Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Party of Infanticide - Senate Democrats Make It Official

After yesterday’s vote in the Senate, there is no getting around it – the Democrat Party is now the Party of Infanticide.  All but three Democrats voted against the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which would have required medical treatment of babies that survive late-term abortions.  No Republican voted against it although three Republicans did not vote. Here is the roll call.
Oh, and all the Democrat Senators who are declared candidates for President voted against it – Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar.
At times I’ve wrestled with the question of whether support for today’s Democrats is an acceptable position for a Christian.  (Now I always cut new Christians some slack.  I even supported abortion for a short time after I became a Christian.  Likewise those who are apolitical.)  But, at least as far as the 44 Democrats who voted “No” are concerned, we are surely far beyond what Christians can agree to disagree on. I cannot see how it is acceptable for at least Christian ministers to support any of these six or those 44.  In my jurisdiction, I would consider reporting any such clerics to their bishop.
On a slightly happier note, more are noticing the push towards infanticide and are turning against it and against abortion:
According to a new poll from Marist, Americans' attitudes on abortion have dramatically shifted over the last month. Americans are now as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as they are pro-choice (47 percent). A similar survey taken by Marist just last month found Americans were more likely to identify as pro-choice than as pro-life by a 17-point difference.
It is distressing that this country – or at least blue states – has gotten to this point of depravity.  But maybe such open displays of evil are necessary to open people’s eyes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2 Corinthians 1:14 and the Discouraged Minister

Those who engage in ministry, both lay and clerical, have times when they wonder if they are really making a difference.  They also have times when they feel their ministry is unappreciated or underappreciated.  I’ve certainly had those times.
One reason we may feel that way is we cannot see what influence our faithfulness has on the future.  Not being omniscient, we can hardly see what influence we are having even now. We are very limited both by time and our perception.
2ndCorinthians, assigned for Morning Prayer in the Pre-Lent season in some lectionaries, reveals Paul’s heart as a minister perhaps the most of his epistles.  He very much opened his heart to the Corinthians when some had closed their hearts to him.  Both letters to the Corinthians indicate that some in the church at Corinth did not appreciate St. Paul’s ministry much.  And that church had issues.  Yes, I am engaging in some understatement here.

Paul hints at the lack of appreciation in 2ndCorinthians 1:13,14:
For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— just as you did partially understand us… (ESV)
St. Paul is saying nicely that there were times when the Corinthians were not very understanding toward his message and his ministry.  They surely must have made him wonder how much of a positive impact he was having on that divided chaotic headstrong church. Yet immediately he then expressed the following confidence: “on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.” (ESV)
The King James uses “rejoicing” instead of “boast.” But the gist is the same: “on the day of our Lord Jesus” when Jesus returns to fully establish his kingdom, the positive impact of Paul’s ministry will become fully evident and will result in great rejoicing.  The same can be said of all the ministry of the faithful.  For though now we see those we touch “dimly” if at all, then we shall see “face to face.” (I Cor. 13:12)
There is a song that was popular among evangelicals in the late 80’s and early 90’s, “Thank You” by Ray Boltz.  In hindsight, it might be a bit sentimental and perhaps too man-centered (And Boltz’s history later on is, well, mixed.), but the song deeply touched me during that time when I often felt underappreciated.  To be honest, I got teary-eyed when I reviewed the lyrics this week.  Here is the heart of the song, set in Heaven:
Then another man stood before you
And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money,
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I am here today."

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see.
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
Sacrifices made,
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven, now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry.
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child, look around you.
Great is your reward."

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.
Among the manifold reasons for rejoicing in God’s kingdom will be that we will get to see the trophies of God’s grace, including lives in which God used us. Among them will be many about whom we now have hardly a clue, but will then get to see face to face.

2 Corinthians 1:14 is a reminder of that we all need from time to time.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Reality Check on the McCarrick Laicization

The big Roman Catholic news over the weekend was the laicization of now former Cardinal “Uncle Ted” McCarrick.  Yes, it is very rare that a Cardinal is reduced to lay status. Yes, this is actually good news, for a change, from the Vatican.
But a reality check is in order, and it is well delivered by Steve Skojec.*  McCarrick is 88 and very damaged goods well before this verdict by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.  Although very useful in getting Pope Francis elected, he is no longer useful to the Vatican.  So he can be dispensed with.  
Other LibChurchers who have enabled the abuse of children and of the Faith, such as Cardinal Cupich and Pope Francis himself, remain firmly in power.
Yes, I include Pope Francis.  He knew about McCarrick and yet lessened Benedict’s restrictions and increased Cardinal Ted’s power after the Cardinal helped get Francis elected.  
Yes, “the smoke of Satan” is putting it nicely.
* There is one thing in the article with which I respectfully but strongly disagree.  And I think I should say so.
I do not think statue of limitation laws should be eliminated for child abuse and other forms of sexual abuse.  False accusations are particularly a problem in this area and often are very difficult to combat.  Accusations long after the fact are that much more prone to be false.

As upsetting as it may be that McCarrick and the like are free men and will remain so, it is worse for anyone to endure a trial or imprisonment for something decades ago that did not actually happen.
I realize my viewpoint is getting less and less popular.  And with all the child abuse scandals, I completely understand that.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

About ACNA Inviting Russell Moore to Speak at Provincial Assembly

I’ve been looking forward to the Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) this summer, but with some trepidation. I’ve mentioned it is being hosted by Christ Church Plano, a flagship parish in the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO).  C4SO and its bishop Todd Hunter have been leaders in ACNA’s Social Justice and Church of What’s Happening Now wings that frequently aggravate traditionalists like your mild blogger. 
I am not saying Christ Church Plano should not be hosting. With access to DFW Airport, a central location, and the large facilities of Christ Church, it is a logical choice. (Not to mention the shopping and restaurants in the area are nice enough to leave you fat and poor after a few days.)  But there is still a danger of furthering division at a sensitive time for ACNA.
Another danger I see is the choice of Russell Moore as one of the main speakers.  With the Social Justice Warriors within ACNA, there is already the danger that something controversial will be said or done that will pour gasoline on our divisions.  Well, Russell Moore at times has seemed to delight in slinging around political gasoline.  
As head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptists, he has attacked and baited Trump and his supporters while going easy on Hillary.  And he has taken sides in the political area that perhaps is most contentious in ACNA, immigration.  A sample of the upset that has provoked:
Moore also took on a role as one of the heads of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a George Soros-funded entity tasked with coaxing evangelicals into embracing amnesty.
And where was Moore on Christians' concerns that tens of thousands of unvetted Muslims, all labeled "refugees" and hand-picked by the United Nations, are flooding across our borders at a time when Muslim migration has unleashed horrors on Europe, Islamic terrorism is on the rise and ISIS has vowed to come into our country within the "refugee" population? Where were his statements about Left-leaning "Christian" refugee resettlement agencies, who are really just federal government contractors making big bucks on per-head resettlements, failing to advocate to bring more Christian refugees into the U.S.?
And while taking sides on issues on which there is much disagreement among faithful Christians, he abrasively attacks those on the Right who openly disagree with him.
To many conservatives, Moore not only advocates against many of the very positions most Southern Baptists hold to politically, but he does it with a kind of "politics-is-OK-for-me-but-not-for-thee" hypocrisy.
The manner in which Moore has led the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has sown division among Southern Baptists.  We do not need him to sow division in ACNA.
Now, to his credit, he is outspoken and usually on the right side of pro-life and religious liberty issues.  And thankfully there is consensus in these areas in ACNA. I hope at the Provincial Assembly, he will edify by exhorting us in these and other areas, political and non-political, on which faithful Christians can and should agree.
And I hope he will leave his gasoline at home.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Polish National Catholic Church Involved in Continuum Unity Discussions

This may be old news to Continuing Anglicans, but the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) and several U. S. Anglo-Catholic entities are discussing ways to expand unity among non-papal catholics.  Two meetings early this year are parts of this effort.
Last month, bishops of the Anglican Joint Synod “G-4” Churches (Remember that these are four continuing Anglican jurisdictions that in October 2017 entered into full communion and agreed to seek “full, institutional, and organic union with each other.”) met with bishops from the PNCC.  This “Dialogue” included communion according to the PNCC rite.  Another meeting is planned in June.
Next month, the Prime Bishop of the PNCC, Anthony Mikovsky, will speak to the Synod of the ACNA Missionary Diocese of All Saints as that Anglo-Catholic diocese continues to seek a future home in or out of ACNA.
I am not privy to any discussions and will refrain from speculation for now.  But it is clear that continuing Anglicans getting their act together (quite literally) and becoming much more unified may be bearing fruit of still further unity among catholics.  Surely there being less of an “alphabet soup” to deal with made unity discussions more attractive to the Polish National Catholics.  Their involvement in an interesting and encouraging development at the very least. 

Friday, February 08, 2019

Anti-Semitic Incidents Up in UK

I’ve noted here the revival of anti-semitism in the West.  So it is with sadness that I see there continues to be a marked increase of anti-semitic incidents in the UK:
CST has today published our 2018 Antisemitic Incidents Report, which shows that CST recorded a record high total of 1,652 antisemitic incidents in the UK last year. 2018 was the third year in a row that CST has recorded a record high incident total and means the problem of rising antisemitism in our country continues to grow.

Face it. The Church of Rome is Soft on Babykillers.

Yes, I said it. And among the reasons I have contempt for that corrupt institution is I cannot recall a single time it has excommunicated a Democrat politician for his enormities, whether it be slavery, abortion or even infanticide. (Readers, feel free to correct my memory.) 
So the cowardice of Cardinal Dolan toward that babykiller Andrew Cuomo is nothing new. Maureen Mullarkey goes into some of the details behind that, but it’s the same old same old, just worse.
As for the lame argument that the church should not get that political, Catholic Charities openly enables illegal immigration and Pope Francis regularly cheerleads Open Borders and the accompanying invasions.  So the Church of Rome can certainly get political when it wants to, and often for bad causes.
When it comes to wanton killing, the church has excommunicated government leaders before it became limp-wristed and Liberal.  St. Ambrose excommunicated pious Emperor Theodosius, no less, for a murderous incident in Thessalonica.  
I had hoped that the Roman Catholic Church was returning to such robust orthodoxy under John Paul II and Benedict to the point where I quietly considered Rome as an option.  No more.  The Church of Rome is once again becoming just another LibChurch.  Even John Paul and Benedict could not undo the corruption and creeping apostasy of Rome.  So we have a church that will not even excommunicate a governor who kills babies then lights up buildings to celebrate.
I’d rather spit on such a church than join it. 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Cranmer’s Late Epiphany Collects

I’ve long appreciated that the traditional Book of Common Prayer collects again and again express a radical dependence on God.  The collects of this late Epiphany season we are now in particularly have this spirit of dependence on God.  
Since Epiphany season can be very short, with as little as two Sundays, we don’t always hear the collects for the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sunday after Epiphany.  But this year, with a very late Easter, we do.
The Epiphany 3 collect was not changed in the 1662 from Cranmer’s composition.  A favorite of mine, it speaks for itself:
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Acknowledging our infirmities and seeing dangers and necessities, it beautifully pleads for God’s “right hand to help and defend us.”
The Epiphany 4 collect for this week was changed in 1662 for the better I think.
O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cranmer’s “man’s frailness” was changed to “the frailty of our nature,” more personal wording which assists the worshiper to own his weakness. The 1662 revision also makes dependence on God more clear, direct and broad by asking for “such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations” instead of “the health of body and soul that all those things which we suffer for sin, by thy help we may well pass and overcome.”
For Epiphany 5 we pray for the Church:
O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I’ll be honest – the first part sounds like something prayed by pious elderly women.  Yes, blame me for that.  But I like that clause.  And using language we would not normally use helps us to think in ways we would not normally think – a strength of traditional language methinks.

I can relate more easily to the rest of the collect.  In fact, I have energy issues as I type this, so I can certainly relate to the dependence of “they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace” etc.
I think these three late Epiphany collects go very well together and they are favorites as mine as they well express how dependent upon God we are and should be.
NOTE: I’m leaving out the Epiphany 6 Collect for a reason. It was a new composition for the 1662 BCP and very different than the previous three Cranmerian collects. It does fit well into the church year though, but I will leave that subject for a more apt time.  (This year after Epiphany 5, the traditional BCP has us go into the pre-Lent season.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Revisiting When and How I Will Call Out Political Evil

From time to time I have wrestled with how much to expose evil in the political realm.  I have long been alarmed about politics, culture, and government in the West.  It is far more than my “side” winning or losing. There are neo-totalitarian ideologies gaining boldness and power.
But at the same time, I’ve not wanted to alienate people from this blog or from Anglicanism for that matter.  I’ve seen the errors of those on the Left who are injecting their politics into ACNA and how divisive that is; I do not want to commit a mirror image of the same error.
And frankly I desire a “peaceful and quiet” life. And totalitarian Leftists are not interested in peace and quiet for those who openly oppose them.
But two recent experiences have reminded me that being quiet is not an option today.  First was remembering Holocaust Remembrance Day (which I mentioned while leading Morning Prayer at my church).  As a youth, I thought surges of anti-Semitism in the West were an awful thing of the past.  But we are certainly experiencing a revival of anti-Semitism today. And there is a surge of totalitarian ideologies as well.  This is no time for the church to repeat the sin of silence or, worse yet, of complicity.
The second was reading again Ezekiel 33:1-9.  Now I certainly do not think I have been appointed a watchman as Ezekiel was appointed.  But God has allowed me an above average knowledge of history and politics and some communication skills for a reason. At the very least, those who are more aware of danger certainly have more of a responsibility to warn others.
So I am convinced that, at least for me, this is not a time to be quiet about political evil.  At the same time, I recognize, unlike many Leftists, that people want and need venues free of political combat or at least where politics are restrained. Even I need that!  I’ve already said that churches and church venues should be such a place for the sake of unity. And, yes, I will confront those who try to hijack ACNA for their political “social justice” agenda.
Although I haven’t said much about it, I’ve decided to restrain politics on this blog.  That does not mean there will be no politics here.  If a political matter is of particular interest to Anglican or other catholic Christians, it still belongs here.  But I have already been posting a number of political missives elsewhere but not here when I consider them not that relevant to Anglicanism.  For example, I recently posted sharp reflections on the Northam controversy on my WannabeHistorian blog, but not here.  (So if you don’t want to miss my observations on history and politics, you need to follow that blog.)
So this is the way I am proceeding – to do my part to expose the evil and danger of the quasi-totalitarian Lib/Left, but to take care about in what venues I do so, more care than I have in the past. Nonetheless, now is no time for silence.  People of right mind should speak up lest that freedom is removed from us.
By the way, a few have found fault with this being an anonymous blog. But with the current toxic and dangerous political climate, which I fear may get worse, this blog will remain anonymous without apology.

HOUSEKEEPING: While I am on the subject of anonymity, this blog gets a number of anonymous comments, most of which are spam.  Occasionally, I will get a comment which I cannot tell for sure is spam or not.  So my advice is, if you make an anonymous comment, be sure it clearly addresses the subject at hand or that I can tell in some other way you are not a spammer.  If I am not sure it is for real, I will not post it.