Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I post this in love, prayers & faith for a truly treasured friend in faith Kirstin, who today enters hospital to begin a punnishing first round of treatments for her second travail in the school of cancer.

Kirstin, who blogs at is a member of the Episcopal Church in Californa & has a wonderful ministry with street people.
Articulate, intelligent, gutsy- qualities I love in many of the people I love; no one is more surprised than I how cherished this being has become to me, how much her struggle has woven itself in my heart and its days.

I'm make that begging your prayers for Kirstin

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul !

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Love you Kirstin

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We Stand Inside Your Church

This past week-end the U.S. celebrated/honoured the memory of Stonewall, of those who have gone before us, those we may have lost for now.
What better time to remember the work of a LGBT elder and personal hero- Malcolm Boyd - who has graced and suffered our Church as a priest for more than fifty years.
This prayer comes to us through the generous ministry of Kittredge Cherry, an author & radiant minister in the MCC Church, and is offered with love and profound gratitude most particularly for the radiant priesthood of two treasured brothers in faith, who actually got to meet each other this past week-end.

We Stand Inside Your Church
By Malcolm Boyd

Christ, as lesbians and gay men we stand inside your church and know a wholeness that can benefit it. We learned long ago that we must regard the lilies of the field, putting our trust in you.

Pressured to hide our identities and gifts, we have served you with an unyielding, fierce, vulnerable love inside the same church that condemned us.

Carefully taught that we must feel self-loathing, nevertheless we learned integrity and dignity and how to look into your face and laugh with grateful joy, Jesus.

Although we have suffered a long and continuing torture, we assert a stubborn, unshakable faith in your holy justice.

Negativism was drummed into us as thoroughly as if we were sheet metal. We learned what it is to be misunderstood, perceived as alien, even sometimes hated. Yet, because of your grace and love, we witness to the fullness and beauty of all human creation, including ours, in your image.

We are alive and well and stand inside your church. Bless us, Christ, to your service.

source:Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Standing on one’s head: the view from here

It never ceases to surprise me, how the Holy Spirit continues to ambush us with aah-ha moments of insight or understanding, unexpected gifts of renewal or affirmation, or deep, often tearful reminders of our interconnectedness- and what’s fun about these gifts is the unexpected places one often finds them waiting for us.

Case in point, the current online edition of The Anglican Journal.

As those closest to me know, I bare real psychic wounds in which our local Anglican Church was very complicit, in addition to regularly having to wrestle with my gay-man-of-faith frustration and pain over much of what goes on in the name of ‘officially Anglican.’ That said, I am, as one ‘recovering Catholic’ friend said recently ‘up to your proverbials in this Anglican soup.’ At the time I suggested it might more interestingly be considered a ‘transformative brew.’

Which brings me back to the current edition of The Anglican Journal. Yes, the coverage mentioned the recent national synod without any mention of the cowardly side-step which effectively left our American brothers-and-sisters-in-Christ out to dry. But the nugget which figuratively, if not literally had me standing on my head was in another story- the special report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Something truly sacred is going on in my country at present, and happily I am able to say that our Anglican Church is not only participating, but led by our primate ++Fred Hiltz, they are playing an active & visionary role in its realization. I’m referring to the current exercise which sees representation from government and the historically complicit Christian denominations meeting with the survivors of what is still shamefully referred to as the ‘Indian Residential Schools’ to recognize their stories of physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse. With no concrete information to support it, I personally give a lot of credit to the current primate ++Fred Hiltz for our Church’s remarkable openness; all the while mourning the fact that he has failed to be equally visionary in leading our Church towards full LGBT inclusion (another story for another day.)

The ‘nugget’ is to be found in: and is a comment by a First Nation Roman Catholic nun, Sister Eva Solomon:

“One of the most pervasive forms of violence is colonialism…It destroys our psyche, spirit, mind and body. It’s the root we really have to work at,” she said. “What colonialism did was to impose a different identity on us.”
"The European colonizers that came to Canada “made us believe that our political spiritual system wasn’t good enough,” said Sr. Solomon. “Our own original sin is that we personalized that and we felt we weren’t good enough.”

Our own original sin is that we personalized that and we felt we weren’t good enough- you see why I used the term ‘ambush’ earlier- how about being literally stopped in my tracks?

As several of my partners in prayer and practice know, ‘original sin’ has been a burr under my personal saddle of practice for some time- for a number of reasons- not the least being the its Imperial imposition in the second century CE; the damaging predictability of its propagation and the selective amnesia much of the Church appears to be currently practicing on the consequences of such teaching.

Elsewhere, I’ve written of elements of the necessary ground work I feel we have to embrace in we are truly to join the Holy Spirit in becoming the Church we are continually being called to be. High on the list would be the origins and effects of the Church’s propagation of this toxic doctrine.

It doesn’t take an ‘A’ in Psych 101 to see it for the degrading self-fulfilling prophesy it is, or to tease out the dualism, objectification of patriarchy within and the essential insult it is to God.

It is my understanding that one of the early terms for this doctrine, still in use within the Orthodox Church is ‘ancestral sin’ ; which, I would suggest, in the light of current understanding of the human creature and the long trail of suffering, self-wounding and exploitation the result of this Imperialistic doctrine could more aptly described as the propagation of ancestral sin.

To only state the obvious: you tell a kid they’re sinful, vile or even an abomination often enough- all words found in our earlier BoCP, and the outcome’s almost inevitable.

“Our own original sin is that we personalized that and we felt we weren’t good enough.”

They weren’t perfect- none of us are- they were children, kidnapped from the world they knew, treated little better than animals, by a bunch of bossy, at times violent strangers.

They were frightened and often alone- with concepts, rules and a language imposed on them that not only denied their God given uniqueness, their beauty and humanity, but which insisted that who they were- the Indian in them- had to be killed and be remade into something else.

Could the paralells with the newborn human state be any clearer

They were kids- like us all, when the Church’s reign of original sin was imposed on us.

Imperfect, frightened, alone- hardly ground for the invention of a self-fulfilling, exploitive, wounding & degrading doctrine in the name of God.

Unintentionally, I apparently stopped a friend in her tracks some time ago with my suggestion that it was more than overdue- the time when we as a Church began behaving as a redeemed people.

‘Literally, you’ve got me consciously questioning- no, consciously stepping outside the dualistic assumptions of patriarchy and looking at the backside of the great tapestry we call Christianity,’ she told me, using one of the images from our earlier conversation.

And that, I would suggest, is what we have to be doing collectively as a Church. Simply disarming, or avoiding the embarrassment of earlier teachings is not enough. From all that’s been going on in our Church of late it should be only too clear that what the Holy Spirit is calling is to- yet again- is radical & complete renewal outside the necessarily dualistic objectification of both God’s people & all creation. A process which requires us to name, own and deconstruct the articles and artefacts of the patriarchal monolith men-largely straight white men- have so shamefully made of the Good News of Jesus Christ and of our vocation to be the living Body of Christ .

Happily there was a second story in the current Anglican Journal on the Commission. A poetic reflection on the first days of the Commission which, when I discovered it, I personally took as a reminder that no matter how silly and disheartening the antics of certain purple shirts and other ‘official Anglicans’ might have been of late, the Holy Spirit is very much alive and among us, and SHE hasn’t given up on us either- Thanks be to God!

But there was also another nugget in the first story, and I wonder if it might have had the same effect on others- literally moving me to tears. It’s in the witness of the Rev. Margaret Mullen, ‘I have to remember that I’m accepted by the Creator.”

This post was written out of deep and abiding gratitude to our First Nations People- for their generosity of spirit, their very real grace and patience - for the lessons they are offering us, and out of love and gratitude of one particular cherished sibling in Christ who could well share Ms. Mullen’s native name ‘Thundering Eagle Woman’ and whose First Native ancestry brings much to the passionate gift of her priesthood.