Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm a believer!

It's a New Jersey love story.

After 40 years and two children, Cindy Meneghin and Maureen Kilian are finally married.

In New Jersey.

It was a 10 year legal battle that was fought all the way up to the NJ Supreme Court where Judge Mary Jacobson looked square into the eyes of Governor Chris Christie - and he blinked.

That kind of victory called for a marriage in front of three priests.

We never really doubted it would happen. Okay, so there were moments. Okay, so there were more than a few moments. And, lots of those moments were filled with tears of disappointment and anguished cries of frustration.

But, when you are in the presence of Cindy and Maureen, you find yourself in the presence of such amazing love and devotion to their relationship and their family, you find it hard to believe that anything or anyone could stand in the way of the justice they so richly deserve.

Cindy and Maureen met in high school. It was a Roman Catholic High School in NJ. Yes, they are high school sweethearts. They fell in love right under the noses of their nuns and priests.

Imagine that!

One year there was a Valentine's Day dance at their high school. Cindy and Maureen got all dressed up and went as each other's date.

The good nuns turned them away at the door.

Disappointed and weeping, they got back into the car and started to drive home.

At one point, they pulled over to the side of the road to console each other. Maureen turned to Cindy and said, "I want to dance with you. Right here. Right now."

So, they got out of the car and walked out onto an open field where they embraced to dance.

"But, we don't have any music to dance to," said Cindy, who always has a firm grasp on the obvious.

"Sing to me," said Maureen, who is obviously creative and resourceful.

So, Cindy started singing the only song she really knew.

Last night, after the vows and rings were exchanged and the marriage was blessed, and after the wedding toast was made, Cindy told that story just before their first dance.

Then, she invited all the assembled guests - their children, their Very Large family, their high school friends, they lawyers, the folks from Lambda Legal, their co-workers and so many of us who had walked the journey with them - to join her in singing "their" song.

And so, a room full of over 200 people began to sing, with great joy and gusto:
Take me out to the ballgame
Take me out to the park
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks
I don't care if I never come back
So it's root, root, root for the home team
If no one wins it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ball game.
There may not be any crying in baseball, but there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Fourteen states  - CA, CT, DE, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, and WA - plus Washington, D.C.  - have marriage equality.
Only 36 more states to go, and then everyone can dance to their own unique wedding song.

Because amazing love and deep devotion to family can make believers of us all.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pray Always and Do Not Lose Heart


“Pray Always and Do Not Lose Heart” Luke 18:1-8
Pentecost XXII – Proper 24C – October 20, 2013
All Saint’s Episcopal Church, Rehoboth Beach
(the Rev’d Dr) Elizabeth Kaeton

Everything I learned about praying always and not losing heart, I learned from two very different people at two very different stages in my life.

The first person to teach me about prayer was my Grandmother. You think the persistent widow in Luke’s Gospel is persistent? Ha! She had nothing on my Grandmother!

When you walked into my Grandmother’s house, you couldn’t help but see the two pictures of the two men my Grandmother considered “The World’s Greatest Catholics.” 

The first was Jesus. I know, right? Who knew Jesus was Catholic? I thought he was Jewish.

The picture was what we kids called his “High School Graduation” picture. You know, the one of him in profile, with his long hair beautifully combed, and the perfect back-lighting? 

The other picture of the other great Catholic? Oh, that would have been John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Of course.

Yes, she did have a picture of the Pope. It was in the bathroom. I never dared asked why.

Walking into my Grandmother’s bedroom was like walking into a shrine – we kids used to call it “Disney World for Roman Catholics”. The tops of all of her bureaus were filled with statues of saints, all of which had small, flickering votive or novena candles in front of them. 

If you lifted up each statue, underneath them, written in Portuguese, were her particular prayer petitions to that particular saint.

In my Grandmother’s world of prayer, one prayed to particular saints for particular things. St. Jude, of course, was the saint of Lost Causes. You prayed to him if you needed a Big Phat M.I.R.A.C.L.E. Someone was gravely ill. In the hospital. Had (said in a whisper, lest on one else should get it) cancer.

St. Joseph was patron saint of Workers. Joe was your guy if your husband or sons or brothers were out of work or there was a strike at the factory. Joe would get them back to work, right quick.

The BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) was the one you turned to if your novena prayers had not yet been answered. My Grandmother figured that Mary had the ear of both God AND Jesus, so if you prayed to her, you knew one of the two guys were going to hear about it, big time.

The Infant of Prague was also there. He was Jesus at about 18 months old, decked out in the silliest, ruffliest, fru-fruiest long dress you wouldn’t put on your infant daughter.

As teens, we kids called him “Drag Queen Jesus”. Ruffled cuffs and neck, lace up to his arm pits, a crown on his head, he was usually holding the world in one hand, a wand in the other. You prayed to him if a child was sick.

There were lots and lots of others – St. Martin de Porres, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Lucy, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Mother Elizabeth Seaton, to name just a few, but the busiest saint was always St. Gerard, the patron saint of families. He was also the one in the most trouble for not answering my Grandmother’s prayers.

If you were a saint, and my Grandmother prayed to you – however many prescribed decades on her rosary for the prescribed amount of days or weeks or months – and you didn’t answer her prayer, you were in BIG trouble.

My grandmother would first yell at the statue. Then, she would blow out the candle. Then, with a great flourish, she would turn the statue to face the wall, saying to him or her in broken English, “And, you gonna stay there until you gonna answer my prayer.”

So, I learned three important lessons about prayer from my Grandmother

First lesson: God is always watching. Never let him catch you not praying.

Second lesson: Don’t put all your prayers in one basket. Spread them around.

Third lesson: If your prayers aren’t answered, pray harder. Louder. Like you mean it.

And then, I grew up.  I learned stuff about the world. I learned that the world I lived in was very different from my grandmother’s world. It was a world she couldn’t have even imagined much less live in, so she kept more and more to herself, speaking only Portuguese. As my world expanded, her world grew smaller and smaller. It was safer for her that way.

Even as my Grandmother retreated from the world, I ran straight to it and found myself moving farther and farther away from the images of God of my childhood. Those images simply didn’t have any relevance to the world in which I was living.

I discovered that God was not a puppet master, pulling every one and every thing on a string. I learned that God didn’t cause tornadoes and hurricanes and tidal waves – the shifting earth did that. Smokey the Bear taught me that only I could prevent forest fires – not the wrath of God. 

I learned that people had heart attacks and strokes and diabetes and even ‘cancer’ because of hereditary and environmental and nutritional considerations, and not because God punished them for sin.

I learned that left-handed people were not sinister, that people with seizure disorder (epilepsy) were not possessed by demons, that women with normal menstrual cycles were not ‘unclean’, and that children born blind or deaf or with a deformity were not evidence that their ancestors had sinned.

For a very long time, all of that knowledge put me in a tailspin crisis of faith. Now that I knew all this stuff about the world, what was I supposed to believe about God?

Well, I learned that my faith didn’t have to stay in a childhood fantasy box. I learned that my faith could grow and adapt and change in order to meet the challenges of the world. 

I learned to take the lessons I needed to learn from the faith my grandmother in order to live my own life, in my own time, in the world where God had placed me. 

It wasn’t until I met a second person in my adult life that I was able to articulate what I knew about prayer and bring it to yet another level.  That person was Bishop Jack Spong.

I had been working for Jack as Canon Missioner for about three years when I discovered a lump in my right breast. The doctor thought it was probably benign but, as he said, “You and I will both sleep better once that lump is out.” 

So, two days before my surgery, I went to my bishop to tell him and to ask him for his prayers.

Jack listened very carefully, as he is wont to do, and then, pastor that he is, he assured me of his prayers. Scholar that he is, he also could not resist asking me a question. 

“Elizabeth," he said, “of course I will pray for you, but, you know, people come to me – as I’m sure they come to you – as if your prayers were some sort of magic. I want you to know that, if it were in my power to cure you of any cancer, of course I would. But you know, and I know, that neither you nor I are that powerful. So, when you ask me to pray for you, what are you asking, really?”

Well, it was the first time I had ever really thought about that. Jack has been called a heretic and an atheist. I can assure you that he is not an atheist. He's more of a modern mystic. And, I’ve come to learn that the people I trust most in the church – people who believe in God and love Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit – are often what many in the church consider heretics. I’ve discovered that that says more about their immaturity and insecurity than what is true about Jack. 

Jack has a way of challenging what you say you believe – not so you believe like him – but so that you can better articulate what you believe. He respects differences and won't hesitate to tell you why he thinks you're wrong.

Always a good bishop, he just wants to make sure you can articulate why you think he's wrong.

I heard myself say to him that when I am anxious or afraid, I often feel much worse because I think I’m all alone in whatever situation or crisis I’ve found myself. I imagine that, in this world, we are all standing on an interconnected web, and each one of us has his or her own thread. 

When I’m anxious or afraid, it gets very dark which makes me feel even more afraid and alone. When I know someone is praying for me or with me, it’s like a light is turned on, and I can see others around me, lifting me up, holding me up in their prayer, and I’m less afraid.

Jack listened very carefully, nodded his head and smiled and said, “What I’ve discovered is that prayer is a paradox - something that contains two opposite statements, both of which are true.

Prayer doesn’t change anything. And, prayer changes everything.

Mostly, prayer changes everything, because prayer changes me. It changes my focus. It makes me less self-centered. It makes me care more about others. And, it makes me aware that I am part of a vast, interconnected network and I’m not alone. People who have come before, people who are here, now, and people who are yet to come are all standing with me. That Jesus is with me because I am with others and they are with me." 

"So,” he said, “Why don’t we pray together, right now?”

And, we did. We held hands. We prayed. Right then. Right there. In his office. No vestments. No saints. No votive lights. No little slips of paper with petitions on them. No prayer beads. And, it was holy. And, it was right. And, it was good. And, I did not lose heart. 

Well, I came through the surgery with flying colors and a benign pathology report. I also came through with a deeper appreciation for the lessons my grandmother taught me about prayer, which I have adapted to suit the world I live in. In my life. In my time. I share them with you as a present.

First lesson: Pray always and without ceasing. Make everything you do be a prayer. If you are mowing the lawn or raking leaves or making applesauce or starting your day of work, dedicate whatever you are doing. Make it a prayer to God.

Second lesson: Pray through a variety of sources and means, without judgment. Whether you use prayer beads or candles or chant, all of it is prayer. If someone tells you that they are sitting Zazen for you, or they lay hands on you and speak in tongues, accept it as prayer without judgement. Everyone prays in his or her own way. It's all prayer. It's all good.

            Third lesson: Pray expectantly, hopefully, persistently, and never lose heart.  Recently, as some of you may know, my beloved was hospitalized. She was very ill and we were very much afraid. One of the great comforts was knowing that this community was praying with us and for us. She is listed in the bulletin as "Sr. Barbara Clare". You may have just looked at the prayer list and said, "I pray for everybody on this list." That was important. To us. We knew we were not alone.

You helped us to pray always and, most importantly, to not lose heart.  And we are, forever and eternally, grateful debtors to that prayer.

So, pray always and do not lose heart. Because, God is listening and waiting for your prayer.

And, because prayer changes nothing. And, it changes absolutely everything.

Except you.


Friday, October 18, 2013

In Praise of Pot-stirrers

A Poem in Praise of Pot-Stirrers
(To honor the UTO-4 and all those who brought their story to light)

I sing in praise of pot-stirrers
     those who cry out
     in the wilderness of
Nice and
Polite White,

'Pay attention!'
'Pay attention!'
          'If you're not outraged,
          You are not
          Paying attention."
I thank God for pot-stirrers
     who are
     Unashamedly and
     The Anxious Presence
We need
     when the trumpet
     needs to be blown
     in Zion.
     the alarm sounded
     on God's Holy Hill
They pray the arrogant
     and the stiff-necked 
Before God.
I bless God for pot-stirrers,
   those who are
   Thorns in the Flesh
   of the Institutional Church,
For those who once
    'Cast their nets
    In Galilee'
    'Homeless in Patmos died
    Or head down was crucified'
We praise you and we bless you, God,
    For those pot-stirrers
    who teach us that
         'The peace of God
               it is no peace
               but strife clothed in the sod'.
Send us, we beseech thee,
More pot-stirrers
     And those who trouble
          the waters
          of our baptism
So we may know
       Your Peace
When we do
          Your Justice,
                    Your Mercy,
     Walk humbly
          With You. 
With acknowledgement of some of the words from Hymn 661 in The Episcopal Hymnal.
Words: William Alexander Percy

And, Micah 6:8.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Caucus responds to UTO

Advocating for Women since 1971 
Theologically, Spiritually, Politically

October 13, 2012

We live as members of the Body of Christ in a time of low trust and excessive speculation where even those of good will find themselves too frequently at odds.

In the current resignation of four UTO Board members to protest the process of establishing new bylaws and a changed relationship with The Episcopal Church office (DFMS), we once again see these factors at work, undermining the Church’s witness to God’s transforming love.

The gap between the story each side tells of how the stalemate came to be is itself evidence of the general failure of relationships within the Body of Christ.

As members of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus Board, we have long been advocates for the work of women, both lay and ordained, within the Body of Christ.

It is therefore with great sadness that we watch this controversy unfold — a controversy which is subverting the important work of God's mission.

Those ubiquitous, little Blue UTO Boxes have been the means by which the laity (primarily women but also men and children) have participated in a powerful eucharistic act of transforming ordinary thanksgivings into tangible relief from suffering and for the work of mission.

It is our most fervent prayer that those in positions of leadership within the formal structures of The Episcopal Church will rise to the challenge of working to restore relationships which have been broken, regardless of where blame may lie for misunderstanding.

We appreciate that changing secular legal climates — as well as the need for the Church to adapt its structures to continue proclaiming the Good News in a rapidly-changing world — may necessitate changes in how relationships are structured and memorialized.

We also see the incontrovertible evidence of the work UTO has done, of its own ability to adapt to a variety of changes in its 125-year history.

The women who have voluntarily undertaken and shepherded this work are capable of continuing to do so to the Glory of God and to the benefit of those who receive their grants in the 21st century, as they have in the preceding centuries.

We are particularly mindful and concerned that this situation seems to represent one more instance in which the formal structures supporting ministry by and for women are in danger of being undermined.

A Church flexible for mission in the 21st century is a Church that is not wedded to formal structures or weighed down by centralized bureaucracies. It is a Church which fosters and collaborates with emerging structures, empowering indigenous leaders to use their gifts in new and creative ways.

The Episcopal Church Women and members of the UTO Board have both demonstrated their wisdom and capacity for indigenous, creative leadership. Good faith collaboration in shaping the contours of a mutually-interdependent relationship requires a responsive awareness of power differences.

To be credible and to foster the level of trust that bears fruit in ministry, those with formal institutional power may need to accept the wisdom and experience of those without formal institutional power.

The alternative risks the institution they serve becoming increasingly irrelevant and unable to par- ticipate meaningfully in God’s ongoing work of reconciliation.

Terri Cole Pilarski
Dearborn, Michigan

Pamela RW Kandt
Casper, Wyoming

L. Zoe Cole
Denver, Colorado

Margo McMahon
Amherst, Massachusetts

Georgene Connor
Gulfport, Florida

Babs Meairs
San Diego, California

Elizabeth Kaeton
Long Neck, Delaware

Business Manager
Chris Mackey
Pasadena, California
Publications Editor

Karen D. Bota
Ionia, Michigan

EPISCOPAL WOMEN'S CAUCUS - a 501(c)3 organization
1103 Magnolia St. South Pasadena, CA 91030
Twitter & Facebook too

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Little Blue Boxes

You may know of the recent troubles in the church concerning UTO (United Thank Offering).

If you don't know about the United Thank Offering, and you are an Episcopalian, hie thee hence without undue delay and learn all about this incredible, historic ministry of women here

If you don't know about "the troubles" you can get some information at E-Women 125 Years of UTO.

Several people have asked me what do I do with those Little Blue Boxes where they have placed their coins of thanksgiving.  To my great distress, I've heard some say, "The church won't be getting another red cent from me!"

Here's my response:

Those little ubiquitous UTO Blue Boxes are a powerful, sacramental sign of a deep spirituality which arose from the institutional oppression of women.

The UTO Blue Boxes are an outward and visible sign of lay presidency in the everyday, common eucharistic act of turning thanksgivings into real relief of real human pain and suffering throughout the world.

Do. Not. Stop.This. Practice.

Please, keep giving thanksgiving for what God has brought into your life. Please drop at least one coin - a penny, dime, nickle, quarter, half-dollar or dollar - into the box every day. Surely, there is something - some little something that happens during the course of even the worst day - for which you can give thanks to God.

If it's someone's birthday or anniversary, consider dropping a coin of thanksgiving for their lives and their faithfulness.

If someone has done something unexpectedly nice to or for you, or you found yourself "rising above" a particular difficult personal challenge, or you discover that a prayer you thought had long been unanswered finally found at least partial fulfillment, please consider dropping a coin of thanksgiving.

Whether you know it or not, you need the spiritual practice and discipline of those little UTO Blue Boxes, because those prayers and coins of thanksgiving will be transformed into real, corporal acts of mercy for those whose basic human needs for food and shelter - or hope and possibility - have long been their supplication and petition to God.

What, now, to do with those UTO Boxes?

Hold onto them. Keep putting coins into them every day.

Wait and watch and pray as the Executive Council meets next week and deliberates on this issue.

Pray that the trust which is the foundation of Christian relationships which has been so seriously eroded may find healing.

Hope for the justice and mercy that brings reconciliation and the peace of God that passes all human understanding.

And, after everything has been decided or determined, you can make your decision as to where to contribute your UTO boxes. If not UTO then perhaps to your parish or diocesan efforts for mission.

Whatever the outcome, I repeat:

Do. Not. Stop. This. Practice.

Whatever the outcome, we will always give thanks to the ECW and the UTO for being our "spiritual mothers" and teaching us the deeper, everyday meaning and practical mysteries of eucharistic thanksgiving.

That's something that bylaws and regulations and all the other things that seem to delight church bureaucrats, while unfortunately necessary, can't possibly provide.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Every two weeks, before our IDT (Interdisciplinary Team) meeting, I, as chaplain, am asked to lead a brief meditation and/or prayer that honors and reflects our work with our Hospice patients. This can be challenging because the meditation/prayer to be fully inclusive of a broad spectrum of spirituality and the great variety of its expression.

And, it has to be brief. Very brief. Because, well, we have lots of work to do.

This past Wednesday, I felt called to offer this meditation, which I want to share with you.

This is a meditation on humility.

Some of you know that our Ms. Conroy is a member of the Anamchara Fellowship, an Episcopal religious order which tries to live out a monastic life following Celtic Spirituality. It is part of the new wave of communal religious life in which geographical boundaries are bridged through creative adaptation, using new technology like Skype and FaceBook and Listservs.

On the first anniversary of her election as Abbess of the Community, I asked her what lesson she had learned about having religious, institutional power and authority.

She smiled and said,
"Humility. I've learned that I am not that powerful. I can't possibly do all the things that need to be done. Empowering others to do the work of community is the only way it works. Power is just an illusion, like security. We only have control over what is before us and the best way to use power is to be the best we can be and help others be the best they can be, identifying and utilizing the skills and gifts and abilities they have in order that they might help still others be the best they can be."
A few days ago, as she was recuperating from surgery, I opened a card from one of her colleagues which asked, "Learned your lesson yet?" We both chuckled. I took the opportunity to ask her, "Well, have you learned any lesson from this illness and surgery?"

She smiled and said,
"Humility. I've learned that I am even less powerful than I thought. I've learned that there is great power in admitting that you are powerless and letting those who are skilled and knowledgeable at what they do, do their thing. Whether I think I'm powerful or completely powerless, truth is that I'm neither. I just am who I am. I can only control what I can control. It seems the universe is always teaching me about humility."
 She's right, of course.

Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. The rain falls on the righteous and the unjust and the sun shines on the good as well as the evil. And still, the world continues to spin, all on its own.

We seem unable to control much of anything - in our own lives as well as the lives of those we serve. Right now, much of our team is out with one illness or another - everything from a broken wrist to a TIA to a blocked coronary artery to abdominal surgery.

We are, as Ms. Conroy says, "one red hot mess."

And yet, patients are being seen and cared for with skill and dedication. They are living and dying with as much dignity as we can provide for them.  Staff are going the extra mile to help.

The Hospice Team is comprised of nurses - case managers and per diem - nurses aids, doctors, social workers, chaplains, administrators, program and clinical directors, medical records, admissions, bereavement counselors, educators.

No one person can do another's job. No one person can do the entire job of patient care by him or herself. Working together, we help each other be the best we can possibly be so that our patients get the best possible care we can provide.

Sometimes, that's in simple little ways. The way Susan always texts us with admissions or deaths. The way Mary makes sure we know about funeral arrangements. The way Joan spells out the patients name on the report line so we can understand even through her thick Maryland accent.

That all takes the humility of knowing that we are not in control of everything. We can only control what is before us and do the best with what we've got, being mindful to help others be the best that they can be.

And that, my friends, is my prayer for this team this morning. That we will know true humility which is not, as one wise person said, 'thinking less of yourself', but 'thinking of yourself less'.

When we live with humility, we often discover the secret of were true power lies.  Amen.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dominion Theology: Spare us, Good Lord.

I have always been fascinated by the way our understandings and images of God influence the ways in which we understand and shape our lives.

Even more fascinating is the way our understandings and images of God shape and inform our perspective of the way the world works and the way we order systems of government.

A few years back, I sat in a packed university auditorium and listened to Bill Clinton talk about the Government. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time he talked for over an hour, focused on the words from the preamble of the US Constitution, " . . . a more perfect union . . ." .

Not "more perfect" as in surpassing even perfection, but "perfected over time".

It was important because, in 2008, a certain Senator from Illinois, one Barack H. Obama who was running for President of the United States, had given a "Race Speech"  in front of the Liberty Bell, to give context to  some remarks made by his pastor at the time, Jeremiah White.

The title of that 'race speech' was "A More Perfect Union".

Mr. Obama said that the Constitution as written was "ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations."

He said:
Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.
Not perfect. Not "more perfect" as in surpassing perfection, but "perfected over time."

In the speech I heard in 2010, Mr. Clinton picked up on that theme and talked about how important it is that this perfection ought to be "forged in the crucible of disagreement and debate". He underscored the importance of having a healthy, vital two-party system of government so that, in disagreement and debate, we might perfect a government "for the people, by the people".

That foundational idea of government resonated deeply with my understanding of what it means to be a Christian who is an Episcopalian and a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

It reflects my understanding of a God who is an active participant in our lives, but one who has given us the gift of free will. And, because God made us human, flawed and faulted as we are, God also gave us the gift of Jesus who, when we fail and fall short of the mark, provides us with grace to continue to grow and change and transform, as our Baptismal Covenant says in the words of St. Paul, "into the full stature of Christ".

Not perfect. "Perfected over time."

Yes, it's messy.  The human enterprise is very messy. So are our various systems of religion. So are our systems of government.

Unless, of course, you subscribe to the ideas in "Dominion Theology".

The term "Dominion Theology" is derived from the King James Bible's rendering of Genesis 1:28, the passage in which God grants humanity "dominion" over the Earth.

Most of the contemporary movements labeled Dominion Theology arose in the 1970s in religious movements reasserting aspects of Christian nationalism.

According to Wikipedia,
Dominion Theology or Dominionism is the idea that Christians should work toward either a nation governed by Christians or one governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law. It is a form of Theocracy and is related to Theonomy, though it does not necessarily advocate Mosaic law as the basis of government. Prominent adherents of Dominion Theology are otherwise theologically diverse, including the Calvinist Christian Reconstructionism and the charismatic/Pentecostal Kingdom Now theology and New Apostolic Reformation.
Understanding Dominion Theology is important if you want to know why the government has been shut down these past few days.

Dominion Theology is the animating force of The Tea Party segment of the Republican Party which has picked up the thread of the aversion of the GOP to "Big Government" and infused it with an understanding and image of God who has given "dominion" over the earth and all of the people of the earth - or, at least, to this country - to a few, select people.

Those would be Christian people.

Only those Christian people who have the "right" understanding of how God and Jesus want the world to be ordered, based on their interpretation - and only their interpretation - of Holy Scripture.

To get a theological perspective of the government shut down, consider reading this article, The Theology of Government Shutdown, which analyzes the Dominion Theology of Ted Cruz, son of a Texas charismatic ministry "Purifying Fire International" (there's your first hint) and a large faction of the Tea Party. It's very scary stuff. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that, if American Christianity has a Taliban, this is it.

Here's a snippet:
So to pull all this logic together, God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church. The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian "kings" who will accomplish the "end time transfer of wealth." Then "God's bankers" will usher in the "coming of the messiah." The government is being shut down so that God's bankers can bring Jesus back.

And here's the thing. When you get a lot of people together in a megachurch, you can do some pretty impressive things with your mission projects. You can feed thousands of people and host ESL classes and job training programs and medical clinics. And I imagine that seeing your accomplishments could give you the hubris of thinking we don't need a government at all to make our society run; our church can be the new government.
Yes, I said "American Taliban".

No, I'm not exaggerating.

We're talking Theocracy here.

I don't normally like to quote Pat Robertson, but an undeniable millions of people listen to him and believe and hang onto every word he says.

So, here's that "perfect union" of Dominion Theology according to Pat Robertson.
God's plan is for His people, ladies and gentlemen, to take dominion. . . .What is dominion? Well, dominion is Lordship. He wants His people to reign and rule with Him. . . but He's waiting for us to. . . extend His dominion. . . .And the Lord says, "I'm going to let you redeem society. There'll be a reformation. . . .We are not going to stand for those coercive utopians in the Supreme Court and in Washington ruling over us any more. We're not gonna stand for it. We are going to say, 'we want freedom in this country, and we want power. . . .'"
 And that, friends, is what this government shut down, at least in part, is all about.

Those "coercive utopians in the Supreme Court and in Washington" have crossed the line in providing affordable health care to millions of Americans who are the working poor - except the Tea Party calls them something different.

"Takers" is what they are.  "Takers" who will always be dependent upon the Government. See? They need to be dependent upon "The Lord".  And, of course, they need to be dependent upon those whom God has "anointed" with power to bestow upon others who are deemed "deserving".

Our understandings and images of God shape and inform our perspective of the way the world works and the way we order systems of government.

Mary Daly said it best. "If God is male, then male is God."

And this particular male God, the God of the Tea Party, is particularly pernicious and wrathful and vengeful. He's angry about the disruption of the "natural order".  He's angry about uppity women and Blacks who are taking jobs and positions of power and authority away from White men.

He's angry about contraception and abortion.  He's angry because a Black man is in the White House. He's angry about "non-Christians" (read: Muslims and Jews) who are allowed to enter this country through a "broken immigration system".

He's angry about multiculturalsim and diversity and globalization. He's angry about gun control and hate-crime legislation.  He's angry about "global warming" and evolution. He's angry about radical egalitarianism and feminism.

He's angry about LGBT people whose perversion of the natural order is a "real and present danger" to "family values" and are tearing at the very fabric of this nation and the world.

God is one Really Pissed Off dude who is relying on His "Christian Soldiers" to bring about a "Holy War" (Jihad) against the "coercive utopians" in Big Government and return it to HIM.  Or, through them to him.

Hyperbole and exaggeration on my part?

If you don't believe that this is the line of thinking and belief - the theology and ideology - of the Tea Party, just line your headphones with fire repellent and anti-toxin agents and listen in to local radio stations which carry preachers and politicians along with their listening audiences who tune in and call in to have these conversations.

It's pretty scary, but it will give you some sense of what would otherwise appear to be utter nonsense.

Beneath the smug, arrogant tones and the sharp, angry words you'll hear lies a clear image of the God of the Tea Party.  Listen up!
Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.  —D. James Kennedy
As scary as all of this is, I keep coming back to an understanding of "a more perfect union".  Perhaps this time is all part of the "refining fire" in the crucible of democracy.

We need to understand Dominion Theology so that we don't cave into it or allow it to crush our democratic system of government.

If our legislative process is "dysfunctional" - and I believe it is undeniably so - that is so because we do not have a healthy, vital two party system. There are three parties at play here: Democrats, Republicans and The Tea Party.

We are far from perfect. We're not supposed to be. We are human beings, flawed and faulted.

Our goal is a "more perfect union" - with ourselves, our neighbor, our nation and the world.

And, a more perfect union with the God of our understanding, in whose service is perfect liberty.