Blog

blogmainhdr.jpg

Why We Pledge

Posted by Pierce, October 10, 2012

I am told people avoid church during stewardship month no matter where they go because they do not want to be asked for money. Ask them to serve meals at the shelter: “Sure.” Ask them to go on a mission trip to uphold the suffering: “Why not?” Ask them to join a Bible study: “What time does it start?” Ask them to be on the Properties Committee: “How can I help?” Ask them to remember their church in their will: “I’ll think about it.”

continue reading...

 

Grieving Well

Posted by Pierce, September 12, 2012

This week we observed the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our country. I recently officiated at the Pentagon’s weekly service for Episcopalians and their colleagues.

continue reading...

 

Off To College

Posted by Pierce, August 15, 2012

Much has been made of the value of college education. Some believe it is unnecessary and after all we need plenty of backbone to do the unskilled and semi-skilled jobs that make the world go ‘round. Others warn that without a college education, you may be jeopardizing your future for a good salary and benefits. In between are those who claim that a four-year college degree is bound to disappoint because jobs will not be there or jobs that are fulfilling will be scarce. Still others believe that those who cannot afford college should be paid a living wage. Some remedies that are offered include scaling back what universities do, for instance, research libraries and the removal of philosophy departments because they are unprofitable and too costly to be provided for all students. I wince at the idea since that is where I spent most of my time in college.

continue reading...

 

Pay Attention to Signals

Posted by Pierce, July 26, 2012

You might have read the story of James E. Holmes appearing in court for the first time after the mass shootings in Aurora, CO. Everyone writing about it made it clear that the families of the victims were present. In a way, most of us were present through them too. We all want answers. We all want justice. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, as they say.

continue reading...

 

2012 Olympics

Posted by Pierce, July 18, 2012

Many of us are glued to the television watching the pre-trials for the Olympics in anticipation of the day when the torch reaches London. Contrary to its origin, the Olympic games have become rites of national pride vetting one country against another with the occasional excitement of a Cinderella country that produces an unexpected champion. Obsessive tabulation of each country’s medal count is a reminder that these games serve political purposes.

continue reading...

 

Vocation

Posted by Pierce, June 20, 2012

I was at breakfast the other day with a friend who described how she was having a midlife crisis. She had discovered that she was probably in the wrong line of work, had chosen the wrong husband, and throughout most of her life, had let other people make decisions for her. This is not an unusual story. She wanted to make her next move with discernment and care, to make the most of what is left of her life, her gifts and energies. So we talked. We didn’t come up with any answers at breakfast, but I know she is laying the groundwork for her next steps.

continue reading...

 

Pentecost

Posted by Pierce, May 22, 2012

On the first Sunday of every month, we invite people celebrating birthdays to kneel at the altar and we pray these words over them: “O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on these your servants as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness all the days of their lives…” Beginning another year carries with it an element of renewal. It is, therefore, time for resolution. For the first half of our lives, we worry about getting older. But for the second half of our lives, we contemplate about leaving a legacy.

continue reading...

 

Aging Gracefully

Posted by Pierce, May 13, 2012

Every year, we celebrate National Older Americans Month in May. When I was younger and wrote about such things, I did it mostly from imagination. Now I’m on the other side of the slope with a total hip replacement and other adjustments I won’t go into. I used to have a body that did my bidding without having to ask twice. But those days are long gone. I also thought I could do anything. Anything! A lot of water has gone under the bridge since those days. I still believe I can do anything and everything, but there are moments when all the parts don’t quite work the way they used to. The only option might be to let something happen to me that I used to scorn – namely, to become a person who didn’t seem to be totally in charge. I’m not that far away from relying on a handful of pills to keep me alive for one more day, that is, if I remember to take them! The other thing I notice is that many people are now smarter than I am: frankly, I didn’t think there used to be many. Today, people are born knowing how to do things confound my best efforts to master them. My own children are starting to forbid me from doing things, but in a nice way. They sometimes think I bite off more than I can chew. But what I do have to give, I remember getting when I was younger. There’s nothing like the wisdom of experience. I have been lucky enough to get it from many and it might just be my time to dispense it, even and in spite of the fact that not everything is working. Blessed aging!

continue reading...

 

Fathers & Daughters

Posted by Pierce, March 14, 2012

The day my daughter invited me to join her Indian Princess troop (pre-Girl Scout training), it changed our relationship. The two of us met once a week with eight other pairs of fathers and daughters, a group designed to do something fathers and their daughters don’t often do enough: spend time together. We had campouts and a lot of fun picking our Indian names, but we also had guest speakers talk about messages the media sends to girls about how their bodies should look, domestic violence, depression, and one night, we learned to swing dance. That came in handy years later at my oldest daughter’s wedding. The relationship between fathers and daughters is often caricatured as one in which a clueless dad is stunned as his eye-rolling progeny blows past him on her way to the mall. But of course, the interaction between dads and daughters is far more complex. It not only sets an example for the kind of partner a girl may choose as she gets older, but also affects the way she sees herself. Research shows that fathers who are close to their daughters early on still eventually drift apart as the girl hits her teenage years. So I’m glad instead of being an onlooker during her early years, we found a way to communicate and exchange wisdom built upon experiences together. I remember one time when my younger daughter asked me if I thought she was fat. I stumbled through the answer, realizing that the answer wasn’t as important as the question. It led me to realize that the influences around my daughter telling her she had to look a certain way were more powerful than her mother and I. It was then I decided to read Margo Maine’s book entitled Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, and the Pursuit of Thinness. In it, she discovered that since daughters were generally disconnected from their fathers and desperate for approval and not getting it, it often led to food disorders. As a result, I stayed close and was clear that what I said mattered to her. Even the most innocuous comment from a father about his daughter’s appearance can be injurious. Better yet, all the dads in the group began writing CEOs of companies insisting they pull ads that perpetuate negative stereotypes for girls. I always ended mine with “Is this the message you want to send to your daughter?”

continue reading...

 

Lenten Blog: Christian Practices

Posted by Pierce, March 2, 2012

Last week, I had coffee with a neighbor of mine who is a devout Muslim. He was asking me questions about the faith of an Episcopalian. Mind you, I was talking to someone who practices his faith. He, just like most Muslims, prays five times a day at certain hours, he reads his sacred scripture frequently, attends services weekly, and gives away 20 percent of his income to charitable causes. I remember an Islamic (Christian) scholar once telling me, “everything you think about Muslim life is inaccurate.” My neighbor reminded me of these misconceptions in our conversation about his faith. When he asked about Episcopalians’ prayer life and what I knew about it, I told him most people tell me they pray when they are in the car or during a crisis, sometimes grace at meals and I know a few who actually get down on their knees before bed at night. When I finished my outline describing the practices of Episcopalians, I felt a dagger enter my heart when he observed: “Episcopalians seem to live like atheists.” 

continue reading...

 
login