Monday, June 30, 2008

A Passage From the Presiding Bishop

"Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON. Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters."

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Does anyone see any parallels between this and her Easter Message?
"We are not respecting the dignity of our fellow creatures if our sewage or garbage fouls their living space. When atmospheric warming, due in part to the methane output of the millions of cows we raise each year to produce hamburger, begins to slowly drown the island homes of our neighbors in the South Pacific, are we truly sharing good news?"

Am I reading too much into this or does she have gas on her mind?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Time is Coming

Many thanks to Wallace Hartley for filling in last week. I love the picture of the Lambeth Conference paper boat. With all the controversy, I thought it would sink. Hopefully, we have seen the last of those bulletin inserts.

It is good to return and to be part of a scripturally based service. The Rev. Mark House gave an excellent sermon today sticking to John 21:15-19 (which was appointed for tomorrow's feast of Peter and Paul). Jesus' instruction to Peter,

"Feed my lambs...Tend my sheep...Feed my sheep"
was the focus of the sermon.

Unfortunately, we ignored Paul by not remembering 2 Timothy 4:1-8, as this letter reminds us of how to tend and feed us sheep when it is written,

"...proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths."

As the zeitgeist infiltrates itself into our very being with it's promise of fulfilling our every desires, it is ever so easy to wander off into the wastelands of "modern" life and forget Paul or create new myths such as "Rabbi Paul (click at your own risk)," or the Spongian myths (reader beware) regarding his sexual tendencies. We will eagerly listen to such new teachings. We are easily led astray by false shepherds. We do not want to hear "sound doctrine." We are falling for the myth that we know more than our forefathers. These words of Paul have no doubt been proven to be prophetic time and time again and certainly ring true today. He is telling us how he fed and tended the Lord's sheep. He had "fought the good fight," but the time of his departure had come, and he needed to pass along these instructions. After listening to Mark House's sermon, I was ready to get out of my chair and go tend some sheep myself.

If you still do not know how to tend and feed sheep, go back and reread 2 Timothy (about the letter here).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Silence Men!

The Pewster is on vacation this week and asked for me to assume command. I am allowed on board by this special invitation, and will try to keep things ship shape.

I was asked to comment on the bulletin insert. I did a test, or more a trial by ordeal. As you can see,

it floats!

In the witch trials, since witches are made of wood, they would float and survive a trial by immersion. The righteous would sink and drown (but they end up in heaven and are therefore better off). Judging from the picture, one must presume that the bulletin insert is a witch. For this reason, I advise you to burn the bulletin insert and preserve your immortal soul.

I was asked to comment on the service at ECOOS today. The pewster's fearless spies have provided me with the scuttlebutt. The Rev. George Markis House was the guest preacher today. All hands report an excellent scripturally based sermon focusing on the theme of the journey through the wilderness, starting with the 40 years of the Hebrews and jumping forward to John the Baptist, and then to Jesus and the temptations of the 40 days and 40 nights. The Rev. House made parallels between the temptations of scripture and the temptations of modern life. He seemed to make the point that when we come out of the wilderness, we will find ourselves stronger for the experience, but all the more "leaning on God" than when we had entered the wild.

As we sail along into the wilderness of the future on this ship of fools,

that we call the Episcopal Church, let us follow the Rev. House's advice that we silence the noise in our lives so that we might hear the voice of the Lord.

Okay, your moment of silence is over. The pewster sent me this video as it fits my theme. How are you going to navigate through the troubled waters ahead in your Church? I suggest you look for calm seas, a tall ship, and a good captain to help you on this voyage through the wilderness. Don't fall in with the wrong crew like these fellows,

Looks like a ship we ought to steer clear of. Ah, men!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fatherless Day

Today's sermon was delivered by Charlie and he did a good job in coming in on time. He focused on one phrase from the N.T. lesson from Matthew 9,
“The kingdom of heaven has come near.”

I am afraid that the Kingdom is going to be a fatherless one.

To make a short sermon shorter, if we believe the kingdom of heaven has come near, and if we see the approaching kingdom in our Church, then we can go out and spread this "good news." I was left wondering just what is it that is approaching? Will it be new revelations from Lambeth or will it be the resolutions being proposed for the Ubuntu Episcopal General Convention in 2009. Are these signs of "The Kingdom?" My bet is that these are fabrications of Man, and it will be a tough sell for the rest of Rock Hill.

An ominous vision of the Kingdom is presented in the bulletin insert for today. The lead photo is a dead give away, the "irregular" "ordination" of the "Philadelphia 11." I will summarize the Rev. Christopher Webber's message which is that culture has always moved faster than the Church. He uses examples of "family planning," "birth control," and "women's ordination" to show that as far as Episcopal bishops, Anglican Consultative Councils (dissed because they asked TEC to withdraw from the ACC after Gene Robinson was made a bishop), and Lambeth conferences are concerned "the world had moved on without them." The bishops then realized that they were powerless in the face of cultural change and that now their role was "primarily pastoral." This is why today on Father's Day, I feel like a fatherless child. My bulletin insert has corrected my picture of my ordained shepherds. No longer can they be called "Father" for they lack the backbone and commitment required of fatherhood. The Episcopal Church is truly without a father, but at least we have a mother. Alas,this is the picture of a hierarchical Church without a hierarchy. Do we want structure, do we want a "Papa?" What happens when TEC gets it's divorce from the mythical Anglican Communion and we are left to be reared by a single mom?

Oh yes the winds of change are coming, but does the breeze feel like the Kingdom? It seems to me that people tend to convince themselves all too easily that the Spirit is leading them when in actual fact they are following the cultural winds of change or some novel politic. These people are speaking from "personal revelation," where they truly believe that God's word has been revealed to themselves alone or to members of their "interest group." Are they thinking that they must go out and proclaim a new gospel, new "good news?" When these new revelations are contrary to traditional wisdom, and objections are raised, why do these people act as though they are persecuted and those who disagree are labelled Pharisaical? Those who have received the new revelation then condemn any disputers writing,
"P.S. The Word is not in them. They never knew Him."
(Lisa Fox from her blog)

Today's readings from Matthew had an option of extending the reading, if you attended our service you missed this part:

Matthew 10:9-23

Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.
See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes

I guess this was left out because it would make the service too long, or perhaps the bit about children rising against parents and having them put to death was a bit to much for Father's Day.

Forgive me for my words Father(s), but today I feel Fatherless. Is this the way life's meant to be?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Marriage Re-Rite

The muffled sounds we are hearing is that there will be approval of same sex blessings in the Episcopal Church (USA). The other muffled sounds are that a rewrite of the BCP is in the works. The "cone of silence" has been lowered on any proposed language for same sex blessings. In order to break the cone of silence, I have the following proposal for the Marriage Rite. This involves some simple changes to the existing Rite in the Book of Common Prayer. I believe this addresses some of the possible issues we may encounter as we move to include persons or non persons of varying personal or non personal sexual preferences. In addition, by carefully including optional language we will be able to create a Rite that will not have to be rewritten for many years, thereby saving countless Church dollars and trees. (My apologies to the BCP)

Marriage Rite: Concerning the Service

Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant (words deleted) in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses. A priest or a bishop normally presides at the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, because such ministers alone have the function of pronouncing the nuptial blessing, and of celebrating the Holy Eucharist. When both a bishop and a priest are present and officiating, the bishop should pronounce the blessing and preside at the Eucharist. A deacon, or an assisting priest, may deliver the charge, ask for the Declaration of Consent, read the Gospel, and perform other assisting functions at the Eucharist. Where it is permitted by civil law that deacons may perform marriages, and no priest or bishop is available, a deacon may use the service which follows, omitting the nuptial blessing which follows The Prayers. It is desirable that the Lessons from the Old Testament and the Epistles be read by lay persons. In the opening exhortation, the full names of those to be married are declared. Subsequently, only their Christian names are used unless no Christian name is available. Additional Directions are on page (tba).

The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage

At the time appointed, those to be married, with their witnesses, assemble in the church or some other appropriate place. During their entrance, a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung, or instrumental music may be played. Then the Celebrant, facing the people and those to be married, with one or more to the right and one or more to the left, addresses the congregation and says

Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this/these man/men/other and this/these woman/women/others in Holy Matrimony. The bond(s) and covenant(s) of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people. The union of creatures in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord (optional language). Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

Into this holy union N.N. and N.N. (and N.N. etc if needed) now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now; or else for ever hold your peace.

Then the Celebrant says to the persons to be married

I require and charge you, here in the presence of God, that if any of you know any reason why you may not be united in marriage lawfully, and in accordance with God’s Word, you do now confess it.

The Declaration of Consent

The Celebrant says to the one or ones on the left N.(s), will you have this (fill in the blank) to be your (fill in the blank); to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love (fill in the blank), comfort (fill in the blank), honor and keep (fill in the blank), in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her/them as long as you (word deleted) shall live? The one or ones on the left answers or answer I/We will.

The Celebrant says to the one or ones on the right N.(s), will you have this (fill in the blank) to be your (fill in the blank); to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love (fill in the blank), comfort (fill in the blank), honor and keep (fill in the blank), in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her/them as long as you (word deleted) shall live? The one or ones on the right answers or answer I/We will.

The Celebrant then addresses the congregation, saying

Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these (fill in the blank) in their marriage?


We will.

If there is to be a presentation or a giving in marriage, it takes place at this time. See page 437.

A hymn, psalm, or anthem may follow.

The Ministry of the Word

The Celebrant then says to the people

The Lord be with you.


And also with you.

Let us pray. O gracious and everliving God, you have created us (words deleted) in your image: Look mercifully upon this/these (fill in the blanks) and this/these (fill in the blanks) who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then one or more of the following passages from Holy Scripture are to be read. If there is to be a Communion, a passage from the Gospel always concludes the Readings.

Song of Solomon 2:10 13; 8:6 7 (Many waters cannot quench love)

1 Corinthians 13:1 13 (Love is patient and kind)

Ephesians 5:1 2, 21 33 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)

Colossians 3:12 17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)

1 John 4:7 16 (Let us love one another for love is of God)

These readings may be substituted.

Daniel 1:9 (Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs) (KJV)

1 Samuel 18:1 "...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (KJV)

2 Samuel 1:26 "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women."

Ruth 1:16-17 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."

Between the Readings, a Psalm, hymn, or anthem may be sung or said.

Appropriate Psalm is 67.

When a passage from the Gospel is to be read, all stand, and the Deacon or Minister appointed says

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to ___________.


Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Matthew 5:1 10 (The Beatitudes)

Matthew 5:13 16 (You are the light...Let your light so shine)

Matthew 7:21, 24 29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)

John 15:9 12 (Love one another as I have loved you)

After the Gospel, the Reader says The Gospel of the Lord.

People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

A homily or other response to the Readings may follow.

The Marriage

The one/ones on the right, facing the one/ones on the left and taking right hands, says/say In the Name of God, I/We, N.(s), take you, N.(s), to be my (fill in the blank), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow. Then they loose their hands, and the one or ones on the left, still facing the one or ones on the right, takes hands, and says/say In the Name of God, I/We, N.(s), take you, N.(s), to be my (fill in the blank), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow. They loose their hands.

The Priest may ask God’s blessing on a ring or rings as follows

Bless, O Lord, this ring/rings to be a sign of the vows by which these have bound themselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The giver/givers places/place the ring/rings on the ring finger/fingers of the other’s hand/hands and says/say N.(s), I/We give you this ring/rings as symbol/symbols of my/our vow, and with all that I/We am/are, and all that I/We have, I/We honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (or in the Name of God).

Then the Celebrant joins the right hands of all and says Now that N. and N. (and N. etc) have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring/ or rings, I pronounce that they are (fill in) and (fill in), in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.



The Prayers

All standing, the Celebrant says Let us pray together in the words our Savior taught us.

People and Celebrant

Our Father, who art in heaven, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, hallowed be your Name, thy kingdom come, your kingdom come, thy will be done, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, Forgive us our sins as we forgive those as we forgive those who trespass against us. who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, Save us from the time of trial, but deliver us from evil. and deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, For the kingdom, the power, and the power, and the glory, and the glory are yours for ever and ever. Amen. now and for ever. Amen.

If Communion is to follow, the Lord’s Prayer may be omitted here.

The Deacon or other person appointed reads the following prayers, to which the People respond, saying, Amen. If there is not to be a Communion, one or more of the prayers may be omitted. Let us pray. Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of all grace: Look with favor upon the world you have made, and for which your Son gave his life, and especially upon these whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony. Amen.

Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that all may be to the other/others a strength/strengths in need, a counselor/counselors in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion/companions in joy. Amen.

Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. Amen. Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Amen.

Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair. Amen.

(Section Deleted)

Give them such fulfillment of their mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others. Amen.

Grant that all married persons who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed. Amen.

Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; where, O Father, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and for ever. Amen.

The Blessing of the Marriage

The people remain standing. The recentlywed kneel, and the Priest says one of the following prayers

Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of these in his Name. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon them. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church: Send therefore your blessing upon these your servants, that they may so love, honor, and cherish each other in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The recentlywed still kneeling, the Priest adds this blessing

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that you may faithfully live together in this life, and in the age to come have life everlasting. Amen.

The Peace

The Celebrant may say to the people

The peace of the Lord be always with you.


And also with you.

The newly married then greet each other, after which greetings may be exchanged throughout the congregation. When Communion is not to follow, the wedding party leaves the church. A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung, or instrumental music may be played.

At the Eucharist

The liturgy continues with the Offertory, at which the newly married may present the offerings of bread and wine.

Preface of Marriage

At the Communion, it is appropriate that the newly married receive Communion first, after the ministers. In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, the following is said

O God, the giver of all that is true and lovely and gracious: We give you thanks for binding us together in these holy mysteries of the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ. Grant that by your Holy Spirit, N. and N. (and N.(s) if needed), now joined in Holy Matrimony, may become one in heart and soul, live in fidelity and peace, and obtain those eternal joys prepared for all who love you; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. As the wedding party leaves the church, a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung; or instrumental music may be played.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hemlines and Fringes

Mary Cat (not to be confused with the NYC Subway Godmother of Soul in the video above) delivered today's sermon and focused on the reading from Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26. Once again, she gets a story where there is a feminine element. Is it my imagination, or does she get these subjects more often than not? Mary Cat, focusing solely on verses 20-22 gave a personal reflection on a time when someone reached out to her. We should all reflect back on those times as either missed opportunities or times where we were able to help someone. The positive experiences of sharing God's love can be by just being present and listening as Mary Cat explained, but there are times when more is needed, and that is the hard part for many of us, and this is the part I wish she had touched on. I am referring to the times when I could have explained how Christ was present in our lives. Usually, when I reflect on a situation, I focus on what I should have or could have done, or how the situation affected me personally. The most important question may be the one I forget to ask, "Why did I ignore God's presence?" Answer: I was thinking about myself. If the interaction made me uncomfortable, "Why did I not ask for your help?" All too often, we do not allow God to be part of our human interactions. Lord forgive me as I am guilty pretty much all the time.

Again, we have to marvel at the Episcopal Lectionary and how we omitted verses 14-17 of Matthew 9:

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,* but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

When the Gospel is read in Church omitting certain verses, and it is printed in the bulletin in such a way that the selected readings are seamlessly "patched" together without even a "..." put in to indicate a break, I am afraid he scriptures become prophetic "and a worse tear is made." What is the reason for leaving out the middle of a Gospel section? Is it to make the service shorter? Only our poor pewsitters wind up getting short changed. More likey "we are making a new wineskin" by rewriting the Bible to be more convenient.

Another note on the Bulletin insert, Part II of "A Brief History of the Lambeth Conference," (for more details go to the Curmudgeon's analysis)we get the Rev. Webber's interpretation of how sex, birth control, abortion, and marriage have been handled by past Lambeth conferences. Apparently not up to his standards since his final paragraph displays clear bias when he writes,
"Not until 1958 would the bishops begin to construct a positive theology of marriage..."

They could not put this new theology into the old wineskin of 2000 years of scripture and tradition, they had to make up a new theology. If they try to put too much more of that new wine into my old skin, I will surely burst.
Who is on the fringe here, or is my bias showing?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Underground Scriptures

Fr. Dunbar delivered today's sermon and left us hanging. His revelation that we pewsitters will only hear an expurgated version of the Genesis story of Noah and the Covenant thanks to the new ecumenical lectionary probably just sailed over the heads of many. Thanks to Fr. Dunbar and his willingness to tackle the difficult passages, we had a "Bible study" instead of a sermon (his description). This forbidden reading is left out of the approved lectionary for the Episcopal Church. What were "they" thinking, and who are "they" who call the shots? First the texts: From Genesis 9,
2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man

What is so bad about that?
Do we have to be protected from these verses because we might join the NRA, shoot squirrels, and become carnivorous avengers? The reference to capital punishment must be expurgated! I have to think that we are being sheltered from selected Bible verses for an underground purpose. Look again at these verses and think of what future generations will lose. Of course, one might argue that the Bible remains intact and available for the public to read freely, but honestly, how many pewsitters actually read even the daily lectionary (links available on this page)?

Fr. Dunbar then expressed his opposition to the death penalty and his concern for the animals, and wisely left it at that. He then got around to the N.T. lessons and effectively compared the Old and the New Covenants. The other great thing he did with this "sermon" was when after discussing the nature of these covenants as agreements between two parties, he then made the point by reminding us of the Eucharist as God's side of the New Covenant by turning and pointing to the altar. He then ended his sermon abruptly, and in my mind I heard an unspoken message that might have sounded like this, "God has done His part, He has given us His Body and His Blood. Have you kept up your side of the bargain?" The silence that fell following his sermon seemed deafening.

In addition to today's sermon, we were treated to an insert in the bulletin from EpiscopalLife weekly written by the Rev. Christopher L. Webber (if you missed it read it here as a pdf)
Reading between the lines of this "Brief History of the Lambeth Conference Part 1" I suspect those responsible for rewriting the lectionary are also at work in rewriting the history of "Anglicanism."

“'It should be distinctly understood,' said Archbishop Charles Longley, 'that at this meeting no declaration of faith shall be made, and no decision come to which shall affect generally the interests of the Church, but that we shall meet together for brotherly counsel and encouragement'"

(Read, "Don't take Lambeth seriously.")

"In an uncanny preview of current events, the archbishop declared Colenso to be heretical and sent a new bishop to serve the same area. Colenso stuck to his guns and his diocese and is now revered by the Church in South Africa "

(Read, "Don't worry little ones, even if Bishop Gene Robinson or the entire Episcopal Church USA is declared heretical, and if some strange Bishop creature gets sent in to replace him, he and the entire Episcopal Church USA will be revered by future generations." Uncanny preview indeed!)

Getting back to "Brief History of the Lambeth Conference Part 1" in 1878 at Lambeth,

“the duly certified action of every national or particular Church...should be respected by all the other Churches” and that “no bishop or other clergyman of any other Church should exercise his functions within (some other) diocese without the consent of the bishop thereof.”

and, in 1897
"They were very clear that however diverse the members of the Church might be in language and ethnicity they were members of one Church. They stressed again that it would be very wrong for two bishops of the Church to attempt to carry on a ministry in the same area."

(Read, "We in the USA can do whatever we want, and don't even think of bringing in another bishop if you disagree with TEC.")

And then the Rev. Webber leaks one of the underground catch phrases "freedom and unity" which we will be hearing more about in the future as the American Church separates itself from the Anglican Communion. In this interesting ending to his "history" he makes the whole notion of an Anglican Communion an undefined postmodern meaningless enterprise,
"The issue of freedom and unity was addressed again in the statement that: 'it is important that, so far as possible, the Church should be adapted to local circumstances...and nothing is required of them but what is of the essence of the faith, and belongs to the due order of the catholic Church.' The first of these statements of course, left undefined what was meant by being 'in full communion
with the Church of England' and the second left open 'what is of the essence of the faith, and belongs to the due order of the catholic Church.'"

(Read, "Don't worry your little heads, there never was a communion to walk away from.")

I had to dig a little deeper into the "revered" Bishop Colenso and came up with some of the charges against him. There is something ominously familiar in the problems of Colenso as found in this correspondence from 1868,
"Dr. Colenso has taught that the Holy Scriptures, of both the Old and New Testaments, are not to be relied upon, as conveying to us an unerring Revelation of God's Truth and Will. He has affirmed that every living man is to judge for himself,--by 'the voice which he hears within,' which is the 'voice of his Lord,' the 'Light of the Divine Word,'--whether any, or what portions of the Scriptures are the Word of God; that 'by that light the words recorded to have been uttered by our Lord himself must all be tried;' that our Lord was ignorant, and in error; [31/32] that 'it is not to be supposed,' 'it cannot be maintained,' that 'He possessed a knowledge surpassing that of the most pious and learned adults of His nation,' that 'He knew more than any educated Jew of His age;' that He ought not to be adored or worshipped; that it is unscriptural and un-apostolic to do so; that we must 'modify our views of Christianity itself.'"

This sounds an awful lot like the path our current "leaders" are following.
Is there in this bulletin insert from our National Church the signature of an underground operation that may be trying to prepare us for something like "Operation Brain Drain?" Am I seeing things, or am I just looking for something to be unhappy about?
Oh, Vestry, protect me from the Rev. Webber. Do not feed our money to this propaganda machine.
Oh, Uriel, help me.