Monthly Archives: October 2010

I feel disrespected.

Congressman Eric Canton, who represents me in Washington, has decided not to debate his election opponents. He has said that the debate would become a “food fight.”

Now, I disagree him on just about everything. It is only fair that you know that.

Hon. Eric Cantor, M.C.

But until now I respected him. I know his colleagues have given him considerable power, and clearly he is an intelligent public servant. 

I felt sure he respected me. But now I see that he is like so many others (Republican and Democrat) who forget for whom they work.

He has $1.2 million in campaign funds in the bank, so who needs his constituents? We don’t really count. He doesn’t have to show up at a public meeting and let us evaluate him side-by-side with his opponents (a Democrat and a Libertarian). As a matter of fact, I don’t recall him showing up much of anywhere in “our” district so we ordinary types can meet him and question him.

When was the last time he held a town meeting to take questions from his constituents? Maybe it was recent, but I did not hear about it. If anyone who reads this can correct the record, please do so. I’d like to be wrong. 

But, in the meantime, I must ask, “Eric, where are you?”

“When I share my light with the light of others, miracles take place!” Those wise words are from Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Pastor of Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Ft. Lauderdale.

They are appropriate on this day–the 36th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Don’t you wish we had Dr. King today? Just think for a moment what a difference that voice of moral clarity made in the 1950s and 60s, and what a difference it would make today. Of course, many of the people who laud him today were fighting him back then.

We think our level of political discourse is cheap today–and much of it is. But the people today who don’t believe that our President was born in this country or that he is a Muslim (and think that would be a bad thing, were it true, which it is not) are  descendants of the people who thought Dr. King was a communist, or worse, when he was alive. Some folks probably still do.

Our task then, as Dr. Watkins writes, is to share our light, as Dr. King did. We may not be a leader in his mold, but there is something each one of us can do today to bring a little light, a little moral clarity, even a miracle, to a very hurting world.

When was the last time you came out of a hard time? Depression, losing your job or not finding one (or both), disease attacking your body or the body of someone you love, a loved one leaving you (by death or by ending your relationship), things at work going from bad to worse . . . most of us have been through these sorts of things in our lives.

Some of us are going through them right now.

Chances are, we’re looking for some inspiration.

The first miner is greeted by Chile's President

And I am finding it in the liberation of the Chilean miners. And in the decision by a federal judge to immediately stop all enforcement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And in knowing that people–many of whom hold opinions very different from my own–are debating, or trying to debate, the direction of our country.

Maybe what I am celebrating is persistence. Showing up, no matter what. Staying the course when you know it is the right course, and standing up against what you think is the wrong course.

I know this. No matter how discouraged we become, God is with us. The trick, as Abraham Lincoln said long ago, is to be with God–to be on God’s side.

Have you asked God today what She or He wants you to do? Its not too late, and the answer might save your life.

I had the most wonderful birthday. I spent it in two cities, with different parts of my family–each time was very special.

If you read my last post–Go Charlie! Go Hoyas! on October 8–you know Jonathan and I were in Washington last Friday and Saturday to watch our grandnephew Charlie play football for Georgetown. Thirteen of Charlie’s family members gathered and we had a great time before, during, and after the game (sadly, Georgetown lost in overtime).

Jonathan and me at the Washington Monument

Part of the fun was the dinner we shared Saturday night–where I, with Charlie, was guest of honor. It has been a long time since all three of my daughters, and my sister and much of her family gathered to celebrate my birthday. It was very special.

Then, on Sunday, my actual birthday, I was surprised at church when the congregation sang to me as we began worship. I was very moved.

I am so blessed by my families–all of them.

And I thank God for them–clearly God brought me into my birth family, and then God brought me wonderful daughters (thank you, Judy, too!), and then God brought me Jonathan, and most recently God brought me to Richmond to my MCC family.

Can anyone be more blessed than I am?

Jonathan and I go to Washington, D.C. today for a wonderful family gathering.

What brings us to our nation’s capital? A young man by the name of Charlie Dann.

Charlie is my grandnephew–the son of my niece Alyssa Lenhoff and the grandson of my sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Bentley Lenhoff. I was there when he was born–on Christmas Day in 1991–to Jewish parents in Youngstown, Ohio. He plays football, as a first year student, at Georgetown University–#66.

I am excited to see family–including our daughters and son-in-law–and I am thrilled to be part of the Charlie Dann Fan Club. He is an amazing fellow. Not only a big guy who can hold his own on the field, he also is very smart.

Maybe the thing I like best about him is his authenticity. He can mix it up on the field and he can mix it up in the classroom. He so impressed the Provost of Georgetown University during a conversation that focused on educational theory that now Charlie has an internship in the Provost’s office (as a first year student!). And he has the sweetest, most honest nature of anyone I know.

When I think of Charlie, I do not fear for my country or the world. Thank you, God, for Charlie.

And, oh yes, Go Hoyas!

 October 6 is a big day for progressive church folk everywhere. It was on that date in 1968 that Rev. Troy Perry led the first worship service of what would become the global Christian movement known as Metropolitan Community Churches.    
 

MCC Richmond leaders at Church Size Summit: (l-r) Pastor Robin, Tom Barks, David Wilson, JR Adams, Elaine German

But we are not just about celebrating anniversaries–important though they are. MCC is also moving forward. 

 
For example, this past weekend, leaders from 15 MCC congregations in the eastern U.S. gathered in Washington, D.C. for a Church Size Summit. While there, we learned about how the size of the worshipping congregation affects the church structure and program–and we learned how to begin to change to become more effective.  
 
 And, in a first, on October 5 and 6, the pastors of four Virginia MCC churches gathered in Richmond for a 24-hour retreat. We spent the time talking about our calls, our churches, and our plans for the future. And because it felt so good to share collegially, we have agreed to meet again this winter.
Both of these events remind us that our work is just beginning, that God is calling us to build new networks of faith and action.  

Thank you, Troy, and all the other pioneers, for getting us started. Now, its up to us to carry on and move forward.

Cocoa and I went for our customary 5:15 am Tuesday walk. The stars were beautiful, the waning crescent moon very sweet. And the crispness in the air reminded me that autumn is in full swing. No more summer (although we may have a few hot days yet).

No more summer. Bummer.  This is the time when I begin to dread what is coming . . . cold weather, maybe even snow at times.

Then I remember a promise I made to myself recently: live in the moment. Give up dread. Enjoy right now–find something to celebrate in the here and now. Give up fretting about there and then.

So, yes, the stars were beautiful, the moom a sweet sliver. Cocoa was happy sniffing at everything. I felt God’s presence–once I stopped focusing on my anxiety. One of my neighbors blinked his lights in response to my wave. And I had a warm home to come back to, food in the cupboard, a hot shower, and Jonathan making sweet sounds in his sleep.

Who could ask for anything more?