Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lectio, free association for sermon

Old Testament:"invoked the name of the Lord" reminds me of Ava who says, "I want to say God." How do we bless the Lord? Is a blessing an approval? Is a blessing a relenting of some kind? For Abram, soon to be Abraham, he wasn't calling upon years of tradition when he invoked the name of God. "The name" of God explicitly tells us that he was a monotheist, new territory for him and this part of the world.

Timeline: Obiedience, God blesses Abram, Abram becomes a blessing to those around him, and then as people bless Abram, they in turn will be blessed.

the first part of the psalm is about God's power: chosen, look down, fashions, great strength,

then we get into the vocabulary of obidience:fear (awe), waits, help, trust.

recognize our place before God. Not to be subservient, but maybe to actually get rid of that tired old illusion, that we are in control.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Updates and why I do this.

Rita asked me to preach next week. Here are the readings.More to follow.

It's official, I'm a postulate, meaning, the Diocese is taking me seriously.

I started therapy,as recommended. Much more to follow.

Why I do this blog. It helps me stay organized. Helps me to be clear in some of my thoughts. I think blogs, youtube, and all things web2.0 are going to be the future of communication for most leaders and especially useful for priests; so I want the practice.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My atheistic chums, or I want to say God

So, my two best friends J and E, both recently let me know that they are essentially atheists. They both came to me cautiosly, gingerly, so as to what? Not hurt my feelings or fragile beliefs?

Both of these men, among the smartest and most thoughtful (the two don't always go together) I've ever met, have each gained a certain amount of clarity in their lives, and they want to share it. Evangalists for... Well that's just it. While I disagree with my mates on their conclusions, I wholeheartedly agree and advocate their commitment to truth as they see it.

These conversations that I'm having with the guys sort of put me in the place of apologist. They aren't putting me there I know, E even said he go to my church someday, but that is the place I find myself. I've neevr really had, as an Episcopalian, had to defend my beliefs. I think it comes down to my firmly believing (even typing that word is hard because of the current connotations surrounding that word) that the Universe is biased towards wholeness (God). That wholeness wants to be intimately, personally, involved with us (Jesus Christ, not Jesus. Jesus Christ) And that we have an access to that wholeness on a personal and even global level (the Holy Spirit).

Maybe all this won't add up under the logical scrutiny of Richard Dawkins, who I really like, but it works for me. How freaking liberal!

In summary, I will quote my daughter. Last night when she was going to bed she told the lovely wife, "I want to say God." Meaning she wanted to pray...look there, I'm already putting limits on her spiritual experience. But she wanted to do something about God. She wanted a response to God. There is no thought about this, but an urging, a sense of being impelled. So I guess I want to just say God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One of my mentors in the AJC

John Bolton, the priest for Our Saviour, was recently featured in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. This guy helped me alot, and is still my friend. If you want to see a very traditional service, check out Our Saviour.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Unusual Expressions: Part One

I want to start a series of entries on unusual expressions of the Christian faith. Stylites are a good place to start.

The stylites were a group of quasi-monastics in the early church, around 400 a.d. the beginnings of monasticism began pretty much when Christianity became officially accepted by the Empire. This was a bad sign to many early Christians. To them, the Church should not be an official anything, so many went into the desert to live out their God experience. Some of these desert people gathered into groups and lived together, this was the beginning of monasteries.

Some did stay in the city and practiced they're various austerities. One such was Simeon Stylites. Simeon got rather famous and was sought after for his wisdom. Eventually, Simeon felt the pressure and went vertical, constructing a column for himself to live on. Throughout the years several different "column dwellers" emerged, and the columns got bigger and bigger. One Stylite even had a Trajan Column, which is a large column that has a spiral staircase inside.

To me, these Stylites are the pinnacle (pun alert!) of self-aggrandizement. It's so easy to paint these guys with the brush of pride, but the truth is they showed there love for God in a new although strange way, and they stayed in the city, which I can respect.