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?

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

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.”