Friday, December 31, 2004

Looking back on my 2004

New Years just don’t excite me like they used to. 2000 was the last New Year I can remember being excited about. It’s kind of like birthdays – once you reach a certain age, you wish they’d stop coming so fast.

But one big thing nice about this New Year, and about most of my recent New Years for that matter, is I can look back and say . . . it’s been a good year.

I don’t take that for granted. There was a stretch of years in my 20’s and early 30’s where it felt like running in place. And I’d look back at the end of each year – and felt like it was wasted, lost.

But 2004 has been an exceptional year for me. New Year’s Eve 2003 wasn’t the best, stuck in a depressing hotel room on the Northern California coast. The cable only had HBO (And I couldn’t watch that because Sex in the City :vomit: was on.) , so I couldn’t even watch the New Year come in. I was on the tail end of my God Knows Book and Skate Tour. But New Years Day was fun, driving through a winter storm and seeing the San Francisco Bay rock, then stopping at a favorite hotel in Indio and having a nice swim there. The next day I enjoyed skating my favorite Phoenix skate parks.

And 2004 got even better from there. My garage/apartment in Corpus was built and turned out great. I soon felt at home there. A big reason: more quickly than I expected I found an even better church than I expected. There I was confirmed into the Reformed Episcopal Church, a very special day for me.

Back in Denton, my transition out of Denton Bible Church was amicable and smooth. Early readers of this blog know the transitions out of my previous two churches were trying. So ending well at Denton Bible was nice. (I still attend there some.) Also, my skate ministry at a local church skate park went well and ended well. Man, those were good times.

Even my chess has gone well. Why, yesterday, I even beat an International Master in a simul. And my rating went up from 881 to 1453. (Chess freaks can tell you what all that means, heh.)

There’s been other highlights scattered through the year. Like some of the excellent shows I went to, such as Comrade, Ester Drang, and, of course, the King College Choir.

Oh yeah, back in February, floundering in my writing, I began this blog.

I think I grew spiritually as well. Anglican forms of worship and spiritual discipline have been good for me.

2004 has been good for me, thanks be to God!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Churchly Quality Control XII: Liberal Church Leaders

The venerable Os Guiness has written a perceptive piece on the seriousness of the current state of the U. S. Episcopal Church. Towards the beginning of it, he wonderfully sums up the absurdity of liberal pseudo-Christians being in church leadership:

…What would we think of a nation that installed a pothead as its drug czar? Or an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter that appointed an unreformed boozer to lead its meetings? Or an army that was led by a convinced pacifist as its general? Yet a routine spectacle of our age is the agile contortions of religious leaders openly denying what their faiths once believed, celebrating what their faiths once castigated, and advancing views once closer to their foes than their founders—and still staying on as leaders of those faiths, as if it were all in a day’s work.

It’s not only absurd, it’s an outrage. If a priest or bishop can no longer uphold the faith, then he should do the honorable thing and step aside. If he won’t do the honorable thing, he should be fired. (No, I don’t mean burnt at the stake although the idea is tempting….)

Again, you don’t tolerate liberals or other apostates and heretics in leadership. You love them. You correct them as best you can. But you don’t let them lead in the church.

That churches in the past didn’t have the guts and sanity to cast out such from leadership is a big reason we Anglicans, among others, are in the mess we are in today.

This is a sore subject for me, in case you haven’t noticed. I became a Christian in a conservative church in a mainline denomination (Presbyterian). And almost from the beginning, I was struck by the obscene absurdity of pseudo-Christians leading in the church. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Heck, until shortly before I came to faith, I had no interest in even attending church, much less leading one. And why would a church want to put up with it?

It’s indeed just as absurd and self-destructive as Guiness describes it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster

As I’m sure many of you are, I’m becoming more overwhelmed by the day by the scope of loss suffered around the Indian Ocean in the wake of the terrible earthquakes and tsunamis. The death toll is now approaching 80,000 and is expected to surpass 100,000. Many more are without food or even drinkable water. My prayers go out to the thousands upon thousands who are suffering greatly from this disaster.

I’ve made a donation to World Relief. I encourage you also to give to trustworthy relief agencies.

(I would advise avoiding gifts to UN agencies or to organizations that work mainly through governments. Donations to such agencies typically go through a lot of greedy, sticky fingers before they reach those in need.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I’ve started a review list at Amazon.

It’s not a big list, but I will add to it. It will focus on books, cds, and dvds of interest to Anglicans. But it will not be exclusively Anglican.

I’ve started it in response to requests for help in searching out good Anglican resources. So anyway, here’s the link.

How do you all like the name I gave the list? ;^)

I also plan to do more reviews as I devour more Anglican works. I’ll post them here and at Amazon. My reviews here will probably be a bit fuller and more personal.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Stripping of the Altars

Shortly before Christmas, I finally finished reading The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy.

As you can probably tell already, I have mixed feelings about the book. There’s no question it’s painstakingly well researched. But I wish more effort would have gone into editing. Frankly, I spent too much time wading through wills and untranslated pre-Elizabethan English. This is a 600 page book that could have been a more readable 450 page book. Much of what Duffy included in the body of his book should have been put in an appendix instead.

Also, I wonder if Duffy had an axe to grind. His book clearly has an anti-Protestant slant to it. Now I don’t have the academic background to make a judgement on how fair he is. And there’s no question both Protestants and Catholics often conducted themselves poorly in 16th century England.

The book does give an excellent and detailed picture of what pre-Reformation English religion was like. That was probably the biggest benefit to me.

Reading The Stripping of the Altars confirms to me my current preference to be somewhere in between Catholicism and Protestantism. Seeing what English Medieval religion was like confirms that a reformation was needed. But excesses such as wanton iconoclasm also confirm that aspects of the Reformation went too far.

I would suggest English Reformations by Christopher Haigh as a more readable, more balanced overview of the same years Duffy looks at. But if you want to learn about pre-Reformation English religion or if the only English histories you’ve read make it sound like Jolly Old England merrily cast off popery, then Duffy is well worth the time.

And reading Stripping of the Altars will take time. If you skim through the wills and the unreadable Medieval English and such, I won’t tell anyone.

(And thanks again to the good professor for the copy!)

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Early this morning I decided to write a collect for this special day:

O Author of all peace, we humbly and heartily thank you for sending Your Son, the Prince of Peace, into our world, even into our lives. By Your very present Spirit of grace, may we worthily glorify Him this day and always, who reigns forever and ever. Amen.

And may His wondrous peace be fully yours this Christmas and always.

(By the way, I’m not there, but Corpus Christi, Texas is having a white Christmas. I am not kidding.)

Friday, December 24, 2004

”Wow!” (Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols)

I listened to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live this morning from the BBC. It was quite overwhelming at times. And I did get a bit emotional.

This year’s new carol, Starry night o'er Bethlehem, was really impressive and surprisingly Christmasy. Last year’s new carol was interesting, but a bit modern and jarring.

You can hear again to your heart’s delight it appears. Here’s the link.

For Christmas Eve meditation, I recommend Psalm 85, which is appointed in the 1928 BCP for Evening Prayer, and this excellent thought from St. Augustine and the Pontificator.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas and Church

O. K. I’m on top of things, thanks be to God, so now I can post.

I have mixed feelings about this Christmas. I’m really looking forward to spending time with family. And I’ve been in a Christmasy mood for a while now. But I’m about the only Christian in my family. So if I go to church for Christmas, it will likely be alone. And spending time with family is a big priority, (And where I will be is not a hotbed of Anglican-style worship.) so it looks like Christmas won’t be nearly as churchy as I would like.

Which is funny, because as recently as two years ago, I really wasn’t into church at Christmas at all. That just hasn’t been part of my past, even though I’ve been a Christian since age 14. But exposure to Anglican worship has changed that.

Still, I will eagerly listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, like I did for the first time last year. And I might sneak out for a late night Christmas Eve service. (If anyone knows of a good one in the Richland, Washington area let me know.)

I plan to buy myself a lot of Anglican Church music for myself after Christmas. I’ve been playing what I have already. Speaking of which, if you want to hear a performance from the recent King’s College Christmas U.S. Tour I heard, go here. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mea culpa (or no posts)

Sorry I haven’t been posting. Among other things, I’m a bit overwhelmed with trying to get conservation easement business (delayed by a blatantly negligent lawyer) done by the end of the year. (Yes, the lawyer has been dismissed.)

In fact, most of my stress right now is from bozos who don’t take care of business, then leave me with the consequences. All this stuff should have been taken care of months ago.

By the way, to whom it may concern, if you won’t mail something to my P.O. Box, then don’t mail it at all. I have a P.O. Box for a reason. If you live in an apartment behind a security door as I do, UPS, DHL, etc. are worse than useless. The less said on that, the better.

I hope to post something a bit more Christmasy later this week. Yes, I do love Christmas. But I can’t guarantee anything.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Churchly Quality Control XI: another case study

Yesterday’s post is very relevant to this screed from an Anglican gay lobby to the unfortunate Archbishop of Canterbury and how it should be handled.

Putting aside the glaring problems with this letter (A number of the comments on the link address those quite well.), this is a classic example of where church leaders should do exactly as I advised yesterday. You listen, then gently say, “We hope you stay, but we are going to do the right thing.” Trying instead to make everyone happy in situations like this just makes everyone unhappy . . . including God I suspect. A case could be made* that past accommodation of practicing gays in leadership has led to the situation we are in today where unhappiness abounds.

(*That’s a very Anglican understatement there.)

I think David Roseberry, among other Anglican conservatives, handles this issue rightly. He has made clear from the pulpit, no less, that homosexuals are welcome in his church, and they are to be treated with decency and love. But he will not pretend sin isn’t sin or in any other way willfully set aside the standards of God’s word.

And that is what the church is called to do. Truth and love – truth AND love. You don’t set aside either no matter how unhappy that makes someone.

(And, yes, I freely admit I allow some churchly and political issues to get me so worked up that I’m not exactly the most loving guy in the world. I apologize.)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Churchly Quality Control X: a sad case study

Over at titusonenine and at the Leadership Journal, there is a sad case study of how divisions and poor leadership brought down an ECUSA parish in the aftermath of the 2003 General Convention.

I think there are a number of things relative to church leadership and CQC to be learned from “Trinity” parish. The writer's point that striving for consensus must not become an unanimity trap is especially well taken. Now at my previous church, Denton Bible Church, the elders do insist on unanimity among them. And it seems to have worked well. But I still think insisting on unanimity can be a trap. And it certainly was for this parish.

But for all its good points, I think the article overlooks a more basic problem at the parish. The problems on the parish level after GC 2003 began thus:

During the first Vestry meeting after the crisis, we were considering a motion that would have put the church on record as repudiating the actions of the recent General Convention. As the motion was being discussed, Jane, a liberal member, blurted out on the verge of tears, "If this passes, I'm leaving the church."

And instead of gently saying they hope she stays but they are going to do the right thing, the Vestry let this and other whiny liberals delay and muck everything up.

“Jane” and other liberals should not have been on the Vestry in the first place. You don’t put liberals or anyone else unfaithful to scripture in positions of leadership. If they don’t hold to the authority of God’s word, then they shouldn’t be exercising authority over God’s church, period, no matter how much they contribute or how nice they are or how long she’s been a member, etc.

Yes, excluding liberals from leadership will have a cost in some churches. People and money may leave in hurt and anger. But real discipleship and faithfulness are always costly.

But what if you already have liberals in leadership? Then you respect their leadership as much as you can without being unfaithful to Christ until you can remove them in the proper manner. In the meantime, you don’t let them run the show if you can stop them. If that makes them have a temper tantrum or threaten to leave, you respond graciously, but again you don’t let liberals dictate the direction of the church. Trinity parish was about to head in the right direction in responding to GC 2003 until it let the liberal minority dictate matters. Instead, things became an awful mess.

Yes, this post may seem mean. And I don’t want to run liberals out of churches. But a little leaven leavens the whole loaf. Liberals didn’t lead the mainline denominations into apostasy in one day. They began by taking advantage of the niceness of conservatives to get a foothold into leadership positions many years ago. Then over decades they took over session after session, vestry after vestry, presbytery after presbytery, diocese after diocese . . .

It could have been stopped at the parish/congregation level. But orthodox Christians were too stinking nice to do so. They were too nice at Trinity parish, too, and look what happened.

Sometimes, love is being firm and standing for what is right and refusing to back down.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Churchly Quality Control IX: Autonomy?

I have really mixed feelings on ecclesiastical autonomy. It’s clear that it has at least some attraction to me since I was until very recently a member of independent Bible churches for over 16 years.

Now, in my past church searches, I never said to myself, “I must join a completely independent autonomous church.” But in hindsight, one reason I joined two such churches is because I saw most denominations completely botching both autonomy and the lack thereof.

I too often saw liberals and apostates being the beneficiaries of any autonomy. This was a big reason I didn’t even consider joining a Baptist church back in 1988. For I saw over in Raleigh a Southern Baptist church that ordained a rabidly pro-abortion woman and had a quasi-Communist as a pastor. I felt if that’s what Baptist congregationalism means, then count me out.

(To their credit, the Southern Baptists have tempered their once radical congregationalism. That Raleigh church and a handful of others have been expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention. And I’m glad to see that today even some Canadian Baptists aren’t buying a radical, anything goes autonomy.)

On the flip side, when autonomy was not the standard of a denomination, I saw conservatives as the usual victims. I’ve mentioned the Presbyterian congregation in which I became a Christian was kicked out of their building by the local presbytery.

And, of course, today we see in the ECUSA persecution of the orthodox in several dioceses while liberals run riot. But if someone tells liberal bishops they are out of line, they claim the protection of diocesean or provincial autonomy at the very same time that they steamroll orthodox parishes. Again, autonomy for liberals, submission or else for conservatives.

So you can see why my feelings about ecclesiastical autonomy are ambivalent. I’ve often seen it (and its lack) used as both a haven and as a club by apostates. And that has repelled me from most denominations to the point that I wasn’t a member of one for 16 years. You could say that twisted churchly autonomy drove me to real autonomy – independent Bible churches. Yes, a bit ironic now that I look back on it.

But even a cursory reading of the Bible shows that ideally churches should not be autonomous. Jesus prayed that we’d be one. And in the early years of the church, even in Acts, there were church councils whose decisions were considered binding.

And thank God that when Arianism and other heresies were taking over churches, the church at large didn’t say, “Oh well, they are autonomous. Let them be.”

So today I would say, no, churches should not be autonomous.

But I still see real congregational autonomy and independence as vastly preferable to membership in most of the major denominations.

I told you I was ambivalent.

If you want a pointy-headed (and hopefully less confusing) conservative look at the issue of autonomy in the ECUSA, here’s a piece by Ephraim Radner.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

More orthodox Anglican ecumenism

I’ve mentioned here that it seems those making the most real progress in genuine ecumenism among Anglicans are conservatives. I joined the Reformed Episcopal Church in part because of that.

Since the hotbed of the ecumenical movement was once liberal churches, the irony of this is not lost on me.

A partner of the REC in bringing orthodox Anglican churches together is the Anglican Province of America (APA). Among other efforts, the APA and Forward in Faith, North America, a prominent Anglo-Catholic body, are now going to be in full communion.

Because of efforts such as these, I’m hopeful that that, one way or another, out of the current difficulties will arise an worldwide orthodox Anglican Communion – even it might not be the Anglican Communion (although I haven’t given up hope there either).

Monday, December 13, 2004


When I went to St. David’s here in Denton yesterday morning, the Third Sunday in Advent, I was surprised to find the liturgical color was . . . pink.

I’ve since found out that wasn’t pink, that was rose. Uh, huh. It sure looked pink to me. And I found out the Third Sunday in Advent is Gaudete Sunday, hence pink, uh, rose liturgical colors. No, I’ve never heard of Gaudete Sunday before. I’m still learning.

One of the minor reasons I’ve became Anglican is because it’s, well, fun. Seeing the rector in rather fancy pink, I mean, rose vestments are certainly part of that.

Here’s a fun discussion that fills in some colorful details on Gaudete Sunday.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I see the King’s College Choir.

And it was excellent. I arrived at First United Methodist Church Dallas 45 minutes early. I actually wanted to get there an hour early to assure a good seat. But my third row seat was great. I could hear the voices much more from the choir themselves than from amplification and could see them very well also. The concert was sold out by the way. One man out front was trying to get a ticket.

I had two expectations, both of which were gladly not met. I expected them to do mainly more accessible Christmasy tunes for an American audience. They did a few, of course. But most of the programme (Love those British spellings.) was obscure, arty pieces that were very traditional, but not the sort of thing Americans are used to. I even heard one lady say after a piece, “That was strange.” Good! I didn’t want a watered down “pop” concert.

Second, they did not sell any cds or the like at the concert. Now I wanted to buy some stuff, but I’m glad they didn’t sell anything. The Choir has a reputation for being a bit commercial, and I was glad to see that debunked.

The concert was in three parts: Four Christmas Motets in Latin, A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28, and then a programme of various carols.

My favorite part was A Ceremony of Carols, performed by only the boys with a harpist. They had a singing procession and recession. It was a very nice effect to hear them singing beyond the doors, then come in right in front of me. Ditto for when they left.

Now a stereotype of boy choristers is that they are plaster angels. Not so with those of King’s College. The boys’ personalities show through the performances. I’ve noticed three main types of choristers: 1. the showmen, about three tonight. They are animated and confident and love to put on a show and receive the applause. 2. the nervous kids. They are very careful to do things right and look slightly ill at ease. Most of these were the younger boys on the two sides of the choristers. 3. Taking care of business. These are most of the boys. They don’t show much emotion, but are relaxed and do their job with a natural exactness and confidence. But even some of them clearly like the applause.

There was this one kid, a showman, who really stood out. He was one of the smaller boys, but he had The Voice and did the only solo piece of the night, very well I must add. (It was That Youge Child during the Ceremony of Carols, I believe.) When he finished his solo and during other times, he wore a very pleased expression that said, “Yeah, I’m good. I’m the man.” He was a hoot! I noticed one of the choristers was named Maximus Rex. I wonder if it was him, because the little man carried himself like a Maximus Rex.

He also did an excellent duet with a less animated but equally proficient boy the very next song, Balulalow.

The conductor, Stephen Cleobury, who also had some ham in him, had the congregation sing part of two carols (Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel and God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen, two favorites of mine) in the third part of the programme. That was fun and sounded very powerful with the organ. But I’d rather hear the choir. Although the boy choristers did manage to sing a high harmony that wonderfully soared above the congregation’s singing.

I could go on, but obviously this is the sort of thing where description falls way short.

I did notice a problem early on. The acoustics of the church were not very good, to some extent swallowing up the voices and even the impressive organ. I knew it wasn’t me when a last strong organ note was swallowed up by the space immediately. That’s sad, since First UMC Dallas puts a lot of emphasis on the arts. And the sanctuary, though big, is intimate, especially if you’re a lucky guy on the third row like me. Nevertheless, I hope the choir chooses a different venue the next time it’s in Texas.

Still, it was a great evening. By the way, the concert lasted two hours. We got beyond our money’s worth.

This was the first concert of their U. S. Christmas tour. If they are coming near you, see them! Get tickets ahead of time, however.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Friday, December 10, 2004

Churchly Quality Control VIII: A word on church discipline

When a church comes to the place where it can no longer exert discipline, then with tears before the Lord we must consider a second step. If the battle for doctrinal purity is lost, we must understand that there is a second step to take in regard to the practice of the principle of the purity of the visible church. It may be necessary for true Christians to leave the visible organization with which they have been associated. But note well: if we must leave our church, it should always be with tears . . .

Francis Schaeffer
from The Church Before the Watching World
++Eames hears the music.

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Archbishop Robin Eames must have heard an ear full about his “move on” interview. For he finds it necessary to make an additional clarifying statement supporting the Windsor Report.

I don’t think the new statement clears things up much. But it’s good to know enough people won’t put up with more Anglican fudge that it got his attention.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

So Irish Primate ++Robin Eames Wants to “Move On.”

Irish Archbishop Robin Eames, who chaired the Lambeth Commission that gave us the Windsor Report, apparently thinks discipline of the ECUSA is unlikely. And he wants it that way, saying “we must move on.”

Eames’ advice is a recipe for the break-up of the Communion. Conservatives with any backbone, namely most of the Southern Primates, will not put up with the Anglican fudge of just moving on.

By the way, why is it only conservatives in mainline churches who are expected to “move on”? When liberals don’t get their way, they come back again and again and again until they get their way even if they have to run roughshod over the polity of the church. Then they immediately expect conservatives to “move on.” And in the ECUSA, the conservatives have been such wimps, most of them have.

If the ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada are not disciplined, the Anglican Communion will – and should – break up. A church that won’t discipline blatant apostasy, especially in its leadership, deserves not allegiance but the judgment of God. When a church refuses to defend the faith, it’s not time to move on, it’s time to move out – moving out to cast the cowards and apostates out of leadership or moving out of that so-called church altogether.

I thank God that those heroes of the Faith who have opposed apostasy throughout church history didn’t just “move on.”

Excuse my Unanglican phrasing, but to hell with moving on.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More about numbers

Last week (the December 2nd entry), I mentioned the decline in ECUSA membership for 2003 and the denial exhibited about it.

Something I didn’t mention is that the real declines are probably worse, perhaps much worse, than the reported numbers. Here’s some simple churchly bureaucratic reasons why:

1. Bureaucratic lag in taking people off the membership rolls. When someone transfers or discontinues their membership, the recognition of that in church rolls is usually far from instantaneous. Nothing nefarious here. That’s just the way the world works.

2. Church reluctance in recognizing loss of membership. Whatever the motives, which may or may not be good, churches are sometimes reluctant to officially recognize the loss of a member. One lady has posted that she clearly told an ECUSA church she was leaving to remove her from the rolls. Instead, they placed her on the inactive membership roll. (Sorry, I’ve lost the link to her post.)

3. Some just leave. Many fed-up or discouraged members may just leave without asking the church to remove them from the rolls. Such people may remain on membership rolls for years.

4. The consecration of Gene Robinson occurred late in the year on All-Saints Day. This and the above reasons make it likely that most resulting membership losses were not officially recognized in 2003.

Granted, the controversy around that consecration did attract interest. It played a role in even me paying more attention to Anglicanism. But churches tend to recognize membership gains faster than membership losses. And I seriously doubt any membership gains came close to offsetting losses. So I’ll stick with saying the real declines are much worse that the reported ones. But time will tell. The 2004 numbers will be interesting.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

In case you think the Southern Anglican Primates aren’t dead serious . . .

about broken communion with the consecrators of Gene Robinson, you need to read about a rather unpleasant evening this past weekend in Pennsylvania.

It’s going to be an interesting Primates meeting in February.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Churchly Quality Control VII: Who should hold the property?

Some of you may have noticed what could turn out to be an important California Supreme Court ruling. Now, I’m no property lawyer. But in short, the court ruled against the United Methodist Church and allowed the congregation of St. Luke’s church to hold on to their property after leaving the denomination.

This could have ramifications in other cases involving other denominations, including the ECUSA.

There is a collection of relevant links and quite a good discussion over at Titusonenine.

Putting aside the legal aspects for now and focusing on church polity and CQC, I want to ask the question: Who should hold church property – the local congregation or a larger church body (such as a diocese or presbytery)?

I have mixed feelings on this. I can see how churches would want the property held by dioceses or presbyteries and the like. For one thing, many congregations started as missions (or the equivalent) nurtured and financed by the regional or national church. Also, holding the property exerts some control. A congregation is less likely to go off the deep end if that means the larger church may take the property out from under them. So the larger church holding the property can be a good tool of Church Quality Control.

But that control in recent decades has been used often against conservative congregations. There have even been ugly episodes of congregations being locked out of their buildings by regional church bodies. The Presbyterian church in which I became a Christian was the victim of such an episode.

Seeing property control being used as a club against the orthodox gives me a gut feeling against denominational control of property and for congregational control. If I’m not mistaken, parish control of property is, at least in part, the policy of the Reformed Episcopal Church I’ve recently joined. (Anyone who knows more about REC polity feel free to educate me.)

But a good case can be made both ways, I think. So feel free (as always) to go ahead and make it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Churchly Quality Control VI: Methodists defrock lesbian.

Yes, it’s true. A mainline denomination actually defrocked a non-conservative for violating the orthopraxy of the church.

The vote of the United Methodist church court was close. But still this surprises me. I’ve seen mainline churches use every excuse in the book not to enforce their own rules against liberals. So I expected more of the same. But I’m glad to be wrong. Kudos to the Methodists.

And, yes, the Episcopal Church USA is getting more isolated by the day.

Any church that cares about orthodoxy and orthopraxy has to be willing and able to defrock errant unrepentant ministers. Frankly, I won’t join a church that wouldn’t.

The history of the mainline denominations show a little leaven takes over the whole loaf. You can point to times churches were unwilling to defrock even blatant heretics (And I’m unaware of any blatant heresy on the part of the defrocked Ms. Stroud.), and you’ll find that the apostasy of those churches accelerated soon afterwards. In the Episcopal Church, this is certainly the case with the tepid discipline exercised toward heretic Bishops James Pike and John Spong.

Churches must be willing to defrock. It’s a matter of not only defending the Faith; it’s a matter of self-defense as well.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

More denial from the Episcopal Church USA

Well, the official numbers are out. And memberships losses in the Episcopal Church accelerated in 2003. But was the General Convention and the consecration of Gene Robinson that year the big factors behind that? Nooooooo.

Well, actually, yes. But you’re not going to hear that from the Episcopal spin doctors. See that 900 pound gorilla in the room? Just ignore it. It’s not important.

I have to give the two ECUSA directors in the interview some credit, though. They are right that the Episcopal Church's membership problems didn’t begin in 2003. And Mr. Fulton seems to actually admit that the mainline penchant for offering not much in the way of being a church that holds forth the Way, the Truth, and the Life might, just might, hurt membership:

The bread-and-butter of mainline denominations, what we really do offer people, is belonging. And that’s not what the church at its truest offers people, just to belong. You can belong a lot of places.

Aeyyyy-men! Oh I forgot – I’m Anglican now.

Further, uh, dialogue, that’s it, may be found at Titusonenine.

Monday, November 29, 2004

First Sunday in Advent . . .

was quite a day of firsts for me. This is my first Advent as an Anglican.

And yesterday was the first time I’ve taught a class at an Anglican church. My rector asked me Saturday if I could substitute teach the teen Sunday School at my church. (He said if the notice was too short, he could bring the kids into the adult class.) That sounded like fun, so I said sure.

I did o.k., but only o.k. The rust from not teaching in church in a while and teaching in what is still something of a new setting affected me I think. Going from giving short talks to skaters at a skate park (the main setting in which I’ve taught for the past year or so) to talking about collects to Anglican kids is a bit of a shift I guess.

But, hey, I’ll learn and make adjustments.

I might post more about my first Advent as an Anglican, but today and tomorrow I’m bit busy. So that will have to wait at least a couple days.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Churchly Quality Control V: Creeds

Creeds are a vital part of Church Quality Control. Indeed, the Nicene Creed came about from efforts to combat Arianism. Clergy were obligated to affirm the creed or to stand down. That creed became and remains part of the Eucharist. Participation in the Lord’s Supper implies you believe the creeds.

Creeds play a vital part in baptism in many churches. In the baptism last Sunday at my Reformed Episcopal Church, the adult candidate had to first affirm the Apostle’s Creed as spelled out in the REC Prayer Book. (For infant baptism, godparents affirm it on the infant’s behalf.) You don’t believe the creed? No baptism for you!

I have trouble understanding churches that don’t have creeds. Individual conscience is often cited in dispensing with creeds. Some churches take pride in having no creeds. Some, say, Southern Baptists are strongly opposed to creeds. And I can remember churches who bragged, “No creed but Christ.”

Well, that sounds very nice. But which Christ are you talking about? Just about every cult, ism, asm, and spasm has its token Jesus. So are you talking about the historic Christ of the Bible or a token Jesus, maybe your own personal Jesus that fits into your little box of “private interpretation”?

Because of all the counterfeits and honest misinterpretations that have been out there from the beginning, I think creeds are necessary to spell out the basics of what we believe – and frankly to exclude from Communion and clergy those who can’t say credo, “I believe.”

Now you can believe or disbelieve whatever you want. But don’t deny the Faith of Christ’s church and still claim to be a member of Christ’s church.

Lay non-believers need to be made welcome, of course. But they also to deserve to have the basics of the Faith clearly spelled out and defended without compromise. Creeds, almost by definition, play an important role in doing just that.

Now as for unorthodox clergy, they should be shown the door. If they want help, by all means give them all the love and help you can muster. But don’t let them lead anymore.

Of course, the historic creeds, though trustworthy, are not foolproof quality control. There will always be those who deceive themselves and others by reciting creeds they don’t believe. Some of the semantic and religious games liberals play with creeds can be . . . interesting, to put it nicely. (I am Anglican now, you know.)

For further reflection, I strongly recommend a recent thread by the Pontificator on the Nicene Creed.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for the Black-eyed Pea being open today so single and/or lazy people like me can eat right.

And I'm thankful that I go to a church where the celebrant used "superfluity of naughtiness" in the liturgy this morning, with a perfectly straight face, too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Churches may close in two liberal ECUSA dioceses.

Maybe I should make this a Churchly Quality Control post because some churches should close.

In any case, when I read that the Diocese of Western Michigan is considering selling their cathedral , the lyrics immediately started going through my head:

This disco!
Used to be a cute cathedral.

And when I read that the Diocese of Newark may have to close some parishes, it tempted me to ask why the Diocese of Newark must change or die.

(Gold stars for those who get both my references.)
An appropriate sermon for this week.

This past Sunday, my rector gave an excellent sermon that was very appropriate for the end of the church year and the approach of Thanksgiving and Advent. You can read it here.

It was also my first time to attend an Anglican baptism. I’ll probably comment on that later. I’ll just say the Reformed Episcopal Church doesn’t mess around with baptism.

Monday, November 22, 2004

If liberals want to keep the Anglican Communion together . . .

. . . they sure have a funny way of showing it. It’s bad enough that ++Griswold among other liberal bishops have pretty much said they will ignore the Windsor Report’s call for a moratorium on same-sex blessings. Now certain liberals are committing the ultimate Anglican sin toward Global South Primates.

They are being *gasp* rude!

Yes. Anglicans being rude! Shocking, but true! The liberal ECUSA bishop of Alabama, Henry Parsley (one of the six liberals in that state), had the temerity to muzzle the Archbishop of Uganda at the conservative Church of Ascension in Montgomery. According to a report from the parish, Bishop Parsley insisted on speaking before ++Orombi, then used his *cough* welcome to state the Primate had been invited to speak only about common missionary activity. That cut ++Orombi’s sermon a bit short.

To add backhanded insult to injury, uberliberal Louie Crew later remarked on the sermon being too short and said the parish had once been a bastion of segregation, which is historically not true.

Even the Archbishop of Canterbury is not immune to this outbreak of Anglican bad manners . ++Rowan Williams was invited – twice – to attend the recent and first all-Africa conference of Anglican bishops. One would think this was a good opportunity for ++Rowan to mend some fences. But he declined both invitations.

Angered by this ill-timed snub, a motion was made at the conference to censure Dr. Williams for his absence. In spite of senior bishops pleading against this motion, it came to a vote and was defeated by only a three-to-two margin.

Such conduct makes me wonder if the ABC and liberal Northern Anglican leaders really want to keep the South in the Anglican Communion. Like I said, if they do, they have a funny way of showing it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

"It's a great book if you can't get a date."

-- Tommy Nelson, pastor Denton Bible Church, on the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Churchly Quality Control IV: Members (particularly a certain member in Boston)

I firmly believe Churchly Quality Control (CQC) should extend to members, laity, not just clergy or staff.

I’m not going to be able to fully post on this today, but there is a rather public case of such CQC in Boston. A priest has asked a state representative to step down from two ministries due to her support of abortion rights and gay marriage.

Her response is rather interesting: ''I'm trying to be a good Catholic. But this should be a separate issue. Church should be a sanctuary for me and my faith and not have anything to do with my work."

Hmm, so church shouldn’t have anything to do with her work. I could write a long post on how this is absurdly typical of American – and thoroughly unbiblical -- compartmentalization of life and faith. It suffices to say that, no, you can not separate everyday life from faith or from church. And the church can not ignore a member’s life outside church walls. The church certainly can not ignore a member’s willful public sin.

Among many factors, there’s one very practical reason I say this. The pastor at my old church on occasion tells of a time someone came to visit the church, but saw something that caused him to turn around and walk out. What did he see? A businessman that he knew was unethical.

When a church member is involved in reprehensible conduct, if the church doesn’t deal with it, then it becomes not just the member’s scandal, but the church’s as well. That goes double if that member is involved in any ministry. And indeed, the representative’s continued church leadership has caused offense within the Boston congregation. And I would be offended, too, to say the least. And from the outside, few things kill a church’s credibility with me than for it to pretend it’s o.k. to support outrages like abortion on demand.

It may rub some (many) the wrong way for me to say so, but I think the priest is doing the right thing in asking her to step down from the two ministries. Further, he would be wrong to ignore her public wrong and go on with business as usual.

Comment away. I intend more on this subject in the future.

(It is very unlikely that I will post tomorrow, however.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Kudos to ABC . . .

. . . for apologizing for their awful judgement in airing their little Monday Night Football intro this week. Terrell Owens alone is obnoxious enough, thank you.

As soon as they aired the intro I thought, What if I had small children watching this with me? The lack of consideration the networks show toward families is amazing sometimes. I still remember Fox running a promo during a football game showing Amy McBeal jumping onto a guy’s face . . . over and over again. Do the networks have any common consideration at all? Sporting events have a broad audience with a lot of kids and families. Why do the networks choose to make it difficult for families to watch them? If they must run sleaze, can’t they do it some other time?

And, no, I don’t have any kids. If I did, I would have had a conniption Monday night. As it was, I was one of those who e-mailed ABC immediately and let them know what I thought. And I rarely do that sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Churchly Quality Control III: CQC and Abortion and other evils

If you see your church or denomination participate in something like this, then you can know that past attempts at Church Quality Control have failed or been nonexistent.

Blaspheming Christ’s name by using it to advocate for evil such as abortion on demand is intolerable. And it should not be tolerated. The way I see it, if you’re in a church or denomination that does such advocacy, you have two, maybe three choices:

1. Remove the leaders responsible.
2. Remove yourself from that so-called church.
2 1/2. ( 1/2 since I have mixed feelings on this one.) Remain in the church/denomination for now, but do not submit to any apostate leaders in it nor let one dime or one minute of support go to such leaders or their apostasy. Instead expose them and oppose them. (This is a more viable option where local orthodox bodies within a church have more autonomy as in the Episcopal Church.)

In the case of the mainline Presbyterian Church years ago, I fought the apostasy for a while on the local level. Then when I moved I decided to move out of that denomination as well. It frankly enraged me to see my denomination supporting abortion along with other evils.

You know, back in the 1950’s it was probably unthinkable to Presbyterians that their denomination would advocate for abortion. But in the 70’s, they already were.

If you don’t practice adequate Church Quality Control – and they didn’t – then there’s no telling how quickly evil can take over a church. Christians may be lax in striving for the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the church. Satan is never lax in trying to destroy it.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Church I Dream Of – Peter Moore

I’ve already found my church and am quite happy with it.

So I wish I would have come across this beautiful piece by Peter Moore back when I was still searching for a church. But I’m posting it today because it still so well reflects the church I dream of – and, in a way, am still searching for as well.

(hat tip to titusonenine)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Churchly Quality Control II: Why is it Important?

I got ahead of myself a bit with my first Churchly Quality Control (CQC) post yesterday. Perhaps we first ought to discuss why it’s important (or whether it’s important at all for my heretic friends out there ;^) ).

I see the church’s mission as falling into two categories:

1. To guard, teach, and pass on the written Word of God.

2. To be a manifestation of the living Word of God -- or as the Bible puts it, to be the Body of Christ.

I don’t see anything the church should be doing that doesn’t fall into these two tasks.

Both of these tasks imply that the church should strive to be pure and free of error. If we wish to pass on the written Word to future generations, we don’t want to dilute or mangle it with error. If we wish to be the Body of Christ, we certainly don’t want to bring dishonor to Christ with our sin.

And these are recurrent themes of the New Testament. Again and again, Paul’s letters especially follow this pattern:
1. The Gospel of God’s grace through Christ towards us is wonderful and glorious, which should lead us to . . .
2. Righteous living to thank and glorify God and adorn the Gospel and to . . .
3. Make darn sure that glorious Gospel of grace is passed on without error.

Paul, as well as Peter, John and Jude, in their letters therefore engage in CQC. While pouring out their love for the church, they at the same time had strong words for willful sinners and willful heretics in the church. Paul went so far as to pronounce anathemas on false teachers and even wished out loud that legalists, uh, mess themselves up with their circumcisions. (Galatians 5:12)

History has confirmed the inspiration and wisdom of the apostles on the necessity of CQC. The Gospel and the church have been threatened time and again with Gnosticism, Arianism, Legalism, and other isms. And it has taken more than “dialogue” and “study” to protect the Faith and the faithful from these heresies. Without God using the efforts of giants like Athanasius and of the great General Councils, we not only wouldn’t have the creeds, we would hardly have the Faith at all.

And today in the Episcopal Church USA and other mainline denominations, we see what happens when churches abandon CQC. As Phillip Turner spelled out a year ago in his First Things article The Episcopalian Preference, the current accelerated decent of Episcopalism has its roots in its bishops’ reluctance and failure to appropriately discipline apostate bishops.

Seeing the CQC patterns of the Bible and of defenders of the Faith through the centuries on the one hand and of today’s mainline churches on the other make the need for firm Churchly Quality Control clear. And it has brought me to the point where I ask the following question without apology:

If a church isn’t committed enough to the Word to discipline grave error in its midst, then why should I be committed to that church?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Churchly Quality Control

I’ve decided to begin something.

A huge topic I want us to wrestle with here from time to time is how should the church deal with error in its midst . . . or Churchly Quality Control (CQC) for short.

A (all too) frequent Protestant way to deal with churchly error, perceived or real, is to split and form another denomination, or at least to flee an errant church. And, of course, individual Protestants often will change denominations, as I have. Evangelicals frequently engage in such ad hoc CQC.

I have very mixed feelings on denominations, which I may go into at a later time.

Now the Pontificator advises some Episcopalians to leave their church. But he has such strong feelings on what he perceives to be Protestant denominations that he advises Anglicans who do leave the Episcopal Church USA to not join a continuing Anglican church but to join the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox. He sees the continuing Anglican churches as just more Protestant denominations and therefore not a good option. (Esteemed Pontificator, if I’m oversimplifying too much, please correct me.)

I don’t think that’s fair or accurate myself. To give two examples, the Reformed Episcopal Church and Anglican Mission in America at the very least seek to be connected with other Anglicans worldwide and hardly have a denominational spirit. The AMiA is a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda and therefore isn’t a denomination at all.

But in any case, the resulting thread is quite a discussion on what’s a denomination and what’s not, and on what are valid options for fleeing Anglicans.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

John Ashcroft

Who was it that said, “No good deed goes unpunished”? Well, the service and departure of Attorney General John Ashcroft proves it true once again.

There has not been one, not one, death from terrorism on U. S. soil since 9-11. Violent crime is down. But has Ashcroft been given any credit?

No. Instead, he has been ridiculed and vilified by the chattering classes because he’s a *gasp* committed conservative Christian serving under the eeeeevil George Bush. Oh, the horror!

Yes, honest people can differ on the Patriot Act he pushed. But the endless attacks on Ashcroft were more than just policy differences. They were filled with anti-Christian bigotry.

What’s ironic is that Ashcroft was not a divisive man. Heck, after the Carnahans beat him in the 2000 Missouri Senate race with the help of blatant Democrat-approved ballot stuffing, he had every reason to contest the results (And I would have.). But he graciously bowed out instead.

He was a class act who did a good job as governor, as senator, and as attorney general. But look at the thanks he got.

But hey, John Ashcroft, the One who counts appreciates your hard and thankless work to protect Americans.

And I do, too. God bless you.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rod Dreher (and Alexander Cockburn??) on a roll

Over at GetReligion , there is some interesting and predictably pointed discussion on how the Left just doesn’t get conservative Christians and other cultural conservatives. Even Alexander Cockburn gets in some amusing words on the cluelessness of his fellow Lefties.

And, yes, Rod Dreher has been on a roll lately.

Mark Shea gets some well-aimed punches in on this subject as well. And, yes, Shea is right. We’re not just talking about Lefty bias. We’re seeing Leftist ignorance and hate out in the open as rarely before.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Supreme Court update

I mentioned before the election that the most important issue for me was the Supreme Court. So (although I know many of you must be sick of the election) let’s look at the election’s implications for the Court.

Obviously, we still have a president committed to appointing justices who will stick to the Constitution and strict interpretation of the law. But now, in addition to a strong margin of victory, he has more senators to back him up. (The Senate must confirm his judicial appointments.) There’s been talk that he still doesn’t have the 60 Senate votes necessary to break any filibuster against his Supreme Court appointments. But I wouldn’t be so sure.

First, the ringleader of the judicial filibusters, Minority Leader Tom Daschle, is gone. And his obstructionism was a big issue in the campaign to beat him. That surely gives Democrats from swing states pause. Second, the new Minority Leader, Senator Reid of Nevada, is a more moderate and reasonable man than Daschle.

Third -- and this is overlooked -- a filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee will be much more visible to the voting public than the past term’s filibusters against appellate nominees. To filibuster a President’s Supreme Court nominee would be a high risk tactic that has never been attempted before (Please correct me if I’m mistaken on that.) and would likely inflame the American voter. A number of Democrats will think twice before risking their careers to support such obstructionism.

There is now extra incentive for the Supreme Court itself to exercise restraint. 11 states, even liberal Oregon, overwhelmingly approved referendums opposed to gay marriage. The Massachusetts rulings mandating the legalization of gay marriage in that state have had a surprisingly strong backlash. Many think that even had a big effect on the presidential election. I’m not so sure, but it certainly didn’t hurt President Bush.

If the old saying that the Supreme Court reads the election returns is true, then they are surely taking note of the wave of votes against gay marriage. In any case, they now know they would have to run roughshod over the American voter to legalize gay marriage. If this Court has any concern over its own legitimacy – and it should and it does – they may be hesitant to legalize gay marriage by judicial fiat regardless (for once) of their personal views. Maybe they will be more restrained on other social issues as well.

We’ll see. In any case, I am certainly more optimistic about the Supreme Court than I was even two weeks ago.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Episcopal priests involved in Druidism publicly repent.

I, along with a number of other blogs, took to task an Episcopal couple, both priests, who were involved in Druidism and the creation of highly questionable rites.

So I should say that I appreciate and accept their humble and complete apology accompanied by acts of repentance. May God guide and bless them.

Here’s a relevant post. Note comment #54 from one of the priests in question.
For those who wish to leave the country…

I’m a very kindly sympathetic sort. And it’s come to my attention that some of my Lefty friends may rather desperately want to leave the country.

Here’s some help.

Hey, who loves ya?

You’re welcome.

UPDATE: I’ve since read elsewhere that the linked site is satirical. And after reading it more closely, I see that’s probably so. I thought it was real when I first posted this. I guess that makes it even better satire.

But it’s also come to my attention that my post is hurtful. I did not intend that. I hoped to add some levity to bridge some of the divisions evident on this blog and many other places. My post has apparently done the opposite instead.

So if you’re offended, I apologize. And if you’re not in the mood for satire at this point, I recommend passing by this post.
I’m trying not to spontaneously combust!

The Reformed Episcopal Church has entered into a process to establish a formal relationship with the Anglican Province of Nigeria at the request of African Primate Peter Akinola, the head of the 18-million strong province of the Anglican Communion!!!

(Emphasis and manic punctuation mine.)

I found out about this when one of my rectors e-mailed me this morning. This is wonderful news. And if you read the article, you’ll see there are other ways the REC is already playing an important role in Anglican realignment.

I want to be part of a worldwide orthodox Anglican communion. That’s one reason I joined the REC -- I sensed they shared my desire. But now it looks like it’s happening even faster than I hoped!

I told you to watch the REC.

Wow, if I get any more excellent news this week, I’m liable to explode!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Tom Brokaw’s comments

Sorry this has been a political blog. Actually, no I’m not, because this election was important. And it was an important juncture in my life, I think. But I will nudge this blog back to that other dangerous subject – religion.

Speaking of religion and politics, I caught some prescient comments from Tom Brokaw yesterday morning. I’ve bashed the news media a bit, but yesterday morning he was right on.

In so many words, he said that Democrats have been putting down, or at best ignoring, evangelical types and their values for years. He said many Democrats don’t even understand evangelicals at all. And in this election, it came back to bite them.

Brokaw is right on target.

I wish I had a transcript to show you. If anyone comes across one online, please post it in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Classy Kerry . . . and the Breck Girl

Kerry’s concession speech was classy and gracious. Heck, I have to admit he gave a better speech than Bush. Today John Kerry did a lot to take some of the poison out of the political atmosphere of this country. Kudos to him.

I was going to post some rather sharp words about Edward’s little campaign “battle” speech, however. But I want to be nice. So I’ll just say I’m glad the Breck Girl is a political has-been now.
Exit polls

Now about those exit polls. The best analysis I’ve seen is this:

The disparity between the initial exit polls favoring Kerry and his subsequent loss to W tells me one thing: Most people voted for Kerry.......before they voted against him.

Seriously, the exit pollers have serious egg on their face . . . again. I’m all for freedom of the press, but the exit polls are not playing a constructive role in our democracy. Instead, they caused stock market turmoil yesterday. And, as I’ve mentioned, jumping the gun on supposed results can tilt an election.

The exit pollers obviously need to change their methods and make darn sure their numbers don’t come out until the polls are closed. Do I have to say this again four years from now?
Lefty denial is over . . . well, some of it . . . for now.

Kerry concedes. And I give him credit for that. Some of his more loony supporters wanted him to drag this out and are not happy shiny people. See the Daily Kos for some of the wailing and knashing of teeth.

I heard the news while listening to BBC3 Choral Evensong from Exeter Cathedral, by the way. The Psalm was 18. It and the service meant that much more to me.
It’s morning in America.

Yes, I slept well last night. :)

I’ll probably post later. Right now, I got work to do. You see, when you know you’re not going to be taxed to death, it makes you want to work more.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Here we go again.

Democrats in Detroit, New Orleans, and maybe Ohio are trying to keep the polls open longer -- only in Democrat precincts, of course. You, see some people are more equal than others. Democrats pull this every major election.

As a past election judge, I can tell you it’s almost never necessary to extend voting hours. If there’s a long line at closing time, then those in line at that time get to vote, simple as that.

These Democrat attempts to extend voting hours only in their precincts are simply attempts to rig the election.

By the way, I’m I the only one who finds it interesting that Bush was ahead in Florida even before polls in the Republican (Central Time) Panhandle closed?
More jumping the gun

Some exit polls are out. They don’t look good for Bush. But they also look fishy, e.g. Kerry up 60-40 in PA? I don’t think so. 59% female sample? Men aren't THAT lazy. More over at The Corner. Still, the numbers caught me by surprise and not in a nice way.

The stock market sold off sharply on the exit polls, by the way. I just sold some stock myself to be safe, for what it’s worth. (Now I have more reasons to be opposed to early release of exit polls? Ha!)
Election Updates

MSNBC reports that the Philadelphia machines were not stuffed. Observers made an honest mistake in reading the counters on the machines. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

Move-on violating polling places is real -- and illegal – and is happening in at least seven states. There are also reports that they are sabotaging Republican phone banks as "volunteers." Again, the tactics of the Left say volumes.

By the way, I’ve discovered the National Review has an amazing blog. Yes, it’s biased with lots of anecdotes. But for infoaddicts, it’s addictive.

Republicans discovered that 30 of their get-out-the-vote vans had their tires slashed overnight in Milwaukee.

A couple Republicans were spitting mad . . . literally.

By the way, you might be wondering why I’m engaging in a blogging frenzy today. I didn’t intend to. But the Democrats’ long, sordid record of election fraud and misconduct provokes me. And the news media underreporting it provokes me, too. And both are at it again. So I’m doing my part to offset that. Viva la blog!
Move-on violates polling places.

In at least two states, Move-on is engaging in polling place politicking that is blatantly illegal (at least in my state), and for good reason. I think they are really exposing their contempt for fair elections. Most voters don’t appreciate this sort of thing. I hope it indeed backfires. (I’m sounding like a broken record, but election tampering really ticks me off.)

If someone had tried to pulled stunts like that when I was an election judge, they would have been very firmly told to leave. If they didn't, then they would gotten a ride to the county jail. . . IF I was in a patient mood.
Vote fraud in Philly?

The Drudge Report says Philadelphia voting machines have been stuffed with votes . . . before the polls open. I’ll restrain myself from judgment or comment . . . for now.
VERY early election results

Apparently, Ohio has released absentee voting results. They show Bush slightly ahead. Also, ABC a couple days ago had Bush ahead among those who already voted.

Having said that, I don’t think it’s right to release results or even exit polling until after the polls are closed. Jumping the gun in releasing such numbers can influence the vote.

Something lefties forget is that the networks calling Florida for Gore while Florida Panhandle polls were still open suppressed the Panhandle’s Republican vote. That nearly decided who our president would be. It was wrong when it helped the Democrats. And it’s wrong if it helps Republicans.

(Can you tell I used to a be a nitpicky election judge?)
Thieving Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle is trying to steal a Senate election . . . again.

UPDATE: By the way, the above blog is THE place if you're interested in the Daschle v Thune race in South Dakota.

Here's another colorful take on what Daschle tried to pull. Let's indeed hope it backfires.
Something different about this election campaign…

is that the negative ads have been running wall to wall right up to Election Day. The big ad for Kerry seems to be the lying black and white ad I mentioned last Wednesday. Sorry, but part of that ad is a flat-out lie, and the rest of it isn’t much better. (By the way, I think the Bush campaign may have made a mistake in not taking Kerry to task for that.) And the big ad for Bush seems to be the wolves. As someone who’s done political advertising, I think that’s a masterful ad by the way.

Usually, when you get to the end of a campaign, the ads switch to warm fuzzy ads saying Candidate X is a wonderful patriotic man who hugs children, etc. The closest I’ve seen to that is the Bush ad which excerpts his Republican convention speech. But I’m still seeing the wolves ad more often.

Common political wisdom used to be that running negative ads right up to Election Day risks turning off voters. And I’ve personally seen a negative ad that’s run too much backfire. (Cobey-Andrews 1982 congressional campaign)

My roomie isn’t turned off by the ads, though. He finds them amusing. He’s even made up his own campaign ad line. He screams in alarm, “He’ll turn babies into gold!”

. . . which I’m sure you find about as credible as some of the ads out there.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pre-election thoughts

Polls indicate that the lift for Bush from Osama’s home video is more slight than I expected. So I’m a bit uncertain again. But my prediction is out there. So I’ll stick with it. . . . Or I’m stuck with it.

But, unlike before, I’m at peace about the election. I’ve been reminded a number of times lately that God is control; He rules; He has the final word. A special Morning Prayer lesson for today, All Saints Day, especially reminded me of that: Revelation 19:1-16.

Two important factors about the election that are below most people’s radar screens:

1. Have you noticed that there’s these court rulings coming out against election observers, particularly Republican ones? But where are the efforts to stop fraudulent votes? There’s reports of people registered in multiple states – and of past multiple state votes. ACORN, a leftist group, has fraudulently registered people – and cartoon characters. Dead people have already voted. (I’m not kidding.) And it’s not Election Day yet.

There’s been a lot of noise about people allegedly being disenfranchised. But overfranchisment, i.e. voter fraud, should be the bigger issue.

2. Have you noticed how quiet the news media has been about Kerry’s voting record as a Senator? He’s been the Junior Senator from Massachusetts for 20 years with a very liberal voting record. That is certainly newsworthy and something to be examined before voting. But the news media has given him a free ride.

Can you imagine a presidential candidate with a “right-wing” Senate record getting such a free ride?

With Election Day upon us, guess what I’ve been praying with new vigor.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

”Bless Sophia!”

By the way, that Presbyterian deity Sophia is alive and well . Hmm, maybe not so well. She’s looked better.

I thought it would be good to let you know on Halloween. Boo!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Bush will win. (And Osama will lose.)

You probably aren’t waiting for my prediction. And until today, I haven’t had one for about a month. But…

Bush will win. Why I’m I suddenly predicting this after weeks of pre-election anxiety? One word…


Osama just couldn’t stick to what he knows best (killing innocent people, of course). He just had to inject himself into our election with his home videos.

I don’t think his effort will sit well with undecided or barely decided voters. We’re not Spain. You try to kick U.S. around, we kick back. AND if you are a hostile foreigner, much less a terrorist, and you try to tell us how to vote . . .

Well, Bush will win. Furthermore, it will be clear he’s winning before 9 Eastern Time Tuesday night.

Undecideds often cut for the challenger. And they might have done so for Kerry. But not now. And with polls already showing Bush narrowly ahead before Osama’s home videos, I can’t see how Kerry can win this one now.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I am woman; watch me roar . . . and worship pagan deities and . . .

If you been wondering around the conservative Anglican blogdom this week, you are surely aware of the *ahem* controversy surrounding “A Women’s Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine,” which is little more than rank feminist paganism. This so-called eucharist is put forth by Episcopal priestess The Rev. Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk, who happens to double as a Druid.

I’ve seen this all before. Remember the Reimagining conference in my good ol’ Presbyterian Church years back? Remember them worshipping “Sophia”? That created quite the prolonged controversy in the Presbyterian Church, really turning up the heat on divisions in that denomination in the 90’s – heck, into this decade as well.

It will be interesting to see what the fallout will be from this Episcopal version of pagan worship.

I have something to confess: I get a good laugh out of this. If that’s a sin, forgive me. But do those feminists realize how silly they look?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Another big lie from John Kerry

I just saw a new last week ad from Kerry claiming that “while health care costs have soared,” Bush has done “nothing.”

The multi-billion dollar prescription drug benefit plan Bush pushed and passed is “nothing”?? Pushing tort reform, which Democrats killed in the Senate is “nothing”?? Pushing Medical IRAs is “nothing”??

This ad is an out and out lie from John Kerry.

I’ve been involved in politics for not a few years. And I’ve seen this before – an unscrupulous candidate throws a false charge out there right before the election so his opponent has difficulty setting the record straight. Now most candidates have more class and ethics than that.

But, apparently, John Kerry does not.

I am so sorry that you’re offended since you’re not as enlightened as me.

The Windsor Report asks expressions of regret from those bishops who pushed gay bishops and same-sex blessings upon us. Well *ahem* some of those “regrets” have come in. You may have noticed that they are the sort of unapologetic expressions of regret that would have prompted our mamas to send us back to sit in the corner.

They scarcely live up even to the Windsor Report’s requests. And the Windsor Report certainly doesn’t request much of the wayward bishops.

In fact, in his admittedly gloomy response to the report, the Pontificator asks why repentance wasn’t required. And, indeed, the right and Biblical thing to do would have been to require real repentance.

But Captain Yips makes the intriguing point that the report’s modest requests of the naughty bishops set a trap for them. And Griswold and Ingham and company are already falling into the trap by refusing to meet even those modest requests. The trap?

At the Primates meeting in February, ECUSA’s critics will be able to say, “We didn’t ask much of them, but they didn’t even try.”

Indeed, not much is being asked of them. The Pontificator may be right in denouncing that. Yet Captain Yips may be right, too. Could it be that the best way to expose just how stiff-necked and divisive the liberal North American bishops are and how deserving they are of a swift kick out of the Anglican Communion may indeed be to not ask much of them?

Hmm, maybe the Windsor Report isn’t as bad as I first thought.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The news media campaign continues.

I saw the headlines this morning about all the tons of missing weapons in Iraq. The front page stories made it sound like this was actually news as in new. And I bought it and thought, crap, how could the military be so negligent.

But it turns out it’s not real news after all. These weapons went missing soon after and perhaps before our invasion of Iraq. (Even CBS News acknowledges this.) I fail to see what’s newsworthy about that, much less front page newsworthy. The enemy tried to keep their weapons from us and occasionally succeeded. Wow, that’s news.

Of course, this “story” comes out the last week of the campaign, and Kerry jumps all over it.

If you think key news media outlets aren’t conducting a campaign for Kerry, think again.
The most important issue in this election

News that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has thyroid cancer brings closer to home what I consider the most important issue in this election – the composition of the Supreme Court.

Today, the Court is closely divided between those who put themselves under the U. S. Constitution and seek to interpret and apply it and those who put themselves over the Constitution and mangle or just ignore it to impose their own views. In other words, we are perilously close to becoming a dictatorship of the Supreme Court. With two or more Court vacancies very possible the next four years, whoever is president may have the power to pull us back from or plunge us into judicial dictatorship.

President Bush in both his campaigns has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who strive to stick to the Constitution. We need to hold him accountable to that promise, but his appellate appointments indicate he’ll keep his word.

John Kerry has made clear he would apply liberal litmus tests to his appointments, such as upholding the infamous Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion on demand. A restrained interpretation of the Constitution is definitely not among those tests. And, being the Massachusetts liberal he is, he will surely appoint justices who put their own liberal views over the Constitution.

Now I can almost hear the liberals cry, “It’s not about the authority of the Constitution, it’s about interpretation!” No, it’s not. Some of the opinions of the four (five?) liberal justices of the Court are so divorced from the Constitution, it’s absurd. They have even been citing foreign courts in their rulings. It reminds me of those religious liberal leaders who claim to hold to the authority of scripture, then willfully go against what it teaches again and again.

The U. S. Senate races are important, too. Most Democrat Senators have blocked key appointments of judges committed to sticking to the Constitution. These senators care more about having their liberal views imposed by judges than they do about the Constitution. They, especially ringleader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, must be defeated. We must instead elect Senators who will confirm only Constitutionalist Supreme Court appointments.

There have been so many wild claims about this election, I hate to even appear to add to them. But this election goes to the very heart of who we are as nation. For whoever is elected may well have the power to give us a Supreme Court which respects and upholds our Constitution and keeps us a Constitutional republic or a Supreme Court which puts the Constitution aside and imposes a Dictatorship of the Black Robes.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Windsor Report: The Newbie speaks!

Yes, I’ve finally managed to read all the Windsor Report (except for most of the appendices). And I have very mixed feelings.

My biggest problem remains its opposition to bishops intervening on behalf of orthodox parishes under apostate bishops. I’ll probably deal with that separately later. But the report is so weak in providing a place for besieged orthodox that my gut response to the following . . .

In some instances, this breach of trust has been felt so keenly that a parish or diocese has found itself unwilling to accept the ministry of a bishop associated with such contrary action, and has invited bishops from elsewhere in the province or beyond to provide pastoral and sacramental oversight. In some cases, there are primates and bishops who have acceded to these requests with or without reference to the proper authorities of the diocese concerned. We want to make quite clear that we fully understand the principled concerns that have led to those actions . . .

. . . was to say, “No, you don’t.”

Again, I’ll probably say more about that.

A number of orthodox are pleased that the report affirms the authority of scripture. But I’ve seen no one yet publicly take note of the very next paragraph (para. 54), which has loopholes big enough to drive a cathedral through. The sentence that especially rings alarm bells for me is:

Thus the phrase “the authority of scripture”, if it is to be based on what scripture itself says, must be regarded as a shorthand, and a potentially misleading one at that, for the longer and more complex notion of “the authority of the triune God, exercised through scripture”.

That reminds me of the woman whom I heard say from a Presbyterian pulpit, “We don’t believe the Bible; we believe the Christ behind the Bible.” Such statements are an open invitation to pick and chose what parts of scripture to keep or toss depending on subjective opinions on which ones have God behind them or not. Such “authority of scripture” in reality puts man, not God, in authority over scripture.

I may sound paranoid, but I’ve seen all this before. Those who are taking comfort from the report’s supposed affirmation of scripture are in for a big disappointment I’m afraid.

Another problem: the report advocates lots and lots of dialogue, but has no time tables. I’m a newbie Anglican, but I’ve already caught on that ++Griswold and such love to wear down their opposition with endless “dialogue.” The Robinson consecration is a classic example of “We’ll do what we want, then we’ll try to talk with you about it until you give up.” The report encourages more of the same.

A more fundamental problem occurs earlier in paragraph 45. And maybe this cranky fundie is making too much of Anglican niceties. But there it is assumed that Anglicans have “shared status as children of God in Christ.”

No they don’t.

There are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the Anglican Communion – a lot of them. And a number of them wear pointy hats, too. A fundamental error of the report -- perhaps the most fundamental error – is the report glosses over that and acts as if we’re all just God’s children here having tea. Instead, as Jesus would say, there are a lot of children of the devil among us. And we let a lot of them become bishops. That’s really why we’re having these problems in the first place.

I know -- now that I’m Anglican, I should learn to be nice and drink tea and sherry (I WON’T learn to smoke.) instead of saying such things. But the church must protect itself from wolves, from heretics and apostates who deceive and usurp authority. Two whole letters of the Bible (2 John and Jude) and more emphasize the needfulness of setting aside false teachers. In its eagerness to keep all of us “children of God” in communion, the report almost completely misses that necessity.

Note that I say “almost.” That leads to the main strengths of the Windsor Report. It does lay down requirements for those who have pushed actively gay bishops and same-sex blessings if they are to remain in communion. It does so rather weakly in a number of ways, but it does so nonetheless.

And it proposes a covenant to be required of the Anglican Communion. Now the problem with that is that wolves like to define nice religious words however they please. But it’s still a good proposal in the right direction.

Especially if the Primates ditch the weak and errant sections and strengthen the requirements for communion (And there are already some noises that some Primates will attempt just that.), the Windsor Report has tools the Primates can use to somewhat clean up this mess.

We shall see. Don’t stop praying. The Anglican Communion needs it.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Certain people will say anything.

Let’s see if I get this straight. John Kerry engages in that old Democrat tactic of trying to scare the elderly on social security. He tries to scare the young, too, by darkly insinuating that Bush will bring back the draft, even though the President has repeatedly said he opposes the draft and even though the House of Representatives voted down a Democrat bill to bring back the draft by a ridiculous margin.

But when the Bush campaign rightly points out that Kerry has a long, long record of being weak on defense and weak on intelligence, Kerry calls it . . . “fearmongering.”

Kerry will say just about anything.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

And you thought I was ornery!

If you think I have problems with the Windsor Report, you ought to read what the Archbishop of Nigeria thinks about it.

I’m glad to see he doesn’t much appreciate the report’s suggestions that intervening Primates and bishops desist and apologize. Those parts of the report are the ones I find most disturbing at this time myself.

I’ve noticed that people whose opinions I respect, such as the archbishop, David Roseberry, Kendall Harmon, and my rector for that matter, have different views on the report. I still haven’t been able to read the whole report and so am reserving my opinion on the report as a whole.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

Taking yesterday’s child-rearing analogy further…

Over at the Ship of Fools, someone posted a wonderfully succinct summary of the Windsor Report:

"You've all been very naughty children. Now stop it at once."

I replied as follows:

“Very good summary!

“The problem is if the ‘children’ have no reason to believe they will be disciplined if they continue their misbehavior (And I don't think the Windsor Report gives the ECUSA et al any such reason.), then do you think the children will suddenly behave?”

Indeed, the approach the Windsor Report takes toward discipline is markedly weaker than the two approaches I laid out yesterday. I really have a hard time seeing how such a lack of clear discipline can work with either children or wayward bishops.
Initial Reaction to Windsor Report: Disappointed and Disturbed

I haven’t read the whole Windsor Report yet. So I’m trying to withhold judgment on the report.

But the section on “care of dissenting groups” is a big disappointment. While praising the inadequate DEPO plan from the ECUSA House of Bishops, it calls on intervening bishops and primates to apologize and intervene no more!

I’ve read this section completely and carefully more than twice. And it completely fails to make adequate provision for dissenting orthodox parishes. Like the DEPO plan it praises, there are no requirements or sanctions proposed for bishops reluctant to allow adequate oversight, just suggestions. Therefore dissenting parishes would remain at their mercy.

Furthermore, since the section opposes parallel jurisdictions, it denies the pleas of those who wish to remain in the Anglican Communion, but not in the ECUSA.

Maybe I’m missing something. I’m admittedly rather new at reading Anglicanesse. But for these reasons, I can’t see how the Windsor Report can be anything but a failure.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A quick thought on Windsor Report leaks

If you make the mistake of letting a child get away with everything, and you see that’s got to stop, what do you do?

1. Immediately, without warning, change policy and crack down on the kid? That probably teaches him more about your unfairness than about his behavior.

2. Sit him down and clearly give him a warning, explaining to him that his behavior is unacceptable and will be punished if repeated. Then if (when) he then chooses to repeat his behavior, you keep your word and punish him.

I think #2 is just common sense. Similarly, as many problems as I have with the Episcopal Church, after reflection I now do not think it should be immediately expelled or suspended. I know some of my orthodox friends think it should be and are upset that now it looks like that won’t happen.

But for years, the ECUSA has gotten away with everything. And conservative Anglicans worldwide share the blame for that. The right way to deal with this is not method #1, but method #2. A part of the genius of #2 (and the Windsor Report if leaks are accurate) is that then the ECUSA chooses to abide by the rules and avoid punishment or not.

Of course, saying that begs the question of just what are the rules. And it would be jumping the gun for me to speak to that.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The truth about liberals comes out.

Canon David Roseberry and Episcoliberal Katie Sherrod have an enlightening debate on gay bishops in this morning’s Dallas Morning News, in the Religion section. (The site is if you want to deal with registration.)

In her piece, Sherrod makes a revealing comment: “We have learned that scripture sometimes is simply wrong.”

Oh, have “we”? Well, it’s so nice to know we’ve become so enlightened.

She then proceeds to lampoon scripture: “The world is not flat, epilepsy is not caused by possession and being left-handed doesn’t mean you are demonic.” Like the Bible teaches any of those things. But we’ll pretend it does so we can feel superior.

But, wait a second. I’ve heard upteen liberals insist that they respect the authority of scripture, that the issue is differing “interpretation.” Does Ms. Sherrod admit that the issue really is the authority of scripture and one’s attitude towards it? Do liberals indeed insist on having the final authority to trash scripture they don’t like?

The truth about liberal attitudes toward scripture comes out (no pun intended).
Windsor Report Leaks

Well, there’s leaks all over the place on the Windsor Report to be released Monday. I honestly don’t know what to think about it yet. But there’s vigorous discussion here and here and elsewhere I’m sure.

Monday will probably be a busy day for me, but I’ll try to comment Monday night or once I have my thoughts and time together.

One thing I’ve noticed in the discussions -- some Anglican conservatives are “glass half-empty” kind of people. After all they’ve gone through the past 30 years, I can’t say that I blame them.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Typical Liberal Hypocrisy from Kerry

I’ve long noticed that liberals have no problem with imposing their views on others. And religious liberals are the worst of all about that, shoving their views down the throats of even their fellow religionists. Yes, being the shovee for years helped drive me out of the mainline Presbyterian Church.

But if a conservative dares to be guided by his faith in his public policy views, why that’s AWFUL!! That’s, that’s a violation of (Bow down!) SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! (Wailing and knashing of teeth.)

Well, we saw such hypocrisy from Kerry in the last debate. He said that imposing his supposedly pro-life views would be wrongly imposing “an article of faith.”

I have to stop for a second because I’m hyperventilating a bit here. This comes from a man who supports partial-birth abortion and votes 100% pro-abortion or close to it. Kerry, as always, is trying to have it both ways. He votes again and again to declare open season on even late-term babies to the point of brutal infanticide, but at the same time campaigns as St. Kerry who reveres the life of the unborn. This man makes me want to vomit.

There, I feel better.

BUT does he have any problem imposing his oh-so-enlightened religious views in a liberal direction? Of course not! And he said as much in the same debate!

(Thanks to Ecumenical Insanity.)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

By the way . . .

. . . I'm wearing duct tape now.

(See the October 7th entry.)
Philip Jensen was wrong.

I’ve been slow to comment on this because I didn’t want to rely too much on the initial Guardian article. Heck, I don’t EVER want to rely too much on the Guardian. But seeing that I give liberals a hard time here, I need to give equal time. . . .

Dean Philip Jensen’s remarks to Reform were way out of line. I have gotten annoyed at the Archbishop of Canterbury, but to even imply that he’s some sort of prostitute is just wrong. The man has demonstrated thoughtfulness and tries his best to be fair to all parties. I’ve strongly disagreed with him at times, but he deserves at least a minimum of respect.

As for implying that King’s College is “a temple to paganism,” thems are fighting words. I love the music of King’s College. It glorifies God and helps many worship, including me. I thank God for King’s College.

And the laborer is worthy of his wages, so I have no problem with the college selling cds to visitors. Heck, I’ll probably buy some of those cds someday.

Dean Jensen says this has been misreported, but his explanation falls short methinks.

By the way Philip Jensen is not to be confused with his brother, Archbishop Peter Jensen, who is reportedly a bit embarrassed by the matter. I’m sure he’s not the only one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Softball Debate

I can hardly believe the softball questions that the CBS News moderator gently tossed to John Kerry. What a joke!

But Bush held his own. My initial take is that it was a tie at worst.
Church attitudes towards gays and other singles

The Confessing Evangelical made a very thoughtful post on Christians’ attitudes towards gays and singles a few days ago.

I feel strongly that the church needs to maintain a traditional Biblical view of sexual conduct. At the same time, the church needs to watch its attitudes towards gays and toward singles in general.

I say that because I’ve seen conservative views on sex and family morph themselves into hateful attitudes toward gays and negative views on singles as well. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve had my singleness found at fault at a previous church years ago. I’m careful enough about this now that I asked the rector at Providence Church polite but point-blank questions to gauge his attitudes toward singleness before I joined.

I’m more careful about my attitudes towards gays than I was years ago. With Confessing Evangelical, I urge my fellow conservative Christians to join me in that – and to watch their attitudes towards singles in general.