Sunday, March 29, 2009

Short and Sweet

We were treated today with a sermon from the Rev. Mary Cat Enockson. Coming in at 10 minutes, she again proved that ideas are most clearly presented in the fewest words. Drawing from her youth ministry, she explained the new covenant to us oldsters as she would to the youth. And as an added bonus, we heard the name "Jesus" several times during the sermon. For a moment, I thought I might be in the big Presbyterian church down the road. Indeed, as I drove home, I listened to the service broadcast from Davidson College Presbyterian Church (courtesy WDAV which is also available on-line), and I caught the tail end of their sermon. A female voice was presenting an exposition on the new covenant, and for a moment, I thought I was listening to an Episcopal service.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Can't Stop Talkin About Em.

Who can't stop talking about sex in the T.E.C.? We have heard that the problem with the Episcopal Church is that those rwascally conserwatives won't stop talking about it. A commenter read through all the proposed resolutions for the 2009 General Convention of T.E.C. and had the following revelation.

Ralinda wrote on T19 on 03/27/2009,

"To save you from having to tally them up: of the 46 resolutions filed, 19 advance the agenda of homosexual activists in the church. One resolution adds gender identity or the expression of gender identity to “protected categories” for ordination (C001). Nine resolutions conform the marriage canons to the language of civil laws permitting same sex unions (C019, C025, C028, C041, C042) or remove restrictions and/or authorize the development of liturgies for same sex blessings (C004, C009, C017, C031). Seven resolutions (C007, C010, C015, C024, C033, C036, C039) repudiate and reverse Resolution B033 from GC ‘06, which asked TEC to observe the Communion moratorium on any further consecrations of non-celibate homosexuals as bishops in the Church. In response to the 2008 elections in states where the traditional definition of marriage was affirmed, one resolution (C023) calls for Episcopalians to reject and work against Defense of Marriage statutes, and another (C014) authorizes a new Theological Study (i.e. revision) of Christian Marriage. There are no resolutions filed to support the consideration of the Anglican Covenant."

Thank you Ralinda.

I bet they won't stop talking about Anaheim 09, and it hasn't even happened yet!

(Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire)...enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R.I.P. Lewis Green, or Excommunication Episcopal Style

(Gregory VII (Hildebrand or Hellebrand) issuing a ban of excommunication on the clergy and the King in lower left panel.)

Lewis W. Green who passed away on October 24, 2008 had the distinction of being excommunicated from All Souls Episcopal Cathedral in Asheville. He had in 2000 reportedly,
" made some very personal accusations about the Rev. Todd Donatelli, and at communion at one service, he walked up and gave the right reverend the finger right there in church."

Maybe Mr. Lewis Green had a trigger finger due to arthritis and had to keep that finger extended.

Read on from
"'Due to your refusal to seek reconciliation with the parish of All Souls and its members, and your continued efforts to attack this parish and its members, I hereby place you excommunicate,' wrote the cathedral's pastor, the Very Rev. Todd Donatelli.

Green was warned that if he sets foot on church property and refuses to leave, 'a warrant for trespass will be issued and a restraining order obtained,' Donatelli wrote.

Green has refused to back down: 'I said, It'll be a cold day in hell before I apologize. I don't look at this as a church; it's a liberal Democrat precinct.'"

and from
"'I've been writing bad things about gays for some time, deleterious things, and that's what this is about,' said Green, 68. 'What I'm doing is exercising my First Amendment rights, and if it's about them, too bad. There's nothing they can do about it.'"

Recall Jeremiah 7:27-30
27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.
28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.
30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it.

In a review of "Of Human Interest" by Lewis Green at, T. Patrick Killough writes,
"In an appreciation of Green the novelist by Dr. Donald Secrest (reproduced pp. 227 - 235), Lewis Green is affectionately denoted as 'A Sainted Crazy.' Green does not so much plot his stories as bait traps for the unsuspecting reader. In other words, things are never as simple as they first seem. Green is seen as 'practicing to become a prophet,' deeply spiritual in a tradition no flatlander can ever grasp. But then, 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?'"

Those pesky prophets, they are always at odds with the high priests. Mr. Lewis Green seems like he was a crusty curmudgeon who poked at the weak spot of the priestly class and got kicked out of the church. Or maybe it was because he had renamed the church "All Souls Lesbyterian." You may be thinking, "Well he asked for it." Was his offense any more offensive than what the good rev. may have done to him? (ie moving on with the GLBT agenda) After all, to Mr. Lewis Green, the Rev. Donatelli may have been the one profaning the sacraments. And what would Mr. Green have done or said if he were around on March 15, 2009 when Bishop Gene Robinson spoke at All Souls?

Good thing he didn't live to hear that one. In fact, I have heard from a reputable source in Asheville that since Mr. Green,
"...died about a year ago. I have since met a few people from All Souls who greatly rejoiced to know him gone. Much, perhaps, as some Athenians did when Socrates took the helmlock."
Kinda makes me glad I don't go to that "inclusive" church.

Addendum: I came across this detailed description of how that church went downhill from an ex-member.

Excommunication is rare in the Episcopal Church, and a good thing too, because when it is applied it may be misapplied as in the case of Beverly Moore of Charleston back in 2001. Beverly Moore's crime? "Destroying the Church" by calling out a sexual predator in their midst.

Seems to me that not just us pewsters but certain priests might be guilty of the same accusation, "destroying the Church," but the wayward priest is given speaking engagements and a Bishopric instead of being excommunicated. Is there no justice? On second thought, justice may still be seen as having been served because the Bishop job might be a punishment greater than excommunication.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Snake on a Stick

On my way to church today, I had a thought. "Okay, for the past few weeks the sermons have been short, but nature abhors a vacuum, so this week the sermon will be at least 20 minutes long."

Nature is happy. Balance has been restored.

Actually, the sermon wasn't bad. Charlie focused on the good works we as a parish are doing, and he rightly gave credit to God from which they come. By choosing ten of these works, I knew that time would be an issue as it would be difficult to limit each effort to a mere sixty seconds. I was encouraged in the thought that the subject matter would be changing regularly and digressions would be minimized.

I will disagree with Charlie in that I cannot give unflagging support to the Episcopal Relief and Development contribution basket because I have seen how these monies can be misused. There was the ugly letter written by a certain Dr. Louie Crew in 2004 to to Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and Other Bishops of Uganda after Uganda announced they were going to distance themselves from monies from the Episcopal Church USA (following the consecration of V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. The letter and discussion can be found at StandFirm. Here is an excerpt:

"We have been a major contributor to your Planning, Development, and Rehabilitation (PDR) Department, an arrangement that lets you identify the needs and put the gifts where they will be most effective. Most of ERD's grant to Uganda of $284,000 in 2001 and of $138,500 in 2001 were funneled through your PDR.

Should ERD stop making those appeals and stop making these grants?

Should ERD screen its donors to find out who consented and who did not consent to the consecration of Bishop Robinson?

Is the Church of Uganda cutting itself off from the Episcopal Church's funding of numerous Communion networks, such as our major funding for the provincial secretaries conference currently taking place in Johannesburg?

Will the Church of Uganda continue to contribute only .5% to the costs of the Anglican Consultative Council, or will it increase that amount to offset subsidies by The Episcopal Church, which contributes 29.3% of the costs of the Anglican Consultative Council? (See the contributions of all 38 provinces at"

Comments noted that in the ERD’s Form 990 filed in 2006 for the fiscal year 2005, ERD spent roughly $4.5Million in expenses to dispense $11.6Million in charity.

Rest assured that some of your ERD dollars will go to the needy. Don't be so sure that the ERD won't be used for political reasons.

This is why I wanted to hear something about the snake on a stick. Recall today's O.T. reading from Numbers 21:4-9,
"From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live."

I wonder if the Archbishop of Uganda has a bronze Dr. Crew on a pole somewhere?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Adherence to Principle

This was found at the daily lectionary pages for March 21. It was written by James Kiefer at is quoted in its entirety, but I added some emphasis.


"Thomas Ken in the course of his lifetime was both rewarded and punished for his firm adherence to principle. He was born in 1637 and reared by his half-sister Anne and her husband the well-known angler Izaak Walton. He became a clergyman and served for a year at the Hague as chaplain to Mary, Princess of England and Queen of Holland, niece of King Charles II of England and wife of the Dutch King William of Orange. During this year he publicly rebuked King William for his treatment of his wife the said Mary, which may be why he was chaplain there for only a year. Upon his return to England, he was made Royal Chaplain to King Charles. The King had a mistress, Nell Gwyn, and for his convenience wished to lodge her in his chaplain's residence. Thomas sent the King a sharp refusal, saying that it was not suitable that the Royal Chaplain should double as the Royal Pimp. Charles admired his honesty and bluntness, and when the bishopric of Bath and Wells became available soon after, he declared, 'None shall have it but that little man who refused lodging to poor Nellie!' Ken was accordingly made a bishop. When Charles was on his deathbed, it was Ken whom he asked to be with him and prepare him for death.
Under the next king, James II, brother of Charles, matters were different. James converted to Roman Catholicism, the religion of his mother, and political turmoil followed. James issued a decree known as the Declaration of Indulgence, which decreed that various public offices formerly open only to Anglicans, should thereafter be open to all persons. It was feared that the King would appoint large numbers of Roman Catholics to positions of power, and eventually transfer to them the control of the government. When the King commanded the bishops to proclaim the Declaration of Indulgence, seven of them refused to do so and were by the King's command imprisoned in the Tower of London. The people of London rioted, and the bishops were freed and carried in triumph through the streets of the city. Soon after, Parliament offered the crown to the King's daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange (see above) and James fled into exile.

William and Mary naturally began their reign by demanding oaths of allegiance from all persons holding public positions, including the bishops. Thomas Ken and others (known as the Non-Jurors -- the older meaning of 'juror' is 'one who takes an oath,' hence 'perjurer' as 'one who swears falsely') refused to take the oath, on the grounds that they had sworn allegiance to James, and could not during his lifetime swear allegiance to another monarch without making such oaths a mockery. They were accordingly put out of office.

The bishops of Scotland also refused the oath, and William and Mary retaliated by disestablishing the Church in Scotland and making the Presbyterians the official state Church there instead. Therefore, we have in Scotland today the Kirk of Scotland (a Presbyterian Calvinist group which is the established Church there), The Episcopal Kirk of Scotland (an Anglican Church, what is known as a 'free' Church in the sense of having no ties with the government), the Free Kirk of Scotland (broken off from the Kirk of Scotland), and the Wee Free Kirk of Scotland (broken off from the Free Kirk--everyone calls them the "Wee Frees" and I do not remember their official name).

Thomas Ken became a private tutor and spent the rest of his life in retirement. He died 19 March 1711 and is usually commemorated on 21 March. During his lifetime he was known for his books of sermons. Today, he is best known for several hymns that he wrote, such as those beginning:

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily course of duty run.
Cast off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

All praise to thee, who safe hast kept
and hast refreshed me while I slept!
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless life partake.

All praise to thee, my God, this night
for all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, oh keep me, King of Kings,
beneath Thine own almighty wings.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

by James Kiefer

I love that part about being the Royal Pimp, or should that be the Pimp Royal?
One thing I don't understand is that he died on March 19 but we don't get around to him until March 21. Maybe that is because St. Joe grabbed that day first. And Cuthbert nabbed March 20. Maybe he is still being "both rewarded and punished for his firm adherence to principle."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Does This Make Zense to You?

(Image From Ann Huey's website)

In the most recent case of Episcopalian strange bed fellows, the Diocese of Northern Michigan elected a man as Bishop who is both an Episcopal priest and a "lay ordained" Buddhist. There are also procedural questions about the election which our EDUSC Bishop and Executive Council have to consider before issuing a consent to the election.

I have read with interest the blogging going on about this story. Read Anglicat's take here, or the opinion of the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff Arkansas,

More to the point is the text of the Rev. Forrester's Trinity Sunday sermon that the people at StandFirm transcribed. Here is an illustrative sample,

“That’s what we heard today, right? All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Well, we could slightly rephrase that and keep it, keep its true meaning, I think, if we would say: Jesus realized that all that He is, He had received from God. Jesus is the one that realized all He is, “all I am, I have received from God.” And in response, we read in the gospels later on His response, to having received everything from God is that, “into Your hands I commend my spirit and Thy will be done.” He receives everything from God and He returns everything to God. That is what it means that everything has been given to Jesus, all the power. His very center, the center of His heart, of His body, of His mind, is the living God. All things come from the divine source for Jesus—who He is, His self identity, His soul, that just means His understanding of who He is, He has come to realize and it’s key in that baptismal moment, that He is the very presence of the living God. That is who He is. He is one who is unified with God. That’s what the Syrians are getting at. Jesus realizes that God dwells in His very being, He is one with God, and He is one with you and me. And because He is one, He is the lifegiver. He can show us the path of life, which is the path to realizing that we are one with God. We are one with one another.”

I named this "Buddhistic Adoptionism."

The same StandFirm post included the service Bulletin which had this interesting bit of information at the end,

May 13, 2008
The discernment process is moving along on schedule. Our first few sessions were led by Marcia Franz, Kevin Thew Forrester, Fran Gardner and Hazel Satterly. Formation and team building were on the agenda for the first few meetings. Kevin led us through a brief oversight of the Enneagram showing us how our personality traits impact group process, how we receive and give information and how we make decisions.

So the Rev. Forrester was in on the discernment team for the next Bishop which may very well wind up being himself.

It will be interesting to see how our Executive Council and Bishop in Upper South Carolina handle this.

I advise all to write to Bishop Henderson and the members of D.E.C. and let them know your opinion.

As for me, I will meditate, and pray for the Diocese of Upper Michigan that they will find a clear minded Bishop who can lead them through the spiritual minefields ahead. I pray that they have also seen this video,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Casting out the Money Changers

Today's sermon was given by Mr. Nicholas Roosevelt a Senior at Presbyterian College who is doing an internship in Youth ministry at Our Saviour. He had the task of preaching on John 2:13-22. He did a pretty good job and he kept it short.

Did anyone note the irony of the money changing hands after the service in the parish hall where the youth were selling fresh cinnamon rolls as a fund raiser for a mission trip?

1 Corinthians 1:23-25,
"but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. ."

It took strength to resist those cinnamon rolls.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Faith...the nounverb problem

Noun: according to Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

Verb: is preferred according to Rev. Steven B. Smethers DD

Both (transitive verb and noun): Merriam-Webster and the Rev. Charlie Foss.

Today's sermon was on Faith. If you where not there, you will have to take it on faith that we heard a good sermon, 12 minutes in length, which brought in all the readings for today and an anecdotal story to boot. The only weakness was when Charlie said he didn't know if his story was a Christian one. I have faith that it was.

The story involved a spontaneous act of pastoral kindness occuring in a healing service at a Christian church. The pastor was moved to hug and cry along with a man who was in pain. Okay, the location, the people involved all sound like Christians. The act sounded a Christian response to me, but some might argue that it is a human response to another suffering human. This type of response may be an uncommon one as evidenced by this video of the old man struck by a car.

Most people did not rush to his side. Doesn't it take a leap of faith to forget yourself for a moment and care for another person. Does faith in God have anything to do with it? Does one have to be a Christian? Couldn't one be a Samaritan?

My question is this, if the Samaritan was a good neighbor, is the Samaritan saved?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

We Pledge for This?

Ever since we had our own taste of the Divine Feminine, my ears perk up when I hear references to the subject. I once was blind, but now I see...

Do you ever wonder where those dollars sent to the National Church go? I mean besides the RCRC, attorneys fees and court costs. Well it goes to all kinds of kinky stuff. Things like this bizarre event held Feb 13-14, 2009 at the National Cathedral.

From the Institue on Religion and Democracy we read this report,

“A Lakota medicine woman officially opened the conference by offering up a bowl of smoldering tobacco and directing the participants to face the four directions while she went through a ritual to “invite the spirits:”

“To the sacred guardians of the East,” the leader said, “all the medicine that comes from the East, we welcome you. Acupuncture, Tibetan medicine.”

“To the sacred guardians of the South,”—the place of the physical body, innocence, and warriors, “we ask for laughter, healing, joy.”

“To the sacred guardians of the West”—the place of great mystery, the vision quest, and death, “The place of finding your own divinity.”

“To the sacred guardians of the North”—the Earth element, whom she called to “gather spirit and wisdom,” and regarded as the place of transformation, change, and the “White Buffalo Woman.”

“Come spirit of many names, come” the medicine woman concluded.

and this,

"Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of Omega Institute and guru to Oprah Winfrey, spoke about the importance of emotional and spiritual intelligences…
Lesser recalled the pagan history of what is now St. Valentine’s Day, at which time the Romans honored Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled Rome’s mythical founders, Romulus and Remus, and Juno, queen of the Greco-Roman pantheon. Said Lesser, 'I think it’s time for us women to take back Valentine’s Day,' to 'take it back for Lupa the she-wolf and Juno the fertile goddess, and Valentine.'”

It starts getting a bit obscene, so read no further if you are easily offended.

"Unfortunately, Lesser lamented, women 'suffer from this desire for someone to come and save the day.' Women need to realize, she insisted, 'No handsome prince is going to wake us up. We’re going to have to kiss ourselves; we have to rouse ourselves.'”

I hate to flash you the sacred circle logo...

Do we pay for this stuff? Yes we do.

. . . The Episcopal Office of Women’s Ministries underwrote all of the scholarships to attend “Sacred Circles,” and a paid staffer of the cathedral served as the convener of the event.

I can't wait to see the brochure for the men's conference. I even have some suggestions for the location and the logo. We could have the meeting right here in Rock Hill at a certain restaurant just off I-77 and Hwy 161. Call it "Sacred Chicken Wings." It would be a hoot!


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lent 1

Following the Great Litany and lessons, Mary Cat delivered today's sermon with a call for Lenten devotion and preparation. Her sermon was short, sweet, and stayed on topic. I give it 4 stars.

As the rain fell on the roof and the children's choir sang "When Jesus Wept,

"When Jesus wept, the falling
In mercy flowed, beyond all bound.
When Jesus groaned, a trembling fear
seized all the guilty world around."

William Billings (1746-1800)

All this rain and rumors of snow made me long for a little walk in the desert, and since we got out of church early, spend some time on the desert walk below,