Friday, March 30, 2007

Who needs soap operas . . .

. . . when you’ve got Anglicans!

To keep you in suspense, there’s behind the scenes discussions among orthodox leaders trying to decide what to do now after the House of Bishops meeting.

There’s the Archbishop of Canterbury suddenly announcing he’s taking a vacation – a three month vacation. Fight among yourselves, boys; I’m outta here.

A freshly retired Episcopal bishop is fleeing as well . . . to Rome.

And then, of course, there’s the mess in Colorado. Dr. Mabuse has posted a wonderful send-up of one tawdy episode in that situation.

And that’s all in just one week!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And you think I’m hard on the Episcopal Church.

Over at Stand Firm I came across this very interesting post at The Iconic Midwest, a blog that’s new to me.

TIM has been watching “the slow disintegration of the Episcopal Church” for years from the outside. But he doesn’t pull any punches:

It was once said that the Catholic Church made philosophy the handmaiden of theology. Well, the Episcopal Church is now attempting to make theology, political ideology's bitch.

And he feels that the Episcopal Church is showing us the future of the Roman Catholic Church. I disagree with him, at least for the foreseeable future, only because of the profound reform of the Episcopate and Magisterium under the long pontificate of John Paul II. But before John Paul, the Roman Catholic Church was heading in the wrong direction and will again if “progressives” or whoever needs to put in their place in the future aren’t indeed put in their place. The fight for the faith will continue until Jesus returns. But Catholics are going in the right direction for the foreseeable future.

But back to the Episcopalians, TIM, in a particularly perceptive passage, quotes Ephraim Radner’s account of a Colorado TEC leader publicly inviting him to leave the Episcopal Church. The said leader has since been appointed to a taskforce on their “common life.” TIM remarks:

There is an almost perfect Stalinist moment in all of this. Obviously the "Taskforce on Common Life" will be used as an instrument of ideological purification when entrusted to the likes of folks like these. Shall we start the purges now or later?

I think “now” is more like it, complete with show trials.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Anglican Federation Growing

While I -- and just about everyone else -- wasn’t looking, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas has grown. The Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) joined just this year. And I think the Anglican Church in America (ACA) is a recent addition as well. We’re now about 450 parishes.

And last week came word (scroll down) that the Diocese of the Holy Cross in interested in joining.

I think this federation is an excellent way to go – respecting differences among orthodox Anglicans who are high church, low church, and in between while quickly bringing about greater unity based on truth. Doing this as a federation rather than outright mergers gives us more flexibility to do so. And that’s important since the need for orthodox unity is urgent in light of the events of recent years.

And Archbishop Gregory Venables is the Patron of the Federation. You can’t beat that!

I think those who find they must flee the Episcopal Church (or who are considering Anglicanism) would do well to consider jurisdictions in the Federation. But that’s another post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Word from the Anglican Communion Network

A few days ago, I noted that the Anglican Communion Network has been rather quiet since the House of Bishops meeting. I voiced the suspicion that something big may be going on behind the scenes. And Texanglican confirmed that I might be correct.

Just now comes this in an e-mail from the Network:

Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator for the Network, is meeting with various leaders in the orthodox Anglican movement to pray about and discern the Lord's mind for a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in the U.S. that remains in full communion with the Anglican Communion. They ask for your prayers, your continued support and your trust at this critical time.

Let us pray indeed.
Jordan Hylden on the HOB Meeting: “The Episcopal Declaration of Independence”

Over at First Things, Jordan Hylden has posted his usual perceptive analysis of the TEC House of Bishops meeting and its aftermath.

Now let me get out of the way my one quibble. I do not share his optimism, if you will, about the upcoming Covenant, that the Episcopal Church will not join it. He may be right. I certainly hope so. But in this post-modern fog in which words mean whatever one wishes them to mean and in which honesty is an artificial construct, I doubt it’s even possible to write up a document TEC won’t sign off on. It perhaps would have to explicitly proscribe pet apostate practices of the Episcopal Church. And that’s exceedingly unlikely.

But the rest of his piece isn’t so optimistic. And since he’s been rather optimistic in the past and is even now an aspirant for holy orders perhaps in the Episcopal Church, that’s saying something.

There’s so much worthy of comment and agreement in his missive, I hardly know where to begin. He sums things up well right at the start:

Last week, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops met and let the world know just what they think of the rest of the Anglican Communion. The official text of their resolutions ran to several thousand words, but for the effect they are likely to have on the church’s relations with the rest of the Anglican world, the bishops could just as well have taken a page out of General McAuliffe’s playbook, saved everyone a lot of time, and issued a simple one-word response: “Nuts!”

And . . .

. . . the Episcopal Church apparently decided that it will be bound by nothing beyond itself—not Scripture, not tradition, not worldwide Anglican councils, not anything. And it said so with a vehemence that was surprising, even to many of its supporters.

That’s how I read it as well.

And he notes something revealing I had frankly missed:

Discouraging as all this is, it gets worse. This is the reason the bishops gave for their rejection of the Pastoral Council: “The meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church,” they solemnly intoned, “is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.”

While that may seem opaque to the casual observer, it is actually a bold and sweeping statement that, if acted upon, will lead directly to a final split with Canterbury and destroy the idea of Anglican catholicity within the Episcopal Church.

To make clear the radical nature of the Episcopal bishops’ new claim, the constitution’s preamble is worth quoting: “The Episcopal Church . . . is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”

By stating that the meaning of this sentence is determined solely by General Convention, the Episcopal bishops are doing nothing less than claiming that what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be in communion with Canterbury, what it means to be a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and hold to the historic Christian faith—that all of this is to be decided solely by the democratic vote of clergy and laypeople once every two years in a Marriott hotel convention room, with reference to nothing and nobody. It is breathtaking in its arrogance.

Indeed it is. It kind of reminds me of the U. S. Supreme Court. But I better not get started on that.

I also concur that the bishop's Blame the Primates line is also striking in its arrogance, “a long, churlish, and supercilious explanation of their actions.”

And some of you thought I was over the top for my recent porcine analogy.

He concludes by quoting a number of orthodox commentators who state that there is no longer a place left for conservatives in the Episcopal Church. And Hylden seems reluctantly to agree.

There’s much more. I commend his column to you.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Christian Schools and Families . . . Again

My first thought upon hearing that a Catholic school has banned students from MySpace, even at home, on pain of suspension wasn’t, “What gives them the right?”

It is a private school. Therefore it can mandate that students must say a hundred Hail Marys a day while standing on their heads should those in charge so desire. It has the right.

No, my first thought (or close to first) was, “There we go again.” There’s another Christian school running roughshod over families. Granted, what the school in question is doing is exceptional. But it’s far from the first time I’ve seen Christian schools push around families in an unchristian manner.

While living in Denton, I was familiar with a Christian school that showed little regard for families and their time by assigning excessive (and sometimes dubious) homework even to elementary school students. So my thinking upon hearing the MySpace story is why do Christian schools so often intrude on turf that belongs to families?

Christian schools, if genuinely Christian, should know better about respecting family space. Yet they often show less respect than public schools. And with the sorry track record public schools often have in this area, that’s saying something.

If a school, private or public, told me that a kid of mine couldn’t use MySpace anywhere at all, even in the home, I would ask what business is that of theirs. And I would be tempted to use less than wholesome language in so doing. People can have different opinions about MySpace. And they are quite welcome to espouse them. But if someone tries to impose their opinion on my house, they are asking for a fight.

And it is no school’s business what social networking web sites kids use at home. That is the family’s business. You’d think a Catholic school of all institutions would know that and respect the prerogatives of families.

What provokes me further are the parents at the school that support the new policy. What? They need the school to maintain order at home? Or do they think their opinion about MySpace should be imposed on all families of that school? Stick to looking after your own children, Stupid!

And some Christian schools also would do well to mind their own business a bit more, and leave family matters to families.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

New Links

I finally got bored enough to add some links. Watching two teams I *ahem* dislike (Georgetown and UNC. I’m rooting for UNC, God help me.) play to go to the Final Four can do that to me.

I am very selective in my links. You may have noticed my link list is short. That’s not just laziness.

Anyway, I’m adding Kraalspace and The Bovina Bloviator mainly because both are so brilliantly written I’m tempted to jealousy. I thought it more godly to link them instead.

The Continuum focuses on The Anglican Continuum, of course, of which I’m a proud member.

Prydain is chock full of red meat for mind and spirit and is therefore worthy of my link list.

Friday, March 23, 2007

++Venables: “Now we must move to separation as quickly and as gracefully as possible.”

Primate of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables once again tells it like it is about the House of Bishops meeting.

This statement is particularly significant:

It is not possible to maintain relationship when one party unilaterally and coldly departs from previously agreed foundations. Now we must move to separation as quickly and as gracefully as possible.

This is probably the most clear cut statement from a Primate so far that the time for separation is upon us.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

RatherNotBlog Rather Not be an Episcopalian

RatherNotBlog makes some interesting predictions about the future of the Episcopal Church and about his own future as well:

As for me . . . well, I thank the House of Bishops for making my own path just a bit clearer. I do not know what my own parish will do, if anything, and God alone knows how the Anglican Communion will handle this. However, I know that whatever happens, while it is possible that I may (may, may, may) be some sort of Anglican in the future, before this year is out I will no longer be an Episcopalian. When the majority of your bishops not only vote repeatedly for heresy, but also spurn correction and communion, it is time to find the exit door.

Methinks he won’t be alone at said door.
All Quiet on the Network Front

I and a number of people have noticed that the Anglican Communion Network and its leader Bishop Duncan have been quiet since the statements from the House of Bishops.

Could this be because a major statement is on the way, and consultations are going on beforehand?

I have no special information. But I suspect that may be so. I can see no other reason for the unusual reticence from +Duncan.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pearls Before Swine

I’ll refrain from analyzing the TEC House of Bishops' actions and statements overnight in any detail. Doing so would probably work me into a ranting froth, and that would be unseemly in a most unanglican way.

ASIDE: O. K. there is one statement I can’t resist responding to. The bishops said, “We proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought.” That is an outright lie. And to spout that lie right after Mark Lawrence is denied consents is brazen to say the least.

:catches breath:

Anyway, I have come across two excellent analyses this morning. Matt Kennedy’s focuses on the bright side, that the bishops have honestly provided the clarity so devoutly longed for. And he is correct. Chris Johnson’s focuses on the dark side, on how the bishops have given the Anglican Communion the bird. And he is also correct.

But I instead want briefly to pull back and look at the big picture of what has been going on since 2003.

I have been uncomfortable with the Tanzania Communique as I was at times with Windsor. I was afraid the implementation of both would too generous and allow TEC to fudge its way around Windsor/Dromantine and continue to persecute the faithful while remaining in the Anglican Communion in good standing.

But there was a strategy in both Windsor and Tanzania, one that has proven to be wise and/or fortunate – with grace and generosity give the Episcopal Church every chance to get in line with the Anglican Communion, in the process making very reasonable requests for it to do so. And as part of that process, put a very positive interpretation on TEC’s errant actions. The Episcopal Church would practically have to choose to “walk apart” for it to be expelled from the Anglican Communion. This strategy was logical, going along with ++Rowan’s priority of keeping the Anglican Communion together.

But it was a questionable strategy. One could say it was casting pearls before swine. It certainly made a dreaded “fudge,” in which the Episcopal Church pretends to be in line with Windsor/Dromantine/Tanzania and the Archbishop of Canterbury goes along with the pretense for the sake of unity, a likely outcome. In other words, a fudge and a nudge, a wink and a nod.

But the strategy seems to have served its purpose, if not in the way ++Rowan hoped for. And now nearing the end, there is no fudge. Given every chance, given the pearls of grace, generosity and patience beyond what the situation called for, the leadership of the Episcopal Church have proven themselves not to be good members of the Anglican Communion but instead to be . . . swine.

I’m sorry if that offends. But look at how the Episcopal Church has already responded to Tanzania. Bishops have refused the Primates’ request to suspend lawsuits against orthodox parishes. Mark Lawrence was denied consents on sheer technicalities. +Howard has in effect told the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Panel of Reference to pound sand. And then this statement from the House of Bishops.

Now, as Matt Kennedy points out, the House of Bishops didn’t fudge their swineness (although he didn’t quite put it that way). And they do deserve credit for that. They could have taken the less honest path of delay and fudge, delay and fudge. And I expected them to do so. But they didn’t, and kudos to them and thanks be to God for that.

Had the Archbishop and Primates taken a harder line, which frankly I advocated, a reasonable person might be able to say the Episcopal Church was pushed out by those unreasonable Primates. Blame could be more reasonably placed on the Anglican Communion.

But in light of all the grace the ABC and the Primates have shown, only the deluded can say a departure of the Episcopal Church wouldn’t be TEC’s own fault. They were treated with far more grace than was called for, and they’ve responded like swine for all the world to see.

And that gives the rest of the Anglican Communion a better chance to stay together, to keep the splitting confined to the Americas. For no reasonable person can blame the ABC and Primates for TEC’s now likely and willful departure.

Now, the Archbishop of Canterbury must have the courage to let the swine run out of the sheepfold and off into the hills of “inclusivity.” He so greatly desires the Communion to stay together, he will be sorely tempted to move the fences of the sheepfold or to chase after the running swine to keep the “conversation” going.

He must not do so. The Episcopal Church, to both its credit and discredit, has made clear it will not deviate from its path of apostasy. The Anglican Communion must not accommodate nor follow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I’m shocked and surprised at the news that came out tonight. As I’ve noted, I thought the Primates’ proposed pastoral scheme was weak and overly generous to the Episcopal Church, particularly in letting PB Schori appoint 2/5 of the Pastoral Council.

But that wasn’t good enough for the House of Bishops. They said no to it.

They’ve asked for an urgent meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates' Standing Committee. But if the generous pastoral scheme isn’t good enough for the House of Bishops, I can’t see how they will meet the more difficult requests. And I don’t see the Global South budging anymore. ++Akinola flexed so much already in Tanzania, it literally hurt his back!

Again, the message from the Episcopal Church to the rest of the Anglican Communion is “Don’t interfere while we beat up the orthodox.”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at anything from the Episcopal Church anymore, but I’m still . . . amazed.

Here’s the press release from the Episcopal News Service. Chris Johnson is right. The self-righteous arrogance of this is breathtaking.
Bishops Combat Environmental Racism!

The Episcopal Church may be months away from losing its place in the Anglican Communion. But you wouldn’t know it from the TEC House of Bishops meeting. What are they focusing on?

You guessed it – the U. N. Millennium Development Goals! And the usual deadmainline leftisms as well:

The day's agenda follows both Sunday sabbath time and Saturday lectures and workshops focused on theological, scientific, and practical aspects of environmental sustainability as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Peace and justice work framed by the MDGs is the first of five 2007-2009 churchwide mission priorities designated by the General Convention.

Yep. The usual “peace and justice work” is far more important that getting in line with Christ, his word, and his church.

Because after all, what is the church for but pimping for the U.N. and fighting “environmental racism”?

And the environment is racist. Look at tornadoes. What do they hit? Trailer parks full of redneck crackers, of course. Ever heard of a tornado hitting a ghetto? Cased closed.

Soon, they will be fighting environmental homophobia and feeling so good and smug about it – as they should. Ever heard of a tornado or hurricane hitting San Francisco? It’s environmental homophobia!

Anyway, it’s good to see the Episcopal Church has its priorities in order.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Death of Inclusivity

An excellent post over at The Age to Come states:

It is becoming more and more obvious that inclusivity is no more than a ruse . . . .

He looks at the Lawrence non-consent and at recent events in the U.K. as examples of how “inclusive” is just a deceptive buzzword. And he comes to hard conclusions about the role of the faithful church in this atmosphere.

I very much commend this post to you.
Surely, this quiz I took is mistaken.

But here is the result anyway:

You Are a Snarky Blogger!

You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!

Friday, March 16, 2007

BREAKING: Episcopal Election of Mark Lawrence Nullified on Technicalities

TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori has declared the election of Mark Lawrence to be the next Bishop of South Carolina to be null and void.

What adds to the outrage of this matter is that she clearly did so on technicalities as acknowledged even by her allies:

Although the required number of bishops consented to Lawrence’s consecration, and a majority of diocesan standing committees appeared to give their consent, insufficient consents from the standing committees were in the proper form.

As you know, my opinion of PB Schori is not high. But I did not think she would stoop to such pettiness in such an important matter. And let there be no mistake – she did not have to nullify this election.

There will be, or certainly should be, consequences. But I’ll leave that for future posts. I will once again warn as did two days ago:

Those remaining TEC orthodox who think they will be able to elect and consecrate robustly orthodox bishops now and world without end should take pause.

Christopher Johnson has more here and here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Deal with Horrific Crimes Against Children

I hate to return to this unpleasant subject, but it’s important.

Yesterday, the killer of Jessica Lunsford was sentenced to death, and rightly so.

And it was done using existing laws.

So why the push to expand the death penalty to child abusers who don’t kill their victims? Why give child rapists that much more incentive to kill their victims?

That these efforts come under the name of "Jessica's Laws" when they weren't at all necessary to bring full justice to the killer of Jessica herself is surreal, to say the least.

I’ve mentioned before that this idiotic and, I think, often cynical political push is going full speed ahead here in Texas. Coverage of hearings on the relevant bill may be found here and here as well as here. I’m disgusted that Greg Abbott and David Dewhurst along with the Texas Republican Party, all of whom I once supported, are pushing this.

Let’s see. Push a bill that gives more incentive to kill children and actually makes it more difficult for DAs to prosecute child molesters. (For one thing, a 25 year minimum sentence discourages plea bargains in cases where the evidence is not air tight.) I can see only two reasons for such a bill: unreasoning witch hunting and politics, opportunistic politics of the worst sort.
The Ultimate Anglican Sin . . . For Sale

Sordid details . . . with photos . . . here.

(You may have to scroll down . . . if you dare.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reading Lists for Oxford

Two preparatory reading lists for the program I’ll be in this Fall in Oxford are in.

For background reading on Oxford and England, the following are suggested:

Morris, Jan, Oxford (1988)
Bryson, Bill, Notes from a Small Island (1997)
Morgan, Kenneth, ed. Oxford Illustrated History of England, Oxford (1993)

For the lecture course on Medieval Europe, these are suggested:

Holmes, George, The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe (2001/1988)
Bartlett, Robert, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization & Cultural Change (1994)
Southern, Richard Scholastic Humanism & the Unification of Europe (1995-2000)
Lewis, C.S., The Discarded Image (1964)

I’m excited the C.S. Lewis book is on the list. I’ll have to read that one for sure.

Any thoughts on the other books? I doubt I will want to read them all. So input is welcome.
No Safe Place: The Consent is in the Mail?

The deadline for consent to the consecration of Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina has come and gone. Yet the drama continues. It appears that he is one short of the consents needed from standing committees. He has received the necessary consent from bishops.

As Living Church and others point out, with logistics and procedures, it is not yet clear whether he has received the necessary consents or not. For all we know, the U. S. Postal Service possesses the needed 56th standing committee consent.

I wonder if the Diocese of South Carolina has been told, “The consent is in the mail.”

As Captain Yips notes, what is at least the extreme difficulty in getting consents for Lawrence puts the lie to all the Episcopal talk about “inclusiveness,” “diversity,” "tolerance," etc.

Those remaining TEC orthodox who think they will be able to elect and consecrate robustly orthodox bishops now and world without end should take pause.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Behind +Duncan’s Pastoral Letter

As most of you know, Anglican Communion Network Moderator Bishop Robert Duncan issued a pastoral letter yesterday. But it got out before then. It was intended to be read to Network congregations this past Sunday. And, not so intended, it was leaked by our clever revisionist friends beforehand. Hey, I don’t begrudge them their fun.

The letter itself isn’t that remarkable. What is more interesting is what has been going on behind the letter. The best analysis I’ve seen of that comes from Captain Yips.

First, the snarky responses (Yes, I know. Pot calling kettle and all that. But I know snarky.) from a few of our revisionist friends are remarkable given that there wasn’t anything that remarkable about the letter. Christopher Johnson has noted this as well.

Second, Captain Yips reveals part of what prompted this letter. Congregations who have left the Episcopal Church [Anglican understatement alert] aren’t particularly interested in going back [/Anglican understatement alert] and are concerned that the Primates’ Tanzania Communique seems to set their going back as a goal. From Captain Yips:

In addition we also received copies of an email from Canon Bill Atwood of the Ekklesia Society to our bishop, Frank Lyons. It seems that +Lyons had asked for some clarification. Canon Atwood wrote, "I am hearing a lot about anxiety from churches who have gone under foreign jurisdiction having to 'just go back.' I am convinced that their fear is unfounded." He goes on to say, "ABps Henry Orombi and Greg Venables said in the meeting in Tanzania that they 'would not send their children back into an abusive home.'"

Interesting, is it not? And, apparently, Bishop Duncan also felt the need to calm these fears.

In addition, I would surmise that some congregations still in TEC aren’t particularly eager to stay for much longer and are also concerned about the pastoral scheme of the communiqué.

+Duncan’s pastoral letter makes much more sense when taking into account these concerns.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Church Womyn

Nothing can make me roll my eyes like groups of church womyn. You probably know what I mean: womyn who combine the shrill victim/warrior mentality of feminists with utter contempt for unborn children and traditional morality with the certain preachy self-righteousness of The Church Lady herself. They usually have names like Women of Faith or Church Women United or such.

By the way, when you hear “(Fill in the Blank) of Faith”, run! It’s usually any faith but the Christian faith.

Well, I came across this wonderful slightly snarky look at a certain meeting of Anglican womyn. It’s so wonderful, I’m glad it’s written by someone of a female orientation.

(And her blog as a whole is very well written, too.)

Oh. I just noticed. This is my 1000th post.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bow down to the UN Millennium Development Goals!

I can be a little slow. But it’s become clear to me that the UN Millennium Development Goals have become the pet idol of TEC PB Schori and many likeminded liberal Anglican leaders. Heck, she says “Millennium Development Goals” more than Grizz said “reconciliation.” Well, maybe not that much, but you get the picture. Her missive on the upcoming House of Bishops meeting is but the latest example.

Some of the MDGs may be worthy aims. But good things can be turned into idols. And I’m convinced that is the case here.

Besides, who said the UN should set the agenda for the church?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Letter from Bishop Iker on Recent Developments

The Bishop of Ft. Worth Jack Leo Iker has written a brief letter that is delightfully typical of his straight spoken style and dry humor. He begins:

I am pleased to note the striking consensus between the reaffirmations in the Communiqué issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion at their February meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the deliberations and decisions of our Diocesan Conventions over the past several years.

He then spells out a number of the ways the Primates and his diocese are in concord. Then he wryly concludes:

Last fall The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council tagged us a "problem diocese." But instead The Episcopal Church has now been recognized as a "problem province."

Bishop Iker -- truthtelling with a smile. :^)
Looking Forward to Pusey House

If you’re looking for me in Oxford in Fall, you may find me at Pusey House, particularly in their library.

Now I have to admit something. When I visited Oxford in Advent 2005, I didn’t visit Pusey House because I was interested in really old colleges and chapels. Pusey House is relatively new, of 19th century vintage.

But since then, I’ve been informed of their excellent worship (Fr. Duncan of Smokey Matt’s especially praises them in this regard.) and library.

Let’s see. One of the best specialist libraries in the UK, focusing on Patristic, Liturgics, and Church History, with most of its 120,000 strong collection on open access shelves. . . . Yeah, I might spend some time there.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Looking Forward to Oxford

It’s becoming more “real” that I’ll be studying in Oxford this Fall, God willing. Getting an excellent apartment booked just down the street from Christ Church has contributed to that reality sinking in. And that has renewed my excitement, which borders on giddiness at times.

I hope to prepare myself as best I can. I’ll be studying medieval European history, particularly medieval church history this Fall at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. And I hope to incorporate further study of the liturgy into that. So I’m continuing my reading. Lately, I’ve been reading the Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (which cost me not a little to acquire). Yes, I’m a liturgy nerd. And I’ve been reading on illuminated church books, a subject that has fascinated me since I attended the Cambridge Illuminations exhibit. At some point I must read that copy of Bede lying somewhere in my apartment.

I am quite serious about my studies. But I will be taking a reduced academic load in order to have plenty of time to explore and study on my own . . . and just to enjoy the Oxford experience, of course.

I invite guidance and advice on how best to prepare and to make the most of my time at Oxford. One or more readers may be getting e-mails before long. But I invite guidance from all readers. What would be good to read beforehand? I want to make the most of and enjoy the great Oxford libraries. (When I took the tour of the Bodleian and saw all those olllddd books, I drooled.) Any tips on that? Any other tips and advice?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Letter from ++Rowan Williams and TEC Polity

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a letter to the other Primates after their Tanzania meeting.

What I find most interesting is that he very clearly cuts through the fog about Episcopal Church polity:

To address these requests to the American House of Bishops is not to ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church, but to acknowledge that the bishops have a key role, acknowledged in the Constitution of that church, in authorising liturgies within their dioceses and in giving consent to the election of candidates for episcopal order.

As most of you know, there have been complaints that the House of Bishops can’t respond to the Primates’ Communique on behalf of TEC because TEC is an all-American democratic church that is one of the people. The whole church makes decisions, not just . . . :drowned out by swelling patriotic music:

It’s about the only time you’ll ever see some of our revisionist friends wave the flag with vigor.

But ++Rowan is right. Under TEC polity, liturgical innovations beyond the 1979 BCP don’t get authorised without the authorisation of bishops (though perhaps that works on a diocese by diocese basis). Nor do candidates for the episcopate get consent without the consent of bishops. Therefore, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has the power to do what is being asked of them.

++Rowan Williams has clearly noticed the protestations otherwise and has very succinctly pointed out that they don’t hold water.

UPDATE: The headline Christopher+ Cantrell gives to this letter is interesting and on target I think.

Monday, March 05, 2007

TEC Politburo Executive Council Responds to Tanzania . . . Kinda

The Episcopal Church Executive Council met over the weekend and issued a response to the Primates’ Communique.

Their response to the communiqué itself is tepid at best, but they did act to . . .

urge the closing of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of secret detention centers and “extraordinary rendition”;
urge the US government to grant asylum to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, or those advocating for their civil rights, who seek such protection, and commit the Episcopal Church to aid in their resettlement;
urge that future General Conventions will not be held in states that prohibit domestic partnerships;

which speaks volumes about their priorities, does it not?

It should be noted that it’s the House of Bishops who are called to respond by the Primates, not the Executive Council, but still . . .

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bad Theology and Bad Liturgy Feed on Each Other.

Exhibit #4756 of this truth may be found here.

Disclaimer: If wrath or mocking would violate your Lenten discipline, click the above link at your own risk.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Behind the Scenes at the Primates Meeting

Here’s an interesting account of what transpired in Tanzania.

I’m a bit busy, but two reactions:

1. Thank God for ++Peter Akinola.

2. Judging from how the meeting went, it appears the Global South may not accept the usual fudge and perpetual deliberation past the September deadline. Maybe, just maybe, weasel words won’t win.