Sunday, May 29, 2011

Everybody is An Expert!

Do tell, seems everyone is an expert.  From education, I went to school so I must know how to run an educational institution to our professional military.  We have taken the idea of "do it yourself" way to far. For the most recent example, here is the mouthpiece of the Ahmanson's, David Anderson;
This weekend is when the United States remembers all of those in the Armed Forces who have given their life for the cause of their country since our founding as a nation. In addition to giving thanks for the price paid by those who served - those killed, wounded, or safely returned - and how they have defended our freedom and liberty, let all Americans be vigilant so that this price was not paid in vain. Since we are in difficult times and the military leaders are being pushed to accept "progressive" social viewpoints, let us pray for our military leaders, that they truly will have the brass to stand up to the social agenda many politicians are pushing, and the pressures from a President whose stand is already clear.
Seems that Mr. Anderson has decided that the leaders of our armed forces are driven by a social agenda.  Clearly, Mr. Anderson has no concept of what or how or why the Joint Chiefs of Staff make decisions.  I will say this, most, in fact I believe all, have faced combat at one time or another in their careers.  Certainly those in the Army and Marine Corps have -- if not Iraq, Afghanistan or Viet Nam.  Mr. Anderson has already decided for the Joint Chiefs that having someone next to you in combat that is LGBT will hamper your chances of staying alive.  Clearly, Mr. Anderson has never EVER been in combat.  With bullets and RPGs and mortars flying all around no one cares about one's sexual orientation and certainly no one is going to ask you about it.  I was in tanks, and tanks are staffed by four persons. I never asked and I never cared -- we were too close to worry about those things.  We relied on each other to stay alive -- that, for me is the issue and I think that is the issue for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Let me be clear, I had no social agenda in my tank other than staying alive and the people I worked with never let me down and I never let them down.  Mr. Anderson, you ouht to stick to what you know -- if there is anything.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Any More Questions?

Well, the revelations over the past few days by Colin Slee and the "bigwigs" in the Church of England should have removed all doubt about the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Covenant.  Many in and out of the Episcopal Church in the United States have talked and debated and discussed and thought and prayed all to the end that we must slowly and deliberately consider this Anglican Communion.  Now we find out that we were all "getting played" by the guy that could not imagine a world without the Anglican Communion being led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his right hand guy, the Archbishop of York. 

Well, way back when I wrote this "Isn't There Something About Lying ++Rowan Williams".  And a little later we wrote this about his work "Tokens of Trust".  And I wrote this about the similarities between Rowan Williams and Neville Chamberlain.  All in all I wrote about the machinations of the Archbishop of Canterbury almost 25 times.  What I suspected has now been proven to be true.  The fact is the (arch) Bishop has transformed himself into a pawn.  A pawn of those forces that seek unity in place of God.  The forces that seek hegemony instead of universality.  The forces that seek to destroy anyone or anything that gets in the way of power and corruption.  The forces that seek to refuse to accept Christ's commandment to reach out into the world and love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. 

There is an old adage that goes "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and once again we have first hand knowledge of that.  Now, I ask the question I have asked on many occasions, "Is this the Anglican Communion that we (the Episcopal Church in the United States of America) wish to remain in communion with?  It is not just the refusal of the Archbishop to accept, really and truly accept, LGBTI persons as fully God's children but it is the evil and mean spirited ways in which the Archbishop of Canterbury has gone about keeping them out of full inclusion.  The lying, the cheating, the power-grabbing, the two-faced bold-faced untruths that he has told not only in his writing but in his daily actions.  Is this what we aspire to?  Is this what we wish to remain a part of?  Is this what we long for in our relationships both here and abroad? Is this the head of OUR Communion?

I will once again renew my plaint that we must be about the business our Lord and his father created for us.  If others wish to follow fine, if not fine.  But, let's not fool ourselves any longer.  "As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

John Guernsey Finally Gets What He Really Wants -- A Real Purple Shirt

Many, many years ago, in a land called Virginia, our family was one of 36 families that made a difference in a place called Dale City.  We began as a mission of St. Margret's, Woodbridge, VA and met in an elementary school cafeteria that served on Sundays as our "little church".  From that came a growing and loving community that Father Chuck Stein nurtured and developed.  Then, Father Stein retired and we began the arduous search for a new rector.  During the interim we had a marvelous woman, one of the first ever ordained, and then, John AM Guernsey.  John was smart, talented, a good preacher and very ambitious.  From the very beginning, he believed he was marked for greatness.

We left that parish in 1983 and travelled back to the land of our ancestors.  John stayed and worked hard but apparently never quite made it to bishop -- until the Ugandans decided he should have a purple shirt.  Listening at times (actually reading) John was never completely comfortable until now.  He has been elected bishop of the Mid-Atlantic faux thingy that is part of the pretend church in America -- Yep, ACNA.  To read his submissions to the selection committee reads like any other anxious, ambitious, over-reaching priest with a need to be a bishop.  Clearly not satisfied with his work as a pastor, even in a huge flock, loved by most of that group, his need to be a bishop has driven him, just like so many others in that fakeAnglican group.  Names like Minns and Thompson and yes, even in our own circle,  Daniel Martins. 

It is interesting to note that in John's most recent missives he needed to be a bishop, consecrated in the United States.  Why, I have no real idea other than ambition and perhaps envy.

"Such men as he be never at heart's ease whiles they behold a greater than themselves, and therefore are they very dangerous."

Congratulations John, you finally got what you have sought most of your ordained life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Elasticity of the Anglican Communion

There are segments still debating the Anglican Covenant prior to a vote at Convention.  Folks are still looking for reasons to either support or defeat the Covenant.  If there are pros and cons; if there are good things and bad things about the covenant then I believe less is more.

Let us begin with putting lipstick on a pig.  Many claim that the "new" version of the covenant is so much better than the old version.  That the basis for creating the covenant, namely Windsor 1.10 and the actions of both TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada in their radical inclusivity are no longer the point.  Well, I think a bad idea is a bad idea no matter how one dresses it up.  The pig, is still the pig.

Let us talk about the "consequences" clause of the covenant.  Better to be on the inside working to moderate those issues than to be on the outside?  What a waste of time and by the way, there will be times when one is not the majority nor could one swing a majority and then what?  We argue and we fight and we discuss and we debate and we endlessly struggle when our energy should/could be better spent working Christ's saving grace in the world. Why would anyone in their right Christian mind stop to argue about issues that have absolutely no bearing on our work in the world?  We have already spent way too much time on a document that has no real flavor and we must be about God's work in the world.  If we want to spend this much time on a concept how about we figure out what we, the Episcopal Church in the United States really do stand for and articulate that in some form of a strong, loving, Christian statement that brings people to TEC and through TEC to the saving grace of our Lord and Savior.  Wow! what a concept.

Finally, the Anglican communion is incredibly elastic.  For years we have struggled with evangelical, orthodox, liberal, high church and low church and all sorts of issues have come and gone.  Some times we hug everyone and sometimes we don't.  We have done this without benefit of primates and archbishops handing down their brand of Christianity.  The idea of "take it or leave it" is a false dichotomy that no one needs to subscribe to, lest of all us. Let's not take the elasticity out of the Anglican Communion and replace it with some half baked notion that if one archbishop is good than two must be better and a gaggle of archbishops must be best.Let us reject this document because we are much more open to God's word and much more able to move with the Spirit, that is what the elasticity does for all of us. 

The Anglican Covenant began as a bad idea, it continues to be a bad idea, and it continues to occupy our time way out of proportion.  We do not NEED a covenant, no one does.  Let us continue just as we are and get on with our Savior's business.  As Jesus once said, "Let the dead bury the dead."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Here We Go Again

The Anglican Covenant just will not go away.  Here is the latest from Tobias Haller and In a Godward direction.  His latest is Capacity and Potentiality.  One of the drawbacks of the three-legged stool approach is rational people can disagree and must discuss.  Tobias says we should support the covenant because it does not mean what it set out to mean and because it is better to be a part of the process where a process is inevitable. (Sure hope I got that right).  I think Tobias Haller is a clear, rational, logical thinker who explores all avenues and comes to well-thought out conclusions.  This time, he is just wrong.

The Anglican Covenant is a bad idea.  If the Anglican Communion wants to stay together it has all the wherewithal right now.  Been together since 1878 or so been functioning just fine for lo these many years.  Did I mention that the Anglican Covenant is a bad idea?  We can put lipstick on that pig but whose gonna kiss the pig?  A bad idea is a bad idea and no amount of ribbons and bows is going to make it more attractive.  You want a covenant? See the baptismal covenant?  You want a covenant, see the two great commandments?  You want to use and abuse people?  See GAFCON/FCA/CANA and the rest of the alphabet soup. 

Being a part of the process merely legitimizes the process, especially for those that look to The Episcopal Church of the Untied States for Leadership?  Being a part of the process compromises the Episcopal Church's stance on inclusivity.  Being a part of the process sounds a little like 1939, especially as it involves the LGBT community.

Sometimes a little rebellion is a good idea, just ask Thomas Jefferson.  If the only choice is the Anglican Covenant with the Anglican Communion or no Anglican Communion.  Well, to the Anglican Communion I will say, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

H/T Tobias Haller

Absolutely, Positively, The Last Time I Will Write About the Anglican Covenant (Until Next time)

The REAL Anglican Covenant:  "Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40.  This passage also appears in Mark and Luke in slightly different language but the same covenant. 

Once again, many of our most learned members of the Episcopal Church continue to grind on the Anglican Communion Covenant.  Is this not a waste of time, talent, and treasure?  Could these folks better spend their time figuring out "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin"? 

We are the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and by now, it is clear to the international community that the covenant we follow is summed up in the two great commandments.  Nothing is going to change that.  Nothing is going to somehow magically change the voices of those who would punish and kill those members of our community that wish to "have life abundantly".  We work on our relationship with God and our neighbor virtually everyday and nothing he Global south or the folks that like to confess everything but their sins against their fellow man/woman can say or do to stop us. 

So I ask, why all the "deep and serious" writing about "The Anglican Covenant"?  If it is because the Archbishop of Canterbury "asked" us to I need to say why?  The last time that happened in any serious vein I think we formed and Army and beat the snot out of Cornwallis.  Do we think that somehow the "Anglican Communion" in all it's glory outweighs the message in Matthew, Mark, and Luke?  I certainly hope not.  Does it make any sense at all to "review and discuss and vote" on a covenant that will set up the primates so that they can then be the new and improved Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? For my money, I have heard nothing from a single one of them, including the Archduke of ACNA and the Global South that even closely approximates the message Jesus gave us.  Why then would we allow this bigoted, mean-spirited, evil group of men "run the Anglican Communion" let alone tell us how and what to think.

This covenant deserves no time, no energy, no more paper and ink and no more thought.  We need to use our precious resources to serve the hungry, needy, naked, and imprisoned. We need to be about "our Father's business."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

De Plan(e) ... De Plan(e) ... De Plan(e)

As the scene opens there is a plane circling Heathrow Airport and a former bishop from San Joaquin is waiting with a limousine and a driver.  Suddenly, John David looks up, sees the plane with faux bishop Martyn Minns on board and begins to yell ... well you know how that story goes, we've seen it on TV about a few hundred times, except that life is frequently stranger than fiction.

What seems like 20 years ago was only 2007 when former bishop, now Mr. Schofield, announced that he was taking his diocese with him to get closer to Canterbury.  He made the rounds to virtually every parish in the San Joaquin Diocese and explained that for many reasons, but chiefly the issue of remaining close to the archbishop of Canterbury and "our" Anglican history, it was necessary to break away from the apostate Episcopal Church of the United States in order to stay in communion with the Anglican Communion. 

So Mr. Schofield took a large chunk of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin into what could only be called "purgatory" (the place between heaven (Canterbury) and hell (TEC,)).  Note that until now, and despite the many and varied lies being told by not only John David but Bob Duncan and Jack Iker as well as others the ACNA, the breakaway diocese of San Joaquin, Quittsburgh, and Fort Wrath, have never been recognized or accepted (tacitly or other wise) by Canterbury.  That means that their orders are still not valid and the sacraments they have tried to confer, including ordination and consecration are not valid. I mention that in passing for our laity in these diocese who some how think they have been receiving valid sacraments lo these last few years.

Now, the plan, ah yes, the ever changing always one step ahead plan of these neer-do-wells has brought them a fake bishop in a real place in England.  How much more clever of a ruse can one get than to set up their version of the Anglican Communion in of all places, Anglicanland!  Yep, Martyn Minns is going to head up the new GAFCON/FCA version of the Anglican Communion in merry olde England.  How much better can it get?  The global south gets rid of the millstone (and the charge of incursions), the silly little people who still think they are bishops in some branch of the church get to claim they are Anglican, Martyn Minns gets as much power (maybe more) than Archduke Duncan and all the laity gets to finally be claimed by someone in England as being part of some version of the Anglican Communion.  Yep, it can only be minutes before Minns recognizes the ACNA as part of the world wide Anglican Communion, whopee!  Or better, abracadabra, open your eyes and see we are now the Anglican Communion.

What started out as a stupid little movement in the United States by a few men who could not stand to be given orders by a woman and who wanted more and more power has turned into a colossal cluster "****" involving the entire Anglican Communion and making most of that communion irrelevant, including themselves.

Mr. Schofield, Mr. Chapman, Mr. Duncan, thanks so very much, we find your plan to be unacceptable.  Please do not go away mad, just go away!

More later.

H/T Fr. Mark

Friday, May 13, 2011

What Is The Mightest Navy In The World Afraid Of? Hint: Initials stand for Republican

Well, what do you think would scare the stuffing out of the United States Navy?  The Iraqi navy?  No way1  The Russian Navy?  Absolutely not!  How about the maritime marauders of the world, the British?  Nope, it ain’t them at all!  So who do you think would scare the strongest, mightiest, bravest Navy in the world?  Yep, it is the Republican Party.  Specifically, you may remember that the Navy only a few days ago approved the use of Navy base chapels for same-sex blessings.  Now, there were some caveats, but none the less the Navy’s highest authority approved this.  See my blog Is Hate A Republican Value?.  In that same article the Christian right-wing tea-party folks raised objections.  The same old tired garbage, the Defense of Marriage Act. (Never mind that their own justice department will not defend against suits brought in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, just ask Eric Holder, Attorney-General.)   
Well, the mightiest Navy in the world has “cowtowed” to the Republican Christian right.  And, here is what was said,
"There was some attention on the Hill," Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told reporters Wednesday morning. "That raised the issue so that the (Pentagon) legal counsel then again took a look (and) determined it needed further review."

I particularly like the segment, “there was some attention on the Hill” .  That is akin to saying that Japan had an earth tremor last month.  The pleasant euphemism for the Christian right is “attention on the Hill”. 

At this point I would like to point out the Navy Seal Team 6 flew into Pakistan with no prior warning, one helicopter crashed, and still they took out Osama bin Laden, about three other bad guys, and left as quietly as they came in.  How could this same group, albeit on a larger scale, be so concerned about a little attention on the Hill as to make a public reversal on a huge public statement that came from the highest authority in the Navy? 

On the other side of the issue, Servicemembers United Executive Director Alexander Nicholson insisted the Navy was within its rights on same-sex marriage policy.

 Nicholson said the Pentagon should not be distracted by "pressure from reactionaries."

 "At a time when the economy still needs attention, Osama bin Laden was just killed, and revolution and conflict continue to rage across a fragile Middle East, having policy makers spend valuable and limited time on whether a few gay couples may or may not use a Navy facility for a private ceremony at some point in the future is just plain silly," Nicholson said in a statement sent to CNN.

 "The Navy was right in their analysis last month that nothing stands in the way of operating facilities without discrimination, and further review will no doubt validate that position," said Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, which supports same-sex marriage.

 So, like the incursion into Pakistan, if they got it right, what is the problem?  (hint: money)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is HATE the Real Republican Agenda?

Since the election of last fall and the entry of the "T-party" folks it seems that the real agenda for the Republicans is HATE!  They hate the poor, because the poor need help like food stamps, health care and head start.  The Republicans hate the the middle class.  All those civil servants giving up a lifetime to serve the needs of the people and then expecting a pension?  Well, no T-party person worth their salt is going to let that happen!  They hate the unions because the unions have brought better wages, better working conditions and better retirement systems.  They hate kids otherwise why would they try to educate a student on no revenue in order to protect the rich?  And they certainly hate the LGBT community, especially the part where everyone is treated with equity.

The US Navy announced recently that they were going to allow same-sex weddings to take place on/in Navy chapels in places that do not violate state laws. See Navy Allows to read the whole article.  This is all in response to the DADT change in policy.  But,

A letter from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, to the secretary of the Navy asking him to block the change has been signed by 63 members of Congress, according to Akin's website.

Akin says the Navy's permission for gay weddings in military chapels, once the current policy formally is ended, would violate the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, we already know that the Department of Justice will refuse to defend this silly and hateful law but apparently the T-party doesn't care about that, or anything else.  C;learly the Republican party simply want to pursue their agenda of HATE.

Hat Tip To CNN

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Osama bin Laden: A Birdwalk

So very much has been written about the killing of Osama bin Laden and I think I have read most of the work.  Most recently the work of NT Wright in the Church Times: The US plays with myths of heroism
and I think I am sorry I have.  There is way too much hand wringing and worrying over the surgical strike that killed Osama bin Laden. Wright discusses the perceived need for a international body to "handle" these types of situations.  I think not,  the interests of a nation are far to important to water down and trust to an international group that has politics as its basic mode of operation.  Nations are from time to time required to act in their own best interests.  This was one of those cases.

Wright then goes on to talk about the Christian gospel still "waiting".  This will not garner me any friends but I would choose for this world to be not ruled by a faith based process.  The problem with theocracies is that it becomes a matter of interpretation and I am unimpressed with any one's interpretation  of "God's will" on this earth -- be it God or Allah or Shiva or Confucius or any other "god".  I am willing to allow for those things to be rendered to Caesar and those things rendered to God, so as to speak.

Finally, Wright ways, ": (a) the forces of law and order are weak and in­efficient; (b) the bad guys are getting away with it; (c) the hero has to act outside the law, under cover, to perform the redemptive violence that will restore order to the embattled community. "

So we can set the record straight, the international forces of law and order are weak and inefficient. The bad guys do get away with it, even God admits that.  And, it is a matter of interpretation if the hero has to act outside the law, under cover to perform redemptive violence that will restore order. 

And yes, if there was a group of "pick your favorite terrorist group" was hiding out in the United States and the US refused to do anything about it after a significant terrorist act was performed by this group, then another country could swoop in and resolve the issue and I do not think I would mind nor do I think our government would mind. 

What the Untied States did after September 11 was promise that the perpetrators would be found and captured or killed.  We simply fulfilled on that promise.  To do less would have given license to the forces of evil to do it all over again.  Action with consequence is a basic disciplinary rule.

This is Real Anglicans and this post is a basic bird walk from my usual stuff, I apologize.