Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Vote and other thoughts. Yes, it's a long time after the vote at Truro, but there was so much I wanted to write about, but haven't had an opportunity to do so. I want to preserve some notes so I don't forget. Immediately after leaving church on Sunday (December 10), I went straight to the airport for a work related trip. Anyway, here are the notes and other thoughts:
  • We arrived early, because the younger kids were singing at both services. Pulling into the Truro parking lot, we saw the news trucks with the microwave antennaes up. Of course, the kids wanted to know why the TV cameras were there. "Maybe to hear y'all sing?"
  • Debbie and I took a place up front in the pews so we could see the kids singing and had a fun conversation with Megan Walnut who is on the Truro vestry. As you may know, the vestry members of the local congregations have been threatened by the Bishop of Virginia, Peter James Lee, with personal liability if the congregations vote to leave the Diocese and align with the Anglican Communion. We didn't really discuss this however (I know that the weight of this issue has been a very heavy burden for all the vestry members) - our conversation was light -- we were all thankful that Truro does have vestry members and other persons who are dealing with the media.
  • The service started a little unusually -- it was the convening of a parish-wide meeting which would begin just before the service started and be adjourned, but not ended, each day at a set time to allow continuous voting. Attorney and ECUSA lay delegate, Russ Randle believes the continuous voting procedure violates the canons. Personally, I don't see it; I have tremendous respect for Mr. Randle -- I believe he sincerely believes this; nevertheless, my review of the relevant authorities doesn't persuade me. I guess I look at the four corners of a document (in this case, both the canons and Va law) and don't see anything which prohibits it. Mr. Randle explains "In practice, before this controversy arose, the diocese interpreted this rule to forbid multi-day voting." (Hmmm, do I need to point out that before this controversy arose, the diocese also believe the Word of God to be our authority...?)
  • The kids sang at the introit -- and sang well.
  • I voted after the first service and just before the second service. I went in with my son Joe and signed in. This has been a time of prayer and deliberation. I though of many people who weren't able to vote -- some had passed away -- some left after the actions of ECUSA (especially I was thinking of the Hagens -- I see the plaque on the wall for their baby who died) -- I thought of Karen B. who is doing the work of the Lord in another country and therefore barred by canon law from voting -- I thought of my three youngest kids who were with me and are too young to vote, but who are the beneficiaries of our voting. I marked my ballot "Yes" to both question (leaving ECUSA and joining the Anglican Communion/CANA and to allowing the majority party in the voting to retain the property). Together, my son and I dropped the ballot in the box.
  • During the period of (formal) discernment, there have been people I spoke with who didn't see the need for Truro to leave. My response has always been the same -- then that is how you should vote. The Lord does not alway speak through the voice of the majority (isn't that part of the lesson of the various GenCons?), sometime he speaks to a boy or through a donkey. One of these persons is a strong Christian and not a "reappraiser."
  • I was very glad that I had reached a decision about how I was going to vote before Bp. Lee sent his bellicose letter to the churches seeking the Lord's will. In his letter he "threatens like a dockside bully..." (Bolt, A Man For All Seasons). My natural reaction would be to respond in kind, or at least to say "to heck with you, I'm voting against you." Of course, this would be as sinful as his letter was.
  • When the news came out, I found out via the internet -- the BabyBlue blog -- and then was able to read reports on the web (mainly Titus1:9). Kendall Harmon reprinted Martyn's comments and I showed them to Debbie. Martyn led off by noting Sadie Eller's struggles -- Debbie in particular has an attachement to Sadie and has been praying for her and visiting her regularly. Therefore, she could pass on the news to Sadie's daughter, who was particularly touched by Martyn's remarks.
  • The WaPo's first published report was typically reprehensible: "CANA is formally under the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Peter Akinola, who supports a proposed law in Nigeria that would outlaw public and private gay activity."
  • Conversely, Peter Lee's first response received no attention for it's implicit racism. Racism? Yes, that's right. This is Virginia -- Peter Lee lives in Richmond, the capital of the confederacy and his first press release specifically mentions "Nigeria" or "Nigerian" four times and "Ugandan" once. Moreover, he continues on to state "This is not the future of the Episcopal Church envisioned by our forebears." Having just lived through the "Macaca" campaign, where the WaPo told us daily that these hidden code words are used to convey racist intent, the clear intent of Peter Lee must be a rallying of the old confederate guard.
  • At church last Sunday, before the results were announced, my younger kids and I (my wife was home with the oldest daughter who has mono) were seated in the front row. A gentleman behind us, from Africa, prayed for Martyn who he likened to a modern day Moses. I've been thinking since then that this is very appropriate. Moses spent the first 40 years of his life in an important "career," then the next 40 in a humble career as a shepherd, then the last 40 leading a bunch of griping malcontents though the desert. Martyn started off with a promising career working for Mobil Oil, then went to seminary and became a pastor and, at the time he was seeking retirement, was called to lead a diverse group out of the modern day version of Egypt into the Red Sea, stepping out in faith.
  • Since the results of the vote, there were the front page articles, with pictures, in the WaPo and the Washington Times. This caused my son to ask whether our church is famous. How do you answer a question like that? No, we're not famous. What's happening is significant and has been deemed newsworthy, but it's not fame that anyone is seeking. You'll learn, my son...
  • Finally, there have been many articles indicating this is all about homosexuality. No, that's not true. Yes, the ordination of a non-celibate gay clergyman is the straw which broke the back, but it's so much more. The process of naming VGR to be a bishop happened with the full, active, consent of the majority of the lay, clergy and episcopal delegates to the GenCon2003. By so doing, it was clear to all that there had been a break with the past faith. Unlike the heresies of, say Spong, who denied the divinity of Jesus after being named a bishop, this was an active ratification of something contrary to the Word of God. If VGR were named a bishop and then revealed his non-celibate status, it probably would not have provoked the same reaction. Similarly, if VGR had been faithfully married to one wife but were denying the divinity of Christ and were still nominated and confirmed as a bishop, I believe the result would be exactly the same. (For the record, in my first post on VGR, I called him a "theological moderate" compared with the rest of the slate of nominees for bishop of NH.)
All in all, this has been a very sad time -- not a time of triumph or a time of exultation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Not your father's Amtrac... See this (and for the unintiated, read this or this for a background on the Amtracs).

BTW, yes, I've been traveling and working and putting together a video of my father's life (speaking of my father, above, a retired Amtrac Bn. CO) . I hope to have something up on YouTube soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Ribbon Creek. As I've indicated, work has been busy lately -- well, it's been busy the past 2 years, but the demands have really increased in the past 2 months or so. Because of organizational policy, I don't write much about work and won't really do so today; except obliquely.

When I was a boy and Disney World was brand new, we took a family vacation from the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base to Orlando Florida. On the way, we took a detour to visit the Grinder at Parris Island, S.C. ; excuse me, that is Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Heading out to that place in the middle of the high heat, high humidity, bug infested swamp lands, my mother made a reference to "Ribbon Creek." It didn't mean much to me, but I could tell it meant something to both Mom and Dad. Especially Dad. And so, it stuck with me.

Years later, I learned that Ribbon Creek was the site of a tragedy at the MCRD; six Marine recruits died while training. The following is from the official history of the MCRD, Parris Island,
Despite the great care thus used in the selection of men assigned to train recruits, a tragedy resulting from the grievous errors of judgment of a junior drill instructor occurred on Parris Island in April 1956. Various regulations and standing orders of the post were violated at the same time. The offending DI was Staff Sergeant Matthew C. McKeon, assigned to Platoon 71, "A" Company, 3d Recruit Training Battalion. On Sunday night, 8 April, between 2000 and 2045, he marched 74 men of Platoon 71 from their barracks to Ribbon Creek, one of the tidal streams on Parris Island, and led the men into the water. Some of them got into depths over their heads, panic ensued, and six recruits drowned in the resulting confusion. The ostensible purpose of the march was to teach the recruits discipline.

* * *

Thus Sergeant McKeon's ill-fated march set off immediate repercussions which shook Marine Corps training from top to bottom. Moreover, an uninterrupted flood of publicity by the press, radio, and television literally divided the entire country into two opposing camps, those who condemmed McKeon for what had happened and those who sympathized with him.

It was in this glare of public gaze that McKeon's court-martial began at Parris Island on 16 July 1956. A noted New York trial counsel, Emile Zola Berman, undertook the sergeant's defense before the military court. For three weeks, the battle ebbed and flowed, concerned as much with the propriety of the rationale and practices of Marine Corps training as with McKeon's responsibility for the Ribbon Creek affair. Witnesses came forward to defend Marine training, others came forth to condemn it. The defense presentation culminated in the appearance on the stand of retired Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller and the Commandant of the Marine Corps himself.

Finally, on 4 August 1956, the court handed down its decision: McKeon was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and oppression of troops; he was found guilty of negligent homicide and drinking on duty. The sentence was a fine of $270, nine months confinement at hard labor as a private and a bad-conduct discharge from the Marine Corps. Upon review by the Secretary of the Navy, the sentence was reduced to three months hard labor and reduction to the rank of private; the discharge was set aside and the fine remitted.
A Brief History of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina (1962) at pp 16-18 (notes omitted). See also, Time Magazine, and Keith Fleming The U.S. Marine Corps in Crisis: Ribbon Creek and Recruit Training.

It is my understanding from the reading I have done that the "uninterrupted flood of publicity by the press" was also directed at the Marines and shook the Corps to its foundation. This is part of the reason, again as I understand it, why the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph McC. Pate, ordered the Court Martial reopened (see the history for a more complete explanation of the procedural history).

Further, in reading Thomas Ricks' book, The Making of the Corps he indicates there are framed newspaper articles on the wall today at Paris Island regarding Ribbon Creek. Moreover, as Ricks notes on the "?leadership exam given to students at the Drill Instructors School, . . . five of the fifty questions are about the Ribbon Creek incident."? page 197.

An organization, just as a person, will learn from its mistakes if it wants to improve. Moreover, it cannot just ignore or paper over mistakes, it must review them thoroughly and honestly and report them fully despite the temporary damage it may do to the organization. And those who serve an organization or cause must allow the truth to be fully explored and exposed.

Anyway, at work I'm dealing with a tough issue regarding something (or someone) I really admire. Right now it's in a very preliminary stage, but what I've seen doesn't look good. Of course, it is nowhere near the magnitude of a Ribbon Creek; and I'm nothing more than a hopelite. Still, it will probably be occupying many of my days, nights and weekends at least until the end of the year. If you have read this far, I'd appreciate a prayer that I will have the wisdom to always do the right thing.

(republished with spelling errors corrected)
Interesting robes.

My understanding is that it is intended to reflect her background in Oceanography (wrong -- see below). I can't wait to read the WaPo's Robin Givhan on this (although since politics shape her judgment, I'm sure she will be effusive).


As noted by Judith in the comments (thanks!), the theme of the new Presiding Bishops vestments (and please forgive me if I use the wrong words -- I'm not a native 'piskie) is a new dawn. This can be clearly seen in the full picture:

I should add that from my perspective, this doesn't look like a sunrise -- it looks like a sunset. See also the note and comments at GetReligion.
Allen-Webb, Pt. IV (A New Hope). [Sorry, couldn't resist.] Actually, there really isn't much hopeful or fun about this race. I had started drafting a follow-up to my earlier survey of Webb's books by focusing on his notion of honor, but before I could complete it, he was throwing honor out the window -- embracing Clinton and Kerry -- resorting to vile smears, innuendos and outright lies (he started in with that thoroughly debunked body armor story). So I just couldn't finish and post it.

In short, Webb was, by his campaigning, negating what I thought was his best quality, honor.

This doesn't mean I'm going to now back Allen. He's got his own problems. He acts like a frat boy instead of a leader. Allen's mudslinging regarding the use of inappropriate dialogue (whatever) in Webb's novels are over the edge -- see this rebuttal by Victor Davis Hanson. Yes, as I said before, he was a good governor, but as a Senator, what has he done?

So, maybe it's time for me to check out the Green Party candidate. (I'm already planning on voting Green in the House election -- that's another story).

Also, see the voting guide (here in .pdf format) prepared by Catholics in Alliance ("CiA") a liberal-leaning Catholic organization. As noted by the conservative Weekly Standard, Webb may actually be the more right-wing of the two candidates -- something many of his supporters might not be aware of. Both he and Allen are pro-death penalty, pro-gun rights, anti-affirmative action, etc. So, many of the issues are negated.

The differences, on issues identified by CiA, come down to this (and I'm color coding according to what the CiA sees as crucial issues separating the two; red are negative moral issues, green are positive moral issues, as seen by the CiA):

Webb: for abortion on demand, fuzzy on public financing thereof; for experimentation on unborn children; for gay marriage; for immediate (or phased -- he's claimed both) withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Allen: opposed to abortion on demand; opposed to public financing of abortions; opposed to experimentation on unborn children; opposed to gay marriage; in favor of finishing up in Iraq.

Of course, as I have always acknowledged and CiA also proposes, it's not just a calculation whereby we add up the positive issues and subtract the negative ones and whoever comes out ahead gets the vote. Take the pull out issue. As I'm reading in The Looming Tower (highly recommended), Osama bin Laden and the other terrorists are emboldened by perceived US weakness. A pull out in Iraq will definitely be seen as a victory by the terrorists and will further embolden them. Therefore, Allen may be right -- it would be better (for both Iraq and the US) to see things through.

Anyway, as I said, I'm going to need to explore the Green option, but in the meantime: James Webb, you lost my vote by your abdication of honor.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thinkin' 'bout Rosemary and thinkin' about the law.
Top 10 most frequently cited popular music artists in legal writing.
Bob Dylan...............186
The Beatles..............74
Bruce Springsteen...69
Paul Simon..............59
Woody Guthrie........43
Rolling Stones.........39
Grateful Dead..........32
Simon & Garfunkel...30
Joni Mitchell...........28
Source: Alex B. Long
From The Legal Times[$], we find that Bob Dylan is the reigning king of the legal citation. That is, "Bob Dylan is the most frequently cited musical artist by legal writers" according to Alex B. Long, an Oklahoma City University School of Law professor.* Specifically, the article notes,
Long researched the ways judges, academics and lawyers use music lyrics to advance legal themes or arguments. The results will be published in the Washington and Lee Law Review early next year.
I will reproduce the article's chart on the right to show you the top ten most cited artists, according to Prof. Long.

You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks

-Dylan, Ballad of a Thin Man

* If I didn't check it on the OCU web site, I would swear this name was a pseudonym; a play on Johnny B. Goode.
Santorum, RIP. As a politician, Rich Santorum will have the rare opportunity to read his obituaries as he loses his bid for re-election. He is greatly reviled by the cultural warrriors on the left and far-left, because he is a right-wing cultural warrior. But he is more than this and in his defeat, the country will be the main loser. Peggy Noonan had a nice column today explaining why he will be missed. As did the NYTimes idea of a conservative (one who is both pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion rights), David Brooks. Because the Brooks column will soon disappear, I am reprinting it below.

Political Theater and the Real Rick Santorum


Every poll suggests that Rick Santorum will lose his race to return to the U.S. Senate. That's probably good news in Pennsylvania 's bobo suburbs, where folks regard Santorum as an ideological misfit and a social blight. But it's certainly bad for poor people around the world.

For there has been at least one constant in Washington over the past 12 years: almost every time a serious piece of antipoverty legislation surfaces in Congress, Rick Santorum is there playing a leadership role.

In the mid-1990s, he was a floor manager for welfare reform, the most successful piece of domestic legislation of the past 10 years. He then helped found the Renewal Alliance to help charitable groups with funding and parents with flextime legislation.

More recently, he has pushed through a stream of legislation to help the underprivileged, often with Democratic partners. With Dick Durbin and Joe Biden, Santorum has sponsored a series of laws to fight global AIDS and offer third world debt relief. With Chuck Schumer and Harold Ford, he's pushed to offer savings accounts to children from low-income families. With John Kerry, he's proposed homeownership tax credits. With Chris Dodd, he backed legislation authorizing $860 million for autism research. With Joe Lieberman he pushed legislation to reward savings by low-income families.

In addition, he's issued a torrent of proposals, many of which have become law: efforts to fight tuberculosis; to provide assistance to orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries; to provide housing for people with AIDS; to increase funding for Social Services Block Grants and organizations like Healthy Start and the Children's Aid Society; to finance community health centers; to combat genocide in Sudan.

I could fill this column, if not this entire page, with a list of ideas, proposals and laws Santorum has poured out over the past dozen years. It's hard to think of another politician who has been so active and so productive on these issues.

Like many people who admire his output, I disagree with Santorum on key matters like immigration, abortion, gay marriage. I'm often put off by his unnecessarily slashing style and his culture war rhetoric.

But government is ultimately not about the theater or the light shows of public controversy, it's about legislation and results. And the substance of Santorum's work is impressive. Bono, who has worked closely with him over the years, got it right: "I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette's disease; he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable."

Santorum doesn't have the jocular manner of most politicians. His colleagues' eyes can glaze over as he lectures them on the need to, say, devote a week of Senate floor time to poverty. He's not the most social member of the club. Many politicians praise family values and seem to spend as little time as possible with their own families, but Santorum is at home almost constantly. And there is sometimes a humorlessness to his missionary zeal.

But no one can doubt his rigor. Jonathan Rauch of The National Journal wrote the smartest review of Santorum's book, "It Takes a Family." Rauch noted that while Goldwaterite conservatives see the individual as the essential unit of society, Santorum sees the family as the essential unit.

Rauch observed, "Where Goldwater denounced collectivism as the enemy of the individual, Santorum denounces individualism as the enemy of the family." That belief has led Santorum in interesting and sometimes problematical directions, but the argument itself is a serious one. His discussion of the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, for example, is as sophisticated as anything in Barack Obama's recent book. If Santorum were pro-choice, he'd be a media star and a campus hero.

The bottom line is this: If serious antipoverty work is going to be done, it's going to emerge from a coalition of liberals and religious conservatives. Without Santorum, that's less likely to happen. If senators are going to be honestly appraised, it's going to require commentators who can look beyond the theater of public controversy and at least pretend to care about actual legislation. Santorum has never gotten a fair shake from the media.

And so after Election Day, the underprivileged will probably have lost one of their least cuddly but most effective champions.
It should be noted that these comments are not directed at Bob Casey, Jr. -- I wish he were my senator instead of Foghorn Leghorn. Rather, it's a note that we, the country, will be losing a good Senator and a good man.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
-D. A. Carson, For the Love of God

Reprinted in the 50th Anniversary issue of Christianity Today.
Sorry for the long absence. If possible, work has gotten even more demanding. I'd love to talk about it, but I can't. I've been coaching my youngest daughter's softball team as well -- and that's been about the only bright spot -- a fixed time for games and practices to get away from work. But that season has wrapped up. I had hoped to go to the solemn assembly at Falls Church tonight, but I've got to catch up on some things at home.

Hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Allen-Webb, Part 3 - Before I finish my thoughts on Webb, I want to know what's up with all the attention devoted to Allen? First the WaPo starts pounding away on Allen and the "macca" controversy -- running front page stories and editorials attacking the guy. Then the New Republic's thinly sourced hit pieces by Ryan Lizza. Then the bizzarre question by West Springfield's own Peggy Fox -- your grandfather was named Felix, a name you share, do you have any Jewish blood?

Now it's the on-line mag, Salon, hitting again with thinly sourced material saying Allen used the "n" word back in 1972. [Debunked by the Allen campaign here.] See also, hotline.

This kind of attack -- the borking by proxy -- doesn't endear me to the Webb campaign.

There's been no coverage of a blatently false advertisement on Allen forcing warriors to wear useless flak jackets. See here for the facts by the Anneburg Foundation. I note that it is also being run against Rick Santorum.

As Daniel Pulliam observes in the GetReligion blog,
Ryan Lizza’s articles in the New Republic didn’t happen in a vacuum. I doubt he woke up one more and thought, “I need to investigate Sen. Allen’s racial attitudes.” I also doubt Michael Scherer Salon thought “I will call all of Sen. Allen’s teammates from his time as the quarterback of the University of Virginia to find out if he said some racist things back in the day.” The article is pretty much a one-source article with a bunch of phone calls that turned up little confirming information and even more contradictory information.

And to cap it all off, the issues raised in the book by Sen. Allen’s sister Jennifer Allen, “Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach’s Daughter,” have been around for six years (surviving Allen’s first election) and no one seemed to notice until now. So what gives?

Who is out to trash a potential leading candidate of the religious right?

Finally, as Marc Ambinder notes in Hotline, there's been no similar scrutiny by the MSM of Webb's pro-Confederacy, anti-feminist writings: "James Webb's remarks about ethnicity and women have been virtually ignored."
Allen - Webb, Part 2. I was introducted to Jim Webb well over 25 years ago by my father. I have faithfully read all his books and always browse through library book sales and used book stores looking for copies of his novels. I have quite a collection.

Someday, some smart producer will buy A Country Such as This and turn it into a miniseries, like then did with Herman Wouk's Winds of War. The book was nominated for both the Pulitzer and Pen/Faulkner awards [source]. It covers the period from 1951-1976 through the eyes of three Naval Acadamy grads who agree to reconvene in Annapolis in 25 years. Reading the book back then, I couldn't help but wonder if Webb saw himself more in Red Lescynski (the Navy Pilot and POW, who is entranced by the Orient) or Judd Smith (the Marine who ran for Congress). What is interesting is how the moveon crowd has flocked to Webb. Obviously, they have never read this book especially in the way it skewers their spiritual mother, Jane Fonda, who appears, thinly veiled, in the character of Dorothy Dingenfelder (third midshipman Joe Dingenfelder's wife).

There has been a lot of talk of turning Fields of Fire into a movie. This was Webb's first book and has been called the finest Vietnam novel by Tom Wolfe. Supposedly, Webb himself was going to finance and produce this movie, but he put it on the shelf so he could run for the Senate.

I'm not going to do a comprehensive review of Webb's books -- indeed, I haven't been very impressed with his latest output. Nevertheless, one other book deserves mention, Something to Die For belies anyone who might say Webb's opposition to Iraq is just a matter of political expediency. It's his view of how the insiders in DC can manipulate a country in fighting a needless war -- in the case of this book, it's a showdown in Eritrea (yes, a far cry from Iraq). In fact, there's one scene in the book that took my breath away. I had to put the book down and was in near shock for about 5 minutes.

Anyway, his books reflect the views of a pro-military hawk who would be the ideal to serve in a Ronald Reagan administration. Someone who would resign because Reagan wasn't standing up to the Democrats who wanted to leave the military weak. And definitely not the views of someone in the Tom Harkin - John Kerry mold. Which is why it is so puzzling to me that he is the nominee of the Democratic party.

Last, while I'm on the subject of Webb books, not to be overlooked is The Nightingale's Song by Robert Timberg which looks at five NA grads, John McCain, John Poindexter, Bud McFarlane, Jim Webb, and Oliver North. (I'd love to see a new addition of this reflecting changes in these men since the first edition).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Allen v. Webb - Virginia has an interesting Senate race - both the Democrat and the Republican are claiming to be the heir to Ronald Reagan. I'll have more to say, I'm sure. For now, here's Webb's ad claiming to be following Reagan and Allen's response.

Or as Hotline lablels it, Allen's first negative ad. As Hotline properly notes, Allen's ad is flat out wrong when it describes Webb as serving the Reagan administration for only 10 months -- that was his term as SecNav. He served much longer in the administration as I recall. Also, the ad indicates Webb resigned for opposing Reagan's policy. As I recall, that's absolutely right -- Reagan promised a 600* ship navy, then backed away. Jim Webb resigned in order to hold Reagan accountable.

Having said all that, what surprised me most about Webb's ad is that it describes him as "...Soldier, Scholar, Leader..." and then Webb says he approved this ad. I don't think so. Webb was a member of the United States Marine Corps, not a soldier. It may seem like a semantic point, but it's not to the Marines.

So who will I vote for? I haven't decided yet... Allen was the 2nd best governor Virginia has had during my time here. I also like Webb. more to come...
*Edited from my original mistaken recollection. As Rod pointed out in the comments, President Reagan originally proposed a 600 ship navy, not the 500 I had originally recalled.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bishop Chane and Mohammad Khatami
One, Two. (revised with pictures)

I am compelled to ask whether the global Christian community has lost not only its backbone but its moral bearings. Have we become so cowed . . . that we are no longer willing to name an injustice when we see one?
John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington, D.C.

Mohammad Khatami


In his own country, Khatami held office as president from 1997 to 2005 while religious minorities -- including Jews, Christians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Bahais, dissident Shiite Muslims and Zoroastrians -- faced systematic harassment, discrimination, imprisonment, torture and even execution because of their religious beliefs. During Khatami's term, Iranian officials persecuted reformers, students, labor activists and journalists for "insulting Islam" and publishing materials deemed to deviate from Islamic standards.
Felice D. Gaer, chair, and Nina Shea, vice chair, of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

See also this picture of Mohammad Khatami approving of the torture and execution of an Iranian while he was president of Iran. Warning -- this is graphic (which is why I didn't post it directly here).
The Planets, for the last time. As a follow up to these posts (expands, contracts), I must note that Gustav Holst was right all along. (as an aside, the first time I ever heard this was by ?? ? - Tomita Isao back in 1976 on a Moog synthesizer.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Weddings are Fun. Here are a few (blurry) pictures from Catherine and Jamie's wedding last weekend.

First, after the ceremony, the new husband and wife:

the Browns

(okay, I warned you they were blurry)

Second, the new couple with the new bishop (note the lack of purple vestments):

Catherine, Jamie and Martyn

Third, just the new couple:

Catherine and Jamie

(The wedding itself was a wonderful service of worship -- as you might expect of two worship leaders.)


All morning I was thinking of this old song by Arlo Guthrie, so I reprint the lyrics here...

Wedding Song
words and music by Arlo Guthrie

Poor Adam alone in Eden
Taking off his shoes
Tired of running around all morning
From his animal interviews

He awoke with a hand on his brow
Asking who are you
They spent the rest of their lives together
Making their debuts
Dressed in leaves and wearing blues

Some say one thing, some say two
Ain't much about it anyone can do
Keep on walking till my soles wear through
Wearing away my shoes

Evening comes and the sky turns red
Clouds of color cover up our heads
Ain't it something just to lie here in bed
Just me and you

Oh Mary, wrapped up in glory
What are you going to tell your groom
How's he going to feel on the day of your wedding
What will your friends assume

Oh, but Joseph and Mary were married
The angels carried the news
What the Lord has joined together
The world must not undo

There's a wedding down at the church this morning
Let's go wish them well
It's a beautiful day for getting married
I hope the weather lasts as well

It's been years since we've been married
I know we paid some dues
Now ain't it something just to lie here together
Just me and you
Outlasting the blues
The Resurgent A's. Here are a couple of articles I'll want to hang on to, if the A's make it to the playoffs. First from Tim Kurkjian (I'm highlighting the most important parts):
Two of the brightest general managers in baseball, Oakland's Billy Beane and Cleveland's Mark Shapiro, were speaking to each other recently.

"Billy told me we were giving the sabermetricians fits,'' Shapiro said with a smile.

Indeed. The Indians were on a pace to become the first team in history to finish 10 games under .500 despite outscoring their opponents by 50-plus runs. And the A's, well, their numbers don't make much sense, either.

Through Thursday, the A's lead the American League West by 5½ games. They are 17 games over .500 and have outscored their opponents by only 24 runs. Run differential always has been a leading indicator of a team's effectiveness: The 1927 Yankees outscored their opponents by 376 runs, an astounding 2.7 per game. Only two teams in history -- the 1997 Giants and 1984 Mets -- won 90 games in a season in which they were outscored. The A's have an outside chance to become the third team to do that.

The A's are last in the majors in slugging percentage, doubles and batting average with runners in scoring position, are tied for last in batting average and are 21st in runs scored.

"And we're first in [hitting into] double plays,'' Beane said, laughing. "Usually you have to have a lot of baserunners to do that. We are a complete freak show.''

So how are they in first place? Pitching and defense. Through Thursday, the A's are fifth in the majors in ERA and fourth in fielding percentage.

"The numbers tell me that (a) our defense is that good, and (b) it must be really good in situations, also,'' Beane said.

The A's have a deep, versatile bullpen that holds the AL's lowest percentage of inherited runners scored -- and that's having all their best relievers healthy for about only one week this season. Closer Huston Street is on the disabled list with a mild groin strain, but the return of Justin Duchscherer and Joe Kennedy from the DL has helped stabilize the pen again.
Read it all here.

The second article is on pitcher Esteban Loaiza in the A's win over Boston last night:
Esteban Loaiza threw seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox, and over his last four starts he's allowed only one earned run in 30 2/3 innings, for a 0.29 ERA. No other pitcher has allowed as few as one earned run in as many as 30 innings over four starts this season. Four pitchers did it last year: Jae Seo, Chris Carpenter, Mark Buehrle and Kenny Rogers.

Loaiza's run may remind some of Cory Lidle's season for the A's in 2002. Loaiza had a 6.41 ERA in 87 innings before his hot streak began. Lidle had a 5.15 ERA in 113 2/3 innings in 2002, then did not allow an earned run in 38 innings over next five starts, and only one earned run in 45 2/3 innings over his next six starts.

Besides those two A's pitchers, no one else in the last 30 years has had a run of four starts with zero or one earned runs in at least 30 innings, after having an ERA over 5.00 in at least 75 innings on the season when the streak began.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Then there were eight... Alas, Pluto has been defrocked or deplaned or deplaneted or whatever the term is when you are stripped of planetary status. So ruled the United Federation of , errr... the International Astronomical Union today. Instead, Pluto and two others will be known as "Dwarf planets."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

One-Two. The first is from Mike Wallace's interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; the second is from The Princess Bride:


Wallace: Let me assure you, you look your best. What do you do for leisure?

Ahmadinejad: I do many things, I have many hobbies.

Wallace: For instance?

Ahmadinejad: I study, I read books, I exercise. And, of course, I spend some time, quality time, with my family.
Prince Humperdinck: Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped.

Count Rugen: Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.

For critiques of the interview, see Jeff Jacoby and Bernard Goldberg.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Solar System Expands. I love homeschooling! Last weekend the kids were bored -- it's August -- I got to talking and telling stories and one thing led to another and soon I realized that the kids weren't able to roll off the solar system in order. While it's not a problem for Emilie, age 5, it is for Sarah, a rising 4th grader. So I gave the two older ones a project -- list the planets in order with distance, time of revolution and the source of the planet name. Of course, this led into Roman and Greek mythology, then to Norse (Thursday is Thor's day, etc.) and on to Beowulf and so on.

They've been working on their charts and reading the myths -- I was planning on laying out the solar system to scale in the street this weekend. Then, this morning I got my SpaceWeather e-mail announcing the IAU Planet Definition Committee has proposed a new definition which not only clarifies the status of Pluto (it's in), but also allows three other bodies to come in as planets: Ceres (actually 1 Ceres), Charon and [let's see if I can get the styling on this correct] 2003 UB313.

So we're all thrilled -- what perfect timing. The kids are busy learning the new names -- Ceres is the goddess of motherly love and of plants -- and learning the exact nature of Pluto and Charon -- while Charon's been thought of as a moon -- the new definition treats Pluto and Charon as companion or twin planets. Maybe it would've been better to rename the planets Castor and Pollux (yes, I know the problems with the stars and the moon of Saturn). Or to rename Pluto as Cerberus. Charon is of course, the boatman into Hades.

And we're all wondering what they will name 2003 UB313. Xena seems to be the most discussed possibility, I like Persephone, although if we stick with the Roman predominance, I guess it should be Proserpina. There are two reasons (and reading the wiki website, I see my thoughts aren't original): First, given Persephone's links to Hades (Pluto) in mythology, it sort of plays off on that. Second, with it's erratic orbit, it is sort of in the solar system part of the time and off on a voyage the rest.* My oldest daughter likes Egeria. You can bet there will be heavy lobbying for Vulcan.

More - Heh.

Still More: Dava Sobel on the change.
*Here is a much better explanation as to why it should be Persephone:
If the object falls under the rules for other Kuiper belt objects, however, it must be named after some figure in a creation mythology. We have decided to attempt to follow that ruling scheme. […] One such particularly apt name would have been Persephone. In Greek mythology Persephone is the (forcibly abducted) wife of Hades (Roman Pluto) who spends six months each year underground. The mourning of her mother Demeter causes the dead of winter. The new planet is on an orbit that could be described in similar terms; half of the time in the vicinity of Pluto and half of the time much further away. Sadly, the name Persephone was used in 1895 as a name for the 399th known asteroid. The same story can be told for almost any other Greek or Roman god of any consequence […] Luckily, the world is full of mythological and spiritual traditions. In the past we have named Kuiper belt objects after native American, Inuit, and [minor] Roman gods. Our new proposed name expands to different traditions, still.
I think the 399th asteroid gets bumped in this case -- rename it Xena. Oh, I found the above on the Wikipedia entry and this was it's source.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tissues necessary. To watch this video.

Do you have the guts to watch love in action?
A Letter to my friends in the Episcopal Church.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. . . . In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. . . . Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!

This is taken, nearly verbatim, from the Epistle of Jude and the above is the NIV translation.
Updates. I finally got around to fixing my blogroll -- I got tired of clicking through to get to some of the folks I like to read. Also, I did put a couple of new blogs and things on, but still have a few more to go. Interestingly, I couldn't get any of the ECUSA stuff to work... If I need this, I'll figure it out someday.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Small World. Updating my profile for one of the four high schools I attended, I discovered that Mary Ailes of baby blue fame and I have something in common, other than the obvious Truro connection. We both went to Radford High School in Hawai'i in the 1970's. How strange is that?

Here's her picture and update. I wish mine was on-line -- although I don't remember what I looked like back then, 17 was my all-time favorite age....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Air Force Memorial. I find public art facinating -- particularly Memorials. Driving in to work, I've been watching the raising of the new Air Force Memorial. I confess they way it is looking in development had me apprehensive -- it it going to be a monstrosity? or merely tacky?

However, looking at the plans on the Air Force Memorial webpage, I think this is going to be okay. In fact, it may be beautiful.
"I have heard the future of rock and roll...." and it sounds a lot like it did the last time. The Killers have released the first track from their next disc, "Sam's Town" you can hear a streaming version of it here (or here, on their myspace page). Interestingly, it's got a great opening verse that could come directly from your pastor:
You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he comes
He doesn't look a thing like Jesus
That's right, salvation is not in a guy, "can I get an Amen?"

Anyway, the song is very catchy and the "burning down the highway skyline" is classic Springsteen.

BTW, the opening lines of this post are a play on Jon Landau's famous review of Bruce Springsteen.

While we're at it, here are the lyrics:

"When You Were Young" by The Killers

You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he comes
He doesn't look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagine when you were young

Can we climb this mountain?
I don't know
Higher now than ever before
No, we can make it if we take it slow
Let's take it easy
Easy now, watch it go

We're burning down the highway skyline
On the back of a hurricane
That started turning when you were young
When you were young

And sometimes you close your eyes
And see the place where you used to live
When you were young

They say the devil's water
It ain't so sweet
You don't have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once and a little while

You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he comes
He doesn't look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagine when you were young

(Talks like a gentleman like you imagine)
When you were young

I said he doesn't look a thing like Jesus
He doesn't look a thing like Jesus
But more than you'll ever know

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Williams Shift. Here's a nice story which includes a tip of the hat to the great sports writer, Shirley Povich for a sweet turn of the phrase:

Ted Williams stepped out of the batter's box and stared. Then he shook his head and laughed -- exuberantly, like he did everything else.

The Cleveland Indians, following the lead of shortstop and manager Lou Boudreau, had shifted into the strangest defense Williams had ever seen. Third baseman Ken Keltner was slightly to the right of second base, meaning there were no infielders on the left side of the diamond.

Where was everybody else? Boudreau had moved between second and first. Second baseman Dutch Meyer was in shallow right field. First baseman Jimmy Wasdell stationed himself behind the bag on the right-field foul line. Beyond them, the Indians had, in effect, one center fielder and two right fielders.

Thus, the "Williams Shift" was born in the third inning of the second game of a doubleheader on July 14, 1946, at Boston's Fenway Park.

The reason was obvious. At 27, the left-handed Williams was the best hitter in baseball, and an estimated 85 percent of his swats went to the right side. In the first game that day, he had slammed three homers and driven in eight runs. In his first-at bat in the nightcap, he ripped a bases-clearing double. Frustrated, Boudreau thought he might improve the Indians' chances of stopping Teddy Ballgame with an unorthodox defensive strategy.

Shirley Povich, the superb Washington sports columnist, described the moment most pungently: "At first the crowd was silent, not realizing what was happening. But then it was that the shift hit the fans."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

WWIII? Newt Gingrich made news by saying the conflict in Israel could be the beginning of World War III.

I disagree on two counts.

First, I think we're done with WWIII -- that was the world wide conflict known at the Cold War.

Second, I think what's happening in Israel is just another chapter in the on-going conflict which Norman Podheretz accurately described as World War IV.

Now then, what to think about this? Right now, the most important essay I've seen is Stephen Bainbridge's Just War Analysis.

Also beneficial is Jeff Jacoby's column explaining the Iranian connection.

Additionally, I recommend these segments from the Hugh Hewitt show: Christopher Hitchens (transcript) (download .mp3), Michael Ledeen (transcript) (download .mp3), James Lileks (transcript) (download .mp3), Victor Davis Hansen (transcript) (download .mp3), Mark Steyn (transcript) (download .mp3), and Mark Helprin (transcript) (download .mp3). [I like to download these and then burn them as audio tracks to a re-writeable CDR -- I listen to them as I commute and then erase and record new tracks as they become available.] All of these are from last week and give a good overview. I've listed them in chronological order and it can be helpful to listen to them in this order -- for example, Hitchens has been on the side of the Palestinians but is also opposed to Islamofacism -- and while he has some good points, Steyn later comes on an points out his inconsistencies.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Attack in Mumbai today.

Terror hits India -- we are with you and stand against the terrorists.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup. I'm not a soccer fan -- but, let's face it, most of the world follows fútbol, so, borrowing from my wife's example (deciding in 1985 to become a football fan), I started following World Cup action.

One of the best ways to follow something is to have a stake in it -- with sports, the "fantasy" leagues motivate one to track many teams and individuals at once. So when I saw the WaPo having a fantasy tourney, I signed up. I'm please to report that for someone who on June 1 had no idea who Zinedine Zidane was, I did pretty well. My team came in 24th out of 1,640 and I watched the final game today, rooting for Italy (well, really their defense). Even when the aforementioned Zidane scored his goal, that was okay, because he was on my fantasy team -- a late pick up. When he got tossed (or shown a red card, as they say), that set me back. But it was all fun.

I agree completely with Bill Simmons on this one: "10 Reasons I Love World Cup."

More. here's the head-butting video .
Political Test. My daughter asked me to take this -- I found it kind of frustrating, because it mixed a lot of substantive issue questions with process questions. Folks who know me know how fond I am of quoting Bolt's Thomas More -- "I'd give the devil the benefit of the law" -- but that doesn't make me a satanist.

Anyway, here are my results:

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(55% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

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).

Monday, June 19, 2006

The New PB. Tonight we had a Father's Day celebration over at my wife's brother's house -- most of her family was there and we had a lot of intergenerational chatter. We got around to discussing The Who and our favorite songs. The consensus favorite song: "Won't Get Fooled Again" (" the new boss / same as the old boss..."). Then I got home and heard the news about the election of Rt Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori to be the next Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA and wondered if this was prophetic.

I have no problem with the fact that the presiding bishop elect is a woman. In fact, like Ruth Gledhill, I feel "a shiver of excitement at the election of a woman to the position of Presiding Bishop..." Will it cause problems within the Anglican Communion, the fact that KJS is a woman? No, I don't think so -- some consternation perhaps, but the Primates have long ago looked at this issue and determined they would
respect the decision and attitudes of other provinces in the ordination or consecration of women to the episcopate, without such respect necessarily indicating acceptance of the principles involved, maintaining the highest possible degree of communion with the provinces which differ.
Moreover, they agreed they would "exercise courtesy and maintain communications with bishops who may differ, and with any woman bishop, ensuring an open dialogue in the Church to whatever extent communion is impaired."

They decided this 18 years ago -- at the 1988 Lambeth Conference. Unlike the American Bishops who will pledge anything, knowing their words are meaningless, the African bishops and the other bishops and ministers of the Global South are men of their word.

So, although they might differ with the Americans on the ordination of a woman as priest or bishop, this will not be what causes a problem.

Experience? Yes, her resume is thin. She has never led a parish. It's only been eleven years since she was ordained. On one hand, that gives me pause -- but then the Lord of Israel sometimes calls a young shepherd, a young betrothed woman, a young sailor named Nicholas.

No, it's not her gender, nor her experience which troubles me. It's her actions.

She is a strong supporter of the ordination of VGR; a strong supporter of Integrity; an opponent of, among other things, the Articles of Religion, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilaterial of 1886, 1888, and the obedience to "the teaching and direction of Our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in Holy Scripture." According to John Burwell, "she left the 2003 convention and instituted same-sex rites for her parishes and missions."

In other words, she appears to be just another in a long line of apostate clergy. And I weep.

Now, I don't mean to give up hope -- the most encouraging comment I've seen was something Kendall Harmon posted before the election:
Bishop Schori is a very interesting wild card–I think she is the person least beholden to the Episcopal Church “system.” We shall just have to wait and see.
If he is right about that and if she is faithful to the Lord -- perhaps has a Thomas à Becket conversion -- then the VGRs and the Spong's of the world could be begging someone to rid them of this troublesome priest.

In any event, I do not trust in men, I trust God. Psalm 20.

[Note: As can be seen, I started writing this when I couldn't get to sleep -- I didn't publish it initially -- it has since been revised and extended.]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Columbus (Flag Day, Part II). Scanning the blogs tonight, I saw that baby blue has a picture up of the hanging of the flags. It's here. As best I can tell, they've replaced the Duvalier flag with the one that preceded it, not the current one, as mentioned below. I know this is more in the category of jots and tittles, but you'd think being an Empire, The Episcopal Church could get it right.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Episcopal Tergiversation. Prior to going to Columbus, Truro Rector Martyn Minns issues a short statement of goals for the denomination formerly known as ECUSA:
What do we hope and pray for at General Convention in Ohio this week and next?

REAFFIRMATION: The teaching of the church on matters such as the uniqueness of Christ and the trustworthiness of Holy Scripture especially on matters of human sexuality was called into question at GC2003. Now is the time to reaffirm the truths of classical Christianity.

REPENTANCE: At GC2003 the General Convention made decisions that have torn the Church apart. ECUSA has been challenged to repent (change direction, turn around), not merely express remorse for the consequences of their actions.

ROLL BACK: Actions were taken at GC2003 regarding the election of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same-sex unions that have had a devastating impact on our witness and the work of the wider church. They need to be rolled back so that the damage can be undone.
This brought a rebuke from the Diocese of Virginia:
There has been much talk of embracing the Windsor Report. We think that’s good. But do you really know Windsor’s ABCs? Or for that matter, how about the ‘R’s?

Of the four ‘R’s currently making the rounds you will find two in the report:

REGRET: As in, we should express regret “that the proper restraints of the bonds of affection were breached” in the election and consent to Gene Robinson.

RECONCILIATION: As in, Windsor is not a judgment but “part of a pilgrimage towards healing and reconciliation.”

But we’ve been hearing some other ‘R’s that you will not find in Windsor:

REPENTANCE: As in repent for the election of Bishop Robinson. There is no reference to repentance for the election and consent to Bishop Robinson.

ROLLBACK: As in, undo it. There is no call in Windsor for a rollback of the consent to Bishop Robinson.[*] Indeed, Windsor recommends that the Archbishop of Canterbury (Windsor’s real ABC) use “very considerable caution” in inviting and admitting Bishop Robinson to the councils of the Communion. The premise of that recommendation is that Gene Robinson will indeed remain a bishop.
What the Diocese is engaging in is nothing short of a lie, as I will show, below. The sad thing, for the Diocese is that the leadership apparently believes its own lies, as do many others who are ECUSA delegates and by believing these self-serving lies, they are dooming the denomination for destruction and separation from the larger Anglican Communion.

This type of lie is an equivocation, a prevarication, a distortion of the truth with the intent to mislead. It appears that the DioVA is hoping to set a very low bar so that it can pass a meaningless expression of regret ("we're sorry you chose to be hurt by our actions") as opposed to a real expression of regret at having rejected the rest of the Anglican Communion (and those members of the Diocese who have chosen to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ).

But don't take my word for it, let's see what Bishop Tom Wright has to say. In a paper republished on Titus1:9, Bp. Wright, a senior member of the Lambeth Commission (which produced the Windsor report, in .pdf here) seeks to set the record straight. Because, as he explains, "the only way forward which will command assent from the Communion and enable us to proceed together is to be careful and exact about what precisely Windsor said and meant."

As an aside, before I continue to digest Bp. Wright's paper, which should be read in whole, a point of clarification. There is a bit of confusion with the use of the term "Commission" throughout the paper. In some cases, it refers to the Lambeth Commission which produced the Windsor Report. In others, it refers to the "Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion" which produced a 61 page report -- here, in .pdf -- for ECUSA. I will refer to this Commission with a bracketed [ECUSA] for clarification when quoting Bp. Wright.

The context of Bp. Wright's paper, as noted in my aside, is the response being prepared by the ECUSA Commission for consideration by the delegates in Columbus. He notes the ECUSA commission omits key facts in its history: "It is surprising to see that in its account of the history of the current issue there is no mention of what the Primates said in October 2003 [notes and references omitted] and hence of the fact that the consecration of Gene Robinson had gone ahead in full knowledge of the consequences."

Bp. Wright continues in ¶5 of his paper:
The [ECUSA] Commission then rightly turns its attention to the key questions, ‘expressing regret and repentance.' This section is crucial as an introduction to the key recommendations. It focuses on Windsor para 134, quoting its introductory sentence (‘Mindful of the hurt and offence that have resulted from recent events, and yet also of the imperatives of communion – the repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ – we have debated long and hard how all sides may be brought together’). It does not, however, quote the next part of Windsor 134, but contents itself – vitally, as will emerge in a moment – with a summary in terms of ‘a statement of regret for breaching the bonds of affection’ and ‘moratoria on particular actions’ (34, end). It notes that ‘statements of regret have been made by the House of Bishops and the Executive Council,’ though without noting that these have not been the ‘statements of regret’ asked for by Windsor, but rather statements of regret that some people were hurt by ECUSA’s actions, and a statement (from the House of Bishops in March 2005, anticipating the phraseology now used in the Commission’s proposals) of regret for breaching the bonds of affection ‘by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking those actions’, which as we shall presently see is clearly and specifically not what Windsor asked for.
He continues in ¶ 6:
The section continues to speak in general terms of ‘statements of regret’ without quoting, or addressing, the specific statements asked for in Windsor 134. Instead, para 38 says (at the end), ‘We also believe that the General Convention’s consideration of such expressions of regret and repentance will provide clear evidence of our desire to reaffirm the bonds of affection that unite us in the fellowship of the Anglican Communion.’ This is a puzzling statement, whose implications become clear in the resolutions that follow. Certainly the fact that General Convention will consider expressions of regret and repentance will demonstrate that most in ECUSA want to remain within the Anglican Communion. But the important question is whether that desire will lead to the specific and particular expressions of regret and repentance asked for by Windsor 134, or whether ECUSA will try to attain the goal of staying within the Communion without travelling by the only route that will get there, namely that of the road mapped by Windsor and endorsed by the Primates and ACC.
Continuing in a very key section in ¶7, he explains:
... At no point in the Commission’s report is it even mentioned that the real problem is not that actions are ‘out of sequence’ or taken ‘without time for consultation’, but that the actions in question went exactly, explicitly and knowingly against the expressed mind of Lambeth, ACC, the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury. There had, in fact, been plenty of consultation at several levels, and ECUSA chose to ignore the results of that consultation.
Emphasis added. Bp. Wright continues on to succintly dismantle the prevarications of the ECUSA Commission, which, as I said, should be read in full.

In ¶10, he notes the duplicity** being proposed by the ECUSA Commission:
When it comes to public rites of blessing of same-sex unions, the Commission suggests that its previous resolution has been misunderstood. . . . From a Windsor perspective, this sounds like a straightforward attempt to have one’s cake and eat it, using a narrow definition of ‘authorized’ (= ‘printed in an official prayer book’) to deny that local liturgies come into that category, while explicitly encouraging their development and use. See (17) below for the outworking of this, where it becomes clear, as noted in Windsor 144, that General Convention is seen as ‘making provision’ for, and individual diocesan bishops can then ‘authorize’, such blessings.
In paragraphs 12-17 of his paper, he turns to the proposed resolutions, beginning with the twisting of Windsor:
The benchmark against which the key resolutions must be measured is of course Windsor 134 (for Resolutions A160 and A161) and Windsor 144 (for A162). The report quotes the preamble to Windsor 134 . . . but never quotes the recommendations themselves. The reason for this, sadly, becomes all too clear: the [ECUSA] Commission . . . decided to decline Windsor’s request and to do something else instead, using some words and phrases which echo those of Windsor while not affirming the substance that was asked for. This, with real sadness, is my basic conclusion: that unless the relevant Resolutions are amended so that they clearly state what Windsor clearly requested, the rest of the Communion is bound to conclude that ECUSA has specifically chosen not to comply with Windsor.
¶12. Again, my emphasis.

He continues in the next few sections to eviscerate the ECUSA [fake] apologies summing up in ¶15:
To put it bluntly: Resolution A160 is not, as it stands, Windsor-compliant, and the Commission must have known that only too well. Granted that, the statement in the ‘Explanation’ that this Resolution is ‘thus signalling our synodical intentions to remain within the Communion’ must, sadly, be seen as essentially cynical. Windsor said that ‘such an expression of regret’ – i.e. the one that Windsor requested, not the one that the Resolution offers – ‘would represent the desire of ECUSA to remain within the Communion.’ The fact that the ‘explanation’ quotes this latter phrase demonstrates a desire, not apparently to comply with Windsor, but to give the appearance of doing so to those who glance at the text but do not look carefully at what is actually said.
He weighs the next proposal, dealing with a moratorium on the ordination of sexually active gay persons and finds it wanting, concluding "...if Resolution A161 is passed without amendment, and still more if it is not even passed, it will be impossible to draw any other conclusion but that ECUSA has chosen not to comply with the Windsor recommendations." ¶16.

Finally he concludes most emphatically:
It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor.
at ¶19, again, my emphasis added.

The duplicity of ECUSA and echoed by its DioVa Amen Corner must not stand. If it does, ECUSA will be "'turning [it's] back on', i.e. forsaking, something in which one was previously engaged, interested or concerned; desertion or abandonment of a cause, party, etc.; apostasy, renegation."

*Note, that Canon Minns, in his statement above, does not call for an express rollback of the consent of the ordination of Gene Robinson.

**In an aside in ¶ 14, Bp. Wright notes:

(and at this point, reading and re-reading what they wrote, I have to say with sadness that the word ‘duplicity’ comes unbidden to my mind)