29 September 2008

Politics of Fear...

I often wonder if we had been better served in these last years by a president who might have embraced something other than the politics of fear. Further, for this president who claims to be such an evangelical, I wonder whether he really has spent enough time with the scriptures, which seem to state, in no uncertain terms that we are to "Fear NOT"! The psalms reiterate over and over the fact that we are really only to fear the Lord, and Jesus was trying to lift his followers out of their own fearfulness and reactivity. Maybe these leaders should set down the Wall Street Journal and pick up the Good Book for 30 minutes before bed!

Many people are living these days in fear that is perhaps quite justified with the financial markets in such turmoil. It is a time for leadership, it is a time for realism, but it is a time to set aside fear .... we have seen worse times, and leaders sometimes rise to the challenge. I do hope our president does ... in the meantime, I can't but wonder what another president might say, and do...

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

28 September 2008

Psalm 66, from today's Daily Office

Psalm 66 Jubilate Deo
1 Be joyful in God, all you lands; *
sing the glory of his Name;
sing the glory of his praise.
2 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! *
because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you.
3 All the earth bows down before you, *
sings to you, sings out your Name."
4 Come now and see the works of God, *
how wonderful he is in his doing toward all people.
5 He turned the sea into dry land,
so that they went through the water on foot, *
and there we rejoiced in him.
6 In his might he rules for ever;
his eyes keep watch over the nations; *
let no rebel rise up against him.
7 Bless our God, you peoples; *
make the voice of his praise to be heard;
8 Who holds our souls in life, *
and will not allow our feet to slip.
9 For you, O God, have proved us; *
you have tried us just as silver is tried.
10 You brought us into the snare; *
you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.
11 You let enemies ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water; *
but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.
12 I will enter your house with burnt-offerings
and will pay you my vows, *
which I promised with my lips
and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.
13 I will offer you sacrifices of fat beasts
with the smoke of rams; *
I will give you oxen and goats.
14 Come and listen, all you who fear God, *
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
15 I called out to him with my mouth, *
and his praise was on my tongue.
16 If I had found evil in my heart, *
the Lord would not have heard me;
17 But in truth God has heard me; *
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
18 Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, *
nor withheld his love from me.

27 September 2008

Congrats to the Rev. Holly Hollerith, next Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia

The Rev. Holly Hollerith has been elected
the Tenth Bishop of Southern Virginia
on the Sixth Ballot

click below for more on his biography...

Herman (Holly) Hollerith, IV
Born: July 13, 1955
Married to Elizabeth Salmons; three children
Ordained to Priesthood in 1983
BS Denison University; M Div, Yale Divinity School
Canonical Status: Southern Virginia
Current Position: Rector, Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, VA
Previous Clergy Positions: Rector, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown, SC; Associate Rector, St. John’s, Lynchburg, VA; Priest in Charge, Christ Episcopal Church, Roanoke, VA; Assistant to Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Roanoke, VA.

Paul Newman, RIP.... "rest in peace and rise in glory!'

from the NYTimes

An Enduring Film Star and Social Activist
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
An Enduring Film Star and Social Activist

Paul Newman, one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars, was also an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Above, Mr. Newman in 2006.

from CNN

Paul Newman dies at 83

(CNN) -- Paul Newman, the legendary actor whose steely blue eyes, good-humored charm and advocacy of worthy causes made him one of the most renowned figures in American arts, has died of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.

Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman died of cancer Friday at age 83.

Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman died of cancer Friday at age 83.

He died Friday, according to spokeswoman Marni Tomljanovic.

Newman attained stardom in the 1950s and never lost the movie-star aura, appearing in such classic films as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Exodus," "The Hustler," "Cool Hand Luke," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Sting" and "The Verdict."

He finally won an Oscar in 1986 -- on his eighth try -- for "The Color of Money," a sequel to "The Hustler." He later received two more Oscar nominations. Among his other awards was the Motion Picture Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Video Watch a look back at Newman's career »

"Paul took advantage of what life offered him, and while personally reluctant to acknowledge that he was doing anything special, he forever changed the lives of many with his generosity, humor, and humanness," said Robert Forrester, vice chairman of the actor's Newman's Own Foundation. "His legacy lives on in the charities he supported and the Hole in the Wall Camps, for which he cared so much."

Newman was a Method-trained actor who blazed his own career trail and didn't shy away from risky roles -- inside and outside films.

A portrayal as a race-car driver in 1969's "Winning" led to his actual competition in races; at 70, he participated in the 24 Hours of Daytona and he was still racing at age 80....

read the rest HERE

26 September 2008

From Dean Ian Markhams's "Dean's Commentary" at VTS

From Dean Ian Markham's "Dean's Commentary" from Virginia Theological Seminary (my alma mater) in Alexandria, Virginia...

Some people just are special. Last night over 180 people participated in a sit-down dinner in the Refectory and celebrated the Ed Hall years at Virginia Theological Seminary. With outstanding music, a video capturing scenes of people and images from around the Seminary, presentations from Bishop Peter James Lee, Lee Marston, Katharine Hall, and letters, which were read out, from Senator Joe Biden and Dean Martha Horne, it was a special evening.

We all saw Ed in his richness. He is a man of wit, thoughtfulness, and passion. Several speakers referred to his wise counsel. He is a man of faith – who expresses it in the way he lives. He is a man who likes single malt whisky. He is a man who served both his country in the Senate and the Seminary with distinction.

When Ed spoke he asked his family to join him on the stage. He spoke warmly about his children. And he spoke movingly about his love for his wife Sherry.

As Sherry and Ed move on to the next stage of their life together, we wish them all the best. Last night was a testimony to his place in the broad narrative of Virginia Theological Seminary. We are deeply grateful for his service.

The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President

a letter from Ed Hall:


As I leave the Seminary September 30 after six years as Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and prior to that for seven years on the Board of Trustees, I am thankful for the strong philanthropic support our alumni and many friends have provided the Seminary.

I am pleased to report that this past year overall Annual Giving by alumni, friends, and parishes, exclusive of foundation grants and bequests, reached $1,145,951, exceeding $1 million for the third year in a row, and undesignated giving to the Annual Fund reached a new high of $720,000. Overall Annual Giving for the year, including foundation grants and bequests, was $2,137,686.

These positive results are due to the generosity of so many alumni and friends of VTS, and the dedication, leadership and hard work of our trustees, faculty and staff. Thank you all, with a special thanks to the dedicated staff in the Office of Institutional Advancement! I regret that this will be my last Annual Report of the Seminary’s Annual Giving, but am pleased it is a positive one.

The Seminary’s Annual Giving and endowment must continue to grow to keep pace with the cost of its timeless mission and the expanding commitment of VTS to our students and the Church. Your strong philanthropic support clearly has an impact far beyond Virginia Seminary. Since seminaries of the Episcopal Church receive no financial support from the national church, gifts to Virginia Seminary are, in the end, gifts to our churches, communities and the wider Anglican Communion.

As the Seminary moves forward under the strong leadership of Dean Markham into the next stages of its strategic planning for the future, it does so with confidence and strong momentum, made possible through the generosity, and enduring commitment, of many graduates, friends, and parishes.

I am truly grateful for the privilege of having served Virginia Seminary, and will miss my friends on the Holy Hill, as well as so many of you, alumni and friends of VTS, who have extended your own personal friendship to me, as you have supported the philanthropic goals of the Seminary over these past six years.

For this faithful enterprise on the Holy Hill to thrive and meet the challenges and opportunities of the years ahead, the Seminary will depend on the increased philanthropic support of all our friends and alumni.

Thank you for your friendship and generosity. It does make a difference!

Ed Hall

25 September 2008

"Back to school with Simone Weil," article posted at Episcopal Cafe

My most recent article, "Back to school with Simone Weil" was posted today over at the Diocese of Washington's Blog, The Episcopal Cafe. Here is an excerpt:

Back to school with Simone Weil

My students weren’t buying it. They thought that Weil was overly optimistic about the spiritual value of seemingly endless equations and Latin exercises. They thought that her notion that no concern should be given to the result of all this work, or to grades, was great in the ideal, but they were juniors and seniors, and are anxious about their grades and college, after all....

Read the rest HERE.

Luke 4:14- 21: Good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free

What would Jesus do?

From today's morning prayer readings, on the day of prayer and fasting for the Millennium Development Goals, no less. Jesus enters the synagogue, and the reading that opens for him gives a strident and courageous statement of mission and service. If Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed, it seems to me that followers of Jesus should also put these goals uppermost in our work and ministry. I pray that God helps us in these holy tasks, and also gives us strength and courage to accomplish them.

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Luke 4:14- 21

14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Blessing of the Backpacks in the Times Dispatch

Rowan Williams on the Millennium Development Goals

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams lends his support to the efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals:

24 September 2008

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on religion's decline

Tomorrow is the day of fasting and prayer in recognition of the Millennium Development Goals which are the goals to eradicate extreme world poverty by the year 2015. I will be blogging on this topic, but more importantly prayers and action are needed to accomplish these incredibly important goals. I believe that we are entering an era of uncertainty, anxiety, fear and conflict that desperately needs people of faith to engage the world in a real way, while also drawing deep from the traditions that we have been given. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has this wonderful quote about religion's "decline" ... I hope we counter this decline in order to contend with the pain and suffering in this world. Below Rabbi Heschel is marching with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s.

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

“Religion had declined not because it had been successfully argued against, but because it had become irrelevant, dull, oppressive, uninteresting. When faith is replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crises of today are ignored because of the remembered splendor of the past; when faith becomes an inherited heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority and rules rather than the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

hat-tip goes to Susan Russell at "An Inch at a Time" blog

23 September 2008

Rev. Peter Carey discusses Christian Practices - Video #1 - Introduction

Rev. Peter Carey discusses Christian Practices - Video #1 - Introduction

Check back for more videos on Christian Practices....

~Rev. Peter Carey

22 September 2008

John Polkinghorne on the place where science and religion meet...

From the London Times:

September 19, 2008 Shining a light where science and theology meet

Why literal creationists are abusing and misinterpreting scripture

An irritating feature of modern life is the way in which useful words get hijacked and used for different, and often unacceptable, purposes. An example is “creationist”. As a Christian believer I am, of course, a creationist in the proper sense of the term, for I believe that the mind and the purpose of a divine Creator lie behind the fruitful history and remarkable order of the universe which science explores. But I am certainly not a creationist in that curious North American sense, which implies interpreting Genesis 1 in a flat-footed literal way and supposing that evolution is wrong.

The irony of this notion of creationism is that it not only involves many scientific errors, but is also the result of a bad theological mistake. When we read any kind of deep literature, if we are to give it the respect that it deserves we must make sure we understand the genre of what is written. Mistaking poetry for prose can lead to false conclusions. When Robert Burns tell us his love “is like a red, red rose”, we know that we are not meant to think that his girlfriend has green leaves and prickles. Reading Genesis 1 as if it were a divinely dictated scientific text, intended to save us the trouble of actually doing science, is to make a similar kind of error. We miss the point of the chapter if we do not see that it is actually a piece of deep theological writing whose purpose, through the eight-times reiterated phrase “And God said, ‘Let there be . . .”, is to assert that everything that exists does so because of the will of the Creator. Thus literal creationists actually abuse scripture by the mistaken interpretation that they impose upon it.

Read it all HERE.

Shining a light where science and religion meet...

21 September 2008

Reflection on the manna from heaven - Exodus 16:2-15

The Lord heard the complaints of the hungry Israelites in the wilderness, and He gave them bread to eat that came from heaven - manna. This manna was bread that lasted just for the day, there was no way to preserve it beyond the day, and I always imagine that the fit and the healthy had to work hard in order to gather the manna to feed the sick, the old, and the young. Working together, there was enough food for all to eat, and there was no reward for trying to hoard the food - the food would not remain beyond the day. One of the miracles of the manna was that it helped to bring together a gripy and complaining crowd, and helped transform hungry individuals into a community. There was enough for all to eat, no one went hungry as long as the members of the community helped those who could not help themselves, and there was no reward for hoarding food for tomorrow. I wonder if this could serve as a parable for us in the 21st century as we strive to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in the world? While we complain and gnash our teeth about our financial institutions in this country, perhaps we should save a bit of our creativity, our willingness to offer up "bail outs" and our compassion for those who are hungry and suffering mightily.

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

From today's lectionary readings...

Exodus 16:2-15

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days." So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your complaining against the LORD. For what are we, that you complain against us?" And Moses said, "When the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the LORD has heard the complaining that you utter against him-- what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the LORD."

Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, `Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.'" And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. The LORD spoke to Moses and said, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."

Father Matthew strikes again...on the sacraments: The Eucharist

Father Matthew strikes again...on the Sacraments:

The Eucharist!

20 September 2008

Blogging to make poverty history

Father Matthew Moretz on the Millenium Development Goals

Father Matthew Moretz on the Millenium Development Goals...

Archbishop Rowan Williams on the Millenium Development Goals

Archbishop of Canterbury in July speaking about the Millenium Development Goals and their focus on eradicating extreme poverty in the world

Bishop Marc Andrus (of California) on the Millenium Development Goals

Cathedral Grove from http://bishopmarc.vox.com/

From Morning Prayer this morning...

Alleluia. The Spirit of the Lord renews the face of the earth: Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

Psalm 75 Confitebimur tibi
1 We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, *
calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds.
2 "I will appoint a time," says God; *
"I will judge with equity.
3 Though the earth and all its inhabitants are quaking, *
I will make its pillars fast.
4 I will say to the boasters, 'Boast no more,' *
and to the wicked, 'Do not toss your horns;
5 Do not toss your horns so high, *
nor speak with a proud neck.'"
6 For judgment is neither from the east nor from the west, *
nor yet from the wilderness or the mountains.
7 It is God who judges; *
he puts down one and lifts up another.
8 For in the LORD'S hand there is a cup,
full of spiced and foaming wine, which he pours out, *
and all the wicked of the earth shall drink and drain the dregs.
9 But I will rejoice for ever; *
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 He shall break off all the horns of the wicked; *
but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Canticle 12 A Song of Creation
Benedicite, omnia opera Domini Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65

III The People of God

Let the people of God glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.


Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

19 September 2008

Why so many souls?

from Meister Eckhart:

Why so many souls?

When were you last really happy?
Let that experience ferment,
bring it to mind once
in a while.

Surely in the genesis of that past moment, when you danced,
you would not have wanted a constable
to have knocked
on your door,

or have said, "You just entered
a restricted ground."

Why are there so many stars and souls,
with no end in sight for them?

Because nothing can interrupt God
when He is having


from "Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West," By Daniel Ladinsky

18 September 2008

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things

From the Collect

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sermon at the Opening Eucharist at St. Catherine's and St. Christopher's Schools

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s Schools Opening Eucharist Sermon
St. Augustine of Hippo
28 August 2008

Sacrament: “visible sign of an invisible Grace” – St. Augustine of Hippo

Like many of you, I spent much of the last few weeks watching the Olympics, the beauty of the gymnastics, the power and speed of Michael Phelps, the teamwork of soccer, and the precision of rowing – to name only a few. The whole experience reminded me of the old ABC Sports line, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” as you watched the high jump skier crash down the hill. What joy and thrill it is to join in on these feats of beauty and strength and precision and teamwork! You may remember that the roots of these Olympics come from Ancient Greece, and the competition was all in honor of the gods. It was, in some important ways, worship. The games were played for the honor of the gods, and that they might be entertained by the feats of humans.

Sport has its roots in worship. In North America, the sport of lacrosse was played by Northern tribes and known as a “little brother of war” in order to decide disputes in a manner that was pleasing to the Creator. The preparation for these games included what we would call prayer and meditation, and the games were surrounded by ritualized action.

Likewise, the roots of Art and music are intertwined with worship. This fact might come as less of a surprise to us when we consider Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling, or Beethovan’s 9th Symphony (which we will sing a portion of later in this service). While studying Michelangelo’s art in Florence while studying abroad in college I read parts of his journal in which he not only felt inspired by God, but also was extremely concerned that is work would not live up to God’s high standards. The process of creating the work was inspired by the divine impulse, and the world now enjoys the great gifts of Michelangelo’s genius.

I would argue that these efforts are and were sacramental.

The term, sacrament, is the “visible sign of an invisible grace,” according to Augustine. In the Anglican Book of Common prayer, we understand sacraments as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace." Sacraments are those everyday things that point to the larger reality. They are the ordinary stuff of the world that we lift up and recognize as the embodiment of the holy. For many Christians, the two main sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s supper (or Mass, or Eucharist).

In a few minutes, we will participate in one of the two key sacraments: that of the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist or the Mass. There are some different beliefs even for Christians about what actually “happens” in this service. For some, the bread and wine move through transubstantiation, they become the body and blood of Christ. For others, this is a memorial meal, in which the Last Supper of Jesus is recounted. For still others, and for many Anglicans, the belief is in consubstantiation – the bread and wine retain their essence, but also take on the essence of the body and blood of Christ.

However, the larger point is not what happens to the bread or to the wine, but what happens among the people of God, or as St. Paul described it, the Body of Christ. The sacrament of the Eucharist brings us together, a variety of people from a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and stories. Here we come together and participate in our own way in this service of Thanksgiving – and this sacrament is a visible sign of the invisible Grace that moves us and enlivens us.

The Eastern Orthodox Church typically does not limit the number of sacraments, viewing all encounters with reality in life as sacramental in some sense. What this means is that even the everyday stuff of schools may point to a larger reality, even the reality of God, the “visible signs” around our schools may point to the “invisible Grace” that is both beyond, and also here among us always.

Teaching is a holy task, and we know our students well, and we have the opportunity to help children to grow, develop, and transform before our very eyes. We spend hours teaching, advising, coaching and getting to know our students. Isn’t that what it’s all about, getting to know our students well enough so that we can help find a way to inspire, challenge, and oftentimes cajole them into learning, into striving for more, into learning who they really are meant to be? This is one of the holiest tasks we can ever hope to do. This work is sacramental.

For the ancient Olympians, the very work of preparing to compete was a holy task, and the competition was the fulfillment of this work, and was worship, even on the track or field. For artists and musicians up to the modern era, most artwork was commissioned for use in Churches, in temples, and for worship services. The work itself offered praise to the Creator. For Native Americans and many other indigenous peoples, such varied work as preparing to play lacrosse to hunting and child-rearing were all considered holy work, and were sacramental in their own ways. Their work was for the greater good, their work was in honor of the gods, or of God.

So, we may think that we’ve moved beyond all that sentimentalism, all that type of talk that belongs more in the medieval era, however, this work is also for the greater good, and even, in service of God. The small, ordinary “stuff” of teaching, of advising, of coaching these ordinary actions point to larger truths, to the greater good, and to God.

Have you ever sat with a student or a colleague who was going through a tough time, or struggling with a concept? Offering our presence sometimes is what is needed. Perhaps ironically, a key reason that I felt called to ordained ministry was through some of these times of sitting. Over the course of two years, I had several advisees go up before disciplinary hearings. Each time, while waiting for the judgment, there was some deep and rich holy waiting. Three of these advisees were expelled for various offenses, and each time I knew in my heart of hearts what the verdict would be, and I found myself praying deeply for these students while we talked, and I offered my presence, for whatever it was worth. These were simple actions, everyday stuff that might just be sacramental when they point to a larger reality.

And then there are the examples all around us. When Tony and Cathy meet to work out a plan for a schedule that honors both schools’ needs and support each of our mission, this is not only artful diplomacy, but is relationship-building. When Dr. Perkins learns the Gothic languate because a few students are interested in learning it, this is selfless servant leadership in support of our students. When our admissions office work tirelessly to open up the doors to these great schools to candidates that might not traditionally have ventured to the West End for an education, this is work that points to a larger reality, work that is hospitality in spades. When Linda S. demands excellence on the middle school lacrosse field, she is building up not the fleeting ideal of self-esteem, but the reality of teamwork and success. When a somewhat nervous new parent of a kindergartner brings his son over to the lower school at St. Chris and Mr. M. greets his son “by name!” and then is welcomed to check out the classroom, this is charity and generosity. When an assistant coach takes time to offer hope to that athlete who is nervous about the upcoming match, this is sacramental. It is the visible sign of an invisible grace, and it doesn’t just happen in chapel, and the people who do it aren’t just the one’s who wear robes and lead our services. This sacramental work don by you, and each of you live it out, everyday.

Theological Implications of being an "Abrahamic Faith"??

Just how related are the religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity?

On the Inhabitatio Dei blog, a wonderful question was posed related to the theological implications of these three "Abrahamic" faiths being connected to 'Father Abraham':

from Inhabitatio Dei

Here is my question: what theological significance, if any, does the common Abrahamic heritage of Judaism and Islam have from a Christian theological perspective? Clearly we cannot think about Judaism and Islam the same way we think about, say, Hinduism. At some level our stories are connected. What theological difference does this connection make?

read the entire post HERE

17 September 2008

Peter Gomes on the Colbert Report: (newsflash) Churches Protect the Status Quo

One of my heroes, and a fellow Bates College grad, is the Chaplain of Harvard University, Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes. He is a great preacher and has written some wonderful books about scripture and about preaching. He was recently on the Colbert Report to talk about his new book, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus.

"He says Jesus came to turn things upside down, but churches have turned out to be defenders of the status quo." (hat tip goes to The Episcopal Cafe for this one!)

He is also interviewed on NPR, here, in a longer, more in-depth discussion...

~Rev. Peter M. Carey

a childlike adult...

A childlike adult is not one whose development is arrested; on the contrary, he is an adult who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most people have muffled themselves into a cocoon of middle age habit and convention.

~ Aldous Huxley

16 September 2008

Orthodox and Open at Virginia Theological Seminary

From the Rev. Dr. Ian Markham's Dean's Commentary on the VTS website, good food for thought on a Tuesday morning!

~ Rev. Peter M. Carey

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The overall theme of the Seminary for 2008/9 is ‘Orthodox and Open’. Along with the Veritas tag-line on banners that will be on display around the campus during our October 7-8 Alumni Convocation, we are witnessing to the broad theological identity of Virginia Theological Seminary.

Now this is tricky for Episcopalians. For many good reasons, we resist overt ‘theological identification’. To be Anglican, we explain to others, we share a liturgy not a statement of faith. We pride ourselves on our capacity to live with questions. We welcome the seeker who is less sure, as well as the evangelical who is more sure.

While all of this true, Episcopalians need to be clear that we are a conversation within a tradition of beliefs and practices. Our center around which we converse is Christian: we believe that the Eternal Word has been made flesh in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Given the truth of the incarnation, we recognize the triune nature of God. Our center is one where we worship the God revealed in Christ within community. Our center is one where we constantly relate our faith in God to the challenges facing the world.

The vast majority of Episcopal congregations, as well as the House of Bishops, recognize this center to our conversation: we remain an orthodox, Incarnational, and Trinitarian church.

Now we live in strange times. The word ‘orthodox’, along with ‘biblical’ and ‘evangelical’, are increasingly associated with a particular position on sexuality. At Virginia Theological Seminary, we trust that disagreements about sexuality take place within a wider understanding of the nature of God and God’s relations with the world. The discussion about sexuality is one that is taking place within the family, not a defining characteristic of the family.

So for this year, we are using the phrase ‘orthodox’ and ‘open’. We remain a bible-centered, Trinitarian, and Incarnational community. It is in that context that we are ‘open’ to the rich conversation that is taking place in our church. We are also ‘open’ to the full-inclusion of all who are sent by Bishops to study here. We are ‘Orthodox and Open’.

The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President

Praying before class...?

Praying before class???

“But in a university shaped by the narratives and practices that come from the Christian tradition, I would think it would make a good deal of sense to pray before class. This practice, I believe, would shape the knowledges that constitute that class. Furthermore, the questions of the class I think would change. Rather than asking, “What would be good for an American foreign policy?” We might well ask, “What would be the common good of Christians in the United States being in unity with Christians in Basra?” And as a result we might have to reconsider how should we think about and live our lives.”

~Stanley Hauerwas, “Learning Like a Christian,” Interview on September 9, 2008.


Praying before class???

“But in a university shaped by the narratives and practices that come from the Christian tradition, I would think it would make a good deal of sense to pray before class. This practice, I believe, would shape the knowledges that constitute that class. Furthermore, the questions of the class I think would change. Rather than asking, “What would be good for an American foreign policy?” We might well ask, “What would be the common good of Christians in the United States being in unity with Christians in Basra?” And as a result we might have to reconsider how should we think about and live our lives.”

~Stanely Hauerwas, “Learning Like a Christian,” Interview on September 9, 2008.


14 September 2008

Important Op-Ed by David Abshire and Ian Markham in the Washington Post

With all the turmoil, vitriol, hurt, and anger happening in our Episcopal/Anglican Church, I found this piece by David Abshire and Ian Markham to be an important contribution, as it does not tread the same worn pathways that the strident liberals and the strident conservatives have been walking. Do read it all at the Washington Post website.

~ Rev. Peter Carey

The boycotting of the Lambeth Conference in July by more than 200 Anglican Bishops worldwide has once again drawn attention to the divisions within the Anglican Communion. As mainstream Episcopalians, we are saddened by the rifts in the Church, especially because we believe them to be rooted, to a large extent, in misperceptions and misrepresentations. In addition, we lament the lack of civil dialogue around the divisions in the Church. We seek to remedy some of those misperceptions and advance a civil public discourse on these issues.

In May, Os Guinness posted a column to "On Faith" entitled "Evangelicals Reach Out." The piece referenced his Evangelical Manifesto and the prominent Americans that had supported it. It was superbly written, and subsequently Newsweek carried it in print. It was an affirmative statement of belief, which we endorse. But it stands in stark contrast to others of Guinness' public comments and the positions of some of the congregations and clergy with whom he has aligned himself. A year ago, Guinness and the Reverend John Yates wrote a piece carried in the Washington Post entitled "Why We Left the Episcopal Church." We respectfully but strongly disagree with its depiction of the American Episcopal Church, as strongly as we endorse the message of the Manifesto.

read the rest HERE

Wondering about the difference between humans and God?

I once saw a man in DC with a T-Shirt on that said on the front "God is God" and on the back, "and you're not"...a good reminder for all of us who are prone to idolatry, all of us who are prone to put things, goals, work, family, money, and our own selves in the place of God. "God is God, and you are not." The book of Job has its own wonderful way of asserting that God is God, and we are not.

~ Rev. Peter Carey

From today's morning prayer:

Job 38:1,18-41 (NRSV)

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. 19"Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, 20that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? 21Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! 22"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? 24What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

25 "Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, 26to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, 27to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass? 28"Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? 29From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? 30The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 31"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? 32Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? 33Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? 34"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? 35Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, 'Here we are'? 36Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? 37Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? 39"Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? 41Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?

Holy Cross Day, September 14th

From Lesser Feasts and Fasts:

"The historian Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, tells how that emperor ordered the erection of a complex of buildings in Jerusalem "on a scale of imperial magnificence," to set forth as "an object of attraction and veneration to all, the blessed place of our Savior's resurrection." The overall supervision of the work -- on the site where the Church of the Holy Sebpulchre now stands -- was entrusted to Constantine's mother, the empress Helena.

In Jesus' time, the hill of Calvary had stood outside the city; but when the Roman city, which succeeded Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina, was built, the hill was buried under tons of fill. It was during the excavations directed by Helena that a relic, believed to be that of the true cross, was discovered."

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Video from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (I hope to go, someday!)

12 September 2008

Check out the Bates College and the other NESCAC Schools!

Big shout-out to my alma mater, Bates College, Lewiston, ME, and their fall sports schedules about to begin. Bates is in the NESCAC League, (New England Small College Athletic League) an awesome league of liberal arts schools, and some great student athletes who excel in the classroom, and on the athletic fields! If you know a high school senior who is looking for a college, they should definitely take a look at the schools from this league!

Go Bobcats!!!

~ Rev. Peter Carey, Bates '91

~ The Rev. Peter Carey

Mission Impossible? finding "Fair Trade" clerical "gear"

Dr. Esther Mombo & me (in snazzy clerical gear!)

While I was in seminary, I waited until the absolute last minute to buy clergy shirts and other clerical "accessories," one reason was that I didn't have much extra cash after buying several hundred books. Another, eason was that I didn't wan to jinx my ordination process. I know it sounds silly, but I didn't want to have a bunch of clergy shirts in the closet when I had yet to actually be approved for ordination. The third reason was that I tried to find clergy wear, and vestments that were produced in a "Fair Trade" way. I felt that if I was leading worship, then the clothing that signifies this leadership should not be contributing to oppression or environmental destruction. I did some searching around for "Fair Trade" vestments and clerical "gear" and had a hard time finding any, even after contacting a wide variety of clergy who I thought would be like-minded.

I was very interested when the following article popped up today in my news-feed, from the Anglican Communion News Service. Pretty cool, I hope this may influence the "big names" in the clerical clothing and vestment business as well!

~Rev. Peter M. Carey

From the Anglican Communion News Service

Nottingham priest launches world's first range of Fair Trade clerical shirts

Nottingham-based clergyman, Simon Butler is launching his very own brand of fairly traded clergy shirts – after spotting a gap in the market.

Curate at St Giles Church, West Bridgford, the Revd Simon Butler believes his new company, Butler & Butler, set up in partnership with his father Richard will be the first business to offer Fair Trade clerical shirts.

Simon said: “Very few clergy men and women would dispute the importance of Fair Trade in guaranteeing producers from developing countries a fair price for their goods and labour. Thankfully there are ever increasing numbers of Fair Trade products available to buy off the shelf. Until now however, buying a Fair Trade Clerical Shirt has not been an option.”

This is set to change with the launch of Fair Trade Clergy Shirts by Butler & Butler; for the very first time clergy will be able to choose Fair Trade when it comes to their shirts.

Simon explained: “Almost all of my colleagues seem to be committed to Fair Trade as an essential aspect of living the Gospel message, and so it seemed ridiculous that clergy didn’t have the option to buy according to conscience when it came to our own uniform!”

Butler & Butler shirts are made from 100% Fairtrade certified cotton, rather than the usual poly-cotton mix, and are produced in a Fairtrade certified factory. This ensures that no workers are exploited in the production process, that long term relationships with suppliers are guaranteed, and some of the world’s poorest producers are given the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty.

With a large number of the first batch sold before they have arrived in the country, Butler & Butler are inviting clergy to pre-order on their website www.fairtradeclergyshirts.co.uk

Shirts are also available to purchase from the following retailers from Mid November:

FA Dumont – www.fadumont.co.uk
Tatlors of Oxford – www.taylorsofoxford.com
Juliet Hemingray – www.church-textiles.co.uk
Mary Collings – www.clergycollar.co.uk
Watts and Co – www.wattsandco.com
J & M Sewing – www.jandmsewing.com
Vanpoulles – www.vanpoulles.co.uk


Item from: Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham

11 September 2008

10 September 2008

VTS Fightin' Friars Gear for Sale at CafePress

In support of Virginia Theological Seminary, I have launched a "CafePress" store that has all sorts of items with the "Fightin' Friars" Old School Logo on it. The "Fightin' Friars" are the beloved frisbee, soccer, basketball, and flag football "teams" at VTS. All profits will go to the VTS Annual Fund, so buy early, buy often!

Here is the link: http://www.cafepress.com/vtsstuff

And here is some of the gear:

"Choose Life" from St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles

A great friend of mine is on the clergy staff at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles, Fr. Lester Mackenzie is a great person and I feel blessed to have spent some time with him in seminary. He has posted a great poster, "Choose Life" on the St. John's Cathedral Blog that I am posting below, but go and check out the blog, and if you go to LA, check out this exciting place for worship, community, working for justice, and doing God's work!

Check it out!

~Rev. Peter M. Carey

From St. John's Cathedral Blog....

09 September 2008

Armstrong Confirms Comeback Plans!

I, for one, am psyched to tune in and see Lance compete in the 2009 Tour de France!
Confirmed tonight by the New York Times:

New York Times
September 10, 2008

Armstrong Confirms Comeback Plan

After more than three years out of professional cycling, Lance Armstrong — the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner — announced Tuesday that he would emerge from retirement and climb back onto his bike.

Armstrong, who will turn 37 next week, briefly spoke about his decision in a videotaped statement posted on his foundation’s Web site.

“Hey everybody, I know there’s been a lot of reports in the media today about a possible return to racing,” he said. “Just want to let you know that after long talks with my kids, the rest of my family, a close group of friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in 2009.”

Armstrong provided few details, but he said he was making the comeback to begin an international cancer strategy. He did not return telephone messages, but in an e-mail statement he said his return would “raise awareness of the global cancer burden.”

Armstrong, who retired from racing after winning the 2005 Tour de France, said he would discuss his plans during an appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative on Sept. 24 in New York.

News of Armstrong’s return made its way through cycling circles in minutes. Steve Johnson, the chief executive of USA Cycling, said Armstrong’s comeback would be a boon for the sport.

“Lance did so much to put the sport on the radar screen and, to me, I think heroes and role models are big in sports development,” Johnson said. “I think a lot of people will tune in, just out of curiosity alone.”

Bob Stapleton, the owner of the Columbia cycling team, also welcomed Armstrong’s announcement.

“His ability to focus the world on other issues is a powerful tool,” Stapleton said from the Tour of Missouri. “I hope this is part of a bigger story than just winning another Tour.”

Stapleton cautioned that Armstrong’s return would not necessarily be well received by all within the cycling community. While Armstrong’s career was filled with amazing achievements, it was not without its clouds. As a rider, he was dogged by doping allegations.

“He can be polarizing,” Stapleton said. “There may be a different view in Europe about this than in the United States. It’s a provocative issue.”

Still, Stapleton said he had no doubts about Armstrong’s ability to return as a competitive rider.

“It’s quite a different dynamic; he’s going to take the sport by its nose,” Stapleton said. “He’s dealing the cards right now.”

Armstrong may not be the oldest rider in next year’s Tour de France — if he competes in the race — but he will be beyond the typical age for an elite cyclist. An eighth victory would make him the oldest winner of the Tour. Firmin Lambot, a Belgian, won in 1922 at age 36, according to the Tour’s official history.

But first, Armstrong must find a team. Even the most talented cyclist cannot win on his own. Teammates provide shelter from the wind, chase down opponents and free the sport’s stars from mundane, energy-sapping tasks such as picking up water bottles from a team car.

The speculation has focused on the Astana team because of Armstrong’s close connections to the team. Johan Bruyneel, whose holding company owns the team, was selected by Armstrong to direct the United States Postal Service team when Armstrong made his return to racing after his cancer treatment in 1999. As a team director, Bruyneel was part of all of Armstrong’s Tour de France wins.

Astana, though, is not guaranteed a berth in next year’s Tour. The team was excluded from this year’s race by the organizers because of doubts about the team’s willingness to root out doping.

Philippe Maertens, a spokesman for Astana, said the team was unaware of Armstrong’s announcement. He added that Bruyneel had been trying to reach Armstrong since Monday.

“O.K., you’ve surprised me,” Maertens said. “But I’m not surprised about what Armstrong says about making a comeback.”

Stapleton suggested that Astana’s surprise about the announced was feigned.

“I don’t think this is a rash action,” he said of the announcement. “It’s hard to believe that Astana is not the choice. If you announce something in an article like this, most of it must be worked out.”

In an article published Tuesday on the Web site of Vanity Fair magazine, Armstrong discussed his comeback. He said he would contact President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to plead his case if the Amaury Sport Organization, which owns the Tour de France, did not allow his team to enter that race.

Armstrong said the Olympic triumphs of older athletes like the 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres inspired him to make his comeback.

Torres, who won three silver medals at the Beijing Games — her fifth Olympics — said she felt honored to have played a part in Armstrong’s decision.

“He’s young, only 37; that’s just a baby,” Torres said. “I’m sure he’s going to surround himself with the best people to be successful.”

Armstrong told Vanity Fair that he wanted to prove that he was competing without performance-enhancing drugs, mentioning that he would have a “comprehensive program” that would mean “there will be no way to cheat.”

from the New York Times

Here's a video of him training for his last Tour...

08 September 2008

Lance Armstrong to Return to the Tour!?!

I didn't see anything on the "LanceArmstrong.com" site...so, I don't know, but I'm a big fan, so this could be cool...we'll see!

From FoxSports..

He's Back?

According to a report in VeloNews, Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement next year and will compete in the Tour de France.

Citing sources close familiar with the situation, the magazine claimed the seven-time yellow jersey winner would join the Astana racing team and compete in five road races, including the Tour de France.

Armstrong, who turns 37 later this month, would also compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia and the Dauphine-Libere.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, also said Armstrong would not race for salary or bonuses.

Armstrong's manager, Mark Higgins, did not respond to questions.

If Armstrong does in fact join up with Astana, it would reunite him with former team manager Johan Bruyneel, who helped guide Armstrong's Motorola and U.S. Postal Service teams to seven consecutive Tour de France wins.

According to sources, Armstrong would post results for all of his internally tested blood work online in an attempt to prove that he is competing clean.