Saturday, March 24, 2007


As I mentioned in an earlier post, never before have there been so many articulate engaged Anglican voices 'out there' engaging in this current call to transformation of our Communion.

I believe as people of faith we all have a responsibility in this, and one shining example, fresh from the Bishop's retreat, is the Episcopal letter of our radiant brother +Gene to his diocese

Gene writes
This has been an extraordinary meeting of the Bishops, characterized by respect, thoughtfulness and careful discernment, always done in the context of fervent prayer. There is a calm and peace about our meeting I have not experienced before, due in no small part to the non-anxious, but strong, leadership of our new Presiding Bishop...
...I think you would have been proud of us as your Bishops. The manner and tenor of our decision-making was kind, respectful and prayerful. This was not about politics, but about this part of the Body of Christ attempting to exercise its leadership in appropriate and lawful ways. It was about respecting ALL the orders of ministry in our Church. It was about protecting our Church from inappropriate encroachment on internal matters. It was in the best tradition of the Anglican Communion...
... I have appreciated your attention to these Church issues, WITHOUT losing sight of our real mission as a Church – to proclaim the Good News of Christ in our words and in our actions to a world which so desperately needs to hear it. We will continue as a Diocese to commit ourselves to the Millennium Development Goals as a way of expressing our desire to do our part to meet the needs of a hurting world. We will NOT let these issues distract us from God’s mission – to preach Good News to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to release those in captivity, to bring sight to the blind, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. May God bless us richly in that ministry.


Waking this morning, long before the sun was up, and the world outside was still covered in a brine of frost ( one of the last of the season) I couldn't help but be profoundly grateful to be alive to see the last few days in our Communion.

Of course, what I'm most specificaly referring to is the outcome of the Episcopal Bishop's retreat, but there's so much more too. (May our Canadian Synod have the courage to act with the same grace and courage, this summer in Winnipeg).

Lent though it be- thankfully Christ is not bound to the liturgical calendar of His church; because the active presence of the Holy Spirit in themeetingin Texas was so evident- and I'm not just simplisticaly referring to the outcome.

More than one of the Bishops present has since written of the great peace and confraternal unity which was present with the Bishop's: of the absence of recrimination: of the passionate commitment to discerning the call of the Holy Spirit in their meeting and to their new appreciation for the gifts of the Presiding Bishop (The Great ++Katherine in our house). The communiques which were released from their meeting equally bears witness to the presence of these gifts of the Spirit.

But even as I sat on the side of my bed this morning, my sweet daschund lovingly curled up against my back, I was once again joyously reminded of the great chorus of voices which have become engaged in the current life of our Communion, because of Tanzania, because of Windsor and Lambeth.

For me personally as a gay-blessed man, it is perhaps the voices of my LGBT brothers and sisters in faith which causes me the greatest joyous hope, and which resonate most deeply; but what an incredible engagement & exchange of Anglican voice we're witnessing in our time.
To cite but one example; has the internet ever been so Anglican before?

Which brings me back to that 'bigger picture'.

With all the joyous thankfulness over the outcome of the Bishop's recent retreat, I think it's essential to remember that none of this might have happened if not for the outcome of Tanzania. I.e. it's in the process & dialogue the Church is going through, that Christ is finding us.
Not that I believe that same process and dialogue is as yet as transparent as it needs to be. None of the Primates have found the courage to speak out publicaly against Archbishop Akinola's involvement in the Nigerian campaign to legalize homopobia, or his other recent actions clearly in contempt of the Tanzania communique. And due to the public nature of his actions, and equally due to their leadership responsibilities within the communion, I believe this cannot be avoided by the Primates.

But in the meantime we have the wonderful example of the Episcopal Bishop's communiques which avoided name-calling, which equally avoided divisive or escalatory language and which asked for their own meeting with Cantebury.

And of course Texas is not the end- of anything thankfully.

The Bishops back in their individual dioocese now will be engaged in some of the most vital and interesting discussions of their lives with their fellow Anglicans. They and us, ++Katherine and her fellow primates, and Anglicans all over the world will pray and listen, study scripture and dialogue with their brothers and sisters. All over the world brother and sister Anglicans are actively listening for the urgings of the Holy Spirit in this present moment.

And how can that be anything short of wondrous?

And in that sacred listening we can all be growing into a larger more unconditional engagement with our vocations as sons and daughters of the true and living God, healing of our fears, and connecting in communion.

No right or wrong- we're all learning, growing & healing.

No 'us' and 'them'- we're all called by that same Love 'beyond our wildest imagining.'

And this morning, here in Montreal, on a very early Spring morning I give thanks for each and every one of you- my sisters and brothers in faith. Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shadow & Light

This past week-end, along with everything else, brought two particular experiences- each with their own insights, both of which speak to the current process going on in our Communion.

First the painful shadow: At a wonderful meeting of caring spirit folk, committed to our vocation as an inclusive Communion, I once again heard a sister indulge in what can be called nothing short of a 'rant' against the current Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria- referring to him by family name only, and inviting him to 'clear out' so others could get on with the real business of the church.
To say this saddened me would be an understatement, and when I tried reminding her that this individual is not only a fellow Anglican but a priest and Primate in the church.... well let's just say I got nowhere.

It was obviously neither the time nor place to share with her my understanding of the Church's vocation to a non-dualistic inclusiveness, unconditionally based on God's living engagement with humanity. Likewise, I couldn't really fault her as she hadn't been fortunate enough to hear dear +Gene Robinson preach Christ so powerfully at that First International LGBT Human Rights Conference here in Montreal last July. I've written on that incredible day before, so sufficient to declare with hopeful love, whatever else he is, Archbishop Peter Akinola is my brother in faith and life- even if this might be the only thing we have in common.

Love you ++Peter, but even more importantly you and I both know Christ loves us both- unconditionally, and that this same love is the only real chance we have of getting through this current rough patch as a family.

And as for that sister, she's family too- maybe the three of us should spend some time together?

But the week-end held its own radiance too- and the particular incident which comes to mind in this context actually preceeded the above. A celibate lesbian sister, currently ordained in the Zen priesthood was in town over night, and as in the past, she came early Saturday morning to do her morning sit at my tiny house.

Afterwards, over tea I was sharing some of what had been going on in the past weeks and my understanding of the 'bigger picture' of what God is really working in our communion at this time.
Right in the middle of sharing my hurt over some of the flack ++Katherine has been taking over her calling us to 'fast for a season' I had to stop..... another one of those light bulb moments, which only confirmed the understand I've shared earlier in my post 'What if....'

I now believe that what ++Katherine was really doing by signing the comunique of Tanzania was really a great act of faith in Christ's care of His Church, but equally in her Episcopalian brothers and sisters. If she had acted otherwise, the resulting break in the Communion would have accomplished nothing other than her own effective crucifixion and an end to the whole process currently going on. Then, as when she called for a fast, I believe ++Katherine was creating space for discussion and dialogue which at times might exhaust or discourage us, but which is nonetheless living proof that the Anglican Communion is indeed alive and engaged in the business of working out an authentic, engaged life of faith.

If the 'process' had been stopped by a break at Tanzania, neither Christ nor we, His church, would have been allowed the time & space for this current leg of our journey of faith, and the world would never have got to witness just what a wondrous diversity of Anglicans there are, and how deeply we care about authenticaly living our baptismal vows.

And what about all the equally dear brothers and sisters who disagree with ++Katherine? What about dear +Gene's Word of Hope? Well they're right too!

+Gene, Susan+ and all the radiant LGBT brothers and sisters who have joined their voices in this process are as essential, are blessing and as blessed as is ++Katherine in all of this.....because, and this is the bottom line.... OUR GOD'S PASSIONATE LOVE FOR GOD'S OWN CREATION IS GREATER THAN DUALISTIC OR CONDITIONAL THINKING, Greater than all the hurt and ugliness carried out in God's name. Greater than all the noisy fear. Greater than all the anger, rage and spiritual violence.... And when all this noise, confusion and recrimination is over, that same unconditional love and passionate concern will still endure.

God will still be God, to quote +Katherine; loving us, to quote one dear and very blessed brother 'beyond our wildest imagining!' Amen.

...And there's a footnote to the wonderful Saturday morning spent with Gwen. The day after she got back to N.Y.C. she had coffee with a non-practitioner friend, and was sharing some of her visit with him. Turns out he had a lot of pain from his Roman Catholic upbringing, and the internalized homophobia drummed into him in Christ's name. His name's Terry, and he ended up calling me- on Gwen's cell phone- to ask me what the fuck I was doing 'wasting my time on the church. They'll only hurt you again,' he promised me more than once.

Not this time, I told him- with real joy. This is the Anglican Church- the one which has put its very life on the line to find out Christ's true teaching in this matter... And I told him of so many brothers and sisters who have found their voices in this exercise of faith, and who are speaking so wondrously from that same tried & lived LGBT faith. I told him of last July 27th, of the conference, and of that extraordinary evening of radiant grace- Montreal's First OUTMass.

I held the phone as Terry wept... and when he hung up, overcame by those same tears.

And later that evening when he phoned me back I told him of 'Integrity'... and somewhere in NYC this week a man named Terry has called on the Anglican Church for the first time in his life. And any day now he'll meeting wondrous brothers and sisters he never knew he had.

Praise God!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Grounds for Radiant Hope

I just couldn't help myself....

Two more wondrous priests of our church, calling us to the larger vision of what's really going on in our communion at this time

Brian C. Taylor+ of St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, speaks so powerfully to the prophetic call to renewal and witness our church has been given in his 'The Episcopal Church as Prophet to Our Day'

Father John+ another partnered gay priest deconstructs the current call to fasting, with an LGBT clarity in 'On Anglican Idols,' a recent blog on where the church finds itself in this hyper-real season of Lent

Father John+ is yet another shining example of LGBT courage, living out both his vocation as a priest and his marriage of 12 years to Andew- a marriage blessed with a son Nehemiah.

Call me a romantic sap- but the courage and grace, to say nothing of the articulate faith of my LGBT brothers and sisters of faith is awesome! Thanks be to God!

So Much Cause for Hope

As noisy and hurtful, as acrimonious and nasty as things might get at times in some corners of our blessed communion I am literally awed by the articulate intelligence and passion of our LGBT brothers and sisters of faith, and our inclusive friends, speaking to the current chance for renewal.

What is grounds for gretest joy is the fact that these wondrous brother and sisters are speaking/writing/blogging from within the church. Presencing as baptized, confirmed (and in many cases) ordained LGBT people of faith, claiming Christ's promises through grace, and courageously taking on their part in the renewal of the church.

Perhaps no blog site more regularly feeds me with this joy and hope than that of Susan Russell+'s An Inch at a Time, and would particularly refer your attention to her recent posting 'St. Patrick's Day Then and Now' where Susan, using Patrick's biography simply but so powerfully remnds us that within the church is where we LGBT people are most necessary at this time- always to God's greater glory.

In addition to being a partnered priest & mother, Susan + is also current president of Integrity U.S.A. and a very well-connected, conscientious blogger, as witnessed by the wondrous diversity found on her site.

Bill Carroll+, another Episcopal priest has a powerful posting 'Pentecost in Lent' which I gratefully recommend . I know nothing of Bill personally, but his theology is so 'on' when he writesof the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

Without playing favorites, the Spirit fell on Mary and the
Twelve and the other disciples in the room. Each received the same Spirit. The
living Spirit of the living God. God was not divided. Each received the same.
And the Spirit filled them, directly, inwardly, and outwardly with more gifts
than any could receive. We should think about that, next time someone tries to
limit what the Spirit can do, or to set up a human hierarchy with one above
another. The Spirit makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and children
of God (the Father). The Spirit breaks down human barriers, as she/he does in
Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, both of which involve invocation of the
Spirit. And we enter, through the grace of the Spirit, into the life of the
blessed Trinity, in which "none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or
less than another." (Athanasian Creed) We also enter into the Church, which is
an icon of the Trinity. Or is it?'

In an earlier post Bill+ praises the Anglican Church (Canada) Response to the Windsor Report, more grounds for much hope.

I'd also refer you to 'From Glory into Glory' the blog of another wondrous gay man- Michael Hopkins+- living out his vocation as a partnered Episcopalian priest. Michael+ is also the former president of Integrity U.S.A., and his post on the meeting he and Susan+ had with ++ Katherine is both informative and insightful.

All cause for hope and deep, heartfelt thankfulness.

What a wondrously exciting time to be born LGBT in the image and likeness of God!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More on that bigger picture

If, as I have come to believe, the seemingly disturbing times we are living through in the Anglican Communion is really about a lot greater work than just the full inclusion of our LGBT tribe; if we believe that what's really going on his yet another wondrous call to more authenticaly living our vocations and birthright as daughters and sons of the true and living God, I believe full LGBT inclusion is the very least God is asking of faith communities at this time.

From what I know of the scriptures and Christian history, God is calling for a complete rebuilding of His church into nothing short of a living, vibrant engagement with God and each other in this sacred dance of Life. We still haven't got it right- not yet at least.... holding God and each other at a safe objectified distance.

As constant as change may be in life, humanity is almost equally resistent, and so through the forest of assumptions, restrictions and vested interests humanity- more honestly men, have imposed on God's relationship with creation, and on Christ's ministry and incarnation, God is now chastening the church with issues and instruments of humanity's chosing.

Perhaps only chastened, the church can get beyond the arrogance of its assumed priviledge. But I am incapable of the slightest hint of despair over what God is callling us into, the other side of all this noise, recrimination and accusations.

Nothing short of complete and absolute renewal! And for this to truly happen we' can't just wait for the waring parties to exhaust each other.

This blog- something I never would have imagined myself involved in, is part of a grass roots initiative to get the lives and voices of LGBT people of faith 'out there' in case the primates, or the leaders of any of the other faith traditions might be listening.

But even more essential, is the need for, and availability of critical scriptural study and commentary which is not afraid of including historical contexts and the events which resulted in the current scriptural cannon.

Equally, concerned people of faith need to make scriptural texts, including both the Apocrapha and the Gnostic Gospels their own, through thoughtful reading and study. If the the mouth-pieces of the frightened patriarchy quote scripture at us, we need to respond in an articulate informed manner.

Likewise, we need to avail ourselves of the opportunities to write and speak in faith- not only of Christ's promises to His church, but of contemporary understandings of faith practice.

Let those who are given the opportunity to bear witness one-on-one, do so.

Let those with access to the writen or public forums of the church, preach, editorialize and publish.

Arguing human rights is not going to cut it with the noisy frightened patriarchy- our strength has to be nothing less than the love of God for each of us His LGBT children; our vocabulary, both Holy Scripture and our understanding of God's creation through science and contemporary scolarship; our narriative the stories of God's faithful grace and love in our LGBT lives.

We have to make Christ's promises to the church our own, and call that same church on them... and then wait patiently for the church to find its new voice of inclusive dialogue.

Christ's waiting, and I have not the slightest doubt that with His grace and everything we need already provided; Christ working as He is through His LGBT people, all of humanity will be blessed mightily in a wondrous renewal of all of Creation's realtionship with God and his wondrous gift of life.

Fearless, unconditional renewal- nothing less. Amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What if.....

What if all this ugliness, this posturing and accusation going on in our church right now has very little to do with LGBT inclusivity, or that dear +Gene Robinson is lovingly living in faith the wondrous gift of his 15 year patnership with Mark?

What if God is simply using us, God's LGBT sons and daughters to God's greater purpose?

To break open the hearts and minds of the frightened, vested interests in all branches of organized religion to live an even larger, more inclusive engagement with the true and living God.

To learn that this same true and living God is not limited by a 2,000 year old document or any other construct 'edited' or 'administered' by men.

To allow our sisters to assume their full and equal voice within their respective faith communities.

To lead organized relgion beyond the panicked limtations of dualistic thinking.

To call each of us into a larger, less conditional engagement with God and God's wondrous gift of Life.

'Lovingly, patiently called out of fearfulness' might almost be the name of this current Divine effort.

For some time now the physical and psycho-social sciences have shown us the damaging and unproductive effects of dualistic thinking: most often a fearful, often delusional reaction which labels 'other' or 'bad' to temporarily mask one's own feelings of inadequacy or terror.
Other academic writers have shown just how implicit this same binary thinking is necessary for the continuation of most organized religious models. i.e. there always has to be an 'other' for there to be an 'us,' a 'evil' to define 'good,' a 'loser' for 'victory'.

The littered battlefields of history, the inordinate costs of privileged Western psycho-social support systems & the ravages of our planet bear more than sufficent proof of the cost of such limted, fearful thinking.

As the planet chokes on the fruits of humanity's arrogance, we can no longer afford to 'conquer' it.

As the effects of pharmacological excess create ever-widening gyres of unfulfilled dependency, 'managing' the suffering of others is no longer a viable luxuary.

And as life-obliterating nuclear arsenals proliferate. the objectification of others and the invention of 'enemies', is a fearful arrogance Life can no longer countenance.

If the universe is indeed the loving creation of God we have to start recognizing it for the incredible, wondrous blessing it is.

If indeed we are the children of this same God, there can be no man, woman or child who is not my kin; worthy of the patience, compassion and understanding I would want for myself.

Acting on these values is no longer a 'virture,' but simply a recognition our our essential interdependence.

And why the Anglican Communion now?

Perhaps because it, unlike many spiritual traditions has not only embodied the faith and principles of its source, but over time it has achieved a wondrous and rare polity where all baptized have an equal role and responsibility in its life and futur.

Perhaps because of our dear church's historical talent for embracing diversity- not only in our interpretive traditions, our liturgies and cultural origins, but also in the breadth of Anglican scolarship.

And bearing all of this gratefully in mind, I can only be deeply concerned over the fruits of Tanzania. Not only because certain Anglican brothers have chosen to use my LGBT brothers and sisters as a weapon to seemingly change the 'balance' within our unique communion, but even more so because of the powers some of the primates would assume for themselves at this time, with the new oversight structures being proposed.

Which only confirms my profound sense that what's going on right now is a lot bigger than the issue of LGBT inclusivity, or the validity of +Gene's wondrous consecration to the episcopate.

Something I learned long ago on my journey of faith, is that God at times is only able to reach us effectively by resorting to the Divine sense of humor. And I believe, as noisy and confusing as it might seem in these days, there's at least a Divine chuckle beyond all this man-made noise and recrimination.

Once again, it would appear that God is using the greatest fear of the patriarchy, to call it out of the shackles of dualistic terror, thereby calling all of humanity into a larger, more authentic & unconditional engagement with this awesome gift of life, we so often treat so shabily.

And that God is using our LGBT tribe to accomplish this is nothing short of wondrous!

Just as it was when our Afro-Canadian & Afro-American brothers and sisters were the instrument to end Afro-Centric salvery and to put an end to legalized racism in both of our countries.

Just as it was when our sisters refused to settle for anything less than their true vocations within our Communion, only to so powerfully bless us with the fruits of their ordained ministry and witness.

Almost as if the principle at work here might be 'Obectify, and God will Gorify!' Praise God!

Not that this understanding makes it any easier for me to read much of what has been written or said in the painful days since Tanzania. The accumulatve toxicity of much of it wore me down, such that for more than a week I took a personal fast from church news.

One thing however, I have not, and will not do, is to despair over the course of current discussions or the future of our precious Anglican Communion. After much silence and prayer I cannot doubt but that the true and living God is working something wondrous- not ony through Anglicans- but perhaps most clearly here because of the unique heritage cited above.

This post, is most particularly offered in heatfelt thanks for one particular sweet brother in life and faith, who reminded me during this past week that we are in this for the big long haul, and that we are indeed a people of hope. And in that same hope, I would close with the Scripture which blessed our exchange:

I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor thngs to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 8: 38,29


Friday, March 2, 2007

Now! This is GRACE at work.

And once again, all I can say is Thank God for +Gene Robinson.

The following are two posts by +Gene, found on the wonderful site of Susan Russell+ an Episcopal priest.

Preaching Christ Jesus, I believe +Gene bears prophetic witness to what is really at stake in all the noise and posturing coming from the Primates.

I would also draw your attention to Susan+'s other posts. Reading Susan+'s bio, I was struck once again by just what incredible LGBT people of faith we are blessed to call our brothers and sisters.

Thank-you, Susan

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Beginning at Least

Finally, somone has publicaly spoken out and called ++Cantebury on his implicit responsiblity in the act of legislative homophobia moving through the Nigerian parliament. Human Rights Watch has posted a copy of a letter from a wonderful diversity of priests and ministers addressed to ++Cantebury

And why am I making such an issue of this and of the shameful silence from all the Primates on calling ++Peter Akinola on his recent behavior?

Not only are there much more pressing issues the Church should be addressing at this time ie the holocaust of AIDS, and the rabid spread of chronic poverty; there's an old theological concept at stake here. Scandalization: to cause another to sin. And this is particularly pertinent here; not only for abuse and threats this proposed legislation might empower.

All of the acts by ++Pete Ankinola cited in yesterdays post were not only committed publicly, they were aso performed by the spiritual head of a national church ie: citing like-minded individuals, by what were often acts of defiance if not of contempt. And yet the Primates remain silent on this in the public sphere. Is it possible they consider their 'brother Primate' worthy of a more considerate and private caution than their repremand to the American Presiding Bishop and her church?

All of these men, as leaders of the church have a public responsibility to their Anglican brothers and sisters for the example they set, and this double standard is not to be tollerated.

While on the subject of communication, is the link for a new communications policy document drafted for the Canadian Anglican Synod this summer. Well worth the read.