I will (Part 2) – I believe I am so called

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Every once in a while I review the vows or questions placed to someone during an ordination service.  Hopefully, one day soon, I will one day to be ordained into the Sacred Order of Deacons, Episcopal Church, USA. It is my wish to offer a series of reflections upon these vows or questions. Below contains part two of a multi-part series examining the ordination vows and examination questions of a Deacon.

Deacon Icon

“Bishop: My brother/sister, do you believe that you are truly called by God and his Church to the life and work of a deacon?

I find it interesting, as part of the Examination, that this is the first question put towards the person standing before the bishop, and the assembly. This is one of the first questions placed before anyone seeking ordination, and a question which, in various forms, is asked time and time again. We are asked to share why we feel called to ordained ministry, what our ministry is, and why do we have to be ordained to do it. Read More

What’s with Yard[D]og?

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I know that “the dog” loves politics, and is quite connected in some local comings and goings, but this news is big!

A New Semester, New Hopes . . .

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I was going to begin this post with a different title which would have read “A New Semester, New Hopes, New Worries.” Almost as soon as I wrote it, I used the backspace key to remove “New Worries.” Why, you may ask? I did so because that’s my alcoholic mind speaking, it automatically runs to the negative.

This is going to be a long, busy year. I have two semesters at Seminary, my continued work at St. George’s not only with day to day operations, but in the spiritual life of the parish, plus my diaconal seminars at the Cathedral Center. As the semester comes to a close, I will not really be able to rest as it is my understanding I will be taking canonical tests June, which is 3 days worth of questions.

One would think I would then be able to take a break, but no — I will have something else to do this Summer. I will have to put in a regulated amount of hours in what is called Clinical Pastoral Education, which I suspect will take place at a nearby hospital. I will have to complete C.P.E. while holding down my job at St. George’s; I don’t expect to get much of a vacation next year, but maybe I will ….this can be a continuing hope.

I have been in the process of formation going on 6 years, what I am learning is that this process is never ending; it becomes a way of life. It is a transformative way, unique, and always seeks things in view of a new hope. May these hopes never end.

A Right and Good and Joyful Thing

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The Artist, The Word: An Exploration of the Creative Spirit

On my former blog I posted a magazine article written about the tours I had put together at local Southern California Art Museums whereby I, in conjunction with an Art Scholar friend, pick a series of paintings from their permanent collection and compare scripture with the artist’s vision. This time we decided to open the tour up not only my former parish, St. Wilfrid of York, in Huntington Beach, we merged with the church were I am on staff, St. George’s, in La Canada, CA.

Esnor Painting at the GettyThe picture to the left (a typical blury cell phone picture taken on the fly by yours truly) was taken while Joanna explained the art history, and intent of the artist James Ensor as he formed his own expressionist vision of Christ’s Entry into Brussels 1899. For this painting I used the passage from John 12:12-19 where Jesus enters Jerusalem, the people cheering and waving palms. In Ensor’s painting the city is awash in color, and excitement, but the people costumed as though it was a festival of pagan proportions. In it the local bishop is acting as a drum major, and all the people are distorted with festival masks and make up, but Jesus is marked in a more traditional light, hallow and all. In effect, the artist is being critical of the church, and the people in that they have made a mockery of the message, are move concerned with their own enjoyment . Read More

A Day in the Park

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TinkerbellWednesday I spent the entire day and most of the evening at Disneyland. I went with my good friend Ian, or as he is known: The Gay Son I Never Had.

It had been quite some time since I had been to Disneyland, mainly because I used to be able to get a free pass any time I wanted, and with leaving the entertainment industry, I had come to the realization that the people I knew had either retired, or died! So, with a week off from work, I cleaned out some of my bank account, and ventured into the park as a regular paying customer. Below are some of my observations: Read More

Sermon: A Tale of Two Banquets

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Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

Pentecost 13a
Isaiah 55:1-5
Psalm 145:8-9,15-22
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:13-21

If I were the type of person who would name sermons, I guess I’d name this one, A Tale of Two Banquets. In today’s gospel we only hear of one banquet, but the author of Matthew ingeniously precedes the feeding of five thousand, with another type of banquet given by Herod, a gathering characterized by opulence –– Jesus’ meal by bread, the most basic of foods.  Herod’s party is characterized by hatred –– Jesus’ meal by compassion.  Herod’s party ends in the death of John the Baptist –– Jesus’ meal sustains life and offers a screen shot of the Kingdom of God.  The contrast could not be more deliberate or complete, but beyond the obvious, the messages we heard today in all our readings allow us a chance to glimpse, in a unique way, the essence of God.

We are told that Jesus “had compassion for them.” Our language does not truly offer what was written in Greek. The literal translation would be that Jesus felt compassion from the inside of his stomach, from all the way down to his intestines, so the key word “compassion” is more than a sigh, its more than empathy; it was the kind of compassion which touched his very essence, and shook the core of his being…it is this sense of compassion, my brothers and sisters, that offers us a inkling of the compassion God feels for each and every one of us. Compassion so deep it is immeasurable. Read More

A Lesson for the Journey

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Oh, to be able to learn to give myself permission to relax! I have not had a vacation since Summer of 2006. With my move last year, and seminary, and seminars at our Cathedral Center, working out the liturgical year at St. George’s, its been one thing after another. I now am able to take 8 days off (after preaching this Sunday), and I can’t seem to allow myself to leave projects sitting until I return.  I can’t seem to praise myself for the things I’ve accomplished this Summer, including a new Mass I composed, and a separate Celtic Fraction Anthem to go along with my Celtic Kyrie I composed last year. Articles on the MDG’s and Green Living for next year’s parishwide magazine, and an art tour booklet I’m leading August 16 at the Getty Center.  What do I do? I center on the projects left on the table!

One lesson on the journey I have yet to master is giving myself permission to relax freely and with boldness.

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