Saturday, October 11, 2003

Pedro Martinez should be suspended - for at least four games and probably seven. The ball bounces off Karim Garcia of the Yankees after he was hit in the back during the fourth inning, on a pitch from Boston Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez The crew that umpired today's Yankees-Red Sox game should also be sanctioned -- they clearly let things get out of hand. First you had Martinez throwing at a batter's head. I was 97% sure that was no accident -- and later events reduced that margin of doubt to nil. That, in itself was enough to warrant ejection -- although you hate to do that in a playoff game. When Martinez stood on the playing field and threatened to hit another Yankee in the head (he pointed at the bench and then at his head -- repeating this several times), he clearly should've been ejected. This is why the umpires need to be sanctioned -- they failed to control the game. Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez throws Don Zimmer to the groundNext, when Manny Ramirez overreacted to a pitch high and inside [picture] and the benches cleared, Martinez' assault on 72 year old Don Zimmer, pushed the nature of the sanction to be assessed to a suspension.

Zimmer being taken away by ambulance following the gameDon Zimmer and Manny Ramirez should be fined. I did not see the later fight in the Yankees bullpen, but from what I read and heard, it sounds like the Yankee players involved should also be fined and the Red Sox organization should be fined for failing to control their employees -- the groundskeeper who at best acted provocatively in the bullpen.

I went into this game rooting for the Sox (now that my A's are out). I was hoping for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. I can't believe I ended up rooting for the Yankees after this.

I've never been a fan of Roger Clemens -- he's a hot head -- but he's also one of the truly great pitchers. Amazingly, he kept his cool today. Perhaps he learned his lessons long ago. There's a good argument for not ejecting a player -- especially a key player in a playoff game. The counter argument is that it teaches the player to put the team first. Pedro and the Sox need to learn that one.

Martinez threatening the Yankee bench with further beanballsMore. Tom Boswell described what happened yesterday as "a self-inflicted black eye:"
The Red Sox now trail this series two games to one and, in many eyes, seem more guilty of bad behavior than the New York team that the Boston front office has dubbed "the Evil Empire." This was the day when it was Red Sox Nation's turn to blush.
He further articulates some of Zimmer's motivation for confronting Martinez:
Early in his career, Zimmer was considered a future star, but a beaning left him with a metal plate in his head and a warning from doctors that he was risking his life to stay in the game. He ended up playing a dozen seasons against their wishes. But, more than anyone, Zimmer has been a symbol, throughout his 55-year pro career, of what beanballs can do to a career. As soon as Martinez threw near Garcia's head -- the worst of all pitching sins -- Zimmer began screaming at him from the bench.
Read the whole thing.

Even the Boston Globe had to acknowledge the pitch that Ramirez overreacted to was "hardly a menacing pitch; in fact, it was almost a strike . . ." Nevertheless, it tried to equivacate, saying that both teams behaved badly and gave "baseball" a black eye.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Kneel With Us. The Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria and the Church of Nigeria is observing Monday October 13 as a day of prayer and fasting in the Church of Nigeria for the Anglican Communion. They would warmly welcome other Anglicans to stand with them in this.

I would amend the above statement to substitute "all Christians" for "other Anglicans" at the end.
We are praying for and ask others to pray for the discernment of the Holy Spirit; for God to guide our leaders to see what is at stake and to give all of us wisdom and courage to stand by the truth of Scripture whatever the cost. Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life" The truth is given in his word. We need wisdom, protection, and a great deal of God's Spirit.
--Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria

The Agony of Defeat

Oakland A's pitcher Tim Hudson and daughter pack up after the playoff loss to the Red Sox

Fig Leaf. The news today is that South African Primate Njongonkulu Ndungane (Invertebrate) has proposed the establishment of a committee to study "human sexuality."

Let's lay aside the fact that this is nothing more than a fig leaf for the apostates to hide behind. Let's lay aside the fact that the apostates have completely ignored all committees, commissions, conferences, and other similar such clusters in the past. [After all, have any of the apostates abided by Lambeth? In the ECUSA, the responsible committees recommended tabling all such issues until agreement was reached. Did that stop the apostates this past summer?]

Let's say all the Primates agree to go with a study commission. If we do, what about Robinson? What about New Westminster? What about the blessings charade? Robinson and Ingham will both have to step aside pending the results of the committee. (plus Ingham will have to turn over the keys.) And all clergy will have to agree that there will be no blessings until agreement is reached.

Will the apostates and other members of the supportive liberal faction agree to this? Do they issue iceskates in hell?

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I am so confused. Let me see if I have this right. If you divorce your wife and take up a long term sexual relationship, outside of marriage, with a man, carrying on in the church rectory, you're considered to be qualified to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church?

If you set up a website that directs teenagers to on-line homosexual pornography, you're considered to be qualified to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church?

But, if you "initiat[e] sexual conversations with two teenagers" you will be "deposed of [your] priesthood?" Here's the story on this case. I have no problem with this result -- it's appropriate. Why not apply the same rule to Rev. Robinson?

It must have something to do with pluriform truths?

(Or do presiding Bishops just chloroform truths? I'm so confused...)
Speaking of those radical conservatives... This is an interesting item. Apparently, Pope John Paul II is strongly being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize due to his opposition to the war in Iraq. This apparently pleases the anti-US liberal on the Nobel committee. He is being opposed because of his "position on abortion, contraception, the role of women in the church and homosexuality. . ." (emphasis added).

Umm, for the Roman Pontiff, these are not "positions," they are a way of life.
"Insurgent Conservative". The Associated Press has labeled the American Anglican Council meeting in Dallas "[a]n insurgent conservative movement that could split the Episcopal Church . . ." [see also here]

Note to the A.P., please decide which pejorative you want to use to label this group. An insurgent is "opposition to lawful civil or political authority" or "Rising in revolt against established authority." When insurgent is used as a noun to describe a person, it refers to:
A person who rises in opposition to civil or political authority; one who openly and actively resists the execution of laws. . . An insurgent differs from a rebel. The insurgent opposes the execution of a particular law or laws; the rebel attempts to overthrow or change the government, or he revolts and attempts to place his country under another jurisdiction. All rebels are insurgents, but all insurgents are not rebels. Webster's
On the other hand, "conservative" refers to "disposed to maintain existing institutions; opposed to change or innovation." Infoplease defines conservative thusly: "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., "

Insurgent conservative Episcopalians? It sounds like a group opposed to crusts on white bread, or place settings without a salad fork.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I weep with Joy. I understand that a letter of encouragement has been sent to the Plano meeting from the Vatican. I'll post it when I obtain a copy.


From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect of the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this city from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith from England to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
NFL Hall Nominees. The first cut of the class of 2004 -- the nominees for the NFL Hall of Fame has been announced. Here are my ten picks from that list:

John Elway QB
Barry Sanders RB
Art Monk WR
Cliff Branch WR
Russ Grimm G
Gary Zimmerman T
Karl Mecklenburg LB
Lester Hayes DB
Ray Guy P

Now, I generally think that wide receivers are way overrepresented in the HOF and the offensive linemen are very underrepresented. Therefore, I'm surprised to see that I've picked two WRs. Both deserve to be there, in my opinion. I'm also surprised to be picking Broncos -- I can't stand them, but they were excellent. (Ken Stabler should be in the HOF, but not ahead of Elway.)

Also, I don't normally like special teams players, coaches, owners, etc. However, Ray Guy revolutionized the game, elevating the appreciation of the punting game -- I don't think it would be overstating it to say he was worth an average of at least 4 points a game difference for the Raiders, just because of the results of field position.

Last, astute observers will note I only picked 9 players above. I'm reserving my final pick for Bob "Boomer" Brown a devastating tackle who played for the Eagles (and Rams and Raiders). He's been nominated by the Seniors Committee -- he should've been picked long before this.

[My favorite Boomer story was when he was first traded to the Raiders. The team was on the practice field and Boomer came out of the locker room late (making sure he had an audience). He lined up in front of the wooden goal post, came out of his stance and gave the post a forearm, leveling it.]
Implications. One of the things that really amazed me was the complete disregard by the Episcopal establishment for the rest of the church catholic. Not just their Anglican brothers and sisters in other lands (indeed, one of the proponents for Robinson declared these people to be "not relevant"), but also for those in other denominations here in the US and throughout the globe.

Of course the partisans who are trying to ram this change through haven't forgotten it. However, it appears that the "fellow travelers" who supported the Robinson ordination (yet claim to hold fast to their local policies opposed to this sort of thing) have clearly forgotten the larger Body.

I have a friend who is a pastor of a United Methodist Church who tells me that the pressure to both ordain practicing homosexuals and to consecrate gay weddings has really increased since GC2003.

Similarly, there is a strong push that has been going on for years in the Presbyterian church. This has given the revisionist proponents there a tremendous boost. Consider this part of an e-mail message:
One thing that may be interesting to others: some of the people at [a regional Presbyterian meeting] are wearing badges that say "gracious separation". This is a topic that will be discussed at one of the breakout sessions today or tomorrow, and we also discussed it for information purposes at the first group over the weekend. Some people in the evangelical wing are pushing to divide the PC(USA) into 2 denominations, one evangelical, the other free to do their ordination of whomever they want, etc. We are against it for several reasons (not least of which is to stay and fight the heresy for the sake of those who are too unsophisticated theologically to know which way to go, AND for the sake of those lost in the heresy), but we don't know what the outcome will be when this large group (the Pres. Coalition) breaks up on Wednesday. We don't have the same governing structure that the ECUSA has, so the questions raised by the selection of Gene Robinson are different for the Episcopalians than they would be for the PC(USA). I sure am praying for them, where a large part of my heart still is.
Sigh, Thank you.

See also this article by Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI Religion Editor
The crisis in the Anglican Communion seems to foreshadow a rift worse than a schism for world Christianity. It does not only divide denomination from denomination. Worse, its fault lines cut straight through many branches of the body of Christ.
It only gets more powerful from there.

I would beg all my brothers and sisters in whatever denomination or fellowship to be in prayer for these things -- now. Not just the ECUSA, but the Anglican Church in Canada, which is under attack -- for the believers in different denominations. This is (spiritual)warfare and once a beachfront has been established and secured in these denominations, they will turn to you next.

Don Nickles. Senator Don Nickles announced yesterday that he would be retiring from the Senate.

Let me tell you a story about Sen. Nickles.

Back in 1981, I was Treasurer of the Student Government Association ("SGA") at James Madison University. Chuck Cunningham, the SGA President came to me with the idea of starting a tradition of holding a prayer breakfast at the school -- and since this would be the first, we needed to come up with a prestigious keynote speaker. Chuck started calling around and someone suggested calling this new Senator from Oklahoma. Chuck placed a call to the Senators office in DC and Senator Nickles picked up the phone. Chuck explained what he was doing and Sen. Nickles said that sounds great -- he checked his schedule and was free that day and agreed, on the spot to come down.

Sure enough, the day of the prayer breakfast, Sen. Nickles showed up -- it was a 2 and a half hour drive from D.C. We didn't pay an honorarium or even cover expenses. We weren't constituents. There was no press coverage (other than the school newspaper). In short, there was nothing in it for him but a lot of hassle.

It's been said that character is who you are when no one's looking. Don Nickles had character and his voice in the Senate will be deeply missed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Narnia. I am taking a wonderful class for Sunday School on the Narnia Chronicles and I must say that part of what makes it so excellent is our instructor who has studied these books for well over 25 years. According to him the single best book ever written about Naria is Reading with the Heart: The Way into Narnia by Peter J. Schakel.

The bad news it's out of print. The good news is that it's on-line here.
If you want to get any further, you must use the map” (The Silver Chair p. 136).
Unquote. The Reuters article I was interviewed for was published here. I am actually very relieved to find that I was not mentioned.
Higher Primates, First Cut, supplemental. Based on e-mails and the very little research I've done (now that my A's were eliminated from the playoffs, I can focus...), the following Primate can be upgraded:

Yong Ping Chung (South East Asia)
Rev. Yong signed the July 23, 2003, Truro Statement. Rev. Yong is a Vertabrate.

On the other hand, these Primates might need to be downgraded. I haven't done sufficient research, but these were officially lauded by the General Convention, whereas other Primates* with strong backbones, who were present, such as Peter Akinola, were pointedly ignored:
George Clive Handford of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East; . . . Martiniano Garcia-Montiel of the Anglican Church of Mexico; and Ignacio Capuyan Soliba of the Anglican Church in the Philippines.

*But see, Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo of the Province of Uganda who was recognized. Should he also be downgraded.

Why do I feel like a Kremlinologist?

More: See this:
Deal Breaker. According to the Washington Times, Florida Bishop John Howe wrote about the mid-September meeting with Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold:
Many of our bishops ... have said they simply cannot comprehend why [homosexual clergy] is 'the deal breaking' issue . . . One bishop said, 'We can go side by side to the Communion rail in total disagreement over capital punishment — whether or not it is right to kill a human being — so why is this the issue that is tearing us apart?'

So why, indeed, is this a "deal-breaking" issue? I submit that the reason isn't that this is solely a human sexuality issue, but it is an issue of the place of Scripture in the Episcopal Church.* Specifically, those of us objecting to the actions of General Convention (should we be called Protestants?) are doing so because we have been told that the clear teaching of Scripture is irrelevant. In doing so, the ECUSA has denied the very authority of Scripture that the Anglican communion was founded on. See, for example, Art. XX of the Articles of Religion. (" 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. ")

[See also, Richard Hooker, supposedly the initiator of the Anglican three-legged stool:
What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the voice of the Church succeedeth. That which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason over-rule all other inferior judgments whatsoever.
(Laws, Book V, 8:2; Folger Edition 2:39,8-14). Note that Hooker place supreme emphasis on the authority of Scripture.]

In short, I have no problem with kneeling at the altar rail, under the cross, with a proponent of the death penalty, although I strongly disagree with him, or a proponent of consecrating gay marriage, although I strongly disagree with her. I will not, I can not be a member of a Church that has denied the authority of Scripture, because that church has forfeited it's birthright, it's standard, it's very reason for being.

*The Rev. Minns, in the note I posted below, explains that human sexuality is a "core issue." I am generally in agreement with him on this -- although I believe that there is such a difference between the authority of Scripture and the human sexuality issue that the two must be distinguished and prioritized.
Standing. Today, as many of you know, is the first day of the Plano Texas meeting, "A Place to Stand." If you're like me and want to know what is happening, I think the best place to get a report would be here, from Rev. John Burwell of Holy Cross, South Carolina (scroll down to find the appropriate daily links).

To review, the conference titled "A Place to Stand" arose out of a gathering of church leaders prior to the convening of GC2003. Reading the signs of the times, the leaders saw a need to be able to respond to a worse case scenario if that's what happened at General Convention. Christ Church in Plano offered to host such a meeting and the thinking was that there would be, "oh, 75 people attending." Because the actions taken at General Convention were such a radical departure for the Episcopal Church, the meeting grew and soon had to be moved from Plano to Dallas.

There are a number of news articles discussing or giving a preview of this meeting: The Washington Times, USA Today, AP, and the Guardian.

Of course the best site is operated by a bunch of Elves: Classical Anglican Net News (or CANN).

One little side note I find interesting is that in order to attend the meeting, participants were asked to reaffirm their belief in the AAC statement of faith entitled: A Place to Stand. A Call to Mission. According to this article, "More than 75 media credentials — which is highly unusual for a denominational meeting that has no legislative clout — have been issued to reporters. . ." Ahh, but are they all reporters? Rev. Burwell reports
Lydia told me that several prominent members of "the majority" including Dr. Louie Crew, applied for press credentials and will be in attendance at this meeting in Dallas. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted to be known as part of the media until I realized that this conference is not an open meeting for the entire church. If you wanted to attend, you had to sign a statement stating that you agree with the AAC’s beliefs. That’s not a problem for me since I am in complete agreement with every point, but it could be a bit of a roadblock for some on the more "progressive" side of the issues today. I learned that Dr. Crew and the others who tried this innovation had been denied press credentials. Interesting.
Yes, interesting.

BTW, Virginia's Peter Lee is sending Bishop Gray as "spiritual adviser" (why not just admit that he's your observer, Bishop Lee) to the Virginia Delegation.

More: See this page for reports on the Plano meeting from Father Eaton of the Diocese of San Joaquin in California. [Thanks Karen, for the heads up!]

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Why This Issue? Why Now? The following is taken from the Truro Family News.
by Martyn Minns
Rector of Truro

The questions that have been in the forefront of my mind as I have been taking part in meeting after meeting in the aftermath of General Convention have been “Why this issue and why now?” Why has the decision to confirm the election of Gene Robinson and to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions prompted such a firestorm of negative response? Even among many of the bishops who were in favor of the actions there is recognition that they totally misjudged the intensity of the reaction. In our diocese the community meetings have attracted unprecedented numbers. In addition to moving to larger locations, two additional meetings were added to cope with the crowds. And the reactions have been overwhelmingly negative. What is going on? I will publish a longer essay with answers to this question, but I would like to offer some preliminary thoughts.
1. It is a core issue. Questions to do with human sexuality are core issues that deal with our identity and so necessarily produce a visceral response. This is not a peripheral matter. Rather, it has to do with the basic question of what it means to be human. Most people are more than willing to acknowledge that men and women who consider themselves to be homosexuals are entitled to the same fundamental human respect as anyone else. Or to use the language of the baptismal covenant we are to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.” And we are to “respect the dignity of every human being.” But the idea that we are now confronted with an entirely new range of family combinations that must be treated as holy examples of a new anthropology is a step too far. It threatens our basic understanding of God’s design for man, woman and marriage.
2. It is a gospel issue. The consistent witness of the Scriptures and centuries of Christian teaching have underscored the deadly nature of sin and the universal need for repentance, freedom and forgiveness. The central image of our faith is the Cross and, although we all fall short, we acknowledge that without Christ’s work of salvation we are lost. However, in its actions the general Convention has taken behavior which has been declared to be inherently sinful and proclaimed that it is not only NOT sinful but something to be explored, celebrated and honored by the church. For many this is scandalous and puts souls at risk.
3. It is a global issue. Thanks to the immediacy of communication the entire Christian world, and especially the Anglican Communion, is very much aware of the actions taken and the response has been intense. Many see it as one more example of the decadent West forcing its immorality on the rest of the world in a high-handed imperialistic manner. It has been interpreted as one more example of American unilateralism. The fallout has been severe. Ecumenical relationships threaten to unravel, Christian-Muslim
dialogues have been suspended, missionary work has been imperiled, evangelism in places where Christians are an oppressed minority have been made much more difficult and the cause of the Gospel seriously jeopardized.
4. It is a God issue. There is something about the timing and the response that we cannot fully explain. It has to do with the sovereignty of God. I believe that, by its actions, the Episcopal Church has grieved the Holy Spirit and is now experiencing the judgment of God. For many years we have accommodated those who have lived and taught in ways that are contrary to the Scriptures. We have had bishops who have denied the resurrection and other core doctrines of the Faith. But God, in his mercy, has withheld judgment. For reasons known to God alone, we are now being brought to account. God is at work redeeming and reforming His Church and requiring discipline.
I would welcome your thoughts on “Why now?” and “Why this issue?” As we reflect further on these issues I encourage you to pray: )
"Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is error, direct it; where it is any thing amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen!")
(Book of Common Prayer)
R - E - S - P - E - C - T. Last Friday, I was interviewed briefly by Reuters reporter Sarah Tippit -- it was an engaging conversation. Rev. Goff (I confess that it was a little distracting to hear her typing whenever I started blithering...) What I think I really appreciated was the sense that she was trying to understand what I was saying, even thought I'm not very articulate. This was what I sensed was missing from the "community meetings" held by Bishop Lee and the Delegates. They gave their statements, then turned it over to a limited number of people to make a very abbreviated statement and then the Bishops and Delegates again had an opportunity to make a statement. At the sixth meeting, in McLean, the Rev. Susan Goff, was asked by Bishop Lee to respond to the questions posed by those attending. She stood up and immediately dismissed all the questions posed as being "rhetorical" then blathered on about nothing for at least five minutes.

There were excellent questions posed and, given the time constraints, questions were sometimes tightly packed with a rhetorical element (see the questions I would've posed, below, for examples), yet all were worthy of answering and not merely dismissing.

One of the questions asked, but not answered, was why did you not hold these meetings before taking such divisive action. No answer was provided, but we all know it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

At the VTS meeting, one of the commenters expressed her frustration with the the structure of the meetings, in part, as being designed to give a limited number of people a chance to blow off steam, but really more an exercise in "groupthink." This must have touched a nerve because before Bishop Jones started the Compline, Bishop Gray seized the microphone to say that he disagreed and thought the meetings were a way to have a conversation within the Diocese.

Bishop Gray was wrong. I really don't think there was any attempt to really discuss the actions by the Episcopal Church establishment. This has always been a fait accompli and there has never been a desire to see what the denomination as a whole thinks (not to mention those little things like, oh, Scripture, reason, experience, the wider Anglican communion, the universal Church).

Am I really naive/simplistic/stupid enough to think that Bishop Lee needed to talk to every member of the Diocese about this? Yes, actually I am. I think instead of putting in a couple of hours in at a parish on one Sunday doing confirmations, he should have gone to every parish and made an attempt to meet with the parishoners in small groups and discussed these decisions prior to making them. Christian charity? Respect? Humility? Any of those things would be welcome, Bishop Lee.

Moreover, the proponents of making such a radical change as this in the life of the Church bear the burden of demonstrating that such a change is consistent with Scripture, reason and tradition. Such a demonstration has not been made. Nor has it been attempted. The two votes at General Convention were nothing more than the exercise of raw political power. The "community meetings" are nothing more than smoke (dare I call it "smells and bells?") designed to cover the unlawful decisions of the convention.

Bishop Lee said this is not a church where we "pay, pray, and obey." No, it's one where we "sit mute and give up the loot." Prayer and obedience are not part of the Episcopal Church.
Simple Truths. Church this morning was nice. The readings were wonderful and Marshall Brown's sermon was brilliant. I was unaccompainied, since Debbie and Sarah were still sick.

This afternoon, Joe and I went to the Father-Son softball game sponsored by Truro. It's the first "semi-organized" ball game he's ever been in. He got a "hit" the first time up -- a short foul ball that actually rolled fair.

On the way over to the game, we listened to the A's - Red Sox game on the radio. The A's were ahead 4-2, but the Sox scored a run before we got out. After our game we all gathered in the park for subs and Gatorade. Eating our ham sandwiches, I mentioned to Joe about the A's game -- "So, who do you think won?"

He looked off thoughtfully and then, with wisdom greater than his five years said, "Even if the A's didn't win, we've had a blessed day."

They didn't, but we did.
Busy Weekend. Debbie, Sarah, and Emilie all sick.