Monthly Archives: November 2011

Advent 1, 2011

The lessons for this Sunday can be found here. I worked with Mark 13:24-37 and the theological meanings of Advent.

Advent is (one of) my favorite seasons and it always slips up on us. Perhaps there is something to that?

(There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon begins. Thank you for your patience.)

Listen here: Advent 1, 2011

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Thanksgiving, a good beginning

It’s that time of the year again.  Cartoon turkeys are adorning ads and cranberries are in the stores (and soon to be in my fridge).  If you are like me, your Twitter and Facebook feeds are filling up with your family, friends, and variously distant acquaintances listing reasons they are thankful.

Thanksgiving.  Or, as I often think of it, the secular holiday I approve of.

I approve of the chance to focus on giving thanks.  I approve of being encouraged, as a country, as one of the richest countries in the world, to take a day (or, as my Twitter and Facebook friends are, more)  and consider all that we have which is beloved and good.  This is no easy task, as the things that we are, and should be, thankful for can easily get overlooked in the busy-ness of life.

Yet, as a priest and an individual, I always approach this season with more than a little hesitation.  While there is a rightness to being asked to consider all that we have, as a country and as individuals, there is danger in how this conversation happens.

There are things in our lives, all of our lives, that we may not and should not be thankful for.  Issues of money, health, family, work, and other things that are struggles, burdens, and torturous.  It may seem like we are doing better at hearing this truth, right now in the midst of Occupy Wall Street and with the recent New York Times article on the ‘Near Poor.’  I’m not so sure.

We may be on the cusp of beginning a societal conversation about some of the economic issues that create persistent inequalities for our neighbors and ourselves.  Or we may not.  We don’t know yet.

But a societal conversation is not the same as learning to speak the truth of the broken, weak, and sometimes just destroyed parts of our own lives.  There are truths about debt, about illness, about personal and family secrets that are hard to share, hard to expose to close family and beloved friends, much less the world.

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks.  Let us give deep and genuine thanks for all of the beloved and good aspects of our lives.  Let us rejoice and celebrate wholeheartedly.  May that only be the beginning of a conversation about the reality of our lives.

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Christ the King, 2011

The lessons for this Sunday can be found here.

The Great List…um…well, what are we do to with this list of things that need attending?

(There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon starts. Thank you for your patience.)

Listen here: Christ the King, 2011

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The Episcopal Church: Catholic and Protestant

I am an Episcopalian, which means that I am neither Roman Catholic nor, and this is where people usually start getting confused, properly Protestant.  Yet, and this is where the confusion continues, the (Anglican/)Episcopal tradition is both Catholic and Protestant.

Catholic and Protestant. Via Media.  The Middle Way.  The Episcopal Church.

We are Protestant inso much as Protestant means “not Roman Catholic.” However, Protestant also, and as it is more often used, means “any Western Christian who is not an adherent of a Catholic, Anglican or Eastern Church.” Because we and the Eastern Church did not separate from the Roman Catholic Church under Protest.  (Neither did we leave simply because of Henry VIII’s divorce–the history is slightly more complex.  But that’s another post.)

I am not Roman Catholic.  I do not acknowledge the supreme authority of the Pope (even if only when speaking ex cathedra); I do not agree with many of the other teachings of the Roman Magisterium, although I love their work on social justice.  I am not Protestant.  I do believe in the Apostolic Succession; I do believe in the authority of Bishops and the tradition of the Church held in tension with Scripture, rather than the supremacy of either.

It’s not simple.  As an Episcopal Church we are constantly trying to figure out what it means to be the via media anew in each generation.  On specific topics like how we read the Bible, understand our tradition, homosexuality, marriage (two topics that are separate and related), the family, the institution of the church, politics, and many more.

We don’t always get it right.  And we don’t always know what to do when that happens.

I think that it is a struggle worth continuing.  That there are truths born between the authority of the Magisterium and the solas of many Reformed traditions.

Categories: Episcopal | 5 Comments

Proper 28, 2011

The Lessons for this Sunday can be found here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 25: 14-30.

We have heard the Parable of the Talents so often about money and gifts that we have grown, perhaps, a little deaf to it.  Let’s listen to it differently today.

(There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon starts.  Thank you for your patience.)

Listen here: Proper 28, 2011

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