Saturday, May 30, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Anybody want to let this little holy spirit light your fire?

G'wan. Go to church. Find out how we have been so wrong about sin, about righteousness and so freakin' wrong about judgment.

It's liberating. Truly. (have a blessed day 'o Pentecost!)

Fully armed

That's what I like about dogs. Strong. Can rule the neighborhood from the window with voice commands.

Mr. Witty has armor like this, but with more jewels. It is most evident when we take a walk and he roughs up the parking strip weeds, striking the ground with a grand follow-through, as casually as I might strike a match.

Brave. Strong. Until the thunder storm. Like yesterday. Rip roaring. Then he takes off his armor, puts it away and shakes in my arms.

Sometimes I think we two-leggeds are very much like that --running around in our armor until we realize it hardly does us any good. Not against the things that matter. Then we must know how to surrender.

From morning prayer (Luke 11:21-23) [Jesus said,] When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Putting my armor away. Gonna be vulnerable for a while. And it's okay.

Friday, May 29, 2009

there is need of only one thing

Joel has always been good at spiritual detachment, really good.

And, so now, while he still stutters, can't remember things and suffers a whole host of other problems, he keeps saying, "I'm fine." --and I can't tell if he is in denial, worse off than he thinks, or is exercising his excellent spiritual detachment.... I keep hovering, trying not to....

So, today, our niece (who is older than I --don't you love multi-generational southern families!), will come and pick him up for an overnight in North Carolina to celebrate our great-niece's graduation from high school. I'm not worried sick, I'm just worried. You know....

So, I pray Joel is taking the better part, and that I am fussing and pissing and not paying attention, not taking the better part.

I ask your continued prayers for my beloved. And, if I am being Martha, I hope I can take this little overnight as a break to refocus --and if not, then to refocus....

From morning prayer (Luke 10:38-42) Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.'

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moore and Sipple and the good Samaritan

Watching the news this morning.... watching the little old lady Sarah Jane Moore. She tried to assassinate President Ford in September, 1975.

Basically, she was an unassuming, divorced 45 year old woman with kids, working as a bookkeeper, seeking a revolution... an organization that fed and clothed the poor, an organization established by newspaper mogul Hearst to prove he was not the capitalist monster he was thought to be.... all accomplished in response to the kidnapping and radicalization (or brainwashing some say) of his daughter...
...and Moore was an FBI informant who began to believe the leftist rhetoric she heard, and picked up a gun to solve the problems. (As had Patty Hearst, arrested just four days earlier)

She had me until that last line. And, well, being an FBI informant was probably not so cool either.

What a confluence of events and history. Wait. There's more. Moore might have accomplished the assassination but for a man named Oliver Sipple...

On Sept. 22, 1975, she fired a shot at the president from a .38-caliber handgun outside the Post Street door of the St. Francis Hotel, but her aim was deflected by Oliver Sipple, a bystander who grabbed her arm.

Sipple, a disabled ex-Marine, was widely credited with saving Ford's life. Sipple's life took its own twist when news reports mentioned that he was gay. He sued for invasion of privacy and lost. Sipple died in 1989.

And, it was Harvey Milk who outed him....

I am not sure it gets much thicker than this.

Reflecting upon this bit of news and the places it took me, --and the scriptural reflection from morning prayer--the "good Samaritan"... I am remembering the streets of San Francisco in the 70s, when protests and walks in the street were not the orderly statements they are now, but were gut and fear teeth grinding running on the streets, were acts of death defying life leaps, purposeful chaos pressing on the rigid orderliness of gutters and swept sidewalks and flags.... stores with large glass windows suddenly shielded by iron mesh, and police batons and tear gas. Violence upon violence. For a cause... violence to wrench free a society....

It wasn't because the crowded modern world allowed violence in the face of an anonymous neighbor; this kind of violence can find parallels in close-knit communities through history--pogroms. Violence happens neighbor to neighbor when one is demonized, dehumanized, objectified. Violence takes the words out of an other's mouth and silences them; throw them bloodied into the ditch to die; shoot them in the public square in front of the exclusive swanky hotel of the privileged.

For some, Jesus said give up everything--your material possessions, your family, your livelihood, and follow me. For others it was a challenge to the Law and order of the day--live beyond the expectations of the law which upholds the status quo, help those you despise, comfort and feed those who suffer.

So, how does change happen....? Is it always in pain and blood?

From morning prayer (Luke 10:25-37) Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live." But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Like the mercy denied Sipple but given to Moore....
Oh dear.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Good grief.

I know many who have given up on the Church as being hypocritical and focused solely on being an institution instead of living the gospel. I know exactly what they mean. And, I feel the same way, generally, about the law and the institution of government. The law is rarely about justice and equality, but is about what is legal. Government is rarely about what's best for the people, but what is best for business and the status quo.

So, yesterday in California, the law upheld the law rather than justice and equality. And the government upheld the status quo. Any child can see that. Anyone, even those not versed in law, can see that.

It is these very kinds of decisions made by the Supreme Court in California, my home State, which radicalized me, even as a child. It is these kinds of decisions in the Church--to bless or not to bless same-sex couples, which continue to push me. Not to give up on my inheritance which I obtained from either the Church or state, but to do what was given me. To point to blessings already in our midst.

Last summer, J & B, two fabulous men, came to me wanting to celebrate their 25th anniversary. And, ohhhh man, we did! Within the context of Church community and the Eucharist. I will do so again for anyone in our community who asks. When the Bishops got hold of the service bulletin, I was told I had stepped right up to the line, but had not crossed it.... whatever. All I know is that Jesus picked grain on the Sabbath, hung out with the unclean, let bleeding women touch him, touched the dead, and gathered little ones and others around him, pushing the depths of our understanding because any child knows that following the Law and loving God are two sometimes very different things. Let the reader understand.

The Church should be, I mean it really IS about pointing out and naming blessings; the Church should not be worried about naming and punishing sin.... God will take care of sin the same way he took care of the battered corpse of our beloved shepherd.

Oh Church, it is time for us to move beyond the cross in the same way Jesus spurred people to see and live beyond the Law.

Right now.

From morning prayer (Luke 10:21-24) At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."

See it. Hear it. The blessings already belong to us and we to them. No institution, no law can separate us from the that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prop 8

UPDATE: It's only the word "marriage" that can't be used --the rights still pertain....

Go to Episcopal Cafe for more info and leads.

Some are saying this is really a very pro-gay decision....

hmmmmmmm...... give 'em the damn word. We'll call it ummmmm.... what. HOLY Matrimony? The BCP does...

California Supreme Court has made its decision --not standing by its earlier decision that separate is not equal, and has introduced ramifications that only open it to more litigation and legislative battles....

I am floored that a majority has been allowed to rule on the rights of a minority.

My heart breaks.

May God, who leads us in the paths of justice and truth, lead us still, and keep us in his ways.

May God, whose Son loves us and has given himself for us, establish us in peace.

May God, whose Spirit unites us and fills our hearts with joy, illumine us still, and strengthen us for the years to come.

There is a new creation....

First and foremost in my prayers today are those who will most personally and incarnationally feel the effects of the decision of California's Supreme Court on Prop 8 today.

Matters of personhood and citizenship.... belonging.... it doesn't get any deeper than that.

Remember that you are made of cosmic stardust, and let your light shine as it was created so to do.

From the lectionary for Augustine whom we remember today, first Bishop of Canterbury (2 Corinthians 5:17-20a) If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us.

And also on this day, I will go to return a book to my Bishop, and remind him that there is a showing of Jesus Phreak this weekend, and that he should attend.... You really should invite Dale to bring his show to your parish, your Diocese, your town. Really --it's a hoot, and a real conversation starter.

There is a preview directly to your right. Look at it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I didn't know about May 15....

Memorial Day. What are we memorializing?

Just sayin' --there is not a special lectionary nor prayer in the BCP for this day. So I prayed regular morning prayer and gave thanks for blessed Bede.

Collect for the day: Heavenly Father, you called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And I do remember the war dead--I do. I have plenty of them in my family too. Some of them fighting each other over the issues of the day. It's all so sad.

Force and violence and death are not the way of Jesus, otherwise he would have been a king of a different type --he would not have suffered a violent death in the hands of the civil and religious authorities. He would have forced others to do his will....

We must strive and put it before us to find a way without violence, force and death. Naive? --No, it's Gospel.

My way on Memorial Day? --I pray/weep for those war dead, yes; but I pray/weep for them in the suffering they endured and I pray/weep for their conversion to peace. And I pray especially for those who offered their service, and saw too much, suffered too much, and took their own lives.

A few months ago, a truly mighty warrior came into my office and handed me a publication in which he wrote

This paper is written with two thoughts in mind. First, to expiate the lingering regret for the role I played over 60 years ago in the inadvertent collateral damage to numerous innocent German citizens, especially their little ones. Second, to enhance awareness of the section of the United Nations Charter that attempts to dissuade it members from resorting to war to resolve their differences.

This mighty warrior served during WWII in the Royal Air Force flying 64 missions over occupied Europe and Germany. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses. After the war, he went to medical school to save lives and to assuage the guilt he felt and still feels for his actions during war.

That is a conversion to peace. And, his writing (he is now in his 90s) is his hope to convert others.

So, it's Memorial Day. Remember the dead warriors. Pray for peace so that no more of our valorous young seeking for a way to serve the country the love do so by means of violence, force and death.

And, just thinking, where is the holiday when we give thanks for all the conscientious objectors? (It's May 15, by the way.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Ascension Sunday....

....some believe it's all about getting there.
Or they are just along for the ride.

G'wan, go to church. It's about flesh and blood on the throne. Glorified. And a place there for us, too.

Can't get too snarky about that!

Solid food is for the mature

From morning prayer (Hebrews 5:12-14) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

It has only been a week... but some moments it feels like forever; and in truth our reality is forever changed. The real discoveries made in the journey to and through the emergency room, Joel's health is now precarious. Damn it.

We've been down this road before, I mean with my health issues of ectopic pregnancies and breast cancer, and Joel surviving being crushed by a refrigerator I threw on him.... Those were hard knocks in young lives and we fought like hell to live. But this's different.... the diagnoses received earlier this week, it's all about just being old and things wearing out.

And it sucks.

Oh, I say to myself, --this is that threshold my parents and grandparents talked and laughed about.... gotta get my funny bone going on this, like they did. And what else did they say-- yeah, that's it: growing old is not for wimps....

And, yes, yesterday I realized I had been blogging for a year--a year! How'd that happen!? Thing is, I learned something big about the blogosphere just this week--- remember that time you first learned about road rage --you know, how not to flip off or otherwise engage the person who cuts you off, runs a red light, tailgates, bullies everyone else on the road with their car? Yeah--I learned that even if you think the conditions are safe--even if you are between the ER and a full day of work and worried sick, --even if you have been cut off, one should not flip someone off in the blogospheres.... it may induce blog rage.... Hey, I guess I'm not too old to learn!

And do you know what I mean about blog rage? There is a difference between one email, a blow up in the heat of the moment, and persistent publication or threats of publication of personal materials or information, persistent humiliation, mocking, degraded or personal attacks. As is described at Bully Online,

Pressure bullying or unwitting bullying is where the stress of the moment causes behaviour to deteriorate; the person becomes short-tempered, irritable and may shout or swear at others. Everybody does this from time to time, but when the pressure is removed, behaviour returns to normal, the person recognises the inappropriateness of their behaviour, makes amends, and may apologise, and - crucially - learns from the experience so that next time the situation arises they are better able to deal with it. This is "normal" behaviour and I do not include pressure bullying in my definition of bullying.

I hope you have heard of cyber-bullying--kids and young adults have been known to take their lives because of it. And it's not just for teens. And it is a very difficult thing to endure even as an adult. Especially when it becomes a group-bully affair. Please, do become aware of what it is and how it works --is worked. Google it... I think you will be sadly amazed.

And I felt like being more pointed in this reflection---but I have resisted that urge. I hope.

Otherwise, it's just milk-toast all around.

Friday, May 22, 2009

waiting..... until Tuesday 10AM Pacific time

All those awaiting the Prop 8 Supreme Court decision in California on Monday are in my prayers.

Happy Blogday!

It's been one year today since I began blogging! Who knew! And on such a wonderful day --the birthday of Harvey Milk and Mary Cassatt.

Yeah --that's me and Mr. Witty, thinking...

Who knew that I would "meet" so many of you, enjoy your posts, learn from you, benefit from the varying articulations of churchiness and politics or both, join you and be sustained in prayer, and that I would get over 9,000 hits ---just for morning prayer and a few rants! (I know --9,000 ain't much, but it's MY number!)

I have learned a great deal and been wonderfully blessed by you all--thank you. And in doing these daily posts, I have been mostly reminded, as has been said by a famous Virginian, that It's not judgment day; it's only morning, beautiful and fair. (William Stryon)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Day! --and congratulations to our wonderful Malinda!

Today, I am tucking Joel in the car and we are driving north to be present while our beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, creative Malinda graduates from Virginia Theological Seminary.

Congratulations Malinda!

We are so grateful for your presence and ministry. And on Ascension Day, no less! Which reminds me --when I was a school chaplain and taught in the classroom, I would use images for the children to ponder--and I took a couple images from different eras in to the classroom to illustrate what people thought had happened on Ascension Day....

and to a similar image one of the children said --I hope Jesus didn't have stinky feet!

Malinda, may those you form and teach and join in ministry forever keep you seeing things anew!

Collect of the Day: Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

And, if you meet Jesus on the road, well, you all know what to do!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What wondrous love!

No words from me this morning--not in that space; play the above and read below (from morning prayer) and you will know. (Joel's update is below.) (Gratitude. Patience. Joyful endurance.)

(Baruch 3:32-37) On Wisdom

The one who prepared the earth for all time
filled it with four-footed creatures;
the one who sends forth the light, and it goes;
he called it, and it obeyed him, trembling;
the stars shone in their watches, and were glad;
he called them, and they said, "Here we are!"
They shone with gladness for him who made them.

This is our God;
no other can be compared to him.
He found the whole way to knowledge,
and gave her to his servant Jacob
and to Israel, whom he loved.

Afterward she appeared on earth
and lived with humankind.

(Luke 12:28-31) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you-you of little faith! 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.

Collect of the Day: Almighty God, who in a rude and barbarous age raised up your deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth your eternal truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A diagnosis

We have a diagnosis. --Hydrocephaly. We are relieved. There will most likely be surgery to correct the condition--but one of the leading clinics to treat this condition is here in our home town.

The strokes also did not cause damage and are treatable --may even by symptomatic of the hydrocephaly...

We are not out of the woods, but we found the path.

We are and have been so blessed with so many acts of kindness and the outpouring of prayer. Thank you.

And, yes, Joel is home tonight. Eating rice and beans. Happy campers!

trying to see fish not snake

Joel is still in the hospital. They are still doing many tests. I am running to get there in time to hear the doctors as they come through.

Thank you for the continued prayers. I cannot tell you how much that means to me right now.

I did read morning prayer... I know I heard most of the Scripture with what I would call the magical healing bent --you know, with a miracle in mind.... and that is just not where I am, usually.... and I have no space in my head to contemplate a dead Archbishop of Canterbury named Dunstan... I am sure he understands.

So, off I go --knocking at the door, trying to see a fish, not a snake...
I haven't cleaned up the text below--taken the numbers out and formatted it... please try to see it as fish, not snake.

Thank you. And again, thank you for your prayers and support. I will post more about Joel's condition when we have a firm diagnosis.

Luke 11:1-13 (NRSV)

11 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2 He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial." 5 And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7 And he answers from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Monday, May 18, 2009

That's just the kind of dog he is

Poor Mr. Witty --he is distressed with Joel gone. He has a little bench by the window so he can see out the front window and rule the neighborhood --he is jumping up and peering out the window every time a car door slams to see if it is "Dad" coming home. I moved the bench so he wouldn't fret so much, so then he just lay down by the front door and wouldn't budge. Last night, I had to pick him up and bring him upstairs to his bed --he usually does not come upstairs except with Joel.... So, I know that he is grateful for the paws of blessing extended by +Maya. So am I.

And I am very grateful to all who have written, prayed and called and offered ME dinner or a walk. Thank you so very much.

Hopefully, today Joel will get the rest of the tests he needs and be one step closer to coming home. They were promised to him yesterday, but by 8PM they had still not yet been accomplished. So, the path of patient hopeful endurance continues today.

Oh, and as to that other mess across the Atlantic --I hardly know what to say right now, except that what is presented there was not my experience of the sequence of events at all. But I must truly conserve my energy, and just not let that one worry me.

Off to the gym, and then spend time with my beloved and then take special care of my Mr. Witty--a walk, a couple tussles with a toy, extra hugs and kisses as he intuits so much and understands more than words, and he will play extra hard to make me laugh and be happy. That's just the kind of dog he is.

From Morning Prayer (James 1:2-4) My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thank you for your prayers

Thank you all so very much for your prayers.

Joel is doing well--still in the hospital and might be for a couple more days. He is not bright red like a lobster any more, and even though his talking is thick, he is still punning fluently away.... and is able to tell us what year it is--which he was not able to do yesterday!

I am so deeply grateful for Ben who gave us only one option--ER. I think he saved Joel's life, and/or prevented Joel from living with great impairment--at least that is what it looks like right now.

And I'm exhausted and going to bed early!

Thank you again for your prayers. Please, keep 'em coming.

O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant Joel the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Please pray for my beloved --he's in the hospital. They think he's had a series of small strokes.

The episodes started last night --we thought they were a food allergy or something, because he couldn't control his speech and his tongue was like a rubber band. Nothing else but that. We were with our neighbor Ben, who is a big time brain doctor... last night he showed some concern. But the episode passed quickly.Today, Joel lost his speech again while talking to Ben, and Ben called me and said that I was going to spend the next six hours in the emergency room and either hate him because it was allergies or love him for saving Joel's life.

I love Ben... he saved my husband's life.

So after about two hours in the ER waiting room, I asked to see Joel and they let me back in the ER, and this is what I saw--

--an empty ER room, except for his shoes.... That is just so wrong.... so I figured I could cry or take a picture.... I did both.

He was brought back shortly--they had been running some tests. So, Joel is where he needs to be--he is safe and in a very good hospital.

So, g'wan. Go to church. If for nothing else but to pray for my beloved Joel.... Please.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Help me help them

This is how I'm saying my prayers today...Saturday.

I am posting this Friday night because I am rising early Saturday and riding my bike 25 miles to raise funds for the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond, Virginia.

The Fan Free Clinic serves the uninsured, the poor and homeless in the Richmond area. They were part of the cutting edge in providing care for those suffering and dieing of AIDS. They continue to freely serve those who have no other access to care.

If you can, won't you please help me meet and surpass my goal to provide care for "the least" among us. If you can't donate, please pray for those who seek care at the Clinic. And pray for me as I drag my ass through the country side on the narrow seat of a bike!

More than healing--taking the risk

Buddy Christ....

I thought Dogma, the movie, brilliant--and still do in so many ways. It speaks to matters of faith and mocks them as well as presenting deep insights. I mean, that is what satire and irony are supposed to do, right? And I didn't see this movie as merely a critique of the Roman Catholics --but about all Christianity that has puffed itself up beyond recognition in matters of dogma....

When all is not right, we want a rescuer... Buddy Christ. I mean, the Bible is full of miracles, right?

From morning prayer (Luke 8:43-48) As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you."

But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me." When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

When I hear and read and study the healing stories, I always have to check Buddy Christ and remember that all these people who were healed or raised from the dead eventually died anyway. Real bummer.

And, so, this is where the movie Dogma got it wrong --after the destruction of the church and street by Bartleby and Loki --you know, at the end, where God--well, SHE comes out, whacks Bartleby and restores the street, cleans it all up, makes all the blood and guts and gore and destruction go away.... totally clean as if it never happened (sorry, I could only find this portion of Dogma in Italian). Or, perhaps, in a profound insight, the movie was mocking even that....

Because, see, it belies that the resurrected Body of Christ --that perfect Body still had open wounds...

Faith that restores the body, restores one to community, faith that heals and makes the destruction go away is turned inside out in the next step in faith. It is (and I confess only glimpses of this) living as though death and sickness and fates worse than death did not matter.... it is living as though one were already dead. Which is what Baptism is all about, if you listen to Paul.

Not that faith is a linear march or anything like progress can be conceived. That's not what I mean.

Dang it --I can see it and feel it, and the words are so hard to capture.... except that we must not stop at first base in the healing stuff. No Buddy Christ.. They all died anyway. There is more..... so much more.

and, yeah--I know. Scholars and theologians abound who talk about that 'more.' I am talking about that conversion point where one moves beyond the Buddy.... it is a place of such great risk. And maybe that is what this story is really about. The woman, reaching, taking the great risk beyond hope.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beautiful sin: the thin part of the rock

All the readings for morning prayer are wonderful today. They are entirely uplifting--and all about that wild animal, sin.

The mystical view from the writings called Wisdom --we belong to God, and in God there is no sin, only glory. I must say, this is the view I find myself exercising most with my beloved and even my dog. It is their "bad" parts, their "scars" which cleaves the love in me with their being. I can see that it is those "sinful" parts which are their glory and make them full and rich and wonderful and dearly loved. I love my husband because it is his broken bits that glorify God. In God, we will not sin because we are God's and in God there is no sin.... This is the mystic's vision.

(Wisdom 15:1-3)
But you, our God, are kind and true,
patient, and ruling all things in mercy.
For even if we sin we are yours, knowing your power;
but we will not sin, because we know that you acknowledge us as yours.
For to know you is complete righteousness,
and to know your power is the root of immortality.

And then there is this bit, from that awful murderer, Paul, who knows forgiveness to the innermost parts of his being. Quit your stupid arguing about what is right and what is wrong--you are not the judge, says Paul. It is before God anyone will stand or fall --and all of us, most likely will fall flat on our faces, before what we have called god, but it is Jesus, the big-case Lord, who will raise us up before the throne. We will be raised. We WILL be raised. All are welcome.

(Romans 14:1-4)
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

And then the bit from storyteller Luke --the demons driven out of the man into the pigs at hand --okay, stop there.... Jews don't eat pigs, so obviously these pig herders are outside the Law.... And Jesus tells the man to stay there and preach the healing Love he has suddenly known. Jesus welcomes, and raises up within their own community those who seem beyond the pale to reconcile the whole community.... They get the Good News. And I doubt they stopped eating pig, by the way. Just sayin'.

(Luke 8:38-39)
The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 'Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.' So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

It is through those broken bits that the Kingdom can be seen and known. The broken bits are like the door to the tomb which gets rolled away --the thin, movable part of the rock.

Are grace and gratitude from the same root word?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Released this afternoon from the Diocese of Virginia

A Statement from the Bishop's Office

Last January, the Rev. Lauren Stanley, appointed missionary of the Episcopal Church and priest of the Diocese of Virginia, made comments at the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia in Reston that were deemed offensive to partners of the Diocese in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. As a result, the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, requested that she be withdrawn from that mission field permanently. Bishop Lee brought Lauren home in early March in response to that request.

Bishop Lee has commented that Lauren has served faithfully in the Diocese of Renk, Sudan, for nearly four years, receiving widespread support among her students and the local community. In addition, she has worked hard to spread the story of the Gospel, and of the Church in the Sudan, in parishes in the United States. She is a faithful advocate for the overseas mission of the Church. Lauren is now seeking a new mission placement for which she has the support of the bishops. Until she begins her new assignment, she continues to visit parishes and groups in the Diocese of Virginia and beyond, describing the experience of Christians in Sudan and the opportunities that American Christians have for sharing in the worldwide mission of the Church. She will also serve the Diocese of Virginia at General Convention 2009 as a staff writer for Center Aisle, the daily publication offered to the Convention by the Diocese of Virginia.

Comment: I heard every word Lauren+ said at Council.... What I remember distinctly is that she said that the people of Renk thought we in the west were all crazy anyway--so they really didn't care what we thought or did with regard to marriage.... this is within the context of the debate we had on a resolution on same-sex relationships. I do not know what she said exactly that pissed this ++Deng Bul Yak off so much. I think this just demonstrates the rigidity and pervasive authoritarianism that runs so deep in certain sectors of the Communion.

I do know that Lauren has put her life on the line, serving as she did in The Sudan. This is so sad.... and now the people are bereft of her generous ministry.

Stupid church.


Okay ---the tapes I play in my head are generally full of self-doubt, an "other" opinion coming through loud and clear, ....I am never really confident if this is low self-esteem or healthy detachment....

I guess what I struggle with is that I have found that sometimes when I lay what I think aside, some things happen that are better than what I had hoped for, --than if I had fought or struggled for my sole opinion to be what happens.

Joel and I have coined a term for it --we call it "singing." We came to it this way.... Back in the day, we built furniture for a living, and as we would plan a particular piece, we would think and ponder how to put it together and how to finish it --and then we would sit down to map it out together. Often, our plans would be different if not conflicting, and we would be quite vocal about why it should be our own particular way.

When this happened, we would have only one pencil between us, scratching out the vision of the project on a shared piece of paper --literally getting up from the table and jumping around and "singing" loudly in the passion of the plan.

Always, always when this happened, what we ended up with was far superior to what either of us planned individually. We didn't compromise --we just worked our way in to a different plan that was different from what we both brought to the table. And always better in so many ways.

I think what we learned to do was present our plan, constructed deep in our hearts with passion and conviction --with ownership and vision.... and then we were, with help, able to exercise detachment, roll our individual idea around, bend it, morph it, take the best and create something even more beautiful.

But that was only about furniture. What I have more trouble with is exercising expression and then detachment when it is matters of heart, soul and body --when it is matters of identity. Or, perhaps, I am too ready to exercise detachment... too ready to put 'self' aside. And to the detriment of my self and others....

I thought of and remembered these things as I read morning prayer-- not hiding what we know, letting our lamp shine.... but I also thought of the church --the troubles we always find about how to best live in the Gospel.... I am hoping and praying that what we end up with is better than schism and better than complete autonomy and better than a miserable contract, without subtracting from the vision we hold before us, ---but working it through to something even better. Singing.

(Luke 8:16-17) No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What do boundaries look like anyway?

So, the ACC meeting in Jamaica is lurching into a ditch behind us, having resolved resolutions that are not legally binding, striving to propose ways to make them binding --when resolutions from our very own General Convention are not truly binding on Diocesan Bishops, but merely statements of the mind of the majority of those present....

We have purposefully set up a Both/And system in TEC --yes we are one body but we are also individuated.... yes, we can be both, and this has set on edge the teeth of some who see unity as uniformity and dancing as lockstep. Freedom--liberty is hard for some.... taken into the wilderness, the people delivered by God and led by Moses away from slavery in Egypt, want to return to the sureness of slavery rather than the dangers of liberty. We know the story.

I continue to reflect upon all this resolve/liberty stuff --firmly believing that Jesus did not intend to deliver us from all that bound us in order to set up a new religion which binds us. The tension comes in remaining part of the dance without whirling away--knowing boundaries.

Actually, I guess the tension comes in being comfortable with the liberty of whirling away, potentially expanding the current understanding of boundaries.... there is no place, no part that is outside the Body.... perhaps a worthy thought to continue on the day some have been set beyond the boundaries of our common life --into outer space, in order to fix that which has given us the eye into the wilderness of the cosmos, that eye in the sky the Hubble Telescope.

Is there anyone who objects to astronauts pushing the envelope of our vision of where/who we are --I mean, they carry what they need in to the parts where they are not.... and they will surely die without them... but there they are.... out there.

From morning prayer (Romans 12:1-21)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Sigh.... leave it lay....
heheh! --spell check did not like 'exhorter' --heh!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Had a wonderful lunch with a long-time friend Maggie Ross. M --how wonderful to see you and listen to your wisdom! She spoke to Joel and me with great clarity of the history of the spiritual practice and understanding of the church --the switch from 'silence' to the literalism of 'word' --from beatitudes to atonement, and how that is now one of the deep roots in our current conflict in the church. --besides institutionalism, of course....

Then, Joel and I ran away to Williamsburg for a quick little holiday, and we are drinking coffee in a little motel just outside the historic district --last night we walked and then sat for a little picnic dinner--very refreshing.

I am relieved that the ACC got no further than it did this past week. I am hoping and praying the Covenant just dies.... that would be the wise thing to do.... we don't need more institution than we already have. We need nothing more nor less than Wisdom....

From morning prayer (Wisdom 9:1, 9-11)

O God of my ancestors and Lord of mercy,
who have made all things by your word,

With you is wisdom, she who knows your works
and was present when you made the world;
she understands what is pleasing in your sight
and what is right according to your commandments.

Send her forth from the holy heavens,
and from the throne of your glory send her,
that she may labor at my side,
and that I may learn what is pleasing to you.

For she knows and understands all things,
and she will guide me wisely in my actions
and guard me with her glory.

Blessings all --

Saturday, May 9, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Oh wow--

I must have gotten my stories of fruit and vines and eunuchs confused....

G'wan. Go to church. Hear the stories right from the source. I'm pretty sure I got this correct and that you will hear all about it tomorrow --Once upon a time, even eunuchs were welcome as Christians.

--just sayin'.

Friday, May 8, 2009

For the hope that is in us....

If salvation can be revealed in a hard little nut in the hand of a woman.....

It was late last night when I got around to the news drifting through the intertubes --about the ACC meeting going on in Jamaica, and how it looks like they are going to promote a very rigid covenant proposal that will eventually make us an international church structure --and I got so depressed, so sad about the whole nine yards, and my head was already spinning with the hard work of burial.... so all I could see ahead was a dead church with no room in it to breathe.... no elasticity for revelation....

So, here I am in Indiana, and Joel in Virginia --and we "chatted" for a good long while.... we both came to the same conclusion. Be faithful to the Gospel. And no clutching on to the corpse that the church may become.

Joel said it this way: Trying to keep the Church alive, even though it is the Body of Christ, is to forget the Message. It is like Mary, who dearly loves her Lord, clinging to him after the Resurrection.

The next few months are going to be very interesting and challenging.... we in Virginia have a Bishop who is faithful --but is clinging to the body of the church instead of the message.

And all this on the day we remember Julian of Norwich, who said, All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Gotta trust that. Gotta be faithful to the message--like getting the Samaritan woman to not clutch her mountain and temple and tradition and rather see God in living flesh before her.

From the Eucharistic lectionary (John 4:23-26) Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, "The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."

Jim and Dan and family are well. The service was wonderful yesterday --absolutely packed with cousin upon cousin into the sixth generation. It is good grief here. And for the hope that is in us....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Do not let anyone disqualify you...."

This is where I am sitting and writing this morning --in this bed at the Welcome Inn in Covington, Indiana.

Outside my window, it is greener than green, and west of us the land begins to get "flat" like flat, really. At least, that is what Jim claims. There are many gullies and washes to my eye --and small hills upon which the old houses are built. It is a beautiful and lush place. The first peoples here are known to us as the Kickapoo or the Shawnee. I would bet they wouldn't see this place as "flat" either.

This is the small horse barn behind the house.

And this picture is of Dan (almost smiling) and Jim (smiling) behind the old house now the B&B where we are staying.

I am here to help them bury Jim's mother, Dorothy. Give her back to God. In this steadfast, productive land where she was born and in which she will now be laid to rest.

Being here with Dan and Jim, and their beautiful family, with this rich and beautiful and awesome land all around, and with the caution of potential harsh judgment from the people of the heartland, and with Dorothy beckoning all of us to remember the larger life--the life where even sacraments cease....

--I am left pondering why, in trying to make sense and order out of God's wild world, we make those harsh judgments and rules and regulations of no value upon each other, when love and grace is what we are offered....

From morning prayer:
(Col. 2:13-23) God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"? All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.

Yeah Paul. Preach it to us, baby. Oh, and one more thing; I am very glad this is not the biffy I am expected to use! I mean, it is a very roomy two-holer, but I do love me a lush-flush....

But, then again, this is the view I miss by not using the old biffy....


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No teeth snapping....

I am off to Indiana this morning --back on Saturday. Mr. Witty is curled up in a little ball next to me on my bed --he saw the suitcase last night and he has been distressed ever since. Running too quickly from one room to the next. Keeping me always in sight. Joel says that when I have left with a suitcase, he sits by the door and won't move.

My poor wee little dog.... when we first met him, he was in jail... he had no hair and was very sick... actually, it wasn't jail--it was a shelter for severely abused dogs. They wouldn't tell us how he came to be with them, but we had to wait several days and come back several times and fill out all kinds of paperwork and have all kinds of people vouch for us, and 'little guy' had to come to us willingly more than once before they would let us adopt him.

It takes him quite a while to warm up to people, and if he thinks you are going to take him away from me or come between me and him, he will let you know he doesn't think much of that at all... but what is amazing--truly amazing, is that he is so much better at being with people than he used to be.

As I travel to Indiana to bury a parishioner and to be with her family in a very challenging situation, I shall carry with me the memory of the first tenuous adventures of affection from Mr. Witty; and the way he kissed my fingers when his history probably indicated he should bite and run from the likes of two-leggeds.

This scripture will be my mantra:

From morning prayer (Luke 6:27-38) "But 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.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

I am hoping I will have access to the intertubes during my journey--I might not. I shall continue my prayers. And all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well --even if the Anglican Communion falls apart... and yeah, I think we really must love our enemies and not condemn--in all things, --I take Jesus very seriously in this--I think this is the new covenant he gives us, even when I curl my tail and snap my teeth.... I try not to.... mostly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blessed are you

Listening to the news out of one ear --and it is about CEO compensation for big corporations --and in the US, CEO salaries are 400:1 for what the average worker makes in the same institution, while in England and Canada it is only about 22:1...

Let's see--at church, I probably make 4:1 what our sexton makes --less than that if you count it as hourly wages.... and our Bishop probably makes about 15:1 what our sexton makes..... so, we have plenty of room to improve too, but at least it is not 400:1.

Yes, economics are a Gospel issue. Big time.
It's off to work I go --Kingdom work, giving Dorothy back to God... and, no, I don't charge a penny for a funeral.... or a baptism or a wedding.... no bonus package for those either...

From morning prayer: (Luke 6:20-26)
Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
"Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
"Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets."

Ah, the woes..... I think by many standards I am rich, I know I am full--too full, I like to laugh, and I hope there are at least one or two people who would speak well of me... and no, Luke is not the Gospel where one can spiritualize wealth and poverty. He's talking the real deal here.

Shucks. I knew I was doomed!

Please pray for the family of Dorothy. Their grief is tangible.

Oh yes --as a native Californian, I can rightfully say have a blessed Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 4, 2009

TEC in California

It appears that the courts in California will be issuing a decision to declare that TEC is the rightful steward of the properties and trusts of the Diocese of San Joaquin. This is amazing news! Read a thorough presentation here.

This means I have friends who are rejoicing; I also have friends who must be shocked and grieved. I pray for the whole lot.

Aporkcalypse now--oh, no wait. Monica's Day

Monica's day, mother of Augustine...

Pious little image.... but she was from northern Africa, and this was the only image I could find that didn't make her look like a Dutch girl... you know what I mean?

Church was fun yesterday. The choir was really excellent, the guest organist was very much at home and worked the organ in new and different ways to the delight of the congregation. Everybody got fed--I don't think we spread many germs--we joked tentatively and cautiously about the APORKCALYPSE of the swine flu on the news.... I mean, we are a joyous people, yes?!

I preached --that we were to be more than sheep and grow in to the full likeness of Christ, to be shepherds of the many flocks --shepherds who do not get frightened and run away when the going gets tough. Yeah --we will all be like sheep on occasion, but our calling as a people is not to be good sheep, but to live in to his eternal priesthood. We are to lay down our lives for each other.... like good shepherds....

After church, I visited the hospital, came home for a few minutes and then met with a couple at my home because there was a concert at church --a parent, also a parishioner, had died. The funeral will be tomorrow, followed by internment in another State --called my Most Noble Front Office Worker of Miracles ever, and we met at the church after the concert late Sunday night even though it was his wife's birthday, and put together the bulletin for the funeral... the office is closed today to refinish the floors so we had to do it last night.... And the couple whose parent had died, asked me to accompany them to the heartland of this country to assist in the internment, as they are a gay couple and don't want the headache/heartache of facing the hometown religious zealots and homophobes as they bury the mother they have cared for and loved. She called them both her son.

Will call the wardens --but methinks the answer is yes. Yes. Yes. How could I say no to burying a mother on St. Monica's day, anyway?

From morning prayer (Col. 1:9-14) For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Methinks Monica prayed and believed something like that too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Well, we all know the good shepherd protects the sheep

--so that he can fleece 'em and eat 'em.

I know, bad joke. But the story and the art are really wonderful. G'wan. Go to church. Hear the real deal.

Right-belief should make us joyful and want to dance

To remember Athanasius properly, take two aspirin, drink coffee and recite the following while dancing a little ditty--preferably outside on your front lawn so the neighbors will know you are right-thinking and right-believing and all that: (I mean, if you are going to insist on saving the faith handed down to us by the saints, one might as well dance, right? I mean, if one is right and saving people, one should be happy and loving, not dour, or bearing weapons, right? So, why is no one dancing? Or feasting?)

Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.
Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.

Now this is the catholic faith:

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.

The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.

And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.

Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.

Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.

Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.

The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.

So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Now this is the true faith:

That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son,
is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.

Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God's taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.
For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father's right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.

Well, actually, thank you for saving the faith Athi, but I truly believe that it is not MY faith which saves, but the faith of the One who holds all things in being. And I am confident I remain right-thinking and right-believing and can still say that out-loud.

Besides, it is not about personal salvation, but for the sake of the whole world.... hoi poloi you know....

(And I can't help it--when I look at the Athanasius Creed diagram above, I always think of fallopian tubes, vaginas and wombs.... Oh dear, does that make me a feminist?)

PS: Oh dear, spell-checker wants to spell Athanasius --euthanasia.....

Friday, May 1, 2009

This is the way; walk in it.

Today --Friday. A meeting with the electrician at church and a memorial service this afternoon. A sermon on the Good Shepherd to figure out.... But today is the day to remember the apostles Philip and James, so I will.

Actually, the Eucharistic readings are breathtaking:

(The Collect) Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah (30:18-21)

The LORD waits to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

(2 Corinthians 4:1-6) Since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

(John 14:6-14) Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it."

This Gospel reading has gotten our Presiding Bishop in a good bit of trouble with those who want to hate her.... No one comes to the Father except through me. She keeps saying she cannot fathom perceiving the limits of the way God works--that she can see God at work in the Dali Lama and more, for example.... one could just as easily say, that as a Christian, does one see anything other than Christ at work in the world?

Even in electricity? Even in death? That's my work today.... as far as I know.