Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why Stay?

General Convention has been a roller coaster this year. First came the election of a Presiding Bishop who is a woman. Then the House of Deputies rejected a moratorium on gay bishops. And the next day the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies accepted such a moratorium. I imagine that most LBGT the Episcopalians are little stunned right now. Nothing has come in my e-mail yet from integrity which really surprises me. They have been very quick to respond to or give news of actions of the Church that affect LBGT people.

I am saddened by this decision but I am as determined as ever to stay with the Episcopal Church. Andrew Sullivan said this Thursday night on Larry King Live, "And I will not as a Catholic be thrown out of my home and my church and my faith and my communion because of who I am. Because of how God made me and that's the bottom line, Father, and I understand there is diversity and I respect that. And I understand your faith. But we're not leaving and we exist and we're here and we're human. "

This is a man who doesn't have seat, voice and vote in his church, yet he stays. He stays because he knows this is where God calls him to be and he cannot do otherwise. Episcopalian LBGT’s have seat, voice and vote of General convention, diocesan convention, and on their vestries. I hope that every Episcopal gay man and lesbian stays in the church and everyone of our straight supporters stays in the church and continues to spread the good news of God's inclusive love in Christ Jesus. We are called to proclaim the Gospel in season and out, in fair weather and foul. To do otherwise is a denial of the love God has for us and for all creatures.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Useless worry and General Convention

Woke up yesterday morning at 3 AM, worried about global warming (yes, saw Inconvenient Truth this week) and General Convention. I spent the rest of the early morning trying to refocus on who I am – one beloved of God, who gives herself to me in and as each breath, each moment. I did Centering Prayer and other meditation and that did help. Worry is a very human emotion, but an energy sapper. It doesn’t do anything to energies oneself to do anything about what one is worrying about. If you can’t do anything about it anyways, worry is pretty useless.

Speaking of General Convention, the blogger to follow is Fr. Jake I trust his observations and instincts. He also practices Centering Prayer, which is a big plus. I think that is why he can write with equanimity on hot button issues. Today’s post offers hope for GC so check it out.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Do Few Things

I was reminded again how much better I am doing physically. I was able to do all the regular things folks do during an Episcopal liturgy, like stand and sing, stand and pray. In the parish I’m going to, we stand and sing a lot. Before I got off the chemo, I did not have the energy or strength to stand during the service. I sat through the service. Now I can stand and sing without giving it a second thought. It feels great to be able to do that.

Now that I have this renewed energy, the question is what do I do with it? The temptation is to return to life as usual. However, I'm getting the clear message that yes, I need to pay attention to my body. Yes, I can do more than I was able to couple months ago; however, adding a bunch more stuff to my to-do list is not the thing to do.

There is a song from a movie about St. Francis. The lyrics go:

Do a few things,
but do them well.
Take your time.
Go slowly.

This is so countercultural, so un-American. It is also so sane and so holy. It has been my aim to incorporate this value into my life for many years. I'm beginning to realize that the stakes are much higher now. My health may well depend on it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Doing Better

I am well, or at least a lot more well than I’ve been in several months. The dizziness or vertigo is gone. I don't need my walking stick for balance anymore. Yeah! The rash is almost gone. I have more energy and endurance. For all this I'm very grateful, yes, more than I can really say.

Yet a nagging question remains, how long will this improved health last? My joints do ache at times. My kidneys are still spilling some protein. This thing is not over with yet. Mixed connective tissue disease is incurable disease. So, short of a miracle, it never will be over with.

Sounds depressing doesn't it? Yet my lot isn't much different from millions of other people. People with diabetes, people with HIV infection or AIDS, people with MS, all live with incurable diseases. And there are many other incurable diseases I have not listed. This week marks the 25th anniversary of AIDS. AIDS is again in the news in a major way, which is a good thing. AIDS brings to light the dark side of our society. It exposes the prejudices in our society, the injustices in our health-care system. I am reminded again of the line from Angels in America, "Americans have no use for the sick."

Pretty grim, uh? It's easy to see why so many people become nihilistic and cynical. Yet there is another way to look at this very grim picture. There is a different perspective that is based on compassion and lovingkindness, resurrection and the coming of the Spirit. In some ways this perspective is expressed in a poem by Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Now Mary does not say one word about God in all this poem. Yet, to me she speaks of God. When I hear the wild geese, when I look into the blue sky, when I behold the beauty of trees, I see God and I know my place in the family of things. Mary speaks without naming that which I base my life on. God, who is Love, is showing me how to live with an incurable disease and find a healing which does not depend on cure. Friends, I am just starting to walk this learning curve and it is steep. Mary's poem is a good companion on the way.