Monday, February 21, 2011

Walking in the Snow

This Friday when we all got home from either school or work we all went (to include the dogs) on a beautiful walk. It was sunny and exceptionally warm, so we donned light layers and mud boots to traverse the deep ravines of melted snow. When we got to the bike path we hit deep snow that hasn't melted much, so we sank in, but we all had fun and our little dog showed no signs of quitting or distress. We came home tired but happy.

We repeated this walk Sunday afternoon, only now with heavier layers and snow boots, because the cold winds had returned. We'd walked to the pinnacle, enjoyed the view, and then started to head back. We decided to go down this steep trail, which for the kiddos and even the adults was the best part of the walk since it required sliding down on our butts. The trail was a glaze of ice, and none too friendly to the bum, but we all laughed and ouched our way down. And we came home tired but happy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breathing and Praying Through All the Unknowns

To say that my wife and I are a little stressed would be a very accurate statement. My wife has started her research and organizing what she finding so she can track where she can apply, when, and what all. But as a teacher most places don't start posting positions until May/June, and even into July. And then there's the whole need to worry about sexual orientation since it's the South we're planning to return to.

I really don't know what we'll do if she doesn't have a job. It scares the crap out of me, and her too. We're trying not to let the worry show around the kids and to only talk job search stuff in positive tones around them.
We're both having weird dreams fueled I imagine by internalized stress.

I try to remind myself that I've had this sense of God calling me to the priesthood, and I've always had a sense of the very big picture: Leave-be-come back, listen and follow and it'll all be okay. Not much of a road map, not much in the reassurance department; kinda like the company founded on the back of a napkin type of road map.
But, I'm scared and I really want my wife to find a good job, and to find one soon.

I'm worried too that we've gotten used to our sexual orientation not being an issue, but that's only been partly true of our time spent in the land of civil unions and civil marriage. We've also encountered out right homophobia amongst our neighbors, blatant actually whereas in the South it was shall we say more discreet.

I'm worried that my wife might bare the brunt of the homophobia amongst other seminarians or their spouses. I hold onto the time when we visited, and knew that there were those not so inclined to want my kind/our kind of being around, but that there were also those who were glad I/we wanted to be there. That both of us felt like this was where we belonged.

Just writing this post, I can feel the anxiety building, the deep breathes needed for calm, and keeping lunch down :)

Part of me feels guilty for doubting, part of me isn't sure how I'll respond if things aren't "and all shall be well." So, I'm praying and breathing and listening (or at least trying to listen through my anxiety). Yesterday, I was thinking about the sermon I'll be writing in mid-March and the tension began to leave my body and this sense of rightness began to fill me, and I sat with those emotions.

And all shall be well, and all shall be well.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Death, Hate, and a Response

I'm glad to see the Bishops of the Episcopal Church are beginning to respond to David Kato's death.

Statement on the murder of David Kato
The Right Reverend Thomas Clark Ely
February 1, 2011

           On January 26, David Kato, a leader in a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Ugandans was brutally murdered in his home in Mukono, Uganda. While police are treating the murder as the result of a robbery, Kato’s friends and associates, as well as supporters outside Uganda, believe the fatal beating was an act of hate likely inspired by the current anti-gay climate in Uganda. Kato, an Anglican, had received death threats, particularly since October 2010, when his picture appeared on the front page of a newspaper with the headline "100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak," and a banner reading "Hang Them."

           Vermont Episcopalians are fortunate to live in a state where our baptismal call to “respect the dignity of every human being” is reflected in our laws and, for the most part, in our social environment. In Uganda, on the other hand, one can be put in prison for life for being LGBT, and even more draconian legislation that would impose the death penalty has been proposed.

           Our good fortune could easily lead to complacency, but I believe it is instead a charge—almost a command—to stand in solidarity with those in Uganda and all parts of the world whose lives are endangered and diminished for who they are as LGBT human beings. It is a charge to speak out and call upon our political and religious leaders to do all in their power to bring an end to the climate of hate and fear that affects so many of our sisters and brothers around the world.

           Unfortunately, church leaders, including some in the Anglican Communion, have been complicit in creating that climate of hate and fear. I am grateful that others have spoken out in opposition. I join with them in an emphatic call for both church and society to respect the dignity of all God’s children. And, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu would say, ALL, ALL, ALL are God’s beloved.

           President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and many of the world’s political leaders have condemned Kato’s murder and the anti-gay climate in which it took place. Many have encouraged them to be sensitive to LGBT asylum seekers who attempt to enter the US. I support that effort.
           Responding to Kato’s murder, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said, "No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others…. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."    

           Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Kato's murder "deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God's children."

           Please join Bishop Katharine and me in praying for David Kato, for those living in fear because of who they are, and for a heart of flesh to take hold in those who would persecute their fellow children of God because of who they are drawn to love.

Vesting for Services

A couple Sundays ago my Pastor told me that I'll now need to vest for all of the services; we have 3 of them. So, this past Sunday I did. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. So I made sure to be in bed at a decent time; I had a light breakfast with a cup of coffee; and gave myself plenty of time to relax into my morning before needing to head off to church.

I vested as usual only now I sit in a different place then from when I was an EM, but I still chalice bare. I noticed that the sermon held me at all the same places each time, and how depending on which service it was there were slight changes. I found myself reminding myself of something I'll need to remember for myself, which was/is - this is the first time they're hearing this. Be available as though this isn't the second, third time around.

I enjoyed each coffee hour especially the "middle one" since I was able to eat some yogurt and have some juice, and I got to visit with those who stayed, then it was time to re-vest. The last coffee hour was nice since I got to see people I don't normally get to on Sundays.

I wondered how my energy would be, and it was good. I didn't feel exhausted or tired or cranky. I was a little hungry and thirsty so I'll have to figure that one out better. But, I did feel as though I was fully present and actually energized.

I'll meet soon with my Pastor to talk about when and how many sermons I'll give. This has me nervous :) because I want to give a really good sermon(s), and who wouldn't. I'm still trying to figure out how much of me goes in, how much commentary goes in, how much of a call to action/re-action goes in...and will it be good enough to stick for longer then it takes to get to the car door.