Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Get on the bus...

I have always loved satire as a way of conveying truth. More often than not, it speaks to a broad audience if you don't take yourself too seriously. Check our Fr. Jones' recent contribution from a centrist perspective here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bishop candidates for Southern Ohio

Take a look at the new candidates for Bishop in Southern Ohio. Hopefully we can have an election this time round. Especially seeing that it will be hosted by the parish I serve here in Portsmouth, Ohio.

More on the middle way...

The Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, The Most Rev'd. Njongonkulu Ndungane, has offered his reflections on the future of the Anglican Communion and the middle way. You can see his comments here. A must read for those interested in reclaiming the Church from the extremes of the right and left.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What is the middle way?

I posted this as a response at a friends blog in discussing what the middle road is all about. Some would believe it is only about avoiding conflict or having no convictions. I believe it is something else...

Dear friends,

As a person who has committed himself to walking the middle way, and being committed to expressing it and teaching it in the parish I serve, I am convinced that it has nothing to do with selling out, with compromising for the sake of avoiding conflict, or any thing to do with lack of conviction!

Being willing to walk the middle way means practicing a type of sacrifice where a person is willing to lay down their own opinions, and their own comfortable resting place within an ideology to be able to minister to all conditions of people. As a parish priest, I am called to minister to liberal and conservative, pro-life and pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-no special rights for homosexuals alike. I am not afforded the luxury of political opinions that I wear on my sleeve like some club membership pass. As the examination reads that Episcopal priests affirm before ordination...

"...As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach, to declare God ’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God ’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ ’s Body and Blood, and to perform the other ministrations entrusted to you.

In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come..."

I don't recall anywhere taking a vow to be a prophet. That doesn't mean I don't have standards or that I don't call people to confession who are in need of repentance...But the reality is I'm not the one deciding who is in and who is out of God's grace. I have simply and and times with some difficulty vowed to be a minister of it. It means being able to be very articulate about the differences between the priestly role and the prophetic role.

And in that articulation between the priestly and prophetic role, Bob Duncan and Gene Robinson have failed miserably and oft times tragically. They are sacrificing the Church they have been afforded the privilege to help govern on their individual altars of self-satisfaction. These altars all too conveniently vested in the mantle of being lead by the Spirit. But God does not send a spirit of division...Only the enemy does.

In the end, it is not about me or my opinions and it is certainly not about groups like Integrity and the Anglican Communion Network, it is about taking the Grace of God to a hurting and broken world, and bringing healing to the people through the Sacraments of the Church. And for those who choose to ride on the extremes wings of the Church and find they cannot in good conscience any longer be a part of the Episcopal Church as it is currently constituted...the middle way has always known the solution to your dilemma...its called being a non-juror...look it up! Because what you are currently doing by dividing spoils only shows your hand that lust for power is what you are after and not the faith of the Church.

The middle way has nothing to do with being luke warm or indifferent...or walking an easy path...It is about a higher calling, a higher road that leads to self emptying so that we might be filled with the love of God.

I remain, albeit sick and tired of taking hits from the right and the left, your fellow servant, JQ+

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Beyond GC 2006

It has been a delight week. So much activity that one has little time to think about the havoc being let loose upon the Church by a small-very small-but highly vocal group of conservatives and liberals. We are in the process at All Saints' of having the old pipe organ removed and a new pipe organ installed. In the middle of all that, we are conducting a fundraising campaign for the organ, hosting a parish picnic and celebrating 2 family birthdays all in one week.

And what fun it has been so far. Working hard both in the parish and at home. Being involved in ministry and family so that other things seem to be only distractions. Thanks be to God! I am convinced that the ministry and mission of the Church is far more important that anything we do at General Convention--as important as that work might be. And a secret to remaining faithful is remaining focused on the mission God calls us into.