Monday, June 29, 2009

Pride March 2009

Here are some highlights from the NYC Pride March yesterday. I made a conscious decision to travel light, and I don't have any pictures to show you.

I got there quite early -- my plan was to march with the Diocese of New York. The announced assembly time was 11:30 and I was a few minutes earlier than that. We were in group 6 and assembled on East 54th Street. The delegation from St. Luke in the Fields had great tee shirts and I looked around for Counterlight. Overcoming my natural shyness, I spoke to him. Later I also saw and spoke to the Reverend boy.

The Eucharist was at 12. It was conducted amid a great deal of street noise but it went off well. Towards the end of it, the marshals wanted us form up so a few folks put the banners out as placeholders.-- we all knew that there would be a long wait afterward. The website had predicted a step off time of 1 PM.

I volunteered to help carry the diocesan banner and soon Lisa, another member of St. Mary's, Manhattanville, showed up and she volunteered to carry the banner, too. We both expected to see Patrick, another St. Mary's person, but he never showed.

Finally, we stepped off at 2:05 pm. The diocesan banner led, followed by Integrity, and at least four parishes -- St Luke in the Fields, Holy Apostles, St Bart's, and St John's in the Village. I carried the banner the whole way, so I didn't get a chance to circulate.

There are three churches near the beginning of the line of march. Out group didn't pass the first one, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian -- we started out one block south of it. Almost immediately we passed St. Thomas Church. Then two blocks later is St Patrick's Cathedral, with barricades isolating it from what was happening on the street. I think that's sad.

I was surprised at the number of people along the way who greeted us enthusiastically. A little more than a mile along the way, we came to Marble Collegiate Church, where there were people handing out cups of water -- a welcome refreshment.

The big surprise came a mile after that. At First Presbyterian Church they were also handing out water. Who should come towards us carrying a tray of cups, but Bishop Gene Robinson, who was their preacher yesterday morning. Receiving a cup of water from Gene Robinson on Pride Sunday was almost sacramental.

For the rest of the march, +Gene marched with us. An awful lot of people along the way recognized him and called out his name.

We got to the end of the march a little before 5:30. Three and a half hours to march around three miles -- an hour's walk at a good pace, maybe a little more for me these days. I called Liz, who had stayed at home feeling a little sick, and she came down to the Village for the Festive Choral Evensong at St Luke in the Fields. All in all, a memorable day. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures for you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pride March

I'm off to the 8 AM service at St. Mary's.
I'll be marching in the Heritage of Pride Parade this afternoon, probably with the Diocese of NY group.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Faith in NYC

Believe it or not, I live in one of the most religious cities in the United States. According to the adjusted data in the linked article, 83.44% of New Yorkers identify as religious adherents, compared to 61.49% for the United States as a whole. For Manhattan, where I live, the figure is 89.42%.
Two thirds (66.6%) of the total religious adherents in Manhattan identify as Christian, 29.2% as Jewish, 3.4% as Muslim, and 0.7% as adherents of other religions.
Among the Christians, the 66.6% percent in Manhattan is largely Roman Catholic (52.5%), followed by mainline protestant (9.3%).
The historically African American churches are not included in the unadjusted data but an estimate for them is included in the adjusted data reported here (a fact not mentioned in the article but stated in the underlying report at the Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA).
It should also be noted that the article does not tell us anything about the definition of being an adherent of a religion (although ARDA does -- it includes children and ) or about the rate of religious observance.

Interestingly, the unadjusted data at ARDA shows more Episcopalians than any other protestant denomination. (This is sociological data so let's not quibble about the word words "protestant" and "catholic" or even "evangelical" and "mainline." )
More later.


No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. -- John Donne, Meditation XVII.
I mourn Michael Jackson as a human being. I am not in a position to judge his artistry as I never paid much attention to him. I found his notoriety distasteful but confess to having had a prurient interest in his trial.

I mourn Farah Fawcett as a human being. As far as I know, I never saw any of her performances.

I mourn Ed McMahon as a human being. I actually used to stay up and see the beginning of the Johnny Carson Tonight show, so I have a clearer impression of him than I do of the others.

But among the human beings I mourn the most are those ordinary persons who have died as a result of hunger, fear, injustice, oppression, the violence of war, and capital punishment.

Oh, I forgot hate -- I mourn Dr. George Tiller and Stephen T. Johns, both shot by haters.

Parent of all, we pray to you for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of god, rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Spent My ...

I'm so glad I don't have to try to be up to date when I'm posting.

Last Saturday, Liz and I had dinner with friends at The Symposium, a Greek restaurant on 113th Street that has been there as long as I can remember. We walked to the restaurant, and on our way we passed a small group of people picketing Jewish Theological Seminary -- most of the signs were anti-Jewish, but I did see a "God hates Fags" sign, so I thought it was probably the Westboro Baptist crowd. There were more police than picketers.

After a pleasant supper with our friend Ginny and her husband and granddaughter, we walked our guests to the corner of Morningside Drive and Cathedral Parkway, they headed over to the A train and we walked back home. As we were walking along past two sides of the Cathedral of St John the Divine, Ginny mentioned that when she was living at Union Seminary, she used to bring recycling to the Cathedral grounds.

On Sunday morning, we went to St. Mary's where we had some special guests, the James Parks Morton International Visiting Fellows, who were in New York from Glasgow and Barcelona. James Parks Morton was Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for 25 years and started the first Recycling Center in Manhattan's Upper West Side on the Cathedral Close. After he retired as Dean in 1997, he founded the Interfaith Center of New York, and for several years he and his wife Pamela have been members of St. Mary's. Two years ago, Chloe Breyer, a priest and member of St. Mary's, succeeded Jim Morton as Executive Director of the Interfaith Center. Chloe preached and all in all it was a pretty good St. Mary's service.

After church we drove to Vermont. Monday was our granddaughter Amanda's second birthday, and we just had to be there. Before the birthday party, we spent four hours in the morning at Amanda's day care facility. We met her two principal caregivers and six of her classmates -- it was a really fun time.

On Tuesday morning we drove back home -- total time away, almost exactly 48 hours. Total driving time -- about 10-1/2 hours. Sleep time -- maybe 17 hours. It was worth it, though.

Sorry I don't have any pictures.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


On the new website of ACNA (the Anglican Church in North America,) Bishop Robert Duncan has written An Introduction to the Constitution and Canons. He has identified six principles behind the governance structure that the delegates at the Inaugural Assembly of ACNA next week will be asked to ratify. The princples are:
  1. confessional unity, expressed in matters of Faith and Order;
  2. subsidiarity, where what may be wisely left to the local level (both diocesan and congregational) is left to the local level, including property ownership;
  3. missionary focus, especially in structures, roles and representation;
  4. flexibility, recognizing the diversity of Godly approaches common among the partners coming into union;
  5. disciplinary reform, including address of concerns for Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders, as well as provision of a provincial tribunal.
  6. collegial accountability, especially in matters relating to bishops.
The first principle, "confessional unity," means that ACNA is going to be a confessional church, which comes as no surprise. Now I have no particular quarrel with confessional churches as such -- it's just that they generally construct confessions of faith that are designed to exclude somebody. In this case, they are designed to exclude those who believe that sexually active LGBT people are just as worthy as sexually active straight people of participating in the full sacramental life of the church.

On ACNA's What We Stand For page are two documents, a Theological Statement first issued by the Common Cause Partnership and the Jerusalem Declaration, issued in 2008 by GAFCon, and "a foundation for fellowship in the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans." Particularly relevant is statement 8:
8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
For those attracted to members of the opposite sex, that is a good and adequate statement.

But if you believe, as I do, that sexual orientation is real, then you either have to say that statement is inadequate or you have to accept the statement and conclude that sexual intimacy outside of the marriage of a man and a woman is not proper.

A lesbian or gay person who accepts the second alternative is likely to be unhappy. A lesbian or gay person who accepts the first alternative may either reject Christianity altogether, as many do, or may find a church home in what has come to be known as an "affirming" church.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bloomsday (and after) thoughts

In my Blogger profile, I list James Joyce's Ulysses as one of my favorite books. It truly is one of my favorites, although it's been years since I've seriously looked at it. Among other things, Ulysses is a book about the author's home town. My own hometown is Binghamton, New York -- at least that's where I was born and where I spent the majority of my young life before I headed off to college when I was 18. Even though I have lived in New York City for more than 50 years, Binghamton is still my home town and nearby Heart Lake, Pennsylvania is my summer home place -- not quite a town.

Binghamton is the home -- not the home town -- of Matt Kennedy, a former Episcopal priest who led his parish out the Episcopal Church (TEC) and who blogs at Stand Firm. Just as the Rev. Mr. Kennedy seems to be obsessed with gay sex and with what he sees as the failings of the Episcopal Church, I am somewhat, although to a much lesser degree, obsessed with the doings and writings of Mr. Kennedy (I mean no disrespect -- I am simply being low church.) The current location of the Church of the Good Shepherd is under 30 miles from our cottage at Heart Lake and that no doubt plays a role in my interest in their doings. Because of my mini-obsession I sometimes drop in on the Blog of the Good Shepherd. Today I found this gem:
Many have been asking about how to become a member of Good Shepherd. I'll be putting together a packet and a class in the next week or so. So stay tuned for information on that. The membership regulations in the Episcopal Church are very low...something like "Are you breathing and are you in the pew?" Yes. "You are a member of our church". We hope to do a little better than that now that God has given us this new start.
That quote includes a gratuitous and unsupported slur.

Mr. Kenndedy is a regular blogger at Stand Firm. Here's a recent quote on a thread suggesting that the Episcopal Church might soon endorse bestiality:

Jackie did not “attribute” this particular “vile thing” to TEC. She simply wrote: “New Frontier for TEC” and concluded with a question mark—as in: could this be the next “new thing”

Personally, I do not at all see such things as future impossibilities for the “church” that embraces already one form of sexual perversion and whose bishops participate without censure in “Pride” parades which specialize “vile things” and extreme lewdness

Let's see, he's saying that the Episcopal Church is not a real church, rather it is some kind of a false "church," it embraces a form of sexual perversion (by which he means same-sex sexual behavior,) and its bishops participate in parades which "specialize" in "vile things" and "extreme lewdness."
  • Putting the word church in quotes is a form of innuendo that is devoid of content.
  • The assertion that TEC embraces a form of sexual perversion is wrong. TEC's limited acceptance of LGBT people is in no sense an "embracing" of any kind of sexual behavior. There is a genuine debate going on in TEC (as in the Anglican Communion as a whole and in othe denominations) about same-sex sexual relationships. Use of the word perversion adds heat, but not light, to the discussion.
  • The complaint about bishops participating in Pride parades at which other people engage in "vile things" and "extreme lewdness" seems to suggest that the bishops, whoever they are, are endorsing the "vile things" and "extreme lewdness." That's remarkably close to the complaint that Jesus consorted with tax collectors and sinners.
In the same thread, Keith Töpfer, another commenter, made this remark:
The last time I checked, bestiality was just as much a “sexual orientation” as is heterosexuality, homosexuality, pædophilia, necrophilia (and the list, in all probability, goes on a considerable distance from those.)
This statement is either intellectually dishonest or simply stupid. "Sexual orientation" is a technical term with a specific meaning, not just a faddish catch-all term to descirbie any and all sexual behaiors. Specifically, it refers "to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes" and "to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions." Mr. Töpfer, if indeed he checked anywhere at all, did not check any reputable source, or he would have found that while there are indeed advocates for treating pædophilia and zoophilia (bestiality) as "sexual orientations," there is no reason to think these efforts will go anywhere.

I didn't notice Mr. Kennedy disassociating himslef from Mr. Töpfer's foolishness, so, using his kind of logic, I guess I can impute those remarks to him..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's Only Me and it's Awesome, Dude

For at least a week I have been absent from the blogosphere. I have been somewhat obsessively spending my time vicariously at Ulvescott, at St. Mark's College, Cambridge, and in Strelzen, Rothenia, in the company of a whole bunch of fictional characters. I don't make any promises about resurfacing, because I am now beginning to peruse the works which brought Rothenia to light. I'm also going back to the long narration that tells how come Jacko is in residence at Ulvescott. Let the reader understand.

P.S. I didn't include any links, but the works I refer to, although they contain explicit X-rated content, verge on being literary.