a priest's musings on the journey

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tammy Faye, We Love You, Rest in God

I was raised in the same Pentecostal Tradition as Tammy Faye. As a matter of fact, as a teen I spent quite a few days at Heritage USA and saw the PTL show many times. I still remember watching her puppet shows as a child. Although I grew to find her lavish lifestyle and prosperity Gospel theologically problematic, I never stopped loving her, because she was one of a small group of people from my Pentecostal Tradition who accepted me as a fellow brother in Christ. I am grateful to her for reaching out to gays and lesbians and embraceing them with the love of Christ that so exhuberantly flowed from her heart.

Here she is singing one of my favorite Pentecostal Hymns, which made into one of our Episcopal Hymnals. May Tammy Faye rest in peace in the mercy of God and Rise in Glory Everlasting!

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:30 PM | link | 5 comments |

Prayers asked for a Holy Death

My mother's brother, my Uncle Jerry- aka Snake to me and my siblings (as in mean as a snake LOL) has been fighting cancer for a little over a year. His health has been complicated with a staph infection that settled in his back. Despite two surgeries and antibiotics the docs have not been able to rid his body of the staph infection. He has fought the cancer- changed his diet, sought the best medical treatments, etc- and now it is this infection that is going to kill him. He has developped sepsis nas his body has basically shut down. He awoke once late this afternoon and announced he did not remember the last week at all, and thought he had died. The doctors feel he could die any time now.

I ask your prayers for Jerry, as he begins his journey to eternal life in God. Pray for a holy and peaceful death. The doctors say he will simply fall asleep and not wake up. What a blessing!

I ask your prayers for my mother. She has a compromised immune system and the doctor will not allow her to go into her brother's room to say goodbye. It is just too risky for her. She is having a hard time knowing she will never see him again.

I also ask your prayers for my mom and her siblings, as they grieve the loss of their brother. In addition to grief that is natural with the loss of a brother, they will have to deal with the added gried that will emerge from their theological beliefs about salvation. They are Pentecostals, and because my uncle never "got saved" and did not regularly attend church, some of them believe he might be going to hell. That has to be an inconsolable feeling if one truly believes that.

Thanks for your prayers. I'll get back to more regular blogging once things settle down a bit for me.

Shalom, Peace, Pax
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:10 PM | link | 10 comments |

Mary and Martha

"Martha is necessary to Mary, for it was because Martha worked that Mary was able to be praised." Abba Silvanus 4th century desert monastic
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 1:45 PM | link | 5 comments |

Friday, July 20, 2007

Is it a choice to be gay?

An ex-gay wacko (oops, Jesus asked me not to judge... mea culpa) and an openly gay Christian (Evangelical I believe !!!) debate the question here
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 9:00 AM | link | 4 comments |

Monday, July 16, 2007

Becoming Vegetarian

Soooo, I've been contemplating becoming vegetarian for over a year, and today was DAY ONE of a meat free lifestyle. I've made the decision for nutritional, health, and ethical reasons. I began to consider vegetarianism after hearing a confession of a man last Lent, in which he asked God to be merciful to him for eating a hamburger. The compassion that he possessed for all living things was so powerful and holy. It was one of those moments when I could physically feel the Divine Presence.

My own Lenten practice has included fasting meat for the days of Lent. In addition to losing weight, I have experienced greater spiritual and mental clarity during my Lenten fasts.

Eventhough I was pretty sure fasting meat was the right decision for me, I was unable to committ to a vegetarian lifestyle. After all, meat tastes good, right? Yesterday the Holy Spirit finally convinced me this was the right choice for me to make. My son and I were driving when a cat darted out in front of us. I swerved to miss it, and thankfully did. Zac said, "Thank God you didn't kill it. You would have broken one of the commandments." "Which commandment?" I asked. "The one that says you are not supposed to kill." I thought a second and said, "But, Zac, God meant not to kill people." Without a moment's hesitation Zac replied, "He said not to kill."

It was another one of those Divine Presence moments, and I knew Zac - in all of his simplistic, even literalistic undertanding of the Bible was right.

So, Ive decided to become a vegetarian. I'll still eat eggs, dairy and honey- and probably occassionally fish for now- and I wont preach and judge people who eat meat. This is what I feel is right for me. You have to do what is right for you.

I'll let you know how things go on this journey- and when I yield to temptation, I'll turn to many of you for support.

Thanks for reading!!
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:45 PM | link | 12 comments |

Sunday, July 08, 2007



I was to bless a same sex union this coming Sunday at a parish in my diocese. The couple has been together for 23 years. All was arranged, until the senior warden decided she didn't like the idea. So, it's been cancelled- well postponed until the rector can do some "educating" UGH- Mother of God, pray for me!!!

Worse still, Sunday is actually their "anniversary", and I can not even say a prayer or blessing to commemorate their anniversary- as is customary in many Episcopal churches for the anniversaries of heterosexual anniversaries. Of course I will privately, but they deserve the public acknowledgement of their fidelity and love... I mean, they've been together longer than most heterosexual couples.

Well, I have a good mind to make the straight couples who have anniversaries fast from a blessing as well, if the gay couple must. Let them wait until the rector can do some 'educating' as well. After all, aren't we called to bear one another's burdens? When one suffers, don't we all?

of course I don't like the idea of witholding grace and blessing to anyone. This is just so sad and unfair.

Please, say a prayer for this couple. I can't imagine how devastated and betrayed they must feel.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 10:26 PM | link | 16 comments |

Wait Father!

What a Day! I supplied at a parish this morning where the organist was on vacation, and a Batpist supply organist had been hired for the day. Bless her heart, she was just lost from the beginning. I helped when I could and announced hymn numbers to cue her to play, but I just couldn't do that for all hymns and service music. So, I ended up just saying some of the parts that we'd normally sing. Well that was fine until we got to the offertory. She didn't play the Doxology (which doesn't belong there anyways) so I just started the Sursum Corda. I jad just said "The Lord be with you", when and old man yelled out, Wait Father, you forgot something... what about... and he began to belt out "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" followed by "My Country Tis of Thee". I was speechless. I mean, I was in the Episcopal Church right? I thought I had timewarped to a Pentecostal Church for a moment. But, I let him sing his song, and reassured all of the blue haired ladies that I wasn't offended that he had disrupted the liturgy.

Lord, I hope none of then are reading this.... but one has to laugh.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:59 PM | link | 3 comments |

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of The United States of America won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(1979 Book of Common Prayer)

Yolanda Adams My Country Tis of Thee Ray Charles America the Beautiful
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Happy Independence Day

July 3rd in the Park Festival
Extroverted Son on a sugar high
Introverted Dad who hasn't had a silent second in 12 hours

LOOOONG Day: ready for the quiet of midnight

(but I wouldn't trade it for anything) :)
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blessed Catherine Winkworth- transferred from 1 July

Today we in the Episcopal Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, remember Blessed Catherine Winkworth, who translated many of the beautiful German chorales that we cherish in our English hymnals. In addition to translating hymns into English, she was also involved in the women's rights movement, until she suddenly died from a heart ailment on July 1, 1878. Here are a list of the hymns she translated:

All depends on our possessing (Nuernburg Hymnal, 1676)
* All my heart this night rejoices (Paulus Gerhardt, 1656)
* Baptized into thy name most holy (Johann J Rambach, +1735)
* Blessed Jesus, at thy word (Tobias Clausnitzer, +1684)
Christ, the life of all the living (Ernst C Homburg, +1681)
Christ the Lord is risen again! (Michael Weissel, +1534)
* Comfort, comfort ye my people (Johann Olearius, +1684)
Dearest Jesus, we are here (Benjamin Schmolck, +1737)
Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness (Johann Franck, 1649)
* From deepest woe I cry to thee (Martin Luther, +1546)
* If thou but suffer God to guide thee (Georg Neumark, +1681)
In thee is gladness (Johann Lindemann, + c1631)
* Jesus Christ, my sure defense (anon., Berlin, 1653)
* Jesus, priceless treasure (Johann Franck, +1677)
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates (George Weissel, 1642)
Lord God, we worship thee (Johann Franck, 1653)
* Lord Jesus Christ, be present now (Wilhelm II, +1662)
Lord, keep us steadfast in thy Word (Martin Luther, +1546)
* Lord, thee I love with all my heart (Martin Schalling, +1608)
* My soul, now bless thy maker (Johann Gramann, +1541)
* Now thank we all our God (Martin Rinkart, c1630)
O Christ, our light, O Radiance true (Johann Hermann, +1647)
* O God, thou faithful God (Johann, Franck, +1647)
O Holy Spirit, enter in (Michael Schirmer, +1673)
O Jesus Christ, our Lord most dear (Heinrich von Laufenburg,1429)
* O living Bread from heaven (Johann Rist, +1667)
Oh, blest the house, whate'er befall (Christoph von Pfeil, +1784)
Once he came in blessing (Johann Horn (aka Jan Roh?), +1547)
Open now thy gates of beauty (Benjamin Schmolck, +1737)
* Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander, +1680)
Rise, my soul, to watch and pray (Johann B Freystein, +1718)
Thy Word, O Lord, is gentle dew (Carl B Garve, +1841)
* Wake, awake, for night is flying (Philip Nicolai, 1597)
* When in the hour of deepest need (Paul Eber +1569)

Here are the texts for two of my favorites:

Jesus Priceless Treasure

Jesus, priceless Treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.

In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
While I sing of peace.
God’s great power guards every hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.

Evil world, I leave thee;
Thou canst not deceive me,
Thine appeal is vain.
Sin that once did bind me,
Get thee far behind me,
Come not forth again.
Past thy hour, O pride and power;
Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
Leave thee now forever.

Hence, all thought of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whatever we here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless Treasure!

In Thee is Gladness

In thee is gladness, amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart.
By thee are given the gifts of heaven,
thou the true Redeemer art.
Our souls thou makest, our bonds thou breakest;
who trusts thee surely hath built securely,
and stands forever. Alleluia!
Our hearts are pining to see thy shining;
dying or living, to thee are cleaving;
naught can us sever. Alleluia!

If God be ours, we fear no powers,
not of earth or sin or death.
God sees and blesses in worst distresses,
and can change them in a breath.
Wherefore the story tell of God's glory
with heart and voices; all heaven rejoices,
singing forever; Alleluia!
We shout for gladness, triumph o'er sadness,
loving and praising, voices still raising
glad hymns forever: Alleluia!
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 10:19 AM | link | 2 comments |