Friday, March 31, 2006

Excellent Analysis of the Bishop of Exeter’s Speech to the House of Bishops

Andrew Goddard has written an excellent analysis of the Bishop of Exeter’s speech to the ECUSA House of Bishops. Goddard’s piece is quite helpful to me. I commend it to you and may say more in due time.

The usual titusonenine commentarama may be found here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

More reflections on the House of Bishops Meeting from +Steenson, David+ Roseberry, and others

The orthodox ECUSA Bishop of the Rio Grande, +Jeffrey Steenson has now written his thoughts on the recent House of Bishops meeting. And he is cautiously positive about it. My favorite evangelical Episcopal rector David+ Roseberry is too, as you can see in the ensuing comments. And there are a number of other thoughtful comments as well.

It now seems that the General Convention this summer may not thumb its nose at the rest of the Anglican Communion as I expected. It may not even try to get by with that famous Anglican fudge.

Although theological repentance is out of the question, it appears there may be some repentance forthcoming in the area of submitting to the discipline of the communion via real steps toward submission to the Windsor Report. If so, that would be cause for rejoicing.

But it would make the way forward for the orthodox in ECUSA less clear-cut. As Fr. Roseberry notes, a longer battle taking many more years and much more strength than simply waiting for General Convention ‘06 or for Lambeth ’08 may be what God is calling them to. I can almost feel the groans from orthodox Episcopalians who are already weary.

You may have noticed that I’ve used a lot of mays in this post. That’s because General Convention is not just the bishops. And we have yet to hear from the hardline left in ECUSA, from the Louie Crews and Susan Russells et al. But I think I hear their screams of anger in the wind. And you can be sure they will do their best to thwart any real submission to the Windsor Report in the House of Deputies. (The General Convention consists of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.)

Then there is the issue of whether what the House of Bishops is proposing is adequate. For one thing, promising “caution” in appointing gay bishops is no moratorium. Giving the bishops’ track record, who is willing to trust them when they say, “We’ll be careful”? And the Bishop of Exeter seems to have told the bishops more is needed.

In any case, the story of the Episcopal Church USA is indeed becoming that much more interesting – and not in the manner I and many others expected.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Speech of Bishop of Exeter to ECUSA HOB

Another remarkable aspect of the ECUSA House of Bishops meeting this past weekend was a speech to the bishops by the Bishop of Exeter.

He made it quite clear that he was speaking at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury. And he also made it clear (by Anglican standards at least) that General Convention fudge won’t do in keeping the Anglican Communion together. Both the Bishop of Exeter and the Archbishop of Canterbury are to be commended for saying so to ECUSA’s bishops.

Some think he was saying the HOB resolutions noted in my previous post are insufficient. I’m not so sure that was his intent, but it may well be so.

Here’s a text of the speech.

And here’s the usual titusonenine commentarama.
ECUSA House of Bishops Meeting with a Difference

Well, the ECUSA House of Bishops meeting over the weekend surprised me and other orthodox Anglicans by serving up more that the usual blah blah listen blah blah study blah dialogue blah blah resolutions.

They actually took what at least appears to be real steps toward complying with the Windsor Report. They will submit a number of resolutions to General Convention that actually include the word “repent” and admit DEPO is inadequate to meet the needs of dissenting orthodox parishes. In addition, it appears there might be a hold forthcoming on same-sex blessings and further partnered gay bishops.

I don’t know quite what to think of this. And the orthodox are far from one mind on this development as you can see from the comments over at titusonenine.

Many orthodox in ECUSA were assuming, as I was, that General Convention would at best be a fudgefest or, if not, a libfest. But now, it appears very possible neither will be the case. And that would make choices for many orthodox much less clear and more difficult.

Of course, it would be a wonderful thing if this is part of a beginning of ECUSA’s return to orthodoxy. But one would have to be optimistic indeed to think that.

Like I said, I’m at a loss what to think. I do know I'm surprised.

I made a point to pray for the faithful orthodox in ECUSA this morning.

Monday, March 27, 2006

San Francisco Bigots

I am not a fan of Ron Luce or Teen Mania. But a rally they had sure exposed the bigotry of San Francisco.

The sign that says “I moved here to get away from people like you” speaks volumes.

(Hattip to titusonenine.)
And Now, the Episcopal Church Presents - - Condom Communion!

I am not kidding.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Internet and Anglicans

Two days ago, I mentioned Matt Kennedy’s contention that the internet is proving itself a positive tool for Anglicans. I agree, with minor caveats.

The net certainly has shed more light on Anglican doings. Without it, keeping up with Anglicanism would be a much slower and more laborious task beyond the time, energy, and abilities of many lay people. I suspect, for example, -Bennison could have done his little raids on orthodox parishes with few outside the parishes knowing. I suspect it would have taken about as long to expose the Panel of Reference as a fraud as it takes for it to actually do any real work.

More Anglicans are more informed about doings in the Anglican Communion than ten years ago, thanks to the internet. And, frankly, it’s much harder for clergy to keep laity uninformed.

Now, of course, the net also sheds more heat on matters. One need only read posts and comments on the more popular Anglican blogs to see that. And that can be a bad thing. In seeking to speak the truth in love, it’s too easy to forget the love bit. (And I certainly include myself in that.) But then some matters merit a bit of righteous heat.

As Kennedy points out, the internet helps orthodox Anglicans to be more connected and less isolated. I know as a continuing Anglican in a small denomination (REC) in the only continuing Anglican parish in town I definitely appreciate that.

But the net has been a good thing for me in an even more personal way.

Without the internet, it’s doubtful whether I’d be Anglican today.

Five years ago, Anglicanism wasn’t on my radar screen. Heck, if memory serves me right, I couldn’t tell you what an Anglican was! (And, yes, I’m still working on that question.) Then I began frequenting the Ship of Fools. And I noticed that many or most of its denizens were Anglican.

Matters get worse. I came to frequent this board at the Ship, a notorious haunt of pedantic Anglo-Catholics. And I discovered a world that cared about the traditions and details of worship to the point of obsession. And that world looked, for lack of a better word, fun to this Bible Churcher who was growing weary of overamplified “Praise and Worship.”

Then came the controversy over Gene Robinson, which I mostly heard of through the net. Since I knew people at Christ Church Plano and wanted to visit there sometime, I decided to show my solidarity with the orthodox in ECUSA by going ahead and visiting around the time of his consecration. And I immediately loved the way they worshipped and soon found their services helped me to really worship.

And you know the rest of the story. The Anglican Conspiracy got me. I even found my parish through the internet first.

The irony of all this is that the Ship of Fools is a decidedly liberal place. And you all know where Robinson’s consecration is on the theology spectrum. Yet God used them and the net to nudge me into orthodox Anglicanism.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Diversity Day canceled to avoid real diversity.

If this isn’t an all too true parable on the bankruptcy of so-called "diversity," I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Matt Kennedy on Tennessee Bishop Balloting and the Internet

Matt Kennedy has made a very perceptive post on the ECUSA Diocese of Tennessee’s attempts to elect a new bishop.

He notes that the Tennessee balloting might be the beginning of a nationalization of episcopal elections provoked by the developments of recent years.

I agree with him that this would be healthy. Too many bishops (and too many convention delegates) are chosen on the basis of minor issues and personality preferences instead of more important big picture issues. Moreover, big picture issues, such as the orthodoxy of the candidates, may be considered impolite to bring up. I suspect that’s how a number of liberals and weak moderates have become bishops. (And I suspect similar things could be said about other mainline denominations.)

Kennedy’s analogy with the 1994 congressional elections is apt. For years, House incumbents got reelected because of name identification, bringing home the bacon, and other advantages of incumbency that have little to do with good government. And those advantages usually trumped the fact that those congressmen were not well representing the conservative views of voters. But in 1994, enough voters were fed up with Clintonite liberalism to vote on national issues and boot many liberals out.

The analogy breaks down some because we’re not talking about “incumbent” bishops. But the nationalization of episcopal elections could result in more bishops that represent the relatively conservative views of the laity.

(Please do note that I said “relatively.” Also note that ECUSA has already lost much of its conservative laity. Therefore, any nationalization in episcopal elections, even if positive, is probably coming too late.)

Kennedy then notes that the internet has come to be a positive force helping orthodox Anglicans to work together and break down the isolation that they would otherwise experience. He notes the outpouring of support for the Tennessee laity who are standing up to the clergy and insisting on a strongly reasserting bishop.

I may post more on the impact of the internet on Anglicans for good or for ill. I know it’s had quite an effect on my spiritual path.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The 450th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer

Today is the 450th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer.

Those of you who followed my travels to England this past Advent know I was quite moved by visiting the sites of his martyrdom and of Latimer and Ridley’s.

It’s difficult for me to put into a few words why his martyrdom means so much to me. I know I love the Prayer Book that he wrote. I sympathize with him because, as Diarmaid MacCulloch’s biography of Cranmer brings out well, he was quite human and, yes, weak at times. Yet I revere him because, as an old man Bloody Mary thought she had broken, he finished with such defiant strength.

I’m sure others can opine on his martyrdom with much more eloquence than I. So instead, here’s a few photos I took of the martyrdom sites that meant so much to me:

The prison door that held Cranmer. Now in the tower of St. Michael’s at the North Gate.

A column cut to hold the platform on which Cranmer denounced his recantations in the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on the day he was martyred. By the way, you can just reach out and touch the door and the column cut. History is much more accessible in the U. K. than in the U. S.

Where Cranmer and earlier Latimer and Ridley were burned right in the middle of Broad Street.

By the way, you can see many other photos of my pilgrimage to England here. They are roughly in reverse chronological order.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Clergy/laity split in Tennessee

As noted over at the new Stayin’ Anglican blog, there is an interesting split in the ECUSA Diocese of Tennessee. After 14 ballots, they have not yet been able to elect a new bishop. Why? The laity are insisting on an orthodox candidate, and the more liberal clergy refuse to go along. There are other factors, such the required 2/3s vote for election. But the clergy/laity split seems to be the main reason.

Good for the lay voters! May they continue to stand firm!

Laity being more conservative than clergy is a common phenomenon in mainline denominations. That’s not a good commentary on most seminaries, is it not?

By the way, Stayin’ Anglican is yet another good Texas Anglican blog. For some reason, Texas has become a hotbed of Anglican blogging.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

T. O. gives Cowboys serious B. O.

If this is true, that the Dallas Cowboys will acquire Terrell Owens, then I am no longer a Cowboys fan.

And with the exception of one or two years under Barry Switzer, I’ve been a Cowboys fan almost since birth. But I do require a certain degree of class. And I will root against any team that would sell their class to acquire a sleaze like T. O.

UPDATE: It's official: The Cowboys haved signed T. O., and I am no longer a Cowboys fan.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

T-Shirts and the Question: What is an Anglican?

The first weekend in Lent, my parish had a youth retreat at my place. Yes, it was a good time.

And part of the fun was I gave the students and leaders t-shirts I had made with the logo “Kiss me, I’m Anglican.”

Now, if they actually wear the t-shirts in public, the kids will inevitably be asked, “What is an Anglican?”

And that’s not the simplest question to answer, now is it? So I intend to have a session with them to help them answer that question.

And now I invite your input. What would you teach my above average youth on what is an Anglican? And if you were wearing one of my t-shirts, and a man on the street came up to you and asked The Question, how would you answer?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

”Infidel meets Fidel at International Pinko Conference”

I was going to post something really angry about --Frank Griswold’s little visit to Fidel Castro, complete with blaming America for Cuba’s problems.

But then I read this and thought laughter more appropriate.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Back from Austin

Well, my trip to the State Basketball Tourny in Austin was bittersweet. Both my teams, Ponder and Lipan, lost, which was hard on both teams, especially Ponder. Both teams had a lot of Seniors, so it was a tough way for them to go out. My favorite high school player of all time, Lipan’s Casey Riddle, had red eyes at the end of the game.

By the way, if you want to read about some heart-warming sportsmanship, read about the friendships between Lipan and their victorious rival Nazareth here. (Free registration required.) For one thing, the Lipan players have often stayed in the Nazareth players’ homes and visa versa.

I still had a good time. It was fun seeing some old friends and even making new ones as well as meeting Riddle for the first time. And I had a good afternoon road trip out to Pedernales Falls State Park. The falls are amazing, like an endless rock glacier. Scrambling and exploring on it was fun. And there weren’t many people there so I practically had it to myself.

I saw something very interesting beside the falls. There were these two springs beside each other with abundant water gurgling out even though we’re in drought. And guess what was rooted between them? A very lucky tree. Yes, it was downright Biblical.

I took pictures of that scene that would go well with certain scriptures. So I’ll post them, then post the link here.

UPDATE: And here's the lucky/blessed spring fed tree. Additional photos I took at Pedernales Falls can be found here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


No, I’m not aggressively calling on you to meditate on Scripture (although that’s a good idea). I’m getting excited about rooting for the Ponder Lions at the Texas High School Basketball Championship in Austin.

I’m also going to be politically incorrect and root for the Lipan Indians.

But I doubt I’ll be posting here much until next week.
The Pope and The Queen get iPods.

I’m pleased to see The Pope and The Queen have gotten iPods (as did I last week).

The idea of The Holy Father and Her Royal Highness rocking out to iPods thoroughly delights me.
Panel of Reference Worse Than a Sham

Long time readers of this blog know I can be just a little pessimistic and cynical on occasion. But even I underestimated what a sham the Panel of Reference has turned out to be.

Heck, some Canadian petitioners to the Panel have even found their situation to be made worse for their efforts.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has a lot to answer for in this matter. First, he took his sweet time in appointing the panel. Then he appointed --Peter Carnley to chair it. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse! And the Panel went further downhill from there.

This sham Panel is clearly a perversion and subversion of the Primates’ intent in calling for this panel “as a matter of urgency.” I wonder how ++Rowan can look them in the eye.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

-John Paterson should resign.

-John Paterson, chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, on March 6th made a sickening, pandering apology to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. He apologized for the ACC voting to ask ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw from the ACC until Lambeth ’08.

With his little apology, -Paterson willfully undermined both the decision of the Anglican Consultative Council that he chairs and the Primates.

For that he should either resign or be made to resign.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also joined the absurd cabaret of liberals who have told ECUSA that they have “been exemplary in the attention that [they] have given to the recommendations of The Windsor Report.” Heck, he said “the Episcopal Church has demonstrated a quality of leadership in relation to Windsor that I have greatly admired.”

That is so vomitous I don’t know if I should lose my breakfast or laugh into hysterics.
One more reason to disestablish the Church of England . . .

A meddling Lefty MP is trying to force the Church of England to speed up the ordination of women bishops.

Whatever one’s feelings on women bishops, should the state presume to dictate such things?

A secular state has no business dictating to the church.

(And, of course, by “disestablish” the Church of England, I don’t mean abolish it, but to sever its organizational connections to the state so the state can no longer dictate to it.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: A statement from the Bishop of Pittsburgh

In response to the disquiet his statement last week provoked, Network leader Bishop Robert Duncan has just issued another statement.

It doesn’t spell out much. But if he is saying that the fears about his direction are unfounded, then it is reason for encouragement indeed.

I may comment more later.
I’m glad I got my England pilgrimage in. . . .

Among the reasons I wanted to go ahead and take my first England pilgrimage this past Advent is I was afraid it would be more difficult for me to be wholehearted about doing it in the future. I particularly was concerned that Anglican realignment, or the lack thereof, might shake out in a way that would give me mixed feelings about going to England as more than just a tourist of glories past.

Now I wasn’t naïve about the Church of England. At least I don’t think I was. I know it certainly has its issues. Well, I might have been naïve about Canterbury Cathedral itself, which turned out to be the only big disappointment of the trip. But I felt I still had enough in common with the CofE to go and thoroughly enjoy my Anglican roots and worship. And that turned out to be the case, even (especially?) in the Oxford and Cambridge chapels.

But like I said, I’m glad I went this past Advent. Because, little by little, news from the CofE is eroding my kinship with them. For instance, it’s come out (no pun intended) that a number of the Oxbridge chapels are in a hurry to bless those trendy gay unions. And the Archbishop of Canterbury has been busy exercising selective indignation lately. I very much respected the Archbishop and Oxbridge chapels even though I knew there were differences between us. But such stories are already testing that respect, to put it in a mild, Anglican manner.

I hope the day never comes when I can’t go again and wholeheartedly worship in the great chapels and cathedrals I visited in England. But I fear that hope of mine is a thin one.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Plea to the Network Bishops

Earlier this week, All Too Common posted an open letter to the Network bishops. He pleads with the bishops to see that staying in ECUSA is neither viable nor acceptable to the orthodox. I hope this letter gets the bishops’ attention. It surely got mine.

He states, “We are only continually told to wait. I understand the necessity for thorough planning and strategizing, but the time to act is this summer, not next year, and not Lambeth 2008. If we are going to have any semblance of unity and structure, if we are going to have any parishes with us, if we are going to have any dioceses intact, it is this summer.”

He is correct. Probably the most divisive thing the Network bishops could do after GS06 is to decide to stay. That would gain no real Christian unity with liberals, but would tear the orthodox in ECUSA asunder.

And asking the orthodox to stick it out in ECUSA for questionable or non-existent reasons is asking too much: “We have had too many hopes dashed and too many defeats to carry on any longer in any sizeable unity within ECUSA. We are being withered away year by year . . .”

And I know from experience that being stuck in an apostate denomination wears you down. Instead of the nourishment that comes from being a part of the body of Christ, there is the disease and misery that comes from being tied to a rotting corpse. As reflected in his letter, All Too Common in his own words is “disturbed” and “depressed.” And he’s far from alone. Many orthodox just can’t take anymore – nor should they be expected to. Live branches can only survive for so long if attached to a dead vine.

I, for one, fail to see the point in staying in a dead, apostate denomination unless there’s hope to bring the apostates to repentance or at least boot them from leadership. And there is no such hope in ECUSA. The only hope I can see is to pull one’s orthodox diocese out. But Bishops Duncan and Stanton seem to be standing in the way of that.

The Pontificator has commented on this letter. And he is on target in pointing out that staying in ECUSA is incompatible with mission and church planting:

It’s hard, though, to see how Network dioceses can seriously and enthusiastically engage in evangelistic mission and church planting. Bishops and priests can trumpet the imperative of mission and downplay, in un-Anglican-like fashion, the importance of the institutional Church; but the albatross of ECUSA is not easily escaped. Take down the “Episcopal Church Welcomes You” signs, if you wish; but everyone knows that Network parishes still belong to the Episcopal Church and that their property ultimately belongs to the folks in New York. Who wants to invest in new buildings that might one day be controlled by 815? Who in good conscience can summon the unchurched into communion, however impaired, with Frank Griswold and Gene Robinson? Network dioceses may be able to maintain themselves financially for a while, but eventually the old folks are going to die and the young committed folks are going to move on to ECUSA-free pastures.

Even a Network diocese is only one episcopal election away from disaster.

And I fear the Network is headed for disaster even with the current bishops. Some are dubbing it the NOTwork because it will not work for the Network to stay in ECUSA after this summer. I think they are correct. Again, staying after a General Convention that is anywhere near as bad as expected would tear the orthodox apart.

The Network called its big November conference in Pittsburgh “Hope and a Future.” But most orthodox see little hope and no future in the Episcopal Church. And there is none. If the Network bishops are to really lead, they will lead them out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lent Links

I hope your Lent is off to a good start. To assist you, here is Lent Link City.

I’ve found this brief essay on fasting by Rev. Burzumato particularly helpful. In fact, it prompted me to make today my first Ash Wednesday fast. I plan to abstain from solid food until dinner.

(I know, not an especially demanding fast. But you don’t want to be around me if my blood sugar gets low. Heck, I don’t like being around me if my blood sugar gets low.)

By the way, Rev. Burzumato is the rector of St. Andrew’s in Savannah, which just joined the Reformed Episcopal Church. I would thank him except my body has been craving my morning cereal.

UPDATE: Well, this is a bit embarrassing, but I modified my fast at lunch. I wasn’t doing well. It was more than just hunger. So I thought it better to change it to just a meatless fast than to be listless and achy all day. That’s not much of a fast though. Some days, I go without meat simply because I want to.

I’ve fasted before. And I’m careful in selecting my fasts both because of health and of wanting to keep my commitments. But my body was acting differently this time for some reason. Oh well.

Yes, I’m a wimp.