Sunday, May 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

The Rev. Janine Schenone, a convert from Catholicism and an Episocopal priest out there at Apostasy West, really gets steamed when people think that as far as Christianity is concerned, Episcopalians are just going through the motions:

Back in 2004, when I decided to leave the Catholic Church and to be received into the Episcopal Church, people told me that I had chosen “Catholic Lite,” as in “all the grace but none of the guilt.”

Tru dat.

Just this morning, I read a blog by a woman who has read the Pew Research Center’s report on America’s Changing Religious Landscape, and she concludes that liberal mainline churches like the Episcopal Church are declining because we don’t “go all the way” with our Christianity; we have catered to the masses, whereas evangelical Christian churches are gaining in numbers due to their strict absolutist stances on social issues such as same-sex marriage.

To this author, to “go all the way” means to swim upstream against societal currents and to cleave to a life of prayer and Bible study.  Evangelical Christians, she writes, are paying the greatest cost–giving themselves over completely to Christianity and paying a personal price.

Which they are.

The implication is that progressive Christian churches are practicing Christianity Lite, a version that demands little of us spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.

Nothing but net.

It’s ironic that, on the one hand, the author points out how the Episcopal Church and other progressive churches are declining in number, and on the other, that we have not paid a price for our Christian commitments.

Which you haven’t.  You have picked up lots of prime real estate, though.  So you folks have that going for you.

I have never found Christianity more demanding of me than in the Episcopal Church. 

How so?

And it’s precisely because the Episcopal Church does not embrace many absolutist statements,

AKA, sins.

but rather requires me and other followers of Jesus to pray, worship, study, and serve to figure out what the heck God requires of us in a given moment.

Let me see if I have this straight.  My Episcopal parish just took on a new female priest, straight outta GenTheoSem.  She’s young, she’s SMOKIN hot, she’s sexually adventurous out the wazoo and she might even be bisexual (although I don’t know for sure, that was just something I heard from somebody somewhere.)

Obviously, I’d like to do her and she indicates to me that I wouldn’t be the worst way for her to kill an afternoon.  Unfortunately, she’s married which, according to Janine, leaves me two options:

(A)  I can take the easy way out, remember all those “absolutist statements” in both the Old and New Testaments against adultery and permanently expel the idea from my mind, or:

(B) Bang her anyway while the Episcopal Organization takes on the much more difficult work of “discerning” whether Biblical injunctions against “adultery” are still applicable to these modern times in which we live and move and have our being.

In the Episcopal Church, I have routinely worshipped alongside people who did not all agree with one another, and this has required me to practice deep listening, peacemaking and conflict resolution and has reminded me to remain humble about my own positions on matters.

Not at All Saints, Pasadena, you haven’t.

Having a say requires us to think theologically and to pray about what our worship practices are, how we are living out the Gospel in our communities and ecosystems,

Something Jesus never said anything about, by the way.  Just sayin’.

who we are in relation to each other, and who we are in relation to God on a regular basis. That is hard work.

Oh please, kid.

We do have existing standards and practices in the Episcopal Church, and we say our faith and practice rest upon the Creeds and the confluence of Scripture, tradition, and reason.


As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about the legality of same-sex marriage, I imagine we will hear more religious rhetoric about the loosey-goosey Episcopal Church with our commitment to honoring all matrimonial love and our lack of moral absolutism. My faith will require me to remain open and loving and reverent toward those who oppose me and to defend the rights of the marginalized.

Episcopalianism.  Freemasonry with girls.


Friday, May 22nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Are you drunk, high or both?

The Church of England is to debate plans to introduce a ceremony akin to a baptism to mark the new identities of Christians who undergo gender transition.

The Rev Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory, has proposed a motion to the General Synod to debate the issue, after he was approached by a young transgender person seeking to be “re-baptised” in his new identity.

The motion, which was passed by Blackburn Diocese last month, calls on the House of Bishops to consider whether it should introduce a new service to mark the milestone in the life of a trans person. A spokesperson for the Archbishops’ Council confirmed that the motion had been received, but said it would not be debated imminently.

Newlands urged the church to take the lead on welcoming a group that suffered high levels of discrimination.

He said he knew a number of trans people though his work with LGBT organisations. “It’s an absolute trauma to go through this, with the surgery, as people get a lot of transphobic bullying. The church needs to take a lead and be much more proactive to make sure they are given a warm welcome.”

The motion had “captured people’s imagination”, he said, and already gathered a large amount of support. It has been passed by the parochial church council, the Deanery Synod and the Blackburn Diocese, which covers Lancashire.

Newlands said: “I wanted to bring it to the General Synod as a commitment that bishops will take seriously, and for them to take the next step of getting a liturgy which parish priests can use for people who do the transition where they can be affirmed in the church.”

Newlands was asked by a church member who had undergone gender reassignment if he could be re-baptised. Recalling the conversation, Newlands said: “I said: ‘Once you’ve been baptised, you’re baptised’. He said: ‘But I was baptised as a girl, under a different name.’

The result, Newlands said, was a “really joyful occasion”.

“Where we could introduce him to God with his new name and his new identity.”

“Introduce him to God.”



Friday, May 22nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

The headline of this AP story made me smile:

“Montreal Alouettes sign openly gay defensive end Michael Sam”

Michael Sam has found a pro football job. In Canada.

Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, signed a two-year contract Friday with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football league.

General manager Jim Popp considered Sam’s sexuality a nonissue.

“Michael Sam is a very good football player, and that’s the reason we signed him,” Popp said. “He’s an outstanding pass rusher.”

He also was unemployed after failing to stick with two NFL teams last season.

Sam came out before last year’s NFL draft. He was selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams and cut in training camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to their practice squad but released him in October. Sam then made another unsuccessful attempt at an NFL job at this year’s veterans combine.

“I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal,” Sam said in a statement.


Seriously, I kind of always thought that Canada was a better fit for Mike.  He didn’t miss by much with the Rams.  And I have to think that the CFL’s one-yard separation between the offensive and defensive lines will give Mike a huge advantage, resulting in quite a few sacks, tackles-for-loss and generally messing things up behind the line.


Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 59 Comments

Seems that all of the Ozark Kennedys are repulsive slimebags:

Chelsea Clinton is so unpleasant to colleagues, she’s causing high turnover at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, sources say.

Several top staffers have left the foundation since Chelsea came on board as vice chairman in 2011.

“A lot of people left because she was there. A lot of people left because she didn’t want them there,” an insider told me. “She is very difficult.”

Onetime CEO Bruce Lindsey was pushed upstairs to the position of chairman of the board two years ago, so that Chelsea could bring in her McKinsey colleague Eric Braverman.

“He [Braverman] was her boy, but he tried to hire his own communications professional and actually tried to run the place. He didn’t understand that that wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing,” said my source. “He was pushed out.”

Matt McKenna was Chelsea’s spokesman, and then he wasn’t. Now he works for Uber. Ginny Ehrlich, the founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, now works for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Chelsea has embraced all the trappings of a corporate CEO, with a personal staff almost as big as her father’s. “He has six. She has five,” said my source.

None of this would surprise her former co-workers at McKinsey and NBC News. At both the management consulting firm and the network, co-workers allegedly were told they couldn’t approach Chelsea.

A source at NBC, where Chelsea was paid $600,000 a year, said, “If someone wanted to talk to Chelsea about something, they had to go through a producer.”


Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 73 Comments

Of all figures in American history, who should have been president and why?


Monday, May 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Have fun, y’all.


Sunday, May 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 74 Comments

Have at it.


Sunday, May 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Hill’s found an issue she can run on next year.  Gutting the First Amendment:

Hillary Clinton told a group of her top fundraisers Thursday that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court will have to share her belief that the court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks.

Clinton’s emphatic opposition to the ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on independent political activity, garnered the strongest applause of the afternoon from the more than 200 party financiers gathered in Brooklyn for a closed-door briefing from the Democratic candidate and her senior aides, according to some of those present.

“She got major applause when she said would not name anybody to the Supreme Court unless she has assurances that they would overturn” the decision, said one attendee, who, like others, requested anonymity to describe the private session.

The problem, as John Hinderaker points out, is that the case originally involved a movie that was critical of her and that the Citizens United SC decision contains this section:

The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.

Which essentially means that Hill’s come out in favor of censoring political speech since we all know that that a Hill Justice Department will be all over the NRA like white on rice regardless of when their ads come out while not finding a single thing wrong with any ads produced by Planned Parenthood, say, whenever they air.


Friday, May 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Unless they’re Christians in which case screw ‘em:

Writing in April in USA Today about the murder of 12 Christian migrants thrown into the sea by Muslims for praying to Jesus instead of Allah, columnist Kirsten Powers stated that President Barack Obama “just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.”

The president’s response appears to be United States policy. Evidence suggests that within the administration not only is there no passion for persecuted Christians under threat of genocide from the Islamic State, there is no room for them, period. In fact, despite ISIS’ targeting of Iraqi Christians specifically because they are Christians, and, as such, stand in the way of a pure, Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East (and beyond), the U.S. State Department has made it clear that “there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation.”

The serious nature of the threat against these Assyrian Christians is evident because not only do they have permission from their own bishop to leave the country, they have his blessing and urging, as well. Until recently, church leaders have almost uniformly asked the people to remain, fearing that the Middle East will be emptied of Christians. But many church leaders have now concluded that the only way for Middle Eastern Christians to survive is to actually leave.

But the tents need to be transported from Afghanistan to Iraq. Unfortunately, neither the British nor American government was willing to provide transportation. The State Department told Dobbs, “We would have to refigure an entire military aircraft” to move the tents. So instead, the group is working to raise some $778,000 to transport the tents to Iraq by land. Dobbs revealed that the State Department advised him against setting up emergency housing for Christians in the region, saying it was “totally inappropriate.”

Also inappropriate, it seems, is the resettling of the most vulnerable Assyrian Christians in the United States. Donors in the private sector have offered complete funding for the airfare and the resettlement in the United States of these Iraqi Christians that are sleeping in public buildings, on school floors, or worse. But the State Department – while admitting 4,425 Somalis to the United States in just the first six months of FY2015, and possibly even accepting members of ISIS through the Syrian and Iraqi refugee program, all paid for by tax dollars, told Dobbs that they “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States.”

The United States government has made it clear that there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation, even though it is exactly that – their religious affiliation – that makes them candidates for asylum based on a credible fear of persecution from ISIS. The State Department, the wider administration, some in Congress and much of the media and other liberal elites insist that Christians cannot be given preferential treatment. Even within the churches, some Christians are so afraid of appearing to give preferential treatment to their fellow Christians that they are reluctant to plead the case of their Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters.

In my life, I don’t have much about which to brag but I do have this.  I never cast a vote for the appalling current resident of the White House, the single worst president the United States of America has ever known.


Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 79 Comments

The Methodists begin sharpening their swords:

The world’s lone Jewish state must be singled out for punitive divestment campaigns, while we should at the same time promote economic investment in North Korea, whose government has done absolutely nothing in the area of human rights worthy of specific criticism. And we should take our broad support for sex outside of marriage one step further by advocating to legalize prostitution.

This was the moral vision offered by our United Methodist Church’s apportionment-funded D.C. lobby office, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) at its Spring 2015 board of directors meeting.

But the GBCS’s choice to avoid acknowledging the Stalinist nature of the North Korean regime serves as a foundation for some ill-informed policy agendas. In this resolution, the GBCS calls “for the removal economic of sanctions against” North Korea and encourages foreign investment to economically help that nation. One of the few stated reasons offered for this GBCS goal is that it is “a high priority” of the Communist leadership.


Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments

Giles Fraser wants you to know that he is very, VERY disappointed in you:

Right now I feel ashamed to be English. Ashamed to belong to a country that has clearly identified itself as insular, self-absorbed and apparently caring so little for the most vulnerable people among us. Why did a million people visiting food banks make such a minimal difference? Did we just vote for our own narrow concerns and sod the rest? Maybe that’s why the pollsters got it so badly wrong: we are not so much a nation of shy voters as of ashamed voters, people who want to present to the nice polling man as socially inclusive, but who, in the privacy of the booth, tick the box of our own self-interest.

Gosh.  That’s never happened before in the entire history of the world.

Rewind 24 hours and it felt so different. Thursday morning was lovely in London, full of the promise of spring. Even the spat I had with the man outside my polling station shouting at “[effing] immigrants” didn’t disrupt an overall feeling of optimism. Were people walking just a little bit more purposefully? Was I mistaken in detecting some calm excitement, almost an unspoken communal bonhomie? Perhaps also a feeling of empowerment, a sense that it was “the people” that could now make a difference. But by bedtime the spell had been broken. Things were going to stay the same. No real difference had been made.

Welcome to the United States of America in November, 2012.

The utterly miserable thought strikes me that Russell Brand just might have been right. What difference did my vote make? Why indeed do people vote, and care so passionately about voting, particularly in constituencies in which voting one way or the other won’t make a blind bit of difference? And why do the poor vote when, by voting, they merely give legitimacy to a system that connives with their oppression and alienation?

I’ve got news for you, Fraze That Paze.  I’m considered poor.  Right now, I basically barely get by on $1,200 a month (that’s going up slightly soon) thanks to the fact that my father invested well a long time ago.  But I’m not alienated (well, I am from the secular culture but that’s a different question) and I don’t consider myself “oppressed.”

Suck on that for a while, G.


Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Here’s a fascinating article from the BBC about one of the last World War II battles in Europe, a battle in which Germans and Americans fought side-by-side.


Friday, May 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Great Britain had its general election yesterday.  A few observations:

(1) The Conservatives won a smashing victory.

With all 650 seats declared, the Conservatives have ended up with 331 seats in the House of Commons, 24 more than in 2010. Labour have 232, the Lib Dems 8, the SNP 56, Plaid Cymru 3, UKIP 1, the Greens 1 and others 19.

(2) With the Scottish National Party’s obliteration of Scottish Labour, Scotland has essentially become a one-party state which is not a good thing.  Will there be another Scottish independence referendum?  Or will the next British independence referendum originate south of the Tweed and propose kicking the Scots out of Westminster?

(3) Does the United Kingdom have a future?

Has the Conservative prime minister sacrificed the union for another five years of power?

These are the questions many people are asking today after a party which fought for independence for 80 years swept to victory in Scotland.

The answer from the jubilant leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, is “no”, this does not advance her cause.

She insisted that her MPs would speak for all of Scotland — not just for the 45% who voted for the country to leave the United Kingdom last September. 

“This changes nothing,” Ms Sturgeon told me when I asked her about independence at the count in Glasgow, in a brief moment of calm during the nationalist avalanche.

Of course she hopes that the real answer to the question “does this result herald the end of the union” is “not yet”.


Friday, May 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Justin Welby jacks one into the seats:

Religious leaders risk fuelling extremism by pretending that all faiths are basically the same, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said faith leaders seemed desperate to hide behind “bland” and “anaemic” statements about what they have in common rather than facing up to the “profound differences” between them.

But he warned that the pretence that mainstream religions agree on everything is simply “dishonest” and risks leaving them impotent to halt the spread of extremism.

He added: “We need to move beyond inter-religious interaction in which we the usual suspects issue bland statements of anaemic intent with which you could paper the walls of Lambeth Palace – and much good would it do you – all desperate to agree with one another so that the very worst outcome could possibly be that we end up acknowledging our differences.

“It is disingenuous and ultimately dishonest because alongside all that we hold in common and all that we share there are profound differences between what we believe and the outworking of our faith.”


Thursday, May 7th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Representatives from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Diocese of South Carolina knocked back a few the other day:

Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America, led by Bishop Mark Lawrence and Archbishop Foley Beach, came together at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, South Carolina on April 28-29, 2015 for prayer, fellowship, and conversation.

There were some pretty high-level folks there from both institutions.

The Diocese of South Carolina was represented by Bishop Mark Lawrence, Mr. Wade Logan, Mr. Alan Runyan, The Rev. Craige Borrett, The Rev. Kendall Harmon, The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, Mrs. Boo Pennewill, and The Rev. Jim Lewis.

The Anglican Church in North America was represented by Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop Ray Sutton, Bishop John Guernsey, Bishop Bill Atwood, Bishop Terrell Glenn, The Rev. Phil Ashey, The Rev. Jack Lumanog, Mr. Scott Ward, and Mr. Tad Brenner.

Despite that, these seem to have been VERY preliminary conversations.

Our conversations reflected the mutual respect and sincere affection that we share as fellow Anglicans, and we appreciated the opportunity to speak candidly together about topics that affect our common life.

We had frank exchanges that examined the possible compatibility of the ecclesiologies of the Anglican Church in North America and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Together we openly addressed the challenges posed by the overlapping jurisdictions in South Carolina.  In some cases the reasons for this overlap extend from circumstances that are less than a couple decades old, and in other circumstances the reasons reach back over a hundred years.  All expressed a desire to take steps towards addressing these relational barriers with the recognition that this work is a necessary precursor to ecclesial order.

These guys are bent, of course (oh, and the folks who run Jim’s old place?  Those giant pictures of yours just aren’t working for me).  But despite all the high-level folks involved, these talks sound VERY preliminary, as if any possibility of South Carolina officially joining ACNA is a great many years away.

Which is as it should be.  As long as ACNA continues to pursue the chimera of “official” Lambeth Palace recognition, South Carolina ought to keep its distance.  Charleston was Anglican before just about everybody else in North America was and it already has all the “official” recognition it needs (the GAFCON primates will take Communion with Mark Lawrence; they won’t take it with Mrs. Schori).

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