is an Anglican blogger who used to be in the Yukon, but moved to
God's own country Nova Scotia. I am sure there is a pun in the title of his blog.
Hope you settle in well and enjoy the Digby clams.
Eric Carle: The Grouchy Ladybug
Alighieri Dante: Penguin Classics Divine Comedy #2 Purgatorio
Musa's version will be used for the blog series. It's good, readable, and has helpful notes for those who are new to Dante. (*****)
A growing number of homeowners in Alberta are having trouble paying their mortgages on time, according to statistics from the Canadian Bankers Association.
The numbers, pulled from seven major banks in Canada, show that in June 2008 the number of people behind on mortgage payments three months or more doubled to 1,208, up from 659 in June 2007.
Bud Stein, a lawyer with Witten LLP in Edmonton, who specializes in foreclosures, said he is seeing five times more foreclosures than he saw in 2007. Stein said he has had approximately 550 foreclosure files since the beginning of 2008.
story at the CBC
The real moral is that when a middle-class couple buys a house they can’t afford, defaults on their mortgage, and then sits down to explain it to a reporter from the New York Times, they can be confident that he will overlook the reason for their financial distress: the peculiar willingness of Americans to risk it all for a house above their station. People who buy something they cannot afford usually hear a little voice warning them away or prodding them to feel guilty. But when the item in question is a house, all the signals in American life conspire to drown out the little voice. The tax code tells people like the Garcias that while their interest payments are now gargantuan relative to their income, they’re deductible. Their friends tell them how impressed they are-and they mean it. Their family tells them that while theirs is indeed a big house, they have worked hard, and Americans who work hard deserve to own a dream house. Their kids love them for it.
Across America, some version of this drama has become a social norm. As of this spring, one in 11 mortgages was either past due—like Ed McMahon’s $4.8 million jumbo loan on his property—or in foreclosure, like Evander Holyfield’s $10 million Georgia estate. It’s no good pretending that Americans didn’t know they couldn’t afford such properties, or that they were seduced into believing they could afford them by mendacious mortgage brokers or Wall Street traders. If they hadn’t lusted after the bigger house, they never would have met the mortgage brokers in the first place. The money-lending business didn’t create the American desire for unaffordable housing. It simply facilitated it.
It’s this desire we must understand. More than any other possession, houses are what people use to say, “Look how well I’m doing!” Given the financial anxieties and indignities suffered by the American middle class, it’s hardly surprising that a lower-middle-class child who grows up in a small house feels a burning need to acquire a bigger one.
Now why am I telling you all of this? Well, one of the most frequent "goals" I used to hear from students when I was working on the University of Alberta campus was "having a house bigger than Mom and Dad's". There seems to be an assumption of increased consumption from one generation to the next. And I think that it is all to often that one's house can become the object of, well, to put it bluntly, a form of lust.
And in case you were wondering, the massive bailout south of the border seems to have failed...
Some friends pointed out this bit of news to me:
St. Aidan's Joins the Anglican Network in Canada
At a special vestry meeting held earlier today, St Aidan’s became the 19th ANiC parish and the 11th former Anglican Church of Canada parish to vote to join ANiC this year.
The vote was:
109 In Favour
The vote was unanimous
St Aidan's website; the church is in Windsor, Ont.
One of the favourite tricks of sketchy exegesis is to replace the groups or characters in any particular passage with the villains and heroes of our own choosing. I had been reading some more in St Cyprian, and I suspect that many of us would be tempted to use the same exegetical technique on St Cyprian's treatise. Instead, when we pick up Cyprian again, we'll have a closer look at what the background was for the schisms and heresies in his day. These are genuine issues he was dealing with, with very real people in very real situations. He loves his people and he loves the Church.
23. I indeed desire, beloved brethren, and I equally endeavour and exhort, that if it be possible, none of the brethren should perish, and that our rejoicing Mother may enclose in her bosom the one body of a people at agreement. Yet if wholesome counsel cannot recall to the way of salvation certain leaders of schisms and originators of dissensions, who abide in blind and obstinate madness, yet do you others, if either taken in simplicity, or induced by error, or deceived by some craftiness of misleading cunning, loose yourselves from the nets of deceit, free your wandering steps from errors, acknowledge the straight way of the heavenly road. The word of the witnessing apostle is: “We command you,” says he, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from all brethren that walk disorderly, and not after the tradition that they have received from us.” [2 Thess. iii. 6].
And again he says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” [Eph. v. 6]. We must withdraw, nay rather must flee, from those who fall away, lest, while any one is associated with those who walk wickedly, and goes on in ways of error and of sin, he himself also, wandering away from the path of the true road, should be found in like guilt.
God is one, and Christ is one, and His Church is one, and the faith is one, and the people is joined into a substantial unity of body by the cement of concord. Unity cannot be severed; nor can one body be separated by a division of its structure, nor torn into pieces, with its entrails wrenched asunder by laceration. Whatever has proceeded from the womb cannot live and breathe in its detached condition, but loses the substance of health.
St Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church
The ten commandments for bloggers came out of a recent seminar, Godblogs, organised by the EA, designed to give Christian bloggers a chance to network and to debate their approach to blogging.
via Ruth Gledhill
1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity.
2. You shall not make an idol of your blog.
3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.
5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.
6. You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings.
7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.
8. You shall not steal another person’s content.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.
10.You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content.
Between 6:30 and 7:45 pm, to be precise. About evangelism. From the Boy Scouts.
It was my first evening as a Beaver Leader. You know, Boy Scouts for 5-7 year olds. The elder felix male turned 5 over the summer and was interested in joining Beavers. Last year I took him to the annual banquet we have at St Tim's for the Scout groups we host, and he got kind of interested. So this fall he and I joined up.
Now what I learned was this: there are 54 parents who think that an hour on a Monday evening with some kind of activity for a 5-7 year old can be a good thing. And not only that, almost all the parents stayed and hung around for the entire event, with several of them offering "hands on" help with the activities. Many others took the opportunity to chat and socialize. Quite a few had some smaller kids in tow.
So this group meets in our church. And I have got to say that for the most part, we don't interact with them very much. I mean, they come on Monday and we come on Sunday. But if there was ever an opportunity for a local Anglican congregation to meet and connect with a group of young families, this has got to be it. It is as if God sometimes simply says "Duh, here they are". I think our church has a golden opportunity to connect with these families. And I mean connect in the best sense.
So as is my routine, as I was biking home, several thoughts began to swirl around... Here we have a whole slew of young families, all of whom are supposed to be "too busy" to spare an hour or so for church, and yet they are more than willing to spare and hour or so for this group, and they are willing to help make this group work. So I think the myth that this demographic is "too busy" can be dispelled. They obviously wanted their kids here, and they valued the time spent, and they valued the opportunity to meet and converse with other parents.
Neighbourhoods are full of such opportunities for Christians to get involved and get connected with people. Maybe we, as a church, need to get out a bit more. I just met 27 families from our neighbourhood in one evening...
I discovered an interesting statistic a few days ago, one which I had never run across before. The Anglican Church in the West Indies has more members than the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada. About 770, 000 in the West Indies, and about 650, 000 in Canada. Now I'm not sure why this should surprise me, but it did. Not in a bad way, mind you. Just in a "hmmm" sort of way.
A brief guided tour across the Anglican Church of Canada shows us at least a few signs of declining membership. I recall at the last General Synod that among our various bits of paper there was a graph charting the declining membership of the ACoC over the past few decades. But we never got around to discussing that particular graph or coming up with a plan of action to address it. Here is a sample of what that graph looks like at the local level:
Shrinking attendance at Island churches is forcing the Anglican Church of Canada to close one Victoria parish and merge eight others in an effort to shore up the diocese's finances.
St. Alban's Church will be shuttered in the next one to three years as part of an Island-wide restructuring confirmed at the Diocese of B.C. leaders' conference in Metchosin at the weekend.
Bishop James Cowan of the Diocese of B.C. came out of the conference, called a synod, saying Anglicans can no longer count on maintaining the status quo to keep up their membership.
"There aren't denominational loyalties," Cowan said. "You can't simply sit there and wait for people to come to you, which is one of the things that we're finally catching on to."
The closure of St. Alban's and the merging of other parishes was a result of the churches operating at a deficit and concerns the parishes were not showing a healthy degree of congregational activity, ministry and community outreach.
In Victoria, All Saints in View Royal will merge with the Church of Advent in Colwood, and in View Royal St. Columba with St. Martin in the Fields. St. Mary will also join St. Stephen in Saanichton. St. David-by-the-Sea in Cordova Bay will also merge, but a partner parish has not been named. All Saints in Crofton will merge with St. Michael & All Angels in Chemainus, and in Nanaimo St. James will merge with St. Paul.
full article from the Province
This is only one article in the public sphere which addresses something which many of us have known about for some time: the Anglican Church of Canada is shrinking. There are probably numerous other conversations had in private which will be moving in the same direction: local parishes are failing to make new disciples, and some of these parishes will either be merging or closing their doors. We can give reasons, some quite speciifc and reasonable, for some of these actions. We can ignore this declining trend and pretend that it isn't happening. We can throw up our hands and say that we've done everything we can. We can sypmathize with someone whose parish might be facing these decisions (and secretly breathe a sigh of relief that it's not our parish). Or we can return to a very basic part of the Christian life: intentional evangelism. A few days ago I posted a link to some resources on evangelism from Wycliffe College's Institute of Evangelism. And for the next little while I want to use some of the space on this blog to look at various things that are happening which might help some of us Anglicans to recapture the sense of joy that comes with fulfilling our mandate of intentional evangelism. I think this will take shape in at least three ways: helping individuals to exercise the gift of evangelism; helping parishes exercise the gift of evangelism; and helping parishes envision new ways of being a Christian community in a post-Christendom age.
What are the basics?
Following Christ and the First Christians: A Pilgrimage Through the Holy Land and Egypt in the Footsteps of Jesus and the Desert Fathers:
A Holy land Pilgrimage is being planned for Feb 2-21, 2009. The itinerary will follow sites from the life of Christ throughout the Holy Land, along with sites important to the background of Christianity and the lives of the early Christians. The pilgrimage will be led Reverend Sally French and the Reverend Joseph Walker, both Anglican clergy with experience leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land. We will be journeying through Israel and Egypt, following the bible stories from Bethlehem to Nazareth, the Galilee, the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea, the ancient city of Jerusalem, and many other sites. In Egypt, we begin with the Sinai Desert, the wilderness of the Exodus. We will then explore the landscapes of the Desert Fathers and the early Christians, and journey to the monastic centers of the ancient world.
For more information, go to the Holy Land Pilgrimage blogsite.
at Wycliffe College's Institute for Evangelism
I'll highlight a few things which might be of help to us locals here in Edmonton over the next little while. It might be useful to look at a few of these things before our next Synod...
One of the great distractions or gifts from God (depending on your outlook) with which those of us who find ourselves Anglican are blessed and saddled with is the notion of "Communion". In its broadest sense, it refers to the idea that we are "in communion" with our brothers and sisters in this appendage of the body of Christ sometimes known as the Anglican Communion. Anglicans like to talk about who is "in communion with whom", or who is "not in communion", or who is in "impaired communion" - the image comes to my mind is of someone spilling the cup of wine over your new shirt and tie as you approach the altar rail.
St Cyprian does, I think, suggest that the troublesome questions of "heresy" and "schism" are organically related, although to many modern Anglicans a division between the two can be neatly made and maintained. If I wake up in the morning to discover that, say, bishop Robert Duncan has been deposed for veering toward ecclesiastical realignment, but that bishop John Spong remains in good standing despite veering toward theological realignment, what should I think? To put it bluntly, let us say, just pretend now, that the former is veering toward schism, while the latter is veering toward heresy. I am sure the Episcopal Church has its excellent reasons for proceeding as it does, but to simple folk like myself it looks like a rather selective double standard. Or perhaps just a memory lapse about what people like St Cyprian have said in the past about the relationship between wrong teaching and the divisions within the Church.
10. Hence heresies not only have frequently been originated, but continue to be so; while the perverted mind has no peace—while a discordant faithlessness does not maintain unity. But the Lord permits and suffers these things to be, while the choice of one’s own liberty remains, so that while the discrimination of truth is testing our hearts and our minds, the sound faith of those that are approved may shine forth with manifest light. The Holy Spirit forewarns and says by the apostle, “It is needful also that there should be heresies, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Thus the faithful are approved, thus the perfidious are detected; thus even here, before the day of judgment, the souls of the righteous and of the unrighteous are already divided, and the chaff is separated from the wheat. These are they who of their own accord, without any divine arrangement, set themselves to preside among the daring strangers assembled, who appoint themselves prelates without any law of ordination, who assume to themselves the name of bishop, although no one gives them the episcopate; whom the Holy Spirit points out in the Psalms as sitting in the seat of pestilence, plagues, and spots of the faith, deceiving with serpent’s tongue, and artful in corrupting the truth, vomiting forth deadly poisons from pestilential tongues; whose speech doth creep like a cancer, whose discourse forms a deadly poison in the heart and breast of every one.
So here we have St Cyprian looking at the divisions of his day - the Novatians who have set themselves up in opposition to the duly elected bishop of Rome, and compounded by the differing attitudes toward questions of church order and discipline. It might be troubling that "the Lord permits" such things to take place in the church. Others might delight to see that there is a process of "sifting" which separates the wheat from the chaff. Or we might simply accept that these things are so, regardless of whether we see how God's providence works "all things for good". This is perhaps the basic lesson from church history: this stuff happens.
Now how does one respond? Apart from the usual pious answers like prayer (and note that pious answers actually work), how does one respond, if one believes, with Cyprian and a host of others, that there is such a thing as a catholic (universal, world wide) Communion? It may very well be that most of us can simply carry on with business as usual; such things can either be addressed scornfully as irrelevant to our own lives as Christians, or they may be looked upon as beyond the scope of our concerns - "things too high for me", as the Psalmist says. I am sure that many of the faithful can and do adhere to either one of those positions. But as Cyprian points out, there are further questions to be answered:
12. Nor let any deceive themselves by a futile interpretation, in respect of the Lord having said, “Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Corrupters and false interpreters of the Gospel quote the last words, and lay aside the former ones, remembering part, and craftily suppressing part: as they themselves are separated from the Church, so they cut off the substance of one section.
For the Lord, when He would urge unanimity and peace upon His disciples, said, “I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth touching anything that ye shall ask, it shall be given you by my Father which is in heaven. For wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am with them;” showing that most is given, not to the multitude, but to the unanimity of those that pray. “If,” He says, “two of you shall agree on earth:” He placed agreement first; He has made the concord of peace a prerequisite; He taught that we should agree firmly and faithfully.
But how can he agree with any one who does not agree with the body of the Church itself, and with the universal brotherhood? How can two or three be assembled together in Christ’s name, who, it is evident, are separated from Christ and from His Gospel? For we have not withdrawn from them, but they from us; and since heresies and schisms have risen subsequently, from their establishment for themselves of diverse places of worship, they have forsaken the Head and Source of the truth.
reactions to deposition of bishop Robert Duncan:
Statement of support from the Province of Southeast Asia on the Deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh
Statement on Diocese of Pittsburgh's website.
Statement from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church found in this article
Statements of support from Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, along with a joint statement archbishops Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya.
Reactions from a small number other American bishops.
I was working on another modest section of my series on St Cyprian's treatise On the Unity of the Church, but since that post isn't quite ready yet, I thought I would just put a bit of a news article which seems to be everywhere in the wacky Anglican world of interwebs except for the Anglican Church of Canada news site.
There are a variety of commentaries on this from all angles, or you could just google it... bishop Bob Duncan. I'll let the ACoC web editor know that they can update their "News from our Partners" page, and provide some links later.
Trashing the Earth, Does God Care?
cafe dabar (10816 Whyte Ave) starting around 4ish. coffee. talk. coffee. repeat as necessary.
Our impetus to "care for creation" is grounded (no pun intended) in the first task set for humanity in the garden of Eden. Like many other things present in our creation as intended by God, the task of "tending" is (like the image of God within us) still present, though tarnished and corrupted.
I was riding home on the bike this evening, and while waiting for a light to change, the thought occurred to me: could Agamemnon get elected? I mean, we are inundated with election stuff. The Americans of course only have to suffer through one, but we in Canada have to suffer through two: ours and theirs. So Agamemnon, hailed by Homer as king of men, the one who holds the sceptre: how would he fare in the elections? An obviously important and pressing question on the minds of all voters these days. I will try to give you the most up to date information on how Agamemnon's campaign is stacking up against the other candidates over the next little while.
Hail to thee, chief of Atreus' race,
Returning proud from Troy subdued!
How shall I greet thy conquering face?
How nor a fulsome praise obtrude,
Nor stint the meed of gratitude?
For mortal men who fall to ill
Take little heed of open truth,
But seek unto its semblance still
Aeschylus, Agamemnon, (the chorus speaks to the returning triumphant king).
This might sum up the role of campaign managers and media:
For mortal men who fall to ill
Take little heed of open truth,
But seek unto its semblance still...
Agamemnon seizes Breseis, thereby incurring the indignation of Achilles (Iliad, book I).
McCain picks Palin for VP running mate, thereby incurring the indignation of
Hector comes to despise the presence of Helen, the pride of the Trojan women.
Obama comes to despise the presence of Hillary, the pride of the Democrat women.
Agamemnon tells his men that they should give up the fight and return home. This is a ruse, in order to test them; he spurs them on to more battle, and they suffer heavy losses. (Iliad, II)
Stephen Harper tells Canadians that he will pull troops out of Afghanistan in 2011. This is a ruse, in order to test them; he spurs them...
Paris and Menelaus engage in single combat. Helen watches the combat from afar, she is at the walls of the Citadel, not knowing her fate. (Iliad III).
The leaders of the real parties engage in televised debate. Green Party leader Elizabeth May watches at home.
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε' ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ' ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ' ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilleus, and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians, hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood in division of conflict Atreus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus.
What does it take to be lord of men?
Boltz, with about 4.5 million LPs, cassettes and CDs sold, never made a splash outside of Christian circles but he never really tried. With a handful of RIAA Gold-certified albums, three Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and a string of 12 No. 1 hits on Christian radio, Boltz is a household name in evangelical circles. “Thank You,” a sentimental song about a dream in which a Christian thanks the Sunday school teacher who led him to embrace Christ, is his signature song. It was the GMA song of the year in 1990 and has become a staple of Christian funerals. Other Boltz trademarks are “Watch the Lamb,” “The Anchor Holds” and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.”
whole story and interview at the Blade
A story which I first saw at Bene's place a few days ago. There is quite a bit in the interview, actually. There will be a lot of analyzing Boltz's 'coming out' story, and there will be disagreement over whether he has or has not chosen a wise or holy course of action. I am sure that he and his family would benefit from all our prayers.
ps and I presume as well that any comments on this would also benefit from prayer before posting...
a brief history at the Dio Sask blog
O BLESSED Saviour, who by thy cross and passion hast given life unto the world: Grant that we thy servants may be given grace to take up the cross and follow thee through life and death; whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit we worship and glorify, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Photo: felix hominum, 2008
the newest edition of the Anglican Planet is now online
*"strange people on the web" is meant as a value neutral term, and is used only in the most Christian and non-judgmental way. The editors of, and contributors to, the Anglican Planet, are not to be seen, portrayed, assumed to be, or otherwise understood to be any more odd, eccentric or generally phobic of all things than any other Anglican web presence, notwithstanding the use of liturgical ipods
Update: the SOCG has added a news release on its home page regarding Dr Lalonde's remarks in the Canadian press. Excerpt:
More work is required to ensure that this high termination rate is not a reflection of unbalanced or directive counselling from health professionals. To this end, the SOGC is committed to conveying these messages through its ongoing member communications and continuous professional learning opportunities.
Update: Barbara Kay has an article here in the National Post.
It seems that Dr Andre Lalonde's organization, the SOGC, is, well, a bit ambiguous when it comes to being pro-choice or pro-life, or whatever label you want to use.
“The SOGC remains firmly against the practice of sex selection through selective abortion,” Dr. Don Davis, the group’s president, said in a release. “These new technologies are finding their way to Canadian women and are opening the door to a number of ethical questions.”
from the CBC
At least one Canadian physician called the SOGC on this ambiguity around "ethical questions". In a letter to the editor (pdf) which can be found via SOGC's website, we have:
SOGC Statement on Gender Selection
To the Editor: Recently, the SOGC published the opinion that abortion for gender selection not be performed but that abortion after counselling for neural tube defects and Down syndrome, as well as other congenital abnormalities,should continue to be supported. Both the condescending nature of this opinion and the frightening implications require a response.
For years the SOGC supported the right of a woman to choose whether she would seek an abortion. At no time did that support place restrictions on the indications the individual woman would apply to her own circumstances. The societal pressures to terminate a pregnancy come in many forms, whether they are to have a male child or to finish high school. They are equal in that in the end it is one woman who must make the decision and then have the procedure. Either abortion for all reasons as deemed appropriate by the woman is acceptable or no abortions are acceptable. We may disagree with gender selection on the grounds of our Western perception. However we do not have the right to say which cultural assertion is best. The frightening part of the opinion was the support for eugenics, which bothers me because the SOGC has stepped back from supporting abortion on demand and instead is supporting the removal from society of those deemed inferior. I am ashamed.
Richard Gruneir, MD, FRCSC, Leamington, Ontario
REFERENCE 1. SOGC Council and Executive. SOGC Statement on Gender Selection. SOGC Policy Statement, No. 198, November 2007.
It is really worth reading the SOGC's response to this letter (same pdf). There, we see words like "feticide" in the same sentence as "infanticide". Does that imply an equivalence to you? Or only when it refers to abortion due to gender selection?
Well, either they are really concerned over how Trig Palin will affect the "abortion issue" in Canada, or not. And if one is pro-choice, then one is pro-choice. Apart from all the other factors, it's the consistency and logic that one should worry about. The worry is that a governor's son will influence the abortion issue in Canada. Perhaps the worry is that Trig Palin will take that role away from the SOGC.
Michael Gerson over at the Washington Post:
Many parents, of course, are not "prepared to deal with the consequences" of having a child, healthy or disabled -- though this has nothing to do with the worth of such children once they are conceived. Down syndrome children are slow to learn and have physical challenges. They are also, in my experience, often loving and compassionate -- which is an advantage they have on Dr. Lalonde.
A claim like this one tears away the pretense of "choice" among some in the medical community. When the medical establishment encourages doctors to encourage broad genetic testing for genetic abnormalities, then emphasizes the hardship of raising a disabled child, eugenic abortion is not merely an "option" but a recommendation. And people such as Sarah Palin, who resist the consensus against the elimination of "genetic abnormality," become a bad example, instead of a heroic one.
This difference clarifies the most basic question of medical ethics: How do we improve humanity? By eliminating the "imperfect" from among us? Or by showing our humanity, especially toward the "imperfect"?
Disability News has picked up the story. Some local folks who have adopted a child living with Down Syndrome have added their voice. Which, by the way, seems to me to be at least one important option which I have yet to see Dr Lalonde endorse. But perhaps he has, and I would applaud him if he spoke strongly for that option. However, I have yet to see his support for options in the choice market.
Lalonde’s comments are not neutral. They are not detached. They are not professional. And they certainly don’t indicate a thoughtful review of the alternatives and benefits available in the 21st century. Lalonde has failed in his duties to the general public. Instead, he used his day in the spotlight to generate fear and limit choice.
My full thoughts in a related post on Dr Andre Lalonde's reaction to Trig Palin here, along with links to some of his other interviews in the Canadian Press dating back to January 2007.
Bishops bustle about to one council after another, each trying to impose on the rest his own interpretation of the faith. And the only noticeable result is the imposition of an intolerable burden on the means of public transport.
pagan Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, writing in the 4th century, in the aftermath of the Council of Nicea
It seems that 6 month old Trig Palin, the son of some American politician, is making his weight felt in not just one, but two countries. In particular, Trig has sparked something in Dr Andre Lalonde. Dr Lalonde, according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) has "developed an expertise and is an advocate for safe Motherhood and family planning as well as promoting women’s empowerment for reproductive health."
In a recent Globe and Mail article entitled "A message of hope - or pressure to keep the baby?", Dr Lalonde is quoted as concerned that Trig might "have an implication for abortion issues in Canada". According to the article, Dr Lalonde seems to think that "Ms. Palin's widely discussed decision to keep her baby, knowing he would be born with the condition, may inadvertently influence other women who may lack the necessary emotional and financial support to do the same".
Two things. First, in case I forgot to mention it, Trig lives with Down Syndrome. Second, it seems that Dr Lalonde is advocating for the wrong kind of testing; if his concern is that the parent will lack "emotional and financial support", then perhaps he should advocate testing potential parents before they get pregnant. But somehow I don't think he'll go for that. Or he could simply join forces with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society to improve resources for parents whose children live with Down Syndrome. If one raises "support" as the issue, then one should be just as vocal about improving that support. Perhaps Dr Lalonde's comments were "taken out of context" as they say. Or at least as they say when a comment is found to be lacking in wisdom or compassion.
(ed update: - I recall Dr Lalonde's last comments in a national Canadian newspaper. The SOCG began recommending genetic testing for all pregnant women and "automatic" genetic testing for pregnant women over 40. "Choice"? What exactly does it mean to be automatically given a test? Here is what he had to say in comment to the National Post: “Yes, it’s going to lead to more termination, but it’s going to be fair to these women who are 24 who say, ‘How come I have to raise an infant with Down’s syndrome, whereas my cousin who was 35 didn’t have to?'" Think that one through. Carefully.
Dr Lalonde, who says that "above all else, women must be free to choose", seems in fact to be worried by one choice in particular: Sarah Palin's choice to have a child with Down Syndrome. He is worried about Sarah Palin's choice to have a child with Down Syndrome. I don't take a huge interest in American politics, but I do take an interest in the one person who might be forgotten in all of this. In the midst of this, it might be easy to forget who we are talking about: Trig. It is easy in the article to forget Trig. For those frightfully worried about Trig's presence in the world, it might even get worse: Trig might learn to walk in a little while, perhaps use signs and then start talking. Maybe even take up an interest in music, start going to school and hanging out with friends. Get invited to a birthday party, and then host a birthday party of his own. Take swimming lessons, help dad build a playhouse, read out loud before bed. Before you know it, that "emotional and financial" burden is returning the investment in spades (but more often in hugs and laughter).
I have sometimes wondered what would happen if the Down Syndrome community coined and used a new word: trisomophobic. And kept on using it. But you know what? They won't, even though such "tactics" seem to have worked well for other groups in public debate. And why won't they? In the years I've been involved with people who live with Down Syndrome, it seems that they are not interested in debate, or scoring rhetorical points, or the great machinery of politics. Instead they trade in only one commodity:
Trig just might influence someone to rethink a possible abortion due to genetic anomalies. Let him. It happens, Dr Lalonde. I know because someone told me the same thing - they saw our family, imperfect as it is, and they took a new view. We are not heroic parents, my wife is not governor of a state, we are by no means wealthy. We are not out to change the laws, just the hearts.
Go Trig. If you need a pen pal along the way, you can write to SJ:
The LA Times blog, which first circulated this story in the States, is now saying this.
There are numerous persons in the Down Syndrome community who have reacted to this story. I'll try to assemble some links and post them later.
Dr Lalonde is also quoted in this article as wanting to reduce the number of abortions in Canada. Caveat emptor.
Much, much more on Dr Lalonde's organization here: Thoughts on Dr Andre Lalonde & Trig Palin
Matthew 18: 21-25
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord , if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as 7 times?” Jesus answered him, “Not 7 times, I tell you , but 77 times.”
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold; together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat, he said “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.
This is part two from last week: first we had how seriously Jesus takes sin, and now we see how seriously Jesus takes forgiveness. So I haven't quite figured it all out yet, but it's only Wednesday...
You will remember from last week that this section of the gospel is part of Jesus’ sermon on forgiveness. Peter wants to know how often we should forgive others. And he figures that 7 times is about enough, After that, maybe I am justified if I get fed up and decide, “That's is, I'm going to write you off” After all, that sounds pretty reasonable. How much can one person put up with? Jesus answers him, “Not just seven times, Peter, but 77 times.” And I believe that Jesus wouldn’t stop there either. He would keep on forgiving.
Jesus wants to tell us how important it is for us to forgive others:
Look at the story Jesus tells. It is a parable. Like all parables, it is meant to get across a few simple ideas. It is not meant to be analyzed to death trying to find an exact correspondence for everything. It is meant to make us think about something.
The first idea is how much we owe God, and how willing God is to forgive us. In the story the slave owed his lord a whole lot of money – more than he could ever hope to repay. In fact, it’s probably true that the lord loaned him all this money knowing that he would never get repaid. So when it was time for the debt to be paid, what does the lord do? He forgives the debt entirely. The lord gives an example to the slave: I’ve forgiven you everything. Look at how much you owed me and yet I am going to set you free and you don’t have to pay me a thing.
God is first and foremost a great forgiver. That is the example he sets. If you still think that God is looking for a way to get you, then you don’t really know Him very well. He is really looking for a way to forgive you, not to condemn you.
It is said that we learn by example, but this is not often the case when it comes to God. What does the slave do next? Instead of taking his lead from his lord, he goes out and finds some other slave who owes him a little bit. What does he do? Instead of following his lord’s example, he decides that he is going to get payment from his fellow slave. It’s like having someone write off your 100, 000 dollar mortgage and then you decide that you are going to sue your neighbour for the 25 cents he borrowed for the pay phone last year.
This points out the second idea in this parable. Our tendency is to apply one standard to ourselves, and another standard to everyone else. I deserve special treatment, but you sure don’t. I might not say that like the ungrateful slave did, but I sure will act that way. I’m sure glad when they catch speeders going through my neighbourhood where my kids play, but if I’m trying to get through traffic on my way home, I’ll gladly speed through your neighbourhood. Somebody should pick up the slack when it comes to paying the bills for the church, but well, our family budget is really tight this month and we need a few things fixed up. When I yell it’s because I was really tired and stressed and you should understand all that and make me feel better right away, but how dare you have a bad day and expect me to be kind and helpful and considerate to you and patient with you when you lose it. It happens all the time, in big ways and in small ways. One standard for me, and another one for you. I’m allowed to mess up, but you’re not.
This leads us to the third idea
We choose how God will treat us. You see, we sometimes think that God just sits up there. God gives us the choice: how do you want me to treat you? And our choice is made by our actions towards others. How do you want God to treat you? Show Him by example. Show Him by the way you treat others. What attitude do you want God to have toward you? Let Him know by your attitude towards others. The ungrateful slave learned this lesson. It’s a rather frightening thought – Jesus is suggesting here that it is within our power to determine/ contribute to how God is going to treat us.
This coming Tuesday we are going to begin a study/prayer/devotional group which will focus on the faith and practice of the early Christians. "Early" is a relative term; we will be looking at the life of the Church in the first six centuries. Jaroslav Pelikan, in the introduction to his History of Christian Doctrine quoted the thought that “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”
In light of this, I hope that we will gather at least two things from this series of studies: an understanding of the faith of the early Church, and a deepening of our own faith as we learn of the prayer, practice and devotional life of those who have gone before us. So this study is not only informational (which I trust it will be) but also transformational. It will engage the living faith of those early Christians, with a view to how our own faith can be enriched.
Starts September 16 @ 7 pm. Location: St Timothy's parish (8420-145 St). Everyone welcome. I'll try to post a general outline when I have it completed.
over at HYPEREKPERISSOU
all sorts of wild and wacky stuff from the world of the church fathers, including such articles as
And a whole bunch of other stuff beside.
Pentecost 17, Year A
If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
The first thing to note is that this passage is really of one piece with next week's reading. There Peter will ask Jesus how many times a person must exercise forgiveness. And so together they form a short discourse on sin and forgiveness. But divided up as they are for the lectionary reading, one might say that this week's reading talks about the seriousness of sin, while next week concentrates on the seriousness of forgiveness.
If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.
I think one of the great mistakes made in reading this section is to think of it in terms of the modern notion of "conflict management". Many look at this passage and say that it is an example of Jesus giving his disciples (or Matthew giving his community) some guidelines on how to deal with conflict in the church. I am going to suggest that it is not about conflict. At least not in the sense in which we often use that word.
There can be various causes of conflict in any organization, including the church. Conflict can arise when there are two equally valid points of view on a particular matter. Or it can arise when there are two apparently equally valid course of action to be pursued. We might have conflict over whether to use this music or that music, or to use this style or that style, when both options may be perfectly reasonable. "Conflict management" can come into play when there is no underlying fault, no underlying sin. Jesus is not talking about managing conflict; he is talking about dealing with sin. And those are two different things. Jesus is talking about a situation where a member of the church sins against you. Indeed there may be no conflict whatsover; you might in fact choose to turn the other cheek.
However, this passage shows us that Jesus takes two things in consideration: the presence of sin in the church, and the seriousness of how to deal with it. Those who have been reading along with my study in Cyprian have already seen that the early church dealt with this same problem: what do we do when members of the church have obviously fallen in sin? Jesus does not seem to assume that the members of the church will be free from sin, nor does he assume that we will immediately know how to deal with such situations. I think it wise to see this passage in light of Jesus' entire ministry of reconciliation: Jesus takes both sin and forgiveness (reconciliation) seriously. It might be said that we contribute the first part, and Jesus contributes the second part.
So what do you do when a member of the church sins against you? Why not simply turn the other cheek and suffer in silence? Why confront such a sin in a fellow member of the church? Because sin harms the one who commits it. If I sin against you, I may or may not actually be harming you, but I am certainly harming myself. And so the loving thing for you to do would be to come to me and confront me with the behavior which harms me - even if I am the author of that behavior. What parent would not confront a child who is about to do something which knowingly or unknowingly, will result in harm to that child? So we come to a practice which might seem odd to modern ears: sometimes love means confronting sin.
Jesus is not interested in public humiliation; he is interested in reconciliation. And so the first step is private. Speak privately, not publicly. What does this mean? It means first off all that we don’t start off complaining to our friends or family or neighbours about so and so. There may be more wisdom in this than we imagine: perhaps when we come to the person whom we need to speak to, we find that we ourselves are mistaken about the sin. Perhaps I thought John took my wallet, but upon speaking with John in private I somehow discover that it was actually Peter. A private encounter can prevent a lot of public embarrassment. [Those who are partial to the ancient shame/honour codes can see how this angle fits into the process Jesus describes].
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Now who are the two or three others? This is not about taking your friends to whom you have already complained about John. Yet Jesus is firm: there is a next step. And why? Because there are many instances in which a person’s fault, a person’s sin, is not simply a private affair. Most, if not all types of sin, have an effect. Like the outward ripple of a wave after a stone has been thrown into still water, so is the effect of sin in the life of a community. Just as the sin moves outward, so the circle attempting reconciliation grows larger. There may also be sdome further wisdom that in going to the 2 or 3 others, I will discover that perhaps I am mistaken about my accusation. Or, the one who has committed the offense may simply reply in private that "It's just my opinion." And so having a few others who are (we hope) trusted and respected by both parties might help the offender to see the truth of the situation.
If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Some years ago in the Anglican Church of Canada there were people who abused children in the residential schools. Would things have been different in the lives of many people if such a sin was dealt with in a different manner? Was anything covered up, hushed up and hidden? It’s hard to say, but one thing might be certain: Jesus' guidelines for dealing with sin do not seem to have been followed.
And so Jesus tells them that if the person will not listen to the two or three, then the whole community must be informed. Why is this? Well, we might be persuaded that we are in the right if we are confronted by just one. And we might even be persuaded that we are in the right when we are confronted with two or three. But then the case can be evaluated by the community as a whole: in that process there might be some further wisdom. Also, the sin might be of such seriousness that it requires the whole community to know about it. And of such seriousness that the community cannot tolerate it continuing.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
A few of these verses have echoes in other passages. We have already heard something of the binding and loosing themes. We see that things on earth are in fact connected with things in heaven. Or perhaps it is better to phrase it the other way around. In any event, I have seen these kinds of sayings taken out of context more than once. Jesus is telling us about the business of being reconciled, about the serious matter of sin, and the ways in which forgiveness is extended, and fellowship restored. It is in those situations when we are to ask as the church (two or more) for the gift of reconciliation and restoration. In particular, when we gather for the purpose of reconciliation, Jesus is there among us.
Remains of the southern wall of Jerusalem that was built by the Hasmonean Kings during the Second Temple period have been uncovered on Mount Zion, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The 2,100-year-old wall, which was destroyed during the Great Revolt against the Romans that began in 66 CE, is located on Mount Zion just outside the present-day walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and abuts a Catholic cemetery which was built in the last century
story at J'lem Post
Welcome Back Students: A free barbeque (with beer) will be held at St. George's Anglican Church, 11733-87th Avenue, September 7th at 5 PM. Please join us outside, around the back of the church, for music, food and of course, beer!
In addition, St. George's will host a free breakfast for students every Sunday in September, beginning at 9 AM. You are welcome to attend the 8 AM service and stay for a bite to eat, or have breakfast first and stay for the 10 AM service.
One final note, evening worship, geared to students and young adults, will take place Sunday evenings at St. George's, starting at 7pm.
more info: call the campus ministry office @ 492-4620
5...The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.
Previously Cyprian had written about the "unity of the episcopate" (or bishops) as a focal point for the visible unity of the Church. Now he extends that unity to the Church as a whole. The key point here is that "the unity is still preserved in the source". So what is the source? It must be only "the light of the Lord". Any other "source" of unity will result in no unity at all. And so one might ask: what do we think of when we think of the unity of the Church? If it not Christ, then it is not a source of unity.
6. The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church.
The Lord warns, saying, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathereth not with me scattereth.” He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “And these three are one.” And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God’s law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.
Here we have one of Cyprian's most famous quotes: "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother."
Now we can see a bit of the issues of the day cropping up in Cyprian. There were the pure (those who remained steadfast under Roman persecution) and then there were the lapsed (those who were apostate, but later asked to be received back into the church after the persecution ended). This was a thorny issue in the time of Cyprian. Some thought that only the pure should be admitted to the Church, since the purity of the church was to found in its members, and especially its bishops. Others held that if the apostate was repentant, then he should be admitted back into the fellowship of the Church.
Cyprian gives strong warnings against anyone who "breaks the peace and the concord of Christ". The unity of Christ and the Church is also ultimately founded upon the unity of the Father and the Son, and of the unity of the Trinity. As a side note, if you think that ideas about the Trinity only crop up in a post-Constantine world, just read a few more of the early Fathers and you will see them holding such things in faith.
There are a few ideas to consider here. Just as the unity of the Church should be found in its leaders (its bishops) so also Cyprian writes that the holiness of the church should be visible in its members, and most notably we should presume, in its bishops. On the other hand, it would be fair to reply that just as the unity of the Church is ultimately found in its Lord, so also the holiness and purity of the Church can ultimately only be found in Christ. Cyprian wrote well before our more modern/ Reformation ideas of the distinction between the visible and invisible church. I'm not sure he would even recognize those categories as helpful or true.
At any rate, those who pursue "unity" in the Church need also be aware that the unity of the Church is, for Cyprian, linked to its "purity" and "holiness". While it might be rightly argued that Cyprian was too much of a rigorist in the purity department, he might say that our own age is guilty of the opposite error. We have forgotten the role of repentance in the life of the Church.