Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Can't resist ...

Since both Elizabeth Kaeton and Anne Kennedy are posting cute-kids-on-Halloween pictures, I decided to "go vintage" and post this one:

Master James William Russell
circa 1984
Willing to wear the suit:
Darned if he'd wear the hat!

Happy Halloweenie!

V. From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night,

R. Good Lord, deliver us!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blog Surfing

I've had two days in a row now of back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings which is NOT a recipe for much original thought left at the end of the day. (You know you're mentally pounded when even JEOPARDY feels like too much work!)

So, as the sun set slowly in the west, I resorted to a little blog surfing and came up with these bits & pieces of some OTHER folks' original thoughts to commend to all ya'll. Hasta la later!

"Thoughts on the Howe-Williams Exchange" over at Episcopal Majority

Until Rowan Williams (and those who might agree with him) come to terms with the incontrovertible fact that what he calls “ the organ of union” for the American church is our General Convention, we’re going to get nowhere in solving our worldwide dilemma together.


A Prayer for the Winning of the World Series over at Telling Secrets (by Dylan Breuer)

O God, who in thy mercy didst ordain that the desert Rock be cleft in twain to provide refreshment for thy chosen people: We give thanks to thee for the victory granted once more to thy chosen people by thine own hand. Deliver us thy people from overweening pride in the triumph won by the power of thy Spirit shewn in the power of the bats of thy humble servants the Red Sox; teach us to see thine own Arm in the mighty arcs of thy servants' arms against the Rocks of Colorado; and pour out the Scarlet flames of thy Holy Spirit upon us, that we may evermore rejoice in thy triumph over thine enemies, who by thine own grace may yet be won to the righteous cause of the Red Sox and Patriot nation; all this we pray through Christ, our clean-up hitter in the eschatological match against all powers that oppress in contests of humanity, our Manager and Baseline Coach, and our Lord. Amen.


Over at From Glory to Glory, one of my favorite priests on the planet, Michael Hopkins has TWO not-to-miss sermons:

"A Safe Haven for the Unacceptable:" Let us find ways to say to those who believe the church would find them unacceptable: you are not far from the kingdom of God.


"The Gospel of Encouragement:" Faith in God is not about being a sunbeam for Jesus it is being Jesus’ companions in a resistance movement, resistance to all the crap out there (and in here and even in my own heart) that would rob us of our dignity and our acceptance by the one who made us and sets us free in spite of everything.


Monday, October 29, 2007

On Minding the Gap

Here's a link to the video and the text (posted below) of the presentation I made at St. John's yesterday members and friends of the BCGLM (Bishop's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Ministry):

Mind the Gap. The phrase is, of course, the British Rail system’s ubiquitous reminder to watch out for the sometimes daunting space between the train one is preparing to board or exit and the station platform. It’s a very British approach, isn’t it? In some ways it may just be the quintessentially British solution: “Just mind the gap, dearie – that’s a good girl. And then we can all go have our tea.”

Philosophically I can’t help but wonder if minding the gap isn’t another variation of the stiff upper lip – the famous “close your eyes and think of England” approach – the way an island people cope with the challenges of gaps that don’t have anything to do with trains! It’s a mindset that says “gaps happen and we mind them and keep moving” that is part of the DNA of not only the English people but the English Church – part of the DNA of an Anglican comprehensiveness that has – up until now – been able to hold together a world-wide communion in spite of the gaps between theologies and polities and languages and liturgies.

And I what I am wondering today is if our historic ability to mind the gap is going to be part of the collateral damage of the current “troubles” in the Anglican Communion.

I spent time in Britain this month, meeting with Anglican LGBT allies and representatives from the Anglican Communion Office about the upcoming Lambeth Conference, and on reflection it seems to me that maybe the most important work we have to do in the days and weeks ahead IS to mind the gaps – the very real gaps – between our lived experience of the Holy Spirit of God in the Episcopal Church and experience of the rest of the Communion.

For there are very REAL differences between us and our Anglican sibling: cousins and cousins-once-removed – and those differences did not start with the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003! To “mind the gap” is not to ignore those differences but to refuse to allow them to be exploited into the divisions they do not have to be.

George Bernard Shaw’s famous description of “two countries separated by a common language” is also a very apt description for the gap I found myself called to “mind” while I was in England – the gap between my experience in the American Episcopal Church and the experience of those who live and move and have their being in the Church of England. And if Americans and Brits have a gap to mind no wonder the Communion is facing challenges to its unity when we’re trying to bring Newark and Nigeria together under the same tent!

I’ll be happy to entertain questions about the “what-nexts” and wherefores of my visit across the pond … my “California Yankee in King Rowan’s Court” experience … but right now I want to talk about the wider implications of minding the gap and why I think it matter SO much – not just here in the Diocese of Los Angeles or even here in the Episcopal Church but throughout the Anglican Communion.

Here’s something I wrote in 2005 after my last trip “across the pond” – a trip to Nottingham as a member of the Episcopal Church’s presentation team speaking to the Anglican Consultative Council.

“We must commit to tell the truth about the very real gaps that exist between the experiences, worldviews, and theologies of many members of the Anglican Communion. We must find ways to speak the truth that the Gospel we share is stronger than the differences we acknowledge. We must likewise commit to tell the truth when those gaps are magnified rather than minded. We must refuse to allow our heritage of Anglican comprehensiveness to be jettisoned by the strident voices of an American Religious Right determined to reinvent Anglicanism in its own image”

That was 2005. And it’s gotten worse rather than better. Those of us who were part of “Survivor: General Convention 2006” remember how skillfully the gap between the American Church’s position on the full inclusion of LGBT people into the Body of Christ was exploited by those insisting that it was a gap we couldn’t mind as a Communion. We remember when B033 – a hastily crafted and ill-conceived resolution imposing a de facto moratorium on the election of another gay or lesbian bishop -- was literally crammed down the throats of first the House of Bishops and then the House of Deputies.

They bought the spin. They bought the fiction that we couldn’t “mind the gap” – couldn’t live with the diversity – had to “DO SOMETHING” -- and the something those with the power to do so chose to do was to bridge the gap with the bodies of the LGBT baptized … with the ethically indefensible sacrifice of the vocations and relationships of the LGBT baptized on the altar of the unity of the institutional church.

We must and we WILL overturn that injustice at our next General Convention and we are counting on many of you to be partners in making that happen.

Because moving Beyond B033 is not just a matter of justice for the LGBT community – although it is certainly that. (And don’t even get me STARTED on the “gap” between the rhetoric and the reality of a church that has been pledging “full and equal claim” for its LGBT members since 1976 – that’s another Forum!) Moving Beyond B033 is a matter for the WHOLE church because what is at stake is nothing less than the WHOLE church – the Episcopal Church – as we know it.

Here’s one recent example: this quote from a publicly circulated letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida.

“… any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.”

And that leaves the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church where?
Meanwhile, while Canterbury ties itself in knots trying to “bridge the gap” our brother in Christ and “bishop elect” David Anderson had this to say in a recent commentary:

"Although many of us are to some extent Anglophiles, the location of the see city is less important than the vitality of the faith and a structure that encourages that faith to grow."

And so the gap has widened to the point where the self appointed protectors of “traditional Anglicanism” are pronouncing Canterbury expendable. And I thought WE were supposed to be the revisionists?

We’re not. We’re the ones minding the gap. We’re the ones who believe that the historical roots of Anglican comprehensiveness that managed to mind the gap between being Protestant and Catholic in the 16th century can mind the gap between liberal & conservative; gay & straight; New Hampshire & Nigeria.

We are women who mind the gap between over 30 years of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church and the fact that our orders are not recognized in many parts of the Anglican Communion. And we are NOT the ones insisting that the fabric of the communion is irreperabley rent by those differences.

We are LGBT Episcopalians who mind the gap between what this church we love says about our full and equal claim on its love, care and ministry when it continues to marginalize our relationships and deny our vocations.

And we’re going to continue to mind these and every other gap that keeps this church from becoming the Body of Christ is is called to be.

We mind those gaps by partnering with our justice allies within the Episcopal Church to continue to influence our General Convention to move forward: no turning back, no turning back.

We mind those gaps by partnering with Anglican allies committed to participating in a listening process whether or not those on the other side of the gap are willing to hear what we have to say.

But most importantly, we mind those gaps not because we’re politically correct or socially liberal. We mind them because we’re Gospel obedient – Gospel obedient to the witness of a God who loved us enough to become one of us and then called us to love absolutely everybody the God loved us. Even those across the gaps.

We mind the gaps because we HAVE decided to follow Jesus: no turning back, no turning back.

Won’t you come with us?

P.S. To join Integrity online click here!

Executive Council Steps Up

In a word ...
Just a quick note this morning as it's a Multi-Meeting-Monday for me, but wanted to take a minute to post this link to the Episcopal Life article summarizing the just-completed meeting of Executive Council which included this resolution:
Resolved, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, expresses its appreciation to the House of Bishops for undertaking the monumental task of trying to clarify the conflict between the canons of the Episcopal Church and the demands raised by the Dar E [sic] Salaam communiqué, and be it further
Resolved, the Executive Council affirms with the House of Bishops the essential and renewed study of human sexuality as noted in the “listening process” of the Lambeth Conference of 1998, and be it further
Resolved, that the House of Bishops’ statement exacerbated feelings of exclusion felt by many of the lesbian and gay members of our church by defining Resolution B033 from the 75th General Convention to include lesbian and gay people, and be it further
Resolved, that by calling particular attention to the application of B033 to lesbian and gay person [sic], it may inappropriately suggest that an additional qualification for the episcopacy has been imposed beyond those contained in the constitutions and canons of the church, and be it further
Resolved, that while B033 focuses on the consent process for bishops, the broader impact is to discourage the full participation by lesbians and gay persons in the life of the church and enshrine discrimination in the policies of the Episcopal Church, and be it further
Resolved, that the Executive Council acknowledge with regret the additional pain and estrangement inflicted on lesbian and gay members of the church, and we pledge to work toward a time when our church will fully respect the dignity of every human being in all aspects of the life of our church.
Not time for any other comment this morning than my own suggested "be it further ..."
Resolved, that Executive Council rocks!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stop the Presses ...

Archbishop Tutu says God is not a Christian!

According to the article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Archbishop:

... threw down a theological challenge on a doctrine that the worldwide Anglican Communion is threatening to split over. In his sermon, he poked fun at the belief that only those who accept Jesus as their savior can enter heaven.

"Can you imagine that there are those who think God is a Christian?" he said to laughter from a mostly appreciative audience. "Can you tell us what God was before he was a Christian?"

So there you have it. And the usual suspects are making much of it. At Stand Firm the first comment pretty much sums it up:

What a shame that Desmond Tutu is not a Christian
Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-26-2007 at 08:29 AM

For the record, I agree with the titusonenine commenter who said, "I should live so long that I become as "not a Christian" as Desmond Tutu."

And for all you preachers out there, can you say "Gold Mine" of contemporary illustrations for the Gospel appointed for Sunday which begins, "Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt..."

But since I am NOT preaching on Sunday, I'm going to get back to my regularly scheduled day off! Later, alligators!


A New Bishop-elect for Maine

On Friday, October 26, 2007, the 188th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Maine elected The Rev. Canon Stephen Lane Bishop Coadjutor on the first ballot.
Congratulations ...
to Canon Lane AND to the Diocese of Maine!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sunday Afternoon ...

"Mind the Gap" is the working title for the presentation I'll be making on Sunday afternoon at St. John's, Downtown:
Gay and lesbian Episcopalians and their friends are invited to a diocese-wide meeting on Sunday, October 28, 2:30 pm in the parish hall of St. John's Church, Los Angeles, preceding the annual diocesan AIDS Mass at 4 pm

At the meeting, hosted by the Bishop's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Ministry, participants will discuss the recent House of Bishops meeting and form plans for General Convention 2009, to be held in Anaheim. The Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity and associate at All Saints Church, Pasadena, will lead the meeting. St. John's is located at 514 West Adams Blvd. (at Figueroa), Los Angeles, south of downtown Los Angeles, near the USC campus.
Drop by if you're in the neighborhood!

How cool is THIS??????????

This just in from popular culture central:

The new season of the CBS series "The Amazing Race" will include a contestant team described as "Married Ministers" -- Episcopal priest and deacon Kate Lewis and Pat Hendrickson!

Here's another picture of the happy couple at an L.A. Pride Eucharist a few years ago:


What a GREAT opportunity for evangelism -- to reach out to the unchurched-but-watching-reality-shows population who have no idea there's actually a church where not only can two women be clergy but can live happily ever after together AND make fools of themselves on Reality TV!

Go get 'em, Pat & Kate!

Report from the Front

V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in you can we live in safety.

420,424 acres burned
1,155 homes destroyed
881,500 people evacuated
To donate online through
Episcopal Relief & Development
click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lesson du jour

For your reading and reflecting pleasure, here's the reading from Sirach we've been mulling in our daily Eucharist this week (an option for those on the RCL cycle for this Sunday.)

A Reading from Sirach (35:12–17).

Do not try to bribe God, for that will never be accepted; do not expect good from an ill-gotten sacrifice. For the Most High is a judge who does not respect individuals or grant favors at the expense of the poor; God listens to the prayers of those who are exploited. God will never ignore the pleas of the orphan or the widowed, as they pour out from their heart.

See how the tears run down the cheeks of the bereaved and their cries indict their persecutors! To be accepted, you must give of yourself as the Most High requires – then your prayer will reach the clouds. The prayer of the humble pierce the clouds. Until it is heard, there is no comfort for them; yet they do not give up until the Most High answers them, giving the just what is theirs, and granting them justice.

Minister: Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
People: Thanks be to God.

Monday, October 22, 2007

For the Bible Tells Me So

If you haven't seen it yet, here's a trailer to whet your appetite:

We screened the film here at All Saints last night with a panel discussion following (a biblical scholar, psychiatrist and one of the film's producers) to a packed house ... full-up Forum ... Standing Room Only crowd.

If you have the chance to see it don't pass it up. Here are some screening times and venues ... will keep you posted on when the DVD will be out.

Well said!

Should same-sex marriage be legal?
Friday, October 19, 2007

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'' These words written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence still ring true today, especially in the wake of so many arguments about same-sex marriage. Based on Jefferson's statement, same-sex couples should have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to marry.

There are about 15,368 same-sex couples in Michigan, according to the 2000 census. Nevertheless, because of the Defense of Marriage Amendment from 2004, an amendment many other states have also passed, marriage in Michigan is only allowed between one man and one woman.

This amendment to the Michigan Constitution also outlawed civil unions, a partnership similar to marriage, and partnership benefits, such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights. With this amendment, more than 15,000 couples are without the equal right to marry, a right the United States is supposed to protect. I think Jefferson would be disappointed that the nation he helped to found is now so blatantly disregarding one of his most important tenets -- the right to equality.

Many are opposed to the legalization of gay marriage because of their religious beliefs. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. However, in 1948 the Supreme Court ruled that the United States shall have separation of church and state. In keeping with this doctrine, religious arguments should have no place in Congress, or a role in deciding the fate of thousands of same-sex couples.

If the United States truly wishes to uphold the ideas set out in the Constitution, the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed because it prohibits equality for everyone, which goes against the very foundation of our country. In order to truly have equality, same-sex couples should be allowed to marry just like everyone else.

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.'' Throughout history, this passage from Leviticus 18:22 has defined our policies on gay marriage and gay rights. Why, in a country supposedly founded on the ideals of equality, is an entire group of unique individuals forced to conform to an archaic view of homosexuality?

The answer to this question is ignorance. Many people simply don't understand the nature of homosexuality. We are too preoccupied with the physical truth to notice the spiritual truth. A gay guy loves his partner in the same way a straight guy does. It's just that the physical expression of that love is different.
Until recently, there was little to no research on how homosexual relationships work or why they happen. This left the Bible unopposed in its outdated viewpoint. Modern research, however, has shown that homosexuality is a normal part of nature.

There are numerous cases of homosexuality occurring in the animal kingdom. For example, 1,500 species of animals, including dolphins and primates, have exhibited homosexual behavior. This points to genetic causes, as these animals lack the reasoning capabilities of humans which might lead to selective homosexuality.

Gay marriage opponents say it would debase the American concept of the family. This is, once again, an unsubstantiated claim. Denmark has allowed gay marriage since 1989, and the law has had many positive effects: a reduction in suicide, a reduction in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and in promiscuity and infidelity among gays.

Clearly, gay marriage is opposed purely on an antiquated claim that it is evil and immoral. However, science and social experimentation have shown it is quite the opposite.

It can have a very positive effect, making society more accepting and empathetic to those who are different than the majority.

Marriage is considered the ultimate display of affection between two loving partners. But, recently, it seems love isn't enough. Now the government thinks that whom you marry is just as important as why.

Though gay men and women have an undeniable love for one another, the states, except Massachusetts, deny them the right to marry.

Homosexuality is really just a matter of preference. Just as somebody may prefer a certain food or color over another, gay men and women just happen to find their own gender more appealing than the other. So what gives us the right to tell homosexuals it's wrong to be attracted to the same sex?

Those who do not believe in same-sex marriage have many excuses why it should not be allowed. Many right-wing conservatives say this is a pro-marriage concern, but it is actually an anti-gay issue.

Another argument is that gay relationships are immoral. Who says they are immoral? The Bible? I am sure freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. In fact, not all religions shun homosexuality. Many sects of Buddhism actually celebrate gay relationships so wouldn't outlawing gay marriage outlaw their right to freedom of religion?

Plus, religion should never have a hand in politics. However, our government chooses to do the sensible thing by upholding the sanctity of marriage, because keeping our prejudices is far more important than other issues we are facing today.

The most logical way of ending this debate is to legalize gay marriage. For those right-wing conservatives, gay marriage will not diminish your values and God will not smite them once married.

If you look at it for what it really is, outlawing gay marriage makes just about as much sense as outlawing cursing. It's ridiculous and unnecessary.
©2007 Kalamazoo
© 2007 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, on "As the Anglican World Turns" ...

Correspondence from the Archbishop of Canterbury to +John Howe (Central Florida) included a development as shocking to some as the outing of Professor Dumbledore earlier this week, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has been "outed" as selling out any hope of preserving historic Anglican comprehensiveness by his seeming willingness to sacrifice diversity on the altar of "unity at any price."

From +Rowan's letter:

I have committed myself very clearly to awaiting the views of the Primates before making any statement purporting to settle the question of The Episcopal Church's status, and I can't easily short-circuit that procedure. ... However, without forestalling what the Primates might say, I would repeat what I've said several times before - that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church.

The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing - which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor.

I had to read it a couple of times to believe I was seeing what I was reading. The "organ of union" is "the Diocese and Bishop" and the criterion for that union is being "Loyal to Windsor???" Words fail me ... but happily, they didn't fail Nigel Taber-Hamilton -- who offered this reflection on his blog yesterday:

At 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 27 any respect I have been able to maintain for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and any hope for the survival of the Anglican Communion as we currently know it, died.
At 5:15 p.m. I was reading the House of Bishops and Deputies List – a list-serv for members of those two General Convention houses – when I came across a copy of a letter dated October 14, 2007 from Williams to Bishop John Howe of the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. This letter was read to the Standing Committee of that diocese last Thursday (October 18), and released this afternoon.

The letter was staggering in its misunderstanding of the polity of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church and shockingly naive in its understanding of where most Episcopalians stand with regard to any interference in our own affairs by foreign Prelates.

Many progressives – including myself – supported our House of Bishops’ recent New Orleans statement, and cautioned many within our province to control their anger at its apparent abandonment of some of our members. We now owe those members an apology – they were right not to trust Williams, and they were right that our House of Bishops should not have done so either.

Read the rest here.


Apology accepted.

And now, stay tuned for further developments in the (seemingly!!!) never-ending saga of "As the Anglican World Turns."


Additional commentary:

Pluralist Speaks: National Anglican Churches Demolished
Father Jake: More Confusion from Canterbury
Episcopal Cafe: Think before you leap

Prayers Ascending for those in harm's way ...

... as the wildfires continue to plague Southern California.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"The Feast of the Persistent Widow" at All Saints Church, Pasadena

Here's a link to the rector's sermon du jour at All Saints Church this morning on what I like to think of as "The Feast of the Persistent Widow." It's the same gospel (Luke 18: 1-8) I picked to preach when we kicked off the Claiming the Blessing collaborative back in 2002 in St. Louis -- and nearly five years later I believe we need Luke's challenge to be persistent more than ever.

The "take away" for me this morning was: "Being the people of God means giving up the right to give up. Pesevere. Don't give up. Hang in there."

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Thanks be to God for faith communities that DON'T "give up" even when it's hard, even when it's stressful, even when it would be easier to sing a few hymns, say a few prayers and head to Sunday brunch and let somebody else make the fuss or stir the pot or make the point this time. That's not in the DNA of All Saints Church and for THAT I say, "Thanks be to God."

Here are a few fun facts to know and tell about Persistent Widow Day at All Saints Church, Pasadena:

  • We baptized ten little people into the Body of Christ.
  • When the children's choirs (2nd-5th grade) sang at the 9:00 there were 71 children making a joyful noise unto the Lord.
  • The flowers were given to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for the blessing yesterday of the union of Bruno Finocchio & Jerry Mersky ... who baked the communion bread we used this morning.
  • At 7pm I'll return to give the "Proclamation and Evangelism" talk to our Covenant I group -- the All Saints "new members" class we run three times a year. There'll be about 80 new members which is an average class for us.
  • And following that I'll go down to the Forum and catch the end of the GALAS screening of "For the Bible Tells Me So" which will be followed by a panel discussion.
Just another Persistent Day in Paradise.
Hope your Sunday had Good News in it as well.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Just in from the Diocese of California ...

This just in from a colleague in the Diocese of California: "CA Diocesan Convention OK's Same Gender Blessing Rites by an overwhelming margin -- details to follow ..."


So here's the deal: unless amended, the Dio CA resolution read:

RESOLVED, that this 158th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California commend to the Bishop of California the lectionary, rubric entitled “Concerning the Service,” and three rites endorsed by the Commission on Marriage and Blessing, and urge the Bishop to approve the trial use of these forms as resources in the Dioceseof California for formalizing the blessing of same-gender unions.


Add that to the Diocese of Connecticut reported to be the 10th diocese rejecting B033 by resolution of Diocesan Convention and the favorable votes on blessings in both Montreal and Ottawa and it's looking more and more like we actually HAVE decided to follow Jesus ... no turning back, no turning back!


7AM Sunday Morning UPDATE: So I posted this last night and then ran off to post-wedding festivities with our friends Jerry & Bruno ... there's updated information now on the wording of the TWO resolutions that were passed (thanks Sarah for the heads up!) over at John Kirkley's blog and reactions from the usual suspects here and here. And now, off to church!

Bits & Pieces for a Saturday afternoon ...


+Gene Robinson addresses a gathering of Integrity members and friend in Honolulu [reported in the Honolulu Star Bulletin]:

"Jesus said this remarkable thing in John's Gospel, at the last supper on the night before he died. He said, 'I have other things I would like to tell you but you're not able to hear them right now. So I'm going to send the Holy Spirit who will lead you in all things.'

"That's a very significant thing," said Robinson, "especially if you come out of the tradition, like I did, which believes that everything we needed to know was revealed by the time the canon of Scripture was closed. There it is in Scripture. God said it, I believe it, and that's that. God did all that 2,000 years ago, said 'OK, that's all you need to know, hope it goes well.'

"But what if, instead, we worship a living God who is still interacting with us, who is still in our midst when two or three gather together, and who is actively leading us into all things. That is a God I am much more interested in than a static God who did all that years ago," Robinson told the group.

"The more I read the Bible, the clearer it becomes to me that Jesus was in trouble all the time. He was in trouble with those good people, the Pharisees and Sadducees. He was always bucking the status quo. He was always bringing people in from the margins of society.



For those who asked, here's a photo from the Finocchio-Mersky wedding reception at All Saints Church today -- a great day where a good time was had by all as Bruno and Jerry ... surrounded by friends and family ... officially started living happily ever after 'til death do them part!



Finally, if you're anywhere near Pasadena, stop by tomorrow for a screening of the award winning documentary film "For the Bible Tells Me So" at All Saints Church, sponsored by our parish GALAS ministry in collaboration with our Peach & Justice minstries. 6:30 p.m. in the All Saints Forum. Discussion to follow.

Montreal says "Aye"

Breaking News from Up North (and a nice wedding present for Jerry & Bruno!):

At its annual synod or general meeting, held 19 October 2007, the Anglican clergy and laity of the Diocese of Montreal voted in favour of a motion requesting "that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that the Bishop authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes."

The vote taken on Friday night was passed in the order of clergy (44 - 25) and in the order of laity (59 – 32).

A statement from Bishop Barry B. Clarke:

The Synod – our diocesan legislative body – has now requested that I grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that I authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes.

I will need some time to reflect on today's discussions, to consult further with the other Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada when we meet later this month, and to consider the concerns of our partners in the wider Anglican Communion.All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. As in any family, we have disagreements – sometimes serious. And as a family, it is important for us to be together; to continue to meet together to discern the mind of Christ. I was elected as Bishop of all Anglicans in this diocese, and as such, I call upon all to remain at the table, working to sustain the highest level of Communion possible.

Until a decision is made, there is no change in our current policy and practice; I expect our clergy to refrain from blessing same-sex couples.The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada is meeting next week in London, ON and is expected to discuss not only the implications of both the Ottawa and Montreal dioceses' vote but also conflicting interpretations of the ramifications of General Synod's decision around same-sex blessings.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home

That about covers it. Back from London ... safe and sound ... happy to be back and pleased with the work we've done together. Grateful for the hospitality and commitment of our Anglican cousins "across the pond" and looking forward to getting the dogs petted and the luggage unpacked and my life back to what passes for normal around here.

So thanks for the prayers and good wishes, those of you who sent them. We couldn't do it without you.

PS -- And a VERY Happy 21st Ordination Anniversary to the Fabulously Reverend Elizabeth Kaeton!! Twenty One ... Wow! Does that "make you legal" now???

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!

A few more notes from London ...

It was quite the full day yesterday of meetings ... at the Anglican Communion Office (where I think we all got a much better understanding of the nuts & bolts of the planning process toward Lambeth Conference) and with allies from Inclusive Church (sort of a CofE "Claiming the Blessing" collaborative "working to break down the barriers to full inclusion at all levels of the Anglican Communion.")

Today is lunch with the Changing Attitude UK leadership and then dinner with the folks from LGCM (Lesbian Gay Christian Movement) ... and then home again, home again, jiggity jig (in time, for those still keeping track of our "Windsor Compliance," for the blessing of the union of Bruno & Jerry at All Saints Church, Pasadena on Saturday afternoon.)

A more "reflective" piece to come once all this meeting and greeting is behind us ... for the moment here are a few pictures from yesterday before I head back town into the London Tube for another day of "minding the gap" ... more on that later!


Here we are (we being me, Caro Hall (Integrity Board) & Colin Coward (Changing Attitude UK) arriving at the Anglican Communion Office's "St. Andrew's House" in London ...

As the posters illustrate, plans are well underway for Lambeth Conference -- focused on enabling Anglican Bishops to lead the church in living out God's mission on earth.

Finally, here's a close up of the plaque inside the entrance doors:

("This entrance is given by the Rt. Rev'd J. Jon Bruno,
his colleague Bishops and the Diocese of Los Angeles, USA")

Kind of made me feel right at home!

Monday, October 15, 2007

More from London ...

So if you're bored by other people's travel pictures and looking for something meatier, go check out Fr. Jake or Telling Secrets or Mad Priest (who if he'da known I was coming said he woulda baked a cake!) ... I'm all-London-all-the-time tonight:

For all the impact of "globalization" noted earlier today, there are absolutely parts of Jolly Olde that have "Rule Brittania" written all over them. From the classic London red bus & tube station ...

To the view down toward Westminster with Big Ben looming on the horizon ...

... to Piccadilly Circus, for all it's tourists ...

... still a center of it all in many ways.

After wandering a bit through the National Gallery ...

... and sharing the view with the Pidgeons of Trafalgar Square ...

... I wandered down to check out the details of the monuments in the center of that memorial to war and empire.

You probably can't read the inscription here but at the bottom it says, "ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY." Why does that remind me of the time when every woman's "duty" -- according the gospel attribued to Queen Victoria, was to "close your eyes and think of England."
Would be interesting to know if +Rowan spent much time in Trafalgar Square as a wee laddy, wouldn't it? And I'm wondering today if "close your eyes and think of the Empire" and "close your eyes and think of the Communion" are really all that different if the end result is the same.
So, back to the travelogue:

Then there were the lions ...

... and the fountains ...

... and the overview of the whole darned imperial lot of it as viewed from the National Gallery steps ....

... by myownself personally this Day One In London Towne.
So after a nice English supper of tempura prawns, followed by Chicken Marsala w/an Australian Shiraz I'm thinking the British Empire is actually "changed, not ended ..." and it's time to take my Yankee self (who has NO idea what timezone I'm in!) to bed and call it a day.
More tomorrow.

Checking the Blogs ...

... I note that Kendall Harmon is "leading" (for the moment!) with a disappointing interview with Bishop Nathan Baxter [Central Pennsylvania] -- which included this Q & A between the reporter and Bishop Baxter::

Q: You said in New Orleans that “sometimes traveling as a body means slowing down the pace, in the hope that all can make the journey.” What should gay and lesbian Episcopalians understand when you say that?

A: I want them to hear that the commitment to the journey of full inclusion continues. We don’t know what it will ultimately look like. But we want them to know we’re still on the journey.

What I have found is that many gay and lesbian Christians are concerned not just about their sacramental inclusion, but about the church. Many have shared that they’re willing for us to pause and have that conversation. There are some who are pretty angry, and I understand that.

How diasappointing.
Disappointing that the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania appears to have bought the "either/or" spin: that those who advocate for the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ do so out of selfish desires for their own "sacramental inclusion" and not out of a deep commitment to the health and wholeness of the church AS the Body of Christ.
The Anglican Communion has been committed to "the conversation" since 1978. What I don't understand is why the bishop isn't angry about that!
What I DO understand is that there's never been a better time for the remedial reading of Martin Luther King, Jr's LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL -- which I commend in whole at the link above and in part in this quote below:
Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action Campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.
For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost Always meant 'Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Ah, to be in England ... that globalization is here!

All these photos taken within two blocks of my Piccadilly Circus Hotel:

(This one actually from my window!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Off to London ...

Checking the news before packing up to head to church and then to the airport for our trip to Jolly Olde, I noted this L.A. Times feature article by Rebecca Trounson:

Church divide over gays has a global audience

More from the other side of the pond!

Happy Sunday, everybody!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reflections on the 10th Leper

Luke 17:11-19 -- On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Thanks be to God.


Only the foreigner came back -- at least that's what the text leads us to believe. If there were others among the ten who were healed who were foreigners -- Samaritans -- twice-unclean to the Temple Authorities because of their disease AND their DNA -- would the Scripture record have told us that?

Don't know.

DO know that I never thought about that part of this story that rolls around every three years. That I've preached it more than once and Bible-studied it more than that and never noticed ... until today ... that it was only the foreigner who came back to Jesus -- disobeying his instructions to "go to the priests." And -- in the interest of full disclosure -- it wouldn't have occurred to me tonight (because I am NOT preaching tomorrow and I do not HAVE to mull these texts!) except that Michael Hopkins brought it up over a dinner of red wine and red meat over looking the Genesee River this evening at the end of a VERY long day in Rochester NY.

"Only the 'foreigner' came back," he mused. "What was that about?"

"Why are you the only one who came back?" Jesus asked. "Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

Looks that way, Lord. Looks like the only one who came back to thank GOD was the one who wasn't going to be welcome in the Temple anyway. The one who wasn't going to be tempted into confusing God with Organized Religion because the religion of his day had gotten organized enough to keep him out. Maybe it happened via a Communique issued after a meeting in Dar es Jerusalem. Maybe it was a resolution emanating from the every-ten-year-meeting of the High Priests at Capernaum Palace. Maybe the House of High Priests got together and issued a "pastoral letter."


The Samaritan got the message: what happens in the Temple stays in the Temple ... and it isn't for the likes of me.

And so, rather than messing with the priests, he went to the source. He came back to the One who made him whole because he was broken; make him well because he was ill; make him one with the One who created him in love because ... well, because that's what God does: whether the priests (or primates!) like it or not.

And he fell at Jesus feet and he said, "Thank you."

And maybe -- if I were preaching tomorrow -- all I would say is "May we be given the grace to go and do likewise. Amen."

News From Up North

"Same-sex unions on Anglican agenda" ... is hardly breaking news but here's a report from earlier today on the Diocese of Ottawa:

Local Anglican church officials will have their collective pulse taken today on the controversial issue of blessing same-sex marriages. Church clergy and laity attending the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa's annual synod in Cornwall will vote on a motion asking the local bishop to allow clergy "whose conscience permits" to bless same-sex unions. Read the rest here ...

I just saw over at titusonenine that Kendall is reporting the Synod voted 177 - 97 in favor of blessings. More to follow.


UPDATE: An updated news report here ...

And here are some interesting quotes from an earlier article on the upcoming vote ...

[Bishop Chapman] also made it clear that he will brook no divisive
activity over the matter: "Leadership that does not take its lead from the bishops and councils of the church, national and local, cannot be tolerated. Our missional strength can only be fully realized when we stay together ... "

"I expect, regardless of this motion, that the clergy and people will
continue their work and ministry embracing our differences rather than fretting over them ... I expect that we will behave in a manner that is classically Anglican -- a manner that not only embraces but lives the wonder of the via media (middle way). It is our gift to Christianity. We must not overlook the fact that it is also our gift to ourselves."

Under the motion being discussed today, couples would be married in a civil ceremony and would then receive a blessing in church, much as Prince Charles and Camilla did, according to Ron Chaplin, spokesman for the gay advocacy group Integrity Ottawa. "If it's good enough for the Prince of Wales, it's good enough for me," says Mr. Chaplin, a people's warden at Saint John, and the person who drafted the motion.

The ball is now in the bishop's court: "film at eleven."

Sad but not surprising

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Marriage Equality Bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed another gay marriage bill Friday, saying voters and the state Supreme Court, not lawmakers, should decide the issue.

The Republican governor turned down a measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno that would have defined marriage as a union between two people, not just a man and a woman. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill from Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, in 2005 and has said he would veto all such bills.

The California Supreme Court is likely to rule next year on whether the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage violates the constitution.

Schwarzenegger said in his veto message that Californians "should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation." He said he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group, said the veto was "hypocrisy at its worst."

"We find it shocking for the governor to say he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation and then veto a bill that would have ended discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kors said.


Shocking, perhaps, but not surprising. Not if you want to be Senator Schwarzenegger! From the "Open Letter to Arnold" I wrote LAST time he vetoed a Marriage Equality bill:
The elected representatives of the California electorate have passed this piece of legislation and if our voice as an electorate counts for anything then this bill deserves your signature. This legislation gives the equal protection guaranteed in the Constitution to gay and lesbian couples – citizens who seek only the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as their fellow straight Californians.
Had voters in the 1960’s been able to challenge the end of segregation through the initiative process is there any doubt that those in power would have voted to keep the status quo? Please be the governor who history remembers not as standing with Lester Maddox blocking the door to equal rights but with those throughout the proud history of this great country who risked much to open the door to all Americans.
Oh well!

Friday, October 12, 2007

A New Bishop-elect for Nevada

The Very Rev. Dan Thomas Edwards,
elected today the 10th Bishop of Nevada.

Dan+ is Rector of St. Francis, Macon GA -- a congregation describing itself as: Diverse, Inclusive and Progressive. We are an interracial mix of different age groups, nationalities, lifestyles, economic situations, political and theological persuasions (liberal, moderate, and conservative.) At this Episcopal Church in Macon, Georgia, all are welcome.

Here's the bishop-elect's bio from the St. Francis website: Fr. Dan Edwards has been priest at St. Francis since 1994. Before coming here, he served at Christ Church, Macon as curate for four years. He received his M. Div. (with honors) and his S.T.M. in Spiritual Direction from General Theological Seminary. He interned at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and at Holy Apostles Church in New York City, where he served as pastoral counselor to the homeless at the City's largest soup kitchen. Before ordination, he practiced law for twelve years including a five year stint in legal aid representing migrant farm workers and Native Americans. He grew up in Texas, but has mostly gotten over it.

Looks like Macon's loss is Nevada's -- and the House of Bishops' -- gain!

Dallas News: BE WHO YOU ARE

From today's Dallas News ... a profile entitled "Spirit and Truth: Gene Robinson on Faith, Family and the Future of Christianity."

I couldn't figure out how to cut & paste the text of the article but is this picture of +Gene with his folks worth a thousand words or what????
Taking a break from an excellent-so-far meeting of the Integrity Board in beautiful downtown Rochester NY to announce ... with great joy ... to anybody who's interested and anybody who's not ...

Jamie's back in Hawai'i!

Safe, sound and ready for R&R. So thanks to all who've prayed for him and for us during his 15 month deployment. I am filled with much gratitude and great joy ... and deep sadness at the knowledge that there are still so many in harm's way as we struggle to bring a just end to this unjust war.

May our prayers and the prayers of all the faithful of every faith lift up to bring an end to war and violence ...

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