Archive for May, 2009


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 86 Comments

This country’s most prominent abortionist has been murdered:

George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions, was shot to death on Sunday as he attended church, city officials in Wichita said.

The shooting occurred at around 10 a.m. (Central time) at Reformation Lutheran Church on the city’s East Side, Dr. Tiller’s regular church.

Wichita police said that the shots were fired from a handgun in the church lobby during the morning service. The authorities gave few details, but said they were searching for a powder blue Taurus made in the 1990s that had been seen leaving shortly after the shooting. They said witnesses had described seeing a white man departing.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, May 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Since the homosexual bishop didn’t stop the Episcopal Organization’s precipitous slide into Unitarian irrelevance, maybe adding a famous member of the Fornicator-American community will help.  Southeast Florida Bishop Leo Frade hopes so anyway:

I am excited and pleased to inform you that, as you receive this message from me, we are announcing the reception of Father Alberto Cutié into the Episcopal Church. Father Alberto will embark on the ordination process to continue his ministry, as has been our practice in receiving other priests from the Roman Catholic communion into our Church. I know you will agree that the Episcopal Church, with our message of inclusiveness and reconciliation, will serve as a vital new spiritual home for Father Cutié, and that he will have tremendous support and guidance from the entire Episcopal community as he begins his spiritual journey with us.

That Cutié gets to do his girlfriend on a regular basis without having to worry about a bunch of stupid vows and rules while on his “spiritual journey” is just a coincidence.

Timing for the announcement is not necessarily of our doing. Given the publicity that Father Alberto has gained, once he made his decision we believed it necessary to move quickly and decisively. Our goal was to take a proactive approach so that our message can be communicated as clearly as possible, without unnecessary distractions.

We know how news cycles work.  We have to milk this thing for all it’s worth before people unnecessarily distract us by asking why we’re “excited and pleased” to snatch up a guy who broke his vows to another Christian church and wasn’t even formally released from those vows yet just so he could do his girlfriend on a regular basis.

In the end, the message of Father Alberto’s decision to join the Episcopal Church is the very message that is central to our Church, its teachings, and its opportunities for growth and evangelism in the future.

Namely, you’re not going to be hearing much in the way of anti-adultery sermons in our joints any time soon.

Our central mission in the days ahead will be of course to welcome Father Alberto, and to support him on his path, but we recognize as well that his very personal and spiritual decision

To find a “church” that won’t care one way or the other if he does his girlfriend on a regular basis.

offers a window into our own story – the story of the Episcopal Church.

What did I tell you about grooving your fastball, Leo?

This is a story that we are well prepared to tell, because we share it every day in our lives and teachings, and we look forward to sharing it with the world.

That wasn’t all Leo had to say. Greg Griffith found this: 

Dear friends,

As many of you know the Rev. Alberto Cutié has been received into the Episcopal Church as a layperson in the Diocese of Southeast Florida. News surrounding this move has received a lot of attention in the press. I have had several phone calls from newspapers and many emails from people all over asking about how they can join the Episcopal Church. My guess is that this Sunday many of our churches will be visited by people who are just learning about us. So I am writing to suggest that you prepare yourselves and your leadership to receive them. I recommend that you make copies of brochures about the Episcopal Church and that you might consider a forum after church to answer questions.

The scandal surrounding Padre Alberto and his girlfriend was unfortunate but because of his joining the Episcopal Church it has brought us to the attention of the public. I pray that we might be able to take advantage of this appropriately but without throwing this in the face of our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church.

You mean like this, Leo?

That’s Leo, by the way, rocking the bishop gear.  My man’s got to have his camera time.

Roman Catholic Church?  If you’re reading this, and I know you are, I have one question.  Why do you still talk to these people about anything at all?


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 105 Comments

Leo Frade?  Around here, we call this grooving your fastball:

The Rev. Alberto Cutié, the celebrity priest removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month, has left the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami to join the Episcopal church and announced that he will marry the woman he has dated for two years.

Joining him in becoming an Episcopalian was the woman in the photos, Ruhama Buni Canellis, 35.

Bishop Leo Frade, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, officiated as Cutié and Canellis knelt in front of the bishop and were received into the Episcopal church.

”This is truly a setback for ecunemical relations and cooperation between us. The Archdiocese have never made a public display when for doctrinal reasons Episcopal priests have joined the Catholic Church and sought ordination,” said Archbishop John Favalora. He said he had not heard from Frade about the transition and had not spoken to Cutié since May 5, adding that Cutié never told the archbishop he wanted to get married.

”Father Cutié is removing himself from full communion with the Catholic Church and thereby forfeiting his rights as a cleric,” Favalora said, later adding that Cutié is still “bound by the promise to live the celibate life which he freely embraced at ordination. Only the Holy Father can release him from the obligation”

Not so, Bishop Frade said Thursday afternoon. ”That promise is not recognized by our church. If you can find it in the Bible that priests should be celibate, that will be corrected,” Frade said.

Talk about your fat ones.  Since Episcopalians can see things in the Bible that aren’t there as well as not see things in the Bible that are, I’m just going to let you come up with rejoinders of your own.  Otherwise, I’d be here all day.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 69 Comments

The Episcopal Organization acquires a new nickname.  It’s no longer just The Gay Church.  It’s now become the Gittin’ Sahm!! Church:

A popular Miami priest and media personality known as “Father Oprah” has left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopal Church after he was photographed cavorting on the beach with his girlfriend.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie (KOO’-tee-ay) was removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month.

He was received into Episcopal Church in a ceremony Thursday at Trinity Cathedral and may later announce he will marry his girlfriend, which is allowed in that denomination. He must complete other requirements before serving as an Episcopal priest.

“I thank God for the many people in our community who have shown me their love and support,” Cutie said in a statement Thursday. “Your prayers have truly sustained me at this time of transition in my life. With God’s help, I hope to continue priestly ministry and service in my new spiritual home.”

You owe us big-time, Rome.  And we’re talking George Rutler-level payback here.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

The Episcopal strategy works to perfection as the Archbishop of Canterbury puts a bullet into the back of the head of a meaningful Anglican Covenant:

The text of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant received strong support at the recent ACC meeting in Jamaica. However concern was expressed that Section 4 had not received the same degree of Provincial consideration that Sections 1-3 had. ACC-14 proposed that Provinces be given time to consider Section 4, that a small Working Group be set up to consider adjustment to Section 4 of the text in the light of Provincial responses, and to ask that Group to report to the Standing Committee before the end of the year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General have now announced the names of the Working Group. They are:

  • The Most Revd Dr John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin (Chair);
  • The Most Revd Dr John Chew, Primate of South East Asia;
  • Dr Eileen Scully, Anglican Church of Canada;
  • The Rt Revd Dr Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph in the Church in Wales and former Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Let’s see.  Three liberals and one right-of-center moderate.  So it’s a pretty safe bet that the Section Four that emerges from this group will be stripped of anything even remotely hinting at the idea of church discipline.  The chances of individual dioceses being able to opt in are dead and ACNA just took a torpedo amidships.

The Americans and Canadians have won.

Thing is, that’s not a bad thing to those of us who believe that the conservative Anglican tradition, if it is to have any chance at all, must cut itself loose from the poisonous influence of Lambeth Palace.  Stop giving a damn whether or not you’re officially Anglican; let TEO and the AOoC have the “official” Canterbury connection. 

Considering the anemic state of western Anglicanism and considering that Anglicanism is thriving precisely in those places where hostility to the American/Canadian “gospel” is the strongest, being able to call your pseudo-spiritual debating society “officially” Anglican counts for less than nothing.  These days, a connection to Canterbury and a millstone around the neck are pretty much the same thing.

What this does mean is that certain conservative Anglicans who want to preserve their Canterbury connection are basically out of options.  Because the Episcopal Organization now has an absolutely free hand to run radically wild this July.

Communion Partner bishop?  You won’t be able to adopt the Covenant even if TEO somehow doesn’t like the final result when it officially takes it up in three years.  Neither will you, ACNA bishop.  So I’ve got one final question for both of you.

What are you going to do about it?  Be careful how you respond.  Because you don’t have three years.  And if you truly do want to keep the orthodox Anglican flame alive in the West and you don’t relish being regarded as cowards, there’s only one right answer.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Someone named David Somerville has met the Enemy and it is Christians who actually believe their own religion:

American fundamentalism will not go away. It has to be managed. I believe there is a need for a resolute stand to be taken with the gentle firmness that is a hallmark of our church. We need to manage the surge of fundamentalist triumphalism all over our country to be sure. But my first priority has to do with the endorsement of qualified chaplains.  How can we do it?  We must come to terms with our need to be persistent in finding qualified people in our ranks to fill chaplain quotas.

In other words, we need lots more Episcopal chaplains in the armed forces or who knows what weird crap those snake-handlers will teach them?

Churches that fail to fill their allotted quotas end up having them filled by fundamentalists. We need to direct our good candidates to our Episcopal endorsing office headed by Bishop George Packard. We should be recruiting them at every diocesan convention, and have a strong presence at the General Convention as well. We should be advertising and making contacts with people.

Or Vague, Ambiguous, Deity Concept knows what will result.

There are too many chaplains on active duty that come from backgrounds that are inflexibly biased with racially white, patriarchal, and  heterosexist American delusions of superiority.  What I hope to do is help the general readership of our church become more aware of the swelling river of this triumphalism, a movement that is both naive and arrogant, eroding the constitutional wall set up by our founding fathers between the government of the United States and religion.  After reading the Sharlett article, I began to wonder:  Could this wall fail?

And if it does, well then Katharine Jefferts Schori bar the door. what with all those morons thinking that their stupid opinions are valid and stuff.

Fundamentalism reflects a shortage of emotional security for a portion of our society that is under-educated for the twenty-first century milieu.  I believe that portion is growing.  It is anxiety, feelings of helplessness, and the loss of control people get which come from changes in the world they are not prepared to cope with, and do not feel they can manage.

Paradoxes are difficult, but they can be dealt with so long as individuals challenged by them have the resources of a community that is open, embraces ambiguity, and values diversity. Fundamentalists struggle to be rugged individualists in their campaigns to make those who are different from them into their clones. They hate ambiguity. For them there is no community. What they might argue to be community are really loose networks of mutually agreed-upon factions.

Dave?  Buddy?  If you’ve got a disagreement with conservative Christians(which, according to your definiton, would be anyone from Benedict XVI on down), that’s fine.  Make your point and make it respectfully, realizing that the person with whom you disagree is a brother in Christ.

But if you insist on treating “Christian fundamentalism” as some kind of existential threat to the True ReligionTM, you know what’s going to happen?  A lot of us are going to laugh at you.  Because we know what you really mean.



Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 32 Comments

As most of you have probably heard, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, an amendment to that state’s constitution which states that the only marriages California will officially recognize will be those between a man and a woman.

It’s long been my contention that leftists really aren’t as appalled by decisions like this one as they claim to be.  Because these decisions allow them to feel the greatest high in their world.  Smug self-righteousness. 

Take this overwrought prose of San Francisco California Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus who, if the Good Doctor is reading this, richly deserves a Braxton’s Lear for this performance:

While the decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 has saddened many in the Diocese of California (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, and all of us who support them) we as people of faith understand in a unique way that we are far from the end of this struggle.

Bishop?  I really wouldn’t take the following line if I were you.

Our sacred stories tell us of commitment in the face of oppression and opposition that stretches over generations: 400 years in Egypt for the Hebrew people, 400 years in America for African Americans. From these stories we have learned that God is faithful and that justice, in time, prevails.

Because sensitive Americans never permit themselves to lose sight of it.  All those millions and millions of homosexuals, kidnapped from their homes, packed into ships like sardines and, if they survived the journey across the Atlantic, sold into lives of slavery and degradation.

No, wait.  We don’t remember that at all.

The most important struggle, the quest for authentic human relationship comprehending one another in all our complexity, is one that cannot be achieved by judicial review or even by legislative means.

Democracy really sucks when we’re right and they’re obviously wrong.

It is the result of continuous commitment to the building of relationship and community. Such relatedness is at the heart of Christian mission. We in the Diocese of California have been, are currently, and will be committed to such mission. As with our brothers and sisters who felt the destructive effects of slavery and segregation,

Let’s see.  Not being able to “marry” someone of the same sex.  Getting yourself hanged because somebody said you looked a white woman funny.  Yeah, that’s exactly the same.

the women who continue worldwide to be second-class citizens, and the immigrants whose lives are disrupted once again by ICE raids, The Episcopal Church stands in solidarity with the disenfranchised.

Whatever, sunshine.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Moratorium – Doing something one is not supposed to do but doing it slightly less than one would prefer to do it or doing it with a term or two changed or left out:

Bishop Robert Bennett of the Diocese of Huron has asked a committee to begin to develop liturgies for a celebratory Eucharist and prayers for same-gender couples, but the service will not provide a nuptial blessing. He announced the plan, which closely resembles an approach previously chosen by bishops in the Diocese of Toronto, at the start of the Huron diocesan synod (annual meeting) taking place from May 24 to 26 in London, Ontario.

Bennett asked the diocesan doctrine and worship committee to “synthesize and make available the most recent and relevant material to aid in this discernment” and then to “develop appropriate protocols, guidelines and evaluative tools to enable us to move forward with appropriate liturgies to celebrate the love, mutual fidelity and support that gay and lesbian Anglicans model every day for the church and wider community.” He said he envisions that the service would be “eucharistic in nature with approved intercessory prayers but with no nuptial blessing.”

In his written charge to the synod, Bennett confessed that he was “quite torn on the issue . On the one hand, I agree with the national house of bishops’ desire to ‘develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church.’ On the other hand, my catholic sensitivity of whom we are as church mandates that I take very seriously the Archbishop of Canterbury’s request that we embrace a ‘season of gracious restraint’ in the matter of same-gender blessings.”

The Diocese of Huron’s approach, he said, respects the moratoria requested by the international Anglican Communion on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of bishops in same-sex relationships, and cross-border interventions. “For me, this season of ‘gracious restraint’ will take us to Halifax 2010. We find ourselves in an ‘in-between time’ that must be used to prepare for the national gathering and beyond,” he said. The next meeting of General Synod (the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada) will be in Halifax in 2010.

Insert your favorite “I did stop sleeping with your best friend, honey.  We were just admiring your new lovely new drapes from a different angle,” joke here.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

From the looks of things, Gladstone “Skip” Adams is a vindictive weasel:

The rector of an Anglican church is “surprised and baffled” by a judge’s decision that a regional diocese investigate whether a local parish mishandled money after it withdrew from the Episcopal denomination.

“The judge’s statement is absolutely not true,” said the Rev. Matthew Kennedy, pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton. “We have nothing to hide. I want to answer their questions.”

Supreme Court Judge Ferris D. Lebous, who earlier this year ruled the central New York diocese was entitled to Good Shepherd’s property, said diocesan allegations the parish misused an endowment should be investigated.

The diocese has a history of this sort of behavior.

This isn’t the first time the diocese has accused a local rector of financial misconduct.

In July 2007, an Episcopal court cleared the Rev. David G. Bollinger of all charges related to diocesan allegations while he was rector of St. Paul’s in Owego.

Bollinger, who is retired, claimed the investigation was retaliation for telling the diocese about a former rector’s sexual misconduct with a teenager in the 1970s.



Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, May 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Listening – when an Episcopalian tells you what to think and you keep your stupid, ignorant, bigoted opinion to yourself.  As illustrated by Ms. Susan Gage of Tallahassee, Florida:

I think listening is a good thing. Whether or not anyone is actually hearing is quite another matter. There’s been so much talk, talk, talk, talk, talk… and we’ve listened, listened, and listened again. But I’m not convinced that anyone is really hearing the bottom line: God is calling God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people back into the church. If there are bishops in the world who don’t know how to minister to LGBT people, then it would seem some help is needed there. And if there are LGBT people whom God is calling to become leaders, then who are we… or they… to stand in the way of God?

Along with Terry Milner of New York City:

So long as church leaders such as Bishop Mouneer insist on reminding us that they will never change their minds on the ultimate question of full inclusion, why would any gay or lesbian person in his region think it will ever be “safe” to participate in the process?

That said, I learned a lot from Bishop Mouneer’s comments on the difficulty of carrying out the listening process in regions where same-gender relationships are still proscribed socially, legally and morally. I could just as easily have been reading about the American South. Those of us who were raised in that environment rejected any involvement with organized Christianity until the Episcopal Church began welcoming us back into the church, and gave us a safe place to speak about our experience as gay men and lesbians, and how we reconcile it with our faith. I urge those planning the next phase of the “listening process” to consider our experience and consult those who share it.

It seems to me that many of those fearful of coming forward in their own countries could be provided with the technological means to record their experiences anonymously, using cell phone or internet tools where they are available. And Canon Groves’ group could work to create “safe spaces” where this listening could be safely carried out, either in person or by using those technologies. That would be an excellent use of the funds the group has received, and could create a compelling record of experiences for those of good will on both sides to consider.

And confirmed by the Rev. Robert W. Walden of Kaneohe, Hawaii.

I have been listening very closely and I am not encouraged by what I am hearing. I hear a lot of anger and not much of a desire to listen from the homosexuals. Most seem to be only interested in their own views and no one else’s. They come across very militant and unforgiving and vengeful. Listening for those supporting the homosexuals seems to mean that they do not need to listen to the opposition because if you do not agree with me then it is because you are not listening to me. This does not reflect Jesus’ love and forgiveness.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, May 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Yessiree.  Everything’s coming up roses for the Episcopal Organization these days:

The landmark Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit has cash reserves for only six to eight weeks of operation and needs a cash infusion of some $200,000 in order to balance the 2009 budget, according to the Very Rev. Scott Hunter, dean of St. Paul’s, who met with diocesan council on May 9.

Dean Hunter said that the cathedral began trying to bring expenses more in line with income about two years ago and that “painful sacrifices” by the entire congregation helped reduce its annual operating budget by $225,000. But the state’s rapidly declining economic situation and the sharp downturn in the financial markets brought the cathedral’s situation to a crisis stage within a relatively short time beginning last fall. The sudden nature of the downturn was the chief reason the cathedral leadership was not able to give diocesan council more advance notice of its plight.

“If we lose that diversity it would be more than a symbolic loss,” he added. “It’s a severe blow to the dream of a truly inclusive church. We need to make sure that the cathedral is supported as a place for everyone, not just another church struggling in a city in decline.”

The Diocese of Michigan from 1948-1973 under the Rt. Rev. Richard S. Emrich was one of the fastest growing in The Episcopal Church.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Reading Newsweek’s recent announcement that it would prefer that some of you stopped buying and/or reading it because, to be perfectly honest, Newsweek just doesn’t want to be associated with the likes of you anymore got me to thinking.  Had I stumbled on to the Episcopal Organization’s evangelism strategy?

Are the Episcopalians going to start to get selective?  Are they going to go out to the highways and hedges and compel some of them to come in as long as they’re, you know, our kind of people?

Could be.  A certain amount of elitism has always attached to United States Anglicanism from George Washington to the present.  Katharine Jefferts Schori even suggested as much in her celebrated 2006 interview with the New York Times.

And there was never anything sectarian about Episcopal elitism over here.  Willie Sutton should go into Lesser Feasts and Fasts because people were Episcopalians for one reason.  That’s where the money was.

In the early history of this country, Episcopalians would, as they say, follow a dollar to hell.  Christ Church, here in St. Louis, the first Episcopal church west of the Mississippi, only got started when the fur trade money began rolling in and it was what amounted to the big money boys here then who started it.

And in some respects, that’s never stopped.  Take this outreach effort in which ordinary Episcopalians, some of them bishops, describe online how gosh-darned wonderful the Episcopal Organization is.

I hope you see the problem.  If you want to participate in this effort, you’ll need three things.  A computer, a webcam and a broadband Internet connection.  Lack any one of those and you might as well keep your opinion to yourself what with you not being able to upload it to us and all.

But how do you know if you’re good enough for the Episcopal Organization?  The following is not really a quiz; while there are some definitely wrong answers, there are no definite right ones.  But it should give you some idea of whether you have what it takes to join The Few, The Smugly Self-Righteous.

(1) You notice the coworker in the cubicle next to you praying a rosary.  You should:

(A) Say nothing at all because you don’t want to interrupt what is a very important moment for her. – Not recommended.  This demonstrates respect for the practices of other Christians and that is not the kind of habit that Episcopalians should ever allow themselves to get sucked into.

(B) Alert the fellow in the cube across from her and say, “Yo, check out bead girl.” – Once again, not recommended.  While contempt for religious practices one finds strange(rosaries, praying in tongues, using the term “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” without giggling, etc)  is a hallmark of any good Episcopalian, this scorn should only be displayed when the people involved are out of earshot.

(C) Wait until she finishes and then start going on about Anglican rosaries and Anglican mysticism. – Good move if your coworker doesn’t know her stuff, really bad move if she does.  If she has to sit there and listen to you go on about something that’s basically just a bunch of Episcopalians playing Catholic dress-up, then you’ve done what you needed to do, namely, refer everything back to the Anglican tradition. 

But if she cuts you off and says, “I’ll see you all that and raise you Teresa of Avila,” then you’re going to have to fold your hand.  Because you’re holding 10-2 off-suited and she just picked up the third ace on the flop.

(D) Whether she’s finished or not, look over and say, “So.  Ya prayin’ one of them rosary deals?” – This would probably be the most effective response in this situation.  You’ve interrupted her which communicates your contempt while simultaneously being able to hide behind your ignorance.  If she gets mad, you can always apologize profusely which just might just make her feel bad about the whole situation.

It’s a win/win.

(2) What kind of car do you drive?

(A) A late-model Ford Ranger pick-up truck. – Keep moving.  The Episcopal Organization is sure you can find a bunch of snake-handlers somewhere.

(B) An SUV.  You feel bad about it but you need it because the kids, Kwame, Pablo, Fuinseoig, Yuri, Michiko, Standing Bear and the twins Tatiana and Hsu-Chien, really need the space. – Oh for the love of God!!  While your respect for other cultures is admirable, how in the blessed name of Margaret Sanger did you end up with EIGHT KIDS?!!  What are you, hamsters?!!  Didn’t you read what the Presiding Bishop told the Times?

(C) A used Prius. – Appropriate assuming you can find one.  It shows both thrift and a concern for the environment.

(D) A Smart car. – Believe it or not, the Editor actually wouldn’t mind trading in his 2001 Ford Ranger for one of these.  The adrenaline rush alone would be worth the possibility of instantly meeting the Lord if that semi to the Editor’s left loses sight of him.

(3) You just won a radio contest and you have your choice of the following three prizes.  Which one should you pick?

(A) An all-expense-paid trip to an upcoming NASCAR race. – If you select this option, not only does the Episcopal Church not welcome you, it will throw things at you to get you to go away.

(B) An evening of Tibetan Buddhist chant. – A little too obvious.  Plus, you’ll have to spend the evening pretending that you’re interested and that you know what’s going on.

(C) A luxury box for a major-league baseball game. – Far and away, your best option.  You can identify with the poor without having to physically interact with any of them.  Plus, you’ll be in a closed and air-conditioned environment with way better food than the folks below you are eating and you don’t have to actually pay attention to whatever it is that’s going on down there.

(4) You’re visiting Ireland for the first time.  You walk into a pub called The Little Myrmidon.  The bartender, a handsome young fellow named Michael, greets you warmly and asks you what you’d like.  The first words out of your mouth should be:

(A) “Fait’ ‘n’ begorrra, me mahn, ’tis a foyn poob!!  Ah’ll hahve a Ganness!!”  – Fake accents are never a good conversation starter.  Trust me on this.

(B) A profuse apology for Oliver Cromwell or the Potato Famine. – An apology, particularly for something that happened two centuries before you were born is a good Episcopal instinct. 

But Anglish tourists come over all the time and our man Michael over there quite likes the lot of them.  He’s got family in Britain and America.  Hell, his Orange relations buy him drinks every July 12th so he’s a water-under-the-bridge kinda parson.

Seriously.  If the guy what runs this establishment ever meets the Editor and proceeds to spend half an hour profusely and grovelingly apologizing for the fact that the British burned the White House during the War of 1812, the Editor is going to become MORE than a little uncomfortable, know what the Editor is saying?

(C) Something in Gaelic whch you learned before you flew over since you’ll be damned if you’re going to restrict yourself to the language of the oppressor. – While identification with the culture is always admirable, our man Michael over there duzna know the Gaelic and has no idea what ya jus’ sahd.  Ya moyt as well a’ sahd somethin’ in Navajo.

(D) A favorite quote from Keats, James Joyce or some other Irish writer. – Because that’s all the Oyrish do, pretty much.  Sit around drankin’ whaskey ‘n’ discoosin’ Oyrish athors.

(E) A Guinness.” – Much more simple and direct than you’ll be used to as an Episcopalian but evasion and circumlocution can come later.  One step at a time.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

It would be wonderful if GenCon 2009 would temporarily leave off the useless crap with which it will waste much of its time and address this 40-year stretch of moral cowardice in the Diocese of Texas:

In 1993, Bob Haslanger received a letter from his high school alma mater, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. It seemed that Haslanger, who was living in Seattle, had been designated a “never-giver,” which, as the label suggests, is a category of alumni who have never donated to the school. Why was this, the school wanted to know.

“I wrote them back a letter and said, ‘Is this a bullshit letter or is this something that you’re actually interested in?'” Haslanger says, 16 years later. “Because if you’re actually interested in why I’m a never-giver, I will tell you.'”

So, Haslanger says, he flew to Austin and sat down with an administrator named Jim Woodruff. Haslanger proceeded to give what he felt was an understandable explanation for his unopened pocketbook: Between the years 1964-1968, when he attended St. Stephen’s, a faculty member came into his dorm room about once a month, after lights-out, and molested him. Haslanger told Woodruff that he told the school’s headmaster about that person, and the headmaster called him a liar. Now, according to Haslanger’s account, here’s where it got weird.

“I became too emotional to say anything when he asked me who had molested me,” Haslanger says from Seattle, where he still lives. “And he asked me — he asked me — ‘Was it Jim Tucker?’ I didn’t provide Jim Tucker’s name. He provided Jim Tucker’s name.”

It blew Haslanger away that Woodruff would immediately bring up the name of the school’s wildly popular chaplain, the Reverend James Lydell Tucker.

Haslanger says he asked Woodruff if he was the only one who had ever alleged such abuse. According to Haslanger, Woodruff said the school had no information on that matter.

“Well, how the hell did he know that Jim Tucker was the person I was talking about?” Haslanger says.

Still, Woodruff made a note of Haslanger’s story and stuck it in his file. Haslanger flew home, figuring he’d explained fairly well why he was a never-giver. He didn’t expect to hear from the school again.

But, of course, he did, about two years later. And this was the letter that sent him over the edge. This was the letter that would disturb him so much that he took a leave of absence from his six-figure job as chief operating officer of a manufacturing company, which wound up being a permanent leave. This was the letter that unraveled all the effort that had gone into kicking self-medication with drugs and drink, and wiped away all the help he had received in therapy: The school wanted Haslanger to contribute to a new scholarship in the Reverend Jim Tucker’s name. 

“I wrote them a letter, and I said, ‘That’s a big mistake. You guys are going to get bit in the ass for starting a scholarship in Jim Tucker’s name,'” Haslanger says.

This warning was summarily ignored. A single accusation of child molestation was not going to gum up the gears of the fund-raising machine.

But about ten years later, another accusation surfaced. And another. And then another, this one from the Episcopal church and school in Houston where Tucker worked after St. Stephen’s.

That’s when the Episcopal Diocese of Texas went back and looked at Woodruff’s notes from his 1993 talk with Haslanger. And that’s when diocesan officials figured they had a problem on their hands.

Read the rest of the whole lurid thing.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 56 Comments

If you’re planning on vacationing in SoCal this summer, the acts booked for Episcopalooza 2009 have been announced:

A wide-ranging lineup of clergy and laity has been scheduled to preach at the daily Eucharists celebrated during the General Convention, July 8-17, in Anaheim, Calif.

Some of these include:

July 9—Bishop Jon J. Bruno of Los Angeles, celebrant. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will conduct a Bible study during the Eucharist on the theme “God’s People.”

To be followed by a day-long seminar entitled “Okay, Does Anybody Have Any Idea What The Arcbishop Of Canterbury Actually Meant By That Bible Study Of His?  Seriously.  Presiding Bishop?  Bishop Bruno?  Frank, You’re As Good At Incoherence As Anybody We’ve Ever Had, You Must Know.  Somebody Somewhere Must Have A Clue.”

July 10—Bishop Steven A. Miller of Milwaukee, co-celebrant with a member of the Moravian clergy. House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will preach on the theme “Unity.”

Participants will receive an approved list of opinions that they must profess in order to display the correct form of Episcopal unity as well as a financial assessment which must be sent to the national church by the end of the year so that their committment to Episcopal unity can be properly measured.

July 11—Bishop Frank Brookhart of Montana, celebrant, joined by a member of the Methodist clergy. Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” will preach on the theme “Hospitality.”

Suarez is Hispanic, you know.  They’re an actual minority group.

July 16—Bishop Wilfrido Ramos of Ecuador Central, celebrant. Brian McLaren, author and activist, will preach on the theme “Evangelism.”

McLaren, of course, is popularly known as “The Good Evangelical.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 57 Comments

If Frederick Quinn has read him right, there’s a little Genpo in Rowan Williams:

It will come as a surprise to some that in 1990, a British academic theologian named Rowan Williams, now the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote comprehensively on the “Trinity and Pluralism” in a 1990 volume called “Christian Uniqueness Reconsidered,” edited by Gavin D’Costa, a Roman Catholic theologian of world religions.

A lively, expansive, intellectually inviting quality pervades the Williams essay, characteristic of his writings before he was elevated to his present post. His trinitarian vision is not frozen in time, but represents a steady unfolding of the fullness of Christ, always being discovered, and not locked into any conceptual pattern that reduces the full worth of other religions.
Final knowledge of the Trinity’s mystery “can never be seized as a single object to a single mind” and interfaith encounter should lead to concrete working together in ways “which does not involve the triumph of one theory or one institution or one culture.”

Christians can invite people of other faiths to find in the life story and witness of Jesus and his community a way of unifying the diverse range of human struggles for integrity, without denying the uniqueness of other historical religions, he wrote.

Williams added, “we do not, as Christians, set the goal of including the entire human race in a single religious institution, nor do we claim that we possess all authentic religious insight.” A constantly unfolding understanding of the Trinity is anchored in Christian tradition (the logos, or the word made flesh through Jesus) yet accepts constant change (through the spirit).

The living Trinity’s action is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but is grounded in “a hopeful and creative pluralism, its affirmation of the irreducible importance of history, of human difference and human converse.” Most striking of all, for those who have watched the unfolding of central Anglican pronouncements of the last several years, is the Welsh cleric’s conclusion.

If the object of dialogue is the discovery of how the Christian can intelligibly and constructively unite with the Buddhist or Muslim in the construction of the community of God’s children, rather than arriving at an agreed statement, a religious meta-theory, or (worst of all) a single institution with a single administrative hierarchy, there is no contradiction in a “Trinitarian pluralism.”

Williams writes glowingly of “the existence of a new people of the covenant (a people existing because of God’s promise to be their ally), a new unit in which the process of the shared creation of free persons, adult children of God, could go forward.” Williams specifically cites “the covenant sacrifice of the cross and resurrection,” not the leaden document now bumping its way about the shallows between the so-called “Instruments of Unity” of recent origin.

I have one objection to all that sterile intellectualizing and that objection can be summed up in two words.

The Cross.

Did Jesus die the agonizing death of crucifixion?  If He did, why did God permit it?  Used to be that we Christians thought that Christ died for the sins of the world and rose to life again to make a way home for all who believed and professed that. 

But if we Christians can, according to Dr. Williams, form “the community of God’s children” with people who either don’t believe that or don’t see the necessity of it, then the Cross becomes an option.  Or a really bitchin’ metaphor, if you like.

Except that people who deliberately let themselves be killed in the most painful way imaginable simply to make an Important Political StatementTM are idiots.  On the other hand, if you die on a Cross to atone for my sins and give me a way home to eternal life with my heavenly Father, you have given me the greatest of all conceivable gifts.

Something Rowan Williams’ sterile concept cannot give.  Ever.

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