Monday, October 31, 2011

"Those whose lives are closely linked with ours"

That has always been one of my favorites in the Prayers of the People ... and now the marvels of modern multiplatform communication has given us even more ways to be "closely linked" with those who both are and have been in our lives. Case in point is this "virtual" Altar of Remembrance for Dia de los Muertos here at All Saints Church ... the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those we love but see no more ... not just at the chapel altar on November 2nd but online on our vitual altar. Check it out:

Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey this week, you can be part of our Dia de los Muertos celebration here at All Saints Church … by posting up a photo a memory of your loved one on our virtual Altar of Remembrance.

"Dia de los Muertos" is a festive and colorful celebration in which we honor our loved ones as they were when they were alive. Particpants are encouraged to bring photographs, garments, flowers, favorite foods, stories, or other reminders of loved ones to decorate the Altar of Remembrance.

The service will be held in the All Saints Chapel beginning at 7:30pm on Wednesday, November 2nd. Zelda Kennedy will preside.

This year, a "virtual" Altar of Remembrance has been created to invite those who cannot be present in the All Saints Chapel on Wednesday evening to honor their loved ones by posting a photo and a remembrance here. We will then gather ALL these names together, along with our memories, in thanksgiving and prayer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Reformation Sunday

The Annual Episcopal Reformation Day Dilemma: Do we celebrate Luther or re-read Henry's "Defense of the Seven Sacraments?" Or choose the both/and: celebrate some outward-and-visible-signs and then go defend the dignity of every human being. Viva la Via Media!

Friday, October 28, 2011

God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

Our Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry is honored to be one of the sponsors for an evening with scholar and activist Jay Michaelson at Temple Kol Ami on Tuesday, November 15th.

If you're in the neighborhood, come be inspired, informed and entertained at what is sure to be a groundbreaking event for LGBT Equality.

And if you're NOT "in the neighborhood" find out more about his really quite brilliant book here.

Or listen to him here:

It is time to put the protest back in Protestantism.

I loved, loved, loved, this blog from Facebook-Friend Diana Butler Bass. Gifted author, speaker and educator she hits it out of the park with this timely piece reminding (some of) us of the power of our Protestant roots.

You'll want to read it all here .. but here are some excerpts to get you started:

It is time to put the protest back in Protestantism.

The heart of Protestantism is the courage to challenge injustice and to give voice to those who have no voice. Protestantism opened access for all people to experience God’s grace and God’s bounty, not only spiritually but actually ... Protestants were not content with the status quo. They felt a deep discomfort within. They knew things were not right. And they set out to change the world.

Protestants can rediscover the courageous part of their identity too long hidden under a veneer of cultural success ... by starting a church-based protest movement to challenge two things: bad government and cruel capitalism.

Bad Government:
Good government reflects the principles of neighborliness, creates a sense of common benefit, serves and listens to all of its people.

Bad government serves only itself or an elite, cut off from any idea of a common good, and works to maintain its interests instead of an ethical vision for society.

Protestants would do well to protest against bad government, and not simply take sides in a false argument between small and big government. We need to protest for good government.
Cruel Capitalism:
We need to protest against cruel capitalism—the sort of capitalism that is based on share-holder profits alone, the sort of capitalism that has flourished unchecked and unregulated in the last thirty years in the west, a deeply a-moral economic system that has destroyed untold lives in the process.

We need to protest for a different sort of capitalism—a nurturing capitalism—a capitalism that recognizes the diversity of environmental, spiritual, social, communal, and intellectual capital as part of a universal economy of human flourishing. Protestants need to be protesting cruel capitalism while envisioning and working toward a deeper, more embracing vision of nurturing capitalism.
So, Protestant friends: the world needs you. You are the heirs of those who once took to the streets to bring about God’s reign here on earth. You resisted oppression. You stood for justice. Do that again. Please.

The world needs protesters. Not just in Zuccoti Park. But we need to hear the howls of protests against bad government and cruel capitalism from the pulpits and pews of every mainline church in this nation.

We need to hear you proclaim God’s dream of good government and a nurturing economy for all.
Go for it. Make your ancestors proud.

[Thanks, Diana. And let the people say, AMEN!]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

U.S. Premiere of "Illegal Love" -- French Filmmaker Julie Gali's Documentary on the Prop 8 Battle

Louise and I met Julie Gali when she came to Los Angeles while working on her documentary "Illegal Love." From the IMDB summary:

In 2008 French filmmaker Julie Gali traveled to the US to film the election of Barack Obama. In spite of this victory for civil rights, it soon became apparent that the rights of another minority were under threat. In California the passing of Proposition 8 marked the only time in U.S. history that a civil right was actually taken away after it had been granted. Upon seeing this, Ms. Gali decided to immerse herself in the growing grassroots struggle of the gay community, which culminated in the October 11, 2009 March for Equality in Washington DC.

The film will have its U.S. Premiere on LOGO-TV Saturday night -- October 29th -- at 8pm. You'll see some familiar faces like Dan Choi, Gavin Newsom and Lady Gaga -- and All Saintsers Chad Allen and William Walker. More on the film here.

Tune in or "TIVO in" on Saturday night!

Giles Fraser Walks His Talk

The Rev. Giles Fraser has resigned as canon chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. "It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St. Paul's Cathedral," Fraser said in a Twitter post on Oct. 27 after informing the cathedral dean and chapter of his decision.

His resignation wasn't a surprise. Giles had gone on record a few days earlier saying he would resign if the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstrators are forced out by the Cathedral leadership.

From the report in The Guardian:
Fraser said he had quit because the cathedral had backed moves to clear the demonstrators, and that this might lead to "violence in the name of the church."

In an interview with the Guardian he explained how he had wanted to handle the issue of the camp: "I would want to have negotiated down the size of the camp and appeal to those there to help us keep the cathedral going, and if that mean that I was thereby granting them some legal right to stay then that is the position I would have had to wear"
And this one by BBC News:
"This is not a simple issue and I don't think anybody is trying to claim moral high ground on this at all," he said.

"My colleagues who've acted differently to me are quite right in saying that they want to reopen the cathedral; they want the cathedral to get on with its life.

"And, if I can argue their side as well, the truth of the matter is there are all sorts of people who are being adversely affected by the camp and I would like the camp to move on too, because I think it does have an effect on small traders and ordinary people in the area.

"But what I'm not prepared to do is sanction the use of force in order to do that."
Here is some of the commentary on his principled stand for justice:

Peter Owen-Jones wrote in The Independent:
St Paul was by profession a tent-maker. He was also a Roman citizen, which gave him access to a certain degree of "diplomatic immunity" when he needed it. So it is a wonderful twist of fate that the London cathedral built in his name, whose grounds are now filled with tents, faces this dilemma: Is it part of the protected elite? Or is it with the tent-makers?

Giles Fraser, the Canon of St Paul's who announced his resignation yesterday, has made it clear where he stands. The question for the wider Church remains.

Over the past 50 years we have all felt the cold hands of capitalism squeezing more and more of our humanity out of us. We have all by and large allowed it to happen, believing it was progress. The Church of England has just gone along with it, and we are now utterly embedded in that system.

Under the banner of balance, we at some point took it upon ourselves to "steady the ship" even if it is – as now many of us feel intuitively – going in the wrong direction. As priests we are not supposed to uphold the needs of the State – we are here at best to provide balance against the excesses of power, both political and financial. But we have not remained true to our calling.
And from the Episcopal News Service report:
Diocese of London Bishop Richard Chartres said that he "heard, with regret," the news of Fraser's resignation. "His is an important voice in the church, and I have offered to meet him immediately to discuss how we can ensure it continues to be heard."
And we'll certainly all be watching to see how those discussions pan out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Texts in Context

In response to yesterday's "But the Bible says ..." post one commenter wrote:
I am always discouraged by the strategy of discounting one particular biblical passage by ridiculing others. It tends to imply that the whole revelation of scripture is, at bottom, contemptuous. Perhaps that is the point.
Or not. Perhaps it is part of a long-term, ongoing effort to point out that Biblical texts out of context are hazardous to your health and to the health of others.

The case in point was Deuteronomy 22:28-29 ...
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
Pulling that text out of context and using it as an example of "what God says about marriage" makes as much sense as pulling any of the frequently quoted "clobber passages" out of context and using them as examples of "what God says about homosexuality." [If you want a great resource for "What the Bible Says and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality" see the piece by that name by Mel White.]

I remember being taught as a young Episcopalian that "we take the Bible too seriously to take it literally" ... and that early teaching continues to serve me well. Urban (Terry) Holmes wrote in his highly recommended "What is Anglicanism?"
Scripture for the Anglican is a fundamental source of authority for the church; but apart from reason it is dangerous. It becomes the mirror for the misdirected person to project his or her own opinions and give them the authority of God. The sin of schism in the result."
Reason tells us that the texts we inherit as Holy Scripture must be read in context. And my experience tells me that when someone comes at me with the "But the Bible says ..." argument knowing what else the Bible says equips me to neutralize some of the damage done by those who project their own homophobia on texts-out-of-context and "give them the authority of God."

At the end of the day it has nothing to do with discounting or ridiculing Scripture and everything to do with using the Bible not as as a weapon of judgement, division and intolerance but as a tool of love, justice and compassion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"But the Bible says ..."

There's also this little gem a little later on in Deuteronomy:
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
Remember THAT one the next time somebody comes at you with "But the Bible says ..."

TEC Executive Council steps up and says "thanks but no thanks" to proposed Anglican Covenant

Today is a staff inservice day for us so will have limited time online ... but I did want to get this good news from the just completed meeting of our Executive Council -- where they voted to:
...submit to convention a resolution on adoption of the Anglican Covenant that would have convention express "its profound gratitude to those who so faithfully worked at producing the Anglican Covenant"; commit the church to "continued participation in the wider councils of the Anglican Communion and to continued dialogue with our brothers and sisters in other provinces to deepen understanding and to insure the continued integrity of the Anglican Communion"; recommit the church to "dialogue with the several provinces when adopting innovations which may be seen as threatening to the unity of the communion"; and state that "the Episcopal Church is unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form"
Read the rest over at Episcopal Cafe. (Bravo!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

It just gets curiouser and curiouser

Removing any trace of doubt about their actions, Michele Bachmann’s staff in New Hampshire released a letter Monday stating unequivocally that they had in resigned en masse and that they expressly blamed a lack of communication between the staff and Bachmann’s campaign for the decision.

Citing a failure to communicate as the cause of the departures was laced with irony, after a mini-drama played out Friday in which Bachmann’s campaign didn’t appear to realize that its New Hampshire staff had walked out, instead claiming that all was well.

Read the rest here ... Seriously! This is starting to sound like an American Monty Python episode!

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the initiative process!

That's what I'M sayin'!

And I'm saying it in reponse to this news from the 9th Circut Court this morning:

A federal appeals court Monday put a temporary hold on a decision to make public the video recordings of the Proposition 8 trial and decided to rule on the matter expeditiously.

A three-member panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a brief order that Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware's ruling this month to release the video recordings may not be enforced pending a decision by the appeals court.

The court set an accelerated schedule for written arguments and a hearing for Dec. 5.
Supporters of same-sex marriage want the recordings made public to show the evidence behind former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker's ruling that overturned the 2008 ballot measure, a decision the appeals' court also is reviewing. The historic two-week trial examined the history of marriage and the nature of sexual orientation.

Opponents of gay marriage insist the recordings should remain sealed because of possible harassment of witnesses who testified for the backers of Proposition 8.
Enough already! These are the people who label equal protection for same-sex couples "special rights" and then ask for what amounts to a court-sanctioned closet to hide their support for Prop 8?

Seriously! And given that so many of them are so fond of throwing The Bible around I've got one for them: John 8:32 ... "The truth will set you free."

And here's another one ... The Gospel According to Me: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the initiative process!

Diocese of Connecticut says "We Do" to Marriage Equality

This just in from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut:

The Resolutions Report posted from Diocesan Convention in Connecticut reports that "We approved a non-binding resolution asking the bishop to permit clergy to officiate at same-sex weddings."

That would be Resolution #6: Permitting the clergy of the Diocese of Connecticut to voluntarily officiate marriages of same sex couples" which read:
RESOLVED: That the 227th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut urges the Bishop of Connecticut to acknowledge that there are people living in same-gender relationships of mutuality and fidelity who want to be married by their clergy; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Bishop of this Diocese may permit the clergy of the Diocese to determine the appropriate generous pastoral response to meet the needs of the members of his or her own local Eucharistic community, including officiating at weddings of same-sex couples and acting as legal agents of the State in signing marriage licenses.
Bravo, Diocese of Connecticut!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time out to say "Happy Birthday" to my sweetie pie!

Also on the birthday agenda is
Alec Mapa's "Baby Daddy" tonight ...
benefiting LGBT youth at risk.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Diocese of California "Just Says No" to the Anglican Covenent

Just received via email this word that the Diocese of California adopted the following resolution rejecting the Anglican Covenant with ONE dissenting vote.
Rock On Dio Cal!


Resolved, That the 162nd Convention of the Diocese of California disapproves the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Explanation: Our opposition to the proposed Anglican Covenant grows out of a lengthy listening process that involved all six of our deaneries. More than 200 lay and clergy members from across this diocese participated in this process. Those participating in this conversation were well prepared, demonstrating both familiarity with issues and a deep affection for the Anglican Communion. They placed a deep value on the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church's constituent part in it, and the common heritage shared by all Anglicans. They voiced a deep desire to continue in the Communion’s common life. They spoke of the importance of our developing diocesan companion relationships as well as the inter-provincial relationships a number of our congregations enjoy. A summary of these discussions as compiled by the General Convention Deputation of the Diocese of California is online here.

Working from these discussions, we affirm our tradition holds Holy Scripture as containing all things necessary for salvation. We hold fast to our responsibility to interpret scripture to meet the needs and challenges of living in our time and place. We affirm the value and importance of the Anglican Communion in our life and work. We affirm our Communion is founded on The Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. We believe the current instruments of communion are adequate to heal today’s wounds if all parties are willing to accept and live within a communion that has room for divergent views and differing understandings of how Holy Scripture speaks to us today.

We must also disapprove a proposed Anglican Covenant that creates a means for creating second class Anglicans instead of building bridges between Anglican Churches with different traditions for understanding scripture. God does not make second class people, how could our church now endorse making some people second class Anglicans?

We cannot accept an Anglican Covenant that seeks to replace our democratic decision making process with a process that allows foreign bishops to extend their jurisdiction into the Episcopal Church as well as other provinces around the world.

We must not support a proposed Anglican Covenant that risks converting our Communion into a confessing denomination enforced by a disciplinary process detailed in Section 4 of the proposed covenant.

We oppose a proposed Anglican Covenant that seeks to build a church on division rather than inclusion, legalism rather than prophecy, inequity rather than justice.
SUBMITTED BY: The Rev. Katherine Lehman, Rector, St. Bede’s, Menlo Park, The Rev. John Kirkley, Rector, St. James, San Francisco, The Rev. Br. Richard Edward Helmer, Rector, Church of Our Savior, Mill Valley and The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson, President, Oasis California.

Having solved the other issues challenging the Church in the 21st century the debate turned to Pelagius


The Diocese of Atlanta has posted the resolutions they will be considering at their upcoming diocesan convention on their website. Among those dealing with such issues as the death penalty, immigration reform, health care, suicide prevention and campus ministry is this one:
Contributions of Pelagius

Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition, and whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition And be it further resolved that this committee will report their conclusions at the next Annual Council.

Submitted by the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, Rector, the Church of the Epiphany
It has engendered quite the sprightly dialogue on the House of Bishops/Deputies listserve and no small amount of blog attention on the other side of the aisle.

All of which drove me to my blog archives where I found this introduction to the "Baptism of Our Lord" sermon I preached in 2008:

"I'm remembering this morning a homily I heard a few years ago on retreat with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Bryn Mawr from one of the Roman priests who came to preside in the convent chapel. He talked about his early days in ministry, doing missionary work in Guatemala and the deep friendship he developed with his Protestant roommate. He said they had MUCH in common as they worked among the poor of the city and they had lots of great conversations about theology, mission and ministry.

The one chasm they couldn't bridge, however, was the one between their different views on the nature of humanity. His roommate, the priest recounted, was convinced humans are inherently evil beings who can only accomplish good through our baptism into the Body of Christ. The priest, on the other hand, was convinced that humans are inherently good and that our baptism into the Body of Christ enables us to resist evil and participate with God in making the world a better place.

I was struck by how concisely he articulated what is arguably the greatest theological division we face ... and not only in the Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion. So many of the arguments about faith, sexuality, gender and mission come back, again and again, to what it means to be created in the image of God as human beings and what it means to be "saved" as Christians."
Let the debate continue! (And long live Calvin & Hobbes!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

"We're Outta There" -- President Obama Announces Full Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq

Following President Obama's announcement this morning that our troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays, here is the result of my completely unscientific survey of one Army veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan deployments (my son) via text message:
Q. Did Obama do the right thing w/Iraq troops?
A. (Adjective deleted) Yes!
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and
keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home
and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly
grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give
them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant
them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This moment of prayer brought to you by our friends at Myers-Briggs

The other day I was driving down Foothill Boulevard and was behind a car with the license plate "ENTP."

"Seriously?" I thought. "Someone makes their Myers-Briggs type their personalized license plate? Only in L.A.!

And that very day this graphic with Myers-Briggs type-specific prayers started to make the rounds on Facebook ...

And THAT reminded me of this litany I wrote awhile back for "Ps" and "Js" who didn't even understand each other enough to know how to pray for each other. And I think it still works. So, for what it's worth, I give you:


For the gift of new visions for the future and for the ability to implement and expedite them,
We give you thanks, O Lord.

From the temptation to become so focused on the goal we vision that we do not see the possibilities you offer,
Good Lord, deliver us.

For the grace you give us to be present in the moment and for the gift of spontaneity and openness to changing direction,
We give you thanks, O Lord.

From the danger of being so present in the moment that we settle for what is rather than risk partnering with you to achieve what could be,
Good Lord, deliver us.

For the wholeness and joy you offer us in our relationships with one another,
We give you thanks, O Lord.

From being so defined by our relationships that we lose sight of ourselves in the process, and from the fears of abandonment and rejection that being vulnerable to such loving can bring,
Good Lord, deliver us.

For the strength of self and independence you give us as beloved, empowered and gifted children of God,
We give you thanks, O Lord.

From the temptation to focus so much on the gift of our individuality that we lose sight of our call to mutuality,
Good Lord, deliver us.

For the love you have given us to share, which has been a source of strength and comfort, joy and support, growth and grace,
We give you thanks, O Lord.

For the hurts we have inflicted, the wounds we have created, the trusts we have betrayed and the pain we have caused,
Forgive us, O Lord.

Gracious God, we know that you call us all into wholeness in body, mind and spirit … and we come to you today to pray for your help in that journey. Open to your healing spirit of love and compassion, we ask for your guidance as we seek to grow more fully into the people you have created us to be. Trusting in your presence within us and between us, we ask for your wisdom as we seek to live more authentically into the relationships you have given us with one another and with you. Claiming the blessing of the vocations with which you have gifted us, we ask you to gift us once more with both hope and discernment as we journey into your future. All this we ask in the name of your Son our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Closet for Prop 8 Supporters!

Judge denies bid to make Proposition 8 donor identities secret

A federal judge this afternoon denied a challenge to California's campaign disclosure law by proponents of Proposition 8, who sought to make donors' identities secret, claiming they were harassed.

The preliminary ruling, by U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr., comes almost three years after voters approved California's same-sex marriage ban. In a case that is widely expected to be appealed, the state successfully argued that publicizing the identities of campaign donors is necessary to an informed electorate.

Read the rest here.

It's All Purple All Day @ All Saints Church

Members of the All Saints staff take a brief time out from turning the human race into the human family for a #SpiritDay photo op ... making God's Love Tangible to LGBT youth at risk by making today All Purple All Day @ All Saints Church!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Gospel According to Jimi Hendrix

The Gospel According to Jimi Hendrix
[video link]
Sermon preached on Sunday, October 16, 2011 All Saints Church, Pasadena

“And the Pharisees plotted to entrap Jesus …” So begins the gospel appointed by our lectionary cycle for this Sunday in October … and I promise we’ll get to that in a minute.

But I want to start out this morning with a reading from a different gospel … the Gospel According to … Jimi Hendrix. And it goes like this:

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

Being a child of the 60’s and a student in the 70’s I’m old enough to remember this text in context … but it took seeing it last week on a protest sign in the hands of a twenty-something Occupy Wall Street protester to remind me of the power of those words – and promise of that power.

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

WHEN the power of love overcomes the love of power.
Not IF the power of love overcomes the love of power.

That’s the distinction that elevates this quote from Jimi Hendrix from "cool sign" to Good News … which is, of course, the root of the word Gospel – which literally means “good news” … and good news comes from a variety of sources. In my ordination vows I swore that I did believe the Bible to contain all things necessary to salvation. Those vows did NOT, however, say that ALL things contained IN the Bible were necessary to salvation – cases in point being some chunks of Leviticus and those Psalms about smiting enemies and dashing babies against rocks. They also did not preclude finding Good News – finding Gospel – in texts beyond the Bible … even in such unlikely places as a quote from a 60’s rocker on an Occupy Wall Street protest sign:

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

And it is into that power … that promise … that we baptize Liam, Sheldon, Gilead and Siena today.

We do so knowing that baptism is a mystery … not to be confused with magic. Ed Bacon is not going to splash hocus-pocus water around and magically presto-chango them from heathan/pagan babies to children of God. That’s not how a sacrament works. A sacrament – which you either remember, have forgotten or are about to learn – is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace – it is something we do as a community of faith to outwardly claim what God has already done inwardly.

These children – created in God’s image -- already belong to God. We’re just going to celebrate that this morning with the sacrament of baptism – the outward and visible sign – is how we as a community mark and recognize what God is already doing or has done.

And I can’t resist telling one more story about my Brian. I’m remembering, when he was a little guy and “The Lion King” made its first appearance in theaters. Of course we went to see it … and at that wonderful moment in the beginning when the lion cub is handed over to the spiritual head of the community (a baboon, but let’s not go into that!) and he cracks open a coconut and splashes the forehead of the cub … raising him up for the community to see and celebrate.

And Brian … who did not at that point in his life posses an “inside voice” said “They baptized a LION????” … and I was torn between embarrassment as all the heads turned and delight that my Brian knew a sacramental moment when he saw one.

He knew it because he was raised in a community of faith where we teach our children to recognize an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace long before we teach them to define one. We show them what it means to live lives in alignment with God’s love and justice and compassion. And we promise them that no matter who they grow up to be or no matter where they find themselves on the journey of faith there will always be a place for them here.

So what we’re doing this morning for Liam, Sheldon, Gilead and Siena is -- arguably -- programming their spiritual GPS for the journey ahead.

We are giving them the gift of knowing that whenever they need to they can just hit that icon called “home” and find their way back.

• Where all are welcome.
• Where all are Loved.
• Where all are Included.
• Where all are Fed.

And where all are challenged to go out into the world to make a difference by putting the power of God’s love to work overcoming the love of power so the world will know peace.

It is -- my brothers and sisters -- a tall order. Make no mistake about that. Here’s how Sojourner’s Jim Wallis describes the challenge:
“Even a candidate who runs on change, really wants it, and goes to Washington to make it, will confront a vast array of powerful forces which will do everything possible to prevent real change. What it will take is a new spiritual revival to finally make serious social change really possible.

Changing hearts and minds and forging a constituency who will demand nothing less than a new direction. Remember, President Lyndon Johnson didn't become a civil rights leader until Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks made him one. And that's what we need again now.”
Nothing less than a new direction.
Nothing less than the power of love mobilized to overcome the love of power.

That is EXACTLY what we need again now … and that is why what we do here this morning is so important. Not just important for Liam, Sheldon, Gilead and Siena who are being baptized today but for ALL who dare to take on the brave, audacious challenge of taking up the ministry of Jesus on earth – of BEING the Body of Christ in the world – of daring to, once again, say “I will” to the covenant questions asked at each and every baptismal occasion:

• Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
• Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
• Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

These promises – this covenant – is our job description, our strategic plan and our marching orders as Christians all rolled into one.
It is what empowers us and sustains us to be part of that “spiritual revival” committed to making serious social change really possible … to live out the promise that:

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

And the Gospel according to Jimi Hendrix leads me back to this morning’s Gospel according to Matthew: “And the Pharisees plotted to entrap Jesus …”

It wasn’t the first time the “powers that be” had plotted to entrap Jesus. They’d been out to get him since he preached that first sermon in his hometown of Nazareth … the one where he presumed to tell them that the Year of the Lord’s Favor foretold by Isaiah was not somewhere out in the by-and-by -- but was right there in front of them in the here-and-now. That one almost got him thrown off a cliff.

This morning’s reading is actually the first of three encounters Matthew tells us about in the 22nd chapter of his gospel. It starts out with today’s “economic question” – is it lawful to pay taxes or not? Then the “family values” follow up …whose wife will the widow who married seven brothers-in-a-row be in heaven? Finally the religion question: which is the greatest commandment?

Remember the 22nd Chapter of Matthew the next time someone suggests that “gotcha” questions are an invention of the 21st century media – or Katie Couric –
because they are not. They are as old as 1st century “powers that be” threatened by the radical rabbi from Nazareth with his radical message of God’s love, justice and compassion available to absolutely everybody. And they are as current as the latest episode of As the Anglican World Turns.

Just this week we kicked up a little dust when I posted a quote from the rector’s sermon Sunday up next to a quote from the Bishop of South Carolina’s letter to the clergy of his diocese. You ready? See if you can guess which is which:
"God is always working with and through us to expand the circle of God's love until it includes absolutely everybody." -- The Reverend Canon J. Edwin Bacon, Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena
"We face a multitude of false teachings which I have called the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity.” -- The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina
And there you have it.

The love of power pulls the drawbridge up.
The power of love draws the circle wider.

And we choose this day what church we're going to be at All Saints Pasadena. And we choose the power of love.

• The power of love stands with the 99% on Wall Street and marches with the Veterans for Peace on the 10th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan.
• The power of love lights the candles lit at the vigil to end the death penalty and signs the letters sent to support the Dream Act.
• The power of love supports a Protect Marriage movement that protects all marriages and inspires a Family Values coalition that values all families.
• That’s the power we both claim and proclaim here at All Saints Church as we live out the Gospel According to Jimi Hendrix:

When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
the world will know peace.

[Liam] [Sheldon, Gilead and Siena] – in a moment we will baptize you into the household of God, invite you to proclaim with us Christ’s resurrection and to share with us in Christ’s eternal priesthood -- to join us in making God’s love tangible 24/7.

Because there is a hurting world out there in dire need of a new direction. And so my prayer for all of us today is that the experience of this baptismal celebration empower each and every one of us to go out and be the church in the world – to draw the circle wider – and to BE that power of love that WILL overcome the love of power.

And then there will be peace.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Let me count the ways ..." last week's WSJ violated the Ninth Commandment

Thanks to for these fun-facts-to-know-and-tell ... helpful for those trying to keep the record straight (so to speak.) And speakig of "the record" ... just for the record, Mollie Hemingway, we've checked and the Ninth Commandment is still there. The false witness one. You're welcome.

Talking points related to an opinion piece on

October 13th, 2011 In reference to an opinion piece titled “Twenty-first Century Excommunication” by Mollie Hemmingway and posted to on October 7, 2011, please note the following:

◦The author’s information and assertions are dated. The author’s reference in the opening paragraph to the church in Binghamton, New York is almost four years old. Much has happened, including a Lambeth Conference and a General Convention. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York has addressed and dealt with the issues raised in this article.

◦Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori did not make any of the statements that the author claims she made in the article.

◦The author of the article stated that, “Of the 38 provinces in the global Anglican Communion, 22 have declared themselves in “broken” or “impaired” fellowship with the more liberal American church.” As recently as Monday, October 10, Lambeth Palace confirmed that there is no basis for this claim by the author.

◦The budget of The Episcopal Church and the correct numbers for expenses are available to the public on the website

◦Membership in the Anglican Church of North America includes churches and denominations that have disassociated from the Episcopal Church both recently and over the last 130 years, as well as congregations which have never been part of the Episcopal Church. ACNA is not a member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

◦The Episcopal Church maintains very good relationships with many of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, as evidenced through our many diocesan companion relationships. Many Primates and Provincial Secretaries have been and continue to be guests at the Church Center in New York City and at various gatherings, including the General Convention 2009 and meetings of the House of Bishops.

◦Dioceses are created by the General Convention and cannot be dissolved without action of the General Convention in accordance with the provisions of the Episcopal Church’s constitution and canons. Parishes, likewise, are created by a local diocese and continue within that structure unless dissolved pursuant to the canons of the diocese.

◦The Episcopal Church welcomes all people – men and women, gay and lesbian persons – in ministry and in church leadership positions, as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ. The Episcopal Church has actively responded to the calls of two Lambeth Conferences to engage in study and discussion of these matters. Actions related to the election and consecration of two openly gay bishops have been taken at the local level of the Episcopal Church, with prayer and seriousness.

◦The continuing Episcopal Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth are growing in mission and ministry.

◦Those who have remained in the Episcopal Church in those places where some have left include conservatives as well as liberals, persons on the political right as well as on the political left, and everything in between.

◦It is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that those who have broken away from the Episcopal Church are the persecuted faithful, when in reality those who have remained have felt deeply hurt, and now in some cases are exiled from their own church buildings by the Anglican Church of North America.

◦Episcopal Church property was given by those who came before for the benefit of those yet to come. When members of a congregation choose to leave the Episcopal Church, the courts have repeatedly decided that those departing members may not take the church building with them.

SCLM Moves Blessings Project from Research to Resolution

just received via email ... will post ENS link when it's available

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church would spend three years using a rite for same-gender blessings and studying its application under a resolution that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has agreed to propose to the 2012 meeting of General Convention.

During that same time period the church also would reflect on its understanding of marriage in light of changes in both societal norms and civil law if convention agrees to a related resolution the commission will propose, according to the Rev. Ruth Meyers, SCLM chair.

The SCLM's decisions are the outcome of 18 months of work in response to General Convention's mandate (via Resolution C056) that it work with the House of Bishops to collect and develop theological resources and liturgies for blessing same-gender relationships, and report to the 77th General Convention in 2012 in Indianapolis.

The commission will present convention with 176 pages of material, including a rite of blessing, a theological essay on the issues involved in blessing same-gender relationships, a pastoral resource to guide clergy and trained lay people who would prepare same-gender couples to receive a blessing (the church requires heterosexual couples to engage in pre-marital counseling as well) and a discussion guide for helping congregations and other groups to discuss the rite and other materials.

The resolution that would authorize a three-year trial use of the liturgy also will ask for the continuation of the "generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church," called for in C056, Meyers said, including allowing for adaptation of the rite for local use. And, the resolution would have the commission report to the 2015 meeting of convention on how all the materials are used.
Meyers said Oct. 15 that she and the commission want to invite the church to "receive the [blessing] material prayerfully as a resource that we hope will be useful for the church but [also] as work along the way and not as a final, finished product and a definitive statement."

"We have had a wide consultative process and so have got input from a number of people, and it still needs to be received by the wider church," she told Episcopal News Service during a telephone interview from the commission's meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. "This is new territory for the Episcopal Church and so as we use material we expect we will learn more that will influence the content of the material that will help us refine the liturgy even further."

The commission decided to call for a three-year study of marriage as a result of feedback it received during the months it spent developing the C056 resources, according to Meyers.

"Throughout the triennium as we did our work on this people asked us questions about how this related to the understanding of marriage that the church has had up until this point and whether this liturgy itself was intended to be a marriage," she said. "The resolution called for us to develop a liturgy of blessing and that is what we have done, but we realized there is great need for the church to reflect more generally – in light of changing societal and cultural realities, and a whole range of changes in civil law – on how we understand marriage."

The commission's C056 work will become part of a report it must submit to convention detailing both its work on all matters referred to it during the triennium and any resolutions it proposes for convention to consider. Such reports of all the church's committees, commissions, agencies and boards are assembled into what is known as the Blue Book and the collection is released some months before each meeting of convention.

Meyers said the commission plans to ask the General Convention office to release the C056-related materials prior to the anticipated publication of the Blue Book so that it can be discussed at the March 2012 meeting of the House of Bishops and at the General Convention deputy training sessions during pre-convention provincial meetings.
Since the commission began discussing how to proceed to C056's mandate, the SCLM has conducted the "open process" called for in the resolution, Meyers said. Four task groups that included people from outside the commission worked on the topics of liturgy, theology, pastoral concerns and legal and canonical concerns. The liturgical task group received what Meyers said were hundreds of blessing rites, some dating to the 1970s. After the group developed a set of principles for reviewing the rites, they read each one and borrowed from some of them, she said.

The SCLM completed a first draft of all the materials in June and then invited 133 Episcopalians to review them. Using an online process, the reviewers made "extensive comments totaling in the thousands," Meyers said. The task groups then made major revisions based on those comments.

The rite and the theological essay were discussed during the House of Bishops meeting in September, according to Meyers. SCLM members, including the three bishops who serve on the commission (Tom Ely of the Diocese of Vermont, Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and John McKee Sloan of the Diocese of Alabama), have reported to the House of Bishops on a regular basis.
In October 2010, the commission met for five hours with representatives of the church's Province I to hear about their experience with same-gender blessings.

Nearly 200 members of the House of Deputies met March 18-19 in Atlanta for a historic church-wide consultation on same-gender blessings sponsored by the commission. The SCLM had invited one lay and one clergy deputy from each of the church's 109 dioceses and three regional areas to hear about and reflect on its work to date on the mandate given to it in General Convention 2009.

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson said that the Atlanta consultation was historic both for its topic and because a large group of deputies have never before gathered together outside of General Convention for church business and to discuss a topic due to be taken up at the next meeting of convention.

Resolution C056 also asked the SCLM to invite theological reflection and dialogue about its work from around the Anglican Communion. Episcopal Church bishops were asked to discuss the church's work on C056 with the bishops of any companion diocese relationships they may have and with the members of their so-called "indaba groups" from the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops.

In addition, the theological and liturgical principles for evaluating rites for blessing same-gender relationships that the SCLM developed for its C056 work were turned into a survey to which Anglican Communion bishops were asked to respond, either electronically or on paper or during conversation with commission members or other bishops.

In August, Meyers and Ely spent a half day in Canterbury, England, presenting the commission's work to that point to the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation. The communiqué from the IALC meeting noted that the two SCLM members "hear[d] from IALC members in response to that province’s [the Episcopal Church's] exploratory theological rationale and liturgical principles for the development of rites for the blessing of committed same-gender relationships."

Much of the SCLM's work on C056 has been funded in a unique way. In July 2010, Church Divinity School of the Pacific was awarded a $404,000 grant by the Arcus Foundation to support the work. Through a contract with the Episcopal Church, the grant made it possible for the Berkeley, California-based school to help facilitate the commission's work. Meyers is the CDSP Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics and the Rev. Louis Weil, Hodges-Haynes Professor Emeritus, is a SCLM member.

In July 2011, CDSP received an additional $90,000 from the Arcus Foundation and a $75,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to support the completion of the C056 work.

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Big News Out of DC: Leahy announces mark-up on Respect for Marriage Act

Big news out of DC today: Senator Patrick Leahy just announced that there will be a mark-up on the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116, S. 598), the bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, next month. This is a huge step forward for ending federal marriage discrimination, and we applaud Senator Leahy for his leadership. Here's what the Senator had to say this morning as he made the announcement:
“The march for equality continues, and now is the time to ensure equality for gay and lesbian Americans who are lawfully married. Next month, I will call up the Respect for Marriage Act for debate and a vote in the Judiciary Committee. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents thousands of American families from being protected by laws that help secure other American families. This is part of the nation’s continuing fight for civil rights for all Americans.”
Read the rest here.
To email Senator Leahy and thank him for his leadership click here.

The times, they are a changin':

The gay people, they are NOT.

End of the Ex-Gay Movement?
A prominent leader bolts, just the latest blow to those who believe sexual orientation can be altered. Michelle Goldberg on John Smid’s about-face.

Last week, John Smid, the former director of Love in Action, the country’s oldest and largest ex-gay ministry, acknowledged on his blog that, contrary to the claims of the movement he represented for decades, gay people cannot become straight. “I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual,” he wrote. He himself certainly has not. “I would consider myself homosexual and yet in a marriage with a woman,” he explained. He loves his wife and has no plans to leave her, but wrote, “this doesn’t change the fact that I am who I am and she is who she is.”

Smid, who resigned from Love in Action in 2008, was just the latest ex-gay luminary to leave the movement, either voluntarily or in a cloud of scandal. His break with ex-gay orthodoxy is a sign that, even in the evangelical world, the notion that sexual orientation can be altered is increasingly crumbling in the face of reality.

Read the rest on The Daily Beast

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Ballot Measure Battle

I wasn't going to take this one on but today is a "writing day" and I'm taking a lunch-break from working on Sunday's sermon to look at email and some of the blogs and I keep seeing "updates" on the push for a California initiative to overturn Prop 8.

EQCA (Equality California) came out against a 2012 ballot initiative.

Love Honor & Cherish
came out in favor of one.

And I think
it’s a terrible idea.

Not only because I hate the initiative system in general and I’m not convinced we can win in specific, but because in these economic times it is obscene to imagine trying to raise and then spend what it would take to launch a successful ballot initiative when kids don’t have health care and people are living in the streets. Not to even get into the fact that marriage equality in California does nothing to solve the 1138 federally protected rights that we wouldn't have anyway because of DOMA.

I’d rather spend time and money keeping the White House and electing a Congress that would support repealing DOMA.

As one colleague put it in an email, "Everything to lose. Nothing to gain." And that pretty much summed up where I am. Anybody have anything that would change my mind? I'm open. Sort of.

Cartoon du jour: Let those with ears to hear ...

Braggin' on my church

The annual Pasadena Weekly "Best of Pasadena" issue is out today ... and All Saints Church is honored to have been voted "Best Place of Worship" by Pasadena Weekly readers. Explore the other "bests" on the PW website ... and THANKS, Pasadena!! :)

Best Place of Worship
All Saints Church
132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena
(626) 796-1172

When All Saints first began in 1883, services were held in members' homes. Two years later, the first Episcopal Church in Pasadena was built. Today, All Saints is the cornerstone of several community-based programs and organizations created to meet the needs of all people, members or otherwise. All Saints helped found the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), an ecumenical group started in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and has sponsored many other awareness events, including lectures and films.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lord Have Mercy

These were the two top stories when I just logged onto the Los Angeles Times home page before closing up shop to head home for the evening.

One story began:
The gunman opened fire inside the crowded salon Wednesday, littering the shop with bodies. Eyewitnesses said that he was targeting his ex-wife and that the two were involved in a custody dispute.
The other:
It's no longer illegal to abuse a spouse if you're in Topeka, Kan. -- at least under city law.The Topeka City Council voted Tuesday night to repeal the city’s misdemeanor domestic battery law.
Honest to God, people. What is happening to this country?

Matthew Shepard: May he rest in peace and rise in glory

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's My Story and I'm Stickin' To It

It's Coming Out Day 2011 and not too late in the day to put my 2 cents in the coming out story department. It's a story I've told before on this blog because -- duh! -- my story is my story. But here it is again ... as it ran this year on the HRC Backstory website.

“Coming Out in the Cathedral”

On July 4, 1996 at noon eastern time I was in the choir at the National Cathedral. While crowds of tourists milled about the nave of the cathedral and others gathered outside or headed toward the Mall for the fireworks festivities scheduled later it the day or lined up to see the opening-that-day film “Independence Day” (remember that one?) a remnant of us gathered in the cathedral choir for a festival celebration of the Feast of American Independence, BCP style.

The music was glorious, the lessons inspiring and the privilege of receiving Holy Communion at the altar in this amazing “house of prayer for all people” as we celebrated the birth of a nation dedicated to “liberty and justice for all” was an amazing gift I will always remember.

Oh … and I came out.

In the cathedral. On the Fourth of July. In the middle of festival Eucharist I had the great “aha” moment – the epiphany – the “I-shoulda-had-a-V8” realization that the God who had “fearfully and wonderfully” made me had made me gay. And called me to priesthood. And told me “now, go back and be the priest I called you to be.”

That’s my coming out story. I’ve told it many times before but on this “Coming Out Day” it seemed worth telling again. It seemed worth reminding myself – and anybody else who wants to listen in – that I did not come out from the fringes of anything but from what former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold famously called "the diverse center." I came out in the context of a spiritual journey that began with my baptism at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Los Angeles in 1954 (go ahead and do the math!) and continued through Junior Choir, confirmation class, Altar Guilds and Vacation Bible Schools, ECW Boards, teas and luncheons, Diocesan Conventions, vestries and parish day school boards and finally seminary, ordination and parish ministry.

My coming out had nothing to do with a political act. It had nothing to do with a genital act. It had everything to do with the act of presenting myself, my soul and body, to be a “reasonable, holy and living sacrifice” unto the God who created me in love and called me to love others as God loved me. It had to do with recognizing that I could not be fully present at altar if I was not fully present in myself – and it had to do with being raised in a church where +John Hines taught me that “justice is the corporate face of God’s love,” +Ed Browning told me that in the Episcopal Church there would be no outcasts and the consecration of +Barbara Harris incarnated for me the hope that this church was actually willing to live into its high calling to live out a radically inclusive gospel.

So Happy “Coming Out Day” to me – and to the scores of LGBT Episcopalians like me. Are we a challenge to the wider church? I hope so. And I hope we continue to be. I hope that our voices of faith and witness will continue to preach, to protest and to prophesy – that we will stand in the temple and tell the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made present in our lives, our vocations and our relationships. That we will preach that Good News in and out of season.

So here's to Coming Out Day and to Independence Day -- to celebrating with BBQ, beer and fireworks our core American values of liberty and justice for all and everyone committed to our core Episcopal values of respecting the dignity of every human being. Not because we’re politically correct but because we’re gospel obedient. And here's to the diverse center -- long may it wave and long may it MAKE waves as it continues to live into the promise it inherits from Hines and Browning and Harris; from Washington and Jefferson and Madison.

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn; Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace. Amen

My rector in the Huffington Post on Coming Out Day

"Being Gay Is a Gift from God"
from the Huffington Post

As a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show in January 2009 I said “being gay is a gift from God.”

Those seven words – spoken to a call-in viewer from Atlanta -- set off a ripple of response that lit up Oprah’s switchboard, almost crashed our parish email server and continues to bring people toward us here at All Saints Church in Pasadena. And that moment continues to be for me an iconic example of how important it is for people of faith to confront discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters by standing up and by speaking out.

It is why that on this Coming Out Day 2011 I believe it is no longer enough for LGBT people to come out and let the world know who they were created to be – although that continues to be a courageous and transformational act. It is time for Christians to come out and let the world see the Church as it was created to be – a vehicle of love and justice, not a bastion of bigotry and homophobia.

It is time for people of faith to speak out against the religion-based bigotry that has for too long fueled the fires of homophobia that perpetuate violence against LGBT people and plants the seeds of self-loathing in LGBT youth.

And it is time to take to heart the words of Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who famously said, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” I may not be guilty of the religion based bigotry that has wounded countless members of God’s beloved LGBT children but I am responsible for offering a counter-narrative to the lies that have been told about the God I serve – the God of love, justice and compassion.

My faith tradition teaches that the truth will set you free – and the truth is: God Loves.

The truth is: Love Trumps.

And the truth is: Being gay is a gift from God.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Choose This Day

I was struck this morning by these quotes from what can fairly be described as two ends of the Episcopal spectrum:
"God is always working with and through us to expand the circle of God's love until it includes absolutely everybody." -- The Reverend Canon J. Edwin Bacon, Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena

"We face a multitude of false teachings which I have called the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity.” -- The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina
So here's the question: What kind of church are we going to be?

The kind of church where the criterion for being included is being agreed with so it grows ever smaller as we find yet-another-thing to disagree about and divide over? Or the kind that is continuing to draw the circle ever-wider and include all those seeking to live their lives in alignment with God's love, justice and compassion?

I'll give you a minute to think about it. Needless to say: I'm Choosin' Inclusion!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Family Values: Exhibit A

This photo will be on light post banners in parts of L.A. as part of the "Raise A Child" campaign encouraging gay men to start families, starting this week. Look for the Hebert-Mapa family hovering above your sidewalks!
SO proud of this fabulous family stepping out to show what Family Values in Action look like -- and illustrating why we need a Protect Family Values movement that Protects & Values ALL Families!

Members here at All Saints Church in Pasadena, you can read how Jamie & Alec found us in this blast-from-the-past 2008 blog -- once again making my case that the mission of the church should be to work more on strategies to draw people to us by preaching the inclusive love of God and worry less about who might leave because they don't approve of who else is on God's guest list.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Old enough to remember what happened in the 60's? Peter King is.

We did it before.
We can do it again.

Barack Obama Exposed Plagiarizing Ronald Reagan

Check it out. Lobby for change. Tax the 1%

Regas protests "war as the primary instrument of our national policy"

[As reported by Pat McCaughan in "The Episcopal News."]

Singing "we shall overcome," the Rev. Canon George Regas and more than a dozen other anti-war protestors were arrested Oct. 7 in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles after rallying against the war in Afghanistan.

Regas, rector emeritus of All Saints, Pasadena, and other clergy and faith leaders in vestments led the group, praying, chanting and singing, from La Placita past Los Angeles City Hall. He and others called for an end to the war and for the government to create jobs and to assist the poor.

Noting that the Afghanistan war is the longest running conflict in U.S. history, accounting for the deaths of more than 1,700 soldiers, Regas said: "War versus jobs is a concept that really resonates with the American public.

"We just want to hold up the concept that America must choose between a life of for all of its people, jobs for people, health care for people, taking care of the poor and the children as a priority -- that has a greater claim on us than the perpetuation of America as using war as the primary instrument of a national policy.

"America is waking up to the fact that the enormous war machine trying to have dominance across the globe is a very costly reality as the country struggles to take care of the children and the poor and the unemployed. We want to do everything we can to nurture that growing dream of a country that puts the life of its people and the health and wellbeing and education of all its people above the use of instrument of war to accomplish whatever it is that we're trying to accomplish with our militarism."

Friday, October 07, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today ...

... we went to war. In Afghanistan. And then in Iraq. And if you'd told me on October 7, 2001 that ten years later we'd still be at war and I'd be the mother of an Army veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan deployments ... well, I'm not sure I'd have believed you. And yet here we are: us as a nation and me as a mom.

Ten years of war that's been fought without declaration and off the budget on what some have called "an imaginary credit card" -- destroying not only lives (American, Afghani and Iraqi) but economies . You can find a variety of numbers in different places but according to the Center for Defense Information, the estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach $1.29 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2011.

As the sign my friends Liz and Carissa carried in today's protest march in L.A. asked: How is the War Economy Working for You? Answer is: It Isn't. Working. For any of us.

And so we took to the streets today. A couple of hundred of us. Many "usual suspect" old peace and justice activists ... and a bunch of new, young, recently radicalized people from the "Occupy L.A." tent city.

"Jobs Not War" was the chant and -- as I told the reporter at La Placita Church before pre-march prayer service -- the reason I was there today (on my day off!) was not only because I'm a priest and pastor from a peace and justice church but because I'm a soldier's mom.

Because in 2005 I sat in the bleachers on a South Carolina army base at boot camp graduation and watched him and his earnest, shockingly-young colleagues pledge to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

And because it turns out that corporate greed is arguably the greatest threat to the "liberty and justice for all" that my son and others like him have put their lives on the line to defend -- illustrated so well by this veteran at a protest rally today in Austin, Texas.

So enough already. Enough with the war. And enough with the greed. Let's become a country that says no to war and yes to jobs ... and let's not let it take ten more years.

Please God.

JOBS NOT WAR: L.A. Peace Protest Marks 10th Anniversary of War in Afghanistan

"We were created to work, not to war. God, make us patriots of your peace." The Reverend Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis at the La Placita prayer service before the peace march

All Saints members were among those marking the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan by demonstrating in Los Angeles for peace and jobs instead of war and violence. The event, sponsored by ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace) drew several hundred protesters and ended with acts of civil disobedience by a number of religious leaders, including All Saints rector emeritus George Regas.

ON TODAY'S GAY AGENDA: Takin' It To The Streets

A Call to Action:

Stop the Wars! Fund Jobs!

October 7, 2011

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the beginning of the War in Afghanistan.

We will mark it here in L.A. with an interfaith peace rally at La Placita Church in downtown Los Angeles, followed by a march to the Federal Building. Here's the scoop from the ICUJP website:

Marking the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) is leading a protest on Friday, Oct. 7 beginning at La Placita Church, 535 N. Main Street, followed by a march past City Hall and ending in a rally at the downtown Federal Building.
Join us if you're in the neighborhood. Film -- as they say -- at eleven. Meanwhile, here's a picture worth $3.6 billion a month (an estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:)

And here's how we support the troops:
We bring them freakin' home.
(Like my kid -- thanks be to God.)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Another Episode of "As the Anglican World Turns"

Mary Frances Schjonberg has written this really excellent summary and review of the ongoing mess in South Carolina. If you didn't even know there WAS a mess in South Carolina, this is the place to find out all about it.

South Carolina bishop investigated on charges he has abandoned the Episcopal Church
By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence told his diocese Oct. 5 that "serious charges" have been made that he has abandoned the Episcopal Church.

The allegations are being investigated by the church's Disciplinary Board for Bishops. Communicants in the Diocese of South Carolina filed the information with the board, according to the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, board president. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops were not involved in making the claims, Henderson said in a fact sheet.

"Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop's office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center," Henderson said in the fact sheet.
You can read the rest here. And I hope you will. But if you're asking yourself why it's necessary to basically lead with a "disclaimer" that these charges are not coming from the Presiding Bishop it's because the not-even-remotely-loyal-opposition have been positioning themselves to become the victims of +Katharine Jefferts Schori since just about precisely the minute she was elected. (Can't resist adding here my all-time-favorite-+Katharine-photo:)

As noted over at Episcopal Cafe:
Clarity is important in this case because certain groups and bloggers that are critical of the Episcopal Church would like to hold this up as a supreme example of persecution while portraying themselves as victims.

Ironically, one of the complaints against Lawrence is that he and the Diocesan Convention tried to distance themselves from the very disciplinary canon that may give him the fairest possible hearing because the new Title IV is designed to be measured and careful process.

It is as easy to spin this story as laity exercising their last resort to curb the arbitrary actions of a runaway bishop, as to paint it as the liberal national church cracking down on a conservative victim of conscience. Maybe more so, since the bishop's response to having a complaint filed against him by lay people in his diocese is to schedule a closed door meeting with his clergy. But we have seen none of the first kind of spin, and plenty of the latter.
No matter how you "spin" it it is a very sad situation -- and all the sadder because it was so not-surprising if so long-in-coming.

It is a sad fact of the last decade-or-so of the history of the Episcopal Church that the Schismatics have spent half their time insisting that their criterion for being included is being agreed with ... and the other half of their time crying about how they've been excluded from a banquet they've refused to attend because they don't approve of who else in on the guest list.

These folks are a version of what my rector describes as "ouches waiting to happen" ... only they're "victims waiting to happen." And now they're going to turn up the volume on their would-be victimhood in an effort to continue to undermine the Church they've failed to re-create in their own image -- the Church that has refused to throw out the baby of Anglican comprehensiveness with the bathwater of global Anglican politics.

So do pray the mess in South Carolina. Pray for the would-be victims of their own determined insistence that they and they alone have sole possession the Absolute Truth ... and for the actual victims yearning for the Good News of God's inclusive love and unable to hear it over the static of entitled schismatic hysteria.

Pray and stay tuned for the next episode of "As the Anglican World Turns" ... coming soon. (You can count on it!)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

"They were trying to blow me into heaven, but God wanted me on Earth."

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, the civil rights icon hailed in his native Alabama as a "black Moses," died Wednesday. He was 89.

Described in a 1961 CBS documentary as "the man most feared by Southern racists," Shuttlesworth survived bombings, beatings, repeated jailings and other attacks — physical and financial — in his unyielding determination to heal the country's most enduring, divisive and volatile chasm.

"They were trying to blow me into heaven," Shuttlesworth, who spent most of his adult life in Cincinnati, said of those who violently opposed him in Birmingham and throughout the South. "But God wanted me on Earth."

Read the rest (from USA Today) here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

They're at it again

"They" are the so-called "American Family Association" -- and they've launched yet-another attack on LGBT Americans -- this time taking on the Pentagon's decision to allow military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages. Check it out (from an email received this morning:)
The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains will be allowed to perform same-sex unions on military installations. This is despite the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman.

This decision clearly violates the spirit of DOMA, since the result will be that federal employees and facilities funded by American taxpayers will be used to perform ceremonies that are prohibited from any kind legal recognition under federal law.

This is just more example of our military leaders caving in to the homosexual agenda. While conservative chaplains aren't being forced to perform same-sex marriages yet, it will only be a matter of time before they are tagged as "intolerant" for refusing to do so and forced to choose between their values and a career in the military.

According to the Constitution, Congress has authority to "make rules" for the military. TAKE ACTION. Urge your congressional delegation today to enact legislation prohibiting chaplains from performing same-sex weddings on military installations
Seriously. That's what the "American Family Association" thinks Congress should be focused on. Enacting legislation to keep military chaplains from presiding at same-sex weddings. Because the biggest threat to the American Family are CLEARLY the hordes of same-sex military couples who will be beating down the doors of chaplains now that DADT is history.

Never mind our kids don't have healthcare, our schools are falling apart, unemployment is rampant, corporate greed continues to bleed our economy dry and we're about to mark the 10th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan -- yep ... small potatoes for the American Family Association. They're worried about making sure the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line to defend liberty and justice for all don't have the liberty to marry the love of their life or the justice of equal protection for their families.

Attempting to cast chaplains as victims for declining to celebrate same-sex weddings is the same red-herring B***S*** they drag out at every opportunity -- and completely ignores the fact that no Catholic chaplain has ever been compelled to marry a divorced couple against his conscience, no Orthodox rabbi has ever been compelled to preside at an interfaith wedding contrary to their faith and No. Clergy. Person. Ever. Has. To. Marry. Anybody.

So here's what we do with whatever the American Family Association tells us to do.

The. Opposite.

Call your Senator. Write your Representative. Tell them you support the Pentagon's decision allowing chaplains to preside at same-sex marriages. And while you have them tell them to help President Obama put DOMA where he said it belongs ... in the history books with DADT.

Go. Do it. Now.