Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

16 October 2014 A.D. Houstunnization: “Petty Tyrants in a Tyranical Age”

16 October 2014 A.D.  Houstunnization:  “Petty Tyrants in a Tyranical Age”

Reynolds, John Mark.  “Petty Tyrants in a Tyranical Age.”  Pantheos.  15 Oct 2014.  15 Oct 2014.

Petty Tyrants in a Tyrannical Age: Annise Parker


Annise Parker is not the biggest problem my Church faces. So help us God, what a better world it would be if this were true.

We support a bishop in Syria who finds himself surrounded by ISIS, at the mercy of the kind favors of Putin, and fired at with American supplied weaponry. Twenty-two million of us died in the last century, were denied university education, and lived as second class citizens for the crime of being faithful. Redshirt thugs lash us in North Korea, in Sudan we are sold into slavery, and in Egypt we face extinction in an ancient homeland.

Pray that the “Houston Room” in a Syrian church used to feed starving people of all faiths and named for the gifts of Houston Christians can continue to feed the poor. American guns in terrorist hands surround this place and priests are murdered.

Next to these evils, the pettifogging Parker, a mayor with an overly eager legal team, is not much. She has decided our sermons, our emails, and our private communications are “fair game” because we dare oppose immorality with morality and moral confusion with moral clarity. We want to keep our bathrooms private, but evidently the right to use the toilet of one’s choice is Constitutional, or important, or something.

This precious right to pick a potty is worth using the power of the courts, the executive, and the law. And yet we know the real problem is that we will not say that private immorality is moral in public. In fact, we dare publicly disagree. We dare petition for redress. We suggest a vote on an issue railroaded through a compliant and corrupt city government. Most leaders are afraid to challenge the power of City Hall, hoping for government favors and contracts, but pastors answer to a higher power than the mayor.

Our morality is based in philosophy, theology, and history and not on our desires. We do not even give ourselves the right to force people of our sex to share their bathrooms with us. And yet, I can already hear certain pundits pronounce: potty rights are not worth the fuss. Christians are being martyred. Why kick up a fight?

One must pause and ponder the injustice that those who respond to change forced on us by politicians become accused of responding politically, but so it goes.

It is true, utterly, absolutely, terrifically true that Parker’s power play is not equivalent to the persecution my Church faces in Syria, Nigeria, Sudan, or Iraq. Fighting ISIS is far more important than fighting Parker, but a nation capable of defeating Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany simultaneously is surely capable of dealing with ISIS while swatting back the unjust demand of Parker. ISIS is Nazi ideology without the power of Germany and Parker hardly is worth the bother if her petty tyranny did not transgress an important principle.

Don’t be confused or distracted: Parker is trying to chill religious speech. Challenge her politically on the basis of Christian ethics and she will come after your Christian minister. She wants her morality publicly applauded and we call her morality a false morality: immoral. She accuses us of making morality political by making her immorality political. So while dealing with the real foes, ISIS and the radical atheists of North Korea, we must pause to swat back Parker.

We must fight not because we hate Parker, the Savior commands love, but because we love the Constitution. Nor as urban politicians go is Parker a particular problem.  Parker is typical of the libertine left: willing to cozy up to the fat cat network if bosses will allow personal vice to become political virtue. It is not the decadence and influence peddling that stirs us up: decadence and corruption are nothing new in Houston city politics, but an attack on the First Freedom is.

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