Saturday, August 30, 2008


Sometime over the Christmas break (I think it was then) maybe later my mom and I had a discussion about my "Peace is the Church's Business" button that I wear almost every day. It lead to my expressing political opinions on a few topics that are polar opposites from hers, although I left some things more simplistic. Tonight I got a text from her that said (edited from TextSpeak, "Did you say you do not believe in a standing army? Tell me again what you said about abortion and army. Thanks."

I don't really know what prompted that. A little while later I got a text that simply said, "I lurve you." I think that was meant to reassure me that she wasn't judging me. I appreciate it. I know that she wasn't. I wasn't at my phone when she sent the first one. I replied to her text with, ""I lurve you, too. I don't remember what I said exactly, but i don't support a standing army or handguns, except for killing rattlesnakes. I support recognizing the sanctity of all human life from natural birth to natural death. I oppose abortion but support a woman's right to choose. That's a simplistic summary. I oppose government sponsored killing of any human life. Why?"

It really is a simple summary, but it's accurate. There's a lot that could be unpacked there (like thinking that the solution to end abortion is to work to eradicate poverty and better education, rather than making it illegal for doctors to perform). However, I figured now was as good a time as any to share some lyrics on here. I bought Derek Webb's Mockingbird on Tuesday on iTunes. Maybe it was last Thursday. I really don't know when it was, but I have it now and as I listened to it, I felt myself drawn to one song in particular. (On The Ringing Bell it's "This Too Shall Be Made Right.")  The title of the song is "My Enemies Are Men Just Like Me" The lyrics follow. I'm really not a big fan of the sex/gender specificity as that when looking at it it could become easily narrowing and is exclusive, but I grant that Webb is a man albeit "enemies" could be women.  Note that this is copied and pasted, hence the lack of capitalization.

i have come to give you life
and to show you how to live it
i have come to make things right
to heal their ears and show you how to forgive them

because i would rather die
i would rather die
i would rather die
than to take your life

how can i kill the ones i’m supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

(Instrumental break)
Audio excerpt of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: "nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time -- the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."

(vs. 2)
peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution



when justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In 1998

"The average age of ECUSA priests is 59.7. The average age of priests not retired is 55.4. Five thousand, three hundred eighty-seven (32.7%) of the priests are 66 or older. The average age of all priests 65 or younger is 52.6. Three hundred twenty (1.9%) of all priests are 35 or younger."

That's out of around 14K priests.

Check it Out

Check out this sermon that I heard my one day at home after CTD.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

US Christian Flag Song

In God I will trust United I will stand With my brothers and sisters All over this land
I love to vote I love the US of A It's the land of the free, sweet liberty And I've gotta sing the same

I'm an American Christian Born in the US of A American Christian Born again by God's grace

And I thank God for my country Where I can worship and pray I'm an American Christian Loving my Jesus in the US of A

Now this country was founded By a few godly men And I as a Christian I have rights I'll defend

Now, I love america And I love Jesus too Every night on my knees I ask God please Bless the red white and blue

And God through the night With the light from above American Christian I'm loving my Jesus In the US of A.

That was the background music for a while for the US Christian Flag page....what think ye?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Andalusia Talk

I speak to you under the influence of God: Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. As I typed that yesterday I was humbled and reminded of how audacious a claim that is to make. That’s something I’ve learned over the course of my three years as a Christian in college. I’ve also learned that that claim should only be made after lots of prayer, thought, reflection, discernment, and listening to the voice of the Spirit.

That being said, I have a question for you. Are any of you familiar with the webpage “I Can Has Cheezburger?” For those of you who aren’t, it is a collection of images of cats in funny positions with captions that are misspelled and often without proper grammar. They are some of the funniest things I’ve seen, and I give a lot of credit to the people who caption the pictures that make me laugh.

This summer I found out that there is a webpage of people who are spending their time translating the Bible into lolcat, the language that the cats speak. Lol at the beginning stands for “laugh out loud.” While some might see this translation as sacrilege or merely silly, having looked through it online I’ve really liked the way that some of the things are phrased. Here is an example, using the Matthew text that Tate just read for us. Before hearing it, you should know that “cheezburgers” are blessings and “Ceiling Cat” is God.

Wen teh Jebus comez in hiz awesumness, n al teh angels wit 'im, he wil sit on 'is couch of teh ceilings awesumness. All teh nashuns will be gatherd before him, an he will separate teh peeps wan frum anothr as sheferd separatez teh sheep frum teh goats. he will put teh sheep on his rite an teh goats on his left. "den teh king will say to dose on his rite, coem, yu hoo haz cheezburgrz from ceiling cat; taek ur kitteh toyz, teh kingdom prepard for yu since teh creashun ov teh urfs. 4 i wuz hungry an u openz canz and not drai fuds, i wuz thirsty an u gaev me some bowlz, i wuz strangr an yu were liek, "o hai," i had dirty furz an yu gaev me licks, i wuz sick an u rap pillz in ham, i scratch bathrum door an yu openz. "den teh riteshus will say, Jebus, when did we c u hungry an gaev yu gushy fud, or thirsty an gaev yu milks? when did we see yu strangr an says "o hai," or durty furz and lick yu?" when did we know yu sick or stuck in bathroom and help yu? "teh king will says, srsly, whatevr yu did teh other kittehs, evn lame kittehs, yu liek did to me.

What I like about the lolcat bible is that it takes phrases that may be quite familiar to us and gives them a different spin that has caught my attention. The verse that has shaped what my college life as a Christian is Micah 6.8, which in lolcat is, “An wut doez teh lord want from yuz? 2 be nais, 2 luv givin 2nd chansez An 2 walk humbly wif ur ceilin cat, srsly.” In the New Revised Standard Version that’s “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

I first encountered this verse at my first trip to the General Board of Church and Society’s seminar program my freshman year. It has become a cornerstone of what being a Christian in college means to me. Charity and justice have to go together. This exposure to another side of Christianity led to a paradigm shift from my old version of faith. It means that in addition to doing acts of charity in Juarez, Mexico or building wheelchair ramps in Greenville I have to work to change systems that are oppressive, and that, I believe links my Micah text, the Psalm Melissa read, and our Gospel tonight. Time and again I have taken a vow, in United Methodist settings to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” In Episcopal settings I have promised to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” All means all.

It’s not enough for me to build a house for the impoverished in Mexico. To build the Kin-dom here and now I have to look at the ways our economy affects others’ and seek to change negative aspects. It’s not enough for me to give food or money to the homeless, I have to be willing to see how national and state governments allocate funds and lobby my congressperson and senators to be more equitable and compassionate. It’s not enough for me to tell lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered friends “all are welcome in this place.” In April I went to General Conference and stood in witness with the Reconciling Ministries Network and it’s young adult division, Methodist Students for an All-Inclusive Church to work for the full inclusion of all of societies marginalized into the full life of Christ’s one, holy church.

The way I have come to live out my faith in college is drastically different from the way I lived it in high school. I feel as though I’ve become more knowledgeable about Jesus, what Jesus said, and open to applying that to my life – even when I don’t think it makes sense. Being a Christian in college, I don’t think, is really all that hard, particularly in a culture saturated with “Christianity.” I think, however, that following Christ and Christ’s radical messages of love, forgiveness, and inclusion is hard, not just in college but throughout all of life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Things

Sorry I haven't updated, David.  I've been really busy.  Since I left Evanston I moved to Troy and have been getting started doing things and getting them ready for the school year.  Leadership positions will do that.

Two things that I'll talk about tonight.  Note that I am trying to do a better job updating my blog.  Summer is over, so I've stopped writing Jacob's weekly letters, so I need to write stuff.  Both of my issues have to do with self-confidence and self-perception.

Lately I've been freaking out about my weight.  Not too much freaking out really except for one night earlier this week. I tried to run on Tuesday but I had absolutely no motivation. The way I've been putting it is "pretending to run." I ran a quarter of a mile and turned around and walked back, beating myself up the entire way. I continued that most of the day and into the night. Right before I went to bed I was really hard on myself and it just wasn't good. I planned on skipping yesterday and I did.

This morning I got up and did a mile. Two tomorrow is the plan. Then off on Saturday. So, if you pray, pray that I'll be more motivated about running and that I won't have issues about how I perceive myself. The other night I was really angry and down. It was good that I had someone to walk me through it

The other thing is that I'm really questioning entering the postulancy process. I feel so young. Then I remembered, "Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young..." This hit me again yesterday as I was filling out my stuff for before my psychological evaluation. I don't know how I feel about that.  I'm looking forward to it, but the questions seemed just directed at older people.  I don't know.  Just a weird feeling knowing that I'm going to be terribly young compared to other clergy people in the diocese. Maybe I'm not conveying it well, but I feel like I'm not going to have any life experience. I know that I have school, but meh. Hard to explain. Questioning myself. Not questioning my call, but questioning my going right into it. It's what I'm supposed to do, though.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Be Not Afraid

You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters
in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow’r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you, through it all

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor,
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you, all because of Me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

It's taken me two years to get where I am. I'd do well to remember that. It'd be easier for me to be more patient if I felt like there was someone where I am.

New Blog

New Blog on the Blog Roll:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Allies...or Not

An ally too paralyzed by fear to say that he, or she, or it as an organization is an ally isn't much of an ally at all.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Cardinal Casper on the presence of women in the clergy in the Anglican Communion: 

As I stated when addressing the Church of England’s House of Bishops in 2006, for us this decision to ordain women implies a turning away from the common position of all churches of the first millennium, that is, not only the Catholic Church but also the Oriental Orthodox and the Orthodox churches.

Seriously?  What were the positions of these churches in the first millennium on airplanes?  Atoms?  Evolution?  Slavery?  Why are the women still being thrown under the bus (with the LGTBQQ folk) while Rome is not really trying to stick to the "position of all churches of the first millennium" about other issues?

Quotations from Facebook

In an effort to keep quotations that I like around and still be able to update my favorite quotations on le Facebook, I periodically clean some off of Facebook and put them in my blog. I did it with Xanga and now I'm doing it over here. Here are some:

"I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe, and someone said I was a snake, I'd think, no, actually I'ma giraffe." - Richard Gere

"During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism." -Howard Thurman

"God's love if off the chain." - The Rev. Luther Felder

"I've never heard of a school not being on Facebook. Is it an Amish schoolhouse?" - Leland Spencer

"La la la! C'est internationale!" - Cabaret Leader

"You can look in [my purse]. I don't have a knife or gun or samurai sword." - Ellie

And for what it's worth, these are the ones that stayed:

"I will not indulge in futile philippics against enemies I never met in battle." - CS Lewis

"Condemn no man for not thinking as you think: Let every one enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself: Let every man use his own judgment, since every man must give an account of himself to God. Abhor every approach, in any kind or degree, to the spirit of persecution. If you cannot reason or persuade a man into the truth, never attempt to force him into it. If love will not compel him to come in, leave him to God, the Judge of all. " - John Wesley, 1745, "Advice to a People Called Methodist"

"I believe there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety than the Common Prayer of the Church of England." - John Wesley

"We pastors are distinguished not only by what we graciously support, but also by what we condemn. Any homiletic that seeks to make peace with hearers cannot be faithful to the gospel." - Bishop Will Willimon

"If liberals would stop helping the poor and hungry, they would have more time and money to secretly manipulate people [like IRD does]." - Rev. Ashley Walker Davis

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."
- John Wesley

"When you talk about God, you don't really know what you're talking about." - The Very Reverend Alan Jones

"Every good protaganist has to have a gay best friend I think. Kirk and Spock, Froddo and Samwise - all the greats." - Mark Alexander

"Let's make it a game, and turn more literary works into scientific documents." - Elizabeth A. Eiland

"A church that doesn't provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn't unsettle, a word of God that doesn't get under anyone's skin, a word of God that doesn't touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed -- what gospel is that?" - Oscar Romero

"You can't speak in episcode and expect me to know what you're saying!" - Erin Warde

"Your status states absolutely no opposition to the war. Your status states opposition to the apathy of the [A]merican public in the face of our dead." - Mark Alexander

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - St. Thomas Aquinas

And the new one:

"The point being that the liturgy should help us to engage the life of God in the world, and not serve to confine god to an attic full of antiques. That indeed is to surrender the world to godlessness." - The Rev. Sarah Flynn

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Week in Review

I had a good week last week.  I'm on duty at the duty desk for the next couple of hours.  Let me think about what I did last week.  Mostly class.  I won't make this too long of a single entry...if things need to be further expounded upon, I'll make them their own entries.  My objective right now is to try to at least post highs and lows from the day. We've done it daily at CTD and I like doing it.

We were on a field trip Thursday and Friday.  We left the cooler on the platform so I went back to get it.  I look forward to watching the commericals that were made.  We're watching them on Monday.  I want to make a promotional video about the Wesley now.  The kids inspired me.  I wrote Jacob's letter.  The one from last week was RTS.  I'm going to probably write again today.  I had fun at the dance last night, although I was mostly in the homework room talking to other staff and then I got online. 

Monday night I saw Brideshead Revisited.  It was definitely a BBC film, but I thought it was really good.  It's definitely an example of what happens when mothers are overbearing and turn faith (in this case Catholicism, but could definitely be used with fundamentalism, too) into this authoritarian blahness.  By blahness I mean that rather than showing real love, the parent uses the religion to force his/her own desires on their children.  It's hard to put into words, but what this is is not love.  It's being a control freak to the worst degree and using the faith into which you've raise your child to control the child.

This week I bought the first season of The West Wing.  I've thus far watched two episodes in total.  I also set up Jessica G's iChat twice. I made an entry over on Being CHURCH.  I've been texting with Erin today.  We haven't chatted online in forever.  I'll be in Troy next Sunday!  Not quite at this time, but Sunday nonetheless.  Hopefully I'll get to stop in Auburn and Montgomery to see some good friends.

I went to my last Sunday at St. Mark's, Evanston, today.  I'm going to miss Mother Mandy and the other people.  I might come back here next summer, but I might try to work for a vestment company next summer before I start seminary.  Wednesday night I went to Evening Prayer at the church building.  It was in honor of the Blessed William Wilberforce.  I also went out with staffers to Flat Top Grill, too.  I'm going to do something else.

Abide in peace, and pray for me, a sinner.


I would like to introduce you to a YouTube sensation: SuperMac18.  I'm a big fan of his videos, and I tend to watch them when I'm feeling down.  They make me smile, actually.  I'll share this one with you because it's pretty good...I enjoy it better than the original.  This kids other vids are great.  Song Movie is one of my favorites.