Archive for October, 2009

DAY THREE

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 81 Comments

The left-wing line on Pope Benedict XVI’s Anglican initiative has begun to emerge.  It’s all about bigotry.  At feministing.com, someone called Jos writes:

The Vatican is trying to capitalize on fear of teh gays and teh womens within the Anglican Church. There are plenty of Catholics struggling against patriarchy within their own faith community, but now the Vatican is basically saying they’re the church for Christians who only want supposedly straight cis men in positions of power. And they’re saying bigotry trumps almost everything that’s divided the two churches since the Reformation. It’s a pretty disgusting recruitment strategy. 

The kid’s got me dead to rights.  Hell, I can’t even look at a woman without going into a panic attack.  That’s probably why I never get dates.  And brilliant “argument” there, Jos, whoever you are.  Toss in the B word and that ends the discussion.

You don’t have to educate yourself about the Anglican situation or the Christian religion for that matter.  Because you’ll be damned, if you’ll pardon the expression, if you’ll dignify anyone’s “bigotry.”

Susan Russell takes the same line.

The Vatican Welcome Mat: 

Yearning for a journey of faith safe from women clergy, the LGBT baptized, and those pesky inquiring minds questioning the Absolute Truth of Patriarchal Dogma? 

Then, THE VATICAN WELCOMES YOU! (Lock, stock and liturgical patrimony!) 

In a nutshell, the Vatican has announced a protocol to “make it easier for Anglicans uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions.”

So there you have it. If you want a church that looks like “that” … there is one. A perfectly good one. So I say, go for it. Take His Holiness Father Infallibility up on his kind off to “come on down” and go join his church.

Juvenile name-calling(and particularly lame juvenile name-calling; “I’m rubber and you’re glue” would be less embarrassing) like that, does not become you, Miss Russell. 

Integrity adds its two cents.  According to them, any Anglican who takes the Pope up on his offer is deliberately choosing to be on the wrong side of history.

The recent announcement that the Vatican would set up a special canonical structure to accept disaffected Anglicans, choosing to leave over the inclusion of women and the LGBT faithful, is viewed by Integrity as another sad indicator of the church hierarchy’s misguided commitment to staying on the wrong side of history.

“There is some clarity in all of this, however,” said Integrity President David Norgard. “Anglicans will now have a clear choice: a church that welcomes all or a church that excludes some.

“It is also ironic that this announcement comes just days after the Vatican unveiled plans for an exhibit honoring Galileo–who was condemned by the church 400 years ago,” said Norgard. “Let us hope for the sake of the gospel we share, that our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters don’t have to wait 400 years for their church to get on the right side of history on the full inclusion of women and the LGBT baptized in their work and witness.

“Integrity will continue to work for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments within the Episcopal Church and to offer the good news of congregations and dioceses whose welcome to all is growing the church.

“God is not finished with the Episcopal Church yet. But we are deeply grateful to be part of a church working toward full inclusion.”

Growing the church?  Growing the church?!!  How do you figure?  According to TEO’s 2008 numbers, two-thirds of TEO outlets have an ASA of less than 100.  What, are you requiring new Episcopalians to come to church disguised as empty pews?

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments

In the wake of the Vatican provision for conservative Anglicans, the goofballs have started to emerge.  This is how the Greek Broad Who Married A Rich American Homosexual Post reports it:

The Vatican announced Tuesday it was making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism – a surprise move designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women priests, openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The decision, reached in secret by a small cadre of Vatican officials, was sure to add to the problems of the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion as it seeks to deal with deep doctrinal divisions that threaten a permanent schism among its faithful.

Ah, secret Catholic cadres, God bless ‘em.  My money’s on Opus Dei what with that super-double-plus-ultra-secret seventeen-story American headquarters of theirs on Lexington Avenue in New York City.

But someone called Laura Harrison McBride takes the prize.  I haven’t seen cluelessness on this grand a scale since Frank Gris…well, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen cluelessness on this grand a scale.

I’m not sure it’s ethical to call the current Pope by the name Benny the Rat as a recent comment on a Greek Broad Who Married A Rich American Homosexual Post article about a new “program” to lure Anglicans to Rome did…but I’m not sure it isn’t, either.

No, let’s not go the name-calling route or anything.

What can one make, after all, of the Roman Catholic Church, the very church whose spiritual leader welcomed back a Holocaust denier,

You mean one of those “sinner” things, one of those lost doohickeys that Jesus came into the world to seek and to save?

when it opens floodgates to “welcome” every disaffected Anglican in the universe. Anglicans are, by nature, somewhat disaffected. That church, in the U.S. called the Episcopal Church, has been home to independent thinkers and theologians (not always one and the same) for a very long time. Thomas Jefferson, whose disdain of religion is legendary, was an Episcopalian, for instance.

Probably true since he’d grown up as an Anglican and there were few if any Unitarian churches in Virginia.  Tommy Jeff was famous for editing the Creator of the universe so if you think about it, I guess that makes him the first Episcopalian.

Other famous America Anglicans include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Van Morrison (yes, the singer),

Fuinseiog?  Fuinseiog?!  Put down that heavy object and put it down now!  That will solve nothing.  Anyway, it’s your own fault for neglecting to tell me that Ireland had become an American state.

playwright Tennessee Williams, George Washington, and Judy Garland. (Full disclosure: I am officially a member of the Anglican Communion, although a lapsed one with more ties to Druidry and ethical humanism than to any recognized denomination.)

So you’re basically just a typical Episcopalian then.  But let’s cut out a lot of the stupidity and get to here.

With this latest “mass conversion” program, it would seem that the Vatican is interested in only one thing: Power. If more indications are needed, consider this: The office that has set up the new fast-tracking for groups of Anglicans into the Roman fold is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Its older name is as follows: The Inquisition.

And in case you didn’t catch it the first time, what’s-her-face repeats it here.

Indeed. The only thing that is clear is that no one wants to accuse the Romans of poaching souls, nor does anyone want to note that the office that has established this “parallel universe” was formerly known as the Inquisition.

Seriously.  Can I get an Examiner column?  I have to figure I can do a lot better than this crap.

BOTTOM LINE

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 48 Comments

Father George Rutler gets down to business:

[The Vatican's Anglican provision] is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. Indeed, it is a final rejection of Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not a historic “church” but rather an “ecclesial community” that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.

The Vatican was careful to schedule simultaneously with the Vatican announcement, a press conference of the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the deeply humiliated Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury to enable the Anglicans to save some face by saying that this recognizes the spiritual patrimony of Anglicanism and that ecumenical dialogue goes ahead. That is like George Washington at Yorktown saying that he recognizes the cultural contributions of Britain and hopes diplomatic relations flourish. The Apostolic Constitution is not a retraction of ecumenical desires, but rather is the fulfillment of ecumenical aspirations, albeit not the way most Anglican leaders had envisioned it.

Thanks, Prof.

DAY TWO

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Reaction to yesterday’s momentous Vatican announcement about traditional Anglicans has begun to trickle in.  Kendall Harmon has some preliminary thoughts up, the first of which is this:

It represents a huge indictment of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many people question Rome’s motivations, but I believe Rome, which has been watching Anglican developments like a hawk in recent years, wanted Anglicanism globally to succeed. Their response to the Windsor Report, for example, was quite favorable. This move to me shows they do not believe the Anglican moment in history to help global Christianity can take place sufficiently under Rowan Williams.

It’s conceptually difficult for me to indict something that doesn’t exist.  The fact is that Rowan Williams has displayed no real leadership at all from the start of the current crisis until the present day.

Consider the irony.  Benedict XVI, confronted with a problem(or an opportunity, however you want to look at it), comes up with a bold, innovative and, one might even say, audacious plan for dealing with it.

Rowan Williams, confronted by a problem, constantly falls back on what the “instruments of unity” will or will not permit him to do.  Then whenever the current crisis abates for a while, he issues delphic responses that can be interpreted according to the political position of the reader.

What could Dr. Williams have done, Johnson?  Quite a bit.  He could have not invited the Americans to Lambeth(and that’s when I think the Pope finally made up his mind).  He could declare that ACNA recognition is inevitable and that therefore, he was going to be begin inviting Bob Duncan to primates meetings. 

He could have insisted that the Americans observe the terms of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué rather than completely cutting the ground out from under it after the New Orleans TEO bishops meeting.  At least once, he could have acted as if Katharine Jefferts Schori was not the actual Archbishop of Canterbury.

But he didn’t do any of that.  So if thousands of Anglicans in Great Britain and around the world take the Pope up on his offer, he only has himself to blame.

Moving on, in the Times of London, Timothy Bradshaw thinks the Vatican move will hamper “dialogue.”

The Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue in its current phase has seen the Anglicans making deep concessions to Rome. To the surprise of many Anglicans, an agreed statement, the Gift of Authority, urged the acceptance of the universal primacy and teaching authority of the Bishop of Rome. Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops worldwide have also been working together in a body seeking closer co-operation between the two.

On the face of it the sudden announcement by Rome seems to jolt, if not actually upset, that apple cart. Is the cause of gradual movement towards unity, with both sides making concessions, looking less realistic? If Rome does remove a significant body of conservative Anglicans, it will be left with a liberal Anglican communion with which to hold dialogue.

Pope Benedict’s sudden move is bound to have a negative impact on ecumenical dialogue between the two communions. It may attract some of the Catholic wing and perhaps some evangelicals, although they tend to prefer the option of Orthodoxy with its pattern of local bishops without the centralised control structure.

Anything that weakens the Church of England, at a time of real embattlement with radically secularist agendas now under way, must ultimately be a bad thing for the nation from a Christian perspective.

You learn something new every day.  I didn’t know that the Church of England had battled anything or anybody for a very long time.  But most of us are well-aware of the fact that to an Anglican liberal, “dialogue” is something we need to keep having until you change your bigoted mind.  Maybe Benedict decided that he wasn’t going to play that game anymore.

Ruth Gledhill sees an upside for the C of E.

Cardinals in Rome will flesh out the detail of the new Anglican ordinariates. The Pope will visit Britain next September, when he could choose to link the new structures to the Church of England’s most noted convert to Rome, Cardinal John Henry Newman, due to be beatified next year. Meanwhile, the Church of England will recapture the moral high ground in the eyes of the secular, English-speaking world by consecrating women bishops. It might even liberalise its position on homosexuality.

In other words, the establishment of the Episcopal International, a goal the Toronto Globe & Mail also supports.  But the G&M thinks that the goal of turning the Roman Catholic Church Episcopalian may actually have been considerably set back by the Vatican announcement.

The Vatican’s welcome of some Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is a Trojan horse. It appears to enhance Christian goodwill while inflaming the doctrinal battles between and within the two churches.

Conservative Anglicans will welcome this, but it is a one-sided attempt to reconcile faiths. The Anglican leadership in England, wracked by the defection of conservative churches[??? - Ed], had no choice but to accept. Catholics who look for flexibility from their own leadership for themselves, over doctrinal and moral questions – communion for divorcees, abortion, female ordination – get the party line.

Economist Albert O. Hirschman wrote that members of organizations in decline can choose either to leave or use their voices to call for change; their loyalty to the institution may affect the extent to which they do one or the other. Vocal conservative Anglicans have secured a viable exit while maintaining loyalty to their old traditions. In the face of an inflexible hierarchy, liberal Catholic voices have had little effect; the grudging loyalty of those who remain is in jeopardy. The Vatican announcement will make the Catholic Church more conservative and the Anglican church more liberal. Is that what ecumenism is meant to accomplish?

Finally, there is the reaction from Yesterday’s News written by Bishop Christopher Epting, TEO’s ecumenical and interfaith officer.  Reading between the lines here, Eppie does not seem to be a happy camper.

We have received the Vatican’s statement and the joint statement signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster. We are in dialogue with the Archbishop’s office and will, in the coming days, continue to explore the full implications of this in our ecumenical relations.

If it works, our “ecumenical relations” will go south.

The announcement reflects what the Roman Catholic Church, through its acceptance of Anglican rite parishes, has been doing for some years more informally.

Move along, nothing to see here.

We in the Episcopal Church continue to look to the Holy Spirit, who guides us in understanding of what it means to be the Church in the Anglican Tradition.

Since we’ve got the HS on retainer.

We continue to remain in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church through participation in the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Consultation (ARCIC) and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the USA (ARC-USA).

How long we’ll stay in dialogue with the papists remains to be seen.  If our membership hemorrhaging picks up speed, we are going to be really pissed.  Then Eppie closes more than a little defensively.

The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and works together with other Provinces and with our ecumenical and interfaith partners to promote God’s reign on earth. 

And there you have it.  It is way too early to try to figure out What It All Means.  So I guess we’re going to get lots of reactions over the coming weeks and months.

BOMBSHELL

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 125 Comments

Dr. Williams?  In the immortal, soul-stirring, never-to-be-forgotten words of former Olympic great Carl Lewis:

This is astonishing news. Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest.

Odd, isn’t it, how the hidebound, reactionary church was the one that took the revolutionary step?

The Pope is now offering Anglicans worldwide “corporate reunion” on terms that will delight Anglo-Catholics. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance.

Anybody else have a vision just now of Katharine Jefferts Schori jumping up and down, screaming, “He can’t do that!!  Nicaea!!  NICAEA!! NICAAAAAEEEEAAA!!” and then running away shrieking incoherently?  Maybe it was just me.

There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.

Why take this action?  This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is known as spiritual leadership.  And like many of us on the Anglican end of things, I guess Benedict XVI finally got tired of waiting for Rowan Williams to actually display some.

The truth is that Rome has given up on the Anglican Communion. With one announcement, the Pope has given conservative Anglicans a protected route to union with Rome – and promised that, even once they are members of the Catholic Church, they will be offered a permanent structure that allows them to retain an Anglican ethos.

Pit Benedict’s courage against Dr. Williams’ timidity and guess who wins?

Thousands of Anglicans who reject women bishops and priests and liberal teaching on homosexuality are certain to avail themselves of this provision. Within a few years, there will probably be “Anglican ethos” Catholic parishes in England and Wales (and one wonders how many conservative cradle Catholics will gratefully start attending Mass there).

This is a decision of supreme boldness and generosity by Pope Benedict XVI, comparable to his liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass. The implications of this announcement will take a long time to sink in, but I suspect that this will be a day of rejoicing for conservative Anglo-Catholics and their Roman Catholic friends all over the world.

Although he tried to spin this announcement as best he could, my gracious lord of Canterbury, reports Damian Thompson, is not at all happy.

The Vatican has announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has approved an ‘Apostolic Constitution’ (a formal papal decree) which will make some provision for groups of Anglicans (whether strictly members of continuing Anglican bodies or currently members of the Communion) who wish to be received into communion with the See of Rome in such a way that they can retain aspects of Anglican liturgical and spiritual tradition. 

I am sorry that there has been no opportunity to alert you earlier to this;  I was informed of the planned announcement at a very late stage, and we await the text of the Apostolic Constitution itself and its code of practice in the coming weeks. But I thought I should let you know the main points of the response I am making in our local English context– in full consultation with Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales – in the hope of avoiding any confusion or misrepresentation.

Yeah, well, fish or cut bait as we say on this side of the Atlantic.  There are souls on the line and Benedict, who was interested in the Anglican situation long before he became Pope, is concerned about them.  If Rowan Williams won’t display any actual spiritual leadership, then let him get out of the way in favor of someone who will.

What does all this mean?  It’s too early.  Jim Naughton thinks that it’s probably not that big of a deal which suggests that it probably is.  But that remains to be seen.

This impacts Anglican conservatives as well.  ACNA, GAFCON, AMiA and all the rest of them have just been put on notice; give us a reason to stick around.  Because if we can get everything we want from Rome, then what do we need you for?

What does all this mean for you personally, Johnson?  No idea.  At the moment, I’m still quite the Reformed Protestant and I expect to die one.  But I have to admit that spiritual boldness like Benedict’s is awfully impressive.  So I guess I’ve got a lot of hard thinking and harder praying ahead of me.

NICE JOB, DALE

Monday, October 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oh and tell H that she did all right too, okay?  Thanks, bro.

REUNION TOUR?

Monday, October 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments

According to Damian Thompson, there are going to be a couple of press conferences tomorrow regarding Anglicans and Roman Catholics.  From the Vatican:

We inform accredited journalists that tomorrow, Tuesday 20 October 2009, at 11am, in the John Paul II Hall of the Press Office of the Holy See, a briefing will be held on a theme pertaining to the relationship with the Anglicans, at which His Eminence Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and His Excellency Mgr Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will take part.

And from Lambeth Palace:

You are invited to a press conference with Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster) and Archbishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) on Tuesday 20 October at 1000. The press conference will take place at 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.

What, if anything, does all this mean?  No idea.  Like the President said during the campaign, that’s above my pay grade.  The second presser could mean that the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury will both announce their support for some kind of climate change agreement.  Or it could mean something else.

Stay tuned.

BACK OFF!!

Monday, October 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Attention Mr. Anders Berry of Great Falls, Montana: you, sir, are way out of line!!

One cannot “live into” anything. This is just a faddish, nutty Episcopal phrase that will soon sink beneath the waves, like the 20/20 program, and so many others. As a “journalist,” you should not be using the phrase, because it is meaningless.

Leave my Episcopal buzzwords alone.  What did they ever do to you?  Next thing you know, you’ll probably insist that TEO stop using words like “conversation” and “reconciliation” fifteen times in a four-paragraph article or you’ll point out what an unmitigated crock the phrase “listening process” is.

Sakes.

LADEEEEEEEEEEZ ANNNNN GENELMENNNNNNNNN!!

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Give it up for the greatest cartoon ever made:

SANDBOX

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Mrs. Schori’s getting creative again:

Today, a very godly and humble Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Keith Keith L. Ackerman, received communications from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, accepting his “renunciation of ordained ministry.” There is only one problem: Bishop Ackerman never had any intention of renouncing his ministry.

I know from speaking with Bishop Ackerman that he sent the Presiding Bishop a handwritten letter merely asking to have his credentials transferred to the Diocese of Bolivia. He said that he had no intention of renouncing his orders and that, while he intends to assist Bishop Lyons in work in Bolivia, he also wished to remain available to assist bishops in the United States, as requested.

The Presiding Bishop says that “…there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another province.” But that is not true.

And, of course, the Episcopal Church has transferred clergy to other provinces of the Anglican Communion throughout its history. If one reviews the clergy list in The Episcopal Church Annual in most years one will find a section listing “Clergy Transferred to Other Churches” with the country or province to which the clergy have transferred given in parentheses. For instance, if you look in the 2003 Annual you find the name of the late Peter Toon followed by (England), because the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon, who continued to live and minister in the United States until his death earlier this year, transferred his canonical residence back to England in 2002.

Further, it is not even necessary for the Presiding Bishop to be involved in transferring a bishop to another province or diocese elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.

CANON III.10.2(a)(2) provides only that Letters Dimissory be issued by “the hand and seal of the Bishop with whose Diocese the person has been last connected.”

JOURNALISM 2009

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

If you are a conservative and a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist libels you and defames your character in the worst way possible, this is the only sort of “apology” you should expect to receive:

A quote in Bryan Burwell’s column Oct. 7 attributed to Rush Limbaugh about the merits of slavery in the United States cannot be verified, and its use did not meet the Post-Dispatch’s standards for sourcing.

Limbaugh said he did not make the statement.

Burwell’s column did not identify the source of the quote, which was Jack Huberman’s 2006 book “101 People Who Are Really Screwing America.” The book provided no details about the origin of the quote. When contacted by the Post-Dispatch, Huberman said that he had a source for the quote but declined to reveal it on advice of counsel. The book’s publisher, Nation Books, did not return calls to the Post-Dispatch.

The Post-Dispatch found references attributing the quote to Limbaugh in other publications and on Internet blogs as far back as 1993, but none of these cited a source.

UPDATE: Jay Random points out how the Past-Disgust screwed up its own “apology.”

These ‘Internet blogs’ that go ‘as far back as 1993’ . . . would these be on the same planet with Dan Rather’s famous National Guard documents from 1973, prepared in Microsoft Word with default formatting?

Just asking, ’cos the term ‘web log’, let alone ‘blog’, was not even coined until 1997.

‘Fake but Accurate’ strikes again!

UPDATE: On the other hand, Robin Munn suggests that a lazy copy editor might be what’s in play here.

To be scrupulously fair, the Post-Dispatch did not claim that it found “Internet blogs” as far back as 1993. It claimed that it had found “references … in other publications and on Internet blogs” as far back as 1993. It’s impossible to verify that claim since they don’t name the publications, but I would assume that they mean they found some “publication” (i.e., a tabloid) that printed the quote in 1993, and much more recent blogs that picked up the quote.

Fair enough.  But I initially read it the same way Jay did.  And it does not take away from my contention that a Past-Disgust columnist was allowed to libel a man and defame his character without any penalty of any kind.

MELTDOWN

Friday, October 16th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 64 Comments

One of the most important editorial policies of this journal runs as follows: unless it’s absolutely necessary(i. e. if I can get some material out of it), never give publicity to publicity whores.  But I guess it’s newsworthy when doddering old megalomaniacal gasbag John Shelby Spong comes completely unglued:

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone.

I haven’t seriously debated it yet but I don’t have to what with me being a prophet.

I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility.

Idiots.  Thinking that words mean what they say instead of what I think they should have said since I’m a prophet and stuff. 

I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy.

Well, that’s fair.  John’s arguments, consisting of “This is what I think so it’s obviously right,” were no longer worthy of any serious theologian’s time or energy decades ago.

I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.

John?  I’ll believe that you mean that when you fly out to Wyoming and tell the killers of Matt Shepard that while you deplore what they did, you still love them.  Not before.

I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.” The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me.

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for a gutless atheist.

I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves.

John!  John!  Stay with me, buddy!

I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a “new church,” claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.

John!  Matt Fox thinks you need to dial it down.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude.

Two things, John.  You haven’t EVER respected “the Papal office.”  And since you think that “embarrassing ineptitude” means that someone actually disagrees with you, why should Benedict XVI or anyone else care what you think about anything at all, assmaster?

I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world’s population.

Care to prove any of that, John?  Thought not.  Doesn’t fit the narrative.  For the love of God, just stop talking, John.

I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan. My country and my church have both already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.

Oh for the love of…John?  You do know that Jerry Falwell is dead, don’t you, dumbass?  And that Jimmy Swaggart hasn’t been a significant evangelical voice in a couple of decades, give or take?

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it.

Well, that’s a relief what with the fact that nobody who’s intellectually serious caring about what you think about anything at all for a very long time, you pompous jackass.  Like I said before, serious theologians refused to dignify your “arguments” decades ago. 

You’re a sick joke, John.  Benny Hinn is more theologically serious than you are, old-timer.

LAODICEANS

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

The following selection of Anglican navel-gazing is why Anglican conservatives are losing and deserve to lose:

The formation of [Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans United Kingdom] will encourage an unhelpful standoff with more liberal groupings and work to increase rather than resolve polarisation on the issue of homosexuality

Now I want to be clearly understood here. I take a conservative or orthodox stance on practicing homosexuality – a compassionate and pastoral one, I hope, but nonetheless a conservative stance. But the truth that we also need to recognise that many Christians, including many evangelicals, are increasingly perplexed about this stance and won’t be persuaded by anything other than a careful, nuanced and loving engagement with the issue, its complexities and the human beings that it involves. This, I believe, is one of the clearest things that Greenbelt indicates. The Rev George Day, whom some of you may remember speaking from the floor at NEAC 2008, is another example of an evangelical thoughtfully and prayerfully questioning that traditional stance and we simply must listen to these voices. And by establishing opposition to homosexuality (despite its strange alliance with Forward in Faith) as the defining issue of orthodoxy, FCA is provoking a polarisation that is in danger of doing more to strengthen the revisionist view within the Church of England. As a result of the formation of FCA, groupings on the liberal side of this debate that previously held more varied views from one another are now moving to greater coalition and that careful and nuanced dialogue and engagement that is so crucial to this issue ever being resolved is in danger of disappearing altogether.

Now that perspective that I’ve just given could be seen as too focused upon the Church of England. Some would argue that we owe it our brothers and sisters in Africa and those being persecuted in America and Canada to show that we stand with them in their stance on homosexual relationships. But, as many suggested at NEAC 2008, that can still be done by bodies like the CEEC expressing our firm support for them. Forming FCAUK is of course another way of expressing that support. But in terms of this country, I don’t believe that the formation of this coalition will do anything other than work to make those who are unsure about the traditional stance on homosexuality less likely to engage with it.

In other words, please stop fighting.  Why don’t we just yammer some more?  Wouldn’t that be so much nicer for all of us?  Please don’t make me take an actual stand that might upset someone.  By the way, what does “grow a pair” mean?

Dear Lord.  Just reading Anglican spinelessness like this is starting to get really painful.

TOWER OF BABEL

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Regular MCJ readers know that in that fictional nonsense the Editor posts here from time to time, he has regularly employed such scientific concepts and/or literary devices as multiple universes and evil Anglicans from the future.  Hence the considerable Editorial interest in the difficulties of the Large Hadron Collider:

More than a year after an explosion of sparks, soot and frigid helium shut it down, the world’s biggest and most expensive physics experiment, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is poised to start up again. In December, if all goes well, protons will start smashing together in an underground racetrack outside Geneva in a search for forces and particles that reigned during the first trillionth of a second of the Big Bang.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  REALLY interesting.  According to one theory, the reason this thing hasn’t worked so far is that it has been sabotaged.  By the future.

Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

What exactly is a Higgs boson?  If I understand the theory correctly, it is the reason why your fingers type the keys on your keyboard rather than pass through them.

According to the so-called Standard Model that rules almost all physics, the Higgs is responsible for imbuing other elementary particles with mass.

The reason this attempt has failed so far could be the future, say scientists.  Or it could be Something Else.

“It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck,” Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, “Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God.” It is their guess, he went on, “that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”

A previous US effort to observe the Higgs boson also completely failed.

This malign influence from the future, they argue, could explain why the United States Superconducting Supercollider, also designed to find the Higgs, was canceled in 1993 after billions of dollars had already been spent, an event so unlikely that Dr. Nielsen calls it an “anti-miracle.”

Dr. Nielsen admits that he and Dr. Ninomiya’s new theory smacks of time travel, a longtime interest, which has become a respectable research subject in recent years. While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus. In the case of the Higgs and the collider, it is as if something is going back in time to keep the universe from being hit by a bus. Although just why the Higgs would be a catastrophe is not clear. If we knew, presumably, we wouldn’t be trying to make one.

Since he is not a theologian, the Editor has no grand theological point to make so he’ll leave you with the following.  In The Nature of True Virtue, Jonathan Edwards, one of the most formidable intellects North America has ever produced, observed:

Because God is not only infinitely greater and more excellent than all other being, but he is the head of the universal system of existence; the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty; from whom all is perfectly derived, and on whom all is most absolutely and perfectly dependent; of whom, and through whom, and to whom is all being and all perfection; and whose being and beauty are, as it were, the sum and comprehension of all existence and excellence: much more than the sun is the fountain and summary comprehension of all the light and brightness of the day.

And then there’s Genesis 11:1-9:

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.  Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.  And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.  And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.  Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.  Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Make of those whatever you like.

PYRRHIC VICTORY

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

That the liberals are going to win the western Anglican wars is probably inevitable.  Their prize is something else entirely.

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