31 July 2012

Congrats to the USA Women's Gymnastics Team - Gold!

National Geographic has named Cville and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello as one of their 10 "World Wonders"!

HOLY WAHOO!! National Geographic has named Cville and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello as one of their 10 "World Wonders"!

Virginia: Renaissance Land

Photograph by Leonard Phillips, Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
When Thomas Jefferson traveled, he collected wine and books—and also ideas that would change the course of history. Nowhere is the electricity of his imagination brighter than within the academical village of the University of Virginia and at Monticello, Jefferson’s plantation home in the rolling Piedmont region of Virginia. “Monticello pays homage to Palladio and Old World neoclassical architecture,” says Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which runs the estate. Though the Founding Father’s plans were rooted in those ideals of antiquity, his adaptations signaled the inventive pragmatism of his young country. Completed in 1809, Monticello debuted designs for skylights, round windows, and a domed room. Jefferson had a knack for novelties, from wine dumbwaiters to a rotating clothing rack. “He carved off a mountaintop for Monticello and included terraces and Venetian porches to take advantage of the views,” says Bowman. He also pioneered wine cultivation in the fertile land around his estate. Though such experiments bore little fruit in his lifetime, today the Virginia wine industry thrives. The Jefferson laboratory lives on.
This and other UNESCO World Heritage sites are featured in “2012 World Wonders” in the August/September 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler.

30 July 2012

U-Va. star professor: Why I won't "un-resign" - #uva #cville #William #Wulf

U-Va. star professor: Why I won’t ‘un-resign’

Computer scientist William Wulf was a star professor at the University of Virginia until he recently resigned to protest the forced resignation of popular President Teresa Sullivan by leaders of the governing board. Sullivan was reinstated earlier this month after a revolt on campus, but Wulf has refused to reconsider his decision, despite pleas by faculty and administrators, including Sullivan herself.
Here is a letter that Wulf, president emeritus of the National Academy of Engineering, has written and publicly released explaining why he will not “un-resign.” For Wulf, the crisis has not really ended. Here’s the letter where he explains why:
UVa facuty & others,
Just in case you missed it, I am one of the folks that publicaly resigned over the forced resignation of President Sullivan. I resigned because I deeply care about the University, I thought President Sullivan was doing a great job, and thus felt deeply that this action, and the way it was taken, was profoundly damaging to the University.
I was frankly surprised by the magnitude of the positive faculty and media reaction to my resignation – I don’t think of myself as the
“marching in the street, and placard waving” type. So, after the initial flurry of email, except for bland replies to some, I have kept pretty quiet about the whole fiasco. But now I feel I need to voice a perspective on the solution to the underlying problem.
I have been asked by President Sullivan, my Dean, and even my departmental faculty, to “un-resign” – I have said NO, and the rest of this note is to explain to all of you why, and perhaps what it means to you. It is not because I don’t love UVa, and would love to rejoin its faculty – quite the opposite, it’s precisely because I do love and respect it so much!
Like most of you, I was delighted by the re-instatement of Terry Sullivan – but that, I my view, didn’t fix the underlying problem! As myoriginal message noted, my wife and I have extensive experience in both executive positions and board positions in industry, academia, and government – we’ve seen the executive-to-board relationship from both sides, and in multiple contexts – and my judgment is that the current BOV is incompetent to govern UVa! Let me repeat – it’s incompetent for the task of governing UVa! I am more than willing to stipulate that the BOV members are smart, good and accomplished people –but to be competent on a board requires a significant understanding of the institution they are governing. That’s what is lacking!
The present BOV appointed by the Governor is 14 lawyers or corporate executives with no experience with academic governance, onepart-time medic at John-Hopkins, and one CEO of a small university. Alas, they don’t even seem to know much about UVa! While fond of selectively quoting Jefferson out of context, they overlook the deeply philosophical fact that Mr. Jefferson’s design for UVa had *no* President or central administration – the faculty governed the University, and did so in an open collaborative way, not in secret meetings behind closed doors,with no faculty input. Total faculty control wouldn’t work for today’s larger university, BUT … the BOV’s instincts were that top-down, commandand control management was “right” and so triedto impose it. Well, it’s not right for universities, especially for UVa – and in fact,the data says that it is not right for most corporations either! It certainly wasn’t right for the corporations that I ran! But my main point is that faculty involvement in university governance is central to all universities, and especially to UVa.
Moreover, the current BOV clearly didn’t even investigate the issue they expressed concern about – for example on-line presence of theUniversity (seemingly a big deal in TS’s firing), but they apparently just reacted to the hype of recent announcements by some other universities without investigating UVa’s record on the subject. Well, our involvement in digital scholarship and learning goes back at leasttwenty years – I know because I was a principalin getting it started! Please note in the prior sentence I said scholarship AND education. Great universities are about both – not just mass teaching! And a future great UVa must be about both! The current BOV, or at least those involvedin firing Terry Sullivan, pretty clearly doesn’t understand that.
Are these uninformed folks likely to make smart future decisions for UVa? Alas, I think not! Smart and accomplished as they may be individually in other contexts, they just don’t have the knowledge base to make good decisions for UVa.
Just imagine a board imposed upon General Motors that consisted of 14 smart/accomplished academics, but with no industrial experience, one Chevy customer, and the CEO of a mom-and-pop grocery store. Would that work? No, of course not! And the converse isn’t working here either!
What we need is a significant fraction of the BOV to be folks that deeply understand academia, and UVa in particular – I have been astounded by how shallow and un-informed the comments by rector Dragas, for example.
I have a substantial list of distinguished current or former academic administrators that I know first hand, that are really bright and I would be happy to recommend them to serve on the BOV, and I’d even to be the first contact with them – but I haven’t been asked. Alas, they almost certainly didn’t make major contribution to the Governor’s campaign, so the chance of their selection under the current system are probably nil. BUT, it’s the system needs to be changed!
I am a more-than-a-tad concerned that the reinstatement of President Sullivan has taken a bit of wind out of the sails of faculty/student pressure for reform. In my view the time is not to compromise, but to stand for the principles of the University, and particularly the principle of faculty deeply involved its governance!!
Corporate style boards (of which both my wife and I have deep experience) are NOT the model for the BOV – nor is “damn the torpedoes” top-down executive management – and the fact that the current BOV doesn’t understand that is damning and destructive, and says a lot about the selection criteria that chose them! We MUST fix the selection criteria!
Permit me to cycle back to my opening – I am not a “march and wave placards” type – partly because I find it intellectually repugnant, but also in no small measure because I don’t think it’sespecially effective in our context. You may disagree. What I do think we need is a moderate,well-reasoned argument for why the structure of the BOV needs to be changed for the benefit of the University – and the state. But please note that I think the argument needs to be deliveredto the folks that can effect that change and that the present process is a political one,and while I am not in favor of marching and placard waving, I also think our actions need to include political ones – just what those actionsare should be needs to be a collective decision of the faculty, so I’ll stay silent on that for now.
But we DO need to act to fix the problem underlying President Sullivan’s firing! Will she stay long term, or would we be able to recruit a comparable replacement given the current BOV and the criteria for future BOV selections? In my view -- NO! Unless there is fundamental change, UVa is on a downward spiral. It hurts me to thecore! UVa has been SO special! To see it self-destruct is as painful as I can imagine.
Bill Wulf
Wm. A. Wulf
former University Professor, Dept. of Computer
Science University of Virginia, and
President Emeritus, National Academy of Engineering

Spirituality of Sport - my class on Wednesday nights this Fall

Spirituality of Sport
Wednesday Night Class at St. Paul’s Memorial
Fall 2012

Sport has been intertwined with spirituality and religion for millennia.  From the Ancient Greeks who performed the Olympics to hono the gods to Native Americans playing lacrosse to honor the Creator, sport and the life of the spirit have coexisted.  In our current age, we know something of the ups and downs of our emphasis on sport.  In this course we will examine a spirituality of sport and coaching as we consider the ways that sports can be positively transformative.  This course is for coaches, parents, teachers, and anyone interested.  We will read Joe Ehrmann’s book, “Inside Out Coaching.”  From the bookjacket: “Sports have become a secular religion, according to Ehrmann.  Tens of millions of children play sports, and millions of coaches have the potential to influence the lives of these children – and through them to touch their parents’ lives as well.  Children can be diminished and discouraged by their sports experiences, or they can be strengthened, uplifted, even in some cases redeemed.  Sports can be a life-changing experience if coaches understand why they are coaching and redefine their measurement of success.”  Led by Senior Associate Rector, Peter Carey.  Ehrmann’s book is available for $14.95 in hardback. 

26 July 2012

God entices us through love

God always entices us through love.

"Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. If the mystics say that one way, they say it a thousand ways. But because most of our common religion has not been at the mystical level, we’ve been given an inferior message—that God loves me when I change (moralism). What that does is put it back on you. You’re back to “navel-gazing,” and you never succeed at that level. You are never holy enough, pure enough, refined enough, or loving enough. Whereas, when you fall into God’s mercy, when you fall into God’s great generosity, you find, seemingly from nowhere, this capacity to change. No one is more surprised than you are. You know it is a gift."

~Richard Rohr

25 July 2012

Feast of St. James the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. James the Apostle

Collect of the Day: James the Apostle

O gracious God, we remember before you today your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

24 July 2012

23 July 2012

All shall be well

The words of Julian of Norwich are always helpful to remember in times of turmoil and stress:

"…All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well"

20 July 2012

Some beautiful days in Charlottesville

The temps have cooled a bit, and we've had some beautiful days here in Charlottesville.  Of course, our prayers go out to all those victims in Aurora, Colorado of the recent gun attacks.  Prayers abound and we hope for peace and an end to this kind of senseless violence.

18 July 2012

Breathe, you are online ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh has much to teach us about living in the present moment - even if we are online!

"Breathe, you are online!"

17 July 2012

The Dalai Lama is coming to Charlottesville!

The Dalai Lama will speak in downtown Charlottesville this fall in what will be a return visit to Central Virginia by one of the world’s most esteemed public figures.
On Oct. 11, the Tibetan spiritual leader will speak at a medical conference at the Paramount Theater and deliver a public address at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, according to those who helped organize the visit. The theme of the visit is “Compassion as a Global Remedy.”
“I think that he’s one of the few very widely known leaders whose message we associate with him as soon as we hear his name,” said Jeffrey Hopkins, emeritus professor of Tibetan and Buddhist studies at the University of Virginia, who first met the Dalai Lama in 1972 and went on to work as his interpreter.
Hopkins helped organize the Dalai Lama’s previous two visits to UVa in 1979 and 1998. Hopkins, who said this year’s visit has been in the works for years, has also worked with the spiritual leader on numerous books.
“He’s worked tirelessly to develop a message of compassion to all persons whether they’re religious or not, whether they’re Buddhist or not,” Hopkins said. “This has been received very widely.”
The trip was orchestrated by American Heritage Voices, a local nonprofit focused on American-Indian culture, the Tibetan Association of Charlottesville and the UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies, a nonprofit founded by Hopkins.
Charlottesville spokesman Joe Rice said the city will be involved in logistical matters such as providing police escorts.
“We are an official host as far as the city of Charlottesville is concerned,” Rice said.
Marjorie Sargent of AHV said a Dalai Lama representative is in town Monday and today to help plan trip logistics.
According to a tentative schedule, the Dalai Lama will speak at the Paramount from 10 to 11:30 a.m. He then plans to walk to the pavilion, where he’ll speak from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Sargent said the events will be open to the public and tickets will be “affordable.”
“We want Charlottesville, which has such a diverse community, to be able to benefit,” Sargent said.
More information about ticket availability will be released later this week, Sargent said. She added that both events will be live-streamed to screens set up at Piedmont Virginia Community College, the Jefferson Theater and CitySpace.
The city also plans to set up a website to provide information about the trip.
The Dalai Lama, who celebrated his 77th birthday a few days ago, describes himself as a “simple Buddhist monk.”
Bearing the religious name Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama is the 14th in a line of monks whom Tibetan Buddhists believe to be reincarnations of their predecessors.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his nonviolent campaign to liberate Tibet from Chinese rule. He fled Tibet in 1959 after an unsuccessful revolt, and now operates out of Dharamsala, India.
In 1993, the Dalai Lama visited Monticello shortly after Thomas Jefferson’s 250th birthday celebration. After that visit, those who led him on the tour said he seemed “captivated” by Monticello and made it known that he believed Jefferson was a great man.
Fourteen years ago, he attended a historic conference of Nobel peace laureates at UVa that also included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and six other peace prize recipients.
In 2008, the Charlottesville City Council drew criticism from the Chinese government for flying the Tibetan flag above City Hall in support of Tibetan Uprising Day, celebrated on March 10.

Prophets of a future not our own - Archbishop Romero

We had a great, Spirit-filled vestry meeting last night at St. Paul's Memorial.  Lots of good work considering the ways that this church can live out our calling in the present and the future.  This good work got me thinking about Archbishop Romero's prayer which reminds us of the work that we do in conjunction with God's actions in the world:

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.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

10 July 2012

Holy Spirit, giving life

A poem today by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

Holy Spirit,
giving life to all life,
moving all creatures,
root of all things,
washing them clean,
wiping their mistakes,
healing their wounds,
you are our true life,
luminous, wonderful,
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.

Revolution is in the air, says Dean Ian Markham

Writing in his daily VTS Dean's Commentary from General Convention in Indianapolis, Dean Markham says "revolution is in the air."  While I am increasingly uninterested in the goings-on at General Convention, I will be interested in seeing what transpires in some of these changes in the church's governance system.

Read Dean Markham's commentary for today below:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Revolution is in the air.  This General Convention is open to possibility.  It is interesting hearing from deputies and Bishops about some of the ideas for the future.  So the House of Deputies has already passed a resolution instructing the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church to sell the Episcopal Church Headquarters (fondly known as 815).  Talk of the next Presiding Bishop (due to be elected in 2015) being free to retain her or his Diocesan position is being taken seriously. Restructuring the church so that it can become much more nimble is a major theme.

Some credit this revolutionary conversation to the growing number of younger Bishops in the House.  Others feel that it is being forced on the Church by the pressures on the budget.  Others think it is due to the fact that this Convention is not obsessed with issues around human sexuality and therefore starting to look ahead.  Whatever the actual reason (and probably all three are factors), it is a good conversation.

I suspect there are more surprises to emerge from this General Convention.  The Seminary has been present since the start and will be present until the end.  We will use this week of Commentaries to keep you all posted.

The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President

09 July 2012

A glorious day yesterday at St. Paul's Memorial

We are blessed, indeed!

Thank you, St. Paul's, for the warm welcome! (and thank you Lori for the pics of our family)



08 July 2012

Sermon for July 8, 2012 - The Rev. Peter M. Carey - St. Paul's Memorial Church

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon – July 8, 2012
St. Paul’s Memorial Church
Charlottesville, VA

Last week, in an attempt to escape the heat and pick up some muffins for breakfast, I stopped by the Great Value grocery store in Crozet.  As I parked, I saw the newspaper boxes lined up in front of the store.  On the cover of the Hook was a picture of an empty chair and the headline read, “the power issue.”  Next to the Hook the Daily Progress proclaimed, “Powerless in Charlottesville.” 

Our last few weeks have certainly been dominated by questions of power.  First, of course the ouster of President Sullivan with all the continuing drama and an amazing gathering of support for her from every segment of the UVa community.  Almost as soon as there was some temporary closure to this story, the storm hit, and our attention shifted to an entirely different notion of power.  My family only had power restored on Thursday night, and we are still waiting for clean water and Internet, phone and cable. 

During most of the last four weeks, a dominant thought for me has been about the restoration of power.  While we were away, Lisa and I followed the goings on here via Twitter and Facebook, and the plethora of articles, postings, and prognostications kept us more or less in the loop about what was happening.  During this time, I kept thinking about how President Sullivan might be able to be restored to her position of president.  

More recently, of course, my focus has been upon the restoration of power at our home.  We diligently followed the postings from Dominion Power about where they would be working each day, hoping they would get around to our little street in Ivy. 

The feeling of being “out of power” is one that is uncomfortable for many of us, living in the developed world, we come to rely upon such things as clean running water, lights that turn on when we flick the switch, and quick access to information across the internet.  In addition, the feeling that competent leaders such as President Sullivan could be forced out by what looked, at times, like a major conspiracy leaves us feeling that goodness itself is on shaky grounds.

In these times of temporary powerlessness, we long for the feeling of continuity, we long for consistency, we long for control. 

Jesus, himself, may have experienced a feeling of powerlessness when he returned to his hometown.  After performing grand miracles on two shores of the Sea of Galilee, and in the middle of the Sea, itself, he could perform “no deed of power” among his friends and family from his youth.  At first they were “astounded” at his teaching and healing, but then feelings of skepticism and doubt dominate. 

Jesus himself experiences this time of weakness, of not having full access to the power within him.   In this moment of powerlessness, we see something of the full humanity of Jesus.  In this moment of powerlessness, we see the strength of Jesus as he first calls the 12 and then sends them out and empowers them to proclaim repentance, to cast out demons, and anoint the sick and heal them. 

Paradoxically, Jesus finds strength in the midst of weakness – of course foreshadowing his work on Good Friday, accepting ultimate weakness in order to bring salvation to the world.  On the cross, Jesus’ action is “kenotic” and self-emptying, so that the world might be filled with the love of Christ.  Jesus also models the way that we are to live not solely for ourselves, but for others.

Paul, too, has much to say about power and weakness in his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians.  This letter is full of paradox and seemingly inconsistency, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”  It seems that Paul has happened upon a deep truth, that when we enter into deep humility and selfless love, we access a deep power – deeper than the power to restore a university president, and deeper than electrons buzzing across wires and into AC units.  We get confused at times about power, not unlike Peter when he tried to defend Jesus with a sword when he was being arrested in the garden.  Jesus said, “those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” in order to remind Peter, and us, that the power of Christ is something deeper, and stranger than the power of force, the power of political machinations, and the power of electricity.

“So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ, for where I am weak, I am strong.”

In our everyday daily lives, we can fall into the rut of forgetting where power really resides; we can forget that our own lives are gift to us, and that the deep power resides with God.  This is the “old magic” that Aslan reminds Lucy about in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  The deep and abiding love of God is the power on which our lives depend.  Paradoxically, like Paul, when we accept our weakness, when we “get out of the way,” God’s power and love fill us, inspire us, and enliven us.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” ~Psalm 121

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8.38-39

We are reminded in no uncertain terms by the grand story of God as it is recorded in the Bible that we are mere stewards of God’s power.  We are reminded at the beginning of this grand story that God spoke, and there was light.  We are reminded at the end of the story of scripture of the new heavens ad the new earth, and that all things will rest in the love and power of God.  “Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”