This is the view across the freshly plowed fields, with the acequia (irrigation ditch) in the lower left foreground.
This is a different perspective, looking down the road between the fields. This is the route i travel every morning when i leave home to go to work.
And this is the eastward view about 20 feet from our front gate. You can see our neighbor's vineyard in middle of this picture, just in front of the trees.
So what do you think? Our state's not nicknamed the Land of Enchantment for nothing, huh?
I wanted to get some pictures of the local roadrunners, quail, toads and rabbits, but none of them apparently felt like cooperating. I'll keep trying!
Here's a taste:
Since 2003 the conservative Provinces and groups within our own church have been demanding our repentance. Well, friends, what we saw here was repentance in action. Not the sack cloth and ashes, do-you-still-love-me kind. No, this was the repentance that happens when one wakes up and realizes that we have been distracted from listening for God and following God's call to us. This kind of repentance leads to faithful resolve, hope in the face of adversity and trust in the midst of uncertainty. What we are experiencing is the kind of repentance that strengthens and builds up the Body of Christ.Another must-read from the Admiral of Morality includes this:
Our reception and responses are being noted by many around the country and abroad. Though this attention may give some pause, we must welcome it as an opportunity to let all know that wherever they are and wherever they have been, The Episcopal Church welcomes them.
If they ask us why we do this, we need to let them know the simple answer: we do this not in our name, but in the Lord's. He long ago exercised the right of eminent domain and claimed this Church as His.
While reading through the resolutions, my eyes grew larger and the anxiety i've felt over the Primates' Communique calmed. However, i must also admit to mixed feelings.
i reside in a Network diocese, and my Bishop, Jeffrey Steenson, has been clear in his committment that membership in the WWAC trumps membership in TEC. To quote from his meesage in March's diocesan newletter:
In an either/or situation, I believe this diocese would choose to stand with the Communion, understanding that our constitution itself requires this of us.Since our constitution only refers once to the Anglican Communion, and then only to say that our membership in it derives from our constituent membership in TEC, i think he's stretching what is in our constitution quite a bit. But at least he makes it clear where his heart lies.
Within our diocese, there are three parishes (out of 64) which i'd call progressive. The rest are centrist or conservative. Several folks i've talked with have the distinct impression that many of the centrist parishes have been moving further to the right since +Jeffrey's consecration in 2005. i have no way of knowing if their impressions are correct, but i know that my parish, St. Michael & All Angels is witnessing incoming transfers of some very hurt people from formerly centrist parishes.
So, back to my mixed feelings. While i applaud the Bishops' resolutions as a much needed and welcome step, i wonder as to the effect in my own diocese. Will our Bishop tack even more clearly to the right, and will that result in more of my faithful brothers and sisters from other parishes fleeing to the safe harbours of St. Michael's or St. Thomas of Canterbury's, or St. Bede's? While i'm sure they will be lovingly welcomed, i hate to see them in pain.
What if, what if. I know - give it to God. i think Radner was on the right track about one thing - trust has been damaged & trust needs to be restored. Only instead of trust in our WWAC counterparts, or in the ABC, or any other human institution, it's trust in God to lead us forward that needs to be restored. Everything else will flow from that.
The world needs a church that doesn’t see the Bible as a rule-book, but as a chronicle of a sacred journey. The world needs a church that isn’t exclusive and triumphant about the uniqueness of Christ, but knows that other religious and spiritual paths also lead to God. The world needs a church that understands that what matters in relationships is not outmoded taboos based on ignorance, but the quality of love – commitment, responsibility, respect, devotion, self-sacrifice, truth, and faith. The world needs a church that is willing to be open to fresh understanding about God and humanity that comes from the Spirit.
Finally, we are called to task for having dared to stand on our own about all this, in spite of the opposition of so many throughout the Anglican Communion and other churches. We are told that we are arrogant and insensitive; we should repent. The assumption here is that the opinion of the greatest number of people in the Body of Christ must be, by the weight of sheer numbers, the voice of God.
The majority is not always right. The majority sometimes does terrible things in the name of God. Sometimes the only expression of truth is the voice of the one crying in the wilderness. I believe that in this case, the Episcopal Church is that prophetic voice. We are speaking truth to a world that needs to hear it. And we shall probably receive a prophet’s reward for it, as Jesus warned us. We will be sacrificed. But that’s how God moves the world forward, by the way of the cross.
This viewpoint is certainly not out of character for our parish. It was surprising to many to hear Fr. Brian address the situation facing TEC during his sermon, since as he himself stated:
I don’t like to dwell on this too much, because we’ve got more important things to do here: to develop our faith and minister to God’s people in need.Judging from the comments i heard from others after the service, we're all grateful that he chose to take the opportunity this Sunday. Your can read his entire sermon here.
| How could God need sin to fulfill His will? |
It was a sin to crucify Jesus.
First off, let me confess some of my own basic assumptions:
- I don’t accept the concept of substitutionary atonement as it’s usually outlined by, say, Fundamentalist Christians.
- While I view sin as real, I see it as a turning away from God and not primarily as some inborn moral failing that requires our shame and self-loathing.
- The capacity to sin exists because God wanted creatures that had the capacity to choose to love Her/Him and that required free will. Therefore, we have the ability to turn toward God and embody His plan for us, or to turn away and serve the idols of our own making.
- Jesus, the Christ, as portrayed in the Bible and historical Christian tradition is the only human who has been without sin and who perfectly embodied God. I understand ‘without sin’ to mean that he never turned away from God in thought, word, or deed.
Fast forward to the Christ’s sacrifice.
Christ was crucified by an oppressive government, with the encouragement & insistence of the religious authorities of His day. His core messages were to love God beyond all else and to love each other as ourselves. Christ’s refusal to turn away either in word or deed from this message of the God He embodied directly threatened the underpinnings of their power over others. The bible makes it clear that Jesus knew that his death would be the outcome demanded by the Romans and the Pharisees/Sadducees.
My understanding of the crucifixion continues to evolve and change. Right now I don’t see it as primarily a Paschal sacrifice, or a triumph over death. Instead I’m seeing it as an example of an unrelenting adherence to living & proclaiming an empowering love that can change the world, doing so despite fear and even when it requires knowingly facing death.
Then again, i am mad, not unlike a certain priest you may be acquainted with. What do i know?