Frank Rich, NYTimes, gets it

31 08 2008

There has been a lot of talk about the selection of Sarah Palin as running mate for Republican nominee John McCain.  Frank Rich, Op-Ed columnist for the NYTimes, gets what this is all about.

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there is a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman.  That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber.  Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

It is obvious this faithful lady and mother of five is being used by the Republican party to appeal to the religious right.  This choice has been called “irresponsible” by one particular prominent lady, whose husband I had the privilege of working for during the first six months of my tenure at the investment bank I work for.  I just hope Governor Palin is going into this campaign eyes-wide-open and realizing that her gender and her faith are being used to further the secular political ends of a womanizer.

Evangelism and That Blasted “Calling” Thing

26 08 2008

Before I launch into this particular set of musings, two thoughts:

  • In the Discernment Process, one of the things you are supposed to articulate is “What is your ministry and why do you need to be ordained to do it?”
  • My friend, whom I call Deacon Rob (even though he’s not a Deacon yet, but he’s in school for it), said to me, “Some people in the process do nothing but speak of calling. Others do not speak of it at all, except in passing. You are one of those who do not speak of it.”

Over the past couple of months, I have been wrestling with this whole sense of calling thingy. This wrestling was brought on by no small part by my run-ins with Jesus (see here and here) over the summer. I feel as if I have begun to sense the price that is to be paid for living such a life in this particular vocation…it’s almost as if in some way you become sort of a public figure. I have to tell you there were times when I felt as if I wanted to look skyward and say “Do you mind? I’m trying to have a vacation here!” Read the rest of this entry »

Red State Culture of Fear

26 08 2008

North Carolina, though rather progressive in terms of the South, is what they call a “Red State.” It has conservative leanings and also has a rather large Evangelical population like much of the South. It is a culture that is steeped in religion and spirituality, and in many ways, a totally different world that what we experience in large cities or in the North East USA or the West Coast.

One thing I think that is wonderful is how North Carolina has tried to publicly come to grips with its history of slavery. This I think it has done better than many if not most Southern States. For example, there are pictures in the State Capitol of the first black senators and representatives to the State Legislature, standing alongside their white counterparts. There are signposts all around Raleigh pointing to where this or that local Freedman’s bureau once stood, or where certain notable events happened. There is an exhibit in the Museum of History dedicated to the Civil Right’s movement and how life was under Jim Crow. I have to say that I found the parts talking about segregation neither condemning or nostalgic … it was simply saying “this is how it was.”

Interesting side note: In those areas where there was a sizeable Native American population, the Jim Crow laws called for three sets of facilities … “White,” “Colored,” and “Indian.”

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Parental Visitation

25 08 2008

Taking a short break from the blog hiatus to comment on my visitation to the parents…

Firstly, if anyone hasn’t taken a long-distance train ride in a sleeper car, I highly recommend doing so. It’s great to unplug, read, and watch the world go by. I had a small “roomette” which had two chairs facing each other which reclined and joined to become a bed. A second bed descended from the wall and had a harness type structure to keep the person in the top bunk from falling out. there was a small shelf to keep your bags and some wall hooks to hang stuff. Also included was a sink which folded out of the wall and I discovered that what looked like a shelf actually lifted up to become the toilet!!! While this was no big deal for someone travelling solo, if I were with someone else, it could become problematic, especially if it were with a female!!!

The food actually was not that bad and a step up from plane food. We got a morning paper and we took our meals in the dining car and were included in the fare price. There was also a separate lounge where you could buy snacks, sandwiches, drinks, etc.

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Unplugging …

18 08 2008

…to enjoy the rest of the summer, which is the main reason i haven’t posted much lately.  I have been keeping up with y’all and have especially enjoyed reading everyone’s postings up at DP’s while he’s in Tannin but just haven’t really felt moved to comment or add much to the conversation because i’m totally in “summer mode” here.

So, the Reverend boy will be taking a brief hiatus until Labour Day.  This week I’m heading off to North Carolina (or as Sista girl calls it, “North Cack,” short for “North Cack-a-lackee”) to visit the family for a few days and connect with some friends.  Will be taking the train there and back.  I have what Amtrak is calling a “roomette” and am totally looking forward to being unplugged and watching the countryside roll by as i read the paper, a few books, and listen to music.

Next week I’ll be back in NYC and will try to hit the beach over the long weekend.  I’ll still be checking in on y’all to see what mischief everyone is getting up to (and you know who you are!), but I doubt I’ll be saying too much and will be content to just lurk about for a couple of more weeks.

Guest blogger

10 08 2008

I have the privilege of being a guest blogger today over the Doorman Priest’s place while he is in Estonia for five weeks. Instead of a lectionary reflection, and since I am speaking to a different audience, I posted about how this former Baptist becomes an Episcopalian. If you are interested, please follow the link … I may also post it here at some point.

Lambeth Lamb-bake

5 08 2008

I have only been an Episcopalian for a little less than 5 years now, so this is the first time I’ve observed from afar what went on at the Lambeth Conference which just ended this past weekend. I give thanks to everyone who took time to report back their perspectives of what was going on, from blogging bishops in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, and everyone who was doing the work of advancing the Kingdom on the fringes and in the marketplace, especially to +Gene Robinson, Susan Russell+, Elizabeth Kaeton+, and Katie Sherrod.

All in all, despite all the money that was spent and the disappointments that came out of the last few days of the conference, I believe that it was A Good Thing, and an Important Thing to have. Looking at things from the perspective of the bishops, it seems that a lot of good (and at times difficult! ) conversations were had and new relationships forged, and people have begun to appreciate others’ viewpoints whereas before they most likely only read about them via newsfeeds, blogs and other media. You can read all you want, but nothing replaces a face – to – face encounter.

As I have commented on other folks blogs, the non-invitation of +Gene Robinson and his presence on the fringes of the conference made him a bigger rock star than the British Press is making +Rowan Williams out to be, and +Gene’s witness is much more powerful and persuasive on the outside than it would have been inside. From reading +Gene’s blog and from reading about other accounts from the marketplace, it seems that the Lord was definitely at work in the hearts and minds of people. Our faith is an Incarnational one, one that is lived out and given flesh, not one that is read about, so I am all in favour of people getting together in the flesh as faithful followers of Christ.

I recently had a conversation via email with a conservative priest in the Diocese of Central Florida, and what was great about it was that we did not agree on too much, and we will probably won’t in the near future, but we saw in each other a faithfulness in our commitment to Christ and to the Church, and therefore, a mutual respect. I think that conversation is a glimpse into what happened in many cases at Lambeth.

All of that being said, I do have to say that while it is not entirely surprising that the reflections document contained calls for moratoria on partnered gay bishops and blessings of unions, it is disheartening. It is discouraging all the more so because in spite of our HUGE presence in the marketplace the GLBT witness is still one that is talked about, and not spoken with. The Covenant, it seems, is going forward and +Rowan’s newly found ecclesial capital has given it the steam to continue down the road we’re on. I do find it VERY discouraging that the people who are asked to be making sacrifices are the one people that are NOT being spoken to face to face and are not being allowed that Incarnational encounter.

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