2020

It is commonplace to talk about what a year this has been, and yet I can only echo that sentiment. As I write this a good friend of mine has Covid, a family I know is suffering with it, and it seems like storm clouds have gathered all around. Due to spending so much time at home, it has felt like a long year, even though I love spending time at home.

All of my life I wondered what would happen to the Church if persecution or suffering came upon it, this year gave me an answer, and it wasn’t good. Instead of repentance, sackcloth, ashes, or a deep reformation and turning to the Scriptures, I saw politics, hatred, infighting, denial, arrogance, and foolishness. It is impossible to generalize about thousands of congregations across the country, let alone the world, but from where I sit I did not see the Church repent or search herself for sin. I saw pastors rushing to tell us that God does not punish nations with things like plagues. I saw congregants leave church rather than wear a mask because of some weird theological or more likely political reason. The idolatry I saw for Donald Trump was unlike anything I would have believed possible from people who should know better, and was akin to the Messianic frenzy that greeted Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008. It is a truly depressing time in the Church and the world, although there is a lot of hope on the horizon.

I would like to think that Christians will mature and embrace reason, paired with a deeper dive into the Scripture and history of the Church. However, I generally think that things will continue as they are. There is nothing new under the sun and the condition of humanity in our age is about what it always has been, which is to say poor.

I don’t have much hope for the ACNA and I am generally disengaged from its struggles because of this. Perhaps due to age or life circumstances, there is a weariness that comes with the rancor and failure to change on the part of our churches. Someone said, “Institutions, like organisms, seek survival for themselves and their descendants.” That’s what I see ACNA and the various sub-jurisdictions doing. The Church needs a reformation as badly now as it did 15 years ago, if not more.

CANA becomes CONNAM

I just saw this:

Appointment of Bishop Felix Orji as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM)

The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West in the United States has been appointed as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) with immediate effect.

By this appointment Bishop Orji will coordinate the mission of the Church of Nigeria in the United States which operates in two Dioceses: Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) under the Rt Rev’d Amos Fagbamiye and the Anglican Diocese of the West under the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji.

The appointment was signed by the Primate of All Nigeria, His Grace, the Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba on Friday October 16, 2020.

Congratulations to the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji, the Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM.

The LORD be with you.

The Ven. Paul Dajur, PhDGeneral

Secretary CON

I wonder what prompted this change?

Losing Old Church Buildings

I’m hearing that the court case against the Virginia CANA churches may not go well. Truro, Falls Church and others may be forced to leave their historic buildings. I’ve never been a fan of the “defend the property” strategy, but this is still very sad news. Turning these buildings over to heretics is akin to the North African Church falling to Islam a long time ago.

With that said, it occurred to me today that one reason that it is such a blow to lose these venerable buildings is because there is so little chance of replacing them in our lifetime. Our theology of architecture is so impoverished, and the buildings that we typically build as Protestant churches are generally so awful, that losing these old buildings is a great tragedy.

Most new church buildings are ephemeral, not durable. They are ugly, functional, “multi-purpose” facilities where people worship in the gym. There is generally no art, no stained glass windows and nothing that would really differentiate these buildings from the prison-like school buildings that we build today. On the other hand, places like Truro have a simple elegance and exude a sense of tranquility and “churchiness” that is lacking in most modern Protestant facilities. It seems that Catholics have kept their senses and are producing some great buildings even today. I live down the street from one and I’ve seen many others, such as the gorgeous Holy Apostles in Meridian, Idaho.

So if we are going to continue to think that buildings don’t matter or that we need to build the cheapest, ugliest thing we can get away with and call it good, then losing the old places like Truro (and the many, many United Methodist parishes in Virginia that are gorgeous and given over to heresy) is a very sad event indeed.

Friedan, Feminism and Fulfillment

In his “Writer’s Almanac” for today, Garrison Keillor talks about Betty Friedan who wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Keillor says:

Friedan wrote about what she called ‘the problem that has no name,’ found particularly among educated suburban women in the years after the end of World War II, women who were leading ostensibly idyllic domestic lives as busy housewives and mothers and yet who felt inexplicably unfulfilled, unhappy, and restless.

She wrote:

‘The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all?’

I’m sure it’s true that many wives and mothers then and now felt unfulfilled or suffocated at home. I would attribute this more to America’s affluence at the time – whereas in previous generations most women didn’t have the luxury of thinking about much beyond survival and the daily routine, in the post-WW II generation, the horizons expanded due to prosperity and the possibility of office work.

With that said, guess what: the secret is that men feel the exact same sense of ennui, despair and boredom at work that Friedan seems to locate in the home! Do you think it is somehow inherently exciting to get up at the same time five days a week, get in a car, commute to work listening to the same garbage on the radio, sit down at a desk and become a cog in the faceless corporate machine for 50 years? Or better yet, to mop floors, drive trucks, lay concrete, or whatever? Is this a life of dazzling fulfillment that men are conspiring to deny to women?

Far from it. And I think most women who get beyond college-age idealism find out the hard way that this is the case. I say the hard way, because by the time they realize this, it is often too late. They are hemmed in by college debts that need to be repaid, a kid or two at home and the built-in financial demands of a two-income lifestyle. Some find that when they have children they actually WANT to be at home with the kids, but now they can’t because of those same financial reasons. The expectation of college and career contributes to the delay in marriage. Women and men get married older and by the time they get around to having kids, it becomes more of a strain to bear them and raise them. Guess what? You don’t have as much energy to deal with screaming toddlers when you are 35 as opposed to 20 or 18. That might be one reason why God designed us for maximum reproductive potential at those younger ages!

With widespread abortion, birth control, and the expectation of wealthy, comfortable lives, I don’t expect the pattern of women working rather than mothering to change except in small pockets of resistance. At bottom, the idea that fulfillment is found in a sphere other than where we are is the classic “grass is greener” myth. Some jobs are inherently fulfilling, but not many in the big picture. The Christian ideal is that we find contentment in whatever role we are given, and sanctify the same. The Apostles tell us again and again to be content. This is not easy, it is the knife edge of sanctification, because jobs are tedious, hard, demanding and draining. Telling women that moving into corporate slavery is somehow a big advantage over raising kids and sitting at home is a lie. Unfortunately, it is a lie that we are now completely bought in to. Thanks, Betty Friedan.

Future Digital Conundrums

Watching the unveiling of the iPad today spurred me to reflect on some possible problems that may occur in future years of our digital age. For example, movies, books and software that I have purchased do not reside with me physically, but are located in the cloud (on a server somewhere in the ether). Assuming that Apple still exists when I die, can my descendants continue to use my Apple ID and password to access all of the accumulated music, books and software I have purchased? Will the government charge an inheritance tax on all the music I pass down via my Apple account? Can someone keep my Gmail account active so that my lifetime of correspondence can be accessed by a future family historian?

And think of the intense amounts of work that will be required by future historians. We think of the Civil War as the most documented conflict due to thousands of diaries and letters that historians must consult in addition to official accounts and government documents. But can you imagine what a future writer on anything will have to wade through in terms of e-communication to get a complete account of something? Millions of web pages, blog posts, e-mails, documents and videos. It staggers the mind to contemplate it. Perhaps they will simply give up and selectively cull the information to try and stay sane. Or perhaps our records now are less permanent unless they are printed. Take away electricity and all of it vanishes, whereas scrolls and books lasted a few centuries in the past. So maybe the staggering amounts of data generated right now will all be gone. But just think of the future historian trying to write a history of the 2008 Presidential election. How did the people see it? How did the media see it? What did the candidates think? Imagine poring through millions of e-mail with some sort of search algorithm or index. Reading texts from Barrack Obama’s Blackberry, posts from millions of common-man blogs, news articles from sites all over the world and on and on.The task seems daunting.

Grant Lee

We went to see Grant Lee on Friday night. He played a nice set of really quality songs. He has great stage presence and is funny in between songs. We were able to talk to him briefly afterward as he mingled with the littles (like me).

I read that Lee’s dad was some sort of pastor. If true, this adds evidence to my thesis that a great many celebrities come from Christian backgrounds against which they are rebelling. I read about Meghan Fox the other day and it is the same thing with her – grew up Pentecostal and rebelled mightily against that upbringing. For some reason, many Christians ping-pong so radically to the other side that they become the worst offenders on the other side.

hotmail / Live mail – why?

I have an old hotmail account and it stinks. Gmail of course rules the world as it should. Hotmail (or Live Mail as it is now called) doesn’t forward to other non-Microsoft accounts. It is slow. It is ugly. It has garish ads flashing all over the place. 

Gmail is quick, simple and the ads are in text when there at all. It forwards anywhere, it is open to the world. Google makes cool things and it makes them available for free. Microsoft guards everything they make and they make it difficult to share. They need to change their culture, not just their software.

I put up with Live Mail because I started with it long ago and I dump junk mail there. Until it gets better, faster, cleaner and more usable, it will wither on the vine.