Thursday, April 30, 2009

Word or word; okay, so I'm a sacramentalist....

(Luke 5:1) Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God....

It goes on to be the fishing story above, but, just stop there. Were they listening to Jesus or to Jesus parse scripture?

It's a pun--which, like a metaphor is supposed to set our minds free and laughing, not wrap us in chains....

Confession --I get all freaky and goosebumpy around folks who treat Holy Scripture as though it were Jesus.... they treat the word as though it were the Word.

Big difference. And this passage from Luke --Luke is not one to call Jesus the Word of God --that is a John thing, referring not to Scripture but to the very word spoken by God at creation--the Word that holds all creation in being. So, obviously, Luke must be saying that the crowd pressed in on him to hear Jesus parse Scripture.

The ONLY reason I can imagine returning to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is that when referring to Jesus, the word Word is capitalized; when referring to Holy Scripture, the word word is not capitalized. Such clarification would really help us get through the fundamentalist phase we seem to be caught up in....

I once asked the Rev. Charles M. Guilbert, former Custodian of the Prayer Book (check out the "Certificate" section by the title page of your Prayer Book) and instrumental in the production of the 1979 version WHY they had settled on the format of capitalizing word when referring to Scripture, and he said, "It was a mistake.... it was to keep peace with the evangelicals...."

There we have it.... Some peace, Charles+.

Ohhhh the stories I could tell --you see, during the '80s and early '90s, Charles+ was my mother's lover. They were wild together, and good for each other. Yah, my mama loved a Canon!

See, there's another pun.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"she perfected the art of kissing the Pope's feet while simultaneously twisting his arm"

St. Catherine....

In her honor, it is time to begin to formulate another letter to my Bishops.... the Diocese of Virginia takes great pride in being the example of the middle way --and has little patience if not great disdain for those of the far right and far left....I mean, they call their communication from GC "the Center Aisle" so proud are they. And I know very well in this Diocese what it feels like to be categorized and labeled and allowed to speak but set aside unheard because in their view I have strayed from the center aisle.... gotta laugh--where I come from I am so so so square, just because I go to church.

A few months ago, our soon to be Diocesan announced that he would not ordain a third-year seminarian/postulant who had been approved for ordination by the Standing Committee and the Commission on Ministry.... but Bishop Coadjutor J. would not because this person was in a same-gender relationship--claiming that he is fully supportive of this person, but he would not consider this person for ordination until the church had worked out the relationship thingy.

And priests in this Diocese were angry, not at the Bishop, but at the SC and COM for putting our soon to be Bishop in such a difficult situation. And the Bishop declared that the decision cut him to the quick, but that he made it for the greater good.

I understand--but so whole-heartily disagree. But then again, when I first came to this Diocese, I told the Vestry I felt moved to not conduct the blessing of any couple until there was marriage equality in this Diocese (it will take Federal action to make it legal in this State) --and they responded (after much difficult discussion) --but no, don't withhold a blessing from anyone while we continue to work for equality.... So, on behalf of this congregation, I marry couples, contrary to my own judgment and inner-voice. So, I guess in this, perhaps I resemble my Bishop. I am not at all sure I would ever agree to do so again. It hurts too much; my only compensation is that I make sure every couple who comes to me either for counseling or seeking the blessing of the church knows they should not take this event for granted or as a heterosexual privilege.

It is perfect to begin to contemplate a letter to my Bishops on this day on which we remember Catherine of Sienna (1380). It has been said, "she perfected the art of kissing the Pope's feet while simultaneously twisting his arm." She told popes what to do, and advised kings, and they listened. I guess I need to perfect the kissing part, so I don't get shoved aside or down so readily....

From the Eucharistic Lectionary (Luke 12:22-24,29-31) Jesus said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."

This was the Gospel Joel and I chose for the day we tied the knot. It so fits.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Have no fear.

From morning prayer (1 John 4:16-21) God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

G'wan. Go back and read it slowly.... it's beautiful. And important.

You know, I think this is the foundation of life --we love because he first loved us. The very capacity to love does not find its source in us.... but originates in the one who holds all things in life. --we believe because he first believed.... see what I mean? And, OH, the part about fear..... yes!

Speaking of fear, here is the LINK to what churches can do about the swine flu.... and wash your hands, and don't touch your face.... you know, all that stuff. As a precaution, we will be wiping down all the door handles and stuff like that with bleach wipes..... just sayin'. Don't want no mo' buryin' to do....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Throw the pigs off the cliff.....

Exclusion. Inclusion.

And aren't we fine here in the States --building a wall between US and Mexico, and criticizing Israel for building their wall and likening it to the Berlin wall. Who's a Nazi now?

I remember standing in downtown MexiCali--and a huge wall of vertical steel bars runs right through downtown now. A young woman stood in Mexico and kissed a young man in the US through the bars--she held up the baby and the young man put his arms through the bars of the wall to play with and kiss the child.... A town which delighted and prospered in its dual citizenship for centuries is now run right through with bars.

We solved the problem of family reunions by putting heavy mesh on the bars. Of course. (Of course, the tunnels beneath the streets be-lie the boundaries we blithely draw, but that is a whole other discussion.)

Guess we are always afraid of the "other." And that is being played out in the church today with the struggle for full inclusion of all the baptized.

In the gospel reading at morning prayer, the good pure hometown folks want to shove Jesus off the cliff because he reminded them that the great prophet Elijah was sent by God to save not them but "outsiders" in the north, in Phoenicia and Syria... I mean, didn't those damn northerners worship the wrong God on the wrong rock?

Luke 4:24-30 [And Jesus said,] "But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Talking about boundaries --I pray for all those suffering from the new flu virus. Obviously, the virus couldn't tell one type of living creature or person from the other.... shame on it. Where are the Gadarene swine when you need them?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

B Easter 3 2009

Do you think the disciples had really yet begun to grieve properly, when they were confronted by the risen Christ? No, they were startled and terrified; they thought they were seeing a ghost.

In much of our culture’s popular theories about life after death there is a general belief that when we die our soul is liberated from our bodies and goes away into some perfect ether world. We become disembodied… the popular word for that is a ghost….

I want to tell you here and now, even if you never pay attention to another word I say, that is NOT a Christian way of thinking about death… about resurrection. I know –I know there are some snippets of scripture that might lead one to that conclusion, but that is platonic Greek thinking using words which are striving to describe something else…

Let me be emphatic: I don’t believe in ghosts, don’t believe in them a bit… but this is not to say I haven’t seen things and felt things that I couldn’t explain that I would associate with a “parallel universe” or life after death… perhaps you have seen and felt them too.

But none of those things any of us has seen and felt, NONE OF THEM ATE FISH.

They gave him a piece of broiled fish. And he ate it in their presence….

Jesus was not disembodied.
Jesus was not a ghost.
Jesus ate fish….

The risen body of Christ is not disembodied, ghostly, ethereal, --it is spectacularly different than anything we know or expect,; and that body of Christ is our place of beginning, our source --the author of life, our place of eternal life. That body of Christ is our body too.

Perhaps the best way I can describe this is in the language of dreams.

My mother died a year and some months ago, at Christmas. I spent much of 2008 in a shroud of grief, and I felt guilty about that grief. I kept feeling like I should know better. Do better. I was and am always surprised when the grief catches me off guard. And part of the grief was that, despite my not believing in ghosts, I thought that there would be some way, some instance that my mom would tell me she was okay. I was afraid that in the cloud of dementia which surrounded her death, she would not know where to go. I was terrified she would be lost and wandering….and the confidence of others just didn’t cut it for me…

And all this from a full grown, hopefully faithful middle-aged woman who does not believe in ghosts.

This past year, just four days before Christmas, a year and a day after my mother died, the phone rang at 7:30 in the morning. It is never a good thing when the phone rings that early. So I struggled to get to the phone before the answering machine picked up, and I said through my half-sleep ‘Hello?’

And the voice in my ear said, Hi Honey! It was my mother.

--mom, is it you?

Yes, it’s me.

Where are you—what are you doing? I asked.

I’m handing out fish, she said.

Un-comprehending –I said again, Where are you? certain that I could understand where she was and give her directions to where, perhaps, I thought she needed to go….

I am fine, she said. I am handing out fish.

Thinking, again, that if I could figure out where she was I could lead her to safety, big CSI detective me, I said, mom –what do you see in front of you?

And then this is when I realized that perhaps I was dreaming because I had no phone in my hand and I could see what she saw, and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Colors upon colors, colors for which there are no words; figure upon figure folding and moving like expensive, gorgeous fabric. No horizon, great depth. One… in light….

Mom…. I said,…

I’m fine, she said, I’m handing out fish.
There was profound delight in her voice.

And I awoke.

Ghosts don’t fish.
Ghosts don’t handle fish.
Disembodied ghosts don’t eat fish.

The resurrected Body does.

Real teeth, real fish, real hands, real life.
Our faith says --In my body I shall see God.

And it is far more wondrous than we can know or imagine.

Oh God, open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him and eat with one another. Amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Honest Officer,'re right. I shouldn't have been going so fast.... they really aren't expecting me. Just is, I'm famished and I hate being late for a good ol' fish fry....

G'wan. Go to church. Lukan fish is on the menu....

I'm gonna love me a cute little NEH-kid lion

Gonna be hot today! AT LAST!
And it is St. Mark's day! WHOOOOHOOOO!

Guttural. Street-wise. Earthy. Tradition has it that Mark is the one who ran away, naked, the night of the Great Betrayal (Mark 14:51-52). That fits. Please remember, that in Richmond, the natives say, NEH-kid.

Best of all, I love that Mark sees that Jesus began his ministry in the fringes, in the wilderness--with the wild beasts.

From the Eucharistic Lectionary (Mark 1: 9-13) In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

And the Spirit immediately impelled him to go out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

So, in the hierarchy of things, the wild beasts come first. And in the great scheme of things, I would hope to be among them.

Oh, and by the way, this image has a CUTE little lion. Looks more like Mr. Witty than a wild beast.... somehow, I imagine that Jesus prefers his lions to be a little more wild than this.... He loves us; He doesn't tame us.

Blessed St. Mark's Day to one an all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I come from good people

Listened to the NPR review of the new movie, "Earth", released for Earth Day. Without giving away the way story unfolds, the interviewer said something to the effect that it concludes that the animal we fall in love with in the movie dies, but that its offspring continues exhibiting all the merits that made the parent great--

and the interviewer said--isn't that a little anthropomorphic?
Not at all said the movie maker, the offspring very often do exhibit many of the traits and merits of the parent--it's called genetics.

And my mind went to all the Son of God-- children of God stuff. We will know who you are--who you come from by what you do and how you behave.

Yeah. Makes sense, and then my mind gasped--oh! The so southern thang--who are your parents?! Who are your people?! And as someone who has been known all my life as my mother's daughter and has struggled so deeply with identity, especially since her death--with my mother gone who am I (?).... I realized that I both "get" and reject the offspring thang.

(I accept it because I come from a very long line of very radical and outspoken women--Mary Dwyer accused of witchcraft in Salem, --Anne Hutchinson run out of Boston as a witch, --my greatgrandmothers surviving the travel west to California, --my grandmother stone deaf graduating from University as a nurse and no one realizing she was deaf, --my mother also a nurse establishing the first home hospice in Sonoma County in the '70s and she was the first woman on the Vestry and first female chalicer at her church.... I don't mind imagining I am like them.... ...I reject it because I come from a very long line of persons who championed a ruthless cultural and economic diaspora.... and gutted the earth for resources.... I grieve for the wake they have left. I strive not to be very much like the worst I see in them.)

So, the end of week morph --bad boy Bishops and their fearful power ploys, getting ready to preach on Resurrection realizations, seeing a family walk through the valley of the shadow of death, last rites at the nursing home, marriage rites at the altar, people distressed that the lights in the church tower aren't working properly, economic distress and murder in the news, sudden and abundant plant growth in the back yard, getting the butt I inherited to the gym....

It's an amazing shockingly awesome life. And I realize in my stretching yawning resistance and acceptance of who and what, that what is so painful is not pure wickedness, but only broken fragile bones set and grown back together wrong. Generation to generation. And us believing that that is the way it is supposed to be....

Dear God --your Kingdom come, ...give us our daily bread--the bread we need.... forgive us as we forgive.... amen.

From morning prayer (1 John 3:1-3) See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am so tempted to say something dirty, but I won't

If you haven't heard, there is a big shake-down going on in TEC. Some conservative Bishops were caught plotting and scheming how to claim they can do anything they want because they are autonomous. Hey, Bishops, autonomous is not the same as autocephalous. Get a grip.


And then there was this reading in morning prayer today (1 John 2:18-19) Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us.

Laughing and crying at the same time. They have played their hand. They have been exposed in the tunnels they keep trying to dig under the foundations of TEC. Come on Church. Let's keep gimping toward the light.

More info for gluttons at the Cafe. Several articles. Including a link to the facsimiles of the emails of these dear, dear men.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering brought to you courtesy of Cheney and Rice.

What words can be said? --The words he sings are quotes from the very documents.... Listening to the words --that's what sin is folks. That's what sin is.

The devil sounds like a milkshake. And is legal.

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play....

(1 John 2:15-17) Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world-the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches-comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.

Feh! I love this world.... God loves this world too, otherwise God would not have moved into the neighborhood and pitched a tent.... For goodness sake, it's Earth Day! How ironic that we get this reading on this day....

I guess I'm howling at the moon already today. Got home last night after the spaghetti dinner benefit for the free clinic in our neighborhood, and received a call that a home-bound parishioner had died. Yeah --that's been my mantra this week --three funerals and a wedding... lows and highs. But I am absolutely convinced that the very Greek mind that wrote 1 John did not despise this world and all its lows and highs.... I am convinced that the world view of 1 John is Platonic, so in that perspective there must be an opposite and base which is not of God.

I am not Platonic.... just saying. There is no division in the real and ideal. God married heaven and earth --the veil is split --there is one world, one people, one God. And there is not one aspect of this world that is corrupt or dirty or unworthy of God....

Even death. God went there and redeemed even death.
...oh sigh, preaching here.... Now, there are things that can distract one from being fully alive, or that we can pursue tongues out panting that distract us from our calling, or barriers that happen that prevent us from those ways we feel called by God. ---but I am utterly convinced God is there, too. All is redeemed. Hell is redeemed, the gates of Hell smashed, the way out obvious. All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

So what is the author of 1 John talking about? --what is the love of this world that does not fill you with Godly light? Ummm--yeah, those things we look at and see only ourselves, only gratification, and forget to see God....those things that end up possessing us.... it is not the "things" themselves --the flesh, the eyes, the riches, --it is in our forgetting to look for and see God first. I mean, Jesus had flesh, had eyes, had gold, frankincense and myrrh, and expensive ointments. But they did not possess him.

So, now, off to work. To go through the liturgy (the work of the people) of giving back to God the body and soul he made. Confident that in her body--flesh, eyes, all... holy, holy, holy, she shall see God.

And it is all good.
PS --Happy and blessed EARTH DAY!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hold them accountable.... no more torture

If you are so moved, you may sign the MoveOn petition to hold the architects of the Bush-era torture scheme accountable by clicking here.

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do....

The Collect: Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Seriously. The most damaging frame of mind to Christianity is literalism and fundamentalism. (Well, probably any faith for that matter.) Literalism takes the love letters of our ancestors in faith and tries to make them a compendium of provable history.... and fundamentalism takes our history and tries to make it law. Some will say that is what the Bible is--exactly. History and law.

I say, NOT. Mostly because the Bible is about relationships, not rules. Also because literalism and fundamentalism puts everything in to the lap of people --by "knowing" and "following" what "God" "wants," we can be faithful and God will love us and reward us. Any one who claims to know what God wants should be avoided, you know what I mean?

Mostly because literalism and fundamentalism are about control. --because if the Bible is read without mythical and mystical depth and wonder which leads to liberation, then it is merely a collection of stories that require no dancing naked, no death defying life leaps, no joy--only submission and obedience. In a word, literalism and fundamentalism are fascist in nature because they support hierarchy, institutionalism and power.

Father Matthew has a wonderful video about literalism here.

We have nothing to do with our own liberation (which is such a better word than salvation). We do not cause it, we cannot effect it. It is done. Already. Before we know it or think it or even try to respond. Always.

We are free. (Now what do you want to do?) Free.

From the Eucharistic lectionary (from Romans 5) But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Remember bad boy Abelard today too. All of our scholars should push the envelope for us. Ask questions which disturb us....

Monday, April 20, 2009

My rubberband broke... gotta find something else

Dang it. The phone woke me up. Early. Answered still half asleep....

We were given a great Easter week in the Eucharistic lectionary, and then --smack-- back to morning prayer and the pre-crucifixion pre-resurrection story.... Actually, I've been there all week with a death on Thursday and two others at death's door.... All of 'em really difficult circumstances. I feel it all in my spiritual bones, if you know what I mean --in my spiritual skeleton.

There is sometimes little sense in fighting that kind of density and tangibility of grief. Sometimes one just needs to be still in it and taste it and know it. And when it is another's grief as is often the case in my job, to be present to them and with them in it.

At the same time, there is the wildness and wonder of profound joy--celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and new love and new commitments. All this has happened this week too. Exhilaration. I feel that in my spiritual bones too. And sometimes the density and tangibility of this joy is overwhelming. --and it is often my job to be present in that joy too.


To navigate between the waters of profound joy and grief--constantly --one must always keep one eye on a constant --like the northern star.... it is our beginning and our end, our source of all. When I think upon Jesus taking his "time-out" --withdrawing from the crowd, I imagine that he is re-centering upon the northern star. Maybe finding it within....

Today, my day off, began early with that call from the funeral home.... I hate it when the phone rings early--it is always a call to action; thankfully, no action necessary on this one, it is still just the pre-arrangement plans. And as I stretch and become more fully awake, I find that am carrying so many in prayer....

I remember once when Joel and I were escaping the straw-in-your-head-sucking-moisture-out dryness of the desert by going to the ocean. We were walking slowly along the green space by the beach in La Jolla and I momentarily turned my face from the wet hypnotic rhythm of the ocean and saw that we had come between a man sitting cross-legged and the horizon --he was meditating, eyes wide open. I apologized for interrupting his meditation, and he said something along the lines of --not to worry, this morning you are part of it.... I love that.

So, today, re-centering, my task is to braid a cosmic prayer of grief and joy with my eye on the northern star.... some days that is just part of it.

I know --I'm rambling. I think that's part of it too. Eye on the light--eye on the light.....

From morning prayer (1 John 1:1-5) We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us- we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

I've often wondered what Thomas was looking for and/or what he was really doubting.

G'wan. Go to church. Thomas puts his finger on the heart of the matter. It's a very ticklish story.

No bull; only faithfulness

Yesterday was really beautiful here. The dogwood trees are in delicate bloom; cherry and plum trees laugh in canopies of pink, purple and white. The daffodils are crinkling up, the camellias have dropped, green leaves are unfurling. We await the explosion of shade and bright yellow pollen from the trees.

And, I mean, good Lord, the birds were going at it, right there in public, under the canopy of the sky, in full view.

The bloom is a cosmic explosion. Flower power...

So often I hear that evil and wickedness happens in this world because the devil rules here. And we are being tested....

I say, BULL. Feh... Evil and wickedness run wild because we are free, and that freedom is the sure sign that God reigns. God meets us in our unbelief and scattered imperfection, most likely to be recognized by us when we are most broken. When everything is hunky-dory we skim along paying little attention--we build and write myths about it all; when it all hits the fan, we cry--where is God?

God has left heaven and pitched a tent among us. God reigns here. God is not someplace else. The only way to know God is in the 'stuff' of life--yesterday I felt the power and presence in the breaking open of Spring. The day before, I felt the power and presence in the breaking open of a disastrous death--the same power of light and Spring was shrouded in grief and confusion, but present none-the-less, still as powerful as the beauty I easily choose to know and recognize.

Our God who bears the wounds we inflict, and which we inspect in our doubt in order to believe as we see fit--our God is not one who imposes a distant rule of obedience and compliance, but a reign of vulnerability and accessibility. Always present, even when we scatter....

From morning prayer (John 16:31-33) Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!"

There is no battle, only faithfulness. We are free; may that peace which passes all understanding enter our nose and eyes and ears and mouth--may we be vulnerable and accessible in that peace. Take courage. Leave it lay. Nada te turbe. Own it. God reigns.


Having watched, listened and pondered --the pattern of endorsements (or not) of Bishop-elect Kevin Thew Forrester of Northern Michigan remind me of something awful... I remember in the early days of the women's' movement, successful strong out there women were more likely to receive a sound beating from the ranks of other women than from the ranks of men who felt most threatened. There is a name for that kind of behavior--but I do not know it, other than scapegoating. And there does seem to be a lot of fanfare around each so-called progressive pronouncement against him, yes? Are we ignoring, or are the so-called middle-of-the-roaders and conservatives just not speaking out loud?

Forrester+, rightly or wrongly, is bearing the weight and brunt of the progressives so that the other progressives can prove they are more to the middle and safe and reasonable and are game players.... THEY are not the ones to be blamed for rocking the boat--it is the likes of HIM that are to be blamed. And see, I can vote this way and state what is wrong with HIM and prove I am not like HIM.

Good God.... sound familiar? I guess I like "out-there" Bishops. But I have never found faithfulness to be well defined or safe....

Friday, April 17, 2009

damn, I love him....

Last night Joel was finally able to make contact with the Formerly Homeless Parishioner's family. Joel has been searching for them for weeks, no, months--and the family are very, very excited to know the FHP is alive. This is a resurrection of sorts--they thought FHP was lost to them.... Being homeless for 35 years kinda does break lines of communication.... They have not yet spoken because the nursing home where FHP currently resides would not allow them to speak--those laws to protect the vulnerable and all --but hopefully a face-to-face will happen soon.

Joel found a picture of the nephew on-line--they are definitely related. No doubt about it!

Recognizing (or not!) loved ones is a major theme in the Resurrection stories. Mostly the disciples do not recognize or they doubt it all when Jesus stands before them. Sometimes seeing is not believing. It takes more. And then when the unbelievable becomes believable, we exit all our frames of reference --like Peter, fishing naked, putting on all his clothes to jump in the water and swim to shore, leaving the boat, the haul of fish....

From the Eucharistic lectionary (John 21:1-14) Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

So, I am hoping this resurrected family will leap into the water to be restored. Dash nonsensical toward one another. I'll root for Joel as he hauls the boat in to shore. He's only about a hundred yards off.... damn, I love him.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

thomas and corporeal proof-texting....

It is in the food--in the body.

Yesterday, at our mid-week Eucharist, the Gospel being the road to Emmaus--I was struck for the first time at how all the scriptural proof-texting did not lead to the revelation of the risen Christ, but that revelation came through the sharing of bread....

Today, the risen Lord reveals himself corporeally --through his wounds first, and then eats. Food--body, body--food. Scriptural proofing comes last--and surely this proofing reveals things in the texts that they did not see and know before.... as surely as his wounded risen body reveals things they did not see and know before.

And surely, there is startling terror in that. Not that I have some big battle with Scripture--but with those who cling to it as Mary grasped and held the risen Lord. --no Mary, that ain't it.... let go....

I have always considered doubt to be a tremendous gift from God--an invitation to draw closer and stick my fingers in the wounds... not as corporeal proof-texting, but as an intimate window into the world within. Called to examine the Body beneath the skin.... an invitation to touch what I don't know and haven't seen--what I don't quite believe, in contrast to the clutching gotta know and hold this grasp of Mary.

(Luke 24:36b-48) While the disciples were talking about how they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

I know there are many things swirling around in the blog world--affirmation (or not) of a bishop-elect, the unexpected voice of a humble woman, tea-parties.... but for right now I keep returning and sticking my fingers in that mystical change between the darkness and body blows of Good Friday and the terror and doubt of Easter light.

A refugee of sorts.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day! (Wait, I don't really mean that)

This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it.

The post-Easter fog is clearing.... slept another ten hours. You know those great big icing funnels squeeze-bag thingies.... yah... thought I had paced properly and kept some icing in reserve, but I am all iced out! But I can see the ingredients on the counter--the fog is clearing... it better clear quickly...

Yesterday, I went in to work, I discovered that one of my clergy colleagues that I meet with on a regular basis, and have met with for years now, was in a really bad car accident late Monday. She is in the multi-trauma unit in the hospital here in town, so today I hope to visit her. Please keep "D" in your prayers. I also meet at lunch with parishioners to plan a funeral for a family member. And then return to the office to begin to formulate a wedding bulletin....

When these boomerang circumstances happen, I think it must be very much like the experience the disciples had on the road, who walked and talked and spoke to each other of scripture and all that had happened, who invited the stranger to stay for dinner, and then before their very eyes, they saw the Lord.... and then he was gone.

From the Eucharistic lectionary (Luke 24:31-32) As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

Here and gone again....

And in the midst of this, laughing at all the folks gathering to "teabag" today.... all the news stations in Richmond are pushing these rallies like crazy. My people were at the first party; I think I will pass on this one. It ain't revolutionary; it's reactionary.... you know what I mean?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter whiplash

This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it!

Back to work today--and a long day at that!

A before coffee meditation: remembering Good Friday --when Jesus said to Pilate, 'you have no authority over me except that which is given you. It's gonna be worse for those who handed me over to you...'

Or something like that.... The emperor had given Pilate authority. The ones who handed Jesus over did it voluntarily, of their own volition--by choice....

Why am I still thinking Good Friday today? --I guess it's the free fall that happens after Holy Week and Easter, and that we owe the Feds thousands and thousands of dollars.... sigh.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Better keep partying

I slept nearly 10 hours last night! Whew!

And Joel tells me it is customary during the Easter octave in Franciscan monasteries to enter the sanctuary for all the appointed times of daily prayer and recite "Today is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." And then get up and leave!

I like that idea today! And since I live with a former Franciscan, I will employ it!

But I did look at the Eucharistic lectionary, and was reminded of Sam Portaro's Easter reflections (Daysprings)---that the same news we hear as the ultimate Good News, was very bad news indeed for others... the soldiers who had been given to guard the tomb were terrified of the consequences of its emptiness....

(Matthew 28:9-15) Suddenly Jesus met Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You must say, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed.

Blessed Easter! --Remember, a sure sign that God is good is that Easter is longer than Lent. You better keep partying.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Picks

I didn't realize that my beloved brought the camera to church today.... but I am kinda glad he did. Lotsa fun photos, but can't post 'em without permission of the faces involved. But here are still shots of the church... the flower arrangers (parishioners) really outdid themselves this year. It was absolutely stunning.

Our Paschal Candle and altar in the background.

In the pulpit--I'm always afraid that thing is gonna fall on me!

At the chancel steps.

One of our projects this Spring --Easter Baskets for the kids down the street who probably won't get one....

Blessed Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Sorry, no Easter Egg hunt this Sunday....

Mr Witty caught and killed the Easter Bunny!

So, g'wan. Go to church any way. Something about a whole new creation. Maybe there's hope for the bunny after all.

Blessed Pascha!

Holy Saturday

Psalm 130 De profundis

I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope.

My soul waits for the LORD, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

The new fire will begin amongst the graves of the faithful.... and I am sooooo ready! Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Vigil work I go.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Today is a violent and bloody day. We offer to God the very worst of ourselves today--the very worst of what we are capable of doing....

LORD, have mercy.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (BCP 282)

If you are one who appreciates the Stations of the Cross, this is one which does not make light of the violence nor our complicity in it.

O blessed Iniquity by which our Lord became known to us....

Triduum begins....

The Collect: Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

At last, tonight the Triduum begins.

Meanwhile, at work, the printer broke only a third of the way through the Easter bulletins. Not panicked.... all the other bulletins are printed already, and we have today and tomorrow to figure out what to do for Sunday morning.... The Most Excellent Front Office Chairperson Ever took the printer body blow with humor and patience.

Last night our kids celebrated The Lord's Feast. We met, shared bread (companions --com pagne --with bread) talked about hope, heard the Gospel story about how Jesus washed feet and it wasn't about needing a bath, and then we washed each others' feet--all because Jesus said so. The Most Excellent Educator helped me set up a "tent" for us to sit under and eat and talk and drink the Cup of Blessing.

If you have never received bread and wine from a child, or had your feet washed by a tribe of them, perhaps you should!

That's our parish hall above, with our 'tent' and dinner table, the altar in the middle and the back of the chairs where we sat and washed and were washed.

We finished in time for the twelve-step group to meet--but we didn't take down the tent. If the tent were anything like a dream-catcher, the twelve-step group walked into a room saturated with laughter, hope and tenderness.

--oh, and because our older brothers and sisters in Abraham were celebrating their liberation, their redemption from slavery--their Passover, we remembered them at a special table with their special food, a 3-D icon of Jerusalem and the Temple...

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26) For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Tonight, we will do the same, wash each other, share a simple meal of bread and wine--under the canopy of the nave. And then we will strip away all our pretenses, make naked the altar and settle in to the breaking open and sharing of betrayal and death.

P.S. Yes, the latest rendition of the Anglican Covenant has been published. I am not thinking about it much right now.... there is an introduction to the reviews here, but from where I sit, my initial take on the Covenant is that it continues to try to make us an international Church instead of a Communion. One is contract, power, authority, further marginalization of the laity and increase in canon, and one is relationship. Go figure, on this day in this week, where I might land....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Go ahead. Dare to be a mystic.

The Collect of the Day: Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Again, as I wrote on Monday, the violence of this week is sometimes overwhelming, and I do not for a moment think that violence is ever something that is a part of God's plan.

But, then again, without being anthro-centric, there is death. Our ancestors in faith decided that death is punishment for sin--but that puts humanity at the center of all things in the cosmos, as wrong a thought as putting the earth at the center of all things in the cosmos. Death, and suffering for that matter, existed long before human beings walked upright.

So, perhaps knowing sin is a matter of becoming conscious. And perhaps we moderns have a tougher time looking at our sin because we lack the means by which we may reveal the unconscious at work in our midst.

This week, we bring the unconscious to light in our liturgy. We try to scrape the bottom of our own buckets and offer even that to God. At least, that's what we should be doing. But, we get so lost in our own affirmation--bringing our gifts, our life, our labor to God, that we often forget to offer our very own inner Judas to God. And, yes, we all have a mix of the betrayal in us. I read somewhere this week (and I am so sorry, -I did not document where I read it--mea culpa, but the thought is not mine, and it is good) that the betrayal of Peter is really no different than the betrayal of Judas, except that Judas thought himself beyond reconciliation.

There is nothing we can do that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing.

Or, some of us may have been the object of Judas, of violence, in our own flesh and blood. And this week makes us re-live that horror. That is a whole other spiritual work this week. But the source of peace and joy is the same.

So, scrape the bottom of the bucket. Offer it. Now is the time.

And as we offer it, as we really let it go, we may find the peace and joy in that.

Go ahead. Dare to be a mystic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday in Holy Week

The Collect of the Day: O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today, I go to one of the historic downtown churches and with other clergy gather with the Bishop-- he washes the feet of the newest clergy, we renew our ordination vows, celebrate Holy Eucharist, receive fresh chrism and eat lunch together. This is traditionally done on Thursday--but the clergy asked for it to be accomplished on Tuesday because by Thursday they are frazzled.... sigh.

I feel like bread being kneaded. Folded over twice. Punched down. Floured up.

And is it alright to say I feel terrified this year--terrified of the highs and lows of this week? Perhaps terrified is too hard a word.... but it is close enough. Hard to say why, except that it all feels fragile. Like the image above, breaking open ourselves to see Christ crucified.... pregnant with the way of the cross. Is there not terror in that? Or, at least foolishness?

A Reading from the Eucharistic lectionary: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Woke up to the news that a "suspicious package" had been found a block away from the church, but that it had been secured and all roads were open again. Sigh....

O blessed crazy world....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday in Holy Week

The Collect: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

There is real trouble in thinking that ours is a God that desires blood sacrifice as a payment for transgression. I think that is the easiest answer to what "happened" to Jesus--we put the burden on God, saying God demands payment for sin. It is also primal, base, stone-age.... yes, it is.

What we must really do is search our souls and see that the cross is OUR effort, ours alone. We invented the torture, the cross, the death. God doesn't want our blood sacrifices, but a broken and contrite heart.

But believing this is an uphill battle this week.

Aren't we good at avoiding death sacrifice, even when we put a plate of food on our table? Vegetarians are not exempt--something died that we might live. Life and death are braided together.

Holy Week is ours for these very thoughts. So, if Jesus died--offered his life that we might live abundantly, are we living abundantly?

A reading from the Eucharistic Lectionary for Monday in Holy Week: (Hebrews 9:11-15) When Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.

Paul is right. We are all like babies, and we rarely push ourselves beyond spiritual milk.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

They weren't yelling, Hosanna! They were yelling yazowaa!

because he rode the donkey like a girl..
Honest to God.

And, oh man, Joel and I were guests at the Equality Virginia gala dinner tonight, and we heard Mr. Leslie Jordan speak (Beverly Leslie on Will and Grace among other shows). What a hoot! That's Leslie in the icon above, the little one down in front... throwing his clothes around.

G'wan. Go to church. The story's a zinger.

Do it in love

A friend and parishioner has published her first post at her brand new blog, The Progressive Mother. Please go and wish her well and read her righteous post.

She teases me for being an activist. She once said '--no one listens to those who march in streets --not any more. Politicians and policy makers are glad if you are out shouting in the streets. They would rather have you there than in their offices.'

Still not done thinking that one through. It seems perfect that she opened her blog so close to the day that we remember Martin Luther King. Today is the anniversary of his death.

From the Eucharistic Lectionary (Luke 6:27-36) Jesus said, "I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

Whether on the streets or in the office, let's do it in love.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Congratulations to Iowa and its citizens!

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning unanimously upheld gays' right to marry.

"The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution."

Iowa!? Wow.

Eating words

Right. I have been known to be stubborn and snarky. Right. And a deconstructionist. Right. Subversive. Activist. Right. I don't deny a bit of it.

When Martha, the sister of Lazarus, ran to meet Jesus, I believe she was stubborn, snarky, deconstructing, subversive and an activist to stand her ground and say to Jesus, --IF YOU HAD BEEN HERE, MY BROTHER WOULD NOT HAVE DIED! Yeah. I think she probably yelled at him. ALL CAPS. And then she became self-aware and sucked all the 'ALL CAPS' back in one by one gulping them down and saying, but I know that God will do whatever you ask....

Yep. There's the full dignity of being human before the throne of God. ALL CAPS and then eating the very words we swear.

But in my heart of hearts, I think God loves it and hears us and delights in us when we come ALL CAPS to the throne. And which one of us hasn't done it.

The gulping the ALL CAPS back in--my only hope is that none of us does that in fear or trepidation.

Actually, my dream for ALL CAPS is that we don't gulp any of them back down, but let them go, leave them lay and trust that God will do more with them than we can hope or imagine.

Let me put it this way; when Jesus called Lazarus BACK from the cave, back to life, Lazarus lived and then died. Again. That's sucking it back in. But when Jesus died, he did not come BACK from the cave of death and stillness; he let it lay, --he trusted God. He went right through death to the other side. To everlasting life. That's trust.

As I enter Holy Week, I think I will probably do some ALL CAPS at the state of the world, some sucking back, and some leave it lay.

There we are.

From morning prayer (John 11:17-27) When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."

And remember Richard, Bishop, who would not eat the words he threw out at the feet of Henry III. Instead, Richard prayed, Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Little birds

Order out of chaos. Let go of it all to find out who you really are. Time in the wilderness....

Lent in a nutshell.

I know it is not by works that we are saved, but I cleaned up my desk anyway. It was about time, because it looked more like an urban landscape--huge skyscraper piles and gutters of scraps. A good Lenten work. We are printing the bulletins today, for all nine Holy Week services. The decisions made, now on to the worship and God willing, experience of the Holy.

Will gather with clergy of the Deanery today at lunch; we will laugh and make jokes about what we are all about to do and the condition we will be in when we emerge from it all next week. We will all remind each other that the marathon continues beyond Easter, probably until Pentecost, if not vacation bible school.

All I know is that a Christian cannot be a Christian without a community. And it should not be a community of like-thinking persons, but one in which we will all be called to conversion and change.

And that there is pressure on the churches, because why would one join a church where we must come face to face with learning to love people we might not choose to be with, or even those whom we feel have betrayed us, or you can do good works in all the secular institutions that strive to relieve poverty or fight for justice.... why join a church anyway?

Because Jesus told us to gather and eat and drink and remember together. This is true worship. Our life together true worship, a foretaste of heaven. Not a self-selecting group of friends, not just those who make us happy and we can play by our own rules; but friends, strangers, pains in the ass, and even enemies who challenge our well-being, drawn from the highways and streets--called to the feast. Elbow to elbow we gather at the same table.

Little birds. Mouths open. Learning to stretch our wings. And we will all be fed. It is grace.

From morning prayer (Rom. 11:5-6) ....chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Remember today James Lloyd Breck, who went into the wilderness and worked the land, planting churches. Not sure he would approve of me nor that I might even like him, but we are both called by grace.... and not because of the works we do.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What kind of fool?

The Lectionary doesn't acknowledge it--but it IS April Fools Day!

The best/most awful joke I ever accomplished on this day was when I phoned my husband from work and said I had stopped by the bank to make the deposit and our accounts were all messed up so I had withdrawn all the money.... There was absolute silence on the other end of the phone for quite a while, and then he squeaked out, 'ok.' When I erupted with the "April fools" it pushed air back down his lungs. I know.... for those embedded in money stuff, it's not so funny. That's what makes it so funny! Of course, I always said it was not my fault he got so light-headed--if he had been paying attention, and known it was April Fools Day, he would not have even half-way believed me....

F.D. Maurice, who is remembered in the Lectionary today, once offered his resignation and then said to those in the chapel he served--I take it back, but I did it for you! He wasn't celebrating being a fool. He was in trouble because he had exercised some intellectual freedom or something like that --pushing the powers that be. And it cost him. In a sermon trying to explain his actions, he said

Many of you will have seen it reported that I was purposing to resign the charge of your Chapel because I had some objections to the Creeds of the Church, taken in their simple, natural sense; or because I had some sympathy with those who think a Bible a less sacred book than our fathers thought it. You must have been surprised by such rumours.

Objections to the Creeds? A Bible not understood as our fathers understood it? Maurice, how could you?!

Ha! Ha! I was sitting here, Joel entered the room, and I said --something is terribly wrong with our computer stuff, terribly wrong... and as he approached my shoulder I let him know it is April Fools day... I know, not funny for those embedded in geeky stuff.

Joking aside, today, it looks like vast crowds are gathering in London to let their mind be known to the G20 summit crowd -- saying capitalism is not healthy for the world. Members of the G20 summit --members such as China, want to issue a new global currency; folks are angry at the greed of those who caused the meltdown....

Were we not paying attention as all this happened? --Are we paying attention now?

What fools we are....

From morning prayer (John 10:1-18) Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

No fooling.