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...
One of the biggest changes that happened around the decade leading up to and following the second Vatican Council which Pope John XXIII convened October 11, 1962, nine years to the day before I was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Vatican II is a workable marker for changes that were happening ecumenically throughout the Christian church. And actually, today, it’s startling to remember what a heady thing it was that the Roman Catholic Church gathered Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, and ecumenical Protestant (Taize) consultants in the deliberations of the Council and that together we launched an International Consultation on English Texts in the Liturgy. Read more about The Work
From our very first Lent in 1979 when St. Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco only had about a dozen members we poured heroic, unreasonable effort into producing a liturgically rich, inviting Easter Vigil. And then we put word out to friends. Read more about In praise of excessive effort for Easter and Christmas visitors
Our oldest grandchild is three, or more accurately three and a third. Many readers won’t be surprised to learn that his word of the day (and week and month) is
When our own youngest was this age, I discovered that if I didn’t try to respond his questions with answers, but paused
and then asked,
- What do you think? Read more about Why?
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
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
“My Eros is crucified.”
Still now, forty-five years later, I remember how startled I was when I first read that use of “Eros” in Ignatius of Antioch’s early Second Century letters. I was just beginning seminary and was searching hard for something to replace the Atonement-by-Vicarious-Suffering-Evangelicalism that I’d grown up with. Would Ignatius’s use of THAT word “Eros” for a loving God point to another way of understanding Jesus’ cross and resurrection? Read more about Passion, Eros, and Resurrection
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
The other day I convened the mid year meeting of the Youth & Family Ministry Team at our church, a team that includes everybody involved with or interested in ministry with children, youth, or parents in our congregation. Read more about Copy Claim Create
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