Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ash Wednesday, 2012

The lessons for Ash Wednesday can be found here. I worked most closely with Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.

Lent is a time for re-examination and repentance. One tool for helping with this is a Rule of Life. Also I mention funny trivia about Benedict and the Benedictine Rule.

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

Listen: Ash Wednesday, 2012

Categories: Lent, Sermon | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Epiphany Last, 2012

The lessons for the Last Sunday after Epiphany can be found here.

Light changes everything. The light of the Transfiguration. Candlelight.

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

Listen: Epiphany Last, 2012

Categories: Sermon | Leave a comment

Priestly Time Juggling

I tell people that my life is a juggling act where the goal is not to drop the same ball every week.  If you’ve ever seen me (attempt to) juggle, you’d have an appreciation for just how appropriate this image is.

Time management is challenging.  For all of us.  A Google search for “time management” returns 189,000,000 other results in 0.54 seconds, the top result promising 40 skills to help manage your time.

I read some of these articles.  I’d like to find the answer to perfect time management.  I’ve always known that it’s a long shot–personality-wise I’m more inclined to busy procrastination and messy piles than being meticulously organized.  One of the people I read who talks about life and work is Penelope Trunk.  I don’t always agree with her, but she always makes me think.  And she recently had this to say about time managment,

One of the keys to my ability to work 40 hours a week and homeschool two kids is that I have great time management. Which is to say, I say no to just about everything.

(Feel free to click through to read the rest of her post, but it quickly becomes about why she’d rather read a book than talk to an author.)

And I finally understood the other reason why I’ll never be great at time management.

When my phone rings with someone who needs help, who wants my time, who needs to be heard, my day gets rearranged.  The conversation with the person next to me in the coffee shop takes precedence over my own work.  Getting someone else’s dinner comes before my own some nights. The paperwork gets pushed back.  The sermon writing gets delayed.

I was called to be a priest.  To say yes.

As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. (BCP, 531)

Sometimes it calls for creative time management.  For fitting the paperwork and the sermon writing and the other known tasks into the corners and cracks of what my days and weeks become.  (Other times it can be very boring.)

I was called to be a priest, to say yes.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Categories: Priest's Life | Leave a comment

Epiphany 6, 2012

The lessons for this Sunday can be found here. I worked most closely with 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45.

Naaman and the (disobedient) leper both come to a difficult realization. Healing isn’t about them.

Listen: Epiphany 6, 2012

Categories: Epiphany, Sermon | Leave a comment

Epiphany 5, 2012

The Lessons for this Sunday can be found here.

Isaiah talks about the glory of God, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, and I toss in a Heinlein quote.

N.B. The Heinlein quote comes from Time Enough for Love.

Listen: Epiphany 5, 2012

Categories: Epiphany, Sermon | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What if the Church had a Divine feel?

Another round has broken out in the gender and Church debates. Also known as the “should I be allowed to do my job” debates. For the record, I don’t anticipate an end to this debate, or even an uneasy truce within my lifetime. The fact that women are allowed to preach, teach, and celebrate the Eucharist has been and seems determined to remain a divisive issue.

So the two sides cite the Bible at each other.

Holding verses like this:

Women should be silent in Churches (1 Cor 14:34, in v35 it goes on to say that it is shameful for a woman to speak in Church). Women shouldn’t teach or have authority, because Paul didn’t let that happen to him (1 Tim 2:12, and if you’re the Apostle Paul I promise not to teach you).

Against ones like this:

Jesus had female disciples, even if we are late in giving them that title: Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene—the first witness to the Resurrection and long recognized in the Eastern Church as the Apostle to the Apostles. Paul lauded female Church leaders Phoebe (Rom 16), Junia (Rom 16), Lydia (Acts 16). And in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul mentions women praying and prophesying with the only problem occurring if their head is uncovered, not with the women praying and prophesying.

Given that I am an Episcopal Priest, my own position is…actually not that clear. You see, I think that in the middle of the debate we lose sight of a few things. Important things, like the Bible.

The Bible matters, especially to me. I’ve spent years of my life reading it, studying it, and learning how to be better at both of these things. I spend most of my work dedicated to helping other people understand it better, or at least understand why I love it so much.

And the Bible does not present us with a simple God. Yes, God is masculine; surely, Jesus was male. But God is also a nursing mother (Isa 49:15), creation is an act of birth (Job 38:8), God is the mother of a toddler (Hosea 11:3-4), God comforts as a mother (Isa 66:13), God is a woman in labor (Isa 42:14), and God is the mother of the house of Jacob (Isa 46:3).

But where I get frustrated is when we think that the tension is only about God as masculine or feminine. Because God is also a mother hen (Mt 23:37 and Lk 13:34), a rock (Dt 32:18), a bear (Hosea 13:8), a lion (Hosea 5:14), an eagle (Dt 32:11), a refuge and a fortress (Ps 91). And of course Exodus is resplendent with God as a burning bush, a cloud, and a pillar of fire. All things that are not so human, much like God.

I take it seriously when I read that we were all created male and female in the image of a God who is masculine and feminine and so much more. So I wonder, what if the Church stopped worrying so much about being masculine or feminine, and remembered to concentrate on being Divine?

I believe, I have seen, that when we are a Divine Church, the gender of who preaches or teaches matters less, because there is space for the masculine and feminine and everything else Divine.

I believe that the products of my ministry are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal 5:22). Not because my ministry is more feminine than masculine or, as some have told me, that my ministry isn’t that feminine, but because I try to make sure that God is at the center of all I do. Which leaves space for the masculine, the feminine, and everything else Divine.

(My thanks to Rachel Held Evans for the sideways inspiration for this.  She asked for posts celebrating the feminine images of God, which is not quite what I did.  Rachel’s post is here and the collection of everyone’s contributions can be found in the comments here.)

Categories: Bible, Church, Priest's Life, Theology | 5 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: