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Category: The Magazine

Personal Essay: Stephanie Painter

As a kid growing up in church, I experienced the Sunday morning matinee of miseries. My woes included a hard and unforgiving church pew, unbearably tight Mary Jane shoes, and a droning sermon that I never quite understood. After the service, I would take flight, turning my patent leather atrocities into streamlined track shoes as I raced for the church’s playground. But my vigilant mother always swooped in and steered me toward the line in the narthex.

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Fragments on Fragments #40: Being Human in a Pandemic

Now is the time. The place in which we are living, this moment which is always passing away, this present is the time to make the choice. Not usually a significant or life-changing choice, but in every moment in which we are awake we are continually choosing how we will live our lives.

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Fragments on Fragments #39: Being Human in a Pandemic

In a world full of lies, half-truths and spin, discerning the truth is hard work. None of us should believe we can do it on our own; multiple perspectives can reveal more than any one of us on our own. But if we can honestly bring into conversation what we see of the truth, and also bring in the possibility that we might need to change our own minds, we’ve got a good chance. Otherwise we might outsmart ourselves to death.

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Glaze as Gauze

The other day, as I was glazing bread bowls in a stormy blue glaze with a line of glazed pots on the shelf by the glaze buckets, I dropped a mug into the Stellar Rust glaze which then splashed all over the blue bread bowl.  I let out a few bad words, aware that now I had to wash the entire bowl and start again after a few days of drying -delayed now for some other firing.

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Fragments on Fragments #38: Being Human in a Pandemic

The churches have, slowly in the case of mine, woken up to the fact that everyone is gifted, though we’re still not good at living out that belief. Too much tradition has built up around believing that certain groups of people were the only ones to listen to (bishops, sometimes). But that is not the root of the Christian tradition. It is fundamental to my faith that all people are equally loved by God, and that all those who are disciples of Christ are equally his brothers and sisters.

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Fragments on Fragments #37: Being Human in a Pandemic

Wisdom is part of the divine, so it is beyond us, but also woven into the fabric of the world which God created. Because it is part of God’s created order, wisdom is not morally neutral: true wisdom is integrally linked with righteous living.

“Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;

   and to depart from evil is understanding.”

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We, in the West, do not like to let go of things.  This is proven by the storage industry. Last year alone, Americans spent $38 billion on self-storage – to store things they wanted to keep, but did not want to see, use or touch. Hmm. What could $38 billion, used differently do?

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Lord Have Mercy

The process of repentance draws us back

            against our will,

            wanting cheer, not sadness –

But like the cartoon spectre,

            it waits and knows

            surrender to memory will come.

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Advocating for Advocacy: Deacon Jason Burns

The causes of mental illness range from biological to environmental and everything in between. My own anxiety issues are biological, it is literally a part of my DNA and because of the wonders of modern medicine my illness is in check, at least most of the time. There was a time when I refused to acknowledge that I was struggling, but with time accepted it and asked for help.

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How do we observe Lent when the whole year has been Lent?


Someone once said that the best way to predict the future is to be the future, to live in such a way that you are being the very future you want. The same is true about Easter, and Resurrection, and New Life: the best way to experience Easter is to act as if Easter is already here. That’s what Lent can be about; it can be about living into Easter, acting in ways that bring new life to ourselves and to the world, whatever our present hindrances may be.

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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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