29 November 2007

my new video "Who Are You?" on Youtube

Peace be with you!

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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

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

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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

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

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

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

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

28 November 2007

King Kamehameha and Emma

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 November 2007

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

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

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

“there is a God, and you’re not him!”

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

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

Being Still
Knowing God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“There is a God, and you’re not him!”

Sit still.
Know God.
Know God is God.

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

Be Still
And know God
And know that God is God

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

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

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

21 November 2007

Ordination Invitation

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

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

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

16 November 2007

Bill Moyers narrates short video on Bonhoeffer

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

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

from the Episcopal Cafe: End of Schism in Sight?

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

End of schism in sight

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

From the article:

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest here.

15 November 2007

In a Bonhoeffer frame of mind...

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

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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

Source: Life Together

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

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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

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

Source: Life Together

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

- Thomas Merton
from Passion For Peace

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

- Isaiah 65:21-25

12 November 2007

Installation of Virginia Theological Seminary Dean and President - Live Feed

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

Information on this live feed is below:

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

Reception in Scott Lounge and Refectory immediately following.

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

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

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

101 Ways to cope with stress...

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

11 November 2007

November 11th - Veteran's Day and Armistice Day

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

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

10 November 2007

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

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

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

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

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

07 November 2007

My first foray into YouTube

Welcome to St. Catherine's School Chapel.

Come and visit us!

Peace be with you!

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Willibrord of Utrecht, November 7th

You really don't hear the name Willibrord so often these days...not a dominant name, but back in the 8th century, Willibrod was an Archbishop and Missionary sent by the Anglo-Saxon Christians to the Netherlands. What little we may know about him comes to us from the Venerable Bede (History of the English Church and People) - which I labored through in seminary and actually came to enjoy - quite some tales of the early Christians in England. So, today we remember Willibrord and pray that we might also have his courage to preach by word an example the good news we have found in Christ Jesus!

More information can be found HERE. Some excerpts are below:


Stamp honoring Willibrord on the 1200th anniversary of his deathWillibrord, first Archbishop of Utrecht, is one of the missionaries sent out by the Anglo-Saxon Christians about a century after they had themselves been Christianized by missionaries in the south and east of England from Rome and the Continent, and in the north and west from the Celtic peoples of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
Our information about Willibrord comes to us from the Venerable Bede (History of the English Church and People, v. 10-11) and from a biography by his younger kinsman Alcuin (see 20 May), Minister of Education under the Emperor Charlemagne. Willibrord was born in Northumbria in England about 658, and studied in France and Ireland. In 690 he set out with 12 companions to preach to the pagans of Frisia (a region roughly coextensive with the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, including some adjacent territories and the Frisian islands in the North Sea). His work was interrupted several times by wars, and he left for a while to preach to the Danes instead. He died 7 November 739.

05 November 2007

New Blog - St. Catherine's School - Chaplain Blog

To read the St. Catherine's School Chaplain Blog, click HERE!

After spending the day listening to talks at a conference about the way that "Web 2.0" and "Wikinomics" impacts our work at schools (and churches, I bet, too!), I have decided to start a blog specifically for the school community that I serve, St. Catherine's School, Richmond, VA. I plan to offer short, daily reflections on this blog, with my model being the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Ian Markham, his blog can be read HERE.

The new "St. Catherine's School - Chaplain Blog" is located HERE. Come on over, if you want to see the brief tidbits of reflection that I hope to offer...

Come on over to visit the St. Catherine's School Chaplain Blog at http://stcatherineschaplain.blogspot.com/

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey


04 November 2007

Contest Winners!

And...the winners are.........

Using a very unscientific, yet most definitely random process we have our winners of the two contests that I offered through the Fall Y'all Giveaway.

The winners are:

for the $5 Starbucks Card:
She also blogs at: http://momofajl.blogspot.com/
Check it out. Also, her Blog is Mommy of Three, and in a few months (Godwilling) I will be a daddy of Three, which is pretty cool....

and, for the Theology and Bible books:


Thanks to all who entered!!! Enjoy the books, enjoy the coffee, enjoy the Fall Y'all!!

Peace, Peter

Sermon: Zacchaeus running to Jesus; When was the last time you ran?

Running From, running to....Ben in the Graduate, running for JOY.

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
November 4, 2007
Luke 19:1-12
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Richmond

When is the last time that you ran somewhere? Maybe you are a dedicated runner, running every morning or evening, charting your miles, keeping your time – building up your mileage for the next 5k or marathon. But, perhaps you are not a runner, and only run when you absolutely have to. When is the last time that you ran somewhere? When is the last time you ran to something, ran to a destination, ran from danger, ran to a loved one? Were you late to a movie, were you stuck in traffic and jumped out of the taxi and ran the rest of the way? When is the last time that you ran somewhere?

One of the most famous running scenes that I remember was in the Graduate and many of you may remember well the young and skinny Dustin Hoffman running at the end of that movie. In the background was an ever – increasing in tempo version of Mrs. Robinson, and he was running, he was running to interrupt the wedding of his love. After a long and stormy affair with the middle – aged Mrs. Robinson – he fell in love with her daughter, and he was running to stop the wedding of her daughter to the frat boy from college. And he ran, he ran to joy, he ran to danger in some respects, he ran from security but to love and ran to embrace the future. I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen the movie, but even in the last few minutes of that film a lot of drama breaks out.

When is the last time that you ran somewhere? We “run around” a lot. We run errands, we run around like chickens with our heads chopped off, we run our mouths and we run our engines all too often. But, when is the last time that you ran somewhere? When did you, like the Dustin Hoffman character run from security to the unknown future that beheld him when and if he was able to stop that wedding? When did you run from safety to the joy of insecurity? When did you run to embrace the future, putting decorum and decency of the past at risk?

In today’s gospel we hear that wonderful story of Zacchaeus, the short, rich, tax collector (actually the tax supervisor) who leaves behind all that he once knew as security, who risks his past and his standing, in order to embrace the only true security there is; the security that God offers.

1-4Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

This rich man who had much to lose, and in a time (not unlike our own) when appearances meant much, this rich man ran on ahead because he couldn’t see over the crowd. He climbed up in a sycamore tree, a tree that gives a kind of a poor person’s fruit – figs that don’t yield much taste or nutrition. He ran ahead to and he lowered himself to climb up a tree all to see Jesus.

5-7When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home." Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him.

And Jesus recognized this short, rich, tax man and called him by name. Jesus saw this man up in the tree, and Jesus saw him all the way down to his soul. Jesus raised up this short man by going to stay in his home. Unlike today, when inviting oneself over for dinner would be rude, to have a rabbi like Jesus stay with you would be an honor indeed. Zacchaeus hurried down, still running to his conversion from selfishness to selflessness. And then we get to some of the interesting parts:

Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"

You see, even after we have read and heard the story that Luke tells of Jesus, breaking down assumptions of whether the Pharisee or the tax collector is properly praying, even after Jesus breaks down expectations of whether having money is a sign of God’s blessing. Even after Jesus shows his followers that blindness is no curse, but those who are blind may actually see better than those of us with sight. You see, even after Jesus explodes our tendency to judge people by appearance and even after Jesus turns everything on its head – first shall be last, the last first. Jesus’ actions still bring out mumbling and grumbling – Jesus’ challenges still brings out Oscar the Grouch in all of us.

For we hear here that Jesus is looking out for those that we might find distasteful. Jesus is getting cozy with those that give us the shivers. Jesus is eating with those who give us indigestion. Jesus is blessing those who we curse. And, Jesus is loving those even we may find unlovable. Well, that is fine for Jesus, we might say, but not for me. But, the challenge of Jesus’ message in words and in action is that we are called to do the same. We are called help people change, but also to allow them to change.

We are called to pray for and love our enemies. We’ve heard this before and we have a general concept that this is tough. So, we look globally to find our enemies. Al Quaeda, terrorists, drug lords, corrupt dictators. We pray for them and we should work to love them. However, Jesus was all about proximity. Jesus said love our enemies, but then he went and got cozy with those people nearby that really make us crazy.

Loving our enemies is one thing, but loving those who really annoy us, now THAT is tough. Jesus is saying Think of that person that really gets you under your skin, “they probably need to be there.” Who is it? Someone at work, a neighbor, a friend? Who is it? Think of that person who really gets under your skin, maybe they need to be there. What would loving them look like, what would it do for you? What would it do for them?

Jesus reached out to the despicable and the despised, and he let them get under his skin, and they were converted. He blessed the unworthy, such as Zacchaeus and brought about not only his conversion, but also set up a challenge for his followers, then and today.

8Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."

9-10Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost."

Zacchaeus is the answer to the question posed earlier in Luke, how can a rich man enter the Kingdom of God, “it is easier for a rich man to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” Well Zachaeus is the camel that goes through the eye of a needle. He runs to a tree, climbs it, sees Jesus, hurries down and then gives away half of everything he has, and repays all those he’s cheated four times what he owes. He ran to Jesus, and Jesus let him get under his skin. Jesus welcomes the unwelcomed, Jesus blesses the unworthy, and empowers us to do the same.

When was the last time you ran somewhere with joy?

Run to God, climb the tree, and know that Jesus sees you, right down to your soul.

And he welcomes you even because, and especially because you are lost.

And then, climbing down from the tree, look around, for we’re all in trees, peering over the crowd, with our own failings, our own blindness, our own short stature.

And allow one another under your skin, for that may be where we belong, even those annoying people, even those unworthy ones, even those who we may see as the “other,” as the grumpy ones.

For they are us!

Jesus has come to get cozy with usto find us, and to restore us.

We were born to run like Zacchaeus and find the joy that is there for us.

Some running songs to motivate our runnin'!

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run:

Jackson Browne - Running on Empty

Chariots of Fire - Vangelis

03 November 2007

Richard Hooker, Presbyter and Theologian, 1600

Todd Granger at the Confessing Reader has posted the following entry in commemoration for Richard Hooker, the great Anglican theologian and presbyter (priest) who was a large mover in the construction of the Elizabethan Settlement that bought England time between the 'warring' factions of the Calvinists and the Roman Catholics... he is an important giant of a theologian and Todd Granger has done a fine job of posting some of the essentials of his life and work. I've posted Mr. Granger's entire post below:

Richard Hooker

Born c. 1554 near Exeter, Richard Hooker was admitted at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, though the influence of Bishop John Jewel. He became a Fellow of the College in 1577, and in 1579 he was appointed deputy professor of Hebrew. Vacating his fellowship on his marriage, in 1584 he was name rector of Drayton Beauchamp and in 1585 Master of the Temple, where he controverted with the Calvinistic views of the Reader, William Travers. In 1591 he became rector of Boscombe in Wiltshire and in 1595 rector of Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, where he died in 1600.

Hooker was par excellence the apologist of the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559 and is perhaps the most accomplished advocate that Anglicanism has ever had. He developed his thought in his treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, five of whose eight Books were published during his lifetime. (The other three Books were published several decades later.) In conception the Laws was a livre de circonstance, designed to justify the constitutional structure of the Elizabethan Church, but it embodied a broadly conceived philosophical theology. His opposition to the Puritans, who held to a literal following of the Scriptures as an absolute in the sense that whatever was not expressly commanded in Scripture was unlawful, led him to elaborate a whole theory of law, based on the absolute fundamental of natural law, whose “seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world” (Laws, 1.16.8). This natural law, which governs the universe and to which both ecclesiastical and civil polity are subservient, is the expression of God’s supreme reason, and everything, including the Scriptures, must be interpreted in the light of it. “Laws human must be made according to the general laws of nature, and without contradiction unto any positive law in Scripture. Otherwise they are ill made” (Laws, 3.9.2). The Puritans were wholly mistaken in regarding the Bible as a mechanical code of rules; for not everything that is rightful finds precise direction in the Scriptures. In a similar way the permanence of law does not preclude development of detail. The Church is an organic, not a static, institution, and the method of Church government and ecclesiastical administration will change according to circumstances. Hence the Church of England, though reformed, possesses continuity with the medieval Church. Further, the visible organized Church is a political society, “a court not temporal merely”, yet able to control its own legislation in a way analogous to that in which the civil state through parliament makes its laws.

In particular matters, Hooker has been less universally acceptable to Anglicans. In his unreadiness to condemn the orders of the Continental Protestant churches, he denied the necessity of episcopal ordination. (It should be pointed out that this was a mainstream view in the Elizabethan and Jacobean Church of England, and even such a Caroline Divine as John Cosin, made Bishop of Durham after the Restoration, was unwilling to deny the efficacy of the orders of the Reformed Churches on the Continent.) Hooker’s doctrine of the Eucharist closely approximates in many places to receptionism. His argument on points of detail is not infrequently difficult to grasp and not wholly clear. But Hooker remains one of the greatest theologians that the English Church has ever possessed; and he conveyed his beliefs in a masterly English prose.

    Taken from The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited.

The Collect

O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The propers for the commemoration of Richard Hooker, Presbyter and Theologian, are published on the website of the Lectionary Page.

What really (should) happen at Bishops meetings

this cartoon from Dave at CartoonChurch.com

Bishop Duncan takes his stand, he can do no other.

Other helpful analysis and comments about the recent actions of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and their Bishop, Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan are over at Mark Harris's blog, Preludium...well worth a read - and the comments are interesting as well. It looks like we've moved into some interesting chapters of this story - I just wonder how this all relates to the work that God has given us to do?

PRELUDIUM: Bishop Duncan takes his stand, he can do no other.

It's Limbo Time in Pittsburgh, Anglican Limbo, that is...

Some interesting analysis and perspective about the moves made by the Diocese of Pittsburgh yesterday through their vote to leave the Episcopal Church are over at Father Jake Stops the World. His comments are well worth checking out...

Father Jake Stops the World: Pittsburgh Chooses Anglican Limbo

Lectionary Readings for Tomorrow, Nov 4th

Tomorrow's lectionary texts (Nov 4) can be found HERE and HERE.

Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese Votes to Leave the Church

Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese Votes to Leave the Church

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted Friday on a first step toward leaving the national church.


Published: November 3, 2007

JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Nov. 2 — By more than a two-to-one vote, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted Friday in favor of separating from the national church because of a theological rift that began with the consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

The vote sets the stage for what could become a protracted legal battle between the diocese and the Episcopal Church U.S.A., which had warned Pittsburgh’s bishop not to go forward with the vote.

After passionate appeals from both sides of the debate, clergy members and lay people voted 227 to 82 to “realign” the conservative diocese.

If Friday’s vote is approved again in a year, the diocese will begin steps to remove itself from the American church and join with another province in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

After the vote, Bishop Robert W. Duncan of Pittsburgh, who is also moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, an alliance of conservative dioceses and parishes, defended the decision.

“What we’re trying to do is state clearly in the United States for the authority of Scripture,” Bishop Duncan said after the vote, taken during the diocese’s annual convention in this city about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The vote was necessary, he said, because the more liberal bishops now in the majority in the national church “have hijacked my church, and that’s how most of the people here feel.”

Some who opposed separation said it would create nothing but chaos for the diocese.

“I think it was tragic,” said Joan Gunderson, president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and a lay deputy who voted against the resolution. “I’m concerned what will follow.”

A day earlier, the head of the Episcopal Church U.S.A., Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, sent Bishop Duncan a letter, warning him that he could face discipline and civil suits if he “committed canonical offenses” including overseeing approval of the resolution.

Read the rest HERE.

02 November 2007

Episcopal Academy is prepped for a big change

Episcopal Academy, where I formerly taught history and religious studies, is working to move their entire operation (from to campuses) to 9 miles west of Philadelphia. This process began during my last couple of years working there. There is an interesting article about this huge move in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper from last week....an excerpt is below, or read it all HERE.

Posted on Sat, Oct. 20, 2007
Episcopal Academy is prepped for a big change
By Jeff Gammage


Set on the highest point of the Merion campus, Christ Chapel is the beating heart of Episcopal Academy, its gabled roofs reaching toward the heavens, its windows the portals for piercing streams of sunlight.

It's where students gather for prayer; where budding musicians present their first, rattled-nerve performances; where speakers from organizations as diverse as NASA and the Eagles offer life lessons. It's a place to reflect on Christian ideals and learn about tenets of Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.

And today, parts of it are being boxed up. Like other pieces of the school, elements of the chapel await shipment to a new campus, a move that will take venerable Episcopal Academy 11 miles west - and into a new world.

Two dozen heirloom stained-glass windows already have been removed from the chapel. The huge, free-hanging cross will be moving, along with the altar. The pews will be left behind.

"We've been here for so long," junior Matt Lerman of Villanova said, "but they have to think about the future."

Ah, the future. Not an easy subject for a private day school with a long, illustrious past. Episcopal is nearly as old as the nation. Its founders include two signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Read the rest HERE.

01 November 2007

Happy Birthday to Lyle Lovett!

A decade ago my wife introduced me to the singer Lyle Lovett, and he has been one of my favorites for all this time - we've seen him in concert several times and his music is often cued up top in my Itunes on the computer and on the Ipod ... Happy 50th Birthday to Lyle!

And, as a sometime preacher, I just love his song "Church" ... posted on You.Tube and below as well. Check it out:

"To the Lord let praises be its time for dinner lets go eat
we got some beans and some good corn bread now listen to what the preacher said!"


Twists and Turns of the Ordination Process

Last night, news came across the Episcopal News Service that my bishop, Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison, Jr., as a part of a presentment (or indictment) against him was inhibited by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from all 'episcopal' duties. Read more about it HERE.

This means, in effect that he is "suspended" from his duties until the results of a trial take place. For me, this means that I am awaiting finding out who might ordain me to the priesthood. While the bishop is inhibited, the Standing Committee (a type of a board of governors) of the Diocese of Pennsylvania are the "ecclesiastical authority" in his place. So, I am awaiting might happen this weekend at our Diocesan (annual) Convention and praying for the good people of my diocese. It feels like a family in crisis and my heart really goes out to everyone there.

Please also pray for me as I "wait patiently on the Lord" and on the Standing Committee to see how they might move forward through these troubled waters!

I read on Mark Harris's Preludium blog a nice description and discussion of the issue with Bishop Bennison, as well as the bishop across the state of Pennsylvania, Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, who is also being warned that his actions might force an inhibition. I found Mark's comments to be helpful in understanding the moment in which we find ourselves...

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

There are times when following the story of the Episcopal Church in these difficult times of internal strife and ecclesial invasion from without gets a bit complex. Matters are made all the more difficult when these take place against the background of the slow and painful demise of the American Empire. So it takes a bit of doing to get a grip on what is happening in The Episcopal Church these days.

Reference to "Title IV" of the Canons of the Episcopal Church is not usually newsworthy. In the past week, however, Title IV has come up on several occasions:
(i) At Executive Council the issue of costs related to various legal matters growing out of Title IV concerns was raised.
(ii) Bishop Bennison of Pennsylvania has been inhibited pending the review by the Title IV review committee.
(iii) Bishop Robert Duncan has been warned that if he and the Diocese of Pittsburgh change their constitution so that unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church is assured, he might well be understood to have abandoned the communion of this church, under Title IV.

Title IV of the Canons of the Episocpal Church covers matters of ecclesiastical discipline. In Bishop Bennison's case, matters of conduct in relation to his pastoral responsibilities, in the matter of the clergy and bishops aligning with other provinces or denying their oaths of obedience, their ecclesial responsibilities.

The property issues arise from another canon, Title I 7 4.1. But those issues intersect with Title IV issues when it is by virtue of the abandonment of the communion of this Church that the claim is made by the leaving bishop or clergy that they continue to have the right of use of the facilities they held while part of The Episcopal Church.

The problem is that the keys continue to be in the hands of the now deposed or otherwise absent clergy. Getting the keys back takes place against the background of the rights of the clergy, which arose as a matter of right by their inclusion in the clergy of this church.

In Bishop Bennison's case he has had the keys taken away from him by inhibition. In Bishop Duncan's case it appears the Church is saying that if it is shown that he has abandoned the communion of this Church, the Church will demand the keys back.

Read the rest HERE.

PRELUDIUM: Bishops, accountability and Title IV