Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bringing back hope

While chatting at a table last weekend with folks I'd never met before, I was asked if I had a favorite among presidential hopefuls. I do, but I had to answer that my real first choice, and one I could back wholeheartedly, was Al Gore, the last man I confidently believe to have been elected President. I want to elect him again and this time see him sworn in and take office!

Across from me sat a self-avowed Republican who did not care for Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards, who among Republicans would currently go for Giuliani, but who said he would vote for Gore for President. This Republican believes Gore has the experience and integrity and is probably the best choice.

Gore has still not said a definite "no." If you would like to see Al Gore, Jr. become President of the United States (or even just wish we were among our choices), why not pop on over to and sign the petition. It will get to him. And he is listening.

Now for some inspirational Melissa Etheridge, reminding us that truth is of the people, by the people, for the people.

Online Videos by

h/t to Hoffmania who posted Melissa and writes that her "What Happens Tomorrow" should be Gore's campaign song.

Because Miss E. H. of L. showed interest

Con cariño,

From the early middle Welsh

Hail to you, glorious Lord!


May plain and hillside praise you
Outskirts of Albuquerque
13 September 2006

Celtic Christian Spirituality, page 28

Click photo above to enlarge. Sit. Look. Listen for the plains to praise the glorious Lord.
--the BB

Dear Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love

Did I, by any chance, see you cavorting with the Rosicrucians in San Jose, California? Or was it one of your cousins?

--the BB

Friday, September 28, 2007

Something elegiac for Michaelmas

I am tired and I a stranger,
Lead thou me to the land of angels;
For me it is time to go home
To the court of Christ, to the peace of heaven.

--From a prayer to the guardian angel (Celtic Christian Spirituality: An Anthology of Medieval and Modern Sources, Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie, editors)

If I were a bird

If I were a bird
and able to fly afar,
I would like to be a white dove
to guide the people to freedom.
If I were a cloud in the sky,
I would shelter and bring rains
to the rice field.
If I were a grain of sand
I would throw myself down
to make a path for the people.
I will sacrifice my life
for the suffering people.
I would sacrifice myself
no matter how many times
I would have to die.
--Nid, Thailand

[This song was written by a twenty-two-year-old student at Mahidol University who sang it at the demonstration against the return of Field Marshal Thanom. When police attacked the demonstrators, Nid was shot and killed."]

The song and comment above are taken from Gifts of Many Cultures: Worship Resources for the Global Community, edited by Maren C. Tirabassi and Kathy Wonson Eddy (Cleveland, Ohio: United Church Press, 1995), page 208. I trust this reproduction falls within their understanding of "educational use with appropriate acknowledgment."

AFP photo via

God of Creation, by whose gracious gift all things spring from infinite density and flourish with diversity, you cradle the worlds in your compassion. Look now with mercy on the people of Myanmar and grant that the peoples of the world may be enlightened to see our Burmese sisters and brothers with awareness and solidarity. Grant courage to those who stand up for the multitudes, hope to the persecuted, perseverance to those who must endure, repentance to those who oppress, and a new day of self-determination, dignity, and justice. Pour your grace upon the monks and those who march with them and bathe all things in your mercy.
--the BB


The soon-to-be-setting moon in the early morning light, looking west out my back door toward the mesa this morning.

Thought I'd share.
--the BB

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peeking behind the curtain

The Great Oz notwithstanding, it's hardly a matter of peeking behind the curtain anymore. A thousand Totos have pulled the curtain down and everyone with eyes to see can behold the mendacity involved in fomenting and executing the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Those who led this nation into such an immoral fiasco KNEW their alleged reasons and rationales were all bullshit and they did it anyway. And the media enabled them. And we followed them. And here we are.

I want to thank Crooks and Liars for this video of Dick "Darth" Cheney speaking back in 1992. He explains why it was a good idea NOT to pursue the Gulf War into Baghdad. All the reasons why it would be a nightmare (perhaps even a quagmire?) are eloquently set forth.

In other words, Dick Cheney (at the very least) KNEW that invading and occupying Iraq would be a huge mess long before Commander Codpiece went for it.

So, the question is this: What sort of person, knowing what Dick Cheney had every reason to know, would support this fiasco?

[I've read about this response by Cheney to why Pres. George H. W. Bush didn't pursue Saddam back then, but tonight was the first time I'd seen and heard it. Just wow.]

Not to mention W's conversation with then-Prime Minister José Maria Aznar of Spain (you can read about it here and here and here).
These are the minutes of a Feb. 22, 2003 meeting between Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, which El Pais has just published. In this meeting, Bush declares that he would try to get a second UN vote condemning Hussein in order to satisfy his allies, but he doesn't really care what the resolution says and in any case with or without it he intends to invade Iraq shortly after March 15 (as soon as US forces were ready to invade). Bush also shows that he has no interest in what the UN weapons inspectors are finding, and indeed he treats the UN as a cat's paw. [Source]
Los hispanohablantes pueden leerlo aquí.

Note the passage "he doesn't really care what the resolution says and in any case with or without it he intends to invade Iraq shortly after March 15...." Do you recall your civics lessons from way back when? How the Constitution and treaties ratified by the United States are the supreme law of the land? That part? Yeah. OK. Now you might have forgotten that according to treaties we have ratified, it is unlawful for any country to attack another except if they are attacked by that county or threat is imminent.

Now, let's rewind to 2003. Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States. It is debatable whether it might have posed a longer-term threat but certainly no imminent one. Inspectors were on the ground, finally allowed to be present and inspect anywhere and anytime they wanted. Saddam did not kick them out; Bush pulled them out so he could attack.

I won't even go into the just war doctrine and the various criteria, which this preemptive invasion DID NOT MEET.

So, to sum up, we have an unlawful and immoral preemptive military action. Bush did not even fulfill the terms in the AUMF, so it didn't even fit within our own law supposedly authorizing it.

If you are reading this blog, you probably already know all this, but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves now and again what a bunch of crooks and liars are running this country (and running a great nation, the one I love, into the ground).

As the drumbeats of war thrummed in the background back in early 2003 I said, to those within earshot, that Bush wanted his war and he was going to have it. Facts made no difference. Whatever might unfold would make no difference. It was going to happen because George [multiple expletives deleted] Bush wanted it to.

Now he and Cheney are trying to whip up a war with Iran. How stupid do you have to be to believe a single word that comes out of their lying mouths? They have repeatedly lied to the American people and the world. They have repeatedly been wrong about damn near everything.

OK. Deep breath.

People, we need to take our government back.
--the BB

What is good for the world

Sunset by Korean-born Helen Hyunsuk Kang

Maha has such a fabulous quote by Wendell Berry over at The Mahablog that I am compelled to share it here.
“We’ve lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We’ve been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. That requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes and to yield to its limits. But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery. We will never clearly understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.” — Wendell Berry

Thanks, Maha!

She also has a great post on the Burmese monks, international politics, nonviolent protest, and the Metta Sutta. Check it out.
--the BB

You are God, we praise you...

You are the Lord, we acclaim you.
Durham Cathedral, Cloister
I remember walking through the cloister at Durham Cathedral, chanting the Te Deum with Mother Columba. We were carrying manuscripts from the Muniments room under the supervision of the Cathedral librarian. I did not realize it at the time, but I was carrying in my arms a Gospelbook from Lindisfarne with some of the same pigments as those used in the Lindisfarne Gospels.

It was artistically inferior by far and badly damaged. Still, it was a book of the Holy Gospels from that era used in the worship of God. I feel that I should remove my shoes even thinking about that moment, that book, that community from so many years ago.

Here's to Fr. Jake who writes:
...I need community. In my journey, while traveling to the outer edges of spirituality and back again, I stumbled across this Church. As flawed and frail as she is, this is where I have landed. This Church has become my spiritual home. Where else would I go?

The Church is a harlot. But she's all we've got.

Let us pray,

Gracious God, we pray for your holy Catholic Church....

--the BB

Thought for the day

There is no fire like lust, no jailer like hate, no snare like
infatuation, no torrent like greed.

Dhammapada, 251
--the BB

Blogger's slow and so am I

Good morning, sports fans!

In addition to working full-time (after an extended period of uncompensated leisure), I am also trying to continue work on the sequels to the novel I finished at the end of July. It is all part of a substantial series that I began and envisioned while a graduate student at UCLA (in a prior century). We are talking the complex process of imagining a world into existence and, for me, doing it with lots of texture and detail.

So I have been spending hours in linguistic, cartographic, and genealogical invention. Most of the maps have existed since 1973 but I am redrawing them (see above). In an effort to understand linguistic and dialectical differences better I have worked on the evolution of the languages. Then there is the cast of thousands, who they are, where they come from, where they go.

Only snippets of all this show up in the stories but I find it easy to write about something that is very real for me.

And, for all you churchoids, the church in this parallel world remains egalitarian from its founding to the end of the world. The primary missionary and first archbishop of the portion of that world in my stories is a woman. One of the privileges of writing fantasy.

You've gotta have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?

Thanks for your patience while I am lost in the inflections of languages that have never been spoken.
--the BB

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The sun rose this morning

As I rather expected it would.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.

Oh, and the House of Bishops issued a compromise statement. As I thought they would. It affirms their shared ground but does not resolve their differences. As I figured it could not. The dissidents will not be satisfied because nothing could ever satisfy them. I have learned about that sort of dynamic on the parish level. Trying to meet the demands of some people is impossible. They are always holding out for something more (or something other but YOU have to guess what it is, they will never tell you and you will never get it).

Did I mention that the sun rose?

Peace and blessings all around.

Do something silly today. And something loving. And be nice to a stranger. Jesus will smile.
--the BB

Monday, September 24, 2007

There is no alternative to the Gospel

Peter Akinola (Fred Phelps in a pointy hat) and I agree on one thing: the title of this post.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Abp. of Nigeria, is quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying this in Wheaton, IL, on Sunday:

"Fornication is fornication. Adultery is adultery. . . . These are the areas of primary evangelism," Akinola said.
This is the area of primary evangelism? Man, they sure must be f***ing up a storm in Nigeria.

I wonder what text is hidden by the ellipsis. Because, as I've indicated below, this just ain't Good News, no matter how you slice and dice it.

The archbishop also supports a bill in Nigeria that would make homosexual sex and any public expression of homosexual identity a crime punishable by imprisonment.

And oppression is oppression, no matter how you slice and dice it. This is not Gospel either and I will not be shamed and scolded by this man. It would not be a very large step from his public positions today and cheering as the fires were lit to burn "faggots" in the past. [Speech that demonizes others creates an atmosphere in which violent acts become thinkable and "justifiable.")

In his sermon, Akinola often raised the Bible for emphasis and wagged his finger at the congregation when speaking of sin. He also taught the congregation an acronym, which some said is often heard throughout the Anglican Church in Africa, known as TINA: "There is no alternative to the Gospel."

I agree with that last sentence. The problem is that Akinola thinks I proclaim an alternative to the Gospel and I think he is proclaiming an alternative to the Gospel. Sort of makes it hard to reach a common ground doesn't it? Well, I cannot deny the truth I know. And he, I am sure would say the same. So it's clear to me that we must walk apart. So for God's sake, and for the Church's, and for the world's, and for our own, let's get it over with.

"If someone claims to love God and is living his life in sin, call it, tell him, so that he can grow in obedience. . . . Call him a liar and do it," Akinola said.

OK. Peter, my brother, you are lying when you speak so vehemently concerning people you don't understand. You are lying when you claim we have no part in holiness. I denounce your falsehoods and your posturing. I denounce your oppressive attitude and the shaming and criminalization you would attach to my sisters and brothers in your land.

Jesus commanded us to love each other and I am having a really hard time trying to love you. So we both need to grow in obedience there. But, buddy, you ain't in any position to cast stones or thunder from any effing pulpits. Your self-righteousness stinks and it's no wonder the Christians in Nigeria decided they didn't want you as president of their interdenominational body.

I try to be responsible when posting on the internet and I try to avoid writing in anger. I am tired of listening to this angry blowhard and tired of the implications from all over that the Episcopal Church needs to be in any sense ashamed of what it has done. We have tried to be faithful to the Gospel and to our Lord as we understand their demands upon us in our place and time. There is nothing to hide our faces about there. And I see no convincing reason to backpedal. If we waited for the rest of the Communion to be "ready" we would shun, demonize, and oppress LGBT folks for another century at least. I think we have made an idol of the Communion and of "unity" and that catholicity and orthodoxy are concepts that are being abused.

Nobody takes my baptism from me. Nobody but God declares me uncatholic or unorthodox. Y'all may call me heretic or worse, but I ain't budging from my truth.
--the BB

Collective Nouns

Swarming Locusts
I believe I saw the question raised of late (probably at OCICBW): what collective noun ought one to use of bishops? Some alliterative suggestions were made.

I thought about it while driving to work the other day and felt it might be nice to work through some of the subsets of Christians. Here is what I came up with:

An assembly of the faithful

A task force of deacons

An infestation of priests

A plague of bishops

A pestilence of primates

As a member of the first and third categories I feel qualified to be skeptical about presbyters. I must also confess that I know a number of bishops whom I greatly admire and respect (and in some cases even trust). There are godly individuals throughout the church, even in holy orders! I consider some primates to be, or have been, saints. ++Desmond and his newly-retired successor ++Njongonkulu come to mind, the late ++Khotso of Central Africa, and ++Michael (Ramsey) Cantuar. These days, however, I am inclined to stick with “pestilence.” They seem to descend like locusts and destroy everything in sight, then fly off again. Awful. Deplorable. Someone should be deploring this behavior. Heck, I hereby deplore it.

My admonition: Gather to tell stories and share bread and wine and practice loving each other. Beyond that, stay in your own diocese and mind your own bloody flock.

Growing up among evangelicals (and a fair number of outright fundamentalists in the most narrow and traditional sense of that term), I heard plenty of denunciations of sin. At some point I realized that we all know we’re broken, imperfect, and often quite willful. Nobody needs to tell us we’re sinners, for the most part. And it’s not good news. The good news is that God loves us and that forgiveness is possible, and grace is real, and that death can lead to new life.

Those who go about denouncing sinners are not proclaiming Gospel.

Mind you, I do believe in judgment and I do believe that there is a reason prophets delivered judgment and salvation oracles together. I don’t believe we get from A to B without transformation. This is why I believe so strongly in the work of the Holy Spirit. Having said that, however, I still maintain that if you stop at the judgment you have not yet proclaimed Gospel. The world needs hope, not harangues; people who model transformation, not scolds. Yes, I am talking to you, ++Peter Abuja.

My first theological and spiritual reformation on a personal level took place when I realized that all my life I had heard that Jesus saves us from sin, death, and hell, but that I was not hearing what he was saving us FOR. “Heaven” and “eternal life” are code words, not answers to that question. This is what moved me from my Protestant roots to more Catholic and Orthodox understandings of the mystery of what we are about and what God is up to in dealing with us. Sanctification and glorification became more meaningful. Marcus Borg’s discussions of a transformative journey in relationship with God gave words to what I was thinking about in my last years of college and through seminary and into grad school.

Hope and healing are needed. Yes, challenge too! But not scolding. It shames, it creates resentment, it does everything contrary to enabling us to love ourselves and one another. It is the devil’s work, the task of accusing, and it leads to slander. The primates who are so busy denouncing LGBT folk have, I must say it, no idea what they are talking about. They may know all manner of scripture but they don’t have a monopoly on that. (I was a Baptist, c’mon, get real. You think I don’t know all the passages you love to invoke? I majored in Biblical theology because I loved it, not because I had to.) But they don’t know gay folk. As friend Richard points out, when we have “virtual” enemies we don’t have to engage them or get to know them and we can demonize them from a safe distance. They have openly said they are not interested in a “listening process.” They have concluded a priori that they have nothing to learn from us. They are wrong.

And I would be wrong if I thought I had nothing to learn from them. But what I want to hear is not their conceptions of biblical righteousness. I want to hear their personal stories. I want to understand what life is like in their part of the world. What are their challenges, their blessings, their concerns, their fears, their hopes? What did Good News sound like and feel like when they heard it? What threats do they experience daily? What unique gifts do they bring to the feast? I don’t need them to theologize for me, but I need their witness. We all need each other’s witness. But we don’t need each other’s judgments. That is reserved for the One who made us, redeemed us, loves us, is at work in us, and is the sole assurance of our destiny.

Everyone is happy when the locusts are gone. But there is still the devastation of their visit. I shall be glad when the current unpleasantness is a memory. But it is going to be very messy and painful in the meantime.

Whether the Anglican Communion survives in any form whatsoever is God’s concern, not mine. The communion that seeks to save its life will lose it; the communion that loses its life for Christ’s sake will find it. Just saying. I believe the People of God will continue. I believe the Gospel will still be proclaimed. I believe local communities will worship and serve.

The Anglican Communion has been a great gift to the world and has been a gracious home for me. I like it here. I will continue to pursue what I understand to be an Anglican way of being Christian whether the Communion abides, mutates, or vanishes. Since I am enough of a Buddhist to believe all things are transient and enough of a Christian to believe that God and God’s love are exceptions to that, I can only assume that the Communion will mutate. To cease changing is to die.

I see flourishing congregations and people awakening to new life, so I do not despair. I am concerned about pestilent influences, however.

Anyone have some pestilence repellant handy?

--the BB

My Little Prairie Flower online

Texas Bluebonnet via Kim's Place
The photographer writes:
"This is part of a picture I entered
in Big Kev's 2003 Texas Bluebonnet Challenge. "

Well, the Gratuitous Bluebonnet Blogging is because my friend and colleague, Amber Sturgess, whom I call "my little bluebonnet" because she's from Texas, had an article on Bede Griffiths and prayer published at The Bede Griffith's Trust website.

The article is titled "All are Called to Contemplative Prayer." Click on "article" above to read it all.

A most practical paragraph within the article:
Bede’s method of contemplative prayer draws from the Benedictine and Yogic traditions and consists of a relaxing comfortable posture, the silent repetition of a sacred mantra, a reliance on the grace of God, and the support of a spiritual guide or community. He emphasized the necessity of using a sacred mantra, like the name “Jesus” or “God,” because when we meditate we enter into the unconscious part of ourselves where we encounter our shadow, the repressed emotions and desires, and the collective unconscious, the sufferings and joys of all humanity. The sacred mantra acts as a life line to the risen Christ, the one who has already descended into the depths of the unconscious and has overcome these forces of darkness. When we meditate all of our wounds are opened up and exposed to the grace of God for healing which is why Fr. Bede cautioned against practicing meditation alone without the greater support of more experienced practitioners.
Amber is one of those folks with the gift of transcending boundaries while simultaneously knowing her roots. I am very grateful for sharing journeys with her, including her journey into priesthood.. (In spite of the anti-clericalism in the post that is going to follow, I really do cherish most of my colleagues.) She is currently the long-term interim vicar at St George's, Antioch, California. With her in California and me in New Mexico, I just miss the hell out of her. She is one of three people with whom I do not censor myself, and if I say more it will go to her head.

Keep your feet on the ground, girlfriend, you know how I feel about clergy who get puffed up and proud!

Mother Amber at St Cuthbert's, Oakland
[The preceding is a big old public cyberhug.]
--the BB

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Solar Flares
Yesterday I had the sad task of officiating at the memorial service for a fifteen-year-old boy who died by accident. The offsetting grace of such a tragedy was the outpouring of love that occurred amid the devastating loss.

It is difficult to offer solace without resorting to platitudes. And. I. Hate. Platitudes. They ring so false and only make things worse.

I was incredibly proud of the teenage boys who got up in front of a multitude and spoke. They were nervous, uncomfortable, fidgety, and very brave. They gave voice to their sorrow and to their friendship. They were a living testimonial to love--deep caring, deep loss--altogether not what they usually think about or talk about, not what one usually hears from lads their age. They were warriors and they were shattered children all at once. I am so glad they spoke because the rest of us needed to hear the truth of who he was for his friends.

All the stories were moving.

I was startled to find myself carried back to when I was seventeen. One of my classmates, a really nice guy, took his own life. Suddenly he was not in the desk in front of me. He did not show up and then we heard about the gun and the note. None of us knew why. In later life I have my guesses but his death remains a mystery, and with an ending like that his life remains a great mystery as well. None of us knew how to make it better--too young to know yet that we couldn't. But we thronged to his service because we had to do something to say we cared.

The kids yesterday were far closer to Frogger than I was to Frank. But I found myself choked up for both of them and for all youths whose lives are cut off, so soon, too soon. So I spoke of the truth I know, broken human hearts.

I urged those present not to rush to close over the cracks in their broken hearts. It is our defensive tendency to wish to be invulnerable but we aren't and we can't be. We try to ward off the hurt and prevent the pain. Hearts that are walled off, however, are cut off from community. It is precisely through the cracks that light, and life, and love can flow into and out of our hearts. The raw spots are where we can be real, can feel, can know the truth.

Well, I wasn't nearly that eloquent because I was speaking impromptu. It comes out more polished a day later at a keyboard. I just wanted those who were hurting to know that it was all right to hurt, to feel, and be vulnerable. I wanted the youths especially not to try to build up defensive walls. The world will lead them down that deadly path soon enough.

As for the Anglican Communion and my beloved Episcopal Church, that's pretty shattered at the moment too. I wish we could let our brokenness be a means for God's light, and life, and love to pour into us and through us and out of us. I do trust the Holy Spirit. And, in the long run, I trust the People of God. Clergy, especially bishops, and even more so primates--not so much. You might think funny collars just suddenly make us all stupid and headstrong. But, as Baptism is indissoluble, we clergy are still part of the People of God. So I will trust that God's purposes will be realized even through our brokenness. After all, that is how God has always operated and I don't think the Holy One is about to change methodologies all of a sudden.

Yes, we're cracked. Broken vessels. Cracked pots, indeed. May the Uncreated Light flow among our cracks with all manner of healing grace.

And to Frank and Frogger I say, may you and all souls rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.
--the BB

Holy River Rhone, say it ain't so!

We all know these quizzes are silly. And fun. So we still take them.

Padre Mickey led me astray. OK, I led my own silly self astray but his silly blog (which I adore) was the occasion of sin.

You Are Chardonnay

Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).

Deep down you are: Dependable and modest

Your partying style: Understated and polite

Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat

Let me set the record straight. I am a red wine guy. I love Rhône reds. Given the old "red or white?" option I choose red about 97% of the time. Doesn't matter what I'm eating.

This doesn't mean I don't enjoy whites paired with good food. (And if you're eating bad food, might as well drink plonk, non?). But I'll opt for red. (Similarly, I will drink any diet cola, but will opt for Diet Pepsi--there's a free plug for something the stock price of which I singlehandedly support.)

Right now I am sipping a lovely Rosenblum 2005 Appelation Series North Coast Zinfandel, generously sent to me by my friend Steve Seagren, Jr. Rosenblum does wonderful things with California grapes and they make oodles of Zins, most of them identified by specific vineyard. Slurpalicious! (Another plug!) They are based in Alameda, California, and I have enjoyed visiting the winery and their incredible tasting parties.

So, how the hell did I wind up called a fracking Chardonnay? Sigh. I try so hard not to be white, Swedish genes notwithstanding. [I grant you, the blather about the Chardonnay personality does have some applicability. I think. But we are not the best judges of ourselves.]

I say, drink whatever you like. To life! To health! To the company of loving and interesting people!
--the BB

Virtual versus incarnational

My colleague Richard observes at Caught by the Light that:
A lot going on in the Anglican Communion these days is in someone's head or ephemeral bits and bytes set to disappear when a plug is pulled. Too much, I'd say. And it's not always rooted in what's real, what's incarnational.

The other attractive thing about a virtual reality is that we can walk away at any time with impunity. It's safe for us.

And as we all know in the blogosphere, I can always write or say things in a virtual church that I couldn't say or write if I were facing a real human being, a breathing person made in the Image of God, with nothing between us but air and the charity not to throw punches, metaphorical or otherwise.

The problem is that while our detractors keep us virtual, they remain virtual to us as well. Someone(s) at some point, on one side or the other, will have to break this pattern, before Christ can fully reconcile the real, incarnational, fleshy, crucified and risen center of our fragile and fractious Communion.

By all means, read it all.
I responded:
You are not only old-fashioned where it counts, you have also confirmed suspicions that you are truly Anglican in that you have emphasized once again the Incarnation and its implications for lives lived in the flesh and in history.
Your point about keeping those with whom we disagree “virtual” is spot on. It is so much easier to disagree with someone we don't know face to face, to analyze their reported word and alleged deed seeking fault, to denounce their sins and errors, to vilify and demonize. At a distance our shared humanity is easier to deny, though it remains bedrock reality no matter how we ignore it.

The issue of incarnational versus virtual is considered from a different perspective in this excellent comment by Mercy Amba Oduyoye (that I have lifted wholesale from Jane R.):
[T]he Church cannot describe itself as holy and mean that it is separate from the world and the world's agenda. Stating doctrines inside the church will not liberate unless the Church gets out into the streets, heals the sick and confronts the unjust. The Church is in the world that God loved, and has to work for the well-being of the world. Seeing that God's presence cannot be limited to organized Christianity, the Church does well to see where God is at work and to promote those salvific acts.

--the BB

Blog surfing

Doug and Eric and their children
Photo from SFGate back when gay marriage was briefly legal in San Francisco

Brother Tobias Haller has been offering substantive, thought-provoking articles on the mystery of human sexuality and the purposes and benefits of marriage. I commend them to you.

Radical topic-shift alert!

Jane alerts me, via the NASA kiddies’ calendar, to the equinox occurring this morning, not yesterday as I supposed. (I know it’s not on my father’s birthday as a previous post implies; I only take his birthday as a signal that autumn is just about to arrive.) For the technically inclined, Wikipedia has a table. The magic moment in sidereal relationships occurred as I was sleeping and we are now officially in the fall season. Blessed autumn to y’all. Susan Russell shares a wish along these lines complete with pumpkin patch.

Beware topic whiplash!

Susan Russell credits Paul Woodrum with an informative timeline on the faith once received. Excerpts:
1st Century:
Certainly Gentiles have a place in the church as do all the baptized. The debate is currently about the appropriate limits of pastoral care and the place Gentiles may hold in the offices of the church. The question is how far the traditional theology of the church lets us move in that direction.

12th Century:
Certainly Anglo-Saxon people have a place in the church as do all the baptized. The debate is currently about the appropriate limits of pastoral care and the place Anglo-Saxon people may hold in the offices of the church. The question is how far Norman church tradition lets us move in that direction.

Certainly gay and lesbian people have a place in the church as do all the baptized. The debate is currently about the appropriate limits of pastoral care and the place gay and lesbian people may hold in the offices of the church. The question is how far the traditional theology of the church lets us move in that direction. (The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, 21 September AD 2007, New Orleans, LA, USA)

Susan concludes the sad litany with a prayer for the Church.