The Practice of Showing Up

Summer has been a great time to practice sabbath, that gift of rest that God built into the very order of creation. Embracing summer as the practice of sabbath allows it to be a time of rejuvenation and renewal. The pace is a bit slower. School is out. Many take vacation. Some travel. I love summer, but there is a downside: I miss everyone! I am gone more, you are gone more.

Conflict in Spiritual Community

J. Richard Hackman, a Harvard professor who specialized in group organization, spoke about conflict in groups in the PBS series, This Emotional Life. He gave some surprising advice: Move towards conflict rather than away from it. He believed it was not possible to avoid conflict, and have nice, smooth, harmonious group interaction all the time. Even if it were possible, he did not think it desirable. “It is in the conflict that we really capture the differences of perspective that is the reason for having a group in the first place.”

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night

I’ve never had a night job, never had the responsibility of being “on” in those quiet hours after midnight when most of the world is fast asleep. How fortunate the rest of us are that there are people willing and able to take on that responsibility. Every night there are people working, watching, and yes, weeping, while we sleep. Maybe we have been one of them at some point in time.

A Radical and Life Changing Book

The Universal Christ: How a forgotten reality can change everything we see, hope for, and believe 

Join the reading and discussion Wednesdays May 1, 8, 15, & 22 from 7 to 8:30 PM

This radical and life changing book has just been published. The author, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, presents an expansive view of Christ:

An Easter practice

Lent isn’t the only time we could adopt practices to deepen our faith. This month, we will also begin the 50-day season of Easter. I have been wondering lately about the idea of taking on a practice for Easter. What would an Easter practice look like? If our Lenten practices reflect time in the desert with Jesus, an Easter practice would somehow reflect the resurrection and post-resurrection life with Jesus. An Easter practice would reflect new life, helping ourselves and others flourish. An Easter practice would bring us closer together to other people, fostering friendship and reconciliation. An Easter practice would help us live into the baptismal covenant. 

Episcopal Campus Ministry

Since the 1980s, college students have had the opportunity to live in community at the Episcopal Campus Ministry House on E. 19th just south of the University of Oregon.

Over the years, a wide variety of students have lived at ECM House.Students from many parts of Oregon, the United States and from around the world have lived there.The religious affiliation of students has not only included Episcopalians, but also Catholics and members of other denominations. Each year is a new adventure, where people from a variety of backgrounds learn to live together.

Moral Complexity

As Episcopalians we know that moral choice is a struggle. We recognize that the guiding principles by which we live have to be applied with care, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have principles. The promises in our baptismal covenant, which we renew at every baptism we attend as well as at other times, call us to affirm our belief in a triune God, and then go on to describe in the form of questions, how we should live with each other.

Small Groups: Leadership in a Circle of Equals

My view is that in a society which tends automatically to rank people, leadership in a spiritual community can serve to level the playing ground. Leaders can lovingly call forward those who shrink back, and just as lovingly invite those who find it easy to put themselves forward to a stance of humble listening. We want to honor all as equal members of the body. “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy.” (1 Cor 12:26)

Giving Up and Taking On - Lent

During Lent, people usually take on special practices to help grow in their faith. Traditionally, these include fasting, prayer, reading Scripture or spiritual books, and giving alms to help those in need. Sometimes people talk about these as practices of “giving up” and “taking on.” We engage in practices of “giving up” to make more room in our life for God; we engage in practices of “taking on” to fill that space with something that draws us closer to God.

Reconciliation

I have been thinking a lot about sin and confession lately. No, not because I have done anything particularly wrong recently. I have just been a run-of-the-mill sinner like most of us. Rather, it was on my mind because I was invited to go talk to one of the youth Sunday School classes about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is often colloquially called Confession.

Listening as a Practice of Presence

At the heart of everything I do is a desire for Presence. Presence to me means being utterly connected with what IS, with the larger reality, with Spirit, with God, the Divine, the Sacred. It means being completely present to each moment of life as it unfolds, letting go of my past perceptions, fears, and judgments, and being open to the vast and astonishing depth of the gift and lesson of this moment. With each moment, the gift and the lesson are new.

Christian Practices

Practices are informed by beliefs, but go deeper. They are a way of understanding faith that is more grounded in action, what we do regularly and intentionally to live our faith. At their best, practices shape our lives and nourish our faith. At their best, practices help humanity and all of creation to flourish. At their best, practices are little inbreakings of the Kingdom of God.