January 30, 2006

Thanks to my gear fab e.Webscapes bodhisattva Michael, comments are now functioning well, and you can now see them immediately upon comment without me having to moderate. Better for everyone. Thanks, swami!

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January 29, 2006

Actually, for the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA), it may already be here. At least it sounds like it, if Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) bishop Chuuck Murphy is correct. From this interview with David Virtue:

VIRTUEONLINE: The buzzword these days is realignment, what is you assessment of this?

MURPHY: My assumption is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. We are watching the Lord create a new wineskin for a new century. It is not unique to this century, history has had other realignments – the Reformation was a realignment, but it is underway again. Jesus came not to bring peace but division. It is not unique to this hour but it is underway again. There is a divide along the fault line of Biblical truth and those who still believe the faith once delivered to the saints, those who still trust the gospel message will come together and work together to create a way forward. I believe it will come in stages but not a magic moment or one glorious weekend together.

VIRTUEONLINE: What do you think will happen to the Episcopal Church?

MURPHY: I believe the Episcopal Church is going to wither away. It will not prosper, it cannot, it has abandoned the gospel. I do believe, however, the ECUSA will continue to have a presence for another generation. There are too many people, even orthodox people that simply cannot consider moving away from their present parish facilities and so there is a great reluctance to do anything too radical. They are good people who love the Lord but they are not called to be pioneers of a new wineskin.

VIRTUEONLINE: How long do you give the Episcopal Church?

MURPHY: About another 30 years. It will work itself out through a continual stage of deterioration. John chapter 15 speaks of the vineyard and dying branches. ECUSA is a dying branch. It has no gospel to proclaim.

I’ve always been of the mind that the success and rapid growth of the more conservative churches in the U.S. (the so-called “megachurches”) is founded on three basic pillars: 1) a more biblical-based theology heavy on “moral teachings”, 2) a sophisticated marketing effort towards young families and professionals who they perceive as having like-minded values, and 3) a requirement that members bring something to the table as part of their membership. Whether it is the act of tithing (committting 10% of your income to the church), or a certain expectation of involvement, the results have been staggering. Whereas so-called “mainstream” Protestant denominations (United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, etc.) are hemorrhaging membership and getting increasingly grayer, non-denominal “megachurch” growth has been explosive, the Southern Baptists have been holding their own, and the Roman Catholic Church, even in the face of priest abuse scandals, has reversed its decline in numbers.

Bishop Murphy is correct: the Episcopal Church in the USA is indeed dying, but it has nothing really to do with the raging battle over homosexuality – that is just one symptom of a greater, far more destructive disease. Far more lethal to the church’s future is the absence of passion and a Gospel-driven raison d’ etre. What does ECUSA stand for that makes it unique among Christian churches? Why should I get out of bed on a Sunday morning and attend services? What does being an “Episcopalian” mean? If all it stands for is a beautiful liturgy and tradition (which it does have), combined a desire to welcome both “seekers and sinners” and not offend anyone, then, as Bishop Murphy says, it will indeed be dead within the next generation or two.

The sad fact is, the only people in ECUSA nowadays with any kind of passion seemingly fall into two self-destructive categories: 1) liberal gay and lesbian activists and powerful revisionist bishops seeking to protect their gains and consolidate their power within the Church’s hierarchy, and 2) those who have finally said “enough!” to the Church’s increasingly watered-down theology and slide towards irrelevancy following decades of emphasis on “inclusiveness” and “diversity” above all else. Whereas the former may have won the battle up to now, they will inevitably lose the war, since all they will be left with in the end are the keys to beautiful buildings as empty as their beliefs, while the latter take their children, money, and passions to churches and secular venues where, in the marketplace of ideas and ideals, they discover a more wanted and valued place.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 15:07 | Comments (0)
January 28, 2006

…but this is ridiculous…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:37 | Comments (2)

John Kerry’s call for a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, even in the face of his certain approval by the Senate on Tuesday, smacks of the same head-scratching strategy that doomed his presidential campaign in 2004. Bad enough he calls for a fillibuster that even Senate Minority leader Harry Reid concedes is doomed to fail, but who does he get on board with him from the outset? Yup, Ted “Chappaquiddick bridge” Kennedy, only the single most despised Democrat senator in mainstream America. But then, amidst all the ongoing hoopla of the Amramoff scandal and the new attention being given to Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress by lobbyists, he does so, not from the Senate chamber, but from a swanky Swiss hotel in Davos, Switzerland where he is attending an internal forum.

Bogusgold, I think, has the best summation of the absurdity of “Mr. Reporting for Duty’s” tactics and the fallout it will likely have on nominees – both Republican and Demoncrat – in the future:

Every Democrat supporting the Alito filibuster deserves what they’re about to get, and I hope they remember it in the coming years. But of course they won’t. Their current political philosophy of preference is that of an average three year old: Throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way, and whine when the tantrum leads to an even worse outcome. Oh, and the outcome isn’t real anyway… elections you don’t win are always stolen.

…I have been trying to sort out the rationale for Senate Democrats doing this for a while, and can only conclude they’re doing so because they truly believe the public didn’t perceive them as antagonistic enough toward the Bush administration. Good Lord. What color is the sky in their world? Almost any way you slice it, the partisan rancor in Washington has already sent the non-aligned general public to the breaking point of their patience.

…No leftist I have seen has explained the rationale for rejecting Alito – let alone filibustering him – in terms that couldn’t be turned against any nominee of a Democratic president in the future. And political reality means that, unlike in the past, such an outcome is now inevitable.

One can only wonder if Senator Kerry is only doing this for political reasons with an eye towards securing the moonbat base in 2008 and commencing a frontal assault on Hillary Clinton’s left flank. Hat tip: Polipundit.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:40 | Comment (1)

…The bad news is he did it while his wife was serving her first day of a five-month prison sentence. Only in John Daly’s world, I guess.

I can’t say I’m surprised, though. After watching the (I think) first two installments of “The Daly Planet” on The Golf Channel, I came away thinking he’s a down-to-earth good ol’ boy who just likes to drink beer and play professional golf. His wife, however, clearly had some issues goin’ down there, presenting herself as an unloving, uncaring, surly, gold-digging, um, wife under the best of circumstances.

Pretty wild, huh? Jeez, usually the only prison I have to worry about on a golf course is the jail my ball finds itself in after I drive left off the tee.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 11:48 | Comment (1)
January 27, 2006

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Madame Dread: A Tale of Love, Vodou, and Civil Strife in Haiti. Well written, interesting account of a woman’s life-changing experiences in Haiti. Judging from this latest Reuters story, not much has changed since the author left there a few years ago.

Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. Working my way through this one. This interesting bio by Raymond Arroyo details the life a woman turned Franciscan nun who overcame amazing hurdles – a cruel, abandoning father, a mentally ill mother, and the entire American Catholic male hierarchy, to name just a few – to found the Eternal Word Television Network and become one of the foremost movers and shakers in modern American Catholicism. I always liked her shows – I found her witty, ascerbic, cunning, intelligent, yet down to earth – and wouldn’t be surprised to see her marked for sainthood one of these days.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:22 | Comment (1)
January 23, 2006

…that is, on any semblance of sanity regarding the Alito nomination. As Paul Mirengoff so ably writes:

The Times’ new test is not only blatantly opportunistic — focusing not on whether Alito will judge fairly and intelligently, but only on whether he will advance the Times’ policy preferences — but it is foolish. The Republicans have a natural majority in the Senate. Under the Times’ approach, a Democratic president might well find it impossible to confirm a liberal or moderate nominee to replace Justice Scalia.

Given the risk the Democrats run in completely making themselves look foolish now and setting themselves up for future embarrasments whenever the next vacancy opens up, you would think the Times, as caretaker and enabler of the Democratic, liberal agenda, would know better.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 18:37 | Comments (3)
January 21, 2006

Greetings to one and all from Goodboys Nation. I am your host, Doug “The Great White Shank” Richard. Goodboys Nation – the Weblog is my humble offering to those among us who, for reasons long lost to antiquity, are or have been part of the Goodboys, a group of guys (see pic above right) who get together several times a year to golf, drink, and basically act like juveniles – good juveniles for sure, but juveniles nonetheless. The culmination of every year is the Goodboys Invitational golf tournament, which takes place the 3rd weekend of July, usually somewhere on Cape Cod.

The Goodboys came to be through a weekend golf outing that had its inauguration way back in 1991 and has grown from a humble two-day, two rounds of golf outing at the Bethel Inn and Country Club to its current three-day setup (since 1999 on the Cape) with various spring and fall outings to make sure everyone is still alive and functioning. Recently, a breakaway group of Goodboys has attempted to make a February pilgrimage to The Mirage in Las Vegas an annual event serving as the unofficial kick-off of the Goodboys Year. God help them.

This Goodboys Nation blog has a two-fold purpose in its humble existence: 1) to serve as a vehicle for general news and chatter within the Nation, hopefully replacing the 6 gazillion e-mails that inevitably show up in everyone’s Inbox the first day long-time GB “The Funny Guy” sees his first robin redbreast taking a s**t on his lakeside veranda, continuing up to and beyond the Goodboys Invitational, and 2) to serve as my own happy “bully pulpit” where I can editorialize and spout nonsense about areas I like to right about.

Please bookmark Goodboys Nation for your daily fix of news, sports, whimsy and editorial. I hope you’ll also check out the links provided – there’s something there for even the most discerning Internet grazer. If you see something you like or not like, or agree or disagree with, leave a comment. Oh, and if you like to play golf on beautiful venues, drink beer, have some laughs, and have $400 or so to kick around, I’m sure the reigning champions of the 2005 Goodboys Invitational (a.k.a. “Exec-Comm”) “Rambro” and “Deuce” will be glad to consider your own personal application to Goodboys Nation. Being a member of Goodboys Nation is sorta like entering the Hotel California (or is it the Roach Motel): you can check in any time you like but you can never leave. :-) Enjoy!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:00 | Comments (2)

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