Archive for August, 2008

Rapides Parish (Where I Live) Shifts From Being a Shelter Area for Gustav To A High Impact Area For The Storm

Yikes.

BTW, the Bishop Issued This Statement Yesterday:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As with many of you, I am following closely the status of Hurricane Gustav as it relates to making landfall in Louisiana. At the present time Susan and I are in Lafayette having arrived here last night for a stewardship event this day; tomorrow I will have visitation and confirmations at Ascension Parish. We will leave for home following this, unless directed by the authorities to evacuate before then.

The status in Lafayette Parish at this time (5:30 p.m.) is “voluntary evacuation,” and I have heard that Vermilion Parish is under a “mandatory evacuation” order. This said, the question has been raised about church services in the case of “mandatory evacuation” orders. Please know, should your particular area come under a “mandatory evacuation” order, the directive should be adhered to and if this means cancelling services, then this is what must be done.

All of us must take the necessary steps in a situation like this to ensure as best as possible, the safety and care of human life.

Liz Ratcliff, Diocesan Disaster Relief Officer, has been and remains on top of conditions within the diocese, and I thank her on behalf of us all for the communications pertaining to the storm that she has been sending out.

Please continue to share with me in prayers for protection for those in harms way, and a calming of that which bears down upon us.

Faithfully in Christ,

+Bruce MacPherson

The Rt. Rev’d D. Bruce MacPherson
Bishop of Western Louisiana
and President of Province VII

Pray for Us – Gustav Headed This Way

Andy and Austin got in town this morning from New Orleans. After the LSU game at 10, they will start the contra-flow of traffic. Crazy part is, the storm is likely to hit Lafayette and Alexandria rather than New Orleans, but at least the storm will be weaker when it gets here.

Basic Instinct Author Writes About Faith And His Conversion

Read it all. Here is part of the article:

In Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, to be published Sept. 2 by St. Martin’s Press, Mr. Eszterhas describes how his life got turned around during the summer of 2001.

He and his second wife, Naomi, had just moved from Malibu to a suburb of Cleveland – where he had grown up; she was from nearby Mansfield. They felt Ohio would be a better, more wholesome place to raise their four boys (he had two grown children from his first marriage).

A month after the move, Mr. Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic removed 80 percent of his larynx, put a tracheotomy tube in his throat, and told him he must quit drinking and smoking immediately.

At age 56, after a lifetime of wild living, Mr. Eszterhas knew it would be a struggle to change his ways.

One hot summer day after his surgery, walking through his tree-lined neighborhood in Bainbridge Township, Mr. Eszterhas reached a breaking point.

“I was going crazy. I was jittery. I twitched. I trembled. I had no patience for anything. … Every single nerve ending was demanding a drink and a cigarette,” he wrote.

He plopped down on a curb and cried. Sobbed, even. And for the first time since he was a child, he prayed: “Please God, help me.”

Mr. Eszterhas was shocked by his own prayer.

“I couldn’t believe I’d said it. I didn’t know why I’d said it. I’d never said it before,” he wrote.

But he felt an overwhelming peace. His heart stopped pounding. His hands stopped twitching. He saw a “shimmering, dazzling, nearly blinding brightness that made me cover my eyes with my hands.”

Like Saul on the road to Damascus, Mr. Eszterhas had been blinded by God. He stood up, wiped his eyes, and walked back home a new man.

In a phone interview this week, Mr. Eszterhas said it was “an absolutely overwhelming experience.”

***

Mr. Eszterhas told The Blade that despite his mixed feelings over the church and the abuse scandal, the power of the Mass trumps his doubts and misgivings.

“The Eucharist and the presence of the body and blood of Christ is, in my mind, an overwhelming experience for me. I find that Communion for me is empowering. It’s almost a feeling of a kind of high.”

Chuck Colson Reflects On His Conversion

From an email:

Thirty-Five Years in the Light: Reflections on My Conversion
(by Chuck Colson, August 12, 2008)

A lot of people have asked me what I think about when I remember back to that hot, humid August night in 1973 when Tom Phillips, then the president of the Raytheon Company, witnessed to me in his home. I left his house that night shaken by the words he had read from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity about pride. It felt as if Lewis were writing about me, former Marine captain, Special Counsel to the President of the United States, now in the midst of the Watergate scandal. I had an overwhelming sense that I was unclean.

After talking to Tom, I found that when I got to the automobile to drive away, I couldn’t. I was crying too hard – and I was not one to ever cry. I spent an hour calling out to God. I did not even know the right words. I simply knew that I wanted Him. And I knew for certain that the God who created the universe heard my cry.

From the next morning to this day, I have never looked back. I can honestly say that the worst day of the last 35 years has been better than the best days of the 41 years that preceded it. That’s a pretty bold statement, given my time in prison, three major surgeries, and two kids with cancer at the same time, but it is absolutely true.

That’s because, for the last 35 years – whether in pain, suffering, joy, or jubilation, it makes no difference – I have known there was a purpose. I have known that I belong to Christ and that I am here on earth to advance His Kingdom.

Would I have ever known that if Tom had not witnessed to me?

The reason I visited Tom that fateful night was that I was coming back to his company as counsel. But before he met with me, Tom prayed about how he should treat me. After all, here was his lawyer, mixed up in the Watergate affair. Tom later told me that God spoke to him: “Tell Chuck Colson about me, because he needs a friend.” God was certainly right! I was as desperate and lonely as a man could be.

But get this: Never before in Tom Phillips’s life had God told him to share the Gospel. Never before had he done so.

But in total obedience, Tom followed God’s lead, and the result? A ministry that now spreads all around the world to 114 countries, tens of thousands of men and women coming out of prison being redeemed by the blood of Christ, and then finding their place in community; and the whole Church being sensitized to the needs of the least of these in our midst.

I also wonder what might have happened to me, personally, had I not encountered the living God that night or some other time. I do not really think I would be alive today. Before my conversion I drank, partied, and smoked heavily. I do not think I would be seeing my 77th birthday, which I will this October.

And if I managed somehow to survive the high-powered party life in Washington among the rich, famous, and powerful, I would have been so miserable I don’t think I could have lived with myself. If I did not know for sure that the God who created us sent His Son to die on a cross that my sins might be forgiven, I would have long ago suffocated in the stench of my own sin.

So how do you celebrate 35 years as a Christian? By recommitting yourself to use every available moment, every ounce of energy, in service of the King. For what He has done for me, how could I ever do less?

When Faced With Options, You Choose

Just as an FYI for my loyal readers, I’ve opted to attend the ad hoc committee on structure meeting for Kairos Prison Ministry, which is a part of the implementation of doubling the size of the ministry in ten years. I am choosing this over attending the Province VII synod, which is the same weekend.

This committee of eight people will be doing some important work. I ask that you hold this meeting in your prayers.

The Provincial meetings in TEC can be the initial skirmishes before General Convention. Last time I roused things up with a couple of resolutions. I hope someone else takes up that task.

What will be interesting is when the roll is called (if it is called) for Ft. Worth. It will be a stark reminder of the brokenness of our church.

Likely Prospects For The Anglican Communion: Continued Sluff And Obfuscation

Every once in a while I get a little hope that clarity might come around in the Anglican Communion regarding the Episcopal Church and its actions. But, that has been dashed again. Seems the game is now kicked down the road to this Spring regarding the Anglican Consultative Council and a Primates Meeting regarding the Anglican Covenant, and this will put a draft covenant before GC2009. The covenant will be treated like a salad bar where TEC will take parts of the covenant and reject other parts, yet they will avoid outright rejection of the same and the ABC and the rest of the Communion will equivocate over TEC’s legislation. TEC will pretty much go on doing what they want to do, and the border crossings will not cease. The schism of the Anglican Communion will take a generation to sort out.

Many folks I talk to still want to stay in the Episcopal Church, to call the liberals to account, stand up for truth, what have you. During the Kairos board meeting, I think Jesus told me the same thing. Andrew Carey even said the same thing to me at the end of GC2006. Another friend of mine who had long advocated leaving the Episcopal Church told me I needed to go to GC2009. Okay, Lord, I get it.

But, the truth of the matter is, I don’t want to.

I’m tired of arguing with the likes of the Anglican Bishop in the Great Divorce. They don’t get it, they don’t want to get it, and don’t even see there is a problem. So, why be a part of this mess, this continued sluff and obfuscation?

Jonah had to go to Ninevah. I guess I have to go to Anaheim. But, Lord, why?

I wish I could talk to the spirit who had the dialogue with the Anglican bishop in the Great Divorce. Or to Jonah post-Nineveh.

The only answer I come up with is that no institution of man is immune to heresy, apostasy, and unfaithfulness. In the Lord Jesus, restoration and reconciliation is always a possibility. I have to live like I really believe that.

A Blog Really Worth Reading: Less Than The Least

A blog by two Evangelical Christians who also are professors of law at the University of Pennsylvania.  One of the best blogs I’ve ever read.

Having A Good Time At The Kairos Prison Ministry International Summer Conference

I got a wonderful break yesterday from our work on the structure of the ministry via a wonderful memorial service with an excellent preacher.  She said that in Kairos we believe every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.  Powerful stuff.

It has been tough, however, to be involved in politics of something you love, whether it is Anglicanism or Kairos Prison Ministry.  I continue to struggle with it.  But, two things stand out in my mind.  The first is a word of prophecy that I would someday understand not only the what (the substance of the problem) but the why – why it happens, and why I have to be a part of it.

On Thursday morning we did a meditation of conversing with Jesus in the form of a guided meditation, an exercise which I have done in Kairos team formation, but, for some reason, and I and many others had a unique experience this particular time.  When I asked Jesus what I could do for him, what He said to me was to keep reminding people of Him and keep serving.  What His statements to me lacked in specificity they made up for in power and truth.

Today I’ll be taking a tour of the city of San Francisco, and this is my first time on the West coast.  Ought to be pretty neat.

Tomorrow I fly back to Alexandria.  I’ll try to write more thoughts from the airport.

Arren Calvin Buchanan – RIP

A.C. was a past senior warden of my parish, and served on the Diocesan Council (nee Executive Committee) and was the Godfather to my daughter, Caroline.

He passed away at around 6 p.m. yesterday after a fight with cancer and a stroke.

He was an Army Protestant until he came to St. James, and because a strong Christian and leader in the parish and the Diocese. He was also CEO of Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria and did a tremendous job in his ministry of providing healing to residents of Central Louisiana.

I will miss him, and regret that I haven’t spent as much time with him in the past few years as we did previously.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Friday, August 8 – Visitation at St. James Episcopal Church from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 9 – Funeral service at 2 p.m. at St. James, and visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. prior to service.

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17

New Car Model Introduced At Lambeth

Don’t forget to look at the license plate…