Friday, June 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 74 Comments

You guys want to know something?  I had this retirement plan.  I’d buy myself a book about how to forage for food in the wild, a backpack, an ax or a tomahawk, a really good Bowie knife and something to fish with.  Then I’d load all that into my backpack along with a couple of Bibles, officially, finally and completely turn MidConJo Enterprises over to Bill (not IB) and spend the remainder of my days in the wild.

And if the coyotes wanted my carcass, they were welcome to it.

But I have to tell you guys something.  In every day and in every way, my fantasy sounds better and better, you guys:

The tech startup npm recently blogged about the unusual challenge some of its employees have agreed to participate in: they put a dollar in a glass jar every time they say “you guys.”

“We didn’t invent the idea, though I’m not sure where we first heard about it,” reads the company’s explanation on Tumblr. “But the idea is: if you believe that using the word ‘guys’ to describe a mixed-gender group of individuals is creeping sexism, and are trying to eliminate that word from your casual use, you put a dollar in the jar every time you do it accidentally.”

Yes, “creeping sexism.”

That sounds pretty intense. I’m a big user of “guys,” and when it was first brought to my attention that the phrase was frowned upon among leading feminist thinkers and people concerned with equality — especially in male-dominated workplaces — my reaction was, “Oh, come on. It’s inaccurate, but it’s not actually hurting anyone.”

But I’ve changed my mind. As I read up on the issue, I realized that my knee-jerk response (“It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me, personally, and changing would require effort on my part and that’s hard and tiring”) is nothing more than a very typical lazy excuse for avoiding the tiny tweaks to our lives that can, as a whole, make society more equal.

Now I’m convinced that “guys” — unless we are actually addressing a group of guys — has got to go.

Do you guys agree with that?


Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 49 Comments

Maybe I’m getting sentimental but when people are as dumb as “novelist” Joyce Carol Oates seems to be, I can’t help but smile.


Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Former Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has some ideas for Church of England renewal:

The other issue, of course, in a nominally Christian country, is what can be done about the falling Anglican figures? They reveal the demise of nominal belonging, where the default position was to be “C of E”. But more and more, the “No Religion” category will become the default position of those with no strong affiliation. This puts paid to the widespread notion in Anglican leadership that people would continue, indefinitely, to declare themselves “Anglican” without ever showing up in church.

But this is about more than just figures, this is about faith. The lack of religious affiliation among the young indicates the failure of Church of England schools to effectively teach the faith, as well as deliver the national curriculum. School is a good place to start. Overcoming squeamishness about meaningful RE, teaching understanding of the Gospel in schools and, perhaps, even the revival of school confirmations could well reverse the somewhat depressing figures for young people.

The evidence in the Church of England is certainly that clear teaching, preaching and practising of the historic, biblical faith results in growing congregations. Faddishness in Liturgy, the questioning of basic truths, such as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and avant-garde social attitudes towards life, the family and the bringing up of children, have failed miserably to attract the allegedly “secular” masses to church. We should be putting our energies, rather, into bringing the whole Gospel to the whole nation rather than the half-baked nostrums of the “experts”.

Fine words which evoke a three-word response.

Dead on arrival.

Here’s why.  Christian churches capable of renewal do not do things like this:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori has been invited by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, to participate in a panel discussion and preach at London’s historic Westminster Abbey on June 13 and 14.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to join in the ancient worship life of the Abbey and I am grateful to the Dean for his invitation to preach,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented. “I give thanks for the growing and lively relationships between our two provinces of the Anglican Communion.”

On Saturday, June 13, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will participate in a panel discussion on Church and State relations. She will preach on Sunday, June 14 at the 11:15 am Sung Eucharist.

The Dean of Westminster said, “The Abbey welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors and worshippers from the United States each year. It will be a particular pleasure to welcome Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who has visited the Abbey on previous occasions, as our guest and preacher on this occasion. We look forward to further strengthening the historic links between our countries and churches.”


Monday, June 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

This comes from the Church Times so it’s safe to say that Lambeth Palace has finally acknowledged the obvious:

The decline in the proportion of British people who identify as Anglican has accelerated in the past decade, new analysis from NatCen statisticians suggests.

The proportion who say they are Anglican in the British Social Attitudes survey has fallen from 40 per cent in 1983 to 17 per cent in 2014. In the past decade, the proportion has fallen by two-fifths: from 28 per cent in 2004.

The researchers say that the survey results suggest that the number of Anglicans has fallen by as many as 4.5 million over the past ten years, from about 13 million to 8.5 million.

The biggest group remains those who say they have no religion: 49 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2004 and 31 per cent in 1983.

Other Christian denominations have remained stable over the past 30 years. Roman Catholics make up eight per cent of the sample, down from ten per cent in 1983. The “Other Christian” sector has remained static at 17 per cent.

The proportion who identify as Muslim has grown from about 0.5 per cent in 1983 to five per cent in 2014.

So what’s to be done about it?  If past performance is indicative of future results, Lambeth will appoint a Task ForceTM which will Study The SituationTM and have a report ready for General Synod in three years.

Give or take.

Seriously.  What is there left with which to identify?  The “Anglican tradition” is dead.


Give me a reason, other than blind, reflexive adherence to, if not worship of, “tradition” to continue to respect Canterbury and I will.  Otherwise, at least have the honesty to acknowledge that the torch of whatever is left of Anglicanism has passed to other, worthier hands.


Saturday, June 6th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

There’s this lottery scratcher game in Indiana in which you can either win money or a 20-year supply of bacon.


Saturday, June 6th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Click on this link at your own risk.


Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 64 Comments

We don’t poke enough fun at you?

Support is growing within the Church of England to rewrite its official liturgy to refer to God as female following the selection of the first women bishops.

Growing numbers of priests already insert words such as “she” and “mother” informally into traditional service texts as part of a move to make the language of worship more inclusive, it has been claimed.

They’re hitting the ground running.  You have to give them that.

But calls for a full overhaul of liturgy to recognise the equal status of women have already been discussed informally at a senior level.

It comes after the “Transformations Steering Group”, a body which meets in Lambeth Palace to examine the impact of women in ministry on the Church of England, issued a public call to the bishops to encourage more “expansive language and imagery about God”.

Hilary Cotton, chair of Women And The Church (Watch), the group which led the campaign for female bishops, said the shift away from the traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer in already at an “advanced” stage in some quarters.

“The reality is that in many churches up and down the country something more than the almost default male language about God is already being used,” she said.

“Quietly clergy are just talking about God as ‘she’ every now and then.

News flash.  The Episcopalians have been doing that for the last fifteen years, at my old parish anyway.  Pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down, limeys.

“The response you often get at one end is ‘why does it matter because God is beyond all this?’

“At the other end the reaction is ‘you mustn’t because Jesus calls God father.”

Which is pretty much the only argument against this crap that anyone should ever need.  And to which, I guess, the lefty response would be an indignant, “If Jesus were alive today, He’d use gender-inclusive language!

I assume that the biblical texts were translated honestly and that when Jesus said Father, He meant Father.  So that was one more thing that the Creator of the universe and his Earthly incarnation managed to screw up.

“Until we shift considerably towards a more gender-full expression in our worship about God then we are failing God and we are missing something,” [Hilary Cotton] said.

Of course we are.

UPDATE: On second thought, never mind.  Call “God” whatever you want to call “God.”  It’s not like it even remotely still matters.

The Church of England has lost nearly two million followers in the last two years and is on the brink of “extinction”, it has been warned.

The number of people in the UK who describe their beliefs as being Church of England or Anglican dropped from 21 per cent to 17 per cent between 2012 and 2014- a loss of around 1.7 million followers. The number of Anglicans in Britain is now thought to stand at around 8.6 million.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has warned that unless urgent action is taken, the organisation is just “one generation away from extinction.”

UPDATE:  Note to self: start learning Chinese.


Saturday, May 30th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

A. S. Haley runs The Episcopal Organization’s litigation numbers.


Thursday, May 28th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Remember Katharine Jefferts Schori’s celebrated interpretation two years ago of Paul’s encounter with the demon-possessed slave girl in Acts?  If you don’t, here are some edited highlights:

There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it.  Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God.

She is quite right.  She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves.  But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.

Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it.  It gets him thrown in prison.  That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!

At the time, I thought that Kate’s crapsgesis was the single dumbest thing any alleged-Christian had ever written or could ever write about anything AT ALL, why I won’t refer to the organization Kate heads as Christian and definitive proof why, if they insist on keeping the Episcopalians around, the Anglican Communion needs to add Fuit Christianismus Egressi to the bottom of that compass rose emblem of theirs.

Turns out, I may have been premature.  Although it’s not quite as elegant an effort as the Presiding Bishop’s, the following has exactly the same intellectual and theological babbling incoherence.  Seems that Giles Fraser thinks that official liturgies for trannies is a perfectly Biblical idea:

Last Sunday, the bishop confirmed four members of my congregation. It was a wonderful occasion. “God has called you by name and made you his own,” he said, quoting from the prophet Isaiah, as he laid his hands upon each of their heads. During his sermon, he focused in on being called by our own name. God’s love is specific, aimed directly at who we are. It is not some generalised blanket beneficence wafted roughly in the direction of humankind.

So you can see the dilemma that confronted the Rev Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory. A parishioner came to see him, asking to be re-baptised. He explained that the Church of England doesn’t do this – that baptism is a once only kind of thing. But I was baptised as a girl, the parishioner explained. Now I am a man. My name is Harry. This was the conversation that set Chris Newlands off on the course of trying to get the C of E to authorise a service for those transitioning from one gender identity to another. If God has called us all by name, it would be good if He got the name right. And so last month the diocese of Blackburn agreed, by an overwhelming majority, to ask the General Synod to debate the introduction of services of welcome specifically for those transitioning gender.

So the Creator of the universe messes up from time to time?

Conservative evangelicals, always twitchy about these things, deny the possibility of transitioning because they think it implies that God made a mistake. The argument is that we are made male or female. And one cannot unmake God’s handiwork. Indeed, as Deuteronomy insists: “Women must not wear men’s clothes, and men must not wear women’s clothes. Everyone who does such things is detestable to the Lord your God.” It’s a bit rich for men in lacy ecclesiastical dresses to be quoting such obvious nonsense.

G?  You’re trying to make a Biblical case for trannie liturgies.  Yet you just called part of the Bible you’re appealing to “obvious nonsense.”  Seems to me that an honest person couldn’t and wouldn’t try to do both.  And exactly what does cross-dressing have to do with surgically changing your sex anyway?  Then Fraser really steps in it.

And I’m happy to call it nonsense, because that’s effectively what Isaiah does too.

How?  With that verse you quoted above?  REALLY not following you, G.

For while there is no clear read-across from the sexual/gender politics of a book written in the 8th century BC to the sexual/gender politics of the present

But Fraser will provide one anyway.

the one question that they did debate was the gender status of eunuchs. And this bears resemblance only to the extent that the existence of eunuchs

Yup.  Fraser went there.

was seen to disrupt the simple binary division of male and female in a similar way that trans people do now for some people.

We’re not talking about blurring lines, you dolt.  We’re talking about surgically changing teams.  And where exactly did this “debate” take place?  In the Bible, of course.

It’s because of this boundary anxiety that the deeply conservative Deuteronomy insists: “If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”

Since nobody anywhere understands what any of this has to do with trannies, Fraser invokes Isaiah again.

But the more progressive Isaiah specifically disagrees: “To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant, to them I will give within my temple a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.”

Blink.  Blink.  Blink.  Blink.  Blink.

I guess Giles Fraser went to college.  Doesn’t say much for the British educational system when someone writes something that idiotic.  G?  A couple things:

(A)  You can’t compare those two quotes and you know it.  The Deuteronomy quote referred to life as the Hebrews lived it and only applied in the lives of God’s chosen people.  Isaiah refers to that wonderful point in the future when God ushers in His eternal Kingdom.  For all.

(B) Back then, becoming a eunuch was something that was done to you.  It was not voluntary; there were no recruitment posters advertising the position and nobody responding, “You want to cut off my junk?  WHERE DO I SIGN!!

And when Christ said the following:

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Our Lord referred to people who, for whatever reason, could not or did not want to have sexual intercourse.  God, through, Isaiah, promises any eunuchs in His Kingdom, something that they could not have or denied themselves in this life.  A heritage.

I shouldn’t have to explain this to an actual Christian, Fraser.


Sunday, May 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 34 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 | 36 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.

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