Friday, September 10, 2010

Dr. Peter's Affirmation

You might have to be Canadian to appreciate and remember the prophetic impact of the life and work of Dr. Peter Jepson-Young, a very young, beautiful Canadian doctor who came out on national television as a gay man living with HIV/AIDS more than twenty years ago. For the time remaining, this beautiful spirit shared his life and the reality of living with AIDS with the people of Canada on CBC television, and the film made from his weekly broafcast went on to win an Academy Award.

In a very dark and frightening time, living on the front lines of AIDS service when most of our clients often daily lived the marginalization, poverty and rejection of a frightened world, Dr. Peter was a beacon of courage and very real grace for me.

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the broadcasts, and in love, appreciation and gratitude for the life and example of Dr. Peter Jepson-Young I would offer Dr. Peter's Affirmation.


I accept and absorb all the strength of the earth
to keep my body hard and strong;

I accept and absorb all the energy of the sun
to keep my mind sharp and bright;

I accept and absorb all the life force of the ocean
to cleanse my body and bring me life;

I accept and absorb all the power of the wind
to cleanse my spirit and bring me life;

I accept and absorb all the mystery of the heavens,
for I am a part of the vast unknown.

I believe God to be all these elements,
and the force that unites them;

And from these elements I have come,
and to these elements I shall return;

But the energy that is me will not be lost.

Dr. Peter Jepson-Young
©1987, Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation

Rest eternal grant to him Oh Lord; let light perpetual shine upon him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Extraordinary-Times Two!

Who would have thought- twice in one day- two very public admissions that mistakes- costly mistakes have been made!

First, of course. I’m referring to President Barak Obama’s prophetic admission in his address to the American people that the war in Iraq had been a mistake. God bless and protect that man please! As the American war machine gradually withdraws from its occupation of Iraq thousands upon thousands of American soldiers, mercenaries will be coming home to the morass of bankruptcies and dispossession the Republicans and their arch war criminals Bush and Chaney have left the nation in. If we think the Teabaggers are frightening, it’s really only going to get scary when unemployed/underemployed troops, many of them suffering from PTSD find themselves living with the daily realities of American excesses.
God forgive them, some of the returning soldiers may actually call for another war to deliver them from the realities many if not most of us have been struggling with in what the media is now calling the ‘Great Recession,’ though as I know only too well personally, there’s nothing great about any of the mess the f-fing Republican left the American people.

Seriously, I daily beg God’s protection and strength for President Obama; has the world ever seen a more ungrateful, self-obsessed bunch of spoiled brats than the Republicans and their ilk.

Iraq a mistake- the admission wonder number one.

The second one even more startling- the public admission by former president Fidel Castro that the arrest and persecution of Cuban gays during his administration was wrong, and he took personal responsibility for this!

Of course, he’s only taking responsibility for the legal repression during the first years of his regime as some Log Cabin Queens might only too readily point out, but the man’s got to start somewhere.

The friend who sent me the link to the Castro story, like myself, describes himself as an alienated Anglican and he shares much of my love, passion and respect for the prophetic, transformational possibilities in the Anglican principle of the three legged stool. As we’ve agreed more times than I can remember- often with some frustration or regret- the Anglican model really does have limitless potential for healing & transforming this world- for bringing about the healing, justice and restored humanity implicit in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the link in his e-mail was also prefaced by a question: 'Does our Anglican Communion need the example of Fidel Castro, for it to get its shit together and start repenting?'

For their participation in countless generation of misogyny; the objectification, exploitation and abuse of our sisters- never more so than within its own walls.

For their complicity and cowardice in institutionalized, collective and personal anti-Semitism.

For their complicity, profiting and cowardice in the objectification, exploitation, suffering and the essential denial of the humanity people of colour- whether through the obscenities of slavery, colonialization, the Jim Crow laws, or a list of affronts to God and God’s creation too long for this space.

For their on-going objectification, vilification and their participation in the violence, discrimination, murder and objectification of my LGBT brothers and sisters- within and outside the Church.

In certain quarters- often with the best of intentions, I hear individuals within the leadership of our Church – many of who I respect and love personally- wrestling with the future of the Church- calling for a ‘servant Church’ model. Well amateur that I may be, I’m going further. In the name of the Love beyond our wildest imagining- that same Love which created us, Which incarnated and personally suffered the ignorance, hypocrisy, the pettiness and greed, the violence and injustice human beings only too often show themselves to be capable of- the Love which sustains us and continually offers us- individually and collectively- another chance; that same Love which overcame death on the cross and which unfailingly extends Her call to us to live ‘Life more abundantly'; in the name of that same Love, I’m calling for a repentant Church- a Church which not only owns it’s complicit past but which having de-constructed and learned the lessons of its past allows itself to be led by the Holy Spirit into being transformed into the Church God has called us to be since the creation of the world.

None of that ‘easy’ Book of Common Prayer acts of repentance, whose well crafted beauty works the tongue like the finest of wines; I’m suggesting the Church- OUR Church, might be long overdue for the type of transformative repentance which owns the particulars of its past, learns from them and outgrows them by leaving itself open to be re-made, transformed- transfigured. I’m suggesting that God’s Creation has been suffering and longing, bleeding, starving and dying; waiting for the ‘official Church ‘ to get over itself and get on with God’s business of healing the world.

Comment from another alienated Anglican- ‘as long as the Church continues to behave the way it does, it deserves to be deserted, denied and broken open.’ At the time she was actually referring to Rowan’s willingness to sacrifice our Episcopal brothers and sisters for the self-righteous, frightened rage & hate of the Anglican Taliban.

But the earlier question still stands: Does our Anglican Communion need the example of Fidel Castro for it to get its own shit together and start repenting?