Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category

>39 days

February 18, 2010

>Lent has begun, and I have decided to give up…

We’ve already been eating healthier and exercising, giving up the slovenly lifestyle. But that happened a while back. Heck, it wasn’t even a New Year’s resolution, it began around Halloween.
I wanted to give up laundry, but it’s just been one day and there are three loads waiting already.

No, it’s going to be abstinence, of a sort. I am going to abstain from snarky criticism of political figures.

Now that doesn’t mean I will not be reporting on and setting things straight on issues.

But no Sarah Palin, Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Michael Steel, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck criticism by me.

My son and my partner say I can’t do it.

39 days. I’m counting.

These first couple of weeks will be easy. I’m avoiding lots of issues while I watch and focus on the Olympics. How ’bout that run by Lindsey Vonn as she won the women’s downhill by .56 seconds.


Here’s a recap video of the day’s medals for the US and others.

Men’s figure skating long program tonight. Maybe Johnny won’t get robbed like the other night.

I’m almost as excited as Buck (What the Buck) reporting on the Olympics, I try to watch every minute. Well, not as much caffiene here, but even curling, love it!

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>Lent, Good News and the Speech

February 25, 2009

>Are you giving up anything for Lent?

I thought about giving up blogging, but obviously I reconsidered.

Good news: The Washington Post has granted me permission to use the five articles from 1965 that my book is based on, in the book itself. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it, and it means I can move forward. I couldn’t complete my editing until I knew exactly what I could use. I also have permission from the estate of Martin Luther King Jr to use one of his speeches. That costs a pretty penny as well. Both of those things are important to the story, though, so its worth the cost.

My observations regarding the President’s speech last night.

Supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed very surprised and uplifted by the warm reception she got. That was nice to see.

As President Barack Obama walked in, he stopped and spoke with several people, including Richard Shelby. I wonder what they chatted about. I thought I saw Shelby mouth the words “birth certificate” but I’m not sure. I am pretty sure that I saw Obama respond with “I haven’t seen yours either.”

The lines from the speech that made me grab a pen and write were these.

Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself. It’s quitting on your country.

That gives teachers, principals, guidance counselors and parents fresh ammunition in the fight to keep kids in school. Make some posters and hang them in the schools today.

MSNBC had this approval graph at the bottom of the screen, cleverly divided into a red line line for McCain voters and a blue line for Obama voters. Both lines stayed at the top of the chart, indicating viewers liked what they heard.

I think they need sensors in the seats of representatives and senators. That way we could see exactly how bi-partisan the standing up was. It was difficult to tell sometimes, because there are so many democrats that they spilled over onto the republican side of the room.

Little known fact. The seats are not assigned. The senators and representatives who want good seats, and a few seconds of TV time as the president is entering, get there early and save their seats. Some where there as early as 8 in the morning, they said. Shelby had a good seat.

The speech got rave reviews. A CNN poll showed that 68% of people who watched the speech had a very positive response and 24 had a somewhat positive response. 92% positive? Pretty darn good, I’d say.

The same can’t be said for the Republican response by Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal. Did he even listen to the president’s speech? I referred to Republican governors as out of touch yesterday, and this just proves it. Keith and Rachel and Chris sum it up here. Rachel Maddow, speechless? Wow.

Who I would not like to be

March 1, 2007

One person I would not like to be is Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. She has the unfortunate, but very important, task of leading the Episcopal Church through the debate that could end up seeing the church break away from the worldwide Anglican Fellowship over the role of gays and lesbians in the church. To her credit, Bishop Schori has been supportive of inclusive polices regarding gays and has said she does not support efforts to remove Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay Bishop from New Hampshire, from his post. Now the church faces an ultimatum from the Anglican leaders to unequivocally pledge not to consecrate another partnered gay bishop or authorize prayers for same sex couples. The Anglican Church of Nigeria, leading the way of religious intolerance, in 2006 issued a statement affirming their “commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity…”

The Episcopal Church has a history of social justice, although at times having to play “catch up”, for instance, issuing a condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1979 and declaring the practice of racism a sin in 1991. And they have been a leader in the inclusion of women in all roles in the church, culminating with the election of Schori last year as the first woman to ever hold the position of presiding bishop although there are still dioceses that do not allow women priests. So it is no surprise that the Episcopal Church would be a leader in the inclusion of homosexuals, nor is it a surprise that they can’t just put their foot down and say “No” to the Anglican demands. Episcopals are never quick to do anything, to make decisions, or to develop new policy. And maybe that is as it should be, to prevent knee-jerk decisions and pop-cultural influences.

But this issue has already been decided. In 2000 the Convention affirmed “the variety of human relationships in and outside of marriage,” and in 2006 affirmed “support of gay and lesbian persons and children of God.” In fact, way back in 1975 the Convention declared that homosexuals are “children of God” and are “entitled to full civil rights.” And of course in 2003 The Right Reverend Gene Robinson was consecrated as the first openly gay bishop in the Church.

And if policy is not enough, across the country gay and lesbian persons are serving in numerous positions in the church, from lay leaders to deacons to priests. If one looks at the work that these people do, and the results of their efforts, there is no doubt that God is blessing their work and is pleased with their inclusion. In fact, the very diocese that Robinson is leading continues to be blessed and to bless others. Would God continue to allow His blessings to flow forth from homosexuals if He was not pleased with their work?

Last night Schori led a webcast in which she addressed the issue of homosexuality and the church. Her call for “a season of fasting –from authorizing rites for blessing same sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions” puts the brakes on full inclusion as she attempts to buy time for reconciliation. This is just putting off the inevitable. No one believes the Nigerians are going to reverse course from calling for criminalization of homosexuality to acceptance and full inclusion. And while Episcopals endure a season of fasting, gay and lesbian parishioners and friends are left hanging. They are the ones suffering, as they are being denied full inclusion and participation. Gene Robinson’s response to Schori’s webcast can be read at http://www.nhepiscopal.org/artman/publish/article_426.shtml. He points out that Jesus calls on the greater whole to sacrifice itself for those on the margins. He responds to her call for forbearance by wondering “ How will we explain this “forbearance” to all those gay and lesbian Christians who have come to The Episcopal Church because, for the first time ever, they have believed that there is a place for them AT God’s table, not simply BENEATH it, hoping for fallen scraps? Are THEIR souls not worthy of salvation too? Does anyone relish the notion of trying to explain all this “forbearance” to GOD?”

1995 was The International Year of Tolerance and that year I was asked to submit a Lenten Devotion for a booklet my church was printing. What I said yesterday about tolerance not withstanding, I want to share what I wrote:

The reading was Luke 6:27-37 and the key verse was verse 37: Do not judge
and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.

Nineteen ninety five has been designated as the International Year of Tolerance. Amara Essy, president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, says that intolerance leads to isolation of individuals, violations of human rights, and ultimately poses a threat to international peace and security. Intolerance is unacceptable.

Birmingham author Lynn Duvall in her book Respecting Our Differences, gives several reasons to become more tolerant. 1) The more one learns about others, the less one has to fear. We can learn about other people, and respect them, even though we may not agree with them. 2) Tolerant people are more self-confident and comfortable in all situations. If we are to effectively share our lives and faith with other people we must be able to relate to them in relaxed ways that do not threaten or in which we do not feel threatened. 3) Tolerance makes life more interesting. Without diversity the human race would be “bo-ring.”

Jesus showed tolerance in his ministry and He shows tolerance with each of us today. He did not limit his teachings to those of one faith, even though He lived in a world of religious intolerance; or only to those of His gender, although He lived in a sexist world; or to those who lived a good life, even thought it was unpopular to associate with sinners. Jesus said to love your enemies, to be merciful, to be non-judgmental and to be forgiving.

My prayer is from a hymn by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson.

Let their be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God, our Creator, children all are we.
Let us walk with each other, in perfect harmony.

From 1995 to 2007, and during this season of Lent, this message still holds true. Leaders of the Anglican (and Episcopal) Church, as well as leaders of our nation, need to develop tolerance and understanding. Peace.

>Who I would not like to be

March 1, 2007

>One person I would not like to be is Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. She has the unfortunate, but very important, task of leading the Episcopal Church through the debate that could end up seeing the church break away from the worldwide Anglican Fellowship over the role of gays and lesbians in the church. To her credit, Bishop Schori has been supportive of inclusive polices regarding gays and has said she does not support efforts to remove Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay Bishop from New Hampshire, from his post. Now the church faces an ultimatum from the Anglican leaders to unequivocally pledge not to consecrate another partnered gay bishop or authorize prayers for same sex couples. The Anglican Church of Nigeria, leading the way of religious intolerance, in 2006 issued a statement affirming their “commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity…”

The Episcopal Church has a history of social justice, although at times having to play “catch up”, for instance, issuing a condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1979 and declaring the practice of racism a sin in 1991. And they have been a leader in the inclusion of women in all roles in the church, culminating with the election of Schori last year as the first woman to ever hold the position of presiding bishop although there are still dioceses that do not allow women priests. So it is no surprise that the Episcopal Church would be a leader in the inclusion of homosexuals, nor is it a surprise that they can’t just put their foot down and say “No” to the Anglican demands. Episcopals are never quick to do anything, to make decisions, or to develop new policy. And maybe that is as it should be, to prevent knee-jerk decisions and pop-cultural influences.

But this issue has already been decided. In 2000 the Convention affirmed “the variety of human relationships in and outside of marriage,” and in 2006 affirmed “support of gay and lesbian persons and children of God.” In fact, way back in 1975 the Convention declared that homosexuals are “children of God” and are “entitled to full civil rights.” And of course in 2003 The Right Reverend Gene Robinson was consecrated as the first openly gay bishop in the Church.

And if policy is not enough, across the country gay and lesbian persons are serving in numerous positions in the church, from lay leaders to deacons to priests. If one looks at the work that these people do, and the results of their efforts, there is no doubt that God is blessing their work and is pleased with their inclusion. In fact, the very diocese that Robinson is leading continues to be blessed and to bless others. Would God continue to allow His blessings to flow forth from homosexuals if He was not pleased with their work?

Last night Schori led a webcast in which she addressed the issue of homosexuality and the church. Her call for “a season of fasting –from authorizing rites for blessing same sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions” puts the brakes on full inclusion as she attempts to buy time for reconciliation. This is just putting off the inevitable. No one believes the Nigerians are going to reverse course from calling for criminalization of homosexuality to acceptance and full inclusion. And while Episcopals endure a season of fasting, gay and lesbian parishioners and friends are left hanging. They are the ones suffering, as they are being denied full inclusion and participation. Gene Robinson’s response to Schori’s webcast can be read at http://www.nhepiscopal.org/artman/publish/article_426.shtml. He points out that Jesus calls on the greater whole to sacrifice itself for those on the margins. He responds to her call for forbearance by wondering “ How will we explain this “forbearance” to all those gay and lesbian Christians who have come to The Episcopal Church because, for the first time ever, they have believed that there is a place for them AT God’s table, not simply BENEATH it, hoping for fallen scraps? Are THEIR souls not worthy of salvation too? Does anyone relish the notion of trying to explain all this “forbearance” to GOD?”

1995 was The International Year of Tolerance and that year I was asked to submit a Lenten Devotion for a booklet my church was printing. What I said yesterday about tolerance not withstanding, I want to share what I wrote:

The reading was Luke 6:27-37 and the key verse was verse 37: Do not judge
and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.

Nineteen ninety five has been designated as the International Year of Tolerance. Amara Essy, president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, says that intolerance leads to isolation of individuals, violations of human rights, and ultimately poses a threat to international peace and security. Intolerance is unacceptable.

Birmingham author Lynn Duvall in her book Respecting Our Differences, gives several reasons to become more tolerant. 1) The more one learns about others, the less one has to fear. We can learn about other people, and respect them, even though we may not agree with them. 2) Tolerant people are more self-confident and comfortable in all situations. If we are to effectively share our lives and faith with other people we must be able to relate to them in relaxed ways that do not threaten or in which we do not feel threatened. 3) Tolerance makes life more interesting. Without diversity the human race would be “bo-ring.”

Jesus showed tolerance in his ministry and He shows tolerance with each of us today. He did not limit his teachings to those of one faith, even though He lived in a world of religious intolerance; or only to those of His gender, although He lived in a sexist world; or to those who lived a good life, even thought it was unpopular to associate with sinners. Jesus said to love your enemies, to be merciful, to be non-judgmental and to be forgiving.

My prayer is from a hymn by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson.

Let their be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God, our Creator, children all are we.
Let us walk with each other, in perfect harmony.

From 1995 to 2007, and during this season of Lent, this message still holds true. Leaders of the Anglican (and Episcopal) Church, as well as leaders of our nation, need to develop tolerance and understanding. Peace.