Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On the Shoulders of Giants

About ten years ago, I spent the better part of a month in England, as a part of my Doctor of Ministry work through Wesley Theological Seminary. My area of focus was on John Wesley and the Poor – a program crafted, in no small part, by our resident bishop at the time, Ken Carder (who, by the by, will be at Saint John’s in January, 2008).

We studied in Birmingham and Oxford, and those sites served as hubs from which we visited numerous historic sites. One such site is pictured above. It is the tomb of John Wesley’s father, Samuel, just outside St. Andrew’s Parish Church, Epworth. Samuel was the rector of the Parish Church during the Wesley children’s childhood. It was at Epworth that the rectory burned, and the legendary, if not apocryphal saving of a young Jacky Wesley as a “brand plucked from the burning” took place.

Of all the things I saw during my time in England, nothing hit me so emotionally as this. I didn’t expect it. The abbreviated story goes something like this. John’s message of reform to the Anglican Church, and his methodical approach to living a life of faith, while finding favor with commoners and the masses, did not go over so well with the establishment. So much a threat was he, that the Church banned him from preaching in any of the pulpits across the land. No greater injury could there have been to him than to have his home parish do the same. But, just outside the Parish Church lay his father’s tomb – property of the family. And here, we have this historic portrait of John, without a pulpit, standing upon his father’s tomb to preach the Good News. It is upon the legacy of his father he himself now stood.

It’s a stirring account that grabbed me. I was reminded of those giants upon whose shoulders I stood – including my mom and dad – my family and friends – and it was in that moment I was reminded that no one’s vocation is theirs alone. It belongs to the network of all those life influences paving the way.

Now, here’s the cool part. In two weeks I’m going back to England. It’ll be a quick tour of the country, with all the major Methodist historic sites a part of the itinerary. And while I would prefer to have much more time at various parts of the tour than others, I was thrilled to see St. Andrew’s, Epworth on the itinerary. Because this time, when I get there, standing beside me will be my own father.

And I wonder if the moment will grab him as it did me – and if he’ll reflect upon the giants upon whose shoulders he has stood as he sought to live out God’s call for his life. To stand there with him will be, I suspect, one of those “circle of life” moments I feel sure I’ll long cherish just as I do the first time I stood there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

JC - Update - THE WALL

- .1

Are you kidding me? .1?

Is this where my age is catching up?

No worries - still plugging.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Check and Balance Time

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
No ad hominem attacks on the President for his Constitutional choice to veto the bipartisan SCHIP bill in which 10 million children would receive health care - (although it is tempting, very tempting).

Rather, it's just this simple - in recent memory, rarely has it been the case that a bill has arisen having broad support on both sides of the aisle about an issue constructed for the common good.

In a time when every measure of the Constitution has been diluted to a pale reflection at best, and mockery at the worst - here is a moment written by the framers, for the the government of, for and by the people to have their word heard at the last.

Contact your Senator and Congressperson and insist on a Congressional override of the veto, and that their decision to either stand with or against our children will not be forgotten.

2-5For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me. 6-7"But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don't have to make it worse—and it's doomsday to you if you do. Matthew 18.2-7 from THE MESSAGE

Monday, October 01, 2007

Why My Previous Post Is Petty and Worthy of Judgement

Classes canceled after U of M football player murdered on campus - News

Taylor Bradford Bio - News