An Anglican Witness

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Social Justice

What is social justice?
everyone is for it,
no one is against it, but
no one knows what it is.

We know that “social”
means interrelationship
of people in society, in
groups large and small.

We are afraid that justice is:
“Bring in the guilty SOB,
so we can give him a fair trial,
then take him out and hang him!”

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said,
in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what
I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."   
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you
can make words mean so many different things.”

And that’s exactly what social justice is:
a concept that the user claims to follow
when only he or she knows what it is
supposed to communicate to the recipient.

It could be like Mrs. Pardiggle in
Dickens’ Bleak House who visited
the poor to aid them and also demonstrate
her superiority to the unfortunate.

Social justice has also been applied
to the redistribution of wealth, which
demonizes the rich, and often showers
undeserved benefits on the masses.

Even worse is the notion that
all persons are entitled to equal results
in their endeavors, rather than equal
opportunity to achieve them.

These and many other definitions
and derivations are covered in
extraordinary length in the article
on social justice in Wikipedia.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Takeover of TEC

The time is ripe to advocate.
organize, and mount a takeover
of The Episcopal Church and
restore its traditional beliefs.

TEC is bankrupt in ideas
and finances, rudderless, and
losing its grip upon a declining
number of members in the pews.

Fourteen years ago, a small
group of “progressive” activists
inflicted an agenda upon us that
destroyed the Anglican communion.

Since then, the rites and practices
of The Episcopal Church and its
cohorts have strayed further from
biblical and traditional beliefs.  

Now the novelty of same-sex
weddings, open communion, and
abandonment of repentance has
marginalized a once stately church.

Only a sturdy minority of such
clergy as The Community Partners
keeps the flame of orthodoxy alive
in its disparate jurisdictions.

They and concerned laity can be
the force of renewal, loudly
proclaiming truth and demanding
reversal of false doctrine.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Episcopal Evangelicals

Most people would think that
the term, “Episcopalian Evangelicals”
is an oxymoron, and that such
persons really cannot exist.

Not so, quite a few are
alive and well and singularly
untroubled by the ambiguity
of their position in their church.

First, there are the ancients,
those lifelong Episcopalians
who cling to a local parish
that they know and love.

It is not that they have
accepted the progressive
theology of the denomination,
they simply ignore it.

In some parts of the country,
notably New England,
there are few alternatives
to the Episcopal liturgy.

Therefore, our evangelicals
show up in Episcopal churches
to worship God and participate
in the community activities.

Greater numbers of
Episcopal Evangelicals
are found in traditional
parishes and dioceses.

Their parishioners take
the position of the leaders
of same who are committed
to traditional beliefs.

Then there are those clergy
who cling to their positions
in order to protect their
lifelong Episcopal pensions.

We cannot be critical of
any of these Evangelicals
because they represent a
stand against apostasy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Update at St.David's

February 1, 2017

Update at St. David's

Our little Episcopal church
is  energetically continuing to
dig a hole already dug, without
much thought about the future.

They received a 10K grant
from the diocese and a
bequest of 35K from some
dear old soul who passed on.

Facing a budget deficit of 46K,
they decided to give away 33K
while at the same time drawing
55K from endowment funds!

Our new lady rector started off
on the right foot by returning
the Sunday service to Rite 2
of the Book of Common Prayer.

Then, apparently, the elders
talked her into reverting to a
sappy service stolen from the
Australian prayer book.

At rhe annual parish meeting,
she announced that she did not
want to hit the endowment again
to cover a planned deficit of 64K.

As the only way to avoid that
is to attract new members,
virtually nothing is planned to
market the church to reach them.

Meanwhile, the rainbow flag
and the Episcopal flag droop
listlessly from the message
board in front of the church.

The elders are seeking a grant
from the town to restore the
"historic" Mission house
used as office and thrift shop.

The building is a fire trap
that is falling apart, and could
never be rebuilt without tearing
it down to the foundation.

A few strangers have been
seen at the Sunday services,
apparently interested in seeing
and hearing the new preacher.

It is possible the present menu
of a dumbed down Catholic mass
is as much Christianity that the
unchurched will accept.

My advice to the rector was
simply, "Tend your flock."
Her concern for the people
is the best draw for new members.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


There is no social issue
more divisive nor impossible
to resolve than the termination
of life at its earliest stages.

Society once tried and failed
to extinguish abortion by law,
resulting in the killing of young
mothers in slaughterhouses.

Adherents of "pro-life" tactics
call again for forbidding
abortion under any circumstances
without means of enforcement.

The opposing "pro-choice"
calls for acceptance up to the
time a fetus could be delivered
as a viable human being.

The downside of unlimited
abortion results in the procedure
being used as sex selection, and
elimination of defective babies.

But when we deplore the horrendous
condition of Zika-affected babies,
and the products of rape or incest,
we question absolute prohibition.

There is, then, no acceptable
middle ground which society
can accept other than modest
prohibition of late term abortions.

From a religious standpoint,
theologians have not succeeded
in relating scripture to abortion,
other than calling it murder.

We suggest that those who are
opposed to abortion in principle
or religious belief, adopt one or
more unwanted babies per year.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Death of PECUSA (2)

Once there was a church in this country
which was born in 1789, lasted 190 years,
and was destroyed in a series of
conventions by selected participants.

The name of the church was "The
Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A"
which was the publisher of the 1928
Book of Common Prayer.

But when a revision of the book
was issued in 1979, the frontispiece
proclaimed that it was according to the
use of "The Episcopal Church."

That signaled the end of Protestantism in the
U.S. province of the Anglican Communion,
and the beginning of an imitation of
Roman Catholicism in rites and identity.

Whereas Episcopal ministers were formerly
addresses as Mister, as in Jane Austen's books,
they became Fathers in clerical collars
and vestments of papal provenance.

Instead of Morning Prayer as the Sunday service,
a revised version of Holy Communion was
required, which has not a dime's worth of
difference with a Roman Catholic mass.

The trigger for the death of PECUSA, as it
was formerly and familiarly known, was an
aborted attempt to obtain formal recognition
of Anglican rites by the Vatican.

This actually happened, long after Pope
John Paul II stopped the dialogue.
The Vatican now permits the use of
Anglican rites by its converted clergy.

Despite serious doctrinal differences,
all Anglican and Episcopal churches
are now firmly and definitively Roman
Catholic in worship services.

In turn, the Catholics in the U.S.A. have
abandoned requirements that were
unpalatable, such as phone booth confessions
and forbidden use of contraceptives.

Meanwhile, the memory of Morning Prayer
lingers only in the minds of very old
worshippers, with its glorious language
and sung psalms and canticles.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A People's History of Christianity

Customer Review

78 of 104 people found the following review helpful

1.0 out of 5 stars

 Finding the sensitive'n'inclusive elite, March 12, 2013

By Namyriah

This review is from: A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story (Paperback)
Whatever this book is, it is not boring. Page after page you find an interesting mix of facts, personal anecdotes, and "spun" history. She must have intended the book for readers who know absolutely nothing about Christian history and would believe anything. I am not one of those readers.

Right away, we discover the book is fact-challenged. "Early commentators scarcely attacked Christian doctrines" (p 27). She never heard of Celsus, or the many other pagan critics who mocked Christian doctrine, not to mention the many Jewish critics? She is trying to make the case that "good" Christians never took doctrine seriously, but were focused on living the faith, while in fact the early Christians took both doctrine and morality seriously. She claims the name "Christian" means "little Christ" (p 35), a "fact" not mentioned by any other writer, ever. She writes lovingly of the early theologian Origen, who insisted on interpreting the Bible allegorically, not literally, and, as she repeatedly reminds the reader, anyone who reads the Bible literally is a fool. She praises the preacher John Chrysostom because she claims he saw "private property" as the root of all evils. She praises Martin of Tours because he gave up being a soldier and became a pacifist. Since early Christians called themselves "strangers" and "aliens," she insists that American Christians ought to encourage illegal immigration (p 75).

Notice a pattern? The real saints of the past were just like liberal Christians of today - like the author!

Her treatment of the Crusades is woefully inaccurate. "Christians and Muslims competed for both converts and territory on the battlefield" (p 123). Wrong! The two religions NEVER competed for converts. The Muslims advanced westward from their base in Arabia, conquered huge chunks of what had been the Christian Roman empire, and reduced the Christians to second-class citizenship - conquest, not conversion, was the goal. The Crusades were an attempt - violent, true - to recapture some of the land the Muslims had taken violently. The "hideous and inexcusable violence of the Crusades" was, she says, all the fault of Christians - never mentioning that the Crusades would never have occurred had Christian lands not been conquered by Muslims.

In this book, Muslims can do no wrong. She claims they lived alongside Jews and Christians in medieval Spain and got along harmoniously - well, it was "harmony" at the end of a sword, and Jews and Christians were heavily taxed to support the Muslim ruling class.

"Women could be burned as witches for inheriting their father's property or healing a sick child with herbs" (p 199). This "fact" about herbal healing was gleaned from The Da Vinci Code - a work of FICTION, but amazing how many Christian authors quote it like an encyclopedia.

According to her, Martin Luther taught that "a person must be free from the church or any authority telling him or her how to behave" (p 182). Absolutely untrue. Luther saw the Bible (which, Luther read literally, NOT allegorically) as the supreme authority for the Christian's life. After the Reformation, "Protestant women started to point out the inconsistency of male pastors proclaiming spiritual liberty from Roman Catholicism, yet still condemning women to silence in church" (p 253). She doesn't cite these women's writings because they don't exist - never did. And what exactly is the "inconsistency" she speaks of? The Protestants didn't break away from Catholicism over the issue of women clergy.

Pages 276-277, she raves about the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, particularly Swami Vivekananda, the Hindu "holy man" who made such an impression. She talks as if the Parliament was some kind of sacred breakthrough in Christian history, when in fact the people swooning over the swami were just a handful of upper-class women who dabbled in exotic religions as a hobby and were as likely to change religions as they were to change wardrobes.

When she gets to the past twenty years, her biases become crystal clear. Page 132, she blames Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq on evangelical leaders - as if Bush was a mere puppet. A sensitive friend tells her that Jerry Falwell said that "according to the Bible, the punishment for homosexuality was death by stoning" (294). Possibly true, but unless Falwell said "I approve doing that today" (he didn't), so what? She attacks James Dobson for criticizing a speech in which Obama took a slap at Christians by asking which Bible verses they took seriously--the Sermon on the Mount or Leviticus' law against eating shellfish. Page 293, she lists some of the big names in 20th century Christianity, but with the exception of C. S. Lewis, none would remotely fit the "conservative" category. (She conveniently overlooks the fact that Lewis did not share her disdain for doctrine - quite the contrary! Also, Lewis hated trendiness and adamantly opposed the ordination of women.) Did she think Billy Graham was a non-entity? She has made it clear that she dislikes Christians who try to convert others, but she couldn't even acknowledge that Graham's organization has many charitable ministries. She never once credits evangelicals or charismatics with doing anything - except oppressing women and minorities. She is the angry ex-evangelical distancing herself from conservative Christians, with that syrupy smirk that has become her trademark.

The cherry-picking and spinning of data is one problem. Bad writing is another. For example: "Enacting love was a critical aspect of experiencing love" (p 60). "A fractured vision of the cosmos leads to hopelessness and withdrawal from God's world; a connected vision empowers change" (p 132). "Far from excluding God from the world, a progressive vision invites God in" (p 270). (As if you could keep him out!) "Modernity came to a frightening end when the United States exploded two atomic bombs over Japan" (p 279). (How did that "end" modernity? Did people stop driving cars after that?) "Honoring the body signals human connection with God through Christ" (p 39). "Medieval marriage existed for the procreation of children" (p 189). (Medieval husbands and wives didn't ENJOY sex?) "Nature has become a stranger to us" (p 305). (How? We no longer breathe air?) "Unless you are human, Christianity is a pretty bad deal" (p 136).

While a student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary (evangelical) she had to "sneak" down to liberal Harvard Divinity School to see the gay Catholic writer Henri Nouwen. Did Gordon-Conwell have jackbooted thugs keeping an eye on students? The people in Nouwen's audiences were "black and white, male and female, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, gay and straight." How, pray tell, did she know by looking that any were liberal, conservative, gay, or straight? And obviously there were women at Gordon-Conwell, since she was there. Under Nouwen's spell, she learned that doctrine was unimportant, only that "faith and compassion came to the fore" (p 287). "We came together: all the diverse people in that room actually created a spiritual community" (287). How? Did the people ever see each other again afterward? For her "community" meant "we all felt good about being there."

To her, the existence of so many denominations is nothing but evidence of "bitter arguments between Christians over the basic tenets of their faith" (p 289). For someone who constantly harps on "diversity," she doesn't seem comfortable with a divided Christianity (and given the decline of her own denomination, the Episcopalians, in all her books she takes a lot of shots at evangelical churches, which are growing, often because they flee the liberal churches like hers).

The author assures us that, in the modern world, we can't believe in heaven. Everything Jesus taught about the "kingdom of heaven" in fact applies to social change, not the afterlife. She admits her faith, such as it is, is entirely this-worldly, and that politics is the only way to bring about salvation.

The book, supposedly a history, is also autobiography. "I taught at a Christian college." "I was speaking in Vancouver, British Columbia." "I first visited Chartres Cathedral." "I went to Duke Chapel." "In 1996 I covered the Republican National Convention." "In 1980 I attended a mission conference in Edinburgh, Scotland." And on and on. If this author ever writes her autobiography, it will probably be ten volumes. Her self-absorption explains why in the book she only looks at Christians who remind her of her own wonderful self. (When a liberal insists that "we need to read different perspectives," what she means is "people who think just like I do."

My favorite quote: "My history is not neat." True. Much of it is not even fact. When your goal is to heap praise on people like your own adorable self, facts become negotiable. The proper Bible verse to serve as this book's epigraph is from Jesus' parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee, in which the self-congratulating Pharisee says, "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men."