samedi, juin 24, 2006

New Links

I am html-challenged. It's not even that I have a hard time writing code...I just have a hard time copying code! I had meant to link to a couple of other blogs for a while, but simply didn't have the time to feel stupid and humiliated, since I like to think of myself as a relatively competent person. That being said, l hope to add more links in the future, and I should state my philosophy about links. My philosophy? I'd like to present as broad a spectrum of intelligent and informed thought as possible. I've had Barbara's Crafton's website on my blog since the beginning. She's a wonderful writer, gardener, and Episcopal priest, and I'm proud to call her a friend. Chaplain +Catherine, author of Come to the Table, is also a gardener and a pastor-a strong voice for the compassionate liberal point of view from the West Coast. And Dr. Ben Myer's Faith-Theology blog (Dr. Myer's writes from Brisbane, Australia) is simply one of the best theological blogs I've found. I hope, in the future, to add links to a couple of conservative blogs, like the award-winning Pontifications, written by a former Anglican priest, and a contemporary Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Martin Fox. As a single mom with a job, I don't have the time I'd like to cruise lots of blogs looking for controversy, scholarship and faith, but I'll try to link to more as I find 'em. Although I wish I'd written a lot of the copy on a couple of these blogs, they don't always represent my opinion. As you can often tell.

vendredi, juin 23, 2006

A whimper? Nah

More reflections on the just ended General Convention of the Episcopal Church- As usual, the pooh-bahs of the Episcopal Church (what's up with the name change? do we see lawsuits ahead?) have argued and prayed and talked, and the result is...nobody got exactly what they wanted. Some of us expected that the GC would end with a great American gesture of defiance towards the Anglican Communion and of solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. But the decision to recommend restrain or "refraint" (a neologism) in seeking to ask for approval of the consecration of any more gay bishops (for the time being) apparently has pleased nobody. Liberals think that the Convention caved into pressure and tried to appease the conservatives while stepping all over gays and lesbians. Conservatives think that BO33 was both insincere (c'mon guys, be a little gracious) and not muscular enough to satisfy the recommendations of the Windsor Report. What an amazing thing it would have been if both sides had applauded the delegates willingness to compromise. Oh well. My best guess is that some delegates to the previous convention were truly shocked at the reaction Bishop Robinson's approval provoked. For the first time, they began to wrestle with what it meant to be part of a larger body. It's really too bad that some of our African brother bishops haven't paused to think about this, too. Dioceses can, of course, go ahead and elect whoever they want. For example: choosing a thrice married man to be a bishop doesn't seem like a particularly sensitive and appropriate choice. Personally, I hope that we continue to exercise "refraint" and allow the conversation, so difficult and so important, to continue.

jeudi, juin 22, 2006

Coyote Ugly?

I'm a creature of habit. I tend to run the same semi-safe, semi-suburban, always scenic route four or five times a week. Actually, it's not safe to run on the busier streets now, although bikers and joggers still do go out and slow down the teenagers in their beat up sedans. I used to do that, but I wised up...I'm old enough to just have spurts of teenager rebellion, not eruptions. One of the wonderful facets of the particular residential road by the park on which I run is the variety of wildlife. Deer lead their families across the road as though men had never invented SUVS or hunting season. Baby rabbits sit on the tarmac's verge until bikers or runners almost upon them. Only when we are within range of their huge bright eyes do they turn tail and race into the undergrowth. Birds babble and chase one another over the rooftops of the McMansions which have obtruded on this neighborhood of former farms. I had almost gotten down to the Lake yesterday when I came to a screeching halt. Just down the road from me were...what exactly were they? Then one of them came closer, and loped across my path. I'm still not sure what, or how many of these animals I saw. I honestly didn't stay too long to find out. I suspect now that they were foxes, perhaps a family of foxes. At the time, however, I wondered if I had happened upon the infamous coyotes...reclusive scavengers enthused by dead animals and eager to hold a cannibal's wake at the scene of the slaughter. On the way back up the hill, I waved down a man in a white car with lights on the top and a "Chief" license plate. Fortuitously (duh, Elizabeth), he turned out to be our local fire chief. When I mentioned the word coyote, he really got excited. "The Game Commission tells us we are crazy to say we have them around here," he told me, and took off back down the hill to see whether he could lay eyes upon them for himself. Within five minutes, he was back, reporting no coyote (or fox) sightings. I chatted with him for a while, and found out that some of the locals think that the Game Commission has introduced coyote into the park to control the animal population, and isn't telling the folks who are convinced that indeed they have seen coyotes! As I become more of a "local" I am more and more fascinated by the "intrigue" that goes on just beneath the tranquil surface of this apparently sleepy village. We have Republicans divided against one another. We have Democratic rabblerousers monitoring truth, lies and newspaper stories. Now conspiracy theories even extend to the presence, absence, alleged presence or alleged absence of wildlife. I had no idea small town life could be this exciting and interesting.

mercredi, juin 21, 2006

How low can they go?

June 21, 2006
Razzle-Dazzle 'Em Ethics Reform
The House ethics committee, ever wondrous in its irresponsibility, is preparing to set itself up as the arbiter of one-stop, conscience-free junket approval for gadabout lawmakers. Last winter, as the stain of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal spread, Speaker Dennis Hastert impulsively — and properly — called for a total ban on junkets financed by private favor seekers. But lawmakers, globe-trotting at the giddy rate of $10 million a year in free private excursions, rebelled. They killed the ban outright and substituted cosmetic panaceas for their promised ethics reform.
The end product would have the ethics committee — long a still-life study in Capitol dysfunction — snap into action to prejudge junketeering requests. This should be great for the lawmakers, who will be able to wave rubber-stamped in-House visas when faced with constituents' questions about how come their tours of global trouble spots so often hit Paris.
The ethics committee would, at least, have a great deal of expertise in its new duties. It turns out the 10 committee members and their aides have enjoyed 400 privately financed trips worth $1 million in a recent five-year stretch, according to a new accounting by the independent Center for Public Integrity. Leading the beneficiaries with 80 trips worth $245,000 was Representative Howard Berman, a California Democrat, a member of the International Relations Committee and one of the principals in giving a bipartisan patina to this latest evasion.
Clearly, lawmakers are gambling that the scandals nipping at their heels will pale by Election Day. Not so: as the new House rules were being cobbled together, David Safavian, a former White House aide, was found guilty of lying about his ties to Jack Abramoff. No less significant, Mr. Abramoff has reportedly received three additional months' grace before going to prison so that he can cooperate more fully with criminal prosecutors looking into the ethical misbehavior that finds Congress in deep denial. New York Times Wednesday, June 21
The almost incredible misbehaviour of this Congress isn't just an indictment of's one for us Americans, too. When Senator Arlen Specter looks like a profile in courage for questioning the President's irregular and probably illegal eavesdropping program, and only a few voices in Congress dare to call for investigations into "fact-finding" trips to places like St. Andrews, Scotland, we all need to crawl on our knees to a local cathedral and ask for forgiveness. Then we need to give some of these sorry lawmakers the boot. Although I don't have a lot of trust in the corporate intelligence of the US public, I'd be thrilled to be re-inspired. Remember-we get the government we deserve. In November we'll see if we are willing to be perpetually abused, or if we have the sense of self-esteem to do a little better, next time.

mardi, juin 20, 2006

The end of denominationalism?

I have had occasion recently to engage in a bit of dialogue with a Roman Catholic priest who has his own blog ( Fr. Martin is pastor to two parishes in Piqua, Ohio, and has a varied interesting background and point of view. As you know, the conventional wisdom in the Catholic church is that Anglican orders are not valid. Naturally, this outrages and offends many Anglicans, who claim apostolicity (there aren't many things on which we take a stand, but that is one of them) When I asked Fr. Martin why this was so, he referred me to Pope Leo (the fourteenth?) who apparently determined that something defective happened in the sixteenth century Rerformation to make our orders invalid. You scholars probably can tell me what it was. It seems rather strange to me that some of my brothers (fewer sisters) have this nostalgic longing to be accepted as "real" priests by the Roman Catholic church. Is there a more romantic and hopeless cause? As far as many Roman Catholic priests and laypeople are concerned, Protestants are just one large schismatic body. While we know we are not, and that we share, in various degrees a common doctrine and faith, it is still chastening to realize that others view us so differently. We cling to our distinctions as though they were a mark of honor, when they could be a mark of shame. I suspect that God looks at us and grieves for the various ways we separate ourselves from one another. If Catholics who feel alienated from the faith worship in my nominally Lutheran congregation, and if conservative Episcopalians go over to Rome or join a Vineyard fellowship, is that such a bad thing? I don't think so. It is more important that they have a sense of spiritual integrity than staying in a denomination which no longer feels like home. If denominationalism is beginning to fade in post millenial America, we may want to rejoice in its ebbing.

lundi, juin 19, 2006

One small step for General Convention, one huge one for the Anglican Communion

I've been trying to sort out how I feel about the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as the new Presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church. On a purely canonical level, this is no big deal. After all, the Episcopal Church has been ordaining woman (regularly) as priests for 30 years. Jefferts Schori's rise in the ranks has been quick, but that doesn't mean she is a bad choice for Presiding Bishop. The other side of the coin is that her election, at this juncture, feels like a huge poke in the eye to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Jefferts Schori is not only a woman, but she is a liberal icon in a denomination which, at the moment, seems to have more liberal icons than it needs. There were more moderate male candidates: the fact that Jefferts Schori was elected says something very important about the theological, social and ecclesiastical predilections of the majority of the delegates (although the vote to elect was 95-93, a close vote). It appears unlikely that the Episcopal Church will adopt a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops, or express repentance for its action in approving Gene Robinson's consecration, or hold back from endorsing same-sex blessings. There is, in these contentious times, a real virtue in restraint, and it is one not practiced by those who see only the justice of their own cause. I am afraid, that , for moderates like me, the time is coming when I shall be forced to choose whether I am a member of the 77 million member Anglican Communion, or the 2.3 (and shrinking) million Episcopal Church. As an ordained woman, I dread having to make that choice. Dread it not only because of the mixed motives and self-righteousness of so many on the conservative side, but because right now I see only the rhetoric, and not the reality of reconciliation. We desperately need the canny wisdom of a Rowan Williams. Time will tell whether the bishop of Nevada is up to the job. It will also become clear, within a day or two, whether General Convention decides that the Episcopal Church is truly part of a family, or much happier on its own. After all, there is a certain clarity to separation. It may finally be that we have arrived at that point.