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Showing posts from November, 2018

Creation care and Advent

Creation care involves much more than taking steps to reduce or even attempt to reverse climate change. An autopsy of a dead whale that was recently found on an Indonesian beach revealed the whale had more than 1000 pieces of plastic in its belly. Creation care entails acting in ways that are good for the welfare of other species and of the planet as a whole.
Advent, which begins on Sunday, December 2, is a season of preparation for celebrating God’s incarnation, specifically in human form but more generally in all of the cosmos.
For centuries, Christians mistakenly equated preparation with penitence: clergy instructed their congregants to identify their sin and then seeking forgiveness for it, seeking to make oneself spiritually pure in order to be worthy of experiencing the incarnate God’s presence. This mistaken emphasis is why in most churches the color for Advent is purple.
Thankfully, a growing number of Christians and churches now recognize that spiritual preparation is not sy…

Jamal Khashoggi and the Christian concept of time

Last Sunday, a person in the adult discussion group that I have been leading in the parish where I am a priest associate outlined the traditional Christian view of time as a line with Jesus as the decisive inflection point. I disagreed, even though the linear conception of time, with God existing outside of time, was what I had been taught in seminary.
Time is more helpfully conceived of as a bumpy spiral. The bumps are reminders that history does not proceed in a smooth pattern. Spurts, plateaus, and fallbacks are all part of time. The spiral is a reminder that history does repeat. There are multiple inflection points: Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and many others. These are people who have altered the direction of history. Insistence on a single inflection argues for Christian exclusivity: Jesus is the only path that leads to salvation.
Whether the spiral, unlike the linear view of history, is going somewhere must remain an open question. One can make an optimistic case (Martin Luther K…

Where are you going?

Recently, I stumbled across the Farnam Street blog. The site is dedicated to self-improvement and leadership. The site’s self-improvement aspects differ greatly from the self-help genre popularized by Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey, Anthony Robinson, BrenĂ© Brown, and others.
Farnam Street wants its readers to think. The quotation at the top of the page describing the blog’s principles is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
The blog then enumerates its five principles:
1.Direction over speed
2.Live deliberatively
3.Thoughtful opinions held loosely
4.Principles outlive tactics
5.Own your actions
Leaders from an amazing variety of fields find the Farnam Street blog helpful. I encourage you to take a look. Even if you don’t look at the blog, ponder the five principles enumerated above. …

Creation care

Creation care is a priority for both the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Hawai’i. A friend who is both an active Episcopalian and environmentalist, sent me this link (http://www.pullen.org/2018/10/21/reality-grief-hope-three-urgent-prophetic-tasks-to-the-environmental-crisis/) to a sermon, “Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks to the Environmental Crisis,” preached by the Rev. Nancy Petty at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh on October 21, 2018. My friend commented that the Rev. Petty had received an ovation from her congregation at the conclusion of her sermon. After reading the sermon, I understand why. I encourage you to take a few moments to read her thought-provoking, very timely sermon.