Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A little over a year ago, I joined a group of colleagues -- priests and deacons -- for a week at CREDO, the amazing one-week retreat paid for by the Church Pension Fund to help Episcopal clergy reconnect with our calling and plan (a little) for our future. The CREDO I attended was at the serene Duncan Gray retreat center near Canton, Mississippi (and speaking of "Fiat Lux," that's the view from my window at dawn, above). We were welcomed to the Duncan Gray center by none other than the Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray III, the bishop of Mississippi. Both his father and his grandfather had been bishop, so the retreat center and the diocese in which he serves is truly a sacred family trust. Bishop Gray was a most gracious host, shared several meals with us, and was a delight to meet.
Remarks by Bishop Duncan Gray III
At the Windsor Continuation Group Hearing
July 28th 2008
A bit of personal history: I have been nurtured and shaped within the Evangelical tradition of my Church. Most importantly, this means that the ultimate authority of the Holy Scripture and the necessity of an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus as the way to the Father are foundational and non-negotiable components of my faith.
Within my own province, I voted not to consent to the election of Gene Robinson, for reasons both theological and ecclesiological. I have followed to the letter and the spirit of the Windsor Report — before there was a Windsor Report.
For my faithfulness to this communion I have been rewarded by regular incursions into our diocese by primates and bishops who have no apparent regard for either my theology or ecclesiology.
I have made some peace with this reality, preferring to think of the irregularly ordained as Methodists — and some of my best friends are Methodists!
What I cannot make peace with is the portrayal of my sister and brother bishops in the Episcopal Church, who disagree with me, as bearers of a false gospel. That portrayal does violence to the imperfect, but faithful, grace-filled, and often costly way, in which they live out their love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, I am in serious disagreement with many of them on the very critical sacramental and ethical issues about which the Communion is in deep conflict. Are we sometimes, at best, insensitive to the wider context in which we do ministry, and at worst, deeply embedded in American arrogance — Absolutely! And for that insensitivity and arrogance we have begged the Communion’s forgiveness on several occasions. “But do I see the Church in them?” as the most serious question at the last hearing asked. As God is my witness, I do. Despite my profound disagreements I continue to pray “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” We continue to reaffirm our creedal faith together. We continue to gather round the Lord’s table together, bringing the brokenness and imperfectness of our lives into the healing embrace of our Lord who sends us out together to the poor, the weak and the hopeless. And, in the midst of our internal conflicts, they show me Jesus.
There are dozens of bishops like me in the Episcopal Church. We are not a one, or even two dimensional Church. We are a multitude of diverse theological, ecclesiological and sacramental perspectives — and the vast majority of us have figured out a way to stay together.
How is this possible? I think it begins with the gift from Saint Paul, who taught us the great limitations of even our most insightful thought. We do, every one of us, “see through a glass, darkly.” And none of us can say to the other, “I have no need of you.”
One day, Saint Paul says, we will see face to face, the glory that we now only glimpse. But in the meantime, as each of us struggles to be faithful, may each of us, the Episcopal Church and the wider communion, find the courage, and the humility, to say to one another, “I need you — for my salvation and for the salvation of the world.”
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
By all reports, Lambeth is getting more difficult for the bishops.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Tomorrow we will get back to the business of packing, sermon writing, Lambeth, and all that very serious important stuff. But on Monday night, how about a few laughs? If you haven't seen this video before, it is worth a few moments of your time. The video is just below the cartoon, just scroll a little. And tomorrow's Bizarro is on the money as usual.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Today we shall give you a break from Lambeth, though if you want to catch up on the latest go to Episcopal Cafe; the news today includes the British government granting asylum to David MacIyalla, the Nigerian who has advocated for gay people in Africa (we had the pleasure of meeting him when he visited Sacramento last year).
Friday, July 25, 2008
Following the brief program, we enjoyed fellowship and lunch in Lambeth Palace Gardens. I took the time to visit the palace library to enjoy the rich historical documents so important to our communion. As I saw up close a copy of one of the first Books of Common Prayer and reaquainted myself with some of our history up close and personal, I was once again reminded that this is not the first time that the church has been in conflict. The way in which we approach our current issues seems to me to be at least as important as how they are resolved. In fact, we still live with some of the unresolved conflict from the past which is part of who we are.
Later in the afternoon we enjoyed tea with the Queen and her one thousand closest friends. Standing in the gardens at Buckingham Palace watching the Queen of England make her way through the sea of bishops, I wondered if anyone could have imagined this kind of Anglican Communion in the 16th century. I wonder, even more, what it will be like at my fifth Lambeth Conference. My role is one of committed wondering. Ultimately, God will shape the future. I, for one, am glad it's not up to us.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Today the bishops are off to tea with the Queen, and then are marching through the streets of London in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to end world poverty. I am still not sure what to make of the juxtaposition of those settings. You can decide for yourself; read about the bishops' Walk of Witness, led by Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Brian McLaren, a non-denominational evangelist from Maryland, was the featured speaker at Lambeth on Wednesday -- and his words are worth noting. He talked of how Anglicanism is uniquely placed to bring Christ's light and hope to people everywhere, and he pointed out that the Lord's Prayer is focused on making earth like heaven. Check out Brian McLaren's website on your own and the report by Episcopal News Service on his talk to the bishops. The Integrity website also has a very readable account of McLaren's talk. And Bishop Nedi Rivera from Olympia (Seattle) has a fascinating mediation on McLaren's talk. Maybe we can get Brian to come to Charlottesville?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
I am very moved reading the sermon given by the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, of the Diocese of Colombo (Sri Lanka), yesterday at Canterbury Cathedral at the Sunday Eucharist for the Anglican bishops convened in the once-a-decade Lambeth conference. You can read the full text and hear his sermon by clicking here: Canterbury sermon. A few words to remember:
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Many words have been expended about the Lambeth conference underway at Canterbury Cathedral. But the words, so far, have not told me much. The photos are more interesting; I am struck by how the bishops look differently from each other. There is no sameness about them. They don’t all wear the same shade of purple. They look to be in a state of becoming. And they are in a place that is in a constant state of becoming.
Five years ago, Lori and I had the privilege of living for a week at Canterbury Cathedral. Many of the settings in the photos coming from the Lambeth Conference at Canterbury are very familiar.
One morning while we were living at Canterbury I awoke early and went for a walk around the "precincts" of the great cathedral, and I came upon a stone worker who was taking a break. His name was Peter (pictured above), and I asked him what he was doing.
"Building the Cathedral," he replied.
His answer surprised me, so I said: "I thought it was finished."
"Oh no, the Cathedral is never finished."
Peter explained that, like his father, and his father's father, he would go "round and round" chipping off broken stone and repairing it. The old church is always being made new.The work is never done. Canterbury, this holy of holy places, is always in a state of becoming. What better place for our bishops to be this week? What better place for all of us to be?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Jesus said, "The greatest among you will be your servant."