Here's an essay recently published on a website I like very much. Kairos Journal is a magazine exclusively for pastors, and takes advantage of the ubiquity of the Internet to reach and equip them all over the world. (When we were in southern Turkey summer before last, we saw people living literally in mud huts, beehive-shaped homes made of mud, just as their families had continually, for millennia. Women were forming cow manure into disks to use for fuel. But those very huts had solar panels and satellite dishes. They can get TV signals and the Internet. Everyone has cell phones. They have skipped entirely over the 20th century and gone straight to the wireless age.)
What I like about Kairos is the clever way it is designed. There are four categories, "Biblical Reference," "Quotations and Writings," "Historical Precedents," and "Current Trends." If you pursue a topic in any of these, links will connect you to the same topic in the other departments. Excellent for planning sermons.
Kairos is free for pastors. The editor says, <<We would love for your pastors to subscribe to Kairos Journal. All they have to do is go to the kairosjournal.org home page, and click on “register with us.” It will take them through a brief registration process, at which point we will confirm and assign them a password. >>
Kairos recently held an awards banquet in New York, where they honored four Anglican Archbishops who have bravely defended the faith. Soon after I was having a phone conversation with one of K's founders, and she encouraged me to write up what I told her aout my own family's process of stepping out in faith. This was published as a Kairos "Insight" feature.
The Blessings of Stepping Out on Faith in Ministry
In 1991, my husband I made a difficult decision to leave our denomination for theological reasons. It was, for us, a matter of integrity. Bishops were denying the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, and other basic tenets of the faith. After twenty years in the Episcopal church, first with both of us in seminary, and then with
Making this decision was the easy part, compared with putting it into action.
I prayed that God would give us a few other families to go with us. I prayed, specifically, for ten. I figured that ten tithers would make one income. If only ten tithing families joined us to start our new parish, we could stay afloat.
Well, God gave us five. We were at a time of testing. We moved out of our lovely house in a photogenic Victorian town west of Baltimore, and into the city itself, to a neighborhood that the newspaper euphemistically described as "lower middle class" in an article about a murder on our street. Drug dealers stood on the corner. Women had screaming fights below my bedroom window. A bicycle unattended was a bicycle stolen. Every month, our savings account dipped a little lower.
That was almost thirteen years ago. If today you visit our parish, Holy Cross, you'll see a small stone building crammed to the walls, filled mostly with young people, college students and families with young children. The congregation is expanding so vigorously that we think it's time to start another mission.
It was scary to step out in faith. We gave up almost everything, and risked even more. We found that this willingness to risk led to blessings we did not anticipate. We experienced the joy of being able to worship in freedom, without hovering fear of authorities elsewhere distorting the faith and misusing their powers. We learned to think of bishops, amazingly enough, as godly men who love their people and lead them in integrity. We were able to concentrate on drawing closer to the Lord and being transformed by him, rather than exhausting our spirits with controversies. (Sadly, I see some of those who chose to "stay-and-fight" being changed over the years: some are debilitated, while others have developed an unhealthy taste for the thrill of conflict.)
But the greatest, and least expected, gift was the effect this step had on our children. They saw that their dad was doing something because it was a matter of integrity. They saw that he had resolved to step out in faith and do what he felt the Lord was calling him to do, for a matter of principle. And they saw that he was scared. It's true: courage is not "not being scared," it's "being scared and doing it anyway." For our kids, their dad was revealed as a real hero. This was at a point in their growth when many children are forming the opposite view of their parents. It is at least partly due to this example, I believe, that all of them are strong Christians today, and with their spouses are raising our six (so far) grandchildren in the love and fear of the Lord.
Many reading this are caught in a moment of decision similar to the one my husband and I faced years ago. God will have to guide you to make the right choice in your own situation. But know this: he is faithful, and he does provide. When things look bleakest is exactly when he does his greatest miracles. That's what it was like in the dark, chilly hours before dawn when Jesus did, despite what some bishops say, truly rise from the dead.
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