Friday, May 27, 2011

What Give Me Hope? - Judy Williams

Judy Williams
Quaker Campus Minister
Rollins Chapel, 5.26.11

Ps. 51:8-12
 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not cast me from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints - the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.

I fell down on the job, I fell down on my knees,
I found I was a sinner: God have mercy on me.
I thought I was so perfect, I thought I was so free.
I learned I’m only human: God have mercy on me.

As most of you know, this term’s chapel sermons have addressed the question, “What gives you hope?” Last week, Alison Boden gave us a wonderful sermon on hope in the face of suffering. Now, she was talking about the kind of suffering that comes from without: the suffering the early Christians faced because of persecution, the suffering that we all face in living in a world troubled by disease, war, and disaster. And she talked about how, in the face of that suffering, her faith gives her hope.

I’m going to talk about hope in the face of a different kind of suffering, the kind that comes from within.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Gives Me Hope. - Alison Boden

Alison Boden
Dean of the Chapel
Princeton University
May 19, 2011

Romans 5:1-5 

What gives me hope?  Many more things than I can describe to you in the next 10 minutes.  I need a framework with which to think about it, so let me make it the words we’ve just heard from Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Paul was writing to the budding Christian community in Rome, with whom he looked forward one day to visiting.  He did get there several years later, but it is thought that he spent significant time in a Roman prison, and did not emerge alive.  Paul was well aware of the suffering that followers of Christ’s “way” were enduring in many places.  They believed the Good News; they strove to follow it; they were sometimes persecuted by others for having this faith in Jesus; and they lived with the quandary, challenge, and sometimes anguish of living with the all-encompassing hope of Christ’s imminent return…..  And that wasn’t happening…. Yet.  They were suffering, many of them, suffering because of their faith and certainly suffering from all the difficulties and frailties that mean no human being lives unscathed by disappointment, pain, loss.

I was recently reminded by the ethicist Emilie Townes of words from Audre Lord; Lord had written of “suffering as unmetabolized pain.”  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Gives Me Hope? - Charlie Clark '11

May 12, 2011.  Rollins Chapel.
Scripture:  Jonah, Chapter 2.

You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.

This is Eliot’s call to repentance in “Little Gidding,” a poem that has been on my mind as I have prepared this reflection. I think it peculiarly appropriate for this gathering, in our little-used chapel, where we have come in the past few weeks to give our accounts of the hope that is in us. The question, “What gives you hope?” is not one that I encounter often. While my generation seems to me at any rate to be deeply ironic in our contemplation of the world, as a group, we have a remarkably resilient belief in progress, and not only in progress but in the basic goodness of ourselves and the world around us, in “the family of things” as others have framed it. I confess I am not persuaded by this vision. I take no comfort in, I find no hope in the assurance:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Can it really be that all is already well? What a difficult position that would put us in with respect to hope.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Cowboy Brand of Justice - Charlie Clark '11

A very thoughtful column from friend of the Chaplaincy, Charlie Clark, class of 2011.

Clark: A Cowboy Brand of Justice

By Charles Clark, Staff Columnist
Published on Monday, May 9, 2011

  Already, two of my fellow columnists, Louis Wheatley ’14 and Brendan Woods ’13, have confronted the “objectors” (“A Shotgun for Bin Laden,” May 3) and “armchair philosophers” (“Laden with Questions,” May 5) who would call into question the killing of Osama bin Laden. The rush to shield his assassination from any sort of scrutiny comes as no surprise. In the increasingly cynical style of U.S. foreign policy, all sorts of evils have become necessary. From detentions without habeas corpus at Guantanamo Bay, to the kill order on American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki, now to the assassination of an unarmed man in front of his 12-year-old daughter, the American ideal of justice has been stretched to the breaking point. The debate may just be getting started, but it’s also long overdue.

  Before I begin, let me state that I agree that the celebrations that erupted following President Obama’s announcement Sunday night were focused not primarily on Bin Laden’s death but on what his death meant for the United States and for the world. I acknowledge that his death symbolizes an appropriate end to the events set in motion on Sept. 11, as well as a significant blow to Al Qaeda. But what does the American people’s reaction to his death say about us?