Sunday, August 31, 2008


I am relatively new to the world of blogging. I am very new to the world of "lets see how many people we can hate, disenfranchise and otherwise despise" and I am disappointed to know that many of these people are learned individuals who unfortunately appear to be out to get something for themselves.

One of the many things I have learned over my lifetime is to find out who is playing since those people that like to play tend to bring their own set of strengths, weaknesses and biases to the game. In essence, it helps to explain when and how things are going when one understands who is playing. It helps to have a scorecard.

So, in the interest of filling out everyone’s scorecard here are a few names. What I would appreciate from all of you is filling in the gaps so that if you need to add a name please do. If you can give some background on one or more of these individuals please do. It is hard to hide when you are standing in the light of day!

In the first tier, these are the “playas”. These are looking for the pointed little hat that the guy in Rome wears. The immortals.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda
The Most Rev Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia

In the second tier, those that have got theirs and are looking for a little more:

The Rt. Rev’d Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya
The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey, Anglican Church of Uganda
The Rt. Rev’d Don Harvey, Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Church of Nigeria (CANA)
The Rt. Rev’d Chuck Murphy, Anglican Church of Rwanda
Mr. John David Schofield, Anglican Church of Southern Cone
The Rt. Rev’d John Iker, Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth, TX
The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA
The Rt. Rev’d John Howe, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

In the third tier, the bottom feeders:

The Rev’d Canon Neal Michell
Diocese of Dallas
The Rev’d George Willcox Brown III
Diocese of Dallas
The Rev’d Anthony F. M. Clavier
Diocese of Northern Indiana
The Rev’d Daniel K. Dunlap
Diocese of Texas
The Rev’d Joseph B. Howard
Diocese of Tennessee
The Rev’d Nathan J.A. Humphrey
Diocese of Washington
The Rev’d Richard Kew
Diocese of Tennessee
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Graham Kings
Vicar, St. Mary’s Islington (Church of England)
The Rev’d Daniel H. Martins
Diocese of Northern Indiana
The Rev’d Dorsey McConnell
Diocese of Massachusetts
The Very Rev’d Dr. Jean McCurdy Meade
Diocese of Louisiana
The Rev’d Matthew S. C. Olver
Diocese of Dallas
The Rev’d Dr. Ephraim Radner
Diocese of Colorado
The Rev’d Bruce M. Robison
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Mr. Dale A. Rye
Diocese of Texas
Mr. Dave Sims
Diocese of Dallas
Mr. Craig Uffman
Diocese of Northern Indiana
Mr. Christopher Wells
Diocese of Northern Indiana

Once again, with these names in place please help by adding names and by adding what you know about the person's background. (It is interesting to note that there is not a woman among them). Once we have a bunch on information in place I will sort it out and bring it back in some semblance of order so we all can understand what is going on – at least in part.

Next week we will begin the work on those who can/will work to restore the Episcopal Church and its place in the Church militant.

Remember the following lines from a prior post. I believe this is a driving force:

You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire; you build egos the size of cathedrals; fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse; grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green, gold-plated fantasies, until every human becomes an aspiring emperor, becomes his own God... and where can you go from there?

God's trying to tell you something...

It's gospel choir Sunday with the movie cast of The Color Purple. Love and reconciliation is the theme -it has a good beat, and you can dance to it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Religion and Politics

No, I'm not talking about religion in the political arena, but on the stage of life. Were you taught that it wasn't polite to talk about religion and politics in social situations?

As a Washingtonian of the native variety, my parents never did pretend you shouldn't talk about politics. Religion couldn't be avoided, either - my neighbors came from too many faith traditions, and kids always have questions. They did try to teach us that we wouldn't be so free to speak our minds in other parts of the country, however. But it's still an invitation to wrangle in my book if someone states views in a dismissive way - assuming I know something about the topic.

We all now people who have views on the other end of the "shades of grey" scale that we love and respect. When religion and politics a debated without rancor, it brings other people into the conversation. Everyone learns something, and some really amazing things happen sometimes.

One of the best discussions I have had in the last year about religion was after a Redskins game in a very un-toney sports bar. All of a sudden a casual conversation between two people became a group. No one was preaching - but people were sharing their ideas. It never would have happened if I was afraid to talk about religion.

Do you have a similar story to tell? The Spirit moves around in all sorts of places, at the most unusual times. And helps us talk about politics and religion, and religion in politics, and everything in between.

And if we don't talk about these things with people, the only ones who are talking are the ones who are yelling - and not listening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Do You Think is Evil?

Last week there was a political soiree behind the "Orange Curtain". A lot has been written about the event. The fact that Obama was "vote catching" in an arena that was neither the time nor the place has been pointed out in a number of places. One question did intrigue me and I began to think. For some one of my advanced age that is dangerous, as you are about to find out.

I find a movie that is very high on my list is The Devil's Advocate. The movie stars Al Pacino as John Milton (devil) and Keaneau Reeves as the unsuspecting son of Al Pacino and the unwitting lead. I encourage everyone to watch this movie but do it with your heart and soul turned on -- and for you **TJ folks hang in there until the end of the movie -- that is necessary.

This movie deals with the question of evil, pure, unadulterated evil. These few comments from John Milton reflect on our times.

John Milton: Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.

Kevin Lomax: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven", is that it?

Kevin Lomax: What about love?
John Milton: Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate.

Evil is permitting people to be kidnapped and held for months and years in your own country and not lifting a finger to help them because one is so busy at the border of Jordan trying to get into a conference to hate more people.

Evil is not doing anything to correct the thousands of young boys kidnapped and forced into waging war against others. Evil is not helping these youngsters as they crowd into your cities hungry and tired and frightened at night to avoid this plight.

Evil is not speaking out against "soldiers" who rape because it is their "right".

Evil is not speaking out against those who would wrap barb wire around some person and hang him from fencing in the middle of nowhere because of his sexual orientation. Or chasing some one into a back alley and beating that person with a baseball bat to death.

Evil is not welcoming everyone into a house of worship because of the color of their skin, or the lack of money, or their sexual orientation. Evil is not receiving communion with someone who does believe that everyone should be allowed in.

Evil is forcing some young woman to seek a back alley quack that will cut her to ribbons for a few hundred dollars.

Evil is forcing a teenager to leave her baby on a levee because "her religion" will ostracize her for her sexual activity.

Evil is the mistaken idea that one has to trade persons of the "wrong" sexual orientation for growing a church community.

John Milton: Are we negotiating?
Kevin Lomax: Always.

Evil is not recognizing that each one of us is created in God's image and is entitled by the creator to certain inalienable rights.

John Milton: Free will, it is a bitch.

Evil is refusing to allow people to exercise that greatest gift God gave to mankind --the power to choose.

John Milton: You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire; you build egos the size of cathedrals; fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse; grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green, gold-plated fantasies, until every human becomes an aspiring emperor, becomes his own God... and where can you go from there?

Evil is following those who have insatiable appetites for money and power and hiding behind the Bible to do it.

Is there evil in this world? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Sometimes, a person enters a stage and for just a few moments commands the attention of the world. A person who in the waning days days of 1967 and the early days of 1968fought the most powerful man in the world over the War in Vietnam. The man, the hero, is Gene McCarthy.

Dissident Democrats began looking for someone to challenge the re-election of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Spring primaries. Many considered it, but the only high ranking Democrat willing to step forward was Senator Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota.

After McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, the contest changed. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced that he would not run for re-election. Two days later, LBJ received only 35 percent of the votes in the Wisconsin primary, to McCarthy's 56 percent.

The political issues that ultimately surrounded the 1968 convention caused the democrats to reform the entire primary process and we "enjoy" that process even through this convention. For better of worse, each primary is now won or lost on the basis of a pro-rata share of the votes. That is the main reason why the convention is a great big party and very little real work gets done, but that is another story.

What really mattered was that Senator McCarthy, in the midst of the terrible police riots in Chicago (and it was a police riot), took the hurt and wounded people (students mostly) into his campaign headquarters and ministered to them. He practiced the gospel message -- he was the man that rose above history -- and now is but another footnote not unlike Shirley Chisolm and Barbara Jordan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Leonardo Ricardo

Well, the 'Net is rocking - it's Leonardo Ricardo's 29th birthday (again!) The volcanoes are rumbling...the Beatles are singing You Say it's Your Birthday...and we have a fabulous flourless chocolate cake for him.

"Pressed" Chocolate Soufflé Cake

7 oz. extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

sweetened whipped cream
fresh raspberries

Position oven rack to the lowest third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch diameter springform pan with 3-inch high sides.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, then stir mixture until smooth. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and cool slightly. Lightly beat egg yolks with a fork in a small bowl, then whisk into chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla, then sugar, and sift in the cocoa powder. Whisk to blend all ingredients.

Beat the egg whites with salt to soft peaks. Fold one-third of the chocolate mixture into whites to lighten, then gently fold in remainder. Pour batter into the prepared pan; bake about 30 minutes. (The sides of cake should be set, but the center still moist).

Remove cake from oven and set on a cooling rack. Loosen the sides of the pan but do not remove. Top cake with a smooth dinner plate (or pan lid, etc. that fits into form), and gently press down to deflate the cake. Remove the plate and pan sides. Cool completely.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries, or ice cream. Insert a birthday candle in Leonardo's piece - but if he isn't around you get to eat it for him.


We have had a request for a little history review during this week of the Democratic National Convention. Most of us know the big names like Kennedy, Johnson, Truman, McGovern and others. But let's see if you recall this pioneer in Democratic politics.

Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, was a passionate and effective advocate for the needs of minorities, women and children and has changed the nation's perception about the capabilities of women and African-Americans.

A New York City educator and child care manager, Chisholm saw the problems of the poor every day, and in the 1950s this led her to run for and win a seat in the New York State Legislature. In 1968 she was elected to Congress from the new 12th District. There she supported improved employment and education programs, expansion of day care, income support and other programs to improve inner city life and opportunity. She advocated for the end of the military draft and reduced defense spending. In 1970 she published her first book, Unbossed and Unbought. She served in Congress until 1982 and in 1972 entered several Democratic presidential primaries, receiving 151 delegate votes for the presidential nomination. Her second book, The Good Fight, was published in 1973.

Thanks to the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Here is an exerpt from here book:

In the 91st Congress, I am a sponsor of the perennial Equal Rights Amendment, which has been before every Congress for the last forty years but has never passed the House. It would outlaw any discrimination on the basis of sex. Men and women would be completely equal before the law. But laws will not solve deep-seated problems overnight. Their use is to provide shelter for those who are most abused, and to begin an evolutionary process by compelling the insensitive majority to reexamine its unconscious attitudes.

The law cannot do the major part of the job of winning equality for women. Women must do it themselves. They must become revolutionaries. Against them is arrayed the weight of centuries of tradition, from St. Paul's "Let women learn in silence" to the American adage, "A woman's place is in the home." Women have been persuaded of their own inferiority; too many of them believe the male fiction that they are emotional, illogical, unstable, inept with mechanical things, and lack leadership ability.

A couple of quotes from Ms. Chisolm:

The United States was said not to be ready to elect a Catholic to the Presidency when Al Smith ran in the 1920's. But Smith's nomination may have helped pave the way for the successful campaign John F. Kennedy waged in 1960. Who can tell? What I hope most is that now there will be others who will feel themselves as capable of running for high political office as any wealthy, good-looking white male.

• At present, our country needs women's idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.

• One distressing thing is the way men react to women who assert their equality: their ultimate weapon is to call them unfeminine. They think she is anti-male; they even whisper that she's probably a lesbian.

Apparently some 36 years later we are still struggling with this concept. By the by, she was intrumental in the ERA (not earned run average) Equal Rights Amendment.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

God's trying to tell you something -

It's gospel choir Sunday with the movie cast of The Color Purple. Love and reconciliation is the theme; it has a good beat, and you can dance to it.

On my special prayer list today: all in the path of Hurricane Gustav, including Grandmere Mimi; Tim and Fran, Mary M's family, and Ed and Nessie. Please add to the list in a post if you wish - and let's storm the storms with our prayers.


Do you remember Representative Barbara Jordan? Here is her Keynote address from the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Read it through and see if you do not find yourself shaking your head up and down. I remember when she delivered this speech. She was one of the great one's that got away. I know this is long but there is a special gift if you get to the end.

Sometimes I think about what could have been --- but then I realize the story is not over yet.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for a very warm reception.

It was one hundred and forty-four years ago that members of the Democratic Party first met in convention to select a Presidential candidate. Since that time, Democrats have continued to convene once every four years and draft a party platform and nominate a Presidential candidate. And our meeting this week is a continuation of that tradition. But there is something different about tonight. There is something special about tonight. What is different? What is special?

I, Barbara Jordan, am a keynote speaker.

When -- A lot of years passed since 1832, and during that time it would have been most unusual for any national political party to ask a Barbara Jordan to deliver a keynote address. But tonight, here I am. And I feel -- I feel that notwithstanding the past that my presence here is one additional bit of evidence that the American Dream need not forever be deferred.

Now -- Now that I have this grand distinction, what in the world am I supposed to say? I could easily spend this time praising the accomplishments of this party and attacking the Republicans -- but I don't choose to do that. I could list the many problems which Americans have. I could list the problems which cause people to feel cynical, angry, frustrated: problems which include lack of integrity in government; the feeling that the individual no longer counts; the reality of material and spiritual poverty; the feeling that the grand American experiment is failing or has failed. I could recite these problems, and then I could sit down and offer no solutions. But I don't choose to do that either. The citizens of America expect more. They deserve and they want more than a recital of problems.

We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people in search of a national community. We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present, unemployment, inflation, but we are attempting on a larger scale to fulfill the promise of America. We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.

Throughout -- Throughout our history, when people have looked for new ways to solve their problems and to uphold the principles of this nation, many times they have turned to political parties. They have often turned to the Democratic Party. What is it? What is it about the Democratic Party that makes it the instrument the people use when they search for ways to shape their future? Well I believe the answer to that question lies in our concept of governing. Our concept of governing is derived from our view of people. It is a concept deeply rooted in a set of beliefs firmly etched in the national conscience of all of us.

Now what are these beliefs? First, we believe in equality for all and privileges for none. This is a belief -- This is a belief that each American, regardless of background, has equal standing in the public forum -- all of us. Because -- Because we believe this idea so firmly, we are an inclusive rather than an exclusive party. Let everybody come.

I think it no accident that most of those immigrating to America in the 19th century identified with the Democratic Party. We are a heterogeneous party made up of Americans of diverse backgrounds. We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted.

This -- This can be accomplished only by providing each citizen with every opportunity to participate in the management of the government. They must have that, we believe. We believe that the government which represents the authority of all the people, not just one interest group, but all the people, has an obligation to actively -- underscore actively -- seek to remove those obstacles which would block individual achievement -- obstacles emanating from race, sex, economic condition. The government must remove them, seek to remove them. We.

We are a party -- We are a party of innovation. We do not reject our traditions, but we are willing to adapt to changing circumstances, when change we must. We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. We have a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of America can one day be finally closed. We believe that.

This, my friends is the bedrock of our concept of governing. This is a part of the reason why Americans have turned to the Democratic Party. These are the foundations upon which a national community can be built. Let all understand that these guiding principles cannot be discarded for short-term political gains. They represent what this country is all about. They are indigenous to the American idea. And these are principles which are not negotiable.

In other times -- In other times, I could stand here and give this kind of exposition on the beliefs of the Democratic Party and that would be enough. But today that is not enough. People want more. That is not sufficient reason for the majority of the people of this country to decide to vote Democratic. We have made mistakes. We realize that. We admit our mistakes. In our haste to do all things for all people, we did not foresee the full consequences of our actions. And when the people raised their voices, we didn't hear. But our deafness was only a temporary condition, and not an irreversible condition.

Even as I stand here and admit that we have made mistakes, I still believe that as the people of America sit in judgment on each party, they will recognize that our mistakes were mistakes of the heart. They'll recognize that.

And now -- now we must look to the future. Let us heed the voice of the people and recognize their common sense. If we do not, we not only blaspheme our political heritage, we ignore the common ties that bind all Americans. Many fear the future. Many are distrustful of their leaders, and believe that their voices are never heard. Many seek only to satisfy their private work -- wants; to satisfy their private interests. But this is the great danger America faces -- that we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual; each seeking to satisfy private wants. If that happens, who then will speak for America? Who then will speak for the common good?

This is the question which must be answered in 1976: Are we to be one people bound together by common spirit, sharing in a common endeavor; or will we become a divided nation? For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future. We must not become the "New Puritans" and reject our society. We must address and master the future together. It can be done if we restore the belief that we share a sense of national community, that we share a common national endeavor. It can be done.

There is no executive order; there is no law that can require the American people to form a national community. This we must do as individuals, and if we do it as individuals, there is no President of the United States who can veto that decision.

As a first step -- As a first step, we must restore our belief in ourselves. We are a generous people, so why can't we be generous with each other? We need to take to heart the words spoken by Thomas Jefferson:

Let us restore the social intercourse -- "Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and that affection without which liberty and even life are but dreary things."

A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good. A government is invigorated when each one of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation. In this election year, we must define the "common good" and begin again to shape a common future. Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.

And now, what are those of us who are elected public officials supposed to do? We call ourselves "public servants" but I'll tell you this: We as public servants must set an example for the rest of the nation. It is hypocritical for the public official to admonish and exhort the people to uphold the common good if we are derelict in upholding the common good. More is required -- More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.

If we promise as public officials, we must deliver. If -- If we as public officials propose, we must produce. If we say to the American people, "It is time for you to be sacrificial" -- sacrifice. If the public official says that, we [public officials] must be the first to give. We must be. And again, if we make mistakes, we must be willing to admit them. We have to do that. What we have to do is strike a balance between the idea that government should do everything and the idea, the belief, that government ought to do nothing. Strike a balance.

Let there be no illusions about the difficulty of forming this kind of a national community. It's tough, difficult, not easy. But a spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that we share a common destiny; if each of us remembers, when self-interest and bitterness seem to prevail, that we share a common destiny.

I have confidence that we can form this kind of national community.

I have confidence that the Democratic Party can lead the way.

I have that confidence.

We cannot improve on the system of government handed down to us by the founders of the Republic. There is no way to improve upon that. But what we can do is to find new ways to implement that system and realize our destiny.

Now I began this speech by commenting to you on the uniqueness of a Barbara Jordan making a keynote address. Well I am going to close my speech by quoting a Republican President and I ask you that as you listen to these words of Abraham Lincoln, relate them to the concept of a national community in which every last one of us participates:

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master." This -- This -- "This expresses my idea of Democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no Democracy."

Thank you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Lambeth Shortfall

I think I have stumbled onto the perfect solution to the 2008 Lambeth Conference financial woes. This gem is the gift that keeps on giving! The $1,000,000 bill can go directly into the bank (or, the john) - and then the ABC can sell the replica chocolate bars as a fundraiser here in the U.S. Of course, he'll have to sell a lot of candy; but if he moves fast, he can get some quick cash at the shopping malls before See's sets up their Christmas kiosks.

If anyone has seen an accounting of the finances, please send me a link. If the wealthier churches in the Communion are being asked to contribute additional money, it's reasonable to find out what went wrong so it won't happen again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy 38th Anniversary to...

...Fred and his wife. Since Fred is a gentleman - and leaves his wife's actual name out of his postings - let's call her Wilma. Though it's been many a year since I've seen an episode of The Flintstones, I recall Wilma was beautiful, smart and loved her Fred; so the name fits if she doesn't mind :-)

A celebration calls for a cake, of course. I think something sweet, spicy and a tiny bit old-fashioned is in order. So Fred, and your lady love and wife: happy anniversary, and the cake has no calories unless you eat it!

My Favorite Spice Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature (not melted)
1-1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour (sift, then measure)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (adjust racks so top of cake pans are in the middle of the oven). Prepare two 9" round cake pans for baking: lightly grease and flour, then line bottoms with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the pre-sifted flour, baking soda and spices (use a fine sieve if you don't have a sifter). Set aside.

On medium speed of mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, or the very lowest speed of the mixer, alternately mix in small batches of the flour mixture and buttermilk. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake 35-40 minutes in pre-heated oven. Note: be sure to stagger pans in opposite corners, away from oven walls, and slightly apart. When 35 minutes have elapsed, test cake by lightly touching the middle of one layer. As soon as no imprint remains, cake is done. Cool layers 10 minutes in the pans, then on baking racks (remove paper liners before racking). When cakes are completely cooled, brush off excess crumbs and frost with caramel or buttercream frosting.

Caramel Icing

1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups confectioner's sugar (measure, then sift)

Heat together the cream and butter, set aside. Caramelize the sugar to a medium brown color; add scalded cream mixture and whisk to dissolve all the sugar. Pour mixture into a bowl, and gradually beat in the sifted confectioner's sugar until fluffy. Add a little extra cream or milk if the frosting is to stiff to spread easily on the cake layers. Fill the two layers then frost top and sides. Add candles if appropriate.

(Leonardo, your chocolate cake is next).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Brownies for Father Scott

I have it on good authority that our friend Fr. Scott had a difficult day. And that he likes brownies. These are what I call the "real thing" - not cakey, not an imitation of fudge - just right. I believe the original source was the back of a Bakers unsweetened chocolate box, but now it's just the family recipe.

Old-Fashioned Fudge Brownies

4 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup sifted flour (you can just shake it through a fine sieve)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9" square metal baking pan.

Melt butter with the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave; cool slightly. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour (or mix on lowest speed), making sure it is completely incorporated into the batter. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Bake 40 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. There is no real test for "done"-ness, but brownies will be slightly separated from the sides of the pan and a slightly shiny, thin crust will form on the top. Be sure to cool brownies completely before cutting - or be prepared for a mess.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Here is a portion of the latest happenings in Fort Wrath, Texas.

Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.

And here are the "we":

Katie Sherrod of the Diocese of Fort Worth reveals an attempt by several clergy, with the apparent support of their bishop, to take the Diocese to the Roman Catholic Church. According to the document William A. Carey, Charles A. Hough, Louis L. Tobola, and Christopher Stainbrook - leaders in the Diocese of Fort Worth claiming the "unequivocal support" of Bishop Iker - proposed to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth become a Roman Catholic Diocese.

Now, I have posed this question before, but, will the real servant-leaders please stand up?

Apparently, a growing number of clergy want to be the greatest among us. And of course scriptural lessons are conveniently forgotten. Lessons like "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," and "if any man wants to follow me let him give up all he owns and take up the cross," and "feed my sheep". Wow, we have an the most incredible group of self-centered, self-appointed, "look at me I can be on the Primates Council" group of clergy I have seen in a very long time. Everyone wants a piece of the action. Power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power power corrupts absolutely. (I read that somewhere). So we have bishops like deposed John David Mercer Schofield, Iker, Howe and Duncan that do all sorts of conniving and contriving deceptions to get their share of that power. And we have those like Akinola, Orombi, Venables and Jensen that believe that they are the way, the truth and the light! And then we have people like Minns and Guernsey that couldn't get a consecration in the United States, so they went to foreign lands to get what they have sought, without regard to how this affects the everyday people in the pews of the Episcopal Church.

Permit me to show at least what one other person thinks clergy should be:

“You are the salt of the earth.” The flavor you bring to priestly ministry is your personal zeal and the motivation to serve God with a generous heart. Your hands will be anointed by the Holy Spirit to offer to God the sacred mysteries of our faith and to bless those whom you serve. You are not anointed to be some kind of ecclesiastical functionary but rather one who is sent to awaken faith in Christ among those who have grown drowsy and to strengthen in conviction those who believe.
There are some in the Church today who do not look forward in hope with the eyes of faith but tend to be preoccupied with looking back in some kind of nostalgia for a Church they never experienced . . . I encourage you to study the history of the Church as a living and developing tradition and not to look back as Lot’s wife did or you might end up being a pillar of salt rather then the “salt of the earth.”
Those looking back want to give to the Church new forms of triumphalism, juridicism, and clericalism. The triumphalist wants to exercise authority through aggressive condemnation and excommunication and believes that the Church not only has the truth but also all the answers to every modern dilemma. Christ is indeed the Truth but we must seek out with humility and in light of the Gospel how to respond to the many and varied demands of living in today’s world. We are a servant Church which proclaims the truth in love. We do not impose the gospel on the world. We seek to persuade by grace.
The juridicist searches out laws new or old to justify personal positions or ideologies in the Church. Especially they like to focus on liturgical practices. They incline to creating unnecessary hoops for people to jump through. The Church, of course, needs law to insure good order. But the purpose of all laws in the Church is the same as for all the works of the Church: “propter homines and propter nostram salutem” - for us, for our good and for our salvation.
The clericalist exaggerates the authority of the priest creating a new authoritarianism. The clericalist operates as if the priest is entitled to special status and privilege in the Church and in society. He gives little merit to collaboration with the laity. The ordained priest, however, represents Christ the Head and Good Shepherd of the Church. As Head of the Church Jesus came not to be served but to serve. As Good Shepherd he gave His life for the flock. The good priest patterns his life on Jesus the servant of God and remembers that the whole Church (Head and members) is the Body of Christ.
I have always treasured the words of my first pastor when I was newly ordained: We are here to serve the people and to do it with a touch of class.
“You are the light of the world.” Light first of all gives off warmth. As the sacramental presence of Christ the Eternal High Priest you bring a caring and warmth by your presence. The presence of the priest in celebrating the liturgies of the Church is one of faith and not just of style. Like Christ in the Eucharist you need to be a real presence among the people. This does not mean that you need to be at every event but it does mean that you need to be with the people outside of church on Sunday, with families when they are hurting, with the sick and dying - to anoint them and to bring some words of comfort and to give some of your time, to be there when they need the healing and comfort of the Lord Jesus and his friendship. The shepherd stays with the sheep. The priest who rarely leaves his room puts his light under a bushel basket and gives little light to the people of God.
Your light will burn brightly if you are men of prayer. I am not talking at this point about saying prayers or presiding over the liturgy. Neither am I talking about spiritual exercises as such. I am talking about hearing the word of God, the prayer of receiving the word of God deeply in your minds and hearts. Jesus said: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” The First Letter of John reinforces this teaching of Jesus: “Whoever keeps His word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him.” Only the priest who prays is spiritually alive.
After being a priest for forty years I realize each day how terribly weak and inadequate I am. God has anointed us as priests to represent Christ and to serve in His name. So often we blur this image, but in a marvelous and mysterious manner God accomplishes His will though our ministry. “Do you love me?” the risen Jesus asks us as He did Peter. Like Peter we respond: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Then Jesus says to us, in spite of all our denials, in spite of all our limitations, “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep.”

I am but one person in the pews. I am not sure what I want in clergy, but I know this much: Do you love me?” the risen Jesus asks us as He did Peter. Like Peter we respond: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Then Jesus says to us, in spite of all our denials, in spite of all our limitations, “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Google Alerts

One of my Google news alerts is very broad: "Episcopal Church." Every once in a while I get a group of returns that reminds me we are a church, not a political party. Here's one from a few hours ago.

Google News Alert for: Episcopal Church
(Aug 14, 2008 2:32 AM EST)

Diocese pays tribute to homeless man
Roanoke Times - Roanoke,VA,USA
Stephen Stanley, associate rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Roanoke. He gathered about 20 of Hopkins' family members and friends, along with diocese...

Uptown church opens doors to eastern NO congregation The Times-Picayune - - New Orleans LA,USA
Annunciation Church, a member of the Anglican Communion* and the Episcopal diocese of Louisiana, will move its primary Sunday service to 10 am and Jubilee...

Listening for music, not gunfire The Times-Picayune - - New Orleans,LA,USA
Father Bill is pastor of a colorful congregation at St. Anna's Episcopal Church at 1313 Esplanade Ave. It has a tradition of reaching across boundaries...

School supplies help those in need Marshalltown Times Republican - Marshalltown,IA,USA
St. Paul's Episcopal Church has been collecting donations of school supplies and will give them away to those in need Saturday and Monday at St. Paul's...

*What's this thing of recent months about an individual church being a "member of the Anglican Communion"? Pretty much a's an Episcopal church in the U.S. No wonder everyone is confused.

BTW - let me know if you recognize the church in the photo.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The "Average Anglican"

For a while now, we have been hearing that the "average Anglican" is black, female and in her late teens or early twenties. A woman of great faith and a life of great hardship - yes, a woman who deserves our respect (and she probably deserves my two-bedroom condo for her family). After shaking off my annoyance with the terrible practice of "averaging" race and gender, I always come back to one thought.

When I was a young woman, the world was my oyster. Raised in the Washington, DC suburbs at the end of the Baby Boomer generation, I was well-educated, attractive, and knew which fork to use without thinking about it. Should I go back to grad school? When will I marry, how many children? I was traveling all over the country, learning new things, different music and food to experience...I think you get the picture.

Yes, I my ego might have been a wee bit big, but I quickly picked up that I had a lot to learn - and to enjoy the process. But one thing is certain: even though I was "average" for a woman raised Episcopalian on the East coast (there were many just like me), the Bishop of Washington and the Presiding Bishop didn't think the church should revolve around me, and certainly not the path of the entire Anglican communion. And there I was, living just a few miles away from the National Cathedral!

Yes, our "average Anglican" deserves our respect - and a decent place to live, a future for her children, and a place to worship without fear. Are Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi looking out for their future and their faith when they condemn my LGBT friends and neighbors? Is this hatred feeding, housing and educating their children? I wonder if Christian love and a giving attitude toward the home flock might be just the impetus needed to "compete" with Islam, and perhaps they should stay home and give it a try. And allow us the same respect for our societal concerns and norms that they purport to want for theirs.

Just some mid-week thoughts.

(p.s. does anyone want to organize a fund-raising BBQ for the Lambeth deficit? I make great sides but need someone to work the grill).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Is this the part where....?

Everyone will find a different Sunday blessing in this - may your Sabbath day be filled with God's love.
Lynn and Fred

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ah, just watch this...

(See Fred's post below - Let it Ring, for more info. Thanks, Fred. It's terrific.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I just saw the most outstanding commercial and I will not spoil it for everyone else so I will just point the the web site and say go read. The actual commercial is not there but the organization is there and can use some help. All I can say to pique everyone's interest is that I could not live without the one I love. If you can find the commercial please post it here so every one can see it. It is terrific!!!

"Let it ring"

Fred, is this what you wanted? :-)


In a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center laboratory, neuroscientists discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity, a finding that has important implications for humans.

Blueberry Crisp

4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and completely dried
1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (set aside the extra tablespoon)
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350◦ F. Spread the blueberries in an 8x8x2” square baking dish. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of flour over the berries. Thoroughly blend the remaining flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in the butter to make coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over berries. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until berry juice starts to bubble and the topping is light to medium brown. Best served slightly warm, or at room temperature if you don’t melt the vanilla ice cream on top. Warning – if you reheat this, the topping gets soggy; however, it is fine eaten cold from the pan the next day. I don't have any idea how those last two informational gems were discovered, just that they are true.

Enjoy your antioxidants. I think you will have more fun than the lab rats if you try this.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


"When Jesus at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His church, and the gates of hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they are founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded upon a weak man, and for this reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than it's weakest link."
G. K. Chesterton

I am neither a Greek scholar nor am I a student of Church history, but I love Peter, the apostle. I love to read about him and his antics. And I truly love Peter the person because he is most like me or more correctly I am most like him.

Let's get the scholarly thing out of the way quickly. This pope thingy. AS far as I can tell, read that my interpretation of the "rock foundation naming convention" falls in line with some thinkers from around town, past and present. St. Augustine became caught up in a war of words with Rome. Augustine's interpretation of the scriptural passage the RC uses is taken to mean that the church was founded on Him whom Peter confessed, namely the Messiah. Peter, the name was taken from Petra and the Petra is Christ. Peter, is everyman -- all of us. The Church Jesus founded was founded on everyman. Peter, his real life person, represents all of us. The Stone Peter takes his name from the (Petra) is Christ. Just as Christians get their name from Christ and not the other way around. I will let you shcolars of Greek and whatever help me out on this. I wish to turn my attention slightly left of center.

For me, I would like to add to the discussion that Peter is my kind of guy. When he saw Jesus walking on the water he jumped out of the boat and practically ran to him until he looked down and said, "Oh - Oh!" He realized he was doing something that he could not ordinarily do and began to sink, calling out for help! Isn't that just like you and me? We get out there sometimes and we are doing stuff we do not and could not ordinarily do and then suddenly realize, "Oh-Oh" and begin to sink. We then end up calling on our Lord to help us out. And He does!

Or, better still, how many times have you been in a position where you are receiving some gift or some accolade or some help you really do not deserve. Peter, having Christ come up to him and wanting to wash his feet, and Peter rebelling against that saying Lord, you should not be doing this, then finally gushing forth with not only my feet but my head and my hands and my whole body! Jesus is both generous and patient with us.

And how many times have we had someone standing on a street corner asking for help and we turn the other way and move away. Not unlike the people around the fire in the courtyard that would come up to Peter and say, "Don't you know this man Jesus?" And Peter would fairly shout I have never seen Him before in my life!" Jesus is always there to forgive our sins, seen and unseen, done and left undone.

And finally, the corollary. Jesus, after the resurrection asking Peter, "Do you love me." How many times in the quiet of our hearts has Jesus said this to us. And our response, "Lord you know that I love you!" and Jesus says, "Feed my sheep." This is always a tough one because Jesus defines His sheep as those tax collectors, the sinners the wanderers, the strays, just about all of us. And feeding his sheep seems like such a huge task. But we must all find our own way and do just that. Jesus wants us to love and transform that love into action in this world.

Yep, Peter is my favorite. John is a wonder, Paul is a brilliant scholar, Judas, while I think about him a lot his persona is really too complex for me, the rest of the apostles are just an amorphous group, but I like Peter. Peter thinks like me, acts like me, is rash and impulsive and is quick to cut and run when the going gets tough but is also loving and caring and compassionate and represents me in all my failings but also in all my potential. Yes, Peter is a good choice to build a church upon, that is just one more way I realize that we are all in!

Monday, August 4, 2008


To the Most Reverend Peter Akinola,

I heard reported on the news today that another two foreigners were taken prisoner/hostage in Nigeria. National Public Radio reported that with this hostage taking it brings to a total over 200 foreigners being held in Nigeria by "rebels". While you attend GAFCON and while you come to the United States and while you make speeches and write articles on the poor treatment of conservatives/orthodox in various countries and while you rail against LGBT people over 200 hostages are kept away from their families, friends, loved ones by rebels in your country. I am told, or rather I have read, that you are the most powerful single person in the country of Nigeria. This may be true since you travel on a diplomatic passport, or at least that was also reported in the press.

Why is it that you cannot secure these 200 persons freedom? Why is it that you, the most powerful person in Nigeria, are not working day and night to secure the release of over 200 persons being held in your country, against their will? Why is it that you can work to secure the "freedom" of Americans who feel they are held hostage by the Episcopal Church but go home to thier loved ones, enjoy the ability to take long walks and feel free to reject the rights of LGBT persons yet you cannot work to get these 200 hostages a passport to their homes?

Is it not possible that you might bring some sense of freedom to these rebels, at least enough to allow them to release their hostages and send home those poor unfortunate hostages back to their families? These people really, really fear for their real lives!

Thank you in advance for your generous offer to work to free the hostages in Nigeria.


Fred Schwartz
Member, Episcopal Dicoese of San Joaquin

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Deep peace

Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you.

The zookeepers here at OTA wish you a peaceful Sabbath day. And now - the beautiful sound of John Rutter's arrangement of the Gaelic Blessing:

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Illuminations and Elucidations on: The Hellins Lecture

VI. The End

I believe I have related this anecdote once before but I wish to do so again.

Picture a courtroom. You/me/we are the defendants. God, in the person of the Father is the judge. We are accused of falling short of the mark, of being sinners (and tax collectors). Of not living up to all the commandments and all the covenants. The Father, in perfect JUSTICE finds we are indeed guilty. But then something truly unique and transforming happens. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, comes down from the bench and stands next to me/you/us. He, Jesus, accepts the verdict on our behalf and absorbs the punishment for our (yours/mine/our) failings. That is perfect MERCY.

This concluding segment would have been so much easier if many in the current crowd at Lambeth (and some pretending not to be at Lambeth) had not decided to muck it up. One of the very first management skills I learned when I was younger was when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. Too bad many of our Bishops slept through that portion of the course.

When I began this series I read with enthusiasm this lecture and quietly said to myself, “Self, this is what we really need. A cool, level headed re-thinking of our respective positions and then a coming together of all the factions in love and charity to reinvigorate the communion. “ Something like what has happened over and over again in our past. Something not unlike what ++Rowan Williams appears to be proposing. I like discussion, discussion is good and no one gets hurt.

It would have been so much easier if I were not an American or at least growing up in the American experience. You see, years and years ago someone wrote that “all men are created equal”. It has taken us centuries to get where we are today but we are not willing to give that idea up and we are not willing to be bullied and we are growing less willing to backslide. Because of all of that and then some we have some of the most cosmopolitan/heterogeneous populations in the world and we are liking that more and more. With this unique experience comes the self-proclaimed idea that each of us must guide and guard these precious ideas. It is also very true that the rest of the world does not share our experience, our history, our philosophy, or approach to oppression or our approach to self-correction. It is also true that despite our best efforts to bring this form of self-expression to the world we have failed miserably. Our ideas, and philosophy from the social contract to utilitarianism to civil rights and all that that entails are just not easily exported as we have seen. I do believe that most of the rest of the world sees what we have publicly demonstrated, our commitment to economic superiority and our world-wide drive to maintain that superiority. As a result three things are apparent. First, most everyone in the world would like very much to acquire and maintain that same standard of living. Second, most of the rest of the world sees the US as a big bully in our attempt to maintain this economic superiority. Third, our social ideals seem incongruent with our stated economic superiority and for some reason we as a people cannot overcome that vision.

The Reverend Cameron says the compass rose points to the east and encourages us look to what the Roman Church is doing with Pope Benedict XVI at the helm.

“Of the two billion Christians in the world today, half are Roman Catholics. … There seems to be little doubt that in his ministry, Pope Benedict has indicated a preference for ecumenical engagement with the Orthodox Churches of the East.”

This again is not new. Back in the 1890s there was this same interest in renewal of unions with other denominations. Manross states, “Efforts towards Catholic reunion have therefore, for the present to be concentrated upon cooperation with the Eastern Church, and with such western groups as retain the episcopal succession and other features of the Catholic tradition without submitting to the Pope.”

Been there done that.

Here is what has been forgotten or conveniently overlooked.

“To the long list of heresies bravely resisted by the church --- Docetism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Patrinpassionism, and so on- a new one is added in 1899, sounding very strange in this exotic company: Americanism.” (pg. 202, Why I Am A Catholic, Gary Wills).


In Testem Benevolentiae (1899) Leo XIII goes on to say,

“License mistaken for liberty; an appetite for discussion and criticism; a readiness, ultimately, to think whatever one wants to and to publish it – these have so involved men’s minds in confusion that the teaching authority of the church is more than ever needed to call people back to their beliefs and duties.”(pg. 203, Why I Am A Catholic, Wills).

Excuse me?!

At the same time Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus (1893) stated, “it would be impious to confine the truth of inspiration to certain parts of the holy writings to grant that the inspired author ever erred . . . For all books accepted in the sacred canon are, throughout and in every part, written at the dictation of the Holy Spirit. It is so impossible for error to insinuate itself into divine inspiration that the latter if itself precludes and rejects all error, by the same necessity that prevents God, the highest truth, from issuing any untruth.” (pg. 201, Wills).


And not surprisingly, the GAFCON Jerusalem Statement now echoes these statements.

We now will end with Greg's eloquent statement, but look closely for his quote is not this quote. He got it almost right.

“…the Compass Rose points to here (my heart), and there (to your heart) and everywhere (to all Anglicans) calling us– (not to the centre but) - to the cross wherein God’s love is revealed to the world.”

This mercy, once delivered, requires that we treat each and every human being sinners and tax collectors included, as a creature of God’s own making. Not just all men but all people are created equal—

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

ALL people.

I wish mercy for us all. I wish mercy for myself. I want so very much for us all to worship and exchange the peace and receive the Lord under one big tent. But more than that, I an required to extend as much mercy to everyone as I can muster in the sure and certain hope that it will be returned to me 70 fold. If that means I must absorb the invasion of my church by those who would pirate and trade on peoples fears and hatreds then so be it. If it means that the church splits apart or stays together, so be it. If it means that we talk until the year 2525 (there is a quarter in this reference to anyone that gets it) so be it. I will go anywhere and meet with anyone at any time and talk as long as it takes to come to terms with this idea but this idea is not just an idea, it must include true representation from the LGBT community, and it is not negotiable and it is not postpone-eable and it is not trade-able.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Some updates: temporary fix for Blogger/MS IE

Hopefully, our final update: IE and SiteMeter seem to be back on speaking terms now per Mike in Texas (thanks, Mike).
#1 - Scott Hankins reports that removing site meter from his blog made it accessible using MS Internet Explorer.

#2 - Many of you are having problems accessing blogs using PC-based Microsoft Internet Explorer. All these sites - and not all are hosted by Blogger - seem to be using Sitemeter. This is a problem that must be addressed by the blog owner. But you can help by passing this information along to them. (I have also sent a message to the help center at Sitemeter, for what that's worth).

So far, all these sites can be accessed using Firefox browser for PCs. It is my primary browser and I like it, some do not. You can check out the Firefox at This link is to the U.S. English page, but they have several local language versions.

Firefox works on Blogger

A few sites aren't accessible using MS Internet Explorer at this writing (including Mark Harris' Preludium and Scott Hankins' Fr. Scott & Company). I work with a PC, not Mac. I honestly don't know what the problem is, just letting people know if they want to swing by their favorite blogs tonight you might want to give Firefox a try.

I use Firefox as my primary browser, it has its good and bad points. The most annoying feature is that it seems to be a memory hog after a while, no matter how many times you work on cleaning out your cache.


IV. Shibboleth

In our continuing discussion of the Anglican Communion we have dealt with a wide range of issues. One of those issues is words/labels such as Liberal, Conservative, Orthodox, High Church, etc. We have also dealt with divisions that have occurred in the past both worldwide and in our own American Church and in our own diocese. We have also discussed the issue of the Bible, or rather how one goes about reading and interpreting the Bible.

Now we jump in with both feet on the issue of homosexuality, or more specifically, each of our own interpretations of this word/issue. Let’s go back to the Reverend Gregory Cameron’s discussion of this issue. Cameron refers to this issue as the current shibboleth. The reference is to the Book of Judges, Chapter 12 and I will allow you to read that and/or go back and read the Hellins Lecture on this issue as well.

What I do want to quote from his work is the following:

“It can too often appear these days that we Anglicans are busy making the issue of homosexuality a shibboleth. Unless you can articulate your views in exactly the desired way, be it adapted towards a conservative or a liberal agenda, then you are likely to get cut down. The very nature of your Anglicanism, of your orthodoxy, of your Christian faith, the very value placed upon your membership in the body, is made to depend on one particular articulation of one particular understanding of one particular moral issue, and your position on this matter is used to read back into the whole of Christian faith and discipleship as the way for it to be understood and evaluated. If you are found wanting then you are to be treated as a sinner and tax collector.” (Emphasis is mine).

What I want each of us to consider is that final turn of the phrase – “If you are found wanting you are treated as a sinner and a tax collector”. We will come back to this phrase again because in it is the heart of resolution. For now, and for us Jakeites, I ask that we reflect on the many conversations with Grace as but one example. So no one gets confused and just so everyone knows, I am a sinner (no surprise) and I have been a tax collector (not that that means much).

This, homosexuality, is an issue that at least for the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. The piling on of the issues of the prayer book, the interpretation of the bible, the ordination of women supposedly were mere prelude to the main event ordination/consecration of LGBT brothers and sisters. This is the issue that drove John David Schofield into the waiting arms of the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables. This is the issue that tore the fabric of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Greg Cameron asks the direct question,

“Faced with the levels of anger, political subterfuge and almost histrionic rhetoric that seems to swirl about our Communion, I can understand those who say that perhaps the time has come to let the Communion go. If it stands on a precipice already, why not administer that little shove to put it out of its misery.”

The Reverend Cameron gives two really good answers, I highly recommend that you go read them. I would like us to look at something slightly off topic.

Let’s go back to Cameron’s earlier phrase that says that if a person’s moral interpretation of this issue is not completely in agreement with mine that person is then treated like a sinner and a tax collector, indeed this is true on both sides. You can see this occur on StandFirm or Titus1/9 or even on Jake’s blog, Worldstopper. And yet, the persons Jesus CHOSE to break bread with, to talk to and to love were the sinners and the tax collectors. We, collectively, automatically set each other up for the next line which is, yes we are tax collectors and sinners but Jesus loves us! And off we go feeling really good about ourselves. Or in a more bloody tone, we have just slain those who could not pronounce shibboleth. Should we all sit down with sinners and tax collectors, pass the peace and break bread? At the end of the day, we look at ourselves in relation to God and to our fellow man and say, “we need to be in a right relationship with each other”. Let me (sorta) quote the only scriptural piece I will do in all of these writings, “Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And the second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself.” As an old professor of mine used to say, “This seems readily apparent to the most casual observer.” If I am going to break bread with Jesus Christ then I must break bread with those that do not always and in everyway agree with me. Yes, I must pass the peace and share the Eucharist with sinners and tax collectors. Now that is a fine kettle of fish!

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

I'm fat, I'm thin, I'm short, I'm tall
I'm deaf, I'm blind, hey, aren't we all

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

Don’t Laugh At Me
Mark Wills

Mad Priest says...pass the word

All is well with the inimitable Mad Priest, but he has asked the blogging community to pass along a troll problem. Hat tip to Grandmère Mimi, who is helping him spread the news. And now, in his own words:

"OCICBW... got attacked by a particularly vicious troll last night. It was so bad I had to close down the comments overnight.

He seems to have got his revenge by reporting me as a spam blog to Blogger and they have blocked my blog. I have asked for reinstatement but it's taking up to a week to sort out at the moment.

Would you please notify people of this on your blog and tell them to put it on their blogs. I don't want them thinking I've done a runner or been disappeared by the Church Police.


I went for my usual wee hours laugh last night, and he wisely reminded all of us to avoid feeding the trolls. I'm not sure whether that would have helped much in this situation, but it does help keep the blood pressure down!

(A practical update at 1:45 p.m. EDT: I did a bit of checking on what a "spam blog" is. It seems there are essentially two types (with different names). One big no-no is to create meaningless posts to direct traffic to other sites...essentially to bring up hit and visitor counts for advertising stats and such. There can be issues of blogs sending out malicious spyware, containing spam on posts, you name it. I think the first description is what was reported as an (obviously incorrect) offense, and it does appear they do a temporary shutdown before investigation. But really, no original content from Mad Priest? Oh, please!)