Last Sunday, I made a short journey to the town of Hillsboro, TX to serve as a supply priest for a small congregation of faithful Episcopalians. It also happened to be the First Sunday of Lent. It also happened to be the first Sunday after the latest incident of mass murder in the United States.
As I did not know the congregation that I was serving on Sunday, I chose to preach a sermon that addressed the question of guns and violence by way of metaphor. I wanted, no, I needed to say something about the issue of guns in the United States on this particular Sunday. I needed to say something about it because I have come to the conclusion that absolute freedoms around gun ownership and the failure to regulate types of weapons available for private purchase and ownership are sins of our time.
Yes, you read that correctly. I believe that unfettered, unregulated gun ownership is a sin. Continue reading →
The drone of the engines rumbled underneath pushing us across the pale, grey ocean. With each passing minute, the sun crept closer, and the once dark grey horizon of the ocean slowly began turning silver and then silvery white as the new dawn approached.
I turned to look out of the left side window, and as the sun broke the horizon of white waves of air, the sharp teeth of an unknown predator broke through the surface. The teeth continued to rise high above the waves beckoning us closer and closer as we sailed on towards our destination. The descent felt like it took forever. the jolt of the wheels on the pavement below awakened us all as we coasted towards the port of entry. As we rolled closer to the port, once glance outside the windows confirmed that we were now inside the mouth of those giant, silver teeth. As I peered out of the window, I looked upon a new horizon, a new land filled with new people. Though our journey was not at an end, the first landing in Bolivia brought us closer to meeting, and for some of us reuniting, with a group of children at Villa Amistad in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
The thing about arriving in a new land with new people is that you are not quite sure what they are going to teach you about life and about God. It is easy to have facile expectations and to overlook the real lessons of the journey when you go on a pilgrimage like the one we took to Bolivia. It is also easy to over simplify the lives of the people who you are visiting, and it is easy to make simplistic platitudes about the lives of the people you are meeting because their lives seem so much simpler than life in the United States. Of course, the challenge is to understand how life in a place like Bolivia is so much more challenging than life in the United States. The challenge is to look beyond the surface of the “simple” life in Bolivia and understand that it is simple not from choice but from scarcity of circumstances. Continue reading →