September 29, 2006

Eat How?

I heard a phrase in a television commercial today that one hears often. The phrase is “eat healthy,” presumably meaning eat lots of fruits and vegetables, avoid saturated fats, etc. Walking back to the kitchen to clean up the dinner dishes, however, it suddenly occurred to me that this is an odd phrase. A check of the dictionary confirmed my intuition. “Healthy” is an adjective and needs to modify something, as it does in a phrase like “healthy food.” If one is told to “eat healthy,” the obvious question to ask is “healthy what?” Of course, what is really meant is something like “eat in a manner that promotes good health.” Our phrase need an adverb, not an adjective. (I do hope that no one will try to convince me that “healthy” is—or ever can be—a noun.) In other words, we should say “eat healthily.” That doesn’t sound very idiomatic, of course. “Eat healthfully,” which can mean the same thing, sounds a bit more natural, though still a trifle strange. Perhaps if we used a gramatically correct phrase more often, however, it would not sound so odd.

September 23, 2006

Trying Too Hard

Have you noticed that some people’s scrupulous pronunciation gets them into trouble? Sometimes this appears to be the effect of wanting to articulate one’s speach so as to sound intelligent and to be clearly understood. There is a woman in Pittsburgh, for example, who appears in local commercials and whose speech always sounds stilted. She makes “school” into a two-syllable word: skoo-wul. I have also heard a number of young people lately use an odd pronunciation of “didn’t.” Rather than saying did-nt, they say did-dent, which, besides being wrong, is actually rather difficult to say. I’m not sure what’s going on here; contractions are supposed to leave out sounds, and this pronounciation seems to be adding them. “Didn’t” is a contraction for “did not,” so where does the other “d” come from? Then there is the unfortunate word “often.” Centuries ago, the “t” in this word was always pronounced. As part of a wider trend, however, the “t” was dropped. In recent times, presumably because people trust spelling more than they trust their ears, the “t” is being put back into “often,” so much so that some dictionaries consider this a standard, though not the preferred pronounciation. Curiously, some words have been imumune to this sort of misguided carefulness. No one puts a “t” in “listen,” for example. On the other hand, one regularly—and mistakenly— hears an “l” in words such as “calm” and “balk.” (See my essay on words containing a silent “l” in Language Notes.)

September 14, 2006

Update on New York Meeting

The bishops meeting in New York this week issued a joint statement Wednesday morning, September 13. The statement, as reported by Episcopal News Service, was brief and to the point. The key sentence is the following: “We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight.” Apparently, bishops loyal to their ordination vows held the line against the Network bishops.

I should note, by the way, that the list of likely attendees that I gave in my previous post was almost the same as the list of actual attendees. Only Bishop of Texas Don A. Wimberly did not attend. He, of course, is hosting his own meeting of “Windsor-compliant” bishops later this month.

A number of the bishops who participated in the meeting have commented on it. Readers can find those comments elsewhere; they offer little insight into what happened.

It is worth mentioning a statement by Network Moderator and Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert W. Duncan, as reported in a follow-up ENS story:
Describing the meeting as “honest,” Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDAP), said it became clear that “the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church.”
This is a curious statement. Technically, all the participating bishops are, at least for now, part of The Episcopal Church. The Network has sometimes claimed, however, as the Moderator seems to be doing here, that it represents the real Episcopal Church (and, of course, the General Convention, Presiding Bishop, and 90% or so of Episcopalians in the church do not). This is nonsense, and it is unfortunate that the ENS story did quote anyone directly disputing such a disengenuous remark.

September 11, 2006

Bishops Meeting Again

A small number of Episcopal bishops, including the Presiding Bishop and the Presiding Bishop-elect, are meeting for three days in New York City beginning today. The meeting, suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury through his representative, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, has been surrounded by mystery and circumspection. NPR had a brief report on the meeting this morning, but ENS has been silent about it since it published a letter from Presiding Bishop Griswold on August 22 clarifying his understanding of the nature of the meeting.

According to Bishop Griswold’s letter, because the Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority to interfere in the affairs of The Episcopal Church, he has urged the church to find a way to resolve the requests Network bishops have made for oversight of their dioceses effectively outside The Episcopal Church. (The consolidated request from the seven dioceses has only just become public and can be found, of all places, on the site of the Connecticut Six, who would benefit directly from the proposed arrangement.) Bishops Lee (Virginia) and Lipscomb (SW Florida) will serve as conveners for the meeting, and Canon Kearon will be present, representing Archbishop Williams. Presiding Bishop Griswold will be joined by Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori, as well as Bishops Wimberly (Texas), Henderson (Upper South Carolina), O’Neill (Colorado), and Sisk (New York). Of the bishops who have asked for “alternative primatial oversight” or something similar, Bishops Iker, Duncan, Salmon, and Stanton will also be present. (The NPR report spoke of “six bishops,” so one should not consider this list definitive.

What are we to make of this meeting?

To begin with, it is yet another meeting of bishops. (Canon Kearon represents the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is apparently unwilling to visit our shores.) Ever since the votes at the 2003 General Convention, only bishops seem meet to discuss the “crisis” in The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. It is high time that priests, deacons, and laypeople assert that bishops are not the church, particularly not The Episcopal Church. Whereas bishops have demonstrated considerable talent in fomenting discord in the Communion in recent years, they have shown little capacity for defusing it. The whole church met in General Convention in June, of course, but, even in that gathering, bishops exercised what many consider inappropriate and, perhaps, destructive, influence when relations with the Anglican Communion were being discussed.

This meeting can be seen as one between militant traditionalists, represented by Iker, Duncan, Salmon, and Stanton, and institutional representatives from The Episcopal Church. The matter at hand is the desire of the traditionalists to separate themselves from The Episcopal Church without having to pay a price for doing so. Bishops Griswold and Jefferts Schori, while usually described as “liberal,” are attending by virtue of their offices, although the Network bishops have made clear that they consider both bishops’ authority unacceptable because of their theology and understanding of the church. The remaining bishops may be meant to be, but can hardly be considered to actually be, representative of the breadth of opinion within the church. Where are the likes of Bishops Bruno, Chane, Mathes, or Robinson? This lack of balance is certainly cause for anxiety among loyal Episcopalians.

That this meeting is taking place at all is distressing—certainly that it is taking place at the behest of Archbishop Williams. Bishop Griswold began his explanation of the origin of the meeting as follows: “Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of “alternative primatial oversight” and the difficulty in making a response.” What, we must ask, was the nature of Archbishop Williams’ difficulty? He has no authority over The Episcopal Church; the Presiding Bishop’s letter acknowledges that the archbishop knows this. Moreover, it is perfectly clear to anyone who might look at them—which may or may not include the archbishop—that the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church neither allow for the kind of isolation asked for by the Network bishops nor give the Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops, the Executive Council, or anyone else the right to negotiate or grant such a radical arrangement. The response of Rowan Williams to the appeal of the Network bishops should not have been “I have difficulty deciding what to do” but “get a life!”

Leaving aside for the moment whether there is reason to talk, consider what the two “sides” want. The Episcopal Church wants its bishops and clergy to obey their ordination vows and to act within the established polity of the church. It expects bishops to participate in church governance, not to subvert it by perverting its canons, building their own organizational structures, and negotiating with other churches as though they represented an autonomous church without connection to The Episcopal Church. It expects toleration of divergent views, certainly those consistent with the parameters of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the ongoing development of Anglican traditions in this church and elsewhere. It expects those who, for reasons of conscience, cannot support The Episcopal Church to have the integrity to renounce their authority within the church and to leave empty-handed, their reward being the conviction that they are following Christ to the best of their understanding. This is what other groups dissatisfied with The Episcopal Church have done in times past.

And what do Bishops Iker, Duncan, Salmon, Stanton, et al., want? Institutionally, these people want a church best described as neo-Puritan—narrow theologically, moralistic, ruled by bishops, and dedicated to the principle of sola scriptura. At a more practical level, the Network seeks (1) effectively to be free of The Episcopal Church, (2) to be, in its own right, a member of the Anglican Communion, and (3) to retain the property of parishes and dioceses of which its members are currently in effective control.

Short of simply throwing away the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, which is as immoral as it is illegal, where are the issues that could reasonably be subject to negotiation? Although loyal Episcopal bishops cannot, on their own authority, promise very much to the insurgents, they certainly can agree to try to convince the House of Bishops to act so as to enforce certain kinds of agreements. The bishops effected a moratorium on the consecration of new bishops prior to the 75th General Convention, for example, and appear to be committed to enforcing some continuing moratorium by virtue of resolution B033. The Network bishops could, therefore, be offered an agreement—one that would have to be sold to the House of Bishops—that they would not be presented by their colleagues for past misdeeds if they uphold church order in the future. The bishops cannot bind clergy and laypeople to such an agreement, however, and it is unclear that bishops could agree conscientiously not to move forward presentments not originating from bishops. Such an offer, and no other, should be made to Bishops Iker, Duncan, Salmon, and Stanton.

But where, you say, is the Christian charity in a position of such uncharacteristic resoluteness?

It is time, I think, to suspend the endless arguments about theology; they are largely beside the point. Although I find the theology articulated by the Network hateful, disingenuous, ignorant, and self-serving, that is not the point. Believing that the genius of Anglicanism subsists in its willing embrace of theological diversity, however, I would exclude it from Anglicanism only because of its categorical rejection of differing opinions and the authority of those who hold them. This posture recalls nothing so much as the ancient controversy known as Donatism, which no less orthodox a figure as Augustine of Hippo repeatedly and successfully denounced as heretical. Even this is not a reason to eschew discussion of accommodation, however, as one might, in principle, imagine the Network agreeing to be more tolerant without sacrificing its other theological positions.

The Episcopal Church should take a hard line against the insurgents not because they are “conservative,” “orthodox,” “Evangelical,” or whatever—not, in fact, because of their expressed theology at all. These bishops and all who follow them, particularly those in holy orders, must be treated harshly because of the way they behave—because they are willing to lie, cheat, and, ultimately, steal, to achieve their goal of an independent “pure” American church—a church whose assets will, largely, be furnished by “liberating” them from The Episcopal Church. This is appalling and unacceptable behavior. All who engage in it demonstrate that they are unfit for Christian ministry, and The Episcopal Church has every reason to purge itself of people who behave in such a manner before they do more damage to it.

I will offer a more detailed argument for this position at a later time, though many Episcopalians are perfectly capable to documenting the ways in which the Network has subverted the church, lied about its intentions, and recklessly misrepresented and violated our Constitution and Canons, to say nothing of the Ten Commandments. In fact, their appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury is reminiscent of the story of the boy who murders his parents, then pleads for mercy because he is an orphan. The Episcopal Church is being asked to resolve a crisis created by the Network (and its predecessors) in a way that gives the Network virtually everything it is seeking until such time as it can negotiate being given everything it is seeking. Balderdash! Extortion is extortion, and putting a veneer of religion over it does not make it a holy enterprise.

What do I actually expect from this meeting? Not much. For now, I will be happy if the non-Network bishops simply refrain from giving away the store. For many Episcopalians who want to get back to being the church but who are unwilling to trade our rich Episcopalian heritage for ecclesiastical peace, I pray that Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will prove to be a defender of The Episcopal Church when she becomes Presiding Bishop in November. She sacrificed a degree of prestige in urging passage of B033 at General Convention. She perhaps has an opportunity now to get some of it back. If not now, let us hope, then soon.

Meanwhile, all of the rest of us can do is to pray for the church.

September 8, 2006

Apply Directly to the Whatever

There has been a good deal of comment on the Web about the bizarre and cheesy TV commercial for the headache remedy HeadOn. Besides having production values that suggest that the ad might have been produced by a crew of not-quite-talented middle schoolers, the commercial consists only of the directions for use, repeated three times: “HeadOn—apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn—apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn—apply directly to the forehead.”

Once I recovered from my initial disgust over the HeadOn commercial, I thought about the pronounciation of the word “forehead,” both in the ad itself and in the commentaries on it. (See and listen to the commentary by Brian Unger from NPR, for example.) Everyone seems to pronounce the word as fore´hed these days. I was taught to pronounce the word as fawr´id (or perhaps for´id), however, and the dictionaries I have consulted agree, at least insofar as they list such pronounciations first.

I suspect that the pronounciation fore´hed has become so common because it is analogous to the pronounciation of a whole list of nouns beginning with “fore” that do not change the pronounciation of the element that follows it: forarm, forebrain, forecast, foredeck, forefinger, forefoot, foreground, foregut, forehand, foreleg, forelimb, forelock, foremilk, forename, forenoon, forepaw, foreplay, etc. All these words begin with the prefix “fore,” indicating before, front, or superior. A number of verbs begin with this prefix as well, though these words generally do not emphasize the first syllable: forebode, foreclose, forefeel, forego, forejudge, etc. (“Forecast” is an exception, but this word is also a noun that occurs in the previous list.)

A small number of nouns that begin with “fore,” in addition to “forehead,” do alter the pronounciation of what follows: foreland, foreman, and forecastle (!). In any case, whenever I hear the pronounciation fore´hed, I begin thinking of where one’s afthead must be.

September 6, 2006


I had to perform a hard reset of my Palm V yesterday My choice seemed to be to try a hard reset or to throw away the unit and buy a new one. The digitizer had gone banannas, and I could not access the menu to recalibrate it. But that’s another story. My Palm V seems to be working fine now.

While tapping from screen to screen to assure myself that the organizer had been fixed once I had synchronized it with Microsoft Outlook, I was reminded that I had a note called “favicon.ico” on it, a note intended to remind me that, someday, I wanted to add a favicon to my Web site. A favicon is a “favorites icon,” originally an icon associated with a Web page saved as a favorite in Internet Explorer. Different browsers now use favicons in various ways, and Internet Explorer seems to use them less extensively than do other browsers. Firefox, for example, displays the favicon next to a page’s URL and on a page’s tab, as well as showing it when bookmarks are displayed. You have almost certainly seen Google’s “G” favicon or Wikipedia’s “W.”

Anyway, when I first learned about favicons, they seemed difficult to construct, so I put the task aside for another day. Upon rediscovering my Palm V note, however, I went to Google and looked up “favicon.ico.” There, I quickly found a page called “FavIcons from Pics,” which promised to generate favicons from nearly any graphic. This seemed worth a try.

Of course, one reason I had not gotten too excited about creating my own favicon was that my Web site, Lionel Deimel’s Farrago, did not really have a logo. The offer of a free, easily generated favicon, however, got me thinking. It took me little time to get the idea of using existing graphic elements from my site to create an attractive icon. I took the backgroun for the page banners used on most pages, compressed it horizontally into a square, and superimposed a white “LD.” (I tried superimposing “Farrago” in red over the result, but this produced a design that was too busy and that would not reduce well to a 16x16-pixel graphic.) I saved the result, tried the free favicon generated, and liked the result.

All this is by way of saying that almost every page of my Web site is now changed, which I explain only because visitors may be perplexed that, on my Site Map page, almost all page dates are 9/6/2006. This seems a small price to pay for better “branding” for my Web site. If you have a Web site, why not try getting your own favicon?