"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

26 January 2013

Eye of the beholder...

I stopped by the Korean grocery today.  English is definitely not the first language there, but I go in often enough that despite the language barrier they recognize me.  Its friendly, if not exactly real relationship. 

And as I stopped in the back corner for the unlabeled plastic clamshells of kimchi (and marinated meat, too... you have to know what you're looking for and be able to read Korean labels to find this stuff!) I looked over, the door to the storage area being open, and saw on the floor a Korean grandmother, shredding scallions by hand.

I think she was making the kimchi I was buying.

She looked a little surprised to see a white American woman there, though not in the "you don't belong here"... more of an "oh, hello."  She smiled in the "I don't speak your language" sort of way, and I presume that despite living here, she truly does not.  I nodded and said hello in Korean, grabbed my kimchi, smiled, and went along.  I don't speak Korean, after all, beyond "Hello" "Do you speak English" and the stupidest question in the world "Where is the restroom?"  (The question is stupid because if you ask in a language other than your own, when you really gotta go, and someone answers you in the language you just asked in... have you helped yourself, gained information? or just wasted precious moments doing the potty dance while trying to remember "left" from "right."  See.  Stupid question.)

But after I got home, I still thought of this woman.  Simple.  Silent.  Doing what every Korean Halmoni has always done.  Unassuming and sitting on the floor in the back room, but where she could keep an eye on the comings and goings in the store.

I thought of how Americans don't like seeing from where their food comes.  How many people would be less comforted, not more, to think they were buying something made by a Korean gramma in a storage room right there in the store.   How many would never buy a plastic clamshell container of non-professionally packaged food, at all?  Especially if it was totally without a label, in the back of the Korean grocery store?

Of course all of those people would be missing out on the kimchiest kimchi in Pittsburgh.

 But they'd all be missing out on Korean Halmonis who have mystery behind their eyes, and a peaceful and timeless presence.  She could have been any woman in any shop around the world, making native food in the native ways, and nobody would have thought a thing about it.  But because she's in America, she's a curiosity.

And moreover, she's beautiful.   She's beautiful because she's not a super model.  She's beautiful because she has wrinkles.  Yes, because of them.  She's beautiful because her hands make something that people use.  And she's beautiful because she smiles, even with her eyes, at random Americans who mispronounce Korean hellos and awkwardly attempt to sound out labels for kimchi.

I wish we valued more of that kind of beautiful. 

20 January 2013

From the ACNA website....

Archbishop Duncan Announces Two Appointments

The Most Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, has announced two honorary appointments.  Both non-stipendiary positions will add significant value to the mission and ministry of the province and to the work of the Archbishop. imageThe Rev. Prof. Dr. Stephen Noll has been appointed “Special Advisor on the Global Anglican Future,” a role for which he is uniquely qualified. 
“Prof. Noll is an authority on the Anglican Communion and the theological compromises that have torn the fabric of the Communion,” notes Archbishop Duncan.  “Along with this new advisory position, he will also serve as the North American member of the GFCA International Theological Commission.”
“For many years I have been concerned about matters of Anglican identity and the wider Anglican Communion, a concern that was deepened during my ten years living in Uganda,” Prof. Noll stated. 
Dr. Noll expressed enthusiasm about his appointment. “I believe ‘the Anglican Way,’ particularly as described in the Jerusalem Declaration, has an important witness to make in the wider Christian church, and the Anglican Communion is strategically placed to serve Christ’s Great Commission worldwide,” he said. “While the current heterodoxy in parts of the historic Communion is regrettable, God is, I believe, raising up a new locus of Anglican identity, rooted in, but not exclusive to, the Global South.”
“Though dynamic and committed to Anglican orthodoxy, this movement has its own practical, theological, and missiological challenges in presenting the Gospel in various cultures, many of which are non-Christian, anti-Christian and post-Christian,” he continued. “It is important that the churches of this movement work together in facing these challenges, and I am pleased and honored to assist in any way I can.


You just can't go wrong with Steve Noll.  For those of you who don't know Dr. Noll... he wouldn't strike you as someone who gets up in the morning wondering what new friends he can make or what spotlights he can take.  He doesn't play nice for the sake of playing nice.  His sense of humor is dry enough that unless you are paying attention you won't notice its there.  He is just too understated and genuine to be Mr. America. In other words, if you're not looking, he is easy to overlook.

And he loves Jesus.
And he pays attention to everything.
And he cares deeply about the church, the world, and the people in both.
He has a long memory for the goings on of Anglicanism, and he's articulate and deep in the thoughts he shares.
And I don't think he's really afraid of much of anything.
In other words, the church is better off when he isn't overlooked. 

I am thrilled to see the Province making use of the gifts and experiences Steve Noll brings to the table.  I hope we'll all be hearing plenty more from him in the future. 

And it was about time I reported a little good news, don't you think?

08 January 2013

For the good of the order.

"We, the undersigned seminarians, clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Church, hold a variety of views which are often in direct conflict with each other concerning the theological issues confronting the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. But we have been joined together through baptism into "God's family the Church" as "Christ's body" (BCP, 858), and we lament the sad divisions that have arisen among us.
As such, in light of the recent escalation of litigious dispute between factions within our Church, we stand united in our plea that the case involving the withdrawal of the Diocese of South Carolina be settled without recourse to civil litigation (1 Cor. 6:1-11), lest our rivalries become a stumbling block and impede the ministry of reconciliation that our Lord has given to us (2 Cor. 5:17-20)."

The rest is found (and can be signed) here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/233/377/858/bearing-with-one-another-in-love-toward-reconciliation-in-south-carolina/

Obviously, I can't sign this, since I'm no longer in the Episcopal Church, but I know several readers and friends who may be interested and I'm more than glad to push it forward.