So far things appear to be working out the way that I thought that they would in the MLC League Championship Series between the Phillies and Dodgers. I predicted that the teams would split at Chavez Ravine and go back to Philly knotted. The Phillies took game one and looked like they had game two in the bag with Pedro Martinez shutting the Dodgers out through seven giving up only two hits. Then the Phillies problematic bullpen took over in the eighth and it went down from there with the Dodgers coming back to win.
The ALCS has been played at the new Yankee Stadium amid the din of a Nor’easter. The Yankees took game one 4-1 as the Angels quite literally “froze” in the cold and damp weather. Game two played in even worse conditions has been influenced by the weather and was a superb pitcher’s duel. The game went into extra innings tied at two and though the Angels went ahead in the top of the 11th as the rain started coming down harder only to have Alex Rodriguez come up big again for the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th with a home run to tie the game. The game went to the bottom of the 13th when with one out the Yankees scored on a throwing error to win the game 4-3. It was an amazing game that I could not pull myself away from but will write more about later.
On another note, the weather here in Hampton Roads has been miserable as we also have had some of the residue of the Nor’easter with cold rain, fog and drizzle that has not let up. Amid this positively crappy weather I am maintaining my vow to wear short pants as long as I can with the exceptions being my uniform and going to church. This means that I am bundling up from the belt up while keeping my legs bare. I have never done this before which means either I’m nuts or I’m nuts, but nonetheless I am in this until the World Series is over at the minimum. Since with the exception of church, work and one social event where shorts were unacceptable I have not worn long pants since sometime in April. Tonight I had a Norfolk Tides jacket and sweatshirt on. We’ll see how this goes…
I have the duty this weekend and have been in and out of the hospital a number of times. One of the visits called to mind just how much I am like the people I serve and what it means to have to ask the same questions about God, faith and what it is to be human and a Christian. What got me tonight was a gentleman struggling with his faith, much as I have after returning from Iraq and battling PTSD and other nagging injuries. Having him ask the same questions that I have wrestled with and having him ask me directly what I thought. I have learned that I don’t have to “fake it” and try to give the man some textbook answer of how he needed to believe more, read his Bible more, go to church more, pray more or harder. Instead I was able to be honest that I have wrestled with the same question but somehow the words of the 23rd Psalm speak to me. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” The Psalm is very reassuring for me as it is so honest. Reality is that we do walk through the valley of the shadow of death. In fact it is a difficult and pain filled world. That I will fear no evil means that evil is in fact very real but in the middle of this there is an understanding that God is still with us. It is an understanding that even when life is more like Good Friday than Easter, that God as far away as he may seem is still there. Maybe that is actually the miracle that most people need, the miracle to know that no matter how bad things suck, and I do use the word “suck” because that is how it is sometimes, especially when there is no “miracle” to be had otherwise. When I told the man that I had spent the past 18 months wrestling with those questions he opened up and we had a wonderful discussion and prayer. I am totally okay with this somehow God uses me in my weakness more than when I had all the answers.
Tonight I discovered that Bishop John Holloway, the medically retired former Ordinary of the Charismatic Episcopal Church Diocese of the Mid-South and one of the early leaders of the Church, his wife Elaine and two youngest children have to leave their home in Thomaston Georgia. They moved there as a missionary bishop giving up pension and medical from the Methodist Church to follow God’s call into the CEC. The home is being foreclosed on after the church, which has no pension or insurance plan in most dioceses for clergy and had provided a great deal of money to help pay off debts in the past has had to reduce the money they were providing by half and now according it the Holloways’ son Jared to nothing. Their home is being foreclosed on and they have to be out by December 1st and if you want to read more go to his blog: http://jzholloway.wordpress.com/ If there is a question as to how the CEC currently handles finaces go to www.cechome.com where the budgets and expenses of every diocese are posted. There had been great problems in the past in the finacial management of the CEC largely done by people no longer associated with the church, including some former bishops. I think this is getting better under Archbishop Bates unfotunately the residue and distaste of that era is still out there.
I really don’t know what to think about that except that I did talk to a CEC Bishop about it and hear that there are other parts to the story. That aside, when the CEC was formed and one of the things that drew me to it was that the CEC was to would be more personal and relational than churches where the bishops did not really know their clergy. I think that is still the ideal in the Church but what Jared is reporting and what I hear from Elaine on Facebook gives me some cause for concern because it deals with a bishop who can no longer function and is completely disabled. Additionally Elaine is a cancer survivor who has exeeded her life expectancy with the disease. Obiviously things are not good for them and I have to trust that the situation will be resolved in a spirit of love and reconcilliation and that ultimately the Holloways will be taken care of by the church and God’s people. I cannot say anything else because I do not know anything else, but to say how this grieves me as Bishop Holloway was and I’m sure, even in his greatly de-habilitated and totally dependent state is a gracious and giving man. I always felt comfortable and safe around him. He ordained my friend Father Stu King back in 2001. Stu has left the CEC having been accepted into Seminary and in now working to become a Roman Catholic Priest. I’m sure that Bishop John would approve and give his blessing. Please keep the Holloways in your prayers. I have no idea if there is anything that can be done to help them, if there is Jared may know or one could contact the Mid South Diocese of the CEC.
I also found that a friend, the sister of our dear friend Dr Helen Linkey who taught at Marshall University who battled breast cancer for two years before succumbing to it in 2005 has found a lump in her breast. She is going in for a biopsy which is expected to find cancer. Maryellen occasionally comments on my website and her news was included in her comment to my post from last night at https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/war-remembrance-and-healing-a-chaplain-officer-and-historian-makes-his-way-home/
Please keep Maryellen in your prayers also. Anyway, it is time for me to try to get to sleep.