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Body as Community April 18, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, Living, relationships.
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At 5’11” and 102lbs, she looks monstrous. Her hair is stringy, her eyes are hollow, and her nails are broken and yellow. She has arms covered in little bruises and burns, and her knees and enveloped in scars. She has fallen so often one wonders if she ever thought of staying down and indeed she has. Stumbling, she is shoved one more time and finds herself face down in pine mulch on a Smokey Mountain trail.
So this is where she ends, face down in mulch. Let’s not think about the components of mulch. But strong hands grab her and she is staring into the faces of loving Christs wearing tee-shirts and Chacos. The girl is led by the hand to the Table. There, the Christs wash her feet and hands. They brush her hair and bandage her wounds, and anoint her head and face with oil.
They sit to the left and to the right, all around the table. A bowl of soup is placed before her. In the center, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine command the scene. A chunk of the bread is handed to her.
“This is for you.”
A glass of wine is poured and placed before her.
“This is for you.”
She eats; she drinks; she is nourished.
A Christ asks her a question.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Soul.”
The Christs nod, as if they expected that to be her answer.
She stays the night, and the next night. Soul feels no need to leave her sanctuary. Soul works hard, plays hard, and prays hard with these Christs. They constantly wash her feet and cover her head with oil. Soul, in turn, learns how to do these things to the others. She is there in eager anticipation when a new one arrives, there to care for them as she was cared for on that first night. Health returns to her frame. She suspects that the simple meals of soup, bread, and wine nourish her more than calories might suggest. Her nails grow, her eyes are no longer hollow. Soul has found body.

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The Body of Christ, Eucharist April 9, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, living as a seminary student.
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Mutt. Mix. Melting. Those are the words that describe my spiritual and ecclesiological background. The Baptist piety of my soul yearned for the mystical connection of the Catholic Eucharist. Milligan College, in it’s well-intentioned attempt to show me the path of good congregationalism and “being like the early Church,” convinced me of the need for liturgy and high church. Something beautiful and redeeming happened when I chose to kneel in my pew. When I graduated from Milligan College, I left assuming I would never return to this community. I finally joined an Episcopal church and was confirmed into the Anglican Communion. I was going to live life as an Episcopalian. I was going to marry an Episcopalian. I would have small Episcopalians running around in topsiders and seersucker. Maybe they would play lacrosse.

God’s cosmic plan is never my plan. Less than a year and a half later, I returned to the Milligan and Emmanuel community. Now, a problem has arisen. I have labeled myself as Anglican. I hold Anglican beliefs, but I am not the 39 Articles personified. I am not attending the Episcopal Church in Johnson City. I’m not even fellowshipping at any time with the church. Instead, I am back at the church that I know and love, Grandview.

Is this wrong? I have spent many, many conversation on this topic. I surprise attack people. We might be discussing composting and suddenly I ask, “Is it okay for me to have communion presided over by someone who isn’t a priest?” For some reason, I can accept that Eucharist presided over by an Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican priest is legitimate. Have the smells and bells indoctrinated me, or have they taught me a truth?

In my heart, in my gut, I cannot believe that it is a truth. Baptist piety is a fire that refines every thought that enters me. I am too troubled by the idea of denying the priesthood of all believers. I know many can tell me how that is different than the ordained minister I see at the alter. I cannot accept that. There is something wrong with the idea that I, as a layperson, cannot walk up the bread and wine and then ask the Holy Ghost to change the elements into the Body and Blood of Christ. This makes my prayers less effective. That belief means I am less than a person ordained. “No,” I am told, “it makes you different.” No, it makes me less.

But still, I struggle. In a few months, I will have a wedding. There will be communion, and I am terrified. What if I am not supposed to have communion? What if my beliefs about Eucharist, the Church, and the Body of Christ are wrong? The problem with Baptist piety, that runs so deep, is that your fear of punishment never quite goes away. I am a sinner, dangling like a spider on a thread, hanging over the fire.

In the end, my heart says that I will champion the layperson. I have been called clueless. I have been called ignorant. I’m pretty sure I took a grade cut because of my position. The fact is astounding that the Body of Christ can be so divided over the Body of Christ.

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Jeremy Frye November 13, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in friends, εκκλησία, relationships.
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On Saturday November 8, 2008, a young man I know, Jeremy Frye, went hiking with some friends at Grotto Falls, in Gatlinburg, TN, where he took a fall from the top approximately 30 feet to the ground below. After several hours, he was airlifted to UT Medical Center, where first assessments showed that he had a fractured skull, crushed vertebrate, severed spine, and blood around his lungs. The doctors said that short of a miracle, Jeremy would never walk again. Jeremy had surgery on the 9th. I’m not sure what all went on during the surgery, though I know it includes putting metal in his back.

Before the first surgery, Jeremy was completely responsive with his upper body. He could squeeze the doctors hands and lift and move both his arms. He could also follow a light with his eyes which means no brain damage or swelling. He did some test on Jeremy’s legs and lower body and although he didnt move he did make face and grunt when he was pinching. So he could slightly feel on his thighs but still nothing any lower. The most amazing news is that his spine is not seperated and his spinal cord is not severed, It is only bruised. There is no clear damage to the nerves.

He has 3 broken ribs on his left side and 5 broken ribs on his right and his right lung completely colapsed. His left collar bone is broken. He is on a 6000 calorie soft food diet through a feeding tube in his nose.

Yesterday, they went through the front of his neck to fuse some neck vertebra together.

There is a website http://helpjeremyfrye.com

Please pray for the Frye family. If you live in the Knoxville area, think about donating blood or platelets. He’s A+ and they will reserve for him specifically if you tell them. If you think you’re in a financial situation where you could donate anything to them, there is a page set up for that. Few people are well-off enough to deal with the medical expenses that are going to mount up for the Fryes, not to mention the fact that Jeremy is going to be out of work for a long time.

Thank you.

Who are we? November 5, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in friends, εκκλησία, Living, living as a 20-something, politics, progressive, relationships.
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Who are the people who voted for Obama?

They are future ministers, current teachers, southern daughters, northern sons, medical students, mothers, professors, writers, republican, democrat, independents, and all hopeful. We know that those with many must give to those that have few. Poor does not equal lazy. Muslim does not equal terrorist. Feminist, queer, and black are not bad words. Diplomacy does not equal shoot first and never ask questions.

My friends and fellow Obama supporters. We believe in something different.

My friends and fellow Obama supporters. We believe in something different.

While you’re in the voting mood November 4, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, Living, relationships.
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Like most people who aren’t self-centered, I like to give. I live to give notes, I like to give food, and I like to give gifts. When it’s someone I know, I give a nice personal gift that I’ve spent much time considering – either picking it out, or making it myself.

However, the people at ACLU do not need my crocheted hats. So there are four causes that are near and dear to my heart. They are the ACLU, To Write Love on Her Arms, Appalachia Service Project, and United Palestinian Appeal (stop cringing, Gina). Unfortunately, I can’t give my money to all these excellent programs. Let me give you a run down of what they are about.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation is the arm of the ACLU that conducts litigation and communication efforts. The Foundation provides legal presentation in cases involving issues of civil liberties and constitutional rights ranging from administrative hearings to trials and appeals. In addition, the Foundation educates the public as to civil liberties and constitutional rights by disseminating literature and other publications. The ACLU Foundation preserves and promotes civil rights and liberties as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Like making sure my future children don’t have to attend a school where creationism is taught.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Because people still think you can just “cheer up” and “get over it”

Established in 1978, United Palestinian Appeal, Inc. (UPA) is dedicated to providing aid to Palestinians in need, especially children, in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. UPA provides both emergency humanitarian relief and long-term development programs to Palestinian communities striving for economic and social development in the wake of ongoing conflict. We strive to deliver efficient charitable services at low overhead costs in the areas of education, health care, child sponsorship, and agricultural and community development. Because you can’t just tell a whole nation to get up and move (except we might have done that to the Native Americans).

Appalachia Service Project (ASP) is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that fosters human development by addressing the housing needs of Central Appalachia. Each year through our ministry about 15,000 volunteers repair homes for 400-500 low-income families in rural areas of Central Appalachia. Our goal is to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families in need, while offering transformational experiences for families, volunteers and staff alike. Since our founding in 1969, over 240,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired more than 12,500 homes. Appalachia Service Project serves the mountainous Central Appalachian region where Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia come together. Because there’s really poverty here, too.


What are you doing with your free time? September 15, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Emmanuel, friends, εκκλησία, living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student, relationships, school.
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A seminarian can't always be in the books

A seminarian can't always be in the books

You have heard it said September 11, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, relationships.
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You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers. For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have?

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers. For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have?

May those who hate us, despise us, try to kill us and our families be loved and blessed.

A video for Wednesday May 21, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in family, friends, εκκλησία, Living.
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Sonntag ist für Theologie May 18, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Emmanuel, εκκλησία.
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When I return to Johnson City this autumn, I’ll be throwing myself back into Grandview full force – or however forceful Aaron and Dana let me throw myself.* Grandview is a welcoming group and the best adjective for what keeps the staff sane is: GOOFY.

*Amber will only be doing this if whatever job she gets doesn’t involve teaching kids at some other church somewhere. She likes things to stay the same and would prefer to stay at Grandview, but she knows this is not always the case.

California Supreme Court decides that I can’t sell my children May 15, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, progressive.
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I am not eloquent when it comes to politics. I do know that I live in a divisive area and that my state chose to amend the constitution so that same-sex marriage will *never* be allowed a few years ago. My feelings on this whole situation? They are very well noted by Mr Sheen, below.

This isn’t about my personal feelings on whether or not homosexuality is a sin or an abomination. This is about my feelings towards people who like to pick what is a sin or an abomination and then pick and choose on what the punishment is. Example, people who look towards the Old Testament as a guide for their opinion of homosexuality being one of the worst sins that you can commit doen’t seem to carry out the punishment that’s suppose to go with it – death. There is a load of theology to dig at here. The simple point I want to make with this short post is that a group can’t pick and choose the way they are and think they are pleasing their diety.