Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"Divorce" in the Modern Age

This news from the United Kingdom would suggest that lesbian couples who have children through artificial means may have problems staying together,

January 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — It seems that women in the U.K. who consider themselves “married” to other women are separating in soaring numbers — at rates higher than actual divorces, which is to say among heterosexual couples, who alone can marry. One lesbian activist, Natalie Drew, blames this uptick in lesbian “divorces” on same-sex “marriage” itself.

The Daily Mail reports that “divorces” among same-sex couples increased from 428 in 2018 to 822 in 2019, and of the 2019 figure, almost three quarters are lesbian couples. (There were also 107,599 actual divorces that year in the U.K., an increase of 20% on the previous year.) Drew ran a clinic to help women in lesbian couples conceive children, and, as she told the Daily Mail, “a third of the 586 lesbian couples [sic] she helped to have babies between 2011 and 2015 have split up.”

Children need good mothers and fathers in order to grow into well adjusted adults. Unwed mothers and divorce are not what God intended for proper childrearing. I can't imagine the problems that will arise from divorced lesbians raising kids. 

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

 This Sunday's Gospel reading is John 1:43-51 in which Nathanael is called to follow Jesus,

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

Nathanael sounds like he was prejudiced against people from Nazareth. Or maybe he had been taught that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem and could not believe Philip's claim.

Matthew Henry in his 1706 Commentary wrote the following, 

If he meant that the Messiah, that great good thing, could not come out of Nazareth, so far he was right (Moses, in the law, said that he should come out of Judah, and the prophets had assigned Bethlehem for the place of his nativity); but then he was ignorant of the matter of fact, that this Jesus was born at Bethlehem; so that the blunder Philip made, in calling him Jesus of Nazareth, occasioned this objection. Note, The mistakes of preachers often give rise to the prejudices of hearers.

From this parley between Philip and Nathanael, we may observe, First, That many people are kept from the ways of religion by the unreasonable prejudices they have conceived against religion, upon the account of some foreign circumstances which do not at all touch the merits of the case. Secondly, The best way to remove the prejudices they have entertained against religion is to prove themselves, and make trial of it. Let us not answer this matter before we hear it.

I love his  comment, "Note, The mistakes of preachers often give rise to the prejudices of hearers."

Just substitute "politicians", "teachers", or "media" for "preachers" and you can get a good idea of why we are in the state we are in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Canada: Hospices Must Perform Euthanasia or be Closed

An article at National Review led me to this story. 

Delta Hospice (DHS) is in British Columbia, Canada. The government run Fraser Health Authority controls the lives of more than 1.8 million people, from Burnaby to Boston Bar. Fraser Health is shutting down Delta Hospice because the hospice will not kill its patients. The press release from Delta Hospice is here, 

"The board of DHS deeply regrets being compelled to take this action. Tragically, as the video and the attached background document make clear, we have been left no other choice due to the Fraser Health Authority canceling our service agreement and 35-year lease. Fraser Health is about to evict us and expropriate approximately $15 million of our assets simply because we decline to euthanize our patients at our 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner, B.C.

To be clear, we accept that the provision of MAiD (the Canadian medical assistance in dying law -U.P.) is an elective, legal service across Canada. Nothing in Canadian law, however, requires medically assisted death to be made available everywhere, at all times, to everyone. The Constitution of our private Society and our commitment to palliative care, bars us from offering it. Neither the board of the DHS, nor the vast majority of our patients and members want to change that."

The modern hospice movement is credited to the late Dame Cecily Saunders who fought against the forces pushing euthanasia in her day as this article in The Independent points out, 

"Saunders was strongly against euthanasia, partly because she was a committed Christian, and also because she argued that effective pain control is always possible (though some would disagree) and that euthanasia is therefore not needed. Her position was that a person who requested euthanasia had been failed in some way by others. She did acknowledge, however, that both sides in the euthanasia debate are against pointless pain and impersonal indignity. On one occasion - and there may well have been others - she invited a distinguished doctor on to a committee, but withdrew the invitation after he told her that he was a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society."

The reporter at The National Review points out, 

"...there is a hospital directly next door to Delta where patients can go to be lethally injected, so it isn’t as if suicidal patients won’t be able to obtain their desire to be made dead."

I have been intimately involved in the hospice movement in the U.S. since the 1980's, and believe that the greatest sign that we love our neighbors is when we care for them as they are dying. Pain and suffering are relieved effectively with today's medications and techniques. Spiritual needs are addressed and met. Physician or nurse assisted suicide is never needed in a Hospice.

There is no reason for the Canadian Government's Health Authority to force hospices to hasten death, unless the government wishes to reduce lengths of stay and reduce costs.



 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Baptism of Jesus

In this reading Sunday's from Mark 1:7-11, John the Baptist predicts the coming of Jesus, and then despite not being worthy to perform the baptism, does it anyway. 

He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Matthew in Chapter 3:13-17 adds more detail,
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Luke in Chapter 3 parallels Mark,
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

What did Jesus mean when he told John, "it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness"? 

I am not entirely sure.

Matthew Henry took a stab at it in his "Commentaries". See if you follow along, 

("The reason he gives for it; Thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness. Note, [1.] There was a propriety in every thing that Christ did for us; it was all graceful (Heb. 2:10; 7:26); and we must study to do not only that which behoves us, but that which becomes us; not only that which is indispensably necessary, but that which is lovely, and of good report. [2.] Our Lord Jesus looked upon it as a thing well becoming him, to fulfil all righteousness, that is (as Dr. Whitby explains it), to own every divine institution, and to show his readiness to comply with all God’s righteous precepts. Thus it becomes him to justify God, and approve his wisdom, in sending John to prepare his way by the baptism of repentance. Thus it becomes us to countenance and encourage every thing that is good, by pattern as well as precept. Christ often mentioned John and his baptism with honour, which that he might do the better, he was himself baptized. Thus Jesus began first to do, and then to teach; and his ministers must take the same method. Thus Christ filled up the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which consisted in divers washings; thus he recommended the gospel-ordinance of baptism to his church, put honour upon it, and showed what virtue he designed to put into it. It became Christ to submit to John’s washing with water, because it was a divine appointment; but it became him to oppose the Pharisees’ washing with water, because it was a human invention and imposition; and he justified his disciples in refusing to comply with it."

"With the will of Christ, and this reason for it, John was entirely satisfied, and then he suffered him."

Okay, I think I get it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina: The Shift From a Conservative to a Progressive Diocese in Ten Years

The results of a recent survey of clergy and laity from the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina (EDUSC) done as part of a search for a new bishop to succeed Bishop Waldo are in, and if one compares the findings with those obtained eleven years ago (prior to the bishop search that landed us with Waldo), two things are evident,

1. The 2009 search committee asked hard questions, and the results were that EDUSC was a conservative diocese. I posted the results at the time here

2. The 2020 survey however asked softball questions and avoided "divisive" issues. The results show that although the aging, lily white, highly educated, upper to upper middle class membership is pretty homogeneous now that EDUSC has lost many conservative voices (Average Sunday attendance dropped from 8,300 to 6,500 during Waldo's tenure), the remnants still consider themselves to be highly diverse politically and socially, and with a couple of exceptions, they seem to want another Bishop or Bishopess Waldo. 

For comparison, read some questions and responses from 2009 followed by examples from 2020's survey.

First, from 2009, 

Our current Bishop and the diocese, in convention, have affirmed that we are a Windsor Diocese. In that light, I believe our next bishop should be supportive of the Windsor Report and the ongoing Windsor process.

48 % Strongly Agree 
20 % Somewhat Agree 
26 % No Opinion 
4 % Somewhat Disagree 
2 % Strongly Disagree

I support the blessing of civil unions (as opposed to marriage) between gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.

26 % Strongly Agree 
19 % Somewhat Agree 
8 % No Opinion 
10 % Somewhat Disagree 
37 % Strongly Disagree

I support the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.

21 % Strongly Agree 
12 % Somewhat Agree 
7 % No Opinion 
12 % Somewhat Disagree 
48 % Strongly Disagree

I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary for salvation.

62 % Strongly Agree 
24 % Somewhat Agree 
4 % No Opinion 
7 % Somewhat Disagree 
3 % Strongly Disagree

 I support the marriage of gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.

17 % Strongly Agree 
11 % Somewhat Agree 
7 % No Opinion 
12 % Somewhat Disagree 
53 % Strongly Disagree

All persons should be welcome to receive Holy Communion regardless of whether or not they have been baptized.

24 % Strongly Agree 
17 % Somewhat Agree 
6 % No Opinion 
23 % Somewhat Disagree 
30 % Strongly Disagree

Being divorced and remarried should be a consideration in the selection of our next bishop.

16 % Strongly Agree 
23 % Somewhat Agree 
17 % No Opinion
19 % Somewhat Disagree 
25 % Strongly Disagree

Our next bishop should always stand on Christian principles, even if he stands alone.

70 % Strongly Agree 
21 % Somewhat Agree 
6 % No Opinion 
2 % Somewhat Disagree 
1 % Strongly Disagree

In spite of all that, we wound up with Bishop Waldo who was divorced and remarried, who has permitted communion of the unbaptized, who did not support the Windsor process, who supported the blessing of civil same sex marriages, who supports the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian persons, and who, by virtue of the above, in my opinion abandoned Christian principles and joined the crowd of Episcopal bishops who ignore or revise the parts of the Bible that do not agree with the Spirit of the Age. 

2020 survey (results are here) asked the following,

  • How would you describe your gender?*
  • Please self-identify or state 'Prefer not to respond' if applicable
  • Are you a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?*
  • What qualities do you think are most important in the next Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina?*
  • What do you believe God is calling our diocese to be now and in the future?*
  • What do you believe to be most important for a candidate considering a call to serve as bishop of our diocese to know about us?*
  • Is there anything else you want the Nominating Committee to know as we move forward in the search for our new bishop?*

The question "What qualities are most important in our next bishop?" gave the following options,

Kind

Spiritual
Experience at parish level
Open
Relationship Builder
Personable
Creative Problem Solver
Pastor
Get things done
Liturgical
Teacher
Culturally Responsive
Practical
Preacher
Manager
Experience at the diocesan/national levels
Social and/or Political Activist 38% VI or I. 20% NI
Prophet 29% VI or I
Spanish Speaking

No toughies there. 

The lay people (majority female) responded that "Kindness" was most important. 95% said this was very important or important, but what is most worrisome is that 38% listed "Social and/or Political Activist" as a very important or important quality in a bishop, while only 20% said it was not important. 


I am stunned that 29% considered "Prophet" as a very important or important qualification. What do they want, another Gene Robinson or John Shelby Spong?

The clergy, as one might expect, were even more progressive, 

44% thought being a social activist was a very important or important quality in a bishop, and a head slapping 54% thought being a prophet was very important or important.

Since the lay delegates to a bishop election are usually groomed by their priests, I cannot see any chance for a moderate (there will be no conservative candidate) to win. EDUSC will probably wind up with something further left than Bishop Waldo. 







Sunday, January 03, 2021

Christmas Season Gospel Options

This Sunday the Revised Common Lectionary  (RCL) gives three options for the Gospel reading: Matthew 2:13-15,19-23 or Luke 2:41-52 or Matthew 2:1-12. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Lectionary gives us two choices: Matt 2:13-23 or Matt 2:1-12.

I hope that the ACNA choice, Matthew 2:13-23, is read at your church because it includes the slaughter of the innocents which the RCL strangely cuts out.

The Escape to Egypt
13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph[a] got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

The Massacre of the Infants
16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,[b] he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.[c] 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

The Return from Egypt
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph[d] got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.” 
(New Revised Standard Version)

I guess the editors of the RCL didn't want to spoil anyone's Christmas with the brutal facts of the world into which Jesus came. 



Wednesday, December 30, 2020

TYS

Homosexual polygamy is here. Told you so. 

From LifeSite News

Exhibit A is a story out of California. Back in 2017, a “throuple” of men successfully petitioned a judge to put all three of them on the birth certificate of a little girl named Piper. Dr. Ian Jenkins and Alan Mayfield met in 2003, and added another partner to their relationship upon meeting Jeremy Hodges, a zoo-keeper, in 2012. They discussed having children—the media reports on this ignore the fact that obviously, men cannot create children without women. But children have been turned into a commodity, and our society has decided that gay men have more of a right to children than children have a right to mothers.

As The Daily Mail grotesquely put it: “They were offered embryos by a female friend, Meghan.” The men had been given children, and now they needed to rent a womb. As the Mail put it, “a different friend offered to be the surrogate for the embryos, and they paid for many lawyers, Piper was born, followed several years later by Parker.” Now, the three men just needed legal recognition for their arrangement and appealed to a San Diego judge to be recognized as three fathers.

I don't care what that judge says. The Judge of us all says that ain't the way it is supposed to be.

But who listens to Him anymore?