Friday, June 22, 2012

The "New GOP"

Father Jake wrote a little ditty a couple of days ago talking about the large number of extremists in the GOP.  Well, I believe that the GOP has been taken over from the  Rockefeller style republican by the Christian (use this term loosely) right.  There are little to no "old fashioned republicans" left. What do I mean by that?  This was the party of fiscal conservancy but social liberal.  It was the first party to push for the Equal Rights Amendment.  It was the party that believed in taking care of the poor and downtrodden.  Yes, government should be limited but it never suggested non-existent and yes, it did believe that "taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society". Rather than shrink government to nothing, then they simply wanted government stay out of their lives as much as possible.

 Now, they have been taken over by right wing extremists that pose as Christians.  They would rather spy on you and your bedroom rather than control spending.  The new republican party needs to control the lives of everyone but especially women.  The new Republican party would prefer to enrichen the already obscenely rich and would rather deny anyone due wages and benefits than spent the energy to gain them themselves.

Knowing all of this, and most of you do, think about this.  Why is president Obama a middle of the road democrat?  Why did Bill Clinton cut welfare and other programs?  Well, where do you suppose all those republicans that could no longer remain in the republican party went to?  Yep, you guessed it, straight into the Democratic party.  Why?  because all they know is party politics and they want to have a say.  So, the democrats moved from the left to the center in order to hold as many democrats as possible.  In effect, there are only those of us that long for social justice for women, and gays, and poor, and underprivileged, and ethnic and racial minorities.  And we have been pushed to the brink of the field.  I can conceive of a time when no one stands up for the Bill of Rights and for universal public education and unions, and intellectual freedom and for the common man.

My goal is not to supercede what Jake has said, but ratherr further the argument. My hope is that I have done that.  A point of personal privilege, I have not voted for a Republican since Huston Flornoy ran for governor in California.  As it stands now, I will vote for a republican when hell freezes over, and that is as far as my religion will take me in politics.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A (One) Story of San Joaquin

There is a new book out by Jane Lamb (spouse of bishop Lamb) entitled Hurt, Joy, and the Grace of God. It is a collection of stories about the trials and tribulations of the Diocese of San Joaquin.  Does everyone remember when everyone voted for George McGovern? Hope so.  It is a fascinating set of stories that clearly demonstrates that the ugliness of Mr. Schofield emanated from Fresno out in an ever increasing concentric circle.  Please know that I walk a very fine line here because I know and like everyone of the people that contributed to the book.  In point of fact, I enjoyed the book very much.  And we (I) here in the diocese will always be indebted to Bishop Lamb for everything he accomplished in our diocese to return it from the brink.

Let me also say that I have only been in the diocese since 1994 - by most standards about three blinks.  But the book tends to gloss over much of what occurred from about 1998 through the final convention in which the diocese went "over the moon".  It does not mention the complicity of the Standing Committee right down to one member of the "deposed" standing committee coming to the convention in which Bishop Lamb was elected and made  a statement somewhat akin to  "the body before him was a sham and we needed to turn the reins of the diocese over to the original standing committee".  Much of both the standing committee and the diocesan council went over to the dark side though some realized the error of their ways (losing significant power) and came back.  It did not explain how one priest (now Bishop) set up most of the diocese and then took of for the hinterlands when the going got tough.  Please understand that from the cheap seats events looked way different.  The maneuvers that JDS went through with Mr. Wantland to rename to PECUSA (actually stealing). 

We may not have received much in the way of solid news and facts but it was through the power of Father Jake, Friends of Jake, Leonardo - Eruptions . . ., The Three Legged Stool (James), Preludium to some extent and a bunch more that pressure built such that some form of action had to be taken.  It does not speak  to the fact that some priests stayed and some priests left based solely on self-preservation or lack of stamina or something in that area of the soul.  Is Madera the only church to be sold, I think not.  The same thing happened to several but the one I am most familiar with is St. Dunstan. 

JDS did not plan this in 2003 or 2004 or even 2002. This was probably planned from his arrival as  bishop.  JDS once told a group of women that "Even women have a place in the church." 

At any rate,  the book is a good and a very engrossing read.  It is but one set of stories. It certainly is only close to what we experienced, at least from the nosebleed section of the diocese.
(Modified since this sentence was muddled to say the least.  My apologies to all that said, "Huh?'. F)
Let me finish by saying, buy this book and read it and you will be enlightened. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Old Ways Are Dying!

The school in which I am most closely associated has an incredibly diverse attendance that is something like 41% Filipino, 50% Hispanic (mostly Mexican-American) about 7% Black/African American, 2% multi-racial and 1% Caucasian.  I believe we are but one typical school in a sea of about 10 or 11,000 schools in California.  We revel in our diversity and celebrate the many cultures in which we are so richly blessed. 

The  current backlash, of which the ACNE church is but a part, longs for the old days.  The days when their church parishioners blindly followed their bishops.  Who long for the all white singular culture that they enjoyed as children.  They long for the days of the 50's when everything lead to "Happy Days".  Education was simply white children learning to be good factory workers and did not have to, heaven forbid) think about issues that were ten and are today more relevant.  Why does the Episcopal church have to cater to the whims of every person that walks through the doors? Why do they not just partake of the offertory and enjoy the cultural ties that are the "standard"? The ACNE followers are perplexed why a whole bunch of Episcopalians want to understand a culture that does not belong here anyway?  Love God and Love your neighbor are not the real issues for them; the real issues for them are illegal immigration, homosexuality, subservient behavior and control of everything that happens. 

That is played upon by those who have tried to become bishops and failed in the Episcopal church so they made up their own and everybody now gets purple shirts and their own diocese to play with. Why? Because they believe they can revert back to the "good old days". 

Do not let the ACNE church fool you.  It is NOT about God or Jesus or the Spirit.  It is about power and control of everything cultural and economic and worker.  The rich get richer and the poor get Mitt Romney and George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage.

Those days are numbered my friends.  One cannot stop the wave of diversity and multi-culturalism that is sweeping our church and the nation.  Love thy neighbor and the new testament are growing in strength everyday.  I do not wish anyone ill-will but the old days are gone and the old people will die and the new (all though the principles are as old as Jesus) are slowly taking over and there is nothing one can do but help create  this new and loving church.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Are We Going?

Here is a thought -- much as I love the Episcopal Church and all it stands for and everything it does I fear we are dying a slow death.  Not because of John David or Peter Akinola or any of those buffoons who are generally pilferers, charlatans and slight of hand magicians.  At least not in the direct sense. 

Go over to the Friends of Jake blog and take the liberal/conservative quiz and see where you land?  I will tell you right now I scored a 342 -- well passed liberal democrat and out into the progressive stratosphere.  Those that took the time to post their scores were in many cases similar to my score.  Now, here is the grabber, most of us, No offense to anyone, were raised in the sixties.  We saw what segregation does to peoples souls, we saw the seamy side of politics, we saw war first hand in all its horrific glory and we saw what poverty can do to children.  We saw the affects of children having children.  Many of us, in our lives, met the devil firsthand and became incredible advocates for the gospel according to Jesus Christ -- as opposed to the gospel according to Mitt Romney or the gospel according to the IRD or the gospel according to Newt Gingrich.  After all of that and a few years of greed and high rolling and boats and motor homes and huge homes and growing elitism many of my  generation became enamoured with greenbacks and "personal growth" and many have forgotten that those one meets on the way up are the same people you will meet on the way down.  Derivatives, equity managers, MBAs with literally no ethics lead the way for those who are wannabes.  Those who look at the middle class and rather than join a union and fight for the rights of most have been sold a bill  of goods and believe that if they cannot have all the good things the union folks have then no one should have those things.  Figure that out.  The poor get poorer but think they can become rich by copying what the rich think.  You wonder if hey haven't been smoking an electrical banana. 

We, the progressives of this world, a huge portion of which are Episcopalians, may be passed over, by, through and around.  We may become the minority crying in the wilderness while unwanted babies die from hunger, neglect and mis-treatment.  While public education becomes the elite school for rich kids.  While we get bedroom police and marriage cops.  While families are laid off so that they can clip their non-existent coupons while their jobs are sent to any nation in the world who can be taken advantage of.  but hey, we will get more candy bars while we die from the common cold because no one has health insurance any more.

Our beloved TEC will no be  destroyed by those hammer heads from the far side of the spectrum but rather we stand a real chance of simply being passed by and left to watch.

One Leaves all too Soon

A few weeks ago our family pet, Leader, died of prostate cancer.  A constant companion of Mrs. Fred and a lover of all humanity.  Leader's mom and dad lived to be 13 years old and so at 10, Leader was taken from us.  I know, many folks are arbitrarily afraid of German Shepherds and that is too bad.  There is not a kinder, gentler, more  loving dog than a shepherd.  He went with us pretty much everywhere and loved it.  On one occasion, we were staying at our parents place down south and Leader, as always, got to run loose.  For some reason he became confused and lost.  We looked for him all night and into the next morning.  As one last desperate action, I called the local pound. Wow! Leader was there.  We travelled about 25 miles to go get him.  When the staff brought him out you would have thought Leader had spent the night in jail! Oh, and he never ever wanted to do that again. (BTW, chips really do work.)

We know he rests comfortably now -- but it does not change the fact we enjoy him now only in pictures and memories.