Herding Cats

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Comedians often use humor as social commentary. A joke can slip through our defenses, expose our hidden hypocrisy, question our cherished beliefs, scrutinize our preconceived notions, and all this while making us laugh at ourselves. Such jokes are nearer parables than we often realize. They are humorous precisely because we recognize […]

By |2015-12-15T07:47:57-06:00December 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Pastoral Prayer

firstblessingsBannerA priest is asked to pray – a lot. Sometimes it is as designated or honorary pray-er, as at a church dinner. “Father N., will you bless the food, please?”  Anyone could do this, of course, but it often falls to the priest.  While it is a token moment, it is also […]

Eucharist and Forgetfulness

firstblessingsBannerThe modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of the rite (C. S. Lewis).

One of the greatest of the abundant joys of celebrating the […]

By |2019-01-08T17:36:21-06:00October 24th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Healing and Wholeness

hospital bedAs you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and strength.  May he deliver you […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 22nd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

A Baptismal Affront

Thebaptismal font Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ (Article XXVII).

For several reasons — Clara and James prominent among them — I’ve been thinking much about baptism lately.  These two beautiful children recently became my […]

By |2019-01-08T17:34:33-06:00October 21st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

That’s Not the Gospel

DSC_6006My parish hosts a monthly Eucharist at a local residential care facility.  This month I offered the following reflections on Mark 9:14-29.

Priests spend a fair amount of time in hospitals visiting the sick and praying with them and for them.  Some of those we visit are young and generally very healthy […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 20th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ministry, Not Magic

128So now, Father, we ask you to bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these gifts of bread and wine, that we may partake of his most blessed Body and Blood.

What happens to the bread and wine in and through this prayer of epiclesis, when the priest invokes the […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

First Among Equals?

DSC_5895cropJust had a profound insight in my seminary class…The insight is this:  I believe in the validity of the ordained priests AND the priesthood of the believer.   The principles are held in tension.   How?   By seeing the ordained priest as merely the first among equals among a congregation […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 18th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Tale of Two Nursing Homes

Nursing HomeLast evening my family stopped by Walgreen’s for soft drinks, chips and candy.  Another family — dear friends — visited Dollar Tree to purchase a variety of inexpensive gifts.  A few minutes later we met at Peaceful Haven, a local nursing home, one that provides services for those at the […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Words, Words, Words

113In the beginning was the Word.

The preachers’ dilemma:  words used to communicate the deep mysteries of God are like mallets used for brain surgery — blunt and clumsy instruments, ill-suited for the task.  Yet, they are what we have in that brief liturgical window allotted the sermon each […]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 16th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The Needy Pastor

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received also left me damaged and wounded, but only for a time. “You come off as needy,” he said. “And people can smell it.”

Sure, we all have needs and none of us is self-sufficient. But after the defensiveness wore off, I realized he was referring to a kind of […]

By |2015-09-29T10:18:23-05:00April 28th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |0 Comments

What They Don’t Teach You In Seminary, Part 3: Practicing Sabbath

During my seminary years, teaching the theology of Sabbath was not scarce. In Old Testament courses, pastoral theology courses, and chapel services, I heard some excellent theological thinking on the Sabbath. I rarely saw sabbath practiced in community. The distance between thought and practice can become quite a chasm. Good ideas about the Sabbath can become one of the greatest […]

By |2014-10-21T14:21:23-05:00October 21st, 2014|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |0 Comments

What They Don’t Teach You in Seminary, Part 2: Personal Repentance

by Jack King

Image courtesy of enchiner1 via Flickr.com; Creative Commons 2.0 Image courtesy of enchiner1 via Flickr.com; Creative Commons 2.0

There is no theology apart from experience; it is necessary to change, to become a new man.’ –Vladmir Lossky ‘If you are a theologian, you truly pray; if […]

By |2014-10-08T09:45:32-05:00October 8th, 2014|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |2 Comments

Wearing A Collar: Everyday Life of the Ordained, Part 1

This series is an ongoing Q&A between Deacon Tish Harrison Warren (asking the questions) and Fr. Thomas McKenzie (answering) about ordained ministry. See the bottom of this post for an overview of the series.


When do you wear a clerical collar and when do you not? How do you decide?

The purpose of a clerical collar is to identify me as […]

By |2019-01-06T18:37:03-06:00March 4th, 2014|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |19 Comments
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