Monday, September 27, 2004

Preparing for the smackdown

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold preached in Spokane, Washington today. From the sermon:

'This is not an easy time in the life of our church, nor for that matter is it an easy time in the life of this nation or the world around us. The other, the stranger, is frequently looked upon with suspicion, if not fear and even hatred. We who proclaim a gospel of reconciliation, and of division overcome not by agreement but by love – are engaged in struggles that have drawn much of our energy away from a common sense of mission and turned us in upon ourselves. Sexuality, that fearsome, awesome, unruly dimension of what it means to be truly human appears to have trumped the Creeds in determining the fundamentals of our faith.

Is it not possible that what may be perceived by many as sexual otherness is in some way revelatory of the fullness of Christ in us – the hope of glory? This is a question we are presently living – a question that contains within itself many other questions, each of which contributes to an answer that has yet to be revealed. '


'"What we shall be has yet to be revealed." Nowhere is this more true than in the process of growing up in all ways into Christ as a Communion. However, as life in communion involves an encounter with otherness, we must be prepared to meet the other not with confident self-assertion, which is so characteristic of the American way, but with a genuine availability to the other, and a willingness to receive what is proffered, even if it comes clothed not in purple and fine linen, but in anger.'

October 1, Archbishop Rowan gets the recommendation of the non-Lambeth Commission. October 18, it gets officially released to the Press. That is, if it does not get leaked by somebody working for one of the participants.

Back on the bench

Today, I played organ for the first time at an Episcopalian service. Five hymns (actually four, the eight verses of "For All The Saints" being split between the beginning and end. I thought that I did horribly, but the congregation thought otherwise. Maybe there is a lot to say for a live organist in that he can lead the congregation in song more effectively.

Next week, I'll have to be less aggressive with the settings, or perhaps start programming the seven programmable stops.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Not exactly in the money

Just found out what the Lair is valued at by the people at Blogshares: B$1,430.87. For comparison's sake, Sgt. Stryker is at $165k and Daily Kos is at $1.12m


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I really should be looking for a job, but...

From the American Horticultural Society

"The draft version of the revised United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map, developed in 2003 by the American Horticultural Society, is no longer available.

The USDA is in the process of creating another version of the hardiness map using new mapping technology and an extended set of meteorological data. The new version of the revised map will, like the draft map, include 15 plant hardiness zones to reflect growing regions for sub-tropical and tropical plants."

This draft version was notable in that it shifted hardiness zones northward. Chicago and its near suburbs, formerly in Zone 5, was places in Zone 6. Zone 7 creeped up into the Ohio Valley, and established a beachead near South Haven, Michigan. But the new zones were not published by the USDA. It looked like the makings of a classic "Bush squelches inconvenient science" post, until I informed two decidedly anti-Bush gardeners that their gardens were now in Zone 6. They strongly disagreed.

It appears that the AHS and the USDA have gone back to the drawing board. They will probably look at a larger series of winters to lessen the effect of our recent warm streak while still dividing the old Zone 11 (tropical) into several zones, which would only apply in Hawaii and Mexico.

El Niño returns

NOAA press release, 9/10/2004

This El Niño is not as strong as the 1997-98 El Niño of recent memory, so it's too early to tell if California will be washed into the sea this winter.

El Niño is marked by abnormal sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. The West Pacific tends to be cooler than normal while the East Pacific tends to be warmer. Here in metro Chicago, strong El Niños tend to be coincide with warm, sunny autumns and mild, cloudy winters that end in April. Unfortunately "mild and cloudy" can translate to ice storms instead of blizzards and nothing keeps a paltry 15 inches of snow from all falling on one day.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Started Episcopal formation today...

...and not one word on gay bishops. Instead we talked about God -- everybody agreed that there is one God and I think we agreed that He is not a created Being. There was some disagreement over miracles and angels, with one person recounting her direct experience with an angel and Father disagreeing with another parishioner over the efficacy of divine healing (with Father in support). No anathemas were laid.

So what do Episcopalians believe? Most of us believe the Nicene Creed. There are the 39 Articles of Religion, which are considered historical (as opposed to binding) teachings -- Anglo-Catholics may have a problem with parts of Article 22 denouncing the invocation of saints.

Yawn. Time for bed.


Saturday, September 11, 2004

Eames Commission to Publish October 18

Link to Anglican Communion Network

It appears that the Anglican Communion will impose some sort of sanction on the American Episcopal Church (ECUSA). The September 2 London Times says that the leadership of ECUSA will be suspended, that is, disinvited to Anglican summits, as does the September 3 Daily Telegraph. The Eames Commission has completed its work and the final work will be presented to Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury on October 1 and published on October 18.

ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and four liberal bishops are flying to London, according to the September 8 Daily Telegraph, apparently to remonstrate with Archbishop Williams.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Dreadful milestone ahead

The US toll in Iraq is rapidly approaching 1,000. Most of them died after "Mission Accomplished".

I supported the war because I trusted my President and his Administration. I was a fool. I was fooled by Colin Powell's support, behavior so abject that to call it "slavish" would be to insult American slaves who resisted, mocked and undermined their masters at every turn. I was swayed by the Administration's victory in Afghanistan, forgetting that Afghanis on the ground were instrumental in our victory and that no similar force of Iraqis would flock to our side south of Mosul. I feared that Saddam would give his WMD expertise to terrorists who would bring it here -- of course the only WMDs were a few clapped-out warheads. And I wanted to see Saddam in the dock or on the (chopping) block, but signing the nation over to Iran's vengeful mullahs is hardly an improvement. And I believed that the loads of money we sent to Iraq for rebuilding would actually be used for rebuilding, not padding every politically-connected wallet between Houston and Baghdad.

I was a fool. May God forgive me for my utterances of 2003.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

All Saints in LA leaves Episcopal Church

Day to Day, NPR broadcast

All Saints and two other parishes have decided to leave the diocese of Los Angeles and unite with the Anglican Province of Luwero, Uganda. Friends of the dissident parishes state that the diocese will sue, while the LA Diocese itself says that it is "considering its options".

Both sides of this dispute seem prepared to make organized religion look foolish. Bishop Bruno wrote of "considering his options", which usually translates to "calling my lawyer." If it goes to court, the organization with the deed to the property gets the property, and All Saints has the deed. Better to spend money on the poor than on lawyers. Meanwhile, All Saints decided to make its break in August instead of waiting until the non-Lambeth conference ends in October. It's also fair to ask why All Saints went halfway around the globe to find a bishop when nineteen American bishops agreement with them and the guidance of a conservative bishop was offered that parish as well. Whatever Bishop Kisekka's other virtues, bilocation is probably not among them.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

No 10's silent support for Kerry

It appears that Tony Blair's government is getting impatient with Blair's neutrality in the US election campaign. For good reason, it is usually considered very bad manners for one democratic country to pick sides in another democratic country's election.

But Blair does owe America's center-left a favor. In the runup to the war in Iraq, Blair faced a revolt in the ranks of the Labour party from members who opposed an invasion of Iraq. So his old friend Clinton flew over and gave a speech at the Labour convention asking them to stand behind Blair, that the war in Iraq was not just some Bushite re-election ploy.


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