Monday, June 27, 2005

NEWSFLASH!!: WCC Says Stalin is NOT a Nice Man and He Should Stop Being So Mean!

Not really. But the World Council of Churches did something every bit as contemptible in releasing this statement condemning the forced evictions committed by Robert Mugabe and his thugs in Zimbabwe.

These evictions didn’t exactly start yesterday. They’ve been going on for years. And now the WCC gets around to saying something about them. Well, thank you very much.

Here’s the full statement. Note how it starts: “The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization that has a long history of supporting the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for justice and freedom . . . “

Oh really? What the WCC has is a long history of supporting Robert Mugabe. Therefore, they share blame for the very evictions they are condemning. Some “justice and freedom.”

What’s needed from the WCC isn’t another pontification. What’s needed is an abject apology and repentance. Maybe then they will be worth listening to.

mutters to self “Every time I need a break, the idiots provoke me. . . .”

Sunday, June 26, 2005

. . . But not too swamped to post this.

Well, I take a break to catch up on my Anglican reading. And I come across a very interesting and timely sermon by David Roseberry at Christ Church Plano this morning that I have to post. Without further comment, I recommend you read it.
Yes . . . swamped again.

I suddenly realized there’s a lot I need to do the next few days. So forgive me if I don’t post until late in the week.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Reformed Episcopal General Council days 2 and 3

written the last day but posted the morning after the council

There’s much from the REC and APA (Anglican Province of America) meetings that ended this afternoon that I’m leaving out of my posts due to lack of time and energy.

But it has been an excellent experience. ++Venables spoke to us again for Morning Prayer yesterday. He emphasized the importance of evangelism, about which us Reformed Episcopalians still need to be nudged. Bill Atwood spoke to us today, the Nativity of John the Baptist, during Holy Communion. He spoke on the importance of speaking the truth in love, not falling into judgementalism, arrogance, or a lack of joy. It was a message all us orthodox Anglicans need to hear.

But the highlight for me these last two days was receiving the sacrament today. While REC and APA clergy distributed the elements, one of them (APA I presumed, but I later found out he was REC.) would do a little cross with the sacrament before the faces of the receivers before distributing it to them. And there were other Anglo-Cath touches mixed into the fairly low church REC Prayer Book service. At the same time behind him, a mostly Black choir from the REC Diocese of the Southeast wonderfully sang joyous gospel music.

Both the solemn Anglo-Catholic practice and the rousing old-fashioned gospel singing aided my worship. And I loved it.

And it typifies a big reason why I love orthodox Anglicanism and the REC and now the APA in particular. While remaining firm on what ++Venables on Wednesday called “the basics,” we combine the best of what faithful people of different traditions have to bring to worship under one roof. Anglicanism looks more like the whole church than any other church I can think of.

And during Holy Communion this morning, as I said, I loved it. If I hadn’t have been smiling and swaying, I might had been crying.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Day 1 of the REC General Council, tat, infamy, and Dr. Strangelove

posted a day later due to lack of time and free internet

Greetings from the Reformed Episcopal Church General Council. It’s not quite as exciting as the Anglican Consultative Council, but maybe I’ll liven up things by trying to take it over as an observer so we’ll be just like the ACC.

The opening service this morning at the Anglican Province of America’s St. Alban’s Cathedral (on St. Alban’s Day no less) was nice, quite an intercultural experience. How many services have both ex tempore prayers (from ++Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone and very evangelical) and sung prayers (from ++ Walter Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the very Anglo-Cath APA)? The APA knows how to dress up by the way. They have the REC beat when it comes to tat.

By the way, this is the first joint meeting of the REC and the APA. The APA is having a business meeting next door to ours. (We are in the process of merger.) Hence the joint service at ++Grundorf’s very nice church . . . with a wonderful organ!

It’s a small church, however. So us laity had to watch on a screen in their fellowship hall. I ran across the way, however to catch much of the organ postlude.

Speaking of intercultural, the REC has a long-standing large Afro-American Anglican contingent, many sitting in front of me. It was neat seeing some of the their ladies with headcoverings and hearing many of them quietly voicing approval of ++Greg Venables’ sermon.

And it merited their approval. ++Venables preached on “The Basics” using the beginning of Hebrews 2.

The most memorable statement was in his introductory remarks, however, when he said, “We look forward to the day when our institutional structures catch up with our fellowship” that we already have. Quite an encouraging comment from a Primate of the Anglican Communion.

Afterwards back at the hotel, ++Venables and I ended up in the same elevator. I let him know I am the WannabeAnglican. He immediately instructed my rector to discipline me. He was joking, of course . . . I hope. In any case, he is a affable man with a fun dry humor.

Bill Atwood was near by and his face lit up upon hearing my identity. I’m infamous, I mean, famous!

++Venables again displayed his humor later while talking on the state of the Anglican Communion to our business meeting. Referring to aftermath of the emergency Primates meeting in 2003, he said “a couple of us” asked ++Griswold how he could say he’s going ahead with the consecration of Gene Robinson when he had just signed the Primate’s statement asking ECUSA not to do so. His response was something along the lines of that he agreed that that was the Primates’ statement as a body.

Venables remarked to us that is “weird” like a hand acting independently apart from the body. And that if you have that, you best see a doctor. He motioned his hand around randomly as he said that, then asked us:

“Have you seen Dr. Strangelove?”

+Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia is also here. My rector greatly enjoyed talking with him at the evening banquet. +Howe of Central Florida gave some very encouraging remarks there.

I could say more and surely will in the future. But it’s hard to escape that orthodox leaders in the Anglican Communion are very interested in us in the REC and APA.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Off to “observe” the REC Convention

Well, today I fly to Orlando for the Reformed Episcopal Church convention. Primate Venables will be speaking, so that should be a highlight.

But I have a question. I’m going as an observer. Now I thought that meant that I just observe the meetings. But I’m still new at being an Anglican, you know. And after seeing how the ECUSA observers are conducting themselves at the ACC meetings, I’m wondering . . . to be a good Anglican observer, should I try to take over the convention?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Day 2 of the ACC

I don’t want to rehash it here, but it was a very interesting day at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting, which included a remarkably balanced address by ++Rowan Williams.
The Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth Gives In to the Witch Hunt.

continued from Saturday’s post

When you have a witch hunt, as we are now, it’s needful for real men (and gutsy women) to stand up against it and say, “Enough!”

But instead of courageously defending dead and falsely accused priests who have been under the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Joseph Delaney gave in to the litigation of the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and released their names to the media right along with the names of those who are alive and rightly accused of child abuse.

Four names were released for the first time, not being the subject of previous news coverage. (I don’t have a problem with the release of the other names.) Two of those men are dead. Real courage there, bishop, throwing the names of the dead to the mud.

But the release of one new name in particular has provoked me to throw off my caution and denounce this betrayal. Read the Dallas Morning News front page story (Registration may be required.) and note the following about that name:

The priest who is known to have remained in ministry is the Rev. Joseph Tu, who has been serving for years at a Houston parish and could not be reached for comment Friday evening. Nor could officials of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

Father Tu is a member of the Dominican religious order, and Bishop Delaney referred questions to its officials in New Orleans, saying that they had made the decision to keep him in ministry. The officials could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Here’s another news account.

But look at what the Dallas Morning News did reveal a few days later:

Galveston-Houston officials gave this written account of the allegations and their aftermath:
• Father Tu was accused in 1993 "in reference to an incident in 1980, in Fort Worth, with two minor girls."
• He was temporarily removed from his Fort Worth parish while his Dominican superiors investigated.
• "The alleged victims' family confirmed that there was no sexual abuse."
• He "received a psychological assessment which ruled out any sexual attraction to minors, and he returned to ministry in Fort Worth."
• His order transferred him to Houston in 1994 "in response to the needs of the Dominican fathers' ministry."
• "There have been no complaints of a sexual nature raised against Father Tu during his 11 years of ministry in Houston."

The Star-Telegram story (really obnoxious registration. I go through a lot for you people.) begins:

A priest accused of sexually abusing two girls in the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese was cleared after a church investigation found no wrongdoing and the family recanted, according to a recent letter written by Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

So the accusations against him likely were false. In any case, the matter was long ago, recanted by the family, and not repeated in the twenty-five years since. But Bishop Delaney threw his reputation to the wolves anyway.

I’ve had it with the so-called Voice of the Faithful as well. In pushing for the release of these names and in their conduct in general, they have shown little or no concern for protecting the falsely accused.

The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram are certainly not clean in this matter. A judge rightly sealed the names, and the bishop originally wanted them kept private. But the papers sued to have them released anyway. I understand the news media’s job is to uncover and report. And to their credit, they later reported information that at least largely clears Tu’s name. But the damage was done.

And surely they understand some things are best kept private to protect the innocent. Newspapers rightly don’t reveal the names of sexual abuse victims. But where’s the protection of those who may be falsely accused of sexual abuse?

But the news media’s persistence is no excuse for the bishop to jump the gun and release the names, especially the names of Fr. Tu and of the deceased. And he gave little indication in releasing the names that Fr. Tu has been cleared. If anything, he did the very opposite. Here’s the diocese press release page.

The bishop dared to say through a spokesman that he thought releasing the names also would "exonerate the overwhelming majority of priests who have served faithfully throughout their priesthood."

What!? Not only does that sound like Father Tu has not served faithfully, throwing more mud at his name, it implies that the way to protect of the reputations of priests is to throw the reputations of priests to the wolves. If I worked under Bishop Delaney, I would certainly feel differently about that.

And then this statement from the bishop: “I want to be certain that we acknowledge the faithful, Christlike service of more than 98 percent of our priests who have not been accused of wrongdoing.” What about those who have been falsely accused? It’s hard to escape the tenor of the bishop’s statement that if you are merely accused, you and your reputation are treated as unfaithful and worthless.

I would say that’s guilty until proven innocent, except that the bishop’s treatment is worse. For Fr. Tu is at least close to proven innocent (and it's exceedingly difficult to prove innocence in such cases), but +Delaney still treated him as if he were proven guilty.

Bishop, your job is to shepherd the flock under you, both clergy and laity. That job isn’t easy. It often means defending the flock against wolves, including witch hunters.

But instead of doing that, you practically joined a witch hunt yourself. You threw the reputation of a faithful servant to the wolves and treated him as unfaithful, even though there are good reasons to believe the accusations against him were false and even though he has been cleared by both his order and another diocese.

Shame on you, Bishop Delaney! Shame on you!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

ACC meeting begins . . .

. . . And ECUSA seems to be very busy withdrawing from the meeting. Heck, they are the life of the party.

Maybe I should try that strategy when I go to England. If I can’t get a ticket or a seat to my liking somewhere, I’ll just take it anyway and say I’m just observing. Or if entry isn’t permitted somewhere, I’ll say that’s fine and go in anyway. If confronted, I’ll just smile and say, “I’m just observing, I’m here but I’m not participating. And, by the way, greetings from America!”

I’m sure the English won’t mind. Heck, at Nottingham, they seem to positively like it.

UPDATE: Yep, the ECUSA delegation is just observing. Don't mind them. They've withdrawn themselves, you know.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The existence of witches does not justify witch-hunting.

Normally, I stay far away from the subject of child abuse accusations. The subject has become so toxic that even people who take up for those they feel have been falsely accused get smeared. One small example, a Christian acquaintance who normally has good common sense called Michael Jackson’s fans a bunch of pedophiles.

Now I’m no Michael Jackson fan. And I hope the friend was engaging in hyperbole. But the point remains that things have gotten so toxic around this subject that even defenders of the accused are considered fair game for vicious attack.

Heck, you don’t even have to be commenting on the subject at all to get attacked as a pedophile nowadays. Evil people will use the worst weapon at hand. And guess what the worst handy weapon today is? So in online arguments, I’ve seen these people attack others as pedophiles with no justification at all. How would you like those sort of bytes about you flying around the internet?

So I’ve passed up any number of opportunities to comment on what I now consider the great American witch hunt.

And it has become a witch hunt. Now note that witch hunts are sometimes provoked by the existence of witches. In the most famous witch hunt of all, the Salem Witch Trials, there is reason to think demonic spiritual activity was going on. (A slave woman was probably practicing the voodoo of her native land.)

But things got out of hand. There was little concern for protecting the innocent. Accusations were as good as convictions. And accusations were used as weapons against people who had nothing to do with witchly activity.

And we see the same thing today surrounding child abuse. There is little concern for protecting the innocent, particularly from the news media (and even from some Catholic bishops, which I will get into). Accusations are treated in a manner that destroys reputations and lives even if they are later found to have little basis. And false accusations are used as weapons. Troubled adolescents and vicious custody disputes are notorious for producing such accusations.

And I might add another trait of witch hunts – punishments are out of line with the offenses. Even if anyone was involved in witchcraft in Salem, did it justify the death penalty? If a barely of age boy has sex with his barely not of age girlfriend, does that justify him being convicted as a sex offender and having his name forever put on public sex offenders lists? (Yes, that happens. And a D. A. friend confided in me that he finds it ridiculous and wrong.)

Are there child molesters out there? Of course. And we should take firm and wise measures to protect children and society from them. Does their existence justify today’s witch hunting?


But the witch-hunting atmosphere has become so toxic, I’ve been hesitant to say anything about it lest I become a target as well. If that goes beyond caution to cowardice, forgive me.

But now I’ve become so provoked by how a probably innocent man has been wronged by the church and the news media that I can’t keep quiet anymore.

to be continued

Friday, June 17, 2005

By the way . . .

I got my plane tickets to England . . . and a 17th century room in Oxford.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

”Nyet, nyet, you misunderstand. Freedom of speech mean freedom from your speech.”

Yesterday, I mentioned that some Canadian gay rights activists want their opponents silenced with help from the government.

Well, well, their wish is already becoming the Shiny Happy Gulag’s command thanks to kangaroo courts. This week, British Columbia’s highest court upheld the suspension of a teacher for writing a letter to the editor opposing homosexual conduct.

I really don’t know what to add. This ruling leaves me speechless . . . which would apparently please a number of Canadian gay rights activists and their judicial toadies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

”Tolerance” unmasked.

I never cease to find it interesting that those who most loudly advocate “tolerance” are not only most intolerant, but want the government to back up their intolerance.

A case in point: Canadian gay rights advocates want the government to take away the tax exempt status of churches that oppose gay marriage.

The evolution of the public face of the gay rights crowd has been most interesting. First, they asked for tolerance. Then they, in a number of ways, demanded government-backed endorsement and support. Now at least some of them are asking that their opponents be silenced.

(And, yes, I know gays with much more tolerance and decency than that. But they aren’t conducting the gay rights circus.)

The guy who dubbed Canada a shiny happy gulag wasn’t kidding.

I would compare this crowd to the MADD mothers who have gotten everything they have asked for, but won’t be satisfied until those who are within 100 yards of a drink before driving are given the death penalty. But I can’t recall even the MADDest mother asking the government to silence opponents.

Oh, and for those Americans who think government-backed anti-Christian intolerance can’t happen here, I present to you Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, the Chairman of the Democrat Party and an anti-Christian bigot.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Hey, I’m a bit swamped again. So I may have to take another day or two off from posting here.

Among other things, I’m going to be trying to resolve some potential disagreements concerning my land in a peaceable manner today. I would appreciate your prayers for success. I don’t like conflict, but I don’t like be taken advantage of, either.

Also pray for strength in resolving matters. Catching waves from Arlene (Wonderful!) and travel and interrupted sleep last night has me a bit weak.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pay no attention to what is about to happen.

If you want to see a rather amusing attempt at preemptive damage control, read this from Bishop Parsley of Alabama.

Do you think he’s nervous about the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting, about the uberliberal propaganda ECUSA will lay down there and its fallout?

Bishop Parsley has been an overbearing autocrat, among other things threatening parishes and clergy who want to be members of the American Anglican Council. So forgive me if I enjoy watching him sweat.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tentative England trip schedule

I’ve been reading and thinking away and think I have a basic schedule for my English pilgrimage:

Nov. 21-28th -- Cambridge with a possible day trip to Ely Cathedral
Nov. 28-Dec 2nd -- Oxford
Dec 2-12 or 14th -- London with a day trip to Canterbury

I'm going to try to get tickets to the Dec 2nd Kings College Choir concert at St. John's Smith Square and perhaps the Dec 13th New College Choir concert at Christchurch Spitalfields. I also will probably try to get tickets to the St. Johns Cambridge Advent service. (If getting any of these tickets is a pipe dream, let me know so I can adjust my schedule.)

Again, advice is welcome. Very early booking for some things would be wise I suspect. So I may start with that next week.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Panel of Reference Named . . . Finally

The Panel of Reference has been named . . . finally. Here’s the list .

Except for the infamous chairman, I don’t know the names well at all. But judging from comments over at titusonenine, its overall composition is much better than the choice of chairman.

I’m not as sour toward the panel as I was when ++Carnley was named chair. But I still very much have a wait and see attitude.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More on the L.A. bishops meeting

The aforementioned L.A. ECUSA bishops meeting in July is getting more and more interesting . The Living Church reports that the meeting will seek “a final settlement” between liberal and orthodox parties of the church. And, yes, even revisionists are acknowledging that a possible division of assets is on the table.

This is quite a change of tune and an encouraging one to me. I wonder what prompted it. Bishop Bruno of L. A. called the meetings. Perhaps lawyers told him he could very easily lose his property fight with departing parishes.

And, yes, there have been reports that the Denis Canon (which says in effect “All your parish property are belong to us.”) has been found to not be properly ratified and therefore no canon at all. I haven’t commented here on that because I seriously doubt the reports. But this sudden change makes me think there might be something to them.

Or maybe it’s simply that some key revisionist bishops are past their denial. Maybe they see trying to conduct business as usual will bring on a series of long, ugly, expensive fights over parish properties and other matters.

In any case, I find this very interesting and encouraging. And, by the way, an Anglican journalist who has a good B. S. detector has told me there indeed may be some big, positive things going on leading up to this meeting.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Noteworthy travels ahead . . .

I will be going to the Reformed Episcopal Church convention in Orlando as an observer later this month. Primate Venables is on the program. It should be interesting, and I’ll pass tidbits on to you.

Oh, and I just found out I’ll be taking another little trip. I’ll be going to England around the beginning of Advent.

It will be my first time to go to England. And going to as many choral services as I can will be a priority. King's College, you might get sick of me.

(And suggestions are appreciated. I’ve got a lot of planning to do!)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bishops discussing a division of assets.

David Virtue mentioned that there was talk that several bishops from both conservative and liberal camps of ECUSA to meet in Los Angeles were going to discuss a possible division of assets should there be a church split. But I didn’t want to post on it until something more certain came out. But now it has.

We shouldn’t get our hopes up, but that bishops from different sides of the Episcopal Church will even discuss this is progress.

Up to now, the policy has largely been to kiss the bishop’s . . . ring or leave your parish property. Most parishes who could no longer endure ECUSA and its apostasy have had to leave their properties, St. Nicholas in Midland, Texas being a recent well-publicized example. They approached Bishop Ohl with the fact that the membership didn’t want to be in ECUSA anymore, that they were already bleeding members and money, and asked to work something out with him. And the bishop promptly asked them to leave their buildings . . . that THEY paid for.

Other parishes and their bishops are locked in legal battles over parish property -- not an edifying sight to the world.

There probably will be (and should be) a split in the Episcopal Church. As has been said, “there are two religions in the house.” And it’s best that they part ways. Let’s hope and pray that they part ways with some degree of grace, including working out how to divide assets among themselves instead of kicking congregations out in the streets and fighting in courts. That bishops will be discussing such a possible division of assets is reason for thanks and prayer.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

”Should I stay or should I go?” – more thoughts on leaving or staying in the ECUSA

The Pontificator and Peter Toon have timely thoughts on the question of leaving or staying in the ECUSA. As Toon reminds us, we need to have charity toward those who make a different decision in difficult circumstances than we would make.

The Pontificator’s post has lots of comments, btw. Oh, and extra credit to the first one to correctly identify the band in the subject line. :)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The congregation is part of worship.

A rather obvious point, is it not? But some seem not to get it. Some don’t realize that we don’t attend church merely to spectate or to be entertained. The congregation has a vital role to play in worship. Apparently, there are clergy out there who don’t get it either, namely this vicar and his bishop.

In deciding what forms to use in worship, it’s only common sense to take into the consideration the congregation and their background. You don’t have Spanish services for Koreans. And you don’t have dancing charismatic services for traditional Anglo-Catholics or swing the incense around for people with vanity plates that read “NO POPERY.”

I prefer to worship in an Anglo-Catholic style, but I wouldn’t dream of imposing it on a congregation that would be freaked out by it. There are different styles of worship that are all good, and congregational preferences in this area should be respected. To lose 60 people as this vicar did because he wanted happy-clappy dancing worship for a congregation that didn’t is nuts.

I have strong preferences in how I like to worship. But I’m not about to divide Christ’s church over it.