Friday, March 28th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

One of the greatest mysteries is why Hollywood hates Christians so much (actually, it’s not a mystery at all but play along anyway).  Christians spend the same money everybody else does.  And as The Passion of the Christ demonstrated, if Christians are presented with a well-made movie that simply tells the story and that respects them and their faith, they will quite happily make some filmmaker a BOATLOAD of jack.

Hollywood, you’ll recall, has made two sets of Spiderman movies within about a decade.  Christopher Nolan’s excellent Batman series, the second, is over but don’t be the least bit surprised if another studio or director rolls out a third very soon.  And it would not shock me at all if someone took another run at The Lord of the Rings.

Big-time showbiz, then, is out of ideas which is why it’s periodically forced back to the Bible from time to time.  A “Biblical” movie, Noah, debuts soon.  Will I see it, either at the theater, on DVD or Blu-Ray or downloaded?  Are you kidding me?  If Ben Shapiro is accurate, this thing seems to have been created by an Episcopalian on crack.  How does Shapiro hate Noah?  Here are several of his ways:

The story goes something like this: incipient Jedi master Noah is tasked with keeping the earth safe from the clutches of the encroaching and exploitative Emperor, Tubal-Cain; Tubal-Cain, aka Avatar’s Colonel Miles Quaritch, seeks to murder Noah and his family (a la Avatar’s Na’vi) and destroy the planet’s animals and resources; the Jedi, aided by Treebeard’s rock-cousins, the Nephilim, build an Ark; Yoda Methuselah helps Noah find his path, and also magically heals infertility; the flood comes; Jedi Noah considers becoming a homicidal maniac. If this sounds like the Bible to you, complete with magical gold-like material that creates energy and rock monsters that contain fallen angels, then this movie is for you.

You all remember the rock monsters from Sunday school.  Right?

Yes, Treebeard’s slag cousins show up here, this time in the form of supposed fallen angels imprisoned in their stone bodies as a punishment for helping humanity. They talk like Treebeard. They walk like Treebeard. And they kill villains like Treebeard. These were supposed be the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4. Those Nephilim, however, were not giant rock people tasked with bludgeoning legions of humans.

Remember all the rumors about how this thing was going to be some kind of environmentalist fable?  Those rumors seem to have been absolutely spot on.

In this version of the Noah story, the sins of mankind that require Godly extirpation are not chiefly sexual immorality or idolatry or murder. They are environmental. Tubal-Cain’s motto is that he will do everything he can to allow humanity to survive: “Damned if I don’t do what it takes. Damned if I don’t take what I want.” As the villain of the film, he paraphrases Genesis 1:26, in which God gives dominion over nature to mankind and says that man is made in God’s image. Noah, meanwhile, believes – we are supposed to agree with him – that man has destroyed Eden because he is exploitative and brutish. Because man has sinned against nature itself, man must be destroyed.

I don’t know where Aronofsky got the following twaddle.  James Cameron, maybe?

Noah wanders the earth with his family in search of Methuselah’s mountain, and stumbles on a mining operation designed to uncover “zohar,” a magical substance that acts essentially like oil. The primitive fracking operation that has uncovered this zohar is seen as a disastrous environmental degradation.

Then there’s the whole, “Maybe Hitler wasn’t ambitious enough” idea.

Because man has destroyed nature and therefore deserves to be destroyed, Noah is left in the odd position of saving his family alongside the animals. That’s odd because Noah and family are also humans – humans who have also exploited nature in order to survive. In the Biblical narrative, God saves Noah because he is not immoral – because he walks with God. In the Noah story, God chooses Noah because Noah supposedly has the strength to do away with all of humanity. God chooses Hitler. What Aronofsky never quite explains is why God rewards Noah for failing in his mission – and why, if humanity was meant to survive and Noah’s children will be sinners, God doesn’t just send a couple cases of TB to finish off the job. Instead, Aronofsky’s Noah sits by idly while the last of the humans drown just yards from his boat, screaming pitifully. Then he proceeds to consider whether or not to demolish his own kids.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Erick Erickson thinks Noah is one of the funniest movies he’s ever seen.  Over on the left, Jay Michaelson thinks that Christian fundies will absolutely hate this flick which is why it’s great Noah is “nuanced.”

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is, in contrast, an exercise in complexity. Its title character is being marketed as your standard Russell Crowe action hero—Gladiator, the Prequel. In fact, he is tortured, obsessive, wounded, and deeply flawed. He ends up being the villain of his own story, eager for humanity to be wiped out.

No, this kind of hero—corny, shallow, stupid, unrelatable, and flattening of the beautiful and horrible complexity of the human experience—is not specific to any religious tradition. It is specific, rather, to a particular unsophistication of taste and simplicity of intellect, both attributes that are affirmatively praised by many religious fundamentalists. Simple faith, simple values, common sense, old time religion. 

In this reading, Noah has to be a good, simple guy because he’s a hero (in Christian readings of the Bible anyway—Jews were always more ambivalent about him) and therefore he can’t be seen getting in knock-down, drag-out fights with his sons. Good people don’t do that. And of course, Jesus can’t be tempted by sins of the flesh—even though the Bible itself suggests that he might’ve been.

While Brook Wilensky-Lanford observes:

So after all this hubbub I was eager to see for myself just exactly what Aronofsky’s Ark did contain. The answers were just as fantastical as I had hoped: a terrifying burnt-out post-paradise landscape, a feverish retelling of the necessary prehistory that gets boiled down to just three shots: snake; apple; fist of Cain. An invisible God, never named as such but always called “The Creator” or “him”, a jolly if terrifying Methuselah, has in his possession magical seeds from Eden that grow an entire forest for Noah to chop down and build the Ark. Giant benevolent fallen angels trying to redeem themselves after being turned into stone for failing to protect Adam and Eve. It’s even got intelligent female characters, conjured from nearly nothing in the text, and a believable backstory for Ham, the cursed son.

All of these directorial choices required thoughtful religious research, but were deployed without the tone-deafness of Biblical propaganda. (With the exception of villain Tubal-Cain, representative of all that God found worthy of drowning, who says things like “It is man who decides when he will live and when he will die.” But you gotta have one, right?) If Aronofsky’s movie tests the proposition that there is room in American pop culture for a movie that is biblical without being religious, I say he succeeds. But of course it’s this weekend’s box-office numbers that will have the last word.

Bottom line?  This turkey’s going to tank in a major way.

So why make Noah in the first place?  I can think of only two possible explanations.  The first is to sabotage the idea that Biblical movies can make money.  “See?!  We made Noah and nobody cared!  So stop bugging us to film more of this fundie crap!”

The other explanation is simpler and I believe correct.  As far as American professional show-biz is concerned, serious and committed Christians might as well be space aliens.


Thursday, March 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 54 Comments

Do I have to draw you a damn picture?

The Church of England will provide no more resistance to gay marriage among churchgoers, the Archbishop of Canterbury revealed last night.

Gay marriage becomes legal tomorrow and thousands of ceremonies are planned across the country from one minute past midnight onwards.

Changing the law has caused bitter divisions within the church.

Last month, bishops attempted to ban clergy from marrying same-sex partners, provoking a backlash among Christian supporters of the change.

However, in a shift in tone, Archbishop Justin Welby tells the Guardian today, “I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.”


Thursday, March 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Christian Piatt has come up with five reasons why, regardless of your denomination, your church’s senior minister not only should be but must be a woman.  They’re all stupid so caveat emptor and all that:

Many people beyond the walls of institutional religion either have bad personal experience with organized religion or harbor a negative perception based on the way religious leaders are presented in the media. It’s not that a woman can’t lie, steal, or commit acts of sexual impropriety the way men do. But seeing a woman in a position of top leadership can help challenge, and even break down, some of those preconceptions for the skeptics among us.

Kind of not the reason why ministers get called to churches anywhere.  And if you want to get nasty about it, Katharine Jefferts Schori, after having never ever been a parish priest, once knowingly allowed a child molester to work in the Diocese of Nevada.

Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, a regional minister for the United Church of Christ, told me, “As a woman and a feminist, I am more inclined to empathize with other oppressed groups and appreciate feminist, womanist, liberationist theology.” Yes, men can have compassion for people and groups who have been historically oppressed or denied equality, but empathy emanates from shared experience.

Um…what?!!  Everybody knows that the only reason Jozef de Veuster went to Molokai in the first place was because of the surfing.  Yeah, yeah, Father Damien did a good job.  But if the Roman Catholic Church had only been enlightened enough to send a female priest out there, that work would have been REALLY impressive.

Fellow author and ordained Presbyterian pastor Rev. Carol Howard Merritt noted that Christians have cleary been interpreting scripture from a predominantly male point of view for a long time. As such, we run the risk of missing some inherent biases in how we tell and explain biblical stories.

And the gals don’t have “inherent biases?”  I have to admit, Chris 3.1416att, that I’m having a difficult time understanding why I should remain connected to any organization that basically hates me.

A Gallup poll conducted a couple of years ago found that 47 percent of women surveyed in the U.S. claim regular church attendance — compared to 39 percent of men. Author Sarah Thebarge, director of communications at Imago Dei, a nondenominational Christian church in Portland, put it this way: “Most congregations are more than 50 percent female, so [women pastors] have the advantage of being able to identify with more parishioners’ gender.” Having a woman in the lead helps assure women who attend that their pastor understands their daily experiences in a deeper, personal way.

So.  The way to get more men into church pews or keep the ones who are already there from deciding to sleep in on Sunday mornings and start spending their pledges on booze is to communicate to them that their “daily experiences” no longer mean jack squat?

We tend to think of God in traditionally masculine terms, though many churches have made strides by using more inclusive language. Still, actively imagining the more feminine qualities of the Divine is another thing entirely. “A woman minister,” said Rev. Lund, “can offer insight into the feminine image of God that informs the Trinity in both female language for God in the Bible (God described as a mother hen, ancient images of nursing mother God) and in Sophia Wisdom.”

The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund of the United Church of the Zeitgeist, if you need her.  This, of course, is one of the countless examples of why my default position on anything written by “The Rev. Dr.” Anybody is intense skepticism. 

For my part, I’m having a tough time wrapping my elderly brain around the fact that one part of the Trinity repeatedly referred to a second part of the Trinity as “Father.”  But that’s probably because of the Patriarchy and crap.


Thursday, March 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Rachel Held Evans, whoever she is, was disappointed by World Vision (US)’s reversal on allowing the hiring of the same-sex married.  REALLY disappointed:

For those of you who donated, thank you. That money will be put to good use, I assure you. But I am deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to a decision that would ultimately be reversed. Though I certainly hope everyone who sponsored a child or made a donation will continue to support World Vision, I can see how this effort would make you feel betrayed, as though it were launched under false pretense. And I’m so, so sorry for that. I’m as surprised by all this as you are.

This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side. 

Sucks to be you, kid.

World Vision (US)’s policy shift and its subsequent, frantic, “Never mind,” might be one of the greatest public relations disasters since New Coke or Rowan Williams’ archbishopric.  If this story is accurate, World Vision (US)’s board seems to have contemplated making this change for quite some time.  And the following paragraph:

Stearns expects the board to continue to deal with questions about employment and same-sex relationships. “I think every Christian organization will continue to deal with this sensitive issue,” he said. “The board will continue to talk about this issue for many board meetings to come. … We need to have a process to do further and wider consultation with key Christian leaders around the country, and we will be discussing how that can happen.”

suggests that the board was taken completely by surprise by the resulting firestorm and tried to cover its ass while intending to continue to look for a way to slide this policy change in under the radar at some point in the future.

But the fact remains that your allegedly-Christian organization cannot claim to uphold a set of beliefs while regarding blatant contradictions of those beliefs by your employees as matters of indifference or mere “disagreement” and most intelligent people understand that.  So as a result of this incomprehensibly inept PR train wreck, I don’t think that the Christian left or the Christian right will ever completely trust World Vision (US) again.


Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Another “Christian” ministry surrenders to the Zeitgeist:

World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.

Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.

Oh, sweet mother of…

“Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues,” he said. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”

Face?  Palm?  You know the drill.

“It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there,” he said. “This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.”

“We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us,” said Stearns. “This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.”

Give me a break, Stearnsie.  Quick question.  If you weren’t under some kind of pressure, if some group or other wasn’t threatening to sue you, then WHY MAKE THE POLICY CHANGE AT ALL?!!

While we’re on the subject of slippery slopes there, Stearnsie, what are you going to tell a potential employee who wants a job with World Vision but tells you that he’s a devout Christian who’s living with and currently banging three women on a regular basis?  After all, “the global church” hasn’t definitively weighed on that topic yet, has it?

Prominent Christian thinkers aren’t buying what you’re selling, Stearnsie.  Russell Moore:

At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish.

John Piper:

This is a tragic development for the cause of Christ, because it trivializes perdition — and therefore, the cross — and because it sets a trajectory for the demise of true compassion for the poor.

When J.I. Packer walked out of the 2002 synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, he was protesting its decision to “bless same-sex unions.” His rationale is relevant for the developments at World Vision.

First, his words about unity expose the crass alignment of homosexual intercourse and baptism as comparable markers for biblical faithfulness. Packer wrote, “It is most misleading, indeed crass, to call this disagreement simply a difference about interpretation, of the kind for which Anglican comprehensiveness has always sought to make room.”

When World Vision says, “We cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue,” here is the side they do, in fact, jump onto: We forbid fornication and adultery as acceptable lifestyles among our employees (which they do), but we will not forbid the regular practice of homosexual intercourse. To presume that this position is not “jumping into the fight on one side or the other” is fanciful.

But worse than fancy, removing homosexual intercourse from its biblical alignment with fornication and adultery (and greed and theft and drunkenness) trivializes its correlation with perdition.

Mark Marshall:

The explanation given by World Vision President Richard Stearns is fatuous.  He claims World Vision is remaining neutral on the issue of same-sex “marriage”.  No, World Vision’s policy for employees was celibacy for singles and monogamy for the married.  By deciding that gay sex inside of same-sex “marriage” meets that requirement for employees, World Vision is most definitely taking sides.

This is a cover for partnership with apostate denominations and letting them call the shots.  The United Church of Christ holds to the faith of the creeds?  Really?  As long as libchurchers can cross their fingers and mouth a creed, Stearns is just fine with partnering with them and letting them set, nay, abolish Christian moral standards for employees.  And that in the name of a unity which really destroys genuine Christian unity.

Franklin Graham:

I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin.

Check the stats, World Vision; Episcopalianization is not the wave of the future.  So I have no idea who you think that this move is going to impress.

UPDATE:  World Vision has backed down.


Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Know who’s not going to be the 51st American state?

Puerto Rico has lost nearly half a million people in the past ten years, a number greater than the total current population of its capital city. The government is now taking desperate measures to stem the tide.

Too many citizens have lost faith in the government’s ability to provide even the most basic of services. One resident told USA Today: “There’s more opportunities if you move. People who live off government support here are doing better than those of us who work and pay taxes.” Another said: “You see what the government does with your money over there [in Florida]. Here, you contribute and contribute and contribute and nothing improves.”


Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments


With Missouri recently losing its penultimate abortion clinic, the race is on to become the first state without any abortion clinics whatsoever. Missouri joins five other states–Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming–with only a single abortion clinic.

The next to last abortion clinic in Missouri, located near the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, was only doing sporadic abortions in recent years. Abortions were initially halted in 2011 when the abortionist was deployed overseas. According to Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, in recent weeks the clinic stopped maintaining their license to operate.

As far as St. Louis is concerned, this isn’t quite that big of a deal since there’s still a functional baby-killing facility just across the river in Illinois.  But progress is being made.


Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

I just hope that any other extant mes are currently doing better than I am:

The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation — a period of rapid expansion that occurred a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — also supports the idea that our universe is just one of many out there, some researchers say.

On Monday, March 17, scientists announced new findings that mark the first-ever direct evidence of primordial gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created just after the universe began. If the results are confirmed, they would provide smoking-gun evidence that space-time expanded at many times the speed of light just after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.

The new research also lends credence to the idea of a multiverse. This theory posits that, when the universe grew exponentially in the first tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, some parts of space-time expanded more quickly than others. This could have created “bubbles” of space-time that then developed into other universes. The known universe has its own laws of physics, while other universes could have different laws, according to the multiverse concept.

“It’s hard to build models of inflation that don’t lead to a multiverse,” Alan Guth, an MIT theoretical physicist unaffiliated with the new study, said during a news conference Monday. “It’s not impossible, so I think there’s still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a] multiverse seriously.”


Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Homosexual homosexual?  Homosexual homosexual Homosexual Homosexual, homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual:

Referring to gay people as “homosexual” is a practice that’s quickly falling out of favor with major news outlets due the term’s often pejorative connotation and frequent use by opponents of LGBT equality. But Fox News has yet to update its language when referring to gay and lesbian people.

Homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual?  Homosexual?!!  Homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual.  Homosexual.

Use of the term is also pervasive at Fox News – and not just from the likes of the network’s hate group mouthpiece Todd Starnes, who recently warned that “Christians are trading places with homosexuals” in the military. Just as the network insists on misgendering transgender subjects, Fox also has no qualms about regularly referring to gay men and lesbians by a term many of them shun.

Homosexual homosexual, “Homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual.  Homosexual homosexual homosexual.”

Then there’s the network’s Fox Nation website. Far from merely promoting anti-gay policy positions, Fox Nation has repeatedly suggested that gay people are perverted “radicals” who want to recruit the nation’s children to their “lifestyle.” (As Peters observed in his Times piece, that claim featured prominently in activist Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade in the 1970s.)

Homosexual homosexual homosexual homosexual?  Homosexual, homosexual.


Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Thanks for playing:

Religion is founded on a notion that it has teachings or scriptures from a divine (supernatural) source, and this source is provides insights into ultimate truths which can not be discerned by mere mortals investigating nature.

Any religious institution which believes it needs to modernise its beliefs is admitting that its beliefs have never had such a divine source – they are man-made and, like all man-made things, need to be modernised periodically. Consequently, that institution no longer represents a spiritual belief system, but is simply a political organisation which pretends to be founded on spiritual beliefs.

That pretty much sums up the [Church of England].

Yep.  Big ups to Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.


Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

According to John Bingham, What’s-His-Face has had a great start:

It could have been like one of those moments in a country parish where a trendy new vicar rolls up with plans to rip out the Victorian pews to make way for a drum-kit and an overhead projector. The arrival of Justin Welby, a former businessman whose brand of Christianity is marked with the zeal of the convert, as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury had the potential to ruffle more than a few feathers in the established Church.

Within months of his enthronement, a year ago today, he seemed on course to do just that. He had overhauled his staff, with a series of new appointments. He had persuaded rival factions to take part in something akin to drama therapy sessions to confront their differences over women bishops, and he had delivered a blistering address to the General Synod on how it needed to face up to a sexual “revolution”.

But a year into the job – which combines the work of a medieval prelate, a FTSE chief executive and a world-weary inner-city rector – he has scored a series of successes that would have seemed unthinkable in the past. After decades of argument and years of tortuous legislative twists and turns, the Church of England is on the brink of finally approving the admission of women into the episcopate.

Instead of attracting the usual headlines about an embattled primate seeking to quell divisions, he has successfully shifted attention, at home at least, to matters such as payday lenders and food banks. And remarkably, in a country where fewer and fewer inhabitants profess any religious faith, his views on everything from banking reform to military action in distant countries is actively sought out and reported. Even what might have been his first major public gaffe – the revelation that the Church had an investment in Wonga, the lender he publicly pledged to try to put out of business – he turned to his advantage with a plain-spoken admission of embarrassment.

With less fanfare, his efforts to undo centuries of division with the Roman Catholic Church have taken significant steps forward. Last month, members of the Chemin Neuf community, an ecumenical Catholic-led order, moved into Lambeth Palace. Daily worship in the Archbishop’s chapel is being led by Catholics for the first time since before the reign of Elizabeth I.

Insert “but” here.

But now the honeymoon is long past, Archbishop Welby is preparing for what promises to be a far bigger battle for the soul of the Church both in England and in the wider Anglican Communion over an issue that has plagued it for years: its unresolved position on homosexuality. Even his admirers admit privately that in comparison with the rows over women bishops, the battle over sexuality is like “an elephant compared to the flea”.

By way of reply, North America’s oldest and fiercest Anglican presence recently did this.

The Diocese of South Carolina has been formally recognized as a member in good standing of the Global Anglican Communion.

On Saturday, March 15, the Diocese’s 223rd Annual Convention unanimously accepted an invitation to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and temporarily enter into a formal ecclesiastical relationship known as provisional primatial oversight from bishops in the Global South.

The convention’s nearly 400 participants supported clergy and delegates as they voted to create a task force to explore more permanent affiliation options for the diocese.  The task force will offer recommendations at the next Convention, which will be held next March.

Local critics of the Diocese’s 2012 separation from The Episcopal Church had said the disassociation would isolate the Diocese from the Global Anglican Communion.  While the Diocese has maintained many informal relationships with organizations that are part of the communion, this formal primatial oversight arrangement makes clear that the Diocese is officially part of the greater Anglican Church.

“There’s an African proverb that wisely states ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together,’ said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese, in his address to the Convention. “This will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest Ecclesial entities within in the Communion; one which includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others.”

The Palmetto State’s vote has been seen by many as a slap at ACNA which it, well, kind of is.  ACNA’s obsession with achieving “official” recognition from Canterbury is slowly but surely killing whatever interest I and many others used to have in it. 

While I imagine that Charleston’s relationship with ACNA parishes and dioceses will continue to be perfectly cordial, it’s obvious that South Carolina has figured out where the future of the thing that used to be called traditionalist Anglicanism lies.

Not within 10,000 miles of Lambeth Palace.


Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

If you’re around animals long enough, it’s natural to feel affection for them.  And if you’re around animals long enough, I guess it’s also possible for animals to feel affection for you.


Friday, March 21st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The Curmudgeon reports that the Episcopal Organization just took two in the ‘nads:

Today the Texas Supreme Court denied the losing parties’  petitions for rehearing in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court had delivered its opinions in the two cases last August 30. In the first case, the Court had sided with Bishop Iker’s Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker’s Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a “neutral principles of law” analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court’s judgment in the case.

In the second case, the Court by a vote of 7-2 reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision requiring the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo to turn over its building and all other assets to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court definitively ruled that all Texas courts must follow “neutral principles of law” (rather than deferring to an ecclesiastical hierarchy), and that based on such an analysis, the Dennis Canon was not effective under Texas law (or that if it were effective to create a trust, the trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so could be revoked by the parish in question).


Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 84 Comments

Roman Catholics?  Many of us former Anglicans know from bitter experience that the Episcopalianization of churches always starts small.  A bishop here, a bishop there:

Two Catholic bishops in the UK have expressed hope that the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome in October, will bring about massive changes to the Church’s approach to marriage and human sexuality.

Bishop Terence Drainey of Middleborough told the far-left magazine The Tablet that he is hoping for and expecting a “radical re-examination of human sexuality.”

Drainey told The Tablet that this “re-examination” should be made “in light of modern psychological and anthropological insights and the lived experience of lay people.” This, he said, “could lead to development in church teaching on all aspects of marriage and family life: contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, cohabitation; even the position of women in the Church.”

“The Church has to hold in tension its imperative to proclaim the high Christian ideals to which all should aspire with its desire at the same time to welcome with love and compassion those whose lives are complicated and messy,” the bishop said.

“A careful discussion of this dichotomy could yield pastoral solutions in the areas of family life where many are struggling, enabling the Church more readily to welcome and include these people,” Drainey said.

Bishop Drainey said the issues to be addressed by the Synod and brought up in a Vatican questionnaire are “multifaceted and complex” to which there are no “simple soundbite answers.”

Sound familiar?  If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, it better.  So you might want to hold off criticizing those Catholics who are worried about such trends or you may see a day when you yearn to hear their voices and find that they’re no longer there.


Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

The Rev. James Martin, who is a Jesuit but you probably would have figured that out eventually, thinks that he’s come up with five things that none of you knew about Jesus.  Here’s one of them:

Jesus probably didn’t know everything.

This is a thorny theological question. If Jesus is divine, wouldn’t he know all things? (Indeed, on several occasions Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.)

On the other hand, if he had a human consciousness, he needed to be taught something before he could know it. The Gospel of Luke says that when Jesus was a young man he “progressed” in wisdom. That means he learned things. (Otherwise how would he “progress”?)

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus initially refuses to heal the daughter of a non-Jewish woman, saying rather sharply, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

But when she replies that even the dogs get the crumbs from the table, Jesus softens, and he heals her daughter. He seems to be learning that his ministry extends beyond the Jewish people.

Jim?  The term you’re looking for here is “teachable moment.”  Think about it.  The rest of Jim’s points are equally stupid so caveat emptor and all that.

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