Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bishop Jenkins blogs on Gustav

As we watch the news reports of the gathering storm named Gustav moving toward the Gulf Coast, our thoughts and prayers are will all those in harm's way.

+Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana offered these reflections on his blog on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina as he was packing to leave the looming destruction of Gustav:

On Friday night the Muslim call to prayer rang out in Temple Sinai in New Orleans. It was the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. People of faith from the Jewish, Sikh, Bahia, Muslim, and Christian communities came together to pray in thanksgiving and to remember what happened to us. We prayed for the living and the dead, some eighty of whom were buried with no name on this very day. We came together as people brought low, many of us still living with injury and loss, but as one people of hope. We know that we are not disposable people because God’s mark is upon us.

The Archbishop of New Orleans, the Most Revered Alfred Hughes, gave a wonderful homily noting how we are building a better place in the midst of ruin. We lit the Sabbath candle, sang the blessing of the wine, and then our host, Rabbi Cohn lit a candle for the departed of our city and by name those of Temple Sinai.

Like most of us, Louise and I are packing to leave. We have offers of hospitality from around the country but will likely go to Baton Rouge so that we can be poised to minister to God’s people here in the place we call home. The threat of Gustav has stirred up in me feelings and emotions too complicated to explain now. I am in touch with my brokenness and I am aware that it is by God’s grace alone that I can put one tired foot in front of another.

I share this because I know that I am not alone in getting in touch with the hurt from Katrina and the fear that is ours this night. It is a strange and painful time and many of us are struggling. We struggle together, friends, we are one. The pain is not only emotional but physical. Many triggers are pulled in my mind. I cannot believe this is happening on the very day New Orleans flooded. I pray God to give me patience, strength, and humility to accept with gratitude the many blessing of life.

I likely will not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood tomorrow (Sunday) in the outward and visible forms. I pray Christ will come to me inwardly and spiritually as I do so desire Him. Please remember me and all of us when you make your Communion.

Bishop Charles Jenkins

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Colbert Report Weighs In

Thanks to Kendall Harmon for the link to this one:

In the "I couldn't have said it better myself" department ...

... there was this commentary in today's Boston Globe:

I can appreciate that this is a historic moment for women but what is insulting and shameful is that it comes as a result of political tactics and not merits. As a woman, I am insulted. I can't help but asking how does he dare insult the intelligence of millions of women who voted for Clinton with this tactic of trying to appeal to them by choosing a woman with no qualifications as a vice presidential candidate. What does he think, that women are stupid? Or is he implying that people supported Hillary just because she was a woman? People supported Hillary because they thought she was the best qualified person for the job. It just so happened that she was a woman, which made the decision to support her even more exciting.

Not looking good ...

Friday, August 29, 2008

The plot thickens ...

Anti-choice, pro-gun lobby and a creationist ... what' s not to like?


Two early reactions:

Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest: “With this bold and inspired selection, Sen. McCain has verified his stated commitment to assembling a truly pro-life administration. You can be sure the vice presidential selections will have far-reaching ramifications in this race.”

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese: “Sarah Palin not only supported the 1998 Alaska constitutional amendment banning marriage equality but, in her less than two years as Governor, even expressed the extreme position of supporting stripping away domestic partner benefits for state workers. When you can’t even support giving our community the rights to health insurance and pension benefits, it’s a frightening window into where she stands on equality.”


Let the games begin!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prayers Ascending

Woman in the pulpit ...

... considered "virus" by some evangelicals.

(AKA the "Girl Cooties" are back!)

From a story in the Dallas Morning News about the debut of a woman preacher at Irving Bible Church this Sunday:

"If the Bible is not true and authoritative on the roles of men and women, then maybe the Bible will not be finally true on premarital sex, the homosexual issue, adultery or any other moral issue," he said. "I believe this issue is the carrier of a virus by which liberalism will enter the evangelical church."

OR ... "this issue" could be the bearer of good news of the inclusive love of a God whose embrace extends beyond bias and bigotry by which liberation will be proclaimed to the captive, freedom to the oppressed and sight to those blind to the sin of sexism.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If you missed him ...

... here's a link to Bill Clinton's Rock-the-House speech tonight.

"Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama
. That makes two of us.''


He's the guy ...

And SHE totally rocks ...

"With eyes firmly fixed on the future, and in the spirit of unity with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together with one voice right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president."


And how thrilled am I to be home on vacation watching it all unfold live on CNN! History made right in front of me ...

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!

We lost another mother today

Del Martin, arguably one of the mothers of the lesbian rights movement died today in San Francisco at the age of 87. CNN reports that Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years and wife of 72 days, was with her at the UCSF hospice.

Together since 1953 ...
.... they founded "The Daughters of Bilitis" in 1955 -- a lesbian rights organization that "became a tool of education for lesbians, gay men, researchers, and mental health professionals." Del Martin was a leader in feminist and civil rights causes. She was the first out lesbian elected to the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was a founding members of the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club. She was also the founder of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, fighting ageism and homophobia together.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon became the first couple to legally marry in the United States on February 12, 2004 in San Francisco, California. They married again on June 16, 2008, when California became the second state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Upon her death, Phyllis said, “Ever since I met Del 55 years ago, I could never imagine a day would come when she wouldn’t be by my side. I am so lucky to have known her, loved her, and been her partner in all things. I also never imagined there would be a day that we would actually be able to get married. I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed.”

Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and may her soul and the souls of all the departed rest in peace and rise in glory.


OK ... I'm probably a little biased. (Well, probably there's no "probably" about it ...) But what a TOTAL home run Hillary hit last night with her speech at the Democratic National Convention!!

If by some chance you missed it, CNN has it on video here ...

You Go, Girl!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Still on vacation, but ...

... I can start to hear the pace picking up in the background as we move toward Labor Day with the official end of the summer holidays and as the program year looms ever closer on the horizon.
It's been a particularly "quick" summer -- what with Lambeth and all -- but I've enjoyed these couple of weeks of being really OFF and able to concentrate on the business of family life -- the sad task of working with my brother to get my mother's "affairs in order" in Minnesota and the joyful (but exhausting!) task of incorporating a new puppy into our family here at home.
And while I still hope to read a few more novels and see a couple of movies I've got a meeting of the diocesan task force on marriage equality this afternoon and a couple of Integrity Board business conference calls this week, so the end of the "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer" -- such as they have been this year -- is definitely in sight.
So here's what caught my eye this morning as I'm starting to wade back into what's up where:
+Rowan Williams has published his "reflections on Lambeth" via a Pastoral Letter to the Bishops of the Anglican Communion posted today by ACNS.
I found it disturbing that the ABoC seems determined to continue pander to the schismatics whose determined actions over the last decade have polarized the differences between our Anglican provinces into the divisions that now threaten to reinvent Anglicanism into something neither Hooker nor Cranmer would recognize. +Williams writes:

We were conscious of the absence of many of our colleagues, and wanted to express our sadness that they felt unable to be with us and our desire to build bridges and restore our fellowship. We were aware also of the recent meeting in Jerusalem and its statements; many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there and were grateful that many had attended both meetings, but we know that there is work to do to bring us closer together and are determined to do that work.

Where's the determination to do the work of fully including the LGBT baptized into the Body of Christ? Where's the expression of "sadness" that the Bishop of New Hampshire continues to be punished for the new Anglican Cardinal Sin of Honesty? And where's the recognition that nothing short of capitulation to their narrow, exclusivist agenda will be enough to bridge the chasm between the Gafconistas and rest of the Anglican Communion. To say the least, this latest missive out of Canterbury is ... disappointing.
Decidedly NOT disappointing is Marilyn McCord Adams' comprehensive "Unfit for Purpose" -- a reflective overview of what-brought-us-to-where-we-are-and-what-our-options-are-now for the Anglican Communion. Consider it a "must read."

A plethora of Lambeth Reviews are now dotting the Cyber Landscape. Here's an assortment from "the other side of the aisle":
Chris Sugden pretty much gave it a "thumbs down."
+John Howe wonders if it was "the last Lambeth Conference."
The AAC had more thumbs down than Carter has pills.
Andrew Carey used his post-Lambeth review to slam TEC ... one more time.
George Conger ... well, George is George.

And now back to my regularly scheduled vacation ... what's left of it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The dream will never die

I've always been a political animal. I think it was in our family DNA. The values my parents raised us with included a deep love of this country and its foundational values of liberty and justice for all -- and they instilled in us a deep sense of our responsibility to participate in the political process.

The first election I remember being aware of was 1960 ... I was 6 ... and four years later, I walked our precinct with my mom handing out literature for ... Barry Goldwater. And in 5th grade I won first prize in a D.A.R. essay contest for a piece entitled “The Land I Love is America.”

Yes, the family political roots went deep.

We watched conventions together ... crunched up on the old couch in the den on the black & white TV with the rabbit ears ... and we stayed up late following election returns. I remember explaining the electoral college to classmates on the elementary school playground because Daddy explained it to me. And when I was in high school in Santa Barbara I volunteered to drive voters to the polls to make sure that shut-ins had the opportunity to vote. I voted in my first presidential election in 1972 – the year I turned 18 and they lowered the voting age TO 18 … I think I thought they did it just for me!

And in college, I majored in history and political science ... planning to go to law school and thinking that one day I might find my own role in the political process ... believing that the American Dream really is worth the work it takes to preserve and protect it even as I believed we were not yet "there" in the liberty and justice for all part. Along the way I got sidetracked … never made it to law school and stayed home and raised kids and stayed a registered Republican … even though I increasingly found myself voting “across party lines.”

That changed in 1992. I was watching the Republican Convention television coverage – cooking dinner while the boys did their homework when Pat Buchanan rose to the podium and gave what has come to be known as his "Culture War" speech. I listened with increasing horror as his narrow, exclusivist, fear-mongering rhetoric laid out a vision for what this country needed -- a vision that bore absolutely NO resemblance to the values my parents had raised me to understand were core to the “Grand Old Party” of my Republican roots.

I turned the stove down under the simmering green beans, told the boys to finish their homework and I’d be right back … and I drove the six blocks down to the grocery store where earlier in the day I’d noticed the card table out front with the “Register to Vote” sign. I changed my party affiliation that day – explaining to the woman at the card table that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow I was NOT going to die a Republican. And I’ve never looked back.

And so here I am again tonight – glued to another political convention. There aren’t two kids doing homework at the kitchen table this time … one’s in Kentucky working two jobs to try to make ends meet and the other is in the Army. But there are familiar signs and the balloons, the speeches and the pundits.

And what a relief to hear in the those speeches the same dream of the America I wrote about with such hope and love and pride in 5th grade … the America where liberty and justice for all is not just a slogan but a reality. It is a dream that will never die … and it was impossible to hear Ted Kennedy inspire us one more time to believe it NOT to believe it. Not to believe that yes we CAN fix what is broken about the American dream -- and yes we CAN heal the divisions that challenge us as a nation.

I’m still a political animal. And tonight I've never been prouder to be one.

Coming soon to a cathedral near you ...

This just in via email:
We are pleased to announce a special gathering at St. John's Pro-Cathedral on Sunday, September 28th, 4:00 p.m., to honor two pioneers and "angels" in our Diocesan LGBT Community.
Bishop Jon Bruno will preach at a Solemn Evensong in honor of St. Michael and All Angels about his experience at Lambeth.
During the service Cov Davis of Messiah Santa Ana and Jim White of All Saints Pasadena will be honored with a reception to follow.
Please spread the word to your congregations and friends.
In the love of Christ,
Vicki & Mark

The Rev. Vicki Mouradian, Co-chair
The Rev. Mark Hallahan, Co-chair
The Bishop's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Even MORE on marriage ...

Now that Obama has a running mate and the Olympics are winding down (and oh yeah ... Lambeth is finally behind us!) am turning my attention back more and more to the marriage issue here in California and elsewhere.

In today's NYTimes ...

We’ll Marry Each Other as Often as Needed wherein columnist Bob Morris describes his recent marriage to long-time partner Ira, concluding with these words:

For the moment, Ira and I are legal newlyweds. The other day he told me he loves being married.

“But if we hadn’t been able to get married, I’d still feel as married as I did before we got married,” he told me. “And if the laws change, we’ll just keep getting married wherever we have to until we’re absolutely married for good.”

Complicated? Perhaps. But then so is marriage, for better or worse, over and over again.

Traditional family values. Til death do us part. What part of "happily ever after" do they want to take away from Bob and Ira ... or Ellen and Portia ... or Michael and Warren ... or Marilyn and Carole ... or Pat and Kate ... or Bart and Tony ... or Harry and Mike ... and, and, and, and, and ...??????????

Also in today's NYTimes "Weddings and Celebrations"are signs that I'm not the only California Clergy Person with weddings galore:
Kenneth Lyle Shepard and Jack Lawrence Kouloheris were married on Thursday in a civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall by Mary Ortega, a deputy marriage commissioner. Canon Mary E. Haddad, an Episcopal priest, led a blessing of the union on Saturday at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. (Mary is a former clergy colleague here in Los Angeles ... )


Joshua David Wayser and Richard Dayton Schulte are to be married on Sunday by Rabbi Lisa Edwards in Malibu, Calif., at the home of Bill and Ellyn Lindsay, friends of the couple. Mr. Schulte and Mr. Wayser are adopting their fifth child, Isaac, who is 4 months old and will have a baby naming ceremony performed by Rabbi Edwards as part of the wedding festivities. “After you have so many children, you get embarrassed about inviting people to another baby naming,” Mr. Wayser said. (Mavel tov to the whole family ... and Lisa and I co-officiated at an interfaith blessing last year at Disney Hall and is a great friend and ally.)

And finally, here's a quote from my niece Jennifer ... whose wedding to her charming husband Travis I had the privilege of presiding at in April 2007:

What's wrong with people who don't get that everybody has the right to be happy? How lame is that?

Well said, Jen! How lame indeed?

More on marriage

Another wedding last night ... a clergy colleague married his long time partner in a lovely, backyard garden ceremony surrounded by friends, family, neighbors and an abundance of love, laughter, twinkle lights and arguably the best cake in the history of weddings.

Watching this garden wedding unfold last night brought to mind this commercial -- being frequently aired here in California -- and asking the poignant question: What if you couldn't marry the person you loved?

Thankfully, last night there were no obstacles to the vows that were said, the celebration that was celebrated, the "happily ever after" we all gathered to support. But we've got our work cut out for us keeping it that way as the religious right mobilizes to take away the rights all Californians now have to marriage from some Californians ... the gay ones.

And so I was happy that Jessica Garrison from the L.A. Times found me on Friday to talk about the fight over Proposition 8 here in California. It not only gave me a chance to get my own thoughts on record, but to turn her onto the CA Faith for Equality video I posted here earlier this week giving voice to interfaith religious leaders in FAVOR of marriage equality.

It's going to be a busy fall!

From the feature in today's L.A Times:

Susan Russell, a priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, a liberal congregation that has long supported the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, said "fair-minded Californians" should be concerned about some of the tactics and arguments of faith leaders on the other side.

"I will defend to my last breath the right of any of those folks to exercise their religion as they believe they are called to do it," she added. "But I'll resist to my last breath, vote, e-mail and blog their right to inflict their religious beliefs on the Constitution of the state of California."

Russell said that the idea that the court's decision infringed on religious liberty was a "red herring." Divorce is legal in California, she said, but that doesn't mean that Roman Catholic priests have to perform marriages for people who have been divorced.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hillary on Obama VP Pick

also in the Times this morning ... (see Jim, I still read "the paper":)

"In naming my colleague and friend Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Barack Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country.”

When religion and healthcare collide

In today's L.A. Times:

Healthcare providers should not be allowed to let faith interfere with delivering care.
By Richard P. Sloan
August 23, 2008

Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court ruled against two physicians who allegedly denied -- based on their religious opposition -- a legal medical treatment to a patient based on her sexual orientation. The decision was issued in a lawsuit filed by a lesbian against doctors in a Vista, Calif., medical group who refused to artificially inseminate her. This is a welcome, if unusual, turnabout in a disturbing trend that has characterized American medicine over the last three or so decades: an increasing willingness to allow the actions of individuals to disadvantage, and even endanger, others if those actions derive from religious faith.

Almost every state in the nation has legislation permitting healthcare professionals -- from physicians to nurses to pharmacists -- to deny patients legal medical treatments that they may find religiously objectionable. At the federal level, the Bush administration announced plans Thursday to implement a regulation that would deny federal funds to hospitals, health plans and other entities that do not permit their employees to opt out of participating in legal medical procedures -- including those associated with reproduction and terminal sedation -- that they oppose out of religious conviction.

This summer, a "pharmacy for life" was set to open in the suburbs of Washington. Like other similar pharmacies, it won't stock condoms, contraceptives or the so-called morning-after contraceptive Plan B, despite the fact that pharmacies are licensed by state governments giving them the exclusive right to dispense medications. In exchange for these monopoly rights, pharmacists have an ethical obligation to act in the interests of patients.

Recent studies have shown that 14% of U.S. doctors, when confronted by possibly objectionable but legal medical treatments, not only would refuse to deliver such care but also would refuse to inform their patients about it or refer them to physicians who would deliver the care. That translates to about 40 million people who would receive substandard care from these physicians, who believe that their religious convictions are more important than the well-being of their patients.

The tradition of religious freedom in the United States is one of the founding ideals of this country. But as our framers envisioned it, religious freedom referred to a right to practice one's own religion free of interference from others. It did not refer to religiously based interference with the rights of others, who may have their own and different religious traditions. Even in the relatively religiously homogeneous era of the framers, such interference was not acceptable. It is even less so in 21st century America.

With religious heterogeneity growing, the devotional demands of one group may be increasingly at odds with those of others. Yet too often, our deference to religion in contemporary American society has allowed us to subordinate all other values. It has allowed us to routinely accept religiously motivated behaviors that we otherwise would have no reluctance to sanction and that, indeed, would be impermissible with any other justification.

So it's time to say "enough." In the United States, we all are free to practice our religion as we see fit, as long as we do not interfere with the well-being of others by imposing our religious views on them. If physicians or other healthcare providers who have religious objections to legal medical treatments will not at a minimum inform their patients about those treatments and refer them to others who will deliver them, they should act in a way that is consistent with their convictions and the well-being of their patients and find other professions.

Freedom of religion is a cherished value in American society. So is the right to be free of religious domination by others. Richard P. Sloan is a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jean Mayland Named "Brick of the Day"

"We are threatened with a Com­munion based on fundamen­talist interpretations of scripture to please the Africans, and a hierarchical system of control to please the Roman Catholics. We want neither, for neither are Anglican."

Mad Priest has named the Reverend Jean Mayland "Brick of the Day" ... and well he should! Here's the Letter to the Editor of the Church Times she wrote and he's sharing on his blog, "Of Course I Could Be Wrong." And may I just say:

You Go, Girl!!!

Letter to The Church Times.
From the Revd Jean M. Mayland:

Sir, —
You have given considerable space to the Archbishop’s address summing up Lambeth, and to reflections by bishops. I hope you will be prepared to give some space to the view from the other side.
The Bishop of Winchester complains about well-funded lobby groups (News, 15 August). I had a part in three of the stalls in the Inclusive Church grouping — WATCH, Changing Attitude, and the Modern Churchperson’s Union. For six to seven hours a day, for weeks before the Conference, I sat at my computer, contacting volunteers, working out rotas, planning fringe events, and dealing with security issues. I am 72. I did so because I care about those on edge, and about open Anglican theology.
The groups had their centre not in luxury, but in a church hall rented for the purpose, where media work was carried out, meetings held, and evening meals cooked by volunteers. Other volunteers shared student houses.

People gave up holidays, and paid their own expenses. One set of volunteers worked late into the night to prepare the maligned Lambeth Witness; another got up early to try to distribute it in the face of every possible obstacle put in our path.
We presented fringe events — but hardly any bishops came. Few English bishops visited the Market­place. More overseas bishops did so, and were prepared to talk. As the heat and humidity in the Market­place rose, so the camaraderie increased, and gay people chatted with hard-line groups who wanted to “heal” them.
From our viewpoint, the bishops talked in secret little groups sur­rounded by a ring of police. They emerged only once to go to London to tell society how wicked it was not to do more about debt. Many of us had worked in or visited Africa and experienced the poverty. We do all we can to support the aid agen­cies, but we also know about violence against women there and the persecution of gay people. They are the real victims and scapegoats in this whole process.

Now we read the results of Lambeth with great depression. We are told the Communion held together (for the moment at least) but it is not going anywhere. There are no plans or processes to facilitate moving forward together but in different ways according to our culture and mission. There is the threat of a Covenant, which is a thoroughly un-Anglican concept, and a promise of a moratorium on gay blessings and consecrations, but no mention of a time limit.

We are threatened with a Com­munion based on fundamen­talist interpretations of scripture to please the Africans, and a hierarchical system of control to please the Roman Catholics. We want neither, for neither are Anglican.

Many people in our Church are ignorant of all this, and just go on in their own sweet way. Others are deeply disturbed. Just to mention two emails I have received — the first from someone with whom I used to work at CTBI: “I thought of you a lot during Lambeth. There was one Sunday morning that I listened to the Sunday programme, then just couldn’t go to the C of E church, bishop and all, for con­firma­tion. I feel more and more at home with the Quakers, but if I become a Quaker, I really don’t want it to be because I’m taking refuge from the Anglicans.”

Another wrote: “As a gay and partnered Anglican looking to a civil partnership and blessing next year, I am nearly exploding with frustration, as nothing seems to have moved forward. In fact I feel that things are more entrenched, if anything. I know you have been there, and are still journeying with women’s ministry issues: how do you do it and still remain faithful to a Church which does not seem to want to know?”

The answer lies in developing a spirituality for a long haul, and in getting practised at lifting oneself up from blow after blow.

At the beginning of the Confer­ence, Gene Robinson and some other American bishops — who had panted up the hill carrying their robes after a two-hour marathon in the cathedral — joined us in a euchar­ist in a field outside the city walls. Christ was there, as he was at Cal­vary, and in the garden of the resurrection. He will be with us through the darkness until we come to the joy of Easter morning.

Barmston, East Yorks

To have and to hold ...

California Faith for Equality offers this video of interfaith voices supporting the Freedom to Marry:

Watch it.

Share it.

Support it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What a "dog day afternoon" looks like at our house ...

Not sure how many HOUSES he owns????

According to ABC News, that's John McCain's dilemma du jour.
Gosh, I hate when that happens!

"If you don't know how many houses you have, then it's not surprising that you might think the economy is fundamentally strong." -- Senator Barack Obama

Salute to Youth Ministry

Even though I'm on vacation, of course I still get the weekly parish newsletter and I was particularly jazzed by this week's issue ... here's a link to the PDF of the cover article by our Youth Team ...

... describing an All Saints Youth program that "provides a space where our youth can learn to HONOR God with their lives, CONNECT with other Christians, GROW to be more like Jesus, SHARE their faith with others, and DISCOVER their gifts so that they can SERVE God and serve others around the world."

I think that just about covers it. Where were these guys in MY youth group days when it was all pizza and volleyball all the time????

Way to go, team!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Act of God

So years ago, my friend Liz Habecker asked once why when a tornado takes a roof off or a tree blows down on a car, we talk about "an act of God" ... and we forget when it's a perfect summer day ... high of 83 with a cool breeze, no humidity, bugs or smog ... we forget to remember that that's an act of God, too.

So here's to today ... a perfectly lovely summer day, coming to an end but still lovely.

An Act of God.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So I guess NOTHING is sacred anymore!

It turns out that ...

... the "Bigfoot Find" Is A Hoax!!

You can read all the sad details here ... but it seems that by the time the frozen carcass started to thaw and it was discovered that one of the feet was rubber (you can't make this stuff up) the two "Bigfoot hunters" -- surprise! -- had fled the California hotel room where they had been staying.

An organization called Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. is the injured party in this sad story, and they are (and I quote) "seeking justice for themselves and for all the people who were deceived by this deception."

Shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

But wait ... here's the best part: More than 200 people attended a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., at which Searching For Bigfoot members announced that they were in possession of a dead Sasquatch. The group, however, conceded at the time that DNA tests performed on the carcass were, at best, inconclusive.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Betty would have been 83 today ...

Betty Lou Bundy
circa 1928

Click here for a "This Is Your Life" slideshow ...
... and join me in giving thanks for her life well lived!

Red Herring Alert!

Here are a few more thoughts on today's CA Supreme Court decision ending the right of doctors to discriminate against LGBT patients:
Before the anti-marriage equality folks start cranking up their red herring machine to try to "spin" this court decision as "the thin end of the wedge" that will lead to "making clergy marry gay couples!!!" remember:
1 - On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court struck down discrimination re: Civil Marriage. Period.

2 - Freedom of religion quarantees that no clergy person can be compelled to act against their conscience in the exercise of their pastoral duties.

3 - There are other places where California civil law regarding marriage differs from the canon law in some traditions. For example, California has had no fault divorce since 1970 and lawyers have not been lining up to sue Roman Catholic priests who won't remarry divorced couples. Neither will they be lining up to sue those clergy whose theology precludes their presiding at the marriage of a gay or lesbian couple.

Another inch closer to "liberty and justice for all"

The California Supreme Court decides that a state antidiscrimination law trumps the religious freedom rights of doctors.

SAN FRANCISCO -- -- Doctors may not discriminate against gays and lesbians in medical treatment, even if the procedures being sought conflict with physicians' religious beliefs, the California Supreme Court decided today.
In the second, major gay-rights victory this year, the state high court said religious physicians must obey a state law that bars businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Coming soon to Chez Brooks Russell:

Luna's soon-to-be-little-sister
An 11 week old Malberian from Husky Camp
(See also: "Life as we know it
is about to radically change")


What an accomplishment ... Kudos to Michael Phelps!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Post Lambeth post-mortem

These are some bits and pieces that struck me as "keepers" as I waded through the post-Lambeth reflections that accumulated while I was in Minnesota. Will be on vacation now through Labor Day so blogging will likely be sporadic, but ... for today ... here's a post-Lambeth post-mortem "sampler:"

From Episcopal Life Online:

Jefferts Schori said that on the question of moratoria affecting gay and lesbian Christians, the Episcopal Church has been living in a "season of gracious restraint for some time and I don't see there is any church-wide push to end that in the coming months. The General Convention is going to have to consider these issues. General Convention is the only body that really can decide to do anything significant related to them. Individual bishops have always made their own decisions within the canonical responsibilities of their dioceses."
-- The Rt. Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop TEC
From The Church Times:
The decision that the Conference should not seek to offer any clear guidance or teaching on any issue because of the potentially divisive effects upon the plenary debates had had the effect of “legitimising, in the life of the Conference and by implication in the Communion, the whole range of convictions about same-sex relationships and about the use of scripture”, he said.
-- Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester
Every decade or so, the Lambeth conference has urged bishops to champion human rights for all and enter into dialogue with the gay and lesbian community. But this has been widely ignored: blessing same-sex couples is apparently a far greater offence than allying with repressive governments to hunt them down.
-- Savi Hensman, LGCM (Lesbian Gay Christian Movement)

Much has been made of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Conference, as though this is an enduring and unerring piece of truth. It has become almost a test for orthodoxy. But if this resolution has such enduring status, then all resolutions of the Lambeth Conference must be given the same status. . . .
. do we reconcile Resolution 19 from 1897 with 1.10 from 1998?

“That it is important that, so far as possible, the Church should be adapted to local circumstances, and the people brought to feel in all ways that no burdens in the way of foreign customs are laid upon them, and nothing is required of them but what is of the essence of the faith, and belongs to the due order of the Catholic Church.”


Finally, this "keeper" by Jim Naughton, which ran in the Guardian's "Comment is free" on August 10th:
The archbishop's hands are tied, not ours
The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don't have to do the same.
Extensive research has proven that I am not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Neither, in all likelihood, are you. These facts, in hand for some time now, acquired new significance yesterday with the revelation that Rowan Williams, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury, believes, what a great many Anglicans believe, namely: "that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might ... reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness."

As archbishop, Williams might feel that the proper execution of his office requires that he puts aside his personal convictions. Juggling numerous concerns and multiple constituencies, he may have reason not to speak out boldly on behalf of one marginalised audience for fear of alienating another. Equipped with a variety of subtle ways to move the Anglican Communion toward a fuller understanding of human sexuality, he can initiate imperceptible advances on one front while publicly taking a hard line on the other. There are wheels within wheels, and he can make them all spin. He is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But I am not. And neither are you. We can either speak our truth - which as it turns out is also his truth (and more important, we believe, His truth) and organize ourselves to reform the Churches we love, or we can sit back, beg our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to be patient, and hope that somehow the Communion will arrive at a new consensus on homosexuality without anyone seeming to have so much as nudged it in that direction.

I can just barely imagine embracing the latter of these two strategies if I were the Archbishop of Canterbury and privy to the secrets of Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion office.

Were I the archbishop, though, I would have to acknowledge that the nature of my dispute with liberal Anglicans — particularly those in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada — must now be understood in a new light. We do not differ over essential matters such as the nature of Jesus or the mechanics of salvation. We do not differ over sexual ethics, or the interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we differ over the proper response to a belief we hold in common.

What is most objectionable about Williams' recent machinations are his efforts to construct a Communion in which only one response is permissible. He has sacrificed his opportunity to act on his convictions because he believes that his office demands it. One may disagree with that choice, but one can respect it. What one cannot respect, and must not accept, are his efforts to impose a similar sacrifice on those who believe that their offices — as pastors, as friends, as Christians — demand a different conclusion.

Under Williams's leadership, an elitist view of history is acquiring the force of doctrine. One may believe that the world needs examples of gay and lesbian couples living in what he refers as "covenanted" relationships before it will readily adapt to the notion of gay marriage, but those who act on this belief face consequences. One may believe that social movements are driven from the bottom, by the men and women affected by existing discrimination, but one must behave as though such change is legitimised by ecclesial elites.
As Anglicans, we have fallen into the habit, lately, of holding lengthy meetings, from which prelates emerge with fresh pronouncements about how we are to regard people we have lived with and loved for our entire lives. We are to abide by these pronouncements or accept that whatever happens next is on our heads.
Through these meetings, Williams is gently, adroitly, yet unmistakably coercing people who wield none of his power to make his compromise with conscience their own. He is asking Churches and their members to pay a price — in lost relationships, lost vocations, lost credibility, lost integrity — that he has deemed acceptable, with the promise that it will facilitate some greater, slowly-materialising good. I might do the same thing if I were the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But I am not, and neither are you. And we must do what we must do.
And let the people say ... AMEN!
We must do what we must do. And we will. And so, let the preparations for General Convention begin! (After vacation! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We're just back from Minnesota ... thanks to all those who've sent cards, notes, emails and prayers. We're very grateful and very glad to be home.

The sunset last night over Lake Latoka, Alexandria MN

And from Tuesday's "Echo Press"
Betty Lou (Bundy) Brown, 82, died July 24, 2008 at her home in Alexandria.
Betty was born August 19, 1925 in Alexandria to Anna Hesse and Worth Bundy; the second of their two children. Her mother died when Betty was only 3 years old and a few years later her father’s remarriage brought Tillie Gustafson into the Bundy family; Betty’s much-loved stepmother.

A cheerleader at Alexandria High School, Betty graduated in 1943. She traveled to Washington, D.C. and worked in an FBI office during World War II and then moved to Los Angeles, where she found work in “the movie business” as the head usherette at the Los Angeles Theatre. It was there that she met William “Bill” Comstock Brown and they married in May of 1953.
Their daughter, Susan Lynn, was born in June 1954 and son, Bill Jr., in September 1955. The Brown family was raised in Southern California, but frequent summer vacations in Alexandria kept Betty and her family in touch with friends and relations in Douglas County. An avid golfer, bowler, crossword puzzler and baseball fan, Betty was a full-time homemaker who volunteered at her church and was involved in local community projects. A lifelong Lutheran, Betty was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church.

Her husband, Bill, died in 1987 and after a number of years spending summers in Minnesota and winters in California, Betty eventually returned to Alexandria to live permanently in 2001.

Betty loved to knit and crochet and was always working on a sweater or afghan for somebody. Another favorite pastime was bingo and she enjoyed frequent casino field trips with her Bingo Buddies. She was a faithful attendee of her Class of ‘43 reunions at Alexandria High and enjoyed the blessing of many lifelong friendships.

She is survived by her daughter, Susan Russell of Pasadena, CA and her son, Bill Brown of Santa Ynez, CA; grandchildren, James and Brian Russell and Jennifer and Christine Brown; brother, Don Bundy; and sisters-in-law, Irene and Shirley Bundy.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband; and by her brother, Bill Bundy.
A funeral service was held Tuesday, August 12 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walking on water

Proper 14A: Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33
August 10, 2008 ~ All Saints Church, Pasadena

Well, I’m back from Lambeth.

Lambeth Conference 2008 – the every-ten-year gathering of Anglican bishops – is, as they say, “in the books.” (And the response to that versicle is “Thanks be to God!”) Louise and I are grateful to be back home in general and back at All Saints in specific – thankful for all your prayers and good wishes – emails and blog comments. We truly felt that we were surrounded by a cloud of All Saints witnesses during our three-week witness in Canterbury. And by the end of it, as I noted in the article I wrote from “across the pond” for this week’s Saints Alive, I was very ready to click my ruby slippers together because there really IS “no place like home.”

So what exactly happened at Lambeth? Like the old joke says, I’ve got good news … and I’ve got bad news.

Before we left for England, I told a PBS producer shooting a pre-Lambeth report here at All Saints that the headline I hoped we’d write when it was all over was “The Coup Has Failed: Anglicans Continue to Muddle Along.” And for what it’s worth, the good news is I got my headline.

For in spite of the dire predictions of a great coup d’état in the works that would vote the American and Canadian churches off the Anglican Island and might just throw the Archbishop of Canterbury out with the bathwater for good measure, the breaking news out of Canterbury was that there was no breaking news out of Canterbury.

Yes, sadly, a handful of the 38 Anglican provinces chose to boycott the Lambeth Conference, and 20% of the bishops chose to stay home rather than engage with those with whom they disagree. But for those who did show up – 670 of them, by one count – rather than an outbreak of schism they experienced an outbreak of civility. The interactions between the bishops over their two-week conference were marked by generosity and by a holy curiosity and genuine interest in learning from each other about mission and ministry in the various parts of the global communion. Building on those relationships – one-on-one, diocese by diocese, year by year – will continue to build up the bonds of affection that make up the fabric of this global communion which is our Anglican family of faith. And that is good news!

And I am both proud of and grateful for the work our Lambeth Witness of LGBT Anglicans offered toward building those relationships. Here’s how I answered the “why are you going to Lambeth” question before we left for England:

Because it is critical that the gay and lesbian faithful, who have seen their lives and vocations reduced to bargaining chips in a decade-long game of Anglican politics, speak out together and give voice to the hope and the faith their witness to the Anglican Communion represents. And so we are going to witness to the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made present in our lives, in our vocations and in our relationships.

Although it didn’t occur to me at the time I could have saved some words and just referred questioners to today’s reading from Romans: How are they to hear if no one preaches to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?

It was in response to that sense of being called to proclaim – of being sent to witness – that our courageous, faithful, tireless corps of LGBT witnesses (and straight allies!) got to work. Our numbers included Anglicans from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Uganda working with American, Canadian and UK activists – all part of an “Inclusive Communion Network: Proclaiming God’s Justice, Living God’s Love.”

And of course there was the Bishop of New Hampshire – a sitting, diocesan bishop denied participation in the official Lambeth Conference meetings – but willing to be sent, nevertheless, to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ Jesus, who – he keeps reminding us all – “loves us beyond our wildest imaginings.”

It’s leap of faith work, this stuff … because at the end of the day there are no measurable goals, no quantifiable outcomes, no …what do they call them? … “metrics” to judge our work a success or a failure. We came. We prayed. We witnessed. And we may never know if hearts were touched or minds were changed.

Except for this one … a bishop from North India who sent an email of thanks to conference organizers, who passed it on to us. It’s from Bishop P. K. Samantaroy from Punjab, India:

“Coming from a conservative back-ground I was not even prepared to listen to any person who supported the gay and lesbian people. However, [I have] changed my opinion. I have become aware of the pain and agony people have bear because of our attitude towards each other.

Further, I am convinced that despite their different and often opposite positions all are committed to live and grow within the Anglican family. The binding force in a family is love. I have decided not to be hasty in judging the gay and the lesbians. I wish to learn more about their life and problems. I have also decided to regularly pray for them. I wish to encourage the other members of the Anglican Communion to do the same.”

One bishop. One email. One inch of the planet growing greener. And that is good news.

And now the bad news.
In the 11th hour -- during his final Presidential Address and at the Press Conference following -- +Rowan Williams managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of the victory of a conference what was on the verge of finding a new way forward in faith for those committed to walk together in spite of their differences.

Like Peter, who the gospel writer Matthew tells us, started walking on the water toward Jesus and only began to sink when overcome by doubt and fear, Rowan Williams – after two weeks of a miraculous “walking on water” Lambeth Conference – sank like a stone in the last two hours.

Williams had the chance last week in Canterbury to keep walking on water … to step out in faith and try something that some say is impossible: to find a way forward as a communion of faith refusing to be divided by the differences that challenge it. But by pushing his preference that the American and Canadian churches abide by the moratoria on blessings of same sex unions and the consecration of any more openly gay bishops, he undid in a two-hour span a good percentage of the good work that had been accomplished over the two-week conference.

For at the end of the day – and against all odds -- the mind of the bishops gathered was to live with the differences they had spent all that time discussing rather than let them be exploited into the divisions the schismatics have been insisting they must be. They offered a great whiff of hope to the end of the inclusion wars and a vision for the beginning of a new way of being communion together. And instead of embracing that nothing-less-than-a-miracle new way of being – instead of walking on the water toward Jesus – Williams retreated into fear and doubt and threw down a gauntlet to the Americans and Canadians – challenging them to make a “Sophie’s Choice” between the full inclusion of their provinces in the Anglican Communion or the full inclusion of their LGBT baptized in the Body of Christ.

And he should be ashamed of himself.

The sacrifice that will hold the Anglican Communion together is not the sacrifice of the gay and lesbian baptized but the sacrifice of a false unity based in dishonesty. It is nothing less than rank hypocrisy that the Archbishop of Canterbury is willing to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the Communion when the only difference between what's happening in our churches and in his is that we're telling the truth about it.

Scripture tells us what happened to the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. It's time for the Archbishop of Canterbury to act like the wise man he is and build the future of the Anglican Communion on the solid rock of honest differences and not on the shifting sands of global Anglican politics. Jesus promised us that "the truth will set you free." The Communion deserves nothing less than the truth -- and so does the Gospel.

There is, however, some good news in this part of the bad news.

+Marc Andrus, Bishop of California immediately said his diocese would not abide by the moratorium on same-sex blessings and our own Bishop Jon Bruno quickly went on record with, “I can only say that inclusion is a reality in our diocese and will continue to be. For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken.”

For at the end of the day, there is an ontological difference between feeling excluded because you're disagreed with and being excluded because of who you are. Brother and sister Anglicans walking away from the table because they've been disagreed with is a painful thing. The church walking away from the gay and lesbian baptized is a sinful thing.

There was a cartoon in THE CHURCH TIMES. It was set in an automobile show room and the banner announced a new model for 2008: the Anglican Moritoria. Beneath the picture of the car – sitting on blocks, rather than tires, the cartoon said: It’s much safer than the other models. Doesn’t go forward and doesn’t reverse; just stays where it is.

And staying were we are may be "safer" -- but it will not bring about that Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven we keep praying for -- it will not turn the human race into the human family --and it is not the Good News we have been called to proclaim.
So let's get back to the good news.
The good news is that -- as clever as my post-Lambeth headline was -- muddling along isn’t good enough.

The good news is “Not as bad as Lambeth 1998 does not the Kingdom make.”

The good news is we are not going to settle for the mission and ministry of this church – of this communion – of this Gospel being stuck on blocks in some show room because of a failure of nerve by those who’ve been charged with getting it in gear and moving forward in faith.
The good news is a bishop from North India and a bishop from New Hampshire are both committed to walking forward in that faith and in this communion.

And the good news is that next year when the Episcopal Church meets in its General Convention, we will be calling on it to say – once and for all -- that gay and lesbian Anglicans are not for sale as bargaining chips in this game of global church politics – that the sacrifice of their lives and vocations in this church is too high a price to pay for institutional unity – and that we are done having our mission and ministry held hostage to the dysfunction of our beloved Big Fat Anglican Family.

We’re ready to walk on water. We are ready to step out in faith in response to the one who says “Come” and to believe that miracles can happen. We’re ready to walk on water knowing that even if the strong winds blow and the naysayers nay we belong to the One who will catch us if we fall as we move forward in faith into God’s future.

And that, my brothers and sisters, is the good news that's better than all the bad news that's fit to print! Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Amen.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My local paper weighs in on "things Anglican"

Editorial in today's Los Angeles Times

Adding to division

The tensions within the Anglican Communion are a reflection of the global culture wars.
August 9, 2008

Bishops of the Anglican Communion, a confederation of churches with roots in the Church of England, held their once-a-decade meeting recently and managed to avert a long-predicted schism over homosexuality.

Although 200 conservative bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, other conservatives showed up and joined their liberal counterparts in soul-searching sessions inspired by the Zulu indaba, or tribal conference. Still, tensions were evident between liberal bishops from North America and conservative ones from the "Global South."

The archbishop of Sudan demanded the resignation of Gene Robinson, the openly gay New Hampshire bishop whose ordination in 2003 was the casus belli of the crisis. A female bishop from the United States suggested that "many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife."

That Anglicans remain uneasily united is a victory for Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury who has been engaged in shuttle diplomacy between the two wings of the communion. Williams has been pleading with liberals in North America to refrain from ordaining gays and lesbians or blessing same-sex unions, and with conservative bishops in the Global South to stop meddling in liberal dioceses.

But, lacking the authority of the pope, Williams can't order the two sides to exercise restraint, and some in both camps are likely to defy him.

The dispute among Anglicans may seem a strictly religious argument, turning on whether biblical prohibitions of homosexuality should be interpreted literally or softened, as scriptural condemnations of divorce have been without much protest from conservatives.

But like the movement for women's equality, the campaign for recognition of the personhood of gays and lesbians is broader than the church; witness the gay rights movement that achieved its most important victory in the legalization of same-sex civil marriage in Massachusetts and California.

Sexual orientation isn't the only issue to resonate outside the Anglican fold. Societies like those from which some conservative bishops come are coping with a Western culture that seems to mock traditional notions of faith and family, a consequence of globalization. And tensions between the West and Islam underlie the complaint by African bishops that an endorsement of homosexuality by Western churches puts Christians at a disadvantage with Muslims -- and at risk of physical violence -- in areas where the two faiths compete for adherents.

You don't have to be an Anglican -- or even a Christian -- to find these conflicts familiar. In the culture wars, there is no separation of church and state.

What Katie said

Katie Sherrod -- writer, producer, editor and prophetic voice-in-the-wilderness-of-the-diocese-of-fort-worth has done it again.

Don't miss her brilliant analysis of Lambeth 2008:

That Wild Uncontrollable Force just posted on her blog, Desert's Child. Here's an excerpt:

It seems that the Lambeth Conference Design Team, in designing a conference that built on relationships and avoided up or down votes, has indeed pitched a wild card into the plans of Archbishop Williams.

Because the bishops of the Anglican Communion learned many things at Lambeth, and among them is the fact that when any group insists that their process must result in winners and losers, everyone loses. As one observer noted, “It is not a bad thing to live and work together without resolution - walking by faith and not by sight.”

The bishops have begun to understand that they don’t have to “fix” everything, that they can talk together about things that they disagree on, talk about difficult subjects, and still love one another.It is this, that wild uncontrollable force called Christian love, that gives me hope for the Anglican Communion.

Do read it all .. and give thanks with me for the work and witness of Katie Sherrod!

You can't make this stuff up:

"This is just another revisionist attempt to use anything to undermine the orthodox position of the church and spread the agenda of inclusiveness," said the Right Rev. Peter Beckwith, the conservative bishop of Springfield, Ill.


This from a Washington Post feature by Dan Burke wherein Maryland Bishop Gene Sutton and other black bishops at the Lambeth Conference said "the use of Scripture to reject homosexuality in the Anglican Communion evokes previous eras' biblically based arguments in support of slavery and racism."
My, my, my! How dare +Gene Sutton have an opinion on racism ... clearly such things fall within in the purview of straight white guys like Beckwith to define and to challenge in his never-ending struggle against ... what does he call it again??? "The agenda of inclusiveness."

+Katharine in the Guardian:

The Road from Lambeth

The recently-concluded Lambeth Conference provided an opportunity for bishops from around the Anglican communion to discover the deeper realities of the contexts in which each seeks to spread the gospel.

One bishop from India reported a legislative requirement to obtain a magistrate's certificate before baptising a convert, with a prison term of several years and a significant fine as the penalty for proceeding without legal sanction.
A bishop's spouse from Africa reported the church's difficulty in supporting widows who are pressured to marry the dead husband's brother (even if already married), or else forfeit their children and property.

Bishops from Madagascar told of cyclones that destroy their people's homes and crops, often several times a year, and how they seek to build strong church buildings that can be havens from the storms as well as seats of learning. Western bishops spoke of the church's pastoral role in seeking to provide sacred support for same-sex couples living in monogamous, life-long relationships.

Bishops from Africa and Asia told of the difficulty of evangelism in majority Muslim societies. Sudanese bishops sought partnerships as they seek to resettle returning refugees and rebuild a devastated church structure. A Tanzanian bishop lamented the difficulty of biblical study without libraries or access to the scholarly tools Westerners take for granted. Japanese bishops spoke of the church's inability to address social change when Christianity is such a small part of society. And bishops from countless places spoke of their gratitude for the support of others as they struggle with natural disasters, corruption, war, disease, hunger, climate change and counterproductive social pressures.

Given divergences that look interplanetary in degree and scale, what does this diverse body have in common? Certainly a recognisably common framework of worship, descended from the Church of England. A reliance on sacred scripture, in common with tradition and reason, also characteristic of roots in British Christianity. And a passion for caring for their flocks – the hungry, the sick, the aged and infirm, widows and orphans, and the forgotten, as well as those who know no good news.

But the forms and structures of the various provinces of the Anglican communion have diverged significantly, in ways that challenge those ancient ties to England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those provinces are the result of evangelism tied to colonial structures, whether of Britain or her former colonies, and that colonial history has still to be unpacked and assessed. The present attempts to manage conflict in the communion through a renewed focus on structural ties to old or new authorities have generated significant resistance, both from provinces who largely absented themselves from Lambeth and from dissenting voices among the attending bishops.

The Anglican communion's present reality reflects a struggle to grow into a new level of maturity, like that of adult siblings in a much-conflicted family. As we continue to wrestle, sufficient space and respect for the differing gifts of the siblings just might lead to greater maturity in relationship. This will require greater self-definition as well as decreased reactivity. Jesus' own example in relationships with his opponents and with his disciples will be instructive.
Katharine Jefferts Schori,, Saturday August 09 2008