Monday, May 31, 2010

Second class citizenship.

At morning prayer (Matt. 13:44-46) The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

hmmmmmmm.

I have a bishop who seems to value the greater Communion more than he values the LGBTQ in his flock.... --not saying he does, just that he is acting like he does.... I have the feeling that the Pentecost letter from the ++ABC has had a profound effect on him.

Personally, I commented over at Preludium that I was very glad that I didn't know anyone who numbered the paragraphs of their letters.... and the comment that I liked the very best was left by Priscilla Cardinale... she said, So now the screw has turned, so to speak, and TEC and ACoC are being asked to take on the role formerly owned by their LGBT members -- that of second class, suffering servants.

If you haven't read the letter yet.... well, it's just more of the same.... the ++ABC asserting an authority to invite and dis-invite (I am not so sure he can do that with the Councils of the Communion--only an authority to do that to the Bishops he deems eligible to attend the teaparty club called Lambeth, but I leave that worry to those who worry about that sort of thing), and he has invited The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to step down from the Councils on which they serve.

So. Yep. Belly up to the bar TEC and claim your second class status. Sorry if it hurts. Sorry if you are offended.

And who will leave now? --just so they don't have to suffer this humiliation?

Yah. They lack imagination and want rules....

The ++ABC has sold the field in which our Treasure has been buried. He has traded away our one pearl of great value....

But, I suppose imagining second class citizenship for someone else is easy for one who lives in a castle.... with privilege....

I can't imagine sending away a minority voice from the table.

Oh yah... thank you Emily Dickenson.... I had nearly forgotten...

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!


There we are.
I pray for all those soldiers who have given their lives.
I grieve all war.
I pray for all those in the Gulf States who are suffering.
I pray for the creation which is suffering.

Oh God. That is about all the prayer I can do today....
I think I need to go out and ride my bike for a couple of hours....

And remember that the One we follow stood outside the structures and institutions and pathways of privilege and decision.... he chose it.

So should we.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

G'wan. Go to church.


If not like this, than what? Don't come here looking for sumpin' all serious on Saturday evening....

Let me just say, The Trinity --the great sign of Love, abundant Love, proves that we are all One. One life. No outsiders.
Not at some time in the future.

But now. Ahora. And always.

G'wan. Go to church. Remember--the Trinity is a creation of the Church, and any statements about the Trinity, should only lead to more great questions... and creations.... without end. Amen.

Saturday

At morning prayer (1 Tim. 6:6-10) Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Off to work in the garden.

God bless all those suffering in the Gulf.
God bless the poor, the poor in Spirit.
God bless all those who have to pretend to preach on the Trinity.

Amen.

Friday, May 28, 2010

speaking of parables....


At morning prayer (Matt. 13:31-35) He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened." Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world."


Well.... the meeting yesterday.... I cannot say I am much encouraged nor buoyant. Sigh.... fear. confusion. fear. wanting to be supportive. fear. wanting to be non-confrontational in order to be heard... sigh.

I am yearning for the smallest of seeds to knock me off my feet with its growth. I am yearning for the yeast to take hold and double our size and be in our eyes and ears and mouths and hair....

Dear God.

I am reminded of the time while at seminary, our chapel was not yet wheelchair accessible. It was made accessible while I was there--it took less than three days.... I heard a teacher comment that a few years before, there had been a female student in a wheelchair --and she had asked for accessible access to the chapel, helped plan it, raised the $$$.... now, one would think that at a seminary this would indeed be important for everyone... Months passed. It didn't happen. She made her request louder. More months. It didn't happen. She got angry. More months. It didn't happen. She got very angry and loud. More months. It didn't happen. She left. Now, another student arrives. In a wheelchair. He asks quietly and access is established in three days. My teacher said --see, it all depends how one asks....

I would have come to very different conclusions.
And, even if my (unstated--do I need to state them?) conclusions weren't true... why did my teacher blame the 'victim'?

In this Diocese, I have come to see --perhaps it is all how we ask with regard to full inclusion.... we are supposed to be good. And nice, yes, Laura. Good AND Nice. Stand in line. We will get to it soon....

Even so, the male student in the wheelchair had to go around the block, up a ramp through the basketball court and in the fire escape. No front door access. God forbid we should put a ramp in the front of the chapel.... it ruins the aesthetic.

I hear that the chapel of which I speak no longer exists. It was torn down. A new one built. Or, is being built.... plans are, there is one accessible entrance for all.

How's that for a parable?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Off I go...

At morning prayer (Psalm 37:1-5)
Part I
Noli aemulari

1 Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; *
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2 For they shall soon wither like the grass, *
and like the green grass fade away.
3 Put your trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4 Take delight in the Lord, *
and he shall give you your heart's desire.
5 Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, *
and he will bring it to pass.


Today, I am driving to Fredericksburg. I am driving there to meet with other clergy in the Diocese --those who are as frustrated, dispirited and angry as I am at the Bishop's letter regarding Glasspool's election as Bishop in LA --frustrated, dispirited and angry at the Standing Committee's vote on the same --frustrated, dispirited and angry at what was done to our resolution at our diocesan convention --frustrated, dispirited and angry that by every appearance, the legislative and resolution process is talked of as no longer necessary and should be done away with.... here in the land of Jefferson....

At morning prayer (1 Tim. 4:1-5) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God's word and by prayer.

It is strange.... I looked up which church we were to meet at, and discovered that the Standing Committee will be meeting down the street from us.... we are not meeting in secret, we have made it a fairly open invitation.... but it will be like having a bubble on my shoulder knowing that they will all be meeting down the street from us.... at the same time....

At morning prayer (Matt. 13:24-30) He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.' "

And the wheat in the barn is not any safer than the weeds... it gets thrashed on the floor, beat, separated from its skin, dried, ground in to flour, mixed up and beat out on a board and thrown in to the fire to cook as bread....

I am going to recommend that we create a letter congratulating Glasspool on her election and mail it to her, the Bishop and the Standing Committee; I am going to recommend that we create a liturgy of repentance for the atrocities committed against our LGBTQ sisters and brothers; I am going to recommend we write the "laws" the Bishop seeks to regulate same-sex couples by changing the existing language for opposite sex couples to gender neutral --stuff he promised he would form a committee to do and he has done NOTHING; I am going to recommend that we proceed with all manner of liturgies of blessings which many of us have already done underground --and do them in the light of day.

I ask your prayers.
Off I go.
(And if you have any other ideas we might consider.... )

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

....you made us in your own image.... thoughts lead to action regarding immigration reform

At morning prayer (Prov. 17:5,17,19)
Those who mock the poor insult their Maker;
A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
One who loves transgression loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites broken bones.


Headline News

Obama Deploying 1,200 Troops To Mexico Border
by NPR Staff and Wires
May 25, 2010

President Obama will send 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said Tuesday, pre-empting Republican plans to try to force votes on such a deployment.

Obama will also request $500 million to hire more border patrol agents and buy more equipment, according to lawmakers and administration officials. The moves come as chances for action on an overhaul of immigration laws, Obama's long-stated goal, look increasingly small in this election year.


Uuuuuggggghhhh....

I wrote a letter regarding the growing crisis of immigration and sent it to our Executive Committee yesterday, asking their opinion as to whether I ought to distribute the letter to the whole congregation, or to a few whom would most likely be willing to work with me on building a program of prayer and reflection and action.... it reads in part:

Dear People of God,

It is said in the book of the Prophet Isaiah

58: 6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.

There is so much good work that is accomplished daily to break the chains of injustice, free the exploited and oppressed, feed the hungry, and shelter the homeless through, by and with the good people of St. Uno.

And it seems the work to reveal God’s Kingdom in our midst is never done. A few weeks ago, Arizona passed a law to crack down on illegal immigration. For some, this seems a just and right thing to do for the citizens of Arizona who maintain an international border rife with drug smuggling and worse. For others, it seems an abhorrent error which will allow the worst impulses of power to run rampant with racial profiling and will target the poor and marginalized persons of color in the worst ways.

I am confident that there exists in our congregation a full spectrum of diverse opinions and views on the topic of immigration highlighted by Arizona’s action. I am writing this letter, not to ask you to articulate your view, stance or opinion… –I am writing this letter to you as people of prayer—I am asking you to pray and to participate in prayer.

The Church World Services, The Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church and other churches are participating in a Nation-wide vigil of prayer and fasting called the Isaiah 58 National Solidarity Vigil and Fast for Arizona. We are being encouraged to stand with those immigrants who are suffering and feeling the tensions and weight of this legislation in fear and increased isolation. We are being asked to pray for justice and righteousness, and for our Government to act wisely and as soon as possible to the judicial nightmare opened by this legislation.


Malinda and I have already been working to organize a forum on immigration in the fall. Just time to amp it up --and participate in the vigil and other organized opportunities of Christian witness. I continue:

The Isaiah 58 National Solidarity Vigil and Fast for Arizona will begin on June 6, 2010 and continue with constant prayer and public witness through July 28, the date on which implementation of SB1070 will begin. During these eight weeks, vigil participation will roll from one region to another, with faith communities in groups of states leading activities for one week at a time. Each week, the vigil will engage individuals in the assigned states in constant prayer, and will include at least one public prayer event. If you are interested in participating in this work of organized public vigil and prayer, please contact me for more information.

And, I am asking you to pray –pray for our immigrant populations, pray for our legislators, pray for the people of Arizona, pray for those who will lose heart, pray for those who will suffer racial profiling, pray for those who protect our borders—pray that God will lead us rightly through justice to mercy.

I encourage you to use the Thanksgiving for National Life on page 838 of the BCP, Prayer for our National Life on page 820, or the following:

"O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord." BCP, 815

"O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord." BCP, 824

"Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord." BCP, 826

For more information about the Arizona law, its impact and background, the Church World Services and The Episcopal Church have provided the following resources:

ACLU of Arizona
The ACLU of Arizona has developed a section by section analysis of SB1070 at http://acluaz.org/ACLU-AZ%20Section%20By%20Section%20Analysis%20of%20SB1070updated%204-14-10.pdf

American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center published a fact sheet, "Arizona's Punishment Doesn't Fit the Crime: Studies Show Decrease in Arizona Crime Rates," which shows that Arizona crime rates have fallen in recent years and that states with high immigration have the lowest crime rates at http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/arizona%E2%80%99s-punishment-doesn%E2%80%99t-fit-crime-studies-show-decrease-arizona-crime-rates

American Immigration Lawyers Association
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website contains a press release about their decision to boycott Arizona and move their fall 2010 conference, previously scheduled for Arizona, to another state at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=31831.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) website includes a statement, "New 'Fix,' Amounts to Nothing More Than a Cynical Manipulation of the Legislative Process," at http://maldef.org/news/releases/maldef_to_arizona_new_fix_05042010/

Homeland Security official weighs in on Arizona law
John Morton, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said. "I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton said during a visit to the Tribune editorial board.
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/05/homeland-security-official-weighs-in-on-arizona-law.html

Thank you, and God bless you and all you do to reveal God’s Kingdom.

Margaret H. Watson


Nuff said?

Another headline this morning.

I encourage you to act and participate as well. More than 17 other States are moving to enact the same or similar legislation. I have no doubt our State legislature will give it a go. Again. For more information, check out Reform Immigration.

Peace out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

...when and how to cuss..... are there rules?

From morning prayer (Matt. 12:36-37) I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

And I cuss like a freakin' sailor.... but only when I mean it, and only when it counts.

Like yesterday.... we have a small memorial garden, and I was to meet a family and put the cremains of beloved daddy/grandpa/great-grandpa to rest next to his wife. So, I arrive an hour plus early in order to dig the hole and get the garden swept and ready.

I went downstairs to the sexton's room to get the posthole digger. Not there. I go to the furnace room. It's not there either. I go to the sub-basement. Not there either. I try to call our assisting priest. He doesn't answer. I go look for a regular shovel. We don't have one. I call the sexton, and he says we don't have a post-hole digger or a regular shovel.... the assisting priest always takes care of that.

I created a string of fine cuss words, mostly because I know I dug the last grave with a posthole digger. I know I did. So, I phone our assisting priest --two more times. He doesn't answer.

Finest string of cuss-words ever. Even I was impressed with the creative way they fell out of my mouth....

So, I found a strong screw-driver and took the flat shovel with which we chip at the ice in February, and I started the grave hole. With a screw-driver.

Until yesterday, I had never dug a grave with a screw-driver.

But, I decided it was very important not to cuss while I was digging a grave. That's just not right. So, I prayed while I dug.... for his family, the great-grandbaby, for all who loved and knew him.... for him--with his old man pride that kept him in his own home --until he was found by chance late one afternoon on an icy day.... he had fallen and couldn't --or wouldn't get up.... to his final days in the hospital when he declared he was concerned, but not afraid.... like the engineer he was.

When my knuckles were raw and broken from trying to jamb the screw-driver in to the tough clay layer about eight inches under the loam, I removed myself from the grave site and let rip. Tried again to call the assisting priest--he didn't answer. I let rip some more. And then went back to dig some more. Two more times....

After about an hour of digging with the screw-driver, I had a fairly decent hole.... it would do.... went inside, cleaned up. Changed my shoes, put on the black cassock, the white surplice, the green stole.... saying the priestly prayers. And awaited the family.

The assisting priest arrived with the post-hole digger about three minutes before the service was supposed to begin.... can I just say, it ain't dignified to dig a grave hole in the presence of the waiting family.... I shooed him away.... so, instead he went and got knives to pry a brick out of the patio for engraving....

....sigh.....

Then the family presented the cremains. In a large sealed ceramic ginger jar. There was no way it was going to fit in the hole, and our custom is to put the ashes directly in the hole....

So, then we had to open the jar, and discover the officially sealed bag with clamps and closures. No way to just pull the bag out of the jar, so we have to cut the bag while it is still in the jar because we can't get the clamps off.... and dust from the ashes fly every where. And I kneel to pour the cremains in to the grave.... ashes fly every where because it was so very difficult to control the way they poured out of the jar... I kind of expected that.... and had the jar low in the hole....

When the ashes fly, it is like the soul of the deceased is liberated. All is well. All is well. All is well.

....I hope I didn't grunt to loudly when the ashes flew in to my face and hair.... There is no way being a priest is a clean job....

Usually, when the burial is part of the public church service, I put the container in the grave, sprinkle the dirt on top, and come back after the crowd has dispersed to put the ashes directly in the ground and close the grave.

Yesterday, the family closed the grave. It was a good and holy thing. A man, who had lived faithfully for more than eight decades, is now at rest.

Thanks be to God.

At morning prayer (Matt. 12:38-40) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.

And then, unexpected life. Resurrection life. Life so strong the Law yields.... even the grave yields. Life beyond the worry of when and how to cuss... Life in the one Word which holds all things in being....

Amen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Ordinary" time is anything but ordinary.... well, it should be that anyway

(Matt. 12:31-32) Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now, there's a bit o' scripture for you, the day after Pentecost.


At the 10:30 service, we had the Gospel read in German, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Norwegian all at once, from every corner of the church, and then, finally, in English. And this is Juan, with our 24-foot kite pole and 40 yards of ribbon that he made wave and fly and dance above the heads of the people.... contrary to popular opinion, liturgy can be so risky.... dangerous. And, it was only after the service when folks were saying to me '--I couldn't figure out what was going on, and then I remembered the lesson about all the languages and then it was wonderful....' only then did I remember I was supposed to put instructions in the bulletin to tell people what was going on...

Oooopps. So, there we are. But, then, it would have spoiled the surprise, yes?!

Karen preached a good sermon --quoting Annie Dillard about how ushers ought to issue crash helmets and for safety's sake tie us in the pew for liturgy on Sunday mornings.... ohhhhh.... how I wish that were true! But, then, I like active worship.... most times.

And I still need to begin a very contemplative service.... for my own wholeness. And to continue to throw the doors of the church open to worship of all sorts.... and conditions....

And, yesterday, I was awakened at 5am by the alarm company.... I had to stumble half asleep to church and turn off the alarm... didn't want to make the rounds by myself, so I just went back home for coffee... it is usually only the air conditioner popping on and pushing a door open.... and then between the church services, our sexton came to me saying that there was graffiti scrawled across the doors of the church. Hurtful, hateful stuff. Scratched in the paint. So we not only have to repaint, but we have to sand and then repaint.


Worse than that was my turning around to hug our sexton.... the language was as good as a lynching or two.... I will not post the image of the language....

So, I had to call the cops... file a report.... on a Sunday morning. Will they do anything.... no. And am I going to visit the name in the graffiti? Yes. Because I doubt he wrote this.... and he may need our village....

Hate crime. bullying. the scars we bear.
And still had to try to be buoyant through the remaining services.... knowing what was on the front doors... remembering our Sexton's face. some welcome.

Yet, are even those words scratched on our doors, a crime against the Spirit?

I suppose if it hurts the Spirit, well, then, yes. It is.
Abba --forgive us.
Spirit --come and lift us. Make your presence know to us, even if we don't have our crash helmets on....
Juan, my beloved and beautiful son, you were so very strong and good and competent with this difficult banner-waving thing. Nobody knows how difficult it is to make it look as easy as you make it look. Thank you.
And God protect you. All of you. Ustedes. (Much easier to get that message across in Spanish.... or Southern --all y'all.)
How can this be "Ordinary" time --this season after Pentecost. It is anything but ordinary....
thanks be to God.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

Oh yah baby!


G'wan. Go to church. Get ready to receive the Spirit!

Whooohoooo!!!

Blessed Pentecost ever' buddy!

our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers.....

Yesterday, I joined a conference call with Church World Service and organizers in the Methodist Church regarding immigration reform.

I learned that there will be a nationwide effort to organize prayer, fasting and solidarity with all those who will and are already suffering from the anti-immigrant legislation which is scheduled to take effect at the end of July in Arizona.

The prayer and fasting effort is based upon Isaiah 58:6-8

This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.


That's rather clear....

We heard the Methodist Bishop of Arizona say the boycotts will hurt the most vulnerable, but that they understand and support the conscious form of prayer that such boycotts will embody.

We heard a young woman delineate the actions and activities of the next two months, with every region in the US being involved over the course of the eight weeks.

We heard the call for fasting, prayer, vigils and faith-full public events.

We heard that worship attendance in some places has dropped as much as 30% as fear has overtaken the immigrant population.... We were reminded that any one who knowingly or even unknowingly helps an illegal immigrant will be subject to penalties, fines, jail.... even just giving them a ride to church, or a glass of cold water....

A website for information, dates, actions and locations is not yet working, but there are plans to have one available by early next week.

On a personal level, I certainly intend to participate. On a parish level --that remains to be seen. We have already scheduled and are organizing a conference/forum on immigration in September.... It is unfortunate the forum is on Gay Pride Day in Richmond. Sigh.... maybe Eucharist in the park with all teh folks with the Plegaria del Inmigrante....

Isaiah 58:9-10 continued...

If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—


Mostly we must remember that migration of peoples is ancient --not a new thing. Mostly what we must address are all the reasons that drive peoples from their homes and homelands --violence, poverty, hunger, war.... Mostly what we must address is that those in the US --merely 5% of the human population on the face of this planet consume far more food and raw resources --disproportionately.... I have heard that we consume more than 85% of the world's raw resources....

Mostly, our prayer must take action --the action of love through the Spirit. And constantly remember that even our best actions need redemption.

At morning prayer (Ephesians 6:10-12) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Blessed Sabbath all...

Friday, May 21, 2010

weaving a crown


At morning prayer (Ephesians 5:9-20) Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Therefore it says, "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Light. Dark. Good. Bad.

Dualism is a Greek mode of thought, with the perfect, the ideal existing in a world alongside, and the imperfect, the us as a mirror image, a shadow of that world. Striving.

And I am not a dualist. My mind does not imagine that way. For me, the world is more like threads first spun, then strung, knotted and woven together --sometimes seamlessly.... --sometimes a tangled mess hardly neat.... but always interwoven. The Kingdom ever present, tangible and directly alongside all the stuff.

The Kingdom is not some futurely achievable event, but is already present. Alongside us.

The real discipline is walking in it all as already true. Giving thanks to God at all times for everything.

Light. Dark. Green. Blue. Greenblue.... in three-dimensions.


It is not mother of pearl. It is metal. Like fluid nails.
It is the Friday between Ascension and Pentecost.
A red to green day.

Christ has ascended and sits at the right hand of the throne
put the Paschal fire out and away
shrouded in brittle old skin tissue paper
buried in the dark of the closet
resurrected for the water and oil
mingled on foreheads of hope
resurrected for the mourning people
dim pall of light.
both. alike.

weep and rejoice, O people
sleepers awake
weave a crown, a living garland
thorns of light pierce the yet unseen

give thanks at all times and for everything
amen.

The metal weaving above can be found here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the definition of nothing is nothing.... and our system is trying to regulate nothing


Our older brothers and sisters of Abraham are celebrating Shavuot --until sundown tonight. It marks the giving of The Law --seven weeks after Passover... from Exodus to The Law.... from the giving of barley at Passover (an animal grain) to the giving of the first harvest of wheat (the 'ideal' human food).

It is with awe, then, that I read this at morning prayer (Zechariah 4:1-2) The LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain. Coincidence? Providential that we have this reading on this day? Purposeful? hmmmmmm.....

Have no doubt --Passover/Easter Shavuot/Pentecost are so intimately woven.... I mean, even the imagery we use.... Jesus, Lamb of God, our Passover (barley, animal offering) --Pentecost, Jesus Christ, unleavened bread, sending the Advocate, Jesus our new Law (wheat, human).... braided bread.

Christians. The ultimate abductors and eaters of the holidays of other Traditions. And some folks think we have become "too secular" and wed to common life... --when what Christians have always done is taken common life and the celebrations and holidays and even the scriptures of the people and seen, read, heard, marked them in the light of Christ.

That is dangerous. Very dangerous. It is also the hallmark of following Jesus. The discipline is to do it with awe. And hope. Great humility. Without force. And with/in/by/through Love.

One thing I have been thinking about in light of this is our economic system of capitalism. Christians have tried to make capitalism christian.... prosperity gospel, progress and all that reward crap some preach....

And in light of the shaky jitters and fear of collapse of the European common market --scrambling around propping up Greece and all... I can't help but believe it is all engineered so that others in other places can make profit. Raw. Naked. Profit. At the expense of lives and livelihoods of the working people.

What a fragile system it all is, our economy. And I can't help but think the big crash is still in front of us... when it all becomes unsustainable and tips over under its own false assumptions and constructions. The lies.

I nicked this from the CNN headline box on my Google page yesterday:

From the Guardian World News, "Markets Plunge": Traders were already alarmed by last night's immediate and unexpected ban on "naked short-selling"the practice of selling shares without owning them, borrowing them, or ensuring that they can be borrowed in the future. The clampdown covers sovereign bonds issued by eurozone countries, credit default swaps (CDS) on those bonds, and the shares of 10 of Germany's biggest financial institutions including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

The ban will run until 31 March 2011. Although it will only cover trading covered by Bafin (the German regulator), some experts believe Germany hopes to push through Europe-wide restrictions.


Clamping down on selling what you don't own and can't borrow against?

Selling --Nothing. Borrowing --Nothing.

The only way this can be abducted or eaten as a Christian is to stand against it. Spit it out. Stand silently before it. Seen in the light of Christ, this system is.... is.... against the Law we have been given in Him who died because of the system... how does one live in a Godly way in a mess that merely regulates against selling nothing for a profit realized only by those who sell nothing at a profit.... ?

--oh dear... I just saw something very Gospel... there has been an on-going competition on the Today Show --classrooms of kids and teachers competing to go to the new Harry Potter ride in DisneyWorld in Florida.... they announced the winner, and one classroom of teachers and students danced and yelled and screamed and jumped around. Special elation. They WON.

Then they announced that all of the finalists were so good, that actually all the classes were going.... and the other classrooms, who had been dejected and sad now danced and jumped and yelled and screamed.... --while the class that thought they were the only winners stood shocked and silent....

True Gospel: salvation is universal. Ever' buddy's going to heaven folks.

True Gospel and our economic system? The rich will have a harder time getting in to heaven than a camel will have fitting through the eye of the needle.... impossible in fact.

And given that even the poorest in these States of ours are wealthier than most of the rest of the world, we have some work to do.

Dearest Creator --heaven and star maker --who took earth and star dust and spit to pat out people in your own image--as the delight of your eye: help us take every part of our lives and conform to your Law of Love as shown and known to us in your beloved child, Jesus; free us from the bondage of the regulations of nothing and orderliness so that we might come alive in the wildness of your own wilderness and be on fire with your gift of the Spirit, the Advocate of your Love which spills with abandon on all; Witty and I pray this because Joel and Juan have gone to get shots for school; in by though with the one who stood silent and condemned by the laws of the system. Amen.

(And imagine needing a business glossary {as found in the links in the Guardian quote} to define nothing.... feh!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The four of us.... a trinity of diverse human flesh plus

In this house, as we prepare for bed, we exchange blessings. Joel gives a straight-forward Trinitarian cross on the forehead blessing. Of course, I go with angels and spirits and singing stars, winkin' blinkin' and nod and a sustained hug.

Last night, Juan put his hand up and began to trace an unseen line on my face with his finger; then, with permission, he touched my hair. You are so soft, he says. Now --who is so lucky to get a blessing like that?! But, silly me, instead of saying thank you, it's.... No, a baby is soft--I'm an old lady, with wrinkled old skin, I says. An old white lady who loves you like a mama bear.

It always upsets Juan when I call myself old and white. But, hey. There we are. Old, no doubt. White --most likely, very.

We are so very different in so many ways --all of us who live in this house. We are from different places --California, Canada, Mexico. Our experiences so different, even the environments which formed us --different. But last night Juan and I discovered that he could purse his lips to look like an eel --just like me. And curl his tongue three ways all at once --just like me. And Joel can't do any of those things.

Maybe Juan and I are related after all --in blood. Cuz' isn't the ability to curl your tongue three ways all at once an inherited thing? If not, it should be.

And there are so many other ways the three of us ARE related....

At morning prayer (Ephesians 4:1-6) I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

And poor Mr. Witty.... he sulks under the sofa during the blessings --but insists on joining the group hugs, leaping and jumping until one of us stoops and brings him up to join us --near our hearts.

The four of us. One Love. One Spirit. One Body. One God and Father of all.
(And if my dogs aren't allowed in heaven --I don't wanna go. Just sayin'.)

And, hey. Juan has started a webpage. You can visit it here. I am so proud of mi milagro hijo precioso y maravilloso. Carnales o no.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One heart at a time....

After my friend and sister, Elizabeth, commented on the image I chose to celebrate The Ascension, I realized I had not commented on the ordinations of two bishops --Bishops +Diane and +Mary. Not one peep.... and given the momentous occasion of the ordination of these two women, one would have thought I would....

Elizabeth has reflections here. She was present at the consecrations.

Now, don't get me wrong --I am elated, thrilled, with these elections. And the service itself --with my friend Debbie leading the Native Americans in an opening ceremony with traditional smudging, with the offerings of drums and dances and dragons.... the full array and glory and color of God's people. How wonderful!

Bishops. --an outward and physical sign of the apostolic ministry among us. Yet, I find myself oddly grieved.

Too many end up being CEOs. Administrators and captains of order. Institutionally bound.

My God, don't let that happen to these Bishops.

And, I also find myself oddly discomfited --bordering on frustration ....+Barbara Harris, the first female bishop in 1989, twenty-one years and 215 elections of bishops since then, and +Diane and +Mary are only the 16th and 17th women elected. And in this number, --what, three? four? (I can only remember two--Nevada and Utah) of them as Diocesans? The rest of 'em as assistants....

...and here, in this Diocese.... it all seems like such distant hope. Isolated. Almost dangerous to hope....

Because, like, in the Diocese next door, an activist priest and his bishop --well the bishop, the priest and the people lose. Everybody loses. The world loses. And the church looks silly. Ridiculous. Degenerating to institutional rules and regulations.... silence. Living Hell.

The Gospel --in any of it?

At morning prayer (Ephesians 3:16-21) I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Today, there is a rally going on in Monroe Park and then marching to the hotel where shareholders are gathered --a rally against Massey Energy, the owner, regulator of mines --shareholders that weigh laws as a problem to circumvent in order to make more $$$.

Just like the oil companies that purposefully register the oil rigs in tiny islands that have no regulations.... while oil is now beginning to wash up on the Florida Keys, and they have to 'check' to see if it is from the Big Spill....

F.*.%.@.

Okay. Pick myself up. Begin again. I pray that we may all know that power at work within us... able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.

Jesus didn't/wouldn't change the world either. Only one heart at a time....

Monday, May 17, 2010

The outer darkness and all that

These beloved of God know....


(Matthew 8:10-12) When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The beloved in the photo above get it. The "outsider" gentile soldier gets it... --the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob take it for granted and miss the boat...

I said something like that yesterday in preaching (at least, I hope I did) --not the outer darkness weeping and gnashing of teeth routine, but that salvation is not found in church merely because one is a member.... ya gotta get up, enter into relationship --I mean, we have the freakin' Trinity as an image of the divine, for goodness' sake! Being Christian is not for passive wimps that want to be saved from the world. Christians are called to love the world.

And I believe what Jesus said about the 'kingdom' --it is between, in, among, alongside --Earth is crammed with heaven...

Earth crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees, takes off his shoes--
The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries,
and daub their natural faces unaware....

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

...like ya just cain't eat bread and drink wine without being changed, if you see.

The folks in the image above --they see. They know. They rode 26 miles-- praying, raising money for our local free clinic... for the sake of others. --for medical care for those who do not and cannot have insurance, for those who live on the streets, for those who must live under the table and pick up crumbs to survive....

I only hope and pray that the so-called health reform dramatically improves the medical delivery system.... --although, I am pretty convinced that the free clinic will still be necessary --for those whom we will make outlaws because they do not/cannot purchase the required health insurance....

...all set up by heirs of the kingdom who just don't get it. Don't want to get it. Refuse... even while the oil slick moves under the surface toward the Florida Keys, they chant 'drill, baby drill...'

Hey God, I hope and pray I see, but not for my own sake. I hope and pray I take my shoes off often enough, but not for my own sake... and I pray that I will trust that if I find myself in that outer darkness place, it is to tend to those who weep and gnash their teeth.... for the sake of your beloved child.

Peace be with you. And take off your shoes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

So, we get the Ascension of Our Lord readings this Sunday....


Stinky feet. And that's all I'm saying.

G'wan. Go to church. And, no, we cain't hold on to 'em. Thanks be to God.

Tommy Brave Heart!!!!

Dear all,

Just a very quick update: Tommy was extubated at 9:30 this morning. He is resting well, breathing on his own, with the right oxygen saturation rates. They will be taking out his foley in an hour or so (he can pee on his own then), and we will be looking to take out the remaining drain tubes and arterial lines within the next 24-36 hours. He is almost there, but his breathing on his own is absolutely huge.

Thank you, thank you for all your continued prayers and love, and light and energy sent our way. It is part of this miracle and we are so very, very grateful to all of you, gifts from God whom we know and whom we don't, for holding us in your hearts.

love,
Natasha, Blaine, and Tommy brave heart

Going

on a bike ride! Keep us and the 100+ riders who are riding to support our local Free Clinic in your prayers!

Friday, May 14, 2010

...by grace...

At morning prayer (Ephesians 2:4-6)

But God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ
by grace you have been saved
and raised us up with him
and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.


Oh.
That is so freakin' radical.
What would we do, if, when we walked down the street all we saw was God....

It is rainy-misty-nearly really wet here today. But it is supposed to be hot too.... two things together that I still find impossible. Kind of like flesh and blood and heavenly places.

Mi hijo milagro is off to get a physical. Last night as I came home, he greeted me asking if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news first. I said the bad news --so, he said, I am going to get shots and they are going to take my blood. That is good news I said --very good news! So, what is the good news? --he said, I am going to summer school!!!!

That is the best news. Evah! Summer school?! SCHOOL!!!!!
Many good things are beginning to fall in to place for this fine young man.
You should have seen Mr. Witty's grin and dance in celebration of this event --what with all the singing and jumping I was doing.

Flesh and blood. Heaven crammed between us all.

Mr. Watson continues to work miracles.

And tomorrow, we all go off to ride our bikes to raise $$$ for our local free clinic. Some of us riding 26 miles.... --some 67..... --some 100.... Because every body is made in the image of the Divine. Heaven all around us. Heaven in us, upon us, alongside us.

And then.... I remember, and grieve in my bones the continuing news of disaster from the Gulf. I am not sure I can name all the base motives for what has happened there. But they are not pretty motives. Nor divine.

What I find astounding--confounding is that in the face of this disaster, there are still some who wish to pursue even more deep wells in even more places. --even think it is necessary for our 'security.'

And the news of local murders, investigations.... bodies heaped, discarded, destroyed.

How to reconcile grace and heaven and human flesh with base motives and death....

....and that is Christian vocation. Reconciliation. Of earth and heaven. Flesh and blood and the divine. Pulling hell in to the light that it might be redeemed.

Not by what we work with our fragile hands and minds so easily diverted and corrupted. But by the work of the One who blows wherever, whenever... freely, ignites the inanimate and fills a tomb with life.

Even our best offerings need redemption. But knowing that doesn't get us off the hook from doing our very best. Trusting that is grace.

And following our 'dream' will bring us back to the place where we began.

...to begin again.

Creator. Abba --you know me because you knit me together.
You know that sometimes when I'm mad as hell you inspire me to be gentle.
You know that sometimes when I am complacent or defeated you are present to me in unexpected ways.
You know and hear the groan and agony of all that is the apple of your eye.
Be with those who suffer today.
Be with those who rejoice.
Help us see and know that all that is between suffering and rejoicing is holy.
Filled with grace.
Your grace.
Help me to lift my eyes and see you in all.
Crucified.
Resurrected.
Flesh and blood.
Beloved.
The figure of divine.
Not for our own sake. Amen.

hmmmmm...... grace follows and at the same time does not follow the rules of gravity.
That's the way it is, might be, could be. Forever.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jim, Tommy the Bravest Heart of All and "F" the saint

Meet my friend Jim.


Jim passed from this life to eternal life yesterday. There is nothing Jim loved more than serving as verger or acolyte. Especially when there were all the accompanying smells and bells. I can only imagine that Jim is leading many holy parades today, with a whole new vision of what Ascension Day looks like from that side of the veil....

I thank God that I got to see Jim this last summer at General Convention in L.A. --he drove over from the desert just to see me. God bless you Jim.

Please keep Jim's partner of 40 something years, Bruce, in your prayers.

And good news about Tommy Braveheart. He had surgery yesterday, which went back to old school techniques. It looks very hopeful. His mama writes: he is doing so well and having no side issues that we are hopeful we will see some good small steps that direction tomorrow [of increased oxygenation]. Please keep the prayers coming for a steady transition off the ventilator. We are hoping that we may actually be out of PICU in three to four days. If we get there we can breathe and look to going home. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all the wonderful emails and prayers.

I have posted the letter in its entirety in the comments in yesterday's post.

And, I have to go now, to climb up on the rooftop of a local grocery store to be interviewed by a local radio station to crow about a parishioner who is too shy to crow about the work he does in partnership with our local Red Cross. "F" is a saint. Just sayin'.

From the Eucharistic lectionary for Ascension Day (Ephesians 1:15) I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

i trust the way

At morning prayer (Matthew 22:41-46) Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: "What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?"

They said to him, "The son of David."

He said to them, "How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet"'? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?"

No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.


It occurred to me reading this, this is how Jesus disses those who would read the bible literally....

I have no further word yet as of this morning of Tommy braveheart. I pray no news is the best news we could get right now.

Our little-minded lost-soul troll, Brad, left the crudest comment about death and suffering and Tommy. It did not surprise nor shock me. I grieved. And, yes Brad, I will praise God in all things. I have buried nine children of my own. I grieve their passing every day. They are present to me in every circumstance... --and I know, personally, how --when red-hot in the gut suffering overwhelms, the star-less dark night crowds in, stifling, taking breath away, filling the throat and eyes and nose and mouth... --when even the air is sticky and moribund... --when words undo themselves, get said backwards, uncreating every thought, the Word of God emptied... --and the touch of another is a searing reminder of all that is lost... when I am broken like an egg shell, all is lost....

that is when life comes alive. again. not my life. but The Life. which is all life.

i know that place. have been there more than once. ....even though i walk in the valley of the shadow of death... --the light and the dark are both alike. and so i will press even in to the pain, the suffering, the dark, the grief. i will not shrink from it, deny it, nor hide from it.

--death is never the last word...

This is what i glean reading the scriptures... not as a literalist, or looking for a book of rules. But as a follower of Jesus. In trust, not faith--because i do not have the strength nor the wisdom to believe a thing... But i can trust. 'Cuz he walked there too. And i trust the way he did it.

every pun intended.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tommy braveheart is not doing well....


Spring really has sprung at my front door. Aren't they fine?!

At morning prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

I received a call last night at just after 11pm --Tommy Braveheart is not prospering and has suffered another set-back. His parents are devastated and exhausted. His parents blurted out on the phone --if he dies, we want you to come do the funeral. My heart is breaking with and for them and those who love them.... Please keep them in your prayers.

And I have so much else in my heart --but have to run.

Self-consciously, I think this is my shortest post ever.

O Heavenly Abba, you are constantly filling the world with beauty; open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness and great joy; through whom all things were made, your child, Jesus Christ. Amen.

O Abba, you made us in your own image and redeemed us for the joy in Jesus your child: look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your joy and peace on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races and faith-ways may rejoice in you and stand in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus, our Brother. Amen.

There. Now it is longer.
Peace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Still blown away by the Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870

I ask your continued prayers for little Tommy Braveheart and his family. His mama says, Now for the hard news: it is 99% likely that he has a genetic condition called in medical shorthand Dominant 22 for the chromosome that is affected. Like all these things it has a range from mild to severe. This family keeps getting battered with news about little Tommy. I pray that the vast open expanse of love enfold and surround them and that peace which know no boundaries settle among them.... all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well....

And yesterday --well, much of my past history with Mother's Day is difficult.... Women without children are treated differently in our culture.... believe it. So, being one who has a basketball team waiting for me in heaven because none of my children survived the womb, and most recently, having no mother to honor-- Mother's Day has been pretty much an exercise in stifled grief. Well, at least I hope I have had my poker face on....

Until yesterday. Thanks to Ann and her post at Episcopal Cafe --which was no news to me --but I finally read the whole original Mother's Day Proclamation --and it was absolutely liberating. I posted it below. It ain't your mama's Mother Day. For sure.

Regardless of gender, we can all mother this world toward peace. Yes. We. Can. And we should.

And Juan has discovered similes and metaphors --and he is becoming so well versed in English that he can play with it all--and he is quite good at it too! We went to see Iron Man 2 yesterday --and the story can be turned inside out and plumbed for STORY... ya know what I mean?!

At morning prayer (Matthew 13:13-16) The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.' With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: 'You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

See the Word of God, O people of God, in everything you see today
Hear the Word of God, O people of God, in everything you hear today.
And know that our God is already at work --not to 'fix' or 'save' things, but to open our hearts and minds to share the depth and breadth and width and length and the 5th, 6th and 7th dimensions of Love.

That's all.
Oh. And the camera broke. Sorry. No pictures of the race. And my hair is still gray/brown because Juan said girls who dye their hair are weird.... maybe next year.... (smiling).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It ain't your mama's Mother's Day, for sure....

Mother's Day Proclamation, Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

The Last Supper again? (Oh, my wicked mind thought of Meatloaf --again....)


Dang it! Whassup with a pre-crucifixion Last Supper reading in Easter? Just 'cuz we are nearing the Ascension and Pentecost we have to pretend he's leaving again?

Did you know "The Second Coming" is recorded as being first used and translated as such only as late as the late 19th Century?! Otherwise, it should always be understood as it was written --present participle --coming again... --and again... --and again... The 'Second Coming' as a specific tangible historic event is a crock.... just sayin'...

So, g'wan. Go to church. This is the Sunday in Easter to get ready, get set, GO!

P.S. That some dem fine last supper above, heh?!

I'm running in the Race for the Cure this morning.

God bless the whole world --no exceptions!

At morning prayer

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills,
and all that grows upon the earth, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams, *
O whales and all that move in the waters.

All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *
and all you flocks and herds.

O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Friday, May 7, 2010

many blessings

Thank you for your prayers for Tommy Braveheart!


His mama says, Tommy came through his surgery with flying colors. Thanks be to God! He went in for his first open heart surgery at around 7:40 am. The first hour or so was spent in prep and putting him under anesthesia. We were told to anticipate the surgery itself taking as long as 6 hours plus another hour+ to come out of recovery. At around 1:00 pm we received a call that the surgery was done and had taken less time than expected, only 4 hours, and had gone very well. ... The next step, assuming no complications, will be to close up his chest in the next 2-3 days and then after that to get him to the point where he can be extubated. The next surgery, again assuming no other surgeries are needed due to complications, is likely (as we understand it) to be 4-8 months from now to install the conduit. We are hoping for as a long a stretch between as possible so he has time to grow and get strong. Thank you all so much for your prayers and love. It got us through today. Keep our Tommy brave heart in your prayers.

Tommy's mama is a priest --kind of a wonderfully wild one. His daddy is a poet --really and truly a poet paid to write poetry! Something kinda wonderful.... God bless this little family. And God bless MadPriest who invited even more of the world to pray for little Tommy Braveheart.

I also pray for those in the Gulf region --and for the creation which groans and is suffering and dieing in the muck of the oil, and I wonder why 'Homeland Security' has been pulled in on it all.... I pray for Grandmere as she grieves the destruction of her beloved coastal home.

...for the accused NYC Times Square bomber... and those he terrorized. I grieve that the actions of the US military formed him in this way. Grieve is a word that is hardly strong enough....

...for the students and faculty of the University of VA --a student beat to death by her ex-boyfriend. I pray for all those affected by domestic violence.

...for all those with so-called authority in this Diocese.

...for the ByzBud, as he celebrates the octave of his nativity.

I pray for my beloved chocolate son as he eats his cereal! (I was going to use his name, but he thought that was cooler.)

I give thanks for all of you, my brothers and sisters...

At morning prayer (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17) But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Even with the way time might work --we are still the first fruits in every generation, because we are members of that body which is eternally begotten... always. For ever. And --what are those 'traditions' of which Paul speaks... not even a generation old... turning scripture as they had heard and learned it on its head....

And I laughingly said Peace Out the other day.... from the Urban Dictionary: Term used to encourage military members to become conscientious objectors "peace" and get "out" of the military. Started during the Viet Nam War by "Peaceniks" and hippies. Turned into a term for saying goodbye, used primarily within ethnic groups. Has been receiving renew popularity because of the U.S.s involvement in yet another unpopular war.

That's the way I remember it... there were, of course other definitions like:
Goodbye. Often a source of confusion among whites from different parts of the U.S.
Indiana Bob: "Mike, did you spec that piece out to .05 inches?"
Mike from NYC: "Damn straight...peace out in da oh-five, bitches!"


So, there we are.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

outsider voice....

So --it is very good to be home. Very good. I mean, the mountains are inspiring and fresh. But the building I was in is old, the walls paper thin, sloping floors --which is to say it is charming, but I got tired of hearing my neighbors piss, talk in their sleep and cough.... and it makes it difficult to sleep when the foot of the bed is higher than the head and the whole thing tilts to one side....

I have slept in worse.... but it does not make for a restful retreat.

The Bishop of Panama was animated and fun. Talked about mission. He did say we should all be focusing on the health of our planet and disarmament as part of our mission. One could feel the hot spots in the room bristle and then dismiss him as he said this. I thought it was great.

The big "fun" was karaoke on Tuesday night.... or the geezers drinking scotch on the porch.... sigh....

At breakfast I had a long conversation with one who had served on the resolution process that gave us that dismal piece of crap.... she did not understand why we did not see what was passed as a step forward. I said a knee to the groin and a karate chop to the next and slap to the face is not a step forward....

Wednesday we got the document from our Indaba process. I was skeptical of the process, even shut down in the process, but was fascinated as it all played out. Some of the process was the same ol' rah-rah poopoo, but some was good. Then we got the lecture on vital congregations.... you know, the five essentials: education, prayer, evangelism, stewardship and service. A great deal of talk about church growth at the edges which made me laugh inwardly.... because this was the same Bishop (#2) who shut me down for saying my vision of myself as a priest was 'outsider voice.'

Then he talked about building bridges to the edges --creating specific events, accessible worship.... you know all those things.

THEN we began the Q&A --and this is when the going got intense... because, of course, the court action regarding the property came up.... and one of the stiffer rods among us stood and asked Bishop (#1) when we were going to try reconciliation with these groups and stop the very un-Christian activity of suing them in the secular courts.

The whole crowd jumped--engaged, we got the brief of what to expect on June 10 or 11, when the court ruling will be delivered, of the gathering planned for that Saturday to deal with 'what's next'.... and the continued hue and cry for reconciliation.

The pressure upon my head... my heart in my chest... I raised my hand, and God bless the Bishop (#1) --he knew what he might get when he called upon me, but he did call upon me.

And I said there was another very necessary facet to this conversation of reconciliation --and that was with our gay, lesbian, bi-, trans- and queer brothers and sisters who had not lost property but whose very personhood had been degraded, disregarded, diminished, denied and discriminated against in this body of Christ.

I am told I said this quite eloquently and passionately.... in truth, I was terrified....

The Bishop (#1) didn't miss a beat, no comment for me as he had given others, and he moved directly on ---but was interrupted by sustained applause.

We are not alone. We are probably a majority--even in this diocese. But we are so intent on being nice and respectful to those who would deny us, that the tail wags the dog.

Then, one of the priests who works with one of the 'continuing' congregations --one of those congregations made homeless by the schismatics, stood and said that if there had ever been a divorce in the church, this was it, and that it was pointless to try to make those who do not love us, and do not want to love us, and want nothing to do with us, reconcile with us.... This good priest suggested this song:



Clear enough. And I whole-heartedly agree.
Let's get on with it.

Oh --and yes, even though we may be a majority, we are an outsider voice until those who suffer are regarded as something more than half-assed Christians --as Bishop Harris put it.

And here is another facet to our outsider voice --just in case you might think I am a one-issue priest.... (ummmm, yes, I have been dismissed and derided as such...)

At morning prayer (Leviticus 19:33-34) When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

And in a few days I will be visiting the Bishop's office on behalf of the Board on which I serve --for at risk young women.... yeppa.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

morning

Please pray for my friend N. She and her beloved--expecting a baby, and then when it was time for the baby to be delivered, she and baby were rushed off to the hospital. Baby Thomas was delivered needing heart surgery. N is the priest I walked on a pilgrimage with between Richmond and DC.

Hey God, it's margaret. Please make yourself known to N&B&T. Letting your healing strength and that peace which passes all understanding abide with them and those who love them.

I got to sleep in this morning. YES! And now they have rung the bell for breakfast. We talk about the spirituality of the Bishop's priorities for the Diocese. Reconciliation and discussion of human sexuality is not among them.

At morning prayer (Matthew 6:19-21) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And it is a beautiful morning here in the mountains.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

...it should get interesting by tonight....

Dang it --I was counting on sleeping in... because I forgot my clock. (Oh No!) ---but the person in the room above me started stomping around and the sun was streaming in my window.

So, I opened my 'puter.... 6am.
Dang it!

Any how, last night and today and tomorrow, we have the privilege of hearing Bishop Murray of Panama --yes, Padre Mickey's Bishop.

And, sometimes I just hate myself. Instead of just sitting there and receiving this Bishop's ponderings as a gift, my mind races and chomps at the bit.

Matthew 28, Mr. Bishop says. THE GREAT Commission.
(And I sez to myself, well... the commission of the Gospel of Matthew... in John it is love one another... there is a great commission in every Gospel, and Paul has quite a few. Why the hell do we focus on just his one.... oh margaret, shut up and listen.)

Mr. Bishop says, perhaps if we remembered this fundamental Commission, our church would not be shrinking.
(And I sez to myself, oh, here we go.... did we learn nothing of the last 2000 years? --oh margaret, shut up and listen.)

Mr. Bishop says, we must evangelize rooted in scripture.
(And I sez to myself, no --Jesus did it with a meal, by being present, by restoring people to their communities... he didn't say, by the power vested in my by holy scripture, get up and walk... and I am --oh margaret, shut up and listen. You damn sacramentalist.)

Then Mr. Bishop says, Mark 10:17-23 is a model for failure. (The rich young man, who follows the law, but won't sell all he has and follow Jesus...)
(And I sez to myself --oh, now you got my attention!)

Then Mr. Bishop says, any evangelism that doesn't lead to learning and commitment is not evangelism. That's numbers. That's members. What we want is to make disciples, which means learning and commitment. And discipleship is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit dwells in the midst of the congregation.... not a teacher or a preacher.
(THAT, I sez to myself, is a keeper.)

Then we said compline. Then I tried to speak with Joel by skype or google video... but he couldn't get his computers to cooperate... so I went to bed.

And, here it is. Morning. Beautiful and fair. Not judgment day. I take solace that E, an assisting priest at the congregation I serve, is here. And B is supposed to arrive sometime today.... that will certainly make it interesting. He usually doesn't come to these clergy things. He hates clergy-types. So he gets out of it by saying his mother died. By my count, she has died at least 40 times now....

One of my first encounters with B --there is a small toilet in the upstairs of the church, conveniently located by the chancel and sanctuary area of the church. When I first arrived at St. Goodandholyoutsiders, I mean, like, I had only been there one week, and there was no lock on the toilet door, but as with many retrofitted rooms in old buildings, it had a light switch OUTSIDE the door. So, one was supposed to be able to tell that the room was occupied by the light switch.

So, I was inside the little water closet, sitting on the toilet.... it is a small place, and there is no room for anyone with legs if one is plumbed to sit on the toilet.... so my knees were jambed up under my chin....

And B opens the door. Stands there looking at me sitting on the toilet kissing my knees with him holding the door wide open. He doesn't apologize. He doesn't shut the door. He shouts, God Dammit -I knew they shouldn't have ordained women! And slams the door shut...

That, is typical B.
Oh yes, it should be interesting tonight.
That door now has an internal lock.

That is also scapegoating.... blaming someone, something else for what we have done....

From morning prayer (Leviticus 16:20-22) When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.

Heap all our sins, all the broken stuff, all the open doors that reveal us --heap them all on someone else's head and off they go.

Sound familiar?

Blessings.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Open the inner sanctum to your wild species, your creation....

I am dreading the next few days. Going to the mountains for a "retreat" with the clergy and church professionals and Bishop of this Diocese. ---the good part of it will be that "Just Episcopalians" --the group of progressive folks in this Diocese, will have a chance to meet and talk. We will ponder together the gross actions of this Diocese since the beginning of Lent and the dreadful letters issued by our Bishop and Standing Committee the first week of Easter.

I have it on good authority that the Bishop went to the 'Equality Dinner' this weekend ....and someone I know went up to him and asked him why he was there... and the Bishop had the nerve to say 'Change is coming.' I guess he really doesn't understand how insulting and degrading his words and actions have been already.... and even if/when he institutes 'Change,' if there is not full equality, in every parish of the Diocese, in every facet of the life of the church, such 'Change' will be nothing more than dog poop.

For the Bishop to attend the Equality Dinner --gives every indication he was there to be seen.... while he continues to putter about, assigning a faceless committee to plant a species of plant which he has promised will bear fruit.... in a walled and locked garden... ---but those of us who have been permitted to see over the wall can tell the roots are bound in a lifeless knot and the plant will not prosper.... but he can boast that the work is being done.

At morning prayer (Matthew 6:1) Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them....

So, pray for me. Pray for us. ....going to spend three days in the wilderness banging around the outside of the wall of the inner sanctum, leaping for an occasional look.... and I will not know whether it will be wiser to open my mouth or keep it shut.... not in fear for myself, but in fear that the faceless committee will run amok and trample the few exotic wild shrubs and flowers that have taken root.... and live without showing their blooms among the rigid hedgerows...

Help me to tear down the walls and open the inner sanctum to your wild species, your creation.

And, yes. I will continue to post my morning prayer. Y'all will be my lifeline. Please...

Hey God. it's margaret here. May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight... help me to know and walk the Way, the Truth, the Life.... --help me to scatter your righteous seed on the barren rocky walk, in the thorns, amidst the brambles, so that your life may take root and transform even the most unlikely places --and I have always admired those weeds that grow out of a crack in the sidewalk by the way... they must have a taproot to the center of the earth because who can pull them.... like those trees out of solid rock kind of thing. I look forward to a world that values your gorgeous weeds and thistles. Oh, You know, they used your thistles like a piece of glory in the floral bouquets at the Art Museum. Such is your kingdom.

So, please, don't let the bastards get us down. And, I don't know about you, but I am not in a forgiving mood concerning those assholes that have trashed The Gulf for the sake of the almighty dollar. I grieve for your wild life the world over. And I pray for my most beautiful Son who doesn't want me to leave --take care of him while I am gone. Amen.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ode to the Tit


Just because you are so tiny,
don't be sad and don't you pout.
When a man is making love to you,
he can never ever leave you out.

Oh they don't point east,
they don't point west,
there's just no hope
for my little chest.

One day you'll be so closely knit,
that I'll wind up with one big....

You rhyme it your way honey,
and I'll rhyme it mine,
together wherever we go.


Virginians will love this --my beloved learned this at Shrinemont --the Diocesan Episcopal Retreat Center...

I give it to you, to sing in honor of Virtue and her boob on our State Seal, about which our AG is embarrassed enough to try to cover it up.

FEH!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me."



Too bad Peter had a sheet full of animals, huh?! Oh yah baby. Between the sheets.... never occurred to me before, but this little bit of scripture might be the origin of that game we used to play... you know.... finishing the second line of every hymn with the line, "between the sheets...."

Sigh.....

Okay. The Good News? --there are many kinds of love.... most of them self-fulfilling. Like, I love you because you make me feel whole. Even sacrifice is self-consumed... the sacrifice between you and the love.... But there is a certain love which is that pouring out kind of love, an emptying of self, when there is no self. I think that is what Jesus meant when he and God were one. And we couldn't go there.

Makes perfect sense, yes?!

So, g'wan. Go to church. Ponder the love. That's what we're supposed to do.

Party hearty and remember those who labor

May Day.


At my elementary school way back when, we used to have the old fashioned pagan May Day celebration, without the drunken sexy lewdness, but instead with the 6th graders bearing garlands of flowers across their shoulders and crowns upon their heads doing the May Pole dance. And, of course--because it was California, we would prepare for weeks with confetti eggs.... blowing the eggs out, washing them, decorating them and filling them with confetti we had made from colored paper with a hole punch....

Obviously, the egg above is built as an egg rocket and holds extra confetti. Too bad we never thought to configure our eggs like that.... well, maybe it's best we didn't. As it was, Kevin Donahue was knocked unconscious by an egg and had to be carried away in an ambulance.... (and the teacher gathered us before class on the next school day and admonished us --no one was permitted to laugh or tease him about it or suffer the penalty of being sent to the Principal's office.... Kevin was mortified.... poor kid. He was the class 'sissy'.... know what I mean? And this gave the class bullies even more ammunition... being knocked out by an egg....)

The other side of May Day.... In 1886, unions organized to boycott the 16 hour work day.

From what I know of work patterns of the people I serve-- it is time for another boycott.... just sayin'.

And there is a march in DC today --in most countries around the world, today is Labor Day.... the plight of immigrants who labor here, legal or illegal... all the working poor actually --upon whom our 'system' is built... it's all wrapped up together what with the rights of laborers. Earlier this week I signed a petition for righteous labor reforms, especially for immigrant workers.... I am told my name has been added to a banner which will be carried in the march on DC today.... I hope so.

All in the name of Love....

At morning prayer (Matthew 5:43-46) "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?"

Oh God --not the tax collectors.... really?

Dang.
Wouldn't it be fun to pelt a few tax collectors with confetti eggs.... in the name of Love, of course.

And, yayaya --it's Philip and James' Day... the Apostles... and if you can figure out who they really are in the lists of Philips and Jameses, good on ya.

Have a blessed May Day!