jeudi, juillet 23, 2009

The Dillinger phenomenon

The BBC had a report a few mornings ago about why American's romanticize the life and death of bank robber John Dillinger. The anchor mentioned that in our culture we have a yen for "gentleman" robbers and Robin Hood, steal from the rich, give to the poor types. We also like outlaws.

I didn't know the gangster (oh sorry, public benefactor) had been so selfless. I think I better read up on him.

Anyone draw the dots between our love of elegant gangsters and our worship of the Second Amendment? Both are lethal.

Oddly enough, at the break, the local news reported on a story out of our neighboring Garden State.

Guess what? A whole bunch of folks were indicted for gun running between states which make it dead easy for criminals to get them and states, like New Jersey, trying to keep them out of cities like Newark, where kids and cops are killed.

So....we get our white outlaws, like Dillinger. And the poor blacks, Hispanics and other minorities who live in the inner city, poor white folks in the rural areas, not to mention women fleeing violent boyfriends or fiancees get to walk their streets looking over their shoulder for the flying bullets that signal our modern day Dillingers.

Beloved outlaws.

Second Amendment heros.

mercredi, juillet 22, 2009

But 58 Senators thought this was a good idea?

Article and a few thoughts

I don't think you go into either of my professions without a bit of an exhibitionistic streak -- or a liking for the public eye. I also realize that I long ago surrendered anonymity -- and that my kids have too, to some extent. Fortunately or not, I'm not notorious enough that this is a real problem at this point.

I still get butterflies in my stomach, though, when I open emails from commenters. Praise is always nice, but I'm not just writing to get responses from those who agree with what I say.

Will they attack me personally... or respond to the points I made? Sometimes I hear from those , who as my WaPo friend David says, have spent too much time in their mother's basement. Those guys, while nasty, are easier to forget. It's the ones who see things differently and pose their points politely who get me to think.

All in all, I'm grateful for my commenters on this and other websites -- happy that they care enough to take the time to write.


Posted on Wed, Jul. 22, 2009
A church divided by belief
Pledges of unity are ringing false as Episcopalians in America drift away.
By Elizabeth
There was lots of talk at the recently concluded triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church about community and "seeing oneself in the other." The results, however, were in the classic "go it alone" tradition of the American frontier.
Church leaders chose ubuntu, an African word for unity, as their theme. But tensions within the worldwide Anglican Communion are not resolved so easily.
Several African archbishops have severed ties with the American church over issues of sexuality, and more may follow. In the United States, many conservatives have defected. Some have formed a theologically conservative group called the Anglican Church in North America, which does not allow women bishops or sexually active gay clergy.
Resoundingly rejecting calls for restraint by global church leaders - including Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury - American church leaders voted to end a moratorium on consecrating openly gay bishops. (The church allowed the consecration of its first such bishop in 2003.) The General Convention also authorized a commission to develop rites for blessing same-sex couples.
The move to further liberalize the American church seemed strangely defiant, especially amid membership and budgetary troubles. It may now be more difficult for President Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori to defend her opposition to the Anglican Church in North America's bid for full-fledged membership in the Anglican Communion.
Yet, in many ways, the decisions made at the convention were classically American, reflecting both Episcopal history and an ecclesiastical culture favoring majority rule. Since its formation on the heels of the American Revolution, the denomination has mirrored both the country's profoundly individualistic spirit and its efforts to subsume multiple beliefs into a coherent whole.
The Episcopal Church has often been called "small but influential," comprising the cultural elite at prayer. Now the denomination of so many senators and presidents is again attempting to set the cultural course for mainstream Protestantism under the flag of inclusiveness
But what does inclusiveness look like in a denomination of two million that has already lost most of its dissenters?
In many ways, the church is still a very clubby establishment, nurtured as much by collegiality and politesse as it is by shared vision. "We have a commitment to hang in there with one another, though we have disagreements," Gene Robinson, the church's first openly gay bishop, told the New York Times. "The ones that did not have that commitment are gone."
How will the rest of the communion respond to this declaration of independence? Not well, if the reaction of the English bishop and theologian N.T. Wright is any indication. Wright accused the American church of breaking with the communion and offered a strong rebuke of the the notion of "rights" within the church. "Nobody has a right to be ordained," he said. "It is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace."
Both the Episcopal Church's money and Anglican polity may make it unlikely, but by no means impossible, for the communion to seriously discipline the American church. But the decisions made at the General Convention will continue to reverberate beyond American shores, threatening ubuntu for perhaps decades to come.

Elizabeth is an Episcopal priest and freelance writer.

lundi, juillet 20, 2009

Love hurts.

Well, that's one way of looking at it.

My mother was ill a long time.

When at home, I'd sit with her in the library of my parents house. Sometimes, she'd curl up and sleep on the library couch for an hour or two. Watching her, I knew myself helpless, mastered by love that I knew would bring heartbreak as well as joy.

Because I knew that, although her mother had lived to be almost ninety, a happy old age wasn't possible for mom. Because she'd never see her grandchildren. Because we're not supposed to lose the person about whom we care more than anyone else -- or why bother to love at all?

And yet I, like so many of you, would not have chosen any other way. In the turmoil of our feelings, we know ourselves to be blessed by a bond so profound that nothing can alter it.

But for a while after mom died, I wouldn't let myself feel that deeply -- let anybody get that close. Until my kids were born. And now love has wrapped its velvet cords around my soul once more -- a love I confess I don't always feel for God.

Yes, love can hurt, but it also can heal. So maybe He can use it. And maybe, as the kids get older, and as I face the encroaching twinges that herald future ailments (as we all do), He can teach me to let them become the people He wants them to be -- and allow myself to believe fully that nothing, nowhere, is truly lost.