Monthly Archives: January 2004

Everybody needs a little passion in their lives. . .

Current mood: Sad-1 crappy

Current music: Fountains of Wayne – Mexican Wine

Everybody needs a little passion in their lives. . .

More articles about Mel’s new movie, this one critisizing the NY Times, from The Australian:

Frank Devine: The Times has no Passion for Christian forgiveness

30 jan 04

THE New York Times seems set on a Mad Max shoot-out with Mel Gibson over his movie, The Passion, which deals with the last hours in the life of Jesus Christ. I don’t see the newspaper scoring any points from one of its most discreditable performances.

The worldwide controversy about the movie, its echoes registering relatively faintly in Australia, began with an article on March 9 in the Times’s Sunday magazine. It clawed at Gibson personally and claimed his picture depicted Jews as Christ killers, and would stir up new waves of anti-Semitism.

When the Times piece appeared, not even Gibson knew what would be in the movie, whose editing had scarcely begun. Moreover, the article attempted to portray Gibson as a religious maniac, capable of anything, largely by reference to the radical, fundamentalist beliefs and eccentric public remarks of his father, Hutton Gibson.

Shortly afterwards an American rabbi, Yehiel Poupko, received in the mail an anonymous gift of several pages from an early draft script for The Passion – from which next to nothing could be deduced about a movie still in the making. The rabbi appears to have distributed copies widely. A torrent of ill-informed and hostile comment poured forth. The Times kept the cauldron boiling with copious reporting of the onslaught.

The major studios, including 20th Century Fox which has first refusal on all Gibson’s movies, were scared off distributing The Passion. First round to The Times.

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Old Testament Homily

Current mood: Okay-2 blah

The following is a homily I wrote for my Old Testament II course. The assignment was a hypothetical situation, so some of the oddity can be explained by that.

Old Testament II

Jody Howard

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prov. 3:11-12 ESV)

Discipline, correction, responsibility; these are not popular terms. We too often lack discipline, resent correction and avoid responsibility. In fact, we are always more eager to accuse another of failing than we are to be disciplined, corrected or called on our own lack of responsibility. I see some of you squirming now; I know I am. I do not enjoy being corrected or having my failings discussed, brought into the light of day–partly because they are so numerous. Yet, I know that this is necessary for me to grow as a person and as a Christian. Perfection cannot be improved upon; so if I deceive myself into believing or even acting as if I am, then I will stagnate. My life and my faith will no longer be dynamic or vibrant; I will truly be dead. (Throw some dirt on me, stick a fork in me, I’m done!)

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Scandinavia: the end of marriage

Current mood: Cold cold

Current music: Josh Joplin Group – Here I Am

An upsetting but unsurprising article from the Weekly Standard:

The End of Marriage in Scandinavia

The “conservative case” for same-sex marriage collapses.

by Stanley Kurtz

09/13/2004, Volume 010, Issue 01

MARRIAGE IS SLOWLY DYING IN SCANDINAVIA. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents. Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood. The Nordic family pattern–including gay marriage–is spreading across Europe. And by looking closely at it we can answer the key empirical question underlying the gay marriage debate. Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has.

More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.

This is not how the situation has been portrayed by prominent gay marriage advocates journalist Andrew Sullivan and Yale law professor William Eskridge Jr. Sullivan and Eskridge have made much of an unpublished study of Danish same-sex registered partnerships by Darren Spedale, an independent researcher with an undergraduate degree who visited Denmark in 1996 on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1989, Denmark had legalized de facto gay marriage (Norway followed in 1993 and Sweden in 1994). Drawing on Spedale, Sullivan and Eskridge cite evidence that since then, marriage has strengthened. Spedale reported that in the six years following the establishment of registered partnerships in Denmark (1990-1996), heterosexual marriage rates climbed by 10 percent, while heterosexual divorce rates declined by 12 percent. Writing in the McGeorge Law Review, Eskridge claimed that Spedale’s study had exposed the “hysteria and irresponsibility” of those who predicted gay marriage would undermine marriage. Andrew Sullivan’s Spedale-inspired piece was subtitled, “The case against same-sex marriage crumbles.”

Yet the half-page statistical analysis of heterosexual marriage in Darren Spedale’s unpublished paper doesn’t begin to get at the truth about the decline of marriage in Scandinavia during the nineties. Scandinavian marriage is now so weak that statistics on marriage and divorce no longer mean what they used to.

Take divorce. It’s true that in Denmark, as elsewhere in Scandinavia, divorce numbers looked better in the nineties. But that’s because the pool of married people has been shrinking for some time. You can’t divorce without first getting married. Moreover, a closer look at Danish divorce in the post-gay marriage decade reveals disturbing trends. Many Danes have stopped holding off divorce until their kids are grown. And Denmark in the nineties saw a 25 percent increase in cohabiting couples with children. With fewer parents marrying, what used to show up in statistical tables as early divorce is now the unrecorded breakup of a cohabiting couple with children.

What about Spedale’s report that the Danish marriage rate increased 10 percent from 1990 to 1996? Again, the news only appears to be good. First, there is no trend. Eurostat’s just-released marriage rates for 2001 show declines in Sweden and Denmark (Norway hasn’t reported). Second, marriage statistics in societies with very low rates (Sweden registered the lowest marriage rate in recorded history in 1997) must be carefully parsed. In his study of the Norwegian family in the nineties, for example, Christer Hyggen shows that a small increase in Norway’s marriage rate over the past decade has more to do with the institution’s decline than with any renaissance. Much of the increase in Norway’s marriage rate is driven by older couples “catching up.” These couples belong to the first generation that accepts rearing the first born child out of wedlock. As they bear second children, some finally get married. (And even this tendency to marry at the birth of a second child is weakening.) As for the rest of the increase in the Norwegian marriage rate, it is largely attributable to remarriage among the large number of divorced.

Spedale’s report of lower divorce rates and higher marriage rates in post-gay marriage Denmark is thus misleading. Marriage is now so weak in Scandinavia that shifts in these rates no longer mean what they would in America. In Scandinavian demography, what counts is the out-of-wedlock birthrate, and the family dissolution rate.

The family dissolution rate is different from the divorce rate. Because so many Scandinavians now rear children outside of marriage, divorce rates are unreliable measures of family weakness. Instead, we need to know the rate at which parents (married or not) split up. Precise statistics on family dissolution are unfortunately rare. Yet the studies that have been done show that throughout Scandinavia (and the West) cohabiting couples with children break up at two to three times the rate of married parents. So rising rates of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock birth stand as proxy for rising rates of family dissolution.

By that measure, Scandinavian family dissolution has only been worsening. Between 1990 and 2000, Norway’s out-of-wedlock birthrate rose from 39 to 50 percent, while Sweden’s rose from 47 to 55 percent. In Denmark out-of-wedlock births stayed level during the nineties (beginning at 46 percent and ending at 45 percent). But the leveling off seems to be a function of a slight increase in fertility among older couples, who marry only after multiple births (if they don’t break up first). That shift masks the 25 percent increase during the nineties in cohabitation and unmarried parenthood among Danish couples (many of them young). About 60 percent of first born children in Denmark now have unmarried parents. The rise of fragile families based on cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing means that during the nineties, the total rate of family dissolution in Scandinavia significantly increased.

Scandinavia’s out-of-wedlock birthrates may have risen more rapidly in the seventies, when marriage began its slide. But the push of that rate past the 50 percent mark during the nineties was in many ways more disturbing. Growth in the out-of-wedlock birthrate is limited by the tendency of parents to marry after a couple of births, and also by the persistence of relatively conservative and religious districts. So as out-of-wedlock childbearing pushes beyond 50 percent, it is reaching the toughest areas of cultural resistance. The most important trend of the post-gay marriage decade may be the erosion of the tendency to marry at the birth of a second child. Once even that marker disappears, the path to the complete disappearance of marriage is open.

And now that married parenthood has become a minority phenomenon, it has lost the critical mass required to have socially normative force. As Danish sociologists Wehner, Kambskard, and Abrahamson describe it, in the wake of the changes of the nineties, “Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family–neither legally nor normatively. . . . What defines and makes the foundation of the Danish family can be said to have moved from marriage to parenthood.”

So the highly touted half-page of analysis from an unpublished paper that supposedly helps validate the “conservative case” for gay marriage–i.e., that it will encourage stable marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike–does no such thing. Marriage in Scandinavia is in deep decline, with children shouldering the burden of rising rates of family dissolution. And the mainspring of the decline–an increasingly sharp separation between marriage and parenthood–can be linked to gay marriage. To see this, we need to understand why marriage is in trouble in Scandinavia to begin with.

SCANDINAVIA has long been a bellwether of family change. Scholars take the Swedish experience as a prototype for family developments that will, or could, spread throughout the world. So let’s have a look at the decline of Swedish marriage.

In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for “shotgun weddings.” These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we’ve come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

Two things prompted the Swedes to take this extra step–the welfare state and cultural attitudes. No Western economy has a higher percentage of public employees, public expenditures–or higher tax rates–than Sweden. The massive Swedish welfare state has largely displaced the family as provider. By guaranteeing jobs and income to every citizen (even children), the welfare state renders each individual independent. It’s easier to divorce your spouse when the state will support you instead.

The taxes necessary to support the welfare state have had an enormous impact on the family. With taxes so high, women must work. This reduces the time available for child rearing, thus encouraging the expansion of a day-care system that takes a large part in raising nearly all Swedish children over age one. Here is at least a partial realization of Simone de Beauvoir’s dream of an enforced androgyny that pushes women from the home by turning children over to the state.

Yet the Swedish welfare state may encourage traditionalism in one respect. The lone teen pregnancies common in the British and American underclass are rare in Sweden, which has no underclass to speak of. Even when Swedish couples bear a child out of wedlock, they tend to reside together when the child is born. Strong state enforcement of child support is another factor discouraging single motherhood by teens. Whatever the causes, the discouragement of lone motherhood is a short-term effect. Ultimately, mothers and fathers can get along financially alone. So children born out of wedlock are raised, initially, by two cohabiting parents, many of whom later break up.

There are also cultural-ideological causes of Swedish family decline. Even more than in the United States, radical feminist and socialist ideas pervade the universities and the media. Many Scandinavian social scientists see marriage as a barrier to full equality between the sexes, and would not be sorry to see marriage replaced by unmarried cohabitation. A related cultural-ideological agent of marital decline is secularism. Sweden is probably the most secular country in the world. Secular social scientists (most of them quite radical) have largely replaced clerics as arbiters of public morality. Swedes themselves link the decline of marriage to secularism. And many studies confirm that, throughout the West, religiosity is associated with institutionally strong marriage, while heightened secularism is correlated with a weakening of marriage. Scholars have long suggested that the relatively thin Christianization of the Nordic countries explains a lot about why the decline of marriage in Scandinavia is a decade ahead of the rest of the West.

Are Scandinavians concerned about rising out-of-wedlock births, the decline of marriage, and ever-rising rates of family dissolution? No, and yes. For over 15 years, an American outsider, Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe, has played Cassandra on these issues. Popenoe’s 1988 book, “Disturbing the Nest,” is still the definitive treatment of Scandinavian family change and its meaning for the Western world. Popenoe is no toe-the-line conservative. He has praise for the Swedish welfare state, and criticizes American opposition to some child welfare programs. Yet Popenoe has documented the slow motion collapse of the Swedish family, and emphasized the link between Swedish family decline and welfare policy.

For years, Popenoe’s was a lone voice. Yet by the end of the nineties, the problem was too obvious to ignore. In 2000, Danish sociologist Mai Heide Ottosen published a study, “Samboskab, Aegteskab og Foraeldrebrud” (“Cohabitation, Marriage and Parental Breakup”), which confirmed the increased risk of family dissolution to children of unmarried parents, and gently chided Scandinavian social scientists for ignoring the “quiet revolution” of out-of-wedlock parenting.

Despite the reluctance of Scandinavian social scientists to study the consequences of family dissolution for children, we do have an excellent study that followed the life experiences of all children born in Stockholm in 1953. (Not coincidentally, the research was conducted by a British scholar, Duncan W.G. Timms.) That study found that regardless of income or social status, parental breakup had negative effects on children’s mental health. Boys living with single, separated, or divorced mothers had particularly high rates of impairment in adolescence. An important 2003 study by Gunilla Ringbäck Weitoft, et al. found that children of single parents in Sweden have more than double the rates of mortality, severe morbidity, and injury of children in two parent households. This held true after controlling for a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic circumstances.

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Josh Joplin Lyrics

Current mood: Silly quixotic

Current music: Josh Joplin Group – Superstar

Miguel sits at the corner store with skin like terra cotta pottery

Waiting for a bus, a bus

With a hat like Billy Jack’s, a smile like Freddie Prinz

He comes and he goes with the dust

Looking out his window world as the desert skies open up and introduce

The stars that dance in space

But he falls fast asleep with a dream that he keeps

Underneath his pillow case

CHORUS

Carry me whoever you are

I’m waiting with masses for the rites of passage

wishing on a superstar

Stacy adds to her billfold and slides down a brass pole

For free drinks and a bigger tip

Posing from a good home that haunts when she’s all alone

She sheds what she cannot strip

CHORUS

Show us the Way, show us the way

Cause we want to be loved and we want to be saved

And we all want to be ok, and we all want to be ok

But we don’t have the means to pay

And I don’t have the means to pay

CHORUS

Miguel sits at the corner store smoking on a cigarette

He bummed off a punk in gangsta hood

Stacy takes a drag and puts her hands on his back

And they walk like they’re Holly wood

CHORUS

Partway Gay?

Current mood: blah

Current music: Josh Joplin Group – Who’s Afraid of Thomas Wolfe?

Ok,

I’ve been saying for a few years now that the homosexual movement has opened up a can of worms that even most of them aren’t prepared to deal with. In fact, to paraphrase one of the final comments, the entire gay lobby has founded itself on a pardigm that is proving to be false. The “I was born this way” statment has been under attack in academic circles and militant “queer” circles for years–now its spread to popular culture. They have–and we have as a society–sown the wind and we are going to begin reaping more and more of the effects of our social revolutions.

Partway Gay?

For Some Teen Girls, Sexual Preference Is A Shifting Concept

By Laura Sessions Stepp

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, January 4, 2004; Page D01

Move over, Ellen DeGeneres, and make way for the younger girls. Way younger, actually, and way different from what most people think of as lesbians.

You can see this new trend on Friday nights outside Union Station, sweethearts from high schools around the Washington area, some locking lips, others hanging out in their tight blue jeans and puffy winter parkas, talking on their cell phones.

You can see them in the hallways of high schools like South Lakes in Reston, Magruder in Rockville or Coolidge in the District. In 2002 at Coolidge, a teacher got so fed up with girls nuzzling each other in class and other public places that he threatened to send any he saw to the principal’s office. He admitted to students that he wouldn’t report boy-girl kisses, setting off a furor among a student body that, the year before, had chosen a lesbian pair as the school’s cutest couple.

These girls pack Ani DiFranco concerts and know tATu lyrics by heart. Their attention is usually directed exclusively at each other but not always: A group of girls at a private school in Northwest Washington charge boys $10 to watch the girls make out in front of them. At one school dance earlier last year, a chaperon had to break up a group of guys circled around two girls kissing, according to other girls who were there.

Maybe the teenage exhibitionists were just yanking guys’ chains, or hoping to prove how sexy they are, or copying Britney and Madonna. But it’s also possible they were enjoying themselves. There’s no way for an outsider to know, for in the protean world of young female sexuality, where all forms of expression are modeled, nothing is certain.

Social scientists say that 5 percent to 7 percent of young people are gay or lesbian, and that teenagers are starting at younger ages to have same-sex sexual experiences: 13 for boys, 15 for girls.

But those figures don’t begin to tell the full story about today’s girls because girls, more often than boys, experiment with their sexuality and resist being placed in any particular group.

Chanda Harris, a junior at High Road Upper School in Beltsville, is one of these girls. She’s standing outside Union Station on a cold Friday night, waiting for her girlfriend and holding three giant helium balloons in celebration of her friend’s birthday.

The girls around her from various high schools — Bladensburg in Maryland, Anacostia, Ballou, Cardozo and Coolidge in the District — converge to hear what she has to say.

She started going out with girls when she was 14, following a breakup with her boyfriend.

“At first I thought going out with a girl was nasty,” she says. “Then I went to a club and did a big flip-flop. I’ve been off and on with girls and guys since then.”

Another girl, a junior at Anacostia High, says her first love was a guy now in the Marines and stationed in North Carolina. She dated Kenny for two years and his picture adorns her bedroom wall.

But now she’s dating a female high school basketball player. “Whoever likes me, I like them,” she says matter-of-factly.

A world away, on the campus of Brown University, Chloe Root, a sophomore with a penchant for bright-colored, funky skirts from secondhand stores, also prefers to keep her options open.

She had her first crush on a girl at age 12 but dated guys, including one with whom she thought she was in love, until her senior year in high school in Ann Arbor, Mich. Then she fell in love with a girl a year behind her in school and has been going out with her ever since.

“If something happened to my relationship with Julie, I could see myself with a boy again,” Root says. “There are some days I notice I’m thinking girls are pretty, and other days I’m thinking there are a lot of good-looking guys at this school.”

So are these girls bisexual? Perhaps. But they prefer descriptions like “gayish,” questioning, even “queer” — an umbrella description so broad, according to Root, that it encompasses straights as well as gays.

Try this on, Mr. and Mrs. America: These girls say they don’t know what they are and don’t need to know. Adolescence and young adulthood is a time for exploration and they should feel free to love a same-sex partner without assuming that is how they’ll spend the rest of their lives.

“I like women only right now,” says Cary Trainor, also a Brown sophomore and a self-defined lesbian since high school. “But who knows where I’ll be in 25 years?”

Even gay rights veterans such as David Shapiro struggle to explain such equivocation.

Shapiro is head of the Edmund Burke School, a private, college-preparatory program in Northwest Washington. In 2002, Burke held a “diversity day” assembly in which students and teachers stood together in a circle. An adult leader took the group through various exercises, and in one of those, participants were asked to move inside the circle if they defined themselves as gay or lesbian.

One female teacher stepped forward, but no students did.

Then the leader called for those who thought of themselves as bisexual — the broadest label offered. Out of the approximately 60 pupils in the group, 15 obliged: 11 girls and four boys.

Shapiro says he was “astounded” at the number of kids who stepped into the bisexual group. As he thought about it, he concluded that “kids today know the difference between behavior and orientation. They say, ‘I may be behaving in this certain way, but I’ll make up my own mind about who I am in my own time.’ ”

He searches for a comparison. “It’s like saying, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m going to take some courses in science but I’m not sure I want to be a doctor.”

A Changing Model

Outside of conservative religious circles, the common understanding for years has been that homosexuality is largely genetic, based on physical attraction, and unchanging. Though an easy model to understand, if not accept, it has a major flaw: It is derived almost exclusively from male subjects.

Recent studies of relationships among women suggest that female homosexuality may be grounded more in social interaction, may present itself as an emotional attraction in addition to or in place of a physical one, and may change over time. Young women also appear to be more open to homosexual relationships than young men are. In one recent national study, more than twice as many girls as boys reported being attracted to the same sex at least once.

Girls may be reacting, in part, to relationships gone sour with guys.

Root has been surprised by the number of gay women she knows who say this. “They say that when you’re with a guy, there is often a feeling that you’re always going to be in a narrow feminine role,” she says. “They say that guys treat them as less capable, overly emotional, or too hungry to be attached.”

The Union Station girls are more blunt about it.

“Girls understand how girls think,” Chanda Harris says. “You can tell a girl, ‘I think I’m falling in love with you’ and she’ll listen. A boy will slough that off, or run away. Besides, the young boys around me are into making money, selling weed and stuff. That’s not what I’m about.”

A Bladensburg High senior, Kateria Rhodes, who says she has dated girls for five years, overhears Harris. “It’s not the sex,” she says. “Girls are there for you emotionally. Sure, they cheat sometimes, but I’ve found [dating girls] is better for me mentally. Actually it’s better on every level.”

She says she has friends who used to date girls and now date guys, and that her mother keeps telling her she’ll change, too.

Harris doesn’t feel that parental pressure: “My mother prefers me to be with girls than guys. She says I’m happier.”

Lisa Diamond, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah, is one of a handful of researchers altering the way some people think about girls such as Harris and Root.

“Starting in graduate school, every study I found sampled males only,” she recalls. In 1994, Diamond launched a longitudinal study of women ages 16 to 23 who said they were attracted to other women.

In the eight years she has been following these women, almost two-thirds of them have changed labels. “They’ve gone from unlabeled to bisexual, lesbian to bisexual, lesbian to ‘heterosexual and getting married but may be attracted to women in the future,’ ” she says. Another word she heard was “heteroflexible.”

“The reason one person ended up gay might be very different from another person,” she continues. “One might know at 4, another at 30.”

Diamond’s research, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, among other publications, confirms the experience of Diane Elze, who has counseled gay and lesbian youth for two decades.

“Women who come out as lesbians but lived most of their lives as heterosexuals — does that mean they were always lesbian? I don’t think so,” says Elze, assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. “Probably we’re going to find out there are multiple pathways to homosexuality and that could vary by gender.”

Here are a few more choice bits:

It upsets parents who like to fit their children into easily recognizable boxes (“Do you like men or women? Pick one”). Older gay rights activists get nervous about the political consequences, because if young women adopt a homosexual lifestyle assuming it’s temporary, couldn’t they also choose to abandon it?

“As gays, we have predicated our acceptance by the culture on something we can’t change,” psychology professor Diamond says. “We say, ‘Oh look at us! We can’t help it!’ That’s what the straights want to hear.”

Older lesbians who came out in the 1970s can be especially hostile to the idea of flexible sexuality, she notes, accusing the younger women of being “either repressed lesbians or curious heterosexuals who are wasting our time.”

It is the older lesbians who are wasting their time, according to Savin-Williams. “Identity labels are over,” he says. “This is a cutting-edge issue for all of us.”

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A Verse for the Church

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 23:1-2)

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Group Warns of Launching Church Faction

Current mood: apathetic

Thank God for Bishop Stanton:

The host bishop, James Stanton of Dallas, says calling the network schismatic “gets things exactly backwards” because “the act of schism” was the national denomination’s approval for Robinson.

The Associated Press

PLANO, Texas Jan. 19 — Episcopalians opposed to a gay bishop’s consecration and other liberal church trends are threatening to establish a “church within a church” that could pose a significant threat to leaders of the denomination.

A two-day meeting beginning Monday of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes involves conservative bishops, clergy and lay delegates from 12 dioceses with 235,000 members, a tenth of the nation’s Episcopalians.

The network’s temporary leader, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, says the meeting will give traditionalists “some sense there is a future.”

Delegates will adopt an organizational charter, elect leaders and debate how to help conservative parishes in liberal dioceses. Planners insist the network isn’t a breakaway denomination or schism, but a “church within a church.”

Outside observers and reporters have been barred from the meeting and the network has been tightlipped about most details, including who wrote the charter draft and what it proposes.

One reason conservative parishes don’t want to officially leave the church is that under secular law they usually surrender their properties to the denomination. The Rev. Donald Armstrong, a delegate representing Midwestern and Mountain states, says of his Colorado Springs, Colo., parish, “We’ve got a $12 million facility and we can’t just walk away from it.”

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the international Anglican Communion, consisting of denominations that stem from the Church of England. Many foreign Anglican churches have denounced or broken fellowship with the Episcopal Church over its November consecration of New Hampshire’s V. Gene Robinson, who has lived for years with a gay partner.

A dispute over network intentions last week showed the edginess of the moment. A leaked memo from a network leader said the “ultimate goal” was a “replacement” jurisdiction aligned with the conservative majority in world Anglicanism.

The host bishop, James Stanton of Dallas, says calling the network schismatic “gets things exactly backwards” because “the act of schism” was the national denomination’s approval for Robinson.

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Hypocrisy

This is hypocricy at its highest level–

Alexander [Bishop of Atlanta] slammed the conservative coalition’s plans to break church law. “They seem determined to have their way, regardless of what kind of destruction it may cause the church rather than engage in the hard work of reconciliation,” he said.

I suppose the liberals who ordained the Philidelphia 11, or active homosexuals without the consent and in fact in opposition to a great number in the Church were content to work within the system and weren’t “determented to have their way” regardless. I guess an action is only “prophetic” and laudible when it fits their agenda and thier warped view of reality.

Everybody Needs them

Confused Current mood: contemplative

Current music: Foo Fighters: This is a call

We all need heros:

The lesson repeatedly cast by those close to Todd Beamer is that life is short and should be spent working to serve others rather than pursuing worldly ends. In the past few decades, American Evangelicals have been increasingly energized and creative as they have risen to this very challenge. But as Evangelicals are slowly discovering, active engagement in the world is fraught with dangers, difficulties, and ethical quandaries, as the efforts of Doug MacMillan and Lisa Beamer poignantly illustrate.

Jealousy

Sad Current mood: jealous

Current music: David Wilcox: East Asheville Hardware

I have to admit that I am envious of my Orthodox Brothers and Sisters in the OCA as Metropolitan Herman prepares to meet those of them that are going to the March for Life in DC on the 22nd. I wish that my Church were as unequivocal in its support of life.

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