January 2012

Preached (without any notes at all) about evangelism and spiritual direction this morning.

Talked about how we all have had bad experiences of being evangelized that color how we think about what many Episcopalians refer to as the “E’ word.  I shared how in college some guy came on campus talking about the pigs and the Christians (are you a Christian, or are you a pig?) …  After a couple of minutes of this I left.  But not before telling the speaker that I considered myself a Christian.  And for the first time in my life he had made me embarrassed to admit it.  (Two people in the congregation had had good, as well as bad experiences of being evangelized.  Everyone had bad experiences.) (more…)

In one of my books on the lives of saints, which I usually read in conjunction with the daily office, Mary Slessor was commemorated.  She was a woman born into a working class Presbyterian family in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1848.  In 1875 she went as a teacher to a mission in Calabar, Nigeria, where she served until her death in 1915.  What struck me was a couple of  phrases from Richard Symonds’ “Above Rubies” (about her life):  “Partly as a result of her lack of formal education, particularly in Presbyterian theology, Mary Slessor took a broad-minded view of local a beliefs and customs when she arrived in Calabar, and as a result acquired an unusual understanding of them.”  “Mary Slessor’s religion is quite as interesting as the work which it inspired.  Although she recollected that as a girl ‘hell fire’ had driven her into the kingdom, she found it a kingdom of love and tenderness and mercy, and never sought to bring anyone into it by shock.  ‘Fear is not worship,’ she said, ‘nor does it honor God.'” (more…)