Friday, October 29, 2004

Some Weekend Reading

Tomorrow morning Demi and I are heading up to NYC for the day. We'll be visiting friends and catching a matinee of Guantanamo: 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom' at The Culture Project. Sunday will be devoted to the parish, so I probably won't be back until Sunday night or Monday. Just so you don't think I'm neglecting you, I thought I'd leave some suggested reading material for over the weekend:

From The Christian Century;
Media Malfunctions ("not voting" is not an option)
Heavenly Minded (...and of no earthly use?)

From The Door;
Advice from Dr. James Dobson (daring to discipline the strong-willed president)

From The Witness;
Institution Over Inspiration? (Bp. Paul Marshall offers a critical response to the Windsor Report)
Vote Christian? (finding common threads among conservatives and liberals)
Divided Church Dividing the Nation (the nation's reconciliation must begin among Christians)
This Time We're Watching (...so don't even think of trying to steal this election)

From various news sources;
100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, says study (The Guardian)
It's Not Just Al Qaqaa (The NYT)

And finally, the latest onslaught by the religious right against the Episcopal Church:

Episcopal Church Officially Promotes Idol Worship
Beyond the Episcopal Church's Pagan Eucharist
Office of Women's Ministries Official Response
Episcopal Women's Ministries Responds to CT as Africans Respond to Windsor Report

So, there you have it. You want the short version, you say? The Women's Ministries portion of the Episcopal Church's website put out a call for new and innovative liturgies. A priest from Pennsylvania responded with a rite, which was then posted in the Women's Ministries site. Someone noticed that the rite was word for word the same as a rite on a Celtic/Druidic site, which resulted in the first CT article. Women's Ministries pulled the rite. The extreme conservatives went ballistic, as you might imagine, and went on a witch hunt. It turns out that it wasn't plagiarism; it seems the priest wrote the Celtic rite. Further hunting revealed that this priest and her husband, who is also a priest, have been involved with a Celtic/Druidic group for some time.

Note how the final word from CT yokes this incident, of the outing of two priests who like to dance skyclad in the moonlight, with the Windsor Report. CT has despised the Episcopal Church for a long time. They leaped on this opportunity to prove, for the umpteenth time, that we are going to hell in a handbasket. Not even a courtesy call to find out if it was a mistake. Thanks for your generous Christian spirit, CT.

Did Women's Ministries screw up? Sure they did. And when their error was pointed out, they pulled the rite. Are these two priests typical Episcopal clergy? Nope. But I'm not going to judge them. Let their bishop deal with it. Lots of eccentric folks end up wearing clerical collars, myself included.

Who else but an eccentric would be a priest? I am firmly convinced that God calls some to be priests because God doesn't trust them as a laypersons. I know that I am pulled from the pit of destruction by the collar of my priestly vows every day. The vocation is some people's road to salvation. If you don't understand what I'm trying to say, I suggest you reread the sermon I posted a few days ago;

...If you're ever disillusioned by other Christians it's your own fault because you shouldn't have had illusions in the first place - either about them or yourself. We are all on the margins where God is concerned, but he holds his nose and he uses what he's got. If he wants to use a bad-tempered old bag to feed the poor of Calcutta, who are we to say otherwise? If he wants to use a rampant adulterer to bring freedom to a billion black people, who are we to complain? It was probably their sins that brought them to God in the first place. The question for us is, what comparable good have we achieved to balance out ours?
The feeding frenzy over on the conservative sites makes me sick. News flash people; the burning times are over; stop the witch hunts, for God's sake!

I wonder if the pagans have these kind of problems?

This brings to mind my favorite quote from Wordsworth (well, second favorite, after Tintern Abbey);

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
Happy reading. See you Monday.

J.

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