Archive for January, 2017

In the Beginning

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

By any standard, the Trump administration is off to a tumultuous start. Episcopalians might take notice of a few events from the opening days of the new regime.

First, the first two prayer services which the new (and not notably pious) President attended were in Episcopalian buildings: St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square (“the Church of the Presidents”) and the National Cathedral. There was some pushback from anti-Trump quarters, but one might counter that it’s better to retain the influence we have over national services of worship than to give it up to other religious groups.

Second, among many early executive orders, Mr. Trump re-started the Dakota Pipeline project. The pipeline goes through Native American lands and the Episcopal Church has sponsored many demonstrations against the project, which was halted in December by the Obama administration. We will be hearing a lot about this particular issue in the weeks ahead.

Whatever we feel about our new leader, we need to keep him and all in authority in Washington in our prayers. —J. Douglas Ousley


In God We Trust

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The contrast between the positive and the negative feelings as we approach Inauguration Day seems starker than ever.

It’s not unusual to experience a cultural low after the holidays, and cold, gray winter weather doesn’t help one’s mood, either. But the uncertainty surrounding the new administration seems to have intensified anxiety on the left and defensiveness on the right.

I have no political comments to add. And my only spiritual comment is to remind us all of the old American motto, “In God We Trust.”–J. Douglas Ousley


Not so Incompatible

Monday, January 9th, 2017

I recently heard a talk by the noted Episcopalian spiritual writer, Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. Mother Crafton read from her new book, The Also Life, which offers insights into the relationship between science and religion.

This is, of course, a vast topic. Many theologians with little knowledge of science make unconvincing claims about whether it clashes with faith; many scientists with little knowledge of religion make equally ignorant claims.

Mother Crafton takes a poetic tack, which is surely an approach worth pursuing. She spoke of the eternal presence of God as a way in which we share life (the “also life,” not the afterlife) with those whom we love who have departed this world. You can’t exactly put that thought into the language of modern physics, but the poetry of the Eternal Now (as Paul Tillich described God) is accessible to Christians who also accept the claims of modern science. —J. Douglas Ousley