TOO SOON

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s always wrenching whenever anyone dies way too young.  What’s even more tragic is that some people were making Albert Pujols noises about this guy:

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and one of the top prospects of the past several seasons, died today in an auto accident in his native Dominican Republic, Dominican police confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

Taveras’ girlfriend also died in the crash, according to police in Puerto Plata.

The Dominican newspaper Listin Diario said the name of his girlfriend is Edilia Arvelo. She was 18.

TOLERANCE

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

A fable:

The Emperor summons before him Bodhidharma and asks: “Master, I have been tolerant of innumerable gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, transgender people, and Jews. How many Tolerance Points have I earned for my meritorious deeds?”

Bodhidharma answers: “None at all”.

The Emperor, somewhat put out, demands to know why not.

Bodhidharma asks: “Well, what do you think of gay people?”

The Emperor answers: “What do you think I am, some kind of homophobic bigot? Of course I have nothing against gay people!”

And Bodhidharma answers: “Thus do you gain no merit by tolerating them!”

If you love only those who love you…

IF SOMETHING EXISTS, IT WILL BE STUDIED (BILL’S 3rd LAW)

Friday, October 24th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Once again, I can’t claim to be a sleuth in locating the topic for this comment – it was on the front page of today’s “Dallas Morning News”. However, it is a *real* news item, giving me the chance to subject it to some choice commentary.

“DATING RIFE WITH ABUSE, TEENS SAY”
FROM WIRE REPORTS
More than 60% report psychological torment, nearly 20% physical

NEW YORK — From violence to verbal taunts, abusive dating behavior is pervasive among America’s adolescents, according to a new, federally funded survey. It says a majority of boys and girls who date describe themselves as both victims and perpetrators.

Thank goodness for “new, Federally funded surveys.” It never, never would have occurred to me that teen dating could have any problems. Raging hormones, developing personalities – no chance that there will be any untoward complications when Frank Hardy goes out on a date with Nancy Drew. They’ve got *hours* of experience with this kind of thing. And dating is something new, isn’t it? No one did it back in the 70′s, 50′s, 20′s……………. right? Teens pairing off for social activities is a concept so recent it needed to be evaluated. Don’t waste good research money on something useless, like funding cancer research.


Nearly 20 percent of both boys and girls reported themselves as victims of physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. The researchers, however, reported what they called a startling finding when they asked about psychological abuse, broadly defined as actions ranging from name-calling to excessive tracking of a victim. More than 60 percent of each gender reported being victims and perpetrators of such behavior.

True physical and sexual abuse (beatings, rape) are wrong, terrible, and need to be addressed seriously. But note how having seen that such behavior isn’t the “norm” ( 4 out of 5 relationships are free of abuse) the researchers promptly move from cold reality to mere speculation. They cite “psychological abuse” – things like name-calling. So, if Frank is less than happy with how his dinner and a movie with Nancy went, if he says to her “you sure weren’t a ‘fancy’ date, Nancy” he should promptly be hauled away to the (Background music of tiny violins) “how not to ever, ever ever: bruise, tear, wound, harm, scare, stifle, frustrate, handicap, erode, fracture, suffocate, or otherwise damage someone’s iddy-biddy-ego ward of Bellevue.

Now for the “money quote”:

Elizabeth Mumford, one of the two lead researchers for the survey, acknowledged that some of the behaviors defined as psychological abuse — such as insults and accusations of flirting — are commonplace but said they shouldn’t be viewed as harmless. “None of these things are healthy interactions,” she said. “It’s almost more of a concern that our gut reaction is to accept this as natural.”

“It’s a concern that our gut reaction is to accept this as natural.” Not to me, sweetie. I trust my instincts; they’ve saved me from many a stupid decision, because those instincts that you’re inclined to sweep aside have taken a long time to develop, and are based on a wealth of accumulated information and experience. It’s our “gut reactions” to what is right and wrong that keeps this crazy world on somewhat of an upright bearing – there just isn’t time to deliberate every decision that needs to be made.

But wait – for those who order now, you can get TWICE the amazement! Who, in the name of Clearasil, is spending precious money on “its campaigns (sic) against teen dating violence?”

a) The American Psychological Association
b) Boys & Girls Clubs of America
c) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
d) The Associated YMCA’s/YWCA’s

If you chose “c”, ding-ding-ding-ding-ding – you’re a loser! Yes, the organization now wailing about insufficient funding for Ebola already blew some of its budget figuring out what can be discovered from a five-minute talk with just about anyone between ages 13 and 18 – dating isn’t easy, and can lead to frustration and disappointments.

I do believe in full disclosure – The CDC didn’t pay for this study, but it does fund “campaigns”:


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its campaigns against teen dating violence, also stresses the potential seriousness of psychological abuse.

Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, the National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, a prominent research center which provided preliminary results to The Associated Press.

Here’s news for you, scientists with nothing better to do than perform surveys like this one:

Life isn’t easy, and can lead to frustrations and disappointments.

(The author hereby certifies that he did not arrive at the above conclusion by means of any research, study, or investigation; it is a “gut reaction.”)

Bill (not IB)

HAS THERE BEEN ANOTHER KARDASHIAN DIVORCE/MARRIAGE?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Let it never be said that I’m unwilling to take a cheap shot at an easy target. (I watched lots of TV in the 60′s, and loved the Banana Splits!)

“More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.” (nudge nudge, wink wink)

From the New York Times:

A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.

The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation at the same time as investigators sought to retrace his steps over the past several days.

At least three people he had contact with have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.

Bill (not IB)

EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF IS BROUGHT TO DESOLATION; AND EVERY CITY OR HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF SHALL NOT STAND

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

I wish I could say that I’m a great researcher, digging out important stories from obscure corners of the Internet.

But – that would, in most cases, be a complete lie. Because there are lots of other folks who locate the “dirt of the day”, and all that’s left to do is to give them kudo’s for their efforts, and copy what they’ve found.

In this case, Arnie at BCF (Blazing Cat Fur, the husband of Kathy Shaidle of ‘Five Feet of Fury’) has reported on how once again, TEC has managed to find a “fitting” use for one of its “surplus” churches.


“Former Connecticut church sold for benefit of local Muslim community”

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) has sold its property at 35 Harris Road, Avon, former home to Christ Episcopal Church, to the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. (FVAMC).

The sale, for $1.1 million, was completed on Oct. 21.

The building was vacated after the congregation voted in 2012 to dissolve as a parish and close by the end of that year.

The following spring, Bishop Ian T. Douglas and other ECCT staff hosted a meeting of community leaders and interested residents to discern how the property could best be used “as an asset to God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation” in greater Avon and beyond.

At the meeting they learned that the local Muslim community needed a place to gather for prayers, teaching, youth programs and interfaith work. In September 2013, the ECCT entered into an interfaith partnership with FVAMC that included leasing the Avon building.

Since then the FVAMC has reached out to its neighbors with open houses and other interfaith efforts, expanded its worship and service work, and grown its programs, particularly for youth.

The several committees of the ECCT needed to approve the sale gave it their solid endorsement and support.

Both ECCT and the FVAMC share the understanding that the sale isn’t the end of their relationship but the beginning of a new phase in this interfaith collaboration…

Thank goodness for the generosity of TEC; it’s a certainty that there were *no* Christian churches that could have made use of the building, and we all know how blasphemous endeavors interfaith efforts are the very pinnacle of re-purposing “Christian” facilities.

Bill (not IB)

END OF THE LINE?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Philip Jenkins asks the last Episcopalian to turn out the lights:

I’m doing a little math, and the consequences are troubling.

My own Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) just released its annual statistics, showing a rate of decline that would be truly amazing if it were at all unexpected. Between 2012 and 2013, the denomination’s membership fell by 1.4 percent, to 1.87 million, while Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) fell by 2.6 percent. Those percentages may not sound like much, until you realize that these are figures for a single year, and they closely echo the percentage drops for several preceding years. (I discussed these broader trends at this site back in 2012). The report received a “nothing special” headline at Episcopal Cafe, “Rate of decline in Sunday attendance little changed from recent years.”

But here’s my mathematical point. Obviously, those rates are not going to carry on year after year, precisely as in the past decade or so. Sometimes they will be lower than that, sometimes higher. But for the sake of argument, assume that the rates for recent years do continue more or less unchecked.

If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. We might need a new vocabulary of religious decline. How about church evaporation?

That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s.

Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance.

In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today.

You know what’s funny?  For the last several years, studies similar to this one have assured us again and again that the reason why the Young PeopleTM no longer identify as Christians to the extent that they once did is that they don’t share the outmoded, retrograde attitudes of their parents or their churches on social issues such as abortion, women in leadership roles, duh gaze, etc.

Frankly, I’m starting to doubt the validity of those studies.  Because if they were true, would it not follow that the Episcopalians would be cleaning up?  That you’d have to make a reservation weeks in advance just to be allowed inside an Episcopal church?

Because Episcopalians pretty much have the whole leftist package.  They look Catholic…ish  with their bishops who wear pointy hats and carry hooked sticks.  Lots of these bishops are women and a couple have even been gay.

The only time they ever talk about sin is when they’re dealing with a sin none of them commit, like racism.  Otherwise, they’re never in-your-face about who you’re hooking up with or why you’re hooking up with them.

Yet the Episcopalians are dying.  Go figure.

TEXAS?

Monday, October 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Yeah, here’s the thing.  If you actually elect this broad as your governor, I’m pretty much done with you:

It wasn’t enough for Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor of Texas, to claim that her opponent — who is wheelchair-bound — doesn’t care about disabled people. Now she and her campaign are claiming that Abbott might also want to ban interracial marriage.

There’s only one problem: Abbott’s wife Cecilia is Hispanic.

This new campaign tack from Wendy Davis — accusing the guy whose wife is Hispanic of maybe wanting to ban interracial marriage — was roundly mocked by pretty much everyone on Twitter within minutes of the attack going out.

DEAR LORD

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 41 Comments

I know that I ask You for a lot of unserious stuff (another job before I die, some kind of two-by-four-upside-the-head guidance about what I’m supposed to do with myself between now and checkout time, etc.).  But if you could somehow find it in Your heart to keep Mississippi and Mississippi State  unbeaten until they meet on November 29th, I’d really appreciate it.  That game’s going to be EPIC.

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON ME; FOOL ME TWICE…………………

Friday, October 17th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 68 Comments

There are some things that aren’t really “funny” in a way that lends itself to satire or fisking (or at least that’s so IMHO.) One of these is Ebola; it’s a terrible disease, and deserves serious consideration and a “no kidding around” approach. I’ve read extensively on the 1917-1918 influenza pandemic; I had family that died from that far-flung flu, and if you want to be truly scared of what contagious disease can do to civilization, just pick up a copy of “The Great Influenza” by John Barry.

But still –

Two nurses have tested positive for Ebola here in Dallas, after we’d been told over and over again that “It’s really, really, really unlikely that anyone will catch Ebola from an infected person, unless they have sex or use the same needle for injections.”

Result – Center for Disease Control: mud on face, score 0-2.

The second case involved a nurse flying on a commercial aircraft just hours before checking into the hospital – and she was OK’d by the CDC to board that aircraft. No worries, eh? Never mind that the 150 or so other passengers are now being asked to voluntarily kind of quarantine themselves, and they’re all likely to be pretty scared people right now.

Fortunately, another country has a better handle on what to do in case someone with exposure to Ebola wants entry to their borders: Mexico.

Carnival cruise ship with possible Ebola case turned away from Cozumel

“A Texas health care worker who reportedly handled samples from Ebola patient Thomas Duncan is under quarantine aboard a Carnival Cruise ship. As a result, the ship was not allowed to dock in Belize.”

I sure hope that said health care worker DOESN’T have Ebola. Because being on board a ship with a diseased individual is bad, quarantine or no quarantine.

I’m afraid that this is our [very near] future – not from the Carnival ship, but from the repeated and significant blunders being made:

“On June 30, 1918, the British freighter Exeter docked at Philadelphia after a brief hold at a maritime quarantine station. She was laced with deadly disease, but the civilian surgeon general and head of the U.S. Public Health Service had issued no instructions to the maritime service to hold influenza-ridden ships. So she was released.”

(Sound familiar at all like the CDC’s current fiasco?)

“Nevertheless, the condition of the crew was so frightening that the British consul had arranged in advance for the ship to be met at a wharf empty of anything except ambulances whose drivers wore surgical masks. Dozens of crew members in “desperate condition” were taken immediately to Pennsylvania Hospital where ……. one after another, more crew members died.”

Bill (not IB)

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 61 Comments

This article speaks for itself (please read the whole thing). All those who have said “churches won’t be affected by anti-discrimination laws” – you were wrong.

City of Houston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons

Bill (not IB)

ON THE OTHER HAND…

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

For those who think that Pope Francis is an Episcopalian in Catholic drag, there’s this:

Pope Francis has signalled his blessing to the breakaway traditionalist American church at the centre of the split which has divided the 80 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of sexuality.

He sent a message offering his “prayers and support” to Archbishop Foley Beach, the new leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the conservative movement which broke away from The Episcopal Church after the ordination of the first openly gay bishop.

His message underlines the pressure facing the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, as he attempts to avert a formal schism in worldwide Anglicanism.

That ship has sailed, Your Grace.

The message from Pope Francis was delivered during the service by the Rt Rev Gregory Venables, the Anglican bishop of Argentina, who had a long-standing friendship with his former Roman Catholic counterpart, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, until his election as pope.

Bishop Venables, told how he was recovering from a severe illness earlier this year when he had a telephone call from an Argentine man who introduced himself as “Francis”.

To laughter from the congregation, he explained that he had responded: “Francis who?”

“He said, with a wonderful degree of humility and patience, ‘no it’s Father Jorge’,” the bishop explained.

He went on: “He asked me this evening … in fact he wrote to me just a few days ago and said when you go to the United States please, in my name, give my personal congratulations and greetings to Archbishop Foley.

“Assure him of my prayers and support at this moment and in the future as he leads the Church at this very important moment of revival and mission.”

ROMAN CATHOLICS?

Monday, October 13th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 175 Comments

I have a serious question for which I’d like a serious answer.  And I’m not going to provide any commentary of my own just yet; I’m much more interested in what you guys think.  But should we flying buttresses of the Catholic Church, to borrow Churchill’s analogy, start seriously worrying right about now?

In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of their marriage, or rather how it is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of the Church. In this respect, a significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of Vatican Council II, which, while it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure … these elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen Gentium, 8).

Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man (cf. Jn 1,9; cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings.

In this respect, a new dimension of today’s family pastoral consists of accepting the reality of civil marriage and also cohabitation, taking into account the due differences. Indeed, when a union reaches a notable level of stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, responsibility with regard to offspring, and capacity to withstand tests, it may be seen as a germ to be accompanied in development towards the sacrament of marriage. Very often, however, cohabitation is established not with a view to a possible future marriage, but rather without any intention of establishing an institutionally-recognized relationship.

In the West as well there is an increasingly large number of those who, having lived together for a long period of time, ask to be married in the Church. Simple cohabitation is often a choice inspired by a general attitude, which is opposed to institutions and definitive undertakings, but also while waiting for a secure existence (a steady job and income). In other countries common-law marriages are very numerous, not because of a rejection of Christian values as regards the family and matrimony, but, above all, because getting married is a luxury, so that material poverty encourages people to live in common-law marriages. Furthermore in such unions it is possible to grasp authentic family values or at least the wish for them. Pastoral accompaniment should always start from these positive aspects.

Various Fathers underlined the necessity to make the recognition of cases of nullity more accessible and flexible. Among the propositions were the abandonment of the need for the double conforming sentence; the possibility of establishing an administrative means under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop; a summary process to be used in cases of clear nullity. According to authoritative propositions, the possibility should then be considered of giving weight to the faith of those about to be married in terms of the validity of the sacrament of marriage. It needs to emphasized that in all these cases it is about the ascertaining of the truth over the validity of the obstacle.

As regards matrimonial suits, the speeding-up of the procedure, requested by many, as well as the preparation of a sufficient number of operators, clerics and lay people, dedicating themselves to this, requires an increase in the responsibilities of the diocesan bishop, who in his diocese might charge a specially trained priest who would be able to offer the parties advice on the validity of their marriage.

In the same way the situation of the divorced who have remarried demands a careful discernment and an accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against. For the Christian community looking after them is not a weakening of its faith and its testimony to the indissolubility of marriage, but rather it expresses precisely its charity in its caring.

As regards the possibility of partaking of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, some argued in favor of the present regulations because of their theological foundation, others were in favor of a greater opening on very precise conditions when dealing with situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering. For some, partaking of the sacraments might occur were it preceded by a penitential path – under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop –, and with a clear undertaking in favor of the children. This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.

Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

DEAR TEXAS

Saturday, October 11th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

It’s no secret that a great many Americans admire you.  Here in Missouri, we take a particularly proprietary interest in you since one of our own, Moses Austin, conceived of the idea of you but died soon after, leaving his Missouri-raised son, Stephen F. Austin, to see to your birth and give his surname to your capital.  And The Raven, Marquis James’ biography of Sam Houston, is the Editor’s favorite book that isn’t the Bible.

But here’s the deal, Texas.  If you actually elect this particularly loathsome piece of crap as your governor, lots and lots of us are going to rethink our opinions of you.

Just so you know.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Friday, October 10th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 51 Comments

The Episcopal parish I grew up in was a pretty liberal place.  The rector there backed the homosexuals long before anybody else in the Episcopal Church did, which is actually pretty impressive.  His ordained wife, whose job title was, for obvious reasons, “associate rector,” was even more liberal than he was as well as one of the worst preachers whose sermons I ever had the misfortune to have to sit through.

Anyway, my doubts about my church, as well as the whole Anglican enterprise, began rather early in my life.  Since I read as much of the Bible as I felt like reading rather than whatever the lectionary told me to read, I could and regularly did easily refute whatever bumper stickers I heard coming from the pulpit.  “Damn,” I thought.  “I’m smarter than ‘ordained’ people are.”  In a backhanded way, the lefties at my former parish made me what I am today.

If you’d like to know what that feels like, take a free run at Alan Wilson, the Anglican Bishop of Buckingham, who thinks that Biblical objections to homosexual marriage are ridiculous.  How does Al get things rolling?  By talking out of his own ass for a while:

People used to talk in a rather crude and basic way about “sex acts” as though the scope of sexuality was exhausted by a list of behaviours. It regarded sexuality as a kind of “X” factor that kicked in on the way to bed, and could be described using euphemisms such as “homosexual genital acts”. This terminology is vague, stupid and inadequate. It implies that only the particular things that people do have a sexual dimension to them.

So my dream of one day becoming a lesbian is back on the table?  SWEET.

It would be far more accurate to see all behaviour as having a sexual dimension to some degree. Euphemisms about homosexuality are often confusing and vague. They break down when expressed in anger. Furious letters are penned to supporters of gay rights, denouncing them for trying to be kind but “encouraging buggery”. The last word is written in large capital letters, underlined with stabbing motions until it goes through the paper.

In Al’s fantasy world, anyway.

The evidence is, however, that the majority of gay people do not engage in anal sex, while a significant proportion of straight couples do. Allowing the wrongness of anal sex, those who wish to suppress it would do far better to focus their energies on the 85% of those who practise it who are not gay than to make it the defining characteristic of gay people in order to try and stir up disgust against them.

“Citation needed,” as Wikipedia might say.  You know this how, Al?  Where’s the study that claims this?  Provide a link to it.  Otherwise, people with functional intelligences are going to believe that you lied through your teeth made up a patently ridiculous “fact” out of whole cloth that you need to be true and so you assert that it is.

But I think Al figured he was getting way off the track because he then proceeds to the core of his “argument.”  You want “biblical marriage,” bigots?  Here’s “biblical marriage.”

Nor is it clear what we should mean by “biblical marriage”. Generally speaking, Old Testament marriage customs and mores reflect the social mores of the people in the story. Adam and Eve sound like the original simple nuclear family, one plus one for life. In a way, that was all they could be, since they were the only two people in the world at the time.

Alan Wilson.  Creationist.

In Genesis 38, Levirate marriage comes on the scene. This is the involuntary marriage of a man to his brother’s widow in order to continue the line. This kind of marriage was still theoretically current enough in Jesus’s day for it to be the basis of a question the Sadducees asked him about a bride, seven brothers and resurrection (Matthew 22:23–32).

Deuteronomy institutes another involuntary form of marriage. A virgin automatically becomes the wife of her rapist, who is then required to pay the victim’s father 50 shekels for the loss of his property rights. Unlike other Old Testament marriages, these are held to be indissoluble.

In Numbers 31:17–18 we find another form of involuntary marriage. A male soldier is entitled to take as many virgins as he likes for his wives from among his booty, but must kill his other prisoners. In Deuteronomy 21:11–14, marriage is made by selecting a beautiful woman from among the spoils of war, shaving her head and paring her nails. These marriages are dissoluble if she fails to please, but the woman is no longer saleable. Throughout much of the Old Testament, marriage does not require sexual exclusivity. Concubines are allowed, alongside wives. Abraham had only two concubines, where Solomon had 300, along with his 700 wives.

The basic principle of these relationships is that if a woman’s father pays a man to take her away, she is his wife. If he pays her father to take her away, she is his concubine.

None of these arrangements, except perhaps that enjoyed by Adam and Eve, would be recognised as marriage today. Pretending that the church’s present stance is biblical is not going to fool anyone who doesn’t want to be fooled, and fewer and fewer people do.

Except that you just said that “the church’s present stance is biblical,” Al.  You know, Adam, man, Eve, woman.

But how would you, the readers at home, refute all that?  I see three ways.

(1) Nobody does that sort of thing any more, Al, and if they did, I’d be in favor of coming down on them like a ton of bricks, Bible or no Bible.

(2) Congratulations, Al.  You’ve just made it impossible for you to say no when Bob, Carol, Alice, Betty, Sue Ann, Deidre, Patty, Elise, Hannah, Allison, Paige, another Deirdre, Kendra, a second Betty, two Talias and a Roberta show up one day and want to get “married.”  What with Solomon having 700 wives and 300 concubines and stuff.

But I think that the most elegant answer to Alan Wilson would be from Christ Himself.

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for justany reason?”

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who madethem at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

Why are all those variations of “marriage” still in the Bible, Alan?  Here’s why.

He said to them, “Moses, because of the

Say it with me.

HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS

BOO-yah.

permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

It’s time to move on when you know this stuff better than they do.

BALLGAME, THANKS FOR PLAYING

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Although he denies doing so, Justin Welby just implicitly admitted that the Lambeth Conference, the single most important meeting in the Anglican tradition, is dead:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has responded to inaccurate media reports that the Lambeth Conference had been cancelled by saying, “As it hasn’t been called, it can’t have been cancelled”.

Speaking to the BBC’s William Crawley, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion said the historic meeting of bishops from around the world would take place sometime after the primates* had met together.

“When I was installed in Canterbury as archbishop I met all the primates, they all came to that, and I said to them that I would visit all of them in their own country which, God willing, I will have done by the end of this November, and that at the end of that we would consult together about when to have a Lambeth Conference.”

Archbishop Welby, who is also primate of the Church of England, stressed that, “The next Lambeth Conference needs to be called collegially by the primates, together with real ownership of the agenda and a real sense of what we’re trying to do with such a large effort, such cost. So when we meet as primates, which I hope we will do…with reasonable notice after the end of [the visits to all the primates], then we will decide together on the details.”

Your Grace?  Let me tell you how that primate’s meeting, if it happens, will play out.

WESTERN LIBERAL PRIMATES – “Sure, we’d love to attend another Lambeth Conference.  Provided, of course, that it is structured in exactly the same way as Rowan Williams’ 2008 Real African Word Lambeth Conference was, whatever resolutions emerge from it are vague, meaningless and nothing that could even be remotely construed as “Anglican teaching.”

THIRD WORLD AND CONSERVATIVE PRIMATES – “Another Lambeth Conference?  Sounds like a great idea.  Provided, of course, that you drop Dr. Williams’ Real African Word conceit and commit the Conference to make some actual decisions with teeth to them.  Otherwise, we’ve got GAFCON to fall back on which you’re welcome to attend whenever the mood strikes you.”

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