Yesterday, I was officially introduced

Yesterday, I was officially introduced to my field-placement parish as their new seminarian. Here is what the printed announcements said, “We are privileged and very happy to welcome to St. Paul’s Mr. Robert Griffith, as student at The General Theological Seminary who will be serving as our Seminarian. Mr. Griffith is a Candidate for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Ohio. Please introduce yourself to him, and by all means remember him in your prayers.”
I like the last half of the last sentence the most, because I certainly need them! Officially, I’m not quite a candidate yet, just a lowly Postulant. Candidacy will be this spring. Father Cullen, the Rector, mentioned also that he didn’t want anyone coming up to him and telling him that they don’t like me, because he does. This is a great little Anglo-Catholic parish with an incredible history. I think I am very fortunate to have landed at this place. The church is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Carroll St. in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn.
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I gotta study and I

I gotta study and I don’t wanna! Please don’t make me read any more about Medieval English Christianity! Please cancel the paper on Julian of Norwich! Please don’t make us right a book review, picking 12 topics to write on from Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England! Actually, the discussion on Trinity (what the heck?) during Systematics was quite good. I tend to dominate. I need to quit doing that, but I process out loud, and repeating all that Patristics stuff helps me remember it.
Of course, then there is Liturgics. Do an analysis of “Space” at St. Thomas, 5th Ave., and St. Peters Lutheran, somewhere in Mid-town, and write a long paper on it. What does the “space” say about the church’s theology of community, nation, individual, movement, eucharist, involvement, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ugghhhhh……. Actually, it is interesting. I’m just complaining, which I know I need to stop doing because I am bugging people. What, then, Pastoral Theology and Homiletics.
I’m also not studying!
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Listening to a piece on

Listening to a piece on the Texas Legislature’s redistricting problems on NPR, I heard it said that the legislature used to be known for its bipartisanism – even going so far as to declare itself the best functioning legislature in the world. It is Texas, after all. Anyway, the thought struck me as they were describing all the rancor between Democrats and Republicans, and now that the runaway democratic legislators have returned to the state, between the Republicans themselves, that the breakdown in the ability of our legislators, whether state or national, to govern is analogous to American Christianity’s inability to work through the theological and cultural wars going on now. Which came first, rancorous and intransient legislators refusing to work together to solve state and national problems, or the rancorous and intransient religious leaders refusing to work together to present to the world a faith that doesn稚 go about destroying itself? Who influenced whom? Has the Religious Right, in demanding that the world recognize their particular brand of theological understanding and praxis as they only legitimate expression of Christianity, so influenced politics that politicians now define their party’s political theory and praxis as the only expression of good ol’ American patriotism, or the other way around. Or something like that.
I do not know enough about the history of it all, but do understand that religious and political wars have been with us from the beginning. It seems to me that as the fundamentalist liberal Christians infused liberal politics in the ’70’s and as the fundamentalist conservative Christians infused conservative politics in the ’80’s, politics has come out on the lesser side of success.
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Wondering around the Web, I

Wondering around the Web, I came across this commentary by Cal Thomas on the Judge Moore, Alabama Ten Commandments monument controversy, and thought it interesting. Thomas does not look very favorably, any longer, on the antics of the Religious Right. As a matter of fact, he and Ed Dobson wrote a book I have yet to read, but am interested in reading, entitled, Blinded by Might. Here is the link to the article. I found the article through The Blinne Blog
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“No one should deny that

“No one should deny that traditional biblical interpretation has proved inadequate to protect the Reformed Church in South Africa, inadequate to protect the Medieval Catholic Church from the cruelty of the Inquisition – inadequate to protect American Christians from their twentieth-century military (cf.Ethics, p. 314). We cannot correct all the excesses Christians have carried out under traditional cover, but we must ask if we ourselves are helpless prisoners of our traditional ways of reading the Bible.”
– James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Doctrine: Systematic Theology, Volume 2, pp. 468-469
Have to read this book for Systematic Theology. He comes from a Baptist tradition and teaches at Fuller. Kind of an odd choice for a more liberal Anglican seminary, but it is very good – someone with whom I actually feel an affinity.
Add to this, southern expressions of national denominations that split, north and south (American Baptists vs. Southern Baptists, for example), as they attempted to biblically justify chattel slavery! We will add to this, later on, perhaps many years from now, prohabitionist Christians and denominations as they demanded belief that homosexuality would be the destruction of Western Civilization, the United States, and of all that is good and virtuous in the world, because the Bible said so!
I’m not a scholar nor an intellectual, but why don’t people think?

No dramatic event. The storm

No dramatic event. The storm came and went without much fanfare in the city. Is it a bit wrong to hope for a very dramatic event when I know people may (MAY) be hurt and property lost, just for the thrill of it? Yes, probably, but I still would have liked to have seen some drama this far north. There was a good bit of wind and at Ashton’s place in New Jersey there were a lot of tree limbs fallen, and there was some rain. All is calm this morning. I do feel badly for all the terrible things that happened to people just a little further south were Isabel actually hit. It is not a good thing, not really a thrilling thing when others suffer loss, just a terrible thing.
The controversy continues to pull at the existence of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Things will never be the same, as much as many liberals want to think this is just another “women’s ordination” type issue. There are more than just a few people, both lay and ordained, that are dismayed at the events of General Convention. People are not happy. Many people are absolutely dismayed that the Church would do such a thing. I just read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Bishop of Atlanta’s first open forum on Robinson’s election and the affirmative vote from the diocesan delegates. American society in general is not in a happy mood over homosexuality in general, and of course this translates into the Church. There is no joy. There is no victory. There has to be a third way!
There are a lot of seminarians from Atlanta – probably the largest single contingent from any diocese. Some of them must be very careful about their orientation being made known because of the feelings resident in their sponsoring parish, others have no problem. It is a hard road to navigate.
The issue of Robinson and homosexuality in general has infused many examples given in our classes, the most pertinent being Pastoral Theology. It feels so odd knowing that arbitrary examples given and topics discussed in class relates directly to me – and not me alone but of my kind… a kind not of choice or want, but that simply is. There is almost a surreal aspect to it. Two people discussing the issue and there we sit. General is very supportive and has gay faculty, but knowing that this whole issue is over what and who I am and seeing the Church pull itself apart over – me, my kind – is disconcerting.
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This semester is going to

This semester is going to kill me. I’m not even finished with the second week and I’ve been unable to complete most of my reading (which truly is impossible anyway, but one would think I would have gotten most of it done). I have a paper due on Thursday afternoon (tomorrow) and I have hardly begun the reading – The Venerable Bede, father of Medieval and Patristic church history in England. When, I ask you – when?, am I going to be able to finish this paper?
I have no clue whether my illness last spring was due to stress or whether stress may have contributed to the problem, but so far this term I’m headed in the same direction. I can’t. At least the accountability of a running group will help me practice a little more consistently the whole “self-care” thing they talk about so much here. I think I am going to have to tell Father Wright that I cannot have a paper ready for him by Thursday, come what may. I could hand in anything, but I do want to do a good job.
Besides, the retreat is this weekend. Too bad most of it will be consumed by my attempt to catch up on my reading for classes.
I read in the chapel for the first time for yesterday’s Evening Prayer. That one is down, now. What am I doing writing this at 4:50 am?
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I was quoted in the

I was quoted in the New York Post yesterday. The Times would have been better, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂
Fred Phelps and his cronies were protesting the first day of classes of the Harvey Milk High School. The school is for LGBT students where were so harassed and abused in their regular public school that this is their last option. So, Fred was there to make sure the kids knew that they were hell-bound, that according to Leviticus they should be put to death, and that they are destroying the nation. The Post estimated about 200 counter-protesters, including around 17 of us from General. Here is the paragraph:
“Religion and holy writ were also invoked by many of the more than 200 people, most of them New Yorkers, who turned up to support the students, who were quickly ushered past police barricades into the school. ‘I’m here as a Christian,’ said supporter Bob Griffith, 42,” (okay, so they got my age wrong!) “of Manhattan. ‘The kind of sentiment being expressed [by the protesters] is not true to what God would have us do.'”
There you have it. I wonder if that is my fifteen minutes of fame? Being in the Gay People’s Chronicle in Cleveland several times isn’t quite the same as the New York Post, I suppose.
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