Wednesday, June 27, 2007


It’s 7:05 A.M. and I’m sitting at a Starbucks on the corner of Jones and Jefferson on a chilly morning. The fog is obscuring the top the Transamerica building and is diffusing the morning sunshine. To my right up the hill is this grand stone tower. To my left are the restaurants of Fisherman’s Wharf. The low rumble of a city coming to life is punctuated by a laughing seagull and is accentuated by strains of Bob Marley pouring out of the coffee shop speakers.

I’m thinking of a conversation I had with Father Tob yesterday. Another Bishop has been elected by our brothers in Africa. This is the second election in as many weeks. Some reasserters are troubled by what seems to be more division within the American Anglican reawakening. A few reappraisers have seen this as a weakness, or even a fundamental flaw of the orthodox. One priest from Delaware has even insinuated on his blog that this is a sign that CANA, NAAC, et al will be little more than isolated malcontents within the next few years. In the midst of this, the Lord gave me a mental image of Granite.

Indulge me if I wax pedantic for a moment as we consider granite. There are igneous and metamorphic varies of granite; I’ll speak to the latter. This strain of granite is composed primarily of quartz, mica and feldspar. All three of these minerals are igneous rocks, forged in the fires of the Lord’s creation opus. Somewhere in the process, these minerals were cast back into the fire and emerged as granite.

There’s much to be observed concerning granite besides its fiery origins. Unlike sedimentary rocks that bend and fold to the assaults of time, tide and weather, granite stands unmoved as if in defiance to these factors. But this same granite will yield to the hands of the sculptor as it is shaped into works of beauty. The rock that laughs at the maelstrom, submits to the master.

Perhaps the Lord in his providence is taking various churches, each forged in some level of tribulation, and bringing them together into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I just flew into 'Frisco and boy are my arms tired...

I'm in the "City by the Bay" this week, hosting a conference along with my coworkers. It's been over fifteen years since I visited the city of Saint Francis, and I'm happy to say the the things that make the city great are still here. Unfortunately, the things that are a stench in the nostrils of the Almighty are still here as well. San Francisco doesn't hold the monopoly on vice (as Father Tob reminded me this morning), so we in the "red states" need not take Schadenfreude in the state of this city.

The morning has given me a thought... The seeds of the post-reformation/post-modern TEC seemed to have been sown in San Francisco. Think about it; a number of unwashed flower children represented in this video are now wearing Mitres and the academic robes of the Theologian.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Remedial Christianity 101

It would seem that some seminary grads in the Diocese of Olympia could use some "continuing education" to follow up on their MDiv's. To facilitate this lifelong learning process, I've asked Professor Richard Mullins to lecture us all on the topic of Christianity 101.

Checking Reason at the Door in Olympia

At it's surface, the Pacific Northwest would seem to be the jewel of the lower 48 states. Though this region may be known for its stellar views and spectacular coffees, it can know be know for the latest Theological contrivance to roll out of the Episcopal Church. Ladies and Gentlemen, Bretheren and Sisteren, we present to you the first openly Episcopal Priest in the history of Islam.
Greg Griffith over at Stand Firm has produced an insightful piece on the story that 815 desperately hopes you won't read.
Another round of Cheers for Father Matt and the crew at Standfirm.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Through a Deacon’s Eyes – The Eucharist

The Liturgy; it has captured my attention, mind and heart for as long as I can remember. Depending on the heart of the celebrant, it could be cold, mechanical and as soulless as a Briggs and Stratton engine. Or, it could be organic and whole, as if Christ himself were offering me the cup of His new covenant. Like many, I was a “spectator” of this divine celebration for far too long. Once my heart was apprehended by the Almighty, I began to sense that the liturgy wasn’t a solo performance, or a play of a small select cast. No, every follower of the way participates in this celebration of the Holy. Every heart captured by the Christ participates in an intimate fashion.

The preparations for my vocation have taken my participation in the Liturgy to a wholly new dimension. This has provided insights that have varied from the exhilarating to the terrifying. Imagine the following scene unfold.

He’s standing at the altar, assisted by a fresh-faced acolyte. She could easily be dismissed as just another church kid, but this nine year-old takes her calling as acolyte very seriously. This is evidenced by her reverent demeanor and skill in assisting at the table. She brings each item and element in its turn. He in-turn begins to lay out the table for the celebrant. The bread is uncovered, the wine and water are decanted into each chalice, and then the young acolyte offers him water and purificator in order to wash his hands. The celebrant approaches the altar and the Deacon takes his place at Priest’s side. This is what I would see at each celebration, which was until I became the one on the back side of the altar.

So, what is streaming through my mind at a moment like this?

This simple act is being duplicated all across the planet. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of men and women are setting a table today. In ethereal cathedrals, in modest sanctuaries, in homes, huts and shuttered rooms; someone is preparing table to celebrate the vicarious death and glorious resurrection of our Christ!

This simple act been repeated since the birth of the Church. Someone had the honor of setting out the Seder elements as the day was drawing to a close during Passover, AD 37 in an upper room on a nameless street in Jerusalem. In the next weeks, months and beyond, the implements and elements would be set out as followers of the Way recalled the Body and Blood that purchased their redemption. Two millennia have passed and a hill of bread and a lake of wine have been placed on the altar. This will continue until the glorious appearing of the Lamb who is returning for His bride, the Church.

Who am I, What am I doing here? No, this isn’t intended to be a cheesy Admiral Stockdale impersonation. It’s a question that is asked with a mixed sense of awe and fear. Who am I? There are six billion (and growing) noses on this planet; how, or better, why did the Father call me to this vocation at this time. He knew and chose me from eternity past to stand here in this moment, to set a table for His saints. I’m gobsmacked, and filled with a sense of wonder. What am I doing here? Standing in the presence of God at His table has a way of giving you a sense of your own filthiness. I become keenly aware at this moment, just how utterly unworthy I am to stand in the presence of the Holy. Though my life is surrendered to the Father, I still manage to step in things, think things and trip in ways that are displeasing to my Him. Yet for Christ’s sake, I’m not incinerated. When the Father glances toward that table, He sees His Son and not this dumb ox.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wisdom in random places

(With sincere appreciation to "Sparky" Schultz... I wonder if he's doing strips for the "New Jerusalem" Post?)
Is it just me, or have the "nations" been raging louder lately? The sound and fury of select atheists has been on my radar lately and it has me scratching my graying chin. Why is so much acrimony being directed towards a supposed nonexistent Deity? Think about it; when do you ever recall people getting their britches in a bind over Loki? Or when was the last time you heard a shrill voice on the tube equating child abuse with educating children on the life of Athena? This mental exercise has led me to a a few choice conclusions.
David "got it". He leaps from the starting block in Psalm 53 declaring (without apology) that it is the "fool" who declares the LORD's nonexistence. Considering the cosmological arguments alone, it would be an astounding leap of faith (or abysmal recklessness) to proclaim that there is "no God". Add this to the very improbability of an atheistic "uncaused first cause" and you see the image of one who is way up the tree, busy sawing off their own branch.
The "atheist" doesn't get it. This fact maybe exacerbated by a number or combination of factors ranging from the treatable to the terminal. Some no doubt have experienced a tragedy that embittered their hearts against the Almighty. Others may have had one too many encounters with pseudo-saints or toxic churches. Still more may simply be in the camp of the unelect.
There is an onus on the child of God to shine their light and sharpen their apologetic. I say this with the following presuppositions. We can lead no one to Christ, this is the purview of the Father working in hand with the Spirit. In the shadow of this fact, the child of God is commanded by the Christ to "Let their light so shine...", and by St. Peter to "Give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..." As we do this, one of two events will happen: we will be used be the Father as channels of HIS salvific grace, or we'll be used by the Father as witnesses for the prosecution on that great and terrible day. In either case, it's God, not us.
Considering every atheist to be part of the lumpen proletariat of the unelect is spiritually lazy and wrong. C'mon guys, you know who you are. That line of reasoning has misrepresented the true character of Reformed Theology for way too long. We can't read the hearts of men. Heck, the saint is barely cognizant of their own heart. Without the poking of the Spirit, we'd be completely clueless.
Grist for your mill... Pax Deus