Thursday, December 31, 2009

Shameless Rumormongering

Rumor has it that Pope Benedict will visit Oxford when he comes to the UK. Hmmm.

Wherever your life’s travels take you, may you have an excellent New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Belated Thoughts on the Covenant

My patient readers may think that I’ve been ignoring the proposed Anglican Covenant. I have not. But I’ve been having issues with time and energy. Plus it is not easy to get my arms around my thoughts on the Covenant. So I’ve thought it best not to post on it.

But now I will take a stab at it.

Although I am not quite as negative on the Covenant as Still on Patrol, I agree with him that it is ineffective and irrelevant and “will not solve anything.”

And that is not because the proposed Covenant is a horrid document. It is not that horrible in my view, though I could surely pit-nick it if I wanted. The core problem is not a lack of standards to abide by; the problem is a lack of will to enforce standards, especially the lack of will on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams, although not a pope, has a number of powers to discipline The Episcopal Church and has declined to use them. He could have disinvited from Lambeth Presiding Heretic Schori and other “bishops” who consecrated Gene Robinson and have not disavowed that. Or he could have put TEC’s apostasy front and center on Lambeth’s agenda. Instead, he invited all the TEC bishops save one and indabaed Lambeth into irrelevance.

Dr. Williams could have followed the lead of several Global South Primates and declared impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. He has done nothing of the sort.

Instead he has been an enabler. And when he absolutely, positively has had to make a decision, he has given The Episcopal Church a pass – even when he had to undermine the rest of Primates to do so.

The Anglican Communion under Rowan Williams is like the parent who threatens and threatens a misbehaving child . . . but never actually disciplines. For effective discipline, including church discipline, there not only has to be good standards and timely warnings, there has to be the will to discipline.

The Anglican Communion, and especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, lacks that will.

Without that will, the Covenant is close to pointless.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Modest Proposal

A brilliant send up of libchurchers’ arguments for gay clergy, etc. may be found here in the guise of “a modest proposal,” namely temple prostitution.

I particularly find this excerpt deliciously on target:

First off, let’s address the common objections. Sure, there are a handful of Bible verses that might seem to condemn the practice. But all the condemnation of temple prostitution involves pagan practices or worship of false gods. The objectionable thing is the idolatry, not the physical act itself. Sanctified, faithful prostitution in service of the true God is a new thing. The Biblical writers never foresaw or contemplated sanctified, faithful, God-pleasing prostitution in the churches and thus never wrote about it. Attempts to find a Biblical injunction against the practice therefore fall short.

Sounds familiar, does it not?

Do read the whole thing, but not while drinking coffee.

But what is most amazing about this piece is that it comes from . . . a Lutheran. Lutherans do satire?

Baucus Office Denies Drunkenness

Sen. Baucus’s (D(runk)-Montana) spokesman indignantly denies that the Senator was drunk on the Senate floor:

When his friend of 30 years Ted Kennedy, with whom he had fought so hard to provide health care to children, was being used as a cheap foil to oppose health care reform, Senator Baucus gave a passionate defense. Unfortunately, those who want to kill any meaningful reform, turned it into an unfounded, untrue personal smear internet rumor. This is beyond the pale and this type of gutter politics has no place in the public sphere. It is this type of slander that makes Montanans, and Americans, disgusted with the politics as usual in Washington. And what is even more sad is that such a personal attack would be given any validity at all, let alone being elevated to the status of "news".

Translation: If my boss speaks on the Senate floor as if he’s either drunk as a sailor or channeling Ted Kennedy, it’s not news.

But what do you think? Was Baucus drunk? A helpful poll with plenty of choices may be found here. It is interesting to note that only 3 out of 730 so far picked that Baucus was “sober.”

Me? I voted that he was “channeling Ted Kennedy.”

Monday, December 28, 2009

Baucus Drunk During Senate Floor Speech

It is not quite as amusing as this version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, but Sen. Max Baucus (D(runk)-Montana) was full of Christmas spirits as he gave this Senate floor speech attacking Republicans on Obamacare.

Perhaps, maybe, he was just drunk with power. But if I had to defend Obamacare on the floor of the Senate, I might want to get some fortification, too.

Not-so-by-the-way, have you heard of this in the “Mainstream” News Media? Do you think they would be as quiet as a mouse if it were a leading Republican drunk on the Senate floor?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nine Lessons and Carols

Tomorrow morning, Christmas Eve, I’ll have my annual attack of teary eyes (brought on by allergies, mind you) while I listen to Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge.

For me the most awesome moment of Christmas is when a lone boy sings to a packed King’s College Chapel and to a listening world and begins the great service.

By the way, the boy in the above video is Sam Landman. I had the privilege of meeting a 15-year-old version of him at King’s in 2007. He already possessed a humble confidence and graciousness rare in anyone, much less a teenage boy.

In the evening, my parish will celebrate Christmas Eve with a humbler version of Nine Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion following. The glory of Christmas will be every bit as great.

May you also have a glorious and merry Christmas.

MORE: The service booklet for the King's College Nine Lessons and Carols may be found in pdf form here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tyranny: Democrats to Make Obamacare Repeal-Proof

Senate Democrats are about to pass an Enabling Act, a provision that makes it almost impossible to repeal Obamacare. For in their bill is a provision that would require a two-thirds vote to repeal a key subsection. The provision reads thus:

it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.

Just like the Enabling Act of 1933, this provision ties the Senate’s hands from repealing tyranny. And not just the hands of this Senate but of future Senates.

Democrats, your Fascism is showing.

Obamacare must be stopped.

More here and here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Obamacare, Bribery, and Election Fraud

Democrats got Obamacare past the 60 vote barrier in the Senate in the wee hours of the morning overnight. Funny how thieves like to operate at such hours. They succeeded thanks to brazen bribery and election fraud. Yes, election fraud

Without the fraudulent “election” of Al Franken, of Tim Johnson and Mary Landrieu in their first elections, and the illegal first election of Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey, the Democrats could not have gotten their 60 votes.

Elections matter. . . . And sometimes election fraud matters more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First ACNA Provincial Council

The first ACNA Provincial Council has met and issued a communiqué.

Some are focusing on the goal of one thousand new congregations in five years. But, realistic or not, that goal is old news from the Provincial Assembly in Bedford.

What I find more notable is the wholehearted endorsement of the Manhattan Declaration and the firm nudge given to the Anglican Church of Uganda concerning the bill there on homosexual conduct.

The Uganda bill is madness. My understanding is that it contains the death penalty for homosexual conduct and harsh fines against those who don’t report it. The church should speak out and pray against this bill.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church of England Rings Bells for Holy Climate Conference

When I was last in the UK, I suspected that climate change was religion over there. Now, I know it:

Bells in churches across Britain have chimed 350 times to press for a deal at the Copenhagen climate conference.

York Minster and Westminster Cathedral were among churches which joined a world event coinciding with a service in the Danish capital.

The aim was to highlight the 350 parts per million some developing nations say is the safe upper concentration for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. . . .

Other countries taking part in the bell ringing include New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and the US.

The ecumenical service at the Lutheran Cathedral in Copenhagen was attended by Queen Margarethe of Denmark, as well as politicians and delegates taking part in the climate conference.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who last week at an Environment Service in London said human well-being relied on the well-being of the world, also attended the service.

The initiative was organised by the World Council of Churches
[of course], which represents more than 500 million Christians [Yeah, right].

Monday, December 14, 2009

Upper SC and the Increasing Irrelevance of the Episcopal Church

In choosing Andrew Waldo as its bishop, the Diocese of Upper South Carolina has not also chosen apostasy but also irrelevance.

In case you don’t know where’s Waldo, here’s where:

Waldo counts Bishop Robinson as his "mentor," seeks to institute same sex blessings after General Convention approves a rite, counts Jesus as "my way" and "my truth," and practices Communion of the Unbaptized, in violation of the national church canons, at his parish.

You get the picture.

I am sure this will bring South Carolinians running to the Episcopal Church! . . . or is that running away? This election indeed begs the question: What demand is there in South Carolina for a church that is weak in affirming Jesus as the way and the truth, but that eagerly affirms homosexuality?

And Upper South Carolina is not the only liberal TEC diocese in a conservative region. The persistent and accelerating membership losses of the Episcopal Church show liberal churchianity is irrelevant if not repugnant to most who have any interest in joining a church. Does that not apply all the more in more conservative areas, such as the South?

The Episcopal Church is so letting its agenda be set by an uberliberal segment of American culture that they are becoming irrelevant to American culture. Again, the Episcopal Church is not only rushing to apostasy; they are rushing to irrelevance.

Put another way, the Episcopal Church’s desire to be oh-so-relevant is bringing about just the opposite.

Iranian Smoking Gun?

If The Times has not unveiled the smoking gun, or “smoking uranium” if you will, on Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions, it appears they have come very close to doing so:

Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.

The notes, from Iran’s most sensitive military nuclear project, describe a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator, the component of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion. Foreign intelligence agencies date them to early 2007, four years after Iran was thought to have suspended its weapons programme.

An Asian intelligence source last week confirmed to The Times that his country also believed that weapons work was being carried out as recently as 2007 — specifically, work on a neutron initiator.

The technical document describes the use of a neutron source, uranium deuteride, which independent experts confirm has no possible civilian or military use other than in a nuclear weapon. . . .

“Although Iran might claim that this work is for civil purposes, there is no civil application,” said David Albright, a physicist and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, which has analysed hundreds of pages of documents related to the Iranian programme. “This is a very strong indicator of weapons work.”

I suspect this means an attack on Iran will come sooner than later. . . . And it needs to come sooner than later and in massive force.

Israel has the sense and the manhood to do so. I doubt anyone else does.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Blockbuster: “Tea Party” Tops GOP on Generic Ballot

As I noted on twitter yesterday (BTW, I recommend my twitter feed. I mention important matters there that I may not mention here.), I think this Rasmussen Poll is a blockbuster. Now there is no Tea Party . . . Party, yet, but in response to this question -- Suppose the Tea Party organized itself as a political party. When thinking about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district or the Tea Party candidate from your district? -- the response was as follows:

Democratic 36%
Tea Party 23%
Republican 18%
Not Sure 22%

That’s right. The hypothetical Tea Party polls higher than the GOP.

I think this a blockbuster as it shows beyond reasonable dispute that the Tea Party movement is a power to be reckoned with. Those who dismiss them as extremists do so at their own political peril. And this will increase the confidence and assertiveness of Tea Party activists that much more.

Whether this is good news or bad news for the Republicans depends on whether two lessons are learned:

1. Republicans must enthusiastically adopt the Tea Party issues of lower taxes, lower spending, and less intrusive government. Those are also conservative Republican issues, of course. But far too often this decade, Republican actions have not matched Republican words, alienating many in the Tea Party movement.

2. The Tea Party activists need to note and note well that Democrats win if the Tea Party and Republicans split their votes. If Tea Party activists indiscriminately run their own candidates against Republicans under a separate party label, they will simply enable detested Socialist politicians and policies.

There are times when a third party can play a constructive role (as the New York State Conservative Party did in the recent Special Election), but for the Tea Party movement to have electoral success instead of handing elections to Democrats, they must work within and/or pressure the Republican Party. And many are already so doing.

Yes, this would be unappetizing for many Tea Partiers. But they should take a good look and see how ruinous would be the alternative of enabling the Democrats and their Socialism.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The 10PM Mass

I note with interest that Pope Benedict is moving the Midnight Mass back a couple hours to 10pm.

This is provoking some speculation about Pope Benedict’s health. I am in no position to add to that speculation in a knowledgeable way except to make the obvious point that Benedict is no longer a very young man. If he wants to go to bed earlier, give him a break.

The Lesbian “Bishop” and More of the Same

Although I am not quite as jaded as Captain Yips about the matter, I do not see the election of partnered Lesbian Mary Glasspool as a bishop in the TEC Diocese of Los Angeles as groundbreaking.

Instead I see it as leading to more of the same. I expect the election will receive the necessary consents, thereby demonstrating The Episcopal Church’s contempt for orthodoxy and unity. But that contempt would be more of the same, would it not? And liberals will use this opportunity to make life more difficult for the orthodox, as –Bruno has hinted. But making life difficult for the orthodox has practically been a sacrament of The Episcopal Church since 1979.

++Rowan Williams will make sonorous pronouncements to string along the orthodox, but mean nothing, until he is absolutely forced to take a stand. And then he will back and enable the apostates. More of the same.

And the rest of the Anglican Communion will lack enough backbones to do anything about it. Yes, there is talk about TEC being expelled from the Communion, but get real!

Those who do retain enough orthodoxy and moral clarity, such as GAFCON, will drift further from the Communion, but not cut bait. More of the same.

Need I say more? I mean, really people, this has all the suspense of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick. We may not know all the details of what will transpire, but we know how it will end. More of the same.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Problem with Modern Theology and WO

In a discussion of Women’s Ordination, Jeffery Steel hits upon the problem with much (most?) modern theology – it is man-centered, not Christ-centered.

On the subject of holy orders, Steel points out (in all caps, no less) that no one has the right to holy orders. The attitude that “social justice” or women’s rights somehow demands W. O. is an example of man-centered theology.

Of course, such poor man-centered theology is displayed in other areas. Modern culture is allowed to change doctrine and practice . . . and then the Holy Spirit is blamed for it, of course. As if the Holy Spirit has suddenly changed his mind and is now oh-so concerned with approving and pushing modern Western culture.

And it is not just liberals that engage in such uberhumanistic sloppiness. One reason I don’t call myself evangelical is all the “evangelicals” who let their theology sway to cultural winds.

Myself, I choose Christ over culture, thank you.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

“Tolerance” and D. C. Same Sex Marriage

The IRD has posted a succinct piece which sums up well what I’ve been saying here, that most of those who push same-sex marriage and the like are using “tolerance” as an Orwellian cover to stamp out tolerance. The article uses the District of Columbia same-sex marriage ordinance likely to pass today as a case in point.

The D. C. city council could have protected religious conscience in their ordinance . . . could have.

Council member Yvette Alexander proposed an amendment that would have granted individuals and institutions the right to distinguish between same-sex relationships and man-woman marriage, based on religious convictions. The amendment was rejected.

And just in case you think that omission is a bug and not a feature . . .

Churches and clergy would not be forced to conduct same-sex weddings. But in every other respect religious persons and institutions would be pressed to act as if there were nothing special about the lifelong, one-flesh union of the two complementary sexes. Those most vulnerable to such pressure would be persons and institutions financially beholden to the D.C. government.

Foremost among those are Catholic Charities of D.C., the largest city-contracted provider of social services. Its roughly $20 million in annual city contracts provide services such as homeless shelters, medical clinics, and tutoring programs to 68,000 city residents. When the Catholic archdiocese warned that it might lose those contracts if it could not comply with a same-sex marriage mandate, council members reacted harshly-against the archdiocese.

Council member Mary Cheh called the archdiocese "somewhat childish." Catania suggested that Catholic Charities were not "an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure." He complained, "It's a shame they don't extend the same efforts to issues that really matter, like health care and homelessness."

It is odd that Catania, having devoted so much effort to redefining marriage, should now classify it as an issue that did not really matter. And that he should presume to instruct a religious body about which issues should really matter to it.

All this rage suggests that perhaps forcing private individuals and institutions to approve same-sex relationships is not an unintended side effect of the same-sex marriage movement. Perhaps such coercion is the whole point.

I disagree with the article on one point there. It is not “perhaps.”

But I suspect the writer comes to that conclusion as well.

Same-sex marriage laws, in abolishing all distinctions between same-sex relationships and man-woman matrimony, turn supporters of such distinctions into enemies of state policy. Because "marriage equality" is claimed as a "civil right," akin to racial equality, those who would deny it become the equivalent of racist bigots in the eyes of the law. And they would be treated as racist bigots have been (properly) treated: shamed and shunned, targeted for lawsuits and driven out of public life.

Exactly. And all in the name of “tolerance”, of course.