Friday, August 10, 2012
The reason I am serving in the Episcopal Church is threefold. 1. I love Jesus 2. I am a servant of Jesus 3. This is where I understand and feel that Jesus wants me to be It is not because I agree with the church, nor because of programs or stands that the church has made. I personally think that the Episcopal Church has some great theology, but very few people in the church could say what that is. Likewise, the Episcopal Church has more Bible passages read in a service than most churches, yet I would venture the guess that most Episcopalians have very little understanding of the Bible. Every denomination has its positives and negatives. Every denomination has her great gift to Christendom and her great heresy, a denomination is simply a human institution bringing together the human element onto the same stage as the divine. Like a ferry boat bringing people to the mainland. The church is simply a vessel on which we travel together toward such a goal, eventually the boat is left behind, but the unity and community upon this shore with God will continue. To choose a church, look first at where one is located. Where are you? Do not look to the best programs, the most dynamic personalities, but rather to where you feel called. Where is your history, where are your gifts that can be used, where are you most challenged, where are you not always comfortable, what community seems to be one that will speak truth to you, where can you speak your truth? A church should not be a place where you agree with people, rather a place you are confronted with people, need to forgive people, and are led to pray with these same people from the depths of your being. Like a family, one does not chose one’s siblings or parents, a church family is one where you are brought into and where you emerge – for better or worse, and where you find your place in the family of God. We do not shop for a church, nor a love, nor a friend; we discover them, are brought together by circumstances and need. Sometimes we are called to move and find new homes, this should not be because of anger or disagreement; but because it is time to move motivated from our calling and leading of God.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The apostle Paul, when writing letters to people to introduce himself almost always prefaced his remarks by saying he was a “servant of the Lord Jesus”. What a clear and concise statement of one’s being. Over the years, I have read a number of articles, resume’s and descriptions of people who have been elected bishop or rector of a parish in the Episcopal Church, and I have never seen that statement expressed so clearly. I also look for someone saying that they love Jesus, or have found that their life is only understood in the love and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ. This to me is my whole being. And when I read very touching stories of people’s lives and all the great things that they have done, I am impressed, but I still want to know how they feel about Jesus. What I do read is the story and examples of people who deeply question God, and the faith that has been handed down through the ages. This seems to be the approved and appropriate response. It is good to question, to persevere in probing one’s motives and assumptions. But the basis of giving one’s whole being to the oneness of God, to the fullness of joy found in the service of Jesus as Lord, doesn’t seem to be that important. Why not? Social issues are all right to speak out on, but for me, they only make sense because of my obedience to Jesus. Why are we in the Episcopal Church so shy?