Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Call to Civility

James Woody
One Sunday afternoon this summer, my wife, Valerie, and I took a leisurely stroll through downtown DC. Because we are both energized by the rhythm of the city, we’ve taken countless such walks over the years. The weather was perfect and it seemed like a great way to end the weekend. 

As we discussed where we’d like to end up for dinner, we barely noticed a harmless looking group of pedestrians walking towards us. I instinctively staked my claim on a narrow swath of sidewalk and held my line believing that the tall, burly young man who was headed my way would surely angle his body enough to assure our mutual safe passage. After all, I was nearly old enough to be his grandfather and displayed the gray hair to prove it. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Our God is an Awesome God!

The Rev. Canon Jan Cope in Alaska
In August my husband, John, and I went to Alaska for our vacation—a place we had never been and had heard so much about. We both love nature and exploring new places so this seemed like a good choice. We were prepared to see wildlife, beautiful mountains, streams and rivers, and exquisite sunrises and sunsets. What I was wholly unprepared for was encountering the sheer magnitude and awesomeness of our Creator as we cruised through Glacier Bay National Park.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

It's All About Context: Ministry that Goes with the Flow

The Rev. Jason Cox
In 2006, I spent a summer studying at the College of the Transfiguration, the Anglican Seminary in Grahamstown, a university town of about 70,000 in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.  I was taking a course called “Contextual Theology” and I wrote a paper about doing ministry in context, based on my observations of two very different church communities in the town. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it turns out that the community that tried to understand and respond sensitively to the surrounding context was vibrant and growing. The community that ignored the context wasn’t working. My summer in Grahamstown convinced me that our calling isn’t to create the church in our heads that we think ought to exist--that doesn’t work.  Instead, our calling is to listen for where the Spirit is already at work, and do our best to join in that work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why Ferguson is Personal to Me

The Rev. Linda Kaufman
I am a white woman, and I am a recipient of white privilege. One time I was riding my bike and I was struck by how much better a rider I had become. I was faster and stronger and not so winded. Except that when I turned around I realized I had had a pretty stiff tailwind the whole way out. That is white privilege: claiming that my success is caused by me – and not by an invisible outside force (racism).

My beloved wife, Liane, is black. Our two sons are young black men in their twenties. They have both struggled with the law.

One of my sons spent four days in jail last week. Why?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why We Should Care About All of the "Isms"

Emily Rowell Brown
Colonialism, heterosexism, racism, sexism, ableism…the list goes on and on. This plethora of terms for ways we oppress one another is one more indicator of how inequitable our world is, if recent events have not convinced us. How will we ever achieve justice?

I think most of us already have an impulse that we need somehow to respond to the tragedy in Ferguson, the unrest in the Middle East, and the trauma in Africa. After all, we pray each week in our liturgy for peace and healing, we look to Jesus as the ultimate example for how to treat one another with compassion and mercy, and we attempt to love boldly and inexhaustibly. Yet in spite of our call to help ensure that every human receives the opportunity to thrive, we can struggle to know how we figure into the problem and the solution. Addressing the hunger on the street corner next to the church building is one thing; determining what the capture of young girls in Nigeria and a shooting in Missouri have to do with us are entirely different beasts.