“I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food.”
Episcopal priest and theologian John Westerhoff, speaking about Christian formation, distinguishes between “nurture” and “conversion.” So often when we Christians do formation – like teach prayer, or talk about the importance of regular worship, or teach about the sacraments – we tend to talk in terms of nurture – how church consoles us, for example, or how prayer helps us get through our day. But nurture will take us only so far, says Westerhoff. A mature Christian faith – if we are truly to be the “salt of the earth” and the “lights of the world” – requires conversion: a deep-down, thorough and systemic transformation of the inner person.
We’ll get back to conversion, but first I want to speak to our present social and political environment. In the weeks since the inauguration, many have told me about the rallies they’ve attended, the letters they’ve sent or phone calls they’ve made, and the convictions they have regarding the environment or immigration or religious tolerance. An activism has been awakened, and I see a care for our nation that I haven’t seen in my lifetime, a desire to make a difference. Continue reading →
Yesterday one of Trinity’s members, Audrey, was Confirmed by Bishop Gates at the deanery service held at the Church of the Advent downtown. It was a beautiful service and a wonderful day for Trinity. And I’m going to get back to talking about Confirmation and the tools we used to help Audrey prepare – tools that are useful for all of us – but first I want to talk about Studebakers.
Every Tuesday I drive my son Shaw to Dorchester for a choir rehearsal at All Saints, Ashmont. Almost every Tuesday, parked across the street from the church, is a 1963 Studebaker Lark. When I first saw it, I was incredulous: a Studebaker, parked right on the street in Dorchester! Even though Studebakers ceased production shortly before I was born, I recognized it instantly as a Studebaker. It has that Studebaker grill: an open “mouth” canted ever so slightly forward and set between horizontal pairs of headlights. The body is so “Studebaker:” a little too short in length for its height – but still dignified, not unlike a porkpie hat. And then there is the slightly rounded and squished trunk – on the Lark, looking like the back half of a giant hamburger bun – that is so Studebaker-y. Even though I hadn’t seen one in years, the moment I saw it, I knew it was a Studebaker.