Archive for the ‘Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta’ Category

Reflections on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of My Confirmation   Leave a comment

bulletin-december-22-1991

Above:  Cover of the Bulletin, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, December 22, 1991

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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On the morning of December 22, 1991, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, I became an Episcopalian.  The Right Reverend Harry Woolston Shipps (who died recently), then the Bishop of Georgia, confirmed me.  Officially I retained membership in The United Methodist Church until the following Autumn, on the occasion of the 1992 Charge Conference of the Sumner Charge (four congregations at the time).  Indeed, I remained substantially a Methodist for a long time, but I had begun to think of myself as an Episcopalian prior to my confirmation at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia.

I have become convinced that I was supposed to become an Episcopalian, for the affiliation is a natural fit for me.  I am, after all, somewhat Roman Catholic while retaining many Protestant influences. Ritual appeals to me strongly also.  Furthermore, The Episcopal Church grants me a wide berth to respect certain traditions, break with other traditions, bring my intellect to bear on my spiritual life, disagree peaceably with many people, and be an introvert without feeling out-of-place.  Evangelicalism, as I have experienced it, is relentlessly extroverted.  That is not an inherently negative characteristic, but the manner in which many extroverts fail to respect the value of introversion and therefore marginalize introverts is unfortunate.  Indeed, personality typing helps to explain why certain denominations and styles of prayer are preferable to some people but not others.  That which feeds one person starves another.

I have never looked back from my choice to become an Episcopalian.  As I have become more liberal in some ways, more conservative in others, and incorporated Lutheran theology into my thought, I have become a different type of Episcopalian than I was in 1991.  My faith life is a work in progress; I wonder how it will proceed as I continue from day to day.  The Episcopalian way of being simply makes sense to me.  Since I moved to Athens, Georgia, in August 2005, I have dwelt spiritually primarily at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  I have also frequented two university chaplaincies (Episcopalian and Presbyterian U.S.A.), attended services at First Presbyterian Church and Holy Cross Lutheran Church, engaged in community volunteering at one Presbyterian U.S.A. and two United Methodist congregations, participated in a performance of the first part off Handel’s Messiah at Oconee Presbyterian Church (Watkinsville), and attended community functions at four other churches (Disciples of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, Assemblies of God, and non-denominational Charismatic) in the area.  Furthermore, I have attended a diocesan gathering at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, without ever entering a worship space there.  The fact that I seldom want to attend services in another denomination demonstrates the fact that I have found my niche.  Why should I seek another place?  Nevertheless, I am agreeable to ecumenical engagements.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 22, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK AND WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CHAEREMON AND ISCHYRION, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF HENRY BUDD, FIRST ANGLICAN NATIVE PRIEST IN NORTH AMERICA; MISSIONARY TO THE CREE NATION

THE FEAST OF JAMES PRINCE LEE, BISHOP OF MANCHESTER

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Godly Inclusion and Social Justice   1 comment

St. Lawrence of Rome

Above:  St. Laurence of Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

Compassionate God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence

and continually reveal your Son as our Savior.

Bring wholeness to all that is broken and speak truth to us in our confusion,

that all creation will see and know your Son,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 23

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The Assigned Readings:

Numbers 22:1-21 (Monday)

Numbers 22:22-28 (Tuesday)

Psalm 35:1-10 (Both Days)

Acts 21:17-26 (Monday)

1 Corinthians 7:32-40 (Tuesday)

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My very bones will say, “Lord, who is like you?

You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them,

the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

–Psalm 35:10, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Thus he who marries his betrothed does well,

and he who does not marry does better.

–1 Corinthians 7:38, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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St. Paul the Apostle thought that the Second Coming of Jesus might occur within his lifetime, so he argued that changing one’s social or marital status ought not to constitute major priorities.  Most important, he contended, was living faithfully to God.  Thus avoiding distractions to a proper spiritual life was crucial, he wrote.  The Apostle was correct in his case that certain relationships do function as such distractions on some occasions.  He also argued correctly that God should come first in our lives.  Nevertheless, he was wrong about the timing of the Second Coming and the low priority of working for social justice.

A recurring theme in recent devotions in this series has been the sovereignty of God.  I have written that to use that eternal truth as cover for hatred and related violence is sinful.  Now I expand that statement to argue that using the sovereignty of God as cover for erecting and defending barriers between people and God is also sinful.  Yahweh is the universal deity, not a tribal god.  Divine power extends to Gentiles, from Balaam (in Numbers 22) to people in New Testament times to populations today.

I understand why people erect and defend spiritual barriers to God.  Doing so establishes boundaries which comfort and include those who define or defend them.  Fortunately, God’s circles are larger than ours.  Thus our Lord and Savior ate with notorious sinners, conversed at length with women, and committed many more scandalous deeds.  As the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta tells me, we should draw the circle wider.

Drawing the circle wider can threaten an identity founded on a small circle of the pure, but is doing that really such a bad thing?  No!  We ought to think less about our alleged purity and the supposed impurity of those different from us and focus instead on the vital work of ministry.  That work entails both evangelism and social justice efforts, for both aspects are consistent with the Old and New Testaments.  If I, for example, have the opportunity to help someone who is hungry eat proper food and choose not to do so, I do not feed Jesus.  If I say “be filled” to that person, I do him or her no good.  I have not loved my neighbor as myself.  And, if I affirm the unjust socio-economic system which keeps many people hungry, I am complicit in a societal evil.

The sovereignty of God is far more than a theological abstraction.  May it be a great force for loving others as our neighbors in God and therefore for improving society.  May grace, working through us, heal divisions, draw circles wider, and engage in radical hospitality.  May we witness what the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., called a moral revolution of values in 1967; may we (as a society) value people more than things and wealth.  As St. Laurence of Rome understood well long ago, when he gave his life for his faith in 258, the poor are the treasures of the Church.

DECEMBER 1, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHARLES DE FOUCAULD, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDMUND CAMPION, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIGIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Adapted from this post:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

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My Favorite Hymn   5 comments

I Bind Unto Myself Today

Above:  The First Two Pages of “I Bind Unto Myself Today” from The Hymnal (1918)

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

You might have a favorite hymn, O reader.  I have one:  “I Bind Unto Myself Today,” with original words attributed to St. Patrick (372-466) and the English translation by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), wife of the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh.  I recall growing up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A.  Some of these churches considered gospel songs from the 1920s old.  How about a text which goes back the 400s in its original language?  Yes, I have a fine sense of history.  “I Bind Unto Myself Today” spans seven verses and four pages in the Episcopal Hymnal (1918) and seven verses and three pages in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982.  One of the better choices the recent hymnal committee for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made was to include this hymn (in six verses on three pages) in Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal (2013).

Presbyterian

Above:  The First Page of “I Bind Unto Myself Today” from Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal (2013)

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The hymn appeals to my preference for wordy, theologically dense texts, as opposed to spirituals and “seven-eleven” songs with few, frequently repeated words.  I could nitpick the text, but why?

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.

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I bind this day to me for ever,

by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

his baptism in the Jordan river;

his death on cross for my salvation;

his bursting from the spiced tomb;

his riding up the heavenly way;

his coming at the day of doom:

I bind unto myself today.

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I bind unto myself the power

of the great love of cherubim;

the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;

the service of the seraphim;

confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,

the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophet’s scrolls;

all good deeds done unto the Lord,

and purity of virgin souls.

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I bind unto myself today

the virtues of the starlit heaven,

the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea,

around the old eternal rocks.

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I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

his eye to watch, his might to stay,

his ear to hearken to my need;

the wisdom of my God to teach,

his hand to guide, his shield to ward;

the word of God to give me speech,

his heavenly host to be my guard.

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Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

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I bind unto myself the Name,

the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One, and One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

praise to the Lord of my salvation,

salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Is the hymn not glorious?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2014 COMMON ERA

TRINITY SUNDAY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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My Fascination With Liturgy   1 comment

Liturgical Books I October 1, 2013

Above:  A Portion of My Liturgical Library, October 1, 2013

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As I have written on this weblog and elsewhere, I am an unapologetic ritualist.  The primary reason for this is simple and straight-forward:  Ritualism creates a holy atmosphere removed from the mundane realities of daily life.  Within this holy atmosphere I feel closer to God, who is always close to me, I know.  But this is about my spiritual life, not the reality of God.  And, if anyone chooses to challenge me on my embrace of ritualism, I refuse to waste much time or breath rebutting him or her.  I have said what I meant and meant what I said.  I have used clear language.  If that proves insufficient for someone, so be it.  I will not let such a person dissuade me from ritualism.

Liturgy, literally

the work of the people,

is vital in public worship.  Congregations ought not to spend much time impersonating knots on logs.  No, they should be very much involved.  Most of U.S. Lutheranism has recovered this awareness since the middle 1800s, as my recent self-directed study of U.S. Lutheran liturgy has revealed.  And I, as an Episcopalian, have the wonderful Book of Common Prayer (1979) to use.

The best liturgies are ritualistic ones, for they elevate souls and appeal to our higher natures while stimulating our senses.  We humans are not merely heads attached to bodies meant only to transport them.  And one unfortunate legacy of the Protestant Reformation was a reaction against–not a considered response to–certain excesses and errors of Medieval Roman Catholicism.  Regretfully, that reaction continues in bad liturgies designed to appeal to heads, not bodies.  Actually, the union of ritualism and active faith is a beautiful combination.

My fascination with liturgy originates from within and without.  Something about good liturgy appeals to me inherently, so I would have become a ritualist eventually anyhow.  And I, growing up in rural southern Georgia United Methodist congregations, witnessed much atrocious liturgical practice.  I had to convert or starve spiritually.  So I became an Episcopalian.  I have never looked back.

My collection of hymnals, service books, and volumes about liturgy began with a handful of volumes in the late 1980s-early 1990s.  Now that collection fills a tall bookcase and spills out of it.  Furthermore, I have begun a wish list of books (many of them from the United Church of Canada) to add to my collection in time.  My desire to know more about liturgy is insatiable, I rejoice to stay.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 1, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANTHONY ASHLEY COOPER, LORD SHAFTESBURY, BRITISH HUMANITARIAN AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT REMIGIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF RHEIMS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMANUS THE MELODIST, PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT THERESA OF LISIEUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

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Below:  More of My Liturgical Library, October 1, 2013

Liturgical Books II October 1, 2013

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Morning Silence   1 comment

21869v

Above:  Sunrise, Sea of Galilee, October 1945

Image Created by the Matson Photo Service

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2010007352/PP/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-21869

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O God, you are my God:

and earnestly I seek you.

My soul thirsts for you, my body yearns for you

like a land that is dry and thirsty for water.

–Psalm 63:1-2, A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989)

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Early I rise,

sleepy dust no longer in my eyes.

I sit in the quietness,

hear a bird outdoors

and an occasional car on the road.

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Apart mostly from the bird,

however, there is near silence,

as I hear the sound

of my pen on paper;

that is little to be heard.

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In a few minutes

the clock will say 6:00.

I could return to bed,

but now that I am up,

perhaps soon will be a time to sup

instead then to write some more,

contemplating as I go,

what the quietness has in store.

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Most prayer, for me,

does not consist of words;

I have no interest in speaking

to God most of the time.

Rather–and I think fortunately,–

I want mostly to listen

to what God has to say

in the still, silent voice;

this is part of the homage I pay.

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Peace and quiet the world seems to fear,

for television sets blare at us,

advertisements scream to shop there or here,

vibrations from stereos in cars affect me

when I am not in those cars, but am at home.

Influences tell us to pump up the volume,

to go-go-go!,

to seek our destiny

somewhere other than in the eternity

of God here and now,

as well as elsewhere and later.

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From peace and quiet we ought not to roam

habitually, for too much noise is a bitter foe,

and it is good to live in a milieu

lacking in perpetual fuss.

So I seek God within,

for God is there, abiding always,

waiting inside each of us

for us to repent of our sin

of chasing vainly after the divine

in ways that do not satisfy

and places where God is not.

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So may this be a lesson:

God is not in the din and the glitz,

for it is true that holiness does not fit

inside that shaped hole.

No, in the stillness and quiet

God does speak.

May we listen to the eloquent wisdom;

the silence may we not malign,

for God lives within us,

inside the soul.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 1, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAULI MURRAY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF CATHERINE WINKWORTH, TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET BEECHER STOWE, ABOLITIONIST

THE FEAST OF JOHN CHANDLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Published originally at TAYLOR FAMILY POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY WRITINGS:

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/morning-silence/

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Posted July 1, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Psalms II: 42-72

Tagged with

Proper for Hymn Writers   1 comment

fountain_pen

Above:  A Fountain Pen

Image Source = Auyon

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

N. and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/proper-for-hymn-writers/

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Proper for Liturgists   1 comment

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Above:  The Author, November 27, 2012

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Within the hour, while seeking a good proper for liturgists in official volumes from various denominations, I found no such thing.  So I wrote a prayer and selected the readings.

Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially N.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

I am and am not a traditionalist regarding worship.  I am not a traditionalist in the sense of traditionalism that objects to calling God “You” instead of “Thee,” considers any new idea a bad one reflexively, or idolizes the 1928 Book of Common Prayer or some other older liturgical volume.  Yet I am sufficiently traditional to think that anyone who brings a guitar to church needs to be there to play classical guitar.  And I am enough of a traditionalist to have complete disdain for “contemporary worship,” accurate synonyms for which are inappropriate for a G-rated blog.  (Use your imagination, O reader; you might guess correctly.)  And “blended worship” bears the taint of “contemporary worship.”

Here I stand; I can and will do no other.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/proper-for-liturgists/

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