All About Trey

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Filtering by Tag: Episcopal Church

World AIDS Day

I woke up at 4AM today. Still recovering from the jet lag from the Paris trip (more on that later I promise). I got up, turned the Mac on and started to get my blog fix. My first stop was Joe.My. God and I had forgotten it was World AIDS Day. But Joe didn't forget.

And I cried. And it would be the first of many times I choked up today as I read story after story about AIDS.

I fled the gay blogs and went to one of my favorite Episcopalian blogs who was remembering the death of Harvey Milk 31 years ago and I watched this:

And there is hope. Hope for the fight against AIDS. Hope for the fight against discrimination, intolerance, and violence. Hope for a better tomorrow.

And today there was a small sliver of that hope shining here in DC when the City Council voted to approve same sex marriage.

And there was a sliver of that hope shining in Clevelan, OH where their City Council voted to approve a transgendered rights bill.

And there was a sliver of that hope in Massachusetts where the Episcopal Bishop authorized the clergy in his diocese to solemnize marriages for same sex couples.

Know Hope!

Ken & Ken and GC09

So around a month ago or so, Lawyer X and I were at Nordstroms and we both liked the same shirt. I tried it on and I like it. He tried it on and he liked it. And we had a short discussion about which of us should buy it. And I was like, look, we both like it, so we should both buy it. It's not like we're going to wear it at the same time. And then a couple of weeks ago we were in Georgetown running an errand and we decided to hit the Lacoste store since they were having a sale. And we both found these distressed Lacoste shirts. Mine olive green, his a royal blue. And we had the discussion again. And I was like, they are different colors and we just won't wear them at the same time. And then last week, we got up in the AM to go to the gym and I realized that we were wearing the EXACT SAME Navy t-shirt. Oh well. We tried to avoid the whole Ken & Ken thing, but sometimes it happens. Yesterday, LawyerX picked me up so we could head to Bmore for a wedding. Just as I was about to hop in his car, I was like, "Umm, what color is your sportscoats." "Sort of yellow/gold with a black/brown pattern in it." Crap. We had to stop right there and check out the jackets. While they were similar, they weren't that exactly the same. But it was kind of funny!

Work has sucked my will to live lately which is one of the reasons that I haven't blogged much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't kept up with the blogosphere. Especially as it relates to the Episcopal Church's General Convention. Held ever three years, the GC is where the Episcopal Church defines itself in rules, policies, budgets, and all of the other minutia of a large organization. But it was the policies that held my interest. The policies on same sex blessings as well as the policy of electing to ordained ministry GLBT clergy to the level of Bishop (or any level really). After the horrible decision that was made in 2006 on a moratorium on electing GLBT clergy to be Bishops, and the unceasing attacks on the Episcopal Church by those who would like to see the church turn it's back on its GLBT, the Episcopal Church, in a very American democratic way, finally removed any type of discrimination from the discernment process so that anyone who is called to the clergy may do so. In addition, the groundwork was laid for the creation of same sex blessing in those dioceses where state law allows same sex blessing. So very good news indeed and I'm very proud to be an Episcopalian these days. I'm sure the schismatics will use these decisions to foment misunderstanding and discontent, but atleast we're being honest and trying to live the Gospels as best we can.

One of the more interesting things I discovered while hop scotching across the Episcopal blogosphere was that Mathew Sheppard was an Episcopalian. Bishop Caldwell gave a very moving speech at a luncheon at General Convention. It's a little over 6 minutes long, but please watch:

A Conversation about God (Part 1)

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and meant to publish it, but didn’t. It seems appropriate now:

Last Sunday I went to church twice. Not my usual routine for Sunday, but I had heard that Bishop Robinson was in town preaching that the Church of the Epiphany and I wanted to him here speak. I wasn’t sure if he would address the latest issues in the Anglican Communion, the results of the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans, or what, but I wanted to go listen to him speak. And then I went to my normal service at St. Thomas’.

But I had company with me that weekend. Susan, a friend of mine from the Navy and her partner Mary (not their real names since they are both active duty) were in town seeing the sights and crashing at my place. And when I mentioned that I was getting up early to go listen to Bishop Robinson, Mary asked to come with me. And I of course said yes!

So we drove down to Epiphany and since we found parking rather quickly (no mean feat in DC), we had time to sit in the pew and chat. We started comparing churches and Mary goes to the protestant chapel on base pretty frequently and sings in the choir there. I explained that I really like my church and that it was very open and inclusive and I felt very welcome there. And Mary said that she liked her church, but that obviously she wasn’t out there, and not sure how open and inclusive they would be.

And then she said, “You know, I know God I loves me, but sometimes I wonder if he really loves me 100%? If he loves me less because of who I am?

I immediately turned to face her squarely, looked her in the eye, and said, “God loves you the way you are. There is no partial love from God. God loves you 100%. We are all God’s children.”

We talked some more and then the service started. After the service, which was different, but nice, we went back to my condo and had breakfast. Then she and Susan went off to explore DC and I headed to St. Thomas’.

As I sat in St. Thomas’, thinking about our previous conversation, and thinking about how Mary felt, I started to get mad. Really mad. I was furious that Mary felt that way. The way Mary feels is the result of people (and a lot of whom are Christians!) who continue to denigrate and denounce GLBT people. Oh, sure it’s “love the sinner, but hate the sin” and all that crap, but I think that’s just a nice little cover for their homophobia. And then I think of BO33, the Dar Es Salam communiqué, and the recent announcement from the House of Bishops. The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are saying that GLBT persons are children of God, and that we are full participants in Christ’s Church, but . . . . you can’t serve as Bishops and we can’t bless your relationships. So we welcome you, and we want you to be part of the church, but only about 80% compared to straight people. So no wonder Mary sometimes felt that God didn’t love her 100%. That’s the message she gets from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the larger world around her.

And that’s why it’s important and I tell her that God loves her 100%. That we tell every GLBT person in the church, or in the world at large, that God loves them. That despite all of the machinations of the church, all of the homophobia and hate in the world around us, that there is Good News: That God loves us all!

Win, Lose, and Draw

Checking email today and I thought I would hit my favorite blogs and the news to make sure we haven't gone to war in Iran while I'm gone.

1. Win: VA is turning blue again. It looks like the dems picked up enough seats to recapture the state senate. I'm not sure if the guy who ended up running in Prince William country (instead of SuperLawyer) won, but they did pick up some seats in the house.
2. Draw: ENDA passed in the House of Representatives. Don't get me wrong. It's historic and amazing, but even if it does pass the Senate, W has announced he plans to veto it. Yep, he's going to bring out that big bad veto pen specifically reserved for things like stem cell research, health care for poor kids, and employment protection for gays and lesbians. That's government for the people and by the people in action. Not.
3. Lose: Apparently the Archibishop of Nigera is rejecting the Council of Nicea? That's like the foundation of not only the Anglican church, but modern Christianity writ large. So are they going to stop saying the Nicene Creed in Nigerian Anglican churches now. Or will they continue to cherry pick the parts of the Bible, and history for that matter, that supports their power thirsty ambitions and hate? I'm guessing it's going to be the power thirsty ambitions and hate mode as usual.

A real post about my vacation soon. Needed to get that last one off my chest. ;-)

For The Bible Tells Me So

I went to go see this tonight. I'm so glad I did. It was touching and moving and just amazing. And I actually learned some things also. One of the major players in the film is Bishop Robinson and I thought back to the summer of 2004, the summer his election to the Diocese of New Hampshire had to be consented to by the Episcopal Church's General Convention. Dad and I were on a Backroads trip in Denmark and after a long bike ride, we would relax in the room watching a bit of the tube. And usually watching BBC. Being British, the General Convention was getting lots of coverage. And I remember my father using such hurtful ugly language and me getting mad. Wanting to tell him that I was just like that person he was denigrating and denouncing. But I didn't. I told him that I had friends that were gay and that I didn't appreciate his language. That he made himself sound stupid and hateful when he used such language. That he knew better and then I walked out of the room lest I say anything else. I wasn't ready to be that honest with him.

Honesty. Integrity. These words were used a lot in the movie and oddly enough I thought about the latest right wing republican gay sex scandal. But to be honest, it's not really a gay sex scandal. This sad man has wrapped himself up in a series of lies, built his life around them, believed in his own ability to separate himself from the reality that includes his same sex attraction. It doesn't mean he's gay. Like Mr. Wide Stance, I don't think he's gay. In this context, I will say that being gay is a lifestyle. Being gay is being open and honest with yourself, living with integrity. But he can't say that. And because he can't rip apart the foundations of the lies that he's based his life on, he can't be open, or honest, or live with any type of personal integrity. Instead, he has to have furtive and all to often illegal or dangerous sex to deal with his same sex attraction. It really is sad.

And I can see how it can happen. I really do feel sad for the man.

Busy Week!

So it's actually been a pretty busy week for me. Too busy actually. I had a couple of moments where I just started to feel overwhelmed. Mainly work related, but there were some other things going on as well.

Wednesday night I want to hear Bishop Chane speak at St. Patrick's. I was late because apparently the German Embassy was also hosting a HUGE reunification anniversary party and the traffic was hellish. I ended up parking illegally but at that point I was so frustrated I didn't care. Bishop Chane spoke of what happened at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. I'm still a bit worked up over that, but wanted to hear more about it. I like Bishop Chane. I think he's a good guy and I appreciate all of the hard work he's done. But I didn't necessarily like what he said that night. He said the House of Bishops just "isn't there yet" when it comes to electing/consenting GLBT Bishops or same sex blessings. And that the Anglican Community just "isn't there yet" as well when it comes to these issues. And so I had to ask, "What can we do to get the HoB there? The Anglican Community there? He didn't give me a real exact asnwer, but mainly his point is that we've got to continue to bear witness in the church and continue to do the right thing. There must have been over 40 people at the meeting and I'd say half were clergy of some sort. And I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of the clergy who where there. Lots of women, african americans, and obviously some GLBT in attendance. It's one of the many reasons why I do like my church.

Anyways, as I've been surfing the Anglican blogosphere I found this. It's long, and odd in places, but it really touched me. I had to close the door to my office and cry a bit when I read it. Not exactly sure why it effected me so. But I think I'm going to help build a school. It just feels like the right thing to do. I've been wanting to DO SOMETHING for awhile and I think this is it.

Swimming etiquette. So I did manage to swim twice this week. And I've got a couple of small complaints. First, I don't approve of the use of fins in the lap lanes. I will make some exceptions for seniors, or people who are injured, or something like that, but if you are healthy and in good shape, just grab a frakkin kick board and kick like everyone else. You really mess up the rhythm of the lane. Second, don't jump into a lane that already has 4 people in it if the lane next to it only has 2? I'm not sure why someone would want to purposely overcrowd a lane. But they do. Third, and yes this is kind of petty, but when you are resting at the end of a lane, try to stand either to the left or the right. Not in the MIDDLE! Anyways, yesterday I did 6x250 free with 50 breast in between. So I'm getting there.

Does anyone even believe W anymore on his "we don't torture" crap? I guess you can tell how I feel. And to contrast the awful stories exposed by the NYTimes to this article in the Washington Post about WWII interrogators. Talk about sad. Yep, it's amazing how in just a short time the W administation has tarnished America and everything she stands for. Why can't we impeach him?

Life Goes On . . .

Anyways, I'm trying to get back into a normal schedule for my life. I still couldn't drag my big fat butt out of bed this AM to go to the gym, so I paid my penance this afternoon. Bike for 30 minutes (while reading Harry Potter #3) and then lifting (biceps and back).

And I'm *trying* to do the five meals a day thing. 8AM: Oatmeal. 1030ish: Broccoli with cheese. 1PM: Lean Cuisine. 4:30ish: Nectarine. 7PM: Salad with cheese and meat. And I'm enjoying a Fresca for dessert. My goal is to try to do that all week. We'll see if I can make it.

So I interviewed one of the Borg today. Nice enough guy, but not the right fit for the position I have open. But what kills me is just the lack of interview skills he had. He gave very short answers. He acted like he didn't even want to be there. And when I asked him if he had any questions (since I was frustrated trying to get info out of him), he pretty much said no.

That is not the right answer. If someone isn't obviously trying to get you out of their office and asks you if you have any questions, here are some starter questions. Please feel free to use them:
- How long have you been at (insert company name). (speaks to longevity, career progression, company stability, etc)
- What do you like best about working at (insert company name). (give insight into future boss or co-worker, also says something about the company)
- What do you like worst about working at (insert company name). (this is even more important: will the interviewer be honest, or actually talk about the downsides of the company?)

And then use the answers to those questions to try to sell yourself. "Oh, you've been here for 7 years? That's great, I'm really looking for a company where I can dig in and really invest my time and energy in making it a success in the long run."

This really isn't that difficult, but it's really surprising how many bad interviews I've had.

Tomorrow night is the First Tuesday Happy Hour at Nellies, so I hope to make that. I'll have to adjust my work out schedule. And NO alcohol. But I'll be there. And then Wednesday I'm going to hear Bishop Chane speak about the HoB meeting in New Orleans. Should be interesting.

Oh and I must quote Sean: "turning one’s faith into a conquest meme is gaudy at best and at their worst the exact opposite of what I feel Christianity should be." What a great line. And I whole heartedly concur.

YMCA, HOB, & Comments

It's acronym soup today!

So I went to the YMCA this evening. I went swimming on Saturday and Sunday, but I need to do more than just weekend swimming, so instead of lifting I came home and headed over to the Y. First I did my 30 minutes on the elliptical and then I hit the pool. 100 Breast, 500 Free, 100 Breast, 500 Free, 100 Breast, 500 Free, and 100 Breast. So technically that's over a mile. And I could barely haul my big fat body out of the pool my arms were so dead. But it was a good swim. I swam in the fast lane and did pretty well. I think if I swim during the week I need to get out of there by 7PM. I think the Masters group comes in then and they are pretty insane. Some guy clipped me (and I was in my own lane) and he was wearing the hand paddles. So my hand stung pretty hard. And did he say, "Sorry" or "Excuse me"? No, he glared and me and then kept swimming. Loser. Well, loser with a six pack abs. Hated him anyways.

So after their meeting in New Orleans with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the House of Bishops finally released their letter. The letter's okay. I was prepared to be disappointed, but I wasn't. I'm not too terribly thrilled by it either. I understand the full inclusion of GLBT folks in the church is going to take time, but it's hard not to want it now. If you see something that is just intrinsically wrong, how do you explain trying to delay correcting it? The good news is that regardless of this fiasco, and the whole drama around The Episcopal Church, I'm going to church every Sunday. It feels good to me. My church is very welcoming and inclusive. And I feel like a real member there. I'm not going to go all "Jesus-land" & evangelical here, but being Christian isn't a bad thing. We aren't all like Pat Robertson, Bill Donohue, or James Dobson.

Comments. So I do love the blogosphere. And it's not just the interesting, fun, or challenging blogs, it's the comments as well that I love. I've learned a whole lot about how the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Community work. I've learned depressingly too much about how the US government tortures people. I've read funny, sexy, depressing, and introspective things and thoughts from people in NYC to Australia. While I like to think I do a pretty good job of turning a phrase, it's a little intimidating to read some people's blogs or comments that are just whip smart or sarcastic or just downright funny. The bad thing about comments is when you go to certain sites, the hard core republican sites, the orthodox anglican sites, etc. The vitriol being spit out by some of these people is just horrendous. Sometimes I feel like I need to take a shower after reading some of their comments. I want to try to understand their position, their feelings, but I'm just so depressed at the level of hatred and disdain for those people who don't agree with them. I wonder if it's even possible to have a civil discourse anymore.

National HIV Testing Day

I forgot it was yesterday and I wanted to write something about it. I'm going to get tested again at the end of July when I go to have my blood work done for the thyroid surgery.

A reader at Father Jake's pointed out the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition litany:

Gracious God,
You are merciful and loving,
Hear our prayers on behalf of all who suffer with AIDS:
Grant them peace in their hearts,
Wisdom in the choices they make,
And courage to face the days ahead.

For all who live with the disease of AIDS,
Grant them the gift of your love,
Hope for their future,
Friends to comfort and sustain them,
The will to live,
And faith that resurrection is a promise for now
As well as eternal life.

For all who minister to the needs of persons with AIDS,
Grant them compassionate hearts,
Tenderness and patience in their daily tasks,
And dedication to their ministry to all who suffer.

For all whose loved ones are affected by AIDS,
Grant them hope each day,
An awareness that love is forever binding,
The knowledge that Christ shares their suffering.

For all who have died of AIDS,
Grant them rest eternal;
May light perpetual shine upon them,
May we always remember them in our hearts.


Home for the Holiday!

Yep, I'm in Colorado right now. I have seen the rentals since my touch-and-go at Christmas, so I thought I would come out for a quick visit. Interestingly enough, we were both in Chicago on Thursday but at different terminals. I was on United, they were on American. I landed about 2 hours before them and then took advantage of the free internet at the COS airport to get some work done before they landed.

So far, so good. Yesterday was a nice lazy day. I spent about half the day trying to fix Mom's PC. It's AGONIZINGLY slow. And it's a bit better, but I think she needs to bring in a real IT guy to look at it. And I showed Dad how to download his digital photos to his PC. It's baby steps around here, okay?

Today I'm actually going to be doing some house work. Pulling a dead ivy off the side of the house. And then climbing up on the roof of the deck to cauk the sunlights. My dad doesn't want me to do it, saying he'll do it instead. I'm sorry, but if anyone is going to be climbing on top of the roof, it's going to be me. My insurance is better than yours and my bones will heal quicker! He's just crazy that way.

Amazingly enough I've been having some conversations that border on gay issues, and she seems okay with it all. But we'll see.

She's off to Altar Guild right now at Grace CANA. We were talking around that last night and she said that the altar guild is decimated and she feels like she has to go, regardless of what is happening in the church. And I'm okay with that. We both agreed that there are a lot of people, especially older people like my parents who don't understand what is really happening are just collateral damage in this situation. It really is sad.

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Partial Orthodoxy

So I’ve been blog surfing a lot of religious blogs to keep up to speed on the turmoil going on in the Episcopal Church (TEC). Obviously I like some of the more liberal blogs, such as Father Jakes, but I also read some of the more conservative ones, such as Titus One Nine. As much as I like reading the blogs, it’s the comments that intrigue and fascinate me. It’s interesting to hear other people’s comments and their perspectives. But considering the fact that we are all Christians, the animosity and vitriol being put forth in some of these comment driven conversations is quite sad and upsetting.

Lately I’ve see a term that keep popping up on some of the more conservative blogs, and that’s “reappraisers.” That’s the term used to describe some of the more liberal Episcopalians and definitely those who support the full inclusion of GLBT members in the church. And trust me, it almost leaps off the screen as a curse word the way it is used by some bloggers.

But here’s the deal, for all that the conservatives decry the “reappraisers”, they really aren’t totally orthodox either. They’ve done some form of reappraising themselves one way of the other. If you’re truly an orthodox Episcopalian (or any religion) and believe that every word in the bible is the word of God, then you don’t believe in evolution. You don’t lie. You don’t touch pig skin. You don’t wear two different types of cloth. You don’t commit adultery. Women are considered property. Owning slaves is okay. Etc. There’s a lot of rules and proscriptions in the Bible on how you should live your life, so I won’t list them all, but you get my drift.

So unless you are truly living according to the literal interpretation of the Bible in ALL ways, you’re a reappraiser. You may do work on Sunday. You may covet they neighbors Lexus. You may have gotten a divorce at some point in your life. So I would argue that all of those conservative Episcopalians who throw the term “reappraiser” are a little bit hypocritical.

Hypocrisy is one thing, and we all have done it from time to time, but bigotry and prejudice are another. For the conservatives who claim that homosexuality is a sin and that it precludes the full inclusion of GLBT members from the church, I want to know why? Why is this particular rule in the Leviticus Codes so important over the rest of them? Are people who eat shellfish not fit to be clergy because the Leviticus Codes also say that’s a sin? Why are you elevating this one rule to prevent a group of people from serving God? Explain that to me. Please.

The Schism Comes Home

So I've not blogged about this. But I've thought about it a lot. My parent's church in Colorado Springs has left the Episcopal Church and petitioned to join the Nigerian Anglican church.

This saddens, stuns, angers me. And to have it all done amidst allegations of theft, embezzlement, etc only clouds the issues and makes it harder to distill the real forces at work here.

My mother lives by the church. Born and raised an Episcopalian, she's been involved with the church all her life. Even now she's a member of the alter guild and works in the thrift store. The separation, and the ugly situation there, are just killing her.

I've sat by, waiting, making no comment. I keep telling myself that it doesn't really effect me. That I should let them make their own decisions on which group they should go with. It obvious to me that chosing the vehemently anti-gay Nigerian church is the wrong answer, but they do have a lot of loyalty to their rector. But if there was a misappropriation of funding, is that loyalty deserved? If the rector is going to take them down a path of hate and "partial orthodox", then they need to question whether that loyalty is deserved.

I wonder if I write to them, tell them how I feel, whether it will make a difference? I'm almost convinced that nothing will persuade my father short of a clear declaration of wrong doing by the rector. Which will never happen. My mother might be swayed by logic and reason, but I'm not sure. And to mention that my passion behind my concerns has to do with the being gay will surely kill any chance I have of convincing them to think about the issues before they make a decision.

So do I write to them, and tell them how I feel, knowing it might not make a difference. Or do I maintain my silence and let them do as they please?

I'm going home in May to visit them. I won't go a Nigerian Anglican church. I won't. And I'm sure that will be an issue. But I guess I can deal with that then.

This Old Body . . . .

is hurting. Badly!

I woke up this AM to excruiating pain in my left foot and the tell-tale sign of a scratchy throat that means a nice cold is on it's way. Not sure what the deal is with my foot. I suspect it's gout. And yes, it's an old person's disease, but it's also apparently genetic, and can be triggered by diet. Especially a high protein diet. Which is what I've been on, up until Thursday that is. So I'm not sure what triggered it. I'm going to try to hobble along until I get an appointment with my Dr tomorrow. So much for running up and down the Champs in Paris. I'll just be happy if I'm not limping. And ironically enough, this will be the first time I've been to visit my sister and gotten sick before I get there. Usually my little lovely virus factory niece infects me and I'm sick when I get home. Of course, this could all be allergies, but I'm thinking not.

So I went to Truro for church this AM. I wanted to experience their service, I wanted to sit in their pews, I wanted to listen to how they worship to see if I could figure out why they feel the need to leave the Episcopal Church. Before I left, I had read their website, and while they claim to welcome gays and lesbians, they also refer to several of the ex-gay ministries. So I'm not sure how welcome they really are. Unfortunately with my gimp foot I got there late and quietly sat in the back. While the format and many of the components of the service were the same, it just felt odd. I'm not an evangelical, and there were several evangelical and/or charismatic moments in the service. I'm also pretty conservative when it comes of my church music. And there were several songs/hymns that seemed more at home in a big tent revival than in an Episcopal (or Anglican) church. Unfortunately as I sat there, I realized that I was listening to the lessons, the songs, the sermon through a very jaded perspective. Almost everything I heard I was probably taking the wrong way to fit into the mindset that I had already created. So I got up and left. I wasn't being honest in my attempt to listen to them, to figure out how they feel. So I left. And to be honest, my foot was trobbing so hard that I could barely focus anyways. I'm not sure I'll go back. I'd like to figure out a way to have a meaningful conversation with someone from Truro, but I'm not sure how to do it.


The House of Bishops speaks:

"We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The (Primates') Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way (others) have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God's truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision."

Schism is inevitable, but I think that was the case regardless. It's a good day to be an Episcopalian!

I Dare YOU!

To Read THIS!

I was there on Sunday when he gave this sermon. I was a bit offput at first. Using terms like "hetero dictatorship" usually turns me off. But as I listened to this warm, funny, determined, old man I became entranced in the sermon, the lesson, the history and towards the end I had trouble holding back the tears.

If you aren't touched by this, then I weep for you.

Quotes of the Day

Wow, I guess I was a little prescient last night. Well it's not really a rant about the Anglican Community, but these words from Bishop Robinson better express how I feel than I could possibly write about what amounts to an ultimatum from the Anglican Community:

"How will we explain this 'forbearance' to all those gay and lesbian Christians who have come to the Episcopal Church because, for the first time ever, they have believed that there is a place for them at God's table, not simply beneath it, hoping for fallen scraps?"

And . . .

"Does anyone believe that our full compliance with the primates' demands, our complete denunciation of our gay and lesbian members or my removal as bishop would make all this go away?" he asked. "For the first time in its history and at the hands of the larger communion, the Episcopal Church may be experiencing a little taste of the irrational discrimination and exclusion that is an everyday experience of its gay and lesbian members."

I completely agree. I think we're already beyond the breaking point. I don't see the Bishop Akinola agreeing to stop his colonization of America and slowly destroying the Episcopal Church of the United States.

As my rector paraphrased the Dixie Chicks last Sunday: "I’m not ready to make nice—not ready to back down—still mad as hell”!

A Wind Rose . . . .

The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories and traditions that become legend and rituals. In the early 21st century, a wind rose above the towering majestic cathedral in Canterbury. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

Born in a cold, grey dawn on a mid February morning, the wind raced around the Crown Tower, built to house the crown of St. Thomas' head which was struck off when he was murdered so many years ago. Eastward, and south, the wind howled, crossing the English Channel, one of a hundred winds blowing across the continent. But this wind was different, it had a purpose. South it continued, riding high on heat currents as it crossed the Mediterranean and the hot North African desert. It weakened as it approached the equator, but turned eastward picking up strength as it passed the oil refineries in Nigeria, the poverty stricken villages, the huge orphanages for children who not only have AIDS, but lost their parents to the disease as well. The wind crossed central Africa turning south and flowing along the plains of the Serengeti with the great Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Onwards the wind blew, slowing as it approached the Indian Ocean and the city of Dar Es Salaam. The wind crept into the beachside resort creating little whirlwinds in the courtyard that pulled at the cassocks of the Anglican Primates as they scurried from one meeting to the next, avoiding members of the opposition and giving them the barest of courtesies.

My apologies for Robert Jordan for stealing this analogy, but every report I've read from Dar Es Salaam talks about the various rival groups, plotting, secretively in different corners of the resort. It reminds me of the Aes Sedai, their Ajahs, and the plotting and politics within the White Tower and around the world. The greatest irony in my little analogy is that there is only one female at Dar Es Salaam and she's surrounded by men. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bishop Jefferts-Schori. She's going to need all of her strength, patience, intelligence, and deep love, knoledge, and understanding of God to be able to deal with the swirling maelstrom of hate and discontent that is going to try to ridicule and belittle her. I definitely think she's the right person, at the right time, at the right place to fight against the schismatics and help make our Church stronger.

Anglican vs Episcopalian

There was an article in the Washington Post on Thursday talking about the impact of the split between the Episcopalians and these "Nigerian-American Anglicans" (or NAAs for short) in a small town in Viriginia. It was a heart breaking story. And it put a very human face on the impact of the schism.

As I mentioned before, it think it's sad that when the NAAs voted to leave the Episcopal Church, they forced the remaining members of the church to find someplace else to worship. Interestingly enough, an old family friend is quoted as saying: "It cannot be shared when things are in limbo, and that's the position we're in," said Ward LeHardy, a congregant serving as spokesman for the majority group. Such an arrangement "would complicate legal and spiritual aspects."

Well, that's partly true. But not the part that is most important. I don't see how sharing the church would complicate things spiritually at all. The Episcopalians could worship at a 9AM service, and the NAAs could worship at an 11AM service. Both groups, who have nutured their church for many years, would be able to worship within the church. Isn't that what brothers and sisters in Christ should do?

No, the reason why they can't share is more legal in nature. The lawsuits are coming and it's not going to be pretty. But it is going to be petty.

Oddly enough, in church today we heard about Paul's letters to the Corinthians in which he talked about the very fractured church of his time. And he said:

"That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

I wonder if the Nigerian American Anglicans had the same readings we did today, and whether they really heard them or not?

(I promise non-religous or political blog entry soon!)

Episcolypse Now

I love Jon Stewart. He did a great bit about the Episcopal Church that just killed me. I've stolen the title from him. Well the great Anglican blogosphere is up in arms about the schism, though many don't use that term in order to minimize what is happening. And to put some perspective on it I think. We are just talking a few churches, but it will remain to be seen whether this was just the beginning of the exodus, or just an isolated event.

Anyways, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who understands that this was something that started a long time ago, and is just now coming out into the light. Some of my favorite bits:

The Daily Episcopalian: "The members of Truro and the Falls Church have now declared that belonging to a church that permits gays and lesbians to become bishops is too great a tax on their conscience, while belonging to a church that believes gay people should be imprisoned for eating together in public is not."

From Harold Meyerson in the Post: "Explaining the decision to leave the American church, Vicki Robb, a Fairfax parishioner and Alexandria public relations exec, told The Post's Bill Turque and Michelle Boorstein that the church's leftward drift has made it "kind of embarrassing when you tell people that you're Episcopal." It must be a relief to finally have an archbishop who doesn't pussyfoot around when gays threaten to dine in public. The alliance of the Fairfax Phobics with Archbishop Restaurant Monitor is just the latest chapter in the global revolt against modernity and equality . . ."

From Stephen Bates: "Truro church and Falls church have made it quite clear that they have been disenchanted with the Episcopal church's liberal-leaning leadership for a long time, looking for an excuse to go. Virtually nothing could have persuaded them to stay. Although the proximate cause may have been the election three years ago of the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, the real causes lie in a fundamental disagreement over the nature of Anglicanism and a determination to wrest it from its broad and tolerant roots into a more evangelical, conservative direction."

And "These groups have chosen homosexuality as a defining issue because they believe it is something that will unite and mobilise sympathisers in a way that other current issues in the church, such as women's ordination, have not been able to do. There is still a visceral distaste for the idea of homosexuality and the prejudice against it can be characterised not as bigotry but as something sanctioned by a few (and there are only a few) references in the Bible. Interestingly, the same mobilisation in defence of biblical orthodoxy does not seem to apply to other facts of life about which the Bible's authors were quite as adamant, pre-eminently divorce. Surely this can't be - can it? - because many more folk have experience of divorce in their families these days than of homosexuality, and that even some of the most outspoken evangelical leaders are themselves divorced."

So why do I care about all of this fuss? It's hard to explain. Sure I was born and raised an Episcopalian, but then I fell away from the chuch. It was too hard to try to reconcile my sexuality, and my place in the world, with some of the preachings I had heard. But I came back, and I sort of fell into a place where I appreciated, understand, and truly believe in the power of God as described and preached in the Episcopal Church.

I like this description from Bruce Bawer: "Anglicanism, I'd discovered, isn't for those who see the Bible as a rigorous rule book and infallible history but for those who recognize it as a kind of poetry. It isn't for those who wanted the smug satisfaction of "knowing" that they're saved and that others aren't, but for those who respond to the radically inclusive message of Jesus, who rejected the rules and taboos that divided people, and tribes, from one another."

While all of this intercine squabbling is going on, big kudos to the Presiding Bishop for keeping her eyes on the ball: "Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world's bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals. May God bless that which seeks to unite and build up and heal this broken world."