Archive for November, 2005

Too Close To Home — Another Glaring Omission

November 30th, 2005 No comments

Sometimes, you can learn as much about the Episcopal Church from what it doesn’t say as what it does.

Today’s glaring omission is from the daily lectionary (Advent Week 1, Year 2). This week, the New Testament readings are from 2 Peter. Well, most of it, anyway. The entire second chapter is skipped.

Here, then, is what the Episcopal Church considers to be of insufficient value for the Daily Office:

1: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2: And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.

3: And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

4: For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;

5: if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

6: if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor’rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly;

7: and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked

8: (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds),

9: then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

10: and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,

11: whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.

12: But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them,

13: suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you.

14: They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

15: Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be’or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,

16: but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17: These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.

18: For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

19: They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.

20: For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

21: For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

22: It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

2 Peter, Chapter 2

I was tempted to tart this up with bold and italics and snarky hyperlinks to various offenders — but (a) that would take more time and energy than would be wise, (b) too much of that energy would be negative, and finally (c) if you can’t see the application yourself, you either haven’t been paying attention, or you’re part of the problem.

God have mercy.

Categories: Episcopal Church Tags:

Astonishing, isn't it?

November 29th, 2005 No comments
Categories: Silliness Tags:


November 28th, 2005 No comments

I am firmly of the belief that the “Christmas shopping frenzy” is no less than a Satanic plot to rob us of the proper season of Advent, and to steal the peace and silence that would otherwise prepare us for the coming of Christ.

And, losing Advent, we have lost it in both senses — that of preparing our hearts for the Feast of the Nativity, where we celebrate the first coming of the Infant Christ into the world in history, and of preparing for the Second Coming of the Christ the Lord: this time, not as a helpless infant, but as the the righteous judge of history. And of us. Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, Lord Jesus! Do I dare
Cry: Lord Jesus, quickly come!
Flash the lightning in the air,
Crash the thunder on my home!
Should I speak this aweful prayer?
Come, Lord Jesus, help me dare.

Come, Lord Jesus! You I call
To come (come soon!) are not the child
Who lay once in the manger stall,
Are not the infant meek and mild.
You come in judgement on our all:
Help me to know you, whom I call.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come this night
With your purging and your power,
For the earth is dark with blight
And in sin we run and cower
Before the splendid, raging sight
Of the breaking of the night.

Come, my Lord! Our darkness end!
Break the bonds of time and space.
All the powers of evil rend
By the radiance of your face.
The laughing stars with joy attend:
Come Lord Jesus! Be my end!

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Weather of the Heart

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$100 Laptop / One Laptop Per Child

November 23rd, 2005 No comments

Free Software hackers, large technology corporations, and Third-World governments co-operating to make computers truly affordable for the vast majority of the world? Jim Gettys gives more details in this blog entry, $100 Laptop / One Laptop Per Child:

There certainly was a lot of publicity last week on the unveiling of the “green machine” OLPC prototype in Tunis last week; google news showed into the hundreds of articles world-wide.

Here is the minimum description of the hardware we expect at the moment. I say minimum, as events and commodity prices may change plans, and delays sometimes mean you get more than the minimum:

  • AMD x86 Geode processor, at least GX2 @ 500mhz, but very probably something later, faster and lower power, with the more interesting companion chip (e.g. support for USB 2).
  • 128 meg RAM; think cheap, rather than high performance
  • minimum of 512 meg flash
  • built in 802.11 wireless (probably a Athleros chip, due to its advanced driver), with mesh networking.
  • 4 USB ports
  • keyboard and large touchpad, which can be put on the back of the display, so you might use it as an e-book
  • display (more below; it is novel, and the most likely component to cause delays and interesting consequences to open source software)
  • crank generator & batteries; you get to work for your computing

What it doesn’t have:

  • fans or heat sinks (saving power, cost and weight)
  • disk drive (they are fragile, expensive, and unreliable, and eat power)
  • any I/O expandability other than USB
  • any hardware/flash expandability

What does this mean to you, an open source developer?

  • With luck, a huge new audience for your software all over the world; maybe of order 100,000,000 in ‘07, if everything goes really well (there are about 1 billion school-age kids on the planet, and others want the same kind of hardware for more commercial use). Governments want to buy these by the shiploads. Their motivation is obvious: distributing conventional books is expensive, and all you get is a book. A computer at the $100 price point, if it can last 4-5 years, can be justified on that ground alone, much less the other uses of computers, such as the web, VOIP, email, IM, etc.
  • Doing stupid things in your programs can make it hard to put the processor to sleep or use more power than need be. In the case of this machine, this translates to real work to do (think cranking).

Read the whole thing, especially if you are interested in the technical details. If this can be pulled off, I think it has the potential be as disruptive as the original PC introduction. (Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing is, of course, a separate issue.)

In case you’ve never heard of Jim Gettys, he’s one of the original architects of the X Window System from M.I.T. (this is the basis for the GUI for nearly every Unix or Linux system in existance), and has a resume that makes me wonder what I’ve been doing with my career and life.

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Dialogue, so-called

November 22nd, 2005 No comments

Via Dale Price (thanks, Dale!), here is Diogenes dissecting the Looking Glass world of Episcopalian ‘dialogue’:

We see this ruse all too often in the culture wars. Traditional practices are assailed, not directly, but by non-stop pleas for dialogue. The engines of dialogue are designed to favor the innovator — no one, after all, says “I think we should begin a conversation about why things should stay as they are” — whence dialogue begets diversity begets innovation, and presto! the need for dialogue vanishes. “I wish we could stop talking about this.”

Remember the push for women’s ordination — first priestly, then episcopal — within ECUSA? In the years preceding the capitulations the cant phrase was “Can we talk?” Dialogue was essential. Waverers were assured that the questions were not going away and to decline the debate was simply to put off the day of reckoning. Well, the innovators got what they wanted. Do you hear any of them today asking the Church to re-visit the question, to continue the dialogue about whether the restriction of the priesthood to men is not, after all, the will of God? Of course not. The change has been effected, the pawl has clicked in, there’s no going back, and therefore — as Bishop Gene would insist — nothing to talk about.

Read the whole thing. The rachet effect is real.

I’m going to rant a bit. Diogenes quotes V. Gene +Robinson in a Times interview:

“I wish we could stop talking about this and start talking about the gospel again. My diocese may be the only diocese in the Anglican Communion that is not obsessed with sex. We spend almost no time on it. There is this amazing disconnection between my diocese and the rest of the world. We talk about Anglicanism and witness to the rest of the world.”

If you’re so not obsessed with sex, why are you in England talking about it?

Bishop Robinson recently visited Britain as a guest of Changing Attitude, a group trying to raise awareness about gays in the Church.

And, either +Robinson is (a) entirely ignorant of those he slanders, or (b) a bald-faced liar when he trashes ++Akinola and other Anglican leaders for ignoring the Gospel by being obsessed about sex. Or perhaps (c) is looking at the world through lavender-colored glasses, through which he sees that Everyone Else Is Obessed About Sex. (Can we say “projection,” anyone?)

In fact, I’ll offer this as a followup to Zach’s Iron Law of Dialogue (Dialogue means ‘you talk, we’ll act.’). Zach’s Iron Law of Root Causes (Any and all theological dialogue can and will be dismissed as “you’re just obsessed with gay sex, get over it.”)

Why am I so torqued at +Robinson’s slander (yes, it is slander)? Because we just had a number of people from my parish attend the Hope and a Future conference in Pittsburgh. The report (borne out in how energized the attendees are regarding this) is that the focus was precisely on proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus, Good News to a broken world. We will be renewing and expanding our efforts to evangelize and to help the poor.

It’s not all about gay sex. No matter what the non-sex-obsessed, I-don’t-want-to-be-known-as-the-gay-bishop “look at me, I’m a gay bishop!” says. If he wants “justice” so badly, he can start speaking justly regarding those he opposes. Look in the mirror, Gene. On second thought, maybe you should stop looking so much into the mirror. It’s Not All About You.

Categories: Episcopal Church Tags:

That would explain it

November 14th, 2005 No comments

And here I was wondering if age was catching up with me — instead, it may be my Internet use (hat tip: Jeff Culbreath):

Emails ‘pose threat to IQ’

The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers.

Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached “startling” levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip.

Read the whole thing. Maybe we can start to consider spammers not just nuisances, but public health threats?

Jeff, at least, has his priorities straight:

Farewell, dear readers. Bring on the cold winter air, a warm pipe, and dancing flames from a woodstove; a pretty wife curled up in a blanket; and the buzz of a chain saw on Saturday morning.

Categories: Luddite Tags:

Agrarian Life Vs. Industrial Life

November 8th, 2005 No comments

Jeff Culbreath finds an outline of the differences between the two at The House of Degenhart (highlighting is mine):

By farming, we can:

Produce healthy food to feed our family
Get exercise which helps keep our bodies fit
Work beside our children and our parents
Teach our children practical skills and give them an opportunity to use them

A popular alternative to farming is to learn a highly specialised skill and become an employee. This is that alternative that I chose to pursue. By doing this, we can:

Sit in a chair all day, away from our family, and get a money-like electronic commodity in exchange for our time.
We then leave the home to buy food to feed our family, most of which will eventually cause cancer and a host of other diseases.
We then leave the home to purchase a membership at a health club to get the exercise our body needs to stay fit.
We try to spend quality time with our family in the evenings to learn what they’ve been doing all day, and get to know them. (This comes in handy on Sundays, when we teach a class on the biblical view of the family. )
We then leave the home to visit our parents who live many hours away. We mostly talk about our job and what activities the children are doing (We pass along the information about the children that we’ve learned by spending evenings and weekends with them).
Our children learn to be consumers, but not producers, so when they are of age, we send them away from home and purchase training which will enable them to become a wage-slave like ourselves.

As a young man, I never thought through all the implications of my career path. Now that I am beginning to do that, I have a growing desire to move to a more agrarian way of life, and also help provide others with some of the facts required to make an informed choice.

And has his own thoughts on the dilemma:

There is really no way around the extreme difficulty of going from industrial life to agrarian life in one generation. (The reverse transition is much easier.) The best writers on the subject all say that, for the most part, it can’t be done and should not be expected. With respect to cheap land, it can be had – but the price is almost always separation from family, friends, and the Christian community we so desperately need.

This is why (as Wendell Berry repeatedly warns) that we need to preserve, not just farmland, but farmers. Because what can be lost easily and completely in one generation will take generations of concentrated struggle to regain.

Categories: Agrarian Tags:

Rest in Peace, Major Bloomfield

November 5th, 2005 No comments

24 Hour News 8 talks to relatives of Michigan native soldier killed in Iraq

Two U.S. Marines were killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed near Ramadi, Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed Thursday to have shot down the chopper. The military said the helicopter was flying in support of ground operations in the area.

One of those two Marines, 39-year-old Major Gerald Bloomfield II, was a native from the east side of Michigan.

CNN and Reuters have the story too, but without mentioning the Marines by name. The DoD press release is here.

Local news has more about him, his family, and how he felt about the whole affair over there:

He leaves behind a son, Ryan, 13; wife, Julie Bloomfield of White Pigeon; two sisters, Paula Wallace of Howell and Katy Kerch of Brighton; brother, Tom Bloomfield of Chelsea; mother Shirley Spears of Howell; and stepmother Judy Bloomfield of Ypsilanti. (Lansing State Journal)

He told his parents not to worry, because he believed in his comrades and in their training, his father said.

“He strongly believed in what he was doing,” Judy Bloomfield said. “He wasn’t afraid. He wanted to fight for his country.” (Ann Arbor News)

At Eastern Michigan University he earned double degrees in math and physics. Before graduating in ’89, he joined the Marines. Becoming and officer and eventually a pilot. Years later, married and with a son, he was a career military man who believed in the job he was doing in Iraq.

Paula: “By being there, he was protecting us and everything we have here.”

And he also believed in the freedom and the future of the country he was fighting in. He wrote about it in email sent home.

Kate: “It’s not a 3rd world country. I believe it has hope. He wanted them to experience some of the same freedoms we have here.”

And it’s his sisters wish that people who knew her brother in Fowlerville understand this, as well as the people of Iraq and in the country he was so proud to defend. Major Bloomfield will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. (WLNS)

Why highlight one fallen soldier out of over 2,000? Because, while I never met Jerry Bloomfield in life, we know some of the extended Bloomfield family through the local homeschooling community, and therefore mourn his loss with them.

God bless you, Major. And thank you.

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Web Quiz: My Style of American Catholicism

November 3rd, 2005 No comments

I suppose these results aren’t terribly surprising … I’m so “new”, I’m not yet Catholic. And I do love Pope John Paul II of happy memory, and I do feel as if I’m rediscovering a lost faith.

The 2% “Liberal Catholic” result would explain my disconnect with the official ECUSA party line on … well, just about everything.

You scored as New Catholic. The years following the Second Vatican Council was a time of collapse of the Catholic faith and its traditions. But you are a young person who has rediscovered this lost faith, probably due to the evangelization of Pope John Paul II. You are enthusiastic, refreshing, and somewhat traditional, and you may be considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. You reject relativism and the decline in society that you see among your peers. You are seen as being good for the Church.

A possible problem is that you may have a too narrow a view of orthodoxy, and anyway, you are still a youth and not yet mature in your faith.

New Catholic


Traditional Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


Radical Catholic


Liberal Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

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