To Some, To Others, To Me

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ballot boxSitting, as I normally do, outside each morning at my local Starbucks, I have the opportunity to become the unwilling recipient of various conversations. This is not something I seek, and on the whole, I try and block out these unwanted interruptions, but today’s conversation I found interesting, especially in light of our upcoming presidential election.

I overheard two elderly men  talking about their life and friends, and how the housing market has taken a major downturn, typical stuff I thought, trying to tune out the conversation, minding my own business, until I heard one gentleman bring up the subject of Sarah Palin. He was under the impression that “they” were trying to lam blast the Governor of Alaska, and using everything “they” could use to discredit her. One guy exclaimed that Palin was “spunky.” An other attempted to discredit her critics saying that George Bush had no experience when he was elected, so it was perfectly alright for Palin to assume the job, a heartbeat away from the President of the United States. I also overheard it said that they were not too thrilled with McCain, but Palin was alright – here endeth my snoopiness. Read More »

Look, Disbelief, Immanent %*$#& CRASH!

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Last Friday, late morning was spent doing something I have always enjoyed; introducing people to things which might change their perception of the world, and expanding their knowledge. I took a young student to visit the Japanese Garden, Huntington Library, and GardensHuntington, to experience the grounds (see picture of the Japanese Garden), and to see the beauty of the grand old house with its collection of furniture and paintings – it was his first view of English portraiture and all this entails.

The late afternoon was an experience in total opposition, in direct relation to the yinyang as while driving my friend home, a car darted out in front of me, crossing the free flow of traffic – a realization that the car was not going to make it, and that we were going to hit the car head on. Adjusting my trajectory, I was able to avoid hitting the driver’s side, smashing into the front of the car. In a moment the airbags explode, and we sit dazed for a moment waiting for reality to gain speed with the moment. A quick check inside showed that we were not injured. Read More »

Prop. 8: I Noticed . . .

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Recently, while attending a conference about Music and Community, I learned a most wonderful exercise called, “I Noticed”. It is a technique we used to describe an experience, and to share with others how something effected the experience. I have decided to use this technique concerning what I have noticed surrounding Proposition 8:

singlebörse leverkusen I noticed in the recent LA Times article covering a prayer service provided by a “mega-church” in San Mega-Church Publicity ShotDiego, that all of the people featured in the picture were middle class white people. This picture made known the realization that most people supporting Proposition 8 were Caucasian, and that through the commercials propagating half truths, no people of color were represented.

christian dating personals I noticed that almost all the people involved in favor of Proposition 8 would fight tooth and nail to prevent a Muslim suggesting that mention be made of Allah, yet have no trouble pushing their concept of a deity upon others, in direct conflict with the concept of the separation of Church and State, a doctrine written into the Constitution to prevent a Theocracy (a nation defined by the state’s view of religious beliefs). Read More »

Michael’s Ordination

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Celtic Cross with CloudsUnlike other ordinations, the Bishop of Los Angeles had decided to ordain Michael at his home church, the one where he has lead the praish since the abrupt departure of it’s Rector approximately three years ago.

Three years ago, Michael entered the Episcopal Church as a refugee from the Church of the Nazarene, totally unsure of what the Episcopal was, but as a pastor, he had known the local rector, and they used to chat. It was during these chats that Michael began a walk in the wilderness, and this journey led him to St. Wilfrid of York in Huntington Beach.

His is a journey of the spirit, and today, along with almost 400 people, we were witness the the laying of hands by the bishop making him priest in the Episcopal Church. I was around him for much of his journey, and he’s been very supportive of my ministry. He came to the church knowing that something broader was calling him. He was exposed to committed Gay Christians for the first time, and I watched him grow and learn, and pray. He eventually broke the no same-sex blessing rule at St. Wilfrid, acting in a confident, but supporting manner to lead the congregation to accept this as an outpouring of the community’s love for a couple from within their own. Read More »

From the Diocese of Los Angeles

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Diocese LogoDear Sisters and Brothers,

The Supreme Court of California has determined that all citizens of our state should have equal access to marriage as a civil right based in our state constitution. The Court’s ruling provides the Church with an opportunity to reflect on our own theology of marriage. In the Diocese of Los Angeles, we have sought to provide the Church’s blessing to all the baptized people of God.

Among those are people who have sought to have same-sex relationships blessed in the community of faith. I know that the acceptance of same-sex unions has caused spiritual struggle and questioning for some members of our Diocese, our Church and the Anglican Communion. My policy has been to allow clergy to respond to the needs of their community with pastoral sensitivity including the blessing of these unions as they deem appropriate to the pastoral context.

Earlier this year, when the court made same-sex marriage an option in civil law, I felt it necessary to convene a task force to develop a diocesan policy by which clergy in our Diocese might officiate at same-sex marriages. The task force has developed educational materials that I hope will help you and members of our Diocese to reflect on the issues involved in same sex-marriage as we discern our way forward.

I hope that all clergy in our Diocese might educate our congregations about marriage and have conversations about it.
Performing and blessing these marriages is not simply theoretical. There are real people in congregations large and small who have waited sometimes for many years for this opportunity, and the witness of their faithful love has been an inspiration to me. Other couples will step forward in the future. I hope you will take the opportunity in the next several weeks to listen to their stories. Many among these couples are members of our congregations.
While no one in this Diocese will be forced to move beyond what his or her conscience allows, we seek to provide that gracious space for those whose conscience compels them to bless the marriages of all faithful people as together we discern the work of the Holy Spirit who continues to lead us into all truth.
Your Brother in Christ,
J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles

You Can, You Are

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National Coming Out Day Service, 2008

National Coming Out Day

After two services at the church were I am on staff, St. George’s in La Canada, I was walking out the office door when I was stopped by my rector, Amy Pringle, who gave me this big deep hard hug saying that everything would work out fine. I pulled back and said, “I just want people to know God loves them.” When I said this emotions welled up so deeply that my voice cracked, and I flew out the door.

We all stood around the baptismal font outside, we gathered ourselves with words, the two officiants rededicated the doors of the church to welcome all people, including those of different orientations. Once in the church we sang, and we heard six unique coming out stories from ages 17 – 80. We were admonished by a young teenager to stop the bickering over the importance of human sexuality or will shall loose a generation, we were told by a a wife and mother, and one who came out later in life, now married to her partner, that a journey like this can be a blessing, we heard from a young man that he has been showed nothing by love by his church, and from another that he has come from the confusion of pre-stonewall, and no one speaking of same sex attraction to his own fullness as a human being, and finally we heard a story of continuing growth in a journey not yet completed, living through the pains of the Gay Liberation movement to this moment, with a voice caught up in tears, fulfilling a fantasy he once had, speaking from the pulpit saying his name, and that he is Gay…….Powerful stuff. Read More »

Music that Makes Community

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For the past two days (a three day conference), I’ve been attending a music conference put together by the All Saint’s Company, a adjunct ministry from St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, the forerunners of many liturgical innovations, which in this case, is going back to the roots of using music to form community with having people locked into staring at music they can’t read anyway. Those of us who CAN read music like when we can get our eyes away from the page to feel the pulse and the breath of the creation of musical sharing; it seems to work on many levels.

By using arm gestures, and music simple enough to learn, but dense in meaning, people are taught to not only teach music quickly, but enable others, without the need of a piano, organ, or for that matter, lyrics to instantly create singable music, turning space into an instant liturgical experience.  You can see this happen from a video I found on YouTube. If you follow the link, you will see music happen, this is not rehearsed, you can watch and hear the music unfold. The music can also be more energetic as in this example. Using this technique the congregation is an active paricipant, and creates singable music together, and what does this do? It forms COMMUNITY! Read More »

Prop 8 Facts vs. the Commercial

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Fiction vs. the Facts

Fiction: People can be sued over personal beliefs.

dating sites for rich people Fact: California’s laws already prohibit discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This has nothing to do with marriage.

Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status.

arabic dating sites Fact: Nothing in Prop 8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding marriage specifically says “no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

Fiction: Same-sex marriage would be taught in public schools.

black herpes dating sites Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it. A Sacramento Superior Court judge has already ruled that this claim by the proponents of Prop 8 is “false and misleading.” In fact, the “case” that is cited in the ad is from Massachusetts…the proponents knew what California law said, so they used another state, again to mislead voters.

Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…

Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts and judges, it’s about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn’t grant the right, the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an outdated and stale argument that judges aren’t supposed to protect rights and freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a fundamental right for one group of citizens.

Regardless of how you feel about the issue, we should not eliminate fundamental rights for ANY Californians. Please vote NO on Prop 8.

So…I went to work today…

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So, I went to work today, Sunday, a day in which we had planned to gear towards children (it was also a day when my Gloria and Fraction Anthem was to be sung), and before the 10am service, my rector comes over to me to say that her printer was acting up and could not print out the pictures for her Children’s Homily. Knowing I have a background in theater and dance, she asks if I could do a movement improve based on the story of St. Francis. Read More »

A Sermon Wordle’d!

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I came across a site that created what it calls “word clouds” based upon certain words used. I decided to take a text of one of my sermons and see what it came up with. I did not choose the colors, I just let the program make the image, I thought I’d share what wordle did. It was based on Matthew 14:13-21:

A Wordle Text Cloud

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