Wednesday, August 29, 2007

He's NOT Gay!

When this story first surfaced on my radar about three months ago (thanks to MadPriest and NPR, if memory serves), and I started looking at this guy, it absolutely never occurred to me that I would agree with any word that would come out of Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig's mouth.

You may remember this guy. He was caught in an undercover operation in Minneapolis for propositioning a policeman in an airport restroom. The senator has a flawless record in voting against all civil rights and human-rights protections for gay people. He has a wife and children. He pled guilty to "reduced charges" of "lewd behavior in a public place."

For some reason, now three months after the event, various news media are picking up on the story. He's now had some sort of change of heart, realizing he's been railroaded. [Uh-huh ...]

Now his story is splashed all over the tabloids that used to be newspapers. The New York Times covers a news conference yesterday back in Idaho in which he adamantly declared: “I am not gay! I never have been gay!"

And you know what? I believe him. Completely. No, I am not being ironic. I believe this guy is not gay. Sick maybe, but not gay.

Here's the thing: For reasons that completely escape me, some guys have an insatiable need to stick Tab A into Slot B, despite their fundamentalist upbringing that says they are supposed to stick it into Slot A! I know some of those guys here in my small town. They most certainly are not my friends! But I know them. I know they leave their wives and children and their lovely homes to go cruising the parks at dusk to find some guy who's willing to let them insert Tab A into Slot B – despite all their cultural conditioning and despite all their statements of hatred against gay people. Do they have emotional relationships with those guys? Most assuredly not! Do they yearn to build a life with those guys? Heavens, no! They are on the down-low. They have no emotional connections whatsoever with those guys – much less a spiritual connection. Taking those guys home to meet the family or into church is the furthest thing from their minds.

Are those guys gay? No, I don't believe they are.

Here's the thing about being gay – from my perspective, at least – which most of those on "the other side" just do not get: It's not primarily about sex! It's about affection and yearning. The gay men and lesbians I know – especially those in the church – have a deep emotional, spiritual connection to the same gender, which we wish to express in a physical, sexual act of union. Just like straight folks do. And like straight folks, we often wish to solemnize that commitment in our churches, before God and the whole congregation.

What people like Larry Craig do in airport bathrooms . . . ? Well, that's another thing altogether. (And it's one I don't really want to contemplate, 'cause it is just too gross.) There are guys who look for anonymous sex in a bathroom or park, with a guy whom they'll never see in public, in the light of day. It has everything to do with gonads. And absolutely nothing to do with the kind of whole, human relationship that healthy gay men and lesbians seek.

Is Senator Craig gay? I don't think so. In fact, I hope not. I really do not want him in my club. His lifestyle has absolutely nothing to do with the Christian lesbians and gay men whom I know and whose integrity and wholeness I admire.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Chicago

It felt like mere minutes elapsed this morning between the time the Diocese of Chicago announced its list of candidates for bishop and Integrity's press release about the candidates.

And you know what? I am sorry about that.

It appears to me that Chicago has a very strong slate of five nominees. But in almost nothing flat, Integrity had a press release praising Chicago for nominating a lesbian.

What's that about?

The Episcopal Women's Caucus didn't issue a press release, celebrating the fact that three of the five nominees are women.

The Union of Black Episcopalians didn't issue a press release excoriating Chicago for having an all-white slate.

So why did Integrity need to play the lesbian card?

I truly do not get it.

I think we will have achieved true integrity in this church when nobody has to look first at the spouse/partner information in the candidate's bio, and nobody needs to comment about whether a candidate is gay or straight. I yearn for that day.

Yes! I am glad Tracy Lind (who withdrew from the episcopal election in Newark during GC 2006) has been nominated again to the episcopacy. From all I hear, she is an awesome pastor and leader.

However, I'm not at all sure I'm pleased that Integrity felt the need immediately to jump on the fact that Tracy Lind is gay, when (from what I hear) she is so very, very much more than that.

This is me, doing the "duck and cover" routine I learned in the early 1960s, as I await the wrath of my sister lesbians and brother gay men. I'm sure what I'm saying here is in direct contravention of the gay agenda, which -- God knows! -- I've worked so very hard to follow.

But on this one, I just do not get it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rough Week in the ADN

It's been a rough week in the Anglican Dissenter Network. [Hat-tip to Mark Harris for finally giving us all an efficient short-hand appellation for that gaggle of acronymous groups who want to destroy or replace the Episcopal Church. When I refer to the ADN, I am including CANA, AMiA, AAC, NACDP, Common Cause, IRD, and that whole gang of dissidents.]

Apparently the news about Akinola's "agonizing journey" letter having Martyn Minns' pawprints all over it, combined with Mark Harris's getting his hands on a letter written by a bishop at Camp Allen (telling Archbishop Rowan Williams exactly what he must say to our House of Bishops), has driven StandFirm's Greg Griffith into a fit of pique. He is now offering a primer for the SFiF faithful on how to "cover their tracks" when they want to do things anonymously and how to remain safe when they want to do sneaky things. He concludes his tutorial:

This is by no means an exhaustive catalog of computer security weaknesses or ways to protect against them, but following these instructions almost certainly would have prevented Bishop Duncan's laptop from being stolen in Tanzania, Archbishop Akinola's letter from being dissected by the Church Times, and Mark Harris from getting his hands on the letter at Camp Allen.

Click here to read the whole text of Griffith's "Computer, Data and Communications Security Primer."

At first, I was not sure how to react to this primer, but it seemed rather slimy or sneaky or something.

Let me say up front that some of Griffith's comments about computer security are very helpful and should be heeded by all of us who live and move and have our virtual being in the blogosphere.

As Sarah Dylan Breuer observed to me today, there are some contexts in which some people may need to go to extraordinary lengths to communicate electronically without revealing their identities. Visit Global Voices Online to see some examples from around the world of when anonymous writing is perfectly appropriate and very well justified. I think, for instance, of those living in cultures like Nigeria or China where their words could – quite literally – cost them their lives. But even so, many people in those cultures have the courage to "sign" their statements, even at great personal risk. Dare I point out the contrast with those in the U.S. who are simply too chicken to own-up to their messages and postings?

What troubled me was that Griffith's specific tips about how to be sure that one can make comments anonymously, how to hide one's IP address so that one cannot be tracked, how to sneak confidential documents "over the transom" safely were addressed to disaffected Episcopalians and folks who are not or never were in the Episcopal Church. These folks do not need to worry about their lives. They just want to hide in the shadows. They are the ones who post as "Anonymous" at so many of the progressive or liberal blogs. They don't want to crawl out from under their rocks, and Griffith is helping them be sure they can remain anonymous.

Sarah Dylan Breuer had a much different reaction than mine to the StandFirm primer. She thinks Greg rendered a valuable community service. I can follow her part way in that view. But she also says this, which resonated deeply:

. . . if you want to be REALLY safe, here's a radical suggestion from Jesus of Nazareth: don't say or do anything in secret that would bring you shame if revealed.
Then it came to me, as I thought more broadly about why Griffith's SFiF primer troubled me.

My, my, my. Isn't this interesting? Just recently, there were all those impassioned cries and petitions from the AAC here and again here, which StandFirm supported, calling for accountability and transparency on the part of the Episcopal Church, which puts its entire budget online for all to see, which opens all meetings (except those generally exempted by "sunshine laws") to all who care to attend (and not just those who sign the kind of "loyalty oath" that the dissenters require), and which puts the email addresses and phone numbers of all staff members online.

But let a couple of top super secret computer documents slip out of Networkville, and just watch the fur fly!

It's not the first time, of course. There was the Chapman Memo, back in 2004, which brought denial after denial from the Anglican Dissenters, who assured us it was a draft that was never adopted and that it was not anything significant. Of course, that stance was hard to maintain when the Network followed Chapman's proposed strategy to the letter for the next three years...

Can't you just imagine what life will be like in the New Improved Anglican Communion when these guys take over? Cassock-and-daggery all 'round!

Hey, Stand Firmers! We Godless Liberals would like to talk about the plain sense of scripture now. Let's start with these verses from Jesus' own words:

Matthew 10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Likewise, let us consider tomorrow's reading from Isaiah 28:14-22:

. . . therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
"One who trusts will not panic."
And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plummet;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.

Here's the bottom line. The Episcopal Church operates openly. The Anglican Dissenters have worked very hard to work in secret. They have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar not just once, but twice this week. Their dismay is quite obvious to us all.

It's been a bad week in the ADN.


Now let me add a personal postscript: Thinking about all this has moved me to be more transparent, and I have edited my Blogger profile accordingly. My name, location, and the Episcopal Church in which I worship are all now readily available. (I'm not posting my e-mail address, because of all the spam that would generate.) Several months ago, it ticked me off when some of the conservatives revealed my identity before I was ready. At that point, I wanted to be more anonymous. Deliberating on this whole thing has made me realize that's just wrong for me. So here I am: Lisa Fox, living in Jefferson City, MO, and a member of Grace Episcopal Church in this fair city.

Caption Contest

All right. What I wrote earlier today was on the way-serious side. Time to lighten up.

That ol' dog Clumber has been up to some wicked tricks. This is my favorite. Click here to see his caption and text.

Personally, I think it belongs in the narthex of most of those parishes in the Anglican Dissenters Network.

What caption would you provide for this photo?


Over in the comments, Lindy asked why I've been so quiet here. As I replied, I've been spending most of my blogging energies over at The Episcopal Majority. But there's more, of course.

A great deal has been happening in our church and communion. But other bloggers are doing a marvelous job of commenting on that news. I figure you all read those blogs listed over at the right. Folks like Father Jake and Mark Harris consistently do a great job of covering and analyzing the news. I think The Episcopal Majority is making some worthwhile contributions, too.

And on the clever side, what's left to say after MadPriest or Of Course I Could Be On Vacation have covered the news?

I began this blog a little more than a year ago, just after the 2006 General Convention, mostly reflecting on how I responded to the issues in the wider church. I've pretty much said my piece on that, it seems.

All this has left me wondering: What's the purpose of my own little blog here? I'm just not sure anymore.

I will tell you this, though. I'm increasingly sick and tired of hearing those on "the other side" make claims that the sexuality of gay men and lesbians is nothing more than the giving-in to "irresistible urges." That our relationships are craven. They consistently deny the possibility that there is anything holy in our relationships. I think it's time that I gave my own testimony about how Christ and the Church have transformed my sexual behavior and attitudes, without at all changing my sexual orientation. I am working on writing that story, but it's slow going. It's pretty intense to look honestly at the course of one's life and put in onto paper honestly. Partly I'm writing about my journey; but, of course, this kind of writing involves reflecting anew upon it. And there is the question of just how honest and explicit I can be in a piece of writing that will be released into the great blogosphere.

So, I think I have one more blog essay in me. I just don't know where this blog will go after that.

And that's the truth.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What the Lutherans Did

One Step Forward ...

It seems that the ELCA did a good thing today. I am grateful for that. However, reading this happy press release from Goodsoil, this soundbyte really struck me: "Today this church moved one giant step from the punitive rejection of partnered LGBT ministers to the willing tolerance of them." Are gay men and lesbians supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy that we're willingly tolerated?

Some days, I grow weary of seeing that kind of move as "progress." I wish all the heterosexuals I know could hear what it feels like to read that "willing tolerance" of them is a step forward.

Thanks be to God. And Lord, have mercy.

Other bloggers are reporting this news. Check out Father Jake especially for a round-up of the news.

Contact: Phil Soucy
August 11, 2007

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Encourages its Bishops to Refrain from the Discipline of Ministers in Same-Gender Relationships

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided to encourage its bishops to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in the discipline of rostered ministers in committed same-gender relationships. While the assembly deferred outright elimination of its policy that prohibits LGBT ministers from living in loving, lifelong family relations with their life partner, asked the church to prepare for such decision at its next assembly in 2009.

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned/North America said,
"Today this church moved one giant step from the punitive rejection of partnered LGBT ministers to the willing tolerance of them. We see this decision as interim. Full inclusion and acceptance is still down the road, but the dam of discrimination has been broken. This is a great day for LGBT clergy who will walk into their pulpits tomorrow knowing perhaps for the first time that this church values their gifts for ministry more than the policy that would exclude them. The church is on the road to acceptance. The end of exclusion is in sight. With this decision the voting members signaled a desire for policy change, but the need for two more years to bring more of the church along."
The ELCA policy that prohibits loving, committed, lifelong, same-gender relationships for LGBT ministers remains in effect. Therefore, Goodsoil and its partners and allies will continue the efforts to help the Lutheran church recognize the eternal truth that God has known all along: that LGBT people are part of the wondrous diversity of creation, God's children, followers of Christ, and gifted as are all others to serve the mission of the church in outreach with the message of the Gospel.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lutherans Follow Through

According to this story in Chicago's Sun Times,
Dozens of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Lutheran clergy and seminarians on Tuesday openly proclaimed their sexuality to church members meeting at Navy Pier for a national assembly.

A devotional booklet titled, “A Place Within My Walls," is being handed out to the more than 1,000 voting members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a 4.8 million-member denomination headquartered in Chicago.
Goodsoil, a coalition of groups hoping to lift the celibacy rule, distributed the booklets. The booklet includes devotional stories from the Acts of the Apostles that “speak to the experiences and decisions of the early church when confronted by diversity and conflict.”

The booklet also featured stories and photos of 11 gay and lesbian clergy and two-would-be pastors. At the end of the booklet, there is a list of pastors, seminarians and others serving in ministry, awaiting call or removed from the clergy roster for their sexual orientation over the past two years who were willing to go public.

As many folks have observed, these brave souls are putting their collars on the line by "coming out" to their church.

I've already said my piece, comparing these brave Lutherans with our cowardly Episcopal bishops. Father Jake is on this story. Go there to read and comment.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Law and Terror?

The Boston Globe reports today, "Breakaway group returns some funds." The story begins:
A group of former Episcopalians from Attleboro has agreed to return an undisclosed amount of money to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to settle a lawsuit alleging that the group, who broke away to protest the denomination's approval of an openly gay bishop, took cash and property belonging to the diocese.
The lawsuit was one of several around the country between Episcopal dioceses and departing members in an escalating dispute over the ownership of parish property. Conservatives have charged that the denomination is using a nationwide litigation campaign to intimidate them; diocesan officials say they are simply trying to protect their patrimony. [Emphasis mine]
I have absolutely no idea whether TEC is using a nationwide campaign. But I am sorely amused to hear this charge, especially coming from the group that spawned the infamous Chapman memo.

Later in the article, the Rev. David C. Anderson, president and chief executive of the American Anglican Council. is quoted as saying "Many dioceses are using litigation as part of a terror tactic …" Anderson having been just recently upbraided by the Archbishop of York for his extremist language and "ideological inconsistencies,"isn't it about time he tones it down a bit?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Conservative Blog Tricks

If you're addicted to the Anglican/Episcopalian blogosphere, you're aware that South Carolina has once again elected Mark Lawrence to be its next bishop. South Carolina's selection worried me the first time, for all the reasons I and many others covered when he was elected, before he failed to gain the necessary consents in his first election.

The blogger who calls herself BabyBlue is not at all happy with the Episcopal News Service. She complains that "ENS - the communications office of 815, actively promoted rejecting Mark Lawrence as bishop." You can read her post here.

Be aware that BabyBlue apparently belongs to one of the Virginia parishes that are no longer in the Episcopal Church. Why she continues to obsess about a church she has left is a puzzle to me. (After all, I do not harangue the Southern Baptists, whom I left 3 decades ago.) But I digress … as I am wont to do.

As "evidence," BabyBlue selectively trots out some news stories from ENS. In her mind, when ENS reported "Episcopal Forum calls for caution in consent process" or "Via Media group asks bishops, standing committees to refuse consent to South Carolina bishop-elect," the Episcopal Church was engaging in "active promotion."

How very, very silly! If you follow that twisted logic, a New York Times article titled "Bin Laden calls for jihad against U.S." would mean that the Times was calling for a jihad. Ridiculous!

Let us look at recent ENS stories that report on news of the Network and their sympathizers. I just went to the ENS site and clicked on the "News" button. Click here to see the current "top stories" from ENS.

The front-and-center headline is "South Carolina re-elects Mark Lawrence as bishop." That's as it should be, is it not? Nor does that strike me as an inflammatory headline.

Also on that page is Evidence presented against former Colorado Springs rector. That's nothing like the inflammatory headlines many on the left and right used to report that high-profile ecclesiastical trial in Colorado.

And there is LOS ANGELES: Appeals court will not reconsider property ruling, which fell far short of the triumphal headline I would have been tempted to pen.

Then there is Network delegates seek end to property litigation. To tell the truth, that headline (and the article) ticked me off, for the headline and story reported "just the facts" and failed to highlight what I believe are the duplicitous and nefarious goals of the Network in that action and in just about everything they have done.

Some of these headlines ticked me off personally because they are so darned even-handed. But they reinforce my respect for the good people who work at ENS. They are behaving as reasonable journalists. Me, I'm an immoderate liberal. Surely anyone who goes to work for the Episcopal Church is a real Episcopalian, and I would imagine they must be personally dismayed by the groups within TEC and in the Anglican Communion that are trying to destroy our church. Frankly, it seems to me they are bending over backwards to exercise their journalistic skills and ethics. They deserve much better than being derided as "Pravda." (And, yes, that accusation is hurled out all too often among the right-wingers.)

If you want to compare apples to apples, then compare the journalism coming out of ENS with the propaganda coming out of the Network and the American Anglican Council. And let us not forget the Choose This Day video that the Network markets. Who are the journalists in that competition? The good folks at ENS win hands-down.

BabyBlue and the People Who Wallow in Persecution need to do a better job, if they want to pretend the Episcopal Church has "actively promoted rejecting Mark Lawrence." The record makes clear that TEC bent over backwards to let South Carolina gain consents.

Let us be clear.

Mark Lawrence's election failed because his supporters couldn't manage to sign the consent forms and transmit them to South Carolina in the one hundred twenty days allowed under the canons, and the Diocese of South Carolina couldn't manage to transmit those forms to Church Center on time – even when our Presiding Bishop generously gave them extra days beyond what is allowed in the canons of our church.

It's as simple as that. Maybe this time the folks in South Carolina will manage the consent process better – as the other 110 diocese of the Episcopal Church have managed to do about a gazillion times.

But blaming the Episcopal News Service is just bunk!

BabyBlue – like many of the parishes in her state and many others of her political persuasion – is wallowing in an orgy of persecution. She has done better. She should do better this time.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Renegade Bishops

News around the Anglican Communion is just getting weirder and weirder, especially with the latest scuttlebutt that the Archibishop of Nigeria may send bishops into the Church of England because it's not Anglican enough. (Go to Father Jake for that bit of news and some darn fine commentary.)

I don't visit Padre Mickey's Dance Party often. But it sure was worthwhile this week. Do check out his ¡¡BISHOPMANIA!! post, apparently inspired by the news that Akinola plans to send more "flying bishops" into the Church of England.

My very favorite is this "photo" captioned, "The Five Most Holy Bishops of the Anglican Communion Network 'stand firm' as the very ground below them lists to one side."

But go see the whole series of posts at ¡¡BISHOPMANIA!!

And the Lutherans Shall Lead Them

Out of the Closet and into the Fire

Have you seen news about this? I read about it in this column in the Austin (TX) Statesman. In an August 3 column titled, "That's One Big Closet," Eileen Flynn writes (in part):

Are you serious, I thought when I heard the voice mail. More than 80 Lutheran ministers will go public with their homosexual identity next week? Mind you, these clergy members serve a comparatively liberal branch of Lutheranism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

But still, many of those coming out on Tuesday are in homosexual relationships, and the ELCA restricts ordination to heterosexuals who are faithful in marriage or celibate homosexuals. As it happens, the ELCA will be debating the issue of dropping the celibacy requirement for gay ministers at its biennial assembly next week in Chicago. . . .

Now again, this is the liberal Lutheran denomination — not the Missouri Synod, which takes a much harsher stance on homosexuality. But still, the ELCA, like most mainline Protestant churches, does have a celibacy rule. And if church leaders don’t change that policy at this convention, aren’t these folks putting their collars on the line? . . .

Read a little background on the debate in this Chicago Sun Times story. And here in the Tribune.

Flynn is exactly correct: These 80 Lutheran ministers will indeed be "putting their collars on the line." They know the consequences. What a courageous action!

This set me to thinking of the many well-informed people in the upper levels of the Episcopal Church who frequently say that Bishop Gene Robinson is not the only bishop who is gay – not the only one in the Episcopal Church, and not the only one in the Anglican Communion. He is, as they often say, merely the first bishop who has been honest about the fact. The rest of the gay bishops throughout the Anglican world (on the left, right, and center) continue to hide under the hem of his chasuble.

Eighty brave Lutheran ministers are set to come "out of the closet" next week during the ELCA's biennial national assembly, knowing they are likely to be defrocked as a consequence. I expect those ministers don't have the savings, mutual funds, and pensions that our closeted gay bishops have. Those 80 Lutheran ministers will "put their all on the altar." Oh, how I would love to see our closeted gay bishops show similar courage!

And what will the closeted gay bishops in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion say when the 80 Lutherans "come out"? You know the answer as well as I do. They will say absolutely nothing. If anything, they will dig their closets a little deeper and wider. As far as I can tell, not one of them has the courage that these 80-something Lutherans have. Not one of them has shown Gene Robinson's courage.
Of course, the response will be thunderous silence from the Anglican bishops who sit in closeted comfort. I know that. But I hope events like this will cause them more and more pain, as they see what cost some people pay while they sit safely under their mitres, hiding – not leading, not shepherding.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

MadPriest Outdoes Himself

Over at OCICBW, MadPriest is rising to new levels of genius (and PhotoShop brilliance, too). I didn't think he could get better, but he has.

Disgusted by Greg Griffith's blog-behavior, yesterday he posted "Say Goodnight, Melanie" here. ("Melanie" is the Mad One's pet name for Greg.) He begins:
Melanie, the fuhrer at Blog Viagra, is really blowing a gasket over Our Lisbeth. The other day he tried to get the pond life agitated over one of her sermons. This was something of a damp squib as the sermon was ten years old. . . . You would think the number of times he has been told that he ain't no gentleman that he would be trying to hide the fact. But no. If I'm reading this right his point is: "My wife's prettier than Kaeton. Na na ni na na!"
Go read MP's entire post, complete with photos.

Today, he follows up with a posting that pretty well expresses my view of the situation. MadPriest is a genius at combining word and image, as he demonstrates yet again in this one.

As he says of the virtual parish he operates, "It's just the way we do things around here." Check it out.

I am not worthy to gather up the crumbs from under the table of the Priest Who Purports To Be Mad.

One More Time ...

Dear Readers, please look again at what I wrote here about Greg's apparent obsession with Elizabeth. Now look at Greg's response. Do you not perceive a "disconnect"? I post a fine bit o' writing (if I do say so myself) saying he's obsessed with Elizabeth, and he replies, "I am not gay – not, not, not!" What's up with that?

According to our Greg, I am merely "another lesbian on the unhinged left, absolutely sure that [he is] a gay man just straining with everything [he's] got against the irresistible lure of The Other Team." Eeeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwww!

And then he proceeds to post what I suppose he thinks is a "hot" photo of his wife and offers some non sequitur facts to "prove" that he is not gay. Say what?? It never occurred to me to suggest he's gay. Is he obtuse? The whole point of my essay was that the poor guy is hopelessly obsessed with [I'm saying this s-l-o-w-l-y, so that Greg can follow it] a woman. Being obsessed with a woman does not suggest one is gay – unless, of course, the woman is Barbra Streisand, Cher, or Patsy Cline ... in which case one probably is.

Can he not read the plain sense of my writing? And if he can't perceive the plain sense of my simple writing, can he possibly be trusted to perceive "the plain sense of Scripture"?

He has a wife of whom he has seldom spoken. But now he feels compelled to post her photograph alongside Elizabeth's. Why? Does that somehow prove he is not obsessed with Elizabeth?

Judging from the content of his postings, about whom does Greg chiefly think? His lovely wife? or the unobtainable Elizabeth? Has he spent his days and nights writing about his lovely wife? or about the unobtainable Elizabeth?

I am glad Greg has revealed there is another woman in his life besides Elizabeth. It's about time! Perhaps he will begin to focus more of his attentions on Mrs. Greg. Otherwise, I will continue to wonder why he devotes so much energy to She Who Can Never Be His.

Postscript: No doubt, you are all wondering just what the MadPriest has to say about this whole brouhaha. Wonder no more. Just go here and read it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

MadPriest on the ACN

I am grateful for the comments you offered on my small posting about the recently-ended meeting of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. But if you want to see a masterful treatment of the photos from that meeting, you must go visit MadPriest -- particularly here and here, but also here.

This is but one of the offerings, but it's still my favorite commentary on the recently concluded meeting of the schismatics.

I assume that most of you who read my little blog are already familiar with MadPriest. If you aren't, let me just offer a word of godly counsel: put down your coffee, and swallow your beverage before you look at MadPriest's site. Otherwise, you'll spew liquid all over your keyboard and monitor ... and then you'll spend time cleaning your computer when you should be bowing in homage to MadPriest's creativity and insights.

MadPriest and Harry

It has seemed to me that our beloved MadPriest does not like Harry Potter ... or perhaps merely eschews the popularity of Rowling's creation. I don't understand why MadPriest would object. It's a story that has the elements that I'd think would please him: magic, intrigue, passion . . . . Maybe if he just saw the fine movie, Harry Potter and the Brokeback Goblet, he would change his views. Maybe you would too.

Yes, I am still captivated by the last Harry Potter novel. No, I don't really have an argument with MadPriest about this. I just used this as an excuse to post a video that makes me chuckle.

Besides ... I needed to take a break from the news in the Anglican Communion.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

ACN & The Flintstones

I didn't bother to follow the sturm und drang of the Anglican Communion Network's yabba-dabba-do meeting this week in Texas. For quite a while, I have believed they were becoming yet another pseudo-Anglican splinter group. In earlier days, their meeting might have made me anxious. But ever since Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori came aboard, I have been comforted that I need not fear these little weenies and their little over-hyped meetings. (The IRD's money might be able to buy them air time in some venues, but certainly not with me!) I couldn't even be bothered to watch their press conferences. I remember that old line about "sound and fury, signifying nothing." And they have revealed themselves to be so.

It would be hard to take this gaggle of old white guys seriously, once you have seen their official photograph.

A blogger friend of mine confessed to a "slip of the keyboard." She meant to write about their meeting in Bedford, but her hand slipped and she typed "Bedrock" instead of "Bedford."

That sent my mind off in silly directions. It reminded me of the Flintstones theme song. Look at the photo above. Can't you just imagine that silly gaggle of bishops singing along with these lyrics?

Network! Meet the Network!
They're the modern stone age church for you.
From the town of Bedford,
It's a page right out of Weekly World News.

Let's go see them consecrate the zoo.
Who knows? Maybe we'll be bishops too!

When you're with the Network
you'll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You'll have an (ex-gay) time.

About that Little Stone Bridge

The crusaders over at StandFirm were so fond of Sarah Hey's paranoid manifesto, Little Stone Bridges & Why We Fight for Them, that they're creating a cottage industry. First, they offered the text (free on the StandFirm site) for sale for $19.95! (There, it has the modest subtitle: A Battle Plan for Christians in a Faith under Siege. They're a humble lot over at StandFirm.)

Now they have been inspired to create a t-shirt that says "Meet Me at the Little Stone Bridge." Cute, huh? And don't ya just love the little sword there? Does it give you warm fuzzy feelings about those glorious days when the "Christians" wiped out the "infidels"? Can't you just feel the love of Christ oozing from every pore of the BlogViagrans?

All this talk of bridges got me to thinking. Recently, I had occasion to research the definition of "troll" as used on the Internet. According to Wikipedia:

In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who intentionally posts messages about sensitive topics constructed to cause controversy in an online community . . . in order to bait users into responding. They may also plant images and data on networks that others may find disturbing in order to cause confrontation.
Is it just me? Or does that description remind you of the behavior of a certain StandFirm leader who has a compulsive need to whip up a frenzy against a certain priest in New Jersey? (Let the reader understand.)

One of my wittier friends suggested that the book's title really should be: Little Stone Bridges & Why We Hide under Them.

Yeah, I thought, just look under that "little stone bridge." This monster is what you'll find slithering under it.

I think that ugly troll is the one that got exposed at this week's meeting of the "Anglican Communion Network." I hope to blog about that little love-fest soon.

Magnificent Obsession

The Story of Greg

It has finally occurred to me that Greg Griffith is desperately, hopelessly obsessed with our Elizabeth. There have been plenty of warning signs. But this week I finally realized the man cannot draw a breath without thinking about Elizabeth. In fact, he is so desperate to keep talking about her – and to keep all his friends talking about her – that this week he sought and posted a sermon that she preached ten years ago at an Integrity Eucharist. Ten years ago! After all, the StandFirm sheeple had begun talking about a few other topics, and this just will not do for someone as obsessed as this poor man. He must keep talking about Elizabeth. He cannot help himself.

I'm sure you won't believe this, but Greg was so desperate to refocus his friends' attention on Elizabeth that he plucked five little paragraphs from that sermon and posted them completely out of context. (I know. You're shocked! So am I.) But look at the passages he chose, and think about it. He chose five beautiful paragraphs in which Elizabeth spoke of erotic love – its power and its spiritual dimensions. Well ... it's obvious what is happening to poor Greg. What a sad cry for help! So obvious to us. So hidden to him. But it is ever thus, for those who are in thrall to such an obsession.

However, many of us were grateful to find a link to Elizabeth's sermon, which we hadn't read. In response to popular demand, Elizabeth has posted the complete text. It's a winner! But I digress . . . . (Imagine that!)

As I thought about the non sequitur of Greg's seeking and then posting those paragraphs from such an old sermon – and with absolutely no word of commentary or explanation – it suddenly struck me: Greg is just hopelessly obsessed with Elizabeth. Drawn like a moth to her bright and glowing flame. It must be painful for him, knowing – as he surely does – that she can never be his, for her love and life are pledged elsewhere.

Every now and then I imagine Greg and Elizabeth standing on a majestic mountain. (Of course, Greg would have had to cast a Hogwarts spell to lure Elizabeth there ... but never mind! Just work with me on this, ok?) Greg in his best cowboy outfit – the one he only wears on Thursday nights – and Elizabeth in her lovely gold lame cowgirl outfit. Greg's hands are shoved into his pockets, and he's scowling and kicking the ground, finally snarling to her in frustration: "I wish I could quit you!"

But he can't quit, bless his heart! He is hopelessly fixated on her, and he just cannot help himself. And he probably knows the scene should end with her giving a little shove with her gold lame boots ... which would send him hurtling off the precipice.

Sarah, Matt: Please! Somebody needs to do an intervention before this poor man utterly destroys himself.