Saturday, May 31, 2008

Foray into Politics (2)

While I've written quite a bit about the "politics" of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, I've mostly stayed away from U.S. secular politics.

My "proclivity" [sardonic h/t to Deacon Phil] won't surprise you. As the saying goes: I'm an independent; it's just that I've never found a Republican I could vote for in the past three decades. Just kiddin'. Fact is, I'm an unrepentant yellow-dog Democrat, though "some of my best friends are Republicans." The Dems tick me off quite frequently, with their smug assumption that they can count on poor people and black people and gay/lesbian people to support them … while so very often betraying us. But I digress.

When Missouri held its primary back in February, everyone but Obama and Clinton had dropped out. Until I stepped into the voting booth, I really wasn't sure how to vote. Standing there for much longer than usual, I decided I had to go with my brain and my heart, and I voted for Hillary.

But through this long, long primary season, I have been absolutely clear that I will be voting for the Democratic candidate in November. There's no way I could vote for that smarmy McCain. [Aside: He must the world's champion Facebook/MySpace candidate. Who the hell else has 200 million "friends"? sheesh If I hear "My friends…" one more time, I do believe I'm going to puke.]
I met Hillary at a small White House gathering in late 2000. It was just one of those things. In my day job, I was involved in an initiative that she had launched, and she had a little party for us in the waning days of the Clinton administration. I was astonished at her ease and passion in talking about a subject that's fairly abstruse [preservation/conservation]. Yes, I'm sure staffers had briefed and prepped her. But she spoke as if she had been in the field as long as any of us. Her ability to get a grasp on the goals and language and nuances of our little field impressed me. She was smart and personable … and I liked her.

Hillary seems to have the mental toughness that would enable her to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the world.

I questioned myself about why I couldn't be as supportive of Senator Obama. His youth and inexperience concerns me. He reminds me a little too much of Jimmy Carter, who was fresh and passionate and promised change, but then could not deliver.

Around the office and in talking with friends, I've never been a strident supporter of Senator Clinton, nor have I taken any pot-shots at Senator Obama. I have cringed at some of the excesses that have occurred during this campaign. I wish that neither of them attacked the other. More than anything else, I think it's important that we elect the Democratic nominee this fall. Of course, I was eager to hear what the Democratic Rules Committee would do yesterday. There's a part of me that hopes it might work out for Senator Clinton to be the nominee, but I don't want it to be an unjust or disputed nomination.

All that is background to what I meant to say here.

I awoke this morning (as I always do) with NPR talking softly on my nightstand. They were giving the report on the DNC Rules Committee decision to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations, but only at half-strength, and arbitrarily awarding some Michigan delegates to Senator Obama. Mind you, I'm aware that they were faced with a Solomonic choice. They had to discipline those two renegade state parties. I'm glad I wasn't in their shoes.

What distressed me was the voices of the more strident Clinton supporters, declaring they'll either vote for McCain or "sit this one out." And I was distressed by those who were excoriating the Democratic National Party, as if the DNC were the enemy.

What are these people smoking??

If Florida and Michigan had left their primaries as scheduled, they could have had a huge, huge influence on the outcome of this election. Instead, these two states' Democratic parties tried to "leap-frog" some of the others to vote in January, in violation of the national party rules and norms. Had these two states held their primaries as scheduled, they might have been hugely influential. But they did not. They wanted to write their own rules. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

If rage needs to be expressed, the Clinton supporters in Florida and Michigan need to vent it at their state Democratic parties – not at Senator Obama or the Democratic National Party. Their state leaders broke the rules and screwed them over. Actions have consequences, and the DNC did as well as it could, I think.

I'm fairly discouraged today. I remember those old lines about the problems with the Democratic Party:
  • "They form their firing squads in a circle."
  • "They have a unique gift for grasping defeat from the jaws of victory."
The Dems had better get a grip – and sooner than later. Our nation – and our globe – cannot bear four more years of an imperial America.

I really, really, really wanted Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic candidate for President this year. When I cast my vote in November for Senator Obama, it will be a wistful, "second-choice" voice. But I will not stay away, and I certainly won't vote for "George Bush's 3rd Term." And I pray that Senator Obama will be up to the challenge.


A propos of nothing. I came upon this quotation, and it just tickled me.
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? - the cuckoo clock.
~Graham Greene & Orson Wells, The Third Man, movie

Acts of Faith

Over the past many, many days, I have been reading Philip Caputo's Acts of Faith. (I'm a very slow reader.) Every few pages, there will be a paragraph or a phrase that takes me back to the fortnight I spent in southern Sudan on a diocesan mission trip about two years ago.

I am now chair of our diocese's Companion Diocese Committee, and one of our current tasks is planning the next mission trip into Sudan. I've not laid claim to one of the "slots" on that trip – saying that others have more important missions and ministries to fulfill on this trip. I've put myself at the back of the bus, willing to let others onto the trip; if empty spaces are available, I would go back in a heartbeat.

But over the past two weeks, as I see small airplanes landing and taking off from the municipal airport near my office, I seem to feel a tug. I remember the terrible fear I felt as I flew from Nairobi into a dirt airstrip in southern Sudan, and the immense gratitude I felt on the journey home, having been so touched and humbled and inspired by the Episcopalians in southern Sudan.

For several hours now, I've been catching up on Tandaina's blog. (Why the heck did her delightful blog fall off my daily reading??!!??) When I read this one, I was reminded of what I experienced in Sudan. The struggling Christians who live there, without electricity or running water or reliable crops … they don't seem to live with a sense of scarcity. They greet one another with a call-and-response; one says "God is good!" and the other responds "... all the time!" My time with them grounded me, changed me in important ways.

I took this photo during one of our visits to a Sudanese parish, where the people engaged in a hand-washing ceremony before our meal. Maundy Thursday has never been the same for me since.

I wrote this prayer, this plea, in my journal as we flew from Sudan to Loki: Please God, please, strengthen me to sustain this attitude, this perspective when I get home. The Moru have taught me: It’s all about servanthood. Jesus taught that, too. But it seems I only “got it” by going halfway around the world and meeting desperately poor people who would wash my hands with water when they are dying of thirst, would give me food when they’re dying of hunger, who would attend to our needs as if we were Christ himself.

We Americans do seem to operate from a "theology of scarcity," as if there's not enough and we must hoard all we can. The southern Sudanese – though surviving on a pittance – seem to operate on a "theology of abundance." They shared what little they had. I envy that faith.

And I wonder what "call" the Spirit is whispering in my ear.

I fear this isn't very articulate. Maybe it's only a half-formed blog-post. I'll look at it again tomorrow.

+ + +
Edit (thanks to Ann): I usually do know the difference between "hoard" and "horde." I've fixed it now. It was late, and I was tired.
And an addendum: Part of what motivated me to write about this last night was that I'm now frequently having dreams again about being back in Sudan. I had a great many of them when I first came home from there in 2006. They seem to be returning now. And I wake, wishing I were there again, and wishing I could do more ministry this time -- rather than (as last time) being mostly ministered to.

Cats and Sabbath

While catching up on Tandaina's blog today, I found this delightful and oh-so-true observation:
Rest. Sabbath. We talk about it, we read about it, we rarely do it. And here I have to admire cats, yes cats. . . .

Today I laid down on the couch with the intention of getting some progress through a very good, and quite dense, book on contemplation. It was good spiritual work I've been neglecting. It was also, apparently, not to be. Immediately both cats took up residence, one stretched out along my legs, the [other] curled up on my shoulder and chest.

Have you ever laid beneath two sleeping cats and tried to stay awake. You will fail my friend. The cat understands rest like no other creature on Earth. A cat sleeps with an expression of pure serene bliss on their face, bodies curled or stretched in posses of utter contentment.

Cat's understand Sabbath. Rest as a holy thing, rest as a required thing. A cat does not sleep merely because he has exhausted himself and can do nothing else. That is left for men and dogs. A cat sleeps before he needs to, he reclines in the sun long before he has worn out his energy. He lays still, warming himself and blinking with contentment. There is no need to be busy and moving.

So I slept, for how long I do not know. But I woke feeling calm and relaxed, and looking at those still sleeping bodies curled up with me I felt absolutely no guilt for what I could have accomplished. Perhaps we should all take spiritual direction from a cat.
I didn't nap today. Nor did I try to read any deep spiritual tome. But it certainly did strike me that my cats feel absolutely no compunction about napping. They have escaped the Protestant work ethic. Lucky them!

Preparing for a New Cat

I seem to be on a cat theme. I was delighted to find this, at a link from Mike's blog.

As I wrote a couple days ago, I have introduced a new, young cat into my home. This seems timely.

How to Prepare for a New Cat

1. Take cold chicken and stars soup straight from the can and splash it across the carpet and the foot of the bed and then walk in it in the dark with your socks on.
2. Set up a mouse trap at the foot of the bed each night so that if you move a toe one inch while you are sleeping, you are sure to get snapped.
3. Cover all your best suits with cat hair. Dark suits must use white hair, and light suits must use dark hair. Also, float some hair in your first cup of coffee in the morning.
4. Put everything cat-toy sized into a water bowl to marinate.
5. Practice cutting your chicken into teeny tiny bites so that when they steal, it won't be the whole breast.
6. Tip over a basket of clean laundry, and scatter clothing all over the floor.
7. Leave your underwear on the living room floor, because that's where the cat will drag it anyway (especially when you have company).
8. Jump out of your chair shortly before the end of your favorite TV program and run to the TV shouting "No! No! Don't chew on the electric cord!" Miss the end of the program.
9. Put chocolate pudding on the carpet in the corner of the living room in the morning and don't try to clean it up until you return from work that evening.
10. Gouge the surface of the dining room table several times with an exacto knife. It's going to get scratched anyway.
11. Practice searching every closet and open cabinet door before you shut it.
12. Knock all small items off your kitchen counter.
13. Chew the eraser off every pencil in the house.
14. Take a fork and shred the roll of toilet paper while it's still hanging up. Pull a few sheets off and scatter them around the bathroom.
15. Take a staple remover and punch two holes in every scrap of paper around the house.
16. Get a litter tray without a lid and mix in some tootsie rolls with cat litter and then tip it over right before the company comes. Make sure your guests get to find this before you do.
17. Buy a mixed bag of cat toys and stuff them under the refrigerator. Practice getting up at 2AM and fishing them out with a ruler or broom stick.
18. Take a warm cuddly blanket out of the dryer and immediately wrap it around yourself. This is the feeling you will get when your new cat falls asleep on your lap.

Herding Cats

I am feeling completely miserable about myself today. I haven't done anything useful. I've sat on the sofa with the cats, catching up on blog-reading. Yes, more than 12 hours of loving on the cats and catching up on blogs and e-mail. Mostly, I am disgusted with myself. On the other hand, I suspect Scotty and Mocha have enjoyed having me in one place.

On the up-side, one of those bloggers [and I can't remember which] reminded me of this delightful advertisement that ran a few years back. I love it!

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's up at EpiScope?

Ever since its launch in February 2007, I've visited EpiScope daily for an amazing round-up of mainstream news stories about the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the various provinces of our Communion. I've been constantly amazed at the blogmaster's deep and broad sweep of the worldwide news media. Nobody – not even the amazing Kendall Harmon – could hold a candle to EpiScope's coverage of worldwide Anglican news. And I enjoyed the blogmaster's humorous corrigenda when journalists "got it wrong." I counted on EpiScope to report the good, the bad, and the ugly. That's been true all the way up through May 23.

Now, all of a sudden, EpiScope is nothing but a re-run of Episcopal Church press releases. Absolutely no news. Certainly no journalistic hand at work. If anything, it looks like the blogmaster has swallowed the sycophant pill … or like an iron curtain has dropped over the site. I already subscribe to Episcopal Life Daily. Has EpiScope become nothing more than a warmed-over rehash of ENS?

What the heck is going on??

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Arranged Marriage

I expect several of you have experienced this. Just when you give up on having a relationship, suddenly your friends step in, and there's a new "next friend" in your life.

That's how it happened to me.

Early this month, I was visiting with some friends. They told me about this dear one who was very loving and gentle, but had been abused. She was living in a chaotic household where she was hounded and not nurtured. Rescuer that I am, I agreed to take her into my home. I wasn't sure whether it would work out, but I thought I could at least give her a safe space in which to heal and recover for a while.

It's been about three weeks now.

My absolute non-negotiable was that she had to get along with Scotty and be kind to him. My old Scotty deserves not to have new stress in his life! That seems to be working ok. In fact, that's been the best thing. She doesn't have a job, so she's able to stay home and play with him. She seems to pay a lot of attention to him, so that he's exhibiting kittenish behaviors that amaze me for a guy of his age. So much so that I've decided to let her stay here.

Now, I find myself growing strangely fond of her.

Her name is Mocha. [Yeah, I know: a "trendy" name ... but I didn't give it to her.] She's black, and very shy. She's been in a pretty abusive relationship, and I'm kinda a sucker for playing "Lisa the Rescuer." She's a little young for me -- claims to be about 8 months old. And she's vertically challenged -- only about 9" tall. She likes Scotty a lot more than me so far, but I think she's good for him. (They're sharing a windowsill at the moment.) Maybe she'll eventually grow fond of me, too.

Here's a photo of them together this evening, lying on the sofa with me.

Blog Readability

Blogger Perpetua of Carthage found one of those fun and funny online tools. She linked to a site that purports to test any blog address to see what level of education is required to understand the blog. Then she posted the results from her favorite conservative and various "liberal" blogs.

She's a denizen of the regressive blogs like SFiF & Co. So you won't be surprised to see that all her favorite "conservative" bloggers rank in the college or "genius" level, and all the "progressive" blogs (mine included) get quite lowly ratings. Of course, she was selective in her selections. (You're surprised by that??)

Frankly, I'm happy with my rating. I've been dismayed to learn that the current recommendation is that – in technical writing or writing for a general audience – one should strive for about a 7th-grade reading level. Looks like I'm pretty much on track. Her analysis shows I'm writing for a "junior high school" level.

Though I have a Master's degree in Literature (and a permanent A.B.D. in same) from Vanderbilt, I pride myself in writing clearly, simply, and directly. I leave the complex writing to my blogfriends like Tobias Haller, Mark Harris, & co.

It's amusing to me that the anonymous "Perpetua" didn't choose to sample some of our brightest and best progressive bloggers like Mark Harris' "Preludium" (scores at "College Undergraduate level"), Tobias Haller (scores at "College Post Grad" level), The Episcopal Majority ("College PostGrad"), Episcopal Café ("College Undergrad"), Elizabeth Kaeton ("College Undergrad"), or Thinking Anglicans (Genius level). And Grandmère Mimi weighs in at "College Undergraduate" level, too.

It seems to me that the regressives are as selective in their blog analysis as they are in their interpretation of Holy Scripture. Aren't you shocked and surprised??

Scott McClellan

What's your opinion of Scott McClellan?

I was intrigued to learn this evening (thanks again to NPR) about Scott McClellan’s new book about the Bush administration. You'll remember that McClellan was Bush's press secretary. He's the one who appeared at all the White House briefings. In his new book, according to reports, McClellan says that Bush “was not open and forthright on Iraq”; that the president sold the war through a "political propaganda campaign"; that Bush took a permanent campaign approach to governing; and that the White House mishandled Hurricane Katrina, both governmentally and politically.

I don't doubt any of this. In fact, many of us have believed just these things about Bush and his occupation of the office formerly occupied by elected Presidents who believed in the Constitution.

But here's what I want to know. How long did McClellan serve as press secretary? And how long did he trot out Bush's propaganda (a.k.a. lies) while standing behind that fancy White House podium? And, thus, how can McClellan be viewed as anything other than a whore for drawing his big fat paycheck while spreading Bush's lies?

My friend Lane Denson (priest in Tennessee) manages to be less livid than I.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memory Odd Lots

Every now and then on the progressive blogs I read, a dispute breaks out in which some folks talk about the "gay-bashings" or hate crimes they have endured. I am moved by these. I'll never forget reading Leonardo's story at Father Jake's about the loss of his beloved.

For whatever reason, I'm moved tonight to tell my first story. It's bloody, but kinda funny in its own way. And it speaks to my own naiveté as much as anything else.

The time: ca. 1969. I was in junior high school.

Background & Context: As I began 7th grade, my backwater Mississippi County school district integrated. And the local Catholic school cut back to grades 1-6, too. So, for the first time, we lily-white God-fearing, properly-raised racistProtestants were going to school with blacks [That's not what we called them. :(] and Catholics! Tensions in this small community were very high.

The story: I was always tall for my age, and very athletic. I participated in any sports that girls could. And I was generally among the top athletes. Imagine our surprise when black and white girls began competing in P.E. There was, to say the least, a bit of tension.

It was clear that the two best forwards on the basketball team were me and a black girl named "Hetty." [How amazing that I still remember her full name after all these years, when so many other classmates' names are lost to me.] During P.E. classes, on the court, she would often hiss something under her breath about me being a "white hobo."

"Hobo"??? I never got it. I laughed it off. Well … fact is, I probably derided her with some insult. To me, she was stupid for calling me a "hobo." I didn't live in a railroad car. I wasn't homeless. What the heck was she thinking?? And I was very good at verbal repartee. I was smart, I had a good vocabulary, and it was always my preference to use my wit and vocabulary as a rapier.

One day, during that period between classes when everybody is in the halls and the halls are too crowded, suddenly I felt her hit me from behind. And immediately a circle formed around me, as schoolkids will do when there's a fight. I lost my balance, and she took the opportunity to throw me into the glass trophy case along the hallway. While I lay on the floor with a lot of cuts from the shattered glass, she set upon me with a short-bladed knife, screaming, "I'm gonna you, hobo! I'm gonna kill the ******* hobo."

Out of dimming consciousness, I could see the school principal standing on the outside of that perimeter. Yes, standing. Not wading in. Truth be told, I had had my tangles with him, too. I was very smart in a school whose average IQ was below 100. [Yes, I'm not making that up. A teacher told me so later. This was a very poor county.] I was frequently critical of the teachers and the caliber of teaching, and I mouthed-off a lot, and I was a discipline problem. He had seen me in his office plenty of times. I can understand why he wouldn't want to defend me.

Eventually, he did wade in and break it up. It wasn't even a fight. One person had a knife, and one was shielding herself from the onslaught.

There was no hospital within a half-hour drive. Instead, somebody from the school took me to my doctor's office. I didn't realize I was streaming blood all over my body from the trophy case glass shards and the knife slashes. As the cruel fates would have it, when I was carried in through the waiting room, my mother was sitting in that room for a routine appointment. As you can imagine, she went a wee bit hysterical.

I got stitched up. Nobody got suspended, much less expelled.

Here's the part that's hard to admit: Since Hetty had attacked me for being a "white hobo," I became an even worse racist than I had been raised to be. My mouth got sharper, as did my defenses. (Ah, yes. I was a proper little racist.)

And here's the funniest part. One day in my early 40s, it suddenly hit me with a blinding flash: She wasn't calling me a "hobo"! She was calling me a "homo"! But I didn't know that word at the time. I knew all my schoolgirl crushes were on females, and I somehow knew I would never date or marry a man. But I assumed I was the only person in the universe who had ever felt this way about others of my gender. I certainly didn't know it had a word. And I had no idea what "sex" was – of either the hetero of homo variety. I'd never even dated, much less kissed anyone. I wonder now: What was it that made her attack and hate me for being a "hobo"?

So I got attacked for being a "hobo," long before I understood anything about homophobia or hate crimes.

BTW, it was in the early '80s, when I began to come to term with my lesbianism, that I also confronted my racism. I came to see that both of those "isms" were stupid and hateful. I've been a recovering racist ever since.

I'm not sure why I want to tell this story tonight, but I do.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blogging Questions

I have been grateful to so many of you who have expressed concern and support. I don't know why the last few weeks have been so difficult. (Well, I do have some clues, but the difficulty of it all has surprised me.)

I am grateful for the tagline that Susan offered, from Jeremiah 29:
"For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me."

When I started my blog, I had a notion that it might be spiritual and for my good and the good of our Episcopal Church. Now, I wonder sometimes.

I can't promise I am now back to regular blogging. I resonated deeply with what Grandmère Mimi wrote here and here about whether or not to continue blogging. Like her, blogging seems to be an all-or-nothing proposition for me. And, similar to what she wrote, I am struck by the fact that so many other bloggers are saying what I might want to say, and doing it so much better. In my early days here, I thought I had fresh insights to offer. Now, I realize that anything I think has already been said more articulately by the likes of Elizabeth Kaeton, Father Jake, Mark Harris, and the Mad One.

Reading the comments at Grandmère Mimi's site, I was struck to see how many of us seem to be wrestling with this question about whether or why to keep blogging. And I was comforted.

I started my blog back in 2006, when it felt the General Convention utterly betrayed me. I took a sabbatical from the church back then. I started this wee blog in the sure faith that absolutely nobody knew me. I wanted to "journal" in a quasi-anonymous way. I needed to "vent," and I hoped I might find compatriots … and I did. Several folks found me and I was truly grateful to find a community of like-minded souls. Since then, I have grown more and more transparent – challenged especially by the Daily Episcopalian and its "ethic of transparency" – so that my name and connections appear here.

But there's the rub. The folks in my parish and my diocese now know I blog here, so I can no longer feel I can safely "vent" about some of the things that frustrate me. And when people in my parish touch me deeply, even then I dare not write here lest I compromise their anonymity. I can't safely rant about the stuff that ticks me off in my parish and in my diocese, nor can I shout "alleluia" about the things that go well; too many people know about it. What started out as "a few friends kibitzing at the local pub" has grown into something else. The fantasy of "the cone of silence" is gone.

And I am dealing with a "matter of the heart," but it's complicated. So as I deal with those affectional issues, I cannot talk about them, for the Episcopal Church has its "three degrees of separation" and too many folks might put those pieces together. I would like to talk about those issues, but I dare not.

Now it feels like my blog is even more exposed than my day-to-day life is. That's weird.

I'm trying to figure out how to be honest without giving away the farm.

We shall see. I make no promises about whether or how I will continue writing here.

Food Fight Among the Orthodox

Let me say up front that this is very wicked of me. But a food-fight seems to be developing among the schismatics, and I am enjoying it.

The Most Revd Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East wrote a letter announcing he will not be attending GAFCON, but will attend the Lambeth Conference, and explaining his reasons. Make no mistake about it. He blasts the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. He believes we're departing from historic Christianity. But he also blasts the GAFCON crowd for their schismatic actions. It seems to me that he is trying to put the brakes on those who are trying to establish a "faux Anglican" communion. He says he's not going to GAFCon, but will join the Anglican bishops at Lambeth. Good on him! I think this is a person with whom I could worship and converse.

Furthermore, he writes: "I would respectfully add that the Global South must not be driven by an exclusively Northern agenda or Northern personalities." Others have expressed concern that folks from the northern hemisphere seem to be exerting undue pressure in this conflict. It's not just the Americans like Duncan, Iker, etc., or the faux-Anglican "bishops" like Minns, but also the British-born Archbishop Venables of the Southern Cone who are tainted there. It seems to me that some very angry white guys are getting themselves dressed up in African purple to try to destroy the Anglican Communion. I don't know whether +Anis perceives what I perceive, but I sure am grateful for what he wrote.

"BabyBlue" – a.k.a. Mary Ailes (who was part of the "Reagan Revolution" in DC, and is a member of one of the schismatic parishes in Virginia) – thinks that Archbishop Mouneer Anis has "jumped the shark." She's downright hysterical about +Anis's discomfort with the "northern personalities" who seem to be dominating GAFCon and the "Global South." Read her blog, and be sure to read the comments. It astonished me. She takes the +Anis letter as a wholesale repudiation of the schismatic Episcopalians. She seems to feel profoundly betrayed that others in the Anglican Communion aren't coming to rescue the schismatic Episcopalians. Frankly, I hope she's right.

Then StandFirm picked up on her post – since she's an "influential" layperson in the realignment crowd and a friend of the StandFirm crowd. What resulted was a food-fight between her and Sarah "Little Stone Bridges" Hey. Both are notorious for their hatred of the Episcopal Church. Mary is a member of one of the Virginia parishes under Martyn Minns, just sure that she's connected to the Anglican Communion through this irregularly consecrated bishop under the homophobic Archbishop of Nigeria. Sarah is a part of the True Believers at StandFirm who regularly excoriate TEC, but skeptical of the "realignment talk." Both of them love to use apocalyptic language – as if they are engaged in an ultimate fight of Good vs. Evil. They are True Believers.

Now they are engaging in a war on StandFirm, with each of them claiming to be the purer. It's rather funny, in a sad way. I think they both may be seeing their fantasies crumbling. Mary Ailes seems to argue that her "side" are the "true Anglicans" in the U.S. Sarah Hey argues that this is a sign of the deep fracture within the Global South – about those who want a Canterbury-centered communion and those [led by Akinola] who want a "purer" Anglicanism.

It's fascinating to read.

In a recent article in the Christian Century, Jason Byasee documented the splittings and re-splittings of the "orthodox" in their never-ending quest for ever more purity. Chicago Bishop Persell is quoted there as saying: "If you're formed in opposition and negativity, you're bound to keep on splitting—there's always need for more purity, and you don't live with ambiguity very well, so you end up in a church of one."

It seems to me we are seeing the fruits of the "pure" heirs of the Pharisees. May their fruits continue to be manifest.

I wonder whether BabyBlue and StandFirm will keep their discussions online, so that the rest of us can see the fractures within the realignment crowd. It would not surprise me if they took those comments offline.