Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heads Up

Just so y'all know, there are going to be a lot of days coming up that may be just lyrics. If they aren't just lyrics there will be lyrics and analysis. I still have a few reflections from Harry Potter, too. Sacred Harp is getting to me with some of the songs. Check out this article from the Boston Globe about it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Lord Revive Us!"

Savior, visit Thy plantation,
Grant us, Lord, a gracious rain!
All will come to desolation,
Unless Thou return again.

Lord, revive us!
All our help must come from Thee.(repeat)
Keep no longer at a distance,
Shine upon us from on high!
Lest for want of Thy assistance,
Ev’ry plant should droop and die.

As I sat in the 3rd floor room of University Baptist Church in St. Paul on Sunday evening singing, I decided that I love this song. I'm inspired by its words, by the people who said, "We need rain," and by the rain that I hear on the skylight. Sunday night, and tonight, I think of growing up in Silver Run Baptist Church with farmers and prayers for rain. The yards around here are brown, unless people have been watering, which they have in large part, but that still doesn't help the way a good rain does. This song's words made me think about watching Awake, My Soul! and the people who wrote (and write) and sang (and sing) songs from The Sacred Harp. In my analysis of Genesis worship/LA night I talked about music that is indigenous to communities, and my affirmation of that. I love The Hymnal, 1982 but I have to say that I love "Return Again" because it's the same kind of thing. An honest plea by people who need God's provision to survive and subsist. I think that's what gets me about it: its honesty, and lack of pretense.
But that's looking at it on a surface level, which I think is a very real level to this song. But there's also looking at it from a metaphorical perspective, which is very real too, I think. We're the plants that are dependent on God's help. And if we tell ourselves we aren't dependent on God's help we're lying to ourselves, to God, and to those around us. The language might be "simple" but I think it's profound and beautiful. "Lest for want of Thy assistance, Ev'ry plant should droop and die." The imagery there is easy to understand: without God - via rainfall of water or outpouring of spirit - the harvest dies. Period. And it's an image most people can understand on at least the face value of the text.
I might add some more entries on songs as I encounter them, or songs that are in my heart for some reason or another. The rain has stopped here now, but the night air has been cooled. The traffic is almost null. People are signing off of AIM and Google. My eyelids are starting to droop...
Lord, it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be. The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities. In your name we pray. Amen. A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.184

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More to come...

I'm going to bed, but I'm going to try to blog a little more regularly. I know I've said that about a billion times in the last three years between this blog and my Xanga, but what I wrote yesterday turned out to be a lot more honest than I'd actually planned, and it was good for me. Blogging just because is nice. It's good to decompress. Jacob Lyon gets a lot of letters that are blog-esque. I also got some great feedback on Facebook over the last two days.
Guide us waking O Lord and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I'm starting to freak out about money for seminary. It's just kind of hitting me that I'm going and that I'm not going to be on the amazing scholarship at I had at Troy.
I'm actually not just freaking out about money. I'm freaking out about it and starting grad school. My rector apparently had a hellacious time in seminary and has spoken all kinds of words of woe about it. I'm doing my best not to think about that, but they have been taking root. Everyone I talked to at General Convention said the secret is to get off the Close and enjoy the city. A member of my Standing Committee has gotten me in touch with someone that I think I'll be able to have fun with (his son, so I think I'll be able to do that. Sooner than I know I'll be freaking out about General Ordination Exams. Blah.
But right now what's on my mind is money: moving and living, primarily. Rent and deposits and groceries and I've been on a three-meal-a-day meal plan for the last four years and I have no idea what to do! So last night I clicked a very well-placed ad on Facebook for "seminary scholarship" and this morning followed through with it. Just for watching a demo about Logos Bible Software I'm in the running for some scholarship money, and if you're going to seminary, you can be too. You just click the link to seminary scholarship, watch the demo, and fill the stuff out.
There're even maps to help study for the Old Testament map test.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where Was the UYA?

For those who are confused, that's Universal Young Adult, and I couldn't find any of them last night at Genesis night. Now, before I really get going on my feelings, I want to say that I really hope I don't come across as a pretentious ass. The service last night had some good parts to it. I really liked that a lot, if not all, of the music was local to the people bringing it to us. I greatly affirm writing music within congregations that embody where the community comes from.
However, this was a great snapshot to me of The Episcopal Church, somewhat in light of what others have said about the UYA on this blog. Sitting in the back of the House of Deputies like I am is well and good because I can't see the people very well; we're all on the same level so our heads are the same height, and there are diocesan poles in the way. However, last night when Scott Gunn and I walked in (late. We made an appearance), there were people with glowsticks and it was kind of rock-type music. Our seating was ABOVE everyone else, so I could see out over the crowd, even if I couldn't see everything on stage close up.
I really liked that there was a poet at one point. I liked the artist going the whole time. But I was overstimulated, personally. The poet talked about ADD generation and our inability to slow down/unplug, but last night didn't encourage that. During the songs there was music (very performance oriented), video going, an artist being inspired and creating really neat things, and lights changing colors. I didn't know what to focus on. I really wouldn't have mind if someone had sounded a gong once or thrice and smoked the place up with incense (which is NOT the same as a smoke machine blowing onto the band) and let there be some still, calm, silence.
I liked the themes of the worship service, but really thought the Doctrine of Concomitance was missing from one part of the sermon, which is really my only comment on the sermon. However, in looking over the CROWD I had a few thoughts. First, I was transported back to the Chicago with Earth, Wind, and Fire concert I attended in early June. At that concert we were at the very top of the stadium similarly to the way I was at the top of the arena's seating last night. Now, given my experience with worship at a mega church in early high school, I thought, "I think this worship is intended to draw in the Universal Young Adult." But looking over the crowd, I couldn't find any. What I saw were a lot of people in the same general demographic that attended the EWF concert.
What REALLY hit me was that I didn't see (m)any people like me ageise, and I'm in the young adult crowd. And that's The Episcopal Church. I felt like Katrina Browne talks about when she read about the slavery in her family's history and how it'd been there right in front of her the whole time. The aging of The Episcopal Church has been right in front of me at St. Mark's, at Diocesan Convention, at St. Paul's On-the-Hill, and even at General Convention. But it hit me in seeing the boomers LOVING something that's new to them (playing with their glow sticks) that doesn't speak that much to me. I've DONE that. I came into the Episcopal Church (and this is me personally), in part to get away from that.
What last night was for me wasn't about liturgy. It wasn't how I worship, but greatly can appreciate that there are plenty of people who do worship that way. For me it was a call to action for evangelism, particularly to young adults. If anything last night could've been really overwhelming; stats about the number of clergy people under the age of 35 are shocking for someone who HOPES to be ordained by 27. General Convention has been daunting looking and seeing few youngish people. I don't want to sound agist, either. There is a lot of wisdom from people who've been in the church a long time....but a lot of times young adults get shafted.
We're not just cute, inspiring, or sweet for being here. One of the things that I've loved about the Young Adult Presence with EPF is that I think they're really recognizing us for our gifts. While the booth was mostly personned by people who are older, we were given guidelines and told what EPF was supporting and told to "GO!" We didn't have people waking us up, we didn't have people checking-up on our testimony to make it say what they wanted it to. The Official Youth Presence has seat and voice, but not a vote! EPF, however, has asked us to do our research and speak to what's important to us. We've been tracking legislation and reporting to our coordinators daily, but that's been just as much of a time for me to process than anything else. Definitely not a task-mastering thing. They got us here to participate.
And we've participated. We came and have been doing what we came to do. And I'm thankful. I don't know that I have much to add to Cat's great post (and Michelle's post) about recruiting young people, other than really take us seriously. Don't use us as tokens, but really recognize our gifts and talents. Give us special representation, if you think that's important, but let us be us in that context and let us fully participate. Step 1: don't invite us somewhere giving us seat and voice and then not actually let us vote. And please give us grace. Remember that we're young and not always "established." I'm 22 and just graduated from college. I have no idea what I'm going to do in seminary; for undergrad I didn't have to pay for much other than gas and car insurance (scholarship). Others I knew had to buy things. We don't often make much money and give when we can.
My next step is going to be proposing people pledge $1/wk to "be known to the treasturer" and then start subtly taking over.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Honey, what are you wearing?

I didn't get up to go to committee yesterday. I did get up and listen to the House of Bishops take up C056, which has to take up blessings. I liveblogged the debate, which was really good. You can follow all my General Convention updates at I had a piece of cheesecake for breakfast before that. The bishop gave it to me on Sunday after the diocesan luncheon. You can also follow ALL of what's going on about convention via twitter at and searching for "#ecgc". When someone moved to postpone the discussion on C056 yesterday I left and went downstairs, but I didn't! Some of my legislation (new entry in a few minutes) came up so I stayed through it.
Before debate I was verbally assaulted by someone in charge of running the room, though. One person came up and told me and the guy from Center Aisle that we couldn't plug in. As soon as it was out of her mouth another woman came over, said it again, and then unceremoniously unplugged our computers. And then the chaplain prayed. And then she said, "You need to move your cords so that people don't trip!" When we asked why the answer was, "We're paying for power!" After my tweets someone posted this blog entry, which when I got it made me laugh. As the house session started the PB apologized to the bishops for the ENS headline about C025, and she said it would be fixed.
I was also wearing my Harry Potter costume all day yesterday.Throughout the day I got a lot of questions about it, but they were all positive. I explained and people laughed and enjoyed it. Since it's purple I was going to take it off for the House of Bishops, but Bishop Jacobus told me to go for it and have a good time. So I did. I took it off for Eucharist so as to not be a distraction or draw undue attention to myself. As I went down the escalator to go to the EPF booth to drop my robe off before Eucharist a beautiful young clergywoman said, "Honey, what're you wearing?" so I told her.
After session I went to eucharist and wound up sitting wiht a lot of EPF Yappers. We weren't big fans of the music yesterday. I got a veggie wrap (#3) from the exhibit all vendors and listened to EDS's new dean speak. I liked what she said. After it I went and spoke to the deacons and then campus ministry, where I was recruited to try to deliver a message to the House of Bishops, from which someone had borrowed campus ministry's pace banner. After that failed I sat on the floor and waited for them to get out of closed door session. I got in and they said that they'd take C056 back up today, so I left. It was about time for our EPF meeting by that point, too. We'd postponed from the day before (that was D025 discussion time). Someone from Episcopal Life, who posted the story online at that link.
We didn't really do legislative check in because we were all kind of tired and anxious about what was going to be happening, but we had a great conversation (I think) about D025. Most of us had been in the house of Bishops when they'd debated and voted, and we needed some time to just do group therapy and decompress (I think). It was really good to talk. We talked about Anglican polity, fear, the bishop who felt that others were hiding behind the smokescreen of the Communion, etc. When we broke I went back to the room to drop my bag and robe....
And then went to my first march. There will be pictures on Facebook. The neatest part was when we all took our signs down and were at our destination and people talked. I had to leave early because I was working Traces of the Trade. On the way back I was chatting with someone from Integrity who said that power strips had been put in the media area and when she went back the door keepers made a point of directing her to more power. That's amusing, too. When I got to the Marriott I checked in with Dain and Constance and then went to the diocesan hospitality room, where I got some grapes and enjoyed sitting with people from the Central Gulf Coast.,p>Traces of the Tradee was great, and it's inspired a blog entry for later today sometime After it I went to the room, got changed and was off to the theater. I have some interesting thoughts about Harry Potter and spiritual formation (that may be specific to me) that I'll blog later, too. Be looking for more content from me in the next few days! I have to write today's collect, as well.
Be well, do good works, and keep in touch.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prayer - Day 7

God of wisdom, love, and grace, you are the source of peace, knowledge, and understanding: give us the grace and courage to represent each other fairly as we seek to understand each others' vastly different perspectives so that when those outside seek information they will be given an accurate picture not only of events but of our love for you and one another, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

Witness C059 - Disavowal of the Doctrine of Discovery

The World is About to Turn

Today, I did not go to a committee meeting. My resolutions are still in committee. See previous post. I started my day in the House of Bishops, but they recessed for a few minutes and we left. Jessie and I went to the National Altar Guild's Ecclesiastical Arts exhibit, which was neat, especially the Three Kings. Then I went down to the House of Deputies to see what was going on. I don't really remember, but I did work on my knitting for a bit...and found out that the Bishop and Deputies of Venezuela aren't at General Convention because the US government wouldn't give them visas, despite having one or two (depending on the person) letters from the Secretary of the House of Deputies.

At Eucharist we sang a song many of you know I adore: "Canticle of the Turning," which is a paraphrase of the Magnificat. We've still yet to sing the Gloria, to my recollection, as the song of praise but this was pretty good. The sermon today was GREAT as well. It can be found on the G-Chub (pronounced just like it looks). I have a recording of the "Canticle of the Turning" on my computer, phone, and iPod. I was a chalice bearer again. :) I offer this for you NOT about the rest of the post, but rather to share what happened in worship today.

After Eucharist I went to the hotel and got my leftovers from last night's Indian food run, which was really good. It was just as good (maybe better) cold as it was warm. I had a piece of cheesecake from yesterday's diocesan lunch, too. I listened to The Consultation's speaker, who was good and taught me about Anglican women at the UN, both from the US and abroad. After that I went by the deacons' booth to get them to look at my knitting; I'm picking up lots of stitches, apparently. When I finished there I had a brief meeting with the Rev. Jayne Oasin. I'm applying to be on the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism. Then I went to the House of Bishops.

When I went in it was just because there was a rumor that D025 would come up, but no guarantee of that....but it did come up and it did relatively quickly. The bishops took 30 minutes of conversations at their tables and then moved to more full floor debate. The House of Bishops is a fun place because they know each other from meeting so many times every year in a way that the deputies simply can't. Debate was good and exciting, and I had to put my knitting down to focus on debate. (It wasn't nearly as relaxing as some people said it would be, largely in part because I make my stitches too tight, which makes it harder, ergo more frustrating, etc. etc.) There came a time when it felt like most people were ready for the question to be called, but no one would call it....until finally they did. And after prayer a roll call vote was taken on an amended form of the resolution. And it passed 99-45-2.

After that a group of us went to the Young Adult Festival's reception, where Canterbury USC lead us in worship, which was different but very much indigenous to their campus ministry, I think. And if there's one thing I do understand, it's campus ministries doing indigenous worship that works for them. After that I got dinner (Indian again) with a new friend and then had a tweetup. After that it was late and over here to blog, and I am almost done.

But first I want to re-emphasize that my posting of the video of "Canticle of the Turning" is NOT about D025. I supported D025, but it wasn't one that I was tracking. Yes, there are some changes that could be in the works both for TEC and the Anglican Communion, assuming that D025 gets through committee again and past the House of Deputies floor (which I would assume). But relative to the true liberation that comes in Christ, I don't think D025 is worth twisting the Magnificat into being about; it's about alllllll injustice in all times and place. I'm having a hard time conveying what I'm feeling, but I hope y'all understand.

inally, I offer you pictures: General Convention Part 2 (which features photos from the Integrity eucharist).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Prayer - Day 6

God of Imagination, you dreamed us then spoke us into creation and sent your Son Jesus who raised others from the dead, arose from the dead himself, and raised us to new life: help us to remember that with you and your Church nothing is impossible, not even the stuff of fantasy; so that we may not be discouraged as we answer the Gospel call and do as we discern through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

And the Dance Goes On

The following is a sermon that I preached in April of last year at Greenville First UMC, Greenville, AL. Friday's unity talks and songs made me think about it.
Joseph P. Mathews, OSL
6 Easter
27 April 2008
John 14.15-21
“Creator Spirit, by whose aid
the world’s foundations first were laid
come visit every humble mind;
come, pour thy joys on humankind;
from sin and sorrow set us free,
and make thy temples worship thee.
O Source of uncreated light,
the Father promise Paraclete,
Thrice-holy Fount, thrice-holy Fire,
our hearts with heavenly love inspire;
Come, and thy sacred unction bring
to sanctify us while we sing.
Plenteous of grace, come from on high,
rich in thy sevenfold energy;
Make us eternal truth receive,
and practice all that we believe;
Give us thyself that we may see
the Father and Son by thee.”
These are the words that John Dryden used to translate Veni Creator Spiritus in the seventeenth century, and I want to give you a little introduction before I address the text. First, I did much working on this whilst in the air from Fort Worth– we hadn’t quite reached cruising altitude when I pulled out my MacBook and started working. And I was very tired. Secondly, I don’t mean to steal Dric’s thunder for a few weeks from now, but our text today is about the one of whom the Church will celebrate in two weeks: The Holy Spirit. I believe that the gurus of the lectionary had precisely that in mind in putting this text late in the Easter season. Christ is preparing the disciples for their Helper, and the Church is preparing us to receive our Helper from God.
I think that it is very important to put this text in a few contexts before I elaborate on it and its application to our lives today. First, it is important to note that this is part of Christ’s farewell address in John. John’s Gospel spends a lot of time at the Table with Christ preparing his disciples for his departures. This discourse from the Savior is intended for hearing by the gathered community of believers. Second, I mention again where this text falls in our Church year. This Thursday we celebrate Ascension Day, and ten days following that the Church remembers God’s good gift of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s Gospel text, when merely read at face value can seem quite confusing, at least to me, particularly toward the end. But rather than starting there, we’ll start at the very beginning: a very good place to start. Christ tells his disciples that the way to show Christ’s love is to do what he’s told them to do. They – and we – show our love of Christ by being obedient to what the Redeemer has instructed us to do. Christ is leaving, and he knows that we cannot keep the commandments he’s given us on our own. However, he will ask God the Creator to send someone to be with Christ followers so that we might continue to do Christ’s work in the world.
When Jesus mentions “the world” in this passage, he is not intended to set up an “us versus them” mentality. He is, however, making a clear differentiation between the community of the Baptized and those not yet initiated. Christ promises us here that those who become a part of the community will have the Advocate both with us and in us. Christ promises to care for us like a mother and not leave us alone to fend for ourselves like orphans. He then prepares the disciples for his departure from this plane of existence but tells them that while he won’t be seen he will be alive, and because of his life we shall live.
And then, beloved, we get to one of the most Johanine – having to do with the Gospel of John – statements in this passage. John’s Gospel, as some of you may be aware, is a quite different text from the synoptics of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s writings are much more philosophical and require us to really analyze and think about what John has written. In verses 20-21 Jesus says this, “On that day you will know that I am in my father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Much of the Church’s Trinitarian theology comes from John’s writing about God. In these two verses, Jesus talks about our knowing that he is in his Father, our being in Christ, who is still in the Father, and he being in us while we are in him and therefore in God the Father. Furthermore, he tells his followers then and now that the followers of the commandments are those who love him. Followers of Christ’s commandments will be loved by God the Father, and God the Son will love them and reveal himself to them.
Wrapped you mind around that? It’s okay if you haven’t. Again, John is a book of philosophy and deep thought. What he writes about here is parachoresis – the way the three persons of the Trinity intersect one another, constantly engage one another, and still remain as One. The Godhead is involved in an unending huge cosmic dance that we simply cannot understand because we are the created rather than the Creator. Constantly swirling, intertwining being one but constantly making clear that the three parts are distinct. And the dance goes on.
What we have to aid us in understanding, though, is that gift Christ’s promised us: the Holy Spirit. It is a gift that we receive in the waters of baptism, where we are filled with the Holy Spirit and sealed and Christ’s own forever. In the terrifying waters of the font we are baptized into Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. For a little while we no longer see the newly baptized, and we were not seen by those around us. When we came up, we had been invited to join in that cosmic dance. And the dance goes on.
When I spoke here last year, I told you that I am being trained to ask a question about every Gospel text. It is a question that seems quite simple on its face but can really be quite complex: What’s the good news? The good news about this text, my friends, is that we are not orphans. “In the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s Holy Church, incorporated into the Living Body of Christ, and given a new birth by water and the spirit. This is God’s gift offered to us without price.” We have been sent the Advocate Christ promised us. That’s good news. And the dance goes on.
Earlier I mentioned that I was flying back from Forth Worth while working on my sermon today. I returned last night from a less than twenty-four hour period at the 2008 General Conference. But, though there a short time, I saw in every face there that the Advocate Christ promised us was present. It was on our faces on Friday night as a group of my colleagues and I participated in a twenty-four hour drum vigil and sang about “dancing in the light of God.” It was on the faces of those who disagreed with us and engaged in conversation with us or merely prayed for us. And the dance goes on.
It was there before worship yesterday morning in the movements of the liturgical dancers, and as people from all over the world in the garb of their choice gathered on the floor of the Conference, hooking up to headphones for interpretation as necessary. It was in the movements of the lay reader, and the words of Bishop Hutchinson’s sermon, and in Bishop Lee’s usage of a pine bough to sprinkle those on stage who had just reaffirmed their baptismal covenants. It was with us as the recent confirmands from that annual conference esperged the entire gathered community with water. And the dance goes on.
Our gift from God the Holy Spirit was there when I was greeting people yesterday morning on the streets with “Good morning. Peace!” and an African delegate said to me, “My brother, why did you not greet me with the peace? Because I don’t have a nametag? Because I am facing the other direction? The peace of Christ be with you!” The Holy Spirit was present and active at midday Eucharist when about fifty people gathered around the Lord’s table which is made of a tree that was uprooted in Katrina and has been turned to be used for God and the Bishop of Cote d’Ivoir presided in French. It was in the eyes of the people from the Oklahoma-Indian Missionary Conference when, though they hadn’t gathered on the floor at the Table, they were brought the means of grace found in the Eucharist. And the dance goes on.
During my time in Forth Worth, from the drum circle to the dancing to the engaging in conversation to the serving of the Body and Blood of Christ I felt, learned, and know one thing, and I want to share it with you, people of God, people called United Methodists: the Spirit of God that is imparted on us at our Baptisms is alive and at work in Forth Worth. It is taking many different forms, and while it has been sent to help is, we’re still mortal and have to do our best to understand it, and that is happening in Fort Worth, on every side of every issue. The delegates will continue to be reminded by worship services and the bishops that they share One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism. And the dance goes on.
In the sacrament of Baptism, we are initiated into Christ’s Holy Church. In the sacrament of Baptism we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the sacrament of Baptism we are invited to participate in a mystical, incomprehensible, cosmic dance between three parts of the Trinity. And in remembering that, the dance goes on.
In the name of the Holy and Triune God, whom mortal lips, while joining in the dance, address as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

General Convention - Day 5

Today has been a good day. It was relaxing and I got some rest (which doesn't really mean a lot of extra sleep, but I wasn't running around all day). I got up and we went over to Eucharist together. It was FABULOUS. They put out 10K chairs, and I'd say about 9K of them were filled. The presiding bishop and the last two presiding bishops were the celebrants, and the PB preached a great sermon. Some of the music was a little off; some of the tempos were weird, but I really liked today's music best. I really wish we'd sung the Gloria today, though. We haven't sung it yet and I miss it. I got some good (no flash) pictures, too. The inspiration for tomorrow's collect came today from tweets starting this morning on the way to Eucharist.

After Eucharist I went to lunch with the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast's group of people, courtesy of the bishop and his wife. It was very good getting to talk to some deputies and spending a lot of time with two members of the National Altar Guild. I showed them some of my stoles and they're recruiting me! ;) I brought cheesecake back to the hotel and got my computer and the information for the woman from TX. I had to e-mail her the link to our blog (the hits dropped today, btw. I expect y'all to visit more frequently!) so I got her contact info, too. From the hotel I went to see the deacons and I learned how to knit! I'm not too good at it yet, I don't think, but I'm making some progress.

The idea is to knit a scarf while you're at convention and then give it either to a shelter back home or give it back to them and they'll get it to someone in need. I got the ball of yarn and needles for a few reasons. I'm crafty and sew stoles, for one. For another, apparently knitting is a General Convention tradition. People bring their knitting for sitting in either house (including deputies and bishops of both sexes) so that their hands are occupied. I started following one of them on Twitter and am about to add another on Facebook. I might be starting to make some deacon's stoles for one of them! I sat and talked with them about the diaconate and how I <3>

Then to the EPF booth to hear the Rev. Naim Ateek speak. He's a really good speaker, and my eyes are really being opened the last three months about different perspectives on Israel/Palestine. Fr. Ateek is a Palestinian Christian and spoke as The Consultation's lunchtime speaker on Thursday. Growing up where I did and in the kind of theological background I've had, I've only been exposed to one side of the Israel/Palestine discussion/issue. I'm still sorting some things out and will continue doing that. It's something I need to do a lot of research on, especially reading. I worked on my knitting while he was talking to us and I absorbed a good deal of what he said, now that I think about it. Apparently that's a good way for me to do some focusing.

After he talked with us a group of us went and got Indian food, which I'm not used to. Not a lot of it in Troy, and I didn't make trips to Montgomery unless I had to. I was pleased with what I ate, although it was a little spicier than I expected...but I got used to it. While I was with the deacons, once during Naim's talk, and all through dinner I was following the debate and then voting on Resolution D025 (the hot issue of the day; I think most of the YAPs were wondering what was going to happen with it), and it passed with 2/3+ majority. After that we went to Traces of the Trade, which I've seen before and will see again Tuesday night. I think I'll talk more about it then because I will have been through the entire conversation about it that will follow.

I did NOT stay for the entire conversation tonight. I went and got frozen yogurt with Valerie, Nicole, and Gary. It was a good break :). Then I came back to the room and listened to various music and discussions about prisons and then took part in a discussion about sex offenders. Finishing up this blog entry, going to meditate some for tomorrow's collect (which I'm really looking forward to), and then going to post my sermon "The Dance Goes On" before going to bed.

Teaser: God of Imagination...

General Convention - Day 4

Yesterday morning...Brad got up and went to a committee meeting and I slept in! It was very good. My ideal was to go to the House of Bishops before Eucharist, but it just didn't happen. I got up and got over to the convention center in time to meet Nicole and Nedgie at the EPF booth...then we went to the Haiti booth then Eucharist, where I was a server and got to take wine up to the altar at the offering. At the end of Eucharist I had a great conversation with a woman in the Diocese of Fort Worth who's trying to get a campus ministry going and working to attract young people to their church. I referred her to this blog and Brad and I gave her some ideas about thing that happen at our campus ministries.

After Eucharist I crashed Young Adult Festival lunch again and then went to see Repairing the Breach. Katrina Browne recruited me to help her out and get others to do the same. It's about what work the Church has done in the last triennium to follow through with resolutions about conversations on the continued impact of slavery on society today, particularly the complacency of the church. But like Traces of the Trade one can't just watch it; there has to be discussion afterward, and it was good. The group was divided into people who could remember Roosevelt's funeral, JFK's assassination, and everyone else. I was in the everyone else group, and we were invited to answer the question, "What do you hope to see the Church do before you die?" which lead to great discussion about young people as tokens vs young people as regular parts of the church - and another plug for our blog.

After that we scurried off to the EPF meeting and talked for a few minutes. Anson had counter protested some protestors and he talked about it. Apparently they told him that ++KJS had castrated him. From there I went to the deacons ( and got a kit for knitting a scarf for someone in need. Valerie had shown us her kit at our meeting and I got one. Someone else said that the deacons would teach one how to knit, too. From there it was back to the Red Lion to set up for the EPF Reception honoring Presiding Bishop Ed Browning. I was working the door, so I didn't get to hear a lot of the speech, but what I heard was great (as was the food!). I closed the program with two of the collects I've written, and hopefully YAPpers will be in The Daily tomorrow.

After we finished at the reception a group of us went to Bar Louie to get some drinks. We needed to get away from the Convention Center campus, and it was good. Our server was a jerk, but meh. When I got back here I was zonked and just went to bed, hence no post, although I'd planned on getting caught up last night. And for the sake of sanity I'm going to write about today in a separate entry...right now.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

General Convention - Day 3

I'm sorry that I'm behind in my daily updates, but the last two days have actually been really good. On Friday I got up way later than I'd planned which was humorous in the end. While getting ready, I did everything I had to do behind closed doors behind closed doors - and everything else on the way. I was testifying about continued conversations on slavery/racism. I put my tie on while walking across the street. I put my belt on in the elevator. I put lapel pins in walking on the sidewalk. I tied my shoes on the escalator in the Hilton. I put my contacts on in the meeting room. But I got there on time and got signed up!

I testified and I thought it went great. After the official hearing ended, the subcommittee invited some of us to participate in their discussion on resolutions and to make specific suggestions about certain things. I got to talk to a subcommittee and ask them to highlight something from a previous resolution! I also made some great contacts. After that I went to the exhibit hall for just a minute (it's kind of a default since we have our booth there) and then went to the House of Deputies Committee of the Whole to hear B033 discussion. It was all really respectful with one bizarre comment that seemed from off in left field. Other than that it was really good. And then we sang "The Church's One Foundation" which REALLY spoke to me. I'm going to go back and put emphasis on the lyrics that really hit me as we were singing.

From there I went to Eucharist where I met a friend that I've known on Facebook for a year and I got a picture with Fr. Matthew (of Fr. Matthew Presents). The sermon was given by the President of the House of Deputies on the topic "Unity" about which ++Rowan spoke as well. "The Church's One Foundation" was a perfect prelude into the Eucharist, I thought. Again I was a Eucharistic minister. (I won't be today, but that's because I didn't sign up earlier in the week.) All this preaching and singing about unity inspired yesterday's collect and made me think of a sermon I preached a little over a year ago (in a very similar kind if situation!) that I'll post in another entry (although you can read it here in the interim: "The Dance Goes On").

After Eucharist I crashed the Young Adult Festival luncheon (at their invitation), which was very good, although I had to miss the lunchtime speaker from The Consultation. Don't remember what happened but I eventually wound up at a our daily YAP meeting. After that I went to the hotel and changed shirts before I went to the IntegrityUSA Eucharist, which was AMAZING. I took a lot of pictures throughout the days and will put those up (well, a link) later today. I haven't uploaded them yet. Bishop Harris was AMAZING in her sermon, which is available on demand from the General Convention Media Hub). I got some really great pictures.

After that we all got frozen yogurt! I went to bed and then slept in. I'm off to Eucharist now, but will write about how great yesterday was this afternoon.

B033 Discussion

In the committee of the whole closed with this hymn on Friday. I haven't written about Friday or Saturday yet, but Friday really impacted the collect for Saturday and some ideas I have that I'm going to try to share tomorrow. This happens to be one of my favorite hymns, too. (So much so that I have it set as the sequence hymn for my funeral that, yes, I have already planned).

The Church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed;
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, "How long?"
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in one,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

Prayer - Day 5

I've been working on this one since Saturday morning - read before you scurry off to eucharist, please!

Creator God, for six days your labored and then took a time of rest: help us to rest and recover when we are given time to be still, so that we may be prepared to do your work in the world until we come to that final land of rest where Christ reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer - Day 4

O Blessed Three-in-One, One-in-Three: From the beginning of time you have danced in unity; show us the unity that comes in Christ from being water-washed and spirit born - whether we like it or realize it or not - so that we may speak to and of each other with respect in times of agreement and disagreement. Amen.

Prayer - Day 3

God of abundance, all things come of you, and all that we have belongs to you; remind us of your abundance and that where our treasure lies our hearts lie, so that as we make decisions we remember Gospel works of peacemaking, evangelism, and compassion, working with the Spirit to bring the reality you New Reign to Earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Friday, July 10, 2009

General Convention - Day 2

Today was a day with a slow start, which tomorrow definitely will not be. It’s also been a day of networking. I got up and got ready and came over to the convention center. I talked with some different people and then went over to Committee 9 because someone wanted to interview us. I got there and three other YAPpers were there. Allison gave AMAZING testimony. She’ll be working with the committee some, I think, to work on perfecting the language of the resolutions to which she spoke. After the committee adjourned, though the four of us were interviewed. When that makes its way online I’ll post links or try to embed some video.

After the committee adjourned I hung out in the convention center hall way and then went to the EPF booth during the mission conversation/public narrative time. From there I went to Eucharist. The music was better today than yesterday, I think. Most of the liturgy was in Spanish, which was different for me, but a good thing for me to be around. +Jon Bruno of Los Angeles presided, and ++Rowan gave us a meditation on the Gospel text. Before that service, though I put my Integrity shirt on.

Integrity passed out shirts starting at noon yesterday and continuing until when I left the exhibit hall right at 4:30. They said, “Here I am, send me! I am a witness to God’s inclusive love!” Under it I had on my EPF shirt and took the Integrity shirt off after the service, too. Multiple shirts were too hot. There were 500 people in bright red, blue, and green shirts in the Eucharist at which the ABC was speaking. It was realllly neat. I was a eucharistic minister again, but was doing bread this time - gluten free...and I ran out, even breaking some of the hosts into pieces. As we were wrapping up, The Rev. Ed Bacon walked by and I spoke to him. He said that I done a good job last night.

After I was part of the photo-op of people wearing the shirt we came back in and I listened to the Consultation’s 1:00 speaker and got lunch. I need to do a better job eating regularly and eating healthily. After eating I swung by the campus ministries booth, where I wasn’t very long, but I met one of the campus ministers from the Edge at San Francisco State. I met ANOTHER one of them at Forum. Small, small world! I wasn’t at the booth for long as I was invited to second lunch (do hobbits eat that?) by two General alum, one of whom was from Louisiana before moving to DioCal. After that I went to the EPF booth briefly and then the House of Deputies, HOPING to hear B033 discussion, but I sat through 20 minutes of Consent Calendar....I was saved from it by the YAP daily debrief.

However, on my way to the House of Deputies I did more networking. I saw Katrina Browne whose family is in Traces of the Trade. She and I talked for a few minutes and I got her card. I was given the task of recruiting (trying to find) help to deal with the table at the screenings of the film. And since I'm a young adult someone from DioMass asked me to give stuff to the rest of the EPF YAPpers, which I did.

Daily debrief was great. It was one of the highlights of my day. We started by centering and being still and quiet. Then we did the Daily Devotion for Individuals and Families (BCP 139), which I love. Then we all talked about our time since that last time we'd met together (yesterday at 5:00). There were great stories about testifying and hearing testimony. Then there was talk about having conversations with committee members after the fact. Everyone is busy working away and doing stuff for their resolutions. One of the highlights of that meeting was finding out about a reception, which we definitely attended. Yay free food! We stayed there then came back to the room.

I'm about to go to bed. I have to testify tomorrow about some legislation, so that requires ironing a shirt. I don't have any updates on my resolutions because nothing has moved yet. Actually, my Doctrine of Discovery resolution (about which I testified last night) is a D resolution instead of a C resolution. It's D035. Actually, the webpage has been updated, so let me check...Yes! A144 is in the House of Deputies, and A149 is pending in the House of Bishops. 'sall I got. I'm going to hear testimony on C050 and A142 tomorrow.

Before I go to bed I'm going to look at the theme for tomorrow's Eucharist. I may or may not be starting to think about those in my daily collects. The last two days tweets have actually affected them the most. I'm trying to write prayers that are influenced by and apply to General Convention 2009 but aren't specifically bound to General Convention 2009. I'm also trying to not push an agenda about specific issues, but peace, reconciliation, and hope in them. I think prayer should be about those things, at least prayers offered in the way this blog presents them, which ISN'T just prayers that I'm praying - but I'm really hoping they can be used by people reading all around, too.

Lord it is night after a long convention day. What has been done; what has not been done has not been done. Let it be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Prayer - Day 2

O God who has knit together the fabric of our beings and the fabric of your church, give us the grace to see ourselves in others and embody Ubuntu so that we as the Body of Christ may show all people -- outside and inside the church -- the love of Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers for General Convention - Day 1

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in Anaheim for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- Book of Common Prayer, 818, emphasis added

And one of my own:

O God who has gathered together deputies, volunteers, visitors, and advocates, (who dance on the Ubuntu logo around the love of the Cross) remind us in our times of disagreement that we are all created in your image. Give us ears and hearts to hear different perspectives in love that we may continue loving and serving you in peace, showing the good news and new life of Jesus' resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

General Convention Ubuntu Logo

Guidelines for Holy Conferencing

I know we're Episcopalians. And I know that there is wisdom in other traditions and denominations. I offer this as a read (from this page):

What God Expects of Us

Colossians 3:12-16a, 17

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  • Every person is a child of God. Always speak respectfully. One can disagree without being disagreeable.

  • As you patiently listen and observe the behavior of others, be open to the possibility that God can change the views of any or all parties in the discussion.

  • Listen patiently before formulating responses.

  • Strive to understand the experience out of which others have arrived at their views.

  • Be careful in how you express personal offense at differing opinions. Otherwise dialogue may be inhibited.

  • Accurately reflect the views of others when speaking. This is especially important when you disagree with that position.

  • Avoid making generalizations about individuals and groups. Make your point with specific evidence and examples.

  • Make use of facilitators and mediators.

  • Remember that people are defined, ultimately, by their relationship with God – not by the flaws we discover, or think we discover, in their views and actions.

We believe Christians can discuss important issues without the acrimonious debate and parliamentary maneuvering that can divide a group into contending factions. We see too many examples of that in secular society. We believe the Holy Spirit leads in all things, especially as we make decisions. We want to avoid making decisions in a fashion that leaves some feeling like winners and others like losers.

We can change the world through honest conversation on matters about which we are passionate.

We offer our thanks to the participants at The Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, sponsored by the Division on Ministries with Young People, through the General Board of Discipleship, held in January, 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, for inspiring the framework of these guidelines. They adopted similar guidelines for Christian Conferencing at the convocation. This work is based on guidelines for "Holy Conferencing" that emerged from the United Methodist "Dialogue on Theological Diversity" in February 1998.

Issues by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church and the General Commission on the General Conference, 2007.

General Convention - Day 1

First, some follow up from last night's post. Today, as that I was a little more rested and I was seeing people speak in love, I was far less angry reading some things. I got emotional later in the day (FUR-I-OUS), but for the most part it was fine. It's good to see people listening to one another via social media and not actually biting each other' s heads off like I thought at first. And now on to today!

I tried to get up at 6:00, but it was really more like 6:15. Brad and I were downstairs at 7:30 to pass out copies of Issues to deputies and bishops as they came in to the convention center. I was unable to get a name tag until 9:00 because I'd missed the window. After everyone was in the other YAP members and I kinda hung out in the area outside the exhibit hall and big rooms. We got our legislation tracking stuff started and waited to get credentialed. A few of us volunteered to be servers at the Eucharist.

I was a chalice bearer. I didn't really like the music, but serving was great. Serving - in the jail, at St. Mark's, at General Convention - confirms to me for me my vocation. It was great to see sooooo many people. I thought the sermon was a major shank. The service was nice, though. After that I went to the exhibit hall and hung out for a bit. I met our YAP from the Diocese of Haiti and then she and I really got to work.

We went to a hearing to find my resolution that I was following, and we did as they adjourned for their business, which was great. The finding out, not the business. We didn't really get there in time to follow the testimony, but we found out that both of our resolutions were being heard TONIGHT! After that we got foodage and then basically hung around the exhibit hall for the afternoon. Bishop Robinson spoke at the 1:00 Consultation Lunch Speaker Series and was great. At 4:00 we had a group conversation about the Church and technology and we got some good things going in terms of talking. After that we did an afternoon debrief and then split up.

I went to dinner and started getting ready for the hearings tonight. I spoke to a resolution, and the text of my speech is already on the blog. My bishop wanted me to be dressed up for testifying, and I don't disagree with him at all. Other times I'll be in the EPF t-shirt, perhaps even over a button down and bow tie, but I'll be dressed up. So I had to iron my shirt before I went over there. When I got over there, there were four other YAP people also testifying, in addition to the one who'd walked over with me. The bishop leading discussion had us all introduce ourselves before testimony actually started.

Testimony was the best part of this for me. It hit me near the end, but we're in Anaheim, at General Convention testifying about legislation related to issues about which we care. I don't know if I can really convey the feelings that hit me when Brad was talking but it was a big "whoa." This is important stuff. In theory what we say will be taken into account and could impact, influence, or change a committee's decision about a piece of legislation. After committee I went to the first #ecgc tweet-up and met some cool tweeps and then had a great, long conversation about an emerging ecumenical partnership.

Some other highlights of the day include pictures with Episcopal Church celebrities: The Rt. Revs. Barbara Harris and Gene Robinson, the president of Integrity Susan Russell, and oh um The Most Reverend Rowan Williams:

Pictures of the Day are at that link in this sentence. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

General Convention - Day 0

"Guide us waking O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace." That might be something I find myself saying a lot these next ten days, and not just as an antiphon to the Nunc dimitis. But let me back up a little bit. :) I've had an AMAZING day, even if it started a little rocky. And for those of you who don't know me, I can be a longwinded blogger, but that's how my brain works. I might not post long entries the next ten days inasmuch as multiple short entries throughout a day.
I made it to the airport three hours early (ride had to get to work stuff) and realized that I'd left both my iPod and my Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs at the house. So I wrote a letter and listened to some sermon podcasts and had some good text conversation...and off I flew into the wild blue yonder, landing in Denver and having a layover with ever-exciting free Wifi. Once air born again I worked on a playlist that I've put in the iTunes store as an iMix. If you're interested in checking it out, just click the following: Ubuntu Kingdom. That's what it's called. The theme of General Convention is Ubuntu, and the Magic Kingdom is right down the road. At this very minute Brad and I are listening to fireworks that we can't see.
After I got in to John Wayne, getting my shuttle to the hotel was no problem. I got unpacked and refreshed and we went to a GREAT organizational meeting figuring out what we're going to be doing for the next 10 days here. It was very good to learn from the others about their experiences, areas of interest, etc. After our meeting we went to dinner, where conversation continued and we broke bread and broke ourselves open with honesty and getting to know each other.
And that leaves us back here, with my praying an antiphon. Between getting to the hotel and getting unpacked and refreshed and organizational meeting and dinner I got behind following #ecgc tweets. (That's the hashtag for General Convention.) Now that I'm back in the room I'm getting caught up...and not entirely liking what I see. Actually feeling a little sick to my stomach about some of the way disagreement is being presented and some of the things people are already getting ruffled about or the way they're choosing to interpret comments. Some of it is already kind of rough. My spiritual director has no interest in General Convention because he can't stand the "bickering and fighting." He's such a peace maker. But the reality is that there are people with vastly different perspectives here.
And here is where things happen. And within the Church there are vastly different perspectives. And there are certainly different perspectives outside the Church as well, but what deputies do here doesn't affect them as directly as it does those under the Episcopal Shield. So I'm saying this antiphon and reminding myself that someone with whom I disagree is not my enemy. We still share one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism...even if they think we don't share the same faith. I haven't been an Episcopalian for an exceedingly long time, and I come from The United Methodist Church (which has roots in the same Church of England as us!) Holy Conferencing is a term that the UMC used for its General Conference last year. I'll post their guidelines in an entry following this one. I think that I'm going to have to be consciously thinking of this event as a time for Holy Conferencing, even if we're at a convention (as opposed to a conference). I'm also going to have to think about how I can keep "conferencing" on Twitter and other Web 2.0 outlets Holy.
In the same way that others are getting bent out of shape about some remarks today - I'm getting bent out of shape based solely on tweets. The person with whom I disagree is not my enemy. And even if s/he were, I'd revert back to my iMix, "My Enemies Are Men Like Me," created in the image of God, whom I ask, "Guide us waking O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace."