Monday, December 29, 2008

Holy Innocents - A Very Special Day

There is something crazy wonderful to me about spending time in a church during "off hours" ... during hours of the day in which one is not typically in church. Yesterday, St. Bartholomew's had a day-long prayer vigil for the unborn, lasting from the end of the 10:10 am Holy Communion until the 6 pm Evensong/Benediction service.

Parishioners had signed up for half-hour time slots to come and light candles and pray for the protection of the unborn (something that I feel is particularly needed given the pro-abortion views of our President Elect, for whom we also prayed, of course).

My wife and I had signed up for an early time slot, after which we went over to watch movies with Mrs. G (the Rector's wife and Youth leader) and the youth of our parish: Miracle on 34th Street and The Keys of the Kingdom.

Then back to St. Bart's with the whole Youth Group in tow. The evening services were wonderful. I think it is the first time I'd been to Benediction at St. Bartholomew's, as I don't recall having seen the monstrance before yesterday. It was very moving.

But going back to the prayer vigil, and the subject of off-hours church-going: praying in the stillness of the early afternoon church, surrounded by many lit candles, reminded me of two of my favourite stories. I won't spoil either of them for you, but simply commend them to you as possible additions to your holyday reading list:

James Agee - The Morning Watch - set during Holy Week at an Anglo-Catholic boarding school.

Henry James - The Altar of the Dead (Click on link to left or this one to read it FREE online). This story has always haunted me, and did so particularly yesterday, as I lit a candle (in part) for those dead by abortion. I have recommened this story, I think, to over 100 people now, and so far I don't know for sure if any of them actually read it. If you do read it (or have read it) please be kind enough to comment here. I'd love to know what you think!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Anglican Christmas Story

We made a family decision not to send out our usual home-made Christmas card this year. Umm ... because I didn't come up with a poem for it.

Instead, we made this nifty video, showing Anglican family life, circa 2008.

Hope you enjoy it ... Merry Christmas to all !!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too Close To See The Meaning

Often, my life seems meaningless. Here is one explanation, which occurred to me after finishing a session with my current oil painting.

I make my paintings by peering very closely at the details of a reference photograph and then trying to get the paint on the canvas to resemble what I see (or, think I see; I've been known to get it wrong) in the photograph. I spend a lot of time looking at the canvas very close up, like this:

I push the paint around until it looks about right, but I never think about the pattern it is making - I am too close up to see that. Instead, I have a slavish sort of devotion (or "duty") to the Reference Photo (an analog of Holy Scripture). And I have to admit that, pushing the paint round ... does get old. Why does that old Reference Photo have to be so bloody complex?! It is tedious sometimes, and still I see no pattern or meaning, only abstract shapes and colors.

Finally, when it is time to go to bed, I step away from my easel and take a longer view of what I am working on. Today, it looked like this:

I wonder if, when my life is reviewed from the long view of eternity, there will appear some sort of pattern that pleases the Artist. I do hope so.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vashti Bunyan - Winter Is Blue

This song precisely captures my mood this week. Not the best week of my life.

winter is blue
living is gone
some are just sleeping
in spring they'll go on
our love is dead
nothing but crying
love will not find even
one more new morning

why must i stay here
rain comes i'm sitting here
watching love moving
away into yesterday

winter is blue
everything's leaving
fires are now burning
and life has no reason
i am alone
waiting for nothing
if my heart freezes
i won't feel the breaking

why must i stay here
rain comes i'm sitting here
watching love moving
away into yesterday

(© vashti bunyan 1966)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Anglican Curmudgeon Reviews a Classic

If you only read one Anglican blog post during Advent I suggest this one, in which the Anglican Curmudgeon gives us a nice reminder of the timelessness of J. Gresham Machen's classic book, Christianity and Liberalism.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Goth & Gothic ...

I found several more photos in my files from the Goth & Gothic photoshoot with Ivy Blue which, as it turns out, took place in July, 2003. This was just a few weeks before The Episcopal Church (although it was still calling itself ECUSA* back then) held its General Convention in Minneapolis. Something noteworthy happened at that year's General Convention, but I cannot quite recall what it was.

Oh, yes, I forgot to say in the last entry: The church is St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit.

And the car ... The car is the original Mr. Venables, the first 1963 Mercury Meteor I owned, named after Theodore Venables, the Rector of Fenchurch St. Paul, in the Dorothy L. Sayers mystery, The Nine Tailors.

*Old enough, now, to change your name ...
When so many love you, is it the same?
-- Neil Young (Cowgirl in the Sand)

Anglican Goths?

Baby Blue blogged here regarding a parish which is holding Goth Eucharists. It reminded me of some photos I took several years ago for a "Goth & Gothic" series of paintings (which of course, I never got around to painting). Here are a few. The model is Ivy Blue (Not Safe For Work).

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You:

In Praise of Repetitive Liturgy

One sometimes hears the criticism, from fellow Christians who worship in "non-liturgical" churches, that having a set Liturgy is "vain repetition." But actually, it is the best kind of repetition there is. One might just as easily accuse a Kindergarten teacher of "vain repetition" for going through the alphabet with the students more than once!

Cindy kept very nice "baby books" for our kids, and I was browsing through Eliot's the other day when I found this entry:

Parents: Eliot, do you know why we go to church?

Eliot: Have mercy upon us!

I can hardly think of a better answer than that, and he was able to give it because the phrase appears so often in the services of the Book of Common Prayer. That was when he was two-and-a-half years old!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank God For Enemies

One useful thing about having real and powerful enemies is that it should clarify one's thinking about one's friends. Often between friends (or those who should be friends) there is a rivalry that makes them act in unfriendly ways toward one another.

This blog entry is one of the few that is fully worthy of the title of the blog, as it will deal with both Hot Rods and Anglicanism. I mean to talk about the enemies of Hot Rods and the rival factions within hot rodding. Likewise, I mean to touch on the enemies of Anglicanism and the factions within Anglicanism.

An Enemy of Hot Rods

An Enemy of the Gospel

Within what can loosely be called Hot Rodding (and I'm having to be generous here), we have what I would call proper hot rodding (meaning old school hot rodding), but also 1960s muscle cars, custom cars, newer muscular (American) cars, and import Tuner cars. There, I've said it. In times past, I would now wash my mouth out with soap. Because Tuner cars and their drivers have always been the Enemy! They are the hated and despised rivals of the true hot rodder, with their front-wheel-drive, ugly rear deck spoilers, and diminutive scale.

But is the Tuner crowd really the enemy of hot rodding? Or should they better be seen as another stripe of hot rodder, as allies, even? Contemplation of some true enemy, like Henry Waxman (Democrat - California) brings things sharply into focus for us. Compared to Waxman, the Tuner guys are my blood brothers. I need to start treating them as such.

Likewise, in Anglicanism ... we have Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals and Charsimatics. What about that rag-tag bunch down at the local AMiA franchise, with their happy-clappy worship, 1979 Rite II liturgy, and ridiculously good Rwandan coffee (okay, that's just jealousy talking, right there) ... are these Anglicans my enemies? God forbid ... they are brother Anglicans! But ... but ... don't some of the bishops in communion with them ordain women? (Women's Ordination is the ecclesial analog of front-wheel-drive, just as the 1979 BCP is the Anglican analog of the ugly deck spoiler.) I think so, yes. But even a cursory study of Gene Robinson (Apostate - New Hampshire) will show us the difference between an enemy and a rival (but real!) Anglican.

I think that we need to quickly adopt a more fraternal and loving manner toward our brother hot rodders on the one hand and toward our brother Anglicans on the other. My hope for the newly-formed Anglican Province of North America is just this: that we will love each other as brothers.

What can any of us do, as individuals? Here is my own plan: At the Detroit Autorama this year, when I'm crusing around the basement of Cobo Hall, I will not spend the entire time drooling over the rat rods ... I will go over to the Ricer Tuner section, look at their cars, compliment the builders, and ask real questions. I will show a real interest.

Oh, yes, and I'll visit that AMiA parish at least twice this winter, too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GKC on Cocktails / The Future of Hot Rods

I inherited from my grandfather, the Rev. William J. Jones, a hardcover book of G. K. Chesterton's (1932) entitled:



In it is an essay entitled, The Cowardice of Cocktails and Other Things, which contains these words:
Cocktails are perhaps the only practical product of Prohibition. They are certainly, I should imagine, the only part of Prohibition in which America will really succeed in setting a Great Example to the world ...

It was necessary that the sort of drink should be one that could be gulped down quickly; it was necessary that it should be very strong for its size; and it was natural that it should be made a sort of separate science of luxury in itself.
I hope Chesterton is correct (and he usually is) in saying that the prohibition of something results in a more potent variety of it being produced. I will leave you to draw the obvious analogies in the area of politics, where I hope that a shrinking Conservative movement will have more kick to it than this very watered-down variety of Conservatism we've all been given to drink lately.

As I say, I will leave that for you to ponder, because I have weightier matters on my mind. I mean hot rods! As with Prohibition, government constraints on auto manufacturers (I know, I work for one) have forced them more and more to produce bland, overly-safe, overly-quiet, transportation appliances ... the very opposite thing of what a hot rod has always been. As the new, draconian CAFE standards come into effect there will be, to the minds of many, no new cars worth owning or driving.

And this is where the Old School (a.k.a., Ol' Skool) rodder will begin to shine. Because the need for hot rods, the glory of hot rods ... these are things that will not be denied. If Chesterton's cocktail theory is accurate, increasing government restrictions will only make the fires of automotive love burn hotter in the hearts of customizers and hot rod fabricators. And I believe that you can already see this happening. Behold, the impractical, loud, danger-defying creature that is Aaron Grote's Atomic Punk.

As if a 1959 Plymouth Savoy wasn't badass enough to start with, Aaron totally reshaped this beast, giving it a bubble top and a 392 Chrysler Hemi engine. This is to me a thing of such beauty that I can scarcely describe the effect it has on me. God being our Helper, my son and I will work to carry on this cocktailization of the automobile.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Litany Fragments #1 and #2

Although I am not a big fan of, for instance, the guitar Mass ... there was a time when I fancied myself a sort of Anglican version of John Michael Talbot. At one time, I had hoped to write music for the entire text of The Litany. I never finished that project, but I have a few "fragments" of Litany music saved up in my head from when I wrote them back in 1996. Here are a couple of them, recorded last night ...

O GOD the Father, Creator of heaven and earth;
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world;
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful;
Have mercy upon us.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God;
Have mercy upon us.

REMEMBER not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers; neither take thou vengeance of our sins: Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.

Spare us, good Lord.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, I'm Sitting, Happy Sailor!

I love Anglican church music, including the congregational hymn singing ... but to be perfectly honest, they all sound like this to me if I'm not looking at the Hymnal ...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The New American Anglican Province!

Thanks be to God! The new American Anglican Province will be formed, God being our helper, on December 3rd, 2008.

This video is from AnglicanTV ...

Note to Katharine Jefferts Schori: Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four dioceses playing a game can make a play-Province which licks your "real" Province hollow.

Finish Line - Slot Cars as Fine Art

Near the bottom of this post, I mentioned that Edo Bertoglio would be creating a Thingie-related (slot car) exhibition for an art gallery. The poster for the event has been released. It is to take place on November 27 at Galleria Pack Milano (Milan, Italy). Nicely done website they have, by the way. Here's the poster:

And here is Edo's Thingie collection!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Cheer for Organized Religion ...

As a postscript to this blog entry, I would like to mention one additional benefit of Organized Religion, and that is its beautiful power to influence even the shape of our rebellions from God.

One huge benefit I obtained from growing up in Organized Religion was that when I went through my (seemingly obligatory, no?) college-age rebellion from God, it was the real, almighty, triune God of the Bible, and the truly incarnate God/man Jesus Christ against whom I rebelled, and not some 3rd-rate imaginary deity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hot Rod Anglican T-Shirt Blowout Sale !!!

To welcome all my new readers, who may have wandered over from StandFirm or MCJ ... I am holding a special "Buy it While There's Still Such a Thing as Anglicanism" T-shirt sale!

*** Not available in stores! ***

Available in Men's Medium-Large-XL sizes (Hanes Beefy-T), and Women's Cap Sleeve T (M-L-XL - see size chart below, because they run small!) ...

If you're ready to order, please click on the convenient PayPal button below ...

Style / Size

Here is the sizing chart for the Ladies' T-shirts:

And here is the lovely Tracy, modeling one of these fine shirts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We're Queer ... We're Here ... To Disrupt Your Worship

This attack by militiant homosexuals happened about 50 miles from my parish ...

Read about it here.

And from a sympathetic source, here.

Some of the comments at StandFirm are helpful.

As I've said before, there will be Christian martyrs made over this issue. The question is not if, but when? ...

A number of other questions occur to me, such as:

1) Would they have dared to try this in a mosque? What would have been the outcome?

2) How can we best protect against these people who wish to stop us from worshipping our God in peace? How can we make this costly enough for them that they will be forced to severely limit this sort of activity?

3) At what point would such people be satisfied? I can answer that one, at least: They will not be satisfied until every individual Christian and every church which believes homosexual sex to be sinful ... is utterly silenced.

In any case, brothers and sisters, I want you to take note of one thing: What you do on Sunday morning, kneeling in your pews, lifting your hearts up unto the Lord, adoring Christ in the Eucharist, affirming the historic Christian faith by reciting The Creed ... these are not small and insignificant things. They are actions which take place before the throne of God, in heaven. And, because Christ has taught us to pray, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ... the earthly strongholds of God's enemies are torn down when we worship God in the beauty of holiness.

God's enemies are aware of this, I think, if only instinctively. And, thus, they attack the problem at its proper root: the public worship of God.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Lame Shall Enter First

Here, in 4 parts, is a recent video production of Flannery O'Connor's short story, The Lame Shall Enter First. It is not true to Flannery's text in every detail, but it gets enough right to make it worthwhile. If you have 37 minutes of free time or so, check it out!

It is from Chris Pierdomenico of Philagape Productions.

Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.
Part 4 is here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Episcopal Church Today - A Quick Status Check

(H/T: Christopher Johnson)

From the
Diocese of California website:

Saint Mary the Virgin hosts hot steamy night of Scripture

On the night before the big election, I was done with campaigning and the last thing I wanted to see was another political commercial. My pre-election tension was high, as a Facebook friend wrote in her status that she felt “the same anxiety as on Christmas Eve when I was six-years-old and I had asked Santa for a bicycle.” I completely understood the sentiment and I needed relief. What better than a night out for trashy tales of sex and smut? And in the fullness of pre-election ambiguity, where better to go for bawdy fare than St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco?
You know, the way that the Episcopal Revisionists (i.e., Apostates) told it to me, it was only Traditional (i.e., orthodox) Anglicans who were obsessed with human sexuality. So it is (you will have to pardon the term) queer to find these folks obsessing over sex in the Bible.

It occurs to me that maybe they had better change the name of the parish, however:

In her closing to the program notes, Hansen (the Rev. Beth Hansen, Senior Associate Rector at SMV) writes:

“Scripture offers witness to a clear pattern of sneaky seductive women becoming very useful to God’s purpose. Ironic that by Eve’s seducing Adam to eat the forbidden fruit we are driven from God’s Grace, yet by many women’s sexual seduction we are given the progeny for redemption back into Grace. With such unexpected Holy results coming from these sneaky seductresses, curious that our Ultimate Redeemer was born of a virgin, or so they say.”

On the bright side, though, another entire parish has had the wisdom to leave this folly behind. THANKS be to God!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What the Obama Victory Means - One Black Man's View

Many Democrat voters (after John Kerry's 2004 loss to George W. Bush) stated that President Bush was not human, and that all who voted for him were stupid. In an effort to distance myself as much as possible from those folks, in knowledge of the full humanity of my political opponents, and in recognition of the fact that people's actions make sense to them, I have been trying to get inside of the mind of Obama voters. Here is one such attempt.

The quote below (quoted with permission) is from a friend of mine, F. A. Harper. I "met" Mr. Harper on the Internet, because we share a common hobby. Mr. Harper is an intelligent, witty, thoughtful, and well-balanced individual. And he is black. So when he wrote about the election of Barack Obama, I wanted to listen.

Here is his statement about what the Obama victory meant to him.

I just want to say that when I was in the second grade, I thought to myself I would be come the first Black President. Then I realized by the time I was old enough, someone else would already have done it.
Then when I was in Jr. High, I took a hard look at our nation and said we would never have a Black President in my life time. I thought this all the way up until last night. Hell, I said it a few months ago.

Last night I felt for the first time like I was truly an AMERICAN. Like this country was really mine. Like all the times I got followed in the mall, pulled over by the police, teachers treating me unfairly, was gone.

Does this OBAMA winning change my rent or cell bill? No, but after 35 years of seeing images of me being depowered and defeated, it was nice to see a Black man become the one thing I for so long thought I had no chance to become.
I want to thank all of you who voted for OBAMA. You voted to help/save our country but you also saved me on so many levels.

Now I want us white folks to think about this: Can you see what Mr. Harper is talking about? Can you see why, for him, Obama's election transcends details of policy? How, for him, feeling fully American for the first time might possibly trump some other kinds of concerns?

I will leave you (who, along with me, oppose President-elect Obama's plans and policies, and happen to be white) with this chilling thought: Have your own actions in the past, or the actions of your white neighbors, contributed to creating a nation in which Mr. Harper did not feel at home until Tuesday, two days ago? (If so, your actions helped elect Barack Obama.) Maybe not, but at least think about it.

Is it I, Lord?

Obama Democrats and the 8th Commandment

We can be thankful to Congressman Jim Moran of the 8th District of Virginia for finally clarifying the Democrat Party position on the 8th Commandment.

"The American worker has produced more per person than at any time. But it hasn't been shared, and that's the problem, because we have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it ... and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth."

This is at the heart of our nation's current crisis, and it is largely why someone like Barack Obama (who has promised to "redistribute" wealth) can be elected: Democrats have decided that stealing is no longer a sin, as long we consider the people we steal from to be rich.

Thank God for every American who still believes in the simplistic notion: Thou shalt not steal.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Son, My Brother

About 6 months ago, my son Eliot (14 years old) made an interesting comment. At least my wife thought it was interesting. He said: Dad, if I could do it, I would invent a time machine, so I could go back in time and be your brother. Leaving aside the technical difficulties left unaddressed by his statement, I have to admit that it touched my heart in a powerful way.

It made me realize that in many ways, I already thought of my son as my brother. Since about the time he was three years old, our thoughts have been very congruent and in phase. Even though Eliot is adopted, he is much more like me (in many ways) than I am like my own brothers.

Another reason Eliot wants the time machine is that he feels he missed out on the best parts of the 20th Century (1950s and 1960s). He is very nostalgic for certain eras which he never lived through himself. This YouTube video shows one event that Eliot would like to go visit in his time machine:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2008 Thingie Proxy Race is Completed!

Long-time followers of this blog (are there any?) may recall that my son Eliot and I are somewhat involved in the Vintage Slot Car hobby. Well, actually only in a small corner of that hobby, in which vintage Thingie slot cars are raced.

This is now the 3rd year in which cars from all over the world have been sent across continents and oceans to be raced all across Europe by drivers we've mostly not even met. We entered two cars last year and only one this year. The overall results are in, and of 34 cars in the Fast & Scratchbuilt class, we finished 19th. Not bad, considering we really don't know much about building these cars or procuring fast vintage motors. Here are the results:

I've also mentioned Edo Bertoglio before ... Edo is known as the King of the Thingies ... or simply the Thingie Kingie ... and here is why. Take a look at part of his Thingie collection, which will form the centerpiece of an Art Show he is putting on next month:

If you squint real hard, you can see the car I painted for him (3rd row, 6th column ... a purple paisley creation).

For anyone wanting to learn more about the Magical Mystery Tour that was the 2008 Thingie Proxy Race, please click here for Edo's Proxy Diaries!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Satan's Most Effective Lie

Based upon the hundreds of cartoons I have seen which assume this view, the dozens of pop songs which are based on it, and the clueless discussion of the topic of hell on internet forums, I estimate the devil's most effective lie to be this: that he is the Proprietor of hell, rather than the chief being for whom it was set alight, and the first one who will be cast into that everlasting fire.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ... (Matthew 25:41)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

September 23, 1979 - Organized Religion

Sometimes, in order to help me love those I have the most trouble loving (e.g., Obama supporters), I have to remember who I used to be myself.

One day in my life that seems to best capture who I was 30 years ago is
Sunday, September 23, 1979. I was an engineering student at The Cooper Union, beginning my senior year, and I resided on Manhattan's lower east side.

That day is interesting to me because it brought together so many things that seem to have typified various aspects of my life up to that point, and in some cases, since. To understand my day that Sunday, you need to know that I was a recreational consumer of LSD in those days, and that was a day I was tripping. (
Strike 1 against me, from my current persective of a middle-class, middle-aged, well-respected-man-about-town-doing-the-best-things-so-conservatively perspective.) My acid friends and I had something very special planned: We attended the No Nukes Rally and Concert in Battery Park, under the shadow of the World Trade Center's twin towers. (That would be Strike 2, although I was never really anti-nuclear power - my stated reason for being there was to take footage for a film - which, however, I never completed.) Being against nuclear power is like being against the sun.

The concert, even in (or, especially in) my acid-dipped state, was tremendous. I recall very clearly
Crosby, Stills & Nash, and even more clearly Bonnie Raitt. I also remember the way that the event's fundraiser made their financial "appeal" to the 250,000 drunk/stoned Obama supporters hippies:

Okay, now all you people (said the guy at the mic), I want you to feel in your pants pockets, and see if you can feel something like a little leather carrying case. Can you locate something like that? Okay, good! Now, inside of that thing, see if you can find some green pieces of paper, with some pictures of old guys printed on them ... now I want you to take those green pieces of paper and drop them into the plastic garbage sacks that our red-shirted volunteers are bringing around to you ...

I mean, I was tripping pretty heavily, but even I could see through
that ... I wished I had worn a red shirt and brought a garbage bag with me. Anyhow, that was about the time I left, with one or two friends, I think. For some reason, we thought it would be cool to take the elevator up to the top of the World Trade Center. Which we did. I felt very guilty about it, even at the time, because our boots were incredibly muddy (Battery Park being what it was at that time), and we tracked mud all over the inside of the WTC lobby. I heard the voice of my mom, ringing in my head, shaming me for tracking mud into someone else's place. Strike 3.

After we rode the elevator back down, we went back outside and began to walk up Broadway. When we got to Wall Street, we rested on the grounds of Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street.

And this is where I need to talk for a moment about Organized Religion. It is still fashionable for the young people I meet (e.g., in internet forums) to say that they are very spiritual, but that they detest Organized Religion.

Other than that it is bunk, I have two things to say about that. The first is that once you get inside, you realize that
Organized Religion is not organized at all. It is a howling mess of disorganization, if I ever saw one. And yet, as I sat on the porch of Trinity, Wall Street, I felt the same thing. That the very stones of this Episcopal church were crying out to me, and that they were crying out in the name of all Christian churches, and that they were crying out to me that Christianity was true. Those stones cried the same unutterable testimonies as I had heard from the Presbyterian church I had attended with my parents. It took getting inside, really inside, both kinds of churches to find out that they pretty much loathe each other.

And the second thing is a corollary from that, which is: Because to the pagans outside, we all (in the several branches of Christ's church) appear as a monolithic One, it would be a Very Good Thing if we could all cry out the same Creeds. It would be good if we could all go back to orthodoxy, as Chesterton defined it:
When the word "orthodoxy" is used here it means the Apostles' Creed, as understood by everybody calling himself Christian until a very short time ago and the general historic conduct of those who held such a creed. Of course, Chesterton wrote that in 1908, so that now we'd have to say "until a little over 100 years ago."

My point is that we in the churches never know what pagan is sitting on our porch, listening to our testimony. We do not all proclaim the same Creed nowadays. Our actions prove it. That same Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, is now famous for the Clown Eucharist, which even in my acid-drenched mental state of September 23, 1979 I would have realized to be inauthentic to the "historic conduct of those who held such a creed." It belonged to that spirit of meaningless hilarity which I'd just left behind in Battery Park ... and I would not have listened to such nonsense.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1st Annual Hot Rod Anglican Cafepress Awards

All of these logos were found simply by searching for "Anglican" at CafePress ...

And, our first winner, for Best False Dichotomy is (drum roll ...):

In the Scariest Message category (watch out for folks driving a car with this bumper sticker!) ...

In the Best Unintentionally True Message category (envelope, please!) ...

This next award is for the Worst Misspelling of "Millennium Development Goals" ...

In the Harry T. Cook Award for Most Tripped-Out Logo:

In the Best Use of Redundancy category, our winner is:

For Best Example of Self-Serving Guilt-Manipulation, we have a clear winner:

In the Shameless Racism category, the unanimous winner was:

And, our GRAND PRIZE WINNER, in the Love and Tolerance category is (wait for it!) ...

Congratulations to all our winners. See you again next year!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Might Be an Anglican News Junkie If ...

You might be an Anglican news junkie if ...

You're currently using an Anglican Mainstream mouse pad.

You know ++Peter Akinola's middle name.

Your screensaver is a photo of Archbishop Gregory Venables.

You have more than 50 posts at StandFirm.

People at work refer to you as that crazy Anglican guy/lady.

You click "Refresh" on the Anglican Curmudgeon's blog page more than 10 times per day.

You know the first and last names of Gene Robinson's "husband."

You are wearing an I Like Iker button.

There is a KJS --> English dictionary on your desk.

You can name at least 3 Anglican Instruments of Unity. Just kidding; there are no Instruments of Unity.

You have a TEC Diocese Countdown Calendar on your wall, which reads: Today's TEC Diocese Count = 111 110 109 ...

You wear a Hot Rod Anglican T-shirt!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Legal Matter (TEC Remix)

To: The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

Cc: David Booth Beers, Esquire

Bcc: The Most Reverend Gregory Venables

Subject: A Legal Matter

The lyrics may be found here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Biblical Literacy and The Episcopal Church

An internet acquaintance (who tends to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me) was writing to me to agree with something I'd written. But she capped her comments off with the following statement:

Honestly, people act like children about all this. So what if your dude doesn't get elected? You accept it and move on with your life. Wallowing in self pity and refusing to acknowledge that Christ does indeed live in every person is kind of a crappy way to live, in my opinion.

To be honest, the part about Christ living in every person (emphasis hers), made my jaw drop. This is a 20-something young woman, a committed Episcopalian, who is pursuing a path that will lead to Ordination.

I was at a loss, for a moment to explain to her why I do not believe that Christ dwells in all people. I felt exactly like the person (described by G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy) who is asked to tell why he prefers civilisation to savagery. The fact that everything in the New Testament points to the fact that some have Christ living in them, and some do not ... actually acts as an impediment to explaining the thing to someone who feels otherwise.

I began by quoting Romans 8:9 to her:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

How does one go to church every Sunday, read one's Bible, and not know this? It was not only that she disagreed (and continued to assert that Christ dwells in all people), but that her subsequent repsonses gave me to believe that she had never heard my interpretation espoused before by anyone. That was what is truly amazing to me.

I have know for a long time, at least since I taught Sunday School in an Episcopal parish, that Episcopalians have done an abysmal job of teaching people the Bible. But still, this floored me. Here is a young woman, who (unless God mercifully intervenes) will eventually be a priest(ess) in The Episcopal Church, and she does not understand something so fundamental as this!

Some obvious questions are begged. If Christ already lives in all people:

(1) What can possibly be meant by the concepts of conversion to Christ, regeneration, etc.

(2) What of those who explicitly renounce Christ, and do not want Christ in them? Does He indwell them anyhow, against their wills, as if it were akin to demonic possession?

(3) What need is there to preach the Gospel? Will not the indwelling Christ already instruct each and every soul?

Perhaps I am onto something there, because of course TEC does not really preach the Gospel in most places. It's Good News is the gospel of Social Justice, which at its best is a ministry of charity to people's earthly needs, and at worst is a force for Leftist political action.

How did this young woman come to the conclusion about Christ in all people? Was it a homily she heard on St. Matthew 25:45 (He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.')? If so, the preacher must have skipped the entire context of Matthew 25, which is one of the most stark verbal portraits in the entire Bible of the great divide between those in whom Christ dwells (the sheep, at His right hand) and those in whom Christ does not dwell (the goats, at His left).

One of the things that I am most grateful to God for is that I was brought up in a church where reading the entire Bible oneself was strongly urged. From the evidence of my young friend's testimony, it does not appear to be sufficient to get one's Bible teaching a verse or two at a time, according to the Lectionary, as interpreted by the Rector.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Making it Hard on Satirists ...

TEc Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had this to say about the Diocese of Pittsburgh wising up and leaving the rotten corpse that is The Episcopal church today:

"I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said after the vote.

Yes, and I believed the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series this year ...

You see, when she says goofy stuff like this ... it makes it really hard on anyone trying to satirize TEc. Thanks for the LOLs, Katharine!

But with your absurd reality outstripping my satire on a daily basis ... you're putting me out of business here!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Orthodox Anglican Identity - Rev. Dr. Charles Erlandson

The Ph.D. Thesis of my very smart brother (well, one of two very smart brothers; they are twins), the Rev. Dr. Charles Erlandson (a.k.a., Zolton, Diocese of Fort Worth) is now available to be downloaded from the St. Andrew's Parish website.

You can read the full "teaser" on it here.

In his doctoral dissertation, Orthodox Anglican Identity, the Rev. Dr. Charles Erlandson examines this orthodox Anglican identity in terms of the complex identity that consists of structural, normative, stylistic, and historical definitions. Structurally, he argues, orthodox Anglicans desire to live together in a clear and authoritative communion life but are likely to produce a messy and ambiguous structural identity. Normatively, orthodox Anglicans desire to assert a relatively clear and strong identity by turning to the Bible, the Prayer Book, and the Articles but that many orthodox Anglicans will be unwilling to submit to the Prayer Book or Articles in any meaningful way, and important differences in the interpretation of Scripture will still exist. Stylistically, orthodox Anglicans are seeking a unity in comprehension of diverse spiritualities but practically speaking the comprehension required is so great that a clear and coherent orthodox Anglican identity will be difficult to maintain.

Erlandson concludes that while orthodox Anglicans are articulating a clear and coherent identity, they are likely to find themselves living in a historical reality that is also messy, diverse, and not as clearly Anglican as is commonly assumed, a reality he calls “Post-Anglican” Anglicanism."

There is a charge of $10 to download the PDF file (which is 322 pages, including End Notes). If any reader is sincerely interested in having a copy, but the $10 is an impediment, please contact me, and I will see what I can do to get you a copy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Metabo Grinder ... Higher Power?

Once, after I had finished confessing an episode of drunkenness to a priest, he gave me some background on AA. (Wait ... is the person Confessing bound by an oath of secrecy, or only the priest?) Anyhow, he mentioned that in Step 2 of the 12 steps you admit the existence of a higher power. Of course, the priest and I had already admitted the existence of this Higher Power, in the Triune God. But, he mentioned one case in which the only "higher power" that one of the "friends of Bill W" could think of was the air-conditioner in his full-size Buick. Apparently, this man lived in some intemperate region, such as Arizona, and his Buick's air-conditioner was the one thing in his earthly existence which had never let him down. As the priest's story went, the man eventually graduated from belief in his car's air-conditioner to full-fledged belief in God.

I was thinking, the other day as I worked on Eliot's car: If I were an atheist, what would my higher power be? I decided that it would be my Metabo grinder:

I have put this grinder through all sorts of hell for the past 10 years, and it has never missed a beat. Last weekend, I was using it to cut and grind on the shock towers of Eliot's Meteor, and I had it running almost continuously for several hours.

In fact, when it started to get hot ... I stopped and gave it a rest ... not because I thought it might not be up to the task ... but, because I had pity on an old and faithful friend!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Katharine Jefferts Schori Song

There's this woman ... I can't stop thinking about her. The kooky things she does just drive me crazy! I know I must seem a little obsessed and all. In fact, I just made a video about her:

One of the things that makes these projects fun for me it to set up constraints for myself within which I agree to work. In this case, I set up as an Objective Function (which I tried to maximize) the number of words I was able to keep from the original song (Motorcycle Irene, by Skip Spence of Moby Grape).

Here are the lyrics I ended up using, with Skip's original words highlighted in purple. By my count, fully 40% of the lyrics are intact from the original song!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Subcutaneous Sinsick Blues

I finished the music for this video nearly a month ago, but scheduling the filming, inking the cards, and post-production hassles delayed the thing until now. And, wouldn't you know it? Things are falling apart so fast in this hellish landslide called The Episcopal church that much of the content is already outdated! No worries - another song will follow hard on its heels.

The lyrics are posted here.

The music only (mp3) can be found here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Since all the other Instruments of Unity within Anglicanism have apparently failed, I humbly offer these new products which I've just invented. Liturgi-KoolTM ... first name in really cool liturgical garments. Finally, something upon which the entire Anglican Communion can agree!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Too Sad for Comment

The recent Attempted Deposition of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan has me too sad to comment. I thank all the faithful Anglicans who have already said the right things about what this was and what it means going forward.

So, from me, something happier! Here is a video of the world's largest Radio-Controlled aeroplane! B-29s are lovely, aren't they?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hieronymus Bosch Sculptures!!!

This is the day I've been waiting for! I am so buying this!!

There are 3 pages of Bosch sculptures to be had, here!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Paisley Lampray

I painted this Electric Dreams Lampray body last December for the man many consider to be the Supreme Commander of all Thingie Slot Car collectors ... Switzerland's Edo Bertoglio.

Here is Edo's write-up of the car, which now features a chassis built by Steve Kempson of England.

Behind Coloured Glass

This song is by my Tyler, Texas-based band, School of the Prophets, and was recorded all the way back in 1991. Does that make it Classic Rock?

I never get tired of listening to Paul Dunn's wailing guitar on this track.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Greatest Unintentional Gospel Proclamation in Pop/Rock

To me, this has always been the greatest rendering of the Gospel message into the pop/rock genre. It captures the Fall (with Ivor the Engine Driver standing in for the Serpent), Confession/Repentance, and Forgiveness. The best part is the chorus of "You are forgiven!", which comes at the end, like the maddest peal of the bells of heaven.

Confessions comes at around 5:38, and Absolution at about 6:03

I can't believe it
Do my eyes deceive me?
Am I back in your arms?
Away from all harm?

It's like a dream to be with you again
Can't believe that I'm with you again

I missed you and I must admit
I kissed a few and once did sit
On Ivor the Engine Driver's lap
And later with him, had a nap

You are forgiven, you are forgiven, you are forgiven ... (etc.)

You are forgiven

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fort Michilimackinac ... and an idea for TEc.

We've just returned from a brief holiday to Mackinaw City, Michigan, and Mackinac Island. Perhaps I will spam you all with some more photographs later, but right now I'd like to show you this glorious cannon firing from Fort Michilimackinac ... my son Eliot took the photo.

The Anglican church inside the fort was interesting, too. A sign informed us that under British rule, any soldier who failed to show up for church on Sunday was court-martialled!

Given this proposed Resolution for TEc's 2009 General Convention ... I'm sure TEc could think of something creative to do along the lines of the Fort Michilimackinac court-martial idea.

Thought-starters: Miss a Sunday, and it'll cost you 20 decades on the Millennium Development Goals rosary! Or, miss a Pledge payment, and they repossess your car!

IFBB Pro Betty Pariso ... Joe's Crab Shack Commercial.

One of my favorite pro bodybuilders, Betty Pariso, is in a new TV commercial for Joe's Crab Shack.

Check it out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life is a Poorly-Tuned Carburetor.

I know what you're thinking: Mr. Hot Rod Anglican, what IS that doohickey that looks like the head on the Lost In Space robot?

Dear Reader, it is the Power Valve from a Holley carburetor. And our neglect of it has been the hidden cause of much head-scratching around the Hot Rod Anglican Meteor Garage. It has caused a horrible hesitation in Eliot's engine, particularly under load (1200 - 1400 RPM) in 4th gear.

Finally, we changed to one with a stronger spring (10.5 in Hg instead of 6 in Hg, for those currently tuning their own Holley 4150s at home). What a world of difference that made! Now the mighty 302 runs fast and smooth enough to scare us when we step on the Loud pedal!

Like the power steering pump overheating problem (another affliction out of which we have seen a happy issue), it seemed like we had tried everything, and that the problem would never go away.

But, God wanted us to work harder on the problem before being rewarded with success. At long last, the success came. And we are wiser for having worked through the problems. I will also say that a day spent with my son tinkering with a poorly-performing car is better than a thousand days by myself with a perfectly-performing one.