“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”
Among other things, G.K. Chesterton penned the sentence above—one which has been a guiding principle in my life ever since my mother started telling me that the hardest people to love were the ones who needed it the most. Because I felt I needed love and mercy, and knew that others must too, I sought a life in the mercy business. I was ordained a priest on June 13th, 2013, the feast of G.K. Chesterton.
I now serve as the 16th rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, Connecticut, a community that routinely teaches me about hospitality and what people can do when they are grounded in something larger than themselves.
Why the Episcopal Church? Because when the Rev’d Elise Astleford baked communion bread with me at age four, she taught me about using our gifts to assume a role in God’s mission and in a church community. Because when the Rev’d Tom Warne preached with passion that God’s love is available for me, a gay man, I believed it. It’s because the liturgy touches my soul and draws me deeper into big questions we’re all asking (or avoiding). It’s because good preaching helps make sense of the world and good music points the soul to God.
Organized religion gets a bad rap, but every institution errs because humans err; we act in self-interest, even when we follow One who taught us not to. There is tremendous potential for reconciliatory work, especially through the liturgy and polity of The Episcopal Church. Like life, this work is fraught with challenges. Still it is work to which I am committed.
“Episcaerobics” is dedicated to the same thing that I am: striving to help the ongoing process of reconciliation through our fragmented world, in the context of The Episcopal Church. I only get it right about half the time, but it is good work. I love my job, and it is quite a workout.