This year I’ve heard great stories from San Francisco, Chicago, Brooklyn and elsewhere of little bands of Episcopalians taking Ash Wednesday ashes to the streets. Sunday after Ash Wednesday, visiting at St. Lydia’s Dinner Church, I heard the writer of the blog, Bleak Theology, telling his story of first meeting the congregation a year ago Ash Wednesday and this year joining in imposing ashes at the Union/Pacific Subway Station in Brooklyn. Read more about Remember you are dust...
After forty years of asking people to try and reflect on new ways of practicing church, I’m still loving helping our gathered communities discover fresh ways to do this, to be church, to gather openly in Jesus’ presence inviting all in, but this visit to Scotland, seeing how my daughter is making her life without church community, sensing how common that is among her friends and colleagues, seeing Britain’s empty or repurposed churches (a bar, a warehouse, an urban club, subdivided into housing), I sense an inkling of a future of loss; so much that we love and hope to hold on to is dying. Read more about Part 2: Iona, martyrs on the beach and falling in love
I first met Donald Schell on the mat of the dojo on Clement Street in San Francisco where we both began practicing aikido almost thirty years ago. As the years went by, I heard about his work as a rector in a local Episcopal church on Gough Street, and then about the exciting work of building St. Gregory of Nyssa, on Potrero Hill, an extraordinary church designed to provide space for the congregation to move and dance and sing during the service, with portraits of dancing saints Read more about Interview with Donald Schell: Risking Song
I’m thinking our annual year-end collision of Thanksgiving and Advent’s apocalyptic, last judgment readings just might be a happy or blessed accident. Reflecting on our experience of beginnings and endings, praying to find God present in both, we can’t escape the territory of personal and human crisis, fearful and hopeful imagination, and our faithful practice when we see that things we’ve counted on will certainly pass away. Read more about The Three Trees and the End of the World
Through the run-up to the 1960 election our evangelical church pastor warned us repeatedly that if America elected a Roman Catholic president he would be taking orders from the Vatican. Catholics, he said, had to obey the Pope, so they weren’t like us Christians who acknowledged no authority but the Bible. He explained all this repeatedly to adult groups, to our youth group, and to the whole congregation gathered for Wednesday evening potluck (after we’d sung The Doxology but before he said grace over the meal). Whenever he’d say this, he’d also point out that he wasn’t saying it from the pulpit, which, he said, would have been bringing religion into politics the way Martin Luther King did; and no, we didn’t do that. Read more about Stories #1: Who gets to say who we sit with?
My Uncle Ted was a Presbyterian lay missionary in Cameroon. He wasn’t actually my uncle. He’d been married to my great aunt and she died in Cameroon. He was one of those “uncles” who redefine family, an old, old friend of my living grandmother and the grandfather I never knew, an avuncular teacher and inspiration to all of us. I was proud to claim him for a relative. Read more about Stories #2: Who calls us to the table?
I’ll begin this concluding essay by saying where I meant the meandering path of the two previous essays to lead. I’m thinking of our church’s divorce story, our independence from Rome, as family story. And I’m seeing something in it that I’d never noticed, in a small event in 1532, that leads me to wonder whether Episcopal Church’s 2012 reorganization should include eliminating any separate “House of Bishops” Read more about Stories #3: Surprise gift from our Anglican divorce story
If what we’re up to when we gather to do church matters to humanity and the world we live in, we should be able to tell people what we’re doing and make sense to them without coercing their agreement (or silence) by us invoking our belief system and grand theological language that even we can’t explain without using more grand theological language. Read more about Just What is Church For?
The Spring 2012 Anglican Theological Review (Volume 94 - Number 2) has several articles which are of interest for preparation for the General Convention. Particularly the three articles by Ruth Meyers, Donald Schell and Thomas Breidenthal, which share reflections based on three presentations made at a special forum on the open table (or open communion) at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dublin, Ohio, on October 29, 2011. This program is part of the work of the Faith in Life Commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, intended to foster theological and ethical reflection among Episcopalians and their ecumenical and interfaith partners. Read more about Spring Edition of the Anglican Theological Review Available
What happened? Why did so many in the church suddenly and swiftly move from limiting the eucharist to only those who are baptized Christians to making it available to all who choose to receive? And what are we saying, to ourselves and non-Christians, in these differing invitations? Read more about New Book from Leader Resources "Water, Bread and Wine"
To my surprise, a couple of events in the past week had me thinking freshly about the Ascension. And to write about them coherently I need to make a couple of confessions. Read more about Ascension to the Right Hand of God? Where?
Christmas Pageant Workshop participant Kirsten Snow Spalding shares her insights and experiences about All Saints Company's pedagogy in action. Read more about Improvisation & The Art of Becoming a Full Participant