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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, October 29, 2004

Honorable men

An old-fashioned expression, I suppose; but then, I have a solid streak of old-fashioned idealism in me, so there you go.

I've found myself thinking about this quite a bit recently-- as I've read some of the reactions to the Windsor Report; as we hosted our neighbors to the north last week, and then heard and read different takes on that; and in my more commonplace interactions with family, friends and classmates.

So, what does an honorable man look like? Glad you asked. I don't know that any list of attributes would be awfully different for the women I know, but my experiences this week have dealt largely with men, so that's where my consideration lies at the moment.

Anyway, it seems to me that it includes:
  • Humor: The ability to laugh at oneself, and to maintain a sense of perspective.
  • Respect: A willingness to listen-- and to disagree, when appropriate, without resorting to disparagement, insult or ridicule.
  • Fidelity: Not offering promises or commitments lightly, but making every effort to keep them when they are made.
  • Integrity: Innate dependability; being as utterly genuine as possible-- even when it might be easier or more pleasant not to.
  • Sensitivity: Not the schmaltzy talk-show sort, but a genuine concern for the impact one has on others.
  • Honesty: 'Nough said.
I am blessed by the grace of God to be married to one such man; and to have in my circle of friends and acquaintences any number of others. Tripp and Todd and Micah, Ryan and Cliff and Mark... look down my blogroll, and you'll find several more. I think I'm more disturbed when I encounter dishonorable behavior, precisely because I know so well some shining examples of men who quietly go about being better than that, every day.


Blogger Ryan said...

Wow...I am honored to be listed among such fine company. Thank you. Did you read Taylor Marshall's (Nashotah) reaction to the Lavabo Bowl? When Reverend Ref mentioned it, I had to go look it up, which took some doing because he doesn't link to his archives. but when I found it and read it, I was really disturbed. Truly disturbed. That kind of thing really makes me sad. Find it here.In any event, thank you.


October 29, 2004 2:01 PM  

Blogger Ryan said...

Ok, that link didn't work. Here it is:



October 29, 2004 2:01 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

Yes, Ryan, I read it. That was one of the items that factored into this reflection.

October 29, 2004 3:46 PM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

I offer Bishop Bob Duncan, whose greeting to the CAPA bishops is given above as the classic example of the "honorable man".


I also offer (as a liberal counterpart) Karen's very fine piece on Episcopal/Druidic priests who manage to worship both Ashtar and Yaweh simultaneously, and who describe themselves as leading "groves" of Christians into Druidic thought.


I particularly agree with the comment that "Inclusivity and radical welcome should never, ever demand that we give up our identity as a church devoted to the worship of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ."


October 29, 2004 4:28 PM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

Regarding Nashotah House, I posted my comment on the Lavabo thread.

October 29, 2004 5:07 PM  

Blogger Karen said...

Amen. Honor and integrity is what is truly needed right now in these difficult times. Lord, have mercy.

October 29, 2004 5:16 PM  

Blogger Karen said...

Since I'm nosy and don't feel like working on my paper right now I took a look at Taylor's description of the Lavabo Bowl. A black Mass? Wow, who would've thought of such a thing in the Midwest. We CDSP students will have to redouble our efforts to make our annual softball game against the diocesan clergy come even close to what you all are doing out there! :)

October 29, 2004 5:35 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

For the record, the "black mass" in question was a straightforward Rite I liturgy, with plainsong psalm (yours truly served as cantor) and hymnody all out of the Hymnal 1982. The preacher was Dr. Frank Yamada, professor of Old Testament at Seabury-- and you can find his sermon here. The presider was the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, Professor of Theology and Ethics, and the newest member of our faculty.

The more traditional service, I am told, was planned by the MC as a gesture of hospitality to those of a more conservative theological bent that we knew would be coming. I am truly sorry it was not seen as such.

October 29, 2004 6:05 PM  

Blogger Dawgdays said...

I guess Taylor missed Frank's sermon.

It is awfully difficult to love that one across the table, isn't it.

October 29, 2004 6:20 PM  

Blogger Karen said...

I'm sorry! I shouldn't have made light of a comment which was probably hurtful to the SWTS folks who undoubtedly worked hard on the liturgy. It's a pity that your efforts were treated so shabbily.

October 29, 2004 6:41 PM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

Part of the gulf between liberals and conservatives is that we no longer appear to share a common language. The Curse of Babel, I suppose. :(

Re-reading Jane’s list, I would have called it a list of attributes for an “agreeable” man, not necessarily an honorable one.

What honorable used to mean involved rather more “integrity”, “fidelity” and “honesty”, and less on “sensitivity” “humor” and “respect”. Now, apparently, they are equally weighted. Actually, now even “Integrity” in Episcospeak has come to mean quite the opposite of what it used to mean, which at one time was “moral soundness”, “rectitude”, or “the state or quality of being entire or complete, or whole”. (From this we get “Holy” and “wholesome”) as in “the integrity of the Body of Christ.

Honorable used to mean
1. “Not disposed to cheat or defraud; not deceptive or fraudulent” as in "honest lawyers"; "honest reporting"; "honest weight".
2. “Showing or characterized by honor and integrity; "a honorable man"; "led an honorable life"; "honorable service to his country.
3. Adhering to ethical and moral principles; "it seems ethical and right"; "followed the only honorable course of action"; "had the moral courage to stand alone".

This is why I call +Duncan an honorable man.

Inviting guests to football and Mass, and forcing them to attend a liturgy that should have been known to cause offense was insensitive, however I have no doubt that the slight was unintended. Thus, while this action was lacking in sensitivity (see Jane’s definition above) I disagree with Jane that it was dishonorable (see my definition, taken from Webster’s).

By contrast, there have been other individuals in history who have ranked high on humorous, respectful, and sensitive, and rather lower on faithful, honest and moral. I will avoid discussion of recent additions to the Pointy-Hatted-Ones who, however sensitive, respectful and funny, seem to have difficulty figuring out what “obedience to ordination vows” might actually mean.

Instead, I will simply remind my readers of another who was pointedly identified as an “honorable man”. You may have heard of him. His name was Brutus.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interrèd with their bones.
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest --
For Brutus is an honorable man,
So are they all, all honorable men --
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me.
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And sure he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause.
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him? “

As Shakespeare (and Mark Anthony conclude)
“O Judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason".

October 29, 2004 6:50 PM  

Blogger Jerome's Librarian said...

I, too, have posted a comment on Jane's Lavabo Bowl post. If you are interested in what I have to say, I suggest you check it out. It will not appear elsewhere, nor will I likely say any more.


October 29, 2004 7:33 PM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

I have answered you. May I understand that contrary to my previous understanding the female presider and male preacher was in fact intentional, and a form of "witnessing" rather than an honest error?

It is a pity that the excellent homily preached on the occasion was not preached before the liturgy was designed.

"Perfection for Jesus is not about who is right or wrong about this issue or that. It is not about mistake free holy living. It is not about which church you attend, what kind of liturgy you practice, or which interpretation of the bible you hold to. Perfection is all about loving, and loving the hard way. The kind of love that is shocking not only in its display, but even more so in its object. Love the one who hates you. Love your enemy. Love the one who spits in your face, the one who would have you exiled, the one who cares not for your well being or the welfare of your loved ones. The one who looks across the table, points a finger at you and says that what you stand for is unequivocally and intolerably wrong. Love that one, and you will be perfect. "


October 29, 2004 8:40 PM  

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