Monday, February 28, 2005

The collect for the third Sunday in Lent

We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This collect means a lot to me this week. A big “hearty desire” of mine almost since I became a Christian is that my life make a difference and have purpose in fulfilling God’s purposes for it.

But as I reflected yesterday morning while getting ready to go to church, there have been long stretches, too long stretches, where I’ve strove to do something with my life, but floundered. As I looked back, I considered much of my life lost years.

Perhaps I’m too hard on myself, but I was getting down thinking about it. But God reminded of some things he’s doing in my life now to use me, and he got my spirits up. And largely because of that, it was a special Sunday for me.

Anyway, I know first hand how enemies, whether they be the flesh, the world, and the devil, or just our weakness, can keep us from fulfilling our “hearty desires,” especially our desire to serve Him, to fulfill His purposes for us, and to make a difference.

We are, I am, too weak to do anything lasting and good without His power thwarting those various enemies that would turn our lives into a waste.

So indeed, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty. . .

Saturday, February 26, 2005

No Reason??

North American Episcolibs continue to amaze me. The ink is hardly dry on the Primates’ communiqué when bishops already say same-sex blessings will continue, that there will be no moratorium as requested by the Primates.

The response of Long Island bishop Orris Walker is especially galling: “I see no reason to call a moratorium.”

What?! The Primates of the Anglican Communion have requested a moratorium, and that’s “no reason” to call one?!?

Apostate arrogance continues.

Friday, February 25, 2005

++Griswold and ++Hutchison act sensible.

A follow-up to my previous post: North American Primates ++Griswold and ++Hutchison have responded to the Primates’ agreement. And it sounds like both will seek to lead their churches in abiding by the request to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council until the next Lambeth Conference. And I even think their responses have a good degree of class.

Do be sure to check out the Hutchison link above. It’s gives some interesting inside tidbits on how the Primates meeting proceeded. ++Eames of Ireland worked his famous unifying blarney again.
Do we have to be rude?

Perhaps I’m not one to ask that question. I’ve been straight-talking Texan much longer than I’ve been Anglican. So I’m not the most tactful guy in the world. And, frankly, I’ve been socially clueless for most of my life.

But even I know that if you are “asked” or “requested” to leave, resign, whatever, you are being “asked” in order to give you a graceful way out, not for you to decide to stay where you are not welcome.

So I am amazed at the response from some liberals to this key paragraph of the Primates' communiqué:

14. Within the ambit of the issues discussed in the Windsor Report and in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion.

Some are pointing to “voluntarily” and are actually advising that ECUSA decide to stay in the Anglican Consultative Council.

It makes me wonder if there is some serious denial going on here. Being the tactful, gentle guy I am, let me attempt to break through any possible denial:

North American Episcolibs, you’ve been requested to leave the ACC (at least until the next Lambeth Conference in 2008). You should know well that “request [to] voluntarily withdraw” is Anglican for . . . “leave!” Do the Primates have to be rude and unanglican and spell that out bluntly? Are you going to be rude and crash a council where you are not welcome?

Now I hope and almost expect that ++Griswold and most liberals have more sense than that. I’ve been “asked to leave” something before, too. And even I, in the midst of a stressful situation, immediately had enough sense to know it was pointless to stay.

If ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada leaders don’t have more sense than that . . . . Well, let’s just hope they do.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Crazy Afternoon

First there was a leak from the Primates meeting. Then I got an e-mail urging me not to pass on the leak for fear of jeopardizing the Primates’ agreement.

Then the Primates released their communiqué early, probably in response to the leak.

I’m not sure what to think. The agreement is not as strong as I had hoped. But my initial thinking is that this is a victory for Anglican orthodoxy IF the very Anglican polite words are implemented with firmness.

Notable is that the Primates did not endorse the Windsor Report’s call for Primates to stop intervening in other dioceses. And the agreement appears to be somewhat stronger than the Windsor report on providing for dissident orthodox parishes and dioceses.

So I’m positive. But again, the issue is how firmly will this agreement be implemented.

And for good or ill, it appears the expected split in the Anglican Communion is at least delayed and made gentle for now.
Primate watch (or Where’s Griswaldo?)

The Primates meeting concludes tomorrow, and Anglicans worldwide are antsy. As David Virtue reports, there is quite the information lockdown. No leaks, cell phones not being answered, etc.

There are a few tantalizing possible clues, however. At the evensong service, orthodox Primates were notably more cheerful than certain liberal ones. And most amusing is the group photo of the Primates. In the photo, finding ++Griswold is harder than finding Where’s Waldo. (He’s waaaay in the back – and not looking nearly as happy as Waldo.)

Of course, jumping to conclusions would be foolish. But this is more fun than Kremlin watching or Where's Waldo. . . . And I admit I am optimistic now.

(For those too young to remember Kremlin watching, among other things, photos of Soviet Union leaders at public appearances were deciphered to determine who was rising in or falling out of power.)

There’s a lot to pray for this morning. The Primates meeting is nearing its conclusion, of course.

But now the Pope is back in the hospital with a relapse of flu symptoms. That can’t be good. Our prayers are with him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Is Anglican Unity That Important?

That’s a question some are venturing to ask as the Primates of the Anglican Communion are meeting.

My answer is: Yes and No . . . depending on what *that* is. Oh my! I have become a good Anglican, haven’t I.

But there is good unity and bad unity – which really is not real unity at all. Unity among Christians who sincerely confess Jesus is Lord, who believe He died and rose bodily from the dead for us, who believe His word, the scriptures – that’s good unity and the sort Jesus prayed for. But for Christians to be in the same church body with those, especially clergy, whose faith does not include even those basics is not real unity at all. And cohabiting with such counterfeit “Christianity” has been historically and still is corrosive to the church and destructive to souls.

As a number have pointed out, including Brad Drell, there are two religions under the same roof, and there is not nearly enough in common between these religions to justify communion. A number of the Southern Primates clearly consider such communion to be sin, and I agree.

Personally, one reason I became Anglican is that the breath of unity among orthodox Anglicans appealed to me. I like the idea of being in the same church and having communion with, say, a conservative Anglo-Catholic. We may provoke each other when he puts the church in authority over scripture and I insist on keeping the church under the authority of scripture. Our views of just what exactly happens to the sacrament during communion may be different. He will surely be more Marian than me. But we both believe in Jesus as Lord, we both believe the scriptures, and we both contend for the Faith. So he’s my brother and I want us to be in the same church, even if our discussion may get a little . . . vigorous. I think that’s what the church should look like.

But I have no Christian unity with those, especially clergy (I might cut laity a little slack because we are all hopefully seeking and learning.), who are wolves in sheep clothing, posers who hold to the forms and even the vocabulary of the Faith but deny the basics of the Faith, who don’t hold to Jesus as Lord, who deny His bodily resurrection and His word. Pretending such unity is embracing deadly leaven as the apostles warned against. Such faux unity has been killing the mainline churches for decades. I want no part of it.

And it will kill the Anglican Communion if the Primates don’t put a stop to it or least say, “Enough!” Not strongly disciplining the ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada in the name of Anglican unity would be the sort of faux unity that has been the downfall of the mainline churches.

Genuine unity among Christians is a beautiful thing that glorifies God. But there are two religions in the Anglican house. It’s past time we stop pretending otherwise. It’s time to tell that other religion to find other lodging.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Churchly Quality Control XIII: a timely Morning Prayer lesson

With the Primates meeting beginning today, I find it interesting that one of the 1928 BCP Morning Prayer lessons for today is I Corinthians 5, a prime chapter on church discipline.

In it, Paul berates the Corinthian church for being “puffed up” about their inclusiveness and tolerance instead of calling sin sin and dealing with it. He warns them that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” – which sounds like the 20th century history of the mainline denominations. And he tells them to “purge out the old leaven” of the evil among them.

It sounds very like a good agenda for the Primates.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The time has come.

It’s seems unreal to me in a way, but the meeting we’ve all been waiting for is upon us. The Primates of the Anglican Communion meet in Ireland beginning tomorrow. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the future of the Anglican Communion is at stake.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Greenpeace gets theirs.

I find few things as insufferable as the self-righteousness of certain leftists. College-aged protester-types and organizations such as Greenpeace particularly annoy me. That they feel their causes and the supposed eeeeevil of their opponents justify any tactics adds to the annoyance. So forgive me for rejoicing in Greenpeace protesters getting theirs.

They tried to disrupt a legitimate and important business. And they were stopped in no uncertain terms with appropriate violence. Wonderful! I would have loved to have been there (and maybe join in ejecting them).

This line from one of the protesters is priceless: “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.” So you come trespassing with noisemakers in order to disrupt business and the businessmen are supposed to listen to you?

Are these people related to those who cram their apostate agenda down the throats of Anglicans, then call for “holy listening”?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

No one expects the English Inquisition!?!

I hope you’re sitting down. Are you? In fact, find a Comfy Chair. Ready? O. K., then.

The Church of England is actually considering having heresy trials for clergy.

Yes. Shocking. But wonderful!

I strongly feel that the church must exercise church discipline against heretic and apostate clergy, especially those who are willfully so. To refuse to do so puts aside a vital God-mandated tool in defending the Faith, the integrity of the Church, and the souls of the people.

Yes, there will always be phonies and wolves. But the church should make darn sure they aren’t in the pulpits (much less wearing pointy hats).

Such common sense has sadly been lacking in most large Western church bodies for years. So to see this news is a breath of fresh air.

Friday, February 11, 2005

”I’m not dead yet.”

I’m actually feeling much better.

Nor am I giving up blogging for Lent. But between being sick for over two weeks and falling behind on some things, I think it best to take a short break from this blog.

Unless something sufficiently provokes me first, I’ll probably be back sometime next week.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A timely word on Ash Wednesday

The Pontificator has posted an excellent quote linking effective prayer and fasting with acts of mercy. This is in line with the 1928 BCP Morning Prayer lesson today from Isaiah 58 among other scriptures.

I commend the quote to you as a timely exhortation. It certainly is a timely exhortation to me.

(By the way, although I’m by no means deathly ill, I haven’t been completely well for two weeks now. Prayers would be appreciated.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

St. Valentine’s Family Church

It still amazes me how some churches can be so cluelessly insensitive to those who aren’t happily married with 2.5 children.

Take the (mercifully unnamed) subject of this discussion thread for instance. This church plans to have a service entitled “Be my Valentine.” The mushfest will include all the married couples being invited to come up and renew their wedding vows.

And – here’s where it gets good – it will be the MAIN SUNDAY SERVICE!

Did the leaders of this church give no thought for the pain this would cause those who are unhappily married or unhappily single . . . or widowed? There was one long period in my life when such a service would have made me deeply miserable.

I do not exaggerate. In fact, Valentine’s Day itself used to be so unhappy for me, I made a point to ignore it. (Now I have fun by trashing the day and accosting mushy couples, but I digress.)

If they want to have a separate service for this sort of thing, fine. I might then ask if they do special things for singles. But to make this the main Sunday service is just incredibly . . . . It’s just incredible. (I’m trying to be nice for Lent.)

Heck, why don’t they just give up any and all pretense of giving a flip for singles and rename themselves St. Valentine’s Family Church.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A special Super Bowl

Thank you, New England Patriots!

But there's something even cooler about this year's Super Bowl:
If you have my book God Knows What It's Like to be a Teenager (and you should), the guy on the left of the cover picture is Aaron. I was a youth leader to him when he was in 7th grade, and we continued to be friends. The cover picture was taken before we saw the Drop Kick Murphys.

Since that picture was taken, he became a Marine and served in Iraq.

Well now he's back. And he and his wife and baby daughter watched the Super Bowl with me. :^)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Churchly Quality Control XIII: Just say no to more “dialogue” and “study.”

I’ve noted on this blog that a frequent tactic of mainline denomination liberals attempting to consolidate their gains (and of wimps afraid to take a stand on controversial issues) is to call for more “dialogue” and “study.”

Now, obviously, real dialogue and study is important. But more often than not, when you hear of calls for supposed dialogue and study from mainline liberals and moderates, it’s a cover for putting off issues and for putting up roadblocks to the orthodox. Often, it’s also a cover for continuing liberal policies while pretending to listen to those who oppose them. Such so-called dialogue serves no good purpose. It’s just a political ploy.

So – surprise, surprise – there are calls for yet more dialogue and study from Episcopal gay activists and their supporters ahead of the Primates meeting.

There comes a time when the orthodox should refuse to play that game. There comes a time to take a stand and say, “No, we will dialogue no further about what is right. We will do what is right.”

Now is such a time.

It is quite clear there will be no repentance or even moratoriums from North American Anglican liberals. While they call for “holy listening” they engage in unholy steamrolling, pressing forward their agenda and squeezing those who stand in the way. Supposedly listening to people before you crush them as intended is pretense.

The orthodox must not participate in that malevolent pretense.

For the sake of the Faith, for the sake of those being squeezed for defending the Faith, for the sake of the integrity of Anglicanism, orthodox Anglican leaders must say no to putting off action for yet more “dialogue” and “study.” This is a time, not for faux dialogue, but for action -- for firm church discipline.

Pray for the Primates meeting.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Hugo, make my day!

I just heard on CNBC that Hugo Chavez, Castroite President of Venezuela, is considering selling refiner Citgo and taking his heavy grade sludge oil to China to be refined instead of the U. S.

Go ahead, Hugo! You’ll cost your government millions to ship oil half way around the world to inferior refineries. And there’s any number of companies that would love to have Citgo and their quality refining capacity.

Meanwhile, I would be able to end my personal boycott of Citgo – which will make my life easier since half the gas stations in Corpus are Citgo. Yeah, gas prices might go up a bit. But it will be worth it to see you squeezed.

Go ahead, Hugo, you Leftist goon, do it!
The Truth Comes Out II

Is it just me, or is there a sudden outbreak of ECUSA liberal contempt for the Anglican Communion? Here’s the latest bile spewing episode from an assistant bishop no less against arrogant bloodthirsty Primates and their whining orthodox allies. Hmmm.

I might deal with some of the points in this vomitous letter at a later time. But could it be that the liberals are seeing what’s coming from the Primates and are having tantrums like an unrepentant brat about to be punished? Or have they been holding most of their bile in, and now just have to let it all out?

The Primates meeting is still weeks away. If they do what they should do, maybe we will need to duck for cover.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Choral Evensong rocks! . . . Well, you know what I mean.

For some reason, I’m a bit foggy-brained to write much today. (Of course, some may think I’m that way all the time.) But I’m very excited to see the schedule for BBC Choral Evensong. Next week on Ash Wednesday, it comes from Westminster Cathedral, which has been excellent in the past. On March 9th will be Canterbury Cathedral itself. Then on March 23rd during Holy Week, it will come from . . . KING’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE!! Yessssssssss!

If you’re not in the U.K. and want to listen to these, you can listen online. They come on live at 10am Dallas time on Wednesdays. If you miss it live, you can listen whenever you want for a week. Here’s a handy page.

(This week’s from Durham Cathedral was nice, although the lady cantor was a bit hard on my ears.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Truth Comes Out.

Two diocean conventions caught my eye by making it quite clear that ECUSA revisionists don’t give a gradual about the Anglican Communion.

First was the Spong clone Bishop of Newark’s address
to his convention in which he made clear that marching lockstep with the revisionist gay agenda is more important than the Anglican Communion.

He even suggested that unity in the Anglican Communion has become “an idol.” The irony of that statement is rich, considering how many things uberliberals like him have put before God and His Word. The Diocese of Newark has been Idolatry Central for many years.

More subtle, but perhaps more outrageous was the convention of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Not only did they decline to accept the Windsor Report, most of the delegates didn’t even consider it worthy of their time to read the thing. Note this choice paragraph from the linked Roanoke Times article:

But other delegates expressed reluctance to "accept" a document which, by a show of hands, at least half the delegates said they had not read all the way through.

Look. I, of short attention span, can read the Windsor Report in two or at most three sittings. And how many months has it been out? Yet these delegates didn’t take their responsibilities to their convention and to the Anglican Communion seriously enough to even read it. That is outrageous.

The convention took the usual mainline cop-out of calling for “study” of the Windsor Report. WHY DON’T YOU TRY READING IT FOR STARTERS?

To get further color on what is really thinly veiled contempt for the Anglican Communion and the Windsor Report, read comment #10 on the linked TitusOneNine post.

These revisionists, apostates, and tag-alongs have made it clear that they really don’t care for the Anglican Communion. It’s past time to kick. them. out.