Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Night Musings

So last night we tore ourselves away from the latest episode of "As the Anglican World Turns" and went out and saw the best movie I've seen in I-don't-know-how-long: La Vie En Rose ... the life story of French singer Edith Piaf.

Honestly -- find a way to see it. Trust me. Really.


But guess what ... when we got back the Anglican World was STILL Turning!
At least that's what I'm seeing in the blogs which I'm checking tonight with one eye on the Dodgers and Giants (one-one-tie-in-the-5th) wondering if tonight will be Barry Bonds' big night while Louise is out at a parish meeting and I'm home with the dogs.
So here's what's up with "things Anglican": the ACN folks (Anglican Communion Network) have been meeting in Fort Worth this week and I have happily left all their comings and goings in the capable hands of veteran journalist and colleague Katie Sherrod who covered the ACN pow-wow for Integrity. I understand StandFirmites and Titusoneniners have been live-blogging and video-streaming so if you want a play-by-play do click over there and enjoy.
If you're looking for the post-game show, however, here's Katie's just-posted-to-her-blog reflection: "And they morph again." DO read it all ... but if you're in a hurry and want to cut-to-the-chase here it is (from Katie's blog):
The plan is this: The bishops who refuse to go to Lambeth will hold an alternate Lambeth.” The Anglican Communion will split in two. The Common Cause Partners will affiliate themselves with the “pure” Anglican Communion.
The “old” Anglican Communion with wither away, and the “purified” Anglican Communion will rise triumphant, and have a big tea party in Nigeria every ten years.In the meantime, they hope to persuade TEC to “cease” litigation and come to mediation so they can settle on a plan to let them leave with the property.
Apparently purity works better when you can take the property with you.
So there you have it. Is that the "shoe" we were waiting to drop? At this point I'm afraid it's like waiting for the shoes of a centipede to "drop" ... everytime you think you're done another one drops ... and it's the same old shoe!
(Giants just went ahead 3-1 in the 6th ... bummer!)
Here's the part of all the ACN saber rattling that really made me wonder, however ... when I read in The Living Church about Bishop Duncan's reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury, "To lose that historic office is a cost of such magnitude that God must be doing a new thing," he said.
Yes. Yes ... that must be what throwing the Archbishop of Canterbury out with the bathwater of Anglican Comprehensiveness is all about -- it's God "doing a new thing" because God SO typically demonstrates a perferential option for narrow exclusiveness and literal orthodoxy.
It's what Micah tells us the Lord requires, right?
Think I'll go back to the ballgame. More to follow, I imagine. Plenty more shoes to come.
PS -- And then there's Ephraim Radner's resignation from the ACN with this rather extraordinary statement "Bishop Duncan has, in the end, decided to start a new church. He may call it “Anglican” if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up ..."
But that's blogging better left for another day ... tonight, baseball beckons! (And no, Kevin -- Dodgerism is still not on the "unforgivable sin" list ... I just checked!)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Teach us to pray

Although I didn't have a sermon to write for today, I did reflect on the lessons for Proper 13C all this week ... in the process coming across these notes from the last time the lessons rolled around in the lectionary:


"Lord, teach us to pray" the disciple asked and in response, Jesus offers the wonderful words we all know and love ... those we often refer to as the words "our Lord Jesus taught us to pray" "The Lords Prayer."

Note that this is the "Lord's Prayer" not the "Lord's Secret Password" or "Lord's Magic Words." The point is not the precise WORDS our Lord taught us to pray -- words that indeed vary from translation to translation -- are revised from prayer book to prayer book. This is sometimes a subject of some consternation of the faithful -- in spite of the fact that they even vary between the Gospel according to Luke and the Gospel according to Matthew.

The fact is, we can sometimes become so fixed on the "words of God" and who's getting them right or wrong that we lose sight of the "Word of God" and what it has to do with our lives and journeys.

A case in point would be my son Brian who was about ten years old when he attended the Baccalaureate service as I was graduating from seminary. He was shocked to find that people did church "different" than he was used to -- appalled that the prayers he'd proudly memorized weren't EXACTLY the same as hed learned them. The final straw was the administration of communion which, because it was a Methodist service was offered by way of intinction: dipping the bread into the cup of wine.

On the way back from the communion rail he could stand it no longer and said in a voice I'm sure he inherited from me; "You call this CHURCH? First they get the prayers wrong and then they won't let you drink the wine!"

Brian let his expectations about what the prayers were supposed to sound like get in the way of what they actually said -- and it is an example I think of whenever I'm tempted to do the same. In the final analysis, prayer is not about what we say but about who we are who we are in relationship with the God who, as last week's Collect of the Day said, "knows our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking." Or as another writer has offered: "If prayer were intended only to inform God of our desires and deficiencies, it would be unnecessary" [Nosson Scherman, "Prayer, a Timeless Need"]

And then in church today I was really struck by these words from the second verse of the sequence hymn:

Come, pray with me the prayer I need this day;
help me to see your purpose and your will,
where I have failed, what I have done amiss;
held in forgiving love, let me be still.

"Come pray with me the prayer I need this day" -- not "come listen to the VERY long list of things I think ought to be different."

"Come pray with me the prayer I need this day."
I think that's going on the post-it note on the computer screen in the morning.
Right now I'm going to go try the being still part.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

From the Mail Box:

Some recent mail:

From an email in response to YouTube's
"It's All Because (The Gays Are Getting Married)":

Okay, put that You Tube bit in the "don't watch it with a full bladder or you'll be sorry" category. Our marriage of nearly 27 years is going fine and we're looking forward to a sort of second honeymoon over our anniversary in September chartering a sailboat. This must be the fault of gays getting married, too.

Really, there are two guys down the street still rebuilding their house after the hurricane (and yes, gay guys have much better taste than straight guys), but other than admiring their three beautiful Weimaraners when they're out for a walk (and the work they've put into their house), I can't say that they're anymore a threat to our marriage than the man next door with his mail order bride from Thailand.

From me:

From a question on pending Hate Crimes Legislation:

Ron's Q. I'm basically trying to understand what the justification is for hate crimes are in the first place. Consider what happened to Matthew Shepard. Even without a hate crime statute, the perpetrators were eligible for what effectively was life in prison. What difference would passing this act have on that? Why is this needed?

My A. Hate Crimes are are crimes motivated by bias against an identifiable social group, usually groups defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Hate Crime legislation has been on the books since the 1960's and emerged out of the Civil Rights struggle. (See Jeff Martinhauk's blog for a reality check.)

Laws currently state that crimes directed at a category of people in order to intimidate, oppress and marginalize the whole community are defined as Hate Crimes and entitled to Federal Law Enforcement support. Current laws provide federal prosecution for hate crimes committed on the basis of a person's race, color, religion, or nation origin. The pending legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list providing federal support for local law enforcement agencies.

It has the support of notable individuals and more than 230 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, Dick Thornburgh; National Sheriffs’ Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Presbyterian Church; Episcopal Church; and the Parents Network on Disabilities.



Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Never let it be said that the well reasoned, clearly articulated, non-polemic arguments of those from the other side of the political/theological aisle are not welcome here at "An Inch At A Time." A recent piece that falls in that category is Matt Kennedy's "A Hard Truth" over at "Stand Firm."

See what you think:



If we were to take a straw poll of the primates of the Anglican Communion on the question of human sexuality, we would, no doubt, find that somewhat more than 20 agree with Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

Were we, however, to ask which primates would be prepared to stand against or, if need be, apart from Canterbury if push came to shove, the number would be reduced to somewhere near 6 or, if we want to be optimistic, 8.

The fact is that while the vast majority of the Anglican primates hold fast to the orthodox position on human sexuality, only a small minority are willing to do much about it apart from issuing statements or voting “yes” on various orthodox resolutions.

It seems, unfortunately for us, that Canterbury knows this too.

He tested the strength of the Global South coalition in Tanzania and found, in the end, that only a small number of primates were prepared to walk if need be. The bold intransigence of these few courageous primates saved the day in Dar. But the damage was done. The strength of the orthodox primates and the orthodox position within the primates meeting once lay in the potential loss of up to 20 provinces.
At Dar, the Archbishop of Canterbury put this potential to the test. He lost his gambit to push through the Sub-Group Report, but he gained a much greater strategic victory: knowledge. Now he knows the real rather than the supposed strength of the orthodox primates. And this knowledge has added a certain measure of steel to his spine.
Why carry forward with the process articulated at Dar? Why heed calls from communion conservatives to appoint a provincial council? Why call a primates meeting after September 30th? Politically speaking, there is no reason to do any of these things and every reason not to do them.

Knowledge of the real political weakness of the orthodox coalition is why we’ve seen, since Tanzania, such a noticeable and aggressive shift in Canterbury’s public position and posture beginning with his issuance of Lambeth Conference invitations.
The worst case scenario for Archbishop Rowan Williams, supposing he refuses to act in accordance with the Tanzania Communique’s Pastoral Scheme and/or refuses to discipline the Episcopal Church, would be the loss of some populous but politically isolated provinces in the Global South and the loss of several primates--primates who, frankly, threaten the power and position of the see of Canterbury and that of the Church of England.

Canterbury has nothing to lose. This is a hard truth.

I’ve written about it before. I do so again because I think it is something with which we must come to terms if we are to think clearly about the Network, Common Cause, the upcoming House of Bishops meeting, Lambeth, and the Communion as a whole. And the most profound question is this: Is Canterbury essential to Anglicanism?

My own answer, as you might have guessed, is “no.” What is yours?

The way various parties, far more powerful and influential, answer that fundamental question will determine the ultimate shape of the Communion.

I happen to think Canterbury is essential to the Anglican Communion as we know it. I'd quibble with the term "Anglicanism" as it seems to me that more and more we are seeing there are actually a plurality of "Anglicanisms" operating within the bounds of our life in this communion and the root of the problem du jour seems to be who gets to decide what is essential and what is not.

Which brings me to Lambeth. Let's not lose sight of the history of Lambeth Conferences -- that "won't ya'll come hang out at Lambeth Palace with me" shindig the Archibishop of Canterbury throws every ten years. It's as if those invited to a party at your home start to think they get to dictate the guest list, begin to tell you what to serve or not to serve and then -- when you protest "excuse me, this is MY party!" -- decide you're not "essential."

My question is: How do you get away calling the Archbishop of Canterbury an Anglican non-essential and US the revisionists?

Friday, July 27, 2007

So here's the thing ...

... we just finished watching this year's season finale of Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D List" and she totally cracks us up -- and now she's nominated for her second Emmy for her "reality show" (hello ... just in case you wondered ... I have it on VERY good authority that these reality shows aren't, well, actually REAL!)

ANYWAY the season ended with a touching tribute to Kathy's dad, John Griffin, who died in February: an Irish pub toast and a scattering of his ashes in "the old country."

She's done a great job of lampooning the very celebrity she is unabashedly seeking ... not to mention being an outspoken advocate for equality for LGBT folk.

So here's to ya, Kathy ... may your dad rest in peace and rise in glory, good luck with the Emmy thing and long may you make us laugh!


So here's the OTHER thing ...

... I've never aspired to be on ANYBODY'S list (well, Santa's when I was 5!) and I certainly can't imagine what it must be like to be on the A, B, C or D kind of list Kathy Griffin talks about. But it seems that there is a list I've managed to get on ...

... the AAC list!

Yes ... it's not the D-List and there's certainly no Emmy involved but the AAC (American Anglican Council) ... the very people who scripted, produced and are now directing the long-running "As The Anglican Schism Turns" have their own "list" ... issued by their "Office of Communique Compliance" they have just issued "Report No. 4" ...

... and I'm in it!

I made the "AAC List" for participating in the blessing of the union of John Alexander and John Lipsey on July 7th.

First of all, I'd like to say what an honor it is to just be nominated.

I want to thank the Academy ... I mean the AAC ... for including me along with such luminaries as Bishop Gene Robinson for allowing the clergy of his diocese to make their own decisions about the blessing of soon-to-be legal civil unions in New Hampshire ...

Dr. Horace Griffin for likening gay rights to the struggles of slavery, segregation and women's equality and ...

Bishop Sergio Carranza for riding in the L.A. Gay Pride Parade. (Note to "the compliance office" ... this is actually pretty old news: we've had a bishop in the parade for years ... sorry you missed +Jon and Mary Bruno the year we had a float -- I've got pictures I'd love to share!)

I know my time is running out but I'd also like to thank my parents for raising me to believe that "liberty and justice for all" really means ALL, my congregation for continuing in the struggle to turn the human race into the human family, my partner for her unflagging love and support and finally the American Anglican Council -- for continuing to demonstrate to the Church and to the Communion that the only unity they will recognize is uniformity with their narrow, exclusionist agenda and that as capitulation to that agenda is their sole criterion for communion continued good will efforts to find compromise or common ground are -- sadly -- useless.

In closing, my nominee for the next AAC List is the Archbishop of York -- surely his statement this week ... ""As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message" ... is worthy of consideration.

Thank you. And Good Night!

Bits & PIeces On A Day Off

Well, we've been to the Dog Park, got the washer washing and the dryer drying and so I'm treating myself to a little wander around the blogopshere on a MOST lovely Friday-off in Sunny California.

First of all, echoing Elizabeth Kaeton, Mad Priest and -- I'm sure a host of others I haven't wandered over to yet -- you must check out this MOST fabulous YouTube offering: "It's All Because (The Gays are Getting Married).


OK ... next over at The Hunter's Hodgepodge there's a piece about documentary film maker Douglas Hunter's new project -- which we're filming at All Saints Church. The whole "Super 8 Citizen" film project is such an interesting one and Douglas is a great guy ... am looking forward to seeing how this evolves and quite honored to be part of it!


In "Things Anglican" I appreciated the follow-up interview with the Archbishop of York posted (among other places) over at Walking With Integrity. Key quotes:

"As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message."

"And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics."

It seems increasingly clear that while there will continue to be deep differences between us the willingness to come to the table in spite of them is emerging as the deepest desire of those committed to historic Anglicanism rather than hysteric Schismism.

In entertainment news (we ARE in L.A., after all -- where the lead news stories on the local 11:00 news last night were Nicole Richie going to jail and Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband being found naked in his Mercedes!) there seem to be will-she/won't-she reports about whether or not Whoopi Goldberg will replace Rosie on The View. Why do I care? Not sure I really do ... but I seem to be following the story anyway. Go figure!
In "local news" it will be a great treat for us to welcome back to All Saints Church on Sunday the VERY Reverend Scott Richardson -- Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego. Scott is a not only a great priest and preacher he's an OLD friend ... we go back to before-either-of-us-went-to-seminary days when I was a parish secretary and he was the day school P.E. teacher/youth group leader and my now 25-year old helicopter crew chief was in Scott's pre-school sermon-time-activity group on Sunday mornings! Here we are when I preached down in San Diego a while back:

Welcome back to All Saints, Scott! Our loss was San Diego's gain!
And now, back to laundry-land. TGIF!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thank Goodness for Fr. Jake!

It's been a long day in parish ministry land and I still have two more committee meetings before I call it a day. (What happened to the good old days when the Episcopal Church just went to Maine for July & August?)

Anyway, on days like this thank goodness for
Fr. Jake who helps keep one abreast of the comings and goings of things Anglican:

On the ongoing property saga in the Diocese of Los Angeles:

You may recall our discussion last month regarding a California Court of Appeal ruling in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles in their attempt to recover the property held by St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach; All Saints' Anglican Church, Long Beach; and St. David's Anglican Church, North Hollywood.

I've been informed that the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 3, entered an order yesterday denying those congregations' petition for rehearing. They now have 10 days to petition for discretionary review by the California Supreme Court.

My, My, My!

On "the Global South:"

A week ago, a statement was issued by a group calling themselves "The Global South Steering Committee." In it, they made statements such as "We in the Global South..." which appear to imply that they are the Anglican voice in that part of the world. No signatures were affixed to this statement, leading some to assume that it had been issued by all the members of the Global South Steering Committee.

We were told that Abp. Orombi of Uganda, who is not a member, was also present for the meeting that issued this statement. Now, a week later, we learn that three Primates, Abps. Malango, Venable and Gomez, were not present for the meeting.

That means that this strong statement, intended by the authors to represent "We in the Global South," was the product of four Archbishops, Akinola, Chew, Anis and Kolini, and Archbishop Orombi, present as a guest.

Contrast this with the Walking to Emmaus consultation currently being held in Spain, at which five Global South Primates are present, and ten of twelve African Provinces are represented.

Let us not mistake those who shout the loudest to necessarily be the true voice of those they claim to represent.

Amen. Amen. Amen!

Meanwhile, in our nation's capital ...

Senate Hate Crimes Bill Update

From the Episcopal Public Policy Network:

The Senate could take action at any time on the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105), sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) with 42 co- sponsors .

This bi-partisan legislation, which passed in the House in May, will expand current hate crimes law to include crimes based on race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. It will also help local authorities investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes. According to the latest FBI figures, in 2005 there were 7,163 hate crimes in the United States. These crimes—motivated by fear and hatred of others—are directed at communities as much as they are directed at the victim because of who they are.

These divisive and destructive crimes contradict our Baptismal Covenant pledge to "respect the dignity of every human being."

In a recent letter to Senators in support of S. 1105, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote:

"The Episcopal Church has long been an advocate of combating hate in our society. No person or group of people should be the target of violence simply because of race, gender, religion, disability, national origin, sexuality or perceived sexual orientation."

In the many years since the death of Matthew Shepard, Congress has passed similar bills but none have ever had as much chance to reach the President’s desk as this one does right now. Help send the Matthew Shepard bill to the Presidents desk – contact your Senator today.

Troop Reduction Legislation Poll
From my representative's (Adam Schiff) weekly email:

Last week's Survey Results: Last week, the House passed a measure to "require the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of the number of United States armed forces in Iraq to a limited presence by April 1, 2008." Should the Senate pass the same measure and should the President sign it into law?

Yes -- 69.97%
No -- 25.89%
I don't know --4.14%

Monday, July 23, 2007


PFC James Russell is now ...

SPC James Russell.
Way to go, Jamie!

Well, there you have it ...

Archbishop warns Anglican conservatives
By Jonathan Petre 7/23/07

The Archbishop of York has warned conservative Anglican leaders that they will effectively expel themselves from the worldwide Church if they boycott next year's Lambeth Conference.

Dr John Sentamu said the conservatives risked severing themselves from the Anglican Communion. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu pleaded with them to attend the conference despite their war with liberals over homosexuality.
But he told them that if they "voted with their feet" they risked severing their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with historic Anglicanism, a breach that could take centuries to heal.
"Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury," he said. "If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it."

Read the rest here.

Make no mistake -- this is a considered response to last week's saber rattling statement from the "Global South Steering Committee" challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury by as much as declaring "you are SO not the boss of us!"
Well, actually, yes ... yes he is. And York's statement is about setting that particular record straight. You can declare yourself the bastions of traditional Anglicanism until the cows come home but if you're not in communion with Canterbury you're not part of the Anglican Communion.
And there you have it.
You've heard it here for a very long time: The responsibility for splitting the Anglican Communion lies with those threatening to leave -- not with those threatening to stay. And now we've heard it from York -- which may not be from "the horse's mouth" but it's from the mouth of the horse who speaks for the horse when he's off on study leave!
Meanwhile over at titusonenine and stand firm the minions are predictably appalled ... here was my favorite comment so far this morning (from #15 on titusonenine:)
"I think the idea of a Canterbury-less communion, once unthinkable, is becoming thinkable. "
And WE'RE the revisionists????? Looks like York is another bishop they're ready to throw out with the bathwater. Happy Monday, everybody!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Bits & Pieces

Overheard at the communion rail today:

As the young visitor was leaving the communion rail this morning he put his hand into his father's, looked up and said -- in an ever-so-audible-voice -- "Well, the cracker wasn't bad but the music is too loud!"

Revisionist/Reappraiser = Heretic = Apostate ???
My, My, My!
You gotta love Chris Sugden for being clear about what he's clear about -- even if it's NOT so clear how he got there! Here's the opening salvo from his new online piece, An End of Nationalistic Anglicanism. "The Archbishop of Canterbury will be meeting with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church on 20 and 21 September. Later, the Common Cause of Bishops in the Americas, including Canada and Recife, Brazil will meet as the September 30 deadline for the response of The Episcopal Church to draw back from its apostate stance draws near."
Hmmmm ... I thought we were either revisionists or reappraisers -- depending on whether or not you subscribe to the South Carolina lexicon ... or perhaps even heretics -- depending on whether or not you thought our revisions went far enough to be considered heresy .
Maybe I missed a meeting but it seems the ante has been upped if now we're apostates ... those who, according to Merriam-Webster, have "renounced a religious faith."
Here's what Wikipedia has to say: The difference between apostasy and heresy is that the latter refers to rejection or corruption of certain doctrines, not to the complete abandonment of one's religion. Heretics claim to still be following a religion (or to be the "true followers"), whereas apostates reject it.
It seems to me if we were rejecting it there'd be a sound of exhultation and victory in the tents of the "orthodox." Rather, the issue is our CLAIMING our religious faith -- the issue is our having the gall to not only believe but to trust and to proclaim that the Living God continues to proclaim, transform and INform -- that the love of God IS broader than the measure of the mind (even Chris Sugden's mind!) -- and that, my friends, doesn't sound anything like "apostasy" to me. I doubt Chris will be inclined to revision ... but perhaps he'll consider revisiting ... the choice of words? Or perhaps not.
More from Tammy Faye
My favorite quote from Tammy Faye: "Forgiveness is a choice. And it's a choice you ask God to help you keep. It doesn't happen overnight. Forgiveness is an ongoing battle. And sometimes when I see Jerry Falwell my heart hurts. But then I say to God, "God I forgave him, I gave Jerry Falwell to you, you take care of him," and then I'm okay again. So he's in God's hands, he's not in Tammy Faye's hands." May we all be given the grace to go and do likewise!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tammy Faye Messner: 1942 - 2007

(CNN) -- Tammy Faye Messner, the former televangelist and Christian singer who battled drug addiction and later inoperable cancer, died Friday morning, according to CNN's Larry King on Saturday night. He said the family had asked him to make the delayed announcement.

She was 65. "She died peacefully," King said.

[At Capital Pride 2002]
See also this Metro Weekly interview:
The Words of Tammy Faye
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.


Saturday Morning

So we're each doing our favorite Saturday morning things this morning ... Louise went off for a trip to the Farmer's Market ...

... and I went off for a trip to the blogs.
She'll be back shortly with all kinds of goodies ... here's one of the goodies I found.
As noted yesterday in my post-nap-musings the folks calling themselves the "Global South Steering Committee" issued another saber rattling missive entitled "This is a critical time." (Another variation on "the sky is falling, it really is, I'm not kidding, it's totally coming down any minute, honest-to-Pete, I don't know why you aren't running for cover like I am" theme.)
The Episcopal News Service (ENS) promptly issued a piece reminding everybody that [a] this was just more of the same and [b] let's not forget that these folks calling for "compliance" aren't even complying with their own list of demands. "Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries" was the title of the piece and it is well worth a read.
So that was yesterday. Today, Kendall Harmon (ubiquitous blogger of amazingly prolific titusonenine fame) took umbrage with the ENS piece and offered his own perspective ... "Episcopal News Service tries to Counterspin the Global South Steering Committee Statement." Not exactly surprising, but one comment caught my eye ...
Comment #11. "... I believe in your headline you meant to write “spin” not “counterspin”. Because, otherwise, it is the GS steering committee that is spinning to begin with."
Bingo. Amen. Give that man the brass ring!
Thus inspired, I ventured into titusonenine commentland ... which I never do unadvisedly or lightly ... and offered the following:
Comment #13 "(For #11) ... No, I think Kendall hit it spot-on—and Mainstream Episcopalians are saying “Glory, Hallelujah!” that ENS and the Nat’l Church office is finally getting on the ball and countering the “spin” we’ve been getting from schismatics and the GS bunch for lo these many years. Bravo/a 815, Mary Frances, Jan Nunley et al ...
And Kendall, of course, is absolutely right as well that “Nothing this side of glory is inevitable if God is in charge.” Even the coming of this long desired schism is not inevitable if those insisting on capitulation and compliance to their worldview and hermeneutic would put down the sabers and take up instead the traditional value of Anglican comprehensiveness.
One does indeed do “...the right thing because one is called to do the right thing.” And choosing communion with those with whom one disagrees, for all its messiness and challenge, seems to me the right thing ... the better portion ... in contrast to choosing the dogged insistence on conformity displayed in this latest GS missive. Hard to imagine that will ever change? Remember ... “Nothing this side of glory is inevitable if God is in charge.”
And now, as it will shortly be time to put away the melons, corn, sunflowers and basil from the Saturday morning trip to the Farmer's Market, here endeth the Saturday morning trip to Blogland!

Friday, July 20, 2007


So I had an ambitious "To Do" list for my day off today ... and this is pretty much what I got accomplished:

Actually, a tad more than that. We did make it to the Dog Park ... and I got my nails done and we stopped at OSH and bought a new mop and a fly-swatter to replace the one Luna chewed up. (Whoopee!) Then I plopped down on an actual couch with a bonfide novel and fell sound asleep.

When I came back up for air it didn't appear I'd missed much ... the "Global South" is rattling the same old sabers (Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries) and the breaking news out of Washington is about President Bush's Dr.'s appointment making Dick Cheney "acting president." (Earth to country: He Already Is!)

And now I think it's Mojitos on the patio and some burgers on the grill. I'm going to try this day off thing more often!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Setting the Hate Crimes Record Straight

In USA TODAY online today ... Letter to the Editor from Harry Knox, director - Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Note the great "talking points" for us to go and do likewise as the Religious Right Ramps up its opposition to the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act working its way through the Senate.

Go, Harry!


Support anti-hate act

The July 11 ad in USA TODAY by the High Impact Leadership Coalition implied that the anti-hate crime law that is before the Senate might impede the rights and freedoms of religious people to speak out against homosexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the legislation carries an explicit protection for religious speech. This law addresses only hate crimes that cause serious physical harm and death.

The people who placed this ad are actively trying to mislead the public. Sadly, I suspect that their motivations are rooted not in their faith, but in deeply held prejudice against gay and lesbian Americans.

Their view certainly does not reflect the views of the more than 1,300 clergy members who has signed a letter urging senators to vote for the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Twenty-six state attorneys general, including 23 from states with anti-hate crimes laws, as well as 290 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, also support it.

This bill would help protect all Americans from the scourge of hate violence and strengthen the safety of all our nation's citizens.


WASHINGTON — Opposition to the Iraq war has reached a record high, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a development likely to complicate President Bush's efforts to hold together Republican support as the Senate begins debate this week on Pentagon priorities.

Bush's approval rating has reached a new low: 29%. More than seven in 10 favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Story Time

On July 3rd I posted a piece on the court decision ruling in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles in the property dispute with St. Luke's, La Crescenta.

A commenter named "Jim" wrote: "It seems to me that there has been little of what might be called Christian charity in any of this prior to the filing of lawsuits."

In response I replied, "If you'd like to email me I'd be happy to give you some of the "back story" of just how far backwards this diocese bent to keep the litigation from happening. What 'seems to you' is not all there is to the story. "

"Jim" did write ... and I filed the email away "until I had time" and today realized I'm never GOING to have time so I might was well just answer it now. And I might as well just answer it for all ya'll. So let's have "Story Time."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Once upon a time there was a diocese getting ready to elect a new bishop. The Search Committee presented four candidates -- any one of whom would have made a perfectly FINE bishop -- but there were some people in the diocese who thought they needed more diversity in the slate so two other candidates ... both of whom would make perfectly fine bishops ... were persuaded to allow themselves to be nominated from the floor of the Electing Convention.
One of those was a priest named Jon Bruno. I remember returning to town from some meeting or the other to the news [a] that Jon had agreed to stand for election and [b] that David Anderson (then Rector of St. James, Newport Beach) was supporting him in the election.
So I called Jon ... who I'd known for many years in Stewardship and Cursillo contexts ... and left him a message that I had a question for him.
He called me back. My question was ... well, to put it bluntly ... blunt.
"I heard that David is supporting your candidacy and before I can figure out who I'm supporting need to know from you whether you've cut some kind of Griswoldesque deal with him that involves the word "abstain." (This was not long after Lambeth 1998 when +Frank Tracy famously abstained on Lambeth 1.10)
Jon's answer was he had not cut any kind of "deal" -- that David knew where he stood on the issues they disagreed about and the only thing he'd promised was that there would always be a place at the table for people who disagreed with him. And he asked me for my support. And I gave it to him.

So +Jon Bruno became Bishop Coadjutor in 2000 and Bishop Diocesan in 2001 and set about trying to make sure that there was a place for everybody. Even people who disagreed with him. And he brought together people who disagreed with EACH other to try to bridge the gap. I wrote back in May about some of my experience with that process.
Here's a bit from that post about "... the once-upon-a-time when the Bishop of Los Angeles was longing to hope that if he brought together clergy leaders from his diocese for conversations about faith and theology we'd learn that we had more in common than we did in difference and we'd find a way to heal the breech between us. So we did. Eight of us. Four "liberal" and four "conservative." We met for a year. Twelve months. Once a month.
We brought sack lunches and sat around a round table in our Cathedral Center and read the Catechism together -- the Outline of the Faith from the Book of Common Prayer. And we talked about it. About God. About Jesus. About the Holy Spirit. About the Church. About the Sacraments. About Sin.
And we prayed for each others' children and grandchildren. And we found we did indeed have a lot more in common than we did in difference. And in the end three of the four "conservatives" left the Episcopal Church. David Anderson to Nigeria. Bill Thompson to Uganda. Ron Jackson to I-can't-remember-where."
And how much harder could +Jon Bruno have worked to keep that from happening? Where was "Christian Charity" when we could have used it -- back before the lawyers and the courtrooms and the countersuits?
Here's what I know. On Diocesan Dodger Night +Jon took me aside and -- over peanuts and a beer -- told me that he had that very week met with "our brothers" and offered them Delegated Episcopal Oversight (DEPO) from the bishop of their choice. "It breaks my heart, Susan," he said, "that at this point none of the bishops of Los Angeles can meet their sacramental needs. But we have to realize that this is just where we are as a church right now and give them what they need so we can put this fighting behind us and get on with the mission and ministry of the church."
And he said he would keep me posted. And the next thing I heard that "our brothers" told him didn't want another bishop ... that +Jon was their bishop and they loved him. And the following Monday (the bishop's day off) letters were presented at the Cathedral Center saying they were leaving for greener Anglican pastures. Oh -- and they were taking the property that belonged to the Diocese of Los Angeles with them.
And here we are. Story time doesn't have a "happily ever after" ending today, I'm afraid. The bishop who promised that there would always be room at the table for those who disagreed with him before he even WAS a bishop still has a place set at the table for those who have left -- and in my index of gifts and graces that would certainly be listed under "Christian Charity."
I couldn't agree more that the lawsuits are a sad distraction from and a significant drain on the resources we have been given to do mission and ministry.
And I wish with all my heart there had been a way for us to work through our differences or -- lacking that -- to come to a mutually agreeable separation agreement.
And it seems to me that the chance for that was somewhere inbetween "thanks for the offer of DEPO but we want you to be our bishop" and "these are our lawyers."
And the responsibility for that lies firmly at the feet of the ones walking out the door with the silver, the linens and the deeds stuffed in their pockets -- not at the feet of the one still setting a place at the table for everybody.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Breaking" Bits and Pieces for a Tuesday Lunchtime

Tuesdays are known as "All Staff Meetings All Day At All Saints Church Day" so not usually a day I get much blog reading OR writing time ... but today I'm snagging a little during my lunch-break-between-meetings to post these relatively "breaking" bits and pieces:


Earlier this week there was much ado about a New York Times story entitled "Man of the Flesh to Man of the Cross" which turned out to be much ado about not very accurate facts, as revealed in Jan Nunley's brilliant investigative effort "Stop the Presses Before Someone Gets Hurt" over on EpiScope.

ANYWAY, here's the Letter to the Editor written to the NYTImes from +Jon Bruno -- a letter, I am pleased and proud to note, that sets the record straight in as faithful and measured a way as one could ask from a chief pastor. You can read it all here ... but here's the concluding paragraph:

As Christians, we always rejoice at the news that a person has been transformed by the gospel of Christ into new life, leaving behind attitudes or activities that separate him or her from the love and mercy of God. In the Episcopal Church, all baptized members are invited to be involved in worthwhile and fulfilling forms of ministry, many of which do not require ordination. We encourage Mr. Boyer to continue seeking for the path that our Lord intends for him.

The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

In a word: Bravo!


Meanwhile, also over at Episcopal Cafe has a nice piece entitled "Pod world and you tube" which notes All Saints tip-toeing into the 21st century with podcasts and videocasts ... including +Gene's sermon from last Sunday. Thanks, Episcopal Cafe folk!

Mary Magdalene

The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

This week we'll be using the lessons appointed for the Feast of St. Mary of Magdalene on Sunday -- something All Saints Church has done for years now ... and so we asked Anne Breck Peterson, our Senior Associate for Leadership, Growth and Incorporation ... to share a little of that history in this week's Saints Alive newsletter.


What is the passage of scripture that energizes you most? For me it is the scene of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb of Easter morning. Sadly confronting a man who appears to be a gardener, she asks who has removed the body of Jesus and to what location. This gardener calls Mary by name, and in this exchange she experiences her friend and mentor, Jesus. Bidden to go and tell the others, Mary runs hell-bent-for-election, yelling, “I have seen the Lord!” The surprise, the delight and the energy of that scene excite me. I use this scene as a periodic meditation, wondering in what ways I am living as if I had “seen the Lord.”

The celebration of Mary Magdalene at All Saints began years ago when task forces exploring inclusive language and images of God were at work. Women’s Council went looking for women in the New Testament. Not many were to be found, but there was Mary-a leader of women who supported Jesus’ ministry out from their resources, a faithful disciple who stood at the cross when others had vanished, and the first to experience the risen Christ.

We celebrated this amazing woman in an evening service. The fact her feast day, July 22, was in the summer months when the liturgical calendar encouraged experimentation, was helpful. The first services, sponsored by Women’s Council, experimented with inclusive language and feminine images of God. A priest friend Anne Howard and I composed a eucharistic prayer for these occasions. We invited a variety of women priests to preside. After the services participants were invited to gather and talk about what it felt like to be in such a service. Having this opportunity to focus on a woman in our traditionally patriarchal church was moving, to men and women alike.

We have all come a long way, and Mary Magdalene is mainstream now. But the excitement of her encounter with the risen Christ will always keep us on the edge!

—from Anne Breck Peterson

in this week's All Saints Newsletter,



COMMENT: From my favorite straight, white, male, Republican, Floridian, cradle-Episcopalian attorney:

I would post this on your blog, but I don't know how to do a picture. "Feminine images of God. Hmmmpphhh. Everybody knows what God looks like:"

UPDATE: (From the aformentioned Floridian) -- I'm not a Republican!!!! I gave up that Calvinist dominated theocracy years ago and registered Libertarian. Oh, for the days of Barry Goldwater and Harry Truman.

On Senators and Sleepless Nights

Woke up to news reports that the Senate may pull an all-nighter to debate next-steps in Iraq. Good for them. It's about time those with the power to put an end to this debacle stayed up all night ... they'll have plenty of company with the families of soldiers in harm's way to whom sleepless nights have become a way of life.

Welcome to our world!

Here's what I wrote to my congressional representative last night in response to his "what do you think about bringing the troops home legislation" email to constituents:

As the mother of a son on active duty in Iraq I believe it is LONG past time to see that the kids we send into harm's way are being sent in order to do what they swore to do: to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Keeping them in harm's way to defend the failed policy of this failed administration is a travesty, a shame and a deep dishonoring of the sacrifices they make on our behalf.

Please speak for my son and vote to bring them home.

Sending the same to my senators momentarily. Please consider going and doing likewise.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Blessed to be a blessing

For those who requested the text of the blessing +Gene gave
on Sunday at All Saints Church here it is ...
... the "Franciscan Four Fold Blessing."





[Franciscan Four Fold Blessing]

And here it is ...

... due to the Marvels of Modern Technology ...

... on YOU TUBE!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just Another Summer Sunday ... NOT!

It was a big old day at All Saints Church today!
It was a thrill to welcome back our favorite bishop from New Hampshire ...

... who graciously agreed to share some of his time in Southern California with us by being our preacher at the 9:00 and 11:15 services.

After an opening prayer for ministers of the liturgy ...

... we were off and running with a church full of people and a bishop ready to rock & roll with a wonderful sermon on putting faith into action via the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Link to sermon here ... don't miss it!)

Aferwards it was time to greet the young ...

... and the young at heart (Canon Lydia Wilkins currently planning her 104th birthday party!)

With a few Hollywood types thrown in ... including All Saintsian Brad Whitford ...

... and Daniel Karslake, producer and director of For the Bible Tells Me So -- the documentary film featuring +Gene's story and screening here in L.A. at OUTFEST this week. (No, I still don't have tickets!)

And Rector Emeritus George Regas.

And here we are with Jerry and Bruno who are planning a wedding here at All Saints Church in October.

Finally we gathered for a luncheon with a small group of parish and diocesan leaders ... including my sweetie pie Louise and Bishop Carranza (listening intently to something Ed Bacon is saying here ...)

... and a good time was had by all! (As you can see in this NOT so candid photo of the lunch bunch.)

So here's the best part of the whole day for me ... no media, no protesters, no security, no drama -- just a bishop feeding a flock with word and sacrament and then having a little Sunday dinner with some friends.


Maybe we're getting there.




"It's an amazing time," said Chad Allen, a gay actor who stars in "Save Me," a fictional story exploring a love affair inside Genesis House, a ministry aimed at turning gays into straights. "Christians are standing up finally and saying there's something wrong with a theology which condemns and scapegoats gay and lesbian people for political power. We will not allow our faith, and our belief and love of Christ, to be used in that way."

Go, Chad!!!



"For the Bible Tells Me So" directly confronts anti-gay Christians who quote a handful of Bible passages — usually including Leviticus — to support their position. The film's experts (including Harvard University theologian the Rev. Peter Gomes and South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu) say those passages are usually taken out of context and also call for other prohibitions (such as mixing crops, wearing linen and wool together, and remarrying after divorce) that few of the staunchest anti-gay critics seem to worry about. The film's overarching thesis is that Jesus was a reconciler, not a divider; that he and God walk with the oppressed, not the oppressors.

"I think the real power of the film, besides the five very personal stories of religious families who have dealt with this," Robinson said, "is that it gives people a firm piece of ground to stand on and say, 'You know, those verses actually don't wind up saying what they at first appear to mean.' My sense is that there are a lot of people in the country who are beginning to or already are feeling somewhat sympathetic. But they feel totally undercut when someone starts quoting Scripture to them. The film will give people the tools they need to turn that sympathy into real active support."

Go, +Gene!!!


PS - "For the Bible Tells Me So" screens Tuesday night at Outfest and as I don't have tickets and would LOVE to go consider this a shameless suggestion that I'd love to hear from anybody WITH tickets who isn't ABLE to go!!! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday Respite from Anglican Angst

Harvey and Luna thought their moms were the only dog-blogging moms on the planet! They are SOOOOO relieved to know they have company out there!

Friday, July 13, 2007

And a good time was had by all ...

Today I'm trying to have a geunine day off with decidely mixed results (phone calls from the office and a mostly-done-but-not-there-yet sermon for Sunday haunting me) but I have gotten a slew of housework done and am taking a break to post this "just sent to me via-cell-phone-camera" photo of me with Chad Allen and +Gene at last night's "Save Me" premiere at the OUTFEST Film Festival here in L.A.

So here we are ...

... a good time being had by all. (photo credit: Louise Brooks!)

Enjoyed the film VERY much ... Chad and co-stars Judith Light and Robert Gant were great and I think it's an important addition to the cultural conversation on faith, religion, tolerance, love and healing -- not of the orientation kind but of the relationship kind.

More later, probably. Back to laundryland!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday Bits and Pieces

So I thought I'd get a head start and get my sermon for Sunday morning written tonight but I've been catching up on eamil and checking out the blogs instead. So here are my "bits and pieces" du jour:

Walking With Integrity has a new piece "For the Record" which I would commend to you even if I hadn't written it myself!

Mark Harris offers a particularly insightly reflection on Bishop Orombi's "What Is Anglicanism." I'm going to give it another read tomorrow alongside Terry Holmes' classic work of the same title. Would make an interesting small group study to compare the two, wouldn't it? Hmmm ....

I did some reading about the film "Save Me" which kicks off the L.A. OUTFEST and we're going to see tomorrow night. I was up for it already as one of the stars is Chad Allen -- an All Saints parishioner -- and we were looking forward to being there and being supportive of him in his work. But the more I read about it the film the cooler it sounds ... check out this quote from Christianity Today: "One of the things that struck me about this film was how the filmmakers (some who are themselves gay as we learned during the question and answer time following the screening) portrayed the motives and stories of the conservative Christians who lead the ex-gay ministry with tenderness and grace. Is it possible that many in the gay community are more gracious in their understanding of Evangelical Christians than we are towards them?" More about that after I see the film!

Finally, in the "it must be a slow news day department" the AAC (American Anglican Council) blog is leading with the story of last Saturday's blessing at Disney Hall. Must admit to being amused (along with the several folks who emailed me about it) by comment #5 from "Dawn" ... who seems to think I work at 815.

Not so much.

Here endeth the "bits and pieces."

Episcopal Public Policy Network

If you don't know about
Episcopal Public Policy Network
you should!

Here's the Public Policy Alert that came in my email today:

"The American people expect us to find a solution to the situation in Iraq; this legislation sets us on the right track diplomatically, economically and militarily to do so." Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)

"I am proud to sponsor this legislation with my Republican and Democratic colleagues. ..The legislation we are offering will give the president and Congress new opportunities to work together to find solutions for a more stable Iraq." Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)

Congress has the chance to send a bipartisan and unified message to the Bush Administration that the time is long past to change course in Iraq. There may be a number of opportunities for the Senate to consider S. 1545, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group Implementation Act, in the coming days.

The bill has broad bipartisan support and would establish a much needed foundation for a new U.S. policy in Iraq and the Middle East, including removing most combat troops by March 2008. While other bills are stronger on troop withdrawal, S. 1545 is the only one that makes the all important point that the Administration must deal with both Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict for peace to come to the region.

Congress rarely speaks with one voice on any issue. This is a chance for them to do so on one of the most difficult issues the nation now faces.


I've already written in support to both of my Senators -- Boxer and Feinstein -- though EPNN.

Click here to join the
Episcopal Public Policy Network
and let your voice be heard!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We celebrated a life today ...

Rod Leonard
1944 ~ 2007

The obituary that ran on today's CBS2 website got the details right but didn't begin to scratch the surface of the man whose life we celebrated today at All Saints Church with a Memorial Eucharist and a packed church and many tears at the loss of this extraordinary man at the ripe young age of 63.
I write alot on this blog about putting faith into action ... about the gospel agenda that calls us out to take the good news into the world ... to transform the human race into the human family ... to take back the planet an inch at a time.
I'm humbled today to have had the privilege of celebrating the life of someone who didn't preach those things but lived them. And in celebration of his life I share the homily from his memorial this morning.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me and has sent me to bring good news to the humble, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to those in prison.”

As a life-long Episcopalian I guarantee you that Rod heard this passage from Isaiah read in church many, many, MANY times. As an acolyte at St. Alban’s in Westwood or a Senior Warden at St. George’s La Canada or a parishioner here at All Saints Pasadena he couldn’t have escaped it if he tried, as it is one of the great proclamations of our spiritual heritage we read again and again to remind us not only who we are as God’s beloved but how we are to live in this world in response to that love.

And it is hard this morning to imagine a life better lived in response to that love than the too-short life of Rod Leonard.

I’m not sure if he ever sat in a pew and recognized himself in the words of the prophet Isaiah – written all those many centuries ago – but we recognize him in them today. We recognize the life of love and service and dedication he offered to family, friends and to the community at large. From the selfless giving of the college grad who worked at UniCamp serving kids in need to the young man who served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Venezuela … throughout his distinguished legal career Rod brought good news to those who needed it and reached out to the broken-hearted.

And in retirement, according to Kathy, when he wasn’t sailing or hiking, golfing or fly fishing – grandparenting or enjoying his new practice of Yoga – a practice I was told he “embraced with more enthusiasm than is usually associated with Yoga” – or volunteering here in the All Saints office reception desk! -- Rod was working 10 – 12 hours a day writing appeals for clients now living in prison. In that work, Rod was truly anointed to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to those in prison.

The spirit of the Lord God was upon Rod all the days of his well-lived, hard-worked, energetically embraced life. And now, it is to that same God we turn today – those of who loved and knew and respected and admired and ENJOYED Rod Leonard – we turn for comfort in our grief at the loss of this gifted, joyful, compassionate friend, father, husband, colleague and mentor. And turn to the God who created us all in love and then called us to love one another – and today we give thanks for the witness and example of Rod Leonard who didn’t just hear those words in church each week – he lived them every day of his life.

The liturgy created in celebration of Rod’s life is also a celebration of the promise of that God who promises us not that we will never grieve – but promises that there is comfort for those who mourn. It is at its core an expression of our faith that nothing can separate us from the love of God – and the promise that our Lord Jesus himself has gone before us to prepare a place for us in that place where there is no death – neither sighing nor crying – but the fullness of joy with all your saints.

One of my favorite theologians is Joan Chittister – a Roman Catholic activist – and Sister Joan famously said, “We are all called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again.”

Today, as we grieve the loss of our brother Rod, we rejoice in the MANY inches growing greener today because of his life and his love and this witness. As we share together today the stories of that life – the ways and places and times he touched and loved and encouraged us – may we also encourage each other to claim his legacy of service, of commitment to peace and justice, of bringing good news to those in need.

We, too, have been anointed – not only by the spirit of the Lord but by the example of Rod Leonard. As we celebrate his life today let us also commit ourselves to continue that celebration into the days and weeks and months ahead as we follow in his footsteps – reclaiming our own “inch at a time” – toward that day when the Garden of Eden will truly grow green again.