Monday, July 31, 2006

Episcopalianism Explained.

Poor Donna Bott. A quote from her is all over the Anglican blogdom because it inadvertently explains Episcopalianism oh so well:

“We take no position on Scripture or theology or morals,” said Donna Bott, a leader of a group called Episcopal Voices of Central Florida, which sponsored the meeting. “We are just Episcopalians.”

Too funny . . . and too true.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Christ Church San Antonio Acts, Writes Bishop of West Texas

West Texas Bishop Gary Lillibridge’s slowness to do much of anything in response to the General Conventions of ’03 and ’06 may be becoming more than some of his parishes can endure.

The vestry of the prominent parish of Christ Church San Antonio has written a very polite, patient, yet pointed letter to the bishop. The money paragraph:

In a unanimous vote, the clergy and vestry of Christ Church and Christ Church in the Hill Country affirm our commitment to Jesus Christ, to the authority of Holy Scripture, and to that which binds us to our Anglican heritage. As a consequence, when the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates offer us an acceptable option, we will disassociate from the Episcopal Church. We feel that we must do this because we believe The Episcopal Church has left the Anglican Communion, and us, and now no longer lives under the authority of the Bible. It is our firm intent to continue our membership in the Anglican Communion and in covenant relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury with constituent member status. We sincerely hope that we can do this with the support and in partnership with our diocese.

Note the statement that they are waiting for acceptable options from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates. The omission of the Bishop of West Texas in that sentence speaks volumes. In other words, they are seeking an acceptable way to disassociate from the Episcopal Church and stay in the Anglican Communion with or without +Lillibridge, although they certainly express the hope that the bishop will be supportive.

I’m not in contact with Christ Church, but I suspect GC ’06 and +Lillibridge’s missives afterwords prompted the parish to see it’s time to act, with or without the bishop’s leadership or support.

If I'm not mistaken, Christ Church is the largest parish in the diocese. So this is significant.

UPDATE: Accht! I forgot to link the letter. Now I have. Also, A helpful reader points us to these timely and recent comments from Christ Church's Rector, Chuck+ Collins.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The World’s Fastest Seminary Drop-Out

Yep. That’s me. I’ve already dropped out of the seminary distance program I was in.

Very early on, I saw I easily fell into a “have to” mentality. I want to stay in a “get to” attitude about my studies. So I think I’ll need to do it in an independent study mode, not the traditional papers and examinations track.

Really, the only reason I’ve delayed my decision to drop out until now is I was going on a big road trip and figured I could make a wiser decision after thinking about things as I often do when I drive. And my thinking during the trip confirmed it was best I drop out.

I still would like to spend a term in Oxford, auditing lectures, camping out in the Bodleian Library, and going to Evening Prayer every night. But that may be a pipe dream.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Fundamental Double Predestination Bible Church of the Eternal Omnipotent Triune Deity (or Doctrinal Church Names)

On the way home on Texas Highway 123 (That’s the one that has two Amazing Grace Baptist Churches.), I spotted another Baptist Church, a new one I think. By the way, I recall Joe Bob Briggs as describing his Texas home county as having more Baptist churches than people.

Anyway, the name of the said church was Saved by Grace Baptist Church. To name a church after specific doctrine like that (no matter how true the doctrine) struck me as strange and amusing. I can imagine such a church having a doctrinal hobby horse that they ride every Sunday. I guess I could start an Excommunication of Heretics Traditional Anglican Church. Or someone of a more liberal inclination could start The Inclusive Church of Holy Listening. Or someone of a more Marian bent could start The Church of the Immaculate Con . . . . Never mind.

In honor of Saved by Grace Baptist Church, I’m starting a contest. Post in the comments a doctrinaire church name that strikes you as strange and/or amusing. There will be two divisions, real church names and fictional names. Winners, declared by me, get exclusive use of their names in their next church plant.

And don’t be mean . . . well, not too mean.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Major League Baseball proves itself once again . . . to be a fraud.

I haven’t paid much attention to Major League Baseball for years, the Red Sox semi-miraculous World Series win excepted. But my Dad loves to watch the Seattle Mariners, so I watched some of last night’s game against the Yankees with him.

Well, Seattle was up by a run with New York batting and one out in the ninth. Jose Lopez made a great snag of a grounder and threw it to the first baseman for an out. But the umpire called the Yankee safe.

Now, the throw beat the runner so clearly as I watched the play live that I thought maybe the first baseman’s foot was off the bag or something like that. I thought surely the ump didn’t miss that the throw beat the runner. But replay showed nothing like that happened and indeed the throw beat the runner. It wasn’t really close.

So when Seattle got the next Yankee out for what should have been the winning out, it was a game tying sacrifice fly instead. The Mariners ended losing in extra innings, but I had no desire to watch anymore.

The episode confirmed what I hate about Major League Baseball. It’s rigged toward establishment teams I detest, especially the New York Yankees. So I’ll go right back to ignoring it. If I want to watch rigged sport, I’ll watch pro wrestling.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A visit to St. Bartholomew’s

This past Sunday morning, I had a very nice visit to St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Woodinville, Washington and with Bill and his cheerful wife, Kathy. Bill helps out there and presides over Continuing Home and the Traditional Anglican Directory. St. Bart’s is the Northwesternmost parish in the Anglican Province of Christ the King. The nearest parish in that jurisdiction is in Redding, California.

Our visit illustrates one of the benefits of the internet, especially to us far-flung continuing Anglicans. I first met Bill when he commented on this blog, and we have kept in touch since.

When I arrived at the parish, only their deacon was there. With the rector’s wife having just had a baby girl, I think the congregation wasn’t expecting Matins and Bible class. So for most of that time, it was just the deacon and me. It was the second time I’ve been a one man congregation, but I’ve enjoyed both experiences. It’s meaningful when it’s just you, the clergyman, and God.

When Kathy got there, I introduced myself as Mark, “the Wannabe Anglican.” She was so excited, she ran up and told Bill.

Kathy happened to be the organist this week and provided the most memorable moment of an excellent Holy Communion service. About five minutes before the service, she was quietly playing the processional hymn. A couple up front thought that the beginning of the service and stood up, then a few others slowly stood up.

When Kathy noticed, she turned around and cheerfully said, “Sorry, false alarm!”

Without the rector present, a deacon presided over the communion, the first time I’ve seen that. He used pre-consecrated sacrament and omitted consecration prayers. It made for a short service!

Kathy played the organ very quietly during distribution itself. As I generally like to receive the sacrament in quiet contemplation and prayer, I liked that. And receiving the sacrament was particularly meaningful to me that morning.

Kathy and Bill and I finished the enjoyable morning afterwards with much conversation and lunch at Claim Jumpers in Redmond. I’m very glad I made the drive up to Woodinville.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

An excellent CD from King’s

I’ve been listening to the CD Evensong from King’s College a lot lately.

Roughly half of it is Cartholick Vespers, with lots and lots of chanting. In fact, the first several tracks are just the men chanting. It’s quite good, but not what fans of King often expect. But then when the full choir finally comes in, it’s dramatic and beautiful, for lack of better words. And I doubt any words are adequate.

The other half is good Anglican Choral Evensong for Advent. That’s actually what I expected the whole CD to be.

But you know what’s funny? I’ve come to like the Vespers part better. I’m actually a bit hooked on it. It’s that good. I’ve listened to a lot of choral music, but have never heard anything quite like it.

The Vespers alone make the CD a must-get for choral church music fans.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I’m going to be a bit preoccupied for two or three weeks. So I probably won’t be posting much during this time.

I know, I know – a bad time to take a break from blogging with all that’s going on in the Anglican world. But I’m sure the links at the right can do the mayhem far more justice than I.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

BREAKING: Church of Nigeria Questions “Justification” for Lambeth ’08. Proposes Alternative Meeting.

This could be very important, and I haven’t seen it on the major Anglican blogs yet. So I want to get this communiqué from the Church of Nigeria out to you.

The statement questions “the moral justification” for holding Lambeth ’08 under current circumstances in the Anglican Communion. And it seems to propose an alternative meeting.

[The Nigerian episcopal Synod] believes strongly that the moral justification for the proposed Lambeth Conference of 2008 is questionable in view of the fact that by promoting teachings and practices that are alien and inimical to the historic formularies of the Church, the Bishops of ECUSA, Canada and parts of Britain have abandoned the Biblical faith of our fathers.

Synod underlines the need for maintaining the age-long tradition of a ten-yearly Conference of Bishops in the Anglican Communion for discussing issues affecting the Church. It therefore calls on the leadership of the Global South and Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) to do everything necessary to put in place a Conference of all Anglican Bishops to hold in 2008 should all efforts to get the apostles of ‘revisionist agenda’ to repent and retrace their steps fail.

I’m a bit surprised by such a statement coming so soon. Perhaps ++Akinola is convinced all or most revisionist bishops will be invited to Lambeth and therefore wants no part of it. Or maybe it’s a warning shot across the bow.

I’ll defer further comment for now.

Here’s an earlier statement from the Nigerian House of Bishops.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Am I Anglo-Catholic??

According to this interesting summary of Anglo-Catholic parties, I may be one already, of the Prayer Book Catholic variety.

That snuck up on me. Must be the Anglo-Catholic Conspiracy.
GC ’06 Fallout: In or Out?

That’s a (the?) big question facing the remaining orthodox in the Episcopal Church after General Convention. The majority, even the six (by last count) dioceses who have asked for Alternative Oversight, have decided to stay in for now. But Christ Church Plano is among those leaving.

Those who have followed my ranting blogging may be surprised to know that I think the strategy of staying in TEC while seeking alternative oversight has merit. It certainly leaves those liberals wishing to punish or even sue the orthodox with little to stand on as Brad Drell pointedly discusses. If a diocese is staying in TEC, where’s the grounds for a lawsuit?

One may say, “Ah, it’s all about property and money.” But orthodox Episcopalians have enough issues to deal with without giving liberal canon thumpers ammunition for legal or canonical action against the orthodox.

And this strategy of most the Network dioceses does address the need to get under orthodox leadership.

But there is the question of parishes and individuals outside those dioceses as discussed here. What do they do?

And there is an important missional problem with being associated with the Episcopal Church in even an arms length manner. Many Christians and those interested in joining a church want nothing to do with the Episcopal Church.

Remember that in an earlier church search, I was so fed up with the mainline Presbyterian Church (my home denomination at the time) that I practically swore I would never join a church in that denomination. If a church was in that denomination, sorry, I wasn’t interested.

Similarly, if a parish remains in the Episcopal Church at all, many will ignore the details of that relationship and how otherwise wonderful that parish may be. They will look elsewhere, especially in light of all the wonderful publicity TEC has brought on itself.

By the way, even the most tenuous “associate” relationship with TEC is all the more problematic for many Global South churches. Any links with “the gay church” become weapons used to discredit and persecute southern Anglicans. This is surely one reason ++Akinola and others are quite hesitant to embrace ++Rowan’s two-tier communion proposal.

One could go into more pluses and minuses of staying in or leaving TEC. I suspect the best approach for Anglicans in America may be for there to be efforts both inside the Episcopal Church and outside . . . which is indeed what is happening.

Among the efforts outside TEC, there is CANA under the Church of Nigeria – which has just elected its first North American bishop, Martyn Minns. And don’t forget continuing Anglicans. I’ve heard the bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church have been a bit busy lately.

Some orthodox have a tendency to look with disapproval on either the strategy to stay in TEC or to work outside it. I would prefer to embrace both strategies, recognizing both approaches have problems and advantages. I seriously doubt one approach alone would best meet the needs of all orthodox Anglicans in America.