Memorial Day 2012

New Adventures of Queen VictoriaAt 7 AM on my way to Dunkin Donuts and then to Shop Rite, I was listening to NPR interview a mother from Cherry Hill, NJ about the loss of her eldest son, a 19 year-old Marine, in combat in Afganistan.

Crier that I am, by the end of the interview, I am sitting in my car sobbing for her and the rest of us as she recounts her story, his story.  I think about my Uncle John, an ex-Marine, and Andrea and their son Jeffrey, another Marine.

The next story was about President Obama laying a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to mark the 50th Anniversary of the United States entry in what we call the Vietnam War.  I was 11.  That war shaped who I am today as much as anything else. 

It has formed my aversion to combat as a solution, of political expediency, right or wrong, expediency that shifts over time.

That memory takes me to the Rev. James Lewis, another ex-Marine, who is never on the side of war.  A man who puts what he believes in out there for all to see, cheer or jeer.  And the wonderful woman, Judy, that is by his side always.

The year 2025 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

I think today, and am thankful for, all the men and women who have answered the call of their governments.  Thankful for those that have returned, and those that have not.

I am saddened to think and visualize all the Flander's Fields there are around the globe.

May we all be spurred to action to support those that return.

And, by the Mercy of God may those that have not rest in Peace.


Why I do and You should Work for the Episcopal Church

My friend recently returned from the B+E+S+T conference in upstate New York.  B+E+S+T stands for Bishop's Executive Secretaries Together and it is 25 Years Young this year.  She passed along to a few of us the homily that Bishop Wolfe, Vice-President of the House of Bishops, gave. 

After reading it, I decided that it was G+R+E+A+T and that the section of why someone should work for the Episcopal Church was so spot on that I am sharing it with you.

"Now let me begin by saying at the outset that there are many other wonderful traditions within
Christianity, and I’m well aware of the many imperfections that exist within our own branch of
the Christian church. I know not all of you here are members of the Episcopal Church, and the
Episcopal Church has richly benefited from a variety of people who come from different
religious traditions (and sometimes no religious tradition.). But a lot has been said and written in
recent years about our denomination, and I thought I might try to set the record straight.

• You should work for The Episcopal Church if you believe men and women are
fundamentally equal in the sight of God, and that women as well as men should be able to
serve in every office in the Church. In the Episcopal Church there are women who are
acolytes, women vestry members, women senior and junior wardens, women deacons,
woman priests, woman bishops and even a woman Presiding Bishop! I am a man who
believes this is not only a very good thing, but I believe it is a genuine glimpse into the
Kingdom of God, where men and women have equal access to the glory and the love of

• You should work for The Episcopal Church if you believe age, race, sexual orientation or
disability shouldn’t keep anyone from having an equal place in the House of God. This
policy of inclusion has created tensions in our fellowship, and those tensions will not
evaporate any time soon, but I believe the positions we have taken in these matters will,with the benefit of history, make us look as though we were guided by the Holy Spirit in
our time.

• You should work for The Episcopal Church if you believe in the power of both the Word
of God preached and in the Presence of God as revealed through the sacraments. If you
find solace and strength in hearing God’s word preached with power and in receiving the
Body and Blood of Christ on a regular basis, you’ve come to the right place.

• You should work for The Episcopal Church if you believe that the glory of God can be
revealed through beautiful architecture, beautiful music, beautiful liturgy, beautiful art
and beautiful literature. Episcopalians believe God is fully revealed in the midst of such
beauty, and we seek to support and value the aesthetic in all of life.

• You should work for The Episcopal Church if you think churches should be built around
the worship of God and not around the charisma of any one clergy person. Robert
Schuller was an incredibly gifted orator, but his great Crystal Cathedral is now on its way
to becoming home to a Roman Catholic diocese looking for bargain real estate in
southern California. Our ecclesiology makes it difficult, though as we know all too well
not impossible, for charismatic clergy to lead parishes into unhealthy relationships with
them. In The Episcopal Church it is always God, and not the clergy, who remains the
center of our focus.

• You should work for the Episcopal Church if you believe frightening imperfect
Christians with the fiery flames of hell or with crushing, unrelenting guilt is not only
unbiblical, but unchristian. This is a church where the grace of God trumps the wrath of
God, and this is a church where God’s love has the power to redeem any and every one.
A God who can forgive your deepest and most haunting sins may be a God who is loving
and powerful enough to forgive mine. The Episcopal Church attempts to posit itself midway
between “an acrid orthodoxy and an arid liberalism,” and we try to maintain this “via
media,” this “middle road,” in almost everything we do."

Thanks be to God.

Amen and Amen.