Monday, August 07, 2006

When I sat down to chant the Small Paraklesis this afternoon I was embarrassed how distracted I had become by +Don's antics.

Only days before the Dormiton of The Theotokos, and on the Monday following the Transfiguration... Oy me... God help me.

Well, as you know, I am a big thinker so there's been a lot on my mind lately:

But, interspersed in all those high and mighty thoughts, I am thinking about how very many things are wrong with +Don's little meeting in Navasota.

I mean, here's a guy who says he is formed by his vow to uphold the faith, unity and discipline of the church... blah, blah, blah... And yet he is inviting schism by hosting a meeting of only those who agree with his very narrow views. Some unity, huh?

What +Don should have said is that he takes seriously his vow to uphold unity among those with whom he agrees, unity with those he likes, unity with Canterbury. But, in no case, does he mean to imply that he seeks unity with a bunch of nasty queers.

Yet again I can only give thanks to God that I got kicked out of this diocese. I am an Episcopalian, after all. I don't belong here.

Been thinking about that today.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I am going to see my friends tomorrow.
Been thinking about how cool it is to be liked.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I am up very late tonight thinking about where/whether to go to church in the morning. Not too unusual, really. How to snag the sacrament is a weekly dilemma.
  • I can trespass into an Episcopal Church. Don't like that.
  • I can always go to the RCs. They don't like that.
  • Let's face it, Lutherans are tacky and don't even do it correctly.
  • Methodists don't even pretend they are doing anything except a reenactment.
...It's a problem. Obtaining the sacrament.

Here's the thing, though... I do not encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. It's dead for me. I mean, if we're just being honest. It's dead. A clever manipulation of the masses.

About all I encounter in the mass anymore is arrogant priests, pleased with themselves for God knows why.

I'm not doing this anymore. I'm not going. The rest of you go on... Believe whatever you want. I used to believe too.

I don't believe anymore.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 blest are we when we are so found in God we have nothing to defend...

This was on Maggie Ross's blog a few days ago.
Been thinking about that.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today I thought about pharaoh hardening his heart and I wondered if I have done the same thing? Pharaoh drowned in the Red Sea you know.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Today is the day we remember the life of the Apostle Thomas.

Been thinking about that.

You can see pictures of Thomas here. Actual photo, I think.

And you can read some of the things he said here.

The church has taught us that Thomas was a doubter, and indeed he was. That much is true and that is pretty much what the readings for today say. The gist of it is that since Thomas doubted we need not be all that concerned when we too have doubts. Thomas turned out to be a saint, after all.

As usual, there is a grain of truth in The Church's teaching. I think we really can have some assurance that our doubts are not at all worrisome. But I think there' s more to it that just that.

Some people have said, and in my great wisdom I concur, that real doubt is the only evidence of faith. I am not talking about arrogant skepticism. Intellectuals and idiots alike can manage that much. I am talking about real, honest, not knowing. We Anglicans like to talk a lot about dwelling in the questions. Mystics sometimes glorify the cloud of unknowing. Nobody ever calls it doubt, though, because "doubt" sounds kind of unspiritual. We don't want to sound unspiritual.

Remember when I blogged on: "All things come of you, Oh Lord..." Well, then, you know where I think doubt comes from. I think it comes from God and, as usual, I am going to tell you why.

Doubt comes from God because all things come from God and nothing that exists comes from anywhere else. Surly sin and the devil have perverted most of it but that doesn't change the fact that God is the one who created it.

God created doubt for two reasons:
  • It makes us truth seekers.
And if we are also truth tellers,
  • It draws us to God.
Thomas was a truth seeker and a truth teller.

Remember when Jesus was trying to comfort the disciples about his pending death? (John 13-14) It was Thomas who interrupted with, "But, wait a minute, I don't understand. Lord, you said that we know where you are going. But, I don't know. You said that we know how to get there too. But, I don't know that either."

Everyone else, I imagine, was going along with what Jesus was saying... Very nicely nodding their heads and thinking that they understood... Thinking that Jesus was about to set up his earthly kingdom and appoint them prime ministers of good times is what they were thinking. Just imagine all the disciples sitting around listening to Jesus describe a great new world order in which, instead of being despised tax gathers and small-time fishermen, they were going to be the ruling elite! From now on their Roman oppressors were going to serve them. What a self-important reverie that must have been! And then, just seconds before the fantasy was scheduled to become reality, Thomas interrupted with "Hey wait a minute... Let's just back up some because I don't really get it..."

But, it's the interrupter, the one with inconvenient questions, that may invite the most amazing answers from our Lord.

"I am the way, Thomas. I am the destination, and I will get you there."

And then Jesus continues on with a series of remarkable statements which I am not entirely convinced were part of the original speech:

  • "From now on, you know God and you have seen God because you have seen me,"
  • "“Believe in me, and you will do even greater works than I have done,"
  • "“Ask anything in my name and I will do it,"
  • "“You shall live because I live..."

There's lots more, and it goes on from there. Read it yourself.

Jesus makes these remarkable statements because one man, our friend Thomas, refused to just go along. Thomas was faithful to his own truth and he wasn't afraid to talk about it, "I don't understand," he cries out.

And I think this cry rings out throughout the centuries. How many prayers of desperation and despair are centered on this one theme: "I don't understand," or "Why, Lord... Why?" We've all prayed like that at some point.

It was with a history of questioning and doubting -- not just spouting off but deeply questioning -- that Thomas announced to his brother apostles that he would not believe in the resurrection unless he touched Jesus' wounds. For most it would be impudent to presume to approach the King of Glory in this way, to be so close, to touch not just his person but his wounds. And yet good old Thomas does not hesitate. He has a history after all... Over and over his candor in admitting his own doubts and questions, in revealing his own woundedness, has been rewarded with equal candor and revelation from Jesus.

Oh, the stories that have never been told about Thomas and Jesus going through all the questions and uncertainties that Thomas has... Jesus patiently, lovingly, laying it all out for him. Thomas, after all, is the independent thinker. He is the one Jesus can count on not to go along with the crowd. It's important for Thomas to get it right.

I imagine Thomas wouldn't have made much of a Christian. The church likes cowardly, equivicating, parishioners who don't really know much. It's actually encouraged. The Church doesn't do well with genuine doubt, the annoying and constant questions of those who do not follow the crowd.

But, if against all my sage advice, you should venture into that continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals called the Church, know this: The Church is in desperate need of doubters, questioners, and annoying people. But, true-hearted doubters especially. They are the gift that draws us into the intimacy of Christ's woundedness and makes it possible for us to acknowledge our own. They know, because they are the bearers of a centuries-old mantle of questioning, that God responds to our candor in not knowing with equally candid revelation.

Just to put it briefly... As if ever... It's the doubters who make faith possible for the rest of us.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Today I thought about the Trinity-Toon pictured at left. Very amusing, isn't it?

When the Lutherans are being boring, and the 'piskies are being pissy, leave it to the Presbys to lighten the mood.

But, I was thinking about it this morning... The rock redeemer, womb, whatever... And, may the God of the liberals help me, I began to see the theological soundness of rock, paper, scissors.

ROCK of Ages, of course, cleft for me. Rock from which comes saving water, sealing oil, and honey enough to make even a rough incarnation sweet. A purely dumb thing, the main object of which may be to remind us that God can use anything.

PAPER, which as anyone who has played the game knows, covers everything else. Like a garment knitted of love and skin to cover the shame of sin; like the bandage of forgiveness which covers our wounds, love and forgiveness are the paper that covers everything else.

And the good old SCISSORS are for pruning the vine, giving shape and form. Sometimes God prunes gently, sometimes brutally. Sometimes God lets our enemies do it, and sometimes... Oh God, how I wish it weren't so... even our friends. But, like it or not, the scissors are there. It's even in the Bible for all you literalists.

Of course, those are not exactly what we mean by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But, they are also not all together incorrect. And Rock, Redeemer, and Womb don't quite get it either. So there. I am not trying to pawn this off on you as real theology anyway, just an idea. And here it is:

What I have been thinking relative to this bit of silliness is that even when we deliberately try not to talk about God, we are talking about God. God is everything. That's how God is.

God is the cold stone as well as the honey that comes from it. God is the wound and God is the healer. God is the vine and the scissors, the enemy and the friend, the helpful clip and the stab in the back.

We can no more not talk about God than we can flee from Her presence. So, bring on the wombs and rocks, sisters and mothers, redeemers and whatnots. Whatever words we use, it's still all about God.