Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Music - Come Holy Ghost

Not the traditional arrangement, and yes - this is a repeat if you stop by here most Sundays for the musical selection.

Follow this link, hear the lovely music, and learn about the loving community that created it. You'll be glad you did!

Need more enticement? From where I'm sending ya: "...Hope that something new is beginning that has very old roots. Hope that God is growing life out of our devastation, trust out of our cynicism, love out of our fear, community out of our isolation.... And that's what this album is about - fumbling into God's grace. It is a seismic and humble shift when our heart can hear the words that God has been saying to us for all our lives, '...nothing can separate you from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus'. These songs say 'Yes' to God's claim upon your life that, 'You are my Beloved.'"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Rise and Fall of The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

In December of 2007 a large part of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin did the unthinkable.  Having spent almost 20 years preparing for a bone-chilling move the then Bishop of San Joaquin, John David Mercer Schofield and about 70 other clergy grabbed as much property and people as they could and headed south, to the province of the Southern Cone.  This made news and horrified everyone, especially the Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church in the United States and most if not all of the national leaders.  Much like today, no one thought that could possibly happen, but it did.

From December 2007 until March of 2008 several parishes, most notably St. Anne's in Stockton, St. John's in Lodi, Church of the Savior in Hanford, Holy Family in Fresno and Christ the King in Riverbank (along with "faith communities throughout the Valley) were left "hanging".  To quote a Roger Miller song "no phone, no pool, no pets". TEC from December, January and some of February was frozen into a state of immobility.  During this time, in large part due to Remain Episcopal, those left in the Episcopal Diocese continued to be strong in their Episcopal Presence and in the presence of nothing less than a withering attack by people like John David Schofield,  Bill Gandenberger and Van McAlister.  John David had conditioned the newspapers in the valley to assume that the bad guys were those left behind, not those who absconded with the property. 

In March, much to everyone's surprise (except those in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin) the diocese of San Joaquin was rediscovered by the national church and an interim Bishop was appointed/elected.  While the presiding bishop and several national figures including Bonnie Anderson have visited and become aware of the strong faith-filled Episcopalians still here, little if anything has been done to reinvigorate the diocese. 

The real focus of the diocese has been twofold: 1, recover the stolen property and 2, depose/get rid of those clergy that no longer want to be part of the Episcopal presence.  The one clear exception to that basic mode of operation has been Father Terry Martin and his Red Tent "ministry".

Interestingly enough, remember when the Presiding Bishop appointed someone to do something for the diocese to help them restore things?  Wonder what happened to that?

We are now to a point where the glaring error of our ways is upon us.  Not a dime has been spent on reconstituting the Diocese of San Joaquin and it shows!  The first parish, St. Paul's is (at least in property) due back to the diocese on July 1, 2009.  We as a diocese, that is, parish by parish have an incredible problem.  No one has figured out what to do with these returning parishes.  It is entirely likely that by the end of the summer those Incorporated parishes that left to the So. Cone will be back and by the end of the year those parishes that were "corporate sole" parishes will be back and no one has figured out what to do.  In fact no one is even working on a realistic plan to reconstitute the diocese.  We are "playing everything by ear".  What does this mean?  Specifically Christ the King has struggled to maintain an Episcopal presence here in the community.  St. Paul's will return and St. Paul's is a stones throw from Christ the King.  One other incorporated parish, St. Matthias, also a stone's throw from St. Paul's and Christ the King will return later this year.  There is no way, at this time, that two parishes could really survive let alone all three.  [There is a little more history to this but I will leave that to your  missionary imaginations].  So, what happens, other than the first celebration service back nothing has been planned.  Oh, but get this, the Bishop has asked several members of Christ the King who have some ties to St. Paul's to go back and be vestry members, the organist and generally repopulate St. Paul's.  For you numbers folks, Christ the King ASA is about 95.  Get the picture yet?  Just what do you suppose is going on?  Is this the plan?  Holy crap on a cracker!  For those of you who are still in a quandary, we are rewarding Christ the King for remaining Episcopal by killing it.
This is not just rewarding the prodigal son with a feast.  It is giving the balance of the inheritance to him again.  He squandered it the first time so let's see if he does better this time?  What the heck is that?!

And, is this a unique set of circumstances?  No, there is a similar situation in Fresno and in Bakersfield.  In essence, we have poured our heart and soul into getting our property back and now that it is coming back we have done -  EXACTLY NOTHING!  We have not put one dime into reconstructing the diocese. I guess everybody thought, "we'll take care of it later."  Later is here.

Here is at least one idea.  There is a really good corporate type in Fresno (this priest works for the national church already and would be a facilitator not a chairperson) who could lead groups (primarily lay since clergy once again have a stake in parishes that stay open and parishes that close) of deanery appointed ad hoc committees in establishing norms and setting up strategic plans to reconstitute the diocese upon the return of the various parishes.  Yes, it would take some amount of time, precious as that is, and some money (815 are you listening?) and once the plans were set and approved by the deaneries the plans could come to the convention for "ratification".  Until such time as these plans re completed those parishes that return must stay closed. Sorry, the price one pays for stupidity.  Once the plans are in place then the deaneries would implement those plans as parishes return to the Episcopal Church.  This plan is relatively cheap, it is locally based and it is locally executed and yet can become a role model for the other diocese that will eventually have to face the same issues. Let it be known that without some form of a plan that recognizes and deals with the various issues within the current Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin within a few short years, maybe as little as 18 months we will no longer exist.

I leave you all with this thought: "Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody care?"

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Nugget Embedded in the Merchant of Venice

" Mark you this Bassanio The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek A goodly apple rotten at the heart O what a goodly outside falsehood"

The silly scintillating response of one of Mr. Schofield's henchmen to the recent deposition of the 61 clergy in Diocese of San Joaquin.

This came from a recent post by Mr. Van McAlister:

It might be helpful to look at the terms of "Abandonment" according to the canons of The Episcopal Church: The canons define abandonment as an "open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with this Church . . ." [Cn IV.10.1]. We are guilty of none of those. We have not openly renunciated the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. To the contrary: we stated that we must hold fast to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. And, we have made public the fact that TEC has "openly renunciated the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of this Church" and has stubbornly refused to follow her own canons and has rejected discipline from others in the Anglican Communion. We were admitted into a province that is in communion with TEC and the Anglican Communion. For the past four decades, the leadership of TEC has turned a blind eye to bishops and priests who have taught false doctrine and ignored the canons of the Church, and now they are disciplining clergy who have faithfully followed the doctrine and canons of the Church. Correspondingly, TEC and Bp Lamb have not followed their canons properly in this process, either.

Well, I don't know about you guys but I am convinced.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off-Topic: The State Of California

I pretty much grew up in this state. My grandmother was one of the founding Quakers of a "quaint little village" about 13 miles east of Los Angeles. I have seen the beauty of California and it is vast! From surfing the beaches of So. California to the tallest redwoods in Big Sur to the deserts of the Mojave to the immense beauty of the Northern Coast. The historical Highway 49 and the several capitals including Benicia, Monterrey and Sacramento. The huge valleys where most of the world's food is grown and where on any given day, without the Delta breezes one swelters under a hot summer sun. From San Diego and the harbor to San Francisco and its Barbary Coast. No state can compare with our history and our beauty and our stupid politics.

Yep, this is about the "late great disagreement" currently being felt in the once golden state. We held an election last Tuesday, May 19, 2009 and nobody came. We went from the largest turnout in state history to six people crowding into a single voting booth and the result was a disaster.

Atop the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, D.C. is the following Oliver Wendell Holmes (the crazy commie) quote, "Taxes is the price we pay for living in a civilized society."

And couple with that the following "working" definition of politics. "politics is the art of compromise."

Now, our state representatives in general,and approximately, are paid $117,000.00 per annum and are provided a daily living allowance of $173.00 per diem. They are also provided a car and all the gasoline they need. In addition, if they work on a committee or the like they are entitled to and a staff of 8 that the state pays for.

One would think, almost believe, that when one works year-round (another quirk of our representatives) one could pass a lousy stinking budget! But, California, has in its imminent wisdom, passed proposition 13 which among the worst provisions in this crazy document required a two-thirds vote on all legislation touching on, you guessed it, taxes. As a result of this we have passed propositions to fund schools, roads, transportation, health care, social services, just about everything one can think of has a special proposition attached to it that makes it "untouchable" and provides for the common good in such a way that the revenue cannot be touched. For all intents and purposes the people of California, when feed up, will not repeal prop 13 but will "specially fund" someones favorite program. As a further result we borrow, we account in strange ways that only a state can do, and we steal from those few programs that are not protected. We (generally the governor) make unholy deals with just about anyone, prison guards, teachers, police officers, nurses, social workers and then the republicans blame the fiscal crisis on these hard working people who just want to earn a living wage. And, all along, they fail to compromise and create a true working budget.

Yes, the state of California has been a democratically controlled state for all of my life and since a little after Hiram Walker put into play his major changes back around the 1915s. Republicans have complained about Jesse Unruh and Willie Brown and everyone else who has held the position of Speaker of the House. The Republicans have tried without success to redistrict the state in a fairer way -- read that "gerrymander to the Republican advantage".

Because of these inept Republicans, and the 2/3 majority requirement the State of California has seen its public schools slip from #1 in the nation to #47. Our once flourishing University system is now as expensive as any private school in or out of California. Our roads are in such bad shape that one risks one's life every time one drives anywhere in this state. We here in California fail miserably in taking care of public safety, public health (physical and mental) and educating our pre-schoolers.

The vote last Tuesday was NOT, in my mind, a rejection of "new taxes" as the deaf and dumb Republicans would have us believe, it is a rejection of their inability to create a working budget. All those who do not believe that a $21 billion deficit is not going to create new taxes please raise your hand. All those who think that we can truly and earnestly continue to run this state by cutting and gutting every social program please raise your hand. All those who think that by cutting those frivolous administrators salaries we can get through this debacle please raise your hand. Good, the 64 Republicans from Orange County can now put your hands down.

Can we please get serious? How about you lawmakers go to work and fix the budget yourselves. How about you strike a compromise that works for everybody. Republicans, if you hold Prop 13 so near and dear to your hearts that you are unwilling to give that up it is incumbent upon you to make the "deal". You MUST work and compromise. You may not hold this state hostage. We all recognize new taxes when we see them, and we all want California to resume its once proud place in the galaxy of stars. I do not know about anyone else but I am tired of being ranked 47th, 50th, 46th, 40th and any other rank below #1 when it comes to just about anything. Think about it -- let's start a run on who can be first in health care and clean air standards and education and roads and parks and everything else. It takes creativity and it takes some time, but shoot folks, you only have all year! What say you go back to work and stop bellyachin' about Prop 13 and all the tied up hands and create some legislation that we all can be proud of. Some of you going to lose you place in the Senate or Assembly? Maybe but how about we start thinking long term now and a little less short term. Republicans, you are NEVER going to be the majority party in this state in the near future and if you keep acting like the way you have been maybe never! Talk about face reality, sheesh. Most of those interlopers who moved here in the last 50 or so years did so because of the greatness of California and that greatness has always come at a price. Stop "screwing" with my state and get on with the work each and everyone of you is supposed to be doing.

That is it. Stick a fork in me. I am done.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Song for the Ages (Sorry, Harry Chapin)

Harry Chapin, folk/rock singer is a very special songwriter. I just happen to have copies of most of the things he wrote including Cotton Patch Gospels. (I highly recommend it). Well, here is Harry's anthem to hurried and confounded family life. It has a slight twist from what you all may remember.

Archbishop arrived just the other day
He came to San Joaquin in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to talk while he was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you John David
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Baby Blue and Matt K on the moon
When you comin' home Archbishop?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then John David
You know we'll have a good time then

The lawsuit turned one just the other day
John David said, "Thanks for the letter, Greg, come on let's pray
Can you teach me to pray", He said "Not today
I got a lot to do", John said, "That's ok"
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And John said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Baby Blue and Matt K on the moon
When you comin' home Archbishop?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then John David
You know we'll have a good time then

Well, Greg came home from GAFCON just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Greg, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and said with a smile
"What I'd really like, John David, is to borrow the church keys
See you later, can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Baby Blue and Matt K on the moon
When you comin' home Archbishop?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then John David
You know we'll have a good time then

I've long since retired, my Greggie's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, John, if I can find the time
You see my ACNA's a hassle and Primates have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, John David
It's been sure nice talking to you"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
Greg grew up just like me
My Archbishop was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Baby Blue and Matt K on the moon
When you comin' home Archbishop?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then John David
You know we'll have a good time then

Sunday Music - A Better World

A sentimental standby with an all-star cast: We are the World

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grand Jury Indictment(s) In Colorado

Turns out Mr. Don Armstrong, a former Episcopal Rector now a person hiding behind the skirts of the Anglican Communion both here and abroad.  If any one stops by the good old "sit limp" blog there is a whole bunch of protect one of our own at all costs.  Now, I am not an attorney and I have no real legal background but, I have had the distinct "privilege" of being integrally involved in two and loosely involved in a third civil grand jury.  Please remember I said civil (that is not to be confused with criminal) though sometimes civil can lead to criminal charges.  

To say that those who have remained faithful Episcopalians are at odds with those orthodites who steal all the A and C letters in the world (see the LEAD) is a gross understatement.  But two things really do need to be said.

First, the criminal system is neither good nor bad.  It is adversarial and a win/lose type of trial system but on the whole it works really well.  There are exceptions to this rule and many can point out those exceptions but we fancy ourselves way too potent if any one of us thinks that the system can be "bent" to meet the needs of either side.  We need to sit down, be quiet and let the legal system do its thing.  If Mr. Armstrong is guilty that will come out and if he is not that will be discovered as well.  In either case, this is not something we need to deal with inside the context of our "current unpleasantness".  This is simply a sad, sad day for the family and the relatives and the friends of Mr. Armstrong.  

Secondly, no one can possibly imagine the grief that he is going through.  One really has to be "in the thick" to understand how totally all consuming this event is.  Family and friends need to stay close to Mr. Armstrong.  It is difficult to think (let alone think straight) and the personal introspection can be incredibly debilitating.  He does not need anyone to help him with this since he probably has more than his fair share coming from "inside his brain". 

May I make a simple suggestion.  We, TEC, stays focused on the issues.  When we talk about stealing property that clearly is a bit of a euphemism, hyperbole.  When we talk about cross-border invasions we should be discussing the issues and not the people.  Yes, we need to be tough minded and we need to start what we finish but we should also be as careful as we can not to get personal.  Tough on issues soft on people.  One of my many "bosses" shared that with me.   Something less than that makes us look a lot like the "sit limp" crowd.  Perhaps we can lead the way in this regard.  

I pray that we are up to the task. I pray that I am up to the task.  And I pray for Mr. Armstrong. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

John 15:9-17 (Interpeted) (by a layperson)

The gospel for today actually inspired this post. Don't ask me why, let's just go with the flow.

John 15:9-17 (New American Standard Bible)

9"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

And so we have a Lisa Fox post: "I was dismayed yesterday to read that Sudan’s Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul has “requested that" the Reverend Lauren Stanley "be withdrawn from that mission field permanently.” This is an atrocity."

The "honorable" Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul is the archbishop of all of the Sudan. That is correct, the place where men are slaughtered, women are raped and children are starved to death. Why this atrocity? Because Lauren Stanley spoke about GLBT rights. "abide in my love"

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

Henri Luke Orombi is this very weekend not spending time in Uganda but rather with an all-mens group in Orange County California not doubt gathering up support for his anti-gay crusade in Uganda.  Oh, but wait, while he is here there is a terrible problem in Kampala.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of children that sleep in the city during the night because they have no place to go and the Lord's Resistance Army steals them and makes these 8,9,10,11,12 year olds into "warriors' with guns and bombs and hatred.  Bishop Orambi, why can't you save these children? 

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love."

11"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

While we write this and while we talk about these things Archbishop Peter Akinola refuses to help the hundreds of foreigners being held captive in the oil producing region of Nigeria. Some of these persons have been held for many years.  He makes no move to free these innocent persons but he makes war on the Islamic persons in Nigeria and he is trying to make a bounty hunter game of persecuting LGBT persons in Nigeria.  "so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." 

12"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

It seems that Uganda and Rwanda and Nigeria and the Sudan and the Congo, despite their severe problems would prefer to come to the United States and Canada and steal people and property and leave hatred and fear in their wake. 
13"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Archbishop Akinola has said on a number of occasions that the excuse reason he does not want  TEC to fully include LGBT persons is because "his" fellow countryman take the brunt of hatred whenever TEC consecrates a gay bishop.  Of course his fellow contrypersons take the brunt of hatred when Moslems are killed by Christians in Nigeria and of course the LGBT community takes the brunt  every time Peter Akinola approves the newest law to outlaw "LGBT persons".  

14"You are My friends if you do what I command you.  

How many times has there been a moratorium placed on invasion of the body snatchers other provinces and has any of the good archbishops given up one inch?  How about stopped invading the United States and Canada?  Oh, sure you may ask and yes Archbishop Venables does count on this one.   "does this mean these archbishops are not Jesus' friends?"

15"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.  16"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you."

So, this passage seems to indicate that if we know what the master is doing we are no longer slaves and we need to bear fruit.  It is hard to bear fruit with all the flying around the world you guys are doing.  It is even harder to bear fruit when we apparently do not listen to what Jesus is said.  What, you ask is Fred talking about?  Well, 

17"This I command you, that you love one another."  

Is there really a need to say more?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Music - Remembering

Has anyone else been sorting through old mementos, papers and photos the past few weeks? Well, this song is for all your smiles, tears and memories. And mine.

Sarah McLachlan, I Will Remember You. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Remember those long hot summer days? No school. Mom and dad let us out to play and told us not to come back until dinner. You and a few pals rode your bikes with playing cards clipped to the spokes making that wonderful almost motorcycle sound. Yep, rode right out to downtown, nothing going on there so everyone rode to the tree house. The five of us climbed up into the tree house and along came little sister wanting to come up and play? Remember what we said? "Nah, this is men's work! No girls allowed. Then you pulled up the rope ladder before she could start the climb up. Fortunately there was a sign on the side of the tree house that stated No Ggirls allowed!

Well, I think most some of us never got over that. Henry Luke Orombi never made an appearance at the ACC meeting in Jamaica because he was with these folks:
Anglican Men's Weekend 2009 and here is the agenda:

Outstanding fellowship and worship opportunities
Inspiring teachings by Archbishop Orombi
Anglican Services of Holy Eucharist, Compline and Rite of Reconciliation (Confession)
Anglican Jam Sessions – bring your instruments!
Small Group Discussion and Activities

This is a "diocese" of those breakaway churches throughout the west including California, Arizona, and Washington. Just so we all get the names of the soon to be pointy hat people right here they are:

At the Special Meeting of the House of Delegates of the Association of Western Anglican Congregations, held on March 14th, three candidates for Bishop of the future “Diocese” of Western Anglicans to the Anglican Church in North American (ACNA) were announced. The candidates are: The Rev. Donald L. “Don” Kroeger, Rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, Fallbrook, California, The Rev. Jose Poch, Rector of St. David’s Anglican Church, North Hollywood, California, and The Rev. William A. Thompson, Rector of All Saints’ Church, Long Beach, California. In other business, the House of Delegates selected the name for the new diocese of Western Anglicans. With a nearly unanimous vote, the House selected the name, The Diocese of Western Anglicans as the official name.
And, the newest monsignor/canon/almost pointy hat name is "the collegiate vicar of the Western Anglicans" just what the heck is a collegiate vicar?

Anyway I digress. Mr. Orombi is attending this meeting to be an inspiration to the "men" of the Western Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. I guess it is not enough to hate and persecute the LGBT population in Uganda, ++Orombi has to call all the men of the west together to spread more hate inspiration in the United States. Why don't these guys grow up, go home and mow the lawn. It is almost summer and your sister is not going to bug you anymore.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Over the Top

John David Schofield, William Wantland, Jack Iker, Robert Duncan, John Guernsey, Stephen Noll, George Conger, David Virtue, Keith L. Ackerman, Geoff Chapman, and on and on. This is just the tip of the iceberg, think about the thousands (at least according to their numbers) of Americans involved in the greatest give away in American history. It is with and through these clergy and their laity that a huge struggle for our unique democratic Episcopal Church is now underway. Nikita Kruschev once said, "America will fall without a single shot being fired." The Episcopal Church is not, strictly speaking America per se, but a microcosm of this idea is currently being brought to fruition by these truly anti-democratic clergy and laity.

How is that you ask? Well, the destruction being waged by these folks is being waged primarily because they were not able to convince the majority of the House of Bishops and a majority of the House of Deputies that women were second class citizens, not worthy of the sacrament of ordination. They were unable to convince the majority of the house of Bishops and the House of Deputies that LGBT persons really weren't persons, more like second class citizens. They were unable to convince the majority of the House of Bishops and a majority of the House of Deputies that the 1979 prayer book was an abomination before God. They were unable to convince a majority of the House of Bishops and a majority of the House of Deputies that most seminaries were "heaven forbid" ordaining "heretics". They were unable to convince a majority of the House of Bishops and a a majority of the House of Deputies that electing a woman presiding bishop was a mistake.

When none of that succeeded they moved on to stealing the name and trying to abscond with the Church. When that didn't work they tried to convince a majority of the House of Bishops and a majority of the House of Deputies that the Episcopal Church had moved too far to the left -- you know , too "l-i-b-e-r-a-l". When that didn't work they tried to convince a majority of the Standing Committee and a majority of the Diocesan Council of their own diocese that they owned the property and that they could take it with them to a more "Anglican" place. When that didn't work they tried to convince a majority of the Anglican Communion that all they need is their own province and and they can eliminate "those" heretics.

The fact of the matter is that those who have left have done so because they cannot bear to deal with democracy. They do not like the Episcopal Church because they cannot control it, like any good bishop should. They perceive democracy to be weak, slow and muddled. they reject reason because they cannot convince a majority of people in TEC that their reasons are the correct ones. They reject TEC because their egos will not let them accept the process. Sure women, handicapped, LGBT are all not to their liking but what really galls them is the process -- the very foundation upon which TEC is built. They reject laity participation and they reject power-sharing with those of us that "know nothing". They accept that a magisterium, a Primate's Council, an Anglican Consultative Council, is the only way to get things done. They want to go back to the 1662 prayerbook because most people could not read at that time and just took for granted that the bishops would do what is best for everyone. (Okay maybe this is over the top but not too far-fetched).

Truth be told we did not warm up to the Archbishop of Canterbury for quite a number of years, maybe we have outstayed our welcome. Since when do we need an Anglican Consultative Council to tell us whether we are in the communion of out of the communion. We are who we are and we know what we know -- translation, the two greatest commandments are Love God with all your heart and mind and soul and love thy neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

You know, we could be angry -- but why? Why not simply finish what we began (actually simply continue our journey) and pass the Episcopal Bill of Rights? Why not simply, clearly and unequivocally completely live in those two commandments? Do we need a communion of Anglicans or do we need a communion Christ"ians"? I pick the later. Who do you pick?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Music - The Church at Rest?

Something to think about: Hymn 525, The Church's One Foundation, particularly verse four.

Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blessed
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.

Interesting typo on the video title! (This video did not include a credit for the musicians, do let me know if you recognize the recording.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why TEC Really Lost at the ACC

"I know not what course others may take, but for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry

A lot has already been written about the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant and how Section 4 has either come to pass or not. A lot has been written about the entire thing everyone call a covenant. Not much has been written about the uniqueness of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. We here in "the States" have never had much use for bishops. Oh sure, they have grown into the wonderful and delightful personage such as Bobby Duncan, John David Mercer Schofield, Jack "I ain't listenin' to no wimmin" Iker and the bigger fish across the pond. You all know, Peter Jensen, Peter Akinola, Henry Luke Orambi and yes, even our own beloved Rowan Williams. What do they all have in common? Well, they are all bishops. Now, you are going to say, well Fred, "Duh". But herein is the problem, everyone throughout the world not only likes these guys but listens to them because that is all they know. We know and have lived with a different approach.

For an absolutely fascinating read try A History of the American Episcopal Church by Manross. William White, the father of the present day Episcopal Church belonged to the older school of Low Churchmanship. "The members of . . . were not disposed to rate the authority of the bishops too highly."(pg 188) They were also disposed to tolerate a wide variety of opinions. "The handiwork of the low churchmen can still be seen in such things as inclusion of laymen in ecclesiastical councils, the slight authority given bishops over independent parishes, the curtailment of their authority in other respects by standing committees and diocesan conventions..."

We then find White's ideas for the creation of PECUSA in The Case of the Episcopal Churches In the United States Considered To be fair, William White was always a bit suspect in many circles of the newly minted US. Then came the Pennsylvania Declaration of Principles. "This convention adopted a set of fundamental principles to the effect that the Episcopal Church in the United States should be independent of all foreign authority, that it had full power to regulate its own affairs, that it should maintain the 'Doctrine of Gospels' as proposed by the Church of England and conform to the worship of that church as far as possible, that it should have a threefold ministry, that canons should be made by representatives of the clergy and laity jointly, and that no powers should be delegated to a general ecclesiastical government except such as could not be conveniently exercised by state conventions." In a later meeting, actually the convention of 1789 (our first prayerbook) the archbishops (wouldn't you just know it) put up such a stink that the House of Bishops was created.

So, you say, "Get to the point Fred". My point is that we are living through a time now where no one outside of the United States and apparently several bishops inside the US feel like they just no longer wish to "share" the authority of the Church. Let me be clear, they understand what we are and how we came to pass and how we are governed and THEY REJECT IT FULLY and COMPLETELY. Hooker's three-legged stool is rejected because reason is the product of everyone, laity and clergy, but Scripture, well only the clergy can really understand scripture and so they, the Archbishops in particular, know what is meant by "interpretation of scriptures" and we poor peons must just do as we are told. Chafing yet folks? Collar fitting a little tighter than one likes? Begin to understand why ALL persons having the same rights might impact them a little? Power is the name of the game.

So what do we now get out of this document called the Covenant? We get instruments of communion including the Anglican Consultative Council, we get The Primates Council, we get some silly foreign thingy called the Joint (interesting turn of the word) Standing Committee and all the trappings of a clerical, specifically purple shirted thugs ring of old men who believe that the only way to God is through the scriptures as THEY interpret them. Oh, women, no, no rights for women, they can't think clearly most days anyway.

Ladies and gentlemen, the covenant is a rejection of all that we hold near and dear and have for over 200 years. What the Anglican Consultative Council did was tell the United States "sit down and shut up!" The ACC has rejected everything that the Episcopal Church has been built on and everything we stand for. This is not a subtle turn toward hierarchical governance it is a "spit in your eye, kick dirt on your shoes, put it where the moon don't shine" stand against not TEC but of the laity of TEC and how the laity has for years been a strong and vibrant part of the Episcopal Church.

The plain and simple truth is that TEC cannot accept any part of this stupid idea because we, having grown up in a free and open church where ideas are welcomed and freedoms are sacred, will give up a large part of that. TEC will never be the same if any part of this document called a Covenant is accepted. In addition, if ACNA and its henchmen get to represent the United States at any table all is lost, for the bishops (Iker, Schofield, Duncan, Wantland, etc) do not share our uniquely American ideas, in fact they reject them all. Why, well if they understood and appreciated the marketplace of ideas they would have never left TEC. They chose to leave because their ideas were rejected. What ideas were those, you ask? The idea the LGBT persons can and should fully participate in all things Episcopal. That we welcome everyone from ALL cultures and that their ideas are as valid and worthy as everyone else. That yes, handicapped persons really can do things and that we need to create space for them to access (physically as well as every other way) the church. That women really are persons and should fully participate in all things including bishoprics up to and including the Presiding Bishop's role. ACNA will kill the Episcopal Church if given the chance. They know it and we know it and we need to stop playing with these folks, indeed with all the grater Anglicans that would destroy our church.

Here is what needs to be done (at a minimum). First, tell ++Rowan Williams that he is not welcome at the General Convention of 2009. A Tory is a Tory is a Tory, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Nice man, tell him gently, but he is not welcome at GC 2009. Second, we move forward with the Episcopalian Bill of Rights. This bill of rights simply states what we all know and recognize. God created each and everyone of us in His image and that in that light we are ALL welcome and that we are ALL full participants of the Episcopal Church.

And remember, just because we are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get us. ;=}

Time To Do The Christian Thing

Here is what has been posted at The Lead about the RCDC version of the Covenant:

An attempt led by The Episcopal Church to strip Section 4 from the covenant was defeated by a wide margin after Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and numerous others spoke against it.

Why we continue to play is beyond me. It is time to do what is right. What would Christ do? Might scribble something in the sand. Might ask for unconditional love. Might even ask us to "feed his lambs". Would He ask us to one more time and for one more day exclude any of our brothers and sisters? If we are not careful we will be spit out as being "lukewarm". So, lets get on with what we know is right and what we know we must do. It is time to include everyone in everything we do. What do I mean by that? I simply and plainly mean everyone. That means let's get to the floor of convention the Episcopalian Bill of Rights and let's get it passed. We need to get on with God's work in the world. We have spent too much time dallying with who is in and who is out of our Anglican Communion. Does everyone remember that over 24,000 children die each day from starvation? Does everyone remember that California has a 10+% unemployment rate and the US has an 8.9% unemployment rate? Anyone see Slumdog Millionaire? Are we ready to tackle the slums of Mumbai and Rio and Lagos? We cannot free everyone until everyone is free. We must get on with the work of the Lord.

I cannot and do not want to make cogent arguments in favor of the Episcopal Bill of Rights. There are none that can be made. It is plainly and simply a priori the Christian thing to do.

We are the Episcopal Church. We are the most generous, most inclusive most loving and caring group of Christians in the world, ALMOST. Let's make it a reality and let's do it now!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Family We Call Episcopalians

So much is going on right now it makes one's head spin. In Jamaica the ACC has leveled its sights on the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada. They talk of visitations and moratoria and prohibitions and whose in and whose out all based on whether one is gay or not, a woman or not, handicapped or not, brown or black or socio-economically disadvantaged or not. The big boys tell us that the days of the Episcopal Church are numbered and that the Anglican Church in North America will take over -- that "there are more of them than there are of us". There are those who worry more about what goes on in the bedroom rather than what goes on in the church.

But, in the midst of all of this there was a special moment (actually several). Our daughter was officially notified she was pregnant a little over 27 weeks ago. It was, for her, a difficult time as she struggled almost weekly with passing blood and tissue. Finally, the doc told her to stay in bed for a while until a specialist could see her -- frustrated type A that she is - she did do what she was told. Finally the ob/gyn says it is okay to go back to work. She did. Then, we travel to SO. Cal for a two week period to take care of Wilma's parents (82 in a SNF) and (86 that had an anterior cervical fusion) while we were there. The last day we are there we get a call from our daughter's husband, the baby was still-born. Turns out the cord got tied in a knot and the baby died. He was 1lb 12oz and a little over 13 inches long.

The next few days were nothing short of a miracle. Two Episcopal parishes have come to her rescue, quite literally. Food, taking care of their first child (the Presiding Bishop's friend :-0), prayers, cards, good wishes, support and help from everywhere and all the times of the day and night. St. Francis and Christ The King are two incredible loving, caring, helping, supporting, quite typical Episcopal parishes. As the dad, to watch this support for my daughter was stunning -- but typical of an Episcopal Church. Frankly, I do not know nor do I care even if I do know what goes on in peoples bedrooms, my daughter is strengthened by everyone. I know that men and women both came to care for her and it made no never mind what anyone's income level was or where they lived or what they do in their spare time. I do know this -- they responded like a typical Christian. We ALL can do no less. It is this that I want to see supported and lifted up by means of the Episcopal Bill of Rights. I want ALL these people to know that they are loved just as they love my daughter. I want them to be a part of my life and my Savior's life and I am not shy or bashful any longer about that. I believe that everyone has waited too long. Now is too late but tomorrow will be too much later. And the numbers are fine since everyone is included and everyone loves and everyone loved. If you have everyone -- no one is left out and we have all the numbers we need.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Honestly Scrappy

Cany, your host at Just Another Black Sheep, did us the honor of nominating OTA for the Honest Scrap Award. I hear this is “bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.” I think most of the kudos go to Fred, but he was kind enough to blog on Cany's H.S. award for our Real Anglicans site. So, you get comments from little old me over here at Off-Topic.

Hmmm...I'm supposed to tell you ten honest things about myself, and I'm guessing they should be things I'm not mouthing about all the time. So, here goes:

1. I love chocolate as much (or more) than our Leonardo Ricardo. But it's the dark variety that stole my heart years ago - and my favorite is made by Lake Champlain Chocolates, Belgian-style but made in Vermont. Their milk chocolate is wonderful,too. And their truffles, and special candy bars and...

2. My favorite liturgical composer is John Rutter.

3. I only watch television about once a month, unless something special is happening. I'd rather read, or play here at the 'puter if I'm alone and need amusement. For background noise - music!

4. My first name really is Lynn.

5. I was raised Episcopalian and there are many Piskies going back in the family tree. However, neither of my parents were raised in TEC.

6. I own a scandalous number of cookbooks.

7. I prefer the mountains to the beach when I need a getaway. Take me to the Blue Ridge, now - please?

8. I love Costa Rican coffee almost as much as I love chocolate. I usually buy Café Britt; this company supports the Costa Rican economy throughout the supply chain as the coffee beans are grown, roasted and packaged in-country. Most Costa Rican coffee you buy in the U.S. has been exported before roasting.

9. I don't write poetry.

10. I have run out of things I'm willing to share.

I know I'm supposed to pass this award along to several favorite blogs, but I think we're running out of wild-haired Piskies to honor. I'll just suggest you check the blog roll and visit the places listed there. Of course, if you're a regular reader and want to get the award, email me! Now don't fuss about my attitude. Fred nominated people over at Real Anglicans. Honest.

Thanks, Cany.

Monday, May 4, 2009

DRAFT: Resolution Guaranteeing Episcopalian Bill of Rights

TITLE: Provisional Acceptance of the Episcopalian Bill of Rights

Preamble: The the Episcopal Church of the United States of America recognizes the revealing nature of our salvation given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ in the two great commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your mind and all your heart and all your soul. And the second, love your neighbor as yourself. Furthermore recognizing that each and every person is a sinner but that we have an Advocate with the Father. Be it therefore,

Resolved, the House of _____________ concurring, that this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a commitment to revoke, rescind and reject Resolution B033 ; and be it further

Resolved, that the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies fully, completely and sincerely apologize to all those who have been marginalized by the Episcopal Church including but not limited to LGBT persons, those who are handicapped, and those whose culture and person have been ignored and ridiculed; and be it further

Resolved, that in accordance with the two great commandments the Episcopal Church does hereby recognize, support and defend every person's right to fully and completely participate in every aspect of the Episcopal Church both liturgically and politically; and be it further
Resolved, that this proposed Episcopalian Bill of Rights be commended to the various dioceses of this church for study and comment during the coming triennium; and be it further

Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a Special Task Force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the Episcopalian Bill of Rights; and be it further

Resolved, that this Special Task Force prepare a report to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that includes draft legislation that could be considered for the convention to institutionalize this Episcopal Bill of Rights.

This is from the Three Legged Stool and it says it better than I could:

We are living at a time when it is critical to live according to the two greatest commandments: to love our Creator God and to love one another. The Episcopal Church is entering a time of transition, which always includes some fear and anxiety. This transition will affect us all in our corporate relationships within the church and in the world. Make no mistake: treating each person as a brother and sister in Christ now will create the sacred space where the Holy Spirit’s presence can be seen and felt. In this way, we have an opportunity to experience the risen Christ standing among us and live as children of God.

Let's create that sacred space where Our redeemer lives and we are ALL safe and secure and can fully participate in the experience of the risen Christ!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Community Forum: A Reminder

A quick reminder:

Father Terry Martin will join us at St. Francis on May 3, 2009. We will gather at Noon and it promises to be a great time.  For you in the North of the diocese that have not had the pleasure of being with St. Francis Turlock they are an absolutely inviting and enjoyable group of Episcopalians.  Come join Father Terry and the entire cast and crew of St. Francis Turlock you will not be disappointed!