Category Archives: Articles

Thoughts from a Man Who Died

Pat Coburn pic

by Pat Coburn

Editor’s Note:  Pat Coburn, a member of St. James Church, died in December 2012 due to a major coronary incident.  The Lord saw fit to bring Pat back to life and he continues to testify to God’s goodness even after his coronary, subsequent brain injury and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that originated from his military service in Vietnam and is exacerbated by his recent health crisis.  This insightful message comes from him and it’s amazing what we can learn from a man who died!

My wife has asked me to post more about my experiences with brain injury & PTSD to help others understand. I will try. I’m better at answering questions than thinking up something myself, so here is the question she asked me this morning:

Gretchen: “Depression, unprovoked irritability, & violent anger are the 3 most common symptoms of both brain injury & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Why don’t you exhibit any of them at any time?”

Me: I don’t know, but the Lord does. I have never been a depressed or angry person, so it does not come naturally to me. I like the word our counselor uses: resilient. Yes, I am resilient. When I get knocked down I take a deep breath, get up, & walk toward something good (like the woods) instead of something bad (like my childhood home). I think that is a core character gift from the Lord that remains with me through everything.

Also, when I died, I gave everything to the Lord, including my life, the love of my life, my health, just everything. I didn’t hold anything back. I know I was a sincere Christian before my death, but there was that little tiny bit (that 1% if you will) in which was hidden my fear, distrust, & self-power. Once I gave every bit of it up to God’s loving & saving power, I was completely fulfilled. I am now living moment by moment in the Lord. Or the Lord is living in me moment by moment. (I guess it is both.) If I do experience any distraction from that core focus (depression, irritability, anger, etc.), the Holy Spirit immediately makes me notice & I immediately move back to the center of my life in the Lord. It is easy to make a minute correction immediately. It might be overwhelming if I strayed far away & tried to work my way back. In fact, I can’t even work my way back one step. All I can do is call out to the Lord and let Him reel me back in. I am reminded of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

And also I have to give a lot of the credit to the Lord for giving me a patient, attentive, loving wife. I trust her & the Lord completely. Even though I can’t depend on my mind to tell me the truth, I know my wife will never lie to me & will always be looking out for me. Sometimes I start to feel or think a certain way & then I look at my wife & know from her words & actions whether there is a reason I am experiencing what I am, or if I can stand down & take it easy. Some people have said I shouldn’t depend on her so much, that I should be as independent as possible. I don’t necessarily agree. I want to be strong & independent as the Lord empowers me, but the Lord has given me a wife who loves me totally & unselfishly & I would be crazy if I didn’t embrace the divine gift. Didn’t God create us “male & female” in His image so that we can enjoy the same kind of undivided fellowship He enjoys with the Son & the Holy Spirit? Isn’t that what “one flesh” really means? When we read Ephesians 5:22-33, we mean it to each other, by God’s grace. I am so thankful that God made her for me & me for her. Together we can face anything in the power of the Lord.

That’s more than enough for now. If you struggle from trauma stress, or you love someone who does, maybe some of what I say will be helpful. Meanwhile, it’s a good time for a nap!

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) Features New CEO of Open Doors USA –Dr. David Curry

Dr.David Curry

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

In this often dark world, our only hope is in Jesus Christ – “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”  The Lord, in His grace, often arranges special times of encouragement for us.  I’m excited to share with you that He has graciously arranged such a time for us at St. James on November 3.  In fact He has used this time to also encourage us that others are willing to stand with us in our journey.  Grace Fellowship Church, just down the street from Mariners Christian School (at Red Hill and McCormick), has opened their doors and their hearts to us, and they are excited to participate in IDOP with us!  Hallelujah!

The evening will start in the Grace Fellowship sanctuary at 6 p.m., and there will be light refreshments afterwards.  This year, our IDOP features Dr. David Curry, the new CEO of Open Doors USA.  Dr. David Curry has always held a special place in his heart for those who are suffering, living in despair or facing challenging circumstances. That passion has led him to training impoverished pastors in South America and serving the homeless in the Tacoma (WA) area.  Now Curry has taken his burden for the oppressed to Open Doors USA as president/CEO. He began his new position with Open Doors on Aug. 1, 2013. Open Doors, which will celebrate 60 years of ministry in 2015, is an international ministry which supports and strengthens persecuted Christians in some of the most dangerous countries in the world.

David will share his incredible heart for the persecuted church in the Middle East with us.  You will be empowered and inspired to pray for our precious brothers and sisters there as he shares their current plight, which has become much worse since the Arab spring.  Your faith will be strengthened as you hear about their incredibly close walk with Jesus and how the Lord is moving through these saints to reach Muslims for Christ.  This is something significant that the Lord is allowing you to be part of – building His kingdom through prayer in these exciting times!  You will be given an opportunity to partner with Open Doors in reaching out in Jesus’ love to help believers living in poverty through a great literacy and vocational program.  Come to bless our brothers and sisters in Christ, and I guarantee you will receive more blessings than you give!

Help Advance Our Cancer Comfort Ministry Through Social Media

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Dear Family at St. James,

Through encouragement from my friend, brother-in-Christ, and St. James vestry member Jim Dale, I’ve entered Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Patient/Caregiver Scholarship by submitting an essay on the role social media has played in my cancer storm and our resulting ministry outreach to others with cancer.   Mayo will be selecting three of those who submitted essays and bringing their authors to Mayo’s Social Media Conference the end of October in Minneapolis.  At the conference, in addition to benefiting from the incredible learning available there on how to reach out and help others through social media, the three folks chosen will be giving an address to those at the conference.  I would just love to tell people at the conference how God has used social media to share His message that Jesus loves people with cancer, especially women with breast cancer.

You can help advance my cancer outreach ministry and the chances of my essay being selected by these simple steps:

  1. Click on http://network.socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/
  2. You’ll need to register but it takes just a moment — honest!
  3. Go to the essays and scroll to July 15, the date I posted my essay, then scroll down until you find my name. Or once you are registered, you can go directly to my essay by clicking here:  http://network.socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cathie-young-patientcaregiver-scholarship-2013
  4. After reading my essay, please “Like” and add a “comment”.  The three essay winners will be judged not only on the content of the essay but also how many “likes” and “comments” they receive.  
  5. You may also “share” this on your Facebook page!

Social Media is an important tool in the hand of God to further His message of love in today’s world.  I want to make that message known.  Let’s take it to the ends of the earth — and if Mayo’s Social Media Conference can help accomplish that Kingdom purpose, then let’s be a part of what God wants to do!

Thanks and love,
Rev. Cathie+

St. James Vision Statement

Our Mission

We take as our primary motivation, The Great Commission.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, …” Matt 28: 19-20

In the recent past, we were fighters. We have been called a Lighthouse. Today, we continue to fight for the truth of the Gospel, but at the same time we are called to build – a church for Jesus, in Newport Beach, and in the new Diocese of Western Anglicans, and in the Anglican Church in North America.

Our Vision

Growing out of this contemporary context, we have this Vision for the future of St James Church:

We see a church where God is glorified, Jesus is exalted.   
He is proclaimed, known, loved, worshiped, imitated and obeyed. We do this by acknowledging the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, to be studied with contemporary application; by openness to the work of the Holy Spirit; by relying on Prayer as the source of health. In particular, we emphasize The Father’s Love in an inviting community of mutual respect and humility.

We see a Church with every member a disciple making disciples.
We do this through pursuit of individual spiritual growth, emphasizing Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, and Stewardship.
In particular, we discern and develop disciple-making leaders, so that our disciples will grow, in depth and number.

We see a church on mission.
We do this by encouraging every member to play their part in God’s Mission. We are engaging with a variety of religious,
ethnic and felt needs groups for Christ. In particular, members of small groups, missional communities and specific task
groups are released to serve God, using His gifts and obeying His call.

We see a church that invests in younger generations.
We do this by exploiting the attraction of Newport Beach for the young, engaging with transient leisure and longer term
visitors, and reaching out to local students. We support families in the Christian nurture of their children.
In particular, we provide a place of training for Fellows, Interns, and others who come to work with us.

We see a church that cares for its wisdom generation.
We do this by making space for our seniors, and not neglecting those whose mobility is reduced. In particular,
we have a growing ministry to local care homes, support for those who are sick, and an active healing ministry.

We see a church resourcing growth in our Diocese and beyond.
We do this by partnering with other Christ-centered groups for kingdom growth, advanced learning and training,
and mission with local and worldwide impact. In particular, we are planting churches that plant churches.

We see a church that is generous.
We do this by raising financial and other resources for the good of the kingdom locally, through the Diocese, and in the
wider Anglican world. In particular, we teach sacrificial stewardship as a spiritual necessity for a community marked
by some extraordinary wealth.

We see a church of over one thousand members, as well as church plants and other specialized ministry.

Vision Summary:
Proclaiming Jesus, Growing Disciples, Engaging the World.

Our Initial Priorities:

•  Leadership Development
•  Every Member Ministry
•  Youth/Young Family Focus
•  Evangelism

Adoption:

After several months of Prayer and consideration, The Rector presented this Statement to the Vestry on June 1st, 2013.
After Prayer and Discussion, it was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted by the Vestry as the God-inspired guide for
our future planning.  In passing from the Rector for adoption by the Vestry, the Statement changed from “I see” to “We see.”
We invite all members of the congregation to align with this Statement as the basis for ministry together.

In Times of Trial: Read James 1:1-12

by the Rev. Cathie P. Young, associate rector

On the heels of the very disappointing news received by the people of St. James last week, we find that we are facing what the Bible calls a “trial”.  As Pastor Richard mentioned in his sermon on Sunday, even though we didn’t get our (court) trial, we have been given another kind of trial – a trial that tests our faith, our strength to endure, and our unity.  (To hear Pastor Richard’s sermon from Sunday May 5, go to our website at www.stjamesnb.org, click on “Online Resources” then “Sermons/Media”)

The Bible has much to say about times of trial in the life of a believer or the life of a believing congregation.  I commend to your reading and prayer James 1:1-12 which offers a marvelous explanation of the good that comes from trials and the wisdom and comfort we are assured in the midst of them.

PURPOSE IN TRIALS (James 1:2-4)

  •  When difficulties come, we struggle to comprehend “why” and the enemy is quick to bring doubt into our minds.  This is the time to remember that God has a very different take on trials!  He asks us to not doubt or become discouraged, but rather to “consider it all joy”!  In God’s way of thinking, trials produce a far greater Kingdom result than times of ease.  James asserts that from trials is birthed endurance and when we learn and practice endurance, we become more perfect and complete – in other words, more
    like Jesus!  Wow, that’s a great benefit that comes from the trials we face!
  • Remember, things do not happen haphazardly to the people of God!  There is Kingdom purpose in all that we are called to face!  When difficulties arise, we may be surprised by them, but God is not.  When he planned our lives, He figured in times of trouble.  In Romans 8, St. Paul reminds us that all things will work together for our good and that no trial or trouble can ever separate us from the love of God.

WISDOM IN TRIALS:  The Call to Prayer (James 1:5-11)

  • James recognizes that in the midst of a trial, we may not always be able to see the purpose or good that comes from it.  So he tells us to ask God for wisdom and that God, through His Spirit, will give that wisdom generously to us.
  • This is a great call to prayer for the people of St. James!  In this time of trial, we must be asking of the Lord for that which we do not have – human wisdom is not enough in this time of trial and discernment.  We must hear from God!  Are you on your knees praying and asking that God given generously of His wisdom to our leaders and the people of St. James?  We must all be in this important time!
  • If we do not approach God humbly (v. 9) asking for His wisdom, we risk becoming double-minded and unstable (v. 8), something which would greatly threaten our life and health as a congregation.  But this threat is easily vanquished by concerted and fervent prayer.
  • Concerted and fervent prayer cannot help but increase our faith
    (v. 6) and faith guarantees that we will not be tossed about by the latest winds of change.  Instead, we will remain “steadfast in faith” (1 Peter 5:9) – something to which St. James has prayerfully aspired for many years!

COMFORT IN TRIALS   (James 1:12)

  • Read this one carefully!  James says that the person – or congregation – who perseveres under trial is “blessed”.  And James is extravagant in his explanation of what blessing means here!  He says that the blessing that comes to those who persevere is an eternal and heavenly reward!
  • When we persevere through earthly trials, we are guaranteed a reward in heaven that is the “crown of life” which the Lord promises to those who love Him.  Hallelujah!
  • And James makes a connection here between persevering in trial and loving Jesus.  Yes, he is saying that THOSE WHO LOVE JESUS WILL PERSEVERE IN TIMES OF TRIAL.  Do you love Jesus?  If so, it’s time to demonstrate that love by persevering in time of trial!

Dear Ones, let us join together in this time of trial for St. James.
Let us go together to Scripture to look for the purpose, the wisdom and the comfort that God gives to us.  Let us go to our knees in prayer and humbly ask God for His wisdom in this time.  And let us be comforted in knowing that God’s purpose for us cannot be thwarted by any human means!  If we will stand faithfully in the midst of this trial, we are assured of His blessing!

To God be the glory,
Rev. Cathie+

If the Easter Bunny is Bunk, does that mean Easter is, too?

By: Caroline Crocker, Phd

Last week I wrote a very depressing article on the Easter bunny, showing that, when analyzed with the AITSE bunk detecting principles, the rabbit can pretty authoritatively be shown to be scientific bunk. Bad news for all you Bunny believers out there. But, I am sure that some of you are now asking another, more important, question.
“If the Easter bunny is bunk, does that mean Easter is, too?” In other words, did Jesus really live, die and rise again? Let’s check it out, using the bolded principles below.

1. Check if the author claims that something has been proven or declares something to be a fact. At first glance it appears that Easter fails this principle. After all, the most authoritative historical documents we have that reference Jesus’ life, death and resurrection do assert that they are facts, and the other documents that reference Jesus tend to agree. But, this is not because Easter is bunk. It is because of the nature of history as opposed to science. Scientists are trained to be skeptical, not to assert anything to be a fact because we don’t know everything yet. If a scientist says something is a fact, then they may be trying to scam their hearer. But, it does not take much thought to realize that history does contain facts, lots of them. It is a historical fact that I got up this morning. The presence of a witness to the fact that I got up provides evidence that it is true. If several people had seen it, the strength of one’s belief in the fact would increase. We realize that this is not a scam; it is a historical fact. Principle 1: Not applicable.

2. Check if the author makes claims to have accomplished something that is beyond what has actually been done or is even possible to do. According to the Bible, Jesus lived and died. Neither of these are impossible and there is no reliable literature that suggests that this is bunk. In fact, no reputable historian disputes the facts of Jesus’ life and death. But, the Bible also claims that Jesus rose from the grave. Is this really true; is it even possible? First, I am sure we would agree that rising from the dead is certainly impossible for us to replicate. But, the question remains: was it impossible for Jesus?

In order to assess the claim, we need to see if He did indeed rise. After all, it would be difficult to say something is impossible if it had, in fact, been done. The truth is that Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb and only a few days later the tomb was empty. Where did the body go? Was He, who had been flogged mercilessly and crucified, not really dead and even strong enough to push a huge rock out of the way? Or did the disciples steal the body and then die, instead of recant, their lies? Or did the Romans or the Jews steal the body and, if so, why didn’t they produce it when the disciples said He rose? The McDowell’s do a nice job of assessing The Evidence for the Resurrection, and pretty conclusively show that the historical facts suggest that Jesus really did rise from the dead.  Principle 2: PASSED—kind of—it did happen, but it is not possible for us to demonstrate without help.

3. Check if what is said is scientifically accurate. Again, this principle is difficult to apply to a historical event. Yes, Jesus lived and died. This is a historical fact. And, one could suggest that it may be a scientific one, since living and dying are scientifically possible. But, rising from the dead? That cannot be scientifically accurate, if by science one means repeatable phenomena that can be described in terms of physical laws. Principle 3: Not applicable. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is a historical, not a scientific, phenomenon.

4. Beware of grandiose claims. Whew! This principle is definitely FAILED. During the course of Jesus lifetime He repeatedly made claims that could only be true if He was, in fact, God. He healed, cast out demons, forgave sin, controlled the weather (we can’t even forecast it accurately), and then rose from the dead. He is said to have gained the victory over death for all of us and then ascended to Heaven where He reigns in victory. If that is not grandiose, what is? Need I say more? Principle 4: FAILED. Unless, of course, it is true.

5. Check if the claims can be tested scientifically, that is, can they be measured. Leaving aside the historical versus scientific evidence question, let’s ask if the claim of Easter can be tested or measured. The answer is no and yes. No, one cannot conduct a blinded study on Easter, but it is possible to observe the effects of Easter in the lives of believers. The earliest witnesses of the Easter miracle were transformed form a rag tag bunch of sinners and cowards to people who literally set the world on its ear. Since then countless people have experienced the transforming love of Jesus in their lives and have gone on from broken dejected people to victorious Christians. Can the claims be scientifically tested? Probably not. Do we have copious evidence of the Truth of the Gospel? Yes. Principle 5: Not applicable.

6. Be careful when an author makes too much of the scientific qualifications of those involved or disparages those who do not agree his/her views. This principle is rather amusing given the current state of affairs in the USA, where those who believe in Jesus are painted as scientifically illiterate. The media is full of disparaging remarks made against “those backwards believers,” quite forgetting that our country was founded on Biblical principles and that many of the great scientists were, in fact, believers. Although currently the atheists have dubbed themselves, “brights,” the Bible says something different. “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” Seems like there is some infringement of Principle 6 on both sides, so we can get little enlightenment as to the truth of the claims of Easter here.

7. Check that the “satisfied customers,” “experts,” study participants, and promoters of the idea or product do not stand to gain from their testimony or participation. Do Christians stand to gain from their claims that Jesus lived, died, and rose again? Well, according to the Bible, confessing this with your mouth will cause you to be saved. So, yes. But, also according to the Bible, if one does confess this, persecutions will follow. Many Christians die for their faith. So, no. Principle 7: Hard to say one way or another.

8. Be skeptical. Do not be quick to believe people, especially when it involves your health and/or your money. Believing Easter happened will affect your health and your money. In fact, it will affect your life. For this reason, the Bible tells us to consider carefully before setting our hand to the plough. In some places, being open about belief in Jesus is a death sentence. In the USA studies suggest that it will probably lead to better health, although not instantaneous wealth as some scammers would suggest. However, in any country, belief in Jesus should impact what we do with our possessions. So, consider carefully—this decision will affect your life. Does that make Easter false? No—the fact that this is a life-transforming decision probably indicates its veracity, not that it is a scam. Principle 8: Probably not applicable.

9. Check if the scientific claim is supported by the consensus in the peer-reviewed literature. The Bible is the most reviewed and studied book in the world. The oldest copies of the New Testament were written less than 100 years after the event occurred and the ~5,600 old copies found show a remarkable degree of consensus (99.5%). In fact, no one has been able to show the Bible is untrue. There is more  manuscript evidence for the reliability of the Bible than for many readily accepted old manuscripts such as Homer’s Iliad at only 643 copies with an internal consistency of 95% and written 500 years after the event. It is interesting that many who have set out to disprove the Bible have found themselves converted. Principle 9: PASSED.

10. Be sure that the scientific claim does not contain invalid assumptions or extrapolation. The Bible tells us that, after Jesus rose from the grave, He ascended into Heaven where He lives to intercede for us. He is preparing a place for us to be with Him and, in the meantime, He sent His Holy Spirit to live with us as our guide and comforter. Is this invalid assumption and extrapolation? It is, after all, pretty amazing. No, not if it is true. Whether it is true or not is something each person must decide for themselves after they evaluate the evidence. Principle 10: Probably passed.

If you have made it this far in the article, you will have realized that, although the Bunk Detecting Principles show is that the bunny is bunk, they are not much help in deciding whether Easter is true or just a nice story, because scientific evidence and historical evidence need to be treated differently. So, my suggestion is that you read the Bible, come to church and get to know Jesus for yourself. If you do, I guarantee that you won’t need any principles to convince you that Easter is true. Hallelujah! He is risen.

 

For a thorough and interesting review of this topic, please go to the lecture by Bishop N T Wright, “Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection?”  at http://www.standrews.ac.uk/~jglectures/tom_wright.php

Bunnies and Bunk

By: Caroline Crocker, Phd

The stores are full of it—Easter paraphernalia, that is. Flowers, eggs, chocolate, bunnies, and more let us know that Spring is just around the corner. Seems a good time to take a break from the usual scientific bunk detecting and do something different. How about using the AITSE bunk detecting principles to assess if the Easter bunny is—dare I suggest it—bunk? As our authoritative source, I will be using a modification of the Wikipedia explanation of the Easter bunny. “The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is…a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes…the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy and sometimes
also toys to the homes of children…”

To aid the reader in assessing the veracity of this claim, in what follows, the bunk detecting principles are bolded and how they
apply is not.

1. Check if the author claims that something has been proven or declares something to be a fact. Well, I do not remember anyone ever telling me that the Easter bunny has been proven or is a scientific fact, even though it has its own Wikipedia page. This is of course discounting the verifiably unreliable testimony of children’s books.
So, he squeaks by here. Principle 1: PASSED, but only just.

2. Check if the author makes claims to have accomplished something that is beyond what has actually been done or is even possible to do. According to Wikipedia, the Easter bunny carries toys, candy, and eggs to the homes of children on the night before Easter. But, rabbits are anatomically unable to carry baskets on their arms. In addition, it is not evolutionarily advantageous, should the rabbit have these supplies in their possession, to display altruism by giving them to human children. Principle 2: FAILED

3. Check if what is said is scientifically accurate. Science has not shown that bunnies have any propensity for wearing clothes, even though Wikipedia assures us that the bunny does, nor do they have access to chocolate. Although bunnies do enjoy chewing on something that looks like chocolate, a simple taste test will suffice to show that rabbit pellets are not, in fact, chocolate. Principle 3: FAILED.

4. Beware of grandiose claims. Whether the legend of the Easter bunny passes this principle should be fairly easy to assess. After all, how could it bring chocolate and gifts to every child in one single night? It would need to move at 3000 times the speed of sound!
This link,  calculating the physics of Santa, should be helpful in showing that the Easter bunny legend qualifies as grandiose.
Principle 4: FAILED.

5. Check if the claims can be tested scientifically, that is, can they be measured. The existence and actions of the Easter bunny are intrinsically difficult to measure by standard scientific techniques.
After all, how would one design a double-blind study to measure
the veracity of just one bunny? What would one use as the control? It would be inhumane to ban bunnies from 50% of households and therefore it is unlikely that such a study would qualify to pass an IRB check. Principle 5: FAILED.

6. Be careful when an author makes too much of the scientific qualifications of those involved or disparages those who do not agree his/her views. I have not heard anyone over the age of five disparage those who do not believe in the Easter bunny. In fact, it is likely that those over five would question the qualifications of someone who does believe in the Easter bunny. Does this mean that the Easter bunny is not real? No. But it does mean that this principle does not apply. Principle 6: PASSED.

7. Check that the “satisfied customers,” “experts,” study participants, and promoters of the idea or product do not stand to gain from their testimony or participation. Judging by the store displays, our chief experts on the Easter bunny are those who also stand to gain from their participation in the bunny cult. Certainly, those who promote the idea do it so that we will purchase chocolate eggs, Easter candy, baskets, pretty clothing, flowers, and even chocolate Easter bunnies, i.e. they will gain. Principle 7: FAILED.

8. Be skeptical. Do not be quick to believe people, especially when it involves your health and/or your money. Science has shown that excess amounts of chocolate and candy are not good for you—leading to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even (so I am told) pimples! So, although bunny-related items are not particularly expensive, they may damage your health. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise extreme caution with regard to Easter bunnies. Principle 8: FAILED.

9. Check if the scientific claim is supported by the consensus in the peer-reviewed literature. Unfortunately, there is no peer-reviewed literature on the Easter bunny. That would mean that his existence is not supported by science. Sad, but true. There are times when science disappoints us. Principle 9: FAILED.

10. Be sure that the scientific claim does not contain invalid assumptions or  extrapolation. Sources that reference the Easter bunny assume that, just because rabbits can be drawn or painted wearing clothes and carrying a basket of eggs, the Easter bunny does. This is invalid. Principle 10: FAILED.

As always, please be aware that failing a bunk-detecting principle does not mean that an idea or assertion is false. Neither does passing one mean it is true. However, the more principles that are failed, the higher the probability that a claim is false. The Easter bunny legend fails 8/10 of the bunk detecting principles. Therefore, it is unlikely to be scientifically valid.

Next week: If the Easter bunny is bunk, does that mean Easter is, too?

From the Eyes of the Ordained…

Written by: Father Pete Forbes

Ordination night was a culmination of many blessings converging all at once. What an amazing celebration it was, not just for me but also for all those who contributed to my journey to the priesthood. As I reflect upon that night, well, it was truly overwhelming and beyond words, but let me say this: the journey that landed me face down–and on my knees–before Christ and his Church was due to the work of so many. From my lay ministry experiences, to the call and discernment process in the local church, to my seminary education, to my final year of training as a deacon, to the moment the Bishop laid his hands upon me to “receive the Holy Spirit for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God”—all of this was due to the faithful help and prayers of so many wonderful friends and disciples of Jesus Christ. It was truly the “work of the people.” What a tremendous celebration it was for all of us—the whole Church! I am immensely grateful for all my dear friends and fellow pilgrims at St. James who walked this journey with me! I look forward to many years of serving the Church for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

To God be the glory!
Again, many thanks and much love in Christ Jesus our Lord – Father Pete+

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Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

by: Music/Arts Director Glenda Nativo

The Seder Meal on Maundy Thursday will contain all the elements we have made a part of our St. James traditional celebration…with an added treat!  A local music student and member of our choir roster will present music selections fitting of a Seder meal, following in her Jewish heritage.  She speaks and reads Hebrew fluently, and will participate by not only reading the Hebrew passages in our program, but will sing music that echoes the component texts of this service, accompanied by Glenda on the piano.  There will be congregational singing as well, culminating in a meaningful celebration of this important observance.

This year’s Good Friday service, Noon – 3 PM, will feature our favorite hymns and several classical choral selections.  An added dimension will be pieces that reflect perspectives of those involved in the Crucifixion.  With contemporary submissions by living composers, the choir will deliver sensitive and thoughtful music from the perspective of Jesus, Mary, the Soldiers, and the Crowd. Dramatic and stirring, this music conveys the powerful implications of Jesus’ sacrifice for those present that day.  This service will definitely impact, and we encourage you to attend and bring visitors.  We expect the Holy Spirit to move on our hearts as we consider the Crucifixion in this light.

A Lenten Moment

Here’s a GREAT Prayer to Pray During Lent

The 40 Days of Lent are a time to dial back the volume of our lives and to quietly reflect on the goodness of our Lord and the ways in which we can live more fully into His goodness, leaving behind any encumbrance or sin which prevents us from being more like Jesus.

The Book of Common Prayer is a marvelous resource for us in all seasons of the liturgical year. But especially in Lent, we find rich prayers which reach deep into our souls and draw out our hidden desire to be nearer to God and to His holiness.

One such prayer is excellent for Lent. It’s found on page 101 in the Book of Common Prayer and is included in a short series of prayers for Mission in the context of the Service of Morning Prayer. The prayer was written by American Anglican Missionary Bishop to the Philippines, Charles Henry Brent.

Brent arrived in the Philippines in 1902 along with then American Governor, William H. Taft. Brent could have easily led a quiet and stately life as an esteemed Anglican bishop, but he had one big problem that stopped him from living such a sedate life! You see, his heart burned with the Gospel and a quiet and sedate life was not the life he longed for! Instead, he longed to see the pagan Igorots of the mountains of Luzon, the Moslems of the southern islands, and the Chinese settlements in Manila, all become
established and thriving Christian communities.

And so, Bishop Brent set about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to affect not only lives, but also communities. He worked to stamp out international narcotics trafficking and during World War I, he was Senior Chaplain for the American Armed Forces in Europe.

Bishop Charles Henry Brent was a Lenten Christian. His ministry and mission was to see the love of Christ as demonstrated on the cross, lived out in the life of every Christian believer. Here is the prayer he prayed which is recorded in our Book of Common Prayer. May it be our prayer in this Lenten Season:

“Lord Jesus Christ,
you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross, that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace.
So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your name.”

~Bishop Charles Henry Brent