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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Unconventional Wisdom

Much of what you are going to read is synthesized from a book titled Meeting Jesus (Again) For The First Time.  It was written by Marcus J. Borg.  

Our recent experience in the Episcopal Church has a lot to do with John David Schofield, Jack Iker, Peter Jensen, Peter Akinola, Henry Orombi, James Packer and many others.  Most of the flock that followed John David Schofield did so because they believe that John David Shofield would not lead them astray.  We have heard a great deal about Robert Duncan and how he would lead the entire Anglican Church of North America.  Everywhere we turn these days there is this strong personality type that is leading.  We generally refer to them as purple-shirted thugs.  Well, believe it or not there is biblical comment about this, Marcus Borg wrote about it.

Marcus refers us to the first four chapters of Paul's letter to the community at Corinth.  He specifically addressed the issue of factions within the church identifying with leaders such as "I belong to Cephas" or "I belong to Apollo" or "I belong to Paul."  Paul divided up Christianity into to radically different ways of being: First, "living under the law by works"; and, second, "living by grace through faith."   Justification by works and/or life under the law is the conventional wisdom.  Life by grace through radical faith is the alternative wisdom given to us by Jesus Christ, it is the wisdom of God.    Paul was convinced that those who made statements such as the I belong to ... statements were clearly living with the wisdom of this world.  Conversely not under the alternative wisdom of saving grace through faith.  

hear what Mark Thompson has to say about just this issue:
"At this present moment of crisis, there is hardly a more important issue for us to address than that of authority in the church. It is certainly true that God’s people need to keep returning to the question of authority."

Certainly sounds to me like the conventional wisdom Paul spoke of in Corinthians and Borg references.

In the GAFCON Communique on establishment of Primates Council the document begins with this:

"The twofold task of the Council is ‘to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.’ The Primates have therefore laid the basis for the future work of both the Council and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA)."

More conventional wisdom.

Keep in mind that justification is a legal metaphor, according to Borg, a verdict but not necessarily innocent or acquitted (see pg. 104).  For Paul, it was a means by which one is made right with God.  Paul believed that the real "formula was "justification by grace through faith."  Justification by works remains, for Paul, life under the law.   It is a means of becoming right with God by works of the law.  I get to be okay by some form of performance that I do.  Keep in mind, this is not life under the Torah, for that would mean that life under Christian requirements now makes life under the law attainable, but in fact it is not.  Paul's point is justification by grace is freely given by God as a gift.  (page 105).    I will quote from Borg's book who in turn quotes from Paul's letter:

We are now justified by God's grace as a gift through through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Christ is the end of the law.
For freedom Christ has set us free.  Stand firm,  therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

So, let's now look at the GAFCON statement.  Here is the first item:
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. 

Notice the the kicker "as we Anglicans have received it, not as Christ delivered it and not as God gave it but as "we received it."

Again, in the Jerusalem Declaration the document espouses justification under the law:

Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.



The GAFCON group continues to hang onto the law -- looking to things that "give guidance" -- the law instead of things that give grace -- God.  

In n earlier chapter Borg demonstrates what Jesus' alternative wisdom lloked like.  For example, "What kind of world is it in which a Samaritan - a heretic and an impure person- can be good - indeed be the hero of a story? What kind of world is it in which a Pharisee- typcially a righteous and pure person - can be pronounced unrighteos and an outcast can be accepted?  What kind of  world is it where a Bishop in the Anglican church - typically a good and holy man - can be rejected and a homosexual can become a bishop?  The humble exalted and the exalted humbled?  It is not only a paradox but a reversal of the conventional wisdom.  It is alternative wisodm.  It is the Jesus - Sophia -  the wisdom of God.  

If this still doesn't get through try this song.  I would put it up via youtube but it isn't there.  Here is the lyrical version of what this is really all about.

OR THE LOVE OF IT ALL
Noel Paul Stookey
©1991 Neworld Media Music Publishers, ASCAP

In the beginning, as life became form,
The oceans heaved, the mountains were cleaved,
The firmament stormed.
At the center of being, immensely small
Was the master of now, don't ask me how
The Love of it all

And the seasons were many.
Creation was new.
And there on a tree (deceptively free)
A forbidden fruit
Upon leaving the garden, after the fall,
One thing was clear; we chose not to hear
The Love of it all

But for the Love of it all
I would go anywhere.
To the ends of the earth,
What is it worth if Love would be there?
Walking the thin line between fear and the call
One learns to bend and finally depend
On the Love of it all

"Irresistible targets"
I heard someone say.
They were speaking of angels
Who are so courageous day after day
Gunned down on a highway (as we often recall)
I hear a scream; I have a dream
The Love of it all

Still the world is in labor,
She groans in travail.
She cries with the eagle, the dolphin,
She sighs in the song of the whale.
While the heart of her people
Prays at the wall.
A spirit inside is preparing a bride
For the Love of it all

For the Love of it all,
Like the stars and the sun,
We are hearts on the rise,
Separate eyes with the vision of one.
No valley too deep, no mountain too tall,
We can turn back the night with merely the light
From the Love of it all.

And so we are marching to 'to give peace a chance'
Brother and sister as one in this mystery dance.
Long ago on a hilltop where now the curious crawl
A man on a cross paid the ultimate cost
For the Love of it all

For the Love of it all
We are gathered by grace
We have followed our hearts
To take up our parts
In this time and place.
Hands for the harvest,
Hear the centuries call:
It is still not too late to come celebrate
The Love of it all

"Eli, eli, lemana shabakthani"
The Love of it all


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merrry Christmas

For each and everyone:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Telephone Call For Mr. John David Schofield

Mr. Schofield, on November 16, 2007 wrote:
"Hardly a day goes by when I am not asked the question: “Are you going to take us out of the Episcopal
 Church?” Such a request indicates that the individual is unaware of the limits of power or authority a bishop in The Episcopal Church has.", and,  “But,” you might ask, “what about us?” We have come full circle to where we began. The question “Are you going to take us out of The Episcopal Church?” has a simple and straightforward answer. “No.” No matter what I might believe is the right thing to do, I cannot take the diocese out of The Episcopal Church. 

I might add that this question was asked openly of John David on numerous occasions from the first time that JDS and Mr. Wantland (a few others) stole the name of Episcopal Church in the United States of America and his answer was always the same.  (What made this time different?  A woman occupied the Presiding Bishop's office.)

Mr. Schofield said this:
The vote before us, as it will be before other dioceses, is not to leave The Episcopal Church. Rather, it will be to remain within the worldwide Anglican Communion with its heritage and universally accepted teaching based on the word of God. 

Yet the only Province within the United States that is in the Anglican Communion is the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.  Certainly, the "province you are now a part of' has no such way of associating with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  In fact, the word is that Canterbury has had no such "province" even begin the process of recognition.  So, you want to be a part of the Anglican Communion you need to join the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.  BTW, the Jerusalem Declaration says you don't even care.  Look it up.  

Well, since that was a lie, what else do you suppose might be a lie?  Try this one on.  In a Pastoral Letter to be read on Sunday the 18th of November Mr. Schofield said this:
According to well-informed sources, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been fully informed of the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone and described it as a “sensible way forward.” Indeed, it is the sensible way forward and . . .  

There had been no full disclosure to the Archbishop of Canterbury at that time.  

In Mr. Schofield's address to the convention, prior to the vote of secession, he stated this:

For twenty years and more we have watched The Episcopal Church lose its way: straying, at first, from Scripture... to the point of dismissing the Word of God, in some instances, as mere historical documents – of value, perhaps in bygone eras – but no longer applicable to us, to appropriating powers to itself through the General Convention it had never had and, finally, on to unilateral decisions about theology, sexuality, and ordination potentially cutting itself off from the Anglican Communion."

To date, and for the foreseeable future the Episcopal Church will NOT be cut off from the Anglican Communion by the only person that matters, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  And, by the way, if one reads the History of the Episcopal Church in the United States by Manross we have had these running discussions with Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals, High Church, Low Church, everybody church since the inception of the Episcopal Church and to date no one has been "cutoff".  

Hey as an interesting side note.  Try this one on:

On November 16 and 17, 2006 the Steering Committee of the Global South, meeting in Chantilly, Virginia, 

What, pray tell, is a province that represents South America doing holding a meeting in Virginia?!  And, allowing diocese that have not even completed the process of "secession" being offered a place to hide.  Yep, a bird walk I know, but just asking.

Then there is this little gem:

The Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church 
1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention; and  

The primates hold no authority in our church.  In fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury describes himself as one the first of equals.  There has never been a need for this type of ROMAN domination.  Bishops have always been free to theological form their own diocese.  If this were not the case how was Mr. Schofield able to keep from ordaining women all those twenty years?  This ladies and gentlemen, is what I believe is known in some circles as a "STRAWDOG".  

Found in that same document:

 We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations.
  Did anyone follow this little ditty?  I think not.  In fact, Mr. Schofield sold St. Dunstan's with the idea that he needed a "legal warchest".  When next you see him, ask him where this money is?  

Again, in JDS message to convention:
"If it is property that seems to be your main concern, if you are incorporated and a parish, you own your own property. You, or others before you, bought the land, built the church, have maintained the buildings and grounds, and your name is on the title deed. "

Well, it turns out in the case of St. Francis, one of the parishes that meets the above requirements, JDS not only drove out the Rector but then established a defrocked priest as the rector for the parish.  When called on it all he could say was "I do not know that".  And proceeded to destroy the parish family.  No matter what side you are on in the debacle, you must admit that the parish family of St. Francis of Turlock is a mere shadow of its former self.  

and finally, JDS ends this message with this little ditty:

"In the end, it is all about freedom."

Now that you all have had a chance to watch for over a year, is it all about freedom?  Or maybe, it is about JDS continuing to be bishop beyond retirement age.  Maybe it is about power and money?  Maybe it is not about Anglicanism and maybe it is about "doing his own thing".  

This is just the surface.  If you live in San Joaquin please go back to JDS' pages and look for resources and then read all the documents again.  Then make up your own mind.  Is it about you and your church and your beliefs or is it about Mr. Schofield and power and money and glory and prestige?

Hey Mr. Schofield, answer the phone,  it is your conscience calling!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ADVENT A TIME OF ANTICIPATION

Advent is a time of waiting.  A time when we can with almost joyful anticipation look ahead to the coming of our Saviour.  Not just in birth but in that renewal we know Jesus will bring.  In the spirit of advent, let's look ahead to the new province and compare just a wee bit.

Liturgy:
  ACNA:  Well, it appears your liturgy is stuck in and around the 1600's.  I would expect black cassocks and white amices for everyone.  It appears that you all will get more emphasis on the word of God and what that all means.

  TEC: We have more emphasis on Eucharist and eating a blessed meal together.  Enjoying each others company and looking forward to taking that loving caring kindness out into the world to share with ALL our friends and neighbors.

Bible:
   ACNA:  You have much to look forward to here also.  Your 2009 will abound in the righteousness and justice of God.  In the unerring voice that punishes all those who cannot keep each and every commandment.  You will once again get to have the issues of sex and sexuality thrust upon you and as the glue that holds you separate and apart from all the rest of the world.  This will allow you to continue to believe that you are God's chosen people and no one else is going to get into heaven but you guys.

   TEC:  We will allow ourselves to grow incrementally as we each read and inwardly digest that beautiful love poem that God has written for each of us.  We will grow as the love poem springs new each day that we read it and gives us new meaning.  It will allow us to open our arms and our hearts as we graciously accept each and everyone of God's beautifully handcrafted servants and as we inclusively lift our voices in joy and fulfillment.  As we follow the two great commandments and hope and pray that Jesus, our saviour, has a unique place for each of us.

Outreach
    ACNA:  You may not have to worry here.  You may not do much because the primates, once they review each purported "project" may find each and every one of them wanting for one reason or another, probably the most prevalent reason will be that of apostasy.  Can't help those who won't help themselves.  This will in turn keep most of your hard earned and hard worked for funds home, i.e., in the diocese and provinces own pocketbook.

   TEC:  Better dig deep brothers and sisters because the millennium development goals are only coming to the foreground in a real sense now.  And not only must we look abroad but we must also look to home. Yep, our neighbors are going to need some real assistance.  But out of this one thing is sure and that is the joy that comes from Christian giving.  And we remember that Christ has taught us that when we give it returns to us 70 fold.  Yes, we have very much to look forward to in outreach.

Evangelism:
     ACNA:  You folks are staring up a delightful road.  Get your broomsticks out and get on those street corners and drum up some business.  The primates need for you guys to get out there and preach that the only good Episcopalian is a fallen away one.  The only good Christian is one that builds on hate and despair.  That Anglicans do not necessarily associate with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  That you are the church of tomorrow even as you preach the gospel of yesterday.

   TEC:  Here we are in the process of remaking evangelism.  Seek out Father Terry's blog http://fathertlistenstotheworld.blogspot.com/  if you want details but we will look toward preaching the love God has for all mankind and that TEC welcomes everyone seeking to know God and to develop a continuing relationship with God.  It may be tough because we do not look to the outcome as much as we look to the process and what we must focus on rather than what the hearer must do.

Advent is a time of coming.  Come Holy Spirit fill our hearts with that joyful love that knows no bounds.  Give us the grace to build our relationship with our Father and our brothers.  Help us to spread the good news a Christ our saviour.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A MODEST PROPOSAL

So here we go.  There may be something going on and there may not.  No one knows for sure or at least ain't nobody talking.  We continue to see the devastation reeked on San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, and Pittsburgh.  The saber is rattled in places like Louisiana and Ohio.  So, at some risk let's put forth a modest proposal for the next few months in The Episcopal Church.  How about an ad hoc committee that would work for no more than 33 months total.  The funding for all the basic needs of the committee would come from TEC.  Basic needs include travel, room and board, secretarial, incidental expenses for office/paper products and publishing stuff.  The committee is comprised of Fr. Mark Harris, Fr. James Simon, Fr. Mark Hall, Fr. Terry Martin, Fr. Rich Cluett, Deacon George Cano, and a clergy person from Fort Worth and from Quincy.  Also add Fr. Dan Martins for the loyal opposition (though I could be talked out of this).  Each clergy person appoints no more than three lay persons to work on the committee as well.  Experts to be called as needed.  The charge would be twofold:


1, stave off the bleeding by whatever means are necessary within the general confines of the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church;

2, reconcile and reconstitute each of the diocese that have been split,

3, regularly published reports on a monthly basis and regular reporting to the Executive Committee by Fr. Harris. 

The committee will create a detailed agenda within 2 months of the appointment and convening of the committee.  

Initial plan of action to be developed within the first 12 months and implementation to begin within the first 24 months.

Final results and report back to the Executive Council and the Presiding Bishop within 33 months.  

If you have a better idea, would love to hear it.  Status quo is not an option.

Friday, December 5, 2008

**&%$##!@! PROGRESS?

From an earlier post Father Terry writes:

"No one is being abandoned. Those at the local level are indeed being included in the decision making process.

I know this time is painful. But please do not assume that anyone is being forgotten. That is not the case.

I commend to you Fr. Rick Cluett, who will be offering pastoral care to all of the reorganizing dioceses, for specific answers to your concerns."

And just as sure as the Son rises this comes from Episcopal Life On-Line:

The Ven. Richard Cluett named to new position to assist reorganizing dioceses

You may read the article here:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/81831_103243_ENG_HTM.htm

As you read the article pay close attention to the job description. Fr. Cluett sounds like a very capable and very thoughtful selection but what is he going to do? Well he is going to help those diocese reorganizing and reconstituting ourselves. That is great but what does it mean? Here are just a few questions for general contemplation:

* What exactly is he going to do? Basic job description. Who drafted this job description and did anyone from any of the diocese he is going to help have any input into the functions?

* Prior to Fr. Cluett's appointment was a plan of action formulated and if so by whom and did any of the diocese have any input into the plan?

* Will the staff, including Fr. Cluett, be compensated by those diocese that he is to help? Will he be paid separately from a national account or will he be paid from the funds allocated by the Executive Council for all of us this year?

* What type of powers does Fr. Cluett have? For example, could he merge all the current diocese reconstituting into a single diocese? Could he blend those four diocese into other existing neighboring diocese? Is he staff to all the bishops of these diocese or are the bishops supporting Fr. Cluett?

* How long is Fr. Cluett's tenure and what are his measures of success? Is he for reconciliation purposes, litigation purposes, organizational purposes, or liturgical purposes?

* Anybody ask the existing diocese what we want/need/ can use? Anybody form an ad hoc committee of all those affected by these machinations for the purpose of continuing those diocese and for the purpose of developing a plan to stave off any more of this nonsense?

* Anybody want to back this stuff up so we can move forward all together?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ABANDONMENT AS A PLAN OF ACTION

We have arrived at the first anniversary of the attempt by John David Schofield and his henchmen to take the diocese of San Joaquin "south for the winter". In addition, the bishops from the diocese of Forth Worth, Quincy, and Pittsburgh have also decided that "going south for the winter" was a good idea.

In all of the machinations from both our beloved Episcopal Church and from the reasserters, a policy, a manner of approach is coming clear. It appears that we are being abandoned. At a minimum, benign neglect and at worst, abandonment. Now, before everyone goes crazy about this let's look at the facts. First, the reasserter side. In San Joaquin we have a wonderful bishop, Jerry Lamb, who is doing all he can to pull this diocese together after a horrendous first few months. The laity and clergy left behind in the aftermath of the split up of the diocese is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome brought on by the insensitivity with which Mr. Schofield and ++Venables has treated them. The selling of churches out from underneath parishes, the locking out of the clergy and laity of their own churches, the mean-spirited way in which those that occupy the buildings treat those that have been removed is all well documented. When confronted with these actions, those that have gone with John David are silent. They clearly do not give a damn about the toll in human suffering they have caused. They refuse to answer the human question. Questions about God's love for us and our response. They refuse to answer questions about the ethical and Godly treatment of our fellow LGBT Episcopalians as they continue to heap abuse upon them. The Schofield, Venables, Akinola, Duncan, Iker, Orambi, Wantland, Ackerman, etal group simply believes that "what is a few dead people" along the path to righteousness. Their path is clear, their plan is out in the open and they believe that if they run a few people down in order to get their the sacrifice is well worth it.

I have grown to understand why they cannot deal in human suffering. If they stopped to deal in the toll that they have exacted along the way they might become distracted from their main destiny -- power and prestige, Lord knows they cannot have that!

But what of our friends? What of the Episcopal Church? Where are they? What are they doing to slow down and stop this inane trip to Argentina, Nigeria, Uganda or Australia? Well, it appears they have cooled to the idea that we need help. Let's take a look at but one of our Executive Council's ideas about what is going on:

Father Mark Harris, a member of the Executive Committee has given us this rationale for the split:

"Hostility is a good motivator, but as a sustainable and rational basis for creative new understandings of a faith community it fails miserably."

Explain this to those who lost their church, had it sold out from underneath them. On a global perspective you may indeed be correct but in the microcosm it destroys the lives of those who were in that church.

and then this:

"First most of the fight is irrelevant at best and obscene at worse. Outside a small circle of friends and enemies who give a damn about all this, the world’s issues are of much greater importance, and the churches’ issues much less importance, for this to make any difference in their lives. Even the plan as played out in the forgoing appears as an absurdity and an irrelevance."

Apparently, those of us in those diocese of Pittsburgh, Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin are merely irrelevant -- we are fighting an obscene fight and who is it that doesn't give a damn about us?

and this:

"For many people, including my family and most of the people I love, the machinations of the Anglican Communion or its churches, as regards the current possibilities of a split in the Communion, are mildly interesting but of no ultimate importance. They are right."

See, those of us left behind would be more important to Father Harris if we were members of his family? Hey, we are members of your family -- we are Episcopalians Father Harris. I thought that made us members of your family!

"“So what?” Very little will change in what we do or how we proclaim the Gospel because of the plots and plans of those who have left.""

For those of us in San Joaquin very much has changed. Friends have turned into foes. How we look at this world and how we treat each other has been radically altered. Trusted clergy are now suspect. The joyful trips on Sundays are for some, grim reminders of a terrible time. We now ask, as we pass a church, "Is that an Episcopal church or a church that is Southern Cone?"

"We are very proud of who we are and what we have done and our stance on Bishop Robinson, on full inclusion and on women's ordination has put us in an unenviable position apparently."

So are we! But we are also proud of our inclusiveness of our parishes and we miss the multiplicity of voices that have historically echoed in our halls. We want to stay open and positive and working hard or the kingdom of God. But we are slowly drifting, swirling around the drain.

"But when they have finished doing whatever it is that they purport to do, there will still be The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and churches throughout the world that remain willing to work together as the Anglican Communion we know and to which we belong. "

What about the rest of us? Where will we be? Last year the Executive Council sent a little under $600,000.00 to San Joaquin. This year the Executive Council will send a little over $700,000.00 to San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, and Pittsburgh. What have they done to stave the tide? Nothing. What have they done to slow the process down? Nothing. What have they done to bring us back into the Episcopal Church? Not much. The presiding Bishop, ++Katherine is concerned. But it appears that as a plan of action abandonment is the best the Executive Council can come up with, after all, we are just some back water places that are irrelevant.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We're on a bit of a break from Real Anglicans. Stop by and visit us at our other blogs: Off-Topic Allowed or Father Scott & Company.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

THE NUMBERS GAME

     Much has been made over the last few years about numbers.   Here in the diocese of San Joaquin Mr. Schofield for years has pounced on each parish exhorting them to get out and "evangelize".  Drag those poor unfortunate suckers into your churches and make them Christians!  Oh, and by the way, make sure they pledge, don't want anyone to think this Christianity thingy is free.  Schofield had his henchman, Bill Gandenberger on the circuit preaching Friendship Evangelism to anyone and everyone that would listen.  In fact, if a parish were ailing financially, the Friendship Evangelism package was a prerequisite for any assistance at all.  NUMBERS, NUMBERS,NUMBERS!

    Fast forward to the GAFCON folks who frequently explain that they have  35 million people they are speaking for and those 35 million people want TEC and the Church of Canada to end this wild goose chase of providing equal rights and full inclusion for this "silly little minority of people".  These few folks tucked away in small corners of churches in America and Canada threaten the very lives of these 35 million worldwide Anglicans that could be killed at any moment because of the actions to protect this minority.

     Now, if you travel over to Father Mark Harris' blog http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/ you will frequently find a lively discussion on the numbers.  Generally the numbers discussion goes something like "the most Episcopalians in the world have now left the Episcopal Church in favor of the new improved North American Province".  200,000 Episcopalians can't be wrong, TEC must be deaf and hard of hearing.  The average Sunday Attendance for the entire Episcopal Church in America is 6 (counting the babies in the crying room) while the average Sunday attendance in the Southern Cone Diocese of Fort Worth is forty eleven million so TEC is a dying.   Then there is the old saw about how can the will of the people be denied?  Gee whiz, how can we give LGBT persons basic rights and full inclusion when clearly the votes are in  and the will of the people says they have no rights. TEC and Canada cannot deny the will of the people.  Can they?  Should they?  What the heck is going on?  

     Well, here are at least two relative good answers to all those issues.  First, the two mixed logical fallacies.  
Appeal to Popularity

Appeals to popularity suggest that an idea must be true simply because it is widely held. This is a fallacy because popular opinion can be, and quite often is, mistaken. Hindsight makes this clear: there were times when the majority of the population believed that the Earth is the still centre of the universe, and that diseases are caused by evil spirits; neither of these ideas was true, despite its popularity.

Appeal to Authority

An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true.

Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true.

Both of these arguments are indeed telling but I have a couple more.  First, there is the parable of the woman who had committed some grievous sin and was about to be stoned to death.  Jesus comes along and says to the assembled men, "Let any man who is without sin cast the first stone."  That woman would be alive today were it not for old age that caught up with her.  But the most compelling argument I can make against all this numbers nonsense is that of Calvary.  When it came time to pony up, when the time was right, God gave us his ONLY (I assume meaning 1) son.  And Jesus, deserted by everyone (save his mom), including the Pharisees and the Saduccees and the assembled masses who screamed for crucifixion, knew that it takes only one person to change the world.  AND, what was his last action?  He took the criminal with him!  

Numbers don't mean diddly.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's That "Wimmin" Thingy!

Mr. Iker begins to reveal that which is at the heart of this lame attempt to split the Episcopal Church.  He states in an article in the Living Church:
“Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church ofGod. She never has and she never will,” he said. “Since Nov. 15, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence.”

The entire article can be found here:

I do not wish to downplay the LGBT denial of rights issue one iota but what turned Mr. Schofield and apparently Mr. Iker is the fact that a woman -- yes a woman - has the gall to depose him, the mighty Mr. Iker!  

The process of leaving the Episcopal Church by John David Schofield never took a leap forward until +Schori became the Presiding Bishop.  Before, she was an irrelevant Bishop in backwater Nevada that could be ignored without any pain at all.  Then suddenly she becomes the Presiding Bishop for TEC and the San Joaquin diocese hit fifth gear moving faster than ever to leave.  During that time JDS spent as much time in consultation with Mr. Iker and Mr. Duncan and should be Mr. Wantland as he did in his own diocese tending to his clergy.   Sure, they have had a run up to this day and the issue that they find palatable is the LGBT issue because, as was seen in California, these Bishops can bamboozle the general public into believing that hatred trumps love.  Could you imagine if they took on the woman as clergy issue head on?  Gee, I'd guess there are about half the people in the world that would rise up in arms and the other half would support them.  They cannot take on the woman issue because they know they would lose.  So these thugs use the LGBT issue instead.  It is in this article, for perhaps the first time, one of them made a slip.  I can only hope that those powers that be, Fr. Harris, will recognize the real issue .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NEW IMPROVED HOUSE OF BISHOPS


It is reported elsewhere that Bishop Wantland now wants ++Schori to admit him as an honorary member of the House of Bishops.  Honorary means, at least under one definition, given as an honor without the normal duties.   This is the same person who invented the idea of stealing the name of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.  See the following url:

You should recognize all the names there but the point is that this person would like to have a complimentary membership in the House of Bishops.  May I suggest that he could get his friends  including +Howe, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Schofield, soon to be Mr. Iker, retired bishop Ackerman, and a few other of his close friends and he could create a new House of Bishops just like he created PECUSA.  They could then sit around and recognize the pretend Province of North America. They could also pretend that they were all Anglicans and one could be elected as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

THE NEW "IMPROVED" PROVINCE

Well, we are coming to the "turn card".  The turn card in Texas Hold'em is the fourth card of the deck.  It is not the finish, that is the river card, it is merely the point where one reads one's cards and says "Oh sh*t" or pushes the remaining stack of chips in and says "all in".  The mighty Minns, along with Mr. Duncan, Mr. Schfield, ++Akinola, ++Nizimbi, soon to be Mr. Iker and the whole redefining, reasserting, thieving, mean-spirited purple shirted thugs have now pushed all their chips in and have called the bluff of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  A new province is "coming" according to an interview over at the SFiF site.  It never ceases to amaze me how these folks tell everyone they have discovered a new truth, such as those at GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration and then proceed to tells us exactly what that new truth is.  I am always entertained by those who say that no one can hear God's voice but me and then proceed to tell us what God is saying.  I think Elmer Gantry used this technique. In this instance they, the GAFCON leadership, now shares with us the unholy reality of what they discovered all by themselves in Jerusalem.  Of course it is God's word because how could the spokespersons for over 35 million Anglicans be anything but truthful?

The incredible genius of this whole silly little plan for a few bishops to become king of the hill is that in this game they believe they have read ++Williams thoroughly and have decided to make this play.  It seems apparent that we could only wait and see how the Archbishop of Canterbury plays his hand.  There are however, a few other players at the table.  Will these players think on their feet? Will they think creatively and respond with a gambit of their own?  Unfortunately, our Constitution and canons do not allow the laity to play at his level, at least not directly. We are stuck -- so we will get to hang around and watch the card game finish.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Will The Real Thomas Cranmer Please Answer His Phone!



"Now we need another movement to keep the Church faithful. I want to keep orthodox Anglicans together."

The Bishop of Rochester told clergy that the new movement was equivalent to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, which led to the establishment of the Church of England.

Traditionalists have been upset that the Episcopal Church escaped punishment despite consecrating Gene Robinson as Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop.
-- Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

The picture is coming clearer.  There are a number of bishops who are suffering from the disease I can only characterize "as delusions of grandeur".  We have a growing number of ego-maniacal folks who want desperately and are willing to give up everything and everyone to become the next "Thomas Cranmer".  

Who are these people?  Well we know for sure the numbers include ++Venables, ++Orambi,  ++Akinola, +Nazir-Ali, Mr. Schofield, Mr. Duncan, soon to be Mr. Iker, maybe retired Mr. Ackerman, and a few others.

Now, you may want to know how to tell who is the next person to vie for the coveted title of the New and Improved Thomas Cranmer.  Well, I do not know by name but I can tell you a little about the person.  The person hates women, thinks that women have a place in church, it just happens to be way in the back.  The person hates anyone that is not wealthy and can contribute large sums of money to this person's expense account.  This person wants to maintain second class citizenship for all those who do not think or act or live like they do. The person preaches repentance and punishment instead of reconciliation and love.  This person is interested in big church instead of Christianity.  This person preaches exclusivity rather than inclusivity.  The person tends to throw friends, colleagues and neighbors "under the bus" in order to further their own agenda.  Yes, these are some of the characteristics of the man who would be "Thomas Cranmer".  

Here is where the rubber hits the road.  All of these identified "Cranmer in-waiting" have signed on to the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration identifying the Archbishop of Canterbury as being colonial and outdated and therefore superfluous to the Anglican Communion (never mind the seeming oxymoron for the moment).  But is Thomas Cranmer who we need or do we need someone else?  I think we need a bishop who is willing to go to all lengths to include everyone in their flock.  Jesus looked for that 99th sheep that went wandering away can a bishop do less?  I think we need a bishop who reconciles like Jesus did when the group of pharisees wanted to stone the woman for adultery and Jesus said "Hey there is no one else here to condemn you so neither shall I ('cept he said it in his own language).  Isn't that the bishop we want?  I think we need a bishop who shares the Eucharist with everyone just as Jesus did when he was at the last supper.  I want a bishop who is willing to sweat blood for his flock like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I want a loving bishop who says to the doubting , "here put your hand in the holes" instead of let's all go to GAFCON.  I want a bishop that builds on the cornerstone not tears apart the fabric of the communion. 

Think about it.  What do you want?

So, in essence these identified bishops want to become the person that they have already identified as being obsolete?  Here is my suggestion, why wait?  Let's just declare all of these fine older gentlemen to be obsolete and be done with it!  Then we go find bishops that know what bishops are all about.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR

Reading Katie Sherrod's blog http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com/2008/11/prayer-vigil-saturday.html over the last few days has brought tears to my eyes.  This weekend there will be the diocesan convention for the diocese of Forth Worth.  I believe this is +Iker's diocese.  It has been almost exactly one year to the date when Mr. Schofield (then Bishop Schofield) decided to move his diocese from Fresno, California to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  That was December 7, 1941 oops 2007.  Then in March there was a convention here in Lodi in which our ++Katherine came and visited.  She wanted to know what questions we had.  One question that was posed was, "What is the National Church doing/learning in order to stop this from happening in other diocese?".  The answer now is apparently no better than it was then.  The answer is NOTHING!  

We have seen Pittsburgh and Quincy both fly south for the winter.  We have in fact seen the Moderator, Mr. Duncan also fly east for a conversation with ++Rowan Williams.  Please do not try to convince anyone that ++Williams would have seen any old Mr. because that would be just foolish.  Now, the diocese of Fort Worth is about to "hop on board the train to Buenos Aires".  And there is to be one more day of weeping and gnashing of teeth as once again the "purple-shirted thugs" are allowed to do what they please with impunity.  Don't get me wrong, there will be lots of help as the diocese splits into little pieces and the laity is forced to pick up those pieces and find that one cannot "put humpty dumpty together again".  It seems that those of us in the outer reaches of The Episcopal Church are left to go through this process over and over and over and over again until there is but a shell left and the people are broken and property is stolen and the history and love that we have all had is laid to waste by these power hungry purple shirted folks who proclaim the love of Christ all the while laying waste to everything in their paths and those that could help stand idly by and send us money and support for the long journey into night.  

I just wanted to say to those that can do something to stop this insanity -- "Hey, wake up!  There are thousands of people out here that need your help.  That want your help.  When ya'll gonna stop messin' around and do something proactive?  Life is tough out here and it is getting tougher.  People are hurting and yet the program of dis-information and hatred continues. "  I do not want to belittle that which has been done for the diocese of San Joaquin but we were first, caught you off guard maybe.  But crimenee sakes folks, this is number 4 -- NUMBER 4 how about you do something in advance so there is no number 5?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rowan Williams and Neville Chamberlain











Archbishop Rowan Williams                            Neville Chamberlain

I have struggled with this posting for sometime.  It gives me no great pleasure to now write this but write it I must.  Why do you ask?  Well, here, in a nutshell form is the answer:

Dissident Anglican churches in Canada and the United States say they will form a new conservative jurisdiction in the next year, adding that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost the moral authority to have any real say in blocking the radical move.

You may read the entire article here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has, through a series of appeasement moves, given away the Anglican Communion.  More specifically, The Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the United States of America.  

Lets take the above statement and dissect it for just a brief moment.  We know where ++Rowan Williams personally stands on the issues that separate.   That being said he has had a series of meetings with all sides but most recently with Moderator Duncan in an attempt to keep everyone together.  On the final day of the Lambeth Conference he gave up our LGBT brothers.  On the other hand he has steadfastly refused, according to the conservative fold, to replace all of the apostate churches with the "real deal".  He stands neither for TEC/ACoC, nor for his own beliefs and not for the reasseerters.  In effect, he has given up all the moral ground and so it is easy to see how the conservative blowhards can utter the words above.

It is way past time to make a decision and to act on that decision.  It is time to declare those interloping archbishops inside North America to be legally and morally out of bounds - literally. Furthermore, they each must relinquish ANY claim real or imaginary, permanent or temporary immediately.   It is time to declare those bishops that have been deposed to in fact be deposed throughout the Anglican Communion.  It is time to take a stand and tell those who would destroy the Episcopal Church in the United States that they have 60 days to be reconciled or to be gone -- yes gone.  Out of the Anglican Communion.  Don't go away mad just go away.  If you all want to start a Church of your own then please do, we wish you well.  Just be sure you do it on your time and with your money and not with ours.  Mssrs. Duncan, Iker, Ackerman, Schofield, if you want to evangelize then do it the old fashion way -- earn it, stop stealing it.  And, by the way, do it without the benefit of orders.

Archbishop Rowan Williams you have been had.  Appeasement does not become you any more than it became Mr. Chamberlain.  You know it, they know it  and we know it.   

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's Talk? No Let's Act!

There is an article in the Living Church on the results of the Executive Council meeting in Helena, Montana.  This was the lead paragraph:

"Executive Council has called for a reconciliation-oriented conversation with members of Common Cause Partnership, according to the two top officials of The Episcopal Church. They spoke to members of the media Oct. 23 during a brief conference call at the conclusion of the council’s four-day meeting in Helena, Mont."

Now, I enjoy a good meeting as much as the next guy.  A reconciliation conversation with folks who want to reconcile would be a truly great thing.  Now, if we could find three people in Common Cause that would like to reconcile with the Episcopal Church one might be able to have a meeting with a reconciliation conversation.  As it stands there are not three people, in fact there is not one person in the Common Cause Partnership that wants to reconcile with The Episcopal Church.    The Moderator ,aka Mr. Robert Duncan, went to Canterbury about a week or so ago to have a reconciliation conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury and it did not include The Episcopal Church.  

Note to the Executive Council, "When you find yourself in a hole the first thing one needs to do is stop digging."  Members of the Executive Council, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and now Quincy have "decided to leave" the Episcopal Church.  While the concept of " a diocese cannot leave the Episcopal Church" is a great legal argument, but  as a practical matter, can we "get past that issue".   Folks, there is the Fort Worth Diocese standing in the wings and if you think for one minute that a "reconciliation conversation with Common Cause Partnership members" is going to stem the bleeding then you folks have not studied the diplomatic negotiations leading up to World War II.  I suggest that you ask +Cantuar for the tapes from Chamberlain. 

 Keep this in mind, you guys smacked the stuffing out of the Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership.  He is a proud and an arrogant man.  Do you think for one moment that he is now going to come and have a reconciling conversation with the very persons who publicly beat the crap out of him?  Please, this would be an embarrassment to him.  Oh sure, someone may show up because we want to talk and the more we talk the more they get done and the less we are prepared for the inevitable.

Here is an idea -- how about we develop and execute a plan of action that begins the long process back of rebuilding the Episcopal Church?  How about we stop talking with those that would bury us (see the Chapman Memorandum for a refresher)  and start some form of an proactive plan the brings us all together and then rebuilds the "big tent" that we once had. 

If we do what we have always done we will get what we always got.

Moderator Duncan's "Re-election"

It has been a week for elections, hasn't it? Today's news is that a group of clergy and laity in the Western Pennsylvania area have elected Robert Duncan as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

There is one small problem, however. This same group of people voted to separate themselves from said Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. and affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone. If this group has decided they do not wish to leave the Episcopal Church, we can celebrate that reconciliation has begun in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. But that leaves one little step in the selection process: the Diocese's choice must be approved by the TEC House of Bishops. This might be difficult because Robert Duncan was recently deposed by that same body.

Yes, we know that Moderator Duncan's deposition is not recognized by the leadership of some churches in the Anglican Communion - and those churches have a very large number of members. However, they have no power to decide who is a bishop in the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. And TEC has no power to select their bishops, either.

Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables, another of your flock has gone astray. Are you going to make an announcement similar to the one you issued when John-David Schofield pulled the same maneuver in the San Joaquin Valley of California?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

THE SAN JOAQUIN EQUITY COMMISSION

On the eve of one of the most important elections held in the State of California ever the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin made a statement to the rest of the church.  That statement is that this church will no longer be the refuge of the "few privileged".  That the Episcopal Church in San Joaquin has for too long marginalized every class of people they do not understand and do not like and the time is now to begin to unravel that intricate and insidious process we have used to exclude people. The continuing diocese of San Joaquin, in convention, approved the creation of an Equity Commission.   Here is what the Episcopal Life On-line wrote last week:

The commission is to include at least nine lay and (nine)(added for clarity) clergy members to support, engage and affirm marginalized communities within the diocese. Echoing the baptismal promise to "respect the dignity of every human being" the resolution identified the marginalized as "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons; women; various ethnic communities; the disabled and those adversely affected by socioeconomic circumstance in the life and worship of the Church, as the Diocese works toward justice, reconciliation and peace."
 
Commission members would also partner with congregations and other dioceses, provinces and organizations, identify resources and meet the pastoral needs of the marginalized, according to Cindy Smith, president of the diocesan standing committee.
 
"We look at it as creating a structure that encourages the gathering of information, dialogue and gives a means for making recommendations for us to move forward," said Smith, a parishioner at Grace Church, Bakersfield


Here is the link for the entire article:

What does that mean?  Well ,we could surely focus on the issue about to be decided in California on Proposition 8.  An entire class of people has been pushed into a closet and left there to die of suffocation.  This resolution means that the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin will explore those ways in which the church has had a hand in this despicable process and remove the impediments to full inclusivity in our church.  But the resolution does way more than that! First it deals with the issue of marginalized women. Here is a quote directly from Mr. Schofield, "Even women have a place in the Episcopal church." But apparently not in any capacity that could be seen and valued. It deals with those ethnic minority groups that have been locked out of our churches and it deals with the disabled and the poor.  No longer can we simply send a buck to ERD and believe we have "done our fair share to help the poor and homeless."  Think back to when you went to Church today -- was your building completely handicap accessible?  Many, many are not.  And I don't mean did you all throw up a ramp to appease your discomfort with those in wheel chairs and scooters. Your altar rails and your aisles and your restrooms and the ability for the hearing impaired to hear the word of God and the blind to see the word of God. Time to really create handicap accessibility.  
There is a Church in Southern California, Messiah of Santa Ana and the rector is Fr. Brad Karileus.  This parish is in the heart of the city with the most Spanish speaking individuals outside of the Mexico City in the world.  This parish has held up as part of their mission the full inclusion of everyone including Spanish speakers.  It should be a beacon to the rest of us to get our act together.  We need to reach out to everyone -- to make our house of worship friendly for everyone.

Now, the soap box is done but for one more issue.  This commission is charged with ONLY conducting a survey to explore the reasons for marginalization and create recommendations on how to correct these past sins.  It does not put into action anything!  It will bring back to the next convention the commission recommendations for the entire assembly to review and perhaps act upon. 

While I applaud the movement forward we need to keep in mind that these classes of people continue to suffer from second class citizenship. With voting around the corner, how would you like it if when you went to vote the precinct officer said, "Sorry, you cannot vote.  We are studying the problem and may act on it in the future but right now, sorry!"    

Thursday, October 30, 2008

WHIPLASH!

Well, the newest edition of the San Joaquin Star is out and I now have my neck in a brace!  That is correct, my neck is in a brace.  Ex-bishop now Mr. John David Mercer Schofield has made  a couple of statements that snapped my neck so hard that I may sue him for my whiplash injuries. Get this:

"Despite constant opposition and attempts to confuse the people of San Joaquin, deceit and scare tactics have been revealed for what they are."

I do not suppose that he has thrown open the doors (of information) and allowed all the people of San Joaquin to look and read the Episcopal News? The deceit and scare tactics like: bringing in a defrocked priest to "takeover" a parish in Turlock, CA?  The deceit and scare tactics of locking out a mission from it's own premises?  The deceit and scare tactics of selling a parish out from underneath the mission so he could finance his personal legal wranglings to keep him out of court?  Maybe he meant the scare tactics he tried to use in Taft to screw his faithful people down there.

That was the first time my neck snapped faster around than a broken clock.  Our dear Mr. Schofield says, 

"By initiating law suits against those who for conscience sake know they must leave an unfaithful church -  . . . - leaders of the Episcopal Church have instead chosen to intensify their legal efforts to gain control over property and money.   Such material things are not essential, but they are helpful tools in reaching out to a world especially at this time when we face greater turmoil than we have in living memory."

Let me just say that he ruined a large number of peoples lives by selling property to build a legal war chest in order to steal all the property and and all the money and then "blows this off" by saying "such material things are not necessary" ?  Say big guy, why not just give all that non-essential stuff back?  Ya know St. Francis lived in a cave and went around begging for food and contributions.  How's it going in Fresno in your bought and paid for home with 40 different types of silver and china?

Well, my neck is nearly a pile of mush when this gem comes out:

"Not unlike the diocese of Pittsburgh we have kept the changes to a minimum, we too will await the coming together of the larger body of  a new province where common canons and and Liturgy will be among the many things that bind us together"

Well let's see 'bout them changes.  Elsewhere in the STAR is the GAFCON nonsense so the people can read those minimum changes for themselves but for whiplash purposes let's see:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is out! Mr. ex-bishop John David Schofield promised everyone that we needed to make the move to the Southern Cone in order to stay in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury but that is now gone.  

Whose constitution and canons ya'll going to use?  The ones from the Southern Cone that say you cannot be there or that JDS had to retire 2 years ago?  How about your own? You know, the ones that you ignored in order to move to the Southern Cone?  Or how about Pittsburgh's?  Or Quincy's? or Forth Worth?  I know, you are just going to make it up on the fly.  That would be in keeping with your minimum changes.

And remember you promised the people of San Joaquin that they would still be using the good old prayer book? Nothing would change there.  Nope, it is still the good old prayer book - ya right - from 1662.  The people get to pray for the Queen of England as the head of State!  Gee whiz, that's not much of a change!  Let's keep in mind that you wanted the 1928 prayer book but what you got was something that predates even you!  Certainly no change there.

I really did get whiplash and I am thinking about adding my damaged and scarred neck to the myriad of lawsuits since "material things are not essential".