Fear vs Love
Competition and Consumption vs Community and Connection
The church came into being because a group of people began to act a particular way. Their actions were guided by a belief that God was in their midst and that God cared about them and what they did. They were not the first group of people to believe this. Other people had this deep sense of God as well. But there were two things that were fundamentally different about the church: first, the God they were following was not embodied in a position that was passed down by people. In other words, this God’s presence did not live in the person of the priest, king, or emperor. Second, this God was not a set of rules that was abided by or used to lead, set policy, or judge against.
This group of people believed they collectively acted in the image of God. Here is what this means. If God is God, then, as Steve Taylor says in his book The Out-of-Bounds Church,
“Any attempt to image God contextually is in fact an act of God reading us. As we embody God, as we proclaim God in community, God looks back, questioning the church: Is the church fully representing the image of God? Is the church a participatory place where people find their full humanity in Christ? Is the body of God a true icon of God? Will we let the image of God be constructed in us?”
And so I wonder, how is God reading us at Epiphany? When I wonder about this, I do so against the backdrop of the two dominant-culture forces that challenge, if not undermine, our capacity to act together as the people of God. They are competition and consumption.
Competition and consumption find their energy in fear. They have come to be known as good science for explaining human actions. If evolution is the way the world got to be the way the world is, and if evolution is based on the survival of the strong and the historical irrelevancy of the weak (like dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and saber-tooth tigers), then competition and consumption are natural, normal, and healthy. In other words, to be competitive is to win the game of consuming limited resources, and thus the game of life. This has become a wide-reaching belief in our culture.
The early Christians lived an entirely different paradigm. They lived with the belief that God was interested and involved in their community, and more than that, God owned the end game—a game played on a field larger than the community could imagine. The energy for this way of life was love.
Fear, or love? Competition and consumption, or community and connection? The jury is out, even for me. I am so well trained in the art of competition and consumption with fear as my driving impulse that I act this way mostly by habit. For example, a “C” on a report card triggered in me, as a young man, a deep fear. Why? Because that meant I’d never get into the right college, and then I’d be relegated to a low-paying job, and no one would want to marry me, and the person who did would be a loser like me, and we’d have crumby children and live in a trailer park. Our lives would be bad. We’d be unhappy. And most of all we’d eventually find ourselves discarded like dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and saber-tooth tigers. That is what a “C” could do. Fear it.
Here is an alternative thought to the “C.” To whom can I turn for help? How can the “C” offer me new opportunities for community and connection? And more than that, how can the “C” redirect me toward my “A” life. How does the weakness of my “C” give greater honor to the reality of my “A”? Everyone has an “A” somewhere, and that “A,” when tied to someone else’s “A,” when tied to someone else’s “A,” when tied to someone else’s “A,” when tied to someone else’s “A,” equals the body of Christ. That is the communion of becoming the image of God constructed in us and connected through us.
And so, I invite you to consider moments when fear inspires competition and consumption. I’d invite you to wonder if those are habits taught to you or realities of how the world works? Finally, I’d invite you to consider love, your “A,” and how and where this connects to the “A”s you see in the world around you.
Farewell BBQ for Emily Linderman
May 29 is Emily Linderman’s last Sunday as our Associate for Staff and Ministry Formation. She will be preaching at all four services and will offer the Sunday Adult Forum at 10 am in the Great Hall on forgiveness, a topic near and dear to her heart.
To celebrate her years of service at Epiphany Parish, the staff would like to throw a farewell BBQ in her honor after the 11 am service, and everyone is invited. We’ll fire up the grill for hot dogs, have some salad and drinks, and enjoy the good weather together (hopefully!) in the courtyard and gardens. If you are interested in helping out with the event, contact the Parish Office.
If you will be out of town that weekend, you can still wish Emily well by contributing to a “purse” for her, according to Epiphany tradition. Contact Chinn if you would like to contribute. Also, she will not completely disappear from the Epiphany campus; the Vestry has approved her request for office space in the Parish Hall for her spiritual direction practice.
Thank you, Emily, for everything you have done for Epiphany Parish!
Bishop’s Visit and Youth Confirmation Sunday
Since November, ten Epiphany youth have been gathering every few weeks for a confirmation class led by Doyt Conn and Heather Edwards-McRobbie. The Episcopal Church expects all people who are baptized at an early age to make a mature affirmation of faith and commitment to the promises made at baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by a bishop. Confirmation gives us a chance to speak for ourselves before our community and claim our membership in the church.
During the class, the youth have learned more about the Episcopal Church, the sacraments, and the Bible, and they have had a chance to explore their own faith. They have also met with mentors from the parish to discuss their faith and their questions. At the end of the class, they will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to be confirmed at this time or if they want to wait.
I hope you will make a special effort to join us on June 5 at the 11 am service as we host Bishop Rickel and celebrate the commitments our youth, as well as many adults, will make.
—Laura Sargent, Youth Ministry Convener
In addition to the youth confirmation class, several adults have been doing an inquirer’s class with Kate and will be received into the Episcopal Church by the bishop. We hope you will join us to welcome them all into the fold.
Which Staff Person to Contact about What
Diane Carlisle, Verger & Parish Administrator
Volunteering during Sunday worship
Volunteering in the Parish Office
Liaison to Epiphany School
Amanda Eap, Hospitality and Security
Volunteering for Sunday coffee hours
Set up and clean up for events
Opening and locking rooms
Chinn Eap, Business Administrator
Online giving and accounts
Computer issues, internet, and phones
Gieth Phou, Sexton
Minor maintenance repair
Set up and clean up for events during the week
Moving furniture on campus
Judy Naegeli, Communications
Communications strategies for special events and campaigns
Submitting content to newsletters
Editorial help with publicity
Changing mailing list status
Elizabeth Walker, Children’s Ministry Convener
Sunday school & formation hour
Childcare for events
Vacation Bible Camp
Liaison to Epiphany Early Learning Preschool
Volunteering for children’s ministry
Laura Sargent, Youth Ministry Convener
Safeguarding God’s Children
Volunteering to work with youth
Tom Foster, Director of Music
Joining the choir
Organs and pianos
Kathea Yarnell, Music Associate
Choristers in Training
Volunteering with music programs
Peter Snow, Assisting Priest
Todd Foster, Priest Associate
Service and Outreach opportunities
Kate Wesch, Priest Associate
Doyt L. Conn, Jr., Rector
Special gifts and donations
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
May 22, 2016
Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
May 22: Adult Forum – The Book of Revelation with Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz
Dr. Guardiola-Saenz is a Professor of Christian Scriptures at Seattle University who specializes in the writings of John the Apostle whom tradition says wrote the apocalyptic book of Revelation. Join us at 10–10:45 am in the Great Hall.
May 22: Adult Forum – The Book of Revelation with Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz
Dr. Guardiola-Saenz is a Professor of Christian Scriptures at Seattle University who specializes in the writings of John the Apostle whom tradition says wrote the apocalyptic book or Revelation. Join us at 10-10:45 am in the Great Hall.
May 22: Concert – To Music!
The opening concert of a long series of music organized by the Music Guild will take place on May 22. Named “To Music,” the concert is inspired by Saint Cecilia, the ancient patron saint of music. Epiphany Choir and staff singers will be joined by noted Seattle instrumentalists. Free admission. Free-will offering at the door.
May 26: Monthly Teen Feed Dinner
Join the team that cooks enchiladas once a month for homeless teens in the University District. Contact Ann Beck for more information.
May 28: YWCA Apartment Beautification
At the YWCA transitional housing facility, sometimes the apartments need a little TLC before a new family moves in. On the last Saturday of every month at 9 am, a team goes to clean and decorate to welcome new residents. Contact Ann Beck for more information.
May 29: Adult Forum – Forgiveness
This Easter season we held a five-evening workshop on forgiveness using the process outlined by the Revs. Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu in The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path of Healing Ourselves and Our World. This was not so much a class about forgiveness, but a reverent, communal pilgrimage on the path of forgiveness, each pilgrim carrying their own hurts along the way. We’d like to share with you what we learned and experienced at 10 am in the Great Hall. Please join us!
May 29: Farewell BBQ for Emily Linderman
As a way to appreciate Emily for her years of hard work, dedication, and all-around awesomeness, we’ll be having a cookout after the morning services, beginning around 12:15 pm. Emily will be preaching at all four services. If you would like to contribute to a “purse” for Emily, contact Chinn.
May 29: Special Music at Two Services
Zachary Finkelstein (tenor) and Tyler Morse (countertentor) will perform Benjamin Britten’s Abraham and Isaac during the 11 am and 5 pm services, accompanied by noted Seattle pianist Byron Schenkman.
June 5: Confirmation Sunday with Bishop Greg Rickel
Every three years, Bishop Greg Rickel visits the parish to confirm youth and receive new members into the Episcopal Church. We have several youth group members who have gone through the class and will be confirmed, as well as a few adults who have recently gone through the inquirer’s class with Kate. Confirmations will take place at the 11 am service, and Bishop Rickel will preach at all three morning services.