Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beginning to think about "the ask"

One of the blessings of the past week is that the pace of life has had to slow down. I had a meeting in NYC at my seminary. It was the bi-annual gathering of the alumni/ae executive committee. I had been a provincial representative for the past six years, and was elected this year to serve as an at-large member. Exciting times at the seminary nowadays. They are opening the season on a new capital campaign that is going to transform the grounds and the ministry of the place, and I am so excited to be a small part of it. Aside from the construction, I get the sense that the current dean's vision for the place is finally taking root. That means that nearly 40 years of struggling to articulate the ethos of the institution is coming to fruit...And it has only taken him six years to get to a place where he and the seminary are ready to begin.

It does my heart good to see that kind of energy and hope being exercised in a place that for too long has wrestled with shades of depressing grey. GTS has a lot to offer to the wider Church and the life of Christ. I am happy that they are getting a new chance to evince just that ideal.

Here at Trinity, life proceeds apace. Today is the feast (lesser) of William Tyndale. Love that old guy! Here is a person who, out of passion, obsession or just plain inspired vision decided to take upon himself the translation of the Bible into English over a century before it was safe to do so. Defying King and Prelate, he sat down at his desk and took pen in hand to move something that had been hidden from view into the hand of the common person. According to the history, he once told an authority of the Church that his goal was to make sure that a boy pushing a plow would know more of the holy writ "than thou doest." He paid for that dream with his life. Strangled and then burned at the stake, his last words were a prayer that god should "open the eyes of the king." It took, I guess. A hundred years later in 1611, the KJV was published...Using a lot of his work as a template.

My hope, as Trinity ponders its future, is that we can find that spirit-led vision that will carry us past worrying and fretting over the present moment. That is the sort of commitment that will carry us past deficits.

My greatest burden right now is that some have come to me saying, "Don't worry too much, Trinity goes through this crisis every year...We will get through it fine." I think the time for faith in that statement is dying. Reality is that you can't keep crying poor and expect people to keep underwriting it. The vestry has to come to terms with its responsibility to manage the parish finances in a responsible way. The membership has to embrace taking about money and the Christian Life in one breath without recoiling. I have to learn how to be gentle, firm and insistent when it comes to talking about the tithe.

We all have a lot to learn from the spirit. We have a lot to learn from each other.

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