Thursday, September 30, 2004

A photo of the momentous event

Here's a fuzzy photo of The Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton confirming me
this past Sunday.
Confirmation Report

Now that I finally have adequate internet access, here's more on the confirmation.

First, for Morning Prayer, Bishop Sutton chose to be part of the congregation. He went up front only to give the absolution. Both the rector and assistant rector officiated. Usually just one leads Morning Prayer.

Bishop Sutton taught during the Sunday School time. I intend to post more on what he said then and during his Saturday mini-seminar on the Anglican Communion and the Reformed Episcopal Church later.

A tat report has been requested. I hate to disappoint those with Anglo-Cath tendencies, but there wasn't much tat. They did burn the Paschal Candle during both Morning Prayer and Holy Communion. Is that customary for a bishop's visitation? The liturgical color of the morning was definitely red, including roses around the altar. And, most disappointing, the bishop didn't use a mitre. I guess they don't pack well. His vestments were nice, though, without being ostentacious. I don't yet have the Anglican vocabulary to describe them well.

I, however, wore my charcoal pinstripe suit with a thin black tie and black shoes I shined myself. You'll see that about as often as a Baptist wearing lace vestments.

For Holy Communion itself, the assistant rector celebrated and the bishop gave the sermon. Special music was used. Providence Church has an excellent young violinist who was confirmed with me. He played both before and after the service from the balcony by the organ. The opening processional hymn was St. Patrick's Breastplate, I'm fairly sure -- definitely different than I'm used to. At the end, a flute wafted over the congregation immediately after the blessing -- a nice effect.

Confirmation occurred after the Gospel. The bishop sat in the bishop's chair between the altar rails. We stood at the altar rails. And the congregation stood as well. The rector read the introduction, then the bishop did the rest. One by one, we kneeled in front of the bishop for the laying on of hands and the prayer.

The confirmation rite was from the REC prayer book. It's similar to, but longer than the 1928 rite. I may go over the differences at a later time. But the biggest differences are the REC has the candidates affirming the Apostle's Creed, saying "All this I steadfastly believe."? And the candidates then renounce "the devil and all his works."?

As I mentioned yesterday, the only emotion I noticed in myself during all this was joy. But the Lord's Prayer, which comes immediately after the laying on of hands, welled up such emotion in me that I could barely recite it.

After the service, there was a reception with really good confirmation cake. But I got some icing on my certificate! I guess confirmation doesn't cure clumsiness.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Yes, I am now a confirmed Reformed Episcopalian. I mainly felt joy, which included enjoying seeing the others get confirmed. But I suddenly got so choked up during the Lord's Prayer immediately after the laying on of hands, I could barely recite it.

I'm a bit wiped out and need to get ready to go see B. B. King tonight. But I'll post more as the week goes on.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Different Confirmation Rites

I'm still having issues getting phone and net service. I wish I could be online more during my confirmation week.

But I've been studying confirmation rites from the 1662, 1928, 1979 and current REC prayer books. Yes, I have quite a collection already.

Now I know all us orthodox types revere the 1662 BCP and rightly so. But wow, it is spare in places, and the confirmation rite is one such place. Now this comparison wouldn't be fair, but the 1662 rite reminds me of the scene from Monty Python's Jabberwocky where the Bishop comes to town to give a blessing. There's excitement and hub-bub in the streets as the Bishop's entourage proceeds. Finally comes the anticipated time of the blessing. And as the hushed crowd watches, the bishop wets his fingers in holy water . . . and flicks them . . . and that's the blessing.

I'm glad later prayer books, such as the 1928 and REC BCPs, add a little more meat to the rite, while still keeping to the basic form.

And, yes, I want the bishop to take a little time with my confirmation, more so than the 1662 rite. It's important to me! . . . And I want him to wear a really fancy golden mitre.

At the other extreme, in the 1979 US BCP, the confirmation rite adds and rearranges so much, it's almost unrecognizable. Since I want a prayer book to connect me with past saints, that's not good. And this little addition is classic (from the renewal of the baptismal covenant on p. 417):

Bishop: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

People: I will with God's help.

I almost expect the bishop to then ask, "Will you fight against Western patriarchal, Capitalist hegemony?"?

Seriously, the 1979 adds a thinly veiled lefty prayer to the confirmation rite. Yes, justice and peace are Biblical themes. But they are also code words for leftist political agendas as anyone who has watched American mainline denominations well knows. Besides, working for real peace and justice and respecting others is certainly well covered elsewhere in the rite, particularly in the previous question and response.

So the 1979 confirmation rite adds a gratuitous lefty agenda. I don't know if I should find that humorous or offensive. Probably both.
CBS: “I am sorry.�

(I typed this Tuesday morning. I haven’t been online until now.)

Oh, how I wish I had my T.V. hooked up in time to see Dan Rather actually say “I am sorry.� In any case, I joyfully read the news this morning.

But I don’t know quite how to respond to it. I could say “I told you so.� But that’s rather obvious. And in any case, I didn’t have a strong opinion on whether CBS would admit their wrong.

I could gloat. But that’s probably not very Christian and certainly not Anglican . . . well, at least outward gloating isn’t.

I will say this, CBS’s confession is hardly full and complete. Dan Rather said their error was made “in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.�

That is pure C. B. S. without the C. If you think CBS wasn’t in Get Bush mode then I’ll let you pay me to collect bull manure off my land since you apparently like the stuff so much.

Rather was right about one thing, his and 60 Minutes’ conduct is in the CBS tradition . . . of liberal propaganda.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

a special treat

I found out this morning that the Right Reverend Ray Sutton will come a day early and give a mini-seminar on the future of Anglicanism and the Reformed Episcopal Church. That should be interesting.

It will be this Saturday at 10:30am at Providence R E Church in Corpus where I will be confirmed the next day. Lunch will be served afterwards.

I just might let you know some highlights of what he says.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Not so random notes from the past few days

I had a blast on Wednesday catching big surf from Hurricane Ivan, so much so I was a little late for Evening Prayer at Providence Church. Afterwards was the next to last confirmation class. Then, after the class, I noticed Father Ben teaching his son Augustine and another kid how to acolyte (be a part of the service) in the sanctuary. I thought that was neat. Ben and Providence Church make a point to involve kids in the worship, and they get into it.

Since their worship is very traditional, most people wouldn't think kids would get into that. But I guess they're wrong.

It has turned out that I bodyboarded sick . . . three times on Wednesday on Thursday. I suspect that gave me a bad sinus headache overnight. (Being smashed by waves compacts your sinuses.) But I prayed most earnestly and hastily for relief and sleep. And God answered.

I don't know how many times God has answered late night prayers for sleep and/or relief . . . thank God!
A "smoking gun" backfires?

IF, and please note I said if, if most people come to think the forged 60 Minutes memos came from the Kerry campaign, it will be curtains for Kerry's chances. It would not surprise me if the forged memo scandal (And that's what it is, even if it's only CBS's scandal.) is already behind some of the shift towards Bush in the polls.

(Kerry's inept and absurdly negative turn in his campaigning, which I predicted in part, doesn't help either.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Momentous Announcement

God willing, on September 26th, 2004, I will be confirmed in the Reformed Episcopal Church by the Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton. The service will be at Providence Reformed Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. And, yes, this is the church I’m joining, the famous “Small Continuing Anglican Church.�

You smart people may know that you don’t have to be confirmed to join the Reformed Episcopal Church. But with this being such a meaningful transition to me, I wanted to be confirmed. And the rector enthusiastically agreed that it was a good idea.

Now some housekeeping: The rest of this week I will be busy with moving stuff and with riding the swell from Ivan. Plus I don’t know when I’ll have convenient internet access. So I may not be posting much. But I promise to post as much as I can next week with my confirmation approaching.

Providence Church's website wasn't working this morning. Hopefully that's temporary.

Thanks for your prayers and for rejoicing with me.

Monday, September 13, 2004

departure letter

Here’s a letter I passed on to Tommy Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible Church (my current church) last night after the 6:30pm service. I’ve edited out a few things to keep you in suspense. Be aware that Tommy Nelson is customarily addressed by simply his first name. So I wasn’t being any more irreverent than I usually am.


Dear Tommy and the elders of Denton Bible Church,

Greetings in Christ! I hope you all are enjoying this early Fall as much as I am.

I’m writing to give you a heads up on some changes in my life that are relevant to my membership in Denton Bible. I’m in the slow process of moving to Corpus Christi. In fact, the first phase of my place there is almost finished! I’ll still be in Denton a lot, but will be in Corpus more. Then, after about a year or so, I plan to move to Corpus completely.

The building has gone much slower than expected. But something that has gone much faster is my search for a church down there. It has become clear much sooner than expected that the church for me to join is [Small Continuing Anglican Church].

[SCAG] is quite orthodox and pretty small. It will be by far the smallest church I’ve ever been a part of. But the people there have been very welcoming without being suffocating. I love the rector and his family. I actually seem to fit in well there. And they have a passion for worship which I share.

You may have noticed “Episcopal� in the name. No, it’s not a part of *that* Episcopal Church. [Denomination name] split off from the mainline church in the 19th century.

It is definitely a traditional Anglican church. And in recent months, I have found myself becoming an Anglican as well. My basic beliefs haven’t changed. I still very much believe in inerrancy, for example. But to oversimplify a complex process, I find Anglican forms of worship and spiritual discipline greatly assist me in my worship and spiritual growth. I also want to be more connected with the whole (small “c�) catholic church than I have been.

I would be glad to talk more about this if you like, but I wanted you all to know I’m not going to the dark side or anything like that. I didn’t want you to hear I’ve joined [a Continuing Anglican Church] and wonder, “What’s this??�

God willing, I will be confirmed in [Small Continuing Anglican Church] on September 26th.

I also want to be sure before I transfer my membership that you know how much I appreciate Denton Bible.

When I was looking for a new church 10 years ago, I yearned for a place where I could fit in and serve in ministry as God led. Warren and Brad Davis, among others, encouraged me that Denton Bible not only was the place for that, but that you all are downright radical about being a church where members can serve as God leads.

And for the past 10 years, you all have lived up to that with me. Denton Bible has indeed been a place where this square peg has fit in and gotten involved as he felt God leading him. THANK YOU!

I’ve subscribed to the tapes. Tommy, don’t let it go to your head, but you are indeed one of the best Bible teachers around. And I expect I’ll be coming to the 6:30 service some for a while.

Thanks again for an excellent 10 years. God bless you all!

[end of letter]

Oh, a small housekeeping note. Since I will be extremely busy the rest of the week, tomorrow I will reveal to you and the world the church I’ll be joining.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

A Sunday visit to the Right Reverend Ray

My Sunday morning was quite interesting. I visited the Church of the Holy Communion down in Dallas. It’s a Reformed Episcopal church whose rector is a key bishop, the Right Reverend Ray R. Sutton. (Yes, I couldn’t resist having fun with his name.)

It’s in the middle of the wealthy quasi-suburban neighborhood of Bent Tree, yet has services in an historic meeting house dating from the mid-19th century. The interior walls and ceiling are entirely wood paneling of an Old Western style, and you do feel like you’ve stepped back in history when you enter the place.

The service was simple by Anglican standards, but very nice. It began and ended with a single ring of a bell. It being the first Sunday that their school and Christian Education departments kick off, it was education Sunday, and the bishop gave an appropriate sermon for that.

Oh, the communion wine was white wine. I’ve never seen that before. Has anyone else?

I saw clerical garb all over the place even though it’s not an especially large congregation. (But it did fill the meeting house. They are outgrowing it. So they are planning to build a larger sanctuary.) +Sutton has a deserved reputation as a teacher, so I suspect he trains a lot of clergy. That’s just a guess on my part, though.

As I left the service I noticed the organ was an interesting style. It was shaped like a big cube. And, though freshly painted, it obviously was not new. I talked with the organist about its history. It was first built in London 140 years ago! It has since been rebuilt.

The fellowship hall teaching time after the service was even more interesting. The Bishop began by commenting on recent developments in the Anglican Communion. It’s not every day you get to hear a bishop in person comment to his congregation about such things. He didn’t go into great detail, but what he said was both encouraging and interesting. I’ll confine myself to saying that he confirmed that I was correct some time back in urging you to watch the Reformed Episcopal Church for a possible role it may have in Anglican realignment.

Also he found it most interesting that the ++ABC has invited a priest under Ugandan authority to minister within the Church of England. +Sutton clearly feels that may be an important tip-off to impending changes in the Anglican Communion.

Then he began a series on church architecture, appropriate since they are about to build, as I mentioned above.

I went to Morning Prayer afterward. It was a bit duplicative, however. Same hymns, same sermon. And there was a prayer facing the flag. Those who find some displays of patriotism during services uncomfortable (like me) may have found that uncomfortable. The early main service of Holy Communion was better I think, and I expect I’ll be coming back to that one.

Oh, it just so happened they are having a book sale this evening to raise money for an altar Bible. So, being the kindly author that I am, I donated a couple of my books, which were graciously accepted.

I’ll be returning to Church of the Holy Communion I’m sure. The main service has both a very comfortable yet reverent and historic atmosphere. And Bishop Sutton is quite the teacher.

Oh, it just so happens +Sutton will be the bishop confirming me later this month, God willing. There’s another hint for you.

Friday, September 10, 2004

CBS has egg on face. Supposed memos are fakes.

Well, well, well. Forgive me for being suspicious, but I thought the 60 Minutes story hyping memos about Bush’s Air National Guard service smelled like a smear job to influence the election for their favorite candidate, John Kerry. But now it turns out that what I was smelling was much worse.

The memos CBS hyped are apparent forgeries. There are stories here and here and all over the blogosphere. Now even the liberal Washington Post is onto this story today.

It seems the biggest of the several problems with these memos is that they use technology which was, at the very least, very unlikely to be available to the gentleman who supposedly wrote the memos in the early 70’s. Yes, word processors back then were called TYPEWRITERS!

CBS News has eagerly acted like a dirty campaign arm of John Kerry. Now it’s blowing up in their faces. They are falling into the pit that they dug.

Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?

Anyway, keep an eye on this story. It could be huge, discrediting CBS and perhaps others who have attacked Bush for months.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I’ve been working on some future posts relevant to my joining the One True Church this month, but don’t have much time to post today.

But I will point out that there’s more interesting stirring about the Lambeth Commission from both liberals and conservatives.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ep******l Gang of Four fly to Canterbury

Four ECUSA bishops are apparently flying to England for urgent talks with the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems they are a bit concerned that the Lambeth Commission’s report being written this week might actually say more than “Tsk, tsk� and do more than invite all the bishops to tea for “dialogue and study.�

They will be soon joined by the Wrong Rev. Frank Griswold.

Do you think all the denial might finally be wearing off?

(P. S. If this post seems a bit late, it's because blogger is having serious technical issues today.)

UPDATE over at Titusonenine.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

E-mail Stinks?

Andrew Carey has posted a thoughtful piece on the role of the internet in the current Anglican difficulties.
Important week

Speaking of time warps, I almost forgot that this is the week that the Lambeth (Eames) Commission will write up its report. Please join me in praying for them and for the Anglican Communion.
My chess tournament makes me feel like I’ve been through a time warp. (I did well, btw, scoring 3.5 out of a possible 7 in a tough field.)

But now that I read that Bill Clinton is now Kerry’s chief campaign advisor, I know I’m in a time warp.

When Kerry lies a lot between now and the election, you’ll know why.

Friday, September 03, 2004


It looks like I might have been charitable in predicting Kerry’s midnight speech would be petty.

Am I the only one that is tired of Kerry’s line that if you didn’t serve in the military, then you can’t criticize him on defense?

I wonder if those who have served their country in ways other than the military are beginning to feel quite insulted. I thought this attitude that you’re a lesser citizen if you don’t join the military died out long ago.


I’ve been having some fun with my upcoming confirmation over at the Ship of Fools.


I’m going to be in a big chess tournament in Plano this Labor Day weekend. So you might see me over at Christ Church, most likely at the 8am chapel service. But you probably won’t see me posting here much until Tuesday.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Well Bush gave an excellent speech. And as someone who has been deeply involved in politics and communication, including political advertising, I can be critical. The speech dragged a bit in places. But it really showed his honesty, heart and vision. His eyes shows both tears and joy -- and resolve. And he took good-natured but well-aimed jabs at Kerry -- and some funny ones at himself as well. Towards the end, he was both self-effacing and spellbinding. Tonight was one of Bush's finer moments.

But what was with those demonstrators who interrupted the speech from the floor? Hey, their convention was weeks ago. (Or if they prefer a third party, they have conventions, too.) And there are plenty of protests they can join in the streets. The Republican Convention floor is not where they belong, no more than I should barge unto the Democrat Convention floor. Smart people would know that.

Oh, I forgot. They're Lefties.

Speaking of which, Kerry has a midnight speech tonight (It's before midnight as I write this.). Anyone want to bet he comes off as petty in comparision?
Lambeth Leaks

Something even more tantalizing than the question of what church I’m joining is the question of what will be in the report from the Lambeth (Eames) Commission. It’s been confirmed that they will meet in Windsor to draw up the final report next week. The report is not to be made public until October. But interesting leaks are already coming out. And the drift of them as reported in the London Times today is that this will be no Anglican Fudge – the ECUSA will be firmly disciplined.

We shall see. There is certainly much speculation as to just what these leaks mean over at titusonenine. In the meantime, I invite you to join me in praying for the Lambeth Commission.

(And pray for Florida. With Hurricane Frances on the way, they need it.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

This is the month.

By the way, this now being September, this is the month in which I will be confirmed, God willing.

To find out in just what church I’ll be confirmed you’ll have to stay tuned.
Variety in worship

I’ve mentioned that I’ve gone to St. David’s here in Denton on occasion. But this past Sunday was my first time to make their 10:30am service. And I was surprised!

It was quite the service. There were candles in procession. There were a lot of sung prayers, which I like. The rector sang much of the Eucharist prayer. They even rang a bell at the consecration. No, these are not anglo-catholics, at least I don’t think so! And there was lots of choir and organ led music. I liked the traditional set up where the choir is singing to you from both sides as you walk up to the altar.

Now, this is the same church that had almost no music during their Ash Wednesday service. In fact, it seems every time I go there, their service is a little different. This was a fifth Sunday, so they incorporated Morning Prayer into the service. For the Fourth of July, they used the 1662 BCP! The rector clearly loves church history and liturgy, and that’s reflected in the different forms of worship at St. David’s.

But even beyond St. David’s, I’ve been impressed with the variety of worship forms and styles in Anglican churches. To be honest, a concern of mine has been that with liturgical worship, with its set prayers and such, I would eventually grow, well, bored of it. But my (albeit limited) experience has been that there is more variety and creativity of worship in orthodox liturgical churches than in orthodox non-liturgical churches.

You would think the opposite would be the case, but not so. Granted, liturgical worship is newer and more inherently exciting to me, so my perception might be colored by that.

But do you all have any ideas as to why liturgical worship often has more variety and creativity than non-liturgical worship? I’m scratching my head about this myself.