St. Theresa’s Prayer:

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of you.

Yesterday I received a chain email with the prayer of St. Theresa in it. I did not forward the thing to 11 friends and I hope that I survive given that I did not. I will however share the prayer on the blog, in that manner it gets to more than 11 friends.

 This week has brought exciting challenges to the parish and I think this prayer is appropriate. Valerie Henley is just finishing her first week as Parish Administrator and is doing a fine job. There are many things for her to learn about our great community and she is picking up speed every day. To Valerie I say hear the words of this prayer “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.” She is using the gifts that she has to assist this parish as it moves forward in growth and faith. Welcome Valerie, we are so glad that you are here. Valerie will attend this week’s 10:30 AM Service and Coffee Hour at which point you can meet her and say hello. For that matter you might stop by the office at any time and tell her how welcome she is.

Yesterday I was interviewed by the CBC evening news (Aired January 12 at 6PM. You can view it by clicking here) regarding the meeting held last night at Campbell Baptist Church. The pastor there organized a meeting to warn our community about the “threat of Islam.” He invited a purported former terrorist turn Christian Evangelical to drive his point home. It saddened me to hear what was offered last night in that meeting.  Some of what was offered really bordered on hate and it certainly spread a healthy dollop of fear. Dr. McKay, who is pastor, insisted that Islam is a religion of hate and violence at its very core. He says that while there may be people who claim to be peace loving Muslims, they are not true Muslims.  He goes on to suggest that the country should really consider screening out people who are Islamic. The only distinction, ironically between Dr. McKay and the Islamic extremists is the holy words which they misuse and abuse. I could not refuse the opportunity to refute this gross misrepresentation of Christian teaching. The great irony is that in the many comments that I listened to of Dr. McKay’s it was clear that he no more viewed me a Christian (or for that matter most mainline Christians) than he does view a peace loving Muslim as a true Muslim. He does not see in any way that he has more in common with these extremists than he has in common with me, with Christians around the world, or with the prophets, apostles and martyrs who have gone before us. This kind of fear mongering and hate is more in keeping with those who talk about Christians as infidels than Dr. McKay would like to think.

It is frightening to me what the pastor of Campbell Baptist is espousing. It is also embarrassing as so many who are on the fringe of the church see and hear these comments and draw conclusions about Christianity and the church and decide that we are clearly not worth it.

The truth in all of this revolves around the fact that Mr. McKay is certain that he has all of the correct answers. He assumes that his way of being is the right way of being, the proper way of being. He sees evil as something that can be easily identified in the other but not necessarily in himself. He views the world in two shades, black and white. He does not see a role for himself in peacemaking except to point out where others are flawed. To him and to all who count themselves to be lily white I offer these words of  Sarah A McUmber-House

“There is a saying that "Peace begins at home". I believe that to be true.
We must begin our search for peace within ourselves.
When we fully understand our own strengths as well as weaknesses,
then we can be sensitive to the talents and needs of all others.
When we can be at peace with our own beliefs and not feel threatened by the beliefs of others, then we can begin to understand the spiritual vastness of our soul, and its position in the universe at large.
When we can clearly discern between good and evil within ourselves,
then we can look with empathy upon the deeds of others.
When we can see all of the world’s people as our own family;
mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters,
then we can be at peace with our own position.
Then we can be of assistance in the world.”

The world is waiting for peace. We have to begin that process by looking inside. Dr. McKay needs to be less threatened by the beliefs of others. There is no threat of Islam to a mature and well established Christian. Mature Christianity acknowledges good and evil within the self. Dr. McKay needs to look within and repent for his inability to seek and serve Christ in All Persons and for his feelings of hate toward the people of Islam. We can be as individuals at peace in our own faith and in turn be of assistance to the world around us. We cannot do that is we are to busy condemning others. I pray that Campbell Baptist cancels the next three of these lectures and instead opens a forum to talk about the diverse nature of living as children of God.