Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog-addiction Laugh

Ann Fontaine is a wonder! I got this from her. When Big Things happen in the Anglican/Episcopal blogosphere, my first thought is about how I will blog it. I can't count the times I have said to myself, "I am so blogging this!" So this image is just perfect.

courtesy of The Telegraph's Christmas Cards for Geeks

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TEC Communications

I've written often before about the miserable decline in communications from the Episcopal Church over the last year or so. There was a marvelous opening of communication after +KJS was consecrated, and it was one of the reasons that The Episcopal Majority decided we could stand down. But at some point TEC and/or KJS decided to quit trying to communicate with the church and the world.

I thought I was the only one remarking this, until I saw this post from Dylan Breuer tonight. She asks very good questions, and she asks them better than I could. This is most damning: Julia Duin [No friend of TEC!] comments on Dylan's post:

I am one of those secular media people and all I know is that these days when you call TEC for a comment, they won't give one (which is their job, last I heard). Instead, they refer people to Jim Naughton, spokesman for the Diocese of Washington. Seems that Jim has plenty on his place w/o having to act as the spokesman for all of TEC...
It gets worse. The Episcopal Church has posted a survey on its homepage, in which it's asking for feedback about the structure of its website. Have you (like me) tried to find some information on our church website and found yourself frustrated? I do. I regularly go to TEC's site looking for information and being frustrated. This survey will only accentuate your frustration. They purport to ask for feedback, but comments are limited to 50 characters. There's one question where they ask why you seek information from the site. They offer about 17 options, 15 of which are roles like "I'm a Deputy," or bishop, or Executive Council Member, or member of one of the CCABs, etc. They offer 17 options -- 15 of which are "insider" roles, and the other two are something like "I'm just an Episcopalian." The message to me was: If you're not an insider, you're 1/17th of an Episcopalian. Who the heck crafted this survey???

I encourage all of you to take the survey. Do what you can to provide useful feedback.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What Missouri Said

Many thanks to you all for the warm comments on the thread below. You've overwhelmed me.

As I wrote there, we passed three resolutions for consideration by the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (next summer in Anaheim). I now have the text of those three as passed; this isn't the official version, but my transcription of the originals and the benign amendments made on the floor.

Resolution D-169: Regarding B033
Resolved, that the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church regrets the discrimination against some candidates for the episcopate expressed in Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention (2006) and the hurt and alienation felt by some because of that discrimination, and be it further
Resolved, that the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church rejects the interpretation of that resolution made by the House of Bishops at its meeting in September 2007.
Resolution E-169: Same-Gender Committed Relationships
Resolved, that this Church supports and upholds persons in same-gender committed relationships of enduring love, mutuality, and fidelity, and be it further
Resolved, that the term "sexual orientation" in Title III, Canon 1, Section 2, shall protect all persons from denial of access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church solely on the basis of being in such a relationship.
Resolution F-169: Liturgies for Blessing
Resolved, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music be charged with development of liturgies of blessing for same-gender commitments to be presented to the next triennial General Convention in 2012 for inclusion in the Book of Occasional Services; and be it further
Resolved, that in the meantime the Ecclesiastical Authority of each diocese may authorize for use in the diocese liturgies for blessing same-gender committed relationships of enduring love, mutuality, and fidelity; and be it further
Resolved, that, with respect to such blessings, no bishop or clergy of this Church or any other person acting on behalf of this Church shall be required or expected to perform an act contrary to a deeply-held position of conscience.
Many thanks to Janinsanfran for pointing me to Integrity's site, which has a page that lists the diocesan resolutions relevant to B033, same-sex blessings/marriage, and the ordination/consecration of LGBTs. It's here. To my amazement, they had Missouri's resolutions up this morning. Way to go!

Thanks, too, to Beth Felice, Diocesan Communications Director Extraordinaire for providing links in the comments. In addition to the resolutions, she also provided this link to our Bishop's very fine address to the convention. Thank God for a Communications Director who's "at home" in the blogosphere! And welcome to my blog, Beth. Do drop in again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Missouri Shocked Me

If you've been reading this blog since I started it in 2006, you will know that this Southerner-turned-Easterner has felt adrift in Missouri. I love my parish. But the conservatism of this parish and diocese has often frustrated me.

Tonight, I am home from our Diocesan Convention, in which I served as a delegate and some other roles. And I am shocked. Completely shocked by the actions/votes we took.

Many you know there is s national move afoot to get dioceses on board to repudiate B033 and apologize for its effects, to ask General Convention to affirm same-sex-blessings, and to re-open the door to LBGT candidates to the episcopate. Some brave souls decided to try to get the Diocese of Missouri "on the record" supporting those initiatives, and I lent my support without much hope of success. You'll find those resolutions in our convention materials here. I had worked quietly to support these resolutions, but I did not believe they had a snowball's chance of passing in the Diocese of Missouri. I expected to be overwhelmed by "no," "no," and "no." Mind you, I walked into Missouri's diocesan convention yesterday believing they were right, and prepared for a quixotic battle to argue their adoption, but absolutely certain not a one of them would pass in this very, profoundly "red state" in which gay rights had falled 3:1 in a 2006 "popular" referendum.

I've had a miserable 30 hours. The "no" voices were heard clearly in yesterday's hearings and in today's vote. We heard "no" especially from the rural areas, and we heard "no" from those who fear being "overtaken by the liberal voice of this church." I even had to sit and listen to one woman who said we're making progress if "they" could merely call "us" "queers." [The mind boggles!] How my heart grieved. I had to sit while people talked about "lifestyle choices" and "the plain meaning of scripture." In a word, I had to sit politely while people spewed the VOL and SFiF party lines. But I knew this was coming, so I had brought plenty of Kleenex.

Thanks be to God, many other people came to the microphones. Some of them spoke to their own life and faith as gay/lesbian Christians in long-standing partnerships, and they wondered why this church would bless their house and cars and pets , but not bless their relationships. Many other people – especially heterosexual clergy – testified about the faithful lives of gay/lesbian Christian in their parishes. At one point, I got up to the microphone and (in a terrifying act) spoke explicitly as a lesbian to one of the resolutions.

Last weekend, I would not have bet a plug nickel that any of these resolutions would have passed in this conservative diocese.

But, my friends, all of them passed – all of them! – all four of them. Yes, everyone of them. Tonight, my head is reeling that all of them passed – and passed by such a wide majority that we didn't even have to count the votes. They all passed overwhelmingly. Overwhelmingly. In this conservative/moderate diocese. In this red state. My head is spinning.

I hope I'll be able to recollect myself and write more soon. In the meantime, here are the resolutions that passed in our diocese today. The first is strictly between us and our companion diocese of Lui in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. The others are part of a national effort to bring these issues to GC09.

I am astonished. Truly astonished. That the Diocese of Missouri passed all these resolutions by overwhelming majorities is beyond my wildest imagining.

Hope and witness triumphed over lies and fear-mongering. Perhaps there really can be a new dawn in America.

That this could happen in the conservative Diocese of Missouri astonishes me beyond all words.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Buh-Bye, Dubya

Bush snubbed on an international stage ... literally. Here's 60 seconds of pure delight.

Diocesan Chaplain?

Obviously, this is not for me. I ain't chaplain to nobody.

This is a question for those of you who are or have been delegates to your diocesan conventions or as GC deputies. If you had somebody serving as chaplain, what did s/he do? Did the chaplain merely offer scripted prayers at a couple of points on the agenda? or something more? What do you wish s/he had done? Please give me stories and as much concrete information as you can.

I'll be passing your information and stories to a friend who is serving (without much guidance) very soon as chaplain to her diocesan convention.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brick of the Blogosphere

Thanks be to God, one of the coolest, smartest, and most piquant voices in the Episcopal Church has created a blog. Go over to Jawbones, and put it on your daily reading. The most insightful voice that used to be behind ENS and EpiScope (back in the days when the Episcopal Church actually practiced journalism ) is now available to us all ... without the Pravda constraints.

It's Jan ... unleashed!

Hie thee hence, and prepare to be challenged.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No To Hate

I couldn't get to St. Louis today for the "No on 8" protest. But others were there. I commend Barbi Click's post to you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Olbermann on Marriage

I've only recently started watching Keith Olbermann (MSNBC). But here he says it all on Prop 8 and all the "Christian" haters. It's long -- a bit over 6 minutes. But you'll enjoy it, I think.

He speaks with a passion that I envy. He doesn't have any "skin in this game." He's not gay. As far as I can tell, he's not even Christian. But he does understand the U.S. Constitution, and his words to the U.S. and to those who claim to be Christian are very powerful to me.

I commend this to you.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

… for Barack, our President-Elect …

My parish uses two Eucharistic Ministers at the main service. In addition to administering the chalice, one reads the first lesson and the other is intercessor. I always prefer the latter role. I love leading the Prayers of the People.

It's a familiar drill. After the Creed, I move from my position in the chancel into the nave, saying as I go: "The form for the Prayers of the People begins on page 387," then after a pause, "Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church and for the world." Reaching my position in the center of the nave, waiting for the page-rustling to end, I begin: "Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church," and the people respond, "That we all may be one." And on it goes through Form III (which we've been using throughout the long green season of Pentecost).

This photo isn't from today. It's just a shot of a typical Sunday.

Our priest provides written copy for the intercessor, adding in the names each week for the diocesan and Anglican Communion prayer cycle, parishioners who "suffer from any grief or trouble," the names of the departed, and so on.

You Episcopalians know that prayer. After the prayers for the church, we get to the prayers for civil authorities. We pray by name for the President, Governor, and Mayor, "and for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world," and the people add, "that there may be justice and peace on the earth."

When I serve as intercessor, it's all comfortably familiar and yet always new and (for me) intense.

I didn't expect what happened today.

I began the prayer for civil authorities, using the prepared text: "We pray for George our President, Barack our President-elect, Matt our Governor, Jay our Governor-elect, John our Mayor, and for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world." But when I spoke the phrase, "Barack our President-elect," I lost it. Completely lost it. Everybody heard my voice crack. As tears suddenly burst, it took a moment for me to be able to continue, and my voice was quavering with the sort of emotion that I just do not show in public.

For a horrifying time which felt like minutes, but probably was only moments, I was silent as I tried to gather myself. I thought, "I'm not going to be able to get through this." I was actively crying. Not quite sobbing, but way too close for comfort. And certainly not the "decently and in order" that guides our Episcopal liturgy. Fortunately, I knew my dear friend Marc was only a couple of rows behind me, on the aisle, and he would pick it up without a hitch if I just handed him the text.

But I thought: You can do this; you must do this. So I continued.

But it didn't get any better as I moved onto the pray for our parishioners, name by name, "who suffer from any grief or trouble." Then the prayers for the departed, including a dear friend's mother, who died this week. On this day, the names moved me, as I know feelingly what most of them are going through which led to their inclusion in the prayers. So many people suffering grief or trouble, and yet enduring it with the hope and faith we have in Christ.

It was all too raw.

I got through it all finally. And we moved to the confession.

It's been a couple of hours now, and I keep wondering why I was so darn emotional today.

The first reason is obvious. I am so very, profoundly grateful that Barack Obama was elected this week. I did not really believe it could happen. But it did, and I am profoundly grateful. And not just for political reasons. Also because this predominantly white nation was able to put its trust in an African American man. I hope, I pray this move signals a positive change in the racism that has plagued us from the founding of this nation. … As a dear friend said at a celebratory party Friday night: for the first time in eight long, miserable years, I am again proud to be an American.

Yes, I wept as I watched the election returns roll in Tuesday night. But I thought I was "back to normal" by today. To still have this much emotion today caught me completely off guard.

Now, with a couple hours reflection, I'll admit that it occurred to me later: Oh, no! What if some people thought my voice broke because I was a grief-stricken McCain supporter? Maybe some did. But the intercessor isn't in charge of the prayers. We just lead them, trusting that the folks in the pews are doing the praying that they need to do.

How 'bout you all? Are any of you having unexpected, delayed reactions to Obama's election?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Laughing at Ourselves

I have several friends who did much, much more than I for the Obama campaign. (This means you, Adrienne!) I salute them. I didn't work as hard as they, but I certainly was obsessively addicted to election-related news reports. When I saw this video at The Onion [a.k.a. World's Best Source of Leftie Satire], it struck a chord. Made me laugh out loud.

Please tell me you haven't lost your sense of humor. Enjoy!

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Grief in California

I am grieved at the outcome of California's Proposition 8. The citizens of California voted to invalidate the marriages of nearly 20,000 gay/lesbian couples.

It's clear that the money behind the anti-gay movement came from Roman Catholics and Mormons. The list of those who funded the hate movement is available here.

Want to guess who was the second-largest donor to the Proposition 8 initiative? Our old pal Howard Ahmanson, the same guy who is funding the attacks on the Episcopal Church. (See here for funders).

Today, the day after I celebrated our nation's election of Barack Obama as President-elect, there's another thing that is truly distressing. The delightful turnout of African American voters for Barack Obama surely helped with his election. But the African American vote in California seems to have guaranteed passage of the hatemongering Proposition 8. See the table here.

While I celebrate Obama's election, it is difficult to avoid lashing out at the oppressed people who should be our allies. I am reminded of those lily-white students who went into the Deep South in the '60s to join the Civil Rights movement. And now . . . ?

Now they screwed us. I can't find a kind way to say that.

Read what blogger-friend I.T. had to say.

Finally .... I am dismayed that the Roman Catholics and Mormons pumped so much money into this voter initiative. (I wasn't surprised that Ahmanson outspent them.) They hate us. They truly, viscerally hate us. They have made it clear. Here's an ad that I enjoyed, because it reveals their hatemongering.

I don't know what do next. But something must be done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


We did it!!

Obama has clinched the electoral college, and more states are going his way. Our country rejected the hatred and mud-slinging of the McCain campaign. We rejected the blithering idiot nominated as VP, and the skinheads who identify with Joe the Plumber.

I am nearly speechless. My tears keep flowing in gratitude.

Perhaps now we can go back to being the United States of America ... the U.S. that the world used to view with respect.

Our eight-year-long national nightmare is nearly over.

Thanks be to God.