Monday, February 26, 2007

Airport X-Ray machines exposed!


Many individuals and some governmental agencies expressed concerns that new x-ray technology used for airport security, designed to reveal weapons and other items hidden in and under clothing, may be showing security officials more than is decent.

We at Saintly News Service (SNS) have obtained test x-rays through confidential sources. These x-rays prove the machines do, indeed, show much more than is decent.

For example, take these two clergymen, caught as they went past the x-ray machine at an international airport. It's proof positive that the machines, in fact, reveal the naked person beneath the veneer:

(Note: Double-click on the image for a larger view)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Orthodox and traditional?????

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central Florida is all het up about electing their own primatial vicar:

... In a spirit of humility and submission to Godly spiritual authority we gladly accept the "Schedule" offered by the primates, as the Communion's response to our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight. While our request was far more robust than the Schedule, we acknowledge the spiritual authority of the primates 'in this crisis and receive their intervention with gratitude. We pray and trust that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church will facilitate the rapid appointment of the members of the Pastoral Council, hopefully by Easter.

The Communique speaks repeatedly of the urgency the primates discerned in this matter, and a rapid appointment of the Pastoral Council will serve that end, and help re-establish the good will requested by the primates.

We stand ready to participate in a meeting of Windsor "Camp Allen" dioceses, of which we are one, to nominate a Primatial Vicar. We suggest that meeting should include the Deputies and Bishop of each Windsor diocese, and that it should take place immediately following the appointment of the Council.

Finally, we wish to assure the parishes of our diocese that we will work diligently to ensure this diocese is included in a realigned orthodox Anglican Communion. We are committed to provide safe pasture for the sheep of our diocese for many years to come. It will be a long journey. But with your help and by God's grace we will accomplish this holy purpose.

The Standing Committee of Central Florida
February 22, 2007

Well, good. They won't mind if the non-Network thinking parishes in this diocese demand alternative oversight, then. We can hold a special meeting, and elect our own bishop. I have a few candidates in mind. It makes as much sense.

The arrogance blows my mind. To start with, even the Communiqué speaks of the Presiding Bishop appointing a vicar, not the Network/Camp Allen dioceses. Secondly, even the Presiding Bishop shouldn't do something like that, alone. She needs to consult the church leaders and laity.

These are people who claim to be "orthodox and traditional?"

There's a great piece linked on Episcope about who's orthdox and traditional.

I've talked about "orthdox and traditional" on this blog a few times,including in this tongue-in-cheek story back in 2004. I'm reprinting just the part of it that was posted June 13, 2004.

In the story, God appears in a number of forms, including a hard-to-get-along-with little mule, who pops in on a round-table discussion group being taped for public television, where he takes on a couple of blowhard theologians, levitating them and holding them in midair, as he decides their fate:

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Part 4 - See the entry of June 8 for Part 1.

The mule stands working his jaw, as if thinking, for a moment.

"My son advocates mercy."

The two levitating theologians are eased gently back to the floor.

"Let's talk turkey," says the mule, as the cameras come back on.

(A shimmering light appears around the mule as the animal is transformed into a short, dark-skinned man wearing a business suit with a stole over his shoulders. Features of every race and ethnicity seemed to be combined in him -- Asian, African, European, Indian, Islander, Aborigine. He is masculine in form, but with a delicacy of feature and manner.)

"My children, you can relate to me more easily in this form, now that I have your attention." He sighed. "It's hard to keep you focused on the truly important things.

"Handyman, I can quote you all the Bible passages that speak of love, of treating each other the way you want to be treated, of building each other up in love. You've read them all many times before, but they don't seem to get through your and your associates' fixation on 'homoerotic' love."

The man's eyes twinkle in amusement, then turn serious.

"I could go into a discussion of psychology here, but I won't. Look at the past 10 years spent keeping your congregations fixed on the things that divide instead of uniting you in love. The energy and talent put into vitriolic wrangling over real estate and tax-exempt status and being the "true" believers instead of feeding my sheep is an affront to me. All of you have been sinners in this.

"And treating my children as if they are not worthy to enter my home. I am offended. Just as it is not what goes into your mouth, but what comes out of it that makes you unclean, it is not an act of sex that makes one unclean -- it is having it without caring for your partner, having it without love, fidelity, commitment and acceptance of responsibility.

"It is lack of love that pollutes a church, not sexual orientation. I weep when I see such lack of love as I have been seeing, my children.

"Jesus came to free you from the yoke of the law. You must stop seeking to bind up my children with it anew.

"If you love me, if you love my son Jesus Christ, whom you may also know as the Word, Sephia, Wisdom, you will honor my request."

Moderator: Yes, well, aha, thank you very much, church leaders and, er..

"You may call me God, or Father or Mother or Creator or Abba or what describes me best in terms you can understand."

Handyman: But what about the Scriptures. They are your words, if you are God. You can't suddenly change the rules in midstream.

"I have never changed the rules, my child. It is your understanding of my plans for you that I have been changing over time. If you did not believe the cynics when they said 'God is dead,'then you must understand I am active in the world. I am not reduced to words written in a book, even if that book is the Bible."

Handyman: But you wrote the Bible and it said--

"No, I did not write the Bible. I breathed my inspiration into those prophets who wrote it. I spoke through fallible human beings, who couldn't help but insert some of their own thinking, a product of their times and culture, into what they wrote. That's the way I work. Do you think I turn human beings into ventriloquists' dummies?"

The little man shakes his head sadly. "Then you accuse me of being the prince of demons, who would do such a thing.

"The Bible shows you the direction you must go to find me. But the Bible is not me. You, and you also, Mr. Knowit, must quit picking the Bible to pieces to find only what suits your purposes. Look at the whole of the Bible, which even within it shows an evolution of understanding the human in relation to the divine, and what are you taught? To be hospitable to strangers, for you never know if you might be entertaining angels. To show love, mercy and compassion. To be a light to the world. To worship the Lord your God."

(Cracker, Rusett, and Ensley, who have all been sitting open-mouthed, drop to their knees and prostrate themselves before the little man. Technicians and audience members, including rabbis, a robed Hindu leader and a turbaned Muslim, approach the stage and do likewise. Snively, the moderator, looks around in bewilderment, then throws himself to the floor, too.)

Knowit: This is absurd. This is more staged parlor tricks. God doesn't just suddenly appear as a mule or a short man and start lecturing people.

"This is why I don't care to make many appearances. And you wonder why Jesus couldn't stay with you. You always demand more, bigger, flashier proof of who I am."

Handyman: But..

"No buts. You will rescind ACN-ACCCH church policy banning gays and lesbians, and open wide the doors of your churches, which are actually mine, inviting all to worship with you and asking forgiveness from them and me. Those who are to respond to the invitation are to make reciprocal efforts. You, Handyman, and also Granola, will initiate action to reconcile with the rest of my Christian church. You will delete any derogatory terminology from your creeds and start ordaining believers from those groups you have excluded. You will ask forgiveness for your words and actions of hatred. You will ask for my mercy, and mean it."

(The little man snaps his fingers. A cloud appears from nowhere. The man steps onto it and it disappears through the clutter of cables and equipment above the set, on up through the ceiling. Several people faint.)


June 12, 2014
PAINO, TEXAS (UNS - Unsaintly News Service)

The Rev. Canon David Rosencrantz issued a statement from the steps of the ACN-ACCCH Christ Church in Paino today, in response to queries about the North American Chapter of the ACCCH's reaction to the presence of God at the group's international convention in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as an appearance in the US at today's PSS taping of a roundtable discussion on religion.

"We will take under advisement these alleged statements of God. We will hold them to the light of Holy Scripture to determine if they meet our criteria of orthodoxy before we can accept them as being indeed, the word of God.

"We are baffled by some of the statements from a personage alleged to be God, statements that sound like revisionist rhetoric from apostate liberals. We just do not understand how God could let unrepentant sinners into his churches. We do not understand how God could chastise the sole traditional and orthodox church.

We will issue a statement after further deliberation."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Meditation on Lent

Lent? Yes, I believe I found some in my belly button. Let me meditate upon it.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Entering Lent

I'm having a hard time getting myself into proper Lenten mode. The last months have seemed like a period of Lent, between dealing with my mother, tornadoes and other difficulties.

Like many in the Episcopal Church, I'm ready for Easter.

I'm sponsoring a woman for confirmation. She's very cool, a former Roman Catholic who's been through a lot and come out strong on the other side. She's not blind to what TEC is going through now, but was drawn because we have a woman as presiding bishop.

I'll call my friend Cat, because she's going through the process.

Cat and I met for dinner yesterday evening, before going to the Ash Wednesday service. I came bearing a necklace for each of us, a cross made of nails bound together with colored wire, hanging from a leather strip. The nails, obvious, the wire to represent the crown of thorns, and the leather to represent the strap; representing Jesus' suffering. Fitting for Lent.

Cat bought my supper. We sat and talked church and politics at Appleby's after fighting time and traffic to get there, then got to the service a few minutes late and unrepentant about it, wearing our new Lenten necklaces.

One of those great God moments happened during the service. The priest called us to a moment's silent meditation. As we all sat quietly, a little boy, maybe four years old, started telling his mother, "I love you. I love you. I love you," over and over again, in the sweet little piping voice children that age can have. In the sanctuary's silence, everyone heard it.

It struck me, it's not just this little boy talking to his mother. It's the Holy Spirit talking to us all (or perhaps all of us who need to hear it -- and who doesn't?) through that little boy's voice.

A small, quiet voice. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. That's what we heard.

Thank you Lord, for hearing our needs and loving us through our weaknesses.

Help me to love as you do. Give me the strength to be a better person than I am.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Some thoughts on the recent unpleasantness

I see the same thing going on in the Anglican Communion that I see in local politics. Those who fervently want power and control, and are determined to force their will on others simply act as if they already have that power and control.

It's the big lie, told often and repeatedly, and it can work.

That's what the GS/"Windsor"/etc. bishops are trying to do, through their communique. The rest are going along with it, at least to some degree, in the hope, or is it delusion, of maintaining Anglican unity.

The lie must be exposed for what it is, on a repeated basis, and rejected.

It was a lie that crucified Christ.

"Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."

Mark Harris has an excellent post on "The Standard and Its Costs."

I would add, if we are to live into our baptismal covenant, we must keep the work of the cross before us. This includes not only shining the light on lies, but acting in love and in forgiveness, even against our own wills. This is the toughest part of the standard.

The toughest part of the baptismal covenant

The Episcopal Church must live into its calling, and we can't do that and cave in to the bullies. If this means the end of our participation in the Anglican Communion, so be it. If we must go our separate ways, let us do it with the cross before us at all times, and act without hate and acrimony.

"Why us?"

Why have the primates targeted the Episcopal Church, and not the Canadians and others who dare to bless people against their edicts?

My dad said, "Always look for the money. Who's got it, and who wants its."

That's exactly why they're targeting the U.S., with its well-heeled dioceses and parishes that can be carved up like pirates' booty. I don't think that would be so easy to do in Canada or other parts of the Commonwealth.

Plus, anti-American sentiment usually isn't hard to whip up. And we've made that very easy the last few years.

Monday, February 19, 2007

He's back

Our friend Clyde is back, after taking a little hiatus. He's coyly seeking a little encouragement ... go on over there, and give it to him!

Yes, Clyde, too, is playing with Appleworks!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


If you don't know who I mean, go here.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The story of St. Perpetua

This is the story of Perpetua and her companions. It is a good story to remind all Christians who lives in this country, but feel persecuted for their faith, just what martyrdom really is.

The story is too long to post on the right column, as I've been doing with the stories of female saints and other Godly women, so here it is in its entirety: James Kiefer's bio:

Perpetua and Her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage
7 March 202

During a persecution of Christians under the emperor Septimius Severus, a group of Christians died together in the arena at Carthage. Their final days have been recorded for us in a document that is partly in their own words, and partly in those of an anonymous narrator (sometimes thought to be Tertullian). What follow are extracts, sometimes condensed, from that document.

Vivia Perpetua was a catchumen (i.e. a convert not yet baptized), well educated and from a prosperous family, about 22 years old, married and apparently recently widowed, with a child at her breast, and with two brothers and both parents still living. (Her father was not a Christian.) Felicity (Latin: Felicitas) was a slave woman in advanced pregnancy. With them were Revocatus (also a slave), Saturninus, and Secundus.

They were arrested and placed in a dungeon, but after a few days two deacons visited the prison and by a gift of money to the jailers arranged (1) that they should have an interval in the better part of the prison to refresh themselves, and (2) that Perpetua should be allowed to keep her child with her.

Perpetua had a vision in which she saw a golden ladder, guarded by a fierce dragon, but she climbed it, stepping on the dragon's head to do so. At the top, she found herself in a green meadow, with many white-robed figures, and in their midst a shepherd, who welcomed her and gave her a morsel of cheese from the sheep-milk. She awakened and understood that their martyrdom was certain.

Perpetua writes:

After a few days there was a report that we were to have a hearing in court. And my father came to me from the city, worn out with anxiety. He came up to me, that he might cast me down, saying: "Have pity, my daughter, on my grey hairs. Have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be called a father by you. If with these hands I have brought you up to this flower of your age, if I have preferred you to all your brothers, do not deliver me up to the scorn of men. Have regard to your brothers, have regard to your mother and your aunt, have regard to your son, who will not be able to live after you. Lay aside your courage, and do not bring us all to destruction; for none of us will speak in freedom if you should suffer anything." These things said my father in his affection, kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet, and with tears he called me not Daughter, but Lady. And I grieved over the grey hairs of my father, that he alone of all my kindred would have no joy in my death. And I comforted him, saying, "On that scaffold, whatever God wills shall happen. For know that we are not placed in our own power but in that of God." And he departed from me in sorrow.

Perpetua had had a brother who died of cancer when he was eight years old. She prayed for him, and received assurance in a vision that all was well with him.

Her narrative continues:

After a few days, Pudens, an assistant overseer of the prison, began to hold us in high esteem, seeing that God was with us, and he admitted many of the brethren to see us, that we and they might be mutually refreshed.

Perpetua had another vision, in which she saw herself fighting against a gladiator in the arena, and winning. She understood this to signify victory over the devil.

Saturus also had a vision, which he records in his own words, in which he and the others, having died in the arena, are borne by angels into a beautiful garden, where they greet other martyrs who have gone before them, and are brought before the throne of God, surrounded by twenty-four elders (see Revelation 4), who greet them and say, "Enter into joy." Perpetua says to Saturus: "I was joyful in the flesh, and here I am more joyful still."

The narrator writes:

Now Felicitas was eight months pregnant, and the law did not allow a pregnant woman to be executed. She was accordingly fearful that her death would be postponed, and instead of dying with her fellow Christians she would be put to death later in the company of some group of criminals. She and her companions accordingly prayed, and Felicity went into labor, with the pains normal to an eight-month delivery. And a servant of the jailers said to her, "If you cry out like that now, what will you do when you are thrown to the beasts, which you despised when you refused to sacrifice?" And she replied: "Now it is I that suffer what I suffer; but then Another will be in me, who will suffer for me, because I also am about to suffer for Him." Thus she brought forth a little girl, whom a certain sister brought up as her own.

The day of their victory shone forth, and they proceeded from the prison to the amphitheater, as if to an assembly, joyous and of brilliant countenance. At the gate, the guards were going to dress them in the robes of those dedicated to Saturn and to Ceres. But that noble-minded woman [Perpetua?] said: "We are here precisely for refusing to honor your gods. By our deaths we earn the right not to wear such garments." The guards recognized the justice of her words, and let them wear their own clothing.

The men of their company were scheduled to be killed by beasts, but the wild boar turned on its keeper instead, and the bear refused to leave its cage. The leopard, however, attacked Saturus and mortally wounded him. He bade farewell to his guard, Pudens, encouraging him to obey God rather than man, and then fell unconscious.

For the young women there was prepared a fierce cow. Perpetua was first led in. She was tossed, and when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it as a veil over her middle, rather mindful of her modesty than of her sufferings. Then the was called up again, and bound up her dishevelled hair, for it is not becoming for a martyr to die with dishevelled hair, which is a sign of mourning. She saw Felicity wounded, and took her hand and raised her up, and at the demand of the populace they were given a respite.

Now all the prisoners were to be slain with the sword, and they went to the center of the arena, first exchanging a farewell kiss of peace. The others died unmoving and silent, but when the awkward hand of the young executioner bungled her death-stroke, Perpetua cried out in pain, and herself guided his hand to her throat. Possibly such a woman could not have been slain unless she herself willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit.

Prayer (traditional language)

O God the King of saints, who didst strengthen thy servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer (contemporary language)

O God the King of saints, who strengthened your servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Psalm 34:1-8 or 124 Hebrews 10:32-39 Matthew 24:9-14 (St3)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Outwaiting Tanzania and making the sign of the cross

I'm trying not to read too much about what going on at the Primate's meeting in Tanzania. Apparently, so far so good, and the ultra-right is entirely pissed about it. That's what I've gleaned from a glance a a couple of the blogs.

Sticking with the meeting blow by blow, with unending speculation and analysis is beyond me. Maybe I'm a wimp, but I know there's nothing I can do, and I want it over with. I want to know where we are, and not be angsting over every speech, paper or comment.

We won't know where we are until it's over.

My prayers go to Bishop Katharine, especially, for her spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through all of it. My prayers cover all, asking they hear the

voice of the Spirit speaking to them. I pray they act without hubris and self-righteousness. I pray they act in love. They will, if they listen to the Spirit.

Some will listen. The jack-booted ones in purple garb I don't expect too much from. It's a good thing God is an optimist about human beings.


P.S. -- I thought I'd try a photoshoppy thing with Appleworks, figuring if the Mad One can do it, maybe I can. Not too bad for a first effort.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hey, baloney brains!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saint Pat spends the night with a knight

Yes, it's true. Saint Pat spent the whole night with one of our local finest. And a fine man he is, gentlemanly and gallant.

This is how the story began:

... there was a little hamlet called Cracktown. It was just beyond the borders of our own Hometown, though some of our citizens would sometimes slip into Cracktown, to its cribs and corner dealers.

Yea, then Realtors and redevelopers, hearing the call of trendiness, and obeying the dictates of The Almighty Dollar, invaded Cracktown with an army of renovators, redesigners, interior decorators, landscapers, hairdressers and real-estate agents, waging war on Cracktown's untrendiness.

"Forsooth, varlets," they decreed to the dealers. "Take your wares and depart this place. We claim it in the name of Trendiness, and in the name of our God, the Almighty Dollar."

Across the burg, now renamed "Trendy District," the dealers and pimps trembled. The Knights of Hometown, summonsed by the Duchess of Trendy District, rode in on their metal steeds, and helped dispatch the unsavory element.

Still, the hearts of Trendy District's newest citizens were unsettled, for lo, though the crack dealers had fled into exile, the poor were still with them. It greatly grieved the hearts of Trendy citizens to see these unstylish, untailored, uncoiffed and sometimes unsanitary peasants walking on
their trendy sidewalks.

It distressed the good people of Trendy District further that some of these peasants might occasionally beg alms from them. It was rumored that alms-begging and an object or two filched from the porch of a renovated Trendy home provided demon beer or perhaps even a burger at the local royal burger purveyor. After all, everyone knows the undeserving poor should be forced to work for their burgers and beer, whether they're capable of it or not.

And the Trendy burghers complained mightily about the church that dared to operate a soup kitchen for the hungry in their midst.

"If you feed them, they will come," the burghers cried, "And then those homeless varlets will wander down our streets. It's annoying, and it brings down property values. Besides, we don't like looking at them. They are not pretty, like us."

But alas, the ministers to the undeserving paid no heed.

The Duchess sent for the Head Knight and instructed him to rid Trendy District of this pestilence, forsooth.

"Round them up," she said. "Put them on a reservation. We need a final solution to this problem."

The Head Knight bowed his head.

"Madam," he said, "Yea, though I would like to obey your request, I cannot. For there are laws higher than yours at work here. These laws say I can't send them to Coventry unless they have committed a crime. I can't even put them in the dungeon just because you don't like their looks."

"Truthfully, I say to you, they have been here even longer than you, even back unto the days of good Emperor Reagan, who freed them from the onus of mental-health services and a place to sleep. They will always be with you," he added.

"Fool," cried the Duchess, after thinking for a minute. "Don't you know these people are responsible for the rampant crime in Trendy District? Our citizens cower in fear behind their heart-pine-wood doors inset with Tiffany stained-glass ovals. Yes, crime is on the upsweep and it's all because of the gnarly homeless."

The Head Knight now scratched his head.

"Truly, madam, we know of no such crime spree. But I will send in my knights, armored to the max, riding in their shiny-white metallic steeds. They shall patrol both day and night, scouring Trendy District in search of marauding homeless," he said.

And so, the Head Knight sent out an edict to all his knights to concentrate their attention on Trendy District, and hunt down these bold criminals.

These knights, in turn, scratched their heads, for it seemed to them that actual crime in Trendy District had waned in recent years, fleeing from the forces of Trendiness. The knights obeyed, even though they felt they might find more dragons and damsels in distress in other parts of the countryside.

They searched. They poked. They prodded. They spotlighted. They field-interrogated. But alas, they found no crime wave in Trendy District.

And so it came to pass that a certain plucky reporter came to ride with one of the knights through Trendy District for the whole of a Friday night, just looking for trouble. But alack, neither knight nor reporter could find anything more amiss than the minor collision of two steeds at a busy crossroads, a few people walking down the sidewalk, just minding their own business, and some of the rich Young Baronets of Trendy District having a slightly noisy party.

And so ends the tale. The plucky reporter returned to Hometown, having enjoyed her diversion with a knight in shining armor.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

First FEMA trailer rolls into Central Florida

Just kidding, DHS, JUST KIDDING!


The humor may not be so obvious to anyone who hasn't been through disaster-recovery efforts, but I had a paroxysm of laughter when I spotted this trailer and thought of the tag line.

The Equalizer

But I'm getting a little punchy, with 14-hour days covering recovery, angering **certain** officials with my questions, going through more devastated areas and such.

I took this photo in a neighborhood near the river:

While the Christmas-Day tornado victims were almost exclusively mobile-home dwellers, the Feb. 2 monster was an equal-opportunity destroyer. It took out comfy river homes with the same casual aplomb with which it ripped apart mobile homes and low-budget apartments. I saw virtually empty lots where a few of these houses stood.

They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

The most heartening thing I've seen in these storms is the response from the community of faith. Just about every church around was involved in some way.

Some of these churches ran mission trips to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and they've gotten a lot of practice at home, too, with the 2004 hurricanes, last year's fires, this year's tornadoes. They were out within a couple of hours of the tornado touchdown, serving hot breakfasts to shell-shocked survivors and rescuers, helping clear debris and making emergency repairs. They're terrific.

I was talking to one of these pastors Tuesday, and he said they've had more people wanting to volunteer than they've been able to place, though by the first of the coming week they may need more, when the first wave takes off to rest or go back to work.


Thank you Lord, for bringing this good out of disaster. Thank you for these servants who are so willing to serve you, and showing us how we as a faith community can come together. Help us preserve this unity after the crisis passes. Amen.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Splitting the Communion

I came upon this article this morning. It bears solid evidence of the plan to split the Communion, with the pirate Robert Duncan, Akinola, and assorted other thugs entering into a separate Communion.

Doesn't leave much doubt what will be under discussion at the Tanzanian meeting.

Notice the stealthiness of the whole thing -- Duncan kept the newest missive hidden until his hand was forced, and after the diocesan convention, at which a vote was made to present the APO request to the Archbishop of Canterbury. ( Just a minor change of wording.)

Duncan wants "cover" from Nigeria to protect him when the Episcopal Church wants its property back.

The Episcopal Church is making it clear foreign primates have no say in our domestic affairs, and yes, Duncan and his crowd can leave if they want, but not with the church property.

At least Bp. Howe hasn't signed on to this -- as far as I know.

We don't know what other secret documents are floating around.

Here's the article, from ENS:

PITTSBURGH: Bishop Duncan reveals appeal for oversight to Global South Primates

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Friday, February 02, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] According to a document made public on January 29, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has changed the nature of its request for a relationship with an Anglican Communion primate other than Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

A third version of the request, posted on the diocese's website, is addressed to "our beloved in the Lord, primates representing the global south" rather than to the Archbishop of Canterbury and others, as were two previous versions.

This newest version was posted three days before the diocese was required by a Pennsylvania state court judge to turn over certain documents pertaining to its "alternative primatial oversight" (APO) request as part of a civil court action brought by Calvary Church in Pittsburgh.

The new version is dated November 6, which was two days after the diocese voted during its annual convention to support the request for APO already made by Duncan and the diocesan Standing Committee. It also was made about 10 days before a meeting in Virginia between four primates of the global south and Duncan and other dissenting bishops.

The Calvary Church court action alleges, among other things, that it was during that meeting that Duncan and others agreed "to submit to the authority of certain foreign Primates." Calvary is seeking evidence of that submission as part of its argument that the diocese is attempting to transfer ownership of property held in trust for the Episcopal Church.

The November 6 version of the APO request contains more specificity that the two previous requests and assumes that another Anglican structure will be put in place in the United States.

The request asks, in part, for "connection," "cover," and "consultation." Under the category of "cover," the request states that "during the period in which a ‘separate ecclesiastical structure' can be worked out among us, we need protection from those who would ‘seek to destroy the child'" while it uses "domestic legal and property battles" to show that it is the part of the Episcopal Church that is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

It also asks that the global south primates "convene, when the time is right, an organizing ("constitutional") convention for the purpose of approving the infrastructure necessary to the permanent Anglican entity in the U.S., and to choose the domestic leader for, and Anglican Communion representative of, that structure."

The global south Primates said at the end of a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in September 2006, that "the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA." The Kigali Communiqué said that the Primates had asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal "in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion."

Duncan, writing a pastoral letter to his diocese the same day the newest version of the request was posted, quoted colonial pamphleteer Thomas Paine, who said "now are the times that try men's souls," calling this time a "transitional moment."

"The Alternative Primatial Oversight Request points to the likely path forward for us and for others who share our commitment to the Faith and Order of the universal church," he said. "Emerging structures beyond the level of the diocese can only be conjectured at. They are not merely our decision."

He also denied that Calvary's court action is about property. "The matters in play are theological and ecclesiastical," he said. "They have nothing to do with the property of the diocese."

The Pittsburgh Standing Committee also issued a statement about the newest version of the request.

The president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, a group opposed to Duncan's plans, said February 1 that the newest version of the APO request is evidence of a coup in progress.

"What Bishop Duncan and the Pittsburgh Standing Committee are proposing is nothing less than an international coup that would overthrow not only the established government of The Episcopal Church, but destroy the Anglican Communion," Joan R. Gundersen said in a news release. "The Anglican primates have no authority over The Episcopal Church, no matter what Bishop Duncan or the Standing Committee might wish."

According to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, dioceses are created or dissolved only by acts of General Convention (Articles V and VI).
Congregational property is held in trust for the diocese, and the diocese holds property in trust for the wider church (Canon I.7.4 of the Episcopal Church).

"Bishop Duncan and the Standing Committee are free as individuals to separate from The Episcopal Church, but they do so as individuals and cannot take the diocese, or any part of it, with them," Gundersen said.

The first version of the APO request, made on June 28, 2006, ten days after Jefferts Schori was elected Presiding Bishop, appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates of the Anglican Communion and the Panel of Reference for "immediate alternative Primatial oversight and pastoral care."

In that appeal, Pittsburgh's Standing Committee said it had voted that day to join the "alternative primatial oversight" request made June 19 by the Diocese of Fort Worth and announced that day during the 75th General Convention. Along with Pittsburgh, the dioceses of San Joaquin and South Carolina also made APO requests June 28.

The second version of the requests, made July 20, 2006, by "the Bishops and Dioceses of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield," was addressed solely to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Diocese of Quincy joined the appeal September 16. Dallas Bishop James Stanton withdrew from the request on October 27, saying he had asked initially for "direct primatial oversight" from the Archbishop of Canterbury and that he now had misgivings about the requests because the terminology used was causing "confusion and some anxiety" in his diocese.

The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican Communion's main policy-making body, makes no provisions for alternative primatial oversight. Neither do the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

(Bolding is mine)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

From Saint Pat's joke file

Prairie Home Companion seems to be my major source of jokes lately. Here's a great one I heard on the radio as I drove to church this morning:

A woman and her toddler-son walked on the beach, along the surf, one day, when the undertow suddenly caught the son and pulled him out to sea.

The woman said, "God, you can't take my son from me. He is my life. Please, you must return him; otherwise, I couldn't live. Please, God."

Sure enough, a large wave deposited the woman's son on the beach. She picked him up and tenderly held him, brushing the sand off him.

Then, she looked up into the clouds and said, "He did have a hat."

It was funny (if you didn't think so, blame it on my poor memory/paraphrasing). I laughed all the way to the church.

Like a lot of humor, it points out a truth about human failings. What an attitude of gratitude this woman didn't have!

I thought this scripture passage particularly appropriate, and added a few more.

Deuteronomy 10:21
He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:20
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You can probably think of a million more.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A collect for evening prayer

For all the hurting, the grieving, the lost, the homeless, the needy who are suffering in tonight's chilly air, and all the workers who seek to help them:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

From the Book of Common Prayer, "Daily Evening Prayers" Rite 2.

Phenomenal devastation

The sight of twisted metal wrapped around trees is growing old.

At the tornado command center yesterday, I heard a lot of words like "phenomenal" to describe the tornadoes' devastation, and "amazing" to describe the fact that no one was found dead in the rubble in this county, though around 20 died in a neighboring county. That's still amazing. So many more people could have died. People whose homes were reduced to splinters or twists of scrap metal on the ground around them survived with barely a scratch.

I can't help but think that's Providence -- God's mercy at work.

For the survivors, the initial shock is wearing off, and they're worrying about rebuilding their lives.

I can't imagine losing my little home in an instant -- just like that. When I heard the sound of the tornado, all I could think about was grabbing my animals and huddling in the bathroom with them: preserving life, which is more important than houses and stuff.


My mind doesn't even want to wrap around the notion of losing the haven of my home, of losing everything from my underwear to irreplaceable treasured photos and heirlooms. Coffee maker, dishes, clothes, bed, everything -- gone. My life as I know it -- gone with the wind.

No wonder survivors spend days and weeks sifting through the rubble, looking for anything salvageable. For the unluckier people, there's not even any rubble to be found. It's been blown all over the neighborhood.

These unluckier people are also the most unfortunate in another sense, for many have no insurance. They have resources to help them find another home, or furniture, or dishes, or underwear, or linens or anything.

People like me would be the lucky survivors. I could look forward to an insurance check to help me get a new place to live, clothing, furniture and the other necessities of life. I live in a little block-and-stucco home.

I would have hope, despite the trauma I'd been through.

Victims of the Christmas Day tornado were almost exclusively mobile-home dwellers, and almost none of them had any insurance. Most of the worst hit in yesterday's early-morning storm were mobile-home dwellers.

Hope isn't a word that can come easily for these storm victims.

None of the insurance companies like to write mobile-home coverage in Florida, and few of the big companies will write any new business at all. For the purchaser of a new mobile-home, insurance is terribly expense, when you can get it, and it's often not very good coverage.

None of the companies will cover older mobile homes. That left these dwellers with no options, no protection.

Why live in a mobile home, especially one more than 10 years old? Economics.

A used mobile home can be purchased for less than the closing costs of a conventional home, never mind the down payment required. So, for as little as around $5,000-$8,000 thousand dollars, you can buy an older-but-decent mobile home and have a roof over your family. It makes economic sense, when that's the most you can scratch up at one time. Once you've moved in, there's no money to put in savings after paying lot rent, utilities and other living expenses.

Some people inherited a mobile home from Aunt Bessie and moved in it with their kids. Some have lived in their mobile homes for 20 years and are elderly and retired, on a limited income.

These are mostly people who were barely getting by before a disaster.

Keep them in your prayers. They are devastated right now. Keep all those who were hurt or killed, and their families in your prayers, too. Thank you for the prayers you've already sent.

In your mercy, Lord, bring the tornado survivors comfort, and give them hope for the future. Heal the wounded, tend to the grieving, and stay right beside them. Let your love be manifest in all who minister to them.

Thank you that you have taken the dead into new life in your kingdom. Help searchers find any living or dead who might remain in the ruins.

Thank you for your mercy.

I will write more about insurance and FEMA, coming up.

[I took these photos the day after the Christmas tornado.]

Friday, February 02, 2007


More tornadoes ripped through Central Florida. The last were in the devastating Christmas Day storms. One tornado woke me during the night -- I heard it go past.

At least 14 people are dead, but search and rescue missions continue, and it's likely more will be found.

I'm going out to get photos, and will report more later.

Update 9:30 p.m.

Hi, everyone. I'm fine. I had a hard time getting around town because of all the power lines down, trees down and police-barricaded streets.

My boss asked me to go to the emergency command center and cover the goings-on there. All the emergency management, search and rescue, and law enforcement operations were run and staged there.

Every honcho in Central Florida showed up, and the governor stopped in for press conference and photo op (which explains why every honcho was out there).

I got a few pics on the way, like this one:

NOTE: Double-click on the photo for a larger, more detailed view. It's amazing.

And I didn't even go into the mobile home communities where the devastation was more complete.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What he said

This is the most clear, succint description of Christian faith I've ever read. I think it could replace the creeds.

Where did I find it? At MadPriest's. Yes, you heard me, MadPriest wrote it, on a discussion thread at his blog.

Saint Pat is momentarily silenced.

What I am going to say to you is absolutely orthodox in all denominations. It is not even open for discussion. If you don't believe this you are not a Christian.

When Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father everything was radically changed - everything. This change can not be refused or altered.

Through baptism we are born again of water and Spirit and so become enabled to proclaim that radical change in our words and our actions. We can, however, refuse to take advantage of this gift, though it will never leave us.

Everything that has life has always shared in the life of God because the breath of God is in everything that has life. It doesn't what you believe or don't believe, whether you're a human or an animal, you share in the life of God. No matter how evil you are you are still part of God's existence which is why he loves everything.

Yes, we become more like Jesus, but that is not very important. What is important is that Jesus became us and in dying like we die formed that link through which we become one with him. Don't try and be like Jesus but live your life in the belief that Jesus is one with you - then, if your thankfulness is honest you will become like him without conciously trying. But you do not have to get to a certain level of Christlikeness, you certainly don't have to become equal to Christ. Just relax and enjoy God and he'll sort the rest out.

The people who visit this blog are relaxed in their love of God. They are relaxed because they actually understand what grace is all about.

You see, for an Anglican, I'm an excellent Lutheran, but that's because Luther was an excellent catholic.