Saturday, September 13, 2003

Am I the Only One? Or does anyone else find it creepy that the Bishops Agenda is published under the heading "Commission on the Prevention for Sexual Misconduct."
Sgt. Shultz would be proud. It's the old "Shut up, he explained" routine. The Diocese of Virginia has published the agenda for the "Community Meetings" which Bishop Peter Lee declares, "I believe this format will enable us to allow the greatest possible number of speakers and viewpoints and still maintain our time schedule." In simple terms, he want the train to run on time.

The meeting is scheduled to run a total of two (2) hours, of which, 45 minutes are allocated to "the community." And, since each speaker is allowed a total of 2 minutes to speak (rule 1), you can figure there will be a total of about 10 speakers. The remaining rules are as follows:
2. No more than one person from any congregation may speak until someone from each congregation present has spoken.*
3. Speakers are expected to state their name, congregation and whether they are offering a question or a statement
4. Facilitators reserve the right to seek balance of viewpoints and ensure broad representation among the congregations present.
5. We are here to engage in respectful conversation.
6. We are expected to take ownership of our own thoughts and feelings through using "I" statements.
To be honest, I never know what the last kind of statement means. Does it mean someone must say "I say you are an apostate, Peter Lee." Or can the "I say" part just be implied. After all, if someone stands up and says "You are an apostate, Peter Lee" there's noting there that implies the person four rows back is claiming Lee is an apostate.

And of course, it would be most proper, with regard to rule number 5 to say "With all due respect, you are an apostate, Peter Lee."

[Notice, I haven't even touched on rule number 4 where the diocesean henchmen will act as censors. This whole thing is beginning to look like as phony as a $200 bill.)

*Rule 2 ensures that dissent will be completely shut off. In the DioVa, there are 15 Regions. Figure that for the Northern Virginia Region, there are 77 churches alone, drawn from the following regions:
Region 3, with 9 churches (Arlington)
Region 4, with 8 churches (Alexandria)
Region 5, with 8 churches (Vienna/McLean) includes Holy Comforter Church.
Region 6, with 12 churches (So. Alexandria to Woodbridge) includes All Saints
Region 7, with 11 churches (Fairfax), including Christ the Redeemer, Church of the Apostles, Church of the Epiphany, and Truro.
Region 8, with 6 churches (Falls Church) includes The Falls Church.
Region 13, with 23 churches (Loudoun County and west).
Faulkner on life after 9-11. Last week, there was an excellent column by Claudia Rosett in the WSJ, that I just got around to reading. In it, she quotes extensively from William Faulkner's Nobel Literature Prize Address, an address which speack to us today:

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash. This is what you need to know about Johnny Cash -- my grandmother, who would be 100 years old if she were still alive -- went to one of his concerts in the very early 1970s. He also cut a song with the Christian punk/heavy metal group One Bad Pig (on the album I Scream Sunday).

Just last night, I was listening to the newly released At Madison Square Garden a 1969 concert. It's interesting to note how very outspoken he could be, yet you could never pin him down as a "liberal" or "conservative." Or "saint" or "sinner," for that matter. Prefacing his singing an anti-war song, he noted how he'd gone to perform for the troops in Viet Nam and, in a phrase that probably sums up the American approach to war, said, "I may not be a hawk... But maybe I'm a dove with claws..."

Only Johnny Cash could have a setlist that featured the following songs, in consecutive order: A Boy Named Sue - Cocaine Blues - Jesus Was A Carpenter - The Ballad Of Ira Hayes.

And his rendition of "Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)" is like being in church on Good Friday.

Everyone would probably give a different recommendation about where to start a Johnny Cash collection. I'd recommend "God," if for no other reason than it contains his very hard to find song about the apostle Paul, "Man in White."

Johnny Cash was a modern-day Jacob, who not only wrestled with God, but with all of life.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Oh thus be it e'er when free men shall stand
Between their lov'd homes and war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that has made and presrv'd us a nation
And conquer we must when our cause is just
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My Little Mind. I have a little mind, therefore I can not understand the apparent inconsistency of Diocese of Virginia Bishop Peter Lee.

You see, his rationale for voting for the consecration of Gene Robinson was that he deferred to the will of the people of New Hampshire. In his letter announcing why he was voting for consecrating a man who was not qualified for ordination in Virginia, Lee explained:
Since the election in New Hampshire, I have prayed and wrestled with this question. I have consulted with other bishops, with our diocesan Standing Committee, with deans of our regions, and individually with clergy and lay persons. I have listened to differing points of view and I am aware of the inherent controversy no matter what the final outcome. I am convinced of the need to respect the Diocese of New Hampshire's decision, in spite of my personal reservations and our current diocesan policy, which would not permit Canon Robinson to be ordained in Virginia.

* * *

I believe the Holy Spirit guides the church often through the decisions of lay people and clergy at diocesan conventions, councils and synods.
Well, I guess this position of "states rights would have appeal to a man named Lee in Richmond. Nevertheless, he has not always held such a position.

As recently as last year, Lee chaired a committee sent out by the Presiding Bishop designed to force local congregations to both ordain and call ordained women ministers to the local churches. In fact, Lee didn't give any consideration to the locally presiding Bishop:
"When I wrote to state my objections to the presiding bishop and Bishop Peter Lee, chairman of the task force, I was told that I was not invited to this meeting and that it would go on as planned," [Bishop] Iker said.
Note how Lee's deference to the expressions of the local diocese has rapidly grown in the past year.

See also this article -- an please note that these are articles from the house organ, and are slanted accordingly.

Now, as I've noted in the past, I believe in the ordination of women. I believe it is Biblically consistent and orthodox. Nevertheless, I understand that there are some who read the scriptures and have come up with a different perspective. For the most part, those who trust in the Scriptures respect one another and have worked out ways to repect the conscience of one another. See, for example, this wonderful letter by clergywomen arguing for tolerance of the male-only priest supporters .
Interesting Conversations in Purgatory, Pt. II. Warren Zevon, Leni Riefenstahl and Edward Teller all passed away. Peter Kreeft had a book about a conversation betwixt C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and JFK, all of which departed the veil of tears on November 22, 1963. He could do a sequel regarding these three.
Front Runners. In the campaign to be the nose-picker of the free world:

Dick Gephart

John Kerry

Joe Lieberman

Howard Dean
(I can't believe I originally left him out -- sorry Howie)
Two other candidates demonstrate unconventional nose picking skills (possibly the reason they are not "front runners."):

And, for the record, the reigning nose picker of the enslaved world:

Fidel Castro
News and Prayer Alert! All this from an e-mail received from the other side of the world:
TOMORROW & THURSDAY, Sept. 10th & 11th, several of the orthodox bishops will be meeting with Presiding Bishop Griswold to discuss the fall out from General Convention & thoughts on the future in preparation for the upcoming Primates Meeting. Let's PRAY! Invitees include: +Ackerman (Quincy)


1) Diocese of Florida (Bp. Jecko--Voted NO, very strongly orthodox) -- Bishop Jecko [age 63] announces his retirement effective Feb 2004. His assistant bishop coadjutor (Howard) will become new diocesan bishop. Bishop Jecko expresses every confidence in him. I've read that Jecko said it is not really to do with General Convention, but it's hard to know. With his retirement and Bishop Hughes' (see below), it seems like a few of our godly orthodox bishops feel they need to pass on the fight to younger men... We can only pray that the new bishops in these dioceses will contend for the faith once delivered.

2) Diocese of San Diego -- (Bishop Hughes -- Voted NO, AAC-affiliate) -- Bishop Hughes announced his plans to retire as of the end of 2004. An election will need to be held. Let's be praying now for God to raise up a god-fearing & orthodox bishop!

3) Diocese of Central Florida (Bishop Howe, strongly orthodox) has posted their resolutions for the upcoming special diocesan convention Sept. 20 on the diocesan website.

4) Diocese of Virginia (Bishop Peter Lee voted YES, but there are many VERY STRONG & LARGE orthodox parishes in the diocese that are taking a strong stand against apostasy) has posted dates for an additional diocesan meeting to discuss General Convention. The additional meeting is in Northern Virginia on Sept. 30th. This is a good thing, because the first meeting for Northern Virginia on Sept. 23 is full and N. VA is home to several major orthodox parishes that are on the frontlines in terms of networking with Anglican leaders around the world to find a solution for orthodox episcopalians (Four of these churches in Northern Virginia: Truro, the Falls Church, Church of the Apostles, All Saints Dale City, these 4 alone are bigger than the whole episcopal diocese of New Hampshire and there are several other major orthodox parishes in the area as well!). Anyway, lets pray the orthodox clergy & laity in No. Virginia will attend these two meetings in droves and that the Lord would enable our faithful brothers & sisters to speak God's truth boldly in love and with the power of the H.S., and that God would change the heart of Bishop Peter Lee.

5) Summary of some key upcoming events --please be praying! (Unless otherwise specifically noted, all the Bishops of these dioceses voted NO on Robinson).

Saturday Sept. 13th:
--Diocese of Florida: Diocesan Council

--Diocese of Georgia: Special Forum re: General Convention

Saturday Sept. 20th
--Diocese of Albany, Special Convention

--Diocese of Central FL, Special Convention

Tuesday Sept. 23rd & Tues. Sept. 30th
Diocese of Virginia: Northern Virginia Meeting to discuss General Convention. Northern Virginia is home to 5 or 6 very large, very wealthy and very influential orthodox parishes... (Bishop Lee voted Yes, but as the largest ECUSA diocese and one with a very strong orthodox presence, we need to be praying!)

Saturday Sept. 27th
--Diocese of Florida, Special meeting (scroll down on the link)

--Diocese of Fort Worth, Special Convention

--Diocese of Pittsburgh, Special Convention

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Monitoring Massachusetts. Almost every morning, I check the website of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for the list of decisions to be announced that day. Today's list is pretty large, but the one I'm looking for, Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, doesn't appear there. The court could release it under a different name -- that's not unheard of -- Bush v. Gore wasn't filed that way. Accordingly, I checked the docket numbers, looking for SJC-08860, but that one is not there.

Goodridge, if your not aware is the case designed to end marriage between one male and one female.

Jeff Jacoby used the oral argument to get to the heart of the case:
During the oral argument in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the Massachusetts lawsuit aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage, it was Justice Martha Sosman of the state's Supreme Judicial Court who put her finger on the crux of the case.

"Could it not also be framed," she asked Mary Bonauto, the lawyer for the gay and lesbian plaintiffs, that "you're seeking to change the definition of what the institution of marriage is?" After all there have been right-to-marry cases before, involving (for example) interracial couples, prison inmates, or the mentally retarded. But, Sosman noted, they "have not changed . . . the historical fundamental definition of what the institution is."

That's it in a nutshell. The plaintiffs are not asking for the right to marry, for each of them has exactly the same marriage rights as every other Massachusetts adult. What they really seek is to alter the legal definition of "marriage" so it encompasses something it has never encompassed before: same-sex unions.
Stay tuned -- it's coming.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Congratulations are due to Jason Michael Steffens who passed the Iowa State Bar exam.
Almight God, the Giver of Wisdom, without Whose help resolutions are vain, without Whose blessing study is ineffectual, enable me, if it be Thy will, to attain such knowledge as may qualify me to direct the doubtful and instruct the ignorant, to prevent wrongs and terminate contentions; and grant that I may use that knowledge which I shall
attain to Thy glory and my own salvation; for Jesus Christ's same.

--Dr. Samuel Johnson "The Lawyer's Prayer," September 26, 1765

Bishops, Part 4. Last, it appears that pursuant to the resolution which passed the general convention, C051, (quoted below), at least one 'local faith community" in Virginia has begun to develop same-sex blessings, only to run afoul of Bishop Peter... more details later...
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring,
That the 74th General Convention affirms the following:
5. That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.
Bishops, Part 3. In discussions yesterday, the question came up about whether the Robinson ordination as Bishop is, in fact an unstoppable, runaway train(wreck). In fact, the answer appears to be "no."

I had almost forgotten about this, but not too long ago, Rev. Robert Trache, (then) rector of St. James', Richmond, Virginia was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta. This election was certified and official and his nomination was signed off on by all the bishops of the ECUSA. It then came to the attention of the Presiding Bishop that after the election, Trache filed for bankruptcy:
According to news reports, Trache filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy January 20, three months after he was elected, listing his assets at less than $18,000 and his outstanding debts at more than $122,000, most of it to credit card companies. The diocese would not clarify what it meant by "family matters" but it was widely rumored that he had marital problems.
The Presiding Bishop, together with the Diocese of Atlanta, cancelled the elevation of Trache to Bishop:
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Atlanta, by unanimous decision, has withdrawn its consent to the consecration. The withdrawal, made in consultation with the office of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the professional advisors associated with the consecration of a bishop, means the consecration will not be ordered.
Trache later sued the PB, the ECUSA and others over this decision -- I would suspect this lawsuit is still pending.

For more information on this subject, see this, this, and this.
Bishops, pt. 2 [breaking up my earlier post] The Virginia Episcopalian hit the mailboxes on Saturday. The whole issues, stem to stern, is a shameless piece of propaganda shilling for Peter the Apostate. (okay, maybe not the advertisements -- the one bright spot in the issue was seeing Ken and Ginger McGowan in the ads on page 10. Ken was one of the lay leaders behind the formation of Church of the Apostles -- he was a government attorney and was, in later life, called to the ministry.)

In fact, Peter's letter in the center of Pravda that sheet purporting to be a newspaper is particularly galling. He spends time on e-mail by people consigning him to hell, yet fails to acknowledge the real issues. He is a bright man -- he's a Phi Beta Kappa -- yet, he willfully ignores and distorts the issues. This is not a matter of "policy" or "political hardball" this goes to the very central issue of the importance of the revealed Word of God and our duty to be shaped by His Will.

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms said it best:
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.
- Heiko Oberman trans. Luther: Man Between God and the Devil (English edition Yale, 1989), quoted by Christian History here.

I have read some of the e-mail messages and letters sent to Bishop Lee and for him to so characterize them as he has is greivously insulting to those who have spent days carefully crafting reasoned, loving, scriptural messages, only to receive his form response in reply. (One lady in our church was devastated to receive a form mail accusing her of hatred toward homosexuals after she set forth the Biblical basis for her objections. She indicated that she joined the Episcopal Church because of it's inclusivity and never dreamed it could be so intolerant toward her.)

Frankly, I'd like to see everyone post their letters and e-mails to Bishop Lee on the web so we could expose his slander. Sunshine is the best disinfectant -- rats and roaches flee before the light -- etc.
Bishops, part 1. The Community Meeting scheduled with the bishops from Virginia, originally scheduled for Church of the Good Shepherd, Burke has been changed to Virginia Theological Seminary (Addison Academic Center Auditorium). I see from the Diosecean website, that this meeting is "FULL." I confess to being a little nervous about this, as I have not received a response to my message, sent Friday, August 22, 2003 9:19 AM. At the time I sent my message, I noticed with some apprehension, that you were required to list your church. To be frank, based on the complete lack of good faith evidenced thus far by the Diosese, I suspect that members of the known confessing churches will be blackballed or severely curtailed in numbers.

I do have my e-mail message, appropriately date-stamped, and will holler to high-heaven if I find evidence of black-balling.