Friday, February 25, 2011

Today at the Cafe: At the Cross

Do we not grasp why we can meet one another, even when our differences so deeply, even profoundly divide us? It's not the work we have done or will do that brings us together, nor what we have in common or in our strength, no, no - it is in our weaknesses that we come together. Who inherits the earth?

We meet together not on our own merits or the rightness of our cause, but because of what is all ready been accomplished by the amazing work of Jesus, risen. No, nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers. That is why we can meet in hope with one another and know without a doubt that God is present, that He is at work, that His unfailing love and mercy crys out from every rock. We stand together in faith, not because we are right but because we are forgiven.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get Thee Hence

Get thee hence over to the Curmudgeon and play the "Spot the Absurdity" quiz based on a rather unfortunate post at the Other Cafe regarding the official actions of the just-completed convention of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.  Also, check out this brand new website from the Borg er, Title IV - a must-see for all still in the Episcopal Church as well as a sober reminder for those who have walked away.

Bono opens up on his Christian faith

From here:

Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.

Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn't so "peace and love"?
Bono: There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.
Bono: I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?

Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.
Bono: Let's not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows.

Assayas: So you won't be critical.
Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier. 

Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?
Bono: [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson's. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.

Assayas: Didn't he put them on?
Bono: Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: "Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper."

Assayas: I don't remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.
Bono: Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.

Later in the conversation:
Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?
Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.
Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.
Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.
Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?
Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched.

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:
Bono: If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

Read it all here or pick up this excellent book here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breaking News: CANA Church reaches settlement with The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia

The Church of our Saviour Oatlands (Virginia) has reached a settlement to end litigation with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church.  The congregation voted today to take the settlement offered by the diocese and the Episcopal Church and will surrender their property to the diocese.  They will then lease the property back from the diocese, but they must also disaffiliate from the Anglican District of Virginia, CANA, or any other Anglican entity.  The Diocese of Virginia also announced that the church w"has agreed that no bishop will visit the congregation without the permission of the Bishop of Virginia." All other claims made by The Diocese and the Episcopal Church against the Church of Our Saviour will be dropped.

“For many months, we have encouraged our congregations to pray for an end to this costly litigation,” said ADV Chairman Jim Oakes in an official statement.  “There has been a great deal of discussion and soul searching and we will continue to pray that His will be done. No matter the path Church of Our Saviour has chosen, they will remain our brothers and sisters in Christ and we pray for the opportunity to have continued fellowship together.”

“It is truly heartening for us to come to an agreement,” the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia said in statement released by the diocese. “This settlement ensures that the legacy entrusted to the Episcopal Church continues, while providing a clear way forward for the Oatlands congregation.” 

The Church of our Savior was built in 1877 and consecrated in 1878 on land deeded by George and Kate Powell Carter of this historic Oatlands Plantation. Before the erection of the church, the small congregation worshipped in an abandoned blacksmith shop nearby. In 1903, Mr. and Mrs. William Corcoran Eustis built the parish house adjacent to the church.  The Rev. Elijah B. White has been rector since 1977.

The trial over remaining church properties is currently scheduled for April 25th in the Fairfax Circuit Cour, Judge Randy Bellows presiding.

UPDATE: Here is The Rev'd Elijah White's informative and heartfelt letter to his parish sent today that fills in more details of the settlement:
Dear Members and Friends of Our Saviour,

Today, February 20 in the Year of our Lord 2011, Septuagesima, our Parish voted for a future as significant as our initial formation under Oatlands Plantation's oak grove during the War between the States, construction of our church building in 1878 and parish hall in 1906, independence as a separate congregation no longer subservient under any larger parish in 1973, and our first full-time Rector in 1980.

With the unanimous endorsement of our Vestry, Officers and clergy, and a 10-1 endorsement by our voting members, we have this day settled the lawsuits filed against us by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in Richmond and by the national Episcopal Church in New York City.

I am not glad about this, but I heartily endorse these decisions, have spoken out in favor of them as the best arrangement obtainable in our current legal situation, and look forward to working energetically for our ongoing Christian mission together free from the burdens, distractions and costs of continued litigation. This frees us to put all our efforts into God's work.

Loudoun County appraises our property at $314,500. We have already spent some $400,000 in our own legal defense and contributions to our joint efforts with ADV-CANA.

Given an unfavorable decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia last June, and their sending our cases back to the Fairfax County Circuit Court to be retried individually under a different set of legal standards and criteria, our alternatives were either to negotiate the best settlement we could now or to spend another third of a million dollars and another 18-20 months in new litigation with a dubious chance of success when any Fairfax decision is sure to be appealed to that same Supreme Court of Virginia.

Recognizing that every agreement contains some points that each side likes and some that each side does not like, the terms of this settlement include the following:

· neither side admits to the validity of the other side's arguments, contentions, claims or assertions

· the Diocese of Virginia gains title to the real property and certain older items of personal property

· our Parish gains a lease of up to five years of full and free quiet enjoyment of all real and personal property, the Diocese being bound by this up-to-five-year agreement but our Parish being free to terminate it at any time upon thirty days notice

· our Parish will pay $500 per month while we occupy the premises {these payments will not come out of our Parish offerings nor budget - the full cost of a maximum five-year lease, $30,000, has already been paid into a separate account by an anonymous donor}

· our Parish will retain all our 1928 Prayer Books and 1940 Hymnals - our church organ and parish hall piano - all Eucharistic vestments and Altar hangings - all other clergy vestments - our Paschal Candlestick and Advent Wreath - our processional Cross and its accompanying wall plaque - our inlaid table in the entranceway - the big lectern King James Version Bible - the American flag Col. Mike Sweeney brought to us from Camp Fallujah in Iraq - the two cemetery benches given in memory of Anita - the silver lavabo bowl - and all of our Parish funds: no cash will go to the Episcopal Diocese nor to the national Episcopal Church

· any donor or contributor of a hand-worked kneeler, or any family member of such or of an individual in whose honor it was given, may identify and claim such a kneeler and take it

· anyone who wants a member moved from our cemetery or memorial wall can do so at any time until we leave the premises - the Parish offers to pay for such moves

· anyone who has a reservation in our cemetery or memorial wall and wants to use it can exercise that right at any time

· our congregation voted today to disaffiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America under the Province of Nigeria and its local Anglican District of Virginia, and may not affiliate nor serve under any other Anglican entity so long as we remain on our present premises - once we leave we are free to affiliate with whomever we may choose

I send this summary to you right away - more information will follow by e-mail and newsletter.

If you participated in the meeting after the 9.30 service last Sunday the 13th you saw that, although 26 people had attended the 8 o'clock and many were not at either service, we quite literally had standing-room only, the parking lot was full, the lawn half-full, more cars lined to dirt road out front, and one could hardly move in the parish hall afterward. If everyone were to come, we could not possibly accommodate them.

The fact is that we are in the process of outgrowing our beloved buildings - this is the Lord's own work, God giveth the increase, which is a growing problem for us but a very godly problem to have. Our Vestry and many knowledgeable members have been actively looking at potentially-suitable properties, and will continue to do so.

I love this place, these buildings I've served since 1948-49 when Janet Cobb's father brought me down as his Altar boy when he was Rector of S. James' Leesburg. Leaving them will hurt me very much, as I know it will many of you, but I am confident that we are doing both the best and the right thing in our complex circumstances of ending litigation and planning for growth.

Please pray for us all, as individuals for whom Christ died and rose again and as a congregation committed to His godly worship, His service, and the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

May the God we strive to serve bless, guide, guard, direct and prosper us all.

Faithfully yours in His service,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Annandale Civic Association Elects New President

From The Washington Post:
For more than 20 years, candidates running for office in the Hillbrook/Tall Oaks Civic Association in Annandale (Virginia) have stood up, waved and received polite applause at the annual meeting in June. Everyone votes, eats ice cream, chats with neighbors and goes home.
This past election, to make the meeting move faster, only the names and qualifications of the candidates were announced. Running for president, Ms. Beatha Lee was described as a relatively new resident, interested in neighborhood activities and the outdoors, who had experience in Maine overseeing an estate of 26 acres.
Though unfamiliar with Lee's name, the crowd of about 50 or so raised their hands, assuming that the candidate was a civic-minded newcomer. These days, it's hard to get anyone to volunteer to devote the time needed to serve as an officer. The slate that Lee headed was unanimously elected. Everyone ate ice cream, watched a karate demonstration and went home.
Only weeks later did many discover that their new president was, in fact, a dog. 
Ms. Beatha Lee is a shaggy, dirty-white Wheaten terrier.
The news broke in the association's newsletter with Lee's promise to "govern with an even paw." The dog's photo appeared under the heading, "Dog Rules, Humans Apathetic (Pathetic)."
A veritable storm erupted in the bucolic 1950s neighborhood of about 250 families who live in split levels or colonials with about 90 dogs.
"She had a name," said Robin Klein Browder, who grew up in the neighborhood and moved back after she got married. "It wasn't Spot or Rover. It was a first and last name, so everyone thought she was human. I'm not thrilled. I'm embarrassed."
"At first, people would say to me, 'This is crazy!" said Helen Winter, a director emeritus of the board who is in her 80s and is a major force behind the neighborhood watch, the welcoming committee and the annual block party. "And I'd say, 'It is crazy. Isn't that fun?' It's one of those things that breaks the monotony."
"Many people, like myself, were amused," said Dave Frederickson, who read the dog's name and qualifications to the crowd at the annual meeting. "But some were extremely upset. I've spent a lot of time on the phone explaining things."
The duly elected president is actually the pet of the former president, Mark Crawford, who inherited Beatha (pronounced Bee-Ah-tah) in 2008 from his mother and stepfather in Maine.
Crawford had served three consecutive terms as president and, according to association bylaws, could not run for the office again. For weeks leading up to the election, he begged, pleaded and cajoled neighbors to run for the often-thankless volunteer post. No one bit. Newer, younger families told him they were too busy juggling work, long commutes and kids. And longtime residents, many burned out after losing a bruising zoning battle against a Montessori school in their neighborhood, said they'd already done their time.
Out of sheer frustration, Crawford decided to put up his dog.
"This isn't a power trip," said Crawford, who now serves as vice president under his pooch. "We wanted to send a message to the neighborhood that they needed to get involved and get engaged. That they can't count on the same people to do this year in and year out." 
Crawford and the nominating committee carefully scanned Article V of their bylaws on officer qualifications. Resident of the neighborhood. Check. Attained the age of majority. Check (in dog years). "Our charter language did not mention that a human had to serve," Crawford said. "The way it was phrased was very accommodating, to be frank."
Those same bylaws also outline the fairly substantial duties of the president - everything from running meetings and appointing committee members to executing contracts and co-signing checks. Not to mention speaking for the association at public meetings. So how has the canine managed?
"Well, she delegates a lot," Crawford said. "That's what executives are supposed to do: delegate."
The dog occasionally attends the monthly board meetings, usually held the first Tuesday or Wednesday of the month in Crawford's home. "She's sometimes sitting under the table, listening to what goes on," Frederickson said. "Until she gets bored and wants to be let out. I don't know if the board members need to pet her on their way in."
Crawford and the other seven human board members have kept the annual block parties and ice cream socials running without a hitch - the president was too out of sorts to attend.
Other than a few rumblings about speed bumps and tree trimming, it has been a pretty quiet year for the association. "We're dealing with things like trying to get our phone book out," Crawford said. "Pretty mundane stuff."
Over time, the neighbors have come to accept their new leader.
"It doesn't surprise me one bit that a dog is the president - our neighborhood is so dog-friendly," said Meghan Pituch Myers, who moved in a little over a year ago. "We often find ourselves referencing people by their dogs ... 'I saw Daisy's mom today at the store' "
So has the ploy worked? Are people getting more involved?
Crawford said it's too early to tell.
Browder, whose father ran the association when she was a girl and whose husband also served as president, said she might be willing. "If we elected a dog, I'm thinking, okay, maybe I better do my duty," she said.
But if she doesn't, "maybe we'll get a cat this time," groused longtime resident Dave Borowski.
Read it all here.  Tip of the Tinfoil to Monica - thank you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Anglican District of Virgina prepares to call a bishop and become a Diocese in the Anglican Church in North America

The Anglican District of Virginia will focus forty days of prayer during the 2011 Lenten Season in preparation for the ADV Constitutional Convention. Here is the timeline as the Constitutional Convention approaches:

Here is the timeline for the preparation for the Constitutional Convention as outlined by the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV):
  1. February 1, 2011 – The Synod Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons submits to the ADV Synod Council Draft of Proposed Amendments to ADV Constitution and Canons or Draft New Constitution and Canons;
  2. February 15, 2011 – ADV Synod Council circulates to ADV member congregations above Drafts, with comments;
  3. April 8, 2011 – Congregations submit proposed changes to Drafts to Synod Council; 
  4. May 1, 2011 – Synod Council circulates to Constitutional Convention delegates Final Proposed ADV Constitution and Canons and any alternative proposed sections.
Once the ADV Constitution and Canons are adopted, they will serve as the authority for selecting our new Bishop and will accompany our application for admission as a new ACNA diocese. 
Here is more on the call for prayer, via email:
"40 Days of Prayer" is a common theme this time of year. As Anglicans, as Christians, we devote a period of 40 days during Lent to many things.

This year, we at the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) invite you to join us for 40 Days of Diocesan Prayer during the 2011 Lenten season beginning Ash Wednesday, March 9. This season leads up to an important ADV Constitutional Convention May 20-21, 2011, during which we will adopt our new constitution and canons (governing documents) and elect our new bishop as we seek admission as a new diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Our new Bishop will be selected from a slate of up to three candidates who will stand for election immediately after adoption of the new ADV governing documents at the Constitutional Convention.

As we move towards the May 20-21 Constitutional Convention, ADV invites the attention, prayer and involvement of our 42 member congregations—40 Days of Diocesan Prayer—to guide our application to ACNA, consideration of our new governing documents, and the selection of a Bishop to lead us as a new ACNA diocese. The following weeks and months mark a pivotal time for ADV, as we articulate our growth and formation—essentially your growth and formation—into an Anglican diocese for the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. We continue to be humbled by the details and requirements for this growth, and look forward to God’s provision through your prayers and discernment.

Our current ADV Contact Bishop, Bishop David Bena, is providing a prayer below for use on Sunday mornings throughout Lent this year. We hope that the prayer will be read at all services during this season up through Easter Sunday, April 24, in preparation for the May 20-21 ADV Constitutional Convention. We look forward to updating you throughout the process and as to the outcome of the Convention.

More information about the formal process can be found here. If you are the communications contact for your parish, we encourage you to use the content herein and in the previous link to promote 40 Days of Diocesan Prayer in your parish publications and website as you are able.

Parish Prayer

Almighty and Everlasting Father, you have given the Holy Spirit to abide with us forever: Inspire, we pray, the clergy and delegates who will meet in council May 20, that the Anglican District of Virginia, being preserved in true faith and Godly doctrine, may make right choices regarding becoming a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America and in choosing a faithful bishop to lead us. May we fulfill all the mind of Him who loves us and gave Himself for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

To learn more about the Anglican District of Virginia, click here.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul elected to Primates Standing Committee

Yesterday the Anglican Communion Office announced that The Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Sudan, was elected to serve on the Primates Standing Committee representing all the provinces in Africa, even though he did not attend the Primates Meeting in Ireland.  Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was also re-elected representing the Americas, however she will not be attending the next meeting due to a scheduling conflict with the Episcopal House of Bishops.  It will be interesting to see how Bishop Schori responds to Archbishop Daniel at these meetings in the future.

Here Archbishop Daniel addresses the media at a press conference at Lambeth 2008 in the newsroom after Lambeth Conference officials would not grant him the use of the Press Conference facility.  The Episcopal Church worked hard to lobby the Sudanese bishops for Lambeth 2008, but to no avail. The Church in the Sudan would not be moved.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Counting the Cost of the Anglican Crisis: Rubbish?

I'm just back from finally going to see The King's Speech. It is a great film - excellent performances, direction, cinematography, and writing.  But what I want to write about was something that for me jumped right off the screen.  Though it was presented as being within the time of the Coronation of George VI, it was in fact not so. 

One could recognize who were the sympathetic characters and who were not in The King's Speech. The sympathetic characters were those who displayed on the Duke of York, as in his wife Elizabeth, and his public challenges with a stutter. Those who were unsympathetic showed a lack of compassion for the man and instead displayed their own desire to get him fixed so he can do his job - or remind him that he can't do the job because he could not be eloquent in public.

The Archbishop of Canterbury does not fare well in this film. He is portrayed by one of my all-time favorite actors, the now-knighted Sir Derek Jacobi. By casting him in this role, it was clear the role was taken seriously, but the person of the archbishop was not. He consistently was more concerned by how things looked, then cared for the man, Bertie.

That being said, the scene that caught my attention was when Lionel Logue, portrayed brilliantly by the acclaimed actor Geoffrey Rush, is rehearsing King George VI in preparation for his coronation. By Lionel's assistance on equality (also a sign of the 21st century breaking through), they have formed an unconventional friendship of trust.  They are practicing his responses to the questions he will be asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury. They go through the secular aspects of the service, but in the film when the reach the section having to do with the sacred oaths he takes, Lionel skips over it, saying yadayadayada for that section of the text and and calling it rubbish.

I was astonished - not only because the sacred aspect of the service was called rubbish, but that I haven't heard or read commentary about it the comment. I sat there in the dark theatre thinking, now why did the screenwriter do that? It was presented almost humorously, but we are not told what section is being castigated as rubbish.

The 21st century broke through the film in that moment. Certainly as Hitler was preparing his march across Europe and England would soon go to war, the hope of God's call and assistance on this particular man in this particular time was acute. It was not a moment for rubbish.

But today the position of the Church of England and it's subsidiaries in the Anglican Communion are humorously dismissed in a major film that is positioned to garnish even more acclaim and recognition at the upcoming Academy Awards. It is all now rubbish.

And friends, I think that rather then pointing fingers at the film, the film is merely reflecting, even projecting what is the view of the church in the culture.

Here is the section of the Coronation from the text of King George VI's daughter, Queen Elizabeth II that apparently remains the same for each coronation:
Madam, is your Majesty willing to take the Oath?

And the Queen answering,
I am willing,

The Archbishop shall minister these questions; and the Queen, having a book in her hands, shall answer each question severally as follows:

Archbishop: Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?

Queen: I solemnly promise so to do.

Archbishop: Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgements?

Queen: I will.

Archbishop: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?

Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England?

And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

Queen: All this I promise to do.

Now an argument can be made that it serves this particular story that this section having to do with the King's position with the Church should be overlooked, but to take it a step further and call this section by the most sympathetic person in the film, after the King himself, rubbish speaks volumes as to how the Church and these vows are viewed.  The moment is played for a laugh.

It indeed, most ironically, it is a sobering moment in the film. It is this moment I think we should perhaps take seriously as we contemplate the next steps in facing the crisis in the Church of England, in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion and how the church is viewed by today's generation. Are projected well-meaning actions on all sides now seen by the very people we wish to reach as being nothing more than rubbish?  Is the church's authority, as Canterbury is presented in this film and the commentary by Lionel Logue, now merely irrelevant?

Today the Anglican Communion Office announced that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has been re-elected to serve on the Primates Standing Committee. This is not surprising since she was present at the meeting Ireland and those who may have put forward other candidates were not there, and not without good reason. That Bishop Schori will now also have to face the Archbishop of the Sudan, who was also elected to represent the African provinces, at future meetings is heartening.  His witness has been far far from rubbish - it has proved to be essential.  His appointment to the Primates Standing Committee It will no doubt mean that the future Primates Standing Committee meetings will look quite different from the ones Bishop Schori has all ready attended (in fact, she will miss the first meeting after Ireland since it conflicts with an Episcopal House of Bishop's meeting). If the last Lambeth meeting in Canterbury in 2008 is any indication, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul does not and will not mince words or actions in confronting the Episcopal Church, as he and the Bishops of the Sudan did at Lambeth 2008 much to the surprise of the Episcopal Church that spent two weeks attempting to lobby the bishops of that province into accommodation and silence.

What then makes the church relevant?  How is that communicated effectively, accurately, and transparently.  As we look forward, it is not  a sobering moment to reckon that the perception so far of the Anglican Church may be viewed - as it is in this film or those who see the film - not as a struggle over truth, over compassion, over scripture, over revelation - but rather that it is now viewed by this generation as rubbish?  Are the solemn oaths the monarch takes now so easily dismissed as pointless?  And is the Archbishop of Canterbury assumed to be an irrelevant and unsympathetic character out of touch with the true needs of not only a king, but his people?

Rubbish did not unite the British people to resist a vicious dictator marching across Europe. And rubbish will not bring good news to a generation seeking meaning and community and love.  We are not so different from those men and women in the late 1930s - the need for hope in the face of fear is still as important today as it was then.  It is the theme of this film and juxtapose that against Lionel's dismissal of the sacred should cause any of us to pause - at least I hope so.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Harry Potter Films receive BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema

It's very very moving.javascript:void(0)

Sunday Night at the Grammy Awards

Here's another recording:

Not sure how long this rough video will stay up on YouTube, but for however long it lasts it shows Mr. Dylan's energized performance of Maggie's Farm tonight at the Grammy's. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Canon Theologian to Presiding Bishop/Consecrator of the Bishop of New Hampshire appointed to represent Anglican Communion in Roman Catholic Dialogue

The Canon Theologian to the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who consecrated the Bishop of New Hampshire has been appointed to represent the Anglican Communion in official ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswald advocated and presided over the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Anglican Communion Office announced that the Rev'd Dr. Mark McIntosh, an Episcopal priest from the progressive Diocese of Chicago (and now on temporary leave from his teaching position at a Chicago college) has been selected to officially represent the Anglican Communion in the the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commisson (ARCIC).  He also served as the Canon Theologian to Bishop Frank Griswald and has served chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops, including under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Is this not a go-around of the intent in the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter issued last May where he specified that:
provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged.  
Following the publication of the Archbishop of Canterbury's May 28, 2010 letter, five American Episcopalians were removed from the Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist and Old Catholic dialogue commissions, while Dr. Katherine Grieb of the Virginia Theological Seminary was demoted from membership in the Anglican UFO commission to consultant status, George Conger reports.

The Church of England Newspaper is reporting that Mark McIntosh was personally selected by Kenneth Kearon, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, despite his credentials as the Canon Theologian to the consecrator of Gene Robinson. Dr. McIntosh is currently on leave from his position at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, to teach at Durham University.

In addition, Dr. McIntosh is one of the co-authors of “To Set Our Hope on Christ,a paper presented to the ACC meeting in Nottingham after the Episcopal Church was asked to step back from voting membership following the actions of the General Convention in 2003.  The paper sought to defend the Episcopal Church’s innovations of doctrine and discipline over human sexuality, ordination, and marriage following the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.

To Set Our Hope on Christ continues to be sited in efforts to establish same gender unions and marriages in the Episcopal Church, as in the Diocese of San Diego's 2009 report Holiness in Relationships and Blessings in Churches of this Diocese.

While the American Dr. McIntosh is currently licensed in the Church of England's Diocese of Durham (where the bishop's seat is vacant following the departure of Bishop N.T. Wright), he is currently on leave from his teaching position in the United States.  The appearance of this appointment of the Bishop Frank Griswald's Canon Theologian seems to conflict with the very spirit of Rowan Williams Pentecost Letter - that the Episcopal Church's actions have brought the Communion into crisis, a crisis that was set off by the actions of the former Presiding Bishop.  It is clear that Dr. McIntosh has had a front row seat in advocating these actions.

Such a move to appoint a clergyman still in good standing in the Episcopal Church appears to keep the Episcopal Church influentially engaged in the hierarchy of the Anglican Communion despite its recent communion-breaking actions.  The Church of England has lost bishops in recent weeks to Rome and does this action not undermine attempts to engage in genuine and meaningful ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day Two at CPAC - The Blue Suited Nation

In the Exhibit Hall at CPAC today.
Just back from Day Two of CPAC, the annual gathering of "conservatives" from all over the United States. It was a mob scene, no question - with clearly more people registered than could fit in the ballroom to hear the main speakers. But have no fear - flat screen monitors were everywhere so one could just stand where one was, keep chatting and exchanging the business cards, and still hear what was going on in the ballroom. From my vantage point, however, it just seemed like one blue suit after another - and not just at the podium, but everywhere you looked was a sea of blue.

The main group that apparently did not get the business dress memo were the energized Ron Paul Entourage who were busy walking the hallways handing out buttons and stickers and looking far more like refugees from my Creative Writing classes. It was hard to pass by without taking a sticker (though I did refrain since I haven't actually read his most recent platform) just because they dared to be different.

Dr. Stephen Bird and staff of the NJC at CPAC today.
Took a spin through the Exhibit Hall and made sure to stop by the National Journalism Center table. I interned at the NJC the summer of my senior year in college and it was great to check in and say hi. As it happened, another alumni from my class had just stopped by a few minutes earlier. I had a great time that summer doing the internship. It made such a huge impression on me that I made up my mind that when I finished my last class of college that same year, I would pack up the car and move to DC. And that's what I did.  It was so good to catch up on what NJC is doing now and to learn that the work continues training up future writers and reporters.  Hope to see them again soon!

Listening to presentations at a CPAC seminar on Friday.
Later this afternoon, I attended a very spirited seminar aptly called Freelance Writing for Freedom.  I must say the word "Freedom" appeared nearly as often as the name "Reagan" on posters, stickers, and booths through the hotel.  The panelists at the seminar were Jill Lacy, Bill Mattox, Susan Moeller, and William Owens who is now the publisher of The Tea Party Review.  The presentations focused on freelance writing in an internet age and the moderator was old friend Julie Duin who is now the religion blogger at the Washington Post.  After the presentations she surprised me by introducing me and my work here at and that was very kind.  It was great to meet all the folks who were there and listen to their stories.

There is certainly lots of buzz and energy at CPAC this year, but I am not sure any particular people have risen above the fray to speak for either the future of the conservative movement or how the Tea Party fits in for the future.  There is still another day to go and perhaps that person(s) will show up tomorrow.  What is clear that it was almost Déjà Vu with the pictures and videos of Ronald Reagan all over the place.  It was as if I was streaming back into time - why, even the blue suits and power ties are all back as well.  Seeing the videos of Ronald Reagan, though, is a constant reminder that his voice - that brought together both Republicans and Democrats with a gentle wit and optimism - just hasn't be rediscovered yet.   But what is also clear is that many in the room seem to know it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LIVE from CPAC: I was so much older then ...

It has been a good number of years since I walked the halls of CPAC.  I think the last time I was here I was about twenty-three years old, Ronald Reagan was president, and I ran the booth (which was basically a folding table with a white table cloth) for the National Forum Foundation.  It was at a hotel not far from the Capitol and I still a vivid memory of seeing Jack Wheeler walk by with his slide projector under his arm, freshly returned from his last expedition with the Afghan Rebels.  I remember him because he stood out from the rest of the people walking by in their blue suits and 1980's era power ties, he with the long hair and corduroy jacket.

All these years later, we're now the ones in Afghanistan and slide projectors have long been reassigned to the Smithsonian attic.  But the blue suits and power ties (circa early 21st century) are still here at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington.  No sign of Sarah Palin anywhere and fellow NJC alumnus Ann Coulter seems to have disappeared into the woodwork (although she may be around, I just can't hear her), although I've just learned this is a controversy going on here and we'll catch up on that later.

And no, it's not that Donald Trump was here (though I guess that isn't going over so well). It is interesting again to see how the libertarian resurge will work with those who have centered their careers in DC and NY.

I will be here over the next few days, writing about this annual gathering of conservative activists from all over the country.  There all ready seems to be a tension between the rising Tea Party folks (are they here, not sure) and the now old guard conservatives.  When I was here before the Old Guard was William Buckley and Bill Rusher, and Robert Novak and even always energetic Jack Kemp, but they are all long gone.  This does seem to be a turning point for "conservatives" and the question I have as I come here is exactly what defines a conservative today?  Who are the rising leaders and the fading stars?  Is their still a movement or is it morphed into something else?  And is Ronald Reagan more than just a poster on the wall?  How close does today's conservatives track the ideals Reagan set forth when I was a newbie in DC, running the copier at Reagan/Bush 80?

And most important, will I find any other Dylan fans here?

So speaking of Dylan, we'll close this entry with a song of his - here performed by the legendary Byrds - for this particular survivor of the conservative movement, it seems - to coin a phrase, à propos and our theme song for this event.

Bob Dylan slated to perform at Grammy Awards

Bob Dylan will perform at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Word coming from LA is that Bob Dylan, who will be celebrating his 50th year since he arrived in Greenwich Village singing, he not busy being born is busy dying. According to Geoff Boucher at the LA Times, the plan is for Bob Dylan to "perform during a three-act suite with the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons." It's to be an acoustic set, with Dylan joining the two bands for the third act. It is however, “all subject to a certain person’s approval,” said Ken Ehrlich, a producer of the Grammy's since Dylan first appeared on the show in 1980 to perform Gotta Serve Somebody.

Read more about it here.

Here is a video of Bob Dylan receiving the Album of the Year Award for his masterpiece album, Time Out of Mind (1997).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Anglican TV: Interview with Archbishop Venables

Archbishop Gregory Venables is interviewed by AnglicanTV's Kevin Kallsen where he discusses the recent Primates Meeting in Ireland.  I respect Bishop Venables very much - he was so kind at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury and worked hard to speak the Gospel in love those who were there. Yet I also have to say that I am concerned about the trajectory we are now on.

To paraphrase Romans 2, do we have any excuse, we who pass judgment on someone else?  Is it not true that whatever point we judge the other, are we not condemning ourselves, because we who pass judgment do the same things?  Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth, yes.  But when we, mere human beings that we are, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do we think that we will escape God's judgment ourselves?  Or do we show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not yet realizing that it's God's kindness that leads to repentance?

One of the major issues that we all wrestle with - that we (liberal and conservative) can identify with is quite frankly talked about in this recent sermon at Truro and I very much commend it to you.  If you can take a few minutes to listen, please do. Here is the link:

The speaker is Dr. Curt Thompson, M.D.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Time Out: Boo

Yes, it's time to take a mini-break and note that the World's Cutest Dog resides on Facebook. In fact, this dog's presence on Facebook is possibly the best reason to join Facebook if you haven't all ready.  World got you down - go visit Boo.  And if "like" Boo on Facebook, from time to time he will come visit you.

Who is Boo?  Boo is a miniature Pomeranian with a fascinating haircut that makes him look like he's not actually a living dog, but a stuffed toy.  His "humans" are amazing in their photography and their witty twitter-sized status updates.  Just when you think you've seen all the cute Boo pics possible, they come out with this one:

"5 more minutes please," reads the caption on Facebook.
Pomeranians are known to be quite friendly and rather lively, which is pretty good considering they may have originally come from Germany.  According to the American Kennel Club the Pomeranian has been among the more popular dog breeds in the United States, consistently in the top 15 of registered AKC dog breeds over the last 10 years.  It is not known how many Pomeranians have the same barber as Boo, but if they do - the world may be going to hell in a hand basket, but at least it will be cuter.

Cool Boo.
Boo celebrates all the holidays and loves to dress up.  We've seen Trick or Treat Boo, Sleepy Boo,  New Year's Boo,  Cubs Fan Boo, and here, Cool Boo. Boo also has a social conscience and by stepping his little paw on an advertisement for a humanitarian effort, can fill the tip jar in seconds.

Perhaps the United States Congress should consult with Boo for his assistance in restoring the economy.  One Boo can launch a thousand ships, or perhaps in their case, raise a thousand million dollars.
What do we know about Boo?  Well, we know that Chicken, Cheese, Flowers, Grass and dirt are his favorite foods. Running outside, following around big bro, and his squeaky toy are his favorite games, wearing shirts is his favorite pastime, and his favorite color is pink.  He loves Oprah.  He's also a very obedient dog:

Yes, you too can be a friend of Boo.  You don't need to tell anyone (especially your own dog, or in my case, my own cat).  It's very easy - just join Facebook and click here.   Perhaps Boo is what we need for the Anglican Communion.  Imagine that everyone would have shown up in Ireland if Boo had been there.  If Boo joined the Archbishop of Canterbury on his global walk-abouts, Dr. Williams may still have to deal with the Communion travails, but at least people might smile at him.  Maybe Boo could even bring world peace.  
What the world needs is just a little more Boo.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Katharine Jefferts Schori appointed to President Obama's Faith Advisory Council for one-year term

The President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships mission according to the White House website, "brings together leaders and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations in order to make recommendations to government on how to improve partnerships.  Each Council serves a one year term.
The Council is charged with:
  • Identify best practices and successful modes of delivering social services;
  • Evaluate the need for improvements in the implementation and coordination of public policies relating to faith-based and neighborhood organizations; and
  • Making recommendations to the President and the Administration on changes in policies, programs, and practices.
The Council, after conducting its research, reviews, and deliberation, will submit a written report of its recommendations.  A new Council will be appointed by the President every year.  

The last council wrote a report which can be viewed here.  Their recommendations were:
Strengthening the Effectiveness of Partnerships
* Perform a strategic review of government-supported technical assistance and capacity building.
* Convene and encourage learning communities of social service programs and providers.
*Develop a strategy to partner with State, county, and city officials.

Strengthening Constitutional and Legal Footing of Partnerships
* Strengthen constitutional and legal footing of partnerships, and improve communications regarding White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Agency Centers.
* Clarify prohibited uses of direct Federal financial assistance.
* Equally emphasize separation requirements and protections for religious identity.
* State more clearly the distinction between “direct” and “indirect” aid.
* Increase transparency regarding federally funded partnerships.
* Improve monitoring of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory requirements that accompany Federal social service funds.
* Assure the religious liberty rights of the clients and beneficiaries of federally funded programs by strengthening appropriate protections.
* Reduce barriers to obtaining 501(c)(3) recognition.
* Promote other means of protecting religious liberty in the delivery of government-funded social services.

According to the report, the last council was divided over "charitable choice," signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 as part of the Welfare Reform Package. President George W. Bush followed up by adopting and widely extended the basic charitable choice model through executive action. It appears that this the last council did not agree on charitable choice and so the report does not make official recommendations on that issue.

The White House website says that the new council was to be appointed in Spring 2010, but it seems to have been delayed for some reason for nine months. 

From here:
The White House announced a dozen appointments to its faith advisory council on Friday, with the leader of the nation’s largest evangelical group and the head of the nation’s leading Christian denomination serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are both on the list.

National Association of Evangelicals President Leif Anderson and Nancy Wilson, head of the and Metropolitan Community Church - the nation’s largest denomination expressly serving LGBT Americans - are among the appointees to the panel, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Lynne Hybels, wife if megachurch pastor Bill Hybels – who leads the Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago, Illinois – is also on the list.

The White House also named Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly and prominent Jewish organizational leader Susan Stern to the advisory council, which is officially called the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Stern was appointed to serve as chair of the council.

United Way CEO Brian Gallagher is also on the list.

Two other notable appointees are The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis. Jefferts Schori is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and the first woman to hold that role. Trakatellis is the head of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
Read it all here.  Here is the list of 12 appointees, down from twenty-three that served last year:
Susan K. Stern, Special Advisor on Government Affairs to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

Leith Anderson,  President of the National Association of Evangelicals

Andrea Bazán, President of Triangle Community Foundation

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Policy Link

Brian Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Way Worldwide

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Lynne Hybels, co-founder and Advocate for Global Engagement at the Willow Creek Community Church and wife of Bill Hybels.

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly

Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America,

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator (Global Leader) for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

There were twenty-three people appointed to serve in the last council (2009-2010).  They were:
  • Diane Baillargeon, President and CEO, Seedco
  • Anju Bhargava, President, Asian Indian Women in America; Principal Director, Global Synergy Associates 
  • Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ
  • Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association
  • Dr. Arturo Chávez, President and CEO, Mexican American Catholic College
  • Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President-Elect, National Council of Churches; Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Churches
  • Fred Davie, Senior Director, The Arcus Foundation
  • Nathan J. Diament, Director of Public Policy, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
  • Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland, A Church Distributed
  • Harry Knox, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
  • Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop of the Thirteenth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Dalia Mogahed, Senior Analyst and Executive Director, The Center for Muslim Studies, Gallup
  • Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Oliviet Institutional Baptist Church
  • Dr. Frank Page, Pastor, Taylors First Baptist Church; President Emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention
  • Eboo Patel, Founder and Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
  • Anthony R. Picarello, Jr., General Counsel, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Nancy Ratzan, President, National Council of Jewish Women
  • Melissa Rogers, Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs of the Wake Forest University Divinity School
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Reverend William J. Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
  • Rev. Larry J. Snyder, President and CEO, Catholic Charities USA
  • Richard E. Stearns, President, World Vision United States
  • Judith Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Remembering Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Today is Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.  I still remember when I heard him give a speech in the fall of 1979 - it had a profound and lasting affect on the direction of my life.   Happy Birthday, Mr. President. And thank you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Remembering Robert

An old friend passed away this weekend.  His name was Robert Grant and he was a great friend, part of a circle of friends at Truro many years ago.  Over the past few days his friends have been sharing stories and tears over the miles that now separate us.  He was a unique person - there are so many stories - and a few years ago he decided that he really wanted to serve people and his Lord in Israel.  So he went there - and served for many years.  And tomorrow our friend will be buried in Jerusalem. 

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. - Hebrews 11:9-10

Podcast from the Anglican Primates Meeting

Here is a podcast of the press conference closing the Anglican Primates Meeting.  Those speaking at the Press Conference are: The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Province of Burundi & Bishop of Matana, The Most Revd Dr John Walder Dunlop Holder, Archbishop, Church in the Province of the West Indies & Bishop of Barbados and The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. They are introduced by the The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper, Primate of All Ireland & Archbishop of Armag.


It seems that Rowan is disappointed, perhaps even angry that the 1/3 of the primates didn't come when from his mind the meeting was rearranged to accommodate them (there is obviously disagreement on that point). But it's not surprising that the first question from the Church Times is focused on the elephant in the room - the major issue facing the primates is whether the Anglican Communion will continue to exist or break up for all intensive purposes. Breaking up the primates into small working groups is not a bad idea and it's helpful to know that they were all aware of those leaders who make up the majority of the Anglican Communion membership were not in the room - but that the illusion that this meeting carried on as business as usual just fosters in the end more drama.

And so while they are meeting in Ireland and writing letters, the Episcopal Church continues to block efforts for peaceful resolution between local ACNA parishes and Episcopal dioceses for an amicable separation as we see in today's statement from the ACNA where Archbishop Duncan tells us that “It is heartbreaking that even if they (St. Philip's Anglican) agree to pay a substantial settlement fee to keep their buildings, members of St. Philip’s are also being forced to separate from their Anglican family as a condition of the property settlement. Freedom of religion is at the heart of this matter and no congregation should have to stipulate that it will separate from its current body as part of a monetary property settlement." This didn't even show up as blip on these primates radar, which comes across as a global slap at the primates that stayed home from the meeting, fostering even more drama, more division.

"They utter mere words;
   with empty oaths they make covenants;
   so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds
   in the furrows of the field. "

Hosea 10:4 (from today's Morning Prayer reading, CoE)