Showing posts from July, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Well, not literally. I don't fish. But inasmuch as the expression is a metaphor for taking leave of official duties in order to ... recreate ... then that's what's going on. I'm on vacation. Partially "staycation," catching up on all those things around the house that there isn't time to get to during the routine course of life. Lots of reading and visiting with the offspring in Chicago. And if it ever cools off a bit, some outdoor walking. In the first half of August, Brenda and I plan to spend some time in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. I expect to be back in the office, in harness (including in this venue) on Wednesday the 22nd, when I hope to be, as the expression goes, "tanned and relaxed." Be well.

The Lord's Day (VIII Pentecost)

This was truly "the longest day." It began with a midnight (local time) departure from Bangkok. I have to say ... the airport there is amazing: huge (a major air hub for southeast Asia), designed for efficiency, and architecturally significant. I found it very comforting to find a Burger King and a Dairy Queen in the concourse leading to my gate. Yes, I am an American, trash though that may be when it comes to comfort food! My flight then landed in Tokyo around 8am (again, local time, two hours ahead of Bangkok). No need to go through passport check or go through customs, though I did need to clear security. Enjoyed a nice chicken curry for breakfast, the abundance of place at which to recharge my iOS devices, surrealistically clean restrooms, and small and slightly amusing (to a westerner) markers of Japanese culture. Not something I'm used to finding at American airports. After about a two hour layover, it was time to board for the flight to Chicago. With a tailwind, it


Our numbers began to shrink last night as airport departures began even in the midst of our boat ride. But the great majority of us assembled in the hotel lobby at 8:15 this morning and from there boarded two buses to take us the approximately four kilometers through heavy urban traffic to Christ Church for our closing celebration of the Eucharist. Christ Church dates back to the late nineteenth century, and was built for British expatriates. It remains a primarily English-speaking congregation, though, recently and for the first time, there is a native Thai priest on the staff, and Thai worship on Sunday afternoons. The church building is an interesting amalgam of a little bit of England transplanted to southeast Asia and distinctively Thai decorative and practical flourishes. It hosts what is reputed to be the only pipe organ in Thailand. Sadly, the instrument was not in use this morning. I would have loved to have heard it--perhaps even played it--and it would have gone well with th


Virtually my entire experience as an Episcopalian (going on four decades) has been spent on the Catholic side of the Anglican spectrum. I've heard and read about Anglican evangelicals, but there are precious few in the U.S., so they've been mostly an abstraction. Global South Anglicanism is dominated by evangelicals, so the abstraction has become a reality for me this week. Having been raised in free church evangelicalism, which is not quite the same thing, but with many points of overlap, and then embracing Anglicanism as a means of becoming a Catholic Christian, this has evoked some interesting and complex feelings. I've sung some songs that had been relegated to the recesses of my long-term memory, and one that I'm fairly certain I haven't even thought about in more than forty years. I've experienced a piety and a style of homiletical/pedagogical biblical exegesis that is quite foreign to my ordinary experience (today's example coming from the Dean of Del


This morning's preacher at the Eucharist was the Primate of Burundi, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, again on Romans 12, since language from vss. 1-2 is found in the conference theme. It was a rather "cooler" homily than we heard yesterday, centering on the wholesome notion that growth in Christiian maturity subverts our loyalty to the "empire" (whatever that might be), which, in this post-modern world, might be the ubiquitous hyper-individualism that seems to be the dominant epistemological and ethical filter. After the tea break we heard from keynote speaker Patrick Johnstone, an Englishman who has spent most of his life as a missionary in Africa, and, among evangelicals, is one of the world's leading missiologists. He bombarded us with statistics illustrated by graphs, charts, and maps in Power Point. Way too much to take in, but very valuable, and we're told we'll be given a CD with all the slides on it. This guy is a premium numbers cruncher. We


The preacher at the morning Eucharist was a Nigerian bishop, Dapu Asaju. Preaching from Romans 12 (even though it was not read in the liturgy--a rather lamentable, though once commonplace, artifact of Anglican custom), his main point was that Christians are "life savers" in a cosmic battle, a present crisis, pitting the kingdom of heaven against the kingdom of hell. This is war, and one gets the impression that the preacher thinks the troops are way too flabby. One of the things I've become more keenly aware of in this conference is the importance of context. As a westerner still trying to unlearn the mental habits of Christendom, and as one who tries to be a bridge builder rather than a bridge burner in a very diverse and conflicted church, I would have wished for more winsomeness, more gentleness, and maybe even a touch of humor. There was none of that. Yet, the Nigerian church is on the front lines of the encounter with militant Islam. Many Christians there are, at any


First full day of the conference. Same impressive breakfast buffet array as yesterday. We began with Eucharist at 7:30. The Thai Anglicans have their own Prayer Book (paper back), with Thai on the right and English on the left. We used English. The words of the liturgy are very similar to TEC's, with some interesting adaptations and variations. I have heard that Global South Anglican eveangelicals tend not to pay very much attention to liturgical detail ... and I seem to have heard correctly. Everything seemed to be "on the fly." Nobody--lectors, celebrant, keyboard musician (a bishop volunteer who was recruited at dinner last night)--was very well prepared. The exception was the preacher, Archbishop Chew, who masterfully situated the challenge of 21st century mission in St Paul's epistle to the Romans, particularly the first chapter and its theme of obedience/disobedience. A fine example of the classic evangelical Anglican genre of Bible teaching/preaching. It was lo


Time runs together.  I'm writing from a fourth floor room in the lovely Ramada Plaza Riverside in Bangkok, Thailand, after a record-setting (for me) 36 hour trip that began in Springfield on Saturday morning. In the process, I lost 12 hours of clock time, but I know right where I left them and will pick them up as I head east again in a few days. The journey was lenghtened by a delayed departure on the Chicago to Tokyo leg, causing me to miss a connection. As a result, I saw more of Tokyo than I'd planned on, as my re-booked flight to Thailand was out of the downtown Haneda International, rather than Narita where I had landed. The two airports are about an hour apart by bus. This is my first trip to Asia, so there's a lot to take in. Due to the nature of my visit (attending a Global South Anglican mission and networking conference, as a representative of the Communion Partners), I probably won't be getting out of the hotel much, but my room has a commanding view of th


Yesterday was spent unpacking, decompressing, tying up some administrative loose ends, writing an article for the Springfield Current , and running several errands. Later this morning I board the first of three airplane flights that will end up depositing me in Bangkok (yes, Thailand). A mission and networking conference of Global South Anglicans has invited the Communion Partners to send two bishops and two rectors, and I drew the short straw, along with Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota. We will be joined by Frs Tony Clark and Chuck Alley. I expect to have internet access while in Bangkok, so my intention is to continue to post daily, though at unusual times--Thailand is literally halfway around the world from the midwest, twelve hours ahead of central time. See you in cyberspace.


No more committee meetings, as all have finished their work, and, anyway, it would be too late for anything they might do to get accomplished. The Deputies met at 8; Bishops got to lollygag until 9. I took the opportunity to check out of my hotel and load the car. See here for an account of the legislative day and overall reflections on the convention . We broke at 11 for Eucharist and lunch (the latter, for me, with some old friends from Northern Indiana--Frs Henry Randolph, Jim Warnock, and Brian Grantz). The houses of convention came back to order at 2:15. During the private conversation time in the HoB, it is the custom of Bishop Sean Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania to announce certain "awards" for the number and character of microphone "appearances" during the convention. Apparently, and somewhat to my chagrin, YFNB led in the "number" category by a wide margin for most of the time, only to be overtaken (I am relieved to say) on the home stretch

Wednesday (St Benedict)

Final meeting of Committee 13. Difficult, but productive. I sensed a growing attitude of charity toward those who always seem to be on the losing end of votes. Since they got their "big one" yesterday, many in the majority party are in a mood to be gracious. Not all, mind you, and not nearly enough, IMO. But some. The House of Bishops continued to plow through resolutions. Being a much smaller body than the House of Deputies, we get our work accomplished with significantly greater efficiency. This allows for our customary period of private conversation prior to opening the gallery for our afternoon legislative session. And even then, we recessed at least two hours before the deputies.  See here for a fuller account of the legislative action. One of the fun things about General Convention is running into people from various eras in one's past. Leaving the gallery of the House of Deputies this afternoon, I was stopped by someone I overlapped two years with at Westmont Co


Another 7:30 committee meetings--and there will be yet one more. To my chagrin, they rejected my resolution to authorize the 1979 lectionary, but this was overturned by the House of Bishops in the afternoon. We also cranked out the rites for pastoral care around "beloved animals" and the daily prayer services my subcommittee has worked on. My motion to discharge the latter so they can be properly finished by people with the time to do it was defeated. Once again, the opportunity for some down time between the morning committee meeting and the 11:15 (until 1:00 this time) legislative session was greatly welcome. See here for the highlights of the legislative day. Met with the Communion Partner bishops over lunch to hammer out a minority report on the same-sex marriage resolution that has now passed both houses. We will read this statement into the record sometime tomorrow. Usual marathon afternoon session. We adjourned just in time to step into the gallery of the House of


Usual early morning committee meeting. Most of it was dedicated to intense and emotional debate over A049, the enabling resolution for the rite for same-sex marriage. I'm grateful that we managed to build in strong safeguards in the language to protect the conscience of theological minorities. But I'm still deeply saddened by the outcome. Once again, took the slot dedicated to daily Eucharist for some personal down time, which is hugely necessary. The morning legislative session was fairly uneventful.  See here for a fuller account of both the morning and afternoon sessions . Lunch with Communion Partners bishops, clergy, and laity. It ended up being SRO, but the room was not that big--I think there were four round tables that may have seated 8-10, plus some chairs along the perimeter walls. Comparing this to the overflow crowds we had in a nearby church for "alternative" Eucharists and informational lunches in 2003 in Minneapolis and 2006 in Columbus, and it is p

The Lord's Day (VI Pentecost)

7:30 am meeting of the subcommittee of Committee 13 that I co-chair, now tasked with "perfecting" a collection of daily prayer resources that are intended to be more accessible than the Prayer Book daily office. We ran long, and didn't quite finish. Dashed back to my room to change into cassock, rochet, chimere, and (of course!) biretta. Felt a little strange getting into an elevator all decked out, and sharing it with somebody clearly not associated with the convention. I couldn't help myself from saying, "I'm sorry. I know I look weird." (!) Processed in with the other bishops for the principal Eucharist of General Convention. As hotel ballroom liturgies go, it wasn't bad. The music was spectacularly good. Wandered across the street with Brenda and two visitors to the convention to the AAA minor league ballpark where the Diocese of Indianapolis was hosting a bit of an extravaganza, with free food (OK, freewill offerings encouraged--they probabl


Up at 6:15, aiming toward a 7:30 committee meeting. I'm accumulating a sleep deficit that is on its way toward becoming impressive.  The morning committee session began with a hearing on B009, Authorize Use of 1979 Lectionary . As the author of this resolution, I was given an opportunity to address this as a witness. One "expert" witness (a former member of SCLM) showed up to speak in opposition. We then had a long discussion of the rules for tonight's marquee hearing on A049, which authorizes the same-sex blessing rites. After the committee meeting, I returned to my room for a nap--much needed--and to work a little more on my contribution to the subcommittee's work on the daily prayer supplement. Here's my personal summary of what we accomplished today.  Over to the House of Bishops for an 11:15-12:45 legislative session. Carry-in lunch with the Communion Partner bishops in the hotel suite of one of our number. We needed to plot a little strategy for whe


Up for a 7:30-9:00 committee meeting. ( See here  for a summary of the day's business.) Met with the other signers of the contentious  amicus curiae  brief to craft our collective response to the letter from the bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth, and arranged for it to be distributed. Legislative session from 11:15 to 12:45. Joined the Bishop of South Carolina for an impromptu lunch in one of the food court areas of the convention center. Back to Committee 13 between 2:00 and 4:00, and legislative session from 4:30 until 6:30. Rushed down Washington Street for a drinks and  hors d'ouevres  event sponsored by  The Living Church , at which it was my joy to serve as a panelist in a very lively discussion. Back to my room around 9:00, whereupon I had to study and make some notes for the meeting of my subcommittee on the proposed daily prayer rites. "Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest."


My hotel room is probably a 15 minute walk from the room where the House of Bishops meets--and I walk fast--but it's all in air-conditioned comfort owing to a system of skywalks connecting the convention center to all the nearby hotels (most of which are owned by Marriott, so TEC is helping the LDS balance sheets stay healthy!).  I reported for duty in the HoB just before 8am. One of the quaint formalities is the custom of calling the roll of all living bishops in the order of their consecration. The first half or so of names called belong to retired bishops, most of whom are not present. Hearing the list of names was like an aural palimpsest of my history with the Episcopal Church. Most I knew only as names, not as actual people, but I associated those names with particular twists and turns in the history of this church. Late in the morning it was back to committees. I've  written here  about my day with Committee 13. Quick lunch with Brenda, Sylvia Little (wife of Bishop

Independence Day

Up and out in time to hit the registration desk shortly after 7am (Eastern Time, of course), get oriented to the convention space, and find my committee room for an 8am meeting. Committee 13 (Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music) spent about two hours getting organized, plotting our hearing schedule, etc., and then realized that we were a meeting in search of a purpose, since we are prohibited from actually discussing and debating legislation until after we have held hearings.  So we adjourned early, which gave me time to find Brenda and begin poking around the Exhibit Hall. At 2pm, both Houses met in joint session to hear addresses from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. Then the bishops were exiled to our proper chamber, where we took care of some housekeeping announcements and orientation to the procedures of the House. Then it was back to the committee room, where we held hearings on a bunch of mostly non-controversial resolutions, and then act


A confluence of circumstances meant that most of the morning was devoted to working with a pair of electricians getting our new kitchen stove properly installed. This meant that we couldn't devote our attention to getting ready to leave until it was pretty much time to leave--according to the original plan. So we got a late start and didn't make it to Indianapolis in time to register at the convention center. This will mean an even earlier start to the morning. But we did run into three-eighths of the Springfield deputation, and enjoyed a lively dinner together. It all starts with 8am committee meetings. Hang on.

The Lord's Day (V Pentecost)

Woke up in Princeton, Indiana. From there it was about a 35 minute drive to Albion, where we made it in plenty of time for the scheduled 9am liturgy at St John's. As they are served by a deacon, it was the first time the Eucharist had been celebrated there in about a year (they get Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament most Sundays). After Mass we had a very robust discussion in the parish hall about the mission strategy vision. They were very thoughtfully engaged with what I shared, and I had to almost break away at 11:30 in order to load my stuff in the car and hit the road for Robinson, where I was due at St Mary's for a 1pm Eucharist with Confirmation. Again, the post-liturgical conversation was energetic and free-flowing. I feel like a salesman who's racking up order in the field before the R&D and engineering departments are quite ready to ship product! A good problem to have. We made it home around 6. Over on my "real" blog, I've shared so

Sermon for Year B: Proper 8

Mark 5:22-24, 35b-43 St John’s, Albion & St Mary’s, Robinson We can feel his pain. On the list of gut-wrenching experiences a human being can potentially have, losing a child is probably at the top. Jairus’ little girl, one of the lights of his life, is very sick, and appears to be dying. He’s heartbroken. He’s desperate. He’s willing to try anything. We can empathize with the situation he’s in. About 30 years ago, there was a drug called Laetrile that some thought was the silver bullet against cancer. But it wasn’t approved for clinical use in this country, so countless numbers of people took their sick loved ones to Mexico in order to obtain it. There wasn’t any good science behind the drug’s effectiveness, and it was kind of an irrational thing to do, but we can understand what drove people to do it. Desperate people often do irrational things. When we’re desperate, we’re only a step away from surrendering to the grip of fear, and fear can lead us into all sorts of