Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ending the War on Women: Lent and Liberation

with Dr. Jay Johnson & Juliana Serra

We are currently in the midst of a cultural and political war on women and women’s bodies. Theologian Jay Johnson writes:

Religion (including Christianity) has contributed significantly to the subjugation of women and women’s bodies, both historically and today. In that regard, my obligation and responsibility deepen as I am not only a white man, but also a Christian and a priest in the Episcopal Church.

If Lent can be retrieved as a practice for liberating humanity from the chains of oppression, then ending this war on women must take priority. This will involve attending carefully to the propaganda machine (both secular and religious), mobilizing people to vote when appropriate, repenting where necessary, and recommitting ourselves to the hard work of creating a different world, a world where all can thrive and flourish.

I believe the peculiar character of Christianity, for all its severe faults and foibles, can still help us achieve a better world where all can thrive and flourish. ... Let’s create a great toolbox for planetary thriving! At the very least, let us commit ourselves to ensuring that no one ever again has to see a panel of all men making decisions about women’s bodies. That would be a small but nonetheless significant step on the Lenten road toward new life.

This Sunday, Dr. Johnson will return to the Rector’s Forum to team up with our own Juliana Serrano, a member of the local Planned Parenthood Board of Directors, to equip us to both theologize and organize to end the war on women.

Sunday, March 4th | In the Rector's Forum at 10:15 a.m.| live streaming here

Jay Emerson Johnson is a theologian and Episcopal priest, a faculty member of the Pacific School of Religion. His current research and writing interests involve the intersections of critical social theory and Christian traditions. Jay is a popular retreat leader and facilitator of adult education programs, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. Jay also maintains a blogging site: Peculiar Faith.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

O God,
you have made us for yourself,
and against your longing there is no defense.
Mark us with your love,
and release in us a passion for your justice
in our disfigured world;
that we may turn from our guilt and face you,
our heart's desire,

[Collect for Ash Wednesday: Janet Morley]
Services at All Saints on Ash Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. | 12:10 p.m. | 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The American Rocketeers: Dictates of a Conscience

World War II forced nations and individuals alike to make momentous moral choices. One of those individuals was Frank Malina, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s first full time director. Going against his deeply held personal convictions, Malina chose to lead the creation of America’s first ballistic missile program. Yet following the war, the U.S. government turned against him and declared him an international fugitive.

Join producer Blaine Baggett for a screening of excerpts from his documentary and reflections on Malina’s sometimes conflicting decisions - and the price he paid for them.

10:15 a.m. in the Rector's Forum | Sunday, February 26 | DVDs of the film will be available for purchase

Blaine Baggett is JPL’s Director of Communications and Education. During his previous career in public broadcasting, Baggett’s body of work has been recognized by virtually every major award competition, including the Peabody award, the Columbia-Dupont Journalism award, the Producer’s Guild of America award, the Writer’s Guild of America award, the Director’s Guild of America, and local, national, and international Emmy awards. He is co-author of Secret Intelligence and The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Margaret Mead, The Mountaintop & The War on Women

Sermon for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany
February 19, 2012 - All Saints Church, Pasadena

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CITIZENS REVOLT: Pasadena Weekly Reports on efforts to overturn "Citizens United"

Patrick Briggs, his wife Maddie Gavel-Briggs and other members of Occupy Democracy-Pasadena met with [Representative Adam] Schiff Monday in his office. Members of the group tried to convince the congressman to co-sponsor HJR 90. But Schiff countered that he was reluctant to co-sponsor legislation to amend the Constitution, which he believes should be done only as a last resort.

“I have opposed constitutional amendments on a range of subjects over the years but will be giving this one serious consideration,” said Schiff, a former federal prosecutor. “I'm also exploring changes to the state laws of incorporation to address the horrendous impact of Citizens United and to make our electoral system more open, fair and transparent.”

Despite Schiff’s reluctance to support the amendment, Briggs said the meeting went well.

“It was a good meeting. This amendment is fundamental to returning our democracy to what it used to be when it was accountable to the people,” Briggs told the Weekly. “If corporate money is going to run our government, why bother voting?” [snip]
Deutch’s bill has the support of the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church. In a letter to Schiff dated Monday, Bacon praised the congressman’s leadership skills and urged him to support the proposed legislation.

“In my sermon of Jan. 22, 2012, at All Saints Church, Pasadena, I joined in the call for a constitutional amendment to ensure that Citizens United is reversed and that the notion of corporate personhood cannot be constitutionally protected,” Bacon wrote. “I would appreciate your doing everything in your power to support such a constitutional amendment along with any other measures that would in the meantime counter the deleterious effects of Citizens United on our electoral process.”

Briggs reported that Schiff promised to continue researching the issue and consider co-signing. “He did say that in 11 years of being in Congress, he has never supported an amendment to the US Constitution and is hesitant to do so now,” Briggs wrote. “He also said, however, that the damage that ‘Citizens United’ has done to our democracy warrants him taking more of a look and to at least consider our request that he co-sponsor House Joint Resolution 90.”

Read the rest here ... and watch an excerpt from the January 22nd sermon here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Diane & Diana!

Remember "Julie & Julia" -- the film from a couple of years back? Well, tomorrow it'll be "Diane & Diana" at All Saints Church as we welcome Bishop Diane Bruce and Dr. Diana Butler Bass. +Diane will preach at the 9, 11:15 & 1:00 services -- Diana will speak about her new book "Christianity After Religion" at 10:15 in the Rector's Forum. Join Us if you're in the neighborhood ... or online for the Forum - live streaming at 10:15am if you're not!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All Saints Church Applauds 9th Circuit Court Ruling on Proposition 8

All Saints Church in Pasadena joins with all those celebrating today’s decision by the 9th Circuit Court affirming the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8.

“At All Saints Church in Pasadena we greet with delight the news this morning that the 9th Circuit Court has taken another step toward returning marriage equality to California,” said Ed Bacon, All Saints’ rector. “Today’s decision takes a much needed step toward making liberty and justice for all not just a pledge but a reality. It is also a victory over the erroneous belief that the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the freedom for anyone to write their theology on marriage – or anything else – into our Constitution.”

“It is long past time to move beyond the act of writing discrimination into our state constitution – an act that does nothing to defend marriage and everything to make second class citizens out of gay and lesbian couples and their families,” Bacon continued.

God does not discriminate against same-sex couples and neither should the state of California. We are committed to a Protect Marriage Movement that protects ALL marriages and to a Family Values coalition that values ALL families.

At All Saints Church in Pasadena we married forty-six same-sex couples when marriage equality was the law in California from May – November 2008. When a slim majority of California voters passed Proposition 8 and wrote discrimination into our state constitution, our governing board passed the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, as a result of Proposition 8 and the Court’s decision, a constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which each human being is entitled; and

WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil marriage is inconsistent with Jesus’ call to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and

WHEREAS, All Saints Church is called to make the sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
We look forward to marriage equality returning to California and to continuing to work with allies around the country for a repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and an end to federal discrimination against same-sex married couples. Today we saw some justice rolling down like waters from the 9th Circuit Court – and so we look with hope and renewed energy toward the day when we will be able to offer both equal blessing and equal protection to the all couples we marry at All Saints Church.

For further information contact:
Keith Holeman, Director of Communication

Monday, February 6, 2012

Prop 8 Decision Day: February 7th

Just a few minutes ago, the 9th Circuit Court posted their intention to file their ruling on the Prop 8 case tomorrow, February 7th, by 10:00 a.m.
Tomorrow’s ruling will be another step toward putting California back on the right side of marriage equality history and undoing the shameful act of allowing a bare majority of voters to write discrimination into our constitution.

At All Saints Church in Pasadena we have taken the principled stand of refusing to participate in state sponsored discrimination by signing marriage licenses for some couples until we can sign them for all couples. We are hopeful that tomorrow’s decision will not only return marriage equality to California but will return to our clergy the ability to equally minister to all those in their pastoral care. Justice has been both delayed and denied – it’s time for it to roll down like waters and end marriage discrimination.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

20 Years of Blessing: The Event That Keep on Blessing!

Eventually all the speakers, sermons and forums from the 20 Years of Blessing weekend will be up on the All Saints website, but for now ... here's a look at what's up so far ... in case you missed any of it or you want to see it or hear it again!

First here's "Chapter One" -- the story of the journey to "God, Sex & Justice" and how George Regas came to the place where he felt called to step out in faith and bring blessings for same-sex couples to All Saints Church:

Then there's the moving "vintage footage" of the Benson-Straw Blessing ... beginning with a reflection from then-vestry member Cathy Clement about being part of the decision making process to "Say Yes to Bless:"

And here are "the next generation" represented in the story of Jamie Hebert & Alec Mapa and how their family found (or, as they tell it, were found by) All Saints Church:

And you can watch Bishop Robinson's Sunday, January 29th sermon here ... and Bishop Glasspool's Rector's Forum presentation here.

Finally, in what is arguably the most spontaneously "blessed" part of the whole weekend, here's a story of the ripples of blessing being sent out from the blessing anniversary we celebrated January 28/29:

One of the tables on the lawn just outside the main church door was an information table for the Blessing Event weekend.  By the end of the 11:15 service all the flyers, sign up sheets and materials had been cleared off and the table was empty: save for a piece of paper with the word "Blessings" written on it.

Two young All Saintsers sat themselves down ... and when a parish member walked up and said "What's your ministry?" they answered: "Blessings! Do you want to be blessed by a kid?" And they proceeded to take her hands and bless her ... "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit Forever."

A line formed and one after the other the girls blessed the folks who lined up ... a moment caught on video here:

Blessed to be a blessing these young All Saintsers are "Exhibit A" of making God's love tangible 24/7 as they put their faith into action on the All Saints lawn.

"Never doubt," said Margaret Mead, "that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." And if you ever do (doubt), remember this moment. And take heart.