January 2007


A confidential to everyone googling around for Donnie Davies. Thanks for the traffic, but he may be the least important thing I’ve ever written about. What entertains me is that the left often complains of how misrepresented and caricatured we are by Faux and Frau Coulter, but when presented with an equally implausible stereotype that makes our opponents look dumb…

Goose, meet gander.

Or something like that. Anyhow, in a continuing retrospective on a career in ministry that never quite happened, I figured I’d give y’all a copy of the only extant recording of me preaching. It’s off a tricky little text in Mark, and is perhaps my favorite sermon I’ve ever given. I’m the second voice on the tape, after the reading.

Without further preamble…

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This address was given on the occasion of the ordination of a dear friend to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament of the Presbyterian church. I present it as part of my reflection on my own calling. To post here, I have edited to remove proper nouns.

Let mutual love continue, and do not be afraid to welcome strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels unawares.

This summer, I took a trip up to the boundary waters, and sitting with friends on a rock overlooking a beautiful lake, I thought of these words. and I thought of you. I didn’t know why. I think I’ve figured it out.

There are too many words I want to give you, for you are a dear friend, an inspiration, a mentor, a rock of shelter, a sharer of deep joy, a co-creator, a partner in prayer. But I will keep myself to a few ones that I hope will lift up the ministry you have already done.

When I first came to chapel services, I failed to recognize you as a chaplain…I was convinced you were a student, albeit one that particularly loved to participate. This misrecognition is what I want to lift up. for this misrecognition was one of the best things I did in that circle. because when you asked me a few weeks later to help the community remember our friend Paul Wellstone, I already thought it possible that the Word of God could come to someone like me, because I certain knew it had come to you.

So many more misrecognitions. We thought we were honored to support you in your quest for ordination. we had no idea. we had NO idea. We had no idea that not only would your word shake the foundations, but all the things that you build and rebuild as you journeyed on. I think of seeing the relief on an face of an ally when we told her of your good news from the session.

I get to stay in the church! After all these years, it is still home!

You are helping the light pour in, and it has opened my eyes. You may think that your ministry has been to be in community with students, to lead worship, to break bread, set open tables, to pray with us, to be in our lives with us. I say to you, that you have misrecognized. And thanks be to God for that…You have been welcoming Christ with us, teaching us to live in the resurrection, to feel God’s gracious and merciful love poured out to us, surrounding us, going with us always.

Let mutual love continue. Continue to welcome strangers, for we have already welcomed angels unawares.

-sly c

A roundup of the crazy crazy life.

Happy fantastic good news from England. I’m just terribly relieved, even if i’m a little scared of what happens next. I’ve been through this before, and the end is never the end. As long as the Church remains divided, there is nothing built that cannot be torn down. And sad as it is to know that, we just keep on building anyhow.

But what’s been happening, is that I’ve been reading over all the stuff that I wrote the last time around. And one of the problems is that I didn’t save this stuff all to one place. I left it all online, where there is often the ability for others to leave comments in various forms.

Many of them say things somewhere along the line that I am to be encouraged in my path towards ministry.

I keep delaying putting in my paperwork, and it’s getting to the point where there may be significant flack in trying to change my degree program. But the moment I put in those papers, I’m done with ministry for the future as far as can be seen. And I can’t quite bring myself to do that.

Over the next while, I’m going to post some of it. I know this blog isn’t usually heavy on the religious stuff, but this is a part of me, and a fact of my life that I have never entirely resolved.

Maybe it’s to grieve something lost, or to bring me back to something left behind. I haven’t figured it out yet.

-slyc

Is a hoax. I didn’t watch that stuff until today, but I’m kind of amazed that people got suckered so badly, again.

If you want to know if religious sounding speech is genuine, ask people who have spent time listening to conservative religious rhetorics. Three seconds in, and I know that Donnie is doing an imitation. It’s a pretty good one, but it’s not quite right.

There is an organized, and at least somewhat systematic field of belief that represents conservative Christianities. Agree or not, it seems important to know the animating forces behind a powerful social movement. But if all you know about them is that they sound crazy to you, you’ll get drawn in by every hoax. Donnie isn’t just a “little” weirder than the fundies, he’s winking at you.

-sly

A good friend of mine is across the pond, and about to have a very serious turning point in her struggle to serve the Church of England faithfully and fully.

I don’t have much to say, but I ask for your prayers or well wishes.

-sly

Tonight, I’m driving home with two of my friends, and as they catch up, the conversation turns to some incidents in which white people acted a fool. I’m not surprised by this, not by now.

But when we talk about being the only black/white person in a class, they both had profoundly negative experiences. On the other hand, i will offer as close to verbatim quote as I can:

“It was a different experience, and somewhat unnerving at times because I didn’t know what was going on. I was really lucky that Prof. Name made an effort to make it a positive experience for me.”

Lucky isn’t quite the word I was looking for, was it?

Anyhow, we still had a lovely evening. I mean, lovely. Great food (if i do say so myself) and even better company. On the way back, we remarked on how cold Yale can be, and how fulfilling it was to take some time off and just be fun for a while. Sitting back over a meal, having my guests sing a duet of an old Elton John song that they think that as a queer man I am woefully remiss for not knowing, flipping through my baby pictures, joking around about relationships past, really taking some time to think about why people chose what is hurtful to their lives, going back to laughter, and sharing some good old fashioned camaraderie…

That’s lucky.

That’s lucky indeed.

-sly c

A while back, i used a line from this flick as a title…and promised to unveil the source.

So presented here is one of the 2nd Season BMW short films, starring Clive Owen before he broke into the big leagues. That’s right, I crushed on him first.

But he’s not the star of this one. Don Cheadle turns in a fantastic performance, and delivers one of the best movie heroic lines ever.

“What would you fall on your sword for? If not this, then what?”

I’d be happy to be half the dude he is.

-sly

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