Thursday, February 25, 2010


D. was the only person I ever supervised (such as I do) who was more progressive and liberal than I am.

She was doing a summer internship between her second and last year of seminary and the Bishop of WV decided there were only two priests who could work with her, given her left-wing leanings. The other was another Jim who was the Rector of the big down-town Church in Charleston and I was the vicar of St. James, the black church. Since other-Jim was her sponsor, I got the privilege.

She liberated me, inspired me, taught me and drove me crazy!

She was an English major so we shared lots of things--she has gone on to be a novelist of note, writing historical fiction. Some of you might know her name if I wrote it out because she wrote a novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was widely acclaimed. I liked that one less than her two earlier historic novel--one about Prince Hal and the other about the coal wars in West Virginia. I just have a problem with 'novels' about people who are still alive and some of the characters in the Bonhoeffer book were still alive and the others weren't dead long enough for my taste. But anyway, she was a wondrously smart and talented woman when I worked with her.

Her passion was to challenge the coal companies who were ravaging West Virginia. The tipping point was long after she worked with me when, as a deacon, she staged a protest of the banquet at the WV diocesan convention because some coal mine owners were delegates. The other Jim and I and a couple of other legitimate liberals tried to convince her to come in and eat. And she wouldn't. She carried a sign outside the hotel and fasted for that meal. We went in and, I'm sorry to say, supped with people who were destroying the beauty and integrity of the mountains of our state. She was right all along. I wonder why the food didn't turn to sand in my mouth....

God bless her and people like her. She is a better person than me--even a better 'man' than me.

She left the church for a while and taught in college. But she is back now, God bless her, still pushing the church to be 'what it should be'.

Jesus wouldn't have gone to that banquet, I don't think....And I did....

Something to ponder about myself....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.