Thursday, November 15, 2007

Padre Mickey Gripes About Unkind People

During my first year of seminary, we Juniors were informed that we would have to participate in the Intersession which took place between the first and second semesters. We were encouraged to take a class with a title like Multicultural Experience. One of the Seniors said, "Is Michael Dresbach taking that class? He is a multicultural experience!" I am of Celtic, Angle, and Saxon heritage on the maternal side, and of Swedish, German, French, Shoshone and Lakota heritage on the paternal side. My mother was born in Kowloon and her family were missionaries in China and the Philippine Islands. While in the Philippines, they were interred by the Japanese for several years. I lived on the Japanese island of Okinawa from the age of six to sixteen, and the Lovely Mona says that I am Japanese deep inside. And now I am the Rector of a predominantly West Indian parish in the Central American nation of Panamá. So, it seems as if ol' Bill Dogget was correct.

I also have a very sharp tongue; I'm one of those guys that James of Jerusalem, brother of our Lord warned you about in his epistle; my tongue can start fires! I really work very hard at keeping from writing the mean stuff that pops into my head (my original title for this post was: "You Can't Spell Reasserters Without A S S E S!").

I am proud of my different heritages, but am extremely proud of my Native American heritage. So I have been in a bit of a funk for the past few weeks because of something I read at Titus 1:9. I usually don't link there, but this article U.S. Bishop's Crosier is First Nations Talking Stick From British Columbia and the comments really had me angry, especially the comments of Dr. Joan, Spiro, and Libraryjim. I actually tried to engage JamieBiblotecha in conversation but didn't get very far. The comments of DRT should have been censored, but they are in line with that whole Standing Firm On Our Little Stone Bridges With Our Guns Half-cocked attitude which keeps the reasserters going. Then I read this article and comments early this week: California's First Female Episcopal Bishop Ordained In Saratoga. Once again, traditions of First Nation Peoples were described as pagan and inviting demons in (well, after everything being called "unitarian"). As you can see, I was a bit snappy in my conversation with "Jeffersonian." If I recall correctly, he helped send Melanie at Standing Firm On Our Little Stone Bridges With Our Guns Half-cocked go off the deep end in the Bishop Barbara Harris incident a few weeks ago. I don't understand why any gifts of Native American peoples must be rejected by this crowd and why anything which welcomes people into worship which is not from a Northern European context is immediately suspect and "of the devil." Well, actually, I have my suspicions for why they respond so, but one certainly must not point out the obvious on Titus 1:9 lest one upset an imaginary creature with pointed ears and one's comment eliminated. But for these people to denigrate the ministry and piety of people like Hank and Sherry and my friend Johnson Loud really angers me and is an occasion for sin.

I was already to write a post about the racism which is obvious in their posts, and to tear them all new orifices for the elimination of solid wastes, when I remembered that I am a priest and that they don't read here anyway. Instead, I realized that I am supposed to pray for them. So, I'll pray for them. I want to pray that God will open their hearts and minds, and I hope that God will do so, but I think I will just remember them in my prayers everyday and let God take care of it. And I'd like you all to pray for me.


Paul said...

One must leave them to God. One can do no better and easily fall prey to worse, which will only then eat at us.

They are bound and imprisoned in their own ignorance and fear of the other, seeing devils at every turn when they might as easily see Christ wherever they look. It is a terrible place, this dark prison of fear, full of adrenaline and bile roiling about and lit by the fires of fevered minds. Christ has already broken down its doors but until the denizens of that vile place realize this and that it is up to them to walk out, to follow the holy angel that would happily lead them, they might as well be bound in chains of adamant.

For the fear and hatred they spread I would like to wish them to stay there, but that would join my own soul to their hell.

Fortunately for us all, God's mercy is boundless. To that mercy we may commit the frightened, angry bigots (and it is not a sin to name what is).

Peace be with you, Padre. Ignorance binds but truth sets free. It will prevail.

Mary Sue said...

I thought we had this brouhaha when ++KJS was invested too, except that time they also decided to go after us Latinos y Hispanoamericanos porque ++KJS gave the benediction in Spanish.

Which is the point in the whole service that I broke into tears.

susan s. said...

"Fortunately for us all, God's mercy is boundless. To that mercy we may commit the frightened, angry bigots (and it is not a sin to name what is)."

Amen, Paul.

Padre Mickey said...

Padre Paul, you are correct and that's what I'll do.

Mary Sue, I really don't understand their nastiness about doing things en español. The Reasserters are always bellyaching about how ASA is declining in TEC, but if we reach out to others we are "Unitarian." I guess when we do things bilingually here in Panama we are simply giving in to the "Spirit of the Age." Actually, IMHO, the "Spirit of the Age" is warmongering and oppressing the poor. From what I can tell, many Reasserters are aligned politically with the very people who are waging war and helping the rich get richer.
They were nasty about the Sudanese choir, about the bilingual aspects of the service, and the presence of Native Americans. I broke into tears at ++KJS' investiture when I saw the smudging and heard the drums.

Paul said...

Padre Miguelito, I join in your opinion on the nature of the "Spirit of the Age." And THAT spirit is the antithesis of the Spirit of God. I am happy to wage battle against that godless spirit of domination, manipulation, and degradation.

Proclaiming Good News to all people and seeking to incarnate it in our own place and time, in not only a "language understanded of the people" but also in terms of the culture in which God places them (and us)--well, that ain't going godless. Silly twits. And yes, there is more than a tinge of rabid racism underlying it all.

Deep breath, Paul, you're stoking a rant here.


There is a fine line between commending our siblings to God and saying, Here Jesus, you take them, I can't imagine anyone else who will. Still, however imperfectly, so long as we leave them and us in Jesus' hands... there is hope.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Padre Mickey, I will pray for you.

Several years ago, right after the US invaded Iraq, I was so angry with Bush/Cheney that I was obsessed. I was seething for a good part of my waking life.

Then, at the advice of a wise man, I began to pray for them daily. Little by little, the obsession began to diminish until it was gone. I still despise what they do and have done, but I'm not obsessed. I'm not seething so much of the time.

When we pray for another, I believe that the love of God flows out to that person, but it passes through us first, and brings healing to us who pray.

It was in no way due to an act of my will, except for the decision to pray for them, which was very hard to do at first - nearly impossible. It got easier as time went on.

As for the people at "that place", I mostly stay away. For one thing, their comments are so fecking stupid and boring. And now the Lovely Mona will be miffed with me for my language.

Padre Mickey said...

Grandmère Mimi, thank you,
and the Lovely Mona is okay with "fecking," she just doesn't want me to call people "wankers" which I have stopped doing, even when they are.

episcopalooza said...

um, ditto.

Mary Clara said...

Padre Mickey, I am praying for you and for all those who have caused pain to you and who are trapped in this special kind of ignorance and fear.

Earlier today when I was reading the post below, some of the pictures didn't open up; there was just a little box with an 'x' on it. I don't know why that happens sometimes, but I knew what to do. I clicked on the 'x' to open the picture of Sherry and Hank LeBeau. It opened up in a new window, full-screen size, so I could really see them, and I immediately burst into tears because their beautiful souls leaped out and grabbed my heart. I'm sure I was also seeing their love for you in their faces. I almost posted at the time to tell you this but I thought it might sound a little soppy. Now I don't care. I haven't even met Hank and Sherry but they have already made my life better. Faces like theirs restore my hope for the world. Hold them and all the beautiful people who love you to your heart, drink up their love and spiritual strength as an antidote to the poison.

You post so many pictures that fill me with hope and love. (Well, of course, there are also the ones that make me laff out loud in a very naughty way, especially ones involving tiny little mitres!) The people in your parish seem to be extraordinarily alive and gifted and beautiful. I think they really are very special. But they are also being seen through very special eyes, the eyes of love. That is one of the gifts of the spirit given to our Padre Mickey, to see people in this way and let their souls shine forth without limit. If you see one person's soul that way, you have seen Christ and His Kingdom. So, brother dear, "Hold fast that which is good ..." and carry on. All will be well, and we shall all be together forever.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Mary Clara, you're right the padre does have a gift to capture the souls of the people as he clicks away. I like the picture of Bp. Shimpfky. He's a beautiful man.

Reverend Ref + said...

Padre Mickey said (among other things):

I really don't understand [the Reasserters'] nastiness about doing things en español. They were nasty about the Sudanese choir, about the bilingual aspects of the service, and the presence of Native Americans.

And these are the people that are aligning themselves with bishops from Africa, the Southern Cone and the West Indies??

Words fail me.

David Austin Allen said...

Querido Padre, remember that Our Lord was constantly bumping up against folks who self righteously believed that they had a corner on God and holiness. Often times He had to resign Himself to leave them to their self sown harvest because they did not have eyes to see or ears to hear the Good News. Always picking at the small specks in the eyes of their neighbors, but blinded to the great gobs of detritus in their own eyes.

It is pitiable that they have no concept of the fact that nothing involved in Christian Worship is original to either jesus or Christianity. Not even the most sacred! The Holy Meal and Sacred Washing are re-consecrated borrowings of previous faiths.

FranIAm said...

Such a great post and so many great comments and so late in the night, but I had to stop by after not doing so for a few days...

I am always praying for you Padre, for Mona, for your parish, your grandchile.

Today, I am praying a little bit more.

peace to you. Keep that firey tounge!

Anonymous said...

Hi Padre,

Right, you leave and I arrive in Emerald City all chipper and filled with glee and NOW read your remarks that are Upsetting to me (you remember, me,me,me?)...I'm so codependent that I'm ready to reach deep within my Pawnee (I've got official "genetics" thanks to great/great/grandma/Momside (her daughter great grannie was a very mean Episcopalian living near Shoshone, Idaho) who was full blooded) underlying warlike whoop/dance and go skin those devils alive...whoops, I guess I ought not say/write meanie/violent kinda stuff like those "Little Stoneage Widgets" do, over thar at Ft. Lapping Limplanding...but, heck, can't we at least build a little fire and jump around and hollar and shout...I just know that God wants us to jump-up-and-down and hollar and HOOT because of/and against the plain ignorance and ugliness that is generated by some of them fear/hate-mongering biggoted human bee'ns at Church (where did them nasty mouthed 'flatladders' come from anyway?) doubt about it, SCREAMING is good for the emotional and SPIRITUAL health and God loves a good YELL for HELP...I know, trust me, God is bien pleased with the person that dear Padre Mickey has grown up to "be"...I know stuff, no kidding! Mil blessings to you beloved Padre and big abrazos from the Emerald Hills hideout...hip, hip, horray for PADRE MICKEY and the Lovely Mona too!

I pray for Gods "will" (which is clearly very good) for you...and like Gramere Mimi, when I get obsessed I pray for HELP! HELP ME GOD! God does! God always helps me (especially when I'm overwhelmed with hurt feelings, fears or anger and resentment)!

Vincent Astorless Stewington Vega-Garcia Grita

MadPriest said...

These people have no understanding of their own history and liturgy. For goodness sake, us Anglican priests spend our Sundays poncing around in Roman temple garb, talking about an event in our history which is pretty similar to the death/resurrection myths of pagan, mystery religions. We splash water about with the enthusiasm of shamen. We use a creation myth nicked off ancient, pagan religions of the Middle East. Much of the symbolic action of Christ is he same as the symbolic action of Zarathustra. The theology of the Church Fathers is based far more on Greek theological ideas than Jewish ones. Quite a few of the books in the Old Testament are folk tales from different religions. And to top it all off, our Lord was a universalist, for all intensive purposes, as he was only interested in the universal God and he was not bothered in the slightest about the religious affiliations of the people who spoke to.

Matty Boy said...

Madpriest left out the blood drinking and body eating you people do every Sunday.

The performance artist Laurie Anderson said she decided to go into the business of telling her odd stories because she grew up with the such completely nice and regular people who would have no truck with weird superstition and occult practices, but could talk very matter of factly about talking snakes with legs.

Isn't there some bible verse about motes in other people's eyes?

John said...

I confess it is very good to be in another part of the Anglican Communion and away from the ugliness and bile of the home front. But Padre, you never fail to call me to more charity and prayer for those [words fail me, or rather they fail my fingers] whose faith seems so distorted to me. One thing it does remind me about is how important it is for those of us in a position to teach to DO it -- the tradition we share is rich with diversity and openness and somehow we have not done a decent job of communicating it to our own generations. Sorry I missed you in the US. glad you're back in our "other" home country.

Mary Clara said...

Preach it, MadPriest!

eileen said...

Padre - Prayers ascending for you, for me, and for them and for us all.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

I'm so sad we live in a world that holds so much hatred for those who are "other" than what we know.


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