Monday, July 4, 2011

SPREAD IT All Around

Well folks, here is the GAFCON latest idea on what constitutes an Anglican Communion.  Let's start with their statement, written by Charles Raven.

Events between the 1998 and 2008 Lambeth Conferences demonstrate decisively that the Communion's present "instruments of unity", including the See of Canterbury itself, are no longer fit for purpose when confronted with deep theological confusion in which evil is held out as good and good as evil. A merely institutional unity not firmly rooted in the revealed truths of God's Word written is not only counterfeit but also toxic, exposing the whole Communion to the false teaching and immorality absorbed by the Western Churches. SPREAD seeks to guard against this danger and to encourage the emergence of new Anglican structures able to support a coherent and confident proclamation of the gospel around the globe.

Two key elements are attacked here by those revisionists that would fashion an Anglican Communion in the image of peter Akinola, or perhaps more to the point, Michael Nazir-Ali.  Notice that the "see of Canterbury is no longer fit for purpose"   Conveniently, GAFCON now takes on the titular head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  These folks have lost all moral compass, at least in so far as the Anglican Communion is concerned.  My feeble brain with my minimalist logic says: The Church of England, founded by the English, also known as Angles (hence Anglican) was the originator of the the Anglican Church.  I think my history calls me to account for Henry the VIII, Elizabeth the I, Cranmer, Richard Hooker, etc.  When the British, also known as Angles, created their empire away back when, they brought to all the new lands, the English Church, that is, the Church of England.  This happened in as unusual a place as the 13 colonies, India, Nigeria, Australia and so on.  As these countries became independent such as Canada, they formed their own variation of the Church of England, in this case called the Anglican Church of Canada.  The archbishop of Canterbury, appointed by the crown in England, has been the titular head of this loose confederation of provinces including the Episcopal Church of the United States.  How can the head of the Church of England, the tree from which all the branches have grown, suddenly not be "fit for purpose".  Nothing has changed in a thousand years.

Then, Mr. Raven goes to the what ought to be the first argument but turns out to be his second argument.  A merely institutional unity not firmly rooted in the revealed truths of God's Word written is not only counterfeit but also toxic,  Just what the heck is going on?  It appears Mr. Raven and the fellow Conelonialists want to move this loose confederation of provinces gathered under the titular head, the Archbishop of Canterbury, into a clear, top don, organizational structure with like rules and regulations and a magisterium and everything roman.  After all, how can any province be punished if we can all think for ourselves?  How can there be any sense of unity unless we can snap a string and straighten out the entire communion.  Why do we need to talk and  discuss when all we really need to do is have Mr. Akinlola, Mr. Nazir-Ali, Mr. Jensen, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Orombi et al make these decisions for us.  Boy, how much pressure can we take off all the provinces.

What a crock!  First, one cannot change facts and one cannot change history.  The Anglican Communion is a confederation of provinces that celebrate diversity and welcome discussion and discernment.  If we do not ask questions, if we do not posit interpretations, how does the living word of God stay alive? 

What SPREAD/GAFCON/FCA/CANA/AMiE/AMiA and all the other groups want is a new church built on new "standards", pillars if you will.  Well, no one is stopping you all, go ahead.  Create a "new communion" that has all the trappings you like but, please do not call it Anglican and please do not include me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving Toward A New Anglican Comunion

In a recent post by Tobias Haller our good friend says,

But it is the idea of being a fellowship, a communion — not a "church" or a "federation" — of self-governing churches whose individual decisions do not bind the others, even as they cooperate in mission and ministry, that forms our only peculiar offering to the tapestry of world Christendom. It is a model of service and fellowship, of work with rather than power over, commended by Christ himself as a model of churchly governance. If that is not worth preserving, then we have little else to offer.
The highlights are mine.  The words, the very capable words, are Tobias'.

Then, in a recent post here at Off-Topic Allowed, Mad priest and I had a heartfelt exchange that cut to the quick of this communion issue.    Here is where it drew to a point:  This is MadPriest writing:

It is my contention that the New World is no longer geographically located in the same way that the Kingdom of God is not geographically located. But, in respect of New Anglicanism the main locus is in the Americas and is strongest in the USA. In fact, I do not think it is strong enough anywhere else to survive, let alone thrive. Outside of the Americas the "New World" is dependent on its success in the USA and this is why we absolutely need TEC to include the rest of us within its God-given destiny. Of course, this will be painful for the Church in the US, and like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane you can choose to accept or reject this role. But the goal, if eventually achieved, will bring TEC far more joy than breaking away and going it alone ever would.
In other postings at other times  many have put an emphasis on "saving the Anglican Communion".  I have contended from the beginning that the Episcopal Church just move forward and if any other province wants to tag along, then fine otherwise -- oh well.

Tobias Haller and MadPriest along with Mark Harris The Pluralist and a few others have made an impression to the point I have reconsidered my approach.  The basic facts remain the same, the implementation of those facts is what becomes a little different.

So, what do we do?  Well, we call a "special plenary session" of bishops and lay leadership to meet in a neutral site, say, New Orleans, Louisiana (you are welcome Mimi) to consider a New Anglican Covenant.  This special session will be hosted by the Episcopal Church of the United States and chaired by a group from The Episcopal Church of the United States, The Anglican Church of Canada, The Church of England, and the Anglican Church of New Zealand.  Everyone is invited from all corners of the world.   The sole purpose of this special session is to create:  a model of service and fellowship, of work with rather than power over, commended by Christ himself as a model of churchly governance.

No one leaves the conference until a new Communion is born that allows for inclusion of all God's children and an approach to modeling Christ like behavior that involves resolving issues within one's own province prior to telling other provinces what needs to  be done in their province.  The honors each other's decisions as appropriate for them though not necessarily appropriate for all.  That embarks upon the worldwide work of eliminating hunger, disease, child abuse and torture and terror.  That we live those goals at home as we seek to eradicate them abroad.  That those who can fund and finance do so and those who can staff and work do so in a spirit of love and forgiveness.  This is not just our God-given destiny but all those who claim Christianity as their own.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Cornerstone has been laid -- And it Ain't Jesus

Our favorite miscommunicator which shall remain virtueless, has opened up his pulpit to one Charles Raven. Mr. Raven takes the opportunity to espouse more of the stuff that the Anglican Mission in England is all about.  And, what it is all about is supplanting the existing Church of England, and therefore by extension the Anglican Communion, with their own branded Anglican Communion.

Read this my friends and tell me if I am wrong.

There are no direct answers in the AMiE press release which has of necessity to be brief and there is no doubt much detail to be worked out, but I think we can join some of the dots. The logic seems to be the same as that of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which affirmed that the GAFCON movement was very firmly staying within the Anglican Communion, but would not allow biblical conscience or mission to be held captive by the discredited Lambeth governance structures. It is worth quoting a section of the Jerusalem Statement at length:

'Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.'
There is no doubt that virtually everyone can and should be able to read the handwriting on the wall -- The Church of England and the Anglican Communion as we know it and have known it for centuries is about t o disappear.  Our friend stationed in Canterbury has lost his battle.  It is now time to turn to a new partnership -- that of the Church of England and The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada to lead us into a more complete and inclusive communion.

Much more later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Manifesto and A Course of Action

The multi-pronged assault on both the Episcopal church in the United States and the latest incursion into jolly old England is part of an unfolding plan by the Global South and the Conelonialists to literally reshape the face of the Anglican Communion.  The British, from the Archbishop of Canterbury down to the nice little publications on the web seem to want to alternating discount what Robert Duncan and Peter Jensen and Peter Akinola et al are doing and help them.  The help is not unlike climbing on the boxcars back in 1939 Since the AMiE is now in their backyard.  The help them also is sitting on the fence and not resoundingly denying any and all priestly/episcopal actions of those that have been deposed a way back when.  Help them is sending "observers" to a convention of a province that does not exist the view something that has no real bearing on the Anglican Communion and will not play nice even if the silly British think that is the civilized thing to do. 

This would be laughable except many of the Episcopal writers, blog and otherwise, have a longstanding history of wanting to appease -- can't we all just get along.  Those of us in places like San Joaquin and Pittsburgh and Fort Worth and Qunicy have seen first hand the utter devastation of people places and things that these folks have brought down all the while they lust after more and more power.  The comments like we need to move slowly, they mean us no harm, the Covenant needs to be thoroughly reviewed are all delaying tactics designed by the Conelonialists to confuse, distract and diffuse any opposition while their plan is put in place.  Well Jim and Mark and Lionel and Tobias the time is now upon us and we as well as the Anglican Communion as we know it is about to cease to exist.  Please do not "pat me on the head and send me on my way" once again -- the writing is on the walls. 

We need to come to grips with the facts of Anglican life.  We need a course of action that will steer us through these waters with or without the Archbishop, Rowan Williams.  We need to stop playing with the godforsaken Anglican Covenant and unbury ourselves long enough to face facts.  We are being attacked from all sides and must do something soon else we shall cease to exist -- at least as we know us now. 

First, and foremost, we need to grab ++Williams by the lapels and tell him life is not "a bowl of cherries" and you are not Neville Chamberlain so stop acting the part.  If everyone is so desperate to keep the Anglican Communion, and it seems the majority of the Episcopalians here seem inclined to do so,  then lets officially be rid of those in ACNA and tell GAFCON/FCA/CANA/AMiE/AMiA and all the other alphabet soup folks to get with the program or get off the damn bus, now!

(I have no idea why we are so struck with the Anglican Communion.  We went from 1786 to about 1868 or so without them and I think we can probably do it all over again.  When they come to their senses about women and LGBT participating fully in the life of the church then we can talk but not till then).

We, the Episcopal Church, needs a reformation of our own and it needs to start now.  Everyone needs to know what we stand for, why we stand for it and we need to get about our Father's business, like right now.  Leave these other poor fools to play with each other.  Let's get on with a new course of action!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Just a short period  of time ago, Father Mark Harris asked this question/made this statement,
I have heard nothing of the CofE sending anyone from Faith and Order to ask The Episcopal Church what it thinks of ACNA in its midst. One day, when the CofE finds its own Anglican Church in England, Scotland and Wales (ACESW) claiming to be the Province of record in the Islands off the coast of Europe, they will understand.
Well, Father Mark, it did not take long --

AMIE has been established as a society within the Church of England dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting. There is a steering committee and a panel of bishops. The bishops aim to provide effective oversight in collaboration with senior clergy.
The AMIE has been encouraged in this development by the Primates’ Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON) who said in a communiqué
The AMIE is determined to remain within the Church of England. The desire of those who identify with the society is to have an effective structure which enables them to remain in the Church of England and work as closely as possible with its institutions. Churches or individuals may join or affiliate themselves with the AMIE for a variety of reasons. Some may be churches in impaired communion with their diocesan bishop who require oversight. Others may be in good relations with their bishop but wish to identify with and support others.

Sure, sure, sure, they "said" they will do this all "within the Church of England" but I am from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and I say, if you believe that I have some swamp land in Florida just for you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Time To Put New Lipstick On The Pig

Early on, like late 1998 or 1999 John David Schofield began his machinations to eventually move "his" diocese from the Episcopal Church to, ultimately, The Southern Cone.  Mark Lawrence is in the process of tearing a page right out of John David Schofield's book and write his own chapter.

Here is how this has started:

Early in 2009, Bishop Lawrence called for the creation of the Anglican Communion Development Committee to replace the World Mission Committee (WMC). The intention was to create a committee that would serve to reflect the changing environment of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion in this global age and to reflect the vision that Bishop Lawrence believes we as the Diocese of South Carolina are called to fulfill - “To help shape the future of Anglicanism in the 21st Century through mutually enriching missional relationships with dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion (Romans 1:11-12; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15), and through modeling a responsible autonomy and inter-provincial accountability (Philippians 2:1-5; Ephesians 4:1-6) for the sake of Jesus Christ, his Kingdom and his Church.” 

Bishop Lawrence has decided to create a world vision that reflects the Anglican Communion?!  Oh, really, and who died and left him Archbishop of Canterbury?  Really, where do these folks get this stuff from?  Do they stay awake nights trying to think up the next thing to outfox our Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury and grab as much worldly power as their two hands can possibly hold?

So, now we get to the real takeoff:

A recent visit to the diocese by The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt, and Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East resulted in a partnership and new companion relationship between South Carolina and this province of the Anglican Communion. Additionally, because Archbishop Anis’ province is already in partnership with the Province of South East Asia, by extension, the door has opened wide for further exploration and relationship -building there as well. While the ACD Committee will support and facilitate both existing missional relationships, and many of these exciting new initiatives, it will remain parish-based missions and relationships that yield the fruit of building up God’s Kingdom.
So, figure this one.  A local bishop, Mr. Lawrence,  makes a deal with a primate from another  province in order "explore and build relationships".  For those of you not accustomed to "Conelonialist speak" this is the kind of happy nonsense John David Schofield used to spread on the ground, ultimately leaving the Episcopal Church for the Global South.  (And make no mistake, the Communion Partners, including our favorite new bishop, Dan Martins, are knee deep in this. But that is for a later posting).  The language and the approach is classic Chapman Memo crap that has been used over and over by those who would try to crush the Episcopal Church in the United States.  But I digress.  Mark Lawrence is the bishop of South Carolina and to be sure he is NOT a primate.  He has entered into a relationship with a Primate, the equivalent of our Presiding Bishop.  Who is lusting for power?  Well, I will leave that up to you.  The inexorable march continues!

Anybody want to kiss the pig now?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I know this will turn out to be just a tad early, but I thought I would be in a hurry to salute Father's Day. 

So, allow me to begin with a picture of my father. 

As one might surmise, this is a picture of my dad shortly after he was promoted to Battalion Chief.  He died about two years after that, I was seventeen at the time.  What I remember most vividly is when he would go out as a mutual aid department to the fires in the Santa Monica mountains.  He would be gone for a week or more sometimes.  (This was before people actually lived in this area.)  He was usually gone for a day or so but that was to be expected on shift work.  Our house had what we referred to as the "doghouse" which was nothing more than a partitioned section of the garage where our washer and dryer were.  At any rate, When he would get back after 10 or more days my mom would insist his clothes be removed in the "doghouse".  However, you cannot imagine what a warming smell burnt weeds and grass can create until your dad is gone for days.  That is how we knew he was home.  And I have always had that memory whenever I smell burnt grass. 

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Look Now!

Sometime help ccomes from some of the strangest places.  Ever think that bankruptcy would forge gay rights issues? Well look at this "Bankruptcy Court Blasts Defense of Marriage Act"   
In Los Angeles the  judge stated, "This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection" from creditors, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles said Monday.
The Defense of Marriage denied certain rights to same-sex couples wed in other states.  It allowed for the denial of claims for joint income tax filing,  Social Security survivor benefits and even joint bankruptcy filings.  Thaat is all over now.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."  Matthew 23:37

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Shout To the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy

The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy is now talking with the Executive Council about the destruction and the hurt and the pain of the "schism" that befell them in 2008. See The Lead for the complete story.  Quincy is one of those diocese that just like us, suffered a catastrophic disaster in 2008.  Those left behind were, I am sure disgusted, dejected and dehumanized by the group of Conelonialists that left for Greg Venables Southern Cone.  We in San Joaquin know the feeling and first wish to convey to our brothers and sisters in Quincy that we know how you feel, we have been there and we want you to hang in there because a new dawn is coming.  Right now, it may seem bleak, and we are not completely out of that very dark spot that could be called "hell on earth" but we know there is a Jesus Christ and we know that the Episcopal Church will not let you down.  They certainly did not in our instance.

Please keep in mind that there were only a few people on Calvary that dark and gloomy day way back when and numbers are not important.  It is your faith that must be strong and your faith that will set you free.  We know that here in San Joaquin and I am sure you must know that even in the midst of chaos and ruin.

To the Quincy Conelonialists, you cannot win and when you realize that please come home.

To our Executive Council, Father Mark and the whole group, you have been patient, generous and loving for us here in San Joaquin please extend that same grace and mercy to our brothers and sisters in Quincy. 

To our brothers and sisters in Quincy, let us know where and how we can help.  We are also small but mighty.  Put us to the test.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Are Headed Into The Dark Ages!

Hey, Archbishop Peter Jensen is at it again.  By it, he is spreading his words of wisdom all over Sydney and the world.  This time (as usual) it is about same sex marriage.

The article has the embarrassing title of:
Should the Marriage Act allow two people of the same sex to be married?
This is just like asking the question, "Should African-Americans be married?".  Why does Peter Jensen think HE can give or take inalienable rights?  We are talking about nothing less, marriage as a basic human right.

Here is Peter's first "logical" argument:
Think what marriage is. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, from different families, publicly joined through an exchange of promises committing them to life-long exclusive fidelity. That marriage involves a man and woman is by design.

In that last line there is a leap of epic proportions that is not based on facts.
If you liked that leap here is an even better one:

 It is the unity of different sexes that alone creates marriage.

Again, Mr. Jensen assumes facts not in evidence. and here is his "kicker":

One of the essential public purposes of marriage is to ensure the necessary commitment to bring children into the world and to nurture them through the special things that a mother and father contribute to their upbringing.

Again, assumes facts not in evidence.  For example, any couple can adopt and provide for the child(ren) and it does not OF NECESSITY need to be a man and a woman.  and, it does not OF NECESSITY take a man and a woman to establish a complete and loving relationship. 

Mr. Jensen then uses the negative of one of the above lines to establish a further argument against same-sex marriage.  Same-sex unions, by definition, can never qualify as marriages 

What Mr. Jensen has done is establish his own, non-researched unsubstantiated definitions in order to write a bunch of nonsense.

Why all of this?  Well, buried deep in the lack of logic comes the real argument.

We now treat real marriage as one of the indispensable foundations of community. Ensuring public honour of same-sex relationships by calling them marriages is an abuse of marriage itself. It imposes, through social engineering, a newly minted concept of marriage on a community that understands it in quite another way.

What single word do conelonialists hate more than anything else?  Social whether it be social science, social engineering, social mores, social customs, they just hat the word in all its connotations but particularly in this context.

Then, in an attempt to scare the you know what out of all the little Conelonialists he (Jensen) comes up with this brief diatribe:

There will be other consequences that, even with our ‘live and let live’ philosophy, we will regret. If same-sex unions are declared to be marriages, there will follow a demand for equal treatment in sex education. The normalisation of homosexuality will be assumed. Children will be instructed that there are no moral or other grounds for preferring ‘heterosexual marriage’. This claim for a ‘right’ to be married could open the way for other forms, such as polygamous marriages or perhaps even marriage between immediate family members.

Here is where Mr. Jensen must get a great deal of his exercise.  He jumps to more conclusions in one paragraph than a panelist on Whats My Line.

Mr. Jensen then wraps this whole long time consuming nonsense with this:

 Our society reserves honour for marriage where lifelong vows are exchanged, between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others. This is a painful subject but we must continue to uphold real marriage as an act of love for our neighbour and for future generations.

This is not a painful subject and why he thinks we should uphold real marriage (as if there are fake marriages??) as an act of love for our neighbor and for future generations??? How about granting the basic human right of marriage to all persons including LGBT members of our society.

In all of this, we, the members of the community that are heterosexual must stand shoulder to shoulder with all peoples in order to secure these basic human rights.  We cannot ask our LGBT brethren to do this by themselves.  We all need to speak out and we all need to speak out now. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Same Sex Blessings

We are rapidly approaching a time when same sex blessings will become the norm for not only California but for all the Episcopal Church and most of the Anglican world (communion if you please).  For some reason we are struggling with just the right words and just the right ritual and just the right everything to be inclusive.  Does anyone know that by doing this we appear to be setting up separate but equal arrangements.   Does this lead the Episcopal Church to LGBT restrooms and LGBT drinking fountains and LGBT coffee hours?  I am hoping  not.

See, here is the thing.  We do not have separate rite for Baptism for LGBT members of our community.  We do not have a separate rite for communion for LGBT members, we do not even have a separate rite for ordination or for that matter consecration of bishops that are LGBT.

So, why are we doing this with same sex blessings.  Is this not obvious enough that we can simply use the existing blessing of a marriage found on page 423?  Certainly makes sense to me.  If the couple wants to alter the wording then let them go ahead and do so but the basics are all right there.  We do not need to isolate and separate our LGBT members for the purpose of blessing their union.  Can we just get with it, please.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pretty Harsh For A Thursday!

Well, the Anglican Covenant thingy continues to live a life of its own.  How, I am not sure.  It makes little or no sense.  The covenant was born out of the desire by the Global South to punish the anyone in the "Anglican Communion" who transgresses.  The idea of transgresses is one in which I do not know how to define it but "I know it when I see it" -- just ask the Primates, they would judge who is or is not transgressing.  And pray tell, how is the actions of first the Global South and then the Archbishop of Canterbury different from say, Germany grabbing the Sudetenland in 1938?  The Chancellor simply wanted to relieve the privations suffered by the German people at the hands of the Czechs.  And this differs from the Global south wanting to relieve the privations of Anglicans in Nigeria and other places?  And, the rest of the world giving in to them figuring that all they really wanted was to "relieve the privations".  So let's all debate and discuss the Anglican Covenant in order to relieve the privations of certain Anglicans throughout the world?  Are we absolutely sure appeasement is the answer?  Or appeasement is even the question?  Do you all believe that?

Those who continue to debate this question, for real or for imagine, strike me as helping load the boxcars.  Surely no one knows what is at the end of the line, right?  No one knows exactly how this Covenant thingy will play out?  Could be good for all of us, right?  Just like it could be good for the LGBT folks of the world, right?  We know better, at least I think we do?!  Why help load the boxcars when we know exactly what is at the other end of the rail line, especially for the LGBT community.  How do we know this?  Because the folks that took the Sudetenland told us so.  Just ask Bobby Duncan or Mr. Orombi or Mr. Venables or old what's his face from Nigeria. 

If the content of this post is pretty harsh it is only because the Anglican Covenant was conceived and born out of hatred. Is being pushed to suppress women and LGBT and others under the guise of Communion (appeasement) and the net result is a form of death to those who do not conform to the guidelines devised and administered by a bunch of ruthless Primates who wish nothing more than as much power as they can possibly muster in this world (and how is that different from 1938).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prince of the Church versus Prince of Peace

I have watched and read as several new bishops were consecrated.  The writings they use and the verbiage in their applications seems to be mimeographed (copied for you all too young to remember mimeograph machines) and circulated among those who lust for the office.  Frequently heard and copied are "I am not worthy but I am willing to heed the call.  The spirit moves within me to make this journey, and a host of other trite and trivial phrases that merely smacks of a fake sense of humility and godliness in order to gain power.

I got to thinking and this brief blog is the result.  For some reason, mostly medieval, many of these would be power grabbers are enamoured with the concept of the "Prince of the Church".  This medieval term that allows them to believe that somehow they have this great political power that allows them to roam around their "fiefdoms" unfettered and unmuzzled and with some false sense of royal blessing.  These folks do not seem to care as much for the idea of the shepherd as they do for the idea of the politician.  They want the power and seem to ignore the real work they are supposed to do, "feed my sheep." 

Let's look for just a moment at the Prince of Peace, yep that would be Jesus.  He simply went about his business of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the naked and occasionally ridding the world of a demon.  The real "political" reference that sticks out in my mind is when Pilate asks him if he is king and Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world.

So, why the disconnect between the Prince of Peace and the Prince(s) of the Church?  Can we get back to the idea the bishops are shepherds and not princes?  The shepherds crook is a good reminder but it seems to not have any impact on bishops anymore.  They lust after the power that comes from the office and the ability to fly around the country, the world and play at being royalty.   Isn't it time for a change?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


After much soul searching and, according to Madpriest, JCF was his kabillionth hit I have decided to arbitrarily and capriciously declare May 31, as Madpriest Neighborhood Day.  From henceforth and forever (with all the power vested in me as a blogger) I dub May 31st of each year Madpriest Day.  Everyone must go to his neighborhood and at least say hello to our favorite Church of England blogger, Madpriest.

To start the festivities off I offer the following specially created song just for Madpriest and his Neighborhood. (actually I borrowed it but Fred and I went to the same school)

Monday, May 30, 2011

This Twists My Knickers!

Writing in his own blog Bishop Nick Baines from the diocese of Bradford in the Church of England writes the following:

Christian Church, in the UK as well as here in Switzerland and Germany, needs to recover confidence in the church itself and the vocation of the church to serve its society.

Now, there are those in England who like to think (in a rather uncommitted liberal way) that if we could only shake off the institution of the church, we could create a new way of being church without all the stuff we find embarrassing or shaming. I recognise that what I am about to say goes wholly against the grain of the self-fulfilment, instant-gratification culture we now inhabit, but such attitudes are naive. They ignore the massive achievements of the church in our cultures – intellectually, socially, educationally, politically, morally, etc. – and collude in the selective memory that encourages costless fantasy.

Find Bishop Baines "work" here:
The Wrong Question by Nick Baines

Now, let's compare that deeply moving and heartfelt comment to this one from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

However, Dr Williams told The Daily Telegraph: “Of course, if people behaved morally there would be no need for super-injunctions. But how many of us actually would be comfortable about the ceaseless scrutiny of every aspect of ourselves?
“This is a culture so obsessed with transparency that it can confuse that, I think, with this universal miasma of gossip and prurience.”

And that comment was  made a few days after the now famous Colin Slee memorandum in which we find this little ditty:

Slee described Williams shouting and losing his temper in last year's Southwark meeting, which left several members of the crown nomination committee, responsible for the selection of bishops, in tears.
Slee also in effect charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops "who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions". The memo warns: "This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear."
Slee said of the meeting: "We had two very horrible days in which I would say both archbishops behaved very badly. The meeting was not a fair consideration at all; they were intent on wrecking both Jeffrey John and Nick Holtam equally, despite the fact that their CVs were startlingly in an entirely different and better league than the other two candidates …

And then let's add to the fact that GAFCON/FCA will not take communion with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. 

Let's add to that that the Global south refuses to recognize those children of God who wish to participate fully in the life of the church and cannot in places like Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Australia, South America, etc.

Let's add to the fact that despite the apparent disregard for LGBT persons in Nigeria the Archbishop continues to do absolutely nothing about those foreigners being held captive in the oil rich region of the country and who have done nothing but work and be kidnapped while the Archbishop flies around the world condemning everyone else.

No one wants to "shake off the institutional church" we want it to live up to all that it can be through the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We want the Trinity to shine through everyone that comes into our church.  We want the church to accept as full members the LGBT community.  We see hypocrisy at the very top levels of our churches and our Communion and we want it to stop.  We see men more worried about their next promotion than the people who come to them for inclusion.  We see men wanting to keep women "barefoot and pregnant"  ("even women have a place in our church." John David Schofield, former bishop of San Joaquin).   We see men too wrapped up in getting their purple shirts from Uganda or Rwanda or wherever they can beg borrow or steal one just so they too can feel important.  We see entire organizational structures more concerned with setting up shop in England and Jerusalem than in making their organizations look like what Jesus commanded us to do.

When those things are corrected perhaps the "liberal arm of the church" will look more favorably upon the institutional church, Bishop Baines.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Walking PR Disaster

Well folks, the Slee Memo brings not an ounce of remorse or even a thought of how that might affect the rest of the Anglican Communion. It brings (courtesy of The Lead) this comment from Archbishop Rowan Williams:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was quoted in British press yesterday speaking in support of the need for information to be restrained in the case of high-profile people attempting to keep their public personas intact.
“Of course, if people behaved morally there would be no need for super-injunctions. But how many of us actually would be comfortable about the ceaseless scrutiny of every aspect of ourselves?
“This is a culture so obsessed with transparency that it can confuse that, I think, with this universal miasma of gossip and prurience.”

He begins with "if people behaved morally" , well Archbishop Williams, how about YOU!  There is an old adage that says "when you point a finger at someone there are four fingers pointing back at you."

But the really outrageous part of this is that here is a person who occupies the highest office in he Anglican Church, appointed by the Queen, serves not only all of England but to some extent the entire world and his press people allow him to say this tripe right after he was exposed by the Colin Slee memorandum?  He. the archbishop may be incompetent, I am unsure, but this really tells me his staff is incompetent.  What staff would allow a person who has already euphemistically "stepped in it big time" to allow the boss to make such a bold and incredibly stupid statement as that? 

Not just this time but his public persona is a shambles and the staff continue to allow the Archbishop to look like he has "lost all sense of political acumen".  In effect, it looks as if he wants to be replaced.  It looks as if he has decided to do everything in his power, short of the  honorable thing, step down, to kill his waning career.

Does anyone disagree there is a bumbling fool at the helm of the Church of England?

H/T The Lead/Torey Lightcap

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The 40th Anniversary of "What's Goin' On"

Marvin Gaye was great!  This song ranks right up there as must listen to.  For those of us that lived this it is good to remember.  For those for whom this is only a history lesson read the lyrics and see if it does not apply, like right now!

What's Going On lyricsSongwriters: Benson, Renaldo; Cleveland, Alfred; Gaye, Marvin;
Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, yeah

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going
What's going on
What's going on

Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Come on talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
What's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you ya, what's going on

Right on, baby
Right on, baby
Right on, baby

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We Are Debating their Issues and their Issues are the WRONG Issues!

We are debating/discussing/deciding the wrong question.  That is correct, the Anglican Covenant is truly the debate set up by and for those who wish to hijack the Anglican Communion.  That too strong a wording?  How about those who wish to do the devil's work?  Whoops?  Are you kidding me?!#!  Well, actually not.  The Anglican Covenant sets up a false and erroneous dichotomy.  The folks that wrote the Anglican Covenant cannot take on the issue of baptism, LGBT, and who is/can be saved,  so they set up their own question that only has a limited number of responses.  They have effectively limited the argument and the rest of us have bought into their circumlocution.

The Global South, GAFCON and the Fellowship (their is a euphemism if I ever heard one) of Confessing Anglicans really wants to dictate who can be "saved".  The leadership of these groups has set themselves up as the only true interpreters of scripture.  It is not solo scriptura per se, but rather purple shirts versus the rest of the world.  It is not a question of the three legged stool but rather who gets to set/interpret the concept of reason and tradition.  Their goal is the hijacking of the Anglican Communion.  So what they have done is develop this odd way of putting/holding the Anglican Communion together, i.e., the Anglican Communion.  At least that is what it started out to be.  After four iterations and real dialogue the Covenant was rejected by the GAFCON/FCA/CANA etc. because it lacks the clarity of making certain folks the "boss" of us all.  Now they have set up an office in England and a requirement that real Anglicans will adopt sign on to the Jerusalem Declaration.  But, they have continued to distract from the real issue and that is the power to determine who is and who is not to be Anglican -- that is in my humble opinion, who is and is not to be saved. 

We, on the other had, continue to dink around with the Anglican Covenant.  Fiddling while Rome Canterbury is burning.  Yep, we are once again distracted from the real issues by those who do not wish to deal with the real issues and we refuse to challenge them directly and forcefully o n the issues that matter to us most -- full inclusion.  Ultimately, the Anglican Covenant will be adopted/adapted and GAFCON/FCA/CANA will have created their own "Anglican Communion" and we will be left with a hollow shell and a really dumb piece of legislation and once again our LGB T brothers and sisters will be put on hold while everyone tries to figure out just what the heck went wrong!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The "Good News" Within the Anglican Covenant Process

Is it possible that there is any possible good that could come out of the long and arduous process of reviewing and voting on the Anglican Covenant?  Well, after much thought I would have to say, I think so.

Let me begin by saying that this Covenant ought to be rejected out of hand.  Enough time has been wasted and enough ink has been used and enough breath to float a lead zeppelin (Pun intended?).  But what has it pointed out?

Well, it has pointed out that it is time for the Episcopal Church in the United States to change it's very foundations.  Want to do something really worthwhile then let's spend some time re-constructing this thing we call the Episcopal Church.  Let's take a look at  what William White originally proposed and perhaps reinvigorate the Episcopal Church in the United States with less political authority in the hands of bishops and clergy and more in the hands of the laity.  Bishops, at at their very core, are pastoral beings, not politicians.  We need to reconfigure their role in the diocese so that they can take care of the clergy and the pastoral needs of the community. endlessly worrying about the next great heresy has given many a false sense of superiority and it seems to have overwhelmed their ability to understand and operate in the real world.  Re-focusing on the issue of pastoral care for the flock will, I hope, rekindle both clergy and laity in their quest for the two great commandments.

A governing system needs to be constructed that provides true equality for all persons.  A unicameral house with equal votes with equal representation.  Yes, we could call it radical inclusivity!  What a concept!  It should be flatter and meet more frequently, perhaps every two years.  Eliminate the concept of province and reconfigure diocese to reflect a current and practical application.

Why all the hubbub?  Well, one thing for sure has been crystallized and that is we (the Episcopal Church) is not enamoured with anything that looks like a hierarchical church, structure or theology.  The Anglican Covenant discussion has given us that much.  So, lets scrub the Anglican Covenant and get down to the basics.  We construct our church on the basis or radical inclusivity, the idea that Jesus, the savior came for all people -- Jews and Gentiles; men and women; straight and gay; he came for us all and he will not leave without all of us going with him.  So let's construct the basic foundation of the Episcopal Church on that idea and create our mission so that everyone can see and no one can mistake what it is we are doing. 

In the end, those that join us join us and those that do not do not but we are neither hindered by those that join nor those that do not join.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It Is Rapture Saturday!

Monty Python always has something good for any occasion. This Saturday is no exception.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Okay, I Give Up -- For All You Leaving Us

A plaint for those of us not as lucky as our doctrinal warrior Fatherr Christian Troll.

And just in case you missed the lyrics:

Come Monday

Headin' up to San Francisco
For the Labor Day week-end show
I've got my hush-puppies on
I guess I never was meant for glitter rock and
And Honey I didn't know
That I'd be missin' you so

Come Monday, it'll be all right
Come Monday, I'll be holdin' you tight
I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze
And I just want you back by my side

Yes, it's been quite a summer
Rent-a-cars and west-bound trains
And now you're off on vacation
Something you tried to explain
And Darlin' it's I love you so
That's the reason I just let you go

Come Monday, it'll be all right
Come Monday, I'll be holdin' you tight
I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze
And I just want you back by my side

I can't help it honey
You're that much a part of me now
Remember that night in Montana
When we said there'd be no room for doubt

I hope you're enjoyin' the scen'ry
I know that it's pretty up there
We can go hikin' on Tuesday
With you I'd walk anywhere
California has worn me quite thin
I just can't wait to see you again

Come Monday, it'll be all right
Come Monday, I'll be holdin' you tight
I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze
And I just want you back by my side

I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze
And I just want you back by my side

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tilting At Democratic Windmills

I know as I begin this, Don Quixote will be proud of this column. Also, this has little to nothing to do with Anglicanism or the Episcopal Church or even Christianity. It is about what I heard on national Public Radio today. Specifically, there was a news item in the afternoon that dealt with the democrats “reading the riot act” to the oil company executives. WHAT A JOKE! Let’s recount some of the recent democratic victories(#!?) Well, Obama’s health care plan has already been chopped down to size by this new Republican majority? The president, once claimed by almost everyone to be a socialist looks like Ronald Reagan. The budget is shot to hell because the Republicans, when handed a surplus, could not stand it so they spent us into oblivion and then bailed out the banks and the finance companies and screwed the average homeowner now want to eliminate social security, Medicare, Head Start, Planned parenthood, education, social service programs, mental health programs and just about anything else the middle class uses in favor of tax cuts for the rich. What have the democrats done? Quizzed the BP on how they could possibly let the blast in the Gulf happen. When they had finished that they decided to quiz the rest of the oil companies about the indecent profits. And when the oil execs said, the removal of depletion allowances would not reduce profits or lower gas prices could not find the guts to then respond with, “How about nationalization? Would that lower profits and reduce gas prices?” No, they just want to play patty-cake and in the meantime are outmaneuvered on the issue of the debt ceiling now being forced to give up 2 more billion dollars in social programs in order to raise the debt ceiling.
The democrats are running scared and cannot figure out what to do. They have a majority in the senate and yet get whipped at every turn. As folks said elsewhere, the 20th century is about to be repealed. And still the Republicans have time to mess with don’t ask don’t tell and a women’s reproductive rights and just about everything else that is an affront to the middle class. And what does our “socialist” president do? He gives in on all the social program cuts that the republicans want. What do the democrats in the senate do? They talk and talk and talk and talk.

When will it end?

Friday, May 13, 2011


There is a new statement from the Conealonialists.  I say new only because it is more of their tired and weary rap on the same old nonsense.  They continue to repeat much of the tripe they harp on in hopes that if they say it long and loud enough everyone (read Canterbury) will believe them.  Here, in abbreviated form is the latest statement from the "wannabes".

Narobi Statement from the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

1. We met in Nairobi from April 25th through April 28th, 2011. We gathered as the elected leaders of provinces and national churches of the Anglican Communion and as leaders of GAFCON/FCA and we had lunch. Hence, the re-lunch title.

2. We are profoundly saddened by the many disasters that have afflicted our world in recent months especially the fact that we did not attend the Primates meeting in Dublin and boy, was that a disaster.

3. We are distressed that, in the face of these enormous challenges, we are still divided as a Communion. The fabric of our common life has now transformed into spandex so that most of us can still fit in our purple shirts and fancy robes.

4. We note the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to offer support.We only wish that the pope would let us run his place also.

5. We devoted a considerable portion of our time together exploring some of the presenting issues
 regarding Anglican ecclesiology. We were mindful of the importance of the new endowment fund for the college of bishops and are saddened that you guys thought of that before we did. We sure could use 15 million buckeroos right now as well.

6. As members of the global Anglican Communion we delight in the particular history with whichwe have been blessed. We are grateful for all the foolish laity that have hoped on board our freight train we like to call the ACNA Express.

7. We believe, however, that we are fully the church and no one can come to the father except through us.

8. We continue to be troubled by the promotion of a shadow that knows everything. Seems to us that should have gone the route of the doodoo bird. We mean really, a radio program that knows everything? How about, we know everything!

9. Confident of the power of God’s Word to renew His church we are creating more and more and more bishops and archbishops and if we could we would create some cardinals (maybe some bluebirds and some wrens).

10. We are delighted in the election of all the T-bagger Party members in the house of representatives and we may make them a diocese in ACNA all by themselves.

11. We also recognized Martyn Minns despite his new hairdo.

12. Finally we know everything there is to know and no one can tell us differently.

13. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presencewithout fault and with great joy to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

The Primates Council
 The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya, ChairThe Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi, Archbishop, Anglican Province of West Africa
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev ‘d Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
Mokiwa, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi, Archbishop, Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Hector Zavala, Province of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev’d Peter Jensen, Archbishop, Diocese of Sydney, Secretary

Sunday, May 8, 2011

We May Be In Huge Trouble ---

I held a discussion with an intelligent, astute, extremely well-read individual yesterday that, no doubt about it, just "blew my mind".  The topic?  Public education.  I was not aware, until yesterday, that the primary reason why K-12 public schools are in such dire financial straits is because of "illegal immigration".  And, that these illegal immigrants from Mexico, pay no taxes, contribute nothing to society and if they would just go back to Mexico our schools,  our medical support system and in fact our whole economy would be much better off. 

The logic he used was more students create more costs and if the costs would go down then the amount of revenue would then cover the costs of the public schools.  My background is deeply steeped in public education finance and in public education in general and in the last few years in private education as well.  No amount of discussion about "cost per student", revenue limits (State of California don't you know) and lack of a tax base would shake this person to re-think his position.  No amount of GE and Oil Co. tax breaks would move this person around the corner.  See, he had read about a supreme court decision that mandated free public education for all -- including the children of illegal immigrants. His position was that if the feds wanted to mandate that then let the feds pay for it. 

Now, here is my real point.  The facts about public education, about our economy, about the tax base, about immigrants having for about ever generally worked harder, longer, and pay more in taxes per dollar earned would shake this notion.  My grandmother was an "illegal immigrant".  She came from her home country to the United States when she was 13.  Yep, she lied about her age and got in.  She, my grandfather, my dad, and all my aunts and uncles worked as hard as anyone, fought in the same wars, held the same patriotism as any other "American".  But these facts were of no value.  The fact that the tax base has been eroded by the constant need for Republicans to buy votes from their corporate constituents to stay in office and each time when revenue drops services are cut it is because of too many services, not the need for increasing revenue.

This person has bought into the great Republican lie hook, line and sinker!  What troubles me more than anything is that this is not some ill-read, poorly educated, blindly following oaf, this is a smart, intelligent, incredibly well-read person who can think on his feet and with the best of them.

All I can say is, we may be in HUGE trouble in our country.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Endowment Fund For College of Apostles Announced

Jerusalem 32 AD

Today, in a stunning announcement on a mount just outside of Jerusalem, Jesus of Nazareth announced the formation of a college of Apostles and a subsequent endowment campaign.  Jesus said, "Ya know, I preach parables all day long and these guys just don't get it!  I took them to a mountain top where Elijah and Moses and I all grew white as snow and these guys could only think about building a house or two.  I take them to a place in Bethany and raise Lazarus from the dead and all they can think about is some lady wasting money and oil.  Holy crackers! I just cannot believe that the apostles and fence posts have so much in common!"

So Jesus went on to explain that it was time to form a college of Apostles.  That is correct, he wants the apostles to go to college and learn some good stuff.  BUT, these are poor fishermen that ain't got a dime and so we need to raise funds for an endowment.  The current thinking of the son of Man is that this college will be set up and run from some silly out of the way place called Rome.  And when asked about the poor and the the destitute and the sick and the lame and the widows and orphans all Joseph's son could say was "You will always have the poor but these apostle guys need to wake up and smell the coffee.  How we gonna save the tax collectors and the adulterers if these apostles can't understand what I am saying.  No, these guys need to go to school, and there ain't no better place than Rome.  Don't believe me, just ask my father."

When asked about when Jesus thought this whole thing might get off the ground Jesus indicated that it would be sometime around the spring of 33 if the money changers would just give up some of there loot.  Jesus said, "there is a place in Rome called the Vatican that has been vacant for many years and we can get the whole kit and caboodle for a song."  "Once my apostles are thoroughly trained and fully educated with a bunch of new ideas on how to evangelize places like South America and Africa they (the apostles) will put my name up in flashing lights.  And after all, ain't that what we need most?"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Feeding My Garden

Time is running out for a besieged Anglican Communion. Western pan Anglicanism has lost the biblical and evangelical plot. If the Anglican Communion is to be saved only the Global South can save it.
David Virtue

Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?  Well, I feed it stuff like that which is above.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living Longer

Everyone pretty much everywhere is worried about the lack of people attending church.  Our orthodox brethren have gone so far as to blame the entire drop in attendance in all of Christiandom on the Episcopal Church's stance with regard to full inclusion.

Suppose, just suppose, the fact is that since everyone is living longer the "fear of dying" coupled with the distance hell then is placed serves to alienate folks from the church(es)?  If that is the case then perhaps, just perhaps we are all going about this all wrong.  Maybe we need to look at what God has come to offer in order to make this work.  Maybe, crying rooms, and big buildings, and fancy hats and cloaks and huge numbers of bishops, and "programs for the youth" among other things is not the answer.  Perhaps, the answer lies somewhere in the brokeness of the world and what Christ brought us -- wholeness, reunification with our Father, the love of all our brothers.

Just wondering.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

And Now Holy Saturday

This very long day will eventually, well listen . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Good Friday is the hardest day of the year -- but the most necessary.

by Zubar

Sneakin' Up on Good Friday

I am of the firm belief that one cannot truly grasp Easter in all its splendor and wonder and what it really means for us (well me anyway) without coming face to face with the events of Good Friday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Granmere Mimi has lead us all to this little gem on Democracy.  I thought that she might follow up with one of her favorite singer/song writers but alas, she has sped on to other things.  But. fear not, I have come to her rescue.  Here is what Mimi really meant to post after the Borowitz Report on Democracy.

Given what is going on in Washington,DC these days we need to make a substantial change!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Repealing The Poor

The Republicans newest war on poverty: Repeal the Poor.The first step is to take away Social Security, Food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Housing support, support for education, and of course federal funding for abortion in he District of Columbia.  If the poor want a retirement they can work for it.  If the poor want an abortion they can pay for it.  If the poor want an education they can pay for it. If the poor want medical support they can pay for it.

Remember Johnson's War on Poverty?  The Republicans have decided that the only way to eradicate poverty is to repeal the poor.  John Boehner was overheard saying, "We've tried everything else to eliminate poverty and nothing seems to work.  The only thing left to do is make the poor disappear." 

The most despicable thing that was done by the President and the Democratic Party was to eliminate federal funding for abortion in the District of Columbia!  They great party of the people caved in on Woman's right to choose.  It's only D.C. you say?  You don't think the Republicans smell blood in the water?  And how is no less murder to allow a child to be born into a country that even refuses to recognize that they exist, let alone provide the necessary BASIC services like food, shelter and education. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

T-Party: Don't Bogart That Joint

The last time I looked the definition of politics up it said something like "the art of compromise".

One has to wonder what the T-Party is smoking these days.  They are going to take this country into bankruptcy.  The party when faced with shutting down the entire federal government said, "Bring it on."  Do they even understand how the federal government works?  See, having been through two federal "shutdowns" for some many days I was ultimately paid for those days because the federal labor law requires it.  Jeff Sessions, someone who I really do not care for clearly stated that the T-party has no idea how Washington works.  So, unbeknownst to the T-Party, they are about to provide several million workers with the one or more vacation days. 

These T-Party folks are not even sensible.  They intend to eliminate social security, medicare, food stamps, free and reduced lunch, free public education, National Public Radio, Public Television, National Arts Programs, the National Parks system, and just about everything the middle class has built including the middle class.  In favor of what?  Well, in the political science books it is called anarchy.  Thomas Hobbes called living in the wild "short, nasty and brutish."  They somehow think that they can survive in a state of anarchy.  But in actuality I think they believe that since they cannot have what they want why should anyone else? 

Now, does the rest of the country understand just how long it is going to take to put back all the programs these T-Party folks intend to dismantle? 

Let's end with that question and this video.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Free Public Education

As a student of education, both public and private, I find the recent utterances from the right to be nothing less than FANTASTIC!  Here is the one that I find most interesting: ""Just call them what they are," Santorum said. "Public schools? That's a nice way of putting it. These are government-run schools."  This quote is from a genuine candidate for president, former senator, Rick Santorum.  Now there are other truly outrageous quotes but let's dissect this one for just a few lines.

Public means, generally speaking, run by the public.  How do we manage our cities and counties?  They are public entities.  Well, they are run by the "government". How do we manage our state and federal entities?  Well, they are run by the "government".   So, how else would one run public (non-private) schools except by an elected body from the local area.  Those citizens who live within the geo-political boundaries of the "public school" manage (note the word as opposed to run) the school district.  And, here is the crucial question, who is the government?  WE ARE!  Yes, government of the people by the people and for the people.  So, what Mr. Santorum (and a host of full blown bozos) is saying is he does not trust us, him and everyone else that holds public office. 

What has public schools brought us?  Well, look around your home and believe that virtually everything that runs your home (including your spouse) is probably a product of at least some form of public school.

And who was the major proponent of public schools?  None other than Thomas Jefferson.  And in a debate who would you rather have on your side?  Mr. Santorum or Thomas Jefferson. 

Faith based education, which I think Mr. Santorum is trying to get to, is a reasonable alternative to public education but it is by no means a substitute.  It is neither better, nor worse than public education.  In fact, it really does not serve the same purpose.  Public education is the bedrock of our democracy.  Find me another country that is as great as the United States and does not have public education.  And while I am at it, the bedrock of public education is the public school teacher.  You will find no more caring, loving, better educated, more concerned for the student than a public school teacher.  Stripping the public school teacher of their right to bargain, a reasonable compensation package, and their dignity along the way is simply despicable.  And stripping our democracy of public education is despotic.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Standing Commission on Litury and Music Wanders Off Into A Morass

Below you will find the minutes from the table conversations from the recent Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.  The discussion centers on the issue of same-gender blessings/marriage.  The easiest, simplest most equitable thing to do is to simply use the prayer book (pgs. 423 or 433) but no -- there has to be more to it than that!  To distinguish my comments I have made them red. 

Fall 2010 House of Bishops Meeting

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music Consultation on 2009 General Convention Resolution C056

Table Conversation, September 18, 2010 Executive Summary

Table conversation centered on the following questions:

Question 1. What pastoral needs must the resources developed meet in your diocese?

Question 2. To what extent do the theological principles (attached) address the questions that people in your diocese are asking?

Question 3. How well do the liturgical principles (attached) reflect your understanding of Anglican theological and liturgical sensibilities?

Question 4. How can this work be done in a way that will both resource the church and strengthen the body of Christ?

Question 5. How do you want the SCLM to consult with the House of Bishops for the duration of this triennium as this work goes forward?

Each table received a set of notes pages for reporting feedback to these questions. The notes were collected and later transcribed into a single spreadsheet. (Note that the table identifications in the spreadsheet were assigned randomly for transcription purposes only. There was no recording of who participated at each table.)

The Bishops’ comments spanned a broad spectrum of ideas. Following is an attempt to categorize and summarize the comments. Themes are presented roughly in order from most to fewest references.

• Theological and Liturgical Principles. Feedback on the principles was widely varied, but the majority of comments were positive. The liturgical principles were especially well received. Several comments serve as reminders of the importance of articulating a strong theological foundation for this work. (Note also that one Bishop offered that the theological principles are pastoral in nature, while another said they’re liturgical theology.) There were many comments noting the lack of direct scriptural references in the principles, and suggesting that theological work must include scripture references and liturgies must incorporate scriptural language. Participants at two tables suggested adding a missional component to the theological principles; others variously suggested attention to concepts of friendship, intimacy, and fruitfulness; and at least two tables noted connections to baptismal living. Two commended Bishop Breidenthal’s book, Christian Households: The Sanctification of Nearness.

Say what?  This is a blessing just like any other blessing.  Aren't there enough "scriptural" references already?  Or, do you mean scriptural references to same-gender blessings? 

• The Nature of the Liturgical Rites. A large number of comments were related to the understanding of same-gender relationships and the rites that would be used to bless them. These comments often referred to the choice of terms, but they reflect deeper questions about exactly what the Church means to express through the liturgical rite. For example, there was diversity of thought about whether this work should be about same-gender marriage. Other comments indicate that the issue is more fundamentally whether same-gender blessings are sacramental. Still other comments questioned the meanings of the terms blessing and covenant.

Why would the church mean one thing for different gender marriages and another thing for same-gender marriages?  For heaven's sake, what has got into people?  Not sacramental?  What the heck does that mean?  If different gender marriages are sacramental what makes same gender marriages NOT sacramental?

• Continuing Consultation with the House of Bishops. Most tables had at least one request for check-ins from the SCLM about its work on C056 between now and General Convention 2012. Many suggested at least a brief appearance at each House of Bishops meeting, with perhaps more time at the fall 2011 meeting. Some also suggested additional reports, posting of information on the College for Bishops website, mailing or emailing material to bishops, or access to materials as it is being developed. Others discussed the role of the Bishops in authorizing liturgy. Others mentioned the role of the House of Deputies or suggested contact with diocesan liturgical commissions.

Just for the record, if we all used the same liturgy, i.e., the current liturgy, we could all be done and moving on.  That is, we would not need to "check in".

• Care for those of Differing Views. Many comments expressed concern about making room for and caring for those who disagree with the provision of rites for blessing same-gender unions.

Using the same liturgy should not cause any stir at all.

• Resources for Conversation. A number of tables requested resources for conversation and education in congregations and dioceses.

Resources and education for what?  Full inclusion?  Does this mean we really do not mean full inclusion until some time in the future when we all agree to full inclusion?  Somebody waffling on the Primates issues?

• Legal Considerations. There were comments about the varied legal contexts now faced by Dioceses and requests for clarity about the relationship between Church rites and civil law. Note that four tables expressed concern about the Church’s role in civil marriage (of different-gender couples) and hope that this function might be separated. At least two tables asked about consequences if a couple subsequently breaks up.

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God, those things that are God's.

• Diversity of Participants. Many observed a lack of geographic diversity among the C056 presenters, and several offered that the people working on these resources must reflect the diversity of the Church, including moderate and conservative voices. [Note: The Bishops were introduced only to the Task Force Chairs; the full Task Force rosters have subsequently been posted on the College for Bishops website.]

Trying to reach some "via media" will only corrupt the work that has been done.  Furthermore, some form of "middle ground" is not full inclusion.  Separate but equal isn't. 

• Authorization of Rites. There was concern about clear communication that any rites developed would not be mandatory and about the role of the Bishop Diocesan in authorizing rites.

Sounds like "blue smoke and mirrors" to me.
• Preparation of Same-Gender Couples. Several comments expressed the need for good materials for the preparation of same-gender couples, especially materials that consider how their preparation might be different from different-gender couples.

The real question is why?  There is no difference in what is going on-- if we start from the premise that there is a fundamental difference we end up with the concept of separate but equal.

• Broad Engagement. Several comments were related to the importance of engagement on this work with Dioceses and various entities of the Anglican Communion.

The above comments can be used to enrich and feed the various gardens one grows.

• Other Rites for Blessing. Comments from at least three tables mentioned the need to develop a rite for any couple that would like to have their relationships blessed but cannot have a civil marriage (for example, an elderly couple for whom civil marriage would create financial hardship).

While interesting and important, this is clearly an attempt to distract from the real issue facing this group.

In closing, it seems to me that the Episcopal Church is either going to fully include same-sex blessings or we are not.  It is impossible to ask for (require) full inclusion and then wander off into an abyss that is fraught with non sequiters, separate but equal arguments and birdwalks.

H/T to IT at Friends of Jake.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are We Going For Separate But Equal?

Let me begin with a story from The Lead that is entitled Historic Consultation.  We are now "consulting" on what constitutes a valid/appropriate blessing of same sex marriages.  I do not know about anyone else, and I could be absolutely off-base but does this smack of "separate but equal"?  Should we then have schools for children of same sex marriages?  Perhaps we can have separate churches for just this purpose?  How about drinking fountains and of course they could all ride in the back of the bus, right? 

Someone please help me with this for I genuinely do not understand how we can fully include ALL our brothers and sisters and then not use the rites as found on pages 423 an 433 in the current Book of Common Prayer.  Now I recognize that each couple is unique but I believe that there may be enough latitude in the current ceremonies to allow for whatever adjustments a couple (any couple) may wish to make, certainly in conjunction with the priest of the couple's choice.

I worry sometimes we just do not really get it -- or maybe it is just me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Axis of the Anglican Communion Just Moved 4 Inches!

 While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
                                  Statement On The Global Anglican Future

Today, Archbishop Rowan Williams released his lenten pastoral letter.  It seems to be all over the blogsphere but now where more "battered" than at the one and only Stand Limp blog. 

Yesterday, the 8.9 earthquake moved the main island of Japan 8 feet!  It also reset the earth's axis by no less than 4 inches! 

While you ponder the magnitude of both of those events it appears, based on the comments by those who would be Conelonialists that the Axis of the Anglican Communion just moved about 8 feet.  It will not be much longer before the Primates of the Global South flex their hubris one last time and take the Anglican Communion (or what they call the Anglican Communion) to a brand new axis -- somewhere in the neighborhood of Nigeria, Uganda or Australia.  Hold on 'cause it is goingto be a bumpy ride!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Archbishop MY A**!

Can we talk?  Really, I am about as tired as tired can get of the constant "politeness" with which we deal with those who have created the worst scenario in the history of the Episcopal Church.  I mean really, we have Mr. Schofield, Mr. Iker, Mr. Duncan and a host of misters that have all been deposed and defrocked.  legally, formally, officially, constitutionally, and every other way known to our church yet everyone I see and most everyone I read continues to use the genteel term originally assigned to them, and in Mr. Duncan's case, he actually thinks he is an archduke or something like that -- probably a king!  Just what is up with that?  Lots of folks say, well, if they were Romans, or Baptists or Unitarians or Wizards or whatever we would use their official title.  Folks, can we get this straight -- THEY THINK THEY ARE US!  They believe with all their heart that NOTHING has happened to them and we continue to allow them to live in that lie!  These folks need to face the facts and we need to be less enabling than we are.  They are not bishops, priests, deacons, etc in any church that calls itself Episcopalian and since the ONLY ANGLICAN PRESENCE in the USA is the Episcopal Church they cannot be any of those things in the Anglican Church.  When they start calling themselves wikens or wizards or whatever they finally determine they are maybe then we can call them something other than late for supper but we owe them nothing!  These deposed and defrocked clergy are some of the most venomous, vile, evil people to come along in the history of the Episcopal Church.  They have ripped us asunder, they have cut thousands of Episcopalians to the bone.  They are bleeding us to death and we continue to smile and call them something they are not -- Father, Bishop, Deacon. 

Let's put an end to our enabling -- these folks are drunkards of the worst kind.  Drunk on power and prestige.  We must not enable them any more.  They are Mr. not anything else and until they get that fact let's just keep reinforcing it!

As it is written, so shall it be!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Do Not Be Afraid

Bishop Lamb and Bishop Talton both provided the homily for our seating of the new bishop - Bishop Talton.
Both bishops spoke eloquently but the piece that stood out this time - - to me -- was Bishop Talton and his statement "Do not be afraid."  The long nightmare is turning to the Son rising and the new day is dawning.  We are all being transfigured by the words, the actions, the plans and most important, the people of this diocese.  You must come and visit and see for yourselves.

One last note -- Were it not for the concerted efforts of Bishop Jerry Lamb this diocese would not be.  We owe a huge debt to Bishop Lamb and we can only repay it by thanking God every day for the grace and the goodness of this wonderful man. 

So -- we say goodbye and hello and hello and goodbye!

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye I Say Hello

The next phase of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin return to normalcy begins today.  We will say hello and thank you for coming to Provisional Bishop-elect Chet Talton and goodbye and godspeed to Provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb.  More about these two great bishops later in the day but for now please join me in saying thank you and thank you and blessings on you to Bishop Jerry.  He has done a magnificent job here in our diocese and we are very grateful.  Thanks to the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council and the offices of the National Church for your support as well. 

Thanks be to God!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blame Grandmere Mimi

Mimi told me I had to take this quiz, so here I are.

My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 5.78, Libertarian: 3.65

Political Spectrum Quiz

And here are my results pertaining to foreign policy:

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -5.98

Political Spectrum Quiz

And, here is my cultural bias:

My Culture War Stance
Score: -5.92

Political Spectrum Quiz

I hope this surprises no one.  I may be an anachronism, however.

 Mimi, see what you have done!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Time To Celebrate

IT and BP will have their marriage blessed today!  Alleluia!  Here, for our part, are a couple of songs just for them on this most solemn and joyful occasion.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Presiding Bishop: A Leader not a Ruler*

What makes those (clergy) in the Anglican (both real and imagined) Communion angry and frustrated all at the same time?  It is the manner in which our Presiding Bishop speaks to issues of import throughout the world.  Our Presiding Bishop, not just this one but those in the past as well, walk a razor thin line in speaking for our province.  Sometimes, it may look like "prevarication" as some in the Anglican Communion have viewed it. 

Well, we are the only province that is structured in such a way as to routinely give voice to the people.  There is no other province in the world that does this and it leads to some rather routine mis-interpretations.  Let me see if I can explain this a little more.  When a leader in another province speaks that leader does not have to consider what has been voted on, spoken by the people if you will, in his province.  A provincial leader from say Nigeria, can pretty much say whatever he wants and "speak for all the people of Nigeria" because he is not going to face an election by Anglicans that vote on issues and could make him look silly -- on that same issue.  In most cases the thinking would go something like this, "I am the archbishop, I know what is best for 'my people' and I will tell everyone what is what."  As simple a formula as that is and as hierarchical as it is and as demanding as that is, that approach just does not work in The Episcopal Church in the United States.  The Archbishop of Canterbury is beginning to learn that lesson about us.  He has attended several General Conventions in which the mind of the people (lay and clergy) are spoken freely and issues of significant import are voted upon.  That means that when the Presiding Bishop speaks the mind of the Episcopal Church in the United States she (but in the past he) must take into account that whatever the issue, we could vote on it at the next triennial and make the Presiding Bishop either right or wrong depending on what is said.  This is a much more precarious position than any other primate, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.  We have, we cherish, and we will never give up the method under which we come together each three years and set the mind of the province.

Let me end with another analogy.  If there is going to be a parade in the United States and the presiding bishop wants to lead the parade then she/he must wait for the laity and clergy to form up and begin marching -- then get in front of the parade.  For virtually every other Anglican Province in the world the primate IS THE PARADE.  For those in other parts of our communion and for those just in other parts of our universe this experience is one of pride and power but for the Presiding Bishop it is a source of humility and servant-leadership.

* There will be an extra 20 points given to those who can remember from whence the title was first used/found.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Where We All Should Be

Want to know where the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin is headed?  Want to see our vision?  Well, we borrowed but watch it all the way through and tell me if I am wrong.

H/T to AA from CTK

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Welcomes Our Second Provisional Bishop (elect)

Make no mistake, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin continues to struggle.  We have struggled since those months in early 2009 when we were left to our own devices.  But the struggle has just become a little easier.  Surely, we have been supported by the National Church and the Executive Council is and continues to be a close ally of our diocese -- and we appreciate all that they have done.  The Presiding Bishop has been supportive (and my grandson thinks she is the only real bishop) and Bishop Lamb has been great in helping us pick up the pieces and begin anew.  But this thing we call the Episcopal Church, our Christian duty and responsibility has weighed heavily on everyone left in this diocese.  Let's face it, we are small -- someone said our Average Sunday Attendance is around 700 -- for the diocese!  Remember we stretch from Sacramento (actually Lodi) to Bakersfield and from Taft and Coalinga to Bishop and Mamouth!  Yes if our numbers were not staggering enough the geography is enough to keep a bishop driving most everyday of the year.  But do not mistake our challenges for anything more than that.  And, we have a new bishop to help us meet those challenges. 

Bishop Chet Talton, retired Suffragan Bishop from Los Angeles has arisen from the ranks to help us meet our continuing challenges.  We meet him yesterday at a deanery meeting in anticipation of our March 5, 2011 Special Convention to elect Bishop Talton our next provisional bishop.  Bishop Talton is a rather quiet and unassuming bishop with the heart of a lion.  He has come to us to build up the community over the next few years.  While he has not lost sight of those issues that are important in the legal world, he is focused on rebuilding a renewed community of Episcopalians in the Central Valley.  We welcome Bishop Talton, his wife and family and look forward to our task ahead!

 Bishop Talton takes questions from an expectant audience.
 Bishop Talton shares some life experiences with our deanery.

This is Cindy Smith, the diocesan Chair of our Standing Committee.  It is the Standing Committee's responsibility to bring to our diocese a provisional bishop for election.  Cindy and the committee has done an outstanding job, not just in this instance, but in creating and open and welcoming diocese.  We are blessed with a dynamic Standing Committee.
Canon Mark Hall explaining the new deanery structure.