I have been on the verge of posting several times the last few days but have been constantly side tracked by 1. The Don Armstrong/Grace Church/Bishop O’Neil Mess, 2. The British soldiers taken hostage by Iran, and 3. My children’s culinary intransigence. So, I’m going to try and write about all three and see how it goes. Maybe in the reverse order.
3. We finally decided to cope with the fact that our children are becoming picky eaters. And because heaviness tends to run in my side of the family and we’re trying to be healthy and weight conscious parents we’ve opted out of the ‘finish everything on your plate every time come hell or high water’, my grandmother’s approach to food. Instead we’ve decided to stake our claim on ‘if you take it yourself you have to eat all of it come hell or high water’, in the hopes that our kiddos will learn to eat only until they are full and then stop eating, and be able to judge portion size for themselves. As a result E spent two hours in front of her dinner last night, which she served herself. It was getting late and I was exhausted, so we gave her the choice of finishing right then or eating it for breakfast. It is now 10:30am, next morning and she is sitting in front of it picking at it and crying. I hate this fight. I still bear a certain level of grudge towards my dear beloved parents (who really can do no wrong) for making me eat Ratatouille, that slimy eggplant infested stew with a gentle hit of bitterness. E is not facing anything so upsetting. She is sitting in front of delicious lightly sautéed chicken and couscous studded with peas. In general I try not to go head-on into something I know is going to lead to a stand off. But we’ve been catering too much to their every whim and desire and so it had to be done. Hope she eats it before the day is over and we can move on to the next trauma.
2. I’ve decided to pray for these hostages instead of worrying about them, a decision I haven’t been totally able to uphold. But besides the obvious horror of their being taken in the first place and the many bad ways this could end, this crisis upsets me for two other reasons. First, I’m going to be politically incorrect and primitive and say that I just cannot support women in combat military situations. And even more, can’t support women with children in the military at all. A nation and culture that sends its mothers to war in the name of equal opportunity deserves that it gets. Ours and every other one. I know simplifying a complex issue in this way probably isn’t helpful and that the military affords women and men many wonderful opportunities AND I admire the women who sign up. They are brave and they should be honored. But we shouldn’t ask them to go into situations like these. There should be other places for women to serve that won’t put them in places like Iran, especially if they have children. And Second, I’m discouraged by Britain’s luke warm response to this crisis. Others have already spoken about it more effectively. But when a nation decides not to fight back, I don’t see how long that nation/civilization will last. I will cease speaking about that of which I know not.
1. I don’t really have anything to add to the various debates going on about this matter. For those of you who are not Anglican, Don Armstrong is rector of a major church in Colorado. The bishop is accusing him of various things including tax fraud and mismanagement of funds. Armstrong claims he is innocent. The matter is further complicated by the fact that Armstrong is head of the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI), a think tank that has had enormous sway in communion matters, including the present crisis. The ACI seems to be distancing themselves from Armstrong and his troubles. In the last few days Grace Church and Armstrong have left The Episcopal Church and gone under the overseas protection of CANA (church of Nigeria). It’s a complete mess. It is unclear if Armstrong is guilty or innocent. It is clear that Bishop O’Neil has handled everything very badly. I await further news.
However, the icing on the cake (this morning, for me) is that the organist of Grace Church is making the bold decision to stay in the Episcopal Church and is try to take chunks of the choir with him. This is fabulous. I can number on one finger the number of good clergy/organist relationships I’ve witnessed in the church (that would be our present one at Good Shepherd). We even role played in seminary how, as clergy we should talk to the church organist. It is the one major power center in the church that consistently vies with the rector. As an outside ignorant observer, it is a big red flag to me that the organist is there, having sway, taking people with him. That Armstrong wouldn’t have consolidated power and got rid of people who were happy to undercut him seems unwise. I’m sorry to say it, but there are power issues always at play in the church and the rector has to be aware of who has power and what they’re trying to do with it. It just seems like there are so many problems in this church. I guess it should be no surprise to find sin, even in good orthodox churches. After all, we’re all fallen, we’re all mucking in this together, we’re not always going to do the righteous and holy thing, even if we have our theology all lined up in the right order. My prayers are with Fr. Armstrong and his church and even Bishop O’Neil. I hope the truth comes to light swiftly and graciously and good wise decisions can be made to heal this broken mess.