Archive for August, 2018

A Great Episcopalian

Monday, August 27th, 2018

While John McCain attended a Baptist church with his wife, he never officially left the Episcopal Church in which he was raised. He often spoke of his faith in God, especially as it helped him to endure the long years in the brutal Hanoi prison.

Moreover, McCain’s funeral will be held in the National Cathedral, which is of course Episcopalian.

So I am going to claim him for our church–as an example of courage, generosity, openness, unselfishness, and just plain niceness. All Christians and other people of faith can be encouraged by his example.

A great Episcopalian. While he was only tangentially an Episcopalian, he was unquestionably great. —J. Douglas Ousley


This is the Day…

Monday, August 20th, 2018

This morning, our organist, Levente Medveczky underwent surgery for the second time in two weeks. While we are hopeful he will eventually return to work, he looks to have a substantial recovery ahead of him.

Scarcely a month ago, Levente was doing fine. Life was going well; he was 27-years-old and off to China to given organ lessons.

Now his mother and brother have journeyed from Hungary to care for him and help him to make medical decisions for his future treatments.

The opening for Morning Prayer in Easter Season is, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice in it.” As we remember that health is a gift and each day was made by God, let us also remember to rejoice and give thanks for the time we have before us. —J. Douglas Ousley


God’s Sense of Humor

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

I had written a sermon that I had been thinking about for a couple of months; it was on the text, “Do not let the sun go down upon your anger.”

Sure enough, the day before the sermon, I got into an argument with a friend. I was furious–in fact, I was furious all the way through Sunday, during which time I gave three versions of a sermon on how Christians should deal with their anger.

I am by no means sure that God intended the coincidence of argument and sermon. But I am sure that, for me, this was a teaching moment!

I made it up with my friend. And I will not be surprised in the future to see if I again think that God has a sense of humor. —J. Douglas Ousley


Showing Up

Monday, August 6th, 2018

A recent article in the Church Times of London noted that many recent marketing schemes for the Church of England have failed. The author, Richard Nicholl suggested that instead of trying to attract new members with gimmicky campaigns, they should learn from companies like Facebook and Amazon–which never need to advertise.

First, like these companies, the church needs to show that “everyone else is in on it.” That means, says Nicholl, that those who are already members have to show up “every week, preferably without fail…It is existential. Just as ‘everyone else’ is on Facebook, ‘everyone else’ should be at church. We have an obligation to the Church and to one another…” The least we can do is show up.

Second, the Church “must, above all, be somewhere that people feel obliged to go, but do not resent attending.” As Nicholl sees it, this is not the same thing as being a place people want to go. Churches are so diverse that people will always find them a bit difficult. But if the liturgy is regular and familiar and there are other attractive programs, we will be able to participate regularly and faithfully–as Nicholl says, to “do what you know in your heart that you have to do.” —J. Douglas Ousley