The Future for Jesus

September 20, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 17th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 20 
Proverbs 31:10-31; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8; Mark 9:30-37

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

PChPT_AndrewDoyle_1This past Friday I spent the morning at All Saints, in Atlanta. Bishop Andy Doyle was there – he’s the bishop from my home diocese in Texas. He was talking about his new book: Church: A Generous Community Amplified for the Future.

Pointing to the future, he shared a couple of videos. These videos included images like self-driving cars, and 3-D printers that not only create parts for cars, but implantable organs for our bodies. driverlesscarsWe saw integrated technologies that anticipate our every need, and a tube-passenger train that gets us from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Some of these futuristic imaginings are already underway, while others are only in their early stages – but all could be viable in the next fifty years.

24264D6F00000578-2879730-image-a-1_1418938968877Bishop Doyle pointed out that the business world thinks a lot about the future. It looks at current trends and considers shifts in cultural behavior. From there, it explores the possibilities of what is needed to meet future needs, and then begins to lead society in a direction of what the next reality will look like for us.

In our time together, Bishop Doyle challenged us, as clergy, to do some of this same kind of future-looking work in the church. He pointed out that the church isn’t historically good at this kind of future-looking work, which is probably true. But, I don’t think this is unique to our generation. I don’t even think it’s unique to Christianity. We get a sense of how difficult making shifts to new things can be, even 2000 years ago, when Jesus came to start a new thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 15th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 18 
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:10-17; Mark 7:24-37

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

When I was a young girl, probably in 6th or 7th grade, I wanted to be an acolyte at my church. Unfortunately our church didn’t let girls be acolytes. It wasn’t a matter of church policy, just that the man who trained the acolytes said that he’d only let boys be acolytes. He wouldn’t train girls, so they weren’t allowed.

monkimage-cropI’m not sure why he set this boundary – whether he had a deeply held theological conviction about gender roles in the church; or maybe he just found it easier to work with boys – maybe girls required a different teaching style; perhaps he thought girls weren’t up to the task of lighting candles, or carrying crosses and flags and such; or maybe it was just the way it was when he was growing up, so he wanted it to stay that way. I really don’t know why he held fast to this boundary – that only boys could be acolytes – I just knew that he was in charge, he set the rules, and no one was asking him to let girls in.

Then, one day, I’m not sure how it happened, a few of us girls told our Youth Minister, Steve, that we wanted to be acolytes. He was pretty new to the church, and didn’t see any problem with it, so he trained us. While we still couldn’t acolyte on Sunday morning, we could come to either of the two weekday Eucharist services and acolyte there. This meant waking up very early on Wednesday mornings during the summer so we could help at the 7am Eucharist. That’s how determined we were.

Read the rest of this entry »

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