Thursday, March 28, 2019

Totally Not Racist Meeting at Georgia Church Bars Honkey Press

In Savannah, there are two Black people running for mayor. But some local politicos considered that a problem.  They did not want to split the Black vote; they wanted Blacks to unify around one of the two and elect a Black mayor. For that purpose they held a meeting including the two Black candidates at Bolton Street Baptist Church . . . with “Black Press Only!” signs on the door.
But let’s say there were two White people running for mayor. And some local politicos considered that a problem.  They did not want to split the White vote; they wanted Whites to unify around one of the two and elect a White mayor.  And let’s say for that purpose they held a meeting including the two White candidates at White Street Baptist Church . . . with “White Press Only!” signs on the door.
Now that would be RACIST.
But that meeting at Bolton Street Baptist wasn’t racist at all. 
You’re welcome.  Always glad to clear things up for my readers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

About Justice and Jussie Smollett

How much can be said about Jussie Smollett getting off easy for his fake hate!  Something that hasn’t gotten much notice yet is that we can thank George Soros for this travesty:
Illinois Sunshine, which watches political donations to key races, shows more than $300,000 donations from Soros to Kim Foxx's "Illinois Safety & Justice PAC" which Foxx used to finance her defeat of Alvarez in 2016. Soros also contributed $75,000 to Foxx's PAC after the campaign had concluded, seeding her with money for her re-election.
But since I’ve been reflecting on justice lately, I will focus on some implications for justice of charges being dropped against Smollett:
1. This feeds and confirms the perception that we now have a two-tier justice system, one for elite Democrats and favored groups, another for the rest of us.
By the way, another case yesterday also confirms that.  The 9thCircuit Court of Appeals dismissed or, to be exact, will not allow Kate Steinle’s family to sue the City of San Francisco for being a sanctuary to killer illegal Garcia Zarate.  Zarate, you may remember, was not reported to ICE although he had a long rap sheet.  He then killed Steinle, but was acquitted. Apparently, illegals and those who enable them have far more rights under current two-tiered justice than American citizens.
2. The Smollett case is yet another strike against the myth of White Privilege.  Really, God help the next person who throws “White Privilege” at me, especially if it’s in a church context.
If a straight White guy wearing a MAGA hat had staged an supposed attack by a gang of Black Antifa men against him and was exposed for staging fake hate, do you think he would get charges dropped for $10,000 and “community service” at conservative groups?  The question answers itself.
There is some privilege going on here: Democrat Privilege and Hollywood Privilege. But I repeat myself.
3. This continues the pattern of Fake Hate going virtually unpunished.  And fake hate is a serious crime that harms society. It can result in real hate and riots.  The Ferguson riots were largely a result of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” lie.  Fake hate feeds hate and grievances.  As well as framing the innocent as hateful predators, it does a grave disservice to those who are victims of actual hate. 
I’ll be honest.  After years of fake hate, I’m at the point where I am quick to disbelieve allegations of hate.  So many times such allegations have been lies.  I’m not saying I should be that way, but when people cry wolf again and again, it makes one skeptical even though there are real wolves out there.
4. But, other than basic decency and self-respect, why should someone thinking of committing fake hate refrain when punishment for it is so light and rare (if one is of a favored “victim” group, of course)?
More could be said, but I will stop there.  The problems surrounding division and justice in this country are far bigger than the Jussie Smollett case.  But it sure does feed them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

About Justice: Trying Too Hard and Generational Justice

Justice of various sorts has certainly been a hot topic of late in church circles, what with pushes for “social justice” and even for reparations.  That and the use and abuse of the word “justice” in ACNA has me thinking of late – I do that sometimes – and I’m especially thinking that one can try too hard to get justice. Yes, I know that may sound awful but bear with me.  
That one can try too hard to get justice goes double for generational justice.  Let’s take the push for reparations as an example since that is an especially hot topic now and a prominent current effort to bring about generational justice.  I will assume for purposes of argument that those who push reparations are genuinely seeking justice.  But it is very questionable that reparations would be just given that in the U. S. today, no one is legally a slave nor a slave owner. (Yes, there is human trafficking on an alarming scale, and that should be severely punished as well as prevented at the border.)  One could argue, “Yeah but your great great great grandparents were and you benefit/suffer.”  Were they?  Most whites in the South were not slaveholders, and some Blacks did own slaves. There were well over a hundred Black slaveholders in South Carolina at one point. (Jon Harris has much more very interesting history of slavery.)  So if you have reparations, you will be taking from families who did not own slaves and giving to those who did!
It would rightly be seen as unjust – and you are already taking from those who never owned slaves as it is – and would only heighten grievances and create new ones.  It is questionable whether this would genuinely improve the situation of Blacks anyway – look at the effects of the massive wealth transfers of the welfare state on Blacks. In a way, we’ve already had reparations, and they have failed!  
And, yes, the push for reparations is very divisive in the church and distracts from the gospel.  Some go further and contend it’s part of a false gospel, but that’s another subject.  I will say that if you say it is “a gospel issue,” you will make me wonder what gospel you are talking about.
In short, even if motivated by justice, reparations would bring about more injustice and worsen division.
I’m picking on the reparations push, but similar things could be said about almost any push for generational justice, for justice for the wrongs committed by those of past generations, especially those no longer alive.  So it’s not for nothing that God commands against trying to bring about generational justice.
Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.(Deuteronomy 24:16)

The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.(Ezekiel 18:20)
God certainly retains the prerogative to exercise generational justice, but we humans are awful at it.  When we push for it, it only brings about worse injustice.  See White farmers being driven off their lands in Zimbabwe and South Africa (which has been an economic disaster in the former and threatens to be one in the latter).  See any number of bloody feuds, wars, and pograms in history.  To all this, including reparations, God clearly says, “Thou shalt not.”
Just about any effort to bring about generational justice is indeed trying too hard to bring about justice.  Some forms of justice we had best leave to God lest we only make matters worse and more unjust.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Post-Mueller Report Weekend Thoughts

(Apologies to those who come here for something more closely related to Anglicanism.  I have been pretty good about doing that as I intended since I shifted the emphasis of this blog.  But I’ve said so much here about the attempted coup against Trump in the past that I felt I should follow up on the events of this past weekend.  If this does not interest you, it will not offend me at all if you skip this post.)
I hesitate to post anything about this past weekend’s release of the Mueller Report.  So much has been said by others already.  But I’ve commented not a little on the attempted coup against Trump in the past, so I feel like I should say something.
First and most important, yes, there has been – and, as William Jacobson points out, will continue to be – an attempted coup against Trump and against constitutional democracy.  I called it such very early, well before Trump was inaugurated, and events since have borne out that evaluation well. Further the coup came from the depths of the FBI and the CIA in the Obama Administration.  As tinfoil hattish as that may all sound, there is hardly any denying it now.
For the sake of our future as a country, there has to be a price to pay for this.  I agree with Kimberly Strassel and others that the role of the FBI, the DOJ, and the CIA among others must be investigated and am glad to see Sen. Lindsey Graham seems rather eager to do just that.
But I am not holding my breath that justice will be done in Congress or the courts.  There is too much a two-tier justice system in place.  That there has not been one indictment for the corruption of the Obama Administration speaks volumes about that.

So justice will have to carried out at the ballot boxes in 2020 in both the primaries and general elections. Democrats and their RINO faux conservative enablers must be punished.  I fear for our future as a country if they are not.  The political punishment has to be so severe that in the future, the likes of Obama, Hillary, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Schiff etc. will think twice about attempting a coup against the people, their votes, and their constitutional democracy.  I suspect the current attempted coup will end only then.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

That Word “Justice”

Being a writer as well as a student of Anglicanism and history, I can be obsessed with words and bothered by the misuse of them.  So bear with me as I rant a bit about the use of the word “justice” in the Anglican Church in North America.
Note that I am leaving aside for now the use of the term “social justice.” Trust me that I have issues with that term! But at this time, the use of the word “justice” alone and unclarified in ACNA bothers and perplexes me more for reasons you shall see.
What prompts this complaint is a statement from a new bishop in ACNA (I won’t name him at this time because I want to give him a chance and because the problem is bigger than he.): 
I strongly desire to build and equip congregations of His Word and His Spirit, expressed in relational evangelism and justice, distinguished by generosity and compassion.
That sounds great, but what the hay does he mean by “justice” here? Does he mean that vergers will set upon the unjust? That would certainly make services more interesting!  Or has his diocese been licensed by the state to carry out justice through church courts and church prisons? (Don’t laugh.  Such existed in olden days.)
Perhaps he intends for his diocese to work for justice rather than to execute it.  Well, I sure would like to see more justice! So perhaps he intends to work for justice against illegals who break into our country and take advantage of our welfare system and social services that us citizens pay for.  Perhaps he intends to strive for justice against criminal illegals who endanger us all.  Or maybe he wants justice in another area dear to me – justice against those who through the IRS, through control of social media or through street violence ala Antifa have attacked our freedom of speech.  Yes, I want more justice like that!
But somehow I do not think that is what the bishop intended by “justice”.
Now I’ve heard another ACNA bishop use that term “justice” in similar fashion. Maybe that would give a clue.  Who was it?  Oh yes, Todd Hunter, Bishop of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO).  In the first minute of the video “We Are C4SO” about three years ago, he states that C4SO seeks to “take Jesus and his announcement of the kingdom seriously” and to “demonstrate it in deeds of benevolence, justice, healing….”
Those who have followed ACNA for some time now know what “justice” means from Hunter. The C4SO diocese has been a hotbed of pushing a Left/Lib social justice agenda in ACNA.  It often seems that just about any push for “social justice” in ACNA has C4SO people involved.
Such use of the word “justice” without the qualifier “social” when the agenda really is “social justice” is profoundly dishonest. In this context, the already vague term “justice” conceals more than it reveals.  And such a use, an abuse really, is manipulative.  After all, who would be so awful as to oppose “justice”? Only bad mean people oppose justice, and you are not one of them, are you? 
Now is the aforementioned new bishop using/abusing “justice” in this manner?  I hope not and pray he demonstrates not and that he instead shepherds his diocese well. And, as I’ve already said, I don’t want to pick on him.  I wish him the best.
But let’s stop abusing this word in ACNA. To say a mission of the church is “justice” at the very least conceals more than it reveals, especially in today’s context.  If part of ACNA’s mission really is “social justice” then let’s just say it so that us mean bad people in ACNA can make a more informed decision about whether to stay or not. If only certain ACNA dioceses or entities have a supposed calling to “social justice” then they should clearly and without obfuscation let us know that, so us meanies can call them to repent or else.
As for me, I have already fled deceptively worded false gospels.  I have no intention of putting up with another.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Oxford Commemoration of Martyrdom of Cranmer This Thursday

This sounds like an excellent day put on by The Prayer Book Society.  If I were near Oxford at this time, I would certainly go.  For those who can make it to Oxford this Thursday:
Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, March 21st, 2019
11.00  Mattins
           St Michael at the North Gate, Cornmarket Street, Oxford
Officiant:    The Revd Anthony Buckley
                             Vicar, St Michael at the North Gate
Preacher:   The Revd Marcus Walker
                              Rector, St Bartholomew the Great, London
Followed by procession to the martyrdom site in Broad Street and then wreath-laying on the Martyrs’ Memorial
12.30  Lunch (I do not know if they have openings for their planned lunch, but there are a number of excellent lunch spots nearby.)
                       Balliol College, Broad Street
Afternoon programme at Pusey House, St Giles, Oxford
2.00     ‘I believe in the English Reformation’
             The Revd Dr Rob Wainwright
             Chaplain, Oriel College
4.00     ‘The Reformation and the Oxford Movement’
             The Revd Dr George Westhaver
             Principal, Pusey House
5.00     Evensong

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Woke and Semi-Woke Churchers Rather Quiet About Omar’s Anti-Semitism

If there ever was a teachable moment about anti-semitism, last week’s  controversy and sham vote about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-semitism was surely one of them. So I have been wondering if the usual social justice church crowd would take the opportunity to speak out and teach or whether they would shy away because a Somali immigrant Leftist Democrat Congresswoman spouting off anti-Jewish tropes and the said Congresswoman not being called out on that by the Democrat-controlled House does not exactly go with The Narrative, don’tcha know.
Well, after this controversy has been going on for a week, it is fair to say that the dominant response from the woke and semi-woke church crowd has been . . . quiet.  And that is charitable.  I have not heard a peep.  And God knows I’ve been listening and looking.

Here is a good place for a disclaimer. I obviously am not omnipresent nor omniscient.  So if I have missed something of import, please feel free to comment.  Also, it is possible that some are being very careful about what they say and are about to post something.  I wish they would exercise such care about many issues, but I can relate to that; heck, I have delayed making this post. It is possible someone mentioned below speaks up after this post. And with that, here goes with a sample.
At Russell Moore’s site, I see nothing about anti-semitism.  Now I grant he does not post with the frequency of say…
Al Mohler.  Yes, yes, he is hardly a flaming woke church guy.  But it is fair to say he is sympathetic.  And he does post very frequently on the events of the day.  But scrolling the topics of his daily briefing, I see nothing on anti-semitism the past two weeks.  And that although he tends to be quick about commenting on the events of the day.  For example, this morning he comments on the latest academic cheating scandal.  But I see nothing on Omar and anti-semitism. Why?
The Southern Baptist Convention’s and Russell Moore’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission?  Nothing recent.
The Gospel Coalition’s site?  Nothing recent.
National Association of Evangelicals? Nothing recent, but their site is not frequently updated.
Here in the Anglican Church in North America, we have the Anglican Multi-ethnic Network (AMEN), which is very sensitive to racial and immigration issues.  Are they sensitive to Leftist anti-semitism?  You would not know from their site. But they are not frequent posters, so maybe they will pleasantly surprise me some day. 
I hesitate to lump Sojourners in with the above.  Those Leftists are hardly Christian at all anymore.  But they are oh-so-concerned about everything woke under the sun and do they post their concern and wokeness!  Are they concerned about Omar’s anti-semitism?  No. 
This is obviously not comprehensive. (Again, feel free to add in the comments.) But I think all of the above people and groups would say that how we handle social and cultural issues should enhance our witness to the Gospel, not detract or distract from it.  And on that much, yes, I agree.
So what kind of witness is this recent quiet about anti-semitism?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

But, but I thought the Woke Church crowd WANTED conversations!

This is admittedly old news, but I saw it for the first time today – and you will see my reasons for posting about it now.
Two recent notable events in the evangelical social justice debate recently were the Dallas Statement on Social Justice (which I think I signed) and the publication of Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise.  Tisby’s book has been lauded by woke church types including in the Anglican Church in North America.  Others have critiqued the book; I will pass for now except to say that it is woker than woke on racial issues.
Now we often hear from woke church people that they want “conversations” about this or that.  But did their hero Tisby want a conversation with Dallas Statement people?

I’m tempted to refute the recent statement on the gospel and social justice point-by-point — showing how it falls short of the Bible’s call for justice. But I think our time would be better spent on other pursuits. There’s too much work to be done — work that will be delayed by endless debates.
Here’s my advice.
Many of the people who authored and signed this statement have large ministries and platforms.
Avoid them….
If the supporters of statements that dismiss social justice as a distraction from the gospel headline a major conference, state your concerns to the organizers. If nothing changes, then don’t go.
So much for conversations.  Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds more like shunning and deplatforming.
Here is James White’s take on Tisby’s statement.
Funny that in all the woke promotion of Tisby and his book, I have heard nothing about this until now.  Admittedly I was very busy preparing for studies (and beer drinking) in England back in September.  So part of that is me.
I will let readers draw other broader conclusions.  But as for me, I put woke requests for “conversations” in the same file as those old LibChurch requests for “dialogue” we used to hear: just a deceptive tactic with a view to shutting down conversation once they are in control.  Tisby let that mostly hidden agenda slip out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On the Edge of a Moral Panic

It goes without saying that the primary victim of child or youth sexual abuse is the child or youth.  But society is a victim as well.  Trust is eroded.  False accusations are given that much more credence.  And children and youth as a whole are indirectly harmed when good people, particularly good men, are reluctant to work with the young in the midst of a deficit of trust and an abundance of false accusations.
With the current scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, in the Southern Baptist Convention, there is already, at the very least, further erosion of trust.  But I fear the societal harm will get much worse than that. I expect we are about to experience the devastating breakdown of trust and the epidemic of false accusations known as a moral panic.

Moral panics can do greater harm to a society than the sometimes real events that trigger them, although it is hard to imagine that in the current case.  And what is often forgotten about moral panics is that they indeed can be triggered by real incidents.  That most famous of moral panics, the Salem Witch Hunt, occurred in part because there may have indeed been witchcraft on a small scale going on around Salem.  In that case, the subsequent moral panic was much worse, tearing society apart and destroying the lives of many.
Often in moral panics, false accusations are used as a weapon, as in the Salem Witch Hunt.  Of course, one doesn’t get to the point of a moral panic for false accusations to abound and to succeed.
To get more specific and blunt about that, I do not believe the accusations against Cardinal Pell and think his conviction does not pass the smell test.  It is telling that of the three trials against him, only one resulted in a conviction.  I think his real crimes are opposing secularist culture and opposing corrupt LibChurchers in the Vatican.  So very old and questionable accusations were used to stop him.  Of course, I do not know and may be mistaken.  But I sure do know what I suspect.  
Sadly, Pell will not be the last to have his reputation destroyed and freedom stolen via questionable or false accusations.  If we do indeed enter a moral panic, there will be many, and it will compound the harm already done by predators in sheep’s clothing.

Friday, March 08, 2019

A Lenten Bonus: Sarum Prayers for Lent

A practice I enjoy is saying extra prayers for Lent contained in the Sarum Missal. (My Latin is weak, so I use an English translation noted below.)  These prayers are collects for each day of Lent and the Prayers Over the People. The latter concluded masses during Lent; I use them before the Grace to conclude my daily office.
For example, Pearson’s English translation for today’s collect is (or was):

Graciously favour us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, in the fast on which we have entered; that the duties which we observe outwardly, we may also be enabled to fulfill with pure minds, though Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Prayer Over the People for today, the Friday after Ash Wednesday, is:
Guard Thy people, O Lord, and graciously cleanse them from all sin, inasmuch as no adversity will harm them if no wickedness get the dominion over them, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I like these, not only because I am a liturgy nerd, but more importantly because they assist my prayers and help keep me from slack Lenten ruts.  And, admit it, all of us who observe Lent tend to get in those ruts.
Now you will not find these prayers in the Book of Common Prayer, and I understand that.  Cranmer sought to simplify the liturgy and to contain it in one book. (Several books were necessary in the Sarum rite.) To have a collect and a Prayer Over the People for each day of Lent would either make that one Book of Common Prayer considerably thicker or would require a second small book, not to mention make Lenten liturgy more complicated. So these prayers were among the items jettisoned by Cranmer.
But as for me, I do not at all mind carrying an additional book, my English translation of the Sarum rite, up to my chapel.  I appreciate and enjoy the medieval wisdom of extra prayers to assist people through Lent.
NOTE: Pearson’s The Sarum Missal in English may be found online here and elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Lent and Time

Prompted by some of what I read and heard in Oxford last year, as well as by my increasing age, I’ve been thinking about time of late.
Lent is yet another prompt to reflect on time.  For one thing, misuse of time provides much about which to be penitent, does it not?  
While in Oxford, I gave up online 5 minute chess because I had too many more important things to do and wanted to use my time in Oxford well. That space helped me to see that my 5 minute chess habit was borderline idolatrous if not addictive.  I already knew I allowed it to take too much of my time.  I discovered I much preferred using my time better and did not miss 5 minute chess.  So when I returned, I did not return to that habit.  (I’m not saying 5 minute chess is inherently evil, but it was a bad time-wasting habit for me.)
My point is not to bash online chess (Although I could, trust me.), but to illustrate that use and misuse of time is a fertile ground for self-examination.  I will continue to work on my time management as part of what I’m “doing for Lent.”  Using time more aright does greatly reduce sin, does it not?
Lent is part of the cycle of time, and of the church year of course.  And we are cyclical creatures that need cycles.  If you feast all year, you invite all sorts of health problems and likely die early.  If you rest all year, you get weak and fat.  If you exercise and fast all the time, you may be killing yourself in a different way, and, yes, you may have anorexia. Our bodies and our selves need cycles, and the church calendar shows God’s wisdom in providing those.
This cyclical man is actually looking forward to Lent. I guess I have gotten more in sync with the cyclical time of the Kalendar.
I’ve rambled a bit here.  But may God bless you as you seek to use time better this Lent.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Democrats’ Planned Resolution Against Antisemitism is a Sham.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi put Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar on the Foreign Relations Committee, it was already well known and documented that the Congresswoman from Mogadishu was an antisemite in line with her Islamist tendencies.  With that committee being so important and privy to classified information, putting Omar on it was reckless and dangerous at the very least.
So – surprise! or not – Omar has doubled down on her antisemitism.  So to cover their rears, the Democrat House leadership is preparing a resolution condemning antisemitism.  But unless Omar is removed from the Foreign Relations Committee, and there is little indication she will be, the resolution is a sham.  Not to mention that it might not even mention Omar by name.
House Democrat leaders don’t care about the antisemitism in their midst.  Otherwise Omar would not be on the Foreign Relations Committee in the first place.  They are just trying to appease both their Jewish and Muslim supporters along with Leftists, who are chock full of antisemites.  The Left would not take effective real action against Omar well.
I pray Jewish Americans along with all decent Americans won’t let them get away with this sham resolution.