Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Nov. 2, 2014 All Souls Day by Beverly Bingle,RCWP

What is resurrection?
What do we mean when we say that Jesus rose from the dead,
and what does it mean to say
that we will be raised on the last day?
For the early disciples
it had to have been both difficult and inspiring
to be caught up in the day-to-day experience
of Jesus as their teacher and friend,
only to see him killed
and then, within a few days of his death,
to begin, one after another,
to experience him as alive in their lives.
That’s what we remember as the resurrection—
their experience, and the resulting conviction,
that the Spirit of the Messiah—the Christ—the Anointed—
lived in each of them
and among them whenever they gathered.
Hearing the “good news” of Jesus’ life, and death, and resurrection
in and among them
brought even more followers to his Way.
Followers like us.
We follow the Way of Jesus as best we can,
loving God and our neighbors with all our being
and trying to walk strong in peaceful non-violence.
Like our forebears in faith,
we too experience the Divine Presence among us—
the risen Christ—
and the peace that surpasses understanding.
Today we remember Jesus
as the unique expression of the Divine Presence
And we remember each of our loved ones—
our family, our friends—
as unique expressions of the Divine Presence.
Our ancestors in faith, those first followers of the Way,
had to study their scriptures
to fit their new experience into their tradition.
So too, today we read from Paul’s letter to the Romans
and we also have to peel away
the ancient cosmology and the atonement theology
until we find
that it’s the love of God
poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit
that we’re reconciled to God
because we follow the Way of Jesus.
It’s the same with John’s Gospel:
we have to peel back the Johannine cosmology
that sees God as “out there” somewhere,
sent to save us because we’re a sinful people
incapable of making any restitution to an angry God.
Once we look through the lens of present-day cosmology,
we see that we’re living a new story
that knows a universe bigger than ever,
and the science of the Cosmic Hatch
and the Higgs boson
and string theory
so that the concept of God as the ground of our being
takes on wider and deeper meaning than ever before.
Brain theory is expanding, too,
and the power of prayer has been proved,
even when the people we pray for
don’t even know that we’re praying for them.
When we take a look at the scriptures with our modern eyes,
we can recognize the experience of those early Christians
as they prayed together
and encountered the risen Christ in one another,
among family and friends,
and in strangers on the road.
Many of us have had experiences
of loved ones among us after they died,
experiences that we can’t explain
but that we understand as real and holy.
When we gather and read the scriptures and break the bread,
we experience ourselves as the body of Christ,
individually and collectively.
The abiding presence of the risen Christ
remains in each and every part of us
and in all of us together as God’s people.
Today we gather to remember.
We walk the way, confident that it’s the right path.
The kin-dom of God is at hand.
It’s a mystical experience,
with all the communion of saints here in this chapel with us—
those who have gone before,
those who are with us now,
and those who are yet to come.
We are all one in God and God in us.
Our brother Jesus has shown us the way,
and he is with us;
we are his body.
It’s a companionship of empowerment,
as Diarmuid O’Murchu calls it.
We are all one,
and we will always be part of the journey, on the Way,
one with the One God of All That Is.
So we remember.
We remember the named and nameless people
who have gone before us,
and the known friends and unknown strangers
who are with us around the globe today.
We ask their prayers, and we pray for them.
The book of Wisdom tells us
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God.”
They remain with us.
Our saints.
No one is rejected.
No one is lost.
We stand together in the kin-dom of God;
we are companions on the journey,
empowered and empowering one another,
on the Way.
We now pray especially for them, with them, and to them:

Litany of Our Saints

Jim Aust
Elizabeth Dwaihy-Barr
Lloyd & Martha Bardus
Cletus & Marie Bingle
Bill & Anne Bingle
Trudy Klear Bogue
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Lois & Jack Daly
Marshall Desmond
Marshall & Agnes Desmond
Megan Desmond
Bob Donnelly
Bill Eggleston
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Paul Ewing
Phil & Jane Flis
Kern Geoffrion
Ila Geoffrion
Baby Geoffrion
Susan Geoffrion
Mark Geoffrion
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Bill Gillespie
The Gillespie Family
Aunt Lottie Gillespie
Marie & Joe Grogan
Susan Grogan
Maureen Grogan
Deceased members of the Haverbusch Family
Sheila Heiman
All you holy men and women, pray for us!
Ken Holland
Ruth Houk
Jake Howell
Conrad & Sarah Hughes
Grace & Paul Joyce
Departed members of the Joyce and Glover Families
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Michelle Kelsey
Antoine Madden
John & Mary Mandula
Carole Mandula
Margaret McCarty
Ann McCrory
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Jack Mermer
Heidi Mermer
William & Saloma Molony
Patty Montegno
Colleene Riddle Palicki
Jay Peace
Susan Massari Prendergast
All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Filomena & Felix Rosa
Dutch & Eleanor Stocklen and Members of the Extended Stocklen Family
Dorothy VanAsdale
Diana Wilburn
Maureen Williams
All you holy men and women, pray for us!


Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Womb of All Creation" Meditation on Divine Feminine by Jann Alderdge-Clanton

ARCWP Ordination of Deacons on Oct. 29th, 2014: Judith Bautista, Patty Zorn and Nelly S (catacomb not in photos)

ARCWP celebrated the ordination of 3 women deacons on Oct. 29th in Sarasota, Florida.
Judith Bautista, Patty Zorn, and Nelly S.

Olga Lucia, Bridget Mary and Judith Bautista

Maureen McGill, Janice, Dotty, Olga Patty, Bridget Mary, Judith and Janet

Janice, Maureen, Janet

Judtih, Janice

Left to right: Janice, Olga lucia, Bridget Mary, Judith, Janet and Sally

Patty and Judith

Janice and Maureen

Dotty and Sally

Janice, Olga, Bridget Mary, Judith, Janet, Sally

Olga and Dotty

Patty and Judith

Sally Brochu


Sonica Sanctus for Women and Liturgy Celebrating Creation in Abundance

Sonica Sanctus with Eve Ward de Roo:  Friday, Nov 14  1 - 3:30 PM  ($20 upon arrival)

Sonica Sanctus for Women is a sound healing circle of vibrational nurturing based on mindful listening, soulful sounding, ritual drumming, improvisational playing and musical journeying.  Evelyn Ward de Roo will engage us in sounding for personal well-being.
The Sonica process is fertile ground to explore, to get unstuck, or to simply be blessed. It offers a safe, sacred space for promoting sound mind and body, as well as for mediating community building and creative play. Come, enter sound and energy as a way to connect to your true feminine essence.
You will be invited into group humming/sounding/chanting. This helps us to get out of the ‘monkey mind’ and into the present embodied experience. Under Ev’s ‘artistic direction’ we will then create individual sound rituals, or ‘soundscapes’, for healing and blessing. Everyone participates on some level; striking a bell, playing a drum, shaking a shaker, humming, offering their energy. The instruments are easy to use, some rhythmic and some ambient. You do not need musical training in order to participate. 
Liturgy Celebrating Creation in Abundance with Michele Birch-Conery, Priest ARCWP and Barbara Billey, Deacon ARCWP: Friday, Nov 14  4-5:30 pm  (free will donation accepted)
In this season of harvest, creation is filled with extravagant abundance seen in blazing colors, in crisp air and rising winds, and in golden fields under clear, blue skies. We gather to celebrate our God's active presence in creation, to give thanks for the many gifts given to us, and to receive sustenance in being harvest for others.
You are welcome to attend one or both events.
1978 Katella Ave, Windsor, Ontario (street parking)
Register by email or by phone (519) 735-3943 before Nov 10th.
For information about Sonica Sanctus by Evelyn Ward de Roo see
Barbara J. Billey, M.Ed., M.A. (Counselling), D.Min. (in progress)
Canadian Certified Counsellor
Registered Canadian Art Therapist

(519) 735-3943

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reflection on Creation by Mary C. White ARCWP

Mary C. White
Reflection on Creation
In 1996, I submitted three short biographies to NASA for publication.  Gus Grissom, Ed White (no biological relationship to me), and Roger Chaffee died in a fire that had erupted during a routine test of the Apollo 1 space capsule on January 27, 1967.  I wrote their biographies to help NASA create an online memorial to honor these three courageous men on the 30th anniversary of their tragic deaths.  These biographies remain on NASA's website to this day, to remind future generations that humankind's ventures into space have been filled with both triumphs and tragedies. 

I am a writer, not a scientist.  Still, my work on these biographies triggered a keen interest in space travel, and a much deeper appreciation for our magnificent universe.  At NASA's invitation, I attended the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1999.  Eileen Collins, the first female space shuttle commander, was at the helm.  July 23, 1999 was a perfect night for the launch.  Talk about a light show!  NASA had put me in the VIP stands with Hillary Clinton and other dignitaries and celebrities, but I was not focused on those around me.  I could barely take my eyes off Columbia, which was standing only about one mile from us on the launch pad.  As the countdown began, the engines roared to life.  I could feel the intense vibrations as I stood watching a massive explosion erupt under this great beast.  The vibrations reached a peak, and suddenly, the shuttle majestically rose up amidst huge bursts of flames and massive clouds of white smoke. 

After seeing that amazing launch, I became more interested in NASA's work, in general.  I love seeing all of the photographs featured on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.  The photograph for October 1, 2014 showed a stunning image from the Hubble telescope of the Butterfly Nebula (  Every time I view one of these photographs, my jaw literally drops in awe over the sheer beauty of the universe that surrounds me.  Each photograph of a star cluster, nebula, star cloud, or supernova remnant fills me with an overwhelming sense of the Creator God, from whom I believe our universe first began. 

The book of Genesis shares its own version of creation.  The descriptions are similar to many creation stories from other civilizations of the same general time period.  Some modern individuals still cling to the literal translation of this story, insisting that God created the world in six days.  However, science simply does not support the literal translation of creation as described in the book of Genesis. 

I value science, and I also believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God.  So, how do I reconcile science with Scripture?  I focus on the general similarities between the two accounts, rather than on the specific differences between them. 

By focusing on the basic process of evolution described in Genesis, the writings reveal that the Biblical account actually shares amazing similarities with current scientific theory. 

If I break the Genesis story down to its most basic elements, it describes the creation of the universe as a process that unfolded in multiple stages.  It does not matter that Genesis describes the creation of the universe over six days, and that the Big Bang Theory uses a time frame of 13.7 billion years.  The fact is that both describe creation as evolving one step at a time.

Both accounts speak about impenetrable darkness at the beginning of the process.  Genesis talks about there being "darkness over the deep" (Genesis 1:2).  Scientist David Christian describes the period before the evolutionary process began as follows: "Imagine the darkest, emptiest thing you can, and cube it a gazillion times" (

Both accounts then describe the creation of light.  Because Genesis was focusing specifically on the six day period of creation, it talks about the creation of light in terms of day and night.  Still, the basic evolution in Genesis goes from sheer darkness to the introduction of light. 

Similarly, the second threshold of evolution as described by scientist David Christian is characterized by the creation of stars, which allowed our universe to evolve from a period of utter darkness to a period in which light emerged.
The ancient writers did not have the technology to help them understand the concept of an entire solar system.  However, they certainly recognized that the earth was separate from that which was above in the sky.  In fact, they described a vault, or solid dome, which separated the waters of the earth from the waters in the heavens.  This vault also contained lights that ruled both the day (the sun) and the night (the moon and stars).    
We have the benefit of scientific advances that have allowed us to peer deep into the universe to unlock many of its mysteries.  After the creation of stars (light), the next scientific threshold involved the explosion of these large stars, which led to the formation of all the elements in the periodic table.  Our solar system ultimately evolved from the combination of these elements, with various planets and moons coming into existence over time.  Our technology allows our understanding of our solar system to be much more detailed than what is described in Genesis. However, both accounts share the same basic concept: our earth is not the only end result from this amazing evolutionary process of creation.

The book of Genesis includes significant references to water.  "Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass" (Genesis: 1:9). Water plays a crucial role in the scientific theory of evolution, as well.  Science teaches us that, in order for life to evolve on earth, a perfect set of conditions had to be present, which David Christian refers to as "Goldilocks Conditions".  Three separate pieces of the puzzle had to be
​ ​
present at the exact same time in order for living organisms to evolve on earth.  First, a perfect amount of energy had to be produced; not too much, and not too little.  Second, there needed to be a diverse number of chemical elements present in the environment.  Finally, there needed to be a medium that allowed atoms to hitch up and create molecules.  Gases caused atoms to move far too quickly, preventing them from connecting up.  Solids trapped atoms, and did not allow them to move.  Only a liquid medium could allow atoms to move about freely at a reasonable speed and connect with one another.

Earth was the perfect distance from the various stars, which allowed a perfect degree of energy to exist.  Earth also contained a wide variety of elements.  Last, but certainly not least, the newly formed Earth had the perfect medium for generating more complex life: huge oceans of water, just like the "waters under heaven" described in Genesis 1:9.
According to Genesis, "God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures... and God blessed them saying, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas" (Genesis 1:20, 22). 

Scientific theory tells us that water allowed atoms to form molecules, which ultimately stabilized themselves in the form of DNA, which copied itself and spread throughout the oceans.  Different organisms were able to develop, because as the DNA double helix replicated itself, it experienced an "error" in approximately every billionth copy, causing the final result to be slightly different than those copies that preceded it.  As a result of this DNA replication, earth's vast oceans ultimately were filled with a wide variety of living organisms. 

Genesis also discussed the life that stemmed from the earth.  Plants came first, followed by the more complicated life forms, e.g. "cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds" (Genesis 1:24).
​ ​
Again, this progressive form of evolution mirrors the scientific explanation.  Life began as single-celled organisms which evolved into multi-celled organisms, such as fungi, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and ultimately, mammals.

At the end of the creation story, Genesis finally addresses the creation of human beings.  According to the Genesis account, God blessed humans, and instructed them to "be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth..." (Genesis 1:28). 

Science shows the exact same thing.  Our distant ancestors started out in Africa, but ultimately migrated to practically every nook and cranny of this vast earth.  We also went from a simple hunter-gatherer lifestyle to farming, which allowed human populations to survive and multiply at a much greater rate than ever before. 

Genesis made it clear that all of God's creations were good, but the writer wanted to specifically clarify that humans were different from all other creations because both male and female were "created... in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). 
But, exactly what does Genesis mean when it talks about being made in the image of God?  The Hebrew and Christian traditions often have portrayed God as a male.  Paintings, carvings, and words often reference God as a male.  However, Genesis insists that both male and female were made in the divine image.  So, what is it that truly separates us from the rest of creation?  What is it that makes humans created in the image of God?

Science supports our uniqueness. Scientist David Christian considers the appearance of humans some 200,000 years ago to be yet another major threshold in the evolution of the universe.  The main difference that separated humans from all other life forms was language.  Many species of life have the ability to communicate.  However, as Christian states, "what makes humans different is human language.  We are blessed with a language, a system of communication, so powerful and so precise that we can share what we learned with such precision that it can accumulate in the collective memory.  And, that means it can outlast the individuals who learned that information, and it can accumulate from generation to generation.  And that's why, as a species, we're so creative, and so powerful, and that's why we have a history (

We know that virtually everything on our planet leaves its own unique carbon footprint, simply by having existed.  However, humans do more than simply leave a carbon footprint.  Humans have the ability to think and reflect.  We also have the ability to speak about those thoughts and reflections through human language.  Basically, we have the ability to communicate in such a way as to create lasting representations of our thoughts, reflections, and experiences.  As David Christian states, "We seem to be the only species in four billion years to have this gift... It's what makes us different". 
Science shows that human language is what distinguishes us from all other creations.  We think.  We reflect.  We speak.  We create.  How is it that we were virtually the only species in four billion years to develop the gift of human speech?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the book of Genesis.
Genesis consistently portrays God as speaking prior to each creation being made.  God does not simply make the various parts of the universe.  The ancient author indicates numerous times that God speaks, and creation results from God's spoken words.  "God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).  "God said, 'Let there be a vault"... and so it was" (Genesis 1:6).  "God said  'Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear.'  And so it was" (Genesis 1:9).  "God said, 'Let the earth produce vegetation'...

And so it was" (Genesis 1:11).  "God said, 'Let there be lights in the vault of heaven... to shine on the earth.'  And so it was (Genesis 1:14).  "God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures'... And so it was (Genesis 1:20).  "God said, 'Let the earth produce every kind of living creature'... And so it was" (Genesis 1:24).  Finally, Genesis describes how "God said, 'Let us make humans in our own image'... and God created humans in the image of God... male and female God created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).

Genesis described God as speaking.  Scientist David Christian insists that human language is what makes us different.  So, perhaps we are made in the image of God because God can communicate... and we are the only species in four billion years capable of doing the same.
If I had to use speech to describe God in only one word, I would use the word love.  1 John:4:8 uses the same language: "God is love."
​ ​
If I had to use speech to describe how God created the universe, I would say that 13.7 billion years ago, God reflected upon God as Love.  God's intense reflection upon God as Love was communicated through the monumental event that triggered the creation of the entire universe, the event we now refer to as the Big Bang. 

If I had to use speech to describe why humans are different from all other creations, I would say that approximately 200,000 years ago, God reflected upon God as Love once again.  This time, God's intense reflection upon God as Love was communicated in the form of male and female humans.  These humans were different from all other creations, because they alone had been infused with an essence that would allow them to develop the ability to think and reflect, speak about themselves and their own experiences, and create lasting representations of those thoughts and experiences. 
David Christian states that 200,000 years after humans came into existence, "... we seem to form a single global brain of almost seven billion individuals, and that brain is learning at warp speed."

I believe that the creative spark that began some 13.7 billion years ago continues to unfold.  I also believe that for the past 200,000 years, humans have played a significant role in that evolutionary process.  As I referenced in my first paragraph, we have used our human language... our collective memory... to go so far as to even break free of the boundaries of our own planet, and adapt to life in outer space.

The possibilities related to being created in the image of God are virtually endless. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

CHURCH SYNOD RECAP: MICROMANAGING THE MORALS OF OTHERS by Mary Hunt/Great article by a top Catholic Feminist-Enjoy, the humor, click on link

..."The voting men were ostensibly horrified by the notion that same-sex couples might have any redeeming features, or that there might be “charity in its caring…” rather than “weakening of its faith…” (par. 46 of the early draft) if divorced and remarried people receive communion. Dear God, what crumbs they quibble over and fall on their croziers to defend. Have they missed the fact that the worldwide pedophilia crimes and cover-up on their watch have left them without a fig leaf of credibility? No wonder no one looks to them to be helpful about the moral issues at stake in Ebola, terrorism, or environmental threats.
What about the much-vaunted changes in tone? Changes in tone are no substitute for changes in substance. It is as if instead of saying, “Go to hell,” one were to say “Have a lovely, safe trip to your eternal damnation.” This time around, contraception and abortion did not even get a kind word. Tone deaf to women’s lives is how I read the document.
Still, the report of the doomed upbeat first draft gave millions of people a glimpse of what it might be like, what could be, and just how important it would be if the Catholic institution came kicking and screaming into the 21st century..."
(hit link to read whole article!)

Emergency Contraception is a Health Issue for Women/Will you Join Me in taking Action Today?

"Come Fly to the Dream" by Victoria Rue, RCWP

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jesus Showed us the God of Boundless Love by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Jesus showed us the God of boundless love.
Jesus showed us the God of wonderful surprises.
Jesus showed us the God of abundant generosity.
Jesus showed us the God of awesome affirmation.
Jesus showed us the God of infinite forgiveness.
Jesus showed us the God of compassionate healing.
Jesus showed us the God of welcoming and inclusiveness.
Jesus showed us the God of exuberant enthusiasm.
Jesus showed us the God of new creation.
Jesus showed us the God of delight and enjoyment.
Jesus showed us the God who calls each of us by name.
Jesus showed us the God who loves, heals, empowers and transforms us.
Jesus showed us the God who loves through us.
Jesus showed us the God who heals through us.
Jesus showed us the God who empowers through us.
Jesus showed us the God who transforms through us.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Priesthood Saturday, October 25 2014 Imogene & Michael Rigdon Presiding Janet Blakeley, Music Minister

From left to right: Katy Zatsick, Kathryn Shea, Sally Brochu, Bridget Mary Meehan, Janet Blakeley, Marilyn Jenai, Sherry Robertson, ARCWP priests, ordinands and support community from MMOJ gathered to reflect on  Unit of Preparation for Ordination. Sally and Janet will be ordained deacons on Nov. 1st at St. Andrew UCC at 2:00 PM 

Opening Prayer: Let us pray: O God, your people gather with hopeful hearts.We gratefully acknowledge that you call all of us, through our priesthood of the people of God, to minister to those in need. And we thank you for those you call to ministry and leadership without regard to gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. May we all be faithful to our call to ministry. May the universal Church accept and support the ministry of all those you call. In Jesus’ name we pray. All: Amen

Sally Brochu shared with community that her call to ordination is rooted in her baptism and is a call to live justice for women in the church today. 

Mary Al Gagnon proclaimed the First Reading

Michael  Rigdon, a married priest, presided at liturgy

Imogene and Michael Rigdon, a married priest couple co-presided at liturgy at MMOJ  today and led a dialogue homily on how we celebrate Eucharist  as a gifted community, all of whom are called to live their baptism  fully  in loving service. 

A Roman Catholic Woman Priest:" Why I Attended a Rally for Marriage Equality in Atlanta, GA.'" Diane Dougherty, ARCWP

Diane Dougherty at Marriage Equality Rally in Atlanta, GA.
As the Associated Press reported “Catholic Bishops Scrap Welcome to Gays”, going on to say they failed to approve an even watered down section on ministry to homosexuals….I, a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, attended a rally at the City Hall in Atlanta in support of Marriage Equality.  You might ask why I would act in opposition to the hierarchy, especially as a priest?  Our community, Roman Catholic Women Priests, and most Catholics, do not hold the beliefs of the hierarchy and understand our sons and daughters are born whole and are made in the image of God.  They are truly God’s children and when the church hierarchy and civil authorities act against them, it is a violation of a God.

I went to this rally because of the love shared with many beautiful LGBT friends who have enjoyed long term relationships.  I believe they should have the right to be civilly married and have all of the benefits society offers.  I went in support of the beloved people of First Metropolitan Community Church, who have given me a home from which I can minister as an ordained woman.  I went in support of all people who are denied human rights.  Each person who steps out in love moves closer into the heart of a God of love.   As Roman Catholic Woman Priest…..we step out toward love and with open arms, embrace all who wish to grow together.  We step out to recreate a Catholic church of full inclusion-one that embraces love and its people without exceptions. 

Reverend Diane Dougherty, ARCWP,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Police Use of Drones May Threaten Human Rights

The Law of Love Trumps All-Rev. Judy’s Homily 30th Sunday in OT 10/26/14 by Rev. Judy Lee, RCWP

Matthew 22:34-40- What are the greatest commandment(s)?

The Context
Today Jesus continues to respond to the “tests” (and traps) from the Pharisees,the powerful authorities, rabbis and priests of his Hebrew religion. Jesus affirms the essence of the Law and Prophets. This takes place after his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey and his “cleansing” of the Temple which is frequently portrayed as “chasing the moneychangers out of the Temple”. But, his revolutionary action to chase out (liberate) the animals and birds as well as those selling them for sacrifice meant much more than a frustration with cheating “moneychangers” (John 2:14-16;Matt 21:12-13;Mark 11:15-17;Luke 19:45-46.). The priests are furiously upset with Jesus, but the multitude, the people are with Jesus.  Jesus fulfills prophecy by his ride into Jerusalem, and is fulfilling the Law, the very essence and backbone of his Hebrew religion, by essentially defining what the Law and the Temple is about and what it is not about. Jesus defines what the Law is about by all that he does as well as all that he says, as best we can know it. In the Temple cleansing Jesus is establishing that it is notabout animal sacrifice. It is about love,especially caring for the most vulnerable like orphans and widows who have no means of support but are accounted for in the Law (Exodus 22:20-26). Care and mercy for animals is also written in the Law, for example farmers are to let their animals graze and drink from the stream on the Sabbath, so they indeed can enjoy a Sabbath. Jesus mentions this in Luke 13:15-16,also see Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4.  This emphasis on love and caring for the least among us is fully consistent with the Law and has its origins in the Law in Deuteronomy(22:4) and in the prophets (Hosea 6:6, which Jesus quotes at another point,  Amos 5:21-24 and Isaiah 1:11-16 and Is. 66:3) and also in the commentary of first century rabbis like the prominent Hillel. What Jesus did in cleansing the Temple strikes at the heart of what he sees as the corruption of the Law where the Temple priests are living off the money and the actual meat of the animal sacrifices and losing the key points of the Law, right relationship with God and right relationship with our neighbors, especially the poorest and weakest. This provides an excellent reason to trap him and kill him. To learn more about Jesus’ radical Jewish ethics that included vegetarianism, pacifism and simplicity with identification with the poor, read Keith Akers, The Lost Religion of Jesus,Lantern Books,2000. Akers makes a strong argument for the Jesus movement in Judaism that became Jewish Christianity for the first four centuries BCE. While I do not agree with all of Akers’ conclusions it is quite clear that it was not Jesus’ intent to abolish the Law but to fulfill it and show us how to live it.
Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment?The Pharisees and Scribes think they will trap Jesus into minimizing or falsely stating the Law.  Jesus boils down all 613 laws to the two greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart ,soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. He adds that the whole law and prophets are based on these two commandments.He is hinging all that is important in Hebrew law, tradition and Scriptures to loving God and all people, especially the most vulnerable people(Ex 22:21-22) wholeheartedly.  In Mark (12:32) the man who asked the question has to marvel: “Well said, Teacher”! He also says that this love is more important than religious ritual like burnt offerings and sacrifice and Jesus commends and affirms his understanding. What happens in the Temple cleansing also establishes this priority. It is major.  Once again love trumps all.  In Luke 10:28 Jesus has a similar discussion with another expert in the law who asks him about how to inherit eternal life. The expert answers with the two great commandments and Jesus affirms this and says “Do this and you will live”.  Following this, in Luke, Jesus teaches that loving the “neighbor” includes enemies, like the “good Samaritan”. Jesus is cutting through to the essence of the law which is love, and saying that this kind of love brings life now and forever. We note two things here: Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:7) and the fulfillment of the law is the life of love that Jesus led, and expects us to lead.  What kind of love did Jesus exemplify? His love was inclusive-women and children as well as men, poor as well as rich, sick and outcast as well as healthy and mainstream, strangers and outsiders as well as his own people. His love was selfless-even when he was exhausted and frustrated he continued serving, healing, teaching and loving the people. His life included “living sacrifice.”   His love was characterized by justice and actually put the last first, calling the poor blessed and fortunate, thus changing the usual order of things.  Jesus loved with a wholehearted, radical love. And, he loved until the end when he asked forgiveness even from the cross for those who tortured and killed him (Luke 23:34). And in rising he calls his disciples friends and assures that he loves and is with us forever. Jesus’ radical love is VERY hard to emulate.
I am thinking of the love of caretakers for the very ill. In our congregation when one young man was in the hospital struggling for life his entire family maintained a vigil day and night for weeks. They also prayed and asked for his baptism at a time when he could participate. The moment of baptism was the only joy they had all experienced in days.  Only when he improved in quite a miraculous way did his grandmother and mother get to go home and rest. In another case a family kept a vigil until their elderly terminally ill grandparent died. They did not go to work or school and even refused to eat when he could not eat. That was something I could help them with, God did not want their illness too. They ate but would not leave his side until he went home to God. In another situation a wife cares for her husband with Alzheimer’s disease 24-7 only taking a few hours a day for herself. She has sacrificed herself for her husband for over fifteen years and he is still recognizing people and able to stay at home. Her life on the other hand is restricted to his care. This is her sacrifice for him. It is radical love.
I am thinking of the outrage of our community at the death of a precious five year old by drive by shooting. I am thinking of the brave women, men and youth who despite their fear of a similar fate are trying to speak out for justice even though there are many who will not break the loyalty code and act justly. I think of the workers who take time off their low paying fast food chain jobs to protest for just wages, for raising the minimum wage, and the farm workers who take on large chains like Publix and Walmart and McDonald’s. I see in them the Jesus who used his righteous anger as the root of love( an ethical principle described by theologian and ethicist Beverly Harrison) to demonstrate what it takes to enact justice.  I think of all the humiliation and blood that poured in the streets to secure the nonviolent civil rights movement. I think of Megan Rice and other nonviolent peace and antinuclear activists who endure prison for love. I think of street ministries to the homeless and hungry where the elements of relentless heat, rain, snow and cold and even disapproval are rewards for serving along with oneness with the poor and least of these.  I think of our Roman Catholic women priests who are excommunicated to live the call to priesthood and serve thereby enacting justice in the church. I am thinking about the warmth and love our people give to one another every Sunday. This is all radical love.  Radical love is action not rhetoric.
Let us pray that we can love radically, with all our hearts. Amen.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Book: She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World Published: SEPTEMBER 6, 2014

My copy of this wonderful new book by prolific writer Jann Aldredge- Clanton just arrived in the mail this week. I am delighted to be one of the women leaders described by Jann as  "driving foundational Christian theological change and restoring awareness of the sacred value of women and girls. " It is available on amazon and barnes&noble online. See links below.  She tells my story in the chapter entitled: "Leading not leaving the Church" Bridget Mary Meehan,

My new book, She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World, will come out at the end of September. This book presents inspiring stories of clergy and laypeople bringing transformation through restoring the power of Divine Wisdom and other biblical female divine images to Christian theology and worship. These stories reveal the connection between including multicultural female divine images in worship and justice in human relationships. This book also provides creative inclusive worship resources and locations of feminist emancipatory faith communities.
One of the chapters in the book is titled “Wisdom’s Works of Interfaith Collaboration.” In the introduction to the book I state my religious tradition and my commitment to collaborating with other traditions: 
This book comes from my location within the Christian tradition with the hope that people in other religious traditions will write stories of transformation through Divine Wisdom. More specifically, I am an ordained Anglo minister within the Baptist tradition, growing up in Louisiana and working in Texas. I have served mainly in ecumenical and interfaith settings as a chaplain, interfaith conference director, pastoral counselor, teacher, and speaker. While interfaith collaboration is an important part of my ministry and a common thread in the stories in this book, I have featured people from the Christian tradition because I can best work for change within my own tradition. When it comes to overcoming patriarchy and transforming society through Divine Wisdom, there is enough work for people in all religious traditions. I am a Christian feminist, trying to do my part from my tradition while collaborating with other traditions.
Thus I was delighted to learn that Rabbi Rami Shapiro shares my passion for working together to transform all faith traditions and the world through changing God-language to include Lady Wisdom and other female names. Rabbi Rami wrote this endorsement of She Lives! Wisdom Works in the World:
Words are maps that shape the territory they claim to represent. The more common a word becomes the more natural the bias it carries becomes. Just reciting “Our Mother who art in Heaven” shows you how entrenched “Our Father” has become. Change the words and you change the world…and yourself. In her new book She Lives!, Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton shares the power of changing Godspeak, of speaking of God as Mother, as Lady Wisdom, and the Divine Feminine by sharing the stories of women and men who have dared to do so. This is a revolution within Christianity that has wonderful ramifications for all faiths trapped in the idolatry of gendered Godtalk. She Lives! is an important book chronicling a revolution in Christianity—the reclaiming of the Divine Feminine; a revolution that must be duplicated in other faiths as well. Read the book. Join the revolution.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author of over two dozen books on religion and spirituality, including The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom LiteratureEmbracing the Divine Feminine: Song of Songs Annotated and ExplainedThe Sacred Art of Lovingkindness, and Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent. Rabbi Rami received rabbinical ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and holds a PhD from Union Graduate School. A congregational rabbi for 20 years, he currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, co-directs One River Wisdom School, writes a blog, and writes a regular column for Spirituality and Health magazine called “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler.” See Rabbi Rami’s  website.
To Pre-Order She Lives! Wisdom Works in the World:

Catholic Women: “Our Absence Means Synod Lacks Credibility”

Contacts: Erin Saiz Hanna, 401-588-0457
                                              Marianne Duddy-Burke, 617-669-7810
Gathered in Chicago for its annual meeting, October 17-19, 2014, the members of Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of feminist Catholic groups, issued the following statement as the Extraordinary Synod on the Family was drawing to a close in Rome.
Women-Church Convergence celebrates the diversity of families and affirms the holiness of all families where love and commitment reign.
We agree that challenges faced by families should be at the center of our Church’s focus, but are concerned that women and families did not have active roles in shaping the outcome of the Extraordinary Synod. The entire Church—not just clerics for whom not creating families is a condition of their ministry—must have active and equal leadership roles in the development of policy, theology, and programs to address the myriad needs of families.
A group of men who fail to protect the children of our Church from sexual abuse, and who repeatedly sacrifice children to shield the offenders, has no credibility saying anything about what families need. A group of men who have no need for contraception has no standing to deny women access to appropriate reproductive health services. A group of men without experience of wedded life has no right to legislate who should and should not be married.
The egregious omission of women and families in forming Church policy has a devastating impact on Catholics and others worldwide. Instead of an obsession with doctrine, families need the Church to dismantle systems of oppression, work to end violence against women and children, stand firmly against war and the destruction of our planet, recognize women’s moral agency, and honor decisions about family life made with informed consciences and prayerful discernment.
We believe it is long overdue for all families to be welcomed into the sacramental life of our Church. Far too many people are denied sacraments because of their family status.  We mourn this misuse of clerical power, which deprives families of spiritual nourishment and connection to the Christian community.
Women-Church Convergence represents Catholic organizations committed to prioritizing the needs of women and children. In our circles, all are welcome.
Women-Church Convergence is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations raising a feminist voice and committed to an ekklesia or women that is participative, egalitarian and self-governing. Members endorsing this statement include
8th Day Center for Justice – Women in Church and Society Committee
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Catholics for Choice
Catholics for Choice-Canada
Chicago Women-Church
Greater Cincinnati Women-Church
Loretto Women’s Network
National Coalition of American Nuns
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
San Francisco Bay Area Women-Church
SAS – Sisters Against Sexism
WATER – Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

Women’s Ordination Conference