Friday, June 30, 2006

This year is half over, hard to believe! Mike and I have been out all morning running errands. We carried his brace by the orthotic shop so they could replace a broken piece, then went to Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Farmer's Market, and McAllister's for lunch. I'm ready for a nap.

3:35pm. Well, that was a total waste of time. Gus woke me up everytime I dropped off, barking at the UPS truck, a loud boom box that drove by, the yard man with the weed eater, and whatever else happened to get his attention. Some days are like that. Yesterday we slept undisturbed for 2 hours. The temp in my office is 85* despite all AC's going at full blast. There is just no way to cool an uninsulated upstairs room in the heat of a Mississippi summer. Thank goodness I have a ceiling fan.

My favorite blogger Father Jake had to turn on comment moderation because some extremists were getting nasty. True colors were shining through, not a pretty sight in a few cases. I did some reading on how this controversy all began, and the similarity between it and what happened in the SBC is unmistakable. So sad. At least, the Episcopal church has resisted the influence of the schismatics longer than the other denominations. Their goal seems to be theocracy and they're not going to be satisfied until they're in total control of the churches and the government. With Bush and the Republicans ruining our country, I'd say we have all the proof we need to resist this idiocy.

God help us.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I met George Kelly for lunch at Primo's yesterday, and gave him the picture of Cecil shaking hands with John Wayne. He has posted it on his blog, . He also posted the picture of Betsy, Paul, and me, made approximately 50 years ago, complete with saddle oxfords, crinoline petticoats, etc. My, my, that seems like at least 3 lifetimes ago.

I was reminded of something in our conversation that I hadn't thought of in years - what a perfectionist Cecil was! George and Butch were teenagers when Cecil undertook to disassemble the old house. Rather than encourage them to help, he insisted on doing it all himself, so they sat on the ground and watched him! He was that way about everything. Several offers of help were made by different people in the neighborhood to mow grass and maintain the playground, but he wanted to do it all. George said when he ordered the slide, there was one piece that was not perfectly straight. Cecil packed up the whole thing and sent it back for a new one.

He did allow help with marking off the tennis court, but that was about it. Rather than letting kids rush thoughtlessly into his garage to get croquet or shuffleboard or ping-pong equipment, he usually selected one child to do it, considered quite an honor by all. At the end of the day, whoever had been selected had to collect everything, make sure no parts were missing, and put it back like they found it. The games had rules and no fudging was allowed. He had park rules (no fighting, no cussing, no poor sportsmanship, strict open and close time), and everybody knew the rules and kept them. Expulsion was the penalty for breaking the rules, and he had to expell very few. He maintained order that way, and everybody had a good time.

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I love this guy, Tobias Haller, BSG (Brotherhood of St. Gregory), who had this to say on his blog.

What should have happened, a Swiftian catena

The General Convention should have listened to the clear directions of the Primates and repented and repudiated all that had been done to offend.

The Episcopal Church should have ignored the tradition of national church polity and remained as a missionary arm of the Church of England even after the Revolution.

The Church of England should have listened to the pope and never separated from Rome.

The Eastern Orthodox should have done the same and submitted to Rome so as not to sever communion.

The martyrs should have followed Saint Paul’s advice to obey those in civil authority.

Saint Paul, in the interest of not tearing the fabric of the early church, should have acceded to the circumcision party instead of trusting to his own private interpretation of Scripture.

The Jerusalem Council should have ignored the anecdotal evidence of Paul and Barnabas — which could only serve to make Law-abiding Jewish converts uneasy.

Saul should have ignored his personal “experience” on the road to Damascus and followed his orders from the Sanhedrin.

The other apostles should have ignored Peter’s “dream” and stuck to the letter of the Law.

Jesus should have heeded Peter’s advice and turned back from Jerusalem. He might also have considered more seriously the various options presented to him in the Wilderness Report.

Joseph should have ignored the “personal revelation” he received — again in a dream, no less — and acted in accordance with the Law, and when he found Mary to be with child by someone other than himself, had her stoned to death, and her unborn child with her.

Then we wouldn’t be having all these problems with the Anglican Communion.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

At my husband's insistence, I was online early this morning trying to find out why Imus was not on yesterday or today. Not many people I know can take that old grouch first thing everyday, but Mike loves it, and I'm used to it, so it's a disruption to our routine when he's not on. I discovered that Imus is on vacation until Weds the 5th, so that pacified him.

It was a cool 66* when the dogs and I went walking. Mick caught up with us, even though I had tried to slip away without him. He likes to get in front of the dogs when they're on leashes, almost as though he's gloating because he isn't restrained. Maybe he was a drum major in a former life.

I had to quit reading the convention and church news. It was having the same effect on me as when the fundamentalists took over the SBC. I still grieve about that. This statement about the pullout of Christ Church Plano typifies the attitude of those on the progressive side of the scale:

Their rector is one of those dangerous people, found in every religion and every political persuasion, who insist that the only possible "right thinking" is that which conforms to their own. Pray for them anyway, and seek the best for them — but keep them and their kind away from my kids' schools and Sunday school classes, please.

I'm glad it's the fundamentalists who are pulling out this time. Maybe they haven't been as influenced by Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson as much as some claim, even though the most vocal seem to be from Texas. The PP/PP strategy in taking over the SBC was to monopolize all elections and appointments with strict fundamentalists who advocated the inerrancy of the Bible. The easy-going moderates who held to the doctrine of the "priesthood of the believer" were not nearly as politically savvy or ambitious to be in control. Without bishopric oversight, the fundamentalist ministers and laymen met very little serious opposition in their takeover. The apathy and indifference of the average layperson to church politics makes me almost as nervous as the control freaks out there who want a coup d'├ętat.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I wish I had a picture of my two dogs asleep on the bed in my office. Both are belly-up with paws in the air, letting the ceiling fan cool their undersides; both look like they're smiling. I tried to nap earlier, but Mick kept trying to get on the bed with us. Gus and Jay-Jay had to chase him off several times, so by that time, I was no longer sleepy. Gus and Mick have actually played together some recently. Mick had his front paws around Gus's neck yesterday like he was hugging him. Gus was stupified. Jay-Jay is still afraid of cats and will bark at them only if he's got Gus to back him up.

Our weather is supposed to be a little cooler this week with slightly lower humidity. It was quite pleasant when we went for our walk this morning. Not much else going on around here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Just as I predicted, GC06 made no difference to our local congregation at all. The only hint I got that someone else may have been disturbed by last week's events was when Molly in her sermon mentioned being in the midst of a personal storm, praying for Jesus to calm the stormy waves that were washing over her. (Our Gospel lesson for the day was the "Peace be still" passage from Mark.) We had a bulletin insert giving the news about the election of the new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with her bio, but that was all. Am I the only church political junkie at St. Philip's?

Reports of considerable arm-twisting are beginning to surface in the blogosphere, as well as bumper stickers with the rainbow background that say "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You, The Anglican Church, Not So Much," and T-shirts bearing the message "My manner of life presents a challange to the wider church." Bishop Robinson's message to his LGBT Brothers and Sisters is one of the sweetest and most encouraging things I've read so far.

One of the most disturbing things I've read is Stand Firm's printing and critique of Bishop Gray's letter to his clergy. With them being as upset as they are with his calm reassurances and generally positive report, my impression of him is delightfully improved. Not everyone can ride the storm-tossed seas as he has and remain calm. Isn't that more like Jesus than those running around crying, "The sky is falling!"

Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen. (from the BCP)

Mike and I ate lunch at No. 1 China Buffet. Then we came home and took naps. I do that so often that Gus and Jay-Jay have come to expect it. We called Clay afterward and wished him a happy 12th birthday. He sounded so grown-up, but he's still so sweet it makes my heart ache to see him. They had been to Adventure Island, the Busch Gardens water park, until it started raining. Tonight they were going to the movie. I'm so glad they've got a trip planned up here in July.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Why did I eat and drink so much last night? Good thing Jesus loves the gluttons and winebibbers 'cause that's what I was. A good time was had by all, or as Benji used to say "Bhi craic agus ceol againn." Greenhill cooked champagne shrimp for the main course, Debbie had fixed irresistable hors d'oeuvres, my favorite were the bacon wrapped dates with pecans. I didn't expect to see Tony and Terri because Terri started chemo treatments on Thursday, but they were there. The weather got stormy while we were gone, so we came home to two very nervous puppies, hyperventilating and pacing the floor. They were so glad to see us.

Clay and Bella are both having birthday parties today. I should have got their cards and gifts mailed out sooner than I did, but kids don't seem to mind if they're late. It extends the fun beyond the actual birthday.

The links I posted on the sidebar aren't connecting, so I've got to figure out what I did wrong. Once I get the code right, I'll duplicate it in the word processor then copy and paste everything here.

The link to Father Jake Stops the World is the one I use the most. His review of GC06 was posted shortly after midnight and should be read by all who are concerned about what went wrong this week. I was encouraged by Ed Bacon's summarization on the All Saint's Pasadena site. He's been one of the primary advocates for GLBT rights, and his job has been made more difficult, but in typical EB fashion, this setback fuels his determination. He remains one of my favorite heroes.

Friday, June 23, 2006

There's a party tonight at the Greenhills for Jon Morefield's 43rd birthday. Mike wants me to go with him. I really don't want to, but I probably will. If I were extroverted instead of introverted, I would enjoy parties, but I usually find them to be a drag. I'm not very good at small talk, and who wants to have serious conversations at a party? So I'm probably a drag to them, too. But we were invited and we love Jon, so I'll go. Besides, Mike will probably need a designated driver to bring him home.

This whole business with the church has really pulled my spirits down this week. Whoever warned, "people who enjoy eating sausage and obeying the law should not watch either being made," knew what they were talking about. Not that any new laws were made, but seems like there was a lot of "baloney" that came out of it. I've never seen such disarray.

And Sunday when we go to church, nothing will have changed. No one will talk about it, few will even care enough to find out what happened. Maybe Tom will surprise me and address the issues in his homily, I would really like that, but I don't expect it. Bishop Gray has meetings scheduled in July for discussion of GC06. I guess he wanted the dust to settle, too.

Benji wants me to try posting my favorite links to my sidebar. I found the instructions and printed them out. He also sent some helpful hints. Surely I can do this.

My horoscope today says, Are you ready to get back into the debate? Fully prepared and well rehearsed? Oh well, never mind. You can wing it. I wish it said party instead of debate, I'd be more enthused about making merry.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Did anybody leave Columbus, Ohio, happy? From what I've read, nobody did. Some are pissed, some are sad, some are shocked, but nobody is pleased. I am in awe of those who have the stamina for all the blood and guts.

Our PB and our PB-elect are being excoriated by all. They caved from the pressure applied by Canterbury, and they have provoked another American Revolutionary War. The Enough Button has been pushed, there is no turning back. That's the tenor of those in the blogosphere last night and today. Next week after everybody has had a chance to calm down, rest, and reflect, it may be more amiable. I hope so. I'm glad St. Philip's priests stayed at home.

Bishop Gray's resolution B011 passed, so I'm happy about that. News of it will be overshadowed by the sensationalism, I'm afraid. "The resolution aims to build on the spirit of ecumenism and mission currently surrounding rebuilding efforts [after Katrina] in the dioceses of Mississippi and Louisiana." The effort will possibly include "relief and development projects, leadership formation and training for personal and congregational evangelism and service with the diverse populations of the region." That's good; I wish we could get along all the time like we do when we're concentrating on hurricane relief. Nobody's faith, or theology, or orthodoxy is questioned. We work together to meet people's needs - doing justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with God - the way it should be.

Trouble is, our mission is not always so easy to see. Fighting for the rights of those who do not enjoy full freedom, serving those whose dispositions are diametrically opposed to our own, staying teachable when we know enough to feel proud, we're called to do that, too.

John Wesley had a saying I always admired, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity." Maybe the majority of us will continue to coalesce around that principle until "Thy kingdom come."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I have yet to figure out how to post links of favorite blogs on my sidebar. From what I can tell, it requires at least a cursory knowledge of HTML, something I have not yet acquired. I do know how to include them in this body of narrative, so here goes:

The proverbial grapevine is finally in a form I can understand. My eyes hear so much better than my ears.

Another blog that has reported events as they happen in real time is

I could do without most of their commentary, but it's good to get a balanced view of the situation. Actually, this blog is a back-up to their regular site, which has crashed several times since GC06 started. Traffic overload, they said. Another blog that is providing real time coverage is

The transcript of our new PB's homily at today's Eucharist was interesting. She used the phrase "our mother Jesus," which doesn't seem that weird to me, but it ruffled more than a few feathers. I fail to see why "new birth" or "born again in Jesus" is so different from "our mother Jesus." He described himself as feeling like a mother hen. What's the big deal? The androgynous nature of God, get used to it fellows! I have a feeling you'll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years.

The conventioneers are being treated to a great display of God's fireworks this morning while they try to wrap up this messy business. For the first time since they've been there, it's raining, violently storming, one blogger said. It's a fascinating time to be an Episcopalian!

Just talked with Mary Ann and she's homesick. They're coming to Mississippi in about a month, but in the meantime, she's struggling with summer slump and a short supply of seratonin. (Try saying that fast 3 times.) She's been off sugar for about a month which is bound to make anybody blue, so she's taking Sam-E. On top of that a good friend is moving. It ain't easy being so far away from home and the only female in a houseful of guys. I'm glad she's among guys who adore her. Comfort her, Lord, and give her the energy and the optimism she needs to be happy.


The 75th General Convention June 21 approved a resolution that calls on bishops and Standing Committees to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

It seems a reasonable step to take for the sake of unity. I'm just afraid that those who want to split will anyway. And will Canterbury be satisfied? It is not in the language requested by the Windsor Report, so probably not. Are we being held hostage by those who are so afraid of offending others that they are unwilling to follow God's lead into uncharted waters? Time will tell.
At the risk of trivializing an important issue, I offer this list that came from

Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained
(think David Letterman)
  • 10. A man's place is in the army.
  • 9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
  • 8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be "unnatural" for them to do other forms of work.
  • 7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
  • 6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
  • 5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.
  • 4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
  • 3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
  • 2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father's Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.
  • 1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In surfing the blogs today, I found this from Bishop Don Wimberly of Houston, Texas:

I understand she received votes from supporters and a solid number of more conservative bishops who supposedly hope to move the split of our communion forward. Politics can make strange bedfellows. Further, this same undercurrent is attempting to undermine the good work of the Special Committee on Windsor.

So there are those who went to convention with full intentions of doing whatever they could to split the communion. It saddens me to realize how underhanded, two-faced and hypocritical some people can be. And they claim the moral high ground! And justify their action with the Bible! And act like martyrs and victims! I'm glad I won't have to answer for them on Judgement Day.

A161 (the response to the Windsor Report resolution) was also defeated, which is good. Apologies should never be made for action taken under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. For those who are not willing to break new ground, there are ministries for them, too. A lot of them would be happier in a Catholic or Baptist church, though, where no ambiguity is allowed. I hope people who have elevated the Bible to the status of golden calf will see the error of their ways.

And now abide faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's probably a good thing that I was so totally disinterested in church politics for years. In the past week, it has become an enjoyable obsession. Thanks to the internet, we have access to minutes of meetings, church and court records, newspaper and magazine articles based on mountains of research, and plenty of editorials and opinions. Everything I ever wondered about is there to discover with just a little effort - the subterfuge, the plots and counterplots, it's better than a murder mystery. And through it all, God continues to work.

Maybe Susan Howatch will write a book about it, a series on the Episcopal Church, rather than the Church of England. Or maybe we have an American equivalent to Susan Howatch that I'm not aware of. After a quick search on Amazon, I see there are a couple of Howatch books I haven't read. Jan Karon's Mitford series is lighter reading than Howatch's, but she's the only American novelist who's written a series with an Episcopal priest for the main character.

I'm distressed by some of the shady dealings going on behind closed doors, but not surprised. Some of the most unethical behavior I've ever witnessed has come from clergy. It's no wonder that younger generations see the church as irrelevant. Maybe Bishop Schori will help to turn that around.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rather than a regular service at church this morning, we had Morning Prayer. No homily, no communion, only took 40 minutes. Molly, who was scheduled to preach, was sick; Bruns' van wouldn't start and without it, he can't go anywhere; Tom is still at Camp Bratton-Green. So Lester and Cynthia led, and the choir sang beautifully even with its smaller than average number. And we got out ahead of the Sunday church crowds to enjoy Father's Day lunch. Mike and I went to Western Sizzlin'.

The latest news from GC06 is that the new Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is the Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefforts Schori!!! I'm astounded! While that may take media attention away from our openly gay bishop for a while, it definitely does not back down from the revolutionary path we've chosen to walk. Wonder how those longing for the old Patriarchal system will take that? How will our differences with the larger world-wide Anglican Communion ever be reconciled? In their more charitable moments, they see us as the feisty, rebellious little brother, not condoning, but not condemning, watching to see what trouble he will stir up next. A female presiding bishop will be the last straw for some of them. They still cannot bring themselves to ordain female priests, much less acknowledge the leadership of a woman as bishop. This will be interesting.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

One of the most inconvenient truths I struggle with is that God created each of us with a free will. He equipped us with intelligence, emotions, and spiritual longing. Each personality is unique, no two people have exactly the same perspective, experience or desires. Making room in my life for this fundamental truth is challenging. How much easier life would be if everybody else could see what I see the way I see it, and hear what I hear the way I hear it, and understand what I understand the way I understand it. But nobody does. And that's ok. I thank God for the richness of human experience and how it affects me and the people around me.

With that said, I understand the frustration of those who are so entrenched in their positions that change is not possible. Empathy is a characteristic of INFP's, such as myself, and can sometimes work to our detriment. We are sensitive to others' pain, restlessness or general discomfort and strive to find happiness, balance and wholeness for ourselves in order to help others find joy, satisfaction and plenitude. (from In other words, we want everybody to be happy.

Not everybody at GC06 is happy, I feel much pain coming from it. After having spent a day of reading blogs and other reports, I gather that the gloves are about to come off, and some people will be leaving our Communion with broken hearts. I admire the fact that so many have stayed this long. There's been serious dissatisfaction in some quarters for years.

At the same time, I realize that we are right where we need to be. Rather than growing into mega-churches like some sister denominations have, we are being whittled down to serve those whose needs are not being met. We have been uniquely equipped to do that.

I don't think GC03 has an apology to make that will really satisfy anybody. They did what the Holy Spirit led them to do. There is no need to apologize. Those who were offended need to take it up with their Higher Power. Ask God why He led them to do what they did. Obviously, we all have a lot to learn.

Empathizing with the pain of those who are leaving is possible, in part, due to the pain I felt in leaving the church of my youth. But God continued to bless me and He will bless them, too.

May the Peace of the Lord be always with you, and you, and you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The passage I quoted yesterday from Jimmy Carter's book contained the essence of what drove me out of the Baptist church. The diversity and the acceptance of diversity was what drew me to the Episcopal church. In TEC, there existed a broad continuum of theologies and beliefs, but all communicants were able to lay aside their differences, love one another as redeemed sinners, and come to the Lord's Supper with an attitude of "I could be wrong about what I believe, the way I interpret the Bible, but I will be obedient to our Lord's command to love one another, and I will kneel with you, no matter where you are in your journey, and celebrate the gift of salvation we received by grace."

The tragedy in our church is that some have stepped away from that willingness to say, "I could be wrong." When I listen to people like the Rev. Anderson, Father Manning, or the Rev. Mohler, all on Larry King last night, I have an immediate negative reaction to what they say. It's visceral even. Their tone is sanctimonious and condescending. Even the Apostle Paul admitted he was no expert, but he was committed to "running the race," not resting on his laurels (or credentials). I interpret that to mean a lifetime of learning. He was open to new revelations from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus' parable of the talents comes to mind. The faithful servants take the grace that has been given to them, and develop, expand or amplify their initial gifts. The fearful servant takes the grace given to him and hides it, never allowing it even to draw interest. His accounting to his Master is not well received, while the other servants were praised and rewarded.

That is the way I see the different methods of Bible interpretation. Some want to hold only to the few words given in the Scriptures, while others are willing to imagine what might have been in all those "other books" that John mentions, or who those "sheep not of this fold" were. Jesus said, "Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." Paul contrasts living by the law to living by the spirit, or what was written and taught as immutable by the Pharisees to the freedom found in the Holy Spirit. Thank God for those courageous enough to let the Spirit lead them into territory beyond what King James included in the Bible as we have it today.

Where do we find "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?" Wherever we find it, that's where the Spirit of Truth resides. Do we really believe "that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose?" Are we willing to continue praying, "I may be wrong, Lord. If I am, convict me and lead me in a different direction."

In his letter to the Philipians, Paul says, "One group is motivated by pure love ... others, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves ...I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion..."

Maybe we should be more like Paul and leave the completion of God's work to God.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Man, I thought the battling Baptists knew how to do contempt and vitriol, but I'm seeing it in spades at GC06. It's a good thing Jesus told us that there are "many mansions" in Heaven. If some of these folks get there, they will demand "gated" neighborhoods, for sure. How far short we fall!

Some poor Baptist schlob took a wrong turn on his way to Greensboro and wound up on the Stand Firm blog. His take on our problems and their solutions sound so simplistic, even naive. Their convention just passed a 4/5 majority resolution against the use of alcohol. To think that 1/5 of those in attendance condone the use of wine is encouraging. They won't even discuss homosexuality. Oh, this guy did provide a link to Exodus International, a ministry for those wanting to leave the "bondage" of their deviant lifestyles.

I'm glad Episcopalians are willing to tackle the really tough issues. If not for their forward thinking and advancement throughout history, we would not be nearly as far along as we are with civil rights, women's rights, etc. As nostalgic as I get for old times, most of the old times I gladly leave behind. I hope my non-Episcopal siblings in Christ catch up to us someday. As long as Fundamentalists have as much power as they do, I'm afraid that day won't be anytime soon.

Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.

Although fundamentalists usually believe that the past is better than the present, they retain certain self-benefcial aspects of both their historic religious beliefs and of the modern world.

Fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil.

Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal and even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.

Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness.

To summarize, there are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination and exclusion.

-- From former Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter, in Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 34-35.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The love bugs have landed. Well, some of them have landed, most are still circling the field looking for a place to die happy. They’re everywhere. My daily 30 min walk around the neighborhood may have to be done inside on the treadmill for the next few days.

I had a dream this morning about rescuing a newborn fawn whose mother had abandoned him. I was at a cabin in the woods trying to get in touch with a park ranger, then when I finally did, I couldn’t tell him how to get to where I was. I was afraid he would die because I didn’t have anyway to feed him. Gus was curious about the pitiful creature, Jay-Jay was afraid of him. The baby deer tried to stand, but his legs were so wobbly, he fell. I knew I shouldn’t have watched Jeff Corwin yesterday.

GC06 is getting down to the nitty-gritty of committee work, resolutions, and budget funding. A couple of the websites I was using for news seem to have been sabotaged, or maybe it is just my computer. There is definitely something wrong. The little bit of news I got looked like the Trads are better organized and more forceful than the Progs. I hope that’s not right, and it’s too soon to tell what the final score will be. God still works in mysterious ways.

It’s not the Traditionalists themselves that I dislike, it’s their bent toward legalism that bothers me. Their idolization of “Pope” Paul the Apostle and a select few of his antiquated teachings scares me. Rather than take his time and culture into consideration, they want to impose those standards on today’s culture. They want to make it the new law. As much as Paul taught against that very thing, still they believe that only with a set of rules carved in stone can they “save” the church from the “new thing” the Spirit empowers. I just don’t believe Paul can be pleased, if he has nothing better in heaven to do than watch the coverage of this meeting, that some of our leaders have reverted to playing the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ roles. Rather than believe what Paul said to the Galations - You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise, they refute it by saying, “Yes, race matters, gender matters, status matters. We are not all the same in God’s eyes. We know better, we act better, and we are better qualified than these others.” It seems a most unChristian stance to take.

This whole idea of outside authority meddling into our bedrooms bothers me, whether it’s the government, the church, or anybody else. How would we heterosexuals like it if sex for any reason other than procreation were outlawed? A case for that can be made from the Bible, too. And why shouldn’t they? If some are arrogant enough to believe that they know the mind of God just by the Holy Writ from centuries past, what’s to stop them from turning the clock back on our bedroom activities? Isn’t that what we’ve accused the Muslims of trying to do? How is this so different?

I happen to believe that the Holy Spirit did some important work 3 years ago in Minneapolis when Gene Robinson was ordained Bishop. Like Peter, those deputies were asked to step out of the boat and do something that had not been done before. It was a frightening proposition. Do we keep our eyes on Jesus and continue to walk on water, or do we look back at the safety of the boat and sink?

Loving, caring relationships cannot and should not be legislated against. Homosexuality is not to blame for the demise of heterosexual marriage, except in those rare cases where one partner realizes he/she is happier with someone of the same sex than the opposite sex. That happens very rarely. I pray God’s blessings on those who come to a fuller knowledge of what it means to be created in God’s image, which, from my reading of the Bible, seems very androgynous to me (Androgynous: blending masculine and feminine: neither male nor female in appearance but having both conventional masculine and feminine traits and giving an impression of ambiguous sexual identity)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

One of the things I'm enjoying the most about DSL is improved internet radio reception. There is an abundance of free music in every genre that I like and it comes in without buffering breaks. Now that's worth the ticket right there. Today I'm listening to Lofty Voices on Live365, an ecclectic blend of Christian Choral, Celtic and New Age. Seems I'm not the only one whose taste runs in this direction.

I'm trying to keep up with news from the convention, official

and unofficial

Reports from Monday's orientation were encouraging. Divided into small groups of 8, the delegates were asked to share the following about themselves:
  1. Think back over your life. What is it about the Christian faith that you are most passionate about? Tell me how God’s love in Jesus is important to you.
  2. What do you really value about the Episcopal Church? What is the most important thing that the Episcopal Church has contributed to your life?
  3. Imagine that this convention has been an incredible success. In the years to come, imagine telling a friend or family member what you accomplished. What would you tell them was the most important thing you did or decision you were part of?

Thankfully, it seems to have been well received by those who aren't intimidated by touchy feely, and even by a few who are. Community building is not easy with such a diverse group of people, especially with passions running as high as they are this year.

The devotional reading from the Old Testament (Eccles 8:14-9:10) this morning was amusing given the timing with GenCon. Many of them will be reading the same thing I did, and will be forced to admit that God does have quite a sense of humor. And there will be no shortage of "eating, drinking and being merry for tomorrow we die." If that doesn't add the element of levity to this occasion, nothing will.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I enjoyed church yesterday. Rather than singing in the choir, I sat with Mike. Only 4 of our 8 sopranos sang, but the sound was still balanced most of the time. There were a couple of times when I thought the soprano part should have been stronger. The choir started its summer schedule last week which means no Weds night rehearsals until September, only Sunday mornings. The music is usually familiar or downright easy, so I don't feel in over my head like I sometimes do. It will be good to sing with them again next Sunday.

Blogger has been up and down for the last few days, which is quite aggravating.

I've been reading several other blogs this morning on the conflict within our church as the 75th General Convention convenes this week. I generally get very turned off by church politics, but I am intrigued by our opportunity to progress and grow. I hope we move forward, rather than back.

God our Wisdom, who eternally makes all things new: encourage by your Holy Spirit those who prepare for General Convention to labor together for the building up of your world and your Church; counsel them when to act and when to wait; turn their hearts always toward those in greatest need, and away from their own preoccupations and fears; help them never forget that love and mercy are your greatest gifts given us all to offer one another as we see in them Jesus Christ who alone is our joy, our way, our truth, and our life.

God of light and life: As General Convention draws near,
Help me to continue to grow up in all ways into Christ.
Fill me with energy for the work before me; show me your surprising face in the people around me; delight me afresh with the variety of your creation; inspire me with a vision of your justice becoming concrete in the world; and above all, teach me to love you and my neighbor more fully, less grudgingly, and with more forbearance day by day, and give me the grace of good humor, the leaven of laughter, and the tonic of hope through it all, in Jesus' name. Amen.

These prayers were in our bulletin and I thought they were very appropriate for the times. Our rector will be at Camp Bratton-Green this week with the sixth graders, rather than in Columbus, Ohio. Is this a statement of his priorities? I am curious about his take on all that's been happening, but having absented myself as much as I have, I'm unsure where he stands. He seems to be a peace-loving man, one who avoids controversy as much as possible, accepting and affectionate toward all. Rather than the norm, that's called liberal by some, but I like him.

I'm not sure how the word liberal came to be a pejorative descriptor when originally, I think, it meant noble, generous, tolerant, charitable, etc. Benji once had a bumper sticker that said "Jesus was a liberal." Even though I agreed with the sentiment, I would have liked it better had it read "Jesus was liberal." Affixing labels to people as quickly as we do these days just interferes in getting to know and love them, and is that very Christ-like? Jesus didn't let labels like Samaritan, adulterer, or tax-collector get in his way of acknowledging and ministering to people different from himself, so why should we?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm ready to go back to church. Six weeks away is enough.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rather than bitch and complain, moan and whine, I am going to walk on the sunny side of the street today. Trouble is, I don't have nearly as much to say, and that's ok, I guess. I mean sometimes even I get tired of living in my head as much as I do. So I'm taking a break from reading, writing, and ruminating today.

Lord, Thou knowest better than I myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all; but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains; they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people; and give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

Borrowed from

Friday, June 09, 2006

I got the DSL connected with no problems, can't believe what a difference it makes. When will I ever find time to play Solitaire?

Another neighbor threatened to call the law on Gus this morning. It always shocks me to realize that not everyone is as comfortable with them as I am. Maybe they're not as harmless as I think they are. I guess I'm going to have to cut out all their unleashed time. Even though that seems a little extreme to me, I also don't want to be fined for breaking the law. If the sheriff shows up, maybe I should let Mike answer the door and talk to them. When they see he is unable to walk them, they will be more lenient with him. I hate using his disability as an excuse for my own irresponsibile behavior, but he is so demanding in the mornings, it's all I can do to take care of him. In the meantime, the dogs have to go out, or I have their mess to clean up. It's the old rock and a hard place, I seem to be there again.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We went for our walk earlier today than usual. Even at 66* the 86% humidity was oppressive. The forecast calls for blistering hot temps and no rain for several days. My horoscope says You've got a lot on your mind, partially because something you tried didn't work. This may not be the best time to install the DSL software that came in the mail.

Benji called from Chicago yesterday. He had a layover there before catching his plane to Memphis. I'm so glad he's back on this side of the pond, and so is he. In spite of all the criticism he levels at American politics and capitalism, he knows our country is still the most powerful human magnet in the world. It does offer significant advantages. Maybe living abroad for 5 months gave him a new appreciation for his homeland. Skip got back from his 5 week stay in Greece last week. From his email I gathered that he got a little homesick, too.

Speaking of American politics, our president happily announced the death of al-Zarqawi this morning. One of their websites proclaimed, "We want to give you the joyous news of the martyrdom of the mujahed sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The death of our leaders is life for us. It will only increase our persistence in continuing holy war so that the word of God will be supreme." It will never end. At least Dubya didn't make any stupid boasts like "Mission Accomplished!"

The ban on gay marriage bill was defeated in the Senate again. That was good news. The boil-water-alert for Jackson should be cancelled by this afternoon, if they get one more clear test. Betsy and her 32 summer school students in English III will be especially glad of that. That's about all the good news I've gleaned for the day.

The call from the doctor's office was about my cholesterol being too high. It is 220, same as it's been ever since they've known how to test for it, which started back in my skinny days. Less saturated fat, less red meat, more exercise should take care of it, the nurse told me. What if I already eat very little saturated fat and red meat? We've been on a heart-healthy diet ever since I married Mike. Maybe the exercise will make a difference. The scale does show 4 lbs less than it did a week ago. It won't be that much every week, but that is encouraging.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rain is predicted for this afternoon; however, the dark clouds in the SW look like they're ahead of schedule. Barbie's 30% chance looks like 95% to me. The doppler does indicate showers in Rankin Co at the moment, so I'm postponing the walk until it clears. The dogs and Mick walked to the mailbox with me, so they will be ok for a while. The long morning walks have made them less restless during the day, Jay-Jay is less anxious, Gus is less whiny, so it's been good for all of us.

Sharon, the nurse in Dr. Lagarde's office, left word for me to call her yesterday. I didn't check messages until after they were closed, so I've had plenty of time to worry about test results from last week's check-up. When I get DSL installed, I can answer the phone and be online at the same time. That will be good in a case like this.

Most phone calls, though, are just a waste of my time. Talk is cheap and is so often used in the place of actually doing what needs to be done. I trust very little of what I hear, due, in part, to being so easily influenced in the past by what people say.

Action speaks louder than words, my grandmother always said, and the older I get, the more wisdom I see in that pithy proverb. She had to deal with a son-in-law who could be a silver-tongued devil in her eyes. "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." To her, it was not just an emotional issue, but a conflict of faith. She held him and his preacher father in such high regard until she moved in with us and found out how very human he was.

Dad wasn't always unkind to her, but could be when he was angry. His eloquent apologies didn't relieve the pain he caused; I observed her crying for hours after his vicious outbursts. She, on the other hand, rarely talked about how much she loved us, she just took such good care of us that we never had to wonder. More evenly tempered than he, she didn't give us bellicose scoldings and lectures like he did. If we misbehaved, she popped us a couple of times on the backside and sent us on our way. That was the end of it. And I don't remember her ever saying anything critical about him.

Verbal abuse didn't have a label back then, but it does now. I regret that I did it to my kids, too. From what I've read, some people never recover from it. If there is a psychological component to my hearing loss, it may be from that. My ears have been too frequently assaulted by unpleasant sounds. I guess that's why the book of James inspired as many sermons as it did. Wise people have known for ages how much damage can be done by the uncontrolled tongue.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today I slept until 7:20, latest I've slept since returning from my trip. Mike has mastered the challenge of dressing himself without assistance, and doing it without an angry outburst. Today he disturbed me very little and I immediately fell back into a deep slumber. In pre-stroke days, he got up hours before me, made coffee, fixed his own breakfast, took Gus for a walk; it was wonderful and I'm sorry it all came to such an abrupt end.

I've heard divorce described as a walking death. Saying good-bye to a spouse, a dream, a way of life, and starting over is harder than burying a spouse in the ground. With death there is closure, you grieve, you recover, you get on with your life. With divorce, it's harder, the dream lives on. The adjustment I've had to make with Mike is different. The independent Mike died, and a different Mike was resurrected in his place. Ah, well, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, they say. Sometimes I wonder.

The dogs and I walked yet another route today, but they didn't like it because we didn't pass any water close enough to drink. We did see a dead alligator about 2 feet long, a baby, I guess. Just glad we didn't see his mama.

Benji and family will be back in Memphis by tomorrow night. I'm glad they're not flying today, the date is 6/6/06. I'm too superstious to be comfortable with that. For some reason, I couldn't open the last movie he posted, maybe after I get DSL. I still haven't heard from Ricky or Mary Ann on my proposal for another week in Asheville this summer. Staying at the Bird's Nest in '04 was one of my favorite vacations. I sure would like to do it again, but that was with the other Mike.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Once you start to see through the myth of status, possessions, and unlimited consumption as a path to happiness, you'll find that you have all kinds of freedom and time. It's like a deal you can make with the universe: I'll give up greed for freedom. Then you can start putting your time to good use.

from David Edwards, "Nothing To Lose But Our Illusions"

That quote was in an advertisement for The Sun, a magazine I'm not familiar with, but was immediately intrigued by, due simply to the above statement. So I went to their website. After reading just a few pages, I added it to my favorites list under inspirational. I would order a subscription except that I'm letting most of my subscriptions expire. There need to be fewer magazines coming to this address, not more. For a pack rat like me, they're a major part of the junk overload I have around here. How I wish a fairy godmother would come throw away most of the kitsch that has accumulated in my house. Even though I don't believe I would miss it, I also don't have the will power to throw it away. Maybe that's a form of greed, too, hoarding useless things.

The dogs and I are enjoying the low humidity we've been blessed with for the last few days. Makes those walks a lot cooler. Today we took a circuitous route thru Harbor View, Windrose, the marina, and King's Ridge. They like walking close to the water, makes a refreshing drink very convenient.

Mother has a 10:30 appointment with Dr. Patel, her oncologist. I'm planning to ride down there with her on the nursing home van. Guess I better get dressed.

2:45 pm. Mother's appointment was with Dr. Carroll, the surgeon, not Dr. Patel. They removed the drainage tube from her side. She fussed, but quickly forgot all about it. The doctor didn't see her until 11:55, so I had to entertain her while we waited. I gave her my reading glasses, sat facing her knees to knees, and held a CHILD magazine for her while she read all the copy in all the ads front to back. She enjoyed all the pictures of babies and children and only made one remark about a black baby being the "wrong" color. When she finished, she went to sleep. It was 1:00 when we got back to the nursing home. She was eating her lunch when I left.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I was described by my friend Carol as an anachronism. Rather than being on the cutting edge of computer technology and into foreign luxury cars, I hated the way computers seemed to be taking over our lives, and my idea of a luxury automobile was my old red Cadillac. That was in the early 90's. Sometimes I still think of myself that way, born into the wrong decade.

I always had trouble keeping up with those around me. I liked the slower pace (except when I was driving), the simpler lifestyle, soft music, and the sweetness of babies. When I had a vegetable garden in my backyard, laundry on the clothesline, children in and out of the house - riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, playing basketball, did I realize then that I would one day look back at all that and miss it? Probably not.

Nostalgia has been hard to shake this week. I go through this after I've spent time with my kids and grandkids. I miss them so much and wish they lived close-by. Reality would then override idealism, and I probably wouldn't be nearly as sentimental as I am.

I'm extending my hiatus from church one more Sunday. It's the day of Pentecost, the day to celebrate the coming of The Holy Spirit. I'd rather celebrate at home. I've already been blessed by music, scripture, prayer, and fellowship this morning. Going to church seems quite unnecessary, even burdensome, at the present moment. When I have something to contribute, I'll go back. Right now I don't.

I went for a shorter walk this morning than I've been taking. Rather than put the dogs on leashes, I let them run. They stayed close and came in when I did. The cats went with us, too. Most of the neighborhood was still asleep. It was very peaceful out by the lake.

I have a neighbor, a Vietnamese lady, who regularly goes to the lakeside to sing praises to our Creator. Today it was Holy, Holy, Holy in her native language. With hands raised in prayer and oblivious to anyone around her, she sings with a clear, beautiful voice. Who needs church after that?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It's a cool 67* outside, so why am I procrastinating on my 2nd day of the weight loss campaign? Get off your duff, Cathy, and take it for a walk.

40 mins later. Check. I came back with a gardenia for my office. This flower always reminds me of the song my father used to sing -

The girl that I marry will have to be
as soft and sweet as a nursery
A girl to call my own
She'll wear satin and laces and smell of cologne
Her nails will be polished and in her hair
She'll wear a gardenia and I'll be there
'Stead of knittin' she'll be sittin'
By my side and she'll purr like a kitten.

Well, the kitty may not purr anymore, but the nails are still polished and the fragrance of gardenias is still one of my favorites. The song was more about the first wife who died than the one who bore his children, he told me in later years. Of course, it had a tremendous impact on my own ideas about femininity, too. He sang that song a lot.

But I digress. For some reason my father has been on my mind a good bit this week. On one of Benji's posts, he describes taking Pip through one of the cathedrals in Paris: My favorite memory of Sacre Couer was Pip pointing at all the windows and ornamentation available in this gorgeous, candlelit cathedral and going "Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah" as loudly as he could, just to hear his own voice echo in its halls and altars. Surely a preacher born into his element, my sweet Silas.

I wonder if Daddy went through this cathedral when he was stationed in France during WWII. He saw several.

George posted more pictures on his website. The latest was of Madge Bailey, Merle Partlow, Grace Birmingham, and Moman Partlow. Talk about stepping back in time! What a precious picture! He must have got Grace's pictures after she died. Thursday's nostalgia about 1955 soon dissipated after I realized I was in the fourth grade that year and had the hardest teacher I remember ever having, Mrs. Gooch. It's good to be 51 years past that.

I always had a special affection for Ms. Merle, or "Mimi", as her grandchildren and a few others called her. She and "Daddy Roy" were attentive to children, affectionate, and generous with their resources. They purchased the Hammond organ for the church around 1960. I was 16 when I became the organist, and Mother played the piano. The grand piano and the console organ were both added during Daddy's tenure, and as far as I know, are still being used.

It's time to do another chore that always gets procrastinated - clean the litter box. Poor Mick, it's a good thing he goes outdoors as much as he does.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Is there anything more peaceful than the mournful coo of the dove? Anything sweeter than the pungent fragrance of gardenias? Anything more invigorating than a brisk walk through Mother Nature's garden? I succeeded in wearing the dogs out, and myself. Thank goodness, it was overcast and only 70*. If I would do that every morning, I wouldn't be so fat, or so stiff. God, give me the gumption to get off my arse and exercise it every day.

The other big step forward I've taken this morning is to order DSL. The self-installing directions looked simple enough, so that's what I ordered. Expected delivery date is the 8th. Now that I'm progressing in this forward direction, I may as well finish cleaning the house.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My check-up with Dr. Lagarde took longer than I hoped. He wants me to be 15 lbs lighter by Dec. 1, so looks like I'll be walking the dogs early every morning a lot farther than I usually take them. They will love that. The late night snacking will have to go, too. The only thing that happened that made me feel better was when the receptionist said she could not believe I would be 60 on my next birthday. "I would have guessed you were in your 40's," she said.

We're having a thunderstorm, so Jay-Jay is hiding under my desk panting loudly. They should make Xanex for dogs.

The choir concert is tonight. Mike said he would go with me. It's going to make me sad not to be singing, but I've been on a month long hiatus, so I'll have to sit this one out.

George Kelly has been posting old pictures and stories of Plantersville on his blog. He's aroused some interest and received some responses. One reminded me of the picture of Cecil with John Wayne, which I had to immediately go and dig for until it was found. In my digging, I was frustrated again with my haphazard way of organizing and storing things. And I rushed past so many ghosts from the past that I got very nostalgic. I wanted to spend the day back in 1955, wander barefoot down the road, buy peanuts and a bottle Coke at Partlow's store, pick up the mail from Box 138, drop it off by Daddy's study at the church, help him fold the bulletins, then go for a ride with him out Richmond Road to see one of the church members. I also found some baby pictures of Richard (and Robert) and discovered that Pip doesn't look as much like him as I thought. The baby pictures he looks the most like are still my mother's, but not as much as he did 6 months ago.

I also came across some genealogy notes on Marguerite's family. Was there anybody in Plantersville who wasn't related to everybody else either by blood or by marriage?

Maybe it's the rain that is making me feel so sad.