Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tears, idle tears

It's time for another visit with the famous lady novelist, The Swan of Newark, and her never-ending travails as she suffers nobly the indignities and injustice of that most hide-bound and repressive institution, the Episcopal Church. This entry, from June 22, 2006 is particularly long, so I'll have to edit it a bit for length. Like all proper lady novelists, this one is writing a three-volume novel.

Okay. It’s really Thursday, June 22, 2006. I’ve hardly slept. I walked around the city until about 1:30 AM. I have no idea how far or where I went.
It was a dark and stormy night.
The streets of the city – any city – are where I’ve most often found comfort. These city streets – even for the Midwest – did not fail.
Bearing my basket of provisions for the deserving poor, I set about on my silent errand. How far away was this Midwestern slum from the bright lights and glittering society of Newark!
The events of yesterday still hurt. A lot. Okay. More than a lot. Truth be told, I’m devastated. Shaken to my core. I found myself sobbing just now in the shower.
My nervous complaint left me prostrate with woe. Sharing that weakness common to our sex, I sought relief for my aching heart in tears.
...Honestly. I’ve been tempted to do the same thing. Just walk away from it all. Who needs this? Why do I keep putting myself in a position of being abused? What kind of perverse love is this that I have for this church?
I dunno. A love that dare not speak its name, perhaps?
...I don’t know where to even begin to describe to you what happened. Even so, I am quite suddenly aware that, while I originally thought I would start this little blog for the folks in my congregation to stay informed of the activities of the national church, I am writing to a much larger, albeit unintended audience. All of a sudden, I feel the need to guard my words...I love them. They love me. It is a wondrous thing to behold. But, after General Convention 2006, I feel that our relationship is in grave danger – not because of the church, but The Church.
Because enemies are EVERYWHERE, saboteurs and wreckers, seeking to undermine the Cultural Revolution's new-born revolutionary things!
It was raining when I awoke – late – at the obscene hour (for me) of 8 AM. Indeed, I awoke to the sound of thunder rumbling loudly outside my hotel window. Strange, I didn’t remember hearing that on the local weather forecast.
The clouds, foreboding and dark, hovered in the sky over General Convention 06 like black falcons seeking their prey.
I lingered through the morning, simply enjoying the luxury of time to linger, and to consider the hard work as well as the wonder of the past week. We had come to Columbus with a careful plan and had amazed ourselves by how much we were actually able to accomplish – including the wildly surprising and unexpected gift of the first woman Primate in the Anglican Communion.
Innocent of guile, the village maiden indulged in reveries as harmless and artless as the wildflowers that she gathered to weave into garlands for her hair.
...I didn’t know the clock was ticking and this glorious time was really only a moment.
But ah! the cruel awakening!
There was an anxious buzz in the convention hall. It seemed odd to have all those purple shirts among us, but a special joint session had been called. There was wild speculation about what the Presiding Bishop was going to tell us. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how bad it was going to be.
How could we? What could we possibly know of such things as power politics, horsetrading and behind-the-scenes machinations? We were defenseless lambs, frolicking in our innocent, openhearted way among the devious serpents who threatened us from all sides.
...We went about our work – and, God knows, there was certainly a lot of it. We had not yet gotten to the resolutions which would call us to repentance and reparations for slavery, changes in our canons, new educational programs and liturgies – all of that still awaited our attention.
You know, easy stuff like that.
I’m sure everyone will have their own take on this, but here is the fact: While we worked and while the House of Bishops debated Resolution B-033, a terrible thunder and lightening storm raged outside. At times, the rain poured down so hard that people at the microphones had to raise their voices in order to be heard. Loud claps of thunder shook the roof.
Did I mention that it was dark? And STORMY? Yea, the very angels were weeping at the hardness of men's hearts.
I’m pretty clear about what was going on, but I’ll leave that to your own interpretation.
I wouldn't want to unduly influence you or anything.
Things are pretty much a blur from this point on.
Loosen your stays, it's going to be a bumpy night.
...What I can still hear are her (Katherine Jefferts-Schori's) last words. They echo in my head. I can see them resting like a heavy, dark cloud over our heads.
That's when we realized that her mother's maiden name was Btflsplk.

“ . . . . but at this time, this is the best we can do.”

Then she turned slowly, sadly, and walked silently out of the room.

Never, never will I forget that terrible moment! My whole being palpitated with a nameless dread.

Everyone sat in stunned silence. Bonnie Anderson took a deep breath and encouraged us all to do the same. But, there was no air in that room. It had all been sucked out. I sat in stunned disbelief.
My posy of wildflowers lay crushed and scattered at my feet. The bright, innocent hopes of that morning lay lifeless under the cruel stones hurled by our tormentors.
The best we can do is injustice?
Ohhhh deep in my hearrrrt, I do belieeeeeve, that we shall overcome...
The best we can do is mediocrity?
(A little late to be thinking about that, I guess.)
Funny. Moderator Bob Duncan, the bishop of Pittsburgh, read a statement of disassociation from The Episcopal Church and he, along with eleven other bishops walked out. Funny. She may not be invited to Lambeth anyway. Her gender “presents a challenge to the wider church and (may) lead to further strains on communion.”...Funny – except it’s not. It’s tragic and appalling and absolutely heartbreaking.
Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother...THEY'RE HEEEEEEERE!
We are falling, headfirst, into the creation of a “magisterium.”
And you know what THAT means. TROUBLE. With a capitol T and that rhymes with P and that stands for...pope.
We have become subject to “foreign rule.”
Patrick Henry, thou shouldst be living at this hour!
...Life goes on. It always does. It always will. My life has been changed and transformed by this time in Columbus, and I’ll never again be the same.
I walk among the oblivious throng, carrying my secret grief, patiently bearing a sorrow that they, fortunate creatures! can neither see nor understand.
I’m trying to get over this – put it behind me. I’ve blown my nose, wiped my tears, picked up my socks and I’m trying to get on with it. I’m afraid I’m not able to “exercise restraint.”
My ringlets shaking with emotion, I lay on my fainting couch, smelling salts near to hand, and buried my maidenly distress in my needlepoint.
It’s so hard. There’s this very tender place in my heart from where it was punched and kicked and beaten up yesterday afternoon.
Because the world is so cruel and unfeeling to sensitive, delicate hearts like mine.
...I wish I could say I feel hopeful and confident about the future of the church. I don’t. I’m not even sure I can name or identify the entire range of my emotions. I don’t have the energy for anger. I just know that I feel very, very sad.
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.



Blogger Matt Drachenberg said...

That was utterly brilliant.

7:03 pm  
Blogger babushka said...

As I recall, there was another (less-bubblegum-pink) lady-cleric blogger at GC2006 who seemed vaguely puzzled that she missed the key moments. Seems she thought you can go back to your room, take a nap, look after children, and visit with a pal, and concurrently be on the floor doing the business for which you were sent.

Maybe the liberal seminaries' training in the white magic of bi-location has a few bugs.

I tremble for my sex, or gender as they now say. And with this next round of relieved exodus from TEC, the Great Mothers will rise from ravissant to rampant, flanked by a few geldings on a rainbow field.

Ave atque vale, Great and Temporary Compromise, wet-nurse of Foxe and Hooker, Tyburn, Traherne, and Zahl.

7:28 pm  
Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

FYI, the lady has recovered from her swoon, taken pen to paper, and posted pictures of her purse dogs Lenny and Coco Channel.

I had been worried she'd gotten lost, while brooding in the moors.

10:11 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Either that, or one of those nameless "female complaints" women were always falling victim to.

10:14 pm  
Blogger Unsuspecting Pollyanna said...


*sideways glance*


Ooo. You're terrible.

9:33 am  
Blogger Denyse O'Leary said...

You should write scripts for a living!

At the Post-Darwinist, I blogged on:

"While numbers decline steeply: Episcopalians endorse "evolution""

Excerpt: "What has the tendency of bacteria or insects to develop resistance to threats to do with the emergence of life on earth? Or the appearance of specific viruses? All these events take place in a context in which the immense, super-computer-like complexity of life already exists. There is no good theory in science of the emergence of life on earth. (Note: Agnostic Darwin called his book Origin of Species precisely because he knew better than to tackle a problem like Origin of Life cold. Oh yes, he wanted to, but he was way smarter than his Christian evolutionist cheering section in the Episcopalian church.)"

[ ... ]

2. As a result, the Episcopalian statement makes an interesting contrast with the Pope's view, which directly addresses the issue of Darwinism, and insists that, contrary to Darwinist claims, each of us is a "thought of God."

Some may find it profitable to follow the links too.

Cheers, Denyse

10:04 am  
Blogger Jeffersonian said...

As Oscar Wilde said, only someone with a heart of stone could read Ms. Kaeton's missive and not laugh out loud.

10:44 am  
Blogger USMale said...

I laughed so much, with so much delectatio morosa, that now I'm going to have to go to Confession! And it's your fault! You need to go, too! bwahahahahhahahah

11:18 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I don't know if I can go to confession for this, though, since I can't honestly say that I purpose to sin no more!

11:36 am  
Blogger hillwatcher said...

My kids ran in to see what I was laughing about. FUUUUNNNNYYY stuff.


5:11 pm  
Blogger Diane said...

One of the funniest things I have read in a long time. I was chuckling over the loosened stays, but when I got to the part about her mother's maiden name I hooted. Thanks for the howl. :) You are oen funny guy.

8:10 pm  

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