Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Are Your Heroes?

In recent years I have thought much about heroes.  So, in this moment in time, as I share some of my heroes with you, I am curious who your heroes might be.  Let us begin with a common definition:

A hero (heroine for females) (Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.[1] Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

Stories of heroism may serve as moral examples.

As a combat veteran I would add that a hero/heroine is an ordinary person who steps into an extraordinary event and excels at something or for some reason whether on a one-time basis or perhaps in a continuing role. 

I have many heroes; John Basilone, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Jesus, and a several folks none of you would know because by definition, they seek no glory -- that is antithetical. 
I have added three in recent months.  IT and BP and Leonardo Ricardo.  These three folks display great courage each and every day and are wonderful moral examples.  They struggle with issues that should have been settled many, many years ago and yet are not.  And, while they quietly insist on a certain level of respect, for which they are resoundingly abused at times, continue the struggle not just for them, but for all LGBT persons.  I ask you, how can you not have heroes like this? 
This is the front line or at least the last vestige of the small-minded, bigoted person who wants to feel better about themselves by crushing other folks.  Race, ethnicity, religion and to a large extent sex (though in some circles of Conelonialists this is still a fight to be waged) are all gone.  No one can get away with even a smart-aleck remark without being justifiably chastised for the gross insensitivity.  But it seems even in elementary school, it is still acceptable (and done with an alarming degree of frequency) to call someone gay or a lesbian or a homosexual as a derogatory term. 
It is in the face of these assaults that IT and BP and Leonardo extend themselves every single day.  That certainly fits my bill for hero.  Recently IT and BP had a blessing of their marriage.  What a pure joy that must be for them -- and yet they go back into the fray again to continue the struggle until everyone is free. 
Who are your heroes?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

CANA's Doctrine of Reactionary Inclusion

The LEAD reported the following:  
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports:

Speaking during his recent visit to London , Okoh said: “CANA is now part of the Anglican Province of North America (ACNA)."
“We are not interested in territorial ambition; our main reason for going to America was to provide for those who were no longer finding it possible to worship in the Episcopal church.
“A new structure has been put up in the U.S. which is ACNA.
“CANA now belongs to ACNA even though they still relate to us;but essentially it now belongs to Anglican province of North America,” he said.
Bishop Minns, suddenly realizing that CANA had just been dumped and his and all his buddies "ordination" out the window must have had an appopletic fit.  And, in keeping with CANA's reactionary inclusiveness the church of Nigeria and Cana now have FAQs that reiterate "dual citizenship and how all that works.  The LEAD now reports this:

CANA’s Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns (who is currently in Singapore en route to Nigeria for the Church of Nigeria’s House of Bishops’ meeting, which is to be followed by a meeting of the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee) has asked me to pass along this information to you:

Earlier this morning Bishop Minns heard from both Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and Registrar Abraham Yisa who were surprised to see a recent statement in the media that suggests that CANA is no longer part of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
Both Archbishop Okoh as well as Registrar Yisa told Bishop Minns that such reports are erroneous. They assured him that there has been no change in the status that exists between CANA and the Church of Nigeria, that Bishop Minns and CANA’s suffragan bishops continue to serve as members of the House of Bishops in the Church of Nigeria, and that the Church of Nigeria at the same time continues to promote the full recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a province in the Anglican Communion 
So, what we have here is the new and improved version of the doctrine of reactionary inclusion.  That definition is: a clergy person, currently under deposition or threat of deposition by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America that feels unloved and unrequited and enjoys a hatefulness for that province and wishes to thumb their nose at that province but needs a place from which to accomplish that task.  And, of course one gets to remain in the Anglican Communion by way of the Church of Nigeria (or alternatively the Southern Cone).  These persons are also known as Conelonialists.  This reactionary inclusiveness is also known as dual citizenship. 

This whole thing gives new meaning to the old joke how many faux Anglicans does it take to screw up a light bulb province?

WOW! Will wonders never cease!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Great Masquerade

I am certainly no canon lawyer, as I am sure you have all found out.  If you have not I am sure someone like the old A. Curmudgeon will come along and set me (and everyone else he talks to) straight.  That being said, I have some really interesting questions. 

In our denomination, should a deposed priest preside/consecrate the bread and wine and distribute communion to a group of Episcopalians is the deposed priest guilty of a sin?  I always thought he/she would be.  In addition, if the congregation/parishioners (some or all) know that the priest is deposed, then they are also guilty of sin.  (Those that are not genuinely aware I believe are not guilty of sin and in fact, through some metamorphosis actually receive a sacrament.) 

Now, by extrapolation, let's look at say, the "Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin".  All the clergy in the "diocese" have been deposed by a lawful bishop and House of Bishops.  Those individuals who currently attend the rites and services in the Anglican Diocese have been well apprised of the depositions of their clergy.  So, are they all in sin each and every Sunday or not?  Is deposition a relative thing that really exists only in the mind of the deposer and if so what is the real purpose? 

Let's take this one last step.  If a bishop, knowingly brings a deposed priest to a parish and installs that deposed priest as the rector, is the bishop guilty of a grievous sin?  And, if the depose priest destroys the parish (the people now, not the building) who is guilty of sin?  And, if some of the parishioners knowingly participate in the charade including receiving fake sacraments from the deposed priest what then? 

finally, are the clergy deposed by the Episcopal Church deposed throughout the Anglican Communion or just locally?  And are the clergy free to do as they please without recrimination throughout the same Anglican Communion as long as they do not practice in the Episcopal Church.  Now, one rule for response please.  let us assume for the sake of this discussion, that ACNA, AMIA, CANA et al are NOT some Other form of denomination.  THEY think they are Anglican, so are they only deposed as long as they think they are Anglican and as soon as they think they are Calvinist or Methodist or Unitarian are they no longer deposed? 

Lionel?  Mark?  Tobias?  Paul?  What's up?

To enhance your thinking ability I have taken the liberty of added this:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Is Going to Pay For "Our" Excesses? (Really)

Does John Boehner sound like a revamped and re-invigorated Newt Gingrich?  Certainly hearkens back to the early to mid-1990's.  And now, the rallying cry is do not saddle our children and grandchildren with programs and taxes that are needed today.  Let's just cut huge chunks out of the budget so that no one has to pay for those later.  What a huge crock of ***t. 

Let's take a close look.  Education is being cut at both the National and state levels.  Class sizes up, ANY "non-essential" program is O-U-T!  Lets strip these excesses down to the bare bones.  Close schools, eliminate all forms of transportation including, in North Carolina, for racial equity.  So someone thinks that our children and our grandchildren are not going to pay for this?  Who do the Republicans think we are educating?  Our old citizens?  You bet our children are going to pay for this -- not just now but in the future with an inferior education.  And, the right would be perfectly happy to dismantle public education.  Why not only allow those who can afford education to get some.  The rest of our children can go to work.

Let's talk about work.  Wisconsin, among other states, is currently in the process of dismantling collective bargaining.  They governor says he just wants to spread the pain, but the civil servants are willing to take pay cuts and health insurance premium increases but the governor wants to eliminate collective bargaining.  And the Republican Right led by the Tea Party does not want to just have them share the burden, they want labor unions G-O-N-E!  There is no greater advocate for middle class than the bargaining unit.  And who will pay for this?  How about our children and grandchildren when we lose minimum wage guarantees, eliminate child labor laws, eliminate over time pay, work week assurances and most important health care.  Our children will work long hours in sweatshops for little or no pay in company towns that trap persons and families for life. 

Let's talk about child welfare.  Without WIC, MEDICAL/CARE, Head Start our children and grandchildren will pay not just in the future but right now!  Nutrititous meals, basic medical care and early education head start are all gone!  What about Free and Reduced Lunches?  We go back to the days when children do not get to eat three meals a day? 

The size of government is too big?  Let's just lay-off half the workforce, they are just "pulling at the public trough", right?  Who pays for that?  How about all the children affected right now?  How about all the jobs that will collapse and all the many benefits from regulations and oversight -- like banking and lending?  Don't need those do we? How do you think we got into this mess to begin with and yet those clever little folks over on Wall Street have managed to turn the tables and make it all government's fault! 

There was an interview in Madison the other day and the person being interviewed was complaining because of all the "benefits" that one public sector employee or another had gained and bemoaning the fact that they (the speaker) did not have those benefits so why should anyone?  Well folks, you have fallen into the trap set by some very sophisticated wealthy families that have co-opted the Republican Right and Tea Party followers into a stupid argument.  The correct question is how do you get the same benefit?  Duh, how about by organizing?

So who really is going to pay for what and is this the real argument!  I think not since our children and our grandchildren are going to pay the price no matter what we do.  So, what is the answer?  The answer is build a better union, build a better society and let's begin to really care for everyone.  No, you are not going to get rich, okay?  No you are not going to build a portfolio the size of a Rockefeller's or anyone else.  But, you are going to build a just and fair society that builds the community and that lifts us ALL up not just the rich. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Episcopal Church International Lobbying Effort

You read the title of this blog posting and you ask, "What is Fred talking about?  There is an international lobbying effort on behalf of the Episcopal Church?"  Well, you are right.  There is absolutely, positively none --- that can be deciphered by those of us in the pews.  What has been the net result of this lack of bending someones, any one's ear?  Well, Father Mark has the latest in this abomination.  An ACNA deposed priest has now been appointed to anAnglican Communion international body that supposedly does not even recognize who the hell this person is. Furthermore, TEC presence has been greatly reduced on this same committee.   The Episcopal Church has deposed an incredible number of clergy for their schismatic attempts to formalize hate and loathing in the Episcopal Church in particular and the Conelonialist brand of "old time religion" to the Anglican Communion and have been rewarded for their efforts.  WHY? WHY?  WHY?  Because their public relations is on an international level and the Episcopal Church is still trying to be nice.  Despite the fact that over 100 clergy have been deposed including Jack Iker, Robert Duncan and John David Schofield we still refer to them as "bishops".  35 clergy in the diocese of San Joaquin alone have been deposed and yet they are allowed to practice their ordination vows with impunity.  When will the Episcopal Church launch a national and international campaign to have these clergy ostracized for their despicable and hateful behavior?  Why do we not have clergy in every part of the world but especially Canterbury insisting on our depositions being recognized by the entire Anglican Communion?  What is going on? 

The ACNA PR machine coupled with the slow erosion of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion is apparent and growing bolder by the minute.  How else could the Epsicopal presence be reduced on an international committee while simultaneously increasing ACNA presence on that very same committee? 

Sometimes I sits and wonders, sometimes I just sits.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Scale Assault On The Middle Class

I  am a student of politics.  As a student of social revolutionary theory I enjoy watching and discussing such issues as is what is happening in the Middle East right now.  I generally leave the blogging to a much more capable person such as IT or MADPRIEST.  But, I must admit, I am really growing weary of the full scale assault on the middle class that is now underway by the Republican party and rabidly so by the TeaParty.

For your consideration.  How many states are currently after public employee pensions?  What do you suppose the middle class did for old age before pensions?  Now, the goofs want to strip that away since no one is prepared to pay for it?!  Medicare and Social Security are "eating" up our budget and so no one wants to pay to be sure that our parents (and shortly us) will be taken care of in our later years.

For your consideration.  How many states, including Wisconsin, are now attacking employee rights to form a union and bargain collectively?  How does one think we got to be middle class?  Who do you think is going to protect you form child labor, long hours, no vacations, company stores, NO health care, no minimum wage and every other attempt by the very rich to keep every penny they make and give nothing back to those who create the product?

For your consideration.  How many states are balancing the budget on the backs of schools?  We should not increase taxes because our children will pay for it?  And pray tell, how is that going to happen if they cannot get a decent job?  Why would business move to a state where they cannot send their children to the schools because they are awful?  This is really, really, really, dumb!

If you think you are immune or are not touched by one of these and you think you are middle class I suggest you think again and then get out there and do something!  Pretty soon it will be too late.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blind Faith

In this complex and compound world it is sometimes so very difficult to search for and gain answers.  The Conelonialists are but a more perfect example of this very fact.  The apologia from the Episcopal Church wizen is softly complicated and difficult to follow.  The argumentation from the right is uncomplicated, simple it is language and easy to understand.  For many, that is or can be the only answer -- no one wants to think hard and no one wants to believe in something so very complicated, so many take the simple answer.  God said, I believe it and that is all there is to the situation.  Now they can go about their business on a day to day basis unfettered by thoughts that crowd out how to make money, how to spend the money I make and how to live my life.  Blind Faith is on the one hand, uncomplicated and makes for easy living but it obviously overlooks the complicated relationships that God has graced us with.  I think we all know the onion metaphor so I will not go into that one but I must say that when one "discusses" complex issues with the person in the pew that simply does not want their life any more complicated than it has to be, we tend to lose the argument.  The reason leg of the footstool is rather fragile and breaks rather easily.

For those who have been patient with me and waited all this time, yes, there is a song that goes with this little ditty.  Something to think about both the name of the group AND  the song lyrics.  Please do not go away until it is all over -- and I thank you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vanity: My Favorite Sin

There is a lively discussion over at Preludium about ACNA and Robert Duncan and all that that entails.  Everyone is trying to figure out what pushed Robert Duncan to the "limit"; what caused him (and so many like him to go over to the dark side?  Is it the LGBT issue?  Is it the prayerbook issue  Or perhaps it is the need for scripture to reign over reason.  Personal opinion, having lived through the actual day to  day routine with John David Schofield is that it is pride -- or more apropos, vanity.  And what is vanity?  Here is the wikipedia definition:

In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility.[1] The related term vainglory is now often seen as an archaic synonym for vanity, but originally meant boasting in vain, i.e. unjustified boasting;[2] although glory is now seen as having an exclusively positive meaning, the Latin term gloria (from which it derives) roughly means boasting, and was often used as a negative criticism.[3]

In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility.In many religions vanity, in its modern sense, is considered a form of self-idolatry, in which one rejects God for the sake of one's own image, and thereby becomes divorced from the graces of God

This whole sordid mess reminds me of a conversation in the Devil's Advocate,  a movie starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.  In one of the concluding scenes the discussion between the two attorneys heats up.  It goes like this:

I'm a lawyer! That's my job!

That's what I do!
I rest my case.

Vanity... definitely my favorite sin.
Kevin, it's so basic.
The all-natural opiate.
It's not that you didn't care for Mary Ann, Kevin...'s just that you were a little more involved with someone else.

You're right.
I did it all.
I let her go.
Don't be too hard on yourself, Kevin.
You wanted something more.

Believe me.
I left her behind and just kept going.
You can't keep punishing yourself.
It's awesome how far you've come.
I didn't make it easy.
Not for you.....or your sister.
Half-sister, to be exact.
Some scene, huh?
Don't let him scare you.
I've had so many children.
I've had so many disappointments.
Mistake after mistake.
And then there's you.
The two of you.

What do you want from me?

I want you to be yourself.
You know, I'll tell you,'s like a bag of fucking bricks.
All you got to set it down.
I know what you're going through.
I've been there.
Just come here. Come here.
Let it go.
I can't do that.
Who are you carrying all those bricks for?
Is that it?
I'll tell you.....let me give you a little inside information about God.
God likes to watch.
He's a prankster.
Think about it.
He gives man......instincts.
He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do?
I swear, for his own amusement......his own private, cosmic......gag reel.....He sets the rules in opposition.
It's the goof of all time.
Look, but don't touch.
Touch, but don't taste.
Taste, but don't swallow.
And while you're jumping from one foot to the next, what is He doing?
He's laughing his sick, fucking ass off!
He's a tightass!
He's a sadist!
He's an absentee landlord!
Worship that? Never!
"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven," is that it?

After reading the dialog can't you picture Robert Duncan or Jack Iker or John David Schofield in the role opposite Al Pacino?  I surely can.  NO, the core issue with ACNA is vanity.  So let's turn the tables on these folks for just one more second and quote scripture right back at them:  Ecclesiastes 1:1 "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

And so it goes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The PR machine that is the Global South

I am now watching as the next step in the Global south public relations program kicks into high gear.  Way back when, specifically the Jerusalem Declaration, in a little preface work, the Conelonialists siad that the Archbishop of Canterbury was NOT NECESSARY for an Anglican Communion.  That discussion lay dormant for many months and then a few months ago the rhetoric kicked in.  With the advent of the Primate's meeting in Dublin the PR moved into high gear.  Look at ACI, ACNA, or even the Soundings Board over at the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and you will see that there is a call for the Archbishop of Canterbury to step aside/down/get the hell out of the way.  Read the trash that was posted in South Carolina when Micahel Nazir-Ali was there.  If he isn't bucking for the top job then ain't nobody.  Even our goofy friends in Fresno think he would be good for the job. 

I digress.  The fact is that we, the Episcopal Church of the United States has been one step behind all the public relations stuff from ACNA and the Anglican Communion has been having it's tail wagged by the great PR folks from the Global South.  They make some silly argument and we bite.  They say it is the numbers and we bite.  They say it is Canterbury and we bite.  When is this going to change?  Well, it isn't going to change until we (local, national, international) decide to go on the offensive.  Take away that leading edge that the Global south always seems to have.  We need to put them on the defensive once and for all.  How you ask?  Well, how about for starters those that have been deposed by our diocese and province are not recognized by the international bodies that allow them  to play in he sandbox?  How about we start to create a public relations campaign that the Global South has to take account of?  How about we start with the issue of full inclusiveness and the fact that the vast majority of the global south are bigoted haters who cannot stand personal liberty and free will?

A special note to the laity of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. You have never been recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, regardless of what John David Schofield says.  Now, if you read Soundings, you will find that you are moving inexorably away from even an association with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  John David Schofield PROMISED you the split would bring you closer not further away?  How much more information o you need to see that you have been grossly mislead?  Come on home, we have left the light on.