Old On-line Journal

I began journaling on-line, on my website, beginning in 2000 and before blogging began. Eight years worth of writing stuff via the Web, although inconsistently.
I was thinking the other day about what to write on this blog since I am really taking less of an interest in the whole Anglican mess (not that I consider it unimportant, but the dies have been cast and it will all play out, regardless of what I want or think). I have tried to be involved myself primarily to attempt to come up with a way to bridge the gap between two ideological positions that refuse to meet each other half-way.
True theological arguments, engaged by people interested in theology rather than ideological posturing and purity, will not result in schisms or splits or hatreds or the mess that we now find in the Anglican Communion and more particularly for me in The Episcopal Church, USA. When our accusations and actions stem from ideology and we attempt to use theology to buttress and defend our social or political ideology(ies), then what results is the mess we have in the Episcopal Church and within Anglicanism. Those who want to focus on ideology, at this point, will do so (and I’m not talking about only reactionary-conservative types). Nothing more to do. Those who want to focus on theology, well then, let the debates continue and let us act like real Anglicans as we gather around the communion table to receive together from our Lord in our collective ignorance and hoped for humility.
Besides, I have no particular part to play in all this, other than trying to conduct my life and ministry in ways that exemplify what I understand a follower of Christ to be. I’m not insightful, I’m not particularly intelligent, I’m not eloquent, and others do a far better job than I can. So, let them. All I can do is live my life, and hopefully be a positive influence for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (and by God not be a hypocrite).
Back to my original purpose for this entry: I was reading through some of my on-line journal entries from years past (my mom just gave me some mint chocolate-chip ice-cream – the joys of being home for Thanksgiving!) and realized how “political” my own blog entries have become over the last few years. Entries became more like rants rather than attempts at thinking-out-loud as I wrestle with stuff, which is what I generally did in the past. I need to think-out-loud, and writing is a means of doing so that doesn’t drive people crazy. “Blogging” is a lot different these days than on-line journaling years ago, but still.
So, what now. I’ve watched a lot of other bloggers quite, recently. I don’t feel the need to stop, since, as I’ve written in the past, I do this not because I think other people have any interest in what I think but as a means for me to keep track of stuff and to think-out-loud.
What am I really wrestling with these days? Well, I continue to wrestle with the conflicts in the Communion because I think this whole mess is so terribly destructive. I continue to wrestle with the gay-Christian issues – socially and theologically. I continue to wrestle with discerning my next steps in life and ministry. I continue to wrestle with my purpose in life and how it all plays out. I continue to wrestle with how the Church should approach and deal with the unchurched, particularly those of younger generations – how do we do this, honestly, and not be blinded by our own particular desires for outcomes (pietistically, socially, modernist vs. post-modernist, etc.). I continue to struggle with personal discipline, or lack of discipline. I need a spiritual-director and/or confessor. I continue struggling with busyness to the point of drowning out the still-small-voice-of-God and peace. I continue to struggle with my place in the world. I continue to deal with issues of relationship, loneliness despite friendships and lots of people around. I continue to deal with wanting to be closer to my family. I continue to worry about certain people, and having to deal with personal issues. I think about the fact that I am not getting any younger and whether I will be able to see some of the things I want to accomplish come to fruition. I think about the balance between waiting and action, initiative and lethargy, humility and hubris, plotting my own way and being under authority.
Lots to write about, I suspect.

Kate Bush

There is not quite anyone like Kate Bush!

The first time I saw her was in 1979 as I watched “Saturday Night Live.” She sang, “A Man with a Child In His Eyes” and “Them Heavy People.” I was captivated at 17. I have all her albums (well, unless there are some brand new ones out over the last couple of years).
Seeing her for the first time was so great, primarily because it was in the time of Disco, and I hated disco. “Disco” she is not!

Nothing new under the sun

Life has been very busy these past couple of months. Work is ramped up even now leading up to next summer’s General Convention. Perhaps that is the reason, or perhaps others, but I have been far less engaged in the Anglican Troubles over this time and frankly it is a relief. I have a bit more perspective, I think.
There are lay people, deacons, priest, and bishops who spend most of their waking hours obsessing over all this stuff as if this is a seminal moment in history. Another 1500’s, perhaps. A fundamental sifting in world power, or at least world religious power. Who knows. Dividing up and determining who is going to Hell, literally or figuratively, has become their reason for being, all in the name of God.
All in the name of God. There is nothing new under the sun. This has all happened countless times, already. If we consider the arch of human history, this is yet another, yet again, yet we do not learn. I mean, really learn from the experience of history, those who have lived through such things before. We don’t want to believe that we are not special that we are not caught up in a special cause and that we do not have a special assignment from God and that our obsession doesn’t make us special. It is exhilarating, isn’t, when we believe we are the progenitors of a world revolution, or at least one with Anglican circles. Heady stuff, eh? We are on the cusp of a new Reformation that will change everything. We have godly men and women leading us, right? Oh what glorious times.
Nothing new going on here. Nothing new to see. Move along, now. But, to let go of the feeling of importance, the rush of power, the thought of influence, God’s special ones. Our hubris, well, we never learn.
If we consider history, if is a relief, actually. It has all happened before and if we are wise we will avoid the pitfalls that befell all the others. I doubt we will, but it is possible. As much as it is up to me, I will try to not fall back into the same mistakes. It is easy to. I’ve done it, already. Hopefully, I’ve learned.
People leave, people go, people make all kinds of claims. The world goes on. As for me and my house, I will even in my continued failure, with God’s help, I will love God and love my neighbor as my self. I will love my neighbor in ways that seem like love to them (as much as they are able to know). There is nothing new under the sun! The human heart has changed little these last couple a thousand years.
So, new dioceses, new parishes, new provinces, new bishops for the salvation of what? Nothing new going on, nothing strange about it, move along, God helps us. It is a bit of a relief. To rest in the Good Shepherd is a wonderful place to abide.

Why cannot they be a loyal opposition?

So, to those whose agenda is more important then anything else or any other consideration, now there are challenges to Barrack Obama’s legitimacy to be the U.S. president. There are now several legal challenges to stop Obama from becoming president by claiming he is not a “natural-born” citizen. The Supreme Court seems to be looking into the allegations.
This report comes from a conservative, Religious Right news source – WorldNetDaily:
The democratic notion of a “loyal opposition” is being lost altogether, and they don’t care. Taking and keeping control and power is their only goal.

The players of the game are the same

Here is what I’m coming to think, and I’m just thinking out loud here: The players in this Anglican/Episcopalian war of theology and ecclesiology are playing the game in the same way because they come from and are acting out of the same generationally specific American-cultural. They were all formed within the same culture, and act within the same “rules,” even if approaching the troubling issues from different angles. Whether liberal or conservative, reasserter or reappraiser (if those words are still used), those who are intent on imposing their perspective (e.g. Universalism, Calvinism, Puritanism, Evangelicalism, Catholicism, whatever other “ism” might be applied here) on everyone else to one degree or another are coming from the same place, but from opposite ends of the divide. For common folk living life, Fascism and Communism are not all that much different on the ground, but adherents to and within those two political systems are mortal enemies.
So, you wrote [I’m conversing with someone on TitusOneNine]: “[liberal Episcopalians]… departed from the faith once and for all handed down to the saints. There has been no discipline and no succor granted to those who have suffered under the jackboots of the liberals (I am writing from the Diocese of New Westminster to give you context).” The conservatives will engage in just as determined and jackbooted ways as you accuse the liberals of acting, except they will use a different set of excuses or rationals for their jackbooted actions. The liberals don’t see themselves as acting in these kinds of tyrannical ways, and neither will the conservatives.
The whole way our troubles are being and have been approached and addressed is the problem. It is a core problem, and if not addressed there will never be resolution. God will not be glorified and the cause of Christ in North American will be further harmed.
I will agree that many liberals have been oppressive, but there are plenty of conservatives that are oppressive, too. For all of them, their means of achieving their ends are a big part of the problem, whether liberal or conservative. This core problem if not identified and addressed will bleed into the new Common Cause province, too. Once the common enemy of TEC is gone, the very real and definite differences within the different groups will bring up even more division if dealt with by the same ways and means as we have over this past several years. This is what history shows us, particularly in the U.S.
So, why not spend more time focusing on the core problem – the deficient and unchristian means and ways we try to achieve our end goals (which for both sides is the Glory of God and the reconciliation of humanity to God) – rather than tearing down and attempting to rebuild in our own image? From what I know of Anglicanism, our ability to do this kind of wrestling and dealing with one another and vast difference has been one of our unique contributions to Christianity. It is dying, and it is the fault of all of us.
Those with vested interests in our troubles, well, we have all failed, because we have been playing the game in ways dictated by our culture. We act and fight like Americans and not people that claim to be part of the Kingdom of God.

New Denomination

Bishop Duncan of a diocese in Pennsylvania (formerly bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh) that gives allegiance to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (certain countries in South America) has publicly stated that in December a new denomination will be born. Probably… most likely. There has been no retraction.
Of course, their end goal has been common knowledge. They’ve known it. We’ve all known it since the Chapman memo.
Naturally, if The Episcopal Church leadership would capitulate and submit to the doctrinal and confession nature of their American-Evangelical-style theological and ecclesiological positions, then they wouldn’t need to form a new denomination outside the Tradition and structures of historical Anglicanism, but the Episcopal Church leadership won’t submit to blackmail. While I don’t necessarily agree with all the theological beliefs or positions of many leaders of this Church these days or their willingness to ignore the Canons, I don’t condone dishonesty, hypocrisy, and blackmail. Besides, I made vows before God, and I have a high-view of God’s ability to run His Church, even reform it in His own good time. I also understand history.
So, they do what they said they would do all along. They form a new denomination, they get numerically large provinces in the Southern Hemisphere to recognize them as legitimate, and they do the very American and Protestant thing – they break away and form yet another Protestant denominational sect. They do this for the sake of purity because if they don’t Jesus will depart from them and not bless them. They act this way because they really love Jesus (more than the rest), and because their are very wise since they rightly have their particular interpretation of Scripture, and because they so clearly hear the very voice of God since they obviously love Jesus so much. (I’m not being sarcastic. I was an American-Evangelical for most of my life. I know how they think and what they feel! I can say that in many ways I am still an Anglican-Evangelical, but it is not the same thing.)
Really, for how many years now have they been working toward this end. They publicly denied such a thing and tried to emphasis that they are only working to reform The Episcopal Church, but at the same time taking steps to protect themselves from the evil doings of heretical liberals that lead this Church. They were kidding no one, but because, I suppose, legal and public relationships considerations were/are more important than honesty, forthrightness, and integrity they had to pretend that they were not working toward this end.
So, now we read that certain primates will recognize them. Greg Griffith (no relation) over at StandFirm writes, “After my interview about the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, I asked Bishop Duncan, and Archbishops Anis, Nzimbi and Akrofi about the new North American Province.” They all forthrightly support bishop Duncan’s efforts and the new province.
We all knew short of giving this group of leaders and followers the reigns of power and control over The Episcopal Church that this would be the end result. The four diocese have left. A new denomination will be born. The Anglican Communion will not be the same. Anglicanism as a Christian ethos and form of Christian spiritual expression will continue in some form, but not really with this “conservative” group (nor will it with the change-obsessed “liberals”). They are too American-Evangelical or Congregationalist. They are too overwhelmed by the Spirit-of-the-Times and they capitulate to American culture all too well. (Funny how they accuse the liberals of capitulating to the culture, when they are so blind to their own capitulation!)

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Don’t know how I missed this…

Luiz Coelho, a guy I’ve come to know through the Internet & Facebook (which doesn’t really let me know him well, but gives me a good beginning to know him) was a Stewart at this past summer’s Lambeth Conference. I’ve come to appreciate his writing and greatly respect his heart’s good desire for God and the Church.
He wrote a piece on Episcopal Cafe about young people and traditional liturgy, and I don’t know how I missed it. It is very well done and I think another indication or piece of evidence of where younger people are these days concerning their desire for liturgical and sacred music forms. It also suggests, again, the incredible opportunity Anglicanism in all its Tradition is strategically situated to appeal to and minister to young people (particularly unchurched young people).
Here is the link to the Episcopal Cafe piece, but I reprint it below in full because one never knows when these blog things go away.
Yes, young people do like traditional liturgy, by Luiz Caelho. Click below to read the whole thing.

…many young Anglicans are attracted to traditional liturgical forms because they offer stability. We have been born in a fast-paced world, and in a short period of time have seen the rise and fall of countries, regimes, technologies, musical styles, fashion trends and even Church movements. At the same time, most of the cultural norms our mothers and fathers fought to liberalize do not apply to us anymore, and only God knows how they are going to be within some years. The world is freer, and it is changing so fast that sometimes it seems to be in a free-fall. The Church, to many of us, is the last glimpse of stability that exists in this post-modern society, and the certainty that its language has managed to be the same for all these years is a key factor for two reasons (among several):…
I understand, however, that all of that was a response to the plea of a previous generation which was suffocated by the evil side of traditionalism, and needed to foster changes in a world that did not want to look forward. Forty years later, however, we are still caught by some of the same questions: “How to attract youth? How to create liturgies that are meaningful to newer generations? How to reinvigorate the Church?” My response to that would be that we went too far in some reforms (mostly liturgical ones) and maybe restoring some of the icons we as a Church broke, allied with the empowerment of youth in the life of the Church would be a great start in attempting to attract some people of my age.
Let me end with a final and curious note. Lambeth stewards were awarded with the possibility of organizing a special mass for us and staff people at the Canterbury Cathedral’s crypt. With such an astonishing location and so many liturgical resources, we did our best. Most of us had the opportunity of doing something, whether it was reading a lesson, an intercession, serving as an acolyte, playing the organ or joining the choir. We rehearsed for one week “If ye love me” by Tallis (which was our Communion hymn), celebrant and servers wore a lovely set of silky red vestments and clouds of incense filled that sacred space, as it has been, is now and will be forever.
It was the only service with incense during the Conference, by the way.

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