There Is Something About Being an Episcopalian
There Is Something About Being an Episcopalian, is a poetic and literary celebration of life within any sacred community, life among our families, friends, and neighbors.
Each poem is offered in the hope that we may find a new life and a new creation in serving God as the Ultimate Divine Mystery, humanity, our sacred and social communities, and welcoming the unknown stranger, while practicing humankind's ancient traditions of true hospitality and acceptance.
These poems are a profound calling to engage in a deeper and more open dialogue, not only across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, but within and throughout Christianity and all the great faiths of humankind. All of humanity's sacred writings, rites, literature, and liturgy of humankind are inspired poetry.
So that, through literature, we might transform our perceptions from east to west and north to south, and open the way to a greater understanding between faiths and spiritual traditions. This is certainly something, which a fearful world needs desperately today and tomorrow.
As my friend, theologian Paul F. Knitter once wrote in a sermon, quoting Christian theologian, John B. Cobb, "Jesus is the way, that is open to other ways."
"Jesus is the way that is open to other ways. Jesus is not the way that excludes, overpowers, demeans other ways; rather he is the way that opens us to, connects us with, calls us to relate to other ways in a process that can best be described as 'dialogue'."
In his book, Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian, in writing about Thich Nhat Hanh's, Buddhist teachings on "interbeing," Paul F. Knitter tells us that understanding God through relationships is critical and that the source and power of our relationships is driven by the presence of the "Holy Spirit."
The importance of this concept is summarized by this: "behind and within all the different images and symbols, Christians use for God; Creator, Father (Abba), Redeemer, Word, Spirit, - the most fundamental, the deepest truth Christians can speak of God is that God is the source and power of relationships."
If Christians were to reframe or to re-imagine the message of the Gospel for the Twenty-First Century, the "Good News" of the Gospel, I believe that this would be a message that calls all of us into a deeper understanding of the Divine Mystery, which is to be found in human relations.
New life enriching and life affirming relationships we discover through an interfaith dialogue that is radically open, radically inclusive, and grounded in the historical and orthodox tradition within the church. We discover this also in the Great Commission, which Christ gave to his Disciples and to all Christendom.
These poems arise out of my own worldview, personal faith, and spiritual practices, and from within an ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. They ask and encourage the reader to engage in such a radical openness, not only within their own faith and traditions, but with other faiths too.
As a Christian and as an Episcopalian, I want to use the language and symbols that I know and love so well, and offer that what is drawing us together is the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, who is actively at work within the world in many forms and instances, across many faiths, in words both familiar and unfamiliar. And to recognize that there are many interconnections; however, you may imagine the Spirit at work within the world, calling us into a relationship with one another and into the fullness of our humanity.
God's Holy Spirit, who helps us to actualize our fullest potential within life, to know and be known, to love and be loved, and who accepts us unconditionally: to know God as and through love.
A poet's work is to help expanded humanity's literary and cultural dialogue, and to magnify and transform our human perceptions. We do so by engaging new forms and symbols and vocabulary.
We create new languages describing the experience of life. We offer words, and in our imaginations try our best to capture the "ineffable and intangible - tongues of angels and heaven."
This book is a poetic celebration of life and humanity through a literary language as something sacred, symbolic, and metaphorical, as fingers pointing at the moon, pointing from the unfathomable silence within towards the Divine Mystery of creation.
"Out of this silence the poet within conceives unknown - unheard languages of the spirit, new words and verses flowing out unhindered as a blessing."
Saint Julian Press
Ron Starbuck is an author, poet, the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press, and an Episcopalian.