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Showing posts from June 11, 2010

Sympathy Cripples; Compassion Liberates

In the Gospel assigned for Sunday, Jesus is walking toward a town called Nain when he notices a funeral procession. A man who’d died was being carried out. Funerals are sad enough, but this man was his mother’s only son. Losing one’s only child is bad enough, but the dead man’s mother was already a widow. Keeping in mind that in ancient Palestine, the only “social security” one had was one’s family, the death of this woman’s only son meant that from now on, and for the rest of her life, no one would care for her, or about her. Why? The belief system of the day was misfortune of this magnitude must mean that God is punishing her…she must have done something (the thinking went) to have fallen out of God’s favor, or she wouldn’t be suffering so. Lest we think we’ve overcome that kind of bad theology: I’ll bet a fair number of people reading this believe that God rewards us human beings for good behavior and punishes us for bad behavior. That’s what’s called a “celestial Coke-machine

Breakaway Churches and the “Coach Norman Dale Approach to Confrontation”

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in favor of our Diocese in the case of the so-called “break-away” parishes who have attempted to claim Episcopal Church property as their own. This is good news for our Diocese. In a complex world filled with nuances and shades of gray, it’s not often that a case comes along where things are fairly clear. This is one of them. I have a lot of respect for conservative parish leaders like my colleagues Tom Simmons (St. Peter’s, Purcellville) and John Sheehan (Our Redeemer, Aldie) and others throughout the country who, despite strong differences of opinion, stay in the Episcopal Church and fight for change; I have a lot of respect for my liberal colleagues who are delighted with the overall direction of the Episcopal Church and say “full steam ahead.” And worthy of even greater respect are those conservatives who decided they could no longer in good conscious remain in the Episcopal Church but who had the courage of their convictions and left