Friday, February 27, 2009

Stations of the Cross

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of the Stations of the Cross. Of late, we were once told by a member of JDS clergy that the Stations of the Cross had no business inside a church. He told us that it was not "architecturally sound". I truly beg to differ. Here is one of the most moving songs I remember -- I hope, on this first Friday in Lent it helps set the stage for a reflective 40 days.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

San Joaquin Updates

We have some updates for everyone.

First, the long awaited ruling with regard to who really is the representative of the corporate sole will have t owait for another day.  Actually, the motion for summary adjudication was postponed until March 11, 2009.  According to those in the know this is simply a housekeeping chore by the courts.  It manages their dockets and generally without explanation.  That happened, no explanation, this time as well.  In my line of work I beleive that sometimes, even though I am just the engineer, I want to beleive I am the conductor.  The fact is the conductor will manage the train.  We therefore pray and wait.

The second issue is the final determination/written ruling from the California Supreme Court on the issue of St. James, Newport Beach property.  They slightly modified their ruling and in part here is the modification:

The opinion herein, filed on January 5, 2009, and appearing at 45 Cal.4th 467, is modified as follows: The first sentence in the second full paragraph on page 473 is modified to read:"Applying the neutral principles of law approach, we conclude, on this record, that the general church, not the local church, owns the property in question."

The final line in the modifications cited by the court goes like this:
"This modification does not affect the judgment."

There had been a challenge to review the finds by several schismatics but the courts would have none of that nonsense. Here is the read :
The third full paragraph on page 476 is modified to read: "We granted review to decide whether this action is subject to the special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 and to address the merits of the church property dispute."The first full paragraph on page 478, under "B.," is modified to read: "Both lower courts also addressed the merits of the dispute over ownership of the local church - the trial court found in favor of the local church and the Court of Appeal found clear and convincing evidence in favor of the general church. We will also address this question, which the parties as well as various amici curiae have fully briefed. We will first consider what method the secular courts of this state should use to resolve disputes over church property. We will then apply that method to  analyze the dispute of this case." The first sentence of the first full paragraph on page 493 is modified to read: "For these reasons, we agree with the Court of Appeal's conclusion (although not with all of its reasoning) that, on this record, when defendants disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church, the local church property reverted to the general church.
emphasis added.

There you have it.  Keep us in your prayers as the March 11 date slips up on us like the tule fog in February.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Music - 23rd Psalm

Howard Goodall's The Lord is My Shepherd, and yes - it's the theme song from The Vicar of Dibley!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gracious Restraint? What's Up?

The Episcopal Book of Common prayer defines sacrament(s) as such:

Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

The Roman Catholics define sacrament as such:

According to the New Roman Catholic Catechism, the definition of “sacrament” is “an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give inward grace.” Each sacrament has an outward sign, something that the recipient can see and touch. Though the Church has built rituals around each sacrament to increase reverence and to explain the sacramental effects, the sacrament, itself, was instituted by Christ, since only God has the ability to confer grace

I hope we can all agree that a sacrament is not "magic" but rather a GIFT from God.  Now, as I read the two definitions I see no qualification of who can or cannot receive sacraments. No, let's not get our knickers in a twist, I realize that we, "the church" have established an ordering of sacraments but there are no prequalifications save baptism.  But even with Baptism, there is no "personal" prequalification. That is to say, I find no concept that in order to receive a sacrament one must be white, or tall, or man or woman, or anything such as that.  One must be contrite, in a relationship with the Lord and the gift is yours.  

At Father Mark's place he takes a reductionist argument saying in effect, let's just not baptize the LGBT community (don't get crazy, that was just an argument he used to further his point).  If, as I believe and that persons such as IT and Goran and JCF and others have scientifically demonstrated sexual orientation is an issue of genetics (IT, forgive me and clear it up if I am of target here)  Then gracious restraint, as Father Mark has described, must be invoked at baptism, actually prior to baptism. If it is not then we should be taking back baptism and then, we should withhold communion, ordination, confirmation, and all the other "sacraments" while the other folks restrain themselves from boarding an airplane and traveling to Canada or the United States.  Okay, all together now, HUH? That is by almost any standards, absolutely absurd!

The fact is sacraments are gifts from God, not from man. God gave them to man and I find it hard to understand how man can take them away.  Why would anyone believe that they can take away "God's good will toward us."  Why would anyone, correction, any professing Christian want to?  We must be very careful about taking on the persona of God. We must not decide who is worthy and who is not worthy of sacraments and grace and God's good will.  If we believe that our spiritual health depends on our individual relationship with God and then we place ourselves in God's place, well let me just parrot a line from the Devil's Advocate: "Pride, my favorite sin."  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You Can't Do That!

A hat tip to our good friend James at TTLS!

Here is the latest from the blog of the Conealonialist:

Fr. Howard and Deacon Erin Giles, clergy in good standing of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, are forming a core group to plant an Anglican church in the Las Vegas/Henderson area of Southern Nevada. A group of twelve is planning Ash Wednesday and Lenten Soup Suppers in private homes. Please contact us so that you can join us in fellowship and in seeking the Lord.

Well ladies and gentlemen of both California and Nevada MR. GILES and MRS. GILES are simply laity in the world.  They can, as laity try to raise up a group in Nevada but I would caution those in Nevada with the following comments from Bishop Jerry Lamb, Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin:    
 The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin today determined that sixteen deacons and thirty-six priests had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. Findings against each of the fifty-two clergy were based on specific violations of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church related to their support of attempts to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church, and their repudiation of the ecclesiastical authority of the Episcopal Church and the diocese.
 And then Bishop Lamb names the names, the two that Nevada should be concerned with are as follows:

The Rev. Erin Giles, Manteca 
                The Rev. Howard Giles, Manteca

Since there is only the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and that the bishop of that diocese is Bishop Jerry Lamb and Bishop Lamb has deposed several clergy including Mr. and Mrs. Giles this foray into Nevada can only be a short-sighted attempt at creating a new diocese of some conealoneialists.  Please be warned that Nevada is still in The Episcopal Church of the United States and these two therefore are but mere lay persons looking for a handout.  

What we do have is an opportunity to bring the Beatles into this whole thing and so here it is.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The last one sober

Well, it seems that person is me. They tell you in rehab the odds are against you, manipulating the numbers to this message: only one person in this room will make it. That was what they told us almost three years ago, in a quiet little house in the mountains. A place where people cleaned up from all kinds of poison, finding some hope to make a new life, or recapture the best parts of an old one.

Until five months ago, there were two of us. Me, and S - I always referred to him as the "the other sober one." We live five miles apart, the two stubborn cusses that wouldn't drink no matter what. For quite a long time we kept each other strong through the fear, sorrow, insomnia and muscle pains. Phone calls and emails, any time of day or night.

We didn't have much else in common, and in time we became sporadic correspondents. Maybe we just stopped worrying about each other, and that was the wrong thing to do.

Just tonight, I heard from him; the news isn't good. He relapsed hard in November, going into liver failure after a few weeks of daily, constant drinking. Liver failure, indeed...he lapsed into a hepatic coma for about five weeks. The strong, handsome man is now an invalid, struggling to re-solidify the scrambled eggs in his brain. He's slowly improving, but the prognosis is an unknown - I've seen miracles, and I've seen death.

Pray for S.
Pray for everyone who wants that drink they shouldn't have.
Pray for the people I loved that died because they couldn't say - no.

Pray for me, too, because it's lonely to be the last one who wanted to keep living. I don't understand how they lost hope, and I haven't. Because hope isn't in the bottle, hope comes when you pour what's in the bottle down the drain.

Here's a little ditty for all those that are still in the game - She'll Have You Back. Name your she-devil and sing along.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abide With Me (Sunday Music)

This recording of the famous hymn is truly lovely - an all-male chorus with string accompaniment.

Ladies and gentlemen: The Fron Male Voice Choir from Wales, a cut from their CD Voices of the Valley.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Modest Case For Inclusion

Ladies and gentle persons of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada. We are about inclusion and I ask that you keep that in mind as you read the brief (no pun intended) but modest proposal.  

I ask you, who currently is benefiting from the largess of the stolen property, both real and personal? Where is at least a portion of the money that currently comes into such dioceses as the "Anglican" Diocese of San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh going?  How about the money that comes into churches currently affiliated with AMiA?  Well, I believe that just like the Conealoneialist Diocese of San Joaquin, some, maybe a bunch is going directly to the Province of the Southern Cone.  Do our attorneys realize that the beneficiaries of the current conealoneial churches are the likes of Greg Venables, Henri Orombi, Peter Akinola, Emmanuel Kollini and Benjamin Nzimbi?  In addition to the ready cash available there is the more indirect issue of deferred cash.  What I mean by that is if all those churches that are currently paid for and occupied by the orothodites had been places they had to rent they would not be sending TEC cash to these "robber barons".  Think about this, the hundreds of thousands (their numbers not mine) are contributing to the provinces they belong to with cash that should be going to pay the rent for the building they are renting or paying for are indeed going to "the boys own coffers".  See, if the conelaoneialist laity were not currently in TEC buildings, most of whcih were bought and paid for by TEC laity, these folks would be hustling buildings, and they are not. 
My point is not just one of the issues currently in legal dancing mode.  I would like to know why the attorneys that have filed suit do not amend the suit to include  the beneficiaries of all the American and Canadian good fortune? 

Is there any wonder why Archbishop Akinola muses over the lawsuits that affect his province/diocese? And why he is so concerned about the continuing issues lawsuits present especially with unnamed John and Jane Does?  Perhaps it time to remove the mystery?  Perhaps it is time to put these folks names in the spotlight?  They love notoriety -- why not give them a healthy slice of the pie?  They need something to talk about and relate back to the bible -- how about naming some in a large way?  Want something to talk about Mr. Orombi?  How about your name in the lights of a Virginia court room?

Oh, one last thought.  When one or more comes to visit the poor struggling congregations of their diocese we slap them with a material witness warrant and not allow them to leave the country until after the lawsuits are finished.  Bet the tone and tenor of the conealoneialists changes a great deal.  

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have always been about inclusion.  Wouldn't this make it just a bit more cozy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Father, Abba, Dad, Daddy

Lately I have been thinkin'.  How does our relationship with our own father frame our relationship with God.  Now, I am no biblical scholar, though I read some, and I am no psychologist so have no fear of "being shrunk".  But let's think about this for just a moment or two.  Our very first father child relationship is with our own dad, most of the time.  I know there are some that perhaps your father was not in your life but that is very important also.  I think it is this from this springboard that we first begin to envision what God must be like.  After all, when we come across the bible it talks about Our Father.   Fathers can be aloof patriarchs, stern disciplinarians, loving fathers, a good friend, a part time dad, a non-existent father, or any combination of the above or maybe something not mentioned.  This relationship is frequently (though not always) noted by the use of the name given to your dad.  For example I always called my dad, dad.  Others may use the appellation Father (as Wilma does) and of course we know that Jesus liked the name Abba or daddy (Goran, is this the correct translation?).  At least that is what I have been taught. 

For me, I lost my father when I was seventeen. (actually didn't lose him, he died from a blood clot).  There are two things about that.  First, I had a rare glimpse of what his friends thought of him.  See, my dad was a fireman, and when he threw his clot he was at home.  The department responded and to watch those men work on my dad was a sight to behold.  He was clearly loved by his fellow workers.  In essence, I think I can draw from that (plus a couple of other incidents) he was a very good friend.  Second, I grew up without benefit of an older dad.  Of course dad would have been older but I had no chance for an adult relationship with him.  I needed to search other places to find that relationship, if for no other reason than to be a dad to my two children. Anyway,  I have a mix of my own experiences along with the bible and especially the Lord's Prayer.  So my interpretation of God is the loving Father but one who cares as much for friends, who wants everyone to be together.  The two great commandments mean a great deal to me.  The Eucharist means a great deal to me.  Parables like the good Samaritan and the father in the prodigal son stick with me easily.  I can quote those stories with ease.  When Jesus spoke to his dad he said Abba, I can easily relate to that.  But this is just me.

So, how about you?  First, does your relationship with your father frame your relationship with God and if so why?  If, not why?  


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Episcopalian Meets Methodists (Sunday Music)

My years singing in a Methodist choir were full of musical surprises, for both me and the Methodists. I still remember how amused and amazed they were to learn I had never sung The Old Rugged Cross, and that it was completely unfamiliar to me in every way.

Here is a beautiful choral arrangement of that classic hymn - it has quite the Anglican flair, I think! Yet as I listen, I can tell this 65-voice choir is Methodist, and that they sing together every week as members of a very special family. Yea, they make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

The Old Rugged Cross, by Rev. George Bennard; arrangement by Tom Jordan, as performed by the Cathedral Choir, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mr. Iker Gives The Store Away

Will wonders never cease?  And I thought for lo these many months we were dealing with uncompromising, evil, stiff-necked people who had not a decent bone in their body!  ME-A flippin' CULP-A!  Mr. Iker, in his continuing role as grand pooba of the Fort Wrath Conealonialists has now "returned to the Episcopal Church with his blessings and prayers" four, count them one, two, three and four parishes.  Here, in a magnificent gesture of incredible generosity is what he says, "
 The property of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Southlake, has been transferred into the name of the Rectors and Wardens of those parishes, respectively. The property of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Stephenville, will be transferred upon removal of financial encumberances in the form of building loans currently in the name of the Corporation. 

Let me see if I get this : I, Leo Jack Iker, renounced bishop and currently nobody of the nowhere church of the Southern Province,  am selling to you St. Christopher's and St Luke's the buildings and grounds, property that does not belong to me, just as soon as you pay me for the same.  I believe this deal is almost as good as the one Matt Kennedy offered the diocese of New York sometime ago when he offered to buy his church with the existing endowment of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

To quote another blogger, "Holy crap on a cracker!" How can anyone pass up this  deal.  I am hopeful that the rectors, wardens and vestry members of these parishes virtually run to the banks and to the attorneys and close this deal before it gets away from everyone!  

Mr. Iker, have you lost it?  Can someone like the Presiding Bishop perhaps help you find it?  Do you need someone to help you fix your driveway that clearly does not run all the way to the street?  Have you been smokin' your socks or what?  Oh O - I see that word coming round the bend!  No, wait a minute, it is the magic bird!  And what is the secret word tonight?  I think it was the same word that Admiral Halsey used during WWII.  You must remember that -- I believe the word is NUTS!

(A tip of the old tam-o-shanter to both Desert Child and Father Christian.  Sheesh, this gets better all the time. No one, but no one could make this stuff up.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


In a recent interview with ENS fondly entitled  "Hogwash"

(or something like that)

Mr. William Gandeberger, aka, "The Author of the Jerusalem Declaration", said the following:

"... Schofield's canon to the ordinary, told ENS that accusations of lay people or priests being punished for disagreeing with the direction of the diocese were "hogwash."

"I have never seen [Schofield] react harshly or act in retribution because someone disagreed with him," Gandenberger said. He said that "the charge of false accusations is totally bogus" because Schofield disciplined clergy "only for cause." 

Schofield has a "steady line" of people coming to his office to talk with him about issues and gives those people "willing ears to hear" even if he disagrees with them, Gandenberger said.

(I have no idea why the ENS would refer to a deposed priest as "the Reverend" but in this article Ms. Mary Frances Schjonberg does just that)

Let's take a look at the hogwash.  As an avid speaker in favor of leaving the diocese The Reverend Dan Martins does just that when he is double-crossed by Mr. Schofield.  The Reverend Risard is accused of theft and his books and records are taken by police at the request of Mr. Schofield.  A defrocked priest is brought in to St. Francis of Turlock after the Reverend Joel Miller is driven out of that parish for remaining episcopal.  Father Miller was a significant spokesperson for Remain Episcopal before being beaten to another diocese.  The deposed priest promptly moves in, destroys the once united parish and then is promptly moved out because he is "defrocked".  The (real) Reverend Mark Hall is ostracized in his own diocese for opposing Mr. Schofield.  St. Dunstans is closed and sold because Mr. Schofield needs money for his nonsensical and protracted attempt to steal Episcopal real and personal property.  This leaves at least one St. Dunstan's parishioner with gifts that had gone to St. Dunstans that were kept by Mr. Schofield.  Stained glass windows dedicated to the memory of good Episcopalians are left to be trashed by whoever bought the property.  Ear you say Mr. Gandenberger - the only ear ever given to a good Episcopalian was the one Mr. Schofield loped off and handed to the parishioner for listening to ++Jefferts Schori. 

In addition, when Mr. Schofield was asked about women and their "place" in the church Mr. Schofiled was heard to say, "Why yes, even women have a place in the Episcopal Church." 

Never seen an act of retribution, talk with the (real) Reverend Tim Vivian or anyone from St. Andrews Taft, CA.  No, Mr. Schofield is the eptiome of the idea either you are "with me or against me".  If you are not with me, you are against me.  

Mr. Schofield disciplined people for cause all right. He disciplined people every time 'cause he wanted to.


And in conclusion a refresher for those who have held the title reverend but are now Mr.

The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.

Please take that quote in the kindest sense possible.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Next Bus Stop: Heaven

Friends and fans of the blogosphere's infamous Mad Priest know of his new challenge: creating a really snarky ad for London buses. Inspired by recent "atheist" bus ad campaigns, there's a fun little generator tool at Rule the Web; just be sure to save your creations to your hard drive or some other storage space that belongs to you.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I realized I could sum up my basic philosophy on Christianity in one bus advertisement.

If you have posted one of your ad creations on your blog, feel free to post a link in the comment section. What an opportunity for shameless self-promotion - don't miss out!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Music - The Bruce for the middle-aged

Bruce Springsteen performing during the Superbowl half-time show? Who'da figured? In some way, I'll always love Bruce, because he kept some of us from being vaporized by disco music during my college years.

Since it's Sunday, this classic Bruce tune is the acoustic version. You might actually learn the words to this song today - and nope, it's not very "suitable." But it's all about the memories, babe.