Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're on a Mission from God

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. – Ephesians 1:14-21

The above is the Epistle reading for tomorrow, Christ the King Sunday. It occurs to me that in the midst of two wars, a major economic crisis, a change in Presidents, substantial downturns in charitable donations, and skyrocketing anxiety and need, the church is very much in need of recapturing its sense of missio dei--the mission of God. The challenge for the church today, I would assert, is that we have a huge crisis of confidence. Church budgets are being cut, including the one at Washington National Cathedral, and there is a great amount of scarcity and survival thinking going around. Just at the time that the church has the most to say, we're afraid to say anything!

Christ the King Sunday is perhaps well placed to remind us that we work for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the Universe. The church is not simply another charity, another desperate institution clamoring for a disappearing financial pie--we are outposts or embassies of the Kingdom of God and we have the words of eternal life. Now we just have to act like it... By the power of God.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Christian Martyrs Sold Seperately?

OK, here's a new low in children's toys: the Playmobil Roman Arena. Yes, it includes lions. Exactly how lacking in knowledge of history does one have to be to recall that Christians were routinely cast into the arena where they could do battle with lions for the entertainment of the masses? Though there are only armored people (plus the Emperor or herald at the top) and the lion pictured, I can't help wondering if there is a nice accessory kit complete with unarmed or lightly armed Christian martyrs just for entertainment's sake. Sheesh...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Postmodern President

As I write this, the pundits and commentators are waxing eloquent about the historical significance of Barack Obama's election as the forty-forth President of the United States. What struck me most, however, was President-elect Obama's call for healing and unity in a very difficult and trying time and Senator McCain's promise to work with him to address the problems that confront us. Tom Brokaw called Obama the "first post-modern President."

To my mind what that means is that I and many of my fellow GenXers long to move beyond the conflicts of the past four decades and into a time in which we move beyond them and forge a unity that depends on the strength of our relationships rather than on the number of issues on which we agree. As I see Obama moving in that direction, I hope that the Episcopal Church can also move beyond our divisions and forge a similar unity through personal relationships.