Archive for November, 2016

Time for a Break

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The reality is still sinking in and people are still in tears over the election.

All the more reason to give thanks on this most congenial of holidays. We might remember the legend that the Pilgrims shared the first thanksgiving with Indian neighbors. Whether this really happened or not, the idea is a nice part of our heritage. There can have been few greater cultural barriers at that time than between the transplanted English and the Native Americans. A hopeful thought for the future…–J. Douglas Ousley


A Pastoral Letter Concerning the 2016 Election

Friday, November 18th, 2016

A Pastoral Letter Concerning the 2016 Election

 

To the Incarnation Family:

 

A member of the congregation in his thirties recently told me that he felt the recent presidential election was one of the worst things that has happened to America in his lifeline, equal to the attacks of 9/11. I can’t myself remember receiving so many emails and personal expressions of worry and outrage.

 

Since I have avoided talking politics from the pulpit, and I have kept my own ballot choice to myself, I have received comments from supporters of both candidates. While supporters of Hillary Clinton are the most outspoken in their fears for the future, I have also received confidential comments from supporters Donald Trump that are also apprehensive about what will happen to our country.

 

In most cases, supporters of one candidate can’t comprehend how any Christian could possibly support the other candidate. Many people have contended that the Church should take sides—as the Episcopal Church supported the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and as it continues to denounce racism in our society today.

 

We can all agree that racism, misogyny, and xenophobia are social evils. We can also agree that the President-elect cannot be charged with these evils until he has been inaugurated and begun to exercise his power. So we are really concerned now that no decisions be made for the future that will make it hard later for the new government to govern justly for all the American people.

 

A number of Christians have marched or otherwise protested the election results; that’s probably not a bad thing, as it reminds those coming into power that a lot of people didn’t vote for them—holding their feet to the fire, as it were.

 

In the meantime, I believe it’s important for everyone to realize that there are decent and honorable Christians on both sides of this election. And it’s the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the new government upholds the ideals upon which our nation was founded.

 

Finally, we can all pray that God will bless America.

 

Yours faithfully,

The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

Rector

Church of the Incarnation


My Experience in Trump Tower

Friday, November 11th, 2016

One hot summer day, some years ago, I was walking through the lobby of Trump Tower, cooling off on my way to Central Park.

Suddenly, I heard a shriek! I looked down at the lower level of the lobby and saw Donald Trump himself , striding across on his way to an elevator. The scream came from a woman in what was obviously a group of tourists; the lady, clad in a pink pants suit, was overcome with excitement at seeing in person the reality TV star.

Being one of the many New Yorkers who at that time didn’t appreciate Mr. Trump’s star quality, I was bemused at the attention he got. (He cheerily waved back at the woman, then proceeded on about his business.) Little did I know then that the American Heartland’s attraction to Mr. Trump would one day propel him into the White House. —J. Douglas Ousley


Apocalypse Soon?

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Apocalyptic thinking is found throughout the Bible. The Old Testament prophets foretell future doom, as do all the New Testament writers and Jesus himself. According to these witnesses, when God’s judgment arrives, sinners won’t be pleased.

So the electoral apocalypse predicted by social commentators on the left and right has some spiritual roots. One example is the worry that President Trump would outlaw abortion and align himself with Russia. Another is the perceived threat that President Clinton would curtail religious freedom and undermine family values.

I agree that this election raises issues of enormous consequence. But I don’t believe the Apocalypse is imminent. Christians are often overly prone to catastrophic thinking. It’s better to live in hope. The End of Time has often been predicted. My own view (and prayer) is that God will continue to bless America. —J. Douglas Ousley