January 2015

In This Issue...
 Ramblings in the Redwoods
 C.I.A. Youth Group News
 a word from our deacon...
 A Note of Gratitude
 The Back Page... Who's in Charge?

Ramblings in the Redwoods
Father Blaine Hammond

I wanted to have one more article in the “definitions” series and was looking at a couple of Episcopal priests/Jungian counselors, Morton Kelsey and Wallace Clift. Wallace is a former professor of mine and a friend, along with his wife Jean, with whom I was ordained to the diaconate. All three of these priests have written books about Christianity from a Jungian perspective. I decided to do a brief online search on Morton Kelsey to catch up with him a bit, and found instead something which startled me. A number of conservative Christians have written dire warnings about the teachings of Carl Jung and any person who wants to connect Jung with anything Christian. Both Kelsey and Clift were mentioned. In fact, all sorts of things Episcopal and Anglican were put together with a charge that what our church is teaching is not biblical; in fact, it is non-Christian, existing as a different religion altogether. Among those making these charges I found one who was a conservative Episcopal priest at the time of his writing, which was a number of years ago.

This is a charge which is not new to me, but I had never heard it connected with people who take a Jungian view of psychology. It might have been easier to take if a number of the articles had not misrepresented some of Jung’s biography and teachings. I have often wondered, about both religious and political controversies, why people would have to stir up emotions by making things up if their arguments were strong to begin with.

One of the articles mentioned the “three-legged stool” of Anglicanism (scripture, tradition and reason) as if it were a doorway into a mushy New Age spirituality, a state of being which they laid at the door of Episcopalians, Jungians and anyone who tried to put Christianity, the Bible and Jungian psychology into the same bag.

Well, it’s not as if I am thinking that any of these people I encountered on the internet can be won over to my way of thinking, or that any real dialogue can develop between them and me without a miraculous intervention of God – but I take offense. So let me say something about both the Episcopal way of looking at things and at the attempt to under-stand any overlap between Jungian psychology and the Christian faith.

The reason Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church use the three-legged stool concept is because it is impossible to read the Bible without interpreting it. There are teachers of the Christian faith who say that they do not interpret, they are reading the self-evident meaning of the Bible. But that so-called self-evident meaning is itself an interpretation. Many of these readings seem to understand the Bible being written by or to 20th and 21st century people. There is often little to no appreciation for the difference between time, place, authorship, physical setting, genre, or any other contextual circumstance. That is an interpretive approach. So the three-legged stool is a way of codifying at least the foundation of how we go about doing interpretation. We read scripture first for itself, second as it has been interpreted by the Church throughout history, and third as our own God-given ability of intellect receives it.

As to Carl Jung, it is clear that he was not himself a Christian, but it is also clear that he was a man of faith. Asked late in his life if he was a believer, he said “No. I don’t have to believe. I know.” Because of a wide ranging interest in all kinds and forms of spiritual and religious practice and phenomenology, his opponents waste no time in calling him a pagan. But he was interested in those things, not because of their theological statements, but because of what their literature, beliefs and practices revealed about those things which human beings hold in common as part of our psychology.

Because Jung, unlike his influential contemporaries Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, was willing to accept a mystical side to humanity, many religious people have found his writings to be a more interesting and friendly place to start looking at how psychology and religious belief can work together than that of his contemporaries. I might add another contemporary who had a wide-ranging mind and was interested in working on both psychology and religion, William James, who has had an impact also, but of a different kind, since he chose to study the forms of religion from an empirical standpoint and published a very influential book in 1902, The Varieties of Religious Experience, which still rewards a reading after all these years.

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So Wallace Clift, in Jung and Christianity: The Challenge of Reconciliation (Crossroad, New York, 1982), says (p. 67) “Psychology of religion textbooks have floundered over the question of a definition of religion ever since the time of William James, who in his famous The Varieties of Religious Experience suggested that the very fact that we had so many different definitions should be enough to tell us that the word ‘religion’ could not stand for any single principle or essence, but rather was a collective name. James concluded that religion, broadly speaking, ‘consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.’ Religion then, following James, could be said to be simply the response we make to the realities of life as we perceive them.” Clift says this in the beginning of a chapter titled “Religious Experience as a Union of Opposites.” As with the authors I have cited earlier, the process of defining be-comes more complex as he continues. Clift cites a number of things that religion is more than (“what goes on in churches, synagogues and temples”; “some special kind of belief”). He then goes on to deconstruct what some other thinkers have used as definitions. He comes around to religion as a product of an experience of the “other” – for Christians, that would be God. But we can only know God as God is revealed to us, and using the Jungian model, that revelation is an experience “of, or ‘from,’ the unconscious” – i.e. our inner selves.

The critics I cited earlier are incapable of understanding what Jung means by this because they are reading him shallowly only in order to denounce him, having decided in advance that he should be denounced. A deeper and more careful reading is far beyond an article like this. But it begs the existentialist question: is an experience of God primarily some-thing we can only experience as isolated individuals? That may not be an entirely fair question to ask, since psychology is focused primarily on individuals but it is good to remember that for Jung the individual unconscious mind is connected with something he called the collective unconscious – that is, we humans are connected with each other in our deep psychological selves, in a way that is too deep for us to directly experience.

One of the ways in which the Episcopal Church is different from others is in our encouragement of Christians to investigate, to learn, to experience, as long as we are doing so with respect for the primacy of scripture as our authority and respect for tradition and reason as our means for encountering and understanding God’s work in our midst. Writers such as Clift and Kelsey are not fearful boogeymen to be avoided because they conflict with someone’s idea of what it is OK to study or to ask. They can actually help us to think about the content of our own revelation and experience, what they mean, how they help us to see God at work in the world and in each other.

What is your definition of Christianity or religion? I am still waiting for the first brave soul to send us some of her or his thoughts to help us learn to know God and each other better.

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Why I Am An Episcopalian: Reason #32

The Episcopal Church taught me that Jesus came to challenge, not just comfort; to overturn, not maintain; to love, not judge; to include, not cast aside. - The Rev. Canon Elizabeth R. Geitzs, Diocese of New Jersey, from 101 Reasons to be Episcopalian

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Children and Youth Group News

Sunday School: Sunday School is every week for ages 4-18 during the 10am service. Children (grades pre-K through 5th) and youth (grades 6-12) are to meet in the Parish Hall at 10am. They will re-join their families during announcements for communion.

Teachers: If you are interested in joining our team, just talk with Teresa Ruff and she can add you to the schedule. Our teachers do just one Sunday a month.

We have child care! A huge thank-you to Amelia (one of the St. Andrew's Preschool teachers) who will be providing child care to children under 5 during the 10am service.

C.I.A. Youth Group Hosts All-Church Breakfast: First Sunday of the month. Youth will meet at 8:30am to set-up and start cooking. Breakfast will be served between 9:15am-10am. Donations accepted to help with food costs.

C.I.A. Youth Group
*Of note: There has been some question about the ages of this group. Due to the number of kids and their ages in our Parish, we have to make a few exceptions. We have a Junior Youth Group which will be grades 5th-8th, and a Senior Youth Group which will be grades 9th-12th. This allows more kids to get together for most of our events, and also allows for us to sepa-rate for certain events/discussions that are more age/maturity based.

Ski Trip Coming Soon
We will be going to Dodge Ridge and Camp Sylvester this year for our ski trip. We will be leaving after school on Friday, January 16th, and returning on Sunday night, January 18th. There is a $25 non-refundable fee to reserve your spot. A full price list will be available in December (ski tickets prices, food, ski rentals, snow play, etc.). Everyone will need to fill out permission slips. Details and discussions will be conducted at our weekly 10am meetings on Sundays. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon or Teresa.

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a word from our deacon...

We have survived Christmas. The theological foundations of St. Andrew’s have once again not only survived but thrived in the Christmas Pageant. My favorite line this year was, “I only hope, for Joe's sake that it's a boy.” Like Tevya, our inn keeper was pushed out of his busy shell of complacency by his upstart and sparky daughters. Yea, a boy may seem to be more in our comfort zone but comfortable complacency is not what we are called to do. There is power in our daughters and grand-daughters that should be encouraged and treasured. We need to remember that it was Mary who did all the work that night.

For centuries we have been taught that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. It is right there in scripture. But there is another theme woven into this whole Incarnation thing that gets lost in our coping with the whole Trinity thing. We have three persons in one God but that is often too hard for our feeble heads to get around so we take the easy way out and turn God into the Three Musketeers with the Son guy taking the fall. Not so. God didn't send his son, and by implication stay at home in his Lazy Boy (see above...). God, as Son, became man. Why would he do that?

The Book of Job is one of my favorites in the Hebrew Scripture. Read it sometime aloud to yourself as you would read Shakespeare. Let that anger against indifference and injustice come out. This is a visceral book. The God of Job is cavalier and self satisfied. Sure, Job will stay loyal to Me!. He scandalously takes a bet with Satan at Job's expense. And then, at the end, after abandoning Job to all that woe, shouts at him, “Brace yourself like a fighter; now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me. Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Tell me, since you are so well informed! Who decided the dimensions of it, do you know? ...”

God completely ignores the helpless state of Job's life and brags about his power. As many authors have noted, Satan got the better of God by way of Job's misery. Scripture is not only inspired by our experience of God but driven by the experience of the life and times of the author. The times in which Job was written were a long way from the misty past of David and Solomon's glory. Life in post-Exile Israel was a pretty miserable existence noted only by the details of which empire was currently exploiting the place. The desire of these poor people for a Messiah was not because the iPhone 6 was sold out at the mall. Jesus was born into desperate times.

So why did God do it? Well, that is the other theme. It was God, all of God, who became man. Job's response to God's boast makes a point:

“(Listen, I have more to say, now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.) I knew you then only by hearsay; but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract all I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent.”
Job has learned via terror, the power of God and in his terror acknowledges, “I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand, on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.” How does God respond to this shocking surrender? Here is Job, someone he was complacently proud of, in the dust. And, in the dust because God in all of his power let him be stomped on.

Consider this. God learned something in that encounter too. Job's plight at the hand of God awoke the compassion of God. In a very real sense, not only did Job not understand God but God didn't under-stand what it was like to be a helpless mortal creature. In order to act upon this awakened compassion, God had to, as our Native American brothers would say, walk in our moccasins for a while. And so, God didn't just send His son. He, as a son, became one of us so as to know what it was like to be one of us.

Some years back, it struck me that throughout the Gospels Jesus talks incessantly about forgiveness. One does not go on talking about something that is commonplace in their life. No, they talk about those things that they have experienced in their lack. If Jesus talked so much about forgiveness, what did he experience or do that lacked forgiveness? Note that he was born under “questionable” circumstances.

The mystery of the Incarnation is in the realization that God is one of us. He walked in our moccasins. Consider this from an article in the Guardian this week:

“Surely no abstract and intellectual deconstruction of divine power can possibly compete with the seditious thought of the need to change God’s nappy. It’s little wonder that many accused early Christianity of atheism.”
The compassion of God is within us now. Let us go forth and show it. - Jim Leib

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A Note of Gratitude

THANK YOU! to all who have turned in your pledge cards for the new year in such a timely fashion. It is much appreciated! We still need to hear from a few more of you who have yet to do so. For those of you who are pledging via your credit card, we still need a pledge card from you to renew your permission for us to continue to use this method of giving in the new year.

Your Vestry is working with a 'bare bones' budget, and finds it difficult to make any more cuts. Our staff of three are part-time, and our volunteers are indispensable. Morale is high as we are seeing an increase in attendance at recent services and events. We now offer child care for our youngest members, Sunday school for our Elementary attendees, and an active Youth Group for our teens. Consistent attendance, however, is what is needed to keep these programs operating successfully. Herein lies the rub. We are competing with so many other programs & distractions for the attention of our members in this community. We welcome whatever input you may have to improve our outreach and programs.
But, we need to hear from you. So, please come to our Annual Meeting this month (Jan. 25th) to learn just where we are, and where we might be going in the ministry of St. Andrew's Parish.

Gratefully, Jennifer Kennedy, Stewardship Committee
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St. Andrew's Women's Reading Group

When: January 13th, 7 pm
Where: Jean Templeman's Home
Book: Calling Invisible Women, by Jeanne Ray

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Pastoral Care Team: the compassion of God in SLV

Contact Elizabeth Forbes to become a part of the Pastoral Care Team. We will be providing brief & simple outreach to those who need a word of encouragement or would like to receive communion at the hospital or at home.If you would like to participate in this simple but meaningful ministry, contact Elizabeth, at elizabethdhf@gmail.com.

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Christa Shanaman (January 4)
Christopher Mello (January 6)
Kim Rooks (January 10)
Jaime Butler (January 11)
Sandra Cadell (January 12)
Larry Laufenberg (January 15)
Sari Mitchell (January 17)
Kris Waller (January 18)
Sofia Davidson (January 24)
Victor Davidson (January 24)
Dena Robertson (February 2)
Rochelle Kelly (February 4)
Gene Kodner (February 4)
Alexander Cadell (February 7)
Paula Jansen (February 10)
Tedd Parske (February 13)
Ray Schmidt (February 13)
Isabella Landeros (February 19)
Teresa Ruff (February 20)
Anabelle Bauer (February 24)
Brett McPherson (February 26)

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The Back Page...

Who's in Charge? - Elizabeth Forbes

Am I in charge of my talent, my income, my time or are they in charge of me. I said ‘my’; it just slipped out. But it’s not mine, is it? Scripture tells us, even if our reasoning minds are in denial, that everything that is be-longs to God. We are here simply to be the managers, and no matter how highly ranked, we don’t own anything. It’s the old, but new-every-morning-question: What will I do today with what I have been given to take care of?

That brings me up close and personal with the question of who is in charge of my life? As the manager I am responsible for making decisions that are consistent with the owner’s policies. While I believe I do a reasonably good job of it, that’s not what God asks. God asks that I give my whole life to God. By that standard, I fall miserably short.

As I am thinking this through, by grace I remember a book I read in the 70s about how to get organized. We had three small kids + various pets back then and were in desperate need of some organization. This book was memorable because it went to the heart of what makes our lives meaningful. It began not with sorting things, but with sorting values. Completing a series of exercises, I identified several of my top values. Then each evening as I made my to-do list for the next day, it was reviewed against those values and edited to match. It only took a couple of minutes to do but the peace within lasted. There were days when only the first thing on the list was completed (hold the sick baby, added as my day got underway), but I ended the day knowing I had accomplished the most important thing.

I want to be in charge of what I have, not the other way around. I want to give to God what is God’s. So I am committing myself again to making my to-do list match what is important to me. I, like Paul, despair that the good that I want to do, I so often don’t do. Then I remember Paul’s next words, “Who is to save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is by grace that I can even ask these questions, and by grace only that I can make choices that please God.

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What do you think? Letters to the Editor are welcome! If you are interested in submitting an article in next month's newsletter, contact Elizabeth Forbes or Paula Jansen.