31 July 2008

What He Said.

One of those uppity, wife-beating Africans dares to clearly state the obvious about the current crisis in the Anglican Communion.
Read it all.

We're On A Mission From God Gene.

For those wondering why we at RSR are spending so much time lampooning the drama of Gene Robinson at Lambeth (it doesn't take that much time, actually; the stuff almost writes itself), read this Times article. Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, clearly spells out the problem:

"I find that many of our North American friends blame us and criticise us for bringing in the issues of sexuality and homosexuality but in fact they are the ones who are bringing these issues in. Here at Lambeth, you come across many advertisements for events organised by gay and Lesbian activists which are sponsored by the North American Church. If you visit the marketplace at the conference, you will notice that almost half the events promoted on the noticeboard promote homosexuality and are sponsored by the North Americans. And in the end, we, the people who remain loyal to the original teaching of the Anglican Communion, which we received from the Apostles, are blamed. They say that we talk a lot about sexuality and that we need to talk more about poverty, about AIDs, and injustice. They are the ones who are bringing sexuality into this conference. It’s not us. We want to talk about the heart of the issues which divide us, not only sexuality. That is just a symptom of a deeper problem."

And Catharine Roskam, Suffragan bishop of New York, who was also mentioned in the Times article, drops this bit of inclusive stereotyping in another article:

"Culturally, many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife. In that regard, it makes the conversation quite difficult."

In other words, the current problems in the Anglican Communion are the fault of some ignorant, uppity, wife-beating savages who just don't understand civilized people like Bishop Roskam. And the good Bishop Roskam, Bishop Robinson and their friends are going to drag all those uncivilized brutes, kicking and screaming, into the light of full inclusion "civilization."

Screw diversity. It's Manifest Destiny time!

30 July 2008

Over At Theo's: Don't Mention The War.

Never in the course of TV history has so much been owed by so many to so few: The guys from Top Gear take on the Germans. Watch 'em all.

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 30JULY08

The Simple Country Bishop has been focused like a TV camera on (his) mission, gathering with his apostles and evangelizing the infidels, according to his latest post. First up, hangin’ with the faithful:

Every few hours or so, I check in with all the people involved with advocacy for inclusion -- the hard working folks from our own Integrity, Claiming the Blessing and the Chicago Consultation, and the hospitable English groups, Inclusive Church and Changing Attitudes. If only you could witness the long hours and blessed devotion these people are giving, it would inspire all of you -- especially lgbt people around the world.

And we even have a Nicodemus moment:

During one of those confidential and necessarily private meetings with an African cleric yesterday, I had one of the miraculous moments that are provided when two people who disagree, sit down and discover not only one another's humanity, but brotherhood in Christ.

In other words, the “African cleric” saw it The Simple Country Bishop’s way. And who is this New Nicodemus? Here’s a clue:

He was and continues to be the target of distortion, lies and misinformation from those who see his openness to listening to those of us working for inclusion as an affront to God.

Can’t say who he is for sure, but my money is on this guy.

And then the Simple Country Bishop chronicles “your common, ordinary, everyday miracle” or two. “Change” is in the air:

I was approached by one man, a youngish English priest whose parishes are near Canterbury. He timidly asked if I had just a minute to talk. Of course I did. It is precisely why I'm here. (emphasis mine. -ed.) He described himself as an evangelical, having had a powerful conversion experience as a young adult. Upon moving to his new parishes, he discovered that he had a few gay couples in his congregations -- and this sent him back to the scriptures to study and pray, to ask if what he had always been taught about homosexuals was really what the scriptures meant, in an effort to be a better pastor. He has newly come to an accepting attitude toward those gay communicants, but was feeling guilty about leaving his old understandings behind, and wondering if he was moving in the right direction. He has come to believe that God's love is far more expansive than he first imagined, and wondered aloud if there were really two Gods being worshipped in the Church. I told him what I believe -- that no, there is only one God, but our ability to comprehend that God goes through lots of stages, becoming ever more expansive as God reveals God's self to us, directly and through others. Here was a young priest, open to change and growth, open to God's patient teaching and open to the notion that God's love might be more profoundly extravagant than he ever thought possible. Just your common, ordinary, everyday miracle.

See. If you do not comprehend God like the Simple Country Bishop and his disciples, God must not like you enough to reveal “God’s self” to a dim-wit like you. Become expansive, or become a Roman Catholic.

And another sure miracle – an Episcopal pro-gay musical. Imagine that:

Yesterday, my spirits were once again lifted by young people. A theatre troup from Western Michigan is here to present a drama, called "Seven Passages" (about those seven dreaded verses of scripture that purport to relate to homosexuality), which will be performed tonight and tomorrow night. I met with them during one of their rehearsals. It was a magical and delightful time, meeting with these young people who have struggled with scripture and what it means for them and for their gay and lesbian friends. These are kids who love the Church and are so distressed at the harm they have endured at its hands.

HARM?? Bishop, here is a picture of real harm to gays. And at the hands of Bishop John Chane’s buddies, too.

Our Simple Country Bishop wants everyone to know he doesn’t want to do away with the Law, he wants to fulfill it. Sort of:

It reminded me of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, whose working group (they labored for three weeks!) on human sexuality produced a brilliant statement -- which did not seek to SOLVE the problems and differences between us on the issues of sexuality, but rather merely DESCRIBED where we are, with several different approaches held by large groups within the Communion. We now know that the 1998 Lambeth Conference swept aside this measured and fine report, and replaced it with the draconian Resolution 1.10, which has plagued us ever since, declaring homosexuality to be incompatible with Scripture. That conference gave in to the temptation to try to settle these complex issues by fiat, once and for all, rather than merely acknowledging, and offering to God, our different perceptions of the mystery of sexuality and its ramifications for Christian life.

Oh, the polity! Actually, Resolution 1.10 says homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture, not homosexuality. A small, but rather significant, change of meaning that the Simple Country Bishop conveniently omits.

So let’s recap today’s post: Preaching to disciples and evangelizing the ignorant. A Pharisee secretly converted. Explaining how we should see God. Miracles. The Law.

Remind you of anyone??

(Note: I don't have time right now to run today's Simple Country Bishop drinking game stats, but I'll try to post them tonight. Or, if one of you, my dear readers, would run them and email them to me, I would be most appreciative.)

28 July 2008

Simple Country Blogger Watch - UPDATE.

Last Friday, the Simple Country Bishop talked of his trip to give a talk at the CARA trust in London, and how he just happened to be pass by the other Bishops (the ones that were invited) and their spouses at Buckingham Palace:

"In one of those divinely humorous coincidences, our travel route from Canterbury and through the jam-packed traffic of London took us around Buckingham Palace, just at the precise moment that bishops and spouses were streaming off their coaches and into the Palace, for tea with the Queen. It was delightful to see most of the women wearing fabulous hats, chosen for this occasion. My gaze was caught by Donna Scarfe, wife of the Bishop of Iowa, in a stunning green hat with matching ensemble. Truly fit for a queen!"

Well, Peter Ould is questioning how much of a "coincidence" that was, as passing by Buckingham Palace us not quite on the route from Canterbury to his appointed location.

I have certainly given the Simple Country Bishop his lumps of late, but in this case I am going to come to his defense and give him the benefit of the doubt. Robinson's destination was the CARA Trust, which is located at 240 Lancaster Road, London (W11 4AH). That is just west of Notting Hill, and well north and west of Buckingham Palace. This all depends on where the Bishops and their spouses were entering the palace. If it was in front, then I must agree that Peter has a point and the Simple Country Bishop as some 'splanin to do. But if it was along the sides, on Constitution Hill or Buckingham Palace Road, he very well could have seen them in passing. The road that runs behind the Palace, Grovesnor Place, comes off of Vauxhall Bridge Road and is the one "Free Through Route" through the City's Central London Congestion Charging Zone. That seems a logical route. Up Park Lane to Edgeware Road, west on the A40, and you're there.

Why is this important? In the greater scheme of things, it isn't. But Gene Robinson has made the credibility of such things important by trying hard to make himself, and his story, the focus of the Lambeth Conference. And he has used such moments to contrast his story (the outcast), with the stories of others (the insiders). If this story here was created by him (that is, he went out of his way to pass by them) and was not coincidence, it begs the question of how much more of Gene Robinson's story has been created as well? But on this there is doubt, as we do not have enough facts. And as a Christian, I am willing to give him the benefit of that doubt.

Bishop Charles Jenkins Writes The Diocese Of Louisiana.

About the goings-on at Lambeth:

July 27th, 2008,

Sunday (July 27) has been a quiet day for Louise and me. We went to early Church at St. Martin's in Canterbury instead of going to the Cathedral for another big service and luncheon. I have had my first nap since the Conference began. We are washing clothes, catching up on rest, and trying to do other odds and ends as we prepare for the final week of the Lambeth Conference. We will celebrate my birthday tonight at the Hare and Hounds!

The day on Bishops and the environment was an eye opener. If some of the predictions are correct, half of our diocese could well be under salt water in a decade. Of course, there are many things we can do to prevent or slow this happening. The case has been well put for the involvement of the Church in these matters. Bishop Gray of Mississippi and I (who share participation in an Indaba Group) would like to try and work together on these issues. Who amongst you is called of the Lord in this matter and is willing to give time and energy here? Our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church, and in particular the Diocese of Houma/Thibodaux, would be another partner for us. Dan Krutz and the folks at LIC have kept such issues before us for a long time.

Our participation as a Diocese in international mission has been wonderful in the last few years. I am grateful to Miller and Mary Ann Armstrong and Terri Koehler for their leadership in this area. I hope we will give considered and intentional support to our efforts. There are many "mission trips" each year and of these we should all be proud. Let us keep the good news out there and try to enlist the support of many.

This last week of the Lambeth Conference should be interesting indeed. I think that because of the retreat, the Bible Study groups, the Indaba Groups, and our worship together, we are in a better place to address the issues that unite us and the issues that divide us. It may well be the hope of some that nothing happen here as regards our understanding(s) of human sexuality while for others there is great hope that something will be said and done. In both my Bible Study and Indaba there seems a strong desire from bishops outside TEC that something be said or done. It should be interesting. Please keep us in your prayers.

The schedule is hectic and this week seems very full.

Keep us in your prayers,
Charles +

His earlier posts are at the same link.

Monday Laugh.

It's a few weeks old, but Iran says it is now producing.......

Stealth fighters. Really.

I guess they didn't show any images cause they're stealthy, and really hard to see 'n stuff. But we at RSR did uncover an earlier Iranian handout photo of the prototype:

Yep. That'll scare President Obama.

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 28JULY08.

Well, this post lets us know that our Simple Country Bishop had a very restful weekend learning about jolly Olde England. (That, and - what else - an interview in this weekend's Sunday Times....)

His first discovery: We don't speak the same language:

"Every trip to a pub or restaurant is an ode to "two nations separated by a common language." I've learned that a "fool" is a creamy, mousse-like dessert. A "mess" is something similar, but, well, a mess! "Pudding" seems to be a name encompassing all desserts. If you order "cream pie," it's likely to be cake with whipped cream on top. And "spotted dick" -- let's not even go there!"

Actually, I've had spotted dick quite a few times. Depending on the pub, it's delicious. So why shouldn't we "go there?" Unless you are focused on.... Oh, right. That. Goodness knows what would have happened if someone asked him if he fancied a fag.

But our Simple Country Bishop is keeping a sharp eye out for homophobic code-words while he is "over there," and is quite concerned because someone called him something he doesn't understand:

"Today, in the press, I was called a "pantechnicon." I've looked it up and it means a "moving van." I still don't get it -- but can it be good?!"

Here's the quote, from the Sunday Times article linked above:

"The arrival of Robinson has not so much spoilt the party as driven a noisy pantechnicon right through it."

The Times never actually called him a "pantechnicon." Just that he is (symbolically) driving a moving van through the Lambeth Conference. Makes sense to me. But when you see everything as being about you, well......

And our Simple Country Bishop had a run-in with the future top priority of our Churches - tourism:

"I walked to St. Paul's Cathedral yesterday. A bit of a hike, but with a gem of a church awaiting me at the end of the journey. When I arrived, I discovered it cost 10 Pounds to get in (about $21). Crikey! Even if tourists have to pay in order to keep up these museum-like churches, I was still offended by the high charge and left without going in. Am I getting cranky in my old age?"

No, Bishop, you are not getting cranky. I quite agree with you here. But remember, it's not just England - try Boston, Massachusetts.

And cricket? He picked up on that pretty quick:

"Cricket is a game with impenetrable rules and played solely for the purpose of confirming that Brits are superior to the rest of the world."

And your problem with that is?....

UPDATE: Goodness me! How could I forget - the Simple Country Bishop drinking game stats. Light day today; should give your liver a rest:

I: 16
We: 3
Me: 3
Mine: 0

Total count: 22

God: 1
Lord: 0
Jesus: 0
Christ: 0

Total count: 1

Person Tragically Unclear On The Concept.

According to this Knoxville News report, the man who went on a recent shooting spree at a Unitarian Universalist church seems to have had "issues with Christianity."

So why did he shoot up a non-Christian church?

UPDATE: A good lesson, dear readers, on why initial media reports should not be trusted. It seems the shooter actually had issues with liberals and gays, not Christians. No matter what, Christians, or Unitarians, or liberals, or gays, should not be hurt just because of who they are or their beliefs.

25 July 2008

Aren't Messiah's Supposed To Tell You The Truth?

Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear.

I told you the truth.

- John McCain, today in Denver, talking about the about the Surge in Iraq. Read it all.

Will 'Singing In The Rain' hit Top Of The Pops?

Or, has the UK become a failed state?

Simple Country Bishop Watch, 25JULY08.

Gosh, it's a long one today! (So those (still) playing the Simple Country Bishop drinking game better call the EMT's extra early.)

On Wednesday night, the Simple Country Bishop attended a "fringe" gathering about, you guessed it, the Simple Country Bishop:

"After a presentation by some of our bishops about the polity and practice of electing bishops in our Province, and an introduction of me (via DVD) by laity and clergy of New Hampshire, I spoke. I told them that the one goal I had was that they might recognize the God I know and witness to in my life as the same God they know in their lives. I believe that happened."

No one ever said we know a different God. But that God has a few rules, sir; rules you believe you can toss off whenever you like. That's the issue here. But I digress:

"Since arriving in Canterbury, I had not yet visited the Cathedral. I went nowhere near the place on Sunday's opening service. The ever-anxious leadership had provided the Cathedral security guards with a large photo of me, posted at the security checkpoints, presumably to keep me from "crashing the gates" of the opening service. No one believed that I would be true to my promise to the Archbishop not to attend."

And some other North Americans promised in 2003 not to do anything that would tear up the Communion, (and in 2006 promised not to do it again....sort of) and you know where that went. So one can understand if assurances from a US ceric are not taken at face value around there.

But our Simple Country Bishop seized his (photo) opportunity to visit the Cathedral while everyone was in London for a bit of a walk and elevenses with the Queen:

"On Thursday, knowing that the conference attendees would leave early in the morning for London -- for the MDG walk, lunch at Lambeth Palace, and tea with the Queen -- it seemed like a good, low-profile time to make my own pilgrimage to our Mother Church. I told no one of my intentions to attend -- except I had my security person follow the properly courteous protocol of alerting the Cathedral to my visit. I had him also seek permission for a videographer to accompany me on my visit for a documentary to be released sometime in 2010. We were informed that the videographer could NOT accompany me or film me inside the Cathedral. Fair enough. We were told that he could accompany me to the gate onto the Cathedral grounds, and, standing in the public street, could at least film me walking into the Cathedral through the gate's archway."

Again, I think is fair to ask who is the focus here? Jesus Christ and His Church? Or, The Simple Country Bishop and his agenda? How many other Bishops are at Lambeth with a security detail and a film crew? How "low profile" is that?? And the documentary to be released sometime in 2010 will be about what, exactly? Bringing the message of the Gospel to the world? Or more travails of being a Simple Country Bishop?

But getting that photo op is very important to the Simple Country Bishop, so I think we have the answer to our earlier questions:

"We contacted Cathedral security to let them know of our imminent arrival, as had been requested. When we got there, we were met by a gentleman, representing the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral, I think. He intercepted me and told me that I could not be filmed walking into the Cathedral (even from the public street outside) after all. The reason he gave took me by surprise, rendering me speechless (an uncommon experience for me!). "We can't have any photographs or film of you entering the Cathedral," he said, "because we want this to be a church for ALL people." Presumably he meant that my being seen walking into the Cathedral would cause others not to want to come."

No, sir, I think what he meant is that he didn't want hallowed ground co-opted for partisan political purposes. And I agree.

After a trip to London to (what else) be the focus of another event (to be fair, a worthy cause), the Simple Country Bishop is going to get all Dick Chaney for the weekend:

"I am now in an undisclosed location, taking the weekend to rest and relax. I'm going to not think about the Church for a few days. I might even take in the latest Batman movie, just to turn my brain off and escape for a little while. A little sabbath time is what I need. I've scouted out a place to worship on Sunday and will meet friends for dinner."

Have a good weekend, sir.

And for everyone's weekend entertainment, here are the Simple Country Bishop drinking game stats. Let's try moderation, people. Play this one over a few days:

I: 46
We: 14
Me: 24
Mine: 0

Total count: 84

God: 9
Lord: 2
Jesus: 0
Christ: o

Total count: 11

UPDATE 27JULY08: Anglican Curmudgeon has more. Read it all.

A New Guy!

Via Chris at MCJ, please welcome Anglican Musings into the ring. Head on over - well worth the read, and a bookmark, too. (I particularly like the caption contests.)

24 July 2008

It's Summer In Louisiana.

Which means....


Annoying, ain't it?

Cool Hattip of the day: Again, Last of the Few.

Those Who Ignore The 1970's Are Condemned To Repeat Them.

Let's get our heads out of Lambeth for a monment with something to consider when we vote in November:

And Obama was endorsed by..... Anyone? Anyone? (Answer here.)

Hattip: Last of the Few.

23 July 2008

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 23JULY08

The Simple Country Bishop seems to have made a remarkable recovery from his bout of unattention the other day after a microphone was waived under his nose. Really:

"Yesterday (Tuesday), I was scheduled to make an address at the University of Kent's Law School's Centre for the Study of the Law, Gender and Sexuality."

Which is interesting, since the Simple Country Bishop and his friends are always saying there are more important things for the Church to be doing than an obsession with sex. (I agree. And you'd have a bit more credibility in that department if you made an address at, say, the University of Kent's Fellowship of Christian Lawyers.)

And he wants to remind everybody that everybody still adores him:

"Almost invariably, though, I am stopped by each of the conference stewards -- mostly college-aged young people from England and around the Communion, who want to shake my hand and tell me of their support. These young people are so interested in the Church, so committed to being here and helping in any way, yet mystified by some of the words and behaviors they witness, all in the name of the Church. They want me to know how much they are praying for me. The fellow behind the cafe counter in the Marketplace insists that I accept a cappuchino he has made for me, a free gift he insists."

Wow. "Cappucinos" for free. (Doesn't really reinforce that oppressed-never-get-nice-things meme. Just saying.) But enough about him. He's got a big evening ahead, selflessly helping his friends show the uppity, demonic wogs conservatives why they should shut up and do as they are told let The Simple Country Bishop into their party like nothing happened:

"It is the first of two Wednesday evenings in which some American bishops will sponsor a Fringe Event (officially sanctioned, not as part of the conference, but as a Fringe Event), for bishops and spouses of the Communion to come and meet their brother bishop Gene. After four bishops describe the process that led to my election and consent, and testimony, one from a bishop who voted for my consent and one who voted against consent, about my warm welcome into our House of Bishops by virtually all members of our House, even and especially those who voted "no." They will bear witness, I hope, to how the Episcopal Church is forging a model for ministry together, despite our differences. Something the Anglican Communion might want to learn from."

"Then I will be introduced -- not by a bishop, but by the people of New Hampshire who elected me. A DVD presentation will include voices of clergy and laity from New Hampshire introducing me and reflecting on our ministry together. I am so proud of that."

Introduced by DVD. What? No Blu-Ray??

Here are today's post stats for the Simple Country Bishop drinking game. For those still doing a sip for each first-person personal pronoun, call AA and EMS before you start. After today, you're gonna need 'em. But to be fair, there are more than the usual number of Holy Names today to deduct from the shot count.

I: 33
We: 6
Me: 24
Mine: 1

Total count: 64

God: 11
Lord: 0
Jesus: 0
Christ: 4

Total count: 15

22 July 2008

John Edwards - The Next Bill Clinton?

Maybe, if this story pans out. Let's see:

Extra-marital affair. Check.
Less than stunning babe. Check.
Friends cover for you. Check.
You deny everything. Check.
Press ignores/excuses it. Check.

Yep. I think Obama may have found his VP. Democrat family values, indeed.

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 22JULY08.

I guess this news sent our Simple Country Bishop off to the fainting couch with the vapours, as there are no new posts since Sunday. His last post was titled "Mind the Gap," about Susan Russel's sermon (Is she a bishop?) at the "inclusive opening service":

"Her theme, a phrase heard at every Tube station in London: Mind the Gap! She talked about all the gaps that separate us -- especially the gap between what we say and how we act."

Someone should remember that next the time they say they are doing nothing more than maintaining a "quiet presence." When would that be, exactly? In the time between the interviews, the speeches, the movie openings, and the photo ops?

Interesting to note that only "20-30 American Bishops" showed up at the "inclusive opening service." Out of some 100-plus American Bishops, and 600 total Bishops, at the Conference. Not exactly a plurality....

The Simple Country Bishop drinking game stats for yesterday's entry:

I: 17
We: 6
Me: 9
Mine: 1

Total count: 33

God: 3
Lord: 0
Jesus: 1
Christ: 1

Total count: 5

P.S. Hi, Norris.

In Chess, It's Called A 'Queen Sacrifice.'

Giving up on your most important piece now, in order to gain a winning advantage later. To wit:

"Canterbury: The push to seat Gene Robinson at Lambeth Conference failed yesterday after the American bishops declined to force the issue. At their July 21 provincial meeting at the Lambeth Conference the American bishops declined to take action on a request by liberal members of their caucus to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to seat the New Hampshire bishop."

Hmmm. I find it highly suspect that our Presiding Bishop and the US House of Bishops - who have been more than willing to risk destruction of the Anglican Communion over Gene Robinson and his agenda - are now going to throw him under a (double-decker) bus.

Read it all. Sumpthin' ain't right.....

(Welcome STAND FIRM readers! There is more Lambeth commentary, so please have a look around. Take your shoes off. Set a spell....)

21 July 2008

Digital Blasphemy? Or, Will Someone Fatwa In My General Direction?

Poking round for new iPhone apps, I came across this digital Quran. Hmmm. If I downloaded and later deleted it, would there be rioting in Yemen?

Just asking.

The Lambeth Conference, In Song.

Inside the Conference:

(And yes, we really dressed like that in 1975.)


20 July 2008

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 20JULY08

According to today's post, our Simple Country Bishop is mad, mad, mad:

"Yesterday was a painful day. I am feeling frustrated and angry. I dare not write too much, because I don't want to sound like I'm whining..."

Too late.

"...nor do I want to say anything intemperate."

Too late again. And the reason for his anger? We'll let him explain:

"The level of fear and anxiety, especially among the Conference powers-that-be, is out the roof. No matter what I say, no matter what assurances I give, I seem to be regarded as a threat, something to be walled off and kept at a distance."

Gee. Wonder why?

Today's Simple Country Bishop (tm) drinking game stats should also give a good indication as to what all this fuss is really about (Hint: it ain't God...):

I: 36
We: 0
Me: 5
Mine: 0

Total count: 41

God: 5
Lord: 0
Jesus: 0
Christ: 1

Total count: 6

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 19JULY08

Today's post proved your humble blogger here at RSR ever so right (see yesterday's SCB Watch post), as The Simple Country Bishop (tm) continued to give "quiet presence" new meaning :

"In the middle of nowhere, amid this beautiful farm country, I was greeted by twenty or so photographers, did a live interview on BBC TV, and taped another interview with Sky TV."

Since tomorrow is Sunday, we'll skip stats on today's post for the Simple Country Bishop (tm) drinking game.

18 July 2008

Simple Country Blogger Watch, 18JULY08

Some excerpts from today's entry:

Today (Friday), we leave for Canterbury, where the bishops have been gathered in retreat since Wednesday. After all the planning and praying, I still don't know what to expect.

Lights, cameras and reporters focused on you, most likely. Hint: Giving interviews and appearing on BBC2 does not a "quiet presence" make.

I still don't fathom why my presence in their midst would be such an affront.

Oh, I don't know. See Report, Windsor, or this statement from an earlier meeting at Lambeth:

We must make clear that recent actions in New Westminster and in the Episcopal Church (USA) do not express the mind of our Communion as a whole, and these decisions jeopardise our sacramental fellowship with each other...This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues...

For those playing the Simple Country Bishop (tm) drinking game, here are the stats on today's post:

I: 14
We: 1
Me: 10
Mine: 10

Total count: 35

God: 0
Lord: 2
Jesus: 2
Christ: 0

Total count: 4

17 July 2008

If You Want It, Here It Is...... You Can Have It.

Let's take a break from the ongoing efforts by Anglican Bishops to put a wall of separation between Church and Christian Faith, and dive right into another kind of hell - the 1970's.

Ontario Emperor put up this post about the early 70's British group Badfinger, and how musically the decade went from that, to "later in the decade, smiling teens would sing "No future for you."

Which is pretty much the track I followed (I graduated high school in 1977). Ontario Emperor actually liked the 70's. I did not. Well, not all of it. Musically, I liked groups like Badfinger (they did the opening music for the Magic Christian), Led Zeppelin, The Who, and other late 60's, early 70's groups. And I liked the late 70's, early 80's groups like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie, The Police, and The Talking Heads. (And anything by Pink Floyd.) But it was the stuff in between that sucked. And sucked bad.

I was thinking about posting YouTube vids of the worst songs from that time, but I realized that there are just too many. And all that lyrical awfulness at once may cause serious bodily injury. So I plan to make this a feature, and show maybe one or two a week. But show them I must. It is clear that we as a nation have forgotten the 70's - why else would we have the very real possibility of electing Jimmy Carter II in November? So, dear readers, this is for your own good.

First up is a real classic. Mama Mia! be damned - ABBA practically set the standard for awful 70's music. Really:

And another. No wonder people turned to drugs back then:

It wasn't all master-race looking Swedes. Here's some home-grown awfulness:

All I can say is, thank God for David Byrne.

UPDATE 18July08: Matthew has posted a response and included this 70's uber-barker. Actually, 'Wildfire' was not the capper to my argument - far from it. I considered the song Matthew posted, but thought I'd start at a lower level of bad and work my way up. (Sorry. "down.") Bad 70's music is what we used to call in the service a "target rich environment."

Simple Country Blogger Watch.

Some of yesterday's entry:

Earlier, I had contacted Sir Ian McKellen, arguably the greatest living Shakespearean actor (and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series), to see if he wanted to help introduce the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So" in its British premiere on Monday evening. He enthusiastically said yes, and he and I spent a wonderful evening at his home planning the event. It turned out better than either of us anticipated.

What better way to keep the focus on the mission of the Church than to spend the evening hawking a film about yourself (what else?) and hob-knobing with a famous British actor who thinks the Bible is "fiction."

Tomorrow it's off to Canterbury, uninvited, to play the heroic-victim some more. It's where the cameras will be.


They say we should listen to our opposition. Fair enough. So over on the sidebar I have installed a 'virtual moonbat' so you can always listen to what our Lefty friends are thinking.

Just click on RANT, and it's almost like going to HuffPo. But without the necessity of having to wash up afterwards.

('Virtual Moonbat' by Sean Gleeson.)

16 July 2008

Getting In Touch With My Inner Betsy Ross.

One of the things that ties a movement together is a recognizable symbol; something that folks can quickly understand as representing this or that, and that those in that movement can easily identify with. Americans didn't win their revolution by waving copies of the Declaration of Independence when we went into battle - no, we waved the Stars and Stripes, which symbolized that Declaration and our support of it. If you see someone today waving a rainbow flag, or a poster with a peace sign, or wearing a hat with a red star on it, you've got a pretty good idea what they are on about.

Today orthodox and traditional Anglicans have an alphabet soup of groups and networks - ACN, FIF, AMiA, CANA, GAFCON - and they all of have some sort of logo or symbol. But there is nothing that says "this is who I am" for all of us. We will never galvanize into anything if we do not have something that can be easily identified as Orthodox Anglican.

I say we need a flag.

It should be a simple design. Simplicity is clarity, and therefore easily recognizable. Plus it becomes easy to reproduce.

To begin with, any design should symbolize the infinity of God's creation and his equal love for us. So therefore the design should not have a "top", or "bottom", or "sides". A square will do nicely. And it should be a color folks equate with infinity - the deep blue of the night sky.

Of course it needs to recognize that we are Christians, so a cross must be the primary symbology. I recommend two together - the first is the Jerusalem Cross, which symbolizes our place of origin as a Faith, our willingness to defend that Faith, and GAFCON's Jerusalem Declaration which restates anew the core of our Faith. The second cross is the Cross of Saint George, acknowledging our common roots as Anglicans.

Which would give you something like this:

Not a spork or a 'color of sunrise' to be found. I think I'll call it the 'Great Emission Flag'.

Happy Lambeth!

15 July 2008

The Carpetbaggers Have To Give Back Some Carpet, And Some Have To Go Home.

ICF, the administrators of Kathleen Blanco's Post-Katrina "Road Home" disaster program, have been fined a million bucks for failing to meet their goals, and will have to lay off 500 employees and close offices. This according to The Baton Rouge Business Report.


Unfortunately, they will not be closing their office on Goodwood Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Which means I still have to dodge all the inconsiderate ICF employees who wander across Goodwood Boulevard in the middle of traffic yakking on their cell phones.

Phenom Penh, 1975? No, New Orleans, 2005

Remember this famous image?

It's 1975 Phenom Penh, during the forcible evacuation of the city by the Communists.

Heard about this?

Here's some more:

Yes, dear readers, this actually happened. People coming into your home at will, weapons drawn, to take away your right to protect yourself and to force you from that home.

In America. In 2005.

There is an an excellent book about the New Orleans gun-rights violations, The Great New Orleans Gun Grab, which you can buy here.

(And yes, I carried a weapon every time I went down there after the storm.)(UPDATE 16JULY08: And yes, I have a carry permit.)

Hattip: Instapundit

Mission (Almost) Accomplished.

Michael Yon emails that, well, we've won. In Iraq, anyway:

We have won the war in Iraq. By "we" I mean the Coalition and the Iraqis. Unless there is some unexpected reversal, what lays ahead is the challenge of building a better Iraq. There is still violence. We have lost four soldiers to combat this month, but there were times when we lost that many on an average day. There still are attacks, though we have finally reached the point where all that's left are truly "dead-enders." Al Qaeda is still a problem, but their numbers are decreasing in Iraq. The Iraqi people are sick of the violence. The Iraqi Army is filled with courageous soldiers who can fight. It is possible that by the end of the year we can really say, "Mission Accomplished," except for the continued support that Iraq will need.

Personally, my optimism has never been higher for Iraq.

And he has more here, including some stats (a PowerPoint download) to prove his claim. If any journalist should know about this, it's Michael.

He is not, however, so optomistic about Afghanistan.

14 July 2008

A Simple Country..... Blogger.

Dear readers, the Simple Country Bishop™ World Tour (Lambeth playdates), is being liveblogged by.... the Simple Country Bishop™ himself! Really. If you want to follow his it's all about me attention-getting progress, the address is (and I am not making this up):

The Thirty-Nine Thirty-Eight Articles of Religion, or "Will It Blend?"

If you're an Anglican/Episcopalian, you profess this:

ARTICLE VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Unless, of course, you're a Simple Country Bishop from New Hampshire; then it's OK to toss whatever gets in the way of your agenda. From this pre-Lambeth attention-getter in last Saturday's Guardian (Warning: graphic Shori-esque "small box" theology included):

My conservative brothers and sisters seem to argue that God revealed everything to us in scripture. Ever since, it has simply been our difficult but straightforward task to conform ourselves to God's will revealed there and to repent when we are unable or unwilling to do so.

For me, there is something static and lifeless in such a view of God. Could it be that even the Bible is too small a box in which to enclose God?

The Bible does not "enclose" God, my good Bishop, any more the user's manual "encloses", say, a kitchen blender. Both tell what is necessary for successful operation, each in their own realm. Both set limits on proper use. Both talk of consequences. Case in point - there is an admonition in your blender's manual about not using it while standing in water. You could die. ("Static and lifeless" indeed.) Are you, Bishop, freed from that "box" of consequences because you beleive making daiquiris while sitting in the hot tub is just a part of who you are?

Didn't think so.

12 July 2008

Eh, 2.0, Brute?

To answer that burning question literally one(s) of my reader(s) asked: No, I did not get an iPhone 2.


The only actual advantages the new phone has over the iPhone already in my pocket are, IMHO, 3G and GPS.

3G is great, but it is not, well, everywhere. Especially here in Louisiana. According to ATT's website, go just a few miles east or north of Baton Rouge and 3G goes missing, Right now you can not even keep a continuous 3G connection on I-10 from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. In Slidell? Sorry; you're on the Edge. So I'll wait until the map is more uniformly 3G, not just dots on the landscape.

GPS is something I have been longing for, but now that it's here I really don't know how I'd use it. I've seen a few of the mapping apps, and while nice, I don't need to know where I am with any more precision than the current location-by-cell-phone-tower position. There are needs for such GPS precision - emergency response, navigation and landing big bombs on nasty people - but locating friends in your "social network" is not one of them. Yeah, I know; I'm a curmudgeon. But I honestly don't like anybody enough (wife, kids excluded) to want to know where they are 24/7; and besides, can you say the word stalking? I knew you could.

So as for the new iPhone, I'm gonna wait.

But I didn't wait for the new 2.0 software. No siree. We were on Lookout Mountain in northern Alabama yesterday, and I was on the hotel wireless network at 6:30am downloading the 2.0 firmware upgrade. Got the download and.... oops. Since I use my office server as my default Outlook server, the install got to a point about syncing and stopped. Dead. So I had no phone and no e-mail all the way back to Baton Rouge. (Which was, actually, rather pleasant.) I went to the office last night after we got back, re-ran the install, and all is well.

Quick first impressions:

New calculator. I really like this. I use my iPhone as my default calculator for most things now, but still drag around a Casio scientific calculator for doing more complex math, like logs, tangents, arcs, etc. Now I don't have to.

Contacts: I like having that as a separate button on the desktop.

YouTube in websites: About time.

Outlook improvements: Sweet. Just sweet.

I know there is much more I haven't poked at yet, but I'll get to it. But the biggest improvement is......

The App Store. Real third-party apps! No more "web-only" apps! (Blogger commences to do the happy dance!) I downloaded several that interested me, and here are my first impressions (which are subject to change as experience increases):

Labrynth by Illusion Labs. A digital version of that box with holes and knobs that you had to navigate a steel ball through. Uses the iPhone's accelerometer. It's bloody addictive. Get. This. Game.

Color Tilt by IMAK Creations. A fun "doodle and paint" program, again using the iPhone's accelerometer to pick colors and change colors, with your finger as the brush. I can see this as a useful time killer in meetings.

Cow Toss by Digital Thought Software. You slingshot a cow. That's it. It moos, and makes some bouncing noises. The first time is funny. The second is cute. The third time is annoying. And if you have any brain cells there isn't a fourth time. Until they make it challenging - say, you have to aim a catapulted cow from a castle onto a clueless Arthur king and his silly English "Kennnnnnn-iggits," this is a waste of time. And of 99 cents.

iMahjong by Jirbo. Already played several games. Even worked with my fat little fingers. A definite keeper.
UPDATE: Wife likes it. Kids, too.

LiveSportz by Bluefish Wireless. This app is supposed to enable you to keep up with Major League Baseball, play by play. As a fan of God's Chosen Team, this seemed a no brainer - and since it's free it's a lot cheaper than the official MLB app. Plus, they claim that they will be doing the same for the NFL in the fall. But other than crap out, or crap out and cause my iPhone to reboot, I have not gotten this app to do anything. Not even to set up my "favorite teams." Maybe you must have a 3G connection. But if you do, they don't say it anyplace. Skip this one.
UPDATE: We tried out LiveSportz tonight with the Red Sox / Orioles game. I'm not impressed. We had the game on XM as we tried the app. First inning, when it wasn't freezing up or crapping out, all LiveSportz said was, "Updating..." Whole inning. After dinner, we tried it again during the sixth inning, and... it worked. Updates were lagging behind the XM play-by-play by less than a minute. But then it started giving this "Extended break" message and no more updates, even thought the game was going on on XM. We closed and reopened the app, and it started working again - for about three minutes - and then gave us the "Extended Break" message and some fluff about what a wonderful program this is. Maybe this is just teething trouble, because when this thing works, it's great. But if it doesn't improve in the next few days, I'm tossing it.

Morocco by Bayou Games. A freebie of the classic Othello/Riversi game, it plays well and the price is right. Another keeper.

No. 2 Pencil by Lint Labs. A cute "scribble" app that lets you sketch, doodle, make notes, etc., on a blank sheet of "paper". It's a bit crude, but worthwhile; especially in my profession. It has a lot of possibilities and they intend to improve it, so I'm giving this one a recommend.

Recorder by Retronyms. A simple, no frills voice recorder, with two big drawbacks - first, unliess you are in a very quiet room, or listening by earphones, you can't hear the darn thing in playback; and second, there appears to be no way to start/stop recording to the same recording file - it makes a new file every time. We use a recorder when doing observation inspections and punchlists, so this would be most annoying. I'll wait a few days for improvements - but if not I'll go with another recording app.

This is just a first pass. More later.

09 July 2008

It's Not The Size Of Your Missile Force, It's What You Can Do With It.

It seems someone in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (the Iranian equivalent of the SS) is using Photoshop to make up for some, um.... size issues. Inadequate size of a planned propaganda missile launch, that is.

Would it be an act of war if we released a picture of this uranium enrichment facility with a Photoshopped crater in it's place?

Hair Mass.

The current theology of The Episcopal Church (tm) leadership, put to song by an 80's hair band:

Hattip: From a comment in this post at Drell's Descants.

UPDATE: Changed the post title.

Finally. Sixth Sense.

Louisiana's Sixth District Congressional race has tightened up in the last 24 hours, and that may well give the GOP a chance in November to undo their election embarrassment this past spring.

Last night, Woody Jenkins announced he will not loose again run, and this afternoon State Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, was endorsed by the State GOP as the Republican candidate for the seat.

(As regular readers know, I supported Laurinda Calongne in the last election, and wold have preferred she give it a go this time. But I understand her reasons. Laurinda is looking to keep busy politically, so I know we'll see more of her in the future.)

Washington's Politico thinks a now-unified GOP (with no Woody Jenkins as candidate) has a decent chance to regain the seat. I hope they're right.

Wednesday Afternoon Distraction, II.

The Improv Everywhere folks are at it again. This time, it's human mirrors:

This one is pretty cool, too:

Wednesday Afternoon Distraction.

Via Instapundit, a look back at our first gas crisis with some early-70's car ads.

Generally, I try hard to forget the 70's ever existed; but there are one or two things I do remember fondly - paint it yellow, and this is one of them:

(The other one was the blonde who drove it.)

Today's Required Reading.

From Creative Minority Report comes this inspiring post about Rebecca Walker, the daughter of writer and feminist icon (and, of course, Obama supporter), Alice Walker. It's from a Daily Mail article back in May.

It seems Rebecca learned that there is more to life than the ever-victimized self:

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from 'enslaving' me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world. My only regret is that I discovered the joys of motherhood so late - I have been trying for a second child for two years, but so far with no luck.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

Read it all.

Viva Armas! Viva Dios!

Here's another one for the "clarification" file, as the Saviour of America opines on the language preferences of us bitter, clinging hayseeds here in the 57 States:

Hey, Barak, bi-lingual this: "Señor, usted es un tirón arrogante.."

08 July 2008

Religion Is The Opiate Of The People! No, Wait......

If you thought Lefty Anglicans beleive schism, nationalism, and the mixing of church and state were bad things, think again. It's OK when it serves the "right" people and the "correct" causes:

Venezuela: Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic have consecrated three priests as bishops of a new church loyal to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

Last Saturday the dissident churchman formed the Reformed Catholic Church of Venezuela in a ceremony in the western city of Ciudad Ojeda. Organized along Anglican principles, the “Bolivarian” church seeks to combine the socialist ideals of the president and nationalist heritage of Simon Bolivar --- the country’s founder --- with the tenets of liberation theology.

In other words, we have a new diocese of The Episcopal Church (tm). Really:

The Bolivarian Church, which models itself on the nationalist catholic church formed in Nineteenth century Mexico that has since become the Anglican Church of Mexico, uses the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer and has adopted a liberal moral ethos, making clerical celibacy optional, permitting divorce and remarriage, and holding that homosexual conduct is not immoral.

Hattip: Brad Drell.

UPDATE: Ontario Emperor weighs in on the matter, including a link to this article on "liberation theology" written in 1984 by a then unknown, but now rather known, Catholic cleric named Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger; and some thoughts on Saint Che, the patron saint of mass executions without due process socialist justice.

UPDADE: Roman Catholics have, as you would guess, called this load of hooey a load of hooey. And so have some Anglicans. But one would think The Episcopal Church (tm) in particular would have something to say about this as well, especially if Chavez' church is cribbing The Episcopal Church (tm) Book of Common Prayer for their own. But so far, nothing. The Book of Common Prayer is specifically copyrighted by The Episcopal Church (tm) (my copy says 1977), which makes it their property. And we all know how much The Episcopal Church (tm) treasures their property, and their fiduciary responsibility to the same.

UPDATE 09JULY08: The Living Church is reporting on Chavez' new "church," and also on the local Episcopal Bishop's "he-makes-the-trains-run-on-time" excuse for Chavez and his policies:

The Diocese of Venezuela is part of Province 9 of The Episcopal Church and includes Curaçao - Netherlands Antilles. Last month, the diocese’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Orlando Guerrero, visited the Episcopal Church Center in New York, where he offered his thanks for the support of the Episcopal Church. He told Episcopal News Service that health care, education, and hunger issues have improved since President Chavez took office, but that the wealthy are leaving the country. He said that President Chavez is very “faithful and compromising with churches.”

07 July 2008

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Reflections Documents.

I haven't posted on the upcoming Lambeth Conference, the much anticipated once-a-decade meeting of Anglican Communion Bishops because, well, this is about how I expect things to go:

(Once more, from Last of the Few)

This Lambeth Conference, to my mind, is a waste of time. It has been purposely structured so that the one thing the Anglican Communion desperately needs right now - an end to the Current Unpleasantness plaguing our Faith - can not happen. There will be no consensus on what the common mind of our Faith is, or is not - what is right, and what is not - just the thoughts of "Indaba" groups collected into a "Reflections Document." (Yeah, me either.)

Lambeth will be just another chance for the Anglican mitre-wearers to do what they seem to excel at of late - ignoring the huge theological questions before us by saying something so politely undefinable and vague that one can read into it whatever one wants. No doubt our Presiding Bishop, who's skills with indeterminate, New-Age gibberish are legend, will be at the forefront of this effort.

Monday Night Distraction.

And you thought a metal cargo platform was the ultimate trailer hitch accessory for your SUV. Au contraire:

It's called, and we are not making this up, "Uncle Booger's Bumper Dumper". It's patented. And, you can buy one.

Is this a great country, or what?

Hattip: Equipped to Survive.

06 July 2008

Our Gracious Lord Of....

Anus Horribilis.

Seems we Yanks are not the only ones who have a problem with the good Dr. Williams; some of his local flock do as well, by the looks of it.

From Last of the Few, of course.

04 July 2008

Happy Independence Day, Everyone.

I've pretty much taken the day off today, and it seems a lot of other US bloggers have as well. Posts commenting on the import of the day are not as prevalent as before, but there are some: see here, and here. And you must see this, too. But my favorite July 4th post so far is over at Theo Spark's Last of the Few - a fine study celebrating the red, white and blue. If that doesn't make you want to salute; I question your patriotism.

03 July 2008


We have a new interior designer in the house. So let's turn up the official office I-passed-the-exam song and do the happy dance:

And to anyone who sends her this book in commemoration, note that we at RSR make no assurance your next-of-kin will find all your body parts.

02 July 2008

Wednesday Afternoon Distraction.

If you've had enough of the world this week (I know I have), maybe you can find your happy place by watching a bit of..... synchronized driving:

I really liked the changing-a-tire-while-the-car-is-moving routine.

01 July 2008

Equal Time, Or Calling A Bluff.

State Senator Ann Duplessis (D - Wants Money), who spearheaded the recently vetoed legislative pay raises (though, in fairness, she initially wanted to quintuple salaries, not double them), says she is disappointed - at Governor Jindal for vetoing the pay raises; at the "overstated" opposition to the raises; and that she is unable to tell "the other side."

What?? Unable to tell the other side?????

Listen, lady - you're a Senator, for pity's sake!! Call a press conference. Call someone at Channel 4. They know who you are. I am sure A LOT of people would love to hear the "other side," and wouldn't charge you a silver dime to tell it. Really.

Can't afford that - heck, email me. I got a couple of friends in the media - I'd be happy to arrange something. If that doesn't do it for you, I'll let you post something here at RSR. No questions asked. No "PR budget" expenditures required.

UPDATE 02JULY08: No response from the good Senator. Probably too busy helping folks understand how to do business with Hollywood. First thing to understand - you'll never get on the A-List on only 16K a year.

UPDATE 03JULY08: Still waiting.

UPDATE 04JULY08: Nothing yet. But I'll give her a pass since it's a holiday.

Balance Sheet.

On The Plus Side: Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal (R-I Found 'Em!) finally vetoed the Legislative pay raise at the last minute. He also apologized to the Leggies for breaking a promise to them to not interfere. But in vetoing the pay raise he was keeping a promise to those who, 'ya know, elected him. The voters. His boss. (And the Leggies boss, too. FWIW.) If Jindal had used his veto pen on day one he would have been a bloody hero, and he could have steamrolled Jim Tucker (R-Greedy) and his cronies. But now I think Jindal is damaged goods to both those who voted for him and those who he will have to work with to get anything done. How Jindal heals the wounds will be his next real test.

On The Minus Side: In the Sixth Congressional District, Laurinda Calongne has decided to not run for the seat in November. While I wish it were otherwise, I understand and respect her reasons. This leaves two questions out there - first, is Rep. Don Cazayoux beatable in November? That one is a toss-up. Current CW says no (he is still in his "honeymoon" period and most folks are willing to give him a chance), but he is supporting Obama, and that won't sit well with many Sixth District voters. If Cazayoux has a challenge from inside the Democratic Party, that could change the dynamic, too. Second question is, who will run for the GOP? Currently, only GOP State Senator and doctor, Bill Cassidy, has formally announced. But Woody Jenkins, the patron saint of lost GOP elections, is also looking at loosing running again.