Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Having a ho-hum day...

Lately when I hear the word ho-hum, I think not of having a dull or boring time but I think of a recent creation of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. I'm talking about Holy Women, Holy Men...referred to as "Ho-Hum" by its detractors. It is a supplement to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and is being used on a trial basis until GENCON 2012.

I was in the gallery at GC 2009 the day Sam Chandler, Dean of the St. Phillip's Atlanta and Chair of the Standing Commission for Liturgy and Music, called for its approval. At the time, I remember being concerned that many of the new additions to the sanctoral calendar where at best marginally christian. Having had more time to review it, my concern for its continued use in the church has only grown.

I recently came across this critique of the work by Scott Gunn, the new Executive Director of Forward Movement Publications. Here is an excerpt from his blog entry...

There are people on the kalendar (John XIII is one example) who are not Anglican and whose own traditions do not commemorate them as saints. There are others (John Calvin would be one) many of whose contemporary Anglicans would have understood to be heretics.

Others are puzzlingly missing. Where is King Charles I? He is the one person who has been declared a saint (in effect) by the Church of England — and many other provinces of the Communion. There is a devotional society in his honor active in this country. But he doesn’t make the cut. Or where is Bishop Frank Weston? He’s another person with a worldwide following, and who continues to impact preaching and practice in many parishes. He’s not there.

I hope you'll take a moment to read his entire entry located here.

After that, let your local deputy to General Convention know how you feel about, good or bad. It is but one of the interesting items that will come before Convention next summer.

Father-Son Day...

One of the back-to-school customs in the Thompson-Queen household is spending some quality time with each of the kids. It’s a one-on-one, fun fest where each kid gets some special time with mom and dad. The other day was spent with my son, Griffin, for our father-son day. Or as he was quick to remind me, a son-father day, because he got to decide what we were going to do.

Here’s how the day went….

I started out by going into the office early to get a few things done and free up the entire afternoon and evening for G. First on the list, deliver backpacks and school supplies collected by the church to the local elementary school for distribution. When I got back to the office, I received a call that one of the long time parishioners of the church had died. I spoke to the family and started making arrangements for the funeral. Then a few moments updating the website and sending emails.

Next came the moment I had been waiting for…Griffin came bounding through the office door, he announced for all to hear that he was just in time for lunch at Chick-fil-A. After that, it was off to see The Smurfs movie in 3D, followed by a stop at the pool store, Toys-R-Us and Hobby Lobby…I know, I know, Griffin’s tastes are as eclectic as my own. The shopping trip turned out to be a dry-run with Griffin deciding to save his money for the Lionel 0 gauge train set commemorating the Boys Scouts of America 100th anniversary. (For the last year, we have been eyeing this train and saving up our pennies together. Griffin starts his second year as a cub scout and loves all things Scouts and all things trains.)

We finished off the evening with a corn dog and ice cream at the local dairy bar followed by an hour of weeding the front flower bed.
Thankfully my son is still at the age where spending time with dad is really cool.

Reflecting back on the activities of the day, I came away with a few ideas about priorities and commitments. Sure, there were plenty of other things I could have done that day. All of them important, and a lot of them work related. I, like anybody else, have lots of commitments and lots of obligations that crowd for attention in my daily life. And like anyone else, I have to make choices about where I focus my attention from one day to the next so that I can do my job, provide for my family, raise my children and try to be a good churchman and a good citizen. Where I think we often get in trouble is confusing activities with the real goal and purpose of life. It is easy to believe that staying busy all day long is the goal we should strive to attain. But at the end of the day, these things are just means to a higher goal in life. That high goal or
calling as it were is to live faithful lives to God in Jesus Christ and pass that faith to the next generation. Everything else ought to work as a means to that end.

Looking back on my day with Griffin, I was doing the most important thing I could have done…spending time raising my son and along the way teaching him about faith, hope and love. That was a day well spent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy Bishops...

Here is a recent article about the Bishop of London. It is an interesting read, and I encourage you to take time and read it in its entirity. Here is a quote...

Does he struggle with the conflict of being a bishop for the people and being a christian with them? "No!" he says unhesitatingly. "It's essential to keeping yourself in proportion by making the division between the role and the person..."

Click here for the article.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dormition of our Lady

I can't help but talk about Our Lady. You know, the Theotokos, the God-Bearer, the Madonna...Mary!

This is especially true on one of her feast days. August 15, is the Dormition of the Theotokos...the falling asleep of Mary. The picture on this post is the icon of the feast hanging over the vigil lights in the church I serve.

My devotion comes from Her intervention on my behalf at a time in my life when I needed it the most. And for that miracle, I will always be grateful.

One of the best talks given about this feast can be found by following this link...

What Fr. Hopko says in that lecture is just one more reason why I believe there is something about Mary.