"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

11 November 2009

Wow. (moved)

Okay, as a parent, I admit I would be utterly livid if this were my child:

Parents' fury after two-year-old boy escapes first day of school and toddles home alone
A boy of two was left to walk home on his own after he sneaked out of nursery during a school induction day.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1221634/Parents-fury-year-old-boy-escapes-day-school-toddles-home-alone.html#ixzz0WaqvjBQW

But after I finished pulling my child out of the so-called "school" fast enough to cause whiplash in innocent bystanders, I think I'd have to be in awe of this kiddo. How many kids could, at the age of two, find their way home from a ways down the road. This is utterly impressive! Of course the little fellow got out of there... the school was clearly beneath his abilities. Lots of kids can sneak out; but it takes a pretty impressive litte man to navigate his way back home. If his parents don't school him to death, this boy will be one of the world's great leaders. Count on it.

07 November 2009

When peace like a river attendeth my way... (moved)

Peaceful. That was the tone of the 144th Annual Convention of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh today. Yes, we had some joyful moments, some classic Pittsburgh moments, those little gems that show the world that no matter what they can recognize our faith by our love (and our love by our laughter). I thrive on those moments; I suspect when the going gets tough, it is on those moments that most of us thrive. Those moments are also what makes the getting going even tougher, as some of the ones with whom we have shared our moments in the past are no longer among us. We still love them, and we look forward to the day when we can share laughter again... hopefully that will come before the Kingdom does, but resting in the promises of God, we gladly take what he gives us.

We passed a resolution on the Sanctity of Human Life today and I was truly touched by the stories shared at lunch, and the manner even in which we disagreed with one another. There is respect for one another. Even ruffled feathers had a gentled quality. And our militant moments had a quality of unity about them. This must be what it means to be one in Christ Jesus... not that we will always agree this side of perfection, but that we will work towards the one goal in tandem with one another, upbuilding.

We who just this week were "released" from TEC were also joyfully embraced by the Southern Cone and the Anglican Province in North America. As one home plays us false and casts us out, the other has already brought us in and built us up. Is that not how the Gospel works, when our fallen nature betrays us, when the crafts of the devil decieve, when excrement happens because thats the world we live in, our perfect Father does not leave us orphans, teaches us in all truth, and cleans us up for service in his throneroom.

One of the things we talked a lot about was leaving the patterns of "Egypt," of our old ways and former captivity, buried in the sea we've just crossed. Some of that we managed to do. When it was natural to speak to someone who asked a question about a resolution, to speak to her directly, instead of having to impose pro and con microphones and structure to keep things sane, instead of speaking to the resolution, we spoke to one another. That felt good. I doubt Arius and Athanasius spoke to resolutions at Nicea; even when it was dicey they surely spoke one to another. It feels good to have the leisure, even to be a bit dicey together.

And once again, I'm in awe of the clergy and lay leaders here. And the ones who have now joined us from outside the river valley. Its intense here. Its joyous. Its somehow right in a way that the world does not understand, that there is no word to describe. We work hard, we play hard, and we love one another. That's pretty great stuff.

Thanks Pittsburgh. Here's to another great year!

04 November 2009

Rumors of my ecclesiastical demise are greatly exaggerated. (moved)

Its been one of those days. You know, the kind mamma told you there'd be. The dog needs surgery, my dear friend's grandmother is dying, my kids have bats in their belfries (rather like unto a Bill Cosby routine, these boys) and The Episcopal Church sent me a letter. Its always amusing (at best) when TEC writes. Today they write to inform me that, along with about 100 of my closest friends and colleagues, I have renounced my orders.

Except I didn't renounce anything.

Then again, neither did Bishop Keith Ackerman, Bishop Henry Scriven, and a bunch of other good hearted bishops I know of. I guess if its good enough for Henry....

Nonetheless, having renounced nothing, I get a nice little letter from Kenneth L. Price, Jr. a TEC bishop whom I've never met nor communicated with in any way, informing me that "in my capacity as Bishop and Ecclesiastical authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church, I am writing to inform you that in accordance with the pertinent canon (Canon III.9.8 in the case of priests and Canon III.7.8 in the case of deacons), I accept your renunciation of licensed ministry in the Episcopal Church." Except for two things... the canons cited aren't pertinent and I've renounced nothing. (The full text of the letter may be found here.)

Perhaps he and I can have a very friendly relationship... I can give him nothing and he accepts exactly what he wants. He can accept a very lavish Christmas gift from me in this way. He can also accept large cash donations, which will no doubt look nice on his annual reports. He can accept my compliments and affections and rare and precious gifts. And I don't have to do a thing. Hey, perhaps he can accept annual assessments from the dozens of contested parishes in this same way, and all the lawsuits can be dropped.

Likewise my so-called renunciation is said to be "for causes which do not affect your moral character." In fact, non-recognition of the TEC bishop has everything to do with my moral character. I may have renounced nothing, but most of TEC has renounced Jesus Christ, without having the actual courage to do so clearly. While I have some very good friends whose ministry in TEC does not affect their moral character, my exit certainly has all the affect in the world on my character. Thanks be to God!

So, my reply is this:

Dear TEC,
I renounce nothing. Do your own dirty work. If you don't like that I've followed Jesus into another part of the same communion, find some canons to charge me with, stand up and do it like a man. Just because you can't think what charges to trump up, doesn't mean you get an easy out. Do you think no one is going to notice over a hundred vanished clergy?