"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Canon Harmon Makes A "Realistic" Prediction

The Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon of Titusonenine has warned traditionalist Anglicans that "this whole process is going to take longer than a lot of traditional Anglicans think." He warns in this video from Stand Firm that one should not expect dramatic actions from the Primates' meeting starting Feb. 14 in Tanzania.

I understand why the good canon is saying this. Anglican Primates' meetings have taken rather cautious actions with regard to TEC up to this point. But if he is right and nothing serious is actually done at this meeting to provide for the orthodox within TEC, will orthodox Anglicanism within the bounds of the worldwide Communion survive inside the US? Even rock solid dioceses like San Joaquin or Fort Worth might start to unravel if nothing real happens in three weeks. We have already been waiting for three and a half years for something concrete to be done. A few parishes in heretical dioceses have received help from overseas, but for those still within TEC things just keep getting worse. If nothing real is done in Tanzania (like an alternative Primate for the orthodox who is not under PB Schori's authority)--if all we get is more talk and threatened disciplinary action of TEC at some future date--will there be anyone left to care by the time Lambeth 2008 gets here? How many orthodox within TEC will hold on for another year and half waiting for the bare possibility that the Lambeth Conference will finally take real action? The Tiber, the Bosporos, and the Continuum beckon. How many will take the plunge if Tanzania bears no real fruit?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Traditional Anglo-Catholic vs. Anglo-Papalist

Friends, I have been thinking about the term "Anglo-Papalist" lately. I only began to run across it frequently a few years ago, and have never really had a clear understanding of exactly what folks mean by it.

I came across this article purporting to describe the difference between "Anglo-Catholics" in the traditional sense and "Anglo-Papalists". Is this distinction accurate? If so, I can happily declare myself a traditional Anglo-Catholic. Definition 1 fits me to a tee (even if the rhetoric of the statement is a tad overblown. I'm prone to that sort of thing myself!). And the position outlined in definition 2 is illogical and inconsistent to me. I have a difficult time seeing how a person who held such an "Anglo-Papalist" position (if accurate) can hold back in good conscience from swimming the Tiber, especially since large-scale organic reunion between Rome and Canterbury seems further away than ever in light of the present Anglican doctrinal crisis and the present AC leadership.

I consider myself a Catholic Anglican. I am an Anglican by conviction, not a Roman who happens to be separated from the Holy See by an historical accident. I cannot in good conscience assent to the claims of universal ordinary jurisdiction and infallibility presently made by the Roman Pontiff, as much as I do admire the present incumbent as a man and a thinker. (As I have said before, if some sort of accommodation on the Petrine office could be worked about between Rome and the Eastern Patriarchs, I suspect I could sign onto whatever they worked out between them. Let us pray, brothers and sisters.)

My own thoughts on the Papacy are identical, as far as I can tell, with those of the Eastern Orthodox--a primacy of honor but not universal ordinary jurisdiction. And infallibility in the decrees of a Pope acting without the endorsement of a Council of the Universal Church [both East and West] is out of the question for me. In fact, my own understanding of Catholic Anglicanism is that it is (or at least ought to be) "Western Orthodoxy," standing by the teachings of the Fathers and the decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils alongside the Eastern Church while celebrating the heritage of the West (Ambrose, Augustine, Anselm, Bernard, Aquinas, etc) in a special way and worshiping in the traditional Western liturgical expression. This might be a preposterously Romantic vision--and perhaps even an untenable ecclesiology in light of the present crisis--but dear Reader it is where I stand. Kyrie eleison!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bishop Lyons of Bolivia Visits California

I do not know if Bishop Lyons has inside information that makes him so confident about the formation of a new, orthodox province in North America within this calendar year, but we should have some clarity about our future course following the Primates meeting in Tanzania just a couple of weeks from now. Let us pray that the Primates display both godly wisdom and steadfast courage in defense of the Truth.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune (hat tip to Stand Firm):

It won't be long until the worldwide Anglican Communion replaces the Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch with one more to the liking of conservatives.

“I see everybody coming together to form a new structure for the Anglican Church in the United States,” Bishop Frank Lyons said yesterday during a meeting with members of two breakaway congregations, St. Anne's Anglican Church in Oceanside and Holy Family Anglican Church in Vista, which are under Lyons' long-distance oversight.

“I see all that coming together in the next year,” Lyons said at the meeting, held at St. Anne's. “I think it will work that fast. That's what I'm pushing for.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It Is Official, My Friends

My most sincere thanks to all those who have kept my ordination discernment process in their prayers for the last few years. Today, fully seven years after I first inquired of my rector about entering the discernment process, I have official news to report:

This morning a letter arrived at my home from the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of Fort Worth, informing me that, God willing, he will ordain me to the sacred order of Deacons in Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church on March 3rd at St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas, at 10 AM. May God grant me grace to carry out that ministry effectively.

I would be deeply honored if any readers of this blog should choose to attend.

Thanks again for all your support and prayers, my friends. May God bless you all.

815 And Its Minions Are On The Move

As readers of this blog will recall, in recent weeks eleven parishes have voted to withdraw from the Episcopal diocese of Virginia. Today the Empire struck back. Read the press release from that diocesan office at Baby Blue. Please pray for our faithful Anglican brothers and sisters in the Old Dominion, and for those who have taken this hostile action.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Greetings from Snowy Nashotah House

I just wanted to let those who might stop by know why there have been no posts here of late. I am presently taking a January term course at Nashotah House, our seminary in Wisconsin.
The course I am taking is on early Christian exegesis of the Old Testament. It is taught by Fr Patrick Henry Reardon, rector of All Saints' Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago and senior editor of Touchstone Magazine. This class and this professor are both spectacular! Truly, this is one of the most impressive courses I have ever taken--and I have been in school a long time, my friends! Fr Reardon must be a phenomenal preacher, based upon his teaching style. He certainly knows his stuff. (Long ago he taught at both Nashotah and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in PA. I gather he was chrismated into the Orthodox Church about twenty years ago.) Fr Reardon's presentation of the Biblical material will serve all of our young ordinands well when they take up a cure of souls. So far my time at Nashotah has been a marvelous experience. Even the snow is more pretty than annoying right now! (Photos courtesy of Jeff Stubbs.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Presiding Bishop on the "Afterlife"

Recently Katharine Jeffert Schori, the Presiding Bishop of TEC, gave an interview to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which a reporter asked her to elucidate, among other things, previous comments she has made about the afterlife (comments that have caused many people to conclude that she does not believe in the afterlife in any meaningful sense). Please note how hard the reporter (ADG) has to work to get the leader of the Episcopal church to admit that she believes in a continued existence after death in any sense at all, let alone the robust, Catholic sense of "life after death" and "resurrection." (The entire interview, btw, is a fascinating showing of the PB's state of mind--e.g., the Millenium Development Goals as a substitute for the Gospel of Christ, etc. After reading this you will not doubt that she is in no mood to recognize the rights of the orthodox, esp. with regard to property).

Here are some fascinating highlights, with my emphasis added:

ADG: I want to ask you about a couple of other things you’ve said in interviews. One of those was in the 10 questions in TIME magazine about the small box that people put God in. Could you elaborate a little bit on your take on “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” [a paraphrase of John 14:16]?
KJS: I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding.
ADG: What about the rest of that statement –
KJS: The small box?
ADG: Well, the rest of the verse, that no one comes to the Father except by the son.
KJS: Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus
. ...

ADG: That reminds me of something else you said. This was a CNN interview when Kyra Phillips asked you what happens when we die. You had an interesting answer that got some Southern Baptists riled up.
KJS: OK. I didn’t hear their reaction.
ADG: Al Mohler – I don’t know whether you’re familiar with him –
KJS: I’m not.
ADG: He’s a seminary president [at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville] and has a blog and a radio show. [Mohler posted the exchange on his Web site]. It seemed to some people that you were saying there isn’t an afterlife.
KJS: I don’t think Jesus was focused on that. I think Jesus was focused on heaven in this life, primarily. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always said yes, there is resurrection. There is life after death. But I think Jesus was not so worried about that. I think he’s worried about what we’re doing to treat our fellow human beings as children of God. He says the kingdom of heaven is among you, and within you, and around you.
ADG: So does that mean that in your view there is no afterlife?
KJS: That’s not what I said. I said what I think Jesus is more concerned about is heavenly existence, eternal life, in this life.
ADG: So there again, that’s partly why the Millennium Development Goals are important to you? To improve people’s lives now?
KJS: Absolutely. The Anglican tradition of Christianity is world-affirming, it is focused on incarnation, and it insists that we’re not meant to shut ourselves off from the world in a pietistic sense or in a sectarian sense. That we’re meant to be in the world, and transforming the world into something that looks more like the reign of God.
ADG: Do you think there’s any part of us that lives on somewhere after we die?
KJS: Absolutely. But that’s not a question that concerns me day in and day out. I think I’m meant to use the gifts I have to transform the world in this life.
ADG: [Brown asked whether Jefferts Schori’s views on the afterlife are more informed by the Old Testament than the New.] I know you’re a fan of the book of Isaiah.
KJS: Jesus was clearly in the prophetic tradition. The prophets are concerned about human beings in this life, how governmental structures have oppressed them; they’re concerned with liberation from that oppression. They’re not patient with the idea that one suffers in this life so you can live in glory after you die. Not patient with that idea at all

Friday, January 05, 2007


Thanks be to God, and thanks to you all for your prayers. I have just returned from the second day of canonical exams. Chuck Hough and I both passed all of our exams. (I have no information on the third candidate.) Thanks again to you all, and to all the priests of our diocese who have helped us along our path.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Canonical Exams Are Here!

Friends, I ask your prayers for those Candidates (Chuck, Bill and Randall) sitting for the diocese of Fort Worth's canonical ordination examinations on Thursday and Friday at SS Peter and Paul in Arlington. (In this diocese we do not sit for the national GOE's, but have our own board of examining chaplains.)

On Thursday the candidates will take the written Scripture content exam and say a "dry Mass," complete with a sermon. On Friday there will be six 1.5 hour oral exams covering Scripture, Theology, Moral Theology & Pastoral Care, Church History, and Canon Law in private session, with two examiners for each subject.

I am grateful for all the help given to me in my preparations by worthy priests in our diocese (esp. Frs Cantrell the Elder, Crary, Nelson, Jordan and Reed--thank you so much, Reverend Fathers). I will try not let you down!

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