Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hook, Line & Sinker ...

So I'm taking a break in my hotel room before our final event of my London jaunt -- dinner at the National Liberal Club (la-dee-dah!!!)

And, of course, I checked my email.

And there was a "heads up" that over at Stand Firm Matt Kennedy ... who you might think would be paying more attention to his brand, spanking new baby girl than he is to my blog ... has the "breaking news" that we're having a same-sex blessing at All Saints Church on Saturday.



Yep. You read it here. This morning. Posted with malice aforethought by my own unrepentent Windsor Uncompliant self. And at this point I consider the bait well served and well taken. Well done, Matt!

Why "stir it up" by mentioning it on this blog that I'm heading home to be part of a same sex wedding on Saturday? (And, for the record, I'm not "doing the blessing" ... God has already blessed the couple and the rector is presiding!)

Because it's good news worth telling. Because it's part of the work I've been doing "over here" -- giving folks a glimpse of what the church can and will be when it takes of its blinders and is healed of its heterosexism. Or at least on the road to healing.

And because it's called evangelism.

The meetings I've had here in London have been extraordinarily helpful ... encouraging ... and affirming that the very best thing we can do in the American Episcopal Church is to stay the course and continue to be that beacon of hope and inclusion that is casting Gospel light even as far as the sceptered isle!

The fact that our Presiding Bishop reiterates a vision of a church where there will be no outcasts in SPITE of the fact that the church has yet to catch up with the vision is a sign of great hope and encouragement to those I've met with this week in the CofE who can't even imagine that level of support from their national church leadership.

The reality that I return to a congregation that understands part of its mission to BE spreading the Good News of God's inclusive love AND the witness of a parish that has been in the blessing business for over 16 years is hard for some to even comprehend.

Alert the media. I'd love as many people as possible to share the good news of Bruno and Jerry making vows before God and their faith community to live happily ever after in union with each other and with the One who created them in love and then called them, enabled them, empowered them, to love one another.

As for Bishop Bruno, as noted (repeatedly and appearing to fall on very deaf ears indeed!) in the Diocese of Los Angeles presbyters need not ask for permission to provide appropriate pastoral care to members of their parish -- and offering prayers for the blessing of their already blessed by God unions is understood to fall within the parameters of such appropriate pastoral care. (A policy quoted in The Living Church so you KNOW it must be true!)

Embarrass my bishop? Please! I probably have before and may well again ... but not by being part of the wedding we're going to celebrate on Saturday at All Saints Church.
.
And now I'm off to The Liberal Club! Cheerio!

22 comments:

Paul B said...

Ms Russell: "As for Bishop Bruno, as noted (repeatedly and appearing to fall on very deaf ears indeed!) in the Diocese of Los Angeles presbyters need not ask for permission to provide appropriate pastoral care to members of their parish -- and offering prayers for the blessing of their already blessed by God unions is understood to fall within the parameters of such appropriate pastoral care."

Bishop Bruno:"Same sex blessings do not occur in my diocese with my permission."

Ms Russell, since you gleefully baited the hook, you must want to talk about this.

Please explain how these two statements can be reconciled. Statement one, from you, says essentially that same sex blessings are pre-approved in the diocese; permission is already given. Statement two says that permission has not been given by the bishop.

What's up with that?

Linda McMillan said...

Thanks be to God!
I hope it's a wonderful day of blessings for everyone. I am glad you shared this good news with the rest of us.
Lindy

Dave said...

Susan, Matt Kennedy's post took me back to Florida in the early 60's, reading and listening to segregationist diatribes over civil rights for "Nigras," the kindest word they could use for African-Americans back then. SFIF sounds more and more like the same breed, Shouting FIlth and Froth about concepts completely beyond their ken. They really do need our prayers over there.

Jack Sprat said...

I was kind of bugged by KJS's statement in which she once again reinforces the idea that my human rights get in the way of helping others. To wit:

"To those who argue from a perspective of justice that delay is immoral, I can only say that our ability to retain our connections within this church and around the Anglican Communion also continues our ability to advocate for the full dignity of gay and lesbian persons around the globe. It also means that our work toward the relief of human suffering, and to putting our gospel beliefs into action, has more possibility when we can work through the vast networks of the Communion than we can alone."

Does it make sense that a church which denies full equality to its LGBT folk at home is better at helping LGBT folk in other countries? Huh? Wha????

-J

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

No, Jack, it doesn't. I think it's a false dichotomy +Katharine and others have bought into.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul ...

in the diocese of los angeles, blessings are considered to fall withing the parameters of pastoral care -- as deemed appropriate by presbyters with pastoral oversight.

we do not need the bishop's permission to exercise pasoral care to those in our pastorate.

the question +Jon was responding to in the New Orleans press conference was regarding liturgical rites (eg. specific litguries) authorized by a diocese.

apples.

oranges.

Could the Bisho of Los Angeles have been more clear in his response to the NYTimes reporter on the distinction between the two?

absolutely.

are the two statements in oppostion to each other?

absolutely not.

got it now?

apples.

oranges.

Anonymous said...

I almost left a message in the guestbook of the "couple" to be "married" but decided they weren't looking to make their website a theological battlezone, so I'll leave it here.

Thanks for putting another torpedo in the water targeting the ship S.S. Anglican Communion. We need the extra bodies on our side of the street.

Sincerely, FrMichael, RCC priest

DanFarrell said...

How could there be anything wrong with heterosexism? Is that why we have two sexes in the first place?

Paul B said...

Ms Russell, thank you for your response.

Please bear with me. I am not an expert on fruits, so the difference between apples and oranges must be lost on me.

At the New Orleans press conference Bishop Bruno responded to the New York Times reporter's question about same sex blessings (not authorized rites or liturgies) and her statement of "It happens at the diocesan level and you know that." with a statement of "They don't happen in my diocese with my permission"

Your statement, however, is that you are authorized to perform the blessings as falling within the parameters of appropriate pastoral care.

I think what you are saying is that you are authorized to perform the blessings, but not by the bishop, since he publicly said they don't occur with his permission. So, from whom do you derive that authority to provide pastoral care? The person who granted your license to minister? Who's that?

Mark said...

As I said at Jake's, I'm glad to see not everyone is letting the PB softsoap them.

joemar said...

Susan, "Oh Happy Day". Yes we will be celebrating Bruno & Jerry's wedding sat.

I was blessed to be in the same Covenant II class (small group). Both of these guys are great examples of what God has to offer and fine examples of the inclusive love of All Saints Pasadena.
You rock Susan.........
Peace
Joe

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul b ... I suggest you contact the bishop's office for further clarification on the policy re: pastoral care in the Diocese of Los Angeles

danfarrell ... see:

http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2007/10/it-pays-to-increase-your-word-power.html

Stuart said...

Fr Michael,

Anglicans who leave the Episcopal Church to embrace Roman Catholicism have far deeper theological differences than could be healed by the abolition of same-sex unions.

Any Anglicans who can reconcile themselves to a Christian community which promulgates the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, and the Assumption, (to say nothing of the Papacy itself) probably missed the boat on the theology of Anglicanism long before same-sex unions came along.

Anglo-Catholics who have so little sense of what the Episcopal Church is, rather than what they wish it to be, should receive Confirmation in the RC Church. They'll probably finally have a spiritual home and leave the rest of us to find Christ in Anglicanism's protestant heritage and comprehensive theologies.

Jim said...

Rev Susan,

You know that Sue-z and I live on the 'progressive' side of the church. I for one, want the GC to go the whole route: drop any gender requirement from blessing liturgies, and prohibit doing the State's business by including the civil marriage in the liturgy. That said {deep breath} aren't we being a bit disingenuous here?

Sure, the diocise of Los Angelos has not published a specific public 'lesbian/gay marriage rite' for use in the parishes. Sure, there is technically no document that says, 'you are authorized to celebrate marriages for lesbian or gay couples.' But(!) we all know that this is a distinction without a difference as far as the bullydox and the non-global South are concerned.

From their perspective, and we know this, Bp. Bruno knew it when he famously commented, the fact that there is a legal hair split somewhere so that the blessings happen without an authorized rite does not mean that the events do not happen. And we all know, were we completely upfront, that we are using Windsor for its only viable purposes, which involve either drawing cartoons, oragami, or visiting small out buildings at night.

I think that we need to say "stuff
Windsor!"

But, to expect the Southerners and the IRD to buy the idea that Bp. Bruno (and in Chicago our bishop) are not deliberately loop hole hunting is simply wrong.

Let's have the fight, and move on. Yes, this church generally, with some specific exceptions (Quincy et al) recognizes the sacramental nature of commitments including lesbian, gay and even heterosexuals despite their track record, making promises establishing families. And yes, we permit, in many diocese, the blessing of those families. Deal with it!

Oh heaven, this is funny. The letters in the anti-spam box begin "lds!"

FWIW
jimB

doug puryear said...

susan russell
i thank God for you and your work.
may God bless us all
doug puryear
santa fe

Hiram said...

Susan, the Dar es Salaam request was that there be neither apples nor oranges. No rites to be authorized, no blessings of same-sex relationships.

I suppose the Primates may have left some tiny loophole through which such linguistic legerdemain as Bp Bruno used might be able to pass. But if you are honest, you know that the majority of the Primates sought an absolute injunction against any event that says that same-sex sexual activity is something God can accept as good.

Is that a painful statement? I expect that it is. But, unless I turn the Bible inside out and upside down, God has spoken, and (as Jesus says), "But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh."

It is only by the rebellion of humanity against God that any of us breaks with God's design for life. We each have our own ways that rebellion is most likely to manifest itself -- and those ways do not always (perhaps seldom) manifest themselves as destructive to those who are oriented in that particular direction.

It is not pastoral to celebrate the breaking of God's design, even if that break seems desirable on the part of those who want to do so.

Anonymous said...

All the best to Jerry and Bruno

As to the SS RCC, perhaps FrMichael 's evidenc]t contempt of people who are trying to live faithful loving lives (who are not not even in his church) is all of a parcel in a church where even Bishops engage in contempt .

IT

Bruno said...

Fr. Michael, et al.
From my Anglican perspective, a letter I wrote to those at Stand Firm, who have written me.

A note to Stand Firm in Faith

The big day approaches, and it really shouldn’t be a BIG day, it should remain a Holy day, as should be every day. That is all we wanted really, a day for us to declare, proclaim, if you will our witness that God has indeed blessed us, and that with all that we are, and all that we have, we thank God for the gifts that have been given us, and that we intend to be in community as we are, together, one resource together, holding up the Good News of God as revealed by Jesus.

That is all, no princess photos, no glamor cake, no over the top costumes or “events”, a chance to celebrate with our family, not just blood family of the legal sense, but our family, those who worship God with us, those who struggle with their beliefs, those who don’t believe, or are not sure they believe. It really is appropriate that our relationship is not recognized by the state, or by much of the church as a governmental body, because we are witnessing to something outside of those limits. Just as we claim each member of All Saints Church as our family, yes even those whom we disagree with or initially dislike or “have difficulty” with, family not recognized by the state, or by treaty, or by covenant, but family in our very creation by God and reaffirmed by Christ Jesus.

To me, it does not matter much that I will not have the same protections under the law that my heterosexual family members have, it would be nice, but for me the most important thing is that, the family that we pray with, the family we share the Holy Meal with, will on this day, and on future days, pray with us and for us. And that we, will continue to stand and pray together for them and their concerns. We will come to the meal together and seek, and journey, offering support to one another, and that on the day that my beloved or I part this world, there will be a family to continue to love and pray for the surviving member of our little family.

My prayer is that we, my partner and I, will continue to try to live the Gospel, which is much harder than just preaching it. That we will continue to challenge one another to see not always Christ in others, but one of God’s children in others, a blessed part of creation, a gift, a light to help us find our way. It sometimes takes us a long time, but it is something we do, we challenge each other to find God’s gift to us in those who might cause us pain, and we try to always be a welcome to them. My beloved is very good at this, and has on several occasions reached out to someone who has insulted or harmed me in some way, and brought us together, and taught us to love, not always come to agreement, but to love, and thus provided the healing to my soul, that is the Good News isn’t it, that God is Love.

My prayer is that we, my partner and I, will continue to give each other strength, and support each other in our journey to God, to heaven in the here and now, to God’s kingdom if you will. That we will continue to find comfort in one an other, in our voices in our bodies. I pray that God’s touch will always be present when I feel my beloveds touch, a reminder that we are wonderfully made, and loved, and that I will continue to find the resources in this reminder that there is enough love in me, to care for the poor, the widowed, the outcast, the sick and infirm, the lonely, the unloved. That in the dark hours when those who hate us, and wish us harm, those who wish us to hide the light that God has lit in us, these resources will give us the strength and boldness to stand as a witness to those who fear that God’s kingdom is not for them, that indeed God loves them and that there is nothing outside of or beyond the grace of God to be transformed into the Holy.

So for those of you who would say we, by declaring our commitment to each other to live thusly, are “torpedoing” the Communion, or destroying the “Church”. I invite you to kneel on that day, and pray with us, pray for God’s will, not ours, or yours, pray for the strength to care for those who are without, pray for those who live in fear, pray for the strength to love the unloved and alone, pray that God’s word become manifest in your being and actions, in our being and actions, pray for the vision of a world healed, and the courage to act towards that goal. And know, that there will be your family in Christ Jesus praying and sharing the meal with you.

May the Love of God and the Peace of Christ be with you.

Bruno

Anonymous said...

IT--

I hold no contempt for anyone. I hold contempt for certain behaviors.

I will gladly toast the first judge or jury who puts the corrupt (RCC) bishop Tod Brown in the slammer for contempt. He and some of his cronies deserve it. Like V. Gene Robinson, they are scandalize the the Body of Christ by their unrepentant public sin.

Bruno, I will pray for you during my Rosary on Saturday.

FrMichael

Jim said...

Prayers ascending for the hapy cople, my you oive long and well, love each other more each day, and find in your relationship the joy of sharing in Christ's kingdom.

jimB

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Note for "Mark" ... my policy on this blog is to decline to post "ad hominem" comments on other commenters ... afraid your response to FrMichael fell below the bar of respecting the dignity of our opponents.

David Charles Walker said...

I just posted this at Jakes:
I just got back from the service. It was quite beautiful... very spiritual, loving, and one of the most "Christian" (a packed adjective, to be sure) events I've been to in a long time.

Like any good liturgy, there was great, and varied, music... everything from the Prelude which, by their request, was Bach's monumental "Wedge Fugue," to some lovely Spanish singing by a young man whose voice reminded me so much of the great Hector Lavoe.

Ed Bacon's homily was good, and I hope Susan reprints it on her blog.

A nice touch was that the entire congregation gathered around Bruno and Jerry with outstretched arms for a "laying on of hands" at their Blessing. It was a powerful moment... felt by all.

A what a beautiful couple! I'm sure I wasn't the only person there who had to wipe his eyes a couple of times.

Just so you know... I thought of myself as being the representative, in a spiritual way, of Jake's Family. So you all were present... through me. It was an honor.
David Charles Walker | Homepage | 10.20.07 - 7:13 pm | #