Thursday, June 29, 2006

Even More Thoughts on General Convention'06

A number of years ago, Mark Dyer was my parish priest as well as a
professor at my seminary. Among the many things he said which have
stuck with me, this one seems pertinent. "We should never use the
Bible as a weapon against each other."

I am a nobody in the Episcopal Church. Not a deacon, priest, bishop,
deputy, chairperson of any committee, serve on no diocesan or national
councils etc. I sit in my pew. I hope, like Abba Lot, "as far as I
can I say my little office, i fast a little, I pray and meditate. I
live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts." As Abba Lot
asked, I ask also " What else can I do?" I would like my next step
to follow Abba Joseph's suggestion. "Abba Joseph stood up and
stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like 10 lamps
of fire and he said to Lot "If you will, you can become all flame."

What I would like the House of Bishops to know, and the Deputies and
anyone who came to GC06 from anywhere in the world and offered their 2
cents is that there are a great many nobodies such as I in TEC who
just want to be about the business of loving God with every thing we
have and are and loving as neighbors as ourselves. We nobodies want
and need you to lead and guide us in that and we will return the
favor. Bashing each other over the head with the Bible, or making
claims to a purity that **NONE** of us will ever have this side of
heaven and all the name calling from hither and yon all over the place
contributes nothing to what we want and need from you. In fact, it
gives us the opposite.

I am not singling out one "side" or the other (and ill it makes me
feel to think members of my family are taking sides against each
other, how dysfunctional is that?) but addressing all of you.
I offer you this:

"A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which
Abba Moses was invited but he refused to go to it. The the priest
sent someone to say to him, "Come, for everyone is waiting for you."
So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug filled with water and
carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said to him,
"What is this, Father?" The old man said to them, "My sins run out
behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the
errors of another." When they heard that they said no more to the
brothers but forgave him."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Thoughts on General Convention '06

longer I ponder what happened, the more convinced I am that the real
issue at GC06 was agape and the failure of TEC to practise it. And ,
yes, I will say TEC in general, and not cite particular individuals,
because the lack of agape spreads farther than just those present at

> It is only when we walk away from the table that the communication
> stops and the Communion ends.

Many Episcopalians made a point of not breaking bread with other
Episcopalians. I believe the Holy Spirit is calling on us to repent
of that unloving, divisive and schismatic behavior. Let us remember
that God does not desire the death of a sinner but that the sinner
turn from the sin and embrace new life.

I would suggest that denial is not just a river in Egypt and that
anyone who identifies another as a sinner, needs to look within,
self-examine and repent of one's own sins, because sure as shootin'
all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.

If it were possible, I would call on every single Episcopalian to
embrace a moratorium of silence on GC06 and instead embrace a period
of at least twenty four hours in retreat and prayer, maybe fasting if
one's health allows, asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, hearts,
minds, spirits to the sanctifying action only the Holy Spirit brings.
Let us meditate together on the General Confession. Let us examine
our consciences. Let us confess to God and to one another those
specific ways we have failed in charity to one another. Let us dig
deep when we do it and may we be blessed by the gift of tears. Let us
embrace and say to each other as I say to you, " May the peace of the
Lord be always with you."
May the Holy Spirit dance in your heart!

Monday, June 26, 2006

My thoughts on GeneraL Convention '06

I sent this email to Father Michael Russell, my rector and a Deputy from San Diego to GC06. He sent a post to the House of Bishops/ House of Deputies list that was about the Rankin Family of Ohio and their role in the Underground Railway.

Dear Mike,

Believe it or not, I am a kibitzer on HoB/HoD and I'd appreciate it if
you forwarded this to that list.

I am a novice independent religious in San Diego according to Title 3,
Canon 24, Section 3 and according to the rubrics of the service
"Setting Apart for a Special Vocation" in the BOS.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing something that is
not about General Convention,

[Rev.] Gwynn [Freund, our curate] preached a sermon [ ]that touched us all so deeply on Sunday we applauded her at the end and, I daresay, embrassed her. It too was balm to my soul as I am feeling somewhat battered by the reaction to the last 3 or 4 days of GC.

I keep telling myself of the fine and excellent work done in the first
week about the MDG. **This** is what I long to see us Episcopalians
attending to: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.

TBTG for All Souls. Maybe, Mike you were disappointed that so few of
us turned out for your presentations on what would be discussed at GC,
but to see those people on the Sunday after the end of GC and too see
them interested in keeping on' keeping on and taking care of the
business of the Kingdom, it gave me a much needed perspective that
contrasts sharply with reactions here and on Anglican and Magdalen.
So much so, that I am deleting anything from any of these lists that
deals with GC.

What I know is that Jesus Christ was in Columbus with GC. He tells us
that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, that He is among us. So,
unless GC gathered in the name of something or someone else and failed
to pray for the Most High God to bless you, each and everyone of you
that was at GC, Jesus was there.

So too was the Holy Spirit and She acted. She brooded/danced over the
faces assembled and She reached hearts and minds, spirits and souls.
It is impossible for anything else to have happened because the Bible
tells us all over the place that this is what happens.

To say that the Holy Spirit wasn't there and guiding, to say that that
Jesus was not in the midst of those assembled at GC must , at the very
least, be heresy. For all I know, it might be blasphemy or worse,
apostasy. I will wait with varying degrees of patience, for my
rector, Mike Russel, to return from his vacation and I will ask him.
I miss you, Mike. I need my rector. But I am so very happy that you
are taking this time to refresh and renew.

Granted, it is possible that we didn't hear, didn't see, didn't
apprehend Her presence, her actions. We can;t see the wind, after
all, only symptoms of its presence. I think it is highly likely that
none of us may have a grasp of the Really Big Picture, i.e., what it
all looks like through God's eyes.

In fact, I find myself wondering if what the Most High God, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit wants us to see as a result of GC is not our
resolutions and whether or not they will meet this or that criterion,
but how we are treating each other. That maybe it is more important
to God that we embrace each other as brothers and sisters regardless
of where we stand on The Issue. Maybe it is more important to God
that they repent, those who broke Communion by refusing to break bread
with everyone else. That maybe it is more important to God, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, that we wash our mouths out with soap and get a
new vocabulary with which to address each other. That maybe God wants
us to see that our own egos are in the way of the Holy Spirit and that
it is just plain wrong for a bishop(s) to claim they will not submit
to the authority of General Convention and strike out on their own, in
whatever direction that might be, from refusing to abide by the
resolutions or by seeking alternative episcopal oversight.

Perhaps the work of the Holy Spirit at General Convention is to
inspire us to get over our fine selves and repent that we have not
loved our neighbor as we should and that we have done and not done
those things we ought to have done.

May the Holy Spirit dance in your heart!