Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Celebrating the life of Louie Crew Clay

The news came in an email from Elizabeth just few minutes ago. She had been with Louie and Ernest yesterday and it was the news we were expecting and dreading and hoping not to get ... news that our beloved Louie had passed peacefully from this realm to the next surrounded by love and light and the prayers of those of us keeping vigil from afar.

There will be much to say. Much to remember. Much to mourn. And much to rejoice in. But right now all I can think to offer is this video we made to celebrate his legacy back in 2015 ... "Once upon a time there was a little boy named Louie ..."

Rest in peace and power, dear one. There is so much more love in the world because of you. May we be given the grace to be wise stewards of your legacy and ... as you would want it ... find "Joy Anyway."

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Comment on Integrity Leadership Transition

This morning the Reverend Gwen Fry announced her resignation as President of Integrity in a letter posted here ... and the Board has given notice of a process to elect her successor. Asked for comment by the ENS reporter covering the story (which you can read here) I wrote the following:

Gwen has been a long time leader in the movement for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and her resignation today as Integrity President comes after a long period of discernment factoring her own health and the health of the organization – an organization that has been struggling to find its voice in a new paradigm of advocacy for LGTBQ Episcopalians.

Integrity has a forty-plus year history as a leading voice for full inclusion – beginning as a mimeographed newsletter started by Dr. Louie Crew Clay in 1974 and evolving into an organization with bylaws, chapters and a volunteer board.

During the height of what I’ve come to think of as The Inclusion Wars (2003-2009) Integrity had an Executive Director, support staff and a full time advocacy and legislative agenda. That was then. This is now.

As the times have changed, so has the role of Integrity. We are now a church where the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in all orders and aspects of ministry is not theoretical but canonical. And we are also a church where the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in all orders and aspects of ministry still varies widely depending on your zip code.

There is still much work for an organization like Integrity to do to support LGBTQ Episcopalians and continue to advocate for church-wide inclusion, but the institutional structure that served its work in the past is not designed to meet the challenges of either the present or the future. And so it’s time for new vision and new leadership.

My hope is that this will be a time for those with a commitment to the vision Integrity has led since 1974 – the vision Presiding Bishop Ed Browning of blessed memory shared of a church with no outcasts -- will come up around the current Board leadership as they work to reconfigure the organization to meet the needs and challenges of 2019 and beyond.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

OMG ... And Then There Were Five!

I forgot they were electing a new bishop today in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.

Between the intense news cycle of the Impeachment Hearing Week past and the clean up I've had on my plate from our own Diocesan Convention last weekend and trying to remember where I put the Thanksgiving decorations before it's too late to find them and put them up I was quite literally busy and distracted by my many tasks.

And then my phone pinged with a text message from Jim White.

"Did you hear about Missouri? They elected Deon Johnson. On the first ballot!"

And all I could muster was OMG!

OMG ... what a difference a decade (or two or three or four) makes.

Booting up my laptop and catching up with the reports and videos and photos from Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis I was gobsmacked by muscle memory of having been there ... in that very same very holy space ... in November 2002 for the first Claiming the Blessing (CTB) conference.

It was the place we launched our initiative to "promote wholeness in human relationships, abolish prejudice and oppression, and heal the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church" -- and it marked  the beginning of years of intentional collaborative work by organizations and individuals within the Episcopal Church advocating for full inclusion of all the baptized in all sacraments of the church.

That was then: Members of the CTB leadership team making the case for blessing unions between same-sex couples in the Episcopal Church:

And this is now: The election on the first ballot of a married, gay man as the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.

Same church. Same chancel. Different day. OMG ... what a different day!

A week ago today I had the high honor of being the preacher at the 124th Convention Eucharist here in the Diocese of Los Angeles. One of the texts I preached from is what I've come to think of as the Gospel According to Margaret Mead ... and that text is "Never doubt that a small group of faithful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

The world is in desperate need of changing and the church is not yet done with its own struggle with the full inclusion of all God's beloved into the beloved community.

Nevertheless ... today is a day to pause and rejoice.

Today is a day to recognize how far we've come on the journey to where God is calling us to go.

Today is a day to say TBTG for the Diocese of Missouri and mazel tov to Bishop-elect Deon Johnson -- who will become the 11th Bishop of Missouri and the 5th LGBTQ Bishop in the Episcopal Church: words I could not even have imagined typing in 2002 when we launched the CTB initiative from the cathedral where he was elected.

And today is a day to give thanks for every single member of every single small group of faithful, committed people who have changed this church from where we were in 2002 to where we are in 2019.  We may not be "there" yet ... but today is yet another incremental victory toward the audacious goal of Ed Browning's dream of church where there are no outcasts. 

Tomorrow we continue the struggle. But today we celebrate.

OMG ... Alleulia ... Amen.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Children of the Resurrection

Proper 27C | November 10, 2019 | 7:30 a.m.
A sermon preached at All Saints Church in Pasadena

None of us can really know what happens after we die until we get there ... that’s part of the "mystery of faith" we proclaim.  But that doesn't stop us from wondering.

In the Gospel this morning Jesus is in Jerusalem teaching in the Temple. 

Our All Saints mission statement includes the phrase "following a revolutionary Jesus" and being a revolutionary -- running up against the protectors of the status quo -- is one of the hallmarks of Jesus' ministry. And in today's Gospel he runs into the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were a Jewish that disagreed with their cousins the Pharisees about a lot of things -- but one thing they both agreed on was that neither one of them liked what this radical rabbi from Nazareth was saying.

The Sadducees were a conservative, politically powerful cohort of religious leaders, wealthy men who mostly hold themselves to be superior to the common folk and were focused on the practices at the Temple. And -- germane to our Gospel today -- they don’t believe in resurrection at all.

So it’s no surprise that they show up to question Jesus while he’s teaching. And it's no surprise that they’re out to trip Jesus up.

And not for the first time we hear undertones of impatience as Jesus continues to contend with those who keep missing the point of what he's running out of time to teach them.

And the point is that Jesus is offering them a different way of seeing things: of seeing things as a child of the resurrection.

Last week we gathered for our parish feast day: the Feast of All Saints -- remembering those who have left their mortal bodies and our physical company, those whom we grieve and miss: opening our hearts to admit our pain and loss for those we love and see no more -- even while celebrating our hope and faith in the love of God that is greater than death.

To hold both grief and hope at the same time is the central paradox and fulcrum of the resurrection life we live as followers of the revolutionary Jesus.

And on this twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost in this year of our Lord 2019 ... two days away from the start of Impeachment Hearings on Capitol Hill and 360 days until the next presidential election ... I also believe we are grieving a deep societal sense of loss in our nation.  The raised tensions, the assaults on the rule of law and constitutional protections that have arguably been aspirational yet served as the guard rails for our fragile democracy, the veiled and not so veiled threats; the anger, polarization and division ... well, I could go on and on.

It’s a whole different kind of death.

The German theologian Dorothee Soelle wrote more than 30 years ago about how we can be living and dead all at the same time. Soelle says “Death is what takes place with us when we look upon others not as gift, blessing, or stimulus, but as threat, danger, competition. It is the death that comes to all who try to live by bread alone.”  It is not, she says “the final departure we usually think of when we speak of death; it is that purposeless, empty existence devoid of human relationships and filled with anxiety, silence, and loneliness.”

We all know that sort of death. We learn it in our earliest days and most of us – ironically – live with that sort of death for all of our days.

What does it mean for us to choose life in the face of that kind of death?  Jesus tells the Sadducees that they just don’t get it. They are thinking of life and death in wholly mortal terms. They are holding so literally to such a small vision that they are missing not only the bigger picture but the treasure of God’s love promised through the resurrection.

Jesus says that it’s really a whole different thing. The resurrection life is not just getting some version of your old life back. Nor is resurrection the same thing as immortality. This is not just a question of what happens to your physical body after you die.

My favorite Easter card puts it this way: "The great Easter truth is not that we are going to live newly after death, but that we are to be new here and now by the power of the resurrection."

We can’t know what happens after our bodies die. We know that people live on in our hearts and our memories. We know that they live on through their influences on us, in the ways that they have shaped our lives -- and I think this morning in  particular of the influence of Rabbi Marv Gross ... whose influence through his work at Union Station is a legacy that will continue to give life long after his untimely death this week.

We hear that assurance of Jesus last line in this passage – God is the God of the living – and to God all are living.

But what does it mean for us in this moment to live as a child of the resurrection?  How does the experience of Jesus, this example of Jesus-  live on through you? And how do you bear witness to the resurrection in your experience of others?

For us in this moment, in this time and this place, to live as a child of the resurrection is not a matter of physical life and physical death. It is to be transformed by the witness of Jesus and to live anew in that spirit. It is to be transformed by the Incarnational Jesus’ words and deeds.

It is a rejection of the death-dealing of this world. It is moving from death into new life. It is the realization that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.

And because of that, because of the constant presence of God and constant love of God  for us as living children of the resurrection, the constant challenge to us is to allow that love to flow through us and out into the world.

Our practice of love in this world must be modeled on God’s love for us and it is active and engaged and ever-oriented toward justice and mercy for all God’s children and for this beautiful earth.

We know that we are surrounded by death. We are surrounded by polarization. We live enmeshed in a system that devalues human life and destroys the earth. We are soaked in fear until it seeps into our pores. We are taught to hate. We are robbed of our trust.

But through the love of God and the example of Jesus, we can move from death to life as children of the resurrection.

The lectionary passage leaves off the concluding two verses of this episode. Those versus are 39-40 and they read: Then some of the scribes answered, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well. For they no longer dared to ask him another question.”

Some of these folks heard Jesus. Sounds like some of them were transformed by his words and his witness. And the others at least realized they’d come up against a force to be reckoned with.

My brothers, sister and gender fluid siblings, living into the promise of resurrection will make you a force to be reckoned with. Not in the conventional ways of the world of smack downs and verbal violence. Not in the competitive market of unchecked consumption. But in bearing the heart of God, the force of justice, the sacred sense of compassion, and a deep vision for a better world right here and right now.

Our world needs that kind of spiritual force. It needs it today. It needs it on Wednesday. It needs it on Thursday. And it needs it each day going forward.

And the question before us this day is are we prepared to live that way? And are we prepared to help each other live that way?


Portions of this sermon inspired by and adapted from "Child of the Resurrection" by Jennifer Sanders: 11-6-2016

Monday, November 18, 2019

Together Let Us Live Like Jesus

I had the privilege of being the preacher at the Eucharist for the 124th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in Riverside on November 16, 2019. 

Here's the video of the sermon ... text posted below:

Together Let Us Live Like Jesus
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be aligned with your love O God, our strength, our courage and our freedom. Amen.

Go. Cross Boundaries. Listen Deeply. And live like Jesus.

Those are our marching orders as we prepare to gather around this table to be fed by the holy food of new and unending life and then ask to be sent out into the world to continue our lifelong journey along the way of love.

Go. Cross Boundaries. Listen Deeply. And live like Jesus.

These words bring to mind other words – words from the Gospel According to Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Gathered today at this 124th meeting of the annual convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles,  we stand on the shoulders of many generations of thoughtful, committed people who have gone before us in the lifelong way of love … those who changed the world for the better in their lifetimes as we strive to change it in ours – who said yes to the call to be people of justice and joy; compassion and peace.

It was 1997 and I was a brand-new deacon attending the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio -- and the preacher at the Eucharist concluding the conference was Dr. Verna Dozier.

Biblical scholar, author, gifted educator and faithful Episcopalian Verna was 80 years old and it was one of her last appearances before the Parkinson's disease she battled took her out of public life.

After she was assisted into the makeshift pulpit in the conference center assembly hall, she paused for a long moment to survey the gathered community before she proclaimed "You are a peculiar people ... and by the grace of God may you always remain so."

She then went on to challenge us to live into that peculiarity -- into our particular charism and challenge as American Anglicans with these words: "The Church has the possibility of being the new thing that can haul the whole world into God's vision for God's creation. Our choice is to be the ones who see the new way and to follow it, or to be the ones the new creation leaves behind."

We, my brothers and sisters and gender fluid siblings, are the Los Angeles branch of that peculiar people -- and both the challenge and the choice before us in these waning days of 2019 is exactly the same as the one Dr. Dozier named for the Episcopal Church in the waning days of the last millennium.

And the good news I bring today is that we are a peculiar people with lots of practice at choosing the new way and following it ... it is part of our DNA as both Anglicans and as Angelenos.

I am a daughter of this diocese. I was born at Good Samaritan Hospital and baptized at the Old Cathedral. I spent my earliest church days following my Aunt Gretchen around while she did her altar guild tasks at a time when hats were required for women and the priests were all men. And when we reached the age where it was time for confirmation class the boys went off to be acolytes ... and the girls went off to do nursery duty.

My first diocesan convention was 1987 and my name badge read "Mrs. Anthony Russell" ... never mind that Mr. Anthony Russell darkened the church door solely on Christmas and Easter. I remember in 1992 when two women clergy literally flipped a coin to decide which one of them would run for Deputy to General Convention -- because there was no way the diocese would send TWO women priests.

Let me pause for just a moment and note how far we've come. Yesterday this diocese not only elected an awesome slate of young leaders to represent us at General Convention but all four clergy deputies are women, our first alternate is a woman and six out of the eight deputies and alternates are new deputies. So we are a diocese that is choosing the new way.

And in a story that lives on in the Sisterhood of the Red Blazer, I remember being warned by women clergy mentors to "lose the red blazer until after you're ordained" because it was "too threatening."

I tell these stories because while we are most certainly not yet done with the systemic sexism which continues to plague our church, our nation and our world it is inarguable that we have come a far piece from those days. And it is a deep joy to have over and over and over had the high honor of being part of this work of the church in the world as we have gathered convention after convention to discern together what new ways the Holy Spirit is calling us to follow -- and then finding the courage to say yes when Jesus says "Go!"

And that brings me to the Gospel lesson for today. It starts with Jesus giving the disciples yet-another-teachable-moment -- yet another reminder of what it is they are supposed to do: to serve the least, the lost and the lonely ... and that "whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant."

And then they encounter Bartimaeus – the blind beggar who many tried to silence but Jesus would have none of that. Modeling what he had just taught his disciples, he called the man everyone wanted to silence and ignore to come to him … and then asked him “What do you want me to do for you?” “How can I serve you?”

Crossing the boundary others were not willing to cross, Jesus centered the man on the margins.
Jesus listened deeply to what the man needed … not assuming to know his needs but granting him agency to name that for himself.

And then when he did … we are told … immediately he regained his sight.

Our human family is in desperate need of recovering its sight. It is suffering from an epidemic of blindness … blindness to the divinity present in each and every human being. That blindness fuels our divisions and feeds our polarities – and we are the ones Jesus is calling to walk the way of love as agents of hope and healing.

Yes, the challenges before us are great, the divisions are many and deep and there is much work to do.  And yet we claim the legacy of those on whose shoulders we stand … of those who have led the way through the struggles our Big Fat Anglican Family has weathered in the past.

Of John Hines who taught that justice was the corporate face of God’s love.
Of Ed Browning who proclaimed that in this church there would be no outcasts.
Of Barbara Harris who preached that there is no such thing as being half-assed baptized.
And of our own Malcolm Boyd who challenged us always to ask: “Are we running with you, Jesus?”

Just the tip of the iceberg of those faithful, committed people who changed the world … sometimes an inch at a time … because they were willing to:

Go. Cross Boundaries. Listen Deeply. And live like Jesus.

There is another gospel I have on my heart today -- the Gospel According to Joan Chittister. Sister Joan famously wrote: “We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again.”

They are words that have inspired me ever since I read them decades ago in her brilliant book “Wisdom Distilled From the Daily” and yet -- if I’m honest -- there are moments when I’m so tired from thinking about it all I’m ever so tempted  to give up on the inch much less the mile.

And when that temptation looms, I remember my son Brian and his struggle in grade school as he tried to conquer the inch in front of him: mastering the mystery of Long Division! I remember the night he proudly announced at the dinner table that he'd finally figured it out. "First you guess, then you multiply, then you subtract until you run out of numbers!" And then, pausing for effect, he announced: "So now I understand math!"

And I remember his older brother, quickly bursting that bubble with the sobering news of algebra, geometry and calculus yet to come. "Oh no" exclaimed Brian in disbelief and horror. "You mean there's MORE?????"

Yes, there's more -- for Brian and for us. And just as my mother's heart ached for him that night at the dinner table -- wanting him to celebrate the achievement, yet knowing how much further he has to go -- how many lessons he has yet to learn -- I imagine God who is mother and father to us all feeling much the same about us every time we think we're finished: every time we're tempted to think the inch we've just reclaimed is enough.

Over and over and over again we face the challenge of refusing to settle for how far we've come and opening ourselves up to where God is calling us to go.

To Cross Boundaries. To Listen Deeply. And to live like Jesus.

To live like Jesus is to literally be  the change we wish to see in the world -- and the blessing we gather to claim today is a church changed and changing -- the challenge we face is an inch reclaimed and miles yet to go.
Hear these words from our former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

Until we can see the chasm between what is and what ought to be, we don’t have any hope of changing.  Indeed, it is the act of crossing that boundary between what is and what ought to be that gets us across the fence between fear and possibility, reconciling division, transforming injustice, urging the lost onto the road home.

These words were preached back in 2012 to a congregation of people who love their church and strive to live out the Gospel while not always agreeing with each other about how to do both of those things.

And she was challenging us – and, I suspect, challenging herself (because we know all the best sermons are actually the preacher preaching to the preacher) – to get ourselves together and get over that fence between fear and possibility in order to bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be in our church and in our world.

I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that seven years ago the world was far from perfect and we faced a whole list of challenges.

But I think it is fair to say that since then the fence between fear and possibility has only gotten taller and harder to climb and the chasm between what is and what ought to be has only gotten deeper and more treacherous to cross.

It was Verna Dozier of blessed memory who said: “Don’t tell me what you believe. Tell me what difference it makes that you believe.”

Today we gather together as the Diocese of Los Angeles to be fed by word and sacrament not just because we believe – but because we believe we are called to make a difference.

Called to climb the fence between fear and possibility.

Called to refuse to settle for what “is” but to work together with God to create what “ought to be.”

One more quote from Verna: “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 by the light that is given me, knowing that 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.”

To say that we live in challenging times is an understatement – and the onslaught of breaking news makes it clear that there are even greater challenges ahead.

But we are a peculiar people. And if we move together by the light we have – knowing it is only finite and partial -- we will move forward together as co-creators of what ought to be; agents of the change we want to see refusing to allow fear to keep us from climbing that fence that stands between us and another world that is not only possible ... she is on her way.

I close with these words of Indian author Arundhati Roy as interpreted by Ana Hernandez:

              Another world is not only possible. She is on her way.
              On a quiet day, you can hear her breathing. She is on her way. 
Now …

Together let us Go.
Together let us climb that fence.
Together let us claim the future.
Together let us make the impossible possible
as we work to reconcile division, transform injustice
and urge the lost onto the long road home.
Together let us live like Jesus.

Friday, November 01, 2019

The Weaponization of Religious Liberty

Religious discrimination is a real thing.
History — both modern and ancient — is tragically full of examples of times and places where religious discrimination has been the source of persecution, death and destruction. The perversion of religion into a weapon of mass destruction is antithetical to the core beliefs of all the world’s great religions. And yet, none of those religions have escaped the sad reality that human beings — given the power to do so — will use God as an excuse to inflict pain and suffering on other human beings.
Our forefathers knew that. And they brought that knowledge — that wisdom — into our Bill of Rights with a First Amendment that begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
The First Amendment both prevents the government of the United States from privileging one religion over another and protects each and every one of us — as American citizens — to believe whatever we choose — or choose not — to believe about what God thinks, approves of or blesses.
It is what protects our democracy from becoming a theocracy. And, as we watch with sadness and horror the nightly news stories of religious wars and sectarian violence, this guarantee of religious freedom is something Americans of all religions — and no religion — should rejoice and be glad in.
What that guarantee of religious liberty is not is something to be distorted and exploited to further a political agenda of discrimination against LGBTQ people ... but that’s exactly what happened today with the Trump Administration’s HHS announcement today removing any requirement that recipients of grants from HHS enforce nondiscrimination rules that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion.

Today’s HHS announcement comes on the heels of
the appointment of Paula White to the White House staff to advise the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which was established last year by executive order to “give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty.”

It is yet another step by this administration to license discrimination against LGBTQ people on religious grounds … policies that are dangerous and detrimental not only for the LGBTQ Americans who are its direct target. It is a policy that opens the door for discrimination, inequality and prejudice to nearly every citizen of every state, undermining the foundational American value of equal protection. It is nothing less than an orchestrated backlash against equal protection for LGBTQ citizens and a flagrant distortion of the ideal of religious freedom into a vehicle for religion based bigotry.
Bottom line: The First Amendment protects your right as an American to the free exercise of your religion. It does not protect your right to use your religion as an excuse to discriminate against other Americans.
And watching the tragic consequences of genuine religious discrimination on the nightly news makes it all the more urgent that we stand together and speak out against yet another effort to turn religious liberty into a weapon of mass discrimination.
Because religious discrimination is a real thing. And this blatant effort to exploit it in order to attack LGBTQ citizens is a reprehensible thing.

Words & Worship: The Ongoing Work of Prayer Book Revision

And just like that it's November ... and Diocesan Convention looms on the horizon: November 15/16. In addition to all the regular work and worship of our Annual Family Reunion complete with Liturgy & Legislation, this year the Diocese of Los Angeles will offer an expanded set of workshops. You can see the full schedule here ... and do note that one of them will explore the ongoing work of prayer book revision.

Here's the description of the workshop ... being offered at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 15 at the Riverside Convention Center (where we're thrilled to be returning after a number of years in convention center wilderness):
General Convention has invited dioceses to talk about and collect liturgical materials to bring to the national conversation about new forms of worship, i.e., “Prayer Book revision.” In this workshop, we will talk about the “why” and the “how” of these imagined changes as they are lived out in a parish context. We’ll talk about how some churches have introduced changes, and we'll offer tools for undertaking this work in your parish.
Presenters include: Norma Guerra, Susan Russell & Kay Sylvester
If you need a reminder of where the Episcopal Church stands in the process of creating a process to begin a process of prayer book revision, there's this fine overview by Melodie Woerman from Episcopal News Service ... and here's a link to the enabling resolution 2018-A068 ... which includes this resolve:
Resolved, That bishops engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts to offer to the wider church ...
So if you're a Dio L.A. peep coming to convention, join us for what we hope will be the first of several opportunities to engage in this work of collaboration and collection of alternative texts for worship that we can offer to the wide church. If you've got thoughts or ideas send them my way ...

And do keep this important work in your prayers as we continue to live into our responsibility to incarnate in our generation the ongoing work of prayer book revision that has been part of our heritage since 1789 ... articulated in these opening words of the Preface of our Book of Common Prayer:
It is a most invaluable part of that blessed “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,” that in his worship different forms and usages may without offence be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire; and that, in every Church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong to Doctrine must be referred to Discipline; and therefore, by common consent and authority, may be altered, abridged, enlarged, amended, or otherwise disposed of, as may seem most convenient for the edification of the people, “according to the various exigency of times and occasions.”