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Friday, March 30, 2007

His Grace is Not at Home to Visitors

I had my doubts +Cantuar would make himself available to the House of Bishops despite their pleading he meet with them, and this, from Ruth Gledhill, adds to them:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury is taking 'study leave' in June and July. August will be his usual annual holiday. Apart from the Petertide ordinations at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Rowan Williams will be dedicating June and July to academic study and spiritual reflection. Some of the time will be spent out of the country."

I don't think the United States is in his travel plans. This is a good move, he's in effect telling the bishops, "I'm terribly sorry but I cannot help you. You'll just have to work this out for yourselves. And I am already quite familiar with your 'polity,' thank you."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

+Herzog Popes

The Rt. Rev'd Daniel Herzog, retired Bishop of Albany, has swum the Tiber. This will make a big noise. My knowledge of +Dan is, although orthodox in most ways, he is (or at least used to be) a strong advocate for the ordination of women. That he should ditch ECUSA comes as no surprise (the time is coming when we will be more surprised by those who actually remain) but that he should flee to Rome, where they have rather different ideas about women in the priesthood, is a bit of a head scratcher. Assuming he has recanted his error, however, I should think Rome will welcome him.

h/t MCJ

HamNation: Better Living Through Activism

Those of you of a certain age should remember the grainy, blurry and muffled 16mm instructional films (no such thing as "videos" back then) teachers in grade school would run when they wanted to go out for a smoke in the teachers’ lounge. Mary Katharine Hamm appears much too young to be familiar with the genre but she’s done her research and probably spent long hours viewing scratchy old movies with titles like “The Slide Rule is Your Pal” or “Let’s Go to the Bathroom.”

I hope someone plays this for Al Gore.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Taking Title to the Wreckage

First Things' Jordan Hylden, a man far too wise for his absurdly young years, nailed it down smartly explicating this little gem from of the House of Bishops' statement last week:

"The meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church,is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church."

Wielding the scalpel, Hylden goes to work:

"[T]he Episcopal bishops are doing nothing less than claiming that what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be in communion with Canterbury, what it means to be a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and hold to the historic Christian faith—that all of this is to be decided solely by the democratic vote of clergy and laypeople once every two years in a Marriott hotel convention room, with reference to nothing and nobody. It is breathtaking in its arrogance."

Breathtaking it is, it positively sucks the oxygen from the room. However, something else may be gleaned from this hitherto unseen masterful language by the revisionists in their statement. In the past, whenever fresh assaults on the Church proved successful the revisionists were careful to couch their victories in seemingly non-confrontational (albeit mealy-mouthed) language, something along these lines: "After much and considerable prayerful consultation, listening and study, we the House of Bishops and/or Deputies, heading the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit directing us to the new gospel of inclusiveness, understanding and the elimination of all bad things; mindful of the love of Christ for all His/Her people, especially those who whine and complain the loudest, do hereby embrace the new doctrine (or reject as antiquated and incompatible with contemporary understanding of the self-differentiated, the old doctrine) of (fill in the rest): _____."

Their unctuous language never fooled us, we knew they were ramming their agenda down our throats but give the revisionists their due for at least feigning magnanimity, trying to appear gracious in the wake of their ecclesial vandalism. It is, however, a common human failing to be far less gracious in defeat than in victory and the blatantly chauvinistic, downright rude language in the passage of the HOB statement cited by Hylden betrays a distinct mood change among the revisionists: the dawning realization things are no longer going as planned, that an ugly new reality is obtruding.

There seems little doubt the revisionists' seemingly endless proxy fight over the Episcopal Church will, thankfully, soon come to a close and they will emerge the victors. That thirty years war, however, has taken its toll on ECUSA. Many of her best and the brightest have already fled. Post September 30th, when ECUSA's "walking apart" from the Anglican Communion is certified, many more will do the same. The revisionists will take title to a church with a rich and opulent past but also a bleak and forlorn future owing to declining membership and funds, a situation not likely to improve so long as the revisionists' turn their noses up at evangelizing. Look for the rhetoric of the revisionists to become increasingly bitter and angry as they learn while they may have won the buildings and history of the institution they fought for so vigorously and viciously, they failed utterly in winning ECUSA's most precious asset, the Christian hearts and souls of her membership.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Defining Defalcation Downward

The Rocky Mountain News today reveals some of the egregious charges proffered against Fr. Don Armstrong of Grace and Saint Stephen's, Colorado Springs:


He didn't pay taxes on the home provided by the diocese.


Not true.

He didn't report funeral and wedding stipends as income.

Not true. "Most of what I get I give away (to the needy) and what I do keep I declare."

The vestry, the parish governing board, provided undergraduate scholarships for the Armstrong children.

"A very typical gesture" in large churches.

The parish reimbursed him for entertainment.

The parish had allowed Armstrong to use discretionary funds for entertaining until the diocese determined it wasn't proper.

Not mentioned in the article are the damning charges the Rev'd Armstrong twice refused to make his bed, neglected to separate the cans from the bottles at the recycling center and, most seriously, parked his car once in a space with time still on the meter but didn't put a quarter in it which EVERYBODY knows you're supposed to do.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance

The Right Rev'd Robert O'Neill, Bishop of Colorado, in a pastoral letter on the recent House of Bishops Meeting:

I cannot stress strongly enough that these actions do not constitute a definitive or complete response to the Primates’ Communiqué. These actions, along with others taken in the past by both The House of Bishops and the General Convention, state clearly and unequivocally the commitment of The Episcopal Church to the Anglican Communion. These actions, while clearly rejecting the proposed pastoral scheme of the Primates, also make clear the commitment of The Episcopal Church to meeting the same pastoral concerns raised by the Primates but in ways that are consistent with our Constitution and Canons and guard the integrity of our church.

From titusonenine:

Largest Episcopal Church in Colorado to Leave Denomination.

The vestry of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs, the largest Episcopal parish in the state and one of Colorado’s oldest churches, voted to leave the Episcopal Church on Monday morning. Effective today the parish affiliates with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Gnostic Slumming on Fifth Avenue

From the New York Times (3/22/07):

"Dinner was the usual affair on Thursday night in Apartment 9F in an elegant prewar on Lower Fifth Avenue. There was shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar; mashed parsnips and yellow carrots with local butter and fresh thyme; a terrific frittata; then homemade yogurt with honey and thyme tea, eaten under the greenish flickering light cast by two beeswax candles and a fluorescent bulb.

"A sour odor hovered oh-so-slightly in the air, the faint tang, not wholly unpleasant, that is the mark of the home composter. Isabella Beavan, age 2, staggered around the neo-Modern furniture — the Eames chairs, the brown velvet couch, the Lucite lamps and the steel cafe table upon which dinner was set — her silhouette greatly amplified by her organic cotton diapers in their enormous boiled-wool, snap-front cover.

"A visitor avoided the bathroom because she knew she would find no toilet paper there."

Meet the Conlin-Beavans, modern Manhattanites, who like so many of their peers on this progressive sceptered isle, are deeply concerned about the environment (and in the case of Mr. Conlin-Beavans, nursing along a nifty book deal). Doing their part to save the planet, and at considerable personal sacrifice, they have taken it upon themselves to live a whole year in their full-service Manhattan co-op conducting a "lifestyle experiment they call No Impact." For these "shopping-averse, carbon-footprint-reducing, city-dwellers" that means

"[E]ating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost, see above); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation."

Mr. Conlin-Beavans hoofs it to work; for her two-mile trek Ms. Conlin-Beavans enjoys the comparative luxury of a scooter, of the type once considered a toy (for non-adult children anyway), the kind you have to push all by yourself.

You must read the whole article to fully appreciate this magnificently self-absorbed couple. You will, however, find no explanation how the Beavans-Conlins would be able to pull off this noble experiment playing domestic dirt farmers were it not for the already extant infrastructure of New York City and its Brobdingnagian "carbon-footprint." It brings to mind Marie Antoinette's Petit Hameau at her Petit Trianon where she would, when escaping the crushing duties of court, play farmer-peasant until she got bored with it, just like the Conlin-Beavans.

From C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters:

"One of the great achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on [the] subject [of gluttony], so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of excess."

And there you have it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A) Clueless. B) Classless. C) Both.

There used to be a joke told about the Episcopalian who ended up in hell because he once used the fish fork to eat the salad. We don’t hear gags like that anymore, whatever trappings of genteel behavior formerly associated with the Episcopal Church are long gone. So given the detestable enormities found in the rest of the bishops' statement released from Camp Allen on Tuesday, one could easily overlook their brash request +Rowan come to the US and meet with the bishops "at [their] expense." Since the ABC is the head of the Anglican Communion doesn't protocol dictate the Americans petition to meet him over there?

Protocol aside, if +Rowan did elect to come to the States, I'm sure being the Archbishop and all and despite living in that backwater called England, he has a reasonable and generous expense account. Even absent the offer to pay, I don't think he will have to hit up the Queen or dig around under the sofa cushions for airfare. The HOB's offer to pay the Archbishop’s expenses, even if well-intentioned, suggests his decision could be influenced by it making the HOB appear patronizing, crass and arrogant; in short, like "ugly Americans." Didn't that occur to any of them when the idea was first broached?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"How About Never? Does Never Work for You?"

From the New York Times:

"The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said the bishops would spend the summer consulting with church members to develop a more complete response to the primates by September.

"She said that she had previously asked the archbishop of Canterbury to visit the United States and been told that his calendar was full, but that she would ask him again."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Polite Fiction

Last week I predicted the meeting of the House of Bishops over the weekend would yield "a blathering of obfuscation that will fool no one." Well, a statement was issued yesterday and I was half right: there is indeed blather aplenty but no obfuscation at all, the majority of bishops have told +Cantuar to stuff it. In the end this is a good thing. The revisionists who control ECUSA have now made it perfectly clear to the orthodox they run the show. Any talk of orthodox accommodation in the past was merely a polite fiction and shall no longer obtain; no more empty talk.

Plenty of other bloggers have dissected the statement so there's no use in my doing so. For those whose tastes run toward evisceration, I heartily commend Christopher Johnson's Fisking of it. My favorite jab:

"And while we're on the subject of moves that 'are inappropriate under the most ancient authorities,' Rome called. They want their cathedrals and their Westminster Abbey back."

Ruth Gledhill of the London Times offers a more cerebral take on the statement and brings up a good point at the end:

"So, in effect, TEC are subverting Dr Williams' wider unity plans by playing their own unity card with ruthless clarity. We already know who is holding the queens in this high-stakes ecclesiastical poker game. And I know of at least two pretty major aces that have still to be shown. I just hope Dr Williams has some good cards still close to his chest. Because neither TEC nor Akinola are bluffing."

One of those "aces" (and I assume "holding the queens" is mere unfortunate metaphorical coincidence) has to be the minority (orthodox) bishops' position. The are fairly large in number and so far they have issued no statement of their own. Look for one, it could be a bombshell.

Begging is So Untoward

The ECUSA House of Bishops, meeting in Texas over the weekend, just gave the finger to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates, accompanied by this desperate plea:

"Although we are unable to accept the proposed Pastoral Scheme, we declare our passionate desire to remain in full constituent membership in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church.

Well of course, they still want to be members of the frat. If booted they are merely part of the vulgar herd of dweeb, liberal protestant losers with ZERO prestige. You can hardly blame them their ghastly faux pas.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Speaking Real Truth to Power

Mark Lawrence+, almost Bishop of South Carolina, in an interview with Greg Griffith of Stand Firm:

We in the orthodox camp don't want to be painted with the brush that we are intolerant or that we are not inclusive. The irony of this is, I had more gay and lesbian parishioners here at St. Paul's before 2003 than I have now. And here is the thing I'd love to have a research project done on: I bet that since 2003, evangelical Episcopal churches have lost more gay and lesbian persons to other denominations than progressive Episcopalians have brought in. And, that is because, as William Temple once put it decades ago, "The church must be very clear in its public pronouncements, so she can be very pastoral in her application." Now, isn't that ironic? I know gay persons who have gone from the Episcopal to the Roman Catholic Church. And I've asked them why, and they say "It's because homosexuality is a settled question in Roman Catholicism."

Read this lengthy interview in its entirety. What a tragic loss for our church the PB scuttling his election.

The Second Great Debate

(The first being the one between Huxley and +Wilberforce on evolution)

This ought to be fun!

"The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley presents his compliments to Vice-President Albert Gore and by these presents challenges the said former Vice-President to a head-to-head, internationally-televised debate upon the question, 'That our effect on climate is not dangerous,' to be held in the Library of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a date of the Vice-President's choosing.

"Forasmuch as it is His Lordship who now flings down the gauntlet to the Vice-President, it shall be the Vice-President's prerogative and right to choose his weapons by specifying the form of the Great Debate. May the Truth win! Magna est veritas, et praevalet. God Bless America! God Save the Queen!"

Lord Monckton, who was policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister, said when issuing the challenge, "A careful study of the substantial corpus of peer-reviewed science reveals that Mr. Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, is a foofaraw of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors, now being peddled to innocent schoolchildren worldwide."

The site of the proposed Great Second Debate is the same as where the first took place. If Gore should accept the challenge (that's a big "if," I think), Lord Monckton will likely mop the floor with him.

Should be a hoot.

h/t Riehl World View

Saturday, March 17, 2007

God, I'm Hungry!

The Wall Street Journal, on recent trends in Japan, notes the emergence of "Jesus-themed" restaurants that are decorated with crucifixes and offer "such fare as the 'Small Devil' cocktail flavored with strawberry cream and cassis, and 'God-made Hamburger' (meatballs with cheese and rice, $6.50)." Ho-hum, we've seen it all before, haven't we? And gee whiz! Is that best those Japanese restaurateurs can do? At the risk of offending but mindful, as Screwtape advises, the devil hates being ridiculed, I humbly offer the following items that might be found on the menu at Chez Pierre par les Portes Nacrées, the Restaurant of Heaven. I invite readers to do same in the comments section.


Judas Escargot


Rack of Lamb of God

(And in tribute to my Huguenot ancestors)

Blackened Martyr in Richelieu Sauce

(h/t Ferdinand)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Go Away, You are Not Wanted

Yesterday the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Katharine Jefferts Schori, informed the Diocese of South Carolina she was declaring "null and void" its recent election of the Very Rev'd Mark Lawrence as its new bishop. The putative reason was irregularities in canonical procedure by the other dioceses when reporting their votes (as required by ECUSA), yea or nay approving Fr. Lawrence's election. It seems some of them reported via e-mail while canon law, in an apparently recent revision, specifically requires a written response with signatures. Of the actual votes received, however, Fr. Lawrence did win a majority (albeit barely) from both the bishops and the delegates but nevertheless he is out, on a technicality.

Fr. Lawrence is solidly orthodox and has had an extraordinary career. His curriculum vitæ is dazzling, vastly superior to the Presiding Bishop's, and in a happier time in our Church's history would have been a sure contender for Presiding Bishop himself. You can thus imagine the hue and cry emanating from the orthodox camp over the PB's nullification of his election. I am sympathetic but also of a mind KJS may have done us all a huge favor by this act. Canon law is not entirely clear to me (read Captain Yips, whose grasp of it is as strong as mine is weak) but it looks as if KJS, in her capacity as Presiding Bishop, could have declared for Fr. Lawrence and simply asked the errant dioceses to follow up with the proper documentation affirming their approval. She did not do this, maybe out of fear there would be hell to pay from the revisionists who were vehemently opposed to Fr. Lawrence, but also, perhaps, out of distaste for someone so "unprogressive" as he. Finding a pretext, she chose to play it safe and nixed the whole business. By this action KJS, speaking for the revisionists who control the Episcopal Church, has loudly sent a message to the orthodox: "Go away, you are not wanted."

I think it would be wise to follow that counsel. The other side doesn't like us and they really don't want us hanging around. It is silly to pretend otherwise and besides, it's their ball. The time has come for all of us who profess orthodoxy to consider our future in ECUSA. It doesn't look good: This weekend our bishops meet in Texas to consider the Primates' request, made in Dar es Salaam last month, that ECUSA mend its ways. Do not expect anything of substance to come out of that meeting, the revisionists are in control and they have no intention retreating even one inch. They will, however and in classical Anglican fashion, try to fudge their way around the issue but in the absence of former PB Frank Griswald, master of the mealy-mouth, they are not likely to pull it off. Instead we will get a blathering of obfuscation that will fool no one and come September 30th, at the instigation of the revisionist leadership, ECUSA will walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

In the event, the least we can expect the Primates to do is demote ECUSA to second-class membership in the Communion, like that of the Methodists (they could cut us off completely but that doesn't seem likely just yet). Even though they will have been responsible for it, this lower status will not please the revisionists one bit (progressives are so class conscious!). Guess who they will blame for the diminution in the church's status in the Communion and guess on whom they will visit their wrath? The non-inclusive, bigoted and reactionary orthodox, of course. Do we really need to be around to be their punching bag?

No, I think the best thing to do is wait until the primates act after ECUSA walks, then go our own way. How that will be done, of course, is not at all clear now but God loves his Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and in time He will reveal the way. The orthodox have some singular advantages over the new religionists: youth, enthusiasm, rising numbers and, let's face it, so helpful in the Church Militant, money; fresh money, not dwindling incomes from soon to exhausted trust funds. We should try to hang on to our properties, of course, but if ECUSA makes it too difficult, we should cheerfully hand over the keys and offer our blessings to ECUSA as it evolves into the Womyn's Auxiliary to the United Nations and Real Estate Holding Company. Writing as an Anglo-Catholic I surely appreciate the loss many of us may face should we lose our often beautiful buildings. We must be mindful, however, even absent a beautiful building, a frontal, linen cloth and fair linen can be placed on a folding table, six candles, a tabernacle and a crucifix on top of them and behold, we will have an altar, even if it's in a Holiday Inn conference room; Jesus will be with us and the fluorescent tubes.

And oh what sweet relief it will be as people like Gene Robinson fade from our collective memory and we can turn our attention, at last, to the far more important matter of repairing the damage of the last thirty years. There is a great deal to be done but when we are no longer preoccupied with the constant battling with the New Religionists, it shouldn't prove an impossible task. There will be quarrels and disagreements along the way, of course, but so long as we are united in fellowship in God's Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church the task should not prove impossible and something beautiful will arise out of the ashes of the late Episcopal Church.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Update: The church was sold on May 1. More information here.

The Parish Church of Christ the King, the Diocese of Western Michigan, Portage, is on the block owing to that old familiar story in the Episcopal Church, an ageing and declining membership unable to keep up with the costs. It's always sad to see a church, any church, close down but this one, as you shall see, is a particularly sad case.

The architecture of Christ the King (belfry above) is risible, in the the aptly named "Brutalism" style of the 60s and 70s that found so much favor once with designers of government buildings,

public housing,

and above all, the academy,

the only place left on earth where one can still find those who speak favorably of this style (and its philosophical soul mate, Marxism). Since those lucky souls don't have to work for a living nor live in the real world, they can be forgiven their idiocies trespasses, I suppose.

Less easy to forgive is an architect that induced a small diocese to spend a lot of money forty years ago to build a monstrosity like this:

It just screams, "Come unto Me," doesn't it? Another angle:

Oh my, talk about putting God in an awfully small box! Let's go inside.

Mercy! And in case you're wondering, that big ol' ceement stool (three-legged, at least!) is the altar. Now for the nave/sanctuary/narthex/transept/whatever:

The place could almost double as an operating theater!

Lest I get accused of kicking this unfortunate institution when it is down, I am mindful God is wherever people look for Him, be it Durham, Chartres, St. Peter's Basilica or Christ the King Parish Church in Portage, MI. And even if that parish seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker the revisionist cant ("In our celebration of the Eucharist, there is no one who is ineligible or unwelcome" says their homepage), we cannot rejoice in their possible demise but only express sadness that they have reached this state, one that could have been avoided had their church on both a local and national level made wiser decisions over the years.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Some People Won't Find This Funny

Unlike so many from those days, including most of ECUSA leadership, I was fortunate enough to emerge from the late 60s and the 70s with my sense of humor in reasonably good repair (in large part, I suspect, to the good offices of the National Lampoon where sacred cows of all kinds were cheerfully and viciously dismembered). Here is a fairly gentle spoof of an icon from that time.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Idiots Abroad

I find it bemusing when the Guardian runs opinion pieces on the crisis in the Anglican Church. Who reads them? Who cares? With the percentage of church attendance in England numbering in the single digits, it's a fair guess among Guardian readers it doesn't even crack one percent. Nonetheless, the paper persists in dredging up effete socialist clergymen who, eager to increase their street creds with their atheist comrades, churn out tiresome twaddle like this from a month ago, with the usual indictments of the usual suspects. Fortunately, England is blessed with The Fisk, where Cranmer operates on dithering fools like this with the precision of a surgeon. Herewith an example:

Dithering Fool+

"For hard-core evangelicals, this manufactured crisis is a golden opportunity to create new rules to oust the progressive voice from the church, perhaps even to crown Archbishop Peter Akinola as, de facto, the new Anglican pope. Thus evangelicals have a vested interest in keeping an atmosphere of crisis going as long as possible. The best way to mount a coup is to get everybody panicky and confused - and then emerge as a strong leader, the only one able to impose order."

Dr. Cranmer's response

"Is it any wonder that members of the Church of England are converting to Roman Catholicism, or even leaving the church altogether? When a church has a strong leader, there is vision; when a church has vision, there is enthusiasm; when there is enthusiasm, there is unity of purpose and growth. Some may say that the Church of England needs a Margaret Thatcher; it is a certain fact that too many more John Majors will destroy hope, and leave a demoralised and decimated fellowship. This ‘crisis’ is not manufactured; it is a direct result of the purposeful successive appointments of archbishops who try to please everybody by avoiding anything that might offend. The cross is meant to cause offence; when it begins to offend Christians, it is justifiable to ask whether they understand the meaning of the faith they profess."

Read it all. Oh, and here's a handy hint: If a priest uses the word "imperialism" without even a trace of irony it is perfectly reasonable to question his faith; in God, anyway.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Small Sampling of Revisionist Opinion (with Commentary)

It's been three weeks since the Primates Meeting at Dar es Salaam and the call for ECUSA to mend its ways. I thought it might serve to do a survey of revisionist reactions to it and offer up a sampling but, regrettably, quickly realized most of the reactions were as monolithic as the media's to a war briefing by the president. I did, however, manage to to scarf up three reactions of interest before throwing in the towel and settling back to a decent scotch and a CD of Max Reger's organ fantasies.

Let us begin with with the serene musings of The Rev'd Dr. Walter Van Zandt Windsor (can they fit that on the church letterhead?).

"While I understand that it was the forays into the United States of foreign bishop’s behaving as ravening wolves and swallowing up our sheep, on the grounds that our Church had lapsed into heresy, that has helped to create a desire to modify some of our actions in recent General Conventions, I say, enough is enough! These Primates by their immoral intrusion have raped our Church, and gutted it of the very congregations and individuals who would uphold the faith as they would have it practiced in the U.S."

It surely is an oversight that Fr. Van Zandt Windsor neglects to mention those "ravening wolves" he so deplores "raped" the Church only in the parishes to which they had been invited, by an overwhelming majority of desperate parishioners, no less. Well, never mind, obviously they were asking for it. Besides, with the employment of such calm, dispassionate and reasoned discourse as seen above, he should have no trouble at all winning those erroneous and violated pilgrims back to the broad path of universalism and social justice.

Here we have The Rev'd Brian Taylor who sees the Bible as travelogue and Christianity as but another fine product in God's Supermarket (aisle 3).

"The world needs a church that doesn't see the Bible as a rule-book, but as a chronicle of a sacred journey. The world needs a church that isn't exclusive and triumphant about the uniqueness of Christ, but knows that other religious and spiritual paths also lead to God."

I love the prescriptive "the world needs." Duly noted, Father, and thanks for sharing!

And speaking of God's Supermarket, those smart shoppers at Rainbow Presence were clever enough to have loaded up the cart at the recent sale (20% off!) on forward slashes.

"We agree that:The Episcopal Church must understand what is being asked of it—especially in terms of its lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members. The Episcopal Church needs to know who its lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members are in order to know who is being asked to pay the price of unity in the Anglican Communion. Until lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members of the Episcopal Church have full and equal access to all the sacraments and rites of the church, lesbians/gays/bisexuals/transgendered people are essentially second-class members of the Episcopal Church."

Well said and bravo, oops, bravi! One little thing, Rainbowers and sorry, I'm a little slow on the uptake: again, please, just who is it you represent?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

High Church Tree-Huggers

Our enlightened friends in Canada (are you there, Dr. Mabuse?), always showing us the way:


"You've heard of green cars, green tourism and green weddings. Now Canadians should ready themselves for green sex.

"For those who like to make love to the soundtrack of the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Greenpeace has released a list of strategies for "getting it on for the good of the planet," suggesting "you can be a bomb in bed without nuking the planet." TreeHugger, an online magazine edited by Ontario's Michael Graham Richard, has just published a guide on "how to green your sex life." The famed adult store Good Vibrations announced last week they would no longer sell sex toys containing phthalates, controversial chemical plasticizers believed by some to be hazardous to humans and the environment alike . . .

" 'It feels like people are just waking up to the fact the planet is suffering under our uses of it,' says Rebecca Denk, business manager for the adult toy store Babeland. The U.S. company, which sells to Canadians via, just introduced an 'Eco-Sexy Kit' featuring a phthalate-free vibrator, soy massage candle, a natural lubricant with no animal-testing or derivatives, and condoms."

Read it all for even more lurid details. I've long regarded environmentalism as a kind of crude, atavistic religion so I guess the items described in this story aren't really marital aids, but worship aids for high church tree-huggers.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Millionaire Socialists and the Little People

Mark Steyn has a fascinating and detailed history of the old pop standard, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," a tune that has reaped many millions for many people save for the song's creator, a black South African named Solomon Linda who recorded it in Johannesburg in 1939. The song, "Mbube" ("The Lion") was a hit but alas, Linda sold the rights to his publisher, Gallo Music, for the equivalent of 87 cents and aside from whatever one-time recording fee he received, that's all the money he ever made on that ditty. He died in 1962 in Soweto after a grinding life of menial labor and poverty.

Okay, I can hear you yawning, it's just another depressing story of a naive artist screwed out of his fortune by unscrupulous entrepreneurs . Well yes, you're right, sad as it is, the tale is a common one. There is an interesting twist to this account, however, in that one of the villains happens to be the patron saint of semi-musical white socialists of a certain age: Pete Seeger. Styne writes:

"A few years after Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds made their hit record, it came to the notice of Pete Seeger, on the prowl for yet more authentic traditional vernacular folk music for the Weavers. He misheard "Mbube" and transcribed it as "Wimoweh". That's a great insight into the "authenticity" of the folk boom: the most famous Zulu word on the planet was invented by a New York socialist in 1951. Still, Seeger was chanting all the way to the bank . . .

"The child of wealthy New York radicals, Seeger has always been avowedly anti-capitalist. Yet his publisher had a deal with Gallo Music: they snaffled up the rights to "Mbube" cheap and in return sub-licensed to Gallo the South African and Rhodesian rights to "Wimoweh". And Seeger knew Solomon Linda was the composer. He says now that back in the Fifties he instructed his publishers to give his royalties from the song to Linda, and he was shocked, shocked to discover decades later that they hadn't in fact been doing so. But it never occurred to him, as an unworldly anti-capitalist, to check his royalty statements. It was, on his part, supposedly a sin of omission. Not everyone can plead the same accidental oversight. Having persuaded Linda to sign away his copyright, the relevant parties made sure to slide some forms in front of his illiterate widow in 1982 and his daughters some years later to make sure the appropriation paperwork was kept in order. "

Does anyone have any doubt had Solomon Linda been a rich and powerful Afrikaner rather than a poor black tribesman, Seeger would have been dutifully paying royalties up the wazoo? This is all of a piece for the left: Pay no attention to my wretched deeds, just my words. The reality is in the perception so if you sing "We Shall Overcome" loud and long enough you will be perceived as a friend of the negro by the correct people, your millionaire socialist comrades. Never mind if your posturing doesn't fool the working Joe, he's just benighted trailor trash and certainly not worthy of the slightest concern.

Leona Helmsley once said famously, "Only the little people pay taxes." Pete Seeger seems to feel similarly about royalties, at least those owed to the little people.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Orthodox Spinach

An oft used argument of the revisionists when justifying and marketing their Christian worship product is the tradition of Anglican acceptance of both snake-belly low Protestantism and my beloved bowing-and-scraping Catholicism. This tradition apparently gives revisionists license for the re-interpretation of liturgy, Creeds and Scripture in order to conform with fluid contemporary mores.

Nope. The Anglican Church could, after some struggle, accommodate Catholicism because the essential elements of both Catholic (even with the missal) and Protestant Anglican worship are the same: Scripture, the Creeds and the Prayer Book. With that firm foundation a variety of religious experiences is possible without lapsing into error. Not so with the revisionists' product. With their cafeteria-style opting and declining the elements of Christianity they like and dislike, i.e. loading up on a tasty dish of forgiveness but an "oh no, not for me" rejection of repentance, they dictate the terms of their religion, customizing it to their whims and fancies. They will insist this bespoke religion is valid but it is certainly not Christianity which, unfortunately for the revisionists, must be swallowed whole, spinach and broccoli alike.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Me, Myself and I

A sympathetic RC friend, noting the posting beneath this one, alerted me to this piece in the Catholic World News "Off the Record"column by the estimable Diogenes. Here a cherce sampling.

Boston College recently hosted a panel discussion titled "Called to Be Catholic: Practices that Nourish Women's Spirituality." Alumna Kate Carter shared.

[Carter] referenced author Sue Monk Kidd's idea of the "feminine wound," which asserts that merely being born female puts women at a disadvantage and renders them inferior. "I really internalized that idea as a child. I didn't trust my instincts, I doubted myself deeply, and I didn't trust the authority of my own experiences," said Carter.

Ye shall not surely die. For God knoweth that in the day ye eat of your experiences, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Referring to herself as a "lifelong Catholic girl in recovery," Carter said she constantly served others before herself until working in impoverished areas here and overseas in her 20s opened her eyes to the life she was leading. "I began to look at the world through the eyes of these people, and not the top-down authority I had been viewing myself through."

Uh oh. I sense a Subaru-sized bumper-sticker coming on ...

Read it all, it only gets better. My friend sent this to me with the less-than-encouraging admonition, "And You Think You've Got It Bad."

H/T Bro. James

Irreconcilable Differences and the Coming Divorce

The following is taken from the website of an Episcopal church in a well-to-do suburb of New York. Read it through, be astounded and weap; it simply defies belief and manifests the impossibility of mending the breach.

What a shame, the architecture of the place is gorgeous.

Specific Ways our Worship Reflects our Vision

  • The signboard in front of the church states the Redeemer vision: "We Are One Family." A picture of this signboard is found on the home page of this website.
  • A large painted banner often hangs in front of the church, advertising: "It's a Come as You Are Party."
  • The Rainbow and Black Liberation flags are prominently displayed in the church.
  • A large picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. hangs on the back wall of the church.
  • Both the Episcopal Prayer Book and an Inclusive Language Eucharist are celebrated each Sunday.
  • All people, regardless of their tradition or age, are invited to receive Communion.
  • No formal church instruction is required to receive communion.
  • Grape juice is consecrated in consideration of those people who do not wish to receive wine.
  • One of the three Sunday lessons is taken from either a secular source or from the sacred writings of a tradition other than Christianity.
  • Collects in the inclusive language service are taken primarily from Janet Morley's All Desires Known and often end with the wording "through Jesus, our Christ."
  • Rather than the Nicene Creed, the inclusive language service often includes a musical setting of the very first Christian creed, "Jesus is Lord," as a meaningful way of expressing our belief.
  • During the liturgical seasons when a confession is used, the priest first absolves the people and the people then absolve the priest.
  • The celebrant always receives communion last to model servant leadership and to discount images of hierarchy.
  • Female imagery and references to God are used in conjunction with male imagery and references.
  • The United Church of Christ hymnal, The New Century Hymnal, which intentionally uses inclusive language, is the pew hymnal at Redeemer. Specially written inclusive language hymns are also used.
  • Redeemer intentionally uses the traditional form of The Lord's Prayer, but begins with the words, "Our Mother, our Father." People often join hands during this prayer.
  • Redeemer's stated music policy requires inclusive language and images God in both male and female forms. At Redeemer, language is seen as a justice issue.
  • Lay and ordained people from various religious traditions are invited to preach in the Redeemer pulpit. In addition, members of the parish, on a regular basis, tell stories which illustrate God's liberation within their lives. They speak as women, African-Americans, people in recovery, Holocaust survivors, Gays and Lesbians, and people living with AIDS.
  • Contemporary Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services have been created so as to honor the Christian tradition and at the same time speak to the issues confronting the modern world.
  • A series of Liberation Holy Days are celebrated. These make clear that God's work of liberation continues into the present time. Examples of these days are Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday, Recovery Sunday, Holocaust Remembrance Sunday, Celebrating Women's Journeys Sunday, Gay and Lesbian Liberation Sunday, Celebrating Men's Journeys Sunday, and Blessing of the Animals Sunday.
  • The liturgical year has been altered to include an eight-week Creation Season, which points to the presence of God within all of creation, not just within human history.
  • At all holiday and special services, the loose offering is given to a designated outreach project.
  • Redeemer performs sacramental marriage for both same-sex and opposite sex couples. These events are duly recorded in the official parish registry, which the bishop examines. The Vestry resolution regarding same-sex weddings reads as follows:

    &quotWe, the Vestry of the Church of the Redeemer, support the inherently sacred nature of the covenant and commitment two people make to one another to enter into a life-long relationship, regardless of the gender makeup of the couple. Therefore, we the vestry, recognize the commitment of any two people in a life-long relationship, be they of the same or opposite sex, to be a Sacramental Marriage."
    adopted at May 10, 1999 Vestry Meeting

  • The Redeemer Church School Curriculum emphasizes our Judeo-Christian roots but also includes more contemporary liberation stories. Although Christianity is taught as our family story, other faiths are also honored. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the same God is the source of all major religions.
  • The Adult Forum is a discussion group which grapples with theological and social issues.
  • The Racial Dialogue Group meets monthly to name racism and white privilege in our midst and to promote
  • Leaders and members of Redeemer may come from traditions other than Christian and Episcopalian.
  • Outreach plays a crucial role in ministry at Redeemer, such as the Eric Johnson House, the Community Soup Kitchen, and the Interfaith Hospitality Network.
  • Groups at Redeemer include both gay and straight members. Each group - Men's Group, Women's Group, Partners' Group, Zen Meditation Group, Racial Dialogue Group, and the Book Discussion Group -- is a safe place for those who participate.
  • The Church houses an AIDS Chapel where people who have died from AIDS are remembered.
  • Members of the parish, both gay and straight, march behind the Redeemer banner in the New York City Gay Pride Parade.
  • Redeemer does not designate senior or junior wardens, nor rector's or people's warden.
  • Both hymns and liturgical music have been crafted by members of the Redeemer community.
  • A Worship Committee reviews and revises the contemporary liturgies, ever striving to make them speak more clearly to Redeemer's mission and vision.
  • During the Creation Season, gifts from nature - water, rock, grasses, fire, earth, branches, vegetables and fruit -- are presented at the offertory. Gifts of nature remain on the altar.
  • The Blessing of the Animals Service takes place as part of a Sunday morning Eucharist in the Creation season. Animals in attendance at the service each receive a blessing. An Animal Memorial Garden has been created on the parish grounds.
  • Healing Prayer, including the Laying On of Hands, is available in the side chapel during the Eucharist.
  • The Redeemer Labyrinth, a classic eleven-circuit design, is of the style found in the Chartres Cathedral. It is available for walking meditation anytime the parish hall is open. For more information, click here or on the image below.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I can't imagine many readers of this blog will have much truck with the "documentary" airing this weekend on the Discovery Channel that claims the discovery of "Jesus' tomb." However, in the remote possibility there's someone out there who does, please, please read Chris Rosebrough's well thought out and devastating debunking of it.