Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten from 2010: The Year in Review

Another year is almost in the books -- so for my last-blog-of-2010 here (in relatively chronological order) is my "year-in-review, top-ten-from-2010:" a mix of personal, political & prophetic moments that stand out from a year "well done" -- with best wishes for a VERY Happy New Year!
In April, my son Jamie was promoted to sergeant in the U.S. Army ... making his mom very proud -- and very grateful he's stationed in Kentucky rather than Kandahar!

A huge highlight was a weekend-long visit from the Right Reverend Barbara Clementine Harris -- first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion and a TOTAL force of nature.

In May we celebrated two new bishops as +Diane Jardine Bruce and +Mary Douglas Glasspool put two more cracks in the stained glass ceiling and opened a new era of mission and ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

June was the month of Louise and Susan's Excellent European Adventure: Arguably the best vacation in the history of travel!

July brought Wedding Bells for Louise's cousin Brian and bride Fernanda -- and a wonderful long weekend with Louise's family in Colorado.

In August Judge Walker's landmark Prop 8 decision moved us another step closer to restoring marriage equality to California on "Decision Day."

Presenting the work of the SCLM C056 Task Force to the House of Bishops in Phoenix in September was truly a great privilege -- as is the ongoing work of implementing GC Resolution C056 creating and collecting resources for the Blessing of Same Gender Unions.

In October the It Gets Better campaign "went viral" offering hope and encouragement to LGBT youth at risk ... and Bill Brummel's brilliant documentary Bullied debuted -- a project that will continue to change hearts and minds around the country in the months to come.

December 2010 was my 23rd Diocesan Convention -- and I was honored to be elected to represent my hometown diocese as a Deputy to General Convention 2012.

And finally -- on December 22nd DADT was finally repealed -- another step forward on "the gay agenda" (AKA "liberty and justice for all.")

42 "Feels Like" 34?????

Those are not words we hear too often around these parts. "Forty two, feels like thirty four" I mean. I realize by Chicago, Minneapolis, Rochester or Arctic Circle standards that's practically balmy but this is L.A. Our houses aren't insulated for it, our closets don't have coats for it and -- well, it's kind of throwing us for a loop.

Heat, smog and drought ... we get.
Wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes ... yep, we get those. (Don't like 'em but we "get" them.)
But "42 feels like freakin' 34?"
Not in our vocabulary.
Except it is today.

In a word .... Brrrrrrrrrrrrr!

P.S. -- And no, we will NOT be camping out on Colorado Blvd. waiting for the Rose Parade tomorrow. Not for all the tea in China or coals in Newcastle.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On the 5th Day of Christmas, my email gave to me ...

... this little "update" on the Anglican Cycle of Prayer for 2011 from an eagle eyed clergy colleague.
Given the holidays and I say let's give the ACO a little time to get back to us on whether this was the result of "clerical error" or "head in the sanditis." Let's hope it's the former -- which will just require a correction. If it's the latter, we'll be looking at some treatment options.
[DEF: head-in-the-sand-itis: a syndrome prevalent at some levels of hierarchical leadership wherein one is convinced if one just keeps one's head in the sand long enough any current unpleasantness -- like women bishops or gay priests or married lesbians -- will magically disappear and one can resume to function with one's unexamined privilege unexamined.

Here's the email:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:21 PM

Dear Canon Kearon,

The Anglican Cycle of Prayer posted on the Communion website lists this petition for January 22nd:

Los Angeles - (Province VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Joseph Jon Bruno
Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles - (Province VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Chester L Talton

As the Cycle of Prayer (as I understand it) is the most up-to-date listing of Diocesan leadership I find it interesting that Los Angeles is not current. It should read:

Los Angeles – (Pvovince VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Joseph Jon Bruno
Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles – (Province VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Diane Jardine Bruce
Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles – (Province VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Mary Douglas Glasspool

Coincidence that the corrections are both women?
Please update the Cycle of Prayer list as soon as possible.


Stay tuned. And if ... just perchance ... you'd like to follow up with a similar inquiry, here's the email address for the Anglican Communion Office.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry Mermaid Christmas

Christmas Eve 2010 @ All Saints Church – 5:30 p.m.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, goodwill among all people.”
And it’s Christmas again! The familiar words that conclude the Christmas Story in Luke’s gospel echo in our ears once again on this Christmas Eve as we gather surrounded by light and beauty and music and community to celebrate the mystery of Christmas. We welcome again the promise of new life in the birth of this Christmas baby. We wonder again at the power of a love great enough to triumph over death and we claim a Christmas Truth greater than any of the traditions it inspires: the mystical longing of the creature for the creator -- the finite for the infinite -- the human for the divine.

It is a longing that transcends culture, religion, language and custom -- a longing that is represented tonight for us as Christians in the baby in the manger. It is the sudden, amazing and incomprehensible gift of grace: a God who loved us enough to become one of us. Yes, we manifest the wonder of Christmas in the gifts given, the meals shared, the gathering of family and loved ones. But the greater wonder is that the God who is love incarnate came down at Christmas to be among us as one of us. Came to show us how to share that love with a 21st century world yearning for the “peace on earth, good will among all people” the 1st century angels proclaimed.

Let’s face it, for so many this has been a particularly dark and challenging Advent. Whether personally or systemically we are all figuring out the “new normal” of these transitional economic times. Some are grieving as they experience a first Christmas without a loved one and others are coping with challenges that seem too numerous to count.

One new story stands out to me from Advent 2010 and that was the celebration of the life of Elizabeth Edwards. Watching the news reports about protesters planning to picket her funeral, I also saw an interview with a North Carolina woman who was organizing a counter-protest. “What’s the goal of the counter-protest?” asked the reporter. And she said, “When we show up we change the story.” And I thought, “You go, girl.” And then I thought, that’s the Christmas story in a nutshell

Jesus showed up to change the story. The God who loved us enough to become one of us showed up on Christmas Eve – showed up to show us how to walk in love with God and with one another.

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

That love, my brothers and sisters, is the point of Christmas -- and the triumphal power of that love will be made tangible for us not in the way Jesus will die but in the way Jesus lived – and in the way he empowers us as people of the resurrection to live ours in alignment with God’s love, justice and compassion.

And now I want to tell you a story about what that looks like. It comes from one of my favorite writers – Robert Fulghum and it’s called “Giants, Wizards & Dwarfs.”


Being left in charge of about 80 children 7 to 10 years old while their parents were off doing parenty things, I mustered my troops in the parish hall and explained the game. (Picture Ed Bacon in Sweetland Hall with all the Minisingers and Mastersingers!) It's a large scale version of Rock, Paper, and Scissors, and involves some intellectual decision making. But the real purpose of the game is to make a lot of noise and run around chasing people until nobody know which side your are on or who won.

The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass. I yelled out, "You have to decide now which you are: a GIANT, a WIZARD, or a DWARF". While the groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came at my pant leg. A small child stands there looking up, and asks in a small concerned voice, "Where do the Mermaids stand?"

A long pause. A very long pause. "Where do the Mermaids stand?" I say. "Yes, you see, I am a Mermaid." "There are no such things as Mermaids." "Oh yes there is, I am one!" She did not relate to being a Giant, a Wizard, or a Dwarf. She knew her category - Mermaid - and was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where the loser would stand.

She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things, without giving up dignity or identity. She took it for granted that there was a place for mermaids and that I would know just where.

Well, where DO the Mermaids stand? All the Mermaids - all those who are different, who do not fit the norm, and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes? Answer that question and you can build a school, a nation or a kingdom on it. What was my answer at the moment? Every once in a while I say the right thing. "The Mermaid stands right here, by the King of the Sea!" So we stood there, hand in hand, while the Wizards and Dwarfs and Giants rolled by in wild disarray.

“It is not true, by the way, that Mermaids do not exist,” Robert Fullghum concludes. “I know at least one personally. I have held her hand.”


And so have I. I have held the hand of more than one who has come to this church of ours. I have seen the joy and amazement on their faces when they find there is not only a place to stand but there is a community to stand with them, where they are welcome and invited guests. The love that came down at Christmas is the love we work to make tangible 24/7 here at All Saints Church – the radical welcome that says “whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on the journey there is a place for you here.” Wizards. Dwarfs. Giants. Mermaids.

The love that came down at Christmas changed the story of a human family living in bondage to the fear of death and liberated us to live our lives of peace, justice and compassion. And making that love manifest to the world is the work we have been given to do … no matter how long it takes.

Joan Chittister famously said (and I have frequently quoted her famously saying it): “We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again.” And some significant inches were reclaimed during this Advent season.

Last week’s repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended seventeen years of state sanctioned discrimination against gay and lesbian military personnel and on Monday the Senate approved the New START treaty – a bilateral nuclear arms agreement -- by a 71 to 26 margin.
Other good news from Washington included the extension of unemployment benefits, the approval of health care legislation for 9/11 first responders and an encouraging spirit of bipartisan cooperation. There is much to be grateful for – and there is also much work still to do. Sadly the Dream Act -- which offered a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children -- fell short of moving forward.

Here’s what the rector said in his year end “Faith in Action” Statement: “Standing in alignment with God’s love, justice and compassion calls us always to be advocating for those on the margins. While we rejoice in these important steps forward we also redouble our efforts to make God’s love tangible by working for comprehensive immigration reform and call the new congress to prioritize issues of poverty, peacemaking and equality.”

Do you hear the echo of those ancient words in yesterday's ones? And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, goodwill among all people.”

Tonight as we hear those familiar words … as we gather surrounded by light and beauty and music … as we welcome again the promise of new life in the birth of this Christmas baby and wonder again at the power of a love great enough to triumph over death let us not just settle for the joy of Christmas but commit ourselves to what Howard Thurman has called “The work of Christmas:”

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins -
To find the lost, To heal the broken
To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner
To teach the nations, To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.

And tonight I want to add “to stand with the mermaid.” Because that, my brothers and sisters, IS the Work of Christmas: to build the house of love God has commissioned us to become ... a day at a time... an inch at a time... a mermaid at a time. To change the story by showing up. To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to teach the nations, to bring Christ to all, to make music in the heart. Merry Christmas! Alleluia. Amen.

In my family we always got to open "just one" present on Christmas Eve

Here's mine for today ... from The Washington Post:

Riding the lamest of ducks, President Obama just won the Triple Crown. He fulfilled (1) his most important economic priority, passage of Stimulus II, a.k.a. the tax cut deal (the perfect pre-re-election fiscal sugar high - the piper gets paid in 2013 and beyond); (2) his most important social policy objective, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"; and (3) his most cherished (achievable) foreign policy goal, ratification of the New START treaty with Russia.

Politically, these are all synergistic. The bipartisan nature of the tax deal instantly repositioned Obama back to the center. And just when conventional wisdom decided the deal had caused irreparable alienation from his liberal base, Obama almost immediately won it back - by delivering one of the gay rights movement's most elusive and coveted breakthroughs.

The symbolism of the don't ask, don't tell repeal cannot be underestimated. It's not just that for the civil rights community, it represents a long-awaited extension of the historic arc - first blacks, then women, now gays. It was also Obama decisively transcending the triangulated trimming of Bill Clinton, who instituted don't ask, don't tell in the first place. Even more subtly and understatedly, the repeal represents the taming of the most conservative of the nation's institutions, the military, by a movement historically among the most avant-garde. Whatever your views, that is a cultural landmark.

Read the rest here.

(And I now return to my regularly scheduled sermon finishing.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just for the record ...

On the Day Before the Night Before Christmas

Our stockings are hung
by the chimney with care,
And we’re hoping that goodies
will soon show up there!
While we’re waiting for Santa
down the chimney to fall,
We’re sending best wishes
to one and to all:
For joy and best blessings
in the New Year to come
And a Merry, Merry Christmas
to each and every one!

Louise & Susan
Luna, Baby & Juno

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Feast of Saint Thomas Day!

"Doubt is not the opposite of faith: fear is. Fear will not risk that even if I am wrong, I will trust that if I move today by the light that is given me, knowing it is only finite and partial, I will know more and different things tomorrow than I know today, and I can be open to the new possibility I cannot even imagine today." ~ Verna Dozier
Thomas' example calls us to risk the doubts that call us to greater faith -- opens us to the things we cannot even image today that we may be called to risk, to embrace, to proclaim on behalf of the Gospel as we move forward into God's future.

In fact, I think there is much to be admired in Thomas' dogged insistence that he deserved his own experience of the risen Lord -- that a "faith received from the apostles" was somebody else's faith ... and he wasn't going to settle for it.

And I believe we receive the same invitation from our Lord and that he gave to Thomas.

Listen to Jesus say today:
See me.

Touch me.

Ask for what you need in order to believe and I will give it to you.
And then, go out like Thomas did -- into the world without fear in order to call others to claim for themselves a relationship -- an experience -- a faith in the One who loves us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to walk in love with God and with each other.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moses to the Rescue!

In an extraordinary demonstration of inter-faith cooperation, Moses today announced that he would be parting the waters of the Southern California December Deluge to help get Baby Jesus safely delivered on Christmas Eve. The story was leaked to the Los Angeles Times and quickly posted to their online weather update page:

When reached for comment, Moses said he was delighted to do what he could to further interfaith relations during this holiday seaon, adding "Nobody knows better than I do what it's like to be a baby bobbing around in a basket waiting to get scooped up out of the water. Oy vey! I wouldn't wish that on anybody -- much less the Prince of Peace! Whatever I can do to help I'm happy to do."
Stay tuned for further developments. And thanks, Moses! You're a mensch!

Holy Family Values

A sermon preached on December 23, 2007 at All Saints Church, Pasadena

Background: When I was in New Orleans a few months ago at a meet-and-greet-the-speaker reception one of the guests turned out to be an All Saints parishioner who happened to be in New Orleans. (Small world!)

Anyway, in the our conversation over wine-and-cheese he mentioned that he still remembered a sermon I preached about (in his words) "how nobody gets the family they expected -- even Joseph."

Since I tell people that anybody who remembers a sermon past coffee hour gets extra credit, I was pretty impressed that he remembered this one. So I went and looked it up and decided it was worth "re-running" on this Advent Four Monday.

So Happy Advent -- Merry Almost Christmas -- and let's hear it for Holy Family Values!


We’re running out of Advent. The season that began a few short weeks ago with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the lighting of the first candle on the Advent wreath is drawing to a close. The Christmas cards are sent – mostly; the packages are wrapped – well, some of them, anyway! And this morning -- as we see around us the beginnings of the halls decked with boughs of holly -- we light that fourth and final Advent candle that lights our way to that stable in Bethlehem and Little Lord Jesus Asleep on the Hay.

When my boys were little, lighting those Advent candles on the dining room table was a really big deal. I'd like to think it was because they had grasped the significance of the holiness of this Advent season as a time of spiritual preparation for the coming of our Lord. However, I'm sure it was because if the Advent Wreath was there, the tree and presents couldn't be far behind! And it was a tradition that “stuck” in our family long after they had outgrown many others.

I’m remembering this morning a particular evening in Advent. The boys would have been about twelve and fifteen. It was after I had come out and their father and I had separated and while we were working away at what my therapist called “reconfiguring the family on the other side of the marriage.” We were at the dinner table together with the Advent wreath in the middle and -- that particular night -- my younger son, Brian, was on about something he couldn’t live without and his father and I were ruining his life by not getting it for him. I think it was a dirt bike.

He didn’t want to hear reasoned explanations that dirt bikes were not in the budget for newly ordained parish priests. “So how long do we have to wait until there’s some money in this family?” he asked. “What about those big jobs at those fancy churches? Why don’t you go be in charge of one of those?” And I must have run out of patience at that point for I remember saying, “You have be ordained longer than I have been to get those jobs, Brian – and besides, they usually go to the straight, white men.”

“Well, so much for that idea!” he said. And then, unable to resist one last parting shot added “I just hope you know I always expected my mom to be straight!” And his father, without missing a beat, piped in, “So did I!” And we all laughed … and Brian did NOT get the dirt bike.

Another thing Brian did not get was the family he expected – but that didn’t mean we quit being family to each other. And that’s because the values that made us family to each other transcended even the expectations we had for each other.

And the icon of what that family looks like for me is my mental picture of the year both of my sons and their father joined my partner Louise in the pew here at All Saints Church on Christmas morning – after a Christmas Eve dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding the night before! I looked out at them from the chancel with deep gratitude for the family we had become.

We may not be a family James Dobson focuses on but that doesn’t make us any less family. And it doesn’t make the values that bind us together any less holy.

Joseph didn’t get the family he expected, either – and today’s Gospel according to Matthew tells us that his first reaction to the “unexpected” was to dismiss his pregnant fiancé … an act which would fallen firmly within the bounds of the traditional family values of his day – and would have made Mary and her child outcasts. Instead, Joseph did as the angel commanded and took Mary as his wife and named the child Jesus – and the rest is Holy Family History.

The Christ Child made the Holy Family holy – what made them a family were the values that bound them together as an icon of God’s love for the whole human family. Those values have nothing to do with either the gender or the genetics of those who make up a family and everything to do with the inclusive love of the God whose deepest desire is for this human race – created in God’s image – to become the human family it was meant to be.

Sadly, one of the things that has far too often gotten in the way of proclaiming that love to all people is the very thing that was created in order to proclaim that love to all people – and that thing would be The Church.

A case in point this morning is this story from the blog of a young Florida man who writes, “I was kicked out of the church when I was 16 for coming out. The pastor and youth minister both called me the devil and said I wasn’t welcome and my parents and family all used religion as a weapon against me … saying I was going to hell.” Not surprisingly he ended up with what he describes as “… a negative view of religion in general and Christians in particular. I found them to be disingenuous, non-thinking sheep at best and hate-filled, bigoted extremists at worst. That is, he says ... until I met Bishop Robinson.”

Describing his experience of Bishop Robinson when he spoke recently to a forum in Ft. Lauderdale, the young man goes on to say: “ … my views on religious people have shifted dramatically. Sure there are still the hate-filled bigots who use religion as a weapon. But that doesn’t represent them all. There are people like Bishop Robinson who simply want to use the lessons of God to make true change in the world. Honestly, he forced this jaded gay man to try and accept religious folks, or at least not write them off completely. If he can do that, I have every confidence that he can open the eyes of the world …”

This young man didn’t get the family he expected OR the church he expected – and rejected by both he rejected them in return. Yet Gene Robinson’s witness changed that – or at least “budged” it. And if he can do that, I too have every confidence that he can open the eyes of the world.

Yes, the schism du jour presents challenges to both the Episcopal Church and our wider Anglican family. It is rare to pick up a paper or open your email and not find yet-another plot development in what I’ve come to think of as the real-life reality-show: “As the Anglican World Turns.” And yet they are also times of great opportunity. We are surrounded by people who didn’t get the family they expected or the church they expected … and who have not yet heard about a church where Holy Family Values have nothing to do with gender or genetics and everything to do with grace and the good news of God’s inclusive love available to all.

Maybe it’s my own lived experience of reconfiguring a family on the other side of a marriage that gives me the hope we can also reconfigure a church on the other side of a schism.

Or maybe it’s because, as we prepare to welcome again the Prince of Peace into this war torn world, we prepare to glimpse again in that baby in the manger the hope of all humanity for relationships restored, creation fulfilled and God’s love so alive and so real we can reach out and touch it – love described in these words from John Shelby Spong’s “Christpower:”

Here in this life we glimpse
that immortal
most blessed
most glorious
almighty life-giving force
of this universe
in startling completeness
in a single person.

Men and women tasted the power that was in him
and they were made whole by it.
They entered a new freedom,
a new being.
They knew resurrection and what it means to live
in the Eternal Now.
So they became agents of that power,
sharing those gifts from generation to generation,
creating and re-creating,
transforming, redeeming,
making all things new.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – make us agents of the power to live in the Eternal Now and give us grace to live your Holy Family Values all the days of our lives. And may the God of hope fill us -- those we love, serve and challenge -- with all joy and peace in believing, these last days of Advent and always. Amen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

All Saints Church (LITERALLY!) Applauds the Repeal of DADT

A wonderful beginning to a great Advent 4 sermon this morning. What a blessing to be part of such a great cloud of witnesses … in the pulpit AND in the pews!

(You can watch and/or listen to the rest of Zelda's sermon here.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

As the dust settles on today's DADT and Dream Act votes

Yes, it's a big day. The historic vote in the Senate rejecting "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is the cause for great celebration. Here's arguably my favorite-so-far quote:
"Now you can die for your country without having to lie to your country." -- C. Huddleston via R.Swan
Here's a little glimpse to how fast-and-furious the "tweets" were coming on the #DADT twitter page during the historic vote:

It is nothing less than the triumph of honesty over homophobia and it is something to rejoice and be glad in.

And ... it is also important to remember that another piece of legislation fell victim to partisan wrangling today as The Dream Act fell 5 votes short of cloture and in spite of the fact that a majority of Senators supported creating a path to citizenship for immigrant youth.

One comment I saw fly by ... can't remember if it was Facebook or Twitter ... pretty much said it all:
"How sad that we are not yet a nation that can multi-task more than one part of liberty and justice for all at a time!"
So let's celebrate today's important incremental victory. And then let's get back to work and put the same energy, attention and passion into celebrating The Dream Act. Think it's too late? Think that can't happen? Think again.

If we can do what we did today, we can do anything!

Breaking News: 65-31 -- Repeal of DADT is Done!


All Saints Church stands with inclusion allies across the country celebrating today’s landmark decision repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
“We applaud the US Senate in this dramatic reversal of structural discrimination against LGBT persons serving in the military,” said the Reverend Ed Bacon, Rector of All Saints Church. “Nothing expresses the spirit of Christmas more than this and other acts of justice, peace and inclusion.”

“I was delighted to hear Senator Joe Lieberman quoting Dr. King in his remarks from Washington today,” Bacon continued. “At All Saints Church we are committed to being part of the process of bending that arc of the moral universe toward justice and celebrate that today justice was done in the Senate.”

The Reverend Susan Russell, a senior associate at All Saints Church and a member of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Religion Council said, “Today was a victory of honesty over homophobia. As an equal rights activist I am thrilled that the long standing “wrong” of DADT has been righted. And as a military mom I’m equally thrilled that the way has been cleared for my son to have the best possible colleagues serving alongside him without regard to their sexual orientation.”

“In this season of Advent 2010 we celebrate not only the coming of Christmas next week but the arrival today another step forward on realizing the American dream of liberty and justice for all.”


For further comment or more information, contact:

The Reverend Susan Russell
Senior Associate for Communications
714-356-5718 – mobile

All Saints Church 132 North Euclid Avenue Pasadena CA 91001

Extra Credit Question

Compare and contrast:

John McCain maintains we cannot move forward with gay & lesbian equality in the military until the military completes its study and when the study is completed, he maintains it didn't ask the right questions.

The Anglican Orthodites maintain we cannot move forward with gay & lesbian inclusion in the Anglican Communion until we have "done the theology" and when we point to the theology that has been "done" they maintain we haven't done the right theology.

500 words. Open book. Get your Blue Books out. Ready. Set. Go!

BREAKING NEWS: Senate votes 63-33 to move forward with DADT vote

It wasn't "the vote" -- it was the vote-to-have-the-vote. But 63-33 the Senate just agreed to move forward and vote on the DADT bill the House has already passed.

Here's what Joe Lieberman said when introducing the cloture vote:"
Removing a legalized form of discrimination from our books is not a liberal or a conservative idea, a Republican or Democratic idea -- it's an American idea consistent with American values. We've come to the point in our history, I hope when neither race nor religion, ethnicity nor sexual orientation should deprive Americans from serving our country."
And let the people say, AMEN!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reflections on what we hope is the Eve of the End of DADT

It is the eve of what is widely expected to be an historic day for LGBT justice in our nation.

Tomorrow morning we will be watching for the Senate to approve the repeal of DADT in a bill Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will introduce. Coming on the heals of Thursday's action by the House -- and with the "strong support" of the White House -- tomorrow the Senate could and should end a shameful chapter in this country's history and allow gay and lesbian members of the military to serve their country without having to lie about who they are in order to do so.
House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2965 – Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 -- (Rep. Murphy, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Hoyer, D-Maryland)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2965, which would repeal the statute underlying "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the necessary policies and regulations related to the statutory repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. Congressional enactment of this legislation would allow a repeal to be implemented under terms and a timetable that would be informed by the advice of our military leadership.

The recently-released comprehensive study by the Department of Defense shows that overwhelming majorities of our Service members are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian; it concludes that overall, and with thorough preparation, there would be low risk associated with the repeal. The existing statute weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality.
"Fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality." That's what my son signed up to fight for when he joined the Army in 2004. It's what he believed he was putting his life on the line for when he served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's what I believe was behind the customarily succinct response I got when I queried him about DADT when he was home for Thanksgiving:
Q. "Do you think DADT should be repealed?"
A. "F--- yes!"
We'll see what happens tomorrow morning. And while I hope we will have another incremental victory to celebrate, it is clear no matter what happens there are miles to go before we rest. And if anybody doubts that, check this out ... the comment thread on the piece I posted about DADT yesterday:
Bateau Master said ... "Don't Ask Don't Tell" will likely be repealed this weekend. Understand that its repeal is going to cost some lives of gay and straight service members. This won't happen very often and probably not in a combat situations or deployment, but will happen in basic training, AIT, and in garrison.

Infantry, Artillery, and Armor organizations are no bastions of enlightenment or for that matter, critical thinking on social issues. There are no women, it is a land of testosterone, cruelty and open misogyny. Their job is to kill people and break things – they are the trigger pullers. A gay man wishing to make a point will be in danger of bayonet between the ribs or a faked suicide. He will most likely be the only out gay man in the unit and unless he has mad social skills, he will become a target. The Army will investigate, the unit will close ranks, and the perpetrators will, most likely, be caught. One man will be dead and the other lives will end in Leavenworth. This will happen more than once."

It is not right, but it will be a reality for a period of time. It will be the price paid for the privilege to serve.
And then:
Susan Russell said ... "And your point is what? That ignorant homophobia kills people? We knew that."
And then:
Bateau Master said... "My point is what I wrote ... be prepared for a cost in lives lost and ruined. Pray the period is short lived and passes quickly."
Do you hear it? How the "problem" isn't homophobia and the those who continue to fan its flames? No-Siree-Bob. It's "a gay man wishing to make a point."

That one over there -- the one who believes in the fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality enough to put his life on the line to protect them.

And if he'd only been willing to stay in the closet ... if those wretched gay lobbyists with their annoying insistence that "liberty and justice for all" really means "all" would have just kept their mouths shut we wouldn't have to pay the price of "lives lost and ruined."

Here's my newsflash for "Bateau Master:" Lives are being "lost and ruined" every single day by the scourge of homophobia.
And the way to end that -- to be beacons of light, love, justice and compassion -- to respect the dignity of every human being -- to embrace fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality -- is to stand up ... to speak up ... to challenge at every possible opportunity the dehumanizing, un-American and un-Christian bigotry that relegates gay and lesbian people to second class humanity and citizenship.
The "H" word here isn't Homosexuality -- it's Honesty. And because we follow the One who promised us that the truth would set us free, let's say our prayers and go to bed in hopes that we'll wake up tomorrow in a country where we've taken another step toward being a nation where honesty is celebrated and homophobia is eradicated.
It could happen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fighting Islamophobia in Los Angeles

So this morning I "suited up" and headed downtown to the L.A. City Council chambers to speak in support of a resolution opposing Islamophobia and promoting religious pluralism.

It was an honor to be part of "so great a cloud of witnesses" ... and we were delighted when the City Council passed the resolution unanimously. Here's our two minutes of fame on the local news before the vote:

DADT Repeal Passes in House 250-175

Got back to my desk from a morning at the Los Angeles City Council speaking for a Religious Pluralism Resolution (that passed unanimously!) to the final moments of the House vote on DADT ... and to see Barney Frank declaring "the motion passes" on CSPAN.
On the Senate ... an interesting day, to say the least!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Food for Advent Four Thought:

For those who think we can't move forward until we've "done the theology:"

"I'm so glad Mary didn't wait for the formulation of a Doctrine of the Incarnation before she said 'Yes' to God." - Ed Bacon

And a Very Merry Multi-Platform Convergent Christmas to YOU!

In a recent interview I was introduced to the term "multi-platform convergence" by a writer working on a book focused on faith, media & communication. This retelling of the Christmas Story (with thanks to Elizabeth Kaeton for the link!) seems to hit the nail right on the multi-platform head! ENJOY!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Advent Ode to Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle is one of my all time favorites ... from "A Wrinkle in Time" -- which I read as a young person when it was published in 1962 -- to all her "Crosswicks Journals" to ... well, virtually everything she ever wrote. I had the privilege of attending a writer's workshop she led at Mt. Calvary in Santa Barbara many moons ago ... and it remains in my mind one of the the most fruitful, inspiring weekends ever.

I always re-read "The Irrational Season" at the beginning of Advent ... and I'd pulled this poem out to "post at some point during Advent" from my collection of Madeleine Favs ... and then noticed today several Facebook Friends had posted it as well, so decided it must be a planet-in-alignment thing and I should make the "some point" today.

But first, here are a few quotes from the online biography I just read (checking the above referenced publication date!)
L'Engle was an Episcopalian and believed in universal salvation, writing that "All will be redeemed in God's fullness of time, all, not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ. All the strayed and stolen sheep. All the little lost ones."As a result of her promotion of Christian universalism, many Christian bookstores refused to carry her books, which were also frequently banned from Christian schools and libraries. However, some of her most secular critics attacked her work for being too religious.
And then there was this great summation:
A theme often implied and occasionally explicit in L'Engle's works is that the phenomena that people call religion, science and magic are simply different aspects of a single seamless reality.
And now, without further ado:

First Coming
by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he cameto a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reflection on "Do the math, Dude" Sunday

It was a fully loaded 3rd Sunday of Advent at All Saints Church. The usual three morning services -- 7:30 , 9:00 & 11:15 -- in addition to a special celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the 1:00 and our special guest the Reverend Mpho Tutu ... who spoke in the Rector's Forum and celebrated at 9:00.

I read the gospel at 9:00 and while I was reading it -- in the middle of the aisle in the packed church -- I heard again in the opening pericope what I heard when Melissa read it at our staff Eucharist on Tuesday morning.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent a message by his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: those who are blind recover their sight; those who cannot walk are able to walk; those with leprosy are cured; those who are deaf hear; the dead are raised to life; and those with no worldly resources have the Good News preached to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
Jesus may have said (at least according to Matthew) "... and blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me" ... but what I heard was "Do the math, Dude!"
I heard Jesus -- sending a message to his cousin, John -- basically saying the same thing that almost got him thrown off the cliff after his first sermon back in the home parish (at least according to Luke):
Remember all that stuff in Isaiah? The signs that kingdom was coming? The reign had been realized? It's here. It's now. It's fulfilled in your hearing. All those things are happening. "Am I the One who is to come?" Do the math, Dude!
Now, math has never been one of my strong suits. In fact I picked my major in college (history) because there was no math requirement. (Truth!!) But what I'm wondering tonight is how we're doing at the math Jesus was talking about. If someone came to us ... the church ... the Body of Christ in the world ... and said, "Are you the Ones who are to come or shall we wait for another?" what report would we send back? "Go and tell John ...." What? What would we tell him?
Are those blind to racism, sexism, homophobia and every-other tool of oppression and marginalization seeing any better because of us? Are those unable to walk for their fear, anxiety, or grief being given hope by the Good News we offer -- or are we too busy worrying about which Anglican will end up on which "tier" if this crazy Anglican Covenant materializes?
Are those with dread diseases being cured or are we still fighting over who deserves which health care plan as we watch our Congress deny medical care to 9/11 responders?
Any dead being raised to life ... or are we standing by while "kill the gays" bills make the news in Africa?
And those with no worldly resources ... are they hearing Good News or are they being sent away empty while the rich are filled with good things like tax cut extensions and estate tax breaks?
And so what I heard ... on this fully loaded 3rd Sunday of Advent in the aisle reading the Gospel According to Matthew at the 9:00 a.m. service was this:
"How are we doing on doing the math, dudes?"
(Something to think about ... even if math isn't your strong suit!)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

DADT: Bring on the Righteous Indignation!

Just a few minutes ago the U.S. Senate voted 57-40 to continue to allow our armed forces to be held hostage by homophobia by declining to move forward on debate on the bill which includes a repeal of DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell).

As a military mom I'm disgusted that my son and other American sons and daughters are failing to get the full support of our elected officials because they are too busy playing politics with funding bills to do the job we elected them to do.

As a priest and pastor I'm outraged that the religious right continues to deploy weapons of mass disinformation in the service of anti-gay bigotry and discrimination. It is an outright lie that the religious conscience of our military chaplains will in any way be compromised by the repeal of DADT and yet it is a fiction that continues to fuel the campaign to force gays and lesbians in the military to choose between telling the truth and serving their country.

I just checked. "Do not bear false witness" is still one of the Ten Commandments -- and yet those purporting to support "traditional values" are not only lying about the impact of repealing DADT they are perpetuating a system that rewards those who lie about their sexual orientation.

No wonder Jesus wept.

Well, the traditional values I claim include Jesus' promise that "the truth will set you free" -- and the truth is it's time for ALL Americans to stand up, speak out and refuse to allow our armed forces to be held hostage by homophobia for a moment longer! The truth is repealing DADT is the right thing to do and now is the right time to do it. And the truth is now that the Senate has failed to act, we need our President to step up and make it happen.

Rabbi Abraham Heschel wisely said, “Patience, a quality of holiness may be sloth in the soul when associated with the lack of righteous indignation.” The time for patience is over. The time to channel our righteous indignation is now.
Click here to contact the White House and send a message to President Obama to use his authority to end the military discharges immediately and free our military from being held hostage by homophobia. Ready. Set. GO!

McCain is holding our armed forces hostage to his homophobia

Frustrated by the DADT delay? Join me in taking the advice of my friend Rabbi Denise Eger:
So time is running out. The Senate is delaying the passage of the military authorization bill that contains the provision for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. There are enough votes to repeal it. Including Republicans like Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. But the Senate has really arcane rules that empower a single Senator to hold up vital legislation.

In our case of DADT it is Senator John McCain. Curmudgeonly McCain. Sore loser to President Obama and flip-flopper of giant proportions. Even his wife is for gay marriage. And took a NoH8 picture! Sen Susan Collins of Maine will vote for it but is being made the one to try and negotiate a deal on behalf of Republicans. Shame on you Susan. Do the right thing.

Sen. McCain take your homophobia back. Be the maverick that you claim you are not a Negative NayBob!. Lead don’t obfuscate. Sen. McCain has evidently has little else to hold on to but his homophobia. His position isn’t rational. Because he keeps trying to move the deadline, change the criteria needed for repeal.

McCain is holding our armed forces hostage to his homophobia.

Call. Call every day. Put his number on Redial. Call his Arizona offices (602) 952-2410 . Call his Washington Offices (202)224-2235. Pummel his phone lines. And those of the Republican Senatorial Leadership that are supporting this negativity tactic and running down the clock on this term.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A good summary of Monday's Prop 8 hearing here in California

The news cycle is moving on from Monday's Prop 8 hearing at the 9th Circuit Court but along with updates today on Obama's tax cuts "compromise," Elizabeth Edwards' passing and the arrest of the WikiLeaks dude, there was a great summary of the arguments and "therefores" by Ari Ezra Waldman on Towleroad.

Check out the summary here.

And here are the "bottom line" what nexts & therefores:

When will we hear? Not for a while. The average time it takes for an appellate court to issue a decision is about 3 months. The Ninth Circuit is particular back logged, so it may be longer.

What are the possible outcomes? There are many. The court could deny standing. Or, the court could assume standing for the purposes of reaching the merits. If the court denies standing, the prop 8 proponents could give up and that would end the case. But, that is unlikely. They would likely ask for an en banc rehearing (basically, another hearing like we had yesterday, but before about 11 Ninth Circuit judges) and if they lose there, they can appeal to the Supreme Court. If the court assumes standing and decides the merits, that decision is likely to be overturned at the Supreme Court.

Can we marry once the court decides? No. Only if the Prop 8 proponents are denied standing and then give up will marriage equality come back to California quickly. Even after the Ninth Circuit decision, we would likely have to wait a few days for official entry of Judge Walker's order.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Yes, Really! (As seen on Facebook)

And a very Happy Chanukah to all and to all a Good Night!

Monday, December 06, 2010

If Jesse Jackson says marriage equality is a civil rights issue can we quit arguing that it isn't?

From today's statement by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, in support of marriage equality:
"We stand together today as equal members of the human family…. as consistent principled advocates for human rights for all people. We stand together today to uphold the principles of due process, of equal protection under the law, of fighting against discrimination against any and all people based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation," Rev. Jackson said. "We stand with you today to support Marriage Equality, and to declare that Proposition 8 must be struck down as unconstitutional."

Rev. Jackson went on to tie the struggle of the civil rights movement in the 1960s to the struggle faced by many today in achieving marriage equality. Yes, they are two different narratives, but both carry with them a central tenet of unjust discrimination toward a minority population.

"To those that believe in and fought for civil rights, that marched to end discrimination and win equality, you must not become that which you hated. It’s past time to exist in hypocrisy and ignorance, and time to come out of the shadows and darkness to support unequivocally, equality for all people," Rev. Jackson said. "Those that support civil and human rights cannot, must not, become perpetrators of discrimination against others based upon race, religion, culture, sexual orientation."

Another "inch at a time" in the journey toward marriage equality

It wasn't exactly a "front row seat" but I did manage to get myself to the Federal Court Building here in Pasadena [pictured left] where they were showing the Prop 8 hearing at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this morning.

Scheduled for two hours, the hearing was supposed to be one hour each of arguments about "standing" -- whether those appealing Judge Walker's ruling have the standing to do so -- and about "constitutionality" -- basically the merits of the case ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional.

There are lots of sites with live-blogs, transcripts, verbatims and video clips. Here are a few I recommend if you want all the scoop:

Prop 8 Trial Tracker -- has both background and analysis, including this interesting bit about pro-Prop 8 attorney Cooper and the questioning about the "word" (that would be the "M Word" AKA "marriage.")

Judge Smith focused a couple times on whether the State of California was in a worse position for having passed Prop 8 because it has given all of the same rights and privileges under the auspices of the domestic partnership statute. In other words, if we are only fighting over a word, and no substantive differences at the state level, aren’t we essentially creating a subclass? And roughly transcribed, here’s what Cooper said:

Cooper: The word is the institution. If you redefine the word, you change the institution.

I actually think this was a big moment of the oral argument. It said that yes, the anti-equality forces were there only to “put down” gays and lesbians, or as San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart said:

Stewart: If the word is the institution, then the argument is just that gays and lesbians would “stain” the institution. The fact that Prop 8 is symbolic, it makes the insult obvious. This is classification for its own sake, and it violates the equal protection clause. Taking these components together, it infers animus. If we only passed Prop 8 to show that same-sex couples aren’t as good, or as worthy as other couples, then isn’t the equal protection argument plain to see?

CBS News -- had an interesting summary concluding:
"The appeals court appeared inclined to resolve the case narrowly, along the lines of a 1996 Supreme Court case that struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that had prohibited state and local governments from passing laws to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination."
And if you're looking for a great summary analysis, Shannon Mintner does an excellent job over on Karen Ocamb's blog, ending:
Together, Ted Olson and Terry Stewart were a great team and did a great job of presenting the most powerful arguments for upholding Judge Walker’s decision. Olson laid out the big picture and urged the court to issue a far-reaching holding that would apply to all fifty states, and Stewart gave them the option of striking down Prop 8 on narrower grounds, based on the unprecedented circumstances of its passage and of California law.
I have to admit, one of my favorite moments of the whole two-plus-hours was Ted Olson taking on the assertion used by Yes on 8 during the 2008 political campaign that Proposition 8 was necessary to prevent children from becoming prematurely occupied with sexuality.
Olson: “If that was a justification, it would equally warrant banning comic books, television, video games and conversations with other children.”
The other was when one of the attorneys arguing for marriage-discrimination was making his case about society's interests being served by preventing single mothers from raising children and one of the justices basically said, "Great argument against divorce but not working for me in the gay marriage department."

So what happens next? The 9th Circuit Court could rule tomorrow. They will not. It will likely take weeks or more and no matter what they rule somebody will appeal it somewhere.

But today was another "inch at a time" kind of day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Yes, we have fall in Southern California ...

... and here's a little look at autumn in Pasadena -- where the leaves seem to be particularly lovely this year.

Sacred Activism: Putting Spiritual Knowledge into Action

This looks like a VERY cool event ... check it out if you're in the L.A. area:

Ed Bacon will join Andrew Harvey for [ALOUD], the Interfaith discussion series, at the L.A. Central Library, on Tuesday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m.

From the library press release:

Harvey is a poetic and passionate mystic and writer who suggests that what unites all religions “is a truth that the service of God is putting love into action.” He discusses his dramatic life conversion from mysticism to mystic activism with the Rector of All Saints Church—known for its focus on social justice initiatives. ALOUD programs take place at the Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

Get more information and make reservations online here.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Diocesan Convention 2010: Another one in the books!

It's been an incredibly "packed" week or so ... from an all-family-all-the-time Thanksgiving holiday to a three-sermon-Sunday to Burlingame for four days of theology, liturgy & pastoral care/teaching work around blessings to the 115th Annual Meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in Riverside.

I realized driving home this evening that this is the 23rd first-Saturday-in-December-in-a-row that I've driven home from a Diocesan Convention. And while it is always an honor to be part that important work, this year I am deeply honored to have been elected by my diocese to serve as a Deputy to General Convention 2012.

More on that ... and some notes and reflections on our time together in Riverside ... a little later. Right now it's time for pizza and the USC/UCLA game ... and tomorrow 2nd Advent, our Alternative Christmas Market and a presentation to the Youth Confirmation Class: "On Faith in Hope and Love: The Episcopal Church"

But first, here are some snapshots from Riverside. Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Sisterhood of the Red Blazer

I'm still in Burlingame ... finishing up three days of great work with the SCLM Task Forces on implementing General Convention Resolution C056 calling for the collection and development of resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships. It's home today ... barely ... as we turn around and head out to Riverside for our annual Diocesan Convention. Number 115, to be exact.

It'll be a little less eventful than last year when we were electing two bishops ... but we've got Jim Wallis for our keynote speaker, the Friday night dinner includes a tribute to All Saints' Rector Emeritus, George Regas and Saturday Bishop Glasspool is leading a teaching for us on the Anglican Covenant. So between all that, electing folks for diocesan offices and our GC2012 deputation, seeing folks you only see once a year at convention and getting some Secret Santa shopping done in the Exhibit Hall it should be a good time all around.

Because I have to literally "turn around" today in heading from Burlingame to Riverside via Altadena, I "pre-packed" before I came up here ... and in the process of packing found that my faithful old Liz Claiborne red blazer had finally succumbed to those consuming moths that Matthew warns us about. And that made me think about this pre-convention post I wrote a few years ago:
As I was printing out "stuff" yesterday for our pre-convention meeting this morning with our parish delegates I realized this will be my 20th Annual Meeting of the Diocese of Los Angeles -- my first was back in 1987 and my, my, my ... what a difference a couple of decades make!

Back then I was a lay delegate from my parish in Ventura CA (St. Paul's) and my credential read "Mrs. Anthony Russell" ... never mind that MR Anthony Russell's involvement in the work of the Diocese of Los Angeles was to show up on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday.

It was back in the day when we didn't dare run more than one woman in any of the elections. I remember a literal coin toss between two women clergy one year about which ONE would run for General Convention Deputy because the diocese would never send TWO women! I remember when I was in the ordination process being told it wasn't a good idea to wear my red blazer (and I LOVED my red blazer!) because red was a "power color" and I'd better pack it away until after I got safely ordained.

And I remember if we sang a hymn that wasn't in the hymnal or -- God forbid -- used a liturgy with expansive language -- there would be a queue at the microphone afterwards with dour clergymen asking for a "point of personal privilege" to express their outrage.

So yep, the church has changed in the 20 years I've been a delegate to the Annual Meeting of the Diocese of Los Angeles -- and my response to that versicle is "Thanks be to God!" There may be those who yearn for those halcyon days of yesteryear when women delegates were named "Mrs. Husband" and we knew better than to run more than one of us in any given election. But the rest of us are celebrating the steps forward this church has taken to overcome its sexism and are going to "keep on keepin' on" until we are fully the inclusive Body of Christ we are called to be.

And some of us are going to get on the road now for Riverside. Prayers invited from ya'll for my diocese as we gather in convention ... and now I've just gotta get my red blazer and I'm off!
And who'd have thought that the diocese that wouldn't elect two women for a General Convention deputation is now celebrating the anniversary of sending two women to the House of Bishops? Remember that the next time someone says the church won't ever change ... isn't going to move forward ... is doomed to be divided or destroyed by the challenge du jour. God certainly isn't done with the Episcopal Church yet ... and don't even get me started on the Anglican Communion! ... but there has been some mighty work done in just the twentysomething years I've been privileged to be part of leadership in this church.

And having just finished three full, challenging, powerful days with a great cloud of witnesses here in Burlingame I can tell you that work is continuing.

So I'll miss my red wool blazer at Riverside this year. It served me well. But at the same time I'll be enjoying the new, red leather jacket that's packed and ready to go. Prayers are invited for our work in Riverside on behalf of the Diocese of Los Angeles and our witness to the Good News of God's love available to all. AND in thanksgiving for the Sisterhood of the Red Blazer ... those who've paved the way for those of us who don't have to think twice about what color jacket we're going to wear as we head off to work in the Fields of the Lord!

DADT: "It Gets Worse"

So this one has been popping up all over since it aired on the Jon Stewart Show November 15th -- but I'm giving the "hat tip" to son Jamie who's heading back from to base today after 10 days of leave for Thanksgiving ... and remembering that when he was in Iraq he said the only news they watched was Jon Stewart ... "because he's the only one who tells the truth."


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Doing the Math -- An Update

In May 2009 I re-posted a blog from friend-and-colleague Elizabeth Kateon called "Doing the Math." It made the case that we were moving toward a tipping point with over 25% ... 1/4 ... of Episcopalians living in jurisdictions where civil marriage, unions or domestic partnerships were available to same sex couples. Elizabeth made this point:
We've been repeatedly asked to understand the contextual realities of the various dioceses and provinces in the World Wide Anglican Communion. And, I think we have made a serious effort to do just that. It's time, however, to put the sacristy slipper on the other ecclesiastical foot.
Today the Illinois Senate affirmed yesterday’s House vote on civil unions – and it is heading to a governor who has said he will sign it. When that happens over 1/3 (33.6%) of Episcopalians (37 dioceses) will live in jurisdictions where either they or the people in the pew next to them are looking to the church for a pastoral response to the blessedness of their relationship.
Interesting math to be doing here in Burlingame as we wrap up three days of task force work on implementing C056 calling for resources for blessing of those relationships for consideration at our next General Convention in 2012. Wonder what the % will be by then? Stay tuned-- and keep your calculators handy!