Saturday, March 22, 2008
Thank you Lord for Your gift of clarity.
I believe in the Resurrection. I live in that Hope.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
This is how the split ought to go. The take home portion of this lesson is: Why doesn't it always happen like this and who is responsible for the majority of the additional pain, expense and litigation? What does that say about their priorities? And how do you reconcile those priorities with our call to service for God?
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
We had dinner last night with my brother and his wife. They confirmed that they are likely leaving Atlanta by mid-summer. My sister and her family are moving out of their apartment into a new house this weekend. Sally and I are staying right where we are.
I'm probably moving as well though. I do not know where, but I think that I can no longer be a part of an organization that revels in injustice. I do not think I will be an Episcopalian for much longer.
The Episcopal Church has been moving in the wrong direction for decades. I have fought the changes with every fibre of my being. I have participated in church politics, I have done committees, written letters, politicked, campaigned, you name it. Some time back I burnt out and almost ceased being a Christian, let alone an Episcopalian.
The argument I hear from my reappraising mother and moderate father is that I ought to remain. That doctrinal disagreements are no reason to leave. That it is possible to reform from within. They are correct. 2008 is by no means the worst year in the history of Christianity. Arguably, that honour belongs to 1378, when there were two Popes serving at the same time.
However, there is more to membership than working from within. We are more than Episcopalians. We are also Christians. And the second is much more important than the former.
For some time, the label Episcopalian has been hindering my Christian witness. That is unacceptable. Given the lack of commitment of my church to mercy, charity, grace or even justice at the present time, I can not see that remaining will constitute anything other than an endorsement of my church's actions.
I think I will stay to see what happens to Bishop Duncan. That will be the final straw, the last ditch, the line that must not be crossed. If the Episcopal Church behaves as I believe it will, then the following things will happen.
I have been donating anonymously to my alma mater. That will cease. I have given money to my home church. That will stop. All of my time and energy that I have spent protesting, corresponding and communicating with anyone who will listen about the current state of affairs in the Episcopal Church will be spent on finding a new home for my wife and myself.
I don't expect to hear anything from the institutional loyalists other than 'don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out'. But....
How many people have to leave before our leadership acknowledges that there is a problem? How small can the Episcopal Church get and remain viable? If there is no physical resurrection, no life after death, no real theology or ethics or even morality other than “God won't fix in a box” then what reason is there for the Episcopal Church?
The Baptists have better sermons, the Methodists have much better music, the Catholics have better liturgy, the Orthodox have greater solemnity, and the Presbyterians just know what's going to happen. And all of them have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. So why be an Episcopalian? What do we have to offer that is valuable?
That's the core of the current crisis. Because if you do not believe that Jesus is God and that you are a sinner and therefore separated from God. And do not believe that God loves you and died for you and rose again triumphant over death. Then you have no reason to live as a Christian. Because you are not one.
Your god may not fit in a box. But mine doesn't either. And mine is much more powerful and active than yours is. My God died for you. Your god can not even live, much less act. My God acts on a minute by minute basis in the world. He performs miracles with astonishing regularity. Your god is limited. Your god is dead. Nietzsche said so and he was right.
I no longer wish to bear the responsibility of the acts of the godless. I can no longer worship in a place of disbelief. It's time to worship the Lord amongst my fellow believers.
I have been taught, in one variation or another, the following safety rules:
The Four Rules of Firearms Handling
by Jeff Cooper
ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
The only exception to this occurs when you have a firearm in your hands and you have personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as you put it down, Rule 1 applies again.
NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such.
KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about.
BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND IT
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.
They are very good advice indeed. Guns scare me. So I treat them with respect. I have yet to have a gun related injury.
But the single most scary thing in our home is not a gun. It's useless for home defense. I have never enjoyed using it. And it frightens me much more than anything else, far and away.
It is my table saw. Non-woodworkers are probably chuckling right now, but anyone who has ever used a table saw knows why I wrote that. I have a good quality saw, I know how to use it and I do use it. But I hate and fear it. The alleged safety gear makes working with it cumbersome and makes me much more prone to making a bad move. Removing the safety gear allows me better access to the wood, meaning that I can use it more skillfully and thus more safely. But even with correct technique and skilled use, accidents can and do happen. All it takes is one small piece of wood whizzing past you at a very high rate of speed to drive the fear of Delta deep into your soul.
Unfortunately, even though I have a good band saw, sometimes there is no good alternative to the table saw. Which means that I have to use a device that is inherently dangerous or abandon a project out of fear.
One day I may very well sell my table saw. But having it has helped me realize that life is not without risk. There is no absolute safety anywhere. It is best not to dwell upon that fact, but to carry on and do the best that one can. Sometimes when something bad happens, no one is to blame. Cliches all, but true nonetheless.
I reckon having a table saw is why I am no longer a left winger. I am willing to be responsible for my own safety and for the safety of others. I am willing to assume the risk, because I am an adult and I have weighed the risks and benefits.
Of course if I slice my hand off Saturday, I may be voting for Nader. ;)
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Now I have to dig some postholes and put up some trellises.
But if all goes well, we will be awash in grapes in two or three years.
It also appears that nothing short of nuclear war can kill either my rosebush or the snowdrops. Never have such beautiful plants been so neglected.