Monday, November 21, 2005

On being freshly started and teaching ethics

Today was both protracted and compressed.

It was protracted in that I spent a lot of time in the car and in Ardmore, PA on the way to and at a diocesan Fresh Start meeting. Fresh Start is a program in our diocese for clergy who have just begun a new call. For the first year of the new ministry, the group meets, talks, prays together with facilitators. It breaks the ice for new priests to the diocese. It builds relationships and it allows us to have an opportunity to get out of the local parish and hear what is happening in the wider church. In a diocese as big as PA, that is important. Just like being a student (by the way, I made my last student loan payment today!...one era ends while another begins!) at a large university, being a priest in a large diocese means you are one among many and it is hard to forge relationships that are personal and supportive in that context. Fresh Start seeks to provide that context. So far, so good.

It was also compressed: I got back in time to try to squeeze in a couple of hours work into just an hour and go out with Laura to buy the turkey for Thanksgiving. It feels good to have a holiday feast approaching. Taking a little time to be a family, to welcome friends and to celebrate and give thanks for life as it is will be a blessing.

Tonight, I taught the last of my Anglicanism 101 classes: ethics and moral theology. Attendance was pretty thin. I presume that is due to a number of factors, not least of which is the impending holiday and the reality that the season's first nor'easter is blowing through as I write. Still, the discussion was good. We read evening prayers in honor of C.S. Lewis, whose day is commemorated tomorrow. We talked about forming ethical discourse, particularly around the issues of war and sexuality. Even as small as we were in numbers, we held a diversity of opinion. It was a good class. I ended with asking everyone to go home, google Mark Twain and read his War Prayer. I thought that would be a good way to end the class. Go for a little shock value. Still, for a posthumous work, I thought he wrote a potent piece of theology in that little offering.

Tomorrow, I think I might offer up some C.S. Lewis for staff devotions. Maybe something from the Screwtape Letters would be fun. He is always good for giggles.

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