Even more troubles…

Since I’ve been so distracted by personal issues this past month-and-a-half, I haven’t really been following very closely the goings on within the world of troubled Anglicanism, and particularly the Episcopal Church USA.
So, since I finished my work this day before Christmas vacation and don’t have time to start something new, I decided to read through the normal blogs and websites. There are several articles from Church related sites and newspaper articles on what is going on in the Diocese of Virginia, et cetera.
Here is an article from the Falls Church (Virginia) News-Press on CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America – missionary convocation of the Anglican Church of Nigeria) and the problems that are developing within it concerning issues over the ordination of women. The AMiA (Anglican Mission in America – the Anglican Church of Rwanda group) last year had to submit to the Rwandan House of Bishops in their decision to restrict the priesthood to men, even thought the AMiA already had women priests. The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has not yet decided officially on the issue of woman’s ordination, but they only ordain women to the Order of Deacons (or deaconesses).
This is a serious issue among the rebellious groups campaigning against and trying to leave the Episcopal Church. A large group of them do not believe that women can rightly be ordained, period. There has always been talk about an allowance of difference between the two sides as they fight together against their common enemy, the Episcopal Church USA. Now, with the schism going full-speed ahead these issues will no longer be papered over, and I predict (not much prediction needed) that there will be continued troubles within the break-away groups and structures. Shangri-La these new churches will not be.
Anyway, here is the Falls Church News-Press article.

Freedom and Anglicanism – just thoughts

Last Saturday, during the diocesan convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, the convention with the prompting and encouragement of its bishop voted, for the second time and for final consent for action, to attempt to leave and finally have “freedom” from the Episcopal Church USA. Now, with their newfound freedom, they can honestly be the true Anglican and God-fearing church in the USA unbound by heresy and apostasy, at least that is what they are telling themselves. They also voted to align themselves with a very small extra-territorial province – the Province of the Southern Cone. This province comprises the lower portion of South America. It is small, it has an English archbishop, and is attempting to expand its influence by welcoming dioceses, congregations, and priests of the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada that believe these two Anglican provinces are heretical and apostate. So, this is what San Joaquin did – or is attempting to do.
A priest, Dan Martins, who up until this past summer presided over the oldest and one of the largest Episcopal parishes in San Joaquin, but who resigned and is now in Northern Indiana, has blogged on these latest events. He is worth reading, primarily because he is sympathetic to many of the positions held by many traditionalists/Evangelicals/conservatives within the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, yet he does not believe schism is the answer. We need people like Dan… I need priests like Dan.
A quote from Dan’s latest entry

But the mistake both he and Bishop Schofield make, as was pointed out during debate by one of the clergy, is to ignore or downplay the fact that “there are a great many good and godly people in the Episcopal Church.” It is a fallacy on many levels to paint the entire Episcopal Church with the broad brush of its most radical members and leaders (including, of course, the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council). This is precisely what my friends in SJ have done. It’s a mistake to do so, but it’s a very tempting and understandable mistake.

Read his blog.
I’ve been thinking a lot about “freedom” these past couple of weeks. We all say we want freedom, but what in the world is it? Many people who are looking out for my best interest say that it is a good thing that I am “free” of Ashton and his issues, if it were only that easy. But, what does that mean? Is that “freedom” defined as purely self-interest and not considering the wellbeing of the other, prudent, wise, or foolish and selfish? Many people say “let freedom ring,” but what use is “freedom” politically or socially if you are dying of starvation? Look at China. We would say that they are not a free society, yet the economic boom in many parts of that vast country enable people to live well and manage their own lives within the structures of Chinese Communism. Do they have a sense of “freedom?” Look at the Buddhist monks in Burma. That country is certainly not “free,” yet I would venture that those monks are far freer than you or I, living in the bastion of freedom, the good ‘ole USofA.
Then, of course, what does it mean for us to have freedom-for or freedom-from? Christians say that we realize or discover true freedom only in Christ. As I conclude reading “unChristian,” the reality is that most people who look at the Church find not a bunch of people who are “free,” but people who are simply bound up by different things than the “outsiders” are bound up by, and all the while pointing fingers at the outsiders in condemnation and in blindness of their own bondage. The Christians (or in the context of the book, American-Evangelical/Born-Again Christians) seem to be no more “free” than their secular or other-type-Christian counterparts. Where is their “freedom?”
Would any of us truly understand or recognize “freedom” if it hit us in the face? Christ has come to see us free – what does that mean? Would we even be able to function as we currently understand “life” if we were free from consumerism, materialism, anger, despair, war, worry, angst, judgmentalism, dependencies, addictions, dysfunctions, and whatever else any of us individually or corporately may understand as non-freedom? I don’t know. Too many of us are more comfortable in our bondage, no matter how terrible, than the unknown of what might be if we were free of those bondages. Lord, have mercy.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

I’ve been “obsessing” over this song for a while now from Snow Patrol. This video is the British version that didn’t play in the U.S., but frankly I think it is far better. Gary Lightbody’s lyrics are very good, in my humble opinion. Anyway, this song fits my mood, as does the British video.

Blast from the past

I wanted to test to see how my website and weblog looked in Windows Vista. So, I went to my website and to my old journal entries, pre-blogging. So, here is my entry from July 4, 2002, a little more that a month before I left for seminary. Almost two months before I met Ashton.
The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same. Here is the entry:
July 4, 2002; Akron, OH
I want to be genuine, honest, not a hypocrite in any aspect of my life. I remember a few years back while still living in Kent, I was having breakfast with a Chi Alpha staff person from Boston who I’ve known for years. It was during the time when I was changing my opinions on the compatibility of faith and orientation, which he still hasn’t done, but during the conversation he said to me, “you really have a thing about hypocrisy, don’t you.” I guess the answer would be yes, I do. I catch myself being that very thing, but I’m determined to not, to the best of my abilities.
Sometimes I actually feel this feeling, this sensation in my chest, when I think about wanting to be completely genuine – away from all the bravado, all the masks, all the expectations, all the layers surrounding my heart to protect myself – that builds walls, barriers that keep others out and myself behind, what?, behind something. I can’t be that way. I just can’t. I’m afraid of being pushed into this fake persona of expectation of others whom I serve, or those who are responsible for my formation. I can’t be something I’m not. What am I not? What am I?
I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to keep myself so open, so trusting, yet with discernment and wisdom. How can I be like one of the children – with innocence, trust, honesty. I’m determined, but I don’t know how. No pretense. No agenda. No selfish motivation. No selfish ambition. To love others and desire their best before my own – to have the humility and strength to be trusted. To maybe somehow, someway, be an example to those struggling to find themselves that they won’t have to hide from the world, from those who care, who love them. That they can trust once again. An example in failure, one in success.
I know I haven’t the ability, the words, the wisdom to be such a person. I know my weakness. The only thing I know to do is try to be vulnerable and true. To be vulnerable and true. It seems so hard at times. It seems almost impossible to simply be that kind of person, by nature, no longer by purpose. God, how I want to be that kind of person. A sincere life, a genuine life, a life lived to the full, mature, complete, lacking nothing, a life that may be helpful even in failure, in weakness, in all my lacking. How do I be that kind of person, always?
Can anyone appreciate that? Does anyone understand that?
“Close your eyes; rest my love. Worry about it tomorrow with the morning light on our side.”
What a beautiful picture, a beautiful sentiment. Heart felt, sincere. It’s a line from the last track, Lullaby, from Skott Freedman’s Swimming After Dark CD.
I think I am in one of those moods, one of those feelings – right before leaving to see fireworks. The sun is shining on one side of my house and storming on the other – thunder rolling. Moving quickly, chaotic. I feel that way right now. I wish people would just do things as they said they would.