Archive for January, 2018

Money Matters

Friday, January 26th, 2018

As our Stewardship 2018 campaign winds down, parishioners have their final opportunity to think about what they plan to give to our church this year.

While I tend myself to be pretty traditional, striving for a tithe (10%) or more of my salary, I recognize that there are many ways to look at stewardship. The Spirit of God moves people in different ways.

That said, I also recognize that many of my colleagues are much more doctrinaire about tithing. They believe that God has high expectations of all of us. To them, the signed pledge card and proportional giving should be the norm.

However we think of these issues ourselves, there is no doubt that in the realm of the Spirit, money matters. —J. Douglas Ousley

Talking Points

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

At the Annual Meeting of the Parish on Sunday, I expressed a wish that the Church–specifically, our parish–could provide a safe place where Christians with strong conflicting opinions about politics might discuss their differences.

At least three parishioners have left Incarnation because they were uncomfortable with the liberal political stances of the national Episcopal Church. In each case, I urged them to stick around, assuring them that our parish includes conservatives as well as liberals. But they still felt they couldn’t remain at Incarnation.

As we see even North and South Koreans to be talking to each other, is it too much to hope that Episcopalian Christians could find enough in common that they could put their differences aside long enough to talk to each other? —J. Douglas Ousley

Words and Bits

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

By coincidence, I preached on Sunday about the power and the burden of all the words in our culture. The next day, I heard a fascinating talk given to the Men’s Group by a banker about bitcoins.

While words and bits are vastly different, they are similar in that they are our major means of communication. Furthermore, they are now conveyed electronically in ways our pre-computer forebears would never have imagined.

Bitcoin was originally conceived as a fraud-proof way of exchanging money; it’s now of course a focus of speculation and likely money-laundering. And of course many of the abusers in the news got in trouble through what they said.

All the more reason to seek honesty in our speech and in the use of our computers. Only then will the truth make us free. —J. Douglas Ousley

Ringing in the New

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Last week, the Wall Street Journal carried three pieces that gave advice on making New Year’s resolutions. Most of the advice was common sensical; for example, if you make your vows public, you’re more likely to keep them.

Many of the ideas presented are applicable to spiritual resolutions. For instance, making manageable vows in the first place–like a reasonable amount of daily prayer–will allow one to keep them.

Also pertinent to both secular and religious life is the difficulty of governing our unruly inner lives. Whatever we decide to do for the sake of body and soul, the word, “resolution” is key. We need to resolve that we will change! —J. Douglas Ousley