No longer Anglican

Over the last few weeks, I think I have come to point where I can say that I am no longer Anglican.  I am no longer a part of Anglicanism.  The organization and the politics and the infighting have left me behind.

And no, I’m haven’t laid down my Orders or asked to be defrocked from where I serve.

I am still a part of the Church.  I am still worshiping with a Prayer Book and Liturgy found in the Book of Common Prayer.  My patrimony or heritage comes from the British Isles throughout their whole history, but I am not going to be defined by an -ism.

A good friend and priest said,

‘Why can’t we just see the Anglican patrimony/prayer book as part of the Church?’

I agree.  Why can’t we just begin to see ourselves as part of something greater than our own man-made walls of exclusion from each other.

Let me preface this with saying that I am no canon lawyer, or Bishop, or anybody with any authority.  I know there are tremendous obstacles that are in place that would prevent unification of the Church but we are making in roads in several ways including the acceptance of our primary Sacrament, baptism, among various groups and fellowships and denominations and communions.

I long for the day that I can kneel to receive Christ’s Body and Blood with members of Christ’s Church who are separated on each side of me, to become fully one with the One who creates and sustains and loves with my self-exiled brethren on each side.  For isn’t that what excommunication in these large situations really is– a self-imposed exile from your brother.

For me, if you have been placed into Christ’s Church, then come and feast and lets work out our problems as prodigals and older brothers around the table of our Father celebrate for what was lost is now found.

Advertisements

Bright Wednesday | ‘Being’ v ‘Doing’

cropped-pilgrimage1.jpg

Be still &  know that I am God.

This simple phrase has been a mantra for me recently.

Stillness is not something in my vocabulary.  Blame it on being ADD or multi-tasking all day or smart phone addiction, but even when sitting still, my mind is going full speed and my leg is constantly moving (much to the annoyance of my wonderful bride).

Over the last 6 months, I have taken up the practice of yoga.  I have spent most Wednesday from 7:15 to 8:30 at my local gym in a Yin Yoga class.  In Yin, the point is not moving through 120 positions but spending 5-10 minutes in 6-7 positions, in stillness and contemplation, and focusing on breathing.  It’s in those moments that I have learned to ‘be.’

My whole identity has been wrapped up in ‘doing’ and being the best ‘doer’ in whatever I chose to do.  So as a father, I was always trying to push for my vision of ‘doing’ for my kids.  As a husband, I have unfairly viewed marriage as an activity rather than a state of grace & being, putting undue pressure on my wonderful wife.  As a deacon  & pastor, I have given myself fully to ministry while losing God (& the awareness of who I am with Him) in the midst of it all.

And yet, I am still in the midst of it all I keep hearing- be still & know that I am God.

Be.  Just be. 

Giving up the Performance mentality has been the hardest thing I think I’ve done in my life.  I was trying so hard to be the best at everything and ended up somehow not doing well at one thing.  So I am starting over and even in my furnace of doubt, trying to be.

 

 

 

Beauty in our Brokeness

I read this article three times this morning and I have been moved in different ways each time.  From On Being:

I have a favorite coffee mug that I use every morning for making my own cup of coffee. The ritual pleases me. My own coffee, ground and brewed fresh. The aroma of the coffee that fills my home. My fingers wrapped around the cup. Soft music playing. It’s a lovely way to start my morning.
Recently my beloved cup got a chip in it. I don’t remember where the chip came from, but I look at it each time I go to drink from the cup. Thinking about the chipped cup makes me think a lot about cracks. Cracked spaces. Cracked hearts.
I have been writing, for a while, about the theology of cracked spaces, about failing and failing better. It’s a realization that life is not a smooth, linear climb to the mountaintop of “success,” but often a messy, beautifully messy series of falling flat on one’s face, bouncing back, and falling slightly less awkwardly the next time. (And the next, and the next.)
So thinking about cracking and breaking and chipping (and healing) has been with me for a while. But until recently I had not thought about how there is a beauty that can emerge from the cracked spaces. That there is a way to illuminate cracked cups, spaces, hearts.
Turns out that the Japanese have been doing so for the last 400 to 500 years. It’s called kintsukuroi.
It’s a Japanese art form. Cups, chalices, mugs, dishes that are cracked are repaired with gold or silver lacquer. Kintsukuroi is also referred to as kintsugi, meaning “golden repair.”

There is an interview with a 27-year-old Kintsugi master, who explains how this works:
“It’s very important that we understand the spiritual backgrounds or the history behind… the material.”
This is interwoven with the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which means “to find beauty in broken things or old things.”
I wonder what it would be like to live knowing that our own hearts are like these cracked, illuminated, and healed dishes.
Oh, it is so sweet and innocent to love a heart that has never been broken.
There is a simplicity, a childlike naïveté to that kind of love.
And there is a love, a mature love, a whole love, a healed love, to loving someone who has been broken and healed, made whole again, and where the cracks are golden.
We see what was once broken and is now healed.
Sometimes they are stronger, more beautiful, more whole for the cracks showing up.
Desmond Tutu was right. We are all wounded healers. Cracked open, healed, and healing wounded healers.
We value success, wholeness. Unlike this Japanese art form, we don’t yet have a way of looking for what was once broken and has been healed and illuminated. How lovely would it be to find that a cracked and illuminated cup can be even more beautiful than a whole cup. How wise to realize that the broken hearts, illuminated and made whole, can be even lovelier.
Give me someone who knows their own vulnerability and sees mine.

Give me someone whose cracked spaces are golden.

Give me someone who has helped do kintsugi to my cracked spaces.

Give me someone who is open to me doing kintsugi to their cracked heart.
So friends, wabi-sabi me.

Let me wabi-sabi you.
Let’s repair each other.

Let’s seek what’s cracked in each other.

Let’s heal our broken spaces.

Let’s fill what’s broken with gold.
May we emerge more beautiful, more whole, and luminous.
So, my love, come and see the beauty in my cracked spaces.

I see the beauty in yours.
You are not a heart that I will discard.

Do not discard me.

We can emerge from this healing golden, more beautiful.
May all that is cracked and broken be healed

be illuminated.

Holy Tuesday – Letting Go

1617657_643844729013379_1022239520_o

Bitterness can kill our souls.

I’ve seen it far too many times.   A horrible, tragic thing happens between two people.

A real wounding happens.  But instead of allowing the healing balm of forgiveness to enter into this pain, they allow it to fester, to get infected with bitterness, and to turn into something that truly threatens their life.

Christ, in conquering Sin, Death, Hell, and the Grave, has entered our woundedness and as the healer and physician wants to bring his cauterizing fire to these wounds to kill the infection and bring freedom and healing.

Seed of the Church

 

Semen est sanguis Christianorum

The blood of the martyrs is the seed [of the Church].

 

Pray for our Coptic Brothers & Sisters as they are persecuted for the Faith.  Pray for those who lost their lives that they are received as faithful children into the arms of God.  Finally, pray for those who persecute the Church, that they may feel the love of God in the midst of their suffering.

Unbelief

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Sometimes this is the only prayer I can speak out loud.

As I have struggled with my identity within the Crucified Christ over the last months, I have discovered how deep my doubt has gone in what Christ can do within my life and the life of those I love.

To be honest, I had lost myself within the busyness of life and the neediness of my own emotional comfort and forgot that my primary identity is found in finding myself within Christ Crucified Himself.

During this season, I don’t need an infant Jesus or even a resurrected Jesus, I need to see the Suffering Servant. I need to know that pain and heartache are not just things happening, but are instruments of holiness.

So in the midst of it all, of finding myself struggling for breathe, I pray

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

I have stumbled, I have fallen, I have been wounded
I have lost myself in myself, searching for identity in my vocation
my wife, my family, my ordination
I have neglected the ones I love

in this moment, diving through the guilt and shame, I eek out

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

So I will sit in the doubt, sit in the pain, sit in the shame
and wait impatiently for Grace to make Himself known
for the day when I may taste a crumb from the Supper of the Lamb
Where I may find myself with Grace personified
and be told who I am
and until that moment,

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”