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Holy Land 2013 | Blog 1

Posted by Ann, February 4, 2013

Arriving in Jerusalem is an assault to the senses. The sunlight is bright and unfiltered, the air is clear. The sounds of birds and kids’ voices and car horns and calls to prayer compete for my attention with the smells of fresh-baked bread, incense, and car exhaust. How could I forget the glory of olives at every meal? Walking in the Old City, I lose my way easily, but my bones remember the hardness of these ancient stones.

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Released

Posted by Ann, January 23, 2013

At first glance, Barry looks like an aging rock star: pushing 50, spiky bleached hair, British accent, crooked teeth, an assortment of earrings and bracelets. He might have stepped right out of the R & R film spoof, Spinal Tap. What a first glance doesn’t tell you is that Barry has a Ph.D in Philosophy, he teaches at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena on the intersection of culture and art, and is now an Episcopal priest. He may have started out playing with the band AC/DC, but currently he delivers papers on Christianity in the 21st century, and leads an alternative worship service at one of the cardinal parishes in Los Angeles. 

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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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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.

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Summertime and the music is easy: Not!

Posted by Ann, August 2, 2012

Have you ever had the feeling of complete stimulation, creative challenge, and deep exhaustion, all while operating at the edges of your comfort zone? That is how I spent the week last week. I have just returned from teaching and leading worship at the Mississippi Conference on Church Music and Liturgy. The Mississippi Conference, in its 37th year, is designed primarily to support church musicians in smaller parishes, to expose them to new music, to feed their souls and to charge them up for another year of parish ministry. Every year they invite a clergy person and two renowned musicians to be the faculty. Together we decided on a theme in January and planned the music. Our theme was looking at the sometimes fraught relationships between clergy and church musicians.

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Replacing the 1982 Hymnal?

Posted by Jason, June 13, 2012

A little over a year ago, the Episcopal Church undertook a detailed study to consider publishing a new hymnal to replace the Hymnal 1982. Episcopalians around the country took part in a lengthy on-line study. The results of this study may be found on the Church Pension Group’s website:

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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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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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