Friday, September 30, 2005

What, me an Anglophile?

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.

A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.

A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.

No wonder you and London will get along so well.

What City Do You Belong in? Take This Quiz :-)

Find the Love of Your Life
(and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

random Friday round-up

I've been thinking about doing an Episcoblog round-up for some time. Since we have so many in the ring (152!) it seemed like a big task.

But I was inspired by my friends over at RevGalBlogPals, who are doing round-ups by hitting the "random" ring button.

So here are some places you might not have seen this week:

Cookin'in the 'Cuse loses his meme virginity

Sacrament/Life thinks about autumn.

Katherinelooks at Chilean films.

Berkeley Farm Girlis on tap.

Anglo-Catholic Ruminations thinks about St. Michael and All Angels (among a number of others around the ring this week).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Shakespeare and the Reformation

Hi Don,

I have to admit I've stalled a bit on MacCulloch's "The Reformation." It was a bit too big to haul on my recent trip to St. Louis, when I knew I was going to be lugging me and my stuff on Metrolink a fair amount.

But I did read "Will in the World" by Stephen Greenblatt, a recent biography of Shakespeare that attempted to piece together what is known documentarily about the playwright as well as speculation about him based on where and when he lived.

It made a nice companion piece about what we've been reading. Shakespeare has very little overt religious material in his plays, and examining the time he lived in, one might understand why. Of course, by being involved in theater at all he was taking a stand against the more Protestant clergy and laity in England. But he lived in very dangerous times. Greenblatt speculates that experiences with the secrecy and violence that plagued English religion made Shakespeare wary of religious experience and of leaving much of a paper trail at all.

At 800 pages, MacCulloch's book is still religious history in macrocosmic scale; to speculate about Shakespeare's life in this manner was to see the Reformation's effects on the life of a person who lived through it, and whose writings are world-famous today.

And who doesn't like to muse about why Shakespeare left his wife Anne the "second-best bed" in his will?

enacted parable

If I were to have had a theme song for the first part of the week, it would have been U2's "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

There was this important something. And I had been very careful with it, and put it in a safe place.

Then there was husband's installation, and guests, and entertaining of in-laws, and my trip to St. Louis. Where exactly was that safe place? You all know how it goes. Losing it would have meant some serious groveling.

So I have been searching for the lost sheep, sweeping for the lost coin, etc. etc.

This morning, I finally found it.

(And, in the process of all the other cleaning, I found some important pieces of paper I had been unable to find. Gotta love that).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

paralyzed (metaphorically speaking)

Is there anyone else besides me who feels overwhelmed by the amount of choice available in your average store?

This evening I stopped by the local chain drugstore to look for something to help support my wrist. It's hurting less these days, so I am attempting a little more knitting, but I thought it would be nice to see what was available.

Also, my feet have been hurting during my morning walk. So I strolled over to the insoles.

Did I want the sports or work insoles? The gel? The massaging? Arch supports? Men or women? Trim to fit? I was overwhelmed by the shades of Dr. Scholl's blue.

There were so many choices that I was visually paralyzed. I did not buy any insoles.

I did find a small wrist support glove, which did come home with me. There were many choices in this area as well; this one at least had a helpful chart on the side to help me figure out what size I needed.

But I wonder how much of our society's uneasiness rests in feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice and change offered to us for simple daily tasks. Perhaps we need the Good News for the lame, the blind and the paralyzed more than ever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

you can always tell I'm procrastinating

via Bending the Rule:

More Emotional

You have:

The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored well above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition.Your emotional intuition is stronger than your scientific intuition.

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 60% on Scientific

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 84% on Interpersonal
Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Monday, September 26, 2005

at the Fair, part II

I forgot to post about this incident when husband and I did the State Fair last week:

we stopped by a booth in the Expo Hall for some ice cream. Husband was wearing a t-shirt from my previous congregation. The man who sold us the ice cream said, "St. Xs Episcopal Church? Where is that?" We explained to him that it was on the Illinois side of the St. Louis area, and he asked me if I knew a particular Lutheran church (LCMS). Sure I did (of course, I didn't mention that I knew it mostly because they had exiled the members of the ELCA congregation I worked closely with back during the turbulent Seminex years). This guy's dad had been the pastor, and he was himself a retired LCMS pastor.

So after this brief preamble, he looks at us and asks, "So, where do you stand on same-sex marriage?"

So in one stop we got our ice cream, cooed at the chicks in the incubator, and discussed the major controversial issues of the day. (Which he was very polite about even though I'm sure he didn't agree with us).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

no wonder I love the via media

Just back from St. Louis last night. Very tired. Stuff to post but must get on to Sunday business. Except, of course, for this:

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (50%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (50%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

and yet more quizzes!

via Rabbitch:

Zach Warren demonstrates juggling skill while riding his infamous unicycle; multi-tasking at its best. Photo by Malia Welch.
You are 'juggling'. Jugglers, tumblers, and other
street performers were a very popular sort of
entertainment once, before movies and talkies
and online quizzes supplanted them.

You like to put on a show for people, and they like
to watch. You are friendly and well-liked,
particularly for your sense of humor, although
you sometimes play with people's heads. You
are frequently the center of attention, and you
like it that way. However, you have to realize
that the world does not revolve around you.
Furthermore, you have to learn that your
light-hearted antics are not appropriate to all
situations. Your problem is that juggling has
been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

meet me at the fair

Well, not THAT fair. The Oklahoma State Fair--a mere ten minutes from the casa. Strangely, it has an arch, which seems to be a smaller replica of our beloved Arch (also known as the monument to the people that left St. Louis).
For various reasons this was our one chance to catch the Fair this year, so we did a big sweep, but we caught a round of duck racing action (Nasduck?)as well as some trick roping, some competitive sawing, and hatching chickens. We ate our Wonder Bars from the Oklahoma Hospitality Club, right inside the Expo, and, to balance the yin/yang of the evening, strolled through both the auto show and the quilting/knitting/crocheting/cooking displays (one of those deals that preserves marriages).

I always wanted to be a rock star

viaHoosier Musings:

You Are a Chick Rocker!

You're living proof that chicks can rock
You're inspired by Joan Jett and the Donnas
And when you rock, you rock hard
(Plus, you get all the cute guy groupies you want!)
What Kind of Rocker Are You?

Monday, September 19, 2005

and yet another photo

Now husband is officially installed (complete with assembly hardware--batteries not included).

more celebration

Celebration photos! Posted by Picasa

new quiz!

(Although sometimes I can be very, very cynical. . .)

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.
How Is Your Inner Child?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

meme-ing some more

Now I can't remember where I saw this, to give proper credit, because it's been making its round on the rings. Oh, dear.

Favorite fall dessert: Chocolate, no matter what the season!
Holiday: Thanksgiving
Best fall memory:
Worst fall memory:
Most puzzling fall memory: That fall happens in December in southern Arizona
Best thing about fall walks: the crisp evening air, the smell of fireplaces
Favorite fall chore: There are fall chores?
Least favorite fall chore: See above.
Best change in the home: Open windows.
Favorite flower: Pansies.
Best tree in the fall: Maples.
Fall ritual: browsing through back issues of Bon Appetit for Thanksgiving recipes.
Most frustrating thing about fall: Needs to arrive sooner, last longer.
Favorite childhood game: Jacks. Hey, I was a simple kid.
Favorite childhood memory: trick or treating
Favorite decorations: Your basic carved pumpkin with candle.
Favorite clothing: Sweater and jeans.
Best scenery: The fall leaves in Forest Park we used to see from our apartment window when we lived in St. Louis. Will report back later on Oklahoma fall scenery!
Best fall travel tip: Become a clergyperson. Then you can't travel on Thanksgiving and you get to miss the whole airport crowd thing.
Favorite drink: spiced cider.
Transportation: the back seat of a pickup truck on a friend's farm.
Traditional fall candy: Candy corn. But really, again, is chocolate ever out of season?
Favorite Sound: Wind blowing in leaves outside the window?
Best for fall sex: too much information for a public blog
Fall song: "We Gather Together".
Reliable prediction: I will buy some new sweaters.
Best fall television show: old Buffy Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes (husband would vote for Simpsons Halloween episodes)

God Didn't Go to Business School

September 18, 2005
Matthew 20:1-16
Proper 20, Year A
St. John’s, OKC

When I was in college, the most popular course on campus was Econ 101, the required basic economics course for many degrees.  It was so big, it was held in a 1000 seat auditorium, and you had to get there early if you wanted to get a real seat, and not be stuck on the stairs.  My friends who took the course plotted graphs of supply and demand,  created charts of wages and profits, studied business plans that worked and models that spectacularly failed.
It seems, however, in today’s readings, that Jesus missed taking the Middle Eastern equivalent of Econ 101, because the business plan  he gives us in a parable in this morning’s gospel would get a failing grade from any self-respecting professor.
There once was a landowner, he said, with a vineyard.  He went out at sunup to hire some laborers for the day, to be paid a denarius for their labor at the end of the day, just enough to live on, a normal day’s pay for that work in those times.
This would have made sense to Jesus’ audience.  This was a business plan they could understand.
There must have been a lot of work to do, and urgent work at that, because the landowner himself kept making trips back to the market looking for labor, even as late as 5:00 in the afternoon.  This would have been the first clue to Jesus’ audience that this guy failed business school.  He clearly didn’t plan ahead or delegate the hiring to a manager.
At the end of the day, the landowner instructs his foreman to give those who were hired and only worked one hour a full denarius.  And how excited the first workers would be.  Surely they would be rewarded for the hours laboring in the full sun, the grinding heat of a day creating a vineyard in the desert.  But they are disappointed to receive the same denarius they were promised in the beginning and no more.
Now the grumbling and complaining begins.  That’s unfair!  They didn’t do the same amount of work!  Where’s our bonus for being first, for being hard workers?  And Jesus’ audience is nodding along with them.  What kind of landowner is this anyway?  He’s going to be out of business soon if he pays all his laborers the same wage no matter how much work they do.
The author of the Gospel of Matthew has a specific purpose in mind by including this parable.  He wasn’t trying to teach Vineyard Economics 101.  Matthew’s community has a problem.  Scholars believe, based on the writings of this Gospel, that his community was mainly made up of Jews who had become Christian, who faithfully kept the covenant, who were circumcised, and wrestled with keeping the dietary restrictions, and were persecuted by their neighbors who couldn’t understand why they had given up the faith of their ancestors to follow this messiah who had ended up crucified on a cross.  
And then Matthew’s community started to experience another kind of Christian, those who had been Gentiles, those outside the Jewish community.  Uncircumcised.  Sloppy about what they ate and how they ate it.  Ignorant of the law and the customs that went with it.  There was grumbling and complaining. How could they be full recipients of the same grace and mercy?  Weren’t we here first?  Haven’t we been working harder longer?  Isn’t there something that distinguishes us from these latecomers?  They’re not keeping the Law, and you are making them equal to us who have observed it from birth.
The landowner’s answer is directed at all the listeners of this parable.  “I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me:  Or are you envious because I am generous?”
Is it just Matthew’s community that wants credit for having been around longer?  Are we churchy types any different?  Aren’t we very good at grumbling and complaining? Don’t we cast a questioning eye over those who don’t quite fit the mold, who don’t look like everyone else on a Sunday morning?  Aren’t those of us who are “cradle Episcopalians” susceptible to feeling just a tad superior than others? Aren’t we more willing to invite newcomers to potlucks  than to be on the vestry?  Are we really willing to accept that God has called everyone who walks through the door, laity and clergy alike to the same wage, the wage that gives each one of us life?
How freeing would it be to stop worrying about whether we’re getting more or less of God than anyone else?
God’s working on a different business model than the rest of us.  God is working on extending new life to everyone.  It’s God’s business who’s in the kingdom, not ours.  We cannot achieve our own salvation. We are all dependent on God’s invitation to labor in the vineyard, and there’s endless room for more to labor beside us.  Salvation is not a limited resource and grace doesn’t  graph very well.
The truth is, we can’t grade God’s business plan because we have no idea whether we are first or last, whether we are laboring in the vineyard for days, or whether we are the last ones hired  We can’t say whether we were early to class or are in the crowd on the stairs.. There’s no time to be envious of God’s generosity. All we have to rely on is a God who gives us grace and mercy through the Body and Blood offered for us here at the table, a foretaste of the wages we hope to receive, when we gather with all those who have gone before and those who will follow,  at the coming of the kingdom.

reward for finishing work

via Derek:

You scored as Metallica. You are a Metal Licka!

You are one cool, oldschool dude! You love the raw beauty of greats whether it be an appreciation for a fine wine, or a fine lady. You have the rythem.







System of a Down








Marilyn Manson


What Metal Band Are You!?
created with QuizFarm.com

miracles do happen

It's 10:30 on Saturday morning.

I have taken my walk.

I have finished my sermon.

Thanks be to God!


(To my loyal readers of the last few posts: I'm afraid "Episcopalian notoriety" was a turn of phrase encompassing Casady School, All Souls' and the Cathedral.)

So we had a lovely Celebration of New Ministry on Thursday night at husband's church. The church was nicely full and many of our clergy colleagues showed up, and new friends from Guthrie, Shawnee, Tahlequah and Norman. Husband, preacher and I were taken to dinner by diocesan staff. There was the service. I was the litanist, so I was nervous for the first bit--one wants to sound good at a service honoring one's own husband, n'est-ce pas?

I think husband and staff did a nice job of including as many people and groups as possible in the event, and as always, the church hosted a very lovely reception. Anyone want to come over for leftover cake?

Of course, when we arrived, the cats fulfilled their appropriate function of keeping our egos in check by demanding the attention that had been denied them all day. It is, after all, all about them.

Yesterday's surprise for me was a trip to the Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge right here in downtown OKC. I had not been there yet, but took the in-laws after lunch yesterday. What a lovely, lovely place. It's tucked away in downtown, and you would not know how many little paths and water features were hidden so close as you drive down Reno or Sheridan. The Crystal Bridge is a tropical conservatory, very cleverly designed over a canal, and literally filled to the brim with warm weather plants, both tropical and arid.

OKC is holding up very well under inspection by our out-of-town guests. They especially were stunned by Lake Hefner, which none of them expected. (One of them thought I was kidding when I kept mentioning that we were going to have lunch by the lake>) We've also fed them well, hitting some of our favorite places--Iron Starr, La Baguette and Java Dave's, Pearl's on the Lake.

I'm still very tired, and we have three more days of entertaining, so profound thoughts will be few and far between for a little while longer.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

it's raining friends and relatives

and it's just been raining, period. We are gathering tonight for husband's installation at his church, so we have friends in from out of town. And my in-laws tried to get here yesterday--their first flight was cancelled, their airline went into bankruptcy, their second flight was diverted to Tulsa, their final flight sat on the runway during a storm before finally arriving here in OKC at 1:30.

Yet they had enough pep to join us for lunch at Pearl's on Lake Hefner, and to do some sightseeing via auto around the lake, various spots of Episcopalian notoriety, and the Memorial.

Between lightning and entertaining I simply haven't been around the computer very much, but I hope to be again shortly, maybe even with pictures from the Celebration of New Ministry!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Coffee Hour Question #2

asked after church on Sunday:

"But what is the relationship between forgiveness and justice?"

Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Reformation thoughts continued

Hi Don,

Way back when (a couple of weeks ago), we were both reading Diarmaid MacCulloch's The Reformation, and we were both making good progress.

Then Katrina happened and I know I was transfixed by images on television and distracted from being able to follow the complexities of the Reformation across Europe.

I think I'm in Chapter 8 somewhere. And what has jumped out at me (MacCulloch has reached his discussion of Armininius) is how I believe the church gets into trouble when it starts to want to pin God down on matters of theology.

The Reformed and Lutheran branches started writing confessions left and right, narrowing down the possible theological choices one could make and still be a member of any particular Christian body. Catholicism, as well, narrowed its range of possibilities.

I've written about this before, I suppose, and it seems to me, every time, we're trying to take away God's sovereignty to make choices about our salvation--i.e., we want to make a bargain with God, to earn our salvation (wait, wasn't that what Luther was originally railing against, anyway?)

Far more theologically sound, it seems to me, is to let God be God, and to admit, at a certain point, that while we can speculate all we want, theology is still about mystery.

Of course, mostly what is happening in our Reformation study is watching people grab for power, so often the determining factor in a particular country's religion. And here we also start to see the glimmering of the idea that religion is an individual choice, not that of the nation's. I suspect we'll see that play out more in the remaining chapters.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

ECW fall retreat

So. . .

I'm on the diocesan ECW Board, filling an unexpired term.

And along the way I find out I'm in charge of the fall retreat (thankfully somebody already picked the general plan).

Oh, and by the way, it's October 6-8 (at St. Crispin's).

Perhaps some of my regular Oklahoma readers would want to join us. Or know a woman in your congregation who would like to join us.

We will be using a program developed by the national ECW, called "Women of Vision." I've heard very good things about it, helps develop women's leadership skills and spiritual gifts.

Won't you join us?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

just a little sleepy

Just back from an Episcopal Church Women diocesan board retreat at the lovely St. Crispin's Center outside of Seminole (what, no photo with sock?).

Lots of thoughts but I'm very tired, partially through my own fault (staying up late to read Isaac's Storm, a 1999 book by Eric Larson about the 1900 Galveston hurricane) and partially because of the bizarre and loud noise that would kick on about every 20 minutes (there's an exhaust fan motor dying somewhere in Oakerhater Lodge).

The book is an illuminating read in light of current events. As you may know, this hurricane caused 6000+ deaths, and literally sank Galveston's chances to become the dominant city in that part of Texas (an honor now claimed by Houston).

Why did so many die? Power struggles on the part of weather officials (there were men who couldn't believe that Cuban weather forecasters could be more accurate than their American equivalents, and so banned access to Cuban weather reports) and simple human disbelief that a storm of that magnitude could demolish the city of Galveston. Facts were changed to fit theories in order to "prove" that Galveston was perfectly safe.

Of course they didn't have 24 hour news coverage and an entire cable network devoted to weather.

But I wonder how many of us would have made better decisions?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

sadly appropriate lectionary

I'm working at home today, and among the various odds and ends tasks, I'm preparing homilies and reflections for various activities for the weekend.

Tomorrow I'm giving an opening prayer and meditation for the diocesan ECW board. And I sat down with the lectionary,and realized that tomorrow is the day on which we remember Constance and her companions, Episcopalian sisters who ministered in the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 in Memphis, and who, along with several clergy, lost their lives.

Think that'll preach?

donation resource

Via a friend in the Diocese of Louisiana:

Relief Fund, St. Luke's, Baton Rouge

This site offers a Paypal option for donation.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

the more things change


Strangely enough, I am still reading The Reformation, but like so many others got sidetracked onto national events last week. I found I couldn't cope with the detail and remove of the book, and spent a couple of days reading the more recent mystery novels of Elizabeth George. The human condition (and a pretty Augustinian view at that) in her books felt more in keeping with the tone of disaster and societal unravelling on the news.

I have plowed ahead into Chapter 8, while alternating it with a fascinating book on the Bayeux tapestry that I picked up randomly at the library. I'll try and post more tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

if you've been waiting with bated breath

to hear how my subbing for the Religion class with the 7th graders went:

you know it's just not a really good sign when before you even get up to start, the head of school lectures the class on behavior and especially on their behavior, and the minute he's out the door the class starts doing exactly what it is he was complaining about.

Well, I tried to lead a discussion about the theological implications of Katrina (I'm not THAT dumb, I didn't use the word 'theological'). I think they were kind of interested in it, but just not able to really behave in a manner that would make discussion possible.

I know it's not me, everyone else has had trouble with this group this year. But of course one always wants to go into a situation like that and be the hero, the shining star, the one person who can make it all better.

A little humility is good for the soul, right?

say a little prayer for me

because this afternoon I'm going to step into a room full of 7th graders and sub for a friend at the school at husband's church. She's apparently been talking about call and Jeremiah, and I'm about to run over and see what I've gotten myself into.

I'll report back later!

Monday, September 05, 2005

on a totally different note

(pun intended)

I stayed in Tulsa overnight with a friend from the Royal School course before heading out to Broken Arrow for their 8 a.m. service on Sunday, and therefore I am in receipt of our CDs from the Summer Course.

I put it in the CD player when I got home. Not that I have any self-esteem issues, but I was a little frightened to hear my own voice leading the Preces and Responses, my little voice among all of the professional musicians and near-professionals on the course.

Of course it was all just fine, and it was such a pleasure to listen to the music and be reminded of the hard work, good times, and most of all, the special community of children and adults that gathered that week.

Bonus moments included the sound of thunder during the Magnificat recorded at the Evensong at St. John's, Tulsa, and the clanking of the thurible during the Magnificat recorded at the final Evensong at Trinity, Tulsa. Also, the sound of general Episcopal milling during the prelude and postlude. These make for an "imperfect" recording but for me makes it more like listening to real worship rather than a concert.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

trying to find words

I'm preaching at St. Patrick's, Broken Arrow, tomorrow. Always difficult to preach on disasters in one's own parish, let alone on the road.

I'm posting my draft, for advice but also to contribute to those who, like me, are struggling with what we are all going to have to do tomorrow, step into the pulpit and share the Good News.

Proper 18
Ezekiel 33:7-11; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 18:15-20

How do you preach when there are no words to describe what we are watching unfold in front of us this week? How do you open the week’s Scripture and find solace or comfort when it seems to have so little to do with what is in our newspapers, our television, our Internet this week?

Sometimes we twenty-first Christians, surrounded by the comforts of contemporary life forget, however, that Scripture was written by people who knew something about disasters. They knew something about the end of the world.

Our Old Testament lesson and our Gospel reading were written by people who knew something about the destruction of cities. Ezekiel, once a priest in the temple of Jerusalem, was one of those carried off by the invading Babylonian army in the 6th century before Christ. Jerusalem, the center of Israel in commerce and worship, was destroyed, the elite leadership taken into exile, the poor and the unimportant left to fend for themselves in the squalor of a ruined city.

The author of the Gospel of Matthew knew of a different destruction of the Temple, centuries later. For Jews scattered across the Mediterranean, it was again the end of the world. The home of God on earth, the visible presence of the Lord, was utterly gone.

In the book of Ezekiel, the blame falls squarely on the leadership of the house of Israel. The bad shepherds. Those who ignored the warnings of their political actions, but blindly pursed a course that cost them everything. But even then God says, “ I do not desire the death of the wicked. Why will you die, o house of Israel?”

There’s a lot of blaming going on right now. This is actually a natural stage in the reaction to trauma. And it would be easy for us to draw a straight line between this morning’s passage from Ezekiel to someone. Are the wicked the officials at the local, state and federal level, who ignored warnings and cut funding? Are the wicked the media who continually predict the end of the world with every hurricane that roars through the Gulf, and are startled when no one believes them anymore? Are the wicked those who didn’t leave the city ahead of the hurricane? Are the wicked all of us who enjoy the benefits of a society that leave some too poor to be able to afford a car, some gas and the benefits of health, and are stranded in crumbling houses in low-lying areas when disaster strikes?

We have to ask what has gone wrong and try to fix it but I don’t have final, ultimate answers to the question of judgment. I think I’m going to leave that to God. Because we have the words of another person who was facing personal disaster, Paul, confined in Rome, awaiting trial and execution, wrote these words to the community of Christians in that city, probably a small persecuted group, “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

How could Paul say that? How could Ezekiel prophesy hope in the midst of despair? Neither of them had CNN showing video of the National Guard on the way, the cavalry coming over the hill. There was no Army Corps of Engineers, no stockpiles of MREs, there were no people reaching out from across the country and the world, trying to help. If we feel desperate and helpless, one can only imagine their feelings at their predicament.

They could live in hope because, in the midst of finger-pointing and loss, we do have some words. We do have something to say. Because we have a God who does not want death to have the final word. A God who was willing to leave the heights and glories of heaven and be in the world with us, experiencing the frustration and disasters and helplessness, taking it all and saying, “this is not the end.” A God who was willing to leave safety and security behind, a God who has been watching and weeping with those in the Superdome, and the New Orleans convention center, those who have lost everything in one storm. This God gathers us all in, those in harm’s way and those of us in relative security, into one body, the body that has already suffered it all for us, and through that Body, gives us strength and grace in the Body gathered and given for us at the Table this morning. So we can let God take care of the judgment, and in the grace of that freedom, we can continue to reach out to the rest of the Body, contributing to the needs of the saints, extending hospitality to strangers, persevering in prayer. For when two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, the Body of the Blessed, Broken and Risen Christ is there among us.

Update in italics--I realized this could be construed that we ignore the social and leadership constructs that contributed to this disaster. That's certainly not where I am. But I do think there's a difference between asking questions, and "judging others," which usually ignores whatever our own sin might be in the process and ties us up in angry knots..

Friday, September 02, 2005

a button for your blog

via Myriad Musings, who is the designer:

You can use this if you save it to your own computer and upload it to a server (i.e. Photobucket) so we don't steal each other's bandwidth.

diocesan websites

with addresses where you can send help directly:

Diocese of Louisiana

Diocese of Mississippi

Katrina relief continued

The deacon at husband's church and I are working on a project to assemble the Health Kits that Reverend Mommy blogged about yesterday.

I've added a button for the online knitting community's Give a Little campaign, which directs aid to the Red Cross.

We have 3 new Blogging Episcopalians--a reminder, I will add an additional $5 to my donation to ERD for every new blog that is up and running in the ring (with a working ring code) between now and 9/15. Also, there's a new button so you can go directly to ERD yourself.

I am HTML graphics impaired, but if there's someone out there who would like to design an appropriate button for the ring or for those who have donated, to add to their blog, let me know!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Without vision

the people perish.

If you have ever doubted the ministry of leadership, if you wonder what you're doing as a priest or a warden, watching the news the past few days is instructive.

No information. No visible leadership. No imagination or vision communicated to people on the ground, who are actually living in the situation.

As I watch the news, I keep thinking "he had compassion on them, for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

Katrina relief

As part of the blogburst for Katrina relief, I posted this on .Episcopal Blogs

Hi all,

Like many of you, I will be making a donation to /Episcopal Relief and Development, but I wanted to add an additional incentive. For every blog that joins the ring--i.e. with the ring code up and running on the blog, I will add an extra $5 to ERD. The deadline is September 15th. I will include those who are in the queue but haven't gotten the ring code working yet.

If you haven't joined the ring yet, now is a good time for the bloggers in ECUSA to express our solidarity.

As always, there is no theological screening but you must be a member of ECUSA, or, if you are of the Anglican Communion, in communion with ECUSA.

And, remember, you must copy and paste the ring code from your Ringsurf profile into a permanent place on your blog.

May God be with those who work or watch or weep during these days