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TEXAS?

Monday, October 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Yeah, here’s the thing.  If you actually elect this broad as your governor, I’m pretty much done with you:

It wasn’t enough for Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor of Texas, to claim that her opponent — who is wheelchair-bound — doesn’t care about disabled people. Now she and her campaign are claiming that Abbott might also want to ban interracial marriage.

There’s only one problem: Abbott’s wife Cecilia is Hispanic.

This new campaign tack from Wendy Davis — accusing the guy whose wife is Hispanic of maybe wanting to ban interracial marriage — was roundly mocked by pretty much everyone on Twitter within minutes of the attack going out.

DEAR LORD

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 37 Comments

I know that I ask You for a lot of unserious stuff (another job before I die, some kind of two-by-four-upside-the-head guidance about what I’m supposed to do with myself between now and checkout time, etc.).  But if you could somehow find it in Your heart to keep Mississippi and Mississippi State  unbeaten until they meet on November 29th, I’d really appreciate it.  That game’s going to be EPIC.

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON ME; FOOL ME TWICE…………………

Friday, October 17th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 67 Comments

There are some things that aren’t really “funny” in a way that lends itself to satire or fisking (or at least that’s so IMHO.) One of these is Ebola; it’s a terrible disease, and deserves serious consideration and a “no kidding around” approach. I’ve read extensively on the 1917-1918 influenza pandemic; I had family that died from that far-flung flu, and if you want to be truly scared of what contagious disease can do to civilization, just pick up a copy of “The Great Influenza” by John Barry.

But still –

Two nurses have tested positive for Ebola here in Dallas, after we’d been told over and over again that “It’s really, really, really unlikely that anyone will catch Ebola from an infected person, unless they have sex or use the same needle for injections.”

Result – Center for Disease Control: mud on face, score 0-2.

The second case involved a nurse flying on a commercial aircraft just hours before checking into the hospital – and she was OK’d by the CDC to board that aircraft. No worries, eh? Never mind that the 150 or so other passengers are now being asked to voluntarily kind of quarantine themselves, and they’re all likely to be pretty scared people right now.

Fortunately, another country has a better handle on what to do in case someone with exposure to Ebola wants entry to their borders: Mexico.

Carnival cruise ship with possible Ebola case turned away from Cozumel

“A Texas health care worker who reportedly handled samples from Ebola patient Thomas Duncan is under quarantine aboard a Carnival Cruise ship. As a result, the ship was not allowed to dock in Belize.”

I sure hope that said health care worker DOESN’T have Ebola. Because being on board a ship with a diseased individual is bad, quarantine or no quarantine.

I’m afraid that this is our [very near] future – not from the Carnival ship, but from the repeated and significant blunders being made:

“On June 30, 1918, the British freighter Exeter docked at Philadelphia after a brief hold at a maritime quarantine station. She was laced with deadly disease, but the civilian surgeon general and head of the U.S. Public Health Service had issued no instructions to the maritime service to hold influenza-ridden ships. So she was released.”

(Sound familiar at all like the CDC’s current fiasco?)

“Nevertheless, the condition of the crew was so frightening that the British consul had arranged in advance for the ship to be met at a wharf empty of anything except ambulances whose drivers wore surgical masks. Dozens of crew members in “desperate condition” were taken immediately to Pennsylvania Hospital where ……. one after another, more crew members died.”

Bill (not IB)

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 61 Comments

This article speaks for itself (please read the whole thing). All those who have said “churches won’t be affected by anti-discrimination laws” – you were wrong.

City of Houston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons

Bill (not IB)

ON THE OTHER HAND…

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

For those who think that Pope Francis is an Episcopalian in Catholic drag, there’s this:

Pope Francis has signalled his blessing to the breakaway traditionalist American church at the centre of the split which has divided the 80 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of sexuality.

He sent a message offering his “prayers and support” to Archbishop Foley Beach, the new leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the conservative movement which broke away from The Episcopal Church after the ordination of the first openly gay bishop.

His message underlines the pressure facing the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, as he attempts to avert a formal schism in worldwide Anglicanism.

That ship has sailed, Your Grace.

The message from Pope Francis was delivered during the service by the Rt Rev Gregory Venables, the Anglican bishop of Argentina, who had a long-standing friendship with his former Roman Catholic counterpart, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, until his election as pope.

Bishop Venables, told how he was recovering from a severe illness earlier this year when he had a telephone call from an Argentine man who introduced himself as “Francis”.

To laughter from the congregation, he explained that he had responded: “Francis who?”

“He said, with a wonderful degree of humility and patience, ‘no it’s Father Jorge’,” the bishop explained.

He went on: “He asked me this evening … in fact he wrote to me just a few days ago and said when you go to the United States please, in my name, give my personal congratulations and greetings to Archbishop Foley.

“Assure him of my prayers and support at this moment and in the future as he leads the Church at this very important moment of revival and mission.”

ROMAN CATHOLICS?

Monday, October 13th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 175 Comments

I have a serious question for which I’d like a serious answer.  And I’m not going to provide any commentary of my own just yet; I’m much more interested in what you guys think.  But should we flying buttresses of the Catholic Church, to borrow Churchill’s analogy, start seriously worrying right about now?

In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of their marriage, or rather how it is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of the Church. In this respect, a significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of Vatican Council II, which, while it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure … these elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen Gentium, 8).

Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man (cf. Jn 1,9; cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings.

In this respect, a new dimension of today’s family pastoral consists of accepting the reality of civil marriage and also cohabitation, taking into account the due differences. Indeed, when a union reaches a notable level of stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, responsibility with regard to offspring, and capacity to withstand tests, it may be seen as a germ to be accompanied in development towards the sacrament of marriage. Very often, however, cohabitation is established not with a view to a possible future marriage, but rather without any intention of establishing an institutionally-recognized relationship.

In the West as well there is an increasingly large number of those who, having lived together for a long period of time, ask to be married in the Church. Simple cohabitation is often a choice inspired by a general attitude, which is opposed to institutions and definitive undertakings, but also while waiting for a secure existence (a steady job and income). In other countries common-law marriages are very numerous, not because of a rejection of Christian values as regards the family and matrimony, but, above all, because getting married is a luxury, so that material poverty encourages people to live in common-law marriages. Furthermore in such unions it is possible to grasp authentic family values or at least the wish for them. Pastoral accompaniment should always start from these positive aspects.

Various Fathers underlined the necessity to make the recognition of cases of nullity more accessible and flexible. Among the propositions were the abandonment of the need for the double conforming sentence; the possibility of establishing an administrative means under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop; a summary process to be used in cases of clear nullity. According to authoritative propositions, the possibility should then be considered of giving weight to the faith of those about to be married in terms of the validity of the sacrament of marriage. It needs to emphasized that in all these cases it is about the ascertaining of the truth over the validity of the obstacle.

As regards matrimonial suits, the speeding-up of the procedure, requested by many, as well as the preparation of a sufficient number of operators, clerics and lay people, dedicating themselves to this, requires an increase in the responsibilities of the diocesan bishop, who in his diocese might charge a specially trained priest who would be able to offer the parties advice on the validity of their marriage.

In the same way the situation of the divorced who have remarried demands a careful discernment and an accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against. For the Christian community looking after them is not a weakening of its faith and its testimony to the indissolubility of marriage, but rather it expresses precisely its charity in its caring.

As regards the possibility of partaking of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, some argued in favor of the present regulations because of their theological foundation, others were in favor of a greater opening on very precise conditions when dealing with situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering. For some, partaking of the sacraments might occur were it preceded by a penitential path – under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop –, and with a clear undertaking in favor of the children. This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.

Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

DEAR TEXAS

Saturday, October 11th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

It’s no secret that a great many Americans admire you.  Here in Missouri, we take a particularly proprietary interest in you since one of our own, Moses Austin, conceived of the idea of you but died soon after, leaving his Missouri-raised son, Stephen F. Austin, to see to your birth and give his surname to your capital.  And The Raven, Marquis James’ biography of Sam Houston, is the Editor’s favorite book that isn’t the Bible.

But here’s the deal, Texas.  If you actually elect this particularly loathsome piece of crap as your governor, lots and lots of us are going to rethink our opinions of you.

Just so you know.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Friday, October 10th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 51 Comments

The Episcopal parish I grew up in was a pretty liberal place.  The rector there backed the homosexuals long before anybody else in the Episcopal Church did, which is actually pretty impressive.  His ordained wife, whose job title was, for obvious reasons, “associate rector,” was even more liberal than he was as well as one of the worst preachers whose sermons I ever had the misfortune to have to sit through.

Anyway, my doubts about my church, as well as the whole Anglican enterprise, began rather early in my life.  Since I read as much of the Bible as I felt like reading rather than whatever the lectionary told me to read, I could and regularly did easily refute whatever bumper stickers I heard coming from the pulpit.  “Damn,” I thought.  “I’m smarter than ‘ordained’ people are.”  In a backhanded way, the lefties at my former parish made me what I am today.

If you’d like to know what that feels like, take a free run at Alan Wilson, the Anglican Bishop of Buckingham, who thinks that Biblical objections to homosexual marriage are ridiculous.  How does Al get things rolling?  By talking out of his own ass for a while:

People used to talk in a rather crude and basic way about “sex acts” as though the scope of sexuality was exhausted by a list of behaviours. It regarded sexuality as a kind of “X” factor that kicked in on the way to bed, and could be described using euphemisms such as “homosexual genital acts”. This terminology is vague, stupid and inadequate. It implies that only the particular things that people do have a sexual dimension to them.

So my dream of one day becoming a lesbian is back on the table?  SWEET.

It would be far more accurate to see all behaviour as having a sexual dimension to some degree. Euphemisms about homosexuality are often confusing and vague. They break down when expressed in anger. Furious letters are penned to supporters of gay rights, denouncing them for trying to be kind but “encouraging buggery”. The last word is written in large capital letters, underlined with stabbing motions until it goes through the paper.

In Al’s fantasy world, anyway.

The evidence is, however, that the majority of gay people do not engage in anal sex, while a significant proportion of straight couples do. Allowing the wrongness of anal sex, those who wish to suppress it would do far better to focus their energies on the 85% of those who practise it who are not gay than to make it the defining characteristic of gay people in order to try and stir up disgust against them.

“Citation needed,” as Wikipedia might say.  You know this how, Al?  Where’s the study that claims this?  Provide a link to it.  Otherwise, people with functional intelligences are going to believe that you lied through your teeth made up a patently ridiculous “fact” out of whole cloth that you need to be true and so you assert that it is.

But I think Al figured he was getting way off the track because he then proceeds to the core of his “argument.”  You want “biblical marriage,” bigots?  Here’s “biblical marriage.”

Nor is it clear what we should mean by “biblical marriage”. Generally speaking, Old Testament marriage customs and mores reflect the social mores of the people in the story. Adam and Eve sound like the original simple nuclear family, one plus one for life. In a way, that was all they could be, since they were the only two people in the world at the time.

Alan Wilson.  Creationist.

In Genesis 38, Levirate marriage comes on the scene. This is the involuntary marriage of a man to his brother’s widow in order to continue the line. This kind of marriage was still theoretically current enough in Jesus’s day for it to be the basis of a question the Sadducees asked him about a bride, seven brothers and resurrection (Matthew 22:23–32).

Deuteronomy institutes another involuntary form of marriage. A virgin automatically becomes the wife of her rapist, who is then required to pay the victim’s father 50 shekels for the loss of his property rights. Unlike other Old Testament marriages, these are held to be indissoluble.

In Numbers 31:17–18 we find another form of involuntary marriage. A male soldier is entitled to take as many virgins as he likes for his wives from among his booty, but must kill his other prisoners. In Deuteronomy 21:11–14, marriage is made by selecting a beautiful woman from among the spoils of war, shaving her head and paring her nails. These marriages are dissoluble if she fails to please, but the woman is no longer saleable. Throughout much of the Old Testament, marriage does not require sexual exclusivity. Concubines are allowed, alongside wives. Abraham had only two concubines, where Solomon had 300, along with his 700 wives.

The basic principle of these relationships is that if a woman’s father pays a man to take her away, she is his wife. If he pays her father to take her away, she is his concubine.

None of these arrangements, except perhaps that enjoyed by Adam and Eve, would be recognised as marriage today. Pretending that the church’s present stance is biblical is not going to fool anyone who doesn’t want to be fooled, and fewer and fewer people do.

Except that you just said that “the church’s present stance is biblical,” Al.  You know, Adam, man, Eve, woman.

But how would you, the readers at home, refute all that?  I see three ways.

(1) Nobody does that sort of thing any more, Al, and if they did, I’d be in favor of coming down on them like a ton of bricks, Bible or no Bible.

(2) Congratulations, Al.  You’ve just made it impossible for you to say no when Bob, Carol, Alice, Betty, Sue Ann, Deidre, Patty, Elise, Hannah, Allison, Paige, another Deirdre, Kendra, a second Betty, two Talias and a Roberta show up one day and want to get “married.”  What with Solomon having 700 wives and 300 concubines and stuff.

But I think that the most elegant answer to Alan Wilson would be from Christ Himself.

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for justany reason?”

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who madethem at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

Why are all those variations of “marriage” still in the Bible, Alan?  Here’s why.

He said to them, “Moses, because of the

Say it with me.

HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS

BOO-yah.

permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

It’s time to move on when you know this stuff better than they do.

BALLGAME, THANKS FOR PLAYING

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Although he denies doing so, Justin Welby just implicitly admitted that the Lambeth Conference, the single most important meeting in the Anglican tradition, is dead:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has responded to inaccurate media reports that the Lambeth Conference had been cancelled by saying, “As it hasn’t been called, it can’t have been cancelled”.

Speaking to the BBC’s William Crawley, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion said the historic meeting of bishops from around the world would take place sometime after the primates* had met together.

“When I was installed in Canterbury as archbishop I met all the primates, they all came to that, and I said to them that I would visit all of them in their own country which, God willing, I will have done by the end of this November, and that at the end of that we would consult together about when to have a Lambeth Conference.”

Archbishop Welby, who is also primate of the Church of England, stressed that, “The next Lambeth Conference needs to be called collegially by the primates, together with real ownership of the agenda and a real sense of what we’re trying to do with such a large effort, such cost. So when we meet as primates, which I hope we will do…with reasonable notice after the end of [the visits to all the primates], then we will decide together on the details.”

Your Grace?  Let me tell you how that primate’s meeting, if it happens, will play out.

WESTERN LIBERAL PRIMATES – “Sure, we’d love to attend another Lambeth Conference.  Provided, of course, that it is structured in exactly the same way as Rowan Williams’ 2008 Real African Word Lambeth Conference was, whatever resolutions emerge from it are vague, meaningless and nothing that could even be remotely construed as “Anglican teaching.”

THIRD WORLD AND CONSERVATIVE PRIMATES – “Another Lambeth Conference?  Sounds like a great idea.  Provided, of course, that you drop Dr. Williams’ Real African Word conceit and commit the Conference to make some actual decisions with teeth to them.  Otherwise, we’ve got GAFCON to fall back on which you’re welcome to attend whenever the mood strikes you.”

NOW WITH 75% MORE SUCK

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 65 Comments

Guess which profession Katharine Jefferts Schori thinks is in desperate need of an affirmative action program.  Here’s a hint: one of the job requirements is that you have to wear a pointy hat once a week or so:

The Episcopal Church needs many more women bishops, according to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and it has neglected available methods to accomplish that goal.

Most of us think that nobody anywhere needs the Episcopal bishops that are there now but do go on.

Bishop Jefferts Schori delivered that message October 3 at the Women’s Leadership Forum at Episcopal Divinity School, where about 80 people (11 of them men)

Insert “whipped” sound here.

gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Philadelphia 11’s ordinations.

And don’t let a little thing like the rules get in your way.

Dioceses might place more women in top bishop roles, she said, if they would alter their processes within existing canons to give women a better chance. The presiding bishop mentioned options at the disposal of dioceses, namely electing more than one bishop at a time, and appointing provisional bishops in consultation with her office.

Presumably, a diocese would have to pay these people actual money, something any given cash-strapped Episcopal diocese should love.  But why has this terrible state of affairs been allowed to happen in the first place?

Remember that famous New York Times interview in which Mrs. Schori called Roman Catholics dumb breeders or something to that effect (I’d look it up but I don’t feel like it)?  Here, she insinuates that the laity of her own church are stupid bigots.

Jefferts Schori said that resistance to women in top leadership roles tends to come not from clergy, who are largely supportive. It comes instead from laity in an Episcopal Church she described as “too white, too old, too female” in comparison with the general population. When asked if laywomen are to blame for the scant number of female leaders, she said, “I don’t know that,” and instead placed the problem broadly at the feet of laypeople empowered to cast votes.

So it’s the gals who are sabotaging the gals?  Looks that way.

Other forum participants agreed with the panelists. “I have found in my own process that the laity, and in particular laywomen, seem to often favor the men,” said Suzanne Culhane, a student at Episcopal Divinity School and a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of New York. “That’s quite clear and obvious to me.”

“The presiding bishop addressed it when she said it’s the laypeople in the pews, and those who go to convention and vote, that tend to be older, much more traditional, and white,” said the Rev. Nancy Gossling, who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was one of four nominees (all women) in the Diocese of Maryland’s recent election of a bishop suffragan. “Until the diversity in our congregations change, I don’t think the leadership is going to change.”

Since I can’t think of any single group of people anywhere in the world that I respect less than the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, AKA God’s Dryer Lint, I really don’t have a dog in this hunt.  The scientific questions interest me, though.

Would arbitrarily dumping a great many new pointy-hats into the HOB increase the level of theological airheadedness that normally emerges from that body?  Or does that kind of idiocy have a limit, an event horizon, if you will, beyond which it is physically impossible to go?  And what is the mathematical formula for determining the answer?

SLEEPING YOUR WAY TO THE TOP

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

What the heck, it worked for Hillary Clinton.

MOVIN’ PITCHERS

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 39 Comments

Two “faith-based” movies opened this weekend:

Two movies coming out this weekend that aim to attract a faith-based crowd join a glut of biblical films for 2014, testing the limits of Hollywood’s appetite for religion.

The two films, “The Good Lie” and “Left Behind,” both opening Friday (Oct. 3), reflect two different filmmaking strategies: One is geared for a wider audience that could attract Christians, while the other produces a movie clearly made for the Christian base.

“The Good Lie,” starring Reese Witherspoon helping four young “Lost Boys” from Sudan adjust to life in the U.S., has underlying faith themes. The refugees rely on their faith as they try to leave homeland strife behind, and Witherspoon’s character works closely with a faith-based agency to place refugees with families.

The other film out this weekend, “Left Behind,” starring Nicolas Cage, is more overtly religious, based on the best-selling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins about the world after Jesus returns, when true believers are swept into glory and everyone else is left behind.

The first “Left Behind” book, published in 1995 by Tyndale House Publishers, was a surprising best-seller, spawning a series that has sold over 63 million copies. The series’ sales figures would rival “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “The Hardy Boys” series and even “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

The book had already been turned into a 2000 film starring Kirk Cameron, grossing about $4 million, barely breaking even.

Give me the choice, which isn’t going to happen since I no longer own anything powered by an internal combustion engine so that I can easily travel somewhere in order to see one of these two movies, and I’d opt for “The Good Lie.”  Know why?

The Omega Code,” a movie that told the same story as “Left Behind.”

That was the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s first attempt at reaching the world through major motion pictures.  I watched TBN’s hype of the thing in which regular people told me how “thrilling” and “exciting” they thought the thing was.

And given that I was, and still am, a fiercely-conservative evangelical  Protestant Christian, I enthusiastically drove to a local multiplex one evening, enthusiastically paid full admission price, enthusiastically bought myself a Diet Coke and other refreshments, enthusiastically entered the theater and enthusiastically sat down to watch…

…the SINGLE worst movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

As far as movies are concerned, I have a personal rule that I call the “Oh, come on now” rule.  See, I can forgive quite a bit when I watch a movie.  Case in point: I don’t know how many times I’ve watched “Armageddon” and I still love it.

But if I ever find myself saying, “Oh, come on now,” while watching a movie, I know I’m watching a turkey that I will never watch again.  I said that over and over while watching “The Omega Code.”

This thing wasn’t just bad; it was humiliatingly bad.  I had two thoughts as I watched this train wreck.  What in God’s name was Michael York, who played the Antichrist, thinking?  And if any non-Christians happen to see this thing, they’re going to think that Christians are blithering idiots.

If you can find it at Netflix or some other online movie service and if it’s not too expensive, it’s worth a look if you want to find out just how awful a movie can be.  If you do, here’s a bit of a spoiler alert.

Although this was the first time in my life that I ever seriously considered walking out of a movie, I stuck it out until the closing credits.  You know, what with Christ returning and all.  Let’s just  say that the ending of “The Omega Code” pissed me off more than the rest of the movie did.

So I don’t like “Left Behind’s” chances.

THE SECRET STORM

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments

In case any of you haven’t been keeping up with the current goings-on at General Theological Seminary, the New York Times provides this handy summary:

The General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, the nation’s oldest Episcopal seminary, seemed to be regaining its footing after almost having to seek bankruptcy protection in 2010. It sold off some valuable real estate — its leafy campus in Chelsea is just steps from the High Line — and hired a new dean and president, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who promised to make the struggling institution a “joyful, thankful and useful” place.

Insert “but” here.

A year after his arrival, however, the seminary has fallen into turmoil. Eight of its 10 full-time faculty members walked off the job on Friday to protest what they described in letters to the school’s board of trustees as Mr. Dunkle’s overly controlling management style, his habit of making vulgar and offensive remarks, and his frequent threats to demote or fire those who disagreed with him.

Seems that nobody much liked Dunk.

The work stoppage, faculty members said, was intended to force a dialogue with the board and, ideally, to lead to the firing of Mr. Dunkle. Instead, the tactic backfired. On Monday, the board dismissed the eight faculty members, leaving the seminary’s roughly 140 students, a month into their term, without professors to teach them.

Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Self?  Since what’s taught at GTS has the same relationship to actual Christian theology as crystal meth does to exceptional bourbon, why should I care whether some lefties threw a temper tantrum?”

Fact is, you shouldn’t.  No one should.  But let’s move on anyway since I’ve got nothing much else happening at the moment.

A note on Tuesday from Mr. Dunkle to the students, reprinted on [SOME BLOG OR OTHER], a blog, explained that about half of the classes were in session as the school scrambled to find qualified personnel for the other classes. Students have taken to social media to express their dismay, often siding with the faculty. Dozens of faculty and clergy members from other seminaries have signed a petition asking that the professors be reinstated.

Content edited slightly.  And maybe it’s me but the lefties seem to be reaching just a bit.

[Dunkle] once described Asian people as “slanty eyed,” the professors reported to the board in a detailed letter on Sept. 17. At a meeting last spring, Mr. Dunkle compared the technical side of theological education to “looking up women’s skirts,” the letter said. He said that he did not want the seminary to be known as the “gay seminary.” He once commented to a female faculty member that he “loved vaginas,” according to the letter.

An Episcopalian said all that.

Yeah.

Right.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 52 Comments

The Anglican Communion.  1868-2014:

The 2018 Lambeth Conference has been cancelled. The precarious state of the Anglican Communion has led the Archbishop of Canterbury to postpone indefinitely the every ten year meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion.

A spokesman for Archbishop Justin Welby told Anglican Ink that as the archbishop had not yet met with each of the primates of the communion, he would not be commenting on the news. Since his installation last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury has travelled extensively and plans on visiting the 37 other provinces of the Anglican Communion within the first 18 months of his term of office.

News of the cancellation was made public by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori on 23 Sept 2014. In response to a question from the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, who asked if money was being set aside to fund the Episcopal Church’s participation in the 2018 meeting, the Presiding Bishop told the Fall Meeting of the House of Bishops gathered in Taipei, Taiwan, that she had been told by Archbishop Welby the meeting had been cancelled.

According to a report of the exchange printed by the Episcopal News Service, the Presiding Bishop said Archbishop Welby had “been very clear that he is not going to call a Lambeth until he is reasonably certain that the vast majority of bishops would attend. It needs to be preceded by a primates meeting at which a vast majority of primates are present.

Who’s to blame for finally killing off Anglicanism’s pretensions at being a global Christian church?  Justin Welby’s broccoli-shaped predecessor.

In organizing the 2008 Conference, Dr. Rowan Williams – who had endorsed a minority statement on homosexuality at the conference – changed the parameters and purpose of the meeting. A format of Real African Word, a South African word that the conference organizers interpreted as meaning a form of guided conversation, was adopted. The new format did not permit formal or conclusive statements and was designed to prevent action through what critics saw was conversation without end.

Content edited slightly.  Anyway, a little more than a third of Anglican bishops recognized Lambeth, 2008 for the sham that it was.

However the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to invite the American, Canadian and Central American bishops who consecrated the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson to Lambeth led to 206 diocesan and 8 suffragan bishops to reject Archbishop Rown Williams’ invitation.

In 2008 the Anglican Communion consisted of 729 dioceses, missionary districts, and ecclesial entities divided into 38 provinces and six extra-provincial jurisdictions. Approximately 260 dioceses and jurisdictions within the Communion were not represented by their diocesan bishops at Lambeth.

So what does all this mean?  First and foremost, it seems to mean this.  If 2008 was, in fact, the last Lambeth Conference, the question of Anglican “legitimacy” is officially, finally and completely dead.

Which means that you’re Anglican if you think you are.

THE SECOND TIME AROUND

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Since I live here, I’m supposed to think that St. Louis, Missouri is to Kansas City, Missouri what Manhattan is to Fergus Falls, Minnesota.  But I don’t.  Since my paternal grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins lived there, my family would drive up to Kansas City two or three times annually,

Except for the time that my dad’s tomato plants kept producing tomatoes and wouldn’t stop.  My dad grew so many tomatoes that year that I think that my family at least doubled our annual KC trips, desperately trying to give those tomatoes away.

Then there was my grandmother’s recipe for Kansas Chowder.  If I’m ever going to be executed for first-degree murder, I want that to be my last meal, that’s how great it was.  I have never been able to reverse-engineer that thing.

Welcome back, guys.  I hope we get another crack at you.

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