A Dangerous Prayer

You may have heard of the decision by a film distributor in the UK not to screen a short video featuring the Lord’s Prayer before the new Star Wars movie this December because some viewers may find it offensive. You may have also heard how this business decision has been received. You may not have heard from the Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, who considers why the powers and principalities have good reason take offense. Perhaps it’s a worthy reminder of the subversiveness inherent in faithfully observing the season of Advent.

Women and children among Syrian refugees striking at the platform of Budapest Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 4 September 2015.

Strangers and Aliens

In the wake of the Paris attacks last week, a majority of US governors have stated they will not permit the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their respective states. Several 2016 presidential hopefuls propose barring all Syrian immigrants or selectively admitting only Christian refugees.

It may seem odd that descendants of immigrants and refugees should so forcefully oppose welcoming immigrants and refugees, but here, too, there is nothing new under the sun. Read more


Pope Francis in America

In September, the news industry lavished attention on Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Now, autumn has settled in and news outlets have returned to the usual suspects: politics, sports, and turning a profit for the holidays. EP endorser Barry Harvey reflects:

A few weeks ago I received an email asking if I would like to contribute a brief reflection on the Ekklesia Project website on the significance of Pope Francis’s recent visit to North America. I was particularly intrigued by one of the questions in the email that served as a prompt: “In what ways did he fall short or fail?” I would say not only did he indeed fall short, but that the way he failed was a good thing too. Well, maybe not a good thing, but not surprising either.

There is little doubt that people of all faiths and of none intuitively sensed that in this one man there was an intrusion of the extraordinary into the workaday routine that enthralls most of us most of the time, an incursion of something enigmatic and electrifying that in some way or another has a bearing on their daily lives. I heard one young person say that for many seeing Francis was like seeing Jesus. This is an astute observation, perhaps more than she intended, in part because the Pope does have that character about him, but also because it invites us to turn to the gospels, to the encounters that women and men had with Jesus, to help us interpret reactions to the papal visit, and especially to answer the question of whether and to what extent he fell short or failed during his visit. Read more

image from flickr user Sabamirum https://www.flickr.com/photos/seabamirum/

Sanctification and Time

“The ethos of the sabbath goes much deeper than an individual commitment to prioritize worship. It includes all of those sacred practices, both affirmations and prohibitions, that have been kept alive in Judaism and are being fitfully recovered by Christians.” Benjamin J. Dueholm

Ekklesia Project endorsers and friends may be interested in the Christian Century article quoted above which addresses the decline of rest in our society: The War Against Rest.

EP has explored this topic in a variety of ways.

Phil Kenneson discussed the church and rest in a talk (among other practices) at the EP Slow Church gathering and in his pamphlet, both titled “Practicing Ecclesial Patience” which you can listen to here or read here.

In addition, Norman Wirzba examined the topic as part of EP’s Christian Practices of Everyday Life Series, in his book Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight.

And of course, Sabbath rest plays a part in the discussions that continue from our EP gathering on Slow Church in 2012 and in the Slow Church blog and book.

(image used under Creative Commons license from flickr user Seabamirum)