Friday, September 26, 2008

conservation of the soul

In the midst of what some call an economic meltdown the Outdoor Channel just ran an advertisement for the country of Costa Rica. They showed volunteers out on the sandy beach bagging up sea turtle eggs to be transported to a hatchery. The program has been going on for decades, and has literally brought back the leatherback turtle from the brink of extinction--laudable work that I believe in.

Maybe in the midst of the turmoil there is some altruism out there after all. Maybe that's the only solution we really have in the long run.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There's a lot of controversy flying around these days about the government bail-out of AIG. One commentator said that now the Federal Government is in the insurance business. The Federal Government is in the insurance business anyway. It's supposed to ensure the freedom for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In pursuing this end it has done what another pointed out--that this is a loan, not a gift, and that it will be repayed. The government will own AIG for a while, but it will not run it (thank God!)

That leads me to my real comment. The reason the government sees fit to intervene in this situation is that such financial giants as AIG and Merril Lynch have such influence over the economy of the globe that they must be maintained in place lest the economic earthquake at their collapse send the world economy into a tail-spin. That, for me, is a scary thought. Their very existence is the tiger's tail, and we've got hold of it with both fists. We watch our government like a hawk lest one party amass too much power. Our whole system of government is supposed to live by a system of checks and balances. Yet apparently our economic system does not bear such scrutiny. I believe in a free market, but when another's freedom to make unwise investment choices shakes the world's economic security perhaps things are a little out of whack. If we go on in this direction soon it will be more important who your employer is than what passport you bear. We will no longer belong to the Republic of these United States of America, but to Exxon-Mobile or Citibank.

Perhaps it is best in times like these to remember that as a believer my primary citizenship belongs in a kingdom whose king bought my allegiance with his life, in whose realm the greatest is the servant of all, and whose greatest strength is the power of selfless love.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday School

Today was the first day of Sunday School for the fall semester at St. Christopher's, Killeen. We had a great turn-out. Oh, by Baptist standards 25% of our Sunday attendance is probably nothing to crow about, but for Episcopalians it was a fine showing. 82 people between the ages of a few months to many decades filed into a line-up of classrooms to study our faith under a variety of tutors and teachers. I find a deep satisfaction in my soul even now, at the end of the day.

Two things occur to me to mention.

1. Someone said, "This is how St. C's should be." She was harking back to some time in the past when Christian Education was a high priority not only by the leadership, but by the congregation. We had drifted from that mooring, and it was good to get back. But I take her words differently. This is how it should be regardless of any past experience. Episcopalians are notoriously uneducated about our faith, and that is not a good thing. 82 people began doing something about it this morning, and I cannot commend them highly enough.

2. Be aware of the predictable ebb and flow of energy. Right now it's all a wondrous new thing, and we're all excited about it. But if we are truly going to learn the faith we must still have 82 people in Sunday School in three months, and six months, and in a year's time. Even now in the midst of the euphoria let us commit to the perseverance necessary to let these instructional hours truly began to transform our lives. There will be good lessons and not so good ones, great days and not so great days, but the true student of the faith looks to the material to be gained, not at the quality of teaching on any one day to determine their continued commitment. One of our Core Values is education. Let's make this year the year of education, how about it?

Monday, September 1, 2008


Perhaps we learned something from Katrina after all. Gustav hit the Gulf coast and went pop, downgraded to a Category 1 within hours of making landfall. But in view of what it promised to be at least one pro football game kick-off time got advanced, and a New Kid on the Block concert got postponed. Even the Republican Party Convention took on a more somber tone due to Gustav. Evacuation announcements made the news, but not the evacuations themselves. So how long before we forget? Probably as long as it takes people to elect politicians for other reasons rather than these.

Today was Labor Day, on which very few of us really labored at our jobs. Congratulations to the American Laborer who works with dignity and integrity--may he or she always be compensated justly. But in another way we all labor--we labor not to forget the important things even when they are no longer urgent. We labor to keep in mind the significant things even when they are not in the news. We labor to keep heavenly things before us, even when all around we see earth.