Monday, February 26, 2007

delays, delay, more delays

I am finally home, O Best Beloved, after more that 24 hours in transit. I left St. Louis at 10am on Sunday-well, I went to the airport at 10am, which is enough alternate universe to no longer be considered real place-and only got home 3 hours ago. I was delayed and delayed with snow going into Chicago and then, in Chicago, I waited for 4 hours before my flight was finally cancelled. Knowing, of course, the whole time, that the flight would be cancelled, because the snow was moving swiftly east. Finally, when the flight was cancelled, and I reached the front of the line to reschedule, I came unglued (for real) and bawled my way into a really nice hotel room on the dime of the airline. Other people were being handed cots but I was visibly beyond my limit, baby attached, dark circles under the eyes etc. The flight person's real charity actually made me cry more by that point. It is at these delicate moments I am supremely grateful to be female. A lot of men looked exhausted too but none of them had babies and they would have looked foolish weeping. I did notice that as it got hotter in the terminal a few of them, men that is, began to yell at each other, somewhat in jest but not that much. Its not comfortable, being so many people packed together in one place, all very frustrated, no outside air, no outside light, basically powerless to effect the desired outcome. I'm surprised everyone else was keeping it together. I was given one other nice gift, along with the hotel room. Waiting so many hours in line I met an interesting man. He felt bad for me and offered to carry my bag. He asked me where I was going. Told me, in a clueless way, that I could stay with him (First Red Flag) as he was only 10 minutes from the airport. Told me, when I looked shocked, that he was a pastor. Oh, I said, that's wonderful. My husband is a pastor. Are you married? No, he said. What church are you with? I asked. Um, the New Church, he said (Second Red Flag). Oh, I said, the New Church. I've never heard of that. What are some of your core tenets? Um, he said, we believe in the 10 commandments, and a lot of other things. What other things? I asked. Oh, he said, there's so much.(Confirmation of Weirdness) A little research divulges that the New Church is the strange invention of one Emanuel Swedenborg who promises all kinds interesting non trinitarian "christian" stuff. I am still exploring the website, having been offline for so long. Anyway, after a good long sleep I will be back to tell you all about my class and all the other things on my mind.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

view from the hall

So I really did not mean to take a whole week off posting. But I've been in class the last few days and of course, when I arrived, I was not able to get online in my room (still am not). So I surf quietly during class, and do email, and skype, and today am finally and quietly trying to post. Not that I have amazing things to say. For those of you who don't know, I'm getting a second MA from Aquinas Institute of Theology in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Aquinas, as you would know from its name, is Catholic and fairly liberally so. I'm in the middle of Intro to Theology with a plain closed Dominican nun. So far we've covered feminism, liberationism, fundamentalism and a couple of other isms. There's also been some nice digs about protestantism and the reformation. But what most sticks in my mind at this point is the stretching of the Immaculate Conception to undermine and erode away at the doctrine of original sin. I did not quite understand what she was talking about and need to dig around to find out. If you have heard to this please jump and let me know. Oh, break, good, I'm starving.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A closing thought

We had more than a small blessing today--besides the communique which was far and away better than I imagined. Our neighbors came by this morning and asked if they could take our two oldest (not that old--4 and 2) out for a 'fun thing' and to lunch. Then they came back in the afternoon and played hide and seek, mother may I, and Simone says until it was time to go to bed. Otherwise I would have felt really neglectful--unable to tear myself away from SF but feeling guilty about it. So really, God is provident and good, both in the small and the great and so I will go to bed tonight really praying for the converted salvation of KJS, who has harder days before her than she has probably ever hoped for or imagined.

More in clarity and hope tomorrow. This is the first night in a whole week that we get to go to bed before 2 in the morning. Greg, Kendall, Sarah, if you call now, I won't be responsible for the fall out!
Well, I'm exhausted. I've moved from this spot on my bed 4 times today--once for toast, twice to change the baby, and then for toast again. My eyes are burning. I'm so glazed over that I feel no emotion whatsoever about what has transpired. Rationally I know that all will be well for the following reasons
1. Matt, Kendall, Sarah, Baby Blue etc are very happy and relieved
2. Susan Russell, Fr. Jake etc are very angry and disappointed
3. There is a deadline within this year
4. The deadline is one TEC will be absolutely loath to meet
5. There is continued safe harbor for the time being
However, my rational joy cannot, at this moment, overcome my weariness. My life and the life of my family has been lived out in the shadow of heresy and dissent and trouble. I long for a swift and clean conclusion to this mess. But instead I've been given another six months to wait. And so I will. I will wait on the Lord. And I will pray. And I will rest my weary eyes.

the beginning of the end

I'm over on Standfirm hitting refresh. As you can imagine I have a thousand things to say about 1. The election of KJS to the Communion Standing Committe and 2. The covenant draft that has just been released. But none of them are good and so until the communique comes out at 3pm I'm not going to be over here writing anything. As far as I can see, we're looking at the end of any kind of unified world wide anglicanism. What an absolute total mess, and disappointment.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Defensive Posture

My children did eat today. In spite of the communion being on the edge of shambles. Matt gave them each a pancake (made from scratch, by the way, from pancake day) lathered in jam at 6 am when they woke up. I made them each a perfectly cooked soft boiled egg with toast at 9 for breakfast after morning prayer. They each had a chocolate covered pretzel at 10:30 for a snack. For lunch I made them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The bread I made earlier in the week from scratch (see my fancy bread recipe from the fall)--rye, whole wheat, millet, flax seed, walnuts, etc. The peanut butter doesn't have any sugar in it. And they each ate a large apple. And now its supper time so I'd better think of the next thing.

The Kennedy Family in Communion Chaos

Me: What is Daddy doing?
Emma: He’s talking to Hendle Berman.
Me: Who?
Emma: Hendal Bemerman.
Me: Oh. I see. Can he get you lunch?
Emma: Um um no. Daddy said there’s a bemergency.
Me: What kind of emergency?
Emma: Daddy said there’s a cummun bemergency.
Me: So he really can't get you lunch?
Emma: No, he said that he has to write a persponse about it.

3 seconds later

Matt: Anne! Anne! Anne! Are you reading Stand firm? Why are the children talking to me? Anne! Anne!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rearing its Ugly Head

I ran into someone very briefly at Mere Anglicanism who expressed surprise that WO was coming up so often--several questions were asked of the scholars panel and Common Cause panel about the issue and what sort of common life we can expect to be facing in the near future, when, and if, the dust settles.
'I thought it was a done deal', he said.
'Oh no. Its right there under the surface, ready to emerge the moment we have an inkling of calm,' I said.
I didn't get this sense from the sources one would expect--Bishop Iker for example. When he spoke about it he was extraordinarily gracious and thoughtful.
I got it from listening in sneakily to conversations at the conference, from things Matt said (Matt knows more about everything than I'm allowed to know), and, Of Course, from the online conversations that have gone on online over the last few years. Indeed, it resurfaced this morning, here, on Stand Firm.
Its hard, for me anyway, to think that we will resolve one set of problems and then jump immediately into another hot pan of dissension and division. I'd like to think that we could do the work of theological reflection and reception in a reasonable and calm manner and that both those of us ladies who are ordained and those Anglo Catholics who oppose us utterly could seek the truth together. Much in the way we've wanted revisionists to do any kind of theological work whatsoever. But I must say, when the rhetoric is dismissive and condescending on the AC side its hard to want to be conciliatory. I'm not by any means suggesting we 'dialogue' and 'get to know each other better'. Its entirely a theological matter, one which, if we seek God's face, will become clear. In the meantime I'd like to see more gracious charity from you Anglo catholics. You may not recognize my orders, and may I think your understanding of the sacraments is highly problematic, but we can both agree that we're in a Christian body and we're both trying to go towards God, rather than the revisionists opposite direction.
I can understand the worry. If two co-equal provinces are recognized in the US and the AMiA and Continuing Churches are 'encouraged' to join the new one without anything said or resolved about WO then essentially you've managed to shove it to the back burner. Which, if you're against it, is a very bad thing.
Which brings me back to my original point. I don't think there is real cause to worry. Once the dust settles WO won't long stay on low heat. It will come up. It will be debated and examined. The Lord will, as so many have noted, provide. And guide. And direct. And all that other stuff.

Monday, February 12, 2007

desperate for news

Matt, after making me the most divine omelette
eggs, cheese, some sort of sausage, perfect consistency and flavor
has gone out for a walk. There's no way I'm going outside in this wretched cold. So instead I'm sitting here hitting refresh on T19 and Stand Firm. I guess I should do my homework or clean the house. But its just so hard to get away from this machine. Sigh

Sunday, February 11, 2007

another thing

As we go into next week let me also just remind you (those of you who were at the blogger's dinner at Mere Anglicanism) of my One Prediction regarding Tanzania.

I put my little all on Akinola telling KJS in a very nice and Christian way to go boil her head, or something to that effect, either by letter, or statement or in an interview or personally. Whatever the outcome of the communion, that's my prediction.

I'm a blogger. I can predict.

Great Expectations

Our house is covered in wire and video equipment. Matt is every other second on the phone to Greg or Sarah or on IM. As I sit here the bringgg of Greg punctuates each line that I write. We are saturating ourselves in technology and news and busyness, fending off, at least for me, the looming anxiety of the days ahead.

Because face it, we hope.
We can lower our expectations. We can analyze and comment and make predictions and snap at each other. We can push the deadline out—Lambeth, another meeting, another statement, another day.
But in the end, our hearts in our throats, and we hope.

If we didn’t hope, we wouldn’t be paying attention. If we didn’t hope, we wouldn’t be praying desperately. If we didn’t hope, we wouldn’t be reading and commenting. If we didn’t hope, Greg wouldn’t have put up such a fancy new face on Stand Firm.

We hope because in the end God is sovereign, and just and big. And he will do whatever he wants. And based on past behavior we know that God tolerates heresy and sin and wickedness only for a time before he lets his wrath flow down like water. So I say hope. Let your expectations run high. God is in charge.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

In Memorium

I went, today, with my three little ones, to the funeral of my Great Uncle Santo Joseph Feldi (for whom, I am very frustrated to say, I could not find any sensible picture). He was born December 21, 1915 and died February 6, 2007 at the grand age of 91. I ask your prayers for my Great Aunt Kathryn Feldi who said three times to me today, "We do not sorrow as those who have no hope." The pictures here were taken at the funeral home and the lunch afterwards. For you family out there, I saw Peggy and Lou (both in very good health), Cathy and Gayle, Charlie, Carlie, several of Cathy's children and all the ladies from Auntie Kay's prayer group.
The service itself was simple and straightforward. We sang Great is Thy Faithfulness, Praise the Savior and Amazing Grace and listened to the Lord's Prayer. The pastor gave a message which I missed due to the children. Wished you all could have been there.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


So I might have mentioned that we have three cats and a dog. The dog, Maggie, belongs to Matt and fortunately sleeps on the floor. She resents me, having been the love of Matt's life before I came along.

The first cat belongs to me. She is very very fat and doesn't have any claws. She sleeps by my head under the covers spread out the long way so that I am squished and uncomfortable all night, trying to accommodate her, Matt and sometimes the baby.

Then E has a cat named Frances--a beautiful black and white long haired kitty who was called Hitler before we got her. We didn't know why she was called Hitler. We thought it was because of her markings--she looks a little like him and there's a certain quality in her eyes that has caused Matt to remark, at least once a day, 'Francis thinks about Murder all the time'. And she's beginning to be pushy. Matt brings me tea in the morning, about 6 am, and he has to bring a large pitcher of milk and a saucer because Frances has to immediately have milk poured out or she will knock the pitcher over. This makes me unhappy because by rights my cat should have her milk first, being older and fatter. But without claws she is unable to secure her rights.

Then we have my mother's cat, Banderleigh (her spelling), all black, silky long hair. I gave him to my mother for her birthday, in hopes that he would go to Nairobi and live a happy and interesting life. However, terrorism and air travel being what it is, he lives with us and waits day and night for his beloved to return. In the meantime he is our only lap cat and is desperately jealous of the baby. If you hold the baby, you have also hold Bander, preferably next to your face, under your chin.

Why do I bring this all up?
Because last night ALL THREE CATS SLEPT ON MY BED. I have slowly let Bander join us as long as he doesn't disturb my cat. So last night, he came and slept on my back. I managed to look up, in a moment of wakefulness and saw black. But when I managed to really get a good look, I saw Frances glaring at me from my feet. So that's three, three cats. One mushed into my pillow, one on my back and another on my feet. My only thought is that it is very cold. Or maybe they are lying in wait for my destruction. I don't know. I didn't sleep very well. And every part of me hurts now, from having slept so strangely.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A little more KJS

"Every time Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori dons her personalized vestments, there's a vision of sunrise.
Colors of the "new dawn," cited so often by the prophet Isaiah, are sewn into her personalized mantle and bishop's hat — an orange glow rises from a green hem to a dawn-blue band below purple heavens.
Jefferts Schori herself stands for a new day in her church:"

It really is all about clothes. Say whatever you want about the Millennium Goals or taking God out of a small box (and putting him in even smaller one) but at the end of the day, if your vestments themselves signal a ‘new dawn’, ‘a new day’ in the church, then essentially we are looking at a ‘divinization’ of KJS herself. KJS is the center of this ‘new dawn’. She whirls and twirls her way through the church, diffusing light, confusing theology, remaking the great reality of God into herself. This is no mere heresy, this is a cohesive, cogent alternative religion with a god at its center dressed in the colors of the sky.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

my sermon for this morning

Matt and I have over the past few months, been watching Top Chef. Anyone seen it?
It was a cooking competition—
every week there’s a challenge and someone is eliminated.
The last person standing gets a lot of money and the title Top Chef. The last episode was last week.
We would stay up late on Wednesday night to watch the new episode and then would watch it through the week as it was replayed
over and over until the new episode came out.
I liked it at first but I got tired of watching it over and over
and then having to stay up late.
But all the repetition did allow me to notice something interesting. Under the stress of competition,
everyone eventually became a jerk.
But the real jerk,
the person no one could stand at all was a young,
carefully quaffed, jerk named Marcel.
He cooked very interesting food,
he frequently won the challenges,
but nobody liked him. Why?
Because week after week he sat in the little interview time and said,
‘I make good food.
I have every confidence in my own abilities,
I’m a brilliant guy, I’m going to win,
I’m a better chef than everyone here,
hands down, I’m the best.’
Well, given that we were dealing with a competition,
this behavior was not out of bounds.
Other contestants said these things
although not Every week.
But gradually, I mean,
we should have been reading the bible
instead of watching this over and over,
it occurred to me that this bravado,
this, I have full confidence in myself, I can do it, I’m cool,
while a very basic American attitude, is hugely problematic.
Matt tells me it’s the football equivalent
of dancing around the end zone
making sure everyone knows it was you that made the touch down.

Open your Bibles to Judges chapter 6.
Anybody know why this book is called ‘Judges’?
After the people of Israel left Egypt
and went into the Promised Land,
what were they supposed to do?
Right, push out, by force, all of the people who lived there.
This was for two reasons,
one to exact the full extent of God’s wrath
on the Canaanites who did not worship God
and were given over to some vile religious practices.
And two, so that Israel could inhabit the land,
living peacefully and showing God’s glory and light to the whole world.
But it required military conquest
which is hard for our modern sensibilities.
We don’t like the idea of God commanding war,
so many of us don’t bother to read the books of Joshua and Judges.
Thing is, the people of Israel didn’t really like war and conquest
any more than we do.
So, when they went into the Promised Land,
instead of obeying God and going to war,
they just sort of didn’t.
They went to war and defeated some of the nations.
But they left a lot of others alone.
And then, instead of just leaving them alone,
they intermarried with some of them
and started worshipping their gods.
That’s what is called,
when you’re reading through the whole book of Judges,
‘doing what is evil in the site of the Lord’.
Taking on false gods.
Not being obedient.
Not worshipping God and God alone.
So the people would do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord
and then God would let these same people who had led them astray,
he would let them oppress the people of Israel.
They would loose in some major battle
and have to pay tribute and other unpleasantness.
Israel would be in captivity for a generation or so,
then they would remember God,
they would feel terrible,
they would cry out for help
and God would raise up a judge, or a leader,
to come and help them win.
So, here, in chapter 6,
we find that Israel has done what was evil in the eyes of the Lord
and that the Midianites have over powered them.
In particular, the Midianites lived off the fruit of the Israelites’ labor.
Israel would plant crops and raise live stalk,
and just when it was time to harvest and collect the fruit of their labor,
the Midianites would rush in and take it all,
leaving the Israelites destitute and hungry.
Now, just as a quick aside,
why do you think God would pick this kind of persecution?
if the Israelites are worshiping other gods
they’re also praying to them for this grain
and thanking them when they get it.
But who really provides?
Not the Midianite gods, God does.
So the people are hungry and brought low
and they finally remember to cry out to God
and God hears their cry and he raises up the Judge, Gideon.
Look with me in verse 11.
“Now the Angel of the Lord, came and sat under the terebinth or oak tree that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite…while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites”.
What do you notice right away?
Right, Gideon is in the winepress, beating out grain.
A winepress would have been closed in and hot
whereas normally you would want a wide open space to beat out grain, well aerated, where the wind could lift the chaff
and blow it away from the good produce.
Beating grain in a wine press would have been uncomfortable and hot.
So, Gideon is hiding.
Either he’s a coward,
he doesn’t want to do it where anyone will see him,
or he’s very shrewd.
Probably a little bit of both.
Verse 12, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said,
‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’”
I’ve always thought the angel of the Lord
was maybe being a little bit sarcastic here,
or having a good joke, to call Gideon ‘A mighty Man of Valor’.
Why, well, he’s hiding…he’s not being valorous or mighty.
And he immediately starts complaining.
Well, if God is really with us,
then why are all these bad things happening to us?
And he goes on.
Where are all the great deeds of past generations?
Why haven’t we had any miraculous signs like crossing the Red Sea?
Why did you bring us all this way
just to let us be oppressed by the hand of Midian?
Let’s just pause here a minute.
What is the cardinal rule of parish or church life?
Don’t complain.
What happens if you complain?
Whoever you complain to, especially if it’s the pastor,
will automatically assume that you are volunteering for the job
to fix whatever it is you’re mad about.
And we see the justification for that here in the scriptures.
Gideon complains, he whines and what does the Lord say?
Verse 14, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
There you have it.
If you’ve noticed that there’s a problem,
You can be part of the solution.
Or, to put it another way,
God can use you and he will. Regardless of who you are.
You can’t be too young,
or too old,
or too weak,
or too sinful,
or too afraid,
or too unskilled,
or too busy,
or too overwhelmed
or too tired
or too broken.
Whoever you are, God can use you to do the work he has planned.
Where ever you are in life, whatever you have going on,
God has plans for you. He has a job for you to do.
And it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe him,
if you don’t have confidence in yourself.
All the better, in fact.
How do we know this? From the next couple of verses.
Gideon, instead of saying
‘Ok, bring it on, let’s defeat these Midianites,
I can do it, I’m strong,
I have every confidence in myself to do this thing’,
says, really,
but I’m from the smallest and weakest clan, Manasseh,
and I’m the least or smallest or weakest in my father’s house.
He means, in other words, to disqualify himself.
He would like someone else to save Israel.
He would like to continue in his unhappy winepress.
But what is Gideon not seeing?
That what disqualifies him in his own eyes—
his weakness,
his fear,
his total lack of standing in his family and nation
all of these qualify him for work in the Kingdom of God.
He is particularly chosen by God
because of those things that will not get him ahead in the world.
Because God wants the glory.
Verse 16, “And the Lord said to him, ‘But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man’
I will do the work, I will receive the glory. I will save you.

Let’s apply this quickly.
First of all, however much we talk and shout,
none of us are strong enough really,
to do the work in front of us on our own.
For all his posturing and shouting Marcel,
from our Top Chef example earlier, was not really as great as all that. He ended up loosing the competition because he was so awful to his sous chefs that they helped him loose, essentially, in the last round. That gets us to the heart of the problem.
We sin. We are weak.
If we try to do the work in front of us on our own power,
more than likely we will fail, we will do a bad job, we will come up short.
On the other hand,
if we rely on the power of God to direct, guide and strengthen us,
we will come out victorious
We, as human beings, scare easy.
We put up with a lot of discomfort and unhappiness
Thinking that we are too small or insignificant for God to use.
This is false humility—I’m too fearful, I’m too weak for God to use me. That’s a lie.
God can use you because he will give you what you need
and then you will give him the glory for what he has done in your life.
God is here,
and whatever you’re dealing with,
whatever you’re going through,
he loves you,
he has plans for you,
he has strength for you.
Lean on him.
Give him your small, broken efforts and he will transform them.
He will make you into a mighty one of valor, victorious in his power.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Contemporary Situation

Well, I'm sorry to say it, but I'm exhausted. I know I raved and bragged about the baby sleeping through the night, but it turned out to be a big cheap lie. He did sleep, about 2 or 3 nights, and then was back to screaming again. Thing is, the sucker weighs 15 lbs. There is absolutely no reason on earth or in heaven for him to eat his pudgy way through the night. So now, for many nights, we have lain awake, staring out the window at the cloudy, blue dark (as Aedan calls it) night sky, listening to him scream his guts out.

In other words, I'm tired. I'm short tempered. I can't think of anything interesting to write. I haven't, horrors of horrors, even been able to finish reading the features on Stand Firm without dozing off. On top of all this, I'm supposed to be reading reams of Bernard Lonergan, a Catholic Theologian of whom I had not heard before but am now hearing plenty. To put it in a nut shell, Lonergan, rather than seeing theology as an intersection between Tradition and the Contemporary Situation (that is us), first to disentangle the two, then to put them back together, instead puts all his stock in the theologian. As long as the theologian is 'reasonable, intelligent, reasoning and in love with God', that theologian will come up with good and true theology. Either way I think you end up in a ditch. Who can really trust the individual theologian to be sensible? And certainly, when you mix Tradition and Contemporary Situation together you can get any amount of Muck. God help us all. Neither of them deal with Matt's epistemological challenge to, God Helping Us, OVERCOME KANT. They haven't done it. Barth hasn't done. Nobody has done it! Rise up. Someone. And make it possible for us to know things as they really are in themselves. Until then, I will go and lie sleeplessly, knowing that the screaming down the hall, is, in fact, coming from a live, red, slightly cross eyed but mostly very cute baby. Goodnight.