Saturday, September 30, 2006


Please join me in sending good wishes this day to Elizabeth Kaeton! October 1 is the 20th anniversary of her priesting, according to Church Publishing. Never mind that Elizabeth claims October 18 as her priesting day! See her post here for her reflections upon that day. And join me in singing this festive song.

October 1 or October 18, I don't much care. I just give thanks to God that God called her to the ordained ministry, and that Elizabeth had ears to hear that call!

Send your good wishes to her e-address or via her blog.

Friday, September 29, 2006


When all was said and done, I couldn't do it. I could not make the 500-mile drive, when it all came down. For the 1st time in 20 years of doing workshops and making conference presentations and consultations, I had to bale on a national conference appearance. And am now feeling like a P.O.S.

This is Day 7 of The Weird Hand Paralysis/No Motor Control Thing [TWHPNMCT]. I've been mostly optimistic and stoical through it all. Trying to pack last night, the brave front started crumbling, as I became aware that my left hand, too, seems to be succumbing to TWHPNMCT. I hoped it would pass. It did not. It was even worse this morning. I was unable to make the drive. So I am still here at home.

Fortunately, the conference organizers were most understanding. The nun with whom I had worked to arrange this is not just a nun, but a former nurse. She has been marvelous through this – offering both medical and spiritual support.

The tremors of left hand and foot are worse today, lots worse. Right hand about the same as I wrote yesterday.

Reached the doc's office today; they say blood work was all normal, and I should just sit tight and check with them early next week. "Sit tight" is hard.

Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, this just flat cracked me up. There's a woman up in Canada who obsessively checks my blog many, many times a day. [I know, cuz I see her "hits,"] I think she's a closet lesbian who has developed a deep-seated obsession for me. She offered this armchair diagnosis today on one of The Other Side's blogs:

Oh, so THIS is the website that caused Lisa Fox to blow a gasket last week! I didn’t know what she was talking about. Incidentally, she’s sick right now; you might want to add her to your prayer list. Not a stroke, but the symptoms sound very similar and quite scary. And I even thought a week ago that someone filled with so much rage was a prime candidate for a stroke; it’s just not healthy.

I suppose I can quit talking with my doc now. This "Christian" has given me my diagnosis. It's all about rage – not nerve endings. What ya wanna bet she's also a member of the Flat Earth Society??? As Elizabeth+ would say: Ya just can't make this stuff up!

And with that ridiculous note from the "reasserter" side. I'll finish this for tonight.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Note

Gosh! I wish I had something good to say on the medical front. I thought maybe improvement was going to start escalating. Not! Hand is essentially the same. Except it seems to have a stronger instinct to curl into a ball. [Actually, this is starting to hurt. A lot. A very big whole lot.] And it seems to flop a whole lot more. Still no control over my fingers. Am rather bummed. "Rather." Yeah, right.

Wednesday when the doc's office called, I begged them to use my office phone number for communications! They said they would probably have bloodtest results today. Nurse Judy made a point of saying they would call my work. So what did I find tonight when I got home? Of course: another message from the doc's office, asking me to call, and bragging that "we'll be here 'til 5:00." Well, no shit, Sherlock!!! And I was in my office 'til 5, too! But because these jerks can't follow the simplest instructions about how to reach me, I get to spend all night wondering what news/results they have for me.

Small rant coming: These people can't even reliably record and track a simple telephone number, and I'm supposed to entrust them with my health care and maybe my life??!!?? Helloooooooooo?

I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging in the next few days. I have a road trip coming.

About two years ago I accepted a speaking gig for this Saturday. I get to drive 500 miles to teach a 4-hour workshop to Roman Catholic nuns about how to do preserve their archival collections. I did a mini-workshop for this same group 2 or 3 years ago, when their national meeting was here in Missouri. I had a delightful time with them! They liked my session so much they asked me to be their keynoter this weekend. And I enjoyed them so much I agreed to do it essentially gratis. So tomorrow (Friday) I'll drive 500 miles to their conference site, to teach a 4-hr session Saturday.

When I accepted their invitation so long ago, little did I realize how difficult this trip might be. I love long-distance drives! In my normal mode, a 500-mile drive is just a warm-up exercise. But where I am now, it feels a bit daunting. The notion of driving one-handed feels a bit intimidating.

Somehow, I must get ready for that trip. Must do all the necessary travel prep. In my normal life, this would be a no-brainer. Packing and prep. But with just one good hand, everything goes so much slower and is so much more labor-intensive! Hold a good thought for me.

I'll blog again as soon as I can.

[And so you know: writing these meager words has required over 50 mins. Which is why I warn some of u that I can reply much more effectively via phone than in writing.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Signs of Hope

I'll confess: I went to bed last night pretty darn discouraged about the medical situation. Tonight I'm a bit more hopeful. Let me give the linear version. And since I am a GOTS [thanks, L!], you know it's going to be long.

When I said last night that I was "not amused," that was a serious understatement. I feared I was on a downward trajectory, and this was only getting worse.

Not long after I got home yesterday, I had a call from my priest. Who pretty much told me that she was going to come by and bring me dinner. [I've not been able to cook, nor to eat food that requires knife and fork. Would that I were back in Lui, where everyone eats with their hands!] Others in the parish have been asking how they could help, and I have assiduously said I was fine and didn't need help. J+ didn't so much "ask" as she "announced" she was coming. Thank God. She came by and we had a very good visit – good chat, and then I was finally able to name and discuss some of my fears. And she had brought oil for anointing, and that was a very special experience.

Just after I awoke this morning, someone from my doctor's office called. My doc wanted me to go to the clinic for a blood draw. So I did that on the way to work. Later, I called the doc's nurse to ask why. She said it's just "standard procedure" for this kind of paralysis. She said they should get results and call me Friday.

And, yes, I am still going to work. Some of you who have written/called assumed I was staying home. Not so! I'm not sick, and I don't hurt, so it would've felt stupid to sit home and eat bon-bons.

Late this afternoon I was chatting with one of my staff members, with my dead right forearm dangling over her low cubicle wall. Suddenly I realized my hand had moved!! I had moved my hand upward from the wrist by almost half an inch!! Then I wiggled my fingers!! And some small sections of my hand are hurting or tingling. I think this is A Good Thing [tm]. Surely it means the nerve is mending. Surely!

I can now draw this meat-hook-formerly-known-as-a-hand into something like a fist to do simple tasks like picking up my cell phone. Can't control it enough to operate said phone – but just being able to grasp something is a huge, huge improvement!

Many of you have included me in your personal or corporate prayer lists. I ask you to please continue. Even as I am eager to tell you about these new, hopeful signs, there's still a long way to go. I'd say I probably have regained about 10% of my right hand function – for which I am very grateful. But I'm still a long way from being the writer and Episcopal Majority blogmaster I was and want to be.

And be aware I remain pretty hamstrung and virtually tongue-tied in private e-mail correspondence. I'm still limited to one-handed keying in which I use weird shorthand and am prone to lots of errors and typos. Am working hard here on the blog to post in "standard English" and do appropriate proofreading. This post, for example, which should have come flowing out of my fingers in 10-15 minutes has taken over 90 minutes to write. That remains frustrating. If you know my phone number and want to chat, please call instead of e-mailing.

But I am hopeful – more so than in these last five days. That's cause for much, much happiness tonight.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday update

I've promised to post updates here about this medical situation , so here goes.

My hand/wrist hurt lots yesterday starting late afternoon. Since it had been fairly numb 'til then, I surmised maybe this was A Good Thing [TM] – that this might mean the nerve was mending. So I went to bed expecting to awake this morning with significant improvement – but no. I woke to no real pain and no improvement. Maybe the radial nerve is like the groundhog: saw its shadow and went into retreat.

Incidentally, this has been odd: When I'm sick, I feel rotten. When I'm hurt/injured, I feel pain. But this is wholly different, and bizarre to me. This (please God) temporary "disability" significantly affects every waking moment and every activity. I'm constantly having to find work-arounds. [It took almost 10 minutes to open the cat food yesterday. The cats were not pleased!] But I don't hurt; in fact, I feel hunky-dory. Significant cognitive dissonance there.

Incidentally, this certainly has begun to open my eyes to some disability issues. What I've experienced here for a mere four days is – of course – nothing. But this tiny taste may be very important for me.

I promised a report after seeing my regular doctor today. So here it is, though I don't know much more than I did when I left the ER Saturday. She did some of the evaluative analysis like checking reflexes, strength, resistance movement, etc. She wants to give it another week before doing any kind of "advanced" testing. As she put it: if it's indeed palsy, it will be gone in a week. If it's some other neurological thing, it'll hang around for the test. But she said the EMG [which is the next logical test] is sufficiently uncomfortable that she'd like to avoid it until necessary.

There's one more thing I do now know: I've mentioned that – besides my right pretty much hanging useless at the end of my forearm – my left hand and leg also "felt funny/shaky/something." Her analysis confirmed that. Left hand doesn't move well when I try to lift it in a palm-down position. Likewise for my left foot. There's a measurable level of impairment.

I am not amused. But I do feel enveloped in prayers and affection. Thanks – great, many and true thanks – to all of you!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Wake-Up Call

It certainly has been a dramatic few days. This sequence for me began in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning. I need to tell you why I have been so quiet in these last few days, when so much has been poppin' in the Anglican universe.

Every now and then, one gets a wake-up call. I got one Saturday morning.

I awoke ca. 5:30 a.m. Saturday, slumped over my computer where I had fallen asleep after posting about 6 articles to The Episcopal Majority. As my eyes came open, I saw that ToeWalker our EpiscoGeek had asked me a question. And – eyes and instincts coming awake – I tried to key a reply to him. But – oops! – I found I had no motor control in my right hand. It was like my right hand had fallen asleep. I figured it would pass quickly. But it did not, and still has not.

In those wee hours of Saturday, I quickly e-mailed ToeWalker that I seemed to have suffered a major system malfunction in my right hand, and was going to the emergency room.

I initially thought I would drive myself to the ER. But as I began trying to gather my things here, I realized I was beginning also to suffer some loss of motor control in my left hand too. eeeyikes. Had thought I could drive myself to the hospital, but realized I could not. So I had to take the humiliating step of calling 911 and having an ambulance carry me to the hospital.

Like me, the ambulance guys seemed afraid I was having a stroke. And that seemed to be the initial concern of the ER docs, too. But I was not, thanks be to God.

After a good long time, the ER doc diagnosed it as "radial nerve palsy" -- not a stroke, thank God! which symptoms were suggesting. Which should heal itself. And she released me, so I could walk home from the hospital. ER doc said it should clear up within a week; if not, I'll see a neurologist & they'll take a peek at my brain.

Here's what's happening: In my right hand [and I am right-handed] it's kinda like paralysis. I tell my fingers to move & they don’t. I give my hand & fingers commands, and they just laugh at me. I can't hold anything, can't exercise any motor control. There's noticeably reduced motor control in my left hand too. Both hands have a tendency to move & twitch on their own now. Typing is awfully slow & tedious. I continue reading e-mail, but replying or writing is excruciatingly tiring.

So on this weekend when I have been dyin' to comment on the news & developments occurring in the Anglican Communion – and wanting to post quick replies to the comments at both TEM & MOL – this formerly fast touch-typist has been reduced to very, very slow and frustrating hunt-and-peck communications. I've been vacillating between anger and frustrated-tears as I have tried to cope with this.

& some of u have rec'd notes like this – those of u whom I trust 2 try 2 hear me w/o careful keying. Thx to u 4 hearing n trying 2 decipher. U R the 1s with hom I don’t feel need 2 b careful.

Tomorrow I go to my primary doc. I'll let you all know what I learn.

One last thought. As I was fully engaged in my pity-party today, I received Barbara Crafton's latest Almost Daily e-mo, and I am just slack-jawed and grateful for what I do have. And praying fervently that we will have her voice with us forever. My burden is light, and my yoke is easy. Please send all your prayers Barbara's way!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Battling the Powers & Principalities

Until today, I had held-off from labeling our opponents as "evil." The gloves are off now. I'm now ready to say those people are evil and slimy. Certainly not all of them. God knows, there are a few people of integrity on the conservative side. But they are being led by the nose and bankrolled by slime-buckets – or what my friend Elizabeth would call bottom-feeders.

Here's how I came to that conclusion. I sat with this all day, trying to decide what I want/need to do with/about it. And I finally decided that everyone in our church needs to know about this.

Let me begin with some background, which many of you do not know. After I created the blog for The Episcopal Majority, someone created a site called The Episcopal Majority which seeks to denigrate ours. It's a pitifully lame site. I don't go there. I think it's probably the invention of one man sitting in a very badly soiled bathrobe, who gets his jollies by making fun of honest-to-God faithful Episcopalians. Do not visit his site, lest you excite him so that he further soils his already filthy bathrobe.

A couple weeks ago, we decided to create an honest-to-goodness fully-functional website, not mere blog, for The Episcopal Majority. Imagine our surprise to discover some "conservative" had gone in just ahead of us and laid claim to the domain names "" and "" Initially, we were ticked! But then we realized we were dealing with a lying, deceitful, and very frightened fraud. He/They thought he/they could fight us by laying claim to our name. This is exactly the tactic that +Duncan is trying: He is trying to pretend that he and his cabal are The Episcopal Church. Any sane person knows he/they are not. But these people are sufficiently sick with their power-grab that they believe their claims. So do the people who registered our name as their web domains. Friends, these are very sick people, bent on control. And they will stop at nothing. No deed is too low for them. I name them evil. They are the powers and principalities against which we must contend.

But do not be deceived, my friends. You can find us at our brand spankin' new website: The Episcopal Majority.

The liars and thieves want to take over our church and our identity. They are trying to steal our parishes and whole dioceses. Of course they would not hesitate to steal Web-addresses. Our only fault was that we made the mistake of believing we were dealing with honorable people. But these are not honorable people. They are thieves and liars. I have friends in Network dioceses who tried to tell me that. But I did not "get it" until I saw the smarmy, cheap shots that the Network crowd would resort to.

But they will not succeed. Because they are pitiful, pitiable, and despicable little people – people who have not one single new idea in their little pea-brains. They have not had a new idea since our church decided to ordain women. They are the very emblem of bottom-feeders. All they have is a desire to co-opt our strength and our ideas. Your strength and support already tells me these nay-sayers have lost.

Now for the latest chapter in this little drama.

The shriveled little pecker masquerading as "em" on the lying site decided to take a big ol' swipe at me. I'm posting that entry in full here. When I first read it, it seemed to hurt, of course. But ya know what? Having had 12 hours to think about it now, I'm proud that this little anonymous twit decided to post this. As my friend ToeWalker said, "The Darkness will only attack what it fears. Well, the Darkness is at it again. Fearing who we are and what we are about, we are now under personal attack. Rather than call into question our ideals, those who wish to do us harm are now attacking us on a very, very personal level."

As an aside: This also makes me very proud that we on The Episcopal Majority have decided to be completely transparent about who we are. You can find us and our names on our new site. But this little weenie is hiding behind a cloak of anonymity – the last, best refuge of a coward.

Let them take their best shot. All they have done is motivate me to post more often and more passionately on this blog. Obviously, I have those forces of darkness worried. May I make them more so.

As their hero said many months ago: Bring it on!

And now, without further ado, here's what the anonymous little chicken chose to say about me in the post entitled Lisa Fox—Episcopal Majority leader?

Lisa L. Fox is involved. The Senior Conservator of the Missouri State Archives is also the creator and an administrator of a blog for the organization known as The Episcopal Majority. More recently she helped create a website for the organization. She maintains her own blog—My Manner of Life and is member and Eucharistic Minister at Grace Episcopal Church, Jefferson City.

Her spot on the GPS grid brings some tensions. In the
About me sidebar on her blog, she writes “I’m a progressive Episcopalian now living in the conservative Midwest and feeling a bit like a ‘stranger in a strange land.’”

The Episcopal Majority organization became vitally important to her after her deep disappointments with the Episcopal Church’s General Convention (GC) in Columbus (2006). Her grief was as deep as her joy had been high after the approval by GC 2003 of Gene Robinson to be the first person living in a gay relationship to be made a bishop for the Anglican Communion.

Her words
posted on Louie Crew’s website in 2005: “My heart sang on that weekend morning when I heard of his selection by the diocese of New Hampshire, and my heart soared when I heard that GC03 had approved that consecration.” She follows with this: “But so too has my heart wept with the nasty, divisive language that has come from the minority in TEC and the (apparent?) majority of the Anglican Communion in the past almost-two years.”

It got worse for her at GC 2006. She writes
in a recent post on her blog: “I started writing because I was angry and hurting about what happened during GC06, in the still-infamous B033.”

That resolution, passed under extreme pressure from the Presiding Bishop and Presiding Bishop Elect (both supporters of the gay cause in TEC) reads:

“Resolved, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

The name of Ms. Fox’s blog–My Manner of Life–picks up a line of the resolution as a protest. The other step she took was to join the efforts of the Episcopal Majority organization. See
Who are The Episcopal Majority? for the official purpose statement. Lisa Fox’s more lively purpose statement is: “…to take back our Church from the right-wing extremists.”

Lisa Fox is passionate about this cause.
She writes out the reason for her visceral reactions:

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"!
Lisa Fox testifies to suffering, but we must ask whether her position and way of supporting it represents the majority of Episcopalians, as her organization claims in its name. We are not going to tackle her claim (found in the post linked to above) that: “Most Episcopalians are comfortable with the full inclusion of gay people in all orders of ministry.” We don’t believe that has been established by a scientific poll. Time will tell how accurate the claim is. The reader is part of the answer.

But, we see a severe disconnect between the ideal for Christian reconciliation Lisa Fox writes about and her uniformly virulent descriptions of all those she most differs with in the Episcopal Church.

The ideal she cites, describing her Episcopal Majority co-workers: “…they are – as I am – determined that we will succeed in keeping The Episcopal Church a place that can embrace different opinions as we strive to seek and serve Christ together and in one another.”

Later in the same post she extols this ideal: “what holds us together is that we pray together and we go to the altar together while we seek the Truth together.”

Now listen to the invective; ask yourself if this fits these ideals. Ask yourself if it represents the real Episcopal majority:

-From the same post as the ideals affirmed above: “I don’t mind
naming names and kickin’ butt, because those organizations personify the “whited sepulchres” Jesus condemned.” The links are to the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council.

-In a post called
Passionate Hatred, she reports on finding this quotation from Eric Hoffer (the longshoreman philosopher):

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.
To whom does she apply these words about emptiy lives?: “Yep! Now I understand what those people are saying over on the conservative blogs! Passionate hatred R them.”

Lisa Fox doesn’t have a ghost of an idea about the character and manner of Bishops Duncan, Salmon, Howe, Ackerman or a “reasserting” leader and blogger like Kendall Harmon. I can’t name another group who so consistently exemplify gentleness, grace, and Christian love more than these leaders do. Where I sense a consuming kind of hatred is in the consistent words of Lisa Fox.

In another post, Ms. Fox writes:

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.
The perpetrator of evil in this case is
Brad Drell. Lisa Fox gives him the title: “the Knight of What It Means to Be Truly ‘Orthodox’.”

-Then, possibly to lighten up a little, we have
Lisa Fox’s depiction of the Primates of the Anglican Communion

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!
Let’s not cry “racist” and let’s admit that few of us are thrilled with the title “Primate.” But I don’t know any other way to take this photoshop effort than the obvious one—the “global south” Primates are a bunch of monkeys. It would be consistent with all you find in her blog.

Nowhere have we have found that Lisa Fox addresses conservatives (or reasserters, or whatever) who are active in supporting the historic convictions of the Anglican Communion in terms of her professed ideals of prayer and an invitation to the Lord’s Table. All is invective.

Does this leader of the organization known as The Episcopal Majority represent the real Episcopal majority? We don’t think so.

A final sadness about Lisa Fox comes from
her characterization of General Convention (2006) Resolution D058, titled “Salvation Through Christ Alone.” She can only see it as a “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” resolution. She is unable to envision that it might have had a positive motive behind it—calling to the foreground the Church’s mission of witness. She calls it a “tiresome, unnecessary resolution.”
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.
Her theology and soteriology?:
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.
The abysmal lack of awareness of the classic Christian gospel, which gospel is the engine of the Anglican Communion Network, is truly sobering. We pray that this does not represent the true Episcopal majority.

Postscript: Now in May 2007, the increasingly desperate "leaders" of the StandFirm site have sent their lackeys to this posting of mine. I'm not sure why. But it led me to notice that (in my early days of blogging) I had not paid much attention to the formatting of this post. So I've now tried to clean up the formatting. I hope this will improve the aim of the StandFirm crowd. The further we get into this whole thing, the more they make me laugh.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I Grow Weary

I have a hunch that I can use this little blog as a journal now. It's been so long since I last posted anything of substance, pretty much everyone has given up clicking on it. That gives me a freedom maybe I didn't have before.

This is probably going to be long. Very, very long. Much longer than most blog-readers can tolerate. But I'm a southerner in my bones, and we reserve the right to pursue truth through very long and circuitous stories. I claim that right. This will be a very long story.

Since August 9, my nights and weekends have been devoted to work over at The Episcopal Majority. That grassroots effort is gaining ground very quickly. I do much of the editing that's involved in the essays we post there, surrounded – thanks be to God – by a marvelous team of editors.

Over the last month, several friends and other folks in my parish have remarked that I look tired or seem to be losing weight. They've cautioned me against spending so much time on that effort.

From time to time, I've wondered what was fueling my passion for that work. I had dived into it unquestioningly. Never thought much about the "why." So I started trying to explain it to my friends.

I knew part of my motivation. Working with The Episcopal Majority, I am surrounded by a marvelous cadre of Episcopalians who care for one another, care deeply for our Church, are smart, and funny, and really smart, and really, really funny, and have a profoundly pastoral care for one another and for everyone who comes onto our website. And they are – as I am – determined that we will succeed in keeping The Episcopal Church a place that can embrace different opinions as we strive to seek and serve Christ together and in one another.

Only this morning did I notice another factor that has fueled my passion for The Episcopal Majority, and why I've spent my time there and neglected this one. But it took sitting through a very uncomfortable Adult Forum to get that insight.

I established this blog After Columbus. I started writing because I was angry and hurting about what happened during GC06, in the still-infamous B033. Though I managed a few posts here that were light-hearted or analytical, mostly it was about hurt and anger.

Then I hooked up with The Episcopal Majority. Finally, I had found a group of people who were doing something positive about the attempted coup. My work there has been restorative. It has been healing. That's how I explained it to friends who were concerned about me. I was turning my hurt and anger into positive steps to reassert the traditional Anglican values and to take back our Church from the right-wing extremists who are funded by people and organizations with a political agenda.

It was good. And The Episcopal Majority is succeeding. We are growing in numbers and influence. I have loved my work over there, and I am not backing-off from it.

But I had a sobering wake-up call this morning during our parish's Adult Forum.

The speaker was one of our diocese's Deputies to GC06. Mike opened by talking about what's involved in serving as a Deputy, what it meant to him spiritually to be involved in the work of the larger Church, and highlighting the positive things that happened during Convention. Then he distributed a handout about GC's specific actions. The first question confronted this gentle man with antagonism, wanting to know why TEC refused to apologize for the consecration of +Robinson … and, by extension, I think he would have wished our Church to strip Bishop Robinson of his office, too.

And I just sat there.

Mike did his best, in his gentle way, to acknowledge the hurt that some have felt, and how our Church is trying to be pastoral with those who are truly hurt. He also made the point that some are not really hurt – but are simply trying to whip up hysteria for their own purposes. Mike was too kind to do so, but I don't mind naming names and kickin' butt, because those organizations personify the "whited sepulchres" Jesus condemned.

In the course of responding, Mike observed what I think most Episcopalians would aver: that we don't believe that any one of us alone can possess the whole truth as we sit alone with our Bibles, but we need to seek out others and engage them to move toward real Truth.

Oh my! Did that get a rise!

I must provide some background here: The Sunday after GC, our Bishop wrote a letter that was to be read in all parishes of the diocese. To my great sadness, he supported B033, but in that letter he also gave a sop to the inclusion of faithful gay men and lesbians in the life of our diocese. When that "inclusion" segment of the letter was read, this one couple in our parish rose from their near-front-row seats and walked out! We are Episcopalians. We do not walk out. We do not behave in unseemly ways. But they walked out.

Back to today's forum: The husband of that couple challenged Mike, claiming that – by God! – he sure is competent to sit with his Bible and know the Truth. Then the wife chimed in, about how she has read the Bible and it seems pretty clear to her that homosexuality is a sin.

And I just sat there.

Mike – smart and good-hearted layman that he is – tried to explain that there are different ways to read Scripture and that we need to read it and discern its meanings together.

And I just sat there. I sat there wondering if anyone in my parish – of the people who claim to love me – would say a word.

Knowing this couple's politics, a thought came into my head: I know they are staunch conservatives (politically as well as theologically). I am almost certain they support the death penalty. I believe they are as wrong as wrong can be in that, and I believe I have Jesus' very own explicit words to back me up – not just some Hebrew scriptures and conflicted Pauline words; I believe Jesus' own words support me. But that does not keep me from going to the altar with them. It does not keep me from handing the chalice to them when I'm serving as Eucharistic Minister. It does not lead me to charge them with "doubting the authority of Scripture." It most certainly does not lead me to "convict them of their sin" in the way they seem free to convict me of mine. It does not lead me to invoke trite "I hate the sin, but love the sinner" condemnations. No! While convinced that I am right and they are wrong, I trust the Spirit to lead them and to lead me into all Truth, but probably not this side of the grave. Where is the "disconnect" here? They want to murder people in the name of the state, but I do not doubt their faith. I want to find a faithful loving relationship in which I may grow in the fuller knowledge of Christ and of God, and that makes them doubt mine. I trust the Spirit to lead all of us – eventually – into all Truth. They want to shove their truth down my throat.

And I just sat there.

I had made up my mind before today's session that I was not going to speak. I did everything short of slapping duct-tape across my mouth. It took some effort. But I wanted to know what my parish had to say. Because this is partly what made me take my sabbatical after GC in the first place: my lack of confidence in my Church and in my parish. Anybody who read my early posts in this blog knows that.

Then the word came from a most unexpected source: a guy I've scarcely ever talked with. He made the point that what holds us together is that we pray together and we go to the altar together while we seek the Truth together. He pointed out that this kind of absolutist claim upon "personal truth" is a very recent innovation. [It occurs to me it's not actually recent; it's exactly the claim that the Puritans made, and which led them to burn many of us at the stake. But I digress.]

And when he finished speaking – for the first time in the 8 years I've been in this parish and attending Adult Forum – a goodly number of people responded with spontaneous applause. Of course, good Episcopalians all, they quickly stifled themselves back into decorum. God love 'em!

And the bell rang, and folks moved on to the 10:30 service. But one dear woman did sidle up to me, to tell me about a marvelous story she read today in the NYTimes, about the courtship and marriage of a gay couple. I believe she meant it as a loving gesture of support, and I took it that way. Thank God for her! But other than that, my fellow parishioners just moved on up to the nave for the service. I believe that if this had been a session about any other Old Testament "sin," there would have been a great outpouring of affection toward those who might have felt "attacked." But not here. Not for the queers. Here, I got one brave, eloquent man speaking in public, and one dear friend coming to me in private afterwards.

I guess it's not nice to side with the queers.

And how many people walked up to the nave saying to themselves, "Thank God I am not a queer?"

Me, I'm just glad this was an Adult Forum. I'm glad our children and young people were upstairs hearing Bible stories about Jesus. I'm glad that no child or young person was there to hear what I heard. For surely some of them know they are one of "those people," and it would break my heart for them to hear what I heard.

I've written this here as a sort of "brain dump." I started it with the title, "I Grow Weary." Because my overwhelming sense after that session was that I am just so tired of the self-satisfied Bible-thumpers. I had already served as crucifer in the 8:00 Rite I service, so I didn't move up to the nave with the bulk of the group. I left. And I've been fairly morose all day since – discouraged about the disconnect between what we are doing at The Episcopal Majority vs. these fellow parishioners who still make it clear that I am a second-class child of God, to be relegated to the "downstairs" of The Episcopal Church – if not to hell fires.

But the exercise of writing here has brought another facet of this morning's Adult Forum into sharper focus: that man who reminded them of our common prayer, and that spontaneous, brief outburst of applause, and the woman who approached me quietly afterwards. Maybe that was the embrace I needed, against the judgment and condemnation I was feeling.

Still, I am weary. I am weary of having my life and heart and soul subject to the votes of General Convention every three years. I am weary of having my life hung out as an "object of discussion" at adult forums every now and then.

Grateful as I am for Mike and those two other voices and those brief moments of affirming applause … my friends, I am weary beyond weary.

Another Must-Read

As many of you know, ToeWalker is back! Like me, he has not had much time for personal blogging, as most non-business hours of the day and night continue to be devoted to The Episcopal Majority. But he certainly did return with a bang! See the essay by his partner, A Boy and His Church. It puts a human face on what is at stake in the current battle for the soul of The Episcopal Church.