Advent 3 C brings us to the banks of the Jordan river. What are you looking for? What answers do you seek? And, are you willing to hear them if you don't like them?
Monday, December 14, 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Sermon preached at Christ The King, Alief and St. Stephen's, Houston
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Christian Citizenship Means Creating Cities of Non-Discrimination - We Have An Opportunity in Houston
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Preached at Christ Church Cathedral, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor. Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.
Here what the Spirit is saying to the church.
As we listened on Sunday to this lesson, we well might have wondered what we could do about the refugee and migration crisis that will have a real, tangible impact. It is the largest migration and refugee event since World War II. The impact of which will have a global effect for generations. What do we do as a people and as a church? We can move from mindfulness to action. Here is an exercise to begin your reflections on how you can make a global difference by acting locally.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. We remember especially the refugees and migrants in our midst and far away, who are looking for your face of love. Help us to be mindful of all those who are in need of care and those who are seeking to help. Heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy.
Pray for the people of Syria - and an end to the violence in the middle east, an end to unjust governments, and for the care of those who are without a country.
Pray for the 10.8 million refugees. Invite God to speak to you and your church about how you can help offer hospitality to the stranger.
Pray for children of the refugees, the God may give them strength to hold their faith, and to keep alive their joy in this time of crisis, feed them and clothe them from the riches of God's people.
Pray for the Anglican Church in Canada who is taking a three-fold approach to the crisis: raising money, lobbying politicians to demand easier access to the country for Syrian refugees, and committing to provide 10,000 resettlement places for government-assisted refugees; and pray for Anglicans to contribute to the Province’s relief agency.
Pray for Australia and New Zealand who are calling on their governments to increase quotas and calling on each church to sponsor a family.
Pray for the Church in Egypt and Jerusalem who are providing food, helping to restore churches, including the Holy Family Anglican Church which serves refugees in the Ethiopian town of Dima, and are helping with funds for the towns of Tiergol and Matar.
Pray for the ten Anglican Churches in the Pinyudo area of Sudan where a new camp will house 75,000 people.
Pray for those working with Episcopal Migration Ministries as they seek to respond on our behalf and help those in need.
Pray for the Anglican Churches in and across Europe as they seek to help settle refugees.
Pray: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.
Pray: Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace.
Pray: Heavenly Father, you are the source of all goodness, generosity and love. We thank you for opening the hearts of many to those who are fleeing for their lives. Help us now to open our arms in welcome, and reach out our hands in support; that the desperate may find new hope, and lives torn apart be restored. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord, who fled persecution at His birth and at His last, triumphed over death. Amen(Read more here about the Anglican response to the global crisis.)
It is important to have the facts about what is actually happening globally. In a world where there are a lot of memes and news blips, it is easy to believe you know what is going on. Know the facts. Thanks to Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) you can find these articles helpful in understanding exactly what is happening.
EMM writes, "Media are publishing articles on a daily basis chronicling the most recent events and statistics. This crisis is complex geopolitically and historically. The terminology can also be confusing."
Here is a selection of articles that may be helpful:
Archbishop of Canterbury wrote an impassioned statement about the refugee crisis; it begins, 'This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis'.
Violence Has Forced 60 Million People From Their Homes, The Atlantic
Exodus of Syrians Highlights Political Failure of the West, New York Times
One Syrian Boy's Plea, Al Jazeera AmericaDonate
One of the easiest ways to help is to donate. Every relief organization is overwhelmed by this crisis. However, I urge you to not stop here, but also do some of the hard things as well. Here are some great places to donate:
Compass Rose Society Go to the site and roll the bar over to immigrant crisis in Europe. Then make your gift. All Dollars will go to Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome, and to the Churches in Europe and organizations doing direct work with Refugees through the office of The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon.
World Relief (donate to provide backpacks for resettled children here - one of my favorite sites)
Doctors Without Borders: Has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean, on Tuesday alone they rescued 1,658 people
Hand in Hand for Syria: Working within Syrian borders to provide aid. Donations are made via British currency but these are easily converted from US donations during the transaction.
The Southern Baptists who do a very good job at combining service with donation. Take a look at their site here. It includes a text link for donations.
• 360 – 380$ (one-way ticket for MEA Aircraft from Lebanon to Armenia, including 30kg baggage); or
• 285$ (one-way ticket for FlyDubai Aircraft destination Lebanon, Dubai, Armenia, including 30kg baggage); or
• 265$ (one-way ticket for FlyDubai Aircraft destination Lebanon, Dubai, Armenia, including 20kg baggage).
Including these in-country transfer expenses:
• 50$ (transfer cost per person, including 2 suitcases, by bus):
• 17$ (fee for Exit Visa to cross the border),
• 20$ (taxi cost to reach the Lebanon Airport);
• 8$ (transfer cost from Yerevan Airport).
• 25$ (other costs that should be provided to a traveling person).
Help Syrians stranded on the Greek Island of Lesvos, send items from the list below, and mail to:
Hellenic Postal Office of Mythymna
℅ The Captain’s Table
Molyvos 81108, Lesvos, Greece
ITEMS TO SEND for SYRIAN REFUGEES on GREEK ISLAND OF LESVOS:
- Sneakers, gym shoes for men, women and children (all sizes) are a HIGH PRIORITY
- Sweatpants of all sizes.
- Briefs/underwear for men, women and children (all sizes)
- Men’s trousers (small, medium and large) and shoes
- Baby powder milk
- Any non-perishables like nut butters or other long-lasting foods.
- Feminine products
- Sleeping bags
- Plastic to cover the floor/for shade
- Mats (camping or yoga mats)
- Hats and caps for sunshade (adults and children/light colours because of the sun)
- Electric Plug for multiple devices (european voltage)
Spread the Word
Everyone who has a Facebook page and twitter account can share these links. Share solid information.
You can Follow Episcopal Migration Ministries on Facebook and Twitter. Share news articles and stories online and through your social media networks. Generate discussions in your community about the issues refugees are facing.
If you're a teacher, use UNHCR's toolkit for teaching young people about migration and refugees.
If you are in a congregation, use the Prayer for Syria or the prayers above as part of your Sunday or daily worship.
You can also copy and share the links and ideas from this article and help get the word out about how to give or share your time.
Get Personally Involved
In 2015, the United States will welcome 70,000 refugees to our country as new Americans. You can get involved in two ways. First by signing up and participating in sponsoring and helping to resettle a family.
EMM works in partnership with its affiliate network, including the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, among other dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, welcoming refugees from conflict zones across the globe. Your local resettlement agency is always preparing for arriving families and in need of support, resources and volunteers. Contact an Episcopal Migration Ministries affiliate near you. If you are in Texas, you can work with Refugee Services of Texas and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. Both are local partners of Episcopal Migration Ministries. the links are: Refugee Services of Texas, http://www.rstx.org/, which is in Austin, and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, https://imgh.org/.
Americans, Use this US map to find an agency near you and offer to support a newly arrived refugee family. There are 9 Voluntary Agencies in the US that sponsor refugees to come the the United States and build their own local networks to resettle refugees — where is one close to you?
Americans, help RefugeeOne meet needs of refugees already settled who may have seasonal needs, etc.
Find your elected official (http://bit.ly/1udq4mT) and ask them to continue the United States tradition of accepting at least half of all UNHCR referrals for any given population and resettle at least 65,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years.
Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network to receive updates and policy action alerts to your inbox. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Preached at All Saints Hitchcock on 14B, 2015
Saturday, July 4, 2015
I am so very grateful for a fun conversation with Faith and Leadership with Sally Hicks.
Text of Interview
Friday, July 3, 2015
What does this look like? When we make jokes about people it is a way of demeaning them. When we call people names or ascribe a label to people we make them less than who they are. When we prescribe behaviors to others that we do not know they have, for the sake of bringing judgement upon them by others, is a form of dark mob mentality. Shaming people or groups of people is also a form of meanness.
Social media is a form of communication that has helped the Christian Church with evangelism and telling our story. It is blossoming and growing.
Christian social media also has a dark side. The dark side of media is that it allows us to anonymously and not-so-anonymously say and do things which are mean with very little social accountability. It can give voice to a minority which is a good thing. At the same time it can also give an appearance of a higher authority to voices which may be untruthful or mean spirited. It can create what are called "dark mobs." This is when people ban together in groups and shame and harass others online for their opinions and beliefs.
This is a kind of "troll" like behavior at its worst. Liberals and conservative Christians pop onto someone else's page or into someone else's twitter stream and accuse them of all manner of things. In real life, even among other interfaith friendships, we typically monitor our behavior and words. Online we are a culture that has become free to say what we are thinking and it is mean and uncivilized.
When Christians do this it is Christtrolling. It sounds righteous. It sounds biblical. It may even sound justified. Instead, Christtrolling is hurtful to the Gospel.
When we participate by doing these things we are being unrighteous and we are destroying the character of God's creatures. When we listen or "like" these behaviors, when we allow them to hang on our blogs and on our Facebook pages, and say nothing we allow our silent approval to give these statements power. Feeding the Christtrolls isn't any better. Sometimes they simply have to be deleted from the feed and sometimes in extreme cases they have to be unfriended or blocked.
We have to treat our cyber worlds and cyber church communities the same way we treat our real life communities. We must maintain a standard of behavior that is Christ like. If you are a Christian you are called to live a Christ like life all week long in the "real world" not just on Sunday; and in cyberspace.
Some people call this bullying behavior (cyber bullying) when it is on line. We are all against this of course - as we should be. Most people who engage in Christian Meanness would not believe they are being bullies at all - because they think they have the right to say what they want to whom ever they want. Let me be clear, Christian Meanness is an equal opportunity abuser and is a sin - even when it happens online.
Christianity is always at its worst when it is pointing its finger at others instead of individually walking by the faith we have received. I am not here talking about civil discourse or the importance of taking our place at the table to discuss deep issues upon which we are deeply committed. Christtrolling, cyber bullying, and Christian Meanness masquerades as righteousness and it is not. It is not conversation or Christian listening.
I can promise you that over the last ten days in the wake of events in our nation around the Supreme Court ruling and the events at the Episcopal General Convention I have been on the receiving end of Christian Meanness from every side.
Christian Meanness destroys our evangelism efforts. It hurts people. It ascribes to God meanness which is out of sync with our witness to a God of love.
A friend reminded me of a wonderful book by Richard J. Mouw entitled: Uncommon Decency, Christian Civility in a Uncivil World. (You can purchase the book here.) In this book Mouw reminds us that true righteousness comes from modeling outwardly what we experience inwardly of the life of God.
I actually heard a priest tell me once that he did not believe that "kindness" was a Christian virtue. I disagree. I believe, like Mouw, that Christian kindness and courtesy is a revelation of our inner commitment to God to treat one another as neighbor.
Mouw reminds us that this is not some kind of relativism. Instead it is holding our faith, belief, and clear convictions as our own and at the same time being inquisitive and admiring of those of another. Christian Meanness is easy. Christian kindness is hard because it requires us spiritually to admire the other person (gay, lesbian, transgender, heterosexual, conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, muslim, jew, man, woman) as a creation of God. (p22)
When we do this we are actually imitating the divine character of God. God is gentle slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86.15) Christians are called to imitate God and God's embrace of humanity and creation. We are to reveal in our actions the actions of God in Christ Jesus.
Church, above all else, is the primary center for practicing this behavior. How can we ever expect to share the love of God with others if we cannot model and reveal it online, and in person, through our words to others within and without our own church. (p35)
Mouw suggests that we model Christian Civility instead of Christian meanness by exhibiting these behaviors: empathy, curiosity, teachability, learning from unbelief/where we disagree, and opening ourselves up to see where the lines are blurred. Here is where we discover not only the other person for who they are but we also discover where God may be speaking to us and seeking to help us find healing. (p58ff)
To do this Mouw says we must zealously stay together, seek peace despite our disagreements, go deep into spiritual prayer, cultivate a spirit of appreciation for others instead of being threatened by them, and make room for others within our family, friendship, and community circles. (p68ff)
It is actually possible to hold deeply held beliefs and be in conflict with our neighbor and at the same time not embody Christian Meanness or to partake in Christtrolling. The two statements by the House of Bishops are wonderful examples of a Christian community holding together despite great difference. You can read the statements here: Minority Statement and Mind of the House Statement.
There may be a lot of things that we are debating in a topsy turvy world. There may be things you are unsure about or wondering about. There may be things you are steadfastly FOR and AGAINST. No matter what any of these things are I am clear that Jesus entered the world in a lowly place. That Jesus was himself humble and embodied God's love.
Jesus was prophetic, yes. He was prophetic against all those who were mean and tried to shut people out of God's house. This is why they killed him. He opened up religion and opened up the heavens by giving away power, love, and himself.
This Jesus has taught me: that there is no room in the Gospel for Christian Meanness or Christtrolling and it is a rule of life we must reject. Christian Civility is a rule of life we must take on for the sake of the kingdom and the God we love.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
This week many Episcopalians will make there way to our triennial gathering the General Convention. This is an important and awaited gathering of many leaders from around the church to undertake a portion of the governance we use to support our mission.
People are excited. I am excited. At our best we are a family reunion like no other. We are sharing our difference, we are setting aside deference, we are celebrating our diversity. At our best we are creating a church wide commons where ideas, excitement for the story, dispatches from the missionary front, and our love of God are shared. When we are doing this we are all in the arena. We are there with our tribe. We are dancing and singing together. We are working hard and playing together. We are learning from one another and we are sharing the road together. We hear ideas and we wonder about them together. We are belonging. We are creating. We are loving.
But we should always remember that the General Convention is an arena. If you love it you will enter it with ideas, creativity, and a desire to make something. Hopefully that is always to make our governance and structure work for our mission.
When you do this, when I do this, we are daring greatly. We are trusting one another enough to be vulnerable with our ideas and to share them with the body so that we might discern together what good might we be about on behalf of the God we believe in. When we do this we are the one in the arena. Brené Brown uses the speech often called The Man in the Arena to describe this moment - this space we inhabit when we risk.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."This is taken THE MAN IN THE ARENA is an excerpt from President Theodore Roosevelt's speech entitled "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910,
download PDF of complete speech.
Brown reminds us that when we enter the arena it is not about winning or losing it is about showing up and being seen. What we have to know and understand is that the arena - though we would like it to be otherwise - is dangerous. Showing up and being seen means you will as Brené Brown says, "Get your assed kicked." She goes on to say that if "courage is a value that you hold, this is a consequence, you can't avoid it." What you should know is that if the person who is taking you to task is not in the arena with you then you should not be interested in your feedback. Constructive, helpful, supportive, challenging about ideas, looking for common ground, building consensus are some of the many forms that people enter the arena with you to help co-create.
These people are the people in the support section. These are people who have empathy for you. They see and act as though their contributions are given in the spirit of mutual support for the common good. When the Episcopal Church is filled with people like this we are good. We are together and we are moving our mission forward.
There are others though who are not in the support section or not in the arena with us but are really against us. These are the ones not helping, supporting, or moving the creativity forward. These are people who make the arena unsafe.
We are so "hardwired for connection" that when we pretend we don't care we are actually cutting ourselves off. Even though their messages are ones of shame or even anger, we must recognize them as part of our family, part of the arena. We need to understand they are season ticket holders. they are sitting in particular seats.
The people inhabit three kinds of seats: cheap seats, box seats, and the critics section. The Cheap Seats are filled with the anonymous critics who pass judgment on us. They may be named, have a twitter handle, or Facebook Page, you may even know who they are because they are recognized cheap seat ticket holders. The reality is that they are not connected to you or your idea. They want to see you fail and even though they are sitting in your arena they may be naysayers and be working for an opposing team.
The box seats are filled with people who built or maintain the arena and give us the messages about the expectations we must meet. They are the ones who pass out power and take away power based on loyalty. They are the ones who are deeply invested in the arena staying exactly where it is. They will criticize all ideas, have none to add to the arena, and won't tolerate any thing challenging to shifting or changing who sits where.
The last of these is special seats are held by the critics. The critics are the people who give us the messages of shame, comparison and scarcity. These are the ones who demean people because of their difference, they offer shame messages in order to quite you, they compare you to others who "get it right", and they believe there is no possible way for your creativity to work or have any merit.
Thanks to social media these seats won't only be inhabited by people at Convention but there will be a ton of people all over shouting from the seats at those who this week walk into the arena. I am always aware that the General Convention is a wonderful thing and that it has its shadow side which can be ugly and mean.
What we do a lot of the time is we armor up. We move away from the creative idea, the opportunity for change, and either exit the arena and go quietly into the night - we move away. Or we move against and channel all our energy into defeating the people in those seats! This also saps energy from the work at hand. Or we try to placate the critics, cheap, and box seats.
Brené Brown reminds us that when we walk into the arena we are also in the same spot where we discover love, belonging, joy, empathy, creativity, and innovation
So we what do we do? We allow them to sit in their seats. But we chose to walk into the arena for the sake of these things.
Clarity of values - remember what you believe in. For instance, remember not the church and its structures but remember and hold close to you the image of the family of God that Jesus offers and into which Jesus invites us. Have your someone who will tell you the truth, who will dust you off, clean you up, and help you go back into the arena. Finally, remember that the biggest critic in the arena is you - its me. "We are so self critical. We have an ideal about ourselves. We orphan all the parts that don't fit for us. And, all that is left is the critic." Brené Brown says. But put in that seat you - the person who is your journey, your life, your story, and is excited and supporting you.
I leave tomorrow morning for General Convention. If I am honest I have sat in all of those seats in the past. This year as I step into the arena I want to enter it in a different way. I want to share what I have, listen to others. I want to help heal the past. I want to experience our difference and diversity. I want to create a peaceful commons. I want to be about the work of reconciliation and I want to help us be a better church that is a good steward of its resources and finally is focused on its mission. I am looking for others who want to do these things. I am hopeful we will be at our best.
When we are not and we get into the critics, the box, and cheap seats I hope we will hold each other accountable. When we use shame and other demeaning tactics to quiet people or to deal with our own fear and anxiety I hope we will hold one another accountable.
So I am at first prayerful. Prayerful for safe travel. Prayerful for our gathered family. Prayerful for all those who are going to serve, feed, and clean up after us for 10+ days. Prayerful and grateful for the privilege of serving at this church and being able to afford the time and resources to attend this meeting. And, finally prayerful that we will be at our best.
I am hopeful. I believe we have an opportunity to become the church that God beckons us to become. I believe we have at Salt Lake City the moment to take our next step into the future of a church whose mission is amplified for the future.
Here is a quote from Aeschylus' play "Prometheus Bound." After they have bound Prometheus to the rock...Cratus:[to Prometheus] "Go play rebel now, go plunder the god's treasure and give it to your creatures of a day. What portion of your pain can mortals spare you? The gods who named you the Forethinker were mistaken. You'll need forethought beyond your reckoning to wriggle your way out of this device."
[You can watch the Brené Brown video from the 99 conference where she talks about this here.]
Sunday, June 21, 2015
This is a sermon preached at Good Shepherd, Kingwood, Tx, following the Mother Emmanuel AME church shootings by Dylan Roof (aaaaaahttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/us/dylann-storm-roof-photos-website-charleston-church-shooting.html?_r=0).
It is based upon Mark 4 beginning at the 35 verse.
And, in some way tries to make sense about why we have a difficult time seeing this as an act of racism (despite Dylan's own clarity that it was an attempt to begin a "race war"). Why we want to make this about Christians. And, what we Christians might be able to do to open our eyes to the work that is before us.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
In a recent post to the House of Deputies, the president, The Rev. Gay Jennings sighted some very good reasons why she thinks we should not consider the proposal for a unicameral house. You can read her letter to the House of Deputies here.
She offered the first reason was to be a kind of balance or check on those who have, "the authority to hire, fire, discipline and shape the careers and ministries of members" of the laity, priests and deacons. This offers that the House of Deputies is an important balance. I agree. I think this is not automatically lost in a unicameral situation and room can be made that this balance is maintained, for instance through number of laity and clergy vs bishops, voting power, etc. So this is more of a hurdle and not a road block.
She then offers that because we meet from time to time that bishops (and I am one) control more of the governance. I don't think this takes into account the vast majority of meetings held each triennial of the CCAB's (committee, commissions, and boards) where joint governance is structured and undertaken through mammoth cost of time, gifts, and money. Furthermore, it does not recognize or honor the amount of work the Executive Council does on our behalf to govern the Church. Together the CCAB's and the Executive Council do the vast majority of governance while the House of Bishops spends about 3 hours each year on governance. So this doesn't actually work as a reason to not have a unicameral form of governance.
I agree that balances within the system are important and that all people, deputies and bishops, laity and clergy alike have a hard time looking as Jennings says, "beyond their own self-interest. It isn’t sensible to bestow tremendous advantages on one group within the system and expect that members of that group will never be tempted to use them. Checks, meet balances. Balances, meet checks." Of course what you see here is actually the huge amounts of power, time, and money that is being used for governance under the leadership of he laity, priests, and deacons - the deputies. It is funny though that the argument that Jennings uses is the same argument that the House of Bishops uses when they are fearful of the unicameral system.
Like Jennings I too, "want to be sure that our polity continues to allow bishops, clergy and laypeople to work together to create proposals, programs and advocacy agendas for the Episcopal Church. Right now, the House of Deputies, Executive Council and the commissions, committees, agencies and boards of the church are among the means through which that happens." And, I would not want "the ability to create a legislative agenda and lobby for it is in the hands of only one order of ministry." As you can see though that is a straw man for why we shouldn't have a unicameral. None of that is automatically taken out of the system if the unicameral is designed well and designed by the people of General Convention.
3 Reasons Why We Should Consider A Unicameral
Let me begin by saying that I think governance is important and we are going to spend time and energy on it. I like our system of two houses and believe those houses should meet in a unicameral gathering. Why? I offer you three reasons.
Governance costs money. No matter what you have to have it. But it should not be overwhelming or keep us from doing our work. At our General Convention I promise you we will do some things: we will cut budgets to our poorest mission dioceses that we support. We will cut ministries for youth. We will cut work with emerging ministries and new church starts. We will not pay the pensions for clergy and laity working in the poorest diocese so that they can have a living retirement like their peers in the U.S.
Transparency: I recognize if the 45% of us who don't give our full asking did we would also be in a different position and that is why in Texas I am working to fix that and together with my people are getting close to giving $800,000 of or our asking to the budget - while maintaining the other $1,000,000 in gifts we make to the Episcopal Church outside of the budget.
At the same time we will spend a vast amount of money at every level on General Convention. I went through and I added up the cost of General Convention. I added together the budget components that are visible, I added the tourist data on what an average person is expected to spend in Salt Lake City for hotels and food, I added in transportation cost, and I added in the salaries of those who help us run convention as it is formed in its two houses for eight days plus the four days of set up in advance and this is what I found out. I found out that by the first day of convention we will (in money spent by deputies and bishops and staff) write a whopping total of $1,125,000 roughly. And by the end of it we will have spent more than $11,125,000+ and I think that is really conservative. That takes out sunk cost for those salaries of full time church workers who could be doing something else. It also does not include the church and para-church organizations who will themselves spend large amounts of money to be present to argue for their budget or sell their goods.
Think of it this way. A small and poor diocese traveling from outside of the country could spend well over $20,000 for the event. A small to medium diocese will spend about $40,000. A large diocese might spend well over $100,000 given the numbers of people.
People keep saying that the unicameral house will undo the two house system we have at General Convention. That could be true but it doesn't have to be true.
In this understanding they are using the term to mean one house. But that is not the technical definition of unicameral.
Unicameral means meeting in one chamber. So the integrity of the different houses in our system that typically meet bicameral form (in two chambers) could be maintained. They could in fact have provisions to meet separately when desired.
The way this works now is that we typically meet bicameral form and have provisions for meeting unicamerally. So it is that this General Convention we will actually have several unicameral meetings of the two houses. For instance on budget and on hearing the nominee presentations for Presiding Bishop. This is hardly going to be the end of the world.
If we chose to move forward with a unicameral meeting we could vastly improve our governance while at the same time providing for separate meetings from time to time in bicameral form. And, we could maintain the two house system and their integrity - which I have always supported.
So as you use the term make sure we are using it correctly.
You can learn more about the celebration at this link for Juneteenth.
o Heal historyWe Episcopalians are proud to be part of the Island community, San Augustines, Grace and Trinity continue a great ministry work of reconciliation. St Vincents House is a legacy ministry where we undertake to make – with you our beloved community – a better Galveston
o To live with difference instead of expecting deference, and to celebrate diversity
o It is to create with god, to co-create, a peaceful commons for all of God’s family
So it is on this day that we are proud to be considered your neighbor, to be invited here, to celebrate 150 years since that prophetic Juneteenth day.
We must pray to change America but we must also pray to be changed for sake of America yes, but that we may better reflect God’s family – God’ peaceful and peacefilled family, God’s loving and forgiving family, God’s reconciling family…On this day I am mindful of our President’s remarks at the anniversary of Selma and the long way we have yet to go as brothers and sisters….so let us bow our heads so that I may offer a prayer for us on this day. Let us pray:
Heavenly father, creator of all that we are and all that we have, elevate the character of this nation. In this time of disruption disrupt us for what is true and is right. Disrupt us that we may move and act for the cause of freedom. We honor the courage of the long line of heroes that brought Juneteenth to a reality 150 years ago. We honor the courage of the men and women who make up the long line of heroes who have labored to bring emancipation into reality lo these 150 years. Let their lives, their story, disrupt us and give us courage. Let their non violence in the face of violence, their love in the face of hate, their hope in the face of despair disrupt our ways and remind us on this day that violence, hate, and despair tho they infect our nation shall not have the last word. The emancipation proclamation is call to action to continue the journey to freedom for all black Americans and all of God’s people. Every American – women, Latinos, Asian Americans - has been affected by this word of hope. This is our time, we write our story, and we will leave our legacy. So disrupt us that we may see our purpose to build a better nation, a better state, a better Galveston. Disrupt us that we may discard cynicism. Disrupt us that we may face boldly the sin or racism that is yet before us and that we will have a moral imagination, a sense of urgency to improve our criminal justice system, to roll back poverty, make opportunities for all people to make a living wage, to protect democracy with the right to vote restored fully for all people, to care for the migrant and immigrant, to ensure access to health care, to support the responsibility of each person to make their voice heard - to make a just society. So on this 150th anniversary of the reading of the emancipation proclamation let our voice sound out as it did on that day, let our actions be clear, and let our legacy be true that a second 150 years need not pass before racism, classism and violence are shed and liberty and freedom for all people are once again our nation’s heart’s song. Amen.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
- "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
- "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
- "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
- "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
- "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
- "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
- "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
- "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball