Archive for January, 2011


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, January 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 74 Comments

According to just about everybody, this area is due for a monster winter storm starting late tonight and into tomorrow.  The hyperbole’s already started.  Two stations broke into programming this morning to cover a press conference about the storm featuring various officials.  As things stand now, the St. Louis metropolitan area is due for a good bit of snow and potentially up to an inch of ice. 

Last time we had an ice storm like this one might be, hundreds of thousands of people in this area lost power for a considerable length of time.  I kept power at the MCJ Building during that storm(as well as during the freak summer storm before that knocked out power for a million or so) but I have to think that my luck has to run out some time.  So if this site goes silent for an extended period, that’s why.

UPDATE:  I got sent home from work at 4:30.  The cars in the parking lot here have already begun to ice over and the main storm hasn’t hit yet.  But the supplies have been topped off so I’m good to go.

UPDATE: So far, it’s just been sleet around here.  The scene outside my window just before noon.  Elm Avenue, looking north.

UPDATE: All the television stations with news divisions here have gone to full storm coverage, preempting all other programming.  The winds have picked up a bit and will pick up even more according to the meteorologists.  And if you know anybody who has to drive across Missouri for some reason, they’re going to have a tough time of it as word just came down that the Missouri Department of Transportation has closed Interstate 70 through the middle part of this state.

UPDATE: I-70’s now closed from St. Louis to Kansas City.  And Interstate 44’s down from the Oklahoma border to Springfield.

UPDATE: Wednesday morning now.  The wind’s picked up.  We’re just about done with the snow and we’re not going to get that much of it.  And since this thing was mostly sleet, the widespread power outages that everybody feared never took place.

FINAL UPDATE: Looks like we’re done with it.  Thursday morning, outside my window about 8:30. Elm Avenue, looking north.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, January 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

The President and his party lose.  Big time:

A judge in Florida on Monday became the second judge to declare President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law unconstitutional, in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, ruled that the reform law’s so-called “individual mandate” went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson wrote.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, January 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

To A. S. Haley, the Dublin Anglican Primates Meeting proved what many of us have suspected for some time.  The primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion no longer resides in Canterbury:

The documents posted at the close of the recent Primates’ Meeting in Dublin tell the story. The takeover of the Instruments of Communion by ECUSA, aided and abetted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is now complete. Anything of substance was carefully avoided at Lambeth 2008; the proposed Covenant itself was derailed at ACC-14 in Jamaica, and then carefully defanged by the newly reorganized Standing Committee; and now the Primates’ Meeting has let itself descend into irrelevance — with the primates of the churches having most of the Anglican Communion’s membership absenting themselves, and refusing to prop up the pretense of normalcy any longer.

There is not a word in any of the statements released from Dublin today about the commitment that ECUSA’s House of Bishops was supposed to make, and which bishops such as +Bruno, +Shaw and the Presiding Bishop herself have so deliberately flouted ever since — along with the General Convention of the whole Church. It is abundantly clear, based on the statements from Dublin, that the Primates who gathered there are not going to follow through with their commitments at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam. So ECUSA has prevailed, and will have its way.

So the circle is now complete. The Dublin primates have agreed to work through the Standing Committee, which will “help to shape” their meetings in the future, and build bridges to unspecified “regions” in the meantime. Doubtless the Standing Committee will have its work cut out for it, as they say.

One hopes that such Anglican stalwarts as Nicholas Okoh, Henry Orombi, Mouneer Anis, Peter Jensen and others finally decide that Anglicanism as they have known it is gone forever and so it might be a good idea to follow Him and let the Anglican Communion dead bury their dead.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, January 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

During the initial phases of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, I recall reading quite a few pretentiously self-righteous laments from the Christian left about how religiously intolerant mosque opponents were.  Bigoted, even.  So tolerate this, yo:

The new imam at the Ground Zero mosque and cultural center believes people who are gay were probably abused as children and that people who leave Islam and preach a new religion should be jailed.

Abdallah Adhami’s remarks on homosexuals, religious freedom and other topics have brought renewed criticism of the proposed community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site, which purports to be an inclusive organization.

Adhami, in a lecture on the Web site of his nonprofit, Sakeenah, says being gay is a “painful trial” caused by past trauma.

“An enormously overwhelming percentage of people struggle with homosexual feeling because of some form of violent emotional or sexual abuse at some point in their life,” he says. “A small, tiny percentage of people are born with a natural inclination that they cannot explain. You find this in the animal kingdom at some level as well.”

He says gays must fight this “propensity.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, January 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

The government has embraced an arrogant ideology. They claim to know the key to prosperity. It’s analogous to communism. They thought the same thing. The clever ones – themselves – would run everything. That’s the analogy. The key to prosperity is to let things run themselves. We’ll liberalize everything, let everyone look after himself, let business, not the state, run the economy. The state should have no views, no policies of its own. Just open it all up, step back, let it go and you’ll see how well everything will work if we just leave things alone.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, January 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Riding on a pony:

As regular readers will know, I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this site, and elsewhere, arguing for a rather extreme sort of liberal Christianity. I started off fulminating against the establishment of the Church of England, and went on to argue that all major forms of church were full of illiberal assumptions. Really liberal Christians must try to develop a new, anarchic, post-ecclesial Christian culture, I said. 

I have changed my mind in an important respect. I now feel that organised religion may not be such a bad idea. Its various authoritarian forms may be avoidable. It may be redeemable. 

Two things have led me to this rethink. First, I have admitted that, after a few years of looking, I have failed to find any significant manifestations of a new, post-institutional Christian culture. Second, I have encountered a form of church that does not offend me.

Count all the I’s in just those three paragraphs.  Now ponder the fact that Hobsie’s found a church that doesn’t “offend” him.  So has Hobsie decided to return to the C of E?  What are you, crazy?

Almost 10 years ago, prompted by the post-9/11 debates, I rethought my allegiance to the C of E. I believed that it must reform itself by ditching its established status. Wasn’t it obvious? Apparently not. I found that there was very little will for such reform within the church. Rather, conservative voices were becoming more dominant: secular liberalism was being talked of as a dark threat by bishops and theologians. My disillusion was completed by the C of E’s role in education. It was becoming more involved in running semi-selective schools, which encouraged phoney church attendance. 

No other church grabbed me: all institutional religion seemed fatally conservative. Non-established churches seemed to gravitate towards some form of bossy dogmatism, and failed to proclaim the affinity between Christianity and liberalism. So I began to argue for a new, more radical, liberal Christianity that affirmed secular liberalism and was wary of institutional orthodoxy. In place of the traditional church, I proposed a loose culture of informal meetings, celebratory events, artistic expressions of faith – a new, freestyle religious culture.

Again with the self-references.  And what alternate forms of church there were in Britain all had a fatal flaw.

But I found very little such culture to get involved in. Annoyingly, the few attempts at alternative worship I came across were run by the dastardly C of E! I met some Christians who were detached from any church, but they seemed too laidback to do anything, beyond meeting up for a chat. The awkward fact, it seemed, was that only institutionally rooted Christians understood the primacy of ritual. Only they were committed to the ritual worship of a certain ancient Palestinian chap. And, away from such a commitment, there is surely no Christianity worth speaking of.

Got that right.  But you do know that there are other people in the world besides you, don’t you, Hobsie?  Ritual is extremely important to Hobsie for some reason.

It was a catch-22. Organised religion was intolerably illiberal, but only organised religion seemed able to organise Christian ritual – without which Christianity is just a bunch of vague ideas. My desire was for ritual to be liberated from the institutions but, frankly, I didn’t know how this could happen. After a few years staring at this question, I was no nearer to answering it.

Fortunately for Hobsie, the answer came when he crossed the pond.  Guess what he found when he got here.

Then, last year, I moved to New York. I wanted to see if there was a stronger post-institutional Christian culture here, a more substantial “emerging church” movement. There is, but I’m not yet sure what I make of it. I was also curious to see what I would make of the Episcopal church, the American branch of Anglicanism. It is proudly disestablished, and has broken with the homophobic legalism of the rest of the communion, so would I find it a model of liberalism, or still complicit in the various ills of organised religion? I was assuming the latter. But, to my surprise, a taste of Episcopalian worship got me asking: “What’s not to like?”

Leftists who don’t seriously believe much of anything but who perform arcane, pseudo-religious ceremonies once a week.  Yup.  Theo was in Hob heaven.

Looking back at the crisis in the Anglican communion, I find that I am impressed by the boldness of the Americans. Instead of backing down over Gene Robinson’s consecration, they insisted that a basic Christian principle was at stake: the need to oppose moral legalism, and spread the good news to everyone.

The air is fresher here. The American branch of Anglicanism has emerged in the past decade as the global pioneer of liberal Christianity. It has persuaded me not to give up on the church just yet.

Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, everybody does this to a certain extent.  We pick our churches on at least a little bit of an emotional level.  Some of us are drawn to churches with elaborate liturgies, others to churches with little or no liturgy at all.

But no serious Christian picks a church the way Theo Hobson does, because it doesn’t “offend” him.  If you truly know yourself, you’re going avoid like the plague any church that tells you what you want to hear.  Because if you know that you’re sick, trusting a doctor who tells you that there’s nothing wrong with you can be fatal.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, January 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

They’re catching up:


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, January 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Rethink Malawi vacation idea.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Dinner sure is easy when the fish jump right in your boat:

[Michael Smith] the [Episcopal] Bishop of North Dakota, who has proposed becoming the next dean and rector of Gethsemane Cathedral, Fargo, has announced that he will preside at cathedral services beginning Jan. 30.

The decision follows the bishop’s learning that the cathedral’s current dean and rector, the Very Rev. Steven A. Sellers, “has made public his decision to seek ordination in the Roman Catholic Church,” Smith wrote Jan. 25 on the diocese’s website.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 88 Comments

Each year, St. Paul’s College, a Roman Catholic institution for Paulist seminarians in Washington, DC, hosts what it calls the Hecker Lecture.  This year’s speaker was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Organization, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.  And I cannot remember the last time I read any sort of message about anything at all that fell completely apart in the very first sentence:

We are the respective heirs of different strands of western Christianity.

No “we’re” not.  “We” were all one big happy family until the 1500’s when “we” Anglicans decided to go it alone.

I will not begin with the Reformation, but with a much earlier, indigenous Christianity in the British Isles.

And herrrrrrrrre we go.

Roman soldiers appear to have taken the Christian tradition with them when they were posted to the frontiers of the Roman Empire – at least by the second century.

An alternative theory suggests that British Christianity was kept alive in Middle Earth by hobbits and that Frodo is Elvish for Jesus.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it; if the Presiding Bishop can live in a fantasy world, so can I, consarnit.

That tradition remained when the Roman Empire receded, but the faith continued to grow and develop in its new context.

Sort of makes one wonder why the western Church sent all those missionaries to the British Isles.  Why did Columba leave Ireland and set up Iona?  And just what was he telling the Picts anyway?

If we would look for a modern parallel, we might point to the development of the Three Self Movement in China, with roots in the various colonial plantings of Christianity in the 16th to 19th centuries.

Awkward analogy, that, insofar as, whatever its origins, Three Self was at one time shot through with Communists who didn’t believe all this supernatural crap, becoming, in effect, a sort of Episcopal Organization backed by fiercely-atheist state coercion.

Gregory sent Augustine to 6th century Britain, and challenged him at least in part to bless the best of local tradition in recognition that God had already been at work there.

I believe that would be Pope Gregory and does the fact that Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain suggest anything to you, Kate?

Paul himself sets the example in his great speech on Mars Hill.

Um..what?  Last time I read that speech, Paul was not blessing “the best of local tradition in recognition that God had already been at work there.”  He was addressing pagans and he was telling those pagans that their “local tradition” was, well, wrong.  Has anybody in the Episcopal Organization ever read Acts?

The tradition planted in the British Isles did grow and develop in ways that diverged from the Mediterranean tradition – as did the tradition planted in Gaul and other parts of the ancient world.

Except that these didn’t consider themselves seperate and autonomous “traditions” but as parts of a whole that was still working out its theology and liturgical practices.

Without entering a lengthy reprise of Christian history

Which we all greatly appreciate since you’ve pretty much botched it so far.

the next major point of difficulty or stress between one indigenizing faith and another comes in the 7th century at the Synod of Whitby. Originally called to fix the date of Easter, it’s the point at which the Roman desire for uniformity began to impact the diversity in Celtic lands.

Except that Oswiu, the king who convened it, was a Saxon and his decision doesn’t seem to have overly troubled much of anyone until the legend of an independent, free and happy “Celtic church” needed to be invented.

It’s important to spend some time looking at our history, because many people erroneously believe that the big conflict came at the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Because it did.

The differences between Roman and Anglican Christianity have certainly solidified since then, but the roots are much older.

No they’re not.  See hobbit theory above.

I certainly recognize that formal statements from the Roman Communion deny the validity of some other Christian responses to this challenge

The fact that you consider yourself a bishop, for example.

A bright line has been drawn by the Roman magisterium about what sorts of Christian companionship are permissible and which are not, particularly around sacramental fellowship.

It’s called doctrine, Presiding Bishop.  Look into it some time.

Yet even in that context there is the possibility of sharing baptismal fellowship, for we both recognize the validity of Trinitarian baptism.

Even if it’s a reality to you and professional jargon to us.

One of the surprising developments in Anglican theology in recent decades has been a recovery of a theology of vocation and mission rooted in baptism, rather than primarily in sacramental priesthood.

That’s why we gave Robbie a pointy hat.  Get a little water sprinkled on you and as far as we’re concerned, you’re golden.

It reflects an understanding of the early church that each disciple is called into Christ-like living and transformative participation in the coming reign of God.

No we don’t really mean it, thanks for asking.  Ever had to listen to Louie Crew whine?  Sucks big time, let me tell you.

It’s not revolutionary in that sense, but radical, in returning to our Christian roots.

Because the early church just WUVVVVVED consecrating unrepentant sinners DIS MUCH!!

I’m going to expand on that, but I want to touch on what I said about an Orthodox sense of sacramentality before we move on. One of the charisms of Orthodoxy is the sense that God is active in far more than we recognize, that rather than two or seven sacraments, there are dozens or hundreds and even more than we can count or know.

Anybody else creeped out by the Presiding Bishop feigning respect for Orthodox Christianity?  I know I am.

There is an obvious and necessary tension between seeing only God as ultimately holy and being willing to look for holy fingerprints on all that God has created. At the same time, once we note that God has shared God’s own being with us in human flesh in the Incarnation, it is perhaps easier to begin to see that God’s presence may be encountered in the hills and forests, or Leviathan, whom God made for sport (Ps 104:26).

Jesus called Him Father, Kate.  Just sayin’.

There is also a patristic root to this sacramental understanding, particularly in the theologizing of Athanasius and Irenaeus, and the doctrine of theosis or divinization to which it gave rise. Perhaps the best shorthand summary is, “God became human in order that we might become divine.”

If you’re a Mormon.  You a Mormon, Kate?

for the patchwork that is Anglicanism takes all those various threads and at least theoretically encourages them to find life of different colors and textures in the soil of different nations and peoples.

And that’s why Robinson and Glasspool have pointy hats, bitches.

We share a common belief in the reign of God, in the sacramental presence of God in the earthly realm,


and in the necessity of human participation in God’s mission.

Okay.  I’m the creator of everything that exists.  As far as I know, and, well, I know everything, human beings can’t create universes.  So explain to me why I need “human participation” to fulfill my “mission.”

The why question is more deeply rooted in an eschatological vision of a healed creation, whose healing has been advanced in novel and unique ways in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of God Incarnate.

Good of you to acknowledge that, Presiding Bishop.  But since Kate’s not able to leave well enough alone…

The tension around this question in Christian history has frequently been rooted in the location of that eschatological vision – is it this-worldly or other-worldly?

Guess where the Presiding Bishop is going?

The Gnostic error is to push all of it into the spiritual realm, denigrating God’s good creation, yet even if we don’t go that far, there have been a variety of Christian or quasi-Christian strands that have attempted to insist that this-worldly salvation, healing, or wholeness (same root for all!) is not all that important.

Insofar as one’s temporary and the other’s permanent, I’m thinking that maybe…

Jesus’ own ministry gives the lie to that deferral of healing into an afterlife.

Does it now?  So that whole Cross business was only a little first-century political theater?  Jesus died the most agonizing death it is possible to imagine in order to hype his “own ministry?”

His work was profoundly incarnate, feeding the physical hunger of people around him, healing them in body, mind, and soul, as well as teaching about the false lords of this earth and God’s desire for justice and peace in a healed and beloved community.

True.  But that’s not all it was.

Let’s move to the question of who should be concerned with this labor, ministry, or co-creative action. Who are the partners in God’s mission? It’s God’s mission, after all, not ours, or the church’s.

Then why do you keep prattling on about the necessity of human participation in God’s mission?

If God is acknowledged as the creator of all that is, I’m going to insist that God has been at work in contexts and cultures beyond the outwardly Christian ones.

Of course you are.

If we take seriously God’s omnipresence and omnipotence, we have to be willing to see the divine action in unexpected places. Vatican II was able to say that there is salvation beyond the church.

I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that Vatican II asserted that there was salvation in other bodies that called upon the name of the LORD and not in religions that deny Him or don’t recognize the need for His coming at all.

We commonly acknowledge the saintly behavior of those who do not know or profess Christ. My point is that when we see a parallel vision of the goal of creation – that great eschatological dream – being enacted by non-Christians, I think it’s our missionary duty to seek out those partners. It might even be acknowledged as that mysterious sin against the Holy Spirit to deny that reality.

That’s a bit of a reach, Presiding Bishop, since nobody denies it.  If I have a work to be accomplished while I still live–the eradication of the scourge of abortion, say–I don’t particularly care whether my coworkers in this task are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, Shintoists, Zoroastrians or profess no religion at all.  I’m funny that way.

God is going to use whatever means necessary or possible to lure us into partnership toward that healed creation. It is a truly catholic duty – and joy – to discover God’s ongoing creative work in those we haven’t yet recognized as brothers or sisters in Christ.

Apples and oranges, Presiding Bishop.  While anyone lives, he or she is deserving of our respect, our help and our love, whether they acknowledge Jesus as Lord or not.  But they are not our “brothers or sisters in Christ” until they acknowledge who Christ is and why He came to Earth.  Not before.

Entering a missional context with that kind of urgency is expected of us over and over: two were in a field, one was taken and one was left. A man found a pearl in a field, sold all that he had in order to possess it. A woman swept her house repeatedly in order to find a lost coin. It’s an attitude that’s not always easy in wealthier, privileged, or powerful contexts, yet it’s at the root of what it is to know oneself as creature rather than creator.

Mix them metaphors, Mrs. Schori.  You go, girl!

So, what does the contextual have to do with how we engage God’s mission as catholics?

Which I ain’t one of.

At the least it insists that a common vision informs the work in which we partner – that dream of a beloved community, that understanding of the reign of God, the city set on a hill, the light to the nations. Something about our work has to engage the universal, whether it’s caring for the least of these in feeding the hungry, delivering prisoners, or building a society where the powerful are not advantaged at the cost of the weak.

How does that Cross thing figure in here?

To be quite particular, participation in God’s mission is likely going to mean that we look for partners in other faith traditions and Christian communities, as well as groups outside the formal religious world.

Once again.  Nobody’s disputing that, Presiding Bishop.  It’s when we start bottom-lining everything that we run into problems.

Creative solutions to resource challenges might define the experience of the Hebrew people wandering in the desert. We are supposed to think in ways beyond our immediate prejudice about what is possible or even proper. Certainly God’s preferential option for the poor

God is no respecter of persons, Presiding Bishop.  Rich or poor.

is an expression of that – need is meant to be served first, and God is willing to use younger sons, women, foreigners, and even the evil of this world in the service of salvation.

True enough.  But that doesn’t excuse us from proclaiming what we know.  And it also doesn’t mean that the Cross is an option for men to take or leave at their discretion.

In the last few years The Episcopal Church has been deeply invested in the Millennium Development Goals as a proximate image of the Reign of God.

Peace and blessings be upon them.

I’ve seen highly particular examples in this very city, as Episcopalians and Romans have badgered various administrations and Congress to attend to the poor and to make peace in the wider world.

Romans, Kate?  Really?  What, you can’t spell papists?  At this point, Mrs. Schori continues on for several tedious paragraphs about the usual leftist issues and talking points so I think I’ll shut it down right here.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Okay this is just wrong.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

[Updated below]

The Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting is underway and for various reasons, 15 of the 38 primates are not there:

Those who are unable to attend:

For reasons of visa difficulties:
Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo The Most Revd Henry Kahwa Isingoma

For reasons of health:
La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico The Most Revd Carlos Touche-Porter
The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma) The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo

For reasons of diary commitments:
The Anglican Church of Kenya The Most Revd Eliud Wabukala
The Church of North India (United) The Most Revd Purely Lyngdoh

For personal reasons:
The Anglican Church of Tanzania The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa

For reasons of Provincial matters:
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak  (the referendum)
L’Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda The Most Revd Onesphore Rwaje (two days after his installation)

Those who have chosen to stay away over recent developments in  The Episcopal Church:
The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East The Most Revd  Mouneer Hanna Anis
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) The Most Rt Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh
The Church of the Province of Uganda  The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi
Church of the Province of South East Asia  The Most Revd John Chew
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America The Most Revd Hector Zavala
The Church of the Province of West Africa The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi

Via Matt Kennedy comes word that the dissident group is slightly larger than ACNS is letting on.

This press release from the Anglican Communion News Service lists which primates are attending the primates’ meeting in Dublin. It also lists those primates who are NOT attending and the reasons for their absences. The reasons listed for The Most Revd Eliud Wabukala (Kenya) and The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania) are “diary commitments,” and “personal reasons.” However, both primates signed the November, 2010 Oxford Statement claiming they would not attend the meeting because they “can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy” in the Communion.

All this, of course, plays right into Rowan Williams’ hands.  He will have himself a peaceful meeting, the sickness plaguing the Anglican Communion will be kicked down the road two more years and the Americans and Canadians will earn themselves a little more Anglican normalcy making it all that much harder for the Communion to ever institute any kind of discipline against either church.

Traditionalist Anglicans will resume their Important International MeetingsTM and their open letters and their denunciations of the liberals but will otherwise stay right where they are, turning the Anglican tradition into even more of an incoherent mess than it already is.  And thousands more traditionalist Anglicans in the West will drift here and there in the coming years, unable to kid themselves any longer.

UPDATE:  The Anglican game is over when even these guys recognize a sham when they see one.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Just kill me now:

Debmar-Mercury and the Fox Television Stations will join forces this summer to test “Father Albert,” an hour talk show starring former Catholic priest Father Alberto Cutie, Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Cutie, known as Father Albert or Padre Alberto, is now an Episcopal priest after leaving the Catholic Church over theological differences and because he wanted to get married. He is now married to Ruhama Buni Canellis. Father Albert has hosted other shows, including the Spanish-language talk show “Hablando Claro con el Padre Alberto,” and earlier this month published his second book, “Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle With Faith and Love.”

“Father Albert’s wide cross-over appeal, incredible story, encouraging advice, open mind and charismatic personality make him a natural fit for daytime television,” Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a statement. “We are excited to provide English-language audiences with the opportunity to discover why Father Albert has struck such a chord over the past decade with millions of fans throughout the U.S., Canada, Spain and Latin America.”

Big ups to Tim Fountain.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Well that’s just great.  Give the enviros ideas:

Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest invader in history – after his murderous conquests killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest.

The Mongol leader, who established a vast empire between the 13th and 14th centuries, helped remove nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, claims a new study.

The deaths of 40 million people meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And, although his methods may be difficult for environmentalists to accept[But give ’em time. – Ed.], ecologists believe it may be the first ever case of successful manmade global cooling. 


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, January 24th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting begins in Dublin, Ireland tomorrow.  Secretary General Kenneth Kearon reports that seven or eight primates will be absent because of the presence of Mrs. Schori and Mr. Hiltz.

Fred, by the way, got a little snippy when he said that skipping primates meetings over Christian principles, “does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference. To simply say ‘I refuse to come’ is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called.”

Yeah, well, neither is plowing under 2,000 years of Christian teaching merely to make homosexuals feel good about themselves, Hiltz, you pretentious baboon.

As with all Important Anglican EventsTM that have taken place over the last eight years or so, nothing will happen.  There will be the usual pious pronouncements on various issues of the day. 

The Current Unpleasantness will be dealt with in the usual way with all the usual cliches about “dialogue” and “respecting our differences on this issue” and all the rest of it.  The meeting’s communiqué has probably already been written.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Two primates think that it’s long past time for the Communion to actually get serious.  David Virtue reports that Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Middle East, has revived a proposal first made by Rwanda’s Emmanuel Kolini almost a year ago:

The Archbishop of the Middle East, the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis called for Global South Primates and orthodox bishops in the North and West to hold a Church Council with binding resolutions to break the ecclesiastical logjam in the Anglican Communion.

Speaking to several hundred orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans at the 6th Annual Mere Anglican Conference honoring Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison, SC (ret.) at St. Phillip’s Church, Anis said there is now “no trust left at all” in the communion with “provinces taking actions and moving from the norm of Anglican tradition.” Anis called for a Conciliar meeting of orthodox Anglicans to resolve the fundamental theological differences that now pervade the communion.

“The Anglican Covenant has not worked. We have a Conciliar model to express the mind of the communion on controversial resolutions. Lambeth Conference resolutions are not binding. They do not have the authority over Church councils,” noted Anis. “It is time to give a lead.

“The Global South and other orthodox Anglicans have so far been reactive. They need to form a Conciliar body, it is going to happen”.

Michael Nazir-Ali agrees.

The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali told participants at Mere Anglican, a conference dedicated to a reformed, renewed orthodox Anglicanism within North America, that a church council of orthodox Anglican primates should be called to resolve the deep theological and ecclesiological tensions in the Communion.

Whatever is concluded should be binding on the Anglican Church, said the Pakistani-born convert from Islam, who is increasingly outspoken on a wide range of issues ranging from Islam, the decline of Christianity in England to the Culture Wars.

“In resolution of some of these matters, Anglicans need to bring to bear the Word of God on the issues and to be the guardian and interpreter for the church. We should have a healthy perspective on a proper conciliarity that Anglicans have evaded for 150 years. The Reformers would have resolved similar difficulties with a church council. What is wanted now, today, is a conciliar gathering.

For two reasons, I have a three-word response to the idea of calling an Anglican church council.  Dead on arrival.

In a perfect world, this would be exactly what the Anglicans should do.  Put everything on the table; what do Anglicans actually believe?  But ask yourself this question; would Rowan Williams ever call such a council?  Merely to ask that question is to answer it.

Leave aside the fact that in 2008 Dr. Williams managed to game the closest thing the Anglican Communion has to a church council in order to be sure that the major problem facing the Communion wasn’t dealt with.  Would Dr. Williams call a council of the type envisioned by Anis and Nazir-Ali?

Of course not.

Dr. Williams would claim that he didn’t have to power to convene an Anglican council.  Besides, an Anglican council would be unprecedented thing which had never been seen before.  So the full implications would need to be studied.

To facilitate this, my gracious lord of Canterbury would, of course, appoint a special commission to travel around the Anglican world and gather all this information.  After a year or so, this commission would issue a report.

Provinces would be told to study the commission report themselves before deciding whether or not to formally agree to its recommendations.  So if the idea was formally proposed tomorrow, the Episcopal Organization couldn’t officially agree to attend an Anglican council for another four years.

Rowan Williams is a genius at this.

The other reason an Anglican council will never go anywhere is that there is no desire for one.  Since traditionalist primates have taken a split from Canterbury off the table, all urgency is gone.  Dr. Williams has no need to call a council because every Anglican in the world who’s been paying attention knows that nothing bad will happen if he doesn’t.

When a sizable number of primates tell my gracious lord of Canterbury that he either calls an Anglican church council sooner rather than later or they’ll officially and permanently terminate their province’s association with the Anglican Communion, then an Anglican council might have a chance of setting things right in the Anglican world.  But as things stand now, the idea has no chance at all.

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