Showing posts from December, 2018

Nineteen years: A Life of Faith

My call to ordination came after much soul searching on my part. I had received permission from my then Bishop (Frank Griswold) and my parish priest to start seminary before I went through the formal discernment process with the parish and the diocese. My sense of call was to hospital chaplaincy and in those days one did not need to be ordained to be a hospital chaplain, one only needed approval for chaplaincy by the leaders of one’s denomination, which I had. Of course the tide was changing even in late 1994, with all signs pointing toward ordination as the preferred credential for chaplains. 
 In the years leading up to seminary I worked as a massage therapist with a volunteer ministry giving massages to parents of sick children on the Pediatric unit, PICU, and NICU. I also had a small private practice as a massage therapist. But, it was the volunteer work that really challenged me to think about hospital chaplaincy. I researched to find the kind of education I needed and stumbled up…

Imagine...a Christmas meditation

Imagine a young girl who has accepted a great challenge, which is also a gift. Because she has accepted this challenge, the gift she finds is courage and she is fierce to the end. The courage she finds is her capacity to be theotikos, the “God Bearer”, the one who literally births God into the world. This was no small task, the story tells us that the risk was so great it could have cost her her life. But her betrothed, who, as the story goes, was not the biological father of the child she carried, yet he protected her and the unborn babe, and with them created the holy family. This mother had no idea, at this birth, how the story would end, with her holding vigil at the foot of the cross as love died a wretched death. That she would stay fierce and courageous to the end. But she did. 
Imagine, as the story goes, that this young girl Mary, and Joseph, about to be a mother and a father, have travelled a long way and when they  arrive at their destination, the girl is already in labor an…

Pastoral is Political: For the love of God...

A few years ago I began an exploration on spirituality with members of the church where I am the priest. We asked questions like, “What is spirituality?” and, “What does spirituality mean to you.” Almost to a person I heard, “I yearn for deeper spirituality”. And yet, none of us could really articulate what that meant nor how we’d know if something were spiritual. We came to realize that what makes something spiritual is a very individual experience, what works for one person may not work for another.
One member of the spirituality exploration group said something to me that I hear in the back of my mind every time I prepare a sermon. “Please,” she said, “Be hard on us, make us do something.” This was a plea for me to be more political in my sermons, more focused on social justice and more directive in what people are supposed to do to live out the Gospel. 
In this Advent season I am thinking a lot about the Good News, that the Greek word euaggelizo was not a Christian word, but a word …