Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pilot Point website is now open!

This has been a slightly crazy week, so I haven’t posted much. But I do want to let you know that the web site for my novel, Pilot Point, is now open! Bookmark it:

And if you are in charge of a semi-reputable site and would like to swap links, let me know in the comments or e-mail me: mark at godknows99 dot com.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pentecost Communion in Three Kinds

Holy Communion at my humble parish yesterday was very meaningful. As I waited to receive, I reflected that, as if giving Christ’s body and blood were not enough, the Lord also gives us His Spirit. This gave me a deep awe, and joy, and peace.

Receiving yesterday also had an element of humor, if I may be slightly irreverent. The rector’s very young son (2 or 3 years old, I forget which.) held the sacrament, which his father intincted and placed in the child’s mouth.

But that was not enough for the him! He held out his hands to the wine, and drank from the chalice as well. The pious child received in three kinds!

(And in case anyone is tempted to nit-pick the rector’s on-the-spot decision, even I think a sacramental irregularity is preferable to an unhappy small child during communion.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Outrage: Democrats Give Mexican President Standing Ovation for Dumping on Arizona

It’s bad enough that a foreign leader goes before Congress and meddles by telling our states what they should or should not do. It’s bad enough that the President of Mexico dumps on Arizona for doing their best to deal with problems pouring out of his country. That is outrage enough.

But then the Demorats give him a standing ovation for doing so! Even former Governor of Arizona and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who bears a lot of responsibility for the intolerable illegal immigration situation in Arizona, had the nerve to stand and applaud.

I am at a loss for words. These Demorats are standing and cheering for a meddling foreign leader against an American state struggling to deal with the problems caused by the failed state of the same leader. Whose side are the Democrats on?

I think they just answered that question.

Castro is also bashing Arizona. Let’s bring him before Congress so the Democrats can cheer him, too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

About AMiA Choosing Ministry Partner Status UPDATED

The AMiA has issued a communiqué in which it announces it will seek Ministry Partner status instead of remaining a full jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The communiqué with Matt+ Kennedy’s astute comments may be found here.

Although I am saddened AMiA will not be remaining a full jurisdiction of ACNA, and although I share Fr. Kennedy’s concern this development will be spun negatively for ACNA, I think this may be a good decision for the long run.

For better or for worse, AMiA has always been something of a maverick. And that has already caused friction in ACNA. At the first Provincial Assembly, I noticed many looked askance at how quickly AMiA made a certain gentleman a bishop. Then there is the haste AMiA’s Christ Church is showing in ordaining a woman priest.

Whatever one thinks of this sort of maverick conduct, ACNA and AMiA will likely work better together with less conflict as ministry partners than wedded together. I think AMiA has made a wise decision for both them and for ACNA.

ACNA has released a statement. Further thoughts and comments may be found here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Census Follies

In the brilliant 80’s TV series Max Headroom, “Blanks” are those who evade being documented by the government. Being a Blank was very much against the law, of course.

I’m beginning to feel like a Blank, at least as far as the Census is concerned.

No, I am not one of those who are refusing to answer the Census. Just the opposite. I do not yet know if I will answer each and every question, but I do want to be counted.

Yet I have not received a census form. I have not received a phone call, even though I am in the phone book. And the Census 2010 site is a joke. It seems to have everything on it except what do you do if the Census hasn’t found you. I could not even find a place where I could say, “Hey I’m here! Send me a form, you bureaucratic dullards.” Believe me, I tried yesterday evening and gave up.

And these are the sort of people who are going to run our healthcare? The Census Bureau has ten frickin’ years to prepare, and they can’t do better than this?

If I were paranoid, I’d think this is not mere incompetence. I’d think the Obama regime doesn’t want conservative Texans to be counted for political reapportionment. But surely not!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Consecration of *YAWN* Mary Glasspool

As Matt Kennedy notes, the response to the consecration of Mary Glasspool has been . . . underwhelming. Indeed, as I perused the usual blogs over the weekend, I found remarkably little on the event.

Apostasy does become boring rather quickly, does it not?

However, a very significant statement on the consecration may be found here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Open Letter to the Mayor of Austin, Texas

Dear Mayor Leffingwell,

I see that the City of Austin is boycotting Arizona because that state dares to defend itself against the numerous predations of illegal immigration.

Let it therefore be known that I am now boycotting your fair city. And this boycott is not just symbolic. Twice in the past three years, I’ve visited Austin for the state high school basketball championships. Also, I frequently drive through Austin, often stopping at one of the HEB Central Markets there.

In fact, within the next month, I will be driving through the Austin area again. Rest assured that I will not stop in Austin as before, but will drive right on through. And I will not purchase anything in Austin as long as you are boycotting Arizona.

In short, you boycott Arizona; I boycott you.

Have a nice day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

CofE Women Bishops Update

With the Church of England’s Revision Committee issuing its report on woman bishops, this is a good time to update the situation there on that issue.

And the situation is not good and perhaps worsening. The committee completely failed to recommend adequate provision for those who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops.

Committee member Bishop Pete Broadbent sums up the situation succinctly:

There are 4 defining motifs:

1. It's rooted in monepiscopacy (one Diocesan Bishop having authority in the Diocese) - which has become a kind of faux catholic shibboleth for a certain sort of liberal catholicism. That determines everything else, because on that presupposition you can only have one bishop and no dual or twin track arrangements. What we've produced is internally consistent with that approach.

2. It doesn't give women bishops an entirely clear run, so it won't satisfy those who want the ministry of women to be untrammelled and equal in the Church. But it probably does enough to satisfy WATCH - though they have to compromise their position.

3. It doesn't do the job for traditionalist catholics and conservative evangelicals, whose desire for "sacramental assurance" and "headship" respectively aren't met. (These are doctrines that I personally don't believe in, but they have been clearly laid out very clearly by those who espouse them, and what the Revision Committee has produced simply doesn't deal with this) So we know before July that those two groups will seek to amend the report to take account of their concerns. Read the report - we crossed a rubicon at paragraph 148.

4. The report gives a good account of all the arguments and would repay reading (I would say that...) But the content of a Code of Practice isn't yet worked out, and is likely to be pretty minimalist, giving less to those opposed than the earlier woman priests legislation.

Biggest problem is that the CofE varies hugely regionally (lots of clergy and parishes opposed in the big city dioceses; very few opponents in many rural areas). That, plus the fact that loads of people have been ordained since the 1992 legislation and don't see why we should be making "provision" will, I fear, make the whole debate in July a dialogue of the deaf.

By the way, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Bishop Pete. He is decent and fair-minded. He is also good company in a pub and, as you can tell, pleasantly straight-spoken.

Backing up his third point, both Forward in Faith and Reform have clearly said the committee report will not do.

The report is not the final word. July’s General Synod will be crucial and likely definitive. (Caveat: I am not an authority on Church of England governance.) But, as I said, the situation is not good. Prayer is in order.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Boycott Arizona; I Will Boycott You.

I notice that Los Angeles has joined San Francisco in boycotting Arizona. And that prompts me to take a stand myself.

I have not commented on the new Arizona law against illegal immigration, but have followed the situation for some time. In recent years, Arizona has been plagued by the predations of illegal immigration and accompanying crime. Phoenix in particular has become a kidnapping capital.

Meanwhile, the Obama regime is dropping the ball on defending our borders. NHS head Janet Napolitano stands out in that regard. Having done little to defend Arizonians when she was governor of that unfortunate state, her stated attitude as NHS head is that illegal immigration “is not a crime per se.”

Arizona has had enough of this and has toughened their laws against illegal immigration with overwhelming support. And now, because, after years of increasing crime from illegals, Arizona is doing something to defend themselves against Mexican drug gangs and the like, self-righteous Lefties are boycotting that state?

Well, I got some news. If you boycott Arizona, I will do everything feasible I can do to boycott you. If you kick a people who are trying to defend themselves from criminals, you deserve nothing less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Anti-Semitic Mainline Presbyterians

What is with the mainline Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) and the state of Israel? My (thankfully) former denomination in recent years has gone out of its way to bash Israel, in the process alienating Jews and a great many of its own members. And now there’s the Middle East Study Committee (MESC) report, which the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has rightfully taken to task.

The following points from the United Synagogue stand out to me:

The MESC is an apologia for terror, blaming Israel for the violence it endures. There is a complete failure to address pre-occupation Arab and Palestinian violence, rejectionism, and aggression. The report says: “If there were no occupation, there would be no Palestinian resistance. If there was no Palestinian resistance, Israelis could live in peace and security.”

Given that Israel has been under attack since its founding, this assertion from the MESC is absurd. In the eyes of terrorist scum, Israel’s chief evil is merely existing. Numerous statements from the PLO and Hamas through the years have said as much. Or is the state of Israel itself an "occupation"?

The MESC describes Israel’s and Iran’s nuclear capabilities as equally threatening to world peace. After discussing Iran’s nuclear program, the report continues: “…an equal concern is the number of nuclear warheads that Israel currently stockpiles and thus the growing sense of Iranian vulnerability and insecurity. While Israel will not confirm its possession of nuclear weapons or the number held, it is generally agreed that Israel has stockpiled close to 100 nuclear weapons.”

So Israel having the bomb is a concern “equal” to Iran getting the bomb?

In the light of such absurd assertions, it is hard to escape the fact that there is virulent anti-semitism among the leadership of the mainline Presbyterian Church. It will be interesting to see to what extent the PCUSA’s General Assembly in July endorses or rejects this evil.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And you thought I was hard on Labour and the Lib Dems . . . UPDATED

Soap operas have nothing on the haggling over who will form a government in the UK. The Daily Mail’s coverage of the spectacle is particularly fun.

That paper does not like the prospects of a Lab-Lib led coalition, not outwardly at least. I suspect they secretly are salivating at all the newspapers such a “squalid” outcome would sell. They certainly do not like Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg whom they liken to a “harlot” and “Madame Fifi”.

And you thought I was hard on Labour and the Lib Dems!

UPDATE: Chatter has it Brown is about to meet The Queen and quit as PM to make way for Cameron. And there are reports and photos of a moving van in back of 10 Downing. Did I mention this is quite a soap opera?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Cameron Failed UPDATED

The word at this moment is that the Tories and the Lib Dems are very close to an agreement to create a new government in the UK. But I want to address how Cameron got into this mess in the first place.

Since he became the leader of the Conservative Party, he has striven to become the Anti-Thatcher, to remake the Conservative Party into the “Not the Conservative Party”. Not only was this bad policy, it was a political gamble that being inoffensive was more important than not alienating the Tory base.

Sound familiar? *coughRINOScough*

I think one issue in particular kept Cameron from victory. He could have won over Euroskeptics simply by keeping Labour’s broken promise to have a referendum on the EU. The UKIP even offered to stand down in return for such a referendum. But Cameron was too Europhile to do the right thing . . . which was also the politically smart thing. And, with all the problems the EU is now having, think how prescient Cameron would look now if had drawn back from closer ties to the EU.

But instead he further alienated the Euroskeptics in his base, and the UKIP got enough votes from said Euroskeptics to keep Cameron from winning an outright majority of seats.

Yes, I do think there are lessons to be learned here. But for now I’ll point out that is how Cameron blew it, pure and simple.

UPDATE: Gordon Brown has announced he will step down as Labour leader and PM. Chatter has it this opens the door for more Labour-LibDem talks.

Friday, May 07, 2010

UK Election: Dr. Death and the Lib Dems Get Theirs

When I first perused the UK election news this morning, I was discouraged. After too many years of predations from the Left, a majority of voters cast their ballots for the two Leftist parties? Has Labour stuffed the UK that much with immigrants? Is Cameron that noxious? Are the British people that far gone?

But then I saw the result from Oxford West. My mood immediately brightened. Lib Dem Evan Harris, aka Dr. Death, was defeated.

His nickname is well earned as came to my attention when I read this article during my stay in Oxford back in 2007. To say he is rabidly pro-abortion is only the half of it. He is profoundly hostile to human dignity in a whole range of life issues.

I am particularly pleased to see that his anti-life stands were an issue during the campaign, to his chagrin. Yes, there is still a pro-life impulse in UK politics.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think this result helps illustrate why the Lib Dems surprisingly lost seats in spite of Slick Nick Clegg. They are way out Left, even more so than Labour. And enough voters saw that to cost them seats. That, and many made it a priority to get Gordon Brown OUT, and rightly saw the Lib Dems were not the way to go about that.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pocket God

There’s a popular game app for iPhone called Pocket God. I found out about it from a 15-year-old at my church. He told me of seeing it on a friend’s iPhone at school. And it was clear he liked it . . . and was hinting that I should download it on my iPhone so he could play it more often.

The game sounded clever, it wasn’t expensive, and I can be an easy mark, so I downloaded it. It has since become quite the hit among the youth at church. “Mark, can I play Pocket God?”

As I said, the game is quite clever. You get to “play God” with the natives which you can both create at will and dispatch creatively as well. With various omnipotent motions you can bring about any number of disasters, airborne shark attacks, etc. In fact, come to think of it, I think there are many more ways to be an unpleasant capricious god than a kindly gracious one.

Oh, and there’s no way to really “win.” That’s not the point of the game. The player just gets to play God as much as his heart desires.

In spite of itself, I think the game has two lessons for us. First, it reflects that we are more inclined to blame things on God and see Him as the creator of calamity than we are to thank Him for his goodness. The legal term “act of God” (for which Texas Governor Rick Perry is now getting some grief) does not refer to sunshine or gentle rain or morning dew. Likewise the god of Pocket God seems to have many more ways to perform unpleasant “acts of God” than to be gentle and loving.

Second, having seen the pious youth of my church play “Pocket God” . . . it is a good thing God is God and not they. And it might be a good thing we are not God either.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Episcopal Church Shoots Itself in the Foot . . . Again.

The Anglican Curmudgeon has posted the best summary I’ve seen yet of the travesty to occur in two weeks – the consecration of Mary Glasspool as “bishop.”

He likens it to a drunken cowboy shooting himself in the foot. For one thing, “the new bishop will not be welcome at any of the councils of the Anglican Communion. Like the Presiding Bishop who leads her consecration, she will be able to celebrate Holy Communion in only a handful of Anglican provinces.”

On the other hand, being deposed by the Presiding Heretic has become a badge of honor. The warm reception ++Robert Duncan has received in much of the Anglican Communion illustrates that irony.

Looking at the big picture, the lovable Curmudgeon points out that TEC shot itself in the foot back when it made Gene Robinson a “bishop”:

When ECUSA consecrated V. Gene Robinson, it thought it was firing a shot that would carry the rest of the Communion with it, and that it was a big step for "social justice" and "inclusiveness." But it has proved just the opposite: divisive, rather than inclusive.

But did the Episcopal Church learn from its error? Is that a stupid question?

ECUSA has had plenty of time to see its mistake. But it is too selfish, or too bound up in its own self-centered nature, to see the effect its actions have had on others. So it will proceed to shoot itself in the foot once again -- no doubt this time with yet more colorful vestments, destined to set a new standard for Christopher Johnson's collection.

And what a collection it is!

Our Lord of Canterbury doesn’t come off well in all this either. Again, the Curmudgeon sums up the situation well:

Meanwhile, the local sheriff hides away in his home, and announces that just as soon as the bully has left, he will sponsor another round of indaba at the local saloon. Talk will go on, accomplishing nothing, but what the sheriff has not noticed is that there are fewer and fewer people at the table. The town is quietly emptying itself, as the ordinary folk have figured out that they can do better under their own devices elsewhere.

Oh, the sheriff will remain the sheriff, and will still sport his badge. But the disrespect shown to that badge by bullies like ECUSA has a way of undermining the respect that others show for it as well. A sheriff who will not stand up to bullies cannot long command the loyalty of those who look to him to uphold law and order.

And count me among those who once were well disposed to Dr. Williams who have little use for him now.

But enough of that. Even the Curmudgeon invites us to enjoy the comical and ironic consecration of Mary Glasspool show. And what a show it will be.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Gulag UK: More Police Attacks on Free Speech

Many of my informed readers are already aware of a street preacher being arrested in Workington for saying homosexuality is a sin.

And if one thinks this surely is a case of an obnoxious loud street preacher with a chip on his shoulder who was practically asking to be arrested, consider this account of what transpired. It appears it was the police who had chips on their shoulders, particularly the officer who just happened to be a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender liaison officer.

Then there’s the South Yorkshire man hassled by the police because of a homemade sign in the window of his own house urging voters to “get the lot out.” So opposing those in power can get you in trouble in Gulag UK.

And in case a reader objects to me dubbing present-day Britain “Gulag UK”, would you rather I call the UK “a police state”? That is at least the direction it is heading.

By the way, have any of the three major parties made freedom an issue in the current election campaign?

*crickets chirping*