Saturday, January 31, 2004

Boomer's In. I'm very happy for Bob "Boomer" Brown -- one of the truly great offensive linemen, who was finally recognized and voted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Art Monk should've made the cut as well.
Resolutions. Here is the status of the resolutions from the Episcopal Diocese of Va after the committees finished their work. Essentially, they are establishing a "Reconciliation Commission" the members of which will be appointed by Bp. Lee, so there will be no dissent (or only submissive token dissent).

More. Here's the link to the Sunday WaPo article and here's what the WaTi had to say. Last, the Richmond-Times Dispatch.

Rank hearsay is that Rev. Minns believes he was misquoted in at least one of the articles over the weekend.
News Stories on Peter Lee's announcement that heresy is better than schism. The WaTi put the story on the front page. The WaPo had nothing today. They did have this story yesterday.

Do I need to point out the obvious? Peter Lee has chosen both heresy and schism. In rejecting the Scriptures as the authority for the Church, he and the other revisionists have consciously split from the Anglican communion and the Church Catholic to embrace heresy.
Two Views

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice
-1 Samuel 15:22


To Stay Together is Better than to Obey the Lord
-Peter James Lee, 30 Jan. 2004

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The 209th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia starts tonight. Will it be the last? No -- but next year will see a vastly different Diocese.

Here is the agenda of the council and here are the proposals. This is a link for the main page. With respect to the agenda, it's kind of humorous at points:
12:18 p.m. Noonday Hymn, "Now Holy Spirit, ever One"
12:20 p.m. Chaplain’s Meditation & Noonday Prayers
Can you imagine a Pentacostal looking at this? "Two minutes for singing?"

Below are the major proposals, as I see it.

First the proposals by the revisionist and other totalitarians. There is one proposed revision to the canons. Currently, delegates are apportioned according to communicants. The totalitarians want to base delegates on the degree of financial support of the ECUSA. Accordingly, they are seeking to have this clause inserted: "...and from which a minimum pledge to the diocesan budget of five percent of its annual projected operating income has both been received for the current year and fulfilled in the previous year..." This proposal must be rejected. Frankly, I would think Bp. Lee, with all his talk of using giving as a weapon would want to de-escalate. In the alternative, I say abolish the practice of one delegate for every 300 communicants -- make it one delegate for every 50 communicants.

R-666, um, excuse me, R-6 is the key proposal for the revisionists -- it is a call for the DoV to support those parishes that want to "bless" same-sex unions. There is no chance of this resolution passing. These folks are just building up a list of friends and enemies.

R-10 is another example of the truth of Karl Marx's aphorism about the greater concern for 1/39th of the income of the church as opposed to the fidelity to the 39 Articles of Relgion. This is a resolution ostensibly aimed at "stewardship" but if fails to realize that the vestries at the confessing churches are acting out of great Biblical conviction to refuse to turn over even the smallest earring to the apostate idolatry with is the modern ECUSA. The drafters of this resolution see Christian giving solely as "a means of protest." This should be soundly rejected.

Because of R-2, discussed below. R-13, styled "A Way Forward on Human Sexuality Issues" falls into the category of "fellow travelers" with the revisionists. This advocates doing nothing but talking about these issues, while the ECUSA burns to the ground. The fact is, this would've been a heck of a lot more relevant last year -- but now that Pandora's box has been open, this is no time to slam the lid shut.

R-15 is the boot-in-the-face totalitarian resolution. It calls on the Bishop to "discipline" all members of the confessing network. These folks would love the inquisition.

R-16 is a much gentler version of R-15 -- which is scary, because set against this monolith that is R-15, it has a possiblity of passing. It would prevent any church from rejecting the authority of an apostate bishop, such as Peter Lee. He's not laying hands on my kids.

Proposals by the confessing members and their kindred spirits, in order. R-2 calls for a reaffirmation of the Lambeth Statement on Sexuality which was passed by an overwhelming number of Bishops (including a majority of Bishops from the ECUSA), but then repudiated by implication at GC2K3. Peter Lee has never explained how he could vote for it and then consider it meaningless. For some people their word means something -- not for Lee. What the DoV does on this is more of a belweather -- are we in agreement with the Anglican communion or do we reject them?

R-14 is, without doubt, my favorite of them all. Allow me to quote it in the entirety:
Whereas, the voting clergy and lay deputies of the Diocese of Virginia at the General Convention
of the Episcopal Church in 2003 (with the exception of The Rev. Jeffrey Cerar and Mr. Russell Randle) voted to approve the consecration of The Rev. Gene Robinson to become the Bishop of New Hampshire, and

Whereas, the voting clergy and lay deputies (with the exceptions of the Rev. Jeffrey Cerar and Mr.
Russell Randle) voted to approve resolution C051 which stated: “local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions;” and

Whereas, those votes are:
1) Contrary to the plain sense and historic understanding of Holy Scripture,
2) In violation of the Constitution and the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church,
3) In defiance of resolutions of the Lambeth Conference,
4) Contrary to the policies adopted in 1991 by the Diocese of Virginia, and

Whereas, those votes have:
1) Resulted in condemnation from many Provinces of the Anglican Communion,
2) Caused Primates representing the majority of the members of the Anglican Communion to issue a call to repentance for those actions,
3) Gravely wounded our ecumenical relationships,
4) Scandalized many faithful Episcopalians,
5) Resulted in turmoil and distress within many dioceses and parishes of the Episcopal Church, as well as within many congregations in our diocese; now therefore be it

Resolved, that this 209th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia expresses profound regret for
those votes, and repudiates them, and be it further

Resolved, that the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia instructs the Secretary to send this
resolution to every Bishop and Standing Committee in the Episcopal Church, the Secretary of the General Convention, and to every Primate of the Anglican Communion.

Submitted by
The Rev. Frederick Wright
The Falls Church, Episcopal
The Vestry of The Church of the Epiphany, Herndon
The Vestry of the Church of the Messiah, Chancellor
The Vestry of All Saint’s, Dale City
The Rev. Phil Ashey
The Rev. George Beaven
The Rev. Jack Grubbs
The Rev. John Guernsey
The Rev. Valentine Han
The Rev. Huey Sevier
The Rev. Valerie Whitcombe
Yes, you will note that it is with deep sadness and regret that my own Church, Truro Church, has not joined this resolution. I know not why.

R-18, unlike R-14 above, is offered by one delgate. It establishes a formal mechanism for having a flying bishop enter the diocese. As I see it, the revisionist will reject this outright. But for the confessing members, I also see a problem in that it provides "that notice be provided to the office of the Bishop of Virginia at least two months prior to any visit by bishops associated with the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes of the intention to perform episcopal acts within the Diocese of Virginia." As a notice requirement, it does not need Bp. Lee's approval or consent. Nevertheless, the two month minimum is troubling. If our Lord can create the earth in 6 days, I would think a seven day notice period would be sufficient.

The most interesting resolution in my opinion is R-3 because it doesn't come from the confessing members* or the revisionists, yet it seeks what the confessing members have been seeking:
Resolved, that it is the intention of the 209th Council of the Diocese of Virginia to stay in full communion with the See of Canterbury and the other Churches and Provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, that this 209th Council requests that the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese
take such necessary steps as to continue and maintain full communion with the See of Canterbury and the other Churches and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
Does this mean that the DoV may need to separate itself from ECUSA to stay in communion with Nigeria, Uganda, Southern Cone, etc.? I think it might. This is the vote to watch, in my opinion.

Other resolutions R-1 calling for civility. This is excellent. I would love to see it applied in all discussions. But then, you can't really legislate civility -- how sad.

R-12 is a call to the State of Virginia to increase funding for Mental Health within the State. I support this and would like to see the State of Virginia do more in this area. I believe, however, that the DoV moral authority to speak in areas such as this has been completely undermined by the actions taken by a majority of our Bishops and the Deputies at GC2K3. In short, the Church is rendering itself irrelevant.

In a spirit of Charity, I'm placing the Bishop Lee brown-nose proposal, R-17, in the non-aligned category. If I were a voting member, I would re-classify this as CR-6, which is where it originally was, then would vote "present." Which is how Bp. Lee voted when it came to reaffirming the fundamental doctrines of the ECUSA at GC2K3.

Sadly, two very important resolutions fall to the bottom of this mess -- this is something all sides should agree on. R- 19 and R-20 both deal with our brothers and sisters in Sudan. R-19 seeking "prayer and tangible support."

R-21, the last resolution has some good language, yet it's merely talking about shutting the barn doors eighteen months too late. This should've passed in about 1999.

As far as nominees to the Committees -- watch to see if The Rev. Penelope M. Bridges is selected for the Standing Committee -- this is an extremely dangerous candidate, in my opinion, and is a stalking horse of the revisionists.
* That is, as far as I can see, none of the proponents are active in the AAC or related confessing members.
Books. Jack notes the challenge to read and blog 50 books in a year. That's probably how many books I read a year. (Unless you include those pictured on the right, one of Em's favorites. "The sun has set, not long ago, now everybody goes below. To take a bath in one big tub, with soap all over, scrub, scrub, scrub...)

I finished Philip Jenkins' Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way and am now reading another Jenkins book: The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice. I give Hidden Gospels a thumbs up -- it's one that anyone reading books like The Five Gospels, Lost Scriptures, or anything by Elaine Pagels, should read. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Luke Timothy Johnson's The Real Jesus even more -- it's a withering polemic -- a devasting fisking of those who try to remake Jesus in their own image.

By my bedside is Václav Havel's Open Letters, which I've been dipping into from time to time. This is one of those books I am sure I will be re-reading all my life.

In the car, I'm "reading" the Bangkok 8 audio book, read by B.D. Wong.

Next up are Pompeii by Robert Harris (I loved Fatherland and Enigma, but Archangel was only so-so), Stephen King's The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, and John Paul the Great by Peggy Noonan (if it ever gets published).

The trouble with this list is that everything here is "new." As Kendall Harmon pointed out recently, ". . . C.S. Lewis said he read three old books for every new one." I really need to go back and read some old books. Can I count Lewis? Chesterton? I think I'll go back and re-read The City of God.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Trouble with Congress. When I type that title I hear the King (Longshanks) in Braveheart completing the sentence with " that it's full of Scots..."

Anyway, since this is PoliSci night, check out Mark Byron's rejection of someone's notion of expanding the House of Representatives so that each Rep. represents 100,000.

I flirted with this idea -- expanding Congress -- a few years back. I think many of us have tried to figure out how to make Congress -- in particular, the Reps -- more responsible to the folks back home.

Accordingly, the idea that I've been mulling for at least 10 years now* is to abolish the Capitol building. Or, at least the House side. Specifically, instead of having our representatives assemble in Congress to work and vote, have them work in the district and submit their votes electronically from there.

This is the 21st Century. It's the age of telecommuting and videoconferencing. Let the representative stay home with the voters. No more expense of maintaining home and DC offices -- or home and DC homes. Wipe out K Street. Let the people on main street do the lobbying.

And even better -- and this has always been a major attraction to my idea -- have the big votes take place in a high school auditorium. Let the folks come in and have a rally, if they like. Have the representative stand before the people and explain why s/he is going to vote the way s/he will. Of the Rep. can structure the voting anyway that suits him -- but this will be one component the voters will weigh.

With such a system, even minor votes could be interesting. The rep. could take these "minor" votes on the road to the elementary schools.

The one thing I would stress is that the vote has to be made in the District. I don't want a Congressman representing the folks in Peoria voting from New Hampshire -- or Tahiti.

*I know it dates back to when Bob Kerrey was the swing vote on a tax hike and he spent the afternoon in a movie theater at Union Station before the vote.
Interesting Analysis. From Tony Quinn in the L.A. Times (reg.req.):
With Democrats getting down to the serious business of choosing an opponent to Bush, they face a basic issue: Can they reverse the cultural alienation that has cost them so many of their former core supporters? Watching their candidates pander to every socially liberal interest group suggests they cannot — indeed do not — even acknowledge their predicament.

* * *

A cultural conservatism grounded in religion and traditional values is imbedded in the South and its border states and is now more important to their voters than economic issues. Among the best measures of how people voted in 2000 was church attendance. People who attended church regularly overwhelmingly supported Bush; those who didn't went for Gore.

The Democrats' problem goes beyond simply being irreligious. There's an undercurrent of hostility toward religion in the highest ranks of the party. The Democrats' dismissal of Bush's "faith-based initiative" is just one example of their hostility. Even on an issue like abortion rights, on which Democrats are with the majority of the public, intolerance of any dissent has alienated a mainstay of the New Deal coalition, Roman Catholics.
This really rings true for me. For at least the last 20 years, I've been a natural "Democrat" on most issues, but during that same time, "hostility toward religion" and the religious person has increased. And to even raise a question about reasonable limitations on, say, even abortions during the 4th month of a pregnancy (when the fetus -- baby -- is viable outside the womb) is unthinkable.

When Quinn writes "People who attended church regularly overwhelmingly supported Bush; those who didn't went for Gore" he doesn't set forth the numbers. If I remember correctly, it's something like 2 to 1.
Dear Stalker. You can't shut me up. Even the people who strongly disagree with me defend my right to write. And I defend their right to associate and work for groups that are strongly abhorent to me. It's what makes America. Freedom of speech, press, association, assembly, worship, right to petition for redress of grievances. All those things we teach in elementary school and which you apparently forgot in law school.

You can't shut me up.
Communion and Choice. Consider the following editorial from the Capital Times (Madison, WI):
Bishop Raymond Burke of the La Crosse Catholic Diocese took an extraordinary step earlier this month of instructing priests in his diocese to refuse Communion to politicians who support the decisions made by the government at the Wannsee Conference. His move has provoked controversy and criticism, and not just in western Wisconsin but nationally.

Now Bishop Robert Morlino of the Madison Catholic Diocese has said that he is in "complete agreement" with Burke, who will soon leave La Crosse to become the archbishop of St. Louis.

Morlino's statement could position him to carry on the politically charged crusade that was begun by Burke. But Morlino does not have to imitate the La Crosse bishop. Indeed, he would be wise to choose a different course.

There is no question that Morlino has a right to his opinions with regard to the jewish issue. Nor is there any question that, as a bishop, he has the power to act decisively on those opinions. However, those who know Madison and south central Wisconsin will, hopefully, counsel Morlino to choose the course of education and quiet persuasion over that of political posturing.

There is no evidence to suggest that Burke's position has advanced the anti-government cause in western Wisconsin, or elsewhere. In fact, the politicians targeted by the La Crosse bishop have reacted with thoughtful defenses of the separation of church and state that have resonated well with the people of Wisconsin.

Morlino has intimated that, while he agrees with Burke's ideas, he may not choose to follow the precise course adopted by the La Crosse bishop. The Madison bishop says that he will not take any action immediately - having only been installed in his current position in August, he acknowledges that he has not been in the community long enough to come to conclusions regarding officials elected from districts within the Madison Catholic Diocese.

Morlino notes that each individual bishop is responsible for his own diocese and for making decisions about how best to uphold Catholic teaching in distinct settings. Creating the sort of controversy that would follow an order to refuse Communion to Catholic officeholders in a region where support for the government's final solution is widespread would do little to advance Catholic teachings, and much to isolate Morlino from the community he seeks to serve.
Godwin's law, you may scream in protest. Not so, I reply. It is necessary to understand, when you see the press chiding the Church for failing to support the prevailing regime, that the Church is not responsible to the press. In the words of the old Hebrew National commercial, it answers to a Higher Power.

In the case of legalized abortion on demand, the Church of Rome sees this as being the moral equivalent of the holocaust. One of the few creeds or tenents of the current secular post-modern faiths is that all truths are relative and that we need to stand in someone's shoes and see things from their perspective. If that's the case, come with me, editor, and stand in the Bishop's shoes.

By not giving Holy Eucharist to avowed sinners in a state of mortal sin, the bishop is not withholding a blessing, he is actually reducing the weight of judgment on the sinner. As I understand Catholic teaching, a sinner who knowingly receives communion while in a state of mortal sin (i.e. without the Sacrament of Reconciliation [or Penance as it used to be called] and repentance) commits a further mortal sin. This is not merely an aggrevating factor, it is a separate and distinct crime which is extremely heinious and grave. Therefore, standing in the shoes of the Bishop, withholding the Blessed Sacrament is not a "punishment" (or in the editor's word's "political posturing"), but a blessing to the straying sinner; the pro-abortion politician.

Finally, the editor of this newspaper may think the Roman Catholic church should just shut up and mind its own business, but then what business does a secular newspaper have in telling the Church how to operate?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Well I've Never Been to Spain... But I have been to China -- except this place calls it Taiwan. Here are the countries (in red) I've been to:

create your own visited country map

I've never been to Europe or Africa or South America.

Monday, January 26, 2004

My Country These are the states I've visited (thanks to Kev, for the referral):

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide.

I was able to visit Oregon, Montana, and Wisconsin for the first time in 2003.
Programming Note. I am being cyber-stalked. Someone who I correspond with in my work has decided to track me down and harass me. Included in this is excerpting selected portions of some of my comments here and then e-mailing them to my co-workers. What is actually pretty galling to me is that he has taken some essays posted by Mark Byron and Christopher Johnson and attributed them to me. (no offense to you guys)

His stated goal is to get me fired.

The really ironic thing, especially in light of my extended commentary from last week on my political/religious pilgrimage is that he taken to calling me a "right-wing. . . sexist Reaganite."

More irony -- the position he is advocating and wants me to take is directly contrary to the so-called "liberal" position. By way of analogy -- if I were supporing federal funding of Planned Parenthood, he'd be seeking it's termination. And for this, I am a "Reaganite."

I'm not sure what impact, if any, this will have on this blog. I have taken care to do this on my own time and to not comment about my work.

As always, prayers appreciated.

Update. Everything's cool. However, since I took leave yesterday due to snow, I'm working thru lunch and probably late today (leave never means an absence of work).

Thanks for prayers.
Jay Schroeder, redux. So the Raiders are hiring Norv Turner. Not Fassell, not Art Shell, not Romeo Crennel, not Charlie Weis. *sigh* On the bright side, we can count on continuing to draft near the head of the line, instead of the end.

One thing I find interesting is that this story was broken by a Raider fan web site:

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Liberal Rags. Bloggers Chris Johnson and Jack effectively fisk Rev. Katherine Ragsdale a loon-a-tic Episcopal rev'rund from Massachusetts. Note the lady who is subject of this attention -- a news article and two fairly moderate fiskings -- only managed to attract 30 people for her extremist rantings.
Thou meetest him that rejoiceth
and worketh righteousness,
those that remember thee in thy ways:
behold, thou art wroth;
for we have sinned:
in those is continuance,
and we shall be saved.
But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name,
that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:
for thou hast hid thy face from us,
and hast consumed us,
because of our iniquities.

-Isaiah 64:5-7