Category Archives: On the Road

On the Road with the Rector: The Future of Marriage

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

For the second year in a row, Krista Tippett, host of American Public Media’s “On Being” is moderating a series of public discussions that bring together individuals with different points of view for an experience of “politically counter-cultural relationship at work.” It’s called “The Civil Conversations Project” and this fall will conclude with a conversation on the definition and redefinition of marriage.

This is an especially timely subject for those of us who live in Minnesota because of the proposed marriage amendment that would ban, constitutionally, same gender marriage in our state and will appear on the ballot here in November. So consider attending this event, described below, or watching it later on video:

Redefining the definition of marriage is a monumental cultural transition. But we’ve reduced our public deliberation of this matter – even inside our religious institutions – to a matter of votes and laws. The reality is, even one-third of Democrats still express opposition to gay marriage. But younger people of every political and moral persuasion are coming to a collective comfort level and consensus. Jonathan Rauch is a gay man and gay marriage advocate who respects the values and concerns of social conservatives and wants them taken seriously. David Blankenhorn is a self-identified liberal democrat and long time family and marriage advocate, who testified for gay marriage opponents during California’s Prop. 8 ballot initiative. But he has recently withdrawn his legal opposition to gay marriage, acknowledging the emerging moral consensus. They have developed a friendship that has surprised and changed them both. We’ll listen in on their common struggle to respond compassionately to both sides of our human and civilizational encounter with same sex union, and to discuss it in terms of civil society and a pro-family agenda.

I registered for this event yesterday and have ten free tickets to give away at the Ministries Fair on Sunday, September 16, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota. Any of these tickets that remain after that celebration will be available Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. in the church office, which is located at 4439 West 50th Street, Edina, MN 55424.

Alternatively, you can also register for your own free tickets using the link below or even take a chance as a non-registered guest and possibly be seated during the final ten minutes before this event on a first-come first-served basis.

Civil Conversations: The Future of Marriage
Wednesday, October 10, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

You can read more about this event and make an online reservation here.

On the Road with the Rector: Civil Discourse

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

Civil discourse, and the increasing lack thereof, is something that really matters to me (as you can read about on this blog here, here, and here). It also seems to be a concern of another blogger who has been disturbed by the careless use of words and hateful rhetoric throughout this election season. That caused her to write “To Everyone I Know During This Election,” which is worth taking a few minutes to read and ponder. Ironically, it ends with this note:

Comments have been turned off because there were too many nasty arguments between commenters happening. I want to thank everyone who remained civil, whether you agree or disagree, as you proved that you can still debate and disagree without resorting to name calling.

Soon thereafter I read “Civil Discourse in the Blogosphere” by the Rt. Rev. James Mathes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Deigo. He was “stunned” by some of the “mocking and sarcastic” comments on this letter by another bishop. In turn, I was surprised by some of the comments in response to Bishop Mathes. There was one more follow-up to all of this in “Snarky for Jesus,” which includes a comment near the end from Matt Gunter that’s worth inwardly digesting.

“Houston, we have a problem . . .” So I encourage you to run, not walk, to hear a thought-provoking presentation about civil discourse by Mark Osler — a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina and a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, I’ll be in a meeting at the same time as his presentation. This “On the Road with the Rector” event will therefore be outsourced to the Rev. Jered Weber-Johnson, my colleague who serves as the Rector of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul. That’s where Professor Osler will encourage you to think about this:

“How to have a civil conversation…with a Republican, a Democrat, your child, your friends, or those who irritate you the most”
Tuesday, September 18, 7:00 p.m.
Fireside Room (childcare will be provided)
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist
60 Kent Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

Note: Rest assured that I still have a sense of humor about this serious issue.

On the Road with the Rector: Learning to Forgive

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

The theme of forgiveness is something that fascinates me. It’s wonderfully and mysteriously intertwined with Christianity. Yet most of us struggle with this reality, too often wanting a little more of it for ourselves than for anyone else.

So I was excited to discover that the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership is sponsoring a five-week series called “Learning to Forgive,” which will be held at the University of St. Thomas Law School in downtown Minneapolis. Professor Susan Stabile, the facilitator of this series, offers this description of it:

In the Lord’s Prayer Christians pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Many of us say those words many times each week and some every day. Yet forgiveness is something we struggle with. For many of us, accepting God’s forgiveness of us is difficult. Even more of us struggle even harder with forgiving those who have hurt us or those we love.

This five-week reflection series . . . will help us get in touch with those things that make it difficult for us to forgive, to deal with anger and hurt that hinder forgiveness, to think about how we might better separate forgiveness from our notions of justice and desert. It will also address the difficulty of accepting, as well as granting, forgiveness.

Reserve a seat for one or more of the following dates to ensure that a free lunch – that’s right, a free lunch – will  be awaiting you when you arrive:

Learning to Forgive
Tuesday, September 11, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 25, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Room 242 (second floor)
University of St. Thomas School of Law
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

You can read more about this series and make an online reservation here.

On the Road with the Rector: Marriage Amendment

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

The next event is a discussion on Thursday, October 13, about Minnesota’s proposed marriage amendment that would ban, constitutionally, same-gender marriage in the state. This is free, open to the public, and sponsored by the Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas. It’s also the inaugural discussion in the Murphy Institute’s new series entitled “Hot Topics: Cool Talk,” which seeks to foster dialogue on current political issues in a context divorced from the heat of a political campaign. People of faith, I think, should model that kind of dialogue.

One side of the debate about the same-sex marriage amendment will be presented by Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. The other side will be presented by Dale Carpenter, University of Minnesota professor of civil rights and civil liberties law. Moderating the conversation will be St. Stephen’s own Tom Berg, University of St. Thomas professor of law and public policy and Murphy Institute co-director emeritus.

Following this discussion, a reception will be held in the Board of Governor’s Room. So please register online to let them know that you will be attending.

Discussion of Minnesota’s Proposed Marriage Amendment
Thursday, October 13, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Room 235 (second floor)
University of St. Thomas School of Law
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

On the Road with the Rector: CEO of Ecolab, Inc.

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

The next event is another discussion in Minneapolis on the role of faith and values in leadership. This complimentary forum, which includes a light breakfast, is sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a Fortune 500 financial services organization that’s faith-based and not-for-profit. Reserve a seat online or by calling 612-844-4161 to hear one of St. Stephen’s own:

Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Chairman of the Board,
President & Chief Executive Officer of Ecolab, Inc.
Wednesday, June 1, 7:15-9:00 a.m.
Thrivent Financial Auditorium
625 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415

“I Believe in God: Assessing the Value of Creeds”

Earlier this week, several people went “On the Road with the Rector” and joined me in downtown Minneapolis at the University of St. Thomas Law School for a free lunch and, most importantly, a thoughtful conversation about the role of creeds in the Christian life. There we heard two members of the faculty, Susan Stabile and Mark Osler, present differing views that each arise out of a sincere devotion to Jesus as the Messiah – the Christ – and a serious commitment to the community that follows him. So how should that common faith be expressed?

Before answering that question for yourself, I encourage you to take the time to listen to a podcast of the actual conversation that we heard between Professors Stabile and Osler. I think that you’ll find it worthwhile and thought-provoking.

You can listen to the podcast of this conversation about creeds here:


On the Road with the Rector: “I believe in God . . .”

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

The next event is a mid-day reflection by Susan Stabile and Mark Osler about the need for creeds in the Christian life. Professors Stabile and Osler both teach at the law school of the University of St. Thomas but come from distinct traditions of Christianity that each view creeds differently. Reserve a seat by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 23, to ensure that a free lunch – that’s right, a free lunch – will  also be awaiting you when you arrive:

I Believe in God: Assessing the Value of Creeds
Monday, February 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Room 242 (second floor)
University of St. Thomas School of Law
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

You can read more about this event and make an online reservation here.

On the Road with the Rector: The Dead Sea Scrolls

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

Another stop on next year’s itinerary for this series of adventures will take place during the season of Lent, the several weeks leading up to the holiest time of the year for Christians at the Great Vigil of Easter. On March 12, 2010, a special exhibition about the Dead Sea Scrolls will open at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view some of the oldest known texts of the Hebrew Bible. The exhibition will conclude with a glimpse of the newest hand-written Bible, The St. John’s Bible. This beautiful work of art was commissioned by St. John’s Abbey and University in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

I’ll be giving a presentation about the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls on the first Sunday in Lent, February 21, 2010, at St. Stephen’s and encouraging people to make a visit to this exhibition as a part of their Lenten observance.

On the Road with the Rector: Faith and Leadership

Living in the metro area of the Twin Cities provides incredible opportunities to participate in cultural and intellectual events. Several times a year, I invite members and friends of St. Stephen’s to join me in some of these activities that might strengthen us on our journey of faith together. So consider yourself invited to go “On the Road with the Rector.”

Three upcoming discussions in Minneapolis on the role of faith and values in leadership will definitely be included in this series. These complimentary forums, which include a light breakfast, are sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a Fortune 500 financial services organization that’s faith-based and not-for-profit. Reserve a seat online or by calling 612-844-4161 to hear one or more of these speakers:

Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator from Minnesota
January 14, 2010, 7:15-9:00 a.m.
Thrivent Financial Auditorium
625 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Randall Hogan, CEO of Pentair, Inc.
February 10, 2010

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines
April 28, 2010