Archive for May, 2011


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Katharine Jefferts Schori adds a new Doberman to 815’s kennel:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named Diocese of Lexington Bishop Stacy F. Sauls as chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church.

“The Episcopal Church Center exists to support the Church in serving a diverse and changing world,” Jefferts Schori said in a May 31 press release from the church’s Office of Public Affairs. “The church-wide staff has achieved new levels of excellence and innovation as the Church Center has been reorganized and some staff has been dispersed to offices in other geographic regions of the church. This transition represents a healthy and forward-looking opportunity to build on that good work.”

“Bishop Sauls brings a unique set of gifts to the next chapter of this ministry, particularly his distinguished service as a diocesan bishop. I am deeply grateful that he will join us in facilitating this work.”

Back in 2008, David Trimble had this assessment of Sauls’ “unique set of gifts.”

One of the earliest controversies in +Sauls’ tenure came with the charges of embezzlement he lodged against his Canon to the Ordinary and Rector of St. Augustine’s Chapel, Christopher Platt.  Chris was accused of theft from his discretionary accounts, when many of those who know him and were privy to the “evidence” would state to the contrary that probably all that occurred was bad or non-existent bookkeeping.  Platt, when confronted with the charges, denied them but dutifully offered to submit to the Bishop’s discipline.  Instead of dealing with the situation quietly, however, Platt was subjected to a show trial that resulted in his being defrocked.  Many observers close to the Diocese believe that the real reason for the trial was for intimidation of the remaining Diocesan clergy, i.e., a warning to not cross Bishop Sauls.  There have also been rumors that Platt “knew something” on the Bishop, but those have never been substantiated, not even by Platt himself.  The accusations and being put through the wringer by +Sauls crushed Platt; he is living quietly in Kentucky on disability to this day.  Many would say a great voice in the pulpit and a truly pastoral man has been silenced and sacrificed to the Church.  And, I cannot help but observe that the swift hammering of orthodox Bishops by the national church in the last few days finds strategic echoes, if not +Sauls’ fingerprints, in the deposition of Chris Platt.

Bishop Sauls was next confronted with a parish that, in his view, defied his ecclesiastical authority.  St. John’s Parish in Versailles, KY, was in the process of searching for a new Rector. Documents produced in a later court proceeding between the old and new parish over the proceeds of a trust revealed that +Sauls had “spies” in St. John’s who were reporting to him and may have followed his guidance on intra-parish strategies. St. John’s eventually found Fr. David Brannen and, in +Sauls’ view, proceeded with a call without properly involving +Sauls in the process.

When asked by +Sauls whether he would vow to not take St. John’s Parish out of the Episcopal Church, Fr. Brannen honestly stated that he could make no such promises.  +Sauls therefore refused to approve the call of Fr. Brannen.  St. John’s Vestry proceeded with the call anyway.  +Sauls immediately “fired” the Vestry and took over control of the accounts and assets of St. John’s, albeit without apparent Canonical authority to do so (perhaps one of the reasons for the proposed new Canon on discipline of the laity?).  A significant number of the members of the parish left and formed St. Andrew’s Parish, affiliated with the Anglican Church of Uganda.  The new Anglican church is still meeting in schools, but is soon to break ground on a new building.

Trimble also recorded this exchange.

PARISHIONER: Do you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God?

SAULS: I believe the Bible is a book of poetry with a lot of history in it. I believe the Prayer Book has all that one needs for salvation. 

PARISHIONER: Do you believe there is a Satan? 

SAULS: Not metaphorically speaking, no. 

PARISHIONER: Do you believe in heaven and hell? 

SAULS: I believe that an all-loving God would never send anyone to hell for eternity. I believe he works it out in the end for everyone.

Sounds like a great fit.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Just what it says.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

An overwhelmingly hostile American news media created the manifestly false image of Sarah Palin.  Now they’re whining that she’s disrespecting them and putting their lives in danger and being really mean to them and stuff:

Sarah Palin and her advisers are refusing to tell members of the media where she is going on her current bus tour – and the former Alaska governor seems to be enjoying the cat and mouse game that’s resulted. 

“I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media … I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop’s going to be,” she told fellow Fox News employee Greta Van Susteren in an interview from the bus.

Since Palin and her team won’t share where the potential candidate is headed, reporters and producers have little choice but to simply stay close to Palin’s bus. This has resulted in scenes of the Palin bus tooling down the highway followed by a caravan of 10 or 15 vehicles all trying to make sure they don’t lose sight of the Palin bus. 

It adds up to a dangerous situation, says CBS News Producer Ryan Corsaro. 

“I just hope to God that one of these young producers with a camera whose bosses are making them follow Sarah Palin as a potential Republican candidate don’t get in a car crash, because this is dangerous,” he said. 

Corsaro asked a member of Palin’s team if he thought it was dangerous to have reporters forced to chase her from stop to stop. “You’re the ones that are trailing us,” he replied.

Suck it up, bitches.  If you spend two and a half years deliberately lying about and misrepresenting someone as well as insulting her every chance you get, you have no right to be shocked when helping you out is WAY down on that person’s priority list.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, May 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

It’s gratifying to know that Rabbi Eric Yoffie has much the same opinion of interfaithing that I do:

I have been participating in interfaith dialogue as a rabbi and Jewish leader for more than 30 years, and most of the time it just doesn’t work.

Most of the time — and it is painful for me to admit this — it is terribly boring. Most of the time there is a tendency to manufacture consensus, whether it exists or not. Most of the time we go to great lengths to avoid conflict. Most of the time we cover the same ground that we covered last month or the month before. And far too often we finish our session without really knowing the people across the table and what makes them tick religiously.

And most of we time we are satisfied with mouthing a few noble, often-repeated sentiments. Thus, we affirm the importance of mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue; we assert that all human beings are created in the image of God; we proclaim that despite our differences, all of our traditions preach love of humankind and service to humanity. Nothing is wrong with these sentiments, of course; in conceptual terms, I believe in them all. But if we don’t dig beneath the surface and focus on substance rather than rhetoric, they mean very little.

The result is that most of the time, interfaith discussions are simply excruciating, irrelevant to me and to the world around me.

What do we do about it?  If we want this nonsense to mean anything at all, the Rabbi suggests a tall, cold glass of Honest Tea.

First, meaningful dialogue happens when the conversation turns to our religious differences. Platitudes are set aside when, as representatives of our faith traditions, we cease to be embarrassed by the particular; when we put aside the search for the lowest common denominator that most often characterizes — and trivializes — our discussions; and when we recognize that absent a clear affirmation of who we are, how we are different and what we truly believe, all our conversations are likely to come to nothing.

Second, interreligious exchanges become compelling when my colleagues and partners give expression to their religious passions. I am drawn in when they share with me their deepest beliefs and strangest customs, no matter how radically other they are from my own. And the sharing of religious passions should lead to passionate debate, in which we struggle with the really hard questions: What happens when conflicting beliefs lead to conflicting interests? What do we do about those areas where differences cannot be bridged and must be dealt with?

Third, interreligious dialogue truly touches us when we can discuss what we all know to be true but what we rarely say: that, in some ways at least, we all believe in the exceptionalism of our own traditions. We all tend toward the conviction that there are some elements of our religious beliefs and practice that stand above and apart from what other religions offer, and it is liberating when we are able to acknowledge this and then explain why we think that way, without apology but open to the honest reactions of those around us.

Can’t argue with that too much.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, May 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 48 Comments

The Editor is in the middle of what is commonly known as a REALLY crappy weekend. A mysterious ailment sent him home from work yesterday and laid him out pretty much all day(he is a bit better now).

Then yesterday evening, as he was feeling well enough for a little computer time, the hard drive on his laptop picked that precise moment to drop stone dead. The Editor kids you not.

Since all the Editor currently has is his iPod Touch and Starbucks wi-fi, things will be rather sporadic around here until the Editor can figure something out.

UPDATE: Spoke too soon.  A full restore got the home unit back up and running but I don’t know how long that’s going to last.  So I’m still in the market for a new one.  And I’m feeling better.  Got a nap after the 500 this afternoon and I’ve actually got an appetite.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Formally-socialist Canada has more principles than yours does:

Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday. 

Canada’s right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost.

Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Ottawa had insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communiqué, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.

In the final communiqué, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, the leaders call for the immediate resumption of peace talks but do not mention 1967, the year Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six-Day War.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

You do know that you’re considered a joke, don’t you, freakshow?


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

A recent Gallup Poll indicated that over half of Americans have been discovered to be morons:

U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian. More specifically, over half of Americans (52%) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, including 35% who estimate that more than one in four are. Thirty percent put the figure at less than 15%.

The findings, from a Gallup poll conducted May 5-8, 2011, mark the second time Gallup has asked Americans to estimate the gay population. In 2002, Gallup used two separate questions to ask Americans to estimate the percentage of gay men and lesbians. At that time, Americans estimated that 21% of men were gay and that 22% of women were lesbian. Twice as many did not offer an opinion as do now.

There is little reliable evidence about what percentage of the U.S. population is in reality gay or lesbian, due to few representative surveys asking about sexual orientation, complexities surrounding the groups and definitions involved, and the probability that some gay and lesbian individuals may not choose to identify themselves as such. Demographer Gary Gates last month released a review of population-based surveys on the topic, estimating that 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, with bisexuals making up a slight majority of that figure. Gates also disputes the well-circulated statistic that “10% of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual.”

Americans’ current collective estimate — which is substantially higher than Gates suggests — is likely driven more by perceptions and exposure than by scientific measurement or reality.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments

What say we pay another visit to Roman Catholic turned Episcopalian turned God-only-knows-what-these-days Matthew Fox, or as some of us like to refer to him, Christianity’s Senile Grandfather?  What’s Matt been up to lately?  Quite a bit, actually.  Seems he’s got a book on Pope Benedict XVI coming out:

The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, and how the devastation the past two papacies has wrought can be a blessing in disguise to reinvent Christianity for a third millennium.

Matt’s got issues with Benedict.

An internationally acclaimed theologian who was a member of the Dominican Order for thirty-four years, Matthew Fox was forbidden to teach theology by the then-cardinal in 1988 and was later dismissed from the order. Now he presents insights from his twelve-year, up-close-and-personal battle with Ratzinger, tracing the historical roots of degradation in the Church and offering a new way to understand why Benedict XVI is mired in crisis as pope.

Serious issues.

Fox begins with Ratzinger’s life story as a youth and as an upcoming theologian at the Second Vatican Council as well as his “conversion” from progressive thinker to ecclesial climber and chief inquisitor. Also covered are eight of the 110 theologians that Ratzinger silenced and denounced. He next turns to Ratzinger’s allies—Opus Dei,

Cool!  Albino monks!

the Legion of Christ, and Communion and Liberation—three of the special groups that he praised and protected for years while attacking theologians and spiritual movements that did not fit his criteria of über right-wing politics and religiosity.

Let’s just say that you took your worst break-up WAY better than Matt took getting run from the Dominicans.

As Bruce Chilton points out in his Forward, I am not just a pundit; I am not a journalist per se.  I am a theologian. 

Of what, I have no idea.

As a theologian I am trying to ponder how the recent events of Catholic history can be seen through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Is there some good that come out of so much anguish, so much betrayal, so much disappointment with the false direction the church has taken under Pope John Paul II and Ratzinger?  And I come to a clear conclusion that Yes, the Holy Spirit is still at work in the events of deconstruction and reconstruction that are at hand.  It is time to restart the church.  Let many of its forms go; let them die as they are doing.

And then what?  Replace them with this hippie crap?

The fact that I stepped out of the Roman Catholic box so that I could think and act more true to my conscience some sixteen years ago gives me more freedom to tell the truth as I see it.  I know many Roman Catholic theologians and sisters and priests who are too busy looking over their shoulders, too engrossed in surviving in a closed system, too weighed down by the “chill” of heresy hunters to be able to speak their truth.  Since the Vatican used the Dominican Order to expel me some sixteen years ago, I am not part of that “chill” that has descended on theology in the church at this moment in history.

Matt’s old standby.  Mention all these people who agree with Matt but aren’t as brave as he is.  Doesn’t much matter whether they actually exist or not what with Matt being as religiously important as he is. 

Also, my work for forty-some years has been in spirituality, not in ecclesiology as such.  Thus my thirty books bring to the fore, I believe, the most important direction that religion needs to go in its reconstruction—that is spirituality, the experiential dimension of religion.   The mystical-prophetic tradition I have been recovering including the Cosmic Christ, Hildegard, Aquinas, Eckhart, Julian and others, together with today’s post-modern science, offers new and deeper expressions of healthy religion.  They are among the treasure to take from the burning building.

The old coot’s intellectually invested in this twaddle so I guess that’s why he doesn’t seem to realize that people with actual brains are laughing at him.

The fact that I relay my conversation with Fr. Schillebeeckx in which he used the “S” word is very important.  The “S” word rarely gets used these days but I think that Schism properly summarizes what the past two papacies have been about.  They deliberately turned their back on a valid Ecumenical Council and in doing so are in schism.  This means that its appointed cardinals and bishops are in schism. They do not represent the lineage of the church.  This opens up whole new possibilities of seeing the church anew.  All the Yes men and sycophants that have lined up at the papal trough for a piece of the power these recent decades are seen for what they are in their transparent reality.

Roman Catholic Church?  If you’re reading this, and I know you are, I’ve got your next American ad campaign for you.  “The Roman Catholic Church.  We’re so awesome that we can even split from ourselves!”

How would that work ontologically?  Did John Paul II nail up 95 theses somewhere and then excommunicate himself?  Or did Benedict posthumously excommunicate John Paul later and then go through that whole beatification thing to throw off the laity?

I mean, what’s the point of having a schism at all if people don’t know about it?  John Calvin didn’t write the Institutes and then file them away for safe keeping.  Still, I guess the Vatican had a lot on its plate the last decade or so what with ordering the election of George W. Bush in 2004.

When Ratzinger interfered in the US presidential election of 2004 by telling bishops to publicly announce that a Roman Catholic voter cannot vote for a politician (i.e. Kerry) who favors women’s choice and the vote of three states (Iowa, Ohio and New Mexico) was determined by that intervention as studies show, then the fact that the Vatican got Bush elected his second term is of concern for all.

The Vatican.  Ordered the election.  Of a United States president.  Who’s a Methodist.  Either you snackeral mappers are the craftiest people in the history of the world or you’re pretty much at the bottom of the World Domination Conspiracy standings and you’re looking at some long-term rebuilding.

Anyway, you get the idea.  Let’s see, what else?  The doddering old fool is posting theses again.  At the Vatican this time.  The following will give you some idea of how well that went for him.

I especially wonder if Stephano the filmer got the attack by the Vatican thugs of the second film maker on film?

Matt’s got a rich fantasy life, you have to give him that.

How right Barbara was about 1) Vatican police dictating orders to Roman police and 2) the thugs that are policing the Vatican these days. Just as I learned after my Wittenberg action how much darker the Vatican was than I had anticipated, so with this Italian, Roman, action, I learned how much darker still were the forces and veritable police state ruling not only Vatican City but, in many respects, Rome itself.  Penny Lernoux’ words are chilling: “Ratzinger is only a front man for the German-Polish mafia,” she said.  Or Barbara’s words: “The Vatican is run by a gang of mafia thugs.”

Told you my man has issues.

Our videographers and photographers were taking pictures of the police videographers and photographers and vice versa.  It was like a scene from old East Germany.  The Stasi.  That was the feeling emanating from the Vatican police.

Before we began, one man came up to me who was about 44 years old and said: “I no longer call myself a Catholic but simply a Christian.”

Nah, he was 46 if he was a day.

Their final act was to keep the thug Vatican cops demanding my papers engaged while one of their group quietly slipped away, came rapidly up to me and said “walk away fast” to the taxi stand at the side of the church.

Prolly cranked up some Judas Priest on the way back to the hotel, dincha?  “Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law…”  Anyhoo, emetic fans might enjoy this.  A megalomanical old fraud writes another megalomanaical old fraud.

Your book, Original Blessing, was the work that first brought you to my attention. It was in many ways a breathtaking book because it challenged the core of the primary interpretative Christian myth that proclaimed the basic fallen sinfulness of human life. That myth had been used historically primarily to enhance the power of the institutional church and its ordained hierarchy. In the service of that myth the church was destined first and foremost to be the dispenser of guilt. Someone has observed that the church “does guilt” more successfully does anything else, and guilt is, as one person noted. “ the gift that keeps on giving .”

To convince people of their on unworthiness is step one in creating a controlling mentality, especially when the church claims to be the only dispenser of forgiveness. It was also this definition of human life as fallen and hopeless that inspired the interpretation of the Christ as the Divine Rescuer. This, in turn, caused Christians to view the cross as a human sacrifice which would be pleasing to God who required a blood offering in order to restore the fallen world. It was and is a strange way to tell the story of the love of God found in Jesus Christ, but for centuries we Christians seemed to know no others. Finally, and in no small measure because of your work, we awakened to the reality that this way of proclaiming Christ presented us with a God more grotesque than worship worthy.

This gets even dumber so I’d stop right there if I were you.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

SCIENCE!! sure would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to keep telling people stuff:

Freedom of information laws are being misused to harass scientists and should be re-examined by the government, according to the president of the Royal Society.

Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.

“I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it’s intimidating.”

It was possible some requests were designed simply to stop scientists working rather than as a legitimate attempt to get research data, said Nurse. “It is essential that scientists are as open and transparent as possible and, where they are not, they should be held to account. But at times this appears to be being used as a tool to stop scientists doing their work. That’s going to turn us into glue. We are just not going to be able to operate efficiently.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Gosh, new DNC head Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is going to be fun:

In an emotional assault on the Republicans, new Democratic Party Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz today called the GOP agenda “anti-women” and “a war on women” that will backfire on Republicans in the 2012 election and provide a cushion for President Obama’s re-election bid.

 “It’s just so hard for me to grasp how they could be so anti-women as they are,” she said at a breakfast roundtable with reporters.

“The pushback and the guttural reaction from women against the Republican’s agenda out of the gate, the war on women that the Republicans have been waging since they took over the House, I think is going to not only restore but possibly helps us exceed the president’s margin of victory in the next election,” added the popular Florida congresswoman.

So Barry’s reelection’s a slam dunk as long as the GOP doesn’t use Israel as a campaign issue says Delty Wubberman-Shlass.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday met with representative delegates of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). But while the meeting was meant to shore up bipartisan support for Israel from American Jewish political organizations, it quickly became a partisan bickering match, with the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, using the platform to tell Republican Jews to stop doing what they’re doing.

The RJC used their opening remarks to say that now was a historical time for the future of the Middle East, and to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for meeting with them. But while the NJDC’s chairman said essentially the same thing, he was followed by hyper-partisan comments, first from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel and then from the DNC chair, Wasserman Schultz.

Oh and Schlubbie Dasserman-Weltz loves America so much that she drives a foreign car.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appears to drive a foreign car, despite criticizing Republican presidential candidates for supposedly favoring foreign auto manufacturers.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the DNC, ripped into Republican presidential contenders who opposed President Obama’s 2009 bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler.

“If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes,” she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.

But according to Florida motor vehicle records, the Wasserman Schultz household owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan, another Japanese company. The car appears to be hers, since its license plate includes her initials.

Comedy gold.  Keep her coming, Dems.

UPDATE: Dessie Schlubberman-Waltz is en fuego.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attacked the GOP presidential contenders on their own terms Thursday.

The Florida representative questioned just how dedicated they were to “American exceptionalism.”

Wasserman Schultz said she in no way was calling those GOP candidates unpatriotic, but that she doubted their commitment to the idea of U.S. exceptionalism. She also laid out a litany of policies she claims those GOP figures should have supported if they were that committed to the concept. 

“Why aren’t they supportive of closing tax loopholes to make sure that we cannot incentivize companies to ship jobs overseas?” she asked, riffing on a series of questions on the GOP’s policies on taxes, the auto industry and other issues. “These things — without them it would have prevented us from out-educating and out-innovating and out-competing our competitors in the global economy.

Says the driver of a Japanese car.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Because there’s a Satan.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

I know that Dead Gay Guys have absolute moral authority these days but I have to admit, yo, that I don’t believe a single word of this Andrew Brown Guardian story:

A meeting of Church of England bishops in York this week has broken up without agreement on whether gay clergy should ever be allowed to be chosen for promotion to bishoprics.

The leadership of the established church remains tied in knots over how far it can comply with the Equality Act in its treatment of gay people. Church lawyers have told the bishops that while they cannot take into account that someone is homosexual in considering them for preferment, they also cannot put forward clergy in active same-sex relationships and, even if they are celibate, must consider whether they can “act as a focus for unity” to their flocks if appointed to a diocese.

The fraught divisions have been laid bare in the leak of an anguished and devastating memorandum written by the Very Rev Colin Slee, the former dean of Southwark Cathedral, shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer last November. Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, and John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, vetoed candidates from becoming bishops of the south London diocese.

The document reveals shouting matches and arm-twisting by the archbishops to keep out the diocese’s preferred choices as bishop: Jeffrey John, the gay dean of St Albans, and Nicholas Holtam, rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, whose wife was divorced many years ago. Eventually Christopher Chessun, then an assistant bishop, was chosen.

Slee described Williams shouting and losing his temper in last year’s Southwark meeting, which left several members of the crown nomination committee, responsible for the selection of bishops, in tears.

“The archbishop of Canterbury was bad tempered throughout. When it came to voting, certainly two – possibly three – members were in tears and [Williams] made no acknowledgement but carried on regardless. At a critical point Archbishop Sentamu and three other members simultaneously went to the lavatory, after which the voting patterns changed.”

Rowan Williams made somebody cry and didn’t acknowledge it.  Right.  Me dating Pippa Middleton would be a more plausible statement, Andy.  Slee’s family basically accused Dr. Williams of killing him.

In a covering letter seen by the Guardian, Slee’s eldest daughter, Ruth, says: “Both my mother and I feel [his] hurt and anger were contributory to the cancer from which he died … this association is borne out by the medical timescale of his illness, but will never be known.”

Yeah, whatever.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago heads over the cliff:

When a new state law goes into effect June 1 that grants legal recognition to same-sex couples, clergy in the Diocese of Chicago are permitted to use a rite called “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Holy Union.”

The diocese has sent its clergy a 29-page document consisting of a theological reflection by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago; guidelines for solemnizing holy matrimony and holy unions; a question-and-answer discussion; and the rite itself.

This new program is entirely voluntary.  Nobody’s ever going to be forced to perform one of these things contrary to any moral reservations they might have about homosexual activity being a sin and stuff.  Cross the Diocese’s heart, hope the Diocese dies, stick a needle in the Diocese’s eyes.

Nevertheless, the guidelines preserve clergy’s prerogative to decline to solemnize any union: “It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Diocese to decline to solemnize any Marriage or Civil Union. Congregational guidelines regarding the solemnization of marriages and civil unions should be developed by the Member of the Clergy and congregational leaders. These guidelines should be clearly communicated with the congregation.”

Oh who is the Diocese kidding?  Crap on a stick, of course these ceremonies are going to be mandatory and no clergy will EVER be allowed to opt out for any reason.

The Q&A discussion says that clergy should not withhold a blessing ceremony based only on sexual orientation: “When it comes to Matrimony or the Blessing of a Holy Union, a priest may also refuse to offer the Church’s blessing to a couple because it is believed that the couple is incapable of entering into a relationship of lasting commitment as understood by our Church. However, these rites are never withheld because something basic to the very nature of the person has disqualified them, e.g., being a man, a woman, a gay person, a white person, a black person.”

Jeff Lee, if you need him.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

The Kirk augers in:

The Church of Scotland made the historic move last night of breaking away from hundreds of years of tradition by voting to consider allowing openly gay people to become ministers. The vote came at the end of a long and passionate debate at the General Assembly in Edinburgh.

Members also moved to allow ministers and deacons who were in same-sex relationships before 2009 to remain in the church and move parishes if they so wished.

The vote followed six-and-a-half hours of discussion on the Same-Sex Relationships and Ministry report that was delivered by a special commission set up in 2009, in the wake of a debate over whether the openly gay minister Scott Rennie should be allowed to be appointed to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen.

In the end, the Assembly voted by 351 to 294 to “consider further the lifting of the moratorium on acceptance for training and ordination of persons in a same-sex relationship”.

A theological commission was also instructed to prepare a report on the theological and practical applications of taking such a move and report back to the Assembly in 2013.

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