October 22, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: January 16, 2016


Ah, I would love to be going to the slopes with these folks in this stylish 1962 Rambler American 400 wagon. The measly amount of snow we received here in central Indiana last week just won’t do. And then the warm winds and rain came, and now we’re back to looking at grays and browns all day. So what do you say? Let’s take a ramble somewhere where the ground is white, the skies are blue, the powder is deep on the mountainsides, and the fire in the lodge is warm and inviting. Pack your skis and snowboards and sleds, and then let’s go ramblin’!


Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral

News from Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury invited all 37 Primates of the church (leading bishops of the various provinces) to Canterbury to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Anglican Communion this past week. On Thursday a statement of agreement was released in which the Primates made the following decision:

It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters (i.e. a “fundamental departure [by the Episcopal Church] from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage”) we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

Kevin Eckstrom, director of communications for Washington National Cathedral, the seat of newly installed Presiding Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry, expressed his perspective on the “distancing” of the Episcopal Church using the following illustration: “It is not unlike a couple who are having marital problems and are sleeping in separate bedrooms,” he said. “Maybe now they are going to formalize the separation.”

The Primates themselves tried to walk a thin line, emphasizing their disagreement but also their desire for unity. “Today the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.”

You can read the full statement issued by the Primates HERE.

And HERE is the communique they released at the end of the week’s gathering.

048942-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-natural-wonders-snowflake3-sc37News from the world of mainline seminaries. The number of seminaries affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will soon drop from eight to seven. Two  Pennsylvania schools — Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and LTS at Philadelphia — will close and then launch a new school together.

Mainline Protestant seminaries have experienced an average drop in enrollments of nearly 24 percent since 2005, and many are looking for creative ways to remain viable. An article at RNS explains the logic behind the changes at the Lutheran schools:

Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg, PA

Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg, PA

David Lose, president of the Philadelphia seminary, said the move would create opportunities for redesigning everything from faculty and curriculum to calendars and relationships with donors.

The board votes came quickly after a recommendation from a joint task force, which held its first and only meeting last month.

Gettysburg was projecting yearly deficits above $200,000 and could not keep eliminating faculty positions by attrition, according to board chair James Lakso.

“We have too many people and too much physical capacity to be viable and sustainable in the long term,” Lakso said.

Combining into one institution, distributed across two locations at Gettysburg and Philadelphia, could solve the thorny problem of what to do with tenured faculty, whose salaries and benefits weigh heavily on each school’s budget.

The logic: if a school ceases to exist, then it’s no longer obligated to retain faculty members, even if they had tenure. A new school has flexibility to start over.

“Part of that flexibility would be exploring the possibility of having faculty who are both teachers and practitioners,” said Philadelphia board chair John Richter. “Is it possible to have practicing clergy or laity teaching stewardship, church administration or worship? There’s the possibility.”

Reducing the combined faculty size from about 30 to 15 or 18 at the new institution could achieve seven-figure savings. Some building space might be repurposed, and larger decisions about real estate holdings will be considered in years ahead, Lakso said.

048942-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-natural-wonders-snowflake3-sc37Dr. J. I. PackerNews about J.I. Packer. Michael Spencer and I have both acknowledged our debt to J.I. Packer, author of Knowing God and many other books. Packer has been a first-rate teacher and leader in evangelicalism, and I have benefited often from his words and his spirit.

This week, Christianity Today quoted Crossway spokesman Justin Taylor, who announced that Packer will do no more writing or speaking because he is losing his eyesight.

This marks “the end of a remarkable writing and speaking ministry,” writes Crossway’s Justin Taylor in announcing the news. “He is unable to read, and therefore he will be unable to travel and speak. Because so much of his writing involves initial working with a ballpoint pen and blank paper, he is also unable to write.”

I have always found Packer to be one of the most thoughtful, eloquent, and irenic of evangelical teachers. Knowing God will always have a place on my “Best Books” shelf, and I will continue to smile when I recall how Packer, a jazz aficionado, used to liken the unity of the church to a New Orleans jazz band — each one playing his own line in seemingly disconnected fashion from the other musicians, but all these individuals jelling together to create music that is so much more than the sum of its parts.

I encourage you to read the CT article. It is full of wonderful links to articles, interviews, essays, and tributes to Packer.

048942-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-natural-wonders-snowflake3-sc37News about the Oscars. The nominations have been announced, and here are some of them.

  • 085d03068aa497f3bb9bf2a3d0babc6cBest Picture: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight
  • Best Actor: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
  • Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
  • Best Director: Adam McKay (The Big Short), Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant), Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

The Revenant topped all films with 12 nominations. Spotlight and Bridge of Spies each garnered 6, and The Big Short 5. You can see all the nominations HERE.

What were your favorite films of the year? Favorite performances?

What films haven’t you seen yet that you would like to see?

048942-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-natural-wonders-snowflake3-sc37News from the world of sports and mustaches. It was announced this week that the St. Louis Rams football team will be moving to Los Angeles. You probably heard about that, but you may not know about the controversy this decision caused within the world of mustaches. This was a case of mustache betrayal.

The American Mustache Institute (also in St. Louis) held a gathering in the viewing area of the St. Louis Arch — also known as the world’s largest mustache — to criticize Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke for moving the team. Kroenke wears a mustache, but the decision he made has the Institute questioning whether the owner’s mustache is indeed real.

Kroenke has betrayed the mustache!

Kroenke has betrayed the mustache!

“Standing here inside and atop the world’s largest mustache, we are reminded of the power of the Mustached American experience,” said Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove, chief executive of the American Mustache Institute (AMI). “But one of our own — at least, someone we thought was one of our own — has abandoned the powerful role as leaders we play inside the communities which depend on our wisdom, rugged good looks, and deep commitment to masculinity.

“We certainly understand the metrics for success in owning an NFL team. This of course includes aspects like revenue growth, the need for corporate support, easy access to gentlemen’s clubs for players and more. Yet while economics driving the International Bowling Hall of Fame to Fort Worth could be rationalized, the Rams are altogether different. In fact, our exhaustive fiscal analysis clearly demonstrates that St. Louis remains a viable, and actually a vibrant market. This region touts a growing populous of near 3 million, some 18 Fortune 1000 companies calling the area home, strong multi-modal capabilities providing easy transportation access across the region, and a dense volume of mullets.

“Yet while science demonstrates that a healthy labia sebucula (Latin for ‘lip sweater’) can help mammals make more informed decisions, Mr. Kroenke has demonstrated that he is an anomaly. Our AMI Dept. of Nuclear Mustacheology & Sociological Sciences speculates that he is more than likely not truly a person of Mustached American descent. Instead, we believe that for all of these years Mr. Kroenke has possibly been wearing a faux lower nose garmentry unit in order to create the assumption that he comes from Mustached American stock and understands the sexual dynamism and power that captures our experience.

“We, the Mustached American community, call on the National Football League, along with former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton not only investigate whether Mr. Kroenke is who he claims to be, but to now work with Mustached American Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn to bring his organization to St. Louis and fill the much-needed role of local mustached-owned NFL franchise.”

“You’re welcome.”

048942-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-natural-wonders-snowflake3-sc37Sad news in the music world. For our music selection this week, we must pay tribute to David Bowie, who died last Sunday at age 69 from liver cancer. Bowie’s musical career spanned more than four decades and was marked by constant reinvention of his look and persona, by theatricality and musical innovation.

My first Bowie album was The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972). It was Bowie’s initial foray into what became “glam rock.” On this concept album, he portrayed Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who brings messages from extraterrestrial beings. Rolling Stone lists Ziggy as #35 in its rankings of greatest rock albums. In a Rolling Stone interview with William S. Burroughs, Bowie expanded on the Ziggy Stardust story:

720x405-154Bowie(c)MickRockweb_The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ’cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. ‘All the young dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite. […]

The end comes when the infinites arrive. They really are a black hole, but I’ve made them people because it would be very hard to explain a black hole on stage. […]

Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a Starman, so he writes ‘Starman’, which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately…The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village. They don’t have a care in the world and are of no possible use to us. They just happened to stumble into our universe by black hole jumping. Their whole life is travelling from universe to universe. In the stage show, one of them resembles Brando, another one is a Black New Yorker. I even have one called Queenie, the Infinite Fox…Now Ziggy starts to believe in all this himself and thinks himself a prophet of the future starmen. He takes himself up to the incredible spiritual heights and is kept alive by his disciples. When the infinites arrive, they take bits of Ziggy to make them real because in their original state they are anti-matter and cannot exist in our world. And they tear him to pieces on stage during the song ‘Rock ‘n’ roll suicide’. As soon as Ziggy dies on stage the infinites take his elements and make themselves visible.

Starman was the first single from Ziggy Stardust, and his performance of the song on Top of the Pops brought Bowie into the spotlight, leading to critical success and also controversy, especially with regard to Bowie’s sexuality. Here is that performance.


Let all the children boogie.


  1. Thanks for parking your Rambler right at the bottom of that turn.

  2. No way! I made it here first?

    Best movie– well, one of the few movies I saw in 2015– Spotlight. The experience of seeing it in a full theater was like being in church. Afterwards, as the credits rolled, there was a heavy silence that hung in the air before people finally sighed and began leaving. We’d been brought face to face with truth in all its complications.

    And regarding the Anglican Communion Primate’s communique, that which was released yesterday (on the 14th) was not the full piece. Today, the 15th, they released this:


    Anyone with a few Episcopalians in their Facebook feed has read more than enough commentary. This can’t be an occasion for sarcasm, cynicism, or giving up on unity, even when that feels like all that’s left. Disunity in the Body of Christ is evidence of the need for more reconciling work to be done, and each one of us has a part to play in making space for the Other.

    I loved Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s response: http://www.dionc.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3176450

    Finally, David Bowie. I tried to explain his appeal to my German dorm-mates in the late 1980s, but they thought I was crazy. They liked the Bee Gees instead. Who was crazy???

    • Thanks for the Primate update. I’ve added it to the post.

    • I think Curry’s response is marvelous. Not sure how or why TEC got sanctioned (back-room politicking), and think it might have bern better if the African provinces in question hadn’t come down so hard – or had gracefully bowed out. I think this is *the* split; Canada will be next in line for the hammer. (The African primates in question thought the A Church of C should have gotten it this time around.)

      Can’t say I’m surprised, but the Primate of Uganda is closely associated with the folks who *still* are pushing to make homosexuality a capital crime there. I find thst scary snd just plain wrong. Am also not sure how/why people on an entirrly different continent csn thow out the sanctions in the entire AC, but… the policies of those who insisted on this are SO different thsn those of former +Desmond Tutu and a number of other retired former African primates. 🙁

      • I’m a former Episcopalian who left TEC nine years ago along with my congregation. The vote to disaffiliate was overwhelming. It was also costly; TEC sued our church for the property and won. We’ve moved along and are in the midst of a building program, while the small congregation of continuing Episcopalians now occupying our former property rents their main sanctuary to another church in order to make ends meet.

        In one respect, the disciplinary action against TEC is long overdue. Yet I doubt it will result in any changes, and I suspect the Anglican Communion, as currently constituted, is living on borrowed time. Maybe that’s for the best.

    • I saw Spotlight yesterday. There were not many people in the theater, but yes, at the end, everyone just sat there. It should provoke thought in all of us about the lives that can be ruined by putting an institution above the people it is supposed to serve. A noteworthy moment in the movie for those of you in Indiana, is the letter written to the Cardinal by John D’Arcy who, as punishment for questioning the higher authorities’ lack of action in stopping these pedophile priests, was reassigned to the Ft Wayne-South Bend Diocese in Indiana. He just passed away a few years ago.

  3. On the Anglican/Episcopal “separation”: This is how denominations begin, with differences in significant beliefs. Although they were not really one denomination to begin with, the differences in culture were bound to cause an eventual split. I cannot see the Episcopals reneging on their marriage stance, just as the Anglicans will not accommodate a change in their stance.

    The Rams in L.A. are no laughing matter to us Charger fans in San Diego since there is a proposal to partner with the mustachioed one in L.A. Still, San Diego fans hold out hope that their provincial and near-sighted public servants will finally “see the light” and come up with a viable plan to keep the team. But after 20 years of flailing around and political posturing, the outlook is grim. I will NOT support the Chargers in L.A.!!! We are NOT a suburb of that pestiferous city!

    • Andrew Zook says

      Feel for ya, a little… but hey you’ve tied your lines to american football… You’re at the mercy of the worst of american crony/corporate capitalism and its twisted version of socialism, ie the NFL cartel… (and a chief extortioner of american education – ie the NCAA)
      May I commend to you “real” football, particularly the English kind, where “clubs” and cities have stayed together since their inception and will continue to stay together, for-ever. (unless the team goes defunct) May I also commend the system of promotion and relegation where teams stay put no matter how badly they’re doing because they fall down into a lower tier if they do poorly – but they’re still there, for their fans – some going on over 100yrs now…

      • Sorry Andrew, I like my violence on the pitch and not in the stands and streets. 😀 But that wasn’t fair, was it?

        • +1. Although the fact that the NFL is a “not for profit” in the US pretty much says everything I need to know about what is wrong with this country. And Andrew, before you go holy-roller on BPL, I have two words for you – MANCHESTER UNITED.

          • The NFL and Major League baseball need to have their anti-trust exemption repealed!

          • Andrew Zook says

            Dr. Fun… not sure what you’re exactly getting at with ManU but I despise them like I used to despise New England Patriots – it’s actually a weird reason I follow the EPL… to see and hope for ManU losses 🙂

          • Now now, don’t get all sore, Andrew. Just because Man U is traded on NYSE. And the rest of the league is owned by the 1%. Heck, they call it BARCLAY’s premier league anymore – England can go to hell, it’s all about multi-national banks…

    • Not to be pedantic or anything (me? Never! 😉 ), but it’s “Episcopalians.” Definitely one of the odder plural forms, for sure.

  4. I wonder what it says about my tastes in that the only 2 movies in the above lists that I’ve seen are the Martian and the on about Steve Jobs. And I would not have seen the SJ movie except it was bundled in a conference I was at. 🙂

    I tend to wait for most movies on DVD or streaming. But The Martian was one that really demanded a big screen.

    I enjoyed the SJ movie for what it was. A character study done as a 3 act play loosely based on facts. 🙂

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > I wonder what it says about my tastes

      You are at least more cultured than I; the only movie on that list I’ve seen is The Martian.

      I work in IT… it would require a nice financial incentive to get me to sit through a propaganda flick as nauseating as the SJ film. The clips I saw and reviews I read were plenty.

      > But The Martian was one that really demanded a big screen.

      +1. It would not have been the same on the small screen.

    • I haven’t seen any of them, although we did go to matinees to see the Peanuts and new Star wars movies. Going to the movies is expensive, and my wife and I often have trouble understanding the fast-paced dialogue that’s become the norm in recent decades. We stay at home, borrow the films from the library whenever they become available, and turn on the subtitles.

      • –> “…my wife and I often have trouble understanding the fast-paced dialogue that’s become the norm in recent decades.”

        Apparently you haven’t seen any of the old classics like the Thin Man series, or an old Cary Grant or Katherine Hepburn movie, or Preston Sturges, etc. Rapid fire dialog was the norm back in the screwball comedy era.

    • I read The Martian before I saw it on the screen and thought that Matt Damon basically played Matt Damon. The character in the book was MUCH more interesting and the droll and sarcastic humor came off much more effectively than in the movie. An Oscar for playing yourself? Well, Jack Nicholson got one for the same thing in “As Good As It Gets” a number of years ago…

      • mike_kim_bell@hotmail.com says

        Have read the book. Haven’t seen the movie. Hoping that the movie is better than the book, because I thought the book was WAY TOO geekish. Even for a geek.

        • Book is much better. The movie leaves swaths of stuff out of it. It was the geekiness of it that I enjoyed. And add the fact that I didn’t actually READ the book, I LISTENED to it, unabridged, and the reader’s vocal inflections and tone really brought it to life and accentuated the humor.

    • Seriously, if you get the chance, see Spotlight. It’s that good.

  5. David Bowie’s death has been much on my mind and in my emotions this week. I haven’t been following his music or career over the last couple of decades; when I think of him, the music that comes to mind is that of Station to Station, Low, Heroes and Lodger, all made by Bowie in the last half of the 70s, when he was coming out his decade long drug induced haze, and had left the Ziggy Stardust persona behind.

    I also think of the Nicolas Roeg film that Bowie starred in, The Man Who Fell to Earth, with its powerful infusion of gnostic mythology, and its bleak vision of the human condition as one of lostness, loneliness and forgetfulness in an alien world. It’s hard to overestimate the impact this particular vision has had on my own spiritual views, how it expressed, gave shape and articulation, to feelings I’d had since early childhood; these themes are perennial in my life, and David Bowie was central to the iconography of alienation that has been with me throughout these decades.

    Most of all, the song “Heroes” has impacted me in ways hard to articulate, from the very first time I heard it. It’s irony, bleak fatalism and haunting, repetitive sound, coupled with its stubborn openness to a painfully expressed hope, not only touched something deep inside me, but actually made me aware of a place in my spirit, a landscape, that I’d not known existed until I heard the song. Whenever I hear it, the song continues to remind me of that inner location, a place I’m prone to forget exists, as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth forgets his home planet. But that place is my home; if I ever go home some day, it will be to that place, like Odysseus returning after his long and perilous journey.

    Thank you, David Bowie. Rest in peace> I hope that you’ve found your home, and that nothing will drive you away.

    • Thank you for that thoughtful meditation Robert.F.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I have no idea who David Bowie is, or if I have ever heard his music.

      But, Robert F, you have successfully peeked my curiosity. Thanks for this.

    • For any interested, William Irwin Thompson’s book, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, a book which gave focus and shape to my interest in things spiritual in the early 80’s, has an extended section dealing with the place of gnostic mythology in the Nicolas Roeg’s film The Man Who Fell to Earth, a film that Bowie starred in as an extraterrestrial on a mission to Earth to acquire water for his dying planet, an alien who forgets his mission, his family and world as he becomes ensnared in the things of Earth. The book connects this film with other Western art, as it traces the role that gnostic mythology has played in the the development of civilization and religion.


    • I only have one problem with David Bowie. He couldn’t sing. Other than that small point…

      • I won’t say that Bowie was a great singer, but he was as good or better than a lot others in rock music; if you want good singing, for the most part you should avoid the rock tradition, which is not known for them. Having said that, I liked Bowie’s voice; and I like Dylan’s, and David Byrne’s. Their voices suit what they do, and they make some music that only their voices work with.

        • I like his voice just fine. I wish he could carry a tune though. Although, now that you bring it up, some of the most successful rock bands in history are known for off-tone singing (Kiss and U2 come to mind).

    • When I first heard the news of David Bowie’s passing, I checked several news sites to verify this was indeed true. There have been several death hoaxes in recent months concerning former Abba vocalist Agnetha Faltskog, and I initially wondered if the news of Bowie’s death was similar.

      I didn’t consider myself a fan of his, but I liked a number of David Bowie’s songs. He was definitely unique and will be missed.

  6. MelissatheRagamuffin says

    Nothing about Alan Rickman? I was sad about Bowie. From my perspective there had always been a David Bowie, and it seemed like there would always be a David Bowie. But, Alan Rickman actually hurt.

    The Episcopal Church should have been tossed out on its heretical backside back when they allowed Spong to be a bishop when he should have been excommunicated.

    • By Grabthar’s hammer, Alan Rickman will be missed.

    • The Anglican Church has had its share of Spongs on its rolls, too.

      It’s been funny to watch the reactions of folks to these deaths. Geek guys mourned Rickman and looked back on his roles in Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, and Robin Hood; and they noted in passing Bowie’s music and concept albums. Geek girls, OTOH (including my wife), binge-watched *Labyrinth*.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Every family has that crazy uncle who should be kept in his room away from the children. Spong is by no means, in the theological mainstream of the Episcopal Church and he is a perfect foil to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

    • I don’t care for Spong for his tone and lack of sensitivity, but he makes some statements rarely attempted by more “orthodox” evangelicals.

      • MelissatheRagamuffin says

        Every family has it’s crazy uncle, and every body has an anus. But, you don’t flaunt them by doing stupid things like making them bishops.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Your comments express a lot of emotion about the Episcopal Church in general and Spong in particular. Just curious, are you a former Episcopalian?

          • MelissatheRagamuffin says

            I had the misfortune of being a child in the Episcopal Church in the diocese of which Spong was bishop. He was the reason my family left the Episcopal Church.

      • For example, Spong takes down the argument that God wills illness and suffering. In one of his books, he relates a story of a college student at risk of losing her legs due to disease. Her friends pray fervently that she be healed. When she wasn’t healed, they assured her that it was God’s will. The problem is that Spong then proceeds from this specific to a general statement against theism. Spong often quotes from Tillich, but somehow overlooks where Tillich states that any argument against religion (or science) must be against its strongest representation, not its weakest. Unfortunately, it is rare to hear an evangelical cry foul against a representation of God which wills such things. It takes an outsider/troublemaker like Spong to make such criticisms.

        • I like Spong because he asks tough questions and what I have read is actually intellectually respectable (much like Crossan, who may very well be my favorite theologian for the shear joy of reading his work).

    • The Anglican Communion has not “tossed out” the Episcopal Church, nor do I believe it will; “tossing out” has not been part of Anglican identity or policy for some time now. I disagree with the AC’s uncharacteristically forceful action in this case, but it’s definitely not an act of disassociation with the ECUSA, or a breaking of communion. And why should it be, or why should the AC toss out the ECUSA? According to the New Testament, Jesus did not even break communion with, disassociate from, or “toss out”, Judas at the Last Supper, though he knew Judas’ intentions to betray him. What Jesus-shaped warrant would the AC have for breaking communion with the ECUSA?

    • If the AC hasn’t disciplined those provinces in Africa that have advocated for, and participated in promulgating, laws making homosexual activity criminally punishable, it has no business disciplining the ECUSA or any other province. Some of the provinces most strongly in favor of the action against the ECUSA are guilty of making homosexuals criminals in African nations; they should hang their heads in shame, not hypocritically judge other provinces. Remove the plank from your own eye!

      • The difficulties within the Anglican Communion and the ECUSA (TEC) date much farther back than the current crop of African bishops. The issue is, at bottom, about what “communion” means.

        I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the AC, and I was sad when it became evident to me in my wilderness wanderings that I would not find my home there. I thought that if there was room for N.T. Wright there would be room for me, or that I could find a place in ACNA, but I could not affirm all of the 39 Articles – still ultimately the same western theology.

        Those African bishops should most certainly not call for the criminalizing of homosexuals. And the AC/ECUSA should not have retained clergy who have not believed that Christ is God as well as Man – that is actually heresy, and undermines, at a deep and substantial level, whatever work is done by the AC in the name of justice and love.


        • But the AC is not disciplining the ECUSA for departing from orthodox teaching regarding Christology; they are disciplining the ECUSA for its teaching on human sexuality, and its inclusion of practicing non-heterosexuals in all aspect and roles of Church life. Am I incorrect? The statement by the Bishops only references the canon on marriage as rewritten by the ECUSA.

          In addition, nowhere does the Prayerbook, which contains the official theology and practice of the ECUSA, deny traditional, orthodox teaching. As for retaining clergy who do not uphold the teaching of the Prayerbook: every ordained priest in the ECUSA swears to uphold that teaching as part of their ordination promises. If they renege on that promise, divesting them is a long, difficult process, with many ambiguities; unless they publicly, explicitly and pointedly deny the doctrine they swore to uphold, it’s well nigh impossible to defrock them.

          Perhaps it should not be so; perhaps it should be easier. But let me ask you this, Dana: Even with its much greater stringency, is the Eastern Orthodox Church able to prevent all ordinations to the priesthood of those who do not really believe in orthodox teaching, or remove all those who subsequently stop believing in it?

          • My understanding is that the discipline is because of the unilateral action by ECUSA not done in council, as a result of their change in teaching on human sexuality. I may be wrong about that. But I remember the discussion going back into the 1990s at least.

            Nobody knows the deepest recesses of the heart except God. In my experience, in the Orthodox Church it’s impossible to be ordained unless the candidate affirms Orthodox teaching, and seminaries are very, very careful about recommending candidates for ordination. Just because someone goes to seminary does not mean automatic ordination. If someone ceases to believe, they generally just leave, but that’s more a layperson phenomenon. For clergy, there are policies in place (in the OCA especially over the last 7-8 years) that make it easier to discipline or defrock clergy while at the same time giving appropriate time for fair investigation.

            A former priest in my parish was defrocked last year because he left his wife and family for another woman. I have no idea what his current Christologic beliefs are, but he had no interest in remaining an Orthodox priest. In my experience, marriage/divorce issues are the usual reasons priests leave, when they leave. I know of a former priest whose marriage could not hold together; on his divorce he was defrocked (he did not remarry), but he remains Orthodox and the choir director in his parish, which he could not do if he did not affirm Orthodox teaching.


          • Clay Crouch says

            RF, thank you for the clear explanations of the recent proceedings. If there is a split somewhere down the road in the AC, I think it’s more likely that it will be the African dioceses and, by extension, their partners in the US that will separate. They are much more conservative than the rest of the AC (and not just on matters of sexuality). I also get the impression that the African bishops, for the most part, tend to run their dioceses a little less democratically than we see here in the west.

          • Dana, don’t you think it’s also a bit of backlash against the ordination of women plus installation of women bishops (including the last presiding bishop?) The “conservative” faction among the C of E bishops got VERY angry last year over the consecration of the 1st woman bishop in the C of E, and the changes in TEC regarding LGBT people took place while K. Jefferts Schori was still presiding bishop. I bet a *lot* of the primates are still against the ordination of women, and that this is partly about their snimosity toward Jefferts Schori – not just her theology, but for simply being a female presiding bishop. There’s a slant toward the charismatic/evangelical in Uganda and in parts of the Churchmof Nigeria, too, and i betcha a slant toward comp/patriarchal thinking as well.

            Just thoughts… i have a feeling that they wouldn’t want to face J. Schori again. At the ladt Lambeth conference, Rowan Williams literally asked her to take off her miter before going into the opening assembly, because some of thd bishops were really up in arms about her – both her attendance and her office.

            Let me just say that I’m not much of a J. Schori fan, but i think she’s been poorly treated by some people with axes to grind, as with the miter thing.

          • numo
            Much as I like him as a theologian, and much as I disliked Schori as PB, Rowan Williams was way out of line in asking her to take off her miter; invoking the importance of maintaining catholicity shouldn’t require a woman bishop to hide the symbols of her complete equality with men in role and function as a priest in Christ’s Church.

            But, though I’ve liked him till now, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has fared worse in presiding over this action by the Primates against the ECUSA. As an Episcopalian and member of the Anglican Communion, I’m very disappointed.

          • FYI, several Anglican provinces in Africa, including Rwanda and Uganda, ordain women to the priesthood.

          • Robert, i agree about Williams’ foolish, and pretty cruel, demand about J. Schori’s miter. It’s like he let himself be the front man for yhe bullies, instead of acting as head of the Anglican Communion, as you say.

            I liked Williams generally, but that still grates. And don’t care for J. Schori’s views on many things, but feel for her in that situation and in others. God alone knows what went on, and what a toll it has taken, in tetms of threats, harassment, etc. Knowing that Gene Robinson wore a bulletproof vest to his consecration, due to very real death threats, makes me think that J. Schori went through the mill, too.

          • Larry, that’s good info., although I wonder how many women priests are in those countries. I think it would be very difficult to function in that office, in a *lot* of countries in the world, for any woman who chose that path.

          • Larry, you might want to take a look at this:


            It is hard there for women, even though many support both women priests and women bishops. So many sources (women priests) who would not allow their names to be used in the research for this article, and others like it…

        • And, in my opinion, the teaching on sexuality of those African bishops, which leads practicing non-heterosexuals to imprisonment and possibly execution, is a desecration of the image of God in humanity, while the teaching of the ECUSA on sexuality, which leads all, including practicing non-heterosexuals, to Baptism and the Communion table (both sides of it), is honoring of that image. If anyone needs to be censured for non-Christian teaching and practice, its those African bishops, who instead had a hand in censuring the ECUSA. Irony.

          • The primate of Uganda is in a *bad* crowd per this – the faction that is still pushing for capital punishment. Some of these guys shouldn’t be in office, and imo, he’s one of them.

        • “I thought that if there was room for N.T. Wright there would be room for me, or that I could find a place in ACNA, but I could not affirm all of the 39 Articles – still ultimately the same western theology.”

          Me too.

      • +1

    • +infinity. The fact that he didn’t win an Oscar for his HP performance says all you need to know about Hollywood snobbery.

    • My 14-year old daughter was crushed when I told her Alan Rickman had died. We had just gone through the HP series, having just watched Deathly Hallows 1 & 2 last weekend. Still still a bit in shock and in despair.

      I think she also now understands why I was so shocked and saddened to hear of David Bowie’s passing.

  7. Steve Newell says

    In St. Louis, we learned that there is no difference between FIFA and the NFL with both evil empires being controlled by Sith Lords. While Darth Blatter was able to get have the World Cup in the middle of the desert, Darth Goodal was able to manipulate the NFL relocation process to get the Rams to move from St. Louis to LA.

    We also learned that the NFL cannot complete with a well run professional team like the Cardinals. By calling St. Louis a “baseball town”, the NFL gave the greatest compliment to St. Louis Cardinals. It’s ironic that the owner of the Rams is named after two of the great Cardinal players.

  8. That Rambler picture perfectly represents my childhood. The only difference was that my father had an Opel station wagon (1960) and not a Rambler; but he would drive us to somewhere we could ski — Rock Creek Park, the mountains of northern Greece — tie his climbing rope to the roof rack, and tow us up the mountain behind the car. As I think about it, I’m not sure how he got to ski, too, but somehow he did. Perhaps my older siblings took turns driving. We also went to places with actual ski lifts, but a lack of lifts never stopped my dad.

    The only David Bowie album I ever owned was Let’s Dance — a thought-provoking collection of stories and commentary in song form. I liked it.

    • Trivia question: who played electric guitar on “Let’s Dance”?

    • Bowie described himself, and was described by others, as a painter who used music, words, costuming, acting, imagery and personae as his palette. After I had come to appreciate the music of the Berlin period, that key helped me to also appreciate some of his other work, including the so-called Glam Rock of the Ziggy Stardust period, which initially had turned me off. I still don’t like Glam Rock and its progeny, but Bowie was doing something different, creative and deep.

    • Damaris, your dad sounds like a lot of fun!

      We actually did have a Rambler wagon like the one pictured – it was dark green with a white top. We also had a Nash-type sedan. I was too young to know why my dad got rid of them – probably because they had too many mechanical problems that he could not fix, since they were both used cars. Somewhere along the way, my dad found a die-cast toy model of the green wagon, and I played with that thing a lot. It may even still be at the bottom of one of my keepsake boxes…


  9. Aren’t we all primates?

  10. I am very disappointed that Will Smith didn’t get nominated for an Oscar for his stunning role in “Concussion”. In my opinion he should have WON the Oscar but to not even get nominated. From what I have read the Academy is still slow to acknowledge black actors and of course the NFL may have squelched the nomination. They surely have the power to do so. At any rate It was a tremendous performance dealing with a very contemporary issue.

    • He was very good in Concussion. So good, in fact, that after the movie, when the credits started rolling, my husband turned to me, amazed, and said “That was Will Smith?!?!”

      • Will Smith got nominated for a Golden Globe. The HFPA don’t have to kowtow to the NFL – no economic incentive to do so. Makes me wonder, though, how they would vote on a similar exposé film made about FIFA players.

    • Agree. He did a phenomenal job. For anyone who has Smith type-cast as fresh prince: watch the movie. He is outstanding.

  11. Best. Bowie. Cover. Ever.

    …probably the best ever possible.

    Quando as coisas do coração no consegue compreender
    E a mente no faz questão e nem tem forças pra obedecer
    Quantos sonhos ja destrui e deixei escapar das mãos
    Se o futuro assim permitir no pretendo viver em vão

    Seu Jorge’s original Portuguese lyrics – a reimagining rather than a translation – add additional poignancy to an already poignant song.

    RIP Major Tom

    • My 2nd favorite Bowie cover.

      Probably not to everyone’s tastes, but I would be curious to hear Robert F’s opinion, since he loved this song so much.

      • Heard of this, but I’ve never actually heard it; I’ll try to give it a listen later, or tomorrow.

      • Well, I like that piece of music, but it’s not exactly a cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. I do hear how it was inspired by Bowie’s song, though. It’s as if the wish that the “Heroes” makes near the beginning, I wish, I wish you could swim, like dolphins, like dolphins can swim, is expressed as a wish come true in Glass’s music. You can hear those dolphins swimming, and you can hear only echoes of the entrapment left behind, one day to be forgotten. The strand of defiant hope that Bowie’s song holds onto is in Glass’s piece given full and joyful expression, playful expression; the world has been transformed, and the water is full of light.

        Beautiful music. Not a cover, but beautiful music inspired by Bowie’s song. Thank you, Mule.

      • And this, Mule, is as far as I know the best cover that Bowie ever did, revealing the hopeful romantic who was always just beneath the surface of the disillusioned sophisticate:


    • Seu Jorge’s version: Brilliant. David’s song: Brilliant.