Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Revenge Business

I'm not a fan of taking revenge, but if you must, this is how it should be done.

Millions for Lawsuits, Not One Penny for Jesus

The recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church did many things. Bottled water is now officially a Bad Thing, for example. One of the more important things it did was eliminate, completely, evangelism from the national budget. Now it's quite possible to argue that was a good thing, given the current nature of Episcopal theology. But, were I a member of the Episcopal Church I would be worried. Evangelism is how churches grow. The money, effort and staffing spent evangelising is an investment in the future.

Certainly, individual dioceses and parishes will spend money on evangelism. Some of them even have officially designated evangelists on staff. But where an organization spends money is clear sign of what its priorities are. What are the Episcopal Church's priorities? Well the only items to see increases in funds were those included under the heading of Presiding Bishop's office. This includes $3 million for litigation and $1 million for disciplining bishops (and possibly other clergy). That's a staggering sum.

Currently, the official position of the Episcopal Church is that only individuals may leave. Diocese, parishes and such may not leave. Also, all property belongs to the national church. The national church has resolutely resisted any attempts by churches to exit with their property.

The problem is, that even if you happen to agree with 815, what argument can be made against allowing a church to buy its own property? In the vast majority of cases of a congregational split, the remnant congregation has been folded. Selling vacant churches is almost always problematic. I'm told St James, Newport is on the waterfront, which makes it extremely valuable, but most of the dissident churches have not been so blessed.

The litigation has been justified as a 'stewardship issue'. I'm just not buying it. Then again neither are the churches in question. A good and wise steward would seek to extract the maximum value for the property. Disregarding any prohibitions against litigation and being totally worldly, the good steward would assess each case on its facts, and litigate when the cast of the suit was well below the value of the property. He would also negotiate whenever possible to get the greatest value for property.

Outside of Central Florida, we haven't seen this. And again, I have to ask: Why?

What, exactly are the priorities of the Episcopal Church?

All signs point to an organization that is trying to stay on an even keel while the ship sinks. The officers and crew seem to just want to stay afloat until they retire. Any thoughts of repairing the damage have been officially cast aside.

Important Stuff: Space in the Near Future

Dale Amon has a great overview of current space efforts, both NASA and private. Well worth reading!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jo Dee Messina - My give a damn's busted

Just seems apropos, somehow.

Sheer Glee

"These dance points….too accurate for sandpeople. Only Imperial storm troopers are so precise."

Pure. Comedy. Gold.

From here.

Kendall Harmon, You Will be Assimilated

Marcus Borg has been appointed as canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland Oregon. The name of his church is of course deeply ironic in light of his beliefs. He remains a layman, which raised my eyebrows. I understood that canons were priests. Apparently that was an error.

The only other canon theologian of whom I am aware is the Rev. Dr Kendall Harmon of South Carolina. The Rev. Dr. Harmon has been known to blog occasionally, in his spare time.

I would pay good money to witness a live theological smackdown (debate) between the two.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Much Needed Amendment

In the wake of several bills being enacted by one or both of the houses of Congress that no one apparently ever read, I think I have come up with a way to see that does not happen again.

I offer the 28th Amendment:

Amendment 28- All Laws to Be Written By Hand

1. From the date of ratification of this Amendment forward, any law passed by the Congress under this Constitution must be hand written entirely by a member or members of Congress. No mechanical, electric or electronic device being permitted to aid such writing.

2. In addition to #1, above, all budgetary, tax, spending or debt laws must be written in a member's blood. The member must be one who voted for the final version.

3. Any law not entirely hand written by a member or members of Congress will be void and without effect.

The third clause is probably superfluous, but I included as you need to give the editors something to remove. Also it hammers home what the effect of non-compliance would be.

If nothing else, this will give Congress something to do other than pester the citizenry. Of course, if we get Universal Health Care, this would also mean that carpal tunnel would be. automatically covered.

Tap: Unwigged and Unplugged

Sometimes you have to revisit the classics.