Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Lambeth Alternative in London

Personally, I think this guy-or gal--has the right idea!

Photo credit:
A giraffe at London Zoo cools off with a fruit filled ice lolly Wednesday.
(July 30, 2008)

Associated Press

Nzimbi: Meet Mote In Eye

One can only wonder what Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi could be thinking in ignoring the problems in his own country to interfere with and parasitize American Episcopal churches. Perhaps someone should ask him.

On July 30, in response to draft Lambeth recommendations which included calls for complete cessation of such Anglican province border crossings, Nzimbi said, "We won't stop going to America to preach the Gospel. We are going to preach the Gospel. We are going to tell the good news to the people."

Nzimbi made the comments before journalists just prior to his installation as president of the Church Army of Africa, an Anglican society of evangelicals.


Nzimbi boycotted the once a decade Lambeth Anglican Communion conference in protest over their disagreement with North American positions on lgbt people in the Episcopacy. But all is not well in Kenya.

Each night, thousands of young Kenya girls, "Twilight Girls", hit the street to sell their bodies in return for money to buy food. The child prostitution problem is rampant in the country, and children as young as 12 years of age are now seen in the trade. The existent problem increased when post election violence rocked the country.

Today, the Associated Press reports that Agnetta Mirikau, a child protection specialist with UNICEF Kenya, [said] the increase is particularly noticeable in towns where the violence was the worst, such as Eldoret, Naivasha and Nakuru. Eldoret was the site of a horrific attack after the election, when a mob torched a church filled with people, killing dozens.

(For a subtitled news video, please go here.)

The article also points to sexual violence perpetrated on these young "Twilight girls" and AIDS workers are deeply concerned that the AIDS crisis may be made worse by the recent increase in child prostitution as many of the young girls are engaging in unprotected sex.

It would appear that Nzimbi has his work cut out for him right at home, in fact within 200 km of his cathedral located in Nairobi. I'm sure the men hiring little girls for sex could use a little "good news".

Photo credit: Archbishop Nzimbi, episcopallife online








Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"We're trying to figure out how to keep dancing."

Bishop Frade, Diocese of Southeast Florida, joins Bishop Wolfe, Diocese of Kansas, to talk about their day at Lambeth. Some very fine thinking that, at least, made me feel better, personally. It is so good to hear from these two Bishops. And this short video, courtesy of episcopallife online made my blood pressure come down a notch.

The internet is a place where our ability to see and hear at the same time trumps by far the mere written word. Humans are a very visual species and I myself find these kinds of videos more helpful that straight print. I am grateful they are available.

Your thoughts?

Bishop Gene Robinson: "I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful."

Photobucket
Watch this short video to see what he means.

My personal thoughts and feelings on this:

+Gene Robinson is placing his hopefulness on The Episcopal Church's 76th convention to be held in Anaheim, California, July 8-17, 2009. There, laity, clergy and bishops will meet.

In this video, +Gene looks pensive. The great weight of hurt and exclusion in words written and spoken in the last few days at Lambeth relative to our lgbt brothers and sisters within the Anglican Communion must rest on his shoulders mightily.

If anyone understands exclusion, it is +Gene. If anyone understands angry words, it is +Gene. Yet, he does not let the painful weight crush his belief in God, or stay his faith in our our beloved Episcopal Church or its processes. The least I can do--the VERY least--is the same.

I freely admit that I do not want to bare the weight or "wait" of this. I am not as strong as +Gene. I find injustice acts like a systemic poison: It makes me feel angry and ashamed. And when I feel I can do nothing to help stop it or change it, the frustration makes me feel even worse.

I cannot possibly imagine how some of our lgbt brothers and sisters must feel. I feel terrible. It is an emotional roller-coaster where my heart is in direct conflict with what I am reading and hearing the result of which is a serious spiritual imbalance. When I pray, I cry. The angst is just awful.

The only other time I have felt like this was when I first returned to the church. I cried a lot. But the tears came from an understanding and feeling directly opposite of this. There were times, in the choir, I couldn't even get sing the hymn I felt so absolutely overwhelmed. Another choir member would sing, half the time, with her arm around me. At my feet was a constant stash of Kleenex. I felt like God had opened my heart and filled it with love and joy forcing my tears to the surface of the world.

I know I cannot give up, what would that do? Would walking away be helpful in some way? If so, I cannot see how. Injustice is never corrected by walking away from it. I must walk toward it. I have never walked away from injustice, but this feels so very different.

So, I guess I have made my decision.

The convention--a year away--seems so far off. The dreams of people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Caesar Chavez and others were not realized quickly or easily or without personal pain and sacrifice. These three people, each of whom I so admire, never wavered and never walked away.

Perhaps that is one of the lessons for me in all of this. It is sometimes so hard to walk a path without a map. But that is what faith calls us to do, doesn't it? Doesn't it call us to step out in faith and prayer knowing that God will guide us?

In my human life I have always been a leader. Now I am a follower and perhaps that changed role is making me feel insecure and unsafe because I cannot grasp all this intellectually. Perhaps this is one of my personal tests of faith. Do I have enough faith to step out onto a path without being in control? Can I hand over to God my life in such a way that no matter what happens my faith only grows stronger? Can I get past my sometimes stubborn recklessness and set my own deliberate course of actions aside that God might lead me?

It is a time of faith. I know this won't be easy for me.

God grant that I might delight in Your will
And walk in Your way
To the glory of Your name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On In CA: 11:42 AM (PST)

Photo: USGS of Imperial Valley, CA surface in farm field. Note the lateral offset of furrows.

At 11:42, we got the shake rattle and roll here in So. Cal. (aka "Shake and Bake Land"). I always immediately file my observations, which you can do also, here.

It was 5.4 on the Richter Scale, and appears to be epicentered in Chino Hills, CA, and while I have not heard the news of which fault this occured on, it is probably the Chino Fault, which you can read about here, page 28, and here. The Chino Fault, apparently a right lateral strike slip fault and part of the active Elsinore Fault System, has had off/on activity.

You can go here for more information.

This Cal Tech site is REALLY nifty as you can look up all kinds of info in your area.

Living geology! Have a nice rock and roll! That's sure what it felt like here, about 15 miles (as the crow flies) away from the epicenter.

Anglicans Need To Take A Good Long Look In The Mirror

Finally, someone in the media is paying attention to the situation in Nigeria which has brought such pain and danger to our lgbt brothers and sisters in Christ--and not. FINALLY. It is time everyone in the Anglican Communion do likewise. It is time for a moral self-assessment.

While many in the Anglican Communion--with 670 of its Bishops at Lambeth Palace for its once-a-decade pow wow--are busy denouncing the American and Canadian churches and wending their way through methods to keep the communion together on the shoulders of its lgbt brothers and sisters, nary a word has been written or said about the violence perpetrated on lgbt people in Nigeria, Uganda and elsewhere on the African continent both verbally and physically. It is a shameful and immoral silence.

That Archbishop Rowan Williams has repeatedly said that he is sorry that many of these verbal advocates of such violence are "missed" at the conference they themselves chose to boycott--including the fiery Archbishop Akinola (Nigerian Church) and Archbishop Orombi (Ugandan Church) who have forbade any bishops to attend from these countries--speaks volumes about their real concern for the dignity and safety of their fellow human beings. Williams and most of the communion Bishops have remained strangely silent about the issue apparently content to let the "whips" fall where they may.

Worse, in the communion's several-point plan to try to hold itself together, not one word addresses this injustice. Not one.

There is, quite literally, a moral vacuum sucking the life out of the Anglican Communion. And while the Lambeth conference is alleged to be a time of listening and contemplation, Sudan's Archbishop Bul, for instance, has indicated he has NO intention of meeting, speaking to or otherwise listening to American Bishop Gene Robinson. So much for listening. Perhaps, instead, they would rather listen to the anguished cries of those being physically attacked because of who they are. Might THAT get your undivided attention?

Laws in Nigera, Uganda and many other continent nations almost assure death in their zeal to imprison those who are lgbt. This assumes that these folks survive long enough to be imprisoned. And least the American Bishops feel proud about their stance, there are plenty of pewsitters and clergy across its church that are happy not only to work with these fire-breathers, but who willingly acquiesce to their positions. To hell with human rights and human dignity. To hell with human life.

I am angry. I am angry at the communion which includes my beloved Episcopal Church. I am deeply sorrowful that NO apology has been issued to the very people who bare the brunt of the communion's willful silence and demonstrable segregation because of gender identity. I for one will apologize.

I am ashamed and sorry that some members and clergy in my church are blind to your beautiful humanness and are silent and unresponsive to your needs. I am sorry that they have and may chose to continue to relegate you to the back of the communion's "spiritual bus". I am sorry for the danger that their silence continues to put you in and for the angry words that help to perpetrate violence in thought and deed upon each of you. I am sorry for any violence that has befallen you because of their actions, words or silence. I am truly sorry for the words and actions that have beaten you instead of lifting you up. I beg your forgiveness and I will continue to pray for your physical, emotional and spiritual health and healing and for God's blessing of understanding on those that would harm you and for myself, as well, that I may not withhold love and prayer to those I cannot respect.

Lord, hear my prayer.

Go here for more information from Changing Attitude.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reflection On The Tennessee Valley UUC Killings

This is a fine piece and certainly has some application to the present-day situation in the Anglican Communion. Well worth the read.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Would I Leave TEC?

I love the Episcopal church for what it is today. I love the broad tent, the liturgy, the emphasis on scripture. I deeply respect its history and it's ability to look forward.

With recent speculation on whether there will be some sort of commission to guide the communion in the do's and don'ts of its theology, it now appears that I may have to make a decision in the near future: Do I stay, or do I go?

I was baptized an Episcopalian at St. Marks in Glendale, California. Here, with my parents and Godparents in a private service, I was marked with the sign of the cross and given to God.

Six years ago, my mother and I were confirmed together. At the time, my mother was 88 years old. She has remarked that this was the nicest thing I had ever done for her: Bringing her into my church family and being confirmed with her. It was very special. We were confirmed by The Right Reverend Chester Lovelle Talton, D.D., a lovely and gentle man who I immediately liked. At the last EFM graduation which I attended to support my fellow classmates, I was happy to bump into him again as he was presiding over the graduation.

My belief in the Trinity isn't at risk. I would remain an Episcopalian, but likely an unchurched one.

The question is what will happen if, as you can read here, TEC were to sign on to a statement banning further consecrations of gay/lesbian clergy under the auspices of some newly created Roman-like doctrine committee.

Obviously, this would not happen overnight, and my decision is not immediate in any case. But this new roil has gotten me thinking.

As some of you know, I was an unchurched Episcopalian before I became an atheist, and later an agnostic. I returned to God, willingly, after God made it perfectly clear to me that she/he existed in a very personal experience. From there, I was not certain what to return "to".

With my then-SO whose mother is a long time minister in a new age church, I began attending. I have tremendous respect for her and for the church she spent most of her life leading. It created for me a new way to look at life and the world. Eventually, given the very long drive to attend, we stopped going.

After almost two decades together, when we separated, one of the things that became important was the search for a spiritual home. There are only a couple of churches that even made it to a short list. I am a liberal in theology, open minded and willing to be wrong, but the Roman church (because of some of it's doctrine which I just don't buy), and most mainline Protestant churches (whose liturgies are, at best, unattractive to me not to mention their theology) were out.

It was suggested to me that I read some books by Bishop John Spong, which I did. They changed my life. At the same time, I was in an online beliefnet group a member of which was an Episcopal priest. He suggested I go and try some Episcopal churches. I did. I have never looked back.

There is a hollow place in my heart in typing this, reading the words that I myself am typing about my potential for leaving a church I have come to so love and respect. I don't let things go easily. This will be no different. I will have to reflect carefully and pray a lot over the many, many months to come. I can kneel at the rail with those who fully disagree with me. I cannot, however, belong to a church that doesn't respect all people and/or which does not include all people in every level of its Episcopacy.

The simple matter of it is, however, that if TEC truly does not welcome all because of "who" someone is, then I don't belong there, either. While I am straight, if those who are not are not treated as I am, I simply cannot abide that, spiritually. Reject them, reject me.

While some have chattered that Lambeth makes little difference, I do not share that view. I am fully set to accept that TEC leaves or is tossed out of the Anglican Communion or is considered an impaired Communion member. I can live with that. I cannot, however, live with TEC that rejects full inclusion in our church.

Tomorrow, we might learn more about the so-called 'shot that will be heard round the world'. I hate militaristic analogies, but this one I'm keeping. It might just be a shot to my heart.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

MSNBC Takes on Media On McCain Gaffs

This speaks for itself. If we manage, somehow, to end up with McCain as our next president then we should willingly accept the award as the Western Idiots so many believe us to be.

Congress Gets Three Single-Digit Salutes: Retired Minister, Three Catholic Workers In the Pokey After Attempting a Citizens Arrest on Rove

photo: sendrovetojail.com


There are two things I am pretty sure apply to life in the U.S.: First, there are two sets of laws, one for rich and one for poor. If you fall into the latter category, God help you. Second, the saying 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' is fanciful bunk. They may fall over temporarily, but big-wig politicos are resurrected by other big-wig politicos and helped into new lives. Scooter Libby and Oliver North are two that come to mind.

Take Carl Rove, considered President Bush's top advisor, for instance. Rove resigned last August. He's rich and powerful (so apply a different set of laws), and the monolith of a man just doesn't crumble let alone fall.

Despite the subpoena issued to him to testify before Congress on July 10, Rove refused to appear invoking a protection twisted to the breaking point in doing so. In essence, Rove has given congress a single-digit salute.

Like Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers, and former Chief of Staff Josh Bolton have also refused to testify when subpoenaed. Both their cases are currently in federal court. The House has voted to hold Miers and Bolton in contempt. Let us hope Rove is added to the House contempt list.

Others, however, have contended that Rove should be jailed. Four such people, one a retired Methodist minister and three Catholic Workers, attempted to make a citizens arrest on Rove today where he was speaking at a Des Moines, Iowa GOP fund-raiser. Instead, the four were, themselves, hauled off to the clink. The four cited Rove's refusal to testify before Congress, his involvement in manufacturing evidence to promote the Iraq war, and the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame as reasons for their act of conscience.

If you love Bush, you probably love McCain. Or McSame as many are now calling him. More and more, Bush staff are becoming McCain advisers, including Rove.

God help the world if "Bush's Brain", a term applied to Rove, ends up in the White House as an adviser again. We are cracking and falling apart after eight years of Rove's thinking. An irony, indeed, that he's not.










Kacee's First Two Minutes At Dog Park Today

Kacee never really has enjoyed the car much, but over time, he came to realize that almost all car rides had a happy ending at... the dog park! Yeah! Now he jumps in the car (he's going to have a bit of a surprise next month when he goes to the vet to get neutered:) and off we go.

This is a pictoral representation of his first two minutes at the dog park today. When people see him come in, they point and laugh and everyone now knows him by name. He is a great ambassador for his breed, staffie terrier.

Horray! We're Here! Wow, I better go chase those dogs that looks like fun...











This dog is fast... wait a minute... I am having an ear malfunction.

















Hold on here. How'd you get behind me? I better speed up...











ALERT! ALERT! Possible crash landing ahead at the water bowl...











Abort landing at water bowl, detour to "Labrador(s)"












...and boxer. Oops, sorry, Ma'am. You okay?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kacee Has A Fun Day At The Dogpark!

Kacee, a now almost 10 month-old staffie terrier (often mistaken for a pitbull) was a little wee thing when he came here for a foster. He was 4 weeks old. I used to put on my hooded sweatshirt backwards (hood in front!) and pop him in there when I was on the computer.

This is just the neatest dog. Raised with 9 other dogs and cats, he is an absolute clown. I really MUST get some video of him at the dog park. People just crack up at the way he runs when he is happy... flailing around... looks like a colt that just discovered he has legs.

Anyway, here are some nifty photos of Kacee at the dog park today with some new friends.
Kacee meets Kate and her dog and gets in the photo.
After a spin in the water and dirt with about 15 other dogs, Kacee takes a breather. Kacee plays with some new friends.

Kacee loves humans. He never misses the opportunity to say hi or give them a smooch.

Kacee heads back to the water bowl with another new friend in tow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sound Familiar? (humor... well, sort of)

Hat tip to Craig for this at Gin and Tonic and a Slice of Lemon.

I came across this really funny 2 min. video and wanted to share it.

Interestingly, there are some real rings of truth in this and how Christianity (and no doubt Anglicans) are viewed.

I gave it a one :snort: rating. Well maybe a full two ::snorts::...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And On The Completely Disgusting Side...











This article is absolutely distressing... but it affords a wonderful opportunity for those of you in North Carolina--indeed those around the country--to help stop the use of CO2 gas chambers for killing dogs and cats (and others).

At the bottom of the article are people to contact with all the info you need.

Please take the time to write. The voiceless cannot do this themselves.

On The Lighter Side...

Thanks to my friend Dick for sending this to me today. I needed a chuckle and a few ::snorts::

Peeping Tom

This girl I know lives on the 4th floor of an apartment, and even though it is a fairly good neighborhood, she has been having trouble with a Peeping Tom that lives next door...

Every time she goes out on her balcony to catch a bit of sun while wearing her bikini, this Peeping Tom looks over from his balcony as soon as she removes her top, and stares at her...

She has complained to the superintendent about this Peeping Tom, but he says she must have positive proof before he can do a thing.

She FINALLY got a picture of him while he was staring at her...

(Page down)










Archbishop Deng Proclaims God Errors!

Brace yourself. It turns out Archbishop Dang created the world.

I know, I know. Stop the griping. We all thought God, the perfection, did it.

But no. As it turns out, Dang has found an "error" in the perfect God proving, once again, that those GAFCON types truly are right. They got the serious juice.

Bishop Gene Robinson, a child of God, is an "error" according to Deng.

That's right folks, God made a big boo boo.

I suggest you search your own family for other God mistakes or boo boos and report them immediately. God needs it in writing.

Ironically, Deng was formerly positioned as the Bishop of Renk and Chair of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Sudan. (Really! No joke! Proving, once again, a title doesn't mean much in a different context, does it?)

So folks, I know this comes as a shock in the middle of Lambeth, but I hope you can adjust. Any carvers of stone should apply. Engineers would be good too. Don't want that thing falling over.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Archbishop Deng: Your Timing Just Sucks

If there's one thing a activist must understand, it is the power of timing. A protest at the wrong moment, a statement against the wrong context is lost.

Today, Archbishop of Sudan, Dr Daniel Deng, made what I believe to be a huge mistake in timing in calling for the resignation of +Gene Robinson.

For those of you reading this, I needn't review the background of GAFCON/FOCA Bishops and their assault on the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion and their self-positing of absolute Biblical understanding and requirement now apparently imposed upon every global Anglican as they see fit and according to their rather bizzare list.

Boys (and yes, they are all male), your timing sucks.

Realize, during Lambeth, GAFCON/FOCA sent out a letter on behalf of everyone of you (that is, the GAFCON/FOCA types) which (as every activist knows very well) is a huge mistake. Voices of majority or not, you have to be, um, "inclusive". Venables didn't seem too happy, but I have to admit, it gave me quite a chuckle to see you off and running with the horse in the barn and Venables left standing wondering where everyone went. Tsk.

I understand, fully, your desire to be opportunistic. After all, the Lambeth Bishops seemed peaceful and contented coming out of several days of prayer, consideration and Bible studies. These protocols, no doubt to open the hearts of all and forge some bonds of love and respect, might have been seen to be within striking distance.

Someone rescued from the spring thaw ice water of Minnesota, best not be tossed into a hot springs. It can cause a violent physical and mental reaction. Nonetheless, this is, essentially, what you did. And therein lies your mistake (amongst many others).

First of all, you need to take stock of where you really are in the scheme of things. After your GAFCON blasting of ++Rowan Williams, your rather pathetic response to Williams response, followed by your dismal, embarrassing and poorly researched response to SAD (covenant), you need to take a breather. You are making a lot of mistakes, which, of course, is common when one is really not well organized or structured not to mention when one speaking the words written (attention Minns) doesn't write them. Minns, my advice: Instead of promoting your own vision, try listening a little better and using their words and concepts. You are mixing cultures that don't express issues and thoughts in the same way. Actually, this is pretty disrespectful and, in the end, you will find that those speaking need to do so in their way. And yes, you are welcome for the advice. Also, get a different PR group. Whoever you are using hasn't a clue. I'd fire them, actually.

Second, your routine is getting old. All good activists know that you must freshen up your devices and language each time you attempt to make a point. Unlike Bush and the Iraq war, you really don't have a wide audience that will hear the message again and again. This makes you look and sound boring (which frankly, you are). What you have is a relatively small audience and your appeal needs some serious work. Besides looking like angry, and frankly stupid, Primates (though sometimes sincere), your desperation trumps your message in terms of take. Everyone knows that those that speak the loudest are often the most desperate. And since the frequency and wording and disposition of your speakers is always so grave and hostile, you are losing your audience. Why not get someone really chipper and happy to say that gays are sub-human?

Third, consider your venue and audience. If you want to be on the world stage for a moment, then do what you did. But realize that change in the Anglican communion comes from within, not from outside and surely doesn't happen in a moment. It leaves you (failed in the end), looking rather desperate and on the short end of things. Oh sure, some bloggers will carry your message (to those that faithfully salute) but you have done nothing to change your situation or position and, I assume, that is what you are seeking. You are at Lambeth. Bishops, ecumenical partners and Lambeth staff are there. THAT is your audience. There is a diversity of opinion, though, as always. If you cannot get them to listen, then just lay down in the main isle and pound the floor. Best to do honestly what it actually looks like you are doing. I would advise pinning your name on your back so the media knows who you are.

Fourth, don't EVER use the Eucharist as a political tool. You insult the Host and everyone else. It is a backhanded and failed way to gain support. Not to mention you look like an idiot in doing so. And please no stupid tirades, ridiculous processing across flags, etc. No hanging of things on doors. If you are going to make a point, make it fresh. Sheesh. Think of something new, and why not do it in a happy way? Use those Eucharistic flat breads as mini frisbees with a taped message on them given you seem to think they are meaningless, anyway.

Thanks so much for reading my thoughts.

Footnote: I am a seasoned and experienced organizer. I know what I see, and not through pink glasses. Part of what I have written here is truth and part is fiction. You can figure which is which, but you might be very surprised at the truth of the matter.

It is up to you to figure out which is which given the lines of what you do are barely discernable either way. But I can tell you this: If you continue in the way you have continued, you will lose, and this is drop dead honest assessment from someone that has no financial involvement on either side and, actually, leaves the weeds with the wheat. Turns out, biologically, that many of the weeds actually fertilize the wheat in terms of nitrogen stabilizing. Just some food for thought.

Spend your money better. Help those that need medical and health relief and food. This isn't about *YOU*. It is all about *them*.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Save This One. Love, God.


It should be no secret by now that the foreclosure situation across America is wrecking havoc on humans. Displaced, many forced to declare bankruptcy, entire families are moving into the homes of friends and relatives. They are moving into cars. Some are moving into hotels until they figure out what to do next. Some are living on the streets. Some are sharing homes with other families. Some are in shelters.

Combine this with the collapse of the real estate market in most areas, the statistical rise of unemployment and continued outsourcing of jobs, the over doubling of fuel, the rise in food costs, and for some caught in concomitant natural disasters, their double whammy.

Then there is the situation with Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran with one, sometimes two, members of the family called to duty or serving a second or third tour overseas or being relocated to a new base.

All of these human situations trickle down into my world of animal rescue.

Even in "normal" years, the situation is a disaster. But this year--beyond the animals left behind when a family turns them out in the wild lands here, the animals of the extremely ill or deceased whose immediate or extended family members often just want them out "now" or those kind friends that go the extra mile to honor the person they love and find those animals a safe haven--it is more akin to the nexus from hell.

There are also the normal stream of animals from those entering jail, abuse shelters, or drug or alcohol facilities, and the never ending tide of hoarders where, when they are finally busted, there may be 50-150 animals involved--or more--usually in tragic physical and emotional states.

I have friends of all sorts deeply touched--some bowled right over--by one of these circumstances, some deeply gouged by several.

But with this brings a whole host of other associated problems. As an animal rescuer, I am increasingly finding myself near emotional paralysis under the burden of desperate pleas for help by people that truly love their animals, but must find a place for them in a year where EVERY shelter is loaded to the gills like Noah's Ark. I cannot take them all, no one can. I am permitted for a certain number, and no more. I cannot move animals into responsible and appropriate-to-the-animal new homes quickly enough with so many humans unsure of their futures.

In thirty years, I have not seen a situation like this. It is bringing the rescue and shelter community to its knees. Even some rescuers are falling, and we in rescue need to help them first.

To each tearfully written plea, I have to respond. I have to say yes or no, almost always no these days, and see if there is another way I can help. Perhaps a referral to another jammed rescue, a plea for a rare new foster home, or perhaps a recommendation for a shelter that doesn't kill animals immediately after 72 hours, though shelters are at the mercy of space. The older animals will never make it out alive. Most of the younger ones won't either. The kill rates this year will be sky-high.

I have to make a dozen or more Sophie's choices every single day and I hate it. It has gotten to the point that I don't even want to open my e-mail.

At this point, I have several times broken down in tears of sheer hopelessness as I have to type the simple word "no" in a sentence otherwise trying to explain why and what I can try to help with along with suggestions. I have to do better, but I don't know how.

I have to consider what is here, what will fit in, and all this within the permit numbers I must stay within. I put those permit numbers upon myself. I never wanted to have more than I can care for properly. In normal years, in fact, I NEVER even allow this many animals here, so I must "chose" even more carefully.

The pleading eyes of a mother cat with her six two-week old kittens is horrible. But no more horrible that the 12 year old dog that will most certainly die in the shelter and will be wondering where their family and couch went and why they are in such a noisy and frightening place where, sometimes, they get attacked by other dogs and rarely receive even a kind word or touch. When, finally, they are walked on their leashes (happy to be out for a stroll), they find themselves in the kill room where, in the best of situations, they will die quickly and gently with a needle in their vein. Others will die slowly and horribly in a gas chamber.

Here is a letter I received today, with personal information removed. This is her fifth plea to me in as many days. She was served, at 11pm last night, with her 3-day notice to move as her home is being foreclosed upon:

URGENT HELP NEEDED!

Lost my home, my foster pets need homes now!

I am desperately searching for a home for my 11 foster kitties. These foster kitties,if not for me would be feral cats. There is one semi-feraI cat and one feral cat that depend on me and my backyard for life and sustenance. There is also Roxy a foster kitty friend, a Chihuahua mix little dog, she needs a good loving home.


The kitties are very social and love their little group. It would be wonderful if they could be kept as a group(s).

Then there are my two older cats,too that may be left homeless, unless I can relocate them or relocate to a pet safe location. We all need help ASAP.

Thank you for listening.
God bless you.

Sincerely,

At the bottom of her plea was a photo of each cat and dog and all the information on them. The post must have taken her the better part of a day to do.

I have two spaces for cats, then I am back at my limit. The ferals cannot come here, we have no feral program. The semi-ferals won't do well here with the dogs. I was supposed to fill my two remaining cat spaces today with two cats from a woman who is in alcohol rehab for six months, one of those cats so obese the cat can barely move at probably 28 lbs. Cat obesity is a specialty of mine, so this cat tears at my heart. This cat is paired with a semi-feral.

I also have a request from someone in the community to take their 10 year-old dog, and their three senior (8-12 year-old) cats. They were foreclosed upon and have to be out by August 1.

I think you can see how I am pinned just in these three requests.

The realities are that senior animals can be here for a VERY long time. Others, due to the stress of the losing their families, will quickly show signs of a serious underlying illness and last just weeks even with the very best of veterinary care and my doting oversight.

Younger animals, can also be very unpredictable in health. For dogs, parvo and distemper show up frequently, and for cats everything from pneumonia to FIP. This atop syndromes we just don't understand where the animals don't thrive no matter what we do. The cats and dogs that tend to do the best are those a year to six years, "tend" being the key word.

I have traditionally taken in medical animals as fosters as these animals do well here, with my experience. I have four such cats at the moment, all on the downhill side of illness which can probably leave in the next three weeks. I have three cats that came from hoarder situations, each lovely and healthy now, but this is a terrible time to find homes for adult cats. I have a semi-feral who is mine, and a cat with normalized (by diet) IBD who is also mine. I have two semi-ferals I am holding for a woman who is pregnant and has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Those two will stay until we know if her condition will allow the cats to return or not. I have two cats from a woman dying and in a coma whose friends took the responsibility in finding them safe haven before she died. One is in the median stages of kidney failure, the other is an obesity case and cannot be adopted out until the cat is at weight and stable for several months, meaning the cat will be here for at least six more months.

I have a senior blind dog (just a sweetheart), a dog recently recovered from the worst case of mange my vet had ever seen (has been here for six months), and the remainder are either seniors, mild behavior (non-aggressive) cases, or dogs recovered or nearly recovered from illnesses or injuries looking for good homes. I am at my permit limit for dogs.

Every single day I decide who lives and who dies. I hate this burden. I wish God would just leave them in a box at my front door with a note: Save this one. Love, God.
















Oh Dear: John McCain and Geography


Well, this very short clip (McCain on Good Morning America) pretty much speaks for itself.

Scott Ritter on Iran: Well Worth the Read


Truthdig.com (fast becoming one of my favorite sites) recently published an outstanding article by Scott Ritter. Without comment, read it here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why We MUST Understand the Middle East Before November

This is not an entertaining piece. It is a piece, though, that might help you to entertain some thoughts about the next election in relation to the Middle East, nuclear weapons, the IAEA, the UN Security Council and, um, your life.

If you cannot get through the reading, please consider abstaining from voting in November.

Let's start with the July 7th quote from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on continued presence of US and other forces in Iraq:

"The current trend is to reach an agreement on a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or a memorandum of understanding to put a timetable on their withdrawal."

I should be able to just stop right there. We all should be able to stop there. But we can't. Why? Read this and this .

As pointed out here, Maliki is tap dancing. He is in an untenable position trying to forge relationships while swatting at flies all with one eye on Iran and the other on Israel as UN deadlines for current stasis relating to Iraq come at the turn of the year.

Add to this the current multi-lateral talks with Iran on their nuclear "situation" which seem to be faltering--Iran insists their program is for peaceful energy purposes, Bush seems to suggest it is for weapons purposes, the US State Department seems to believe the indications for a strictly peaceful nuclear program in Iran is doubtful. It would appear the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) takes a middle ground of uncertainty leaning towards not peaceful.

National Public Radio (NPR) ( researched and aired prior to the recently pointed to IAEA report, above) edifies the many troubling aspects as does this BBC review. (For some decent background on the situation regarding international nuclear weapon agreements, the UN Security Council's previous actions, and current sanctions against Iran, please go here.)

The instability in the middle east is obvious. That the U.S. has helped to increase this instability by it's war/occupation of Iraq is evident.

Now ask yourself, after reading all of this, if this is in any way humorous to you:

Not only is it a national disgrace and a terrible embarrassment (and I don't care who he was talking to), it points to a man that is obviously familiar with the Beach Boys, but uncaring and incredibly cavalier about the potentially explosive situation in the Middle East where we are spending $2 billion US/day JUST in Iraq.

And what does McCain say to his critics? "Get a life."

John, dear, when you tell me to "get a life" might I remind you that I have one and I am desperately trying to keep it? I would also like to help everyone else, here and there keep theirs. Have you considered retirement?

And John, BTW, are you aware of the fact that everyone on the planet can, um, "see" you? We know you don't use computers (you have said you leave that to your wife), but we do. Make a note, John: I am not invisible.















Smokey: Severe Eye Ulcer Gone, Cleared for Takeoff!

Smokey on day 1.
Smokey on day 81.

UPDATE: 9/4/08 Just wanted to let any readers know that almost all of the cloudiness in Smokey's eye is gone and he is doing just perfect. Hates the diet, but other than that...

On 01 May 2008, Smokey came to our rescue as a medical foster for an upper respiratory infection (URI). No mention had been made of an eye condition, but once here and out of his crate, it was evident that something was going on. A quick glance at the shelter paperwork seemed to indicate an eye infection as the shelter had had him on three common eye medications over a course of time; Terramycin, Gentamicin and BNP ointment.

As you can see in photo 1, taken the day he arrived, his left eye is cloudy (the cornea) and he is squinting. The conjunctiva surrounding the eye (the pink tissue) does not appear inflamed, but was, though not badly.

As a foster, I see a lot of eye-related problems and infections in foster cats.

Eyes are very tricky and sensitive and I NEVER treat without veterinary oversight. It is common in URI cats to have concomitant eye issues of one sort or another, and since the cat had been on doxycycline liquid for URI, it would make sense that this was the case.

Well, just to show how complicated this can get, and WHY cats with eye problems need veterinary oversight, Smokey's eye problem was not related to his URI and got much worse before it got better.

After Smokey's first thorough eye examination, including an added dye to the eye and a thorough search for any foreign object, Smokey was put on BNP drops. After five days on this, I returned because his eye looked much worse.

After another exam, it was clear that Smokey had an ulcer in his eye (which is further irritated by rubbing it), so Smokey returned with Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride eye drops and an Elizabethan collar (he was now an official "conehead").

Over the course of the next couple of days, he got even worse. The eye was totally closed and the conjuctiva was hugely irritated and swolen. It was difficult to even find the eye (which looked a lot like the eye in the article pointed to below) to get the drops in. So, back to the vet we went again. The ulcer looked horrible.

This time, the vet looked very worried. Smokey was diagnosed with herpes viral conjunctivitis. Medication from a compounding pharmacy was immediately ordered, and and he was also put on 250mg. L-Lysine (an amino acid, arginine) ibid (2x/daily), while remaining on the ciprofloxacin hydrochloride drops until the new compounded medication came in (idoxuridine solution).

During the course of the next 7 weeks, Smokey returned to the vet many times to have a look at the eye. It was looking better within days of the new eye drops being used in conjunction with the ciprofloxacin hydrochloride drops and L-Lysine--thank goodness!

After 81 days, and many vet exams, Smokey got clearance on July 19th to find a home. He will have to remain on the L-Lysine for his lifetime, added to his food daily. He will also need to go with his eye drops, which he is still on 2x/day.

Smokey still has a cloudy cornea and that may never leave, or it may.

Given that this disease never leaves, Smokey will have to go to a quiet single cat home. Stress is one of the biggest causes of herpes outbreaks, and we don't want that again! Feline herpes is not contagious to humans, but is to other cats. So, Smokey must forever be a singleton, and a strictly indoor cat. That will suit him fine. He is a quiet cat that is basically the equivalent of a couch potato.

In the meantime, a secondary issue occurred: Smokey gained 2.5 pounds while here. In discussion with the vet, however, we let that problem go until this one was handled. We did not want to add any further stress to Smokey's world while he was tackling his herpes outbreak. Smokey is now on a 2% weight loss diet (wet food only, Wellness chicken) and will remain on this until his gorgeous little body is fit as a fiddle!

But bottom line: Smokey is cleared for takeoff!

The group which raised the money for his veterinary care and pulling from the shelter will now begin to look for a perfect "furrever" home for "The Smokester".

In animal rescue, it often does take a village to get the cat from the shelter and transported to a rescue or foster home, funds for the cat's continued veterinary care, and finding a proper home for the individual cat or dog suited to that animal's personality and needs.

I am grateful to everyone that helped Smokey, particularly the group that pulled him from the shelter and the funder that covered Smokey's veterinary care. Without you folks, I could not foster this loving cat and see him through to health.

Footnote: The L-Lysine HCl that Smokey is on is: Viralys oral powder for cats, L-Lysine HCl by Vetoquinol, a Canadian Company. There may be substitutes for this that are just fine, but I cannot recommend any. Ask your vet.

All of the cats here are on L-Lysine which, with cats, can be added to their water or food. This is something we started doing about 6 months ago. In Smokey's case, because we could assure more certain uptake when it was put on food, that was my decision.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why The Lie, Pres?











Once again, President Bush tells the American people that if only that darned Congress would lift all the bans on offshore drilling, gas would become reasonable again. One can only wonder what he's really up to since that is a total fabrication--and he knows it.

It is clear as a bell that no matter HOW MANY acres of shelf are available for drilling, the result of drilling will not come any time soon (perhaps 10-15 years out). There are many reasons for this, among them a huge shortage of ships, equipment and other infrastructure needed for the task, and the fact that the oil companies already have 68 million acres on hold not in use.

Bush himself lifted the Executive Order banning offshore oil development (put in place by his father, ironically) on Monday. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated there will be NO offshore drilling on his watch.

In fact, some in Congress want to start a "use it or lose it" program regarding the 68 million lease acres not being used. Fine by me if that will shut everyone up while we move forward to achieve the 10 year 100% renewable electric program unveiled by Al Gore yesterday
(see this post)
.

If you will recall, one of George Bush's reasons to go to war in Iraq (among the others he made up) was to stabilize the price of oil. Ha! Do oil prices look stabilized to you as we spend $2 billion a day in Iraq? Why not get out of Iraq, as that country's leader is now asking us to do, and just hand out the $2 billion/day to the people it came from (taxpayers) instead of Halliburton etc. while saving a whole lot of lives in the process? That way maybe we could afford the gasoline he promised would stabilize in price, but which, in barrel price, has quadrupled.

Read
this history
. Note Halliburton's involvement prior to our, um, war-turned occupation.

It would appear that Bush won't be happy until every acre of public land has oil rigs or pipelines, coal mines, shale oil mines, or tar sand capturing facilities on them. After all, what are public lands for other than to further enrich the already wealthy?

Just ask Halliburton about their no-bid contracts. They seem pretty darned happy. Between
2002-2003
(during the 'behind the scenes' ramp up to the war), Halliburton stock was in the toilet about $5/share. Today, even in this unstable market, it closed at two cents short of $47.

Dick Cheney is probably happy too. He served as Halliburton's CEO from August of 1995 until August of 2000. Cheney is now worth approximately
$94 million
, his stock rising approximately 3,000 percent last year alone though he has repeatedly stated he has no financial tie to Halliburton which is a big fat lie.

Oh. So that's why Bush is lying. Gotta guarantee a profitable future for those oil boys.

But then, didn't we already know this? So why would anyone support offshore drilling?

Update on Pinnie The Cat

Today was vet day, and three wiggly dogs and two protesting cats made the sojourn this week, among them Pinnie the kitty with the pin in her seriously broken humorous (upper arm).

Well, Pinny got rave reviews, and goes back in 13 days for new x-rays. Her pin stayed put:) She has also gained 8 oz. since arriving, which is very good news given she is a wee cat who came in at 4.5 lbs.

Things can still go wrong, but we are definitely on the right track! Keep little Pinnie in your prayers!

(PS... everyone else did stellar as well!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Al Gore Lifts Up the US With New Energy Proposal

This video is so incredibly exciting. I literally had tingles down my back. Please watch this 27 minute video of Al Gore speaking to the new challenge of America moving to 100% renewable (electric) energy within 10 years. It is truly a remarkable piece.

The Episcopal Church--indeed the Anglican Communion--must step up their call for immediate and strong change on the issue of global warming. Here in the US, we are blessed with a brilliant Presiding Bishop well trained in the sciences as an oceanographer. She has spoken to the issue of global warming, indeed those now at Lambeth will be discussing it.

Let us take this time to call on PB Katharine Jefferts Schori and other leaders of our communion to unite in the "mission" of changing hunger and assuring greater security for nations world wide by actively taking the bold steps outlined by Al Gore in this incredible video.

My keyboard to Schori's ears, and likewise to the ear of God. God help us to be brave and courageous as we work to help ourselves and others. Amen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Fun Time Had By All--All Day

One Thursday every month I cook for a couple hundred people--or sometimes 400 or more people. One never knows the numbers.

It's a community 'thang'. We have a concert in our wee little park, food and fun. There are maybe 1750 of us here. Almost too big for me, anymore. I love 'little' towns. Here, we cannot grow much bigger given the geography and the penchance of all of us to see that it doesn't. From those before me, I was handed that baton, and others now have accepted it from me. These are not small changes, they are huge monumental changes.

I used to sing at these events, now I cook. I miss singing a lot. A whole lot. Music is a sense of my soul. No matter how old, one never loses that.

I am getting older, though, and my voice just doesn't sustain as it once did. I am also much more introspective and perhaps feeding versus entertaining is just part of that. So, I cook, and enjoy it, and others sing and I enjoy it. It's the progression of life. I have heard some just killer voices with some truly exceptional renditions of songs that I could have only hoped to sing so well at these events. No matter how old we get, I can only hope we sincerely appreciate those that have a "new take" on things.

The best times at these events, though, are when they are over. We're moving tables, stacking goods and laundry (gads, like I EVER need more laundry to do with all the animals... almost funny in concept), sorting the recycling, and are working in near dark, the stars above us, mostly one-on-one in near absolute ambient silence. These times--these precious times--are the water for my personal garden.

These times say so much about a person. The things they say and do--or don't say and do. One can surmise a troubled or happy soul, or a lost one.

Tonight was special for me in a way that goes far beyond romantic love, but into personal appreciative love. A friend I have known for years said, for the first time, I love you, thank you so much.

Nothing cryptic about it. Nothing obviously unusual. Nothing romantic. I think for the first time he trusted me enough to tell me how he felt. I've known him for many years. Who knows what apparent line I crossed into love, or what line he crossed into saying so.

But what a nice thing, after a whole day of work, to have someone say thank you and I love you.

Ya know, it just doesn't get much better than that. At least not for me.

New Information On Schofield And His Absence

There has been lots of speculation about why John David Schofield "decided" at the last minute not to attend Lambeth when it is reported, he was excited and ready to go.

This is the first time I have read, however,
this take
from Anglicans United:

Some would say there was little reason for optimism. We learned yesterday that The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield’s invitation was withdrawn last week, as were the invitations of two bishops from Recife, Brazil. All three are now under the Most Rev. Greg Venables of the Southern Cone. It seems that they, like the “irregularly consecrated bishops of CANA and the AMiA” in the states, will not be recognized.
This makes a good deal of sense and MAY be why Archbishop Venables of the Argentina-based Southern Cone is actually attending Lambeth when his colleagues from GAFCON/FOCA aren't.

Seems as though Venables has run into a problem, hardly surprising.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Left Behind By Choice: The 2008 Lambeth Difference


This article
from scotsman.com caught my attention today. The article has stuck in my craw all day so I need to get this off my mind.

I guess what got my strict attention were the following paragraphs lifted from the article. The first quote is in reference to the discussions on lgbt issues at Lambeth in 1998:

The then Bishop of Edinburgh [Bishop Richard Holloway] said he had been amazed by the "intensity and brutality" of the event. It had felt like "being in the middle of a lynching". [inclusion mine]
Bishop Holloway also takes an optimistic line, but does not think there has been a change for the better in the attitude of hard-liners since 1998. He calls the last Lambeth Conference "a hatefest".

"I still have enormous contempt, not so much for their point of view as the way they have expressed it, in ugly, violent language."

He was particularly appalled by the comments of Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria, and a leading figure on conservative wing.

"He doesn't say just he disagrees with gay people, he insults them and likens them to animals. You can disagree with people and still have a respect for each other.
Indeed, Bishop, indeed.

In a typically graceful statement pre-Lambeth, TEC's Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, is reported by the
BBC
to have said that those in the Anglican Communion (such as Akinola and Orombi) would be missed and that 'the meeting would be "diminished" by their absence.'

Two very different takes, these.

Akinola is a purist. He stands on a wee rock he has carved for himself and a few others and won't budge. I understand that thinking. Early in my activist life, I practiced it. But I quickly came to realize that change requires involvement.

So, on the one hand, Akinola has likely hurt himself. On the other hand, he has given breathing room for perhaps less hateful voices to speak to his issues at Lambeth (while preserving his odd spiritual bubble).

Given things have just intensified since Bishop Holloway's Lambeth experience, I conclude that surely this kind of crude and ugly approach will not be missed except by the press. I know I wouldn't miss it.

Perhaps the voices of disagreement at this Lambeth can be more calm and understanding, in their words, hearts, prayers and actions.

Sometimes separation is good. Whether in the midst of family disagreement or our Communion's disagreement, it necessarily allows for personal reflection on the matter at hand. Being a mere mortal, I know personal reflection can go wrong when this bolsters one's wrongs to justify the wrong path. On the other hand, one can conclude that some actions taken were, well, just screwed up beyond belief. Self honesty is important in any pursuit.

One of the issues Schori brought up in this interview is very important:
"We've had to talk about issues of human sexuality publicly. That's culturally seen as inappropriate in many other parts of the Communion," she said.

"We have embarrassed other parts of the Communion because we need to talk about these issues publicly. That's the biggest challenge - to figure out how to live together as a family of churches."
Yes, cultural realities are alive. They are different, even one community to the next, one county to the next, one state to the next and one country to the next. Not to mention the variety in each category.

But, in my view, NEVER should there be language to debase another or a call for physical violence or incarceration of another because of divergent views within Christianity. And most certainly, never should this occur in the Anglican Communion. Imbuing love for God and respect of God on a platform of verbal violence makes no sense. "I hate what you are because I love God. You should go to jail." I could never utter those words. I cannot imagine what could drive me to such a point of hysterical religious disparity.

One can set me right on this, but I recall no such thing in the Gospels. To the contrary, Jesus just seemed to baffle one after another as he tended, in various ways, to those excluded and those in power often hated, though he clearly didn't like the concept of "pay to pray".

Bottom line: I am glad Akinola and his ilk are not there. They have representation, but not nearly such abusive representation as they would personally deliver.

Maybe some work and understanding might actually occur in this Lambeth environment.

The Catholic Worker Movement: I Just Gotta Love These Folks

Years ago, I came into contact with Catholic Workers in California at various 'peace and justice' events. I found them a remarkable bunch and came to truly respect the group and the dedicated individuals I came in frequent contact with. These folks walk their talk.

This statement
, the introductory paragraph cited below, was released today by the Catholic Workers:

The Catholic Worker Movement in the United States has called on the country's bishops to denounce the American-led war on terror while urging the Church and American citizens to repent for "our affronts to God" fed by violence and materialism.
When working in coalition with the Catholic Workers, it made NO difference that we may disagree in particulars on important subjects like abortion, family planning, stem cell research, women's role in clergy and church leadership, not to mention lgbt issues. The more important and relevant issue at hand was always the 'commonality' of our beliefs on human condition, in the life and context of our work together: Our "mission".

Just like the Anglican Communion, with it's glorious broad tent, we in the non-Lambeth world exist in relaxed tension. Working inter-denominationally requires tolerance and focus on common goals versus focus on separating ideas and theology. It requires and demands respect for everyone in similarity and difference, in solidarity.

In my previous work with Catholic Workers, we (the collective we) prayed together, worked together and celebrated together. We are the lay people in our churches and in some cases the singletons in belief and the non believer, as well. I was, in fact, an atheist at the time. It made no difference though I suspect I received many anon prayers.

If lay people can work so well inter-denominationally, it puzzles me as to why those within our broad Anglican Communion cannot.

True, we Anglican types do have a few things we must agree upon. But scriptural inerrancy isn't one of those, and agreement on literalism isn't either. We have a tradition of the three-legged stool: scripture, tradition and reason. Cut off one leg, and we are nothing more than a tilted, off balance guffaw.

Until recently, via GAFCON/FOCA--the group of alleged schematics that have now decided not to leave after all--even the Thirty Nine Articles haven't been stuck under nose for approval. And, I believe, for good reason. Many of us couldn't adhere to them now, hundreds of years later in a world where geography and politics change like underwear in some decades, or even in some years.

Anglians can do better. We can do what we have done for centuries: Live together in difference, in prayer.

...From my keyboard to the ears of those in Lambeth.

Please pray for our Communion.

As Lambeth Begins, Please Pray For Them All

As The Lead reports today, serious sanctions may be taken against those who are going to Lambeth against the wishes of their Archbishop.

A Nigerian net newspaper, Which Way Nigeria reports today on the situation there in the Anglican Communion, and how some there view the focus on lbgt issues there and in the west unimportant given the rampant poverty and disease in Nigeria. While some Nigerians desire to move out of the Anglican Communion, for now, at least, it appears that is something Archbishop Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria seems reluctant to do.

Please keep the faithful at Lambeth particularly in your prayers, the brave from Uganda and Kenya that are, in faith, attending Lambeth. We do need, however, to pray for those who disagree with us and dislike us.

May the Peace of The Lord be with them, and all attending Lambeth. And also, of course, for Bishop Gene Robinson, at Lambeth, but not invited.

Why Voting Matters: Homophobic America Votes, Do You?

Yesterday, Media Matters posted a story on Pat Robertson's attack on Barney Frank, democratic rep. from Massachusetts including in that attack a false allegation that Frank had been running a male prostitution ring from his home. Frank is a respected representative, openly gay, with a true heart and interest in issues that effect us all.
slightly different takevalue="http://mediamatters.org/static/flash/mmfaplayer.swf">
You can read the entire article here.

Robertson has long been known for his fiery rhetoric and piercing accusations, but perhaps he only holds a candle to Jerry Falwell who manages to blame everything on someone not of his ilk, including the tragedy of 911, and Hurricane Katrina (note that Robertson states he totally agrees with Falwell):

Beliefnet ran a January 2006 article, The Blame Game, seemingly referring to Robertson, Falwell, and Michael Marcavage, the director of Christian group Repent America, as "right-wing nuts". That is certainly a kinder and more civil description that I tend to embrace but I will capitulate.

Of course, we Anglican/Episcopalian types unfortunately have our own similar ilk in the form, for instance, of Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, and Archbishop Peter Akinola, Anglican Church of Nigeria. Both have used violent and debasing language to describe lgbt folks in general, and both support laws to jail lgbt persons in their respective countries. So, I have to put them in the Robertson/Falwell/Marcavage "box" of "right wing nuts".

In the United States, both Massachusetts and California allow same-sex marriage. Other states will, no doubt, pass similar laws or their courts may find prohibition of same-sex marriage unconstitutional in that state. Interestingly, this article on same-sex divorce points out some of the complications.

But these matters don't seem to tip American belief which has, in the last decade, changed significantly. In California, that change has come quickly. In 2004, for instance, polls on gay marriage seemed to show clear opposition. Now, polls show opinion in favor of same-sex marriage in California, though the margin of pro/con is relatively small.

Groups most likely to support same-sex marriage include those under age 30, liberals, Americans living in the west, and those who never go to church.
This was the conclusion, apparently, of a June 2008 poll done by CBS News which further noted that, "Republicans, conservatives, white evangelicals and weekly church attendees are groups that are least likely to support the idea." [emphasis mine]

The more thorough June 12, 2008 Pew Research Center poll, though, has a slightly different take on the issue.
While there is somewhat greater support for gay marriage than four years ago, overwhelming majorities of Republicans (75%) and white evangelical Protestants (81%) oppose allowing gays to marry, and about half in each group strongly opposes gay marriage (48% of Republicans, 54% of white evangelicals). Opinions about gay marriage in both groups are virtually unchanged from July 2004.
And why does it matter? Consider this from the Pew Research Center Poll report:
Strong opponents of gay marriage are far more likely than voters who oppose it less intensely, or those who favor gay marriage, to say it will be a very important factor in their voting decisions. Fully 55% of strong opponents of gay marriage say it is a very important issue, compared with 29% of strong supporters of gay marriage, and even smaller percentages of voters who favor or oppose gay marriage less strongly.
Here, from CNN, are the positions of both Barack Obama and John McCain.

The polling should make clear why both Barack Obama and John McCain, regardless of personal opinion, have taken the positions they have. They will take few positions in opposition to polling data between now and the election with, perhaps, McCain's wild support of the war in Iraq and his opposition to social security being the more obvious exceptions. But then, as we know, McCain changes his own thoughts and pronouncements daily on any issue depending on who he is speaking before. That much is clear.

Two things bother me a lot about this.

First, the secular world doesn't vote as much as the right wing or evangelical world. So, secular world, get out there and vote! Change depends on you.

Second, those of us that are Christian but not "right wing nuts" don't vote as much, either. Shame on us! We have to work all the harder to get people to the polls.

Those of us in TEC, a historically broad, more liberal church in a country where we ARE concerned about both secular and non-secular issues, cannot rest on a single laurel. We must each help to get the vote out to assure civil rights for all, and also continue within our own church to assure that our lgbt brothers and sisters are included equally within our own episcopacy.

We have a lot of work to do.

















Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Katie the Cat Leaves to Find Her Forever Home!

Katie the Cat has only been with us a couple of weeks, but we have enjoyed having her. She is being fostered here for a breed rescue. She is a gorgeous Shaded Persian Cat, though this photo doesn't do her justice.

Katie entered the shelter On June 7th, and was released to rescue on July 2nd due to her having contracted an upper respiratory infection (URI). Katie has been on doxycycline and terramycin eye ointment.

Good luck, Katie! Knock em dead!

San Joaquin (CA) Diocese Bishop John David Schofield: In or Out of Anglican Communion?

Several reports on the web today are addressing the alleged comments of Rowan Williams to Archbishop Greg Venables (Argentina) in regard to (former?) Bishop John David Shofield. Shofield (once a Bishop of TEC, now a questionable Bishop of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone) never really "went" anywhere, except in name. He remains perched in TEC's San Joaquin Diocese. Schofield retained the keys to parishes, the assets of the diocese and, last month, tried to change asset bank accounts rightfully held by TEC to another corporation, a move blocked by TEC.

The quotes and text for this matter are within a letter issued July 14, 2008 to David Schofield from Archbishop Greg Venables and can be read here, and also the original copy here.

The text pertinent to Schofield reads:


In addition, I have been in conversation with Archbishop Rowan. Over the weekend I received the following message from him:

“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion. However, it is acknowledged that his exact status (especially given the complications surrounding the congregations associated with him) remains unclear on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law, and this constitutes one of the issues on which we hope for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group. Bishop Schofield has elected to decline the invitation to the Lambeth Conference issued to him last year although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry.”
Now i don't know about you, but I did NOT read that Schofield is accepted as a Bishop in the Anglican Communion. What I read is, gee we don't really know if he is in the Anglican Communion and the Windsor Continuation Group is going to have to try to figure this out for us.

There are two problems here:

1. Schofield was found to have abandoned TEC. Clearly he is not in TEC. Not only that, Archbishop Venables claims Schofield as one of "his".

2. While taken into the Province of the Southern Cone, that Province's bylaws do not allow for this. So, technically, he cannot be a Bishop there, either.

Leading us back to the obvious question again, where does Schofield belong, if anywhere, right now?

Earlier this year, Schofield was invited to Lambeth. Later, after being appointed as TEC's Bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese, Bishop Jerry Lamb was also invited. Lamb will be at Lambeth while Schofield will not (for whatever reason... some reasons are being tossed about).

Bishop Schofield's game of musical provinces may have left him without a seat. Mmmm.

UPDATE: You can also read Mark Harris on this topic, here.

UPDATE: You can also read Father Dan Martin's take on this letter. Martin was a priest in the San Joaquin Diocese until fall of 2007.

Cries From Uganda

I read this blog this morning and it made me sad (and angry) to my very core but should be mandatory reading especially these days. This is a blog post of witness to harm.

As the lgbt community so frequently points out, the church has (past and present) often used God and the Bible against their humanness and their sense of self. It is truly a human tragedy as reflected from the author's opening paragraph:

Nowadays, in Uganda, sermons in mosque and church, Anglican and Catholic usually talk about homosexuality. We are painted stupid, ugly, bad, killer, un-african, evil, and all sorts of things. Anyone who defends us comes out as bad, simply because they have defended us. Why is this so?
The effect of Anglican words on people matter. They matter here, and they matter hugely in Uganda. As the writer points out, and as I wrote in a letter to Rowan Williams earlier this year, since when is it ever okay for an Anglican to advocate for jailing a human being? Their hostile and depraved words against some of God's children is untenable and shameful. There just isn't room for these kinds of words and actions in the Anglican Communion. But there they are.

The writer also explains about the real effects this has on day-to-day life, as well, and how this whipping up of emotion in his country has effected lbgt folks in Uganda:Now from our Church of Uganda's Orombi.
I knew that he was one of the schismatic leaders. But I had not heard this level of rhetoric from him. Even when we came out last year in August, I know that that Sunday, most Pentecostal and Anglican and Catholic churches preached about homosexuality. But I didn’t hear of him expressly talking about homosexuals. But he did have quite a number of surrogates. The guys who had us thrown out of the People’s Space at the Commonwealth Meeting. They were some of his bishops. With the muscle power of Ssempa’s Brown Shirts. That was the moment I did understand that these guys hated, simply, and virulently. And I was afraid.
Ask yourself when the last time your Bishop's language, or that of your priest, put you in harm's way and made you afraid? When did your Bishop or Priest last call you horrible names? How can this be tolerated in the Anglican community? Importantly, how can each of us help to stop this?

Photo: Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, Primate, Anglican Church of Uganda

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dieting a Cat, Part 1: Introduction and Calculations

Introduction
Meet Whaler, above. Whaler came it at 25 lbs. His estimated correct weight is 10-12 lbs. The cat posts on Whaler are ALL about getting him down to proper weight and keeping his health sound in the process.

Feline obesity is becoming a more common intake problem in our rescue. MORE cats are coming in clinically obese. Not only will we not adopt them out in this state (meaning, ultimately, we can take fewer cats in, so more cats will die in shelters), we are increasingly concerned as to the why and how this is occurring..

I promised to post tracks on our newest obese cat, Whaler (the 25 lb. cat), as we get him down a trim, healthy cat. I didn't forget. I have written pages and pages and decided to do this in stages. Whaler is still in food transition while doing weight loss. This is one of those "I hope it doesn't go that way" situations. He is a worst example, but, actually, common.

For any of you that are rescues, some of this you will know much of this and some not. I am sure you have some great techniques, hints, information and ideas, as well. Please share them as we move along. We can never know enough!

For those of you new to this, there is a lot to know about how to safely and successfully reduce your cat's weight. But you can do it! Once you do the reading, get organized and set up, do the weight and/or calorie calculations, you are on your way. This is not to say you won't have problems and challenges on the way. You may well have them.

An obese cat isn't a healthy cat. And for those of you determined to have a healthy cat, then watch over months as we chart Whaler's path back to good cat weight and good cat health.

This is, however, not something to read and implement in a day. Please don't do that. It is the worst thing you can do. Make the decision now, understand the mechanics, then get prepared, then do it. If it takes you a month to do that, great.

Your cat didn't get obese in a day, and you cannot expect that to change in a day, either. So chill! Give yourself the time and breathing room needed to approach this rationally and properly.

It is important that you understand what you are doing, and why, and that you seek guidance of a veterinarian (and for this kind of thing, a good veterinarian with an interest in cat nutrition might be helpful) and that you make a decided choice to do it with full involvement, knowledge and care.

Please read and understand this fine article authored by Dr. Lisa Pierson DVM on cat obesity and WHY it is important to get that weight off. She also has other very excellent sections on cat health, and diet.

Calculations
This section is all about calculations which we think we have made pretty simple. You will constantly need to do these calculations when your cat is on a diet, so knowing how to do them, and doing them (which is just second nature after a while!) is critical.

Maintenance calories for a cat
Maintenance calculations are vital for weight loss of a cat, especially in the food transitioning weeks which are the first many weeks of a cat's diet.

Many cats do not change foods easily (and thankfully some do!) and this initial stage is very critical to do right for the cat's health.

Calorie Calculation for weight maintenance:
(13.6 x cat's weight) +70 = calories per day (cal/day). So, we take 13.6 and multiply it by the cats weight. Once we have that figure, we add 70.

For example, Whaler (25 lbs):
(13.6 X 25) + 70 =
340 + 70 = 410 calories/day

2% Weekly Weightloss Calculation
Weigh the dieting cat on the first day of the week of EVERY week. In other words, you take the cat's weight on a digital scale (has to be an accurate digital... get a human scale) once every 7 days. 2% of that weight, that week, can be lost. NO more. The following week, the weight you start with is different, thus the amount the cat can lose, assuming they lost some weight, is less.

Weekly 2% calculation
:
For example, Whaler (25 lbs.). There are two easy steps in this calculation:

1. Convert pounds to ounces since this is the scale we will be working with:
1 pound (lb.) = 16 ounces (oz.)

Whaler's weight in ounces:
25 lbs. X 16oz/lb. = 400 oz.

2. 2% of 400 oz = 8 oz can be lost, but no more, the first week.

In the following week, you take the original oz. (400 for Whaler), subtract the oz. he lost that week, then take 2% of that figure for the next week.

For example, if Whaler lost 4.2 oz. in the first week, then:
400 oz. - 4.2 oz = 395.8 oz. (current weight)

395.8 would be the starting weight for week 2, and that week's 2% would calculate like this:
2% of 395.8 = 7.9 oz. Whaler can lose, maximum, the second week.

A cat must eat to SAFELY transition to another diet. This is NOT a cold-turkey diet. The cold-turkey approach could harm your cat or make them severely ill. Cat's are not humans, and their biology doesn't work like a human body so dispense now with any comparison.

And get yourself on a cat-treat diet: No more treats for the cat!

Stay Tuned for Part 2: Transitioning Your Cat Onto A High Quality Wet Food