Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Millenium Development Goals

If you look hard you can find Bishop Alexander of Atlanta and his lovely wife Lynn.

An overview of the MDGs

How to help with the MDGs

Ecumenical Councils

The first three hundred years of the Christian church was a time of sorting, vetting, and fighting over the doctrine of what the heck happened in the person of Jesus and what that says about God. The debate rages on...Click below to get a good laugh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Render unto Cesaer...

Several pastors across the country have held a Pulpit Freedom Summer. In the reports I have seen and read, they all seem to support John McCain. Why not any Obama supporters? Anyway, the in and outs of IRS exemption are a little scary. Should we skirt the whole thing and do as Frank Zappa says in Heavenly Bank Account "Tax the churches, tax the businesses owned by the churches!" How can a church be prophetic (profetic?)While on the dole?
Read all about it?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Time and it's motion

I'm studying for my spirituality for ministry class and noticing (again and again) that time as we know it is just whack. I guess the idea of linear time sprang up sometime during the Enlightenment. But time is so clearly cyclical. Nature, mysticism, liturgy, and youtube all agree. Here are some meditations on time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm collecting collects

Collect, pronounced collick (like the baby coughing thing), these are prayers and Episcopalians love 'em. These prayers have a set form (formula for those who only find value in spontaneous prayer). We learned about that form in our creeds class.

Here's the form:
1.)Address to God
2.)Description of God in specific terms of action or attribute
3.)A petition
4.)The result..."so that we may...)
5.)Mediation statement...by the Holy Spirit...Our Lord J.C. etc.

Personally, I found this to be a very meditative experience, that tooko longer than I thought. Also, as the article said that we read, I spent more time thinking about God than my own desire and petition, imagine that!

Here goes, I think I'll try to add an original or favorite collect about once a week.

Holy Creator, you have made yourself known to us in the flesh of Jesus the Nazorean. Sanctify, we pray, the work of our bodies. So that our labors may be a shining forth of your faith in us. Through Jesus Christ, our friend and God.

Who's got the guts to post their own?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Creed

Since my Creeds class is on Wednesdays, I think I'll post a creed:

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

This is the Masai Creed from the Congregation of the Holy Ghost in East Nigeria,1960.
I love that this creed uses their worldview, hyenas, tribes, safari. I also like that it places Jesus in a tribe, we too often forget that Jesus was born a Jew, and lived as a Jew. It is very hard and cheapens his ministry greatly to separate Jesus from Judaism. To learn more about creeds listen and read here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I couldn't resist.

Such a beautiful sound from a simple idea:

Notes Part Deux

Here are my notes in raw form for the litugical year. First off a meditation: The liturgical year allows us to enter into the multi-faceted, multi-valent life of Christ. To simply focus on teh crisis event of Second Birth, i.e. being born again, dramatically narrows the focus of the gospels.

The Easter Cycle
1.) Ash Wednesday
a.)forty days of Lent
b.) Triduum=
1.)Maundy Thursday
2.)Good Friday
3.) Easter Sunday

2.)50 days of Easter
a.)Feast of the Ascension
b.)Concludes with Pentecost

Time after Pentecost, aka ordinary time, about 6 months.
a.) Green growing season
b.) A shift occurs towards end of Pentecost, Nov. 1= All Saints.

As the church year draws to a close we begin to meditate on the end of time (the eschaton){personally I'm a big eschaton fan,however I don't consider the end of time like the Rapture people do. Think Flow, zen, the end of time...}
During this time, the close of the year/time we naturally have Christ the King, which acknowledges the culmination of all things in Christ (proof that God is literally liberal.)

More to come...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Notes Part One

Here are my notes, enhanced through the wonders of the internet, from my Spirituality for Ministry class. The readings and lecture were on the Liturgical Church year and more generally about how Christians have encountered time and how the liturgical calander is a way for us to live with the communio sanctorum.

Notes from 9/16/08: Spirituality for Ministry: The Church Year.

The Christian Liturgical Year:
--why not simply celebrate Easter and Christmas? The fullness of life in Christ demands a more faceted approach. We can concentrate on all the many aspects of the Mystery of Christ.

--Mystery of Christ? Specifically, the Mystery of Christ refers to the events of the Gospels—but also the larger milieu of God. We can’t fully grasp the Mystery, but we can be grasped by it—think ocean (we can swim in it, but we don’t comprehend it’s depth.)

--the church year allows us to step into the gospel, it invites our meditation on the gospel.

Two main cycles at work in the Christian year:
1.) Christmas Cycle
2.) Easter Cycle

1.) Christmas Cycle—fixed date of 12/25
--took the place of the pagan holiday of Saturnalia, the winter solstice.
-a time of the return of the light.

-pagans used sympathetic magic (lights, greenery) to entice the Light back into the world. Many Christian prayers deal with light:
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives…(BCP 213).

a.) Four Sundays of Advent
b.) 12 Days of Christmas-leading to Jan. 6-see below. The days of 3 Kings day, and the Baptism of our Lord, where earlier holidays than Christmas, historically.
c.)January 6-Eastern church=Baptism of our Lord (epiphany)

Western church=3 Kings (also an Epiphany but this holiday commemorates the Gentiles recognition of JC. Episcopalians celebrate both (naturally), Jan.6=Three Kings, and The Baptism is the 1st Sun. of Epiphany.
d.) Epiphany—up to 9 Sundays, Epiphany a showing forth of Jesus’ divinity and mission. See Hymn 135.
--Last Sunday of Epiphany-always the Transfiguration, which is the last epiphany—a proleptic experience of the resurrection. (proleptic means to remember the future (see Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5)).
The Transfiguration happens just before Ash Wednesday.

More to come.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ecce Quom Bonum!

Tonight was the first in what I hope will be a semi-regular event: Soup and Service music. We invited the Juniors over to practice our chants, then eat! Thanks to all those who came. Pictured: SB from the ATL, BS from Nebraska (former Presbytarian minister who's seen the Episcopal Light), and KWB from Kentucky (her voice is an exact clone of my friend Shannon C.)

Birth and slow death of a nickname.

During orientation we took the requisite Myers Briggs personality index. Mine: ENTP. When I took this test last summer,I had the same type, but the shrink moved me into ENFP after speaking with me, go figure. Here is me quoting myself, from over a year ago on this very blog: we (my priest and I)talked about my frustration in talking with psychologists and others whereby my personality type, ENFP on the Myers-Briggs scale, was used repeatedly to explain all manners of my behavior. Now it is my experience, and reading of many mystcs, Christian, Zen, and Vedanta, that the personality is a shell, a narrow tube which we mediate experience through. A relationship with God has a way of transforming that narrow view. Spirituality is always a process of unlearning the narrowness that our conditioning and ourselves have set upon us. It is natural for us to want to pigeon hole each other, but I think, the test is ultimately a good tool, but only that.

Anyway, I noticed that my scale for extroversion was rather high, 26 on a scale of 30. What is the extrovert/introvert spectrum? It's how we process information. I agree that I process information in public, but I'm not convinced that I'm a classic extrovert. But that didn't stop me from publicly asking about my score, but I was sly you see:
Set up: The facilitator just got done telling us that lower scores (0-10)meant the person was more balanced, so I asked:
"I have this friend, who scored 26 on E, does that means he or she in unbalanced?"
"No, we would just say that 'your friend' (she did the air quotes)is a FLAMING E!"

And so, the nickname began. The funny thing is, the lady who really likes my nickname and loudly proclaims it, is the most loquacious, garralous, extrovert I've ever encountered. Thankfully, after a month, the name is dying down. But I am coming to terms with my extrovertedness, if only BSB can forgive me for opening our house to about thirty people tonight to study our service music. And since they are coming, we might as well feed them...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's got a good beat and I can dance to it...

BSB, aka The Good Wife, and I are in the The School of Theology Choir (so is my class mate Andy). We had our first "show" today, at the Wednesday Community Eucharist. I think we did very well, and we are big, the choir was finished with the Communion hymn before even the entire choir was finished with communion, makes you scratch your head.

Re: hymns, here is my favorite: I Bind Unto Myself This Day (KARAOKE!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Honey Moon...

Well, it's starting to feel like work. The classes are ramping up, papers are due, there are several other deadlines, and we are encouraged (is strongly welcomed a phrase yet?) to attend chapel at least six times a week. My personal goal is 8 times a week, because I've been a part of low church for so long I feel I need to go, just for the liturgy. The School of Theology offers three services a day: Morning Prayer, Noon Eucharist (full-on church with Communion), and Evening Prayer.

For the past two days, the last thing I needed for my time management was to go take a break for 45 minutes and go to church. But it is always an exceedingly healing activity for me. I'll need to remember this when things get really hairy. During orientation the Dean talked about the importance of physical health and how it can be maintained even in crisis, it is the same for our spirits, we need spiritual exercise, so we can weather this life. The truth, church is work. At the Eucharist, we meet God's past,present, and future, face to face. Why wouldn't it be work?

BTW, the photo is of Bede Griffiths, visonary monk, who knew something about spiritual exercise and discipline; and, apropos of nothing here is a quote of his to chew on: We're now being challenged to create a theology which would use the findings of modern science and eastern mysticism which, as you know, coincide so much, and to evolve from that a new theology which would be much more adequate.