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March 29, 2005



Nice post, a couple of comments:

(1) In my personal experience--getting over my white guilt means getting over my arrogance. I got to know some of those immigrant custodial staff at church; I had Sunday lunch at their house as a guest; I went went south and walked the border and talked to the people waiting at the fence to run across in search of work--I learned about the dignity of work, the gracious hospitality of the poor. It is an honor for me now to rub shoulders with those workers who clear my table and clean the floors.

(2) I stay at a church that is inadequate in many ways. Many of my friends have gone on to green pastures. It is in staying that I experience giving and recieving grace. I know the people. I know their problems. God is there in spite of it.

(3) and now for something really important--I have been waiting for you to blog about the coming Tour de California announce by Anshutz, et al on Friday. The professional cycling event is likely to be in February 2006.


You're far ahead of me, my dear. I've been struggling with a serious crisis of faith of late and don't even know if I truly believe in God, much less which spiritual community I want to join. I keep reading and meditating and searching and hoping I'll find at least a few answers.


Glen, I read about the Tour de California. Any idea where it will go? The Napa Valley and Solvang areas are naturals, of course...


A very nice post, Hugo.

If you and your fiance are ever in Austin, stop by Austin Mennonite. You'd enjoy the adult Sunday school discussions. :-)

Bill Ekhardt

May this community be a blessing to you, Hugo, and may it be blessed through you.

Many things have changed for you, Hugo. May God's Spirit continue to work in you and empower you. May you continue to be shaped into the image of Christ our Lord. You have shared with me the struggles, my brother in Christ. May you continue to have community that will stand with you and pray with you in your imperfections, and in God's perfecting process.

Blessings, Hugo.


Thank you, Bill. I'm humbled by your blessing, my friend!


Thanks Hugo, for answering my question in so much detail!
Like your friend, I am a member of Lake Avenue Church.

In your own humble way, you basically answered my question with yes: You are serving the youth, practice radical love and acceptance, and voice your criticisms. The seed you sow may grow at All Saints if that's in God's plan.

You even add another good reason for staying: it is home. I agree that there is no church that can be perfect or "just right". Instead it makes sense to stay in a community where you feel at home and can make a difference and it is important to develop deep relationships.

I'd like to clarify one thing you mention about Lake Avenue Church. The senior pastor is a man, but women can take all kinds of leadership roles, including pastoral. We have several female pastors, and a woman is leading Warehouse (which is basically a whole congregation in itself) as Director together with the pastor of Warehouse.

I'd love to get to know your Lake Avenue friend (Maybe I already know her? - Feel free to give her my contact information...) It sounds like we may have a lot in common.


Swan, I'm glad to hear that about Lake Avenue, I stand corrected. I went to Warehouse regularly, and once had a very nice coffee date with Tim Osborn, who may or may not still be pastoring young adults there. A lovely guy.


Yes, Tim Osborn is still Pastor of Young Adults and Warehouse.


It's interesting, Tim and I never followed through on what we met about: planning some joint activities with young adults at All Saints and Lake Ave, with a focus on building bridges and getting to know people across the theological divide.


It's not too late :-)


I came back to All Saints not because I thought it was perfect but because it was home.

This resonates for me. I am a happy and proud member of my congregation; I serve on the board of directors, chair the religion committee, and have the profound honor of leading services when the rabbi is away. Is my shul perfect for me? Not by a long shot. But it's close enough to work, and that's what matters.

Yes, I sometimes wish we did a few things differently. But no place of worship is going to be exactly what I'm looking for in every regard; this one comes close enough that I can be happy there, I can worship there and celebrate there, I feel welcomed there, and I can connect with God there. And sometimes I think the congregation's very "imperfections" (e.g. the ways in which it's not exactly perfectly right for me) are teaching tools -- I learn more about being in community when I try to adapt to those slightly rough edges than I would if I had designed exactly the congregation I think I'm looking for...


The Sacramento Business Journal describes one leg for the Tour de California from the Capitol Building in Sacramento to Lake Tahoe--that sounds brutal!


Yikes, Glen -- that's a hell of a climb. And if it's hot, forget about it. Awesome.


I'm impressed by Glen's comment, but I'd also add that feeling 'white guilt' ought to encourage a little 'white thinking.' Why are all the custodial staff Latino? Are we paying them an honorable, living wage? Do we treat them with dignity?

IOW, I don't believe the choices are purposeless 'white guilt' vs. a kind of anger and resentment at 'PC' suggestions and an insistence that there is nothing, nothing to see here.


Good post, I think community is priority number one and you are on such a different point in the spectrum for me, it is good to hear that you have reservations about continuing to hang in our group too. I certainly have points where I just want to scream at my conservative pew-mates. But then, I am, for sure, someone else's conservative. And BTW, though we are not allowed to know anything about her. . . I am happy you are going to marry soon. it is soon, no?


Interesting post, Hugo. I was wondering what the reason was for the church switch. I started visiting your blog about a year ago, after I came across it as I was googling for Mennonite and Anabaptist blogs.


I'm not Evangelical, more of an Anglo-Catholic socialist type myself, but where we can agree is "Jesus is Lord". For me, orthodox dogma and doctrines with the broad range of acceptable interpretations given them over two centuries can be means of liberation for queer Christians as we appropriate these for ourselves, especially the emphasis on the importance of the body and community, in the ongoing work of tradition.

At seminary, I found myself being labeled conservative because of my broadly catholic theological leanings, at home I was the flaming "liberal" because of my positions on women and queer folk. It's always odd to find oneself seen from such at-odds perspectives.

I have to say, I like Camassia, lean more toward Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Cross, as Atonement is not the primary issue in our creedal formulations as formulate by the Fathers, but divinization or theosis, our communion with G-d. Nonetheless, I respect St. Anselm's substitutionary approach richly contextualized in feudal law or Luther's very incarnational understanding of atonement or even Calvin's. Theirs are all far cries from the caricature of their thought given by some feminist theologians or proclaimed as good news by some evangelicals who indeed do preach a child-abuse atonement model.

Christ is Risen!

Thunder Jones

There are all kinds of Anabaptist-leaning Anglicans out there. Are we just high-church Mennonites?

While I don't buy all of Anabaptism (mainly the baptism part), their refusal to baptize infants led to an openness towards the hard sayings of Jesus that makes Anabaptism so attractive.

By blending their pacifism and communal emphasis with the beauty and otherness of liturgy, we Anabaptist-leaning Anglicans the best of both worlds.


Where I'm from, there are also a lot of Anglican-leaning Mennonites. Maybe it's just a local thing, but there's one particular Anglican church here in Winnipeg that my father sometimes jokes is the fastest-growing Mennonite church. I think it's partly out of appreciation for high church liturgy. My understanding is that these are also Mennonites with a more liberal theology, although you could find Mennonite congregations here that are probably equally liberal.


> My understanding is that these are also Mennonites with a more liberal theology,
> although you could find Mennonite congregations here that are probably equally liberal.


My husband and I are on the more conservative end of a liberal Mennonite congregation. About half our congregation are "ethnic" Mennonites, many having come from more strictly conservative backgrounds. The rest of us grew up Southern Baptist, Anglican, etc. The majority of our congregation also have at least some college education, and many teach in the local universities, whereas the Mennonite congregations I know of on the other end of the spectrum (in Seminole, TX; Chahuahua, Mexico; etc) attend school through the 8th grade. There are many other differences between congregations, although faith-wise, we are all pretty close.


Oh, Pasadena Mennonite was very liberal by the standards of MCUSA on most issues, but very divided on the sexual ones. To their credit, the PMC folks chose not to discuss sexual ethics issues (homosexuality, premarital sex) because the congregation was nearly exactly split -- and besides, a focus on pelvic morality would have meant a failure to focus on what most considered more vital social justice issues.


That's very understandable. At AMC, we don't discuss sexual issues very often, but they do come up from time to time. We tend to focus more on relationship issues, whether they be within the circle of family and friends, or within the broader area of community and world.


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