Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reverent Moment

I like this one.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I've had too much serious stuff lately.

English Majors

As a literature major, I laughed at this one. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Real Amurikans

I am often amused by the signs that fervent anti-immigrant "Americans" post or tote. All too often, their hate-mongering signs are misspelled. Here's one. I'll try to find others I've archived.

ironic photos
see more Friends of Irony

Let the intelligence of these proud American protesters be its own message.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Travesties in Arizona

My wee blog has seen many new visitors today – many of them from Arizona. I’m grateful and welcome you.

One of those visits led me to a blog I hadn’t seen before. It’s Episcayune. I’m not adding it to my blogroll, since she doesn’t blog often. But when she does, it’s worthwhile. I was particularly stunned by her blog entry, Separation of Church and State (back in April 2008).

She wrote there about Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, which I believe is in Phoenix. I’ve heard a lot about Sheriff Arpaio on NPR in the last few years, and he doesn’t impress me as a man concerned with justice. He sounds more like a gunslinger out of the Old West … exercising his own personal sense of “justice.” [ Photo at right courtesy of this site.]

If you think I’m overreacting to Arizona's anti-immigrant legislation, read that blogpost at Episcayune. Here’s a part of the blogger’s essay about the activities of Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

A Hispanic Episcopalian was pulled over recently and asked to show his papers. He was born and raised in the U.S. and had his valid Arizona driver’s license with him but that wasn’t good enough for the deputies since they’ve seen “too many fakes.” So now he, and others like him, are avoiding church because the congregations are afraid of detainment or harassment by over-zealous deputies.
When I read that, I thought, “Huh?? Why the heck would they avoid church? The blogger explains:

The problem? He, and many others, worship within one of Arpaio’s Crime Suppression Operation [zones]. . . . Most are of Hispanic origin and they have been pulled over and asked to provide their papers. . . . According to the Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, Arpaio's deputies interrupted a confirmation service on April 6 in a Roman Catholic Church in Guadalupe, a largely Hispanic neighborhood where Arpaio started another Crime Suppression Unit.
WHAT?? Sheriff’s department interrupting a church service to look for illegal aliens? Surely not! It’s been a standard for centuries that churches are places of sanctuary. I cannot imagine sheriff’s deputies thundering into a church service. But I believe this blogger. I also thought surely that was a once-in-a-lifetime mistake by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. But no. It happened at least once more in 2008.

And on Good Friday [Arizona] Bishop Smith received a call from the priest at a Spanish-speaking church in Phoenix. He drove to the scene and found an officer. "I tried to explain to him that not only were his men frightening law-abiding citizens, but they were in fact violating if not the letter, then at least the spirit of the Constitution by preventing people from going to church--it's called freedom of religion. Suffice it to say, the deputy, although polite, was not interested. He had his orders."
That does it. I am officially gobsmacked. It appears that sheriff’s deputies were intentionally targeting churches where they thought they might find undocumented Hispanics. I can’t possibly explain this. And I am now doubly proud of Bishop Kirk Smith.

This despite the fact that Arapio’s own press release dated Jan. 18 stated, “The posse members and deputy sheriffs will not racially profile anyone in this operation.”
This has been my point. There’s no way the police and sheriff’s departments can do this without racial profiling!

But the Episcayune blogger says it better than I ever could. She wrote after these travesties, back in April 2008:

Are they pulling over French speakers to make sure they haven’t come here illegally from Canada? Are they pulling over blue-eyed blonds as suspected illegal European immigrants? How about people of middle-eastern descent?
Let’s face it. In the U.S., we are a nation of mutts. With the exception of the Native Americans, we’re all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. The only way that Arizona police and sheriffs can exercise this law fairly is to pull over every person who isn’t obviously Native American.

Good luck with that, Arizona.

More on Arizona

I’ll confess I wasn’t paying close attention to the Arizona legislation before I heard the news and wrote what I did yesterday. I just could not believe Governor Jan Brewer would sign the bill. After all, the crazy Arizona legislature had passed similar bills before. But then-Governor Janet Napolitano had always vetoed them. Alas, the current Governor, a Republican facing a challenge from the Loony Right, capitulated to the legislative hysteria. She signed the bill.

I was reminded in the news this evening about Arizona’s deliberations when a national holiday was created to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of the 50 states that adopted that holiday, where do you reckon Arizona came in? Number 50. Dead last. Way behind states like Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which one might have expected to drag their heels. So what the heck is going on in Arizona? I live in a backwater, reactionary state, but even I am surprised by Arizona.

What I want to hear now from Episcopalians in Arizona is: How can we support you in ways that will make a real difference. Not just sign a petition or sign up to some Facebook group. What will make a difference?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breathing While Brown

Many years ago, some of my black friends told me about the “crime” of "DWB." The crime of “driving while black” made them much more likely to be pulled over by the police for offenses that would not result in a white person’s being stopped by the police.

This week, Arizona’s governor signed a bill that should be named “Breathing While Brown.” As I understand it, it allows any Arizona law enforcement officer to demand proof of citizenship of anyone whom they encounter.

As one who has loved to travel to Arizona, when I heard this story, I quickly thought: “How in the world could I prove that I’m a U.S. citizen??” Then I quickly realized my passport would do the trick.

But I don’t carry my passport with me when I’m traveling inside the U.S. I keep it safely locked away until I am traveling abroad.

You can see my photo in the sidebar. I’ve a garden-variety American mutt. What are the real odds that an Arizona policeman would ask me to prove my citizenship? I bet they’re virtually nil.

Were I brown-skinned, I would now have to carry my passport or birth certificate with me all the time. And, frankly, I’d be terrified. Because, if I understand correctly, the penalty for “breathing while brown” or otherwise not being able immediately to produce documentation of one’s citizenship will be jail. Jail time at least until one can get someone else to bring in one’s paperwork. For me, that would mean finding a friend willing to break into my apartment, find the correct file cabinet, then retrieve the birth certificate, and bring it to the police station. [I'm assuming my friends wouldn't have the temerity to break into the bank at 10:00 on a Saturday night to retrieve my passport from my safe deposit box.]

I go to church with many, many Africans who have immigrated from Sierra Leone. Would they be given a pass? Or would they have to prove positively that they are here legally?

Worse yet for the brown-skinned people who are targets of the Arizona law. I expect every one of them will be assumed guilty.

My priest is a brown-skinned woman, born in Sri Lanka. I get livid at the notion that she would be subjected to this bigotry.

Arizona’s legislature and governor have said there will be no racial profiling. But how can there not be?? The only way to avoid it will be to require proof of citizenship from everyone - whether it’s the lily-white mayor, the Asian professor, the black banker, the Hispanic business owner, the European tourist, or the Sri Lankan Episcopal priest. The only way Arizona can implement this law constitutionally is to suspect everyone of being an illegal alien.

I believe this should infuriate every American and terrify every visitor. If I were an international visitor to the U.S., I would definitely steer clear of Arizona. No Grand Canyon visit for me!

Now … I am familiar with Godwin’s Law … which suggests that anyone invoking a parallel to Nazism thereby loses the argument. But, really, isn’t this just a bit too similar to the requirement that Jews carry papers and wear a Star of David? I find it spooky.

I am also reminded of the situation of free blacks in the U.S. in the 19th century. They had to carry special papers with them, proving their emancipated state. If one of them was caught without those papers, s/he could be sold back into slavery. And that happened very frequently.

That is the legacy that Arizona’s law seeks to reenact. It’s the legacy of Nazism and slavery. It’s a “guilty until proven innocent” approach that flies in the face of my understanding of our Constitution.

I was pleased and proud today to see the pastoral letter from Arizona’s Bishop Kirk Smith (also available here in Spanish). I am proud to be a member of his tribe! I encourage you to read his letter.

Bishop Smith offers hope and encouragement:
This law does not take effect for 90 days. During that time there will be many court challenges, including those coming from the federal government. The law might be tied up for months and years in litigation, and I believe there is a good possibility it will never go into effect.
I hope he is correct. If he is not, this bodes ill for all of us.

To me, the Arizona legislation says we have become a nation of fear rather than a nation of freedom. We have seen it in many other laws all over the U.S. Pluralities in the U.S. (most of whom identify as "conservative" or "Republican") are organizing to pass laws that restrict liberties ... even while they claim to be defending the Constitution and the liberties enshrined therein.

This nation was established as a republic - not as a democracy. To the extent that we put people's rights up to a vote of the majority, you can bet that the minority will lose every time. Whether it's the Hispanics in Arizona, the gays in California, or the smokers in Jefferson City, you can bet that the majority will act as a tyranny against the minority. The brilliance of those who drafted the Constitution is that they wrote in "checks and balances" against a tyranny of the majority. But those who claim to be "conservatives" are eroding those safeguards all over this nation.

Ah, well. I wandered a bit further afield than I intended. Sorry about that.

Back to the original point: What I would next like to hear from Arizona's Bishop Smith is: What can those of us outside Arizona do to turn the tide against this hideous legislation? And I don't mean creating a stupid Facebook page saying "I don't like the Arizona law." I mean real, tangible, and effective means to say "Enough is enough!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scoundrel Primates in Africa

The Episcopal Café has published an epistle from clergy in the Province of Central Africa in which clergy express frustration about the so-called “Global South Encounter 4.” I urge you to read the letter in its entirety.

These beleaguered people observe that their “leaders” are relaxing in luxury in Singapore while they continue to toil in difficulty:

The cost of first class flights and accommodation for the four of them amounts to the value of approximately a whole year’s pay for all the currently unpaid priests in Zimbabwe and Lake Malawi!
They ask the same question I have been asking: Who is funding this luxurious meeting in Singapore? Who is paying for all these airfares, hotel rooms, and meeting rooms?

The Central Africans ask:

It is not clear where the monies have come from to support this venture but they are assumed to be from conservative and schismatic North American Anglicans? These are currently pursuing a fissiparous agenda in their battle against the American Episcopal Church and a disruptive and schismatic programme in the Anglican Communion.
Note that! The Central Africans recognize that someone is paying for all this … and that “someone” is paying for the schismatic initiative in the Anglican Communion. They recognize that the assault on TEC is a well-funded one. I agree with them. I wonder whether the Global South delegates are asking who is paying for their Singapore junket. And if they aren’t, why aren’t they?

They then ask who has authorized the Central African representative to attend or speak on their behalf:

Neither is it clear where Albert Chama’s authority to attend on behalf of the Central African Province has come from? By agreeing to attend the Conference in Singapore Albert Chama has allowed the Province to be counted as supportive of the schismatic movement. This has happened with neither Provincial synodical approval nor support from the other bishops.
Do you hear that? The Central African province did not authorize Chama to attend. They did not authorize him to speak on their behalf. And it seems that they do not want to go along with the schismatic effort. People like Akinola like to claim that all of Africa is behind him and against the Western Anglicans. They like to claim that all the millions of Africans are supporting them. These people from Central Africa are trying to say “NOT SO!”

Reading their statement, I am reminded of Archbishop Rowan Williams, who says that the entire Anglican Communion is aligned against our Episcopal Church. This statement from Central Africa gives the lie to Willliams. Not only are many of the "first-world" Anglican churches allied with us, but even these clergy in Central Africa declare their friendship with us.

Finally, the clergy of Central Africa decry the waste of money and energy. They write:
Ironically, the new letter from the Diocesan Secretary of Lake Malawi once again asks donors for desperately needed money for the Diocese and gives banking details for transfers. Thanks to acting Dean Chama’s unwise junketing trip in South East Asia support and donations, which come largely from the U.K. and the U.S.A. and from the very churches which the Global South Conference has been called to condemn, are likely to be in short supply.
The hard-working clergy of Zimbabwe and Lake Malawi will need to go on scratching a living from their smallholdings in order to survive.
Read the full letter at The Lead.

They raise a valid question. They fear that donations from the U.K. and U.S. will be curtailed, because of the Central African’s schismatic actions.

I hear the same thing about Sudan. The Archbishop of Sudan has been whinging all over the U.S. and the world, begging us to cover his debts and pay his expenses. But he has now taken three other bishops with him to Singapore. He makes it very difficult for me to send any financial support to his country. If he has this much money to blow on airfare and hotel expenses to decry the U.S., why should I send any money to Sudan?

I’ll confess I am less inclined to support Sudan, given Sudan’s Archbishop Daniel’s decision to participate in the Singapore meeting. All this week, knowing that Sudan's Archbishop is a happy participant in the Singapore meeting, I keep wanting to go to my online banking account and obliterate any financial contribution I might send to him. But I haven't yet done it. I recognize my money goes to a particular diocese within Sudan, and I support them. To my shame, it's Archbishop Daniel I want to hurt. If I could find a way to hurt him financially, without hurting the diocese I know, I would do so with great joy.

Reading in the blogosphere, I am hearing other people who have decided not to give to Anglican provinces/dioceses like Sudan, but to give to other causes instead. I applaud them. I encourage people not to give any money to the Episcopal Church in Sudan ... so long as Daniel is there and is being the hatemonger that he is.

Grandmere Mimi posted this story under the headline “Bishops Go 1st Class – Priests Don’t Get Paid.” She made me begin to question my financial contributions.

MadPriest also blogged the story, under the headline: “The Real Cost of Whitewashing Tombs.” MadPriest adds a comment: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." I believe MP is correct. The schismatic bishops shall have their reward. Their whole agenda is about who they hate. Like MadPriest, I believe Jesus had some words to say about that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sudan in Singapore

The schismatics at Anglicans United report that Sudan’s Archbishop and three other Sudanese bishops are attending the “Global South Encounter” in Singapore. Cherie Wetzel reports that these are attending from Sudan:

  • the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak
  • the Rt. Rev. Francis Loyo
  • the Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo
  • the Rt. Rev. Alapayo Manyang Kuctiel

This is curious to me.

It sounds like the situation in Sudan is just like that in Central Africa.

Since his consecration, Archbishop Daniel has been whining all over the U.S. that his province is so poor that he cannot even afford to pay his clergy. He has told us that many clergy are due significant amounts of backpay. He has asked the Episcopal Church and the dioceses in relationship with Sudanese dioceses to raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay back-pay for the bishops in Sudan. He has spoken powerfully, asking us to give money that will support the bishops, agricultural needs, and much more.

One of TEC's bishops and at least one of our priests [neither of them from my diocese] have been working very hard to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Episcopal Church in Sudan. I believed those funds would go to back-pay. I'm not so sure now. If Archbishop Daniel can afford to go to Singapore with three of his bishops, purportedly in first-class seats, why in the world does he need any financial support?? Right now, I'm not sure I'd believe Sudan's Archbishop Daniel if he told me the sun rises in the east.

Of course, because I'm involved in Sudan's Diocese of Lui ... and have been for about four years ... I'm also aware of the situation of their priests. My friends, none of the priests get salaries. Most of them work hard as subsistence farmers, trying to grow sufficient crops to feed their families. They break their backs to make a living. And, on top of that, they serve as priests to their parishes.

So the Episcopal Church of Sudan can't afford to pay its bishops, and none of its priests gets paid.

But now Sudan's Primate, Archbishop Daniel, can afford to get himself and three of his bishops to Singapore for this schismatic, hatemongering meeting. DO YOU HEAR THAT?

I want to know: Who is paying for the travel for him and three other bishops to spend this long time in Singapore? If he’s paying from the ECS budget, then why should any of us support his work within Sudan? If he's not paying, then I want to know who is paying for him to attend this schismatic meeting.

I well remember that Deng had his "Barbie moment" at the Lambeth Conference when he issued a written statement at the beginning of the 2008 Lambeth Conference here, then went prancing into a press conference. ENS posted the full interview in 2 parts here. Or see Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Is +Daniel bought and paid for??

I say this as one who has designated part of every paycheck, over several years, to go toward support for the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

I will not pay for my own oppression, Archbishop Daniel. I well remember your hatemongering circus at Lambeth, sir, but I had forgiven it for the sake of my sisters and brothers in Lui. That may be at an end, given your choice to attend this meeting in Singapore.

Give a transparent accounting for these expenses now, Archbishop Daniel! NOW!

We demand transparent accounting from organizations like ERD, Heifer, etc. We know we can trust them. I now realize it would be stupid for anyone to send money to the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which never provides such accounting.

I am frustrated by Archbishop Daniel's behavior, and I need to hear a clear statement from him. Out of one side of his mouth, he declares his gratitude for relationship with dioceses in the Episcopal Church (U.S.). But now he goes to Singapore with three of his bishops, where the order of the day is hatred of Americans. I want to hear what he really believes. I want to know which side he is on.

I'll base my future actions on what -- if anything -- Archbishop Daniel has the courage to say. I wait.

Pluralist Translates Rowan into English

Thanks to Pluralist for giving us this translation.

For those many people over the last many years who have wished for a translator capable of converting the ABC’s verbal blurts into plain English, Adrian Worsfold (blogging at Pluralist Speaks) is the man!

Have you seen or read the comments of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Global South Encounter? Were you frustrated by the crap that came out of the Archbishop’s mouth? (I know I was.)

Well, never fear. Our friend Pluralist has provided us a translation of +Rowan’s nelly-kneed mumble-speak. Go here to read it all. I’ll just copy a few bits.

Pluralist channels Rowan Williams thus:

I would say greetings to some of you, anyway, in the name of our risen Lord and Saviour, but as you already exclude those I might have to exclude, I can indeed say greetings to you all.
In fact, to really up the bullshit, I can say I am delighted. I am delighted you are meeting now, subject to the remarks already made, and that I am delighted you are meeting at this time in our Communion. Why I should be delighted when the thing seems to be falling apart, in part due to your efforts and in part due to mine, I haven't the foggiest.

I want to comment on one or two things, and I wonder if you can guess what they are?

The final text of the Anglican Covenant has now been available for battling over for several months. As you know it's the fruit of long, careful, jockeying for positions; the fruit of a sustained attempt on the part of so many people to get one up on each other, to determine not only what it is that splits us apart in terms of fighting over scripture but also how we can humanly separate.
The Covenant sets out selectively the understanding you can have of the faith we seem unable to share, crumbling the foundations as the building itself falls down. . . . . For a bit of further cover I might mention the Benedictine tradition in which that mutual listening and obedience to one another has been so crucial but seems to have no impact on anyone I deal with. Who knows what Jesus Christ would make of all this.
. . .
Of course we are persisting on the need for a Covenant in the light of confusion, brokenness and tension within our Anglican family - a brokenness and a tension that has been made still more acute by recent decisions in some of our Provinces which will remain nameless in the case of Canada - oops - but you lot are really on to this election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles.

Some of us have problems with women as bishops, but when it comes to a lezzy that really does matter. That really does focus our attention. So there is the need for retribution, recriminations, more fights, division, and whatever else we can do, and I am in discussions about doing this despite the fact that I used the theologise in precisely the opposite direction. But you know me: I'm a weathervane for which way the wind blows, and at present you lot blow the hardest.

. . . I am obviously in touch with most Anglicans and know their one mind but what I really mean is this centralised construction I want is being built on the back of excluding lezzies and homos and those who give so many of us the visceral ick. I mean, just what do they get up to - it hardly bares mentioning and it matters not whether they are in stable relationships or jumping from one bed to another. This concerns us so greatly.

On the other hand, when I talk to other people, and they blow in the other direction, about how Anglicans feel, I then find it difficult to make any decision, but I do still ask the lezzies and homos to sacrifice themselves for my ambitions for a Communion to be like a Church, built on a fantasy of Catholicism and a fundamentalism of the scriptures. But don't worry, I'll intellectualise these approaches for you and make them look different from what they really are.

So let's gloss this up a bit too and say the Holy Spirit might descend on you and make you a little less like rabid dogs barking at those you don't like in all your prejudices wrapped up as theology . . . .

So happy Easter to you all and let's see if this nonsense persuades anyone anymore, as we are in danger of losing all credibility. Did I say all? I am not usually as outlandish as that, except when it comes to those we should sacrifice on the march to a Greater Church.

So that’s how Pluralist translates Rowan Williams’ statement to the Global South Encounter. I think Pluralist’s “translation” is more honest than Williams’ statement. In fact, I’d nominate Pluralist to be the Archbishop’s in-house translator. I would welcome such honest words from Williams … though I know we’ll never get them.

I urge you to go to Pluralist’s site, and enjoy his full translation and some of the comments that have been made there.

Pluralist, please forgive me for quoting so extensively. I couldn’t help myself!

Rowan to the “Global South”

News Digest

You’ve already seen the comment of Rowan Williams, “Archbishop of Canterbury,” to the 4th So-Called Global South to South Encounter.

Many of my friends and colleagues have offered articulate responses. I especially commend these to you.

As usual, I think Mark Harris is exactly right on. Read his reflections here.

Rowan Williams said:
In all your minds there will be questions around the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family. And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.
Of course, most of my friends in the Episcopal Church have taken umbrage. As do I. I took it as a slam against The Episcopal Church (U.S.).

But MadPriest has a different and valuable perspective, writing from the Church of England. He wrote in the comments here:
The Americans will claim to be have been insulted (although, to be honest, it will have no real effect on them), but it is the rest of us, the "Not In My Name" brigade, who have been insulted the most as we seem to have disappeared completely according to our beloved leader.
I think MadPriest is speaking sense. By saying that "everyone" is against the U.S. position, Williams is trying to disenfranchise our friends abroad even more than he is dismissing us. I have heard from other Anglican friends outside TEC that they support us. Perhaps they are even more entitled than we to be angry when Rowan Williams says that “All of us [Anglicans]” are against TEC and when he pretends to speak “our common mind” as if no one outside of the U.S. believes as we do – as if everyone else is against the stance we have taken. Williams is wrong. Dead wrong.

And It’s Margaret has a different perspective on the whole thing. She talks of the fear of the feminine. And I think she’s onto something. Go, Margaret!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Upon Rowan Williams

As I said in my last post, I assume you are keeping up with the news from sources that are more timely than mine. By now, you have surely read the text or seen the video of what the “Archbishop of Canterbury” said Tuesday to the “Global South Encounter" meeting in Singapore. It’s here.

Several of my blogging friends have responded to Williams’ statement. I don’t disagree with my friends who have responded in anger and disgust. I share their visceral reactions.

But isn't this interesting? I hear from colleagues and fellow bloggers that the schismatic bloggers (and those who comment on their sites) are generally as angry at and frustrated by Archbishop Williams as we are.

I wonder what that means. Does it mean he's appropriately treading a careful path within our beloved "via media"? Or does it mean he's the sort of double-minded, lukewarm, equivocating spiritual leader described in the Book of Revelation, whom God will spew out of God's mouth in disgust? That's a key question, isn't it?

While I am tempted to whale away at Archbishop Williams, I'm going to try to speak temperately here.

And be mindful of the confession I made in my profile. I'm long-winded. I can't help it.

I remember the marvelous theologian from Wales who was named Archbishop of Canterbury. I remember the joy I felt that a deeply thoughtful man was being appointed to that position. I also believed his was in touch with a deep well of spirituality. I believed all this augured well for the Anglican Communion.

Now I fear this formerly brave theologian has tied himself up in knots, and I no longer hear him speaking as a courageous spiritual leader. I grieve his loss of voice. I cannot comparing his voice to that I heard from Archbishop Desmond Tutu last week. One loves wildly and draws all to his embrace. I grieve to say that Abp Williams seems to have turned into something more like a politician or parliamentarian. I believe he is capable of better. Has the theologian and spiritual man become overwhelmed by a role he's defined as Chief Executive of the Anglican Communion? I don't know.

But I sense this: The man speaking from the seat of Canterbury doesn't seem to speak with spiritual vision and authority. Sometimes, he seems to speak as an academic, but with little of the courage and conviction I used to hear from him in Wales. Other times, he seems to speak like a politician (in the worst sense), intellectually mumbling and engaging in double-speak ... mostly intent on pleasing a certain "party" within the Anglican Communion. All too often, I perceive equivation and temerity. Just once, I would like to hear him speak with the clarity that Rowan Williams, a Bishop in Wales, used to use – even if it was clearly against my views. But he seems to shy away from that. Now, he seems mostly to engage in mumblemumblemumble ... while watching the Anglican Communion fracture through his impotence and failure of leadership.

He seems to have become the Man Who Stands for Nothing ... except that hideous Anglican Covenant ... which is terribly sad.

Like me, many of my friends have honed in on this part of Williams’ comment:

In all your minds there will be questions around the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family. And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.

You've all seen that paragraph, and several of you have offered good comments on it. I hope to offer my own comment about it later.

But, for now, let's just look at what Williams said and didn't say ... and how he said it ... when speaking to the "Global South Encounter."

In Williams’ many lugubrious paragraphs, this was the only clear, specific statement he made about the issues that are now tearing the Anglican Communion apart. The rest of his statement was his typical mumblemumblemumble.

Does that part of his statement make me angry? You bet it does!

Let's pause for a moment and think about the issues that are now confronting the people in the Global South (which may or may not be of any concern to the lily-white boys attending the Global South Encounter). Here are a few that come off the very top of my head, based on my reading and my work with Sudanese Episcopalians:
  • government corruption
  • hideous violations of human rights
  • continuing, grinding poverty ... which is probably made even worse in the global recession
  • massive disease -- including many diseases that are readily preventable or curable with a modicum of preventive or primary health care
  • lack of basic health care
  • lack of clean drinking water
  • horrible food insecurity
  • desertification, which is making farming more and more difficult in African nations
  • hideous levels of infant mortality
  • continuing spread of AIDS
  • Western exploitation of natural resources in the Global South
  • religious warfare: Christians being murdered by Muslims in nations like Nigeria and Sudan [Never mind that Nigeria's Akinola may have fanned those flames] and vice versa
  • tribal warfare – including warfare among those of the same faith
  • lack of free/affordable public education
The miserable problems of the Global South are manifold, and they should call all humanitarians, but especially all Christians, to respond.

Given that horrible nexus of problems facing the bodies, minds, and spirits of Anglicans in the Global South, what did the Archbishop of Canterbury choose to address? None of them. Not one.

While the Global South is facing issues of life and death on a daily basis, the only problem Williams named was the election of a lesbian bishop in the Episcopal Church. Could he possibly be further out of touch with a suffering world and his role as the spiritual leader of the entire Anglican Communion to ease that suffering? I think not. (Nor does Stuart Littleton, reflecting on the ABC's visit to Gaza and the Middle East.)

That makes me angry. I wonder if Archbishop Williams is that blind or whether he has that bad a speech-writer.

But let us move on.

Let's accept that Archbishop Williams chose to ignore the horrible problems facing the Global South. Mind you, I could not have done that. When I've spent time in Sudan and working for Sudan, I cannot just brush aside the issues of human suffering. But apparently the Archbishop chose to do so. Therefore, let's accept that he chose, instead, to focus on the internecine issues facing the Anglican Communion rather than the deaths of millions in the Global South. Perhaps he was following the lead of the Global South primates, who seem to care more about internecine battles than the death and poverty of their own people. So be it.

In his statement, the only clear and specific criticism that Williams offered was against the Episcopal Church (U.S.) – which has spent at least three decades wrestling with “the gay issue” and has finally come to the decision that faithful gay men and lesbians may be called to any order of ministry.

Archbishop Williams doesn’t bother to observe that we have wrestled hard with Scripture, tradition, and reason in reaching this decision. He doesn’t acknowledge the theological work we have done. He doesn’t recognize that we have worked hard to listen to Scripture, reason, and tradition in moving where we have moved. He doesn't mention the recent report to our bishops Same Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church.

No. He ignores our theological work, in favor of Global South fundamentalism and bigotry. He chooses to let the Global South group remain in their ignorant belief that TEC is merely an apostate church that pays no heed to Scripture, reason, and tradition.

In addition, Williams fails to note that TEC isn’t the only church that has come to this conclusion. In some ways, both the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Canada moved even before we did. But that’s not convenient for Williams. It’s more expedient to beat up on TEC, pretending we are the only Anglican church that’s moving in this direction.

I am coming to believe that Archbishop Williams has a particular animus against the U.S., which he extends to The Episcopal Church. Given that so many national churches in the Anglican Communion are moving toward ordination of gay/lesbian people … and accepting gay/lesbian unions …. why does he reserve such particular hatred for those of us in the U.S.? I do not understand. [4/22 Addendum: Our friend I.T. has offered a theory about why people like Rowan Williams seem to hate everything the U.S. does. I encourage you to read it here.]

In his remarks to the "Global South" in Singapore, Williams comes off as a hypocrite of the first order. He does not acknowledge that he has celebrated “secret Eucharists” with gay and lesbian clergy in the Church of England. We know he did it. He does not acknowledge that the CoE's General Synod this year approved spousal pensions for surviving same-sex partners of Anglican clergy. But we know they did. He does not own the theology he did before he became the Archbishop of Canterbury. But we remember it. He does not admit he nominated his friend Jeffrey John, whom he knew to be gay, to be Bishop of Reading. But we remember it. And we remember how he utterly betrayed his friend later.

Just how many inconvenient truths about his own views and the actions of the Church of England is the Archbishop ignoring while he lambasts the Episcopal Church in the U.S.? Apparently, he is happy to invoke the "seventy times seven" rule when it comes to his actions and those of the Church of England.

The apostle Peter merely betrayed Christ three times before the crucifixion. How many times has Rowan Williams betrayed Christ and his own convictions since becoming Archbishop of Canterbury? I can't answer that question. Rowan Williams will have to answer it himself.

But I know this: For whatever reason, Archbishop Williams chose to make a clear “shot across the bow” against the Episcopal Church. He was willing to portray us as an apostate church, since that's what his "Global South" audience wanted to hear. To do so, he had to forget his own history and the actions of his own Church of England. Apparently, that was convenient for him. Let it be upon his head.

Meanwhile, if you read his statement carefully, there are many points on which he seems to urge that his auditors in the "Global South Encounter" look carefully at the Gospel, search their own souls, consider their motives. But all that is delivered with exceeding subtlety.

When Rowan addressed our bishops in New Orleans and our General Convention in Anaheim, he made clear pronouncements and threats. When addressing the Africans and Asians, Rowan Williams speaks fiercely against TEC, but timidly and with nuance about the Global South churches.

It's only when addressing us (or talking about us) in the U.S. that Rowan Williams speaks clearly and with firm condemnation.

So I wonder: Why did he slam TEC with all guns blazing, but couch the rest of his message so very subtly? Why does he think it’s just to attack TEC while ignoring the many injustices in the “Global South”?

If you have a stethoscope, you can just barely hear Williams asking the Global South leaders in Singapore to examine their own hearts. But he blasts a cannon against TEC.

Why the difference? I would love to hear him explain it.

Is there some part of his colonial guilt that keeps him from speaking to the Global South Primates as clearly as he speaks against TEC? Or does he just hate TEC?

I wish I knew.

Some of my friends are calling for Archbishop Williams to be sacked. In an earlier version of this essay, I wrote "the See of Canterbury is vacant" so long as Williams is in it. But I have repented of my intemperate words. He is a deep disappointment to me. I regret that he is not using this important position as he might. I don't understand why only criticizes westerners, but never the Global South. I grieve that he seems to be working as a politician, not as a powerful spiritual leader in the tradition of Archbishop Tutu. But I recognize we might have a much worse Archbishop. We could have a clone of Carey.

I am puzzled by the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe he could do better. I don't understand why he doesn't.


I apologize to the many of you who came here today upon referrals from your blog-readers or from friends' sites, expecting to see some posts that don't currently appear here on my blog. In a frenzy of writing last night about the "Global South Encounter" meeting in Singapore, I cranked out several posts that I meant to "save as draft." Instead, I inadvertently told Blogger to "publish" them, so they appeared on some automated blogfeeds.

You all knew I'm far from the brightest bulb in the blogosphere! This is just the most recent demonstration of that fact.

This evening, I'm beginning to finish the work I started last night, and all those posts will eventually appear in what I hope will be a somewhat more polished form.

I apologize for the glitch.

Image courtesy of this site.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The So-Called Global South Primates Meeting in Singapore

I assume that those who read my blog are already well connected to other leading Episcopal blogs, particularly those I have at the right sidebar, including news/analysis sites like Episcopal Café’s The Lead, Thinking Anglicans, and Mark Harris’ Preludium. I also assume you subscribe to the news feeds of the Anglican Communion News Service and Episcopal News Service. So I assume I don’t have to tell you what news is breaking in TEC or the Anglican Communion.

We’ve all known that some of the “Global South” primates and others would be meeting in Singapore this week, and I expect that you – like me – have been eager to hear news about that meeting.

I say “some” because the GS group refuses to include Global South nations like Brazil and Mexico, because – while those nations face the same economic and political challenges as the rest of the Global South – the so-called “Global South Primates” group thinks they might be too friendly to the U.S. Therefore, Brazil and Mexico have been banned from the “Global South” meetings. So have Australia and New Zealand, except for the couple of bishops they know are friendly to them. And you’ll observe the “Global South Primates” do not invite South Africa – which is square in the heart of the Global South – lest they have to include a saint like Desmond Tutu in their midst.

By contrast, the “Global South Primates” include many lily-white American guys (and one gal) like the Most Rev. Robert Duncan (purportedArchbishop), the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, the Rev. Phil Ashey, and Mr. Hugo Blakingship [sic] (all from the purported Anglican Communion in North America]; the Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood (purportedly from Kenya); the Rt. Rev. Chuck Murphy (purportedly from Rwanda); the Rev. Canon Dr. Alison Barfoot and the Rev. Dr. Professor Stephen Noll (purportedly of Uganda); the Most Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Driver (Archbishop of Adelaide), the Most Rev. Peter Jensen (Archbishop of Sydney), and Mr. Robert Tong of Australia; the Rt. Rev. Richard Eliena (Bishop of Nelson) and the Rev. Dr. Timothy Harris of New Zealand; and the Rt. Rev. John Howe, Central Florida, and the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, South Carolina (whom they term “Communion Partners Representatives” from the Episcopal Church).

You can see the full list of participants (as of today) here at AnglicansUnited.

So … at least 16 of the 130 participants in the “Global South” meeting are lily-white colonialists – mostly from the U.S. I’m having a hard time understanding how the “Global South” meeting can say it’s shucking off the yoke of colonialism. They have their white handlers from the U.S., and they’re getting their funding from groups like the IRD. Please explain to me: How is this “shedding the yoke of colonialism”?

I wonder just how much those American guys understand the horrible economic, social, health, and political issues confront real people in the Global South every day. Do they understand as much as I do, after my four years of involvement with Sudan’s Diocese of Lui? I doubt it.

So make no mistake: This isn’t a meeting of the “Global South.” This is a meeting of like-minded primates and dioceses of self-selected members of the “Global South.” And what brings them together is hatred of the United States and Canada and – even more – hatred of gay men and lesbians. That is the one and only uniting bond of the so-called “Global South Encounter” meeting in Singapore this week. It would be a bit like having a “Southern Encounter” in the 1860s, but only inviting those who were inclined to join the Confederacy – people whose only commonality was hatred of “nigger slaves.”

So much for their integrity.

I don’t need to tell you that the narrow and self-selected “Global South” primates, bishops, and a few others began meeting in Singapore on Monday. You know you can get that news at the Global South Anglicans website and from their Dallas-based mouthpiece, Cherie Wetzel, at Anglicans United. You know you can also get propaganda and venom from Stand Firm in Faith and from the ill-named “Virtue” Online.

I probably don’t need to tell you all that.

Unfortunately, I must tell you that – as far as I can tell – you will not find any reports from mainstream media. Not from leading journalists, and certainly not from the Episcopal News Service or any other organization that’s aligned with the Episcopal mainstream. I expect that’s because the Global South meeting in Singapore this week has barred any mainstream journalists from covering their sessions.

And doesn’t that say a lot in itself? When the Episcopal Church holds its General Convention, and when the Church of England holds its General Synod, press passes seem to be distributed like lollipops. I wonder why the Global South meeting isn’t as transparent, but only allows fellow travellers to be admitted.

Oh well. …

Monday, April 19, 2010

No Anglican Covenant

Wear It Proudly!

Get your gear here. The fantastic Lionel Deimel has developed the "No Anglican Covenant" logo featured in many of my compatriots' blogs.

I'd feature it here, too, if only I could figure out how to add those nifty widgets in the sidebar.

Now he has made it available through his CafePress site. T-shirts, hoodies, caps, bags, aprons, mugs and water bottles. Just about anything you want.

As Lionel writes on his blog:
The objective was not to make money but to promote opposition to the Anglican covenant, particularly within The Episcopal Church. Because the 2012 General Convention will likely be making a decision regarding the covenant, we can expect increasing discussion of its merits in parishes and dioceses in the next two years or so. .... [The site] offers many items that are especially good at communicating one’s opposition to the covenant.

Our diocesan convention passed a resolution last fall, instructing parishes to engage in dialogue about the covenant. [The Resolutions Committee offered a fine resolution with mechanisms and a leadership, which got stripped out on the convention floor. So now parishes are told to hold discussions, but with no materials or mechanisms for doing so. That's a floor battle I lost. Grrrr.... ]

I'll probably buy one of the shirts. I'm not sure whether I'll wear it to a parish/diocesan "dialogue" on the covenent. But maybe so, since I happily sported my "My manner of life ..." t-shirt back in 2006 at the diocesan debriefing after the passage of B033.

H/t to the Cafe for catching this post of Lionel's, which I had missed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Ministry of Denim

Act One

I don’t know exactly when I started doing this. When I first began attending the Episcopal church in this town, I “dressed up.” Dress. Hose. Heels. The whole nine yards.

Maybe it was when I was involved deeply in “congregational development” conversations – about how we could be more welcoming to visitors and seekers.

But at some point, I started mostly wearing jeans to church in cold weather and shorts in warm weather. It was an intentional decision on my part. If visitors came into our parish wearing nice suits or dresses, they would find plenty of people who would just like them. But I worried about the people who might come in wearing jeans or dirty khakis or even rags. I wanted them to find someone who might look a little like them So I started wearing jeans.

Image (at right) from here.

I recognize I am often the worst-dressed member of the parish. But I decided I was dressing for visitors – not for God and certainly not for my fellow parishioners. In a weird way, wearing jeans and shorts became something like a nonverbal ministry in my mind.

Act Two

I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m traveling and will be out of town on a Sunday, I check the Web to find a parish where I might feel comfortable. This has led me to some truly marvelous parish visits where I have been made to feel truly at home.

Recently, I figured out what parish one of the StandFirm leaders attends. I went to that parish website. As is my wont, I searched mostly for photographs, to see what the parish “looks like.” Two things struck me from the photographs that the parish has chosen to post.

First, I was struck that it is an incredibly white congregation. That was jarring to me, given the large percentage of my parish that is African or African American.

Second, I was struck by how people dress … at least as depicted on the parish website. All the men in suits. All the women in lovely dresses … which they could have worn to a lovely garden party. And almost every woman with a pearl necklace. I recoiled. I knew – just by looking at the images – that I would never be comfortable or welcome in that parish. Way too uptight, hide-bound, and “proper” [in all the worst senses of that term] for my taste.

I wonder: What do the photos on your parish website say about your congregation?

Act Three

On Ash Wednesday, when I served as crucifer, a new (3-generation) family appeared in our parish. The grandmother was a born and baptized Episcopalian who had somehow fallen out of the habit of attending church. The daughter was baptized, but lapsed after confirmation. The granddaughter had never been baptized and never attended church. They were drawn back to church on Ash Wednesday. What a blessing! I met them before the service and had some good conversation afterwards. [As it happens, the granddaughter is now in instruction with our rector and may be baptized soon.] I like this family!

A couple of Sundays later, I saw and talked with them again, when I was just a “butt in the pew.” The grandmother took a look at me and said to the teenage granddaughter: “See! She’s wearing jeans!” So was the granddaughter, but she had thought she wouldn’t be accepted in her denim … though her grandmother had told her she would. They had seen me in my vestments in a couple of services, but then saw me in jeans. I could see the relief in that teenager’s face: If someone who is a leader in the parish [as I suppose she perceived me] could wear jeans on Sunday, then it really was ok for her to do so, too.

I have a hunch that if we want people to feel welcome, we need to look like them. Mind you, when I’m serving at the altar, I’ll wear the obligatory black slacks, black socks, and black shoes. But when sitting in the pew, I’m going to dress for comfort and dress so that the down-and-out might find someone who looks like them.

I consider it a non-verbal ministry. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.


From as early as I can remember, I've been (inordinately?) pleased with and proud of my surname. Not because it's a name with any glorious history or accomplished forebears. It's just that "fox" means something. Even in elementary school, foxes were something like a totem for me, and classmates identified me in intriguing ways with the "fox" image.

Of course, I have quite a personal collection of fox items – prints and photographs, knickknacks, carvings, greeting cards, you name it.

Maybe because of, or perhaps despite that fondness, I truly enjoyed this silly one from I Can Has Cheezburger. I hope you will, too.

maim. ruthlessly maim.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Monday, April 12, 2010

Integrity to Sponsor Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo Visit to U.S.

I was pleased to receive this news from Integrity USA:
Integrity USA will sponsor a visit by Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo (ret.) from West Buganda, Uganda for a six week U.S. and European speaking tour. His visit will be an historic opportunity to hear the personal witness of a courageous man of faith who has proclaimed God's inclusive love and spoken truth to power in homophobic Uganda. Bishop Christopher has been a valiant straight ally of the LGBT community and has experienced firsthand the cost of discipleship for his work and witness. He brings words of both hope and challenge of all those working for equality and inclusion in the church.

Bishop Ssenyonjo has been an outspoken advocate for human rights in Uganda. He has taken great risks in defense of LGBT people in his country, a nation where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on homosexuals. He will address the homophobic and draconian anti-gay movement and legislation pending in Uganda.

His ministry with Integrity Uganda could soon [be]outlawed by the government, and Bishop Christopher could be put in prison for his support of LGBT Ugandans. He has strongly condemned the bill as a violation of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and a violation of the sacred bonds of the Ugandan extended family system. He calls the bill inhumane and was recently a part of a delegation to the Speaker of the House to reject the bill.

Please be a part of this historic tour, donate to support his work and share these venues with your friends.

The bishop will be visiting the following communities:
Los Angeles May 10- 16th
Sacramento May 17-18th
San Diego May 19-21st
Orange County May 15-16th and 21st
San Francisco May 22-26th
Minneapolis May 27- 31st
New York June 6th-8th, 13th-17th
Belfast and Dublin Ireland June 18-21st

Contact Tour Coordinator: Rev. Canon Albert J. Ogle
Vice President for National and International Affairs
Integrity USA
949 338 8830
The name of Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo rang a bell, but I had to do some searching.


You can read some background here, at Uganda's New Vision newspaper. They write:
In 2002, Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo (now retired) defrocked Ssenyonjo because of his support for homosexuality.
Ssenyonjo, formerly the bishop of West Buganda Diocese, in 2004 formed a new denomination called the Charismatic Church of Uganda and was consecrated bishop.
In 2004, Archbishop Luke Orombi wrote to Ssenyonjo informing him that he was “no longer entitled to wear the robes of a deacon, priest, or bishop in the Church of Uganda.”
He was later excommunicated.

Better yet, read the GayUganda blog:

In Uganda, where most queers are too afraid to come out of the closet, straight allies are essential to the gay rights movement but none are as cute, charming or controversial as 78-year-old Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo.

. . .

The Desmond Tutu lookalike works on the outskirts of Kampala, in a tiny storefront across from a row of shanties. By necessity, Christopher never toils past dark. His office, with a dusty desk and used couch, has no light.
By day, though, this is where the retired bishop persists in doing what first got him into trouble almost 10 years ago counselling queers.
"The attitude of my church is that I should condemn them," he says. "But I refuse."

Read the whole story from Gay Uganda.

Thanks to Ann Fontaine for pointing me to these videos with Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo.

The first one includes excerpts from a June, 2008, interview with The Rt. Rev. Christopher Ssenyonjo about his ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans, for the film Voices of Witness Africa.

Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo from Claiming the Blessing on Vimeo.

When I watch that video, I see in him the same kind of joy I see in Archbishop Tutu.
But Uganda's Archbishop Orombi defrocked him and stripped him of the pension he had earned after nearly 50 years in service to the church.
I'll let you decide who is the follower of Christ.
And ... if you are in a location where Bishop Christopher is speaking, I hope you will go hear him. Unfortunately, he will be nowhere near me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wiser Voices on Orombi

After penning my blogpost, I discovered that others had written in much more wise and analytical ways about Orombi's little rant. I commend these to you.

Mark Harris does a wonderful job of analyzing Orombi's letter jot by jot, with all Orombi's sour grapes and bitter gripes.

Father Jake analyzes the letter but -- even more important -- puts it in the wider context of the whole schismatic movement. This is a must-read!

At The Lead, Andrew Gerns also provides gritty analysis of Orombi's letter and his ties to American schismatics.

Brother Tobias wasn't actually talking about Orombi's letter. But his essay here cuts to the heart of the matter. As he says, this is about people in the minority wanting to govern the whole majority.

Read them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

They Have Lost

After much tumult in the Episcopal Church and after much blogging and after much work to reveal the lies perpetrated by the wingnuts in TEC, the Episcopal Majority declared victory and closed up shop back in May 2008. It was clear to me and my colleagues that the schismatics in the U.S. might still scream and hurl epithets, but that they had lost the battle for the heart of our church. They failed to gain traction among the majority of our church members.

I believe the same thing has now happened in the Anglican Communion.

Uganda’s Archbishop Henry Orombi has sent an hysterical, three-page letter to Rowan Williams, promising he will throw a screaming hissy-fit unless the Episcopal Church (U.S.) and Anglican Church of Canada are hurled into outer darkness. Matthew Davies has a fine story at ENS; click here to read it. You can read Orombi’s entire hissy-fit here. It’s pretty funny.

Guess what? Williams isn’t going to capitulate to Orombi’s hysteria.

People like Orombi and Mouneer Anis just look silly. I hope they will enjoy their GAFCON fete later this month. With each rant, they remove themselves further and further from the Anglican Communion.

I am more hopeful than ever that the Anglican Communion will retain its gracious generosity of spirit. God willing, the Communion will even reject the so-called Covenant.

Hysterical spokespeople like Orombi simply serve to show what fruitcakes live under the tents of Gafcon, ACNA, and the “Communion Partners.” Good for him!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Migrant Stations of the Cross

As I’ve mentioned, my bronchitis kept me from observing the Triduum. Having missed that important liturgical movement, I find myself dipping into various moments of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Day.

In my parish, we say the Stations of the Cross at noon on Good Friday in our courtyard. The stations are closely spaced, so one just shuffles a few feet to the right around the courtyard for this liturgy. It’s never felt quite right to me, for one never has the experience of “walking.” One doesn’t even mildly exert oneself. We may be able to share in Christ’s suffering in our imaginations, but we certainly don’t break a sweat from the physical exertion.

So I was quite caught by this story out of Arizona, which our friends at the Episcopal Café reported:

The first Migrant Stations of the Cross, the stations were painted on the fence in observance of Good Friday, Frontera de Cristo (Presbyterian) and Episcopal Border Ministries members and supporters prayed at 15 Stations of the Cross positioned along a 2.5-mile stretch of the US/Mexico border east of Douglas. At 5:30am, they started their two and a half hour, 7,200 step prayer walk in the hopes of comprehensive immigration reform and for a desert without bloodshed and violence, including the recent death of rancher Robert Krentz. The Stations of the Cross reenact the important steps in the life of Christ, from his condemnation to his death on the cross and his entombment.
All the photos are by Mark Henle of The Arizona Republic, available here.

I would like to participate in a Stations of the Cross like this one!

See the full photo essay at

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Not Obama

With thanks to my friend Tom Woodward:

Obama is not a brown-skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus.
Indeed. Let us compare the Republicans' and the Democrats' agendae and see which one more nearly aligns with Jesus' agenda. I think it's pretty clear.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Just for Fun

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Triduum Lost

I apologize to all those whose e-mails have gone unreplied, whose blog-posts have gone unread, whose notes have been ignored.

On the afternoon of Wednesday in Holy Week, I felt a little under the weather. On Maundy Thursday, I woke up barely able to breathe. Yukky congestion, cough, shortness of breath, all that stuff. I self-medicated, so that I was able to make it into the office around 2pm, and then served as crucifer and LEM at our Maundy Thursday service. [I figured it was just my usual springtime allergy plague. But, just to be sure, I did Purell myself, did not drink from the chalice, etc.] I hoped to have some deep thoughts and reflections to offer on that service. But all I managed was to survive it.

I came home Thursday night, fell into bed. And that’s where I stayed through the Triduum. Dang it!

I wanted to be at all the services. But no. From Thursday evening 'til Sunday morning, my journey was restricted to the bed, the sofa, and the kitchen.

This Easter morning, when I made it all the way to the porch, I felt my own personal “alleluia.” I had energy and vigor to make it to church … where I served as crucifer for our main Easter service. (Yes, I was well enough to do it without endangering the public health.)

I am seriously bummed. I count on observing the Triduum with the church and with my parish community. Saying the services here alone (as I did) was a miserable substitute.

Fortunately … as the Cubs (and others) say: There’s always next year. Next year to have a better Lent, share a better Triduum.

P.S.: Some of you will understand how sick I was when I say this: I didn’t even have the energy to log onto e-mail or the Web from Thursday until this evening. I can’t remember when I last stayed offline that long. … But I think I’m back now.