Monday, September 24, 2007

Do National Issues Affect Pewsters?

I could not help but express an opinion on Bishop Epting's comments to the parishoners of a small mission church in Louisiana this weekend. He has it all on his blog (click the link in the title). He seems to think that we should not be affected on a local level by any national shenanigans, and that we should just stick to the mission of the Church. Unfortunately, try telling that to a small struggling congregation who might have difficulty attracting newcomers to the Episcopal Church given recent decisions made by our fearless leaders in the national Church. Such leaders as Bishop Epting are part of the problem. Grumbling from the pew is not good for the community of God, but poor leadership is also unhealthy. We shall see if the Bishop apologizes. I have apologized once already today, and I will be happy to apologize again if my comments are deemed offensive.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In Cerumen Spiritus

Today Charlie had to tackle the parable of the dishonest manager. He did not try to explain it because he admitted defeat; he couldn't do it. I have to give him points for that. He picked up a few negative points by giving us the image of "removing our spiritual earwax." This was not very appealing to me. I guess what he did was to examine Jesus' method in telling parables, how we need to be open and listen to the parables, and how we often go to great lengths to interpret them. I am glad they kept these stories we just don't get. Wouldn't the Bible be boring if it were a simple list of commandments. Maybe this parable was meant for people of a different time, and we can no longer, or are not ready to, understand it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Little Lost Sheep

Today's sermon by Mary Cat was short and stuck to the scriptures. I was amazed. I did chuckle when she tried to describe who was watching over the rest of the flock as she talked about the parable of the lost sheep. I guess she meant that when Charlie is away, we are in her hands. As our Bishops head for New Orleans, who will be watching over our clergy? What a timely parable. It makes one wonder if the upcoming Bishops' meeting in New Orleans on Sept. 20 will be a meeting of sheep or of shepherds. Or, should we go looking for them because they may be the lost sheep?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A View from Partway Across the Pond

Through the eyes of an Irish Bishop, this is an interesting look at how we may be slouching towards Gomorrah (or maybe San Francisco).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Third World Order, or The Dobee Brothers

Today's "sermon" was provided by Fr. Michael Cassell who was visiting to drum up support for Food for the Poor. He effectively made our check books open for this charity, but I dare say he went too long. As usual, the more you speak, the more likely you are to be criticized, not just for being long winded, but you are more likely to create weaknesses in your argument. As a "3rd Order Franciscan," he should not be bashing those persons who are of a spiritual bent. He said he was tired of people talking about "how wonderfully spiritual St. Swithen's is...etc," and going on to say that people should be "doey, doey, doey," and not "talkie, talkie, talkie."
I looked for some discussion of this order and found the link in the title. Another search for spirituality and the 3rd order returned this:
Please note the following: "« Penance» as it developed in the penitential-Franciscan charism is composed of and explained by the two principal characteristic elements:
1. «continuous conversion» in the biblical sense of « metanoia», that is, a redirecting of oneself toward God, as a constant tending toward Him which implies leaving behind instinctual life which centers on self, and the undertaking of a life in which God is the center of activity and aspiration;- active and effective charity, on behalf of the brothers and sisters in Christ, an active charity extended to those who have greater need of it, a dedicating of oneself in many ways to the works of mercy both spiritual and corporal."

I think Fr. Cassell should have made the point that everything a Christian "doer" does comes first from a God/Christ/Holy Ghost centered spirituality. He came over quite strongly opposed to the mythical St. Swithen's syrupy spirituality. I think he was proposing a final solution (get out there and do!) in hopes of rallying the troopers from their comfortable pews. I don't think his method is effective in changing people's lives for long, but it is effective in raising money. If he hopes to create a master race of doers without first seeing to their spiritual development, I am afraid he is taking us down the wrong path, on a journey that no one do alone, a journey without the spirit for guidance and nourishment.
He almost went so far as to bash praying for others since that would distract from doing for others.

As I count them up, I think I heard a breaking of the "Rule" (3, 4, and 6) in this sermon.

I will pray (rule 3) for all of us to be led by the spirit (rule 6) to support these good works. I hope I am not being manipulative in my words (rule 4). For the Food for the Poor Site see:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

War and Peace Revisited

I know that everyone wants our walls repaired, but it is going too far to sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" in an attempt to make the walls fall down. There is a good reason why this song is not in the Hymnal. The link in the title of this piece provides a Southern Revisionist rewrite for you diehards.

And didn't we just hear someone bashing "wrapping oneself in the flag" a week ago?