1.  The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I spent a week in Tallahassee, Florida at an event called Boys' State.  It was put on by the American Legion (an association of foreign war veterans), and it was a government/civics-oriented thing.  The highlight, at least for me, was that you could get yourself "elected" to various positions in a faux state government, and then form up and go through the motions of being legislators and other politicians.  I got "elected" to the State Senate, and we deliberated in the actual Florida State Senate chambers, voted on proposed legislation, and all the rest.  I "served" the State Senate with my (still to this day) close friend Justin (now Father Justin, the Russian Orthodox priest), and we had a grand old time.

In addition to the legislative stuff, there was a great deal of, well, political content, for lack of a better term.  The biggest part of this was that we all had to prepare "Ame…

Observations from the Peanut Gallery

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church--where have you been all my life?  For someone who is into both politics and religion, it was squarely in my wheelhouse, and I found it fascinating and compelling on basically every level.  I was able to follow the progress of things primarily on Twitter, but also via periodically checking into the livestreams and following along with the materials from the Convention that were available to the public online (which were excellent, by the way).

Having watched from afar, I have some observations on the event that is (as of this writing) wrapping up.

1.  Democracy.  Throughout the course of the Convention, you would from time to time see people complaining on Twitter about a lack of access, or marginalization of this or that group, or how pervasive clericalism was in the Episcopal Church.  I want to avoid as much as possible discounting people's experiences along those lines, but as someone who recently came over from the Roman Catholic C…

Some More Thoughts on the Language for God

In a previous post, I mentioned that inclusive (or rather, in what is apparently the preferred form, "expansive") language was in the hopper at the Episcopal Church's General Convention, as part of the proposal for beginning the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer.  The proposal to revise the BCP, with explicit instructions to include expansive language, passed the House of Delegates, and was awaiting consideration by the House of Bishops.  This has provoked great discussion online, much of it good and some of it less so.

To that end, a memorial was offered, with an impressive number of signatories.  I agree with most of what is stated in the memorial.  But I stop short at this paragraph, which is likely seen by the authors as the lynchpin of the whole project:

We affirm that the Trinitarian language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not simply metaphorical but is an important part of the inheritance of the catholic faith grounded in the revelation of Jesus, who…

Quick Hitter: Christendom as a Form of Empire

A quick sort-of digression, and then to my main point.  I am part of the formation of a new religious community within the Episcopal Church, known as the Community of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer (CMMR).  It will be officially founded in September, and I will be saying much more about it in these electronic pages in the coming months.  There are numerous reasons why I am excited about this project, but one of them is how clear the theological vision behind the community is.  If you could summarize the charism for this community down to one sentence, it would be that "a fundamental component of the Christian message is opposition to Empire in all of its forms, and our mission is to equip and form disciples in resistance to Empire."

Which of course raises the question--"what do you mean by 'Empire'?"  At the risk of defining something in relation to some other complex concept, I would say that "Empire" is a synonym for Rene Girard's concept of &…

"Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends"--Marriage and General Convention

Three summers ago, all of the news reports out of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church was "the Episcopal Church approves same sex marriage."  One might have thought that this would be the end of the matter, but, indeed, it is back on the agenda for the 2018 General Convention kicking off in Austin, Texas in a couple of weeks.  For those not following this matter closely, here is the primer.  The vehicle by which same sex marriage approval was accomplished was two-fold.  First, GC15 approved a change to the canons of the church that explicitly authorizes clergy to marry same sex couples.  This change retained the provision that a clergyperson has an essentially unconstrained right to refuse to marry any couple.  Thus, an Episcopal priest or bishop who does not support same-sex marriage can never be forced to marry a same sex couple, as they could always use the general opt-out provided for in the canons.

Second, GC15 approved a group of liturgies that were gender n…

Quick Thoughts on Cardinal McCarrick

In the last few days, a bombshell story has dropped that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been suspended from ministry as a result of a "credible allegation" of unwanted sexual contact with a minor when he was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.  Here are some unorganized reactions.

1.  Don't Take Your Eye Off the Ball.  I have a prediction--not based on any secret evidence, just a hunch--that the victim who made a "credible accusation of abuse" is male, and was a teenager at the time the event occurred.  Fifteen, sixteen, maybe even seventeen, something like that.  [Edit: turns out I was right]  When that comes to light, and it will, there will be a segment of people who will say "see, this is what gay men do," and others who will say "well, jeeze, I mean, it's not really a kid, right?"

Both of those takes are wrong and beside the point.  The relevant mental category for assessi…

That's Not How Any of This Works

I've been living to see you.
Dying to see you, but it shouldn't be like this.
This was unexpected,
What do I do now?
Could we start again please?
I've been very hopeful, so far.
Now for the first time, I think we're going wrong.
Hurry up and tell me,
This is just a dream.
Oh could we start again please?

"Could We Start Again, Please?"  Jesus Christ Superstar.

I’ve had folks tell me they get tired of me talking like I do now. That’s more than fair, cause I’m tired of talking about the things I talk about too, & even more tired of thinking about the things I think about. Frankly, I want to crawl back under the covers & go back to sleep. — Jonathan Martin (@theboyonthebike) June 18, 2018
Look man, I try to be nice. But some of y’all make me bang my head against the wall, acting like it’s business as usual, like we aren’t riding shotgun on the titanic. What do you have to lose with your “platform”? Afraid you’ll not get to be a footnote on Wikipedia? — Jonathan Ma…