Friday, October 13, 2017

Why is 45 Stirring Up “Merry Xmas” BS in October?

If we’re going to be a Xian Theocracy, let’s do it properly. I’m going to insist that ppl wish me a Holy Advent, a Glorious Epiphany, a Meaningful Lent, a Joyful Easter, an Uplifting Ascension, a Powerful Pentecost, and a Righteous Reign of Christ Sunday. If its about “xian values”...Xianity is more than Xmas!

Also, Christmas is Dec 25-Jan 5. It offends Baby Jesus if you wish me a Merry Xmas too early, and it breaks his heavenly heart if you forget to wish me xmas blessings on Dec 26, 27, 28, etc. So, do follow the Christmastide precisely, won’t you?

Onerous? Silly? Fine. Then let’s forget it and let those who wish to do so offer the polite and inclusive “Happy Holidays”...And while we’re at it, let’s NOT be a xian theocracy or any other kind of theocracy...they tend to be oppressive. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Athletes Kneeling During Anthem is Really Not about the Flag

Here’s a thought: instead of worshiping the flag, let’s honor the constitution that guarantees freedom of political speech (even at ball games). Instead of insisting people stand for a song (which is not in the constitution) let’s try to listen to the people who are going to such great lengths and taking personal risks to get us to understand and care about the injustices suffered by people of color in this country. Instead of demonizing those who are taking a stand (or a knee as it were) in protest of police brutality, maybe we could hear them and join them in addressing systemic racism in this country. Demonizing Black athletes for reminding us of racism is part of the racist system they are addressing. If you defended the confederate flag and statues (symbols of treason) then your issue isn’t with the flag, its with people of color claiming their agency and using their notoriety to influence change. Red, white, and blue are not the colors that have you worked up. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Happy Brthday MCC

Oct. 6, 1968: a young, gay, defrocked, Pentecostal minister (Troy D. Perry) held a worship service in his living room. 12 people showed up (a powerful symbol). The coffee table became the communion table/altar. An album of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provided the service music (adding a bit of camp and irony to the momentous occasion). Gay and straight, male and female, Christian and Jew were some of the labels of the people in the room. More than 9 months before Stonewall, this worship experience meant to welcome and affirm and celebrate LGBTQ people (known by various terms over the years) occurred and launched an ecumenical, body positive, sex positive, LGBTQ affirming, joyous, justice seeking, ridiculously optimistic, evangelical (and sometimes charismatic), Eucharistic, over time theologically progressive (which only makes sense as it began by challenging old assumptions) religious movement known as Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).

MCC is not the powerhouse it once was, but it’s still around, and many churches are now welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ folk and their allies and loved ones.  But before they got there, MCC was doing the work. 
MCC’s early, provocative, and courageous witness led the way for mainstream churches to become more accepting and appreciative of the Queer children of God. MCC was also a leader in the inclusive language movement and was way ahead of most churches in compassionately responding to the AIDS crisis. 

Whatever becomes of MCC, the world will always be better because Troy Perry started a movement that said the LGBTQ members of the human family were part of the divine diversity of creation and were fully embraced and loved by God, and that movement helped change hearts and minds and bring hope and healing to countless lives. 

Many of us in ministry today are in ministry because of MCC. When we didn’t have other options, MCC was an option. MCC blessed our unions, performed our funerals, visited us in hospitals, debated the fundamentalists, spoke to city councils and state legislatures, and prepared and ordained us for ministry. In time, for a variety of reasons, some of us left MCC for other communities, some of us embraced dual or even triple affiliations, remaining in MCC but not exclusively. But wherever we ended up, we know MCC gave us our start, and for that, let us always be grateful. 

49 years ago, a prophet was raised up, and he spoke the word of God’s all-inclusive and unconditional love, and the Church and the world would never be the same again. God bless you Troy Perry!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

New Thought Anglican and More

Intersections: New Thought, Anglicanism, and Other Traditions 
Sunshine Cathedral (Fort Lauderdale) 
By Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

People often refer to Sunshine Cathedral as a hybrid. They will say the message is “therapeutic”, the atmosphere is “loving”, the mission is to facilitate positive change in the world, and the liturgy is “uplifting.” Perhaps those realities are reflected in Sunshine Cathedral’s affirmation: “Sunshine Cathedral is a different kind of church where the past is past and the future has infinite possibilities.”

Some will say Sunshine Cathedral is New Thought Anglican, some will say it’s Science of Mind meets Methodism. Some call it a Positive Thinking church, others High Church Universalist, still others will say it is New Thought with Ritual and evangelical passion. Some will call it Catholic Light and Liberal. One leader in the congregation has said, “If the Episcopal Church and the Unity Church had a baby, it would be the Sunshine Cathedral.” Another lay leader calls SC the “happy Church.”

Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Humanists, 12 Steppers, and even a Wiccan or two have all found a home at Sunshine Cathedral, and people from many traditions have mentioned there is a moment in almost every service that reminds them of their former traditions while offering a new experience as well.

I am the Senior Minister of Sunshine Cathedral and I bring a blended/hybrid background and worldview to my role. A confirmed Episcopalian, certified Reiki Master, and Kriya Yoga initiate with seminary degrees from Protestant seminaries (Union Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Divinity School), I am also ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches (founded by an ex-Pentecostal minister, Troy Perry); I am ordained as an independent/Old Catholic priest (by my SC pastoral predecessor, Pentecostal minister/Old Catholic Bishop/MCCer/New Thoughter Rt. Rev. Grant Lynn Ford), and I am an ordained Divine Science minister (Divine Science, a New Thought philosophy, was founded by Quaker Malinda Cramer and almost simultaneously by Presbyterian Nona Brooks). Between my predecessor (Bishop Ford) and me, Sunshine Cathedral has been led for 33 years by Liturgical New Thoughters! No wonder there are so many different experiences of our wonderful Cathedral!

We are a “different kind of church.” Our spirituality is “progressive, positive, and practical.”

It turns out that our New Thought/Anglican/Ecumenical style is not without precedent (though surely our presentation of it is somewhat unique).
Divine Science minister W. John Murray was a Catholic priest before becoming a Divine Scientist.
David Alkins was an Episcopal priest who became the dean of Brooks Divinity School (a Divine Science ministerial school).
F. Bernadette Turner was a psychologist and an Episcopalian who became a Divine Science minister and then later in life was ordained a Deacon and Priest in the Episcopal Church.
Unity co-founder Myrtle Fillmore had a parent who was Episcopalian.
Healer Agnes Sanford was the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries who married an Episcopal priest. Her theology, prayer techniques, and healing methods were very compatible with (often indistinguishable from) New Thought; she also experienced glossalia (praying in tongues)...she has been claimed by Protestants, Charismatics, and New Thoughters!
Divine Scientist Emmet Fox grew up Catholic.
Jospeh Murphy was a psychologist and a Catholic priest before becoming a Religious Science and a Divine Science minister.
Mystic Emanuel Swedenborg was a Lutheran whose allegorical interpretation of scripture still influences New Thought Christians.
Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes was a Congregationalist (his brother was a Congregationalist minister) before studying Christian Science, getting ordained in Divine Science, and starting the Religious Science/Science of Mind movement.
Church of Truth founder Albert Grier was a Universalist minister for decades before embracing New Thought.
Norman Vincent Peale was a Methodist turned Dutch Reformed minister who embraced and taught many of the New Thought principles extolled by Ernest Holmes, Emmet Fox, and the Fillmores.

The openness, the freedom to investigate and experiment, the personal connection to mystery and wonder, the self-empowerment and optimism, and the bonds of a community devoted to both mind and heart, thinking and feeling, liberation and love is what a mixture of the mainline traditions and “new thought” can offer. Indeed, it is what one is likely to find at Sunshine Cathedral.

An article explaining the relatedness of New Thought and Anglican spiritualities was written in 2003 (see below) by Educational Psychologist Deb Whitehouse (who was married to an Academic Philosopher and New Thought practitioner/scholar Alan Anderson). Whitehouse was an Episcopalian who found her way to New Thought. When reading her historical perspective, Sunshine Cathedral will make even more sense to those who call it their spiritual home.

(To read Whitehouse’s article “New Thought and the Anglican Tradition” Click HERE)

His Fans Like Him, His Detractors Do Not, but Trump is No Victim

People get to like, respect, agree with, admire, worship, and/or wish to emulate the 45th POTUS (I currently do none of those things but am open to future, joyful surprises). What people DO NOT get to do is say that people's mistrust of him or response to his antics are unfair or unprecidented. We are no where near the point of questioning his citizenship, which a previous president had to endure.

And, even if one were to dig him deeply, that same one must surely understand why feminists, same-gender loving people, transgender/gender queer/two spirit/nonbinary folk, Latinx, Muslim, people whose lives depend on having access to health insurance, environmentalists, people who fear he colluded with a foreign power, and people terrified of the possibility of nuclear war would perhaps not share that admiration of him.

I will say, the last two presidents have shared one thing in common - both have been suspected of practiciing religions which they do not...Islam (44) and Christianity (45), respectively. 45 was Baptized into a Protestant tradition (but then, so was his predecessor); however, to claim a kinship with the evangelical right is politically expedient for him but has not been the witness of his life (or speech) lo these last 7 decades.

In any case, people are entitled to like him (we tend to like the people who reflect who we are or who reflect the sort of person we wish to be), but they are not entitled to paint him in any way as a victim. Without experience, relevant preparation, or even the majority of the popular vote he became the most powerful man in the world. He arguably may have victims, but he is in no way or by any credible definition a victim himself.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Help Us Be Better (Prayer in Response to the Mass Shooting in Las Vegas)

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Quan Yin, 
Lord Krishna,
Angels of grace and mercy...
We are all so tired.
We are tired of being angry.
We are tired of being afraid.
We are tired of feeling helpless.
We are tired of the cult of greed.
We are tired people being targeted for who they are.
We are tired of fighting.
We are tired of having our health care, our education, our wages, our relationships, our dignity being constantly threatened.
We are tired of mad men with WMDs acting as if human lives were pieces on a chess board. 
We are certainly tired of people by the dozens being mowed down in our streets, in our schools, in our cinemas and hotels. 
We are tired of being tired. 
We made and/or allowed this mess. It’s probably up to us to fix it. But to do that, we’ll need more hope, more compassion, more courage, more resilience, more wisdom, more commitment to higher, better ways...that’s where you come in, symbols of compassion, faces of love...
We dare not ask you to magically repair what we are unwilling to address, but perhaps you can inspire us, encourage us, whisper words of sanity, of healing, of determination to our hearts; somehow, in some way, maybe you will help us do what we have been unwilling to do so far. Help us be better. Inspire us to do better. And when we finally get our shit together, then add your blessings to our efforts. 
We’re tired. But we must do something about this chaos. So cheer us on if and when we collectively decide that we are better than this, that we deserve better than this, that we will no longer settle for this...this chaos, this pain, this madness. 
Help us help ourselves.
Help us help one another. 
Help us get motivated to mend what is broken, to nurture what is weak, to dream and work and move toward better days. 
Help us become the miracle that we need.
Amen. (dw)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I Sometimes Miss the Magic

I sometimes miss the magic.
Mystery, Wonder, and Hope remain close companions but Magic visits less and less in recent years.
Maybe I’ll find some old pixie dust or faded wizard’s robe in the back of a drawer or cupboard that will bring the magic back. Mine has become a reasonable faith, a humanistic spirituality and it serves me well and I share it passionately, but a leprechaun’s gold coin, a glimpse of a unicorn, or even a quick rent-a-ride on a flying carpet would be welcome. I think I’ll check those drawers and cupboards now. (dw)