Tuesday, October 30


Confused and befuddled?  Just where we want you.
Try as I might, it appears that I cannot avoid being sucked into the confluence of modern-day politics and religious 'thought'.  That said, I want to comment on the large issues, not the specifics.

The world we live in has become so large, varied and technical that we generally rely upon outside experts to inform our opinions on things rather than attempting to become subject matter experts ourselves.  In a word, we outsource.  In itself, this is not entirely a bad thing as it gives us access to expertise in short order and permits us to become subject matter experts in our own fields.

The trouble is when said subject matter experts give advice and counsel which flies in the face of our own experience.  If an IT guru advises you against virus protection on your computer or an English professor tells you that War and Peace is a light and quick read, you would really question them. So....

When those who are purported to be religious authorities exhort views which plainly contradict what is in the Scripture and the Tradition they hold as valid....

When people who are recognized as religious/spiritual leaders lay out a description of 'Gods Vision' which they 'know' that is fundamentally at odds with your own, personal experience of the Divine.....

When 'liberal' political leaders are advocating status-quo to slow, incremental adjustments so 'we can move forward' while 'conservative' political leaders are demanding radical change in order to 'restore the past'....

...it calls into question the rationality of their reason and the cost of their counsel.

No matter that, some would say, for the prelates have proclaimed their promulgations beyond proof and their declarations debar discussion or debate (church doctors be damned).  Likewise, the vote-chasers are adverse to even the verisimilitude of veracity and appear unremorseful in their unabashed unheeding of the unwashed masses.

If these are the leaders, why should we follow?
If they represent, control and govern the organization, what value is in being a part of it?
Why engage in an exchange when their ends are egregious and empty?

In short, why feed the troll?

My question would be who do you believe?  Them or your lying eyes?

Thursday, October 18

Speaking of ships coming in

A quick update:

The boy I was trying to help is no longer on the streets, but is back home with his parents.


My friend whose partner should have died from liver failure is now at home.


My very good friend who was in a coma is now awake and at home.


My love is requited in the most incredible person in the world.


My son is hale, healthy and wonderfully abnormal.


Prayers are listened to and answered.


"Keep the faith and your ship will come in.  It's all right!"

"Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without boundaries."

"Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and She will make your paths straight."

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Inspiration from song

"I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me;
The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me;
I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose;
I've been battered, but I'll never bruise;
it's not so bad....

And I say way-hey-hey, it's just an ordinary day;
and it's all your state of mind;
At the end of the day, you've just got to say;
it's all right.

In this beautiful life, but there's always some sorrow;
It's a double-edged knife, but there's always tomorrow;
It's up to you now if you sink or swim;
Keep the faith and your ship will come in;
It's not so bad"  - Great Big Sea, Ordinary Day

Perspective....that's what we should maintain.  It is so easy to be drawn into negative patterns, to see the darkness and forget that there are no shadows without light and what we see as 'bad' or 'good' is entirely a subjective opinion based upon a horribly incomplete understanding of the situation.

Be grateful for what  you have been given.  The here and now is a gift, which is why it's called the present.

It's all right.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, October 7

Reflections about Co-creation

So, there is this idea called co-creation, wherein the Universe and our lives are not unilaterally set in place by the Divine nor is it by our will alone that our fates are chosen, but rather it is our interactions with that which She has made which forms what is and what will be.  In short, it is our own Free Will, combined with His hands, which charts the course of the Universe.  Of course, our individual will, no matter how free, is not usually a huge factor in this process but it IS a factor nonetheless.  When we act in a collective manner using our combined Free Will to choose a particular path, we work in concert with Her power to change the world.  This comes about most poignantly in the celebration of Eucharist and, more specifically, the physical elements involved.

Wheat and grapes, created by the Divine, raised and collected by humans, are transformed by us into bread and wine which we then offer up and ask for the Divine to transform into the Bread of Life and Salvic Cup.  Without humanity, the wheat would wither and the grapes die on the vine.  Without the Divine, they would never have been.  Without the work of human hands, there is no bread or wine to bless and without the touch of God, they would be but empty symbols.

Looking in a larger sense, the entire story of Christianity is this interplay.  The crux of the Gospel is that God (fully divine) became flesh (fully human), dwelt amoung us and, by word and deed, showed that fully human and fully Divine is not only possible, it is how we are supposed to be.  As St. Athanasius (amoung others) put so long ago, "God became man so that man may become God."

Wednesday, October 3

Hard words on reconstruction

A few bits of synchronicity which have come together and inspired me to pen this post. I warn you now that it is not an easy pill to swallow, nor am I pleased to administer it, but medicine is often efficacious in inverse proportion to its palatability.

The first comes this op-ed piece in the Boston Globe by James Carroll.  Carroll recalls the Vatican II council and upon the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII calling for the council, his op-ed describes in lurid detail how much promise and change which the Council promised whilst expounding upon its failings.  The upshot of his lengthy memoir is that the revolution which was signaled 50 years ago is dead, ostensibly struck down by a few prelates who felt threatened by the changes which they themselves had instituted.  He states, "Alas, the age of miracles passed."  Clergy and laity both left the Roman Church in droves.

Some of those people came to places like my own Catholic-not-Roman church, which leads me directly into the next bit.  Our Presiding Bishop was in town to ordain a priest and was kind enough to spend an evening in dialogue with the laity of our parish.  When asked what his biggest fear is, the bishop replied that the Church (our break-away V2-style church) would die with 'our' (his, read Boomer) generation.   It is my belief that his fears are not only well-founded, but it is quite likely.

The Boomer/V2 church will die with them just like the Roman model which the prelates are so keen to promote will, realistically, die with them.  Both will die because there is no need for the church as they know it. The US society is, by and large, no longer interested in 'pray, pay, obey' and the 'social justice revolution' of Vatican II is almost quaint and backwards compared to where mainstream secular society is today. Furthermore, there is a more fundamental question of relevance - why any church at all?  People of faith and good will can and do meet in non-church places, perform the Good Work outside of church walls and have formed community beyond the bounds of the bishop.This leads me to what I realized last night as I looked out on a sea of greying hair and balding pates.

St. Dominic once said,
It is not by the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth.
This applies to heretics within the organization as well as without. During the 1970's, when the Vatican II pushback happened, where was the zeal? the preaching truth? the real sanctity? Their days of revolution are past and, as is so clearly outlined in Carroll's piece, when it came time to take up pitchforks and torches and force the issue, the faithful did so very little.

IF the Good Work is to continue, it will not be done by the Boomers or the Church.  No, it must be done by those of us who have been left behind by the Boomers, by the prelates, by the Church.  On this, the vigil of the feast of St. Francis, I would echo the words he heard, "Rebuild My Church".

IF we are willing to hear and answer the voice of the Divine, it is for us, those left behind, to pick up those stones and rebuild the church so that it relates to OUR concerns, OUR times and OUR world, not for us or ourselves, but for His Glory and Her Will be done.

Monday, October 1

Thoughts on buildings, community and liturgy

This past weekend, the people of our region had the joyous opportunity of observing the ordination of a long standing member of our sister parish to the priesthood.  A (much too small) image of the beautiful sanctuary is at right, but suffice to say that the century-plus episcopal sanctuary was constructed to evoke the feel of a Hooker-era English country parish church.  Our sister parish is colocated with the Anglo-Catholics here and they are a good fit, as both are quite conservative and the ordination which we watched was reflective both of the sacred space and the community who uses it.  The bishop, vicar and pastor of the parish sat in front of the altar, bedecked in their finery, facing the pews and performed for us, whilst we took in the spectacle of an old-skool, espicopal-led Catholic mass and ordination.

This would be in stark contrast to the mass I participated in on Sunday.  Our stark-white, modernist sanctuary (well, it belongs to the Lutherans, but they let us borrow it) has little of the beauty which I saw on Saturday, but the differences don't stop there.  Sunday service is normally small (50-60 people) and we all come up and stand around the altar in a big circle while the rite of Eucharist is performed.  All are welcome and all participate in the flesh and spirit.

As I consider my own path, the question sits with me - what best represents the type of place I wish to be in, that I wish to build?  Where do I find the Divine and where/when do I experience Her moving in myself and others?  I'm afraid my answers would not be pleasing to some, but St. Dominic calls to me "Follow the Truth, no matter where it may lead."