Jeremy Taylor on Shrove Tuesday Repentance

In The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, he writes:

Every true penitential sorrow is rather natural than solemn; that is, it is the product of our internal apprehensions, rather than outward order and command. He that repents only by solemnity, at a certain period, by the expectation of tomorrow’s sun, may indeed act a sorrow, but cannot be sure that he shall then be sorrowful. Other acts of repentance may be done in their proper period, by order and command, upon set days, and indicted solemnities; such as is, fasting and prayer, and alms, and confession, and disciplines, and all the instances of humiliation: but sorrow is not to be reckoned in this account, unless it dwells there before. When there is a natural abiding sorrow for our sins, any public day of humiliation can bring it forth, and put it into activity; but when a sinner is gay and intemperately merry upon Shrove-tuesday, and resolves to mourn upon Ash-wednesday; his sorrow hath in it more of the theatre than the temple, and is not at all to be relied upon by him that resolves to take severe accounts of himself.

Section VI.X.89

Life Speeds By

Seneca’s first Epistle discusses using time, and how we waste it:

Greetings from Seneca to his friend Lucilius.

CONTINUE to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the truth of my words, – that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness. Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed, Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands.

Therefore, Lucilius, do as you write me that you are doing: hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity, – time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

You may desire to know how I, who preach to you so freely, am practising. I confess frankly: my expense account balances, as you would expect from one who is free-handed but careful. I cannot boast that I waste nothing, but I can at least tell you what I am wasting, and the cause and manner of the loss; I can give you the reasons why I am a poor man. My situation, however, is the same as that of many who are reduced to slender means through no fault of their own: every one forgives them, but no one comes to their rescue.

What is the state of things, then? It is this: I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him. I advise you, however, to keep what is really yours; and you cannot begin too early. For, as our ancestors believed, it is too late to spare when you reach the dregs of the cask./a Of that which remains at the bottom, the amount is slight, and the quality is vile. Farewell

American Culture

…American culture or civilization has been, in the main, a Baptist modification of old catholic and Reformed culture. The New Christian Right, in its attempts to stem the tide of degeneracy in American life, is a Baptistic movement, and this is the reason why the New Christian Right finds itself in a condition of crisis, confusion, and indeed impotence. The thesis the editors are setting forth, then, is that American Christianity must return to a full-orbed Biblical and Reformed theology, and set aside Baptistic individualism, if it is to have anything to say to modern problems – indeed, if it is to survive.

– James Jordan, The Failure of American Baptist Culture, 1982

LDS Missions on Facebook?

In a piece of bad or misleading reporting, Ruth Gledhill says: "But soon the famously clean-shaven, clean-living Mormon missionaries might be shown the door for the last time." Her article goes on:

Elder Erich Kopischke, head of the Church’s European operation who is in London to mark the 175th anniversary of American missionaries setting sail for Liverpool on July 1, 1837, told The Times that one post on Facebook could reach 900,000 people in an instant. It would take many months, if not years, to knock on that many doors, he said.

He was speaking at a time when Mitt Romney is campaigning to become the first Mormon US President. The US musical satire The Book of Mormon is due to open in March next year in London.

Elder Kopischke, married with five children, who did his own missionary door knocking on doors in the Pope’s homeland of Bavaria, said: "Door-knocking was really the old way of communicating things."

There are 900 Mormon missionaries on the road in Britain, but the Church has a strong web presence and more than 600,000 people have "liked" its official Facebook page. "If you think about the idea of door-knocking, Jesus once said, ‘Your mouth speaks what your heart is full of’. Why do people knock on doors? Because their heart is full. Why do people use social networks? Because they have something to say. Door-knocking is sometimes understood as aggressive proselytising." Over time, he said, social networks would be more efficient. "If I want to share with you what is really on my heart or that I have observed something, it is easier than to make the trip."

Gledhill implies that Mormons are going to stop going door to door and will just reach out via social media, but the church says nothing of the sort. Rather, it emphasizes that it now does a lot of online chats:

A Church spokesman said that social networking was proving far more effective than knocking on doors. Over a 12-month period, Mormon social networking missionaries have taken part in more than one million online chats.

But I can’t see this replacing Missions at all. For one thing, the Mission is a formative tool in getting young Mormons to own their faith. They have to learn about it on the fly, defend it, and become apologists of sorts, all in a short, two-year time span while their secular counterparts are busy at keggers and hooking up. Also, they and their families have to fund the mission on their own, the church doesn’t pay for it. It is the central event of most young Mormon’s lives. Mormon families take enormous pride in their children successfully completing a Mission.
Also, many of the areas that LDS missionaries are serving aren’t exactly Facebook friendly. That approach might, *might*, work in the UK or the US, but how about Africa? And even in the UK, how many old folks or home-bound folks are on Facebook? There is no substitute for face to face interaction and I’m sure Mormons know this. If anything, the online chats probably lead to a follow up from the Missionaries.
So the tantalizing headline of this article is not at all fleshed out in the details. But I expect we’ll continue to see shoddy reporting on Mormon issues throughout Mitt Romney’s time in office.

Revolution?

Two years ago, when the Messianic State made its latest advance, I posted this. Things now seem worse on many fronts. The debt of around 16 *trillion* dollars is utterly unsustainable. The only thing holding government finances up is that the rest of the world will go down in flames with us if we go down, so the illusion of stability is maintained. At some point, we have to go Weimar, or get bailed out like Britain was in 1946, effectively ending their Empire.

Our government will not stop the madness until it literally has to, with no money on hand to pay military and civilian salaries, fund contractors, or maintain welfare payments to the masses. What will happen then? Riots, looting, the breakup of the Union, or something else? I don’t know, but looking at the mass emigration occurring from Greece and Ireland, as well as the suicides and people working for free provide some clues as to what our future will look like. It may not happen for ten years, or twenty, but it will happen, barring some unforeseen miracle of economic growth and government restraint.

So what to do? I think getting land somewhere that you can flee when cities go up in flames is a prudent idea. I think the Benedict Option will become more and more attractive as time goes on. Violent revolution and taking up arms are not options. Emigration would be nice, but to where? The Welfare State is in power almost anywhere you look that is civilized. It seems best to me to look for a quiet corner of America to retreat to when it all goes down.

To repeat what Jim Jordan said about the illusion of the Right in terms of taking power right now:

Back in the 1980‘s in an essay called “Rebellion, Tyranny, and Dominion in the Book of Genesis” from the book “Tactics of Christian Resistance”, James Jordan exegetes Genesis and its implications for Christian politics. His bottom-line is that right now we are in a situation where we must wait with patient faith, mature, and achieve power only in the distant future. Note that you should probably read the whole essay and understand his exegesis to understand his conclusions. An extended quote follows; Jordan writes:
Is the “New Right” really “ready to lead”? I doubt it. The New Right has not yet figured out the message of the book of Genesis. It continues to think that reformation will come through the acquisition of political power. By looking to the state, New Rightists (and old conservatives as well) make themselves statist. […]
Many conservative Roman Catholics thought that John Kennedy would help turn things around. They were disappointed; Mr. Kennedy apparently spent too much time doing other things to ask what he could do for his country. Mainline conservatives then trusted Richard Nixon, a man knowledgeable in international affairs, to turn things around. They were disappointed; Mr. Nixon’s conscience was not sufficiently seared to permit him to act like a Democratic Party politician, guilt-free. Bible believing Christians had high hopes for Jimmy Carter. Need we add that they were disappointed by the decisions made by Mr. Carter’s mother, sister, and wife? And then the whole New Right got behind Ronald Reagan, who by his appointments betrayed them before he even took office, and has now signed a bill, updating social security, which directly taxes the churches.
[…]
Frankly, I believe that in all of this God has, as always, been gracious to us. Are Christians in this country ready to take charge? Heaven forbid! Virtually none of them knows the first thing about the law of God, by which they are called to govern. Most of them do not even acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Few have any experience in governing, since their churches have no courts, being at best mere preaching points (where they have not degenerated into spas and literal circuses). The most powerful New Christian Right people are personality-cult oriented, one-man shows (and by shows I mean shows: radio shows, television shows, and the putting on of shows).
[…]
This is not to despise the New Christian Right, or to argue that we should not exercise our (remaining) liberties as Americans to pressure the larger governments toward more Godly actions. We need to remember, however, that there is only so much time and energy alloted to each of us, and essentially that time is far better spent acquiring dominion through service than in power politics.
We may contrast three different approaches, which are not mutually exclusive, but which are of varying value at present. First, there is the effort to change laws by getting people elected to office. That has not been very successful so far, and the reason is that the vast majority of Americans essentially like things the way they are. That’s why things are the way they are – it is what the people want, and it is what they deserve, and so it is what God gives them…
Second, there is the effort to go about our business as quietly as possible. We submit to the “powers that be,” not to any law that such powers may happen to enact. We do not recognize their right to make laws, for to do so would be to grant them absolute power; but we recognize that God has given them power, and we are not to contest that power as such. We practice deception where morally necessary, and that includes preserving our capital, protecting our households, and rearing our children, as Genesis makes clear. If we are taken to court, we fight in that arena for the right to conduct Christian lives, as Paul did in the book of Acts.
Third, there is the effort to develop a Christian subculture, building up the churches as true courts and sanctuaries, developing Christian arbitration and reconciliation commissions, Christian schools, Christian medical facilities, and the like. These latter two methods are the primary ones for our times. […]
When we are ready, God will give the robe to us. That He has not done so proves that we are not ready. Asserting our readiness will not fool Him. Let us pray that He does not crush us by giving us such authority before we are ready for it. Let us plan for our great-grandchildren to be ready for it. Let us go about our business, acquiring wisdom in family, church, state, and business, and avoiding confrontations with the powers that be. Let us learn to be skillful in deceiving them and in preserving our assets for our great-grand-children. For as sure as Christ is risen from the grave and is ascended to regal glory on high, so sure it is that his saints will inherit the kingdom and rule in His name, when the time is right.

Roberts

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Opinion of ROBERTS, C. J.

“to extend federal power to virtually all human activity”

What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power—upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.

SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., dissenting

Conservative Biblicistic Protestants

James B. Jordan offers the term "conservative Biblicistic protestant" as definition for what he is (what happened to post-Reconstructionist)? He is right on the money in defining the fear of the Bible in "evangelical" circles:

Your standard evangelical scholar, while he affirms the inerrancy of the Bible based on his understanding of the Bible, is still sadly Biblo-phobic. He is terrified of the stipulations of the “laws of Moses” as he calls them. He finds the Psalter unpalatable: too mean, too rough. He rejects the chronology of the Bible, despite its universal acceptance throughout the history of Christendom. He is committed to a minimalist approach to the Bible: no significant numbers, nothing in the stellar heavens, no openness to revisionist history of the ancient world, as little typology as possible, etc. I’ve heard older men at Evangelical Theological Society meetings complain about “all these chiasms” as if they refused to look again at the text to see what might be there. (Though I can sympathize with an old guy’s reluctance to reopen everything!) It can be said that this kind of “evangelicalism” wants some amount of acceptability in the world of late 19th and early 20th century scholarship. They don’t seem to realize that the world has turned and that a far more penetrating understanding of writing now prevails.

Oh, and of course, virtually all American “evangelicals” are committed to the notion that Jesus does not intend to disciple all nations. (He was just joking, it seems.) In fact, Jesus might return at any moment. Not only so, but it is important for our personal sanctification that we believe this notion and act as if the world might end any time.

I think we should be able to agree that Christians who are ashamed of what the Bible says need to be corrected and do better.

From Chairman to Sage

Bishop Chuck Murphy (Congo) has offered some answers to the folks at All Saints, Pawleys Island concerning the future of the The Anglican Mission Society for Mission and Apostolic Works. Here are some highlights from what he said and an occasional comment from me:

…my hope and my prayer is that we continue to resist the urge to engage in the fray, gossip, slander, and party spirit.

You mean like this?

A Missionary Society is what we feel called to be for 50 or more years; my retirement would have me seated on the College of Consultors, to provide insight and allow me to move into the role of sage rather than remaining in the role of chairman. It may evolve into something different… taking a step and taking a step.

We cannot ignore the fact that November and December involved an onslaught of events that hit us, and me, particularly, like an unforeseen hurricane, and information couldn’t be distributed because everything was changing by the hour… all in conjunction with the online “blogospere” that you may know about.

This confirms the Anglican Autumn thesis – these structures have trouble in the marketplace of ideas when their PR doesn’t work.

Question: How permanent is the relationship with the Congo?

What we asked for from Archbishop Isingoma was for him a temporary vicariate. Why did we use the word “temporary”? Because we felt like in the next 180 days, we will have a permanent mission society established.

So, what I asked for is as a temporary move to get us to that point, “would you establish a temporary vicariate for us” which is a fancy word for let us function as we did under Archbishop Kolini until we can get the Missionary Society up and running.

What’s intended for the Missionary Society – we adopted its constitution last week – is that it becomes permanent. And Archbishop Isingoma has never indicated to me that this was a temporary arrangement. He has written to me saying this is a long-term partnership working together.

Question: Why the Congo?

I want to be under Godly leadership, not just who is the head of the zip code……I want to know are you Godly…has God raised you up for this. The only advantage to me going to the Congo was that it is an authentic province of the Anglican Communion and it was important for those clergy for whom that still matters.

“For whom that still matters,” indicates that for many clergy it doesn’t. In other words, being a Continuing Church is just fine. Also, since you failed to submit to the last Godly leadership you were under, why will it be any different this time, unless the understanding is that this ‘leadership’ will never discipline you?

Question: Is the Congo Anglican Church a member of GAFCON? If not, why not?

Yes, Congo is going through the process of becoming a member of GAFCON. However, the importance and definition of this varies from individual to individual and congregation to congregation. There is a range of opinion.

1. This is news. While it has been suspected, I don’t think anyone has seen confirmation that Congo was turning its back on Archbishop Rowan and embracing GAFCON.

2. How can “the definition” of becoming a member of GAFCON vary “from individual to individual”? What does that mean?

Question: What is the importance of AMIA being affiliated with an Anglican Province that is a member of the Anglican Communion (Canterbury)?

The AMiA finds no importance in being affiliated with just any Anglican Province, which is why we are not affiliated with the Anglican Province in America known now as The Episcopal Church. The AMiA does, however, find importance in being "Anglican" and that requires being "under authority".

I would add: being under authority that does not ask questions about your finances or threaten to discipline you. Essentially, the kind of authority that rubber-stamps what you want.

PEAR Elects Breedlove as Bishop

PEARUSA will begin with three Networks and at least one new bishop (bishops Glenn and Barnum will no longer be actively serving as bishops). Rev. Steve Breedlove will become a Bishop for PEARUSA. An excerpt from the report by Don Schulze:

The first PEARUSA Celebration Assembly meeting in Raleigh, NC elected their first bishop and announced the formation of three network relationship groups that include the West/MidWest, the Southeast, and the North/Northeast. Provisional Network Leaders are Rev. Ken Ross for the West/Mid-West, Rev. David Bryan for the Southeast, and Rev. Steve Breedlove for the North/Northeast.

The Rev. Steve Breedlove was elected by unanimous acclamation to be their first bishop. He has been senior rector of All Saints, Chapel Hill, SC and will leave that position in five weeks. He will serve as the Presider Pro Tem of PEARUSA and as network leader of the North/Northeast regional network of PEARUSA till his inauguration in October.

The working group of the Northeast Network met to identify its members and found that there were approximately thirty-six churches represented, from North Carolina to Connecticut.
Among the issues discussed was the need to find a way to communicate or meet in the months between June and September to consider, propose, and elect one or more network bishops. As various considerations were voiced and a number of ideas were considered, it appeared that the idea of such a large and geographically diverse group working in a cohesive way after leaving Raleigh was going to be difficult and a Network bishop would be necessary.

Breedlove was considered the choice for Network Bishop in view of his past experience in team leadership and pastoral care and oversight. Following a brief discussion the decision to make him the first Bishop Candidate of the new PEARUSA was made by acclamation.

I hope we’ll be able to see video or read the text of the presentations from this Assembly.