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Category: Speaking to the Soul

Humility, Service, and Change

“Right now, in the United States we are wrestling with systemic inequality, focused on systemic racism of the Black people who were enslaved in the U.S., and whose descendants can’t hide or pass, as others have (Jews, Irish, Italian), because of their skin color. We are marching, writing, gathering in study groups, reading, and looking inward in new ways. We are hearing angry voices. Cries to deconstruct the historical artifacts which extolled those who perpetrated this enslavement. Those whose ancestors lost the Civil War are angry. And Black people, whose ancestors were survivors of that war, and who are still being subjugated by law and practice, are angry. And here we are.”

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The Lesson of Rebekka

“I don’t remember another major life-shift after that until the Covid 19 epidemic came along and changed all of our lives so radically.  I still can’t believe we went from worshiping together in relative safety (though we were worried about the common cup and sanitizing our hands) to worshiping remotely via Zoom in about 48 hours.  But we did.”

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Freedom and Independence

“Jesus did not preach a gospel of prosperity but of giving away, sharing with one another so that no one would suffer from needing help. God gave us the independence to respond to those teachings positively or negatively. Those who followed them found that “perfect freedom” that comes from God.”

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It’s a Trap!

“What are the things we are called to willingly and obediently participate in, when it comes to our national life, and what are the things we are called to change in our national life to better honor our Baptismal Covenant?  We’re seeing that tension on the ground everywhere we look.  It’s painful, yet at the same time, necessary, so that the voices that have been muted can now be heard.  The hope, of course, is that all of us will somehow end up better reflecting the image of God rather than the image of a hollow false god wrapped in the symbolism of flags and statues.”

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Heart and Mind

“One of the things I have always wondered at in placing these two saints together on one feast day is the way that they often seem to be the yin and the yang of discipleship—where Peter is emotional and impulsive, Paul is analytical and holds himself rigidly in check. Peter is all heart and passion, whereas, much of the time, Paul is all mind and rhetorical prowess.”

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The Rest of the Story

“Like the preacher, the Christian must trust – must trust the grace of God and Jesus as the Christ that God is with her. That God guides and redeems and sanctifies even bad decisions. But second – and perhaps most importantly – it is the smallness of life that counts – living life at the cell-level. It is the one, Jesus said, who is faithful in small things who will be faithful in big things. It is the one who invites Christ into the small areas of life, who is honest and lives with integrity in the little challenges and events – who will find himself honest and full of integrity when facing the large challenges. That person is the one who wanders down the path of life with purpose and grace.”

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But Because You Say So

“Because you say so, Jesus, I will listen. Jesus calls each of us, where we are, in whatever situation we find ourselves, and he invites us to use our entire being to bring hope and healing into the world. For some it’s letting go of insecurity and doubt, for others it’s letting go of ego, and for others it’s trusting their own voice to speak up for others.” 

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Peter and Paul: Two Lives Blessed by Penance

“The message is simple. Round up, care for, teach, and feed my sheep. We see it in the reading from Ezekiel where shepherd, sheep, and instructions for the care of them, are repeated 18 times (Ezek 34:11-16). A shepherd leads a hard life. Cold nights. Hot days. Little food. The pay is poor, the work is dangerous. Predators, poachers, bandits. You are always on watch. And you must especially care for the weak, the ewes, the lambs. It is not your flock, but your Master’s.”

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When Their Spiritual Memoir Becomes Part of My Faith’s Future

“All of my favorite spiritual memoirists are white women. The church communities that welcomed them are largely mainline Protestant ones (Kathleen Norris excepted). Those are, unsurprisingly, markers of my own identity. As influential as their voices have been in my own self-understanding, I might be identifying with these authors more than I am being stretched by my listening in.”

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Cornelius Hill, Priest and Chief

“For many years, Hill served as both an organist and an interpreter for Episcopal services on the reservation. He believed that his serving as the sachem (chief) of his tribe and a member of church councils gave him a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the tribe and the white community.  He also considered that by becoming a deacon, that bridge might become even stronger between the two cultures. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1895 (July 27), and in 1903 he was made a priest, the first of his people to be so consecrated.  Hill spoke his ordination vows in his native Oneida language.”

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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