In our ever-divided country, a lot of us are pointing our fingers to the left and the right and describing left-wing/right-wing fundamentalism. Recently, I read a blog article entitled, The Five Features of Fundamentalism by John Donaher. I was curious to see what the “pathology” of fundamentalist thinking looks like. I wondered, Do I behave like a fundamentalist? How would I know?
Here are the features of fundamentalism:
As people of faith, we are especially at risk. These qualities can happen even when we aspire to be liberal-minded and inclusive. I remember going to a church that prided itself on being open and affirming, but boy, did they get spiteful about those conservative Christians! It’s easy to find reasons to distrust and dislike. We are all at risk of fundamentalism. If you don’t agree with me, you’re banished! (just kidding).
Jesus was never a fundamentalist. And he could have been the very best one.
He could have divided the whole world by himself and us -sinners. He didn't. Jesus opposed the Roman Empire, but had mercy on the Roman Centurian and his servant. Jesus knew that they were going to execute him, and yet he never gave in to paranoia and distrust. Jesus predicted an apocalypse and admonished his followers to prepare for it, not prevent it. His life was wrapped in the life of God. His hope and agenda were God’s. No one got excommunicated when they walked away. No one.
I want to be like Jesus. Probably, you do too. The more we do, the safer we are from this trap. And the more whole our lives will be. So today, I’m putting aside my part-time fundamentalism for a full time commitment to following Jesus. Join me?
-- Pastor Rebecca
The 184th Convention of
The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Lay Delegate Report to the Vestry
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church
Saint Louis, MO
November 7, 2023
Conference Project Theme
“I love to tell the story; ‘twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”
Arabella Katherine Hankey (b. 1834)
· Arabella Katherine Hankey (1834-1911)
· born in Clapham, England
· daughter of a wealthy London banker
· Hankey and her father belonged to an evangelical group comprised of prominent evangelicals from the Clapham area
· the group opposed slavery and the slave trade and had a great influence in abolishing both in England
· they worked for social reform for the working class and fairness for all
Take away: Our Episcopal Diocese Convention’s overarching theme is instructive, as Hankey’s words reflect on the original church’s basic mission to go out and meet others with the love of Jesus.
“I love to tell the story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.”
“I love to tell the story
Because I know ‘tis true.
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do.”
Day 1 Proceedings
Plenary Session I
Diocesan Renewal Reports: (link to pdf on pg. 5)
The 2023 Convention Holy Eucharist Service https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unchyFTRHT8
Here are the positions elected at the 184th Convention of the Diocese of Missouri in 2023:
Some conference feature links from FB.
Diocesan 2024 Budget Report link
End-of-Year 2023 Ministry Reports
What do you remember about being little? Do you remember how the ceilings seemed way way up high? Do you recall leaning up against an adult’s knee, or nestling against their body and feeling their largeness compared to you?
Sometimes it’s really helpful to remember we are small. Yeah, you might be six feet tall, but it’s likely you could push your body through three-foot-wide hole (ergo - not that big). Meditating on our puniness is not our natural proclivity. We like BIG! But our awareness of our true scale pulls us closer what’s real.
When Jesus became human, he went small. He entered the world in walking time. He engaged people in slow conversations. He performed miracles one by one.
Jesus models a small-scale spirituality that had huge impact. Awareness of my little place in the world is a solace. Jesus worked locally. Even God focused on the people, the places, the creatures, and comforts available at hand. So, then shouldn’t we?
As you move through your week, I encourage you to stay small. Your devices will invite you to pretend you can know it all, do it all, own it all. But you can’t. Your news feed will invite you to travel to every place of misery and hold every opinion. But your Divine Parent would much prefer that you stay right where you are and nestle in. Mundane as it is, the world around you is where you make the biggest difference. God is waiting for you to climb into the comfort of your smallness and the Divine bigness. May we together feel love, joy and peace in little spaces we occupy here and now.
Most of the blog articles are written by our Rector, The Rev. Rebecca Ragland