Sunday, March 23, 2008

4,000 and Counting...

The news just came across the CNN web site and television that we have reached the grim milestone of 4,000 soldiers killed in Iraq. Of course, this does not count the tens of thousands of soldiers wounded nor any Iraqi casualties. Ironically, we reached that milestone mere hours after millions of Americans celebrated the Festival of the Resurrection, or Easter Day. Mere hours after I spoke of the hope that we have in being resurrection people in the face of the state-sponsored execution of Jesus, yet more death was visited upon us.

As someone who has just turned 40 years old, is engaged in a vocation of hope, but has also seen war, economic downturn, and increasing despair in the last few years, I believe that it will be important to seek out the places and people within which God is working out God's purpose and bringing the fruition God's kingdom in the world. In an excellent article posted on Episcopal Cafe, The Rev. Donald Schell writes about faith and fear in a post 9/11 age. May I be open to seeking, finding, and acting on God's will in my own life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This man can speak!

Having come home from a day of interviewing Superintendent candidates for our school district and then, on the way home, briefly checking in at the church, I arrived and flipped on the TV to hear that there was a great amount of reaction to a speech given today by Presidential candidate Barack Obama on race and politics. I was not able to watch the speech when it was given. I didn't even know he was giving it. However, after returning from Evening Prayer at my church, I sat down and watched it on the Obama web site via a YouTube video, specifically this one:

I am a preacher, someone who has grown up as a white heterosexual man, and have just completed anti-racism training where so much of the history and so many of the problems Obama addressed were highlighted. I served a (largely white) church just outside of Philadelphia when I was a Curate just out of seminary. I just spent today interviewing two finalists for a Superintendent position, a white woman and a black woman, who both spoke of issues of diversity in mostly (90%) white Albany, Oregon. With all those experiences, and as a member of Obama's generation, Generation X, I was more than impressed by his speech, I was stunned and struck speechless.

All I could think of when I finished listening to the speech was "Wow. I wish there was a bishop in our church who could speak as clearly to the legacy of colonialism in the Anglican Communion, the fears and frustrations of GLBT people in our church, the despair of an increasingly marginalized mainline church, and the hopes, dreams, and experiences of liberal and conservative alike, in such a way that the polarization of the church that so much mirrors the polarization in the political arena could begin to be healed." What most impressed me about Barack Obama's speech, was that he talked about the fact that "perfecting our union" was not a zero-sum game where one person's dreams come at the expense of another person's dreams, but a way of binding ourselves together in a common purpose that allows everyone to work against the injustices, inequities, and systemic problems in the world. I'm flat out impressed.

I don't really know what else to say, so I won't say anything else, but I'm already thinking of sermon material...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday and Passion

It is the afternoon of Palm Sunday, so Holy Week has officially begun. I suspect I won't be blogging this week. I spent the bulk of Lent not blogging, either, which seems more than fine, considering that Lent is a time of self-examination, not proclamation. However, once Eastertide commences I will endeavor to post more regularly, as befits the season of proclamation.

I will say this--it is amazing to me how selective our memory is regarding traditions. This morning I had to remind several people that it was Palm Sunday and that we were to gather in the Parish Hall before the procession to the church! Yet there was also some strong opinions about whether to have an Easter egg hunt next Sunday or not. Sometimes it seems like our local traditions overwhelm or supersede Biblical or liturgical tradition. Perhaps a excellent spiritual discipline during this Holy Week would be to get back in touch with our identity as pilgrim people, as people on a spiritual journey, and so to enter fully into the life, suffering, and death of Christ so that we may enter fully into Christ's resurrection.

A blessed Holy Week to all.