March 23, 2017

July 29, 2009


+Davies: “Canterbury, you’ve missed the point!”

My local bishop, Glenn Davies (he of “the other historic episcopacy” fame) speaks clearly on +++Williams’ recent “reflection”:

It seems that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost the plot, when he claims that resolutions D025 and C056 “do not have the automatic effect of overturning the requested moratoria, if the wording is studied carefully”. It is bad enough when the Americans obfuscate with ambiguous language, but it is a travesty of singular proportion when the leading Primate of the Anglican Communion should not only be beguiled by the subtleties of the TEC resolutions but create his own mischief with reckless indifference to the main issue at hand.

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49 comments

[I]t is a travesty of singular proportion when the leading Primate of the Anglican Communion should not only be beguiled by the subtleties of the TEC resolutions but create his own mischief with reckless indifference to the main issue at hand.

RW wasn’t beguiled.  He knows very well what the Americans did, and what they intend to do in the future.  But he is trapped by the imperatives of his own position.  So long as he insists on maintaining a communion that simultaneously contains both liberal and orthodox definitions of Christianity, he has no choice but to parrot TECs subterfuge.

carl

[1] Posted by carl on 7-29-2009 at 08:20 PM · [top]

G’day Cobber!
Well that’s a fair dinkum mate - say what y’mean an mean what y’say.  Those poms over there reckun there’s some subltety to what the big fella’s man wrote, like some wry humor and such - but don’t bother with all that woofy pommy stuff.  That’s what I say.

[2] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-29-2009 at 08:43 PM · [top]

Yes, carl, of course he knew very well the intention of the TEC’s leaders, who are fully prepared to walk away from the AC in their blind devotion to what they sincerely, but wrongly, believe is the cause of social justice.  But even though ++RW has pretty well painted himself into a corner, as you say, there is always the chance that he, like any of us, just might repent and seek to make amends for the tremendous harm he’s inflicted on the AC. 

It might seem like a very remote chance indeed at this point, after so many years when he’s stubbornly persisted in grave theological error.  But as long as there’s life, there are chances to repent.

For instance, as unlikely as it may seem, I might actually return to believing in biblical inerrancy, as I did in my days as a Wheaton student.  Who knows?  Or you, might actually repent of believing in double predestination or limited atonement. 

Hmmm.  Of the three highly implausible cases just mentioned, I wonder which is the least likely??(wink)

Cordially,
David Handy+

[3] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 7-29-2009 at 09:04 PM · [top]

On a more serious note, it’s refreshing to see an Anglican bishop who doesn’t mince words or hide behind ambiguities.  This kind of blunt truth-speaking comes like a cup of cold water to a man parched of thirst in a desert.  I welcome such heartening clarity on the part of a successor of the apostles (even if +Davies wouldn’t describe himself that way).

David Handy+

[4] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 7-29-2009 at 09:11 PM · [top]

As I posted elsewhere, +Schori et al offered a tiny figleaf in their letter, and ++Williams bought it and is attempting to wear it. It not only does not fit him well, it is embarrasing for everyone that sees him trying to wear it. The man evidently has no shame.

[5] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-29-2009 at 09:44 PM · [top]

David, your bishop cuts to tne nut of the matter:

The row is about the authority of Scripture which declares the practice of homosexuality to be a sin.

+Davies stande with St. Paul rather than with ++Williams. So may we all.

[6] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-29-2009 at 09:51 PM · [top]

[3] Dave

TEC’s leaders, who are fully prepared to walk away from the AC

I don’t believe that TEC is going to walk away.  There is no advantage to TEC in so doing, and no one will force them.  Unless and until conservatives are willing to break with Canterbury, there will not be a formal schism.  Just a slow steady spread like the ooze of molasses across the counter top.

carl

[7] Posted by carl on 7-29-2009 at 09:59 PM · [top]

agreed carl, TEC will do nothing. It is now up to us to signal the difference.

[8] Posted by David Ould on 7-29-2009 at 10:08 PM · [top]

Carl (#7) and David (#8),

Brothers, this is another point where we may just have to agree to disagree.  I stand by what I wrote above. I think TEC’s leaders are indeed “PREPARED to walk away,” and in fact have already implicitly done so.  +Wright has roundly declared that this slow train wreck is going to end in schism, and that TEC knew it and just didn’t care.  The ABoC seems resigned to this also, and is simply attempting as much damage control as possible.

Now I agree that TEC’s majority leaders would be wiser to seek to keep doing what they’ve been doing for so long, and that’s sign the Covenant (with fingers crossed) and then blithely ignore it and brazenly violate it.  But my hunch is that the self-deceived leaders of TEC (and the ACoC) are so caught in the grip of their delusion of being prophetic that they will probably spurn the Covenant, even though it would be in their self-interest to pretend to sign it.  As Gen Con showed us all, the ideological revisionists are in control now.  And in support of that claim, I submit Mark Harris’ slashing attack on Canterbury’s letter as Exhibit A.

David Handy+

[9] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 7-29-2009 at 10:33 PM · [top]

When I saw +Davies, I thought of the first Bishop of Ft Worth, and now Presiding Bishop I believe of the EMC. Another +Davies who clearly speaks his mind indeed.

[10] Posted by via orthodoxy on 7-29-2009 at 10:49 PM · [top]

[9] Dave

TEC will have no trouble accepting the castrated and lobotomized Covenant that will emerge from the JSC.  So what mechanism then will force this schism?  The reason people keep talking about schism always being just around the corner is because no one is willing to pull the trigger to make it happen.  The conditions are there, but no one actually acts on those conditions.  People keep talking about it like it is an established fact .. as in “Schism has happened.”  Except no one has actually done anything to sever relationships.  Schism doesn’t just happen naturally like water draining from a tub.  It isn’t a passive thing that occurs without notice, and then suddenly people wake up and say “Hey, there was a schism last night.”  It’s an active process.  Some one has to actually do something to make it happen.  And no one seems to have any interest in taking that step.  So long as everyone is still in Communion with the AoC, all this talk of schism is just so much smoke in the eyes.

That fact is TECs trump card, and the reason RW has acted the way he has.  RW is on TECs side to the extent he wishes to avoid any resolution to the crisis.  But his primary objective is and has always been to avoid any occasion that might allow one side to delegitimize the theology of the other, and thus declare it beyond the pale of Anglicanism.

carl

[11] Posted by carl on 7-29-2009 at 10:54 PM · [top]

I liken RDW’s dithering to that of Union Major General George B. McClellan during his tenure as General in Chief during 1861-62….which finally got him sacked by President Lincoln.

[12] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 10:59 PM · [top]

[12] Cennydd

Surely McClellan deserves a more favorable comparison, for if he was no field commander, he must still be credited with organizing and training the Army of the Potomac into an effective fighting force.  Other more capable commanders benefited from his efforts.

carl

[13] Posted by carl on 7-29-2009 at 11:11 PM · [top]

...not that I wish to divert the thread onto a discussion of the War to Suppress Southern Rebellion.  It’s just a matter of historical accuracy.  wink

carl

[14] Posted by carl on 7-29-2009 at 11:14 PM · [top]

Carl,
  Well considering McClellan kept refusing to fight that left had an awful lot of time to train.

[15] Posted by Rocks on 7-29-2009 at 11:18 PM · [top]

If the covenant was simply the Nicene Creed TEC would balk at signing onto it at this point. TEC will never sign on to anything which limits it in anyway. If what emerges says anything more than love your neighbor TEC will balk.
By the time the covenant is watered down to such a point a majority of the people will have long left the table anyway.

[16] Posted by Rocks on 7-29-2009 at 11:24 PM · [top]

And ++Williams refuses to take sides and fight.

[17] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 11:27 PM · [top]

16.  Didn’t you really mean that TEC will walk, if they don’t get their way?

[18] Posted by Cennydd on 7-29-2009 at 11:29 PM · [top]

Well, Rowan has pleased no one save himself.

[19] Posted by TLDillon on 7-30-2009 at 12:47 AM · [top]

No I mean balk at signing it, so in effect walk, yes.
They will never actually walk away though, instead they will scream bloody murder and play the victim to all those awful backward fundies.

[20] Posted by Rocks on 7-30-2009 at 12:56 AM · [top]

“They will never actually walk away though, instead they will scream bloody murder and play the victim to all those awful backward fundies. “

Seems to be a tactic that has worked brilliantly so far!  For liberals as a whole actually. 
This tactic has completely transformed the UK.
Victimhood is, currently, a really great position to take if you can pull it off!

[21] Posted by jedinovice on 7-30-2009 at 03:39 AM · [top]

The Archbishop did write that resolutions D025 and C056

do not have the automatic effect of overturning the requested moratoria, if the wording is studied carefully

but he did not claim it as Bishop Davis writes.

What he did say in Numbered Paragraph 1. of Section 1 of his statement is

There has been an insistence at the highest level that..


i.e not that he claims it or believes it, but that this is what Mrs Schori and ‘Dr’ Anderson have claimed in letters to him.

What Archbishop Rowan actually thinks is contained in Numbered Paragraph 2:

However, a realistic assessment of what Convention has resolved does not suggest that it will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces; very serious anxieties have already been expressed


i.e. you have done nothing to restore things at General Convention, in fact you have done the opposite, and people have said so.

He takes this even further:

The repeated request for moratoria on the election of partnered gay clergy as bishops and on liturgical recognition of same-sex partnerships has not found universal favor


i.e. a majority of General Convention voted against the moratoria and continues

...although a significant minority of bishops has just as clearly expressed its intention to remain within the Communion

 
This is double-edged: firstly it refers to the quarter of bishops who signed the Anaheim Statement distancing themselves from the resolutions of General Convention and showing that they intend to stay “with the consensus of the Communion”; and secondly by extrapolation that the majority of bishops who voted for the two resolutions showed everyone that they do not intend to stay “with the consensus of the Communion” [take themselves outside the consensus of the Communion into some other place where they do not wish to go].

He then goes to call Mrs. Schori, Mrs Anderson and TEC bishops and deputies on the claims in the presidents’ letters:

The statement that the Resolutions are essentially ‘descriptive’ is helpful, but unlikely to allay anxieties


i.e you have promised me that the Resolutions change nothing - go on and prove it - and in doing so show that you will conduct yourself consistently with what your letters promise…n.b. a lot of people don’t believe you, so there is a high burden on you to prove it.  Let’s see you walking the walk as well as talking the talk if you expect to be part of the core of the Communion.

The Archbishop then spends the rest of the statement explaining why, if what the presidents wrote to him is untrue, TEC’s position would be outside the position of the Communion and its ecumenical partners and will result in TEC being unable to stay in the centre of the ‘covenanted’ Communion but will be somewhere else along with the Methodists although probably not as far off as the Church of Sweden will be.

It is certainly true that for some reason the Archbishop couched the above carefully to avoid giving offence but making his points.  He decided not to be blunt and tell them that they are bare-faced liars with their pants on fire, as the mainstream media and the rest of us believe.  Instead he opted for the diplomatic option and has tried to encourage them to fall into line still and join in Covenanting [inter-alia to agree to act in concert with other members of the Communion].

So that is my reading.  It is inevitable and forseeable that the Archbishop’s words would sail straight over the heads of most people, Bishop Davis, the bishops and deputies of TEC and the possibly the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, who don’t give a stuff what he writes anyway, only what he does.

It is interesting that the Archbishop has accepted that the Communion has probably split with TEC certainly probably on the ‘second track’ unless they commit themselves to the Covenant track with all that implies.  He doesn’t consign them to outer darkness of no relationship whatever, like the unitarians, but to some as yet undefined distancing where presumably people hope no more damage will be done to the Anglican Communion and its ecumenical relationships.

[Pageantmaster hereby offers his services to Lambeth Palace to provide simultaneous translation of the Archbishop’s words into plain English understandable by American and Australian bishops.]

[22] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-30-2009 at 04:07 AM · [top]

Errata:
1. Bishop Davies, not Davis; and
2. the quote should be
“...although a significant minority of bishops has just as clearly expressed its intention to remain [delete: ‘within’; insert ‘with the consensus of’] the Communion”

[23] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-30-2009 at 04:25 AM · [top]

Pagentmaster,
You’ve done a much better job than I did with my ‘repent, schism is at hand’ (though essentially that is what he has told TEC).  Thank you.

Now if only the ABC finds himself as constrained to act, as he has been to talk, perhaps some way to be orthodox in belief and relationship to Canterbury can be found.

[24] Posted by Bo on 7-30-2009 at 05:59 AM · [top]

Lambeth Palace would do better to employ Pageantmaster than some of its current staff.

Sadly, though, as Americans say, actions speak louder than words.  We shall have to see if Dr. Williams’ future actions support this statement, which I agree is the strongest he has yet issued.

[25] Posted by Katherine on 7-30-2009 at 06:13 AM · [top]

“Carl,
  Well considering McClellan kept refusing to fight that left had an awful lot of time to train. “

Lincoln once went out to the encampment of the AotP with someone (forget who) and asked if they knew what that vast assemblage of tents and people was.  His companion, confused, replied tentatively that wasn’t it the Army of the Potomac?  Lincoln responded that it was no such thing; it was General McClellan’s bodyguard.

[26] Posted by Ed the Roman on 7-30-2009 at 07:12 AM · [top]

#5, with all due respect to the Office of Archbishop of Canterbury and to you, it would appear that the PB’s tiny fig leaf DOES fit him well. It would seem to cover the incumbent completely, leaving nothing to show.

He has tremendous authority and power in this situation. A pity that he is not using it.

[27] Posted by Ralph on 7-30-2009 at 07:49 AM · [top]

carl,  I think that TEC’s trump card will be used when they are (if ever) relegated to the ‘below decks’ tier and the card they hold is the mini communion it has been working hard to cement around the world to the TEC banner (which, by the way, I believe is the reason why ECUSA changed its name to TEC -remember all those flags.  These would include churches such as Brazil, Phillipines, South Africa, Europe, etc.  It explains why TEC ram rodded the election of one of one of Ecuadors bishops despite the outcries of the clergy and laity of the diocese.

As an independent church it may find that countries like Nigeria lose their ability to stop this new church from being missionaries in these countries.  They will not be crossing any territorial boundaries.

I think they will be less anxious about shedding Cantebury if it comes to this.

[28] Posted by Bill C on 7-30-2009 at 08:02 AM · [top]

I’m not really much of a conspiracy theorist, but what if Shori and Williams worked out the details of how TEC would move forward (passing other resolutions rather than repealing B033) with homosexual marriage blessings?  Hmmmmmm?  This allows TEC’s agenda to move forward while also giving Williams the ability to keep the communion together.

Frankly, I was a little suprised that GC09 wasn’t even more “in your face” than it was…SOMEONE put a little bit of a leash on them…

Thoughts?

[29] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-30-2009 at 08:36 AM · [top]

Wow. Ralph, I had not thought of it that way. A very small figleaf worn by a very small man sitting in a very large chair—the chair of St. Augustine. An apt approach.

[30] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2009 at 08:37 AM · [top]

Geesh! B. Hunter…..How much more in your face would you have thought them to be? I thought they did quite a bang up job of it. In regards to your question, if a leash was indeed put on I rather think Rowan put it on at the time of his “visit” to GC09 to do a ‘little” bible study.

[31] Posted by TLDillon on 7-30-2009 at 09:01 AM · [top]

McClellan’s army needed lots of training - most Yankees dont know how to shoot.
My read on +++ABC’s letter was that although the cadre of attorney Bishops of TEC - who knew that law school was the way to high church office - had crafted legislation that de jure do what they are inteded to do they do de facto - I saw that he was calling them out on it.  An Archbishop’s letter is not likely to read as if Gearge S. Patton wrote it.

[32] Posted by chips on 7-30-2009 at 09:02 AM · [top]

Being as how +++RW has demonstrated time after time that his cojones are either tiny or nonexistent, it shouldn’t take much of a fig leaf to cover them.

the snarkster™

[33] Posted by the snarkster on 7-30-2009 at 09:20 AM · [top]

Thanks Snarkster, I knew someone would say it.

At the moment I’m editing a famous line from the Wizard of Oz:

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE FIG LEAF!”

[34] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2009 at 09:54 AM · [top]

David Handy+ wrote in (#9):
  “+Wright has roundly declared that this slow train wreck is going to end in schism, and that TEC knew it and just didn’t care.  The ABoC seems resigned to this also, and is simply attempting as much damage control as possible.”

I agree with this assessment of the ABoC’s statement.  I think the key to the ABoC’s statement is that it is “descriptive” rather than “prescriptive”, using Schori’s nomenclature.  That is, Williams challenges Schori’s statement that TEC’s actions are merely descriptive by noting that the mere act of making such statements causes worldwide tension and threatens schism.

Yet in response, Williams statement is merely descriptive of the tension that TEC is causing and the imminent possibility of schism in the worldwide communion.  He offers no threat to the TEC to excommunicate it and, indeed, seems to stand curiously outside the process of decisionmaking of the worldwide Anglican Communion like a passive observer or commentator.

Perhaps this is only possible stance one who believes that church decisionmaking should be made as a corporate body (at the international level and not merely local), but who personally does not hold strong convictions in opposition to the substance of TEC’s resolutions.

Thus, Williams cannot criticize TEC’s reasoning on the merits but he cautions them that their actions set in process a worldwide chain of events in the worldwide communion that may lead inevitably to a result (the demotion of TEC’s status to a sort of second-tier connection) that Williams would support on procedural grounds.  TEC’s demotion, however, is something he would recognize only after the fact and out of deference to the majority.  It is not a result that he would actively seek because his personal beliefs are not necessarily more conservative than the TEC on issues of human sexuality and it would be hypocritical for him to feign outrage to substantive positions he personally holds.  He is constrained to commenting on errors in process (proceeding unilaterally) with distaste for TEC’s approach but not passion and conviction—much like a public schoolboy commenting from the sidelines on a a breach of the rules in a cricket match (“Bad form, old boy…”)—without stepping onto the field to play for one team or another.

This position is regrettable in many respects—how we wish that the one holding the office of the ABoC could speak with personal conviction like an Athanasius who took firm theological positions against the semi-Arians of his day in both a political and theological struggle that defined the dominant Christian dogma for the institutional church of the Roman Empire.

But if Rowan Williams could truly stand aside from the process and let the primates of the Anglican Communion discipline the TEC I think the result would nonetheless serve to firm up orthopraxis and orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion.  My real concern is that Williams would appear to support a conciliar process with the covenant, while working behind the scenes to weaken resolutions and stack committees to guarantee a conservative result would follow.

Examine his actions since 2003 and it is clear that he did just this with the last Lambeth Convention.  Most insultingly, he used a Zulu term (“indaba”) to refer to a western technique for wearing down traditional beliefs through appointing liberal facilators to isolate traditionalists in small groups at Lambeth—as if faithful African bishops would sacrifice their theological integrity and describing liberal tactics with redefined non-European words.

If Williams is truly disgusted with TEC and is willing to stand aside passively to let events turn out as they may, TEC faces worldwide isolation in the near future.  Speaking from a human perspective (because God ultimately can effect any result he wishes), the only way to guarantee this result is if Williams is not in control of the worldwide conciliar decisionmaking process.

For example, if the CofE is invited to participate in a broader type of GAFCON process whose parameters are defined by the primates as a collective body.

In Christ,
Dcn. John

[35] Posted by John Clay on 7-30-2009 at 10:07 AM · [top]

I need to spell check before posting.  This sentence was supposed to include a “not”:

“My real concern is that Williams would appear to support a conciliar process with the covenant, while working behind the scenes to weaken resolutions and stack committees to guarantee a conservative result would NOT follow.”

—Dcn. John

[36] Posted by John Clay on 7-30-2009 at 10:10 AM · [top]

Being a good leader means knowing you aren’t the only smart person in the room.  The ABC has, in this case, demonstrated he has not had “the wool cover his eyes” and probably not since this sad scenario began.

Bishop Glenn, I wish I could say I was impressed with all of the colorful language; but I am not.  The gig is up.

[37] Posted by Dallas Priest on 7-30-2009 at 10:11 AM · [top]

Instead of going to all the bother of using the Episcopal Church as their bully pulpit, why didn’t Katherine Schori, Bonnie Anderson, Susan Russell, the group from Integrity and the rest of the LGBT clubs in this country simply form a “Man Haters of America” club and be done with it.

[38] Posted by The Templar on 7-30-2009 at 10:40 AM · [top]

#33, #34. I certainly wouldn’t wish to infer that I believe that RW is a bollockless male. That wouldn’t be a kind thing for me to say, it might be perceived as an ad hominem (or ad castratum) attack, and it’s the sort of comment that really ought to be deleted. So to RW’s statement, which I have now read several times, I would simply and eloquently reply, “BOLLOCKS!”

He’s capable of better than this, and I’ll bet he knows in his heart what he needs to do.

[39] Posted by Ralph on 7-30-2009 at 11:33 AM · [top]

#14
I assume you meant the War of Northern Aggression.

[40] Posted by evan miller on 7-30-2009 at 11:43 AM · [top]

Peoples.

Please get off the crudity concerning Rowan Williams.  His ideas or actions are perfectly capable of being criticized.

I don’t have the time to deal with it—I’ve got to head out—so I am calling in the commenatrix.

[41] Posted by Sarah on 7-30-2009 at 11:46 AM · [top]

I love it when Aussies have a go at Poms. smile

[42] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 7-30-2009 at 11:50 AM · [top]

[40] evan miller

I assume you meant the War of Northern Aggression.

I am not sure.  Would that be the same as the War to Save the Union?

carl

[43] Posted by carl on 7-30-2009 at 12:32 PM · [top]

In discussing matters of personal honor, and shame, men tend to use genital metaphors. We can’t help it. We were born that way, and have been…baptized. It’s the way that we are.

This isn’t my blog, so if the c-trix (a feminine ending in Latin, as I recall) wishes to feminize this thread, then so be it.

grin

[44] Posted by Ralph on 7-30-2009 at 01:05 PM · [top]

Okay Sarah, I repent of physiognomic characterizations. Mea Culpa. The tiny figleaf analogy, however, still stands.

[45] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2009 at 01:09 PM · [top]

Carl,

Hmmm. Hard to say.  That’s not a conflict I’ve ever heard of. Might you be referring to the War Between the States?

[46] Posted by evan miller on 7-30-2009 at 01:36 PM · [top]

+Schori et al offered a tiny figleaf in their letter, and ++Williams bought it and is attempting to wear it. It not only does not fit him well,  .  .  .

Snarkster (#33) you make a good point about the tiny cojones. 

However, it may be that the reference by Br_er Rabbit was to RW’s massive endowment—the coffers of which are regularly filled by +Schori et al.

[47] Posted by hanks on 7-30-2009 at 02:09 PM · [top]

>The Anaheim Statement... Some reports indicate that bishops who voted with the majority in Gen Con are now realising the predicament they’ve put themselves in and are starting to sign up to Anaheim instead.

Here is a serious flaw in the Bishop’s thinking and plan. The reasserter blogs decry as duplicitous the bishops who voted for the two communion-breaking resolutions at GenCon, then proceeded to sign the communion-confirming Anaheim Statement. (What do the reassessor blogs say>) +Wright wants to use the Anaheim Statement as an interim Way Forward. This would be a disaster.

[48] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2009 at 02:56 PM · [top]

Sorry, wrong thread…

[49] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2009 at 03:06 PM · [top]

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