Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Gospel of fear

Pat Robertson. Peter Akinola. The Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida. Many in my parish, and other parishes around.

All "Orthodox." All "traditional." Not all are as hateful in their comments as Pat Robertson.

The Bishop, when he made his visitation to my parish recently, made a strong effort to appear center of the road, although he used AAC/ANC rhetoric like, "If the Episcopal Church decides to walk alone..." His take on the Windsor Report is that it's intent was to rebuke the revisionist Episcopal Church and make it behave -- not, apparently, to find a path to reconciliation.

He tried to walk a tight rope, not committing to staying or going. He intimated that some parishes may join AMiA.

If you allow homosexuality, he said, the next thing you know, you'll have polygamy and bestiality.

Well, then, I guess we'd better not have any sexuality at all. If you have heterosexuality, that opens the door to homosexuality and the path straight to hell. Paul had it right -- we should abstain from relationships and wait to be beamed up in the rapture.

. I look at the "Orthodox" element and wonder if fear controls their lives. Do they fear inclusiveness ?? Do they fear no longer belong to a special, exclusive elect?

Do they fear loss of control, that the people around them will run amuck, fornicating and otherwise sinning, if they don't keep a short leash on them?

Are they afraid they themselves will run amuck? What secret lusts lie in their hearts?

Are they afraid they will lose their own faith if aspects of it are questioned, if they have to examine it?

I wonder how afraid they really are.

That doesn't mean the Pat Robertsons and the Peter Akinolas aren't dangerous. They are. They want political and spiritual control of people's lives. They harden prejudice and incite discrimination, leading to harm of gays, women, anyone who thinks differently and anyone else they consider lesser beings.

I'm praying our Episcopal Church leaders will have the sense to stay away from their mentality.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Please spare me

Pat Robertson is at it again. He had this to say to the Dover, Penn. Citizens who voted out the school board -- the school board which instituted the "intelligent design" policy that led to a federal trial.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there."

First: Robertson forgets that God is the one to make judgments, not Robertson, who equates disagreement with Robertson as a vote against God. What an ego. What hatefulness. Disagree with Robertson and burn in hell!

Second: God is much more loving than Robertson. (Obviously. Thank God!)

Third: How does Robertson know God's intelligent design of the universe didn't include "scientific" matters such as evolution, an expanding universe, etc? God is infinitely more patient with creation and in the process of creating than we are. He has all the time in the world, after all. And his sense of time is not ours. A millennium is to him is as a watch in the night (three hours) is to us.

It's people like Pat Robertson, with this kind of mean-spiritedness, using the name of God to bash their enemies and maintain their strongholds, who kept me away from religion most of my life.

Go away somewhere, Mr. Robertson, and meditate on the Gospels. Quietly. Please.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Disease or suicide by drink? You decide

I've been thinking about my brother, Toby, the past week, as All Souls day approached (it was yesterday). I attended a great church service last night, done in candlelight, with time to reflect on those we've lost in the past year.

In the coming Sunday service, the Necrology will be read. It's a listing of all those who have died in the past year — members of the parish or loved ones of members in the parish.. I entered Toby's name in the book, and delivered his photo to the church. It will sit on the altar, with the other photos, Sunday.

I've been thinking about his death. He pretty much drank himself to death. He shouldn't have died at the age of 48, but he did. At times, I think of his death as a suicide, because he knew the drinking was killing him, but he didn't stop.

I think, really, he couldn't stop. Toby had a lot of demons, but alcohol is a demon of its own. Toby couldn't live without it, but he couldn't live with it, either. Liver and stomach problems run in the family, even forteatotalers. Toby didn't stand a chance.

It's true Toby struggled with himself all his life. He was ashamed of being homosexual. I knew nothing about any relationships he may have had, because he wouldn't talk about such things, period. He was secretive. I doubt he had many personal relationships, especially the last few years.

On top of that, he struggled with the same hypercritical family crap I did, with the sense of not being acceptable, of being unable to do anything right or well enough.

Still, was it suicide, or was it a disease that killed him?

Either way, I believe he now has joy and peace, in the love and grace of God. I can only hold to God's promises.

If it were not so, he would have told us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Calling a spade a spade

or at least calling it a digging implement

The Old Testament reading in church this past Sunday was Micah 3:5-12:

Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets
who lead my people astray,
who cry "Peace"
when they have something to eat,
but declare war against those
who put nothing into their mouths.
Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
and darkness to you, without revelation.
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
and the day shall be black over them;
the seers shall be disgraced,
and the diviners put to shame;
they shall all cover their lips,
for there is no answer from God.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the spirit of the LORD,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
and to Israel his sin.
Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob
and chiefs of the house of Israel,
who abhor justice
and pervert all equity,
who build Zion with blood
and Jerusalem with wrong!
Its rulers give judgment for a bribe,
its priests teach for a price,
its prophets give oracles for money;
yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
"Surely the LORD is with us!
No harm shall come upon us."
Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed as a field;
Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

I'm proud of the sermon I heard Sunday in church. Hearing the reading brought tears to my eyes, but I thought the sermon might focus on the Gospel and leave this politically charged prophecy alone.

But the Father made the connections to the war in Iraq and the current administration, and "those who cry 'Peace' when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths."

He did it gently and without ever using the Bush name, but made a point about war and reasons for going to war. This to a largely conservative crowd.

I'm proud of him.

Do you think the President & Co. are aware of Micah's warning? The Prez claims to read his Bible.

It is the living word.