Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ss Peter & Paul

Back to the barely-civilized routine of 7:30am committee meetings. See all the gory details of the legislative day here.

Before the morning legislative session, I met briefly with three Deputies, who, like me, were "raised up" by St Timothy's in Salem, Oregon. I was gone before any of them arrived in the parish, so I never knew them in that context. But there are actually even more of us floating around; St Tim's was a real "priest factory" for a while.
St Tim's alums

I had lunch with the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Dorsey McConnell, whose sense of humor is developed to about the nth degree, which is truly a tonic in an environment like this.

Immediately following the afternoon legislative session was the bishops and spouses dinner. To be honest, the timing was not the greatest. After what transpired in the afternoon, these were not the people I was most interested in spending an evening with. Nonetheless, there were many enjoyable moments.

In general, the day was harsh--physically, spiritually, and, most of all, emotionally. I have felt myself part of a beleaguered minority virtually my whole time in the Episcopal Church, which runs to more than 40 years now. It gets old. Now I feel like a boiled frog--thrown into the pot when the water was cool and comfortable, only to find that the temperature has been raised very gradually until the frog is ... cooked ... without ever having completely realized just what was happening. I used to have a lot more company. We were always a minority to be sure, but a substantial minority. Then, between the 2006 and 2009 conventions, most of my "friends" decamped to other ecclesiastical environs. Those of us who remain do so in good faith, but we are powerless. We have no choice but to embrace the gospel paradox that strength is found precisely in weakness, and really nowhere else. We were reminded of that fact today rather severely, and it's a hard lesson. We feel pretty beat up. 

As the session ended, and my emotions straddled the fence between anger and numbness, the ambient music that somebody causes to come out of the audio system in the room played the old nineteenth century hymn, It is Well. This is something I sang in my Baptist childhood, and it was my father's favorite hymn, which was sung at his funeral. So it's a trigger for some very deep feelings. The words of the first verse were actually kind of appropriate: "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billow roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well, with my soul.'" Indeed, in the midst of grief, anger, and confusion, it is well with my soul. God reigns. Jesus lives.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

In deference, perhaps, to this being the Lord's Day, there was nothing on the official convention agenda until the 10a Eucharist. (See here for observations about the liturgy, the sermon, and the afternoon legislative session.) Bishops were to report to our assigned territory at 9:15 to vest in rochet and chimere and process solemnly into the worship hall. It must have been a sight to behold (which I was not quite able to do, since I was part of it).

Following the liturgy, I engaged in further reputation and relationship repair in the wake of "tweet-gate" earlier this week. I had lunch with two alums of the General Convention Youth Presence, both of whom are now Deputies, and one ordained. We had a lively and cordial discussion over a range of issues. It was a rich and nourishing time.

After the legislative session, Brenda and I went straight to a panel discussion sponsored by The Living Church on the subject of marriage redefinition, with erudite panelists representing the entire range of viewpoints. It was well-attended and generally excellent.

Then there was an impromptu tactical session in my suite with six Communion Partner bishops. We need to try to be on the same page when the debate on the Marriage Committee resolutions continues.

At around 9:15, with Brenda out to dinner with others, I ordered a hamburger from room service and commenced to blogging.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday

Usual 7:30-9:00 committee meeting and later after noon legislative session. Get the details here.

It was a momentous feeling as the entire congregation was invited to be seated at the conclusion of the Eucharist as all the bishops filed out to waiting buses for the short journey to the nave of St Mark's Cathedral. Once there, we did some singing, and the chaplains led us in prayer. Then the roll was called, just as it was at the opening session on Wednesday. This was to establish the number present and voting, and, hence, the number of votes needed for an election. We cast our ballots, and then just milled around for a bit, with most eventually making their way to the parish hall, where there was food and drink laid out for us. When I was about halfway through my ham sandwich, we were suddenly called back into the cathedral nave to hear the results of the first ballot. Once there, we were handed tally sheets with enough spaces for up to ten ballots. Then the Presiding Bishop calmly read the totals, and it was immediately evident that, for what is probably the first time ever, we had a first-ballot election, and by a huge margin. There was a spontaneous outburst of applause and cheering, after which we sang the iconic African-American hymn Lift every voice and sing. Then, of course, we had to sign the testimonials of election and send two emissaries to the House of Deputies with the news. Then we went back to finish our meals while we waited for news the the Deputies had ratified our election (of which there was never any doubt). Indeed, a little while later, we were summoned back into the nave again to greet three emissaries from the House Deputies, who bore the news that was fully expected.

A few of us then walked the five or so block back to the Salt Palace to be in the gallery of the House of Deputies as Bishop Curry and his family were introduced. It was clearly the election result that the overwhelming majority of that body had been looking for.
I went back to my room to change out of my formal attire into something more comfortable, then grabbed a snack back at the exhibit hall food court before heading back into the HOB for the late afternoon session.

When the day was done, tonight was our planned deputation dinner (my treat), at a Brazilian BBQ (churrascaria) restaurant called Texas de Brasil. If you like meat, there's really nothing better.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday

Another earlyish start to the day--7:30 committee meetings. See my account of all the substantive action here. 

The highlight of the day for me was an opportunity to meet with about a dozen or so youth from the Dioceses of West Missouri and Kansas, along with three of their adult leaders. They were all involved in last night's Twitterstorm (though not themsleves part of the General Convention Youth Presence). It was a gracious and lively and generous conversation, and if there's any redeeming grace to come from my error in judgment in tweeting out what I did last night, it was found here. We prayed together, I gave them a blessing, and we left feeling like we had been visited by the Holy Spirit. 

Lunch was a working meeting once again. I hosted the Communion Partner bishops in the suite Brenda and I are staying in, and Brenda arranged for room service to have lunch brought in. We discussed various tactical issues regarding upcoming legislation. 

It was a great gift that both the afternoon committee meeting and the later afternoon legislative session both adjourned ahead of schedule. Such extra moments of down time are more welcome than I can say in the midst of such a relentless schedule.

Thursday

A more humane start to the day today--8am legislative sessions. There was no actual legislating done; just organizational formalities. In the HOB, this included a roll call of all living bishops, present or not. There is one still alive who was consecrated in 1951, the year of my birth. Another tradition is for each House to send a delegation to the other informing them that they are organized are ready to do business. The HOD sent us a team of about ten Deputies--all of whom were born in the 1990s.
I have rarely felt so old!

I'm not embarrassed to admit that, with the exception of Sunday, it has become my General Convention habit to avoid the daily celebration of the Eucharist. I'm simply healthier--physically, spiritually, and emotionally for doing so. I judge not one for either emulating or not emulating me for this. It's less than ideal, but I believe it's the best decision for me. At 11:15, it was back to committee work. As always, you can find a fuller account of the day's legislative activity, from my perspective, at my other blog.

I had a working lunch of pulled pork tacos at the exhibit hall food court with a friend who is not a Deputy but is attending General Convention in an ancillary capacity and, for my purposes, is very smart. He helped me craft language for an amendment to a resolution that I intend to propose when it comes up in the queue of Committee 11. 

From 2;15 until 4:00, it was back to the committee room. Again, follow the link in the second paragraph above this one for a fuller account. 

Between 4:30 and 6:30 we were back in our respective legislative Houses. As has been customary, the HOB took an hour in executive session, about which I am not allowed to say anything specific, but the bulk of it was spent in table discussions just about how we're doing with the whole General Convention thing, and especially the Presiding Bishop election process. 

At one point after coming out of executive session, we were introduced to the General Convention Official Youth Presence, a group of about a dozen or so 16-20 year olds, two of whom addressed us for about five minutes. This engendered one of those relatively rare moments when, upon further reflection, I would not choose to do what I actually did do, which was tweet out, "I've never been very impressed with the Official Youth Presence. How do they get chosen?" So, for the rest of the evening, I was ground zero for a Twitter storm, which was a completely new experience for me, and not one I would care to repeat. It is painfully obvious that whatever point I wished to make in the tweet was not even remotely worth the price of so much misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I wish I hadn't done it, but I did. And it would waste the pain that has already been experienced if I didn't elaborate just a bit on what I was thinking in the first place. What we heard from the two young people who addressed us was, by my lights, annoyingly issue-oriented, a litany of tired cliches checking the obligatory boxes of progressive orthodoxy. I am weary of the church I serve being reduced to such litmus tests, its vitality judged by the progress made toward a list of popular objectives. I have rather higher hopes for the youth of our church. I would like to think that those chosen to fill such a role would give evidence of a grasp of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives and in the world, some testimony of their growth in the path of discipleship and holiness of life. And while I would expect to see confidence and enthusiasm in their demeanor, I would also rejoice to see a sign of humility, of wonder and openness to truths they may yet have not discovered. Perhaps I would see what I'm looking for if I were to engage in an extended conversation with the two who spoke, or with any of their silent colleagues. My ill-considered tweet was testimony to my disappointment that I didn't see it in that moment. 

While the storm was erupting on Twitter, I managed to enjoy dinner with most of the Springfield deputation at P.F. Chang's. It was marginally OK.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nativity of St John the Baptist

A 7:30am start time to a meeting is harsh and challenging. A 7:00 start time is inhumane and brutal. But I was at my place in the (cavernous) room set aside for Committee 11 right on time--glad, in this case, for the time zone setback that supposedly made it feel like 8:00 to my body. We met for 90 minutes, heard testimony on resolutions having to do with resources for music in small churches, translations of liturgical materials into other languages, and the like. Then we began the legislative sausage-making business, and voted to report out about a half dozen resolutions with an Adopt recommendation, save for one that would have asked the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to produce a series of essays on Christian initiation. See details here. 

At 9:00 we gather in the House of Deputies chamber for initial remarks from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. An hour later, the bishops adjourned to our own chamber for a lot a tedious but necessary organizational issues (like learning how to use our "virtual binders"--dedicated iPads with all the resolutions and reports--everything that would have been in loose-leaf form in conventions past.
Lunch at Olive Garden with our deputation chair, Kevin Babb. (Brenda was on a bishops spouses event.)

From 1:30 until 4:30 we were back in joint session of the two Houses for the purposes of hearing from the four candidates for Presiding Bishop. We saw a two-minute video from each one introducing himself, heard slightly longer opening statements from each, then several rounds of random questions in certain set categories that each one was asked to respond to. The Twitterverse was comparing it to ecclesiastical Jeopardy. Overall, a valuable exercise.

Then there was a welcome generously long break, with time for dinner. Brenda and I found a nice Mexican place, with very tasty mole sauce.

From 7:00 until nearly 9:00, I was back in committee, with more hearings, this time on resolutions related to the liturgical calendar. (See the link above for the substance.) Sadly, we then got bogged down in some procedural issues--the order in which the committee should consider the resolutions--and there's not an entirely satisfying path out of the thicket. Somehow, something will emerge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday

Up a little after 4am, on the road to SPI at 5, on board at 6, in Chicago by 7, on board again at 9, in Salt Lake City at 11:30 (Mountain Time(. Already a long day. Taxi to downtown hotel, room not ready yet, had lunch, wandered up to he Salt Palace (convention center), got registered, walked around the exhibit hall, saw lots and lots of people I know, got into our room at 3, got settled, crunched some emails, back to the (gargantuan) Salt Palace for a 5:30 meeting of Committee 11: Prayer Book , Liturgy, and Music. About 40 on the committee (larger than some state legislatures), and we take the time for the usual "go around the room" opening exercise, After some general announcements and instructions from the two co-chairs (one Deputy, one Bishop), we break up into subcommittees.. I am co-chair of the subcommittee on calendar. We will initially handle all resolution having to do with liturgical commemoration of individuals and events. While walking back to the hotel around 7:15, pastoral conversation by phone with one of the priests serving the diocese who just found out he has to have heart bypass surgery later this week. Good-times dinner with the Springfield deputation at the restaurant connected to the hotel we're staying in. Must get to bed. Brutally early morning tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Thirteen hours out of the house, 400+ miles driven, two Masses celebrated, two sermons delivered, one young woman confirmed, one Cursillo weekend closed, several people greeted, hugged, or smiled at--all in a day's work, and I like it that way. Being who I am, I had a homily for today's propers "in the can" before the horrible event of this past week, but it was not hard to work it in as an example of the storm of Chaos and Evil that surrounds us, and into which Jesus speaks, "Peace. Be still."

Sermon for Proper 7

St Christopher's, Rantoul--Mark 4:35-41

Everything was in chaos. The wind was blowing. Rain was falling. Waves were crashing. The small boat was in imminent danger of capsizing. And Jesus . . . Jesus was sleeping. “Master, wake up! We’re all about to die. Don’t you even care?”

As long as human beings have told stories, and searched the world of nature for appropriate metaphors and symbols for our fears and passions and anxieties, the sea—particularly a stormy sea—has represented to us the terror of Chaos—the great abyss that threatens to swallow us up and absorb us in a great ocean of nothingness, devoid of meaning, devoid of hope, devoid of life.

So, when we encounter stormy seas in our voyage through life, when we feel ourselves like those terrified disciples in a storm-tossed boat, it is sometimes difficult to sustain belief in God’s active and caring presence with us. When we read about wars and famines and earthquakes and hostage taking and tidal waves and droughts and layoffs and downsizing and unprovoked murders, we wonder whether God might be asleep. When we experience chronic illness and senseless accidents and adulterated marriages and family dysfunction and betrayal of trust, when constant prayer seems to go unanswered, we want to grab a sleeping Jesus by the scruff of the neck and shout at him, “Lord, can’t you see we’re dying over here? Don’t you care?” The abyss yawns before us, the monster of Chaos looms over us, and we are anxious about it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, waking and sleeping, aware and unaware.

When I was younger, one of the most compelling of my recurring dreams was that of a huge tidal wave, several hundred feet high, obscuring the sky as it crests and begins to break and crash to the earth in utter destruction. Dreams, they say, trade in the currency of symbols, and I suspect this robust oceanic symbol represents my own unconscious anxiety about the imminence of chaotic destruction—an anxiety, as I have said, that we all share. Like that cresting tidal wave in my dream, the sea of chaos threatens to overwhelm us—threatens to overwhelm our health, our relationships, our children, our finances, the society around us, politics—for certain, and even the church.

But the danger . . . the danger is not in these threats themselves. The danger to us lies in our fear of them. Fear and anxiety corrode our spirits into doubt, cynicism, and despair. Picture that long forgotten flashlight battery that you found on a shelf in your garage or your basement—the acid on the inside had eaten through and destroyed the shell itself. When we are spiritually corroded, we turn in on ourselves. We become smaller people, as we try to construct a world that we think we can predict and control, a world with no loose ends or untidy corners. We build fences around ourselves, both literally—notice the popularity of gated, and therefore supposedly secure, residential subdivisions—and figuratively. We look for chemicals and/or relationships to provide us with protection from an advancing chaos. Of course, they are not up to the task, but we can easily end up abusing both chemical substances and relationships in the process. Each of us has seen it happen. It has happened to us.

But there’s good news today, in the midst of all this anxiety. The good news can be summed up very simply: Jesus woke up! He did not remain obliviously asleep in the back of that boat. He responded to the efforts of his devoted, if not entirely faith-ful, followers to rouse him. The scriptural narrative doesn’t say whether he stood up, but I like to imagine that he did—Jesus stood up in the boat and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And they obeyed. The wind died down, and the waters of the Sea of Galilee settled down into a calm. The threat dissipated, security and hope were restored.

Security and hope were restored to the disciples, but they and we are, so to speak, in the same boat! Jesus’s mastery of that storm on the Sea of Galilee is a token of his mastery over the chaos that threatens to overwhelm us. Ultimately, it’s all a matter of the difference between what we see and what God sees. We see chaos—God sees the same chaos, but he also sees order—his order, order flowing from the essence of his own Divine Being, in the midst of that chaos. God’s order is like a guerilla army in the domain the Chaos, subverting it one soul at a time, calming the sea one wave at a time, slowing the wind one molecule at a time. Even when we can only see chaos, God sees order.

You know how, when you print out an email, there’s all the gibberish before and after the actual text of the message? Well, what looks like gibberish to you and me isn’t gibberish to everybody. There are actually people to whom that stuff means something. They see order where we see chaos. Or think of the way a non-musician experiences a page of printed music. It’s just ink on a page. But a trained musician can look at those ink patterns and hear a Beethoven symphony or a Bach chorale or a Taylor Swift song. It’s all in what you see. And God sees what we don’t. Jesus calming the storm is a reassuring reminder that he sees order in the chaos of our lives, and that he is ready to stand within our hearts and say, “Peace! Be still!”

From time to time, as we grow in faith, we actually get to experience increasingly larger fragments of this sort of “peace that passes understanding.” And in those moments, we are left in awe-filled wonder at the unspeakable privilege of being in a personal relationship with such a God. This realization, in turn, shifts the balance of our prayers away from petition, asking God to do this or that, and toward adoration, enjoying God simply for who God is, and desiring nothing more than to be in his presence. This is exactly what happened to the disciples in the boat with Jesus. While the storm raged, their prayer was one of petition, “Lord, save us!” When the wind and the sea were calmed, their “prayer” took on a tone of adoration: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” When we are less mature in our faith, all we see is chaos, all we are aware of is our own neediness, so our prayer tends to be heavily oriented toward petition. But as we grow in the life of grace, we begin to see as God sees, and patterns of order begin to emerge. The gibberish starts to tell a story. The ink blots begin to sing a song. Our prayer shifts to adoration. Who then is this, that even in the overwhelming chaos of the universe, can command my heart to be still, and to know the peace that passes understanding?

Amen.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday

Awoke in my Columbia, IL hotel room, and, as sometimes happens, it took me an uncomfortably long time, staring out the window, to recollect where I was and what day it was and what was expected of me next. But that was just a couple of moments. In due course I reported to Toddhall in time to be prayed over by the Palanca team (what a wonderful tradition of ministry this is) and then present the Sacraments rollo (Cursillo-speak for "talk") for the weekend. After a break, there was some Q & A with the candidates and team members. Then we walked over to St Cecilia's Chapel for a celebration of the Eucharist, at which I presided and preached. With that concluded, I pointed the YFNBmobile northward, arriving home around 2:30. After a good, hard nap, I attacked some of the less mentally-demanding items still remaining on my task list for the week before going out to dinner with Brenda (Smokey Bones). 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday


  • I'm not a statement-maker on current events (it usually strikes me as pretentious when my colleagues do it), but, since I have a DEPO relationship with a parish in Charleston, and with an email nudge from one of my clergy, I took the time while still at home to post something on the website and share it on social media. 
  •  Morning Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • I'm celebrating Mass, and preaching, both tomorrow and Sunday at this year's Cursillo weekend, so I prayed over the relevant readings and put some thoughts together in my head. 
  • I'm also preaching at the cathedral in Lima (Peru) on July, so I did the same thing with respect to that occasion. This one, however, I till take the time to flesh out more fully when I get back from General Convention. 
  • Watched the video presentations of each of the four candidates for Presiding Bishop. I believe they all love the Lord Jesus sincerely and endeavor to be his disciples. Three of them have rather too much "it's God's mission to make the world a better place" realized eschatology (Google it) for my tastes. One doesn't. That one will get my vote on the first ballot. After that, realpolitik will enter the state. 
  • Lunch at home; leftovers. 
  • I spent most of the afternoon in my office, reading the official pre-convention publication known as the Blue Book (only it hasn't been blue for quite a while, and it's no longer even a book, but a document accessible through an internet link). When I say "read," I use the term loosely, since it's huge, and there was time to only skim the headlines and drill down in various locations that particularly interested me. The endeavor served to confirm what I already concluded, that we are infested with a morass of systemic complexity and bureaucracy that is choking out our institutional life. We could adopt astonishing cutbacks of program, staff, and infrastructure, and come out healthier, more vital, and with more human and financial resources to devote to mission and ministry. This will happen either because we choose to make it happen, or it will happen *to* us via events we do not control. Either way, it will happen. 
  • Spent some quality time with the Hymnal 1940 at the console of the cathedral organ. This is one of the ways I pray. 
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • After dinner, drove down to Columbia, IL, where I'm a stone's throw from Toddhall Retreat Center and tomorrow's Cursillo activities.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday (Bernard Mizeki)


  • Early morning treadmill workout (laying the weights aside until there's a stretch when I can be consistent with them).
  • Morning Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • The Administrator and I met with representatives of an office equipment company. Our copies is working fine, but it's 11 years old and we've been told that pretty soon they won't be able to get parts for it. So we're going to be getting a new one in due course. 
  • Took some more baby steps toward program planning for a clergy mini-conference in November. 
  • Did a fast-track exegesis and message development of a homily for Proper 19 (September 13 at St John's, Decatur). 
  • Celebrated and preached the regular cathedral liturgy, keeping the lesser feast of Bernard Mizeki, proto-martyr of South Africa. 
  • Lunch from Dynasty, the Asian place next to TG, eaten at home. 
  • Participated in a conference call with three staff members of Renewal Works, along with the rectors of five congregations that will be taking part in the fall 2015 "wave" of that spiritual vitality assessment tool. 
  • Reviewed some General Convention-related materials. 
  • Attended to an out-of-the-diocese pastoral issue. 
  • Reviewed the first quarter financial reports from the missions of the diocese. 
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday


  • Short-form Morning Prayer in the car on the way to the office. (I had an early-ish appointment.) From 8:30 until 11:30 I
  •  was part of a group that met with two representatives of ACS Technologies, an IT company that does business with nearly half the dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the area of financial and personal databases. With a transition in the treasurer's office on the horizon, it seems an apposite time to look at all options. 
  • When our guests departed. Then there were a couple of after-meetings on various issues, and I left for lunch a bit before 12:30. 
  • Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. 
  • Made some preparations for the talk I am set to deliver at this weekend's Cursillo on Saturday morning. 
  • Attended to some details of the upcoming Peru trip. 
  • Took my homily for Proper 11 (July 19 in West Frankfort) from message statement to rough outline. 
  • Took care of a couple of small chores related to General Convention. 
  •  Left a pastoral check-in voicemail at the home of one of our clergy households going through a rough time. 
  • Processed a batch of late-arriving emails. 
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • Right at 5:00, pointed the YFNBmobile north toward Bloomington. 
  • Met with the vestry of St Matthew's to discuss some mission strategy ideas. Back home at 9:45.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday (Joseph Butler)


  • Morning Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • Tweaked, refined, and printed a working text for this Sunday's homily (St Christopher's, Rantoul). 
  • Made sure everyone involved in a conference call this Thursday has the coordinates. 
  • Read and responded to an Ember Day letter from one of our candidates for ordination. 
  • Completed the paperwork necessary to give my consent to the election of George Sumner as Bishop of Dallas. 
  • Met with the cathedral Provost on a range of pastoral and liturgical issues. 
  • Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. 
  • Wrote a note to a clergy family who have recently suffered the loss of a loved one. 
  • Wrote an Ad Clerum--letter to the clergy--only my second of the year so far. 
  • Scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician to follow up on some ongoing concerns. 
  • Posted "alternative" Prayers of the People forms for Proper six through fourteen of the current year. 
  • Wrestled with my notes on the readings for Proper 17 (August 30 in Robinson) until they yielded a core message statement on which I can now build. 
  • Read a draft revision to our diocesan constitution and sent my comments to the chair of the committee doing the work. 
  • Short-form Evening Prayer in the car while en route home. (It was late.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Out the door with Brenda at 6:30 AM. Arrived in Danville two hours later. Presiding and preached the regular 9:00 Mass at Holy Trinity. It felt strange to be there without Fr Geoffrey Scanlon, who served as rector for more than a quarter-centiry, but retired last year and has been serving only as a very frequent Sunday supply priest while a longer-erm strategy unfolds. I met with the vestry for about 10 minutes following the coffee hour. After a stop in Champaign for some shopping, we were home a little past 2:00.

Sermon for III Pentecost (Proper 6)

Holy Trinity, Danville--Mark 4:26-34

There’s a movie that was hugely popular in the early ‘80s called Chariots of Fire. Some of you, no doubt, remember it. For me, the most memorable part of the movie was the opening scene, which took place at the funeral of the main character (the rest of the film was then, of course, a flashback). And what I remember most vividly about that scene was a particularly stirring hymn that they sang at the funeral, a hymn that, in its day, was known by just about every man, woman, and child in England, and it’s from this hymn that the title line of the movie comes—“bring me my … chariot of fire.” It’s a setting of a short poem by William Blake, which you may be familiar with, and which I will shortly read to you.

But first, two bits of information: the poem was written during the Industrial Revolution in England, so the expression “dark satanic mills” refers to the factories that employed thousands of workers in sweaty and back-breaking labor. And, it’s based on the legend—interesting but not really grounded in anything resembling historical fact—that the young man Jesus, before he began his public ministry, travelled to England with his uncle, who was involved in the tin trade. So, with those two observations in mind, here is Jerusalem, by William Blake:

                        And did those feet in ancient times
                        Walk upon England's mountains green?
                        And was the holy lamb of God
                        In England's pleasant pastures seen?
                        And did the countenance divine
                        Shine forth upon those clouded hills?
                        And was Jerusalem builded here
                        among those dark satanic mills?

                        Bring me my bow of burning gold,
                        Bring me my arrows of desire.
                        Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold,
                        Bring me my chariot of fire.
                        I will not cease from mental fight,
                        Bor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
                        Till we have built Jerusalem
                        In England's green and pleasant land.

“Till we have built Jerusalem...” Jerusalem, of course, is a sort of biblical code word for the perfect society, the kingdom of God come in all its fullness, where the lion lies down with the lamb and children play with snakes and nobody goes hungry or poorly housed or is treated unjustly or has any reason to weep. William Blake looked at the “dark satanic mills” and vowed to labor without ceasing until “Jerusalem”—the perfect society of his dreams—was built in his country.

We all have a “Jerusalem” that we would like to build. We all have some area of intense discomfort with things as they are, and are anxious to make the transition to things as they will be. We are all aware that the kingdom of God is here, but not yet completely here, and poems like Jerusalem make us want to join the struggle, and storm the gates of hell like the soldiers who invaded the beaches of Normandy on D-day.

The “Jerusalem” that we would like to build may be, as it was for Blake, one of social justice, changing the structures and fabric of our society to reflect God’s justice and compassion and love. The “Jerusalem” we would like to build may be one of restoring morality and virtue and integrity to our nation and our community, of strengthening families and developing character. It may be the vision of a civil society that truly provides liberty and justice for all. Or, we may have a burning concern to build up the church, perhaps even a particular parish—perhaps even Holy Trinity! I will admit that building up all the churches of this diocese, and planting new ones, has been the “Jerusalem” of my life for the past four-and-a-half years. Or, the Jerusalem that we seek to build may be entirely interior: a quest for knowledge, or skill, or spiritual growth. Indeed, when we pray “thy kingdom come,” the vision of the kingdom that each of us brings to that prayer varies greatly from person to person.

What these different visions have in common however, is the notion that we are key players in bringing the dream to reality, that God is depending on us to “make it happen,” and that the only reason mankind has not yet achieved the ideal society is that we haven’t yet all gotten together and coordinated our efforts and worked hard enough. It seems like plain common sense. When president Kennedy, in his inaugural address in 1961, said that “God's work must truly be our own,” who would have been inclined to question him? Of course God’s work must be our work, and where can we sign up? The same thing goes for the expression, “God helps those who help themselves.” After all, it's even in the Bible, isn't it?

Or is it?

Actually, “God helps those who help themselves” may at times be a useful piece of advice, but it is nowhere to be found in Holy Scripture! And the idea that God’s work must truly be our own may find some support in the Bible, but not in the way President Kennedy was thinking. Through the parables of Jesus recorded for us today in Mark's gospel, God gives us a reality check. He lets us in on an important bit of information about his kingdom and when and how it will come into its fullness.

A farmer goes out and plants his crops—preparing the ground, sowing the seed, giving it a little water. Then he goes home and takes a nap!And it's not a fretful, anxiety-ridden sleep. He sleeps like a newborn baby. And he rises, and goes back to sleep, and rises, and goes back to sleep, and before he knows it, the seeds have sprouted, and grown, and the next thing the farmer does is harvest the crop. What he had thrown into the ground as dry, lifeless seeds, have now become a lush, mature, edible, marketable crop. The farmer prepared, and the farmer planted, and the farmer tended, and the farmer harvested, but as to what took place in between those activities, and how it was accomplished and when it was accomplished, the farmer is completely in the dark. He does not make the crops grow.
And you and I do not make "Jerusalem" happen. God wants us to be available for him to work through us, but he does not depend on us. There is absolutely nothing we can do to either advance or hinder the progress of the kingdom of God. God is in charge of seeing that his kingdom comes, that “Jerusalem” happens. I admire William Blake's spirit and courage, and the music to which his poem has been set is uplifting and thrilling, and I love hearing it sung! But William Blake went to his grave without ever having built “Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land.” And you and I will go to our graves without ever having built “Jerusalem,” whether “Jerusalem” is a vision for peace and social justice, public and personal righteousness, church growth and evangelism, or personal spiritual development.

Some of us have the privilege of laying the foundation of some corner of God's kingdom, and some of us pound a few nails here or install some plumbing there, and others of us at times have the honor of opening the doors, but we are not the builders. God is the builder.
The city gets built his way and in his time, and, although we all have jobs to do, the project belongs to God, and there's really nothing any one of us can do to either slow down the work or speed it up.  

To the extent that we take responsibility for God’s work, we find ourselves engaged in maneuvering and manipulating, fretting and worrying. To the extent that we leave the building of God’s kingdom to God, and stick to our job of announcing it and living it and taking care of those relatively small tasks that are assigned to us, we exercise the eyes of faith that see the crop already in the seed, the fulfillment already in the promise. If we try to build Jerusalem, we find ourselves wrapped up in legalities and technicalities, and a bunch of anxiety. If we remember that that Jerusalem is the city of God, we give ourselves over to waiting and watching that will enable us to see it over the horizon and proclaim the good news with boldness. As long as we cling to the burden of making God’s kingdom happen, we are subject to doubt and anxiety. When we yield that burden back to God, we open ourselves to confidence and hope.

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Amen.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday


  • After breakfast, I finished processing the pile of emails that had accumulated during my time at the St Michael's Conference, some of which were resolved on the spot and some of which became tasks with future start dates. 
  •  By mid-morning, I was ready for a long, vigorous walk, in conditions that were already hot and muggy. 
  • After cooling off on the front porch while watching a small thunderstorm blow through, it was time for a shower and lunch. 
  • Settled down to refine and print my homily for tomorrow, at Holy Trinity, Danville. 
  • Succumbed to the urge for another fairly major nap; second day in a row. 
  • Back to the task list, which included finally resolving travel plans to Peru next month. following links to a couple of online articles I've been meaning to read, and disposing of some leaves that had accumulated on the bedroom balcony. 
  • After dinner, it was routine household financial chores.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday

Today brought the conclusion of the amazing first annual St Michael's Youth Conference-Illinois. We gathered for Morning Prayer at our usual 7:30 time. I stayed behind while everyone went to breakfast (having a grabbed a muffin that we brought from home on Sunday) and worked on reconfiguring our two rooms into one (with the removal of a folding partition) for the celebration of a Solemn Votive Mass of St Michael & All Angels. That began at 10, and in addition to our conferees and staff, we were joined by several parents and other friends. Fr Wetmore delivered a fine homily, and we worshipped the Holy Trinity in grand style (grand, at least given our physical circumstances). After a final group photo, it was time to strike the set and head home. Brenda and I got back to Springfield around 1:30, stopping at Popeye's on the way in to pick up some lunch. After consuming it, I went down hard for a long nap. My poor introversion had been taxed to the uttermost for several days. Spent the rest of the day and evening cleaning out my email inbox. Still not finished, but I hope to accomplish that in the morning.

St Barnabas

Fourth full day of St Michael's Youth Conference: 


  • Morning Prayer 
  • Breakfast 
  • The morning was spent in a large barn doing the "high ropes" course. It's meant to encourage teamwork and fear-facing, and consists of a series of segments that must be traversed at ten, then twenty, feet above the floor, with only taut steel cables to walk on between platforms and only ropes to hold onto, culminating in a door leading to the exterior of the barn and a 450ft zipline ride back to terra firma. About five of the kids opted out, and there was no shame attached to that. YFNB donned the safety harness and practiced the procedures and ascended to the initial platform, but then changed his mind. There is no shame, and not even any regret, but a smidgen of sadness for not being quite psychically equipped to enjoy such an experience. 
  • Mass for the Feast of St Barnabas, a little more liturgically upscale than has been our wont so far in the week, given the feast day. 
  • Lunch 
  • Part II of Fr Clavier's presentation on the gospel of Mark and Part II of Fr Baumann's presentation on the deep meaning of the Eucharist. Both were stellar. 
  • Choir practice. 
  • Dinner Evensong Campfire, during which we had a "read through" of the text for the traditional St Michael's Conference pageant/tableau, which we hope to actually stage in future years. I also held forth a bit on the significance of baptism. 
  • Snacks and debrief. 
  • Compline.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday (St Ephrem of Edessa)

Third full day of the St Michael's Youth Conference. Morning Prayer ... Breakfast ... 80 minutes from Fr Tony Clavier on the Gospel of Mark ... break ... 80 minutes from Fr David Baumann on liturgy ... Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Ephrem of Edessa ... lunch ... Afternoon at the lake beach with the various aquatic activities ... Choir practice and Evensong ... dinner ... Trivia Night and Q&A with the clergy. I'm so glad we're doing this. It may be the best thing we've done in this diocese on my watch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuesday (St Columba)

Second full day at SMYC: 


  • Morning Prayer 
  • Breakfast 
  • An activity in the woods known as "low ropes," led by one of the Lake Williamson staffers, basically a trust and community-building exercise. I was along with the group for a while, but, fairly early-on, one of the kids succumbed to the unpleasant symptoms of a stomach virus and I escorted him back to his room, made sure he was safe and hydrated, and left him to rest. Consequently, I spent the remained of the morning, as it were, "working" -- emails and phone calls. 
  • Mass for the lesser feast of St Columba of Iona at noon. 
  • Lunch 
  • Three hours of instructional time. I finished up what I began yesterday on prayer for the first half; Fr Wetmore finished what he started yesterday on the creeds for the second half. He very effectively deployed several video clips from a web resource called Lutheran Satire. Pretty fun but theologically robust stuff. 
  • 30 minutes of music practicum, led by YFNB, with Brenda at the keyboard. 
  • Evensong 
  • Dinner 
  • Movie night: We watched The Princess Bride, which the kids all seemed to know and love, even though it came out well before any of them were born. Somehow, I've managed to escape it until tonight. 
  • Daily debrief and Compline. A good day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday

First full day at St Michael's Youth Conference, which we are holding at an Assemblies of God conference center near Carlinville. (It's a huge facility, and we are a very small proportion of those using it at present.) The day went very well: Morning Prayer ... breakfast ... 80 minutes of teaching on prayer (theory today, practice tomorrow) ... break ... 80 minutes of teaching on creeds ... Mass ... lunch ... recreation (black light dodgeball) ... free time ... music instruction/"choir" rehearsal ... Evensong (using some of what we had just learned) ... dinner ... time in the indoor pool .... snacks & conversation .... Compline. Very pleased with the responsiveness of the kids so far.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Up and out in time to preside and preach the 10am liturgy at Trinity, Jacksonville. I'm getting a reputation there, because something untoward seems to be always associated with my visit (local water supply contaminated, I break and ankle in a fall, frozen pipes result in flooded parish hall). Today it was the refusal of the air conditioners that cool the nave to report for duty. Even so, the Word of God was proclaimed and the Blessed Sacrament duly administered. Then we were home just long enough to pack and head south to an Assemblies of God conference center just south of Carlinville, where the first annual St Michael's Youth Conference, Diocese of Springfield edition, is now off to a fine start. We'll be here all week.

Sermon for II Pentecost (Proper 5)

Trinity, Jacksonville--Mark 3:20-35, Genesis 3:8-15

One of the ironies of growing older is that, the more wisdom we acquire as we age, the less time we have to apply it. Think about that! One of these bits of wisdom is that it’s usually better to take the long view, to look down the road a good long way as we make plans, and not automatically choose the quick and easy solution. But, like I said, by the time we figure this out, we may have reached a point in life when there’s no more long view to be taken!

In any case, even if this is a lesson we take to heart while we’re still young enough to do something with it, it still requires a considerable amount of personal discipline. It involves cultivating the habit of what one of my philosophy professors in college called “deferment of gratification.” It means persisting in long-term behavior that we believe to be right even when we could have a short-term reward for doing something else.

For whatever combination of reasons, I seem to be blessed with this ability—to a point, at any rate. I like to say that I have all the wet and dry ingredients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder measured out and neatly arrayed on the counter; I just haven’t mixed them together yet.  When Brenda and I bought our home in Springfield, one end of the family room had what was obviously meant to be a built-in entertainment center. It had a spot for a television, and niches for various audio-visual components, and strategic holes in the recessed areas to accommodate wiring them all together. The problem was, it was designed before flat-screen television sets, with their proportionally wider dimensions, were on the market, so it was unusable to us. We bought a separate piece of furniture for the TV and repurposed the entertainment center for other uses. But, a year or so ago, perhaps a little longer, we decided to rearrange everything and do some surgery on the unit so we could stick a wide-screen television there. This was a major project, and I immediately deployed my OCD tendencies, and broke everything down in my cloud-based task planning software into about 18 separate actions, and then I ranked them in the order in which they would need to occur, and assigned each one a start date—something that can always be changed, but, you know, it helps to have a goal.

Over a period of months, in spare moments, I began to execute this plan. When viewed as a whole, it seemed overwhelming. But when I just looked at the next thing on the list in isolation, it was doable. Some required a bit of time and effort outside my comfort zone, but they were all doable. As of around last Christmas, the project was effectively done. There are just a few cosmetic touches that we’ll have to hire out, and a couple of other technical issues. But the furniture has all been moved, and we’re watching TV in a different direction than we did the first few years we lived in the house. Bit by bit, step by step.

There’s another, longer-term project that I’m still in the earlier stages of. I’m trying to incite and lead a mental revolution in the Diocese of Springfield. I’m trying to call
the clergy and the baptized faithful of the diocese to lay aside the mental habit of thinking in terms of inducing “them out there” to walk through our doors on Sunday mornings and become part of the community of “us in here.” And I’m trying to persuade people to replace that mental map with one in which “we in here” go and meet “them out there” in their native environments and bring with us the good news of God in Christ, which we proclaim both in deed and word. I’m trying to lead a shift from an attractional to an apostolic model of mission. This is an audacious goal, and I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that, when the time comes for me to pass the crozier to the 12th Bishop of Springfield, it will still be a work in progress. But, underneath all the myriad little things I do with my time each day, this vision is the driving force. Quite frankly, it consumes me. If anything I do cannot be ultimately linked to this vision, then I probably ought not to be doing it.

But God himself has a “project” of his own that trumps all of ours, that subsumes into itself all of ours. God’s project, God’s “mission,” if you will, is the redemption of the world, the reclamation of the cosmos from the power of sin and death. God’s project is to stare down the chronic sorrow and alienation that our human souls have gotten accustomed to, and tell them, quite literally, to “Go to hell.”  …

This chronic sorrow and alienation is symbolized for us in the narrative of the early part of the Book of Genesis, in the event in the Garden of Eden that we have come to know as the Fall, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and passed on to their progeny the deadly tendency to enthrone their own egos where only God should be. The Fall is all around us all the time. It was certainly manifested in the experience and ministry of Jesus as he interacted with those spiritual creatures that the gospel authors call “demons.” In the story from the third chapter of Mark’s gospel that we encounter this morning, no actual demons make an appearance, but Jesus is, instead, accused by some of the senior leaders of the Jewish religious establishment not of merely being possessed by a demon, but of being himself Beelzebul, the prince of demons. It’s difficult for us who are children of a culture in which the scientific method is the arbiter of whether something is true or not to wrap our minds around the notion of demons. So let’s just say, for the sake of not getting too bogged down, that we can understand demons as anything in our experience that impedes, gets in the way of, human thriving, human flourishing. Without being accused of embracing a pre-scientific world view, we still use language like “he wrestles with his particular demons” and “demonic forces” that motivate this or that kind of behavior. Indeed, demons, whatever they may be, are products of and signs of the Fall. The Fall impedes and gets in the way of human thriving, human flourishing. The Fall is demonic.

But God, from the very beginning, has resolved not to let the Fall have the last word. God has resolved to “do something” about it. In our first reading in today’s liturgy, we encounter our first parents in the Garden of Eden at the very moment when they are made to face the fact of the Fall, when the consequences of their idolatrous behavior, of putting themselves in the place of God, are made known to them. It’s grim, but the grimness has a mitigating edge, the cloud has a silver lining. In veritably the same breath in which God pronounces sentence upon the man and the woman—and upon their offspring, including us—he offers this cryptic oracle, speaking to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Like I said, it’s cryptic! But, trust me, this is a really huge deal. The offspring of the serpent is Satan, and the offspring of the woman is Jesus. Jesus does battle with Satan in the Judean wilderness right after his baptism, and he does final battle with Satan as he hangs on the cross, taking onto himself the aggregate sum of human sorrow and alienation, the full effect of the Fall, and bringing it to the grave with him, and leaving it there. The Christian tradition calls this oracle of salvation uttered in the Garden of Eden the protoevangelium, the first proclamation of the Good News. In that moment, God checks off the first completion box of the longest and most complex project ever in anyone’s task management system.

It’s a very long project indeed. It includes the covenant with Noah, symbolized by the rainbow, and the promise that God would never again hit the Reset button in his dealings with humankind, but would always play the hand that he’s dealt. It includes the covenant with Abraham, wherein God focused his attention on a particular people, a particular nation, in and through whom his redemptive purposes would be accomplished. It includes the covenant with Moses and the people of Israel at Mt Sinai, wherein God teaches his chosen people how to live as human beings were created to live, how to live in ways that—you guessed it—encourage human thriving and human flourishing. It includes the covenant with David, the Anointed One, the proto-Messiah, in whose lineage the Savior himself would, in the fullness of time, be born. Finally, it includes the covenant made through Jesus, who deals with all manner of “demons,” however one understands them, in his ministry. This covenant is consummated on the cross, and manifested in the days after Easter, when some believed in the risen Jesus because they saw him, and others believed by faith rather than by sight. In fact, you and I live in that very time, in the days after Easter, and we who walk by faith are called by Jesus more blessed than those who walk by sight.

In Jesus’ dispute with the scribes that we read about today, after they accuse him of being Beelzebul, he offers them a parable about a burglar who wants to rob a strong man, but finds that strong man at home ready to defend his property. So the burglar first figures out a way to subdue to homeowner, and tie him up. Then he cleans the place out in peace. In this parable, Jesus is the burglar, and the forces of the Fall, the demonic powers of the universe, are the owner of the house that Jesus intends to rob and clean out through his death and resurrection. Today’s good news is that, in Christ, God demonstrates his power to defeat evil. We know how the story ends: God wins. Love and justice win. Human flourishing wins. The details are still being pursued to their pre-ordained conclusion, but the outcome has been decided. And that is our reality.

As the gospel evangelists relate his ministry to us, Jesus deals with “demons” and those whom demons “possess” quite individually, on a case by case basis, as they come to him. And this tempts us, especially in our hyper-individualistic culture—to let that form the pattern of our thinking. We get all obsessed with questions like “will I go to heaven when I die?” But it’s actually much bigger than that, much bigger than any of us in our solitary individuality. We are reminded today of the cosmic scope of God’s redemptive actions, and we would do well to think of our own destiny as in the context of that immense project of redeeming and reclaiming the cosmos. In his epistle to the Romans, St Paul talks about how the “whole creation groans” in expectation of the fruition of God work of salvation. The best we might do, in the meantime, is to live in such a way that we put ourselves in the path of that great project.

Praised be Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saturday

At the Round House by 8:45ish, in anticipation of a big morning. Both the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee met, and both interviewed three individuals who are interacting with the ordination process in various ways. In addition, both bodies had some regular business to attend to. I ended up shuttling between the two, and spending bits of time with the potential ordinands as well. We were all finished a little past 1:00. I stayed around to finish refining and printing my homily for tomorrow (Trinity, Jacksonville), then came home, stopping by ChiTown's Finest to pick up an Italian beef. Such mornings tax my introversion severely, so, after eating lunch, I went down for a hard nap. Later in the afternoon, I began chipping away at other odds and ends--final prep for my participation in the St Michael's Youth Conference that begins tomorrow, refining plans for the Peru visit, and other bits of administrivia and pastoralia. Nice long walk through Washington Park as dusk approached.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday

It was my joy to begin the day by servant as celebrant and preacher for the regular daily Mass in St Mary's Chapel at Nashotah House. Most of the congregation of 25 were part of the Covenant authors retreat. We kept the lesser feast of St Boniface. I was so stimulated by yesterday's first day of considering Augustine's City of God that I was truly regretful over my need to depart this morning. I was on the road right at 10am and back in my driveway at 3:15. While en route, I had three substantive telephone conversations: one with one of our clergy over an emerging pastoral issue, one with a prospective candidate in one of our search processes, and one with a consultant assisting Nashotah House with an internal issue. Then it was back to processing emails until stepping out with Brenda to dinner and a movie.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thursday (Corpus Christi)

On campus at Nashotah by 8am for Morning Prayer and Mass in St Mary's Chapel. Then the Covenant authors group got down to our self-imposed task for the retreat, which is a symposium on St Augustine's magisterial work, City of God. Not for any lack of desire or intention, but I didn't get very much of it read. Nonetheless, because those designated to talk us through the work and stimulate discussion about various points were very well-prepared, and did a fine job. So it was quite stimulating, and I'm sorry I need to leave the retreat a day early tomorrow and drive home. It's so go to hang out with a whole bunch of people who are way smarter than I am. After Solemn Evensong, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and a procession around the cloister and back into the chapel, all in observance of the Feast of Corpus Christi, we all adjourned to the home of one of the faculty members for a delightful Wisconsin feast of grilled bratwurst on a perfect evening for sitting in a backyard.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday (Martyrs of Uganda)

  • Packed and on the road northbound right at 10am. While en route to Nashotah House, had two substantive phone conversations.
  • Checked in at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oconomowoc, then drove to campus. The occasion of my visit is a retreat for the authors connected to the Covenant blog. 
  • Evening Prayer, dinner, and conviviality as we all gathered. Tomorrow our symposium on St Augustine's City of God begins.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tuesday (Martyrs of Lyons)


  • Morning Prayer in the cathedral. 
  • Listened to a voicemail left yesterday and contacted the caller. 
  • Responded via email to an emerging pastoral issue. 
  • Attended to a small chore (that has been in the chute for several weeks and had become a nuisance) pertaining to the Illinois Conference of Churches. 
  • Took care of a couple of relatively small but important chores, one related to General Convention and one to Nashotah House. T
  • ook a phone call from one of our rectors. 
  • Fleshed out and brought almost to maturity the working outlines for the teaching I'm doing next week--on prayer--at the (first annual Diocese of Springfield) St Michael's Youth Conference. 
  • Lunch from HyVee, eaten at home. 
  • Worked, at different stages of gestation, on three different upcoming sermons: Proper 6 (June 14 in Danville), Proper 7 (June 21 in Rantoul), and Proper 19 (September 13 in Decatur). 
  • What's the one question you would like to as the four candidates for Presiding Bishop? I was asked to use Survey Monkey to do just that. My question was this: What sacrifice of our perceptions or priorities are you prepared to ask our church to make for the sake of repairing relations with the Anglican provinces that fall under the label 'Global South'?" 
  • Spent some time surfing the web for concrete information about the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, which I am considering for the sabbatical I am planning on taking next year. It's time to start laying plans. 
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.