Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

Making real the joy of faith

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By A. Paul Feheley

 

This article first appeared in the April issue of the Anglican Journal.


 

Over the course of my life I have encountered adults for whom joy, wonder and the meaning of life have almost vanished. Often this comes from the anxieties that people face with issues ranging from financial instability and illness, to their grown children’s struggles to find employment, their aging parents’ clinging to the challenges of living alone and the painful decisions to be made about nursing homes or seniors’ residences. When these times of feeling lost occur, they inevitably have a distressing effect on people’s faith.

No one has simple answers to complex issues. Some will look to self-help books or the Internet for quick-fix solutions, but if it’s an infusion of joy and faith that’s needed, I would rather look into the hearts and lives of young children to find the answers to rediscovering life and belief in the divine. In all honesty, children have taught me more about faith than most textbooks or seminary training ever did. Two stories especially come to mind.

In one parish where I served we could not afford to buy the 14 Stations of the Cross that depict Christ’s journey, from his trial through his walking the Via Dolorosa and finally his entombment. Calling upon the talents of the whole parish, we cut 14 pieces of cardboard and labelled each with the name of the station. Adults and children both contributed, and created the station they had chosen by drawing, painting, gluing on fabric or making a collage on the cardboard.

One station in particular remains etched in my memory. A young girl chose the 13th station, in which the body of Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in his mother’s arms. In beautiful simplicity she drew Mary holding Jesus, but he was an infant— Michelangelo’s Pietà, seen through the eyes of a child. The love expressed in the weeping Mary, holding her son at perhaps the most painful moment of her life, was palpable. Through her art, the girl showed the deep meaning and sense of loss of the death of Christ. As the hymnist so aptly wrote, “did e’er such love and sorrow meet…” (“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” hymn 386, Common Praise).

A few years later, the children of another parish taught every adult in church on Easter day the meaning of faith. The children came to the chancel steps for the children’s chat. As they sat down, from within my vestments I drew out Barnaby Bunny, a beautifully crafted hand puppet that went halfway up my arm. Barnaby hadn’t been in church before, and it was the children’s task to tell him the Holy Week story. Enthusiastically, the children relived the Palm Sunday procession, the washing of the feet (or paws, as Barnaby asked) of Maundy Thursday and the crucifixion of our Lord on Good Friday.

Barnaby was placed in a large box as the children described Jesus being placed in the tomb. “Is that where the story ended?” I asked.

“No, no,” they shouted. “On Easter Jesus rose from the dead.”

I reached into the box and pulled out a live rabbit. The children’s joy was overwhelming as they giggled, gasped, screamed, laughed and hooted with excitement. One child just stared, saying over and over, “Bunny, bunny, bunny.” Their reaction to Barnaby’s becoming real was simple, honest and direct. On that Easter morn, they understood that faith is about being alive, and that joy and laughter are at the heart of it. To look into the soul of a child is to experience again what faith is.

 

Archdeacon A. Paul Feheley is interim managing editor of the Anglican Journal.

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Anglican Journal News, April 17, 2014

 

 

 
 

Eucharist-anchor

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leanne Alstad Tiessen

The Eucharist has become a kind of anchor for me—a reaffirmation of what my faith ‘boils down to’. Read more…

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Weekly update from The Community, April 16, 2014

 

I Told You Never to Call Me Here

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By The Rev. Jesse Dymond

“Are you answering work email?” I was. It was about 9:30, and my wife, son and I had just returned home from evening prayer. It been out the door shortly after 5am to prepare for a 7:30 meeting, and a day filled with the usual mix of church and communications. And she called me on it. Read more…

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Weekly update from The Community, April 16, 2014

Retreat!

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By The Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz

While a retreat may not be productive in the traditional sense, it is a beneficial time to re-focus, re-energise, and re-charge. It is a time to celebrate being instead of doing. Read more…

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Weekly update from The Community, April 4, 2014

Focus on the present to avoid a slump

Posted on: April 6th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Focus on the present to avoid a slump

In baseball, and arguably in life, a slump is a lack of results over a certain period of time. Big Think talks with Bob Tewksbury, director of player development for the Major League Baseball Players Association, about mental slumps — how we fall prey to them and how to overcome them.

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Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, April 3, 2014

Abp Welby: Anglican Communion sexuality decisions can mean African Christians suffer

Posted on: April 4th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Abp Welby: Anglican Communion sexuality decisions can mean African Christians suffer

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Anglican Communion News Service [ACNS], April 4, 2014

 

 

A mosaic of diversity: dancing with other faiths

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Allison Chubb

 

Campus life is a bright mosaic of human diversity, as varied as the wildflowers of Manitoba. On any walk down the hallway, I may encounter a Muslim student from Nigeria, a Buddhist from China, a Hindu from India, and a Roman Catholic from Brazil. And while this has required loss for our Anglican identity as a college, I wouldn’t trade the student mosaic for the world. Students once needed to take a class to learn about Judaism, but now all they need to do is cross the hall. Taoism used to be a foreign subject reserved for the Eastern enthusiast; now we sit and discuss it with practitioners at the lunch table. But in the midst of blooming diversity across campus, I am often confronted by the question of how to be wholly Christian while wholly engaged in respectful dialogue with others. I suspect it is a question as ancient as our faith.

I’m always rather disappointed when I encounter a person who has become so committed to interfaith dialogue that he or she ceases to be rooted in any tradition at all. In fact, I find the assertion that we “pretty much believe the same thing at the end of the day” remarkably unhelpful. I once had a conversation with a man wearing a Christian/Hindu necklace and found that he could neither offer wisdom from the Christian tradition nor the Hindu one, but only a thin spirituality which had greater faith in the goodness of humanity than the power of the Holy One. I left him feeling discouraged during a difficult time in my life because during times of pain and crisis the general goodness of humanity is not enough to cling to. What I needed then was the hope of a tradition with deep roots, nourished by the waters of wisdom passed from generation to generation.

And now I am faced with the mammoth task of being a Christian chaplain to people of other faith traditions. It is my experience that I can only minister faithfully to a Muslim student by being firmly and unashamedly rooted in my Christian tradition. It is true that the Muslim student and I have a great deal in common and can have fruitful dialogue about the work of God in our lives and in the world while hardly touching the differences in our religions. But never do I set aside my commitment to the Christian story or my identity as a minister of Christ.

There are two reasons for this approach. The first is that it is out of my Christian convictions that I engage in dialogue with other traditions in the first place. It is because I believe in a creative God who values diversity and created each human individual in the divine image. Because I believe in a Trinitarian God who is communal at the very core, I am driven to value community with people of other traditions. Because I believe that in the death and resurrection of Christ death was in fact overcome by life, I am compelled to pursue life-giving relationship with students of all faiths. To “set aside” such convictions would be to pull apart the very foundation for my engagement with the other.

The second reason I will never set aside my Christian identity in engagement with others is that I genuinely believe that we have much to learn from one another. My goal in dialoguing with people of other faiths is not to learn to get along (anyone could do that), but for my own faith to be enriched by the teaching of my friends. For example, I have learned a great deal about God from conversations with traditional Indigenous peoples who do not necessarily share my Christian faith. But it is only because I bring my faith with me into the conversation that I am able to authentically grow that same faith as it engages the other. This is undoubtedly hard work, but it is the only way to maintain the integrity of my faith and that of my conversation partner. If I do not bring the fullness of my faith to a conversation with another tradition, it is not truly interfaith dialogue. It is only two people of faith pretending not to be people of faith.

When I ask a Buddhist student about her prayer practices, I do not want her to explain only the bits that I can relate to as a Christian. I want to learn and understand her prayer in as much depth as I possibly can, and that requires her to trust me enough to bring the fullness of her tradition to the conversation. I have often caught myself bringing less than that, but students do not feel respected or understood when I set my faith aside to converse with them. Respectful dialogue requires that I bring my whole self to an encounter in which I expect to go away transformed by genuine interaction with the other. Perhaps, as we learn to bring more of ourselves to such conversations, we will be freed to accept the gift of challenge and growth from our friends in other faiths.

About Allison Chubb

Allison Chubb is a chaplain at St. John’s College at the University of Manitoba and a youth coordinator for new Canadians in downtown Winnipeg. She is particularly interested in how youth engage what Robert Webber called “ancient-future worship,” those rituals of old practiced in a postmodern context where a new generation finds itself searching for rootedness. She describes herself as “paid to hang out with God and hang out with people.” On the side she loves to create by cooking, gardening, crafting, and balloon-sculpting.

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Weekly update from The Community, March 28, 2014

 

Rick Warren starts church-based campaign against mental illness

Posted on: March 30th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Rick Warren starts church-based campaign against mental illness

The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee: Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, are launching a massive, church-based campaign against mental illness in America, pegged to the anniversary of their family tragedy.

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Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, March 28, 2014

You’re not as busy as you say you are

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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You’re not as busy as you say you are

Are you too busy? You should be, and you should let people know in a proud but exasperated tone, Hanna Rosin writes at Slate. Such weary complaints are more like fretful brags, and they are increasingly becoming the idiom of our age.

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Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, March 25, 2014

Bingo!

Posted on: March 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bingo Cards. Some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Deb Newsom (EverBlooming1). Sourced from Flickr

 

Bingo!

By The Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz

There are many bingo challenges that we participate in: books, cooking, crafts, event ice breakers. The gist is the same: try something new, try different ways of expression. Imagine if we were to try new things in out faith nurture the same way we’re willing to try new things in a bingo. Read more…

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Weekly update from The Community, March 22, 2014