Sunday, June 25, 2006

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.]


I'm in agreement that GC didn't end the way I would have wanted it to.

But I'd like for you to put your collar on the dresser and pretend that the GC had just told you to wait for three years before you could *think* about putting it on.

There is a huge ministry of reconciliation needed for out GLBT sisters and brothers who have just been told that they're not good enough. And I think there's another needed between our PB and PB-elect and all the rest of us to mend the suspicion of the last-minute deal(s) that may have been cut that produced B033.

I've never had the occasion before to doubt the sincerity, truthfulness, or integrity of those who lead our church; but I have it now, at 60+ years of membership in the Episcopal Church. It's the same feeling of dis-ease that I have with our country's government: they're hiding something(s) dirty that they ought to be ashamed of.

While I think I may be overstating the case, I am uneasy that I'm not, and I'm grateful that I have to explain the chaos only to my lay friends who know that I'm an Episcopalian.


By Blogger Jim, at 5:12 PM  

Jim, I agree with you on this one.

Congratulations Ryan!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:04 PM  

If this is an ignorant question, forgive me, but I'm just a layman -- B033 applies only to Bishops-elect, correct? It was not my understanding that we were looking at a situation where homosexual seminarians will be denied ordination. Jim's line about having to "put your collar" on the dresser implies that however. Can you help me understand this?

By Anonymous David K, at 2:35 PM  

David K.,

This is not an ignorant question. The legislation process of General Convention is very confusing and the details can get lost in the numbers and titles. It is also my understanding that B033 applies only to Bishops-elect. However, it is still a blow to the spirit of GLBT persons, lay, ordained, or seminarians, because it says to them that they are still somehow "less", which many feel breaks the vows we all take in the Baptismal Covenant to respect the dignity of every human person. For seminarians especially it is difficult because it puts them into an uncomfortable (to say the least) holding pattern as they attempt to navigate the rocky waterways of dual, yet simultaneous processes: academic and canonical. It's a very tricky situation, of that there is no doubt.

When I wrote in the original posting that I am for living into what the Windsor report says, I also said so long as the intent, or a result, of doing so allows us time to bring other members of the communion along with us. I said that fully understanding that it is asking GLBT persons to wait longer, but the hope is that it will be worth the wait, because hopefully the reward for that kind of patience will pay off ten fold in bringing other members of the communion to a place where they can accept what the American church has done.

Rowan Williams' most recent statement is well worth the read, as he reflects on the American church's General Convention, and the ensuing results we have and yet might see. You can access it via his webpage or by clicking here.

Hope that helps, David K.


By Blogger Ryan, at 5:40 PM  

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