Monday, August 24, 2009

Secular mets sacred

Today, for me, the secular met the sacred. I was called to jury duty and for the first time since being a priest I was called to a jury panel. The judge and the lawyers asked a battery of questions determined to allow anyone who might be prejudice in the case to recuse themselves.

Despite the fact that the defendant was an undocumented immigrant and despite the concerns regarding the use of force, I thought I could rise above all those questions and serve my civic duty.

Then the question was asked if anyone, who for religious reasons, felt they could not be a judge of someones actions - I had to raise my hand. At that point, all of my internal bias' came to the surface and I had to admit that, I indeed, have reason to be prejudice in this case. The judge released me from my duty this day.

I wanted to believe that even given the circumstances and allegations, I could be objective - I had to be honest, because of my own personal convictions, I could not. I wonder what I'll learn about myself tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Congratulations to the ELCA for their willingness to allow congregations to choose ministers or lay leaders who may be in "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships." Episcopalians are in communion with the ELCA and now we are in solidarity with their wisdom.

In response to their action, the President of Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Richard Mouw, said, "For those of us who have opposed this on biblical grounds, it is bound to reinforce the sense that we are no longer welcome in the mainline."

What? Because the Lutherans and the Episcopalians want to be inclusive that means that in reality they are exclusive? Dr. Mouw, you are the one who is a Calvinist. By the very nature of your theology you are exclusionary and suggest that the non-elect are hopeless and while they are welcome to hang around the door, they are without the hope of ever getting in. Okay, I know you hedge your Calvinism with what you call common grace, but when all is said and done, you are a Calvinist.

I have heard this argument recently from a colleague in the Episcopal Church - he said virtually the same thing - meaning, because the Church, and I, don't agree with him, thereby the Church, and I, are not making room for him. I apologize, but I don't understand. How can inclusive be exclusion?

I wonder?

Monday, August 17, 2009


This is one of those blog entries I have told myself all morning not to write - I know I am going to regret this - but, I guess that's never stopped from doing things before, now has it?

Last night I watched my copy of Woodstock. Unfortunately, I can't recapture my youth, but hey, at least once in awhile, especially on anniversary events, I can relive it for a few hours.

No, I didn't go to the Woodstock Music Festival. I would have if we lived anywhere near there - but, alas, we lived in Phoenix, I was fifteen in 1969. The documentary was released the next year. I had just gotten my driver's license. Good thing the ticket teller didn't ask me for my ID to get into the "R" rated movie - they did those things back then.

I was transfixed. Three hours, only broken by the interfuckingmission. The music gave shape to my inner life - because my outer life was being pounded into form by church and sports. None of those hammers had matching rhythms. The expected outcomes of each was dramatically out of tune. What to do? Live different lives and don't let anyone see the inner world. Worked for awhile, well sort of, actually not really.

Oddly enough, as I watched the film last night it dawned on me that my incarnational spirituality was being played out before me on the screen. No matter how hard the external pounding, the inner vibrations eventually will ooze out. Mystical experiences need no words - sometimes though, it helps to having something to dance to.