Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy Brexit Day!

With my UK friends, I celebrate tonight’s departure of Great Britain from the European Union.  (Hey I know not all British are thrilled about it, but use it as an excuse to celebrate anyway. And, hey, if you’ve been stockpiling, you are in a great position to throw a party!)
I marked the occasion in Anglican fashion this morning by singing a Te Deum in my home chapel.
And I not only thank God, I salute Nigel Farage.  Without his efforts through the years, there would be no Brexit.
Speaking of whom, here are two videos that are must watches. First is Farage’s final speech to the EU Parliament.  Note the pettiness of the EU to the very end.  But Farage goes out with a smile anyway.
Second is Farage’s press conference before the EU vote on the Brexit deal.  Not only was Farage in relaxed, high form, but he went through a lot of interesting recent history.  Even if one dislikes Farage, anyone with interest in modern UK history should watch. For one thing, note his admission that he hammed it up a bit for YouTube. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

BREAKING: Facebook is Censoring RealClear Investigations Article on “WhistleBlower”

I have personally verified that Facebook is censoring a RealClear Investigations article (which article I discuss in my previous post) that documents that the so-called Whistleblower behind (and hiding behind) the current impeachment efforts was plotting to “take out” Trump mere days after his Inauguration.
On a Facebook page I have as an author, I posted a link to the article with some cutting commentary, of course.  By the next day, without any notification, my post disappeared.
So I decided to post a link to the article again, this time without any commentary to speak of.  (And I regret not doing a screenshot to document it.)  That, too, has disappeared.
So the issue is not my commentary … yet. Clearly Facebook is censoring RealClear Investigations’ article on the “Whistleblower.”  I suspect the pretext is that the alleged Whistleblower’s name is in the article.  Nonetheless, Facebook is censoring and keeping this important and timely article off its platform.
I may say more later.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Whistleblower in Early 2017: “Take out” Trump

The current Impeachment Show Trial is not about some phone call to the Ukraine; it is about taking out Trump.  It has always been about a coup to “take out” Trump even when he was just inaugurated:
Barely two weeks after Donald Trump took office, Eric Ciaramella – the CIA analyst whose name was recently linked in a tweet by the president and mentioned by lawmakers as the anonymous “whistleblower" who touched off Trump's impeachment – was overheard in the White House discussing with another staffer how to remove the newly elected president from office, according to former colleagues….
Two former co-workers said they overheard Ciaramella and Misko, close friends and Democrats held over from the Obama administration, discussing how to “take out,” or remove, the new president from office within days of Trump’s inauguration. These co-workers said the president’s controversial Ukraine phone call in July 2019 provided the pretext they and their Democratic allies had been looking for.
“They didn’t like his policies,” another former White House official said. "They had a political vendetta against him from Day One.”
Read the Real Clear Investigations article for more on their mutinous conversation.  Again, Eric Ciaramella is alleged to be the “Whistleblower” who provided the pretext for the impeachment.  Misko later worked for Adam Schiff, the ringleader of House impeachment efforts.  These Deep State Democrat buddies have been looking for a pretext to “take out” Trump practically from Day One.  And they are far from alone.  Oh, Adam Schiff and the other Democrat Impeachment Managers portray this cabal as principled and “non-partisan.”  They are lying.
I know some may think me conspiratorial for calling all this a coup.  But the more that comes out, the more I am proven correct.  
Trump will almost certainly be acquitted in the ongoing Impeachment Trial.  The question is will we make Democrats pay for their attacks on Constitutional democracy, for their perpetual attempts to nullify our votes, for their perpetual coup? 
NOTE: Again, the reason I am posting this on this Anglican-oriented blog is that a few leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have taken sides against Trump while expressing concern about democracy (Support for the AND Campaign and for the infamous Christianity Today editorial are two examples.) yet they have said nothing about the Democrat coup against Trump and against our votes.  They have said nothing about Democrats not respecting elections unless they win. So the coup has become an all too relevant topic.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My Question About Racism Gets a Good Answer

I am pleased to report that my question to Dr. Esau McCaulley about racism has received an answer, and a satisfactory one.
You may recall that I asked him, “I agree resisting actual racism is important. So tell me: can a U. S. person of color commit ‘actual racism’ against a white person?”
There was some delay, but Dr. McCaulley has answered:
I didn’t know that this was a question. Some claim that racism requires power and therefore Black people can’t be racist. I’m not convinced that such distinctions are helpful. If we’re defining racism as a bias based on skin color then of course anyone can commit that sin.
I’m less concerned with whether the definition of racism has to include power versus whether it’s possible for us to sin against one another and we can. But power + racism is very dangerous.
And I agree.  Of course, I could elaborate and nitpick – I almost always can – but I am pleased with this answer.  I am encouraged that, despite our differences, McCaulley and I have more common ground than I thought might be the case.
Of course, the question remains how some others in ACNA and in Big Evangelicalism would answer my humble question.  And the woke redefinition of “racism,” “diversity” and other words sadly makes such questions necessary.  Nonetheless, I rejoice in a good answer today.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The ACNA College of Bishops Communique and a Problem of Trust

The communiqué from the latest Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) College of Bishops meeting was released yesterday, and I honestly do not know what to make of it.  Part of that is that I have trust issues, but part of it is also that the ACNA has trustworthiness issues.
The section on “issues of race” illustrates this well. 
Following a video presentation by the Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley, Director of the Anglican Church in North America's Next Generation Initiative, and the Rt. Rev. Alphonza Gadsden, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (REC), the College spent time in discussion and prayer about issues of race, racism, and recent mass shootings. Particular attention was given to the great need for multi-ethnic outreach and church planting, ensuring that all peoples are reached for Christ and to addressing the public witness of the Province and our dioceses on matters of justice.
Now these presentations and discussions may have been balanced and fruitful, and I actually have good reason to think they were.  But I also know Dr. McCaulley’s approach to such issues has often been not balanced in the past, including his reluctance to affirm the obvious, that people of color can be racist against white people.  I also know that “justice” has become a buzzword in ACNA for pushing a “social justice” agenda. And ACNA has become a “social justice” playground in the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, in the Matthew 25 Initiative, in the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network, etc.
So it is difficult for me to welcome this communiqué and, yes, to trust the College of Bishops.
Trust can be restored, however if the College of Bishops were to set some boundaries.  One such boundary is needed in the area of racism particularly since, thanks to Critical Race Theory and related ideologies, “racism” is now a much abused word.  Both trust and clarity require the College of Bishops make clear that the sin of racism can be committed by people of all ethnicities against people of all ethnicities. As I have written at length before, this is needful and would be helpful in facilitating both trust and conversation. 
But I do not expect the College of Bishops to do even this. I expect the trust issues to continue.  I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Jemar Tisby’s Double Standard on Anti-Semitism

Last May, just after an attack on a Poway, California synagogue by a shooter identified as a White Nationalist, Jemar Tisby wrote an article of concern that came very close to blaming the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and conservative evangelicals opposing “social justice” teaching for the Poway attack.  This passage stood out:
If denominations like the OPC wish to make their churches inhospitable to people who harbor white nationalist views  — or to confront the sins of racism and white nationalism in hopes that church members will repent of them — then they’re going to have to offer unequivocal and direct teaching refuting the ideology.
White denominations, especially in the theologically Reformed branch of the church, should hold specific workshops, classes and special events explaining white nationalist beliefs and tactics so their members can guard against subversion.
White churches and leaders must bring members who express white nationalist views or sympathies under church discipline, with the ultimate goal of discipleship and restoration. But, if necessary, suspension from the Lord’s Supper and excommunication should be an option.
In addition, white churches in Reformed traditions must probe exactly why people who hold white nationalist and other racist beliefs may find a comfortable home in their fellowships.
Perhaps it’s because pro-slavery theologians such as R.L. Dabney are still cited as positive examples of godly men.
Maybe it’s because black liberation theologians such as James Cone are demonized and if they are read at all, it is merely to discount their viewpoints.
Perhaps it’s because of the almost unshakable loyalty of many white evangelicals to Republican officials who express racist ideas.
Maybe white racists and nationalists can sit comfortably in the pews of certain churches because whenever calls for social justice arise their leaders say that such issues are a “distraction” from the gospel.
So if Reformed Christians and “white evangelicals” oppose Black Liberation Theology and James Cone, support Republicans, and oppose so-called “social justice”, then anti-semitism and racism is their fault.  Got it.  
Tisby does have a point that the church has a role in opposing racism and anti-semitism and teaching against it (as I have and intend to do in my next sermon), but that is to oppose racism and anti-semitism whatever the source.  Speaking of which…
As I’ve noted, late last year there was a rash of anti-semitic attacks in New York City.  Most of these attacks were committed by blacks.  And the silence from Jemar Tisby has been deafening.  Now I am hesitant to say he has said nothing – that would be very hard to prove.  But a painstaking search, including his twitter feed, reveals nothing from him on this matter. (And, please, if I am missing something, let me know in the comments.)
Now I will not make a similar mistake to his by saying if you are not vocal about every injustice then you are complicit.  But he said so much after an anti-semitic attack by a white Reformed man.  Yet now that blacks are the attackers of Jews, there is virtually nothing from Tisby.  He wrote when anti-semitic attacks were linked to white racist groups.  He is quiet when anti-semitic attacks are linked to a black racist group, namely the Black Hebrew Israelites.
He was so concerned (mistakenly) that Reformed churches and “white evangelicals” were enabling anti-semitism.  Perhaps he should be concerned that Critical Race Theory and other ideologies that give blacks a pass on racism might be enabling anti-semitism and other forms of racism.  He should be especially concerned given his own associations with these woke ideologies.  He certainly has the stature to stand up and state that, no, people of color do not and should not get a pass on anti-semitism and racism.
But, no.  Now Jemar Tisby is silent.  
His double standard is deafening.  

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

A Question About Racism that Deserves an Answer in ACNA (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Dr. McCaulley has given a good answer to my question.


About a month ago, Dr. Esau McCaulley tweeted:
One day people will look back on 2010s and wonder how some decided that theologically traditional people who care about justice were such a threat to the church that silencing and/or policing us was more important than resisting the actual racism and sexism that we opposed.
I decided to leave aside the questions of whether the social justice “evangelical” crowd is “theologically traditional” and of whether this was a fair statement to make about those who oppose a social justice agenda. Instead, I decided to be charitable, find common ground, and ask a needful question:
I agree resisting actual racism is important. So tell me: can a U. S. person of color commit “actual racism” against a white person?

I’ve yet to receive an answer from Dr. McCaulley.  The closest I’ve seen to an answer is the following, and I am not completely sure he was addressing me.

I will leave it to the reader to decide whether that was an appropriate response.  But it does concern me that he did not answer my question very easily with a yes.
As you can see I then asked, “Is that your response to my simple question – ‘can a U. S. person of color commit 'actual racism' against a white person?’"

And I received no answer to that question.
At this point a fair question to turn around and ask me is why don’t I just drop this and let sleeping dogs lie?
First, given how Critical Race Theory (CRT) and related ideologies have redefined and abused “racism,” genuine discussion of racism requires defining just what we are talking about.  Are we talking about bigotry based on race that people of all ethnicities are capable of?  Or are we talking about something more or less only white people and Western society are guilty of?
Second, the CRT view that (at least in the Western context) racism is something only white people, not people of color, are capable of is itself racist and toxic.  To blame one ethnicity for a type of sinfulness, but exempt other ethnicities from it is inherently racist and virtually contradicts the Bible’s teaching that all have sinned.  As Dr. McCaulley himself says, “Racism … implies a heretical soteriology because if certain races are inherently more sinful than others then Christ's redemptive work brings them from farther away [from] God, and Paul argues that all are equally sinful and in need of redemption.”

Yet the CRT view that whites have a virtual monopoly on racism in the West has infiltrated the church.  But there is no sin that is monopolized by any one ethnicity – to say otherwise is unscriptural and racist.  So this is not just a secondary issue we can agree to disagree on; at least I cannot.  Therefore, we should know if our church leaders hold this CRT viewpoint of racism or not. Yes, McCaulley is far from the only one in ACNA who should be asked my question. 
Third, Dr. McCaulley through his actions and comments seems at least sympathetic to Critical Race Theory.  For one thing, he is an open fan of Jamar Tisby.  He certainly seems to share CRT’s obsession with race at times.  He has rather famously asked that unhelpful question, “If all translation is interpretation and interpretation is influenced by social location, what does it mean that most of our English bibles were translated with very few Black or other Christians of color or women involved?”  That he chooses not to answer my question also is odd. So does he share CRT’s view of racism? I do not presume he does, but it is past time for us in ACNA to know.
In short, given his statements and his leadership positions in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), namely head of the Next Generation Initiative and one of the Canon Theologians of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, McCaulley is among those who should clear the air and state whether they consider racism something all ethnicities everywhere are capable of or whether it is pretty much only a White Thing as Holy Critical Race Theory teaches.
Really he should welcome the opportunity to clear the air and give a straightforward answer to my question.  A correct answer would help clear up concerns about him and create more common ground.  He wants ACNA to resist “actual racism.”  To do that together we need to know what sort of racism we are talking about. Are we together resisting racial bigotry regardless of the ethnicity of the people it comes from?  We can do that!  Or are we talking about a CRT construct that is “an analytical tool”* to exempt people of color and to smear white people and Western society? 
A “yes” or “no” to my original question will do.
*I’m quoting the Southern Baptist Convention’s infamous Resolution 9, of course.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Epiphany Mishmash

There is disorderly confusion and even some contention on how the church should observe the first month of so of each new year.  Fr. Hunwicke goes into some of that with accompanying liturgical history.
My two cents, which is about what it’s worth:
Don’t turn Christ-centered holy days into Mary-centered holy days. I’m confident the BVM herself would agree.  So February 2nd is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, not The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  That sounds like she’s visiting a beauty salon anyway.  (By the way, guess who is scheduled to preach a sermon that day?)  And if anyone dare calls it Groundhog Day or even Super Sunday – well, what do you think vergers are for?
I usually am a die hard about celebrating holy days on their proper day, not on the nearest Sunday as the weak and the Roman do.  So Epiphany is today, January 6th, thank you.  However, I concede that some years it is not practical for most parishes to be so stubborn. This year, with Epiphany being on a Monday, is one of them.  But, hey, if you can get people to come to church today, then God bless you and them!  
So celebrating Epiphany yesterday was fine this year.  My parish did a blessed mishmash and celebrated both Epiphany and the 2ndSunday After Christmas yesterday.  Celebrating both Christmas and Epiphany – it’s hard to beat that.  Even better for those who can bring in people on a Sunday night is what Pusey House did – an Epiphany Eve service, a tradition going back to the medieval Sarum rite and long before.  
I heartily agree with Fr. Hunwicke that the traditional Sunday lessons for Epiphany should be done every year.  An Epiphany that omits either the Baptism of Christ, the Coming of the Magi, or the Wedding at Cana just isn’t right. 
But (You might want to sit down for this.) there is an innovation to which I am sympathetic.  The Church of England’s Common Worship has January 1st as Holy Name Day.  That makes sense as during his circumcision is when Jesus was named.  It neatly solves the past juggling around of Holy Name Day and gives January 1st a name that does not make men cross their legs.
But however you observe these days of the New Year, may you be blessed in doing so free from those looking down their liturgical noses at you.  I certainly will not do so – I promise.