Princeton University Religious Life

Testing Our Allegiances

Testing Our Allegiances

It has been a very full week since we met for worship last Sunday – I could say that it has been full of rest for a University community on Fall Break, full of revelation and speculation for a country experiencing the first public indictments made by Princeton Alumnus and Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller, it has been a week of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, whose impact is still widely felt, but I really mean that it’s been a packed week of religious observances. On Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of what we recognize as the beginning of the Reformation, Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses upon the door of the Wittenberg Church. The next day was All Saints Day, and later in this service, we’ll acknowledge that with our own tradition of speaking aloud the names of those who have died in the last year. As I was doing some research in the last few days about the lectionary texts appointed for this morning, I learned that these scriptures (scheduled for our consideration by Biblical scholars, not by God!) are particularly chosen for their relevance to the fact that today, Proper 26, is always the Sunday before Election Day in the United States. If I were tempted to disparage this connection between the life of faith and our civic calendar I got over it quickly, realizing that the ancient prophets, evangelists, and our Messiah himself spoke repeatedly and pointedly to the connection between our faith and our citizenship – in particular, our permanent responsibilities to one to another. As we consider these matters today, we find ourselves in the midst of an ongoing biblical conversation of some 3,000 years’ duration.

Living in Anxious Times

Living in Anxious Times

Living in anxious times – I am blessed not to have any major sources of worry in my life right now, but I certainly spend lots of time in pastoral conversation with those who do. I spent time this past week with Dreamers on campus, students who enrolled long ago in DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They now fear deportation, and wonder if enrolling in DACA wasn’t a terrible mistake in the long run. They gave all their personal information to the government in order to enroll and now, with a change of administration they wonder if the information they shared will be used to put them (and their extended families) first in line for deportation. They feel very vulnerable, exposed, and anxious.

Fair's Fair

Fair's Fair

Questions about fairness start early in a person’s life, don’t they?  This past week, I watched a colleague’s toddler eat just enough of his good dinner in order to receive a piece of the cake he was fixated on in the corner of my kitchen counter.  (I still become quite aggrieved if I eat the healthy food but am somehow denied dessert.)  When I was a kid, there was great attention paid to whose turn it was to ride in the front seat, and to not crossing the imaginary line that ran down the middle of the back seat.  Questions of fairness permeate the news cycle every week.  Recent stories I’v

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

Hello Chapel Family! How good it is to be here together again. The choir is back! The clergy are back and so are those in our community of faith who’ve been travelling! Upper class and grad students are filtering back on to campus. And there are the newest members of our family, whom we welcome with wide-open arms. Wherever life has taken each of you—physically and/or spiritually—in the recent or distant past, I hope and pray that the journey was a blessing. Sometimes the most blessed journeys are not the easiest ones, and if the road you have taken has been strewn with boulders, I hope that some grace has been the outcome for you.