Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's new in the Parish Hall

So this past Sunday we had a special parish meeting to let people know what is up with the various property projects. It was the debut appearance of our new projector and screen and sound system. Our senior warden did a great job of putting a power point presentation together and offering a lively and humorous and informative narration along with it.

Meanwhile, the property changes were all around us: the painters were due on Monday and so our secretary had moved everything into the Parish
Hall and on Friday and Saturday people pitched in to move books and other stuff out of the rector's office. It looks as if the offices are almost done except for the trim and the parish hall is almost done. So gradually we will put things back. In my case, we will be trying to get things better than normal, since I have quite an accumulation of papers which probably need to be weeded out: every conference and workshop I have attended, every diocesan convention, that kind of stuff. Louis, our roving photographer, took some pix of people at the meeting (note Ruth Proehl on the screen) as well as some pictures of the offices empty and waiting for their paint job.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So, the C of E has voted for women bishops, by a pretty impressive majority. And they have declined to offer any elaborate "flying bishops" scheme to respect the consciences of those who can't possibly cope with having woman bishop. It is actually pretty amazing. You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile Tuesday a.m. on Morning Edition, Renee Montagne was talking to our man in London Rob Gifford about the threat of schism in the C of E and then she asked the British commentator if this controversy had anything to do with the split over homosexuality. And I wanted to yell into the radio OF COURSE IT DOES. The commentator thought that the gay issue is more contentious but that is because he was probably still in grade school when women were ordained in the Episcopal Church and doesn't remember. (And speaking of great "church destroying" cataclysms of the past, we were talking at lectionary group about the General Convention Special Program which caused a huge brouhaha that some people in the Episcopal Church are STILL not over... ) And he thought the homosexuality conversation was a bigger deal because it was about morality.

But here is what I think: opposition to women's ordination and opposition to gay bishops (by which people mean openly gay partnered bishops) is about fear of women and fear of sexual impulses and feelings. Remember in the bad old days before we ordained women in ECUSA how men would say things like "a woman at the altar would just be too distracting", meaning perhaps that she would cause (straight) men to be distracted by sexual fantasies. And an awful lot of the abusive language directed against gay men throughtout the centuries has been about how "feminine" they are. They either don't act like "real men" or they inspire in "real men" feelings of attraction which are distressing and shameful to them. In other words: women remind men of sex, gay men remind men of women and of sex. Homophobia and misogyny are closely linked. (And for the most part, people forget Lesbians even exist in these conversations, I guess because whether they are straight or lesbian women are mainly defined, certainly for much of Christian tradition, as not "real men.") I don't understand why women (or men who fail the "real man" test in some way) are so scary to the dominant white male culture. I don't understand why people feel that God needs to be protected from women, from GLBT people and from conflict of any kind. I don't understand why those who are not persuaded that ordaining GLBT people or women (L or T or straight) to the pr0iesthood and the episcopate feel they must elevate this issue to evidence of general all round heterodoxy.

But I'm getting tired of reading about it. I feel especially tired when I hear and read Bishop Wright, saying of Gafcon (who thought THAT was an attractive acronym for anything) that while AMERICANS deserve censure and external control "the situation in England is quite different."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Episcopalians at Pride 2008

A little band of St Markans walked in the Pride Parade on Sunday and with others staffed the booth for a couple of hours, handing out flyers and stickers and sharing the good news of the Episcopal Church's welcome for all. There were lots of people from Trinity and from St John's and from Holy Communion and from Transfiguration Lake St Louis and from Advent and from the Cathedral. It is amazing to be at the booth and to hear people come up and say, "I wish MY church were here" or "Thank you for being here, it is great to see mainline churches here." In my judgement, St Mark's isn't quite ready to cancel 10 a.m. church and all go to "Mass in the Grass" in the park at 10:30 on Sunday, but some St Markans were there and so were about 150 other people and one heckler and everything went very well. We dashed up there following our service.

The slideshow is of the parade. We walked behind a fabulous team of drag cheerleaders which had very perky music. The clergy got to ride in a great car belonging to a St John's member. Despite our best efforts the reviewing stand announced us as the Metropolitan Community Church. It also poured with rain for a few critical moments but then reverted to being amazingly warm again. Becket Clark walked up front with the banner and synchronized thurifers, doing a very complicated dance as we marched along.