Rethinking Ordination

Our Book of Common Prayer tells us that only priests and bishops are ordained to “Absolve, Bless, and Consecrate” things. This is sometimes referred to as the “ABC theory of priesthood.” While this might give us a good operational delineation of the different things ordained clergy can do versus non-ordained laity, it has never felt like a good pointer for what clergy SHOULD be doing. At least not this clergy person.

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Helium and the Market

Helium, the upper right element on the periodic table. The first of the “rare gases” or “noble gases.”  Helium has two protons, two electrons and two neutrons. Its atomic weight is 4.0026. In case you are wondering, the extra .0026 mass is the rest mass of energy from nuclear spin and nuclear bonds. Pub chem gives us the basic scoop on Helium and compares it to “air” which is a mixture of elements. The most important property for Helium at STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure) is its density which is about 1/8 of air causing a Helium balloon to float in the air. Read more…


Off with their heads!

It seems like scarcely a week goes by without some statue being pulled down by a mob or some building being renamed or currency redesigned with a less morally fraught visage. The mob raises their fist in righteous indignation, “Thomas Jefferson was a bad person. He owned slaves. Pull him down.”

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fides quaerens intellectum (Faith Seeking Understanding)

Today, April 21, we commemorate Anselm of Canterbury on our church calendar. He is an 11th century Archbishop of Canterbury who served and quarreled with two English kings.  His motto of “faith seeking understanding” does not mean he hoped to replace faith with understanding. Anselm is the most significant theologian in the western church from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas, a span of 800 years. We would do well do consider his ideas.

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The Overview Effect

Ask any astronaut what the most awe-inspiring thing they observed in space and you will be surprised. It is not the utter blackness of outer space punctuated by brilliant points of light that never twinkle. It is not the moonrise or sunrise over the earth, it is in fact, the earth.  Astronauts who are sufficiently awed are said to be subject to the “Overview Effect” which is a cognitive shift in awareness caused by seeing firsthand the earth from outer space.

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The Eve of Destruction

In 1965, singer-songwriter Barry McGuire released his song the “Eve of Destruction” with lyrics that seem as applicable today as they were 55 years ago. China is sailing an aircraft carrier formation with jets and bombers flying over Taiwan. Russia is massing 80,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. Iran is enriching Uranium to near bomb-level concentration, Syria is a mess from proxy-wars, and Myanmar is approaching civil war. Climate refugees from hurricanes and droughts are streaming from Central America northward while U.S. politicians and trolls use the victims of a tragedy to score petty points.

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In Praise of Bishops

I write this the week before our new diocesan bishop arrives for a “visitation.” It might be helpful for us to review some things about the office of bishop in the Episcopal Church.

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Bald Eagles – the Canary in the Ecosystem

This is an update on the Law of Unintended Consequences which may not have originated with Murphy, but he certainly extended the Law into new places. Basically, in any given system, anything that can go wrong will, plus a few others.

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Rational Theology

For several years, I have relied upon a website as my go to place for in-depth and way out there etymology, history and theology. The commentators know the Jewish and Christian scriptures in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Syriac and Coptic. They are scholars and they are also physicists and mathematicians. Their insights connecting theology to modern science are often profound. Recently I learned that this collection of scholars and theologians are connected to a place called the “Center for Rational Theology” located in Belgrade, Serbia.

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Commemoration of Gregory, Apostle to Armenia, 280

Armenia is the first nation to become Christian, long before Constantine and the Roman Empire. Situated between the Roman Empire to the west and the Parthian (Persian) Empire to the east, Armenia has been a battleground for political and religious dominance throughout history. Gregory suffered torture and imprisonment when he returned in mission to the country of his birth. After a decade of severe treatment, he was consecrated the first bishop of Armenia.

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