Thursday, October 02, 2003

the buntThe bunt. In baseball, the bunt, such a puny weapon, can be truly beautiful, when properly pulled off. Last night's bunt, by Oakland A's catcher, Ramon Hernandez, the slowest man on the team, must have been exquisite. I wish I could've seen the game in real time. Too late and on cable.

I recall Tony LaRussa once saying that a manager doesn't really win games for a team, but that a good third base coach could bring in 2 to 3 wins a year for a team. Based on what I could see, Ron Washington, while not calling for the bunt did tip off both Hernandez and Eric Chavez (who scored from third) to watch out for the third baseman, Mueller, who was playing back:
Washington told Hernandez before the at-bat to watch where Mueller was standing and if the opportunity presented itself to take a chance.

``He just saw Billy move back a couple steps, and it was on,'' Chavez said.
A bases loaded, two-out bunt. Who'da thunk it? (I mean, besides Danny Kaye.)
Mac Sledge. One of the greatest movies ever made, in my opinion, of course, was the movie Tender Mercies, for which Robert DuVall won an Oscar. Now he's starring in Secondhand Lions and there was this interesting note posted on the CT website:
Fans of Robert Duvall's Oscar-winning role in Tender Mercies might find this particular letter interesting. It's from Allan Hubbard of Paris, Texas, who has an interesting connection to the actor:

"I couldn't wait to see Secondhand Lions … got there on opening weekend. The cast was great. The story idea was great. [I had] no problems with the production like continuity or anything like that. But the flow of the script? The actual lines delivered, therefore the writing of the film in general? Deplorable. I simply could not believe with so many other things going for it that the script's details got passed over. I'm really surprised to read the Christian critics are praising the writing.

"I was in a film with Duvall in 1982 … Tender Mercies. I was the little boy, Sonny. Now I'm 31 and still love to watch his very subtle yet amazingly gripping choices. The single most redeeming thing about Secondhand Lions is the speech he gives the punk in the bar about 'fought two world wars, led thousands of men into battle, and loved only one woman with a passion that a flea like you couldn't understand.' Great moment there."

The Higher Primates, First Cut. Alright, I set forth below the list of the Primates who will be gathering in England in two weeks. Let's take a first cut to see who has a backbone and who are related to the American jellyfish.
Known Invertebrates (5)
Michael Peers (Canada)
Bruce Cameron (Scotland)
Njongonkulu Ndungane (South Africa)
Frank Griswold (US)
Barry Morgan (Wales)

Suspected Invertebrates (3)
John Campbell Paterson (NZ)
Peter Carnley (Australia)
Robert Eames (Ireland)

Undetermined (15)
Orlando Santos de Oliveira (Brazil)
Samuel Ndayisenga (Burundi)
Martin de Jesus Barahona Pascacio (Central America)
Rowan Williams (Canterbury)*
Peter Kwong (Hong Kong)
James Toru Uno (Japan)
George Clive Handford (Jerusalem)
Ellison Page Pogo (Melenasia)
Martiniano Garcia-Monfiel (Mexico)
Samuel San Si Htay (Myanmar)
Zechariah James Terom (North India)
James Ayong (Papua New Guinea)
Ignacio Capuyan Soliba (Philippines)
Datuk Yong Ping Chung (South East Asia)
Kunnumpurathu Joseph Samuel (South India)

Probable Vertebrates (5)
Michael S Baroi (Bangladesh)
Dirokpa Fidele (Congo)
Remi Joseph Rabinirina (Indian Ocean)
Paul Hwan Yoon (Korea)
Zechariah James Terom (Pakistan)

Vertebrates (10)
Bernard Malongo (Central Africa)
Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya)
Peter Akinola (Nigeria)
Emmanuel Kolini (Rawanda)
Gregory Venables (Southern Cone)
Joseph Biringi Hassan Marona (Sudan)
Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania)
Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo (Uganda)
Robert Garshong Allotey Okine (West Africa)
Drexel Gomez (West Indies)
Now then, this is just a first cut -- I haven't checked anyone out in the middle and am just relying on other reports for the "leaning" columns. Also, I placed Rowan Williams (*) in the center, because, while he might personally favor, for example, the Robinson ordination, he clearly forced Jeffrey Johns to step aside for the good of the Communion -- therefore, he has shown evidence of a backbone in the past.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I Saw It On TV. I also meant to add that the folks from the PBS show Religion & Ethics News Weekly were filming on Tuesday night.

There was a very powerful statement of thanks from a gay woman that would most likely be used.

According to Bishop Lee, they will be putting together a segment to be aired in a couple of weeks, using footage from both the McLean meeting and the meeting in Plano.
Not so fast. A fairly good editorial on why the press shouldn't jump to conclusions about the 31 new Roman Catholic cardinals.
The Primates (both Vertebrate and Invertebrate) Thanks to an e-mail message from Karen B, (and this webpage) here are the known addresses and e-mails for the Anglican Primates:

Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
The Rt Revd John Campbell Paterson (leaning revisionist)
PO Box 37 242, Parnell,
Auckland, 1033, NEW ZEALAND

Archbishop Peter Carnley (leaning revisionist)
GPO Box W2067, Perth WA 6846
Phone: +61 8 9325 7455
Fax: +61 8 9221 4118

The Rt Revd Michael S Baroi
St Thomas' Church,
54 Johnson Road,

Most Revd Orlando Santos de Oliveira,
Caxia postal 11.510,
Teresoplois, RS, 90870-970, Brazil

Most Revd Samuel Ndayisenga,
Eglise Episcopale de Burundi,
BP 94, Ngozi, Burundi

Most Revd Michael Peers, (revisionist)
600 Jarvis Street,
Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2J6, Canada

Central Africa (Orthodox)
Most Revd Bernard Malongo,
Private Bag 1,
Chilema, Zomba, Malawi

Central America
Most Revd Martin de Jesus Barahona Pascacio,
47 Avenida Sur, 723 Cor Flor Blanca, Apt Postal (01),
274 San Salvador, El Salvador

Most Revd Dr Dirokpa Fidele, (Orthodox)
PO Box 134, Cyangugu, Rwanda

Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, (leaning revisionist)
Old Palace, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2EE

Hong Kong
The Most Revd Peter Kwong
Bishop's House,
1 Lower Albert Road,
Office: +852 2526 5355
Fax: +852 2525 2537

Indian Ocean
Most Revd Remi Joseph Rabinirina,
Eveche Anglican, Lot VK57 ter, Ambohimanoro, 101 Antanarivo, Madagascar

Most Revd Robert Eames, (leaning revisionist)
The See House, Cathedral Close,
Armagh, Co Armagh, BT61 7EE,

The Most Revd James Toru Uno
NSKK Provincial Office,
65 Yarai-cho,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0805, JAPAN
Office: +81 (0)48 642 2680
Fax: +81 (0)48 648 0358

Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Most Revd George Clive Handford
PO Box 22075, CY 1517 - Nicosia, CYPRUS

Most Revd Benjamin Nzimbi, (Orthodox)
PO Box 40502, Nairobi, 00 100, Kenya

Most Revd Paul Hwan Yoon, (Orthodox)
Anglican Church, PO Box 22, Taejon 300-600, Korea

Most Revd Ellison Page Pogo,
Archbishop's House, PO Box 19,
Honiara, Solomon Islands

Most Revd Martiniano Garcia-Monfiel,
Calle La Otra Banda 40, Col San Angel, 01 000 Mexico

Most Revd Samuel San Si Htay,
140 Pyidaungsu-Yeiktha Road,
Dagon, Yangon, 11191 Myanmar

Most Revd Peter Akinola, (Orthodox)
Archbishop's Palace, PO Box 212, ADCP,
Abuja, Nigeria

North India
The Most Revd Zechariah James Terom
Bishop's Lodge, PO Box 1,
Church Road, Ranchi 834 001, Bihar, INDIA

The Most Revd Zechariah James Terom
Address: Bishop's Lodge, PO Box 1, Church Road, Ranchi 834 001, Bihar, INDIA

Papua New Guinea
Most Revd James Ayong,
PO Box 893, Mt Hagen, West Highlands Province,
Papua New Guinea

Most Revd Ignacio Capuyan Soliba,
PO Box 10321, Broadway Centrum,
1112 Quezon City, Philippines

Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, (Orthodox)
PO Box 61, Kigali, Rwanda

Most Revd Bruce Cameron, (revisionist)
Diocesan Centre, 39 King's Crescent,
Aberdeen, AB24 3HP

South Africa
Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, (revisionist)
16-20 Bishopscourt, Claremont,
Cape Town 7708,
Cape Province, South Africa

South East Asia
The Most Revd Datuk Yong Ping Chung
PO Box 10811,
88809 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MALAYSIA

South India
The Most Revd Dr Kunnumpurathu Joseph Samuel
CSI Bishop's House,
Diocese of East Kerala,
Melukavumattom P.O.,
Kottayam - 686 652,
Kerala State, INDIA

Southern Cone
Most Revd Gregory Venables, (Orthodox)
Conesa 1925 1B, (1428) Belgrano, Capital Federal,

Most Revd Joseph Biringi Hassan Marona, (Orthodox)
PO Box 604,
Khartoum, Sudan

Most Revd Donald Mtetemela, (Orthodox)
PO Box 1028, Iringa, Tanzania

Most Revd Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo, (Orthodox)
PO Box 14123,
Kampala, Uganda

Most Revd Frank Griswold, (revisionist)
Episcopal Church Centre,
815 Second Avenue,
New York, NY10017, USA

Most Revd Barry Morgan, (revisionist)
Llys Esgob, Llandaff,
Cardiff, CF5 2YE

West Africa
Most Revd Robert Garshong Allotey Okine, (Orthodox)
PO Box 980,
Koforidua, Ghana

West Indies
Most Revd Drexel Gomez, (Orthodox)
Addington House, PO Box N-7107,
Nassau, Bahamas

Anglican Primates gathering, May 2003

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Community Meeting, McLean. Tonight was the Sixth community meeting being held by the Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show Bishop of Virginia; the second in Northern Virginia. The forum was much smaller than the previous one, but maybe that lead more people to want to talk. This time there was only one round of speakers from each church present. This means that I didn't get to speak -- no great loss, I'm sure. Anyway, I'll post the statement I didn't give below.

The event was better run -- they're getting better at this kind of thing. The used Volvo salesman (Jim Papile, Rector from Saint Anne's in Reston) got up and gave his little spiel. He came perilously close to uttering the Clintonesque "I feel your pain" line -- in fact the word "pain" seemed to be passing from his lips when he caught himself, paused and said "deep hurt" in its place. (I really don't like this guy -- an old Larry Norman line "he quoted me perfectly and rewrote every word I spoke" came to mind. He kept trying to say "I hear what you are saying, but I say to you..." It was so evident, however, that while he may have heard what was said, he never understood it. He was very dishonest -- although I couldn't figure out if he was intentionally so or just incapable of understanding. He also looked like a cross between a very goofy Brian Wilson and a very goofy Bill Clinton. Do you get the idea I didn't like him?)

Peter Lee said that heresy and apostacy were just when you took a truth and pushed it to far. And he added that we haven't done that.

+Lee said that he would not consent to blessings in Virginia because there was too much division in the Church on the subject -- that would not come until there was more consensus. It was clear that if there wasn't so much vocal opposition, he would have no problem imposing it on Virginia.

+Lee again pulled out his choice between "fear and hope" line. It's a false choice -- you could plug anything in there. As my wife quickly jotted down "hope for restoration of a sinner" and "fear of the wrath of God." This seemed a lot more Biblical than what Lee proposed.

One of the presenters on "my side" really irritated me. It was a guy I've seen at Truro Church -- I don't know his name -- but he represented himself as being there on behalf of a campus ministry (he had to do this because Truro already had a speaker). Yes, I believe the one speaker per congregation rule was a bad one, but to misrepresent yourself (i.e., lie) to evade this rule was wrong. Of course, then he stood up and made a fool of himself. He was neither articulate nor logical, which belied his claim to university (intellectual) status. Now I'm extremely poor as a speaker -- so I shouldn't be throwing the first stone -- yet I almost believe that by sewing bad seed -- lying -- he reaped bad fruit.

Afterward, I saw an old friend from Apostles, who had also been standing in the line to speak. Someone from Apostles spoke so my friend didn't have the opportunity. I asked my friend what he would've said and it was excellent -- far superior to what the Apostles speaker said. Oh well. I was thankful the speaker from Truro (the legitimate one, that is -- not the University fraud) gave an excellent presentation.

In the earlier meeting, if I had to guess, the speakers were 75-25% opposed to what the Bishops and the delegates did at GC2003. At the 9/30/03 meeting, I'd guess it was probably closer to 60-40%

Oh, and Bishop Gray did try to clarify the statement he'd made at VTS. Tonight he seemed to be saying that he wasn't as concerned as to whether his opinion was thought of as right or wrong. I took his meaning to be that he did want to be right and was willing to admit if he was wrong. This is a far different meaning than what he said at VTS (and I confirmed it with others, so it wasn't just that I misunderstood him there).

Last, there was a presentation by two high school age girls from St. Christopher's. In passing one of them said that they thought we shouldn't place such emphasis on the Bible because in the Old Testament it teaches that women should be thought of as chattel. After the meeting, I asked where it said that -- I said I've never seen that. They were unable to point to any passage, but they said they've seen it there. I said that, to the contrary, in Proverbs 31, we see a woman being praised for buying and selling land, for trading in the marketplace -- in short, one who deals property, not one who is treated as property. She said that was just my opinion -- what a stupid way to respond. Nevertheless, on the slim chance she may be correct, I'd love it if anyone can tell me if there is such a passage -- even if it's a case of misattribution or hyperbole (like the "happy is he who . . . seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks" type passage).

So here's my statement with changes I made while standing in line (one major addition, because of what +Lee said about Martin Luther King, one deletion because the question was asked by Phil Ashley.

My Two Minute Statement.

My name is William Sulik and I am currently a member of Truro Church.

I rise today to tell you how deeply your votes in Minneapolis grieved me. You have taken the Episcopal Church away from the standard set forth in Article 20 of the Articles of Religion, which provides in relevant part,
“. . . it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.”

[added:] Martin Luther King once said that the church is not to be a thermometer merely measuring the societal values, but it is to be a themostat, changing society to conform to the Word of God.

In the remaining seconds, I would like to pose five questions:

First, Bishop Lee, you have indicated that you have voted for every candidate proposed for Bishop during your 19 years in this office. Would there ever be a reason for voting against a candidate for Bishop?

Second, what would be your authority for opposing a candidate, since in August you found no guidance in either the policy of Virginia or the Holy Scriptures?

Third, you have indicated that you believe the Holy Spirit speaks through councils. In Lambeth just five years ago the Holy Spirit spoke through the bishops assembled and “reject[ed] homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.” Does the Holy Spirit change His mind like the blowing of the wind? Or could it be that either the bishops in Lambeth or the electors in New Hampshire were wrong?

next month the Anglican primates are assembling to review the crisis provoked by the General Convention. If they announce the Episcopal Church has broken fellowship with the Anglican Communion, what will you do to restore communion?

Finally, you have indicated local control was the overriding factor in approving the Robinson vote. Will you similarly support local determination if individual congregations choose to follow the Articles of Religion and the Anglican Communion in separation from the Episcopal Church?

To my brothers and sisters in the Gay and Lesbian community, I would like to reaffirm the Lambeth statement that “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” I need you in my walk with Christ and I believe the whole Church does as well. Let us meet at the foot of the Cross.

Thank you.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Tithes, Offerings, and the Golden Calf. Regular readers of this space know that one of the subissues related to the GC2003 fallout is the duty to continue to bring tithes to the local church, knowing they are being submitted to the National and Diocesean churches, which have frankly turned away from the teachings of Scripture.

Our Bishop has maintained that to withold funding of the Diocese is to employ "financial weapons." Indeed, I have heard some talk that we need to use contributions to the Diocese and National Church as a way of "sending a message" or holding the establishment accountable. In that context, Bishop Lee's comments are somewhat understandable; nevertheless, in my opinion, deeply offensive.

I see this a matter of contributing to a false and/or idolatrous religion. In my opinion, any religion that does not follow the Holy Scriptures is a false religion. Therefore, we should not be doing anything to support that religion.

Yet, what does the Scriptures teach? Clearly, we have a duty to bring our tithes to the local church -- if we are members, we can not withhold on the basis that the local church is idolatrous. If that is the case, we shouldn't be there in the first place. So then, does the local church have a duty to support the national and/or regional denomination? I don't know.

This afternoon, my wife pointed out in I Samuel, Elkanah and his wife Hannah regularly made their sacrifices and offerings, despite the fact the priests "were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD" (I Sam. 2:12) and "This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt." (I Sam. 2:17).

God will judge the leaders who are wicked: "Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.' " I Sam. 3:14

More. From Karen, see Haggai 2 -- actually see the whole book, it's short. But consider this:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
At verses 6-9.
Apocalypse. If the Cubs and the Red Sox meet in the World Series, does the Rapture Index go up?

Sunday, September 28, 2003

My thoughts on the first NoVa Community Meeting. I do have a few thoughts on the first of the Diocesean meetings to be held in the immediate Northern Virginia area:
  1. First, I really felt a strong sense of prayer cover there. Yes, I knew that we were being prayed for by people from both the immediate grounds of the meeting area, but also from Africa to Asia. Nevertheless, I felt (and don't think I was just imagining it) a prayer covering. I believe that this is a battle being waged in the heavenly realm and that our struggle is not just against flesh and blood. In fact, I believe that our Lord's greatest concern is for those being lead astray by this deceptive undermining of Scripture.

  2. I was deeply moved and humbled by my brothers and sisters from congregations that aren't considered part of the big four (All Saints/Apostles/Falls Church/Truro) and have remained faithfully toiling on behalf of our Lord. Before moving from Alexandria, my wife and I attended Olivet Church in Franconia; we have friends attending St. Andrews, St. Peter in the Woods, Christ the Redeemer, Good Shepherd, and Holy Comforter, among others. Therefore I should've known that the strength of the Diocese would not be limited to these four congregations. In fact, I think the presentations made by the big four generally reiterated the letters their vestries had made to the Bishop already. It was the voices of individuals who attended St. James, St. Margaret's and others who really gave flesh and blood to the concerns of the diocese.

  3. Bishop Gray, while opposing the position taken by Bishop Lee and the majority of the Virginia Delegation, expressed a very troubling sentiment when he said that unity was more important than being right or wrong.

  4. The admission by Bishop Lee that he called Canon Robinson and asked him about withdrawal is intriguing.

  5. I sense in Peter Lee a growing sense that he might have been wrong. He was still very defensive, yet I have to believe that now that he is hearing from the pew-dwelling Episcopalians and not the 815 establishment, it may be dawning on him that he was rooked.

Bishop Peter Lee in WinchesterI am planning on going to Tuesday night's meeting. I have a number of questions I would like answered. Unfortunately, given the limited time, trying to draft both a brief statement and questions, make both seem to be somewhat terse -- perhaps it's the lawyer in me. I do want to make points (that is articulate points, not "score" points), yet to try to cram it all in makes it seem antagonistic. I would appreciated prayers.

More See this report on how the Winchester meeting went.
Housecleaning / Football. Sorry for taking so long to post the fourth part of the "community meeting." I really need to do a summary -- but I wanted to post everything I could remember before I started getting into doing my own commentary.

I also wanted to take a break and look at something completely different: football. I caught the last 3 minutes of the Redskins-Patriots game and then the last minute or so of the Texans-Jags game.

The 'skins got a bad ruling on the Laveranues Coles replay revue. He clearly puts both hands on the ball -- in fact, he touched it with both palms -- and got both feet down. He had his hands on the ball and twisted forward, thrusting the ball forward to ensure he got the first down and only upon hitting the ground, did he lose the ball. But that shouldn't have mattered because he clearly controlled the ball -- i.e. had possession -- prior to twisting -- and far prior to losing the ball.

The Texans game showed that pass interference can operate somewhat like late fouls in a college basketball game -- actually a smart play. The Texans had the ball inside the 10 and just needed a FG to tie the game and send it into OT. A touchdown would win it for them. The Jags committed at least two pass interference penalties -- but those were effectively meaningless, because they kept the Texans from scoring and allowed the clock to run down. The Texans ran a play with 6 seconds left on the clock and the Jags broke up the pass by committing pass interference. Effectively, this was a meaningless penalty because it meant the Texans had one more play -- a play which they should've used to kick a FG. However the Texans coach went for the win -- and got it when QB David Carr dove over the pile into the end zone. Nevertheless, I think the NFL Rules Committee should consider adding 10 seconds to the clock when the defense commits a pass interference penalty at the end of a game (during the last 2 minutes).

Oh, and did I mention that my Raiders may have finally woken up?
Part 4: Comments and Questions from the Audience (continued).

Larry Panser from Church of the Epiphany in Herndon was next. He asked whether scripture is the rule of our Church and Faith. He quoted Gene Robinson who stated:
Just simply to say that it goes against the tradition and the teaching of the church and Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong.
(according to Christianity Today, this was in the Washington Post, and I checked the quote to make sure I accurately recorded what the Post quoted.) Most of us here are sinners, yet we try to overcome our sin, not say that it isn’t sin. Placing someone in the highest office who is living a life contrary to Scripture is something we shouldn’t do. He then asked if Bishop Lee agreed with Rev. Robinson's statement.

Ann Sundlin, (St. James, I believe) Mt. Vernon said that the vote of the Bishop was inconsistent with his duty. She noted he seems to indicate that his view of "collegiality" contravenes Scripture. She expressed dissatisfaction with the format of the community meetings saying they seemed designed to "mimic our faith." She asked the Bishop "Did you rise to defend God's Word" at the General Convention. She said "collegiality is fear of God's favor." She concluded by saying: "You refused the crown of thorns waiting for you in Minneapolis. Jesus had a crown of thorns waiting for you which you could wear by standing up to the world. 'not my will, but thine, be done.' . . . He will not be mocked."

Gene Reed of Grace Church in Alexandria offered that "nothing that took place at General Convention changes the work of God."

Dan Van Ness of Truro Church appeared at the microphone, however, since Truro already had one person speak, Van Ness was sent to the end of the line.

Next was Melinda Artman who said she was there on behalf of Integrity Virginia. She did not state which church she was from. In light of the one speaker per church rule, the audience and facilitators pressed her to specify which church she was a member of. She reiterated that she was there on behalf of "Integrity Virginia a separate ministry." Not good enough -- she needed to specify a church -- that was the ground rules. This time she said that Integrity Virginia was a ministry operating at St. Clements and the facilitators ruled that she was there on behalf of St. Clements. (Note that she never declared where she was a member or even if she was a member of an Episcopal Church. More: According to the Integrity website, Ms. Artman is with St. John’s, Centreville. Perhaps this is another instance of that confounded one person per parish rule -- Ms. Artman not wanting to speak for the entire St. John's congregation.) She began by stating that the gay and lesbian community gained little at the General Convention; that there was just a perception of gain. She said that the gay and lesbian community would continue to work for change in the Episcopal Church ("The members of Integrity will not abandon the Episcopal Church") and would work for the day that the ECUSA was regularly ordaining non-celibate gay ministers and was sanctioning gay marriages.

Sam Thomsen, a church member from the Falls Church was next and he began by stating: "Bishop Lee, my wife and I love you and we pray for you daily. But, Bishop Lee, we are heartbroken. You have betrayed the trust of the Diocese of Virginia" by voting to confirm Gene Robinson as a Bishop.

Bill Harding of St. Margarets in Woodbridge said he was very disappointed in this action and was "disturbed that you [Peter Lee] don't" understand why this is wrong. At General Convention they voted to accept worldly values. He said that he feels abandoned. The letter released to the diocese explaining the vote was "insulting to my intelligence." (preach it brother!) "The idea that this is not acceptible in Virginia, but it is acceptible in New Hampshire is absurd. According to the Washington Times, he said:"How can you justify a statement saying sexual immorality is good and acceptable in New Hampshire, but not good in Virginia?" Mr. Harding asked. The audience began to laugh when he added: "Where geographically between New Hampshire and Virginia does a moral lifestyle transition to an immoral lifestyle?" At this someone in the audience called out "New Jersey!"

The Rev. Tom Herrick of Christ the Redeemer expressed "deep dismay" that the General Convention has "turned away from the traditional teaching of the Church." He said there is a lot of talk about inclusion but the majority of the delegates seem to want to exclude the traditional or scriptural. He said he wants to believe we can go on from here but "how can we possibly go forward by acquiessing to the demands of society?"

Carolyn Law of Christ Church Alexandria acknowledged that she is a "redeemed sinner," and admitted that she doesn't know everything in God's Word, but she did have three observations. First, it appears that the church is being lead by the Hollywood Spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Second, each one of us has been bought for a price; Christ died for the homosexual person and doesn't love anyone more or less because of this. Third, Christ still says to us as He said to the woman caught in adultry "Go and sin no more."

Ed Schneider of Olivet began by acknowleding that one representative problem, saying that he probably doesn't represent anyone at his church -- that its a very diverse church. "It's not my job to judge whether Robinson is a sinner." He said to look at Simon Peter -- that Christ took "one of the biggest sinners of his followers and put him as the leader of the apostles. So did the people of New Hampshire."

Next was Harry Finkenstaedt, a retired priest now worshipping at Grace Church in McLean. He asked whether Bishop Lee and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold could meet with Canon Robinson and ask him to withdraw from this office for the good of the church.

Next was Sara Burk of Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke (being the second person, it appeared that now every church had had at least the opportunity to have one person speak). She said that she was not an Episcopalian but that in doing graduate work on England during the 1660s to 1680s she was impressed with how the Anglican church accepted each other regardless of their position on differing forms of worship and belief and decided to join such a church.

Next was Emir, a college age student who attends Truro. He noted that in John 15 Jesus said that the branch that bears bad fruit is cut off. He then explained that his family was a Muslim family from Egypt and that they would not even consider attending an Episcopal chuch that approves of such immorality. He then noted the Senior Deputy's pride about starting a leadership program for students 18-25 but asked "what are we going to teach them?" He said we need guidance before action, but by taking these actions, the General Convention put action first and "we're still waiting for guidance." Finally, he concluded asking "What's more important to you -- unity or being right or wrong?" At this point there was a loud burst of applause that lasted about 5 seconds and the facilitator spent about 2 minutes explaining why this applause was so bad.

Dan Van Ness, who had been sent to the end of the line earlier, made it back up. He noted that Virginia has a clear policy which has been reaffirmed by Bishop Lee which governs the ordination of persons living in a sexual relationship outside the bounds of matrimony. "Six of eight members of the Virginia delegation went to the General Convention and voted to separate themselves from the Diocese of Virginia. Now it is we who are being rebuked for questioning this departure. Now it is we that are being rebuked for seeking to hold the leadership accountable. Now it is we who are being rebuked for being stewards of the resources provided to us."

Van Ness also pointed out Bishop Lee's earlier comments about how this is a matter of justice, seemingly indicating that justice is somehow evolving. He asked if this is a matter of "justice," will that justice evolve in the future to encompass gay marriages? And if that happens, will those churches that refuse to endorse gay marriages be deemed to be "unjust" and subsequently disciplined?

Next was Ann McCracken, also of Truro Church who addressed one of the statements expressed by the Virginia establishment. "The actions of the General Convention has hurt the ministries of the local churches." She explained that she had spent the past nine months establishing an outread to Spanish speaking persons from Latin America and all that work has collapsed because of the well publicized votes of the General Convention. People do not want to associate with an immoral church. She concluded by noting that the Bishops were concerned about Scripture with respect to money but not with respect to morality.

Walter Fogue began by stating he was not from Truro Church. He said that he was a member of St. James in Mt. Vernon. He said there had been a lot of talk about Scripture and tradition but that no one had mentioned Reason. He then began talking about process and to be honest, I was not following what he was saying. He concluded by saying "A man who didn't deserve to be elevated was." I wish I could give you a better report on this one, but I missed it.

Sandy Walker of All Saints Dale City began by noting that she had had woderful times with each of the three bishops. Then she posed questions to each of the bishops. To Bishop Lee, she noted his comments on human sexuality where he mentioned that there is a new understanding that reflects the demands of justice. If that is the case, she asked, "when will the injustice of the denial of blessings [in Virginia] be revoked?" To Bishop Gray she questioned his emphasis on "unity" over being right or wrong. She asked "isn't having the mind of Christ more important?" To Bishop Jones, she noted his reasoning was reminesent of the Viet Nam era logic that we have to destroy the village to save it.

Gregory ?
said that the Bible is not the standard of authority.
[here, I do need to interject a lengthy editorial comment, because this is flat-out wrong. First, both the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 (reproduced as an Historical Document in the Prayerbook of 1979) and the Preface of 1789 (with its references to the 1662 Preface) contained in ECUSA’s Book of Common Prayer of 1979 make it clear that the ECUSA “cannot be contrary to the Word of God or to sound doctrine,” as articulated in the teaching of the “ancient fathers” (1549 Preface). Second, Article XX of the Articles of Religion (or 39 Articles) provides: "The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. " (at 871)]

Joel Beser of Grace Church concluded by saying she thought we needed a time of Diocesean-wide prayer and fasting.

Then Peter Lee responded.

  • With respect to B001, Bishop Lee said he didn't recall the vote -- he thought it was a voice vote, but he said that he would've abstained or did abstain. He said he thought it was a political move and he was annonyed that it didn't include other essential articles of faith, such as the creed. [of course, this doesn't square with his vote on C0__ -- the local blessing initiative.]

  • Why should Churches stay? "Because this is your family."

  • How can I be held accountable? He said you have to communicate -- he said that he's received a lot of message over the past few months. He said that the Episcopal Church isn't a church where we "Pay, Pray, and Obey." [Yet, this is contrary to his earlier accusation -- I guess he sees the Episcopal Church as just a place where we Pay and Pray.] He said that he's been serving the Diocese of Virginia for 19 years and he won't be around forever. He said if we don't like his decisions, we need to elect someone we approve of. However, he said if we leave, we won't be able to vote.

  • Did he agree with the Robinson quote made to the media? Lee said that in his dealings with the media, he knows that quotations aren't always accurate. Nevertheless, if the quote was what was accurately portrayed, he would disagree.

  • With respect to the question asked by Harry Finkenstead, citing the example of Jeffy Johns in England, Bishop Lee said that he spoke personally with Gene Robinson just one week ago and asked him whether he was going to go through with this. Robinson told him that he is in daily prayer about this and is consulting with a spiritual advisor, but has not been lead to back out. Lee said that he would not pressure him to refuse the appointment.

    Bishop Lee concluded by saying that we needed to listen to the truth in each of us and ask "What have we heard tonight."