It has been a long week. I have fragments of poems floating around in my mind. I have follow up posts to some of my recent blog posts. There are things I’ve written today about 9/11, which could be polished and posted here. But I am also tired and have a full stomach. Tomorrow, I hope to write more and perhaps do some editing of things I’ve written. I had hoped to do a little bit of that this evening, but it just isn’t going to happen.
Today, I met with the Bishop and some of the members of the Commission on Ministry in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to explore how I can better serve God in the church. It is something I’ve been trying to get a better sense of for the past few months.
I approached the meeting with great anticipation. How would they respond? Would it be more like a job interview or a meeting with my priest when I’m seeking guidance? The first order of business was opening with prayer and I was reassured. These were God’s people, my brothers and sisters, helping me get a better sense of God’s will for me.
If this had been like a job interview, it could have gone badly very quickly. The essay I had written for them didn’t have the sort of answers an employer might look for. It was about expecting the unexpected. So much of my life has been about that. So much of my life has been about doing something that didn’t exist five years earlier. How does my unexpected journey towards that which is beyond comprehension fit within the structure and tradition of the Episcopal Church?
It seemed like this is something we were all interested in figuring out, and at one point the bishop asked how one scenario fit with my thoughts about where God was calling me, and the scenario described better than I had been able to, so far, my thoughts about where God was calling me.
We ended as we started, in prayer. I came away feeling affirmed, feeling that I have a better sense of where God is leading me and more excited about the journey ahead. It is down a path of the unexpected, but even on that path there are things we know. God’s love abides. Please, continue to pray for me in my journey.
Twelve years ago, my wife and I got very involved in Gov. Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign. Our daughter was two years old when she first had her picture taken with a presidential candidate. It was exciting to be part of a large group of people working together to make this country a better place. As a blogger, I ended up at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and met a young State Senator who was to deliver the keynote address. Sen. Obama was a Dean Dozen candidate running for U.S. Senate. My wife was a fellow Dean Dozen candidate running for State Representative in Connecticut.
Four years later, I started the campaign season as a supporter of John Edwards. I liked his message about addressing poverty, something that seems to have even further fallen out of favor. Fiona was six by then and took a more active role, leading chants for Sen. Edwards and being pictured with him as well. Yet the excitement, the empowerment of Sen. Edwards’ campaign wasn’t the same as it was with Gov. Dean, not to mention character flaws that later came to light. When Sen. Edwards ended his campaign, we asked Fiona what she thought of Sen. Obama. She said, “I don’t know, I haven’t met him yet.”
To my friends in New Hampshire, that seems like a perfectly reasonable response, but to others around the country, it may seem strange, having a six year old expecting to meet presidential candidates. In most cases the only chance to meet presidential candidates is at a high dollar fundraiser, or maybe in passing in one of the early voting states.
This year, we are seeing Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chaffee. I met Hillary on the campaign trail years ago, and I’m ambivalent about her. I went up to New Hampshire a few months ago to meet Martin O’Malley, hoping he would be a candidate I could get behind. I like him better than Hillary, but I’m not all that excited about him either. Bernie Sanders is probably the candidate that best matches my political views and he’s getting large crowds, but his campaign, so far, feels similar to Obama’s and Edwards’ campaigns eight years ago, not as exciting or empowering.
As I listen to all of them, I remember the words of Howard Dean, “the biggest lie told by people like me to people like you at election time is that, ‘If you vote for me, I'm going to solve all your problems.’ The truth is, the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine.” Nope, I don’t believe that Hillary, Bernie, Martin, or any of the others will solve our problems. There is a bigger, underlying problem. Our democracy is broken, and it is going to take something really different to change it.
Today, Fiona and I went up to hear Larry Lessig officially declare his candidacy for president. It is a very different sort of campaign, a single issue campaign. “Fix Democracy First”. If I were to take Howard Dean’s words, and remix them with what Larry Lessig was saying, I would come up with something like:
“The biggest lie told by people like me to people like you at election time is that, ‘If you vote for me, I'm going to solve all your problems.’ The truth is, if we don’t fix democracy first, no one, not Hillary, not Bernie, not any of the others will be able to solve your problems. No one, except 400 of the wealthiest families in America will have any power.”
As Cory Doctorow put it on Twitter, “If you #FeelTheBern & want to make sure Pres Sanders can pass his agenda, donate to help @lessig #FixDemocracyFirst https://lessigforpresident.com/donate/”
Finally, after 12 years, an empowering campaign worth getting excited about.
A very long day comes to an end, and what shall I write? Do I write about the highs and lows? About what my spirit is struggling with? My hopes and fears? Do I write about what I’m seeing on Facebook, or what the lectionary has for today? Do I write about discussion I had, or the news of the day? Do I write about tomorrow’s journey, or the journey the day after tomorrow?
There is so much going on, and so perhaps, I must just post this and wait.
Well, it looks like this is going to be a very interesting week. Today, Kim, Fiona, and I went hiking in Granby, CT and swam in some swimming holes near waterfalls. It was great. I came home to find a video of The Rev. Brian Baker talk about his experiences at Burning Man. It is a half hour long video, but I started watching it and was hooked. I had to watch the whole thing. I hope you will too.
Then, I learned that Larry Lessig will be running as a Democratic candidate for President. The Lessig for President Official Announcement will take place Wednesday at about noon in Claremont, NH. I am planning to drive up.
All of this is a precursor to a meeting Thursday afternoon with the Episcopalian Bishop of Connecticut, The Right Rev. Ian Douglas, and members of the Commission on Ministry to discuss how I could “help the Episcopal Church in CT be more faithful to God’s Mission”.
Where is all of this leading? Well, let’s check back next week see what transpires.