Monday, May 31, 2010

Catching up: Jim Naughton, +Charles Jenkins, The Tea Party, etc.

We've had a "crazy busy" couple of weeks here on the Left Coast. Between hosting Bishop Barbara Harris and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo at All Saints, ordaining two new bishops for the Diocese of Los Angeles, getting organized for Gay Pride coming up June 13th AND having my son home on leave from the army for a week, I've had precious little time to think about anything other than the thing in front of me at the moment. And now we're on countdown-to-vacation at my house ... which means many "to do" lists and not much time to do them!

That said, I took a little break this morning for a second cup of Memorial Day coffee to catch up on who's been saying what about some things "life in general" and things "Anglican in particular:"

[Jim Naughton being brilliant ..]

Jim Naughton on Episcopal Cafe:

I had a sudden realization: reflecting on Rowan Williams’ letter wasn’t a worthwhile use of my time; writing it was not a worthwhile use of his. The issues at stake have become so trivial—We are not debating right and wrong, we are debating whether there should be trifling penalties for giving offense to other members of the Communion.—that to engage them at all compromises our moral standing and diminishes our ability to speak credibly on issues of real importance.

This isn’t to say that we don’t have to make a decision about whether to accede to the archbishop’s proposal—and I suppose I think that we shouldn’t because it would only encourage him to make other such requests—just that whether we accede or not make very little difference to the world, to the Communion, to our ecumenical partners, to our church, or even to a Communion news junky like me.

Which is why I was of no use to the reporters I spoke to on Friday afternoon; because, God bless them, they had to write stories based on the mistaken notion that all of this stuff still matters, and increasingly, it does not.

Read the rest here ...

[Bishop Charles Jenkins with some interesting insights ...]

+Charles Jenkins on BBC radio

BBC Sunday Programme

Click on the "listen now" audio link at the link above and go approximately 13:55 in for Bishop Jenkins on the Gulf Oil Disaster; 18:50 for his response to the question about the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost letter, which included this quote:

"My experience of the last five years is that I have lived so low on Mazlow's hierarchy of needs that I have not been able to worry about issues of human sexuality. And when the church is involved and heavily invested in feeding the poor, and housing the poor and clothing the naked that those issues take on their relative unimportance. Personally, I'm going to keep showing up. I am going to continue to be part of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion until finally somebody tells me I can no longer do so."

[And finally, a great "history lesson" from this week's New Yorker Letters section:]

Letter in "The New Yorker" on the Tea Party

"History Lessons"

The so-called Tea Partiers may portray themselves as heirs to American Revolutionaries, but they are actually the descendents of those who lost the debate of 1788 – in particular, the strain of constitutional opponents who violently resisted federal authority until Washington took to the battlefield against them. American Revolutionaries opposed taxation without representation. These people oppose any taxation at all.

Despite their “We the People” T-shirts, the visceral drivers of this fragmented formation are not conservatives striving to defend the Bill of Rights and strictly defend constitutional language. They are anti-federalists, opposed to any meaningful central government, hostile to the principle of America’s founders, and determined to re-create the loose association of local authorities that fell apart within a few years of its establishment.

David B. Kanin
Adjunct Professor of International Relations
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD


God of love and mercy, receive our thanks this day for the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. Help us to honor them in our work for peace through justice, that people across the globe may live abundant lives freed from the threat of war and violence. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Presidential Proclamation--Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise. An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

LGBT Americans have enriched and strengthened the fabric of our national life. From business leaders and professors to athletes and first responders, LGBT individuals have achieved success and prominence in every discipline. They are our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and our friends and neighbors. Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level. Thanks to those who came before us the brave men and women who marched, stood up to injustice, and brought change through acts of compassion or defiance we have made enormous progress and continue to strive for a more perfect union.

My Administration has advanced our journey by signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens Federal protections against crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation. We renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides life saving medical services and support to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and finally eliminated the HIV entry ban. I also signed a Presidential Memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the compassion and security they deserve in their time of need, including the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.

In other areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a series of proposals to ensure core housing programs are open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD also announced the first ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a National Resource Center for LGBT Elders.

Much work remains to fulfill our Nation's promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits. We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment. I am also committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.

As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles. Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole. By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So what did I think about the Archbishop of Canterbury's "Pentecost Letter"?

In case you missed it, it was posted this morning to the Anglican Communion website. Entitled "The Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion" the first thing that struck me was thatthe explanation provided by the ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service) of what the Archbishop said in the letter preceded the letter itself.

"Hmmm ..." I thought. "That's a bit curious. Isn't it usually the other way around?"

And then I read the letter.

It's "dense" in a classic Rowanesque kind of way, but Matthew Davies offers a good "nutshell' overview in his ENS feature:
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is proposing that representatives currently serving on some of the Anglican Communion's ecumenical dialogues should resign their membership if they are from a province that has not complied with moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.
Lots of smart people have said many smart things already. Mark Harris provides thoughtful commentary in his Thoughts on the ABC's Pentecost Letter and Elizabeth Kaeton hit several nails on the head with her Just say no.

Arguably my favorite commentary was by Mad Priest, who offered this picture worth multiple-thousand words:

So what do I think? I think it's ironic that this "Pentecost Letter" was issued while the Archbishop of Canterbury is in Washington DC leading a conference called "Building Bridges" and focused on building interfaith bridges between Christians and Muslims. (I'm tempted to say something about the similarities between people on glass bridges and people in glass houses but will leave that alone for now.)

I think one Facebook Friend got it exactly right when he wrote: "And of all of this in a Pentecost letter, enshrining the differences that undo our unity during the season which is about the Holy Spirit bringing unity in difference, with specific reference to ecumenism, which is the Holy Spirit acting to counteract our tendencies to disunity."

But most of all I think it's like +Rowan is emeshed in a game of blind man's bluff.

Blind man's bluff: One player, designated as "It", is blindfolded and gropes around attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid the person who is "it", hiding in plain sight and sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.
The problem is not just that it's pretty stupid, non productive game ... the problem is while +Rowan is groping around everybody else has lost interest and are off playing other games altogether.

To continue the riff from my "King of Love or King of the Hill" blog last week, some Anglicans are off playing LEGOS ... not only building the kingdom in their own context, but working to connect their bits and pieces with brother and sister Anglicans around the globe.

Elsewhere, other Anglicans are determined to win at King of the Hill or die trying -- beating each other up with doctrine and dogma and reports and resolutions ... absolutely convinced that they have Sole Possession of the Absolute Truth and busy knocking each other off the hill to prove it.

MEANWHILE vast numbers of folks who might have had some interest in or attraction to what historic Anglican comprehensiveness offers as a way of building community and living out the Gospel have left the playground altogether and have gone off to Starbucks -- and who can bloody blame them?

So there you have it. The latest episode of "As the Anglican World Turns." Stay tuned next week ... when maybe, just maybe, the ABofC will cast off the ridiculous blindfold, call "game over" and offer some vision and leadership toward actually proclaiming the good news of God in Christ Jesus equally available to ALL people to a world in desperate need of it.

Or not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Occasionally I am actually PROUD to be an Anglican!

Statement from the Anglican Bishops in Southern African On the Imprisonment of Stephen Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

Posted On : May 26, 2010 4:46 PM [received via email from ACNS]

We, the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa call upon the Government of South Africa to seek the release of Stephen Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were recently sentenced in Malawi to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour, after they shared in a traditional ceremony of engagement.

As we have previously stated, though there is a breadth of theological views among us on matters of human sexuality, we are united in opposing the criminalisation of homosexual people. We see the sentence that has been handed down to these two individuals as a gross violation of human rights and we therefore strongly condemn such sentences and behaviour towards other human beings. We emphasize the teachings of the Scriptures that all human beings are created in the image of God and therefore must be treated with respect and accorded human dignity.
These principles are at the heart of South Africa's own Constitution, whose provisions we see as setting an example for the world to follow. We therefore call on our President and Government to pursue the same values and standards for the upholding of human well-being, dignity and respect, in our external relations; to engage in dialogue with their counterparts on the rights of minorities; and to oppose any measures which demean and oppress individuals, communities, or groups of people. In particular we call on our President and Government to lobby the Government of Malawi at every level to uphold the commitment it shares through the SADC treaty to promote human rights (Article 4). We urge them to press for the swift release of these two individuals, who have committed no act of violence or harm against anyone; for the quashing of the sentence against them; and for the repeal of this repressive legislation.

More generally, we wish to reiterate our deep concern at the violent language used against the gay community across Sub-Saharan Africa, and at the increased legal action being taken against gay individuals, communities and organisations. Even in South Africa we are aware of instances of violence against the gay and lesbian community. We therefore appeal to law-makers everywhere to defend the rights of these minorities.

As Bishops we believe that it is immoral to permit or support oppression of, or discrimination against, people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, and contrary to the teaching of the gospel; particularly Jesus’ command that we should love one another as he has loved us, without distinction (John 13:34-35). We commit ourselves to teach, preach and act against any laws that undermine human dignity and oppress any and all minorities, even as we call for Christians and all people to uphold the standards of holiness of life.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Note to editors: On 12 February 2010 The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa issued a statement opposing the draft legislation proposed in Uganda to further criminalize homosexuality. The text of this statement is available here:

“Missionaries of Hate” – American Architects of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Find our more from GLAAD ... Sign the Uganda Declaration ... Make a Difference!

Monday, May 24, 2010

"King of Love or King of the Hill?"

Post-consecration reflections

Yes, we've been having a grand and glorious here in LaLa Land. We are thrilled with our new bishops suffragan and ready to get on with the work we have ahead of us: making the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made known to all who come seeking a community of faith committed to Jesus' core values of love, peace, justice and compassion.

That's the message we sent out -- loud and clear -- when we gathered in the Long Beach Arena to celebrate two new bishops in the church of God AND beginning a new era of mission and ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Not everyone, of course, was quite thrilled as we were.

One blogger took exception to the pre-service musical program:

Mid way through I was shouting, 'Just Pick Something!' Do you want to be Chinese? Then pick that. Scottish? By all means. Native American? Whatever. But pick something! There's no way that all the nations of the world are filling the pews of the Episcopal Church of So. Cal.

[Really? We have to PICK? What a sad, narrow, boring church THAT would be, I thought. Maybe she should drop by one Sunday and see who actually IS in our pews. Oh well ...]

Moving on, not surprisingly, the Schismopalians (AKA "The American Anglican Council") had quite a bit to say about the Diocese of Los Angeles in general and Bishop Glasspool in specific. This excerpt from David Anderson's latest newsletter, for example:

The relatively new bishop of Maryland, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton (who attended the Glasspool consecration), recently stated that the communion is in the midst of a fight and it's a fight worth having. He added, "Whenever the church has tried to limit leadership based on a person's biology, in most cases they have had to admit that was a mistake." Bishop Sutton says this as an African American, and thus is in effect equating biology, such as skin color and race, with moral conduct. One cannot change one's skin color to any significant degree, but one certainly can change one's moral or immoral conduct. Yet he equates the two as if they are equally unchangeable. I believe the bishop has actually insulted many people by insinuating that their gender, or race or basic physical attributes are on the same level as homosexual conduct. That argument doesn't work for me.
["That argument doesn't work for me." There's a line forming to the left for anybody surprised by that ... but don't hurry: there's likely to be nobody in it. However, the line we should be forming are folks saying "Wait a minute -- why does the straight, white guy get to dictate to an African American bishop or to LGBT folks how they understand and define themselves?"]

This may actually provide an answer. It's a quote from the same newsletter, taking the opportunity to use the consecrations as yet-another-chance to reiterate the David Anderson/AAC claim to have Sole Possession of the Absolute Truth:
The difficulty is that the two opposing viewpoints are based on non-compatible reference systems: one is based on human reasoning and feelings, the other on the revealed Word of God. One is right, the other is not.
All of this, of course, is code for "we get to decide which is which" -- and none of it is anything other than sadly predictable. Or anything new.

Robert Shahan, when he was the Bishop of Arizona famously said, "Faith is what you are willing to die for. Dogma is what you are willing to kill for." Jesus didn’t come to give us dogma to kill for -- he came with a willingness to die for the sake of the message that the Kingdom of God is at hand: the Reign of God is about to be realized. It is here. It is now. He came with a message of inclusiveness and compassion: compassion in the truest sense of the word. The Latin word for passion means "suffering": the combined form of "compassion" means "with suffering."

Jesus' invitation was to enter INTO the world’s suffering – not to create an institution to exacerbate the world’s suffering by preaching exclusion and proclaiming a narrow sectarianism based on dogmas it has too often been too ready to kill for. And when the church has chosen the latter rather than the former, it has recreated Peter’s denial of Jesus’ core values and message as surely as if it stood in that courtyard in Jerusalem and said, “I do not know him” -- with a cock crowing a third time in the background.

Verna Dozier in her wonderful book "The Dream of God" describes it thus: "The people of the resurrection made the incomprehensible gift of grace into a structure. [Rejecting] the frighteningly free gift of God go be a new thing in the world – a witness that all of life could be different for everybody – this gift was harnessed by an institution that established a hierarchy of those who "know" above the great mass of those who must be told." [pg. 4]

And so -- for generations -- those of us who "must be told" were told all kinds of things about what Jesus' life and death and resurrection meant. And a great many of them bore little or no resemblance to the actual life and witness of the one the church claims to follow – of the Jesus:

• who put table fellowship at the center of his life,
• who ate with outcasts,
• who welcomed sinners,
• who proclaimed the year of the Lord's favor,
• who was so centered in God's abundant love that he was willing to speak truth to power -- from that first sermon that almost got him thrown off the cliff by his irate Nazarene homies to his last cross-examination by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea.

Instead we were given doctrines we were supposed to digest and not delve into, creeds we were supposed to recite and not question, Scriptures we were supposed to memorize and not contextualize.

The stumbling block for so many has nothing to do with the good news of God in Christ Jesus and everything to do with the disconnect between the stories Jesus told of a loving God calling the whole human family into relationship with God and with each other and the story the church was telling – a story that privileged patriarchal power and presumed to hold the keys to the kingdom.

In my senior year in seminary I remember my male, Roman Catholic theology professor bewailing the fact that there seemed to be no “unifying voice” emerging as the top dog theologian to set the course for the current era of theological discourse. “Where is the Thomas Aquinas – the Martin Luther – the Karl Barth” he lamented. And I remember I got in some trouble around our final paper for the class – which was an assignment to pick and then defend our choice of theologian for the 21st century … kind of like “Survivor: The Theologian Version.”

I didn’t write that paper. Instead, I wrote an overview of the theologians we’d studied and then told a story about all of them. In the story they were a bunch of dirty little boys playing in my backyard. (Remember – I was the mother of two dirty little boys at that point in my life!) Anyway, I had them out in the backyard playing “king of the hill” and trying to knock each other off the top of the sand pile … not by pushing and shoving but by dueling doctrines and philosophically congruent justifications of their positions.

In my story -- after letting them bash it out for a bit in the backyard -- Mother calls them all inside. She makes them wash up and then settle down in the playroom where she brings out the buckets of Legos. And she tells them to each build their best and most brilliant design of what they think the kingdom looks like. And then – when they were all done – She helped them see where they connected … how they could snap and click together on a corner here and an edge there.

And when they were done there was a magnificent creation set in the middle of the playroom … with a unity brought about not by an imposed uniformity – not by the beating of “the other” into submission of one dominant voice -- but by looking for where the connections were amid the differences. And then … as I recall – the story ended with Mother inviting ALL the little boys to come gather around the table … for milk and cookies.

And THAT … I said in my paper my senior year in seminary … is what theology should look like in the 21st century: connected rather than competitive, with theologians following the King of Love, not trying to become the King of the Hill.

I don’t remember what grade I got -- but at this point, who cares? It was a long time ago and they ordained me anyway.

I don't remember the grade but I do remember the paper ... and I remember the hope that inspired it -- the hope of a church growing more fully into the Body of Christ is was created to be. And today I'm thinking I couldn't be prouder to be part of a diocese that's ready, willing and able to reach out -- like the mother in my story -- and call everybody in to work together to build this kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

So for those who want us to "just pick something" we've got an answer: we have. We have picked the King of Love over the King of the Hill -- and we're ready to move on with the work and witness we've been given to do.
We're ready to call "game over" on King of the Hill and invite everybody -- absolutely everybody -- to come to the table.

Because we're having a grand and glorious here in LaLa Land. We are thrilled with our new bishops suffragan and ready to get on with the work we have ahead of us: making the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made known to all who come seeking a community of faith committed to Jesus' core values of love, peace, justice and compassion.

Alleluia. Alleluia.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Bernard Milk
(May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978)
"I cannot prevent anyone from getting angry, or mad, or frustrated. I can only hope that they'll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive, so that two, three, four, five hundred will step forward, so the gay doctors will come out, the gay lawyers, the gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects ... I hope that every professional gay will say 'enough', come forward and tell everybody, wear a sign, let the world know. Maybe that will help."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bishop Senyonjo: 'God is not only for heterosexuals'

by Pat McCaughan, May 20, 2010

[Episcopal News Service] Retired Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Buganda has a simple, if dangerous message: "God is not only for heterosexuals … [if you are gay] accept yourself, love yourself."

Senyonjo, 78, recently kicked off a six-week speaking tour at St. Paul's Church, Pomona, in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to raise awareness about repressive anti-gay policies in Uganda, where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on gays.

He also called upon advocacy groups to network to help develop the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other under-served communities in Uganda and to promote understanding and education.

The married grandfather of 11 has been compared to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr. because of his outspoken gay rights activism. His advocacy was born of listening to the struggles of others, he said recently.

"The church should be on the side of those who suffer, who are persecuted and who have been misunderstood," he told about 75 people gathered at the May 11 forum in Pomona. "To me it is sad. Very often, people go to the Bible and read it the way they want to and say if you don't read the Bible this way you are out, an outcast. I know; because I've been there."

But, he added: "Christ came to bring justice and love. Culture is not static and Christ can transform culture," he said, noting "Christ's imperative was to love, not to hate your brother because he is different."

Find out more.

50 Facts You Should Know About Gay Marriage

These come from a Facebook group I just joined and -- although some of them are a little dated -- I couldn't resist sharing here. Read and learn:

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, birth control and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all: women are property, matches are arranged in childhood, blacks can't marry whites, Catholics can't marry Jews, divorce is illegal, and adultery is punishable by death

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9. If we look to the word of God, His punishment for sexual immorality is equal to that of murder. Therefore, teaching kids to tolerate homosexuality is equal to teaching them to tolerate murder.

10. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy (insurance, government, tourism, banking, retail, education, and social services), suburban malls, or longer life spans.

12. Gay marriage should be decided by people not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.

13. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a “seperate but equal” institution is always constitutional. Seperate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as seperate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

14. There is no separation between religious marriage and legal marriage, because there is no separation of church and state.

15. Devout, faithful Anglicans should never accept same-sex marriage, because it is an affront to the traditional family values upheld by Henry VIII and his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his wife, Anne Boleyn, and his wife, Jane Seymour, and his wife, Anne of Cleves, and his wife, Catherine Howard, and his wife, Catherine Parr. They all knew the meaning of marriage and none of them lost their heads over the matter.

16. Married gay people will encourage others to be gay, in a way that unmarried gay people do not.

17. Legalizing gay marriage will lead to legalizing dog marriage. This can be inferred from the history of other political initiatives for gender equality. For example, when American women got the right to vote in 1920, it led to terriers voting in 1925, and when Title IX was passed in 1972 to prevent sex discrimination in any federally-funded school, resulting in the creation of athletic opportunities for girls, it led to Bichon Frises on the basketball court during the Reagan administration.

18. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to legislative change in general, which could possibly include the legalization of polygamy, incest, medical marijuana, and unmuzzled pit bulls. Because we don’t know what might come down the next slippery slope, we should never change any law.

19. Legal marriage will inspire gays to mimic straight traditions, such as spiritual commitment ceremonies and celebratory parties, which is currently impermissible for them to do and which they have never done before.

20. Marriage is designed to protect the well-being of children. Gay people do not need marriage because they never have children from prior relationships, artificial insemination, surrogacy, or adoption.

21. Civil unions are a good option because "separate but equal" institutions are always constitutional. In fact, compared with marriage, civil unions are so attractive that straight people are calling dibs on them.

22. A man should not be able to marry whomever a woman can marry, and a woman should not be able to marry whomever a man can marry, because in this country we do not believe in gender equality.

23. If gays marry, some of straight people's tax dollars would end up supporting families whose structure they may find morally objectionable. Clearly, it is more just to continue taking gay people's tax dollars to support straight families, who are going to heaven regardless of what anyone else thinks of them.

24. Gays should hold off on the marriage question until society is more accepting of them, because they are not part of society.

25. The people's voice must be heard on this issue. Therefore, we must have a vote on a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, because we can't think of any other way to discuss the issue.

26. Each state should decide for itself whether gay marriage will be recognized, because there is no "full faith and credit" clause that requires states to recognize each other's institutions.

27. Gay marriage attempts to replace natural heterosexual instinct with a cultural institution. Morality demands that we subordinate institutionalized commitment to raw, unfettered, biological impulse.

28. Gay marriages could very well suffer maladies like domestic violence and substance abuse. That's why we invented the Quality Control department to pre-approve the righteousness of all marriage applicants.

29. Those who support gay marriage aim to overthrow the dominant culture, as evidenced by their enthusiasm to participate in it.

30. If the state performs gay marriages, Christians might become more liberal and divide into more mutually opposed parties. Since the government is an arm of the church and is responsible for keeping the peace in Christian leadership councils, it should not get involved with gay marriage.

31. After gay marriage was legalized in Scandinavian countries in 2004, more heterosexual couples realized they wanted to live together and bear children without marrying first. Banning gay marriage is a good way to prevent this practice, as is banning independent thought and mandating straight marriage by age 21.

32. Heterosexual marriage was invented in the Biblical book of Genesis. Written somewhere between 1500 and 500 BCE, Genesis came as a great relief to people in many cultures, such as China, who, prior to 1500 BCE, sat around waiting for the Mesopotamians to invent the family unit.

33. Gay marriage would allow more partners and children to sign onto the family breadwinner's healthcare plan. Given that 44 million Americans do not have health insurance, it is safe to say that health insurance is not an American value.

34. The possibility of getting a gay marriage might encourage some married heterosexuals to divorce and seek a gay union instead. These marriages were obviously happy and successful, and the justices who provide gay second marriages should be charged with alienation of affection.

35. Gay marriage may hurl the populace into existential crisis and cause spontaneous divorces. Divorce triggers our moral hemorrhaging, but we will keep it legal. It is easier to seek the criminalization of gay marriage than the criminalization of divorce, particularly because most of us have had a few divorces.

36. Gay marriage is tainted because some of the applicants might be divorcees marrying for the second time. We oppose remarriage, and would like to ensure that no one marries more than once; therefore we will oppose the entire institution of marriage, to ensure that no one ever marries at all. That casts the net wide enough to catch all the would-be second-timers.

37. The people have the right to demand to vote on a Massachusetts constitutional amendment against gay marriage. There is no reason for proposed amendments to go through the state Legislature first, as is constitutionally required, because the Legislature doesn't spend all that many paid hours sitting around discussing the legal ramifications on behalf of ordinary citizens who are too busy with their own jobs to figure out everything at stake.

38. The arguments for gay marriage are flawed because Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry made inconsistent statements about gay marriage, and he is known for his consistency on other issues.

39. Married gay couples will find it easier to adopt children, who might then be bullied and teased by other children for who their parents are. This reflects poorly on the judgment of gays who adopt children with the risk that their child could possibly be teased. It does not, of course, imply anything about the responsibilities of heterosexual parents, whose children only pick up rocks for geological interest and couldn't have been listening when their parents made those comments about their neighbors.

40. Children of married gay couples might suffer bullying and teasing more often than children of unmarried gay couples, because playground bullies are sensitive to the nuances of contract law.

41. It is reasonable and fair to institute "civil unions" that provide all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but we cannot apply the holy, mystical word "marriage" to this contract. Deriving from the Latin maritare, "marriage" evokes the dignity of the typical Roman man who engaged in licentious sex with both sexes until he reached middle age, at which time he maritared a teenage girl to bear his children.

42. According to the three proposed "compromise" Massachusetts constitutional amendments defeated by the Legislature on Feb. 11 and 12, 2004, the best way to "protect the unique relationship of [heterosexual] marriage" is to institute civil unions that are in every way identical to it.

43. God created the institution of marriage, just after he created 2.9% APR automobile financing, student loans, HMOs, and divorce.

44. We must defer to the President's opinion on gay marriage, since the Republican party was given its authority by God. As it is written: "Republican and Democrat created He them." Paul elaborated: "Democrats, submit to the Republican."

45. In San Francisco, where renegade officials have married same-sex couples for the past several weeks, experts suggest that the city may suffer an earthquake in about ten years. Geological experts, that is. But good Christians don't recognize the opinion of Earth scientists, who falsely claim the Earth is 4.5 billion years old; they get their seismic information from their preachers, who say the earthquake's coming next week.

46. Gay marriage is wrong because children might be led to think that it is right and that would clearly be wrong.

47. Making civil marriage available to same-sex couples could spur the wedding industry, and businesses would sure hate to pay taxes on all that profit.

48. Straight men are opposed to gay marriage because they would prefer that gay men try to be straight and compete with them for access to women, trimming down the pool of eligible dates to make courtship more challenging and exciting.

49. The country can't afford to provide benefits for any more married couples. That's why President Bush never considered spending $150 million on programs that encourage more straight people to get married.

50. Allowing same-sex marriage could increase gay public displays of affection, because marriage has historically been proven to stimulate couples' interest in sex.

Uganda Declaration

International Day Against Homophobia is first day of the “Uganda Declaration” campaign to mobilize faith leaders to decriminalize people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

NEW YORK, NY, Monday, May 17, 2010 – On the annual International Day Against Homophobia, a coalition of national faith leaders announced that they are launching a campaign based on the “Uganda Declaration” to begin mobilizing faith leaders to work for decriminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people based on their tradition’s human rights policies and official statements against violence.

Motivated by Uganda’s proposed “anti-homosexuality” bill, with its death penalty and extradition clauses, the coalition began its work by challenging the export of homophobia to Uganda by evangelicals from the United States. It is expanding its concerns to asking faith leaders from all traditions to use their faith networks and official policies on human rights to challenge the more than 80 countries with laws against homosexuality—seven with the death penalty.

“Faith leaders in the United States know that almost all faith traditions have statements on the books that support human rights for all people,” said, Bruce Knotts, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. “They are realizing that, regardless of their beliefs about sexual orientation or gender identity, their traditions support the human rights of all people. Faith leaders are stepping up to take action to stop state sponsored violence and all violence against LGBT people.”

The “Uganda Declaration” gave examples of violence against LGBT people such as

■Lesbians in the townships of South Africa can still expect to be raped as a “cure.”
■In Malawi, a couple was imprisoned for announcing their engagement
■Young gay men in the privacy of their own home in Jamaica were attacked with machetes
■Transgender women and men are often targets for violence in the United States
■In Pakistan, lesbians may face “honor” killings, and gay men are targets for police actions.
■Since November 2008, at least 8 transgender people have been murdered in Turkey.
The campaign will seek a cross section of officials in denominations and faith traditions as well as LGBT faith leaders and concerned people to sign the “Uganda Declaration” and commit themselves to work proactively for decriminalization of LGBT people throughout the world.

Louise Brooks, Communications Director for Integrity, said, “Fair-minded faith leaders in places like Uganda, the United States and throughout the world must speak out and use their faith networks to stop the hate, get rid of the anti-LGBT laws and live out their own core values of care for God’s people.”

“People of faith are seeing that their international HIV-AIDS grants are being undermined by fear and homophobia,” sad, Dr. Sylvia Rhue of the National Black Justice Coalition. “When homophobia rules the day, LGBT people are afraid of getting attacked at the clinics so they stop going. Fear and misunderstanding make the HIV/AIDS epidemic much more lethal.”

Find out more.

Monday, May 17, 2010

You Go, Mr. President!

Consecration News Round Up

As the purple-dust starts to settle from Saturday's historic consecrations here in L.A. so do the news reports. While engendering nowhere near the controversy +Gene's November 2003 consecration did, there's been plenty of news and blog coverage. Here are some ...

Print Media:

ENS (Episcopal News Service)
Los Angeles Times
The Baltimore Sun

Local TV:
CBS-Channel 2 posted this story
and KTLA offered this coverage:

The British press had this to say:

The Times Online had Ruth Gledhill's piece Anglican Rift Deepens
The Guardian offered Mary Glasspool is ordained by Savitri Hensman
The Telegraph had
Lesbian Bishop proves that liberals have won by Jonathan Wynne-Jones
And BBC News posted this piece


Elizabeth Kaeton posted "Lions and drums and bishops, Oh My!"
Episcopal Cafe offered "Los Angeles has two new bishops -- with protest"

Finally, Episcopal Life just posted this great piece on Bishops Diane and Mary on their first-day-on-the-job, which begins: "The two newest bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church didn't waste any time getting right down to ministry."

And now I think it's time to return everybody to the regularly scheduled programs. Thanks for tuning in to this episode "The Diocese of Los Angeles Makes History." Stay tuned for future episodes!

May 15th Slide Show ... A New Day for the Diocese of Los Angeles!

Photos from far and wide ... thanks to all who shared on Facebook and via email ... some snapshots of MOST an amazing day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"The strife is o'er"

It's one of my favorite Easter hymns:
The strife is o'er, the battle done;
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun:

The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed;
let shouts of holy joy outburst:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
We sing of love's triumph over death on Easter morning not out of ignorance about the very real pain that death, disease, violence and oppression bring but out of faith in the Easter promise that NOTHING is stronger than the love of God.

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

I sang that hymn in my head over and over yesterday in Long Beach as the Diocese of Los Angeles -- my diocesan "family of origin" -- helped the Episcopal Church take another step forward on the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments with the ordinations of Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool as the 1044th and 1045th bishops in it's 221 year history.

I sang "The strife is o'er" not out of ignorance about the struggle ahead. I read the blogs. I get the press releases. I walked past the pickets outside the Long Beach Arena. I cringed as the angry protesters screamed at us at the beginning of the service yesterday.

I didn't sing out of ignorance -- I sang out of the sure and certain knowledge that God's love is stronger than all the fear, division, ignorance and bigotry the world can throw at us.

I sang out of the confidence that power behind us IS greater than the challenge ahead of us when that power is the power of the abundant love of God.

I sang out of faith that the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep in the Easter that trumped Good Friday is leading us forward into God's future -- a future beyond schism and division, beyond pain and polemic.

I sang out of hope that the steps we took Saturday in the Diocese of Los Angeles would be a beacon of light and life to all who are looking for signs of God's love, peace, justice and compassion.

And I sang remembering how far we have come as a church that resolved in 1976 to offer to its gay and lesbian members "full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the church." There is SO much to rejoice and be glad in even as la lucha continua -- the struggle goes on -- to make that resolution a reality in every part of this great church of ours.

The struggle goes on. But the strife is o'er.

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What a difference 7 years makes!

Seven years.

It's a nice biblical number. Seven days for creation. Seven years Jacob worked to get Rachel ... after he'd worked seven years for Leah. One commentary I checked wrote, "The number 7 is usually equated with the idea of perfection."

Well, where I hang out we talk a lot about "progress, not perfection" -- and although I do not believe we've reached perfection -- any of us -- as I write this sitting in a hotel room in Long Beach (with this fabulous view out the window ...)

... it does occur to me just how much difference seven years have made since I sat in another hotel room in New Hampshire preparing for another consecration the next morning.

November 2003
May 2010

What a difference seven years makes, as we gather here in Long Beach for the consecration tomorrow of two new bishops for the Episcopal Church and pastors for the people of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

From as far as Minnesota, Massachusetts and Fort Worth ...

... and as close as a few miles north on the 710 ...

... friends from New Jersey ...

... and three past-Integrity Presidents ...

... are here with joy and anticipation to celebrate with Bishop Jon Bruno and the rest of us ...

... a new era of mission and ministry for the Diocese of Los Angeles.
No, it's not perfection. And it won't be until the kingdom comes, the reign is realized and the gender, orientation, identity or race of a Bishop for the Church of God is no longer an "issue." For anybody.
But what a difference seven years makes. Then there were police lines and bomb threats and CNN trucks with live satellite coverage of our every move as we gathered at a New Hampshire hockey rink to make Gene Robinson a Bishop in the Church of God. Today's press conference drew a handful of church media and a local reporter or two and the only lines we needed to cross were the ones in the hotel cocktail lounge.
And tomorrow we're going to gather across the street there at the Long Beach Convention Center and the first woman Presiding Bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church is going to ordain the first two women bishops in the history of the Diocese of Los Angeles ... and the fact that one of them is a lesbian is not an "issue" but an opportunity for us to better incarnate the wholeness of God's abundant and inclusive love.
It's progress -- not perfection -- but what a difference seven years makes. TBTG!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Prayer du jour

O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishops-elect Diane and Mary,and other clergy, and all our people. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nostalgia Alert: St. Mark's, Altadena 1998

So as we continue on Consecration Countdown here in Los Angeles, all this talk of ordinations, consecrations and the like sent me into a somewhat nostalgic place ... which was exacerbated by finding some old pictures stacked in the corner of my home study. Some of them are here ... photos from my time as a deacon at St. Mark's in Altadena and one I didn't even remember I had of my first Eucharist in January 1998.

On that Sunday in January, Mary Douglas Glasspool had already been a priest for 16 years -- and Diane Jardine Bruce was celebrating her first Eucharist down in Orange County. (Diane and I were in the same ordination class.) And in a few short days
we'll all be celebrating again as we watch the Holy Spirit make two new bishops for the Church of God and two new pastors for the people of the Diocese of Los Angeles.


Love this graphic, just posted to the Diocese of L.A. website in preparation for Saturday's consecrations!

You are invited ... join the celebration welcoming two new bishops suffragan!

Saturday, May 15
12:30 p.m. Gathering music
1:30 p.m. Liturgy begins

Long Beach Arena
300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach

Fact Sheet Biographies

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


From the "Faith for Justice" website: A few weeks ago Glenn Beck threw down the gauntlet regarding Christianity and social justice. When news of Beck’s incendiary comments broke, my colleagues and I across the religious spectrum couldn’t believe what we were hearing. In the weeks that followed everyone was talking about how to respond.

I met with a couple of filmmakers at the church I serve and together we decided to create two or three Public Service Announcements with the aim of creating a civil conversation out of the cultural moment created by Glenn Beck’s unfortunate comments. Our goal is to help people understand what social justice is and its place at the center of our faith.

So here's the just-released-today Interfaith Faces of Faith for Justice -- help us make this You Tube video "go viral" ... watch and then forward the link posted below!

Ready, Set, GO!

The Borowitz Report on Supreme Court Nominee Choice

**** YES, THIS IS SATIRE! ****
[ You wouldn't think that disclaimer would be necessary, and yet ... :) ]

Citing Kagan's Lack of Judging Experience, GOP Proposes Paula Abdul
Republicans Show Support for ‘Idol’ Star

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Howling in protest over Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s lack of judging experience, leading Republicans today urged the President to withdraw Kagan and instead nominate Paula Abdul.

“The American people have had years of watching Paula’s judging expertise, and they know that she is fair,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “She’s certainly fairer than Simon.”

As to the criticism that sometimes on “American Idol” Ms. Abdul seemed to be not all there and had nothing to say, Sen. Sessions said, “You could say the same thing about Clarence Thomas.” More Borowitz here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I know, I know, I know ...

There is not a single, reasonable excuse for reading what David Virtue writes ... except sometimes you just can't help yourself.

And while that does not hold water as an excuse, it is by way of explanation how I ran across this quote du jour from the Great Drama Queen of Schismania:
We are within days of one of the most serious breaches in the ecclesiastical life of the Anglican Communion ... [an] act that will pour hot coals of fire on the Episcopal Church and further enrage Global South Anglican leaders who have pleaded with both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Episcopal Church not to proceed with this consecration
See also -- "The sky is falling, the sky is REALLY falling. this time we really, really mean it: the world as we know it is ending, the final crisis is upon us."

Kind of reminds me of that great quote from Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken."

Because it turns out the role of "final crisis" is already taken. At least according to Bishop Barbara Harris, who was with us here in the All Saints Church Rector's Forum yesterday and had this to say:

"When I was elected, the Episcopal Synod of America said, 'The final crisis has come on the Episcopal Church' ... so you're lookin' at the final crisis!"

My, my, my -- imagine that!

So "the final crisis" was actually back in 1988 when Barbara Harris was elected bishop suffragan of Massachusetts? Then what is it that keeps the wheels of schism still rolling after all these years? Could it be that those who keep fanning the embers of schism and division are just committed to keeping the fight going?

Maybe we should get t-shirts printed that say, "We survived the Final Crisis."

Or not.

Maybe we should just gear up to celebrate the ordination of two faithful priests as two fabulous bishops and let the ember fanners flap away.

Long Beach ■ Saturday, May 15 ■ 1:30 p.m. ■ WOO HOO!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"What a time, Lord; what a time!"

It has been a whirlwind coupla days here at work in the All Saints Pasadena fields-of-the-Lord. This slide show will capture some of it ... but if a picture is worth a thousand words, it would take a million to capture the energy, enthusiasm and excitement +Barbara Harris brought to Pasadena for her inaugural visit to All Saints Church.

"What a time, Lord; what a time!" was the title of +Barbara's sermon at 11:15 on Sunday. You can watch a video of her message here ... and I hope you will.

You can also watch the Rector's Forum here ... a totally fabulous interview of +Barbara Harris by Ed Bacon. It was our inaugural foray into "live streaming" -- trying out the free service "U-Stream" -- and I can't resist sharing here some of the comments I got on my Facebook page:
Good thing I'm in the central time zone so that I can participate remotely. Hopefully we can get her to come speak in Fort Worth!

It worked! I loved being able to watch from the East coast. Thanks Communications Team!

I tuned in for the last twenty minutes - over here on the East Coast! "the power behind you is greater than the task ahead of you!" Thanks so much!
It was a "baby step" for us but an exciting one ... stay tuned for further developments as we keep working to make the medium work with the message!

Bishop Harris' visit included confirmation on Saturday morning, a lunch meeting with the leadership team from the Los Angeles "Moral Compass to Justice" folks, two sermons and a rector's forum on Sunday followed by a Mother's Day brunch in her honor. She's not only a hard act to follow, she's a hard one to keep up with ... and if I make to 80 and have 1/8th of her energy I will consider myself mightily blessed!

I scribbled down on a liturgy leaflet at some point during the weekend Ed's description of +Barbara's ministry as defined by "Courage, Compassion and Audacity" -- and I think that pretty much says it.

What a time, Lord; what a time ... what a time we've had together.

And NOW we gear up for Consecration Countdown ... as the Diocese of Los Angeles prepares to send two more courageous, compassionate and audacious women to the House of Bishops when we ordain Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool next Saturday in Long Beach.

My, my, my!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Confirmation Day 2010 at All Saints Church

Just a few snapshots from a truly glorious Confirmation Day @ All Saints in Pasadena!

Friday, May 07, 2010

STOP THE HATE: A Forum on Hate Speech & Violence

This is the inaugural event in a series of forums addressing issues that challenge our community, hosted by "The Moral Compass to Justice" collaborative. If you're in the L.A. area, please join us for what I know will be an evening of both challenge and opportunity.
For more information, contact:
A Moral Compass for Justice
4182 So. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90062

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

@ clergy conference

Yep ... it's a beautiful day in the San Pedro neighborhood for Dio L.A. Clergy Conference 2010 ...

Started off with dinner last night with All Saints colleagues Abel, Ed & Wilma (Zelda's on sabbatical) ...

Now we're well launched into some interesting work with Harvard economist (and Dio L.A. PK) Dr. Richard Parker: "Moving Forward: God, Engagement, and Healthy Parishes — How Building a Just World Builds a Stronger Church."

More later ...