Thursday, February 18, 2010

Off Topic...sortof

Today I saw in the news more people clamoring about "Climategate". Now I am not smart enough to know whether or not Global Warming is a hoax. I'll leave that to the scientists. What I do know is that we as Christians are mandated to be proper stewards of the Earth. We are tasked with taking care of her. So doesn't it make sense to use conservation, recycle, lower carbon emissions, etc.?

I've heard some people say, "Why should I worry about the planet? Jesus is coming soon and it will be all over." Here's a question to ponder. If you can't take care of this planet, what makes you think Jesus is going to let you try to take care of his perfect Kingdom in the New Jerusalem? Remember the story of the three servants with the talents? Or the story of the bridesmaids and the oil lamps? What happened to those that didn't properly take care of what was given to them?

Whether we're going to have to wear bikinis in December in Anchorage or not, part of our responsibility is taking care of this world we live on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Luke 18:9-14 (NRSV)
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income." 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.'

Isn't it funny how even 2000 years ago we see people separating themselves into "us" and "them"? I am good, we are're bad, you're a *insert race, religion, ect.*... The Kingdom of God isn't about "Us vs Them". When we divide ourselves in this fashion, we tend to "dehumanize" those that are "other". This makes it easier to hate the "other".

Humbling ourselves doesn't mean seeing ourselves as the lowest of the low. It's realizing that we are are neither better nor worse than the person next to us. Paul tells us that no one is righteous; that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God".

This Lent, let's try to see Christ in all people, especially those we find difficult or uncomfortable to be around.

As an aside, I wanted to add two things:

First, please pray for the family of Terry Hardesty, who passed away yesterday.

Second: This Friday and Saturday I may be breaking my Facebook fast in order to blog the Arkansas Diocesean Convention. I was elected a delegate this year, so I'll have a ringside seat. It doesn't look like there is anything exciting or controversial this year, but just in case...


Arkansas Hillbilly

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lent 2010

Starting this Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), I will be posting reflections on the BCP lectionary readings instead of my usual rantings. I've found in the past that these reflections helped me in my own journey and thought I would share them with you. I'll be cross posting this on Facebook, since I am only going to post twice a day there as part of my Lent discipline, since school will not allow me to completely unplug from the internet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Please Continue Praying... It's Working!

I just got an e-mail to schedule an interview for a job. A change of venue would do wonders for my soul, as my current workplace is the cause of a great deal of my angst. Please continue to pray for me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Temporary Return:

I had to break the hiatus to share this news...


By Bettina Lehovec Friday, January 29, 2010

BENTONVILLE - Guillermo Castillo began preparing for the priesthood as a teen. He spent three years in a junior seminary and another seven at the seminary of San Jose de la Montana in his native El Salvador.

"I was very happy about my vocation, my calling to serve the community," Castillo said with the help of an interpreter in a recent interview. Yet after his ordination at age 28, doubts began to creep in.The celibacy he had taken for granted as a condition of the priesthood began to seem like an unbearable weight. A desire for the companionship of marriage and family competed with the vows he had made as a Roman Catholic priest."I was suffering very hard," Castillo said, raising his fists to chest height and pressing the knuckles against each other to illustrate the dilemma. "I tried to come to terms with it, but as the years went by it became a vicious cycle - over and over the same feelings, the same situation."

Castillo had joined the staff of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Rogers in 2005, on a three-year loan from his diocese in El Salvador.He took his inner turmoil to Monsignor David LeSieur, who counseled him with compassion, Castillo said.Several months before his threeyear contract would have ended, Castillo returned to El Salvador and renounced his priesthood in the Catholic church. He feared that if he continued, something scandalous would result, he said."It was a difficult decision. (The priesthood) was my vocation ... (but) I didn't want to wound my church or my family."

Castillo returned to Northwest Arkansas in May 2008. His brothers live here, he explained.He thought it would be easier to find work.He began courting Araceli Herrera, a parishioner at St.Vincent de Paul and a widow.Both say their former relationship was strictly pastoral.

Several months after he returned to the area, they married.Araceli has two daughters, Audrey, 12, and Kimberly, 13. On Sunday, she gave birth to a son, Anthony."We are very happy," Guillermo said with a big smile on his face."Before I was alone. It was a big struggle for me. Now I'm veryhappy. I have somebody to share (life) with."

From One Priesthood To Another: On Sunday, Castillo was received into the Episcopal Church, part of an ongoing process toward Episcopal priesthood.If completed, he will be the first Hispanic Episcopal priest in the state.The Right Rev. Larry Benfield, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas, said he is "tickled" at the prospect of having Castillo as a priest."There's a burgeoning minority (of Episcopalians) among Latinos in this state," he said, citing a congregation in Newport that has more Latinos than Anglos."There's so much we have to offer in the Anglican Church with our liturgical tradition."

The Rev. Roger Joslin, vicar of All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville, which Castillo attends, added that Latinos alienated from the Roman Catholic church because of policy issues such as birth control, divorce and the marriage of priests find a welcoming home in the Episcopal Church.
Such is the case with Castillo, he said."To see him fulfilling his vocation is very exciting to me.Guillermo's a priest. He needs to remain a priest."

Not everyone sees the situation that way. A number of parishioners at St. Vincent de Paul were upset by his decision to leave the Catholic priesthood, Castillo said. Reactions ranged from shock and grief to anger and criticism.Those who view the celibacy of priesthood as divine rather than as a discipline had the hardest time understanding, he said.

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock was not available for comment by press time.Some who know Castillo support his move to the Episcopal Church."I believe in God, not religion," said Rosa Tenas, a lifelong Catholic who attended the special service at All Saints. "If you believe in the Lord, you can go anywhere. It's the same to the Lord.""I think he made the right decision," said her husband, Danny Tenas, who is not a Catholic. "I'm glad that he's coming to this new church so he can continue to serve the Lord."

Castillo will begin leadingSpanish-language services at All Saints this week. Joslin tried to start a Spanish-language service in 2008, with little response.He speaks Spanish fairly well, but lacks the cultural grounding to reach native Latinos.Having Castillo in the pulpit will bridge that gap, he believes.Joslin will celebrate the Eucharist during the Spanishlanguage services until Castillo is accepted as a priest.

AT A GLANCE ALL SAINTS SERVICES English service: 11 a.m. Sunday Spanish service: 1 p.m. Sunday Location: The church meets at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bentonville, 406 W. Central Information: 426-1561, SOURCE: STAFF REPORT Religion, Pages 8 on 01/30/2010