Wondering…

Everything else in my life is changing so fast, I have access to all sorts of entertainment and distractions at the literal touch of a button, on computers small enough to slip into my pocket.

The only place where my life is predictable is during worship from the Book of Common Prayer.

I crave that stability, the turning of the liturgical seasons anchoring me to the world outside the Information Deluge.

Why, then, does those in charge of liturgy seem to think that to attract people of my digital age, they need to emulate the instant FLASHY distraction FLASHY filled FLASHY times FLASHY of FLASHY my FLASHY regular FLASHY hectic FLASHY everyday FLASHY life?

Where is the silence?

Where can I hear the still, small voice?

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Pondering the reaction of humans towards evil

We tend to name things. My car has a name. My computers have names. My iPod and my desk chair have names.

I’ve observed that this is a fairly common phenomenon amongst the middle class.

So why, in the middle-class, middle-of-the-road churches, do we hesitate and equivocate instead of naming things straight up Evil?

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Reeducating the Educated

I’m sitting at my desk at a major research hospital. In front of me is a small icon of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary carrying Christ, literally, in her arms. He’s either whispering in her ear or giving her a kiss on the cheek in this icon.

I have YouTube open in a tab on my internet browser. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is doing her usual marvelous job in preaching, this time about fasting and prayer. In the other tab, I’m reading an article about the first results from the Large Hadron Collider.

My Gmail blinks at me, a new message has come in. I click over and sigh. Another email notice of a comment on a friend’s Facebook. I had commented on the friend’s post because they had made one of those statements that seems so innocent, so innocuous, something along the lines of “People who are religious shouldn’t be dismissive of people who aren’t.”

Oh, I agree with that statement. The five comments below it, where her friends started making fun of and flat out dismissing people like me for being stupid and not believing in science but in ‘unprovable things’ are what I took offense at.

While I am an Anglican by choice and a Methodist by upbringing, I’ve got a goodly inheritance of Southern Baptist fire, also. So I stood up, for myself and for my beliefs.

In a very polite way, of course. The fire is tempered by the Anglican-Methodist Edit Until It’s Kind belief.

And of course, now these people, these complete strangers, are explaining to me exactly what they think I, as the outed Christian in the Internet room, believe.

I apparently believe that women should be silent in church, gays should be killed, evolution doesn’t exist, and everyone should become a Christian or go to Hell.

*sigh*

People who aren’t religious really shouldn’t be dismissive of those who are. I honestly don’t care if a blessed one of them becomes a Christian. I just wish they’d get over their prejudices and try and meet me on the same level for a discussion.

If that level has a pint of beer we can drink while discussing, more so the better.

Oh, wait, according to them, Christians don’t drink alcohol.

Guess I’ll have to drink my pint alone, then.

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In preperation for Lent

…I will be doing laundry tonight.

Okay, that’s just what I do on Tuesdays.

Anyway, for those of you looking to a meatless Lent (or if you’re one of our Eastern Orthodox sistren and brethren, and have already started), here’s a couple links for you.

Build Your Own Vegan Loaf
Post-Punk Kitchen Vegan Recipes
Small Household Vegetarian Recipes

(Note, not all views on linked pages are those of their authors and may not have the Mary Sue seal of approval. So deal.)

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Hatian Disaster Response

I’m just one woman, a good portion of the globe away. I can only send my money to Episcopal Relief and Development and my prayers to the people of Haiti.

And I can check and make sure my can opener is with my earthquake kit.

I grew up in California, so what I have ingrained in my soul as an earthquake kit is now more fashionably known as the 72 hour kit. Food, spare clothes, medications, first-aid kit, sturdy shoes, and most importantly water, all in a pack I can throw over my shoulder if I’m evacuated.

But things tend to migrate out of the earthquake kit, and it’s when news like this hits that I start rounding up the stray items and putting them back in their proper place.

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Continuing Christian Education

The influx of red and pink candy into the office has already begun, and is engendering some grumbling from certain quarters. I was sitting in my friend’s cubicle and listening to him explain what was wrong with Valentine’s Day, from naked flying babies to Cupid’s arrows to heart-shaped candy boxes (which are my personal favorite treat on February 15th).

“We don’t get a day off,” he said. “There’s no religious reason…”

“Yes there is!” I interjected. “Saint Valentine, much?”

“I don’t believe it.” he turned to his computer and then, in an afterthought, said, “Was he real?”

“Probably,” I frantically searched my memory banks, this was After Candy but Before Coffee, so they were moving sluggishly. “I want to say say fourth century, a bishop, helped people get married and stuff…”

But my friend interrupted me. “Did he fight Cupid?”

That derailed the Train of Thought. “That would be awesome,” I started miming shooting arrows and throwing punches “Cupid starts slinging flaming arrows, and the bishop uses his staff to knock them to the ground! Woah, and also? PAH!”

“I’d see that movie.” My friend said, picking up his phone.

—-

“You know this is going on the Internet,” I said to him a little later.

He leaned back in his chair. “Won’t be the first time I’ve made it on YouTube.”

“Hell, it won’t be the first time you’ve made it on my blogs!”

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A Prayer for Today

We thank you, O Lord, for the surprising gift of snow
you have bestowed upon us.
Look with favor upon your people today
and ensure they get to and from
their destinations safely.
And send a legion of angels to bang some sense
into the brains of people who are about
to drive like idiots on snowy,
slushy, icy streets.
In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN.

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Open Letter to Abp. Rowan Williams

Dear ++Rowan,

Cowboy up, brother-man. You can’t have it both ways. If you think you have the right to put out passive-aggressive press releases hoping that duly elected suffragens half a globe away won’t get all the consents needed, you also have the right to put out a passive-aggressive press release hoping that the Ugandans would, you know, not enact a law that would murder thousands of people.

Seriously. You’re making me wonder why kicking you and the rest of the Communion to the curb is a bad thing.

In Christian Love,
Mary Sue
Laywoman

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What use is the Archbishop of Cantebury?

Ruth Gledhill, whose column usually has me wanting to fling shoes at her head* has managed to squeeze a quote on the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality legislation out of Lambeth Palace.

Said quote:

Today, Lambeth Palace told me: ‘It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both national and diocesan level, with the local church will therefore remain intensive but private.’

Ruth goes on to add,

In fact, we can take for granted that Dr Williams is against the draconian new law. But speaking out publicly to this effect could indeed, as he says, have the opposite effect to that intended. It would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values upon traditional African culture.

And I? Am calling bullshit on the ABC.

Brother-man thinks it’s okay to meddle in The Episcopal Church and try and impose his Old World Old School values on this former colony and our increasingly brown church**, but he’s afraid boo hoo scaredy-pants of being called a colonial for saying “Don’t be a dick and murder people” to Ugandans? Especially when there’s oodles and oodles of evidence this legislation is being backed by white men in suits handing out money and grabbing for power, ecclesiastical and political?

Bullshit. You’re useless, ++Rowan. Get us a primate with a pair in here, yo.

Oh, why hello there, ++Katharine!

The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005). […]The Episcopal Church represents multiple and varied cultural contexts (the United States and 15 other nations), and as a Church we affirm that the public scapegoating of any category of persons, in any context, is anathema. We are deeply concerned about the potential impingement on basic human rights represented by the private member’s bill in the Ugandan Parliament.

Many thanks to Fr. Jake for the heads-up.

—–
*What? That’s pretty much the definition of Anglicanism, isn’t it? “Where two or more argue passionately and angrily in the parish hall but line up for the Eucharist next to each other in the Sanctuary”

**As the cat macros would say, I’m in your church, reducing the average age in the pew and ethnic-ing y’all on up in here.

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Fidelia’s Sisters: Where the Wild Things Are

I have words, but I’m not as good nor practiced at putting them together as other people.

So this article by Rev. Lara Blackwood Pickrel at Fidelia’s Sisters rings in my soul, with the beloved story of my childhood and the painful story of my parish.

Max’s world is broken, just like his home and his heart. As ruler of a broken world, there isn’t much left for a kid to do besides scream, kick and bite – and Max does just that. A heated battle with his mother ends with Max on the run. Sneakers slapping pavement, gasping breath and steam, ragged wolf hood flapping behind him – Max runs and runs until he finds a boat, and then he sails away to…the Church.
[…]
[T]o escape being eaten, he does what anyone would do when pressed into a corner: he tells them he’s a King. And not just any king – he’s got the power, the knowledge and the experience they need to make their home better.

My feelings currently are that I did not go to that parish in search of power or glory. I walked in, and they declared me King, and demanded I make things better. I’d been in a parish that did a Search, of course then I knew everything about how to conduct a Search. I was a young woman in a church, therefore I knew everything about drawing young people to church. I knew how to collect history, therefore I knew everything about collecting a detailed and intricate history of the parish with no assistance, no background, no introduction to the elders who had been baptized in the parish as infants.

I don’t want the crown.
I don’t want to be in charge.
I don’t want to be the parish’s savior.

These are just my feelings. And I’m sure if I told them to the churchmembers, they’d all deny that they wanted me to do all these things. I’m sure at least one of the church leaders would tell me that they never saw this happening, never said anything like that, in a tone that resembled the one that they would use to tell me that I was lying.

It’s not the first time they’ve used that tone on me.

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