Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Denomination vs. Denomination

This is fairly sad, and what makes it sadder is that it's a common occurrence apparently. Knock-down-drag-out brawl in Jerusalem seems to be the last place that something should happened. Course Jerusalem has been fought over for centuries.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Blog

I have been posting a number of off topic posts in sanctus dialogus, so I have decided to create another blog, nerDad. That blog will focus more on my everyday observations as a father and a nerd. I want this blog to focus on its own topics, theology and the church, without distraction. I don't think there should be a separation of secular and non-secular life, but I wouldn't want a preacher to get up on the pulpit to weigh the pro's and con's of Windows Vista for instance.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Elections: The Abortion Topic

While I think religion and politics should have restricted interaction, you would have problems like voting on canons and other such nonsense. I do however think that religion should be a moral compass in voting, lawmaking, and other political/government activities. I find the idea of separation of church and state amusing. That is not written into the Constitution or amended. Many of our founding fathers were Episcopalian. George Washington, our first president, was an deacon at his church. Our laws and government draws a great deal from the church and biblical laws. However, I digress. I saw this interview on a blog and was stunned. Watch it for yourself before you read on.

What does pay grade have anything to do with it? Obviously, he means someone higher up should decide that. What is that supposed to mean? He's running for the presidency a.k.a. "the leader of the free world." Who could he possibly be referring to? The Pope? God? Obviously from his voting history, he is not pro-life, so it couldn't be those two. It's poorly played dodge.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Off Topic: Baby Names

Normally, I think courts getting involved in family matters are wrong. In the case of abuse and divorce, I think it is appropriate even if I don't always approve of divorce. A first glance, I would still think that a court getting involved in a child's naming is a gross over step in their powers, but when I saw the names parents were trying to give their children, I changed my mind. I think you will agree with me. In 60's and 70's, there were some very interesting names, and it's probably not a hard leap in logic to think that they were drug inspired. Take River Phoenix for instance. I wonder if he was picked on in school. Maybe I am just used to those kind of names now by exposure and the fact that they have always been there. However these new names I have been reading about are quite shocking. I feel sincerely sorry for these children. How can you name your child "4Real", "Sex Fruit", "Number 16 Bus Shelter", or "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii"?

[ Source ]
[ Source ]

This makes me feel even more affirmed in naming my son George. Is this phenomenon limited to New Zealand?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This Blog's Reading Level

Apparently, my blog has a high reading level. My wife pointed this out to me. She was not too happy with that, because she had received a Junior High Level. I tried to explain that a lower level can be better. You can reach a broader audience, and it's easier to read. Though I think the that irritates her the most about it that I ask her to look over my entries. I miss mistakes often. It's probably due to my dyslexia.

Check this place out if you want. I am not sure how its algorithm works. It might consider sentence and paragraph length. It also might consider things like word choices. If you use lots of longer, less-used words. I am curious how this works. Just don't follow my wife's example and be disappointed if it does not rate how you would like it.

blog readability test

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bishop Vader?

I guess they're letting anyone in now-a-days?

[ Source ]

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Off Topic: Bouncing Babies

Some of my college and online friends would make one of those punch a baby jokes and did not really bother me till now. I never found it funny nor did I make one of those jokes. I considered it rather crude. After an article my wife sent me, I feel sick thinking about all those jokes they made. Despite how rude, crude, and socially unacceptable those jokes were, I never really thought someone would actually do something like that intentionally. Humanity can be quite despicable. I never really thought about a sane person intentionally harming a baby. Sure, I've seen enough Law & Order episodes with people doing that, but I always thought of it as a work of fiction despite the episodes being based off of real life stories.

Warning: Do not watch the video if you don't have a thick skin or have a queasy stomach. It's not for the faint of heart.

This news article really brings it to reality for me. The next time I hear one of those jokes, I think I will ask them not to tell it. Anyone who would harm a sweet innocent baby should be punished. Course I think the same of unborn babies. Life begins at conception. It does take a truly sick mind to think throwing babies through the air is funny and then video tape it.

P.S. My wife was in tears after watching that video. She had to give George a hug too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good for the Roman Catholic Church

Vatican to Excommunicate Women Priests

It's good to see a church enforcing its doctrines instead changing the doctrines, because someone broke it. Now if we could just see other churches following their example. Any women who are ordained as priests are automatically excommunicated, as well as the bishop who ordains them.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Off Topic: Mississippi Coast

My wife and I went on our first trip with little Georgie. He was great and didn't fuss much. We went to visit my mother in Mississippi. I thought we'd drive through New Orleans and along Highway 90 to see how the recovery effort was coming along. It was disheartening through the last half of New Orleans. I wish I had thought to snap a few pictures. We could see quite a few houses and businesses still gutted and with holes in their roofs. You could tell there has been a lot of progress, but it was saddening to see how many buildings still were not viable.

We did think to grab a few pictures along Highway 90 in Mississippi. Back before Hurricane Katrina, my wife I visited Biloxi. There was a beautiful old Episcopal church, The Church of the Redeemer. The main building had been constructed in 1874. It was architecturally beautiful. I wish I had thought to take a picture. You can visit the web site for the full history. Out front there had been a bell tower. There were three stain glass windows that been fashioned from the glass from the debris left by Hurricane Camille which had destroyed the new church building in 1969. They were a memorial, "Window of Hope", "Window of the Redeemer", and "Rose Window." To left, I have a picture of where the old church stood.

They also had a memorial of those who had died in Camille. It remained, but the flag pole was bent. Camille claimed the lives of 259 and caused $1.42 billion in property damage in 1969. The storm surge reached 24 feet, which is quite high in comparison with Katrina's 27 foot storm surge. Before Katrina, you could see some of the damage left behind by Camille. There was one apartment complex I remember that had been washed out and had never been restored or demolished. However after Katrina, it is not being restored, but it wasn't complete as of when left back for Texas. At least, highway 90 bridge has been rebuilt and actually better than before.

Many of the beautiful antebellum homes that lined the beach were destroyed, some were merely damaged, and only a few have restored or rebuilt.

You can find the full gallery here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Ordination of a Priest

So I've come across several different places in blogs and e-groups where people have complained that a priest who was ordained a priest shouldn't leave The Episcopal Church and remain a priest. Their reasoning for this argument is from one line in the ordination of a priest from the book of common prayer 1979. I think you'll might remember that line from an earlier musing of mine, "and worship of The Episcopal Church." I find it humorous that they ignore the rest of the vows taken. For instance, "Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them?" and "And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?" are asked of the ordinand. Not only does the ordinand say yes, but he goes into detail. "I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church." Normally, when you read, you go from left to right, top to bottom. These vows are structure in order for a reason. It's not about sounding ornate or elaborate. So I will break it down.

The Presentation
(Name), Bishop in the Church of God, on behalf of the clergy and people of the Diocese of (Diocese's Name), we present to you (Ordinand's Name) to be ordained a priest in Christ's holy catholic Church.

Has he been selected in accordance with the canons of this
Church? And do you believe his manner of life to be suitable
to the exercise of this ministry?

We certify to you that he has satisfied the requirements of the
canons, and we believe him to be qualified for this order.

That's fairly simple. Presenters present the ordinand to the bishop for ordination in Christ's holy catholic Church. Take note that he is ordained in Christ's holy catholic Church not The Episcopal Church. The Bishop basically asks if he follows the canons and would make a good priest. The presenters before God and Christ's Church certify that meets the requirements and is qualified. So say if someone is in violation of the canons, the presenters would be lying. If the bishop knows they are lying and accepts there answer, it would most disappointing.

Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of
Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in
accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop
and other ministers who may have authority over you and
your work?

I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I
do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments
to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to
salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine,
discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.

Doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church as received them? How often do we receive them? I don't think that often. Once again, saying yes to them before changing the doctrine seems wrong to me. The next line doesn't really support leaving The Episcopal Church, which I wonder why it isn't used more often. There is that qualifier in there, "in accordance with the canons of this Church," before obeying your bishop. The response is what speaks strongly to me. It is sort of like saying, I will but also I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation. The ordinand is stating that the Scriptures are Holy, and that they believe in both Old and New Testaments. They also state that they are the Word of God. They are not some historical document you can take the parts you want and throw out the other parts.

The thing that makes seem alright to me is that the piece of being apart of The Episcopal Church are qualifiers. The qualifiers seem to be the weaker part of the vow while the meat is more important, things like believing in the Holy Scriptures. When the two are in conflict, which they are undoubtedly, I would hope that the priest would go with the stronger part of the vow.

This is only touching on the presentation. I could go deeper, but I think my burden of proof is met here. You'll find the book of common prayer here, or you can turn to page 526 in your own copy. If you looked back, you would find that the first homosexual bishop was approved before the canon was changed. Most of these ground-breaking ordinations were done out of order. In parts of The Episcopal Church, you will find that it's not even required for priests to agree with all of the Nicene Creed or that the Bible is the Word of God. Now explain to me why you could think that someone who meant what they said and tries to follows their vows to the best of their abilities is less worthy than someone who only meant part of their vows?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

+Iker to Schori

Once again, I am glad to say that Bishop Iker is my bishop.

Dear Katharine,

I am shocked and saddened by the rude letter you released yesterday to Archbishop Greg Venables, concerning his visit this weekend to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Far from being "an unwarranted interference," he is coming at my request as an honored visitor and guest speaker.

You should know that under the canons this does not require either your approval or your support. You have no say in this matter. A diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese.

There are no efforts at reconciliation proceeding within this Province, which is one reason why faithful people continue to leave TEC in droves. Your attitude and actions simply reinforce alienation and bring further discord.

Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

cc: The Archbishop of Canterbury

View Source (Found Here)

Which is response to this letter.
Dear Gregory,

I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church. Visiting a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province. I ask you to consider how you might receive such a visit to your own Province from a fellow primate. The actions contemplated by some leaders in Fort Worth are profoundly uncanonical. They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province.

I urge you to focus your pastoral ministry within your own Province. May your ministry there be fruitful. I remain

Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori

View Source

He is certainly more patient than I am. I would take a cue from my son, George, and I would blow a raspberry at her.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

George's Fascination with his Crucifix

George seems quite fond of his crucifix. When we set him down to be changed, he will smile up at it and talk to it. Sometimes, he will even laugh. He normally only smiles when he is looking at someone who is smiling at him. We placed the crucifix over his changing table, because there was no place where he would be able to see it from his crib. My wife and I gave it to him for his baptism, and it was blessed after the service by his godfather Father Matkin. Unfortunately, you really can't see him smiling in the picture. He has a number of different expressions, but they are difficult to capture. His expression usually changes before I can grab the camera.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

George's Baptism

My George was baptized on March 22, 2008 at Saint Alban's. It was a truly beautiful service. I think Easter Vigil is one of my favorite services of the year. I think we are truly blessed that George's baptism could be at this service.

We are also truly blessed for having his godfather and godmother. In fact, he was baptized by his godfather, one of parish priests. George was the only baby who didn't cry during the baptism, but he was wide awake.

George's Godfather

A good friend of mine took these pictures with his iPhone. Unfortunately, we brought a film camera, so it will be a while before the pictures are developed.

George's Baptism

Friday, February 8, 2008

Back to Work

Well I am back to work as of this Wednesday. I have to admit I am not thrilled. When I am not super busy, I miss being away from George.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Home at Last

My wife gave birth to our beautiful baby boy on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 8:23 PM. He was 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches long! He has a full head of blonde hair. We are very blessed.

You can view pictures from his first day here!

George's First Day Out

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sitting in the Hospital

Well, I am sitting in the hospital with my wife. She's laying in bed. It shouldn't be too much longer now. I can't say that I am freaking out or even that I am anxious. I am tired and a little bored. I've played around on the internet some. Everyone keeps asking if I am freaking out. I keep telling people no. They seem not to believe me, but honestly, I am not freaked out. Maybe I am just different. I don't know. I am not scared, but I am happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Threatening Letters

It's rather disappointing to see a church who is supposedly committed to be open-minded and communication only communicate through threats.

The letter, dated January 9 and received by Iker on January 15, was intended to be a pastoral exchange between the Presiding Bishop and Iker, according to Episcopal Church Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox.

In a short statement posted on the Fort Worth website along with a copy of the letter, Iker termed the letter "a second threatening letter."


Pastoral exchange? Pastoral is pertaining to or consisting of shepherds. It's an appropriate word when speaking of the office of Bishop. They are supposed to be a shepherd to their diocese or their followers (in the case of a primate to his or her bishops.) I've never heard of a shepherd knocking a sheep unconscious and dragging him or her back to the fold. These two interpretations are very much not compatible. You cannot be pastoral and threatening at the same time. There are lots of examples of how a good shepherd is supposed to act in the Bible. In fact, Christ is known as the Good Shepherd, and bishops are supposed to represent Christ on Earth. Therefore bishops are supposed to act pastoral not threatening. I suppose this should seem rather obvious to most people, and I shouldn't have to spell it out, but apparently, there are still some confused people out there.

Let's look at why these letters are threatening. I've already posted the second letter here. There is no doubt in anyone's mind, liberal or conservative, after reading the second letter, that the Presiding Bishop will sue the Fort Worth Diocese and Bishop Iker if the diocese leaves. That seems clearly threatening to me. What is a threat? A threat is a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment in retaliation for some action. Do what you are told, or I will sue you. That doesn't seem very pastoral to me.
If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however, they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.


The first letter is clearly threatening as well. Do not leave TEC, or I will devest you. Recent actions show that these threats are not completely empty. The Presiding Bishop has started the process against two other bishops. I am sure you all know about that already, but here is the link anyway.

I suppose there are shades of grey between threatening and pastoral, and there is a need to call back the lost sheep and even go looking for them. However, I feel that the Fort Worth Diocese is not the lost sheep here. The big question is how will all this play out.

Waiting Patiently

So Tuesday, we go to the doctor's office for my wife's regularly schedule pregnancy check ups. The doctor tells us to come in the next day for a sonogram and that he may induce. I get my hopes up, and we go in the following day. Seems the baby has plenty of room after all, and he's not going to induce. I know it's better for my wife and unborn son, but I can't help but be sadden. We'll go see the doctor again Tuesday, and I am trying to wait patiently for our first child.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Web Images

Web Site

Every time I go to TEC's web site, there are pictures of happy people, and I think to myself that doesn't really reflect the church at all. The church is in turmoil. That's just another random thought. I guess they're still trying to convince everyone that's the differences are limited to a few people.

+Schori to +Iker

January 9, 2008
The Rt. Rev Jack L. Iker, D.D.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
2900 Alameda
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Dear Jack,

Thank you for your letter. I believe you have misinterpreted my previous letter. I gave no "acknowledgement that dioceses can and do leave the Episcopal Church." On the contrary, I continue to aver that individuals may leave, but congregations and dioceses do not. I continue to urge you to withdraw from any encouragement of such a belief, or action toward departure, as i believe it to be a violation of the vows we have both repeatedly taken to "conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church."

I lament your belief that clergy and laity with your theological position are being systematically eliminated from positions of leadership and influence. If they are disappearing, it is by their own decision and at their own hands. I note how carefully the current and former Presidents of the House of Deputies have been to ensure broad representation in appointment to various church bodies, and know that my predecessors and I have also sought to include all theological positions in appointments within our purview.

You state your concern about those who would stand by their convictions being threatened with depositions and lawsuits. I would also note that depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same.

I pray that your ministry may be one of abundance in the coming year, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori


I would say that this is disappointed, but I am not really quite that surprised. I actually rather expected it. There are several things that rather bother me in this letter.

You state your concern about those who would stand by their convictions being threatened with depositions and lawsuits. I would also note that depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same.

This paragraph, I am choosing to ignore. It makes my head hurt just looking at it. Methinks she isn't saying what she thinks she is saying. Otherwise, I have overestimated the Presiding Bishop.

"conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church."

Yes, yes, I know what it supposed to mean, but I keep reading this and thinking worship of the Episcopal Church. Isn't there something about in the Bible about worshiping false idols? You know somewhere in there. Maybe?

I'll reiterate that I know it means to worship God as defined by the Episcopal Church, but I wonder sometimes.

My prayers and support will continue to be with Bishop Iker and the other dioceses and their bishops.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bad Vicar

My wife showed me this tonight. I thought it was rather amusing, but I started to wonder. Do liberals really think conservatives act like this? I would hope not.