Thursday, July 30, 2009

The One and The Many

One of the central philosophical questions for which only Christianity, of all the world's religions, offers a viable answer is the problem of The One and The Many.

There are various statements of this problem, but all of them involve the relation between essential oneness and essential diversity. In almost all philosophical systems, either the principle of The One takes precedence, or else the principle of The Many takes first priority.

Not only does Christianity "solve" this problem (to the extent that we can sanely say that a Mystery is ever "solved"), but it solves it by understanding this issue as being at the center of the identity of God Himself.

In the doctrine of the Trinity, there is diversity and differentiation (the Many) in the context of essential Oneness. So critical is this issue to the survival of the Christian faith, that tightly written statements have been formulated to protect either aspect (the One or the Many) from overshadowing the other. For the Many to take inordinate precedence would mean tri-theism, and for the One to do so would yield a radican monism. Nowhere is this balance so delicately and painstakingly spelled out than in the Athanasian Creed.

But I'm not here to talk about theology today. I want to write about musical bands. I'm in a band, and I like to listen to bands. It is my contention that the "band" is such a successful concept precisely because it, too, solves the problem of the One and the Many. Once, during a visit to Austin, Texas, I heard two bands play, and they illustrate the right and wrong ways for bands to be. First, I went down some steps into a large, dank beer hall, in which the worst blues band I've ever heard was playing. Each musician was competent at his instrument, but each thought himself a God. Instead, they were godawful. The goal of each musician seemed to be to drown out all of the others. You heard, essentially, four continual, competing solos. There was no harmony as these four "gods" waged sonic warfare against each other and their audience.

I did not stay there long. Shortly after this, I stumbled upon a streetcorner band. In this trio the instruments (vocal, guitar, and accordion) blended in a generous, gracious, playful, creative, complex and harmonious fashion. The Oneness was evident, though you could pick out the individual parts. It gave me a very similar feeling to the one I received listening to King's X (another trio) one evening at a place called Jezebel's, in Anaheim, California.

To watch a well-oiled and harmonious band of musicians (whatever the number of them) is to watch a little picture of the relation and unity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. And these little pictures are written everywhere around us. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Very Model of a Father Disciplinarian

I found this to be delightfully clever ...

I saw it here on Fr. Steven Kelly's YouTube page ... and it is from the recently concluded St. Michael's Conference for Youth - Midwest. This is a week-long conference for Anglican youth which my son and many of his Anglican friends attended. It is an amazing week for the kids, though it seems to almost kill the priests and others on staff!

The "Father Disciplinarian" is Fr. Paul Sterne, and his talented accompanist is Fr. Ron Drummond.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Video Coverage of the NPC Natural Michigan

From Eric Seals of comes this short video story on the bodybuilding contest I entered on Saturday, July 18. If you look at the (countdown) time counter, you can see where I appear in this video, three times in all. The first one is at 1:29, and I am at the far right of the Men's Open Lightweight class. The second one is at 1:21, also the Open LW class. The final one comes at 0:30, which is from the Grand Masters class. In that shot, I am the farthest of the 3 men from the camera.

NOTE: If embedded video (above) is not working, try this link to see the video.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot Rod Anglican at the NPC Natural Michigan Bodybuilding Contest

Some of you know that I was training to compete in the 2009 NPC Natural Michigan bodybuilding contest. I didn't place so well (3rd of 3 in the Grand Masters class - for men over 50 years old) ... but I had a blast, and got into the best condition of my life.

Plus, I realized my dream of posing to the music Dieterich Buxtehude! Here is a link to the 90 seconds of music I used. My posing routine included this pose which has a kind of Anglo-Catholic-bodybuilder-marching-up-to-the-altar sort of look about it.

I was not able to incorporate any genuflection into the routine, because I had injured my knee two days earlier.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Who's Windmill Contest ... Results Are In!!

Several weeks back, this Hot Rod Anglican got in touch with his inner Pete Townshend, and entered the Maximum Windmill Contest, sponsored by The Who.

And the results are in: I won one of the twenty 3RD Place Awards! Woohoo! Or, rather, WooWHO! I got the email notice of my award at the very close of a difficult work week, and it was a welcome reminder that I do have a life outside of my grey-lined cubicle!

Here is the video that I entered:

But some of you will realize that the footage came from this Tribute to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal church ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bishop Gibbs Votes "Yes" on D025

I suppose I am not surprised that my former bishop would support such a thing. It is disgraceful, though.

Resolution D025 says, in part:

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,; and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church;

I do agree with one part of D025, I guess, and that is that "God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery!"

Read the entire ammended wording of D025 here.

Your Move, ++Rowan.

I can't say it any better than Christopher Johnson ...

(3) Rethinking those Lambeth invitations, Your Grace? - At some point, the Archbishop of Canterbury has got to get tired of being the Episcopal Organzation’s bitch. Dr. Williams personally killed the Dar es Salaam Primates Communiqué after that New Orleans TEO bishops meeting, he invited TEO bishops to the Lambeth Conference and what did he get in return?

My gracious lord of Canterbury got the chance to fly to Anaheim, California and ask TEO not to repeal B033 only to have the Episcopal bishops that he’d invited to Lambeth spit in his face by a more than 3-1 margin. So what should Rowan Williams do now?

If I’m Dr. Williams, I call an emergency primates meeting, mainly just to see if anyone shows up. I also do four other things. I announce that the meeting has been called to respond to GenCon, I lose the indaba conceit, I throw things wide open and I invite both Mrs. Schori and Archbishop Duncan.

But that’s just me.

(4) ACNA!! ACNAAAAAA!! - Does all this help the chances that the Anglican Church in North America will be recognized by the Church of England? It certainly doesn’t hurt.

Ruth Gledhill reports that the measure has more than enough support, including six bishops(four diocesans and two suffragans), to get it put on General Synod’s February agenda. And if I were Rowan Williams, I certainly wouldn’t be inclined to do Katharine Jefferts Schori any favors.

I would think that the Archbishop of Canterbury is running out of cheeks to turn.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I met an Episcopelican ...

I think God has just given me either a mild rebuke ... or a hug ... I'm not sure which.

As I neared the end of my commute this morning, an ominous-looking full-sized van followed me through all my tortuous turns into the parking lot. I assumed the driver was going to rebuke me for peeling out from a stop sign or some other form of aggressive driving.

As it turned out, however, he had been intrigued by my FiFNA bumper sticker, which loudly proclaims ORTHODOX ANGLICAN. My interlocutor had been raised Orthodox, and is now an Episcopalian (though, he introduced himself by saying "Episcopelican"). He has been heavily involved in the Cursillo movement for a long time, and his wife has held positions of high responsibility within ECW.

As he spoke, I smelled remnants of some of the best cigar smoke I've ever smelled in my life, wafting from the open windows of his E150 van. He asked if I was still an Episcopalian, and what is an Orthodox Anglican. I explained it to him as best I could, outlining FiFNA and ACNA, and most probably confusing him.

He mentioned his close friendships, through Cursillo, with two local (retired) bishops from the state of Michigan. I consider both of the men he mentioned to be radical enemies of the faith. Still, I couldn't help but like George (for that was his name), and his enthusiasm for the faith.

He mentioned that his Rector was in Anaheim, at General Convention. I didn't want to get involved in that discussion! But we parted in peace, mutually wishing God's blessing on each other.

And I am left to ponder the fact that I sometimes simply keep to my "Hooray for our side" attitude, and forget that actual people are involved. People like George.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Inclusive Church Paper Work Blues

TEc's General Convention continues in Anaheim, California. And, as one would expect, some ... umm ... interesting Resolutions have come out of it.

So far, I think D090: Inclusive Church Paper Work is my favourite one.

It is attracting some attention at Anglican blog sites. The comments here are hilarious!

And, so, in tribute to D090, I have written and recorded a new song for you:

The lyrics may be viewed here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Episcopal Creed?

As you know, the General Convention of The Episcopal church is meeting now in Anaheim, California. I don't think that they will be (explicitly) re-writing the Creed this time round, but if they did, it might end up a little something like this ...

(H/T: Scott Broadway)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Soul of a Man (Chrome Folk Bar-B-Q)

My band, Chrome Folk Bar-B-Q, has acquired a new member. Lauren Garfield is her name, and her voice adds much to the sound of the band.

This song, from a concert we gave on June 26, 2009, shows you what I mean ...

That is me, at right, on lead guitar.