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Contemplation or Action?

Following Fr. John Dear's challenging lecture last night on the Road to Peace, I offered the following reflection on the tension between contemplative and active forms of peacemaking in chapel at Drew this morning: 




Are you an active or a contemplative Christian?Are you an activist who prophetically speaks truth to the power…or a contemplative who prays for peace and tries to live a life of compassion? Are you a contemplative-active or an active contemplative?(It’s complicated.  It’s a spectrum.  The two poles are in tension.)
Last night Fr. John Dear was in the house [at the annual Henri Nouwen Lecture at Drew].  We heard a radical gospel according John --the peace and justice activist.  We also heard him talk appreciatively about his friend, Fr Henri Nouwen, the more contemplative peacemaker—who died 14 years ago this week (Sept 21, 1996). 
Henri Nouwen is a well-known writer of 40+ books on contemplative spirituality, including The Return of the Prodigal Son and Life of the Belov…

Hosting Fr. John Dear at Drew tonight

One of the endowed lectures series at Drew University is the Henri Nouwen Lecture in Classical Christian Spirituality, which provides means to invite to campus note-worthy practitioners of contemplative spirituality and active ministry as embodied in the life and works of Henri Nouwen.
This year's distinguished lecturer is Fr. John Dear--an internationally known activist for peace and nonviolence, and friend of Henri Nouwen.   And someone whom I've known for many years and deeply respect. His lecture on the spirituality of peace-making is on Monday, Sept. 27, at 7:30pm in Craig Chapel of Drew Theological School.

Fr. John Dear is a Jesuit priest, pastor to the poor, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, and author/editor of 25 books, including The God of Peace: Toward a Theology of Nonviolence,and his autobiography, “A Persistent Peace.”  




John is former executive director of Fellowship for Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the United States.  He served as …

Hope Initiatives Blog Launched

Friends of Mzuzu,
I'm happy to inform you that Copeland and the UMC of Mzuzu, Malawi, has just launched a blog on the Hope Initiatives we support:  
http://umcmzuzu.blogspot.com/2010/09/hope-tailoring-school.html
Hope Scholarships Hope Tailoring School Hope Homes for Orphan Care Shalom Zone Pig Project
Rev. Copeland reports:
Rev Michael, Greeting of grace to you The volume of our gratitude and appreciation is so inconceivable and we owe it all to GOD who has raised you up for a time such as this for our sake. Success stories continue to flood our report desk and you will be glad to hear that the new tailoring class has made many dresses and other items are now being displayed for sale. The creations are pretty and eye catching. The young ladies are learning too quickly. Thank God. We appreciate for the excellent support.  
Love from Copeland










Names of Hope scholarship students

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Shalom for the City

For those interested in Communities of Shalom, here are my sermon notes for the Shalom Chapel today at Drew Theological School, celebrating our 12 student interns who spent 4-10 weeks working in Shalom Zones from Buffalo to LA, from Haiti to Malawi,  in the summer of 2010.

Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord in its behalf, for in its shalom, you will find your shalom.” –Jeremiah 29:7

We all know what Shalom is Not… The Bible is full of descriptions of systems gone wrong, of sin and dysfunction and injustice. Our focus today is on God’s intentions for Shalom as revealed by the prophets (Isa, Jer. Amos and Micah) who offered not only social analysis and judgment, but practical strategies of renewal. Shalom and the Prophets:

Isa 61—the familiar passage Jesus quoted in his inaugural sermon in Nazareth. 

In verses 1-3 Messiah speaks about what he is called to do:
"The Spirit is upon me, and anointed me, to bring good news to the poor and oppressed, bin…

Sept. 11 and the End of the World

I read today in the New York Times of President Obama’s impassioned call for social and religious tolerance between Muslims, Christians and Jews amid protests and violence in Afghanistan, “set off by a Florida pastor’s plans, now suspended, to burn Korans [today], the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and against the backdrop of the controversy in New York over a proposed Islamic center near ground zero.” (p.1)
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, I’ve been feeling like the world is coming apart at the seams.  The world I was born in is the not the world I will die in, in fact the world (as I knew it) already has come to an end.  It ended on September 11, 2001, when the Terrorists succeeded in paralyzing Americans with fear, distrust and division that nine years later has erupted into cultural and religious wars at home and abroad.
I’m old enough to remember how divided Americans were over the war in Viet Nam, and how the so-called ‘generational gap’ kept my fam…