June 2006 Archives

Man, what's up with Cal?

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I received the regular e-mail update from the American Anglican Council. In the update, they included a commentary by Cal Thomas covering the Episcopal Church. I have to say, I am almost shocked at the stridency of language Cal Thomas uses in his writing, which appeared in lots of newspapers around the country.

I am struck by the stridency, the incredible anger, and yes I'm going to say - hatred, that is now coming from many people found in certain segments of society and the Church. Read this from Cal:

"Bishop Schori, a former oceanographer for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says, 'The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings and that's certainly the great message of Jesus - to include the unincluded.'

"This is so outside orthodox Christianity that only biblical illiterates or those who deny the supreme authority of the only book that gives foundation to the faith will accept it."

Does Cal Thomas really believe that to "include the unincluded" is "so outside orthodox Christianity"? This may play well with the radicalized Religious Right, but how does it sound to the vast majority of Americans who are no longer involved in Christianity or the unchurched? The central teaching of Jesus may not have revolved around including the unincluded, but his life depicted in Scripture certainly does exhibit including the unincluded. Whatever happened to "love thy neighbor as thyself?" If that is not a call to include those who you would exclude, what is? Man, are we arrogant!

It is becoming more obvious as every day passes that large segments of the (what word is right?) Fundamentalists/neo-Puritans/radicalized Religious Right(?) is/are tipping the scale so far to one side that they face the very real danger of becoming Fascist-like. This is not conservatism and it is not traditionalism, it isn't even traditional American Evangelicalism. It is fanaticism.

Read his entire column below

Still thinking...

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As I read through various blogs and news reports about what our Church is experiencing these days, domestically and internationally, I still find myself with the feeling of standing between two polls and each poll is pulling strongly in its direction. I feel tied to elements or aspects of both polls. It's hard to resist giving into the allure of certainty that comes with fully embracing either side. It is tiring.

My past still exerts a strong influence on me, and I hope that I carry with me the best of that expression of the Christian faith. I can say "amen" to much of what this side says about the faith. Yet, that expression just doesn't do if for me any longer. I know that ultimately it matters not what "does it for me." It isn't about me, but I cannot remain in a place that I no longer find compelling or see going in directions that I think are counter to Jesus' teachings.

I often have knee-jerk reactions to some people or positions on the other poll. I can find lots of stuff to disagree with, but that is approaching the poll from a place of negativism - and how can I learn anything if I'm not willing to put aside my own proclivities or unwillingness to even consider the arguments of this side? Aside from the knee-jerk reactions to some aspects, I do find much I can agree with.

My former seminary roommate, Jason, seems inclined to be closer to one of the polls than I am. Despite the fact that he may well feel I don't listen to what he says, I do. It is in the relationships we have that words and actions come together and challenge us more than we may know. I am thankful for these kinds of relationships - for the Jason’s. If it were not for him and others, all I would be doing is gathering around me teachers who scratch my itching ears. Remember what Paul wrote to Timothy? (2 Timothy 4:3)

Meanness

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Mark Harris on his blog, Preludium, reflects a bit more on General Convention '06. He comments on the aftermath of the votes by the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops on resolution B033 - the last ditch statement concerning the Windsor Report. It is worth reading: here.

The backdrop for his comments is Matt. 5:37 - let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no," no. He comments on the two groups of bishops who for the most part repudiated the passed resolution as soon as voting was completed. One group he refered to as the disassociating bishops and the other group as the dissenter bishops.

This paragraph struck me:
"Disassociating is a meanness, the meanness of the embarrassed or the loser. But the greatest of these acts of meanness is the meanness of the ones who hoped for the worse in order to prove that they are the best. Disassociation, as practiced by dissemblers, is merely a way to further a cause that can’t carry its own weight in a democratic fashion."

Perhaps, it is endemic within Anglicanism to resist dogmatic "yes’s" and/or dogmatic "no's." Perhaps, these dissenters and disassociationists are attempting to live into more fully Matthew's command, even if by using illegitimate or spurious methods. Perhaps.

And it begins...

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Now that the Archbishop of Canterbury's request for reflection has been issued, suddenly all hell has broken loose. Does this surprise anyone, really? The plan has been laid out now for years.

Arbp. Peter Akinola of Nigeria has announced that a former Episcopal priest, Marty Minns, former rector in Truro, Va., will be the new bishop of the "Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America," which was when announced called the "Convocation of Nigerians in American."

This is the continuance of their plan to literally take control of the Episcopal Church spelled out in the leaked "Chapman Memo" of a couple years ago.

Now, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, Fort Worth, and South Carolina had appealed to the ABC for alternative Primital oversight.

See the following for additional information:


Fr. Jake Stops the World
(good overview)

The Living Church


Thinking Anglicans


Preludium::Mark Harris


Titusonenine::Kendall Harmon

Announcement of Mim's consecratio can be found on the Church of Nigeria's website

Another something

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Since leaving the seminary last August, I've been temporarily staying with Ashton in West Orange, NJ. I thought I might be here a month at the most. I've now been here 10 months, but tomorrow I'm moving again. I never expected that I would be living 10 months out of a few boxes with all my stuff, my books, in storage in two different states. Four more months in yet another location, and I will have belongings in three different locations - I'm being spread way too thin!

The family that owns the house in which Ashton has lived for the past four years or so and where I've stayed are moving on, and by necessity so are we. I have to decide by this evening were I will be living for the next four months until the apartment above the rectory at St. Paul's finally becomes available. Ostensibly, I will be living in Brooklyn more permanently and will be able to bring all my stuff to one location.

I don't know what I will find when I begin unpacking! I've said for a long time that I want to live simply, and for the most part I have. Yet, things accumulate and not wanting to be wasteful I keep moving all the stuff I've accumulated. These past 10 months have reinforced in me the understanding that I do not need very much. I just don't. I don't need to buy into American consumerism or materialism - but it is hard not to.

Tomorrow, everything changes once again. I'm tired of everything changing again and again. I know that change is the watchword for the American social zeit geist, but there does come a point where even the most adept at change realize a diminishing return, particularly concerning relationships.

I'm just tired of yet another something.

Some responses...

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The following are some links to various responses to ++Rowan's Reflection statement offered to the Communion only yesterday:

Thinking Anglicans
- good comprehensive list


The Anglican Communion Institute
- I must say, I do agree that the need is to move away from political wrangling and back to the mission of the Gospel!

Preludium: Mark Harris+

Anglican Communion Network: Bishop Duncan

MadPriest (of course I could be wrong) - for an English perspective
- I really like this statement from the MadPriest commenting on the Bishop of Rochester,Michael Nazir-Ali: "In other words, we should be very suspicious of anybody calling for division who might benefit from division."


A consideration: When the Archbishop calls us to reflect upon local parishes or diocese or provinces or even individual members needing to make sacrifices for the unity of the entire Communion, upon whom does that burden most fall? Does the burden of sacrifice fall evenly on all provinces, diocese, parishes, or individuals?

I agree with the Archbishop. However, my impression is that the burden of sacrifice is expected of those who favor the full inclusion of people oriented towards the same gender and not the other side. Will some sort of burden of sacrifice be expected of Archbishop Akinola and the Province of Nigeria, along with many others who oppose homosexuality? What might that sacrifice look like? Then again, Akinola will not compromise and doesn't need to sacrifice because he and his compatriots of course are right and don’t have to, right?

Archbishop Rowan Williams has issued a Reflection concerning the Episcopal Church's recent response to the Windsor Report. The entire press release and reflection are available on his website. Here it is:

The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion: a Church in Crisis?

What is the current tension in the Anglican Communion actually about? Plenty of people are confident that they know the answer. It’s about gay bishops, or possibly women bishops. The American Church is in favour and others are against – and the Church of England is not sure (as usual).

It’s true that the election of a practising gay person as a bishop in the US in 2003 was the trigger for much of the present conflict. It is doubtless also true that a lot of extra heat is generated in the conflict by ingrained and ignorant prejudice in some quarters; and that for many others, in and out of the Church, the issue seems to be a clear one about human rights and dignity. But the debate in the Anglican Communion is not essentially a debate about the human rights of homosexual people. It is possible – indeed, it is imperative – to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation, and still to believe that this doesn’t settle the question of whether the Christian Church has the freedom, on the basis of the Bible, and its historic teachings, to bless homosexual partnerships as a clear expression of God’s will. That is disputed among Christians, and, as a bare matter of fact, only a small minority would answer yes to the question.

Discipleship

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From The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoting Martin Luther. I got this from "On the Way."

Plunge Into Deep Waters
Martin Luther

Discipleship is not limited to what you can understand - it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your own understanding.... Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. In this way Abraham went forth from his father, not knowing where he was going. You cannot find it in yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man. Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is contrary to all that you choose or contrive or desire - that is the road you must take.

Also from Brad Drell

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Brad Drell also included a little sentence in his post-convention reflections that I think is very interesting:

"Nashotah House has the youngest enrollment of any Episcopal seminary. There is hope for the future of Anglicanism in North America."

This seems in line with what I've been hearing from Roman Catholic seminary friends. Younger people are seeking the more traditional and ancient forms of the faith - not all, but a very significant number and perhaps a majority. If this Episcopal Church does not wake up to the fact that a high percentage of people in the younger generations (particularly the unchurched) are not 1960's-type liberals, we will not be able to be relevant (a favorite liberal term) to the coming generations. The reigns of power in this Church, however, are held be those very same 1960’s type Baby Boomer liberals who cannot imagine that they are now “the man” and that their viewpoints are not the radical and counter-culture edge. They are descending into irrelevance, but are not able to step back and see that fact. And, in case anyone wonders, that has nothing to do with having a good Anglican broad spectrum on theological, pietistic, social, or political viewpoints under one tent.

If those who may not know, if considering all the 11 Episcopal seminaries in the U.S., Nashotah House is the extreme Anglo-Catholic seminary. They do not accept women celebrating at the alter.

This is what so frustrates me about General, my seminary. Developed in the tradition of the Oxford Movement, it is now speeding headlong towards the coming irrelevancy of American Baby Boomer liberalism. Take the best of Oxford, our heritage, and go with it.

Enough for one day. I have to get myself to church!

Okay, one more thing on generational stuff, and these are just thoughts. The Baby-Boomer generation brought us the Social-Gospel, Age of Aquarius liberalism, and Seeker Churches. Generation-X reacted against the Baby Boomer generation and moved out of the mainline and into the Evangelical/Charismatic churches. Generation-Y, where our focus should be now if we really do want to reach younger people, reacts against both former generations - the one in power and the one reacting to and reaching positions of power - and they could well have a more balanced and workable approach. Considering religion, they seek out that which is not trendy - the ancient forms of our faith. This thrills the more conservative and traditional elements. They are more willing to accept of a wide range of differences. It is in their genes to do so, and this thrills the liberals. But, they are neither 1960’s liberals nor 1980's conservatives. They are their own thing, and frankly I believe will be more balanced. In my humble opinion, this generation fits perfectly with Anglicanism - if we can just get the word out without stone one another.

It matters not...

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I finally started using Feedblitz in earnest. It is a wonderful way of keeping track of favorite blogs in one quick and easy shot. I was reading a few posts from Brad Drell's blog, one of them being a news story from the Bay Area's Episcopalian LGBT organization Oasis California President Rev. John Kirkley, commenting on the last minute resolution B033 that passed both houses of convention.

“Once again, gay and lesbian Christians were sacrificed for the “sake of the Communion.” Once again we see that no matter how great a sacrifice gay and lesbians make, we can never satisfy the ultra-conservatives who want to lead their own church.”

Well, of course not. For the more extreme there can be no compromise at all. This is where I fear the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, falls. If avowed gay people are part of a church and they are accepted, then that church is apostate, period. Only if the "former-gay" people, or ex-gays, are involved in a healing ministry (reparative therapy and all that) and refuse to acknowledge that they may be intrinsically homosexual and refrain from any form of same-gender relationships can they be fully welcomed and fully received into the life of that church. Even then, there are those who have their doubts.

So, stop being shocked that the more extreme position held by even some pseudo-conservative Anglicans is that there can be no compromise, because if homosexuals do not repent of their sinful behavior and turn to God, they are of the devil and cannot be accepted into the Church. And if anyone wonders, I have heard these kinds of statements over and over again.

This legislation, B033, from General Convention is not of that mindset, however. Frankly, neither are a good many Episcopalians or Anglicans who are of the "conservative" side of our churches. The spin from all sides and the knee-jerk reactions from some people and groups suggests to me that it matters not what anyone does to try to forge a common way forward. Some will never accept such a way forward.

My own knee-jerkiness

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Thus far, I think I can say that I have quick and frustrated (if not angry) reactions to hypocrisy and inconsistency, particularly toward those who claim the title "conservative" or "liberal" but who do not act according to the principles of those terms. For example, when conservatives promote policies that only increase the government's intrusion into our personal lives. Another example: when liberals claim to want to be diverse and include all people in the conversation or at the table, but in fact will not consider including conservatives - only those who are willing to be as "open minded" and "accepting" as they obviously are.

For aspects of the Church, examples might include: when conservatives are more about imposing a specific theological bent or practice rather than being about passing down the traditions (practice and belief) to the next generation or when liberals rather than promoting space for honest questioning and inquiry are more intent on imposing positions of identity politics, political correctness, or skewed notions of diversity.

I probably do not perceive correctly my own failures in these areas, and that is why I need the fellowship of people from all different perspectives who will keep me honest!

With all the acrimony that runs through this Church these days, and considering the knee-jerk reactions from various sides coming out of the General Convention, we must begin to revive the traditional Anglican way of seeking a common or middle way that carries the Church though rough times and the strong pull of the polarizing extremes. Heck, we need a revival of Hooker’s ideals of what the Church of England and now Anglicanism can truly be. We could call ourselves “revivers” or “rekindlers” or “reawakeners” after the “conservative’s” term for themselves as “reasserters” or the “liberal’s” term for themselves as “reappraisers.”

Now is the day to begin rebuilding Anglicanism in the United States.

The polarization resulting from the American Culture Wars (from both the conservative and liberals sides) has infiltrated The Episcopal Church. The two extremes in this Church have polarized the membership, perhaps intentionally, in order to achieve their goals that result in the imposition of particular perspectives and practices over and above the middle or opposite-extreme positions. There are good and faithful Episcopalians from all sides that do wish to remain together and to forge an honest way forward so that the balance and richness that results from different sides staying in conversation, debate, and inquiry can be maintained. The result is a solidly balanced way to understand our faith in the 21st century and God’s call to us to influence the world.

Dean Alan Jones from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in his new book entitled, Common Prayer on Common Ground: A Vision of Anglican Orthodoxy, attempts to articulate an Anglicanism based squarely on Via Media - the middle way which encompasses the vast majority of the common folk in the Episcopal Church. He writes about the "Conservative and Liberal Perspectives" in one small section of the book. I want to quote from it because I think he does a similar thing that The Very Rev. George Back did with his essay written in 1991 detailing the positive aspects of conservatism and liberalism in the Church and our need for both. I read Back’s essay for the first time in The Anglican Digest July, 2003.

Jones writes:

“This highlights the weakness of liberalism. It is an effort – sometimes noble and heroic – to dispense with tradition and ancient ways of believing. [Houston] Smith writes, ‘Liberals are at their worst in not recognizing how much an absolute can contribute to life, and in assuming that absolutes can be held only dogmatically, which is not the case. Absolutism and dogmatism lie on different axes. The first relates to belief, whereas the second is a charter disorder. The opposite of absolutism is not open-mindedness but relativism, and the opposite of dogmatism is not relativism but open-mindedness. There can be, and are dogmatic relativists and open-minded absolutists.’

“But he goes on, ‘liberals [are] better than conservatives at recognizing the dangers of fanaticism and the virtues of tolerance, and conservatives [are] better as perceiving the dangers of nihilism and the virtues of a sense of certainty… Both the strengths and dangers of liberalism pertain to life’s horizontal dimension, which encompass[es] human relationships – whereas those of conservatives pertains to the vertical, asymmetrical God-person relationships.’ [Houston Smith, The Soul of Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco: 2005, p.211]

“Liberals need to learn that the vertical relation is more important. It seems to me that the conservative diagnosis is often right but its remedy (charging back into an idealized and imagined past) is both unworkable and disastrous. The liberal is often a poor diagnostician but, at least, has an inkling of freedom in God…

“…Of course, as an Anglican, I’d say that both statements are true! It’s a matter of emphasis. Polarization is a form of indulgence and is both unnecessary and harmful. The world is in both a state of sin and a state of grace. Human beings are both fallen and free.”

Alan Jones, Common Prayer on Common Ground, Morehouse Publishing, 2006, pp31-32.

Reaccuring Themes

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I've been journaling online for around six years now and before "blogging" came into vogue. Over that time, patterns and themes developed and it's interesting to discover those things which continue to come up time and again. For third party readers, these themes may be obvious, but they are not so obvious to those who possess them - me in this case.

Anyway, I will continue to repeat myself as I continue to try to work through some of these thoughts of mine. I try to put into words the jumble of ideas and questions that race through my mind, never being really satisfied that I've hit on the right words or the phrase or the right thought progression; so, I try again and again. I know I’m not brilliant, I’m not an intellectual, and not very original, but still I'm hardly ever settled with what I've put down in words. I'm never satisfied.

I think that is the M.O. of my thought life. I think I try and try to figure ways of understanding and reconciling various aspects of life, particularly concerning issues of our faith and social structures. I keep saying that the way and cause of Jesus is not conservative or liberal, but the way of Jesus is always a third way. So what the heck is this "third way?" Herein lays the quandary, the quest, the frustration, and the excitement.

More to come...

It's over

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Well, it is all over now. It is time to get back to the business of ministry and making Christ known.

I look forward to seeing how the new PB will pick up that office. I have heard from many that she really is the most qualified and competent, despite not being a long-time ordained person.

We wait and see what happens. I will continue to think through what I really do believe about our catholicity, about what we should and should not do with reference to others around the world who do not like what we've done.

Tomorrow, I get together with a our weekly clergy group in New York. We are going to discuss where we go from here. We're not going to dwell so much about what has happened these past 10 days or so at Convention, but about moving forward with a vision for our ministries and our churches.

I just watched a video interview with Kendall Harmon after today's proceedings. Here is the link if you wish to watch the whole thing.

I want to post a quote from the interview: "You can feel that people sense that where the church is heading is not where they want to go and not where they believe God is calling them to go. The hard part is how do you live in tension with that and what they need to not do is be driven by their emotions over the degree of the problem."

You see, I can agree with Kendall that many people are feeling that this Church is going a wrong or skewed direction. Heck, I feel it. The problem, for me at least, is what direction am I to go? I won't go back to the direction of the Akinola-ian conservatives. I can't go in the direction of Spongian liberals.

I’ve written this before. Here is what I can say about the direction I can go - I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will coming again. I believe our paramount calling and duty as those who follow Jesus is to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. I will be a Prayer Book Episcopal priest. I will with charity understand that people will differ with me on how to live out all this stuff in the real world, and that they could well be right.

I believe in the historic Anglican way of approaching our faith and Holy Scripture - not with the intent of upturning the oxcart, but with tradition and reason as guides - by allowing questions, even doubts, and investigating what might well be the Holy Spirit guiding us into more correct understandings of God and our lives here on earth. This is nothing new, nothing profound, but a way of going forward through the landmines of American ecclesial politics.

It is a middle way, an Anglican way, and a way that is not in the direction of a good portion of the American Anglican right or the American Anglican left.

I want to say that after my short conversation with Kendall at Convention, I hope that the conversation will continue. I believe we truly do have more in common, even concerning the underlying and very important foundational issues, then what we may differ over. That’s my opinion.

X-Men

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I just saw the new X-Men movie. Why do comic book authors, screen play writers, and directors get it far better at times than we in the Church, particularly this Church? Xavier is the image of Christ. Listen to how he approaches issues, foes, and those under his charge.

If you did not see the final clip after all the credits rolled by, you missed a most significant ending.

Our country cries out for spiritual experience and connection with God. What do we give them? - so much watered-down faith, quasi-Christianity. American Evangelicalism is as much a failure than new-age liberal Christianity to the growing majority of unchurched people.

We must humble ourselves!

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The 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in the United States comes to an end today, or at least is scheduled to end. Today we will see whether we can deal with the Windsor Report in ways very un-American – whether we can actually humble ourselves just a bit.

I have never used this phrase before because I do not engage in Identity Politics, but now I will for a reason: “As a gay man” all that happens at General Convention is not all about me or my “tribe.” My identity as a gay man is not paramount, but as a Christian (perhaps I should say “follower of Jesus” because self-identifying as a Christian is an identity in and of itself, I know). As a Christian my call is to a life of self-denial, to love others more than myself, to even love my enemy. To find life, I am to die to this life. If I honestly love my enemy, how can I do that which only causes them harm or hurt, regardless of whether they want to harm or hurt me? What is the example of Jesus on the cross, after all? This doesn’t mean I have to accept my opponents' interpretation of Scripture, their form of piety, or what they want to accomplish. I can be a strong advocate of my position, but when I see my brother or sister hurt and distressed by my actions or words when they specifically ask me to slow down, wait a bit, or allow their voice to be heard, how as a follower of Jesus can I say, “NO?” It is only in our hyper-individualized, arrogant American way can we simply say to world Anglicanism – those who agree with me (us) and those who don’t – “screw you,” I’m or we’re going to do what we want regardless of how it effects you.

So, we wait two years until Lambeth. So we agree to withhold the election of another gay bishop, so we wait to conduct blessings of same-gender unions, so we express our profound regret that what we did has caused such division, harm, and dismay among the vast majority of Anglicans and Christians worldwide. We humble ourselves and say we may have been wrong in how we did it, and we could be wrong in what we actually did. I can advocate for my position, but my position is not what is most important – loving my brother and sister is regardless of how they respond to me. When concepts of justice conflict with concepts of acting in love towards others, we have a profound misunderstanding of both and I believe completely miss the Gospel imperative of love and justice and how they work hand-in-hand. “As a gay man,” I’ve always been vilified, never had the opportunity of blessing, so what is two years if in those two years many people around the world may understand me a little better, my perspective, or my interpretation of Scripture, and perhaps come to see things the way I do, or at least we can come to a compromise. For the sake of crucified Jesus, I’m willing to wait. If I simply want to force others to do want I want them to do, or the hell with them, then I am not acting as a Christian, but I am certainly engaging in Identity Politics. I am certainly enslaved to the “Tyranny of NOW.”

We have been in a limited way discussed this issue for thirty years in this Church. The clergy have done a terrible job in bringing the discussion to most parishioners. What we did three years ago has forced the issue and forced the conversation called for by Lambeth Resolution 1.10.3, so let us continue in a way that will include as many people around the world as we can. I know what it is to be excluded, and I don’t want to do to others what I have experienced myself! Pass the Commissions recommendations for Windsor as a beginning point. If in three years our opponents do not accept the conversation or do not listen, then we have gone the extra mile and we continue on as we feel we should – but we tried, again.

Below I go into this whole issue of Identity Politics a little more deeply.

Identity Politics

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I've been thinking about the whole issue of Identity Politics. It is well established within society in general, academia in particular, and has become apparent within our Church, too.

Tomorrow, I will post some thoughts on this issue. I have never bought into identity political theory, but I will write from my own experience and perspective. It is too late this night to think straight.

When will it end?

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Resolution A161 failed in the House of Deputies. The motion to reconsider failed.

We have lost our ability to understand what it means to be catholic. In our arrogant and profoundly self-centered American way, we say to perhaps the majority of Christianity, and particularly world Anglicanism - screw you!

My hope and prayer is that something will come forward that will allow us to move forward as Christians, not as ideologues pushing our nice little agendas. But, we Americans have a very difficult time learning anything that is contrary to what we WANT to believe.

Much of what we see going on at General Convention and within our Church in general, is the clash of various "cultures" all claiming "The Gospel."

What I see as a glory of Anglicanism is a recognition that various concepts of the Gospel come together to give us a more balanced and clearer view of its fullness. It is only when we lay claim to one form and become fundamentalist concerning our favorite “pet gospel” that irreconcilable differences and conflict have the day.

The Modernist inspired ideas of the "Social Gospel" taken up with full force by the mainline denominations during the 60's and 70's (and also reflected in the Liberation Theology initiated by South American Roman Catholics) still remains a powerful force in the Episcopal Church. While Modernism as a worldview/system has been waning for many years now, the primary undercurrent of general social understanding by those in power (the 60's Baby-Boomer generation) within this Church and many of our national institutions remain. The gospel has a primary focus on social justice and righting the wrongs of past generations with relation to marginalized peoples.

There is a gospel that has arisen over the last twenty years or so that takes its cue from the "self-esteem" pedagogies of academic educational theory. It might be described as the "Gospel of Affirmation." God is love, and all God wants to do is love us and enable us to love God's self and one another. God affirms us in our personhood and completely accepts us for who, what, and where we are. God esteems us as individual beings, and because God is all love we are all brought into God's loving embrace. This is probably a very inadequate description of this idea of the truths held within the Gospel as perceived by this group of people.

Then, there is what might be considered the long standing or traditional ideas of the Gospel of Christ, and at the moment no real term comes to mind to describe this perception of the Gospel. It might be termed the "Gospel of Transformation," although that may be different from this form. Different variations of this exist within the Evangelical side of the Church up through the Anglo-Catholic side of Anglicanism. Within this gospel are the notions held within the Creeds fully accepted and believed. There is the assertion that God revealed Himself through the prophets, through Holy Scripture, and most poignantly through His incarnation in Jesus. It is in the life, death, and resurrection (actual, historical events) of Jesus that we find our fullness as human beings. We are transformed from who we were as blind, lost, and sinful humans and made new by the power of the Holy Spirit into the fullness of God through Jesus the Christ.

There is what I term the "Liberal Gospel," although that is an absolutely inadequate term. It seems to me to be a rational extension of the Social Gospel. This form of the gospel might well be summed up in the teachings of Bishop Spong. Most of the gospel as seen is Scripture is metaphor and is absolutely anthropocentric. It deals with how we perceive and interact with the world around us and how we can move ever forward to achieving ideas of utopia.

Of course, various other "gospels" are out there, and I know what I have described above is quite inadequate. But, the reality is that we have competing ideas of what the "Gospel of Christ" really means as we live out our lives on this big, blue ball. As we align ourselves to one or another gospel, this determines where we place out emphasis in terms of legislation, piety, church policy, and the like.

My contention is that there are elements of truth in all the above. God does accept us where we are. God does not leave us where we are found, however, but transforms us as we yield our lives to His perfect will. In that transformation our objectives, our desires, and the focus of our lives are changed as we are enable to see the hurt and desperation of so many. As we are changed and renewed, we are enabled to love - God and one another - in new ways which compels us to fight for justice and the welfare of all people.

In my humble opinion, these gospels are not in competition. We force the competition because we are humans who know in part and see in part. My prayer is that as we seek God, we will be changed by God and made into new creations that are able to fulfill the two Great Comments of Jesus - Love God with our entire being and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Where are we going, now?

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Some fourteen years ago, I began attending an Episcopal Church in Akron, OH. I just wanted to see what a sacramental and liturgical church was like since I had become fairly disillusioned with the tradition I had been a part of.

Over time, I discovered this thing called Anglicanism. A wonderful thing, I believed, because unlike American Protestantism this church seemed to stay together despite the arguments, the infighting, and the differences of all kinds. In my humble opinion, this brought an overall balance in the functioning of the whole church.

This is my first General Convention. I am truly impressed with the level of sophistication and decorum of the committee hearings, the open hearings, and the debate in the various Houses. I am inspired by it all.

Even so, during these past fourteen years I have always had this strange sense that I don't know where I fit within this church. That was okay when there seemed to be the understanding that we were all in this together, despite how one group or another was actually treated (and some groups from both sides are treated very poorly). If one part of this church decides to leave, then how am I to understand my place in our church, let alone within the Communion? It seems, perhaps, I will be even less sure of my place. I am glad I was ordained before this convention.

Then again, as one who knows I am just passing through this brief period of time called life, why should it really matter if I feel comfortable or secure or not? I suspect that the better sense should be that I learn to be content in all things, as Paul suggests in describing the place he found by yielding completely to the will of God.

The Anglican ethos will continue on, despite what this church decides to do or not to do. We all like to say Anglicanism is ours - is mine! - but it isn't. I’m not disillusioned with Anglicanism, just with a lot of people who call themselves Anglicans. Anglicanism, if it is truly a legitimate expression of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is God's. I can live within that ethos and it really doesn't matter whether I feel I have a nice, comfy nock or not. Frankly, I will probably be much better off in the long run if I have to continue to seek and fight to understand what the heck God is up to!

Day - ??? - B

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Okay, deep breath.

Again, I am not opposed to Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, being our new Presiding Bishop. Within this Church, we are being consistent. My concern, however, is what this does and says to our ecumenical partners overseas and within this country - Anglican, Roman, Orthodox, and American Evangelical. What does this say to those who accuse this Church, as well as the United States in general, of being self-centered, arrogant, and unilateral in its dealings with the rest of the world?

You know, it just gets very tiring trying to honestly understand all sides (attempting to walk in the shoes of those of opposite opinion) and attempting to hold both sides in tension - seeking the 'via media' where a balanced understanding of things probably resides. It is emotionally draining attempting to put aside my own opinions (and I am very opinionated, as some well know, particularly my former seminary roommates), my own wants and desires. It is very difficult letting go of what I want and what I think is best.

I have a big thing about hypocrisy and inconsistency. I know that I am hypocitical and inconsistent at times, but I strive not to be and I hope that people will show me where I am being so.

My prayer, Lord help me, is that I will understand my own culturally bound proclivities, my own cultural biases. I pray that I will see and understand as clearly as possible this colored lens of American culture through which I see and understand the world. I hope that I can truly be an alien and stranger to this world, not for the sake of just being peculiar but to live fully into the Gospel of Christ – which is neither liberal or conservative, Western or Eastern, Northern or Southern, Evangelical or Anglo-Catholic, etc., etc., etc. I pray that I can be - truly be - a person that will defend anyone's right to their opinion and freedom to express such opinion and to be at the table. I pray that I can walk in humility knowing that I see through the glass darkly and that I will not truly know until I see Him face-to-face.

That's all. I know that I have my own 'stuff' to deal with and work through. In all this, as in the situation with our current government and social issues (Cultural Wars), I find too many people no longer wanting or willing to come to a common position. Too many people just want their ideology, position, theological perspective to win, regardless of the consequences to other people not of our own tribe.

These are my first thoughts, and they are by no means my last ones. Writing later and after processing this more, I may come to very different conclusions as the days go by. Thanks, Jason, for letting me know!

Well, while the final concurrence from the House of Deputies has not yet happened as of this writing, I have it on good word that nothing negative has been heard among the deputies. So, it seems that we have our first female Presiding Bishop and Primate.

From the very beginning, I want to make it very clear that theologically, socially, and scripturally I do not have any problem with women priests, bishops, or primates. Heck, I grew up in a denomination that was started by a woman.

Here is my hesitancy with our action: Where is the consistency?

What I mean is this - I know many people who decry the United States government because it acts unilaterally around the world, does not respect other cultures and traditions, and acts arrogantly and selfishly when dealing with others on the international stage. Yet, in this Church, so many of the very same people who will condemn the United States government will wonderfully proclaim this Church's right to do these kinds of things, regardless of the opinions, feelings, cultural sensitivities, and concerns of our so-called sister Church/provinces around the world.

We know this action will further the claims and perceptions that the American Church is arrogant, selfish, and imperialistic as it attempts to shove down their throats representatives, policies, and theologies they cannot accept. Where is our humility? What does it mean to be a church-catholic? What does it mean to consider the “weaker brother” if that can even be applied to this situation?

Yes, absolutely, and with complete agreement I say that females have the same rights and responsibilities as any male in this Church, as do gay people, but why are so many people willing to restrict American's rights over various economic and social issues for the sake our brothers and sisters around the world, but we are unwilling to do the very same thing in this Church over certain issues?

Consistency and no hypocrisy! If we want to be vanguard, rebellious, and progressive in this Church regardless of what anyone else around the world says, then fine. That really is okay and our purgative, but don't expect then to be a world-wide church and part of a world-wide communion where we really do consider ourselves sensitive to the concerns of others. So, then, I expect those same people who will not consider "a weaker brother" concerning this Church in the world to shut up concerning American social and governmental arrogance concerning politics and economic issues. It is the same thing, in my mind.

I have heard that our new PB is the best qualified, and I have no reason to doubt that. This is a good thing, but only if we really do consider ourselves and island unto ourselves.

Day 5 - The hardest

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I am worn out. This is also the day when the reality of letting-go has become the most real. I suspect the whole thing began with the Spanish stuff in what I thought/think a "common" worship should be, considering that the vast majority are English speakers.

Two days ago, I talked with one of the Orthodox monks at their booth while looking at icons and Russian church music, which I love. We talked for a good bit about the vows of obedience. His will be more complete and all encompassing than my own, but living into obedience in honesty and with integrity is very difficult and takes time to relinquish one's own want and desire.

This is not an obedience issue, but closely related. The letting go of and giving up of self is horrible. It is very difficult.

Here, now, I am finding it terribly hard to let go - of expectations, wants, ideas of what should and should not be, what is right and proper and what is not, or of desire. Letting go of my own expectations concerning living arrangements, jobs, ministry is not easy. Letting go of anger, frustration, disappointment, dreams, friendships, everything is proving to be unbearable.

Where is the line, the point of crossing? Letting go of everything is to become nothing, it would seem. Where is that line between letting go and holding something so dear so close - even tenaciously?

I can see that the holding of some things so close is nothing more than me - all about me. Holding such things too close will bring nothing but frustration, bitterness, perhaps much anger. It isn't worth it! Wisdom, wisdom and discernment through the power of the Holy Spirit are what are needed. Lord help me.

End of Day 4

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I attended a legislative session this afternoon and the combined hearing concerning the resolutions coming from the special commission on the Windsor Report before the special committee.

I am proud to be an Episcopalian and an Anglican. Proud, because within the various denominations I have been involved with over the years, this kind of respectful debate could never have happened. I value my years in the Foursquare Church, the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, the Assemblies of God, and a couple independent Charismatic churches, but in none of them would this kind of dialogue, debate, and difference been allowed. People spoke passionately, but they spoke well and where for the most part respectfully received.

During the opening hearing before the special committee, six at a time were called as a group to the microphone to speak. The third or so group to be called forward ended with Bishop Duncan from Pittsburgh and Bishop Robinson from New Hampshire. The crowd of more than 1,700 (including all those sitting outside the ballroom) shifted and the murmur went up, at which point the secretary (?) of the committee simply said, "I'm just reading the list." The crowd laughed.

Regrettably, Bishop Duncan said that he did not see at this point how the progressive wing and the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church could remain together. He said, basically, that there is now no hope. I hope - I hope that this is not true. This was the big meeting, until the final resolutions are presented to the different houses for approval or rejection. My prayer is that we remain together.

I met Kendall Harman of titusonenine, who was in line with his son before the hearings waiting to sign up to speak. He was very gracious, which I expected. I was a bit embarrassed. He was talking to a friend from the Diocese of Ohio. I waited until they were done and greeted Sam, at which point Kendall said something like, "Bob Griffith - are you the blogger?" I was quite surprised that he would remember who I am, but I wanted to great him and tell him that I appreciate his blog. I am still embarrassed and surprised when I hear from others who read these poorly written and chaotic musings of mine, particularly someone as busy and proficient as Kendall.

I desperately pray and hope, somehow through God's grace and our ability to move in humility, that we will remain together in this wonderful and incredible enterprise called Anglicanism – part of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I spent a good amount of time with Jason and Jodi during the afternoon. I am very glad I got to hang (if I put "out" at this end of "hang," does it mean I'm and old fart) with them.

I am very tired.

Day - 4

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This is a last comment on this topic. Wouldn't you know it - almost the entire Eucharist this morning was in Spanish. I resigned myself to be present in the service the same way I was present in services in different European services when I served in Europe. I could be present, but not in the way those who understood the language could be present.

I had no idea what the sermon was about, and I forgot the printout of the sermon in English at our table.

These questions still arise: What do we mean by "Common" and how is it experienced in this kind of context? What is the purpose of the convention Eucharist’s?

I do understand the desire for this church to be welcoming and hospitable to all kinds of people. I affirm that desire. But, if we do not provide space for there to be a truly "common" experience, and I understand that some will not sense the commonality like all the others (been there, done that), we will balkanize. We already see this happening concerning our current troubles.

Okay, enough about this.

By the way, I heard the U2charist was great! It is reported that around 700+ showed up - literally standing room only. I wish I could have been there.

It is great seeing people I haven't talked to in a long time.

Since I think "out-loud," a lot of what gets into this blog is just that - thinking out loud. It is problematic at times because some will take everything I post as being what I think is gospel truth, when in actuality it is just ruminations. Of course, in all the ruminating what I do believe at any given period in time does come through.

When I think about the past post "What is going on with me?" as I tried to express some of the unexpected anger I was feeling over yesterday's Eucharist, I realize that this is probably what I really want to say:

When we gather together from 16 different countries and from every area in this country in a worship space that accommodates 3,500 people at a convention where approximately 10,000 participate in one form or another, in order to have any sense of "common prayer" it seems that we would want to do that which is most familiar and easiest to comprehend.

It often seems, however, that those who plan these kinds of services see them as an opportunity to do the unexpected, the unusual, the "innovative," the different in order to expose people to new things. I understand that, but when we have the common convention Eucharist, I don't see how doing such things enable us to worship together, even though I know that while in English and according to the established forms of the Prayer Book will frustrate and anger some.

Yesterday, there was the U2 Eucharist. At some point soon there will be the Hip-Hop Eucharist. I suspect there will also be Eucharists in Spanish, perhaps French and German, too. Okay, so what about Anglo-Catholics? What about Charistmatics? This church allows for such a breadth of piety, and I believe this strengthens us and provides for the needs of many different kinds of people. A strength, yes, but when we have a common service, it should be in a form that will speak to and meet the needs of the vast majority of those participating.

That's just my opinion.

On another topic - the battles have begun.

It came home to me yesterday that the different sides of the most pressing issues really do not understand their opponents. That is a shame, and it hinders us from coming to any kind of compromise. The really sad aspect of it all is that too many do not even want to understand their opponents.

The way I see it, do everything you can to get into the skin of one's opponent to truly understand their perspective. Then, one can argue against it, but one doesn't have to demonize the other in the process. And, incidentally, the original opinion held by the one doing the investigating may actually be changed in some way. A meeting of the minds may well be able to be accomplished at that point, even if to amicably agreeing to disagree.

Funny

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By the way, it feels so funny when someone says, "Hello, Father." I realized during today's Eucharist, too, how much of a minority I am in the sense of becoming more "high-church" or "anglo-catholic."

What is going on with me?

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Okay, here is the issue: Why am I finding myself so angry at times? I'm not bust-a-vain-angry, but angry nonetheless.

Today in the opening Eucharist, various parts of the Eucharist were in Spanish. Is there anything wrong with having various parts of the Eucharist in Spanish? No. Other than this - some try so hard to be "inclusive,” but in the end means that there is not much left of "common," as in "common prayer." If the majority of the people do not understand the language being spoken, then how can they honestly enter in other than simply observing? Then, there is an “angry step-mother” attitude that “you’re gonna do it whether you like it or not.” It is maternalistic/paternalistic, and I don’t like it.

Yes, for those who only speak Spanish (or any particular language outside the norm), this happens all the time when the service is in English. Alright, that is a given. When I was in Germany working in campus ministry, I was often in services where I had no clue what was being said. I did not expect all those churches and peoples to change just for me.

Sometimes, some churches would have translators for those who did not speak the native language. At this morning’s Eucharist, there were translators for those who spoke French and German. So, why did those planning the Eucharist not include German and French in the Eucharist itself? Might not have the native German and French people feel neglected or excluded from the service? What about the Brazilians? My point is that when political correctness runs amok, we complete loose any sense of "common prayer." There is nothing wrong with saying – this is in English, because the vast majority of those present understand English. I’ve very glad that we provided translators - even for the deaf, which thrilled me.

American, white, liberal guilt propagated through political correctness will only lead to more division and chaos, primarily because we lose any common thing to unify around.

Why not do a whole service in Spanish or French or German - heck, why not in English? I would be more inclined to participate in an entirely French service, than one that jumps back and forth between language.

So, why am I getting so angry about this? I don't know. I don't feel guilty about being a male, white, Anglo-Saxon, or speaking English. I know great atrocities were done by males, whites, Anglo’s, and Americans. You know what; ever culture in every time has perpetuated evil upon others. I don't see why some in this Church feel the overwhelming need to be guilty about being an "English" church - after all, that is where we came from and the vast majority of our members speak English.

Yes, Americans should speak more than one language. Yes, we desperately need to understand other cultures. I've always been a big advocate of such things. One of my favorite times in Europe was when we were singing praise songs in a small group – African, European, Asian, and American – in different languages. But, because of American, white, liberal guilt, there is a sense where anything that smacks of America, Caucasian, English speaking, or male is absolutely bad and needs to be put down to make way for something else. What? No one seems to know other than "not this." I absolutely value and want to experience cultures other than my own. But, I don't expect them to accommodate me when I am in their churches, in their countries, or hear their languages. It is nice when they help, and I want to help non-American/non-English speakers too, but this castigation of who and what we are in order to ease some peoples' misplaced feelings of guilt just needs to end.

Hospitality does not mean we have to stop being who we are. We may become something else than what we are right now, but we don't have to be determined to destroy what we are right now in some misplaced compulsion to be something, anything, other than what we are.

Why am I so perturbed? Because I fear loosing what I have discovered to be a wonderful thing? Perhaps because I don't like to be included in other people's psychoses? I should not be angry, and I should not sink my claws into something that is temporal, anyway. I really do simply want to love God and my neighbor. It is in the doing of these last two things that the trouble begins.

Day 3 - Tuesday

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I was walking around the exhibit floor yesterday and came across a booth with lots of icons. It is staffed by two Orthodox monks, and their order both creates and produces icons and liturgical stuff, including wonderful Orthodox music, around the world. I talked with one of the monks for a good bit. He is in his mid-30's, a convert to Orthodoxy from Lutheranism (the migration continues), and has not yet taken his final vows - but still with a long beard, black habits with a simple, cotton baseball cap like hat without the brim. We talked about the difficulty of the vow of obedience!

I was repeatedly asked by one of the priests in Ohio who kept encouraging me to pursue the priesthood several years ago whether I would end up in Orthodoxy. No, probably not. On the other hand, there are certainly those forces within this church that seem to continue to push it further away from the centuries old traditions of Anglicanism. I became an Anglican, and did not join one of the other Protestant expressions of the faith. I came to the Episcopal Church because it was "catholic" and I don't want to see that lost. I don't want this church to become just another Protestant body, not because they are bad but because they are not, what?, “this,” not “catholic.” We certainly do have reformation inspired theology, but we also are squarely part of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Only if we are pushed to loose our distinctiveness might I consider something else. I really don’t have the words at this point to express what I am feeling.

I am eating well! Very well! Too well! And, so far I haven't had to pay for any of it. There are some great restaurants around the convention center; the Pension Group takes care of lunch for those of us who are working, and breakfast is included at my hotel. Life is good, and people seem to be in good spirits.

I also ran three miles yesterday, walked about five on Sunday, and use the stairs whenever possible - clergy wellness and all that. Standing in the Pension Group booth representing the Medical Trust and knowing all the problems clergy are experiencing, how can I not at least attempt to be an example for other people (so that I will not be accused of being a hypocrite, even though I do act hypocritically at times), but also for my own health.

The stuff of convention continues on. Committees have begun their work last night and public responses are being requested. Nothing much of controversy yet, but I'm reading the responses on various blogs and websites to get a feel for other peoples' reactions. At this point, my sense is that the radical fringes are hyped-up, but honestly I do believe most people do not want to divide, and the Windsor Report seems to be the accepted mechanism for keeping us together. It will all depend on whether the response of convention to the report will satisfy the majority of people on both sides of the issue. As I've written before, nothing but absolute victory and the destruction of opponents will satisfy some. We shall see.

To get a sense of where people and groups are, check the links on the side panel under "The Anglican Perspective."

Day 1 - I flew into Columbus yesterday (Sunday) morning. Just a bit after arriving at the hotel, I changed into clericals and went to the Church Pension Group (CPG) "booth" in the exhibit hall for General Convention. If CPG wanted to downplay the perception that many have of the organization - aloof, pretentious, overly wealthy, etc., this "booth" will certainly not dissuade such belief. It is really big, if simple, and quite luxurious. Anyway, I worked the booth for a few hours.

The attitude of most people I've encountered is good. I know that the majority of people are not as worked up as the perhaps 10% of both conservative and liberal "Anglican fundamentalists." Yet, convention has not really started and yet and not until Tuesday are they really going to begin dealing with issues.

Day 2 - I am still concerned (at times distressed) over the outcome. In the end, will the "anti-" people have the day - whether those who are “anti-“ - anti-conservative or anti-liberal, those who are anti-inclusion of gay people or those who are anti-tradition/orthodoxy? Trying to use words to define all these different groupings of people and their attitudes and intentions is nearly impossible. There are a lot of alliances, but many of them are alliances of convenience because there is a perceived common enemy.

Perhaps another area of concern, for me at least and I know for some others, is that if a chunk of the church leaves, then we will become the dreaded and marginalized "conservatives/traditionalists." Dreaded and marginalized by those who tend to be of the 1960's era "Age of Aquarius," nothing old is good, "we have to remake everything in our image," down with institutions, politically-correct bunch, many of whom are in control of this Church. Again, change and reform and different ways of looking at things are good at times, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some people are now trying to find that baby and rescue it! Poor little thing…

This new "conservative" group would be those who are still open to change and who do not necessarily take a strong stand concerning some pressing social issues, but who can say the Creeds and say the liturgies and honestly believe them. Who can say with integrity that we are not Universalists, the Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation and is central, rightly handled in light of tradition and reason, and that our cosmology is not closed but open to God doing whatever God wants to do. Some of us do not necessarily buy into Modernist notions any longer. Some of us believe that mystery, always kept but not always acknowledged or respected, is making a comeback.

The simple fact is that we, as humans, are fallible, sinful, and even at our best tend to get things wrong. Why do we think we have it all figured out, correct, and right at this point in time, now, during the beginning of the 21st century? This is what drew me to Anglicanism - traditionally we say we could be wrong and that there will be an allowance for differences in opinion and piety so that we can all move forward into a stronger and more solid, reasonable, and faithful understanding of God, ourselves, and the world. Will this survive? By the grace of God, I hope so!

On the Move

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I am about ready to leave for General Convention in Columbus. I am nervous. I am nervous that this Anglican treasure that I discovered is about to implode. I am nervous that the extremist forces on both sides of the issues will pull apart this Church and then the Communion. I am nervous that something valuable to The Church universal will be lost - a valuable thing that is largely unnoticed in world Christianity as a whole.

The spirit of Anglicanism may live on (well, it will in me and others I know), but this notion of a world communion, of an expression of Christianity that freely allows questions, doubts and the divergence of opinion and piety as we all move closer to a truer and more honest understanding of ourselves as humans and of God, may not live on in a formal sense.

A "fundamentalism" has risen in all areas of our society worldwide - both from the right/conservative and left/liberal perspectives. Political, social, and religious "fundamentalism" that will not entertain that their ideas and/or actions may be wrong no matter how sincerely they are held or undertaken – no humility. A "fundamentalism" that is determined to wipe out opposing opinions and ways-of-doing-things concerning the good and proper formulations of social, political, and theological theories or practices – an extreme arrogance.

Without debate, trust, respect, and compromise, democracy is impossible. Anglicanism is impossible without a willingness to sit down at the table and believe that our opponents are of good will and are honestly seeking God as best they can, no matter how divergent our opinions.

Gotta go. I'm hoping to post throughout convention, if I have the time. Of course, my opinions are my own and do not reflect the positions of anyone or any organization I may work for, serve, or represent in other venues!

Joining God's Dream

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Quote:

"For each of us there comes a moment - or a slow series of moments - when we sense the God of the universe as a personally felt presence. Something cold in us warms, something stiff in us loosens, and we sense within ourselves a turning, an allowing, a yes. "Yes, God, I am ready to hear you. I am ready to deepen my connection to you and to your family. I am ready to be completely yours."

"And we change, not because we decide to change but because we have said yes to the very nature of God, which means we are no longer separate from but together with. Together with God ... together with all God's creation ... together with God's dream."

Kayla McClurg
From the daily "On the Way," found at "Inward/Outward"

World Cup

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In 1990, I was in Europe doing campus ministry work. An American college group was in Austria for a two week mission trip, and I went with them. After the mission was over, they took an extra week and went into Italy to do some sight-seeing, and I went with them.

We arrived in Venice in the evening. It happened to be in the middle of the World Cut finals - Italy vs. Germany. As we strolled through the completely deserted streets of Venice we heard only the sounds of the World Cut wafting out of the open windows of house after house after house. It was so odd to have the city to ourselves, for all practical purposes, as the natives sat in their living rooms cheering on Team Italia.

Today, the first day of another World Cup, it is fun seeing people all dressed up in team regalia walking the streets of New York. For most Americans, this is a non-event. For most of the rest of the world, it's the biggest thing ever. Of course, most of the people dressed in team colors and insignia are probably not American. Living in a truly international city gives me (us) the ability to at least vicariously and to a far more limited extent experience the international frenzy and excitement that is the World Cup.

GC 2006

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General Convention is fast approaching. The rhetoric from some quarters is definitely heating up.

I am very nervous. There are those who honestly think that this will all blow over and nothing particularly harmful will happen, aside from some blowing off of steam. I can't buy that. I know the mindset of the reactionaries too well, and for them this is the line drawn in the sand. I am fearful that a large number, although not the majority, will move to leave the Church after the convention.

I am hoping that sanity will prevail and an honest Anglican spirit will have the day. I am prepared, however, for the worst. If the worst does happen, I suspect I (and those like me) will become the new "conservatives." I really don't want such a title, but if the current conservatives leave, then I guess the moderates become the new conservatives.

Alan Jones, the dean of the Cathedral in San Francisco, wrote a book recently published laying out his ideas of Anglican orthodoxy. I've only read the first few pages of the introduction, but I think this is going to be a very good book. Finally, it seems thus far, someone is writing in a way that I can strongly affirm. A middle way, a via media, seems to be his MO. I am hoping this may be the book that gives voice to the vast middle ground of the Church.

Yesterday, June 3rd, along with three others ordained to the transitional diaconate, I was ordained a priest. It all went well, aside from my mistake of coming forward too early as the then prospective deacons were signing their oaths. Oh well.

This moring as I was looking through the Morning office and came to the pronouncement of forgiveness after the confession of sin, I realized I no long have to change the 'you' to 'us' and the 'your' to 'our.' There will be a whole lot of new things coming up.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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