Monday, November 25, 2013

Thought for the Day to start Thanksgiving Week:

Joan Chittister on "Gratitude:"

Gratitude is not only the posture of praise but it is also the basic element of real belief in God.
When we bow our heads in gratitude, we acknowledge that the works of God are good. We recognize that we cannot, of ourselves, save ourselves. We proclaim that our existence and all its goods come not from our own devices but are part of the works of God. Gratitude is the alleluia to existence, the praise that thunders through the universe as tribute to the ongoing presence of God with us even now.

Thank you for the new day.
Thank you for this work.
Thank you for this family.
Thank you for our daily bread.
Thank you for this storm and the moisture it brings to a parched earth.
Thank you for the corrections that bring me to growth.
Thank you for the bank of crown vetch that brings color to the hillside.
Thank you for pets that bind us to nature.
Thank you for the necessities that keep me aware of your bounty in my life.

Without doubt, unstinting gratitude saves us from the sense of self-sufficiency that leads to forgetfulness of God. Let us learn to come to prayer with an alleluia heart—“Praise to you, O God. Let all creation sing your praise.”

– from The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years ago today ...

I was in Mrs. Vordale's 3rd grade class at Good Shepherd Elementary School in Highland Park. We all got called into the Fireside Room and Pastor Lunde broke the news. I remember some kids leaving early because their parents came to get them. Mine were playing golf at Eaton Canyon ... Daddy said later the groundskeeper told them on the 7th hole. Weird what you remember. Here's one of the quotes that stood out to me from the day:

"When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses." - John F. Kennedy
Finally, there was this from Diana Butler Bass's FB page:
"The supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of God and the common vulnerability of this planet." JFK address to the Irish Parliament, June 1963.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Tell Your God"

In my inbox this morning ... an email from a colleague and mother of a teenager ... forwarding the link to this video with this note from her daughter:
"I found this amazing video on tumblr and it reminded me of how fortunate I am to be raised with a loving and forgiving image of God. I love this and it is so inspiring!!"
It. Is. Totally. Church.
Watch it. Now. Seriously!

TDOR 2013: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Prayers today on this Transgender Day of Remembrance for an end to transphobia, for all who have lost their lives and for all those who live in fear or exile because of their gender identity or expression. Give us the wisdom, words and will to continue to challenge discrimination and to eradicate ignorance as we work to turn the human race into a human family fully embracing all God's beloved children. Amen.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mazel tov, Massachusetts!

What a difference a decade makes!

Ten years ago today, a historic decision was issued which brought marriage equality to the first state in the nation. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled:
“The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.”
“We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.”
The historic decision, authored by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, was the final result of a case brought by seven gay and lesbian couples who lived in the state.

Read the rest here ... and give thanks to all those who paved the way and continue the struggle!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Autumn in L.A.

Date: 11/13
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temp: 82

Yes, it's November in L.A. When some of the trees have have autumn leaves and others are palm trees; the Thanksgiving Clock is ticking, the Christmas decorations are up in the shopping centers and the Rose Parade bleachers are already starting to rise from the concrete on Orange Grove and Colorado. And the annual lament of "this doesn't feel like fall" commences.

This is my 59th Autumn in L.A. This IS what fall feels like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And then there were 16 ... marriage equality comes to Hawaii!

photo courtesy HRC's Marty Rouse

A bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Hawaii on Tuesday cleared its final hurdle.

The 19-4 vote in the state Senate clears the way for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to sign Senate Bill 1 into law. He is expected to do so on Wednesday.
“Join with me in bending the arc of moral justice by confirming on all Americans equal treatment under the law,” state Sen. Clayton Hee said after he read a letter he received from Edith Windsor, the New York widow who challenged a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court. “Let us confirm that all marriages are equal, regardless if they may be straight or gay.”
Read the rest here ... and give thanks for all who've worked so hard for so long to make justice roll down in Hawaii. New Mexico next?

What Religious Liberty Is ... and Isn't!

My latest contribution on the Huffington Post ... nothing I haven't said numerous times before but -- given the recent news of the week -- it seemed time to say it again:

Religious liberty has been trending on Twitter this week -- and not in a good way.

Whether it was in Illinois or Oahu, whether the debate was about achieving marriage equality or ending employment discrimination and whether the issue was LGBT equality or women's reproductive rights it seemed that someone, somewhere was giving impassioned testimony about how their religious liberty was under attack.

So here's a little reality check: Religious liberty is NOT the liberty to impose your religion on everybody else.

The First Amendment protects us from any laws "impeding the free exercise of religion" thus guaranteeing that each and every American has the liberty to believe -- or not believe -- absolutely anything he or she chooses about what God wills or intends, blesses or condemns.

It also -- thank God -- protects the rest of us from any other American imposing those beliefs on us.
For example: A Jew has the religious liberty to keep a kosher kitchen -- but not to take away your ham sandwich.

A pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic had the religious liberty to abstain from meat on Friday -- but not to confiscate my pot roast.

And an Evangelical Christian has the right to believe that God doesn't bless same-sex marriages - but not to deny equal protection to the marriage of the lesbian couple next door.

So when our elected representatives are making decisions about equal protection for LGBT Americans the question isn't what the Bible says but what the Constitution says. And nobody's religious liberty is under attack when the answer is equal protection isn't equal protection unless it equally protects everybody equally.

The Constitution already protects the right of any clergy person to make decisions about whether or not they preside at a marriage based on their own "free exercise of religion." No orthodox rabbi has ever been compelled to solemnize an interfaith marriage. No Roman Catholic priest has ever been forced to marry a previously divorced couple. And nobody - priest, pastor, rabbi, minister or Imam -- is ever going to be required to marry a same-sex couple.

The First Amendment is doing its job protecting our religious liberty. And anybody who tells you otherwise needs to do a little remedial reading of the Ninth Commandment. (I'll save you having to look it up: that's the "shall not bear false witness" one.)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Sad News from New Hampshire

November 8, 2013

Dear friends,

It is with deep sadness that I share this news. Our beloved bishop, Doug Theuner, died peacefully in his sleep this morning while in hospice care.

Please keep his wife Jane (Sue), his daughter Elizabeth DiTommasso and her family, and his son Nick Theuner and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Information on a service to celebrate Bishop Theuner's life will be shared as soon as his family has finalized the arrangements.

May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


The Rt. Rev. Douglas Edwin Theuner
VIII Bishop of New Hampshire
1938 - 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

And then there were 15 ...

For the "numbers crowd:"

With the vote in Illiniois today there will soon to be 47,265 more Episcopalians living in a state w/#MarriageEquality Total now = 758,992 or 39.5% of Episcopalians. (And 36.7% of U.S. citizens living in jurisdictions w/#MarriageEquality)

[h/t Tom Ely for Episcopal stats ... and U.S. data from 2010 census]

Meanwhile, in Marriage Task Force News:

Honored to have been called to be part of this important work and grateful for all the progress so far -- with miles to go yet before we rest!

Task Force on Study of Marriage issues report of work

[November 5, 2013] The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has issued the following report:

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has begun to dig into the depth and breadth of its work, enabled by Resolution A050 at the 2012 General Convention. The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, reports, “We’re making enormous progress on the broad charge we’ve been given, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of our members and those with whom we are already in conversation. This is a conversation and study whose time has obviously come, and we are grateful to be part of it.”

Taylor also said that the Task Force is “hopeful that the broad circle of input we are gathering will help empower the Episcopal Church in its ongoing mission to be Christ’s light to the world in our day.”

The Task Force’s initial meeting was July 29-August 1 during which they were reminded that they were being asked to move more deeply into an understanding of relationships that embody the values that were identified by our church in General Convention 2000: "fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (Resolution D039).

Coming out of the initial meeting, the Task Force members divided their work into three broad areas, currently being carried out by working groups via conference calls and email:

The working group on Marriage: Historical, Liturgical and Canonical Roots is developing a paper that tracks the evolution of marriage in the Christian, then Episcopal tradition, from post-New Testament times to the present. Another possible outcome for its work will hopefully be a video overview of this history that could be used by dioceses and congregations in preparation for General Convention 2015.

The working group on Marriage: Biblical and Theological Dimensions is also developing a paper, one that looks at various Judeo-Christian teachings on marriage in our scriptures. This paper will also unpack the theology as expressed in the marriage rite of The Book of Common Prayer, especially tracing the arc that moves from creation, through sin and redemption, to the fulfillment of God’s intention for creation.

The working group on Marriage: Conversations and Consultations; Changing Norms is spreading out into communication with various Standing Committees of our church, the Anglican Communion office, the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, ecumenical partners, chancellors, and state legislators. They will also solicit input from individuals and couples throughout our church, who will be invited to post one-minute stories about how they have experienced God’s grace in their own or others’ marriage. And they will review research being done by Pew Research, recognized scholars in the field, and other sources.

Upcoming meetings: Taylor and Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice-chair, will provide an interim report and receive input at the March 21, 2014 House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas. They will also be included in a June 2014 Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music’s consultation with Anglican and Episcopal partners from places where same-sex marriage is legal. The Task Force will meet again in late March for the second face-to-face meeting with the whole group.

While it is possible that, as Resolution A050 itself stated, this work may need to continue beyond General Convention 2015, Taylor says that in preparation for 2015, “As charged by our enabling resolution, we will have a theological paper, a curriculum for local reflection and conversation, a bibliography, videos and other information on the history and current experience of marriage in our church, and a suggested way forward as our church navigates the continuing evolution of marriage in our day.”

Task Force Members
The members of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage are:
The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, Diocese of the Rio Grande
Carolyn M. Chilton, Diocese of Virginia
The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Diocese of Vermont
Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice-chair, Diocese of East Carolina
The Rev. Gail Greenwell, Diocese of Kansas
The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, Diocese of New York
The Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr., Diocese of Ohio
The Rev. J. David Knight, Diocese of Mississippi
The Rev. Dr. Cameron E. Partridge, Diocese of Massachusetts
The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Diocese of Upper South Carolina

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

Monday, November 04, 2013

ENDA moves forward

61-30. Yes, I know it was just a procedural vote. And Speaker Boehner says he won't bring it to a vote in the House AND I also know that today's vote in the Senate was both historic and hard won ... with seven Republicans joining 54 Democrats in a vote to formally begin consideration of the bill — virtually guaranteeing passage later this week -- on legislation that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace against gays. 

So "Huzzah" to those who worked so hard to reclaim this inch of the planet today in the Senate ... and now let's get to work on the next one ... and the next ... and the next!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

THE END IS NEAR ... (of Daylight Savings Time!)

Turn your clocks back an hour tonight ... or show up early for church tomorrow!

"A Sonnet To The Return Of Standard Time" by Caroline J. Kenney

O precious hour – return’d to me at last!
Once stolen from a dreary Sat’rday night

Under false pretense that we’re ‘saving light’.
For energy we use does not decrease
And I, for one, can shop without the sun.
The farmers have opposed without caprice....
All Hallow’s Eve was dark when I was young.
But when the leaves around begin to turn
To colors -- ah! Vermillion tinged with gold –
And chill o’ertakes the air, I start to yearn
For that sweet stolen time to be paroled.

I’ll treasure you, dear hour, tho’ briefly. Then
In four short months, they’ll steal you back again.
h/t Elizabeth Kaeton

Friday, November 01, 2013

"For All the Saints ..." @All Saints Church

Sunday,November 3, we enter what the Celtic tradition calls a “thin place,” where the barrier between this world and the word beyond seems more transparent. It is All Saints Sunday, our parish feast day, when we honor all who have died in a celebration which claims the promise that even in death, life is changed, not ended.

Coventry Choir and Chamber Orchestra will offer one of the great monuments of faith expressed in music, the Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And Ed Bacon will preachConnections Are Changed Not Ended.

If you can’t be with us in person on Sunday, please join our growing online community and watch the live-stream at 11:15 am [Pacific]