Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New-to-Me Blog

I found an interesting post at a new-to-me blog by Fr. Tom Ferguson, the newish Dean of Bexley Hall. I was struck by his two most recent posts concerning the ongoing feud between the Presiding Bishop and the House of Deputies President of the Episcopal Church.

On a personal note, I have been more than a little frustrated with their long running temper-tantrum behavior toward one another--as if we Episcopalians don't have enough problems. It was bad enough in private, but this week the feud went public. Typical, the cause of the fight going public...Money and who gets to decide what to do with it.

Fr. Tom is quick to point out that this childish behavior on the part of our leaders needs to come to a quick end...

Crusty Old Dean has noticed with interest some of the folderol surrounding who, apparently, may speak to whom in what capacity. This week has seen dueling emails from the Office of Communications of the Church Center, claiming that the President and Secretary of the House of Deputies declined to forward a request from the Presiding Bishop to send a link of a video message from her to their email list. This was followed, in succession, with the President of the House of Deputies expressing dismay that her action would be interpreted in such a way, further pondering precedent for the Presiding Bishop addressing clerical and lay deputies.

This was set against the backdrop of dueling budgetary and financial proposals: one, endorsed by the Presiding Bishop, calling for 19 percent in diocesan asking and budgetary cuts roughly equivalent to 9 staff positions – and another, endorsed by the PHOD, calling for 15 percent diocesan asking and resulting in perhaps 36 staff cuts....

Is this what we have come to? Are the parameters of the debate to be defined by some real, purported, or imagined kerfuffle between the PHOD and PB? COD laments that his Irish grandmother’s phrase, “Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” would be deemed sexist given the gender of both presiding officers because yea verily, knickers are twisted all over.
Is this what we shall discuss at the expense of other, more pressing, and more existential, concerns?

Let us list the problems: a denominational health plan causing great anxiety; 23% reduction in average Sunday attendance in a decade; 58% parishes eliminating or reducing a clergy position, not to mention the overwhelmingly white and elderly demographic of our church against a country that is increasingly religiously and culturally pluralistic. Note: sadly, list is not meant to be exhaustive or inclusive. Faced with another kairos moment similar to that of the 1780s-1820s, when the very existence of our expression of Christianity is in doubt, is this really what we are discussing? What Bonnie and Katharine are saying or not saying to one another?

This is only a snapshot what you will find at this interesting take on all things Episcopalian.

Check out the entire article I reference a this link...

And check out Fr. Tom's blog here...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thunderstorms in January

What a crazy morning.

As I walked the family dog this morning and the rain began to increase, I saw a flash in the distance. My first thought was, "there is no way in the world that could have be lighting." But I was proved wrong a moment later when a slow rumble of thunder rolled across the ridge where my apartment complex rests.

As I came inside, my daughter was quick to ask how cold it was. "5o degrees," I said, shaking the rain off my shoulders.

"Sounds like tornado weather to me," chimed my daughter.

"No way. Not in January." I tried to sound convincing....

A couple hours later, I'm in the office and just finishing Morning Prayer. Outside the rain and wind are churning. Maybe my daughter was right.

It doesn't matter today. On Sunday, I celebrated my first Eucharists with the people of St. Andrews, Fort Thomas. About five minutes into it, we all breathed a sigh of relief and since then my mind and heart have been at peace.

I have to admit, I was more than a little nervous. So was the congregation. It has been many months leading to this moment. Plenty of time for anxiety to take root. But all of that has been cut down, and what remains is future and a new chapter yet written.

So although there might be thunderstorms outside on this January day, I can't help but think of God's hand of providence (so beautifully carved in the reredos above the high altar at St. Andrew's, and seen in the picture above). It seems God is still at work in this world, though sometimes it might be hard for us to see it. And it's good to remember that even though the storms might blow around us, God's hand is there to shelter and guide and bring peace.

Sicut flumen pax...Peace like a river