"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentleman can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
by Emily Dickinson, public domain
It is obvious to most people outside of the western world that we need a community in which to be human. The African concept of Ubuntu accentuates this worldview even more. Ubuntu is best described through the proverb: I am because we are; and because we are, I am. To know our individual identity is dependent upon community. In short, you cannot know you are intelligent, beautiful, linguistic, etc. without a community to make use of these gifts. Again, for a western person, this worldview is difficult to stomach. Such dependence of the individual upon the community smacks of “co-dependency” or weakness.
To complicate things further, if technology continues down its normal course for western persons, individuals will obtain extraordinary capacities to control personal environments without the reference point of knowing their impact on others. Such extraordinary resources then place us in the peril to either destroy us all or heal us all. We (western people) have not really gotten to know other cultures and people of the global south; after all, (we think to ourselves) they all really want to be in our countries.
This way of thinking prevents mutuality and the great African gift of community that we can learn from other cultures. This great gift is the keen perspective of seeing how self identity forms through a community. The natural question in the western world circles back around: Why is the African concept of community such a great gift?
Ubuntu is a great gift because it deepens our spirituality. Ubuntu (pronounced m-boon-too) is a word from the Bantu language of Africa, which roughly translated means “humanity.” It carries with it the concept that in order to be fully human, one must be in community: “I am because we are.” No one can be human alone. In a Christian worldview—one captured and transformed by the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the face of the evils of apartheid in South Africa—this means that reconciliation is central to the concept because the world on its own tends toward division and individualism.
Unfortunately, persons of faith are also very much complicit in perpetuating division. Ubuntu invites us into a way of seeing how persons with cultural, religious and spiritual sensibilities can heal brokenness rather than make matters worse as an aggregate of individuals, cultures and nations. Ubuntu helps us see how we all (religious and non religious) are inextricably linked together—whether we like it or not. This way of seeing is obvious to African people who have built into their worldview that no one can survive alone. They have learned this through the many obstacles still present on the African continent.
What is not so obvious is how communal ways of knowing are lacking these days in the western world. For an African person, self-identity forms through communal practices and rites of passage. Ubuntu helps us both see this paradox (individuality through community) and inspires us to move toward deeper understandings of humanity (and God) in which we develop better self awareness through friendship and community.
And so, I am deeply grateful to our President of the House of Deputies, Dr. Bonnie Anderson, for facilitating the means for how Ubuntu will be our next theme for General Convention and subsequent years for our Episcopal Church."
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt-- a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
A Future Not Our Own
It helps, now and then, to step back
And take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
The magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
Which is another way of saying
The kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
The court hears cases of monetary claims against the U.S. government. Its highest-profile cases in recent years concerned claims of injury from compulsory childhood vaccinations.
Hewitt was a leader of the effort to open Episcopal Church priestly ordination to women. She was one of the first 11 women ordained to the priesthood on July 29, 1974, before the church's canons allowed women to be priests.
The General Convention, which met two years later, agreed to open the priesthood and episcopate to women as of January 1, 1977. The House of Bishops also agreed at that convention that Hewitt and the other 10 women ordained at Philadelphia, and another four women who had been ordained in 1975 in Washington, could be enrolled in the priesthood by their bishops in completion or conditional ordination services in their dioceses without being re-ordained. Women had been eligible to be deacons since 1970.
More information about the history of women's ordination in the Episcopal Church is available here.
Hewitt, 64, has served on the Court of Federal Claims since her confirmation by the Senate in 1998. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Claims, Hewitt was appointed general counsel to the General Services Administration during the Clinton Administration.
Read the rest HERE.
Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval?
Or am I trying to please people?
If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
- Galatians 1:10
Bible readings from the Revised Common Lectionary: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm107; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21
As you travel along your Lenten journey of discovery, don’t let the soles of your shoes insulate you from pebbles God places on your path — all the things that nudge you from being complacent in your faith: The invite from a friend to attend a prayer service. Sharing a simple meal of soup and bread with fellow church members. An insightful word of scripture contemplated via lectio divina. In all these ways, let friendship, fellowship, and the unfolding Word illuminate your Lenten path.
read the rest HERE.
I am pleased to welcome to campus 35 lay and ordained leaders who are participating in VIA training (Viviendo la Identidad Anglicana) or "Living the Christian Life as Anglicans." VIA is an educational program for Spanish-speaking Episcopalians and is sponsored by VTS in conjunction with the Hispanic Missioners of the Dioceses of Washington, Virginia and Maryland. You can learn more about VIA on their website.
As I walked out of Chapel yesterday morning, I walked into Les Ferguson wearing a hat with a little rotor on top and armed with a bubble making wand and vial. His explanation for his attire and the bubbles was that this was his way of coping with this week of examinations. It was a helpful reminder to me of where we are in the semester cycle.
This has been an exceptionally difficult time for the entire community. And the natural examination stress has added to this difficult time. Since arriving, my practice in exam week is to plead for the community to continue to gather in the Chapel. We bring our stress to God: we do not allow our stress to drive ourselves away from God.
Part of the hard work of formation in this place is this discovery: at our moments of greatest stress (and perhaps when we are most angry and unhappy), we need to find ourselves in the presence of the God who seeks to sustain and grant us the ability to cope. When we least want to pray is when we must pray.
The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President
ATLANTA — Against Florida State here Sunday in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski summoned point guard Greg Paulus from his bench. Paulus jumped up as if he had been sitting on a pile of red ants and was ready to rush into the game. Against Maryland the night before, Paulus could have knocked down a wall hustling to the scorer’s table to check in late in the first half.
read the rest HERE
When Jesus sent his disciples out on mission, he told them to be poor, to take nothing with them. And he told them to do things that were impossible for them to do all by themselves. So it is for all missions. Communities and their members are called to be poor and to do impossible things, such as to build community and to bring healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and wholeness to people. Mission is to bring the life of God to others, and this can only be done if communities and people are poor and humble, letting the life of God flow through them.
Jean Vanier, in Community and Growth
hat tip to Inward/Outward blog
We invite you to join us, either in person or virtually, for our Lenten preaching series,
Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living. Each Tuesday in March, the 5.15 Eucharist at the Monastery Chapel will feature a sermon reflecting on a specific practice from the SSJE Rule of Life. After the service there will be a soup supper and further conversation with the evening's preacher.
If you cannot join us in person, check back here for a weekly update, featuring an audio recording of the sermon and suggestions for further reading.
We encourage you to join in the conversation by leaving your own comments here.
Any student of human failings understands that the deadliest of the seven deadly sins is not greed, but pride. It has taken the Archbishop of Canterbury to point this out to the Government in a thunderously excellent speech tonight in a public lecture in Cardiff. See our story here and the full transcript also.
This is the Archbishop at his best, and I recommend to you the three principles with which he concludes:
(i) Our faith depends on the action of a God who is to be trusted; God keeps promises. There could hardly be a more central theme in Jewish and Christian Scripture, and the notion is present in slightly different form in Islam as well. Thus, to live in proper harmony with God, human beings need to be promise-keepers in all areas of their lives, not least in financial dealings.read it all HERE
TO enjoy Cape Cod in winter, you must close your eyes and listen.
There is a symphony of cold in sound: A lone seagull dives for an errant fish offshore, a far-off splash echoing across the emptiness of gray and blue. Frozen ice and sand crackle underfoot as a golden retriever bounds along the beach. The gentle whistle of icy breath, the muffled scratch of a coat collar pulled tight around the neck.
But the real allure of a winter day at this warm-weather getaway is what you don’t see when your eyes are open. Absent are the lines of cars snaking through jammed parking lots of summer or the dance of sunburned beachgoers who slap and yell at stinging waves. The Cape in winter is like a carnival park past its prime, empty but approachable because it is so familiar.
And along the shore, there is always the promise of spring, when small waves frozen in sand will retreat with the thaw and slip back to sea, waiting to embrace the crowds when they arrive once again.That, at least, is what crossed my mind as I stood one crisp afternoon in January on Coast Guard Beach, 15 miles north of Chatham, Mass., the town situated at the Cape’s elbow. I was seeking a tonic for my post-New Year’s blues. As I wound my scarf tighter around my neck to ward off the bitter cold, I noticed a single fishing boat bobbing in the surf near shore. A rugged fisherman onboard waved in my direction, then hauled up a heavy metal cage from the water, hand over gloved fist.
A Letter from Bishop Lee
March 6, 2009
When I announced my resignation as bishop at January’s Annual Council, I said I was considering new steps in my ministry. I have now accepted the call of Bishop Andrus of California to serve as interim dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, after I have resigned as Bishop of Virginia on October 1, 2009.
While I will depart Virginia with sadness at leaving so many whom I love, I am excited and challenged by the call to serve at one of the nation’s primary urban cathedral churches.
I began ordained ministry at an urban cathedral, St. John’s in Jacksonville, Florida, and I have spent many years emphasizing the diversity and continuity of our Anglican tradition which are so well expressed in a cathedral’s ministry.
After a year or so of cathedral ministry, Kristy and I expect to retire in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where we were living when I was elected Bishop in Virginia.
I look forward to these next seven months together as we all prepare for the next chapters of our service to the Lord and the church.
Peter James Lee
I used to wonder: What does it matter if I choose to use planetary resources more carefully? Can I really make a difference?
I might also have asked: What does it matter if I choose to show up at a rally to advocate for clean energy and end to coal burning? I will be one of thousands who may make no difference to the political process, at least that's what the pessimist in me used to want to say.
But then I learned that the first question is not whether or not I can make a difference. The first question is whether I want to be the kind of person who tries. And that's where the power lies: if I don't believe I make a difference then I won't even try and I can't. But I do believe I can. And trying has taught me that we all make a difference.
We all make a difference. This is our world and our life. We just have to live as though that is true to make it true.
That's why, on Monday, I joined thousands of others at the Capitol Climate Action, a protest against a coal-burning planet in the middle of DC. It's a symbol--a coal-burning plant that powers the United States Capitol at a time when we need to move away from coal rapidly.
And it's not just about climate. The local city councilor stood up and told us that 14 percent of the area's children suffer from asthma, thanks partly to the power plant.
So I stood in the freezing cold, in the snow, with leaky shoes, and felt proud of the bunch of other people who had shown up because they wanted to be the type of people who try. When thousands of people care enough to take the time and stand in the cold, doesn't that make a difference to you?