Saturday, December 29, 2007

Confidence & harm

Call me a naive Canadian, but in the last several days as so many of us have wept. grieved & prayed over the recent outrage at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, Atwater CA, I’ve become quite concerned that we brothers and sisters of Christ’s fullest blessing not unwitingly harm ourselves, each other, or the Church of Christ Jesus.

Perhaps the most unfortunate instance of this was insistence of a couple of 'our' blogs on using a seriously unflattering photo of John-David Schofield in their reporting. Most of you will know which unfortunate picture I’m referring to.

I’m not disputing the picture was taken. I’m not disputing the man was there, holding that piece of paper. But unfortunately in the current context, this photograph objectifies a man, who, whatever else is still our brother in Christ, and who was created in the image and likeness of God. I might even suggest that use of this photo is personally invasive, as it hauls a brother’s personal issues into the public forum of faith in a context which has nothing to do with what’s currently going on.

I mean, I haven’t heard of anyone using this photo offering to meet with John-David to help and counsel on his personal pain.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’ve wept and sat vigil with the people of St. Nicholas, Atwater, as so many of my radiant brothers and sisters have, and yes, for a moment, when reading a report I wailed ‘why the isn’t anyone doing something?

And on the next breath I regained my senses…
I might even suggest that what we have here is a perfect example of my sense of what’s truly going on in the Church right now– in the bigger picture of living process- that of Christ leading His Church out of centuries of frightened dualistic thinking.

No one needs to be objectified

No one needs to be called names

So long as we remember that what’s going on here is process, a dance of change & transformation, and we (humanity) are only one of the dancing partners- thank goodness & THANK GOD!

This is still the Church of Jesus Christ, Son of the True & Living God

And to momentarily resort to Holy Scriptures; it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God

so of course nothing’s going to be easy or run smoothly

we’re all being call forth out of fear,

we’re all being called into a larger, clearer, living experience of God’s passionate love and unconditional blessing… ‘a love beyond our wildest imagining’ to quote one blessed brother yet again.

we’ve all got healing and growth- and Christ’s necessary grace- to engage in here.

No more guys in black hats and white hats- this is not an old western movie. This is Christ Jesus, working through all of us to move us – the Church- beyond the fearful need to objectify, to damn, to conquer, to destroy- all verbs too commonly found in Christian history.

Working to move us into becoming the most radiant, unconditional embodiment of God’s love humanity has ever known.

An embodiment of Christ’s love ‘beyond our wildest imagining’ (and you all know where I got that from).

There is no way, the words or actions of John-David Schofield at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, Atwater, CA can be justified, excused or explained as anything other than what is so obvious to us. But in the end, his true accountability for everything, like ours, is to the true & living God.

And in the meantime our responsibility has to be to not lose sight of our vocations as baptized Christians, as a people of hope, working with Christ Jesus for the renewal of His Church.

Yes, ache & get angry, but we can’t let that pain and anger stop us from being there for the people of St. Nicholas, and all the other parishes being manhandled in a similar manner.

Yes, ache & get angry, but we can’t let that pain and anger stop us from being there to listen to the hurt, confusion and disillusionment of our fellow Christians over the antics of certain ‘professional ‘ religious.

Yes, ache and get angry but we can't let otrage be our only witness or presence in our collective vocation of radiant embodiment.

Yes, ache and get angry, it can't stop there, or we’ll never see past the fear, to glimpse the active, working presence of Christ, who has promised to never abandon his flock.

And perhaps nothing has embodied that fearful thinking more than the rare anger or concern I’ve read about ++Katherine’s presence in all of this.

Where is she? What’s she doing? Essentially is what more than one voice has been asking,

It may just be my personal opinion, but as much as I honor and admire this particular sister-in-faith, a white cowboy hat might look slightly ridiculous on herright now, and riding into Atwater, both guns blazing would hardly do honor to the office of Presiding Bishop or the Church.

The bottom line is that ++Katherine, like the rest of us, is accountable to Canon Law, which has been prayerfully writ over time, in a conscious effort to know the will of the Holy Spirit, alive and at work in the Anglican Communion- exactly where we all find ourselves right now.

And that Canon Law provides our secessionist brothers a breathing spell of a specific duration in which they’re given a chance to reconsider and renounce their earlier actions.

And I would suggest that by respecting this requirement ++Katherine is showing herself to be a living embodiment of the best of Anglican tradition and practice.

Hurt, confused, angry, worried for the future of the Anglican Communion probably describes all of us in the fellowship of full inclusion right now. But it’s essential that none of us unwittingly play into the secessionist agenda by re-acting to whatever they do, or by adopting their frightened dualistic ideology and language.

One of the great blessings of my sitting practice is the understanding that to re-act is to always respond from a position of weakness or defeat to another’s action.

Bottom line: Jesus Christ is to be found in the thick of this work of transformation- this breaking open and transformation of all of our understandings and experience of the living Christ in our midst.

And my sense is equally that as far as Canon Law allows that’s also where +Katherine is aiming for. She did send her legal and clerical representatives to witness the events of Advent IV at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church. She has put the other secessionist bishops on notice, and never was our sister’s radiant grace more evident than when she side-stepped the antics of +Peter et al at the celebration of the Blessed Sacrament in Tanzania.

As scary, confusing and uncertain as it may feel at times, none of us is alone in this.
We are the Body of Christ, and as a living body, I would suggest that if we have faith, the only appropriate image for the current process is ‘growing pains.’

Growing pains and a glorious calling forth out of fear and fearful thought, speech and action.

Growing pains in a vocation of radiant transformation.

Growing pains which as any parent will tell us are a sign of health, a sign of life, and for me nothing stands proof of this more radiantly than all the wondrous brothers and sisters in faith who have stepped up to claim the promises of their baptismal vows, found their voices and bear witness to their radiant lives on faith- whether in the pew or here on the internet…. which includes each one of you m'dears.


God’s Greatest Blessing, to God’s Greatest Glory- always & unconditionally

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fast'n Fabulious! (David's version)

Tonight I'd like to share with you a recipe which over the last sixteen years has become a blessing in my Advent practice, when with the approach of the anniversary of the Blessed Incarnation, I am only too aware of the too many friends and clients we lost here in Montreal during the first two dacades of the holocaust of AIDS when I was privileged to be on the front line of service.


2 1/2 cups (265ML) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5ML) baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 jar (750ml) sweet Mincemeat
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups chopped candied cherries*
1 cup candied ginger or gingembre en sirop, cut small
2 teaspoons of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F (150C). Grease two 9x5x3-inch (1.5L) loaf pans.
Stir together flour and baking soda; set aside. In large bowl, combine
eggs, mincemeat, Eagle Brand, chopped cherries and ginger. Add dry
ingredients; mix well. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake 1 hour
and 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool 15 minutes. Turn out of pans;
cool completely. Garnish with candied cherries if you wish. Wrap well in
foil. Store in refrigerator or freezer

And like most things associated with this blessed time of year, there's a story associated with this recipe. As my first Christmas approached after the death of my sweet Louis, I knew that I had to do something purely out of personal need- that migtht be an act of faith- in those early months of grief you can't be sure- but at least it might be a step further in healing.

Some important background: not only was my sweet man a graduate of L'institute d'Hotelerie de Quebec here in Montreal, he was a master in the kitchen and had presided over more than one epicurian restaurant. As if that weren't intimidating enough, our Mam not only raised seven children on seriously limited resources; she constantly out-does herself in the kitchen as both a baker and a chef.

So that first Christmas, less than ten months after sweet Louis' death, I had more than enough reasons to give up before starting. Somehow I came across a recipe for Christmas fruitcake, and memories of the smells; both of Mam's Christmas kitchen and our kitchen when Louis baked, came flooding back.

The one thing which probably convinced me to try this particular version was the serious role sweet minemeat plays in it- I mean I love sweet mincemeat.
I was however baking for a particular group- our POZ men and women, so some tinkering was required ie. no cut fruit or nuts. So I substituted ginger- lots of ginger- good for digestion and the immune system, and jacked the other spices.

First year four cakes for the Centre's Christmas party where the only complaint was there wasn't enough to go around. So another six for the New Years Eve celebration.

Since then, a couple more receipes have become standard additions to my holiday kitchen therapy (ginger shortbread tomorrow)and the volume of my output might vary, but never since that first Christmas have I felt alone in the kitchen when I haul out the pans and all the fixins, and work my way through one batch after another.

So from Montreal, as we approach the wondrous feast of The Incarnation I'd offer it tonight, for all of those touched by the scourge of AIDS, for all of those who have known serious loss of any kind in the past year, and for you my blessed, radiant LGBT sisters and brothers of faith.

For God so loved the world...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just a suggestion...

Dear, dear +Rowan, you’ve got to feel for the man.

I mean, it isn’t as if he not trying, and he certainly challenges us, as he should,I suppose.

But seriously, I’m beginning to wonder if residence in Lambeth Palace might not be injurious for the health of our blessed Communion and of dear +Rowan’s efforts to play a meaningful role in the current situation.

Nothing a year-long sabbatical in a blue collar neighbourhood wouldn’t fix. Or if we’re really serious about a conscious effort to listen to my LGBT brothers and sisters of faith, how about finding the man sabbatical employment behind the bar of a LGBT establishment- collar, pectoral cross and all.

Yes, I’m still talking about the infamous Advent letter.

Not only does +Rowan persist in making the same, sad, categorical error of treating the consecration of +V. Gene Robinson and that of Martyn Minns as of the same nature and status; a re-reading of his letter this morning, saddened me greatly when I realized just how deeply entrenched +Rowan's assumptions are embedded in the monolithic thinking of the patriarchy.To say nothing of his body language in the most recent photo on-line

I’m sure it’s only an oversight on +Rowan’s part, but early on in his letter he cripples his representation by limiting the foundations of Anglican faith to only one of three traditional justifications for Anglican life and faith.

Scripture, tradition and reason +Rowan.

And this snow-bound morning here in Montreal I might be taking a slightly different view of just what Anglican tradition is, but please bare with me. Essentially, for me it looks like a continual calling forth out of fear and darkness and growth into an ever more authentic embodiment of our vocation to be the Living Body of Christ. Wether the issue was slavery, the objectification and persecution of our Jewish ‘elder brothers and sisters,’ the ownership of women and children, racism, exploitation of the earth or the civil and ecclesiastical rights of women. And of course, almost every time the Communion has been dragged, kicking and self-righteously posturing into a state of greater freedom and grace.

And the current situation is but another case in point, praise God!

Too often of late news of us Anglicans has been of 'splinters,’ ‘factions,’ ‘deadlocks,’ ‘impasse’ and ‘the rending of the Communion’. Makes good headlines, frightens and hurts a lot of the folks in the pew, and none more so than my blessed LGBT brothers and sisters of faith, but that’s not- read my lips, please- THAT’S NOT WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON HERE FOLKS!

Inspite of all the nastiness and acrimony, inspite of the purple-clad misogyny directed at our beloved sister ++Katherine, inspite of the dark threats against our radiant brother +Gene and our other LGBT clergy on the front line, inspite of all the ranting, name-calling, posturing, and yes, even inspite of the scandalous dishonouring of the Blessed Sacrament at Tanznia, we are still the Church of Jesus Christ, called and blessed to be the Living Body of Christ, here on earth in these difficult times.

To make it simple:
we are all in process- a process which in time will be proven to be one of endless, wondrous grace
we are all stumbling forward in faith, to a larger clearer understanding of God’s radically unconditional love for each and everyone of us
we are all, in varying degrees I admit, learning yet again the miracle of the Incarnation
we are all hearing Christ’s call to step beyond the enslavement of fear
we are all stumbling, blundering or prayerfully walking towards lives and understanding of God’s faithfulness where Scripture no longer has to be used as a weapon, where Communion becomes a verb rather than a measure of membership or exclusion and where faith is what we embody rather than what we use as a filter against the life God has blessed us with.

So bottom line is though there may be ‘splinters’ (ouch!) and ‘factions,’ ‘deadlocks’ and ‘impasses’ they are only illusionary because this is the Living Body of Christ we’re talking about.

LIVING i.e. ‘In process’
LIVING i.e. growing, with God's grace, in our stature as children of the Living God, and in our understanding of God’s love
LIVING i.e. does anyone remember how noisy and confusing puberty was?

And as the Living Body of Christ we have Christ’s unfailing promise to support and bless his Church, we are each the living proof of His patience, mercy and grace, and none more so than my radiant LGBT brothers and sisters of faith.

Look back for a moment on that model of Anglican tradition as I have cast it, and each time Christ has used men and women of faith, usually on the margins of established Christianity, collectively or individually to be ‘a light unto the nations’ and it would appear to be that is what He is doing with an through our radiant LGBT faith community at this time.

Each time, Christ was calling us out of fear
Each time Christ was aching to free us of the smallness of our thinking, the fearfulness of our lives.
Each time Christ was leading us into a larger understanding and engagement with life
and never more clearly than now. Praise God!

Joan Didion, in her book ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ made a powerful gift to contemporary understanding when she popularized and articulated the practice of magical thinking. And if one is honest, far too much of Christian practice has resonated with the same fearful desperation- an insult to both the True & Living God, and to the humanity we have been blessed with.

To resort to the language of the dharma for a moment, I believe that what’s really going on here is an awesome calling by Jesus Christ, radiant Son of God for Christian men and women to step beyond the shadows of dualistic thinking. The ‘yes, but’ our lives continually send back to God; the ‘yes, but’ we continually impose between ourselves and those God brings into our lives, when we use our faith or religion to objectify them to a safe distance.

I’ve been doing some work lately with two sisters on their devastating grief following the death of their doting Italian mother. One of the exercises we worked with from my years of AIDS service, has to do with ‘difference’- what difference has their mother’s death made in their lives... And what I’m suggesting here is that if we’re looking at the only big picture that really counts, the current process our Communion is undergoing isn’t really different from any of the other chapters of Anglican tradition.

Jesus Christ is still the head of this Church
and the Holy Spirit continues to challenge, bless and sustain it, and to wait for us to catch up with the radiant, vibrant truth of God’s love for all Creation.

Never more so than now, in the season of Advent, I would dare the most cynical in the Communion to spend some serious time with the awesome reality of the Incarnation.

So don’t talk to me of ‘rending’ ‘ending’ or ‘tearing’
there is no human being walking the face of this earth capable of ending what the True and Living God put into motion in the Incarnation of our sweet Lord Jesus Christ
who, as one radiant brother keeps reminding us all loves us ‘beyond our wildest imagining’

‘For God so loved to world’ pointe-finale as we say in French.

Writing this, I can’t help but be mindful and deeply grateful of the many radiant LGBT lives of faith which support and nourish my practice, and of the many courageous allies we have found in this current conversation within the Communion. Nothing moves me more easily to tears of deep and abiding gratitude than the refusal of these living prophets to resort to the name-calling, threats and posturing of those who tremble with fear at the prospect of an inclusive faith; a family which doesn’t have to exclude to include, a society and world which doesn’t have to use God’s word as a weapon.

Did I say prophetic?

Yes I did, because if one truly looks at that ‘only big picture which really counts-’ God’s redemptive love, it is so very obvious that these radiant brothers and sisters who keep witnessing, who keep acting on Christ’s promises, who keep owning their baptism, who keep turning up at the table...can there be any possible doubt of the working of the Holy Spirit through these lives who have had to come so far, and paid so dearly for their witness.

I thank God for each and every one you- living blessings that you are.

And before I resort to quoting Romans 8 again, I’ll sign off, sure in the unconditional love of Christ, a love’ beyond our wildest imagining’


for God’s greatest blessing, to God’s Greatest Glory- always & unconditionally!

PS. And brother +Rowan, let me know where you’re ‘drawing the suds’, and we’ll try to arrange a flight over, to drop by for a chat. I’ve got a whole lot of wondrous friends you might want to meet and listen to.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Excuse me?

O.K. I know it's been a while...

I've been taking a necessary time-out to deal with the accumulative wear-and-tear of so much patent dishonesty, self-righteous mis-representation and posturing directed at the friends of full inclusion and radical hospitality within our Communion.

I've been spending a lot of time in silence, in prayer & meditation and in dharma study.

As I confessed to a dear friend recently once again it's the Church doing violence to my spirit, causing me to bleed from a thousand and one cuts and leaving me exhausted. And its my non-religious Zen practice which not only gets me through, but keeps me sane and hoping. And before anyone calls me a heretic for praticing outside the Anglican canon, I'd invite them to plant their butt on my meditation bench or a while and see what I'm talking about.

But that's not what's got me back here this evening.

You might have guessed- it's +Rowan- once again.

Today brought news that the eminent gray beard of Cantebury has reitterated he will not be reversing his decision to exclude the Right Rev. and Very Honorable Bishop of New Hampshire from the upcoming Lambeth teaparty. (my original source 365gay

And I quote...
Archbishop Rowan Williams' office said he had also not changed his mind about refusing an invitation to Martyn Minns, a traditionalist U.S. priest who was consecrated as a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.


Has the gray eminence never heard of a categorical error? Perhaps that's why he's making such an embarassingly colossal one himself.

There are absolutely no.... make that NO POSSIBLE GROUNDS for including the prayerfully, duly elected, consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire and Rev. Martyn Minns in the same discussion or decision. One, as I said was duly elected, confirmed and prayerfully consecrated; the other participated in an irregular act of consecration orchestrated by an ecclesiastical bandit acting in comtempt of both the Windsor Report and the Tanzania Declaration (a.k.a known as our brother in Christ +Peter).

That +Rowan persists in what is so obviously a patent whitewash of the real situation is bad enough, but he then resorts to Scriptural imagery when referring to possible boycots by some of the Lambeth invitees.

"I have said that the refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross - and so of the Resurrection," Williams said.

Except that as we only too well know, it's not +Rowan and his invitees who are bearing the pain of the cross in this situation, it's my radiant LGBT bothers and sisters in faith throughout the world who are being objectified, vilified, railed against threatened and excluded- not only in their daily lives but within the living Body of Christ.

By excluding +New Hampshire from Lambeth +Rowan himself is himself refusing Chist's invitation to become an even more vital and honest embodiment of Our Saviour's redemptive love for all humanity.

By objectifiying the lives of faith of my radiant brothers and sisters in keeping our radiant brother +Gene from his rightful place at the table, +Rowan himself is perpetuating passive-aggressie homophobia and caving in to the ravings of the bullies of the patriarchy.

Yes, +Rowan, homophobia, because that's how it would be viewed in my country, Canada, and those of you who know we will understand how strange it is for me to resort to the 'rights argument' when for so long I have insisted the core issue of the current struggle is one of baptismal validity.

And of course the saddest thing of all is that the longer this goes on, the more irrelevant +Rowan's cowardly dithering is making the Church to so many observing us from any sort of a distance outside the Church.

All of which brings to mind a living saint Harry, who once again this Christmas will not be in the pew after a lifetime of extraordinary service by himself and his late wife to the parish I grew up in. And then there's my chance encounter this week with Jen, a street person carrying psychic bruises from the Church... but tonight +Rowan is more than enough, and he makes me so very, very sad.

I sit- in silence- with Willie the wondrous daschund nearby, and that's where Love finds me, with tears of gratitude not sadness as I remember another man who did a lot of harm to my radiant tribe, but who also give me the words for my defiant insistence on our Communion being open to God's greatest blessing for God's Greatest Glory:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

'Love beyond our wildest imagining' to quote another Living Blessing.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

All Praise & Glory!!!!

This image never fails to move me to tears of awesome thanksgiving.
Nov 2, 2003
The Consecration of +V.Gene Robinson a.k.a. Beloved of God, Bishop of the wondrous people of New Hampshire.
As polluted as the Communionsphere might appear to be at times, there are so many grounds for thankfulness.
For God's Greatest Blessing- always to God's Greatest Glory


What a week of sad, unnecessary news stories...

Oct 31,, a LGBT news service I tend to check daily once I’ve feasted on my regular menu of LGBT faith blogs, reported...

Wa Republican Resigns in Gay Hustler Scandal
Nothing really new here, especially when it comes to the antics of Republican party members- this one voting against two successful LGBT rights laws- only to be caught out in their private lies. What was particularly sad was the duplicity which ended up with a gay man charged with- you guessed it- blackmail...

Same day, same source
Royal to be Tied For Assaulting American Who Refused His Sexual Advances
Another sad tale of a public figure, denying being gay; this time the violence actually got physical and very ugly...

Nov 1, All Saints Day, the New York Times reported a story which really got me thinking about the bullies of the patriarchy
In Rape Case, a French Youth Takes on Dubai
And sadly, there’s really not much new in this story either, though Alexandre Robert, the incredible young man, taking on the state of Dubai is only a heroic 15years old.
The NY Times reports

Just after sunset, Alex says he was rushing to meet his father for dinner when he bumped into an acquaintance, a 17-year-old native-born student at the American school, who said he and his cousin could drop Alex off at home.
There were, in fact, three Emirati men in the car, including a pair of former convicts ages 35 and 18, according to Alex. He says they drove him past his house and into a dark patch of desert, between a row of new villas and a power plant, took away his cellphone, threatened him with a knife and a club, and told him they would kill his family if he ever reported them...

Alex and his family were about to learn that despite Dubai’’s status as the Arab world’’s paragon of modernity and wealth, and its well-earned reputation for protecting foreign investors, its criminal legal system remains a perilous gantlet when it comes to homosexuality and protection of foreigners.
The authorities not only discouraged Alex from pressing charges, he, his family and French diplomats say; they raised the possibility of charging him with criminal homosexual activity, and neglected for weeks to inform him or his parents that one of his attackers had tested H.I.V. positive while in prison four years earlier...

““They tried to smother this story,”” Alex said by phone from Switzerland, where he fled a month into his 10th-grade school year, fearing a jail term in Dubai if charged with homosexual activity. ““Dubai, they say we build the highest towers, they have the best hotels. But all the news, they hide it. They don’’t want the world to know that Dubai still lives in the Middle Ages.””...

United Arab Emirates law does not recognize rape of males, only a crime called ““forced homosexuality.”” The two adult men charged with sexually assaulting Alex have pleaded not guilty, although sperm from all three were found in Alex...

Most infuriating to Alex and his mother, Veronique Robert, is that police inaccurately informed French diplomats on Aug. 15, a month after the assault, that the three attackers were disease-free, the diplomats say. Only at the end of August did the family learn that that the 36-year-old assailant was H.I.V. positive. The case file contains a positive H.I.V. test for the convict dated March 26, 2003.
““They lied to us,”” Ms. Robert said. ““Now the Damocles sword of AIDS hangs over Alex.””
So far the teenager has not tested positive for H.I.V., but he will not know for sure until January, when he gets another blood test six months after the exposure.
A doctor examined Alex the night of the rape, taking swabs of DNA for traces of the rapists’’ sperm. He did not take blood tests or examine Alex with a speculum. Then he cleared the room and told Alex: ““I know you’’re a homosexual. You can admit it to me. I can tell.””
Alex told his father in tears: ““I’’ve just been raped by three men, and he’’s saying I’’m a homosexual,”” according to interviews with both of them.
The doctor, an Egyptian, wrote in his legal report that he had found no evidence of forced penetration, which Alex’’s family says is a false assessment that could hurt the case against the assailants.
In early September, after the family learned about the older attacker’’s H.I.V. status and the French government lodged complaints with the United Arab Emirates authorities, the Dubai attorney general’’s office assigned a new prosecutor to the case. Only then were forensic tests performed to confirm that sperm from all three attackers had been found in Alex.
Alex stayed in Dubai in order to testify against his attackers, and went back to school in September, despite suffering unsettling flashbacks.
In early October, however, the family said, their lawyer warned Alex that he was in danger of facing charges of homosexuality and a prison term of one year...
Enough to get the Saints we were celebrating, weeping.
Depression, murder & attempted suicide; none of which would have occurred if not for the homophobia and the objectification of self drummed into so many of us at an early age.
What really breaks my heart when reading this report is that Grant Harris actually thought that by murdering his parents he would be sparing them the shame of his planned suicide.

So much unnecessary suffering
So much frightened ugliness
I guess it was almost inevitable the bullies of the patriarchy came to mind.

I mean do they ever stop long enough to even hear the silence?

Does the word 'consequence' ever enter their consciousness? (see Matthew 7:16)

Do they ever even wonder where all this self-righteous posturing, acrimonious rant and rage comes from within themselves?

Are they ever momentarily blindsided by the intellectual dishonesty which makes a select few verses of Scripture their make-or-break issue for the Communion- according to them at least.

'Consequence' 'By their fruits ye shall know them'

The Patriarchy has a lot to be held accountable for-and I'm willing to start here and now.

Countless generations of gay and lesbian men and women, created in the image and likeness of the true living God; taught by those claiming to embody Christ's saving grace to make of their lives ghettos of shame, fear and self-loathing.
To do violence to themselves and to denigrate their God-given capacity to love and to ennoble life.
Talented, beautiful lives sold short, their gifts and talents plowed under by the hateful self-righteousness of those claiming a monopoly on the divine.
And how many young lives, precious in the eyes of God, cut short in the silent scream of despair?

Of course, it doesn't end there: there's also the ugly violence and fear too of our bashers and murderers have discovered within themselves when they've acted on the Patriarchy's implied call to murder, to bash, to mock and to exclude.

The uglier their pronouncements, the nosier, more disturbed their presence in the councils of the Church the closer the Patriarchy comes to realizing the essential truth that they are their own biggest victim.
It is they themselves who are being bound, who are casting themselves out, who are refusing Christ's unconditional love for His whole Creation.

I grieve regularly for the pain and suffering of those blinded by the gold of ++Peter and +Robert's pectoral crosses.
I weep for those who are being bound up in the straightjacket's of the Patriarchy's frightened rage.
But I also know that in the long run, ++Peter, +Robert, Bruce+ et al will be little more than a nanosecond in the Song of Salvation.

And of course -Praise God- the week didn't end there!

Friday Nov 2 2007 was the fourth anniversary of one of the greatest, most wondrous works of the Holy Spirit in our times- the consecration of 'beloved of God' +V.Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

An act I hold to the same standard of 'consequences.'

First the witness and ministry of the man himself who endlessly embodies Christ's love for all humanity- a love 'beyond our wildest imagining.'

Secondly, the wondrous leavening taking place throughout the Communion as courageous, radiant LGBT men and women reclaim their baptism, take their places in the pew, finding their voices to speak and work to a larger vision the Church and Communion.

Thirdly, the countless untold reconciliations going on in families and friendships, as men and women of faith, for the first time question, and then step outside the homophobic assumptions of their parishes and denominations.

Fourth, the wondrous reconfiguration within the provinces of our Communion as the House of the Laity witnesses to the 'mind of the house' in our Canadian Synod, the Ottawa, Montreal and California synods.

Fifth the wondrous underlying truth of Communion itself, which sees radiant men and women of faith such as ++Katherine and ++Fred continuing to speak to the Patriarchy, even as it postures, rattles and roars, on its way to the door.

Sixth, the wondrous network of inclusive spirituality which has grown in this medium- the Internet. Whether it's Integrity U.S.A.'s Susan+ Russell, the awesome Elizaeth+ Kaeton, everybody's Father Jake, Mark+ @ Pedludium, Michael+'s 'From Glory into Glory',John+ Kirkley's 'Meditatio' just to name a few. Mighty blessings all and a radiant leaven in this sacred process of renewal.

Oh, and before anyone dare even suggest the consecration of +Gene New Hampshire might be the cause or vortex for all the ugly noise and threats currently polluting the Communionsphere, let me remind you of the Chapman Memorandum of December 28th 2003.

As time will prove irrefutably, this essentially has nothing to do with +Gene.

The bullies didn't manage to carry it off with their misogynist bluster over the ordination of our sisters-in-faith to the priesthood, so they're trying once more. Same tactics: endless noise, ugly accusation and acrimony and simplistic misrepresentation of both Sacred Scripture and Anglican tradition.

Yes, I shudder at the endless, unnecessary suffering these bullies are causing, but then I also know that in the only context that really matters, this too shall pass.

The only grounds I need for this surety, and I quote
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And that's a consequence I can live with!

Communion is process- Christ unceasingly & unconditionally calling us- the Holy Spirit meeting us in our unconditional humanity- so its inevitable ++Peter, +Robert, Bruce+ et al, we'll all be meeting at Christ's feast- I'll be the one jumping and dancing, absolutely foolish with joy to see you there.

For God's Greatest Blessing always to God's Greatest Glory


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wondrously, Prayerfully made- the Montreal Decision

Old news by now perhaps- the vote at SynodMontreal on the blessing of civil marriages, what I’d like to share here are personal impressions of what can only be described as an incredible experience of God’s Spirit very much alive and working through the hearts of some pretty incredible men and women on a rainy Friday evening.

As a non-delegate, someone who once described himself as an alienated Anglican in an article published in the local diocesan paper, the decision to attend was an incremental conviction which stole over me. As I told one of my dearest who was there with us, if nothing else, I can quietly sit in a corner and do meta practice for all the conscientious suffering going on in the room. And of course- the evening was so much more than that....

Before anything else, it’s important to me that you know what an extraordinary person we’ve been given to be our Bishop in these times. +Barry is one of the most wondrously low-key, unaffected people I know. Following on the heels on his rather dynamic predecessor (understatement there), some people have mistakenly thought him to be a caretaker bishop, and the few grumbles which reached me, were encouraged to ‘just wait and see... Called, the man was called for a time and purpose.’ And in the meantime, +Barry has moved throughout his diocese and people with a pastoral grace which for me personally was awesome to behold, having been rather seriously manhandled in my past in the name of God.

Yes, there’s a very tenuous personal connection. My dear father who was a lifelong Church organist & a consummate musician in his time, counted Barry among his friends and a priest whose ministry he admired long before he become Bishop. Both of my parents treasured the friendship of Leslie’s parents, and of Leslie herself... Yes, there is a Leslie whose life and love informs, nourishes and supports everything +Barry does, and these two radiant beings haven’t faltered in their faith- even when Leslie was stricken cruelly within a few short years of their marriage, by a cruel and debilitating condition.

Friday evening began with a wonderful Holy Eucharist in the Cathedral- Anglicanism at its best. The central aisles of the Cathedral were literally packed, with an interesting overflow on both sides (including yours truly, arrived unaviodably late). My clear sense was a significant number more people were present to pray for our discussions that evening than would later fill Fulford Hall and the visitor’s gallery for the discussions. The liturgy began with a poem- Kate Compston’s ‘I Dream of a Church’ and all of you who know this work already will forgive me for repeating it here- it’s worth repeating

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s laughing
as she rocks in her rapture, enjoying her art;
she’s glad of her world, in its risking and growing;
‘tis the child she has born and hold close to her heart.

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s weeping
as she crouches, wedged down by the sorrow she sees:
she cries for the hostile, the cold and no-hoping,
for she bears in herself our despair and dis-ease.

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s dancing
as she moves like the wind and the wave and the fire:
a church that can pick up its skirts, pirouetting,
with the steps that can signal God’s deepest desire.

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s loving
as she bends to embrace the unlovely and lost,
a church that can free, by its sharing and daring,
the imprisoned and poor, and then shoulder the cost.

God, make us a church that joins in with your living,
as you cherish and challenge, rein in and release,
a church that is winsome, impassioned, inspiring;
lioness for your justice and lamb of your peace.

You don’t need me to blunder at trying to describe what, on so many levels was indescribable beyond the beautiful dance of ritual and faith carried out by +Barry and his priests in the sanctuary.

What made a deep and lasting impression on me was the incredible sense of family there was to this particular Eucharist. All of us present in a difficult, unsettling time and place, but each of part of the Anglican family, yearning to know God’s will in the issue which has been consuming so much time and energy through-out the Communion.
Two other Eucharists came to mind: Tanzania, when some Primates stormed from sanctuary in misogynist rage; and another Eucharist- the radiant, radical opposite of Tanzania: Montreal’s first OUTMass, and those of you who were there know of what I speak.
Sitting in my pew, so aware of the prayerful care embodied in those present, I couldn’t help but wish the Primates could have known the same thing- only one word for it- blessedness.

And no moment expresses the spirit very much alive in the Cathedral more that evening than the exchange of Christ’s peace. Not only did Bishop +Barry personally lead the clergy the full length of the Cathedral, stopping at each pew to meet eye-to-eye each occupant and share the peace of Christ; the congregants circulated in the aisles in a remarkable exercise of goodwill and connection which went on much longer than normal.
Patrick Wedd and the choir were earth-moving as usual- perhaps an unusual choice of words when they strive to be so heavenly, but it was all part of the feel to the evening- something gigantic was in process- something significant was happening.

Sitting in my pew after having received the blessed sacrament from yet another priest with associations with my family- the Rev Sinpo+ Han, I couldn’t help but tear up at the timeless beauty of so many hundred men and women of faith moving - each in their faith and need- to the Sacrament and back to their pews.

Dinner, thanks to the generosity of one of my dearest, Donald Boisvert PhD, was a wonderful time-out with Judy and Jeremy - both post-graduate students of Donald.

Then back to Fulford Hall, which is actually in the rather remarkable sky scraper complex which adjoins & underlays the Cathedral. Once again, the intense attentiveness- the prayerful attentiveness of most of those present in the hall was deeply moving, weaving its way through all the noisy chatter and speculation before +Barry called the room to order.

Scripture, prayers, a hymn... the gears of the evening kicked in as we moved through at least one motion, a memorial, a multi-part presentation by delegates to the recent National Synod. Of course gears and any mechanical metaphor soon fell away in the raw, trembling attentiveness of the moment as +Barry brought us into the sacredness of what was before us- Motion L.

Be it resolved that this Synod request that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and hat the Bishop authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes.

Cannon Paul Jennings was so radiantly articulate when he spoke to the motion he was proposing, and he was only the first of many in the course of that evening.

Memory of course is a very personal and imperfect medium, but two over-riding impressions:

the deep articulate care and attentive grace of so many of the men and women who spoke for the motion, often literally moving me to tears of deep gratitude.

the surprising sadness and sympathy I felt for those I hae formerly called the bullies of the patriarchy, as the ineffectively mis-represented scripture and manhandled tradition. Perhaps the saddest was to see one individual, still in his twenties actually resort to Ecclesiastes injunction to wives to submit to their husbands as heads of the household and God’s representative- as if bore any relation to the lives God finds us living. No bullies in the room that night- only frightened brothers and sister, clinging desperately...

Earlier, at the end of his (slightly overlong) Bishop’s Charge +Barry firmly set the tone for the evening with a prayer by Betty Radford Turcott

Loving God, we strive to be your church in our world but we need to recognize that there is diversity in our midst. We have different ways to express our love for you in our worship. As your people we have different needs and expectations. Our hopes and our dreams, our backgrounds and our visions are not always the same. Grant that we may find and create ways to work together in community. Help us to hear each other in love. Help us to be open to the needs of others. Give us the will to find excitement in our individuality, harmony in our discord and unity in our diversity. Grant that all we do, we do out of love for you and for humankind.

The gracious caring in the room was remarkable, each testimony received in respectful silence- neither applause nor groaning and (audible) gnashing of teeth.
Only once, did +Barry have to intervene- to ask he room if he were to allow an individual to continue with their presentation- and he did- continue without even appreciating the good grace which had been granted him, childishly repeating the same offensive phrase which had interrupted proceedings initially.

So many wondrous men and women of faith touched me so deeply.

A gentleman clearly in his late seventies, speaking from the heart for the motion,

A theologian speaking simply but so powerfully of how it is in the startling newness and complexity of life where Christ most powerfully present.

Another priest speaking of her initial resistence and of her conviction that this was the only Christ-like thing to do.

A priest who brought the Sacrament to my father’s hospital bed, speaking of that first OUTMASS, the near-packed Cathedral resonating with lived faith.

Tim+ Smart’s sublime parable on hetero-socksuality.

There was one moment, when the testimonies went on and on, I literally ached with prayer for one brother or sister to stand and speak from the great awesome truth of being created a gay or lesbian child of God. And I have to admit it came from the most unexpected quarter- a man who literally moved me to tears- Archdeacon Canon Edward+ Symington, OGS who identified himself as ‘Christ’s Gay Eunuch’ being the only ordered priest in the diocese.

+Karen Chalk

The confident, unconditional smile of Letty+ James glimpsed ‘across a crowd room.’

Two speakers, right near the end just ‘capped the blessedness for me-‘ Judy Oatway, (remember that name) one of Donald’s theology students succinctly dismantled the arguments of the patriarchy in her usual ‘feisty’ directness. And Mark+ Rogers spoke for me when he spoke to the real issue; when he reminded the room that what is really at stake goes well beyond civil rights and had direct bearing on the lives and vocation of each and every Christian ie baptism,

Knowing there is no way I could possibly represent the testimony of the patriarchy, I won’t even try to. I would however mention three of their tactical manoeuvres- one to amend the motion (Failed); to have a written secret vote (Failed); and to vote by houses (Passed).

Once again, before the vote +Barry lead us in prayer and spoke from his heart before the actual vote.

The slightly raw, breathless openness in the room was unforgettable as our Bishop called each house to stand- for and against.

The marshals' care in counting and recounting each contingency was only a reflection of the seriousness of our undertaking.

Then back to our Bishop, who, once again speaking from his heart, reminded us

we are indeed the living Body of Christ, and we will continue to be nothing less after the outcome of that evening’s vote

that each and every one of us are essential to the life and welfare of that Body

that perhaps never before had he been so very deeply conscious of what extraordinary people we have in this diocese

Clergy 44-25 for the motion

Laity 59-32 for the motion.

Barely a sound in the room- hugs, some tears- whole conversations in eye contact.

+Barry, with great pastoral care, once again went over the significance (ie: the final decision and responsibility is his) and the context (ie. the request is for the blessing of civil marriages where one party is baptized), and assured us that nothing would be undertaken lightly, without much prayer and study, or without consulting with his fellow Canadian Bishops who meet in London ON next week.

Scripture, prayers and one last hymn- then out into the late evening downpour... Donald calling love to the three of us on the far side of the metro platform, the griminess of steep stairs up to street level, tumbling Judy into a cab to carry her home, the blessedness of my own tiny house and the unconditional enthusiasm of dear Willie, our late night walk in the downpour, very little sleep and a deeply grateful day of silence and practice Saturday, loving e-mails from two giants in the faith in response to the news- only one word for it all- blessedness.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen, and again Amen

For God’s Greatest Blessing to God’s Greater Glory- unconditionally- always!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The week that was

Early Sunday morning (overcast and cool here in Montreal) I'd cast this morning's thoughts in the context of Susan+ Russel's musings on this morning's Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19 - the story of the tenth lepper.

Before anything else, I couldn't help but notice for the first time the symmetrical resonance between the fact it was the tenth leper who returned to thank the true source of his healing, and Kinsey's theory that we LGBT folk supposedly only represent 10 percent of humanity. I wonder if that's why he chose that figure- for its Biblical resonance.

Quite the week: who would have ever thought, the Dallas Reporter
would feature a photo story on dear +Gene, his parents Victor & Imogene, and Mark of course.

Having already enjoyed Elizabeth+ Kaeton's thoughts on International Coming-Out Day I couldn't help but wonder if +Gene's wonderful and delightfully human parents couldn't be nominated for something for their exemplary faith in and love of their radiant son. An award not so much for what I'm sure they'd insist was only the Christian thing to do, but to bring the comfort of their words and example to the thousands of other parents fearing they might be forced to chose between their faith community and their love of their LGBT sons or daughters.

How about Great Folks we all love, in the International Fellowship of Christ's Radiant Grace- of course they'd be in good company with Judy and Richard Shephard.

In that same spirit, I can't help but thinking on the larger day of grace when our Church gets over itself and steps far enough outside the straight-jacket of fear that it can own and ask forgiveness for its objectification and the suffering of so many Christian versions of the 'other'... Just imagine it: A specific Sunday every year when the Anglican Church (yeah the one known for full inclusion of all baptized and its radical hospitality) actually focuses the liturgy on the gifts of their Afro-Canadian, or the Japanese- Canadian, or the First Nations.... or dare I say it LGBT baptized, and giving thanks, celebrates a liturgy of healing and restoration.
Talk about energizing liturgy!

You didn't expect me to stop there, did you?

One day that same Radiant Church will step outside its hallowed walls on a regular basis to ask forgiveness and dialogue with our Jewish brethren. Standing outside the tyranny of inherited fear, it will become vocal in calling for an end to the objectification of our Muslim brothers and sisters and support the work of courageous Muslims like Irshad Manjee... Who knows we might even become known for our unconditional support for the people of Burma, our insistence for an end to the terror in Darfour and for being at the forefront of healing God's Creation.

Don't you dare accuse me of dreaming.

Our very unique structure and polity; our heritage of honoring Scripture, Tradition & the on-going work of God's Grace place us in such a very unique transformative time and space.

And then of course- and most thankfully- it isn't just us but the church of Jesus Christ, the radiant, resurrected son of the True and Living God alive & active in this process of transformation.

So no matter how uncouth the acrimony, how inept the bumbles, blunders and mis-steps; we are a church in motion- a church in process- though God's unfailing grace.

So that's why I still care, to answer the question of one shanga brother, and I refuse to settle for anything less- in the not-so-long-run of course.

'We are a people of hope'- to quote one radiant brother in faith- 'it's only a question of time'. (same source)

A point +Gene mentions- about being piqued at continual being referenced as the 'gay bishop': I can sure identify with that.

As long as I am identified primarily by but one detail of my divinely created
self-hood I am being objectified, rather than recognized as a living, vital human being and full member of the Church. And when this happens within the Church my relationship with the Divine is not only being devalued, but my faith practice, experience and the grace given are being devalued or dismissed- something no practicing Christian should countenance.

Need I state the obvious: There are no second-class Christians.

Yes, I am gay- among so many other things- but that is not only something Divinely included in my humanity, it is something I have, through God's grace, owned- again through God's grace. So it is something for me to choose to bring to the table- not something for others to reduce to a simplistic caricature of my life.

And then of course, there's the sad fact that the Church of all places, still has to resort to such handicapped terms to describe some of its most faithful members.

Sexuality is not an isolated feature of one's being.

Labeling an individual according to the repertoire of shared intimate acts in their life is not only insulting, it's a simplistic, artificial construct at the more desperate outer fringes of dualistic thinking. Or is this supposed to some sort of necessary standard; are we supposed to start referring to non-gay brothers and sisters according to the frequency and nature of their sexual intimacy also?

Personally, I have made a conscious decision to avoid the use of the word 'sexuality' because of it's implicit patriarchal objectification.

The real issue here- and the context for the Church's vocation is God's unfailing grace working in and through our lives- the concept is being- selfhood, to probably coin a phrase.

Sadly, the Church's insistence on 'sexuality' and the patriarchy's insistence on making the 'sexuality' of some of its baptized a make-or-break issue is a reflection of nothing less than just how alienated and frightened these same members are of their own vocations in Christ Jesus.

But to get back to this past week: Ottawa Synod, on Saturday voted 177 to 97 to ask their Bishop for permission for priests acting in good conscience to bless civil marriages and covenants of same-gender couples.

You might have heard my wild cheering when the news came in.

Of course the final decision of where this goes from there, rests with +John Chapman, and I'd ask your fraternal prayers for this brother who must be only to aware of the significance of this gigantic step is calming God's Greatest Blessing for God's Greatest Glory.

Of course, the patriarchy wasn't able to keep their mouths prayerfully shut, 'waiting on the Lord', in this instance either... and I quote from the Ottawa Citizen

Rev. Sinclair said that if the church passed the motion, "We are saying we are smarter than Jesus. We are saying Jesus was wrong and we are right."

Later he said he was "disappointed, but not surprised."

He predicted some Anglicans will leave over it, and he just hopes the farewells will be fond and not bitter or triumphant.

Pathetic isn't it how the patriarchy, in their desperation have to resort to mis-representing both Holy Scripture and our Lord's ministry on earth; when we all know Christ himself never spoke to same-sex love in Scripture? He was too busy embodying and witnessing to God unconditional love for Creation!


Monday, October 8, 2007

Amazing Grace!

It's Canadian Thanksgiving up here this week-end.
A rainy Thanksgiving Monday here in Montreal which brings out the green in everything in the garden- reminding us of just how much life there still is in the living- inspite of the more Fall like temperatures.

Yesterday, most of my very large family were once again blessed to get together at our dear Mam's for yet another incredible meal. Four wondrous generations who might not always agree on the finer points of all things, but who know the true blessedness of being together once again. My late Father, who gave so much of his life to glorifying God through his high standards for liturgical music might no longer be with us in body, but his spouse and three generations of their off-spring all joined hands, and once more sang thanks and praise in Mam's living room and dining room and out into the hall.

Afterwards, sitting n a quiet corner with one of my two wondrous Japanese-born great-nieces on my knee, I couldn't help but think of some of the angry voices within the Communion who are working so furiously to exclude themselves from the Communion. Holding precious Kioka, I thought of ++Peter specifically, and prayed that he'd be still long enough to get over himself.

And then this morning, back home once more in the blessed early morning silence of our tiny house, with my pup curled up at my feet, I logged on to such wondrous bounty.

First, (thanks to Susan+ Russel) the courageous witness of +Thomas Clark Ely, current Bishop of Vermont and a living blessing to the Church. This man of God literally took my breath away with a couple of his paragraphs cited on Susan+'s blog:

I regret that once again we made our gay and lesbian members the object of our discussion, something that by its very nature is a form of oppression. I ask for more than patience and forbearance from those so oppressed by our words and actions: I ask for forgiveness. I also ask for their continuing faithful and steadfast commitment to the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church. Finally, I offer my apology to those who disagree and are deeply troubled by recent actions of the Episcopal Church for whom any of my words and actions have contributed to a sense of alienation or oppression. It is never my intention to treat others as objects or to act in anyway that fails to respect the human dignity of another.

I pledge to continue working for both the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons in the life of the Episcopal Church and for the full and dynamic participation of all members of the Episcopal Church in the mission and ministry of the Anglican Communion. Either one without the other would represent to me a failure on our part to live into the fullness of God’s saving grace, glory and hope for the world. I pray that you will join me in this work

A Bishop of our Church asking forgiveness of LGBT people and asking for our forbearance? Who can possibly doubt that God is alive and working wondrous things in the Communion in these seemingly difficult times?
The full text to +Thomas' extraordinary letter to his diocese can be found here

And if one radiant Bishop weren't enough, there's dear +Gene New Hampshire's letter to his people. +Gene is writing as he leaves on a three month sabatical after five years (already) in the Episcopate... Now in my dictionary, sabatical is supposed to be about rest and restoration, but what's this belove brother in Christ doing before he gets around to R&R? He's heading out to meet the Church in the south, to shsre in their work and ministry, to meet the street!

The Christ-filled radiance of this precious brother literally moves me to tears.

Then there's this Sunday's sermon by Cannon Elizabeth+ Kaeton, a radiant sister in Christ who never fails to bless this life and practice at least a couple of times every week. Can that sister preach!

And if that weren't wonder enough for one morning, there's the most incredible process going on at Father Jake Stops the World-another living blessing.
Start with Harry's original post (what a truly radiant brother there!) but you have to delve into the comments to get a real sense of the wonder that's unfolding... Talk about grace at work.... Starting with Harry and Wayne+ having the grace and courage to claim the blessedness of their life together within the Church... and then Harry met Richard, who shared him with ++Katherine... factor in the Great ++Katherine's passion for ministry, and now there's this wondrous work of grace taking form in a space Father Jake (a.k.a. Terry) made possible.

I won't say more- you want to read this!

Somehow 'thank-you' just doesn't quite cover it.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Point

Yes, of course I read it (the HoB New Orleans statement) along with many of the hurt and confused responses of sisters and brothers throughout the Communion and our LGBT tribe.
But a fall cold and real life (more on that later) kept me very much occupied elsewhere.

Time and distance from engaging with post New Orleans blogdom brought an interesting insight- for me at least. An insight informed by years of dharma study and practice as much as by the work on ‘process’ by Margaret Wheatley PhD.

Yes I was hurt and dismayed, yes I shook my head over the essential impotent irrelevance of the New Orleans offering., but the longer I sat with the experience, the clearer it became. The whole thing had to be what it was because of where they started out: a place of re-acting instead of a place of acting.

And let me be clear here- I am neither criticizing or blaming the HoB. With all the noise and acrimony of the past many months they would have had to shut themselves away for a lot longer for any other sort of outcome.
And thank God indeed there's still the rest of TEC & House of Deputies to balance the New Orleans statement!

To understand what I'm talking about, it is perhaps necessary to revisit a term I've used in this space previously, and which has earned me a certain amount of criticism. 'Bullies of the patriarchy' I believe speaks not only to the real issues at stake, but to the behaviour of many I would associate with that moniker.

Bullying is rarely ever about what it claims to be ie.
fear of the open vulnerability to both God and life which is the vocation of
every Christian.
Bullying breaches the norms and conventions of the
ie. storming out of one of the most sacred rites of our
Communion, the Primatal Holy Eucharist at Dar Es Salam.
resorts to a continually escalating vocabulary of threats and accusation which
is a non-stop denial of the essential humanity, experience and grace of its
Bullying’s charges can never be effectively met or satisfied, as its
real agenda is never admitted
(see The Chapman Memo nefariously written
back in 2003).
Bullying can never be satisfied as the essential
dishonesty of its attack requires a continual escalation and shifting of its
and need I say it?
Bullying is always an expression of a lack of emotional
intelligence, spiritual maturity and experience.

But to get back to my point about The Point.

One of the most valuable gifts the dharma has brought me has been some insight into the important and essential difference between acting and re-acting. An insight I might add which came in the rawest days of our local fight against AIDS, with friends and clients sometimes dying daily.

Re-acting always

limits any subsequent discussion or peace-making to the vocabulary and context
established by the bullies.
is implicitly incapable of including the experience and understanding of the party under attack
will always fail to satisfy either party, as it is always speaking to the past ie. earlier charges rather than the current situation & fails to call forth the bullies real

disengages, while owning both the charges of the bully and the experience of
being bullied
practices prayerfully (ie be still and know that I am God) until the deeper truth, experience and understanding of the real situation are gained, at the same time disengaging from one’s own instinctual responses
speaks or acts only from that larger place ie: taking the whole
exercise outside the area of violence and accusation, addressing both the shared
humanity of all parties and once again opening the discussion to God’s grace.

Of course I wasn’t there in New Orleans, so can only read the outcome and the pain and confusion of my brothers and sisters in Christ. But the bottom line appears to be that no one was ‘satisfied’ and the essential process our Communion is going through right now wasn’t advanced a centimetre- on the contrary judging by the reaction of the patriarchy.

Yes, I shook my head, but I also felt real sadness for our brothers and sisters wearing the onerous mantle of the Episcopacy in the American Church.
By re-acting, with the best of intentions no doubt, and only after they themselves had gone through the same agonizing long months we’ve all traversed since Dar-Es-Salam, they essentially found themselves implicitly having to overlook much of what has gone on in that same period of time:

Primatal poaching from outside TEC
irregular consecrations of more bishops
than I need to see
the damning of duly consecrated primates, bishops, priests
and the lay baptized including my radiant LGBT brothers and sisters of
too many of the resources of the Communion squandered on these ‘issues’
while the holocaust of AIDS continues to spread, wars wage and whole societies
unravel under the curse of poverty.

So it was inevitable that we all came away from the latest exercise shaken, sore and still hungry for the bread of heaven.

Unfortunately New Orleans couldn’t be anything more than it was, when the discussions were framed by the deadline and conditions established by the statement of Dar-Es-Salam.

So what’s the alternative model ?

Might I risk sounding simplistic (once again some might add) by suggesting it be that of our sweet Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who Himself ‘drew apart’ regularly as Scripture tells us.

One of the many dharma teachers who has nourished my practice over the years speaks ’three breathes.’ Taking time ie enough breathes to get beyond whatever might be coming at us, enabling us to respond in the larger unconditional openness of the ‘now’ rather than in the dead history which lead to the original attack or accusation.

What did I expect/pray for/hope for?

Nothing short of sheer radiance!

A statement which would have established the example and teachings of Jesus Christ as the first and only principle of the exchange.

A statement which would not have wasted time or energy trying to accommodate a problematic resolution which is already effectively dead-in-the-water.

A statement which would have admitted the need for God’s grace and patience as the HoB was not of one mind on all things.

A statement which would not have contradicted or compromised the final declarations of its communique.

Only then could the meetings of TEC have stood as proof that their discussions were
outside the ‘fist’ of the bully,
a true reflection of the path that TEC has walked, and the grace they have known in their efforts to be a true embodiment of Christ’s loving vocation for humanity,
witness to glorious outcome of Christ’s Incarnation, Christ’s crucifixion and yes, Christ’s resurrection ,
only then could the current discussions have been truly taken beyond the place of accusation, acrimony and condemnation.

Once again, you have my full permission to call me simplistic, but I’d offer a parallel example.

Earlier this week, at work, I was given an opportunity to work with a colleague who was buying-into a series of continually escalating exchanges and accusation about ‘fairness’ & ‘responsibility’ with another colleague.
Both parties are basically decent human beings, each who at different times have confided in me some of their personal baggage and the resulting behaviour patterns.
‘You know you still have a choice in all of this’ I reminded Jenny, bringing her up short in her list of complaints. ‘You can still decide wether or not to buy into this game, or owning your feelings and personal history, to step outside into something larger. The choice of how you will spend your next breath is still yours.’
Of course our discussion didn’t end with my suggestion, but one thing did change, and that was Jenny. Instead of returning to her cubicle and firing off another re-active e-mail or shouting her response over their common wall, she chose to not return to her work space until we had talked the whole thing out and she was ready to get on with the real reason she turned up each day- the work awaiting her.
And when she didn’t respond?
Jenny and her colleague eventually talked about the specific work issue which had been the grounds of the latest aborted round. When her colleague tried carrying it further, turning it into a personal attack, Jenny simply disengaged- citing her ringing phone.
It may not happen next time, but it did then, and that’s some sort of a start.

And thankfully, our blessed Communion is further along than Jenny.

Personally, I’d most readily refer to all of the radiant voices of inclusiveness within the Communion which continue to nourish, bless and inform me daily. You know who you are.

I would also take great hope from the existence of the House of Deputies within TEC, the structure of our own Canadian Synod, and similar structures throughout the Communion.

Then there’s the courageous embodiment of grace in the insistence by our countless LGBT sisters and brothers in faith, of their full inclusion in that same Communion, through God’s grace and the rite of baptism.

But there’s also the unwavering assurance that ‘God so loved the world that S/He gave His only begotten son Christ Jesus’

Thankfully this is not our Church, our Truth, or even our issue that our beloved Communion is undergoing at the present time.

Unfortunately, too often in the past, too much Christian history has been one of ever- escalating action and re-action; a direct result of the dualistic-thinking necessary for the establishment of the patriarchy which for too long imposed its fears and insecurity on Christian practice.

But through God’s unfailing grace and the living contradiction to patriarchal dualism we LGBT people of faith embody at this time, Christ’s Church is once again being called out of fear, to be the radiant embodiment of God’s love which has always been it’s true vocation.

To act (embody Christ Jesus in the world)
rather than re-act in the realm and vocabulary of fear.
the choice is always ours.

A new day...

But for this to happen, the ‘listening process’ becomes more essential than ever.

Not just whatever forums and ‘public processes’ individual dioceses and provinces may offer, but every blessed life, every blessed voice within the Communion- and none more or less so than my radiant, blessed LGBT sisters and brothers- each and every one of you.

LGBT lives - LGBT grace - essential - yes essential to the life and future of the Anglican Communion.
Who would have ever imagined the day?
But that is exactly where we are now.
Dare I say it? Praise God!

All we have to do is show up- be still and know that I am God, to quote scripture.

The Communion may rend- no make that- the Communion may be rent. But it will still be the Communion, working its way back to the inclusive wholeness God has always wanted for all of Creation & the Church.

So what are we supposed to be afraid of in the long run? Nothing comes to mind... because this is not just our process of growth beyond fear, not just our growth in grace, this is not just our Communion.

It never was. Thank God.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

++Rowan, who else

Is this man for real?

I'm referring to ++Rowan aka His Grace, Archbishop of Canterbury of course, the same individual who has remained silent to all appearances during raids on American dioceses, during the consecrations of irregular 'missionary bishops,' and during the firestorm of invective raining on the American Church and two individuals in particular, whom I honour as a sister and brother in Christ Jesus.

'In response to a question about the significance of his brief visit, Archbishop Williams said it "probably would not make much difference on the whole,""

Duh? This is his best shot at responding to all the noise and nastiness that’s been going on?

Is this speaking hope to the regular decent human beings who faithfully turn up most Sundays to take their place in the pew, hoping for some semblance of sanity, for something which speaks to the complex reality of their every-day lives?

Is this pastoral care for the millions of LGBT Anglicans ( both known and unknown) who courageously refuse to default on Christ’s call to each of them personally, as people of faith, as baptized Anglicans?

Is this reaching out to all of the African Anglican’s ‘under the radar’ whose lives are a daily struggle with AIDS, poverty and the political realities in countries like Zimbabwe?

This isn’t even the proverbial bad parent handing out stones instead of living bread. This is positive neglect.

And unfortunately it doesn’t end there...

Quoting from the Integrity USA blog ‘Walking with Integrity’

‘I asked +Rowan what word of hope he had for the gay and
lesbian baptized. He repeated assurances of the communion’s stated opposition to
discrimination against gay and lesbian persons. I followed up and asked whether
that opposition to discrimination applied to the world outside the church but
not within the church.
He answered it was a matter of how people perceived a
person’s "choice of a style of life" and how that affected what level of role
that person was "eligible for" within the church. (‘Choice’ of a ‘lifestyle.’
Flashback to the 70s.) He also said 'we’re concerned with the appropriate limits
of pastoral response to gay and lesbian people'.

‘Choice of style of life’?

What century is this man living in? Sorry ++Rowan you're well on the way to making yourself just about as relevant as the current incumbent of the Chair of Peter.

Has the man even heard of the word ‘science’? Of the anthropological work on the unique and essential roles LGBT men and women have played through-out human history? Of the pathology called ‘homophobia’ and of its common-cause links to misogyny, racism and violence? Of the embodiment of same-gender relationships within the creature kingdoms?

Dear brother ++Rowan, listen closely please...

My being born gay is nothing short of a gift from the hands of the one true living God.

It’s not a mistake.

It’s not a genetic error,
and yes, it is a part of God alive and working in Creation.

My baptism and confirmation within our Church is equally unblemished as yes, even yours- and like yours it is only through the grace of our Lord Christ Jesus.

And yes, I’ll say it, the presence of my LGBT brothers and sisters within the wondrous work-of-grace which our Communion is called to be is just as essential as yours, as ++Peter’s, as that of all those who have stormed from the sanctuary of the Episcopal Church in America.

Do the math ++Rowan, it is the same grace which made me a gay man in the image and likeness of God which baptized, confirmed and calls me daily to be a living wintness and embodiment of Christ's love and healing grace.

‘Style of life’?

The creation of my LGBT brothers and sisters as LGBT children of God is not one jot less wondrous, less challenging, less valuable, less joyous and less essential, than those of my straight sisters and brothers.

And one more thing brother ++Rowan aka ‘Beloved Rowan.,’ ‘The appropriate limits of pastoral response to gay and lesbian people?’

How can you even consider such an ugly homophobic concept?

Those ‘appropriate limits’ are limitless if we’re speaking of Christ’s love and yearning for humanity.
‘Appropriate limits’ for the LGBT baptized are exactly- let me say that again EXACTLY THE SAME as those for all humanity.

Christ’s ministry and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross were as EQUALLY and as UNCONDITIONALLY made for me as for you, dear brother Rowan.

And it is Christ’s words, Christ’s example which I and my LGBT sisters and brothers of faith cling to, and are nourished by daily.

It is Christ’s unconditional love ‘beyond our wildest imagining’ which has us turning up most Sundays in the pews of the same churches which historically have tried to teach us to hate our God-created selves, our bodies and the love that we yearn for.

Dear, dear ++Rowan have you ever even considered the blessed irony of the fact that it is once again the Communion’s current version of the ‘most despised’ who are calling the Communion to live a more real & vital embodiment of Christ’s unconditional love? Just as it was when the Church struggled with its fear of racial and cultural differences, with its objectification and exploitation of women, and with its demonization of our Jewish sisters and brothers.

Dear, dear brother ++Rowan, the sad truth is indeed that if we’re speaking healing, if we’re speaking the larger embodiment of Christ’s living, passionate love and grace working in our Communion, your visit to New Orleans ‘probably would not make much difference on the whole.’

In closing, I’d remind you of the words of another brother in faith, +Jack, Newark retired- words which must be haunting your sleep these nights, but words which also inform the prayers of many of us these days

"You were appointed to lead, Rowan, not to capitulate to the hysterical anger of
those who are locked in the past. For the sake of God and this Church, the time
has come for you to do so. I hope you still have that capability."
Dear brother Rowan, no one ever said it was going to be easy, but if you’re needing the comfort of solidarity in prayer, you’re always welcome in the pews of my LGBT sisters and brothers. There’s always room with so many people working so hard and acrimoniously to make sure they never fill up. There’s always room, ++Rowan, and through the living grace of Christ Jesus we’ll always welcome you as a beloved brother striving for God’s Greatest Blessing for God’s Greater Glory- always & unconditionally.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

A couple of finer points

I should have known it would get me into 'trouble'..... trouble of sorts at least.

Referring to Canon Elizabeth+ Kaeton as 'Sistah Liz' in an earlier blog, brought an e-mail from a fellow Anglican in the Northern U.S. The gentleman in question had been referred to me months ago for what I'll call fraternal support in a very personal question, and I'd mentioned this blog in passing.

Responding to my 'Sistah Liz' in this space he inquired about my skin pigmentation- 'black men are so-' he went on to reveal more than I needed to know about his personal fantasy life.
Needless to say he didn't get an answer to his question, though we have since both e-mailed and spoken on the phone.

For the record -though it shouldn't be an issue in this forum-my mother is Welsh born and my late father of blessed memory though English born, had Welsh origins- thus accounting for our rather unique family name. (Which should still leave unanswered the question of pigmentation if you know anything about contemporary Wales).

Likewise, for that same record, Canon Kaeton and I have never met. My affection and my deep appreciation for Elizabeth+'s articulate grace and on-line presence are purely that- on-line. My only claim to kinship with Elizabeth+, +Gene, Susan+, ++Katherine or ++Peter ( all previously cited as brothers or sisters in this space) is Christ Jesus and the seal of the baptism we share.

And if that's not enough I'd better be finding myself an editor for this space!

Which brings to mind, an earlier criticism of an earlier post in which I admitted that in our household Presiding Bishop ++Katherine Jefferts Schori is remembered as the Great ++Katherine.

My respondant suggested that perhaps as a Canadian writing from Montreal I shouldn't be commenting on events within the Church 'south of the border.' And once again, my only defense- the only one I need, is detailed above.

The Canadian/U.S. border doesn't even register on Christ's heart!

And as to the Great ++Katherine, I stand by my understanding that she and +Gene continue to be great & wondrous blessings to the Church and to the world in these dark and troubling times. One has to look no further than the report of ++Katherine's sermon at the opening Holy Eucharist in New Orleans to see God at work.

“Beloved is the word before each of our names” she reminds us before also speaking to much of the “judgmental language” and how it cuts off the chance for conversation. “None of us is wholly free of blame for we have all sought to judge those who oppose us.” She spoke of “outcasts among us who have not felt beloved,” and suggested that “we need to suspend judgment…and see God’s beloved before us.” Her closing words? “May we be peace for all who are gathered here and all those who await our actions.” (All of this reported in the Integrity U.S.A. blog 'Walking with Integrity')

Where do I see ++Katherine leading us? Towards the same radical grace Christ embodied in His earthly ministry and in His long-suffering passion for all of God's Creation.

Which brings me back to another radiant sister- Canon Elizabeth Kaeton who attached to a recent powerful post what I believe could serve as a personal standard in our individual practice:

Lord, plunge me deep into a sense of sadness
at the pain of my sisters &
inflicted by war

that I may learn to cry as a child
until my tears baptize me
into a person who touches with care
those I now touch in prayer.

Believing as I do, that among other things, what the Holy Spirit is working in the Church and humanity at this time is a call to a non-dualistic place the other side of each and every fear, where there is only 'we' and 'other' and 'difference' are only archaic artifacts of a primitive, fearful, doubting of God's love, I can only be profoundly grateful for this call to God not to give up on us. Thank-you Elizabeth+.

For God's Greatest Blessing to God's Greater Glory- Always Unconditionally !


Monday, September 17, 2007


Yes, I know it's a big week, when more than a few of us wish we could be spending it in uninterrupted prayer for +Katherine, the Episcopal Bishops and +Rowman meeting in New Orleans.
And yes, there's still the horror of Iraq, the insanity of Afghanistan, and the bullies of the patriarchy continue with their anoying 'threats,' but then...... then there's the radiant grace and articulate faith of some of our LGBT sisters and brothers that just about make me bust with wonder, joy. and thankfulness.

Two specific instances of God's grace speaking through wondrous LGBT lives in the last ten days (in chronological ordrer).

The Living Church Foundation Sept 11, 2007 reported on an incredible address +Gene Robinson delivered at the General Theological Seminary on Sept 10 2007. And I quote:

''I'm going to do my best to be at the table.
More than anything I wish I could be in the same room with Archbishop [Peter]
Akinola [of Nigeria] so he could hear from my own lips how God has transformed
me through scripture. The miracle is that I heard God's voice in scriptrue. I am
fiercely committed to it. It literally saved my life."

"The process of reconciliation begins when someone comes from the margins, challenges 'empire' and causes it to re-examine how it functions. Reconcilliation is not turning the tables. "

'I think we are at a moment in the Anglican Communion and the world where there is a lot of oppression going on, but it cuts both ways. The reason I am desperate to stay connected to the Global south and the Anglican Communion is that I need them for my salvation. I don't know how else I am going to understand the injustice I participate in and benefit from that is perpetuated on the rest of the world by the United States.
That is also why we need to stick together as an Episcopal Church. The worst sin
of all is to walk away from the table."

O.K. I know I'm repeating myself, but Thank God for +Gene Robinson and his witness to God's love ('beyond our wildest imagening' to quote the dear man) and for +Gene's graceful part in the wondrous growth, healing and renewal I truly believe Christ is working in His Church at this time.

I can only pray and wish that +Rowan and the other Episcopal Bishops meeting in New Orleans this week- to say nothing of whoever might end up attending Lambeth- might all be capable of such grace, generosity of spirit and love for Christ's Church.

And then we come to Canon Elizabeth+ Kaeton, or 'Sistah Liz+' as I remember her in my thankful prayers. Again, I'm repeating myself, but can that sister preach... And she's not afraid of taking on some of the more prickly sections of scripture either.

The most recent example of Canon Kaeton's grace and articulate intelligence is her sermon last Sunday available at and it's well worth the couple of minutes to read it. Elizabeth+ is preaching on the day's Gospel Luke 15: 1-10

And again I quote

You’ll miss the message if you misjudge the intended audience. Jesus tells these two parables because “the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”You see, the story is not so much about the sinner as the religious people of the organized religion of his day.

Jesus was telling these parables not only as an example of God’s never-ending, unconditional love, but as a model of the responsibility of being a Christian.We who profess to be followers of Christ are to be like the shepherd who had 100 sheep, and one was lost. We, like God-in-Christ, are to search out the one lost sheep until it is found. We, like God-in-Christ, are to be like the woman who had ten coins and turn the household upside-down until the lost one coin is found.Most importantly we, like God-in-Christ, are to forgive. We are to be unrelenting in pursuing those who have sinned until they are brought back into the fold and returned to the household of God.Now, that’s a difficult enough message for some to hear when we need to forgive our sister who ‘borrows’ our baseball glove and gets it all out of shape or our son who takes
the car, gets into an accident and messes up the car.But, what about the hard
stuff? What about the really major mess ups in life? What about, for example,
when someone betrays a trust? What about when someone crosses a boundary? A
sacred, albeit cultural boundary? What if that sacred, cultural boundary
involves the safety of our children?

Elizabeth+ goes on to relate the gospel to a tragic local situation:

Some of us are content to think that, if this man repents, he will be forgiven. Others of us are not. Some would like to believe that the betrayal of a child’s trust – especially in sexual matters – is an unforgivable sin. That this man should burn in hell forever.

Well, ready or not, here’s what this gospel tells us.

Jesus says that God, like the shepherd who has lost one of
his 100 sheep, is now, even now, pursuing that man.

Now, even now, God, like the woman who lost one of her 10 coins, is turning over the household of God, searching out that man who lost his way in the midst of his boredom or his loneliness or his perversion or his temporary insanity, or whatever it was that led this father of three boys to have a sexually explicit conversation with someone he thought was a 13 year old girl.

That, my friends is not just grace.That’s what some have called ‘radical grace’.And, radical grace is radical because it doesn’t stop there.

Now, even now, God is pursuing the lost among us – you and me and those whose hearts are hardened by harsh judgment and fear. But, that’s not the only message Jesus has in this gospel.

There is more than a well intentioned collect writer giving us the message that without God we can not please God.

There is more than Jesus, like Bono, standing at the microphone, telling us that every time he claps his hand, another soul is being pursued by God – another soul has repented, another angel rejoicing in heaven.Listen to that and you have missed the fullness of the message of this gospel.

Jesus told these parables to the religious people of his day – the Pharisees and the scribes – who were criticizing Jesus for welcoming sinners and eating with them.

Jesus was saying to them by way of these two parables that the church exists not so much for those who are found but rather for people who are lost.Jesus is saying to us, by way of these parables that the church exists for people like this Chatham Township man, who needs to be here in this place, or places like it, as much as sinners like you and me.

For some of us, this is decidedly NOT good news. Some of us hope this man is locked up in a dark cell and that someone throws away the key.

Jesus comes to us this morning and says that no one is so
lost that s/he can’t be found. Jesus says that no one is so far from sight, that
s/he can’t be seen.Not you.Not me.Not any one of us.

Here’s the amazing thing about radical grace: it transforms
not only the one who is being pursued, it transforms the purser.The one who once
was lost and now is found is not only changed and transformed by God’s justice,
but the one who pursues the lost is changed and transformed to administer God’s
justice with God’s mercy and compassion.

Radical grace is transformative grace and God pursues us all
with this grace relentlessly until we are all brought back into the fold, back
into the household, once again.

Here’s the gospel truth:

(Clap. Clap. Clap) Every time I clap my hands, another
person is pursued by God to bring about God’s justice.

(Clap. Clap. Clap) Every time I clap my hands, another
person is found by God to bring about God’s mercy.

(Clap. Clap. Clap) Every time I clap my hands, another angel
rejoices that God’s radical grace has triumphed over sin.

(Clap. Clap. Clap) Every time I clap my hands, you and I are
charged to seek out and find those who are lost and help them find their way
back home again.

This is what it means to be church. This is what it means to
be community. To be the Body of Christ. To be the shepherd who seeks out the
lost sheep. To be the woman who finds the lost coin.

My friends, the good news is that we are neither wretched
nor weak. We are, however, occasionally lost and need to be found.

From time to time, we all fall short and miss that mark, and
we all need to seek repentance and forgiveness, no matter how small or how great
our sins and offenses.

Our God is a God of abundant mercy and the source of amazing
grace, freely given. We do not have to earn it or work for it – indeed, we can
not. That’s the most amazing part of this amazing gift of radical

We are not wretched, miserable sinners. We are, in fact,
marvelously made by a most marvelous Creator who has made us God’s eyes and
ears, God’s arms and legs in this world.

We have been given a sacred trust and a sacred task. We are
co-creators with God, charged with helping to bring about the salvation of the
world through Christ Jesus, being led by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s
gift of radical grace.

This . . . this . . . is what pleases God, without whom,
nothing in this world makes much sense, nor provides much pleasure

As I said earlier, Elizabeth+ relates Sunday's gospel to a local tragic situation which had unfolded during the previous week, but I think Elizabeth+'s powerful witness also speaks to the path ahead for our Church.

First we have dear +Gene, a much-loved brother in Christ who has been cursed, damned, lived under death threats, and who knows what else- emboding Christ's unconditional love and patience with his Creation- that same radiant brother extending a hand to the very brother who is working day and night to break the Communion over the awesome (and very legitimate) call by the Holy Spirit of +Gene to the Episcopate.

And then radiant Sistah Liz+ reminding us... reminding us to make it real.

With two such awesome radiant beings as +Gene and Elizabeth+ in the same post we don't even have to connect the dots.

Either Christ Jesus makes a difference or we're 'post-it Christians' -our fath little more than another costume or label we wear- something we 'consume' to avoid the real grit and grime- but also the larger grace, joy and healing to be found in these very lives we've been given.

The funny thing is, the closer we get to New Orleans, and yes Lambeth, the less fearful I am about either the outcome or 'the bigger picture.'Because the bottom line is, no matter how damaged the Communion might be by all of the acrimonious threats, the schismatic defiance, the Episcopal poaching and just plain ugliness, we're still talking- still 'in process-' even if one party insists on shouting across a divide of their making. And of course, their version of reality is neither the whole picture nor the end of the process.

And of course each time the voices of inclusion who embody the spirit of God's love incarnate take the conversation back to Christ Jesus and His vision for the Church.

After the two radiant examples I cite above it would almost be reduntant to quote St. Paul - you all know the passage- the one about nothing prevailing against the church, about nothing separting us from the love of Christ Jesus.... Well that's my faith- that's the truth I'm walking with these days, and to have such radiant examples as +Gene and Elizabeth+ to affirm that understanding- well I'm nothing short of blessed.

Thank-you +Gene. Thank-you Elizabeth+.

Thank-you and Thank God for all the other radiant brothers and sisters- you make all the difference in the world- and to countless more lives than just this one blessed in Montreal.

God's Greatest Blessing to God's Greatest Glory- Always Unconditionally


PS: You guessed it- reading Elizabeth+s sermon, I clapped too