Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sad, but Confident

As one who I am blessed to call a brother in Christ aptly called it, this past week (Lambeth 1) has borne some real resemblance to a roller-coaster, and not just for those who find themselves in or near Lambeth.

Cause for real joy yes, primarily in the wondrous work our sisters and brothers at St. Stephen’s Hall are daily publishing The Lambeth Witness
Magnificent work & witness!

No, I’m not going to tout any individual articles, but would rather encourage you to have your own ‘Lambeth Witness’ experience.

Sadly of course, Lambeth week 1 brought us a lot more than that- ending not with the witness of the Millennium Goals March, but with the ‘Faith & Order’ proposal, with more to come next Monday apparently. (See Mark+ Harris’ usual great analysis at Preludium )

Not that we should have been too surprised. In my opinion at least, the noise and chaos too often being inflicted on our beloved Communion has correctly called as ‘the last gasps of patriarchy.’ Only a fool would expect them to give up their centuries of privilege without a fight, and elsewhere I’ve detailed Who and what I believe its is they’re taking on.

That said, I admit to still being shaken.... no make that deeply saddened by the ‘Faith & Order’ proposal, and even more by ++Rowan’s public support for it.

Taking all of this to the bench of my practice I’ve sat long and hard ( no cushion on my meditation bench) praying for understanding, mindfully breathing myself into that unconditionality where insight sometimes happens.

A seamless, confident attentiveness.

Those who know me, if only from previous writings, understand that much of my appreciation and understanding of current events in our beloved Communion is influenced by the my reading and work in organizational transformation perhaps most succinctly embodied in the word ‘process.’

As noisy, threatening and confrontational as things may appear at times, we are part of and in an on-going process, which if we truly believe ourselves to be the Living Body of Christ, is being overseen and supported by the Holy Spirit Herself.

A dance, where the music might not always be audible.

A process, where some perceptions or understandings are outgrown, others re-contextualized; where some things fall away and in other, perhaps less-appreciated quarters new life and growth appear.

Process: alive and as on-going as the dance of life itself.

That said, I continued to sit- hoping for some real insight.

Reflectively back-peddling on the course of the last week; at one point, I sat with the fact that even with all goodwill and earnest prayers many have brought with them, the millions spent, the carbon footprint of the Conference, the Big Top, the wonderful work of the stewards, the faithful blogging of a surprising number of Bishops; week 1 has perhaps been most remarkable for its avoidance of what’s really going on in the Communion: the real context of Anglican life these days.

Two, not one elephants in the room, as several media have suggested.

And neither of them bare the slightest resemblance to the much beloved Bishop of New Hampshire, whose Christ-like exile has only invested him with greater moral presence and authority.

Elephant #1 (Under a throw of finest Episcopal purple silk) the pronouncements, provincial poaching, and public contempt heaped on both the Episcopal Church and its Presiding Bishop and the Anglican Church of Canada by the several forces working so very hard to do damage to the Church.

Elephant #2 (Under a generous rainbow-hued throw) The Episcopal Church’s sense and engagement with its vocation to grow into an ever more inclusive embodiment of the unconditional love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I could wax long on the list of those faithful Christians insulted or erased by the simplistic misrepresentation of what’s going on in both North American Churches as the consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, but I’ve done that elsewhere.

As obvious as it might appear to many of us, I would suggest that it is only by throwing off the over-organized, polite denial this current exercise appears to be built on, inviting the ‘elephants’ into the centre of the room, thanking them for their presence, trusting in the Holy Spirit and joining them in colegial prayer; listening in non-accusatory judgement, and sharing the fears that some may have, that the real work of our Church can begin.

As conscientiously as many good people may be prayerfully trying within the precincts, more than 200 brother bishops are boycotting Lambeth, showing real contempt for this exercise in faith. And I would suggest that it is only by owning this loss, by grieving for much of the posturing and rhetoric of the past months that this Conference will find itself capable of realizing any real gifts for the future of our Communion.

Likewise with the prayerful, faithful on-going experience of the Episcopal Church. In any real-life context, the loving, graceful response to someone one does not understand or appreciate would be to engage one’s friend or sibling in dialogue, perhaps even prayerful dialogue.

Haven’t see too much of that from our Primate and Bishop’s though, have we?

A conference built on denial and avoidance- even polite denial and avoidance, I would suggest, has about as good a chance as the house built on sand cited in Scripture.

As to this infamous ‘Faith & Order’ proposal, and the other ‘bomb’ anticipated in so many quarters, currently undergoing the effects of monolithic bureaucracy in another quarter of my life, I can’t say I’m surprised so much as saddened by their predictability.

That’s what patriarchy does:
pronounces instead of working to consensus
legislates instead of listening
outlaws instead embracing the gifts of diversity & ambiguity
manages instead of trusting
defines rather than opening itself to the grace and life of a ‘situation.’

Was this the only Lambeth possible?

Hardly, I would suggest-

But of course anything else would have required the prelates, collectively and individually to step beyond the precincts of the patriarchy so many of them find themselves trapped in
to own the grief and loss of the boycott;
to graciously, attentively receive and listen to the struggles and experience of the North American Churches;
To trust,
and to faithfully wait upon the Holy Spirit for insight an understanding.

Such a Lambeth would have been built on a humble, honest ownership of the brokeness
of our Communion-
the same brokeness which, with God’s good grace leaves us open to be possibility of the Holy Spirit’s partnership at work and at play in our individual lives.

Faith & Order?
Whatever it is which threatens to land on our heads and hearts Monday?

As sad is it would be for Lambeth 2008 to be known primarily for the reports which weren’t endorsed, for the proposals which failed and at least one headline about an ’aborted Anglican Inquisition;’ as sad & confusing as things might seem at times, my faith is in the very real presence & working of the Holy Spirit, and in the essential goodness of the 1,000+ brothers and sisters meeting in Kent (Bishops & spouses, LGBT brothers and sisters, even the media-) all elements in a sacred, on-going process of living transformation.)

Is there a future for the Anglican Communion?
What does it look like?

In closing, I’d offer the words of the blessed & blessing Bishop of Colorado, the Right Rev. O’Neill, writing on the day in London.

While there is no disagreement on the sentiment of opposing global poverty, our collective will is sadly lacking. If we, the Church, do not speak a powerful word of compassion and equality and justice (the very words of our Lord) into the indifferent structures of our government and society, then who will? Is that not what the prophet Micah meant when he wrote, “and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It gets back, I think, to the fact that when it comes to participating in God’s mission “the road is made by walking it.” Period. End of sentence. This is what our world longs to see—not spectacle, but women and men of faith standing together courageously, without condition, in Love.

Until we Christians are willing quite literally to stand in complete solidarity to the poorest of the poor in our world, we bear witness to nothing more than a garden party and we have no good news to share with a world that is starving to hear it.

Let the people of God say Amen!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Have these bullies of the patriarchy no shame?

They selectively not only mis-represent the Holy Scriptures, publicly tie the love of our blessed Saviour into knots, alienate faithful Christians from each other in their own interests; they judge and discount the working of the Holy Spirit in an Independent Province of our Church, abuse the gracious patience of the Primate of that same Province, ferment discord and disrespect centuries old Provincial boundaries, now n their latest assault, they try blaming the dear brother who has born the brunt of their vitriolic ugly behaviour for their shameful public displays and lack of control.

And this right on the heels of the dissembling performance by ++Rowan at his press conference yesterday. An example which might have given +Daniel implicit permission for his little stunt today- joined by+Jack Iker.

Of ++Rowan, Jim Naughton of Episcopal Café: The Lead reports

‘but Williams seems to be arguing that bishops not only represent their diocese, but participate in a worldwide ““fellowship,”” that Gene’’s membership in that fellowship is ““questionable”” for reasons that Williams did not elaborate upon, and that he had been excluded for those unexpressed reasons.’


The only thing questionable as a reflection of Anglican faith and tradition, as far as I can see is

the total absence of respect towards the people of New Hampshire and the working of the Holy Spirit among them;

the election, the confirmation of their choice of their candidate for the Episcopacy by the requisite number of American bishops- themselves duly elected, confirmed & consecrated, and the Spirit-filled consecration of that same brother Christian

the discourtesy and shameful public rudeness repeatedly carried out towards the Primate of that same independent Province because of her gender and the grace and intelligence she has shown in execution of her office.

the complete disregard for the autonomy and boundaries of the Episcopal Province of the American Church; fostering dissent, poaching parishes and one diocese to date

the threats, verbal violence & lack of courtesy heaped on one of their own brothers- duly ordained, duly elected, confirmed and consecrated

the willful, selective use of Scripture to misrepresent the Good News of Christ Jesus

and then there’s the whole shameful handling of Lambeth by which ++Rowan’s cowardice; failing as ‘first among equals’ to call those who persist in exposing themselves as bullies of the patriarchy to accountability implicitly confirms all of the above and discounts our LGBT lives of faith as ‘necessary collateral damage’ once again.

If all of this is not questionable Christian behaviour, I’d like to know what is?

Will nothing stop these men in the shame they cause our Church, the scandalizing of untold numbers of laity who have spent their who lives faithfully worshipping and supporting our Church, and the spectacle they make in the media?

++ Rowan’s performance however was old news today, and two of his brother prelates stepped up to take his place- both equally shamefully.

brother ++Daniel, I guess it would be an understatement to say you positively break my heart, and that we disagree on perhaps everything but the punctuation in your statement.

++ Daniel wrote ‘We believe that human sexuality is God’’s gift to human beings which is rightly ordered only when expressed within the life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman. We require all those in the ministry of the Church to live according to this standard and cannot accept church leaders whose practice is contrary to this.’

++Daniel, of Christian charity I respect this to be your belief, and even that of the Church of Sudan, which is the only quarter in our Communion for which you are duly consecrated to speak. That said, might I not expect the same courtesy from you as a fellow Christian, and a life-long Anglican?

++Daniel wrote ‘We believe that God created humankind in his own image; male and female he created them for the continuation of humankind on earth.’

Coming from a continent struggling with poverty, starvation, AIDS, over-population in urban centres & drought in too much of the countryside how can you possibly perpetuate such a primitive understanding of our humanity?

++ Daniel wrote, ‘Women and men were created as God’’s agents and stewards on earth.’

Brother if we are in accord on this, why aren’t you speaking to the exploitation, the pollution, the extinction of the same resources of this precious earth, rather than interfering in the life of the Holy Spirit in another province of the Communion, as equally autonomous as yours?

++ Daniel said in his interview ‘God is not making a mistake creating Adam and Eve,”” Deng said, asserting that homosexual activity contradicted Biblical teaching. ““He would have created two Adams if he wanted.’

But did God’s involvement and blessing stop with the creation of Adam and Eve?
Or is God not implicitly present in the blessed birth of all his sons and daughters, made in the image and likeness of the one true living God?

++ Daniel wrote ‘We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching’

That dear brother in Christ Jesus is your opinion. But I might also add that it is an opinion which is not informed by the presence of a identifiable gay and lesbian community in your life, by your own admission. Which perhaps has not witnessed the violence, prejudice and lies these same people have suffered, most often at the hands of purported Christians. Or likewise witnessed the wondrous acts of healing and redemption being carried out by the Holy Spirit as these brothers and sisters consecrate their love and their lives to God within our Churches

++ Daniel wrote ‘We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada in consecrating a practising homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

This too is your prerogative, dear brother, but in the context of our Church’s life and transformation it stands as nothing more than a personal opinion or the practice of your Province. To use this as grounds for passing judgement on the working of the Holy Spirit in another Province is an insult to all parties involved, and hardly becoming of one who loves the Anglican tradition.

++ Daniel wrote ‘The unity of the Anglican Communion is of profound significance to us as an expression of our unity within the Body of Christ.’

I would suggest that this is true for every, faithful living Anglican, and for anyone to set themselves up in judgement by suggesting to the contrary would be a great act of disrespect, both for our Communion and its members.

++Daniel wrote ‘It is not something we can treat lightly or allow to be fractured easily.’

And just who would you suggest is treating our Church in this manner, ++Daniel?

++Daniel wrote, ‘Our unity expresses the essential truth of the Gospel that in Christ we are united across different tribes, cultures and nationalities. ‘

I have yet to meet a living, breathing Anglican who does not believe and embody this- inspite of unsightly behaviour in some quarters of the Church. And here, let me clear, I am not referring to our American brothers and sisters in Christ.

++Daniel wrote ‘We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away,’

Brother this is where, sadly, we start to part company. ‘Despite the decision of others to stay away-‘ sadly, that was THEIR decision, and the discourteous manner in which they carried out that decision, did not, I would suggest bring any glory to our Church.

++ Daniel wrote ‘to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church’.

How, dear brother, can those present at Lambeth be expected to singlehandedly uphold our unity without the presence of those same partners who have chosen to boycott & dishonour the current fraternal exercise of prayer, worship and Scripture, without single-handedly capitulating to their opinions and demands?

++Daniel wrote ‘This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church’’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment.'

With all due respect, Whoa Daniel!

We obviously have two different recollections of the course of the past months in the life of the Communion.

It was not the voices of full inclusion for all baptized who threatened or called schism?

It was not the witness of the transformative Church which publicly dishonoured the gifts and ministry of American Primate, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, of the people of New Hampshire, of the Lambeth gathering, of the polity and people of the American Church and of election of one of their duly elected & consecrated brothers.

Do I need to remind you? Sadly, it was our brothers who decided to set themselves apart from Lambeth, and who invoked GAFCON- mis-representing & insulting the government of Jordan in the process of inventing their own mythology.

So, sadly dear +Daniel, it will come as no surprise to you that I completely repudiate your call for our blessed, radiant brother +Gene to step down from is Episcopacy and to renounce his calling as Bishop.

A scandalous suggestion under any circumstances, but particularly disappointing coming from a Christian brother at a time when in so many quarters it has become so abundantly clear that our beloved Church, upheld by the unfailing grace and compassion of the Holy Spirit is undergoing a transformation and reconciliation to the ‘love beyond our wildest imagining’ of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And with unwavering faith in that same Love, I will carry you in my heart brother ++Daniel

Sadly ++Daniel, you are quoted as having ‘called on the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson to resign to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion.’ elsewhere you are further quoted as telling him to resign and go home to be a ‘normal Christian’.

Brother, it is this statement, more than any other which moves me in the Spirit to challenge you.

Not only is such a suggestion an insult to the Holy Spirit and Its working in the American Church, we both know it is only the unfailing grace of that same Holy Spirit which can preserve any unity within the Body of Christ.

And it was NOT the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson who engendered this threat of schism in the first place, but those who refuse to recognize that the Holy Spirit could possibly ever act outside the limits of their experience and understanding , those whose witness and practice has repeatedly dishonoured the Communion.

Holy Scripture tells us ‘by their fruits ye shall know them.’

I would invite our GAFCON brothers to cast off their jeuvenile genital fixation and look at Bishop Robinson, the man and the fruits of his ministry, and then to own their own shameful part in the long suffering our Communion has undergone.

As to your comment about ‘normal Christian’ as your brother in Christ, I would dare to remind you that there is nothing ‘normal’ about our lives or vocations as Christians; that in Christ Jesus we are all equal before God and man, having been equally redeemed by the same sacrifice on the Cross.

‘Transformation,’ ‘reconciliation’ & ‘renewal’ it’s not hard for me to imagine how frightening these words must be for some, especially when it’s being carried out in lives the ‘establishment’ prefers to reject, abuse or ignore. But this too, I would suggest dear brother is only further proof that this work of redemption & renewal I speak of is clearly from God, in accordance with our Lord Christ Jesus’ ministry and His promises to the Church.

So of course dear brother, confident in that same ‘love beyond our wildest imagining,’ I will remember affectionately in prayer.

your brother in Christ Jesus, whose Love is indeed beyond our wildest imagining.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

They Just Don't Get IT- Do They

I’ve held off writing in this space for a while now.
For a couple of reasons:

With Lambeth upon us, I’ve felt there’s been more than enough ‘talk’ going on- and most of it by better educated, more articulate voices than mine.

I’ve also felt deeply moved to spend this time in practice ,study and confident prayer- most particularly for my lesbian and gay brothers and sisters gathering at St. Stephen’s Church, our radiant cloud of inclusive witness. My awareness of the risks they are taking, of their radiant love for the transformative process we call the Anglican Communion, and the costs several have paid for their lives of embodied faith is almost constantly with me as I go through my days here in Montreal.

Several of those radiant beings are personally precious to me for the contact and mutual support we have shared, and this morning I am particularly mindful of one dear sister who will be boarding a plane for Lambeth later this afternoon.

And if I’m going to be honest, I have to admit there’s been a third reason for my silence. When I hear of fellow LGBT Christians being advised by civil authorities that they have to be measured for kevlar bullet-proof vest before going to meet with other Christians in a public venue, of course I am overcome with fearful concern, and there was one raw week when I was completely incapable of any approximation of ‘trust’ when it came to these dear souls.

Complex. Slightly weird at times. But yes, what an incredibly interesting time to be a gay or lesbian person ‘claiming the blessings’ of Anglican faith and practice!

But they still don’t get it.

And by ‘they’ I’m referring to the vested interests of the Anglican establishment.

A couple of cases to illustrate my point.

1. The current inherent insult:

The media ad nauseam claim it’s all about +Gene, and LGBT folks claiming the infinite blessings of our baptism, but perhaps benefiting from a physical distance from Lambeth I’d like to suggest, with all due love and respect that in the ‘bigger picture’ that dear +Gene New Hampshire, ++Katherine and all my personal LGBT heroes of faith are little more than footnotes to what’s really going on.

As a Church and Communion we constantly pray and strive to remain open to the will of God as revealed in the course of our lives; in our personal prayers and public liturgies we entreat the Holy Spirit to guide us, to sustain us , to make us worthy of embodying Christ’s redemptive love- ‘a love beyond our wildest imagining’ as one dear, radiant brother reminds me by his life and ministry.

We ask for the engaged presence and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in almost everything we do as a Church..... well folks, THIS IS IT.

The gift of the Holy Spirit in these times is the living miracle of thousands of gay and lesbian lives, scorned, rejected, beaten, discriminated against, stepping up and taking our loving, Lord at His word. Opening their lives once more to the possibility of something beyond the fears, lies and violence perpetuated against them. Taking Christ Jesus and those purporting to be His Church at their word, and living lives based on the unfailing gifts of their baptismal promises.

So just Who is really bearing the brunt of this current round of insult due to a lack of faith and imagination, small-mindedness and petty nastiness?

You want gifts?

Well could it be any clearer what the Holy Spirit has sent the living body of Christ Jesus in these times?

Those that that same Church has rejected.

Men and women who have not only born the marks of the Church’s frightened condemnation, but who have trusted enough in Christ’s unfailing love to give the Church another chance, over and over again- every Sunday when they bless your pews, every week-day when they serve on your committees or join you in prayer.

You want miracles and signs that, as our precious Lord promised, the Holy Spirit is present and actively at work in the Living body of Christ?

Look no further than these radiant lives, singing your hymns, praying your prayers, and with hard-won faith and life-altering gratitude kneeling to receive the body and blood of Christ from your anointed hands.

Could the living embodiment of these joyous, grateful, faithful lives be any clearer a sign?

And yet

A precious, radiant embodiment of that same redemptive working of the Holy Spirit is being excluded from the worship & councils of his fellow bishops

A radiant sister whose intelligence and grace, skills and education would be celebrated anywhere but in the councils of our Communion has suffered long months of vitriolic cursing and sneering condemnation

Both radiant individuals called and ordained; elected, duly confirmed, consecrated and sustained by the Holy Spirit to the ministries of service they carry out in our Church.

Elsewhere, and in too many quarters of our Communion, countless, faithful sisters and brothers in faith live in danger for their lives, suffer the discrimination of law, the rejection of their families and damnation from their pulpits, because of a regime of fearful patriarchy the Church- our Church continues to tolerate

The headlines persist in saying this is all about +Gene, but I would suggest that anyone with the courage to accept & use the intelligence our loving, long-suffering God has given us and the unfailing grace we continue to be showered with each day, will realize that nothing short of the presence and active engagement of the Holy Spirit is the real issue here.

Try hemming IT in with selective quoting Scriptural references which are little more than cultural contexts,

Try delaying IT with chapter and verse of canon law

Try avoiding IT with seemingly necessary diplomatic exclusion and a fearful silence in response to the threats, violence, piracy and cursing coming from some quarters of the Communion

But this is the Body of Christ, the live theatre of the Holy Spirit and you did ask-
for that same Holy Spirit to nourish, teach and sustain us,
to grant us the grace to embody that ‘love beyond our wildest imagining’ as the living Body of Christ.

Each and everyone of them; living, breathing embodiment of Christ’s love, of Christ’s patience and forbearance.

Living Gifts:
redeemed by that same sacrifice on the Cross
sustained by the grace, love and engaged partnership of the Holy Spirit

lives raised in fear, scarred by threats, violence, lies, prejudice & exclusion, but, through God’s unfailing grace embodying in their healing-to-wholeness their joyous faithfulness & the active engagement of that ‘Love beyond our wildest imagining’ the working of God among us.

living breathing gifts of the limitless faithfulness of our Saviours promises and the efficacy of the Holy Spirit in our lives

Gifts of the Holy Spirit & nothing less

God grant Her Church the grace and humility to say ‘thank-you’.

2. Ownership

There’s a lot of print and talk coming out of Lambeth already of the Church’s need to return to its vocation of evangelization. In too many of the documents, blogs and interviews the world continue to wears the implied quotation marks of its Church-assigned otherness.

But excuse me folks. Might we not be forgetting something here?

As any reparative therapy practitioner can tell us, ‘naming’ and ‘ownership’ are necessary prerequisites of any honest exercise in healing or restoration, and I would dare to suggest that any attempts at simply resurrecting old models of evangelizing ‘the world,’ ‘society’ or however you wish to objectify is doomed to be as alienating and inauthentic-sounding as many in the past.

Yes, too many of our pews too often remain empty
Yes, the great majority of humanity goes about their business with the Church little more than an architectural detail or bad memory in their lives
Yes, inspite of the Church’s best efforts to make the language, music and design of many of our liturgies relevant, they just don’t get it.

But I’d suggest that one reason they don’t get it- inspite of all the good intentions and earnest efforts of so many of our younger priests ( a joyously number of them gay or lesbian) is because our Church, and not the world has a rather gigantic breach of its own making to ford before any of them really get it- that ‘love beyond our wildest imagining’, which has become the only standard I personally will any longer accept of anyone claiming to speak as the Living Body of Christ.

Naming it- too simply put for some perhaps, it’s the shamefully long history of violence, condemnation, wars, objectification and expulsion the purity police of Christianity have carried out to shore up the privilege of their seeming authority

It’s the intentional distortion of Holy Scripture and selective mis-representation of Christ’s ministry of unconditional loving inclusion.

It’s the untold suffering, solitude and impoverishment of God’s creation blessed by those same ecclesiastical ‘authorities’

It’s the fear and ugly rancour coming from certain quarters of our beloved Communion which has brothers in Christ scandalously dishonouring the fellowship of the Blessed Sacrament in Tanzania, objectifying and condemning a sister equal, and dealing body blows to the very Church entrusted to their care

It’s the marks of violence, discrimination and otherness too many of my radiant LGBT brothers and sisters of faith bare on their bodies and souls, and the very explicit death threats many of our LGBT brothers and sisters at Lambeth have had to step beyond

It’s the stained glass ceiling still politely weighing down on the spirits and heads of too many radiant sisters called to priesthood and the episcopacy: i.e. the episcopal candidacy of the very reverend Tracey+ Lind

It’s the millions of dollars spent on poaching forays, irregular consecrations, legal disputes, rebel conferences and pronouncements while untold millions exist in the hell of poverty and starvation, go untreated for HIV/AIDS, uneducated & homeless

It’s the pollution, vandalization and impoverishment of God’s radiant jewel- mother earth and the wars being carried out over her resources

It’s the suspicion and wariness our Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist brothers and sisters greet our every effort at rapprochement with

It’s not just the heroic, the lyrical & beautiful parts we inherit as a Church, these too, through the agency of men is our inheritance, and it is only when we stop the posturing and pronouncements to own these too, and speak in the honest, redeemed humanity of that ownership will we as a Church be taken seriously.

So what’s going on here, you might well ask.

I don’t believe it’s by chance that it’s our Communion the Holy Spirit is using in these times to collectively call all of humanity out of fear and quaking otherness into lives redeemed and embodying that ‘love beyond our wildest imaging.’

Our unique three-fold practice of honouring Scripture, Tradition and Intelligence, I would suggest find us in a particularly unique and unexpectedly supple place in the on-going redemptive work of the Holy Spirit.

Growing up in a devout Anglican home, in a largely Roman Catholic province, here in Canada, I heard lots of talk of ‘a penitent church’, & together we produced some remarkable & magnificent liturgies, penitential rites and, musical performances. almost all exclusively focussing on Christ’s redemptive sacrifice- honest, earnest reflections of their time.

And yet the poor continue to die of the fruits of our impoverishment
The sick and aged suffer from our indifference-
the cries of the world go unheard as prelates pronounce on the limitation of their own understanding and experience
And mother earth chokes on the effluence of objectifying arrogance

Closer to home... for decades now I have heard talk and read official documents produced by the councils of our Church speaking of a ‘listening process to the lives and witness of our LGBT baptized,’ but I have yet to see one concrete embodiment of this professed will of our Communion- one collective act, one medium wether actual or virtual for LGBT voices to be recognized and heard.

Is it not possible it’s we, the ‘people of faith’ who have got it all wrong- God’s paradigm of redemption?
Could it possibly be it’s the world and not our rites & pronouncements which, through the unfailing grace of God serve as the primary medium and measure of our redemption and transformation?
The same world whose inherent vocation just might be to keep the Church honest
The world, an embodiment of the essential sacrament underlying the seven our Church and tradition celebrate- Life itself.

‘The world’
‘That woman’
‘The gay bishop’
All simplistic objectifications of the embodied, on-going engagement of the Holy Spirit in our very real lives and times

For generations the Apostles, Saints and martyrs have witnessed to us that faith- our faith is essentially all about relationship- with a God who loves us ‘ beyond our wildest imagining,’ and with each other

And yet the breach remains, equally I’d suggest from humanity and the Church’s fear of falling into the hands of the One and Only Living God.

Simplistic as it might sound, I would suggest that what’s essentially going on here is an unfaltering call from the Holy Spirit to come closer.

To step out of the straight-jacketed fear and divisiveness, into an embodied love- the source of all love- that only Love ‘beyond our wildest imagining’

To throw off the shackles of dualistic thinking and to recognize the wondrous seamless redemptive work of the Holy Spirit- as seamless as our Saviours robe at Golgotha

To gratefully own, not only our painful collective and individual pasts, but the redemptive blessedness of our baptism

Inheriting through grace and Christ’s sacrifice & promise to His Church, and the witness of the saints and apostles, a full confidence in the active, on-going engagement with the Holy Spirit in our lives

That’s what’s going on here - we’re called - by nothing less than the very ground of our being. Embodiment, nothing less what’s is expected and promised to those who respond.

3 On a personal note

Last evening, as dusk settled over the small garden which has been such a source of
joy and insight for me, I gave thanks collectively and individually for so many of the radiant LGBT lives of faith who have blessed me personally & so powerfully in these last months and years. Living embodiment of Christ’s unfailing love and mercy towards me, I named them.

Also, especially mindful of a sweet sister who has become inestimably precious to me, leaving for Lambeth this evening; in faith I claimed the sureity and safety of our faithful Redeemer for each of my radiant brothers and sisters witnessing with their lives of at Lambeth.

I don’t know of another time in my life when the blessings and practice have been this redemptively close to the bone- and that’s saying a lot, as those who know me can attest. Equally implicit is both the blessing of my Anglican baptism and faith, and being born a gay man in the image and likeness of the living God. Both of which, with time, I have learned to give thanks for.

Interesting time- indeed.

And so, one breath at a time, though God’s grace alone, we prayerfully proceed; always with an eye out for the wonder of being surprised by joy and with an abiding sense of our blessedness.

Humbly offered by one of the least, but most blessed of you, your brother in Christ Jesus


Towards God’s greater blessing, to God’s greater glory- always & unconditionally!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Richard Rohr O.F.M.

Another one of those wondrous, unexpected adventures in grace.

A dear on-line friend sent along a quote which he thought might be appropriate to the shared support we are currently offering a mutural on-line buddy. It was by Richard Rohn O.F.M. yet another radiant life I had never come across.

As per usual, the quote, lead to some background research; led to an impressive, interesting Google search and to Father Rohr's official website.

It also led to a surprisingly succinct collection of four quotes by Father Rohr on the Wikepedia site of all places; each of which stands on its own, but together encapsulate so much of what is currently at stake in our blessed Communion.

So without comment, or further ado

"The question for us is always 'how can we turn information into transformation?' How can we use the sacred texts to lead people into new places with God, with life, with themselves?"

"We have for too long been reading sacred texts from our dualistic consciousness, split from the very mystery that the story of the birth of Jesus seeks to reveal." -Jesus in the Manger: A Story of Transformation

"Jesus is the universalist par excellence, always making the outsider the heroes of his stories: the non-Jews appear as those with more faith and more compassion, the sinners become those who are saved, the women better than the men, and as he continually puts it, 'the last will be first'." -Awakened and Astonished

"At last we have a group of dedicated Christians who are willing to use disciplined and Christian means of nonviolent protest against its church's failure to live the Gospel.... Our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered brothers and sisters have been left outside of his realm of grace for far too long. We can do so much better, and we will." - Letter of Endorsement to Soulforce, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organization


Richard Rohr O.F.M.