Sunday, February 10, 2002
Hey, I'm Richard, aka BrooklynScoob, and this is Impolite Conversation, my first foray into the world of blogging. The proposed topics are:
It's an odd, possibly even contradictory compilation of topics, but I'm and odd and contradictory guy, and these are the topics which I find meaningful (and, besides, politics has so been done). Eventually, I'll post up more information about me, but for now, let's get down to business: Today's Topical Entries, we'll start with...
They say you should start with what you know, so I'll start with my current spiritual home, The Episcopal Church, USA. The church home page is an interesting, if you're looking for news, a lists of departments and official ministries, or trying to find a local parish. If you want to really get the nitty, gritty on doctrine, worship, and history, though, you have to the unofficial homepage by Brother Thomas Bushnell. The official page does have one interesting list of Church-Related Organizations, ranging from religious orders to Integrity, an organization for Gay and Lesbian Episcopalians, and The American Anglican Council, an umbrella organization for Episcopalian conservatives. The Episcopal Church is the autonomous American branch of the Anglican Communion, a group of churches descended from The Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury serves as a spiritual leader but has no actual authority over the churches outside of England.
Oddly enough, very little of that (with the exception of the site by Br. Thomas) will tell you much about what Episcopalianism or Anglicanism is all about, where they came from, where they're going, or why anyone would think about becoming one. Since most people start going to (or going back to) church to, in some sense, acquaint themselves with God and Christ, it seems odd to me that church Web sites have so little substantive to say.
As this blog progresses, I'll try and include more details about my own spiritual journey - from Baptist preacher's kid to grumpy Episcopalian conservative to occasionally grouchy Episcopalian liberal. Until then, suffice it to say that for most Episcopalians, we pray first and figure out doctrine second. Therefore, the best place to learn all about us is from The Book of Common Prayer. The BCP is actually several books, each adapted to the culture and time that creates it, but all owing some debt to the Church of England's 1662 edition.
The 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the current version used by the Episcopal Church, USA. There's also an online version of the 1979 Morning and Evening Prayer complete with daily readings and information on saints who are comemorated that day from a website called The Mission of St. Clare. If you've never been to a Sunday Eucharist at an Episcopal Church, take a look at this PDF Annotated Eucharist, or you can download it as an RTF file.
Chemistry Professor Dan Berger also has the 1979 Compline and Noonday Prayer online. Compline and Noonday Prayer are wonderful, short introductions to the way Episcopalian and Anglican prayer services are shaped. Compline, the prayers before bedtime and will tell you a lot abou the way contemporary Episcopalians see God. Should you want something even shorter, try Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, though I personally find these a tad too short.
Episcopalians, being a theologically open people, often adapt prayers and devotions from other Christian traditions. Many Episcopalians, such as myself, identify as Anglo-Catholics, meaning that they, for a number of reasons, identify with and cherish some of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. One of my favorite of these prayers is the Angelus, a very popular prayer in many Anglo-Catholic Episcopal Churches.
Well, that should get you a good introduction to where I'm coming from religion wise, now on to...
Well, I could get much more risque than I'm gonna get tonight. Suffice it to say that it's midnight, and I've got work tomorrow, and you'll just have to get your decadent jollies elsewhere. I won't type much or type long, but I wil lshare a couple of much cherished links with you that I think speak pretty well for themselves.
First up is the cute little story called Rusty Is a Homosexual. I too once had to ask my parents for a leash and collar, all for reasons they could never quite understand. Now if I could only get a sweaty, smokey fireman to crawl into my window, preferably without having to actually set the apartment on fire (that would really piss off my roommate).
Next up is a piece by the ever-brilliant gay cartoonist, artist, and author, Howard Cruse, creator of Wendell, Stuck Rubber Baby and other cartooned works of sheer brilliance. His contribution to tonight's program is a tad more serious than the above: Jerry Mack. I first read the story of Jerry Mack, which Cruse apparently based on a real man he knew while growing up in the south, as a twenty-two year old, closeted, ex-Baptist, soon-to-be grad student in a gay owned San Angelo, Texas bookstore. It was the kind of place that most likely went under due to guys like me: We'd go in, shame-faced, look at all of the books we could, and not buy a thing. Though it was years before I would finally come out, the story stuck with me, especially that closing line. So, Mr. Cruse (who lives just over in Queens, I might add), thanks.
Alright girls and boys, it's time for bed.