Sunday, May 22, 2011

sitting on toilets: a sermon about fear and good and unexpected gifts

If you ever find yourself afraid of public speaking, like this, the proverbial ‘they’ say that one simple step will alleviate your fear: picture your listeners sitting on toilets. That’s what they say. And truthfully, I always wondered why you made those strange faces. But really, that’s the advice that they give you, the one with a fear of public speaking: picture your listeners sitting on toilets.

Now, that’s not an honest fear for me, but it’s good advice to keep, you know, in case that fear ever finds me. And isn’t it the way of fears - that they just seem to catch you, they pursue you, one day they find you? And isn’t that also our posture with respect to our fears - one of looking over the shoulder, having to always hide from them?

I wonder this morning...what are your fears? If we opened the floor, what would you say? I imagine that someone might start us off by saying unidentified spiders or venomous snakes. Someone else might eventually offer a more vulnerable fear - like not fitting in or saying the wrong thing in a group of peers. Still another might share the recurring dream in which she’s suddenly being given a written exam for which she hasn’t studied; she’s not the least bit prepared. Or the dream in which he walk to the office without first putting on clothes. I confess, I never did understand that fear, or rather, I’ve never understood how someone makes it all the way to the office. What about not having enough to make it to or through retirement - financial fears. Maybe of heights or strangers or change. And just what happens when we die?

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

Gracious God, heavenly Father, we give you thanks for bringing us together this morning around your gospel speaking the word we need not be troubled - be not afraid; but we are afraid. Of many things. And before we go on we take this moment in your presence to name our fears to you in the silence of our hearts, because not to name them would continue our hiding, and we don’t want to keep hiding. Lord, here are our fears. Take them. Here are our lives. Take them, too. Bless us to be people capable of naming our fears in your presence, and so also people capable of being healed at your hand in your presence. We love you, and pray this in Jesus’s Name.


So Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

And I wonder why the disciples were troubled. What were they afraid of?

A moment’s context: Jesus has just broken bread, shared the cup, with them. He has undressed himself and washed their feet. Peter tried to stop him. Confused, at best. Somewhere in the mix, Judas has slipped out to fetch the soldiers. The end is coming, and they don’t understand it, but they see it. Jesus feels it. He’s leaving them.

Fear of abandonment? Maybe. Fear of the unknown? Almost certainly. Fear that they will not meet the expectations of the coming hour? Perhaps. Fear of success? What if the disciples, the rebels, win the day? What if they become the earthly victors, the rulers? What next? What will it mean to follow Jesus into this moment? What is this moment? Fear that when they decide not to follow Jesus into this moment - the cock crowing three times - they will discover who they are.

A lot to fear. But nothing to fear. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he said. “Believe in God, believe also in me.”

I bet you already know that there’s a certain way to avoid any disappointment in life, and it is to never hold a hope or expectation. No sense in being greedy, we say. What will be will be. Don’t dare to dream and you’ll never have to wake up. Don’t ask for the Spirit and he’ll never not show up for you. But we also know that to live such a life is never to have lived.

Jesus was leaving. And he was soon to feel that God was leaving him, too: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Few greater fears than being forsaken by God. Separation. And yet into the chasm, he gives them these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” And then, when the disciples wonder how these words present a concrete way forward, Jesus is firm, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

God asks a lot of the ones who would follow him. God’s call makes many demands on our lives. Perhaps no part of that call is more demanding than when he asks us to trust his love for us. That he himself will provide the way. That he’s got you; he loves you; will not forget or forsake you. That despite all your misgivings, all will be well in the end. And this is the heart of what it is to believe in God: to let go of those things which God alone can be and do for you and this world.

All of this is why, you’ll most often hear this gospel lesson read at funerals, in the burial office. The prayer book recommends its reading there because death is that moment when any illusion of your being able to do for yourself what God alone can do dies. And yet, in the death of that illusion, the brilliant Good News of the risen Christ: your share, your home, your dwelling place, in the resurrection life of God. Undeserved and unexpected gift.

I want you to think of an unexpected gift. Either you didn’t think you’d get it. Or you hadn’t thought to want it. Those are the best ones, aren’t they? Raise your hand when you’ve got one in your head (don’t worry, nobody has to share theirs).

Alan Jacobs, an Anglican and English professor, writes about receiving unexpected gifts that we could not give ourselves, and how they change us. He says that when unexpected gifts come each of us is led to admit that, on any given day, “I don’t really know where I am going, even if I like to think I do, or think Google does; that if I know what I am looking for, I do not therefore know what I need; that I am not master of my destiny and captain of my fate; (and) that it is probably a very good thing that I am not master of my destiny and captain of my fate.”

Unexpected gifts un-captain us.
Now, in the context in which we first brought it up, naming God as our captain might appear to be something we only need to worry about at the time of death or - wink, wink - the end of the world. Good to keep in mind, but not so much for now.

But then I read this article from a man reflecting on his terminally ill father’s decision not to end his life early by active, artificial means - euthanasia. The adult son writes that

‘Death with dignity’ seems to offer not only an escape from pain and humiliation but a rational and apparently noble way to leave this life. You look death in the eye and show him that you, not he, are in control. All ‘dying with dignity’ requires is that you declare yourself God. Make yourself the lord of your life and death, and you can do what you want. All you have to do, as a last, definitive act, is to do what you’ve been doing all your life: Declare yourself, on the matter at hand, the final authority, the last judge, the one vote that counts.’

“All you have to to do what you’ve been doing all your life: Declare yourself the...judge...the one vote that counts.”

And in these words I saw that the opportunity to defer to the judgment and mercy of God - to receive the unexpected gift - is an opportunity that could change my life well before my death, if I let it. If I could trust it. In these words I saw that I sometimes don’t trust it. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he said. “Believe in God, believe also in me.”

The promise of Christ as he leaves his disciples, even to death, is that God does for them and for us infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. And so, as Dame Julian of Norwich once famously said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” And living in this conviction can change everything for the good.

I want to offer, as a kind of closing prayer, a song that takes these words to heart, by the Gabe Dixon Band. It’s called ‘All Will Be Well,’ and it’s the promise of the living God to us.

All will be well by the Gabe Dixon Band

The new day dawns,
And I am practicing my purpose once again.
It is fresh and it is fruitful if I win but if I lose,
Oooooo I don't know.
I will be tired but I will turn and I will go,
Only guessing til I get there then I'll know,
Oh oh oh I will know.

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that's shining in my window as I write this song to you.
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true,
All will be well.
Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself,
All will be well.
You can ask me how but only time will tell.

The winter's cold,
But the snow still lightly settles on the trees.
And a mess is still a moment I can seize until I know,
That all will be well.
Even though sometimes this is hard to tell,
And the fight is just as frustrating as hell
All will be well.

All the children walking home past the factories,
Could see the light that's shining in my window as I write this song to you.
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well.
Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself
All will be well.
You can ask me how but only time will tell.

Keep it up and don't give up
And chase your dreams and you will find
All in time.

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that's shining in my window as I write this song to you.
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true,
All will be well.
Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself,
All will be well.
You can ask me how but only time will tell.

All will be well.
Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself,
All will be well.
You can ask me how but only time will tell.
You can ask me how but only time will tell.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

a day in the life on the Lord's Day

Good, long day today. Began at seven-thirty this morning with the discovery of beautiful, anonymous sidewalk art on the church entry-way. (It looks fantastic, Kathia!)

It continued with the generous gift of a gorgeous, giant tiger for Annie, from Catherine, who works at the Asian Cultures Museum. Annie was born in the Chinese calendar's year of the tiger. Thank you, Catherine! (All this, and I hadn't even vested yet!)
Worship was joyful. After the second service, I learned that we were visited this morning by a guest from the Diocese of Tokyo! The youth shared with the congregation about their upcoming work week with Sea City; they'll work for a week repairing and replacing roofs in Corpus Christi for those unable to afford it. Then it was off to lunch with friends from church at Dos Comales, my new favorite restaurant. And then to the island for another church gathering with friends. Afterwards, at dinner with the Boddie's (at Snoopy's), we ran into the McClellands, good friends from Boerne that we definitely didn't expect to run into. Pretty crazy. And so glad we did. Then ice cream and a long drive back home, saying goodnight to Bek and A-bear on the phone.
Had no idea at the outset that the day would be so richly blessed. But then, the way it started, maybe I should have guessed.

Marco Polo! a sermon about a gospel-centered life

Sermon preached at St. C's, May 15, 2011.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Preacher hides behind pulpit.)

Pop Quiz, are you ready?



(Re-emerging in pulpit.)

Good job. You confirmed my suspicion that you already know how to live this gospel out. Relax. The rest of this sermon is gravy. I mean, don’t fall asleep, but you can relax. You can rest in the knowledge that there’s nothing to which God is calling you this morning for which you are not already richly equipped. You’ve got all you need. You know it. You live it.

This morning, Jesus says that discipleship, the life of faith, is simple: a sheep hears her voice from the lips of her shepherd. And chases the voice. Like games we played as children. As children, closing our eyes tight and letting the world of sounds overwhelm and surround us, listening, really noticing, the chirps and swirls and breezes and clicks and children splashing in the water, listening for the voice that calls your name; moving without the benefit of sight or sign toward the one whose voice it is.

The life of faith is Marco Polo, no more, no less.

You close your eyes and listen and no one has ever taught you how to do this, but the sounds you hear when your eyes are closed, you can tell where they come from, when you listen. Pinpoint the direction, the location, the source. And whether your next move is bringing you closer to or farther from. And the point of the game is always closer. Closer to the one who calls. That’s it and that’s all.

In our gospel reading this morning: Jesus says, “[The shepherd] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

Marco Polo.

The simple delight of the shepherd for his sheep.

I want you to remember and cherish the delight of the shepherd for his sheep, you and me.

Because every now and again, somebody’s going to tell you, tempt you, tell you that there’s another way to navigate the life of faith, a better way to find your way, and it just might steal your joy. Like the stranger whom you asked for directions to the market that day you were traveling in a strange city. “Take a right, no, a left, at the second light on the right, another left. Then look for the fork on the left, but veer right, and unless that street’s been closed – I can’t remember – unless that street’s been closed, you should be okay, the sign will be between the third and fourth oaks trees, but don’t blink, you could miss them. Got it? Good. So glad I could help.”

Has the life of faith ever felt like that for you? A thousand tiny details you can’t possibly remember for which the only natural responses are inadequacy and embarrassment? Trying to make your way without asking for help, lest someone discover that you’re lost, that you made a wrong turn, that you couldn’t keep up with the rest of the fakers whom you are certain – you are certain – are really just as lost as you.

Maybe not as bad as all that…for you…not all the time, but, from time to time? Sure.

Call it the tourist life of faith. Counting street lights and mile markers, tense for fear that you missed it already and there’s no one there to tell you. Not that you would ask them. You can’t. Lest you reveal to the others that you are as lost as you are sure they are.

Friends turned to enemies. Grace made to fear. And apart from all these things, you never find the goal for which you started in the first place.

But somewhere back behind the din of all these thoughts, the voice of the childlike Shepherd King, laughing, singing, moving, and all the way calling, “Liz, Nancy, Larry, Carol, Earlan, Debi, Jorge, Jon, Annie.” Marco. Polo. As if the life of faith were not so much about having a right answer, but about a right person, a Shepherd who is at the same time the Goal and the Way. Did you hear that? A Shepherd who is at the same time the Goal and the Way. So at every step the question is not, “What’s next for me? What’s my next turn?” but “Where is he?” Where is he? And he calls to you.

Let me give a concrete example: The gospel.

(Preacher walks to the center of the church, Gospel Book in hand.)

Every week, we process the gospel into our midst. And the liturgical goal is for each one of us to turn toward the gospel, until it becomes our center. Not unlike Marco Polo. You hear the voice, you turn, and move closer. But imagine, for a moment, that this turning could only be orchestrated by individual, arithmetic instruction. So, Larry, 45 degrees to your right. Sue, thirty-two to the left. And so on and so forth. Ugh. We’re gonna be here all day. The challenge is that there is no one instruction that would bring us all to the same place. And not only that, we’re going to be left with the impression that we don’t have anything at all in common. We’ll get caught up on our numbers. Everybody hanging on to there personal number.

On the other hand, we could achieve the same end by one proscribed order that centers not on each one of us, but on him: Everybody listen, and move toward the Jesus who lives in the center. And every week, that’s what we do. And as we do this, we find ourselves discovering Jesus and one another. If the Gospel were to duck, you’d be looking at each other.

(Preacher sits down in pew.)

There you are, do you see it? - the living Church of God.

We all have our unique roads, yes, the turning for each one of us is different, and yet we share one Lord and one life. We can even use the turning of the others as cues, as pointers, to help us find our way, our Lord, on days when we find it harder to hear for ourselves.

The Lord’s sheep hear his voice, and the call of his voice makes a flock of the sheep.

(Preacher returns to pulpit.)

So what does it mean for you, on May 15, 2011, if the most important question in your life is not “What’s next for me?” but “Where is he?”

Marco Polo. Pursuit of the Kingdom. Chasing the Shepherd. Finding ourselves and the world brought together, running into each other, make new friends, because there’s only One Shepherd to chase, One Shepherd who calls us to join in the Shepherd King dance.

And where is he? In Church, certainly, but only if we remember that you are God’s Church, that you encounter the Shepherd as you eat the bread, drink the cup, and become what you receive, the Body of Christ. Where else is he? Importantly, I think, the Church is not just the People who are where he is; the Church is also the People who are committed to going where he goes, as he runs through the world to be with the poor and the powerful, in palaces and in prisons, in Senates and in school rooms, with people who can’t hear him calling, and for whom you might be the pointer to his presence. Seeking and serving Christ in all persons.

Not “What next for me?” but “Where is he?” It’s not for nothing, I think, that the Greek word for repentance means turning. This means that our failures are not so much steps back - backsliding is the good old Methodist word - but pivots of misdirection for which the correction can be as simple as ears to hear and a tilt of the head toward him. Conversely, you can be as close as skin to God, but at cross purposes, if your face is turned from his.

Do you study your call in isolation from the One who calls you such that the uniqueness of your turning has become an obstacle to your finding a place in the flock? Remember that the call of every one of us is closer to the Shepherd and so closer to each other.

And if you don’t remember anything else, remember these two words: presence and playfulness. The way of the Shepherd King. The King who says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Presence and playfulness. Not taking ourselves more seriously than he does. But listening, and loving each other with the joy that is his and so also ours.

Let us pray.

“God, of your goodness, give [us] yourself, for you are enough for [us]. I may ask nothing less that is fully to your worship, and if I do ask anything less, ever shall I be in want. Only in you I have all.” (Julian of Norwich)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

the (old) age of reason

The (Old) Age of Reason
We writers are reminded that there
Is nothing new under the sun. Just a lot
Of ideas, I guess, in mid-life crisis,
Driving sleek convertibles.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

reflections on emmaus: a sermon

Let us pray:

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with you in the way and listen to your words; that we may go in the strength of your presence and your truth all our journey through, and at its end behold you, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.
Amen. (Eric Milner)

I can’t believe we missed it. Didn’t see it. I’m speechless really. No excuse. Just – flabbergasted. He was walking right beside us – for how long? You know, it makes me think of this poem – ‘Footsteps’, I think it’s called – it’s about how this traveler was walking in the sand (you know the one) and he’s worried that the Lord who had promised to walk the road with him isn’t actually walking the road with him because, well, when he looks back on that dusty road, there’s only one set of footprints. One traveler. And it isn’t until the end of the journey that the man hears the Lord whisper in the man’s ear, “My child, it was then, when you saw just that one set of tracks, that I carried you.” That’s a lot like my story. But that’s not my story. My story is far more embarrassing – and joyful. I wasn’t alone. I knew that. For starters, I had my friend, Cleopas, but more than that, he was right beside us on the road, and we knew it. Every step. He was our conversation partner. We were talking, and not just in the way that one might sometimes pray to God at night – a monologue in which you hope someone’s listening on the other end of silence – he was talking, too, and we heard him! We were speaking. Together. Clearly. We just didn’t know who he was. Didn’t recognize him. Could not put a name to a face. That’s a hard thing to say. Three years to the day after the day he called us, and I didn’t know who he was.

There was this one time I met a girl outside of Hebrew school. She was a foxy Jewish babe. We talked, I hemmed and hawed. I think she liked me. After a few minutes, she said she had to leave, but she’d see me around. Yeah, see you around, I said. Well, the next two weeks were chaos in my heart and mind. Every next face I encountered might be hers – I had to be ready. So I’m rounding every corner, looking at faces, almost walked into a tomato stand one day, looking for faces, and then panic – PANIC - what if I forgot what she looked liked? What if she came up to me and I didn’t realize it? What if I blew her off or worse reintroduced myself? That’s a reasonable fear after a three minute flirtation, but not so reasonable with this man. For three solid years! How could I not know?

I was tempted to blame myself. I should have studied harder. Been a better student of Scripture, more ardent in prayer, but that wasn’t true. I never missed a day of class. Never missed a Sabbath. Besides, in an ironic stamp of God’s humor, we were talking to the man we failed to recognize about the Scriptures and how well we new them! Let me ask you - how can one steep himself in his religious tradition – every day of his life – be a student of Scripture every day of his life – and still not see the whole picture or, more positively, still have more to learn? I don’t know how long you’ve known this Jesus, but I hope that you never stop praying that you still have more to learn. More to grow into. Not an on or off switch, the life of faith, but a constant growing, a gradual recognizing, more and more, your own eyes opening – but I digress.

I was tempted to blame myself. But of course, I had to learn who he was before I even knew what I’d missed. Up until then I was too clueless to feel guilty, and there’s real grace in that.

Hey, have you ever wondered how many famous people you almost meet throughout a given day? And of course how would you know? Will you ever know? And so regret - regret like the kind I was tempted to feel was less a thug from the past, come to rake me over the coals for my mistake, and more the discovery of a new and abiding reality for which guilt and blame were poor responses. He was dead, but now alive. I was blind but now I see. Alleluia! No second guessing, but thanksgiving. Because at that point - in that moment - the risen Lord at table with us, breaking the bread, blessing the cup, my eyes, my heart, burning, open, alive - well, what else matters?

Do you know what hit me in that moment? In the amber glow of a burning heart and the presence of my Savior, do you know what I was thinking? It’s a gift. It’s all gift. That’s how I finally knew him. Because he made himself known to me. Not what I’d done, how good I was, how much I wanted... He gave himself to us as gift. Everything we know about God is God’s gift. Which is also to say that knowing about God is not really important or possible apart from knowing God. Being known to God. Because God gives himself as gift.

One other thing I was thinking in that moment is how God gives us to each other, too. How can I put this? Have you ever shared a moment with someone else that wasn’t about either of you but that somehow changed the way you related to each other forever? Like the depth of what you saw and shared somehow transferred to the two of you. I cannot look at Cleopas without remembering that night. More than that, I cannot look at Cleopas without remembering how the love the risen Jesus had for me in that moment he also has for him. And not just the two of us. It’s a secret of that night that I don’t talk about all that much, but the burning of my heart I felt that night, it hasn’t stopped. A burning thirst to see, to share, the presence of the risen Lord in a world, fill a world, a world as broken and scarred as it is loved.

A friend of mine told me once - warned me once, really - he said, you know, for some reason we all get proud when we’ve been somewhere before. I know what he was getting at. Least I think I do. Asking me, silently, if my desire to share that moment was a kind of twisted pride, the desire to make those around me be like me, and I know enough about myself to think that might be true.

But then I remember that road the dust and how blind I was and how the life of faith is never ‘on’ or ‘off’ but growing, building, revealing. And I think back to the countless times in which my friends have held my faith. Have shared their burning hearts with me and kept mine strong. Those are the nights I ask God to keep it strange. Keep it amazing. Keep on surprising. Forgive my temptation to make the moment my own, but make me, and you, and them, Christ’s own. Forever.

After all, it's all gift.

That same friend - the one who warned me about my enthusiasm, also encouraged me along the way. He wrote a poem, Edward Keyes did, about that day, that road, and this meal. I end just now with that:

Road to Emmaus (by Edward Keyes)

Under the paschal skies the weight of dead hopes
lay heavy. Only the wan light of rumour
flickered fitfully. But who heeds women's tales
fashioned of drams, losing the fact in the dream?
The stranger was an irritant, dropping questions
upon their mournful musings

till he spoke again.

Old embalmed sayings broke from their cerements.
Hints and prophesies thrust quivering into the present
with heart-warming life. The past was now.
They walked through time on that Easter afternoon,
yet somehow time was in the stranger, soon to be
no stranger.

They knew him in the breaking of the bread.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

beautiful poem as we approach this Sunday's gospel

Beautiful poem as we approach this Sunday's gospel.


Road to Emmaus

by Edward Keyes

Under the paschal skies the weight of dead hopes

lay heavy. Only the wan light of rumour

flickered fitfully. But who heeds women's tales

fashioned of drams, losing the fact in the dream?

The stranger was an irritant, dropping questions

upon their mournful musings

till he spoke again.

Old embalmed sayings broke from their cerements.

Hints and prophesies thrust quivering into the present

with heart-warming life. The past was now.

They walked through time on that Easter afternoon,

yet somehow time was in the stranger, soon to be

no stranger.

They knew him in the breaking of the bread.

Monday, May 2, 2011

what is justice? last night's news and an anthology of tweets

A collection of people's tweets and facebook statuses from the day after Osama bin Laden was killed.

V. With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts; R. Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people. BCP, p. 152 (The Supplication)

"Love does not rejoice in evil and about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out" (1 Corinthians 13:6).

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, or else the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them." --Proverbs 24:17-18

Indeed, the absence of Osama Bin Laden makes for a better world. But instead of shouting, "USA, USA" shouldn't we cry, "Lord, have mercy upon us"? I like the statement from the Vatican's press secretary, Father Federico Lombardi: "In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men..."

I don't feel any safer that he's why? I'm just going to keep my mind and heart focused on the one who conquered death, not the one who was conquered and now dead. God save us all, and give us hearts of compassion and love for one another. Help us to create a heaven here as we wait for your return. In Jesus name - Amen!

slight panic attack this morning when the man who was talking on the radio didn't enunciate properly and I heard, "Obama is dead."....

This morning's statuses remind me of Donne. "never send to know for whom the bell tolls..."

The death of Obama was inevitable. He declared war and was a feared enemy. But the kind of celebration I'm hearing in the media and reading in various places reminds me of the shouting and dancing and celebration in many parts of the Middle East when the twin towers fell. If we're not careful, we will become what we hate. Sweet revenge is not necessarily a holy thing.

thinks that the death of my enemy is not a cause to celebrate.

mercy on mercy on mercy...

Let us never forget: Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:43-45

Obligatory Bin Laden status update

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"The girl married her prince. The bad guy is dead. It's a real Disney weekend, here on Earth."

Trying to go to sleep but keep thinking about woman used as human shield and killed in the attack. So much "justice" comes at cost of lives of powerless

Unbelievable scene - tons of people gathered around the White House tonight... what news...

Sending our absolute worst enemies to the grave in celebration is absolutely beyond me. Indeed, the wars have only begun, of that I am certain. Where is your peace found?

"O God, the Father of all, who Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." [BCP, 816]

It is a hard night. We should never cheer at the death of a human being for it makes us no better than our enemies. However, it is a cathartic moment. Let us all pray for those who keep us safe and those who have given so much.

feels some relief, but no joy. I'm so glad I don't have to make those decisions and I'm grateful for those that do make them. They aren't easy ones.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
...So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. - MLK

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Osama bin Laden is dead.

BREAKING NEWS! Any minute now President Obama is making a startling announcement about National Security, important enough to suddenly do this this late at night (10:45 pm EDT). All the Press knows is that this is NOT about Libya or anything we might expect. TURN ON YOUR TV!

I'm sad that this world equates death with justice.

2020-21 Annual License Renewal Letter

Each year, just before Advent, I request the Bishop's renewal of my license to serve in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. These annual le...