Read This, Then Vote
a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, jr.
Some of you may have noticed that we are in the midst of a presidential campaign. Between now and when we elect a new president, I ask you to keep this in mind: “Father, hallowed be your name.” That line might sound familiar. We mostly know it this way: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
“Hallowed be your name” is a phrase said by billions of people, and it is a phrase that matters very much when it comes to how we think about politics in America, and particularly presidential politics this year. Here is why: it has to do with dualism. You see, this year’s presidential race is bringing to light a deep, maybe even pathological, dualism that exists in our nation. We see it through the utter vitriol we find between the political parties and toward the candidates who represent these political parties.
I have been astonished by the utter, uncompromising hostility I witness in people—sane, normal, moral, good people—as they speak with contempt about how horrible Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is. I have yet, however, to meet anyone who knows either one of them well enough to actually lay claim to such a certain position. It is dualism that is driving this polarity in America.
What do I mean by that? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks states: “Dualism is what happens when cognitive dissonance becomes unbearable; when the world as it is, is simply too unlike the world as we believed it ought to be” (Not in God’s Name, p. 48). Dualism is a way of thinking that collapses a complicated world into a simplistic, binary, black-and-white place.
Dualism simplifies our thinking. “She is bad. He is a crook. She is a liar. He is a liar.” What’s the evidence? Is there context that nuances his or her behavior? How about new evidence? What if a document is produced or a judgment rendered that adds new perspective to the issue at hand? In a dualistic world, none of that matters! You never compromise in a dualistic world! It is all war, all the time. That’s life in a dualistic world. It is simplistic, binary, black-and-white. Sound familiar?
Let’s make it a little more complicated by bringing God into the mix. One strain of logic might say, “If our God is good, and of course our God is good (because our God is OUR God), and yet bad stuff still happens in the world, then there must be a purveyor of bad that is outside the good of our God (aka: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump).” But here is the problem: Our God is the creator of all things, including you, me, Hillary, and Donald. And that is complicated, which is why Jesus begins the prayer he teaches us with: “Father, hallowed be your name.”
Hallowed means whole, holy, healthy, full, complete. The first thing that Jesus teaches us when he teaches us to pray is to acknowledge that God is whole, holy, healthy, full, and complete. Thus, in the words of Sacks: “The God we worship has the capacity within God’s self to hold what seem to us disparate contradictions” (Not in God’s Name, p. 64).
This is a very important point. God, in a way that is a little bit bigger than we can understand, has the capacity to hold creation and destruction, mercy and retribution, peace and war, love and fear, life and death, Hillary and Donald within God’s self.
Before the Jews’ revelation of the one God, the battle was between “my good god” and “your bad god.” Monotheism broke that myth and moved good and bad from a state of being that existed between neighbors to a state of being that existed within the soul. Which means that if we are made in the image and likeness of God, then we too are made to hold these contradictions, these tensions between the good and the bad, within ourselves.
The rabbis ask, “Who is the hero?” The answer: “The one who conquers their own soul” (Not in God’s Name, p. 64). So that is the question I’d like us to ask of our presidential candidates: Do you know your soul? Are you capable of managing the tension of the good and bad within you, rather than rushing to externalize it on the battlefield? Which one of you is most willing to pray, “Father, hallowed be your name”?
Please vote this year, but before you settle upon your decision, I invite you to consider each candidate through a conversation they would have with Jesus:
- How would Hillary and then Donald respond to Jesus if they knew they were talking with Jesus?
- How would Hillary and then Donald respond to Jesus in a situation where they were talking to Jesus and didn’t know it?
- What would they say about their positions in light of the Kingdom of God?
- What might they say if Jesus were interested to know how relationship was primary for them?
- What if Jesus asked them what they worshipped, or how they prayed?
- What would they ask Jesus for or about?
Finally, how might they ask Jesus to help them collapse the dualism of their own thinking in favor of the prayer he taught us to pray: “Our Father, hallowed be your name”?
Things to Consider During Stewardship Season
In an effort to give Epiphany more information on what happens in the life of this dynamic parish, during stewardship season (between now and November 20), we will be publishing charts, graphs, and slides in the Weekly Work and Monthly Message. It is our hope to better educate the parish on the impact and industry of this neighborhood church in sharing the reality of the Kingdom of God. If you have any questions about what you read or see, please contact me.
The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed
Christians have been praying for the dead since the earliest days of Christianity. Ancient liturgies and inscriptions have been found on walls of catacombs which attest to the antiquity of prayers for the dead. In the early days, the names of departed Christians were inscribed on diptychs, which were wax tablets, and placed on an altar.
Praying for the dead is actually borrowed from Judaism, as recorded in 2 Maccabees 12:41–45. Early Christian teachers, such as Tertullian, St. Cyprian, and others, testify to the regular practice of praying for the souls of the departed.
Beginning in the tenth century, it became customary to set aside a day on which the Church remembered the faithful who were unknown in the wider fellowship of the Church. It was also a day of particular remembrance of family members and friends. This was in addition to All Saints’ Day. It became known as All Souls’ Day.
Though the observance of the day was abolished during the Reformation because of abuses connected with masses for the dead, a renewed understanding of its meaning has led to a widespread acceptance of this commemoration among Anglicans and to its inclusion as an optional observance in the calendar of the Episcopal Church in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
This year we are going to commemorate our faithful departed parishioners, family members, and friends with a High Holy Eucharist on Saturday, November 5, at 8 pm in the chapel. This service will be mostly candlelit and will have incense and music. The parish necrology will be read. You are invited to bring a picture of a departed loved one to place on the Altar of Remembrance, and our book of names of the faithful departed will be available for you to sign.
O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers; Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Legacy Giving to Epiphany
We have a strong heritage at Epiphany: 100 years of history and an amazing future ahead of us. With it comes the opportunity to seriously consider how to ensure Epiphany remains a Christian stronghold in which to worship God and to nurture spiritual growth in ourselves, our families, and in those who follow after us.
We have achieved the amazing goal of renovating our beautiful campus in ways that respect our heritage and bring solid upgrades for current and future needs. Now we look forward to the opportunities ahead. We have the leadership, the vision, and the momentum to achieve great things.
A small group of parishioners, including Gary Sundem, Pete Melin, Cory Carlson, and myself, have been exploring ways to support that vision and to provide the financial security that will enable us to continue to grow in our service to God both within our walls and beyond them. One such way is by including a legacy gift to Epiphany’s endowment fund in our wills. There are many ways to do this, with both real and tangible personal property, in amounts of any size large or small, and structured with flexibility according to the wishes of the donor. As with our 100-Year Capital Campaign, participation in lasting support for Epiphany is our goal.
We will be discussing legacy giving over the next several months, but we want to encourage your consideration of a planned gift to Epiphany in consultation with your accountant and/or attorney. If you have already provided for Epiphany in your will, we encourage you to let us know so we can make sure you are included in the Epiphany Legacy Society.
Thank You Card from the YWCA Food Bank
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
October 23, 2016
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
2 Timothy 4:6–8,16–18
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
October 22: Safeguarding God’s Children
Safeguarding God’s Children is a training program for the Episcopal Church designed by the Church Pension Group to make our churches as safe as possible for our children and youth and those who work with them. Everyone who works with children or youth at Epiphany is required to go through the training, as well as staff and vestry members. Recommended for all members. The training will be at 10 am in the Christie House Library. Contact Laura Sargent if you would like to attend.
October 23: Adult Forum – Christian Art Lecture
Bill Ingham, Northwest artist and Epiphany parishioner, citing Christian masterworks, shows how each artist carefully devised and created these timeless paintings which remain so astonishing and persuasive today. Join us at 10 am in the Great Hall.
October 23: Due Date for the YWCA Halloween Drive
Help children living in YWCA housing to celebrate Halloween! You can bring pumpkins, carving sets, costumes, candy, and any other festive items to the donation bins in the back of the church, anytime between Sunday, October 2, and Sunday, October 23. Supplies will be delivered that afternoon.
October 23: Special Presentation – Books and Bricks in Kenya
Tom Holford will deliver an informative presentation at 6 pm about his recent mission trip to Mulundi and Kitui, Kenya, working with Books & Bricks, a ministry supplying scholarships, school supplies, and school rooms to children who would not otherwise be in school. He will present again next Sunday at noon.
October 27: Monthly Teen Feed Dinner
Every fourth Thursday, Epiphany’s Teen Feed crew gathers at a church kitchen in the University District to cook their famous enchiladas for young people living on the streets. For more information, contact Ann Beck.
October 29: YWCA Apartment Beautification
When families living in the YWCA’s transitional housing find their permanent homes, the vacated apartments often need some TLC. On the last Saturday of the month, a crew from Epiphany gives their assignment a good scrub, stocks it with basic supplies, and leaves it looking a bit more like home for the next family. To find out how you can get involved, contact Ann Beck.
October 30: Adult Forum – American Muslims and Their Faith
This presentation by the Islamic Speakers Bureau aims to help people understand the beliefs and practices of American Muslims. It touches upon Muslims around the globe, the diversity of American Muslims, and women’s rights. The ultimate goal to provide an opportunity to ask questions and for those in attendance to learn about Islam as it is practiced by Americans. Join us at 10 am in the Great Hall.
November 5: Annual Half-Day Women’s Retreat
All women are invited to join us for a half-day retreat on Saturday, November 5, at 9 am–1 pm. Artist Souheir Rawlings will lead us in a discussion of sacred geometry and “Praying in Color.” Cost for the day is $20. Find more information here.
November 5: Commemoration of All Faithful Departed Souls
We will be commemorating all faithful departed souls with a service of Holy Eucharist in the Chapel on Saturday, November 5, at 8 pm. The service will be candlelit and heavily punctuated with incense, full of mystery and beauty. The reading of the necrology will happen at this service.
November 6: First Sunday Brunch
On the first Sunday of every month, instead of going to forums and classes we join together during Everybody Hour to have brunch and check-in with other parishioners who attend different services. This month’s brunch is being hosted by one of our men’s small groups. There will be a designated table to discuss the book Whistling Vivaldi for anyone who has been reading it or is interested in the subject matter.
November 8: Election Day Quiet Day
To pray for the well-being of our nation and to remind ourselves that Jesus is still Lord of the Universe, we are setting aside the chapel for prayer and meditation all day on election day. Find more information and a schedule of activities on our website.
November 13: Adult Forum – Developing the Skill of Compassionate Listening
Join Thaddeus Gunn for an introduction to the practice of compassionate listening, the art of transforming separation and conflict into an opportunity for connection, healing, and peace. This forum will lead into a five-week secondary class on compassionate listening beginning November 20 in the Garden Room during Everybody Hour. Find more information on our website.
November 13: Music Guild – Evensong with Epiphany Schola
This service of Choral Evensong, performed by a small group of singers from Epiphany Choir at 5 pm in the chapel, honors Henry Purcell, the pinnacle of England’s musicians in the 17th century, and three of his contemporary colleagues.
October 26: Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and the Common Good with Miroslav Volf
What is forgiveness and how do it an reconciliation inform the world we share with 7 billion others, many of whom do not share our culture or religion? How do we learn to embrace rather than reject difference? What roles do religion play in how we negotiate life together? Miroslav Volf will discuss these and other questions at Seattle Pacific University (Gwinn Commons) at 7 pm on October 26. Volf is the Founder and Director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. Buy tickets here for $15.
November 5: Madrona Community Council Wine Tasting Fundraiser
The Madrona Community Council collaborates with Leschi Market on this annual fundraiser. Leschi Market assembles vinters and representatives, and on the night of the event you taste and many, many wines that are sold at a discount. Just leave your completed order at the exit, and when your order is ready, Leschi Market will call you for pick up. Click here to get your tickets.
November 20: Chris Aquavella: Solo Classical Mandolin Masterpieces
Join us for a special concert of solo classical mandolin from 18th-century composers to contemporary masterpieces, performed by Chris Aquavella. The mandolin has a captivating and haunting quality which will resonate beautifully in the intimate setting of the Epiphany Chapel.