7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (In-person only)

10:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Rite II (both in-person and online via FB & YouTube)


7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)


12:05 p.m. – Healing Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

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A Message from Duncan- April 18, 2023

A Message from Duncan- April 18, 2023

Squinting Through Dirty Windshields

A few weeks ago, our car began giving us messages. ‘Beep, beep, beep’ it screamed.  I panicked.  ‘What was that?… Did I just do something dangerous… or illegal?… Is the engine about to blow up?’  My heart rate rose and my blood pressure soared through the (unconvertible) roof of the Subaru.

No one can question the brilliance of computerized cars.  It is so reassuring to see the wall I’m about to reverse into beautifully displayed on a TV screen on the dashboard.  How amazing that the wing mirrors flash at me when I’m about to pull out in front of a car in the overtaking lane.  How undeniably awesome that more expensive models of car will even park themselves without humans messing things up.

As it happens, I had no reason to freak out about the ‘beep, beep, beep’.  I stopped the car, took the manual out of the glovebox, and learned that I was out of washer fluid.  That’s all.  I smiled and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving.  But I wish that the car had a range of alert signals.  “You’re out of washer fluid” doesn’t merit the same alarming ‘beep, beep, beep’ as “Your engine is about to explode”.  But the warning isa the same.

If only it were as easy to fix my perspective as it is to correct the view through the car’s windshield.  You see, many, many years of mud, oil, and splattered bugs have accumulated on my metaphorical windshield.  My vision is messed up.  I see things though the grime.  Is that a tree or a lamppost?  Is that a stop sign or an advertisement for a yard sale?  In short, I have biases.  Last month I wrote about bias, and several people told me they liked it.  Thanks.  So, let me develop the bias theme…

We all have biases.  We are all prone to seeing events and people through the grime on our windshields.  If you think you don’t have any biases, let me try to convince you otherwise.  One of the most influential Christian writers in the US at this moment is named Brian McLaren.  I’ve been a fan of his for many years.  In a recent book he tried to analyze why the country is so polarized.  His theory is that there’s grime on our windshields that prevents us from seeing clearly.  If we recognize our biases, we can begin to hear people who disagree with us and perform the painstaking task of understanding each other.  This, in turn, might morph into love, and you can’t get better than that.

McLaren identifies 13 types of bias.  13 bugs on our windshields that distort reality and make us unable to understand each other.  Here are some of the most important ones:

Confirmation Bias: We judge new ideas by how easily they fit with and confirm our dearly-held beliefs.  If some new piece of data doesn’t jive with our old ideas, we tend to reject the new information.

Complexity Bias: Our brains prefer a simple falsehood to a complex truth.

Community Bias: It’s almost impossible to see what our community doesn’t, can’t, or won’t see.

Comfort Bias: I prefer not to have my comfort disturbed.  If a piece of evidence might call me to change my behavior, then I will lean towards rejecting that evidence.

Confidence Bias: I am attracted to confidence, even if it is false. I often prefer the bold lie to the hesitant truth.

Catastrophe Bias: We tend not to notice gradual change (either for the better or the worse) and so may be prone to denying it.  The only change we easily acknowledge is the dramatic.

Contact Bias: When I don’t have intense and sustained personal contact with “the other”, my prejudices and false assumptions go unchallenged.

Cash Bias: It’s hard for me to see something when my way of making a living requires me not to see it.  I once heard an Episcopal priest from Virginia say that if he discouraged people from smoking, he’d be attacking the way most of that congregation make their living – growing and selling tobacco.  What could he do?

Conspiracy Bias: Under stress or shame, our brains are attracted to stories that relieve us, exonerate us, or portray us as innocent victims of malicious conspirators.

Well, how do you like those bugs?  Do you spot any that lie splattered against your own personal windshield?

Christian unity demands that we love.  Love requires that we try to understand the ‘other’.  Understanding the ‘other’ forces me to look at myself and do all I can to identify my biases, to gain a fresh and accurate perspective on reality.