Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yahoo! Here Comes Some Bigtime Controversy!

I have been "stewing" about the proposed Primates meetings since the Global South primates decided to not even be in the same room with our Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori.  I could not, in this day and age figure out why these folks, religious God fearing Christians would do such a thing.  It started a while ago when they would not so much as go to the table with her.  (receive communion with our Presiding Bishop).  Can you imagine someone refusing to sit at the Lord's table?

Then, while I am still stewing Archbishop Rowan Williams comes up with this brilliant plan for the Primates to meet in one room with other Primates meeting in other rooms and which he terms "separate but equal".  Well, I am thinking this sure sounds vaguely familiar. 

And now, there comes this nonsense,
"The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr. President and CEO, American Anglican Council, had a different perspective . . .saying, "I would strongly advise the orthodox Primates to 1) organize before the Primates' meeting, and 2) attend and remove by force [my emphasis] of numbers the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church (not physically, but by either voting her off the "island," or recessing to another room and not letting her in [how he determines this is not by force I have no idea]). The meeting is a place to gather and potentially to settle some of the issues that are pulling the Anglican Communion apart, and to begin to restore health to a most wonderful communion.

"In the above case, if Dr. Williams did not go along with Jefferts Schori's exclusion, then I would suggest having the next-door-meeting without him. I just don't believe staying home from the field of battle helps win a war over the truth and nature of Christianity within Anglicanism. The Christian Church needs a spiritually strong and muscular Anglicanism to re-evangelize the West; are we willing to make the sacrifices in order for this to happen?"
Then, as if by providence, a few nights ago I am watching an American masterpiece on John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York. 

And, still, before I put this up, I wish to remind everyone of this:
Many prominent Black Americans spoke out in defense of the song including stand up comedian Dick Gregory and co-founder and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Ron Dellums. Dellums issued a statement saying, “If you define 'niggers' as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society are defined by others, then Good News! You don't have to be black to be a 'nigger' in this society. Most of the people in America are 'niggers'.”

The song was co-written by Yoko and John -- Yoko took the lead in writing this.  Do you suppose our Anglican Communion will ever get through this? 
If The Episcopal Church of the United States of America is going to be all inclusive then let us lead with strength and unity and not just in places that happen to be safe, but in all areas of the world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

We are a Non-Christian Government

For the last so many years we keep hearing about the Christian right and their need to gain, hold and wield power in the United States.  I would simply like to point out that while our unique experiment allows for just about anyone coming to power, this is the least likely group.  ?Why?  Because it violates the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  I will refer several times to The Church Idea written by William Reed Huntington, an Episcopal Priest and author of the work that became the foundation of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.  One may go to Real Anglicans to get the "full scoop" on the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and why we "gots all the covenants we needs".

What needs to be addressed here the idea that the United States is a "Christian" country.  So we begin with one of the baseline quote upon which our governing system is based.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion In this short sentence lies wrapped the secret of our national destiny and on the wisdom or unwisdom of this decision of the fathers hinges the well being of their children's children This is a strong statement some will be disposed to call it a wild one
Our forefathers had the innate farsightedness to realize that there is a crushing need to keep church and state absolutely and totally separate.  Notice, they did not say, you can or cannot be "pick your religion" they simply said the government cannot, never, ever, at any time no how no way.  Reed puts it this way:

Let us not shrink then from facing one of first conditions of the American problem which is this that our Government rests in theory and must eventually rest in practice upon a purely secular basis We are as yet a Christian people and we have a right to say that we live in a Christian land simply because the majority of the population are nominally of the Christian faith But we have no right to say that we live under a Christian government for Christ and His religion are alike unknown to that instrument which alone gives the government its authority the Constitution of the United States.

We need to return to the principle that while some of us are, maybe or could be Christian our government was not set up that way and it is not meant to be that way.  And here is the quote that will send the entire Christian right right over the cliff:

But a Christian government ours certainly is not for there is nothing in its structure to prevent either Infidels Jews or Mohammedans from administering it throughout.
But therein lies the beauty of the great experiment, it is liberating not constraining.  With church-state relationships even like the one in England,a benevolent dictatorship one has t oconstantly be looking over one's shoulder. We are free to practice and do what we please, actually living in accordance with our beliefs.  Do I want even a "Christian" government, absolutely not.  I can wait for the kingdom of God, I trust God, I do not trust Sarah Palin, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson or anyone else human.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hello Coneolonialists!

This column is for all my fellow travellers especially those in the faux diocese of San Joaquin and currently attending services in the buildings grounds and good graces of the real Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

How are things going for you?  Been seeing the Archbishop of Canterbury lately?  No, well that is too bad since you are not recognized by +Rowan Williams.  Remember Mr. Schofield's promise to get you closer to Canterbury?  Seems to have not worked out quite the way you thought it might?  Come on home, we are waiting for you!

How is that 1662 prayer book working for you?  particularly the part where you pledge fealty to the King or Queen of England?  Pretty hot stuff considering we had a Revolution in 1776 that solved that problem.  And hey, the hymnal you are using is that corresponding to the 1662 prayerbook?  Well, just want you to know we are still using the 1979 prayerbook and guess what?  It is as beautiful as the 1662 but it is written with the American Experience in mind.  Come on home, we are waiting for you!

And how about your provincial Convention?  How many voting delegates did you send down South?  How much in the way of voice and vote did you really have?  And hey, how are they spending your precious resources? Money must be pretty tight right now what with the huge sums being paid to your legal team.  Guesses are upwards of over 1 million dollars?  John David share with you how much money has been paid to the legal team and how much more you are going to spend before you lose it all anyway?  You seeing any of the money in your parishes?  Hey, it is only money right and since you belong to the Southern Cone probably just as well, right?  Why should you not contribute the lion's share of the provincial revenues?  You are after all, taking up the lion's share of the archbishop's time?  And hey, how is that archbishop working out for you?  You paid to get his home fixed all pretty.Suppose he is done?  Hope he doesn't need any more. How about the maintenance on your church buildings (or your homes for that matter) is all that getting done for you?  Come on home, we are waiting for you!

And, speaking of property, I hope you are keeping our property in good shape. We will be there soon and we would like to get the property back in the same condition that you took it.  And while we are on the topic the latest ruling seems to draw us inexorably closer to the the return of the property to the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin.  When your property returns what do you think is going to happen?  Well I do not know either but let's look at what has happened so far.  The parishes that have returned have been given new life and we, the laity of the diocese, have helped keep the doors open.  See, maybe if you come in soon you can negotiate a similar deal with the Bishop.  Maybe if you wait until the court demands you return the property you are not going to get a good deal at all -- what might that look like?  Well, let's not think about that,  come on home, we are waiting for you!

And have you guys got all that messy "stuff" worked out yet? Make some progress on the issue of LGBT and divorced clergy and heaven forbid -- women priests?  got that all worked out yet?  Mr. Schofield help you through that process did he?  Great -- well, if that hasn't happened yet come on home, we are waiting for you!

In the inimitable words of one of America's great sales persons:  "We'll leave the light on for you!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time For Some Timely Music (Leonard Cohen, who else?)

Here are the Lyrics, you may wish to sing along.  Of course if you are a conelonialist you may want to simply turn the channel.


It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on ...
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right

I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

                                                          ----- Leonard Cohen

This poet really is a gift to us all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Unintended Consequences of the PROPOSED Anglican Covenant

Let's face it folks, we are knee-deep in a discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant as we were instructed to by the General Convention.  What does this discussion look like in your parish?  Well in my parish, we are focused on several issues.  For starters, we are rehashing the issues of the last twenty years including the prayer book, women's ordination, issues of inclusiveness, issue of theology including issues raised by James Pike and Shelby Spong.  Then of course we are hashing the issue of the covenant itself.  What is this thing, why is this thing, how is this thing and what will it do and what will it accomplish.  I look around and the conversations are reasonably civil and we all still go to the rail together but there is an interesting issue here.

This covenant thingy is NOT of the Episcopal Church in the United States.  It comes from those outside who have already carved up some of the diocese here in the United States and would like nothing more than to carve up ALL the diocese of the Episcopal Church of the Untied States.  Don't think so, read the Chapman Memo.  Now here is the really tough piece of news, our general ASA folks know little to nothing about the history of the Episcopal Church in the United States and less about the Anglican Communion.  I know that is not going to sit well with many, but it is the sad truth.  Talk with those who have already left for the Southern Cone and parts of Africa and you will find precious little historical/traditional knowledge of our Church and our Communion.  We, as the Episcopal Church in the United States have allowed ourselves, in our haste to grab all the ASA we could get, to fail at teaching who and what we are.  And guess what?  The bad guys have taken advantage of that.  let me share but one piece of knowledge.  Mr. Schofield, prior to his Conelonial days ran with a Mennonite Seminary.  His closest allies were/are pastors of "Church of the Feel Good".  Review his monthly newsletters and you will see the overtaking of his theology (or at least his political theology) by bible thumping sermon led priests and friends who are not in touch with history or tradition and I think less with reason, though that might be speculative on my part.

So, the real issue for the covenant, or the reason for studying the covenant is to once again drive a wedge between those who know and understand the Anglican Communion and those who do not.  See, the folks out there know we still have not improved our education system and are gambling on our need to be obedient and study the Anglican Covenant.  The folks  that do not understand are now given a chance to once again reconsider moving to the southern cone, or at a minimum the discussion is re-opening all those old wounds once again, not directly, not with intent to teach and study but rather as an oblique attempt to foment revolution.  So the folks in ACNA, AMiA, GAFCON/FCA and all the alphabet soup win one way or the other. 

And so my question.  Is this an unintended consequence or is this another phase of the Chapman Memo?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday To The Eagle Globe and Anchor!

Today is, you got it, the Marine Corps birthday.  It was on November 10, 1775 at Tuns Tavern that the Marine Corps was founded.  The fact that I know this should tell you a little something about me -- and if you understand the Marine Corps esprit de corps, Semper Fidelis, you know some of my core values.  I enlisted before I was eighteen and yes, my mom signed for me.  She did so on one condition, that I would delay my enlistment until after Christmas.  I acquiesced and on January 1968 I entered the United States Marine Corps.  That made me a mid-Tet replacement in June of 1968 in Vietnam.  I am a tanker and in August of 1969 I left my tank in pretty much the same condition that I found it.  In 1970 I mustered out and I can say with agreat deal of pride, it is my great privilege to be known as a United States Marine.

Here is the first of two things I wish to share on this special day:

Close order drill seems so innocuous until one discovers the big WHY!

Next, is the following:

And finally, I offer this to those who really know me:  "The Marine Corps is the "Men's Department" of the
United States Navy. (;-}

Happy Birthday!


Monday, November 8, 2010

The Damnable Numbers Game

I keep reading in so many various blogs about the numbers game. You all know what I am talking about, the idea that if I have 3 more persons in my Sunday ASA (that's average Sunday attendance) than you do that I am closer, better, more holy, closer to God than you. This is particularly true when it comes to issues surrounding +Gene Robinson, +Mary Glasspool and the inclusion of all LGBTQ persons in our great Episcopal Church. So, I finally went searching for this song and found it. It is probably too obtuse but I offer it anyway.

BTW -- This was a great TV program and I, though clearly giving up my age, will say that I have listened to Johnny Cash since I was old enough to put a record on the turntable (that;'s correct, a turntable.)