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...
Quite early this morning I boarded the train at Stonehaven (near Aberdeen) crossing Scotland East to West to Glasgow. In Glasgow I’ll catch another train to travel up the coast to Oban. From Oban, I’ll take the ferry to Mull, then board a bus for Fionnphort where the day’s last ferry to Iona will be waiting for us. Tonight it will be dinner, prayers, and sleep in Iona Abbey. Read more about Part 1: Traveling across my life to Iona
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?
In the church where I grew up, Sunday worship was a few hymns, a brief Bible reading, a long sermon and a long pastoral prayer. By age thirteen, I felt I was a spectator in a sea of spectators, desperately wishing we could sing more and pray out loud together. I loved the Lord's Prayer, but we didn't always say it. I wanted us to be a whole congregation sharing worship. Read more about People's Work
Shortly after we welcomed Robert as a visitor to our fledgling congregation, he told me that we were welcoming him back to the Episcopal Church as well. It was early in San Francisco’s encounter with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Robert told me he’d spent some happy years in a Quaker Meeting, but when he’d gotten his diagnosis, felt he wanted more liturgy, holy words and action. Read more about Love is Listening::Listening is Love
I had been a priest for fifteen months, and was visiting my old friend Joe Doss who’d just recently been made the rector at Grace Church. New Year’s Day 1974. He asked me to preach and preside at a New Year’s Day/Holy Name of Jesus liturgy in the Grace Church’s chapel. I was hurting and confused. My marriage was coming apart and in dark moments I counted myself a failure as a priest and as human being. So I was deeply grateful for my friend’s invitation to preside... Read more about A Breath of Fresh Air