Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fast Cars and Pretty Girls or Vice Versa?

Alright, I'll admit it. My name is Matthew and I am addicted to British car shows.

An Interesting Parish

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Diocese of Washington, asserts that it is a "An inclusive and welcoming congregation." However, when I've tried to view their website (using both Firefox and IE) the message I'm seeing "You are not authorised to view this resource. You need to login." This is from their homepage.

I'm not feeling included or welcomed.

{Addendum: As of late last night I was welcomed again. Holy Communion of the Unbaptized, Batman! They remind me eversomuch of good ol' St. Barts next door to us.}

Banned in Southwark

All the info you need is here. I thank goodness I don't have a dog in this fight.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Afternoon Meatloaf


I am appalled at myself. I have had this idea of a theological checklist to be used by laity in interviewing clergy. One thing that appalls me is not only did I think of the idea, but that such a thing is necessary. And it is necessary. The others are the questions that I think need to be asked. Basic questions like "Do you believe in a historical physical resurrection?" and "Who do you think ought to partake of the Eucharist?" and "which bits of the Nicene Creed do you disagree with, agree with in a qualified manner or redefine away from classical belief?"

Why is this necessary? Sadly because the laity, myself amongst them, have been systematically deceived by our clergy. I thought when someone said the Nicene Creed, that was what they believed. I thought when someone swore an oath to uphold the Faith it was understood that the Faith to be upheld was that stated in the Book of Common Prayer.

For a good Catholic boy, this has meant the destruction of my obedience to the authority of the my leaders. I can no longer defer to anyone simply because they wear a dog collar. As is common with lovers who have been scorned, I am now more suspicious of the clergy than the laity. I have been burnt too many times by priests and bishops who say only orthodox doctrine when they are amongst strangers or mixed crowds, but practice another theology when they feel secure amongst fellow non-believers.

For a high church type like me, there are whole passages from Pilgrim's Progress that ring painfully true.

Midsummer's Night Dream

Our friends Tom and Kathy, Greg, Anne and Sarah, Andy, Scott and Elizabeth, Marty and Jeri as well as Sally and myself all went together to see the Shakespeare Tavern's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" last night. We had a blast. It's a fun, raucous production, which as Andy pointed out, is exactly the way Shakespeare probably played it.

The only weak point to the Shakespeare Tavern is the menu. They have recently added some Greek dishes to it, but it is still not the best. The staff and the actors more than make up for any culinary deficiencies!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take That Clifford!

The immortal and inimitable Richard Cheese.

In response to this.

Raising the Stakes

Clifford has riposted with a classic Bob Dylan video. Alas, there are videos older out there. Here's a classic:

Ah, you say, Clifford's is the oldest rock 'n roll video. You would be wrong. Here is the oldest rock 'n roll video. I'd embed it, but the guy who posted it to Youtube disabled that feature.

Anita Morris Remembered

I had a major league crush on Anita Morris since I saw her in the Magic Show. When my brothers and I saw her in the Magic Show on Broadway, midway through one of her numbers the power went out (New York City was having periodic brownouts at the time). Naturally the theatre's audio system died as well. The theatre went dark and quiet. I heard someone drawing in a deep breath, and then, a capella, Anita Morris continued singing. She exemplified true professionalism as well as talent (she was a legitimate triple threat) and unbridled sexiness.

This number has a wardrobe malfunction in it (You won't see anything you ought not to). But look how she handles it. The lady was a trouper.

[Addendum: More about Anita Morris here.]

In Honour of Tonight's Festivities

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Have At You!

Clifford over at Red Stick Rant responded to the Vintage Viral post below with a better Ok Go video. I am, like, totally bummed. However, while the supply of really good Ok Go videos is limited, the supply of really old videos is less so. So here's the very first video ever played on a network that never plays videos anymore and I haven't watched (voluntarily) in over a decade!

O Canada indeed

Richard Warman. Canada's own version of Anthony Comstock, is hauling four bloggers up before his tame Human Rights Commission. Yet more fresh Hell from our neighbour to the north....


D C Toedt, who is much smarter than I am, put up an interesting post over on his blog. He discuss false syllogisms and dichotomies raised by reasserters.

I'm going to focus on one: "Here’s another example: If Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t raised from the dead, then our faith is worthless. In other words, if we were to discover compelling evidence that Jesus stayed dead, then (supposedly) nothing he said or did during his lifetime would be of any value to us."

Actually, yes. No resurrection, no reason to be a Christian. Given that He claimed to be the Son of God and given that there are alleged accounts of him being physically alive after His crucifixion, the disproving of the Resurrection would end Christian faith.

Remove that element and all that is left are His moral teachings, which are nice and all, but their authority is dependent upon His divinity. No resurrection, no divinity, no moral authority.

Lots of people die. Lots of people have died. One more death, 2,000 years ago, is relatively meaningless. And that He said some silly things about being God as well as saying some happy moral teaching is all very well, but loads of people have done that sort of thing before. Loads of people do it today. The world doesn't really need another guru.

If Jesus didn't rise again, then He wasn't God, and if He wasn't God, then I am free to decide on my own morality. How's that for Enlightenment thinking? No resurrection, and I'm what I am naturally inclined to be, which is an atheist. And having gone that far, my opinion of anyone who thinks the resurrection didn't happen, admits it and all, and still claims to be a Christian would be that they are delusional at best and a cheat at worst. I mean, what's left? That was Nietzsche's point and a hundred years after his death, he's still spot on.

Of what use is a dead god? How can one have a relationship with such a creator? For that matter, how can a dead god create anything?

I'd really rather not be religious. I find church tiresome. The music is generally dull, the sermons are ignorant and absurd and I don't like my fellow church goers very much. I like to sleep in on Sundays. There are a million reasons to not go to church. I know, I know, C S Lewis said it earlier and better.

For me there is only one reason to go. That is to worship the risen Lord in the company of believers.

Otherwise, if ever I stop believing in the Resurrection, then I'll sleep in and probably wind up a Stoic. I've always liked Stoicism. It doesn't require that I join anything.

FWIW, the comments to Mr Toedt's post are excellent.

Introducing Our New Mascot: Piskie!

Anthem for A New Church

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pouring Coals

I don't normally visit David Virtue's site, for a variety of reasons. However, he has a story that is appalling. The Episcopal Church is a gray haired church. Mistreating the elderly is not a good thing in a church largely composed of that group.

Vintage Viral Video

Monday, April 07, 2008

Good Litigation

I've been very critical of certain ongoing lawsuits. However, the BBC is running a story about a lawsuit that I think any reasonable person would agree is deserving and justified. The families of six men who died in an IRA bombing are suing the men they believe to be responsible. I hope they get a fair trial, and that if the evidence supports it, they get a favourable verdict.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ockham Mart is now open for business

Check it out!

Why 1976 you ask? Well, that's the year the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong was ordained bishop. It marks the beginning of an era.

A New Saints Day

We here at Billy Ockham have learned of the existence of a new saint. His martyrdom will be commemorated on July 17th beginning on its one year anniversary in 2009, right before the General Convention of 2009 (I certainly hope I got my tenses right).

We look forward to the development of a new collect and in fact a whole liturgy to memorialize the witness of a simple country bishop. July 17th will forever be known in Episcopal church history as the "Feast of the Snubbing of Saint V. Gene Robinson".

We here at Ockham Manor plan to celebrate his martyrdom by grilling out if the weather is nice, otherwise we'll just crack open a beer and maybe watch Top Gear or some sports.

BREAKING: Chris Johnson is a Hippie

And provides an accurate if depressing recap of recent Anglican history.

Mr. Johnson blogs here.