August 2003 Archives

I picked up our pictures from Trapeze School. It was simply too fun! The pictures of Ashton came out wonderfully. He will be quite surprised when he sees them because he thought he did so poorly, which of course he did not. A wonderful surprise for a first anniversary.

It is difficult to put my finger on what I am thinking and feeling right now. The seminary is fine - what I expected. The academics are good. Living in the city is no problem whatsoever. I just don't fit. Roommates, classmates, and the equivalents are fine as it goes, but when watching Jason, Sara, Sonia, Valerie, and Nick seeing each other for the first time since spring and their enthusiasm of seeing a close friend again, it hits home that there is not a person like that for me - a soulmate, a buddy, whatnot, in the seminary. I wanted to be in a place that was going to challenge me, and when there the realization is that most people to not share many of my... what? Sometimes, it feels like compromise, sometimes just a little bit lonely. I am so thankful for Ashton.

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Okay, here is Beloit College's latest rendition of the characteristics of those entering class of 2007, those born in 1985. The school comes out with this list every year to help administrators and professors understand the worldview of new freshmen. Here is the class of 2007:

1. The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1985.
2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
3. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
4. There has been only one pope in their lifetime.
5. They were 10 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.

6. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up on takeoff.
7. Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
8. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
9. Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
10. The statement "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. (They have never owned a record player.)

11. They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
12. They may have never heard of an 8-track tape. The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
13. They have always had an answering machine.
14. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black and white TV.
15. They have always had cable.

16. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta was.
17. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
18. They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is or know about the "Help me, I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercial.
19. They were born the year that Walkman was introduced by Sony.
20. Roller skating has always meant inline for them.

21. Michael Jackson has always been white.
22. Jay Leno has always been on "The Tonight Show."
23. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
24. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
25. They have never seen Larry Bird play.

26. They never took a swim and thought about "Jaws."
27. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as World War I, World War II, and the Civil War.
28. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
29. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
30. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. (The correct answer, by the way, is Ork.)

31. They never heard: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "De plane, de plane!"
32. They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. was.
33. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not bands.
34. There has always been MTV.
35. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.


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This morning, the New York Trapeze School! Ashton took me to the school for our first anniversary. More later...

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Here is the latest from the American Anglican Council (a conservative/traditionalist anti-gay group that does not support the ordination of women). This group was a primary force against the election of Gene Robinson and the approval of same-sex union rites. There are many things about the group that I like and much that I disagree with.

This is the group, aside from the Anglican Mission in America, that is appealing to the outside conservative Anglican primates for help. As much as they claim an Anglican ethos, they are behaving in a very unanglican way by threatening schism if they don't get their way.

Here is the latest letter from the AAC president:


August 15, 2003

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The General Convention of our Episcopal Church has left me with shock, disappointment and a heavy heart. At the same time I feel a new hope for the mainstream Anglican Communion, and your and my participation in it.

As you know, the Episcopal Church made two grievous decisions last week that have shattered the Anglican family. In giving its consent to the election of Gene Robinson and by approving same-sex marriage, the Episcopal Church has departed from the historic faith and order of the Anglican Communion as well as the Church of Jesus Christ. We are now left with a severe pastoral crisis and a likely realignment of the Anglican Communion.

This is not the outcome that the AAC had desired, but we did prepare ourselves for this possibility. The AAC's primary goal at General Convention was to take a bold and uncompromising stand for the Gospel. Our Convention theme was "GOD IS" and we proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every way that we were able. Our 200 plus volunteers poured out their very hearts and souls to try to keep the Church on the one true path and to share the transforming love of Jesus. I am proud of the job that our hundreds of people did, covering the many aspects of General Convention. They were an army of the Lord. That is why, even in our defeat on the two key issues, I have great confidence and peace that we fulfilled God's purpose for us at Convention. Ultimately, I believe that God used the AAC to help force the Episcopal Church to make a choice between God's way or the way of the world. Tragically, ECUSA chose the world's way, and thus, ECUSA has left the Anglican family, at least as far as doctrine, discipline, and Biblical Authority is concerned.

But while this outcome is not what we would have wished, it has actually given us a new clarity and direction. It is now abundantly clear that God has a new and exciting plan for mainstream Anglicans in America. I believe that we will begin to see this plan unfold over the next several months.

I now see God calling the AAC, in concert with others, to gather together mainstream Anglicans from within the Episcopal Church to chart a new course, under the guidance of the Anglican Primates, that will enable us to remain an active and faithful part of the vibrant and growing Anglican family and to refocus all of our energies once again on growing God's kingdom.

But the challenge of this new call is great. The AAC must now quickly and completely restructure itself. I am very concerned that the huge pastoral, financial, communication, administrative and event coordination burdens (and opportunities) we now face could overwhelm us. The AAC received a stunningly high level of visibility at Convention, and now so many people both inside and outside the Church are watching the AAC closely. Episcopal parishes and individuals are seeking our leadership and help, and it is critical that we are able to provide that leadership. We have literally received many thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from people who are grieving and looking for a way forward and who are now turning to the AAC for hope.

This is one of the pivotal moments in the history of the Christian Church. I can't emphasize this enough. What happens during the next several months will impact Christiansworldwide. Therefore, in order for us to lead effectively during this historic moment and meet the huge new demands on our organization, the AAC is in URGENT need of your financial support. As president of the AAC, I need your help to insure that we can help lead mainstream Anglicans in the Episcopal Church wherever God is calling us to go. I also need your help to ensure that the AAC can continue to be a bold voice for biblical truth in our desperately broken world.

Your gift will help us with the following:

1. Preparing for the critical meeting of mainstream Anglicans in Plano, TX (Oct. 7-9, 2003). Thousands may well attend.

2. Enabling essential global coordination and strategizing between mainstream Anglican Primates and other mainstream Anglican leaders worldwide.

3. Hiring additional staff members to take on the exponentially increased ministry workload we now face.

4. Establishing an Anglican Relief and Development Fund, to help offset grants that the Episcopal Church cancels when Primates support Anglican orthodoxy.

I would be grateful if you would speak with your vestry to see if they could write the AAC into your parish monthly support. If you are in an orthodox diocese, perhaps they would be willing to help support the work we are embarking on.

You also can personally contribute online right now by visiting our secure contribution page at: http://americananglican.org/Contribute/Contribute.cfm

Challenging and exciting days lie ahead. We have crossed into uncharted territory. The crisis in the Anglican Communion is unprecedented, but rest assured God is sovereign. Nothing the Episcopal Church has said or done can change that fundamental truth.

Thank you for any financial support you are able to give. If you have given recently and are not able to give again we do understand. Encourage your friends to help raise support. Please keep the AAC in your prayers, and especially pray for the personal safety of our leaders. Also, I ask you to please continue standing with the AAC over the next several months as events such as the Plano meeting and the extraordinary gathering of the worldwide Anglican Primates (October 15-16, 2003) unfold. Be sure to also read the document "What do I do now?" which is posted on the AAC website.

May God bless you and keep you during the difficult days ahead.

Faithfully in Christ Jesus,

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson

President and CEO
American Anglican Council


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My aunt died suddenly, yesterday. I grew up with these people - my aunt, uncle, and cousin. My parents called early yesterday morning to tell me that around 1:30 am my aunt woke up my uncle complaining that she couldn't breath. My uncle took her into the living room, where she passed out. He performed CPR on her and called 911. She arrived at the hospital around 25 minutes later - she was put on life-support. It was confirmed later yesterday that she was brain-dead, probably from a blood clot in her lungs. Last year, she successfully fought breast cancer, only to die so suddenly, so quickly, before anyone could say goodbye. I'm sure within the immediate family, all the necessary talking happened last year when the possibility of her death from breast cancer was thick.

Things can change so quickly. I'm flying home today for visit before classes start up again in a couple weeks. I have no idea what is going to be happening this coming week. Life goes on, and part of life is death, and if I truly believe what I claim to believe, then she is better off now then yesterday. For those who love her, however, the struggle in the midst of life, this kind of struggle, is just beginning.

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Just a casual observation: Over the past month or so, it seems the dogs on the streets of New York City have determined to follow their own desires, path, ways, rather than those of their owners. Watching people walk their dogs on leashes has become comical because the owners are pulling and cajoling their dogs to go this way or that, and the dogs are steadfastly refusing. This is even more comical when the dogs are large and the owners are slight. To see a person pulling and pulling a dog, calling "here boy, here boy" all the while the dog is sitting down and still and moving not an inch is amusing. Maybe I am more cognizant of all that right now, but it sure does seem to be happening more often. Who knows? Who knew? Who cares? Well, the owners certainly do!

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Rowen Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is convening a world wide conference of Anglican bishops in October 15-16 to hopefully come to some sort of resolution to the problem of Gene Robinson being approved for election as bishop of New Hampshire. Here is a news artilce for ENS.

August 8, 2003

by Jim DeLa

[ENS] Reacting to events this week at General Convention, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called a special meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion in London, October 15-16.

According to a news release on the Anglican Communion News Service's Web site, Dr. Rowan Williams said a meeting is needed. "I am clear that the anxieties caused by recent developments have reached the point where we
will need to sit down and discuss their consequences," he was quoted as saying.

"I hope that in our deliberations we will find that there are ways forward in this situation which can preserve our respect for one another and for the bonds that unite us," he said.

In his official letter to primates, Williams writes, "I hope also we will take quite seriously the intervening period to reflect carefully on our life together as a Communion and to consider how we might best bring our faith, experience and wisdom to bear constructively on these discussions."

On Tuesday, convention confirmed the Rev. Gene Robinson as the bishop coadjutor-elect of New Hampshire. He is the first noncelibate gay priest to be elected bishop in the Episcopal Church.

On Thursday, convention passed a resolution recognizing "that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions," but stopped short of authorizing liturgies for such services.

Members of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops said the archbishop's announcement of a primates meeting was not unexpected. "I think he's exercising his appropriate authority," said the Rev. Ian Douglas, a deputy from Massachusetts. "He's doing what he needs to do."

"I think there's some desire of the part of all that there be a conversation that includes the primates, not just sound bites from
different parts of the world," said Bishop Wendell Gibbs of Michigan. "We welcome the fact there will be a conversation."

Opponents of Robinson's election and same-sex blessings were also pleased by the news of the October meeting. "We are extremely grateful to Archbishop Williams for his swift response to our plea for intervention," said Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and chair of the bishop's network of the American Anglican Council. "I am confident that the archbishop will make adequate provision for mainstream Anglicans in North America."

One of the primary accusations from those who oppose homosexuality in the Church (conservatives) of those who advocate for full inclusion (liberals), is that liberals have abandoned scripture, since according to most conservatives scripture could not be clearer that homosexuality is wrong. I simply do not understand why liberals do not challenge the accusation in a more forceful way. There are valid arguments that the five or six verses and portions of scripture used to condemn homosexuals have not been correctly understood by the Church, even if for 2000 years (actually the argument is only several decades old!). Arguments from natural law, the complementary nature between men and women, the purpose of marriage is for the rearing of children, the example from nature, the plumbing, the ‘dysfunction’ of the gay ‘lifestyle’, and so forth are easily countered.

I fear that the liberals do not because they may not consider scripture an important enough source of truth and order to make the rebuttal. If this is true, which I suspect it is, then the conservatives accusation that the liberals have abandoned scripture as authoritative is true. This disturbs me. I know though this instance that I am not a liberal, at least as is being portrayed by self-proclaimed liberals within the Church.

If there is not a valid scriptural basis for inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the Church and society, even in light of tradition and reason, then the argument for inclusion, from a Christian perspective, is on shaky ground. The positions need to be made from scripture, which is possible.

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I went to the American Anglican Council's website after the affirmative vote by the bishops at General Convention. On the website, there were two open letters posted from a parish in Colorado.

The second letter was from a priest and I am amazed. Here is the letter. You can see it "live" at the link above.


LETTER ON HIS ELECTION

By The Rev. Don Armstrong

I do want to ask you publicly what I asked you a few weeks ago and that is: How can you replace Jesus with yourself at the center of the church's life? How can you think your election to be a bishop is more important than the unity of the whole Anglican Communion?

You are quoted in this morning's New York Times that unity is not your responsibility. I thought unity was precisely an Episcopal responsibility, even that a Bishop was sign and symbol of unity. I thought being a Bishop was also about being responsible, responsible for a diocese and responsible for protecting the doctrine, discipline and worship of the church. Your very election is a challenge to, not a protection of, the doctrine, discipline, worship and unity of the church--the exact opposite of what a bishop is supposed to be.

Then, you have never even been able to be responsible for yourself. You have not been able to control your appetites, your self-interest or self-indulgence, your lust for power and position.

You suggested in the New York Times this morning that you went to therapy for years trying to deal with your homosexuality. Do you not think that a Bishop should exhibit a certain level of self control? That even if your homosexual desires were your cross to endure, that you could reign in these desires, control them, and discipline yourself to a life of celibacy?

How can you be a model for the rest of us to follow when you yourself give into your passions? What are you going to do with heterosexual clergy who give into their passions? What about your life indicates that you have forsaken all to follow Jesus, that you have an ability and willingness to lay down your life, to sacrifice for the common good?

This morning you were quoted that you prayed every morning about whether you ought to follow the lead of Jeffery Johns and withdraw form this election, but that the Holy Spirit told you to continue in the process. Our bishop, Jerry Winterrowd says we should never pray about our own desires and then claim the Holy Spirit's approval because our motives are mixed and the voices in our head too many and too complex. He suggests letting someone else pray for our answer.

Have you ever thought that perhaps the response of the primates and clear division in the church is the Holy Spirit's sign to you, a clear answer to your prayer. The Holy Spirit's function in the Trinity has always been about bringing unity and order out of division and chaos. That your election has done the opposite, brought chaos and division to the church, could it be that it is clearly not of the Holy Spirit? Could it be that the unprecedented upheaval, chaos and division that is about consume our Communion is a clear sign that you and your supporters have only been seduced by the one whose task it is to sow dissension and discord in Christ's church, to in fact destroy Christ's Church?

Although there is much more I wonder about all this, it does seem to me that if you want all of us to vote for consent of your election you owe us an answer to these questions. You need to be responsible for who you are and what consent to your election will cause in our church and explain that to us. To say that it is not your responsibility is simply not true and not an answer!

To avoid these questions and sit silently while a wave of secular sentimentality for homosexuality sweeps you into office and splits apart our ancient Communion would be in itself an indictment of your episcopacy

Rev. Don Armstrong
Colorado Clergy Alternative

Well, the deed is done. Gene Robinson has been confirmed the new Bishop of New Hampshire. There is great sadness and anger among so many, despite the increadible joy of others. There is a difference between the two, in many ways.

There are those who truly have an honest theological position against homosexuals serving in the clergy, at least if not celibate. There are those who understand, rightly, that the action that will cause great division and dissension between Anglicans. The Communion will dissolve into - I don't know what yet. These people are profoundly sad, with anger, too. I feel for them because they honestly don稚 desire harm to anyone.

Then, there are those who are simply furious. While their concern is the purity of the Church, maintenance of theological purity, and demand that the American Church submits to the will of the larger worldwide communion, it all finges on their particular bent of thought and feeling. Many of these people are overwhelmed with political considerations, or maybe how their positions will reign supreme through the political process, since their warnings and attempts at persuasion have failed. They have not been able to persuade the American church (from the perspective of the majority at Convention) that a homosexual is not fit to be priest or bishop, or that homosexuals should not have their unions blessed. This group will reject Anglican comprehensiveness. This group claims the American church has separated itself from communion with the worldwide Anglican Communion by the election of an openly-gay bishop. Their position rests on their demand that the Church submit to its opinions and beliefs, excluding all those who have a legitimate theological positions supporting inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the church. They claim that their position and theological bent is God's. It seems this is contrary to the Anglican way.

We just have to wait through this day to see the fallout. At times, I am just amazed that the arguments are so lacking in understanding of history � most recently, the very similar accusations of departing from the faith handed down to us, tradition, and clear biblical teaching when women were ordained priests and then bishops. There are so many examples of this type of thing happening throughout history - groups leaving in self-righteous flurry, and the church continuing. The claim is that God has spoken through Lambeth and the recent Primates meeting in Brazil, and certainly not through General Convention. The Holy Spirit has not spoken through General Convention with the election of a gay bishop because the outcome does not agree with their position, which they know is God痴 position.

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I ran into a new

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I ran into a new seminarian this past Friday. I think I saw another one moving in today. I moved to NYC last year on August 17th. It seems so odd that new people are now making their way to General and having some of the very same feelings I had then. I find it very hard to believe a year has transpired. Where did it go?

I remember towards the end of August last year saying to myself, "I will be sitting somewhere thinking how quickly a year passed. This year is going to go far more quickly than I can expect." So then, here I am, and it has! Yea verily, as Leighton would say, this whole experience will soon be over.

Ashton came with me to Ascension today and stayed for both services. He heard my homily at 9:00 and saw me doin' the stuff at 11:00. Man were the vestments horribly, horribly hot in this humid whether. He said I did well.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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