Sunday, February 25, 2007

My glass is more than half full.

A few years ago, when picking my daughter from school about 1 1/2 hours away, I got caught in a spring storm. This storm left the road slushy with a layer of ice beneath. I guess I was pushing it a bit for all of a sudden the rear of my van decided to try and make it to the city before the front and the front objected. I don't know how many circles we made but I do remember doing everything I could to get the van back in control. At one point I realized, amazingly calmly for me, that I had done all I could and I would just have deal with what happened when the van finally came to a stop. I remember trying to avoid the thought of just what the situation could be if we actually hit something or if the van rolled. But I hung on to the steering wheel and waited it out. We ended up, without rolling or crashing, in a farmer's field facing the highway. My daughter looked at me and in all seriousness said, "I don't like it here Mom. Could you please drive on the highway now." And here I thought she wanted to take the scenic and adventurous route!

I keep feeling like that with the current situation. Around and around we go, and it doesn't matter what I do, I have no control. I will have to deal with the situation when we finally land. I hate not having at least some input, some say in something that affects my future. I can only pray and hope. All sorts of images of possible futures flash through my mind - some good, some bad. But the reality is that I don't know where it will stop or how it will look.

But that's not entirely true. I do know that it will stop when GLBTQ have their relationships blessed by the church and when active homosexuals are fully accepted as deacons, priests, and deacons. My problem is that I want it NOW! This issue is not going to go away. It will come back and back again and again until there is full acceptance. Those of us who believe in the full inclusion of all of God's people will not be still or quiet and time is on our side. I take comfort in the fact that my older children reached an acceptance of homosexuality before I did, separate from my own journey. My younger daughter is already outspoken on the issue. My younger son will make up his own mind but let's face it, he hears me rant and rave about the issue enough that there is really only one possible outcome.

I would wish for change to come immediately. I doubt that it will. But I do know that it will and then it will be like slavery. We, as Christians, will look back and wonder how we could ever have treated humanbeings that way. It is this knowledge that keeps me going. It is this knowledge that gives me peace when I get a "little" over-excited about happenings in the Communion.

In the meantime, I will keep my mind on what I preached this morning. I will keep my focus on God, God's Word, and what is revealed about God's desire for all creation.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Desert Time

This week has been extremely hard on me. After looking at initial happenings at the Primates meeting, I started to hope that there might be some way forward without people such as me having to sacrifice their integrity. Recent correspondence with my bishop has left me wondering if there really is a place for me in this diocese. I don’t know how to communicate the isolation I feel out here. Basically, I am on my own.

I know that anyone in rural ministry feels this isolation but usually there are occasional gatherings they can go to in order to feel connected to their diocese. I can go to these gatherings, but I know no longer feel accepted or connected. I actually have a closer connection to the various denominations in my immediate community including Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Roman Catholic (and of course the regular suspects – Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United). These are the ones that are encouraging me to stay. These are the ones that value my gifts and ministry. The people I meet everyday on the street and in the coffee shop who have little or no connection to a church call upon me to remain as they know they have someone to turn to if that is what they need. That means a lot to them and gives them a greater sense of security knowing that someone cares with no strings attached.

I have even considered applying for a parish in a different diocese. I actually find more support in that diocese than I do here. One of the positions that is opened is calling for a priest that is me to a tee. Every point they make is something that is one of my gifts. I have spent the week wavering back and forth.

I am not sure what the final outcome of this will be. I will probably stay although it will be at great cost to me. I feel that is what God is calling me to do as much as I have ranted at God this week for something different to be my calling.

Today, during my morning Lenten meditation, I read Luke 9:18-27. As is the practice when I am doing a version of Lectio Divina, I read the scripture through 3 times. Each time I had tears running down my face. What finally stood out for me was Peter’s answer to Jesus’ query- “Who do the crowds say that I am?” Peter responds, “The Messiah of God.” A few verses later Jesus tells his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?”

I know that to do anything thing other than what I am doing would be to lose myself. I have ranted and railed at a God who could allow such prejudice and blindness to the blessing in the presence of a number of people in the Church. I have even thought that if this is who God is, I have no choice but to leave and stop worshipping “him” because I can’t worship anything so destructive. I have considered leaving the Church.

The first thought that came across my mind was that I don’t believe in the God that the most conservative primates do. I believe in a loving creator. Right now, there is room in my church for me to celebrate that belief. I will remain as long as I can worship the God in which I believe.

It was after this that I did my morning meditation. The psalm was psalm 42 which appeared to express my mood quite nicely: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Then I focused on the above verses from Luke.

I am still not a happy camper by any stretch of the imagination. I am still angry at God – although I realize that the actions and words of the Primates are not necessarily God’s words but what they believe God is saying just as I believe that God is saying something different. I am in hiatus until GS in June. But I do accept my cross and I will not deny the person that the loving Creator created me to be. It took me nearly 40 years to discover that person and I praise God that I did. To turn my back on that person would be to follow humans rather than God. Psalm 139 (at least the first few sections of it) speaks to me daily.

When God called me to ordained ministry I knew it wouldn’t be easy because I certainly do not fit into a more “conservative” mold. God ask me to trust God then and so I will. It is not fitting that I run at the first sign of what seems to overwhelmingly tough times ahead. I will remain. I will trust. That shall be my cross but I will shoulder it willingly for the God that lovingly created me and gave me so many gifts and blessings. I will not throw God’s gifts and blessings back in God’s face by denying who I am. That would not honour God.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Proud to be a Canadian Anglican

The following is from the Anglican Journal.

"Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has lamented that while he and other primates currently meeting in Tanzania have seen stark images of poverty in the capital Dar Es Salaam their discussions will not focus on improving the lives of the poor but on divisions over human sexuality.
“I am going to a meeting with a gospel of hope and a preferential option for the poor and we are debating who is in and whom we are going to keep out,” said Archbishop Hutchison in a blog, or Internet diary entry, to young Canadian Anglicans at

Archbishop Hutchison, meanwhile, wrote in his blog that he has been praying “that we can truly listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church.” He said: “I believe in an inclusive church that has its doors open to all and that accepts and welcomes people regardless of the human definitions that we may place upon them – male/female, white/black, gay/straight … We run the danger of making the church a club for like-minded people rather than a place of refuge for the sinner and hope for the hurt and vulnerable.”

Archbishop Hutchison said his realization that the church was becoming out of sync with the realities of the world occurred to him during the drive to the conference centre, a beachfront hotel located an hour away from the Dar es Salaam airport.
“Despite being tired my eyes were wide open as we drove over dusty unkempt roads and through a sea of thousands upon thousands of people. Most were standing beside the road looking desperate and without hope,” he wrote. “Adults and children intermingled and behind them were some of the most dilapidated shacks that I had ever seen. For many these are the only houses they will ever know.”

Archbishop Hutchison’s lament echoes one by Archbishop Robin Eames, the newly-retired primate of the Church of Ireland, who also led the Lambeth Commission.
Interviewed by The Tablet, a Roman Catholic magazine, Archbishop Eames expressed disappointment at the way leaders of various factions in the Anglican Communion have behaved towards each other. “I have an image of a matchstick child starving in Africa and here are these robed figures going past arguing, and they don’t see the child looking for a bite to eat.”

I have always thought highly of ++Ted Scott and ++Michael Peers. With these comments ++Andrew Hutchison also gains my high respect. These are the true issues with which the Church should grapple. That would be working for the kin-dom not this constantly bickering over right belief and who is in or out (Both issues are ones of which God is the true judge, not humans. As humans we can only pray that we are acting true to God's desire. Since the gospel is one of love, I would think it pays us to err on the side of love.)

A Little Nagging Concern

Although I am somewhat optimistic about the WWAC after the release of the sub-committee’s report on TEC’s reflections and efforts on the Windsor Report, I am left with a little sense of something nagging at me. I’m not even sure if I can put it into words.

Of course, I’m not a great one for fully understanding phrasing and implications of reports so I may be misreading things. My sense, as I read the report and responses to it, is that it may be okay to leave TEC in the WWAC because it has decided not to move forward on the issue of human sexuality. Don’t get me wrong – I really am not an all or nothing type of person. I deal with compromises every day of my life. I am concerned, though, about the possible idea that the only way to stay in the WWAC is to stop forward movement on a matter of justice and human rights. I realize that putting it that way is moving out of the realm of concern for a number of people who think the matter is only scriptural in base and then point to the only relevant scriptures being less than ten texts rather than the Bible as a whole. As far as moral grounds, what is moral about ignoring matters of justice and human rights due to the fact that one perceives they are against a small number of texts of scripture when the a look at the Bible as a whole appears to negate the more traditional understandings of those texts?

Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham jail keeps running through my mind.

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. …

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. …

I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "An Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this 'hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

I guess that I was one of the few people in the Anglican Church of Canada that felt a small pang of regret when we reached a settlement on the residential school issue. It wasn’t that I really wanted the church as we knew to be dissolved, but it was the possibilities that existed if we did indeed need to rise out of the ashes. What shape would that church take based on lessons learned from the past? I knew it wouldn’t be easy but we also wouldn’t be clinging to the things that made teaching and acting the gospel of love so difficult to do. I didn’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water, but there was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what being a church really meant and what did we as Anglicans in Canada really want to do as a church.

As I listen to early reflections on the sub-committee’s report, it all seems to uphold the status quo. And for me, as for many of our gay brothers and sisters, the status quo is not acceptable. Where is the justice in maintaining the status quo that would see these brothers and sisters as not fully a part of our church. Although they are welcomed in the doors and at the communion table – both major signs of acceptance – they are not fully welcomed as long as there are aspects of our faith life from which they are barred. As long as we deny them the right to having their marriages blessed or to be ordained while in an active relationship (that is blessed by the church), we are not welcoming them fully into the church.

I applaud TEC’s attempts to respond to the Windsor Report while trying to maintain integrity with their own understanding of how the Spirit is moving them (and others) forward on the issue of human sexuality but it could come at the expense of a number of people and it is that which concerns me.

I end up in a tension. I want dearly for my gay friends to be fully accepted into the life of the church for I see God at work in their lives and God’s blessing in their relationships. But it is hard to move forward out of the wreckage of a past. I do value the WWAC and I do want to be a member for it, in many ways, facilitates carrying out Jesus’ commandment and commission to us all. But to do so at the expense of many that I have come to know and love calls into question what is more important. I remain torn but I have to admit that if I had to choose between maintaining the status quo and moving forward to create a more inclusive church the latter would take precedent.

Of course I need to remind myself that all this is pure speculation and that I am not aware of all that is happening. I do continue to pray.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Living God's Blessing

There is an open letter to General Synod. So far there are not many signatures from the prairies. I'm hoping that it's due to the fact it hasn't circulated much on the prairies yet.

Living God's Blessing

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

++Katharine Jefferts Shori

Susan Russel has a post on a recent talk given by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. I thought it was interesting because it resonates with what I posted on Justice or Gospel.

Episcopal Urban Caucus

"She rejected out of hand the misapprehension that we have to choose between the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. "I do not believe God has any patience with those who insist we must choose between evangelism and social justice. One cannot love God and our neghbor without doing both," she said. "Scripture tells us that we cannot love God who we don't see if we don't love our neighbors who we do."

I used this quote in a sermon on Sunday.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

PS. I'm finally starting to get the sense of the link thingy. I'm not completely there yet but it is coming. And I haven't even had to get my computer whiz son to help me. I'm getting better with age - 47 years, 1 week and counting.


I was just at Mad Priest's blog. He's posted this and I thought it worked well for praying and meditating on what is happening in Tanzania.

What the world needs now.

Love and Prayers,

Monday, February 12, 2007


After much thought and reflection, I have decided not to worry about the meeting Tanzania. Nor will I fear whatever outcome may happen. The reason - because I know through experience that God is present in all things and even when things appear horribly wrong, God is working creatively to bring about a better world. As much as humans may work to hinder that creativeness, God is stronger and gets ever more creative. So, I place my trust in God.

Even if things don't go the way I pray they will, I know that little in my life and ministry will change. I will serve God in the bringing about of God's reign. Nothing humans decide or act upon can change that. If I cannot reach out to those in need in one way, another way will be created.

Sometimes I wonder why we are all so afraid of the Anglican Communion breaking up. Don't get me wrong. I don't wish or pray for - to the contrary. But if something is disfunctional, if something actually hinders us working to bring in God's reign then it may be time to take another look at it. If remaining a part of or keeping together the Anglican Communion becomes our over-riding goal then we have made an idol out of the WWAC. We have placed being right or being a member over and above God. We have placed something of human construction above God's continued work of creation.

Maybe part of the reason I refuse to be concerned is that it is all so remote. It is all being decided by a handful of people that I refuse to give the right to determine my life and my ministry. That I leave to God alone. Any who know me, know that I have a real problem with authority. I don't like exercising my own authroity (hence the lack of collar and title). But even more, I have a great reluctance to bow to someone else making decisions for me that bind me to certain actions. It is not that I mind someone talking to me and making requests, but as my long-suffering mother will tell you, I rebel at being told what to do. So maybe part of the reason is that whatever the decision, I will make my own choices as to the final affect on my own ministry. I will not do so willy-nilly but with prayer and consultation but in the end the decisions will be mine to make and I will face whatever consequences there may be to face. On the other hand, I will celebrate whatever blessings will occur as well.

One final word. I was on Thinking Anglicans and saw once again the phrase that TEC decided to walk apart a long time ago. My temper rose a bit at that one - about as much as when people accuse me of not reading or following the scriptures, or not being a Christian. TEC did not decide to walk apart. They have done what they have done because they sincerely believe that it is what the Spirit is calling them to do. They may be right, they may be wrong (although let's be honest - I fully support their decision vis-a-vis Gene Robinson, just as I fully support New West's decision to bless same sex relationships). They are willing to face the consequences of their actions and they do so sincerely believing those actions are God's will. Just because some may disagree with them does not mean they have chosen to walk apart or that they are apostate. Love of God and a willingness to serve God fully is at the centre of their actions. I believe that just as I believe the same of those who chose not to follow the path that TEC has chosen. I may not agree with the latter but I would not say that they have chosen to walk apart nor would I say that they are not following God for I know that they are sincere and that they truly believe they are doing God's will. I only wish they would accord the same respect to me for love of God and a desire to serve God are truly at the centre of everything I believe or do. I realize I started the paragraph speaking about TEC and then ended speaking about myself. I know that I am not a part of TEC but I do share some things with them and it is those things that bring about the accusation of "chosing to walk apart".

Friday, February 09, 2007

Father Matthew

How can you tell it is sort of my day off. I am enjoying a few minutes to leisurely browse through all my favourite blogs before I have some scheduled tasks. This link is from Elizabeth Keaton's site - "Telling Secrets." I thought he had good stuff to say and so (now that I am getting so good at the linky thing) I am posting it here.

Father Matthew

Personal DNA

I was just over at Culture Choc and noticed a link to this online quiz. Since I have just figured out the linky thing, I'm going to practice it again.

Personal DNA

I am a Benevolent Creator. I hope that's a step up from a benevolent despot :)

If you have a few minutes try this quiz. I enjoy these things just for the insights they give to my character. I may not agree with everything they say but they do make me stop and take another look. Besides which, I don't take them seriously so I find them fun and interesting - sort of along the lines of "okay which answer gave that result."

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Hi all,

I found this link at Jim Naughton's blog. Although I have moved past where Josh is, I can certainly understand his struggles. I keep reminding myself that it took me 20 some years to come to the understanding I now hold. His story reminds me to have patience and acceptance with those who are other spaces on their journey.

Here it is.

Sorry about the link thing. When I get back from visiting I will attempt to do it right.

Update: I think I fixed the link thing. This is a tough learning process for a technologically impaired person like me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Poetry of Jay L. Marie

The following are poems my younger daughter has written. I have her permission to post them here.


Surrounded by people,
a writhering, rushing mass.
They're all in a rush
they all have someplace to be.
They don't seem to see each other,
they don't see me.

Standing among them,
I'm an aimless girl without a goal.
I'm invisible,
I can't be seen.
I blend in so well,
I can't even see myself.

Screaming, crying, hurting,
a girl stands across from me.
She pleads with her eyes,
she can't stand the pain.
She's crying,
she doesn't know how to stop.

No one sees her
she's the hidden me.
I wish I could go to her,
soothe her pain.
But if I do,
I'll lose my invisibility.

Jay L. Marie

This next one makes me cry because it was written at my ordination.

waiting patiently
preventing my tears
from flowing ceaselessly.

Swelling with pride
overwhelmed by your
mountain of accomplishments.

I'll follow you,
using your love as my guide,
I won't get lost,
you won't let that happen.

So I sit, patiently being proud,
overwhelmed and filled with love.

Jay L. Marie

A Dark Night
It is a dark night in december,
with no moonlight bright.
No stars to shine down and bless the morn.
So may things to believe, and yet not.
So many things to trust in and yet not.

Not even a bit of fire to light up the gloom.
And yet I stand here in the never-ending blackness,
waiting to be let into the warmth
so I can say the truth.
Yet the door remains closed,
though the icicles are begining to form.

Jay L. Marie