Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Double Standard. The National Law Journal has an interesting article (subscription req'd) which begins,
This tale of two conservative judicial nominees, one white and one black, shows that race can still be a sensitive area in federal court nominations.

A coalition of civil rights groups, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Hispanic and women's groups has raised "grave concerns" about the first black nominee to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Jerome Holmes, because he has been a "longstanding and outspoken critic of affirmative action."

Meanwhile, little controversy was generated by the nomination to the 10th Circuit of Neil Gorsuch, a conservative white attorney whose book opposing assisted suicide will be released this month. He is the son of the controversial Reagan administration head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ann Gorsuch Burford.

Holmes, 44, an attorney with Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City, drew a critical letter signed by 15 civil rights groups, pointing to his 2003 editorial comments in the Daily Oklahoman stating that the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Grutter v. Bollinger "didn't go far enough." Grutter upheld the University of Michigan Law School's ability to take race into consideration in admissions.

Holmes wrote that the court "missed an important opportunity to drive the final nail in the coffin of affirmative action."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday! 30 years ago today, on America's Bicentenial Birthday, we all -- the whole world -- got a thrilling gift. A triumph over evil in the Israeli rescue of the hostages in Entebbe, Uganda.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I Dissent. I know a lot of folks are upset and offended by the first sermon of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori -- her "mother Jesus" sermon.* Today's front page story in the WaPo said she "irritated" some conservatives. I think this article in the National Review Online is an accurate summary of the "irritation" caused by the sermon (actually, a homily) -- and the NRO article also notes that it's not just the homily that's the problem...

But the WaPo does use that amorphous "some:" "To those who accuse her of heresy for referring to a female Jesus..." Well, yes, if she tried claiming that Jesus was a woman and a mother instead of an historical person, I'd be upset too. But who really claims that she is trying to pass Jesus off as a woman or a mother?

I don't think that's what she was doing. Let's look at the homily and see what she actually says. I think you've got to cut her a little slack -- her homily starts off rambling -- hello clouds, hello park, hello man in the reflective vest, hello man who slept rough, hello rabbit, hello moon, hello lady whispering hush... (okay, so she didn't say the last two...)

Then she turns, at last to the text of the day Colossians 1:11-20 and here's where she runs into her problem. She gets sloppy and mixes metaphors. She starts off with the metaphor Paul uses in verse 15 and 16: "[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created..." And when you read just that little bit, you can see that Paul mixes metaphors - Jesus is firstborn by Him all were created. From this passage she pulls out the following,
That bloody cross brings new life into this world. Colossians calls Jesus the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from the dead. That sweaty, bloody, tear-stained labor of the cross bears new life. Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children.
I believe her homily is simply tired sloppiness -- she had been elected Presiding Bishop and was dealing with interviews and demands and not a lot of time for reflection and the drafting of a well thought out sermon. As many have noted, she doesn't have a lot of experience -- she's never been a parish priest and the Diocese she's presided over is miniscule.

When you look at it this way, you can see she is saying Jesus is firstborn -- a child going through birth goes through the labor process. What gives birth to a new creation is a mother. A mother goes through labor. Therefore, Jesus, who gives us the new creation is not only first born, he is like a mother having delivered that creation through the most difficult labor.

I have no problem with criticizing the PB-elect -- her gender does not mean anyone should treat her differently than a man. But we have to do so honestly and fairly.

* I had a very weird juxtsposition I'll have to tell you about some other time -- what I was listening to when I first heard the sermon.
I'm kind of surprised, genuinely surprised -- there's this guy who runs this blog called Father Jake. He's got a nice sign up "Peace to all who enter here..." Although I don't agree with him about most things, I've been reading it off and on since the time of the convention. In doing my catching up reading, I saw that he was circulating some well known lies about Truro Church. So I placed my comments to his blog explaining why these things just weren't true.

He deleted my comments.

I thought maybe it was because I referenced an earlier comment, the one that begins, "You know I've heard that CRAP for quite a while from these neo-conservative bible-thumping backward southerners...who just have no freakin' clue what the heck they are saying...." and ends "As it is now, I just tell people like that to their faces no less to, STFU!!" (Ah these loving Episcopalians...) So I scrolled up -- nope, those comments from his ally David Green at 10:10 a.m. are still there. Mr. Green still wants us to STFU. (What could that mean? Scrawny Two-Faced Underling?)

Instead, he deleted the truth about Truro Church under John Howe and the way things are today. I guess Fr. Jake would rather traffic in lies than permit the truth to be told.

And as always, he says Peace, peace... Jeremiah 8:11

And this guy is an ordained priest!

Deliver my soul, O Lord from lying lips
And from a deceitful tongue.

Psalm 120.
The Episcopal Soap Opera described by Terry Mattingly as "As Canterbury Turns..." (I might call it The Old [Establishment] and the Rest of Us) got quite an airing last week. The rector of the local church I attend was asked to serve as a bishop of the Nigerian mission in the US. This was followed by a mangled news article indicating that Truro Church in Fairfax and the Falls Church had advised Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee "that they plan to leave the diocese..." (they had not and do not, as far as I know). Here is Peter Lee's response to all this.

There were more news stories indicating that several dioceses were seeking "alternative primatial oversight." From his position (which seems to me sort of like the idea that the prime meridian of the world runs through the Royal Observatory, in Greenwich), Bishop Peter ("le centre est moi") Lee argues that "the Center has held".

In opposition to Peter Lee's "far right" or "extreme right" there are "gay and lesbian people and their supporters" (hereinafter, "GALPATS"). In Newark, the diocese decided to "push back" against the Anglican Communion and Peter Lee's "center" by nominating an actively gay priest. In England, clergy pining to belong to the GALPATS coalition are thinking of seceding and joining the colonies, or something like that. And, of course, the self described "liberal bishops" (I appreciate this clarity) issued a statement saying they weren't going to abide by any resolution passed by the General Convention with respect to the Windsor Report.

Whew. Those are just some of the highlights (or lowlights).

On Sunday* we had a meeting with the rector, Martyn Minns, to discuss developments and get his thoughts on things. He has planned to do this at the beginning of every month, but with the aforementioned developments, this got a much better attendance than normal. Now, I'm not going to be giving you a blow-by-blow description of the meeting. And actually, Martyn didn't ask that it be off the record or anything. It's just that it is sort of internal. But I do want to give you a sense of what was communicated and my impressions because they do reflect on the developments described above.

First of all, Martyn reiterated his surprise at the errors in the Washington Times story, which is well laid out here, by Terry Mattingly. In particular, he stressed that there is no plan to leave ECUSA, nor to leave the Diocese of Virginia. Based on what I heard from Martyn, and in talking to members of the vestry, I really believe there has been no decision or plan to leave. Or even a plan to plan to leave.

Truro Church has just gone through Rick Warren’s 40 days of purpose, so "40 days of discernment" seems like a natural follow-up. Not just to determine where our local fellowship stands in relation to the DioVa or ECUSA or the Anglican Communion, but where we should be headed in Fairfax, Virginia and to the ends of the Earth. We are preparing for this as a local body, but it won't be started in the next week. To be honest, the 40 Days of Purpose was pretty demanding and we've got other things going on. We just finished Vacation Bible School last week; Truro was very involved in GenConv2006, which came on the heels of 40 Days, and there are the other demands of life.

On Sunday afternoon, Canon Minns had his extended family in town to baptize his newest grandchild. On Monday, he flew back to England with his wife and youngest daughter to care for his sister who is in hospice dying of cancer. We do not know when he will be back -- and everyone longs for him to spend the time with his family that he needs. Yes, he has left an able staff in place, but as I noted earlier, the two most senior members of the clergy are very involved in planning for the wedding of their kids -- Rev. Brown's son is marrying Rev. Crocker's daughter.

In addition, prior to all this -- prior to GenCon and all, Truro began the process of seeking a new rector, since Martyn had already announced his plans to retire.

I can not stress this enough — there does not seem to be any plan to leave or even to plan to plan to leave.

Moreover, while I am very cynical with respect to Peter Lee, Martyn is not -- he does acknowledge their differences, but he has never (that I have heard) spoken disparagingly of him. It is obvious the love and respect he has for the man and the deep pain Peter Lee's betrayal has caused.

Now then, my own sense is that Truro should not take any action at this time. I believe, since we have stayed this long, we should wait and see what the Anglican communion does with respect to ECUSA. I do not believe Katharine Jefferts Schori, the current Bishop of Nevada and Presiding Bishop Elect is any more of a heretic than Frank Griswold. I've said this before and I think it's still time to hold steady.

But, like I indicated, the 40 Days of Discernment will be a listening process -- I look forward to listening to the different perspectives and discussing this with my fellow parishioners.

*Note -- I began this on Sunday, but didn't finish until the time I published -- I changed the time on this post to reflect this reality.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nashville. I spent last week in the Nashville area -- in Clarksville, Gallatin and Tullahoma, among other places. Very beautiful country and very charming folks. Yes, I do spend too much time on the road -- in the upcoming months I've got trips to Ohio (Columbus, New Philadelphia, possibly Chillicothe and Zanesville; hopefully Steubenville, where the great Franciscan University of Steubenville makes its home), New York City, Miami, and Michigan (Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, and Lansing).