The world goes on…

My senior year in high school the yearbook (or newspaper?) took a survey of the seniors – most likely to do this, most likely to be that. I was voted most likely to be president. I loved politics – mostly international affairs.
When I was in jr. high I had the paper route in my neighborhood. It was just right for a jr. high kid. I had to give it up when I entered high school because of marching band. I was a percussionist, later to become a saxophonist. Anyway, so I would read the newspaper as I went on my route. I would get home and watch the NBC and ABC nightly news shows, and finish it off with the McNeal Lehrer News Hour on PBS. I was in jr. high. I haven’t admitted that to anyone in a very long time.
It didn’t get much better in high school, although I didn’t have much time for news programs – too busy with other stuff. I became a Social Studies teacher.
Just to prove I wasn’t absolutely a total freak, I also was voted one of the most “watchable” guys in school my senior year. Yup, that was me, breaking young girl’s hearts all over the place. All wasted. Of course, I got picked on, too. I wasn’t the most “sportlick,” as they say in Germany.
I was also voted most likely to become a reverend.
I became a “reverend” – a priest to be exact (never refer to an Episcopal priest as “reverend”).
Well, I love politics and I’m a priest. So, politics in Church is, well, it gives me goose bumps.
As an academic exercise it is very interesting to watch the power plays and the scheming and the conniving and the spin and all that. In the Church. It is sad, isn’t it?
I am always brought back to the ‘cure of souls.’ That is what I need to be focusing on, not ecclesial brinkmanship. It is too easy to get lost in the battles and the accusations and the misrepresentations of the truth. It is too easy to forget the fact that the world sees all this and runs away. And, I don’t really blame them. I wish they could get past the news reports and blog entries.
The life situations of real people – rich or poor, white or black, male or female, straight or gay, this or that – continue on. Life is hard all the way around. It is particularly hard, almost impossible in fact, for the people of most of the rest of the world. And we watch and participate in the crass politics and power plays of this Church and Communion while the real world goes on and tries to get by – a world moving further away from God.
I have a vestry meeting to get to. We welcome the new members today. Life goes on…

iPod Shuffle – 2:00 pm

Life goes on, and listening to music helps.
1. Moby, Lift Me Up, from ‘Hotel (Disk 1)’
2. U2, A Man & A Woman, from ‘How To Dismantle A Bomb’
3. Cowboy Junkies, How To Explain, from ‘Best of The Cowboy Junkies’
4. Dashboard Confessional, Hey Girl, from ‘A Mark, A Mission…’
5. Underworld, Dark and Long, from ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’
6. Lone Justice, Reflected (On My Side), from ‘Shelter’
7. ‘Till Tuesday, No One Is Watching You Now, from ‘Welcome Home’
8. Lise Loeb, I Do, from ‘Firecracker’
9. Susan Cagle, Stay, from ‘The Subway Recordings’
10. Moby, Another Woman, from ’18’
The rules, for bloggers who want to play:

Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel!

Idea originally from Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things

Here is an option…

If you’ve been keeping up with the statements from around the globe concerning the doings and goings on at the Anglican Primates Conference, then you are privy to a interesting process. (Check Titusonenine and Thinking Anglicans for the most current updates.) The “reasserts” are not at all happy, at least at the time of this posting. Just a few days ago, the sub-committee that was charged with evaluating The Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report was being hailed as the point of condemnation for the current liberal leadership of TEC. Now, since the sub-committee’s report didn’t say what the “reasserters” wanted it to say, the more radical elements are revealing their true nature.
When I was doing my graduate work at Kent State University in College Student Development (an obscure degree), I had an Assistantship working for the Office of Campus Life. Campus Life, among other things, coordinated all the different student organizations on this campus of 23,000 students. One of my responsibilities was to help oversee the Student Activities Board (SAB), which brought educational and entertainment programming to campus. They had a nice budget of almost $200,000.
Next to the SAB office was the office for the primary African-American student organization – Black United Students (BUS). We co-mingled a lot. Ideological differences ebbed and flowed within BUS as the years rolled on. At times they were quite radical in a “Nation of Islam” kind of way, and at times they were a bit more “mainstream.” I was looking for a Bible at one point and walked into their office and asked the folks present if anyone had a Bible. The response by one of the officers was, “Why the hell would we have that racist and evil book in here?” Okay…
BUS encouraged its members to be a part of SAB, which was a good thing (and still is). One particular BUS member was chair of the committee that brought in live entertainment. I oversaw her committee. She told me once that the then Bush, Sr., administration was actively engaged in attempting to eradicate the black race. I asked her if she really, honestly, thought that the Cabinet sat around and strategized about how they could get rid of all the black people. We couldn’t even agree on the meaning of English words, since all the dictionaries are written by white people, and were naturally racists and prejudiced against black people.
Of course I challenged her on these things and she really hadn’t that ability to make a reasoned response. (Then again, “reason” is a white construct and blacks didn’t have to abide by the concepts of white devils.) Some members in BUS where used to cowering guilt-ridden-white-pseudo-liberals, and I was not any of those things. We functioned together, but that was as close as we got. Generally, I liked her, but she was in a particular stage in her development that made her not very pleasant to be around, at least for the devil white folk.
Now, part of my education in College Student Development dealt with all kinds of personality theories and scales and paradigms and stages of development and all that. There was one particular scale – the Stages of Minority Development (don’t remember what theorists put it together) – that proved to be pretty accurate, as least in my dealings with my advisee and her cohorts.
One evening after we completed a show – Adam Sandler when he was really hot – I asked my advisee and her right-hand-girl how they thought it went. My advisee’s right-hand-girl was particularly radical in her view of the evil and satanic white race, literally snarled and told me that it was a failure, ridiculous, and pathetic (it was their committee’s idea to bring Adam to campus, by the way). It did nothing for black people and was worthless. They had to spend all this money (the black people’s money) on worthless events to entertain white people. Now, a few thousand people of all different hues showed up. It was actually quite successful and the committee did a great job. So, I asked why she thought that.
I sat there in the “Lost Leader Lounge” (a big open lounge area into which all the student offices spilled) with my advisee and her right-hand-girl for the next hour and a half while the right-hand-girl went off on me and parroted the “party line” of the more radical part of the black-liberation, all-blacks-are-decedents-of-Egyptian-kings-and-queens, Louis-Farrakhan-whites-are-the-devil kind of thinking. She was obviously in State 3.
Well, she just became more and more extreme as her rant went on (I was a captive white who represented the white power structure of KSU that was putting down the black race – the opportunity was not going to be lost); she finally just went over the top. My advisee at that point stopped her, and our “conversation” was over. Other SAB committee students were furtively walking through the lounge and appealing to our staff supervisor to “save me.” My supervisor simply told them that, “He can take care of himself.” I’m sure to her it was a good learning experience for me. She was right. I really just sat still and quiet and took it all, a bit surprised and amazed, to say the least.
My point is – the irrational nature that is inherent in radical movements will eventually become apparent. This is happening within our Anglican family right now. The radical “liberals” are showing their hand and most people reject them. The radical “conservatives” are showing their hand in Tanzania right now, and most people will reject them. They will always be myopic.
What I think we should do is simply step back and let the radicals reveal their true natures and watch the whole think blow up – we can watch them self-destruct, just like my advisee’s right-hand-girl before my advisee wisely stop her. At some point, their true intent and inner issues are revealed quite apart from the good PR work they engage in.
It’s just an option. The only problem is the carnage that is left behind after everything falls apart. And, as a priest who is charged with the cure of souls of all people, and as a person trained in personal development issues, it is very difficult to just to sit back and watch. I want to help people develop well! I want to help people avoid the personal carnage that always results from such radically charged beliefs and incidents. Radicals, however, hardly ever receive from anyone they oppose or who does not prove that they already agree.