Monday, August 31, 2009

Socializing With Hors d'oeuvres

It is that time again (October 23,24,25) where the EPISCOPAL Diocese of San Joaquin will meet in convention and do the regular business of every Episcopal Diocese. Friday's main event, so to speak, is socializing with hors d'oeuvres (sheesh, I can barely spell that word). Now, I have never had much time mingling with canapes or finger sandwiches or even chips and salsa but this is new ground for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

In years gone by, read that prior to March of 2008, yes during John David's reign, we were not permitted to socialize with each other, let alone the crab and lobster dishes. Convention under the "old bishop" was a little more than here's the budget, did we vote, yep we did -- what's keeping you here get back to your parish and thank you very much.

The special convention in March of 2008 was a breath of fresh air for all of us here in San Joaquin as it was an opportunity to "love our neighbor" and ourselves. maybe that is one of the things overlooked by the Conealoneialists. The second great commandment is like the first, love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commands hang all the laws and prophets. We actually got the chance to love our neighbors and that is exactly what was missing and is missing in the Anglican whatever they are calling themselves. Do they love God, well I give them the benefit of the doubt. Do they love their neighbor? Doesn't look like it to me. Lots of reasons and lots of neighbors but the bottom line, at least according to Christ, is to love God and your neighbor. And who is my neighbor -- well, Jesus answered that one as well -- everyone!

As for the hors d'oeuvres, I am not comfortable talking with an olive sandwich but I will give it a try.

More pre-convention stuff later.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Psalm 46:10

We have friends that we have known for over thirty years. We met when our families ended up in Woodbridge, Virginia. Actually, Jerry worked at the pentagon and I worked in the National Office of the IRS (no snickers please). At that time our son was not born, our daughter was about 16 months old and Jerry and Kathy had a son that was 4 and a daughter that was about 4 months old. We grew close. It was fun to meet for Church. Jerry and I would usher and Kathy and "Wilma" would Altar Guild. We all, at one time or another served on the vestry. We grew a church from 30 families to what is now about 800.

Our family vacations were taken together. Jerry and I would have umbrella stroller races (daughters included) in the swamps of Virginia and on the beach at Fort Story. Jerry was a car enthusiast. Well, that puts it mildly. over the course of our 30 years he built a Porsche 356C, about 10 bugs including a bus and a square back, a 55 Buick, a 58 Lincoln, a 41 Ford Sedan and a host of other project cars. Jerry would say to me, "Fred, the only reason to cut wood is to bend steel." He helped both me and my daughter build a 64 Bug from the ground up and he helped my san (matt is his Godson) and me build a 63 Ford truck. Jerry's hands grew gnarly over the course of time with all the pounding and whatnot on cars. Jerry could fix almost anything, and if he could not fix it he could fabricate a part that would fix whatever was broken. The gifts God gave him were astounding!

But the biggest gifts God gave him were his family. He loved his Kathy, his daughter Carrie, his son Nathan and his two beautiful grandchildren Stella and Brodie. He taught them everything hew knew -- about cars, about trivia, about rock and roll music and about God.

We both travelled from coast to coast on a few occasions and yet our friendship stayed strong. Jerry was a desert rat. Strange for a guy who was raised in Newport, Rhode Island and worked as a lifeguard growing up but first he lived in Barstow, CA and then later, after a second stint in DC, moved to Cal City. As a military person he also put in time at Fort Hood and Fort Juachaca. All that being said he and his family settled in California City, CA. In these later years it has been a little difficult for us to get together but still, 380 miles is not all that great and we did visit for special occasions and for family things. And with close friends, I would call and we would talk cars and rock and roll for hours, as if we had not been separated by time and distance.

Recently, about 3 and one-half years ago, Jerry, contracted esophageal cancer. Seems that stupid hietal hernia caught up with him in a big way. But he was a strong guy in really good health and he beat it. Sure, they took out his esophagus and had to steal some of his stomach to create a new one but he beat it! It took months but he learned to eat all over again and was well on the road to full recovery. Sure he had to retire in order to fight this thing but he took it in stride. Actually, he said, "I ain't going quietly. I got my feet and my hands jammed against the door and if I go it will be because somebody bigger and stronger pulled me through that door."

Next came the lung cancer. A spot appeared and try as the doctors might, they just could not quite get rid of it. It would shrink and then the chemo would stop working, or the medication given to Jerry to build the white count would fail and the docs would have to try something else. I spoke with Jerry only about 2 weeks ago or so and he was still fighting and seemed to be holding his own. His biggest problem was the fluid that built up in his lungs, after a while he could not work on the cars for a very long time because he could not breath. On numerous occasions the docs took a quart or so of fluid out of first one lung and then another. He would go right back to work banging on one fender or another.

Now, Jerry has a 41 Ford Coupe (his bumper sticker would say "I would rather eat worms than drive a Chevy") that he has collected parts for for some time. engine, rear end, axles, disc brakes, seats, electrical stuff -- all of that. He never actually worked on that one car and, naive as I am, I grew to believe that nothing really serious would happen until after that car was complete. Somehow, God and Jerry had struck a deal that Jerry would get to finish the Coupe before he was called home.

Yesterday, in the midst of a spectacle bigger than life, regular life intruded. I received a call from Jerry's daughter, Jerry died. From an inoperable brain tumor. After all of that cancer stuff, he ends up with a tumor. Ironic? And so it goes.

"Pause a while and know that I am God,
exalted among the nations, exalted over the earth!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Has Anyone Here Seen My Old Friend Teddy?

For those of us who came of age in the 1960's we have suffered a grievous loss. We have lived our political lives knowing that we were protected by the Kennedy family. We started with John and then came Robert and then came Teddy but we have always had a Kennedy in our political hemisphere. Much of what John and Robert accomplished in their short stay with us was through their deaths. Much of what Teddy accomplished was through his life. And yes, Teddy had flaws -- Lord knows Ted had his flaws. But who among us does not? He was a giant among us and his flaws seemed to be larger than life but his accomplishments also were larger than life. Nothing ever got through the senate without his mark on it and rarely if ever did he take credit, Ted was the "go to guy" for the last 40 years. But there is an intangible that I wish to remark upon.

For many of us liberalism was a cause. From the War in Viet Nam to the Great Society to Civil Rights to the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq we would drift in and out of the cause for a period of time or until we tired of the issues and returned to our BMWs and our Yuppie lifestyles. For Senator Edward Kennedy liberalism was not a cause it was a lifestyle. Yes, in many respects he symbolized for us what Matthew 26:31-46 was all about. He put into practice in a very real way the concepts of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry and visiting the sick. Liberalism was not a cause to be championed it was a means to bringing to life the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one was more inclusive, more compassionate nor more productive in legislation for those less fortunate than Senator Kennedy.

What is worse is that there is no one in the House or Senate than embodies the same characteristics as Senator Kennedy. There is no one on the horizon to pick up where he has left off and no one to champion the causes that he championed. We may very well be lost -- we may never see again quite the likes of Ted Kennedy and we will be worse off for it. The love of humankind, the generosity of the body known as the Senate, the compassion of and for and through legislation has taken a severe blow.

For those of us that remember, there must be a grand touch football game going on right now in heaven.

I end with a piece of Music that strikes me as erriely appropriate for this moment. Yes, I am a product of the So. California 1960s.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Covenant versus the Convent

Above is a picture of a convent. The following url sends to you a website that clearly demonstrates the committedness of a group of people when it comes to convents.

The following url leads one to the Anglican Covenant, at least the last draft of this document.
Here is at least one definition of a convent.

Originally signified an assembly of Roman citizens in the provinces for purposes of administration and justice. In the history of monasticism the word has two distinct technical meanings:

•A religious community of either sex when spoken of in its corporate capacity. The word was first used in this sense when the eremitical life began to be combined with the cenobitical. The hermits of an Eastern laura, living in separate cells grouped around that of their common superior, when spoken of collectively, were called a conventus. In Western monasticism the term came into general use from the very beginning and the technical phrase abbas et conventus signifies to this day the entire community of a monastic establishment.
•The buildings in which resides a community of either sex. In this sense the word denotes more properly the home of a strictly monastic order, and is not correctly used to designate the home of what is called a congregation. In addition to these technical meanings, the word has also a popular signification at the present day, by which it is made to mean in particular the abode of female religious, just as monastery denotes that of men, though in reality the two words are interchangeable. In the present article the word is taken chiefly in its popular sense. The treatment, moreover, is limited to those features which are common to all, or nearly all, convents, while peculiarities due to the special purpose, rule, or occupation of each religious order are explained in the pertinent article.

That definition is from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Here is another one:

“Convents” generally refer to houses where Roman Catholic women live under religious vows. They became common in Chicago and other industrial cities early in the nineteenth century. The first ones, like that established on Chicago's Wabash Avenue by Mother Agatha O'Brien and four other Sisters of Mercy in 1846, resembled the settlement houses of the 1890s. But before Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr were born, the Mercys and several other communities had begun building a network of services for the urban poor that included elementary and Sunday schools, orphanages and hospitals, employment bureaus and industrial schools, as well as the city's first Magdalen Asylum. Some of these mid-nineteenth-century institutions, such as Mercy Hospital and the House of the Good Shepherd, still exist. Thus, when Hull House opened in 1889, most Chicagoans would not have considered it extraordinary to see a group of women living among immigrants and working selflessly on their behalf. By 1889, Chicago had over 60 convents.

This is from the Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Here is Christopher Wells definition of a covenant:

The notion of covenant is, of course, familiar not only from scripture but also from the vows we make at baptisms and ordinations, the various agreements between Anglican churches for purposes of mission, and from our ecumenical commitments with other Christian churches. In every case, to “covenant” with God and with one another means that we accept basic facts about the faith and the consequences of how we live according to shared principles, texts, and traditions. This fits with the literal meaning of the word covenant, which has two connotations: (a) to agree about something, and then (b) to act on that agreement by coming together or assembling in a visible way. (The origin is a Latin word, convenire, from which our English word, convene, derives.)

After reading all of both of these items what would YOU rather do? We could, as the ABC, Ridley Mr. Wells and a host of men want us to do. That would be to come together on a semi-regular basis and judge each other. Those provinces found wanting, you know, the ones that include the marginalized groups such as LGBT, handicapped, socio-economically downtrodden, most women, would be punished. Those provinces that are living the "godly life" like Nigeria, Uganda, Sydney, CANA, Fr. Kennedy, Archbishop Duncan would all get rewarded by becoming bishops and popes and things. Then, for a couple of days we could explore the scripture as written by "proper authority once given for all" and then go about our business all feeling much better about how we slew Satan.

That would be the covenant.

Or we could all form convents. We could come together in Christian communities all over the world to pray, to form schools and hospitals and orphanages and food shelters and single room occupancy homes to help those less fortunate than we. We could come together sometimes to pray and to worship God. We could pass the peace and receive the Eucharist all together and all for the love of Christ. We could be known by our faith through our good works.

The following is a picture of me in a nun's habit. Wouldn't the world Anglican Communion look better (and perhaps more stylish) if we all dressed like this?

So, now the question is back to you? Wouldn't you rather be in a convent than in the covenant?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How Do YOU Thank Archbishop Venables?!

This is straight (no giggles please) out of the Anglican dicoese of San Joaquin Tuesday Flyer. REally cannot make this stuff up.


At the suggestion of members of the Diocesan Council, Bishop Schofield has now declared July 12th and/or July 17th as dates to receive Special Offerings as tangible gifts from our members for the support and encouragement of our Diocese by the Province of the Southern Cone. Please make your checks out to your local Church or the Diocese of San Joaquin with the memo line to read “Gift for Bp. Venables.” We ask that the funds be forwarded to Debbie Roberts. This will make a single money transfer possible. Thank you for your faithfulness in demonstrating your gratitude to this great Christian leader and his generous Province.

Now it is YOUR turn to thank Archbishop Venables. Please follow the blog rules.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time To Rock and Roll!

I announced to my grandson that Padre Mickey's Dance party would be back this Friday Night and this true "headbanger" went for the gold. He has clear missed the music and is more than anxious to get back to it.

Incidentally the device in the background may look like a scooter but it is in reality a small three wheeled motorcycle that this young man brings out on "cruise nights".

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I Ain't Afraid

Words and music by Holly Near
I ain't afraid of your Yahweh
I ain't afraid of your Allah
I ain't afraid of your Jesus
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God
I ain't afraid of your churches
I ain't afraid of your temples
I ain't afraid of your praying
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God
Rise up to your higher power
Free up from fear, it will devour you
Watch out for the ego of the hour
The ones who say they know it
Are the ones who will impose it on you
I ain't afraid of your Yahweh
I ain't afraid of your Allah
I ain't afraid of your Jesus
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God

I ain't afraid of your churches
I ain't afraid of your temples
I ain't afraid of your praying
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God
Rise up, and see /find/ know/ hear a higher story
Free up from the gods of war and glory
Watch out for the threats of purgatory
The spirit of the wind won’t make a killing off of sin and satan
I ain't afraid of your Bible
I ain't afraid of your Torah
I ain't afraid of your Koran
Dont let the letter of the law
Obsure the spirit of the your love--it's killing us
I ain't afraid of your Yahweh
I ain't afraid of your Allah
I ain't afraid of your Jesus
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God

I ain't afraid of your churches
I ain't afraid of your temples
I ain't afraid of your praying
I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God double
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God
Rise up to your higher power
Free up
Rise up to your higher power
Free up
Let's try to be highly evolved
And now, it is time to listen. Click thelink.