Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas reminder

From Kendall Harmon, and TitusOneNine, comes the reason for the season:

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty winds made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

And the beat goes on. . .

Here in the diocese of San Diego, we now have Bishop Mathes's wife, Teresa, opining on the state of the Episcopal church:

Because what I have to say is that the AAC and the ACN do not represent true conservatives. Like many Episcopalians, I had scarcely heard of these organizations; then, just over a year ago, my husband was consecrated Bishop of San Diego. Over time, I learned that AAC stood for American Anglican Council, a group of parishes that objected, among other things, to the consecration of Gene Robinson. The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) appeared to be an association of bishops with similar views. These names were used interchangeably with “the conservatives,” so when the groups began to distinguish themselves by their actions, I was astonished to see those actions labeled “conservative.”

All I can say is, that if she just heard about the AAC (which has been around since 1996) and the ACN in the past year, she hasn't been keeping up very well with what's been going on in ECUSA.

She then continues later on:
The conservatives I know are honest, civil people who would scorn secret memos and “innovations” meant to skirt the canons. Let’s face it, that kind of behavior also represents a profound challenge to the traditional understanding of moral fitness for ministry.

What can I say? For the orthodox, traditional Anglicans in San Diego, doing anything out in the open would incur the wrath of the bishop's office not just on them, but their rector as well. "Moral fitness for ministry" should include a pastoral nature that seeks to keep together Christ's Body the Church, not an antagonistic, legalistic, bureaucratic nature that seems to revere canons that apply to property but disregard those pertaining to doctrine and worship.
To see comments on Mrs. Mathes's piece, check out Stand Firm. To see an excellent refutation of her talk, see Jackie Bruchi's response:
Your statements indicate you relied solely on the website information to make your assumptions. Is that how we should judge St. Paul’s Cathedral? When I visited the site I found a lot of information but could not find one link on pre-marriage, marriage or even family counseling. Does that mean that St. Paul’s does not work toward building Christian families? No, I am sure that is not what it means. It means I did an inadequate job of researching the "who and what" of the congregation called St. Paul’s. Could it be that your research on the AAC and ACN would have been greatly bolstered by placing a telephone call to them or better yet visiting a church that is actually affiliated with them?

And later in Jackie's piece:
"The Internet now bristles with memos" correct. Have you read the Via Media plan for the day after convention? If not, you can read it at Drell's Descants. If we are going to throw stones, could we be sure and hit all the houses on the block?
"The conservatives I know would be ashamed of such behavior. I know I am."
We can agree on that statement but it would be for different reasons and different behaviors than you mention. You see, the conservatives I know are indeed honest, civil people who do not choose to meet behind closed doors. They are a faithful people who feel called to defend the faith once delivered. They are a faithful people who do not seek to deny you your right to practice your faith however you choose. They simply are not willing to allow those who would deny them those very same rights to steal their church.
I would ask you, did you happen to notice what four bishops are attempting to do to a fellow bishop when the duly elected people of his diocese voted openly and did not meet behind closed doors?

It does seem as though Mrs. Mathes could have put more research and thought into her talk. There is no need to name-call, and it ill befits a bishop's wife to take such as hard public stance on issues that are tearing this diocese apart, particularly since her husband has lent his name to the shameful charges against Bishop Schofield.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A tragedy in the making

Well, it’s almost a month since the delegates to the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) General Convention 2006 (GC06) finished their work, and the fallout continues. (Excuse me, they now request that we call them TEC—The Episcopal Church—since I suppose they are trying to sound all global and everything—although why we are following their lead, I have no idea, so I shall continue to call them ECUSA.)

Several dioceses have requested alternative primatial oversight (APO) from the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to actions taken at GC06 since they see themselves unable to remain under the leadership of the new presiding bishop. I have never understood why so many call someone so brilliant when her theology appears from her sermons and interviews to be non-existent and superficial, but then again, she was elected presiding bishop and I wasn’t. My bishop (James Mathes) and diocese here in San Diego have jumped on board, but my parish has not (thank the Lord, and I really mean that).

We (my family and I) are trying to figure out our next move. We love our parish and our priest, who is a classical Anglican and absolutely believes in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, but the writing is on the wall as far as the diocese goes and we don’t want to be any part of it. It truly feels unchristian, actually more than that—it feels dark and dire. Three parishes have removed themselves from the Diocese of San Diego—one (Christ the King) has joined a continuing church and the other two (St. Anne's Oceanside and St. John's Fallbrook) are under other Anglican bishops (more info here and here at Titus One Nine). I’m sure the fights over property and priest inhibition are coming.

We are becoming increasingly paranoid about even talking about events because of Bishop Mathes's April letter and our concern that our words (not actions, but listen carefully, our words!) will be used against our clergy. His letter puts the onus on parishioners and vestry members to watch their language or our clergy will bear the punishment. And who would want to be responsible for getting their clergy in trouble? And maybe causing them to lose their current livelihood, especially when they have families or are close to retirement? And then you start looking suspiciously at other church members, wondering who might be a mole from the bishop's office, just waiting for a slip to report back. Is this a national church that any Christian would want to be a part of?

It is a very weird time here. . .

And Father's Day is long gone

Just a reminder to myself not to post a day-specific item when I'm about to go on vacation. Oh well. . .

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Father's Day coming up!

Don’t forget Father’s Day this Sunday!

Standard ideas include anything from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but don’t forget The Sharper Image and Brookstone.

And for Dad at the grill, check out

For heartier fare, look to Grizzly Industrial, Garrett-Wade Woodworking, and Woodcraft.

For the digitally and musically inclined, check out Sonos.

And for the gamer/techie, try x-treme geek.

And most of all, have fun with Dad!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Thank you, Marcia!

Spent four hours yesterday trying to make plane reservations with USAir for summer vacation. Usually I do this through their website (which is quite good) with no problems, but yesterday, after completing all the info, including my credit card info, the message came back that the site was unavailable--and I tried this several times. So I decided to use the old fashioned way: telephone. Unbeknowst to me, USAir and America West are one and the same (or maybe not exactly one and the same, but close enough).

I called the USAir 800 number but ended up with an America West reservation clerk, who made my reservations for me, but said I couldn't purchase them just then, even though she gave me a confirmation number and a price.

At that point (after 4 hours), I said fine, I'll purchase them tomorrow. Well, you can guess what happened. Today I call to purchase them, only to be transferred four times as USAir palms me off to America West who says they can't purchase the tickets because their computers won't let them, and the price is double what it was yesterday!

Even I eventually realize when it's supervisor time. So a supervisor duly asked for, I am on hold for an hour and a half, waiting...and waiting....and waiting. Finally I hear Kathy (who's been helping me and was really very nice) say, "I'm transferring you now" and then I hear "Hello, how can I..."

and then I hear click, click, and dead air. By this time, I admit it, I'm yelling at the phone, but the dial tone continues.

Thirty seconds later, the phone rings, and salvation arrives in the person of Marcia, the uber supervisor, who seems to have untold powers in her grasp, as she confirms my reservation, lets me actually purchase the tickets!, and best of all, honors the price I was given verbally yesterday over the phone.

So summer is back on, and all is well. Of course, later today I have to tackle seat selection so this elation may be premature...but I figure I can always call Marcia.

Friday, June 09, 2006

ECUSA General Convention

As a Christian whose family has found a home for many generations in the Episcopal Church (American division of the greater Anglican Communion), the past few years (or decades) have been a bit rocky, to borrow from our English background of understatement. (Although, as an Episcopalian by way of French Huguenot ancestry, I don't subscribe to the full British treatment of "stiff upper lip.")

These next few weeks as ECUSA has its General Convention, held every three years, will probably be tumultuous, frustrating, exciting, and I hope revealing of God's Will for our direction and purpose.

Some sites where you can go for all of the news:


So, I've decided that all of the most popular bloggers that seem to post every few minutes or so (or at least several times a day) must have secret staffs of hundreds perusing Web sites all day and posting for them. Either that or they sit all day in a room full of Cray computers madly speed reading through Internet pages searching for key words. Whatever it is, there is no way on God's green earth that you can have any kind of other life (or job) and blog on a regular basis. (And don't even get me started on the ones who seem to read entire books in a day and post a review!)

So what's the secret, huummmmm?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lorie Byrd's new home

To follow up on an earlier post "Life cycle of a blog," Lorie Byrd, formerly of PoliPundit, has a new home at Wizbang! so go visit and say hello!

Super Fantastic!

The AG says if you ever need the reality check and fun break, please, please, please check out the Super Fantastic! Manolo's Shoe Blog! Even if you are not into the shoes (or David Hasselhoff), the Manolo will delight and bewitch. Right now, the Manolo is covering Eurovision, Faye Dunaway, The DaVinci Code, and so much more

Ayyyyyy! Check it out! You too can be a "funky little fashion troll."

Home again

Well, that was a quick trip back to the east coast. Nice to see family and friends, but not so nice circumstances (funeral). Still recovering from jet lag and catching up on work.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Light blogging

Blogging will be light over the next few days as I head out of town for a family funeral. Also, I want to take the time to think through what I want to concentrate on with this blog. Religion? Politics? Books? Whatever I find interesting on any given day? Hummmm. . . Things to think about as I fly cross-country.

Life cycle of a blog

Human inventions (just like humans) have life cycles. And what we're seeing happen at PoliPundit shows that fairly well. I hope it works out, as I've enjoyed reading PoliPundit and his guest bloggers (like Lorie Byrd), but I can also understand if the host blogger wants things his way, then that's what happens. Just hope after some time that all can be on speaking (blogging) terms again.

Monday, May 15, 2006

"1984" all over again

Via Drudge, a commentary on Boulder's new hate speech hotline. So now, if we feel the least bit offended, we can call in the authorities. And the First Amendment means what again? That we should forever be free from any speech that disturbs us? I don't think so. And the worst thing is, ideas like this make me want to be rude, just because someone's telling me my rudeness is "illegal."

If a crime is committed, prosecute to the full extent of the law, but don't throw in "hate speech" mumbo-jumbo to try and make sure the perpetrator gets more time. It's the thought police again, always being so "1984."

Reax to WP op-ed

Reaction to a Washington Post op-ed on immigration over at Political Psychology--check it out.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

How would Einstein do a thought experiment on this?

Very interesting. Can light travel backwards? (Hat tip to Pajamas Media)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mercy killing bill defeated

Good news from Great Britain, where the House of Lords has defeated what they called a "mercy killing" bill. (hat tip to Kendall Harmon)

Based on how that idea has been implemented in Holland ("right to die" rapidly becoming "duty to die"), I think this can only be a good thing.

"The Great Debate"

Just heard about this new radio show, "The Great Debate," on KCR, the college radio station of San Diego State University.

Hosted by Ruth Hargrove, a law professor at California Western School of Law, and Andrew DeLoach, a recent alumnus ('06), the program features current legal and political issues and broadcasts weekly on Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. and on

Liberal Hargrove and conservative DeLoach debate issues like lethal injection and the idea of what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Today in history

May 11, 1858: Minnesota entered the U.S. as the 32nd state. Its Dakota-Sioux Indian name Minisota means "sky-tinted water."

  • Capital: St. Paul
  • State tree: Norway pine
  • State flower: Pink and White (Showy) Lady's Slipper
  • State bird: Common Loon
  • State fish: Walleye
  • State drink: Milk
  • And last, but not least, state muffin: Blueberry

A follow-up to my earlier post on Steve Vaught and his walk cross-country: he arrived in NYC yesterday and has been interviewed by CBS, NBC, and even the BBC. USA Today also wrote an article on his journey.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Check out Captain's Quarters for info on the al-Quaeda correspondence captured in Iraq. As a matter of fact, check out Captain's Quarters as often as you can! Lots of great stuff.

Mother's Day Suggestions

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Home-made card
  • Coupons: more breakfasts in bed, quiet time, thinking of you
  • Letter
  • Appreciation

I think appreciation in specific, tangible ways is the most desired present of all. Don’t just tell your mother you love her, show her by doing things for her throughout the year. Don’t just tell your father you respect him, show that you do daily.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Even C-SPAN is pulled into the Colbert debacle

From an AP story:

"After removing the video [of Stephen Colbert's April 29 performance at the White House Correspondents Association dinner], YouTube received a large number of e-mails asking about the missing clip, Supan said. A misconception that C-SPAN is funded by the government led viewers to complain that the Colbert video should be in the public domain, Supan said.

IFILM declined to comment.

C-SPAN is a private, nonprofit company and holds the copyright on the entire correspondents' dinner.

On May 5, two days after YouTube received C-SPAN's letter, the Colbert video was publicly available through an agreement with Google Video."

True - C-SPAN was founded and is funded by cable companies as a public service (and C-SPAN stands for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, not "Congress-Senate" as so many believe).

What would your boss do?

Hum...what would happen at your job if you did this? Of course, he was "accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet at work," so it sounds as though it was not a one-time offense.

Monday, May 08, 2006

End of the road coming up

This has been an on-going story in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Very interesting. And through the stories, as we have followed his cross-country walk, readers have seen growing insight from Steve Vaught:

"When I left San Diego, this was strictly about losing weight. But along the way I realized the weight is the problem, but the weight isn't the cause."
Unfortunately, his family life has suffered and one can only pray he and his wife can reconcile, and that he continues in his healthy life-style.

About Atwar Bahjat and her murder - UPDATE below

A must-read at The Mudville Gazette on the killing of Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat. Sometimes I just don't want to admit that I'm part of the human race if it includes people like this.

"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
Romans 1:28-31

UPDATE: There seems to be some confusion as to whether this video shows Atwar Bahjat or someone else. (Thanks to The Mudville Gazette for the new info, and, as noted there, the atrocity of the act is the issue, no matter who was killed.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

From "The Case for Democracy"

On Natan Sharanky’s delineation between free societies and fear societies from his book The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror:

"And despite our sometimes contradictory visions of the future, the dissident experience enabled all of us to agree on what freedom meant: A society is free if people have a right to express their views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm. Each dissident envisaged a future in which his concerns were paramount, but no matter how fervent our individual desires, all the dissidents understood that a society that does not protect the right of dissent, even if the society perfectly conforms to their own unique values and ideas, will inevitably turn into a fear society that endangers everybody. While we dissidents vehemently disagreed about what type of free society we wanted to live in, we recognized that as long as dissent is possible we would always be safe to fight for our ideas.

A simple way to determine whether the right to dissent in a particular society is being upheld is to apply the town square test: Can a person walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm? If he can, then that person is living in a free society. If not, it’s a fear society.

Some people who live in free societies may consider this test too expansive since, in addition to the liberal democracies, it includes many countries not always considered free. According to the town square test, societies where women are not allowed to vote, where discrimination is rampant, or where the economy is rigidly controlled can still be free. This valid criticism demonstrates that every society that meets the definition of “free” is not necessarily just. Rather, this test shows only that every society that passes it has crossed the threshold of freedom. In contrast, fear societies never cross this threshold and are always unjust."

[italics by Sharansky, boldface by me]

Of course, earlier Sharansky noted that in no society are liberties absolute (think yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater), and that appropriate boundaries of various freedoms “may make for interesting policy debates within democratic societies...”

It’s those changing boundaries that I find interesting. “Hate speech” policies at various colleges and universities and “hate crime” legislation both seem to me to be criminalizing thought and not action. Can we go into the town square and express our views, no matter how repugnant they are? Or will we be constrained by laws against speech?

Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves

That verse from the gospel of Matthew (10:16) seems eminently appropriate for how we should understand the world today. For as Jesus was telling his disciples how they were to behave as they traveled from town to town, so we need the same advice as we navigate our way through the world.

"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."