the Buddha sitting under his Bo-tree with his eyes closed upon an inner peace which he would not permit even his great compassion to disturb. I think of the staff of the East Harlem Protestant Parish with the pale northern blue of their compassion, their sad gaiety, their utter lack of sentimentality. I think of Jesus himself, who in the profoundest sense bled for people but was never what is meant by ‘a bleeding heart’; who did what he could for the sick and suffering who came his way and then moved on; who wept for Jerusalem but let Jerusalem choose its own way; who kept his own mother at arm’s length and, when Mary Magdalene reached out to embrace him at the end, said, ‘Do not touch me.’

We are to love one another as God has loved us. That is the truth of it. But to love one another more than God has loved us - to love one another at the expense of our own freedom to be something like whole and at peace within ourselves, and at the expense of others’ freedom, too - is the dark shadow that the truth casts.

Frederick Buechner has written many books, including The Sacred Journey, The Magnificent Defeat, Telling the Truth, and Now and Then, from which this piece is taken.

Gandhi Quote - "apply the following test"

A shoutout goes to Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California who has posted this quote, and felt it was well worth quoting again:

"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away."
~Mahatma Gandhi, 1947

16 July 2007

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." - Rumi

Central Park Zoo, Quote by Rumi

I love this quote from the Sufi Mystic Rumi...."Let the beauty we love be what we do." Reminds me of the all too often quoted (and too little practiced!) quote attributed to St. Francis, "Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words." It also resonates with me today after yesterday's reading from the Gospel on the Good Samaritan, for it was that he "showed mercy" and DID SOMETHING to help that was of vital importance.

The term "Good Samaritan" used by Jesus was probably nearly a distasteful joke and at least a gross example for some of the listenters when he told the story. His audience probably could not believe that a Samaritan could be "Good" in the way that God and the People of the Covenant were Good. Perhaps we would hear this incongruity in a "Good Terrorist?," "Good Enemy?," or even, (do I dare say it,...) "Good Al Quaeda?" Jesus was making it plain that it was the action of love that is of the vital importance. Jesus points out that our savior would perhaps be the last person we could ever dream of our savior being. In the case of the parable, the savior is the Good Samaritan, and Jesus calls us to "Go and Do Likewise," but He also lays out the Christ-Like nature of the Good Samaritan, who was willing to cross ethnic and cultural boundaries to help a person in need. Also, Jesus paints in the margins of this image of the Good Samaritan that HE is the Good Samaritan, the one who comes to save, yet is the unexpected one, and who comes in a way and a manner and in a mode that is not what the religious authorities and protectors of doctrine in his day would expect.

When Jesus calls us to "go and do likewise," he calls us to act lovingly, to even, "let the beauty we love be what we do."

15 July 2007

Rescue Me Photos

A few days ago, the "Rescue Me" FX series was filming down the block from our Apt., I mentioned it here and the Wardrobe Trailer was right outside our window. I took the following photos of the Wardrobe Trailer, the Trailer that has rooms for the stars, and a couple of shots of NYFD trucks that were in the shot.

It was incredible the number of people and amount of equipment that was needed to put together these scenes for the show, there were several 18-wheelers parked around the blog. For someone who watches far too much TV and loves movies, I was given a little lesson on the vast system that supports the people who become known as stars of the show. It was great to walk by these trailers with my two boys who were fascinated by the people who were setting up wires, the food service area, and all these other essential parts of the production. While we didn't see any stars, my sons reminded me of the heroes and stars all around us. Spending the summer watching two boys under 5 years old is certainly an education for me in learning about servant ministry!

13 July 2007

Parody - Episcopal Priest Claims to be Both Male and Female

My friend Steve over at Digging up my own Foundation has posted a link to a wonderful satire ... Lord knows we need humor always, and especially in these times in the church!

from Steve's Post...

Parody - Episcopal Priest Claims to be Both Male and Female

Tominthebox News Network: Episcopal Priest Claims to be Both Male and Female

This is a must read... A Tominthebox News Network FAKE news article that is in fact very timely.

For the real news see this link.

In all honesty I'd like to tip my hat to Bishop Wolf of Rhode Island who seems to have more cajones than most of the house of Bishops.

12 July 2007

On the Pope's Recent Comments on CHURCH, Church and church

There are very helpful comments on the "In a Godward Direction" blog on the Pope's recent statements about Church:

In a Godward direction: Corrective Lenses

What is Anglicanism? by Archbishop Orombi

When the likes of Mark Harris at Preludium and also Kendall Harmon at Titus One Nine recommend reading the same essay, we should take notice.

From Mark Harris: PRELUDIUM: Archbishop Orombi writes of matters of the spiritual heart and then passes by. "The Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Orombi has written an essay in FIRST THINGS, titled "What is Anglicanism?" Again, as with Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, whose article I commented on yesterday, Archbishop Orombi gives a very helpful understanding of Anglicanism as seen from a receiver's perspective. In particular his description of the relationship between the evangelicalism contained in the reformation notion, "sola scriptura" and the evangelical experience of the East Africa Revival is important."

From Titus One Nine: " GO DIRECTLY instead to the Article by Apb. Henry Luke Orombi, Primate of Uganda on "What is Anglicanism?" if you have not yet read it. It is must reading! Please don't miss it. "

11 July 2007

Pope Excommunicates King Henry VIII - Coincidence?

I wonder if there is any coincidence that Pope Benedict XVI just made his recent statements about Protestant Churches not really being churches but are "ecclesial communities" (which seems to me to be a dig at both Protestant Churches and the Base Ecclesial Communities that are a key to Liberation Theology) ... AND...on this day in history:

... in 1533, July 11, Pope Clement VII excommunicates England's King Henry VIII for remarrying after his divorce.

Probably just a coincidence...but, who knows...?

Rule of St. Benedict, a Homely Rule!

Over at Episcopal Cafe in the "Speaking to the Soul" area, there is a wonderful quote from a book on the Rule of St. Benedict. I love the quote, and it jives with that I am trying to do with this blog...thinking about the holy in the every day...

A homely Rule

Daily Reading for July 10

The Rule of St. Benedict has a special way of viewing the patterns and dynamics of Christian life. The whole orientation of the Rule is to the principle that God is everywhere, all the time, and thus every element of our ordinary day is potentially holy. Very few of us believe that and/or act on it. Benedict urges us both so to believe and so to act. It is an enormous challenge, involving life-long response, and yet it is very simple and can be begun at this moment. Because the Rule is so “homely”, so oriented to the opportunities of daily life as grist for the mill of Christian consecration, it has a great deal to say which is directly helpful to a Christian lay person, struggling to live the Christian life even in our contemporary, secular world.

From Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary and Workbook on the Rule of St. Benedict by Norvene Vest (Source Books, 1990).

CHURCH and Church and church...and...?

The Episcopal Cafe blog quotes an interesting article about the Pope's recent statements about the validity of non Roman Catholic Churches. It seems that he takes a rather hard line about non Roman Catholic churches ... leaving the Eastern Orthodox "wounded" churches, and the Protestant Churches not churches at all... read the article, and the start of some interesting comments here. I know that more people will comment very soon on this topic, and it is not one that is at all a "new" topic, but it does raise for me the difference between the way that "church" is practiced and "done" at the grass-roots level (the local church) as it compares with the church universal. The ways that Christians live out their faith in their own context may look somewhat different than the ways that the Pontiff may discuss his faith and his understanding of faith and practice. I wonder how this document will affect ecumenical work. Will it stymie it? or, will people keep doing the good that they are doing ecumenically no matter what the Pope says?

I need to mull this all over. I took an absolutely great class while in seminary over at Catholic University, taught by a great professor, Rev. Dr. Patrick Granfield. The class was made up of a wide variety of people training for ministry, ELCA, Missouri Synod Lutheran, A.M.E., Episcopal, UCC, Methodist, Roman Catholic. At no time did I feel like "my ministry" or those from other Protestant denominations were "lesser partners" in the mission of the Church. I would hope that this type of thing would be the norm.

Why then does the Pope make this statement, at this time? The answer may be contained in a comment on the Episcopal Cafe site, "Benedict XVI has been pursuing a policy of reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX for short..." ...interesting!

An excerpt...
Apostolic Succession and the Catholic Church

From today's Arizona Republic

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday asserted the spiritual primacy of the Roman Catholic Church.

He did so at the expense of Christian Orthodox churches, which he said are wounded, and Protestant churches, which he said are not really churches at all.

The pope approved a document that says the only path to true salvation is Catholicism. The move was a stark reaffirmation of centuries-old Catholic belief that Protestant churches are lacking because they cannot trace their leadership back to Christ's apostles.

The document says Christian Orthodox churches are true churches but have a "wound" because they do not recognize the power of the pope.

Just for Fun...They are filming "Rescue Me" Outside our Apt.

We drove back to NYC from the Cape yesterday and found that we couldn't park anywhere near our NYC Apartment...turns out they are filming the Denis Leary "FX" Channel Firefighter Show, "Rescue Me," today outside our apartment...stopped by to see the cast trailers and the wardrobe ... trying to crane my neck our our window to see some stars...anyway, here's the IMDB webpage for the series, here's the "official website." Bu coincidence, a friend of mine from high school once did the costume design on the show ... not sure if she still does, but may see if she's around...

What it means to be a Christian after George Bush...article

I just returned to NYC from a few days away at Cape Cod, where I read a wonderful and challenging piece in the Boston Globe by Charles Marsh, a University of Virginia Professor of Religion and Scholar at the Project on Lived Theology (who I plan to look up when I get back to Virginia). Writing from an evangelical point of view and framework, he offers an important and interesting perspective on our Commander in Chief and on Christianity and God and Country in our present time.

What it means to be a Christian after George W. Bush

President Bush joins marines in prayer at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on April 3, 2003. Accordiing to a Pew Charitable Trusts poll that month, 87 percent of white American evangelicals supported the president's decision to invade Iraq.
President Bush joins marines in prayer at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on April 3, 2003. Accordiing to a Pew Charitable Trusts poll that month, 87 percent of white American evangelicals supported the president's decision to invade Iraq. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

If God's on our side, He'll stop the next war
-- Bob Dylan

EARLY ONE SUNDAY morning in the spring of 2003, in the quiet hours before services would begin at the evangelical church where I worship in Charlottesville, Virginia, I opened files compiled by my research assistant and read the statements drafted by Christians around the world in opposition to the American invasion of Iraq.

The experience was profoundly moving and shaming: From Pentecostals in Brazil to the Christian Councils of Ghana, from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East to the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, from Pope John Paul II to the The Waldensian Reformed Church of Italy and the Christian Conference of Asia, the voices of our brothers and sisters in the global ecumenical church spoke in unison.

Why did American evangelicals not pause for a moment in the rush to war to consider the near-unanimous disapproval of the global Christian community? The worldwide Christian opposition seems to me the most neglected story related to the religious debate about Iraq: Despite approval for the president's decision to go to war by 87 percent of white evangelicals in April 2003, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts poll, almost every Christian leader in the world (and almost every nonevangelical leader in the United States) voiced opposition to the war.

In their enthusiastic support of the White House's decision to invade Iraq, evangelicals in the United States practiced an ecumenical isolationism that mirrored the prevailing political trend. Rush Limbaugh may have pleased his "dittoheads" in mocking the dissenting pastors, archbishops, bishops, and church leaders who stuck their noses into our nation's foreign policy, but the people in the United States who call themselves Christian must organize their priorities and values on a different standard than partisan loyalty.

These past six years have been transformative in the religious history of the United States. It is arguably the passing of the evangelical moment -- if not the end of evangelicalism's cultural and political relevance, then certainly the loss of its theological credibility. Conservative evangelical elites, in exchange for political access and power, have ransacked the faith and trivialized its convictions. It is as though these Christians consider themselves to be recipients of a special revelation, as if God has whispered eternal secrets in their ears and summoned them to world-historic leadership in the present and future.

One thing, however, is clear: Any hope for renewal depends on the willingness to reach out to our brothers and sisters abroad. We must reshape the way we live in the global Christian community and form a deeper link to the human family and to life. To do this, we must begin by learning to be quieter, and by reaffirming the simple fact that our faith transcends political loyalty or nationhood.

. . .

In a German concentration camp in 1944, the theologian, pastor, and Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer pondered the future of the church in Germany as it lay in the ruins of its fatal allegiance to Hitler.

"The time of words is over," he wrote. "Our being a Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action."

Bonhoeffer, who had actively opposed the Nazis since the passage of the Aryan Laws of 1933 and was executed in April 1945, believed that the church had so compromised its witness to Jesus Christ that it was now incapable of "taking the word of reconciliation and redemption to mankind and the world." The misuse of the language of faith had humiliated the Word; any hope for renewal would need to begin with the humble recognition that God was most certainly tired of all our talk.

It is time to give Bonhoeffer's meditations a new hearing. With many other Christians in the United States and many more abroad, I have watched with horror in recent years as the name of Jesus has been used to serve national ambitions and justify war. Forgetting the difference between discipleship and partisanship, and with complete indifference to the wisdom and insights of the Christian tradition, we have recast the faith according to our cultural preferences and baptized our prejudices, along with our will-to-power, in the shallow waters of civic piety.

By the time American troops began bombing Baghdad before sunrise on March 20, 2003, the collective effort of the evangelical elites had sanctified the president's decision and encouraged the laity to believe that the war was God's will for the nation. Evangelicals preached for the war, prayed for the war, sang for the war, and offered God's blessings on the war.

Sometime after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, I made a remarkable discovery. I had gone to one of my local Christian bookstores to find a Bible for my goddaughter. On a whim, I also decided to look for a Holy Spirit lapel pin, in the symbolic shape of a dove, the kind that had always been easy to find in the display case in the front. Many people in my church and in the places where I traveled had been wearing the American flag on their lapel for months now. It seemed like a pretty good time for Christians to put the Spirit back on.

But the doves were nowhere in sight. In the place near the front where I once would have found them, I was greeted instead by a full assortment of patriotic accessories -- red-white-and-blue ties, bandanas, buttons, handkerchiefs, "I support our troops" ribbons, "God Bless America" gear, and an extraordinary cross and flag button with the two images interlocked. I felt slightly panicked by the new arrangement. I asked the clerk behind the counter where the doves had gone. The man's response was jarring, although the remark might well be remembered as an apt theological summation of our present religious age. "They're in the back with the other discounted items," he said, nodding in that direction.

I have thought of this visit to the local Christian bookstore many times in the past several years. I remember the outrage I felt when I saw a photograph in Time magazine during the 2004 presidential election of Christian Coalition activists in Ohio. Two men, both white, and both identified as Coalition members, are holding two crosses aloft. The crosses upon closer inspection appear to be made of balloons twisted together. Across the beam-section of one of the crosses was the "Bush-Cheney" logo, and alongside the president's name was the image of an American flag. In the second cross, the president's name appeared in full at the places where Jesus's hands were nailed.

. . .

Like Bonhoeffer, I fear that the gospel has been humiliated in our time. But if this has happened, it is not because the message -- the good news that God loves us unconditionally in Jesus Christ, that we are freed and forgiven in God's amazing grace -- has changed. Nor is it due to the machinations of secularists, or because the post-Enlightenment world has dispensed with the hypothesis of God. The Christian faith has not only endured modernity and post-modernity, but flourished in its new settings.

The gospel has been humiliated because too many American Christians have decided that there are more important things to talk about. We would rather talk about our country, our values, our troops, and our way of life; and although we might think we are paying tribute to God when we speak of these other things, we are only flattering ourselves.

If only holiness were measured by the volume of our incessant chatter, we would be universally praised as the most holy nation on earth. But in our fretful, theatrical piety, we have come to mistake noisiness for holiness, and we have presumed to know, with a clarity and certitude that not even the angels dared claim, the divine will for the world. We have organized our needs with the confidence that God is on our side, now and always, whether we feed the poor or corral them into ghettos.

To a nation filled with intense religious fervor, the Hebrew prophet Amos said: You are not the holy people you imagine yourselves to be. Though the land is filled with festivals and assemblies, with songs and melodies, and with so much pious talk, these are not sounds and sights that are pleasing to the Lord. "Take away from me the noise of your congregations," Amos says, "you who have turned justice into poison."

Psalm 46 tells us, "Be still and know that I am God." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his classic work on Christian community, "Life Together," spoke of a silence "before the Word." He affirmed the wisdom of the Psalmist, and spoke of a listening silence that brings "clarification, purification, and concentration upon the essential thing."

After all the talk and the noise, it is time for Christians in the United States to enter a season of quietness, being still, and learning to wait on God (perhaps for the first time).

Bonhoeffer wrote "Life Together" during the years he directed an illegal seminary in the North German village of Finkenwalde. The school's mission was training pastors in the Confessing Church, a reform movement that opposed the nazified German Evangelical Church. Bonhoeffer had served in the Abwehr, the Nazi counterintelligence agency, as a double agent -- helping Jewish families escape to Switzerland and organizing a coup attempt against the Nazi regime -- and he participated in several assassination attempts on Hitler. For Bonhoeffer, being still in a time of enormous historical and ecclesial crisis was no invitation to idleness or indifference; rather, it was a call to discernment and responsible action.

. . .

Indeed, there are times when silence is an admonition fraught with danger. Martin Luther King Jr. warned of the "appalling silence of the good people" and those who turned their faces from suffering and oppression. But Dr. King also knew that careful and respectful speech was born of honest discernment of God's moral demands for the present age -- a discernment that begins in humility and quiet introspection.

I came of age in the American South in the 1960s, and the moral values shared by most families in the churches of my childhood were deeply interwoven with our culture's hold on white supremacy. The vigilant and quite often neurotic defense we made of the Southern Way of Life blinded us not only to the sufferings of African-Americans -- the victims of our collective self-righteousness -- but also to our spiritual arrogance and group pride. We believed that our conception of Christianity and our cherished family values were the most wholesome and pure the world had ever known. Inside this serene delusion, we presumed ourselves to be paragons of virtue, although we rarely lifted a finger to help anyone but our own.

It was unsettling to learn, sometime in my adolescence, that the moral values I inherited as a white Southerner were not the marks of true Christian piety.

When Jesus spoke of the family, he had in mind the new community of God. "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he said one day upon hearing that his family was asking for him. "Here are my mother and my brothers!" Jesus said, pointing to the people gathered around him, who marveled at his words. "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." Jesus knew that loyalty to the Kingdom of Heaven would often require the renunciation of family traditions, habits, culture, and custom.

Today, in the national debate on faith and politics, there are signs of hope as an emerging generation of Christian leaders holds out the promise of a more comprehensively just and moral account of faith than the narrow agendas of the Christian right. In particular, the success of Sojourners magazine editor Jim Wallis's 2005 book, "God's Politics," introduced many Americans to a vibrant culture of progressive Christianity ready to exert its growing influence over national politics and mobilize the churches around global poverty and AIDS relief.

And there are other encouraging signs: Criticisms of torture and detention practices of the US military by prominent Christian conservatives have been symbolically powerful moments. The emerging environmental consciousness among an increasing number of evangelical leaders and laity signals a more holistic social mission.

Even so, as welcome as these developments are, no explicitly partisan movement -- left or right -- to reclaim the soul of politics can reckon successfully with the grave effects of the Christian saturation of the American public square. Unless conditioned by clear and public confession of our support of the immoral and catastrophic war in Iraq, and our complicity in the humiliation of the Word, these efforts will lack coherence and a vital center.

Franklin Graham, the evangelist (and son of Billy Graham), boasted that the American invasion of Iraq opens up exciting new opportunities for missions to non-Christian Arabs. This is not what the Hebrew or Christian prophets meant by righteousness and discipleship. In fact, the grotesque notion that preemptive war and the destruction of innocent life pave the way for the preaching of the Christian message strikes me as a mockery and a betrayal.

But if Franklin Graham speaks truthfully of the Christian faith and its mission in the world -- as many evangelicals seem to believe -- then we should have none of it. Rather, we should join the ranks of righteous unbelievers and big-hearted humanists who rage against cruelty and oppression with the intensity of people who live fully in this world. I am certain that it would be better for Christians to stand in solidarity with compassionate atheists and agnostics, firmly resolved against injustice and cruelty, than to sing "Amazing Grace" with the heroic masses who cannot tell the difference between the cross and the flag.

Charles Marsh is professor of religion and director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. This essay is adapted from his new book, "Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity" (Oxford).

Vanity Fair Issue on Africa - Don't Miss it

This month's (July 2007) Vanity Fair issue has a special issue on Africa that is worth a read! To catch our attention, there are 20 different covers in which some interesting pairs of people are photographed....Desmond Tutu and Brad Pitt, Madonna and Maya Angelou! Bono and Condy Rice!! It's worth a look!

Slide show: The 20 Covers
The 21 people who put their famous faces to work for this issue say it all. Annie Leibovitz paired them up on 20 different covers—shout-outs for the challenge, the promise, and the future of Africa.

Madonna's Malawi
A look at Madonna's work in Africa, including Raising Malawi, the nonprofit she co-founded. Also on VF.com: photos from Madonna's trips to Malawi and an exclusive conversation between Madonna and Harvard professor Jim Yong Kim.

At the Desert's Edge
Five years after a brutal al-Qaeda bombing in Tunisia, Christopher Hitchens explores the pressure points in one of Africa's most successful countries.

Picturing Genocide
Inspired by images of suffering in Africa, a lone Chicago woman pulls together "Darfur/Darfur," an exhibit of haunting photos by important photographers. By Evgenia Peretz.

Out of Africa
The DNA shared by the world's six-billion-plus people ultimately comes from the same place. Leading the Genographic Project, Spencer Wells traces a global debt to Africa.

Telling African Stories
Danny Glover's new production company, Louverture Films, is allowing him to work on the material that is closest to his heart, writes Austin Merrill. A VF.com exclusive.

The Lazarus Effect
AIDS is no longer a death sentence, thanks to miracle drugs. But millions still can't afford them. Enter the consumer-action strategy of (Product) Red. On the ground in Rwanda, Alex Shoumatoff learns what a difference buying (Red) can make.

Youssou N'Dour's Personal Playlist
N'Dour, the Senegalese singer, shot to world-music superstardom in the 1980s. For the Africa issue, he compiled this playlist. VF.com exclusive: Learn how to download all the songs from the iTunes Music Store.

Jeffrey Sachs's $200 Billion Dream
Extreme poverty can be eradicated, insists superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs—all it takes is determination, focus, and, well, money. In Uganda and Kenya, Nina Munk gets a tour of his ultimate battleground.

Africa: An Interactive Map
Vanity Fair's July 2007 issue captures the epic diversity of the African continent. Point your mouse at the countries on this map and you'll discover historical details, cultural items, useful links, and more.

The Africa Portfolio: Contributors
From archbishops and athletes to doctors and movie directors, the July issue's Africa portfolio (page 176) focuses on 71 people who are defying the status quo. Here are bios of the profile writers.

The Africa Issue: Online Resources
Here are dozens of sites that will help you dig deeper into the topics covered in the July issue.

The Africa Issue: Table of Contents

07 July 2007

"Begin to see your self as gift, love it as gift, from God's hand...

"Begin to see your self as gift, love it as gift, from God's hand,
and learn how the neighbor too is a gift,
to himself or herself, and to you."
-Rowan Williams, (Resurrection, p. 38)

Lord knows I need to hear these words from Rowan Williams more often, to remember that my life is gift, and that the neighbor's life is also gift. My good friend Eric wrote a thesis on this concept of gift as Rowan Williams uses it in his theology. I have yet to fully digest his good work, but at this point, this idea of gift is so important, and keeps bringing me back to the embrace of the one who chose me and made me and sustains me and loves me, and also loves all those around me.

Summer is a great time to remember this concept of giftedness, and caring for and spending time with young people is also a great way to remember that we are all gifts, and that we should care for ourselves and others as God would (and does) care for us!

03 July 2007

Looking for Scriptural Blogs? Check out Biblische Ausbildung

My former Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament professor from Seminary has an awesome blog that I read all the time, but this week he has assembled an annotated list of recent blog entries on the "Biblical Carnival 19" on the Scriptures that is just excellent. Check it out!

Biblische Ausbildung: Biblical Studies Carnival XIX

This Blog is Rated "G"...

I've been in the midst of moving our belongings from Northern Virginia to Central Virginia so I have been away from the blogging world. In the meanwhile, some of my good friends have been ordained to the diaconate, and others to the priesthood and I am joyful about these occasions. Also, I continue to care for my two boys while my wife is working on a Master's Degree...after she supported me, and took care of our boys for 3 years in seminary it is really the least I can do.

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Also, while I've been away, several blogs that I read have mentioned that they are "rated" (a la movie ratings) by This Site. Well, I plugged in this blog and it came up with a "G" rating...I don't know what to say, but I will say that there are some great movies with a G Rating, so I am in good company!

Mary Poppins

Herbie the Love Bug