Friday, July 22, 2011

Overcomers Friday Five

Sally has brought us an interesting Friday Five:

Today is the Feast day of St Mary Magdalene, and as I've been pondering her life, and the inspiration she is I find in her a wonderful mix of struggle and devotion. She is both the woman who needed a deep healing and the woman who was declared (by many) to be the first amongst the apostles. She inspires me by the way she overcame so much to become so much. When I stop to think about the folk who do inspire me they are almost always overcomer's in some way or another.

With that in mind I bring you this Friday Five; List five people who inspire you to dare to step out into becoming more: Bonus question, a song or fictional character that inspires you to move beyond boundaries
  1. Anglea Merici:  She was a Roman Catholic woman of the 16th century and the foundress of the Ursuline movement.  It began as a service institute not a community of nuns to help young women from being forced into prostitution in her naitive Brescia, Italy.  She was never an educated woman but she knew her Bible in an out from hearing it read in liturgy.  She counseled "Change when necessary."  And she created a women's order that has educated young women all over the world.  It was this community that introduced me to strong, wise women who could make decisions and witness to the Gospel without the benefit of the white, straight, male sense of privlidge.  It was this community I entered and to whom I will be eternally grateful for teaching me how to pray and the importance teaching is in promoting the Gospel..
  2. Jonathan M. Daniels:  A young seminarian in 1965 who followed Dr. M.L. King's call to Selma, Alabama to witness to the racial brutality in the South.  He was from  N.H. but had attended VMI and understood the racial prejudice in the South.  He and Judith Upham stayed on after the march to help integrate the Episcopal Church in Selma and to assist with voter's registration.  He was murdered while saving the life of two African-American women in the small town of Hainsville, AL.  He now is listed on the Episcopal Church's list of Holy Women and Holy Men as a martyr for the faith.  His willingness to lay down his life for the liberation of others marks what it means to be a person of faith.  He was J's boyfriend and has been an intimate part of our lives in our small religous community.
  3. The Rev. Judith Elizabeth Upham:  Judy was one of the first legally ordained women of the Episcopal Church, ordained January 6, 1977.  I met her at a meeting of the Saint Louis Women in Ministry (SWIM) founded by Mary Bruggemann (Walter's wife).  Judy was the first ordained woman of a catholic communion that I had met and carried her office with a sense of grace and commitment that I had not seen even among many priests in the Roman communion.  We became fast friends and finally began to share digs in 1978.  She taught me to preach and to be a priest more than any seminary.  She has been my companion, mentor but most of all my dearest friend for over 30 years.
  4. The Rt. Revs. Ron Haines (dec.) and Jane Holmes Dixon:  These two bishops were my bishops in Washington, DC.  +Ron followed the sainted +John Walker.  He was Walker's Suffragan.  He was an amiable fellow but a man comfortable with himself.  He was not the 'poster child' that +Walker had been but he was great-hearted with a sense of self-deprecation that allowed the purple to settle seemilessly upon him.  He was kind and pastoral as no other bishop I have known.  He ran and exceedingly difficult diocese with a sense of justice and respect with an aire of magninimity toward the growing beligerance that was developing in the mid-'90's.  +Jane was one of the first women bishops in the Anglican Communion.  She had been a dear colleague before her election and still is a friend with whom I will confer on matters of faith and church.
  5. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson:  The first partnered, out gay bishop in the Anglican Communion.  It was +Gene's consecration that finally gave me the courage to come out as a lesbian.  I figured that if +Gene had to wear a flack jacket to his consecration as bishop, I could damn well say the truth of who I was and live it.  It cost me my job and my diocese but I still feel that it was not only the right thing to do, it was the ONLY thing I could do in the face of the Living Christ and all the other LGBT people who could not be free to live their lives in Christ honestly.
Bonus:   Even though I have loved the Harry Potter series because Harry crusades against evil as do I, I am more drawn to 'live' people as those who give me courage to face the world at all that is in it.  The Rt. Rev. John S. Spong is one of those.  I have only met Jack once before I even became an Episcopalian.  But once when I was in dispair over the schism that had been happening in my denomination, I wrote him of my discouragement.  He wrote back immediately and invited me into the struggle against the politically motivated fundamentalists who had attacked our denomination.  He said:  "Come die with me for the future of the Church."  Now, who can turn down an invitation like that? 



Sally said...

wow, what a great list of folk, as for the John Spong Invitation, how amazing is that!

angela said...

Beautifully written and thought-provoking choices. The first gave me a history lesson...the last made me tear up. Bless your path.

Purple said...

Awesome list...Spong rocks.

Crimson Rambler said...

Thank you, Muthah! for the latest gift of many. A good friend who was present at Jane Holmes Dixon's consecration sent me an account of Verna Dozier's sermon on the occasion -- it was, as they say, "seminal" for me. Blessings -- hope all is well in your household.