Thursday, December 28, 2006

No Safe Place: The Mafia Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

My kind readers know I don’t have especially high expectations of the Episcopal Church. But this letter from the TEC Diocese of Georgia, to Christ Church Savannah floored me. I don’t know what the exact legal definition of such things are, but it’s extortion pure and simple. Christopher Johnson says more about that.

This letter along with other actions of Episcolib bishops and chancellors also reveals an obsession with money and with stripping departing orthodox priests of all holy orders. That I can’t understand. If a priest is leaving for another jurisdiction, why the need to strip him of all orders? Vindictiveness?

As for money, some bishops might as well say, “Screw the Holy Listening! Just show me the money!”

Now I could vent on the Bishop of Georgia – and he would deserve it and more. But Craig Goodrich is on to something deeper:

OK, this clinches it. Neither +Lee nor +Loutit [the Bishop of Georgia] have been aggressive with their orthodox parishes in the past, and for those who know them it seems wildly out of character — since they are both apparently by nature fence-sitters who would prefer the whole controversy to just go away.

But now we find them suddenly sending these unGodly (literally) threatening letters in tones so nasty and imperious that they shock even most liberally-leaning Episcopalians (with the exception, of course, of the few who are completely off the deep end). Why?

Do we know of any diocese that has recently been managed with such obliviously tactless, heavy-handed techniques? Where any suggestion of disagreement with the Bishop would cost you your job? Where well-loved and long-serving priests were hounded out of the diocese (and in one case, even resigned his orders)?

Virginia, Georgia — welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

In other words, the bishop acting as Mafioso was Kate Schori’s M.O. as bishop of Nevada. And now that she’s the Presiding Bishop, it has already become the M.O. of 815, of the national Episcopal Church.

As incredible as the letter from the Diocese of Georgia is, it’s not exceptional in the Episcopal Church.

It’s policy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

About ++Rowan’s Letter

It’s now clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s leaked letter to the Primates concerning their upcoming meeting is genuine.

The question now is just what does it mean and what to make of it. Opinion among reasserters is very mixed while most revisionists are negative about it, some very much so.

I think it’s premature for either side either to shout hosannas or to fall on their swords. ++Rowan’s missives conceal as much as reveal his thinking. But the more I look at this letter the more I like it. The Archbishop recognizes, in writing (albeit in what was intended to be a private letter), that ++Schori attending and representing U. S. Anglicans at the Primates Meeting and at Lambeth ’08 is problematic at best. And it sounds like he wants that issue resolved at the February Primates Meeting. He does not want combat over this at Lambeth. And he’s taken initial steps toward someone else representing Episcopalians.

The reason he did not disinvite Schori already is that he believes in making major decisions in council – very Anglican – and does not want to bypass that even if it is his prerogative whom to invite to Lambeth. I expect, as I suspect does he, that the Primates Meeting will (in effect) expel Schori. But he wants that to be done in such a manner that no reasonable person can say he was unfair or the process short-circuited. (Of course, many UNreasonable people are already saying he’s unfair, but anyway . . . )

Of course, he also doesn’t want to short-circuit matters by acting in such a way that the Global South walks away altogether. I suspect he worked this out before sending out the letter.

Now having said that, am I perhaps being overly optimistic? Is it still possible that he will keep inviting Schori and company to everything and let the Global South walk if it wants? Yes. But after reading this letter, I think it less likely.

If you’d like to read some cogent analysis of the letter, I suggest that from Brad Drell, BabyBlue, and Christopher Johnson.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

BREAKING: A letter from Rowan on the Primate’s Meeting?

I surely thought this of all weekends would be a slow time on the Anglican news front. But not so. For an important letter purportedly from the Archbishop of Canterbury concerning the Primate’s Meeting and --Schori’s attendance at it has been leaked.

I say “purportedly” because I doubt its authenticity. It barely sounds like ++Rowan to me and has an obvious sloppy error in grammar completely unlike him. But others in far better positions than I to know insist it’s authentic.

Anyway, if I do comment further here, it will probably be after Christmas. The letter with interesting commentary may be found here and here and no telling where else.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Lights

An important theme of Advent and Christmas is the light of Christ overcoming the darkness. We see this beginning on Advent Sunday with the wonderful collect which asks “give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light.” We will see it again in the Gospel of John on Christmas Day that proclaims “the light shineth in the darkness.”

Yet long before I’ve heard these words, well before I came to faith even, I instinctively knew light was important to Christmas.

For I’ve always loved Christmas lights. I can remember my mom and I driving around just to look at the lights on people’s houses. I can remember my mom letting me have my own tree in my room. (I loved Christmas trees, too.) I would go to sleep happily looking at it all lit up. (Due to my terrible childish taste, it also had red flocking on it, but anyway . . . ) I loved looking at Christmas lights. And they gave me a warm feeling somehow.

I’m much older now. But Christmas lights still comfort me. The other night, my place was darker and lonelier than I liked. But I turned on some lights I have strung up. And I just felt better.

What’s funny is I find myself getting a little more into Christmas lights each year. I slow down to look at them when I drive. And my display is getting a little more elaborate every year. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those who spends hours and hours trying to outdo the neighborhood with his lights, but who knows.

I think one reason I’ve been getting more into Christmas lights and into Christmas itself is I appreciate more and more Jesus being the light of the world. And I find myself getting more emotional about it and about the celebration of it.

Whether or not the time of Christ’s birth was a dark cold night in the dead of winter, it’s right that we celebrate his advent during this darkest time of year. For light shines brightest in the darkness. And he is the light that comforts us in our darkness that can be so cold. His advent dispels our darkness and gives us comfort, warmth, and life with his humble yet glorious light.

Have a blessed and merry Christmas.
Timely Perspective on ++Akinola

With ADS running rampant, there’s been talk that the Primate of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, would jail gays for having lunch, etc. So it’s good that there’s some timely perspective out this week on his views on homosexuals.

CANA released two letters, one from ++Akinola, another from its bishop in America, +Martyn Minns.

Also, David+ Roseberry, rector of Christ Church Plano, has written of his meeting with ++Akinola. The Archbishop shared his views on treatment of homosexuals in that meeting as well. (By the way, David+ has an excellent and ongoing series of articles over at Stand Firm. I commend them to you.)

A fair reading of the letters and article reveal ++Peter Akinola isn’t the gay-bashing despot those afflicted with ADS would have us believe.

Unfortunately those stricken with ADS are almost incapable of being either fair or rational. So expect the demonization to continue.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Children in Services

Well, Christmas is near. So even though I could be ranting about the many and recent enormities of the Episcopal Church, such as this arrogant missive from the Bishop of East Tennessee (and some of my thoughts are in comment 11), I think it better to turn to more Christmasy subjects.

One such issue that has come to mind is that of small children in services. I say “issue” because at this time of year it is indeed an issue for many congregations. They wrestle with just how to include children in their holiday services.

One approach is to just allow a service to become a romper room. I’ve been to one such service. I couldn’t hear a thing for all the noisy children – not one of my warmest Christmas memories. Another approach is to have “family” services more geared to children. But often the only members of the family that enjoy such services are . . . no members of the family.

At the other extreme is to discourage families from bringing small children to services. King’s College for their famous Christmas Eve Nine Lessons and Carols service discreetly warns, “We advise that this service is not suitable for young children.” And, considering the service, wisely so methinks. But for churches that share Jesus’ priority of letting children come to Him, that policy must be an exception not the rule.

Over at the Ship of Fools, there are two interesting threads on this issue here and here. (Note that those links may not work after a few weeks.)

There’s no one right approach, but I have some thoughts.

1. Children must be included in the church as much as possible. AND

2. Everyone must be allowed to worship with a minimum of distractions.

Not either/or, both. These are not negotiable. And you will drive people away if you don’t do both.

3. Church should be fun for children.

4. Children (beyond an extremely young age, of course) can live up to high expectations better than we think.

Now, some of you may think, “HA! I wonder who doesn’t have children.” But hold on. My parish demonstrates well all four points.

Small children (and my parish, though small, has a lot of children) are included in every service. And we have acolytes as young as eight. As I’ve noted before, one of the glories of Anglicanism is children join the whole church in participating in worship.

Yet very rarely do children significantly distract from worship. When that does happen (or is about to happen) family takes them outside until they calm down.

And, yes, that is common courtesy parents should exercise. There is the option of a nursery as well. But even newborns are usually brought in for communion.

By the way, it’s interesting to see how very young children enjoy coming to the communion rail. Do they sense something many adults do not?

The children, having experienced traditional worship, soon grow to understand that respectful quiet is part of it. And for the most part, they are indeed quiet for the services. Compare that with “family” services where children are almost expected to be noisy. Guess what? They are then noisy. Good luck having an edifying time then.

But coming to church is fun for our children. For one thing, after the service they are free to run around and be kids. They aren’t expected to be little adults while parents bore them to death with their endless boring conversations with boring adult friends. I’ve heard it said it’s a sin to bore a kid. And for the most part, I agree.

So can children be included in church worship and it be a positive experience for them while others can worship without undue distraction? Yes, it can be done – and it must be done. And I’m glad to say my parish does it all the time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I’ve written on the scourge of BDS, seen in two strains, Bush Derangement Syndrome and Benedict Derangement Syndrome. And I pleaded with you to donate money to me combat this disease.

Well, I’ve now discovered another related disease, ADS – Akinola Derangement Syndrome.

Falls and Truro Churches voting to leave the Episcopal Church to align with ++Akinola has brought on a virulent outbreak.

As with BDS, it appears votes that go the “wrong” way may provoke outbreaks.

Some of the disturbing symptoms have been documented by Christopher Johnson here and here.

Only you can combat ADS by sending me lots of money.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Scripture, Tradition, and Reason Explained . . .

in under 3 minutes no less right here.

Try to do that at home.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Smoking Gun in the Duke “Rape” Case

The infamous Duke rape case hasn’t gone to trial, but already we have a smoking gun. But this one doesn’t implicate the accused. It implicates the Durham D. A. Mike Nifong.

In an open court Friday, it came out that he conspired to withhold key DNA evidence from the defense – evidence that greatly favors the defense by the way.

That, my friends, is prosecutorial misconduct big time. He may before long be in more legal danger than the accused. I am not kidding.

I’ve written about this case and Nifong’s gross abuse of power before. But the best source I’ve found is the excellent Durham-in-Wonderland blog.
Falls and Truro Churches Vote Overwhelmingly to Leave the Episcopal Church

For now, at least, I’ll leave the commentary to others. But Falls and Truro Churches in Virginia have voted to leave the Episcopal Church , both by margins of over 90%.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Today’s Buzzword: Inclusive

Hey, boys and girls, it’s time for Today’s Buzzword! (yayyyy!)

Today’s Buzzword is . . . inclusive! Can you say “inclusive”?

Very good!

Now to show us how to use “inclusive” as a buzzword, it’s those happy people at InclusiveChurch!

Why do you not have the courage of your convictions and leave the Church of England altogether? When your actions and your statements display so clearly your wish to distort the church of the Elizabethan Settlement, the Protestant revival, the Oxford Movement and the innovations of the twentieth century, why do you not simply realign yourselves with other churches? Why do you want to remain Anglican if that Anglicanism is a travesty of the gift we have been given?

The logic of your statement is you should secede from the Church of England altogether, not have it restructured to accommodate your narrow views of who may or may not be an Anglican. Inclusivity is written into the title deeds of the Church of England and we ask you to respect it.

But if you leave, you may not take the name “Anglican”; for the church you create will not be an Anglican church.

Oooo, it looks like they aren’t very happy today, boys and girls.

We are seeing the development of a long term plan developed by various people on various continents which is intended to bring the Anglican Communion out of its historically generous and open position, into a narrowly defined, confessional group of churches rooted in the religious right of the United States . . .

Boys and girls, do you have your own little fantasyland? Well, it looks like big people do, too!


Seriously, this statement from InclusiveChurch is . . . incredible in a number of ways. It exposes for all to see just how uninclusive the “inclusive” crowd is. But there’s more. Read it for yourselves.
Me This Morning

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

But it’s foggy and beautiful outside this morning. So looking out the window isn’t so bad.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I’ve been taking note when revisionist bishops act more like wolves than shepherds in going after the orthodox.

So I’m glad to give credit where credit is due when that is not the case. The Diocese of Olympia and its bishop Vincent W. Warner is as way out there as Seattle, and its recent convention was comically so.

But Bishop Warner has been exhibiting class in his dealings with parishes that want no part of the heterodoxy. The latest example is a negotiated agreement with St. Stephen’s and St. Charles’, two parishes that have left the Episcopal Church.

Kudos to Bishop Warner and all parties in the negotiation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New College’s Messiah

Longtime readers may remember I got to hear the New College Choir twice on my England pilgrimage a year ago, at New College Chapel and at Christ Church Spitalfields. So when I heard that they had a new recording out of Messiah . . . with treble soloists . . . recorded shortly after my visit . . . well, I bought that right up.

And all fans of Handel’s Messiah may want to do the same. For this is the only modern account of Handel’s 1751 London performances, in which, among other things, he used boy trebles instead of female sopranos for soloists. I’ve known for some time that Handel conducted Messiah this way. And I wondered when the hey would someone record it that way. Finally someone has.

And the solos are a definite improvement over the usual performance. Virtually all recordings of Messiah use solo voices that are IMHO overly operatic, often to the point of being tedious. The solos in this new CD, especially the treble solos, do not have that shortcoming and are much more engaging. I can say these are by far the best Messiah solos I’ve ever heard.

And, yes, one of the treble soloists is the boy whose voice impressed me on my visit. I believe he's Robert Brooks.

Now I’m not as impressed with the choruses. They are excellent, of course, but almost discordant at times. Perhaps, the mikes were misplaced. It’s a matter of taste I’m sure, but the choruses in King’s College’s 1994 version are superior I think (although the solos in the New College CD are better as I said).

Also be aware that in efforts to be authentic, the performance is at a faster pace than the usual. Sometimes, it seems they are in a hurry. If you prefer a slower deliberate dramatic pace, that may be off-putting. Personally, I liked it once I got used to it. And the pace often has an urgent, sometimes joyous quality that’s appropriate.

In any case, this new New College CD is probably the most authentic version of Messiah out there. And the solos are a cut above any other version I’ve heard. So any lover of Messiah will find this CD worthwhile, even if it doesn’t become their favorite version. (FWIW, I’m not sure which is my favorite version yet.)

By the way, a note from the CD booklet: “The use of a castrato for the alto arias was neither a part of this tradition nor an option for our own time.”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A U.S. Congressman Swearing on a Koran?

There’s been not a little contention over Democrat Congressman-Elect’s Keith Ellison’s intent to swear on a Koran when he takes the oath of office.

Count me among those who think he should not be allowed to do so. The Koran (And, yes, I’ve read it all. Most of it I’ve read repeatedly.) is hostile to the values this nation was founded upon, especially freedom. And the religion based on it certainly is. We might as well allow congressmen to take their oaths upon Mein Kamph or Das Kapital.

Mr. Ellison has the freedom to “solemnly affirm” without using any book. He is welcome to exercise that freedom. He should not be welcome to swear a Constitutional oath on a book hostile to the values of that very same Constitution.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Amongst the Anglican news last week was the deposition of several priests by the Bishop of Florida and by the Bishop of S. Virginia.

The priests in question had left the jurisdiction of those bishops to come under orthodox overseas jurisdictions. But what the two bishops did went beyond merely recognizing that. They in effect attempted to “unordain” the priests.

I just don’t see the point of that other than meanness and intolerance . . . or to give the priests eternal badges of honor. I somehow don’t think the latter was the bishops’ intent, however.

Friday, December 08, 2006

++Gregory Venables on Suffering

The focus on coverage of ++Greg Venables’ address to the San Joaquin convention has been the news that Global South Primates will indeed seek APO for distressed North American Anglicans. And that is encouraging news indeed.

But that was not the focus of his address. He spent much, if not most, of his time talking about suffering and calling upon the orthodox to suffer well.

He spent so much time, in fact, that I think there’s an additional message to orthodox now in the Episcopal Church: the Primates can work to provide a place in the Anglican Communion for you, but they can not protect you from all the costs of faithfulness. If you have to suffer, if you have to endure threats, lawsuits, defamation, and loss of property, then suffer well. Don’t draw back from faithfulness. Many of the Primates will stand with you. But they can’t protect you in areas where their ability to do so is severely limited. So be willing and prepared to suffer well.

I suspect ++Venables and other Primates have noticed a bit too much attachment to property in particular and feel this needed to be said, if with the great grace that ++Gregory exercised in his address.

Maybe I’m reading too much between the lines, but I think not. In any case, judging from the threats coming from --Schori and allies, ++Venable’s call to suffer is a very timely one.
BREAKING: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, R.I.P.

Word has just come out that Jeane Kirkpatrick has died at the age of 80.

She was U. N. Ambassador and so loved by conservatives that there was a movement to draft her as a vice-presidential candidate. (I have buttons from that somewhere.)

I greatly respected her and loved her no-nonsense style. May God’s light shine upon her.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Text of ++Venables Address to San Joaquin Convention

I finally found the text of Primate Gregory Venables’ address to the San Joaquin Diocean Convention here. The text follows. I may comment at a later time. The video for this and a number of other San Joaquin events may be found here.

Also now at the above links is the address of the Bishop of San Joaquin. It is an excellent summary of recent Episcopal history with interesting details from GC ’06. (By the way, he was admitted to the hospital this week. Last I heard, he’s doing well. But prayers are still appreciated.)

Here is the text of the address of Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone:

These are difficult days in the Anglican Communion. As Primates we are only too aware of the problems orthodox believers are facing in the Episcopal Church in the United States. The division which we face, and to which we referred as “the tearing at the very fabric of the Anglican Communion,” has already happened, and has been recognized as having happened. At the Lambeth conference in 1998, over 90 percent of the bishops present voted to make it clear that the overwhelming mind of the Anglican Communion is that in terms--in the area of human sexuality, there are two options to the Christian: marriage between two people, and intended for life; or abstinence.

We thought that that was clear enough, but it soon became clear from actions, and words, and decisions made, that not everybody wanted to follow the line of the Communion, and we all knew at that moment that this present separation was going to happen; and basically it happened because there are two ways, at the present moment, of defining Christianity. One is to accept the way the Church—catholic—over the last 2,000 years has defined it, in terms of God and the revelation He’s given us in Scripture, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior. Or, at the present moment, in post-modern terms, where it’s whatever you want it to be because truth no longer can be defined.

In our Primates’ meeting in Brazil in 2003, we said very clearly, as Primates, “Please, don’t do it.” And then the decision was made in the United States, in spite of us pleading with the leadership there not to do it. We met together, and in an emergency meeting in Lambeth in October, 2003, and we said, “Don’t go ahead with the consecration,” and a few weeks later, the consecration took place. We then worked towards the completion of the Windsor Report, and at our meeting in Northern Ireland in February, 2005, we said, “Here is the Windsor Report. Take it-- Take it outside. Read it. Consider it, and then let us know whether you are prepared to come back into the Anglican Communion with an expression of repentance and putting things right, and then we’ll be able to move forward once again in terms of what we would call ‘Communion.’”

At the General Convention in the United States in 2006 the decisions made and the actions taken have made it perfectly clear that ECUSA is not willing to comply with the minimal request of the Windsor report. On the basis of that, the Global South primates met in Kigali, in Rwanda in September, 2006, and we decided to move ahead with the preparation of a model of Alternative Primatial Oversight. We discussed this with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and we are clear that we want to do everything in collaboration and consultation with the Four Instruments of Unity. We met together in Washington, D.C. in November, 2006, and we listened to the experiences and the voices of Windsor Report Dioceses, of the Network, and of other people, and it became clear that God is calling us to form a united group which will move together with this plan for there to be Alternative Primatial Oversight within the United States, worked through and authorized by the Primates of the Anglican Communion. That suggestion will go to the Primates in February at our meeting in Tanzania, which is a unified, consistent, and fully supported message from the leadership of the Global South. It is as though you might need to separate from an agenda which has left long ago the plan of God for the Christian Church, and no time will you have to separate from the Anglican Communion.

So, our word for you, with great respect, and with great love, and with our prayers-- is, “Don’t despair.” “Don’t fret.” As James, in his Epistle, said, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” and there’s a very good reason for that. When Jesus Christ calls you to be a member of the Christian Church, it is an offer he makes, as a result of enormous sacrifice, which he made. As a result of his great sacrifice you and I will never have to face what he faced. We will never face that awful moment when he cried out from his very heart as his body was wracked with physical and mental and emotional and spiritual pain, “Why have you abandoned me?” We are in communion with our Creator, God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for eternity. But standing for that here, in this world, does require sacrifice, and that sacrifice means that we have to move out of our comfort zone.

When the Apostle Paul was freed from a religion which had abandoned God’s agenda, and freed into the true Christian faith, God sent a message to him through Ananias, telling him “how much he must suffer for my sake.” My dear friends, I don’t say this lightly: suffering is not an easy thing. But if you are serious about the Lord Jesus Christ then you will have to prepare for this. There are no two ways about it; and the major price you and I will have to pay is standing up in the face of criticism, and in the face of opposition, and in the face of rejection. There has never been a moment in the history of the Christian Church when that has not been true, and our wonderful, our beloved Anglican Church is founded on the blood of martyrs, like Latimer, and Ridley, and Cranmer, who gave at the stake their lives because they knew they had no other option.

When I’m preparing people for service, ordained ministry or lay ministry, I often like to remind them of what the Apostle Paul had to face when he became a minister. Let me read you those words just to remind you. He said, “Are they servants of Christ?” –I’m a better one— “I’m talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death, five times I received at the hands of the Jews the 40 lashes less one, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, at night and a day I was adrift at sea. Frequent journeys in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers, in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure, and apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

My dear brothers and sisters, to be a follower of Jesus Christ and to serve him is not a comfortable or an easy option, and if we expect it to be then we are going to be disappointed. If we are not facing great difficulties in our Christian lives and our Christian ministry then I seriously believe we need to question whether we really are at all Christians. If you stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ, if you offer yourself to serve him, then you’re going to face difficulties, but we have no option. So please, do not be over-distressed at what is happening.

When the Apostle Paul finished, he wrote from imprisonment to a very worried Timothy. He was able to say that he’d completed his ministry, but consider the terms he used to describe it: “I have fought the good fight, I’ve run the race, I have kept the faith.” And you and I are called to do exactly the same. It is a fight. It’s a race that requires discipline, and exertion, and effort, and we have to keep the faith, both in terms of keeping the faith pure, and in faith of being—and in terms of being obedient to the faith. The coming days might well be difficult, but listen to what the Apostle Paul said about his experience of keeping the faith: “We don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia, for we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we’d received the sentence of death.” There is always, and had to be, that sort of tension in true Christian service. We are always going to find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, but he goes on to say that “that was to make us—but that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.”

I do pray that that speaks to your heart, my dear brother, my dear sister. The difficult place you and I find ourselves in all too often as a result of wanting to follow Jesus, is the very thing that causes us to remain faithful, and listen to what Paul goes on to say: “He delivered us from such a deadly peril.” We can all look back and say, “Yes, he delivered me.” Yes, he delivered me, and I’m so grateful, that when I was so up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn. As an Argentine friend of mine once said in preaching, “I was so low, I had to raise my hand to touch the floor, but he delivered me, because that’s the sort of God we serve.” We might find ourselves in the fiery furnace, but at the very moment when the worst thing happens we suddenly find that the Son of God is walking with us there in the flames. And in the fiery furnace the only thing that got burned up are the ropes that bound them. Maybe God is going to free us up a whole lot in this trial we’re going through. But then he goes on and says, “On Him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again,” and there is the moment of faith. We look back, and we say, “He’s delivered us.” And we know he’s going to deliver us again.

Nobody enjoys a bad moment. Nobody who is a true Christian says, “I enjoy suffering, I enjoy the trial, I think this is great.” Of course we don’t. But we can count it all joy because even in the midst of trials there is glory, and that’s where we meet God.

And please don’t think I’m talking to you from a great distance and sitting comfortably. If you weep, I weep, too. If your heart is broken, my heart is broken. If you struggle, I struggle, and that’s why we’re doing this together, because we are all out of the same fragile, sinful mold, and we are all walking our way towards the wonderful future that God has for us.

So, please, be assured not only of our prayers, but of the fact that we’re standing with you, and that we’re working this through with you. I cannot tell you how much I respect your wonderful bishop, John-David. He’s a man that I’ve learned to listen to, and to draw near to, and I am so thrilled that God has given you a courageous-- a brave man-- to lead your church at this time. I urge you to give him your full support, and to work with him, and be assured, I, and my other colleagues at the Global South are walking with you, too. May God bless you and be with you.
A Defiant Creed

I haven’t posted about it here because it’s a personal matter, and I want to avoid either running down reputations or playing the martyr. So I still won’t post details. But it suffices to say that earlier this year I was completely rejected and shunned by two people whom I thought were significant cohorts. Their chief reason: my faith. I know that because they wrote me to that effect.

I was hurt. But more than that, I was angry. I’m not saying that’s godly or not, but I was angry at their profound prejudice against my beliefs and, yes, against me personally. And one way my anger came out is why I’m mentioning this now:

I found myself saying the Apostle’s Creed with not a little defiance in my voice.

During services, I found myself saying the Creed with a little attitude, something like “This is what I believe. You don’t like it? It disturbs you? Deal with it.” Although I’ve loved the Creed and saying it for some time, I can’t recall ever saying it with such gumption before.

In a way, saying the Creed is an act of defiance. We live in a world that stands “against the Lord and against His Christ.” Not only that, but even insisting on truth as true, period, regardless of what people think, is sneered upon, even in churches and even to the point of complete personal rejection.

In this environment, standing up and confessing “I believe in God” and in all these truths and events as really true and as really real is an – no – the ultimate act of defiance against the world and against the temporary ruler of this world.

And that’s the way it should be.

And I believe what I believe.
It’s what makes me what I am.
I did not make it, no it is making me.
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man.

-- Rich Mullins Creed

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

- - Schori: TEC Victim of Those Mean Global South Primates

Excerpts of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Schori’s book are coming out. And she clearly sees the Episcopal Church, not as the instigator of the current Anglican troubles, but as the victim of those mean Global South Primates with their “intercontinental ballistic bishops.” Yeah, that’s right. They are causing all the trouble.

I’ve said I don’t think she’s thinking straight. Now it appears she may be just a bit detached from reality.

More analysis from Christopher Johnson and the IRD here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

BREAKING: In Historic Address, ++Greg Venables Says Global South Primates Will Seek APO for North American Anglicans.

There is so much going on today, I can hardly keep up. But foremost is the release of what will go down as a historic address by the Primate of the Southern Cone Greg Venables. He announced to the Diocese of San Joaquin that the Global South Primates will seek alternative primatial oversight for orthodox North American Anglicans at the upcoming Primates meeting in February.

The video of the address may be found here. When I see the text go up, I’ll post it.
No Safe Place: Kirkpatrick Rigged the Presbyterian General Assembly PUP Debate

Friday, the Presbyterian Layman revealed that Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick “requested” that Presbyterian Panel survey results be withheld from the General Assembly earlier this year. The central act of the latest General Assembly was to pass the recommendations of the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity (PUP) to make constitutional ordination requirements on sexual morality optional (A blatant subversion of church order. But I’ll leave that aside for now.). The major survey withheld from the General Assembly indicated that a majority of rank and file Presbyterians opposed efforts, such as PUP, to make constitutional ordination requirements on purity optional for the sake of unity.

Given the close passage of PUP, Kirkpatrick withholding this survey from the GA may have affected the final result. In any case, he rigged the debate and the process.

The reason I include this news in my No Safe Place series is to illustrate that when militantly apostate leaders, such as Kirkpatrick, are in control, as in the Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches, assuming that they will act in good faith in the political processes of the church is, well, an assumption.

Once the authority of Scripture goes among church leaders, then anything goes.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Safe Place: Bishop Lee Threatens Individuals

A vile tactic shared by the Episcopal and mainline Presbyterian Churches is threatening individuals of congregations who are considering leaving those denominations. Bishop Lee trotted out this tactic practically on the Eve of Advent against the vestries of Truro and Falls Churches even though those churches have negotiated with him in good faith. He has responded by pulling a bait-and-switch and breaking faith.

Here’s the most disgusting part of his little letter:

I remind you that absent a negotiated settlement of property, an attempt to place your congregation and its real and personal property under the authority of any ecclesial body other than the Diocese of Virginia and the bodies authorized by its canons to hold church property will have repercussions and possible civil liability for individual vestry members.

Pseudo-Bishop Lee, these vestries have gone out of their way to negotiate with you. They have also undergone an extended time of discernment. And this is your response, to threaten them in this manner?? SMAME on you!! SHAME on you, sir!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What do you get when Episcolibs negotiate with themselves?

That sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it? Well, you get this.

Actually, it is a joke, isn’t it?

The ACN and AAC have already made known they are not amused.
Bishop Schofield Responds to PB Schori (and uses the a-word!)

You might remember that --Schori wrote a little letter to Bishop Schofield inviting him to go away. Well the Bishop of San Joaquin has responded . . and how!

November 28, 2006

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori
The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ.

Note the use of the word “only.”

I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from the outset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At my consecration, I vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God.” I was charged by my chief consecrator to “Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend them in his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and Sacraments.” I carry out my vow by defending and propagating “the historic Faith and Order” which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.

Unlike --Schori, who set herself up for that paragraph by her laughable call for +Schofield to submit to “the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” Speaking of which . . .

In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The Episcopal Church, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, “especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings,” have affected not only the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices.

Wow! A bishop actually using the a-word!

At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution. . .

He used the a-word again! I love this guy!

or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith. Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.

It is important to point out that the vote at the Diocesan Convention in December 2006 is neither final nor irrevocable. Should the Constitutional amendments being proposed pass the “first reading,” then the diocese will simply have positioned itself to make a final decision at a second consecutive Annual Convention in 2007 if that proves God’s call.

Under our diocesan constitution, the second and final reading is automatically scheduled for October 2007. The setting of the exact date may be advanced or delayed by the bishop. There are some significant factors that would influence such a decision.

First, at the meeting with the leading Primates of the Global South in Virginia, November 15-17 this year, the Global South Primates Steering Committee encouraged us by supporting our faithful stand and commitment to Christ, and they expressed a desire to be of help to us to relieve our untenable position. They have promised assistance, the form of which they will bring to the entire Primates meeting scheduled for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007. In the meantime, in keeping with the goals of the Windsor Report and positioning ourselves to accept the Primates’ help, we are responding to the Primates who called upon us to remain flexible until the details are worked out.

And I think this is the right approach. None of this waiting and staying in TEC until the Second Advent. But at the same time, he is seeking to act in consort with the broader communion, particularly the Primates.

An additional consideration was your letter to me. I believe you have shown wisdom and restraint by not issuing an ultimatum. Instead, you have invited further discussion which could possibly lead to some degree of reconciliation.

That’s a very charitable interpretation of Schori’s letter. But I can’t begrudge him that.

In recognition of what you have proposed, I, too, will exercise restraint by not advancing the date of what could be an historic and final act. However, should proceedings be instituted against me as threatened in your letter, I would not feel obliged to exercise restraint. My prayer is that neither of us takes action which upsets the delicate balance which now exists until the Primates have given us direction at their February 2007 meeting.

And that’s a very charitable way of saying, “Back off!”

Until then, powerful forces will be at work that will ultimately shape the future.

I pray that God’s will be revealed to us all.

You may be assured of my prayers for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC
Bishop of San Joaquin

Who, along with the Good Bishop Jack Iker, is now my hero. What a courageous steadfast clear-minded bishop!

(Are those oxymorons?)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No Safe Place: Jordan Hylden on PB Schori

Jordan Hylden over at First Things is at it again with his excellent analysis of the situation in the Episcopal Church.

In his latest missive, he focuses on the statements and intentions of Presiding Bishop Schori. The money paragraph:

…there is good reason to believe she intends nothing less than to run conservatives out of the church, finalize the split between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and set up an international communion of liberal Anglicanism as a rival to Canterbury. In short, from her recent actions and public statements, it is reasonable to infer that her term is likely to tear the Episcopal Church in two—and, what’s more, that that is precisely what she intends.

I’m not so sure she intends to “finalize the split” with the Communion. I think she and those of like mind would rather have it both ways and stay in. But I agree she is certainly preparing for a split with the thinly veiled moves to set up a rival liberal communion. And as for conservatives, the only “reconciliation” she is interested in is unconditional submission . . . or else.

In any case, the Anglican Communion Institute and other apologists for eternal waiting not withstanding, I think it neither safe nor wise for the orthodox to stick around for long in such an environment. Orthodox who still remain in the Episcopal Church, Schori and friends are not the least bit interested in a safe place for you. You are a “problem” to be dealt with.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Saying NO to More “Conversation” and “Dialogue”

It’s about time someone tells the Episcolibs they can’t have it both ways. They can’t act like a bunch of apostate wolves, ram their heterodox programs though, threaten the orthodox, and yet coo about “conversation,” “dialogue,” “holy listening” (That one's my favorite.) with any credibility whatsoever.

And who is the one to tell them but The Good Bishop Jack Leo Iker. And when he told them back in New York that he wasn’t interested in further meetings, he meant it. God bless him!

Christopher Johnson has the text and the usual to-the-point analysis here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Self-Destruction of the Episcopal Church?

I’ve been wondering this week if we’re witnessing a phenomenon mentioned time and again in Scripture: people who willfully oppose God and His people often act in ways that bring about their destruction. The Psalms talk again and again of those who lay nets for God’s people falling into them themselves. Paul wrote in Romans 1 that willful sin debases even the minds of those who persist in it so that they irrationally destroy themselves.

In a similar vein, Euripides said, “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

Are witnessing this in recent events in the Episcopal Church?

At General Convention, TEC bishops and delegates elected the most divisive, most extremist, least qualified candidate available. If they desired to hold the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion together or at least keep bloodshed to a minimum, that surely wasn’t the way to do it. She, Katharine Schori, then promptly alienated Christians with her statements, beginning with calling Jesus “our mother.”

Then this past weekend, she hit a new low with her already infamous remarks about the childbearing and intelligence of Catholics. (Here’s another lampoon of those remarks, from a Catholic wedding no less.) Doesn’t she realize that many Episcopalians feel kinship with the Catholic church? And not a few cast furtive glances across the Tiber. I imagine yet more have decided to jump in and swim across thanks to her remarks. And a great many less Catholic-minded Anglicans find her remarks beyond the pale.

Then “almost immediately,” as a certain English comedy troupe would say, came her letter to +Schofield inviting him to shove off . . . in Christian love, of course. Does she not realize that sort of conduct serves only to alienate further those who are deliberating their future in the Episcopal Church? Did she give any thought to how this sort of vicious attack on the orthodox may use up the remaining patience of the Primates?

Even liberal-minded Anglicans sympathetic to Schori are noting (if quietly) that she is showing little if any political sense. And that’s being charitable. She’s flat out not thinking straight. If there’s a way to act in a more self-destructive manner, it’s hard to imagine it.

We may be witnessing the Episcopal Church bringing about and accelerating its own self-destruction. And in that way, for a change, the Episcopal Church may be downright Biblical.

Housekeeping: As I’m sure many of you will be, I will be quite busy the next few days. So it’s unlikely I’ll post until next week. (But you never know with me.) Until then, have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

BREAKING: - - Schori’s Letter to +Schofield

I won’t repost the text, nor make extensive comments at this time. But the Presiding Heretic of the Episcopal Church has written a letter to the Bishop of San Joaquin that basically says “Submit or else.”

She isn’t wasting any time going after the orthodox, is she? We already see what her idea of “conversation and reconciliation” is.

And her calling +Schofield to submit to “the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them” is just hilarious. How she can miss the irony of that statement is beyond me.

Are we having fun yet?
++Purple Haze Inserts Foot in Mouth.

Wow. Speaking of attitudes of superiority, TEC Presiding Bishop Schori has held her office for less than a month, and she already has said something . . . well . . . incredibly stupid and self-destructive that reveals just a little too much of her superior attitudes:

Q: How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

A: About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Q: Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

A: No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

O. K., let’s tick off the stereotypes and banalities there. Catholics are less educated and produce lots of children ‘cause the Pope tells them to. And having twenty children is bad for the environment and overcrowds the world, you know. So more enlightened people such as us don’t have so many children.

You’ve got to hand it to her though. She managed that much self-destruction in just sixty words. A very economical use of the English language there.

Amy Welborn among others is having a great deal of fun with this. I suspect it very soon won’t be so fun for ++Schori.
Liberals and Giving

Well, well, well. It appears liberals are so busy trying to spend other people’s money on their pet causes that they aren’t giving as much as conservatives when it comes to their own money. And the same can be said of other types of giving.

. . . liberals give less than conservatives in every way imaginable, including volunteer hours and donated blood.

It’s so much easier to think government and taxpayers ought to carry water for your causes than to do it yourself. After all, why should you give when you think that’s *someone else’s* obligation under your superior enlightened values.

Yes, I’m being a bit caustic here. Enduring for oh so many years the insufferable superior self-righteousness prevalent among liberals and lefties can do that to you.

It’s good to see the vacuousness of that self-righteousness exposed . . . yet again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Prince Charles Put in His Place

Prince Charles has been making noises about turning his possible (Please! No!) future coronation into a multi-faith claptrap. But, in an unusual statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury has let it be known that he will have none of it. He will fulfill his traditional role of designing the coronation service. And the implication is that it will be Anglican, thank you, with no inter-faith flummery.

Good for ++Rowan!

Now excuse me while I pray for our most gracious Sovereign Lady, the Queen, that the Lord may grant her lllllllong to live.

Hattip to Christopher Johnson.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wisdom for Today

Presbyterians don’t wear afros.

-- overheard at a youth book study at my church

(Actually, I said it.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There's a few in every crowd.

It was really windy today here in Corpus. We had a big north wind gusting up to 55MPH! Why, it even blew in a copy of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram from over 300 miles up north. And when I picked it up, I saw this:

Oh yeah, those Ft. Worth Episcopalians under +Jack Iker just LOVE ++Purple Haze. And I'm sure a lot of Bostonians love the New York Yankees. And Duke is a hotbed of Tarheel fans. And . . .
A Letter from the Bishop of San Joachin

My mind is in too much of a morning fog to comment on this much yet, but the Bishop of San Joachin has written a letter to his diocese in front of the upcoming diocean convention. It is a clear and lucid call for his diocese to leave the Episcopal Church.

Among other things, what we have here is a rare phenomenon: a real MAN of God as bishop.
Global South Primates and Orthodox TEC Bishops About to Meet

This is not new news, but I want to remind you so we can be in prayer together about this.

As previously announced, a group of Global South primates will meet with TEC bishops requesting APO as well as with unspecified other orthodox bishops. They will discuss how to best bring about APO and the aims of the Kigali Communique. No doubt these meetings will serve as part of the preparation for the February Anglican Communion Primates meeting.

These current meetings will be private and confidential. They will apparently begin later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome to the REC!

Stand Firm’s Andy Figueroa joins the Reformed Episcopal Church and tells us why.

Note that (as with me) the REC’s Anglican unity efforts got his attention:

The REC is a leader in bringing forth unity out of the current Anglican diaspora and without compromise has crafted strong alliances intended to ultimately unify Anglicans in the western hemisphere who will uphold the faith that has been received from the saints.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

No Safe Place: Marshall’s Law

I really need to focus on a paper on Tertullian. Due in part to applying to a program in Oxford :), I’ve fallen behind. But I submit for your consideration Marshall’s Law:

When liberals can’t get their way through a whole denomination, they defend local autonomy so they can get their way regionally. When they can get their way through a whole denomination, they attack local autonomy so they can impose their way nationally.

I’ll revisit this. But what brings this to mind now are rumblings that the incoming Bishop of South Carolina may have trouble getting consents.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Choir of Liverpool Cathedral

BBC’s Choral Evensong was from Liverpool Cathedral yesterday. I was quite surprised and impressed how excellent the service and choir was. When I think of high Anglican culture, I don’t think of Liverpool. But maybe I should think again. You can listen to the hour long service until next Wednesday by going here and clicking on Choral Evensong.

Here’s more on the choir. It’s interesting to note that Paul McCartney tried – and failed – to join as a boy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stupidity Gets Stomped

Yes, I’m referring to the elections. And yes, I’m a Republican. But I fully recognize that Republicans have only themselves to blame for this election.

For all the problems with Iraq and for the usual difficulties of an off-year second term election, the Republicans would have held their own if they weren’t so friggin’ stupid.

They would have probably lost the House, but not as badly if they dealt more proactively with Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff. Speaker Hastert is a nice guy, but his sleepy easy-going nature cost the GOP.

And in the Senate, control hangs in the balance because Burns of Montana didn’t tell Abramoff to take a hike and because Allen of Virginia can’t keep his mouth shut.

Stupidity is bi-partisan. And commit enough of it, and you will lose.

P. S. Seeing "Republican" Lincoln Chaffee go down is almost worth losing the Senate.

P. S. 2 I’m proud to say things went better in my county where, among other things, an attempted beach grab by developers went down in flames.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gutter Campaigning from the Pulpit

The tactics some have used against Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele have been from the gutter. For example, some Blacks have thrown oreos at him, implying that old racist put down that he’s Black on the outside, but White on the inside.

But I never expected this from a pulpit no less:

Mr. Coates preached that voting for Mr. Steele would be like voting to free the thief Barabbas instead of Jesus. In the gospels, Pontius Pilate asks a Jewish crowd whether he should free Jesus Christ or Barabbas, and the crowd shouts for Barabbas to be freed, and for Jesus to be crucified.

Mr. Coates implied that black people who vote for Mr. Steele would be deceived just like the crowd that shouted to crucify Jesus. He said people who supported Barabbas could be called “Barablicans,” and people who were for Jesus could be called “Jesuscrats.”

“Can’t you just see the commercials that were designed to endear Barabbas to the crowd?” he said. “I can just see [Barablicans] well dressed, well groomed [and] holding a puppy.”

The reference to one of Mr. Steele’s TV ads, which have featured Mr. Steele holding a puppy, drew laughter from the congregation and prompted several worshipers to stand and applaud.

Such an abuse of the pulpit for gutter politics is an outrage.

There’s a subtle racism that gives Black preachers a pass when they engage in blatant politicking from the pulpit. But such shameful, vicious smearing from a pulpit is beyond the pale no matter what the skin color of the guilty preacher.

Shame on the so-called Reverend Coates for his shameless abuse of his office and pulpit.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Muslims and the Holocaust

As noted by Ruth Gledhill, the Muslim Council of Britain is catching some well deserved grief for boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day.

This is far from an isolated instance. Muslims have a sorry record when it comes to Anti-Semitism, including the Holocaust. Recently we’ve heard the President of Iran’s holocaust denials. But something you rarely hear about, not even on the History Channel (which so focuses on Hitler and WW2 that wags have dubbed it the Hitler Channel) is that a key Muslim leader supported Hitler and the Holocaust.

Here’s the basics on “Hitler’s Mufti” here and here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

BREAKING: Bishop of Rochester Says Anglican Split Inevitable

Here’s the story from the BBC.

I would like to see the whole interview, but these are remarkable statements coming from such an influential bishop.
Today is the 5th of November.

After the enormities of yesterday, it’s time to get back to conducting the Lord’s worship properly and in order.

To assist you in doing so, here are the propers to be used yearly upon the Fifth Day of November for the happy Deliverance of the King, and the Three Estates of the Realm, from the most Traiterous and Bloudy intended Massacre by Gun-Powder.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Heresy is one thing. Terrible tat is quite another.

It’s bad enough that the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is a heretic. But now, even worse, she has committed the unforgivable sin of . . . terrible tat. Her vestments were silly and hardly Christian. They were more appropriate for a wizard than a bishop of Christ’s Church. Those of strong disposition may view some photos here.

Not only that, but there was liturgical dance . . . lots of liturgical dance.

Fortunately I missed most of it. And when they were bringing so many offerings up to the Lord’s Table, it looked like a potluck would break out right then and there, it made me hungry and I went out to lunch.

Friday, November 03, 2006

On the Presiding Heretic Bishop of the Episcopal Church . . . or not

Although it may seem so, I’m not ignoring the beginning of the new TEC Presiding Bishop’s term. I just haven’t felt I have much to contribute. Her recent and heretical statements leave me with little to say or add.

But William Cripe sums things up well: “With her statements the head of the Episcopal Church in America has formally revealed that she is an apostate and a heretic.”

And Matt Kennedy has an excellent analysis of her statements and the issues they raise concerning “exclusivity and salvation.”

As for me, I’m focusing more on my application to a certain program in Oxford. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dean of Bangor Bans Lord Carey

This is one of those mornings when so much interesting is happening in the Anglican world that I hardly know where to focus.

But this takes the cake: the Dean of Bangor, The Very Liberal Reverend Alun Hawkins, has banned the past Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, from Bangor Cathedral for supposedly being “divisive.”

I’m at a loss for words, but “extraordinary” is a very Anglican and appropriate one here. So much for “tolerance.”

Ruth Gledhill adds a lot of color (and a great cartoon!) here.

(Hmmm, I wonder if I can get banned in Bangor.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry and His Vile Comment about Iraq

I am beside myself over this odious comment John Kerry made about our soldiers in Iraq:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

He has so far refused to apologize, calling it “a botched joke.” I watched the full comment on T.V., and it sure as hell didn’t look like a joke to me. But if he was joking, what an awful thing to joke about. If he was joking, that only makes matters worse.

There are a good number of well-educated young men I personally know who have served or are serving in Iraq. One, I’ve been instant messaging with the past few nights. And Kerry’s comment outrages me. I had to restrain myself from making the headline to this post “John Kerry, Go to Hell!!” or worse. But for someone who would make such a comment to try to score political points, then refuse to apologize and say it was just “a botched joke,” maybe such a headline would be appropriate.

More here and any number of places.

UPDATE: The troops in Iraq have noticed Kerry’s comments . . . and have a wonderful comeback.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How to Say “BOO!” to an Anglo-Catholic

Just greet him with “Happy Reformation Day!” Further, I recommend that all trick-or-treaters going to All Too Common’s house dress as Luther or Calvin to give him a good scare. He is not at all happy about it being Reformation Day.

I have to admit he has some good points. The Romans are certainly doing better than the Protestants when it comes to avoiding apostasy and schism.

But the Roman Catholic Church has only itself to blame for the Reformation. Its Medieval corruption made the Reformation necessary. And remember that Luther wanted to reform the church, not split it. But the Catholic hierarchy wanted none of it.

I’m not as uncritical of the Reformation as I once was. I think much of it went too far in a number of ways. And now it’s many of the Reformation churches that are rotten to the core.

The irony is that the Reformation goaded the Catholics to finally reform themselves. And their reforms have been more persistent. So maybe Catholics should be thankful for the Reformation!

So BOO! – I mean – Happy Reformation Day!

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Safe Place: TEC Chancellor Adolf David Booth Beers Threatens Ft. Worth, Quincy

Ah, the lovely jack book of Episcopal tolerance.

Read more here, including interesting background from Ft. Worth Bishop Iker.

Of course, the Chancellor’s action is arbitrary. But liberals only hold to the polity of their churches when it serves their ends.
REC/APA Paper on Unity

The combined bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America have issued an excellent paper on unity among orthodox Anglicans, particularly between those two church bodies.

As is our bishops’ practice, there is excellent teaching in this paper. I particularly appreciate and share their conclusions about different churchmanships among orthodox Anglicans.

Part of the genius of Anglicanism . . . has been its clearly defined standards on first order doctrines, while at the same time it has allowed for a breadth of belief regarding second order doctrines.

Indeed! And I want to be in same church with people who, say, have a different view of Mary than I do. Or rather, I am in the same church with people who have different views. So church bodies should have diversity that reflects that fact.

A serious error I see in both Roman Catholic and very Protestant churches is that they willfully exclude that diversity. For example, to be a good Catholic, you have to believe in the Immaculate Conception. (In fact, that’s practically required for converts to Roman Catholicism.) To be a good Protestant, you can’t. That does not reflect Christ’s church.

Speaking of which, the following paragraph is particularly prescient given the sectarianism of the REC’s past and of a minority of Reformed Episcopalians today:

The approach of freedom within defined doctrinal parameters has resulted in greater unity and less fracture. It requires resisting the temptation to permit “isms” and movements from pulling the theology of the Church to one extreme or the other. To some, this is not pure enough. They have sought a kind of absolute doctrinal purity that can only exist in heaven. This was the error of the Anabaptists. John Calvin addressed this problem when he wrote, “Among Christians there ought to be so great a dislike of schism, as that they may always avoid it so far as lies in their power. That there ought to prevail among them such a reverence for the ministry of the word and the sacraments that wherever they perceive these things to be, there they must consider the church to exist . . . nor need it be of any hindrance that some points of doctrine are not quite so pure, seeing that there is scarcely a church which has not retained some remnants of former ignorance.”

The vision of unity amidst a variety of orthodox Christians under one roof is one reason I’m now an Anglican . . . and a Reformed Episcopalian.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bishop Duncan Speaks on the Future of Anglicanism

Bishop Robert Duncan, upon receiving an honorary doctorate from Nashotah House, gave a very interesting speech on the future of Anglicanism. And it is packed with wise and edifying analysis – too much to tackle on one post! So I may refer to it in the future. In the meantime, read it here or here.

There are two comments he made relevant to us orthodox Anglicans oh-so-hungry for progress in realignment. First:

Speaking together from Kigali, just one week after the New York meeting, twenty Primates of the Global South (or their representatives) communicated their intention to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the appealing U.S. dioceses. (4) Representatives of the Global South Committee will be meeting with representatives of the eight APO dioceses within a very few days.

That’s actually not new news. But the timing has just been confirmed by The Living Church.


We have reached the moment where a mediation to achieve disengagement is the only way forward. I believe that the other Episcopal Church – the one not represented in this convocation – has finally also come to that conclusion, as well. I believe that a mediated settlement will be in place by this time next year, or that the principals will be well on their way to such a settlement.

Now that is an optimistic assessment, and, if true, would definitely be news. We’ve been given a glimmer of hope of that recently with an interesting discussion over at Stand Firm. And the New York meeting made progress toward a settlement though they reached an impasse. We’ll see if the bishop’s optimism is justified. Let’s pray so.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

No Safe Place: Disaster in Dallas

As I’ve said , if there’s a safe place in the Episcopal Church it would have seemed to be the Diocese of Dallas – until this past weekend.

This morning with the release of documents from the weekend’s Dallas diocean convention and with the news coming out that Dallas is no longer asking for APO, it is now clear that the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is a disaster in progress due to poor leadership of Bishop James Stanton.

Instead of leading his diocese out of TEC as many thought he was doing, he has committed Dallas to staying in, even withdrawing the request for Alternative Primatial Oversight. And he has so alienated committed orthodox faithful in his diocese that if he comes to his senses and tries to lead his diocese out in the future, he will likely be unable to do so because so many orthodox will have already left that the revisionists and institutionalists will have the votes to stop him. At the very least, he’s lost and is losing a lot of good people because of his cold feet.

Some lowlights:

There was a resolution passed that endorsed Camp Allen, but nothing passed that endorsed the much stronger Kigali Communiqué.

From his address, +Stanton rules out leaving indefinitely. Now I could understand (and would probably even approve) if he asked people to stick it out for one year so upcoming actions of the Network and the February Primates meeting can be considered. And I honestly expected him to do something like that. But that’s not what he did.

Let me be blunt. Separation is not a strategy. Where would we go? And what would be the result of a departure? I believe that separation would only increase the tensions within the Anglican Communion and make a vital, robust Covenant process that much more difficult!

So the diocese should stick out the Covenant process? The Covenant process will take years. The diocese simply will not survive as a strongly orthodox entity for that long if it remains in TEC. You read it here.

And how would the world outside look at yet more division in the Body of Christ? This is precisely what they have come to expect of Christians – groups fighting with each other. Our Lord prayed that we might be one in order that the world might see our unity as a sign of God’s blessing and work. (John 17)

The Bible also says to not be bound together with unbelievers, especially of the apostate variety. As for what the world thinks about staying in the Episcopal Church, a lot of the world so wants nothing to do with that organization that even having “Episcopal” on your church sign means a lot of people won’t even consider joining you. And the Global South has made clear what they think of communion with the Episcopal Church.

If, as our Thirty-nine Articles say, the Church is where the "pure Word of God is preached and the Sacraments be duly administered," or as we might say, where Christ is honored and the Apostles' teaching forms the core, where the Sacraments indeed bring strength for ministry and comfort for those in need, then why should anyone depart?

*Ahem* Because that’s not the vast majority of the Episcopal Church?

I’m tempted to wonder out loud what planet the good bishop is on.

Judge for yourselves in the place you worship and serve and grow in your faith. If together in your parish or mission you are worshipping and serving the living God, what compels you to go? If together with other such congregations in this Diocesan family you serve the Risen Christ, and believe with them in his power to transform not only your own life, but the world, why must you leave?
If, finally, our vision for the future has been inspired by the challenge and hope of being an Anglican, a part of a vibrant and robust and orthodox community of dioceses and men and women around the world, what is the value of separation?

This is just downright Pollyanna. To imply that isolated orthodox congregations and dioceses will do so fine in the Episcopal Church that there is no reason to leave is just irresponsible. And this mindset that my congregation is fine and orthodox, so the rest of the denomination doesn’t affect me is one reason the Episcopal (and Presbyterian) Church is going down the tubes.

By the way, I’ve heard somewhere that a little leaven affects the whole loaf. I suspect a ton of leaven crushes it.


Someone has remarked that +Stanton has given excellent leadership for years, and for the most part he has. But good leadership for three quarters doesn’t do much good if you drop the ball and blow the game in the fourth. And that’s exactly what the good bishop has done. And I say this as someone who has thought highly of him for years.

The fruit of +Stanton dropping the ball is already becoming evident. Christ Church Plano has left. St. Matthias Dallas is leaving. (And again, those are two excellent parishes that have played important roles in my walk as an Anglican.) There are reports that other orthodox parishes will follow. And that’s not to mention individuals in other parishes. The diocese is literally disintegrating. (Check out comments on relevant Stand Firm posts to get an idea of the turmoil.)

Staying in apostate denominations is just not a viable course for committed orthodox. And if leaders don’t see that, many of the orthodox will and get out, leaving the remaining orthodox greatly weakened.

The lesson from this Dallas mess? Relying on an orthodox bishop (or presbytery or the like) in a liberal denomination is a thin reed to lean on. That bishop won’t be bishop forever. And even while he is bishop, there’s usually no guarantee he won’t blink when the time comes to lead . . . not even if he’s led well in the past, not even in the Diocese of Dallas.

And this should also serve as a lesson to the leaders of the Network. For them to effectively lead, they must lead the orthodox OUT of the Episcopal Church.
BREAKING: Dallas No Longer Asking for APO

Stand Firm reports this morning that the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is no longer asking for Alternative Primatial Oversight.

I’ll withhold commentary for now. But, needless to say, this is disturbing news.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No Safe Place: Smokey Matt’s Leaving TEC, Diocese of Dallas

This may be common knowledge, but I wanted to be sure. And I have indeed confirmed that my beloved St. Matthias Dallas, aka Smokey Matt’s, is indeed in the process of leaving the Episcopal Church. This is consistent with the intentions they posted on their website a couple months ago. (The link to the .pdf is at the bottom of their home page.)

Therefore, they did not send a delegation to the diocean convention this past weekend. That, plus Christ Church Plano already gone, makes me suspect that the leaders of those two parishes knew that Bishop Stanton would call on the diocese to stay in TEC for now.

I know people who are leaving and people who are staying in the Diocese of Dallas. Both decisions are honorable – and costly.

Decisions to either stay or leave will likely become more costly as time goes on. Staying later risks being trapped in an apostate church. Leaving later risks the tangible and the emotional and spiritual costs of leaving increasing. Christ Church and, likely, St. Matthias can work out reasonable settlements with Bishop Stanton. But he won’t be bishop forever and there is far from any guarantee of such reasonable leadership in the future. In fact, I can come close to guaranteeing that at some point in the future, such an amicable departure won’t be possible.

I think the costs of staying in or of delaying departure from the Episcopal Church will become too great within ten years, even in Network dioceses. Staying for now might be the best course, especially since we will likely know more about the game plan of the Network and the Primates by Spring. A concern expressed to me from Dallas is that the leaving parishes are “unintentionally undermining the case for a coherent and integrated orthodox Anglicanism in North America by bringing about a diffuse and disintegrated Anglican Order here. The orthodox . . . have GOT to be united if the Anglican experiment is going to succeed.” And I’m inclined to agree.

But I think the main purpose of staying in TEC should be to urgently seek the best timing and mode of leaving for reasons laid out and to be laid out in this “No Safe Place” series.
Affirming Laudianism

It’s been a bit dreary around here what with my No Safe Place series and all. There’s a cheerful subject.

So to inspire you and be as inclusive as all get out, I present to you Affirming Laudianism.

You’re welcome.

Monday, October 23, 2006

No Safe Place: Getting more and more lonely (in the Diocese of Dallas)

There’s a problem (among many) with staying in liberal denominations like the Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches – you find your orthodox allies become fewer and fewer and fewer. It could be subtle as when I moved years ago and decided I wasn’t going to join another Presbyterian Church, period. Or it could be very public, even finding its way to the newspapers, as when healthy congregations decide it’s no longer healthy to stay. But the result is the same – you have fewer allies standing with you in your denomination. Hopes of reform dwindle. And it becomes an even less safe place.

If anyone ever thought there was an orthodox safe place in the Episcopal Church, it would be the Diocese of Dallas. Heck, if I still lived in the diocese, it’s possible I might be a member of one of its parishes. There are no less than three that have had quite an influence on my Anglican journey – Christ Church Plano, St. Matthias Dallas, and St. David’s Denton.

Yes. You may have noticed that one has left, and another is probably leaving the diocese and the Episcopal Church.

And the Diocese of Dallas has therefore and suddenly become less safe.

Precipitating factors in orthodox Dallas Episcopalians becoming fewer are not just General Conventions ’03 and ’06, but now the Dallas diocean convention this past weekend. At Bishop Stanton’s urging, the convention decided to stay in the Episcopal Church for now. And many orthodox who have had enough are therefore leaving. And I suspect Christ Church Plano saw this coming, and that’s why they left.

The Catch 22, of course, is that if the time comes when the Bishop of Dallas decides it is indeed to time to leave TEC, he may not have the numbers at convention to do so because the waiting drove too many orthodox out. Waiting may cause the diocese to become trapped in an apostate denomination.

(By the way, I'm not necessarily saying the convention made the wrong decision, but staying and waiting is nevertheless problematic.)

I’m trying to get more details of the convention. But Christopher Johnson has a good summary up. He especially has the problem of staying and losing allies nailed:

The Network's position gets weaker with each passing month.

And the longer the right waits, the more people like me will throw up our hands, find other Christian traditions and get on with our lives. If and when the Network decides that the line has finally been crossed, it may find that there are few left in their pews who will care.

As he notes, the Diocese of Dallas and the rest of the Network does not have time on its side. The relentless attrition of the orthodox in TEC is a (the?) big reason for that.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

No Safe Place: Speaking of Vilifying, Herrrre’s the Bishop of Connecticut!

Yesterday, I quoted the following: “It’s interesting how . . . the Episcopal Church, is quick to vilify local churches who are simply trying to be obedient to the historic Christian faith.”

Well, as Monty Python would say, almost immediately the Bishop of Connecticut gives us a sterling example of such vilification in his address to his diocean convention no less. (Be sure to click on the link at Stand Firm to get the whole address in .pdf form.)

He begins tearing into the orthodox Connecticut Six parishes on page three and goes on for quite a while. You’d think those parishes suddenly attacked him and tried to close him down and kick him out instead of the other way around. Some lowlights:

In the meantime, for these past two years the five parishes and their clergy have continued to enjoy the benefits of The Episcopal Church [like bishops that raid parishes – ed.] while at the same time they refuse to contribute to our life and mission and they continue to pursue their own agenda. To turn a simile, it’s been a little like flying an airplane while some of the crew are working to dismantle it.

The agenda? In the press and in private communications they and their spokespersons continually misrepresent the issues and impugn the motives and character of this bishop. They refuse to support our common mission and life financially: in 2005, of the five parishes, two parishes contributed nothing toward our diocesan budget, and for the other three the contribution average for the year was $430.00.

They won’t fork over the money to a bishop who stands against just about everything they believe. Terrible. By the way, sir, if you don’t want people questioning your motives and character, don’t raid faithful churches.

He rants some more about money, then actually maligns the parishes’ efforts to reach a settlement. Then he winds up with this jewel:

To the clergy and members of the five congregations. Perhaps in your mind or in meetings some of you already have made the decision to leave this church. Perhaps you are caught in this fray. It is time for your yes be yes, and your no be no. If one church, or two churches, or all five churches will return to the life and mission and communion of this Church, and, clergy, if you will honor your ordination vows, the door is wide open. If you cannot tolerate the life and openness of The Episcopal Church, then honorably move on. Above all, stop the whining and the destructive behavior which diminish all of us and the Lord Jesus. This Church has gospel work before us, and we have been more than patient, and the attacks continue and it is time for us to say, enough!

What most hurts, in addition to our severely strained relationships in Christ, is the active nurturing of dissension and the diversion of our attention and assets away from our mission and ministry. While we could be saving thousands of children and adults who will die today of malaria, while we could be building and staffing churches and schools and clinics, while we could be forming microeconomic enterprises, while we could be supporting mission and missionaries abroad and here in Connecticut, we have been compelled to devote our resources and attention to five parishes and their demand for accommodations we cannot grant. Enough.

So malaria is these parishes’ fault, too.

Then he goes on for several pages in advocacy of same-sex blessings and the like. In fact, most of his address either tears into these parishes or advocates the gay agenda.

Such are the priorities of the Bishop of Connecticut and the liberal new orthodoxy.

Now, some may say that this bishop is particularly awful, that most of even the revisionist TEC bishops are not this bad. And that is probably true.

But in a denomination like the Episcopal Church, it’s only a matter of time until a parish will find itself under leadership bent on crushing the orthodox. It may not be until the next generation or the one after that, but the day is coming. The Bishop of Connecticut may be somewhat of an exception, but he’s by no means an aberration.

Remember what Fr. Neuhaus has said:

When orthodoxy is optional, it is admitted under a rule of liberal tolerance that cannot help but be intolerant of talk about right and wrong, true and false. It is therefore a conditional admission, depending upon orthodoxy's good behavior. The orthodox may be permitted to believe this or that and to do this or that as a matter of sufferance, allowing them to indulge their inclination, preference, or personal taste. But it is an intolerable violation of the etiquette by which one is tolerated if one has the effrontery to propose that this or that is normative for others.

And sooner or later, leadership will come along who will indeed not tolerate it. Again, that’s not an aberration; that’s to be expected under the liberal new orthodoxy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

No Safe Place: PCUSA joins ECUSA to gang up on St. James.

At the beginning of this No Safe Place series, I noted the similarities between how the mainline Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches treat orthodoxy and the orthodox, particularly in going after the property of orthodox congregations. In fact, the similarities prompted me to begin this series.

Now thanks to the Layman and Brad Drell, it comes out that not only are those denominations’ property grabs similar, they are in cahoots with each other. The Presbyterian Church has filed a court brief backing the effort of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to grab the property of St. James parish and kick the congregation out on the street.

Leaving aside the question of how vile it is that these two denominations don’t have the common decency to leave St. James alone but are instead ganging up on the parish, this action backs up my contention that the similarities in the actions of these two denominations are no coincidence. They both have been taken over by a liberal new orthodoxy that claims tolerance and inclusion while it works to crush the orthodox.

Further, that lawyers for the two denominations are working together in at least this case begs the question: what other times have lawyers from the two been working together? Episcopal and Presbyterian efforts against orthodox congregations indeed often seem to working out of the same playbook.

This story also illustrates the insufferable arrogance of the new orthodox liberal leadership in mainline denominations. The Presbyterian Church acts as it has in this case even though a majority (I hope) in Presbyterian pews would want nothing to do with such an action. This is far from the first time the Presbyterian Church has acted and made statements that many or most Presbyterians would find repugnant -- a subject that calls for further posts.

As if that isn’t enough, some statements in the brief are just flat out false.

It makes a strong assertion that the vote by the congregation of St. James Parish in the Diocese of Los Angeles was schismatic and that, “Since 2003, the congregation of St. James Parish has been torn apart by a schism regarding theological/ecclesiastical issues.”

Eric C. Sohlgren, attorney for St. James, took strong exception to the PCUSA’s depiction of the congregation as being schismatic.

“It is understandable that PCUSA is completely ignorant of what really happened at St. James, but I hardly think a packed sanctuary with hundreds of people leaping to their feet in spontaneous shouts of joy and praise at the disaffiliation announcement, and a near unanimous vote of the members to disaffiliate, as being ‘torn apart by schism,’” Sohlgren said.

But hey, Presbies and Piskies, don’t let the facts get in the way of going after those eeeeevil orthodox.

“It’s interesting how the PCUSA, like the Episcopal Church, is quick to vilify local churches who are simply trying to be obedient to the historic Christian faith.”

It’s interesting indeed. But for those familiar with the leadership of those two denominations, it is no surprise.