Archive for April, 2010


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, April 30th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Are you Anglican?  Are you jonesing for a little dialogue or conversation right about now?  Can you not remember the last time you and your friends got together to flap your gums, kick things around, shoot the breeze, debate the issues, confabulate or spill the beans?

Has it been forEVer since you’ve been involved in a discussion, a debate, a colloquy, a palaver, a round robin, a powwow, an interlocution, some groupthink, a symposium or a little chitchat?  Not to worry.  The Anglican Communion has your back:

The Continuing Real African Word project sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury and endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council has launched its new presence on the World Wide Web at

The arrival of Continuing Real African Word on the Internet as part of the Anglican Communion web site makes visible the preparatory work already in hand for the series of pilot conversations between dioceses from different parts of the Communion to take place during 2010 and 2011.

Visitors to the new site will find an outline of the project,, which explains its origins as located within an African conversational method for resolving real or potential conflict through mutual listening and debate. The process emerges from the Real African Word-style format used at the 2008 Lambeth Conference which is now being expanded to enhance the world-wide Anglican Communion in its quest to intensify relationships in the cause of shared mission.

In a related story, this was e-mailed to me today:


Lambeth Palace announced that the Anglican Communion has decided to scrap its traditional compass rose emblem in favor of a design submitted by MidConJo Enterprises of Webster Groves, Missouri(pictured here).

“The compass rose has served us well,” said a Lambeth spokesperson.  “But we felt that MidConJo’s idea better expresses both our great reverence for tradition as well as where we currently are as a church.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, April 30th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Several of you have encountered a bug in the comments here.  You post a brilliantly incisive observation about something only to have it not show up at all. 

When you try to repost it, you get a message back saying something to the effect of hey, you posted that already.  And you continue to get that even if you change the wording here and there.

I haven’t figured out what the problem is yet but I think I’ve figured out a way around it.  If that ever happens to you and you can reconstruct your comment, e-mail it to me. 

Put something like “Problem comment” or words to that effect in the subject line and be sure to tell me which post you want your comment placed on.  It’s better to use the post title rather than the URL.

Basically, what I can do is log in to the site and post it that way.  Tried it last night and it seems to work.  It’ll get credited to The Editor but I’ll put your name or handle right there at the beginning.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, April 30th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 46 Comments

It’s good to know that if the Anglicans ever hit a dry spell, I’ll always have Australian Roman Catholic liberals to fall back on.  Commenting on the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals, retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, former auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, may just have said the single dumbest thing anybody has ever said about anything at all:

There was also a view among some offenders with whom [Robinson] had worked that a priest’s celibacy vows weren’t broken if a boy was involved.

“We’ve met it often enough to see it as a factor,” he tells the magazine, out today. “That’s what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it’s not an adult woman, then somehow they’re not breaking their vow.”

Geoff?  Not to put too fine a point on it, my man, but were you born that stupid?  If you’re 40, 50, somewhere in there, and you’re banging your hot 23-year-old secretary on a regular basis, you’re not actually breaking your vow since neither of you are married?  Really, Geoff?

Does the term “rationalization” mean anything to you?  That’s when you invent justifications for what you know you shouldn’t be doing.  And Geoff Robinson thinks that rationalization is just nifty.  Fact is, he’d like to institutionalize it.

He believes the issue will not be properly dealt with until the church holds a council, or a conference of all the bishops in the church, to revise the centuries-old doctrine on celibacy, women and sexuality.

A church council.  To decide that gittin’ sahm!! is no longer a sin.  What could possibly go wrong with that idea?


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, April 29th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

John Chane?!!  Reaction?!!

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is “dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women,” according to its website.

UPDATE: This just in.

Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran’s police chief, said a national crackdown on opposition sympathisers would be extended to women who have been deemed to be violating the spirit of Islamic laws. He said: “The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehaviour by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins.

They have to what with women causing earthquakes and such.

The announcement came shortly after Ayatollah Kazim Sadighi, a leading cleric, warned that women who dressed immodestly disturbed young men and the consequent agitation caused earthquakes.

So don’t forget the sunscreen for Mrs. Chane next time you head over to suck up to the mullahs, John.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 45 Comments

What’s wrong with this?

In God’s eyes, there is no documented or undocumented, there is no legal or illegal, there are only his children. For evidence, look to the Torah, which mentions the importance of welcoming the foreigner in our midst more than 15 times.

Our inability to welcome the foreigner is creating division among us as brothers and sisters – among God’s children. As a result, people are hopeless, and there is injustice in our land – injustice that in our fear and ignorance we allow to happen.

I believe that God calls us to love all in the face of the fear and the injustice. We are people of faith, and we are called to sing the Lord’s song, and it is a song of hope. I am mindful of this call as our government engages in the debate on the future of immigration reform, which will affect an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it.  Take out the references to illegal immigrants and rewrite this thing to condemn abortion or homosexual marriage and you will be accused of inserting the Christian religion where it has no business.  Imposing your morality, establishing a religion, call it what you will.  And Uncle Sam don’t roll like that. 

We are told over and over that the United States is not a Christian nation and never was.  Fine.  That being the case, either keep your reading of Christian principles out of public policy debates or keep your mouth shut when other people cite their reading of Christian principles in support of initiatives you oppose.

And yes, I do realize the complete and utter pointlessness of that request.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

I think you can make a solid case that the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals are the greatest tragedy ever to afflict that church.  But Chris!  What about that Reformation thing that was in all the pamphlets back in the day?!

What about it?  I’d call that one more a missed opportunity than a tragedy.  Had Rome taken Luther seriously and seriously debated him instead of just peremptorily ordering him to stand down, the whole Reformation might never have happened.

This one’s different.  There are no dissident German monks nailing up theses this time; this wound was entirely self-inflicted.  From what I understand, the Catholic Church in Ireland has done to itself what generations of English Protestants never could.

It’s been the same in other traditionally-Catholic parts of Europe where large numbers of people have left the Church.  I guess every Roman Catholic who loves the Church has to regard news of this person leaving Roman Catholicism, that person leaving the Christian faith entirely or that other victim of some predator priest blowing his brains out as yet another dagger to the heart.

A dagger stuck there by a Catholic bishop.

There have been, of course, no shortage of suggestions as to What Rome Ought To Do About It.  The secular ones don’t interest me.  The world hates the Christian church, whatever its manifestations, and always will.  The religious suggestions do, particularly those coming from liberal Catholics.

Because to be perfectly blunt about it, this scandal has been a Vague, Ambiguous Deity Concept-send for LibCats like Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power of the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn in Australia:

The current crisis facing the Catholic Church arising out of sexual abuse is arguably the most serious challenge the Church has faced since the Reformation in the 16th century.

Agreed.  How should the Catholic Church respond?  Easy.  By becoming Episcopalian.

In 1996, I gave a talk in which I expressed my hopes for the Catholic Church. They were that it would be:

  • a more human Church
  • a humbler Church
  • a less clerical Church
  • a more inclusive Church (and therefore more truly catholic)
  • a more open Church
  • a Church which finds unity in diversity
  • a Church which discovers its whole tradition
  • a Church which truly reflects the person and values of Jesus.

After all, the Last Truly Great Pope would have wanted it that way.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) called by Pope John XXIII provided so many opportunities for reform by empowering the laity as part of the People of God, engaging with the modern world, other Churches and non-Christian religions, promoting religious freedom, encouraging greater participation in the liturgy, enabling all to have a deeper relationship with God. Unfortunately, these days we are more likely to be warned of the “excesses following Vatican II” or told of the need for “reform of the reform” in regard to the liturgy or the “re-interpretation of Vatican II”.

And as everyone knows, none of these atrocities happened during that all-too-brief golden age when nary a Latin word was to be heard in the Catholic liturgy and Gregorian chant had been thrown on the ash heap of Church history in favor of the works of Häagen-Dazs or whatever that guy’s name is.

The reform needed by the Church today will involve much more than just “tinkering around the edges”. Issues such as the authoritarian nature of the Church, compulsory celibacy for the clergy, the participation of women in the Church, the teaching on sexuality in all aspects cannot be brushed aside. Listening must be a key component of reform and at times that will involve listening to unpalatable truths. It needs to be recognised that all wisdom does not reside exclusively in the present all-male leadership of the Church and that the voices of the faithful must be heard.

Leaving aside questions of theology, patristics and history, two questions jump out at this non-Catholic.  The first is this: exactly how would reassessment, presumably in a much less stringent direction, of “compulsory celibacy” as well as “the teaching of sexuality in all aspects” reduce the number of priests who sexually molest children?

Seems to me that going Episcopal Organization confirmation class on the whole sex question is exactly the wrong message to send.  An indifferently permissive sexual ethic is not conducive to communicating that some sex acts not only should not be engaged in, they should not even be considered.

After all, eliminating ID checks for $2.50-a-bottle Jack Daniels doesn’t seem like a good way to attack the problem of underage drinking.

But here’s the kicker: Power’s ideal Catholic Church(“less clerical…more inclusive…unity in diversity,” a church with a non-existent sexual ethic, a church in which women are fully represented at all levels and a church which the laity help run) already exists.

It’s called the Episcopal Organization or the Anglican Organization of Canada, depending on where you live.

Is Power suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church needs to emulate western Anglicanism, a pseudo-Christian sect that has been dying for the last 30 years?  If he is, that’s fine.  There’s just one problem.

Exactly the same crime against the young has taken place in Episcopal and Canadian Anglican churches.

Australian ones too, for that matter.

Yeah, well, the Anglicans have handled it better!!  Probably.  But if you listen to the liberal utopians, the problem wouldn’t happen at all if everybody would only emulate the Episcopalians.  So does Pat Power honestly care about this problem?  Or is he simply using it to advance his own agenda?


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Tom Wright heads for the exit:

The Bishop of Durham, Dr N. T. Wright, has announced that he will be retiring from the See of Durham on August 31.

Dr Wright, who will be 62 this autumn, is returning to the academic world, in which he spent the first twenty years of his career, and will take up a new appointment as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Announcing his move, Bishop Tom said, ‘This has been the hardest decision of my life. It has been an indescribable privilege to be Bishop of the ancient Diocese of Durham, to work with a superb team of colleagues, to take part in the work of God’s kingdom here in the north-east, and to represent the region and its churches in the House of Lords and in General Synod. I have loved the people, the place, the heritage and the work. But my continuing vocation to be a writer, teacher and broadcaster, for the benefit (I hope) of the wider world and church, has been increasingly difficult to combine with the complex demands and duties of a diocesan bishop. I am very sad about this, but the choice has become increasingly clear.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 45 Comments

Speaking of flailing, this was sent to me some time back.  Seems new Georgia Episcopal Bishop Scott Benhase felt the need to e-mail his clergy and explain his vote to approve Mary Glasspool.  For a start, says Benhase, don’t act so surprised.  You people knew exactly who you were getting:

Prior to my election as the 10th Bishop of Georgia, my theology and practice on the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the Church was well-known. I do not understand homosexuality to be barrier to any of the four orders of ministry in the Church. I have been quite clear in that theology and practice. So, my consent to Canon Glasspool’s election was consistent with what you had already known about me.

And since I no longer consider homosexual activity to be a sin, consenting to Glasspool was a no-brainer.

I would not have given my consent if I knew of any theology or practice of Canon Glasspool that was contrary to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Episcopal Church. Canon Glasspool has been a faithful priest of the Church for decades leading parishes to a renewed sense of their baptismal identity and purpose. More recently, she has served quite effectively as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Maryland. From my perspective, we need more bishops like Canon Glasspool who have had extensive experience in the leadership of parishes so they are better able to be strategic partners with congregational leaders for the growth and mission of our parishes.

Moratorium schmoratorium!!  They didn’t observe it so we don’t have to!!

I am aware of some concern about the so-called moratorium. The House of Bishops did agree to a moratorium a number of years ago. That moratorium, however, was not one-sided. It was accepted in the context that certain of our Anglican brothers would refrain from crossing diocesan boundaries. While the House of Bishops exercised the restraint of the moratorium for seven years, others did not practice such restraint even for a year. So, in my judgment, the moratorium was no longing a compelling consideration.  We’re rubber, Henry Orombi is glue and whatever he says bounces off us and sticks to him.

I may have added that last sentence.  But there’s a mature, adult response for you.  They started it!!  None of that sacrificial, if a man forces you to go one mile, go with him two, seventy times seven garbage for Scott Benhase.

I, of course, recognize that some in the Diocese of Georgia disagree with my consent. I welcome that. Disagreement in the Church is hardly new. In some ways, Anglicanism was forged out of an unresolved disagreement in the Elizabethean Settlement. After Queen Elizabeth, Protestants and Catholics within Anglicanism did not somehow see their differences go away, but they were committed to living with one another and serving Jesus together in the church.  They were willing to live with what they perceived as significant differences. In many ways, the challenge we face today is not new.

History.  Don’t try it at home.  Insofar as genuine British Catholics weren’t fooled and remained Catholics while genuine British Protestants also weren’t fooled and eventually became Congregationalists, Baptists and whatnot, the only “significant differences” Anglicans were willling to live with were a high-church, smells-and-bells CHRISTIAN liturgy versus a low-church, evangelical CHRISTIAN liturgy.

Today, however, the “significant differences” Anglicans have to live with boil down to the fact that one group thinks that the Bible is the Word of the Living God while the other group thinks that the Bible contains suggestions from that district manager that you play golf with sometimes along with a lot of irrelevant crap.  So I think we’re plowing a whole lot of new ground here, Scott.

I believe that this current dilemma we face needs to be seen and understood in the larger context and truthfulness of Church history and tradition. The catholic faith has always lived with differences while holding fast to the Nicene faith. For example, the post-Constantinian Church has lived with difference in how we interpret the Sixth Commandment. Some have insisted that all killing is wrong all the time. This is the so-called pacifist position. Others have insisted that there are times when violating the Sixth Commandment is the lesser of two evils. From this came the Just War constructs of St Augustine that provided ethical boundaries for the violation of the Sixth Commandment. We have had both positions held faithfully in this Church (with many nuances in between) and neither has insisted that the other is not welcome or that the other is not orthodox.

I believe the term you’re looking for here, Bishop, is “apples and oranges.”  As you quite correctly say, the Church has always consisted of people who thought that war was horrible, full stop, and people who thought that war was horrible but sometimes necessary given the sinfulness of man. 

Augustine’s precepts were simply an attempt to find a way between two groups of people who basically agreed with each other.  But there has never been a faction of the Church that believed that war was the most splendid of all possible human endeavors.

Today, however, we have one faction of the Anglican world that believes that as far as homosexual activity is concerned, the Bible means what it says and another, centered in the United States, that believes that we need no longer concern ourselves with what the Bible clearly says since homosexuals are really nice people and Lord knows nobody else is writing us pledge checks these days.

More recently in my lifetime, we have had disagreement about violating Jesus’ teaching on divorce. Jesus is clear: If one marries after divorce one commits adultery. That seems to be the plain sense of Scripture. Yet, many have recognized that while divorce is never a “good,” sometimes it is the lesser of two evils for all parties. Others, however, still insist that Jesus’ words must be interpreted plainly. There are still others in our Church that hold even more nuanced understandings about this that fit somewhere in between the two extremes. Yet, in all these, we remain together in the same Church and receiving God’s gracious sacrament from the same altar.

For those of you who don’t speak the language, the term “nuanced understandings” is Anglican for “loopholes.”  But here’s a suggestion. 

If you want people to believe that you really consider divorce to be a bad thing, than it probably wasn’t a good idea to give a pointy hat and hooked stick to current Northern California Bishop Barry “Third Time’s the Charm” Beisner, a man who’s been divorced twice and married three times.  Just sayin’.

I understand our current dilemma in a similar historical context. Faithful people will disagree about this. I do not understand such disagreement as a problem to be solved, but a dilemma God is asking us to live with for the time being. There are faithful people in the Diocese of Georgia who are anxious for a definitive resolution. I do not believe that is possible right now and may not be in my lifetime on this earth. If that is true, how are we to live together with this dilemma? I think the answer to that question is this: We will live together just like the saints who have gone before us who heeded Blessed Paul’s admonitions. We will love and honor one another. We will bear one another’s burdens. We will not have a higher opinion of ourselves than we ought. We will not look only to our own concerns, but the concerns of others. We will forgive one another as we have been forgiven.

Translation: we’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll continue to not care what conservatives think about anything and we’ll continue to let those Neanderthals express their stupid and bigoted opinions.  As long as their assessments are paid up and as long as their checks clear.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, April 26th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Megalomaniacal whack job lectures an entirely different religion from his own.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, April 26th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

A while back, General James Jones, Obama Administration National Security Adviser, spoke to the Washington Institute For Near East Policy and decided to start off his speech with a little humor:

I’d like to begin with a story that I think is true, a Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”

There’s video at the link of Jones delivering this “joke.”

Normally, I would be pretty forgiving about a joke like this.  Lord knows, I’ve had enough clumsily-phrased attempts at humor of my own to condemn anyone else for theirs.

But not this time.  When you work for a president whose supporters think his opponents are bigots and who is more hostile to the State of Israel than any American president has ever been, then you’ve got no room to make “jokes” like this.

And when your “joke” uses one of the most offensive stereotypes about Jews this side of the blood libel and when you preface your remarks by saying, “I’d like to begin with a story that I think is true,” then you get cut no slack at all.

This isn’t my call to make but I’m going to make it anyway.  It may not matter to Barack Obama that his National Security Adviser is an anti-Semite but it matters to me.  So I fervently pray that Israel ignores this humiliating train wreck of a presidency.

UPDATE:  To Tom Maguire, Jones’ lame joke was the least objectionable part of his speech.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, April 25th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

San Francisco California Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus rolls out TEO’s latest bong hit “theological” justification for homosexual marriage:

If there is a key Bible vision that supports Gay Marriage & Same Sex Blessing, please give a Biblical example and explain something of your vision on interpretation? Who else shares this sensibility and understanding we might know or recognize.

The story of the anointing of David by Samuel in which it editorially says that God does not judge as human’s judge, human’s judge by outward appearances, but God sees the human heart. When The Episcopal Church is looking at a human couple who seeks the blessing of the church on their relationship, we humbly attempt to see as God sees, which reveals certain characteristics – love, fidelity, forgiveness, mutuality, humility — all of which The Episcopal Church considers more important than external considerations.

What are you looking at me for?  I have no idea how he got from A to B.  Andrus might as well have said, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and homosexuals are on the earth so homosexual sex is perfectly okay with God.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, April 23rd, 2010 | Uncategorized | 65 Comments

The statement released at the conclusion of the recent Global South Anglican meeting in Singapore contains points of considerable interest regarding the current situation.  The conference heard from two Anglicans from a place where proclaiming Christ involves running actual risks:

As a sign of our fellowship and an encouragement to our purpose, at the beginning of our assembly God sent into our midst two Nepalese Anglicans, members of the new Anglican Church in this principally Hindu and Buddhist nation. They shared with us about new Anglican initiatives that are bringing the gospel to their people and the way in which the Word of God has brought life and hope and peace, along with suffering. We rejoice with them in their newfound faith and their determination to be obedient to the Word of God in a setting where such obedience is very costly.

As opposed to the rich and comfortable North Americans who can’t plow under the Gospel of Jesus Christ fast enough.

In contrast, we continue to grieve over the life of The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and all those churches that have rejected the Way of the Lord as expressed in Holy Scripture. The recent action of TEC in the election and intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles, has demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world. In the face of this we dare not remain silent and must respond with appropriate action.

Such as?  This is a good start.

We uphold the courageous actions taken by Archbishops Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East), Henry Orombi (Uganda) and Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean) and are encouraged by their decision not to participate in meetings of the various Instruments of Communion at which representatives of The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are present. We understand their actions to be in protest of the failure to correct the ongoing crisis situation.

But that’s only a first step.

Some of our Provinces are already in a state of broken and impaired Communion with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their continued refusal to honor the many requests made of them by the various meetings of the Primates throughout the Windsor Process have brought discredit to our witness and we urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to implement the recommended actions. In light of the above, this Fourth South-to-South Encounter encourages our various Provinces to reconsider their communion relationships with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada until it becomes clear that there is genuine repentance.

Don’t get us wrong.  As far as we’re concerned, there are a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments.

We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful support.  We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners.

The Communion Partner bishops aforesaid were Central Florida’s John Howe and South Carolina’s Mark Lawrence, both of whom should have messages from Mrs. Schori in their voice mail when they get back.  Bob Duncan was also there and said Communion, something which also won’t help the Presiding Bishop’s mood any.

And the following won’t lift Rowan Williams’ spirits.  The Global South thinks that the Anglican Covenant, on which my gracious lord of Canterbury has pinned all his hopes, has serious deficiencies.

Global South leaders have been in the forefront of the development of the ‘Anglican Covenant’ that seeks to articulate the essential elements of our faith together with means by which we might exercise meaningful and loving discipline for those who depart from the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints.’ We are currently reviewing the proposed Covenant to find ways to strengthen it in order for it to fulfill its purpose. For example, we believe that all those who adopt the Covenant must be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. Meanwhile we recognize that the Primates Meeting, being responsible for Faith and Order, should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation, not the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

Which would mean that the Americans, the Canadians and their allies would begin the Episcopal Communion the next day and grant Mrs. Schori the title of archbishop.  And while we’ve got you, Your Grace, we need to face facts.  The Anglican Communion, as presently constituted, has utterly failed both Christ and His Gospel and needs to be radically reevaluated.

Over the last 20 years we have been distracted by conflicts and controversies that have kept us from effectively fulfilling the Great Commission. While we have been so distracted, Christian heritage, identity and influence has continued to decline in the West.  We believe that there is a need to review the entire Anglican Communion structure; especially the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Communion office; in order to achieve an authentic expression of the current reality of our Anglican Communion.

A good message.  And the Global South is finally starting to do things rather than just say them; the finger in the Episcopal eye by having Bob Duncan preside over a Eucharist was a nice touch as was the prominence given to Howe and Lawrence.

But at the end of the day, this is only a good message, something we’ve had books full of the last six years.  There is a chasm between declaring what needs to happen and declaring what will happen if what needs to happen doesn’t happen and the Global South has not yet crossed it.

This is only a re-raise; the Global South has not yet pushed all-in.

That said, one gets the impression that the GS is definitely putting the pressure on.  The possibility that the conservatives won’t sign the Covenant has to terrify Lambeth Palace since the Global South can’t possibly back down from its implied threat without eternally destroying its credibility.

And it’s the same with the Global South suggestion that the Anglican Communion is broken and needs to be fixed.  If Dr. Williams disagrees with you or suggests more “study” of the issue, what do you do then?  Back down?  Or fix things yourselves?

I’ve said over and over that what is now called the Anglican tradition needs to radically reinvent itself in order to survive.  Are we seeing the first indications of a new “Anglicanism” about to be born?  Could be.

But I’m not putting any money down just yet.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, April 23rd, 2010 | Uncategorized | 90 Comments

While not yet ready to walk away from the Anglican Communion, it is becoming apparent that the Global South may be entirely willing to walk away from Rowan Williams:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged patience and forbearance upon Church leaders attending the Fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore, asking them not to take any hasty decisions over the future of the Anglican Communion.

However, the reception accorded to Dr Rowan Williams’ pleas for restraint from the leaders of the evangelical wing of the Communion was muted, with no applause or outward show of appreciation from the delegates at the close of his address. For most of those present, his words were too little, too late.

Delegates tell The Church of England Newspaper that Dr Williams has exhausted his political and personal capital with the overseas Church in the wake of successive disappointments in his leadership over the past few years. While the Global South continues to honour the office, Dr Williams’ stock has reached a nadir with many of those present.

Outgoing Rwandan primate Emmanuel Kolini thinks that it’s time to get serious about the problems plaguing the Anglican Communion and the solution the Archbishop proposes is a very old one.

Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini has called for an Anglican Ecumenical Council of the worldwide Anglican Communion which he believes will bring to an end a dozen years of primatial communiqués, reports and endless talk of “process” and “listening” that has achieved nothing to resolve the crisis of faith and leadership within the Anglican Communion.

Norms adapted from the ancient apostolic canons (35 & 38) on how a council should function offers a legacy rooted in Sacred Scripture and Tradition that results in a significant expression of apostolic authority. The urgency of this matter could result with Archbishop Kolini addressing this with his fellow primates in various ecclesiastical gatherings over the next few months.

As the Global South’s Senior Primate, Archbishop Kolini, through his consistent modeling of pastoral leadership, possesses international respect from his fellow African leaders, which equips him with authority to call for an Ecumenical Council framed on the experience of Acts 15 and the Early Church Councils such as Nicea and Chalcedon and would address and seek to resolve some of the Culture Wars that have raged inside the Anglican Communion for nearly two decades.

Historically, Councils would be ecclesiastically binding based on the ancient models, said Kolini. Where Lambeth conferences, Indaba groups, regional Synods and Conventions, have been found lacking, the conciliar norms would seek to resolve the ecclesial deficit that has furthered the Anglican crisis and has crippled the Anglican Communion’s four Instruments of Unity. In this ecumenical conclave, what is bound on earth will be bound in heaven, says Kolini.

The 2008 debacle made it clear that the Lambeth Conference has outlived its usefulness.

The African Primate proposed a Primates’ Council representing all participating members churches would serve as the governing body which would discuss and decide matters of faith and order, encouragement to mission in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture in loyalty to the Anglican tradition and formularies. An ad hoc design group would be responsible for formulating a constitution.

He suggested that a General Assembly be called every three years and initiatives be taken to restore unity among orthodox Anglicans and ecumenical partners. He said regional bishops’ councils and regional and local initiatives should be undertaken in mission.

“We need a new way forward. We are no longer in communion with Rowan (Williams) or TEC or Canada. After all the biblical reflections we are still in a state of crisis, nothing has been resolved over the years. The Windsor Report, the Primates Meetings recommendations, the Lambeth Conference 2008 and the Windsor Continuation Group have all failed to bring any change in the drastic situation of the Anglican Communion.

“In a crisis the Church meets in council. Everybody is bound by the council. I have a vision for a renewed communion of the Faith Once delivered. Let the trumpet sound forth. I love the Anglican Communion but I am a Christian first. That gives me courage, purpose and a life.

I think that this might be an encouraging sign for this reason.  Would Rowan Williams ever call such an Anglican council?  Of course not; doing so would require courage, something he doesn’t have an ounce of.

Besides, even if he did, the Americans, the Canadians and other Anglican liberals obviously wouldn’t participate.  So from the point of view of Lambeth Palace and the Anglican high command, Kolini’s ideas are non-starters.

So if an Anglican church council is ever going to happen, conservative bishops are going to have to call it themselves.  Which they need to do, inviting every conservative bishop in the world, even those from England and North America who support them along with representatives from ACNA and any Communion Partner bishops who want to come.

Wouldn’t Kolini’s suggestions basically kill the Anglican Covenant?  Not really.  They would merely add teeth to something that has none at present.  And, since American liberals bitch about the Covenant right now, the Archbishop’s ideas would pretty much guarantee that the Anglican left would never sign up.

But that’s not really the point.   

This Anglican council ought to proceed to set up Kolini’s General Assembly or something very much like it.  Then this Assembly should meet at regular intervals, whatever those intervals turn out to be, and, in effect, “legislate” for its constituent provinces, dioceses or parishes.

Basically, Archbishop Kolini seems to suggest that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the “instruments of unity” be completely ignored.  North American boundaries should be crossed on a regular basis regardless of how loudly Fred and Kate complain about it.

Established orthodox parishes should be recognized or new ones should be planted.  North American conservative Anglican parishes should be cared for the way 19th-century European Anglicans treated church plants in Africa.

Will any of this happen?  That remains to be seen; after all, conservative Anglicans can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory better than almost anyone.  But considering the reception of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s message and Kolini’s rhetoric, there is much to be positive about.

For now.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

You can stop worrying.  Someone named Stefanie Iris Weiss has come up with one more way for leftist greenies to feel smugly and nauseatingly self-righteous:

If you truly love the Earth, then you must learn how to make eco-friendly, sustainable love.

Put another way … green sex.

That’s the message from writer Stefanie Iris Weiss, who’s pushing the Prius version of l’amore to a nation hooked on Hummer love.

Uh huh.  How do people do that?  First, you lose the birth control pills.

“Hormone-based birth control is a landmine of horribleness,” the Manhattan-based author said. “It’s bad for the body, and marine life. Hormones get excreted into the water, and fish are becoming hermaphrodites.”

That explains why the mahi-mahi I had the other night tasted a little odd.  Then what?

For women, she recommends IUDs, and for men, seek out “fair-trade” latex condoms that give the Third World a little love.

Fair-trade latex condoms.  I think it’s safe to say that those four words have never appeared in that order in any English-language sentence before.

But I don’t see this idea going over very well.  If I were a woman, I know I wouldn’t want to tell my horny husband/boyfriend that he’s not getting any tonight because his rubbers are 100% American.

And when you and your significant other are between the sheets, make sure the sheets that the two of you are between aren’t harming the planet.

In a section titled “Sleeping with the Enemy,” Weiss advises stripping the bedroom of chemical-soaked mattresses and pillows, and replacing them with less-toxic fibers. She also helps consumers sift through the sometimes dizzying ingredient list on even the most “natural” of beauty products.

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull greenie.

There’s a section on seductive vegan meals and pesticide-free aphrodisiacs.

Seductive vegan.  There’s another phrase that no one has ever written before.  And to be honest with you, if I ever found an actual aphrodisiac, I wouldn’t care if it was made out of puppies.  In case you’re not yet ready to throw up, Weiss finishes strong.

“I’m trying to bring some pleasure into going green,“ said Weiss, 39, a longtime vegetarian. “I don’t want people to read this and think of Al Gore, pointing his finger. I want people to see this as a nice organic chocolate bon-bon.”

Organic chocolate bon-bon.  Man, we are breaking some exciting new rhetorical ground here.  Anyway, I know what you’re thinking so I wandered over to the Episcopal Organization’s online bookstore just now and this book isn’t listed there.



Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

MST3K’s Mike Nelson has a request:

Tomorrow, I’d ask that you celebrate a low key Earth Day so as not to make Wind and Fire feel bad.

Will do.

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