Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Evil Always Has Its Excuses.

Exhibit #4598 of that truth may be found here, in the excuses of PB Schori’s lawyer David Booth Beers for continuing to try to sue orthodox congregations out of their meeting houses in spite of the Primates’ request to suspend lawsuits.

The Episcopal Church will not suspend or withdraw from property lawsuits it initiated unless there is a comprehensive agreement that takes into consideration “all the other recommendations of the primates’ communiqué,” said David Booth Beers, chancellor for the Presiding Bishop.

I’ve decided to use this approach for Lent. I’ve decided not to give up sinful anger until everything in the world that makes me angry is dealt with.

The rest of his excuses are equally lame. Feel free to read them if your reaction of anger/sarcasm/mocking/Toronto-style holy laughter would not violate your Lenten discipline.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Schori’s Lawyers Insult Primates, Continue Lawsuits.

Presiding Bishop Schori’s lawyers issued an incredible statement yesterday, refusing to put their lawsuits against orthodox congregations on hold.

David Booth Beers said “there is no basis at this time” to suspend litigation.

No basis?!? The Primates of the Anglican Communion have asked the Episcopal Church to call off the dogs. And David Booth Beers says there is no basis to do so?? That’s downright insulting.

Then Beers drones about the AC having “no legal authority over the affairs of its members.”

That completely misses the point. The Primates Meeting asked the Episcopal Church to back off on the litigation. To ignore that request as Schori and Beers are doing is uncollegial, to put it in a very Anglican way.

Remember, these are Schori’s lawyers. So this statement speaks volumes about her response to the Primates. And since she signed the communiqué asking for a cease fire on lawsuits, it speaks volumes about her and TEC’s complete lack of trustworthiness.

I hope this so enrages the Primates that it makes it less likely that TEC will get away with a weasel words will win strategy. But I still consider that thin hope.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

++Venables on the Primates Meeting and TEC Fudge (and St. Matthias Day)

Primate of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables has issued some straight talk about the Primates Meeting and TEC PB Schori’s attempt already to fudge it:

We must now see if the Episcopal Church is going to be willing to fulfill the spirit and the specifics of our agreement. From the first indications, I am most ´concerned. We gave much time to producing a Communiqué which was unambiguous and straightforward. Tragically, in the Presiding Bishop’s remarks to the Church Center community just two days after the close of the meeting she misguidingly argues that there was agreement and understanding among the Primates that blessings of same-sex couples could continue as “pastoral care” as long as there was no official published liturgy for it. That assertion quite scandalously demonstrates the very concern that the Communiqué addresses in identifying this situation.

By the way, I visited my beloved Smokey Matt’s this morning to attend Matins and Low Mass on the Feast of St. Matthias, their patron saint. You might remember they left the Episcopal Church last year. This morning I discovered they are now under the pastoral care of ++Venables – a very good choice for both of them. And it’s a good example of orthodox evangelicals (such as ++Venables) and orthodox Anglo-Catholics (such as Smokey Matt’s, of course) working together as is meet and right.

St. Matthias is linked with Judas since Matthias replaced Judas among the Twelve Apostles. So the readings this morning dealt much with those who fall away and those who are faithful. Very timely, methinks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Special TEC Convention?

First, I want to wish all my kind readers a Holy Lent. I’m a bit busy through Monday, but I plan to post some unconventional Lenten thoughts in due time.

There have been interesting calls for a Special General Convention of the Episcopal Church to respond to the Tanzania requests of the Primates. These calls are coming from the different ends of TEC, from Kendall Harmon to Marc Andrus.

Some, including Brad Drell, are groaning, “No! Not another General Convention.” But I like the idea of a Special General Convention. For one thing it will shut up those who already are crying polity and saying only a General Convention can respond to the Tanzania requests.

And a Special Convention is more likely to clearly reject the Tanzania requests. And, for those (like me) who wish to see this charade ended, that’s a good thing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Post-Tanzania Outlook: Weasel Words Will Win

I’ve slept on the Primates Communique and Schedule and, boy, is my neck sore. And I still think it will prove insufficient.

Now I am encouraged by the September 30th deadline for the Episcopal Church to respond adequately. Such a quick deadline shows a determination to resolve this (at least somewhat) in time for Lambeth ’08. And the deadline, combined with ++Rowan’s statements at the press conference, indicate that TEC’s response will affect invitations to Lambeth.

And a good number of people whose opinions I respect like the communiqué. I was particularly encouraged to hear ++Orombi’s no nonsense take on where we are.

And the communiqué asked TEC to stop the lawsuits. I had written that this persecution of faithful congregations would get the Primates' attention. I’m glad to see them directly address it.

But I see two serious weaknesses, one within the communiqué and one without.

Within, I insist that the Pastoral Council is a recipe to stack the process of TEC’s response. I’ve yet seen little concern about this out there in the Anglican blogdom. But I’m stomping my foot and saying I’m not the one missing something concerning this. The Pastoral Council and its composition is vital. It is given a great deal of authority and responsibility for both Windsor compliance and pastoral provision. From the communiqué:

A Pastoral Council

• The primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.

• The Council will work in co-operation with The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and the leadership of the bishops participating in the scheme proposed below to

_ negotiate the necessary structures for pastoral care which would meet the requests of the Windsor Report (TWR, §147–155) and the primates’ requests in the Lambeth Statement of October 2003 [1];

_ authorise protocols for the functioning of such a scheme, including the criteria for participation of bishops, dioceses and congregations in the scheme;

_ assure the effectiveness of the structures for pastoral care;

_ liaise with those other primates of the Anglican Communion who currently have care of parishes to seek a secure way forward for those parishes within the scheme;

_ facilitate and encourage healing and reconciliation within The Episcopal Church, between The Episcopal Church and congregations alienated from it, and between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion (TWR, §156);

_ advise the Presiding Bishop and the Instruments of Communion;

_ monitor the response of The Episcopal Church to the Windsor Report;

_ consider whether any of the courses of action contemplated by the Windsor Report §157 should be applied to the life of The Episcopal Church or its bishops, and, if appropriate, to recommend such action to The Episcopal Church and its institutions and to the Instruments of Communion;

_ take whatever reasonable action is needed to give effect to this scheme and report to the primates.

And with two of the five Pastoral Council members being chosen by the Presiding Bishop (and NONE by the Network), it’s hamstrung from the beginning. All it takes is one weak appointment from the Primates or the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it will practically be a rubber stamp for TEC. If the Primates and ++Rowan make three strong appointments, it has a chance to work. But three out of three is not a good bet.

The weakness without is whether there will be the will to exclude some or most of TEC from Lambeth and other aspects of the Communion when they fall short of what is being asked of them. I just don’t see the will being there. Look at the difficulty the Primates had in Tanzania already.

I didn’t have a prediction for the Primates Meeting, but I do have a prediction for its aftermath. The TEC House of Bishops will respond with weasel words that try to look like compliance, but aren’t. A majority of the Pastoral Council will pat them on the head and say that’s a “very serious” response and report that TEC is in compliance with Windsor/Tanzania. ++Rowan and a majority of the Primates go along with the charade. And everybody except Gene Robinson gets invited to Lambeth.

Is there a possibility that a majority of the House of Bishops refuses to go even that far to comply with the requests of Windsor/Tanzania? Yes. The Episcopal Left would rather TEC just say no and ditch the communion, and they will pressure the bishops to do so. From a very different perspective, I, too, would greatly prefer an honest statement of non-compliance from the HOB.

But I expect weasel words will win.

Monday, February 19, 2007

BREAKING: The Primates Meeting Communique AND Schedule

Yes, it’s finally out.

I’ll comment later.

Later: The money paragraph:

35. Our discussions have drawn us into a much more detailed response than we would have thought necessary at the beginning of our meeting. But such is the imperative laid on us to seek reconciliation in the Church of Christ, that we have been emboldened to offer a number of recommendations. We have set these out in a Schedule to this statement. We offer them to the wider Communion, and in particular to the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in the hope that they will enable us to find a way forward together for the period leading up to the conclusion of the Covenant Process. We also hope that the provisions of this pastoral scheme will mean that no further interventions will be necessary since bishops within The Episcopal Church will themselves provide the extended episcopal ministry required.

But guess what? As of this moment, there is no schedule to be seen.

UPDATE: O. K. The Schedule’s out now. You may find it and comments galore at the link above.


I think the Communique and Schedule are quite weak. I’m especially concerned that The Pastoral Council can easily be stacked against the orthodox, with PB Schori appointing two, the ABC one, and the Network ZERO.

Speaking of which, if the Communique and Schedule mention the Network, I sure missed it on my first reading. That’s a bit of a slap in the face.

But the revisionists are already unhappy. And some interpret this as taking a hard line against TEC. Ruth Gledhill is one.

And ++Rowan appears to have put the onus on the Episcopal Church: “"If in good consciences the assurances cannot be given [by TEC], it has to affect their relationship with the organs of Communion."

So I’m not sure what to think . . . except that we live in interesting times.
Draft Covenant Released

So the draft Covenant is out.

Upon a first reading, I’m not very excited about it one way or the other. In this post-modern age, you can twist ignore interpret anything anyway you want to. You can make words mean whatever pleases you. It would take an incredibly good covenant and the willingness to enforce it to overcome that.

And I’m not seeing either in the Anglican Communion, at least at this hour.
Press Conference, Communique Delayed

Matt Kennedy informs us the press conference (and I’m assuming the communiqué as well) of the end of the Primates Meeting is delayed. And he rightly calls us to prayer.

UPDATE: The word is that the reason for the delay is because there is still no agreement. (I thought that might be the case, but didn’t want to jump to conclusions.)

UPDATE 2: Anglican Mainstream reports on the Primates’ revised schedule. The supposed time for the press conference is now 2pm Dallas time. . . . which is getting close to the Primates' bedtime Tanzania time.
BREAKING: Schori Elected to Primates Standing Committee

The communiqué is not out yet. But This. Is. Not. Good.

It appears P.B. Schori not only has not been disciplined, she’s been crowned.

I am aghast.

BUT before I hit "publish," I noticed this from Jim Naughton:

I caution against reading too much into this. Members are elected to the Standing Committee by region, so Bishop Jefferst Schori was elected by her colleagues from the Americas.
Today’s the Day.

Today, we get the Communique from the Primates Meeting. It is scheduled to come out around 9:45 Dallas Time.

I find it interesting that at least two strong Global South conservatives, ++Chew and ++Gomez, were on the communiqué group. Should that be taken as a good sign?

A summary what what’s on tap may be found here (or here if the first link is down).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Interesting" Finish to Primates Meeting

Sorry I haven’t posted much this special weekend. When I haven’t been busy, I’ve been tired from being busy.

But it sounds like the Primates Meeting still hasn’t come to agreement with only a few hours left. When I watched the February 16th press conference there, I thought things might be rough.

I’m not going to make predictions. But remember that curse about “interesting times”?

We’re in them.

I’ll point you to Stand Firm in the links on the left for details. Then I better get to bed. I'll try to get enough sleep that I can post something more coherent tomorrow.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dave Walker Summarizes the Primates Meeting So Far only he can.
Tanzania Press Conference

Notes from Peter Ould on today’s press conference.

It appears there’s quite a struggle over the Episcopal Church. From Ould’s rough notes of ++Peter Aspinall’s statement:

We spent the morning considering the primates responses to Primates reactions to TEC’s response to WR. It has not reached definite conclusions yet. We moved from listening to discussion, exchange of views and debate. There are areas of concern and tension. It would be wrong to give the impression that it is all smooth sailing. There are real tensions to work through.

So they’ve spent two days on TEC, but do not appear to be near resolution.
Update from Brad Drell

Brad Drell hears that another whole day of the Primates Meeting has been spent on the Episcopal Church and that there should be a press conference around lunch, U. S. time.
BREAKING: REALLY Big Anglican News

If you heard wild incoherent manic noises in the distance just now, that was me finding out I've been accepted into the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford for the Fall Semester.

My apologies if you were disturbed.
BREAKING: Global South Primates Release Statement on Eucharist

From Peter Ould’s excellent site:

A statement from Global South Primates

A number of the Global South Primates have not shared in the Holy Eucharist today with their fellow primates. They include Abp. Peter Akinola, Abp John Chew, Abp. Benjamin Nzimbi, Abp Justice Akrofi, Abp. Henry Orombi, Abp. Gregory Venables, and Abp. Emmanuel Kolini. They represent more than 30 million faithful Anglicans. They have released this statement:

“We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with The Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired.

Scripture teaches that before coming to sit with one another at the Lord’s Table we must be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-26 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) We have made repeated calls for repentance by The Episcopal Church and its leadership with no success. We continue to pray for a change of heart.

We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding, “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith”
(Book of Common Prayer)

This is a painful decision for us and also for our host and brother, the Most Revd Donald Mtetemela. He understands our painful dilemma and accepts our decision. Pray for the Church.”

Friday, February 16, 2007
White Sands Hotel, Jangwani Beach, Tanzania

I find the statement that “the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further” interesting. I don’t know if this refers to the events of the Primates Meeting so far.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is “something big” afoot?

Two items I’ve noticed online make me wonder if something big from Tanzania is about to happen.

First, there was this cryptic comment from Greg Griffith over at Stand Firm: “We’ve just gotten word from Tanzania - everybody sit tight.”

Then I saw this post from Peter Ould, who is on the ground in Tanzania. He quotes on target commentary from David Anderson of the American Anglican Council then states “I’m putting two and two together and guessing that something big is afoot.”

Maybe, ++Akinola is about to make a statement in response to the disturbing events of the day. I don’t know. But I would follow Griffith’s advice – sit tight.
BREAKING: Report of the Communion Sub-Group (on TEC's response to the WR)

This report has just been released.

Now it should be noted that this report on the Episcopal Church’s response to Windsor is not a product of the Primates Meeting but is a report made to the Primates Meeting.

With that important disclaimer, it is an appalling whitewash of TEC General Convention ’06. Two quick excerpts:

It is clear to this group that in the period following the Dromantine meeting, the Episcopal Church took the Windsor Report and the recommendations adopted by the primates extremely seriously…

Oh! Extremely seriously! Like when CG refused to let compliance with Windsor come to a floor vote?

The response of the 75th General Convention to the Windsor Report as a whole in its resolutions was positive…

You get the picture. I’m so agitated I can’t bring myself to say more right now. GC ’06 all but gave the finger to Windsor/Dromantine, and this report whitewashes it.

And, most distressing, the Archbishop of Canterbury himself signed off on this. Yes, the implications of that are not good.

If you ever wondered why orthodox Anglicans get so exasperated with Anglican fudge, here’s a darn good example why.

Let’s hope and pray the Primates send this report to the circular file where it belongs.


Ruth Gledhill and Peter Ould report on the Primates’ day, the above sub-group report and the daily press briefing.

It appears the Primates haven’t made any decisions concerning TEC yet. There is a group working on proposals overnight which will be discussed tomorrow.

I agree with Gledhill that ++Akinola is unlikely to let the attempt to cook up Anglican fudge succeed.
Jordan Hylden on the Primates Meeting

Jordan Hylden has written a number of prescient pieces on the Anglican situation for First Things. This morning, that worthy journal has posted thoughtful commentary from Hylden on the Primates Meeting. I commend it to you and may comment more on it later.

He emphasizes that Anglican “evangelicals and catholics have need each other more than ever.” I heartily agree.

And he does boldly predict:

…While Schori will begin tomorrow’s meeting as an Anglican primate, we can confidently predict that she will not stay for long. She and the liberals whom she represents live in another conceptual universe and so will soon be politely asked to return to New York where they belong. The details remain to be sorted out, but it is likely that most of the Episcopal Church will be demoted to second-rank Anglican status, leaving an orthodox remnant to form what eventually will become a new Anglican province in the United States.
TEC’s Persecution of the Faithful an Issue

I’ve contended that Schori’s and the Episcopal Church’s persecution of the faithful has changed the picture even since General Convention ’06. It has become one more major presenting issue to be laid upon her and TEC.

The Bishop of Winchester has made some comments that reflect that:

…[The Episcopal Church should] stop oppressing a significant minority of itself, about a quarter of its bishops and dioceses, and allow them to exist and flourish in full communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion…

…the really critical question is whether the majority of the Episcopal Church will allow space for what is something over a quarter of its bishops and dioceses, and many more than a quarter of its members to continue to hold the full beliefs of the church, both in terms of creeds, about Jesus, about God, and about marriage and Christian behaviour…

He opined that if Episcopal Church refuses to give such space, schism is more likely.

The lawsuits (which the national TEC office itself is now joining), the faux defrockings, etc. has gotten the attention of those high up in the Anglican Communion. Don’t forget some of the parishes being sued are ++Akinola’s parishes.

I suspect this may be having an effect on the atmosphere and deliberations of the Primates Meeting – perhaps even as I type this.
BREAKING: Bishop Duncan is presenting.

Word comes that Network head Bishop Duncan is making his presentation to the Primates about now. Pray.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BREAKING: Global South will seek to dismiss TEC Presiding Bishop Schori

More here and here.

The Global South Primates are being firmer than I expected. . . . And I expected them to be pretty firm.
BREAKING -- Tanzania: Global South Primates Will Propose Two Province Solution according to Living Church

This is big and encouraging news.

And at first glance, it does not involve an immediate expulsion (or equivalent) of the Episcopal Church. If so, that shows considerable patience and grace on the part of the GS primates. At the same time, it’s no fudge and it provides a place for distressed American Anglicans AND perhaps even for us continuing Anglicans.

But as the article says, details aren’t out yet. So celebration would be premature.

Hattip to titusonenine, which scooped me this time, darn it!
Tanzania: Interesting Video from Stand Firm

Stand Firm, my favorite Anglican news site, is doing a video report every day this week. I find this morning’s video particularly interesting.

The video notes that the Global South Primates’ pre-meeting is now getting more attention, mainly from those who are trying to put a sinister cast on it. Orthodox leaders are conferring and organizing! Horrors!!

The last part of the video is an interview with Ruth Gledhill of the Times. I found her comments on N. T. Wright and on the interview with him interesting. And, although she agrees, at least in part, with the Episcopal Church’s “justice” agenda, she has very strong, even startling words for how TEC has gone about it.
Tanzania: Something to Keep in Mind

If the Primates Meeting so much as lifts a finger in discipline of Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori and the Episcopal Church, expect incoherent screaming to commence. Amidst that noise will be the claim that the Primates have usurped authority.

But it turns out that the Windsor Report itself recognizes and recommends an enhanced role for the Primates Meeting:

The [Lambeth] Commission is convinced that the Primates’ Meeting should continue to provide an important element in the life of the Communion as the body which affirms the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference in the life of Anglicanism. In that respect, the Primates’ Meeting should serve formally as the Standing Committee of the Lambeth Conference and as such should monitor developments in furtherance of resolutions of the Lambeth Conference in addition to the process of reception. This will allow the Primates’ Meeting to begin the enhanced responsibility which successive Lambeth Conferences have recommended. It should be a primary forum for the strengthening of the mutual life of the provinces, and be respected by individual primates and the provinces they lead as an instrument through which new developments may be honestly addressed.

This is not a section of the Windsor Report you hear much about. Admittedly, I had forgotten about this or even not noticed it in the first place. But it is certainly one to keep in mind as the Primates Meeting begins and, not long afterward, when the screaming commences.

Hat tip to titusonenine.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tanzania: Global South Primates Meeting Today

Something that hasn’t gotten much publicity, but I find both significant and encouraging, is that the Global South Primates are meeting in Tanzania today and tomorrow to coordinate their efforts for the meeting of all the Anglican Communion Primates beginning later this week. Here’s one of the few mentions of this, in a Telegraph story.

The GS Primates are making a point to be organized and united as perhaps never before for a major meeting. Good luck to any institutionalist or revisionist who tries to slip some Anglican fudge past them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tinfoil Hat Alert

Now the truth can be told! The REAL reason why mainline American Protestant denominations are shrinking and falling apart! National Council of Churches head Bob Edgar explains it!

He blamed the rise of radical conservatives in numerous denominations with the push to divide over secondary issues, such as gay or female clergy. These elements, he said, have been encouraged by groups like the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization that “gets a lot of its money from secular conservatives like the Scaife, Bradley, Smith Richardson and Coors family charities.”

That right, Americans! It’s the IRD and other Radical Conservative Elements, funded by Secular Right-wing Scaife-Coors slush money! Hmm, where’s my check? Yes, true mainline American Protestants must be ever vigilant against the Secular Radical Right-wing IRD World Conspiracy!

Don’t listen to those Fellow Travelers who try to convince you that the problem is mainline denominations replacing scripture and tradition with modern liberalism! That’s IRD Propaganda! Remember: It’s the Radical Right-wing Scaife-Coors-IRD World Conspiracy!!

And don’t forget to wear your tinfoil hats!

Friday, February 09, 2007

What Most Angered Me About General Convention ‘06

Matt Kennedy has posted a methodical summary of how the Episcopal Church’s General Convention ’06 utterly failed to comply with Windsor/Dromantine. In it, he reminds us of what I consider the greatest outrage of that convention. And, no, it has little to do with Kate Schori or her election.

Christopher Cantrell offered a resolution to the House of Deputies that complied with the Windsor Report. It was the only resolution on consecration of gay bishops and on same-sex blessings to come before the House that complied with Windsor.

The Convention’s response? The Parliamentarian ruled it out of order. Yes, typical of the sort of Episcopalian politics that makes me want to vomit.

But at least this time, thanks to Kendall Harmon, the floor had a chance to overrule the Parliamentarian and have the up-and-down vote this important resolution merited. And only a simple majority was needed to do so.

The House voted and let the ruling stand.

This was and is an incredible snub to the Anglican Communion. General Convention ’06 in effect said that the question of genuine compliance with Windsor wasn’t even worthy of an up-and-down vote.

That, my friends, is an outrage the Primates would do well to remember next week in Tanzania.
“News” Media Scum

For reasons unknown, a man in a homosexual relationship with a pastor decides to sting the pastor by calling a television station to film said pastor at a set up visit to an adult bookstore.

Of course, the station, realizing this involved neither news nor a crime, but a petty vendetta, tells the man to shove off, right?

Not if the station is KDKA-TV. They and reporter Marty Griffin took the man up on his offer, filmed the visit, and prepared a sensationalistic story. Then they promoted it ahead of time for the brazen idol of ratings, of course . . . with the pastor’s face plastered on the promo.

The pastor didn’t wait for the actual news report. He wrote a letter of apology to the church (which letter laid out the above) and committed suicide.

I’ve long had it with news media that destroy reputations for ratings under the pretext of news. But here KDKA-TV was going to report on something that not only was not remotely newsworthy, but didn’t even involve an allegation of a crime. Immoral behavior? Yes. News? A crime? No. KDKA-TV destroyed a man for ratings, pure and simple.

You know, I bet the KDKA-TV board has one or two or more cheating on their wives and viewing porn. Maybe a rival station will do a news story on that.

It’s time for the FCC to pull the licenses of such media scum outlets. I have half a mind to write a letter for KDKA-TV’s FCC file myself.

Hat tip to titusonenine.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


As I and others have noted, Episcolibs have been showing their horns rhetorical fangs lately now that the Primates Meeting is nearing with indications it will not be a good one for the Episcopal Church.

When you look at the big picture, their invective is a bit childish. Allow me to use a football analogy to illustrate. (We’re addicted to those here in Texas.)

Bubba Smash joins the football team. At the end of the first team meeting, the coach announces, “I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s been an issue in recent years. There will be no drinking or partying of any kind on the nights before football games. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

Lambeth 1998 clearly rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and added “the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions [or] ordaining those involved in same gender unions” is out as well.

But Bubba Smash was a party boy. And he ignored the coach and went right on partying and drinking on nights before games. In fact, he was brazen about it. Coach didn’t want to bench Bubba and was a bit of a softy. So he didn’t immediately bench him. But he did strongly warn him. And Bubba went right on partying.

In 2003, in the face of repeated warnings from the Primates, the Episcopal Church consents to and consecrates Gene Robinson, a man in an open homosexual relationship, as Bishop of New Hampshire. Further, same sex blessings are encouraged.

Coach finally benches Bubba and tells him he must stop his partying ways or he may have to leave the team.

The Windsor Report, calling upon the Episcopal Church to stop ordaining gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions, is mildly strengthened and approved at Dromantine. The Report warns that failure of the Episcopal Church to apologize and relent may result in “walking apart. Subsequently, the Anglican Consultative Council asks the Episcopal Church to refrain from voting at the ACC for a time, in effect benching them.

When it became clear that Bubba was showing up for games hung over and was going to keep right on partying no matter what Coach said, Coach realized he had no choice. He booted Bubba off the team.

And that’s what’s likely about to happen to TEC. Although Anglicans are nice about such things and will likely arrange it so that TEC votes itself out of the Anglican Communion, probably by General Convention 2009.

Bubba doesn’t take being kicked off the team well and accuses Coach (and the rest of the team for that matter, most of whom were quite fed up with Bubba) of being backward, prejudiced, and unjust.

Yes, very juvenile . . . just like those having conniptions that the Episcopal Church is about to actually finally get disciplined.

The Episcolibs behavior is worse than Bubba’s though. For while wanting to be handled with kid gloves, TEC now has a policy of going after the orthodox, especially those who feel compelled to leave. Congregations like Falls Church and Truro in Virginia are bending over backwards to try to make leaving as amicable as possible. Their efforts are repaid with faux defrockings and with lawsuits to kick them out of their buildings while the Episcolibs cheer on the attacks. TEC wants mercy while refusing to exercise it themselves.

Moreover, as Captain Yips points out, the Episcolibs have already won! They control the Episcopal Church. Even if they lose every property battle, they will retain the most prestigious trophy properties. They get to be as inclusive as all get out with no one able to stand in the way and get to form their own international liberal communion. Fun, fun, fun! Heck, they should be happy!

But no.

It’s hard to believe we’re talking about grown-ups. They willfully and brazenly broke team rules again and again in the face of warning after warning and yet are angry that they might actually finally be kicked off the team.

Incredible. Just incredible.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Conniptions . . .

You just knew they were coming after Bishop N. T. Wright’s statements revealed yesterday. He bluntly told some truth about Episcolibs. And he became yet one more indicator that the Primates Meeting next week will not be a good one for --Schori and allies.

Thus the day after, we have conniptions. Christopher Johnson gives us a sampling of the unhappiness.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bishop Wright’s Thoughts on the Primates Meeting and More

I wonder if Bishop N. T. Wright is actually an Anglican bishop. For he’s been so outspoken lately on a variety of topics, he’s managed to offend about everyone. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s running for not being the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

But even keeping his recent spate of extreme candor in mind, some remarks he’s made in an interview with Ruth Gledhill are . . . remarkable – and revealing methinks.

He skewers Episcolibs who cry “schism” at the orthodox:

There are many in America who are trying to have their cake and eat it, who are doing the schismatic thing and then accusing those who object of being schismatic. That is the bizarre thing.

And he has similar choice words for Kenneth Kearon as well.

He is perceptive in pointing out that part of our current mess “is that there is a myth about in some circles that historic Anglicanism has no particular doctrine and is just a matter of worshipping together and believing what you like. If you go back to the 16th and 17th centuries, [you] will find them arguing in great detail over the Articles of Religion which became the Thirty-Nine Articles. They were hugely important. The idea of doctrinal indifferentism is a very recent idea which has sprung up in some parts of America.”

He defers from making predictions about the Primates Meeting in Tanzania but is convinced that “something has got to happen soon” and hopes that the Windsor Report will be followed through. He reminds us of “the fact that the Windsor Report was being written through 2004 was what enabled us to hold together when otherwise things would have split apart. We have got to stick with it, otherwise we have wasted our time.” And he thinks “if the Windsor report is followed through then we have to say that those who have taken certain actions and who have not expressed regret in the way that Windsor requested should voluntarily absent themselves from the councils of the Communion.”

It should be noted that Bishop Wright is a good personal friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is very doubtful he would be saying such things so close to the Primates meeting if these thoughts did not at least approximate ++Rowan’s.
The Bright Side of Jimmy Carter’s Baptist Efforts

Jimmy Carter along with Bill Clinton has been making some noise about forming a new lib Baptist group because the Southern Baptist Convention is so “negative and judgmental.”

Now if your feelings about Carter, Clinton, and libchurches are similar to mine, this story might raise your blood pressure a tad. But I recommend that you calm down and look on bright side of this.

Years ago, as recently as the 70’s, the type of Baptists Carter liked controlled the Southern Baptist Convention. Hard to believe, but true. You had liberals like Russell Dilday running seminaries. You had uberlibchurches like Pullen Memorial in Raleigh running amuck without fear of discipline. And at one point, the SBC was officially pro-choice!

Such lack of faithfulness and discipline was one reason I ruled out joining a Baptist church for many years. I knew most congregations were very conservative (and, frankly, often too culturally conservative for me). But I didn’t want to join a denomination that didn’t have any discipline.

But since then, the fundamentalists rolled up their sleeves and took their denomination back. Dilday and friends were shown the door. The convention become officially and strongly pro-life. And Pullen Memorial and like-minded congregations were expelled.

So whereas Carter was once a happy Southern Baptist during his presidency, he has since left the convention and now feels the need for a new Baptist group altogether. That’s how far gone the Southern Baptists have become in the eyes of a prominent liberal churchman.

And in the larger scheme of things, that’s good news.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Anglican Covenant Progress . . . Is Actually Progressing

In the process of giving his Primates Meeting predictions, Greg Griffith of Stand Firm noted the following:

In addition, expect the Anglican covenant to be on the table far sooner than TEC would like - certainly at Lambeth '08, and perhaps before that. This is not to TEC's favor no matter how you slice it. Word is that a draft version is nearing completion . . .

That got my attention. So I sniffed around and found strong confirmation at, of all places, The Episcopal News Service in a story that begins:

The Anglican Communion's Covenant Design Group's report to the February meeting of the Communion's Primates will include a draft covenant, according to one of the two Episcopal Church members of the group.

That member adds, “The covenant process is moving at a great speed.”

So there will already be a draft covenant for the primates to consider in Tanzania in a few days with a final draft likely ready by Lambeth ‘08. This is a very significant and overlooked development – and, frankly, one I overlooked amidst all the other . . . stuff going on.

I had considered the Covenant to be perhaps a good part of the long term solution but a serious problem for the short term since it would take so long to bring about that orthodox remaining in the Episcopal Church would be decimated in the meantime.

But if the Covenant is indeed put in place at Lambeth ’08 with provinces afterward having to choose to sign up in order to stay full members of the Anglican Communion, such speed (by Anglican standards) changes things.

The Episcopal Church will then have to choose at General Convention ’09. And they certainly will chose not to sign the Covenant and thereby will formally and finally “walk apart” from the Anglican Communion.

I know that may not seem speedy to those enduring this process, but it is certainly speedy by Anglican standards. And these reports give realistic hope that TEC’s status in the Communion will be firmly resolved by summer 2009. That’s just over two years.

And remember that the strong orthodox Primate of the West Indies Drexel Gomez chairs the Covenant design committee. He will not allow the Covenant to be weasel words.

As messy as things are and will be, this apparent progress on the Covenant gives good reason to be optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. Again, this progress is a significant development.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Darfur Relief Efforts

The past few days, the suffering of the refugees in Darfur has really hit me. I’ve known about the situation there for a long time, but receiving a letter from Partners International, perhaps my favorite missions organization, put me over. I was practically crying at my desk. Yes, I have a soft side if you can believe that.

Anyway, I made a decent contribution to PI, with half of it designated to Darfur relief. If you’d like to consider doing that as well, then please go here.

I’m glad to read that the Anglican Communion Network is helping with Darfur relief as well.

One thing I very much like about both these efforts is that they work through indigenous churches in the area. I’m convinced that is usually the best way to do missions and relief (and is why I love Partners International). The churches are there for the long haul. They know the people and the culture. They often have more ability, credibility, and, yes, commitment in witness than foreign agencies. And the church itself is ministering to people.

And, often, foreign agencies have great difficulty getting into areas. This is sadly the case in Sudan/Darfur, where Arab Muslims have attacked relief workers. A number of agencies have had to pull out.

I could go on. But I encourage you to look into these two efforts and pray about giving.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Getting Fed Up with Evangelicalism

I felt like walking around after eating too much for lunch and soon discovered I was fed up in a more significant way as well.

I walked into the Family Christian Bookstore. And the first thing I saw was Joel Osteen’s smiling face on a book cover.

It amazes me that there are enough stupid people to sell that many books of his and to pack his church. I watched him speak for about two minutes the other night. And that was all I could endure. He has got to be one of the most phony, affected speakers I’ve ever seen. And I used to be involved in politics so that’s saying something. How in heck do people not see right through him?

And right beside him was a new Joyce Meyer book with her face dominating the cover as always. Why the compulsion to have her face front and center on almost every book? It reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. (I especially found it amusing that she did that for her title, Approval Addiction.)

If I didn’t know evangelicals better, I’d think they were stupid. How can they be so gullible as to give charlatans like that such *ahem* good livings?

And here’s an evangelical-leaning book store chain enabling them.

Right there in that store, I realized I, who once considered himself evangelical, had become thoroughly fed up with evangelicalism.

And I haven’t even mentioned evangelical coddling of the emergent church movement and its lack of orthodoxy ala Brian McLaren.

No, my disenchantment with evangelicalism does NOT mean I’m going liberal. Long time readers know that. But I’ve changed as a Christian. I now consider myself orthodox, not evangelical. And I’ve known that for a while.

But I didn’t realize just how disgusted I’m getting with evangelicalism until my short visit to Family Christian.

Yes, yes. I know. There are many excellent faithful evangelicals about. Global South Anglicans especially come to mind. And there is the army of missionaries evangelicals send out.

But, at least here in American evangelical culture, the good guys are getting drowned out by banal, heterodox, phony pandering, aided, abetted, and rewarded by the gullible and by Family Christian Stores.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

No Safe Place: Bishops Praise Persecution of the Faithful

In case some of you think I’m overdoing it when I assert that the policy of the Episcopal Church is now the persecution of the faithful, take note of this little mash note from sixteen bishops in support of -Peter Lee’s attempt to sue Virginia faithful out of their buildings and perhaps more.

And remember that the congregations in question bent over backwards to work with –Lee in good faith to bring about an amicable separation. Instead he threw aside the recommendation of his own commission and sues them.

And these wolves bishops praise that.
That is so vile even I am at a loss for words.

But don’t you dare forget: this is now the policy of the Episcopal Church.