"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Tuesday, July 29, 2003 I am EXHAUSTED ... and Convention hasn't even had it's first official day yet!
Today was nonstop from my 7 am wake-up call to now as I've put the finishing touches on a proposed resolution to urge Congress to restore $1 billion in funding to the foreign aid budget for HIV/AIDS in Africa. But it's one of those days that was so full of so much that was powerful and wonderful that you feel like you have really lived.
A few snapshots:
*Having a chat with Reynolds Cheney, the chair of my legislative committee (National and International Concerns ... I get to work with him as his vice-chair), about his former parishioners, Tom and Leine McNeely -- whom he fondly remembers -- and about Julia.
*Having the bishop of Massachusetts, Tom Shaw, who is also a brother at SSJE, lead us in a period of meditation and breath prayer before the beginning of our legislative committee meeting.
*Having lunch with Mike Clark and good friend Michael Burke -- a priest from Alaska -- and hearing Michael tell a story about how he and his wife "kidnapped" a parishioner who was depressed about being laid off and took him "dip-net fishing" for three days to get him out of the house.
*Hearing the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies once again inspire us to strive to seek Christ in each other and to own Christ's call to us to work tirelessly for global justice.
*Watching Steph in action bringing her amazing knowledge of health-care issues to bear in our subcommittee on HIV/AIDS and health ... and seeing her really cooly decorated Nalgene (sp?) bottle.
*Being educated by two women telling stories about women they had interviewed who had been brought into America, and across borders into other countries and sold into service in the sex trade. This was part of testimony for a resolution encouraging the church to take a more active role in the fight against trafficking of women, girls and boys.
*Hanging out for an hour with a group of younger deputies and seeing their excitement for the church.
and there's so much more. This is an amazing gathering of amazing people. People who care so much. People who love God so much. I'm exhausted but energized ... if that makes sense. And definitely inspired.
But there's always the other side. Apparently there's a group of 13 bishops who are threatening to reduce their diocese's assessments (the amount their diocese pays to the National CHurch to keep it afloat) down to one dollar if Gene Robinson in consented to and/or the resolution on same-sex blessings passes. This would be a huge blow to the church budget -- and having just sat through a budget crunch in our own diocese, I know what it's like to suddenly realize you have a lot less money than you thought!
But most of all, it's just sad. I'm hoping it's just an empty threat ... because if it isn't, it's just hostage taking. I hope we have the courage as a church to go ahead and budget not for what we think we have the money for but for what we truly believe God is calling us to do. It is a time for us to step out in faith, not shrink back in fear. Time will tell.
Overall, I'm happy and hopeful. Our worship time together starts tomorrow morning -- my favorite part of convention -- and I'm confident in the power of prayer and liturgy to bind us together.
Please keep us in our prayers. Know that you all are in mine.
(p.s. -- the Shout Out feature was down for awhile ... I think it works again now).
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."