Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Personal Note

Canon Kendall Harmon's TitusOneNine is second on my list of "Blogs for Faithful Churchmen" because it is as good a place as any in the blogosphere for reading about the crises in what was once called "Mainline Protestantism." T19 is "a free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it…." and it's biblical reference is "He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it." (Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version)

Among Dr. Harmon's contributions to the continuing debate is his description of the disputants as "reasserters" (for those reasserting scriptural witness) and "reappraisers" (for those reappraising it in the light of newer knowledge) as an improvement over the media's use of "conservative/liberal" or other descriptors like "progressive," "traditionalist," etc. He is Canon Theologian for the (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina, so the faith focus of his blog is the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism. It is useful for us in the ELCA, too, for our church seems to be very much following in the directions of the Episcopal Church. I look at it every day.

While much of the reporting and commentary on T19 centers about the crisis in Anglicanism precipitated by the election and consecration of Gene Robinson, a divorced father who has been in a long-term, committed gay relationship, as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, Canon Harmon continues to take seriously the "free floating" nature of the blog -- to the annoyance of some regular readers who prefer to focus on the Anglican disputes or "religious" matters. But while the Church is generally at the center of a cleric's life, there are other things. You can see that in some of my posts here. It's what helps make a weblog more personal and, in bringing up other matters (baseball, something I read or saw, etc.), hopefully helps reveal me to be somewhat interesting to those who find this -- without (again, hopefully) appearing to be too vain.

Today Canon Harmon includes an entry on Dan Fogelberg, whose heart-tugging 1981 hit, "Same Old Lang Syne," is part of the soundtrack of my university years. Fogelberg's also a native of Peoria, and this is a city that takes a certain amount of pride in those from here who go on to "bigger things." And so it was interesting to me to learn that the inspiration for that song was an event in his life that happened near the home of one of my parishioners.

Apart from "Same Old Lang Syne," Dan Fogelberg's music doesn't strike many personal heartstrings for me as apparently it does for Canon Harmon. But in taking note of it today, in the light of Fogelberg's death this last Sunday at the young age of 56 from prostate cancer, Harmon has provided me with an entrée to post a very personal matter that I've been wondering whether, and how, to share on this blog.

For I am asking for your prayers for me. Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I don't intend to dwell on it or my treatment here. I have plenty of personal and spiritual support to see me through this new journey and, from what I know so far, there is every reason to believe that I can be cured of this. Yes, I'm on the young side for this kind of diagnosis, but I also share some of the increased risk factors, which enabled us to discover this relatively early. The medical techniques get better and better and Peoria has excellent medical resources. I have great confidence in the Lord's healing powers. Prayers for me and those who will be helping me fight this disease have been lifted up in so many places here and across the continent already that I cannot begin to count them. I do know, however, the power of such prayer.

Yet even when one is confident in the ultimate destination, a journey can have it's fearful, scary moments. And that's where I am right now -- in fear, and in confidence. I'm in good company though, as we are reminded especially this season:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. St. Luke 1:26-29
Thank you for you prayers.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I ran into your blog surfing my Anglican friend's blogs. We've met though you won't remember - I'm not very memorable :-) I'll add you to my prayer list.