Saturday, April 22, 2017

Science is a Thing: Reflections on 20 Years of Love in Action

I write this on a jet somewhere over Nebraska while millions of people gather in the streets around the globe to remind themselves and each other that science is a thing.

Homeward bound from Cincinnati after an Episcopal Communicators conference I am struck by the irony that the ability to wake up in Ohio and be home in time for lunch in Los Angeles -- and to both write and post a blog from a laptop linked to in-flight wifi -- is all because of the science people are taking to the streets to remind themselves and each other -- and their elected officials -- is a thing.

Twenty years ago I had the honor to gather in Cincinnati for another conference ... the JPIC (Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation) Summit -- sponsored by the Episcopal Church and bringing together hundreds of people from around the world -- including Ambassador Juan Somavia of Chile Samovia said in his keynote speech.
"The world is going through a period of increasing moral indifference to the plight of others, marked by a win-at-all-costs mentality -- and therefore we must assert our fundamental belief in the dignity of every human being." 
That was 1997. This is 2017. That clarion call has only become more urgent. And the church's role has only become more essential.

And so today as I fly home from one conference and remember another, I also remember these words from the sermon Verna Dozier preached at our closing Eucharist twenty years ago.

"You are a peculiar people," she said -- in what would be one of her last public appearances as she struggled with Parkinson's Disease. "And by the grace of God may we always remain so." Reminding participants us that we were "change agents," Dr. Dozier said:
"Let the word go forth -- you have set your sights on General Convention, not as politicians but as people of the Spirit. Too often "we make statues of justice, honor them, and then consider our duties discharged," she added. "We must not distance ourselves from those for whom we do mercy ... for justice is love in action."
We are still a peculiar people -- gifted with the understanding that faith and science are not protagonists but partners in how we understand our journey in the realm we name as "this fragile earth, our island home."

And so I pray today -- somewhere over Nebraska in a jet plane with in-flight wifi -- that the same commitment that fueled us to leave Cincinnati twenty years ago called by Verna Dozier to remember that justice is love in action will fuel our work in the days, weeks and months ahead as we engage in this movement of Sacred Resistance -- taking to the streets as necessary.

That we will use that love in action to challenge moral indifference to the plight of others wherever we find it; refuse to succumb to a win-at-all-costs mentality; assert our fundamental belief in the dignity of absolutely every human being; and remind ourselves -- and everyone else -- that science is a thing.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sad News from North Carolina

Waking up to sad news of the death yesterday of Bishop Chip Marble ... a Giant of Justice and quite literally one of my favorite people on the planet.

Grateful that I got to hug his neck in Salt Lake City -- and that he was there to see the Church take a giant step toward the full inclusion of LGBT people in its work and witness.

The work is not yet done ... but we are inarguably further on the road toward that goal than we would be without the work and witness of those like Bishop Marble who risked much to stand in solidarity with the most marginalized.

We stand on his shoulders as we continue the work of dismantling systems of oppression in the name of the One who created us in love and called us to walk in love with each other. La lucha continua. May his memory be a blessing and may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

[Here's the link to the Living Church publication of the announcement in the Diocese of North Carolina newsletter.]

Monday, March 20, 2017

Of Congress and Councils and John 9:1-41

So I often do the Noon Eucharist on Monday
and almost always have some prep time over the lessons
to figure out what I'm going to say to the "two or three"
who gather in the chapel on any given Monday at 12:10 p.m.

Today I got sucked into a bit of a vortex
and so crossed the quad lawn with stole in hand hoping that someone
 -- including the Holy Spirit --
would show up.

Prayers answered.

Here were the lessons ... Ephesians 5:8-14
There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are light in Christ.  Live as children of light.  Light produces every kind of goodness, justice and truth.  Be correct in your judgment of what pleases our Savior.  Take no part in deeds done in darkness, which bear no fruit; rather, expose them.  It is shameful even to mention the things these people do in secret; but when such deeds are exposed and seen in the light of day, everything that becomes visible is light.  That is why we read, “Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
And then the very LOOOOOONG Gospel from John 9:1-41
As Jesus walked along, he saw someone who had been blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, was it this individual’s sin that caused the blindness, or that of the parents?” “Neither,” answered Jesus, “It was not because of anyone’s sin – not this person’s, nor the parents’. Rather, it was to let God’s works shine forth in this person. We must do the deeds of the One who sent me while it is still day – for night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” With that, Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva and smeared the blind one’s eyes with the mud. Then Jesus said, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means ‘sent’).

So the person went off to wash, and came back able to see. Neighbors and those who had been accustomed to seeing the blind beggar began to ask, “Is this not the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said yes; others said no – the one who had been healed simply looked like the beggar. But the individual in question said, “No – it was me.” The people then asked, “Then how were your eyes opened?” The answer came, “The one they call Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash. When I went and washed, I was able to see.” “Where is Jesus?” they asked. The person replied, “I do not know.”

They took the one who had been born blind to the Pharisees. It had been on a Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud paste and opened this one’s eyes. The Pharisees asked how the individual could see. They were told, “Jesus put mud on my eyes. I washed it off, and now I can see.” This prompted some Pharisees to say, “This Jesus cannot be from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others argued, “But how could a sinner perform signs like these?” They were sharply divided. They addressed the blind person again: “Since it was your eyes he opened, what do you have to say about this Jesus?” “He is a prophet,” came the reply.

The Temple authorities refused to believe that this one had been blind and had begun to see, until they summoned the parents. “Is this your child?” they asked, “and if so, do you attest that your child was blind at birth? How do you account for the fact that now your child can see?” The parents answered, “We know this is our child, blind from birth. But how our child can see now, or who opened those blind eyes, we have no idea. But do not ask us – our child is old enough to speak without us!” The parents answered this way because they were afraid of the Temple authorities, who had already agreed among themselves that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why they said, “Our child is of age and should be asked directly.”

A second time they summoned the one who had been born blind and said, “Give God the glory instead; we know that this Jesus is a sinner.” “I do not know whether he is a sinner or not,” the individual answered. “All I know is that I used to be blind, and now I can see.” They persisted, “Just what did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” “I already told you, but you will not listen to me,” came the answer. “Why do you want to hear it all over again? Do not tell me you want to become disciples of Jesus too!”

They retorted scornfully, “You are the one who is Jesus’ disciple. We are disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this Jesus comes from.” The other retorted: “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes! We know that God does not hear sinners, but that if people are devout and obey God’s will, God listens to them. It is unheard of that anyone ever gave sight to a person blind from birth. If this one were not from God, he could never have done such a thing!” “What!” they exclaimed. “You are steeped in sin from birth, and you are giving us lectures?”

With that they threw the person out. When Jesus heard of the expulsion, he sought out the healed one and asked, “Do you believe in the Chosen One?” The other answered, “Who is this One, that I may believe?” “You have seen him,” Jesus replied. “The Chosen One is speaking to you now.”

The healed one said, “Yes, I believe,” and worshiped Jesus. Jesus said, “I came into this world to execute justice – to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were nearby heard this and said, “You are not calling us blind, are you?” To which Jesus replied, “If you were blind, there would be no sin in that. But since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
As I was reading the (loooooong) Gospel
some of the vortex that had kept me from reading it ahead of time
contextualized what I was reading.

And having spent some of the morning
listening to the Intelligence Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill
I was practically blinded by the light
shining on the truth
that these Living Words of the Gospel of John
describe the actionsof ancient governance councils
who were as uninterested in finding the actual facts
relating to the issue in front of them
(what happened with the person born blind)
as some of those sitting in our current governance councils (AKA Congress)
are in finding the actual facts
relating to the issue in front of them
(what happened with the Russians inserting themselves into our election process.)

Instead -- and in both cases --
they are so convinced of their own truth
and so determined to dismiss anything contrary to their own narrative
anything that challenges their power or worldview
that they remain blind
when the truth is right in front of them.

To which Jesus replied,
"If you were blind, there would be no sin in that.
But since you say "We see"
your sin remains."

Let those with ears to hear, listen.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Homiletic Home Run

We heard a totally awesome sermon today at All Saints Church in Pasadena: a biblical, pastoral and prophetic trifecta. The preacher was on fire and the congregation was right there with him. Here's an excerpt:
Sisters, brothers and gender-nonconforming siblings we are in a desert right now and people are dying because Pharaoh is among us once more.

Now, Pharaoh is not just one person or one administration -- but a culture of domination and an entire system of supremacy that takes a new name with each new generation -- and Pharaoh has come out with a budget plan.

A budget plan that says God's creation is not to be loved and preserved but mined and polluted and fashioned into a golden calf.

A budget plan that turns plowshares back into swords choking off funding for arts and education to build new and mightier chariots for Pharaoh's army.

A budget plan that takes from the meager rations of the poorest of God's children and uses that money to fund slave-catching ICE agents to cast God's children out and the building of a wall to keep white people's fears in.

A budget plan that leaves absolutely no doubt that "make America great again" means make America white again. 
And here's where you watch the whole thing:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Who ARE these people and why are they running our country?

So I started getting the "White House Daily" because I went to the website and told them my "Obamacare Story." I decided that was a good thing ... cuz it gives me a chance to see what they think they're doing and how they're spinning their propaganda wheel. This is a screen capture from today's email:

As you can see, it includes the President's schedule and "News Reports." One of the news reports the White House sends you to ... on purpose ... in its daily email ... is a Washington Post op-ed dripping with cutting edge satire totally disemboweling the immoral budget proposal presented by this Abominable Administration.

Here's just one brief excerpt ... you will totally want to go read the whole thing here:
"All schoolchildren will be taught by an F-35 wearing a Make America Great Again hat. They will also have new school choice options including the choice not to afford any school at all, because at school you are taught things like grammar and pronouns and spelling and history, and these are all potentially inimical to the future we are trying to build. We will also be cutting Meals on Wheels programs to feed children, because they are not improving performance as we would like. Feed children just to feed them? What are we, SOFT? No. No we are not!"

Seriously ... do they even READ what they link to or just the headline? Who ARE these people and why are they in charge of our country? #Resist

Thursday, March 16, 2017

When A Budget Is An Immoral Document

Here is an "Executive Summary" of the Trump Budget:
  • Cuts nutrition funding for women, infants, and children
  • Eliminates funding for Meals on Wheels completely
  • Eliminates for legal aid
  • Eliminates low income heat assistance
  • Eliminates community block grant, which funds disaster recovery
  • Eliminates community services block grant, which funds community anti-poverty efforts
  • Ends Senior Community Service Employment program
  • Ends housing assistance program, in the middle of affordable housing crisis is America
  • Ends Appalachian Regional Commission, which supports economic development in "left behind" communities who supported him
  • Eliminates national endowment for the arts
  • Eliminates Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds Americorps
  • Eliminates US Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • Eliminates Community Development Financial Institutions, which funds financial services in economically distressed areas
  • Slashes teacher training, after school and summer programs, and higher education aid for low income students
  • Cuts health and nursing training
  • Punishes sanctuary cities for treating immigrants like humans
  • Cuts infrastructure investments like Amtrak and FAA, hurting rural communities
  • Huge cuts to the State Dept, but promises to "keep America safe"
  • Massive cuts to Labor Dept, ending job training programs
And ... just for the record ... here's the Gospel Appointed for today: Thursday in the Second Week of Lent:
Luke 16:19–31 | Jesus said, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.'

But Abraham said, `Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.' He said, `Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.' Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.' He said, `No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
Coincidence? I don't think so!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

There is no mercy

Hear these words from Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, speaking today on the floor of the House of Representatives during the debate on Great Healthcare Debacle of 2017.

"I was struck last night by a comment I heard made by Speaker Ryan where he called this repeal bill, quote: An act of mercy.

With all due respect to our Speaker, he and I must have read different scripture. The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and comfort the sick. It reminds us we're judged not by how we treat the powerful but how we care for the least among us.

Mercy. Defined in purely secular terms is passionate treatment for those in distress. It is kindness; it is grace. There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill.

There is no mercy in a policy that takes for granted the sweat and tears and sacrifice that working Americans sweat every day to care for their family's basic needs. There is no mercy."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Church of England Edges Into 20th Century

In case you missed the memo, the General Synod of the CofE today uncharacteristically "refused to take note" of the report of their House of Bishops -- and by doing nothing to dismantle the sacramental apartheid relegating the LGBT baptized to second class membership in the Body of Christ they actually nudged the institutional church marginally closer to the 20th century.

May have more to say on this later and may not ... depending on the press of business around here given what a colleague today aptly named as "The Chaos of Now."

But as we've written many times before: achieving audacious goals means celebrating incremental victories. And today was one of those across the pond. From the One Body, One Faith press release:
"Today’s events in the Church of England are unprecedented, with the refusal of the General Synod to take note of the Report of the House of Bishops’ reflection group, GS2055. Both the defeat of the motion by the House of Clergy and the rebellion against it in the House of Laity send an unequivocal message to the house of Bishops that their approach to human sexuality is lamentably out of step with membership of the Church of England and with the nation."
La lucha continua.

Friday, February 03, 2017

A Word From My Bishop-elect

So it's my day off and I'm having that second cup of coffee on the couch enjoying not having an agenda other than getting some laundry done at some point and I come across this great post by our Bishop Coadjutor-elect, John Taylor on his Facebook page. 

I thought it was so great that I asked for -- and received -- permission to share what is not only a brilliant model for how to manage social media interactions in these challenging times but a great glimpse into who it is we've elected as our next bishop here in the Diocese of Los Angeles. And so ... without further ado ... from my friend and bishop-elect John Taylor I give you:

A word about my Facebook page: 

From time to time, I post articles I find interesting or say what’s on my heart and mind. All my posts are public, and I welcome your comments. I ask that you please not say anything you wouldn’t say at my house over a festive spread of snacks and beverages with children present. Please avoid profanity and broad generalizations about people.

For instance, irrespective of your policy position, the following sentences can’t be graciously or even accurately completed with any word or phrase except “beloved of the Most High God” or a word or phrase intrinsically derived from it:

“All undocumented workers are ______,”
“All refugees are ______.”
Try it. It’s fun!

Also, please remember that you are my friend, in conversation with my other friends. That will help you avoid the attack ad hominem – any comment which questions the qualifications, motives, character, or sanity of your conversation partner. Besides being unkind, such comments generally tell the reader that you are having trouble coming up with a substantive argument.

If you ask someone for a response, and they don't reply, it doesn't mean you've won or they're wrong and you get to say so in your next comment. Pretend they just went out for more Diet Coke and beer. Everyone has the right to disengage.

Finally, it’s important to remember, when tempted to make an ad hominem attack, as we all sometimes are, that a criticism of a powerful person whom you like is not a criticism of you.

Vigorous criticism of the powerful is one of the things that makes America great. They can totally take it. Actually, since it’s just my Facebook page, they won’t see it. They don’t care. The only people listening and caring are those you might find sitting around the table over at my house one day, reaching for a chip and inquiring about your family.

I delete offensive comments as soon as I see them. I usually save those I delete and would be happy to tell you my reasons if you ask off-line. Thanks for listening, and blessings in Christ.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Actual Facts As Opposed To Alternative Facts

From my brilliant friend Jason Lyon. Please read, mark, learn, inwardly digest, forward, share and #resist.

For the period 2001-2013, there were an average of 31,269 gun deaths in the US each year.

For the same period, there were an average of 260 deaths by domestic terrorism each year (median: 28 - helpful because the 9/11 deaths skew the mean by almost 10x).

Note that this number accounts for ALL deaths by terrorism, not just those attacks credited to Islamic extremism. Therefore ...

Your odds of dying by gunshot are 1 in 300.
Your odds of dying in a domestic terrorism incident are 1 in 20 MILLION.
You are more than 15 times more likely to die of being struck by lightning than to die in a terrorist attack.

TAKEAWAY: Our government is stoking an irrational fear of a minuscule threat.

More #actualfacts:

-The attackers in Ft. Hood, San Bernardino, and Orlando were AMERICAN BORN and radicalized in the US

-The attackers in Oklahoma City, Charleston, Newtown, UVA, Columbine, and Aurora were all American born and purportedly Christians.

-The 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia (15), UAE (2), Egypt and Lebanon (1 each). Nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11. NONE of these countries is included in the proposed immigration ban.

-Total domestic terrorism deaths caused by people from proposed ban countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen: ZERO.

TAKEAWAY: The anti-terrorism proposal does not address the sources of domestic terrorism.

Last #actualfact: The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that preferences for a particular religion violate this Clause.

TAKEAWAY: At least part of the immigration ban proposal is unconstitutional.

#wearethemajority #resist

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New wedding resource based on changes authorized by the 2015 General Convention

“Every parish priest should have this resource, which will help them become familiar with the marriage canon and marriage liturgies authorized in 2015. Tobias Haller offers wise pastoral guidance. Drawing from his years of experience, he explores the many options and recommends sound liturgical and pastoral practices.” — The Revered Dr. Ruth Meyers, Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
This came in my email today.

In the midst of all the challenges of our current reality -- in a time when it seems increasingly difficult to imagine moving forward beyond the deluge of Executive Orders and Breaking Bad News -- it was like a little ray of sunshine reminding me of the Gospel According to Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
In the midst of the Inclusion Wars struggle I would never have imagined I would get this email in my inbox today. And I did. So miracles happen. Not by themselves. But they happen.

La lucha continua. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My "Save the Affordable Care Act" Story

The Affordable Care Act made my wife Louise’s battle with kidney cancer in 2000 a part of her medical history that informed her treatment in 2012 — not a pre-existing condition that prevented her from receiving treatment in 2012.

Because of the ACA (aka “Obamacare”), not only did Louise have options for her fight with cancer, but she had the health insurance she needed to exercise those options. She had phenomenal doctors, nurses, and health-care teams at the Norris Cancer Center and at Keck/USC Hospital who did absolutely everything they could until there was nothing left to do.

And I was left “just” coping with the grief and loss of a beloved spouse -- not the helpless anger of not having been able to give her the best possible health care she needed and deserved.

There's nothing that can't be improved -- including the ACA. But to turn back the clock on healthcare for millions of Americans is both unconscionable and unnecessary. #SaveACA

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day 2017

THE LINCOLN BIBLE (A Poem for Inauguration Day)
 by Name Withheld, only wishes to be known as "A Priest in God's Church"
 [shared with permission]

In the molecular space
 between his palm
 and Lincoln's own imprint
 on the worn burgundy
 of Holy Scripture
 there is a wall:
 built of the crumbling dust
 of liberty and equality;
 hardened bricks fashioned
 out of mud and straw
 men, scarecrows
 protecting a barren field;
 mortared by misogyny
 violence, racism,
 and the petty thirst
 for the power
 of a nation's original sins;
 painted in gold leaf,
 and hanging at the center,
 a love letter in Cyrillic
 and the portrait of a man
 named Dorian Gray.

In this whisper of space,
 between leathered skin and red velvet
 is the resistance of the holy
 where hope exists,
 thin and imaginary and growing.
 It is the place where,
 no matter how hard
 his palm presses on the sacred
 for power and glory
 It can never touch
 what is holy
 It can never silence
 the voice of God
 with every

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hail to the (Outgoing) Chief

It is Inauguration Eve, and I can't let the clock run out without taking just a moment to reflect on a few stand out moments (for me) from these last eight years of the Presidency of Barack Obama.

I think back to his first election November 4, 2008. Standing on the stage at the theater where we'd gathered for the Prop 8 results and watching him make his victory speech from Chicago ... while we watched the returns coming in that would (temporarily) take away the Constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry in California. And I remember what a moment it was when we heard our president-elect say these words:

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It was 2008 -- and we were coming out of an era where the President of the United States supported the FMA (Federal Marriage Amendment) that would have enshrined discrimination against LGBT families into the Constitution. And we stood there and heard the words "gay and straight" come out of the President-elect's mouth. Stunning.

Yes, we can.

After his second election in November 2012 I was blessed to have great friends -- Julena and Leon -- who helped make it possible to go to the second Obama Inauguration. We got tickets through our Representatives' offices (still owe you one, Adam Schiff!) and with thousands of others made our way to Washington for January 21, 2013.

It was an extraordinary privilege to actually BE there after all those years of watching it on television. And then ... to hear him say these words in his Inaugural Address:

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth." 

Never thought I'd live long enough to hear those words come out of a President's mouth. A simply transcendent moment of hope, joy, and empowerment.

Yes, we can.

And then there was May 9, 2013 -- I remember getting a text from my friend Bishop Gene Robinson. "I don't know where you are or what you're doing but listen to the news. Your President is about to do something good and you're not going to want to miss it."

I was actually finishing up our spring clergy conference in Long Beach and had checked out of my hotel room ... so I sat in the hotel lobby and read the breaking news on my laptop: that in his interview with Robin Williams he said “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,”

Yes, we can.
And yes we did. June 28, 2014

And then there was July 21, 2014 -- the day President Obama signed the Executive Order ending federal employment discrimination against LGBT Americans.

I got the invitation to attend the signing in the East Room on Friday ... and in spite of my initial "there is no way this is going to happen" reaction, by Sunday I was on a plane to DC and on Monday I was in the actual East Room of the actual White House watching the actual President of the United States sign the actual Executive Order. And ... wait for it ... I got to get my picture taken with one of the actual First Dogs: Sunny.

It's Inauguration Eve. Tomorrow I will suit up, show up and report for duty as member of Team Sacred Resistance. But tonight? Tonight I want to look at old pictures and remember highlights of the last eight years and give thanks for the extraordinary gift of being alive to experience the gift of this President.

Thank you, Mr. President. Godspeed and God Bless.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How (Not "If") We Pray for the President

My two cents on the "how (not if) we pray for our President" issue.

Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and and my Rector Mike Kinman are both urging prayers for our president, our leaders and our nation at this important time in our history. That is what Episcopalians do.

The other thing Episcopalians do is provide options for how to offer those prayers. Choosing to use a form for the Prayers of the People in the Book of Common Prayer which does not use the given name of elected officials is one of those options. It is arguably a classically Anglican "both/and" option -- making room for fervent prayers for our president while pastorally making room for those subject to trauma triggers to worship safely.

And -- it is worth noting -- none (repeat "none") of the six forms of the Prayers of the People in the Book of Common Prayer make explicit provision for praying for elected officials by name. Rather, choosing to do so is rubricly a permissive exception that falls within the parameters of Anglican comprehensiveness. As is choosing to stick with the language in the Prayer Book.

For Pete's sake people: we started out as a church holding in tension being both catholic and protestant. Surely we can hold in tension landing in different places on how (not if) we pray for our President. It's part of our DNA. Let's live up to it.