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Sunday into Monday and Beyond

Posted by Heather, August 23, 2012

There are many blues and country-western songs that reference the dichotomy between what you do on those wild weekend nights and what you do on Sunday morning. Lyle Lovett sings “You went to church on Sunday” to which the backup chorus hums in agreement, then sings, “ You got drunk the night before,” and the chorus moans in agreement. You can imagine the chorus shaking their heads. Now, I’m not so worried about folks going beyond the pale on Friday and Saturday nights. I am sure that it happens now and then and it is important to address in your life if you are partying too much. But for me, the bigger question is how does Sunday stick around into Monday and beyond?

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Dwelling Places

Posted by Jason, August 8, 2012

I have just returned from a wonderful week at the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) summer course in Newport, Rhode Island. Every year, the RSCM sponsors several camps in different locations around the country. It’s a week of intensive singing and preparation for services. The Newport course was amazingly successful. With over 100 participants (mostly children – treble voices), the sound was thrilling and finely polished. It was a delight to have some of our own choristers present and participating.

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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.

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Sabbath Time

Posted by Heather, July 25, 2012

A more reasonable person would have already written their blog post before going on vacation. But this still reasonable person was busy at full tilt before going away on vacation, and so this did not get done until on vacation. My husband and I have tried really hard to be fully on vacation and to not be working at work things. Like many of you, both of us have work that does not stay neatly in the 9 to 5 work world (or even in the 8 to 6 work world!). So, when we can really be away, it is good for all of us -- each of us as individuals, the two of us as a couple and as parents, and the four of us as a family.

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Opinions on our Church

Posted by Ann, July 23, 2012

Since General Convention, the Episcopal Church has been taking quite a beating on op-ed pages and in the blogosphere. I was particularly incensed by Ross Douthat’s (Washington Post, Sunday, July 15) suggestion that we are losing numbers because of our liberal tendencies and lack of theology.

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Reality in Psalms

Posted by Jason, May 17, 2012

During Lent, I found myself noticing particular phrases in the Psalms that I had not previously seen. Then, as we went through Holy Week, the Psalms again seemed to be standing out to me. I was struck at how real, and human, the Psalms are. It is as if all of the emotions of the human condition can be found in the Psalms. And, they’re real emotions that I can easily relate to – not only joy, hope, and praise, but despair, hurt, and disappointment. 

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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!

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Taking the Bible Challenge

Posted by Heather, May 12, 2012

I know this won't surprise you. There are a lot of bibles in my house. We have study bibles, bibles in Greek (both of ours) and Hebrew (David's), old family bibles, and a few art bibles, one with medieval artwork in it and one with modern art and medieval-style hand calligraphy. We have a variety of translations, from the King James Version to the NRSV (that's what we read from in church) to a new translation, the Common English Bible, that is meant to be scholarly and contemporary to American English idioms as they are in the 21st century so far. We also regularly use online versions of the Bible, such as at bible.oremus.org, and David has a free Bible app on his phone. But most of the time if there is a Bible being read in our house, one of our daughters is reading it.

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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.” 

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Lessons Learned from Our Chidren

Posted by Heather, February 28, 2012

On Maundy Thursday, I was surprised by the reaction of my daughters to the end of the worship service. Similar to many Episcopal churches, Christ Church does a stripping of the altar. The communion ware is removed to the sacristy, as are the altar book, frontal hanging of the altar, and a few kneelers. The stoles that the clergy wear are removed and given up. Even the cross, which sits on the altar at Christ Church, is removed. My daughters were really disturbed by this. I could see them in the front pew, mouthing to me "What is going on? Why are they doing this? Why are they taking away the church things?" At the same time as trying to kneel and pray myself, I was mouthing back to them, "It is all okay. Everything is fine. We will talk about it later."

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