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Out of Nowhere, regarding Bishops and Clowns

I will fly to York tomorrow to observe the 'GC' of the Church of
England, known as 'Synod,' which meets from the 11th through the 15th.
It will be fascinating to compare the dynamics of their processes with
the dynamics of ours.  Synod meets three times a year (as does
Executive Council).  Please keep them in your prayers.

I am nourished by the postings of Lane Denson+ and am attaching
today's as a sample.  Interested persons might write to him at the
address shown to get on the mailing list from 'Out of Nowhere.' You'll
welcome them far more than any of those other messages that arrive out
of nowhere!  Lane+ is a priest in the Diocese of Tennessee.  Thanks to
him for letting me share this material.


L., L2 Newark, Member of Executive Council

               There are 21 days left until General Convention.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 07:34:46 -0500
From: Lane Denson <john.l.denson@vanderbilt.edu>
To: john.l.denson@vanderbilt.edu
Subject: Out of Nowhere

Out of Nowhere is an occasional piece, intentionally daily, but not
likely. If you know of others who might want to receive it, please
send me their addresses. If you'd like your address removed, please
let me know.

A bishop was standing around in full regalia outside a country church
on a hot August Sunday morning waiting for things to get going. He
felt a gentle tugging at his sleeve. Looking down, he saw a little
girl looking up at him. She wondered out loud, "Mister, are you a

In the noble and royal courts of mediaeval Europe, many persons of
keen insight and caustic wit obtained powerful patronage by assuming
the role of jester or clown.  They gained a rare freedom in this way
to indulge in satire, tricks, repartee, and, of course, counsel. Not
a few bishops, then and now, welcome, need, and enjoy access to
similar privileges and responsibilities in carrying out  their rounds.

Both clowns and bishops are human, but they're also symbols. This
creates a powerful tension, a tension that requires a disciplined and
prayerful stewardship to maintain and to use.

God gives us both clowns and bishops perhaps that we not become so
serious about ourselves, that we gladly embrace both the necessity
and the ambiguity of being human, and that we remember that irony and
truth are often such as to require one another. A Franciscan blessing
knows this only so well when it concludes, "May God bless you with
enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this
world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done."

ECUSA's bishops in the run-up and decisions of this coming General
Convention have now by the patience and grace of God another special
opportunity to realize that the very system which had the wisdom (for
better or worse) to chose and ordained them is the very one to which
they are now called to servant leadership.

Maybe that's a child tugging at their sleeve.  She has a question. It
could be about the kingdom of God.

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