I didn't blog this morning because I was researching in the hopes of making a cogent response to a facebook status thread. I'd like to share that conversation here, but first a little background.
The Episcopal Church doesn't venerate saints in the same way as the Roman Church. We have some Saints, and we celebrate the life and ministry of many saints with lesser feasts and fasts (note the intentional use of capitalization). At the last triennial gathering of TEC the decision was made to move away from our old resource for saint's days, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and to replace it with a new resource which included all the old saints along with 112 or so new ones called Holy Women Holy Men.
As I was putting together a service for Monday, September 13th, I noticed that different resources listed different saints for that day. My go to site, The Lectionary Page (for which Kelly Pucket should be canonized) is still running off of LFF and names Sept 13 as the Feast of Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr, 258. The Church Pension Fund calendar haniging in our office says Sept 13 is the Feast of John Chrysosotom, Bishop, 407. Bishop John's day used to be January 27th, and Oh by the way, they changed the propers for his feast too.
This got me wondering. First, why the switch happened on September 1 on the CPF calendar (most of our changes occur on the first day of the Church Year, Advent 1) and two, why we needed this new resource in the first place.
My facebook status, snarky as it was, read, "wonders if anyone knows why "they" chose Sept 1 as the date to implement holy women holy men? seems random and confusing, and now I have to buy the stupid $35 book."
As of 11:17am Central Time there are 37 comments on that status. Some were uber cynical, mostly from my high church friends who won't be happy until we're back under Rome and any reference to Calvin or Luther is wiped clean from our history. Some were just funny. Some were a sign of where we stand, seemingly on a precipice, in the Church. Names have been obscured to protect the cynical.
1.MT - Buy a 1954 Marian Missal instead. More holy men and women, and no heretics or non-Christians!
2.PD - "...and now I have to buy..." Do you though, Pankey? Do you?
3.MH - it's far less expensive on amazon... although perhaps you don't have to buy one because PD is sending you his spare as a gift
4.PH - I'm with these two. Get in the habit of opting out now, so you'll feel less awkward when you have to opt out of the 2025 BCP that names the Trinity as Root Mother, Sun Beam and Chocolate Milkshake.
5.TB - I haven't looked at it, so I am not going to pass judgment yet (mark this date down folks, won't happen often!). That being said, and whether he is in Holy Women Holy Men or not, I am really annoyed by the whole Thurgood Marshall as saint thing going on right now. I remember in a Post article a few years ago, they were talking about it and how he rarely attended church (St. Monica's, I think); seems to me that active participation in the Christian community should be part of being a modern saint. Though I could be wrong.
6.MT - Calvin is in there too. My parish opted out of the Hymnal 1982 when that came around, but that could have been a reaction to accepting the '79 BCP and figuring out they were duped.
7.BH - Thanks for reminding me that the damn thing exists! Now I have to delude myself all over again.
8.PD - c'mon, BH, no one believes you had ever stopped deluding yourself.
9.MV - One does not have to implement HWHM, as it is only been authorized for trial use. I have not heard anything from Dio CGC about it...do you know something I don't?
10.BH - Sweet! Then the delusion can continue unimpeded.
11.TB - Eh, I'm not as cantankerous as Tucker. I'm looking over the additions to the Calendar, and most of them are pretty good, actually, but some I have some questions about. Guess the book will tell me about their religious beliefs. Some really good additions though, Isaac Watts and Fanny Crosby, the Dorchester Chaplains, Eric Liddell, Oscar Romero, ... See MoreChristina Rossetti, the Righteous Gentiles; Tucker should be happy to see Byrd, Merbecke, and Tallis, and that George has returned as well. But Jeanne d'Arc, really?
12.PH - I'm a fan of continually adding comments to this status update until Pankey cracks and deletes his facebook. BH I absolve you for your delusion in the name of the one God: potted plant, table lamp, and ham sandwich.
13.JM - hi P.H.
14.PH - Hey JM!! Hope you're doing well. How's M.??
15.Steve Pankey - I'm on my phone so I'll save my cogent (or the best I can muster) response for later and say this - ham sandwich 2012!
16.JM - he is great- growing up too fast. He is really attached to B, of course
17.MT - I think PH needs a holy day. It would be called Saint P's day and we could have parades for him and hang the Texas flag from our steeples and drink beer while wearing preppy clothes. I know BH is down.
18.JM - we'd have to drink diet coke
19.TB - Hmm, if PH had a holy day, we'd have to change the name of the book back to "Lesser Feasts..."
Spankey, it's kind of you to let us run rampant on your status update! So kind and generous, what of model of Christian community building!
20.PD - So, beer, diet coke, and looking sharp? This might be just what it takes to get me to actually care about saints days. Throw in this ham sandwich you keep mentioning and I'm in.
21.PH - Ok fine PD ham sandwich is in. You can't eat him yet though. He needs to win the presidency first.
22.PD - Right - because as we know, attaining political office is a sure sign that you're divinely inspired. (as long as I voted for you.)
23.MS - There is a survey from Church Publishing for users of HWHM. It is an opportunity to make your feelings known in a way that might have an impact. Or, talk to your delegates to the 2012 convention. If they don't hear from you, they will probably move the book from trial status to ordinary use. The survey is here –https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=136205
24.CA - Hey, I couldn't find the top of the thread, what are we talking about?
25.DS - Opting out.........
26.KT - You win. Most comments for an update. Save the $35 and take me and L out to dinner.
27.KT - BTW, I like your updated pic. Very convincing of your status.
28.PC - I do like a nice ham sandwich...so I'll be thinking about buying the 2025 version...
29.PC - what about a MLT...mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich, with the mutton nice and juicy?
30.PH - MS, i'd guess they'll move the book to ordinary use whether or not i fill out a survey. And that's ok. I will always observe a Saint's Day for Ham Sandwich in my heart.
31.MS - PH, for the past 2 GC's I choose to sit in the liturgy committee discussions (instead of some o f the other groups that generated the interest of the press) What I learned is they do their work the best they are able and repeatedly have to deal with groussing from the masses after the fact, when we all have the opportunity to give them input. It is frustrating for them. I think we should all purchase the right to complain by becoming active in the work as it is done. They have given us the vehicle to make inputs -- lets do it.
32.Steve Pankey - The reason I am interested is that I am in charge of the Monday morning Eucharist at our clergy conference on Sept 13 which used to be the feast of Cyprian but is now John Chrysostom. Which should I use, I wonder?
The reason I am annoyed is not who they included (though there is a great piece on the criteria change that each of us should readhttp://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/saints/sanctity.php) but the format itself. Nothing says a church striving for relevance in the 21st century like a $35 (or $23 on amazon) 800 page doorstop. Why not an interactive calendar or a downloadable pdf that I can cut an paste?
Additionally, why do I have to buy this book at all? In the corporate world, when the book of Standard Operating Procedures is changed by company executives, the revised versions are distributed to all parties asap. In TEC, however, I have to shell out my own money to buy a book that, at least according to ens, could be scrapped entirely in 2012 (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_112222_ENG_HTM.htm)
When it comes down to it, the switch to HWHM is just one more reason for me to be frustrated with the outmoded way GC and 815 continue to do things. John Ohmer said of the last GC that we were arguing over the best way to build Pontiacs when even GM knew it wasn't time to build them anymore. Or maybe Scott Gunn says it better as we "argue over who is the best horse at the glue factory."
I'm guessing the survey doesn't have a place for these comments, but I'll look at it and hope for the best.
Ham Sandwich 2012!
33.Steve Pankey - another good article http://cariocaconfessions.blogspot.com/2009/05/holy-women-holy-men.html
34.BR - I was going to add something until I saw Steve's closing discussion. Can't say I disagree with anything said here. I haven't seen the text, but the idea behind it really frustrates me.
@MS, thanks for the encouragement to make our thoughts known!
35.Steve Pankey - @BR - that was not a closing, just my first chance to weigh in since my wall was attacked by crazy clergy (and their spouses)
36.BR - Oh, not a closing? Awesome. Game on and day lost!
37.AJ - not sure what "they" you are referring to, but and quite sure "they" are out to get you and your $35 so...RUN, AAAAA
I love facebook for allowing conversations like this to happen. I love when some of the best minds in the church get together to question why we are doing things. I'd love to know why. So that's what I've been pondering the last 18 hours or so. I hope you enjoyed Church Nerdery at its best.
I'll be sporadic in posting the next two weeks, but know I am thinking about you, dear reader, and praying for your preaching.