Monday, August 28, 2006

Must-Read Blog

Elizabeth Kaeton has posted a most powerful essay at Telling Secrets. She offers some insight into her path to ordination, but much more than that. It's a stunning piece of writing. Hats off, Elizabeth+!

Go there! Read it!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Links Alive

When my blog seemed to crash a while back, I lost all the links. They're back now, and featuring a whole new category: blogs that make me laugh, particularly those devoted to the Anglican tradition. Check 'em out over on the sidebar.

God’s Sense of Humor

If you know me, I think you will appreciate the humor in this. If you don't know me, but have read this blog, I think you'll understand anyway.

Now, let me preface this whole thing by saying I believe the Scriptures to be the word of God. I do not dismiss them. I believe they contain all things necessary for salvation. And I believe there is a reason for every verse to be in there, even if I cannot always discern that reason.

That said, let us continue.

We have so many lectors in our parish that I only get to do the Epistle reading about once a year – if that. I was delighted to get a call last month, asking me to be lector on August 27. "You bet!" I said. I didn't even bother to go to my Prayer Book or online resources to see which reading it would be. I knew the Parish Administrator would be mailing me a printed copy.

A few days later, it arrived in the mail. And as soon as I started reading, I absolutely howled with laughter. And – once I got my breath – called the person who assigns lectors. "Did you pick this date just for me, or does God have an uncanny sense of humor?" She denied the former, so I suppose it's the latter.

So, my friends, a little after 9:30 tomorrow morning, I will stand on the Epistle side and intone the following:

A reading from Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

"Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband."

This is the Word of the Lord.

And the people will respond, "Thanks be to God."

And for the next few moments, we will all wonder whether our priest will choose to address that reading in her sermon, or address the "difficult teaching" in the Gospel for the day. There are some Sundays when I sure am glad I'm not the preacher!

Episcopal Squirrels

I'm pretty sure I have seen this story elsewhere, but Bruce in Atlanta recently reminded me of it. (Thanks, Bruce!) So I indulge myself and share it here, because we have not had enough laughs lately.

There were four country churches in a small Texas town: the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, and the Roman Catholic Church. Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration, they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptist Church, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow, and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Roman Catholics got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But the Episcopal Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the parish. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Sartorial Considerations, Part 2

Hat tip to Ann+ for discovering this one. I have my day wear, as noted below. Now I can have night-wear too. Take a look.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


We lost a good man this morning.

I thought I had finished with my tears after General Convention’s B033. I was moving on, thanks in very large measure to my involvement with The Episcopal Majority. It was enabling me to get past the hurt and anger I had felt. Working with that amazingly smart, passionate, and loving group has helped me begin to heal. Laboring alongside others who love this church of ours has helped me again to focus on the positive things that are happening and can happen in our church. I believe that was also true for my friend ToeWalker, a companion in that labor.

But we lost him this morning.

The recent words of the Archbishop of Canterbury in this interview included a comment that gay and lesbians may be “welcomed,” but not necessarily “included.” And that finally did it for ToeWalker. Perhaps those words were just the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” ToeWalker wrote in his blog yesterday, “I am sick to death of seeing ‘homosexual’ and ‘lifestyle’ and ‘abomination everywhere I turn.” No matter how brave and strong, we all have our limits – that moment when all the name-calling and the disdain and the discounting of our Christian faithfulness just get to be too much.

This morning, it cost us ToeWalker. The Episcopal Church lost him, and we are impoverished therein. The blogosphere lost a marvelous, quirky website that never ceased to amuse and inspire me. The Episcopal Majority lost the best TechnoGuru we could have wished for. And – since my e-mails aren’t being answered – it also appears I have lost a very, very dear friend.

So I’ll continue crying a while. Then I'll work all the harder to make this church a place of love and inclusion and redemption that will draw ToeWalker back.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Passionate Hatred

I recently saw this quotation:

“Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause, but also by nursing a fanatical grievance.” – Eric Hoffer in his 1951 book The True Believer.

Yep! Now I understand what those people are saying over on the conservative blogs!

Passionate hatred R them.

Thanks for the quotation, Robert!

Salvation Through Christ Alone?

One of the resolutions that came before our General Convention in Columbus was Resolution D058, titled “Salvation Through Christ Alone.” Some guy from Western Louisiana proposed it, trying to make our General Convention take an up-or-down vote on Jesus Christ. Sheesh! These people are forever looking for ways to embarrass their fellow Episcopalians!

We say the Nicene Creed every Sunday, and we do not say it with our fingers crossed! We renew our baptismal covenant a few times per year. But these dissidents have a knack for crafting “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” resolutions in an effort to hamstring our General Convention. I am convinced they submit these resolutions in a concerted effort to embarrass The Episcopal Church, in hopes they can get publicity points afterwards and get more funding from their neo-con supporters. What a waste of time and energy!

Here’s the actual text of this tiresome, unnecessary resolution, should you want to see it:


, . . . That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church declares its unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved (Article XVIII); and be it further

Resolved, That we acknowledge the solemn responsibility placed upon us to share Christ with all persons when we hear His words, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6); and be it further

Resolved, That we affirm that in Christ there is both the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons; and be it further

Resolved, That we renew our dedication to be faithful witnesses to all persons of the saving love of God perfectly and uniquely revealed in Jesus and upheld by the full testimony of Holy Scripture.

Never mind the very bad theology and soteriology in that ill-conceived resolution. Mostly, it’s just bad because the people who took it to General Convention wanted to embarrass The Episcopal Church much more than they wanted to glorify Christ. OK, that’s their schtick. Let it be upon their heads.

And now . . . here comes the ever-gentle and non-aligned Barbara Crafton. Some of you may be – as I am – subscribers to her “Almost-Daily eMos,” in which she sends out more-or-less daily reflections on life and/or the lectionary.

I was particularly struck by this one, which she distributed last week. It speaks to that “salvation through Christ alone” theme, which I found especially sensitive and nuanced and thoroughly Anglican. Read, mark, and inwardly digest this!

Barbara Crafton's "Drawn by the Father"

No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. - John 6:44

Let us remember who the Father is in the gospel of John -- it is the Father who creates the world. It is the Son through whom the world is created. Life comes from God, everything that is. Without the Father and the Son, nothing is made.

And so the idea that God the Father is involved in the sorting of people into the company of the saved and unsaved -- or that Jesus engages in such sorting -- seems unlikely in this context. It is the entire creation that is soaked in God's creative power. This drawing that God does is the omnipresent love that caused us to be here in the first place and orients our longing in the direction from which we came. It hasn't gone anywhere. It hasn't been withdrawn from any of us. We may have made decisions about how we will or will not respond to it, but God hasn't left any of us behind.

And so the favorite verses in this gospel that seem to point toward a salvation invent involving an elite few -- or even an elite many -- only do so if we are determined to remake John the Evangelist in our own narrow image. Nobody comes to the Father but by me, his Jesus says, and we think that means that lots of people just don't come, just don't get in, just don't make the grade, because they didn't sign up with the historical Jesus or with his organization.

No. What Jesus says here is much more matter-of-fact. Are you saved? Yup. Who saved you? God. How? Through Jesus. Are there any people who got saved another way? Nope, Jesus was there for every last one of us, whether we knew it or not. There weren't any exceptions. God's love doesn't have exceptions.

Well, what happens to you if you don't accept Jesus Christ as Your Personal Savior?

Well, I may engage a personal shopper or a personal trainer or a personal assistant, but I don't have a personal savior. I have the same one everyone else has, and I have him by virtue of having been created through him. My salvation is my return to him, from the midst of the worst muck-ups into which I can stumble. It is not my reward for good behavior or for having the right answer when someone asked me a question about him.

As always, we are uncomfortable with a love that all-encompassing, not least because it cuts us out of a decision-making role in the matter of who is in and who is out. It turns out we're all in.

What we do with who we are, and whose we are, is up for grabs. We can ignore it. We can decide we don't want it, although that won't change God's mind about us. We can determine to experience none of it as long as we live. We are free.

Or we can turn into it. Now. Before we have to live another minute unaware of its beauty.

Lectionary readings for the day:
Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Ephesians 4:(25-29)30-5:2
John 6:37-51
Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Taking a Break

Tonight I took a few hours away from blogging for The Episcopal Majority to go see a movie and have dinner. The movie was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I probably would not have bothered to see it, but that UnSaintly Pat is doing such a hilarious spoof in her Pirates of the Anglican Communion series! You’ll find some background here. And now she has posted Part IV of her series here.

It was hard to sit through the movie, enjoying the antics of that swashbucklin’ Captain Jack Sparrow, without thinking of how UnSaintly Pat has cast our Father Jake in that role! I can see him in every scene!

Thanks, UnSaintly Pat, for making this movie even more fun than it otherwise would have been!


I apologize to you, friends, for not keeping up with this blog in the last few days. For the moment, my heart and passion are going into another blog … as some of you have figured out. Flip over to The Episcopal Majority if you want to see the vineyard where I'm toiling at the moment.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Houston . . ?"

". . . we've had a problem."

I certainly did. Starting sometime yesterday morning, I couldn't access my own blog. Apparently, nobody else could, either. I could get to individual posts, but not to the "front page." Very disconcerting.

But it wasn't just me, my dear ToeWalker informs me. This was posted at Google Help Groups:
I am not sure what's happening. I was working on sidebars, when suddenly it told me it can't prcess my request. Since then, I can't view my site at all!!!! I can get to the post screen and it says it has published, but I can't pull up any other screens!! GAHH! What's going on?
The reply came in from another blogger:
Apparently you weren't alone. There must have been some glitch in the past couple of days that caused the same behavior on other blogs that we saw on yours. At any rate, I'm just glad its working again. Being blogless is a lonely place to be. (I think there's a song in there somewhere)
Well, I just bet I know what was going on. I bet it was the IRD! [Lame inside joke!]

At any rate, I'm up and running again, and glad of it. I have to rebuild all my links, but that's not so bad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Breaking News from ECR

According to Susan Russell’s “An Inch at a Time” blog, the Standing Committee of El Camino Real has issued a revision. She says:

. . . it is being reported that the Diocese of El Camino Real has changed the charge to its Nominating Committee from:

"At this time in our history and in view of General Convention Resolution B033, the Search Committee shall not nominate any homosexual person as a candidate for bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real."


"The Search Committee shall be mindful of General Convention Resolution B033."
Wouldn’t I have liked to be a fly on the wall in those conversations?

But, without further ado: Thank you, ECR! This must have required real courage!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quenching the Spirit?

Quenching the Spirit? … and What’s Really at Stake

I spent the first 24 years of my life in the Southern Baptist Church. I remember many a sermon where the preacher talked in truly frightening terms about the sin of “quenching the Spirit” or of “sinning against the Holy Spirit.”

That phrase came to my mind again this weekend when I read the guidelines issued by the Diocese of El Camino Real for calling their next bishop. These sections particularly caught my attention in the Standing Committee’s charge to the Search Committee:

“All constituencies of our diverse community are to be considered.”

“The Search Committee needs to ensure that all nominees meet the constitutional and canonical requirements set forth by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America:” [Need I remind you, readers, that our Canons say that sexual orientation is not a bar to the discernment process?]

“3. At this time in our history and in view of General Convention Resolution B033, the Search Committee shall not nominate any homosexual person as a candidate for bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real.”

This made me think. I notice they didn’t say the Search Committee shall not nominate any oak trees … or any poodles … or any radial tires … or any barbeque grills to be the next bishop of the diocese. Of course not! For there’s no way that God would call an oak tree or a barbeque grill to be a bishop in this church of ours! For the Standing Committee explicitly to say no “homosexual person” may be nominated, they must believe it is possible that God might be calling one of them to be their bishop. So … are they running scared of that hideous possibility?

So what if God is calling a homosexual person to be the next bishop of El Camino Real? Should the Standing Committee be concerned that they are “quenching the Spirit”? I wonder how the members of that Standing Committee feel, saying to the Spirit, “if you try to call one of Those Queers, we’ll just say NO!” Sinners in the hands of an angry God, anyone?

I would not want to be in the shoes of that Standing Committee! I heard way too many sermons about what happens to people who "quench the Spirit." Let it be upon their heads.

. . .

For those few people still trying to claim that “manner of life,” as passed in B033, does not simply mean “homosexual,” I’ll now simply point to the Diocese of El Camino Real and its statement here. It’s about nothing but “homosexuals”! Women archbishops don’t sufficiently “pose a challenge to the wider church.” [Happy as I am that Bishop Jefferts Schori was elected as our next PB!] Twice-divorced-and-thrice-married bishops don’t sufficiently “pose a challenge to the wider church.” [Bishop-elect Beisner, anyone?] Fat, gluttinous bishops don’t sufficiently “pose a challenge to the wider church.” [I’m not naming names! You can look at their photos.] No, these folks don’t pose a sufficiently-scary “challenge to the wider church.”

Who does? The queers do – whether “active” or not.

Over the past years since GC03, I have been constantly amused by the sanctimonious “conservatives” who say they don’t hate “homosexuals,” but are merely taking a “biblical” stance against “practicing homosexuals.” They love to quote that mantra, “I just hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

Thank God, the Diocese of ECR didn’t try to play that nuanced card. They didn’t try to walk that dainty line between "homosexual person" and "practising homosexual.” They just said it out flat: "no homosexuals allowed!" And I am glad they did. That must have required some courage.

Friends, it is not about “homosexuals in relationships outside the bounds of marriage.” It’s about any homosexual person – whether you are trying to live a celibate life, or are trying to live a holy life with your beloved. Makes no difference. El Camino Real has now made clear what most of us sensed in GC06.

To this one diocese that has made its bigotry crystal-clear, I am grateful.

And a brief, simple codicil: You sense I’m angry here? You think my language and tone are just a wee bit over the top? You’re darn right!

What Went Wrong . . .

I don’t know the Reverend Peter Carey. But when I stumbled upon his essay, “A Meditation on What Went Wrong in Columbus” today -- -- I said “Yes!” It echoed some of what I have opined: that our Bishops, acting in Convention this summer, were so desperate to have tea and scones in Canterbury that they forgot their flock. But I think he also does an admirable job of acknowledging something I sometimes forget: the role our Bishops have in The Church, as well as in “the church.”

Here’s a snippet from his essay:

. . . Was it worth it? The answer to that question has already begun to emerge and it is, of course--no. Blackmail payments tend to get higher and higher and there is no doubt that the Episcopal Church is being held hostage by the Archbishop of Canterbury, by the Windsor Report, and by Archbishop Akinola and his Global South. They think they know better than we how we should treat our “homosexual” members and they will have it no way but their way. With them there is no compromise, no discussion, no dialogue, no listening process, and if they can possibly swing it, no place at the table for our bishops until we all “repent.”

The House of Deputies understood this on June 20th, but on June 21st Bishop Griswold and most of his fellow bishops caved in to blackmail yet again. The idea of having to give up the group photograph at the Lambeth Conference with their brother and sister bishops was just too much to bear. And so they betrayed their gay brothers and sisters instead.

Go there! Read that!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Quotable ... on B033

I just recently came across a comment from one of our GC Deputies at What the Tide Brings In. She writes:

". . . The 'big news' that went to the press is that after defeating one resolution after another on any moratorium on consecration of gay or lesbian bishops and/or same sex blessings - a full court press by the PB and PB elect and the need to say something to the Windsor Report (I suppose) resulted in a resolution that says we will exercise restraint in confirming a bishop whose manner of life presents a challenge to the World Wide Anglican Communion. We did not pass a moratorium and we did not address rites for same sex blessings. I did not vote for it as I felt it was one of those things that offered others as the sacrifice - I am willing to sacrifice but could not come home saying - I was called to the cross but I pick you to go instead. I did not see Jesus asking anyone else to his work for him. (oh hey Peter or Mary - why don't you go to Golgotha today). Others (a big majority) had other ideas - so in my mind it was a step away after many steps forward - it remains to be seen what will happen." [Emphasis added]

Well said, Ann. And thank you!

After the Windsor Report was issued, our bishops decided to withhold consent from all bishops until General Convention could "have its say." In doing so, everyone bore some burden. I often wonder: Couldn't GC have effectively extended that wholesale moratorium so that all had some sacrifice? And could not bishops and Standing Committees make their own decision to do so now?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Why The Episcopal Church Needs to Remain in The Anglican Communion

There are a few Episcopalian and Anglican blogs that I check every day. One of them is
Father Jake Stops the World.

He has facilitated many conversations since GC06 in Columbus. This one especially caught my attention. As many of us were expressing our anger at resolution B033, one of Father Jake’s regular readers/commenters added his comment. From what I can discern, this man is in Brazil. And he is a gay man. And his partner was ruthlessly murdered a few years ago in a hate crime – simply for being gay.

Hear that. Breathe that in. This man’s beloved was murdered in a hate crime simply for being gay. Imagine your husband or wife or partner had been murdered simply because he or she loved you. Stop and rest with that for a while.

Now … go on and read this.

Here’s part of what this man in Brazil recently had to say to us at Father Jake’s:

However, for the "wider" communion, and especially for inclusive provinces, it would be very harsh if we didn't have a strong EC as our partner within the Communion.

I'll take my province as an example. Some years ago, there were two national consultations on human sexuality. A common statement was released, explicitly saying that "no one should have his (or her) sexuality exposed in order to take part of our clergy or laity" and that "our sexuality is God's gift, and should be lived in freedom and decency" (

That means that a "Global South" country has taken a step forward in order to fully include its LGBT brothers and sisters.

But, if somehow, the Episcopal Church were "expelled" from the Anglican Communion? What would happen to those provinces and dioceses that are struggling to follow your path of inclusivity? Who would give us support? The Church of England?

I understand those bishops that have asked for B033. I don't agree with that resolution, but I tend to look at it as a means of keeping the Episcopal Church as a strong body within the wider communion, until other churches advance in those issues.

There are other LGBT Christians, living in countries where they are still persecuted and demonized. And I see the Episcopal Church as the only body within our Communion strong enough (and courageous enough) to help them.

I’ll confess this: Ever since The Episcopal Church passed resolution B033 in Columbus, I have been focused on what it meant to me and to other lay people, deacons, and priests whom I know in the U.S. But when “Leonardo” posted this question/comment from Brazil, it made me do a double-take.

We tend to focus on why we want The Episcopal Church to remain part of the Anglican Communion, in somewhat self-serving ways. But here is this man in Brazil, saying that he and others in that nation desperately need The Episcopal Church to be at Lambeth in order to give voice to the “voiceless.” I bet he is not the only gay person with an Internet connection who is watching our church’s drama and hoping we will have courage.

Will we have the courage to speak for the gay people within and well beyond the borders of the U.S.? Will we?, incoming PB Jefferts-Schori? Will we?

If you want, you can read the rest of what this man in Brazil had to say to us at Father Jake’s.

Friday, August 11, 2006

As the World Turns

The Big World continues to go crazy this week. Hideous killings in Lebanon and Israel. The ongoing abomination in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now the purported terrorist threat foiled in England.

But those stories do not top the news in my little Missouri town [population ca. 40,000]. Oh, no! The big story here? Police busted a huge moonshine operation! They proudly characterize it as the “largest moonshine bust in 30 years.” And the law-enforcement folks are obviously very, very proud.

This is the kind of story that makes me love this little Midwestern town where I have landed. The rest of the world may be obsessed with war and genocide and terrorism. But we’re focused on this major bust of a moonshine operation. I really love this stuff!


I do my best to prowl the blogosphere to see what horrors and evils are attempting to destroy The Episcopal Church. This one made my blood run cold. And it typifies what is at stake in the battle between the traditional, mainstream Episcopalians and those who want to take-over The Episcopal Church and re-shape it in some sort of fundamentalist image.

Brad Drell (a.k.a. the Knight of What It Means to Be Truly "Orthodox") posted a note which led to
this discussion. You should read through that whole tread, to catch its ebb and flow.

But this is the part that made my blood run cold. One of his conservative commenters said (with applause from her sideliners):

“Some parishes now simply no longer ‘receive transfer letters’ from other
parishes until they are certain that the Episcopalian in question is a Christian
and is discipled.”
What??? Her conservative parish does not accept transfer letters from other Episcopalians until her high-and-holy parish determines – in its sole discretion – that the newcomers are sufficiently “Christian” and “discipled”??? My friends, are we living in the 21st century or in the Reformation??

In the interest of “truth-in-advertising,” I sure hope her parish has a sign above its door, reading: “All words and thoughts uttered herein have been approved by The Southern Baptist Convention”!

Friends, these are not Episcopalians! Nor are they Anglicans.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Codicil to – and Amplification on – My “Whoosh-and-Crack” Post

My “Whoosh-and-Crack” post has received quite a bit more attention than I had intended or expected. That little essay has elicited comments from the left and right. I’ve been tempted to go onto those other blogs where it is being discussed, but I decided just to post my elaboration here.

When I set up this little blog in the final days of July, 2006, I had been a reader of blogs, but I had never committed “bloggery” myself. I was having some conversations with friends near and far, “real” and “virtual,” and it seemed useful to put my lame thoughts out there. It’s been rather amazing to see how blog entries can be picked up by friends and foes. Frankly, I’m been astonished – and both pleased and dismayed – by the traffic this little blog has received.

I wrote my “Whoosh-and-Crack” post mostly for myself and for those few sympathetic friends/readers with whom I had been corresponding. Now that it has gotten wider circulation, I find I need to make some further explanation and clarification.

I have been dismayed at the number of comments that, while intending to be supportive, have missed the point. Many comments have been along the lines of “Tush-Tush. Don’t worry. B033 was just a small step backward, before we make one or two steps forward.” Many commenters have assured me that +Katharine will “make it right.” Many have reminded me of the many Bishops who “distanced” themselves from B033. And, of course, many, many commenters have reminded me that I am on the Fast Road to Hell.

I know that B033 did not faithfully reflect where TEC stands on the issue of including, ordaining, and consecrating gay people into all orders of ministry of our church! Most Episcopalians are comfortable with the full inclusion of gay people in all orders of ministry. But I think they misread my essay.

I was reacting to the often-asked question, “Since B033 is so vague and gives so much wiggle room, why are you gay people in TEC reacting so viscerally and emotionally to its passage?” They’ve pressed that question in several blogs.

Most of the comments made along those lines were intended as supportive and encouraging. But, friends, they miss the point I was trying to make.

Here is the point I was trying – and obviously failed – to make in my “Whoosh-and-Crack” post .

Long ago, I was physically beaten. And now, even in the present time with a person I trust, those echoes still make my blood run cold. If you’ve been physically beaten, you get hypersensitive to little things. For me, it was the “whoosh and crack” I described in that essay. For another commenter there, it’s “anything that might wake Daddy.” I’ll freely admit: These reactions are not rational! They are visceral. Hear that? I’m openly confessing: It’s visceral! I hear the crack of the belt, and I assume it’s coming at me.

And, just like a friend innocently whipping her belt out of her belt-loop can “trigger” the memory of my physical abuse, in just the same way B033 triggered for me all those hateful “you’re not wanted here” comments from my previous five decades of life.

If you have no skin in the game, you can lecture me about how B033 left a bunch of “wiggle room” in our church's attitude for the inclusion about gay/lesbian members. But you don’t have my psychic history. Like most gay Episcopalians, I’ve been called names … stalked … attacked … beaten … all my life for being gay. I grew up (from ca. age 7) knowing I was “queer.” And I have endured verbal and physical attacks. B033 felt like another attack – and I underscore “felt”! Bishops and Deputies may not have intended it as an attack – any more than my dear friend had any intention of beating me when she nonchalantly whipped that belt out of her slacks belt loops. But it felt like an attack. That is why I am having so much trouble with B033. Because it echoed all the other verbal and physical attacks I have endured in the 40+ years of recognizing I’m gay.

I did not intend to say that B033 was the end of dialogue. I merely meant to answer the question so many people have asked: “Why are you over-reacting to B033?” Friends, I am not trying to say B033 was violence, nor that it was intended as violence.

I’m just trying to explain to you why some of us – we who have suffered verbal and physical violence for decades – are responding to it as if it were violence. I’m trying to explain why it feels so painful, personal, and visceral to those of us who have endured the “whoosh-and-crack” – whether physical and literal, or figurative and metaphorical – of gay-haters in the course of our lives.

Can you begin to hear the difference?

Acolyte to the Order of St. Verbosa

I’ve been reading the HoBD listserv ever since Canon Gene Robinson was elected to be the Bishop of New Hampshire. During GC03, I was quite frustrated that the Episcopal News Service was giving pitifully thin coverage to what I believed were earth-shattering events in our Church.

This little nobody Episcopalian had the temerity to correspond with one of the ENS staff members during GC03, asking, “Why aren’t you giving us real, in-depth coverage of what is happening?” That kind woman actually took the time to reply to me, and sent me links to some of the websites and blogs that were giving less official – but more immediate – coverage.

And that’s when I became a reader of blogs.

Ever since that summer of 2003, I’ve been following the blogs and websites closely. And I’ve been following the news of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion more closely than most of the people with whom I share the Eucharist each Sunday.

Once I signed onto the HoBD listserv, I also had the temerity to correspond with some of the Bishops and Deputies who regularly post there. I developed relationships with a few of them. There were a few people on that listserv who were more talkative than others. Eventually, those most talkative ones met during GC06 and jokingly named themselves “The Order of St. Verbosia,” because of their self-confessed tendency to drone on and on.

In my parish, the ministry that means most to me is my ministry as an acolyte and – more important – crucifer. During GC06, I corresponded fairly often with some of the “Verbosians.” One thing led to another, and – after my impassioned entreaties – one of them deigned to commission me [by all the power invested in her – or not –] "Acolyte to the Order of St. Verbosa." It’s a badge I wear proudly!

Yes, I am verbose. Other bloggers are much more adept at making their points briefly, and I bow to their talent. But I make mine in longhand. I am a Verbosian.

As crucifer, I stand ready to bring the Verbosians whatever elements they need. If it’s the elements of the Eucharist, I’ll stand by their side, offering my fervent prayers in support of theirs. Or if one of them is getting hoarse and needs a cup of water, this Acolyte will run into the sacristy and grab that for them, too. If they just need me to hold their chasuble while they fight for the real essence of the Anglican way of believing, I’ll be all too honored to hold that chasuble.

In the current parlance of the right wing, I believe this makes me a “running-dog for the Episcopalian progressives.” Fine! I’ll wear that badge proudly, too. The role of the Crucifer is my most meaningful one in my parish. I believe it makes me the person who “lifts high the Cross” and attends upon those who can speak most powerfully for our Lord.

I’m not one of those who can speak most powerfully. I don’t have the theological education that would arm me to go into that battle for our faith. But I can serve those who can. I can serve the Verbosians. And I can serve my Lord by supporting those who are more passionate and articulate than I.

I was singularly proud to be dubbed “Acolyte to the Order of St. Verbosa.” That’s my name, and I’m stickin’ to it. And I’ll claim it as permission to be too verbose throughout this blog of mine.

The Canterbury Bus

Father Jones (a.k.a. The Anglican Centrist) gets on the Canterbury Bus, in a delightful piece of satire that both “liberals” and “conservatives” should be able to enjoy.

Unfortunately, though, if you read through the comments section on that posting, you’ll see the conservatives speaking exactly as did their counterparts whom he was satirizing. And they don’t even seem to notice it. They don’t even seem to notice it!!! Lord, have mercy.

The Truth Unmasked!

That MadPriest is at it again, in his never-ending quest for truth, justice, and the Anglican Way. He has discovered the plot behind the election and consecration of +Gene Robinson. Go there! Read that!

But, dear friends, as I have warned you before: Be sure you are not drinking a beverage when you click over to his site, or you'll have coffee, Coke, or your other beverage of choice spewed all over your keyboard and monitor. Do not go gently onto MadPriest's site.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

That "Whoosh-and-Crack" of the Belt

I had an “interesting” experience several years ago. It haunts me so much that it’s still vivid and visceral in my memory.

I had a very dear friend, with whom I had established a deep emotional connection. One day, after work, I went over to her house to visit and talk. Because we had both just gotten off work, we were both in our professional clothes. After we had greeted and talked and visited for a while, she stood up, and was about to make her way to her bedroom to change into cooler and looser clothes. But while we were still talking, and before she moved to her bedroom to change, she unbuckled her belt from her slacks and whipped it off.

You know that sound that a belt makes when you grab the buckle and snap it fast out of its belt loops? It makes a distinctive whoosh and crack! Like a whip cracking. That’s the sound hers made.

I froze. Paralyzed. Chill bumps all over. And a part of my 40-something self became a child again in that split-second before I could get a grip again.

For I had heard that sound before. Too often before. I had heard it all through my childhood, in fact.

I had heard that sound when my father came home, and – either because of some minor infraction I had committed, or because he had a bad day – he led me into our back room, and I would hear that same whoosh and crack! as he whipped his belt out of his belt-loops to give me the beating I seemed to deserve. Then I would be leaned over the bed, and would feel the full force of that whoosh and crack! on my very small body.

I was his oldest, and his favorite. He was delighted when I would receive those belt-whippings without crying. It made him proud of me when I did not cry. Later, he would praise me – and sing my praises to others – for not crying.

Then … forty years later … there I was, visiting with a dear friend who nonchalantly whipped her belt out of her khaki belt loops, and I cringed and broke out into cold sweats. I knew we had a good, caring relationship. But that whoosh and crack! hit me even before I could think about it, much less analyze it for what it was.

Why am I bothering to relate this story here?

Because many, many people have asked me why I reacted so strongly to GC06’s adoption of Resolution B033. The simple answer? It was that same whoosh and crack! Plenty of supportive, liberal Deputies & Bishops have tried to tell me that “manner of life” isn’t a slam. They insist it is not a betrayal. They assure me it is not a weapon.

But if you grew up in this culture, knowing that you were gay, you learn to recognize the insidious sound of the whoosh and crack! You recognize that sound even when it’s not a prelude to a beating. Because the sound still echoes in your psyche. The sound the belt made just before you were beaten still echoes in the deepest parts of your psyche.

Worse yet, there are some in my beloved Church who are expressing gratitude that I endured that whoosh and crack! of B033 without crying. They try to tell me that it shows “character” that I continue to support my Episcopal parish, despite that whoosh and crack! that was B033. Yes, here I remain in The Episcopal Church. Doing my bit in all my roles. Giving my offering. Giving my service. Giving my devotion. But feeling, too, that when another sacrificial offering needs to be made, the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, my Bishop, and my Deputies won’t very much mind if they have to do the whoosh and crack! routine once more on the backs of the gay and lesbian members of the Body of Christ. They already did it in Columbus. I hear it gets easier with practice.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pirates of the Anglican Communion

I’ve just recently discovered UnSaintly Pat's blog. Pat is posting some good stuff! In particular, Pat has begun writing a series of stories that are a “spoof” drawing upon The Pirates of the Caribbean. These will be especially amusing to those of you who (like me) follow the goings-on of the Anglican Communion and the various bloggers and real people engaged in those discussions.

A handful of conservative dioceses (6 or 7 of our 110+) in The Episcopal Church have advanced a profoundly wackadoo notion: that somebody create an amorphous Province X for The Truly Pure Who Really Hate The Episcopal Church. Inspired by that silliness, Unsaintly Pat has begun writing a serialized, fictionalized story. For those following our church’s adventures and misadventures, you’ll recognize familiar characters like Presiding Bishop Griswold, PB-Elect Jefferts Schori, that swashbucklin' Father Jake, and others. Pat even suggests what actors should play each character in this grand adventure, and her "matches" are perfect! I hope you’ll enjoy these installments. Begin with Part 1 of the Pirates of the Anglican Communion here. Then continue Part 2 here and Part 3 here. More installments must be forthcoming, I assume. Thanks for the entertainment, Pat!

Now ... if you have not been reading every press release and "open letter" and communique and report darting to-and-fro since the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and the attendant brouhaha in the Anglican Communion, you'll need a few words of introduction before appreciating Pat's offerings.

Here's my humble, Cliff's Notes effort to bring you sufficiently up to date.

You need to know that Pittsburgh’s bishop, Robert Duncan, issued an appeal almost as soon as the last Deputy left the Columbus convention center after the 2006 General Convention. He asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to give him and his sensitive diocese something called “alternative primatial oversight” [whatever that means!] and asked for the creation of a non-geographical “Province X” in The Episcopal Church. Apparently, their tender "consciences" need protection from the big, bad Episcopal Church and her Presiding Bishop.

Now, to understand that … you need to understand a couple of other things.

First, within The Episcopal Church, we have nine “provinces.” “Provinces” are regional groupings of dioceses within TEC. (Think New England region, Mid-Atlantic region, Southeast region, etc.) Provinces don’t actually do anything substantive, as far as I can tell. NOBODY paid attention to “provinces of The Episcopal Church” up ‘til June 2006. Think quick! Can you tell me which "province" you're in? I bet not!

But Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh wants somebody -- apparently the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom he issued his hysterical appeal -- to create a new “Province X” in the United States, to which all the “right-thinking” Episcopalians could belong, to keep themselves pure and undefiled from the other 110+ dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Hello??? There’s no such thing as a non-geographical “province” within TEC! We have created comfy little geographic provinces to get together for whatever-it-is-they-gather-for. The provinces were not created as a means for purists to separate from the supposed "heretics" in their midst. They are not "affinity groups." [The only "affinity group" we have in TEC is the group that gathers around the altar each Sunday!] And the Archbishop's ability to change the Constitutional structure of The Episcopal Church would be what?? The mind boggles. And UnSaintly Pat's mind certainly did ... in a marvelous, entertaining way.

Well … that’s a much longer introduction that I had hoped to offer.

Go there. Read that.

It’s Miserably Hot & Dry Here!

I don’t know when we last had measurable rain. And I don’t know when we dropped below 90 degrees as our daytime high. As I drive around town, every lawn is looking brown and dead. Flowers, shrubs, and even trees are drooping. From my house, I can see some huge, very old trees that are starting to turn brown and drop leaves on their way to dying.

All of which made this note from our diocesan bulletin relevant:
“Come inside and escape the fires of hell – and the heat of a Missouri summer.”
Hat tip to the Diocesan bulletin, for spotting this sign on a church in north St. Louis.


I remember back when I was in school (way back in the 1960s and ‘70s), and learned that the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 caused the First World War. I was astonished – and perplexed and stupefied – that the peoples of the earth would allow one man’s death to escalate into a world-wide war.

It was then – and has remained to me – an astonishing sequence of events. How (I asked myself) could they allow it to get so far out of hand?

But now, as I hear the terrible stories of Israel and Lebanon, it feels like history is repeating itself. As I understand it, Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. So Israel starting bombing Lebanon. And Hezbollah is retaliating by bombing Israel. And both sides are ratcheting-up the violence as quickly as they can. Other nations seem to be “holding the coats” of the two sides, if not actively abetting them. And, meanwhile, hundreds of innocent civilians on both sides are dying.

I read about such madness in my youth, looking at the causes of the First World War. I thought that madness was like “science fiction” which could never be repeated. But now a similar saga is playing-out in front of our eyes. OK. I see. Insanity does not have expiration dates. Governments can be stupid in all ages.

Which leaves somebody like me – a little nobody out here in the Midwest – feeling indescribably powerless. And sad. And very, very small, as I wait to see whether the Governments of the World will pull back from this insanity. So far as I can tell, there is nothing we little people can do but monitor the insanity via television and radio.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Leviticus 20:13

I have a question for the literalists/fundamentalists visiting here.

A priest friend of mine has asked this question again and again, among Bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people on a nation-wide Episcopal listserv. So far, no one has been willing to answer the question.

Maybe you will.

Here is the question:

“We still have not received a response concerning how one decides what in Scripture to take literally and what not to take literally ... including, for example, why the first half of Lev 20:13 must be obeyed but the second half doesn't have to be obeyed.”

Here’s the text my friend has referenced:

Leviticus 20:13 --If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.
My friend asks a valid question: If the literalists want to declare “homosexual activity” an “abomination,” how come they don’t do their God-given duty and stone us?

Is the Bible a literal guide? or is it not? If it is, why don’t you stone all the homosexuals you know??? I’ve heard of “proof-texting.” But this is half-proof-texting. Either you take this verse literally, or you do not. You take it seriously, or you do not. This mystifies me. And I would appreciate your comments.

[08.07.06 addition]: Among the comments below is one from MadPriest (a blogger whose work I've just discovered this week), in which he says he has posted further thoughts on his own blog. In his typically modest style, MadPriest has refrained from posting a hyperlink to his blog posting. But I'm proud to do so here: Of course, I could be wrong...: ALL SORTED. Go there. Read that. And, while you're there, check out his whole blog. It's a marvelous blend of erudite British wit and a generous helping of wisdom. One of my friends urges me to warn you: Don't look at MadPriest's site while drinking a beverage in front of your computer. Otherwise, you're likely to have a big clean-up job as your explosive laughter causes you to spew said beverage onto monitor and keyboard.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bottom Feeders

You friends and allies have been following my amazement that so many people have decided to throw darts at my wee little blog. I mean, what I am I? A very, very tiny blip on the Episcopal radar. I've been astonished at the number of "hits" I've gotten on this site, and amazed that 90% of those hits are coming from people on "the fundamentalist right" who clearly hate me.

But one of my friends in the blogosphere got around to calling these people what they are: Bottom Feeders, pure and simple. You can see her initial comments here. They're more developed in her "Bottom Feeder" essay here. She is spot on! (And nervy, too!)

Here’s a snippet from her essay, just to encourage you to go over there and read the whole thing:

"The current mean-spirited tactic du jour is that one of them trolls the progressive Episcopal websites, especially the Comments Section, looking for tidbits to feed their voracious appetite for turmoil and mayhem. They need it, you see, to support their fervently held claims that The Episcopal Church is going to hell in a hand basket. These folk can create an entire banquet out of the tiniest little morsel of confusion – and, they are confused by anything that isn’t writ very, very large and plain – no subtly or innuendo, thank you very much. When they find one – no matter how tiny the scrap – they drag it back over to their websites and suddenly, a throw away line becomes bold-face headline. Within minutes, a veritable feeding frenzy ensues. It is the most amazing phenomenon I have ever observed in my life."
As I get more plugged into the blogosphere, I discover that what Elizabeth described as their “mean-spirited tactic du jour” is true.

And I've seen some evidence in the threads I referenced here.

And Father Jake – who has been in the blogosphere much longer than Elizabeth or I – confirms it: As he says to her in this comment, “I see you discovered the game. When they're at a loss for posts, [that blog] uses one of ours as a dart board.”

So that’s another reason I’m posting those comments. I believe the Bottom Feeders are – whether consciously or (more likely) not – working to silence the progressive voices in The Episcopal Church. They love to find a “victim” [a.k.a. "fresh meat"] and engage in a feeding frenzy against that person. And, ya know what? It just might work. I’m new enough to this blog world that it hurt my feelings for a while, when this started happening. It did make me hesitant to post here, and made me think more about picking and choosing my words.

But, enough! Many other Episcopalians have stuck their necks out much farther than I have. And they’ve been doing it for a lot longer than I have. And it has cost them much more than it will ever cost me.

A friend recently told me about a flippant line she heard: “You just have to pull on your big-girl panties and do it!” Well, this big girl is going to try to grow some thicker skin, pull on her asbestos panties, and do it!

We’ll always have the Bottom Feeders with us. But we must get on with business. We must not let the pseudo-orthodox "Anglicans" dominate the debate.

I'm back in the fray. Pray that I'll be able to grow that thicker skin.

Rising to the Bait

I’m probably going to regret this in the morning … but, what the heck!?

One commenter downstream accused me of censorship for my decision to turn comment moderation “on” for this blog. That’s rather ironic, since I have published every one of his comments here. I’m not afraid of disagreement, though some of it does sadden me.

Strangely enough, after I announced I was going to begin moderating comments, I only got a few more comments of the “ick” variety, then they died down and took their screeds to other blogs. Perhaps the mere awareness that they were going to be scrutinized here kept some of the bottom feeders away. I don’t know. But I do know that, while waiting for these people to slink back into the primordial slime, I was determined to review comments before I allowed them to post here.

There are some things that are beyond the pale. I will allow some mild profanity here. The occasional mild expletive does not get my knickers in a twist. Heck! I’ll even allow four-letter words like "ALPO" and intellectually vapid phrases like “the plain meaning of Scripture” to be used. But there are certain four-letter words which will not appear here. [Hint: If it would make my mother blush, the word or phrase won’t get published here.] And some comments have had a hateful, unChristian tone which I will not publish here.

Now … if you want some evidence of why I had to begin moderating each and every comment, here are some of the discussions currently transpiring elsewhere in the blogosphere about a couple of my recent entries. Be forewarned: the level of disdain and vitriol in these blogs may be more than some of you want to endure. So click on these at your own risk.

Some folks flat did not like my PhotoChopped "primate" image. You may be entertained by their outrage. Fortunately, at least one blogger urged these folks to “get a life!”

My "After Columbus" post didn’t win me a bunch of fans, either. Readers at Drell's Descants were comparatively restrained – except they couldn’t decide (as they put it) "whether to laugh or throw up" at the distress I and that young man at Starbuck’s were feeling after GC06’s decisions. These Canadians also seem to have come up a gallon short on the “milk of human kindness.” But the prize goes to this Missouri blog , whose readers really went into a feeding frenzy. One progressive priest tried to remind them of the need for Christian charity, and that led to one of them calling him “Antichrist.” You really must read the comments to “feel the love” that these supposedly orthodox Christians exhibit.

Added 08.06.06: I forgot to include this site you should include in your exploration of the underbelly of Episcopalian Bottom Feeders. It’s run by a person (or group; that’s not quite clear) that typifies the behavior of trolling through liberal/progressive blogs in order to find snippets for use as target practice. This lovely little discussion is focused on a friend I’ve made in cyberspace; I merely rate a light comment about my “Mutual Whining Society” site. But the sixth-grade-level name-calling here truly did take my breath away. “St. Elizabeth of the Perpetually Huffy”? “Lizzy the Lezzie”? I am astonished at this kind of speech among purported Episcopalians! I had thought that at least Episcopalians exhibited some manners and decorum. This gang proves me wrong. To their credit, note that one or two of the regulars there actually chide their “orthodox friends” when the venom goes off the charts.

Friends, this is the kind of stuff that's being written on the sites that claim they want to cling to the "faith once delivered to the saints." If that's their faith -- and if those are the fruits of that faith -- then kindly "color me gone."

You may wonder why the heck I am publishing those links. My reason is simple, and two-fold. First, if you want to use the yardstick, “See how those Christians love one another,” then I think you’ll quickly figure out which weblogs are exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit. Second, these were the kinds of comments coming into my wee little blog, and I want you to know why I had to go into “comment moderation” mode.

Edit 8/6/06: Aha! Now I understand. It's the Cavaliers and the Roundheads again. MadPriest has a great and funny analysis of this whole dynamic. Go there and read!

Sartorial Considerations

The Bishops & Deputies went to General Convention, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

Yes, this is the one I reported wearing to our Diocesan Post-GC debriefing and on my first Sunday back in an Episcopal parish.

You can get yours, too. Just go shopping here. All the money this generates will be donated to either Claiming the Blessing or to the Episcopal Women's Caucus.

For my second Sunday back home, I wore a polo shirt with this tasteful logo from Episcopal Gear & Gifts.

(Thanks, Liz, for finding that one for me!)

No, I’m not affiliated in any way with CafePress nor any of its “shop” owners. But they are coming up with some very timely Episcopal shirts, mugs, etc.

In fact, creative designers had “It’s a Girl!” merchandise to celebrate Bishop Jefferts Schori’s election as PB within just a couple of days after the election.

Items with that design are at Jefferts Schori and at Religious Left Gear.

Knock your sartorial hearts out!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I must be doing something right!

This week I’ve managed to catch the attention of several blogs of the hysterical “OMG, the Episcopal Church is apostate” stripe. Even a guy in Canada – whose stake in this discussion would be what? – is sending folks my way. Thanks, guys! You’ve done worlds for my site stats!

But here’s one word of warning: So far, I’m allowing anybody who’s registered to post comments here. Mostly, folks have behaved like Christians. I’ve even enjoyed some very good exchanges with Dallas Deacon Phil, despite our disagreements in the Presenting Issue, in the comments downstream.

However, this evening I’ve come to the attention of one of those bottom-feeder blogs that Elizabeth has characterized so aptly, and the first commenter coming from that site does not bode well for my continued open-door policy.

So … friends … I’ll be monitoring the blog closely in the next few hours. If you go over the top, I’ll turn comment moderation ”on” again, so that I’ll have sole approval over each comment, determining whether or not it gets published here. Disagree if you wish. But let’s speak as the Christians we claim to be.

Edit 08.03.06: Friends, the trend I perceived has indeed come to pass. This latest blog to link to mine has directed some commenters here whose language and neanderthal level of cognition would be awarded medals on Virtue. So I've had to turn comment moderation on. No comments will get through the site until I get back home and have a chance to review each of them. I'm sorry this will get in the way of the thoughtful souls who want to comment here. But I'll review all your comments and "clear" the Christian ones as soon as I get back to e-access.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Unexpected Visitors

Sally Fields exclaimed something along the lines of, "You like me! You really like me!!" when she accepted that Oscar statue.

When I started this humble little blog, it had something like 30 hits per day. I was quite happy with that. All I wanted was a quiet, peaceful little blog I could share with a few friends.

But Tuesday, I started noticing the hits to this little corner of the blogosphere were going through the virtual roof (compared to my expectations, at least). And I found that one of the so-called "reasserters" in our church alerted his sycophants to one of my posts here, and provided a link to my modest little blog. Lo and behold, I had over 200 hits today alone.

I'd feel really good about that . . . except at this point, well over 80% of the visitors to this little blog are coming from his devotees. And I've seen how they behave. Very much like harpies.

I'd like to think, "Gosh! They really like me!" But I know better.

I'm doing my best to clean out the more hateful WingNuts' comments from the blog, so as to keep this a civil place. If any of you notice comments that are over the top, please e-mail me. Those of you who are at home here probably already have my e-address.

Nick Knisely Addresses "The Issue"

I don’t personally know the physicist–turned-priest & GC Deputy Nick Knisely. But I wish I did. He seems to be a genuine middle-of-the-roader. And I like how his middle-of-the-road instincts are heading in his The Michelson-Morley Experiment and the Experience of Gay and Lesbian Christians.

Here's an excerpt from early in his essay:

Einstein decided to trust in the report of the observer and by making that decision he was able to gain a radical new insight into the nature of reality.

He did the same sort of thing when considering the Eotvos experiment. He began by taking at face value the experimental result that inertial and gravitational mass were exactly the same. And from that he reasoned his way through the Principle of
- that is the idea that underlies all of the mind-bending thinking of General Relativity.

Now – as to the experience of GLBT Christians:

I believe that people come into the Church by the graceful gift of faith and in entering the Church, the Holy Spirit begins a process of regeneration and transformation.

I believe that all Christians are being transformed into the people God wants us to become.

I believe that gay and lesbian people come into the Church as fully and as totally as I do through a relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus.

Gay and lesbian people report that they find themselves transformed by their encounters with the Risen Christ. But they do not uniformly find that their sexuality or sexual orientation is transformed.

If we believe this report, then what does this tell us about God's desires for them?

Knisely then argues that it's time for people in The Episcopal Church -- and folks throughout the Anglican Communion -- to enter into the kind of "listening" that Einstein brought to his explorations.

His essay is way too intelligent to get traction throughout our Church! But ... wouldn't it be nice?

Confusion about Anglican Terminology

Many Episcopalians just aren’t accustomed to thinking of themselves as part of the Anglican Communion. So as we deal with Archbishops and synods and so on, there’s often some confusion. You may have read about the importance of the Primates’ Meeting, and about how the Archbishop of Canterbury can’t decide what to do about the Episcopal Church until he consults with the primates, but you don’t really know what a primate is or what one looks like.

Well, here you are!

Tip o' the mitre to my friend ToeWalker for providing us with this nice visual aid.

Your Education is Not My Problem

I am tired -- sick unto death, if you must know -- of having "conservatives" just now waking up in 2006 and asking me to explain to them our church's stance on the ordination of gay people or the blessing of gay/lesbian relationships. I'm just not going to do their homework for them.

Today conservative Episcopalian Brad Drell brought a whole bunch of folks to my and Elizabeth Kaeton's blogs, because of some things we had written. [No, I am not going to give you a hyperlink to his hate-pandering site. Google it, if you want to go there.] Predictably, several commenters who came from his blog to ours (but mostly to Elizabeth's) posed the same old tired questions – most centered on the hackneyed “Where in Scripture do you find a defense for homosexual behavior?” Elizabeth+ did a marvelous, restrained job of replying to those questions at Telling Secrets: After Columbus, and I salute her ability to exercise restraint.

Generally, people who pose such questions on blogs are not really coming with questions in search of new information. No, they just lob attacks posing as questions. But Elizabeth was calm in her replies, and directed the commenters to several, widely available resources, which these people could have read over the past three years.

I’m going to post several of those resources here, because I am not ever going to reply to those questions. If I keep writing here, I'm sure some of the radical WingNuts will come here to do that so-called "speaking the truth in love" thing that they seem to enjoy. But I am not a theologian. So when those people come here, I will simply refer them to these resources:

1. The Claiming the Blessing Theology Statement is also accompanied by the Voices of Witness video

2. To Set our Hope on Christ was prepared as The Episcopal Church's first formal response to The Windsor Report. That written report, To Set our Hope on Christ, was presented to the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005. You can download audio and video files of the in-person presentations to the ACC here.

3. Integrity prepared study materials for parishes and other groups studying To Set our Hope on Christ. A portal to those materials is available here.

4. I just found this page at Religious Intolerance, which analyzes the 6 “clobber verses” in the Bible that are most often cited by those who argue that, without exception, homosexual behavior is sinful. It has many other links enbedded in it. [Edit: This link added 08.02.06]

This pretty much says it all for me: At "Love Them Anyway," in a comment, Elizabeth+ tells this story of an encounter with an African-American woman.

This is probably going to sound harsh. I do not mean it that way.

Once I asked a good friend who is African American about a particular aspect of racism. She signed deeply and said, "Look it up." When I looked confused, she said, "Listen, your education about ending racism is your responsibility, not mine. Go look it up. You'll learn it better." "Besides," she said, "I have enough to deal with in my own oppression. Don't ask me to take on the additional burden of your education."

So . . . if you really want to know more, start reading. Then, engage yourself in a face-to-face conversation with a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person. Look for the Christ in him/her. Be in relationship with him/her. Then, do some more reading.

Besides, I have enough to deal with in my own oppression. Don't ask me to take on the additional burden of your education.

Folks, the Episcopal Church has spent 30 years engaging in dialogue on this topic. We have created our theological statements. Many haven’t bothered to engage them yet. But most importantly: It’s your responsibility – not mine – to educate yourself about your homophobia . Go read, mark, and inwardly digest the materials that have been provided.

Once you've read these materials, then go someplace else if you want to have a theological debate. I'm not a theologian; I'm just a lowly faithful Episcopalian. If you want to debate theology, find a blog where they enjoy doing that. This is not that place.

Note: I revised this post lightly on Aug. 2, to add some other background materials that are available online. I'll continue to do that, as I identify others that may be helpful.