Our diocese is trying to do something new with what we used to call stewardship.  We’re trying to focus on what we have to be grateful for — all of which comes, of course, from G0d.

I have to admit that I have a real tendency to notice what I do not have, particularly if I used to have it, and often do not pay nearly so much attention to what I do have.  Which is a lot.  And I find this to be true whether I’m looking at money or youth or health or things.  I know I have a lot (a whole lot compared to the rest of the world as a whole).  And I still often notice more what I do not have.  I suspect there are some other people like me out there.  I think our culture trains us this way. (more…)

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I have mixed reactions to yesterdays election results.

On the one hand, the whole budget process is a mess.  I think the system is broken.  And I don’t think the propositions that failed yesterday would have fixed things.  I also understand that people are angry (and why they are angry).  I’m angry too.

On the other hand, I think we just put a lot more people out of work (and lost a lot more services).  A lot of that was going to happen anyway.  But more of that will happen now.

My wife is a teacher, so she could be inpacted.  People at church work for the state, so they may be impacted.  And the extra job losses will impact everyone (and likely delay our economic recovery).

That’s my take, anyway.  It might be worth it if the system was fixed.  I see no signs that will happen.  Instead, I see fewer jobs and fewer services.  And the likelyhood that we will tend to write off the needs of those who are marginalized.  Biblically, I’d say that’s a challenge for all of us.

I loved Brian Baker’s little Lent/Easter meditation that accompanied Trinity Cathedral’s Easter Appeal:

I do not know if it is exactly accurate for me to say I “enjoy” Lent.  I appreciate and need Lent.  It is an important time for introspection.  Lent invites me to re-focus my time, my priorities – my life.  I feel like we, in the United States, have been experiencing a communal Lent.  Faced with the economic crisis and general anxiety about the state of our world, many of us are stepping away from unconscious shopping and are rethinking our priorities.  There are also many of us who are facing personal financial loss. (more…)

Speaking of things I missed, Derek Olsen on Episcopal Cafe offers just that reflection.  Given that my son in law is laid off (and my daughter, married to him, is unemployed) I find this of real interest.  You can read what he has to say here.

Brother Adam has posted again! It’s his Ash Wednesday reflection for his community.  At one point he says:

In a way, then, Lent calls us to be “normal” — to remember our nature, that we are part of the earth and not lords of it, to remember our contingency and how close we are to death when we are in life. Such remembering also gives us a strong sense of the value of simple things, of nourishing food, of an unexpected kindness, of the usefulness of practical skills that can prolong our lives if we find ourselves shut out of what we had before and wandering without knowing what is next. It might give us a little more respect for the poor of our own time, whose survival skills might be worth studying. The current urgency may call forth skills we did not know we need.

Anyway, if you want to see more, click here.

My friend Jim Richardson links to a report by the Commonwealth and Voices of Virginia Children that predicts how the recession will hit the poor in Virginia and invites everyone to watch Oprah today where the ministry of Loaves and Fishes in Sacramento will be featured.  You can see both here.

My younger daughter called last night from Wichita. Yesterday, her husband, an aeronautical engineer, was laid off. They laid off all the contract workers, and thousands of the employees. This follows an earlier round of layoffs. The employees got two months pay. The contract workers got nothing. All of them were told to take their stuff as they left (and don’t come back). Glenn was a contract worker. Audrey is not employed. I have no idea what they are going to do.

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