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!!