Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Genius that is Mike Oldfield

Those know me, those who've followed this Blog, or who've known me through Facebook or other social media are well-aware of my deep appreciation for the talents of the British recording artist Mike Oldfield.  I became a fan while in Elementary School when I'd first heard his single,"Tubular Bells" on Coatesville's AM 1420, WCOJ back in late 1973.  The song, to Mike Oldfield's chagrin, almost immediately became known as "The theme from The Exorcist".  

In this brief video, with Dutch subtitles, Mike shares the story behind the genesis of his iconic composition.  To the loss true audiophiles, most American listeners have only heard the first three and a half minutes of the work, missing out on its fullness.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Reverie

A reminder, we're on a timeline and what we know will someday be transformed in an instant when He will return, to judge the quick and the dead; the point where the Kingdom will have no end.

Answer, if you hear a call today.

Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny

This weekend marks the anniversary of an ugly chapter in our recent American History, one that pitted two diverse groups of Americans on the hot streets of the Old Dominion.  The event, which occurred a year ago has yet to have been properly engaged and has served only as a fault line from which Americans continue to attack one another.  
Last August, Charlottesville Virginia became a flashpoint as two schools of Socialism, National and International, used the pretext of historic monuments to clash in the streets.  Their combined behavior diminished our image as a land of stability and safety.  Today, "AntiFa" and a mulligan's stew of white supremacist groups will converge on D.C's Lafayette Square to out-obnoxious one another, tarring our already strained national dialogue.

AntiFa, a group who's name seems to fall straight from the pages of Orwell's 1984.  While claiming ostensibly to stand in opposition to Fascism, they seem to adhere to the tactics and conduct of the European Fascists of the last Century.  Like the Klan, they also hide behind masks lest reasonable freedom-loving Americans would see their adherents for who they really are.  Politically, their leanings align with the Socialist International and is diametrically opposed to the historic democratic republican ideals from which the American Republic was born.  The White Nationalists, or "Alt-Right" on the other hand, have been described many as "American Nazis", and this description well-earned for many reasons.  This confederation has veiled their ethnic and racial animus behind the veneer of American Patriotism in ways which are quite similar to their Munich-based forerunners from a Century ago as well. Though progressive pundits have identified them with the classical conservative movement, there is nothing that is "Conservative" or "Right" about them at all. Like the Fascism of AntiFa, they too are rooted in thought that is thoroughly un-American.  In the spirit of truth in advertising, naming them as the Faux-Right would be a far better descriptive label.  They're not an alternative expression of Conservatism, they purposely and thoroughly misrepresent that worldview.

Left to their own devices, both of these Socialist elements, National & International, could drag our Republic into the dystopia of post-Imperial/ante-Weimar Germany as they spill into our streets to battle for the hearts and minds of America.  If either side were to succeed, it would be enlarge part due to the apathy of the vast middle of the spectrum who don't grasp just what is at stake.

Understand this as well; both antebellum southern monuments/relics, and the Donald Trump presidency are little more than straw men and pretexts in all of this.  National & International Socialism have been at odds with one another since their inception and will continue to battle for dominance within the marketplace of ideas.

Today's rally in Washington must serve as a wakeup call to both classical conservatives and liberals alike.  Both parties need to speak in one voice, repudiating both AntiFa and all strains of ethno-Nationalism.  True American patriotism knows no race, creed, or color.  It can serve as a bulwark against those who seek to divide us by race, gender, or class.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sunday Reverie

Its been one of those Sunday's where it becomes so helpful to meditate on the words and music of Rich Mullins, Troubadour for the Lord. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

To be an Anglican Hooligan

(c) 2008 Anglican Hooligan Shoppe
(Author's Note:  The following essay has been percolating in my brain now for nearly a decade.  It was the recent experience of the Rector of New Creation Anglican Church in Hagerstown, MD which finally inspired me to place the fingers to the keyboard and type away.  Hat's off Father Justin, and hat's off Father Gerry for the entire idea of the Anglican Hooligan.)

 Time has a way of zipping by in a blur, yet there are some things that stick out in one's memory.  It was back in 2007/2008 during my then nascent rebirth into the Anglican Faith, and I was searching out some "witness wear" to tell the world that this one-time Pentecostal Preacher had traded the sawdust, for the Canterbury Trail.  In searching the internet for T-shirts, I found one that jumped off the screen and said click on me please!  It was a white, sleeveless T-shirt emblazoned with a Celtic Cross, flanked by two figures who I perceived to be Augustine, overlaid onto a pair of open wings.  Perfect for showcasing ones guns in the gym while speaking to ones spiritual zeitgeist.  In retrospect, my guns were larger in my mind than in reality. A Decade later and though I'm beyond wearing that T anywhere away from the pool or hot tub, I'm still drawn to its simplistic but powerful message.

The expression, "Anglican Hooligan" easily creates a dichotomy.  The words themselves at first take seem absolutely antithetical to one another.  The word Hooligan conjures up pictures of a rough, rowdy and unrefined sort who lowers the property value of whichever neighborhood they move into.  "Anglican" on the other hand paints a more refined image.  Polite to a fault, ensconced in Tweed and faintly smelling of pipe smoke; one might typically envision the Anglican as a gentle, unoffending sort who'll go to great lengths to preserve order and tranquility; one who goes along to get along. Many Americans too, have a misunderstanding of Anglicanism in general that can be born out of either ignorance or prejudice, depending on how its manifested.  On numerous occasions, I've had people say, upon learning of my Faith expression,say something along the lines of "Aren't you people just like 'Catholics'?" or with a whiff of derision, "you people are pretty much 'Catholic-lite"anyway, right?".  And of course today, now that the executive leadership of the American Episcopal Church is finding itself to the Theological and Social Left of the Unitarian Universalists, many of these same people will dismiss Anglicanism altogether as a sub-christian sect.   But even for those who have a grounded understanding of Anglicanism, the term can be incongruent.  The couplet can almost seem to create the image of Andy Capp meeting the Vicar.  For a moment or two, take this invitation to reimagine the moniker in light of some historic truths.

Christianity was spread through the world by men whom polite society would have easily considered Hooligans; crude hayseeds and fishermen who came into towns and cities, upsetting the settled order with strange doctrines.  These men and women were bold, unapologetic, and unafraid.  They engaged and rocked their worlds without fear of reprisal, often to their own demise.  This same spirit was evidenced in the Sixteenth Century with the birth of Anglicanism.  When Mary Tudor attempted to extinguish the flame of Anglicanism through her own backfires, kindled with the bodies of the faithful, "protestant hooligans" chose death over the shame or recantation.  In our own time, we're surrounded by Anglican leaders who stood the red line over the issue of historic orthodox Christianity when many of their peers were  either willfully surrendering, or simply acquiescing to the social and cultural mores of our day.  I consider these facts in the light of the Eleventh & Twelfth Chapters of the Letter to the Hebrews and see a cloud of witness that continues to grow larger by the day.

So, how are we to make application of this as we live out or lives as Third Millennium Anglicans?  Whether we live on the Left Coast, in Hagerstown, Suburbia Majora, or in your town, the guiding principals remain the same.  To be a fruitful, reproducing Christian is to live out one's life in a scrum.  We are called to move the Kingdom down field to the goal, which will be actualized when our Messiah and Lord makes his ultimate return; that day when, as stated in the historic creeds, "He will come again to judge the quick and the dead, and that His kingdom will have no end."  Yet the fact that we exist in this scrum implies that there is an opposing side to the scrum that is working at cross purposes to staunch the forward momentum of our line.  This triad of the World's system, our own fleshly nature, and our Adversary the Accuser is working tirelessly to blunt, slow and stop our forward momentum for the Kingdom of God.  Clearly, this is not a place for the timid who've no stomach for the struggle.  The Casper Milquetoast follower won't survive for very long in this scrum and will be shoved to the sideline, and rendered ineffective. 

So, to be an Anglican Hooligan is to move forward without fear, possessing only the fear of the Lord (to do so otherwise is mere arrogance, not fearlessness).  Understand, Though I've written this from the perspective of an Anglican, these principles are universal to any orthodox expression of Christianity.  Regardless of your worshipping community, you've been called to move forward in faith, with full confidence in the one who called and redeemed you, and continues to empower you through His Holy Spirit.

Game on Hooligan!  keep plowing down field until you hear the final whistle.  Maranatha! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Asking for your Prayers

This will be A very brief post this morning.  If you pray, and know the power of prayer, I would ask your prayers for a sister-Blogger and faithful saint who has been battling advanced stage cancer throughout this year.  She was hospitalized and is in need of Divine unction.
O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant, that her weakness may be banished and her strength restored; and that, her health being renewed, she may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you, and I hope to share a good report.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"What Rosanne Said..."

I would have much rather shared thoughts on an another topic, but again, our national attention is being wrested away by the media outlets infested by the thin-skinned.  For all that's occurred over the past twenty four hours, our biggest national story for the moment is Ms. Rosanne Barr, and what she tweeted.  If we could see past our collective national amnesia, we might recall that throughout her public life, Ms. Barr has been a crass provocateur with the ability inflame the sensibilities of all sides of the sociopolitical spectrum, and one who on occasion has had brief flashes of funniness.  In the 1990's, she tweeked many in middle America with her bad rendition of our National Anthem where she ended the off-keyed performance by spitting, scratching, and feigning to adjust a protective cup.  From her farm in Hawaii, she called for the public decapitation of Bankers following the Banking meltdown of 2007-08.  She had also once inflamed members of the Jewish community as she boasted of being a pall bearer at her Grandmother's funeral while she was considered ceremonially unclean.  So, when the volcano that is Rosanne experiences an eruption such as the other night, we shouldn't be at all shocked.  
"and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4 (NASB)
What does bother me in all of this is is the growing sense of selective indignation that seems to fall solidly along ideological lines.  In other words, the way we've become "Balkanized in our Butt-Hurt".  Many of those who are now baying for the banishment of Rosanne were themselves, chortling with joy over Ms. Michelle Wolf's shtick just a few weeks ago. But don't think I'm giving Rosanne a pass in all of this; I found her little twitter bit to be equally distasteful, unfunny, and unhelpful.

The Ad hominem attacks in Ms. Barr's tweet storm were base, crass, and unsettling.  I do hope that this was, as she confessed, done under the influence rather than typed with a clear head.  Yet this said, we're demanding that one woman be silenced as we celebrate the vicious, venomous verbal assaults of another woman.  This is a cognitive dissonance of the first order.  Our demands for civil decency must be nonpartisan.

Love one another my friends.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

From the Book of Common Prayer, 1928 Edition:
"ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen."
This beautiful prayer, found in the 1928 edition of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, was excised from their 1979 prayerbook, along with other prayers for members of our Armed Forces.  Perhaps, this was fed by the Liberal animus towards all things military which was so prevalent in those post-Vietnam days of the late 1970's.  Perhaps it was a result of that unpopular war that the crafters of the new prayerbook intentionally left it out.

The morality/immorality of war is a discussion for another day, yet, we have an obligation to remember those who answered the Republic's call in the time of struggle.  So today, we pause to remember the Blacksmith who fell at the Battle of the Brandywine.  We recall the carpenter who fell in Maryland in the Battle of Bladensburg, the clerk who fell at Marye's Heights, and the iron worker who fell on a beach in Normandy.  From Camden to Kandahar, have given their last breath, answering the call.  This is why we stop on the last Monday in May to remember them.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


I'm going to busy prepping for a three week teaching engagement over the next few weeks, so the site may get a little quiet.  I will be posting the lesson outlines as they're completed.