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Category: The Magazine

Baptism without the Church by Charlotte Dalwood

Some—perhaps even most—baptized Christians might find the sacrament’s irreversibility reassuring, a source of hope during the darkest hours of the night. Nothing they do, nothing done to them, will ever separate them from Christ, into whose death and resurrection they were baptized. Nor will anything separate them from Christ’s body—the Church universal—of which the baptized are individual members.

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A Shipwrecked Faith | 1 Timothy 1:18-19 by The Rev. Dr. Nicole Foster

Imagine surviving a shipwreck. Imagine yourself feeling the fear of seeing the waves break apart pieces of ship, along with the sensation of sinking, of panic, and of gasping for air. Imagine losing not only your belongings, but also watching other people fight for their lives. Imagine nearly drowning, being washed ashore, or being rescued with barely an ounce of strength left. You’re traumatized, weather-beaten, and exhausted to the point of semi-consciousness.

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Deacons and Social Ministry: advocating, preaching, teaching, nagging, nurturing

Few have had a closer view of the ministry’s evolution than Sister Pamela Clare Magers of the Community of St. Francis, who has worked at the School for Deacons in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1982 and started teaching a course on “contemporary social issues” in 1984. Prior to the introduction of that course, the curriculum for the school focused on the educational topics required of priests, and the liturgical role of deacons serving at the altar.

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 Connections in Travel

I love these lines from a Prayer for Travel: “Lord, as I set off on my travels, I pray that You would be with me and remain close to me as my travel companion as I go on this journey, just as You walked with Your two disciples along the road after Your glorious resurrection. Fill my heart with Your peace and joy, and remove any anxious thoughts, I pray. Guide me Father, and keep me safe throughout my travels, even when I am passing through rough and difficult terrain.” When I was 15 and unpacking mementos from a souvenir shop, I never expected such resonant and recurring spiritual relationship. As it turns out, they were never alone, nor was I.

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My Most Unpopular Homily: Personal Essay by Terence Aditon

But that is where the happiness over my homily came to an end, because I said that as Christians, perhaps we should add a ritual to Valentine’s Day. Perhaps we should celebrate Agape as much as Eros, and follow the words of Our Lord, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to put aside anger and vengefulness in favor of the call Jesus made to us, who follow Him.

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Psalm Reader Part I: Confidence in God in the COVID Chaos, A word from Sri Lanka

When disaster hits, how can one remain fearless? The Psalmist’s faith is focused solely on God’s near presence and support, not on something remarkable in himself, his nation’s rulers, or the superpowers of his time. The entire Psalm has the same theme of trusting in God’s presence, support, and security for God is their refuge. It also emphasizes God’s existence and friendship with His people, and the Psalmist reveals the secret of his unwavering certainty and faith in God’s presence. The Psalm’s second section (vv. 4-8) starts by proclaiming the blessings of being in God’s presence (v. 4). The river that runs through Jerusalem brings joy to the city of God. In its metaphorical sense, the river denotes blessing, regeneration, harmony, and prosperity, with the river serving as a source of life.

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Holy Trinity is Holy Relationship (A Redistribution of Good Faith!)

If we believe that God sits high above us, on some judgment seat, pulling strings and ordering angels around, and acting impulsively and capriciously – well, the chances are that we ourselves will act like that. If we think that God just sits around getting angry and upset all the time – well, the chances are that we will act like that.
 
But, if we believe that God actually loves people – well, the chances are that we ourselves will love people, too. And, if we believe that God lives in holy and healthy relationship – well, the chances are that we ourselves will try to live in holy and healthy relationship.

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Peace in Jerusalem – Commentary by Steven Woolley

Deadly violence in Israel has erupted once again.  It’s captured the world’s attention, and with it aspersions are cast in angry self righteousness.  The Levant has been a whirlpool of contending peoples visiting war, famine and death on each another since the beginning of recorded history, so the current outbreak should not surprise anyone. 

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Humility in Power: The Ethiopian Eunuch

What is striking about the story in Acts, is that this powerful man, in a chariot, reading Isaiah, humbly said he could not understand, and needed someone to guide him. This was humility in its most pure and modest form.  Think how willing people are today to acknowledge what they don’t know. Think how often people resent someone who tries to teach something, however gently. A powerful man is assumed to be someone who knows the secrets to power, and is not assumed to be in need of a teacher. That is what makes the Ethiopian Eunuch a model for us all: true humility means we live the truth of who we really are, without pretension or deceit or false modesty. We acknowledge that there is wisdom greater than ours, and much to learn.

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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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