Today I’m thankful for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
In the small chance you’d missed the news, there was a royal wedding on Saturday. A lot of positive press is being given to Bishop Michael Curry. He is the primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.
I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with religion is complex and I lean agnostic. I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church because 1) they have the best music in town, and 2) I need to sing like I need to breathe. Both are necessary. I’m also attached to the Anglican forms even if I doubt the substance.
I truly respect, and honestly like, Bishop Curry. His ecclesial history is a little like my own. We both come from rather rambunctious evangelical traditions and have adopted the (in my HUMBLE opinion, blatant sarcasm) more graceful forms of Anglicanism. He is learned, and gentle, and one hell of a preacher. I’m not nostalgic for the tradition I was formed in, but every now and then you just need a tent revival. He knows that, and brought it all the way to Westminster Abbey. That is worth celebrating.
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Source: BBC News
Today I’m thankful for Edith Stein.
I’ve mentioned that I’m not religious. I am culturally Anglican (the musical church, bar none) but that’s really all. Why then, did I choose a saint for this day? I could make a long list of reasons but I’ll stick with the two that speak to me. First, Edith Stein was a bad ass. Second, her writings make me examine my own life and try to make it a better one.
The short version is that Edith was born into a Polish Jewish family. She studied philosophy, became an atheist, converted to Roman Catholicism, was denied an academic job because of her Jewish heritage under Nazi laws, and finally became a cloistered Carmelite nun. She and her sister died at Auschwitz in 1942. She was only 50 when she was murdered but did more with her time than some people do with 80 years. I’m aware that the conversion narrative can be problematic – I’m more interested in her as a person. I am not making any religious statements.
She was a bad ass on a couple of levels. She studied, and was successful in, philosophy at a time when women were still fighting simply to be admitted as full university students. She specialized in phenomenology. She butted heads with Martin Heidegger, who later joined the Nazi party. She wasn’t a feminist, being more of a complementarian in the Catholic tradition, but she wrote extensively about the need of women for equality in education.
Her major works deal with human empathy. I don’t think anyone can deny that we could all be more empathetic. Her writing gives practical advice about being more patient and understanding in one’s own life. I have a short temper on the best of days. Remembering that everyone has a story, and trying to get outside of my head, help me rein it in. I have Edith Stein to thank for that perspective.
Here’s another source with some more information. I once got her confused with Gertrude Stein. That hasn’t happened again.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons