Monday, December 31, 2007

Wow, today is New Year’s Eve…


Do we have plans for a big time tonight? Nope. Just a not so quiet night in with two of our grands. We will probably do popcorn and movies, maybe a game. Meanwhile, the kids are playing outside for a little while.

So it is on this lazy get-ready-for-the-brand-new-year-day that I am just sort of browsing through the web. In my surfing, I checked out the Diocese of Fort Worth web page for any new missives that might have appeared. In the past few weeks, I have read pastoral messages from numerous bishops all over this church sending out Advent or Christmas messages to their ‘flock’. Nothing of the sort to be found from Jack Leo Iker. No tidings of comfort or joy; no prayers for peace or unity. The only thing that suggests the diocese knows that Advent and Christmas came is the picture of a Christmas pageant with its Merry Christmas! greeting. There is no indication that the leadership of the diocese even understands what Advent was all about, much less Christmas.

Then there is the article in which he responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent message. Hardly pastoral. The opening address from the diocesan convention can be found there. That certainly isn’t very hopeful or contemplative – too much “demonizing” going on in it. All sorts of other articles pertaining to the “crisis” that the current leadership of the Diocese of Fort Worth obviously deems more worthy of note than a message of hope and love.

I think that is incredibly sad. One would think that even those people who are firmly behind the current bishop have need of a pastoral message that speaks of hope for the future (without demonization of any group). Yet, no, nothing for anyone.

Who are these people who have no need for messages of hope, peace and love? Honestly, I think it is a mistake for anyone to think that too many of these types reside within this diocese. I believe that the majority need pastoral care that is not focused on division. I truly believe that most people need to believe that hope is our faith; that love is truly the ultimate goal; and that peace will be attained through that hope and love.

Most of all, I believe that the greater part of this diocese, regardless of their self-identified conservative or progressive appellation, will soon come to understand that they are starving to death spiritually under this current leadership.

May the New Year bring with it truly good tidings of joy. May we all strive to love. May we rely totally on our hope in God. May we work to bring about peace to all those who suffer from hunger, fear, injustice, oppression, and sickness. May that peace that passes all understanding come to this diocese, to the church at large and to the world.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Best Christmas Ever
I give thanks now and for always for the miracles in my life.


Angels we have heard on high - our beautiful little girls, Abby and Kyleigh.



And our Kason, a miracle baby in his own right. He is now five and healthy and thriving.


And poor little angel, Caleb, who was suffering a severe case of stage fright but looked mighty handsome even though...


And our talented bongo playing Tucker...

And for the most precious miracle of all...my beloved Deb, my partner,

my friend, my love, my life.




So this is Christmas, the fourth day

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young”


So this is truly Christmas. It is the season where we are reminded of miracles. The conception of Jesus was a miracle. The fact that Mary, an unwed young girl, pregnant by someone other than her betrothed, in a world where women were merely another piece of property, was not stoned to death is yet another miracle. The star, the angels, the shepherds, the pageants held across the world to celebrate the birth of this baby birth are more miracles born of hope.

“And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight"

So this is Christmas when we hope for miracles in our lives – the miracle of renewed health for all our loved ones suffering from some dis-ease, physical, spiritual or mental.

“And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young”

In this Christmas, we pray for the miracle of a changed world where hope will grow green and fresh again just as the new born flowers of spring. We pray for a miracle that we will stop hating, stop killing one another.

And so in this Christmas, we pray especially for all those who “put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe” in the miracle that is our faith. We pray that they will loosed from the “great millstone” around their necks and find room in their hearts for those who only seek to serve God in this church, to live a faithful life according to the that perceived will of God.

“A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear”


We pray especially that the Light Perpetual will shine upon Benazir Bhutto and that hope of love and peace will be kindled in all of those who love her. We pray for all those who have died, who have been maimed both physically and emotionally by senseless war. We pray most especially for those who hate in the name of God. We pray for the powers who be that they might finally understand that the war is truly over when we want it to be over.
“War is over if you want it
War is over now


So this is Christmas. And what have we done to promote the miracle of Love? May we all begin to pray for that one miracle.

Thanks be to John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the Lyrics of War is Over (aka So This is Christmas) and to the writer of the New Testament reading for today from Matthew 18:1-14.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples. The LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, "See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." They shall be called, "The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD"; and you shall be called, "Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken." Isaiah 62:10-12

Blessings to all on this Christmas Morn. May your day be as blessed as ours. We are surrounded by children and grandchildren" Josh, Karri, Amanda, Chris, Matt, Tucker, Kyleigh, Caleb, Kason, and Abby. Beauty, wonder and love. Thanks be to God for our health, for the wealth of love. Our cup runs over...and it isn't over. We are soon to be on the road for a little venture to my mom and dad's where we will be further blessed with a noisy, loving family.

May this new year in our church be clear of "stones"; may we realize that we are indeed "Sought Out," a diocese "Not Forsaken".

Merry Christmas.
Barbi, Debbie and Tucker.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just and Moral

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

and

"Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality."

I am always aware that as I think so also does one whose views are in direct opposition to my own. I know a couple of people who feel strongly that it is their God-directed duty to oppose those who claim to be homosexual. They do not believe that it is something that one must accept. They think it is immoral and a choice. They think it is wrong.

So, I put these two quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr. up for pondering. These both mean a lot to me. To truly live, we must first find that thing which we believe to be so profoundly true that we are willing to lay our lives down for it.

I cannot be silent about that which I believe to be a great injustice. I believe injustice is immoral. It isn't just about the gulf that separates us regarding sexual orientation but about that vast space between need and desire, poverty and wealth, just and unjust.

There is no such thing as "separate but equal". We can build walls to keep some out and to protect us from those we consider a threat; we can strive to separate ourselves from those with whom we disagree, but the only thing that we are really doing is separating ourselves from God.

As we near the end of this waiting time, may we come into an understanding that it is not about what we live for... It is about what we are willing to die for.

As I speak out for what I believe, I have to keep near to me the knowledge that there are others who believe just as strongly and know that they too must speak from out of what they perceive to be the silence. While we strive to work for those things we deem moral, may we also remember that without justice, there is no morality.

Friday, December 14, 2007

God Have Mercy

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Wow, can I relate to that! How many times have I tried just one more time, punched the same button just once more, tried to make just one more attempt? Too many times to count.

Praying for my daughter is like that. Just one more time. Just one more prayer. I don’t ask God for anything anymore. I tell God that all her needs are known far better by God than by me. I only want her to be happy, to be healthy. She is about to be 31 and still…still…I read where Lindsay Lohan said that “it was time to grow up.” God have mercy…

God have mercy in this waiting time. How can one grow up when one can't even get up? Anyone who has ever tossed aside a child because he or she was gay or lesbian, may God have mercy on their sorry selfish misguided selves. If one of them was standing in front of me right now, I think I would slap him or her. They should fall down on their knees, throw themselves prostrate on the floor and give thanks to God for a healthy, loving child.

I would give almost anything for mine to tell me she was lesbian. Instead, we play the games…she calls…I say hi and how are you, waiting to be told piece by piece what the dilemma is this week. I wait to see how she justifies, how she tries to make it sound as though she has a right to be thinking whatever it is that she is thinking. God have mercy on her tormented soul.

She isn’t a drug addict – she suffers from depression. She self medicates…with whatever is available. Same difference. The major problem with mental illness is that she starts to think she is ok. She may go long periods with no major problems. Then, something…hits her…and there is always something to hit her. No car, no money, no home, no place for her to be able to have her little ones visit, or maybe someone just woke her up too early…Then, it is crisis time. She seeks help and gets a promise of it…later. Later comes and wow, she is feeling fine. So, no need to get help, right?

One of these days, maybe she will write a book. I think that it could be a very long book.

The difference between me punching the same old button and saying the same old prayer…I know that saying the same old prayer works. I don't always know how or when, but I do know it works. God have mercy if I wasn’t praying…

God have mercy on my daughter…the little girl that I anxiously awaited and anticipated 31 Advents ago. It took many years for me to let go of my dreams for her, to realize that those dreams were all about me. Now, it is all about her…all about her own little girl and little boy…and of course, Tucker. Knowing that I can do nothing, I have no control, I cannot fix anything – not for her, not for her daughter or her sons, so I love them…and I pray.

May God have mercy on all people who suffer from mental illness…and all who love them…May all of us who do love them continue to do the same thing over and over again…all the while expecting miracles.

Pray for the homeless tonight as the weather worsens in so much of the midwest and east. So many suffer from mental illness. God have mercy...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Liberals Frame Debate"

David Virtue, for those who do not know, is one of those people who can hardly be labeled virtuous. He is a blogger, tale-telling, web-spinning, fear mongering troglodyte intent upon fomenting hate and intolerance. He takes those things that have been said about him and then turns these into catch phrases that he can use upon those who catch him in his lies and inept statements.

His latest little essay is one that is almost funny. Especially in the case of the following statement:

"A case in point is women's ordination. What was initially a matter of conscience is now fully accepted and DEMANDED in The Episcopal Church. And if you don't conform you will be hounded out of the church. Just ask Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Iker and what he has had to put up with for the sake of his conscience on this issue. It has been nothing but misery in the way he has been beaten up by a single laywoman in his diocese who gets full liberal media attention and support from the national church whenever she opens her mouth."

The "single laywoman" is, in case you haven't yet guessed, Katie Sherrod. :-) You scared him, Katie. You mean ol’ Girl! :-) Poor little ol’ Jack.

It is almost too hard not to laugh at this...

Sadly, it is not truly funny. Rather, it is terribly telling of the truth that lies behind the fear. This is not just one terrified white man…this is just one terrified man writing to many terrified people, men and sadly, too many women.I don’t know how many people read David Virtue. Far more than read this site, I am sure.

I still have not figured out how women follow men like David Virtue. I know that some find Jack Iker charismatic. On paper or across the monitor, David Virtue just doesn’t seem to have that. Nonetheless, people read him religiously. It is too tempting to delve into the psychology of it all and that is far out of my area of expertise – not that I have one necessarily. Regardless, it would seem that there are many issues here that perhaps counseling would help – both with David Virtue and his fellow troglodytes.

Katie is not the only woman that Virtue attacks, merely the only one unnamed. He also laments the likes of the Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity and Dr. Jenny Te Paa. Oh, yes...and let us not forget "Mrs. Jefferts Schori". Not to be unfair, Virtue hates some men also. He takes shots at the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison and the Rev. Canon Giles Goddard, head of Inclusive Church.

Read and form your own opinion. But be warned: Reading David Virtue is not for the faint-hearted…nor is it really for anyone who has an intention to love all. DV is not a promoter of love. In fact, I highly recommend that those who are easily angered or hurt refrain from reading him at all. I never seek out his site. I found this only because it came to me through Susan Russell.

That being written, here is the link.
LIBERALS FRAME DEBATE FORCING ORTHODOX TO DEFEND THEMSELVES
Virtue Online - West Chester,PA,USA

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

This is one of the reasons we are back in Fort Worth for a while, to spend the holidays with family. And it is good.

We give thanks for this blessing of family, for those who are with us and those who are away. We give thanks for this journey itself which has taken us into so many new places to meet such wonderful new friends. We give thanks for each one of you who is sharing this journey with us through this blog. There would hardly be any point to it all without you.

May God richly bless you this day. May the strain of love and life be small; the tensions few. May all of those in harm's way feel our prayers today especially. May the powers that be bring our children home.
Blessings to all of you
Peace
Barbi, Debbie and Tucker

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Delete

I posted on the blog last night (after reading about San Joaquin) but I decided to delete it this morning. It was titled "Mathematical Musings".

I deleted it because it felt too much as though I had yet once again been caught up in the toxicity of this diocese. I had on my "shield" of sarcasm and arrogance. So...I decided to take it off.
Both the shield and the blog.

I personally do not believe it is healthy for the two parties of people in this diocese to continue on together. What was love is too easily turned to hurt and anger. Yesterday, Debbie and I were wounded yet once again by one who claims to love us. He stood up during one of the debates and told all the reasons why he thought the people in this diocese, the diocese itself, should accept the invitation from the Province of the Southern Cone. No, he did not lamblast gays and lesbians but the fact that he fully supports all those who do is painful. Will it matter that he saw the pain in our tears that his words caused? Only God knows.

There are people who are trying to stay together at all costs. When people attempt that act, someone along the road is sacrificed. We can no longer afford to sacrifice people on the Altar of God. We have lost too many already.

We cannot exist side by side sharing the same space. I have heard suggestions that the two sides can try to live in the same building -- two denominations, two vestries, two altar guilds, two of everything...How can that work? If it was a Lutheran congregation and an Episcopal one...maybe. But not two groups of people who claim ownership in the very same property all the way down to the altar linens. It would be like two exes attempting to live in the same home with new spouses, along with all the children and the in-laws. It would take a miracle.

But a miracle is what we have been praying for, yes? Maybe it is time to save our miracle prayers for all the special people in this world who need these right now.
May I offer some suggestions? Amanda (my daughter), Fiona (2 1/2), Matthew (7), Diane, Pat, Del, Sherry, Bob, Barb, Jay, Jo, the vestry at Trinity, all who serve God in this church...
Feel free to add more.
Blessings

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Caught Up in the Crazy

One Question for now...
If Jack Leo Iker takes what he claims as "the Diocese of Fort Worth" out of the Episcopal Church, even if every single piece of property were to go with him...what allows him to think that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth would cease to exist? That is the arrogance of "Canon 32 which he addresses in a letter to the Senior Warden of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth (found at http://fortworthtrinity.org/misc%20pdf%20files/Iker%20ltr%20to%20Normand102607.pdf). He tells her that he wants to make certain that if parishes such as Trinity wish to "remain in the Episcopal Church with their property" that he certainly wants them to be able to do so. How very kind of him. And how kind to allow them their property.

He is stuck in that stage of development that allows him to believe that if he is not there, there is nothing else there either.

I am not a psychologist...no where near, but it certainly sounds to me as though there might be a few sessions needed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Day Down and Done

Well, it's started. Guess who all won the elections at the diocesan convention at Fort Worth? Well, just look at last year's list...or the year before...or the year before....you get the drift?
Judy Mayo...Christopher Cantrell....Ryan Reed...Walter Virden III...Charles Hough...same old same old. Ironically, the people running against them were very familiar names also. Kay Strombergy, Frank Salazar, Jo Ann Patton, even the people who lose are familiar. There is just sort of an acceptable merry-go-round that the diocese allows to run. This year there was only one ballot...no runoffs...no choosing between one acceptable one or another. This year all the flavors of the year won.

Does that not give you a clue that this is all fixed? This is all such a joke...a sad and sick joke.

Tomorrow...oh what joy! Oh what fun! They tackle the resolutions. Wonder what innovative, rule breaking game they will play tomorrow? Betcha the first two resolutions pass unanimously. I would even go so far as to guess that any alternate resolutions are soundly defeated with the infamous Iker sarcasm included free of charge.

In case you have no life and would like to spend a portion of your Saturday feeling the pain that we feel, join us, won't you? Watch the live stream -- listen to Jack Leo Iker in all his glory. Find it all at http://convention.fwepiscopal.org/broadcast/. Join us in the pomp and circumstance that is the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Surprise, Surprise...Not!

Not that it comes as a surprise but the newest resolution (see below) to be considered at the Fort Worth diocesan convention coming up on November 16 and 17 deals with the “constitutional and canonical implications and means of accepting” an invitation from the Most Reverend Gregory J. Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone to join them. This is called a “generous and fraternal” invitation. Fraternal as in brotherly…as in no girls allowed, of course. Wonder what the plans are for the women deacons in this diocese if this all goes through?

Nor does it come as a surprise that some rectors are instructing the delegates that they are to vote as a bloc with the bishop. Hmmm…’scuse me? Don’t the lay delegates represent the laity? Or did I miss something somewhere?

In Jack Leo Iker’s letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, he states that it is “deeply troubling” to him that she would have him “prevent the clergy and laity of this diocese from openly discussing” the diocese’s “future place in the life of the wider Anglican Communion”. He goes on to remind her that “the polity of this Church requires the full participation of the clergy and lay orders, not just bishop, in the decision making process.”

WHO knew that he knew this????????

I am sure that the good bishop will stand firm and loud, stating that he didn’t tell “his” clergy to vote as a bloc. They just got the idea all by themselves. Or maybe they remember last year’s convention when the bishop, with a mocking laugh, told the assembled group that a rector who couldn’t control his vestry wasn’t much of a rector. (Does the image of a controlling abusive spouse pop into your head when you read that? It did mine when I heard him say it.) Maybe they were remembering the laughter aimed at one rector in particular whose vestry had disagreed with him immediately and loudly after he declared that the parish would follow the bishop wherever he went.

I also find it somewhat sadly ironic to think that he would indicate that he had been praying for +Katharine. He said that in his closing line – “I shall continue to pray for you, as I trust you will pray for me…” I hope he is praying for her, I really do. I am quite certain that she is praying for him. As I do. Everyday. Not for him to change but just as I do for myself – for my eyes, ears and heart be open to the will of God. However, seeing as how he “strongly” suggested in a deanery meeting that all parishes refrain from praying for the Presiding Bishop in the Prayers of the People after she was newly elected, I find it difficult to see how he could pray for her. Perhaps he has had a change of heart. Maybe he can pray for her as a woman, but not as a Presiding Bishop. Ok…so why not just “strongly suggest” that parishes remove the words “presiding bishop” and just put in its place “Katharine Jefferts Schori” or “Katharine”?

The point being…it’s hard to take him seriously. How can we? On one hand, he is accusing her of intimidating and manipulating “this diocese”. On the other hand, he is intimidating and manipulating this diocese.

How is the laity going to be represented when the delegates that the laity elected are instructed by the rectors that the vestries chose to vote as a group with the bishop? How is the laity represented if the rector is supposed to “control” “his” vestry?

So, basically, what he told +Katharine in the letter is a bunch of bunk. He doesn’t believe that the laity should have much say-so. If he did, he wouldn’t work so hard to keep them silent and ignorant.

But, hey…what do I know? I am just “out for the publicity” and interested in “creating furor”…

*********************************************************
Resolution 2
A Response to the Invitation of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Whereas, it is the resolve of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to remain within the family of the Anglican Communion while dissociating itself from the moral, theological, and disciplinary innovations of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America;
And whereas, the Synod of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, meeting Nov. 5-7, 2007, voted to "welcome into membership of our Province on an emergency and pastoral basis" those dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America who share this resolve;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 25th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth extend its sincere thanks to the Synod of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and to its Primate, the Most Reverend Gregory J. Venables, for the generous and fraternal invitation to join their Province;
And, be it further resolved, that the Bishop and Standing Committee prepare a report for this diocese on the constitutional and canonical implications and means of accepting this invitation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My My My

Jack Leo Iker, the "Bishop of Fort Worth", how you do go on!

The once upon a time Episcopal Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth who is "negotiating" with another bishop from another province (that would NOT be Province VII of the Episcopal Church) has answered the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in a letter. http://fwepiscopal.org/bishop/bishoppbreply.html

Our bishop is "rather surprised" that the Presiding Bishop (that would be the one he doesn't recognize because she is female and not worthy of being a priest, much less a bishop and heaven forbid an "arch" bishop!) would accuse him of abandoning the communion of "the church". She had, of course, reminded him in a fairly gracious letter that should he decide to carry through with all his threats and promises of late that he could indeed be considered to be abandoning the communion of the church - that would be the Episcopal Church - that same one to which he swore loyalty at his consecration. Of course, he has decided that certain words in the Book of Common Prayer are not necessary so he has decided to reinterpret. What a novel idea! He did the same thing with the history of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth but Fr. Jake tells about it a lot better than I might. http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/ Wonder what else he has interpreted differently??

Further, he goes on to chastize her - the silly little female that she must be simply because she is a woman in bishop's clothes. Not only does he berate her for attempting to "interfere" in the life of his diocese but he admonishes her for not attempting to reconcile, mediate or enter into dialogue with him. Hmmm...something is reminding me of a second meeting in New York that Our Bishop decided would be time wasted for him to attend...

All this concerted effort to deride, denigrate and deny...reminds me of a banty (Bantam) rooster out in the chicken yard, scratching up a bunch of dust and making a lot of noise. Meanwhile, the hens are in the hen house laying eggs to feed the children.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Unconditionally
A long ago friend used to be fond of reminding us that DOG spelled backward was GOD. She rescued dogs. She liked dogs – better than she liked most people. In fact, it could be said that she didn’t really like people at all. This was probably due to the condition that she found so many of the dogs in when she rescued them. She talked about how dogs were better than most of the people that she knew. Dogs always loved us, no matter how screwed up we are.

She was right. Our dogs do love us. Unconditionally. Regardless. Even when we are really crappy humans acting out in pain, frustration, anger, or fear – even when they are sometimes the innocent victims of our own despair.

Dogs love us. Uncondtionally. Regardless. With hesed – steadfast love.
DOG spelled backward is GOD.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy All Hallows Eve to all y'all!

We just had a really great Halloween here in St. Louis. A neat tradition we learned -- the trick or treaters tell a joke for extra candy. Tucker, of course, had several. :-) He was also a very awesome scary werewolf. Picture to be downloaded later.

Here are a few that I heard -
How much does a pirate pay for popcorn? a buchaneer.
How do you make a handkerchief dance? Fill it with a little boogie.
What kind of pants does a ghost wear? BooJeans.

This is the first year in several years that we haven't been with Abby and Caleb for Halloween. Because we lived in the country, Tucker had no place to trick or treat nor did we have any trick or treaters come so far up our gated lane. So we went into town.

This year was a bit sad with out our little spideymen and princesses...we miss you Kyleigh, Caleb, Kason and Abby. :-) But we will see you in a few days.
Happy Halloweeny everyone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FORT WORTH VIA MEDIA

By the way, if you want to believe the lies that have been told about FWVM, well, then, I also have some property I'd like to sell you. But should you finally get your head on straight and understand just how serious this problem is, you can help the Fort Worth Via Media (the only group organized (since Jan 2004) and trying to do something about this situation) by going to http://fwviamedia.org/help.html. You can donate online to help.
Listen up, People!

At GC '06 I heard a "person" from TEC say that when the bishop of Fort Worth started trying to take the property out of TEC, TEC would be there to make certain that it went nowhere.
Ok...So where are you? Seems too much to me as though people are ignoring Jack Leo Iker just as they always have...treating him as though he is a misbehaving three year old...letting him have his tantrum in the other room. Problem is...there are a lot of us in this room that are having to put up with his tantrums while the rest of the church just goes on about its way...wish we could...

Katie says it all so much better so I'll hush and let y'all read her.

***************************************************
Attention! Legal help requested!

Here’s the thing -- in places such as Virginia, Georgia, etc., the diocesan bishops are using diocesan resources to help people who want to stay in The Episcopal Church. They seem to be getting ample help from the national church.But in the Diocese of Fort Worth, the bishop and all the diocesan leadership and nearly all the clergy are using diocesan resources to try to take all the diocesan property out of The Episcopal Church.So here it’s a bunch of lay people who are struggling to keep our property in TEC. Mostly it has been Fort Worth Via Media working on this. Even the clergy who might want to stay in TEC don’t trust us [the bishop has branded us liars, thieves, and troublemakers since the day we formed the organization] or the other clergy enough to band together with us.This has made meeting Bonnie Anderson’s challenge to saddle our own horses, well, a challenge.
Read my blog at http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com
Katie Sherrod

Friday, September 21, 2007

In Response to Rachel Zoll’s “Meeting Held on Anglican-Episcopal Split”
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jXQ9QkVQDrMGH03jTaq9Yxu5F0Bw


I find it "bizarre and puzzling" that the Archbishop of Canterbury should be so confused at this particular stage in his journey. Perhaps he might spend a few hours with a good book...by a respected and renowned theologian...hmmm...maybe his own? I find it puzzling and bizarre that a person could change so much within such a short time.

The good Archbishop wonders how far the Episcopal Church is willing to go to stay within the Anglican Communion. I wonder just "how far" he is willing to go to appease those within that same Communion who are so filled with hate. I wonder how far those who oppose gays and lesbians in this church are willing to go to get their way. I can visualize all the gays and lesbians, their friends and family in this church standing before these people who decided right and wrong. The place would have to be large because this church is full of gays and lesbians. I imagine these people who are only trying to live into the promise that was given them at their baptism standing there with their arms reaching up. Rather than being offered as sacrifices by those who have little to lose, they are offering themselves for the sake of those who deem them evil and abominations. Many in the Anglican Communion who would immediately cry out, Off with their heads! There are others who would plead for them to just be quiet; be good little girls and boys...go back into the closet, while others would cry disgracefully – why do you have to tell the truth? It is sometimes more difficult to imagine how many others would suddenly turn and say, “This is enough. It has gone too far for far too long.”

Gays and lesbians have drawn no lines but the line has been drawn. People can choose which side they want but if they don’t speak up now, they run the risk of being swept up in the rhetoric. Gays and lesbians in this church have given and have so much more to give – only because that is what we feel called by God to do - to give, to grow, to be within community, to raise our children within these God-walls – just like all the others who are in the church for the very same reasons. Yet we are rebuffed. We are denied. We are battered and bruised. We long for the day when those who hover near the center clearly state – This is enough. This has gone on for too long.

Katharine Jefferts Schori called being a gay or lesbian Episcopalian at this time a "crucified place to stand". I disagreed at the time because I did not wish to use that sacred comparison. Yet...each time our bishops meet; each time the Archbishop of Canterbury stands to offer his revered opinion, every time the Primates decide to issue a judgment, I feel just a bit as though I am tied and tethered lying beside the piles of sticks while the masses wait to hear whether or not they will be tossing me on the fire or untying the binds that tear at my flesh.

So, I wait with a certain amount of apprehension as these bishops sit together, hoping and praying that they will hold fast to their commitment of not going backwards. I wait in prayerful anticipation that they will remember that the ultimate sacrifice has already been made and that the only sacrifice required by being One is that we love one another as we love ourselves.

In the event that we do not know how to love ourselves – I pray that we love one another as God loves us…without fail...steadfastedly...regardless of our differing opinions.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Has Christ Been Divided?"

Yesterday, attending an absolutely wonderful adult forum on Human Sexuality at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, I was told by another parishioner that Bishop Iker would not mind us having the discussion that we were having. In fact, she went so far as to say that she felt that he would welcome our discussion. I pray that this is so.

Therefore, today, I bring up one of the daily readings in light of the impending meeting of the House of Bishops. Our bishop has proclaimed that he will attend only the beginning of this important meeting so that he might hear the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Episcopal Bishops’ response to him.

In the words of Paul to the Church at Corinth: 1 Corinthians 1:1-19 (NRSV)
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul," or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

As we all are sent out to proclaim the gospel, so may our servant brothers and sisters in the House of Bishops and may our brother Rowan do the same over this next week. May +Jack and all the others remember that Christ cannot be divided. Most of all may they all remember and cherish this promise:
“There is one Body and one Spirit;
There is one hope in God's call to us;
One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;
One God and Father of all.”

The Lord be with you.
Let us pray.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Twisted Knickers

So the bishop’s knickers are all in a twist…too bad.

When I first read Bishop Iker’s web letter stating that the Bonnie Anderson meeting was “arranged without prior consultation” with him, I thought he was saying that he didn’t know about it. Well, that was just an out and out untruth. He not only knew about it but was invited to attend. That is readily provable in this electronic generation. But looking at the letter again, as the petulant whine that it is, it shows so clearly how pathetic life is in this diocese.

Over the past two months, I have spoken with several bishops. One I adore – but he just retired. Another I like and respect and am hopeful to engage in more conversation. Another I respect his position but do not agree with him on some major issues. Within each one of these bishops, I find a great amount of ethical reasoning. The stances they take, they take because they believe it is the right thing to do. I do not believe that any of them would lie to get what they want. I feel fairly safe in declaring that none of them would be reduced to the act of the petulant whine.

Bishop Iker does not care whether or not the Fort Worth Via Media contacts him. He considers them as less-thans, worthy only of his disdain. We are the “revisionist opposition”, a minority group of people who “dissent from the theological positions of this diocese.” He has no need of us. I am sure that he would rather we all get caught up in some sort of rapture or Bermuda Triangle type of thing.

Bishop Iker was only upset because “Mrs. Anderson” didn’t call him and say, ‘Bishop Iker, Right Reverend Sir’ I, your lowly servant, humbly request permission to enter the geographical boundaries of your most honorable regime.’ Then he would have boldly stated, ‘ Permission Denied!’ and gleefully gone his happy way.

As has already been so eloquently stated by Katie Sherrod in her http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com/, “Mrs. Anderson” did not need permission to enter this diocese, attend a meeting or talk to Episcopalians of the area. She is bound by no such canon. She is a lay person who came at the request of a group of people so desperately in need of an encouraging word. Bishop Iker actually ought to be glad she came. Her main message? “Saddle your own horse.” It is up to the residents of this diocese to do something about the bishop that we elected, not the national church. If, after we actually saddle that horse, we need riding lessons, then the church can help us. Until then…it’s up to us.

Bishop Iker seems to like this martyr role he has donned. He certainly has no problem pulling it on whenever he thinks it suits his purpose. He reminds me of our eleven year old when we get on to him harshly for something he has done. He assumes this hurt look as if to say – why would you do this, talk this way to your only son, your loving child who only wants to please you – forgetting of course that he was just told in no uncertain tones for the umpteenth time not to do whatever it was he just did, knowing full well he should not have done it in the first place. The only thing real to him at that moment is the hurt he feels because he thinks he has been unduly wronged by our disagreement. This is the stance that Bishop Iker assumes on a far too often occasion.

My sympathy levels for that assumption continue to dwindle. I never held empathy. I would not make a good psychologist. I do not make a good audience for one who perceives himself to be the victim while others are lying in heaps all around him, bleeding and ignored. His web letter reads as though he has not only been cast aside by the national church but also defecated upon. Since Bishop Iker was not at the meeting and Suzanne Gill (Director of Communications for the diocese) was there all day taking copious notes and pictures, it might have benefited him to have read some of her notes prior to writing his letter. He might have actually learned that the only concern of Fort Worth Via Media is how to remain within the Episcopal Church while its bishop lays claim to the idea that he can take the diocese out of that same church – or in his words, “Realign”.

It is time for the innuendo and outright lies to stop. Bonnie Anderson told the group meeting on this past Saturday to get organized. We are. We are called Fort Worth Via Media. We have been working on this since January 2004. Fort Worth Via Media are the ones organized enough to invite and bring Bonnie Anderson to this strange little land of outcast priests. The problem is that the minions of Bishop Iker, with or without his permission to speak but certainly not told to stop, have cast outrageous aspersions upon the character of not only the group at large but also of the individual members of the group. I think it is called character assassination. There are good people in this diocese – a goodly number – who do not agree with the bishop’s stance about “realignment” but have bought into the rhetoric of the diocese that we are a “revisionist” group opposed to the theological positions of this diocese. They have believed the clergy when some have stated that we are only out to replace the bishop, to undermine his “authority”.

Rather, our mission is stated fully and without innuendo on the website http://fwviamedia.org/. We are an organization made up of lay and clergy people within this diocese who are intent upon remaining within the Episcopal Church as full members. We have no need of a “church within a church” nor do we need to be realigned. If Bishop Iker and those who agree with him, regardless of how many of them there are, have a problem with the Episcopal Church and their perception of its tenets, well, just fine. Go and make a new realigned church. Do what you feel called by God to do. You are not the first nor will you be the last.

However, might I make a suggestion? Rather than praying that the Episcopal Church might turn back or change her stance, why not pray that you can better understand God’s will for your own life and ways? There might be just a couple of changes that need to happen in your own thought process.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Fundamental Differences

A friend of mine put forth the idea that Bishop Iker had every right – in fact, might have even felt compelled – to attend and participate within the consecration of his “good friend” Bill Atwood. She stated that if she had a friend and colleague that was being consecrated as bishop in whatever denomination or faith, she would feel inclined to attend and participate if asked. I can understand that type of friendship. It is the love of another, the putting aside of differences to be in unity for the sake of love itself.

Many people have used war type metaphors to describe the current situation in the Anglican Communion. I really detest that usage but I fully understand it. I mean, after all, we have several generations of people still living today that were raised in the “Onward Christian Soldiers” mode of religion. It is simple to say we are fighting a ‘battle’; we are marching “as to war” in this “fight” for the Glory of God. Having been raised in the Southern Baptist Church with mission – that is, saving souls for Jesus – a primary goal, all of the language is very familiar and it is extremely simple to relapse. None the less, I will attempt to refrain although it often feels as though I have been in a skirmish, for certain. Some of us - no, actually the entire church, are in a situation that calls for us to move forward, now rather than later. This place, just like the places before it, is a dangerous place.

If I had a friend whose fundamental ideology was so diametrically different to mine to the point that I felt her/his thinking and actions could do damage to the ideas and people for which I so vehemently worked, I cannot see that I could lend credibility to his/her endeavors by actively participating in her/his consecration. Attend...maybe, as a friend in the audience – no argument. Participate…no.

To participate in that consecration, one might assume that the one participating agrees with the reason for the occasion. This we know, Bishop Iker does indeed agree with the reasons for Bishop Atwood’s consecration. His letters, his sermons put forth that very belief. But was his participation at the consecration detrimental? In my opinion, yes. He is supporting something – an “agenda” that is harmful to not only me and countless other gays and lesbians in this church but also to our families and friends. For those seen as “the Church” to promote an agenda which allows some to perceive hatred as acceptable, it is not only detrimental but reprehensible. By his actions, he promotes a church that agrees with extreme punishment for its gay and lesbian members simply because he feels that we need to be sympathetic to their culture and the dilemma imposed by Islamic law. He supports a totalitarian system that disallows the God-crafted individual ability to read and interpret Holy Scriptures. He attempts to return to a time before the Reformation wherein the clergy were the ones to interpret – the people had only to listen and obey…or be excommunicated. Lastly and actually least important to my personal way of thinking, by his participation in this ceremony, he undermines the authority of the Episcopal Church by supporting a church that would take over its property without a blink of the eye. Or right. The people of those properties being taken are a moot point, not because they are undeserving but because they have already left the Episcopal Church by their own free will. The people who disagree with them have been cast off and aside. And has been repeated numerous times, people can leave the Episcopal Church; the property cannot.

To the question of whether or not the actions of the Anglican Church of Kenya/Uganda/Nigeria are actually detrimental to the life and way of the Episcopal Church, that depends upon whom one asks. Probably not to a whole lot of folks in the church as a whole. Life goes on. Schism happens. Just a day in the life. To a person living in a fairly conservative diocese with a bishop she or he likes and respects and who returns that feeling, one is probably not too threatened. To that person living in a diocese at risk of being one taken over by that foreign missionary bishop, it is another thing entirely. To the woman who sits in the pew Sunday after Sunday, living with the constant fact that she did not answer the call that God put to her because she had a husband, children and lived in a time when it took extraordinary efforts for a woman to be ordained, it is another story indeed. To the young seminarian abruptly kicked out of the ordination process because he made the “mistake” of falling in love and being open and honest about his life, it matters greatly. These are real people. They are not alone in Fort Worth. Nor are they only in Fort Worth. There are many more. To the scores of dozens who duck their heads and try to go on about life, this is just one more event in a long line of events.

Personally, I feel that the actions of ACK/U/N are very detrimental. It hardly matters which foreign church is consecrating which US missionary bishops. I believe that they have a true agenda of colonizing (oh, and yes, I do know that will raise the level of conversation for some). I believe that the ignorance and fears of a great many people are being played upon and exploited at the expense of a minority. And yes, they are a minority. Regardless of the fact that the Anglican Church in different countries in Africa are growing at amazing rates, this does not mean that this church is healthier or more holy or more scriptually in tune than the Episcopal Church. It means that people are starving and dying and have need of community, of a spiritual sustenance, of God. So, yes, of course they are growing. In times of strife, attendance in churches all over the world increases. Look at the church numbers after 9/11 here in the US. Is the growth good? Yes. Is it due to the holiness of the leadership and their homophobic rendering of Leviticus and Romans? No.

It is a given that 83% (or somewhere close to that) of the Fort Worth diocesan delegation votes each year at diocesan convention in favor of anything put forth by the bishop or his “people”. Maybe the number is even higher than that. It is also a given that the number of parishes demanding that they are not a part of the Network or the schismatic actions of the diocese are …well, just one or two. But how many have a fairly equal number of people pro and con? How many parishes have a good number of people who are not even aware of the fact that Bishop Iker went to Kenya or why? That does not mean that the majority of people in this diocese agree with the bishop’s stance on many issues. It does not mean that 83% of the 19000 or less in the diocese desire to leave the Episcopal Church because Gene Robinson is a bishop in New Hampshire. What it means is that many of the parish delegation votes are chosen by a select few within a parish and that these are basically the same people every year who cast the same “I support MY bishop” votes. Sadly, what it means is that there aren’t enough people in Fort Worth who are actually willing to do something about it…it is just easier to lie in the bed they allowed to be made for themselves.

Some can justify the idea that Bishop Iker was a participant in the consecration of Bill Atwood as a missionary bishop in the Anglican Church of Kenya. We can refrain from using war language. We can go on our merry ways, living our daily lives, hoping for a crumb under the table. We can be quiet, sit down, be good for now and just know that one day…some day in the future, the younger generation is just not gonna give a damn about the issue of gays and lesbians – or women for that matter – in the church. It will one day be a moot point. Meanwhile, we can choose to be suffering martyrs on down the road for a cause that will one day right itself, whether or not we kick and scream right now. (Did it ever occur for any to wonder just why it is NOT an issue for the younger people right now???)

Or. Or…we can talk about it right now. Right here. In the very place that we sit, stand or walk. At every opportunity. At every crossroad. Regardless of how many we “turn off”; no matter how many we push away or bore – chances are, those never really understood the oppression anyway and possibly never will. Chances are, many of those people don’t even see it as an issue of justice anyway. We may still wind up as martyrs…but at least we will actually have a reason for the martyrdom – at least in some eyes.

Yes, there are issues that seem so much larger. There are hungry and abused children everywhere. People live in homes that should not be allowed to stand, much less be lived in. Little girls are sold as maids, as sex slaves, as workers all over the world. Little boys live on the streets of South America and too many other places as prostitutes. Babies cry all over the world because their mommies are gone, working or dead to drugs or AIDS. There is pain and suffering everywhere. These are things against which we should be working.

Yet who are we to classify the suffering? Who are we – the privileged, the over fed and well watered, to determine which child of God is considered dispensable, less worthy than another? When we see it, can we judge it less important? When it stands in front of us, do we cast it aside as moot simply because there are other issues?

I have been told that I cannot be the do-all end-all person. Ok. I can realize that as a reality. My ego is not that large, nor my energy levels that high. I have been told that I need to choose between the many different ministry issues available. But what if I choose Justice? Is there any issue of hunger, dirty water, sale of children as commodities, poor housing, bad government, unbreathable air or poverty that is not one of Justice first and foremost? Does not the issue of oppressing people because they are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered fit into that too broad category of Justice Denied?

It would be nice to just not talk about it; to believe that it is not an issue now because it won’t be one in the future however soon or far away. It would be wonderful to just go about serving in a parish or a diocese and just do the work that is before us – the so called “business of the Church”. I can assure you, gentle and not so gentle readers, I would love nothing more, regardless of what Bishop Iker describes as my penchant for seeking publicity and furor. I would love to just do the work that I so deeply desire to do – putting forth all my energy into helping overcome the fundamental issues that create an environment in which poverty can breed. So many people feel the same way, whatever their individual call. But we can’t get around this ‘non-person’ issue that is tossed in our faces at every opportunity, sometimes by friend and foe alike. We are not important enough. We are not worthy enough. We are not suffering enough.

Just how does one know when another’s suffering is enough? How do we find the scale to measure that? Is there a fundamental scale of measuring?

Fundamental differences too often mean the difference between life and death.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Is the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth Soon to Have a New Bishop?

I find it rather strange, that at this particular stage of the game, Bishop Iker would so blatantly whisk off to Kenya to attend the consecration in to the Anglican Church of Kenya of his "good friend and colleague" Bill Atwood. I am sure most know (even if they do not care) that Mr. Atwood is now the Missionary Bishop to the ACK here in the United States for all those who have disenfranchised themselves from the Episcopal Church -- at least those who desire to now be a part of the Kenyan church as opposed to the Ugandan or Nigerian one.

So, what is so strange about it? I mean really, it is all fairly obvious the direction that Bishop Iker is intending to go. If one needs a larger clue, simply go to the diocesan webpage and listen to the good bishop's sermon given on May 6, 2007 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. He makes his will known in a fairly clear manner.

So, why has he been waiting? Surely not for the House of Bishop's meeting in September. I am sure he is already certain of that outcome. He has already stated that he will be there for the first part of it - that is the part where the HoB lets it be known whether or not they will abide by the demands of the Primates. He also stated that he would not be staying. Surprised? Why? He has been at so few meetings over the part two years. Fewer still in this past 12 month period. He gave up on the Episcopal Church long ago. He stopped participating in the one and only place he actually had any influence - amongst his peers.

Here is the point...when Bishop Iker was consecrated as a bishop, he swore to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. He has worked in such a grey area - he has not violated the doctrine, discipline or worship enough to the point that the powers that be within the Episcopal Church have felt inclined to actually do something about it. It is so much easier to ignore the elephant in the middle of the room rather than actually tell it it should go play with the other elephants. But now...has the elephant dumped enough waste into the room that others will finally begin to DO something?

These consecrations that just happened in Kenya...these are white guys that will be working in the US as missionary bishops for the Anglican Church of Kenya - not in Kenya - but here in the geographical territory of The Episcopal Church. Working not with new congregations, not planting new Kenyan missions but taking over parishes that have their existance purely because these are Episcopal parishes within an Episcopal diocese within the Episcopal Church.

Does this not smack of vow breaking? To participate in this consecration wherein the missonary 'bishops' will be able to return to the US so that they might help to break up the Episcopal Church?

So...I wonder if this is just what the Episcopal Church has been waiting for? I wonder...is this what he has been waiting for?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007



Happy Birthday, Little Sis.

Have a Happy Happy Day!!

I love you.

Love from all of us -

me, Deb, Tucker, Jak and Theo.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

August 4, 2007

To My D...




My love, my life, my partner in all aspects of this life including this crazy journey that we are now on -Thank you for being a part of me -- thank you for letting me be a part of you.






Happy Birthday!

I love you
Forever
B

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Small Dilemma

There has been a request that I let our schedule be known beforehand rather than after the fact so that those wish to meet us can do so. If I were an organized person at the time, I could do that. However, I am a bit disheveled at this point, to say the least. :-) The schedule that I worked so dilegently on is about to be complete. This next Sunday we will be in Liberty Missouri at Grace Episcopal Church.

That is it. The extent of our schedule.

So, I have a request. We are in the process of trying to discern where we will go next. Share this blog with those you think may be interested. We are not tied down to any one direction. As I have been reminded, the majority of Episcopalians in this church are located in an easterly direction. So, east we are willing to go.

Right now we are recouping, rejuvenating at Rivendell, the Episcopal religious community that we belong to in the Diocese of West Missouri. (http://rivendellcommunity.org) It is good to be here. It is a time of rest, prayer and listening.

But we are ready to go. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
We can be reached through this blog or at bgclick@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Point or Two to Note and File for Further Thought

One lesson for us to remember: this journey at this point is not about find where God is leading us as much as it is about finding out where God is not leading us.

Another thought is again about comfort - if we find too much comfort in one place, might we be enticed to stay too long?

Sunday, July 15, 2007


A Bluebonnet in Texas

About the only news of which I have taken note over the past week was the passing of yet one more of Texas' great women. Ladybird Johnson left her Texas home this past Wednesday to rise on to glory. While I am certain that heaven is a better place for her presence, Texas has once again experienced a great sadness.
Lots of people remember Ladybird as the one who began the highway beautification plan. She is the reason that springtime highways in Texas are lined with bluebonnets and paintbrushes. Her ideas laid the groundwork for the lakeside, roadside, shoreline trash cleanups. She planted the seeds that began much of the environmental movement. More than that, she associated the idea that unchecked industrialization and growing urban poverty were partners. Not only did she work to eradicate urban blight within the nation's capitol, she actively promoted and campaigned for the The Wilderness Act if 1964 and the Scenic Rivers Program for the rest of the nation.
Next time you see a bluebonnet, remember her, but also remember that she cared about the entire nation - not about just planting a flower here and there, but about the people within the nation. It goes much deeper than just a pretty picture of little kids sitting in the middle of a field of bluebonnets. It speaks to the heart of the poverty issues.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cowtown and Kenya?

Is there more than meets the eye in this welcome from Bishop Iker to the news of his friend, Canon Bill Atwood, rising to the level of missionary Bishop in the Anglican Church of Kenya? Canon Atwood, as that missionary bishop, will minister to all the "those here in in the States who have been alienated from The Episcopal Church in recent years" - all those, that is, who aren't already being ministered to by the Church of Rwanda or Nigeria.

So, I wonder who those alienated ones will be? hmmm...let me think...do I venture a guess???

http://www.fwepiscopal.org/news/atwoodkenya.html

Monday, June 04, 2007


Integrity in Fort Worth - Finally!
No good thing will God withhold from those who walk with Integrity. Psalm 84:11

Well, we did it! The Board of Integrity met in Fort Worth this past weekend. And we had a service on the Feast of Justin Martyr with the Reverend Susan Russell, president of Integrity preaching and celebrating the Eucharist.


Hell did not freeze over; nor did the stars fall from the sky. But the Holy Spirit did dance amongst us!


The service was held at an awesome church on Pennsylvania Avenue - Celebration Community Church (www.celebration-community-church.com). Approximately 50 people were there to participate and to welcome the Board to Fort Worth. (more than in several diocesan parishes on any given Sunday morning). I won't embarrass the diocese by telling why we met there rather than in a local Episcopal parish.


I would like to thank every one of you who participated in so many different ways -The Folk Group at Trinity (y'all are awesome!!!!!!!!!); Susann and Marvin for the wonderful reception!!!!!!!!!; the Reverend Carol West and the congregation of CCC for sharing with us and to Lisette -- thank you for being with us! Most of all - all of you who came out and witnessed that night - thank you for your love and support. It is good to be a part of your community!


Many thanks to the entire Board of Integrity - what a great blessing to be a part of this dynamic group!

Shalom,

Barbi


APOLOGIA

The Feast of Justin Martyr

June 1, 2007 ~ Ft Worth, TX

On behalf of the Integrity Board it is truly an honor and a blessing to be here with you in the Diocese of Fort Worth this week. There is much on our agenda as we meet over these three days … and – I hope this isn’t “breaking news” – we actually DO have “an agenda.” And since it’s an Integrity Agenda you arguably COULD call it a “gay agenda” … but the truth is, it looks an awful lot like any OTHER church or not-for-profit Board agenda. We have budgets and financials to approve; action items to account for and strategic plans to implement. There are chapter and network reports and membership issues and database updates. It is mostly just plain old hard work … hard work that is holy work as it is all of it … every bullet point and press release and regional report and line item … offered in the service of this holy work to which we have been called … this living out of the Gospel in our day just as the saints throughout the ages have lived it out in theirs.


read the rest at Susan's blog - http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holy Eucharist in Fort Worth

Integrity's national Board of Directors will be holding it's semi-annual meeting in Fort Worth on June 1st and 2nd. In conjunction with this meeting, Integrity/Fort Worth is sponsoring a Holy Eucharist on the Feast of Justin Martyr, June 1st, beginning at 8 pm.The service will be held at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Avenue, in downtown Fort Worth. All Integrity members and friends in the area are invited to attend.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Posturing Imitators...

“The Presiding Bishop of this church has refused to accept the key recommendations of the Windsor Report, has failed to seek implementation of the essential requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, and has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament. By her statements and actions, the course she wishes to pursue is clear: to lead TEC to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. This is a course we cannot follow. For all these reasons and others, we do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf.”

My, my, isn’t Fort Worth special? Here they go again, making it clear that their boys’ club not only doesn’t want to play with the new girl but they don’t even want to be on the same block. So once again they are making a bold and broad statement that they are not only dissatisfied but they are going to do something about it. Like what? Stand around preening, patting themselves on the back and slapping each other on the butt? All in a manly way, don’t you know? Once again they have done nothing but blow pompous yet empty rhetoric.

Not only is it empty and pompous but it isn’t even accurate. What recommendations of the Windsor report has the Presiding Bishop refused to accept – the part about not crossing boundaries maybe? No, wait…that was the other guys. The part about listening? No, they already said that no clergy would be made to listen to the stories of a bunch of gays and lesbians. What essential request of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué has the Presiding Bishop failed to implement? She said she would take it to the House of Bishops and she did. There was nothing else that she could do – oh wait…I bet the people on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth were thinking that maybe she could make a mandate since that is the world they live in. What basic tenet of the teaching of the New Testament has she denied? Are they still foaming at the reference to “Mother” Jesus? Get a grip. Are they really that upset to think of a God so large that it is possible that someone could understand the idea of Jesus without having ever, ever heard about him?

Nitpickers…that’s what my grandmother would have called them. Picking at nits until there are festering pustules. Posturing, I call it. They are posturing, stalling for time in an attempt to take all the toys with them. It doesn’t matter how they try to change the diocesan constitution in November 2007. It doesn’t matter if they get the first vote then and the second vote in November 2008. It won’t matter because the constitution doesn’t belong to them…it belongs to the Diocese of Fort Worth and that diocese belongs to The Episcopal Church. Period.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yes, he is...

Well, yesterday was a grand day indeed. I actually met Katharine Jefferts Schori. I even shook her hand. It would be good to tell you that I was able to get in a word about Fort Worth and Integrity. I would have liked to have said "As a member of the Board of Integrity, let me tell you how much we appreciate all that you are doing". It would have been great to even offer a suggestion as to how she might do more. However, that was not to be the case.

For those of you who know Tucker, well, you know that he is indeed Tucker as only Tucker can be. Being the fidgeter that he is, sitting in a chair waiting one hour for the ceremony to begin is just not within his capabilities. Of course, he had to go to the restroom. Being eleven years old, he is allowed to do that by himself. So he went.

He came back fifteen or so minutes later and all grins, his hand held out, palm up and said, "Do you want to touch this?" If you don't have an eleven year old boy in your life, let me give you warning - Always say No to that question and Never, ever reach out to grab the upheld hand. Trust me. There are few things on that hand that you would ever want transferred to your own skin. It is always best to just wait and listen rather than reach out and touch.

So, I merely stared at the palm, wondering what he had gotten in to now. Still grinning, he said…”I am never going to wash this hand.” So the questions began…Why? “Because I just shook hands with Katharine Jefferts Schori.” Wow! What did you say to her? “I told her that I was Tucker and that one of my mom’s is Barbi Click.” Cool! What happened then? (and no, they did not go on to talk about me…) “She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told her that I wanted to be a Paleontologist. She said that was awesome and that she used to be an oceanographer.”

About then the graduation ceremony began so we stood up.

Afterwards, there was a reception for all the graduates in the courtyard of St. Matthew’s. Somewhere, quickly melting into the crowd, Tucker disappeared. Knowing full well that he was on his way to find our Presiding Bishop once again, we set off to find him. Sure enough, I spotted him. In the process of reaching out to grab his arm, he was able to reach out further and faster to grab her arm. As I pulled on him and said, Tucker, no! she turned and saw him. She smiled at him and then looked up at me. “This one belongs to you, I presume?” Yes, I said and I introduced myself. She looked back at him and said, "Well, he is an amazing young man, isn’t he?” What could I do but agree with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Bishop to the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe? I just smiled and said, yes he is, thank you.

An aside from one of the parents of this “amazing young man” – I just learned that he scored a “commended” performance on his TAKS Science scores – 39 out of 40…

Friday, May 11, 2007

Coup d'Etat

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coup_d'%C3%A9tat)
“A coup d'État (pronounced /ku de'ta/), or simply coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, often through illegal means by a part of the state establishment — mostly replacing just the high-level figures. It is also an example of political engineering. It may or may not be violent in nature. It is different from a revolution, which is staged by a larger group and radically changes the political system through unconstitutional means.”

Can the establishment of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) within the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church and the consecration of Martyn Minns by “His Grace The Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola CON, DD Archbishop Metropolitan And Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)”, be seen as anything less that an attempted coup?

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Couple of Glorious Things That Have Happened Since March 14










Who would think? Bluebonnets in Snow! In April, no less!










On that same day, April 7th, we celebrated the 94th birthday of my grandmother, Bula Knipe Click - the matriarch of the Click Clan. And yes, that is her own red hair! It was a glorious day, indeed!





Resurrection of Fear

It has been one month since I last wrote a blog. That gives way to a whole load of thoughts pent up for that while...Gosh, lots of things have happened -Lent is over. Jesus died. Christ is Risen. Alleluia!
Lots of people have died in the past thirty days. We even have a new law in Texas that says it is ok to kill someone who is trying to do you harm. I think that it used to be that you had to yell a warning three times and that the perpetrator had to be fully inside your residence before you shot him (or her). Now you don't have to yell. You don't have to wait until they are inside. The threat can be real or perceived. (at least that it the way it read to me) The possible threat soon turned victim doesn't even have to be exhibiting a weapon. Shoot first and find out facts later. Oh, you mean the guy was just walking past my car to get to his own??? I am so sorry...I thought he was going to attack me.
Ok, so I can see the desire to hurt someone who is trying to hurt you. I can understand the fear that would drive someone to those means. Like an older lady with whom I work - She woke up one night to find a guy standing over her. She carries a gun now. Even the president, God love his little backward thinking mind, in his address to the scarred and scared people at Virginia Tech said that if more people had been properly armed then it would have helped stop the guy that killed and wounded all those people. But somehow, a Law that states you will not be accused of murder or homicide or any other type of crime if you kill someone who you think is trying to hurt you just seems to be a bit twisted.
Ok, so the human in me realizes that it is just basic instinct to want to retaliate, to seek revenge against someone who has hurt you or even scared the living holies out of you. But what is that line, 'Vengence is mine, saith the Lord'? Of course, that is just one of those old lines of text that doesn' t really matter in this modern day, right? yeah...and do we really need more crazy people, stressed out of their minds, reeling from the shock of everyday living running around with 'Glocks' in their pockets? Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy.
At a place where I volunteer, a couple of guys were talking the day after the attack at VT - they were claiming that this would be the time when those "liberals" would once again try to take away their guns. And of course, you can imagine what at least one said after that...'if they try to take away my guns they are going to have to come in shootin'...'and oh my, let's not forget the disingenuous saying, "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."I think that we need to stop and think about the one purpose for which handguns are made...and sorry, honey, it ain't for target practice...
This is Texas, after all. We kill people all the time...even when it would be so much easier and cheaper to just do the simple DNA test to make absolutely, 100% sure that the person on Death Row is truly the person that the State claims he or she is. (I am attempting gender neutrality however the person in these instances is almost always a "he" and almost always Black)
Meanwhile, people are dying - lots of them dying - in Iraq. And no one seems to care. Where is the outrage? Where is the moral outcry? Why are we all just letting it go on? and on? and on?
May God have mercy on us all...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

From Charles Hill, a parishioner at St. Clement's, Honolulu, written in the early hours of Ash Wednesday
*****************************************
THE LAST RITES FOR A MAN IN A WOMAN'S FROCK WHO VISITS THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
(It is time to call a demon what it is, a devil in primate's robes)

I think I want to wear a pretty flower print frock,
perhaps top it off with an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it
then knock on the Archbishop's palace door,
and invite him to laugh at my expense,
show him a legion of lesions in my soul,
all what keeps me ever so sore
abandoned by church, nation, and home.

I think I want to proclaim a fast,
shore up my energy for all who have died unjustly in the past
because he wanted to kiss a rose
and she wanted to play basketball too much;
life's joys denied them
all in the name of a God they serve,
they go on killing us all the day long
strip us, burn us at the stake, take away our dreams,
make examples of us to shame our names for love,
call all our goodness wrong.

I think I want to don a fresh frock today
then stop the clocks and after veiling my eyes, weep.
What else is there to do to keep the peace?
I think I want to kiss the hand that feeds me,
kiss the lips of the salty lover at my side who frees me,
and with my best frock on rise to the occasion at holy mass, at holy communion
stand up for Jesus in high and low places
to proclaim

no judge or priest or primate or pope or Archbishop may stop me
from wearing a frock,
from stopping the clock,
from stripping away the veil of ignorance here and now.

So bless me, O Lord, for I have sinned
leaving so much undone that might have been.
I think I'm already buried alive up to my eyeballs
in this crock of clergy shit called
divine right of straight and narrow,
the right of the oppressors to suck out my marrow;
all of them cannibals of truly human soul,
they eat my heart while it beats
and drink my blood as it flows
and call their churchly judgments acts of compassion.

I have been damned to hell like Crazy Jane was judged by her Bishop,
hanged glistening, bleeding from barbed wire
like Matthew Shepard was left out in the freezing Wyoming night,
killed by the same Christians who with their Bibles open to John 3:16
beat my brains out until they ooze into the street,
there is no survival rate available, it's too late to count out thirty coins of silver,
there's always more to betrayal,
and they tell me over and over and over again,
as I breathe my last,
"There is hope for you because God loves you, but not what you are,"
and at last I join my brothers and sisters from the past,
free at last, Thank God Almighty,
I'm free at last.

And when I die please ask them for my body and bury me
or burn me, I don't care,
but put me down in my pretty flower print frock
and before you scatter my ashes or bury my corpse,
stop the clocks,
if only for an hour
because time never ticked for me in this world anyway
where I have had no power, no face, no name, no peace,
only moments of pleasure when I wore a flower print frock
to guide me back to a dream of a lovely place the world might have been,
to a happy home I never had in this life,
and
hope
to
God
will
be
in
the
next
world
to
come.

Let me rest in peace, please, finally, in my frock give me my last rites.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ,
and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
(but please not like it was in my lifetime)
world without end, amen.

charles hill
honolulu, hawaii
February 21, Ash Wednesday, 2007
Ash Wednesday

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"...for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Matthew 25:43-43

When I read the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon at Zanzibar, I was greatly heartened. For him to speak to the issue of slavery and our sins of omission, it seemed as though his sermon held an underlying warning to make certain that the very same sins were not repeated. I still believe that is exactly what he was warning. However, it would seem it fell on deaf ears.

I know that when we initially founded the group - Fort Worth Via Media and also the Via Media USA - one of the primary concerns was that we not make this about the "gay issue". We wanted so clearly to be a voice for the broad middle, hoping that once our voices spoke in clarity that others would join in our cry for this Episcopal Church. Many in the founding group were not "pro-gay" per se. They were not sure of their own particular stance toward the consecration of Gene Robinson as a bishop in this church. We knew there were others who also were concerned about "homosexuality" yet wanted to remain Episcopalians in the Episcopal Church. We didn't want to scare off what we deemed as the majority that sat in that "moderate" middle group. I think that time is past and that many have firmly taken up the stance that we cannot be a church bent on following the gospel of Jesus if we cannot include every member.

I firmly believe that this whole mess is NOT about the gay issue -- it is about power and authority and who has it and who doesn't and who wants more of it. However, be that as it may be, gay and lesbian Episcopalians are the ones suffering. So, whether it is truly deep down about gay and lesbian issues or not, it is about gay and lesbians in this church. We are being used as the fodder.

I would like to say that I am firmly a part of the Anglican Communion. Honestly, in the past, it always 'sounded' classier than Episcopalian. 'I am an Anglican.' I didn't hardly know what it meant. Historically, I knew some of the facts. Mostly I didn't know anything. I do now. And one thing that is clear to me above all the facts, all the rhetoric -- clear as blue October skies in Texas -- I am NOT a part of the Anglican Communion. They told me so yesterday. They said it loudly, clearly. It is still reverberating in my heart and mind. I am not an Anglican.

The roots of this Episcopal Church are Anglican but just as this country weaned itself from its English roots by revolution, so was this church cut from its Anglican roots by the same.

I am saddened that the Anglican Communion cares not at all for me and for others like me. I feel as though I have been cast off, flung to the side -- a dirty sock tossed carelessly into the corner without even a thought as to who will pick it up, clean it and return it once again to its proper place to be yet used again and tossed aside. I am tired of being used and abused.

I am disheartened that the words of a relatively few highly placed primates sitting in a circumstance obviously far removed from the same people that Jesus walked amongst carries so much weight that the gifts of gays and lesbians in this church and the entire Anglican Communion are not just ignored but deemed unworthy.

I do not believe that our Presiding Bishop bought into this rhetoric. I cannot allow myself to believe that at this moment. Yet, should she tell me and others that we are loved yet once again, it will come as a bitter balm if there are words only and no action. We are wounded. A pat on the head will not heal us. It was never enough but it offered hope of a future action. It is time to act.

I am hopeful that Bishop Katharine will come back to our church and continue to lead us into a new and deeper understanding of the mission of this church. That mission, I firmly believe, involves recognizing by action that gays and lesbians are true and full members of this body. At this particular moment, the hope that she, the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies and the Executive Council -- all vital parts of this Episcopal Church -- will make a way for the gifts of the gays and lesbians in this church to not only be recognized but utilized.

We are wounded and we cannot wait one hundred years for this Episcopal Church to recognize that.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fragile Communion

During this entire Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania over the past few days, I have sincerely wanted to address some of the many issues ongoing. However, anything I might have written would have been redundant or not nearly as innovative as Mad Priest, Fr. Jake, Jim Naughton, Elizabeth Kaeton, Susan Russell or the many others. And who among the journalists can rival Scott Gunn of Inclusive Church or the Rev. Caro Hall of Integrity or the Rev Colin Coward of Changing Attitudes? Their journalistic styles, interweaving the facts and the emotion were just so wonderful. Many thanks for their willingness to share with us all. So, not wishing to be inadequate, plus the fact life its own self just disallowed me the time to think of what I might like to write, I have refrained...until now.

However...now that the Covenant Design Group has issued their “Anglican Covenant Draft” I feel very compelled to ask one question: How is it that this “Communion” - so revered, so desired, so very costly to some, is SO very fragile that one or two provinces within it working towards what they perceive to be justice and God’s will can threaten its fracture and ultimate demise?

Ok, so one more question. How much more of our communion at home (i.e. all gays and lesbians in this church seeking God's will in their own lives) will be sacrificed to adhere to this new “Covenant” designed by these humans?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Texas Legend

For some reason, the passing of Molly Ivins from this world into the next came as a shock to me. Maybe it was because of the emotional turmoil of the past weekend, the unexpected loss of my partner’s brother, which left me vulnerable. Maybe it was the passing of a sane voice in a crazy world. Whatever the reason, I burst into tears.

Sadly, even she couldn’t keep the politics in Texas honest. The popularity of her syndicated column always made me wonder just where were those people who loved her on voting day. Surely if all the people who read Molly Ivins and agreed with her were to show up at the polls on Election Day, surely we would have a much different political scene, not only in Texas but in the nation.

If Molly Ivins held back from saying what she believed, I am sure there are a whole lot of people who are very thankful. She took no prisoners -- she did not favor one idiot over another just because one happened to be of the Democratic or Republican persuasion. She demanded that people use their own brains to think rather than rely upon what someone else thought. Endowed with an uncanny quickness and insight, she had no problem translating her sardonic wit onto paper. She gave us hope that there is intelligent life out there.

Molly, you are missed already. Hopefully, you were a mentor to others who possess your acumen and are ready to step into your role. Those of us who love you cry out “Do not go gentle into that good night…”, yet we know it is our loss and your gain. May your words continue to enlighten those who read them. May these same words continue to give hope to those of us who wonder on a daily basis, “Just WHAT were you thinking?” when one of our infamous politicians do something that is so contrary to the good of the people.