Saturday, 2 March 2013

Errors of the Bishop of Rome which have been swallowed in The Episcopal Church.

Ed Rodman of the Diocese of Massachusetts has words of wisdom for those who wish to be ordained, and to those who are already in holy orders. He says “Don’t believe your own propaganda”.

“Aye, there’s the rub”:   many of we the ordained believe our own propaganda.  

That belief leads us to resist honest criticism from others, and more dangerously, it shields us from self examination and self-critique. It’s the deadly sin of clericalism, a sin in which I have indulged on many an occasion.

One of the bits of clerical propaganda which we in the Episcopal Church have swallowed hook, line, and sinker is that in ordination there is a change in our being.

It’s a Roman Catholic myth which has been swallowed by even the most evangelical of clerics.  

It says that “when I was ordained I became a priest, and my very nature was changed. I am not a man or woman who serves as a priest, I have become a priest, and nothing can change that”.

(If you want to be technical the Roman view of ordination [accepted by many Episcopalians, but NOT by most world-wide Anglicans], is that ordination is “ontological” (look up that word!). It is typified by the ordination greetings cards which I received way back in 1976 which announced “you are a Priest forever”. What, even in heaven!)

The more biblical and reformed position is that ordination is functional. In other words my ministry has to do with what I do, not with who I am.

In fact when I was ordained I was set aside by the church for the “office and work” (1662 Prayer Book language) of serving as a minister of the Word of God and the Sacraments in a congregation.

It’s an important distinction.

 For if I AM a Priest”, then who can question my authority?

But if “I SERVE as a Priest” then my ministry is rooted in the frustratingly glorious mess which is your average local congregation.

For the longest time I believed my own propaganda which said “Dammit I AM a Priest and who are you to question my authority”. I repent of that dangerous nonsense.

In more recent years I have come to believe that by God’s grace I served as a Minister in four congregations, and now in retirement I serve as a Minister to the homeless. But when I am at a dinner party with good friends I am not a Priest, I am simply a brother in Christ who is trying to make sense of our senseless world; and who is trying to share in the joy of a joyful world.

Years ago I rejoiced in being called “Father Michael”. I loved those words. They indicated that “father knows best”.

In later years I rejected the title “Father”.  How could I be called “Father” when my primary call was to be a brother in Christ?  How could I be called “Father” when my sister ministers were called Diane, or Margaret, or Gwen?

In that light I disdain the honorific titles which many clerics adore.

Why in heaven’s name are we called “The Revd” (local Priests), or “The Most Revd” (Archbishops), or “The Rt. Revd.” (Bishops), or “The Very Revd” (Deans), or “The Venerable” (Archdeacons)?

It’s all part of the bullshit which leads Priests/Ministers to “believe their own propaganda!”. 

It is a deadly bit of b.s. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Bishop of Rome etc

I am bemused, and not a little annoyed by the obsessions of many of  my Anglican/Episcopalian/Church of England friends about the abdication of Pope Benedict, together with the speculation about his successor.

As Anglicans we are in the good reformation tradition which teaches that the so-called Pope is nothing more or less than the Bishop of Rome.

We also deny his claim to be the Supreme Pontiff of the Church as being un-biblical, and of late development in the history of the Church.

The identity of the new “Pope” matters very little to our life in Christ and our sharing of the Gospel.  In fact he will continue to assert that we are not truly Church, and therefore are imperfect Christians.  Fie on such nonsense.

And fie on the parallel nonsense which asserts that Cardinals are “Princes of the Church”. That myth has enabled so much harm to so many people.

They are Bishops -  that’s all. The job of a bishop is to be a Pastor not a Prince.

Part of the subversive results of those myths are that even Episcopal Bishops are seizing more and more authority, and we the people of God are puerile enough to cede it to them.

Let’s remember our reformed understanding that Bishops are there for the good of the Church, but they are not of the essence of the Church. We can be Church even in the absence of Bishops.

The Church has only one essential Bishop: - the Lord Jesus Christ.

Once we believe that the Lord Jesus is the ‘one and only” priest/bishop we can be delivered from another harmful myth which has more to do with male authority than with the freedom of a “gospel church”.

That Jesus appointed 12 apostles to be his successors. ‘Tis a very shaky claim.

The New Testament refers to the “twelve” who were Jesus’ disciples.

It also refers to Apostles who never met Jesus, and who were not amongst the disciples.

The biblical disciples and apostles are not entirely the same people.

Jesus had some “named” disciples. The New Testament names others as apostles.

The two lists are not identical.

The claim that Jesus appointed the “twelve” disciples to be apostles, and hence his successors is utterly bogus.

But the claim is a convenient enough myth for those male priest/bishops whose claim for authority has been distracted from service TO the Church to power OVER  the Church.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

I caved in. New a/c unit.

So, after a second report on my central air/con unit I decided to cough up and replace it.

There was a lot of corrosion on the coil, and around the electrical switches, and some loss of cold air.

The unit may well have been good for another six, eight, or twelve months but I decided that discretion was the better part of value. Therefore it was (in my judgement) wiser to replace the unit now than to risk its failure in mid-summer.

The cost made me say “ouch”, but then I remembered that I have some savings which are set aside precisely for such an event. Better to use these savings now than to shell out more in the future.

The local Air Con company which I use sweetened the deal by adding an ultra-violet light (to prevent mould) at no extra cost (saving me $400+ – or so they say!), and by giving me a voucher for one year of free maintenance.

The guys: Gerry and Chris arrived at 8:30 a.m.  They finished by 1:15.p.m.

There was huge excitement in my neighbourhood when the crane arrived to remove the old unit from the roof-top, and lift up the new one.

We are easily amused in this 55+ community.

Crane hook over my home

It's big crane

Out with the old

In with the new (1)

In with the new (2)

Such a nice big Crane!  The operator had red hair and a red beard which endeared him to me!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Good news about a person, some "candy", and my supper.


Mark was a regular at the Resurrection House (SRQ) Prayer Service which I lead every Wednesday.
He is a gentle, almost meek (in the best sense of that word) man.
Last Monday I saw him again.  He has a job at my local “Winn Dixie” supermarket.
Whoop-dee-do.  Pray that he will continue to be employed.

The local Trader Joe’s store is selling Liquorice Comfits. If you do not know what they are it doesn’t matter.
If you have eaten and enjoyed them you will understand that I am in danger of over-dosing.

is rarely seen on restaurant menus these days. So I made my own for supper today. So good!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Caveat Emptor

For reasons which are beyond my ken the builders of our Glen Oaks Ridge Condo’s decided to place our central air-con and heating units on our flat roofs. (Maybe it made the internal duct work easier to install).

My unit is about 11 years old and provides more than adequate cold air in summer and heat (for a few days) in winter.  I have it serviced every three months under contract with a local firm.

Today the “service technician” told me that the coil was “impacted beyond repair” and that the unit needed to be replaced (at a cost of $5,300).

He took me up onto the roof to view the “damage”, but as far as I was concerned he could have been a brain surgeon explaining some wondrous surgery.  I did not know what I was supposed to be seeing.

I agreed to have the unit replaced and gave him a deposit of $500.

Then I began to think!

1. His report said that the coil was rusted.

2. He asserted that the system was under strain because of mould and dirt.

3. He said that the unit had been improperly installed.

4. I did not see any rust.

5. The internal filters which he replaced were not particularly dirty.

6. If the unit had been improperly installed, why has it worked so well for 11 years?

7. Why have no previous service technicians noticed these problems?

8. If there are such major problems, why am I getting such good cold air?


I have placed the replacement on hold until I can get a second opinion.

I am sorry to be suspicious about a reputable local firm.  But $5,300 is a lot of money.

Caveat Emptor.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday lunch bliss

Lunch at the Half Shell Oyster House, Main Street, SRQ  today

Crab Cakes Half Shell

Twin fried crab cakes topped with poached eggs then covered with Half Shell sauce of Alfredo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and artichoke hearts.

Damn good!

And blessed with the good company of Fred and Diana Emrich!