Saturday, April 29, 2006


Discussion of the Diocese of Washington expose in Father Jake's blog has escalated from the original point to commendations of Bishop Chane's supposed courage and a long sermon that begins:
Building is slow, sometimes painful. It requires continued daily effort over time. Ages, centuries.

Destruction is quick. It’s done in no time. It doesn’t cost anything (apart from what’s destroyed).

Courage; yes this is rare in deed. And Bishop Chane is courageous. And no one have stood up to defend and support him.
I don't think what Chane is doing requires any courage, but that's not the point. To do justice to the author's work would require quoting almost all of it, but by the time we get to the end of it, we learn that bullies are destructive, it only takes one, it's all about fear, "political Calvinism" means that "the organization is to serve the Body of Christ", that St. Paul is relevant (but presumably not those passages in 1 Corinthians), that tradition is spent bullying one's neighbors, that we are called to love our brothers and sisters....

Obviously most of this is of the same ilk as a congressman or senator's speech yielding to no one in his defense of motherhood, apple pie, truth, justice, and the American way. It's empty rhetorical calories, or worse, self-congratulation. And just about the only content in this speech is a rather dubious condemnation of Cantuar for not attacking Akinola in his Easter sermon instead of addressing an issue (The Da Vinci Code) which is of more relevance to his own diocese and in my opinion more germane to an Easter sermon anyway.

But let's turn to all this talk of bullying and destruction. As a gardener, I can testify that planting takes minutes and weeding takes forever. The weeds have a different perspective on this, for it takes a weed a while (but not long enough for me!) to grow to seeds, and a second for me to pull it up. And when I turn from my flowers to the moral teachings of the church, it's surely a matter of perspective. It's reasonable to attribute it ALL to destruction. But then, from every life some weeds must be pulled.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Punted by Ponty

Al Kimel of Pontifications fame has asked me to stop commenting in his blog, and it appears he is determined to enforce this, since he has deleted a comment I made in response to someone else's query explaining that I had been asked not to continue.

Back in the ancient days of usenet news, taking back what we said became quickly impossible as the backbone refused to transmit message deletions. Soon enough after that, dejanews and the caching of old news items mean that our words remained available essentially forever, at least for anyone who knows how to search the archives. Therefore, plenty of what I said twenty years ago can be anyone with the wits and desire to find it.

I haven't looked at usenet religion discussion in years, and it seems to me that the real action has moved to blogs and to a lesser extent to fora. Thus, as discussion has moved away from publicly archived sites, erasure of the past has become a problem. It is less so in a forum, because as a rule the maintainers do want to archive traffic and find, as with usenet, that allowing people to erase their posts is an opening for abuses. But blogs are different: they can be erased and edited at will, and therefore they offer all sorts of temptations for erasing the past. I've seen this happen quite a bit: the history of the Russian Orthodox Automomous Church in the USA involves a number of deleted blogs and websites. Much of the pagan rites flap of October 2004 was carried out as the various offenders scurried about deleting their various webpages and blogs, though not fast enough for us "persecutors" to ferret them out.

My last response in Al's blog was deleted. Before that I saw my comments entering a sort of moderation. And in looking back at at the predecessor topic I see that Al also appears to have deleted the somewhat intemperate message with which he closed it. On one level, I'm annoyed, with cause, that I am not being allowed to close out my presence in his blog. It is perhaps not deliberate, but he has created the false impression that I withdrew into my hole, presumably failing to answer the questions which were put to me. But then, websites and blogs are always, in a way, false fronts. We write out our thoughts to the world, and then we take them back, thus editing our countenance for those to come.