Tuesday, August 05, 2003

A Reading; A Prayer; A Reading. The House of Pancakes, excuse me, Bishops, voted this afternoon to seat a practicing and unrepentant homosexual as a Bishop. No comment -- it is a time for prayer and meditiation. The Readings are taken from the back of the Bible, from a couple of letters from Peter to the Church.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men
8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)--
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
11 Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed--an accursed brood!
15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against thy holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name.

[Psalm 43. Judica me, Deus]
V. GIVE sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people;
* O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.
R. For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou put me from thee?
* And why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
V. O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me,
* and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling.
R. And that I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness;
* and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
V. Why art thou so heavy, O my soul?
* and why art thou so disquieted within me?
R. O put thy trust in God;
* for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
* and to the Holy Ghost;
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
* world without end. Amen.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 And,
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
May God Have Mercy.
Allegations. These last minute allegations against Gene Robinson are not a good thing -- they are terrible for him and terrible for the side opposed to his nomination. It is my hope that they will be swiftly and utterly disproved.

It is my belief that this nomination must be rejected on the simple fact that this is a man who is living contrary to the teaching of Scripture, a teaching which was affirmed by the Anglican Communion 5 years ago today at Lambeth.* The ECUSA should not reject this man based on a last minute allegation of "inappropriate touching " -- as my wife said to me last night, "Do they [the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops] think his living with a man involved appropriate touching?"

Regrettably, the damage has been done to the ECUSA by the House of Deputies when they approved Canon Robinson on Sunday.

* Specifically, the Bishops assembled at Lambeth approved a statement, which read, in relevant parts:
This Conference . . .in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.
It further "reject[ed] homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture."

Monday, August 04, 2003

Et Tu? Peter? Bishop Peter James Lee, the man who baptized my oldest child, announced today that he will vote for the elevation of a man living contrary to the shared Anglican belief "that . . . 'the normative context for sexual intimacy is lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage.'”

Oh Peter, Peter -- how could you betray this clear standard?

I can see that we can no longer support this apostate bishop.

Moreover, the Virginia Delegation voted 3 to 1, both laity and clergy, against the plain standard. The church I belong to, the one where all my children were baptized, has long been a support of the Bishop and the Diocese. Concurrent with the posting of this message I am calling upon the Vestry of my Church to withhold all further financial contributions from the Diocese and the Bishop. Let us finance the Gospel, not a social agenda.
Utterly Crushed Today, I am crushed. Today the House of Delegates, composed of clergy and laity, has told me that my faith is irrelevant. It has turned it's back on me and tens of thousands like me.

As a church, we have driven off the true conservative wing years ago -- over the issue of the ordination of women. That issue, which I support, one that is consistent with the teaching of the Scriptures. Nevertheless, the extremist left wing of the ECUSA strove to minimize, marginalize and hound those who hold to a contrary belief. As a result, those of us who are the real centrists now find ourselve on the right flank, labeled "conservatives."

In truth, we need all members of the body -- right, left and center, and those shades in between. This is a simple recognition that we are not each personally inspired with Divine revelation. Each errs and needs to be called back to the path. This does not mean that each person's truth is right or whatever that fluff is that you hear so much of. There is a standard and it has been revealed to the Body of Christ and delivered from generation to generation through the holy Scriptures.


I am truly crushed and despondent.

The idea that a man or woman living outside the doctrine and discipline of the Church is eligible to be a minister in that Church, must less a Bishop, is plainly repugnant to the teaching of Holy Scripture and apostolic tradition. The doctrine and discipline which has been vitiated today is simply that it is immoral to be engaged in a sexual relationship outside of marriage. What am I supposed to tell my kids? "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain?"

At least the Church of Rome affirms that it is wrong to engage in such conduct, even if they have had rogue ministers engaging in practices contrary to these teachings. The lesson for JP2 should be just jettison your core beliefs and accept whatever Hollywood wants -- those rogue ministers can bugger little boys and we'll all affirm how wonderful you are.

My church has turned its back on me. It has turned its back on the saints and sinners who have sought refuge in its wings for centuries. It has very flippantly abandoned essential Anglican teachings, affirmed just a few short years ago at Lambeth.

However, this is irrelevant to the theological left -- they seek an purity of extreme belief and are now attacking the center. The center will not hold -- indeed, we are being driven off as certainly as the "right" was.

I say to the bishops, priests and other ministers: you have driven off the right and are now working on the center. I will not rush into my decision in a hasty manner, but you can rest assured that you have severed me from your fellowship with this vote.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.

9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.

* * *

19 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies;
those who hate me without reason are numerous.

20 Those who repay my good with evil
slander me when I pursue what is good.

21 O LORD , do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.

22 Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my Savior.
Psalm 38:8-9, 19-22