Thursday, August 31, 2006

It’s prayer time.

As mentioned over at Lent and Beyond, it’s time to pray for key Anglican meetings set for September:

Several important meetings will be held in September. The publicized ones include a meeting of TEC bishops in New York from the 11th to the 13th, a consultation of Windsor-affirming bishops at Camp Allen from the 19th to the 22nd, and a gathering of southern global primates in Rwanda from the 19th to the 22nd.

I’ll say more about these meetings tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Guardian shows off its bigotry.

Yesterday, the Guardian published this swill by its religion reporter, Stephen Bates, on Southern Baptists. And I’m still shaking my head today.

I know the Guardian is *ahem* slightly left of center. But I thought they had more journalistic ethics than to publish such sneering bigotry by one of its reporters.

Can you imagine what would happened if they ran such an article about, say, a Muslim conference? In fact, one person did amidst the comments here.

And to think I was actually beginning to respect the Guardian. I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

BREAKING: Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Arrested

Warren Jeffs has been arrested in Nevada, the FBI announced this morning. Jeffs is the leader of the polygamous Mormon sect, the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I’ve kept an eye on Jeffs and his group for some time. And I’m glad to see him arrested. He is bad news as you can see here. And it’s not just polygamy. He and other men in the sect allegedly engaged in serial molestation of underage girls. And there were fears he and his group would engage in violence to resist arrest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Georgetown Boots Evangelicals

The University of Georgetown has booted evangelical ministries off its campus. And “booted” may be putting it nicely. The letter of *cough* “blessings” from the Protestant Chaplain to the ministries may be found here. As the letter states, the banning of the evangelical groups is rather comprehensive.

In case you think this is a case of a Catholic university guarding its distinctives, it isn’t. Note it’s the Protestant Chaplain who’s booting them. Mainline Protestant ministries are still very much welcome at Georgetown. But narrow-minded dangerous evangelical groups -- like InterVarsity -- are not.

And as many Georgetown alum will tell you, the Catholicity of Georgetown is dubious at best. Besides, this is an uncatholic act. Relations between Catholics and Evangelicals have improved markedly in recent decades as marked by such efforts as Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Booting evangelical groups off campus is certainly not in that spirit.

And, at the risk of stating the obvious, this act also goes against the spirit of genuine diversity that should mark any liberal arts university.

But I guess “diversity” only applies to those deemed not too conservative worthy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Towards a More Whole Sacramentalism

I’ve begun my Liturgics I class by listening to the initial lectures of Dr. Dan Dunlap. An aside from him is making me think.

Dr. Dunlap states (and I think I understand him correctly) that the Fathers did not think much in terms of Seven Sacraments or the like but instead saw the whole Divine Service as sacramental. Augustine thought this way and would probably see, say, the Apostle’s Creed as sacramental.

And I think I’ve been thinking this way as well. I just didn’t know it.

For example, after receiving the Body and Blood at my parish, as I’m kneeling back in my pew, I often watch others take communion. To me, their taking communion is part of us feeding at His table. And their presence is part of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. God uses them along with the bread and wine to bring his presence to me.

And even the creed – it means a lot to me to stand and say “I believe” as the church does around the world and through history.

In fact, back in my Presbyterian days, I remember saying the creed one morning in the balcony at Blacknall Presbyterian. And as I did, people passed through the vision of my mind saying the creed, people from all places and walks of life. And I was moved.

Yes, it was a youthful “Hey, it’s not just about me” moment. But now more than ever, I sense that I’m saying the creed with the whole church in every place and time.

Or music. I’ve written here how much good English church music can affect me. (And I'm listening to Vespers from Kings again as I type this. And, yes, I have to pause once or twice.) I haven’t thought much about how music can be sacramental. But the best Anglican music seems to bring Heaven down to me as much as any official sacrament.

I will surely think* more about this. But I would heartily agree a more whole sacramentalism goes beyond any designated list of sacraments.

*and read? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I’m famous! (Or is it infamous?)

Yes. Some of you may have noticed I’m quoted in the Living Church article on Anglican bloggers.

(By the way, the misspelling of my name was not the reporter’s fault. There was a snafu in the editing process.)

The reporter has kindly provided me an additional section that met the cutting room floor:

Blogs have also been used to help calm less dramatic storms. "This is a stressful time for Episcopalians because the mainstream media keeps predicting that the sky is about to fall on our Church," says Jim Naughton. "The blog is a place where we can put some of these dire forecasts into perspective." And sometimes the most important storms are internal. "Even if people forget my blog in the future," says Mark Marshall, "it's helped me by motivating me to keep a good record of what I've been thinking and experiencing during this time in my life."
Exploding Episcolibs!

I’ve been writing lately that +++Rowan Williams, particularly in his actions since GC ’06, is turning out to be a pleasant surprise to many orthodox Anglicans.

He in line with the Windsor Report has given the Episcopal Church every chance in the world to repent or at least relent, and that process has tried the patience of the orthodox. But now those chances have been tossed aside, forcing +++Rowan to soon choose between his traditional role of defending the catholic faith and Anglican unity and instead accommodating the “new thing” of a renegade American province.

And he’s made quite clear (which is remarkable for him), as I pointed out yesterday, that he sees his proper role as Archbishop of Canterbury is to “guard the faith and teaching of the Church” not to further divisive new things or even his things.

Well, the surprise is certainly not pleasant for all. That the Archbishop intends to fulfill his traditional role is sinking into the addled minds of the Episcopal Left. And they are. not. happy.

They are particularly unhappy with the New York meeting +++Rowan has called next month for select U. S. bishops to hopefully begin to work out a way to a settlement. It seems some Episcolibs don’t like any interference in their plans to vanquish their evil bigoted orthodox foes.

My friend Christopher Johnson is documenting this discontent well, including here and here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

”I have to guard the faith and teaching of the Church. My personal ideas and questions have to take second place.”

The above quote comes from an excellent Dutch interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. And it succinctly spells out what I and many orthodox Anglicans have come to appreciate about +++Rowan: he puts the teaching and traditions of the catholic church above his personal views.

His approach to controversial questions is a balanced one. Personal views and questions are fine and often good. But they do not and must not supplant the teaching of the church catholic.

In terms of decision-making the American Church has pushed the boundaries. It has made a decision that is not the decision of the wider body of Christ. In terms of the issue under consideration: there are enough Christians of good faith in every denomination - from evangelical to Roman Catholic - to whom it is not quite so self-evident. Who are not absolutely sure that that we have always read the Bible correctly. They are saying: this is an issue we must talk about. But if we are going to have time to discuss this, prayerfully, thoughtfully, we really don't need people saying: we must change it now. The discussion must not be foreclosed by a radical agenda. The decision hasn't been made yet. Or rather, the tradition and teaching of the Church is what it always was.

Twenty years ago I wrote an essay in which I advocated a different direction. That was when I was still a professor, to stimulate debate. It did not generate much support and a lot of criticism - quite fairly on a number of points. What I am saying now is: let us talk this through. As Archbishop I have a different task. I would feel very uncomfortable if my Church would say: this is beyond discussion, forever. Equally I have to guard the faith and teaching of the Church. My personal ideas and questions have to take second place.

Thus he spells out why Archbishop Williams hasn’t been as liberal as Professor or even Bishop Williams.

This sort of humility coming from this very intelligent and learned man should be an example to American Christians and bishops, who tend to be all too American in lording their personal views over the church.

Elsewhere in the interview, I’m once again encouraged that the Archbishop sees the seriousness of the splits looming over Anglicans. And I’m pleasantly surprised that he rejects the liberal Episcopal view of “inclusiveness”:

I don't believe inclusion is a value in itself. . . . We welcome people into the Church; we say: 'You can come in, and that decision will change you.' We don't say: 'Come in and we ask no questions.' I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions.

There is more from the interview. I commend it to you.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Common Cause Federation in the Works

Another orthodox North American Anglican federation is in the works, this one among the Common Cause partners.

I’m glad to see this. There is a need for orthodox Anglicans to get their act together after decades of splintering and become more united. For thing, we can hardly ask for an orthodox North American province in the Anglican Communion if there isn’t a sizable active unified orthodox body already. And since quick mergers aren’t viable or wise, a federation is the best near-term way to go about that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Archbishop of Canterbury calls meeting of U. S. bishops.

Earlier this month, in discussing ++Rowan Williams' response to requests for alternative oversight, I wrote:

I’m encouraged that ++Rowan has already been proactive in this matter. . . He seems to see that the usual delay . . . will not do.

Today comes more reason to be encouraged. He has called a meeting of select U. S. bishops in September.

A chief purpose of the meeting will be to bring about a resolution of conflict in the Episcopal Church short of lawsuits and bloodshed.

Bishop Leo Iker will be there and sounds encouraged as well:

We are grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his efforts to broker a cease fire in our current conflicts and to assist us in finding a way to work through the impasse we have reached. If things go well at this initial meeting, additional dates have been set aside to continue our deliberations in the future.

Again, it’s good to see that ++Rowan sees that the usual Anglican practices of delay, fudge, and bureaucratic subversion (See the Panel of Reference.) will not do in the current situation.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

JonBenet Ramsey and the Media Wolves

We were all surprised last night with the news that the alleged (and now confessed) killer of JonBenet Ramsey has been arrested.

This may sound awful, but I wouldn’t care that much . . . except for one thing. You see, I got sick and tired of the endless media coverage years ago. Yes, it’s awful when a child is murdered. But children are murdered every day and their cases aren’t flogged week after week, month after month in the news media. I particularly got tired of the creepy video of JonBenet in a beauty pageant. The news media was fixated on this case.

And many in the news media were fixated on pinning her parents as the killers. And that’s why I now care. Now, personally, I think parents who put a six year old in beauty pageants need a reality check. But I’d like to give a reality check or two to a lot of parents. That does not justify the relentless media smear job against them.

Now, it appears they may have had nothing to do with the murder. If that indeed turns out to be the case, there are a score of media hounds who should be flogged . . . in public . . . within an inch of their lives.

I’ve had it with news media scum who feel they have carte blanche to act as judge and jury and destroy people’s reputations before convictions and even before indictments as in this case.

I’m hesitant to restrict press freedom, but the founding fathers surely did not intend to protect this kind of press misconduct. And the news media has proven they can not be trusted with the reputations of innocent people.

It’s time to restrict media conduct in crime cases. In Australia, if I’m not mistaken, the media cannot reveal a suspect’s name in a case of a crime against a child until after conviction. That would be good step.

And Australia certainly has robust press freedom. It’s not necessary to have open season on the reputations of the accused but innocent to have a free press.

It’s time to put a muzzle on the media wolves.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I like Chuck+.

Rev. Chuck Collins, rector of Christ Church, San Antonio has written again about his parish’s response to the current situation of the Episcopal Church. You might remember his parish has announced that they are disassociating from TEC pending an avenue from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to do so.

I must say I like Collins’+ very Texan approach. He talks straight while politely seeking to be a team player as much as possible. At the same time, he has a no nonsense view toward apostasy. There is a limit to what he’ll take -- and it’s been reached.

I think his parish’s strategy of saying “Enough!” yet waiting for the ABC and the Primates to provide a way to stay in the Anglican Communion while leaving TEC is a wise, balanced and catholic one as is their move to join the Network.

And their effort to work cooperatively with their bishop is commendable as well. And the Bishop of West Texas seems accommodating and supportive so far.

I’ve been hard on the Diocese of West Texas. But lately that diocese is providing examples of wise conduct when confronted with apostasy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Evolution of a Worshipper

(direct link to cartoon at

This cartoon has been going about the churchly blogdom. So you’ve probably seen it.

I was mildly puzzled by it for some time. Then while I was driving (My best thoughts often come to me behind the wheel.), I thought, “That’s me!”

Around 18, I got involved in the charismatic movement, so hands up and letting loose was my preferred worship style. Through the years my style toned down in more mainstream “praise and worship” style churches, but I was still quite involved in the worship.

But eventually I became disenchanted with “praise and worship” style services, sometimes also called “hymn sandwiches.” Often, they annoyed me more than they helped me worship. I was guy #5.

Then I discovered traditional Anglican services like the guy at the right. And the rest is history.

Like I said, that’s me (although I’m not a crucifer . . . yet).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pipe Dream Update

I’ve mentioned that, in spite of being the World’s Fastest Seminary Drop-out, I have a (pipe?) dream of studying at Oxford. Well, I do have some enquiries out about that, although I’m not holding my breath. If you wish to avoid excess academic pressure as I do, that reduces your options at Oxford, to put it mildly.

But I so wish to go that I want to exhaust the possibilities before I write it off. And, hey, God answers prayer, so you never know. . . .

In the meantime I’m about to take, for credit no less, Liturgics I from Cranmer House’s distance program and Dr. Daniel Dunlap. Yes, there are papers and an exam. But the format is flexible while still challenging. And although I’m not going after a degree, you never know when the credit might come in handy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Canterbury Receives Consolidated APO Request

The Seven Episcopal dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight have consolidated their requests into one 14 page petition and sent it to the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, as reported at the Living Church.

I’m encouraged that ++Rowan has already been proactive in this matter, quickly asking that the requests be consolidated into one. He seems to see that the usual delay, such as sending the requests to the circular file known as the Panel of Reference, will not do.

I’ll go further and say that if he wishes to keep the Anglican Communion somewhat intact, and he does, then he must treat the petition as a serious and urgent matter. Some primates are already unhappy over the subversion of the Panel of Reference, and rightly so. If ++Rowan doesn’t give this effort to bring relief for orthodox Anglicans the concern it merits, there will be that much less incentive for conservatives to stick with the AC.


Also note that TEC Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has cancelled the House of Bishops meeting this Fall. Whatever his reasons, it’s a wise move. Nothing good was going to come out of that meeting. And certain Left Coast bishops were hoping to use it to dispose the orthodox bishop of San Joaquin.

So kudos to ++Frank. (Wow! Did I just say that?)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More on The Federation of Anglican Churches
in the Americas

The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas has their web site up now.

I found this page of their articles the most interesting. There they list the following among their “tasks”:

Furthering mutual understanding of its member Provinces, Jurisdictions and Ministries with a view to eventual union when and if deemed practical.

Pursuing a communal and charitable relationship with the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Clearly they are seeking more unity beyond being a federation of continuing jurisdictions. And that’s reflected in Article 11. There it’s clear there’s a great deal of intercommunion among federation members, which to date are the AMiA, the REC, and the APA.

+Ray Sutton of the REC is listed as a contact. He’s been prominent in North American orthodox Anglican ecumenical efforts and happens to be the bishop who confirmed me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Tinfoil Hat Song!

For those who are convinced George Bush was behind 9-11, know that space aliens are spying on them, or are just Presbyterian, it’s the Tinfoil Hat Song!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Presbyterians Join 9-11 Nutcases.

Those Presbyterians! They just can’t resist aiding every trendy Leftist cause. Now they are publishing a book implicating the Bush Administration in 9-11. I’m not kidding.

More here. More on tinfoil hats here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Bishop of Texas Announces Windsor Bishop Consultation

Bishop Don Wimberly has announced a consultation of Windsor bishops in hopes of finding “a way forward that both prevents some in our Church from ‘walking apart’, and others from seeking irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity.” The meeting will be September 19-22 in Texas.

Two key CofE bishops will also be there with the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury: +N. T. Wright and +Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester.

Now I know what you’re thinking: anyone can slap a “Windsor Bishop” label on and attend. Not so. Attendees are expected to agree that Lambeth 1.10 is the teaching of the Anglican Communion, to agree with Windsor/Dromantine, and to agree that the General Convention’s response to Windsor/Dromantine was inadequate.

There are five designated points of discussion for the meeting:
1. Solidifying Communion links to Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates;
2. Development of a leadership council for links with Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates;
3. Commitment to common action;
4. Thresholds for an Anglican Covenant;
5. Care of clergy and parishes not represented by “Windsor Bishops.”

Notable is that the Bishop of West Texas, +Gary Lillibridge, among others, is assisting with this effort.

Now many in the orthodox Anglican blogdom have been a bit hard on +Don Wimberly, and understandably so. And I’ve been quite hard on Bishop Lillibridge. Fairly or unfairly, both have been perceived to be fence sitters. However, bringing about this consultation appears to be real leadership on their part.

I will be watching this meeting with great interest. And if it is fruitful, then I’ll be the first to say “Thanks be to God” . . . and “Mea culpa.”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

36% Believe in Federal 9-11 Conspiracy?!

According to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll, about one-third of Americans suspect federal officials were in on 9/11 beforehand. Here’s more.

When I read about this in the local paper today, I was disturbed. This adds to my chagrin:

The poll found that a majority of young adults give at least some credence to a 9/11 conspiracy . . .

Even if the numbers are high, if about 1/3 of the nation are nutcase idiots, that does not bode well for our future as a democratic republic.

UPDATE: I mentioned this item to a sensible, intelligent teenager at my church. He surprised me by saying he, too, was suspicious that federal officials were in on 9/11. God help us.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Advantages of Federations

Yesterday, I told you what little I know about the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas.

But it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard of the concept of federation among continuing and orthodox Anglicans. During a visitation to my parish, one of the REC bishops, +Royal Grote I think, opined that he thought a federation was the most likely way North American Anglican unity efforts would proceed.

I think it may be the best way to proceed in many cases as well (and I suspect the bishop would agree). Now I do think merger is often preferable when possible, such as between the APA and REC. The more unity without sacrificing truth and tradition the better.

But mergers have their problems. Orthodox Anglicans agree on the basics of the faith, but there are differences most are not eager to fudge away. The issues around the ordination of women are certainly prominent among those differences.

Also, continuing Anglicans especially are reluctant to give much power to a central authority. In the REC, for example, a parish owns its own property and can pretty much leave when it wants.

Many continuing parishes want that kind of autonomy. For many of them come from situations where authority was imposed on them against their will. One example is the REC Church of the Holy Communion in Dallas. A precipitating event in their leaving the Episcopal Church was their 1928 BCPs being taken away. Longtime readers might remember that during discussion about the new REC BCP (which is very traditional), some there were anxious about whether they could stick with the 1928.

Most continuing parishes are likewise not eager to give up their distinctives nor leave them in the power of a higher churchly authority. Hence, federations are more doable than mergers.

One additional plus I see in federations is they help quarantine any future unorthodoxy. If one federation partner descends into unorthodoxy, the other partners are under no obligation to join along. In fact, the partners may be able to boot the offending partner out if necessary. An actual merger greatly complicates dealing with unorthodoxy and makes it more difficult to remain separate from it.

There are surely other issues as well. Federations are just faster and easier to bring about and live with while leaving the door open to later mergers. That is certainly the case with the REC and APA. Their merger is proving to be a slow process while their federation happened before most people even knew about it. And with all that’s going on in Anglicanism, the ability to act relatively quickly is an asset.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Federation Of Anglican Churches In The Americas

Very quietly, and even under my radar, The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA) has been formed.

As my rector brought to my attention, this new federation is given a prominent place on the Reformed Episcopal Church’s site (complete with hokey musical introduction). Anglican Province of America Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf discussed it in his recent Synod address. And the Diocese of the Holy Cross has some information here. Those are the only mentions I can find on the net. Given the hyperactivity of the Anglican blogdom, that’s pretty quiet.

Here’s what I can glean from the above sources. The brainchild of the REC’s and APA’s unity efforts, the Federation now consists of the REC, the APA, and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and has picked up steam this year.

++Gregory Venables has signed on as Patron, quite a statement from him given he’s a Primate in the Anglican Communion.

FACA will likely work hand in hand with Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in America (CANA).

If I find out more of substance, I’ll let you know.