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Showing posts from June, 2012


While I will be here and preaching at St. James’ this Sunday (July 1), next week and for the next ten days, I’ll be covering the General Convention of the Episcopal Church again, which meets every three years -- this year in Indianapolis -- from July 4 through July 12. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the last four General Conventions as an issues writer for the Diocese of Virginia’s daily publication called The Center Aisle . Our days while covering General Convention are long and full. But at night, when the stories are written and the publication is put to bed, but before we put ourselves to bed, I often join others for a late dinner. One evening during the General Convention in Anaheim, there were five or six of us at the dinner table, enjoying our pre-dinner drinks, and the waiter -- who recognized us as customers the past three or four evenings in a row -- asked, “What convention are you with?” One of us said, “The Episcopal Church.” He said, “Oh, that’s great!

When we are Swamped the sermon I preached today, which was an emotional roller-coaster of a day: a whole wide range of emotions both from within me and from those in church. I love the way that scripture lessons line up, as if by coincidence, with what we happen to be wrestling with when we read them. In today’s gospel, Jesus has taken the disciples out on a boat. A huge storm comes up. This is an overwhelming storm, larger and bigger and fiercer than anything they have faced. It’s called a “great windstorm,” with waves beating into the boat. We’re told “the boat was already being swamped.”  I feel swamped.  Do you feel swamped?  By now you have heard, I assume, through the letter mailed Tuesday and shared electronically Wednesday, the news that in late August I will be leaving St. James’ in order to accept the call of the Falls Church Episcopal to serve as their next Rector.  As I said in my letter, the decision I made to accept this call was gut-wrenching. When I was first approached about this

Heavenly-Father's Day Present

My son Graham called the other day, just to chat. Since moving to Richmond for college and falling in love with that city, he has pretty much lived there year round, so we don’t get as many chances to catch up in person as either he or I would like. But he is good about sensing when Mom or Dad needs a call, and when he does phone, we always have great conversations. Yesterday’s call ended up being an early Father’s Day present:   just hearing from him -- the excitement in his voice, the joie de vivre he has in abundance.   As those of you with grown children can testify, it’s a unique joy to “parent” a child who is all grown up and confident and almost independent and doesn’t really need too much parenting. On reflection, it’s not that I’m not “fathering” any more. It’s just that my fathering has, I suppose, made the full progression from “hand-holding-protection” to “disciplinarian/tamer-of-the-savage” to “hopeful role modeling” to “life-coach cheering from the sidelin

Shame Storm

Humbling experiences, and humility. Today I want to write about humbling experiences…those experiences we all have that can give us a sense of humility…but don’t always, because we need to understand what true humility is. I think humbling experiences can be an occasion for spiritual growth. At least I hope so, because the last couple weeks have brought a number of humbling experiences for me personally. I’ll share one silly, but recent experience: a softball game that I played in Thursday night. I stunk. I mean I really, really stunk. I used to play softball.  I used to be on several men’s teams; competitive ones, even.  Heck, I used to play baseball , you know, hardball.  Grew up playing it, from Little League through Babe Ruth through high school. And I'd played lots of softball in all kinds of leagues. So – even though it’d been years since I’d had cleats and a glove on – “I can pick this back up,” I thought.  I mean, “ How hard can it be ?”