Loving the sacred through word and image. Iona Chapel – Iona… Just another WordPress.com Blog

Archive for October, 2008

Candle

November 5th Candle Video


Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me something good to eat …


5th November:Remember…

Remember

MADV – Youtuber channel

What do you want the world to remember?

From 5th of November you are invited to post a video about what encompasses you as a person, what inspires you, what brings you hope, and most importantly those little things that you may have forgotten.

You may choose any topic, any idea, any person, event or place that you feel people need reminding of. You can use any style and any method (talking, writing, photos, metaphor) to get your message of remembrance across.

The aim of this project is to gather together people from all over the world on one unique day to celebrate the important things that we forget, and to remind each other of what we need to keep ideas alive.

Be creative, tell the world what you want them to remember.


Post yours now.


Remember, remember
Chin up,
MadV


Pastoral Ministry…

A Pastoral Letter to a friend…

I hope that all is going well in the field tonight. I wanted to share something with you that has struck me. On Wednesday night, one of the women in my Pastoral Ministry class approached me for the second time to ask me if I would consent to be her interview person for the same questionaire that I sent to you.

The first time she asked me a couple weeks ago, I hesitated for a moment and I thought to myself that I could not possibly be a viable minister to be interviewed I didn’t see what it was that made me very particular. But I sat in class on Wednesday night and I listened to the Monsignor talk, and we got to share with him our ideas for our research papers due on the same day our interviews are and the monsignor looked at me and said to me in front of my classmates that I have a significant ministry – working with my kids – that he wished that I would do something for some of the parents that he sees on a weekly basis. I was struck dumb.

Last night I sat and I prayed. And it seemed that I was praying in a different capacity than I have been. Something in me shifted. I returned to an article that the Monsignor gave us a couple weeks ago written by Loughlan Sofield S.T.M.A. called “Developing Christian Maturity in our Pluralistic Society. He writes about his mentor Jim Gill. And how much that man impacted him the four qualities in Mature Christians – generativity, compassion, integrity, and living life to the full.

The article goes on to talk about transmitting ones wisdom and skills to others, the gift of listening presence, compassion, integrity, life filled and life giving and one who has a deep relationship with God.  All this comes within the story of Jim Gill.

As I prayed I reflected on my life and ministry. Somehow I don’t call myself a minister, but just a man who does what is right and helps others where they need to be helped, its just really simple. But in my prayers last night I felt the hand of God come down and touch me and the voice simply said, “Yes that’s right, you feel it, don’t you?”

Now you know what it feels like to carry some of the weight. I almost wept because I realized that I serve God in everything I do with my kids and my fellows. And in reflecting on this article I have developed some form of Christian Maturity in my 41 years of life and it seems that someone wants me to sit with them and talk about my ministry. I am humbled … And thinking about it makes me want to weep.

I then sat with the same questions I sent you to answer and I prayed about how I would answer those questions myself. I felt an intense burden of integrity, honesty and humility. I have not used this portion of my spiritual self before so it is new, yet it is a comfortable place for me to be. I don’t know how else to put it.

Lately my prayers seem to reach into my soul from a new depth. I am feeling more than usual and I am somewhat emotional on other fronts lately. Not so much touchy, yet keenly aware of my feelings and emotions, and I don’t know why that is happening but it is. I guess God is working on the inside.

I thought that this insight was important in my spiritual journey to tell you about because God is moving in our lives in new ways. anyways, just a little ramble about me.

You are in my prayers.


Anonymity …

I had an unusual experience this morning and it has been bothering me all night long. I went to the hospital clinic and dropped my labs and took a seat in the exam room assigned to me. The nurse came in and took my vitals and to start my triage as usual.

She left the room and there was a knock on the door and a 4th year intern young lady walked in an introduced herself. With her was a woman. A woman I knew. From the Rooms. The first words out of my mouth were, and I didn’t think about it at that moment, I said to her “I Know You!” The intern looked at me quizzically and I said “yeah I know her from the rooms.” I had blown her anonymity. They did my workup and asked me some questions about my diet and my fasting routine. Then they left.

I was waiting for my doctor to come in and the Woman came back in and said to me “nobody knows that I am in the rooms. Let’s keep this between us!” The longer I sat there the more uneasy I felt. Because she returned again and started asking questions about the pills I was taking in my regimen and she was accusing me of not understanding what fasting meant. I was like What that Fuck!!!  She was wearing a lab coat and all, but what did I know – that she was a medical doctor or something of that sort.

I felt like my privacy had been breached. My anonymity was also broken when she acknowledged me from the rooms. Now I don’t usually have problems with doctors and interns looking at my file. BUT I was terribly bothered that someone who comes to my meeting has now had intimate access to my medical files.

And that is not sitting well with me right now.

It is almost accusatory the way I am feeling. I don’t want another “Drunk” having access to the particulars of my life because she is in the rooms. I’ve known this woman for some time. And I’ve heard her talk and share. I just don’t know how I feel, well I do know how I feel about today…

I don’t want this woman having access to my file or my doctor… simple as that. I don’t know in what capacity she was working today with a 4th year intern – but she did ask me some pointed questions about some of my pills in that kind of AA “Why are you taking these specific pills???” way…

There has always been proponents who think that pills are a threat to sobriety. I’ve had the pill argument with more than one AA member in my many years. I just don’t feel right knowing that another member now knows the particulars of my life that were once private. I don’t like it at all…

Am I being ignorant and stupid or petty???

I’ve never faced this kind of dilemma in my sobriety before. Actually knowing someone directly who has had access to my medical life, who is a member of the rooms. It’s just as bad that I pointed the finger first and called her out. I feel like my medical life has been invaded by her. I don’t trust anonymity when my worlds come this close together. Now I am going to have to take this to bed with me, UGH !!!

What do I do now???

I know let it go… I don’t know what I’d say to her when she comes to my meeting the next time. You know, I don’t think you’d like certain people peeking in on parts of your life that are sacred and private, but I am an alcoholic and I think like one – AND SO DOES SHE !!! I know there are other alcoholics that work at the General, but they do not work in the Clinic nor do they have access to that kind of information. My information!!!

I am really feeling this little intrusion in a big way right now…


Missing Ont. teen may not be in Canada: police

CBC.NEWS Online

Police searching for an Ontario teenager whose disappearance may be connected to online video games say there is a possibility he is no longer in the country.

Brandon Crisp left his Barrie, Ont., home on Oct. 13 after his parents revoked his Xbox privileges because he had become obsessed with the video game Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. He has not been seen since.

Investigators said they are not discounting reports that some of Brandon’s gaming friends were in the United States, according to a report Wednesday in the Barrie Examiner.

“We don’t know where he is, so there is that potential that he could have gone south of the border,” Sgt. Dave Goodbrand told the local newspaper.

“That’s a scenario we have to consider, whether he went across on his own will or against his will.”

Police are investigating any possible role the videogame system, manufactured by Microsoft, may have played in Brandon’s disappearance. Players of the online games come from all over the world, Goodbrand said Wednesday.

“It’s definitely one of the reasons we wanted to push the story nationally and internationally,” he told the Examiner.

Brandon’s parents have been urging police to look for more clues in their son’s laptop and Xbox hard drive.

Steve Crisp has said he is convinced the key to his son’s disappearance lies in someone he met online while playing the game, and that police need to put more effort into their online investigation.

“I really need the help of the police now in really delving in and getting right to this Xbox hard drive,” to find Brandon’s contacts, he told CBC News on Sunday.

The crime show America’s Most Wanted has posted a profile of Brandon on its website that includes a photograph of the blond-haired teen and a description of him as an “avid online gamer who specifically plays 1st person shooters.”

“If investigators feel that Brandon may have crossed the border, we could look into broadcasting something,” show spokesman Avery Mann told the Examiner Wednesday.

The program was reportedly told about Brandon’s disappearance by Child Save, a missing child registry system that operates across Canada and the U.S.

Hundreds of volunteers have been looking for the boy around Barrie, about 100 kilometres north of Toronto, but to no avail. The teen was last seen the day he disappeared on a trail several kilometres from his house. His abandoned bike was discovered elsewhere earlier this week.

A candlelight vigil was scheduled for Wednesday night in Shanty Bay, just east of Barrie. It was organized by the operators of the Facebook group ‘Where is Brandon Crisp,’ which currently has more than 17,000 members.

***********************

Microsoft offers reward for missing Xbox gamer

A local newspaper, the family’s Internet service provider and Child Find offered a 25,000-dollar (19,500-dollar US) reward for information leading to his return.

Microsoft topped it up with another 25,000 dollars, the company said Tuesday in an email to AFP, “hoping for his swift return.”

“Like everyone, we are deeply worried about the disappearance of Brandon Crisp,” the company said.

Exhaustive searches have not turned up a single clue beyond the boy’s bicycle, found last week with a flat tire.

Police are said to be examining who Brandon played with online. “Law enforcement has contacted Microsoft about this matter and we are cooperating fully with them,” said Microsoft.


American Stories, American Solutions

American Stories, American Solutions


CANADA: Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing

[Anglican Journal] Link

After this week’s discussions with bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal plans to launch a process to work out a rite for blessing same-sex couples in the diocese who have been married in civil ceremonies.

In an opening statement October 24 to the annual synod of the Diocese of Montreal, the bishop said he believes that in the current debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution.

“For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Montreal, are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice,” he said. “It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the church. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing and a means of God’s grace. In time our voice will either be affirmed by the body, or stand corrected.”

About a year ago, the 2007 Montreal synod adopted a resolution calling on the bishop to grant permission for clergy, under certain conditions, to bless duly solemnized civil marriages, including same-sex marriages. Clarke, like the bishops of two other dioceses where such motions were passed around the same time, has not yet implemented it by authorizing such blessings.

Speaking at this year’s synod, the bishop described his decision as one that “does constitute an incremental step forward, which is consistent with the wishes of synod, all the while observing the cautious posture voiced and upheld in other parts of the Anglican Communion” and expressed at the Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops this summer.

Delegates to this year’s Montreal synod took no further action on the issue except to debate and vote down, by clear although not overwhelming majorities, two resolutions presented by people opposed to same-sex blessings.

One resolution asked the bishop to refrain from implementing same-sex blessings until there had been extensive consultation with the Anglican Communion worldwide, until the diocese had established a process for consulting its members, until the General Synod of Canada changed the marriage canon, and in any event not before the 2010 Montreal synod.

The other resolution asked that, if the bishop did authorize the blessings, a process called shared episcopal ministry be made available to parishes and clergy requesting it. (Basically, this could mean that, with Clarke’s assent, a bishop opposed to the blessings would provide certain services, probably including confirmations, in similarly minded parishes. Last May, Eddie Marsh, retired bishop of Central Newfoundland, carried out a confirmation service for candidates from two parishes in the Montreal suburban area known as the West Island. Clarke authorized this, at least with regard to one of the parishes, and the experiment was considered by some to be a trial run for shared episcopal ministry.)

The two motions were rejected, although their sponsors used conciliatory language in presenting them.

David Johnstone, rector’s warden of the evangelical St. Stephen’s Church in Westmount, said the motion on consultation would not reverse the 2007 decision but would help to preserve Anglican unity in a situation where “the diversity once cherished by Anglicanism has been stretched beyond limits.”

The Rev. Timothy Wiebe of two churches in the Eastern Townships described the motion on shared episcopal ministry as “creative, generous and fully inclusive of all points of view” and “an Anglican solution, a via media.”

In his opening address, Clarke said that, shortly after the meeting of the House of Bishops (October 27-31), he would establish a commission with the responsibility of drafting an appropriate rite for the blessing and guidelines for implementation.

“In this process, I am committed to an open dialogue, and to this end, I will provide opportunities on a formal basis for listening, dialogue and further discernment,” he said. He added that the diocese would work alongside the faith, worship and ministry committee, which had been charged by General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, to develop a process to engage dioceses and parishes in study of the Christian perspective on human sexuality in light of scripture, reason, tradition and current scientific understanding.

“Let me make it absolutely clear that in this process, no cleric and no congregation will be required to participate in any future blessing of same-sex civil marriages,” said Clarke.

– Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Diocese of Montreal.


You Heard it here FIRST – SNOW!!!

On October 28th 2008 at 11:30 p.m. I am posting this word for the first time this season…

IT’S SNOWING IN MONTREAL !!!


Write to Marry Day…

Write To Marry Day Link

Andy wrote this, I think he hits all the points, and I agree with what he has to say
You can check his blog Here!!!

Next Tuesday, when California voters head to the polls to pick the next president, they will also be deciding on Proposition 8, which seeks to amend the state constitution and thereby nullify the state supreme court’s ruling from earlier this year, which found that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Supporters of the proposition claim to be protecting “traditional” marriage from a threat that is clearly non-existent. Their entire campaign is based on lies, distortions and the absolutely preposterous notion that heterosexuals will opt for non-procreative same-sex relationships leading to the extinction of the human race, simply because the law says they can, as if homosexuality is contagious and can be legislated out of existence, rather than a biological phenomenon affecting a tiny percentage of the population.

One of the myths being pushed by supporters of the proposition is that a “no” vote would have a profoundly adverse effect on First Amendment guarantees of free speech and religious expression; in fact, the opposite is true.

Anti-gay forces are claiming that legalized gay marriage somehow gives the state the power to force clergy to perform same-sex marriages and would ban religious speech against homosexuality. These accusations are utterly without merit.

There is a difference in this country between civil marriage and religious marriage, whatever the protestations of the extreme right wing, that is very clearly illustrated: no state in the union requires the religious solemnization of a marriage nor recognizes a religious marriage without a civil license. Same-sex marriage does not change this.

The argument that churches would be “forced” to perform a marriage that was against their religious beliefs is utterly unfounded. For example, there is no limit to how many times a person can be legally married and divorced in the United States, but the Catholic church does not recognize the re-marriage of divorced persons. You can trot down to city hall and get your third, fourth, eighth license, whatever. But the government is absolutely powerless to require a Catholic priest to officiate at a marriage ceremony for you.

Most churches require couples counseling with a minister before a marriage ceremony; it’s rare, but clergy have the pastoral right to decide a couple should not be married for whatever reason and decline to officiate. That can’t stop them from obtaining a civil license.

Similarly, Catholics, Mormons and Orthodox and Conservative Jews oppose interfaith marriages. A Mormon can legally marry a Jew, but no church or synagogue can be compelled to host the ceremony or recognize the relationship. The plain truth is that federal and local governments already recognize the marriages of couples whose unions are opposed by various longstanding religious traditions.

Ask the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston how many same-sex marriages they have been forced to perform since 2003.

Far from protecting first amendment guarantees about the freedom of religion, Proposition 8 actually imperils them. One of the many bogus assumptions supporters of the proposition make is that to be “religious” means to be anti-gay. Some religious groups openly oppose Proposition 8.

Furthermore, religious groups including Unitarian Universalists, the Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of Christ and Conservative and Reform Jewish synagogues routinely bless same-sex unions. While the practice remains controversial in many other denominations, individual churches within mainline traditions (especially the Episcopal and Lutheran churches) often welcome and bless same-sex couples.

Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, recently had this to say: “Performing and blessing [same-sex] marriages is not simply theoretical. There are real people in congregations large and small who have waited sometimes for many years for this opportunity, and the witness of their faithful love has been an inspiration to me….While no one in this Diocese will be forced to move beyond what his or her conscience allows, we seek to provide that gracious space for those whose conscience compels them to bless the marriages of all faithful people as together we discern the work of the Holy Spirit who continues to lead us into all truth.”

Thus, Proposition 8 does not protect religious expression at all but rather threatens the legitimate diversity of opinion on this issue among people of faith in the name of a narrow, fundamentalist orthodoxy. Legal recognition and protection of same-sex unions threatens no one and enhances freedom of religious expression in the State of California.

This post is written in support of Write to Marry Day.


Miracles…

It is a cold, dreary, miserable night in Montreal. They say we may get some wet snow over night. YAY!!! I’d rather walk in the snow than walk in the rain any day or night. It has been raining for hours and hours.

The meeting tonight was quick and painful. we are finding that one of our members is having real trouble with reading from the page, and he also said tonight that he was having trouble hearing. There were 11 people at the meeting tonight and everyone had shared in the first thirty minutes of the meeting. When it came to my turn to share, I was speaking and the chair started mumbling to someone at the head of the room and he started talking to the room while I was sitting there sharing. I think he was in a hurry to end the meeting early. And it did… 30 minutes early.

We are all noticing that Peter is deteriorating before our eyes. He just moved into a new home and is getting settled. Meanwhile, he is having trouble staying on his feet (stability) he is having trouble reading words on the page and he is not able to keep up with people when listening, like I said above. This is a noticable change in him over the last few months. And he’s not getting better… sad really …

Stick around until the miracle occurs…

Watching people getting clean and sober is a spiritual experience. When you follow each other on this spiritual path and they have moments of clarity in the meeting and for some – they have been to hell and come to us with their baggage and issues, and one day, the clouds part and the light goes on in the tower and the bulb flashes over their heads and you see God descend into the room, there is the miracle…

I relate a story of one of our women, who celebrates 5 years tonight. She came into the room and she was sullen and dark. She did not know what to do. And we loved her and listened to her week after week. For months she used to say every week that “she wished that the days would just end…” She was still in darkness and misery. She hated her days and she wanted the hours to be done with. One night it happened. There are nights when we sit in that church basement and you can just feel the presence of God – it is so palpable.

And on this particular night she spoke up and the light went on in the tower and the lightbulb flashed over her head and she exclaimed “There are not enough hours in the day…” God came down and touched her and from that point on she was transformed by a power greater than herself. That is just one of the miracles I have seen in the rooms. There are countless others. But this one struck me deep in my heart.

I am supposed to be dead. Yet I am still alive. Who Knew???
Someone up there likes me, and that is a miracle.

I don’t know when I got my miracle or who gave it to me, all I know is that in the beginning there was a group of people who believed in me and believed for me until I could believe for myself. They filled me with Love and God did the rest I guess. Was it my Master who loved me so hard that he helped create the miracle, or was it all God’s doing? He sure had a lot of help creating the miracle for me, so long ago…

Tomorrow I will see the doctor. God only knows where he will be in his head. He will say that my cholesterol is still high and that I am FAT. He won’t even think about the fact that I am still alive and the pills are working their little bits of healing magic. I can’t talk god with a man who only thinks in numbers and is fixated on things that I don’t worry about. I feel good. I eat good, I take my pills and I pray. What else is there? He won’t, for one minute, think about gratitude or miracles.

And that is sad…

In 42 days, one day at a time, I will celebrate 7 years of sobriety…


Sean Penn's new gay drama avoiding publicity

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – The opening of “Milk,” director Gus Van Sant‘s account of California‘s first openly gay politician, is four weeks away. Yet you wouldn’t know it.

Unlike the hoopla over Focus Features‘ previous gay-themed awards magnet, “Brokeback Mountain,” which was drawing calls of agenda-pushing from right-wingers months before it opened in 2005, there’s been hardly a peep in editorial pages or on talk radio.

Admittedly, the election is a major distraction. But Focus also is doing something deliberate: It’s eschewing publicity for the Sean Penn vehicle, keeping it out of the high-profile fall film festivals and heavily restricting media screenings.

“The best way to help this film win over a mainstream audience is to avoid partisanship, and the best way to avoid partisanship is to let people find out about the film from the film itself,” said one person involved with the film.

Giving up word-of-mouth to avoid hot air is not a typical trade-off — notice how Lionsgate effectively flogged politically charged movies like Oliver Stone‘s George W. Bush biopic “W.” and the Bill Maher documentaryReligulous” — but it’s one Focus is willing to make.

Not that it will last. The political football will be kicked off when the movie premieres Tuesday night in San Francisco and then put in play after the November 4 election. And when that happens, the studio will face a marketing dilemma: how to accommodate the gay-rights angle the core audience expects while appealing to mainstream filmgoers who might not be immediately moved to see a movie about the subject.

One example of those filmgoers: At a recent Vegas test-screening for a middle-class, straight audience, several senior citizens tried to leave after a gay love scene in the early moments but couldn’t because they were trapped in the middle of a row (near Focus production chief John Lyons, in fact). The seniors eventually said they were happy that they stayed, but, like independent voters in an election contest, these are the viewers Focus must woo.

Like its initial phase of playing keep-away from cable news, the post-election phase will also involve staying above politics. Focus plans on selling “Milk” in part as a story of hope and change (Harvey Milk, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Superviors until his assassination in 1978, won equal-rights battles against great odds), just as it sold “Brokeback” as a love story.

The ploy was logical with “Brokeback.” It’s less so here.

Like “Brokeback,” “Milk” features a gay romance. But unlike “Brokeback,” “Milk” is made by gay filmmakers, features the polarizing Penn and puts itself squarely in a political context. Milk’s fight against California‘s anti-gay-rights Proposition 6 — a drama the movie deals with in great detail — spookily parallels the current California fight over Proposition 8, a measure that would ban gay marriage.

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said that “since this movie is about a beloved politician who was killed, it won’t be easy for our adversaries to fight us on it.” Focus and its Oscar handlers should get the weaponry ready anyway.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


The Peaceful Warrior …

“Socrates once said, “Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.”

I remember something Socrates had told me about the search for meaning.
“Better never begin – but once begun, better finish.”

“To really help people, you first need to understand them – but you can’t understand someone else until you understand yourself. Know yourself; prepare yourself; develop the clarity, the courage, and the sensitivity to exert the right leverage, in the right place, at the right time, Then Act.”


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

New Trailer Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Hungry for God (redaction)

I’ve had a few days to poder the meaning of life again. Every time I pop a pill I stand at the sink and contemplate my mortality. I am reminded that each pill I take, every day of my life I must be reminded that it is because of these pills that I am still breathing. It has been a quiet week with not much going on between my last class on Thursday and the beginning of my week in class on Monday. I haven’t had a lot to write about nor was I feeling very inspired to write anything substantial.

That’s why Monday’s are so important to us in our little clutch of followers. Gospel and Acts is a warm nest that we all come to each week to be fed and to learn about scripture. It is such an amazing two hours that it seems we can’t get enough. There is so much to read, so much to study, so much to take in. And we are come with our own baggage and we come from our own traditions. Not all of us come from the same tapestry, but we are threads that are woven together in this class.

Every week that goes by, we find things to talk about after class and tonight we welcomed a new member to our coffee clutch, I mentioned this in the last post. Luigi, Anthony and I sat and listened to this young man talk about God. He reads his bible and he goes to class and it seemed that he was on information overload tonight. He just talked and talked and talked… He is young in his Christian journey, yet the hunger I heard in his voice was refreshing. He reminded me of myself when I was his age. Did I just say that???

How do we live the Gospel? He spoke of conversations he has had with people over the last little while. I told him about the diamond polishing. Life is about lessons. Life is about meeting people, and learning the lessons as they come to you. Everyone we meet on any given day comes with a purpose. They either challenge our position, they come to ask us a question, or they are there to teach us a lesson. Sometimes one, sometimes all at once. Every person you meet is a chance encounter with God. It is my belief that there are no coincidences. God puts certain people on our paths at specific moments or on specific days for a reason. Are you paying attention here???

Life is about learning to polish the diamond.

Life is about learning to dispatch the past and to integrate lessons that we were meant to learn on this go round on earth. In life if we do not learn the lesson the first time, the lesson returns again and again until we learn the lesson and we move forward. Each time a situation presents itself be it a problem or an issue or a feeling, the diamond comes up for a cut. Each swipe at the polishing wheel is a new cut, and we look at that diamond from a certain perspective. We see life from a certain perspective. We see each lesson or problem from a certain perspective. These issues will return as we learn to dispatch them into the file cabinet of the past. Each time these issues pop up we get to see it from a different perspective if we are following our progress through life. (We spoke about journaling).

The diamond is constantly in the cut and polish phase. Until that diamond is made perfect. How many perfectly cut diamonds do you know??? We are always working on ourselves. We are learning how to use our skills, we are constantly being refined. The Christian journey is not a perfect journey. But it is a journey that always moves forwards. And we have a choice to remain static where we are with our bibles in our hands, and our notions and preconceptions and ideologies and we can choose not to move in any given direction, OR we can choose to grow towards the potential that God allows us to, and encourages us to, grow towards.

My friend noted that there are too many divisions in Christianity. And that is a given. But the grace we have is to grow and to learn about God and Scripture. We have an opportunity to grow and be perfect as our Heavenly Father is Perfect. We have a choice to live these two commandments:Mt. 22:37-40…

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This is the scripture passage that so many men and women of God are preaching today. If we could just love our God and Love our Neighbor things would be so simple. But we come with our ideologies, our baggage our notions of what is right and wrong based on what we have been taught. We can quibble over scripture for what is going on in the world today, I am not going to argue scripture with you. Been here – Done this…

Love of God and Love of neighbor … That is the code we should live by…

We are powerless over people, places and things. We come to this life and sometimes we become addicted to things or we remain troubled about life and we have to get right, we have to find the right path, so we admit our powerlessness, and we show up. Over time we live and we study and we Come to Believe and finally we learn to Turn it Over. We may not be able to change people, but we Can change our perceptions. That is the lesson of life…

I can’t – He can – So I will Let Him…

Everyone who appears on the path is there for a reason. To Challenge us, to Ask us a question or to Teach us a lesson. Sometimes one – sometimes all. It is not in how many words we use at times, but how we listen to those who sit with us and share. It is how we LISTEN !!!

Do you know what HUNGER is? Do you know what it feels like to sit with someone who is totally devoted to Scripture and Hungry for God? Tonight the four of us sat over soup and coffee and we talked about hunger and Christianity. Life will move forward and we will visit again. Everyone brings something to the table be it by word or presence. Everyone is on the path – what ever path that is. Sometimes paths cross and it is up to us to divine why certain people are put on the path with us. That is if we are paying attention to these little things that God puts before us. Are YOU paying attention???

Love your God and Love your neighbor…


Hungry for God…

Why did God create the two sexes? To create life, to be fruitful and to multiply. To fill the world with beings created in the image and likeness of God. Same sex marriage is not biblical. I grant you that. But if we are to act and live as Jesus taught, we must carry forward these two commandments:

Matthew 22:34-39
The Greatest Commandment

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:”Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

If we live with these two axioms then everyone is equal in the eyes of God. And I am not going to argue with you over semantics or scripture, because I have 41 years of life, and a University Degree in Religious Studies and Studies in Theology behind me. Gay Marriage IS legal in Canada. And we support the VOTE NO on Proposition 8 in California. Because everyone should be equal under the law. No one should be discriminated based upon sexual orientation. If one is solid in their faith how could the marriage of strangers impede on your lives? I am just not going to argue this point with any of you, lest we start a biblical war of moral law and biblical scripture.

End of rant on same sex marriage…

Tonight we had a new addition to our coffee clutch after class. It was refreshing to listen to a young person speak about his hunger for God and his wanting so badly to live the Christian message in his every day life. We all start somewhere. And his journey is just beginning, so we gave him some pointers and some advice and we explained some truth to him. Hopefully he will take what he has heard and put it into action in his life.

We begin tonight’s lesson on the Gospel of John. A very different Gospel than the three synoptic gospels, of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Localities in the Gospel of John have significant theological meaning. In John we see the theological charge in the passage Jn. 1:19-34:

John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.”They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”

Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ “

Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus the Lamb of God

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

There are several movements in the Gospel of John:

1. Jn 2:12-22 The Purification of the Temple
2. Jn 6:1-13 The Feeding of the 5000
3. jn 6:66-71 Peter’s Confession
4. Jn 12:1-8  The stories of Bethany
5. Jn 12:12-19 The Entry into Jerusalem
6. Jn 13:1-30  The Last Supper

There is no transmission of the Eucharist in the Gospel of John.

Out of all the miracles we find in the Synoptic Gospels, only 2 miracles appear in the Gospel of John. The feeding of the 5000, and the walking on water. There are 5 “signs” not called miracles that do not appear in the Synoptic Gospels:

1. Jn 2:5-11 Turning the water to wine
2. Jn 4:46-54 The Healing of the soldiers son
3. Jn 5:1-9 The Healing of the man at Bethzada
4. Jn 9:1-7 The healing of the Blind Man
5. Jn 11:33-44 The Resurrection of Lazarus

The word “SIGN” is seen as something to confirm the identity of Jesus.

In the Synoptic Gospels we read one journey to Jerusalem. The Chronology of Mt, and Lk follow Mark with only one Passover. In the Gospel of John there are multiple (3) Passover celebrations in John, hence the passage of 3 years in this Gospel.

1. Jn 2:13 The Purification of the Temple (Jerusalem)
2. Jn 5:1 The Festival of the Jews – (Jerusalem visit a second time)
3. Jn 6:4 A Passover mentioned here Jesus feeds the 5000
4. Jn 7:2-11 Jesus goes to Jerusalem once again
5. Jn 10:22-23 The Feast of the Dedication (In the Temple in Jerusalem)
6. Jn 11:55 Passover once again
7. Jn 12:1-12 Jesus is going to come to Jerusalem

There is a passage of years with the Gospel of John, he (the writer) has access to other materials. I will explain more of this idea further down the lecture. There are tensions and problems with the Gospel of John, certain chronology and textual problems with the placement of certain writings.

The Gospel of John was written or also Redacted in Stages:

Stage 1 – Pre-Johannine traditions (Independent traditions) from the Synoptics (A record of sayings or deeds)
Stage 2 – The Kernel of the Johannine Traditoins basically is/or represents the expansion of Stage 1. They added Johannine Theology also from people who were preaching the message of the Gospel.
Stage 3 – The actual redaction of the Gospel – The Writing of the Gospel
Stage 4 – A Second Edition of the Gospel appears
Stage 5 – We have the Final Edition of the Gospel With the addition of Chapter 21

From a source perspective, The Gospel of John was not written on a one shot process. The Prologue (John Chapter 1) is the Interpretive key to John. It speaks of the community of the Beloved Disciple.

We have three persons associated with the conception and production of the Gospel of John.
1. The Author – is not necessarily the writer. (21:24) from whom received the tradition, the message giver.
2. The Evangelist – The writer who composes the work elements of the tradition – recording of the author and put tradition into narrative form and adds the Theological flair.
3. The Redactor – Is the one who completed the editing of the work of the Evangelist. There may be more than one redactor.

Raymond Brown writes about the writer of the Gospel of John and the Beloved Disciple, they may be the same person, and they may be not the same person. But the BD – The Beloved Disciple is mentioned in serveral places in the Gospel.

John 13: 23 -One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
John 19: 26-27 – When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

There is also an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Johannine Pentecost:

John 20: 22-23 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 19: 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

In the Greek, Jesus Gives forth his Spirit. The Gospel of John was written for insiders of the secret.

John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Everything happens at the Cross. There at the foot of the cross is several people.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Specifically, The mother figure (Mary) and the Beloved Disciple the representative of the Johannine Community. In the piercing of Jesus’s side and the flow of water, we have the symbol of the water and the symbol of the spirit flowing (John 7, John 20:20-23) The Cross is where Jesus dies and returns to the Father. When it is written that “The son of man will be lifted up” ( ON the Cross) it is there that we see the Christology of the Son of Man. (Daniel 7)

There are Two Christologies in the Gospel of John:

1. The Christology of the Son of Man
2. The Christology of the Son of God

One should always read scripture with an eye for truth and skepticism. In reading the Gospel of John there are mis-connects and misunderstandings within the text. Chapters were written, and added to later to conform to the changing communities whom read this Gospel. There will be much more in next weeks continued lecture on the Gospel of John.


Episcopalians to seek repeal of ban on gay, lesbian bishops

BANGOR, Maine — The man Maine Episcopalians chose a year ago as their bishop presided Friday over the 189th convention of the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop Stephen Lane, 59, told the more 300 lay and clergy delegates attending the annual convention at the Bangor Civic Center that he was looking forward to “many long years in ministry with you.”

He also stressed the importance of the church’s annual gathering.

“It is here that we consider together the mission of God and our ministries as followers of Jesus Christ,” he said in his first convention address Friday afternoon. “It is here we adopt a budget for our life together. It is here that we worship God together. This is an occasion to be celebrated and savored.”

One of the things the convention did was to call for the national church to change its stance on the election of gay and lesbian clergy as bishops. By a show of hands, the delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for the Episcopal Church at its General Convention next summer to repeal a resolution, known as B033, that was passed two years ago. The original document called upon the national body to restrain from approving the election of gay and lesbian bishops.

Bishops are elected by delegates to diocesan conventions but the national body must “consent” to those elections. Supporters of the repeal who attended the 2006 General Convention told the Maine convention Friday that B033 was passed at the eleventh hour under pressure from the retiring Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the newly elected bishop, the Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori.

Jefforts Schori expressed concern that she and other American bishops would not be allowed to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a meeting of bishops from around the world held every 10 years. It was held in Canterbury, England, in July and August amid anxiety over a possible schism.

Concern over whether the denomination would split began five years ago when the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. American bishops consented to his election.

The Anglican Communion, headed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, demanded an apology from the Episcopal Church and a moratorium on the election of gay and lesbian bishops. Several dozen congregations and a few dioceses have left the Episcopal Church over the issue.

Peter Bickford of Christ Episcopal Church in Norway told the convention Friday that he had voted for B033 but had done so reluctantly. He urged delegates to pass the proposed resolution to repeal it because it was in conflict with Canon Law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“After prayerful consideration, I believe we need to pass this,” said Geoffrey Schuller of Mount Desert, who worships at Saint Saviour in Bar Harbor. “This is our position [concerning the election of gay and lesbian bishops] and we need to come to terms with it. We need to consider the feelings of the Anglican Church, but we need to take a stand.”

The Rev. Barbara Clarke, who recently retired after serving St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Brewer, urged the convention to pass the resolution. A lesbian who has been in a committed relationship for many years, Clarke called B033 a “de facto denial of access” for gay and lesbian clergy to the possibility of being elected bishops.

Lane did not vote on the issue but Robinson participated in his consecration service earlier this year.

“My greatest joy, as your new bishop, has been meeting the people of the Diocese of Maine,” Lane said. “Everywhere I go, I’m impressed by the energy and the commitment of our congregations. Most have a solid worshiping community and are engaged in serious ministry to the larger congregations.

“And yet everywhere I go, I encounter concerns about aging congregations and shrinking budgets,” he continued. “Parish leaders are concerned about burnout and succession planning. I’ve been asked if I intend to close congregations or merge them. People are very concerned about the future of their churches. And so am I. It seems to me that we need an alternative to simply letting the economy have its way with us.”

Lane said that he did not intend to close churches, but pointed out that the diocese has many small congregations. The diocese has 66 parishes that are served by 29 full-time clergy. Nearly, 40 percent — a total of 26 congregations — need diocesan grants to stay afloat.

The bishop said that he wanted the diocese and congregations to engage in priority setting and strategic planning over the next year two years. He also announced a committee to study how the convention is planned, where it is held, and whether the work can be completed in one day instead of two.

The convention is scheduled to conclude today.


Bishop of Ottawa Proposes Blessing Of Same-Gender Civil Mariages

Found on: Walking with Intergrity

Below is the relevant portion of Bishop Chapman’s charge to his diocesan synod on Thursday…

“Synod 2007 adopted a motion ‘requesting the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that he authorize an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.’

“For a year now I have reflected on how I should respond to the mind of Synod. I have prayed for God’s guidance, sought the counsel of fellow bishops, and listened carefully to all who have spoken from various perspectives. In forming my response to this motion I have been strengthened in my conviction that God remains faithful in guiding His Church to the truth, that our chief call on this matter is a pastoral one, and that we are challenged to proclaim a prophetic voice to the Church and to the world.

“When we gather at Synod, we pray that our church will be guided by the Spirit of God. I believe God is faithful to us in this and as we discern how to proceed, the decisions we make, informed and shaped by healthy debate and conversation, are the result of the leading of that same Spirit for which we have prayed.

“With the benefit of scientific and medical knowledge we know sexual orientation is a given and a gift from God in the lives of all people. Our challenge is to determine how all persons may rejoice in and celebrate this God given gift so it honours our creator and gives dignity to the creatures of God. I believe our dealing with the issues of human sexuality is fundamentally a pastoral matter. How is God calling us to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to those whose sexual givenness has resulted in their marginalization and has often made them victims in their communities, families and churches?

“I am mindful that we do not normally act in isolation. The question of blessing same-sex civil marriages is before our sister and brother Christians in many Dioceses and Provinces of the Church. My observation of how various parts of the church deal with the question leads me to believe that we will not go forward at the same pace nor with uniformity. At the Lambeth Conference this summer the Bishops of the communion articulated a strong desire that we remain together as a communion. Equally strong were convictions held on all sides of human sexuality issues.

Moratoria emerging from Lyambeth, while reflecting a majority view, hold neither the command of consensus nor the proscriptive authority of legislation. In other words, it appears that a majority of Bishops desire a moratorium but a legislation or decision has yet to be taken. As well, majority support for a moratorium was not evident among the Bishops from Canada, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Scotland, Ireland and the Congo to name just a few provinces.

At this juncture I believe some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, challenging long held assumptions, unseating prejudices, and advocating on behalf of those whose circumstances to not permit them to advocate for themselves. Others are being called to speak with a voice of caution calling the Church to evaluate and test all positions with the longstanding three-fold reliance on tradition, reason, and scripture.

While the prophetic voice and the voice of caution may not find a common place within the Chruch from which to speak they can both be embraced within the breadth of the body of Christ. For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Ottawa, are among those who have been called by God to speak with the voice of a prophet. Synod 2007 reflects this communal desire. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the Church. It is our voice that is calling to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing.

“It is my intention to place before the Canadian House of Bishops, next week, my prayerful hope regarding the issue of ‘blessings’. It is important that I honour the collegiality of the Canadian House; we are, after all, an episcopally led and synodically governed church. It is my intention at this meeting to discuss my hope which includes my desire to make the following statement: ‘That we, in Ottawa, begin to explore experientially, the blessing of duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; to charge the Doctrine and Worship Committee with the responsibility to develop an appropriate rite for this blessing. Upon the authorization of a rite, I will give my permission for one parish within the Diocese to offer the blessing of civil marriages between same-sex couples. Discernment continues!’

This hope is not and must not be understood as a conclusive statement affirming that the church must and ought to proceed with the blessings of same-sex civilly married couples. As the church was not able to come to a clear mind regarding the benefits of the ordination of women to the priesthood until the church experienced the priestly ministry of women, so must we take the process of discernment to a place beyond discussion. We have talked about this issue since I was a seminary student in the mid-seventies. In order to further the discernment process, we must ‘experience’ the issue as church before clarity of heart and mind might be attained.

For this reason, I hope to proceed, but slowly and cautiously. This would be an initial step from which we can observe and learn. If we are to interpret our scriptures using prayerful reason in interpretation and application as generations before us, most especially on matters that reflect a historical context and appear inconsistent with a scriptural mandate, e.g., divorce, slavery, usury or the role of women, then, we must encourage discernment fully and completely.

What I propose will allow for a continuation of our discernment process without obligation or a non-negotiable commitment. Our process will allow ourselves to be better informed as we go forward to General Synod 2010 where this issue will be discussed again.

“Within one month following the completion of the House of Bishops’ meeting next week, I will make a conclusive statement to the Diocese regarding next steps.”


A Cell Phone Call Before Breakfast (repost)

Fr. Geoff Farrow – with Rev Susan… Read His Blog Here…

There are little blessing, THEN there are really ‘BIG’ blessings… Bishop Robinson is a Big Blessing.

On Wednesday morning, as I was driving to the Woman’s Empowerment Conference in Long Beach, California; my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the telephone number which was displayed but, that’s not all that unusual for me these days. So, I answered the phone and to my surprise, it was Bishop Gene Robinson.

.

Bishop Robinson for those of you who may be unfamiliar with his story, enjoys the singular distinction of being the first openly gay man to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Not unlike the story of the first violinist at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra who took ill and the post was given to a guest violinist. The guest violinist was apprehensive about her new responsibility. Turning to the second violinist she asked, “When do I start playing?” The second violinist answered reassuringly, “Don’t worry, just don’t be the first.”

.

Being first, is always disconcerting, if not outright frightening, because there is no precedent. You are breaking new ground; you are breaking the established norms and rules. Many people will take exception to what you’ve done, and will throw everything at you to discredit you. They will vilify you and make an example of you to serve as a warning to others. If you manage to pull it off, to break through, to open a new door; you will be a trail blazer, a pioneer, and a visionary.

.

Bishop Gene took all of those risks. His family and his partner stood with him in the sanctuary on the day of his consecration. They heard the hurtful, hateful things said by some during his consecration liturgy. Bishop Gene opened a brave new door for gay and lesbian people that day. He continues to weather attacks and insults from members of his world wide communion. With the sustaining love of his family and his partner he continues to serve both God, the Church and humanity in the face of bigotry, opposition and hatred. Through his courage, fifty years from now, others will not have to suffer what he has suffered. The Church will have healed and grown because of Bishop Gene’s self-sacrifice. Bishop Gene is a hero for me and a living testament of the human spirit’s strength to overcome fear, and the hatred it generates, through the power of love.

.

My wristwatch informed me that it was a long conversation with Gene Robinson; but to me, it brief . We spoke of the difficulties facing both the world-wide Anglican communion and the Roman Catholic Church. Both faiths, are international in character and both have the majority of their membership residing in the Third World. While these Third World societies are culturally vibrant, they suffer economic poverty. Sub-Saharan Africa has been socially and economically devastated by the AIDS epidemic. Inter-tribal wars have claimed countless lives and economic colonialism has kept many of these newly created nations impoverished. In addition, these societies tend to lack basic social infrastructures such as adequate health care, social services, and education. As a result of their exploitation, they are suspicious of any new social insights introduced by foreign sources.

.

When fighting to survive, innovation is a gamble you cannot afford to lose. The fruit of this colonial legacy is that the indigenous bishops are resistant to any new ideas that come from these former colonial powers, which have a history of subjugating them.  It is the Anglican bishops of these nations that have so vociferously protested Bishop Gene’s consecration. The “idea” of an openly gay bishop with a partner is unacceptable because it adds another stress to a society that already finds itself at the breaking point. Of course, these same bishops take exception to women being ordained as deacons and priests (let alone consecrated bishops) for the very same reason.

.

This presents a moral quandary for the universal Church. Which course do you take?  Do you risk losing members from more developed societies, or from developing societies? Do you ask for continued, perhaps lifetime, sacrifices from some to calm the fears and apprehensions of others? What is just, what is sensible, what is the best way to proceed?

.

What does begin to emerge from all of these questions is that the argument against both the ordination of women and the acceptance of those with same sex orientation is far more sociological than theological in its nature. Perhaps, this why the late Pope John Paul II forbade the subject of the ordination of women from being discussed in universities. While such repression may temporarily delay discussion and debate, it does not resolve the underlying issues and simply contributes to a future cataclysmic confrontation and possible schism.

.

All of this took place on a cell phone conversation on a drive to an event before breakfast with a most extraordinary person who is a personal hero and inspiration to me: Bishop Gene Robinson.


Wordle

Get your own Wordle – word cloud HERE…


I may need to buy a flashlight

Randall and his family have arrived and are settling in to their new home, Here is the entry from tonight:
You can visit Randall’s Blog Here!

We arrived home tonight after supper with friends and an important shopping hour at Safeway in the big city. I was surprised at how warm it was, +10C out there tonight.

When we got home, I headed off into the darkness, to explore two flickering lights I saw the previous night in the cemetery. Unbelievable quiet, darkness, nothingness. I stood there soaking it up and it was renewing my spirit, or maybe better said, in the silence there was room for Him to renew my spirit. Either way, it was deep and true and good. I think this is going to be a good thing for us, and I am excited about it.

The cemetery lights turned out to be a clear red plastic rose that glowed with some internal light, and the other was a solar light someone else had placed near their loved ones grave.

The house continues to take shape and Lauralea is working hard at it. Occasionally someone will stop by the front door and say hi, which is nice. And today at two stores we met two different families from the church who knew us and introduced themselves to us. Also nice.

We have discovered that there are two phone lines on our house phone system. One is the church line and the other is the house line, so we need to learn when to answer which line. We are learning.

Everything out here seems designed to help us slow down. Something as simple as a 20 minute drive home from town forces us to slow down a bit. Thinking what to do with the garbage, or thinking through a need for light bulbs when you don’t live hear a store. The quiet. The walk to get the mail at the road. Its all forcing us to chill a bit, and maybe, just maybe, our souls will finally catch up to us.

But I do need a flashlight. It gets awful dark out here in the evening.


Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings

Similar request declared out of order at Ontario synod
Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Oct 22, 2008

The assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) has requested its bishop, Gordon Light, to allow clergy whose conscience permits to bless civilly-married gay couples where at least one party is baptized. The assembly passed the motion when it met Oct. 17 to 19.

A notice of a similar motion was filed at the synod of the diocese of Ontario but was declared out of order by the diocesan bishop, George Bruce, who acted on the advice of the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor). The ruling was appealed at the synod held Oct. 16 to 18 but was upheld by a majority vote of delegates.

At the APCI assembly, Bishop Light gave concurrence to the motion but suspended any action pending consultations with the Canadian house of bishops, which meets Oct. 27 to 31 to discuss, among others, how best to respond to renewed proposals for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions.

Since the 2007 General Synod four dioceses have already passed similar motions – Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, and Huron. The diocesan synod of New Westminster approved same-sex blessings in 2002.

Of the 50 clergy and lay delegates at the APCI assembly, 36 voted yes (72 per cent), 10 voted no (20 per cent), and four (8 per cent) abstained. APCI is composed of 18 parishes (including 35 congregations) which was constituted after the former diocese of Cariboo closed its diocesan office in 2001 because of financial pressures surrounding lawsuits about abuse at the St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C.

“We had a very respectful discussion. All voices were heard,” said Rev. Susan Hermanson, rector of St. Peter’s Anglican church in Williams Lake, who moved the motion. She said that approval of the motion “allows us to accept gays and lesbians fully as part of our family and, as in all families, we can disagree with one another and still be part of the family.”

In a telephone interview, she added that the motion was also meant to “take a reading” of where APCI was on the issue. She noted that in 2000, the diocesan synod of Cariboo had approved  a motion affirming the full inclusion of gay and lesbian couples in the life of the church.  Since then, parishes have been discussing and studying the issue further, she said. “We have, in fact, been discussing this issue for the last 30 years now,” she said.

In her written background and explanation, Ms. Hermanson noted that APCI “is a diverse community and therefore respects and honours those who, because of their theological position or as a matter of conscience, cannot agree with the blessing of same-sex unions.”

Anglicans opposed to same-sex blessings believe that homosexuality is contrary to scripture and to Anglican teaching. To date, 14 of about 2,800 congregations have left the Canadian Anglican church over theological disagreements over homosexuality. These churches have joined a group called the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and placed themselves under the episcopal oversight of the primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Meanwhile, Bishop Bruce said he referred the notice of motion to approve same-sex blessings to the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor) to determine “whether what it sought was within the authority of both synod and myself as bishop.”

In his charge to the synod, Bishop Bruce said that the chancellor had advised him that the motion is ultra vires (beyond the power) of both him and the synod. “Firstly, because at its inception, matters relating to doctrine were ceded by dioceses to the General Synod and secondly, as you heard, General Synod 2007 clearly affirmed that blessing same-sex unions was a matter of doctrine,” he said. “Therefore, until such time as the General Synod addresses the question of whether the theology of marriage can be extended to all legally qualified persons and decides for or against amending Canon XXI (the national church canon on marriage), the request made in this motion remains within the authority of General Synod.”

At its triennial meeting in June 2007, General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing body, agreed that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with core church doctrine, but declined by a slim margin to affirm the authority of dioceses to offer them.

Nathan Brinklow, who filed the motion and is a parishioner of St. Thomas’, Belleville, Ont., said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the synod’s decision. “I am a little concerned that bishop so obviously ignored the precendent set by several other dioceses when we’re all interpreting the same Constitution and canons,” he said. “There is a growing level of frustration amongst many that we’ve run out of ways to put this decision off.  We either need to move forward and practice what we preach or we need to own up to the way things really are and stop pretending we’re something we’re not. “

While the motion was declared out of order, the synod of Ontario engaged in indaba group discussions designed “to help us discern God’s will around same-sex matters,” said Bishop Bruce. (Indaba, which is Zulu for “a gathering for purposeful discussion,”was a process used at the recent Lambeth Conference of bishops.)

In a related development, the diocesan bishop of Brandon, Jim Njegovan, addressed the issue of cross-border interventions in his charge to the diocesan synod held Oct. 16 to 18.

“Sadly, our diocese, even though we as a synod have not even begun to address permitting parishes to bless same-sex couples, has been one of those parts of the communion affected by cross-provincial intervention and it is all the more painful because it has been done by those who many of us considered friends and colleagues,” said Bishop Njegovan.

St. Bede’s, a small rural congregation of the South Parkland parish in the diocese of Brandon, voted to leave Oct. 15.

Bishop Njegovan noted that his predecessor, Malcolm Harding, had relinquished his order of ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, “meaning that for all intents and purposes he was ‘laicized;’ that is, he could no longer exercise any ordained ministerial function within the church and could not use ministerial titles or wear clerical vesture.” He said that following ancient practice and polity of the church, this would apply not only to ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada “but also within all churches in full communion with us, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and all the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Njegovan said that his predecessor, now recognized as a bishop by Archbishop Venables, has been meeting in various communities in the diocese “with the intent of planting ‘ network’ (ANiC) churches.” He cautioned parishioners against believing what they have been told “that they would still be Anglicans recognized by the communion” once they leave the Canadian Anglican church and fall under the jurisdiction of another province like the Southern Cone.

He said that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stated in a letter to him that his office and that of the Anglican Communion only recognizes “one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitute part of the communion, that being the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Bishop Njegovan said that while the Southern Cone is a recognized part of the communion and Archbishop Venables was invited and present at the Lambeth Conference of bishops “those claiming to be under his jurisdiction in Canada were not and are not so recognized.”

In his strongly-worded charge, Bishop Njegovan added, “It could be argued that the promotion of schism within the church has always been considered an even greater heresy in that it flies directly in the face of the scriptural call to unity…”


This episode is brought to you by the Number 3…

1 – 2 – 3 … 1 – 2 – 3 … 1 – 2 – 3 …

1. We Were Powerless
2. We Came to Believe
3. We Made a Decision

Every month for the last seven years we have talked about 1 – 2 – 3 …

Turn it over. Stay in your day. Let Go and Let God…
It really gets easier the longer you stay sober and work your steps…

1. I CAN’T — 2. HE CAN — 3. SO I WILL LET HIM…


This and That …

Luke 12:35-40
Watchfulness

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

This was the Gospel reading from today’s service. And we were asked a question. If we were to die today, would we be ready to meet the Lord? Would YOU be ready? Would I be ready???

It is a dark, dreary, rainy, miserable day in the thousand acre wood. The leaves are falling from the trees in a furious fashion. It is cold. They say it might snow in the next couple of days. I an hesitant at putting the plastic on the widows just yet because once I do, they are sealed until at least May… But last night we fired up the heat and the humidifier. Winter is not far off now… It’s all downhill from here on out.

Today I went to the cathedral for mass because of something I read from Rolheiser’s text:
I am reprinting a portion of that text from earlier in the week:

But there is something that we can do. We can touch the hem of Christ’s garment. We can celebrate the Eucharist. In it we are inexplicably given peace and strength because in that ritual God holds us to his heart.

The scriptural story [Mark 5:24-34] of the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment provides a paradigm for this. That woman, we are told, had been suffering from internal bleeding for many years. During those years she had tried everything within her power to come to healing. Nothing had worked. All her efforts had served only to worsen her state and leave her fatigued and discouraged. Finally, with her own resources spent and all that was humanly in view exhausted, she decided she would sneak up and touch Christ. As she touched him she felt a power flow into her. She became whole.

Something beyond herself, something from beyond ordinary possibility, now flowed where formerly she hemorrhaged. Her explicit confrontation with Christ would come later.

The Eucharist is meant to function like that. In it we touch the hem of Christ’s garment and are held to his heart. What happens there is something beyond words and understanding, though not beyond love.

Like love, the Eucharist does not need to be understood or explained, it needs only to be touched. In the Eucharist, as in love, the main thing is that we are held.

That is why are we have spent all our words we should celebrate the Eucharist. When our own words, decisions and actions are inadequate to relieve the aching in our hearts we need the embrace of the mother, God. This happens in the Eucharist.

It is a timeless ritual, an embrace. Like love, it is something that we can never fully understand or explain. But we need to understand it. We can let the ritual do its work. Ultimately we go to the Eucharist to let ourselves be held.

We live constantly at the limits of our own capacities, where our words fail us, where our resources are not enough and we feel acutely our dullness, our failure, our moral impotence, our bitterness and our distance from God and others.

We are constantly helpless, helpless to heal and helpless to celebrate. In that fatigue and tension we need to abandon ourselves to the embrace, the Eucharist.

It is not important to understand all that transpires there, nor even that we should go to the Eucharist fully alert and enthusiastic – I doubt whether the apostles were that at the Last Supper. It is only important that we enter the ritual. In it God holds us to her heart.

The Eucharist is an Embrace. Pgs. 175-177, Ron Rolheiser, Forgotten among the lilies…

We need to keep ADAM in our prayers. He is having a rough time and is in the Hospital for a few more days. Follow the link and go to his blog and offer him your support.

The good preacher Randall is on the move from Saskatchewan to Alberta to his new posting at the little church in the field. Here are a couple of shots of his new digs:

We pray for a safe journey and a blessed arrival in their new location.

Almost time to go for coffee with my Tuesday crew and my home group meeting tonight.

Until later… Stay tuned

TTFN…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers