Friday, August 29, 2008

Ho Hum

At The Lead (Episcopal Cafe) Jim Naughton references Mark Harris's piece at Preludium on the communique from the GAFCON Primates Council.

They have set up something called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans - FCA. Now one of my ancestors, Rev. Francis Marbury, was what might be called a confessing Anglican. He was jailed in 1578 and inhibited in the 1590s for his presumption in telling off bishops. (He held the outlandish view that parish clergy should know something -- that is, be educated.) His daughter Anne married a fellow named William Hutchinson and was later thrown out of the Puritan church in Boston and exiled to Rhode Island for her teachings -- she was called an antinomian but since she left no writings it is hard to determine exactly what she taught.

Back to the FCA -- I was taught that we Episcopalians, along with other Anglicans, belong to a credal church and not a confessing church. That's part of what the Winthrop Fleet and the later English Civil War in the seventeenth century were about. It's also why there is a Scottish Episcopal Church, which with the consecration of Samuel Seabury launched the Anglican Communion.

But what does the communique (including the announcement of the FCA) really amount to? To me it seems to be simply the logical next step in a process of separation that has already begun. The self described reasserters -- the ones who define orthodox as that which has long been believed -- are going their own way and given the nature of their views it is not surprising that they want to invite others to join them. But we knew that -- we've known it for a long time.

And let's be honest -- we too are going our own way too. There is still struggle within both secular society and the church to achieve full equality -- racial equality, gender equality, sexual orientation equality. I'm much more interested in those struggles than in the internal behavior of those on the other side of those struggles. Si se puede!

So the GAFCON Primates Council issued a communique. Ho hum.


This isn't a political blog but --- . This week Liz and I watched the Democratic Convention -- the first four days we watched mostly on PBS -- we watched the roll call moment when Sheldon Silver introduced Hillary who made the dramatic motion to nake it unanmous on ABC -- because we don't have cable here at Heart Lake. Last night, however, we went to the Montrose Theater to see the last few hours of the convention on a big screen, via CSPAN.

Yesterday on Democracy Now, Ralph Nader told us what was wrong with Joe Biden (stressing a bad consumer credit law) and complained because the Democrats are not far enough to the left. An Obama presidency won't be anywhere near as satisfactory as I (and many people who think as I do) would like. That's mot a reason to vote against Obama.

Earlier this year, I was in a room with Dave McReynolds of the War Resisters league and former Socialist candidate for president (1980 and 2000) and Green Party candidate for Senator (against Schumer in 2004.) In speaking of the Democratic field, Dave said, "We can't always get what we want -- we have to take what we can get."

There are good reasons to wish Barack Obama were more progressive (I don't have a better word) but as Al Gore said last night it was wrong in 2000 to think there was no difference between the candidates and it's wrong in 2008.

President Dwight Eisenhower ( who warned us against the military industrial complex) told us that we need changes in the way we elect the president. As I recall he advocated a parliamentary system. We need ways to strengthen minor parties -- proportional voting and representation would be a good start. But for now, we have two viable candidates for President.

So last night I decided (with Liz) for the first time in my life to put a political bumper sticker on our car. We're also going to put up a lawn sign for Obama here at Heart Lake -- something we've never done.

Today on Democracy Now, actor Wendell Pierce, echoed by professor and Baptist minister Michael Eric Dyson, said in effect that Obama does not get a free pass -- we have to keep pressure on him. But first, we have to elect him.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coming Up and Looking Around

I can hardly believe that it's been nearly three weeks since I last posted. After I returned from the trip to Maryland and my subsequent dash to New Yorkm Liz and I spent about a week getting ready for guests, then we had Jane Scott and Amanda here for five nights, followed by Liz's sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Ross (both visits were very pleasant but they are not my present topic.) Then I went again to NYC for an overnight trip and there were things to do after I got back. At last I have a little time to come up for air -- and settle myself internally.

Last week, I wanted to post a reflection inspired by Tobias Haller's Crumbs. Inspired by a question on the House of Bishops / Deputies list, Tobias reflects on last week's Gospel – the story of the Canaanite woman who implores Jesus to heal her daughter of a demon as told in Matthew 15:22-28. Jesus says to her “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” and she replies “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Tobias tells us that the question on the HOB/D list was basically, “Do gay and lesbian persons really mean the same thing ‘we’ do by monogamy?”

Time overtook me in two ways -- the second and most obvious is that events
overtook me and I simply didn't have enough time to write a coherent post. The
first was that as I was writing last Sunday -- August 17 -- I suddenly realized
that it would have been Rex's 82nd birthday. That realization caused me to struggle with exactly what I was going to say -- particularly on the question raised on the HOB/D list. Rex and I were a genuine couple from the time we met in November 1958 to the time of Rex's death in February 1973. We shared a household, had somewhat commingled finances, were physically intimate, attended both church and opera together, and had many shared interests. But Rex was promiscuous - I had to content myself with the thought that he was faithful to me in his fashion. Was that monogamy in the sense that the HOB/D questioner meant it?

When I first read the question, I thought it was worthy to be included among MadPriest's Homophobic Quotes of the Day. Not knowing who asked the question, I can at least say that it is grounded in a homophobic stereotype. It's worth reading Tobias' post and the conversation in the comments -- but for my part I have to say that I do not think that sexual infidelity is necessarily destructive of a marriage (same-sex or otherwise) -- and yet sexual fidelity is the ideal to which all marriages should aspire.

That was not the reflection I had intended to write -- I was going to speak about the notion of crumbs -- but that will have to wait.

It's not even the post I intended to write when I started again this week -- that, too, will have to wait.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Monday & Tuesday August 4th and 5th

Whew! Or, rather, almost whew! Yesterday evening just before 7 PM Liz and I got up from the dinner table in Columbia, Maryland and drove the 259 miles from my cousin’s house back here to Heart Lake. Yahoo Maps said it would take four hours and 24 minutes and they were just about spot on – thanks be to God. Today I have to go to NYC for a meeting of the Tenant Selection Committee, which I chair. Tomorrow I return and we’ll see how long I can put off going again for the mail.

My head is swirling with impressions from the weekend. Getting to know my cousins better, going to the memorial for my aunt, looking at memorabilia, all this makes a grand mix to process.
Then there’s the return to life here and the trip to New York later today.

Yesterday the Lambeth Conference wound up. Bishop Gene celebrated the Eucharist and preached at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow. When I got up this morning I logged on to Wounded Bird – because I love Mimi and because she has near the top of her blog links to a number of sites about Lambeth. She pointed me to the story of MadPriest’s adventure – MP and fellow (or maybe genuine) Geordie TheMeThatIsMe went to Scotland to see and hear Bishop Gene.

I urge you to watch and listen to Bishop Gene’s sermon. He preached on two of the texts of the day – Jacob’s wrestle with the angel and the feeding of the five thousand – a wrestling match and a picnic. Two things he said in the sermon struck me particularly – one, as MadPriest noted, is the concept that most Christians think we are on the Selection Committee whereas we are really on the Welcoming Committee. That one was easy. The second is a little harder – speaking of the church, he pointed out that God is a welcoming committee of one, and by virtue of our baptism we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. That, too, is not a problem for me – but I do have a problem finding satisfactory words to discuss our (as Christians) welcome of those who are not baptized – for example, my cousins.

{written Monday and posted Tuesday]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday in Columbia

Yesterday there was a memorial service for my Aunt Edith in a Unitarian Universalist Church here in Camp Springs, Maryland. Liz and I had driven down on Friday from Heart Lake -- the trip took us well over five hours, Yahoo Maps said it would take four and a half hours.

We're staying with my cousin Vicki in Columbia, Maryland and will be leaving towards the end of the day to drive back to Heart Lake. My cousin Gary is also staying here -- its good to be in touch with family. Aunt Edith had six children -- her daughter Meg died in 2000 of a brain tumor -- of the five left, four are in the capitol area and have been around. My grandmother had sixteen grandchildren, fourteen of us are still alive, Gary and I were the only cousins who were able to make it.

Liz and I are missing church today for the first time in months -- this is a time when being with my secular family is more important than trying to get to a church service. Edith was a Unitarian for most of her adult life -- as a child she was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church and she was married at All Saints Episcopal Church in Johnson City, New York, her home parish.

Edie's son Max worked in New York for a short time in the early 1970's and visited me and Rex at our apartment. This must have been about a year before Rex died in February, 1973. Max's brother David was seventeen and later told me that when he was coming to terms with being gay, Max had told him about Rex and me. About ten years later, David hooked up with Sergio -- they are still together after 27 years.

Digression -- I have three cousins named David and at least two of them are gay.

Anyway, it's wonderful being with my cousins on my father's side -- there's a warmth here that reminds me of my paternal grandparents house. My grandfather died when I was was fourteen,so it revives a fifty eight year old memory
Liz and I will be driving back to Heart Lake this evening.

I have to go to New York tomorrow for a meeting, then from Tuesday I'll be back at Heart Lake. Since we don't have mail forwarded, I'll have to go back to NY about once every two weeks, but on my own schedule. I can't wait.

Later this week, I'll catch up on the doings at Lambeth and in the Anglican Communion.

Friday, August 01, 2008

From Mimi's Blog "Wounded Bird"

From MadPriest...

OCICBW... got attacked by a particularly vicious troll last night. It was so bad I had to close down the comments overnight.

He seems to have got his revenge by reporting me as a spam blog to Blogger and they have blocked my blog. I have asked for reinstatement but it's taking up to a week to sort out at the moment.

Would you please notify people of this on your blog and tell them to put it on their blogs. I don't want them thinking I've done a runner or been disappeared by the Church Police.



This morning (Friday) Liz and I will be leaving Heart Lake to join some of my cousins for a memorial service for my Aunt Edith, who died two weeks ago. We will drive to Columbia, Maryland -- about a 4-1/2 hour trip, but who knows on a Friday in August -- to the home of my cousin Vicki. I don't know how many of her brothers will be there. Also my cousin Gary has floown up from Florida. The glue that holds that side of my family together is real, but not as thick as on the other side.

The last (and first) time we visited Vicki was in 2004 and we vowed then to be more in touch. I hope we can keep that promise going forward from this time.

I'll have limited, if any, internet access between now and Sunday evening.