Friday, June 29, 2007

If Everyone Cared (music video by Nickelback)

Even if you don't like rock music, the message is poignant.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. "
Margaret Mead
US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 - 1978)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cherie Wetzel on Exec Council Meeting, #4

As I write these words, the following report from Cherie Wetzel (number 4 in a series convering the current meeting of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council) has not yet been posted to the Anglicans United website, but it is being circulated by e-mail. I am reposting it here in its entirety, because I believe that it is a significant piece of reporting, if one wishes to understand the current mindset and character of the Episcopal Church.

Reporting on June 13, 2007

Hi, Everyone.

Well, the surprises never end here. Just about the time that you think the crowd can't be any more revisionist, some other person shows up. Today's surprise guest is Bishop Michael Ingham, Diocese of New Westminster (Vancouver) Canada. He is the Canadian observer to The Episcopal Church (TEC).

The day ended with a two-hour plenary session. Mrs. Schori chaired the meeting, doing the introductions. She shared glowing words about the courageous bishop from Canada, lamenting that they only had a year to share with him as Canadian observer. Bishop Ingham, the only bishop in Canada to insist on the right to do same-sex marriages, and generally thought to be apostate, was given a standing ovation.

His remarks were brief, "This is a time of turmoil in the Communion and I have appreciated how TEC has tried to maintain connection with the Anglican Communion and yet defend your polity.

He continued, "There is a great deal of animosity and tension in the air right now. (general statement; not here at Council.) Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) came to Canada last month to our House of Bishops' meeting. He shared one entire day with us - a silent retreat day with four small talks that he presented. His presentations on the Scriptures were brilliant. Rowan is quite a scholar." (The talks have all been torn to shreds by theologians and church historians; one expert even questioned the basic interpretation of the scriptures.)

"There were fleeting minutes to ask him questions, but no time for him to ask us questions. No time to talk about what it was like right now to be the Church in Canada. And then he was gone. Don't let that happen to your design when he comes to speak with you in September." (The Archbishop will meet with our House of Bishops in New Orleans in late September.)

Canada begins their once every three years Synod next week. They will also elect a new Archbishop and will vote again on same-sex blessings. This issue nearly passed in 2004. However, Ingham noted that it cannot be "marriage" unless the liberals can figure out a way to change the church canons at one Synod instead of the constitutional requirement for 75% of both houses approve two Synods in a row. They will try and get a one time 60% approval vote this Synod; he is worried that they will spend all their time arguing about what percentage is "enough." The Canadian government approved same sex marriage several months ago. So this synod will attempt to change the marriage Canons wording to include two men or two women, instead of the historical one man and one woman; otherwise, it will only be a blessing and gays will still be second-class citizens. This will make it very hard to compete with the United Church of Canada, who can already do same-sex marriages.

The other big issue at this Synod is the depopulation of the rural areas of Canada, especially those areas above the Artic Circle. There are resolutions suggesting they reduce the number of dioceses, diocesan offices, bishops and staffs. Since the Anglican Church of Canada almost went bankrupt paying the abuse claims from the residential schools for indigenous children over the past five years, finances are a significant issue.

Ingham concluded with," I doubt that anything will happen with same-sex marriage. If it does, it will make things with the Communion uncomfortable for us and by relationship, for you. Regardless, we have to pursue these issues." This is when the standing ovation happened.

We heard several other reports prior to the main event of the afternoon: Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Nigerian gay man, was ushered into the room, replete with African garb. He was introduced by the chairman of the National Concerns Committee, who was responsible for inviting him to come and speak to the two committees on Monday. Today, he was center stage with the entire Council and many gay activist guests. It was the closest thing to worship that I have seen since I arrived here.

Davis spoke clearly and with great excitement. He relayed a similar story to what we heard on Monday. Details were changed when necessary; but the bottom line was that Peter Akinola and other African Archbishops are lying to the rest of the Communion. Their actions are willful and intentional. And at home, they are conniving with the government to make being a homosexual punishable by death. (Davis continues to ignore the fact that under Muslim Sharia law, homosexuality IS punishable by death. He refuses to acknowledge that any further penetration of this country by the Moslems puts not only he, but all 2000 members of his gay advocacy group Changing Attitudes, in great danger.)

The biggest portion of his talk today blamed everyone else: the archbishops, the police, the government. Gays can't help it. It is not their fault. They can't help acting out in public. They can't restrain themselves and shouldn't have to. The Episcopal Church has to help them secure the freedom that gays in this country have.

Sadly, most saw this as a sacred obligation. TEC MUST do something to protect the lives and ensure the freedom to be gay for people in Nigeria. And, all over Africa. That is how they are going to "stick it" to the archbishops who have been such a source of aid for the Biblically orthodox in America; and such a source of enmity for the leaders of TEC.

I bid you peace and a good night's sleep. Do not be discouraged by these proceedings. God will not be mocked. I will write again in the morning, as Mrs. Schori and Bishop Ingham are con-celebrating at the Eucharist. I will not attend. May God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Cherie Wetzel for Anglicans United
July 13, 2007, 10:30 PM

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kenyan Primate to Consecrate Former Episcopalian as U.S. Bishop

From The Living Church:

The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, has announced he will consecrate the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a suffragan bishop to oversee the U.S.-based congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).

The Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Atwood as “Suffragan Bishop of All Saints' Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi” is “part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,” Archbishop Nzimbi said on June 12, to “support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.”

An undisclosed number of Global South primates are expected to participate in Canon Atwood’s consecration in Nairobi and are expected to work with the Kenyan Churc h in forming a “North American Anglican Coalition.”

Read it all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Has Hollywood run out of ideas?

I was just looking at the list of movies at my local theater. Half of the titles showing right now are sequels: For starter's, there's Ocean's Thirteen, following Ocean's Twelve(2004), and Ocean's Eleven (2001), which was itself a unnecessary and inferior remake of the 1960's Ocean's Eleven, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack. Then there's the third installment of Pirates of the Caribean, Shrek the Third, Hostel-Part II, and Spiderman 3. Hollywood is so lacking in creativity that sequels rule the box office.

Then there is the growing number of movies that are based on old television shows. Here's just a partial list:

The A-Team (scheduled for 2008 release)
The Addams Family
The Avengers
Batman (so many sequels I have lost count)
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Brady Bunch
Charlie's Angels
Dallas (announced)
The Dukes of Hazzard
The Flintstones
The Fugitive
George of the Jungle
Get Smart
Gilligan's Island
I Dream Of Jeannie (scheduled for 2008 release)
Inspector Gadget
I Spy
The Jetsons Movie (Live action) (Possible 2009 release]
Leave it to Beaver
Lizzie McGuire
Lost in Space
McHale's Navy
Miami Vice
Mission: Impossible
The Mod Squad
The Monkees
The Munsters
Mr. Bean
Mr. Magoo
My Favorite Martian
Popeye - live action movie based on the cartoon and comics.
Rocky and Bullwinkle
Star Trek
Starsky & Hutch
The Twilight Zone
The Untouchables
The Wild Wild West

A longer list can be found here.

It is one thing to make a popular show into a feature length film. But Hollywood has clearly gone trolling through the history of television, looking for any old show they think people will pay to see made into a movie. Why? They've run out of ideas! Can the end of civilization be far behind?

Judging from the quality of some of these movies, it has already arrived.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Global Schism: Is the Anglican Communion Rift the First Stage in a Wider Christian Split?

Some of the nation's leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2007 for the Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.

Philip Jenkins, a Penn State University professor and one of the first scholars to call attention to the rising demographic power of Christians in the southern hemisphere, analyzed the ongoing schism in the worldwide Anglican church. While the dispute concerns attitudes toward homosexuality, Jenkins argues the core of the conflict lies in how biblical authority is defined.

Will the current alliances between conservative Western and African leaders endure? Will African leaders begin to press an ultra-liberal economic agenda? Are other mainline denominations in the U.S. headed for similar splits? Jenkins answered these and others questions, while offering a fascinating glimpse into the life of African Christianity.

Read it all.