Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sarai by the Sea

Sarai by the Sea

She strolls the sands
A pace so slow
Noticing not how the ocean expands
Its ebb and flow.

The ocean’s creative energy bound in two:
Its massive diastolic reach
Engulfs the old, makes new
The systolic remnant folding from the beach.

The surf’s repetition
Is what most see,
The grandeur of the waves’ disposition,
Both a danger and beauty, most will agree.

Is there a secret
Hidden in the sea?
Does it request
From everyday life to flee?

Sarai stares into the ocean blue
Searching for an anchor,
For any answer, in lieu
Of the source of her internal rancor.

The ocean can settle
From its pacific smile,
Its stormy waves, her mettle.
But now only confuse and beguile.

Sarai’s life not as she thought.
In search of her true roots,
A flicker of hope she bought,
Revealed but as rotten fruit.

Day after day,
Year after year,
Sarai searched for someone to say
That she is some father’s little dear.

Not from the shoreline, the outer banks,
The majestic great lakes fronts.
It was at the southern sunshine beaches and ranks,
She ceased her daughter-hunts.

Always at water’s edge
She looked for the concrete.
It was as if Sarai could not dredge
From the sea’s bed a stable seat.

Seemingly an orphan of the sea,
Disappointment and rejection
Guided her to flee
From her closest affections.

Simply looking to the ocean
Is not a lasting retreat,
But of symbol and notion
How life can be complete.

New life and new birth
Also symbolic of the sea,
Point to One of higher worth,
The One Who hung on a tree.

Sarai was never abandoned,
While lorning for her truth.
Her Father, His hand on
Her heart from childhood and youth.

Now time
To be drenched by the sea.
A different clime,
Baptizing Sarah's new me.

© 2016 WENjr

Monday, January 25, 2016

Readers Respond to Book by Archdeacon Books's author J.N. Sullivan

Readers Respond to From My Father’s House by J.N. Sullivan

·        Ruth Jean's voice is so true, so evocative of that time in the South that it is mesmerizing. I'm over halfway through, and I had to put it aside for a while because I didn't want it to be over.  That feeling has happened before with some other books, but not often.  Something very special.

·        It’s a wonderful story. I was born in Vass, NC, near Pinehurst, and spent a great deal of time at my grandmother and great-grandmother’s homes.  I had not thought of “slop buckets” in forever, but the memory is back.  Also shelling beans on the back porch and so many other small moments in small Southern towns in another time.  The words of so many hymns sung in the Methodist Church we regularly attended….the melodies came back to me.  And BVD’s.  In some ways I was reminded of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a good story line, the evocation of another time in very clear, simple prose.

·        I bought and read the book right after I learned about it. I loved it!  I am going to put it in the church library.

·        I read this wonderful book over Christmas vacation. It was a sweet and inspiring story, and beautifully written.

·        I've been kicking around in my head how to express the deep impression it made on me. Let me only say that I was absolutely transported into the world rendered; "disbelief" was willingly--and as completely as I believe it's possible to be--"suspended," and I was deeply moved by the tale from many different angles.  It has earned its place in the Southern "canon"!

·        I loved this novel. The style is simple and elegant and flows easily. The story puts us right into the 1920’s in a small town in Virginia as it is seen by the young narrator, Ruth Jean. Along with her, readers will enjoy the humor and warmth of family and community life even as we confront the difficulties and moral issues that arise along the way.

·        Great reading! This novel excels at qualities I value most.  It offers characters in a way that makes the reader know and care about them. Its details let the reader learn about a world of experience distant from his or her own. It is built from vivid episodes, especially those filled with difficulty and danger. I imagined how interesting it would be, as a teacher, to explore this book with a group of readers the same age as its heroine, Ruth Jean. Would they understand her? Would they be able to compare her growth to their lives? What values would they learn from her?

·        J. N. Sullivan's book takes readers to another time. Depending on the age of the reader, the details bring forth memories. Each chapter provides an insightful story, and the chapters are skillfully linked to create a heartfelt remembrance by the narrator. Readers will react to the array of characters and to recognized situations of today which are made more difficult by the social restrictions of the past.

·        I loved this book. I just could not put it down –a lovely journey of a little girl learning what it means to take personal responsibility for your life! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Overseers and Servants

Overseers and Servants

The case was made early.
Modern times need no alteration
To qualifications that surely
Issued as God’s demarcation.

A noble task,
The office of overseer.
God simply asks
One wife to him He foresees her.

Sober-minded, self-controlled, and respectable,
Not quarrelsome, nor a drunkard, but gentle;
Such conduct electable,
To episcopal orders central.

As in the overseer’s life,
His ecclesiastical enablers so to:
With dignity and truth rife,
Their examiners seeking blamelessness sue.

Overseer and servant,
With clear minds in confident belief,
Lead and serve God’s people in faith most fervent.
Their burden? Joy, not grief.

We pray for all bishops and deacons,
First ministries in the early church,
With Christ-like reflections, as beacons
Guiding His people in their search.

1Timothy 3:1-13

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Sampling of Responses to Anglican Primates' decision by # of Words

The Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Canterbury, England January 11-15, 2016. Following the Primates' decision about The Episcopal Church many American bishops (and others) issued statements. I took a sampling from the statements posted by George Conger of Anglican Ink. Curiosity caused me to see who is the most verbose. Of this sampling the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada wins. Most, if not all, of the links to responses can be found on the Anglican Ink website.

Bishop(s) Diocese/Organization Province/Jurisdiction # Words
1 Hiltz, Fred Primate/Archbishop Anglican Church of Canada 3037
2 Martins, Daniel Springfield TEC 1893
3 Garner, Bruce President - Integrity TEC 1525
4 Ely, Thomas Vermont TEC 1338
5 Stokes, Chip New Jersey TEC 1278
6 Douglas, Ian & Ahrens, Laura Connecticut TEC 1248
7 Brewer, Gregory Central Florida TEC 1129
8 Daniel, Clifton Pennsylvania TEC 780
9 Sumner, George Dallas TEC 733
10 Knisely, Nicholas Rhode Island TEC 700
11 Gunter, Matthew Fond du Lac TEC 558
12 Hougland, Whayne Western Michigan TEC 532
13 Dietsche, Andrew New York TEC 503
14 Mayer, J. Scott Northwest Texas (diocesan) and Fort Worth (IV provisional) TEC 441
15 Iker, Jack Fort Worth ACNA 440
16 Strange, Mark Moray, Ross & Caithness Episcopal Church of Scotland 428
17 Lee, Jeffrey Chicago TEC 365
18 Ousley, Todd Eastern Michigan TEC 363
19 Hunter, Todd Churches For the Sake of Others ACNA 355
20 Wabukala, Eliud Primate/Archbishop Anglican Church of Kenya 339
21 Hanley, Michael Oregon TEC 309
22 Waggoner, James Spokane TEC 273
23 Milic, Jasmin Croatia The Reformed Episcopal Church in Croatia 233
24  Hodges-Copple, Anne E. & Lee, Peter North Carolina TEC 228
25 Fenwick, John Primus Free Church of England 106
26 Graham, Franklin Samaritan's Purse Evangelist 104

Monday, January 18, 2016

Anti-Christian Inclinations in Western Nations

Anti-Christian Inclinations in Western Nations

The title of this essay is not “Christians Living in Secular Nations.” There is a reason. The tide of secularism and its progressive flow has subverted any remnant of religious tolerance among western nations and their populations. A transformation of America’s normal sense of tolerance and its loss of some freedoms has indeed occurred since 2009. The source of America’s freedom is being seriously tested, if not totally ignored or reinterpreted, within the past few years by leftward-leaning activists and the political elite.

America’s political progressives, and progressives in other western nations, see Christianity in particular as a threat to their idea of freedom. Any traditional standard for freedom or any tradition at all for that matter, is the polar opposite of progressivism. The inherent nature of political progressivism, however, is destruction and replacement.

In order for progressivism to “progress” it must have an object (meaning a system, policy, or tradition) to tear down. That object of destruction in western societies is traditional Christianity in general, and the visible Church, in particular. Why beat down Christianity?

It was Christianity which over two millennia held strong beliefs regarding human life and marriage, among many other virtues. It was Christianity and its church that built western civilization, promoted science, supported the arts, international and western law, and established the foundation of western morality. Progressivism possesses oblique views about traditional morality.

In the years following the end of World War II many followers of Christianity began to turn from their religious commitments in favor of the good life that secularism promoted. Church-going gradually became a Sunday social event instead of a time of communal praise of the Creator. Decline in church attendance began.

Religion to the secularists means restraint, and restraint means no freedom. So, the traditional Christian belief system holding the fabric of western society has to be ripped. There is also the belief that secularism can replace God. Certainly not articulated in the manner previously recited, the state properly structured, could supply all that humankind would ever need.

Taken to its inevitable end, progressive liberalism must, through its ideological process, pursue its own destruction necessarily evolving into socialism, which when taken to its end, launches into totalitarianism. This succession of government structures is a series of logical destinies. If progressive government firmly takes hold in America it would eventually resemble the old Soviet Union.

When the twenty-first century arrived the decades of decline in church attendance was matched by a rise in the number of “secular progressive leaders” in key church positions – both lay and clergy, Protestant and Roman Catholic. Progressive thinking was taking hold not only in state but in church.

See of Canterbury and its Provinces
Between January 11 and January 15, 2016, the Anglican Communion’s highest ranking clerical officers – called Primates – of independent Anglican provinces from around the world, gathered in Canterbury, England to discuss and debate the problems within its worldwide church. The number #1 consensus problem was The Episcopal Church and its authorization of same-sex marriage. Other blogs and news outlets cover the details of that event, so we will not go into those here. What does a five-day gathering of Anglican Church archbishops have to do with politics, government, social change, and traditional Christian belief? Everything! Belief is pivotal.

The Anglican primates/archbishops confirmed that marriage is between one man and one woman. Why would they need to re-state such an obvious Christian tenet? The Episcopal Church in the United States at its triennial convention in 2015 voted to approve same-sex marriages in its canons and liturgical rites. That decision being contrary to biblical revelation and teachings of the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church was suspended from certain communion participation for three years. This is a perfect example of progressive ideology seeping into the mechanisms of the church. Was that suspension important? Yes!

The action by the Anglican Primates was surprising – for everybody. But that decision may be the beginning of a necessary turning point or reversal away from heretical church teaching in some of the western Anglican Provinces (national churches). We can only wait and see how the suspension will work. Despite this particular action in the Anglican Communion and the hope it might bring, there are actions needed within the United States to reverse anti-Christian prerogatives from its executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

Churches, or probably I should say people influential within churches, are not immune from their national political environment. Political leftist are certainly alive and well within the church. Those considered on the right of the political spectrum inhabit churches also. What governments legislate or mandate have significant effects not only on church and church-affiliated operations but on the people within the church as well. Some church people believe that government law trumps church tradition and beliefs. At some point the church must be counter-cultural and challenge the government.

If a national government mandates that marriage between two men, or a marriage between two women, is the law of the land, is the church required to follow that law?

Ideological, Progressive, and Secular Governments
In the United States, among economic and other negatives, the Affordable Healthcare Act enacted by Congress and the Obergfell v. Hodges decision by the United States Supreme Court in the summer of 2015 were decisions mostly affecting Christians and Christian organization holding traditional beliefs about abortion and marriage.

Catholic and other church-affiliated hospitals will be forced to perform abortions on demand or shut down. Christian clergy who refuse to conduct same-sex marriage rites will be jailed – that has already happened in Europe and Canada. Actions by the American national executive and the judiciary (the liberal majority) have done and will continue to do whatever necessary to undermine the Christian foundations of the United States. So goes the stream of official anti-Christian American leadership.

Europe in the 20th and 21st Centuries
In 1992 Europe’s denial of its own Christian history was codified in the Treaty of Maastricht. The beginning of Europe’s demise officially began with the formation of the European Union on February 7 of that year. The same secular ideology that the United States has been experiencing in recent years preceded us by a few years on the European continent. It was perhaps Europe’s distaste for war coupled with their emerging good life that led them to anti-Christian secularism. This secularism all but destroyed Europe’s Christian heritage and began the progress of denying its unique culture.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger knew early on in his ministries what was transpiring in Europe. He wrote extensively about the massive spread of secularism and its consequences in Germany and the rest of Europe. When elected to the Holy See, Ratzinger took the name Benedict XVI, a name invoking the memory and efforts of Saint Benedict of Nursia and his monks who saved European civilization in his day. Both the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church recognize Saint Benedict as the patron of Europe, and with good reason. Considering the mass immigration in the latter half of 2015 into Europe, an immigration of people of a totally different culture, what now?

A Theory of Western (Christian) Civilization
French philosopher RĂ©mi Brague developed a theory of European culture from barbarian days until now. In his book Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization, Brague provides a clear and reasonable understanding of how Europe developed and how Europe was able to absorb multiple cultures through a process Brague labels as “Romanity.”

In the ancient world it was the Greeks, according to Brague, who were the great creators. The Jews were the great social innovators in history. Israel was the first great society. Rome (meaning the Roman Empire) never invented, it copied. Rome copied Greek art and literature. But Rome allowed for creativity and culture to live. Rome was the operating or managed conduit allowing Greek and Jewish-Christian cultures to live if not flourish throughout the Roman Empire.

When the Empire breathed its last the pre-Great Schism Catholic Church assumed the likeness of its structure – this is what Brague calls Romanity, a structure embracing multiple cultures and influences. The Roman Empire’s greatness, then, rested in its structure and its acceptance of its secondarity. Although Rome did not intend the spread of the Christian faith throughout the empire, its governmental structure and laws allowed for it. The Apostle Paul used Roman law to his advantage because he was a Roman citizen and had the right to invoke just treatment through Roman civil law.

The great output of European culture over the centuries is directly attributable to Greek and Jewish-Christian cultural influences. If the nascent Christian Church had not fought Marcion and his heresy (the God of the Old Testament was not the God of the New Testament), Jewish life would never have become its heritage. But the early Church knew its roots were that of the Israelites. If the Church had ignored the Jews of the Old Testament then Europe probably would not have known of it.

So it was the “Romanity” of the Church that provided the conduit for Greek and Jewish-Christian cultures to influence barbarian tribes. Those tribes were then converted to Christianity. By keeping their own cultures and continuing with their own languages the Catholic Church, similar to the old Roman Empire, allow Europe to flourish in both unity and diversity. Europe lived recognizing itself to be result of that when went before, but the 1992 Treaty began the official ending of Europe’s unique culture. Liberal, progressive government paved the way for Europe’s demise. Given the recent mass immigration of a wholly different culture into Europe, their possible end is accelerated.

The point made by Brague is that Europe’s acceptance of its “secondarity” allowed for multiple cultures and multiple languages. Christianity as the framework of Europe did not destroy Europe’s many cultures or language.

Cultures exist, the come together naturally, they are not planned. Although Europe was and still is to some extent multicultural and the “idea of Europe” is its own culture. Europe’s “eccentric” culture means that the axis of Europe is centered not in Europe. It is centered in Christianity and Greek wisdom provided first by the old Roman Empire and then by the Church. And later in history it was the under the Christian umbrella where European Enlightenment flourished and modern science began its development, results of which would never occur in a uni-culture of belief and language.

What’s Next?
Who knows? The progressive zeitgeist hovering over the United States of America step by step is destroying its history and traditional values. Politically and ideologically enforced social and political transformation is killing America. Progressivism deplores tradition. Christianity is traditional. America is now subject to relentless anti-Christian promulgations because its government and political elite so choose to release America from its roots. But just like Europe, traditional America is an extended traditional Europe finding her axis of life centered not in itself but outside.

Perhaps a Flicker of Light from Canterbury
The Anglican Communion is touted as the world’s third largest Christian group behind the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. Perhaps – just perhaps – this simple and straight-forward decision by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in January, 2016 will begin a turnaround, a turnaround that allows Christians to sense the movement of Holy Spirit and thus reaffirm and to act on their traditional, biblical, and triune faith without fear from pagan ideologies or progressive governments. We western Christians must stand firm for our faith in every aspect of daily living and reclaim our nations.

Spiritual Warfare
Life is a continuing battle, spiritual warfare. Progressive thought does not acknowledge the spiritual and it verbally avoids war. But it is a forceful warrior and the battle it is what it is, spiritual warfare. Such is the constant challenge of the living. Shall we engage in a spirit of oppression or in a spirit of life? Does America want to live today acting according to the Spirit of the Age or according to the Spirit of Eternal ?



The next book, The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail, is a novel first published in 1975. It is a story about mass migration, a migration of third world people onto the shores of France. This is an interesting read considering the current (2015-2016) migration of middle eastern cultural peoples into (formerly) Christian Europe.

Sunday, January 17, 2016



Almighty God, You are the Creator of all life. As we begin this
 week, be near us as we unite with our pre-born brothers and sisters who are scheduled for death. May you by your Holy Spirit and by the voice of your church lead your people to rescue these innocent children, as well as to lovingly support their mothers who see no other option but death; all this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, the first born from the dead. AMEN.

 [From “Priests for Life” prayer for Right to Life March, adapted by Myles Lipscomb, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Birmingham, AL]