Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Wedding Lector

You’ve probably heard of The Wedding Singer, but the Wedding Lector? Well, now you have. A good friend of mine I’ve known since he was in 6th grade is getting married. And since he knew I was an official REC lector, he invited me to do reading duties in his wedding. His will be one of the few weddings with a certifiable certified lector.

Namely, I’ll be reading Ruth 1:16-17. I’ve decided to read the King James because it is so poetic:

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Almost makes me want to get married . . . almost.

Since the wedding is on the Eve of the Feast of Pentecost, I’ll be liturgically correct and wear a red tie, of course.

With that and related things going on, I might not post much the next few days.
Bishop James West, R.I.P.

+James West was the Bishop of the Southeast in the Reformed Episcopal Church. He died of a massive heart attack this past Sunday.

The funeral is today in Summerville, S. C. 1,500 or more people are expected -- only one measure of how his ministry touched many.

(The link was working earlier today, but wasn't right before I posted this.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Impaired Communion at General Convention

It’s becoming clear a number of the orthodox going to General Convention will not participate in the Eucharists there nor in the (false) teaching times. Pittsburgh deputy David+ Wilson has publicly said he won’t.

I think that is the right approach. Were I going to General Convention I could not conscientiously participate in the Eucharists. Fellowship with –Swing, –Chane, -Robinson etc.? No way! Pretending that we’re all Christians here in the midst of rampant apostasy is a grave error. And scripture makes clear willful unrepentant apostasy precludes Eucharistic fellowship.

Too much pretending before 2003 is one reason the Episcopal Church is in its current mess. Before then, ECUSA engaged in any number of apostasies with few clear consequences even from most conservatives (other than those quietly leaving, of course).

If you act as if cancers are just healthy cells like the rest of us, you invite death.

Friday, May 26, 2006


This has me so angry, I’m having trouble getting my thoughts together enough to write an intelligible post.

It isn’t enough that liberal Episcopal bishops practically turn perversion into a sacrament. It’s now becoming clear certain of them willfully protect sexual abuse of children in their midst.

Pseudobishop William Swing has knowingly allowed sexual predator John Bennison to continue as a priest in his diocese for thirteen years. If that name sounds familiar, he’s the brother of infamous Pennsylvania Pseudobishop Chuck Bennison. And, yes, Chuckie has a role in trying to sweep this under the rug, writing at least one letter to try to keep people quiet.

A 14 year old girl was one of the victims. You can read more details on the link above. I wouldn’t do so when people are around, though. I was so angry, I literally roared with outrage.

And it is no coincidence that the two (or more?) bishops involved knee-deep in this outrage are uberliberals. Just like it was no coincidence that the worst diocese in the Catholic sex abuse scandal was liberal Boston. When you have little or no standards in doctrine, practice, and ordination, then anything goes. No telling what hell you invite into your diocese . . . and tolerate.

I’ve had it with these people. They deserve no respect. All they deserve is a first class defrocking and perhaps jail time.

Don’t be surprised if this blows up going into General Convention. It should blow up in the liberals’ faces. It should be made to blow up in their faces. There should be hell to pay for this. ECUSA has tolerated all sorts of liberal outrage for years. Now, it’s become clear that at least two liberal bishops have tolerated even this.

But then don’t be surprised if nothing comes of this. A church that will put up with -Bennisons and -Swings in doctrine will put up with -Bennisons and -Swings in practice.

UPDATE: And the blowing up may have just begun. According to Google Blog Search (which is good, but not perfect), mine was only the second blog to cover this. But now titusonenine is on it. This may become impossible to ignore now.
Beach Morning Prayer

Know anyone who does his Morning Prayer sitting on the back of his pick-up at the beach after catching some waves?

Now you do.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Words and Action

I noted yesterday that seeing many good Anglican words not backed up by action is turning me a bit cynical. “Show me” is getting to be my attitude.

But here is a good example from the Global South of backing up words with action. The Archbishop of Kenya ceased public activities with the Bishop of Chelmsford when he become aware that +Gladwin supported Changing Attitude, a gay campaign church group.

Now, it would have been preferable if the Archbishop’s people would have done their homework before +Gladwin was in Kenya. It would have saved a lot of air fare and awkwardness. But still ++Kenya has shown by actions that support of blatant heterodoxy is not o. k. with him.

As the linked article notes, the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago cancelled a visit from +Gladwin about a year ago when he co-signed a letter to the Times stating he was in full communion with the Episcopal Church after the Province of the West Indies declared their communion with ECUSA to be broken. Again, very direct and biblical action that makes clear that willfully supporting apostasy is not tolerable.

A church that truly cares about the Faith will engage in real discipline about the Faith. It’s not a coincidence that the decline in mainline denominations has been accompanied by a failure to discipline the Spongs, the Swings, the Spahrs etc. etc. with almost all the letters of the alphabet.

Having seen that mainline failure for years, that is what I look for: will a church back up its good orthodox-sounding words with the action of discipline . . . or not?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good Words, But . . .

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been silent about the proposal “Towards an Anglican Covenant” (Apparently, that was the “Big Anglican News” trumpeted last week.) and about a recent statement by the Network bishops.

It’s not because I’m lazy. (Well, maybe that’s part of it.) It’s because I really don’t have much yet to say beyond “Good words, but I’m holding out for some action.”

And that’s my thinking. There have been so many statements that sound good from Anglican Communion leaders in the Global North. But do they have the will to back up their words with action? I hope and pray so, but they have not yet demonstrated that.

And as I’ve learned about recent Anglican history, I’ve noticed there’s been a number of times when the relatively orthodox have issued strong words and drawn lines in the sand, then done little as the heterodox go on their Long March to remake Anglicanism to their own liking.

So I’m already acquiring a “Show me” attitude towards position statements and the like. I can only imagine how cynical an orthodox Anglican of longer standing can be towards all this.
Albinos Protest the Da Vinci Code Movie

I am not kidding.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How many Anglicans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

This vital question is dealt with here.
Stephen Noll takes on the Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code has gotten a well deserved slicing and dicing lately. Stephen Noll does one of the better jobs in so doing.

Frankly, I wish more would attack straight on its intellectual dishonesty. Dan Brown has presented his novel as based on fact. It is instead based on lies.

Brown’s technique is quite nasty when you think about it. If you wanted to really slander someone with dubious “facts,” the best way to do it wouldn’t be a supposedly non-fiction book that could be taken apart and discredited. A more effective method would be a pop fiction novel and/or movie. The slander would probably sell more. And if anyone disputed the “facts” in it, you could say, “Oh, it’s fiction” while still saying it’s based on fact. You could have it both ways.

That’s exactly what Brown along with his accomplice Sony has done.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Extinguish the Paschal Candle on the Feast of Ascension . . . or Else!

This Thursday being the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, parishes around the world have a vital decision to make: do we extinguish the Paschal Candle on Ascension Day or on Pentecost?

I know of good otherwise orthodox churches that extinguish on Pentecost . . . but they are gravely mistaken. Just think of the symbolism. Does extinguishing the candle better symbolize the departure of our Lord or the coming of the Holy Spirit? One doesn’t have to be a scholar in liturgics or even an Anglo-Catholic or even an obsessive owner of Ritual Notes (My copy says Ascension.) to know it better symbolizes the departure of our Lord.

But you don’t have to take my word on this, although you should. For the Lord Himself has made his counsel quite clear on this matter. Look what happened to a Paschal Candle that was not extinguished on the Feast of Ascension. After it was brazenly lit on Day of Pentecost, the Lord’s wrath fell down, and the candle exploded. Note that the Lord was so wroth, He later smote another candle at the same Australian parish. May He so do to all Ungodly Innovations.

Further admonitions should be unnecessary. Extinguish the Paschal Candle on the Feast of Ascension as the Lord intends.

UPDATE: Although further discussion of this question should be unnecessary, you may find said discussion here at my favorite board on liturgical matters.

Friday, May 19, 2006

BIG ANGLICAN NEWS!! (Uh, but we’re not quite sure what it is yet.)

The Daily Telegraph has broken a big story this morning, although it’s not yet entirely clear just what the story is. I don’t even feel confident rehashing it, so I refer you to the links. But it does appear that the Archbishop of Canterbury might indeed propose a meaningful covenant and needed realignment. It seems unrepentant revisionists will have their status within the communion reduced.

Matt+ Kennedy has a very positive take on this development. I’m not so sanguine, but my initial feeling is positive. But I’m withholding judgement until more comes out.

A commentarama has ensued at titusonenine, of course.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Bomb

As I mentioned yesterday, I have no intention of seeing the Da Vinci Code in the movie theaters. And I’m continuing my boycott of Sony.

But in case you are considering misappropriating your time and money to go see that crap, you might want to check some reviews. They are pouring in and are overwhelmingly negative.

My favorite quote:

You know a movie's a dud when even its self-flagellating albino killer monk isn't any fun.
-- John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Still Boycotting Sony

My boycott of Sony continues. I started it because of their treatment of purchasers of their CDs. Their putting out the Da Vinci Code swill movie makes me even firmer in my resolve.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Back to School

I’ve mentioned I’ve been thinking about resuming my formal education. Well, I’m doing more than thinking about it now.

I’m enrolling in the Seminary at a Distance program at Reformed Episcopal Seminary.

No, I won’t be going for full-fledged degree. The program gives Certificates in Christian Ministry upon completion.

The first course will be The Sermon on the Mount taught by John Stott. I think that will give me a good idea if I’m really suited for formal course work or if I’m too cool for school.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A “Progress” Report from the Panel of Reference

The Panel of Reference just put out a :snicker: progress report, which illustrates well why we don’t allow children to write their own report cards.

The Panel began its work by considering progress so far.

Here, I immediately cracked up – which tells you something about the Panel of Reference and my warped sense of humor.

Review of progress so far has been therefore a vital matter.

Unlike actually doing something.

The second reference relates to the Diocese of Connecticut in the Episcopal Church USA, and to an appeal by six parishes against the oversight of their Bishop. In January of this year, however, civil proceedings were initiated in respect of matters connected with these situations. The Panel decided last year as a matter of principle that it should not normally consider references where civil cases are proceeding. . . . Civil proceedings should either have come to completion or be stayed if the work of the Panel is to have space in which to operate.

Oh my. We must have our space to operate.

Of course, what waiting for civil action to end means is the Panel of Reference is putting this matter aside for what could be years, after which the diocese could already have parish properties in hand and probably already sold one or more of them. Any Panel action then would probably be close to useless, in line with the character of said Panel.

The third reference is an appeal by parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada for alternative episcopal oversight. Consideration of this reference has been unable to proceed until March 2006 while the identity of the applicants who wished to be named to carry this matter forward with the Panel was established.

We wanted the names of the evil bigoted schizmatics so +Ingham can have his way with them applicants.

Since then, work has proceeded swiftly,

Pleeeease! I’m afraid I’ll laugh so hard I’ll rupture something more immediate than Anglican unity.

In particular, the Panel felt it needed to clarify any misunderstanding there may be of the mandate it had received from the Archbishop of Canterbury. . . .

And then there’s a lot of very proper blah blah blah, which I’ll graciously translate for you:

“Our mandate is not to do much of anything, and we’re doing it quite well, thank you.”

Friday, May 12, 2006

And then they sang that great eucharistic hymn, Roll Tide!

If you ever thought some Alabama bubbas esteem the Crimson Tide more than the blood of Christ . . . , well, you’re right.

As Sports Illustrated also reported as their weekly “Sign of the Apocalypse”:

Alabama football coach Mike Shula had to switch churches after being hounded by autograph seekers, including one who was waiting at the end of the communion line with a football.
Now what we REALLY need are Pentecostal automotive healers.

From the BBC: “I baptize thy car . . . .”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Peter Toon on ”Peace and Justice” in the 1979 Prayer Book

Just before I was confirmed (with the REC rite), I noted that among the changes in the confirmation rite of the ECUSA 1979 BCP was adding to the Baptismal Covenant a pledge to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”

With “peace and justice” long being a code phrase much beloved of leftists, I slammed the change as adding a thinly veiled political agenda to the confirmation rite.

Now Peter Toon has dissected this change in the Baptismal Covenant and has come to similar conclusions.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cardinal Pell and the Koran

Recently, George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia engaged in some truth-telling about Islam. And, of course, he’s caught flack for it.

We need more bishops like him. And we need more truth-telling about Islam.

As someone who has read the whole Koran, most of it repeatedly, I recommend you do what Cardinal Pell did and read it. Then see if you buy the line that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Da Vinci Hoax and the Real Jesus

With the Da Vinci Code movie about to come out, I think it wise to reflect on evidence for the historicity of Jesus (and not some watered down Jesus Seminar version).

As most of you know, the Da Vinci Code portrays the historical Jesus as an elaborate hoax of the church.

Nick Knisely points out one of the many problems with this view: if Jesus was a hoax, He sure wasn’t a very convenient one. Surely, a church-made hoax wouldn’t say so many things that made everyone uncomfortable. He wouldn't talk about splitting up families, for example. He probably would give clearer instructions about how the church was to be run, in line with how church authorities wanted it to be run, of course. Putting spit-made mud on a blind man’s eyes probably wasn’t the sort of sacrament or anointing the church had in mind. And, yes, He might also be a bit more other-worldly in line with church depictions of Him after the first century.

And that’s not to mention the disciples’ part in a hoax. Surely, a hoax would portray them as more heroic than how they appear in the Gospels. Peter denying Christ three times certainly doesn’t bolster Petrine Supremacy for one thing.

The whole Jesus story is just too inconvenient to be a likely hoax.

As Knisely concludes, “What we do have is a very different sort of Messiah than we might dream up for ourselves. And that would tend to indicate that we didn't make this up - we have inherited this truth.”

Monday, May 08, 2006

A request for anyone going to the Anglican Use Conference

I’m very interested in hearing how the Anglican Use conference goes in early June. So if anyone will be there and will be posting on it and/or would like to pass on reports to me, please contact me: mark at godknows99 dot com.

The Death March Road to General Convention: A Straight White Man?!?

Well, I told ya the Diocese of California probably wouldn’t be able to resist electing one of the gay candidates as bishop. So they elected . . . a straight white man, +Mark Andrus. The gay candidates didn’t even come close.

Now, +Andrus is no moderate, of course. But apparently, the diocese listened to 815 and to the House of Bishops when they strongly hinted another practicing gay bishop would not be welcomed at this time. One wonders if the mess of the past three years would have been averted if 815 and the House of Bishops had made similar noises before New Hampshire’s bishop election in 2003.

I had also suggested that California, by electing a gay bishop, would make a fudgefest at General Convention impossible. It looks like I’m wrong on that one as well. I expect fudge galore now.

I think Chris Johnson’s take is now right: General Convention will resolve little.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Big Day Tomorrow.

I’ve mentioned that tomorrow the Episcopal Diocese of California (i. e. San Francisco) elects a new bishop.

What hasn’t gotten as much attention is that the Diocese of Tennessee will hold another ballot tomorrow in its bishop election. That election has been deadlocked because the laity have insisted on a strong orthodox bishop and nothing less while the more liberal clergy desire otherwise. Good for the laity! Don’t give in!

Obviously, both elections are matters for prayer.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Anglican Use Conspiracy Conference

The latest issue of Touchstone has a modest advertisement that caught my attention. It’s a print version of this.

The Anglican Use Society, which promotes Anglican Use liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church and lures entices encourages Anglo-Catholics to cross the Tiber, is putting on a conference called “Conversion to Catholicism.” Pretty subtle, eh?

There’s some very interesting speakers scheduled. The keynote is Avery Cardinal Dulles. That’s quite a coup having him there.

But what’s even more interesting is the timing of the conference – June. Yep, right around ECUSA General Convention -- just when some of my Anglo-Catholic friends in ECUSA will have some decisions to make, and perhaps when they run out of straws.

I would rather Anglo-Catholics who feel they must depart the Episcopal Church migrate to Continuing Anglican bodies such as the APA. Anglicanism loses when it loses such fine people. But I understand and respect those who feel the Catholic Church is the way to go.

And I certainly commend the Anglican Use Society (although I’m having a little fun with this) on the shrewd timing of their conference, and for being much more welcoming to Anglo-Catholics than many Episcopal dioceses. Their conference -- and its timing -- is a brilliant idea.

Earlier this week, I let you all know how vomitous I find the Pronouncements of Piffle from ECUSA Province IV and other mainline wimps. Today, I present to you another “P” that makes me want to lose my lunch: “Prophetic.”

You’ve probably seen the routine. A group of mainline church liberals push their lefty agenda, often in direct contradiction of scripture, and proclaim their actions “Prophetic.” If memory serves me right, these people supported Communists back in the 80’s and proclaimed it “Prophetic.”

When I see that, my first response is to think how insufferably arrogant and presumptuous such proclamations are. And sometimes my second is to ask by what demon whom they are prophesying.

Matt Kennedy has posted a calmer dissection of claims to being “Prophetic,” particularly when it comes to certain actions of ECUSA General Conventions. I commend it to you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Death March Road to General Convention

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is coming up in June, and things are getting interesting again. (What was that Chinese curse?) Yesterday, I ranted talked about Province IV wimping out, which doesn’t bode well for the national meeting in Columbus.

Now it’s come out that the Archbishop of Canterbury has . . . scheduling conflicts – yeah, that’s the ticket – and, gosh, just can’t make General Convention. And who can blame him? Heck, I wonder how the Lords of Canterbury managed to stomach every General Convention since the 1950’s.

I find it ironic that the Archbishop’s scheduling conflict has him consulting to try to keep the Anglican Communion from splitting. “I’m sorry I can’t attend. But I’ll be busy trying to clean up the mess you made.”

The mess may get messier this Saturday. The Diocese of Sodom California elects a bishop that day. Do you think they will be able to resist electing one of the three gay candidates? I didn’t think so. Well, if they do, General Convention must vote on whether to consent, which should make that august meeting that much more . . . interesting.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

”Piffle” from Province IV

Province IV of the Episcopal Church had their Synod over the weekend. This is one of the more conservative areas of ECUSA. But you wouldn’t know it from their actions . . . if "actions" is the appropriate word, and it's not.

They had an opportunity to give the upcoming General Convention strong guidance to get in line with the rest of the Anglican Communion. There were somewhat strong resolutions proposed along those lines.

But what did they do? First, they muzzled the bloggers and banned computer use on the floor.

Then they gutted the resolutions and passed this joke.

The passed resolution proposes nothing, and it does so with such holy sanctimony. They “commit” themselves to “prayerful and careful consideration . . . and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we prepare” for the General Convention.

Hey! Leave the Holy Spirit out of your mainline wimpery! He’s not a gutless wonder like you people!

I heard this sort of flummery in the mainline Presbyterian Church – doing nothing worthy of Christ, but doing it oh so “prayerfully.” It makes me want to vomit.

You want to see why men flee mainline churches? Look at cowardly inactions like this resolution dressed up in sanctimonious language. No real man would produce or respect this tripe.

Charlie Sutton called it “piffle.” And that may be the best printable word for it. I cannot see how people who claim to be Christian can pass religious piffle like this, when action is called for, and look at themselves in the mirror afterwards. Shame! Shame!

If this is what Province IV produces, I can hardly wait for General Convention.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Energy and Education Update

Thanks for the prayers last week for my energy and for discernment about further education.

My energy has greatly improved. Heck, Saturday I went out and caught some big waves – my bodyboard was flying! Then in the evening, I went kayaking. And I went bodyboarding again yesterday, and felt energetic for most of the weekend. Thanks be to God!

On education, my direction seems to have become a bit clearer. I now think a full-fledged graduate degree is not viable for me. I thought I might enter the two year program at Cranmer House. But a closer look at the catalog revealed that their “two year” program is over 20 courses! That certainly increases my appreciation of those who commit to a seminary education. (The three year program a candidate for the priesthood undergoes is much more, of course.)

But that’s more than I want to commit myself to. I never was a perpetual student. When I was at Duke, I’d look at those who looked forward to years of graduate education . . . and was glad I’m not them. I love educating myself, but years and years of school is not for me.

There is a less ambitious Certificate in Christian Ministry distance learning program at Reformed Episcopal Seminary and some very interesting distance courses at Trinity Seminary (Thanks, Texanglican.) as well as at Cranmer House. And my rector, unbeknownst to me, has been thinking about starting an independent study program. And -- who knows? -- I dream of spending a term taking a course or two and going to Evening Prayer every day at Oxford or Cambridge. Some combination of those looks likely.

Whether that would ever meet the academic requirements for the diaconate (which I have thought about) is iffy. But I don’t have to become a deacon. I do have a burning desire to further my education, particularly in liturgics and church history.