Monday, June 29, 2015

Jesus does not tweet

The article in the Washington Post speaks to an ongoing conversation we are having regarding reading out to our culture today -- especially with regard to the coveted "Young Person" generation. 

I have heard similar comments elsewhere. 

What do you think?  Post your comments below and let's get a conversation started.  

Click here: 
Jesus does not tweet

Get up: Stand up

In yesterday's sermon, Sarah Watts encouraged us to stand up. Get up. The implication is: move out.

The church is in this very interesting time when less and less focus is being placed on what we do "here" -- meaning churchy things in church -- and more on what we do "out there" in the world. I believe many people are already practicing their baptism in their daily lives: showing compassion, listening, building up, contributing, visiting the sick and praying. Can we do it more? Absolutely. And we can start claiming we are doing, not to seek reward but to build momentum and encourage others. 

Doing churchy things in church is of course much easier to measure. We can count heads and committees and list them in reports -- not bad things at all -- but it reminds us how hard it is to measure all of the other things, especially when no one is watching. 

As we grow in our relationship with God, seeing the hand of Jesus is visible and hidden ways in our lives, may we remember to stand up. Get up. Move out our world and discover a need, feed a passion, fill a gap, and make the broken whole. Claim it. Share it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

After Emanuel A.M.E.

June 22, 2015

Dear Christ Church Community:

The Sunday after the Charleston massacre found me searching for words to express what I and many might be feeling and thinking around this nation after the shocking events.  

Last week’s murders in Charleston, SC at Emanuel A.M.C. Church are yet another reminder of how far away we are in fully building the Kingdom that Jesus came among us to proclaim.  The act was craven and evil. The list of mass murders through gun violence is long and seemingly unrelenting: Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Virginia Tech; Newtown, Connecticut and now Charleston, S.C.  Add in the great loss of the Boston Marathon bombing to the list and it is overwhelming.  And real.

I admit to still be searching for words to express my feelings and thoughts about this latest outrage. Does it matter that the murders happened in a church and not a school, mall, movie theater or college compass? Yes and no.  The deaths and the losses are no greater, yet the sense of sacrilege is palpable.  Christian believers opened up their Bible Study to a stranger, just as Christ would call them to do. They prayed with him. And then he turned on them, shouted hate and in cold blood shot and killed nine beloved servants of God. 

This time racial hatred played center stage, and our long walk with the aftermath of slavery and discrimination continues to hold this country back from achieving the best of what we could become as a people.  Far too many hate crimes are being committed again African Americans today. 

When will real change happen? In our hearts, in our laws, in our attitudes, and in our daily interactions? Soon, very soon we hope and pray. 

Local clergy have organized a vigil this Wednesday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at the Red Brick Church, 2 Spring Street in Exeter.  Occupy SeaCoast is planning a Black Lives Vigil for Market Square in Portsmouth on Sunday, June 28th at 4pm. 

Living in Connecticut after the Newtown massacre in 2012, I thought a real change in society would ensue in terms of common sense gun legislation. I was wrong. What change will come of Emanuel A.M.E.? Removing the confederate flag from the state capital of South Carolina is a good start. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Flags in church?

My blogging has been remiss for a time. Post Easter lull I think. 

So I have a question: do flags belong in church? Meaning, does the American flag and/or the Episcopal flag belong in the "sanctuary", nave, choir or any other part of sacred space?  

Here at Christ Church in Exeter the American and Episcopal Flags were moved to the Chapel entry hallway (tucked in two corners) during the renovation about 8 years ago. Some members have long noticed and have asked me to return them.  Many others I presume have not noticed and have not mentioned anything.

So I have moved them into our narthex for now-- did so on Memorial Day weekend. And alas conversation has begun, which is a good thing.

What does it mean for Christians to have a national flag in their sacred space?  Is it a political statement? Is it neutralized by having an American flag next to an Episcopal flag? Is it a question of the separation of church and state? If so, should flags be allowed anywhere on church property?

I really hope we can have a conversation about this and come to some clarity about why we do what we do. Does the flag mean the same thing for everyone?  

Do share your thoughts...