Unofficial Anglican Pages of Louie Crew Clay

From 365+Reasons to be an Episcopalian:

Sat Feb 16 00:03:11 EST 2019

Collections of Reflections/Sermons, mostly by others

Do Justice
Joy Anyway
Angels Unawares

Collections of my own material:

My Facebook Wall
On Twitter: LouieClay2
'Queer Eye for the Lectionary'
Selected Prose
Selected Poetry
Films I've watched recently
My recent reading


My current calendar
My publications
My resume
My cv 
My education

My software for writers

Louie Clay
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


LGBT Christian
General Links
Poetry Resources

Louie & Ernest Clay
Married February 2, 1974


The World-Wide Anglican Communion

--Photo at the Bronx Zoo, by Ernest Clay

Shhh! Look very carefully, and don't make any noise. Do not be afraid. Observe the fence. Even in the presence of enemies, God prepares for us a feast.

The Rubiyat of mm Lutibelle

The typing finger having hit
     <return> moves on;
Nor all your groans nor careful wit
     can <del> one bit.
Colleagues, it's gone.

             -- Louie Clay

appeared in Hodge Podge Autumn 1996: 33.

Shouting Parts of the Creed

When I first became an Episcopalian, I was not sure that I assented to absolutely everything, or even sure of what "absolutely everything" might mean. As a spiritual discipline, I would say the creed soto voce so that people around me would not be disconcerted when I left out the parts about which I was unsure whether I assented. I was not trying to tell others what to believe; I was working out my own salvation with diligence.

In time I found myself saying the creed voce piena and for decades now I have said all parts of the creed certain that I can pass a lie detector test. Yet, I have found it much harder to live faithfully than to assent.

Now 75, fifty-one years after confirmation, I find new vexation with the creed, not doubting parts of it, but wanting to shout some parts under attack in the Anglican Communion.

"I believe in the Holy Spirit!" I find myself saying louder by the Sunday. If I don't watch out, folks around me will think I have grown senile, or have forgotten that in Eucharist the Creed is corporate worship, not one individual before a jury in a witness stand.

Nevertheless, I find it a struggle not to shout. "I believe in the Holy Spirit"! The Holy Spirit is (not 'was') the Lord and giver of life. The Holy Spirit "proceeds from the father..." "The verbs are in the present tense!" I want to shout' "God is alive!"

Even the creed says we're not stuck with God only as understood by those who wrote the creed. God not only must be allowed to do new things; God won't be a living God if God does not do new things.

For several weeks now, one of my closest friends, and one of the brightest persons on the planet, has been sending me messages already sent to me last year or two years ago or two weeks ago with no rime or reason for sending them again. I replied asking why, and he responded that his memory gets fuzzy. Mine does too. I called a colleague where he lives, and the colleague confirmed that our friend is slipping into dementia.

Every Wednesday afternoon and all day on Saturday Dad would head to a lake with his small boat and electric motor to go fishing. While growing up, I spent every weekend of the summer with him camping in a national forest. Decades later, five years before his death, he had a series of horrendous physical failures -- a wicked, unrelenting case of shingles, return of ulcers which had attacked him in high school, surgery that removed three-quarters of his stomach... Even at his best, he was not able to walk more than a few yards, and that only with assistance. And he cut himself off from much that he could have still experienced. For example, he would not let me take him for a ride anywhere, not even to the national forest rich with so many shared memories.

"He's not the same father any more," I wept as I reported to Ernest about my visits. "He does not want even to visit the things he has always liked!"

"Louie," Ernest, not an only child like me, patiently explained, "he is the same father. It's you who are trying to keep him trapped in one time or one place. Your Dad deserves your love of him as he is, not just as he was."

Later I tried to say the same thing to a student in Hong Kong who needed to hear it:

A Wafer
for My Student
Whose Mother Cut the Tubes
Once the Family Had Left
the ICU of
Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital

Mother's sister Rose died in 1959.

For 23 years afterwards,
       every day
Mother spent at least 10 minutes
       in a room alone,

       talking to Rose,
       sharing news Rose would want to hear.

Then Mother closed the door and got on.

She never told anyone.

I discovered only when once I heard her,
       in the next room.

She was embarrassed.
She knew I would not understand,
       feared I would think her crazy....

I thought her just silly, and teased.

Mother was buried on the coldest day
       ever recorded in Alabama,
       the 11th of January, 1982.
Yet, at this very moment I tell her
       about you, Shui Yee.
She and I, and Rose too, urge you
       to find your own ways
       to close the door and live.


I believe in the Communion of Saints!" I have seen it happen!

Earlier reflections archived from this page

Mascara alert!

Not That Kind of Christian!!, an 80-minute documentary film, premiered at the Breckenridge Film Festival in Colorado on June 9, 2007 and was featured in the Montreal Film Festival in August. "This documentary explores queer Christians' struggle for acceptance in the Episcopal Church, the schism\235 their activism threatens to bring to worldwide Anglicanism, and the ways in which activists such as these shape our personal liberties at the highest institutional levels. While the film celebrates the achievements made by queer Anglicans as they transform an oppressive Christian tradition into a modern force of liberation, it doesn't excuse the prejudices and abuses of organized religion. continued....." (Posted May 3, 2007)

Ubi caritas et amor, deus ibi est.

Pervasive Misunderstandings of the Bible
What Jesus Did Not Say

"You in my father's kingdom?! Do you believe in some kind of cheap grace? Get real. Now repeat after me, very slowly and clearly, 'I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and .....'"

-- Jesus did not say this to the thief on the next cross.

"Now if you want any help from me, you've got to take responsibility. You got yourself into this mess, and you need to confess that very loudly and clearly so that no Gospel writer will forget to underscore it. These men have a perfect right to stone you, but if you will make a loud enough confession, I'll see what I can do to help you. But don't you ever, ever commit adultery again! Do you hear me!?

-- Jesus did not say this to the woman taken in adultery

I really should not be out here talking to you. You understand that, I hope. And don't be telling anyone else about this conversation lest somebody misunderstand my compassion. Before you can drink any of my living water, you have got to leave your current lover and go back to your very first husband. And I expect you to tell everyone how bad you have been. Then I'll see what I can do for you.

-- Jesus did not not say this at Jacob's Well

Mother! Here you go messing in my business again. They don't need any more wine. After all, they have been drinking over a week. This is precisely the kind of occasion for which God made Welch's grape juice. After all, this scene must look very proper, because the Polaroids will be here to preserve it as an icon for Christian marriage. Now smile. Just say Cheesus.

-- The Jesus did not say this at Cana

Joy! -- Louie Clay

From Theme and Variations


Robert Evans searched the night for supernovas for sixteen years, finding a blink in the sky about every six months. \223There\222s something satisfying, I think,\224 he said, \223about the idea of light traveling for millions of years through space and just at the right moment as it reaches Earth, someone looks at the right bit of sky and sees it. It just seems right that an event of that magnitude should be witnessed.\224 Despite similar odds, we find our right husbands. Our children are born healthy. We make it home from work.> We create a world, but \226 knock wood -- get to keep it only if we love it.

--© 2007 by Tina Kelley


Though the mountains tremble:
and deep, deep, deep in the earth
rocks flow like water
in unimaginable heat that
changes their very nature
their molecular structure.
Below our feet. Below our
bended knees. One weakness
in the crust, the thin veil of
solidity, the illusion of soil and
rock. There is heat, flow,
currents of magnetism,
pulses of energy, while we
sleep and dream. One
weakness in the crust,
one fold, one slip, one fault,
and all that is solid melts into
itself, consumed by fire.
What world is this? Made
by what God, in what kind
of heaven enthroned?
The pulses stir, turn, twist
on themselves; seek weakness,
meet resistance, move on.

--© 2005 by Jan Nunley+


"I asked Aaron Henry, long-time Mississippi civil rights activist, whether the church had been a light during the struggle for justice... `The church a light?' he said, and paused for a long beat to fix me with a stare from his bulging, famously jaundiced eyes and then answered: `Yeah, a tail light.'

--Kevin Jones

"Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the center of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins."


"Isn't it ironic that sex should be the reason for a split. No group will yell: `We are not in communion with you because you were largely silent in the Enron scandal.' `You did not even decry the loss of retirement by widows and the poor.' `You did not object as people were defrauded by excessive, artificially created electric bills.' `We insist on alternate oversight by a bishop concerned with the issues Jesus was concerned about.'"

--John S. Morgan

The Consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of NH
Click to enlarge
There's a difference between (a) making Jesus the center of one's life, and (b) deluding onself that Jesus endorsed living in the mushy center.

I don't recall Jesus passing the buck, rolling His eyes toward heaven and singing "Over the Rainbow."

To avoid offending anyone or roiling the waters, He would have allowed the "adulteress" to be stoned, left the lame/halt/lepers/demon-possessed to their fate, and just puttered about Nazareth safely, for the sake of Jewish Unity.

Perhaps his mother, being a Mom, would have been happier. But we wouldn't have a Faith to argue about.

- Pat Crawford BROK pcrawford@EROLS.COM

I am grateful that God didn't wait for the world to come to theological consensus about incarnation prior to Mary's pregnancy. -- The Rev. Ed Bacon, All Saints, Pasadena, CA

Holy God, you promised Abraham and Sarah that you would bless them so that their descendants would be a blessing to all humankind. As Jacob wrestled with you throughout the night, refusing to let you go until you blessed him, grant each of us the courage to claim your blessing as our baptismal birthright. Open the ears of our bishops and General Convention deputies so that we can hear what your Holy Spirit is saying to the church. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen -- By John C. Bradley

God loves absolutely everybody! I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor Archbishops, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate lesbigays, or anyone else, from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Have the courage to be joyous!


  • People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered - Forgive t hem anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives - Be kind anyway.
  • If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies - Succeed anyway.
  • If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you - Be honest and frank anyway.
  • What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight - Build anyway.
  • If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous - Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow - Do good anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough - Give the worl d the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God - It never was between you and them anyway.

    -- Kent Keith


Ernest & Louie Clay, 2004 & 1974

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Enjoy! -- Louie Clay

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