Back to the barely-civilized routine of 7:30am committee meetings. See all the gory details of the legislative day here.
Before the morning legislative session, I met briefly with three Deputies, who, like me, were “raised up” by St Timothy’s in Salem, Oregon. I was gone before any of them arrived in the parish, so I never knew them in that context. But there are actually even more of us floating around; St Tim’s was a real “priest factory” for a while.
I had lunch with the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Dorsey McConnell, whose sense of humor is developed to about the nth degree, which is truly a tonic in an environment like this.
Immediately following the afternoon legislative session was the bishops and spouses dinner. To be honest, the timing was not the greatest. After what transpired in the afternoon, these were not the people I was most interested in spending an evening with. Nonetheless, there were many enjoyable moments.
In general, the day was harsh–physically, spiritually, and, most of all, emotionally. I have felt myself part of a beleaguered minority virtually my whole time in the Episcopal Church, which runs to more than 40 years now. It gets old. Now I feel like a boiled frog–thrown into the pot when the water was cool and comfortable, only to find that the temperature has been raised very gradually until the frog is … cooked … without ever having completely realized just what was happening. I used to have a lot more company. We were always a minority to be sure, but a substantial minority. Then, between the 2006 and 2009 conventions, most of my “friends” decamped to other ecclesiastical environs. Those of us who remain do so in good faith, but we are powerless. We have no choice but to embrace the gospel paradox that strength is found precisely in weakness, and really nowhere else. We were reminded of that fact today rather severely, and it’s a hard lesson. We feel pretty beat up.
As the session ended, and my emotions straddled the fence between anger and numbness, the ambient music that somebody causes to come out of the audio system in the room played the old nineteenth century hymn, It is Well. This is something I sang in my Baptist childhood, and it was my father’s favorite hymn, which was sung at his funeral. So it’s a trigger for some very deep feelings. The words of the first verse were actually kind of appropriate: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billow roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.'” Indeed, in the midst of grief, anger, and confusion, it is well with my soul. God reigns. Jesus lives.