Saturday, December 30, 2006

An Old Thought for the New Year

This is a "meditation" that I posted originally with Brad Drell back in October. I plan on having a new one posted by the first of the new year. Blessings to all.

On Tension

While browsing Titus One Nine recently, I came across a letter from the Bishop of Texas which contained a troubling bit of conventional wisdom that has been repeated ad nauseam by numerous fence sitters in recent memory. I quote from the Bishop’s letter:

"I have promised to remain a member of the Episcopal Church and to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. To some, that looks like sitting on the fence, and I must admit, sometimes it feels darned uncomfortable balancing here. But that is our call as Anglicans, to remain in this place of tension, reconciling ourselves to some discomfort for the good of the whole and not just part of the whole." [emphasis added]
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas

First of all, the idea that we are somehow ‘called’ to be in a state of tension is incorrect. We are called to preach, teach and baptize in the name of Christ. We are called to take The Word to the corners of the earth. We are called into a right relationship with God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit who is acting in the world today. We are definitely not ‘called’ to ‘remain in this place of tension’. Quite the contrary, we are called to stand and be counted with Christ. Even a cursory reading of the Gospels will reveal that Christ never prevaricated or waffled or referred a question from his opponents to a committee for further consideration. I would like to ask the Rich Young Ruler, for one, whether he thought that Christ was anything other that decisive. (Matt 19: 16-30; Mark 10: 17-31; Luke 18: 18-30)

I was a Deputy at GC ’06, and I can speak from personal experience that what transpired in Columbus caused a great number of people far more than ‘some discomfort’. It was gut wrenching to sit and watch the Church that is supposed to the Body of Christ turn its back on four millennia of tradition, the Anglican Communion, the Gospel and on Christ, Himself. Those ten days were some of the most painful I have ever experienced. But, just as my Faith has been strengthened in the aftermath of GC ’06, I believe that the Church will also find a new strength and a renewed mission in this country.

Finally, we must remember that ECUSA is a part of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. The whole, meaning the Worldwide Anglican Communion, is certainly experiencing discomfort because of the actions in our part of the Communion, which we must remember is a very, very, very small part of that Communion. The crisis over fundamental doctrines of the Church is something that we in ECUSA have introduced, against the advice of our fellow Anglicans around the world. Our actions have put people’s lives in danger. Our actions have caused a crisis that has pitted brother against brother. Our actions have endangered our ecumenical relationships with other denominations. Our actions have led people to question their faith. Our actions have rent the fabric of our relationship to the Anglican Communion as well as severing our connection to over 4,000 years of Tradition and Faith. Does anyone remember something that Jesus said about a millstone around one’s neck? (Matt 18: 6-7; Mark 9: 42; Luke 17: 1-2)

Just as Paul was unwilling to put up with false teachings or misguided teachers; and just as the Early Church Fathers were unwilling to tolerate heretical beliefs that threatened to redefine the divinity of Christ; we must not tolerate a perpetual state of ‘tension’ and ‘discomfort’ which does nothing but foster ill-will and discord rather that further the advancement of God’s Kingdom on Earth. Rather, we must recognize that part of the whole has chosen by its actions to walk apart from the whole. This is a painful and unfortunate state of affairs, but the healing and growth of the Anglican Church in the United States is dependent on our recognition that Christ is in charge. In Him is our peace and relief from this discomfort and tension.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14: 27 (RSV)

Your brother in Christ,

Michael W. Millard
Nashotah House ‘08

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Finals are over (Thank God), and we can now settle down and enjoy this wonderful season. I just wish that we had snow on the ground. Coming from the South, I'm used to having a brown, or green, Christmas, but living now in Wisconsin, one would think that we would have at least some snow on Christmas day.

I always have mixed feelings about Christmas. On the one hand, it is wonderful to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Fully man and fully God, Christ came among us, from humble beginnings to reunite all of creation with the One True God. This is what this time is all about: Celebrating Christ's birth and preparing ourselves as we look forward to that glorious time when Christ will return in power and great Glory.

On the other hand, the triteness and selfishness of our modern observance of Christmas leaves me cold. The department stores have had Christmas decorations up since before Halloween and it seems that everyone is focused on the countdown to present opening time. People will start taking down their decorations, which have been up since Thanksgiving, on the day after Christmas, apparently completely forgetting that the Christmas Season actually doesn't start until Christmas Eve and lasts until Epiphany, the 12 days of Christmas.

Let us celebrate the Birth of Christ.
Let us celebrate God's Grace and Love.
Let us celebrate our families and spend time with them sharing God's Word.
Let us look to those who are in need or who have no one with which to share Christ's Love.
Take this opportunity to tell someone why this holiday is so very special.
Take a friend to Midnight Mass.
Better yet, take their whole family.
Thank God for His Gift.
Take His Gift, keep Him in your heart, and share Him with the world.

Gloria in excelsis.

Your brother in Christ,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This is a meditation that I wrote and published on Brad Drell's blog on November 1, 2006. I plan to post a meditation every week or so starting after final exams are over next Thursday. Enjoy this rerun in the meantime:

Last week, my daughter asked me what shoes she should wear to our Community Mass. I told her, and five minutes later, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, she agreed that she should wear the shoes I told her to wear in the first place. It struck me at that moment that we had just spent five minutes going round and round and ended up right back where we should have been in the first place. That was five minutes of our lives that we will never get back. Five minutes that could have been used for better things.

I had intended the paragraph above to be the beginning of a meditation on the importance of obedience, and our need to discern, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to Whom our obedience belongs. Maybe that will still come along at some point in the future, but something happened yesterday to change my application of this opening paragraph somewhat.

Last evening, my wife and I had the extreme honor of attending a small dinner party for The Baroness Caroline Cox. Anyone who does not know about Baroness Cox or her organization, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), should immediately go to her website, The Baroness is a committed Christian who has dedicated her life to reaching out to the forgotten and the persecuted in the world. HART is currently operating projects in Uganda, Nigeria, Burma, Armenia, Sudan, and East Timor. Hers is an active ministry of mission to those who risk their very lives to believe and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My daughter and I lost five minutes arguing about what shoes she was going to wear. The Episcopal Church has lost more than 30 years to an equally meaningless argument. For whatever reason, we in ECUSA have taken it upon ourselves to push the envelope of theology and doctrine even to the point of schism with the majority of the Anglican Community. ECUSA seems to be very proud of its progressive reinterpretations of Scripture, rejection of tradition, elevation of human reason separate from the Scripture, and the introduction of experience as a necessary part of our re-evaluation of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Like the pride of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:6) and Moses’ hubris at the rock in Meribah (Num 20:11), ECUSA’s actions have exacted an extreme cost, both in the United States and around the world. Average Sunday Attendance in the Episcopal Church has been on a steady decline since the middle 1960’s. Young people are staying away from the Church in droves. Countless numbers of believers have left the Church for other denominations. Some have stopped going to church at all. More and more parishes are seeking Episcopal oversight from overseas Bishops because they refuse to compromise their traditional, orthodox, Anglican Faith. The Church has fragmented, and the Unity of the Body of Christ that St. Paul so clearly advocates is no more.

Baroness Cox made a very astute observation in commenting about the state of the Church today. She described our current troubles, both in the U.S. and the U.K., as a “diabolical distraction”. I do not think that her words were flippantly chosen nor were they wrong. For while we spend our time voting in General Convention to place evangelism third on the list of spending priorities, the forces around the world which are arrayed against God’s people are making steady progress. “There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.” (C.S. Lewis)

What do we do? We stop playing around with the Word of God. We stop reinventing Christ every generation or so. We recognize that the Holy Spirit is not going to guide us to do something that is expressly prohibited in Scripture.

We are the Church Militant. It is our responsibility to reach out to the suffering people of the world and render assistance, but more importantly, we are called to bring them the Good News and show them that Christ is the way to God (John 14: 6). Christ died on the Cross for all mankind, and now we are the ones who must make sure that all mankind has an opportunity to hear and believe. We cannot do that if we as a Church cannot even articulate a clear and powerful vision of the Gospel of Christ.

If we want to bring people back to the Church, we must be able to give them answers to their questions.

We must be able to affirm that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that Holy Scripture is His Word and His Testament.

We must know Scripture.

We must live Scripture.

We must proclaim Scripture even to the point of our own martyrdom.

There is nothing more important that we will do with our lives than to give ourselves completely to God’s Will and His service. Maybe this was a meditation on obedience after all.

To God be the Glory.

Your brother in Christ,
Michael W. Millard
Nashotah House ‘08

Greetings and Salutations:

Welcome to a new blog, probably one of several million that are being created today. There will be posts to read coming along soon. Hopefully, they will be of interest to someone.