Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gene Robinson is a Holy Man

I love NPR, but I missed this story from Fresh Air. Bishop Robinson gave an interview last week about his struggle with alcoholism, his new book, and life in general.

Listen here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Oscar Romero

I've been reading about Oscar Romero lately, the former Catholic bishop of El Salvador who was eventually murdered on March 24th, 1980, for his outspoken criticism of the Salvadoran government's human rights abuses. He was shot just after delivering a sermon, the final words of which were, "May God have mercy on the assassins." His blood spilled out onto the altar.

At his funeral, over 250,000 people came to pay tribute. Salvadoran death squads set off bombs and fired shots into the crowd at Cathedral Square, killing at least 31. Still, more and more people came every day to pay homage to the deceased prelate.
I'm absolutely in awe of this man. He is in the process for being canonized as a Saint in the Catholic church, and is already a Saint in the Anglican Communion. In his early life, he was conservative and rather blindly obedient. He was placed in El Salvador by church hierarchy so he wouldn't "make trouble." But witnessing firsthand the suffering of the people brought about his transformation into a prophetic voice of peace, as one who lives completely without fear.

This is why I firmly believe that religion should be subversive. If you're not doing your part to ruin the unjust status quo and piss people off, make people uncomfortable - then you're not doing it right. If your pastor drives a luxury SUV with $400 rims, you're not doing it right. If religion is a crutch and makes your life easier, rather than harder, you're not doing it right.

The word repent in Greek (metanoeo) literally means "Stop! Stop what you're doing! Go back! Think differently!" Our leaders and politicians have tried to convince us that "the way to peace is through war."

It has become a way of life for this country to be at war. That, my friends, is sickening. We need to stop. We need to go back and think differently. In a world of mind-numbing violence and fear, it's hard, if not impossible to hear the calm, quiet, voices of peace. Those voices belong to women and men who live boldly, and without fear. They will not be silenced.

"We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways. "

Trinity Cathedral on YouTube

My home parish in Phoenix, Trinity Cathedral, finally got on the YouTube bandwagon. Their first video is out. I guess they're doing a series on the Sacraments and other good churchy stuff. Check it out:

Also available in Spanish.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Like My Church Boring and my Pastors Old

Okay, major props to Fr. Craig for this one.

To the tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers."

Like a mighty tortoise
Moves the Church of God.
Brothers we are treading
Where we've always trod.

We are all divided
(Many bodies we);
Very strong on doctrine,
Weak on Charity.

On Episcopalians!
Saunter as to tea!
Taste and etiquette shall
Lead us, Lord, to Thee!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Day, Somehow...

I've decided I want to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

....And Why Don't We Do This??


Χριστός ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας,
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Enneagram: Part Deux

As I've continued reading that book about Christianity and the Enneagram, I've been thinking about Christian symbols, and how they correspond to the 9 faces of the soul. So, I made this.

(And I promise to shut up about the freaking Enneagram for a few more months!)

TRIAD I: Children of the Father
(Eight, Nine, One)

Eight -- STRENGTH -- The instruments of the Eucharistic feast, the Power of God Incarnate. Blessed are the merciful, for you will obtain mercy.

Nine -- PEACE -- The chi rho, Greek symbolism for "Jesus Christ," the Prince of Peace, also shorthand for the Latin PAX, "peace." Blessed are the peacemakers, for you will be called children of God.

One -- PERFECTION -- The Trinity, at once both dogmatic and beautiful, the essence of Perfection - Three in One. Blessed are the pure of heart, for you will see God.

TRIAD II: Children of the Son
(Two, Three, Four)

Two -- LOVE -- The Marian crest, symbol of the Virgin Mary, the Mother who adopted all of humanity, and eternally shares the pains of her only begotten son. Blessed are the meek, for you will inherit the earth. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, for great is your reward in Heaven.

Three -- VICTORY -- The keys of Apostolic authority and a symbol of the Church Triumphant. True victory is obtained only through God. Blessed are the meek, for you will inherit the earth.

Four -- PASSION -- The Sacred Heart of Jesus. Redemption of self and others through penance and self-examination. Blessed are you who mourn, for you will be comforted.

TRIAD III: Children of the Spirit
(Five, Six, Seven)

Five -- WISDOM -- The Ichthys, an ancient Christian symbol of hidden knowledge and secret wisdom. Blessed are you who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for you will be filled.

Six -- LOYALTY -- St. Peter, who at first denied Christ three times, in the end chose to be martyred for Christ by means of upside-down crucifixion - the ultimate loyalty. Blessed are you who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Seven -- JOY -- The Celtic cross, a symbol of Resurrection and new life, as the sun rises behind an empty cross. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Enneagram

"...and add to this, that I taste a false sweetness in everything I suffer from. This sad state of soul is for me an abundance of pains, misery, and terror, an open path to despair....And the crowning point of all woes is that I feed with a certain silent lustfulness on my tears and pains and only against my will do I tear myself away from them."

I'm reading this wonderful book called "The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective." Thanks to Tamie for introducing me to the Enneagram!

The Enneagram was used in the Middle East as early as 800BCE as a spiritual practice. It was later refined by Christian and Sufi (mystic sect of Islam) ascetics. It's a 9-pointed personality "guide" - although the Sufis referred to it as the "9 Faces of God" or the "9 Faces of the Soul."

I'd give you a link to a test of some sort, but they fall short. In the true spiritual nature of the Enneagram, one is supposed to read and reflect on each of the 9 types before self-identifying with one of them. I shall leave you, dear readers, to discover the nine types on your own!

Anyway, I love that quote. It perfectly and beautifully describes the vice (or sin, if you will) of my 'type' - number Four. "Melancholy is the joy of being sad."

As I read more about the Enneagram, it allows me to develop a certain patience and temperance for others. The key to compassionate empathy (at least to me) is acknowledging how damaged we all are. Then we begin to learn how to heal and break old patterns of responses to our core personalities. I don't think you can change your core, but I do think you can change how you respond to it.