Sunday, April 29, 2007

Announcement from John Stott's Office

John Stott would like his many friends around the world to know that, having reached the age of 86 in April, he has taken the decision finally to retire from public ministry after fulfilling one final speaking engagement at the upcoming Keswick Convention in July.

He will also be moving home from his flat in Bridford Mews, London, where he has lived for more than 30 years, to a retirement community for Anglican clergy in the south of England which will be able to provide more fully for his present and future needs. Dr Stott has made this decision with the strong belief that it is God’s provision for him at this stage.

Dr Stott will greatly value your prayer for him in the challenges and opportunities involved in this transition. John Stott is also happy to reassure his friends that the Langham Partnership International (or John Stott Ministries, in USA), is well prepared to continue its work, even after his retirement.

Chris Wright took over the leadership of the organisation from John Stott in 2001, and there is now a strong team of international programme managers and other staff and volunteers all over the world making sure that the work develops strongly into the future. For further information, please visit the website Langham Partnership.

Cindy Crossley
The Langham Partnership
Tel: 01243 730 621

Saturday, April 28, 2007

LATER: Looks like we have fans of Eva Cassidy here at the Cafe. So - in case there are more fans in the wings - here's another gem, a rendition of Sting's "Fields of Gold" that even he says is the best:

CANA Installation Celebration

Installation Celebration
May 5, 2007

The honor of your presence is requested at the celebration attending the Installation of the Right Reverend Martyn Minns as the Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2007

Location: The Cecil D. Hylton Memorial Chapel
14640 Potomac Mills Road
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Interesting article at the New York Times today. Check it out here. By the way, Hylton Chapel was the location of both Plano East I and Plano East II Conferences.

Friday, April 27, 2007

He that ruleth over men must be just,
ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be as the light of the morning,
when the sun riseth,
even a morning without clouds;
as the tender grass
springing out of the earth
by clear shining after rain.
Alleluia, Amen.

Randall Thompson (1899-1984) from II Samuel 23:3-4

A round of butterbeers and chai for AB. Thank you!

The present now will later be past ...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get Ready

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the One Light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the New Day

E. Farjeon

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who Am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who Am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Casting Crowns

TinFoilHat Awards for April

We can't even make this up. Forget about last month's dire warning of impending doom, now it turns out that there is a Great Oil Conspiracy to take over the Episcopal Church!

Of course, there is the usual silly swipe at IRD (which is still pretty funny - we wonder if they actually believe this stuff but tonight we were watching a documentary on the old SDS and we suspect that many actually do believe what they are saying, conspiracies offer a quick and easy way to blame someone else hasn't changed in forty years - see Dylan's little 1963 speech), but now it turns out that Oil is actually behind Everything That Goes Bump in the Night, including the Episcopal Church Crisis - it's not about theology, it's about Oil, black gold, Texas Tea.

If that's not enough, right click on the headline above and then read on.

Here's Louie:

"As for conspiracy theories, I suspect that following the money would take me more logically to Abuja than to the IRD office in Washington. Think "BP," British Petroleum, one of the largest investors in Nigerian oil. Remember that those who broker the appointment of the ABC have no required connection to Anglicanism; they remain brokers by answering to the economics of sterling. When ++Frank Griswold visited Nigeria (late 2002 or early 2003), he and those with him flew everywhere in jets that belonged to Nigerian oil companies -- at the behest of ++Peter Akinola, of course. Ecclesiastical warfare is often used as a smokescreen by power brokers with little interest in what makes the smoke. Often those most blind by the smoke are those in the thick of the warfare. The theory is not original with me; several colleagues have mentioned it in conversation. I do not have the skills or the time to do the research, but would welcome a chance to read the discoveries of experts who do."

Okay, so the Conspiracy of the Week to explain The Episcopal Church Crisis includes the following players:

British Petroleum
The Archbishop of Canterbury
Unnamed "Brokers"
Frank Griswold (you knew he'd figure in here somehow)
Ecclesiastical warfare (I think the next word is usually mongers)
Power Brokers
Unamed colleagues
A claim not to have the skills: wink wink - that's a funny one, coming from the author of this, but oh well. One does try.
No mention of Jed Clampett, though

Now we match this against today's posting from ole' Father Jones (more conspiracy theories lists, alas, with the usual round of evangelical scapegoats - we wonder if this is a sign of more backroom RICO saber rattling - they have checked under all the beds haven't they - Bishop Sauls, call your office) and we have the making for a major Popcorn Fest. In fact, we're popping some popcorn now and passing the bowls around.

So, next time we pull into the local gas station, we'll be sure to remember that as we fuel our loyal 92 Turcel, we're fueling the Conspiracy to Take Over The Episcopal Church. We do wonder what Peter Akinola will be blamed for next?

Thoughts anyone?

How about this:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rolling Stone Celebrates a Birthday

Check out Doug Leblanc's insightful article over at GetReligion called Rolling Stone's State of the Union. We've posted there as well. We always felt we were just too unhip to "get" Rolling Stone. Now I know it's just too narrow-minded (funny how that happens to liberals). It's a hip mag that lost it's hop. But the interviews of Dylan (and of Bono) are always good. So we're still not very hip. So sue us.

Order of the Phoenix: The American Preview Debuts

This preview contains different scenes than the international preview posted further down on this page. We recall that we brought Order of the Phoenix, newly published, with us to General Convention in Minneapolis in 2003.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Ministry of Magic

Well, here it is - our first official glimpse of the infamous "Ministry of Magic," the interiors of which we first see in Book V - Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (okay, we are talking about Harry Potter here - at some point we are going to have a senior-moment where Bob Dylan is suddenly going to show up as a character in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows - we have wondered if he is actually not a Muggle after all - and in Chapter 13 we see that he is actually Stubby Boardman of the Hobgoblins on a mission to find Harry Potter by searching for him inside London's St. Martin-in-the Fields Anglican Church during a U2 Eucharist when he finds a stray guitar and hits Lord Voldemort over the head with it before being expelliarmus-ed through the air and out the church windows with a crash and landing up the hill on Charing Cross Road just as Captain James T. Kirk beams onto the street and asks Dylan (aka Stubby Boardman) - who is busy stumbling toward the Leaky Cauldron for a drink - if it's true he still needs a new Tour Bus Driver since the tambourine player quit, and oh but never mind) ...

In fact, this is an "inside-view" of the Ministry of Magic (and no sign of Dylan or Captian Kirk). As one who use to troll through the underground passages of the US Capital in our "Hill Rat" days - we do wonder if the Ministry of Magic also has a statue like this one - known affectionately as Three Ladies in a Bathtub?

Click on the image above to take a closer look at the center of the wizarding world government in London. We do wonder, is there an American version in Washington DC and that's why the Metro Red Line acts funny sometimes?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Truro Celebrates Sixteen Years of Ministry with Martyn and Angela Minns

It was family reunion and time for celebration today at Truro in Fairfax. A surprise summer day in April filled with laugher and tears, joy, hope, and love. A momentous gathering recalling the past and preparing for the future, for Martyn, teaching us to look outside ourselves and walk out the Gospel - for Angela, warm with hospitality, steel resolve, and faithful in prayer. And for Rachel - one of the greatest gifts Truro has ever known.

A Man with Attitude

What's fun about this video is, well, Bob. Watch his performance - you can see how he has fun with the phrasing and just fooling around during the performance. Sometimes he's like a blank wall - and sometimes, like here, he is not. This is a July 2001 performance of his Oscar-winning song Things Have Changed (you can catch a glimpse of his Oscar award at marker 5:45). The Oscar is taped to his amp. If you've seen him in concert in recent years, it's still taped to his amp. Some things really don't change, Bob. Now get back on the bus.

Here are the lyrics:

A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me and nothing behind
There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train

Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

This place ain't doing me any good
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove

Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too
Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

I've been walking forty miles of bad road
If the bible is right, the world will explode
I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can't win with a losing hand

Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
Putting her in a wheel barrow and wheeling her down the street

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

I hurt easy, I just don't show it
You can hurt someone and not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I'm in love with a woman who don't even appeal to me

Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I'm not that eager to make a mistake

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

B. Dylan 1999

Warner Brothers Releases New Order of the Phoenix Preview

Oh, we can't wait! Click on the headline above for full screen viewing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

From Today's Reading of Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest: "The Retired Sphere of the Leasts"

My Utmost for His Highest - April 19

Title: Is It Not In The Least Likely?

Key Verse: For Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom (1 Kings 2:28).

Joab stood the big test, he remained absolutely loyal and true to David and did not turn after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom, but yet towards the end of his life he turned after the craven Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where any one may go back (see 1 Cor. 10:13). You have gone through the big crisis, now be alert over the least things; take into calculation the "retired sphere of the leasts."

We are apt to say - "It is not in the least likely that having been through the supreme crisis, I shall turn now to the things of the world."

Do not forecast where the temptation will come, it is the least likely thing that is the peril. In the aftermath of a great spiritual
transaction the "retired sphere of the leasts" begins to tell; it is not dominant, but remember it is there, and if you are not warned, it will trip you up. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials, now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be morbidly introspective, looking forward with dread, but keep alert; keep your memory bright before God. Unguarded strength is double weakness because that is where the "retired sphere of the leasts" saps. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.

"Kept by the power of God" - that is the only safety.

Oswald Chambers

Bob Dylan's Radio Show a Hit: Signs up for a Second Season!

Season Two of Bob Dylan's Award-Winning XM Music Show to Debut in September

WASHINGTON, April 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bob Dylan's award-winning XM music show, "Theme Time Radio Hour," will return to XM with all-new episodes in September, it was announced today. The new season will feature the show's signature eclectic mix of songs related to a specific theme, along with entertaining stories about the music and topics of interest. In addition, fans of "Theme Time Radio Hour" can expect to hear contributions from more special guests during the second season, including Ellen Barkin, whose sultry voice has heralded the start of each "Theme Time" episode since its debut last year.

Dylan's critically-acclaimed weekly show wraps-up its first season today with a special two-hour episode. Devoted to the theme "spring cleaning," the season finale features a diverse list of artists that spans from Memphis Minnie to Tom Waits and Roy Orbison to Igor Stravinsky, among many others.

Following the show's first-anniversary on May 3, XM will air a "Theme Time Radio Hour" marathon during Memorial Day weekend, broadcasting every episode from the first season of Dylan's "Theme Time Radio Hour" back-to-back, beginning May 26 at 6 p.m. ET on The Village (XM 15).

In May 2006, Bob Dylan's "Theme Time Radio Hour," debuted to popular and critical-acclaim exclusively on XM. Rolling Stone calls the show "revelatory ... Dylan's song choices are impressively varied," and the Boston Herald says of Dylan as DJ, "he's informative, funny ... his taste is impeccable." Among the shows myriad accomplishments of the past year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum added the "baseball" episode of "Theme Time Radio Hour" to its archives in June 2006.

Dylan is one of music's most iconic performers. He has released more than 45 albums containing more than 600 songs that have been covered by more than 2,000 different artists ranging from The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and Guns N' Roses to Duke Ellington, Garth Brooks, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.

His last four albums have been critical and popular successes with 1997's Time Out Of Mind garnering three GRAMMY(R) Awards, including Album Of The Year. In 2001, he won an Academy Award(R) and a Golden Globe(R) for the song "Things Have Changed." In 2004 his best selling memoir, Chronicles Volume 1, spent 19 weeks on The New York Times' Best Sellers List. Last year, Dylan received mass critical praise for his latest studio release "Modern Times," which had its world premiere on XM in August 2006. Certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), "Modern Times" debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Chart and became Dylan's first number one album in 30 years.

"Theme Time Radio Hour" airs Wednesdays at 10 a.m. ET on XM's deep classic rock channel, Deep Tracks (XM 40), with additional encores airing throughout the week on both Deep Tracks and XM's dedicated folk music channel, The Village (XM 15).

BB NOTE: We haven't missed a show! In addition, we've just learned from Dylan's website that he has written the title track for the upcoming film, Lucky You. It's called "Huck's Tune," and the soundtrack can be pre-ordered here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gazette "Religion Writer" has a very interesting Blog ...

Check out the guy who has been writing "articles" like this one also blogs here.

Hmm ...

Not exactly working without an agenda, is he?

The original headline for his recent Sunday article was Armstrong denies stealing from Grace. It was later changed to Anglican group cuts ties with Armstrong - and how that happened is probably worth a story in itself.

Perhaps the "stealing" headline was discovered by an editor and realized that was tabloid fodder.

So they went to the "real" story - ACI and the tinfoil hat conspiracies. Someone else has to take the blame for TEC's global crisis. Reminds me a bit of this. Saw the original masterpiece with Ed and Diane Knippers at the National Gallery in London several years ago.

Hmm ...

Sometimes we read this stuff - newspaper articles written by religion writers who also have rather interesting online blogs and we can't help but wonder if we aren't all actually just living in Pepperland:

The more we read this stuff, the more we think it's all Pepperland, a home even the Smugeons would love.

No greater love than this

Romanian-born Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics professor at Virginia Tech, was killed in the Virginia Tech massacre April 16, 2007. According to Librescu's son, students sent e-mails explaining that the professor risked his life for his students by blocking the doorway of his classroom and allowing students to flee through windows. He was fatally shot.

Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, had an international reputation for his work in aeronautical engineering. The photo (AP) was taken in Bucharest, Romania, in the year 2000, when he was awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa title by the Romanian Polytechnic University, from which he graduated in mechanics and aviation construction in 1953. Librescu was born in the southern Romanian city of Ploiesti, emigrated to Israel in 1978 and later moved to the United States, and received U.S. citizenship.

BB NOTE: No greater love than this. A brilliant college professor giving his life for his students. No greater love than this.

Right-Click on the headline above to see a video interview with Dr. Librescu's son (center of the page). Listen carefully to what he says about his father in his last moments.

Save Me written and sung by Dan O'Neil, a twenty-two year old student at Virginia Tech who lost his life in the tragedy.

Angel sung by Dan O'Neil.

Hear more of Dan O'Neil's music here.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and ...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Primates to meet with TEC House of Bishops

Archbishop to visit US Church

Monday 16th April 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has announced that he intends to visit the United States this autumn in response to the invitation from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

Speaking in a press conference in Toronto, Dr Williams said he would undertake the visit together with members of the Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council:

"I look forward to some sharing of our experiences as pastors as well as discussion of the business of the Communion. These are complicated days for our church internationally and it's all the more important to keep up personal relationships and conversations. ….my aim is to try and keep people around the table for as long as possible on this, to understand one another, and to encourage local churches".


Day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the earth in ashes
As David and the Sibyl bear witness.

What dread there will be
When the Judge shall come
To judge all things strictly.

A trumpet, spreading a wondrous sound
Through the graves of all lands,
Will drive mankind before the throne.

Death and Nature shall be astonished
When all creation rises again
To answer to the Judge.

A book, written in, will be brought forth
In which is contained everything that is,
Out of which the world shall be judged.

When therefore the Judge takes His seat
Whatever is hidden will reveal itself.
Nothing will remain unavenged.

What then shall 1 say, wretch that I am,
What advocate entreat to speak for me,
When even the righteous may hardly be secure?

King of awful majesty,
Who freely savest the redeemed,
Save me, O fount of goodness.

Remember, blessed Jesu,
That I am the cause of Thy pilgrimage,
Do not forsake me on that day.

Seeking me Thou didst sit down weary,
Thou didst redeem me, suffering death on the cross.
Let not such toil be in vain.

Just and avenging Judge,
Grant remission
Before the day of reckoning.

I groan like a guilty man.
Guilt reddens my face.
Spare a suppliant, O God.

Thou who didst absolve Mary Magdalene
And didst hearken to the thief,
To me also hast Thou given hope.

My prayers are not worthy,
But Thou in Thy merciful goodness grant
That I burn not in everlasting fire.

Place me among Thy sheep
And separate me from the goats,
Setting me on Thy right hand.

When the accursed have been confounded
And given over to the bitter flames,
Call me with the blessed.

I pray in supplication on my knees.
My heart contrite as the dust,
Safeguard my fate.

Mournful that day
When from the dust shall rise
Guilty man to be judged.
Therefore spare him, O God.
Merciful Jesu,
Lord Grant them rest.

Have we said thank you lately?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Poems for a Rainy Sunday


About a year has passed. I've returned to the place of the battle,
to its birds that have learned their unfolding of wings
from a subtle
lift of a surprised eyebrow, or perhaps from a razor blade
- wings, now the shade of early twilight, now of state
bad blood.

Now the place is abuzz with trading
in your ankles's remnants, bronzes
of sunburnt breastplates, dying laughter, bruises,
rumors of fresh reserves, memories of high treason,
laundered banners with imprints of the many
who since have risen.

All's overgrown with people. A ruin's a rather stubborn
architectural style. And the hearts's distinction
from a pitch-black cavern
isn't that great; not great enough to fear
that we may collide again like blind eggs somewhere.

At sunrise, when nobody stares at one's face, I often,
set out on foot to a monument cast in molten
lengthy bad dreams. And it says on the plinth "commander
in chief." But it reads "in grief," or "in brief,"
or "in going under."

I Sit By The Window

I said fate plays a game without a score,
and who needs fish if you've got caviar?
The triumph of the Gothic style would come to pass
and turn you on--no need for coke, or grass.
I sit by the window. Outside, an aspen.
When I loved, I loved deeply. It wasn't often.

I said the forest's only part of a tree.
Who needs the whole girl if you've got her knee?
Sick of the dust raised by the modern era,
the Russian eye would rest on an Estonian spire.
I sit by the window. The dishes are done.
I was happy here. But I won't be again.

I wrote: The bulb looks at the flower in fear,
and love, as an act, lacks a verb; the zer-
o Euclid thought the vanishing point became
wasn't math--it was the nothingness of Time.
I sit by the window. And while I sit
my youth comes back. Sometimes I'd smile. Or spit.

I said that the leaf may destory the bud;
what's fertile falls in fallow soil--a dud;
that on the flat field, the unshadowed plain
nature spills the seeds of trees in vain.
I sit by the window. Hands lock my knees.
My heavy shadow's my squat company.

My song was out of tune, my voice was cracked,
but at least no chorus can ever sing it back.
That talk like this reaps no reward bewilders
no one--no one's legs rest on my sholders.
I sit by the window in the dark. Like an express,
the waves behind the wavelike curtain crash.

A loyal subject of these second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out.

Poems by Jospeh Brodsky

More here.

Stop doubting and believe

Bob Dylan sings I Am The Man, Thomas in 2002.

I am the Man Thomas
I am the Man
Look at these nail scars
Here in my hand

They drove me up the hill Thomas
I am the Man
They made me carry the cross Thomas
I am the Man

I am the Man Thomas
I am the Man
Look at these nail scars
Here in my hand

They crowned my head with thorns Thomas
I am the Man
They nailed me to the cross Thomas
I am the Man

I am the Man Thomas
I am the Man
Look at these nail scars
Here in my hand

They pierced me in the side
I am the Man
I died on the cross Thomas
I am the Man

I am the Man Thomas
I am the Man
Look at these nails scars
Here in my hand

They buried me in the tomb Thomas
I am the Man
In three days I rose Thomas
I am the Man

I am the Man Thomas
I am the Man
Look at these nails scars
Here in my hand

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"

But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:24-31

BB NOTE: We had Youth Sunday at Truro this morning where the youth take over all the worship services. It was very exciting and by the end we'd nearly popped the roof off the building (the fire department actually was called during the service and firefighters in all their regalia were seen in the Undercroft looking for the source of something burning, but didn't find anything - it did sort of add to the atmosphere though - things were definitely on fire). The sermon was awesome, done by Abram, our youth director, and Matt, one of the youth as a conversation on Thomas. It was inspiring and timely. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Long Distance Dedication to the Friends of Job

Friendly Fire is worse then enemy fire. Who was it who said that the “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends"? Ah yes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So we've put up The Clash for our friends in the West, but perhaps prayer would be better. What was it Job prayed? "I know that my Redeemer lives." (Job 19). In sorting out the truth from the fiction, this we know is true. Our Redeemer lives, whatever state we find our skin.

Anglican Centrist: Loren Mead Reflects on TEC Primates

BB NOTE: Fun finding stuff to agree with at Anglican Centrist, his posting today by Loren Mead makes for very good reading - and very much worth pondering as 815 attempts to centralize control of TEC (as it has been doing for quite a while, which anyone who goes to General Convention has been able to observe for years). Something happened that Monday in January (only three months ago now) when the Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee and Executive Board met with the TEC Chancellor, David Booth Beers, just the day after Truro had selected its negotiating team for Bishop Lee's brand new "Property Committee" just as the bishop had asked us to do. Then the next day, that Monday in January, Booth Beers came over for a little chat with Bishop Lee and the Diocese of Virginia leadership and the next thing we know the Virginia Churches clergy are all inhibited and lawsuits have been filed against us all by the Diocese of Virginia, followed by another one by 815 and the Presiding Bishop (guess they needed to "encourage" the Diocese of Virginia). It was all too weird and not like Virginia, a traditionally low-church style diocese (though not always in substance) and not one to take the authoritarian route into the courthouse across the street from Truro.

We recall that we've been told that it was only in the 1940s or 50s when "Processionals" and "Candles on the Lord's Table" were introduced into Truro for the first time and celebrating Eucharist weekly only started in the mid-1980s. Many parishes in Virginia still only celebrate the Lord's Supper (we even whisper the word "Eucharist" now) once a month. Ah, but those were the days when playing guitars or heaven forbid, drums and tambourines were somewhat shocking. Then came the sax and the harp - and the trumpets and the synth and the grand piano (and bought the Finney Pipe Organ too). Oh, for those days. We experimented with all of that stuff, blending our evangelical, catholilc, and pentecostal Christian heritages together in worship and never heard a peep from the bishop. Wonder if he wants a pipe organ? (Just kidding, Alan. Keep breathing.)

This article by Loren Mead provides some fascinating historical insight and not from the usual folks, but from someone who might consider himself a centrist. For years and years the TEC Bobos (building on David Brooks' Bohemian Bourgeois elites) have stilled dissent from the Episcopal centrists by focusing their common disdain toward those uppity conservatives of evangelical or Anglo Catholic variety (of course, doing so also helped still the rough waters between the evangelicals and the Anglo Catholics as well - their historic clashes had provided the forum for the Bobos to take over to begin with, but never mind). Now that the ball is basically in TEC's court alone (and the conservative minority is basically without voice (if you were a conservative and watching what's unfolding in Colorado, would you be inclined to speak out right now? No, didn't think so) - it is indeed "morning" for Episcopal Centrists to be thinking if they want to continue following the BoBos roadmap. This is the roadmap that is tearing the The Episcopal apart at the seams (so much for straining the bond of affection). That Anglican-connection to England is one of those peculiar aspects of upperclass American culture and we do wonder how that will continue past September 30.

This makes for very good reading at Anglican Centrist. Read the whole thing here. Here's an excerpt from the article by Loren Mead:

I come from a diocese that once went 20 years without a bishop, then had a bishop who once went 7 years without conducting a confirmation service. (This was reported by a subsequent bishop of South Carolina, a historian, who somewhat quizzically commented on the lapse as "for reasons that seemed appropriate to him.") We were a diocese that tended to think of cathedrals as vaguely Popish, or, perhaps equally bad, "European." I come from the branch of the Episcopal Church that knows that our constitution was not shaped by the federal Constitution (the way all the confirmation classes insist), but by the form of government the United States had when the Church constitution was produced: "The Articles of Confederation." So our constitution doesn't really have an executive branch (or president); its focus is in legislative authority that is bicameral – with only vestigial executive and afterthought judicial powers, and no provision for a president or for "national" taxation or rules. So we provided for a presiding officer for each of our legislative branches, but the presiding bishop has no authority in any diocese, and can only act in a diocese by the authority of the diocesan bishop.

Read the rest here. Fascinating insight though about the shaping of the Episcopal constitution (which apparently can be now changed at will by 815-centered General Convention) by the Articles of Confederation, not the US Constitution (that would have made a big difference in Virginia). That central-power thing never has taken root (imagine explaining to Virginia Episcopalians that New York - i.e., 815 - is in charge since they are now maintaining that this is a so-called hierarchical church). Imagine explaining to Virginia Episcopalians that TEC has a primate - no wonder Bishop Lee used that phrase "foreign prelates" in his "letter" to the Diocese (which still doesn't seem to be aimed at the Diocese, but rather to the Court House in Fairfax City). But never mind about that either.

Bob Dylan (you know he'd figure in here somewhere) has said that there is no right or left, just up and down and down is very close to the ground. Perhaps the "centrists" will discover that it is not the center they are on, but down on the ground and notice who's footprints all over their backs. The only footprints are those with power - and who might that be?

Again, read the rest here.

Grace & St. Stephen's Senior Warden makes first public statement

BB NOTE: Watching the disaster in North Carolina of the Duke University students wrongfully accused by an over-zealous agenda-driven Durham County District Attorney (and then tried in the media and found guilty), we are reminded that it is not a good idea to make quick judgements (even if the accusations come from what should be a trustworthy source, be it an elected prosecutor or an elected bishop) when accusations are made primarily in the press. We have worked in Washington long enough to see what disasters follow when one is found guilty in the press (only to be acquitted later when no one cares anymore).

This past week a group of former Vestry members of Grace & St. Stephen's in Colorado Springs published a public letter in their local newspaper. It has had quite a wide distribution throughout the internet all over the world.

Today the Senior Warden of Grace & St. Stephen's responds for the first time publicly. Today we will also be hearing for the first time from the rector of Grace/St. Stephen's as he officially responds (going on right now as we speak) for first time to the public accusations made against him. But notice how this is all being played out on the public stage. It is another tragic sign of the crisis and separation inside the Episcopal Church, make no mistake about it.

If this letter from the Senior Warden is any indication, we may have a full blown disaster of FEMA proportions in Colorado. Today is a good day to pray.

Saturday, April 14 2007

Dear Editor of The Gazette,

As senior warden of the vestry of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s I cannot let yesterday’s editorial by 19 current and former members of the Parish go unanswered. In their letter they have publicly questioned the trustworthiness of our priest and, by implication, the integrity of the duly elected members of the vestry, who serve as the governing fiduciary body of the Parish.

Let me first of all invite them and any and all persons of good will who are concerned about the financial matters of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s to a public forum this morning at 9:00 in the nave of the church at 631 N. Tejon Street. At this meeting the vestry will preside over Fr. Donald Armstrong’s formal response to the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado’s presentment. As the principal officer of the Colorado corporation of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s, I can assure all that the vestry eagerly awaits this forum for the truth to lay bare the reality behind all accusations, allegations, and charges for the matters in question.

As to the substantial points made in the letter of the 19 persons:

1. The vestry voted to leave the Episcopal Church on Monday morning, March 26, 2007 in a meeting at 8:00 am. Ironically, this can be confirmed by the Rev. Dr. Michael O’Donnell, the priest in charge of the dissenting congregation now
meeting at Shove Chapel. Fr. O’Donnell sat in supportive attendance of our meeting and immediately thereafter celebrated our decision to leave the Episcopal Church with us over coffee and donuts.

2. The Diocese of Colorado has recently released the presentment against Fr. Armstrong after a year of formulating these allegations. During the course of the year, the Bishop has prevented Fr. Armstrong from making any public response.
Fr. Armstrong has never been accorded the opportunity to respond to allegations before any ecclesiastical review committee or court. The sad reality is that for any justice to prevail in the face of such a contorted ecclesiastical system, Fr. Armstrong has had to leave the Episcopal Church of his ancestors in order to be free to defend himself against the allegations in question. This defense formally begins today in a public forum that will be presided over by the vestry with a congregation assembled to pass their own private judgment on the matter.

3. Regarding the question of scholarships, it was in fact, John Simmons, one of the letter’s 19 signatories and Sr. Warden at the time, who approved the scholarships – based in part on the fact that he had similar arrangements at Colorado College. His wife, Frear, was retained by the parish (at her husband’s suggestion) as an attorney to ensure that the vestry’s actions were legal and that the Parish was in compliance with the specified stipulations of the related trusts.

4. The church has not been “taken” or “raided” by the vestry, nor has anyone been forced to leave the parish. The vestry’s action to leave the Episcopal Church on March 26 was a pre-emptive defensive measure to protect the parish from an expected hostile take-over by the Diocese of Colorado. Our current provisional membership status in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) allows the congregation to make a real choice in self-determination. In the Parish plebiscite scheduled for Sunday, May 20th the congregation will ratify or veto the vestry’s decision to leave the Episcopal Church. In the meantime, all members in good standing have been invited to fully participate in a 40 day period of discernment and to cast their vote on May 20th. At this time Grace Church and St. Stephen’s will either formally separate from the Episcopal Church or remain in it. Frankly, the Bishop’s effort to establish an alternative dissenting church is premature, divisive, schismatic, and unhelpful to the process we have set up for full participation of our body in this crucial decision making process about the future of the Parish.

5. We disagree with opinion of the 19 and believe that Grace Church and St. Stephen’s as a Colorado non-profit corporation has the lawful right of self-determination. As is publicly known, the Parish has recently entered El Paso County District Court to protect its rights to self-determination and property, both real and personal.

6. Regarding the letter’s reference to a “foreign leader,” I pray that I am not hearing anti-catholic or even racist connotations in its tone. If this is a reference to the Most Reverend Peter Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, it deeply saddens me. His missionary diocese in America has been recognized as legitimate by the Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Furthermore, a holy man of God who was nominated to be World Magazine’s “Daniel of the Year” (2006) is undeserving of such contempt.

7. In the letter of the 19’s reaffirmation of their Christian faith and affection for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s, I cordially invite them to return to the parish and worship, pray, and study with us, to be reconciled to their priest of twenty-years, and to fully participate in the 40 days of discernment process concerning the future life of the Parish.


Jon Wroblewski, Sr. Warden
Grace Church and St. Stephen’s

Preparing for Book Seven: JK Rowling's Favorite Painting

We have learned that this is author JK Rowling's favorite painting, Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus. About Caravaggio's 1601 painting, Rowling says "Jesus reveals himself to the disciples having risen from the dead. I love it. Jesus looks very likeable ...and the painting captures the exact moment when the disciples realize who this man is, blessing their bread.” Now add this to her love of the poet Chesteron (and her public admiration of CS Lewis) and we are indeed pondering the themes for Book VII - if not a clue to her final plot turn.

What made this moment so shocking - the "victim" revealed the truth (as in this moment from Luke 24:30-31 "When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight."

We know that there is going to be a major surprise (she has told us she completely plotted out the story line - boring as that is, she admits - before she wrote the prose) which she has been planning for since the first book. Most people think it has to do with deaths (and perhaps it does), but what if it also has to do with life? Remember Charles Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, "Recalled to Life?" What is Harry looking at here anyway?

What made this moment in Carvaggio's painting so momentous is that it is the moment that the disciples recognized Him (identity revealed) and remembered what He'd said to them beforehand (foreshadowing hints that gave the story away if they'd been paying attention earlier) - the Lord had prepared them but their attention was diverted elsewhere (readers beware). In this moment, they see (which is the point of every great mystery novel, that epiphany - that AHA! moment). It was in the breaking of the bread, by being inside the story that the disciples recognized who He was and in that moment understood the story, the most amazing plot twist ever. This was done not with Spielberg-Lucas special effects, but came in a regular storyboard character/plot moment, breaking bread. The way this painting illustrates this moment, they are at supper, having a regular meal as they must have done hundreds of times before - but only in this moment are their eyes opened, the vision of their eyes and the vision of their souls.

They are saved.

If this is the sort of thing that inspires Jo Rowling, what are we to expect in the seventh and final book?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

-Colossians 3:12-17

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time Out: A Blast from the Past (or is that the future?)

BB NOTE: Yes, we admit it - there are plenty of recovering Trekkies (or is that Trekkers?) here at the Cafe. Now that Star Trek (and it's descendants or ancestors) are off the air, we've been missing flipping through the channels and finding the beloved reruns. We're still slightly Luddite when it comes to the television because here at the Cafe we don't have cable. Understand that's practically flatearth (we've made up for it in Apple gadgets though) and so we don't have the Science Fiction Channel. But we do have the next best thing.

And speaking of the next best thing, here is one of the best scenes ever in Star Trek. We recall going to see an encore presentation of this particular film at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum (on their giganic IMAX screens) in DC with hundreds of other Trekkers and the audience would get in the act and do the lines along with the film. It was a Rocky Horror Experience (though no rice).

This film in particular is filled with great lines - and so we do wonder how many out there actually all ready know (or still know) the lines from this clip? The BabyBlueBrother need not answer because we know he does. But for your viewing enjoyment we bring it to you tonight - and one does often feel a bit like a member of the Starship Enterprise these days. Oh that we were all one big happy fleet.

LATER: Okay, while we're on this topic, we might as well post another great moment. Still funny after twenty years.

EVEN LATER: Well, we're on a roll now. Here's a fine tribute to forty years of Star Trek. We saw our first episode Metamorphosis when we were six and Grandma let us stay up late.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dylan's Own Top Ten Dylan Albums lists Bob Dylan’s own Top Ten Dylan albums judged by the set lists of the first ten shows of the Europe 2007 tour. They are:

1. Modern Times (2006)
2. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
3. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
4. "Love And Theft" (2001)
5. Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)
6. Blonde on Blonde (1966)
7. John Wesley Harding (1968)
8. Nashville Skyline (1969)
9. Blood on the Tracks (1974)
10. Basement Tapes (1975)

Here's also a list of all the songs played (and how many times) on the tour so far:

All Along The Watchtower (11)
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (11)
Like A Rolling Stone (11)
Rollin' And Tumblin' (11)
Summer Days (11)
Thunder On The Mountain (11)
When The Deal Goes Down (10)
Highway 61 Revisited (9)
Spirit On The Water (9)
Cat's In The Well (8)
Nettie Moore (8)
Watching The River Flow (7)
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (5)
It Ain't Me, Babe (5)
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (4)
Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine) (4)
Stuck Inside of Mobile (with the Memphis Blues Again) (4)
Tangled Up In Blue (4)
Ain't Talkin' (3)
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (3)
Country Pie (2)
Desolation Row (2)
Girl Of The North Country (2)
High Water (for Charley Patton) (2)
Honest With Me (2)
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (2)
To Ramona (2)
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (2)
Visions Of Johanna (2)
Boots of Spanish Leather
Chimes Of Freedom
John Brown
Lay Lady Lay
Man In The Long Black Coat
Masters Of War
Not Dark Yet
Simple Twist Of Fate
Tears Of Rage
The Levee's Gonna Break
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
This Wheel's On Fire
'Til I Fell In Love With You
Things Have Changed
Under The Red Sky

That's 44 different songs in eleven shows so far. Amazing. And he's playing the electric guitar and the electric keyboards. And of course, the harmonica. But he ain't hittin' that tambourine. Well, not yet.

Photo above taken April 9.

Back to the bus ...

What then shall we do?

BB NOTE: Excellent analysis of the recent actions of the Episcopal House of Bishops by Ephraim Radner here. There's so much to quote from, we'll choose these four excerpts, but encourage a full reading of the entire piece. is very difficult to see on what basis the House of Bishops could reject the Scheme as inherently unconstitutional. The character and shape of the Scheme is one of request and permission. The unwillingness of our bishops to look at this carefully and instead insist on reading it in terms of “oppression” and “offense” is bizarre and irrational. Indeed, their rejection of the Scheme appears wholly capricious and arbitrary...

...Theologically and politically, the autonomy of the Episcopal Church was, from the beginning, profoundly circumscribed by constraints (from the Church of England and internally) imposed by Prayer Book doctrine, by the configuration of Convention, by the general claims of Holy Scripture, and by the early reiteration by the Convention (1814) that the Episcopal Church is, from an ecclesial (though not civil) perspective, the “same body” as the “Church of England”. How exactly the notion of “autonomy” must be understood in terms of TEC’s “constituent membership” in a body of churches that upholds and propagates a common “faith and order” that is “historically” traceable is exactly what is at issue in the present conflict in the Communion. The Windsor Report remains to date the most carefully articulated response to this question, and it speaks in terms very different from the House of Bishops’. They in turn ignore their own history, whatever its debatable details, and pass by in silence the Communion’s own attempt at providing clarity to this matter...

...Yet the House of Bishops wants to claim the Primates are “kicking them out” of the Communion, when in fact it is they, the American bishops, who have deliberately chosen a path they know—if they are thinking clearly—must lead to this outcome. Even their own consultative bodies have told them this. Before the 2003 General Convention, the House of Bishops’ Theology Committee recommended that no action be taken on matters that would alter the discipline of the church in the area of human sexuality – such as the consent to Gene Robinson’s episcopal election. Such actions would divide the church, since, they argued, there was no clear consensus within the church that could support it. The House of Bishops knowingly and deliberately chose in 2003 to ignore their Committee’s recommendations. The “schismatic”, as Andrew Marvell wrote, is the one who causes separation, not necessarily the one who separates...

...With whom and under whom do we now fulfill our vows made before God? It is no longer possible to receive equally the claim made by the House of Bishops to be faithful to the apostolic trust, along with the claim by the “Church throughout the world” that this trust demands another set of actions and commitments. What then shall we do?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When the moon is in the Seventh House ...

Blogger "Reformed Pastor" has some interesting research into one of the candidates for Episcopal Bishop of El Camino Real (more here and here). I like U2 too - but this is wild. Processing Smugeons anyone?

Monday, April 09, 2007

NPR Commentary: Marking Milestones with Dylan Songs

Came across this audio commentary from last August on National Public Radio of one man marking the milestones of his life with Bob Dylan songs. The beginning of the recording is jumbled a bit with an ad (it happens). We will admit, we've been tracking a lot from the music too (though perhaps with different lessons then this commentator illistrates, though there are similarities). Imagine sountracking your life with Dylan. We're thinking about it.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? Jim Naughton's Blog to be StandFirmed ...

BREAKING NEWS: Interesting announcement over at Jim Naughton's blog Daily Episcopalian today. Looks like he's tired of going over to StandFirm to get his news.

Well, better late then never? They say imitation is the best form of flattery. And that's it for the cliches for today.

A Tip of the TinFoilHat to ElfGirl - who stopped into the cafe today on her latest trip back to the Shire. We've got a special order of lembas bread baking in the oven in her honor. Stop and see us again soon!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Rise Again
By Dallas Holm.
Performed by Bob Dylan and Clydie King.

Go ahead, drive the nails in My hands;
Laugh at me... where you stand.
Go ahead, and say it isn't Me;
The day will come... when you will see.

'Cause I'll rise.... again;
Ain't no power on earth can keep Me down!
Yes, I'll rise... again;
Death can't keep Me in the ground.

Go ahead, mock My name;
My love for you is still the same.
Go ahead, and bury Me;
But very soon, I will be free!

'Cause I'll rise.... again;
Ain't no power on earth can keep Me down!
Yes, I'll rise... again;
Death can't keep Me in the ground.

Go ahead, and say I'm dead and gone,
But you will see that you were wrong.
Go ahead, try to hide the Son;
But all will see that I'm the One!

'Cause I'll come again!
Ain't no power on earth can keep me back!
Yes, I'll come again;
Come to take My people back.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
-Luke 23:50-56

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
-Hebrews 4:14-16

Friday, April 06, 2007

Celebrating BabyBlueOnline's First Anniversary

We're joined by Jenny Noyes of the ACN, here in busy downtown Sewickley, PA at the local Starbucks. Sure are interesting characters who drop by this place - makes one think we're actually at the BabyBlueCafe! So we feel at home. Besides being on a short holiday, we're toasting BabyBlueOnline's First Year Anniversary as of April 2! Put on your tinfoil hats and pull up a chair. The Chais and Butterbeer are on the house!

Thanks to all of our wandering friends and guests who drop by the cafe - even to all our dear Anons (you know who are!) - we appreciate you all! Thank you! And let's get ready for the next year - it could be one for the history books.


These photos were taken on the road from Virginia to Pittsburgh yesterday. Headed north for a few days to visit ACN's Jenny Noyes and family and hang out, but ran into a snow storm on the Pittsburgh Turnkpike. Was it not just a few days ago that we posted this? What was it the Groundhog said?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Letter from John Yates, Rector of The Falls Church on the Virginia Situation

BB NOTE: John Yates provides an excellent overview of where we are right now, including a clear update on the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church's lawsuits against the Virginia Churches.

April 4, 2007


If you read the local paper, you know that there have been regular articles featuring the group of TFC parishioners who felt they could not go along with our decision to sever our ties with The Episcopal Church. You might be interested in my most recent letter to Bill Fetsch regarding the request they made of me to have use of the Historic Church, several classrooms and fellowship space for a portion of Sunday mornings. I've attached that letter.

As you probably know, at a recent Tanzanian gathering of all Anglican primates, they asked TEC (The Episcopal Church) to place a moratorium on rites blessing persons living in same sex unions and on any further consecrations of non-celibate gay bishops - both of which violate Anglican teaching - or lose its standing in the Communion. The primates also asked for an end to lawsuits against parishes that have left TEC to come under the shepherding of Anglican bishops in Africa and South America.

At a March meeting in Texas of Episcopal bishops, these requests were rejected. The bishops expressed their desire to remain in the Anglican Communion, but said they were unable to make the decision requested by the primates. They asked for a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Attached also is a summary of the statement of the House of Bishops, as reported in the Living Church magazine. The full text is available on our website.

I also wanted to briefly update you about the lawsuits filed in the Virginia courts by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and by The Episcopal Church against The Falls Church, our sister churches in the Anglican District of Virginia, and members of our vestries and other individuals.

First, on February 22, and again on March 8, our lawyers wrote to the lawyers for The Episcopal Church and for the Diocese, asking that everyone agree to suspend all pending actions in law and other legal proceedings until after September 30, just as the primates of the Anglican Communion directed in their February 19 Tanzania Communique. Both TEC and the Diocese rejected this request and indicated that they intend to proceed with their lawsuits. Copies of this correspondence have been posted on our web site at

Second, on March 23, a three-judge panel appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court conducted a telephone conference with lawyers for our church, for our sister ADV churches, for the Diocese, and for TEC. The panel indicated that it would grant the applications filed by our lawyers and those filed by the Diocese and TEC to consolidate all of the legal proceedings pending in various Virginia county courts into a single case in the Fairfax County courts. We expect that an order regarding consolidation will be issued by the panel sometime in the next several weeks, and that a single judge from Fairfax County will then be designated to hear consolidated cases.

Third, on March 12, lawyers for our church and for our sister churches filed with the Virginia courts our responses to the lawsuits filed by the Diocese. These responses asked that the courts dismiss the lawsuits for a variety of legal reasons and also that, even if the lawsuits were to go forward, that the vestry members and others named as individual defendants be dismissed because there is no valid legal reason for suing them. No schedule for arguing these matters in the courts has yet been set, but we expect this will occur after these cases are all consolidated in Fairfax County. Copies of these court filings have also been posted on our web site.

Finally, lawyers for The Episcopal Church have indicated that they intend to proceed with their lawsuit in Fairfax County against our church, our ADV sister churches, and more than 200 individuals, named and unnamed (primarily vestry members and trustees of these churches). They and our counsel have agreed that our responses to these lawsuits will be due in mid-April.

Please continu e to keep all of these matters in your prayers. Please pray for the appointment of a wise judge who will rule justly and for godly wisdom and grace for our leadership and our lawyers. Most of all, please pray that God will resolve all of these disagreements in a way that honors Him and His word and that draws people to our risen and redeeming savior Jesus Christ.

In the family,

John Yates

BB NOTE:Many thanks to the ever-diligent Greg and the amazing team at StandFirm!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Look who's finally playing the guitar on stage again! Live performance was from just last Wednesday (March 28, 2007) in Stockholm. Not a tambourine in sight, though, you sure can hear it ...

NOTE: We decided to go with quality rather than speed, so when you click on the link, go vacuum a few rooms, put the laundry in the dryer, put the apple pie in the oven, answer a few e-mails, then click to play. It will be worth the wait. One of the great songs - and he's back in center stage with the guitar - finally.

What stays true?

“For me there is no Right and there is no Left. There’s truth and there’s untruth, y’know? There’s honesty, and there’s hypocrisy. Look in the Bible, you don’t see nothing about Right or Left. Other people might have other ideas about things, but I don’t, because I’m not that smart. I hate to keep beating people over the head with the Bible, but that’s the only instrument I know, the only thing that stays true.”

Bob Dylan, 1986

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Flash Back

"It would sadden me greatly if there was a real break in the Anglican communion, because we are members one of another and share a common baptism. All of us would be diminished if any part of the communion was expelled."

Frank Griswold, 2006
Retired TEC Presiding Bishop

So much for being independent (how can we be expelled from something we are independent of?). Notice the wording about "common baptism." That means we are all baptized into the same Church (our common baptism is "Anglican" - remember all the fuss about baptismal convenants - well, this is the common baptism as Anglicans and TEC is changing the meaning of that baptism - that's at the heart of the current crisis and division, make no mistake about it). One is then diminished when expelled from the whole. TEC is not the whole Kahuna.

"We are members one of another and share a common baptism," Bishop Griswold said to the Guardian last year before the lawyers got a hold of him and told him to shush.

Monday, April 02, 2007

If a picture paints a thousand words ...

"TEC: Don't sue me!" The Nephew, aged 10, saw that we were rather sad today to hear all the speculation coming out of the House of Bishops and of Bishop Sauls and David Booth Beers rumored scheme to turn The Episcopal Church into the latest episode of The Sopranos (Tony, call your office). TinFoilHats are a must these days, or so it seems. All this talk of weird conspiracy plots afoot is starting to sound like the TEC Bishops have left their Ivory Tower for the Grassy Knoll. They seem to even relish basking in the latest conspiracy theories that we are now thinking they might want to just save time and hold their September House of Bishops Meeting inside Area 51.

So the Nephew, with crayons and pipecleaners in hand, took it on himself to create something special to help make the message loud and clear to those in the House of Bishops (who are supposed to take the high road as beacons of Christ's love to a brokenhearted world and as guardians of His Word as a light to the nations - and not serve volunteer lay people with lawsuits and rumblings of rumors to do even worse, but oh well) - and that he did.

Truly his picture (see above) says what a thousand words could not say. Even The Beloved Cat makes it in.

Notice he has the sun shining through the clouds - there is always hope. Thanks, Johnny - you are the best. I love you too.

Holy Week Begins

Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams,
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
Cross the valleys and streams,
For they're deep and they're wide
And the world's on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride.

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow,
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know.
Oh it's rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow.

Ring them bells Sweet Martha,
For the poor man's son,
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one.
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep.

Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf,
Ring them bells for all of us who are left,
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through.
Ring them bells, for the time that flies,
For the child that cries
When innocence dies.

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room,
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom.
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they're breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong.

B. Dylan

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Breaking: BabyBlue Joins Bob Dylan's Band

Fairfax, VA (April 1, 2007)---After months of speculation, it was revealed today that BabyBlue had joined Bob Dylan's band. Sources close to the legendary musician's management confirmed that "BabyBlue" had indeed joined Bob Dylan's backup band as a tambourine player.

"Bob's been needing a good tambourine player for quite a while," said Marcus Maxwell, an associate with Jack Frost Productions located at the Abernathy Building. "When we saw her audition it was clear she was the one. She sure can hit that tambourine."

Rumors persist that BabyBlue's tambourine performances will be featured on Dylan's next album. "It is indeed possible, she sure can hit that tambourine," Maxwell said.

Friends confirm that she has indeed left for Europe to travel with Bob Dylan's band. "She said to us 'hey, when you've been sued by The Episcopal Church what else can you do but join a rock and roll band?'" one friend said after Palm Sunday services this morning in Fairfax. Another friend agreed. "She said it was her life-long dream to be a tambourine player and go on the road."

Efforts to reach BabyBlue were unsuccessful, as the tour is now in Europe. But a source close to BabyBlue confirmed that she started up the tambourine after the recent House of Bishops meeting. "Yeah, she sure picked it up fast," Maxwell confirmed. "She said that each time another Episcopal Bishop wrote another reflection on the House of Bishops meeting in Texas, she'd hit that thing. She got quite good after a while, I guess, so Bob hired her."