Thursday, June 9, 2011

What's REALLY going on here?

Some might have a problem with this- coming from a Canadian; but the last several days I’ve been deeply saddened by the media frenzy, the posturing and jockeying which has been going on in the public media over what I’d call the self-inflicted, public misfortune of Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Yeah, I know, the media have been having a heyday with it- spinning each picture, the most tenuous connections and the thinnest of stories into blazing headline. But as one American contact reminded me last evening while speaking of the majority of the American media ‘the media are essentially whores. That’s how they manage so successfully to distract the vast majority of the American public from real issues and daily realities of their individual lives.’ ‘A most often embarrassing but often necessary.... evil’ was another of my contact’s assessments.

Living north of the 49th parallel, with nothing more than concerned observer status in this current manufactured drama, I could do little more than reflect on this particular assessment, bearing in mind my contact’s deep informed spirituality, their academic credentials & career accomplishments.

One final comment, read late last evening however really saddened me. By a person, publicly identifying as a Christian their quote generated its own headline on one of America’s leading news sites: essentially ‘Unforgiveable! He lied to us!’

I couldn’t help but wonder on what grounds she was making this assessment? As an American? Since when has lying been grounds for forfeiting one’s citizenship ? As a constituent? Is Mr. Weiner the first public official caught out in a lie, or series of lies which did not involve an illegal activity? Or is it that he is refusing to ‘cut off his own head’ as another media wag suggested, and slink off into ignominy?
Or perhaps it is this persons publicly professed Christian faith which is supposed to be the grounds for her judgement and her call for his resignation? Is she actually suggesting we Christians are supposed to have some God-given right to judge each other AND everyone else?

Is it not possible that perhaps... just perhaps, something else could be going on here?
As one ‘blessed to be baptized,’ to quote a dear friend: trying to live out my faith from the particular vocation of a gay Christian, I tend to try to keep at least one eye on the bigger picture, the larger process and life-affirming possibilities one believes are always possible on the dance floor of the Holy Spirit.

How about some critical thinking on the Weiner-gate firestorm? Possibly even self-reflection on the hidden personal issues and woundedness- collectively and individually- behind so much of the self-righteousness noise & condemnation?

i.e. If the best the Democratic Party can do is to abandon Rep Weiner and his family to the whoring of every media hack and potentate- I say shame on you.

I’m talking sacred process here- which also means leaving Rep. Weiner and his beautiful wife to their God and themselves to deal with this. Recognizing that each of them is indeed created in the image and likeness of the living God who has indeed never abandoned them, AND perhaps we might even rejoice in the fact that their life together is about to be blessed with a child.

Of course this would entail according Anthony & Huma the humanity we are usually all-too-ready to claim for ourselves: a humanity which among other attributes includes the ability to repent, to forgive, to heal, to learn and to grow.

My sense is that there are indeed no innocents here- except for the radiant Huma, and she, unlike too many others has not served her husband up to this media feeding-frenzy. Instead she has, I would suggest recognized the sacredness of their relationship, kept her own counsel and got on with her life- with much grace working with her partner and getting on with her job- heading off to North Africa with Madame Clinton- herself another living lesson.

Sacred process you well might ask.

How about- for people of faith at least- the possibility that when media or alternately the course of events, make large certain issues or events there is always- ALWAYS opportunities for us personally to gain insight, to heal or grow- to become part of a solution or on-going process which honors this sacred, wondrous gift of life we have been given. Whether it’s the current recession, imagining a future life for the peoples of Iraq & Afghanistan following the foreign troop with-drawls or the too-obvious effects of global warming: inherent in each is the opportunity to do better, to think larger, to embrace rather than presume to manage or control this sacred gift of Life.

In not-quite-a-word, I’d suggest the media might best STFU on the life and marriage of Anthony & Huma, and, with real grace focus on the lives, courage grace and experience of the people of Joplin; on real alternatives to America’s addiction to petroleum products; on how the West can best help the people of Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia; and perhaps even speculate on what a real communications culture would look like.

My job as a person of faith- as a gay person of faith- in all of this is to uphold Anthony and Huma with love in prayer- and they’ve got both.

God bless you dear Huma.

God bless you dear Anthony.

-love you BOTH!

Monday, May 30, 2011

in a nutshell

Due to problems with my internet provider which extended over several months I have been unable to post to the blog. After literally hours on the phone, and a visit by a technician we have worked out a compromise solution- as a result, though this particular post was created some time ago, I believe there is enough worth celebrating within in, that I am posting it at this late date.

I am so very blessed, or that's how it feels this morning as the day tries to work its way into a thoroughly overcast sky-
this inspite of our ever more precarious financial-employment situation,
the life challenges a number of cherished prayer partners are currently facing,
a challenging, and surprisingly stimulating Lent.

This morning's gratitude is particularly conscious of two great gifts within the last twenty-four hours, and with that also a renewed appreciation for the wondrous communities of connectedness which lie behind each of them:
the network of extraordinary minds and grace filled lives who challenge, comfort, inspire and nourish me through their online presence

and at this moment i am thinking most particularly of my fellow Anglican/Episcopalian siblings- you know who you are.

The other source: one of the many gifts and blessings of living in my very dear, but often beleagured country (danged conservatives!): namely the CBC Radio Network, and most particularly Eleanor Wachtel's most recent broadcast on Writers & Company: . An interview with the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Absolutely one of Eleanor's best- at times the two of them had me soaring with Eleanor's insightful questions or Heaney's gift of insight, for naming.... for finding the word or image which literally stops time. At others, like a hungry child I found myself scrambling with the need for Heaney to keep talking on a particular point- my spirit calling out 'more, more- go deeper please.

Through the good graces of the Writers & Co website you can listen to Eleanor's one hour interview with Heaney, by clicking on the audio link on the right side of her site: - a veritable feast offered up by one my own country's cultural treasures, 'The Great Wachtel' as we refer to her in our household.

The second great gift still sounding in my being this morning is a single sentence at the very end of a powerful personal statement required by her local diocese for authorization to liturgically blessing gender-harmonious marriages . This by a priest and cherished sister born with the soul of a poetic prophet.

A single sentence:

'To love, as Christ loves us. And when we see it –give thanks to God and bless it.'

whose effect could closely be described as staggering my being with awe when i first read it.

The clearest, most succinct expression of the other, alternative model the early Church had- the heroic path- when in the early days it bought into Constantine's proposal of Church as Empire.

In a nutshell, our margaret is also prophetically holding up the essential call and invitation the Holy Spirit continuously holds out to the Church and each one of us in these times, Her invitation to radical renewal: essentially to recognize the ongoing Christ-process in each other; to embrace the brokenness of a Creation which has too long suffered under the tyrany of dualism, and to leave ourselves open to the risk and adventure of grace at work in aeach our of lives.

In that one sentence I hear the resonance of Heschel's celebration of God's seamless creation, of Bishop Robinson's transformative witness to the 'Love beyond our wildest imagining', to Ed Bacon's 'gift of God to be born gay or lesbian-' to so many of the lives and voices of prophetic wholeness I am blessed to be nourished and challenged by in these 'interesting' times.

'To love, as Christ loves us. And when we see it –give thanks to God and bless it.'

Knowing next to nothing about one of America's favorite summer pastimes- baseball, the only image which comes to mind right now, probably reflects the influence of another cherish sibling- dear Elizabeth.

'To love, as Christ loves us. And when we see it –give thanks to God and bless it,' it bears repeating. And with that one prophetic phrase dear margaret literally hit one right out of the purple-shirted park- she literally stopped time with wonder, here in our tiny house.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

eyes to see, ears to hear

Yesterday morning's email brought among others, news from Dan Savage and Terry Miller- yes, that Dan and Terry. A group e-mail which announced that since acting on their idea several months ago the IT GETS BETTER SITE has grown to more than 7,500 videos and more than 25 million views.

Remarkable doesn’t quite cover it- Figures which bare repeating: 75,000 videos contributions, testimonials, acts of compassionate outreach and support in Christian-speak and 25 million TWENTY-FIVE MILLION people who engaged with the message of IT GETS BETTER.

Sitting here with those statistics, I can’t help but think there’s some mighty powerful and startlingly simple lessons our Church could learn from the likes of Dan Savage and Terry Miller and the thousands of LGBT men and women who responded compassionately to their call. Reminds me of another time in recent history when the Holy Spirit offered up our LGBT tribe- many of them the most marginalized and empoverished in society, as both an example and an opportunity for our Churches to live out their vocation to be the Body of Christ. Of course, what I’m referring to are the darkest days of the first decade of AIDS here in North America. And we all know how poorly our churches did with that one.

Thankfully- can I hear a Praise God please- this is another day; thanks in part to the folks of New Hampshire, the skilful and gracious leadership of the current Presiding Bishop and many of her colleagues, and most recently thanks to the folks of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Lots to be thankful for- in some quarters at least, but that said, I stand by my suggestion that Dan, Terry and It Gets Better have a lot to teach the churches- to teach my Church. But uncharacteristically I will not be laying it out for you today. Rather a lot happening here at present and I must be about other things.

A while back though in response to a post of mine I was attacked for the ‘heresy’ of suggesting that the Holy Spirit has and is using Her LGBT daughters and sons prophetically within organized religion in our time. ‘How dare you?’ I was challenged. ‘What could you possibly mean, the Holy Spirit ever having need of queer folks, who scripture clearly calls an abomination,’ he continued. Well-intentioned though he may have thought himself, my attacker never responded to my detailed reply.

What do I mean? How about the lesson of IT GETS BETTER? Our God is neither bound or limited by Holy Scripture, canon law or the rites and offices of patriarchy. Our God lives and moves among the hearts and lives of His/Her creation and never has S/He has never been more present and available to us than in the course of current events.

God bless you Dan Savage, God bless you Terry Miller we are all blessed by your prophetic example.