Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Our summer vacation ended last Thursday afternoon. Pam and I came back from the mountains with a friend to participate in the memorial service for Bill. Bill and Alice had been the co-founders of the Haiti Mission of Providence, a story that began with Bill's donation of a boat to the United Methodist Church's Board of Global Ministries. They sailed the boat to Haiti, and began a fishing program that met with utter failure. Along the way they discovered a need for medical mission among the underserved in northern Haiti. Alice went back to school and became a registered nurse. All of this was a good 27 years ago. In retirement they moved to Gloucester, Va. Since, hundreds and hundreds have made the journey to Cap Haitien, thousands of Haitians have received medical care, a full time staff of dedicated Haitians help the mission to function, and our folks go four times a year; I usually make the trip in January. You can learn more about Haiti in one of the links to the right. It was an honor to participate in Bill's service.


Most of our vacation in the mountains was dedicated to a renovation project, which my wife and two very good friends were able to complete that last weekend. There is something satisfying about doing something that involves a finished product, unlike ministry which is really ongoing and always changing to some extent (who can really say that an act of ministry is ever really finished?).


I preached on faith and globalization this past Sunday. The sermon should be posted soon at the PUMC website (link to the right). Some of initial feedback included 1) comments from those who appreciated the sermon 2) some who felt it was a bit theologically exclusive and 3) some who might have viewed the issue of immigration differently. I am grateful to the folks at Providence who listen pretty closely to what is said in the sermon, and who respond, sometimes in ways that surprise me.


I watched signficant portions of the three Godfather movies over this past weekend. These are truly remarkable films, and each time I see them I am convinced that Francis Ford Coppola is a genius. My favorite: Godfather II. This time I found myself focusing on 1) the role of the church and its ritual and 2) the opening and closing of doors (what is revealed and what is hidden).


I am currently reading Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler, who wrote River Town. Oracle Bones is a book about China (at this moment our older daughter is in Beijing), and it conveys the interplay between ancient and modern in that country, and some of the complexity of a really vast space on our planet. An insight from tonight's reading: the two primary faiths of China are materialism and nationalism (page 124)....Ponder that for a moment. Also, an interesting section on the destruction of hutongs, small courtyard homes, some of them hundreds of years old. Hessler, who writes for The New Yorker, had a fascinating piece recently in that publication on the Great Wall.


While on vacation in Waynesville I stopped in on the town's annual library sale, and purchased an almost new copy of the Book of Common Prayer for $1. I had somehow given my copy away or misplaced it a few years ago. I have been drawn back to the service of morning prayer (with the reading of a psalm), and to the service of committal for memorial services we have held the past few days. I am going to attempt to stay with it, in the hopes that it will provide me with some much needed structure in my spiritual life.


With the wish that you are experiencing renewal and rest this summer.


Blogger Gary said...

Since you obviously spend some time at the PC, you might find this site helpful:


It's an online version of Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours, which is a great resource.

I would think in combination with the Book of Common Prayer (many prayers appear in both) it would be very helpful.

Grace and Peace.

5:00 AM  

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