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The wisdom of Forrest Gump

David Epps's picture

Rusty Wilkerson is a columnist for my hometown newspaper, The Kingsport-Times News. While in Kingsport, Tenn., recently, I picked up a copy of the paper and found Wilkerson reporting on two stories of government actions worthy of a nod from Forrest.

Wilkerson reported that, in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency mandated that an ingredient that did not yet exist be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel by 2011. So far, oil companies have failed to comply.

Why? Because the ingredient still does not exist and, if it ever does exist, it will not exist for several more years. But, as Wilkerson related, the law is the law. The EPA has decreed that companies who do not comply will be required to pay monetary penalties for non-compliance.

Wilkerson, who worked in the federal and municipal sectors said, “In the public sector, logic and common sense may have absolutely nothing to do with decisions made by politicians. To hunt for such things will only lead to frustration. “Or, as Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

The second instance of government brilliance is found at the United States Air Force Academy. Now the Academy in Colorado Springs likes to think of itself as the more cerebral of the academies.

Not long ago, some Air Force vet said to me, “You do realize, do you not, that the Air Force people are the ‘smart kids in the class?’” I conceded that he might be correct but responded that, if that were true, then he must certainly realize that the Marines are the toughest kids in the class (Okay, SEALs, Rangers, and Green Berets are tough kids, too). But I digress.

It seems the Air Force Academy, that bastion of academic gee-whizness, spent $80,000 to construct a rock garden and fire pit for use by pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and the various native American faiths. I wasn’t aware that the Air Force Academy had been overrun and infested by pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and the like. If they have, the academy and the entire command structure of the Air Force have more problems than can be imagined.

But it’s not just the Feds that come up with inane instances of Gump-ness. A number of years ago, the city fathers (oops, too politically insensitive) – the city parents of a southern California town passed a law that the lights planted in citizens’ yards near the sidewalks of their homes to illumine their way at night could be no more than 18 inches high.

Why? What about 18 inches is more correct than, say, 17 1/4 inches? Or 18 1/8 inches? Why did the local politicians even care at all about the precise measure of the height of these lawn lights? Because they can and because “stupid is as stupid does.”

Forrest was right about something else. He said, “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” That’s certainly true — and if the government has anything to do with it, you’re gonna find a bunch of nuts.

And, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. ( He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese ( and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at]


When Pastor Epps writes of things non-religious, beware.
He quotes a columnist complaining about an EPA directive on fuel additives not yet invented. From what I could discover, he may be referring to the conflict between gasoline manufacturers and automobile manufacturers. The auto folks are unhappy with the quality of the gasoline produced in this country. Fuel systems are failing due to lack of detergents added by gas manufacturers. See-
As to Wiccans etc. at the Air Force Academy, the school also has worship facilities for Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. I wonder how much they cost?
Pastor Epps please if you have a complaint give us some facts to check not this vague anti- government innuendo.

like water out of a fire hose at a 4-alarm warehouse fire!

The good pastor consistently rails against the evils of 'government' and questions how anyone in government know best, yet he is an official in an organization (International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, or ICCEC) that has a Canon Law document that is 66 pages long!


Not only that, the head guy--the Patriarch--seems to have unlimited power to himself! Check out the powers of his office in the canon law document!

Well, there is also a Patriarch's Council that helps him rule.

Also, if I am not mistaken, canon law dictates that 60% of the tithes collected by a local church/cathedral/diocese (I am not sure which) MUST be sent to the head office in San Clemente!

Now, how can a man who consistently rails against elite government officials making decisions for the rest of us be part of an organization that does exactly that on an global scale?

Is not what is good for the goose good for the gander, or am I missing something important here?

ctkcec's picture

Like many churches, each church in our communion gives 10% to causes beyond the local church, not 60% as you said. The canons you reference are very much out of date and under revision at the international level. And the "head office" is in New York, and has been for years, not San Clemente.

David Epps

Well what is posted on the church's official website might be wrong or outdated(how can the faithful know what the Law is if what is on the official website is wrong), but why do you rail against 'government' when the reins of power in an organization in which you are an official are vested in one man (the Patriarch), or perhaps just a few (the Patriarch's Council). Are you pushing for the revised Canon Law to strip the Patriarch of his near dictatorial powers in favor of 'the individual knows best.'?

The Patriarch shall have patriarchal authority to administer
25 guidance and discipline over all Archbishops, in conformance
26 with Holy Scriptures, apostolic tradition, and the Canon Law of
27 the Charismatic Episcopal Church. In like manner he may
28 administer guidance and discipline at any level of the Church,
29 when necessary.

And what's this 60% tithing thing again?

III. Funding
19 A. The National See and the National Church Budget shall be
20 funded by:
21 1. Sixty percent of the tithes of every Diocesan Cathedral

Based on your extreme distaste for concentrated power in the hands of one or the few, it seems that you would be happier in a local Baptist church!

Is the San Clemente See not the home of the Patriarch anymore?

Gort's picture

Father Epps sends 10-60% of the take to New York City?

Sounds like wealth redistribution to me.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

ctkcec's picture

Our church takes 10% of the income to the church and "tithes" that 10%. In our case we send the 10% to the Archdiocese of the Southeast in Selma, AL. We also take three special offerings each year: (1) a special offering designated to pro-life ministries (2) an offering in June to assist other churches, especially mission churches, throughout the US, and (3)a missions offering is received near All Saints Day. Often, that money is sent to assist African pastors and churches.
In addition, we are helping a student in Africa to graduate from the university, we assist Barnabus Ministries which has missions in the Philipines, and, through our diocese, we are helping to pay each month's rent (and have for nearly five years) for a pastor with four children who suffered a dibiliting stroke and whose wife is undergoing cancer treatment. Call it what you wish, we help people with our money.

David Epps

I was just trying to figure out what the 60% figure mentioned in the Canon Law document referred to, that is all! Are only the Cathedrals required to tithe that much?

That rent thing sounds like a good idea! You should post the bank details so others can help out!

Here is the Wiki timeline for the ICCEC. More info in one place than I could ever come up with on my own!

One of the most interesting point is in 1996.

'ICCEC bishops begin seeking a line of apostolic succession that will be recognized as valid by the Roman Catholic Church.'

Another interesting point in 1997.

'ICAB leadership instructs the ICCEC to use the Roman Catholic forms for all future ordinations and consecrations.'

The question I have to ask is why go to all the trouble of reinventing the Roman Catholic Church?

Pastor Epps?

Gort's picture

I believe Pastor Epps if he says he pays a 10% tithe.

Perhaps the 60% is for ordinary pastors, and 10% is for pastors that got pictures of the Bishop dancing around with a lampshade on his head at a religious retreat.

Well played Pastor Epps.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

From Wiki:

"The ICCEC claims its apostolic succession via Timothy Michael Barker, the leader of the International Free Catholic Communion and the Rebiban line via the schismatic Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa, who founded the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Brazil."

Say what? All this takes some serious Ninja skills to sort out!

Okay, it seems that the ICCEC' Patriarch is NOW the Most Reverend Craig Bates, Bishop of the Northeast Diocese and the Diocese of Canada and Senior Pastor of the Cathedral Church of the Intercessor in Malverne, New York.

The Most Reverend Craig Bates took over as Patriarch from Randolph Adler (former Baptist as I understand it) out in San Clemente (I guess the headquarters locates wherever the current Patriarch resides). Adler was consecrated a bishop by Bishop Timothy Barker of the International Free Catholic Communion, which presented some problems, as covered a bit further down.

Here is an interview with the Most Reverend Craig Bates:

Now, back to Timothy Michael Barker (NOT current Patriarch Craig Bates) above. Here is what Wiki has to say about him.

From Wiki:
'On June 26, 1992, Randolph Adler was consecrated the first bishop and primate of the ICCEC with Timothy Michael Barker of the International Free Catholic Communion (who was consecrated by Archbishop-Patriarch Herman Adrian Spruit, and his wife) functioning as the principal consecrator. A few years after the consecration of Adler, the ICCEC's clergy began to express concern about Barker's embrace of theological liberalism, gnosticism, Theosophy, non-traditional sexual ethics, and the ordination of women to the priesthood, all of which are contrary to ICCEC beliefs. In 1996, Adler was named the communion's first patriarch. In 1997, the ICCEC sought and acquired consecration and ordination of all of its clergy by the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church.'

So, it seems that Alder was consecrated by the booted-out Timothy Michael Barker (Pastor Epps, can you clarify here please), which necessitated some additional consecrating through the "Anglican apostolic line from Bishop William Millsapps during Bishop Howard's consecration."

I still have to research the Millsaps consecrations! More on that later!

For good measure, the apostolic line was later 'strengthened' through the aforementioned Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church.

I gotta do some more research on the Brazilian connection too!

As far as its beliefs, it seems that ICCEC has pretty much adopted the liturgy and sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church/Anglican Church (from IECCE website: Our Canon adopted the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and allowed the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Roman Sacramentary, or other historic liturgies as approved by the Bishop.)

Now, if you want to hear some negatives about the ICCEC, then look at this link.

Here is some more discussion about ICCEC, both good and bad it seems.

More fun than two bushels of collards!

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