Doing it like Paul

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We know that Paul, when he entered a new city, opened up a shop. He worked with his hands, more than likely working in leather. In the course of his dealings with the public, he would share his faith. Out of these conversations little gatherings grew and eventually became the nucleus of early home groups; the beginning of what we call churches.

Almost any morning I can be found at my local Starbucks. This past Wednesday I was sitting with one of my coffee buddies, this 23 year old art student from the college across the street. She knows I’m going to seminary, and we have some nice conversations; she has been fascinated with how the New Testament grew, and how it is analyzed using text criticism. Later, a friend of her’s stopped by and sat down, a young rather fem male friend studying interior design. Add to this mix a young married guy sitting at another out door table. Read More »

A Spiritual Direction Moment

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I normally don’t share on line things which happen during a spiritual direction moment, it’s personal, and part of me working things out with a paid professional, but I thought in this instance, it might be a good thing to share, specially for those who don’t understand what happens during a session.

This Saturday I met with my director, the second I’ve had in 6 years, and during our conversation I mentioned I would be preaching at my sponsoring parish next Sunday. He asked what reading I’d be using, and I said that I was going to primarily preach on the story of the “Binding of Issac.” Read More »

God has a sense of humor

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From Father Jake Stops the World:

männer mit 40 jahren Jerusalem Pride will take place on Thursday June 26th…

In June the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual community and our supporters will again struggle for our freedom of expression and civil rights in Jerusalem. The violence and Intimidation surrounding Pride 2005 and 2006 only serves as proof that we must assure that our rights as citizens of Jerusalem are defended.

June will put Jerusalem, Israel and our leaders to the true test of democracy and civil rights. Though we expect the struggle to be tough, we will not let the threats of violence silence us or challenge Israeli democracy. Our struggle to march this summer will require us to unite as a community and pool our resources and personal strength- for this historic battle on the forefront of human rights in Jerusalem.

I was amused by a comment attached to the post which said:

“Huh, GAF(fe)CON in Jerusalem at the same time as Jerusalem Pride. Oh, God does exist, and she has a wicked sense of humor.”

Staff Retreat Haiku

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Recently, the staff of St. George’s Episcopal Church went up to Mt. Calvary Retreat Center in Santa Barbara for an all too short retreat;the first this current staff has had. It was more a “get to know you” retreat which focused on our personal journey from childhood to our adult identities. One of the exercises was to create a haiku of our teen years. I thought I would share the one I wrote:

More than I will know

Less than I appear to be

For I am searching

the end.

The scandalous gospel of Jesus

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What’s so good about the good news?

With school over for the year, I am able to enjoy some fun reading, and I am happy to report that I have throughly enjoyed Peter J. Gomes’ new book, “The Scandalous gospel of Jesus: what’s so good about the good news”. Some reading this might remember his previous best seller, “The Good Book, reading the Bible with mind and heart.”

Gomes, in plain and simple language, yet with enough of a scholar’s touch, states that Jesus came preaching, but the church wound up preaching Jesus. He asks why does the church insist upon making Jesus the object of its attention rather than heeding, and I add, truly preaching what Jesus taught? The Rev. Gomes, since 1974, has been at Harvard University, serving as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. Read More »

“Christians” & Divorce

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It is my educated guess that most of the people who signed the referendum asking to amend the State Constitution to protect “marriage” would self identify as Christian. I italicize Christian because I doubt that most of the people who do so are not involved in community, and have no concept of what a Christian Community of Faith is, or how it works.

Many of these self identified Christians site that marriage is something which was instituted by God, and is a joining of two people as God intended. Many will read certain passages at their wedding ceremony from scripture which might include a passage from the Wedding at Cana, a celebration Jesus himself attended, and one in which he performed his first sign (miracle).

I think it important to help our Christian friends realize that they must protect marriage. If they are to base their ethical and moral lives upon scripture, and if they are to fully embrace “scripture alone” as a moral imperative, they must not only consider marriage vows, but the full realization of Jesus’ words when he speaks of divorce. Since current national statistics surrounding the divorce rate is approximately 51% (a good chance that half of each marriage performed in the USA ends in divorce) it would be good to remind Christians, especially Heterosexual Christians Jesus teaching as the word of God. Read More »

L.A. Pride 2008

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Another Year Walking the Walk

It’s been a busy four days— from the quiet solitude of a mini-work retreat up at Mount Calvary to working at the Episcopal Church booth at the L.A. Pride Festival with it’s sensory overload of people moving in all directions, and sound hitting your rib cage as if accosted by drums on steroids, to marching in the Pride Parade this Sunday with people waving and screaming things back at you….it was serious sensory overload.

It was my first experience working a booth at the pride festival. I enjoyed the conversations I had with people with nothing overly contentious in their questions, or comments, but I got a sense from some that they sometimes think of their spiritual lives even though they are spinning inside their current existence.

Even though their questions were friendly and non-committal, the tug was present and this is a good thing. My best moments of evangelism was not really talking religion, but just shooting the breeze with people who stopped by. More than anything, I think, this casual conversation did more to spread the good news…that committed religious people can have a regular chat, and not shove platitudes in people’s faces, but by the end of the conversation they had literature in their hands. Read More »

I Will (part 1)

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Every once in a while I review the vows I will one day to be ordained into the Sacred Order of Deacons, Episcopal Church, USA. It is my hope to offer a series of reflections upon these vows. Below contains part one of a multi-part series examining the ordination vows of a Deacon.

Servant icon

“Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?”

I find it interesting that the first words of the bishop to the ordinant addresses doctrine. Many times Episcopalians gladly proclaim that we are a non-doctrinal church. We have no central doctrinal body as does the church of Rome, we have no Pope who determines doctrine yet here we have a bishop asking this question. In a broad sense, doctrine becomes a matter of tradition. In fact, if we look back to the early church, we find a wealth of diversity and more than anything, one can accept the traditional view of diversity contained within the broad spectrum of Christian thought. At the heart of all baptized, should be a sense of doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church as received them. Read More »

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