Saturday, 1 August 2009

N.T. Wright

N.T Wright of Durham

Bishop Tom Wright of Durham, UK wrote the following

My skeptical mind says thinks that Bishop Wright is saying:

1) The Archbishop is very obscure.

2) I, + Tom Wright, brilliant Bishop of Durham can explain it all.

3) You – un-brilliant lesser clerics and lay people, better believe what I say. Cos I am smart. And you are not smart.

This former Parish Priest ( RetiredPove) has a simple question for Bishop Wright of Durham:

“Did you consult with/ask permission of your supervisors ( ++John of York or ++ Rowan of Canterbury) before you went to press?

As a curate I would not have gone to press without my rector’s permission.

As a rector, I would trust my curates to consult with me before going to press.

So +, Tom of Durham. Did you check with your Primate (++ John of York) before you commented on ++ Rowan’s missive?

Or are you (dare I say it) a "Lone Ranger" in the American tradition?

Non religious - new bed for Penne

I bought a new bed for Penne today.

It seems that she is not impressed.

But you never know!

Wisdom from Pittsburgh

To my Episcorat friends

(Remember those Sacristy Rats - folks who loved to be near the altar, the vestments, the holy paraphernalia? Well, we are the Episcorats - folks who love to follow “All Things Anglican”.)

You’ve probably read this

Another Bishop, believing us to be “not very bright” explained everything in this

But Archbishops, and Bishops, and humble parish Priests have vested interests in maintaining the status quo (which pays their salaries).
So, please read these good words from a Christian who has no stake in salaries or structures. (I believe them to be wise words).

Friday, 31 July 2009

Bishops, Birthers, and Bankers

We live in a world of duplicity, hypocrisy, cheating and bearing false witness.

Thus it has ever been.

But we the starry eyed innocents of the western “democracies” pretend that it is different in our lands.

Bishops, Birthers and Bankers all work against the good of the world.

They are the Bishops, Birthers and Bankers of said “democracies”.


(Arch) Bishop Rowan Williams (Canterbury UK) and Bishop Tom Wright (Durham, UK) have written at length about saving the Anglican Communion/Anglican Church (whatever it is we call it today).

They are both writing with high sounding words, wrapped up in convoluted arguments.

The supposed reason for their words is the resolutions of the Episcopal Church regarding the ordination/blessing of relationships/ rights of gay and lesbian persons -- blah blah blah

Blah, blah, blah - back to Williams, Wright, and to the Episcopal Church.

I dare to say that G-d gives not a shit about the Anglican/Episcopal Church. We ( I am an Anglican) are an historic anomaly, long past our shelf life.

Ms. G-d is concerned for those who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with her.

Oh, about those “Birthers”.
They are the right wing/neo fascist/ born-again “fruit and nut cases” who dominate the Republican Party.

They are the laughable Looney tunes who believe (despite all the evidence) that our President was born in Kenya, thus disqualifying him for office.

We could laugh that off were it not for Republican Representatives such as Eric Kantor who believes that the President is American born, but blames the “liberal media” (as if it existed) for perpetuating the birther story, in order to discredit Republicans.

Yes, of course, I know that is hard to follow.

But here is a simple version. The noble party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower has been taken over by the crazies.

Oh ye my Republican friends. You are good folks. Please save your party and bring it back to Lincoln/ Roosevelt (T) / and Eisenhower values.



We need bankers. Most of them are honourable and decent folks.

I have to say this for I was a banker in England between 1961 and 1972.

Our mission was simple:

1. Provide checking (current) accounts for businesses.

2. Enable overdrafts and small loans to business owners.

3. Provide basic banking services: i.e, checking (current), savings, personal loan accounts) to individuals.

4. Provide a worthwhile (albeit modest) reward to shareholders and officers.

In the meantime Investment Banks worked on creating and enabling Capital for major business and industry

Somewhere along the Reagan/Thatcher line this mission was abandoned.

Reagan/Thatcher decided that #4 ( profit) was the most important; and that retail and investment banks needed no line of separation.

Then another line was scorned. Rewards to officers became more important than rewards to the shareholders.

So I must ask my good Capitalist friends. “When did bonuses to bank/investment officers trump service to customers, and reward to investors?”

Is this the best that the Adam Smith/ Free market can provide?

Or is there a wee, wee place for government regulation which works equally for customers, investors and officers?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Not much

Not much to say on this blog, either last night or today.

Night night

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Church signs

Church Signs are often so goofy. Here are three from Sarasota.

(I bet the crowds come rushing into these Churches when they see these signs ..... NOT!)

Monday, 27 July 2009

From the Bishop of Canterbury and all his detestable enormities

Now that I have gotten your attention with a naughty header, I refer you to today’s (July 27th) statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, following the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Read it if you will. It is hard sledding.

I read it and in another naughty moment, it made me think of this bit from T.S. Elliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1919)

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
Almost, at times, the Fool.

Already both liberal and conservative Christians are picking the Archbishop’s statement apart, phrase by phrase, and line by line. Neither liberals nor conservatives like it, for after all it is indeed: Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse.

I’ll not parse the statement line by line. But for what it is worth I will say four things.

1. I wonder who is listening. No, I did not say “reading”, but I did say “listening”. Good and wonderful as this present Archbishop may be, I doubt that either conservatives or liberals in the Anglican Communion are listening to him. Both conservatives and have become tone deaf to all manner of pronouncements which are not to our liking.

c/f Matthew 15:8, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

2. The Archbishop is not an Anglican Pope. Keep this in mind as you read his words. The official Anglican Communion website lists four “Instruments of Communion” for Anglicans viz: (1) The Archbishop, (2) the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, (3) the meetings of Primates in the Communion, and (4) The Anglican Consultative Council. (The Archbishop of Canterbury does not trump the other three “instruments”.)

3. The current Archbishop of Canterbury is respected as a brilliant theologian. He must surely be aware of biblical criticism (e.g literary, historical, textual, form, linguistic). [I was enriched by this scholarship as a student at the Evangelical St. John’s College, Nottingham UK College – 1972-1976]. Would not the Anglican Communion be greatly enriched if the present A.B.C. would speak from this critical place?

4. Why are the Archbishop and we obsessed with the doctrine of the Church? Is not the Realm of God more vital? In other words, are we not called to be proclaimers of the Kingdom, rather than defenders of the Church?

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Not my best sermon

I was not pleased with my sermon today. It did not "hang together" in the way I'd hoped.

But I was flattered by one All Angels' parishioner who asked me to blog it, so here it is!

Sermon for July 26th 2009. The Revd. J. Michael Povey at All Angels by the Sea Church, Longboat Key, FL

2 Kings 4:42-44
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

We have been galloping through Mark’s gospel this summer. We’ve had to gallop, for that’s what Mark does. He writes with breathless excitement.

“Immediately” is one of his favourite words. The crowds are almost always “amazed” at what Jesus did. They frequently “marvel”. Mark would do well on “Twitter”.

But last week we left out a whole chunk of the sixth chapter of Mark. We read verses 30-34, then we leap-frogged across two stories, and read a bit from the end of the chapter.

Now this week we leave Mark’s breathless narrative to read those two stories which we missed, but now reading them from John. They are miracle stories.

We know that John is not interested in miracles for miracles’ sake. In his gospel the miracles are always “signs” of something much greater.

Miracles in and of themselves can be troublesome. I am thinking of the spectacular miracles of which we read in the Bible and other places. 5000 plus fed from 5 loaves and two fishes – sight restored to the blind – water in to wine &c, &c

I am not referring those odd happenstances which we call miraculous, e.g. “it was a miracle that the brick which fell from a building site did not land on her head”. (That was not a miracle; it was simply a bit of good fortune.)

Let’s think about something spectacular.

Your favourite great-aunt dies at the age of 83. You love her dearly, and so you pray, and she is raised from the dead. What would you do with a miracle like that? How would you deal with the press, the T.V. cameras, and the gawkers? How would you deal with your great-aunt who might not be pleased that she’d been resurrected!? Would you build a shrine and charge for admission? Would you write a book, make a movie; go on all the talk shows? Might you reach the point at which you said “I wish this miracle had not happened”?

Or would you say “this miracle points to the amazing grace of God, grace for which I am deeply grateful”. Period.

So there is the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. It is a miracle of compassion and grace. It’s a miracle which energizes those of us who believe that Christian faith calls us to feed the hungry.

It may also be a story about the Eucharist. Mark’s version makes this clearer. Mark relates that Jesus “took, blessed, broke and gave the bread”. “Taking, blessing, breaking and giving” are the four verbs which we use in the Eucharist.

Maybe John and Mark are trying to tell us that the bread is broken not just for the religious elite, but for the masses.

If this is the case, then our sharing in the bread of life at the Eucharist is hollow if we do not share our every day breads with the hungry.

I’ll leave that thought with you, even as I also wrestle with it. (I like my abundance of food, and I am not at all sure that I want to share all of it widely).

In John’s Gospel the miracle first leads the people to recognize Jesus as a prophet. Then they want to make him King. Jesus withdraws from both possibilities.

Here I have to make some guesses.

I will suppose that Jesus did not wish to be branded as a prophet, for prophets sometimes attract followers who love to be part of this or that trendy movement. A following based on stardom or popularity is not what Jesus had in mind.

And I will suppose that Jesus knew well the perils of Kingship. As a King he’d have to raise an army, impose taxes, and deal with all the intrigues and plotting which are endemic to a Royal household.

But beyond these two guesses, it is clear Jesus has his eyes on a different prize. He is not interested in a purely local or nationalistic following. As he enters more fully into God’s mission he begins to understand that the love and grace of God is universal.

That is why most of his miracles have to do with people who had been excluded by powerful religious leaders, e.g. the blind, the lame, the leper, the hemorrhaging woman, a 12 year old girl.

The miracle is chiefly so that they would know themselves to be included in God’s care.

Later in John’s Gospel, in a reflection on the feeding miracle, John puts these words on to Jesus’ lips “The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world”. And it is in John that Jesus says “I am the light of the world”.

Jesus is teaching that the mission of God is towards and for all people. That is the deeper reason for the miracles.

Our temptation is to say that “charity begins at home”, or “we should take care of our own first”.

Attractive as that sounds its effect is to reduce Jesus to being a local prophet, or a nationalist leader.

In breaking bread together each week we take into ourselves the true miracle. It is that in God’s economy there is abundance for all, and even after that there is some left over!

The big question is this: “Who do we choose to exclude”?