26 June 2009

Our brother Luiz and the Daily Episcopalian

Make sure to go read today's Daily Episcopalian where our brother and friend Luiz Coelho has an article published about iconography. It is an excellent article and the first of two parts.

25 June 2009

Prayers for Michael Jackson

It has been reported that Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest and is in a coma. According to sources, "It does not bode well for Michael.'

Regardless of our feelings about him, we should pray for him and his family.

UPDATE: The LA Times and CBS news are reporting that Michael has died.

Strategic Planning and the Episcopal Church

"The Episcopal Church is at a watershed moment." So begins the plea by the Strategic planning committee for Episcopalians to complete a brief on-line survey.
We have the opportunity to become a truly multicultural church and are poised to effectively reach the "spiritual but not religious" in new ways. Technological and cultural changes sweep our planet at an ever-increasing pace. Never before has it been easier to spread our message. Never before has it been more critical for our message to be shared.
Folks, if you want your views known by the leadership of TEC, this is your chance. You have the opportunity to shape how we advance as a church. "Your voice sacred."
Your response will shape the decisions made by the Strategic Planning Committee as it drafts a plan for consideration by the church. The results of this survey will be publicly accessible this fall.
Please take three minutes and visit this site and take the strategic planning committee survey. This is a chance to make your views known to the national church.

24 June 2009

A wee roll of the drum, please

In the midst of moving, nursing my arthritic feet aggravated by the packing and standing and moving, and trying to keep abreast of the schismatic circus, I overlooked a very important event in the life of our blog-brother at The Wayward Episcopalian.

Nathan has graduated from Dartmouth. My heartfelt congratulations to Wayward on this very important event. He is now educated!

What ever Nathan chooses to do, he will enrich that profession. I hope that that future includes a vocation to the priesthood. He'll make a smashing deacon, or priest, or eventually, a bishop.

Congratulations, my friend. All blessins on the new journey.

Duplicity, thy name is ACNA

The Washington Post has an article on the so-called ACNA convention.

The article tells us that, in addition to Lambeth Palace, nine provinces sent observers/representatives. The article did not identify the representatives or the provinces. I must say that nine of thirty-eight provinces isn't a very grand showing. I distinctly recall Duncan stating that the majority of provinces supported the schismatic movement in the AC. If so, why were they not represented at the convention.

That didn't matter to Duncan who proclaimed "The Anglican Province of North America has been constituted."

That is a falsehood. There is no "province" of North America. There is no 39th province of the Anglican Communion. The primates were resolute on that at the recent meeting. Facts/truth, however, never matter to the schismatics.

Duncan went on to say
There is a great reformation of the Christian church under way. While much of mainline Protestantism is finding itself adrift from its moorings ... there is an ever-growing stream of North American Protestantism that has re-embraced Scripture's authority.
I shan't hold my breath waiting for divorced and remarried schismatics to be excommunicated. Nor shall I expect liars, thieves and gossipers to be excommunicated, -- that would remove the entire leadership of the organization. So much for scripture's authority in their community.

Duncan sticks to the script though and even plays the "Robinson card." The problem is that a few paragraphs later his cohort in crime, Schofield, says
This represents more than 20 years of work and sacrifice. It's good to be part of a House of Bishops where there's love, cooperation and a desire to support each other.
Three things need a comment
  • Twenty years ago Robinson was an unknown cleric in a quiet wee diocese. Robinson cannot be the catalyst for the schism. the schism was planned twenty years ago.
  • There is no love or support in TEC's house of bishops? Schofield hasn't attended the TEC house of bishops for years and neither has Duncan. They have no clue how much love and support there was/is in that house. I will admit that it would have been difficult for the HOB to support Duncan and Schofiled as they attempted to steal TEC property and pervert the gospel.
  • What sacrifice? Not one of the schismatics, especially their leaders, sacrificed anything. The fact is, they tried to steal everything they could get their hands on.
The article points out another falsehood. As much as they would like the world to believe their organization is not based on hetrosexism and homophobia, but it's right there in their founding documents.
Among other provisions, [the canons] forbid ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.
No, this isn't about gays, but they put "no gays" into the founding documents. This isn't about women's ordination, but let's put no wimmin in the founding documents.

Someone is telling falsehoods here, folks. Who can it be.

An organization founded on deceit cannot endure. To accomplish their egotistical goals, they have lied to everyone about nearly everything.

Even if the various groups do not turn to cannibalism, the dishonesty will drive people away. There is a limit to how much dishonesty one can tolerate. There is a limit to how much abuse one will endure from leadership. The laity will leave, sooner or later, for other pastures.

But, they won't take the property with them! At least not in Texas. Iker recently told those of his clergy who were contemplating swimming the Tiber that they would go with his blessing but they would not take their parish property with them - not no how, not no way.

But, you say, doesn't their new constitution specifically state that the property belongs to the local parish not to the diocese? Ah, more duplicity.

UPDATE: In my post yesterday I predicted a great "falling away" as the duplicity was realized. Today Jim posts at the Lead that the ACNA figure of 100,000 member is now 69,000 members.

This means in one year they have gone from a "mega force to be reckoned with" of 250,000 down to 69,000 members in all of North America. No members, no property (except in Falls Church), fifty bishops. I wonder now many of that 69,000 are clergy. This organization is looking more like the Old Catholics every day.

Make sure to read Jim's post here.

23 June 2009

Hail the bright millennial day

It is all true, dear readers, every word of it.

All wars will cease Wednesday at 7.30 p.m. central time. Hunger will be eradicated; the Commies will renounced communism; socialism will die throughout the world; illnesses will be instantly cured.

The world about to be saved - true redemption is here! Jesus is back and his name is Robert. And it will all happen Wednesday evening in Texas when the not-Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan will become archbishop of The (no such thing as) Anglican Church in North America.

I rejoice in the dawn of the millennial day. Well, actually, I'm a-fixin' to rant some.

Monday USA Today published an article about Luther Duncan and the schismatic movement. I find one quote from His Lordship to be rather funny. In speaking of ordination of women, Duncan said that the "Just say No Communion" may continue to ordain women as deacons and priests, but under no circumstances will women be consecrated (nor will openly gay men -- those in the closet are perfectly acceptable).
Pushing forward to name them as bishops is seen by the rest of the Anglican Communion as a sad and arrogant American approach. The bishop is the symbol of the diocese and putting someone other dioceses do not recognize as capable of holding the office in the post is divisive in the international church.
Now, that is funny folks. Bob Duncan calling anyone arrogant. Bob has a trademark on that attribute.

It is arrogance to promote divisive candidates to the episcopacy? There is a host of dioceses that see Duncan, Schofield, Iker, Akinola, and Martin Minns as "not capable" of holding the post and extremely divisive. That doesn't matter though; those divisive men are part of the "decider" group.

Duncan claims they have about 100,000 members (down from 250,000+ they claimed last year - talk about attrition!) and fifty bishops. Keep in mind that that the male Peerage includes bishops of eight malcontent groups that defected from TEC over inconsequential issues throughout the past 150 years.

Duncan makes one statement that we must examine.
[We are about] The reliability of Scripture, the Catholic tradition and Pentecostal power. The Anglican Church bridges all three. If you see the love of Jesus in us, you will join.
As for the first sentence,
  • The "reliability of Scripture" applies only when it is convenient. When it touches their own sins, scripture is not reliable and is interpreted/changed/ignored so that their activities may continue.
  • Catholic Tradition? Catholic Tradition would have removed Duncan form his priesthood at least fifteen years ago. The Duncanites do not care one iota for catholic tradition.
  • Pentecostal Power? Anglicans and Pentecostal Power. Ah, here we are again - the Life in the Spirit movement is at the very root of this whole mess.
Let's take a look at what the The Pentecostal power brings.
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Galatians 5.22
The Duncanite Kingdom fails in six of the nine gifts of the spirit.

I see nothing of "the love of Jesus" in their leadership. As far back as the Chapman Memo (and before that) Duncan has done all in his power to inflict major damage to The Episcopal Church. He and his cohorts have consistently sought to exclude people - the antithesis of what Jesus did. They have lied; they have cheated; they have committed fraud; they have been the recipients of stolen assets. In short, they have been the largest group of dishonest people since the Reconstruction.

Here is just one example of the love these people have. I thank a blog friend for permission to use this story.
This last week we buried "Mrs. Schonberg" the last surviving founder of "St. Swithen's in the Glenn" Episcopal Church. The funeral was at "St. Hepzibah's" Episcopal Church because the building at St. Swithin's is occupied by members of the the schismatic diocese.

The priest at St. Swithin's changed the locks after the vestry voted to stay in TEC and fired him because he had followed the bishop to align with the Southern Cone). The vestry wanted to call an Episcopal priest. Now the Episcopalians are worshiping in a Lutheran Church parish hall.

"Mrs Schonberg's" heart broke long before she died because she knew her funeral would not be in the beautiful building in which she and Methuselah, her husband, had worshiped from its beginning. She was 93.

Almost daily, I hear from older Episcopalians who are grieving over the fact that their husband or wife's ashes are in the columbarium of a building in which they are no longer welcome.

You have no idea of the heartbreak caused to hundreds of Episcopalians by these folks.
What was it Duncan said? "If you see the love of Jesus in us, you will join."

There is nothing loving or positive about them or their image. They are founded exclusively on hate.

Other reports state that the Archbishop of Canterbury sent +Santosh Marray (retired bishop of the Seychelles) to the Duncanite convention. At first I was incredulous. (Well, not really because I would believe anything about him except a report that the told the schismatics to get out of Dodge.

But, I think there is wisdom in what Rowan has done here. The brilliant Chinese general and military strategist Sun-tsu (circa 400 BC) said: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Like Sun-tsu, Rowan probably wants a first hand report from a trusted source about the meeting in Texas.

Duncan sees this as affirmation of his divine call, however (how else would he see it?) . In a BBC interview Sunday, he said that Rowan has encouraged him to apply for formal membership in the Anglican Communion and that the ABC personally supports Duncan.

I wouldn't Bob Duncan if he said the sun was shining and I was staked spread-eagled in the desert at noon and could feel the heat and the sunburn. I also can't quite believe that Rowan is that stupid.

But delusional people always distort things and desperate people grasp any life preserver they can find. Duncan et al are grasping at straws in this, their last hurrah.

Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have replied to a woman who asked if the new United States would be a monarchy or a republic, "A republic if you can keep it." The schismatics cannot keep their ecclesial community. Wednesday evening is simply the apex of the movement but also the first day of their demise.

I have it on good authority that this is will be the closing hymn at Wednesdays' coronation.

Hail! Thou long expected Bobby
Come to set schismatics free
from their minds and from T.E.C.
All their hope is found in thee.

Bigots' hope and consolation
hope of all AC thou art
Dear desire of every province,
save us all from Evil Kate.

Born True Christians to deliver,
born a pipsqueak but our King,
born to reign o'er us forever,
now thy gracious province bring.

Here's the mitre and the crosier,
use them well to fight the foe!
Smite the homos and the wimmin
who no longer know their place.

By thine own eternal Ego
rule our hearts of stone alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise a church that's homo-free.


21 June 2009

Trinity II

The Second Sunday after Trinity
Proper 7

(RCL) 1 Samuel 17: 32-49; Job 38:1-11; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41
    Introit: Look Thou upon me, O Lord, and have mercy on me: for I am alone and poor. See my abjection and my labor; and forgive me all my sins, O my God. -- (Ps. 24. 1, 2). To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed.
“Have you considered my servant Job?” God asked the Adversary in the first chapter of Job. And that was the fateful question, the catalyst, the push that set in motion a chain of events that would leave Job near despair.

Job had seven sons and three daughters, and his livestock numbered in the hundreds. He was not only prosperous, he was good, or to use the more appropriate and specific Biblical word, he was “righteous.” In defending himself before God, Job declared, “I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. ... I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.” And we have no reason to believe that Job was not telling the truth.

But disaster overcame this man of righteousness and prosperity. The livestock were killed by marauders and natural disaster, and his children were all killed when a tornado struck the house in which they were having a party. Finally, Job himself was afflicted with a chronic, painful, debilitating illness.

However, Job still had his wife and his friends, although he may have wished more than once that they, too, had been in the house with his children. “Curse God and die,” his wife urged. And his friends were no better. “Who that was innocent ever perished?” they asked. And “Happy is the one whom God reproves; therefore do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” In short, these friends insisted that Job was in the wrong and God was in the right.

When Job could take it no longer, he burst out, “God has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me. ... God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces ... though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.” What kind of God is this, Job asked, who allows the wicked to “live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? ... How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?”

The story of Job, of course, is the human story. His misfortunes were more dramatic than the misfortunes most of us will encounter, but they were different from ours only in degree, not in kind. Life is tragic, and to fail to appreciate the tragedy of human life is to fail to be fully human.

But what makes Job most like us are his questions. Job’s questions went on and on and on until he was worn out, and his friends were worn out, and God was just about worn out.

To be human and to be thoughtful at all is to question much. Job’s questions are our questions: “Why do the wicked prosper and the innocent suffer?”

Other questions, less momentous but no less persistent, linger at the corner of our awareness: Does the one I love also love me? What can I do with my life that will give me happiness and fulfillment? Will I have enough resources to live on in old age?

And above all we wonder: Why must I suffer and die? Why must those I love suffer and die?

At times these questions spin about us like a whirlwind. Job’s questions were like that, too, until finally, one day, Someone spoke to Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? ... Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

Job’s questions got answered with more questions. In asking Job these questions, God seemed to be saying that there is no answer to Job’s questions, or at least, there is no answer that Job can understand. The point of the Book of Job appears to be that there are some questions to which there are no answers, or no answers that the human mind can wrap itself around. That’s can be frustrating, especially to those of us who like to believe that any question can be answered, any problem solved, if we apply reason to it and study it and do research.

So, is Job merely a rebuke to human reason, to the quest to make sense of life and answer unanswerable questions? Or does Job offer us some comfort in those sleepless nights when our mind just won’t stop asking questions?

The answer of Job is more, much more, than the mere assertion that life’s big questions are unanswerable.

Job got more than just a rebuke; he got God. And so do we. In the midst of the questions, in the midst of the whirlwind and turmoil, there is God. Just as surely as God came to Job, God comes to us.

Furthermore, this God who came to Job and comes to us is a God who hears our questions and speaks to us. God doesn’t always answer our questions, for perhaps we do not even know enough to ask the right questions, much less to understand the answer. But this God who speaks in the midst of the whirlwind is a God who chooses to be in relationship to us.

Consider another Biblical tale that we heard this morning. Jesus and the disciples boarded a fifteen-foot fishing boat to cross from west to east across the Sea of Galilee. It should have been a short, uneventful journey, but instead they encountered a fierce storm. The comparison to human life is irresistible.

Job, too, had every reason to think that his journey across life’s sea would be uneventful, that he would grow old and die in prosperity, with the comfort of his wife and family around him. What more can any of us wish for?

But storms arise. Like Job, the disciples asked, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” It is a question that we are bound to ask time and time again on life’s journey.

Human life is lived under the sign of the question mark, and if that were the only sign over human life, we might well despair.

However, the Christian faith asserts that there is another sign over human life: the Cross. For we have not only to do with the God who spoke out of a whirlwind and replied to Job’s unanswerable questions with more unanswerable questions. We have also to do with the God who spoke out of a whirlwind on the Sea of Galilee: “Peace! Be still!”

In the tempest of questions that fly about us, God comes to speak peace. And when we ask the question that the disciples asked, “Who is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” there is an answer: He is the Crucifed and Risen Lord who is with us in the storm and the calm, on sea and on land, when we have all the answers and when we have nothing but questions.