May 2012


I looked up the information for celebrating the office today with the St. Helena Breviary.  It was listed as a feria (a day without special observance).  But I wanted to remember those who have died over the years for our country — to celebrate Memorial Day.  It looked like I had two options for that.  I could celebrate this as a National Day (which it is).  Or I could celebrate it as an office for the Departed.  I choose the second option (recognizing that this might not fully fall within the intent) and ended up glad that I did.  The first reading for Matins was the “dry bones” reading, where the prophet (perhaps even literally) stands among the scattered, desiccated bones of an old battlefield.  Can these bones live?  It seemed somehow appropriate for veterans.  And although the focus of the office was new life in Christ, that didn’t seem inappropriate to me — even for those who died who were not Christian.  I do want to honor their beliefs.  But at the same time, I’m sure of God’s love for them, and God’s desire to bring them home.  So thank you, veterans, whatever your religious beliefs.  I trust that God has seen you home, and I wish you fulness of life.

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It’s been a while since I’ve commented on where things are today — I think since before February (when I passed two years since the surgery).  Not a lot has changed.  My weight (before morning shower) still hovers within about five pounds of 155 (after a high of 300 and about 265 the day of the surgery).  That’s where it’s been for about a year and a half.  I’m starting to believe this is stable (I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop).  My stomach still feels like a separate entity. (more…)

These days, there seems to be a real question in people’s minds about the worth of actually joining and participating in the life of a church.  You hear things like “so many of the people are hypocrites” and “I do find on my own” and “nature is my church” and “all the church really cares about is its own survival.”  And there is, perhaps, some truth in all of these thoughts.

Church members, like everyone else, are sinners.  We never fully live up to our best intentions. (more…)

Saints are added to, and sometimes subtracted from, the calendar of saints days (optionally) recognized by the Episcopal Church periodically at our triennial General Convention.  Florence Nightingale, for example, was added for trial use (you have to be approved twice in a row to be official) at one convention and removed from the calendar three years later at the next convention.

In theory, this was because those who opposed her inclusion were not aware of the deep connection between her faith and her ministry in the world, and because they believed (inaccurately) that later in life she lost her faith. (more…)

I don’t know that there is a disconnect between being wealthy and having a relationship with God.  I do know that there are a number of people who have experienced such a disconnect, for them, between wealth and their relationship with God.  St. Francis comes to mind.  “The Late, Great” Gert comes to mind.  But I think my late friend Nel managed to use her great wealth to forward her relationship with God by providing a ministry of hospitality.  (There was both a real humility, accepting all kinds of people equally in God’s Name, and a willingness to use her position in support of the legitimate needs of others in her case.)

Never the less, I cannot understand those who feel that faithfulness to God and wealth go hand in hand — particularly the pursuit of wealth. (more…)

Some of you will still remember the song, “American Woman,” that still gets some play on classic rock stations.  I like the song fine, though it’s not one of my favorites.  (I prefer the version with the acoustic guitar lead in that then breaks into a harder, electric rock.)  It’s been running through my head for the last several days.  Knowing that we all read into what songs and poems and stories mean from how they connect in our own minds to our own lives, I’ve always heard this as a song about not settling for the standard work hard (at any job that pays well), care for your family and retire well thing that seems to run in American culture.  What’s important is being successful and comfortable.  Very possibly, that’s just me.

I think, if you’d asked me during my college days what the most important thing in my life was, I might have answered ending the (Vietnam) war.  Or I might have answered finding the meaning of life (I was a philosophy major) or figuring out God (I did become an Episcopal priest).  Or I might have answered my writing.  It would have depended when and in what context you asked me.

Did I want a real relationship with a woman?  Sure.  You bet!  But it might well not have been on my list of most important things.  And, in the context of making some woman happy by supporting her living the American dream, it was certainly not on my list of vital things to do with my life. (more…)

I don’t have too many more opportunities to share my thoughts with the folks at St. George’s.  Here’s what I thought was important to share today:

Imagine the hottest person you can, man or woman, whatever floats your boat.  For me it would be a woman.  Imagine that she’s the most alluring thing you’ve ever seen.  She’s everything you’ve ever wanted, and more.  She’s smarter than you are.  She’s better read.  She’s more athletic.  She’s kinder.  She see’s right through you.  She looks at you, and she just knows everything there is to know about you.  Are you going to approach her?

I’m betting you don’t.  She’s simply overwhelming.  She puts you to shame. You know, on a basic level, that she’s simply out of your league.  There is simply no way in hell you’ll ever measure up to her.  We are simply ashamed to approach her. (more…)