Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Nightcap...

OK, I'm done... I Promise! I'm sorry but this one truly has me pining for the Bellarine and Queenscliffe! I'm fairly convinced that our LORD created and populated Australia on the 6th day at 4:07 PM. Iva Davies's Video captures the beauty of this "Great Southern Land".

The Trifecta

The Third rendition of "Heroes" . Alright pilgrims, Its now up to you. Who rocks "Heroes" the best; Iva Davies, David Bowie or Jacob Dylan?

Chillin' on an unseasonably warm Sunday

Alright, what we have here is a battle of the crooners... Iva Davies and David Bowie both rock in equal measure. This said, the question still must be asked; who has given the better interpretation of this classic and triumphal anthem? As a final, I want to put the winner up against Jacob Dylan if I can find the clip. Anyway, I digress.

Our World, our Towns and our cul du sacs/neighborhoods are in dire need of heroes. Not folk who can roast weenies or make s'mores with a glance, but guys or gals with the stones/ovaries to draw the line in the sand and say "no more" to the raging tempesta sterecore.

Our God is the father of EEO and will readily accept Daniel's and Deborah's who are ready to cowboy/cowgirl up to the challenge. Selah.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Night at the Catbird Seat

Ya' know, She's neither Christy Lane, Twila Paris nor Sandy Patty... But I believe that this song by Chrissie Hynde speaks more to the love of our Lord than many, many other songs. We had nothing to lay before the throne but filth and failure. Yet, our LORD has reached out to us, wrapping us in the cloak of Christ and embracing us. Far from our Best, but in our ugliest, foulest moments. Consider the words of St Paul:

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV

Be Blessed this cold December Evening.

Friday Palate Cleanser

It looks to be a big frosty sandwich today as our heartland gets hammered with a winter blast while the bookends of California's high Desert and Suburbia Majora enjoy the sunny/chilly 40's. Anyhoo, I digress...

On this "Feast of Stephen" and "Boxing Day", you might ask yourself... How could I be a Hero?

Happy Boxing Day

The Nontheist or Religious Humanist dreams for "Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Man" from a nonor extrabiblical perspective, while the Evangelical Christian stridently states that there will be no peace on this earth until the Christ returns. The Evangelical is correct in their assertion that there will be no lasting/permanent peace until the Almighty brings about Act III and the restoration. This said, there is no reason that we should accept nor allow our world to be a seething hell until that moment.

Boxing Day has traditionally been a day when those in UK and many of her daughters (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) reached out in goodwill to the widow, orphan, downtrodden, and those on the margins with the love and bounty of the Christmastide. I've always regretted the fact that this holiday never took root in the United States. The fact that this also falls on the feast of Stephen has special meaning for me personally, as this is one of the missions and ministries of the Deacon... That is, to stand as a bridge between the the Kosmos and the Ecclessia, or the Church and its mission field.

In the Spirit of Stephen, May we all reach out to the fields with humility, winsomeness, and the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alright Already!

Rant Alert...

Oh, for the love of Pete! Can't these uber-progressives stop for just one minute and get that perpetual bunch out of their bloomers? Ya' know, even an overtly secular Christmas is supposed to be a time of magic and wonder for our crumb crunchers. Instead someone has foisted this Al Goresque drivel on them. Please save the wild-eyed, tree-hugging claptrap for another day. Oh, and keep yer' meathooks off of Easter too.

Here endeth the Rant

This aside, this is one very talented young woman.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back on Home Turf

Ahh, despite the cold and dreary rain thats falling on NoVa, it is truly good to be home!

I wanted to continue my thought in Charlotte but it took me far longer than expected to get from one side of the airport to the other, but I digress...

Previously, we were considering the polar opposites of error concerning the celebration of the Eucharist. These have only served to blur and obscure not only the beauty of the sacrament, but it's blessing as well. Let me go out to the end of the branch and pose the following: Is the overwhelming body of American Christendom "sick or asleep" due to their idolization or shabby treatment of Sacrament? If we claim to the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture, we simply can't duck this question.

Holy Communion is first and foremost, Holy. It is a sanctified moment where we partake and celebrate the "mystery" of our faith, this being that "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!". It is a holy moment where the Saint meets their Savior to partake in the body, broken, buried, resurrected, and returning. Our Christ's person and divinity are present in the offered elements. They're neither transformed nor mere tokens.

We need also to consider the mode of the meal. I've watched folk roll through communion like a GMC truck down an assembly line. There's neither reverie nor reverence. Too, I've witnessed the celebration occur without a shred of reverence. These call to mind St. Paul's description of the Corinthian Church.

How then should it be celebrated and by whom?

I believe that first, it must be celebrated with reverence, purpose and deliberation. The saint needs to apprehend that in partaking of the Eucharist, they are entering into the presence of the Holy. The self-examined saint should consider the cost of the sacrifice, where the very expression of the Almighty suffered the torture and death of a common street thug. A cross of judgement awaited us all, but our Christ allowed himself to be nailed to OUR cross. This is so that He might take us as his own and share in this Eucharist in the Father's Kingdom.

It goes without a whole lot of explanation that this is a meal for the saint of God. Not only for the saint, but for the saint who can apprehend even a glimpse of Christ's vicarious and atoning death. I'll not be so legalistic as to pose an "age" where one is ready for communion. I will though pose that a school-aged child who hasn't reached a point of understanding should not partake in the celebration.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heading onto Home Turf

This Blur of a week is about to drop out of light speed as I sit in the departure lounge, waiting for a connecting flight to Charlotte. Though I sit here in my requisite wrangler's and black tee-shirt, my jacket is on the ready for touchdown in Northern Virginia and the ride back to Suburbia Majora. There's been little time for reverie over the past days, though I've had some time to consider the celebration of the Eucharist in our post modern world. In the initial analysis, I've seen that the celebration of this Divine Mystery ranges from the orthodox to the outright heretical.

Christian-American though on the Eucharist ranges from the Transubstantiationist to the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB)/Chickensian viewpoint. While the former holds to one erroneous view, the latter believes that "observing" communion more than once in a year makes the pastor a an agent of the Vatican. The one literally worships the physical elements while the other deconstructs them to mere symbols. In this, I believe that both parties have missed the target and the historic orthodox understanding of the Eucharist.

It took the Church nearly one thousand years and vigorous debate to arrive at the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In the wake, some incredulous hagiography and legend was spun out of whole cloth as to bread physically transforming into flesh and wine/water into human blood. On the eve of the reformation and Trent, acceptance of the doctrine was a salvific issue. Calvin, Luther, and the Anglican Reformers thoroughly repudiated this teaching and the idolatry that followed.

The Anabaptists and other forerunners of today's IFB and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches took an almost iconoclastic stance towards the Eucharist, removing any hue of "Mystery" and stripping it of its Sacramental status.

I'll continue these thoughts in Charlotte...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On the ground in Broward

Ya know what? it's been a long two and a half days. 48 hours ago, I was bundled against the backside of an Alberta Clipper and bundled up in Northern Virginia. Tonight, I'm in a T-shirt oogling the palm trees and thinking about dinner... A Cuban Sandwich perhaps?

Palm Trees Flamingos and Broward/Dade Counties make me think of my favorite cop show from the 80's. (C'mon, you thought it was as cool as I did back then.) The boats, the cars, the threads, it was all too cool. But for all its hip vibe, it was completely out of touch with reality. Think about it, what Miami Detective in the 80's could float Crockett & Tubbs lifestyle in a Detective's salary? Anyhoo, it was a fun watch.

Monday, December 08, 2008

On the Road

I left Suburbia Majora Sunday to ferry a van to Port Everglades Florida. Tonight, I'm blogging from Palm Coast, FL at a rather comfortable Sleep Inn. While driving, I've been rolling the canons of the new Anglican Province brain and at first glance they seem to be not only sound in their orthodoxy, but just the thing a third millennium church needs.

Canon 6 & 7 in particular caught my attention on a few levels. Canon 6 provides latitude concerning the Book of Common Prayer and Canon 7 steps into the Women's ordination minefield. These are two canons that will certainly generate debate, considering the composition of the province. This is where affinity-based dioceses will be highly beneficial.

I hope to comment on these canons at a greater length once I get back to Suburbia Majora later in the week. For now, I'll enjoy Florida's warmth.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday Night at the Seat

It's colder than a grave digger's backside tonight as an Alberta Clipper descends on the Old Dominion. It's one of those nights that has me pining for the Bellarine and Queenscliffe. C'mon and co-miserate with me and enjoy Ice House as they sing about that Great Southern Land. It's just bonus points that our Anglican Brothers in this "Great Southern Land" are standing shoulder to shoulder with us in the labour of standing firm of orthodox Anglicanism.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alright Youse

As a member of the loyal opposition, let me say it once and only once from this blog. Youse guys and girls have been acting like petulant preschoolers since November 2000. Your team scored the winning run this year. Now, quit 'yer simpering and lead. You've been whining for the ball and now you've got it. You've basically have one congressional term to get your sterecore in one sack, or you'll be back in the minority party status once again. When you make big promises to Americans, they expect delivery... The clock is already ticking. Selah

The Sleeper Awakes

The catbird has come out of a campaign 2008 (or Camp-PAIN without end) induced coma and is now once again, walking among those with measurable brain activity. Truth be known campers, that despite the fact that we're on the cusp of a seed change here in the former Republic, part of me is relieved that the election has come and gone.

I'm a survivor of the steel industry meltdown of the early seventies when the once proud City of Coatesville, PA died, and the ensuing Carter years which did their best to ensure Coatesville's death was indeed final. I pray that through Almighty's merciful hand, we'll survive the Neosocialism about to be foisted on us by the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Night at the Catbird Seat

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Cor 13:4-8 NASB)

Saints, the World is asking... What are we telling them? SELAH

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hurricane Season ends in November

Let's hope this one is countered by a ridge of Alaskan high pressure...

A New Month, A New Motto

I'd been searching for a relevant and prophetic motto for the Ol' Catbird Seat when it hit me like a sack of fresh mullet:

"Semper Vigilans contra Tempesta Stercore"

This was at the very core of my desire to begin a blog two years ago; to share the thoughts of one on watch for fecal funnel clouds and stir kindred souls to action. Though I've lacked the tenacity of Miss Baby Blue, or the fire of Mr. Virtue (Kinda sounds like a Marvel Superhero), I reached to be a watchman on the wall calling out to sane minds across the net.

In the past two years, we've witnessed the TEC flip the bird to God and their brethren in the Global Anglican Communion. We've observed as American civil and political discourse devolved into something akin to a troop of petulant middle-schoolers engaged in a name calling context. The profane is now couched as clever and the sluttish has been lionized as haute couture. Instead of operating hydrogen-powered flying cars, we now have an emerging generation that has become obsessed with tribal tattoos, paleo-piercings and a nihilistic zeitgeist that would make Anton LeVey blush.

It's time to take the reigns back, to become the Adult Supervision that the Almighty is calling us to be folks; to stand pro veritas and contra mundus. Anyone with me?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fear not little flock... A Friday Reflection

It's seems that we've tumbled right into the path of a Stercore Tsunami.

The dollar is tumblin', children's tummys are rumblin',
Congress is fumblin'
and now the ol' Russian bear is grumblin'.

Hands are wringin'
Pre-tribbers are singin'
while the world stands gobsmacked
and confused.

In the midst of all this, the Master says:

"Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"

Take a timely tip from Miss Twila.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where the Heck is Suburbia Majora? -- II

Earlier, I mused (and moaned) over this this ethereal Duchy known only as Suburbia Majora. A brief review will tell us that Suburbia Majora is a swath of humanity, nail salons, tattoo shops, and soul bleeding traffic between Richmond VA and Boston, MA. There, SUV's carry little Justin and Madison off to play dates and other tightly scheduled recreation. When you scratch off the fine veneer of kept lawns and volvos with Kerry/Edwards stickers, you'll see that Suburbia Majora is a subtle dystopia which consumes its inhabitants. For the purpose of this essay, and because it sounds cool, I'll refer to the citizens of Suburbia Majora as Majorans (Ohh, that sounds so Trekish but I digress).

Many Majorans have been condemned to wear a clock the size of a millstone around their necks. I'm speaking figuratively of course, with all deference and props to Mr. Flavor Flav. These Majorans are clock-bound every waking moment of their lives. They wake long before dawn in order to join the procession of lemmings on the interstates. The Majoran knows with absolute certainty that leaving five minutes late could add as much as an hour to their long march to the city. At the end of the workday comes the trek out of the cities and office parks, all at speeds that vary between breakneck and gridlock. Evenings and weekends too are ruled by the clock. Evenings offer scant few hours and weekends require choreography, lest they be frittered away.

When the music stops, the average Majoran simply wants to be left alone in his 3,000 square foot castle. He's nestled behind his privacy fence and the twin garage doors with his HDTV and his DSL connection. She can kick her shoes off and coax a foot rub out of her mate.

This may seem like the suburban idyll, but for humanity, to exist this way is Contra Natura to the way we've been wired. I'll pick up as to why next time.

The Detergent Church -- Part Four

Here's the next installment of Parson Giles' Essay on the "Detergent Church":

Herewith is my last installment on why I believe the church is culpable for our cultural corruption and my top ten raucous remedies to help the church with its mad cow disease. My recommendations are:

  • Get men who dig being rowdy back in the pulpit.
  • Could we have some sound doctrine, por favor?
  • Preach scary sermons (at least every fourth one).
  • Get rid of 99.9% of "Christian" TV.
  • Quit trying to be relevant and instead become prophetic contrarians, I'm talking contra mundus, mama!
  • Put a 10-year moratorium on "God wants you rich" sermons (yeah, that's what we need to hear nowadays, you morons, more sermons about money, money, money!).
  • Embrace apologetics and shun shallow faith.
  • Evangelize like it's 1999.
  • Push lazy Christians to get a life or join a Satanic Church.
  • Demand that if a Christian gets involved in the arts that their "craft" must scream excellence and not excrement.

The entire article can be read here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Catbird's Political Compass

The Political Compass
  • Economic Left/Right 3.5
  • Social Libertarian -1.85
It fell close to where I expected it to fall. Click here to have your Political compass calibrated.
Thanks, and a tip o' the Beret to BabyBlue for this one.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Detergent Church -- Part Three

The Rowdy Right Reverend Doug Giles continues his Essay on the "Detergent Church"...

As much as I think a lot of the American "churches" are about as useful to God as a pitch pipe is to Yoko Ono, I'm not completely depressed by this dilemma. Matter of fact, I'm pretty giddy as the emails have started to pour in from readers from around the globe who are sick of bland Nancy churches lead by lame "leaders" who are driven by cash, carnality, convenience and culture rather than Christ. The revolution could be on, ladies and gents, and more than likely, my beloved, it will be televised.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Detergent Church -- Part Two

Hello Gentle Reader. Last Friday, I introduced you to a hero of mine, The Right Rowdy Reverend Doug Giles. Doug has provided a definition for what he refers to as the "Detergent Church":

Detergent Church (di-tur-juhnt church) - noun: A church whose sole purpose is to purge the skid marks sin has left on man's soul and our society.

He has also provided us with a trustworthy working definition of Biblical Christianity:

Biblical Christianity (operative word: biblical), lived and worked out in real time, has always been a life-stoking blessing in whatever land it took root (no matter what your long tooth Marxist professor says).

Good stuff. Parson Doug's series continues here...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thoughts for a Friday Afternoon

Doug Giles is the Very Antithesis of the stereotype pastor. I discovered him over at where he has a weekly column. Pastor Doug is embarking on a series of thoughts entitled "The Detergent Church".


I was being interviewed on talk radio a couple of weeks ago when the "talent" turned the discussion to my faith and my thoughts on the state of the Church in America. I'm sitting there thinking, "You invited me on your show to talk about school violence and student stupidity, and now we're talking about Jesus? Okay, whatever. God is one of my favorite topics, and as long as I get to plug my latest book, A Time to Clash, 757 times in the next 15 minutes, I'm good."

So, I informed my host that my faith was stonkin' and in my humble-yet acerbic-prophetic opinion I thought a good chunk of the American church was melting like a little Twinkie under the hot sun of assertive secularism.

The Story Continues...

Friday, May 23, 2008

C'mon America, This is just Pathetic

I don't typically quote the Washington Post in this Blog. but here's an interesting little turdlette of news from page A6:

To Date in the 2008 Primarypalloza, the vote count falls thusly:

On Tuesday Evening, 97.5 Million votes were cast in the American Idol finale.

We love to piss and moan about the state of affairs, and wring our hands lamenting that the country seems to be going to hades in a haversack. Yet we can't be bothered to get up, get out and cast our votes.

In a Democratic Republic, our vote is our voice. If we don't vote, we've no one but ourselves to blame for the state of things.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where the Heck is Suburbia Majora?

I've been asked on some occasions just where the heck is this Suburbia Majora you claim to reside in. Apparently, I seem to be the only person in the kingdom of Blogspot who lives there. OK, I confess... It's a tongue in cheek thing.

Looking down at our Big Blue Marble from space at night, one's attention is grabbed by a scar of light that cuts across the eastern coast of North America. This light source runs from Boston, MA to Richmond, VA and tells the viewer that they are clearly viewing a sort of Megalopolis. This light represents six major U.S. cities, scads of minor cities and all of the connecting arteries. Deep in the indiscernible darkness of all this light lies Suburbia Majora.

Suburbia Majora seems to be a pan geographic web consisting of cul du sacs, planned communities, draconian home owner associations, nail salons, youth soccer leagues, soul numbing traffic, and Chinese takeout joints. In Suburbia Majora, localities seem to exist only for the purpose of tax levies. Outside of that, there is no trustworthy means of determining your precise location. Every Bloom strip mall has the requisite video store, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and Chinese takeout. Why for the love of all that's holy, you could be in Falmouth or Celebrate Virginia. For that matter, you could be in New Castle or Newtown Square. Maybe though, the most troubling aspect of Suburbia Majora is that it is a land of "petty kings" and there sealed castles.

I grew up in Coatesville Pennsylvania when it was still a vibrant city of promise. Day and night, the smokestacks belched out smoke that became a haze in the evenings. Sounds like the mill whistle and the thunder of tapped steel was white noise. For all of this, there were row homes and doubles, all of them having front porches. from May through September, these front porches became a hub of life as neighbors swapped stories, indulged in gossip, told jokes, and watched the neighborhood children play. You knew your neighbors, and they knew you. "Warts and all", there was community.

This is not so in Suburbia Majora. Here in this hermit kingdom parents rise early, perhaps as early as 3:30 AM. The garage door goes up and the family goes their way. Dad is off to sit in traffic or load up into the van pool. Mom drops Ashley and Justin off at the before-school caregiver. Then she, in-turn, sloughs off into the traffic. The dance is repeated in the evenings until finally, the garage door shuts and the king, his queen and their progeny are tucked safely into their castle.

NEXT: The problem with all this (Stay tuned)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Statement from the Archbishop of Myanmar

The Archbishop Myanmar (Burma) has released a statement as to where his country is in the aftermath of the cyclone. The entire statement can be read here.

Here are some Highlights...

At the time of writing, the official death toll from Cyclone Nargis stands at 78,000, with over 56,000 people still missing. Approximately 1 million people are reported by the Myanmar Government to be homeless. In Yangon, even after 14 days, many parts remain without electricity supply. Those who are able have resorted to generators; those who cannot have to rely on candlelight in the night. While most major roads have been cleared, debris and detritus have yet to be completely removed. The work is tedious and labour-intensive. Without electricity supply, piped water supply has been disrupted. Telecommunications have also yet to be fully restored.


Once more comprehensive reports have been received, the Relief Committee will identify what specific assistance is needed and the items which may be provided to the Church of the Province of Myanmar. Immediately we have already identified the need to cleanse whatever water supply is available. As it is now the rainy season, canvas sheets are important. Also, there is a need for trauma counsellors to work with the survivors of this tragedy. We hope you will work with us on plans and options for medium-term resettlement and rehabilitation efforts, even as we address the short-term concerns for survivors.

Our Prayers continue.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I think I answered my own question...

On my last post, I mused over whether the response of the Myanmar Junta was driven by stupidity or schmutz-infested souls. After further review of their conduct, I'm convinced that its a case of abject evil, pure and simple.
This is a case that truly cries out for intercession on behalf of the citizens of Burma, and imprecatory prayer that the Almighty would smash the jaws of the Junta.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Myanmar's ruling Junta: Abject stupidity or abject evil?

Once more, any doubts I may have had concerning the existence of a personal devil and the objective reality of evil has been wiped away by the week's events in the besieged country of Burma.

On Saturday, Cyclone Nargis slammed onto the Burmese coast shredding buildings and rice fields with 120 MPH plus winds. It left the Irrawaddy River Delta in a state of near total devastation. Upwards of 50,000 souls perished and millions are now at risk due to a lack of potable water, food or substantive aid. It should be noted that Al Gore was quick to add to atmospheric greenhouse gases by attributing Nargis to global warming.

This event differed from the 2004 Tsunami in the fact that where the Tsunami offered only moments of warning, Cyclones can be accurately tracked and their landfalls forecasted with relative accuracy. This wasn't Galveston, September 1900, this was Southeast Asia, May 2006. The ultimate insult lay in the fact that the Indian Government warned the Myanmar Junta 48 hours before Nargis's impending landfall.

I really don't spend any time using the seat to sling jeremiads at third world tin-pot despots, I make a loud exception for the ruling cabal holding Burma hostage....

Gentlemen, Hell holds exquisite torment for those who lead unknowing captives to violent destruction. If you knew of the impending devastation held by Cyclone Nargis and failed to warn those you suppose to govern, shame on you!! Fall on your faces and wail before the Almighty that He might forgive your murders. Repent that He might show His mercy.

Keep those Burmese survivors in your prayers. Pray that they be delivered from the darkness, pray that they may bask in the Light of Christ, and pray that they be delivered from their present distress.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Night at the Catbird Seat

Paul was sucinct in his appraisal of love. After he gives us a full spectrum view of just what love is, he tells us what he (and we by extension) are without love. Our orthodoxy may be beyond question. Our theology may be spot on and our knowledge of the Liturgy may be first rate. Why, we may even be totally conversant in the 39 Articles.

All of this said, if we lack Love, we're of no effect. We're mere windbags who do little more than contribute to the greenhouse gases.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Respite on a Wednesday Noontime

I've always had a place for "Girl Groups" and "She-Rockers" in my music collection. These ladies are just the sort of jam I need to juice a slow Wednesday. Enjoy Rachel-Rachel's cover of this classic Kansas tune...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In the Days of Rogation

It's Rogation Tuesday (Boo-yahh, said the Anglicans), and although Anglican, Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic readers may be familiar with the idea of Rogation Days, I'm relatively certain that those from other streams of orthodoxy may have no idea as to the day or its implication.
The name is derived from the Latin verb, rogare, which means simply "to ask". Think back to Sunday's Gospel reading (John 15:1-8), and you'll recall the idea of asking for a thing in Christ's name.
Rogation days have traditionally been a season for seeking the Lord. In eras past, farmers would seek the Lord's blessing on their crops. Priests and their parishes would "Beat the Bounds", processing along the Parish property lines while seeking God's hand to move in the church over the coming days. Its interesting to note that this latter practice is alive and well in many Pentecostal or Charismatic congregations, though its better known as "Praying a bloodline" around the church. I wonder how many would continue this practice if they became aware of the (gasp...) RC and Anglican origins of the practice? Anyhoo, I digress.
We are essentially a post-argarian society where most of us will never harvest any crops more significant than patio tomatoes. This said, as followers of the way, we still are called to possess a harvest mindset. We are, by virtue of our new births, co-laborers in the Kingdom of Heaven. Outside our doors stand the greatest harvest field in the history of mankind. Post-Christian United States alone is a field that would stagger the imagination. Christ, two thousand years ago, described these fields as awaiting harvest. I wonder, if the fields were ready for the harvesters 2,000 years ago, how much more are they ready today?
Jesus called His own (READ-- us) to pray that the Father would sent laborers out into these fields. Saints and servants were (are) exhorted to pray for the harvest. In this, I see a powerful tie-in to the concept or Rogation Days.
Have we in prayer, sought to discern our role as messengers for God's Kingdom? Is our walk and witness congruent with the Savior we claim as our own? Are we reaching out in prayer into these fields? All of these are worthy questions to ponder on a Rogation Tuesday.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Being "One"

An "earworm" I'm told, is a song that you can't get out of your head (Heaven help you if its a Joe Cocker or Kate Bush song). It may have been the first song on the way to work, or a song while attending to some other activity. Regardless, soon its lodged in your head all day.

Recently, I've pondered on whether this process occurs on other plains, in particular I'm thinking about our prayer lives and the way certain causes or concerns will frequently find themselves in our prayers. Are there moments when the Divine intersects with our spirits, injecting a concern or cause for prayer? Too, how is it so that a thing that doesn't appear to directly impact us, cause us to labor in prayer?

I am a man who prays and hopes someday to be remembered as a man of prayer. Too, I will be the last one to become a Scold, as I know I've squandered moments which could have been given to this privileged communication with the Heavenly. All this said, I've been given a burden or "prayer worm" if you'll have it.

In my prayers, I've been struck with the recurring intercession for unity in the body of the saints and the Church catholic. I'm not speaking of some gushy kumbayah ecumenism where we dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. I'm speaking of new, transformational unity; a unity of focus and purpose. This is a unity that recognizes our familial bond as brothers and sisters in Christ, and our covenantal relationship to the Almighty. This is a unity that recognizes that whether "Greek or Barbarian... Bond or Free", we are on in Christ, one in mission and one in purpose. I would contend gentle reader that without this radical unity, the resurgent Anglican churches will become yet another yapping, toothless old dog.

We first must be united in Christ. None (Save Christ himself) were natural-born heirs. We all were first children or wrath; withering sprigs without hope in this life or a home in the next one. Yet we've been grafted into the vine and now draw from the same source. United, our guilt was satisfied on Calvary. United, our old lives were buried at sea through our Baptisms. United, we will rule and reign with Him when he returns on that last day. Anglican or not, all true followers of the way are bound as one in God the Son to God the Father.

We must also be united in purpose. Unlike Admiral Stockdale's famous invective, there should be no doubts on who we are and why we're here. We're not here to speak the "truth to power", or make sure folk aren't brought to conviction over their own sins. We're here because the Almighty has foreordained us to be here, to be living witnesses of the Light in this coming darkness. Regardless of gift or vocation, we're united in the task of reflecting the light of Christ deep into the gathering night. We reflect the Almighty as the moon reflects the light of the sun. And, though the darkness may not comprehend the Light, there will be those who respond to the Light's overtures.

Finally, we must be united in focus. By focus, I'm speaking to that micro vision that our God gives to churches and fellowships. In other words, think of this as discerning just what direction would the Lord have a parish or mission proceed. This focus belongs to God and is entrusted to the local body. It's not the property of the Priest, Deacon, Warden or Vestryman, it's Christ's vision for his Bride, provided to be an object of local stewardship. Until we cause or agendas and plans to bow before the cross, we'll never truly obtain this third unity.

My prayer this afternoon is that all of the saints would come to apprehend what is truly is to be united in Christ, united in purpose and united in focus.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Question of Poison?

Father Mark Harris, a priest in the Diocese of Deleware runs a well put together blog that goes under the handle of Preludium. I have to conclude, based on his posts that he falls somewhere in the spectrum between moderate to liberal. Though I find myself in disagreement more times than not with his posts and the bulk of his commentors, I have no reason to suspect that he is nothing less than a decent and earnest man who gives 100% to his vocation and his flock. His posts aren't made in a mean or mocking spirit, and his ideas have clearly been reasoned through. Mark+ has a recent post entiitled, "A Question of Poison". This post gave me pause for a moment as I considered what he was addressing.

To say that the election and seating of the current Presiding Bishop has been a source of angst and stomach acid for conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans would be the understatement of the year. She has made any number of statements that have set folks teeth on edge, especially in the realms of historic Christian orthodoxy, biblical understanding and human sexuality. The latter has generated enough voltage to power several major cities. This said, there have been some unbelieveable responses shot back across the bow from the armada of the reasserters. I've taken the time to read and ruminate over many of these and see them as ranging from the unhelpful and petulant to the ugly and Sub-christian. In the interest of honesty, I have in the past made a statement or two that brushed against being catty. I apologize to anyone I may have offended in those remarks.

Now having said this, I want to set down a nonegotiable principle; the truth in and of itself is not poison. If one makes a declarative statement of truth and if a hearer grimaces at the sound of that truth, its a response to conviction rather than a reaction to poison.

Here's a second nonegotiable; Truth must be declared in the light of Ephesians 4:15. Think about it; When Nathan looked David dead in the eye and said "Thou art the man", was he doing it to get under the kings skin or put a finger in his eye? Heck no, He did it because he loved the king enough to see him repent from his error and be restored to fellowship with the Almighty.

Whether he is wearing an AAC/ACN lapelpin or a Rainbow Stole, a bomb thrower is still a bomb thrower and in the end game does nothing to truly help their cause. Though they may bring brief attention, its usually dismissed. Reasserter, we make no hay in tossing out clever digs that make others snicker. The Presiding Bishop of TEC may well be dead wrong, but she's not the devil in a loud cope and mitre.

May all our words be spoken in love and seasoned with salt...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Knocking down the Cobwebs

Time flies and deadlines don't... I've been up to my neck in it here lately and now that my head is back above water, it is time to swish the cobwebs out of the catbird seat.
Much has transpired since the last post and we'll have plenty to blog on .

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tattoos and Piercings and Plugs, oh my.....

Sometimes, I fear that the curmudgeondom that stalks us all is gaining on me, or at least that's how I feel whenever I venture to the mall with my wife.

I always imagined that in the future, we would be driving jet cars, living in domed cities and wearing form-fitting unisex jumpsuits. I imagine that there were many other kids back in the 1970's who shared the same daydream. It's amazing what 38 years will do to a daydream. I drive a pick-up, live in suburbia, and would look downright scary in a unisex, form-fitting jumpsuit. Beyond this, one can't swing a dead cat in Northern Virginia without hitting someone who would seem to have stepped off the pages of a 1970's-era National Geographic magazine. This phenomenon has left me both simultaneously bemused and concerned.

There is what seems to be an obsession with body defacement (or "modification"). I have observed this across the age spectrum from young teens on up to AARP members. The "military tattoo" of the soldier or sailor, along with the demure ear piercing have become a quaint relic from another time. Earrings have given way to "plugs", which have given way to extreme plugs. To date, I've seen earlobe plugs that appear to be the size of half dollar coins. I've seen faces that contain enough piercings to construct a modest wind chime. I have to ask, "Why am I so disturbed by this?"

There are only two reasonable answers to preceding question; I'm becoming either a grizzled old curmudgeon, or I am troubled by something that may have deeper connotation than first realized.

I pride myself in being a Christian Libertarian, and one who strives to keep the main thing, the main thing. Within this, there is a scared responsibility not to use my liberty as a club. Yet even with this said, I will vigorously content that God's word speaks clearly to, and proscribes a large number of practices and lifestyles that are rife within our society. We as believers first, and humans second, ignore these proscriptions at our own peril.

I went on a dig throughout Scripture to see what it might say on the subject of body modification (tattoos, et al). It turns out that bodily defacement is clearly prohibited by the Levitical Code as delivered to Moses by the LORD. These were practiced by the pagan nations (and are still practiced by cultures today). It would be a reasonable conclusion then, to say that the practice of body modification is unscriptural.

Does this fly in the face of a libertarian viewpoint? I don't believe so. The proscription against bodily modification lies within the listing of moral prohibitions, rather than ceremonial requirements. Though we don't offer up a guilt offering under the New Covenantal economy, it is still an offense to knowingly defraud our neighbor. Christ fulfilled the ceremonial requisites of the Law, he didn't abolish its moral requisites.

Some might support the practice on the basis of silence, the fact that the New Testament doesn't speak to the practice. I believe that this too is a faulty position. Consider the fact that the New Testament is silent on the topic of inter-species copulation. Despite this fact, there's not one sane person who would make a case for such a practice, or contend that it is permissible under the New Covenant.

The explosion of body modification and other sub-christian practices should stand to remind (and warn) us that we live in a society that is Post-christian, and slipping away from anything remotely resembling what Francis Schaeffer referred to as the "Christian Consensus".

Saints, Evangelists, and Apologists; our work is cut out for us.

Why DO we need to study Hermenuetics?

There's a quote out there along the lines of, "A text out of context is merely a pretext". I've also known of one particular pentecostal preacher in describing his sermons as, "Being like baloney, you can cut 'em off anywhere".

In my brief 45 years on the planet, I've had the privlege of hearing men who were gifted expositors and/or powerful, passionate orators. Others, like Dr. J. Vernon McGee, were able to deliver timeless biblical truth with the ease of a grandfather speaking to his grandchildren. But then there were others, unforgettable ones, who's sermons have stuck in my mind like gum in the treads of my sneakers.

We who would presume to proclaim the word of God in homily or lesson form should never approach this in a careless or casual way. I say "we" because the the preceeding video made me pause for self-examination. James, Christ's younger stepbrother gives us a clear caution in his epistle when he reminded those who would take up the mantle of homilist or teacher of a "more stringent judgment".

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday 2008

Good day to you, sir or ma'am. Fasching, Carnival, Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday; they're all yesterday's news as our array changes from green to violet. It's a strange Ash Wednesday in NoVa-land, with temperatures hovering in the low 70's. The day feels much better suited for Queenscliff or Geelong, where balmy February days are generally the rule.

Sadly, Lent seems to be little more than a carnal cease-fire. A time for our bodies to issue a temporary restraining order against its induldgences. Some swear off swearing while others will step away from sodas. These are pale substitutions for Lent's original objective.

Lent is rooted in a time of preparation. Her two fortnights were a time when converts made their final preparations for their public confession of Jesus as their messiah. In an age where a public acknowlegement of Christ could result in a violent death, conversion wasn't a casual act undergone through repeating a "sinner's prayer". Martyrdom was beyound conceivable and the convert knew this. There was a true cost to be counted.

Though I wouldn't pretend to know your expectations for the next 40 days, I want something more out of Lent this year. I don't want these proceeding 40 days to pass without profound, permanent change in my life. I want this to be time spent in the Lord's Gym, a season growth and a time of maturation.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Collect for Ash Wednesday

Friday, February 01, 2008

Above the Clouds

Wow, Doug Hill nailed it. It has been raining buckets since early this morning. The steel-gray skies are a matter of perspective though. A few thousand vertical feet can mean a world of difference on a day like today. Jet 12,000 feet above stafford and you're enveloped in azure skies. The steel ceiling has been replaced by a carpet of pure lamb's wool.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Man in the Rain

Outside my office window, it's a clear, crisp January afternoon. This will change tonight and February will be ushered in with cold, icy rain. Given my druthers on such a morning, I'd as soon stay in bed.

Campaign Update

Barney has abruptly withdrawn from his quest for the Whitehouse. Early sources tell this outlet that he'll ask his delegates and supporteers to throw their support behind Ron Paul.

More on this story as word becomes available...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Presidential Timber...

Some are born to greatness, some stumble onto it while others, after fooling the masses, try to move within it. True greateness however, is integral to the warp and woof of the soul of Barney O'Kane.

In 2008, one can't swing a dead cat without hitting some Big Government, mush-muscled neocon popinjay trying to sell an even softer-sided alternative to those on the left. To this end, our enemies are laughing their backsides off and plotting how to carve up these great states.

Nope, its not the season of some make-nice, girly man, its the season for a candidate who has the canines and the resolve to make a stand for America, her people and her eternal values.

Unlike so many of those would-be leaders seeking to make nice to those who'd behead us with a buck knife, Barney proposes a simple solution; rip their windpipes out. In Barney, you have a leader who's stock is known to go down into a Badger warren on a mission to enviscerate predators. If it weren't for their human companions, these scotties would have driven those filthy weasels into extinction. As our Chief Executive, Barney would, after ripping the collective windpipes out of the Taliban, et, al, would simply hike his left leg over a vanquished foe in triumph. Some grass would be kicked, and then our President O'Kane would be about the people's business.

Barney O'Kane is a leader who has been carved out of sheer highland Basalt, schooled in the durable reformed traditions of Knox, Calvin and Sproul. His political philosophies are drawn from the likes of Robert the Bruce, Rutherford, and Jefferson. In short (sorry Barney), when it comes to the overall picture, Barney's and makes William Wallace look like an Amishman on zoloft by comparison.

Next week, an ecconomic manifesto...

A Presidential Endorsement

The Silly Season is upon us (Although it feels as though this season began back in January 2001 at GW II's first inauguration). You can't pick up a paper or turn on the radio or the idiot box without being lambasted a political onslaught.
In this maelstrom, pundits far and near are tossing out their endorsements for our next Chief Executive. Coulter's, Limbaugh's and many others have laid their annointing on a number of would-be leaders. Not wanting to be behind the curve, the Catbird thought it wise to make his endorsement for the next leader of the free world.

Funny, but endorsements are like belly-buttons (I'm keeping this family-friendly), everyone has one (Save Adam & Eve). I don't know if a single pundit or blogger's endorsement has ever tipped the scale towards a particluar candidate or not, but just the same I' am throwing my two cents towards a natural leader. Forget the Pack, forget the "Huckaboom"; the clear choice for our next leader rests on Stafford Virgina's own native son, Barney O'Kane.

More on his political chops soon...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Equal Time

In the name of "equal time", I need to post a shot of cat #2, "Miss Sassy". Sassy is a Seal Point who has been with us nearly as long as Mistie. The two cats couldn't be more different as far as personality (i.e. Kittenality) goes. Just the same, Sassy is every bit the sweetheart as Mistie.

Unlike Mistie, who'll run at the sight of a mouse, Sassy is always ready to stalk a warm meal, and the bigger the better. The Eastern Cottontails that haunt Stafford are much faster than a 14 year old cat and will ultimately live to see another day. Still, there's something just plain cool in seeing a "grand dame" cat with the chutzpah to try and run down a rabbit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Moving the ball downfield (To the Ends of the Earth)

I’m not a “fan” in the strictest sense, but I do love to watch a good game of football. I also enjoy watching a good soccer match. When both of these sports are distilled down, their basic objectives are to: Keep the ball away from the other guys, move the ball down field, and get the ball across the goal line. No worries, right? Wrong. There’s a small catch all of this; depending on the game, there’ll be anywhere from eleven hundred pounds on up to a ton and a half of humanity between you and that goal line.

This seems to paint gridiron football and soccer in a fairly futile light, and I’m sure there’re plenty who’ve drawn this conclusion. Here’s where we draw the distinction between well-played football/soccer and “magnet ball”. In magnet ball an individual is under the frantic pursuit of eleven kids, each having their own idea on how to get the ball. In a well-orchestrated game of ball, one team works in concert while an opposing team, also in concert, attempts to staunch the progress of their opponent. When the truth is told, its not eleven vs. one, its one vs. one. The team with the best grip on this fact will likely be the ones with the Super Bowl rings, or the ones drinking Warsteiner out of “die welt cup” at the end of the season.

Now how about this; what if the typical ball team operated like the typical parish? (Katie bar the door ‘cause its gonna get warm in here…) Segments of the team wouldn’t speak to the other segments. A contingent would sit on the bench, bellyaching about the current coach, and pining for a previous one. There would be stories of how half the team walked off the field when there was a change to the Jerseys. In the midst of this, the ball never advances down field, the team gets monkey-stomped by their adversary, and ultimately, the team is dismissed as being irrelevant.

The allusion may seem preposterous at first, but think it through. Can we move the Kingdom downfield if our BVD’s are in a bunch because someone took “our” parking spot? Can we run the plays that have been called in from above if we’re not in one spirit?

Like in football, the clock is running. Unlike football, there are no timeouts.