Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Silent Night (Christmas Music)

It seems Fred and I have the same favorite Christmas song. This lovely arrangement is in both English and German. Enjoy, and a blessed Christmas to all.

Lynn K. & Fred S.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas And Children

Have you ever shared a hospital emergency room with a child?  Ever visited a foreign country like Viet Nam or Laos or Cambodia or Nigeria or India where children suffer from malnourishment?  Were you aware that each and every day between 20,000 and 27,000 children die from hunger each and every day?  When was the last time you went to the bathroom and flushed the toilet?  Sounds pretty basic but when you did that two miracles happened!  Your plumbing swept away about 40 diseases and incubation problems and it was done with running water!  Both of those luxuries most people in the world DO NOT enjoy.  So guess what, we have three basic needs met (food, water and health) and most of the time we do not even think about them.  

Your thinking to yourself, well what is this crazy person trying to do?  Ruin my Christmas?  After all it is Christmas and I am trying to get ready with and for my family.  How is it that someone is trying to intrude on my Christmas with all this depressing talk of hunger and death?  And, you ask yourself, how is this my concern?  Well, first, Matthew 25 tells us it is our concern.  And yes, statistics show that the wealthiest 4,000 people of the United States could wipe out hunger almost over night, if they chose to do so.  But they do not and so we, as the Good Samaritan are the next best thing, maybe the only next thing.  

And, yes, it is Christmas!

Yes, there was no room at the inn when Mary and Joseph arrived and so the innkeeper shared a stable with them.  You are busy and we all know it.  Certainly you cannot change the fact there was no room at the inn but you can, today, make room in your heart.  You can dedicate a small piece of your heart to the Christ.  (Suffer the little children).  And now you ask how can I do that?  Well there are many organizations all over the globe but I am going to suggest just one.  http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/about/who-we-are?OpenDocument&lpos=top_drp_AboutUs_WhoWeAre  Yep, it is World Vision  Adopt a child or give a goat but this Christmas add to your wish list the ending of world hunger -- and then adopt a child.  Don't like this one, find one you do like and support it.   Don't let another child go to bed crying from hunger.  Let's make this a Christmas to remember!

Fourth Sunday Music

The mellow voice of Josh Groban singing My Confession, with scenes from The Nativity.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Second Class Citizens

It has been a month since Proposition 8 passed.  I do not know about you but I am unwilling to go back to the way it was.  In fact, the word on the street is that the "suspicious church burning" in Wasilla (Sarah Palin's hometown) had something to do with the LGBT community.  What an incredible assumption! So, as you can see, some think we are back to status quo.   Until full rights are guaranteed to all classes of people we need to do what we can to move the discussion to that point.

I looked for this song in video format and I am disappointed to say I could not find it.  If someone can locate it for me please let me know.  In the meantime:  Thank you Peter, Paul and Mary.

Jesus is on the Wire

JESUS IS ON THE WIRE
(Thea Hopkins)

Run down church
Red clay
River covered
In a smoky haze

Sunday morning
The fire is out
Sunday morning
No one about


The earth is soft
This time of year
Boots get caked
From there to here

Down the road
Route 25
They found this boy
He was barely alive

Jesus is on the wire
So far away, higher and higher
Jesus is on the wire

They took him down
Off the fence
Cold as ice
Almost dead
They said that he
That he slept with guys
They said that he
Deserved to die

Jesus is on the wire
So far away, higher and higher
Jesus is on the wire


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Come Holy Ghost (Sunday Music)


An interesting twist on Martin Luther's hymn, "Come Holy Ghost, Come God and Lord," by Paula Best and Tara Ward. From the Church of the Beloved, Edmond, WA.

Follow the link...it will open in a new window. Hope for a Tree Cut Down

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

God sent me an Episcopal priest*


My friend Lee is dying: dying of end-stage, decompensated cirrhosis of the liver. Impending death always tears at your heart, but this one is a bit too close to mine. My late ex - Chuck - died the same way, and I suppose it could have happened to me, too.

I didn't want to go to the hospital today, but I had to go for him and his wonderful Lady M. There were a lot of things the lovely M. needed to know - most of all that she didn't have the power to stop the lure of the bottle, and that no love is strong enough to save someone driving 75 on the 55 MPH path of self-destruction.

So I called a friend for an update on Lee's condition, and took the long way to the hospital. I know that hospital, all too well. But when I walked into Lee's room to say hello, there sat a man in a clerical collar - chatting with my atheist friend. This man was a stranger to me, visiting after work as a neighbor and friend of the family. "What denomination," I asked, and it just so happens the answer was "Episcopalian." Things do just happen, at exactly the right time, every now and again.

My time with that priest was a very small bit of my visit, as a few minutes later he left for home. Before he left, he said a simple prayer for Lee's family and caregivers, and even slipped in a quick word for the patient. Lee chuckled and asked, "I don't know what to say, you slipped that in pretty fast!" I looked at the priest, and then grinned at Lee saying: "The correct response is 'Lord, hear our prayer.'" Sometimes there's nothing like an inside joke to give you a little strength.

As I sit here, I know God managed quite a two-for-one deal in that hospital today, sending a man who could be both neighbor to Lee and priest for me. Perhaps someone was praying for me? So, let us all pray today, to know the small gifts that come our way in troubled times. For life, and for the living, and for all who fight death and despair. For love remembered, and love's gifts yet to come. For inside jokes to keep us laughing along the way.

Lord, hear our prayer.

*Actually, I think this was all Scott's doing. He has this pesky habit of praying for me every time I ask. Thanks, my friend.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

MR. IKER, JUST CLICK YOUR SLIPPERS

The Lead has an article in which Mr. Iker writes:


"Bishop Jack Iker of Forth Worth says that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is wrong. He has not renounced his orders, and therefore should not have been removed as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth."


This was in response to the Presiding Bishop accepting Mr. Iker's renounciation of his ordination and consecration vows. Mr. Iker said this:


"Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has, and she never will."

and,

"Since November 15, 2008, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the Diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern
Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence."


If the Presiding Bishop has no power, never had power, never will have power there is only one way left Mr. Iker. You have always had the power to go home. All you had to do was put on your ruby red slippers and click your heels twice and say "There is no place like home. There is no place like home."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MIDDLE CLASS UP IN SMOKE

It is interesting to note that at this critical time in our nation we are ignoring some of the most basic of values. We, as a middle class are going up in smoke! It has been coming for some time now and we are to blame (with a little help from some prominent Republicans and Democrats). Think back on how many businesses such as United Airlines have gone into bankruptcy and done away with labor contracts, health benefits, retirement benefits have been cut or eliminated, jobs shipped overseas and havoc and mayhem heaped upon those of us squarely situated in the middle class. One example is that Hershey's chocolate closed several plants and shipped all the jobs to Mexico. The CEO stated that with the cost of wages there the company would not only make a far bigger profit but also be able to develop a whole new line of candy! Whopee! 576 persons are out of jobs but we have a new line of Hershey's Chocolate. Hey get a job at Taco Bell, they are hiring!

In the late 1940s there was a bill passed by both houses affirming that every American should have a right to own their own home. If you may recall, our grandparents had some radically different facts to deal with in buying a home -- including a down payment that approached 35 to 50% of the total cost. Now, not only are thousands of persons being thrown out onto the streets but the Federal government, we the people, are giving bailout money to we the big financial industry? How the hell did that happen? Now the big three automakers are seemingly on the verge of a collapse and guess who they are blaming for all of this? Yep, the middle class, those that work the lines. Cheese whiz, you want a home to live in, some clothes to wear, and some medical care to take care of your family? What in the world has gotten into you! Don't you know there is a war on terorism going on? That's okay, get a job at Walmart, that will take care of it. Have you noticed there is less full time full benefits employment and there are more part time no benefits jobs available? The Walmart folks got really excited about a time management system that helped them balance more work among more people so that there was less overtime and no chance to slip into a position where benefits would accrue to the worker. Give that guy a $10 million bonus!



If you are feeling a little pinched this Christmas think about this. If you are feeling a little smug this Christmas then just wait, the "good news" will come your way. Keep in mind Ronald McDonald "WANTS YOU!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

OF CABBAGES AND KINGS

"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings

   from Lewis Carroll,  Alice in Wonderland

I do not ordinarily write about  the ordinary, day to day life stuff.  Lots of different reasons, everyone has them and certainly everyone lives life.  Good things come and good things go - so do bad things.  In fact, we all frequently write about, think about, and talk about why bad things happen to good people.  It is my fondest hope that this does not come out that way.  What I want to write about is the quiet strength that so many people have that we so frequently overlook.  It is that strength that comes from God and yet looks so incredibly ordinary that we oftentimes miss not only the results but the source.  The next few minutes will be about just such a person.

I have a very close friend (not many of these mind you) who we have known since our days in Washington, DC -- nearly 30 years.  Our family and his family grew up together.  He had a boy and a girl and we had a girl and a boy. We each have three pictures of our families together from Calico Ghost Town and similar places at different stages of our family's lives. You all know what these look like, the early settler days, the Civil War days and the gunslinger days. We were decked out in a wide array of duds! We raced our children in their small strollers up and down the paths of the swamps of Virginia and the paths of the Shenandoah Parks and we ate chili and hot chocolate on a warm October weekend the weekend after a terrible snowfall that had us all convinced the new ice age was upon us. Jerry and I would "pig out" on all you could eat steamed spice shrimp at the Chesapeake Seafood House while the families sat in the cars (after they had eaten) listening to Waylon, Willie and the Boys. They now have three grandchildren and we have two grandchildren. Jerry spent almost 15 years in the army and the balance of his career in the intelligence community.  He runs, bikes, plays softball, builds cars and is generally in outstanding health.  Certainly never has smoked a day in his life.  At age 53 he was running a sub 8 minute 2 miles. He Rides motocross and really could keep up with just about anyone half his age (at least that is what he tells me).

About two years ago he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Turns out that hietal hernia he struggled with all his life came back to bite him one last time. Jerry under went radiation and chemo-therapy and then had his esophagus removed and the docs recreated a new one from a portion of his stomach. (The docs nicked his lung on the way out which caused him some discomfort but for the most part Jerry just moved on). He struggled with that for several months. Then just when you think it can't get any darker the lights went out! Up jumped the devil hisself -- lung cancer. Just when you think you have it all figured out God jumps up and says, "where were you when I created the heavens and the earth and the stars and the oceans?".

Yet, what continues to amaze me is resilience. Jerry said he would only go "next door" kicking and screaming and that he has built or rebuilt pretty close to 20 cars and he has another 6 or 8 he has yet to finish. His pride and joy, his '41 coupe is still in it's infancy. He works on this one slowly, patiently, creatively. It is not nearly half done and he still works on others to pass the time. He will not go until he is finished and he is not nearly finished. We visited last week-end. He took me through his shop once again and showed me everything he has yet to accomplish and that which he will accomplish. Jerry talks with Matt, my son, about building a car for Matt's wife and the plans begin anew.

Resiliency, a gift from God. Resiliency, a gift from Jerry. Prayer, a gift to Jerry. Answer to a prayer, a gift from God.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Music

Yes, this is a repeat, but you just can't loose with a clip that has lines like "God's trying to tell you something" and "See daddy, sinners got soul, too!"

I'm thankful today for many things, and I hope you are, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

YOU GO TO YOUR ROOM WITHOUT SUPPER

Tip of the hat to James for this little nugget.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Senior Bishops of the communion "significantly excluding ++Orambi and ++Anis" (don't you just love the language of R. Gledhill) may discipline  Archbishop Venables for his continuing unrepentant plundering of the Episcopal Church of The United States and the Church of Canada.  Now here is the punishment -- do not blink because  it is going to go by in an instant: 


Here is an holy person who has not only encouraged the removal of funds and both real and personal property but also shared in the booty.  I suppose if we add it all up it comes to millions of dollars.  Who continues to invade both the US and the Canadian churches with impunity and not remorse.  He flaunts the valid and factual deposition of bishops that have broken their vows and receives into "his" province clergy that have been inhibited by valid bishops in TEC.   

So what do you think he is going to get?  20 years to life? Nope! How about 5 - 10 with a possibility of parole in 4 years?  Nope!  How about 18 months in a county jail?  Nope!  How about house arrest with a GPS collar so he cannot go anywhere for a while?  Nope!  Here is what he "gets":

"The penalty being considered against the Southern Cone, which has 22,000 members in Argentina and surrounding nations, includes the removal of voting rights at the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the central governing body of the Anglican Communion, in Jamaica next May."

The senior bishops are going to send the Archbishop, who has taken a substantial portion of 4 American diocese and their assets,  to bed without any supper!  And THEY say that crime doesn't pay!  No wonder we have so many bishops (real, deposed, inhibited, pretend) all wanting a piece of the action.  For those who have read any detail on the ENRON debacle maybe GAFCON is the new spelling for ENRON.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Music - Out of the Deep

A piece from Rutter's Requiem needs little introduction...enjoy the cello's rich tones on this chilly morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time For Dramatic Action

The Diocese of Forth Worth was the fourth diocese to vote to "transfer" to the Province of the Southern Cone.  There are a number of parishes that have realigned with the AMiA and other provinces.  

Since we are  all engaging in wishful thinking, let's try this one on.  These provinces have by now all received  funds from the various parishes and diocese.  At a minimum, the property that is currently occupied by the various Southern Cone and AMiA have transferred their property to these interlopers.  They are at a minimum the receiver of stolen goods. (BTW, I am not an attorney and this is JUST WISHFUL thinking).  These provinces may have received some cash that the former diocese took with them and have sent on as their assessments to the newly minted provinces.  TEC has deposed a couple of bishops for abandonment and we are suing the Mr. John David Schofield for property and cash.  So what is keeping us from naming at least ++Venables and ++Orambi and ++Nzimbi and ++Akinola in each and everyone one of these suits?  In addition, should any or all of these parties that would be named in the suit set foot on the soil of the United States could we not presume they are being paid by and therefore using the funds from those diocese that absconded with the funds.  Once named in the lawsuits, could we not ask the local police to detain these fellows indefinitely as alleged thieves and extreme flight risks?  If we are going to share things it seems only fitting that we share all the things that go along with the division of the spoils.  This approach would surely slow down these thugs from travelling and stirring the pot.  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunday Music - Modern Saints?

Sara Groves, When the Saints, and not at all what you will expect! Enjoy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Post Prop 8 Article

In a prior post, in the comments section, I indicated I was headed to my room.  While going there I ran into the following article.  Against my regular principles I am going to post the entire article but you all can go to the San Francisco Chronicle to see it in its pristine format.

Proposition 8 has passed, denying to some the right enjoyed by other citizens in California, the right to marry. Now, the central question for the courts to decide is: Are gays in California equal, or can members of certain churches declare them constitutionally inferior?The approval of a constitutional ban on gay marriage raises troubling but age-old issues concerning the lines between religion and government. Before the founders of our country separated church and state, there were hundreds of years of turmoil caused by one religion dominating the government and using it against nonbelievers.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's vote, do gays and lesbians in California have a reason to believe that they have been abused, discriminated against and relegated to a separate-but-equal status?

Yes, and that's why this fight is far from over. There will be a challenge under the U.S. Constitution. In the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California constitutional amendment that limited fair housing on the grounds that prejudice could not be put into a state Constitution.

No one can forecast the outcome of this next fight, but there is bound to be some fallout that may harm those religions that so vehemently insisted that their beliefs be placed in the California Constitution. All religions require tolerance to flourish, but in Proposition 8 some religious groups aimed at and wounded gay people in California.

The drafters of the U.S. Constitution had a brilliant, experienced view concerning the importance of drawing the lines to protect religion on the one hand and civil government on the other. They put those lines in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Today, those lines are very relevant.

Government may not attack religion. Californians who have religious beliefs concerning the proper scope of marriage may exercise those rights as they see fit. Churches have always been able to proceed as they wish concerning marriage ceremonies. There was no mandate to suppress religious beliefs. This should be obvious to everyone in California because of our tolerance of all religions.

That the supporters of Proposition 8 were motivated by religious beliefs cannot be denied. Now the religious beliefs of some Californians are in our Constitution and, until overturned, govern us all whether we like it or not.

The other branch of the First Amendment is equally important. The state may not establish a religion. The state may not take principles of religious belief from a religion, any religion, and establish it as the law applicable to all. This line establishing the double branch of protection of religion on the one hand and no establishment on the other was arrived at after hundreds of years of turmoil.

Historically, marriage was used as a method of oppressing a despised group. These lessons of history are relevant to reflect on today. In Ireland, for 150 years, the penal laws provided that no Protestant could marry a Catholic.

Much more recent in the United States were the rules against marriage between a black person and a white person. These were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1960s and the California Supreme Court in the 1940s. Using the civil marriage ceremony as a method of expressing governmental disdain toward a particular group is as old as the Sierra Nevada. It has been an assault on tolerance.

Finally, marriage is a fundamental right in constitutional analysis. There are very few things in life more important than the ability to choose one's partner. Marriage is not just a word; it is a status, a state of mind, a way of being. Look in any direction and you will see examples of the people's respect for the institution of marriage.

A large group of Californians has now been denied that fundamental institution. These folks are our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues and our relatives. The constitutional promise of this state is, as the California Supreme Court held, that they are equally protected in the enjoyment of rights by all Californians. But the voters have spoken.

Now it will be up to the courts to explain whether equality is real - or just an illusion. I would not wish to be the one to justify this vote to a gay woman going to Afghanistan in the military, to a gay police officer who risks everything so we may be safe or any of the other thousands of gays lesbians in California who contribute so much to our culture, our advancement and our well being.

I cannot square this vote with my view that Californians are decent, accepting and tolerant. But I know that the gays and lesbians of California, like the oppressed Catholics of Ireland who lived under penal laws, will fight this visible, constitutional, embarrassing injustice until it is no more. And when that day comes, we will live in a better state.

James Brosnahan, author of the "Trial Handbook for California Lawyers," is a senior partner at the Morrison & Foerster law firm in San Francisco.

This article appeared on page G - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle


Now, you can reach me in my room, apparently I need a timeout.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Don't Give Up! (Sunday Music)

This is a piece of extraordinary warmth, love and kindness. Enjoy the blessing of either tears or a smile, or laugh because it's too sentimental.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

HEY!

In the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 the wagons have been circled and we are shooting each other!  What in the world is going on?  



To name just a couple of the areas where the "rough and tumble boogie" is being played out.  

There is a huge disappointment from the LGBT community.  In California we went from the mountain top with the Supreme Court ruling to the the depths of the valley with the passage of Proposition 8.  Now, we are beating the crap out of anyone and everyone for all sorts of reasons when in fact we should be gathering our resources and responding in ways that will support the LGBT community.  The folks at the "other sites" are having a field day with this and do not think for one minute that this nonsense going on is not going to come back and hurt the need for full rights for all people.  Peaceful protests, peaceful marching in the streets, letter writing campaigns, court action (which seems to be the most sensible/productive) are all things we should be focusing on.  Beating each other up does not strike me as really productive.  Bating up those that hurt you does not seem like a way in which to change their minds -- in fact it is counter productive.  In fact it gives the enemies of constitutional rights more ammunition to go after other persons rights.

I cannot walk in your shoes, I cannot feel your pain, and I cannot feel your despair.  I am not you.  But I do support your drive for full rights like yesterday.  Keep in mind that courts have said the LGBT person has these God-given rights.  This proposition 8 has denied them to you but they have not taken them away from you, no one and nothing can do that.  We just need the courts to once again reiterate that fact.  It will happen.  



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

LEFT BEHIND

Do you remember the feeling of being at a parade after the parade has passed?  How about the feeling on Christmas day after all the packages are unwrapped and the dinner has been consumed.  It is an empty feeling, a feeling that it was great while it lasted but did I miss something. A feeling somewhere inside, I cannot quite describe where, that tugs at your stomach and feels like I ate too much but I didn't.   The feeling that while the parade was passing I was terribly excited but I missed something, what was I looking for that did not go by?  What was I expecting at Christmas but did not get?  It is not exactly sorrow, it certainly is not anger and it is not really depression though it feels like it a lot.  It is a mix of joy sadness, exuberance and melancholy, of hope and frustration.

I am grateful that after 40 years my generation had some small part to play in the election of a person of color.  After 40 years of riding the money train we hopped off long enough to remember why we are here and took action.  There is, as there should be, great joy in this nation.  We are about to embark on a journey that was somehow interrupted back in 1963 and in 1968.  Finally, praise God, we are back on task.

That being said there is still that awful feeling.  Our LGBT friends had there hopes and dreams smashed -- once again.  Here in California apparently one can vote for some to be free but not all.  We have not yet got the message that as long as one person, one group of people, one class of people suffers oppression none of us is free.  

I love what we as a country have done.  The parade was extra special this time.  My birthday party was fun but I am still missing something.  We are missing our LGBT brothers and sisters standing side by side with us as the parade passes.  We forgot to invite our LGBT brothers and sisters to our birthday party.  There is much work to be done.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

!VOTE!

The time is come and the day is here.  You owe it to yourself to get to the polls and vote.  I have said this about a billion times -- we are the government -- and it starts with the polling booth.  It is a sacred duty and the primary reason for our educational system.
 

I am told by a very well informed confidant that should you need help on the issues Fr. Christian Troll is offering his services (for a small fee?)

All kidding aside -  VOTE   -


Monday, November 3, 2008

MONDAY: A PARTING GIFT

The Los Angeles Times has an editorial today the clearly debunks all the myths surrounding the pro-proposition 8 arguments. Ordinarily I would simply link to that article and allow the readership to go and read it for yourself. As a gift, you do not have to do all that work, here it is:

No on Proposition 8
Debunking the myths used to promote the ban on same-sex marriage.
November 2, 2008


Clever magicians practice the art of misdirection -- distracting the eyes of the audience to something attention-grabbing but irrelevant so that no one notices what the magician is really doing. Look over at that fuchsia scarf, up this sleeve, at anything besides the actual trick.

The campaign promoting Proposition 8, which proposes to amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, has masterfully misdirected its audience, California voters. Look at the first-graders in San Francisco, attending their lesbian teacher's wedding! Look at Catholic Charities, halting its adoption services in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal! Look at the church that lost its tax exemption over gay marriage! Look at anything except what Proposition 8 is actually about: a group of people who are trying to impose on the state their belief that homosexuality is immoral and that gays and lesbians are not entitled to be treated equally under the law.

That truth would never sell in tolerant, live-and-let-live California, and so it has been hidden behind a series of misleading half-truths. Once the sleight of hand is revealed, though, the campaign's illusions fall away.

Take the story of Catholic Charities. The service arm of the Roman Catholic Church closed its adoption program in Massachusetts not because of the state's gay marriage law but because of a gay anti-discrimination law passed many years earlier. In fact, the charity had voluntarily placed older foster children in gay and lesbian households -- among those most willing to take hard-to-place children -- until the church hierarchy was alerted and demanded that adoptions conform to the church's religious teaching, which was in conflict with state law. The Proposition 8 campaign, funded in large part by Mormons who were urged to do so by their church, does not mention that the Mormon church's adoption arm in Massachusetts is still operating, even though it does not place children in gay and lesbian households.

How can this be? It's a matter of public accountability, not infringement on religion. Catholic Charities acted as a state contractor, receiving state and federal money to find homes for special-needs children who were wards of the state, and it faced the loss of public funding if it did not comply with the anti-discrimination law. In contrast, LDS (for Latter-day Saints) Family Services runs a private adoption service without public funding. Its work, and its ability to follow its religious teachings, have not been altered.

That San Francisco field trip? The children who attended the wedding had their parents' signed permission, as law requires. A year ago, with the same permission, they could have traveled to their teacher's domestic-partnership ceremony. Proposition 8 does not change the rules about what children are exposed to in school. The state Education Code does not allow schools to teach comprehensive sex education -- which includes instruction about marriage -- to children whose parents object.

Another "Yes on 8" canard is that the continuation of same-sex marriage will force churches and other religious groups to perform such marriages or face losing their tax-exempt status. Proponents point to a case in New Jersey, where a Methodist-based nonprofit owned seaside land that included a boardwalk pavilion. It obtained an exemption from state property tax for the land on the grounds that it was open for public use and access. Events such as weddings -- of any religion -- could be held in the pavilion by reservation. But when a lesbian couple sought to book the pavilion for a commitment ceremony, the nonprofit balked, saying this went against its religious beliefs.

The court ruled against the nonprofit, not because gay rights trump religious rights but because public land has to be open to everyone or it's not public. The ruling does not affect churches' religious tax exemptions or their freedom to marry whom they please on their private property, just as Catholic priests do not have to perform marriages for divorced people and Orthodox synagogues can refuse to provide space for the weddings of interfaith couples. And Proposition 8 has no bearing on the issue; note that the New Jersey case wasn't about a wedding ceremony.

Much has been made about same-sex marriage changing the traditional definition of marriage. But marriage has evolved for thousands of years, from polygamous structures in which brides were so much chattel to today's idealized love matches. In seeking to add a sentence to California's Constitution that says, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized," Proposition 8 supporters seek to enforce adherence to their own religious or personal definition. The traditional makeup of families has changed too, in ways that many religious people find immoral. Single parents raise their children; couples divorce and blend families. Yet same-sex marriage is the only departure from tradition that has been targeted for constitutional eradication.

Religions and their believers are free to define marriage as they please; they are free to consider homosexuality a sin. But they are not free to impose their definitions of morality on the state. Proposition 8 proponents know this, which is why they have misdirected the debate with highly colored illusions about homosexuals trying to take away the rights of religious Californians. Since May, when the state Supreme Court overturned a proposed ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, more than 16,000 devoted gay and lesbian couples have celebrated the creation of stable, loving households, of equal legal stature with other households. Their happiness in no way diminishes the rights or happiness of others.

Californians must cast a clear eye on Proposition 8's real intentions. It seeks to change the state Constitution in a rare and terrible way, to impose a single moral belief on everyone and to deprive a targeted group of people of civil rights that are now guaranteed. This is something that no Californian, of any religious belief, should accept. Vote no to the bigotry of Proposition 8. (my emphasis).

PS: Thanks to cany and Susan Russell for the heads up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Music

Just your typical All Saints' Sunday music... something for you K.D. Lang fans.

Friday, October 31, 2008

You, Me and Traditional Marriage: UPDATED

Sometimes I am slow and so I did not get this emblem embedded until today.  I did write this on the day (actually I think just before) this was the day.  No matter - this is especially for the Central Valley folks.  I saw one No on Prop 8 and about a dozen Yes on Prop 8 commercials and I am frustrated that anyone thinks that somehow the passage of this proposition will do anything but create a permanent rank of second class citizens.  So let me steal the following from a good friend and blogger cany --

I also borrowed this from cany -- thanks and a hat tip to you -- I would like for everyone to concentrate on keeping our democracy free rather than attempting some back door process to screw up the first ten amendments.  


Please, if you have not read this yet read on but more to the point -- when you are finished go directly to your sample ballot mark the no block on Prop 8 and take the sample ballot to your polling place when you go.  Do not let hate and fear get the better of us -- we are all much better than that!

************************************************************************************


I/We have been married for over 38 years.  I am unclear on how the passage of Proposition 8 will restore my "traditional marriage".  In fact, I did not know I had a traditional marriage.  At great personal risk, I always thought I was just married.
 
I do know this about our marriage. There is a feeling that at some point in time overtakes one.  I am not sure when it happens, maybe right away, maybe after a while or maybe after some profound experience.  I do not know when.  I do know that when I turn to my spouse and say something, only to find that she is not there, I get a deep, pit of the stomach ache that hurts like the dickens.  I think of the time when she will not ever be there and it brings tears to my eyes.  I cannot imagine a time when she would not be there.  It is quite literally, not within my world view. I hope you all understand what I mean by world view.  World view meaning: if gravity suddenly disappeared and I flew off the face of the earth it would be no less startling than not having my wife with me. 


I believe that anyone who has been married has this same experience from time to time.  It is not unique to me and it is not unique to you.  Would you wish that feeling on anyone else?  I cannot imagine me going through that let alone anyone else.  We, you, me, us in California have the power to end some of those terrible feelings.  Not forever and not for everyone but for some and for a lot of the time.  All you and I and our spouses and our friends and our neighbors have to do is on Tuesday, go to your polling place and vote NO on Proposition 8.  Let us all do something of lasting value.  Listen to what follows and then go to the pools on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 and vote NO on Proposition 8.




Home Is Where The Heart Is


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday with James Taylor

James Taylor's classic Fire and Rain, a lovely version here with a little cello addition. Though a romantic legend surrounds this song, much of it is about Taylor's personal battle with addiction and despair. Please pray today for those snared by addiction - and thank God for those released to live new lives.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God's love


"We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God’s love."
-Henri Nouwen, Bread For the Journey, 1996

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Music

Katherine Jenkins with the Morriston Tabernacle Chapel congregation, Wales, singing the hymn Here is Love Vast as the Ocean.



Peace and love, like mighty rivers,
Flowed incessant from above.
Heaven's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Proposition 8

I am writing this from the heart of Southern California. We have mentioned this proposition here before. It is October 17 and we are less than a month away from the election. We have run a couple of the most pointed youtube type ads we could find. California has been labelled as one of the most liberal states in the union and yet this proposition still hangs in the balance. As you read this article ask yourself, "How does the marriage of two committed persons affect your life personally? I suggest it does not. Now ask yourself, "How does the marriage of two committed persons affect THEIR lives?" The answer must be in ways we can only imagine. So, what is so hard about permitting each and every person to enjoy fully the rights and privileges we should all enjoy.
How is your life affected when someone else cannot enjoy the full rights and privileges everyone else does? I suggest you/we are the lesser for that. When one person is harmed we are all harmed.

VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mid-week, somebody was praying -

for you, for me. Darn, it works!

Do listen through to the end, it's the best part.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Favorite Hymn

Blessings to all this Sabbath Day...sing along even if you can't carry a tune, #657...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sneaky :-) help those in need


We all know people who are living on the margins in the best of times - willing to work, but dependent upon piece or contract work that doesn't always pay high wages. That type of person is hurting now, and all of us want to help out in some way without worrying about hurting another's dignity.

In hard times, people often go without food and medicine to pay the rent. These aren't just stories in the newspaper, it's going on all around you. In harsh times our sense of community must grow, and sometimes that means looking a bit closer to home.

Many of you know that feeding the hungry is my way of answering Christ's call to help our neighbors. Here are a couple of easy ways to help those around you that you know, and don't want to embarrass. Intentional leftovers can become a habit; make a huge pot of hearty soup or stew, and have a "full freezer." If you don't cook much: go grocery shopping and when a little extra cash, and buy gift cards. You can slip them in an unsigned greeting card and mail them, or put the card under someone's front door. (Yes, I've been "outed" on the gift cards, but no one has ever been upset). If someone wants to repay your generosity, let them help at odd hours with their own talents - such as handyman work, sewing buttons on all those shirts you have set aside, or teaching you a skill such as knitting. Spending time with someone a bit different than your usual friends is a lot of fun - at the very least, then have some stories you haven't heard a hundred times!

We all have different talents we can share, yours may be different. Look around for those in need, and you will find yourself walking with the Lord and doing his work here on earth. Better than breaker annointing to call up the presence of the Spirit, I guarantee.

Peace to all this day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sentimental Sunday Music

Listen for the wonderful bass...a favorite old tune for yours truly: I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurts to Hurt Sometimes. Dedicated to our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh - and everyone who is hurting today.



I think this is the Oak Ridge Boys at their finest. About 25 years ago I was in a city I didn't like (Las Vegas), and was talked into going to a country music concert - a genre that left me cold. Imagine my surprise when I became an Oak Ridge Boys fan a few songs into the concert...and this was the song I remembered best when I returned home. Don't you just want that bass in your choir?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bishop Katharine Live - Oct. 5, 2008


Steaming hot - *streaming* video alert: the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be at the Washington National Cathedral this Sunday, October 5, 2008. She will be the Cathedral's Sunday Forum guest at 10:10 a.m.(The State of the Episcopal Church: 2008), and preacher at the 11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist service.

I suspect the D.C. crowd will be well-informed, so expect a lively exchange with the Presiding Bishop. The email I received states questions will be answered from online viewers as well as the live attendees. I know this isn't a convenient time for many people, but I suspect a video will be available later in the day. What great timing - the day after the Pittsburgh vote.

*Hat tip to Fred, who noticed the original text's typo (announcing a "steaming" video alert); I just had to keep some of the joke intact. See comments...and my apologies to the PB, I'm sure all propriety will be maintained...

CANA Land "Surprise!"/Stealing the Silver

A local newspaper is reporting TEC's Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, might actually hold the title to land claimed by The Falls Church. If true, this includes the land with their original brick chapel, part of the sanctuary complex.

Our Fred has some fiery words for those other, Donatist Anglicans about stealing TEC assets and dioceses in a great post entitled "Stealing the Silver." He even went Biblical,quoting from Matthew and Mark.

For this and other goodies, pop over to our other blog: Real Anglicans.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PROPOSITION 8 - LEST WE FORGET



If you live in California you have by now seen this commercial. If you have not, please take a moment and view it. I know this is a rerun but this proposition must be defeated and the only way to do that at this moment is to keep the issue in front of everyone.

As Christians we are called to a new order of things -- to be compassionate. Please look the word up. The meaning is significant in Jesus' life and it should be in ours. The issues of purity are old and tattered andworn and we are called to the new. If we are to be followers of Jesus we must be campassionate.

Compassion requires a NO vote on Proposition 8.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hail to the Redskins...


...hail victory. Washington upsets Dallas - in Dallas! - 26 to 24. Dallas folks are free to come on in and trash the officiating, etc. Your powder-blue cream puffs lost on your own (Astro)turf.

The happy young man to the right is Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.

Sunday Music - Gounod's Sanctus

Sanctus, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass (Messe solennelle en l'honneur de Sainte Cecile). The tenor soloist is Michel Fabiano.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

UPDATED:A VETERAN'S VIEW OF JOHN MCCAIN

The first debate is now over. Read to the bottom for an update!


Let me begin by saying that I am a veteran of the Viet Nam era. And not just any veteran, I volunteered and joined the Marine Corps. I did so when I was 17 but delayed enlistment until the January after my 18th birthday. I put boots on the ground in Da Nang in July of 1968 -- part of the ongoing Tet Offensive replacement program. I am by MOS a tanker, an 1811. The difference between us and the 0311's -- they walked and we rode. I have seen combat close up and real personal. I am NOT voting for John McCain. John McCain was a pilot. He fought a sanitary war from afar. While it was not his "fault" he was shot down; many, many pilots did lots of sorties and never were shot down. While I deeply admire his prisoner of war status and greatly respect what he must have gone through, still, he has never been in combat up close and personal. It is way different than from 10,000 feet as a fighter bomber. It is way different to have boots on the ground. I am deeply concerned for his decision-making efforts when it comes to war and much more concerned about his ability to push the red button when strained. I would not want this sanitized war person with his finger on the button.

Secondly, and just as important, I will never vote for a Republican again as long as they treat veterans the way they treated John Kerry and John Murtha of Pennsylvania. It seemed that just when we were going to get a true Viet Nam veteran in the White House the Republican party devoted much of their "527" money to "swiftboating" John Kerry and his war record. When Mr. Murtha, another highly decorated Marine, spoke out against the war in Iraq the republicans came after him hammer and tong. No, I shall never vote for a republican as long as they denigrate the service of Viet Nam veterans. I hold no grudge against POWS that told the NV everything the NVA wanted to hear. I hold no grudge against those who dodged the draft and went to Canada and I respect those who dodged the draft and went to jail. I expect the same courtesy back. I especially do not ever expect to hear a national party say such mean, vile and hateful things against decorated war heroes.

No, I am not voting for John McCain nor am I ever going to vote for a republican because of their lack of respect and dignity afforded the veterans of the Viet Nam war who now sit in office trying to provide another service to our country. It is my fondest wish that each and everyone of you will vote and vote your conscience.

This president will not hesitate to send your sons and daughters to: 1, Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia, North Korea, Iraq, Ukraine, or any where else so he can feel good about himself. Each and every time he spoke of these areas in the context of power and warfare his eyes gleamed. He acts like he wants to go to war so bad he can taste it! It seems to me his answer to the economy is warfare!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are you an "Angli-CAN"?

We're taking off our gloves and digging into church politics at our new blog, Real Anglicans. OTA will still be up and running, but think of it as the "nice twin." Fred already has some timely and feisty posts, so head on over. (We are using Haloscan over there, it does keep things a bit livelier on a hot topic).

Why the second blog? I think Fred said it best on the welcome message, so I'm repeating it below. See you there!

Hello world! A small group of us have opened up a more freewheeling area for those of you who are undergoing changes. The Diocese of Forth Worth and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to name but two. We also understand that the Diocese Quincy is considering a move to the southern climes. We are also aware that several more dioceses are in the process of becoming something they perhaps do not wish to become. You are all welcome to post here at Real Anglicans. We call ourselves the real Anglicans because among other things, we subscribe to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America AND/including tradition, scripture and reason. We believe that Episcopalians are, in fact, the only real Anglicans in the United States. In the last few years, groups have been trying to abscond with the most revered of names, and we have decided wrest it from the grip of imposters. "It" being the name Anglican. We have had enough of those scalawags in places such as Nigeria, Kenya, Sydney, the "Southern Cone," and Rwanda - to name but a few - stealing land, property and the good name of Anglican. We believe that uncaring, unthinking and fundamentalist persons should not be allowed to besmirch our good name and traditions. We are prepared to cross pens with anyone thinking otherwise. Fortunately, when you are in our ballpark you play by our rules or you move on. As authors of this blog we get the last word and we intend to use it.

To our brothers and sisters throughout the country: we know you are hurt, and we know you are angry and this blog is the place to vent. We also know you may need thoughts and ideas as well as prayers for how to proceed. We are hopeful that those from the Diocese of San Joaquin will also post helpful hints and ideas. We are also hopeful that from time to time a "bigwig" may cruise by and pick up an idea or two they can use -- or perhaps leave an idea or two. A sage once told me that if two persons each give the other a quarter and walk away then each still only has a quarter. However, if two persons each give the other an idea then walk away they each have two ideas. We hope you each gain at least that much.

Those who live on the dark side are welcome to post here -- beware we will delete those posts that are abusive -- we do know the difference between edgy and abusive.

A personal note in closing. We are madly, wildly and passionately in love with our Lord, Jesus Christ. We came to this conclusion through our beloved Episcopal Church. Truly we struggle from time to time but scripture, reason and tradition bring us through every time. Our God is madly, wildly passionately in love with us and sent Jesus to make sure we knew that. Trust us when we say we will no longer stand idly by and allow some group of thugs parading around as God's chosen stealing from us God's poem of love to us. Forewarned is forearmed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little Sunday Mozart



Mozart's Laudate Dominum
(This recording of the classic is from Katherine Jenkins'
CD: Second Nature.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

IS THE JOB DONE?

Mr. Robert Duncan is now the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. But, is the job finished in Pittsburgh? I think not, there is at least one more to do. Let me say upfront, I do not understand for certain that a diocese without a bishop falls under the presiding bishop but I certainly hope so and here is why.

Here is a portion of one of two statements on the Pittsburgh diocesan website:


“This is of course a very painful moment for Pittsburgh Episcopalians. The leadership of The Episcopal Church has inserted itself in a most violent manner into the affairs and governance of our diocese. While we await the decision of the diocesan convention on realignment to a different province of the Anglican Communion, we will stand firm against any further attempts by those outside our boundaries intimidate us,” said the Rev. David Wilson, president of the Standing Committee.
.

Ya'll want painful, come visit St. Francis in Turlock, California. You want painful, come visit with a life-long Episcopalian that had her church sold out from underneath her so that Mr. Schofield can fund his move to the Southern Cone. Presumably this was written by and for the Standing Committee of the diocese of Pittsburgh. And, guess who is on the Standing Committee? Yes none other than The Reverend Geoffery Chapman, St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley, PA. This is one of my "favorite" people -- he wrote the Chapman Memo that the entire orthodox world is force feeding the rest of the Anglican Communion one word at a time.

"The Chapman Memo"

Tell you Pittsburgh folks what. How does the following sound? Since the Reverend Geoffery Chapman's has/advocates the abandonment of the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church we ask for the following. Given the fact that the Presiding Bishop has ultimate control of the diocese at this time, Rev. Chapman could be inhibited and ultimately deposed as well. He can then sit on the sidelines just like is beloved boss. Perhaps then the Archduke of the Southern Cone could welcome the Rev. Chapman into the fold as well.

All those in favor signify by saying "Aye".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sound Fundamentals

"The economy is fundamentally sound."  John McCain.

Apparently Presidential hopeful John McCain does not live on the same planet nor in the same country as you and I.  This statement is beyond comprehension.  The mortgage world is beyond absurd.  I work in Stockton, CA, the city with more foreclosures than any other.  The unemployment rate in the county I live in, is over 13% and the nationwide unemployment is 6.1%.  I have no idea how many manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas in the last 8 years but I would hazard a guess that it is more than in the history of the country.  In fact, we are in danger of losing every manufacturing job in the country to overseas labor.  My brother-in-law works for Sylvania lighting in So. California and most of the light bulbs they now sell are made in China. This process has a demonstrated 60% failure rate and yet Sylvania accepts that failure rate because the labor is so cheap it still is profitable.  We have not had a true anti-trust suit since Bobby Kennedy was Attorney General (for your youngsters that would be 1963).  Now we see the federal government nationalizing AIG.  This of course after such colossal failures with Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers.  AIG will cost the taxpayers 85 Billion dollars -- that has got to be close enough to salvage a lot of personal home mortgages.  Couple that with the 100+ Billion dollars spent in Iraq funding George W. Bush's and Dick Cheney's friends.  Washington Mutual is about to go under.  In the meantime oil companies announce record profits of 10-13 billion dollars per QUARTER.
 
Enter presidential hopeful, John McCain.  John has 7 homes which he sometimes cannot remember.  I do not know if that is he cannot remember he has 7 homes, where they are or why he has them.  John believes that middle class income is $4million.

The economy is fundamentally sound the same way the emperor is dressed.  It is because I say it is, and, if one says it enough then we will all believe it.  I genuinely feel like I have fallen through the looking glass.
 
I am ready for a change -- the kind of change that John McCain cannot bring because he cannot see anything but a fundamentally sound economy.
John, you will get my vote --- when pigs (with or without lipstick) fly!

Don't believe me?  Try this:

"Wall Street's Just Deserts"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Reality of Afghanistan


"Afghanistan is bigger than Iraq, more rugged, more impoverished and vastly more complicated, with more languages, more ethnic groups, more tribes and more lethal neighbors."

"Where there is a real military presence, it is possible to bring peace and development to Afghanistan. But where there are no foreign troops, there is often anarchy. Though European governments like to draw a line between bringing 'security' and engaging in counter-terrorism in Afghanistan, on the ground those missions blur."
Anne Applebaum, Willing To Win in Afghanistan? The Washington Post (Op-Ed), September 16, 2008.

I live between the Pentagon and Fort Belvoir - and I can total up more total "tour days" in Afghanistan than Iraq for my military friends (and their children). Stay informed, and remember all the NATO troops stationed there in our prayers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not That Different

A little Sunday music from Collin Raye:

I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things, too
So were really not that different, me and you


Thursday, September 11, 2008

WHY DID MCCAIN PICK PALIN?

National Public Radio is running a program on both Morning Edition and All Things Considered entitled Does Race Matter in '08. The series talks with 13 persons. 7 persons are white and 6 persons interviewed are of color. Here is a little bit about York, PA. York has about double the national average of people living under the poverty line. York also has a manufacturing economy (hard to believe that in an Eastern state, huh?). This should be fertile ground for the democratic candidate since we have lost more jobs overseas than ever before. These folks talk about why they are voting for who they are voting. It is a fascinating series but it made me think about why John McCain would pick Sarah Palin. As a caveat, these are 13 people, hardly a representative sample that would hold up statistically -- but, they are, I believe, representative of the "culture wars" that are going on in many of the battleground states like California, Texas, New York, Florida, etc. And, the style and technique of the Republican strategy is reminiscent of the same swift boat techniques used last presidential go around.

Let's start with this quote from the series:



"I don't think there is a problem with a black man," says Don Getty, a retired police officer, who is white. "I personally don't think Obama is the right one. He doesn't have the experience."

Margie Orr, a black receptionist, takes exception to Getty's view of Obama's experience.

"My thing is, though, what would make you think Palin would be — OK — we know John McCain has medical problems, God forbid that this man is elected, and this white female, so what you're saying is, though, the United States would rather see — as long as they're white — they don't care if she's even a female, but as long as it's a white person ..."

"No, I don't think that's the case," Getty responds. "She has more executive experience than he does. He was a community organizer. Nobody's ever told me what a community organizer is."


Then there is this exchange:


"I look at Obama, and I have a question in my mind," she says. "Years ago, was he taken into the Muslim faith? And my concern is the only way you are no longer a Muslim is if you are dead, killed. So in my mind, he's still alive."

Although Barack Obama has said repeatedly he is not a Muslim and has never been a Muslim, Moreland is still unconvinced.

"There is something about him I don't trust," she says. "I don't care how good a speaker he is, I just can't trust him."


This is the same person who just a few minutes earlier says this:



"I can't recall any privilege that I got because I was white," Getty says. "I mean, I went to city schools. But I don't know of anything that I got because I was white that the black kids couldn't have gotten the same thing."


So lets think about at least one way Sarah Palin may have been selected to the VP slot. Karl Rove gets a panicked call from the McCain staffers. We want to win but we are losing by anywhere 4 to 6 percentage points what can we do? Rove says, "No problem." You guys saw how close the tough lady, Hilary Clinton came to getting the nomination, right? let's capitalize on a couple of issues. You need 4 to 6 points, right? We put a white woman on the ticket. It gives the white folks a chance to vote for change and without voting for a black. It eases the conscience and allows people to think that they are not racist. It gives voters the chance to say, "But I voted for change, I voted for a woman. Isn't that a good thing?" Sarah Palin gave McCain all that plus change and plus the religious right which needed a reason to not vote for a black. In addition, she has executive experience and isn't that better than a US Senator?

Is McCain a racist? Does the McCain camp use racist tactics to divide and win? Well, you decide for yourself.

One of the most telling parts of the program allows us to each answer this question clearly for ourselves:


Of the seven white voters and six voters of color, the majority of white voters are supporting McCain. All of the people of color are supporting Obama.

What does that say? Coincidence? Or is something else at work?

"I only heard one person even say or even think the reason they were voting that was because of race," says property manager Charlotte Bergdoll, the sole undecided voter.

She said she didn't see a connection between race and political choice, and in that assessment she wasn't alone.

But after the voters spent more time debating that divide — again, all the voters of color behind Obama, and almost all the white voters behind John McCain — most came to a reluctant conclusion.

Does race matter on a subconscious level? There was a series of exasperated utterances of "Yes."

I Remember



Something very special is happening at the Pentagon today, a dedication. Sacred Ground: The Pentagon Memorial

Please remember those left behind, particularly the family of LTC Neil Hyland. He was my tenant, and then my next door neighbor. He died in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Rest in peace, Neil - and all who died with you that day. And so today, I remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SAN JOAQUIN AND PITTSBURGH

In a well written piece Father Bruce Robison compares and contrasts the Diocese of Pittsburgh with the Diocese of San Joaquin. See the following link for the entire article.

"A Reflection on San Joaquin and Pittsburgh
--The Rev. Bruce Robison, Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park
(Pittsburgh)"


This article is located at Father James Simon’s blog entitled Three Rivers Episcopal, a blog that James (The Three Legged Stool) called our attention to a few weeks ago. The quote I would like to call your attention to is:

“More pertinently, though, I have continued to follow the San Joaquin situation, and I’m writing this commentary, because I and many others have wondered if there might be a few clues there about what might lie ahead for us here, in Pittsburgh, with our “realignment vote” at diocesan convention now only a bit more than a month away. After all, of the four dioceses of the Episcopal Church that seem on the course for “realignment” (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth), San Joaquin went first.”

This is, for the Pittsburgh Across the Aisle folks of some genuine import. There is at least one theory that says you know where you are going by following where you have been. The Pittsburgh folks have extrapolated this theory just a tad and said, "We know where we are going by using the Diocese of San Joaquin as an example and by that example we can, to a large extent, plot our course for where we want to go.

But, what if this is all a smokescreen? What if there is a larger plan? What if the answer to the proverbial question, “How does one eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.”, really apply to the TEC?

If we take every “realignment” as an isolated event then yes, the Pittsburgh approach makes sense. But what if each realignment is but one more step in an overall plan to takeover the entire Episcopal Church? Then we (TEC) are always one step behind and getting further behind with every realignment. And each time the next diocese moves to the Southern Cone or the AMiA or CANA and TEC is forced to pick up the pieces TEC gets further and further behind.

Ahhh, but there is one thing we may need to consider: “tipping point”.

“The term tipping point describes a point at which a slow gradual change becomes irreversible and then proceeds with gathering pace. It is derived from the metaphor of a rigid solid object being tilted to a point where it begins to topple.”

For us, TEC,  our "tipping point" comes from so many legal entanglements that we wake up one morning and discover we are they.

These seemingly related only in concept "takeovers" are in fact a larger and more direct attack on the Episcopal Church. That yes, Pittsburgh can learn from what happened in San Joaquin but that will quite easily play into the hands of the “Primates Council”. The current  strategy TEC is following will eventually give up the Episcopal Church. What we need, really need, is a strategy that will stop these thugs in their tracks.

My first suggestion, after much thought, is that the primate involved, in this instance, Greg Venables, the Province and every bishop in that province be named personally and individually liable for these incursions. Certainly they are the direct as well as indrect beneficiaries of the "realignment".  They benefit immediately with the illegal transfer of property and cash to the various entities within the new province.  In addition, we test out some new legislation that perhaps attacks these individuals, perhaps under the Alien and Sedition Acts or perhaps under some IRS or INS code that gives these Primates the opportunity to expend their resources and their time and their attorneys in court. Perhaps were Mr. Venables named in suits in Fort Worth and San Joaquin and Pittsburgh and forced to appear any number of times – or better yet, when here arrested as a flight risk and held here until these suits were over the other Primates may begin to think twice about these stupid, mean-spirited and ugly forays into the Episcopal Church.
Now, we will hear one more time about how awful we are that we are "suing" and we my stand to lose more laity but hey, in about 5 years we are all going to be "Southern Conaliones" otherwise so what's to lose?

If we want to avoid the inevitable then we will need to create a much broader strategy that includes some form of offense. A defensive strategy will only postpone the inevitable.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Music: We're Rockin' Today

A bit on the darker side here, but a powerful message. From the reigning queen of the Christian Rock genre, Natalie Grant:



It might be time to cycle back to Rutter next Sunday...


Saturday, September 6, 2008

A GROWING MONOLITH

In a blog close to some of us toujoursdan offers the following comments:


"Secondly, for business to out perform others as the free market demands, they need the best talent they can get. So attributes like gender, race and sexual orientation have become less and less important than the ability to do the job well. In-demand workers are going to seek out the best deal they can get and gravitate towards business, and (if they are skilled immigrants) countries, that give them the best benefits packages. This is incompatible with political initiatives that were used to limit equality of people based on race, and still attempt to do so on gender and sexual orientation."


Well, this is a good a place to start as any.

When was the last time anyone saw an anti-trust suit? Someone took on Microsoft and pretty much lost. Before that there was ATT and it was broken up -- but wait, look now? Presto - chango now you see it now you don't and now you do! Honestly we have not had a successful anti-trust campaign since Robert Kennedy was Attorney General.

Let's look at but one example. The oil companies own everything from well-head to distribution point. They are allowed, by tax law, to move the "revenues" anywhere along that line to reduce and/or eliminate taxes. The oil companies are netting between 8 and 10 billion dollars a year!

The price of oil went up because: (pick one)
a) of the hurricane?
b) Because of the lack of production facilities?
c) the lack of new oil fields?
d) the lack of new drilling?
e) or the presence of war in the middle east?
f) none of the above.

If you picked none of the above you would be absolutely correct! The price of oil went up because someone with a lot of money decided to play the market with their dollars! And what happened last week? Some hedge funds lost their shirts because they bought high and got stuck! I would say that these folks screw with our lives but they do not even know we exist. They do not care or even think about middle class or lower class or even upper class. They are in it for one reason -- self-gratification. I made a bunch of money one time and I can do it again -- and they do. And we let them. It makes them feel good!

The net result of much of this interaction, at least on the real world, is jobs are going oversees. Rich land, land that can feed the world, is being paved over and houses are being build that no one can afford and that those that could are now being foreclosed on and no one cares about them. Oh, sure, the current administration will bail out banks and Fannie and Freddie not because of the help it provides to the people but because the stock holders will scream bloody murder! Self-gratification.

Now, back to the original question. What capitalists of this nature need are dull-witted,non-thinking automatons that get paid nothing and have no benefits and cannot or do not think; that will not organize and will not complain but will live on the edge so that they will be thankful for that crumb that falls from the master's table.

David Korten, author of The Great Turning, states,

"To end poverty, heal the environment, and secure the human future it is necessary to turn from growth to the reallocation of resources as the defining economic priority. Eliminate harmful uses (military, advertising, sprawl, and financial speculation), increase beneficial uses (environmental regeneration, food and energy self-reliance, health, education, and productive investment), and give priority to the needs of those the old economy excludes and represses (the desperate, hungry, and indentured)."

This is what we must be about.This is what we must change.

Peter Jensen's Latest Word

I came across this from the ++Jensen (of the Peter type) and thought it deserved a reprint. It may be a first draft. You can use the website to see his product. You must drink a cup of coffee before reading this post and you must promise to wash your hands when you are done.

Let me be personal as one of the highlights of my life.
Primarily it was a spiritual conference and a spiritual experience. As one of the organizers, I was in a position to see how the Lord answered a conference time. I was simply extraordinary and I must testify. I know many people all round the world not to mention the Lord’s will. I will illustrate my natural personality. I was giving a great thought. The run-up to Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, asked us all to stop. To him, it was very important that we sought the mind in each other. I found this decision a difficult one. I was conscious. The sheer variety of people. The level of trust we followed. The chairman’s wisdom was the Jerusalem Declaration. A document which in my opinion I have to say Archbishop Orombi was in tears. In part this was because of the content. People had shared their pain and I had seen much more: I have just received an email from an immense Sudanese bishop blessed by some of the Sydney delegation. He went home. He reports that nineteen people came to know. Lord! Indeed there is no limit. Help give in. The Anglican Communion know that all of you were comfortable. Our decision not to know the whole story extend over many opinions.
Overwhelmingly, the Communion is still opposed to sex. GAFCON made that clear. Yet there are powerful forces which will treat the ‘sanctification of sin’ as Jim Packer.
Fundamentally there is a strategy for patience. We had to have a work out. We go from here to a nuclear explosion. Those closest to the centre of it will suffer first. The rest of us will take some time, but we will escape.
The other approach, the offensive activities, requires long periods of time and much talk. In the meantime parishes and even whole dioceses are left. I appreciate a number of people who share the second approach to protect orthodox liver. Biblical standards plays into the hands of those who go by the more acceptable novel.
Holding GAFCON was absolutely necessary and the result of my mind not attending. When people say Lambeth, they fail Lambeth. The best way to make world Anglicanism – and indeed well beyond Anglicanism, was to attend.



You will find (and you may wish to read) the original here:
Trusting God at "GAFFE"con

Thursday, September 4, 2008

They will "have no truck"

(A little humor break)

A certain fundi-con commentator with an odd definition of virtue wrote this about the FOCA primates on his "news" blog: "...They will have no truck with sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman."

At first, I thought of our Leonardo and what happened to Red. But then, I realized he was using a clever idiom meaning "will have no dealings with," so certainly he wouldn't want to go anywhere near that truck.

I, for one, will have no truck with hateful bigots. And hatred is not a virtue.

And Leonardo, I promise, we'll return Red. Do you mind if we keep the tractor-pull conversion intact? It looks really snazzy. We kept it red, but there is a decal on the side with a really cool volcano and the lettering "Big Len.". Will put a pan of brownies and a box of Belgian chocolates in the glove box, and the tank will be full.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

LET'S NEGOTIATE?

A recent article appeared in another blog that has just infuriated me. I was minding my own business (as best I can) when I slipped over to an old favorite of mine and a good friend, James. James posts under the "Three Legged Stool" and is quite calm, reasoned, analytical and almost always, well okay, always a good read. He posted a veiled reference to another blog and I made the mistake and jumped over to read the blog. Well here goes cause I am genuinely tired of the cr*p folks are trying to foist on TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. If I were king here is what I would say:

First, TEC and ACoC will not stop recognizing the rights or each and every person that God has created. We intend to reach out in God's love and with the help of Christ's mercy and bring as many people into the love and knowledge of God that we can. We in TEC and ACoC cannot live up to the old testament commands and so we will, with God's help live in a relationship with our Lord and Saviour that allows us to love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind and we will love (ALL) our neighbors as ourselves. These are the commandments we will live by and with the mercy of God we will be reconciled with our God in life everlasting.

Second, we recognize the the Archbishop of Canterbury is a focal point for the Anglican faith once delivered and that one cannot be Anglican with out direct ties to an Anglican church. That it is hard to understand a person or group who wishes to be Anglican in all that that means and yet rejects the Archbishop of Canterbury since he/she is appointed by the HEAD OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION.

Third, we reject out of hand any DEMAND by any bishop, archbishop, primate or any other person in power who refuses to work towards peace and harmony within their own province. The attack and killing of anyone, Muslims included that is not immediately and convincingly condemned by a person in a position to stop cannot change the argument to some other area of concern in hopes that no one will notice the problems in their own country. No demand by any primate will be considered that does not seek to free captives held hostage in the primate's country first. No demand by any primate will be considered that does not seek to end the rape and murder of women in the primate's country first. No demand by any primate will be considered that does not seek to solve the problems of young boys being pressed into service by rebels in the primate's country first. No demand by any primate will be considered that does not seek to end the disappearance of persons in opposition to the entrenched government in the primate's country first. We will not respond nor in any way act on anything these primates have to say or ask or demand so long as they continue to raid parishes and diocese in provinces not of their own for the purpose of money and power.

Fourth, TEC and the ACoC will not negotiate with primates or anyone that negotiates from the position of "we have more people than you do so that makes us right and you wrong". There is no basis in fact, logic, theology or epistemology that warrants this argument as anything but invalid. Numbers does not make anyone right. Truth makes one right and we have seen no truth in GAFCON claims.

Fifth, GAFCON funding sources that create an illusion of "solvency" does not create an argument that TEC or ACoC will deal with on any level. Solvency is not a criteria for correctness nor is it a criteria for the love of God or Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will not, not descend on anyone because that person or group is either solvent or insolvent.

Sixth, TEC and ACoc will not stop litigation and will not negotiate against ourselves in this process. GAFCON and the myriad alphabet soup affiliates must not mistake TEC ACoC kindness for weakness. We also will not negotiate with thieves and robbers and bigots. If GAFCON wants to negotiate then GAFCON needs to return all property and money to the appropriate diocese and once that is done TEC and ACoC will begin to consider the possibility of negotiations and perhaps think about reconciliation.

Seventh, TEC and ACoC will not negotiate with any GAFCON or affiliates who continue to meddle in the internal affairs of another province. Where these primates found the time to jet around the world when their own countries suffer from starvation, kidnapping, murder, rape, and theft is unconscionable and TEC and ACoC will not negotiate anything with these primates until such time as they demonstrate a capacity for propensity for mercy, love, care and concern for those most affected by these crimes in their own countries.

Eighth, TEC and ACoC will not negotiate with any primate or group of primates that will not in love and humility exchange the peace and receive the sacrament of the Eucharist with our primates.

Ninth, TEC and ACoC will not negotiate with any primate or group of primates that believes they can put together such documents as the Jerusalem Declarations or the GAFCON Communique and demand anything. The art of negotiations is based on a good faith belief that each side can achieve it's goals and that no side can dominate. These primates simply wish to dominate -- women, LGBT, weak bishops, weak churches, sinners and tax collectors and TEC and ACoC stands with Jesus in protecting all classes of people and has determined that no one is for sale, no one is up for negotiations and no one will be traded for someone else. This is NON NEGOTIABLE.

Thank you, turn me over, I think I am done on this side.