Wednesday, July 29, 2009

La Strada Via Divisi

Background: From Randy Sly on 6/5/2008 at Catholic Online :
Anglicans have traditionally been called the “Via Media” or “the middle road” between Catholicism and Protestantism.
Depending on which way a certain Anglican group may lean, they could be described as Catholic Lite or Protestants with Prayer Books. Until the mid-20th Century, however, most of them stayed in the middle of the road together...
...In recent years, this Via Media declaration has taken on a new luster, where the middle of the road could now be considered the point between theological liberalism vs conservatism or even orthodox Christianity vs heresy.
I have heard the "Via Media" also used to describe a way to try live in the Episcopal church and to listen to both sides to find a common center. Insofar as the liberal wing of TEC has created a "Via Divisi," there is no middle way. I dedicate this post to those bishops and clergy who think that they can somehow keep one foot in the westbound lane and one foot in the eastbound lane at the same time.

More background information: I encourage those who did not pay attention to the goings on in Anaheim at the Episcopal church's General Convention 2009 to watch this excellent summary presentation by George Conger and Kevin Kallsen, it is about 30 minutes long. Mind you, the reporters were tired and anxious to go home.

h/t The Lobster Pot

Go to 3:00-4:40 to hear their take on the way the moratoria will be denied without being denied.

Go to 16:01 to hear the sarcastic support of "Bilhah and Zilpah" that one bishop rose to add to shut down debate on some foolish attempt to add Ishmael to our Eucharistic prayers.

Go 17:15 The reporters were not shocked that there was a resolution to remove the modifier "virgin" from you know who's name. They were relieved that the resolution failed.

There are several good take home points here to remember as your clergy and/or bishop try to put a spin on the two major resolutions, C025 and C056. The first important point is their accurate prediction of how TEC would spin the results. The second point is that in the past, spin control seemed to work, but this time it probably won't because the new media, the internet, the bloggers, etc. are more effective at getting the debate ball rolling than the TEC controlled services which in the past could control the debate.

Enough of the background, let's see how the spin game works here in EDUSC. A good example is how +Dorsey Henderson recently tried to spin the General Convention into some sort of wonderful love fest where there was, for the first time in his experience, an amazing unity. He writes:
"In short, common ground led to common joy in both bearing one another’s burdens and discovering more effective, comfortable ways of living into the Great Commission. Sounds like 'One Body, One Mission…' to me."

As result of the pre-existing "Via Divisi," there appeared to be a common ground at GC09, but it was a common liberal ground. The conservatives had given up long before this crazy convention. Many did not attend, and many attended with no intention of putting up a fight. One body my foot!

Speaking of via divisi, +Henderson himself seems to have split into two different bishops. One that agrees to accept all into the ordination process and another that won't allow certain "types" to be ordained. One that is in favor of a "generous pastoral response" to same sex unions and another that says, "Not in my back yard." Recall that he first tried to spin the result of his yes vote on D025 to mean that B033 is still in effect:
"It may come as a surprise to some that I voted “yes” on the final version of the resolution in the House of Bishops. I did so with powerful, mixed feelings, and my sleep during the night was not sound. My thinking is this: it is critically important that (1) we leave B033 in place, and (2) that we reaffirm our commitment to, involvement in, and support of the entire Anglican Communion, its life, mission and ministry. I do realize that some intend to use the language of the sixth resolve to advance an agenda for which I believe neither we nor the other churches of the Anglican Communion are ready to endorse separately or corporately. However, the content of the resolution, taken as a whole, is more helpful than not."
I recall George Conger saying, "We are not going to do what we just said we are going to do."

Bishop Henderson also voted in favor of C056, but did not post a justification at the time.
However, he then went and signed the Anaheim Statement:
The Anaheim statement is where he claims as a signatory that,
'We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them' (BCP 526, 538)

* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion."

So, Bishop Henderson will uphold the moratoria even though he gave permission for others in TEC to do otherwise. The Anaheim Statement continues:

"* We reaffirm our commitment to 'continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship' which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in 'interpreting the Gospel' which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God."

But didn't he earlier commit to C025's and C056's new way of interpreting the Gospel? I can hear the apostles rolling over in their graves.

Next, he tried to put the kibosh on any differing opinion in this report where he writes:
"Beloved, it is an understatement to observe that the "dust has not yet settled" from General Convention. I am astounded at how much erroneous information is being disseminated by the media-even some of the more responsible media. Unfortunately, it appears that some people are accepting media statements as Gospel, leaping to conclusions based thereon, and making decisions which are nothing less than precipitous."

Then he takes his own leap off the precipice when he writes:
"Don't leap to conclusions based on media coverage, whether public or private. (After all, we immediately discount media reports when they speak negatively about our favorite political candidates or party-why should we be any less skeptical when such negative reports are made about something as important as the Church?)"

I think he is saying, "Don't believe anything negative." Doesn't he also mean that I should "Believe the church's spin because I love the church?" Does he mean that it is okay for a pre-existing conclusion (or bias) to trump anyone else's opinion? Reversing his logic, I don't believe my own political party's spin, therefore I should be no less skeptical of the church's spin.

I am sorry +Henderson, but people are starting to see through your fence straddling. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be wagging his finger at us and saying, "Don't do this" when he wrote his post convention admonition on Monday 27 July 2009:
8. This is not our situation in the Communion. Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.

Looks to me like +Henderson is attempting to straddle a divided highway. You know what happens when you do that? You end up getting run over not once but twice, dividing and breaking the body into unrecognizable pieces.

The future certainly looks worse and worse for the moderates. There is less and less vehicular traffic on one side of the highway to flag down. The bright shiney new vehicles on the remaining side are rushing by too fast to hear anyone else's opinion, and eventually, the moderates themselves will be considered to be on the other side of the via divisi.

So if moderates are irrelevant, and conservatives are silent, who is left who wants to go into the HoB as our next bishop?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip.

In our household we have an ongoing dispute between those who believe in mayonnaise (AKA the real thing) and those who believe in Miracle Whip (AKA a fake). Today at ECOOS, after reading the Gospel stories of the feeding of five thousand and Jesus walking on the water, we learned that there is a third option: "Here's your fish sandwich, don't ask what's on it."

Our sermon today started with the intriguing question of what would a stranger think if they came into the church, unfamiliar with Christianity, and heard these "strange stories?" I thought to myself, "Maybe we are going to hear a discussion about the miracles of Jesus." Of course I was mistaken, and we went down the path of hearing about the focus on food and eating contained in the Bible, the Gospels, the Eucharist, and the "inclusive" dining habits of Jesus.

I am sorry, but if I was unfamiliar with Christianity at the onset, and puzzled by the miracles of Christ in the readings, then I would probably feel as if my Zagat's Guide to Religion had led me to book a dinner at an restaurant where the staff would not or could not explain the menu.

This is especially troubling when the take home message at the end of the sermon was that because we are now filled with God's love, we are to go out and feed the hungry. I guess the question of how the unchurched might understand the "strange stories" of the miracles of Jesus was not as important as the more easily explained ministry of taking care of people's physical needs.

Now I am left wondering, "How am I to feed the unchurched?" Should I use the mayo, or the Miracle Whip?

Friday, July 24, 2009

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Obama

Stepping out of the religious wars for a second, I woke up yesterday dreaming of smiling faces, mad scientists, Slim Pickens, and doomsday devices. Was it something I ate? Maybe it was something I had trouble digesting from the night before.

On Wednesday July 22, 2009 I was scrolling through the channels on the old television set looking for something more enlightening than "Ghost Hunters." The pickings were slim, and I finally settled on President Obama's press conference. This press conference was supposed to address the "Health Care Crisis." What I saw was an ill prepared man who does not believe in free market capitalism, who believes in top down governmental solutions, and also a man who honestly believes this approach is the remedy to a host of other "crises" as well. This is probably what sent me reaching for the Pepto-Bismol. Why am I worried? Let me show you how my simple mind views the history and future course of the issue:

Step 1. Create a "crisis." The beginnings of the health care crisis began long ago in a government far away. I might be talking about the U.K., or I might be talking about the "Great Society." As I see it, government run health care as a "benefit" has been foisted on us for so long that it is now a given that everyone has "a right to health care." Is it no coincidence that the amazing innovations in tests and treatments for various illnesses that we have seen over the past 45 years occurred at the same time that untold amounts of money was being pumped into the system by the government's Medicare program? The monetary incentives to provide services to the elderly must have had an effect in the rise in the cost of care. At the same time, private insurance companies were treated with the golden opportunity to insure only the young, the more healthy, and employed. Was the federal government responsible in any way to creating the current crisis? I think so.

Step 2. Blame anyone but the problem solver. Since government proposes a solution, steer clear of any projections of the long term consequences, both expected and unexpected, of your scheme. Government cannot be seen as part of the problem, otherwise confidence (read votes) declines.

Step 3. Rush a "solution" through before the next crisis comes up.

Step 4. Create another crisis: This is always a great distraction. It helps everyone ignore for the moment the wonderful future crisis you just got finished creating.

How come I get the queasy feeling that instead of defusing a ticking time bomb, our elected officials are building a new one.

Following the Obama press conference, I turned to TCM and watched "The Bridge Over River Kwai." A movie that raises questions of loyalty, duty, honor, cruelty, and the ultimate destruction those physical things we fight for the most.

How have I learned to stop worrying and love the man? I love his transparency. I know what we have in our lawyer in chief. Worried? No, I don't fear for things this side of the shade. Shiva can put on as many arms as he wants, but I put my trust in God's promise of eternal life, realizing that He did not promise me a healthy earthly body, church, government, or world. I am already covered by the best health insurance policy possible, impossible as that may seem.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Leonidas Moment?

Earlier this week I chanced to look down at the detritus left from recent house cleaning and yard sale material preparation and saw a little book alone on the floor that had somehow freed itself from the clutches of the ravagers and pillagers of my beloved treasures. While their backs were turned, I snatched it up and retreated to my cave. Some of you might recognize this book, The Will of God by Leslie Weatherhead first printed in 1944. In it, a series of sermons takes a look at God's will, and the concept is broken down into God's intentional will, circumstantial will, and ultimate will. I felt the book was asking for a re-read, so that's what I did. In a way, this helped me "decompress" after the recent General Convention of the Episcopal church. So many people are asking so many questions, that I had to stop and think, "Where is God in all this?"

My take on the ultimate will of God is that it is sometimes too difficult to accept, or we are so blinded by ourselves and the world, that we can never see God's ultimate will on our own. We are too impatient or self indulged to humble ourselves to Him as we busily try to plan our day or our futures as if He did not exist. The author uses what I would consider a strong classical argument that God's circumstantial will is intimately involved with the problems of Evil, Sin, and pain, those worldly things that try to steer us from God's intentional will. Regular readers of this blog may remember that Evil and Sin are not popular subjects at our parish, and from the reports from GC 09, not terribly popular with the modern Episcopal church in general. The church, by choosing to ignore the subjects, give Evil and Sin the perfect opportunity to work their way into the Church, thus setting up the current circumstances with which so many are struggling. Was this God's intention? Did God, through His intentional will, endorse D025 and C056? Did God will the rejection of D069*, or are these the actions of humans and their free will? Here we are, face to face with the circumstantial will of God. How we respond to these circumstances should be where we place our focus.

I personally find myself in interesting circumstances as a member of this disordered organization. This is nothing new of course. I recall 1979, 2003, 2005, 2006, and now 2009 as times in which the Episcopal church revealed how Evil advances its goals. At no point have I thought that this was the "movement of the Spirit" or "the will of God." It all looked more like the work of fallen man. Let me break it down in an overly simplified method similar to what is discussed in the little book.

1. Intentional Will: It is God's intention that I turn to Him, repent, and love and worship Him as my Lord and Savior.

2. Circumstantial Will: Evil is constantly attacking God's intention, and in this case, His Church, by presenting false doctrines and false prophets to which God's people, by their free will, are easily turned. These are the circumstances man has placed us in and it is where we find ourselves today, pulled away from God's intent.

3. Ultimate Will: This may not be revealed in my lifetime, but the question for me is how do I act in accordance with #1 to do my part for #3?

Some might flee and find comfort in an orthodox church, others might leave the church altogether (as some of our former congregants at ECOOS have done). This simple pewster agrees that the circumstances are dangerous, but I, for one, have been led to challenging them, and no, I am not expecting to change the world. One thing about this journey is that it is not easy, it requires study, prayer, more study, more prayer, and it cannot be done alone. At some point, even a simple pewster might be tempted to call it quits, to swim the Tiber, or to heed some such call. Why battle the Evil circumstances here that challenge God's intention when there is a safe spot down the street?

Can circumstances ever get so bad that I would leave the Episcopal church?

Clifford at Red Stick Rant appears have reached that point. Read his illustration of the fictional Leonidas restaurant (he named that after Leonidas Polk, the "fighting bishop") losing customers because of changes in the staff, what they were serving, changes in the ownership, and eventually losing Red Stick himself when the place becomes totally unrecognizable. (Click the Red Stick Rant link for the long version).

Nice analogy, but is July 2009 a Leonidas moment?

I don't think so. I think anyone wondering if this is the moment needs to proceed to chapter 4 of Weatherhead's little book. The chapter is entitled "Discerning the Will of God." Go there because the question on many moderate and conservative Episcopalians' minds is "Where do I go from here?" Part of our Christian being calls us to ask for God's help at such times. (As humans, we usually call only during troubled times, but that is a subject for another post.) The chapter ends with two questions:
1. "Do I really want to discern God's will or do I want to get his sanction for my own?"
2. "Have I got the courage to do God's will when I discern it?"

I came up with another,

3. What will happen if I reject God's will?

As I try to discern His will, I see, in all the conflicts of the day, the need to confront Evil. I recognize my limited ability to do so given my past upbringing in this Episcopal church. I accept the challenge to increase my understanding of God's purpose so that I can better defend it.

If I reject His will, walk away from His promise, then His sacrifice was in vain.

* ORIGINAL TEXT of Rejected Resolution: C069 Title: Affirm Christ in multi-faith society
Topic: Evangelism
Committee: 12 - Evangelism
House of Initial Action: Deputies
Proposer: Diocese of Western Louisiana


Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That this 76th General Convention of this church affirm the conclusion of the Church of England at its February General Synod and direct the House of Bishops' Committee on Theology to report back to the 77th General Convention on "their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in the United States multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none."


Indicative of our support and appreciation for the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury at this General Convention and his leadership of the Church of England in Christian witness within the multi-faith culture of the United Kingdom, this resolution affirms that the Episcopal Church is in substantial agreement with the Church of England General Synod which directed its House of Bishops at their February 2009 meeting to report back on "their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain's multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none."

Supporting document "General Synod 2/11/09" is posted and available in hard copy in the General Convention Secretariat until the end of the 76th General Convention.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of Sheep and Men

Today at ECOOS we avoided controversy by listening to our lessons and having a short sermon delivered by the Rev. Mary Cat Young who, although she worked in a pitch for good works and youth mission trips, blessed us by giving us a chance to forget the foolishness delivered by our Episcopal church General Convention. We came together to worship the Lord, and that we did.

I would like to think that Mary Cat was acting to avoid the woe that Jeremiah directed to the shepherds in the O.T. reading Jeremiah 23:1-6,
"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’"

If she had tried to reconcile the signals being sent from our national church via GenCon09 with the recent profile of our diocese (see Profile of Conservative Upper South Carolina), she would most assuredly have failed, and in so doing would have scattered the sheep further.

At some point it will become necessary for one's clergy to direct the sheep. It is at this point that my lack of confidence in our human leaders begins to turn my nose up. I must never forget that the Lord is my shepherd, not the rector, not the curate, and not the bishop.

In so far as we sheep have a say so in the matter of who our earthly shepherds might be, the past few general conventions send a clear message that we need to choose better than we have in the past. In the Episcopal church's way of doing things, old shepherds never die, they just breed more of their own. Change as far as shepherds goes, never occurs rapidly, and for this reason, people have who get mad leave, some to protect their children from the corruption of TEC, and others to protect their souls from what they see as a church that has abandoned the teachings of the apostles, the faith of the saints, and word of God.

The lost sheep will continue to follow the purple shirted, white collared false shepherds. There is another shepherd the rest of us will follow. As our bleating sound is raised to Him, may we listen to His reply, even though it might be, "Deal wisely with men, choose your earthly shepherds carefully, Oh My sheep."

Something, or was it someone, moved me to tears by verses 1-5 of today's sequence hymn, Hymn 693 and shut me down before v.6.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Thy rod and Thy staff break those barriers down; they strike me, and guide me, but still, they comfort me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rowan Calling

The Clash: "London Calling"

With the recent failed attempt by Rowan Williams (the Archbishop of Canterbury) to stop the Episcopal church from widening the gulf between themselves and the Anglican Communion, and speculation mounting as to what response we might hear from Canterbury, the pewster recalled the song "London Calling" and wondered if I could help with an update.

"Rowan Calling" by Wallace Hartley

"Rowan calling to the purple shirts
Now that war is declared-my ego is hurt
Rowan calling to the underground
Come out of the closet, all you lost and found
Rowan calling, now don't look to us
All that phony Biblemania has bitten the dust
Rowan calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the spin of that thurible thing

The dark age is coming, the sun is growing dim
Evangelicals stop running and the wafers are thin
A theological error, but I have no fear
Rowan is frowning-and you just don't care

Rowan calling to the T.E.C.
Forget it, brother, an' go it without me
Rowan calling upon the zombies of death
Quit holding out-and draw another breath
Rowan calling-and I don't wanna shout
But when we were talking-I saw you nodding out
Rowan calling, see we ain't got no prayer
Don't hold your breath, I'm still up in the air


Now get this
London calling, yeah, I was there, too
An' you know what I said? Well, none of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?

I never felt so much a' like"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Schismatic's Apprentice

Schism and schismatic are names Christians throw out at each other when they are really mad. It doesn't matter on which side of the canyon you stand, it is always the other side that caused the rift. One never looks down at the river that has been eating away at the bedrock. Nor do you look into the waters to see the dirt and grit contributing to the erosion. The process is usually so slow that it takes years to you discover the fact that you are no longer connected to the other side. At that point you shout out, "Schismatic" across the divide, and no doubt you will hear the word echo back upon yourself.

What is going on with the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal church that is raising the cry, "Schism!"? The BBC reports,
"Bishops of the Anglican Church in the United States have voted to overturn a three-year moratorium on the election of gay bishops.

The decision seems likely to lead to the Episcopal Church's eventual exit from the worldwide Anglican Communion."
(Read: Schism)

The UK's Times OnLine had this headline from July 15, 2009:

The Americans know this will end in schism
Support by US Episcopalians for homosexual clergy is contrary to Anglican faith and tradition. They are leaving the family

How did the Episcopal Church get to this point, the point where our Bishops have "come out" and said, "Let us increase the gulf between us and the rest of the Anglican Communion."? What waters have done this, and from whence does the river flow? Many think the entire issue is over homosexuality. I like to think that those people are just looking at the rapids, and not the whole river. There is a current of liberal theology that is harder for people to recognize as it is what slowly erodes away the foundations of the church. This theology weakens the foundational authority of the same scripture that we believe contains all things necessary to salvation (Article VI). Allowed to run its course, a church standing beside the river of liberal theology finds itself divided. Tracing our river backwards, we spot one of the architechs of this divide was the nefarious Bishop John Spong, whose "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism," along with his other teachings and actions, acted like abrasives poured into the already running waters. There are other individuals dotting the shorelines, but since he is intimately involved in the process, and homosexuality is the rocky shoal over which we are currently watching the church float, I will focus more on this part of the river than is usual for these pages.

There are more detailed time lines out there, but for the neophyte, this shorter version from the pages of Get Religion is a good starting place.
Terry Mattingly asserts that in order to write about the subject of homosexuality and the Episcopal church, you have to cherchez les Bishops when he wrote,

"When you are talking about the history of the Anglican wars, you really have to remember that it’s really about the bishops.

The Episcopal Church has been struggling with homosexuality — in its national meetings — since the 1970s. But the big signposts have been about the men and women in the purple shirts. Here’s a few.

1989 — Bishop John Spong, Diocese of Newark, publicly ordains first non-celibate, openly-partnered, homosexual.

1991 — Bishop Walter Righter, Diocese of Washington, D.C., ordains a non-celibate homosexual.

1994 — Bishop Spong drafted the Koinonia Statement defining homosexuality as morally neutral and affirming support for the ordination of homosexuals in faithful sexual relationships (signed by 90 bishops and 144 deputies). Spong publishes his 12 Theses, laying out an approach to faith without a transcendent, personal deity.

1996 — Both counts of heresy against Bishop Righter dismissed in an ecclesiastical court, which decides that there is “no clear doctrine” in the Episcopal Church relevant to the ordination of those sexually active outside of marriage.

1998 — The bishops at the global Lambeth Conference uphold traditional teachings on marriage and human sexuality. Then, 65 ECUSA bishops sign a pastoral statement addressed to lesbian and gay Anglicans.

2000 — Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini ( Province of Rwanda) and Moses Tay ( Province of South East Asia) consecrate Father Chuck Murphy and Father John Rodgers as missionary bishops to the U.S.

You get the idea, if you are looking at the revolution of the theological left or the counter-revolt by the right, you have to watch the bishops — starting in the 1970, but with the open warfare picking up in the 1980s and ’90s. That’s the timeline."
(emphasis added)

And I might update the time line:
June 2009 The Anglican Church in North America is formed with Robert Duncan as Archbishop and Primate.

July 9, 2009 Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams addresses the Episcopal church and prays they do not, through their actions, leave the Anglican Communion;
"Of course I am coming here with hopes and anxieties – you know that and I shan't deny it. Along with many in the Communion, I hope and pray that there won't be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart. But if people elsewhere in the Communion are concerned about this, it's because of a profound sense of what the Episcopal Church has given and can give to our fellowship worldwide. If we - if I – had felt that we could do perfectly well with out you, there wouldn't be a problem. But the bonds of relationship are deep, for me personally as for many others."

Sorry Rowan, but TEC bishops went ahead and gave you the holy kiss off with the latest addition to the time line:

July 13, 2009 Episcopal House of Bishops passes resolution (D025)

CURRENT VARIANT Resolution: D025
Title: Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion
Topic: Anglican Communion
Committee: 08 - World Mission
House of Initial Action: Deputies
Proposer: Ms. D. Rebecca Snow


Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations, and members of The Episcopal Church to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, networks and relationships of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons," as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (2000-D039); and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,; and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge that members of The Episcopal Church as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.

As I look at the Bishops' resolution, it show a resolve to part ways with the Anglican Communion. That, my dear friends, creates schism.

Our Bishop Henderson voted in favor of this resolution. His explanation is found here and concludes with:

"It may come as a surprise to some that I voted “yes” on the final version of the resolution in the House of Bishops. I did so with powerful, mixed feelings, and my sleep during the night was not sound. My thinking is this: it is critically important that (1) we leave B033 in place, and (2) that we reaffirm our commitment to, involvement in, and support of the entire Anglican Communion, its life, mission and ministry. I do realize that some intend to use the language of the sixth resolve to advance an agenda for which I believe neither we nor the other churches of the Anglican Communion is ready to endorse separately or corporately. However, the content of the resolution, taken as a whole, is more helpful than not."

Even though he says he wants to remain committed to the Anglican Communion, his actions will result in the advance of the liberal agenda, eroding the foundations of the church and widening the gap between us. I therefore count him as a schismatic, albeit a moderate one, or at least a schismatics' accomplice. One has to wonder if he has been groomed as a schismatic's apprentice for this very moment.

Click here to see how other the Bishops voted.

You will be hearing various interpretations of this resolution, but the long and the short of it is that you will never again hear the following verses at your Sunday services in our Episcopal church (insert sound of scissors here):

1 Timothy 3:1-13

1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Snip, snip, snip, and that is the sound of schism.

(Gigli was a forgettable Ben Affleck movie from 2003)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Falstaff: "The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life."
(Shakespeare, Henry IV)

The Rev. Mary Cat Young was our preacher today, and she had the task of performing a double baptism after reading the tale of the beheading of John the Baptist and his head being served up on a platter to Herodias. I want everyone to consider how they might handle this problem. Mary Cat honestly said that it was too gruesome a thing to preach about before a baptism and used her discretion by talking instead about her own baptism. Maybe she was right to do so, for if you can't do it, admit it and go on rather than gross out the congregation and visitors with too many graphic details.

One thing can said for liberal preaching, it is intended to make you feel good. So why do I often come out with that uncomfortable feeling that something is missing or wrong? Maybe because there is an unsaid suggestion that we in the pews should not hear talk of headless baptizers, bloody battles, sin, the fear of God, or the wrath of God. Or that such talk keeps people from hearing the Gospel message of hope and love. I believe this is a reason why many Sunday services in the Episcopal church will leave out some of the "ugly bits" in either the Psalter, or the O.T. reading, the reading from the Epistles, and, of course, from the sermon. For years, I was content to listen to this expurgated version of Christianity, and was falling into the classic trap of believing that God's goodness should fall within my human understanding of goodness. To hear the story of John is painful to us. Where is God's goodness in that? Many believe that pain cannot be good, so let's not talk about those painful bits.
How can people get over the indoctrination of "feel good" worship and be able to explain Christianity to their disbelieving friends and acquaintances? Shouldn't we study those painful passages in more detail and try to reconcile them with the loving passages?

Today's lessons showed us, quite graphically, the cruelty of sin, and the power that authorities hold over our lives. Of course, Jesus proved that He, not earthly kings like Herod, has the power over life and death. But still, the question of pain occurring to good people, such as John's imprisonment and beheading, comes up. Was it his fault due to a lack of discretion? Did he have to die? How can we explain it? Do we run from the problem?


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more"
(Shakespeare, Henry V)

I for one can't run from that awful image of John's disheveled face and bloody neck on a platter. It seems to me to be a problem of getting past the picture. I tried to get past it by looking into the root causes of evil and cruelty, the Christian response to evil, and how to get from point A to point B. I looked at today's Gospel reading and saw a story that shows us how the world treats prophetic witness, and the story made me examine why God's world works in this way. Then I looked at how John's baptismal ministry is remembered, and how, through Jesus, we are given the sacrament of Baptism. And maybe in the course of my exploration, I saw one of God's miracles. The miracle that we witnessed today: two people, one a child, the other an adult, are now, through the sacrament of Baptism, part of the body of Christ. I witnessed them renounce Satan and turn away from the forces of sin and evil. Those forces that threaten all that is good. Only through a miracle can such forces be overcome.

No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Inside/Outside +VGR

Bishop Gene Robinson was practicing his "narrative" the other day at the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. After he said, “...the god that I worship is a god that wanted the outside of me to agree with the inside of me…” I couldn't help but think of this song from The Who's Quadrophenia album.


"Why should I care, why should I care?

Girls of fifteen
Sexually knowing
The ushers are sniffing
The seats are seductive
Celibate sitting

Pretty girls digging
Prettier women.
Magically bored
On a quiet street corner
Free frustration
In our minds and our toes
Quiet stormwater
My generation
Uppers and downers
Either way blood flows.

Inside outside. Leave me alone.
Inside outside. Nowhere is home.
Inside outside, Where have I been?
Out of my brain on the five fifteen.

On a raft in the quarry
Slowly sinking.
On the back of a lorry
Holy hitching.
Dreadfully sorry
Apple scrumping.
Born in the war
Birthday punching.

He man drag
In the glittering ballroom
Greyely outrageous
In my high heel shoes
Tightly undone
They know what they're showing
Sadly ecstatic
That their heroes are news.

Why should I care?"

I have to pull out the old LP to double check those lyrics, but for the most part they seem accurate.

(Update, I had to change "gravely" to "greyly," I knew something was wrong.)

Of all the comments at StandFirm on this subject, I liked the following best:
"Good lord I hope my inside never agrees with my outside (or vice versa). I am such a mess, I need to put the whole thing in control of God and ask Jesus to help get me there through the power of the Holy Spirit. There was a time in my life when 'I was in control'. Never, ever want to go there again!"
[22] Posted by Capt. Deacon Warren on 07-10-2009 at 12:32 PM


This comment by #28 Eddie Swain was good too:
"God wants us to have Jesus on the inside and then to work towards making
the outside agree with that. But, when the inside and outside don't agree,
it is because of our own lack of integrity (and, more precisely the
existence of sin in our lives.

VGR's viewpoint is that because he percieved himself as gay inside, that
must be how God made him. Therefore, he needs to be open and honest about
his homosexuality, else he would be accusing God of not having integrity.

The fact is that, for someone like VGR who grew up in the Church, he had
this nagging thing called the Holy Spirit on the inside that was conflicting
with his external desires for sinful pleasure (just like all of us sinners).
The difference is that VGR decided to achieve personal integrity by giving
in to the outside desires and then projected the whole 'integrity' stuff
on to God to justify his behavior.

Now, he thinks he is living a life of integrity because his "inside"
agrees with his 'outside.' The ironic thing is that by claiming that God
is okay with this (blessing his sinful behavior), he is actually portraying
a god that has no integrity. The God of the Bible is clearly opposed to sin
(including homosexual behavior)."

We won't be fooled again!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

DEFCON 1: Seven Modern Sacraments

I apologize for placing so many links in this posting.

As the Episcopal Church's General Convention 2009 kicks off today, I was thinking about how modern secular issues interact with religion. This interaction is unavoidable, and dealing with issues is, in my opinion, part of the "mission" of the Church.

As thoroughly modern Episcopalians, we have been instructed to examine the Scriptures, Tradition, and Reason when asked where we "stand" on the issues. Often times, people lean too heavily on one of the legs of this "three legged stool," and as a result they can tip over. In 2009, we are increasingly being asked to look at "Justice" as well, thus creating a wobbley four legged chair.

As one who tends to rely on the first 2 legs, I frequently fall because I short change Reason. I believe this is mostly due to my poor skills at chess and other such mental gymnastics. At other times I fall because of lack of knowledge of traditional teachings, and at other times it is because of the sin of not knowing the Scriptures. As far as "Justice" goes, I defer to Fr. Dan Martin's recent post found here.

As the Episcopal Church marches on with its Reason/Justice based agenda despite the warnings of Tradition and Scripture, I continue to ponder what "Rights" will become "Rites," and what "Rights" will become "Sacraments" in the future.

First a little background on the sacraments. Thumbing through the BCP, as I often do in my spare time, I recall that we answer the questions in the Catechism (pages 858-861) about sacraments by stating that there are two "great sacraments given by Christ" (Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist) and there are five others that are sacramental rites that "evolved" under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction of the Sick). Also please see Article XXV on page 872 for the "historical" description of the sacraments with the last five using the Catholic terminology and described as in part "states of life allowed in the Scriptures." These are essentially the same ones we inherit from the Council of Trent. I defer to the Catholic Encyclopedia,
The Council of Trent solemnly defined that there are seven sacraments of the New Law, truly and properly so called, viz., Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Orders, and Matrimony. The same enumeration had been made in the Decree for the Armenians by the Council of Florence (1439), in the Profession of Faith of Michael Palaelogus, offered to Gregory X in the Council of Lyons (1274) and in the council held at London, in 1237, under Otto, legate of the Holy See. According to some writers Otto of Bamberg (1139), the Apostle of Pomerania, was the first who clearly adopted the number seven (see Tanquerey, "De sacr."). Most probably this honour belongs to Peter Lombard (d. 1164) who in his fourth Book of Sentences (d. i, n.2) defines a sacrament as a sacred sign which not only signifies but also causes grace, and then (d.ii, n.1) enumerates the seven sacraments. It is worthy of note that, although the great Scholastics rejected many of his theological opinions (list given in app. to Migne edition, Paris, 1841), this definition and enumeration were at once universally accepted, proof positive that he did not introduce a new doctrine, but merely expressed in a convenient and precise formula what had always been held in the Church. Just as many doctrines were believed, but not always accurately expressed, until the condemnation of heresies or the development of religious knowledge called forth a neat and precise formula, so also the sacraments were accepted and used by the Church for centuries before Aristotelian philosophy, applied to the systematic explanation of Christian doctrine, furnished the accurate definition and enumeration of Peter Lombard. The earlier Christians were more concerned with the use of sacred rites than with scientific formulae, being like the pious author of the "Imitation of Christ", who wrote: "I had rather feel compunction than know its definition" (I, i).

Since the General Convention of the Episcopal Church 2009 will discuss resolutions aboout creating new rites and blessings, I wondered where it could possibly end. Being certain that someone had thought of this before, I went searching for a list of modern sacraments of secular culture.
Here is one list I found. It was written by Catholic Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford in 2006 (I added a few choice links for those unfamiliar with the terms),

1. Abortion
2. Buggery
3. Contraception
4. Divorce
5. Euthanasia
6. Feminism of the radical type
7. Genetic experimentation and mutilation

His list summarizes some of the issues that the secular world has blessed. Can anyone come up with a way of integrating the secular sacraments with religion? Oh yes, I have a list in mind. I will place the "historical" sacraments alongside the "Brave New" ones.

1. Baptism : This will probably stay but let's change the name to a sacrament of Self-Improvement.
2. Confirmation : Dropped because this is 1. not needed in an age of open communion (see sacrament #3 below), and 2. non-inclusive and discriminatory against Muslims/etc.
3. Holy Eucharist : This one will probably stay but will be renamed "Open Communion" or "Happy Meal."
4. Penance : Since there is nothing for which to be penitant, this will be changed to the sacrament of the MDGs to reflect the collective guilt of the Church.
5. Extreme Unction : This will need an additional sacrament of Euthanasia .
6. Orders : New sacrament of C.H.A.O.S.
7. Matrimony : The "Holy" will be dropped and new sacrament called "Love the One You're With" will be put in its place.

When things get worse, in place of 1, and 2 I suggest
1. Bishop Doran's Rite for Abortion (Believe it or not, this Liturgy has already been written (paid for in part by the Episcopal Church). You can see it here (H/T Standfirm),
2. Divorce (This liturgy appeared on the Episcopal Church's site under the Office of Women's Ministries a while ago but was removed.)

I am still thinking that more will be added. I am open to suggestions. So is GC 2009, they appear open for anything.

In the spirit of the "Ubuntu" theme for the convention, I pray they don't fuss or fight. And please no Ubuntu Kung Fu.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

I Declare!

Southern Saying: I declare.
I did not know,
or that is surprising,
or it can merely be used when there is really nothing else to say.
Usage: I declare!
(source: Momma, and quotemountain)

Today at ECOOS, the Rev. Mary Cat Young gave the sermon. It offered her another chance to relate her mission trip activities, this time a trip to the hurricane recovery areas of Bay St. Louis Miss. and NOLA. I give her points for trying to forge a link with the Gospel of Mark. Although there could have been more said, I am tempted to say, "I declare" because there really is nothing else to say. But, being a stinkin pewster, I started to sniff around the edges of her homily to find anything that the sermon made me think about.

First thought: Sailing into the storm on Bay St. Louis.

Second thought: Read the Gospel again! (Mark 6:1-13)

(Verses 3-13 here)

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’...

(I wonder if Mary Cat could have tied in the carpenter description with some of the handiwork her High Schoolers performed on their trip?)
And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there,...

(A possible justification to leave town to do missionary work).
...except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

(You don't have to travel very far to find unbelievers, but you might have to walk a few miles to find some who will believe).
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

(She did touch on this one. Unlike the twelve, Mary Cat's group did take sleeping bags along on their journey).
He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

That last part has the difficult bits, and although they do not relate to the Sr. High student's trip to the Gulf coast, and were not a subject of the sermon, they made me pause. First, the "testimony against them" part is so politically incorrect. Who in this day and age, when all religions and beliefs are considered equally acceptable to God, would dare to testify against an unbeliever? Aren't we supposed to support each other? Doesn't that extend to granting at least silent approval of their unbelief? Second, that casting out of demons stuff is so passe. Everybody knows there are no such things as demons. Even if there were, where would you cast them anyway? There probably isn't any such thing as the supernatural either, so we would be making those demons homeless. Third, imagine anointing the sick with oil. We are so beyond that kind of hocus pocus, and besides, the use of oil expands our carbon footprint and makes us dependant on foreign countries (Oh, sorry, they didn't use that kind of oil).

When I re-read today's lessons and recall Mary Cat's sermon, I am left wondering how we are to interact with an increasingly unbelieving world. Have I been prepared by my church to answer the challenges presented to us by the naysayers and the skeptical?

Has my church sufficiently grounded me in Christ to defend His name?

Or should I just keep being a "good person" and be a silent example for Him?

To the last question I say, "No!" A vision of the rocks themselves refusing to be silent came to mind: Luke 19:37-40

"And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

I declare! Praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Shout it out! Keep those stones from singing!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Daughters of the King to Become Pawns of the Queen?

Baby Blue has been tracking this issue for the past year and a half. This post from 02/04/2008 gives you some of the background.

"A handful of 'progressive' Episcopal women want to ban Anglicans, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics from the Order and make it an Episcopal Church-only organization. They have targeted the elected president of the Order, Joan Dalrymple, but frankly, I have to wonder if the real target is the national Chaplain, none other than the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida. He's been making peace of late with those parishes and clergy who seek to separate from the Episcopal Church. And now we have Washington-style politics going on, with whispers of financial mismanagement (absurd, you can read their financial statements yourself here - including the audit) as well as an entire shadow website put up online as a "shadow" Order (sound familiar friends?).

At the Daughters of the King Triennial, held in 2006, the delegates voted to interpret the bylaws strictly so that each chapter had one vote. The bylaws do not recognize 'Episcopal' and the Order is not an official part of the Episcopal Church. It's like the Alpha Course - it's associated with Episcopal Churches, but is a separate entity. The Triennial voted by an overwhelming majority of 219 to 30 to seat Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican Chapters."

BB gave us an update this past week by posting the following on June 27, 2009.

"Since the Triennial, a small group formed calling themselves the 'Episcopal' Community of the Daughters of the King and they seek to expel from the Order all the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic members. They have recruited bishops from the Episcopal Church to pressure the president of the DOK, continuing the whisper campaign to cast a cloud over her leadership.

Proposed bylaws being submitted by a faction called the 'Episcopal Community' is seeking to expel the non-TEC members from the Order of the Daughters of the King.

The draft bylaws now being circulated in anticipation to next month's Triennial include entire sections of the current by-laws rewritten so that those non-TEC members who are in the Order now will be expelled from membership.

The draft reads, 'All members must be women communicants of The Episcopal Church (hereinafter referred to as TEC, formerly known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) . At no time shall any non-TEC person have seat or voice or vote or hold office or serve as chaplain in TEC Daughters of the King.'"

Baby Blue's suspicions about the chaplain concerns seem to be borne out.

In addition, the wearing of the Daughters of the King cross will only be granted to so-called 'parallel structures' (separate but equal?) by explicit permission of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church following a rigorous consent process of the Episcopal-only membership. 'Non-TEC parallel Orders may ... apply to the full National Council of TEC Daughters of the King'"

I am not familiar with their articles of incorporation (if any) but are they changing the name to "TEC Daughters of the King?"
"for a license to use the name, cross, and such other items as may belong to this Order,' reads the Episcopal Community draft Article IV:I. 'The decision of the National Council to grant such license must be ratified by the membership and consented to by the Presiding Bishop of TEC.'"

Is this in keeping with an "Inclusive Church?"

Does this create a new job description for the P.B.?

Is there any chance this will pass?

To me this looks like another power play by the Presiding Bishop. Let us pray that she is not party to this proposed bylaws change, but would the "Episcopal Community" dare to presuppose that the Presiding Bishop would take time from her busy schedule to deign her permission to certain non-Episcopalians to wear the cross? This makes me think that they had discussed this matter with 815 and have the blessing of the P.B. It should be interesting to watch how this story unfolds. Keep us posted, Baby Blue!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Want You to Hurt Like I Do (Randy Newman)

It was a tough assignment, but I finally tracked down a musical memory that kinda puts the whole Gov. Sanford televised agony thing together with the death of M.J. in one setting.

I know, I have a warped mind, but the highly televised events about our Governor made me feel that he was transferring the pain of the tragedy from himself to either us or his family or both with every revelation.

It is just a coincidence that this song had a part for Michael Jackson. I had forgotten that altogether. I had no idea that M.J. was having problems with drugs. I actually think he was such a private person that he did not want the public to see his pain, so for that reason, I disagree with Randy Newman's verse. But in a weird sort of way, the MSM is making us experience the "King of Pop's" hurt with their ongoing coverage.

Lastly, it is sometimes painful to listen to Randy Newman's singing, and I wanted you to feel my hurt too.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Next week could be a week that will go down in infamy, and I am raising the alert status to DEFCON 2. I am talking about the upcoming triennial convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim. Resolutions "debated" and passed by past conventions have frequently been fodder for the national press, and have quite likely been the cause for many to leave our church. I have reviewed many of the resolutions and followed some of the discussion going on over the web. The 2009 convention promises to put the Episcopal Church back in the spotlight once again.

This past Sunday, there was another appearance of a bulletin insert from Episcopal Life Online (A.K.A. Episcopal Pravda). This one surprised a few members of our church when they read for the first time about some of the resolutions up for "debate" which include:
"• Holy Women, Holy Men an overhaul of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, which would add a number of names to the Calendar of the Church Year.

Including the name of self avowed revolutionary socialist Vida Dutton Scudder. Could it be that this soon to be holy woman will also break the sexual orientation barrier in the Episcopal Calendar of "saints?"
• New prayers for: artists and writers; the Virgin Mary; care of God’s creation; on the occasion or anniversary of a disaster; prophetic witness in the church and society; reconciliation and forgiveness; and scientists and environmentalists.

"Prophetic witness" in society leaves the door wide open for any number of controversial issues to show up in your service and cause more conflict in the congo.

• Consideration of requests for authorization to develop rites of blessing for same-gender unions, especially in states that have legalized such unions or marriages.
• Use of gender-neutral language for prayer book marriage services;

That could be the show stopper for many in our church.

• Requests to overturn, nullify or supersede GC06 Resolution B033, which called for restraint in electing or approving the election as bishops of candidates “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

Read: Divorced homosexual men, or anyone else otherwise considered by our forefathers as inappropriate leaders of the Church.

Some have asked me, can anything be done to stop this majical mystery bus tour that we are on? I am afraid that all we in Upper South Carolina can do is pray that our Bishop takes a strong stand against these resolutions.

Elsewhere, a few are speaking up. Fr. Dan wrote this on the HoB/D list serve regarding General Convention 2009's many resolutions. I quote with permission.
"What an unconscionable waste of time
for convention to have to consider these resolutions. Talk about poor
stewardship! Convention's action will have absolutely ZERO impact on any of
these issues, all of which are dealt with more effectively by formal and
informal coalitions of interested parties at the local level. And this is to
say nothing of the fact that the vast majority of deputes and bishops lack
the requisite expertise to even be qualified to have an informed opinion on
most of these questions. In the meantime, the world sees us as the mouse
(more like the gnat) that roared, and we alienate even more of our own
members who are embarrassed by their own church's public positions
. I am
reminded why I wore out the No button on my voting device in Columbus and

You tell em, Fr. Dan!

In the past, conservatives have put up gallant, if unsuccessful, fights to try to stem the tide of new age thinking. This year may be different. The lower part of SC's Bishop Mark Lawrence wrote to his clergy that he did not intend to engage in a political struggle at GENCON 09. (Read it all at T19)
"Certainly, Kendall as our Canon Theologian will monitor the developments at General Convention 2009, but I believe it is in keeping with our declared vision as a diocese to focus on what we believe God is calling us to do, not on the strategies and battles he called us to engage in yesterday."

In other words, there is no point in arguing with lunatics, even when they are driving the bus backwards over a cliff.

What then should we do? Bishop Lawrence goes on to suggest that we look to the real future of Anglicanism,
"...our 'Inside Strategy' is not to tilt at windmills in Quixotic fashion thinking we can turn back the clock to some prior age; it is to help shape the future that is emerging in global Anglicanism from within the Communion."

He appears to be saying that everyone should step back and let the idiots drive off the cliff if they want to.

I have to ask +Lawrence, does that entail getting off this bus and onto another?

I ask +Henderson that if he cannot bear to cut the ties that bind us to that bus, please stretch that rope as far as you can or at least cut us some slack!