October 23, 2023

Some years ago, I was privileged to edit a book by Bishop Steven Charleston.  A citizen of the Choctaw Nation and a retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church, he offers regular reflections on the spiritual life. Recently, he offered this observation: I wish I could do more. So much of my spiritual life is haunted by that feeling. I feel helpless against the great disasters of my age. I feel inadequate when confronted with the scope of human need. I... Read more

October 19, 2023

  The complex history of the Holy Land makes it all but impossible to offer an exhaustive account of the strife and struggles that have roiled that small patch of ground.  And it is certainly impossible to do that here. As the home to all three Abrahamic traditions, it has been contested, over and over again.  Given its location in the Fertile Crescent and the Middle East, it has been strategically important for as long as anyone can remember.   And,... Read more

September 26, 2023

“I don’t have any friends here anymore.”  It’s the complaint that priests often hear from parishioners, especially as churches grow and change, and one sympathizes. At every juncture in life, we are confronted with change, and change is disorienting.  We become dependent on our surroundings and on the relationships that we forge.  And while life in the church is ultimately about the healing work and mission that God does in our midst, it is easy for that web of dependencies... Read more

September 25, 2023

Joseph Interprets Two Prisoners’ Dreams 40 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for... Read more

September 15, 2023

Last week, in response to Alexander Lang’s article on his reasons for leaving parish ministry, I wrote an article outlining the reasons I am not leaving.  Both articles sparked a fair amount of conversation.  And another article posted later in the week suggested that the reason behind the flurry of pastoral resignations can be explained in terms of moral injury and trauma. Trying to understand the trend is an admirable effort and trauma may explain some isolated cases of resignation. ... Read more

September 6, 2023

An article by Alexander Lang has has been making the rounds on social media.  Lang’s article is a reflection on why he is quitting the ministry and it provides a link to his last sermon as well. Lang cross references what the Barna Group describes as the preeminent reasons for “the Great Pastor Resignation”: The immense stress of the job: 56% I feel lonely and isolated: 43% Current political divisions: 38% I am unhappy with the effect this role has... Read more

September 5, 2023

Genesis 32:3-32; 33:1-11: Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have lived with Laban as an alien and stayed until now, and I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves, and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’ ” The messengers returned to Jacob,... Read more

August 30, 2023

Spiritual direction is not about “problem-solving”.  It is a gracious space for listening. Preeminently it is a space for listening to the voice of God.  But that discipline inevitably draws attention to the shape of our lives as well because the habits that shape our lives shape our ability to hear. Most people come to spiritual direction unaware of this fact.  It is easy to assume that spiritual challenges are in a class all their own. But the anthropology of... Read more

August 25, 2023

I am not a big fan of Prayerbook revision.  And for a variety of reasons. One, I think that the modern church is addicted to theological and liturgical revision.  Breaking with the conciliar caution of centuries gone by, a political mindset now dominates: Seize control of the national apparatus and compel everyone to think what the winners think.  That mindset is strengthened by the presumption that those of us who are now alive represent the pinnacle of theological development.  Everyone... Read more

August 21, 2023

30 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through... Read more

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