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Category: The Magazine

Fragments on Fragments #26: Being Human in a Pandemic

Still more is it impossible to grasp the wholeness of a human being in their manifold complexity. Yes, we can understand some parts pretty well, and Western science has come an extraordinarily long way in understanding how bodies work, but each individual’s uniqueness means that even where we know the most, there is a vast amount more to discover. Faiths and philosophies around the world have explored the deep spiritual waters of the human soul, without any signs as yet of plumbing the depths.

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Ron Beathard: Holy Simplicity

A farmer once told me that, when plowing a field, he can both feel and hear differences when the plow crosses an old, forgotten, unmarked grave.  Perhaps, like the farmer’s knowing plow, differences can be felt here sitting on the ground in a Shaker cemetery.  Should I be kneeling?

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Dr. David C. McDuffie: We the People of the Episcopal Church

While the Gospel is not a political platform, it is a radical message of inclusion with political implications.  For example, women’s equality, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, protections for the poor and marginalized are all important political issues, but they are also at the heart of the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus that has been passed down to us through our tradition is thoroughly progressive, not in terms of lining up perfectly with a political platform but in seeking to ever expand the circle of community and equality.  In the United States, a move toward greater equality in all of these vital issues has been achieved either directly through the voting process or through legislative and judicial decisions built upon a foundational commitment to democratic elections.  

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From the Daily Sip: Leaving a mark

We all want to “make our mark” on the soft clay of our lives and the lives of others.  The word “humble” comes from the word “humus” or “earth.”  To be in the mud – the dirt – the clay, is a humble place. You should see the mess I make after a day of making 50 tea bowls – clay in my hair, on my glasses, under my fingernails, all over my clothes.

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Fragments on Fragments #25: Being Human in a Pandemic

It’s not possible for society to remain in lockdown indefinitely, either economically or psychologically, even if that might be the perfect solution for protecting the most vulnerable. But neither is it in the least OK to write off those who will be most at risk for the benefit of the economy and those who want to get back to normal and take the risk.

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Fragments on Fragments #24: Being Human in a Pandemic

It’s a tricky balancing act: offering the emotional support that others need, without colluding with opinions which are untrue or unkind. I wouldn’t claim to have got it right. But Heraclitus encourages me that the effort is worth making. Searching for truth will always involve disagreement, and especially in turbulent times. And with so much falsehood around, it’s all the more important.

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From the Daily Sip: It’s Dangerous

Stuck in a tiny home in a real pandemic in Christmas week, I have found solace in good food and tv.  Again, not high-brow, but real, honest, more comforting than some lofty sermon by some clergy caricature. ‘Nuff said.

Watching a tv adaptation of The Stand this week, I heard one line spoken by the protagonist whose fight is not just to stay alive, but to find others and to discern evil from good.  He said, “It’s dangerous being a prophet; especially in times of upheaval.” 

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Fragments on Fragments #23: Being Human in a Pandemic

One thing at least we should get from Heraclitus, which is backed up by human experience: peace is hard work. It’s not what naturally happens when we just stop being nasty to each other. If there is an alternative to a world built on a balance of competing opposites, it is one built on patient peace-making. I hope for a harmony which comes from people realising that their different needs are not dissonances but resonances.

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Fragments from Fragments #22: Being Human in a Pandemic

It may be worth taking a moment to reflect on how your worldview has changed during 2020. I doubt if many people have decided on the basis of this year that the world is more ordered and harmonious than they had thought. Many will probably have moved in the opposite direction. If your view has changed, and you think rightly, it’s probably worth recognising explicitly that it has, and what has caused it. Or if you feel you have been pushed away from what you truly believe by the pandemic and its effects, it’s all the more important to rediscover what you truly believe.

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From the Daily Sip: Gingerbread Martinis

But today I am old enough and have lived in the church long enough to realize that the key to being content is not hard work, nor wealth, nor liturgies, nor the gear that comes with titles – nor titles at all.  No, really the way to achieve contentment is to lower one’s standards.  I mean, not too terribly low.  Just low enough to stave off perpetual exhaustion and ecclesial tantrums.

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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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