Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent's Ache (Advent III)

With expectation sometimes comes the pain of uncertainty. The message below is drawn from Sunday 12/16's Gospel reading from Matthew 11:2-11.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Meet Mistie, my constant companion whenever I sit down to the keyboard. This blue point Siamese has been at my side since early in 1992, making her quite the senior citizen.
She was bred by Adventist Author, Martin Weber. She is incredibly agile for a sixteen year old (a grand dame of 112 human years).

Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter Purple (Thoughts of Advent I)

Veni, veni, Emmanuel...
If there were only one sacred song that spoke to the longing in the pilgrim's heart, it would have to be "Oh come, Emmanuel." The song has been with us in varying forms since the 8th or 9th century and has been done in by nearly every one from 15th Century Franciscan Nuns to Bryan Duncan. Any efforts to spice it up only degrades this powerful hymn of Advent. Whenever I have heard or performed Oh come..., a visceral longing would rise from the well of my soul.
The world outside our windows is buzzing like a beehive. People are running up their credit accounts buying "stuff" for a holiday whose name dare not be uttered. Lawns have become crass jumbles of inflatable Homer Simpson's, snowmen and penguins with enough illumination to ensure that they're visible from space. I'm no crumudgeon, and I enjoy seeing tasteful, well-planned christmas displays. I bring this up only to make the point; if Emmanuel were to come tonight, what would He think? Or, how many consummers would recognize Him in the midst of their spendfests?
In the introspective moments of Advent, we might meditate on a few of these: Why the color purple? Would I have been one of those waiting for the consolation of Israel? Do I live as one laboring in the shadow of Emmanuel's second Advent?
Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Video Meditation for All Saints Day

There is a mighty cloud of witnesses who've come before us. Consider them today, those in whom the very Image of God shined so, that the wicked railed and gnashed their teeth. Yet, these witnesses had only the praises of the Almighty on their lips.

What of our own witness today? Would our walk cause us to be brought before the magistrates to give an account of faith?

May God be merciful to us.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God's Provision

This homily was drawn from the Gospel of St John and originally delivered back on 4/29/07. But hey, there's never a "wrong" time to consider the rich provision offered by our Lord.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On the Shore of the Rubicone

It’s not much of a river today. In fact, it’s little more than an 18 mile creek that flows from the central mountains and on the sea. Her fortunes have changed in the past two millennia and now with the loss of feeding springs at its headwaters, she has become remarkably unimpressive. The observer would be hard pressed to see this trickle of water as a river forever enmeshed in human history. It was here that the words “alea iacta est.” I’m certain my fellow history-nerds know the rest of the story here.

Today I stand at my own Rubicon, with dice in hand. My application is complete, All I need to do at this point is whip off a cover letter, write a check and head for the mailbox. This will set the ordination process into motion, leading to an undiscovered country within the Anglican Communion. It’s a moment frozen out of time as I’m experiencing a strange mix of the senses of rectitude and butterflies in the stomach. I’m settled on the fact that I’ve been called in eternity past and born to this moment. Yet simultaneously, there is this subtle, but nervous sense of fear that is smoldering just beneath the surface.

I’ve been here before. I’ve stood on this bridge on July 8th 1980 on the eve of my entrance into the Armed Forces, on September 3rd 1982 on the eve of my wedding, and on the platform at Huntington Station on November 2nd 1997 before departing for Camp Humphreys Korea. Each of these was destiny-defining moments in my life. I’m certain that October 26th 2007 will join these days of destiny. Still, I’m always a bit gobsmacked by the by the underlying sense of trepidation though.

So, what’s next? That waits to be seen. For now, its time to let the dice fly…

Alea iacta est!

P.S. You Rock Gaius Julius...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunday's Homily

I was blessed to be the homilist this past Sunday (10/14). The thoughts were drawn from the Gospel of St. Luke 17:11-19.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2007

Where were you six years ago today? What did it feel like when you saw the gaping mortal wound in the first tower? Did you recoil in horror when the towers fell? Did you cry, or did you go numb?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One Saxon Morn' (Part III)

The “Atomic Age”, brought us a mixed harvest of both promise and plague. We were provided with the possibility for clean, inexhaustible sources of energy that could power our nation for the far foreseeable future. For all its promise, the age also opened a Pandora’s Box of sorts. By far, the most frightening specter of the “Atomic Age” was an intercontinental ballistic missile bristling with multiple warheads. These hellish devices became the boogeyman for an entire generation. Peaceniks, science fiction authors and even Bill Moyer managed to keep the threats posed by these awesome devices in the forefront of our collective consciences. Hollywood too, did its best to scare us stupid with movies like “Failsafe” and “The Day After”. Though many before me have stopped to ponder the Atomic Age, I wonder just how much similar thought has been directed towards our present “Information Age”.

Where the atomic age provided nations the wherewithal to level cities, denude continents and evaporate entire populations, the information age has provided individuals with the ability to shred individuals, destroy relationships and erase reputations… all from the relative comfort of one’s den or local WiFi Hotspot. This information age has demonstrated time and again that the keyboard and mouse are every as devastating as the sword (or the Sig Sauer for that matter).

I pointed towards the words of St. James’ Epistle in part II, in speaking about the awesome power of the tongue and the words it produces. It would be convenient to take the purely wooden stand that Jesus’ kid stepbrother Jim was limiting his line of logic to speech. I’m confident that we can reasonably apply this line of logic to other forms of human communication, both verbal and nonverbal. I mean think about it; if it’s unlawful to rob another using a gun or knife, you won’t receive a pass if you rob someone using a ball peen hammer. Destructive and demeaning communication is just that, irrespective of its mode of delivery, be it verbal or not. I would even propose that destructive written or electronic communication is even more insidious than caustic verbal communications.

Slamming or flaming another via e-mail is akin to shooting someone in the back. The sender need only to build up a toxic level of bitterness, vomit up their spleen onto the desktop, and click the send icon. Like the lieutenant in the missile silo, the devastating dispatch is sent without breaking a bead of sweat or shedding a drop of blood. For their recipient however, it’s another matter altogether. The victim of this electronic salvo is often left with a gaping gash across their spirit.

Again, we hear the worlds of St. James ring clearly: "Brothers, this should not be".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

One Saxon Morn' (Part II)

The following was originally told by radio commentator Paul Harvey in an installment of “The Rest of the Story”. (It has been liberally paraphrased for this post...)

Four journalists from Denver happened to meet while on assignment in China in the closing months of the Nineteenth Century. Over a few rounds of beer, the men concocted a story that would be sure to sell papers. In their story, the Chinese People had agreed to undertake a major project as an act of goodwill towards the west. China, the story went, would demolish their Great Wall as a gesture demonstrating their willingness to welcome the west into their ancestral lands. The story went to print and was treated as bunk back in the states. In China however, the story caught the attention of a secretive band of ultranationalists who were already plenty pissed off about the barbarians in their ancient lands. The group, known for their prowess in the martial arts, wouldn’t let this outrage go unanswered.

This seemingly preposterous story was the match that ignited the Boxer Rebellion, a bloodbath that took the lives of countless Chinese followers of Christ, along with numerous Christian Missionaries.

I’m not yet sure why, but I’ve been thinking about “words” for the last week or so. In the past year, I’ve become very sensitive to my own speech, and the words of others, and the various effects these words may have on their hearers. Add to this the fact that in our present age, we rely heavily on written digital communications. In this our e-mails, text messages, et al add to the sum of our communicated language. Our language and our words have the potential to either comfort or cull. And with that, our tongues have the potential to be either salve or a scythe to those who hear or read our words.

How many times have our words, whether written or spoken, hit another like a wrecking ball? Have verbal asides or terse e-mails left others wounded in their wake? Or how often have we, when wounded by words, returned withering words in the direction of our offender?

James, the stepbrother of our Savior spilled a good deal of ink concerning the tongue in his relatively short epistle. If words are arrows, then the tongue is the crossbow that launches them. He rhetorically observes that the same tongue that that lifts gentle blessings is capable of firing lethal salvos of curses. And in his plainspoken way, he reminds his readers that this shouldn’t happen.

Possessing a machete tongue may be typical, but it certainly shouldn’t be normal for followers of the way.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Saxon Morn' (Part I)

There was a time when I was a fan of Fleetwood Mac.

In was on one bitter Saxon morning in 1987, when I dropped my copy of “Rumors” into the cassette player on my desk, expecting to hear the smoky voice of Christine McVie. I pushed the play button, only to hear the sound of the tape turning on the spindles. Nonplussed, I grumbled believing that the cassette player had bought the farm. It would be sounds of the British Forces Broadcasting System for the rest of the day.

Like so many days on the mountaintop at Schwelentrup, the weather steadily deteriorated from an otherwise promising day. By workday’s end, a persistent ice fog engulfed the summit, coating everything with a glassy glaze of ice. I would have to chisel the Ford out of this crystal cocoon. Twenty minutes later, I removed my iced parka and slid into the slid into the driver’s seat. As the engine warmed, I popped “Rumors” into the tape deck and waited for Mrs. McVie. The voice I heard was far smokier…

“@#%$!! What is the MATTER with this $&@#* tape deck NOW?” the voice growled. Alone, the words were caustic. The delivering voice added the ferocity of a searing hot sandblaster. I was alone in the car, yet I can still feel the blush sweeping across my face. The voice hissing through the car stereo was my own and hearing it was like a well-placed punch in the stomach.

Have you ever heard yourself in an unguarded moment, in a moment when you weren’t aware that the “microphone was on?” It may surprise some to learn that the mic is always on. The tape that catches our voices lifted in hymnody also captures it lowered in less edifying lyrics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Saints and Children, we are gathered here...

The "Holy King of Israel" loves His children here, or wherever they may be. Regardless of our geolocation, the Father is taking us to a new and undiscovered country. Its a place outside the rule of time and tide; a place where the kings and priests of the Most High will serve Him in the epochs of eternity to come.

Come quickly LORD Jesus, come and make all things new...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is it just me, or do you see it too?

When I first saw the photo of Phil Spector in court, I was gobsmacked by his wildman hairdo. I knew that I'd seen it before but coundn't place it. Then it hit me like a cold water balloon... I'd seen that 'do while eating many a bowls of Captain Crunch on Saturday mornings in front of the TV. Hair Bear and Uncle Phil were sporting the same 'do.

Enjoy the Day!

Monday, July 02, 2007

On the Continent's Edge

When one walks with God, there is really no such thing as "uncharted territory". Though we seem to be walking in an undiscovered country, the Almighty One who walks ahead of us has already been here. The One who has seen the end from the beginning knows every turn of the trail.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Interesting New Site

A pair of solid Anglican brothers in the Stafford area have launched an informative site into orbit around the blogosphere. All Souls Anglican Missionary Journal contains several useful links and insightful essays.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Funny 'Ya should mention it...

Sarah Hey, over on "Stand Firm" has posted an insightful piece on the history of the Social Gospel.

Hat's off to Father Matt and company for their work on Stand FIrm.

Waiting in Boston

Airport departure lounges have become a regular fixture in my workweek. Throughout 2007, my job has had me traveling at least twice a month (Every other week for a time). The upside is that this has given me plenty of time to take in several good reads. My read for this trip is a work by Rosalind Brown & Christopher Cocksworth, "On Being a Priest Today". So far, its been an exellent discernment aid. The downside is that this has been the added challenges in trying to eat healthy and take in an exercise routine (Excuses, excuses Andy...). This week's adventure brought me to Cambridge, MA, home of such great places as Harvard and MIT. Of course one can always count on finding a 'bucks for a Venti Iced Americano with "light room"
A wicked squall line came through this morning that looked something like the one in this photo.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Vision of/for Ministry -- Part II

In my previous installment, I spoke of the journey to this point, and some of the formational influences that affected my personal theology. From this point onward, I’ll discuss my three-fold philosophy. These points consist of ministry being: the service of God, the equipping of the saint, and the broad proclamation of the gospel.

Ministry at its molecular level is service to God. This crucial fact is the very lynchpin that upholds the very enterprise of ministry. While it’s true that ministry is multifaceted, service to God must remain at its epicenter if it is to remain “Christian” ministry. There is a subtle but deadly trap that one can fall into in their ministerial worldview. That is, it is easy to loose sight of the unseen and become fixated on the “human” aspect of service. The almighty becomes blurred, then ultimately obliterated. Finally, the ministerial service becomes anthrocentric rather than Theocentric.

A ministry that is anthrocentric is fundamentally flawed from its onset. Rather than being focused on the author and source of the ministerial mandate, it is focused on the perceived object of service (This being mankind). Because of its improper origins, it lacks the divine empowerment to truly change hearts and lives. With its primary focus directed toward humanity and lacking any true power to affect change in the hearts of men, this ministry becomes little more than a venue to celebrate the brokenness of the broken. In the final state, one is left with a hollow, secularized endeavor that neither glorifies the Almighty nor transforms humanity.

Perhaps the greatest example of anthrocentric error is the Social Gospel and its ultimate failure. The Social Gospel was ostensibly a noble idea at its onset. But when the endeavor slipped its gyros and lost its divine scope, it became immediately doomed. In the end state, we were left with a product that couldn’t reach hearts anymore than Johnson’s “Great Society”. In light of the evidence (Far more evidence than this paper allows), genuine ministry must be Theocentric.

Theocentric ministry, as the name implies, is first and foremost focused on God and the Godhead. Its prime goal is to bring glory to the Father. Theocentric ministry sees the Father as both primary object and source for ministry. Specifically, it exists to bring glory to the father, and understands the Father to be the power and impetus behind the service. Where anthrocentric ministry is linear, theocentric ministry is circular. The former works from a point of departure while the latter exists in a focused orbit.

Theocentric ministry, due to its divine focus, continually seeks to ascertain the counsel and commands of the divine. There is a much clearer concept of absolutes, and the understanding of the one true answer in affecting change in the hearts of men. Regardless of the response, the theocentric practitioner operates from and communicates the full counsel of the Almighty as it is revealed in scripture.

Theocentric ministry will always be successful. Now, this is the point where an apparent contradiction exists. It would be tempting to point out numerous examples where otherwise biblical ministries fell flat, with little apparent fruit. This line of reason fails to take the true object of theocentric ministry into account. If only one life was affected, that is one soul that was won for God’s kingdom. It could well be that God in His providence used the endeavor simply to reach that one heart. (Remember, we’re speaking of the God who sent His only Son).

With the object clearly defined, we’ll next consider the second aspect of ministry which is “Equipping the Saints”.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One of those Days when ya' just want to call out...

There is only one thing better than the Spring, and that's a morning in the Spring! This is one of those mornings where every plant in the garden is saying "Andy..... You could really use a day off."

I took this photo yesterday morning before work. I tried to get one of my Deacon heroes, St. Frank, into the picture but the glare kept it from happening. And oh... The Greek rendering of "Paradise" gives us the connotation of "the well-maintained garden of the King". This may seem like a totally random thought but think for a moment...

If heaven were as stark as a "Kiss and Ride" Lot on a Sunday morning, the presence of the LORD, His Holy Spirit, and His Son Jesus would make it glorious beyond our deepest dreams. The fact that heaven is ensconced in magnificent gardens is just the sweetest cherry on top.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eine kleine Freitagsmusik

Its Friday, and the sun is out for the first time in nearly a week. To boot, there are no clouds in the sapphire skies above. Welcome back April...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NAAD and "Anglodeacons"

I had a "tipping point" moment yesterday after posting my prayer for the families of the Blacksburg 32. In this prayer, I made reference to a "son of Belial" to the shagrin of some Episcopal Deacons. I have, after some thoughtful prayer, disassociated myself with the North American Association for the Diaconate (NAAD), and its online community, "ANGLODEACONS".

Last year, I joined NAAD and subscribed to their online community in the hope of receiving insights from seasoned Deacons and Archdeacons. And to this, Deacons like Ormonde Plater have provided a wealth of knowledge to all things Diaconal. Unfortunately, our brother Ormonde seems to stand nearly alone as a bright light in these communities.

To my disappointment, these forums have been little more than enclaves for the Religious Left, and platforms for counter-scriptural ideas. At this stage of my journey, I simply have neither time nor stomach for this.

The fields are truly "White unto Harvest". This is not the time to be propping up bad doctrine and apostate Bishops. Its high time to be about the Master's business and the proclamation of His message to a lost universe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Prayer for Blacksburg

Almighty LORD,We cry out and plead your grace and mercy for the families of the 32 in Blacksburg. Grant your consolation to those whose hearts have been ripped from their chests by this son of belial. Deal with him according to YOUR perfect justice, and not our own.
We look to you in this fallen, sin-sick world as our only advocate, our only true comfort,and our only lasting peace. We don't need false platitudes or rash human reaction, we need you, our LORD.
We pray this in the name of our Lord Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,One God forever and ever.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Vision of/for Ministry

Note from the seat... I want to posit my personal vision for the bi-vocational ministry over the next few installments. Tonight's installment gives us the introduction to the paper.

INTRODUCTION. Asking someone to describe their vision of/for ministry will bring a wide variety of answers. These answers may also vary dramatically where the individual is in their journey of the faith. My own answer has evolved considerably since 1989. I’m confident that this vision will continue to be refined with time, maturity and the sanctifying Hand of God.

An important fact needs to be established at the beginning of this proposition; this is not “my ministry”. This service belongs to the LORD, of which He’s granted me stewardship. From eternity past, our Lord saw fit to choose me, not according to my merit, but according to the riches of His glory. It’s in this greater calling that the Lord called me to serve His saints. As well as those He has predestined to sonship in Christ Jesus.

I became acutely aware of this call early in life but had no way of quantifying it. I wasn’t alone in discerning this call; my grandfather was aware of God’s hand on me from birth. It would take some time, but I responded to the Lord’s call to service in 1988, with the blessing of my pastor, Albert Pickerall. I came under the leadership of my first true mentor in 1990. Over the next two years, Dr. Charles E. Crissey placed me in a rigid program of study in preparation for entry into vocational ministry. Upon completion of my examinations, I was licensed as an Exhorter within the Church of God, Cleveland Tennessee. I would serve within this church until 2003 when I had to step away from the denomination for theological reasons.

My original vision of/for ministry was strongly influenced by the Church of God. Unfortunately, this was a denomination steeped in Arminian/Semi-Pelagian (Pelagian) theology, and strongly influenced by the waves of aberrant teaching that was becoming rife within neo-charismatic circles. I initially attempted to stay in step with the teaching and doctrines of my church. This would become increasingly harder as waves of aberrant teachings became woven into the denominational fabric. (Though unaware at the time, I had already begun to adopt the spirit of “Semper Reformata”).

This theological crisis started to reach a boiling point in 2003. I was seeing the hollowness of Arminian/Pelagian theology. I saw how those under the yoke of this worldview were being bound in an insipid for of legalism which left them spiritually weak and immature. Adherents were bound in an anthrocentric faith that placed far greater weight on the experiential and the esoteric than it did on the full counsel of God. In my final analysis, there was a mere degree of separation between the Church of God, and the Roman Catholic Church which they would strongly repudiate. I could no longer defend the doctrines of Cleveland Tennessee, and subsequently resigned from my pastoral responsibilities in October 2003.

God’s providential hand led me back to the Anglican Communion in March 2005. It was a communion in crisis thanks to the course undertaken by the Episcopal Church (ECUSA).
So now the stage is set; I’m now on the verge of returning to bi-vocational ministry in a Reformed Anglican community.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Good Friday Meditation

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21

Its 11:12 AM on Good Friday, Roughly equivalent to the “5th Hour” when Jesus of Nazareth would have been taking those agonizing steps along the “Way of Sorrows” onto the final sight of his execution at the hands of the Roman Government. The fact that He was still alive at this moment was a miracle in itself. He had already been physically assaulted by the High Priest’s security forces, scourged to an unrecognizable mass of torn human flesh, beaten with rods, and endured multiple lacerations to His face and scalp. Another man would have lapsed into shock from blood loss alone. I believe that our Christ was still alive at this hour simply because His mission had yet to have been fully completed. As hellish as his ordeal had been to the moment, it would only become more severe. In a few excruciating moments, the one who “Knew no sin”, would be made “sin on our behalf”.

He didn’t become a sinner. The one who knew no sin remained sinless. He became the spotless lamb who sensed the cold blade at his throat. He too became the scapegoat, suddenly sensing the incalculable weight of the sum total of human wickedness come crashing down upon his wounded head and shoulders. Then in the midst of all this, our Christ sensed something never encountered heretofore in eternity; the supernatural bound of the Godhead had been interrupted! Jesus bar Yahweh now hung between heaven and earth, forsaken and alone.
I’m overwhelmed by that moment; the one who declared that “My Father and I are one” was now alone. That Holy Communion was now replaced with the rotting stench of my sins, the selfishness of my petty whining, and the ugliness of my pride.


He took on my spiritual ugliness that I might in-turn put on His spiritual Beauty. He hung on that cross, clothed in my sin that I might in-turn be clothed in His righteousness. He put on me, suffering the full wrath of Heaven on my behalf that I might stand before the Father, Justified in His Son.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

From my Bookbag

My Theological worldview has undergone nothing short of a true paradigm shift over the past year. I traveled in Arminian/Semi-Pelagain circles for a number of years early in my Christian journey. As I grew in the faith, I had begun to become uncomfortable with this zeitgeist. It seemed that this system did little to foster true spiritual growth and seemed only to leave the faithful stunted, and bound in an insipid form of legalism. It was here that I began to consider theology rooted in the Augustinian/Reformed tradition.

It is easy to believe that studying Reformed theology means reading only dusty old tomes written by dead guys. This could be the case unless you include R.C. Sproul in the equation. R.C. has written several works touching Reformed theology that are neither dull nor dusty. Most recently, I’ve completed “Renewing Your Mind” by R.C. This work examines the Apostle’s Creed, performing a phrase-by-phrase analysis of this historic “Statement of Faith”.

“Renewing Your Mind” is a short read (220 pages) that was read on my recent flight to Phoenix and back. The book examines the solid scriptural underpinnings to the creed.

Sproul’s work clearly portrayed the Apostle’s Creed as a universal “Statement of Faith” for any true Reformed Christian parish, congregation of fellowship. It falls squarely into my recommended book bag.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday's Musical Meditation

This hymn was seemingly written for a march morning in Virginia... I watch winter yielding to spiring and once more, I'm taken away by a glimpse of the hand of God.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

At the Top of the World

There was a time when I was petrified to fly. Those days are long behind me. Today, I fly on an average of 2-3 times per month. Recently, I discovered that listening to Palestrina in flight is a near sacramental experience.
I snapped this photo last Friday morning, somewhere off the Atlantic coast at an altitude of 39,000 feet. As you look at the picture, you can see the curve of the earth's surface. Enjoy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Trying to find a mote of Humor in the midst of this all

I had posted a comment over on BabyBlue Cafe in response to the outrageous lawsuit levied against the Orthodox saints of Anglican Virginia by 816 and DioVA. Many of the responders were incredulous at the fact that the leadership of TEC would drag her lay members before the bench. Some even appeared to question the veracity of BB's account.
We've seen it played out time and again over the past several years; the courthouse has become the last refuge of the far-left. We're seeing that TEC is no exception to this axiom. Please Keep BB, +Martyn, John Yates+, and all of the Anglicans of CANA in prayer. Pray that this lawsuit would come to nothing, and the accused be vindicated by the hand of the Almighty.

How does one define "Mixed Blessing"?

In a sentence... Nursing a Feburary cold in Fort Lauderdale.
I feel a twinge of guilt as I sit in the Crowne Plaza this week, doing my bit for King and Country, while Robin is preparing for a winter weather event back in Virginia.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Looking at our Foundation

I believe in God the Father
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and on the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning
To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it

I believe in God the Fathe
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church
The communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
I did not make it, no it is making me
I said I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Confession of Saint Peter

Simon Peter Answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’.”
Matt 16:16 (NIV)

The Liturgical Calendar marks today as a remembrance of the “Confession of St. Peter”. I would have truly enjoyed celebrating the Eucharist this morning but alas, there is not one fully functional Anglican Church between my office and me. I pray that this will be soon resolved. I am not blogging to bemoan the lack of operational Anglican parishes in Stafford. Instead, I would like to consider Peter’s divinely inspired declaration, and the question that precipitated it.

Jesus and the Apostolic band were on the road traveling from the Galilean coast onto the region of Caesarea Philippi. The group had witnessed a string of miracles that concluded with a banquet for 4,000, courtesy of seven small loaves, a few fish, and the power of the Almighty. The stage was set for the big question:

Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

The group immediately offered up their answers. Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, all were bandied about.

“But who do you say I am?” Jesus continued.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Peter replied.

I don’t know, but seems that there may have been a pregnant pause in order to allow for the full impact of the statement. Its no doubt that all the eyes were darting between the Son of God and the son of Jonah. Then, Christ commends Peter and Proclaims that the very foundation of the Church is laid upon Peter’s bold statement.

This isn’t an event taken out of time; everyone will be faced with this very question at one point in their lives. Our answer, whether personal or corporate will speak volumes.

Can He be our “Christ” if we deny the veracity of His word or the sufficiency of His atonement? As the “Son of the Living God”, is He the sole doorway to the Father or one of many pathways? Is the Christ of Matthew 16:16, the Christ of “General Convention 2006”? I believe the answer to each of these questions is a resounding “No”.

God’s Church is built on this mighty, spirit-inspired declaration made by the son of Jonah. When the Church (or a church) moves off this foundation, it ceases to be the Church built by the Almighty. It has slipped its moorings and is tossed here and there on the angry sea. However, the church that is anchored to this rock is secure. Though the adversary may snarl and roar, it’ll not prevail. It’s schemes and threats will come to nothing.
Let's never forget this key truth: The Church isn't built on the plans of 815, or the objectives of any particular Diocese. The Church is built upon our Christ. Luther reminds us tonight that He is a "Mighty Fortress", and a "Bulwark never failing".

It Just Occurred to Me...

I was looking at the blog last evening when it occurred to me that nearly all the images on this site are pictures of rivers, etc. Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Let the River Flow

Some thoughts at the beginning... This is a view of the Potomac River from my slip at the Quantico Marina. Don't let the blue skies and shimmering waters fool you, the shot was taken on a cold day in Feb 2005. As I stood there contemplating the picture, my mind was drawn to Christ's promise in John's Gospel. This said, can we consider a few things?
"Me-monkey theology", would have us believe that God the Father is like some over-indulgent Grandfather/Santa Claus figure who blesses all the children of God for no reason and no particluar end, Outside of the fact that the blessings were "claimed" by the blessee. The God of Scripture is quite a different person and when he blesses us, He does so that we might in-turn bless others.
God the Father causes "Living Waters" to flow from our lives that we might be instruments in His hands. Unlike a restless sea that ultimately drowns all who fall into it, this Living Water satisfies and encourages our fellow believers. As it flows from our lives, it touches saints and in-turn, brings glory to the Father. This blessing allows us to participate in the grand opus of the Almighty as His grace flows through us into the graceless world that surrounds us.
As we pray, let us ask the Father to make us a blessing to the household of faith, and the world around us. .

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Tipping Point

It has been one week since the Suffragan Bishop of Virginia, The Right Reverend David Jones, visited my parish in Stafford, VA. Bishop Jones is a gentleman in every sense of the word and was a gracious guest in what could have been a very tense meeting. The parishioners asked the Bishop many pointed questions that evening, yet accorded him the dignity of his office. It was a moment to be proud of the saints of Augustine Church. During this meeting, I asked Bishop Jones a simple, but direct question. “Sir, where is the tipping point,” I asked. “Where is the line where we say ‘No more’?” This tipping point arrived this past weekend in Pine Bluff Arkansas, as the Presiding Bishop repudiated once more, the exclusivity of Christ Jesus as the only Savior, Mediator and way to the Father.

We can debate any number of issues within the bounds of Christian love and charity. The healthy and organic church will continue to wrestle and reform until the Lord’s return. There are foundational tenants of the faith that are non-negotiational, that is if we still claim to profess to the historic orthodox faith. When we jettison Christ as THE WAY to the Father, we have nullified gospel, and the very foundation of His Church.

Though she may think otherwise, the Presiding Bishop speaks for her entire church. Even of she holds orthodox beliefs on a personal level, she betrays them with her public statements. In reducing the words and person of Jesus, she has blasphemed the Godhead itself. Not only has she not clarified her position, she reiterated this position recently in an Arkansas parish. In my assessment, the Presiding Bishop has in fact, crossed the Rubicon into heresy. Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori continues to advocate what is ostensibly a Universalist position. This is certainly a crucial tipping point.

It breaks my heart, but I can no longer remain in communion with a church that mitigates the Gospel of God. I cannot in good conscience celebrate a Liturgy and Eucharist in the name of one who is ostensibly just a good man and “a way” to the Father.

Bishop Jones, thank you for your visit. I continue to lift you up in prayer.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Vesper Meditations for the Reasserter

It's not easy taking a stand for the truth. Without the refreshment of prayer and the word, we're soon burned out and out of the fight. While praying the office of Evening Prayer (or Vespers, as I'm wont to call them) last night, I received a beautiful baptism of serenity. The text in blue is taken from the Order for Evening Worship (BCP pp. 108-114). The text is my 2 cents. I hope you're equally blessed...

Light and Peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I’m certain that everyone who has ever taken a stand for the truth in the face of popular opinion has experienced some level of inner anxiety over their actions. Like the father who begged Christ “I believe, but help my unbelief”, tiny pockets of self-doubt nibble away at their minds and distract them, causing them to be overly introspective. In the midst of this, Christ brings His saints light to dispel the darkness of self-doubt, and peace that quiets our spirits. Light and Peace allow us to stand in His confidence.

It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus' sake. For the sameGod who said, "Out of darkness let light shine," has caused his light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation—the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

We’re not ill-tempered contrarians who delight in spoiling the fun of others. Reasserter, we’ve not taken this stand to bring attention to ourselves. Our message is neither novel nor new. We’re not banging our own drum and we’re certainly not sowing the seeds of schism for its own sake. We proclaim the eternal message of Christ Jesus. We speak God’s truth in a spirit of Love. This truth brings shines gloaming darkness, exposing false tolerance and political correctness as the diabolical inventions they are.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, we give you thanks for surrounding us, as daylight fades, with the brightness of the vesper light; and we implore you of your great mercy that, as you enfold us with the radiance of this light, so you would shine into our hearts the brightness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praised, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Both The collect and hymn encourage us! There is no darkness that that won’t flee in terror from the Light of Christ. Though it only takes the flame of one candle to chase away the darkness, the glorious light of Christ drives away both darkness and shadow.

Almighty, everlasting God, let our prayer in your sight be as incense, the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice. Give us grace to behold you, present in your Word and Sacraments, and to recognize you in the lives of those around us. Stir up in us the flame of that love which burned in the heart of your Son as he bore his passion, and let it burn in us to eternal life and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Even in the midst of our stand, let us be people of praise! We’re reminded of the Beatitudes where Christ declared:

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt 5:11-12 TNIV)

The Lord bless you and keep us. Amen.
The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us. Amen.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen.

We’re the apple of our Lord’s eye.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Standing Watch on the Bow

I usually pause this time of the year to take a tongue-in-cheek look in the rearview mirror. Between Hollywood, politics, Neocon follies and the like, there’s enough hay to keep a hack like me in a steady stream of copy. I’m not in the mood as 2006 closes and 2007 unfolds. I’ve been thinking about other things.

One church worships at the altar of political correctness while another becomes a troop of “me-monkeys” bent on naming and claiming heaven dry. This church tortures, twists, trashes or ignores scripture in order to celebrate aberrant behavior, while another continually invents and reinvents esoteric experiences that have neither basis nor precedent in Scripture. Sadly too, a growing number of evangelical churches who claim to be vanguards of Biblical truth have created what’s little more than an “Idiot’s Guide to Christianity”. I’m really troubled by this…

I’m tired of a dumbed-down, “Jesus for Dummies” version of Christianity…
I’m brokenhearted at seeing expressions of the historic faith hijacked by socio-sexual agendas…
My chops are frosted at seeing the Holy Spirit mocked and blasphemed by charlatans fleecing the ignorant through some manufactured manifestation…

Mostly, I’m disappointed with my own apathetic and complacent spirit.

It’s 2007 and there is a great challenge in front of us all. This year is an Undiscovered Country and my prayer for the next 12 months goes something like this:

Let us pray…
Almighty God,
Thank you for the passing of one more year.
Though you’ve not promised us tomorrow, you have given us this moment.
In this moment:
I pray that you make my life a living epistle for the entire world to read.
Let Your grace, mercy and peace be left for the lost in every step I take.

May your word no longer remain simply hidden in my heart, but rather let it pour from my lips like a spring of living water.
I want to know Christ, knowing the power of his resurrection, apprehending His sufferings and in like manner, dying to self.
Forgetting what is behind, Lord propel me forward toward the prize, the higher calling that’s found in Christ alone.
Let my back be strong, my hide tough and my heart tender.
I ask this in and through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.