Thursday, June 28, 2012


Eventually we will all "have to choose a side". Despite all the human flaws incumbent with the history of humanity, even the cynic must realize that one force is at least "less evil" than the other, and that the course of history is writ as one small imperfect victory, for justice and liberty, after another. We have to choose between the forces which perpetuate greed and injustice, or the forces of the also flawed, who in spite of their flaws still say, "Yes, I am my brother's keeper and all humans are entitled to justice in the face of the perpetration of greed and poverty for the sake of servicing the greed."

I remain convinced that this is an act of faith which leads me, as a terribly flawed Christian, to the cross of decision, and the act of faith which leads me to also take up the cross of social conscience and action. This is the very least of compassionate awareness and faithfulness which compels me to act, if nothing more than simply being the appropriate Christian response to the sacred compassion of Jesus giving himself to the cross for me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Matthew 19: 13-22

Today's Office gospel reading is from Matthew where the rich young man asks Jesus what is required for him to "attain eternal life". Jesus replies follow the commandments and "love your neighbor", to which the young man replies, "I have." Jesus says to him to then sell all he has and give the money to the poor and the man goes away very sad for he was very wealthy.

As I read this at Morning Prayer it struck me that the attainment of "eternal life" is the life then experienced as a life of respecting the life around me, as the commandments describe it and loving my neighbor. These are acts of giving, giving respect and giving love to my neighbor. Yet there is more. Jesus calls me to surrender all my wealth for the sake of his love, the love of eternal life. Jesus calls me to surrender what ever it is I value, whatever those things are which I would upon place a greater value than the love of my neighbor, the love of God. They could be monetary, they could be material possessions, they could be my time, talents or my sense of ego, all these things could be things which impede my capacity to more fully love and care for all of God's gifts in creation. I believe for me, today's gospel reading reminds me that the attainment of the eternal life is in the eternal giving away of those things I stubbornly persist in believing to be "mine" and to remember I truly own nothing, as All belong to God and to God alone. To share in the eternal life then could be to share in the practice of The Eternal One, to lovingly continue to strive to give all away, as love requires of me, especially those things I would persist in hoarding.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gospels and Creeds

I finally figured it out.

I love the liturgy, the rituals and the wondrous logic of my Anglican tradition. But, I've always had at least some difficulty with the creedal aspects of church, any and all churches. Though sometimes, I admit, "some difficulty" does include a stretch of time where I would not, could not, say the Apostolic or Nicene Creeds, for some 25 plus years.

Why? Well there was difficulty with the idea of "believing" so many things of which I had no clue about, or of which my God given rational "wise as serpents" brain had difficulty accepting. Besides, there is very little Gospel actually being related through the Creeds. Eventually, I set aside the sanctity of my brain aside and began saying the Creeds as an act of devotional humility, and as a concession that indeed I don't know everything and I could be wrong, maybe, possibly. OK, but there was still something and elementally missing in the Creeds which made them difficult for me. Then someone said something which pegged the problem for me.

I can't remember the man's name but he said, "The problem with the Creeds is they reduce the life of Jesus to a period, a punctuation mark between, '...born of the Virgin Mary,' PERIOD, and 'He suffered under Pontius Pilate."

That's it. For me that's the problem. Jesus' whole life: his works, his teachings, and his directions are reduced to a punctuation mark, which means also The Gospel is reduced to a punctuation mark. The Creeds are about beliefs. The Gospels are about activities. Correct me if I'm wrong, which I'm sure I can rely on, but aside from saying we should believe Jesus, Jesus didn't talk about belief as a series of cognitive assertions. He didn't say much either about what we shouldn't believe for that matter.

I guess this is what makes me so much less a creedal guy and so much more a Gospel guy. Jesus seems to focus on what we should be doing: loving God and all of creation and all humanity, along with praying, forgiving, healing, feeding, and providing those things which people need. Yet Jesus also doesn't say we do these good works to gain God's love and favor, we do these good works because we know God and know God's loving favor, to which we respond in returning God's blessings to all. I think God's gifts to us only become real blessings when we offer thanksgiving for them, then take them, break them, and give them away into the communion of humanity and creation.

This seems to me like an awful lot to squeeze into one punctuation mark.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcoming The Society of Jesus Compassionate

On last Saturday, June 9, 2012, my voice joined three others in what we believe to be a resounding, "Yes!" to the Holy Spirit's calling.

For several months beforehand a prayer had come forth from my meditations, "Loving Holy Spirit, grant me courage to hear your voice and the humility and heart to follow you." At first the prayer came occasionally, then daily until over the last few weeks it seemed the prayer was in my heart and mind through out the day.

"Loving Holy Spirit, grant me courage to hear your voice, and the humility and heart to follow you."

It's a funny little prayer as it requests nothing too specific but which has an intention which is crystal clear and undeniable.

"Loving Holy Spirit, grant me courage to hear your voice, and the humility and heart to follow you."

I believe, last Saturday in the smallest conference room in a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, four Episcopalians, after much discernment, prayer and conversation, heard the voice of Spirit calling us to follow her. With I believe, much humility and with full hearts, we said yes to her, and set ourselves to follow her, in giving ourselves to the formation of The Society of Jesus Compassionate.

I even felt a little "fear and trembling".

Between Morning Prayer and Eucharist, we four men, a priest and three laypersons, agreed to a very simple rule and vows, and in exchanging these vows agreed to being Vowed Companions to Our Lord Jesus Compassionate, companions to each other, and to all we meet on, as Brother Chad put it, "the road to Emmaus." We are given to a life of compassionate prayer and compassionate living, all following the example of our Master Jesus, "for" as Matthew recalls, "he had compassion."

We are foundlings in a nascent community. We will make mistakes. Eventually, in spite of our best intentions, as we are what we are, all living "under the sun" of Ecclesiastes, we will hurt each other. We will forgive each other too, and still will have hope in each other's companionship through the love and fellowship of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We will love each other as we pray together, work together and find rest together.

On behalf of my Brothers: Chad, Charlie, Father Robert James, and myself, we ask for your prayers as we set out on the road to Emmaus.

"Loving Holy Spirit, grant me courage to hear your voice, and the humility and heart to follow you."

May this prayer never leave my heart and never be far from my lips. Amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I have a sense, a notion, that full integration of spirit and body, of prayer and work, contemplative and active, is what being a mystic is truly about, rather than the idea of being one who simply resides in the ethers. I am convinced that this is important in fully realizing the incarnation in ourselves.

It is seemingly a great struggle, and it is in the western mindset. Yet, as immensely powerful as that mindset is, that's all it is, a mindset; one to be transformed and restored to it's proper perspective of wisdom in the Spirit. Or as Paul puts it, we have a mindset to repent of, to be turned around back to the mindset of Jesus, of She the Spirit Incarnate.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Capitolism" Does Have a Nice Ring To It Though

"Conservatives" are never good for national economies, good times or bad, as they only want to conserve their stranglehold on wealth. These professional "conservative" politicians and preachers function as agents for the wealthy elites, who have no desire to remove any more wealth than what they deem "necessary" from their clutches. If economies grow, then wealth is being removed from their clutches and then is distributed among the general populations, which is in truth, the sole purpose of capitalism: to generate flow of wealth through a society. Yet the wealthy elites, powers and principalities, would strangle economies for their purposes and strangle the individuals who make up economies. Think about this. This is not capitalism.

Poverty is collateral damage. Poverty is warfare. Poverty is violence. Poverty has never been God's will, as some think, or chance, or survival of "the fittest". Poverty has always been violence manufactured and sustained by human hands. Even by mine.

God help me, I have been so freaking thick. Mea Culpa.