Saturday, July 29, 2006

The World,,,,Oh Boy!

A young Israeli soldier exhausted holding a weapon
Israel Rejects Peace Offer
Elderly, Isolated Are Heat’s Quiet Victims.
6 Shot, 1 Fatally, at Seattle Jewish Center
Spending Less? You’re Helping Slow the Economy

Bush, Blair agree on U.N. Plan
Microfiber Sofabed $299.99
Distress signals from the sea
Teak Sale! 70% off Retail Prices, Visit the largest wholesaler of “Grade A” Teak Patio Furniture in California
A Bath below
The ritual of ushering in the Jewish Sabbath appeared much the same as usual in Kiryat Shemona, Israel – the blessings and the food, for instance. But much was different as Kati Marziano and her 6-year old daughter passed yet another day in their bomb shelter, after spending two weeks hiding from Hezbollah rockets.
Sleep on the Best Mattress Sale

Royal Recliner Sale, 25th Anniversary Offer
A Sobered Garcia Returns to Power in Peru, Vowing Change
Kathy Ireland’s Office & Entertainment Products
Mid Summer Sale FINAL WEEK, UP TO 70% OFF on Selected Items, Directly Imported Rugs

Shiite Cleric Calls Maliki Visit to U.S. a Betrayal
Sleep Free ONE FULL YEAR! Sale
U.N. Draft May Set Clock for Iran Sanctions

World’s smallest camera flip phone only from cingular
Scientists Turn Fat Into Muscle – You’re Thinking Cheesecake, Right?
Cingular raising the bar
4 Endangered Condor Chicks Die of West Nile
$1 Million Fan Sale
Reports Calls Home DNA Kits Misleading
TV & Appliances WEEKEND SALE

Keeping Faith Underground, As Israelis in Kiryat Shemona crowd into a bunker on the Sabbath, one matriarch says the town has seen it all, ‘but it was never this bad’
The Infiniti Limited Engagement Summer Event. Infiniti FX 35 lease per month $329
Israel Ends Gaza Raid, Leaving a Trail of Death and Destruction
One day Home Sale, Today July 29, 9 AM – 10 PM,,, 199.99 KitchenAid Heavy duty 5-qt Stand Mixer

Verizon Wireless BLOWOUT SALE!
Bush, Blair to Seek U.N. Force on Lebanon Border
Memory Foam Sale, “A great Mattress can help you sleep an extra 1-2 hours per night”
Somalia Official Is Slain in Baidoa; Hundreds Riot
India Official Says Nuclear Sites May Be Attacked
De Beers 401 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

In U.S., Calls Grow for Direct Contact With Syria
Cadillac Summer Event, 2006 Cadillac SRX Crossover and Cadillac CTS 0% APR for 60 months for qualified buyers
Israel Rejects Lebanese Plan
Super Summer Clearance All pianos, Digitals and player pianos priced for immediate sale!
Exclusive Interiors by Kreiss

Ohio Residents Evacuate as Floodwaters Rise After Deluge
Killer’s Claims Not Easy to Verify
Antiwar Demonstrators Arrested at White House
The Best Selling European Luxury SUV $389 ON APPROVED CREDIT
Hikes Wages, Cuts Taxes, Looks Like a Dud

3 Billionaires Interested in Buying L.A. Times
Judge Asked to Help in Hemingway Cat Dispute
0% Financing and NO Payments until 2007
Coroner Turns Detective to Seek Heat Victims’ Kin
ETHAN ALLEN why wait?
Officials Want a Better System to Check on Elderly

Gunman Acted Alone, Police Say
LA Gym Equipment, Sizzling Summer Savings
Pilot Narrowly Avoids Plane on Runway
We now have a limited selection of Boxster and Cayenne vehicles available at unadvertised prices

Jackson’s Mayor Hits the Streets
Santa Monica Design Gallery, Retiring After 50 Years SALE

Consumers Appear Resilient Amid Slowing Economy
Sit’n Sleep Anniversary Sale,, Queen Sets Starting At $399

Los Angeles Times, Section A, July 29, 2006
Couldn’t make this up.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tired, defenses down

All the hoo haw in the Episcopal Church / Anglican Communion of late has gotten me very tired.
Very tired, tired to the point of shaking my head and wondering “What is this all about?”

It appears we all have our hills to climb here, what can we be part of? Where do we draw the lines, who are we as children of God and what are we called to do or be?

I am beginning to truly believe that we have it wrong. All the pretty trappings and titles and history are impressive, but what are we doing here? Who or what do we follow, who or what do we worship?

I remember going to the local art museum to be with the paintings of Cézanne, a painter I greatly admire. I was taking a rest from the spiritual place a painting had taken me, and began to observe the other visitors to this place. They came in many sizes, shapes and colors; they were of all sorts and conditions.
I began to notice the people and how they reacted to being in this place with all these works of art. The first thing I noticed was that people, many of them, were there to collect, no not take the work physically with them, but to see who was represented, were they someone they heard of, was it a work they might recognize from a book or a picture they had seen. These people zoomed around the gallery looking first at the little plaque on the wall to the right of the painting, then glancing up at the work of art, the time they gave the painting was in relation to the recognition factor of the name and title of the work. If the artist was not recognized barely any time was given to study the art. If the artist was a known entity then the painting got a longer glance, not long mind you, but enough to see if it was something important. Then they moved on to ‘collect’ an other work of known, important art.
The second group was there to look, but it was all too much, or maybe they were there because they were fulfilling an obligation, perceived or real, to be in this place. I noticed many of these people were in awe of the frames on the paintings, wondering how they were made, how old they were, did this really hang in someone’s home? These people wondered aloud, how did they hang this work, why was the gallery so big / small, look how shiny the floors are! They barely looked at the paintings at all, to their credit, they often spent more time at a particular work than the collectors, but I wonder if they even saw the paintings.
An other group was the students and armature artists / painters. This group looked at composition, color, use of the brush or knife. They wondered what the medium used was, was this on linen? They looked at the drafting skills, the reworking of the placement of this or that. This group also was collecting, but they were collecting in a different way, I wondered how many of this group saw the story in the painting.
There were those like me, who came to be with only a few works of art, or maybe just one today. We walk past so many works of wonder, to gaze on and be with just one artist or one painting. The goal is to reach into the past and be in the place where and why this was created. Our focus is narrow and we are easily taken to a place of great joy or trouble. We gaze on the particular work or works then leave feeling nourished for the next day, week, month, and then return again for another dose of grace.
All of us, none of us are right, All of us probably miss the grandeur of this place that holds so much wealth of beauty and richness of story and experience. We miss it because of choice, choice to avoid something so great and powerful that it is overwhelming. All the creation, creative power, beauty, life story that exists in one place, silently waiting to be engaged. It is much easier to go to a place like this and focus say on Picasso, or Matisse or Italian painters of the renaissance. It is difficult to take it all in, to know the entire collection. And maybe it is best if we don’t know the entire collection but let it reveal itself to us.
I recall wandering through a local art museum on my way to visit with a particular work, when out of the corner; my eye caught a glimpse of a white background with a bold dark swath. I noted it, but also hurried past it to continue on my journey. After visiting the painting of my original intent, I wandered back by the white background with the dark swath. I was literally knocked on my ass. There were no benches or seating in this corner of the gallery and I had to sit on the floor, this painting was so powerful in the way it spoke to me, revealed itself to me. I actually found my self crying this painting was so revelatory to me. This museum I was so familiar with, thought I was so familiar with, had presented me with something new, new to me. My world was shaken and made a little more open to a different language of beauty.

God, help us to see the miracle you have given us, call us where you will, open our soul to your grace, lead us to your kingdom.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Very interesting

Well we have seen our first bishop of Nigeria in these United States. Has mission planting begun?
For the first Mission look to Truro Church Virginia, Home of Martyn Bishop of Nigeria.

Notice anything? Look to the upper right hand corner, User name, password needed.
Now in fairness, they don't claim to be an open organization so why should they be transparent?

Pray for this church, Fear has taken root here.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A beautiful document,,,Please read


But when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States
became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical
independence was necessarily included; and the different religious
denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal
liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of
worship, and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most
convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the constitution
and laws of their country.

The attention of this Church was in the first place drawn to those
alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the prayers for our
Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution. And the principal care
herein was to make them conformable to what ought to be the proper
end of all such prayers, namely, that “Rulers may have grace, wisdom,

and understanding to execute justice, and to maintain truth;” and that the
people “may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty.”

But while these alterations were in review before the Convention, they
could not but, with gratitude to God, embrace the happy occasion which
was offered to them (uninfluenced and unrestrained by any worldly
authority whatsoever) to take a further review of the Public Service, and
to establish such other alterations and amendments therein as might be
deemed expedient.

It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and
amendments. They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them
also, upon a comparison of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the
Church of England. In which it will also appear that this Church is far
from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential
point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local
circumstances require.

And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped
the whole will be received and examined by every true member of our
Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable
frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering
what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly
beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour
for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting
and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed
Lord and Saviour.

Philadelphia, October, 1789

BCP pg 10-11

A must read

Read the whole thing


Rowan Speaks


Text of reflection

The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion: a Church in Crisis?

What is the current tension in the Anglican Communion actually about? Plenty of people are confident that they know the answer. It’s about gay bishops, or possibly women bishops. The American Church is in favour and others are against – and the Church of England is not sure (as usual).

It’s true that the election of a practising gay person as a bishop in the US in 2003 was the trigger for much of the present conflict. It is doubtless also true that a lot of extra heat is generated in the conflict by ingrained and ignorant prejudice in some quarters; and that for many others, in and out of the Church, the issue seems to be a clear one about human rights and dignity. But the debate in the Anglican Communion is not essentially a debate about the human rights of homosexual people. It is possible – indeed, it is imperative – to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation, and still to believe that this doesn’t settle the question of whether the Christian Church has the freedom, on the basis of the Bible, and its historic teachings, to bless homosexual partnerships as a clear expression of God’s will. That is disputed among Christians, and, as a bare matter of fact, only a small minority would answer yes to the question.

Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes – which is a highly risky assumption if you also believe in real freedom of opinion in a diverse society – there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ‘inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against – and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.

Anglican Decision-Making

And this is where the real issue for Anglicans arises. How do we as Anglicans deal with this issue ‘in our own terms’? And what most Anglicans worldwide have said is that it doesn’t help to behave as if the matter had been resolved when in fact it hasn’t. It is true that, in spite of resolutions and declarations of intent, the process of ‘listening to the experience’ of homosexual people hasn’t advanced very far in most of our churches, and that discussion remains at a very basic level for many. But the decision of the Episcopal Church to elect a practising gay man as a bishop was taken without even the American church itself (which has had quite a bit of discussion of the matter) having formally decided as a local Church what it thinks about blessing same-sex partnerships.

There are other fault lines of division, of course, including the legitimacy of ordaining women as priests and bishops. But (as has often been forgotten) the Lambeth Conference did resolve that for the time being those churches that did ordain women as priests and bishops and those that did not had an equal place within the Anglican spectrum. Women bishops attended the last Lambeth Conference. There is a fairly general (though not universal) recognition that differences about this can still be understood within the spectrum of manageable diversity about what the Bible and the tradition make possible. On the issue of practising gay bishops, there has been no such agreement, and it is not unreasonable to seek for a very much wider and deeper consensus before any change is in view, let alone foreclosing the debate by ordaining someone, whatever his personal merits, who was in a practising gay partnership. The recent resolutions of the General Convention have not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor Report, but on this specific question there is at the very least an acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation in the extremely hard work that went into shaping the wording of the final formula.

Very many in the Anglican Communion would want the debate on the substantive ethical question to go on as part of a general process of theological discernment; but they believe that the pre-emptive action taken in 2003 in the US has made such a debate harder not easier, that it has reinforced the lines of division and led to enormous amounts of energy going into ‘political’ struggle with and between churches in different parts of the world. However, institutionally speaking, the Communion is an association of local churches, not a single organisation with a controlling bureaucracy and a universal system of law. So everything depends on what have generally been unspoken conventions of mutual respect. Where these are felt to have been ignored, it is not surprising that deep division results, with the politicisation of a theological dispute taking the place of reasoned reflection.

Thus if other churches have said, in the wake of the events of 2003 that they cannot remain fully in communion with the American Church, this should not be automatically seen as some kind of blind bigotry against gay people. Where such bigotry does show itself it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable; and if this is not clear, it is not at all surprising if the whole question is reduced in the eyes of many to a struggle between justice and violent prejudice. It is saying that, whatever the presenting issue, no member Church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference to how it is regarded in the fellowship; this would be uncomfortably like saying that every member could redefine the terms of belonging as and when it suited them. Some actions – and sacramental actions in particular - just do have the effect of putting a Church outside or even across the central stream of the life they have shared with other Churches. It isn’t a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognising that actions have consequences – and that actions believed in good faith to be ‘prophetic’ in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences.

Truth and Unity

It is true that witness to what is passionately believed to be the truth sometimes appears a higher value than unity, and there are moving and inspiring examples in the twentieth century. If someone genuinely thinks that a move like the ordination of a practising gay bishop is that sort of thing, it is understandable that they are prepared to risk the breakage of a unity they can only see as false or corrupt. But the risk is a real one; and it is never easy to recognise when the moment of inevitable separation has arrived - to recognise that this is the issue on which you stand or fall and that this is the great issue of faithfulness to the gospel. The nature of prophetic action is that you do not have a cast-iron guarantee that you’re right.

But let’s suppose that there isn’t that level of clarity about the significance of some divisive issue. If we do still believe that unity is generally a way of coming closer to revealed truth (‘only the whole Church knows the whole Truth’ as someone put it), we now face some choices about what kind of Church we as Anglicans are or want to be. Some speak as if it would be perfectly simple – and indeed desirable – to dissolve the international relationships, so that every local Church could do what it thought right. This may be tempting, but it ignores two things at least.

First, it fails to see that the same problems and the same principles apply within local Churches as between Churches. The divisions don’t run just between national bodies at a distance, they are at work in each locality, and pose the same question: are we prepared to work at a common life which doesn’t just reflect the interests and beliefs of one group but tries to find something that could be in everyone’s interest – recognising that this involves different sorts of costs for everyone involved? It may be tempting to say, ‘let each local church go its own way’; but once you’ve lost the idea that you need to try to remain together in order to find the fullest possible truth, what do you appeal to in the local situation when serious division threatens?

Second, it ignores the degree to which we are already bound in with each other’s life through a vast network of informal contacts and exchanges. These are not the same as the formal relations of ecclesiastical communion, but they are real and deep, and they would be a lot weaker and a lot more casual without those more formal structures. They mean that no local Church and no group within a local Church can just settle down complacently with what it or its surrounding society finds comfortable. The Church worldwide is not simply the sum total of local communities. It has a cross-cultural dimension that is vital to its health and it is naïve to think that this can survive without some structures to make it possible. An isolated local Church is less than a complete Church.

Both of these points are really grounded in the belief that our unity is something given to us prior to our choices - let alone our votes. ‘You have not chosen me but I have chosen you’, says Jesus to his disciples; and when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, we are saying that we are all there as invited guests, not because of what we have done. The basic challenge that practically all the churches worldwide, of whatever denomination, so often have to struggle with is, ‘Are we joining together in one act of Holy Communion, one Eucharist, throughout the world, or are we just celebrating our local identities and our personal preferences?’

The Anglican Identity

The reason Anglicanism is worth bothering with is because it has tried to find a way of being a Church that is neither tightly centralised nor just a loose federation of essentially independent bodies – a Church that is seeking to be a coherent family of communities meeting to hear the Bible read, to break bread and share wine as guests of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate a unity in worldwide mission and ministry. That is what the word ‘Communion’ means for Anglicans, and it is a vision that has taken clearer shape in many of our ecumenical dialogues.

Of course it is possible to produce a self-deceiving, self-important account of our worldwide identity, to pretend that we were a completely international and universal institution like the Roman Catholic Church. We’re not. But we have tried to be a family of Churches willing to learn from each other across cultural divides, not assuming that European (or American or African) wisdom is what settles everything, opening up the lives of Christians here to the realities of Christian experience elsewhere. And we have seen these links not primarily in a bureaucratic way but in relation to the common patterns of ministry and worship – the community gathered around Scripture and sacraments; a ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, a biblically-centred form of common prayer, a focus on the Holy Communion. These are the signs that we are not just a human organisation but a community trying to respond to the action and the invitation of God that is made real for us in ministry and Bible and sacraments. We believe we have useful and necessary questions to explore with Roman Catholicism because of its centralised understanding of jurisdiction and some of its historic attitudes to the Bible. We believe we have some equally necessary questions to propose to classical European Protestantism, to fundamentalism, and to liberal Protestant pluralism. There is an identity here, however fragile and however provisional.

But what our Communion lacks is a set of adequately developed structures which is able to cope with the diversity of views that will inevitably arise in a world of rapid global communication and huge cultural variety. The tacit conventions between us need spelling out – not for the sake of some central mechanism of control but so that we have ways of being sure we’re still talking the same language, aware of belonging to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ. It is becoming urgent to work at what adequate structures for decision-making might look like. We need ways of translating this underlying sacramental communion into a more effective institutional reality, so that we don’t compromise or embarrass each other in ways that get in the way of our local and our universal mission, but learn how to share responsibility.

Future Directions

The idea of a ‘covenant’ between local Churches (developing alongside the existing work being done on harmonising the church law of different local Churches) is one method that has been suggested, and it seems to me the best way forward. It is necessarily an ‘opt-in’ matter. Those Churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness; and some might not be willing to do this. We could arrive at a situation where there were ‘constituent’ Churches in covenant in the Anglican Communion and other ‘churches in association’, which were still bound by historic and perhaps personal links, fed from many of the same sources, but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion, and not sharing the same constitutional structures. The relation would not be unlike that between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, for example. The ‘associated’ Churches would have no direct part in the decision making of the ‘constituent’ Churches, though they might well be observers whose views were sought or whose expertise was shared from time to time, and with whom significant areas of co-operation might be possible.

This leaves many unanswered questions, I know, given that lines of division run within local Churches as well as between them - and not only on one issue (we might note the continuing debates on the legitimacy of lay presidency at the Eucharist). It could mean the need for local Churches to work at ordered and mutually respectful separation between ‘constituent’ and ‘associated’ elements; but it could also mean a positive challenge for Churches to work out what they believed to be involved in belonging in a global sacramental fellowship, a chance to rediscover a positive common obedience to the mystery of God’s gift that was not a matter of coercion from above but of that ‘waiting for each other’ that St Paul commends to the Corinthians.

There is no way in which the Anglican Communion can remain unchanged by what is happening at the moment. Neither the liberal nor the conservative can simply appeal to a historic identity that doesn’t correspond with where we now are. We do have a distinctive historic tradition – a reformed commitment to the absolute priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine, a catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and a habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly. But for this to survive with all its aspects intact, we need closer and more visible formal commitments to each other. And it is not going to look exactly like anything we have known so far. Some may find this unfamiliar future conscientiously unacceptable, and that view deserves respect. But if we are to continue to be any sort of ‘Catholic’ church, if we believe that we are answerable to something more than our immediate environment and its priorities and are held in unity by something more than just the consensus of the moment, we have some very hard work to do to embody this more clearly. The next Lambeth Conference ought to address this matter directly and fully as part of its agenda.

The different components in our heritage can, up to a point, flourish in isolation from each other. But any one of them pursued on its own would lead in a direction ultimately outside historic Anglicanism The reformed concern may lead towards a looser form of ministerial order and a stronger emphasis on the sole, unmediated authority of the Bible. The catholic concern may lead to a high doctrine of visible and structural unification of the ordained ministry around a focal point. The cultural and intellectual concern may lead to a style of Christian life aimed at giving spiritual depth to the general shape of the culture around and de-emphasising revelation and history. Pursued far enough in isolation, each of these would lead to a different place – to strict evangelical Protestantism, to Roman Catholicism, to religious liberalism. To accept that each of these has a place in the church’s life and that they need each other means that the enthusiasts for each aspect have to be prepared to live with certain tensions or even sacrifices – with a tradition of being positive about a responsible critical approach to Scripture, with the anomalies of a historic ministry not universally recognised in the Catholic world, with limits on the degree of adjustment to the culture and its habits that is thought possible or acceptable.


The only reason for being an Anglican is that this balance seems to you to be healthy for the Church Catholic overall, and that it helps people grow in discernment and holiness. Being an Anglican in the way I have sketched involves certain concessions and unclarities but provides at least for ways of sharing responsibility and making decisions that will hold and that will be mutually intelligible. No-one can impose the canonical and structural changes that will be necessary. All that I have said above should make it clear that the idea of an Archbishop of Canterbury resolving any of this by decree is misplaced, however tempting for many. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides and convenes in the Communion, and may do what this document attempts to do, which is to outline the theological framework in which a problem should be addressed; but he must always act collegially, with the bishops of his own local Church and with the primates and the other instruments of communion.

That is why the process currently going forward of assessing our situation in the wake of the General Convention is a shared one. But it is nonetheless possible for the Churches of the Communion to decide that this is indeed the identity, the living tradition – and by God’s grace, the gift - we want to share with the rest of the Christian world in the coming generation; more importantly still, that this is a valid and vital way of presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. My hope is that the period ahead - of detailed response to the work of General Convention, exploration of new structures, and further refinement of the covenant model - will renew our positive appreciation of the possibilities of our heritage so that we can pursue our mission with deeper confidence and harmony.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Letter to the Anglicans

What we might say

An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion (all primates, bishops, orthodox clergy)

As we, the Episcopal Church work together with Christ, to follow what we believe is our calling for inclusion of all of Christ’s baptized, and to maintain the highest degree of communion with our Christian brothers and sisters,

We urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.
For he says,

"At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you."

See, we believe that now is the acceptable time; see, we believe that now is the day of salvation!

We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry. There are those who look on what we have brought out of our convention with great hurt and pain, for it pleases no one. But it is the best we could do in all honesty. We took these actions, greatly wounding our own communion to remain in communion with you, So that we might have a degree of acceptability in your sight. You may not view it as such because we could not with clear conscious reconcile what you asked of us with what we believe God is calling us to do in our time, in this place where we have been assigned to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

But as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, we bear the afflictions, hardships, and calamities in our diocese that you have asked us to bear, we have accepted the beatings, and imprisonments, that you have placed upon us these past years. We toil, enduring the riots that have been planted in our province, continuing the labors, sleepless nights, and hunger required to attempt to reconcile your will with who we believe the Spirit is calling us to be; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute, we have produced what we have produced.

We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see-- we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor in spirit, yet making many rich in the love of Christ; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Anglican Communion; our heart is wide open to you.

There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.

In return-- I speak as to the body-- open wide your hearts also.

What Paul said:

2 Corinthians 6:1-10
As we work together with Christ, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
"At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you."
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see-- we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return-- I speak as to children-- open wide your hearts also.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The loss of the Spirit

It would appear that most of my comments on the result of convention want to focus on my anger, dismay, horror, on the fact that I am a gay Episcopalian.
I must clarify,
I was not happy with the statements out of the house of Bishops re Windsor, but I could understand what they were trying to do and before convention took a “lets wait and see” attitude.
When these were brought up at convention some passed with amendment and some could not be amended in a way to satisfy the polity of this church, and so they were defeated. This is how our church speaks its mind and moves forward.
My anger is NOT because I am gay, but rather because I BELIEVE that the way things were handled was wrong.

My anger is because the leaders of this church have denied what they previously claimed was of the Spirit.

My anger is because our PBE sold out her supposed convictions for a POSSIBLE invite to tea at Lambeth.

My anger is because title and position were used, and accepted, to bully a vote in a desired direction.

My anger is because the Episcopal Church has denied its validity outside of the C of E, thus claiming that catholicity in the church is only through a recognized head. (Remember we were denied once before and went elsewhere for our bishops, thank you church of Scotland)

My anger is that we have based our calling on that of the Archbishop of Canterbury not on the call of Christ.

There is a great deal of hurt, a lot of pain to go around. The platitudes being offered are so hollow and really make me question the strength of our belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Did Christ say to the blind man,, “Well my father works in mysterious ways, I am sure something good will come of your affliction” or “Those seizures your child is having, it is Gods will for now and by learning to work with them you will see the Spirit at work”. I could go on with this, but I shall not, let your own mind work on these analogies.

One of the comments being spread around is that this is a sacrifice we must bear for the sake of unity and to be in conversation with our sister churches. Huh? What happened to the example of the martyrs? Yesterday was St Albans day, we have coming up the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, look to their example. Look to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ! All could have escaped crucifixion, execution, by simple statements, statements that would have gone against their calling; statements they knew were wrong and grievous to the heart of God.

Are we the Church of Jesus Christ, his body on earth, or are we the church of Constantine?

If we are of Christ, we are called to compassion and to love our neighbors even our enemy those who would wrong us, to forgive. I couldn’t agree more, but where are we asked when turning the other cheek to stop speaking truth? When do we stop preaching the Gospel because hearing it offends? If we are called to preach the Gospel and it is not accepted then we are called to shake the dust from our sandals and move on, not to change what we preach till we are heard.

The Episcopal Church has escaped her crucifixion, for now, and what witness to the world has she given. I only hope like Peter, and the martyrs of the faith, she turns to accept her call to witness to a greater glory than the palaces of this earth can provide.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

St Alban,

Yesterday the Church of England and the communion required the Episcopal Church to answer. We saw her answer. The Episcopal Church had not the stomach for martyrdom.
Read about St. Alban.