18 September 2010

A spin better than a twister

As you probably know by now, Mr Armgstrong has pleaded "no contest" to a charge of grand theft. Armstrong is one of the favourites of the schismatics in ACNA. As soon as the deal was announced, the spin started over on a virtueless site. Even I startled by their hybris and unmitigated bravado this time.
We believe that the courts are not the place to deal with theological differences, and that to have allowed this dispute to continue to be played out in the news by going to trial would have served only to diminish all Christian witness. With this plea offer now in place such further harm to the entire church in this already difficult age for Christianity will be prevented. [Emphasis added]
Even now , after the favored son has admitted he stole the money ("no contest" is an admission of guilt without having to say the words) they are still portraying him as the martyr maximus of the "theologically persecuted."
The truth is, of course, they don't want the courts to deal with the matter. The scrutiny of the legal system will cause their church of cards to collapse and expose them as the deceitful pirates that they are. They would have been tarred and feathered in the public eye and their martyr card would be revoked.
Now, be sitting down before you read this next quote:
We further believe the disparity between the magnitude of charges made against Father Armstrong by the Episcopal Diocese and the final content of the plea agreement vindicates not only Father Armstrong, but also clearly affirms our confidence that we ran an effective and well managed church in our days at the helm of Grace & St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, and continue to do so at St. George's Anglican Church.
So, if we believe the spin, Armstrong sacrificed himself (but only .00001 percent)  to keep the judicial system from dealing with the theology of the schismatics and to prove he and the schismatic thieves were really honest?

I tell you, Walt Disney on LSD couldn't have created fantasy as good as this. I had decided not to comment on Armstrong's admission of theft, but the spin wouldn't let me remain silent.

Dan Martins elected bishop of Springfield

Dan Martins has beenelected bishop of Springfield. I wonder how long before we hear that they are preparing to steal the silver and flee to ACNA? I wonder, will he get the necessary consents? If I were a bishop, I'd not consent to his election.

Armstrong pleads "No contest" to theft charges.

Sometimes I sit on a story because I just don't want to post it. This is one such story. Thanks to the Lead for reporting it so I can just comment and send you over there for the read.

One of ACNA's poster boys has pleaded no contest to felony theft charges.  The Rev. Don Arrnstrong had long contended he would be proven innocent of charges. That has not proven to be the case.
Armstrong had claimed the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado had trumped up the charges and the true nature of the dispute was rooted in theological differences. Martyn Minns and Peter Akinola immediately accepted Armstrong and his congregation into CANA even while threat of state criminal prosecution hung over Armstrong.

This is a sad day for the church universal. So many people have been wounded because of this man's actions. Read more at the Lead.

15 September 2010

South Carolina prepares to fire first shot

The Diocese of South Carolina is preparing the road to thinking they can leave The Episcopal Church (TEC). Are we surprised? Bishop Lawrence has long been known as a person of suspect integrity who has repeatedly obfuscated his plans to lead the diocese out of TEC.
Resolved that Article I of the Diocese of South Carolina is hereby amended to read as follows: The Church in the Diocese of South Carolina accedes to and adopts the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. and acknowledges this authority accordingly.
Here is an interesting bit that is added in the resolution explanation.

In the event that any provision of the Constitution of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is inconsistent with, or contradictory to, the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese shall prevail..
Read the whole resolution here.

12 September 2010

Pentecost XVI

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 19

The Lectionary

Collect of the Day: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen..

Throughout Pentecost we have been hearing readings that tell us about the nature of God. Today’s readings follow that theme with an in-depth look at God’s merciful nature. A closer reading reveals to us how God works in a covenant relationship with His people.

In the Exodus passage we find God’s initial anger with the people whom he has led to deliverance from slavery in Egypt. They have become bored and disillusioned and have returned to the worship of other gods and have built a golden calf as an image. Like anyone who has done something good only to be rebuffed, God is angered by this repudiation and threatens violent wrath until Moses intervenes.

A teenage boy recently was caught joy riding, having stolen a car from family friends. His father confronted him and told him how ashamed he was, how their friends had done so much for them, "And this is how you repay them?" But later the friends sat down with the enraged father and reminded him how they had all once been young and done foolish things. They then told him they were not going to press charges.

God is persuaded by Moses in the Exodus story to remember, to remember the covenant and promise to Abraham, and how that promise needs to be fulfilled. The family friends reminded the wrathful father that all of us do stupid things, and that while there are consequences, there is also mercy and forgiveness. It is in God’s nature to be merciful. We worship a merciful God.

Paul, writing to Timothy underscores the mercy of God as he recounts his own conversion from being a persecutor of the gospel to its promoter. He knows from experience that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  Paul makes this powerful witness out of experience as well as a faithful conviction that God is merciful and prefers that all be drawn to the message of salvation and eternal life.

The most powerful witnesses of God’s mercy and renewal come from people who are recovering addicts. They can tell with absolute conviction of their redemption through God’s mercy. They know their depravity and the depths of despair, and as they begin to move to a life of sobriety, they witness to how much God has done for them. Their stories continue to move others and save many who are lost and who only imagine God is punishing them or determined to destroy them. For many it has been a long road, but they have learned to find God mighty to save.

The gospel lesson summarizes the basic teaching of Jesus about the nature of God. We are not dealing with a God of whimsy or one subject to influence by expensive gifts or sacrifices. Rather, we are in relationship with God who is most concerned about each of us, wanting to find us when we are lost, and yearning to bring us home.

An older couple despaired for their son who was an alcoholic. They had tried tough love, and they prayed for his deliverance. The addiction had been a problem since high school, when he wasn’t able to receive his diploma because he was in jail for underage drinking. Now in his thirties he was in the hospital; this time the doctor told them he wasn’t sure he could save their son.

Now, a year later he is at work, attending daily AA meetings, and dating a woman who is also a recovering person. He has a job and is becoming very involved in his church. God sought him, when he was most lost, and found him through friends and AA, who led him back to sobriety. And God does this over and over, sending people to us when we need them, putting us in the places where we can get help even when we would rather reject it.

The Good News is not that God is going to make us successful or rich. The Good News is that God is loving, merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. If you ask anyone who has been through the pain of addiction or felt lost and alone and then been found, they will tell you without any doubt there is a God who is mighty to save, and that God is found at work in the world today.

-- The Rev. Ben Helmer is vicar of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He lives in nearby Holiday Island.