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.
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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.
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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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Apocalypse Illuminated by Richard K. Emmerson

A focus of my studies in Oxford this past Michaelmas Term was medieval eschatology, particularly the exegesis of the Book of Revelation in illuminated Apocalypses.  I soon discovered this area is more complex than I expected perhaps because the medieval church did not insist on much dogma in eschatology beyond the teaching of the Nicene Creed that Jesus “shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.” Thus there was space for a lot of interesting diversity in the details of eschatology.  And events such as the year 1000 and invasions from Muslims and Tartars certainly goaded speculation on the details of end times.

At the same time, the many failed predictions, especially those that involved dates, assisted more conservative eschatologies to reassert themselves from time to time.  And most of the commentary texts of medieval illuminated Apocalypses reflect more conservative interpretations even as those, too, differ.
In short, medieval eschatology and its artistic expression is a fascinating but not at all easy area of study.  This is reflected in disagreements and occasional errors in modern scholarship.  Speaking of which, I am having to unlearn a thing or two I learned in Oxford!
So I appreciate a recent (and reasonably priced) acquisition to my library, Apocalypse Illuminated, The Visual Exegesis of Revelation in Medieval Illustrated Manuscriptsby Richard K. Emmerson, published just last year.  I’ve come across a number of excellent books in my studies on the subject, but Emmerson’s stands out as the best overview. It certainly well aids and clarifies the study of a complex subject.
Emmerson goes over the similarities and differences between various illuminated Apocalypses very well and uses a multitude of illustrations well in so doing.  His speculations as to what may have motivated bursts of creation of these lavish books, which clustered around certain times such as the third quarter of the 13thcentury, is also helpful.
And Emmerson is not at all merely derivative but advances scholarship.  One example stood out to me.  He boldly states that a number of very reputable scholars are mistaken in attributing a prediction that the end would come in 1260 to Joachim of Fiore.  He attributes that failed prediction to Joachimite followers instead and noted Joachim himself was adverse to setting dates though he was certainly bold in other respects.
Do be aware that, as Emmerson makes clear, Apocalypse Illuminated focuses on how these manuscripts interpreted the Book of Revelation and on the influences behind those interpretations. Thus, though well illustrated, this is not an art book.
I could praise Apocalypse Illuminated further.  But I will just say this: if I were to lead a seminar on medieval illuminated Apocalypses and accompanying eschatology, I would choose this book as theintroductory text.  If there is a more scholarly, more readable, and more up-to-date overview in this area, I for one am not aware of it.