Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why Capitalism is Good for the Soul

Peter Saunders has written an excellent essay on the subject.

Read it all.

From Tim Blair via Instapundit.

The Episcopal Way

(with apologies to Frank Loesser)

Wimberly: When I joined this church

As a brash young man,

Well, I said to myself,

"Now, brash young man,

Don't get any ideas."

Well, I stuck to that,

And I haven't had one in years.

Henderson: You play it safe.

Wimberly: I play it the Episcopal way;

Wherever the church puts me

There I stay.

Henderson: But what is your point of view?

Wimberly: I have no point of view.

Henderson: Supposing the church thinks . . .

Wimberly: I think so too.

Henderson: Now, what would you say . . .?

Wimberly: I wouldn't say.

Henderson: Your face is an Episcopal face.

Wimberly: It smiles at primates

Then goes back in place.

Henderson: The diocese furniture?

Wimberly: Oh, it suits me fine.

Henderson: The national letterhead?

Wimberly: A valentine.

Henderson: Anything you're against?

Wimberly: Unemployment.

Henderson: When they want brilliant thinking

From the bishops

Wimberly: That is no concern of mine.

Henderson: Suppose a man of genius

Makes suggestions?

Wimberly: Watch that genius get suggested to resign.

Henderson: So you play it the Episcopal way?

Wimberly: All church policy is by me OK.

Henderson: You'll never rise up to the top.

Wimberly: But there's one thing clear:

Whoever Schori inhibits,

I will still be here.

Henderson: Oh, you certainly found a home!

Wimberly: It's cozy.

Henderson: Your brain is an Episcopal brain.

Wimberly: The church washed it,

Now I can't complain.

Henderson: Hey, the church magazine!

Wimberly: Oh, what style, what punch!

Henderson: The GC restaurant!

Wimberly: Ev'ry day same lunch:

Their haddock sandwich; it's delicious!

Henderson: I must try it.

Wimberly: (Early in the week.)

Henderson: Do you have any hobbies?

Wimberly: I've a hobby; I play gin with Mr. Crews.

Henderson: Mr. Crews! And do you play it nicely?

Wimberly: Play it nicely . . . still, he blitzes me

In every game, like that!

Henderson: Why?

Wimberly: 'Cause I play it the Episcopal way.

Schori's policy is by me OK.

Henderson: Oh, how can you get anywhere?

Wimberly: Junior, have no fear;

Whoever Schori inhibits,

I will still be here.

Henderson: You will still be here.

Both: Year after year after fiscal,

Never take a risk-al year!


The Optimum Presidential Race

I'm backing off of political posts because I seem to be allergic, quite literally, to partisanship. So you can imagine my joy when I found some information that enabled me to be political and bi-partisan simultaneously.

According to a recent poll, 14 per cent of Thompson supporters and 12 per cent of Obama supporters say they have sex almost every day. 5 percent of Clinton and Giuliani supporters have sex that frequently.

I think the answer is clear, if we want America to get lucky, then the winners in the primaries have to be Obama and Thompson. Do it for the future of America. Do it for the children!

The Tale of Two Attorney Generals

In Virginia, the State Attorney General has a filed a brief in favour of the constitutionality of Virginia's Division Statute. This helps the break away parishes and hurts, somewhat, the Diocese of Virginia and 815.

Not all that terribly far away, the U S Solicitor General has filed a brief in favour of the Washington DC ordinance banning handguns, saying that the trial court used the wrong standard in evaluating the constitutionality of the same.

How are they related? Well this post finally allows me to use 'guns' and 'episcopal church' tags for the same post.

:)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fascism

Defined.

One More Reason

I'm glad I don't live in England.

The Future

I think there is much that remains to be done in Africa, and that is an area where our efforts can easily pay off in manifold ways. The single best way I know to evangelize is to simply be helpful. And it sounds as though our willingness to be helpful is being challenged by the Muslims. that's the sort of competition I think we need to engage in.

As for the home front, many are somewhat discouraged. I am less so. I think that the orthodox Episcopalians were caught off guard by the theologically trendy. We were polite and played nice. They have not. The word that has resonated most with me this new year has been 'truculent'. I think we need to call our Worthy Opponents on each and every word they say. To hold them accountable for every premise, fact or conclusion they offer. In the past five years, that has happened more and more. The process that has resulted has been painful. It is going to be more so, but I think it will bear much fruit.

To use a gardening analogy, I think that we are being pruned. Unpleasant for the tree as it happens, but necessary if it's going to produce in the future.

In response to a post by Anglicat that is well worth reading.

The Cat Came Back

Dr. Mabuse is having a mini celebration of classic Canadian cartoons.

Because I've Been Picking on Texas a Lot Lately

The audio is set low on this, you may wish to crank it up a bit.

Father Jake Swings, Misses

Terry Martin has written a post about how hard the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali is making evangelism by being so narrow and homophobic. The concluding sentence is "And we wonder why some of our younger generations consider Christians to be homophobic, judgmental and hypocritical."

Okay.

Let's look at what the Bishop of Rochester has said according to Terry Martin:

1. Couples who are deliberately childless are being self-indulgent.
2. Just war theory may allow a pre-emptive attack.
3. If the TEC bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson get Lambeth invites, he might not attend.
4. Muslims have created no-go areas in certain large British cities.

Let's discuss them one by one. Number one, the selfishness of not having children is in agreement with the theology of the Catholic church. Protestant theologians can and do disagree with that position, but it is a legitimate position. It all boils down to what you believe marriage is for. Unfortunately for Terry Martin, the historical Anglican position on marriage is found in the 1928 BCP enumeration for the reasons to get married, one of which is children.

But more to the point, such a view is not homophobic, and I'm not sure that calling it hypocritical is fair. So that leaves judgmental. Well it could be, but what was the context of the remark? Terry+ links to this BBC article. Here's the money quote: "Writing in a diocesan newspaper, Rochester Link, the bishop advised priests to look kindly on those whose marriages broke down because of the refusal of one partner to have a child. He said that such people should be treated with the same sympathy as victims of 'infidelity, desertion or cruelty'." So he was calling for compassion when couples divorce over the issue. I'm sorry, but how is that judgmental?

The second idea is about attacking Iraq. A lot of people were against the idea. I'm quite convinced that going in was a mistake. The money quote for the article Terry links to is "
If the Government's promised intelligence dossier on Saddam's weapons stockpile proved convincing, then military action would be legitimate self-defence." Note the use of "If...then". What the Bishop states is a version of the 'Just War Theory'. Just War Theory attempts to answer the question "When may Christians go to war?". I'm not a fan of Just War Theory, but there you are. Again, I'm not seeing homophobia, hypocrisy or judgmentalism here.

What about the third point? Here's the quote: "The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said he would find it difficult to attend a Church council alongside those who consecrated or approved the appointment of Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop." Well, the consecration of Bishop Robinson was characterized by the Archbishop of Canterbury as straining the fabric of the Anglican Communion. It was in deliberate violation of commitments made by the Episcopal Church. It went against millennia of Church teaching and practice. Further, an absolute majority of the Anglican Communion is no longer in communion with the Episcopal Church as a result of that act.

And I think this is what has gotten Terry's goat. It isn't the couples without children or Just War Theory. It's that Terry Martin thinks that the Episcopal Church is right and the rest of the world, except maybe Canada, is wrong.

But let's get to cases. I think Terry Martin would say that here we see homophobia and judgmentalism and probably hypocrisy. Perhaps someone can explain how it's hypocritical, because I'm not seeing it. Apparently following Church tradition is homophobic, and judgmental. Can someone explain that one to me as well?

Now to point four, Terry Martin objects to the Bishop of Rochester's statement about 'no go areas'. Unfortunately for Father Martin, the Bishop appears to be right.

What is really going on here? Terry Martin doesn't like Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. And instead of saying so and then explaining why, he resorts to the epithets of the Left, terming him homophobic, judgmental and a hypocrite. He would have called the Right Reverend a racist, but for the happy chance that the good bishop is a person of colour. I am startled that Terry Martin left off a reference to the patriarchy. The sad thing is not that it is invective, but that it is invective poorly done.

What is the Bishop of Rochester's sin? He dares to disagree with a priest on another continent. He dares to express concern about issues that Terry Martin doesn't think are important. He has forgotten that he is a second class Christian from a third world country. He needs reminding that the liberal white elite know best, and he should keep his mouth shut, unless it is to express agreement with his betters. I've seen this sort of reaction before. It's what also happens to Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, among others.

Instead of explaining why the good Bishop is in error, Father Terry simply resorts to a few epithets. He mis-uses some news articles to provide support for a predetermined and poorly thought out conclusion.

This is why the country and the Episcopal Church are divided. Pompous pusillanimous prating priests such as Terry Martin attack their opponents without ever using the Divinely given gift of Reason. He doesn't just attack, he smears, he labels and he doesn't think. Not ever. His conduct in that one post is reprehensible. Unfortunately, his entire website is replete of examples of how narrow minded, bigoted and self-righteous he really is. If just once he would justify his use of the hackneyed labels of the whitebread Left, I could respect him, maybe.

Conclusion: Father Jake is a jerk.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rambling, Old School

Three Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Tennessee have seen their members leave the denomination en masse this year. The Bishop of Tennessee is John Bauerschmidt. From all accounts is personally amiable and theologically orthodox. His last name struck a chord with me and I started digging.

Back when I was in college (University of the South, 1982), I knew a Fritz Bauerschmidt. Fritz was two years behind me. He had a religious bent and was popular with the girls. He's very smart and at the time I knew him could have been a stand in for the platonic ideal of "laid back". Somehow I doubt that has changed, even though he is now married with children.

Some very quick Googling showed me that John and Fritz are in fact brothers. What I learned about Fritz has proven most intriguing. He apparently converted to Catholicism right after I graduated. He continued to be interested in religion, got his doctorate and is now an assistant professor of theology at Loyola in Baltimore.

Several of the people I knew in college have gone on to religious greatness, as it were. But of them Fritz is the only one I thought that would happen to. I never would have pegged Shannon Johnston nor Jim Mathes for being dog-collar bound. Mark Lewis, apparently, has changed little since college. I never thought of him as the priestly type, but when I heard he was, I wasn't surprised. The same holds true for David Dearman, but in a much less spectacular way.

Irregardless of my reminiscences, Fritz has apparently achieved great things in the world of Catholic theology. He has written an intro to Aquinas that is well thought of. And he has written a popular interest book entitled Why the Mystics Matter Now. As soon as I can scrape the appropriate number of shekels together, I intend to order it.

Now you might ask why am I not getting the Aquinas book? Bottom line, I already own the Summa Theologica, have read the Summa Theologica and am not convinced by the Summa Theologica. I became a nominalist in college and remain one, however lapsed and inert, to this very day.

US footage of confrontation in the Gulf - 09 Jan 08

I love the age we live in. Given the prevalence of video cameras I think it ought to be called the "Age of Transparency". Despite the clear evidence of the tape, the Iranians are claiming it's a fake.

Nothing bugs totalitarians more than a lack of censorship. Nothing.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Because the original version of the all bacon burger was too whimpy, the 'inventor' unveils his new and improved recipe.

H/T Fark

Great Pic!




From here.

Also check out their new translation of the Bible.

OMG, they has ph4t l3vvt$!

Book Review

I just finished The Dead by Mark E Rogers last night. I haven't been reviewing the books I read, but I thought I'd make an exception in this case.

The Dead is the Tim Lahaye/Jerry Jenkins Apocalypse done by a Catholic in one thin book. As self-published books go, it's fairly well written. It helps that Rogers is an established writer. The book comes with original art that is evocative, but not as good as Rogers' previously published work.

The plot is simple and moderately obvious. Zombies do not scare me, so I didn't find it especially scary. And the characterization is stereotypical. However, the theological discussion is most entertaining if you're currently embroiled in any of the mainstream church controversies. Catholics and Episcopalians will find it particularly relevant. There is one conversation between Father Tim and Father Chuck that I expect will make any revisionist writhe. That it takes place in a tunnel, surrounded by zombies makes it even more gripping.

While I enjoyed reading The Dead, I really wish the author/artist would return to his roots and start writing genre bending parodies again.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Welcome to the new guys

Hazel Stone (that has to be a pseudonym) and Ted Bronson have a brand new blog. It's well worth checking out. Ted got things off to a flying start with one heck of an essay about the nanny state. Note to any politicos: If you really want my vote, the issues he mentions are the issues that will get you my vote. Check it out.

Church Blogging


In honour of the continuing news of people, churches and even a diocese leaving the Episcopal Church since the General Convention, am I the only one who finds this logo from the 2006 GC deeply ironic?

Tuesday Morning Country

How to be Popular

I only check my viewing stats about twice a week or so. I try very hard not to obsess about who is reading me and why, as this blog is really here so I can spout off on topics that interest me.

Now that I've made that disclaimer, I had more hits yesterday than I ever have had. And after a quickie analysis, it would seem that instead of blogging about weird videos, retro music, Episcopal Church controversies, law and theology, I ought to be ranting about Georgia senatorial candidates. As my friends and relatives know all too well, I have definite political views, but politicians set off my allergies. I think the sickest I've ever been was the week after the State Democratic Convention where I had been a delegate.

The upshot of which is I think I'm coming down with the flu. And I blame Messrs. Vernon Jones, Dale! Cardwell, Rand Knight, Josh Lanier, Maggie Martinez and Saxby Chambliss . I blame all of them.

Addendum: Of course there's absolutely nothing wrong or even mucus forming about political satire.

Celebrate Diversity!

I'm actually not a huge fan of the diversity crowd. They're a little too smug and way too PC for me. However, diversity in cuisine hits me where I live. And if I can save a buck or two doing it, then it's well worth doing. Wisebread has an excellent guide to finding what foods in what ethnic markets. Kathy Biehl has a lovely set of links to online ethnic grocers.

Enjoy!

The Truth Will Out

A realtor finally comes out and says it. Keep in mind though, that practicing law without a license is as evil an act as can be imagined. Selling real estate without a license may be malum prohibitum, but practicing law without a license is malum in se.

How to Behave

Katie Delahaye Paine writes a wonderful post on the necessity and practicality of transparency in building trust. She wrote it as it applies to the business world, but I think the principles she states have a much broader application.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Great Googly Moogly!

It will be interesting to see where this idea goes.

Senator

The Democratic race for Senator in Georgia continues to underwhelm. I have a very deep and personal grudge against one of the candidates (Dale! Cardwell) and I had thought I'd wind up voting Democrat just to vote against him in the primary. The primary is only about a month away and I thought it might be useful to look at the sorry lot of losers who constitute the candidate pool this year.

First we have Vernon (I need a bodyguard) Jones. He's the CEO of my home county (DeKalb) and has never met a spending program he couldn't shift to one of his close, personal friends. He is supposed to be affordable as corrupt officials go, so that's something. Conventional wisdom is that he will get the nod.

Second is Dale! (sanctimonious douchebag) Cardwell. Dale! has received so little support that he is hiding out on top of an abandoned tower in downtown Atlanta. No, I'm not making that up. He's a former alleged investigative reporter with Channel 2 here. As such he was an employee of one of the larger US media conglomerates (Cox Communications). Dale!'s platform is that he won't be beholden to anyone. Either he's lying about that and has the Cox empire behind him, or he's a total tool who successfully managed to piss off his bosses and coworkers.

Third is Rand Knight. Dr Knight is a whitebread technocrat. Boring speaker, colourless past and a lack of achievement have evidently qualified this ex-basket weaver for the Senate.

Josh Lanier is running for the geezer vote. He may have been a success as a businessman, but he has zero political experience, unless you count briefly being a lobbyist and helping to manage the Presidential yacht as political experience.

And lastly we have Maggie Martinez, for whom English is apparently a second language. Normally that's no bar to election in Georgia, but she speaks Spanish as her primary, instead of Talmadge, so that's probably a bit of a hindrance to her being elected.

Happily, everyone of them gets slaughtered by the Republican incumbent in all the polls, so even if Dale! wins the primary, which the polls show him losing, I can still vote against him in the general election. Dem. party insiders are on record off-the-record as conceding the seat to Saxby Chambliss.

Which is a relief, because I still don't know who I like for President. I'm hoping New Hampshire will bring some clarity on that point, because the way things are going, I could wind up deciding which party primary to vote in on election day.

Addendum: Well, if anyone was curious about what happens if you call a candidate from South Georgia a 'geezer', the answer is you get pwned. Josh (from the comments) is right about the difference in the primaries. Unfortunately, he better enjoy his triumph here while it lasts. This election isn't for the Democrats to win, it's for Saxby Chambliss to lose.

And in the interests of bi-partisanship, let me point out that Saxby Chambliss is a man of principle. Please note the careful use of the singular there. His guiding principle is that he will be re-elected. And he is a humble man. When Georgia popular opinion about an issue changes, he isn't so proud that he won't rethink his position and change with it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Well, now then....

Maybe we need to rethink living in town.

12 Myths

Ralph Peters hits one out of the park.

H/T to Cliff

Why Youth Has an Advantage in a Financial Panic



The video clip that started the whole international parkour phenomenon is here.