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Brunch: The location of brunch will be announced after the 11:00 AM service.
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Phoenix Happenings Bringing God’s Love to Others, Wakefully Lifestyle Column Around the Church and the World
Third Sunday after Epiphany
CALLED TO WITNESS + CALLED TO LISTEN + CALLED TO SERVE
Jan. 24, 2010
Integrity@Trinity invites you to join us for
Beginning Anew: A Lenten Quiet Day Saturday, February 20, 2010 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Auditorium at Trinity Cathedral The quiet day includes periods for silent contemplation or meditation, common prayer, and readings from the spiritual teachers of our tradition. You are welcome to join us for all or part of the day. Instruction will be available in various methods of contemplation and meditation for those who desire it. There is no cost for this quiet day
Haiti is in need of our help! Respond today and donate:
Make your checks payable to: Episcopal Relief & Development / Haiti Fund You may drop these checks in the offering plate or you may go to http://www.er-d.org to donate
Every Sunday at 8 P.M. in the Cathedral
Bringing the Love of God to the World Wakefully By Ian Chamberlin
The last couple of weeks have been filled with upsets. With the earthquake in Haiti, the apparent demise of what was a promising effort to reform healthcare in our country, and with the ongoing trials in California with respect to same-sex marriage, what is one to do? How does one “fix” all this? As Christians we have a deep sense of desire to bring about God’s Kingdom here and we want to do it now. This longing for God’s Kingdom translates into a desire to help and to bring God’s love to everyone in the world. But how do we do it in a way that would perhaps mirror the model that our Lord showed us in his lifetime? Oddly enough, when we decide we want to help, we put ourselves at somewhat of a risk spiritually. We run the risk of feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and may even run the risk of losing trust in God and his work in us. We also run the risk of exhibiting very un-Christlike attributes like pride, malicious anger, hatred, and so on. We run the risk of losing everything for the sake of helping others. So then, how do we go about helping in a way that will truly reflect God’s love and concern for his creation? Here are some suggestions: Examine Your Motivation First, you have to ask yourself why you want to bring God’s love into the world by whatever means you are planning to do so. It is crucial that we do this because otherwise, our helping becomes yet another exercise of selfishness. If you are doing this to “earn brownie points” with God, or to impress your friends, then perhaps you’re on the wrong track. As Christians, we ought to be helping because we are trying to share the light that and spirit that was imbued in us at the time of our baptism. I hope that as Christians, we have all been given some semblance of peace, and a sense of being loved by the God who created us. It is this sense of being loved that will advance the Kingdom of God on earth. If you don’t you need to take time for yourself, to cultivate that light of Christ’s love that already shines within you. Which brings us to the next important way we share God’s love with others: Share God’s Love With Yourself Everything starts with you. I know this sounds like the most selfish thing to do, but I have found this teaching to be very true and very applicable to us. If you don’t feel that God loves you, how can you possibly share that love with others? We are our own worst judges. If you think Simon Cowell on American Idol is rough on the contestants, think about how rough you are on yourself. How many times have you beaten yourself up over something you didn’t do or didn’t say? The first step to becoming a real, wakeful Christian who is ready to tackle the world’s problems, is to first be with yourself and become secure in the foundation of God’s love. In previous articles we have learned about how one does this. We recall, that we do this by first learning to be with ourselves through the practice of prayer and meditation. We learn to achieve genuine, gentle wakefulness in what we do. By doing so, we are gaining a direct experience of what Christ was trying to teach us about being Christians. I have learned this to be of extreme importance. We can learn through theology books, through book discussion, reading the Bible and so on. We can gain an intellectual understanding, but this understanding does not come to fruition unless we begin to gain direct experience of what the teachings of our faith tradition mean. Once we are secure in our own experience and understanding of God’s love we can begin by going out to “help”.
Share Peace By Being Peaceful The great Buddhist teacher, and very close friend of our Christian community, Thich Nhat Hanh, is a great activist for peace. He advocates non-violence in all aspects of our communication and our actions. His compassionate fearlessness in the face of adversity has been an example to everyone around the world. One of his sayings that has stuck with me is that “we cannot bring about peace violently”. Although I can have a bit of a temper at times, this is one saying that always convicts me and invites me to do better. This applies to everything that we do. Jesus wanted us to advocate for unity and for peace throughout the world. Jesus wanted us to be compassionate to other people and love the whole of humanity just like he loves every single one of us. We cannot presume to “love” our brothers and sisters when we demean or demonize them because they disagree with our view, or when we protest by destroying property, or when we advocate for equality and peace in other violent ways. How can we presume then to seek nonviolence under violent pretexts? It is fine to be upset about inequalities or injustices around the world, it is fine to have “compassionate wrath”, but when we allow this compassionate wrath to turn into anger and allow it to cause us to act with a negative intent, this is a big problem. Our motivation for our Christ-like work should never be to “win” or to “get one over” on those bad people, whoever they are. Gentleness is one essential part of being awake and being secure in God’s love. We can afford to be gentle. This doesn’t mean that we lose our backbone and don’t stand up to injustice, but it doesn’t mean that we do so violently. If our motivation really is to share Christ’s love for others, we will do it in a way that will reflect our belief and commitment to that very love. Be A Christian The final synthesis of all the things we can do to bring God’s love to the world in a gentle, wakeful way is to be Christians. As Christians, we are little Christs, we represent the past, present and future of God’s Kingdom on earth. In order to “fill our shoes”, so to speak, we need to be able to be awake, aware, and present in each an every moment of our lives. When we are able to do so we are able to care for ourselves, and know when we are getting burned out or tired, so that we can rest. We will be able to take care of others because we can truly be present to them. We will be able to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth, one person at a time. So, bringing about God’s love into the world is not about starting a crusade, or a war. It’s about bringing peace into our own lives, and then sharing that peace with others. Peace to You Ian
My Lover is Stuck in the Closet By Butchie L’Amour
Dear Butchie, For nearly a year now I've been dating a closeted bisexual [previously] virgin man who is about seven years my senior. We've been best friends for four or five years now, but when things finally progressed into something more romantic I told him I wouldn't be his boyfriend unless he started coming out about us to people. As is his habit with many things, he procrastinated until we were already in essence boyfriends, then - over a romantic dinner - gave me a ring and asked me to be his boyfriend, promising that he wouldn't hurt me by keeping our love a secret. Skip ahead eleven months and three broken promises to tell his mother about us on specific dates. At this point he still has only admitted our relationship to his best friend who walked in on us hugging romantically. What I find most disturbing is that he has openly gay co-workers and a very gay-friendly boss whose wife adores gay people including me. They have even asked him if he was gay, assuming that we were a couple after seeing us together, but since he's bisexual, he felt honest in answering "No." What's more, his cousin is openly lesbian, married to the girl of her dreams and they now have a baby. All of this is quite openly accepted by his family. It's excruciating that he still refuses to tell anyone "because their lives are too stressful already". At this point I feel betrayed and as though our relationship - and even I myself - is his lowest priority. It's slowly eaten away at my devotion to and love for him until I'm behaving irritably and finding myself resenting him. My eyes have even begun to wander and I'm developing feelings for another good friend. I feel like I've given him more than adequate time to keep his promise, but it seems like staying with him will mean a lifetime of pretending to be the roommate of the man I love to a family who is a daily presence in our lives. The hardest aspect of deciding whether to stay or leave is the fact that otherwise this is the best relationship I've ever had. Sure, there are problems and annoyances, but we know each other inside out and love each other - flaws and all. We trust each other completely. We have a good life together and breaking up would mean starting all over again. Should I accept the fact that I can never be fully accepted by his family and will always have to live a charade or should I refuse to settle for anything less than a partner who is proud of our love for one another? My sincere thanks, Confounded by the Closet Butchie L’Amour replies: Dearest Confounded by the Closet, Though it doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is afraid of committing to you, it does sound like he is afraid of committing to coming out. However, just because he is not ready to come out right now, in these eleven months, does not actually mean that he will stay in the closet forever. It is important to remember that coming out is a process, and, regardless of wanting to promise you, it is entirely possible that your boyfriend is first just processing this new relationship and new information for himself, and simply needs more time. Can you give him six more months? You see, puppet, because you are telling me that this is the very best relationship that you have ever had, I am inclined to look at the positive, here. And so, rather than holding on too tight to
the resentment, I think that it is worth nothing that your lover does want to please you, and actually knows that coming out is the right, integrative thing to do, but can’t quite figure out how to take that final step, yet. Frustrating and painful? Yes. Absolutely. But will it be this way forever? I suspect not, love. The primary thing that you’ll need to remember, then, for right now, is that your boyfriend is afraid - his language of avoidance, “because their lives are too stressful already” speaks volumes: he is afraid of being a burden, and afraid of being rejected. So if this is a journey you are willing to be on with him, you have to be willing to be gentle with his fear, along with his naughty bits. Remember that this is his first time with so many things - and so he’ll need more support and less critique - and that this will require patience, yes, but more than patience it will require acceptance. If you do not truly accept your man for where he is in his process as a part of loving him, you will always become polarized in your discussions and your emotions. (Oh—and in your eye wandering, too! Which never helps to make things easier, by the way. That new bloke will surely have some issue, as well.) Next, you have to be on the same team. Instead of just being frustrated with him for his inability to come out, perhaps the two of you can problem solve. How about trying a therapist (yes, fags do it, too), or working on a practice coming out letter, reading some coming out books, or sending him off to some coming out groups? Or sending you off to some coming out groups, as a refresher? In this way, CBTC, if you are on the same team, then the struggle becomes shared and you each stand a greater chance of compassion, as well as a shared solution that leaves him feeling less cornered, and you feeling less resentful. Lastly, yes: you ought to have a partner who is proud of your love for one another - and because your guy sounds like he has already loved you so well for such a long time as your friend, I simply advise you to consider this his first year at Lover University, accept his explorations and know that he’ll likely graduate just as soon as he hits his stride. Love always
Around the Church and the World
Shaken to the bone, called to respond By The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori [Episcopal News Service] The world has been turned upside down, as the bones of the earth have shifted underneath Haiti. We are reminded of life's fragility and unpredictability as we watch the news reports and see the devastation of human lives. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; 80 percent of her people live on less than $2 a day. Even before this earthquake, she struggled to provide for her poor. Since its founding in 1804 as the first African-led nation in the Western Hemisphere, and the first resulting from the rebellion of former slaves, Haiti has experienced disaster after disaster, both natural and political. Until now, hurricanes have been the most frequent riders of the apocalyptic horse.
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is among the largest in our church. Before this disaster, the diocese counted between 100,000 and 120,000 members in 169 congregations served by just 37 clergy. The diocese has been a major force for human well-being in all senses – spiritual, emotional, intellectual, cultural and physical. Resourceful and spirit-filled Haitian Episcopalians served more than 80,000 children in 254 diocesan educational institutions, from preschool to college. The diocese sponsored Haiti's only philharmonic orchestra and its only schools for disabled children and nursing. The Hôpital de Sainte Croix provided community health services for the Leogane region. Two vocational training institutes supplied Haiti with auto mechanics, computer technicians and business managers. Development programs helped rural communities toward food security by raising rabbits and sharing plows. This earthquake flattened the
Around the Church and the World
cathedral and its surrounding buildings, including schools and a convent; it destroyed the bishop's home and the diocesan offices. One of the diocese's institutions of higher education is gone. We don't know the condition of other institutions. Several churches were destroyed. The work of rebuilding lives, diocesan institutions and the fabric of the nation will take years. The Episcopal Church – all of it – will be vital in that effort. Likewise, the Diocese of Liberia, once a part of our church and now a member of the Anglican Province of West Africa, grew to serve God's people in a nation founded by freed slaves. The country is recovering from years of civil war. Everywhere there is evidence of violence – burnedout automobiles and trucks, decaying buildings, impassable streets and roads, limited and intermittent electricity and a lack of basic services. Despite those realities, the Liberian people are filled with hope. They are rebuilding their homes, their lives and their nation with creativity and will. The Episcopal Church in Liberia has a long and honored place in the life of the nation. Since 1889, Cuttington University has trained many of the nation's leaders. Diocesan schools provided much of the best elementary and secondary education available. The sad reality is that most diocesan institutions were damaged or destroyed in the unrest, and many still are trying to rebuild. In the immediate aftermath of the Haiti disaster, cash donations are the most effective and essential way to help. Episcopal Relief & Development is working with its partners there, especially a network of community-development agents it has trained over the last few years. Together they will connect need with resources. Rebuilding the diocese must be
directed by its people. Only the bishop and leaders there can tell us where and what aid is most needed. The people of Louisiana and Mississippi know what this is like, and those who have partnered with them know the blessing of being vulnerable enough to listen to and take direction from those who are suffering. As time goes on, the world will forget the extent of this devastation. Our task will be to listen, remember and respond. Indeed, we have seen that the world's attention, once riveted by Liberia's violent unrest, has turned away. Yet, the church there desperately needs partners in its rebuilding work. Dollars are needed, but that need is secondary. There is enormous hunger for, and pride in seeking, self-sufficiency. Liberian Episcopalians need trainers of teachers. They need hospital administrators and medical personnel. They need missionaries who are willing to train Liberians to train others. The Episcopal Church has the human resources they need. In our urge to be compassionate in the aftermath of such disasters, I pray that we discover that we are so interconnected that we no longer can simply talk about the poor of Haiti and Liberia. I pray that we will tell the story of all the suffering in our midst, about the poor and bereaved members of the entire human family. Truly, when disaster strikes one of the least of these, it strikes all of us. Together we can bring a measure of healing to Haiti and Liberia. May the result be much closer to the dream we share for the reign of God.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come” - John 7:37
Integrity@Trinity is the congregational circle of Integrity at Trinity Cathedral. Our mission is to foster the integration of all people, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) people into the full life of the Trinity Cathedral parish. We do this by being witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by listening to the needs and concerns of our community, being witnesses for justice and inclusion and by serving our church and wider community. You are welcome to join us for any or all of our activities. You can find more information about what’s happening in our ministry and about future events by opening this newsletter, by asking one of our members or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CALLED TO WITNESS + CALLED TO LISTEN + CALLED TO SERVE
Published on Jan 23, 2010