"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)

21 April 2012

More on the election

UPDATE: Dorsey McConnell elected on the sixth ballot.
I think he'll be able to work well with all sides, at least comparably.  Congratulations to TEC-Pittsburgh.  

 Old stuff:
The new Blogger is making this less than simple....

It looks like the third ballot was utterly predictable, as will be the fourth.  We've closed in on a grudge match between McConnells (the somewhat conservative from a liberal diocese) and Runnels (the liberal same-sex-blessing advocate who looks kind of boring, personally).    I'm expecting both Quinn and Woodliff-Stanley to withdraw at this point.

McConnells has momentum, that's something.  It may be that he can manage to get elected if there is anyone willing to swing so widely across the huge gap between him and Runnels.  Maybe a few pragmatic voters and the three who voted for Quinn in the laity.  Hmmm.... three, though, isn't enough to elect him just yet.

Awaiting ballot four, I doubt it will be interesting.  We're probably going to five on this.

 Note: The balloting was more interesting when I was watching Korean historical dramas in which a wicked queen was attempting to usurp and kill the king.  Is this commentary on the PGH election... you decide.

Ballot #4

Clergy Votes Lay Votes
Needed for Election 22 43

The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell 29 37
The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr. 0 0
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels 13 48
The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn WD WD
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley WD WD
 Okay, well now we're down to the final round, folks.  Will they elect or stalemate?

Good showing for my friend Scott Quinn.  Best possible outcome for him, if you ask me.  He held strong, got to run for bishop and make a good showing... and not get elected to a post I wouldn't wish on my enemies.  Huzzah.  I know he'll never read this, but I think he did great.

Ballot five is in... agonizingly inching toward a bishop:
Ballot #5

Clergy Votes Lay Votes
Needed for Election 22 43

The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell 30 42

The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels 11 43

They're voting in Pittsburgh today....

Episcopal Diocese will be electing a bishop today. I'm watching closely because I have friends there and want to see them get a good and godly bishop (though I admit I'm not optimistic). I'll post interesting news as I find it. Thus far I've refrained from making too much commentary because one of the candidates is my friend and former rector.
Stay tuned....
Election results Ballot 1 and comments:
Ballot #1
Needed for Election .... Clergy Votes: 22 -- Lay Votes: 44
The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell 16 19
The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr. 2 4
The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn 11 18
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels 9 33
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley 4 12
Right now it looks like a split in the conservative (or close to it) vote between Quinn and McConnell. I would suggest the conservative side get their act together behind one or the other if they want to elect one of their own. McConnell looks rather strong, but I'm pleased to see Quinn making a good showing.
Ambler, who some watchers pegged for the next bishop and who tried to pass himself off as a moderate seems to be dead last. This may indicate some polarizing in the vote. Not sure.
Runnels seems to have a strong showing in the lay vote. Runnels is a vocal advocate of same sex blessings.
Woodliff-Stanley, by far the most vocally liberal candidate is certainly not in last place. It remains anyone's election right now.
One thing the numbers really reveal is how small the diocese is now. Wow.
Second ballot is in....
Ballot #2
Needed for Election .... Clergy Votes: 22 -- Lay Votes: 44
The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell 22 24
The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr. 0 0
The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn 6 10
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels 12 45
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley 2 7
It looks like conservatives are unifying behind McConnell. I'm wondering if some folks voted for Quinn out of friendship and then switched to McConnell for pragmatic reasons. Not sure if Ambler withdrew or just his few switched over. Looks like its going to be either McConnell or Runnels, depending on which side is slightly better represented. Noticing Runnels now takes the lay vote and McConnell the clergy.
Apologies to all... the new blogger format is making me crazy right now. Will work on cleaning up format here! :)

Dear TEC_PGH... make with the reporting, okay???  Okay, they're having lunch, I'm doing other things here... but seriously, I think this thing has gotten temporarily predictable and would like to get ballot three out of the way so we can go on to the final grudge match between the very liberal and the very conservative.  Nope, no happy middle in PGH today.

Ballot #3

Clergy Votes Lay Votes
Needed for Election 22 44

The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell 25 34
The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr. 0 0
The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn 3 3
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels 14 46
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley 0 3        

16 April 2012

With NK much in the news of late

Please watch this…. There’s oh so much more to the story, and much more that we on the outside will probably never know, but here is a good primer on what it is to be a Christian in NK.

15 April 2012

Shooting sports

Okay, maybe I’m a little old fashioned on some gender roles.  I mean, after all, I do believe that someone should be raising the kids, and biology points the finger at the women as the most likely suspects.  And I think smoking cigars is unladylike, though I always have a bit of appreciation for my guy friends who are comfortable inviting the gals out for a smoke or a beer.  (I do occasionally drink beer, but some of you my be shocked to learn that I was thirty before I had my first beer. yeah, thirty.)  But I’m not quite old fashioned enough to have learned to shoot in my youth.  My great grandmother was a renowned shot, not so her great granddaughter. 

Actually, while I’m not exactly anti-gun (in fact, I do rather agree with my friend who noted that taking the right to bear arms away from the people is an invitation to a police state), I don’t find them really comfortable either.  I think the reason is that a weapon and its owner are so easily parted.  Dependence on a gun that can be left at home, taken away by an attacker (or TSA agent), or malfunctioning seems rather counterproductive.  In fact, I’ve come to believe that no one should take up shooting for self-defense unless thoroughly schooled in other methods of defense. 

In some circles, Eastern Orthodox ones  most notably, its not allowable for clergy to own guns anyway.

But since my kids have taken up the age-old little boy hobby of shooting a B.B. gun in the back yard, I have to admit developing an appreciation of the sport.  After all, there are clearly defined goals (which involve shooting holes in stuff), measures of success (holes in stuff) and areas of improvement (locating holes in stuff closer to the center of the target).  Maybe its all the testosterone in my house, but I’ve learned to appreciate destruction, as long as what gets destroyed wasn’t important, useful, or mine. 

01 April 2012

Altar Flowers

There as a dear lady at Grace Church, back when Grace met in a mausoleum, who brought altar flowers every Saturday night.  She picked them from her garden or she gathered them as wildflowers, and always they were beautifully arranged.  They brightened up the mausoleum and it was her role in our worship.  She just took it upon herself, but that act was a sweet sacrifice that brought the work of the people a little closer to the altar.

One thing about Church Planting, whether in the mausoleum, or now in the elder care home, was that there was no way to just farm out the little details of church to “church supply” companies.   There are too many things that just have to be hands-on because we’re making it up as we go along.   

Its been remarked lately, that our culture is far removed from our food.  We don’t know where it comes from, or in many cases what’s in it.  But the same is true with the stuff of our worship.  Bread and wine just appear, because someone dropped by the church supply store and bought it.  Flowers show up like magic, and even special holiday flowers are merely an opportunity to pop a designated five bucks (ten? I don’t even know) in the plate with a special note, and poof! they appear.

How many of the non-ordained readers know who buys the altar bread or where, who arranged the flowers or even what brand of wine is used at the altar?

In church planting, it can’t be that way.  Sometimes the wine actually comes from someone’s cupboard (like the Sunday both father and I forgot to bring the wine and one of the residents darted (well, they don’t really dart, but you get the idea) back to his apartment and brought back a bit of his favorite table wine.   The guy that saved the day was on top of the world… moreover, he got the opportunity to offer what he had to the worship of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God didn’t designate someone to run out and pick up a few groceries so that the people could worship.  The people themselves provided the stuff of worship.  Animals for sacrifice became the festal meal between God and man.   They knew where their sacrifices came from.  It was the opportunity for man to rely on God, thank God, and take an active role in worship.   It was another way to keep elegant worship from becoming performance art.

I posted recently that bread at St. Elizabeth’s comes from my kitchen.  A parish member brought our most recent bottle of wine.  Last time we needed candles, two members of the parish showed up with candles (so we’re set for a while in that area).   We don’t have people whose ministry is to run to the church supply one-stop shop.  Most of our folks don’t get out much at all.  But its good and healthy that the things of worship are brought in by whoever is able to get to the wine shop, or whoever has an oven to make bread.  The altar guild lady is a resident, so is the guy that co-ordinates the readers.   The musicians are parish volunteers.

There aren’t many of us at St. Elizabeth’s but the percentage of us who participate in the nitty-gritty of worship is high. 

And I’m thinking about all of this, because lately the altar flowers are coming from my garden.    After all, the residents don’t have gardens.  In fact, they love to divvy up the flowers and take them home afterward.  And I think that’s pleasing to Jesus, in the same way that sacrificial meals in the Old Testament meant that no one went hungry, that food wash shared among the community.   Its not a sacrifice if I bring flowers for the altar and then take them home with me at the end of the day, that’s just driving flowers around town.  It is a sacrifice if I choose the best of my garden to give to Jesus and then as his representative let the folks who need a little outdoorsy-ness and cheer take those flowers home.