Wednesday, May 31, 2006

God's Peace

During last Sunday’s Service a visitor was sitting in front of me. At the passing of the Peace, as is my custom, I said: “God’s Peace be with you.”

She in turn replied: “Thank you, I receive it.”

That’s the first time I can remember that response to the “Peace” and also the first time I feel I’ve been moved by someone’s reply. My offer, truly given, was truly received and not just taken as a greeting.

I pray that some future time I too can be so bold as to say: “Thank you, I receive it.”

Friday, May 19, 2006


Just wandered across what must be one of the most bizarre websites yet. Selling trinkets with a Christian flair such as: Crucifix Breath Mints, Jesus Pencil Toppers, Seven Deadly Sins Wristbands, Next to the Last Supper Gum and bunches of other items, the website is and I promise:

1) It’s funny, and

2) You won’t believe it.

At EFM last night doing Theological Reflection on Ezekiel’s “Dry Bones” passage; somehow or another we arrived at the Diaspora and related it to the plight of New Orleanians who still remain displaced by Katrina and their ardent desires to get back home no matter what their situation. Oddly enough, by knowing and considering the attachment NOLA’s citizens have for their City we could more easily understand the Jewish nation’s attachment to Jerusalem.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Driving to work this morning, while stopped at a light a Mockingbird alit on my side mirror. He was not concerned about me, nor being in the middle of the street in traffic. Were my window open I might have reached out and touched him, he was that close.

I’m having dental surgery tomorrow morning and am not looking forward to it. Did God send me the Mockingbird (a favorite bird, BTW) to tell me not to worry or am I reading more into it than I should? Since I can go either way, I’ll take Divine Providence this time. Anyway, I’ve not been that up close and personal with a Mockingbird recently and when he looked at me I was led to believe he was conveying a message. “Don’t worry, He’ll take care of you, as He does me.”

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Grace IS an Agenda

I graduated from Baylor University a long time ago. They’ve had more than their share of ups and downs in the past few years and where they wind up is yet to be seen. Got a new Prexy and the Board make-up is significantly changing. Whether the “moderates” or “fundamentalists” win the battle for control of the University (and its soul) is anybody’s guess.

I’m an Episcopalian and have been for more years than I want to count. We too have had more than our share of ups and downs in the past few years. Where ECUSA winds up is yet to be seen. General Convention is this June and it will tell a lot about whether we will stand together or stand apart. In addition I watch national politics, which at best has been rancid kettle of fish for quite some time.

So my point is?

At Church Sunday past, I was visiting with a Baylor Law professor about Baylor politics. We agreed that whether “the Baylor” I graduated from and love will remain or be lost is yet to be determined and I suggested that the same could be said for the Episcopal Church. We then mutually opined that national politics is as ugly as it can get likewise; and that where we’re heading at Baylor, in the ECUSA and nationally is not a good direction, no matter which side you support. I know that folks hold strong opinions regarding all the issues of each of the aforementioned areas of interest but it seems in our zeal to defend personally held beliefs, we’ve lost sight of common decency as well as the common good.

Read a blog recently and became aware of "Witness Magazine" which was recommended as just "a good Christian publication”. An article therein referred to The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) indicating it was some "shadow organization" attempting to sway ECUSA, PCUSA and United Methodists to a militant conservative viewpoint. I looked at both of these sites and ultimately came away with the opinion that both are operating from positions of “agenda”, in opposition to each other. The little time I spent convinced me that as long as people continue to champion their personal held beliefs and not those of Christ; we’re all going to remain in a hole that just gets deeper and deeper. And it will all be done under the guise of “religion” in some fashion or another.

Robert Farrar Capon (in Kingdom, Grace, Judgment) writes:
“What role do I have left for religion? None. And I have none left because the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leaves none. Christianity is not a religion, it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshiping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God. About those things Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin … and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever succeed … The second is that everything that religion has ever tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, therefore, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up, and forgotten. … The church, instead, is in the Gospel proclaiming business. It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us only after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical, and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the Good News that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.’ It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace.”

I realize there are “issues” regarding human behavior and sin that aren’t addressed in the preceding passage; but the point I am pursuing is that if we would all pay attention to Fr. Capon and begin operating from that understanding of grace (both the right and the left), life here might just become a little kinder, gentler and more agreeable to us all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The sermon a few Sundays past briefly addressed Community. A concept I have long considered important, the Rector was more eloquently than I have ever been in expressing our need for corporate worship. It harkens back to why I so enjoy using the “We believe …” format of the Nicene Creed.

It’s really simple, “When I ain’t got it, my community still does and thus supports and uplifts me along with them. In turn, when someone else in the community doesn’t have it and I do, I help carry them.” How easy is that?