Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Anglican Covenant? 

Recently, the Archbishop of Canterbury released his theological reflection, post-General Convention, version 1.0. As a part of his conclusion, he begins to float an idea about an "Anglican Covenant" that he says would necessarily be an "opt-in" statement. There could also be, he posits, varying levels of committment. Constituent churches, for example, would be those who could sign the document in full, while associated churches would be those on the periphary. Voice and vote would probably only be permitted to constituent churches, or at least that's my guess.

As I began thinking about this, I thought such a Covenant, should it desire to include those fringe churches in our Communion (of which ECUSA now represents the left/more liberal fringe), would have to be fairly innocous, and that, to me, ruins the point of having a confession of faith type document (sidebar: something from which Anglicans have historically shied away).

Then I thought further. Don't we already have something that is suppossed to work like this? I flipped back to the small print pages of the BCP, specifically pages 876-878 and found what I was looking for. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886, 1888. Read it over. Let me know what you think. If that isn't what the Quadrilateral does, then what does it do? And if that isn't it's intended purpose, could it not be used as a basis for Rowan's proposal? What do you think?


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Few Photos 


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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Question of Vocabulary 

So, over the past few years, I've heard a lot of people use two words of which I want to know the definition. They are usually used in opposition to one another and with no small amount of vehemence. The second I can take a crack at, but I want to know what they mean in the context of the church's liberals and conservatives. So, here they are:




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Back on Land 

After a glorious week cruising through the Eastern Caribbean, I am back on land and would like to report no trouble walking or standing up. Even in the shower. Cruising was a lot of fun and I am really grateful that I got to do it, but in retrospect, I think I would like to just fly to one of those islands next time and spend a week there. There were a lot of rules and a lot of schedules to keep on the ship and something about that struck me as being antithetical to vacation. However, we still had a great time. The week began in fine fashion with our first full day at sea (that's a view I've always wanted to see - be able to turn around 360 degrees and see nothing but ocean!) in which we lounged around catching rays on the top deck. An announcement was made that the "Mr. Sexy Legs" contest would now begin and those wishing to enter needed to come forward. Everyone got up to go get a better look and Brennan and I looked at each other and said, "what the hell," and entered. Lo and behold, Brennan won one of the categories - Mr. Sexy Skinny Legs. Not sure how much of a victory that is, but ok. I did not win anything, but I came away with the pride of knowing I was in all likelihood the only clergyman to enter the competition! Dinner was above and beyond my favorite part, made even more enjoyable by our fun loving waiter, Peamkait of Thailand. The fact that you could just order whatever you wanted, however many times you wanted it was fantastic. On Lobster night, I had four. Truly glutto---glorious!

On our shore days we visited Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau. All of those were neat places to see, and I'm sorry we did not get to see more of them or spend more time on each of them. I would especially have liked to visit the All Saints Cathedral (Episcopal) on St. Thomas, but there just wasn't time. Much rum was purchased for cheap on the islands, also much good scotch. We're talking a bottle that normally would fetch $50, for $18. That's fantastic! On St. Maarten, we rode waverunners, a first for me, but not for my brothers. It was a blast - Dad rode behind me for the first half but then had to get off cause it hurt his back to bounce around like that. Before he got off though, we had to rescue a father and daughter whose jet ski had sunk. I really loved flying over the waves, in some cases, literally getting more air time than I was comfortable with!

The evenings were spent at the various shows, after which I would watch my brothers gamble away their money at the serious gambling tables - poker and roulette. The won, they lost, they won again, but lost in the end. Other nights I sat out on our balcony as watched and listened to the sound of the boat on the water while reading. I loved that. Managed to finish the Shaara's books about the Civil War. It was really interesting to read those, cause I really don't know a whole lot about the war's details or commanders, and it was neat to get inside their heads a bit, if only in a fiction. Longstreet quickly became my favorite, especially after he said, "Southern women like their men religious and a little mad. That's why they fall in love with preachers." I also enjoyed following the rise through the ranks of Chamberlain, from Professor of Rhetoric to Major General. It was neat to read about the fire of Stonewall Jackson and the books did nothing to take away from my admiration of General Robert E. Lee. Now, I've begun reading Artuto Perez-Reverte's The Nautical Chart.

Much has happened since I last saw land, not the least of which is the serious downward spiral of the Atlanta Braves. Something needs to be done there, I just don't know what. We got beat by the Marlins, who are fielding a AAA team basically, and most recently by the losing-est team in baseball, the Devil Rays. We're 15.5 games back and in last place of the division. Dreams of 15 straight division titles are starting to crumble, but we'll see what the second half holds.

Also, I'm trying to catch up on all the news out of General Convention. We've a new Presiding Bishop, The Most Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, so may God bless her in her new ministry, cause she's definitely gonna need it in these tumultous times for the church. We've adopted the Revised Common Lectionary for primary usage now, replacing the current BCP Lectionary - a move for which I am in favor, being a fan of the RCL. It's sequence of OT readings make more sense to me, giving a larger feel for the broader narrative perspective, and it's the succcessful work of a large ecumenical council, which is a good sign for Christ's Church. We've also made a response to the Windsor report which seems to have said we will very exercise "considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecrating bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." Don't know if that will satisfy the broader Anglican Communion or not, but it seems like about the only thing Convention would have said. Some are happy, some are not, but there will still be church on Sunday morning and God will still be praised and love all people.

Personally, I think that if we, the Episcopal Church, could live into what the Windsor reports asks of us for the time being, as a way of teaching, listening, and eventually bringing more members of the Communion along with us in our full inclusion of gays and lesbian persons into every aspect of the life of the church, it would be a good thing, if a prolonging of the painful times for some, and one to which I am committed. I am not committed to a "band-aid" response, however, and if that's what we've done here, well, I just hope it isn't.

That's a lot to say for one posting, so I think I'll be finished for now. In summary, loved the cruise, read some good books, the braves suck, and convention is over, thanks be to God.


[Later: I was reading my diocese's news page and came across the Bishop's call for a clergy meeting on July 8 to debrief after General Convention. I caught myself saying, "I would really like to know what goes on at that meeting!" and then quickly realized, "Oh, I'll be there." Kind of an odd moment.]

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Cruising Through Convention 

I think it's a blessing in disguise that I will be on a cruise for the bulk of General Convention. A priest friend of mine just sent me an article that discussed the Episcopal blog wars going on about Convention and I think it's a little sad. A lot of the blogs I've read contain wrong information or rumor only, not to mention cheap pot shots at one another. Even my own diocese's "unofficial" Convention blog has thus far contained nothing more than cyber-boasting that one of our delegates was interviewed for virtueonline.com (not exactly CNN) - a fact I would try to hide rather than flag. I had hoped for better reporting of the news from the unofficial blog linked to on the diocesan webpage, but so far it hasn't come. So far, the only reliable news source I've found is the "Convention Daily", a newspaper published daily (imagine that!) at the convention and I would recommend that you get your news there, if you're a convention watcher. Me? I'm gonna be a sunset watcher down in the Caribbean, sipping on a pina colada and not thinking about politics. Thank God.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ah, Florida! 

Though I sit in the front office of St. Mark's because the moving van with my computer in it has not yet arrived, I am considering this my first post from my new home, Tampa, FL. I was pleased to see/experience that I arrived just in time for Alberto, this season's first named storm. Much ado was made about it, but it was still a blah storm. I think everyone, especially the news stations are so keyed up about hurricanes now that they will jump at anything. We'll see what this season has to bring us.

But, back to the fact that I am home! It feels good to be here and will feel better once the moving van arrives and I have everything arranged. There is a lot of furniture in the house already - donations, mostly, and mostly in good condition - but I will need to give some of it back, probably to the refugee ministry, 0nce my own stuff gets here (hopefully, sometime tomorrow). The house is great! Huge! Air conditioned!! The church is equally as wonderful, and right across the yard, which will make the morning commute less hectic. There was a phone in my office (the only thing in there currently) which bore the heading "Fr. Ryan". Kinda funny, but true soon enough.

The Deacon Ordination service was wonderful. Many members of my family were in attendance,including my uncle who said jokingly, after he read what he had to swear to on my behalf, "I read the canons last night and I have a few questions for you!" Many thanks to all of you who came out to support me! Four others beside myself got baked on Saturday, 3 of them vocational Deacons. The bishop's message to us was very good. Of the main points, the ones which stood out were: (a) It's not about you, it's about the resurrection of Jesus Christ; (b) From this day forward, no one can judge you; (c) Don't worry about what your neighbor is doing, worry about what you're doing; (d) Be polishers of shoes (an update on the whole foot washing theme). He grinned as he laid hands on me and it felt good to be so well received. Though I must confess, I don't feel any different now that I'm a Deacon. I thought I'd be able to throw lightning bolts for sure! I will have to learn how to breathe with that collar on though. Sunday morning was even more fantastic than Saturday afternoon, though. There I was, serving as a Deacon, in the parish which has called me - proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the table, and all as if I'd been born to do it. Everyone at the parish is so welcoming and seemingly over the moon that I am here now. I remembered many faces (and fewer names) from when I was here in December and it was great to feel so welcomed. I look forward to beginning work here on July 5. But, not until then. Cause first, I'm going on a cruise with my family through the Caribbean to celebrate graduations (Ryan - seminary, Trevor - college, Brennan - high school). And that, my faithful readers, is about all I have to say from here for the time being. My laundry is probably finished so I should go get it (it felt superb to not have to put quarters into it!!). Until next time, maybe before I cruise, maybe after, may God be with you and with us all.


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Monday, June 05, 2006

Leaving Chicago 

All packed up now. The moving van is on the way. And so, for the last time from Chicago, I'm signing off.


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Saturday, June 03, 2006

...and done. 

Well, I did it. I graduated, again. The service today was very nice and didn't even seem extraordinarily long to me. I was touched by the enthusiasm of some friends who were there. Prior to the service I had instructed my family not to yell out or clap when my name was called, but when it was called there was much yelling and hooting. It came from the "St. Luke's Row" in the back - supporters of mine from the congregation, and that was very nice for them to give up a Friday morning. Many others were there supporting me as well, not the least of which was my home church's rector and the rector of the church that hired me. I got my picture taken with those two guys, plus the priest-in-charge of St. Luke's and it was a 'before-during-after' picture! It was great to have my family there as well, sans Trevor, who is preparing for the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) exam tomorrow, for which we wish him calm, skill, clarity of mind, and a little luck. It was also nice to see the St. Luke's organist's family there, with whom I've become very close over my time here. Following the service and the seemingly unending photo shoot, we made our way to the seminary for the reception. As we prepared to leave the reception, it dawned on me: I'll not see these people again for a while. Maybe a long while. And, to use my mother's word, I grew "melancholy". So, I made my rounds to make my goodbyes and farewells, which was tougher than I'd imagined. I wanted to make sure I got as many people as I could, cause when I left Wake Forest, I didn't get a chance to do that and it bothered me for a long while. All were hard to say goodbye to, some were harder than others. But, I'll see you again someday, so it's not a forever goodbye. Now all that is left for me to do is pack up and ship out by early Tuesday morning. Oh yeah, I have to preach at St. Luke's on Sunday morning for my last Sunday there, but I've pretty much got my sermon worked out. Then, it's back to FL and who knows when I'll see Chicago again. It's kinda sad and exciting all at the same time. I guess it's one of those "big life moments". And those are always a double-edged sword.


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