Tag Archives: social issues

Tick Tock….get out & VOTE!

It is almost over….after 17 months of constant politics, the 2012 election is tomorrow.

Alleluia, Amen!

I already voted { Florida has early voting} & for once I am proud of the vote I cast both for President & for the US House of Representatives.  Early voting was a new experience for me & all in all it was a good experience. best Dude picked me up at the gym after my training session & we went to lunch at our favorite sandwich shop. We got to the polling place { there were only two early-voting polling places in our county} soon after the lunch rush ended. the staff was very helpful. I felt NO pressure to vote for any one candidate nor for or against any of the proposed amendments to the Florida constitution.

Since I voted, I wish that the political ads would somehow disappear from my TV set. :O( My mind is made up & legally I cannot  undo my vote –even if I’d wanted to do so.  This political season seemed to last longer than usual & I’d developed ” voter’s fatigue  this summer.  I do not really subscribe to any political party–although if pressed I’ll admit to being a left-leaning Libertarian.  Since I’m not affiliated with any official political party , I tired early of the partisan bickering. In my opinion both rabid Democrats & rabid Republicans are equally annoying.  many people I know will { or already have } vote along ” their” party line, regardless of what said candidate says .

I am NOT looking forward to tomorrow’s ” election coverage” on TV.  All that so-called ” data” makes my head hurt. I often wonder why no one bothers to explain to we, the taxpaying & voting public, exactly how & from whom this data is gathered .

Feed My Sheep

Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike our never-ending hot summers here in Florida.

Best Dude & I are watching my parents’ Labrador Retriever, Casey this week while Parental Units are in Pittsburgh this week. Brother & his wife arrive tomorrow afternoon , so after church I’ll need to clean The Homestead in preparation for their summer visit. I am hoping that the weather gets better in time for their visit—it has been rainy, humid and YUCKY here since the Parental Units left for their annual Burgh Visit.

But the long summer we have here has its perks, and one of those perks is Pensacola’s monthly ” Gallery Night”.

Last evening Best Dude & I met some friends downtown for the monthly Pensacola block party known as ” Gallery Night” Our priest is a bass player in a band,and the band was featured as part of the festivities last evening. I must admit that pizza & mixed alcoholic drinks are NOT part of my healthy-eating plan ut I’ve learned that it is fine to deviate from healthy eating on occasion. :O)

Anyhow, I FINALLY got to meet a Facebook friend of mine whose work I greatly admire. Father Nathan Monk is an Orthodox priest in town who has started and maintained a ministry to feed homeless other very poor people in the city. Fr Monk has received several sanctions from the City government–but nothing stops this young man of God from doing exactly what Jesus would want His followers to do. Father Monk was at Gallery night with his now-famous ” FEED THE POOR ” sign and was selling handmade rosaries to help further his mission work with Pensacola’s most needy. I’ve wanted to meet Fr Monk since I first read about him & his ministry in the local newsrag & was delighted to meet him in person and shake his hand.

In the aftermath of my own branch of the Church’s general Convention, meeting Fr Monk reminded me again that we are , above all else, supposed to serve others . This world is full of hurting & needy people{ and many right near where we make our comfortable homes} who are truly poverty-stricken. Fr Monk’s sig ” FEED THE POOR” was a stark reminder to me that the Church isn’t about polity & politics.

The wake of some of the actions voted upon at The Episcopal Church’s 77th triennial General Convention has caused a media blitz that is causing many Church members sorrow. While I recognize their deeply felt pain, at the same time our Church{ and any church in Christendom} is first and foremost about following Jesus & doing what he would do. If I had my wish, I’d remove ALL social politics from the life of the institutional Church so that we and our leaders can focus more on what Our Lord wans us to do regarding loving Him and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Why don’t we discuss more about how to feed hungry ” sheep” rather than build socioidealogical barriers between our fellow & sister Christians?

Stop the Fighting. Lets Work on UNITING!

Amen.

Healing & Helping while looking towards to the future

My bishop issued a pastoral letter that was read in all churches in my diocese yesterday. He explained what had happened at General Convention and how he voted , alongside with his reasoning for the way he voted. He also told us how this resolution to allow liturgy for same-sex blessings will ” play out” here in my Diocese .

I am saddened by the actions of General Convention, as this is affecting people in my parish & diocese whom I know & love . Inasmuch as I find myself disagreeing with people who are shaken by the idea of same-sex couples now having a channel for the Church’s blessing upon their relationships, I want them to still feel loved by the changing Church. It will break my heart if I lose ANY of my sister & brother Episcopalians over what { to me} is a trivial issue. I want to minister to and with these folks, but I do not know how to proceed.

I am sad, because I want to help those who are hurt the most by he passing of this resolution but I cannot.

While I rejoice at the fact that a portion of our Church will finally be permitted to have their relationships blessed in the Church, my main concern is how this motion affects my parish & Diocese NOW. I realize that not everyone interprets Scripture & Tradition as I do & know that this passing of the same-sex blessing liturgy has shaken some people’s very faith. I pray for them & for our entire Church I pray daily that somehow God will show us how to BE Christ’s hands & feet here at this time & place .

Amen.

After GC77: Onward Together

If you have read or listened to the news media this morning, you are aware that the Church voted to allow liturgy for same-sex blessings { a BLESSING is not the same thing as a marriage, by the way} for same-sex couples.

I actually read the news via Twitter from a clergy Twitter pal of mine who was a deputy to GC77 last evening. I’ve had some time for this news to ” sink in” my mind. I know I should be celebrating the social progress the Church has made this year, but part of me is weary. I am wary of the backlash that this new resolution will bring both nationally & within my own Diocese.

I know, at last in theory, that the Church shall move onward, regardless of the bellyache that will surely occur among the right-wing faction of our Church. I am praying that we can ALL remember that we are ONE universal Church. I stated last night that belief in our Creeds is what SHOULD be he most important factor in any Church. But humans being who we are, sociopolitical opinions are a powerful force. I pray that the Church can move beyond this GC resolution and remember that being Church is not supposed to be about self-affirmation. Christians of various stripes are united by one thing, our faith in the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was born , lived and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead three days later.

We do not attend church in order to validate our own sense of what is “acceptable”. Look in all the Gospels, Jesus tells us to withhold judgement lest we also be judged. No one is perfect, nor is anyone correct about anything 100 percent of the time.

We re the Church & we will continue to do & be Church.

WWJD?{ there is truth to that cliche}

What would Jesus do?

Now clichés & pat phrases such as ” WWJD” usually annoys me. Recently a friend of mine reminded me that this acronym is at its heart what we are supposed to act like as Christ-followers. We are all charged with bringing Christ’s message of love , forgiveness & acceptance to the world. he did not command us to be in fellowship with only folks who are ” JUST LIKE US”.

Christ calls every one of us to follow Him out of our cozy ” safety nets” of people who at & think{ and even believe or not believe} as we do into the world. This is a lofty tasks to try to attain & I admit that I often fall short of totally accepting Christians who are not as socially progressive as I am.

One of my favorite quotes from our Presiding Bishop is:

” Look for the blessings in the people who drive you crazy.”

I try, but when people’s social views are opposite of what I believe I tend to become defensive.
While I know we Christ-bearers are to ” love our neighbors as ourselves” it is hard for me to show agape love towards a sister or brother Christian when they act in manners that offend me. Remaining rational & loving towards someone who is on the “wrong” side of any sociopolitical issue is not easy.

Amen.

Psalm 41 : Happy are those who consider the poor…

Many Christians observe Lent by denying ourselves of something in order to ” make room for God”.

The Psalm for today reminds me of yet another way that we can observe a holy Lent.

In this season that was traditionally when new Christians prepared themselves for Baptism, today I am reminded that Lent is a good time to rededicate ourselves to serving the truly needy. Here in the western world, sometimes it is easy for we middle-class citizens of the world’s wealthiest nation to remember the poor.

When Best Dude & I drive trough certain neighborhoods here in our lovely beach community in Florida, I am reminded that poverty exists everywhere. Here in Northwest Florida one can literally ride by several gated waterfront housing developments yet five minutes later find oneself driving through neighborhoods of poverty. It is easy & convenient to turn away from poverty here at the beach & I am not sure why this is so. Maybe no one wants to thnk about the needy people wo happen to live here in ” Paradise”? I don’t know the answer to that question, but today I am reminded that God loves the poor & his Son ministered with & and among the poor of first century Judea.

Instead of denying ourselves, maybe Lent should be more about increased GIVING to those wh have less food, iadequate shelter or no healthcare. What are your thoughs on this subject?

Advent with ++KJS Day 12 ” A Cup of Starbucks”

I like a good cup of coffee.

Best Dude & often I frequent coffee joints. One of our favorite coffee stops is a family owned place in our beach town. He thinks that this little place serves ” the best biscuits & gravy ever” I think the fare at this coffee place is good.

Once again, today’s reading from ++ Katharine convicts me. Darn it!

Thee are people in other parts of the world who, for the price of a cup of a specialty latte here in America, could eat for one week. In this economy right now in The United States, there are people who are literally wondering where their next meal will come from. The gap between the ” haves” & the ” have-nots” is growing around the world & right here in or own nation.

While I do not think that more government programs are the solution to feeding { and tending to other basic needs} of our country’s & the world’s hungry , as Christians we *do* have a responsibility to tend to the poor. Our responsibility is to reach out to those in need…without passing judgement upon hem or their choices which my or may not have contributed to poverty.

Admittedly I am guilty of this sort of judgement…I often ask myself questions such as ” Well, if that teen mom would have been more careful, she wouldn’t struggle with buying clothes & toys for her baby”. Or ” if that person would stop drinking I wouldn’t mid giving him money. I don’t know where my money goes when I give it to him.” Like many others, I am much more comfortable helping those in need who share my values. Its easier to help those whom we understand or with whom we agree.

This time of year, especially, I am reminded that all humans are created equal. In spite of our inequality, we are ALL God’s children.

What some well-meaning Christians do not realize is that our baptismal covenant calls each of us to ” Seek Christ in ALL persons”. Yes, ALL PERSONS, not just those whose lifestyles we deem ” worthy” of our assistance.

Advent with ++KJS: Day 11 “Doing Is Believing”

I do not buy into ” works theology” , the idea that one can earn points with God by performing certain works. To subscribe to such an exclusive theology would totally discount that thing we know as God’s grace. { Martin Luther had it correct in his 99 theses against the Roman Catholic Church regarding selling & buying of ” indulgences”}

Because know about the grace of our loving God, my faith compels me to want to help others. because God is so good to me{ and even in these dire economic times, can safely say that everyone I know has enough to eat, a place to live,& adequate clothing. I’m also blessed by a loving family, many friends, a parish in which I am comfortable, & the most wonderful Best Dude ever! Indeed, I am blessed.

Bishop Katharine says: ” Good, healthy & holy ministry involves seeing the healing of one person or situation as part of the larger whole.”

No one person or a single charitable organization or government-funded social program can heal ALL of the world’s ills. Yet if we work together, healing & reconciliation is possible.

How shall we acheve such a lofty goal? I do not have the answer, but I do know that my response to God’s grace is to lend a helping hand & do whatever I can{ however insignificant it seems to me at the time} to help one person or situation.

Advent is a good time of year to think about the gift of grace that we are given & engage in creative ways to show or appreciation for what Christ did for us on the Cross by acting as agents of healing & change inour own corners of Creation.

Amen.

Modern-day “Deborahs”

On Saturday I attended a womens’ contemplative retreat at my church. The topic was ” Womens’ Places in the Church”. 

Naturally I came away from this time away with much” food for thought”. I am unapologetic about my feminist views.

Men listened to Deborah!

The first lessons/meditations were lessons from Paul & the Pauline writers.  Naturally these passages touched a nerve with me & every other woman in attendance.  EFM has taught me a lot about the times & politics of Paul’s writings, I still cringe when I hear or read some of his misogynist words. 

The next set of Scriptures given to us at this retreat  revolved around some passages from the Hebrew Bible that puts women in positions of power and/or leadership. We read & meditated on the stories of Deborah, Esther & Abigail. 

Since I’m of good Jewish stock on Mom’s side of the family, I grew up with the stories of Deborah & Esther. Both women show leadership skills.   In all honesty, I do nor recall Mom telling me much about Abigail, but the other two are very familiar to me.

I am blessed with many women who take a cue from Deborah’s leadership style. She did not let her gender stop her from doing what it was that God asked of her. Although Scripture does not record anyone questioning her leadership skills, human nature dictates that not all of her army would have been happy following a woman into battle.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the many examples of strong women in my life & I am grateful for their leadership & examples. These women are found in my parish, my Diocese & The Episcopal Church.  Several of these women wear the clerical collar, but most are laywomen like me.  These modern-day ” Deborahs” get God’s work done and may of them { especially my ” collared chick” friends } still face gender discrimination every day. I find it sad that women in the Church of England still are not seen as called to the episcopate. { remember  ” Mitregate” during the last Lambeth, anyone?}

 Why do some people {even other women} fear womens’ ordaination & even seem to want to limit the ministries of  laywomen? They claim that Jesus was a man{ He was} and that St Peter is the ” rock upon which I will build the Church”. I am not negating the important roles of St  Peter & the disciples but I take great umbrage with the theological positions of social conservatives who want to use Holy Scripture to keep women oppressed by teaching girls that they ” must keep silent in Church.”

Deborah was a priest & a judge to whom men LISTENED to in times of war.  Scripture does not tell us that anyone argued with Deborah’s battle plans; they trusted her  leadership.  She not only came up with the battle plan, she went with her army & saw the plan to completion. She was called by God to lead  in that time & place & I am convinced that the strong women leaders I know are also called by God.

Taking action means making choices

Ok, I have choices & I like choices. But these choices are not all about me…I am choosing what national & world issues will be ” mine”. I do believe that everyone can & should make a difference in our local regional, national & global & international issues.

For now, my main passions in each of these categories are:

Local : saving our precious ecosystem. The beaches & other Gulf Coast ecosystems are not only the basis of the economy here, but a God-given gift.

Regional: improving public education. It is true that I live in a county with perhaps the best public school system in Florida, the rest of the counties in this state lag far behind. Not everyone can afford to send their children to private or parochial schools & an investment in the next generationby everyone in the state is paramount in order to compete with the national & international world of commerce.

National: Rights for minorities. It’s true that we’ve come a long way in civil rights for women & people of color since the 1960’s yet our GLBT citizens are still treated like pariahs & are not granted the same civil rights as we straight Americans. As are womens’ rights, the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual & transgendered persons are about EQUALITY for ALL persons. I’ll say it again… I am prod to be Straight Against Hate”.

International: Somehow, some way I want to work to see the end of genocides. It happens, folks & the key to obliterating the societal evil of genocide is awareness raising & education.

Let’s talk. What are your pet issues?