I hate pollen

Pollen has been wrecking my life this Spring. It seems like it has been the worst ever since we moved to Virginia. The usual sheets of yellow are now gone, but the tree pollen remains elevated. I’ve tried walking in it twice and both times I came home with my throat burning and my eyes watering. It took days to recover. Maybe it’s related to the lack of acorns over the past two Falls?

ACNA Fail – Part 2

Over at the AMiA, err, make that, “the AM” there is a newish development. Rather than being a “jurisdiction” with ACNA, AMiA will now be a “ministry partner.” As I understand it, this is a move away from fuller union with ACNA and towards staying independent. The reasons for this move are not at all clear in the press release issued by AMiA. It is coated in bland obfuscations and loving declarations that would make Rowan Williams proud.

But here ‘s how I see it: the various Anglican bishops in America continue to be short-sighted and selfish. In this case in particular, it is Bishop Murphy. Looking around you could pin this same tag on Bishop Minns for CANA, and probably many others in their own little worlds. Why on earth they can’t simply close up shop and merge is beyond me. Think of the duplicate costs involved with staff, buildings and websites, to name just a few items. Think of the testimony to a watching world – even “conservative” Anglicans can’t create a catholic church within America, they have to stay divided, and over reasons that have NOTHING to do with theology. They all just have to maintain their own fiefdoms. I find it disgusting. If we are not careful, these divisions will harden and there will be no chance of real unity going forward.

I am also sick and tired of the AMiA’s plunge into pop evangelical faddishness. Take a look at this picture:

Does anything about this say “Anglican” to you? It might as well be a gathering of Calvary Chapel pastors in Costa Mesa – scratch that, they would all be wearing Hawaiian shirts. But you get the point. No collars, no stoles, just a bunch of guys who look just like the corporate world we live in. There is nothing sinful in this, but it illustrates the larger point. The AMiA winter conference doesn’t meet in a sacred place, it meets in some auditorium with pastel and purple backdrops. It uses the same soft-rock bland worship that you can find at a million other churches in the USA. Speakers don’t wear collars. Bishop Murphy gushes about stupid books from the corporate world that push some sort of trendy nonsense.

The message seems to be, “Anglicans are just like every other evangelicals except that we have a prayer book we may or may not use once in awhile.” If there is no difference, what is the point of being Anglican? Being culturally relevant is fine, blending in to the point of disappearing is another. Do I really want to see more middle aged men that act like CEOs? Young guys who are missional and hip and have the correct facial hair? I guess it wouldn’t bother me so much if there was a solid theological core to all of this, but there isn’t. It isn’t terribly 39 Articles-centric. It is a mish-mash. There are pockets of solidity, but will they become the norm, or are we looking at Baptists with a prayer book?

ACNA Fail – Part 1

The “conservative” Anglicans in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) just ordained another woman to be a priest(ess). Perhaps they need to be love-bombed with copies of the forthcoming Why Ministers Must Be Men.

It is not surprising that ACNA is doing this, because it has been clear from before its inception that this is an issue where various member bodies held the innovative and unorthodox position. It is, however, disappointing as it is something that will tear this body apart in the future if it is not addressed and changed.

At bottom, it points out that much of ACNA is simply warmed over 1970’s Episcopalianism minus the gay stuff. Arminian, charismatic, not Reformational, not terribly committed to living the Bible despite words to the contrary, and thus, blown about here and there by the culture. We need to inject more Van Til, Leithart and Jordan into this hybrid of theologies, or it will spin into oblivion.

Housing in Virginia 2010

It is now May of 2010 and there is no sign that housing is recovering here in Virginia. I live out in the exurbs, so in close to the city core things are probably a bit different. Out here, most of the homes that sat empty last summer still sit empty today. Most of them don’t have any signs on them at all and grass is now waist deep. I am no expert, but I imagine that a home sitting empty for a summer or two warps, cracks and falls into disrepair. Mold sets in. Bugs get in. Who wouldn’t want that? The few homes that do sell are at fire sale prices, 150K or more under where they were in 05-06.

Will these homes eventually need to be demolished? Will this neighborhood and those like it turn into exurban ghettos? After all, we are only another oil shock or inflation shock away from it being totally unthinkable to do the 1-3 hour commutes (each way) that we do here.

All things considered, housing isn’t picking up steam here. There are years of pain ahead.

Liberals and Tradition

I wanted to point out this compelling post at What’s Wrong with the World: Liberals: Guardians of Tradition? Jeff Culbreath writes:

As the father of five very musical children, I find myself in the company of classical musicians and teachers with some regularity. One would be hard pressed to find a more reflexively liberal demographic than that of classical musicians. Their brand of liberalism, though fairly radical, is genteel and seldom confrontational. In a superficial way, I actually enjoy the company of these people and can usually find enough common ground to have an interesting conversation. Indeed I am more socially “comfortable” around them than I am around most people in the great middle class. Yes, this does seem to be a class phenomenon. We have similar levels of education. We think about the same kinds of things – they on one side, me on the other. They read books. They have decent manners. They don’t mind putting on a coat and tie, or a long skirt.

And they are liberals. Let me clear: these are people who adhere to an evil, destructive ideology that is responsible for plunging our civilization into barbarism. On the other hand – and this is what confuses me – they seem to be the only people interested in preserving the treasures of western civilization, apart from a few cranky Catholics and other traditionalist malcontents of negligible influence. America’s “conservatives” – at least our middle class conservatives – couldn’t care less about classical music, literature, philosophy, or the arts. Make no mistake: if we turned culture completely over to them, we would lose the best of our cultural patrimony. I don’t like admitting this, but reality is what it is.

I used to chalk this up to the desecrating impulse of liberalism. For example, anyone paying attention to America’s big cities is familiar with the phenomenon of sodomite hordes buying and restoring beautiful Victorian homes in the oldest neighborhoods, as if to defy and defeat the values of those who built them. Similarly, modernist desecrators proudly possess all the grandest old churches – buildings designed specifically and exclusively for traditional liturgy and piety. Local historical societies are most often dominated by liberals: that way they can dispense local history to local citizens through their own ideological interpretations.

I have to say that this strikes me as exactly correct. Outside of a few pockets of resistance such as New St. Andrews in Moscow, Idaho and various Catholic groups, most Christians do not care one whit about our cultural heritage, other than to play it lip service. “Conservative” in America is generally as enslaved to the prevailing wasteland of modern culture as is liberalism in America [me included]. And most folks I know who are into preserving our history ARE liberals, for whatever odd reason. I believe this points out the flawed assumptions that lie beneath much of our thinking. These assumptions are not examined much at the popular level and will probably not change.