Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How Non-Jurors Get Made

In 1688, in a (relatively) bloodless coup, the British parliament ousted King James II for his Roman proclivities, imported a Dutch prince, William of Orange, and installed him as King William III. Several bishops, along with a few hundred clergy and laity, while not particularly supportive of James, believed themselves morally bound by an oath of loyalty to him, and refused to take such an oath to William. For exercising the courage of their convictions, the bishops were deprived of their sees and their livings and many were reduced to poverty. This group became known as Non-Jurors. For a time, they were a sort of diminutive "shadow" Church of England, and the bishops even consecrated successors to themselves. After about a century, it was all rendered moot by the death of the Stuart pretender.

From a safe distance now, the Non-Jurors are often held up as models of courageous integrity. They agreed that it was a good thing for the realm to be rid of James, and that William and Mary would make splendid regents. They just didn't think William should be made monarch. That little principled stand was a career-ender for them. Unemployment and loss of status were no more attractive or tolerable in the seventeenth century than today.

There's a new group of Non-Jurors in the process of formation even as I write. They are former clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Their principled stand places them between the "rock" of their former bishop, whom they have loved and served loyally, but whom they cannot in good conscience follow to the Province of the Southern Cone, and the "hard place" of the non-canonical rump "remaining" Diocese of San Joaquin, which they cannot in good conscience join because it represents the raw exercise of naked illicit power by the Presiding Bishop, and because to do so would compromise their oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

In a letter written on her official letterhead and made public two days ago, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced that she will call to order a special convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin at St John the Baptist Church in Lodi on Saturday in Easter Week. (Sidebar: St John's, Lodi carries a debt of around $2 million the last I heard, and the note is co-signed by Bishop Schofield. Interesting.) The agenda for the convention includes the election of a "Provisional Bishop" and a new Standing Committee. I've already been around the block on this, so I won't belabor the point except to point out yet again: There already is a Standing Committee, duly elected under the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Anyone who is complicit in the election of a new Standing Committee at the special convention is acting in defiance of the Constitution and Canons, and is appropriately subject to ecclesiastical discipline. Yeah, I know. Never gonna happen. But it needs to be said.

One Non-Juror-in-training is a priest of the diocese (not a member of the Standing Committee) who has actually given me permission to use his name, though I cannot at this moment bring myself to do it. He has written the following letter to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida:

Dear Bishop Howe,
I am writing to you [in your capacity] as the spokesman for “Communion Partners. Today I received a letter of invitation to a “special convention” called by our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori. I’m attaching a copy of this letter for you. In the first full paragraph, the letter states, “There being at this time no Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, or any qualified members of the Standing Committee of that Diocese, I, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, in consultation with the Steering Committee of faithful Episcopalians of that Diocese, hereby give notice that at 9:00 a.m. PST on Saturday, March 29,2008, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lodi, California, I shall call to order a Special Meeting of the Convention of that Diocese. This is a travesty of justice in which due process has not been afforded to the rightful, sitting members of the present Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. I am deeply troubled by the above mentioned actions by our Presiding Bishop, which displays unprecedented authority; authority which is not rightfully hers. With no regard for due process, let alone the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, I submit to you Right Reverend Sir, that Bishop Schori is treading on extremely dangerous ground. What she is attempting to do could have terrible repercussions on the rest of the Episcopal Church. I am pleading with you to speak to the other Communion Partners, and Windsor Bishops to lodge a protest at the upcoming House of Bishops meeting against the actions of Bishop Schori in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Thank you very much for your prayerful consideration!

Faithfully in Christ,

[name withheld by DHM+]

This is a guy who wants to "remain Episcopal" but for whom there is no room in "Remain Episcopal" because he cannot cooperate with the patent charade that 815 is producing with that organization's cooperation. He has taken an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, which are being ignored by the Presiding Bishop and which will be grossly violated on March 29th.

Just today, the following text was circulated as an email message to selected (read here "Remain Episcopal") clergy and laity in San Joaquin. It comes from the Revd Mark Hall of St Anne's in Stockton, who has been one of the on-the-ground leaders of 815 loyalists in the wake of last December's unfortunate vote by the diocesan convention:

Dear Friends,
The nominating committee has spoken to our bishop designee and has concurred with PB Katherine's recommendation. He will be visiting the diocese just after the House of Bishop's meeting, arriving on March 13. We will have two pre-convention meetings with him and to discuss the upcoming Special Convention. We are encouraging everyone to attend these meetings, including those who may be observers at the Special Convention.

Meeting at Christ the King, Riverbank on the evening of March 13, at 6:30 PM.
Meeting at Holy Family, 1135 East Alluvial, Fresno on the evening of March 14 at 6:30 PM.

We will be meeting the Bishop nominee
Reviewing the work of the Nominating Committee
Considering the Resolutions
Going over the requirements to certify delegates and clergy as voting members
Looking at the budget
Answering questions.

If you have any additional requirements or needs for these meetings, please respond. Also, we need circulation of this information to as many as possible. I will be attempting to contact all the delegations and observers as I can, but our communication system is not up to par, but we are getting there.

Mark Hall

So, Bishop Schofield hasn't even been deposed yet, and there's already a "Bishop nominee." The addressee header in the email includes one Jerry Lamb, so it seems safe to speculate that the retired Bishop of Northern California is poised to step in.

It's difficult to know what to say about a horrendous situation about which one is powerless to actually do anything. This was a preventable tragedy. It didn't have to happen. It has been misplayed by the "departing" Diocese of San Joaquin (i.e. there was no compelling reason for them to depart) and it has been misplayed by the Presiding Bishop and her operatives (i.e. by refusing to work with all the elements that were left in the wake of the departers). Lord, have mercy. What a mess. I'm going to have a drink and go to bed.

88 comments:

Beryl Simkins said...

Give me a break. You are no longer in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Those of us who do reside in the Diocese of San Joaquin have to live with the "mess" you are talking about, and you may have been a contributer, originally, to the making of this mess.

You think you need to have a drink and go to bed? My name is Beryl Simkins. I have been a loyal Episcopalian for almost 40 years in this diocese. I love my church. I am sick, sick of the conflicts. I am sick of having our diocese torn apart by "orthodox" individuals who think they know the ONLY way. I know it is hard for you to undrstand, but I believe the Episcopal Church is taking a stand for the INCLUSIVE love of Jesus Christ, and I believe in that, too.

Dan Martins,stop and think about the fact that you left the diocese and we continue to live here. I pray every day for the guidance of the Holy Spirit among us.

And go ahead, I am sure there will be "reasserters" who think I am terrible. I love my church, and I am simply sick of having it torn apart. I NEVER saw the Episcopal Church as an institution that checked the "rightousness level" of baptized Christians who came to the communion table. I come to the communion table, having confessed my sins, knowing the grace and love and forgiveness of my Lord, and thinking it is available for all those others there beside me. We are frail humans, and we each are a small piece of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. And yes, I believe that there are women who are called to the priesthood and who have unique gifts to offer. I believe that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are part of humanity and that God's gracious love shines on them as it does on all of us. Holy Mackeral. When will the stoning begin so that I can look out for it.

Fred Schwartz said...

Fr. Dan,
Sir, you are duplicitous in this entire sordid affair. Your attempt to sidestep your knee deep responsiblity for this incredibly mean-spirited and evil scheme to defraud Episcopalians of their rightful place in TEC is completely transparent. Please, pray that you will be forgiven for your sizeable role in this toxic affair.

Aghaveagh said...

The members of the Standing Committee had every opportunity to declare their commitment to the Episcopal Church in the wake of the actions of convention--actions that they themselves helped to engineer. They chose not to. They had a chance to do so again in the (most injudicious) letter to the Presiding Bishop, and chose instead to make petulant, "tu quoque" arguments.

Their actions (or rather, their lack thereof) speak volumes about their loyalty to the Episcopal Church. They could have done the right thing--instead, they attempted to straddle the fence and be led by expediency instead of principle.

Your role as mouthpiece and cat's paw for this group becomes you not.

ruidh said...

The non-jurors didn't just dry up and blow away in the sands of history. We know their successors as the Episcopal Church of Scotland. They consecrated the first bishop for the fledgling United States.

Somehow, I just don't get the analogy between the nonjurors and schmatic former members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. The nonjurors actually gave up their jurisdictions. Bishop Schofield is attempting to keep his.

Dan Martins said...

Ruidh, I was not comparing Bishop Schofield and the members of the "departing diocese" to the Non-Jurors. The parallel is with the legitimate leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin who are loyal the their canonical oath, but who have been deprived of their positions by the uncanonical actions of the Presiding Bishop.

Anonymous said...

RE: "I am sick, sick of the conflicts."

Better get used to it. That's what happens when two groups proclaiming two mutually-opposing and contradictory gospels reside in one organization.

On another note, Dan Martins -- keep up the good work. We know it's good because you get so much flak when you're over the target. ; > )

Sarah

Randy Muller said...

Fr. Dan, I appreciate your continued and faithful reporting of what's going on in San Joaquin.

From the Diocese of Northern California.

William Tighe said...

Dear Fr. Martins,

I placed the following comment/query on your "Getting in Touch with My Feelings" thread, but you didn't respond. No reason why you have to, but I really do wonder whether the WO issue underlies, at least in part, divisions among the "orthodox" in the DioSJ:

Here's a question that nobody has addressed, but which interests me immensely. To what extent is the divide among the "orthodox Episcopalians" of the San Joaquin Diocese (I mean those who would regard themselves as "orthodox Christians" and not simply "Remain Episcopalites") about whether to go to the SC or stay in TEC reflect preexisting divisions ofer the ordination of women. I mean, if you regard WO as an absurdity, an impossibility and a heretical conceit, as I do, and as do, for sure, bishops Ackerman and Iker and, probably, Bishop Schofield, and if, to those of such views, the "second round of apostasy" (or, if you will, defection from the "Catholic Faith") seems like the "last straw" -- as opposed to those who either support WO or think it "no big deal" one way or the other -- would this not make a difference as one decides whether it is time to bail out?

I ask this, also, because while Quincy diocese is virtually unanimous among its clergy in opposing WO, and the opponents in FW are the great majority, the story before the events of 2003 was that SJ would almost certainly choose as its next bishop a purportedly "orthodox" or "conservative" supporter of WO. If this were so, than it would be good strategic sense for opponents of WO to endorse a "now or never" attitude towards leaving ECUSA.

The same issue is touched on in this thread:

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/10506/

Thank you.

Phil said...

Beryl Simkins and Fred Schwartz:

Sirs, you are duplicitous in this entire sordid affair. Your aid and comfort to those that loathe Christian belief is a proximate cause of the late actions in the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Perhaps you'll find a warmer welcome in your usual haunt - adding to the vicious, mean-spirited echo chamber at Fr. Jake's blog?

Please, pray that you will be forgiven for your sizeable role in this toxic affair.

us300 said...

I also appreciate the updates from someone that I trust and believe in. Keep up the good work!

Your Brother in Christ,

J

Batgirl said...

Dan, in my opinion, 815 is moving fast because of impending legal rulings in both California and Virginia. Their actions are driven by their legal strategy - and not primarily out of concern for the laity on the ground in Fresno.

JamesW said...

Three thoughts:

1) KJS's gross abuse of the canons should speak volumes to those on all sides of the equation. It destroys the moral credibility of the new Diocese of Remain Episcopal and the moral credibility of KJS herself. It shows that the DRE and KJS have already lost before they begin.

2) Jerry Lamb as new bishop of the DRE? Okay...but do let's remember Lamb's track record in the Diocese of Northern California - between 2002 and 2006, Lamb's diocese lost 20% of its members and 14% of its ASA. And that's not counting the parish that left at the end of 2006.

3. Jerry Lamb as the "bishop designee" (glad to see TEC's democracy at work!) who is also a RETIRED bishop. Hmmm.....let's see. KJS essentially appoints a bishop who has a track record of running a diocese down, but who won't cost TEC much in maintenance costs because he is retired. Hmmmm......what could be the plan??????

Isn't pretty obvious that the 5 year plan is to prop Lamb up for a few years before collapsing the DRE into the surrounding dioceses?

Anonymous said...

When I lived 'back east,' I used to shovel the snow in my driveway (and sometimes help my neighbor shovel also).

When I moved to California, I didn't long to shovel anymore, because there was not need to do that where I lived.

Living in California, and in particular within The Diocese of San Joaquin, I don't long to fly back east to shovel the snow my old driveway.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 1:53
Amen! I continue to wonder why Fr. Dan even left San Joaquin since he seems so focused on hisf ormer diocese here on his blogsite? If you have so much to say and contribute in our Diocese Fr. Dan, perhaps you should have stayed a finished that which you had helped in starting!

How are things going in Indiana by the way! Is there not any news worthy of your musings in Indiana? One has no clue by reading your blog!!!!
:)

frcartercroft said...

You might want to follow the comment exchange on the Stand Firm blog site about the appropriateness of Fr. Dan commenting on the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Anthony said...

Dan, if this group of "non-juror" orthodox Episcopalians wants to have any effect at all they need to come out of their closets, and let people know who they are and what they stand for. That includes the erstwhile Standing Committee. Right now they have so little credibility that I doubt their existence.

Rick D said...

In the original post:

There already is a Standing Committee, duly elected under the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

Some say there is, some say there isn't. I'm hoping the six remaining (or possibly former) SC members, appear at the convention. They can easily put to rest any doubt about their position or loyalties by simply renewing their vows publicly to support and uphold the Episcopal Church.

Fr. Tony Clavier said...

What an extraordinary set of comments. No one seems to want to address the canonical issues Fr. Dan has raised. Accusing him of being a contributor to the "mess" seems merely to be the old political dodge of attacking a person when there seems to be no obvious counter to that person's position.

The Presiding Bishop of our church isn't a Metropolitan and is not afforded metropolitical authority either by Canon or by precedent.

That the Bishop Schofield acted uncanonically and I would judge rashly is neither here nor there. Yet his activities do not justify an ad hoc extension of authority by the Presiding Bishop.

tjmcmahon said...

Father Tony (et al),

I think that it is obvious that on any plain reading of the canons, the presiding bishop is in violation of both the letter and spirit of the canons. However, I will be quite surprised (although pleasntly so) if the blatant abuse of power even comes up at the HoB meeting. The irony is that she is attempting to depose two bishops for, essentially, encouraging votes in their conventions with which she does not agree. She is unilaterally proclaiming new canon law and seizing authority not granted to any presiding bishop. Under canon, should Bishop Schofield be deposed (granted this is a foregone conclusion), the canonically elected standing committee takes over. Except, apparently, in San Jaoquin, where a nominating committee (who came from where, exactly?) was selected in an extra-canonical fashion, without holding a convention, to elect a bishop to replace a bishop who has not yet been deposed.

The point of all this, clearly, is to establish the precedent that the PB DOES have such powers, canons be damned. If she can get away with it in San Jaoquin, we will no doubt shortly see a provisional bishops "elected" and standing committees replaced in Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth. Oh, and then Springfield (IL), W. Louisiana, well....you know the drill.

This really is the defining moment for the "Episcopal Visitors" or "Communion Partners" or Camp Allen" or "Windsor" bishops, or whatever they are calling themselves this week. They lost so much credibility in the last HoB session, this really is their last chance to establish themselves as an orthodox voice in this country. I can only say to them, now is the time to stand and let your voice be heard. If this gets rubber stamped by the HoB, any bishop who does not shout "NO" when it comes to a vote will have zero, and I mean zero, right to call themselves orthodox leaders.

And to Father Dan....I don't always agree with everything you have to say, but I very much appreciate the time and prayer you expend on our behalf.

TJ

tjmcmahon said...

Sorry for the several typos and grammatical errors in my last post, I was on a roll.
TJ

Alice C. Linsley said...

Dr. Tighe, As usual you have pointed to the elephant in the room. I know Bishop Schofield opposes women's ordination because one of his closest friends was my cousin and she was very clear about where he stood. She introduced me to Bishop Schofield at the Indianapolis General Convention as "my cousin, the only woman priest" she had any confidence in, and that only because she knew I had doubts about the legitimacy of WO. Of course, I no longer have doubts and I am no longer a priest.

JamesW. said...

Fr. Tony: I completely agree that the Presiding Bishop has engaged in a breathtaking abuse of the canonical process in her actions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. I believe it exposes her claim to desire a continued DSJ to be fraudulent.

I frankly don't think that there is anyone left in TEC who either cares nor dares to do anything about the PB's gross abuse of the canons. Everyone knows that there is no "rule of law" in TEC, any more then there was rule of law in the Soviet Union or communist China. The "law" is determined by the Party, and the Party is dominated by those who installed the Leader.

What I think the big story is here is how so very quickly the "liberal" faction in TEC has seized on to and supported the trampling of due process and embraced a blatant abuse of the canons to achieve a desired end (i.e. the complete shutting out of conservatives in the DSJ). The TEC liberals have completely removed any moral authority they might have had. Even Fr. Jake can't say with a straight face that the PB is following canonical procedure - all he can do is declare that he likes the end result. Thus we have supposed liberals arguing that the ends justifiy the means, and might makes right.

The DSJ fiasco provides objective evidence of the "kangaroo court" reality that is TEC. I think that TEC is a lost cause, and there is nothing that any of us can do about it. The key test, as I see it, is how the Archbishop of Canterbury responds. Does he meekly accept the result of a gross abuse of process, or does he respond as he did to the shennigans of the Zimbabwe bishops and begin to call TEC to account?

I think the demise of TEC is a foregone conclusion. The question is whether it will drag the AC down with it. (I personally think the AC will survive regardless, but I am not sure about North American Anglicanism).

JamesW. said...

Alice: I would like to say this about John-David - I know an "orthodox" woman priest (and I realize that you and Dr. Tighe would question that language) who thinks the world of John-David, and who John-David has a great love and respect for. He believes what he believes and will not violate those beliefs, but he is most certainly not closed-minded nor anti-women.

Dan Martins said...

Beryl Simkins--
Yes, I'm gone. But that doesn't mean I no longer care. I care very deeply. I'm concerned about truth and integrity and due process, values which have been broken by +John-David and which are now being broken by the Presiding Bishop. BTW, your protestations of "inclusiveness" only confirm my point, that Remain Episcopal and 815 are not so much interested in continuing the legitimate Episcopal Diocese of SJ as they are in creating a new entity that only sings in one key, and is demonstrably un-inclusive of the orthodox position on human sexuality.

Dr Tighe--
I apologize for not responding to your speculations when you voiced them earlier; it got lost in the shuffle. In brief, I don't think your theory accurately accounts for reality in the diocese as I know it. The Bishop's views on women's ordination are well known, but I am quite certain that, had he retired in the normal manner, SJ would have elected a bishop that ordains and deploys women without any particular "encouragement" from 815. This is precisely why the "goon squad" visitations of a few years ago were so utterly ridiculous. Among the clergy of the diocese as it was configured before last December's convention vote, I can think of only a handful (literally) who have principled objections to the priesting of women, and none who object to diaconal ordination. The majority of those who have followed him to the Southern Cone would probably be accepting of W.O. (I indeed know of one female deacon who considers herself very much a "transitional" deacon, though is resigned to a lengthy transition, because of her loyalty to +John-David.)

Fred Schwartz said...

Fr. Dan,

I have seen you operate and based on where you are now, what you have said while here in DoSJ and based on your "double-cross" of +JDS I would say that truth and integrity are not real high on your list of personal characteristics.
You are beginningto appear as the consumate opportunist that is looking for the next political game to play because you love the high the adrenal rush gives you.
Your cut and run attitude that you displayed here in DoSJ seems hardly becoming a person of "high moral character".
You remind me of so many school board members that look for the next great opportunity and would be willing to abandon almost any position in favor of some vague political justification that turns out to be indigestion.
No Beryl is far more inclusive and certainly far less judgemental than the henchmen you support that can hardly wait for the next GLBT to defile in public.

JamesW. said...

Fred: I think your personal attacks on Dan to be highly reprehensible, without merit and not part of a reasoned and rational discussion of the situation. When you stoop to such a level I know that you have already lost the intellectual argument.

ruidh said...

So, I missed the point of the piece being about the actions to declare the Standing Committee vacant.

I find in myself a complete and utter lack of outrage.

These leaders of the DoSJ did nothing to stop, prevent, hinder or speak out against the action of the diocese to leave. Their insulting letter back to the PB demonstrates their unsuitability to hold this office.

I early on expressed a concern that the SC were a rear guard action designed to protect the diocese's back and prevent any reorganization. Nothing I have seen to date denies that suspicion.'

They were elected by the same convention which voted to leave. I find nothing odd, wrong or unusual about finding all actions of such a convention to be canonically invalid. I applaud the PB for taking prompt action while remaining within her canonical responsibilities. Tony Clavier is a great friend of mine (remember our lunch at the Oyster Bar in New York and the pint of scrumpy?) and I have a great deal of respect for him, but I still disagree.

The newly reorganized DoSJ should be allowed to elect their own Standing Committee and not be saddled with the decisions of the one which voted to leave.

Fred Schwartz said...

Jamesw,
Permit me one last post. I think you must not be from DoSJ otherwise you would understand reprehensible. Reprehensible is wandering through the diocese, using your strong clerical influence to convince laity and clergy alike that leaving the TEC for the Southern Cone is the right thing to do. Helping the bishop to "root out all them liberal" priests in favor of card carrying Baptist to run the parishes for them and of course "vote their conscience (as if they had one). Reprehensible is sitting on a Standing Committee and violating your own constitution and canons in order to "take your toys and go play somehwere else". Reprehensible is closing missions and churches in order to gather a war chest to pay for a huge legal battle. Reprehensible is leaving an 80 year old husband and wife no place to go church and selling all the donated/memorial items out from underneath. When asked by parishioners to spare such things as a donated stain glassed window or the processional cross Fr. Dan did nothing (and Standing Committee). Reprehensible is "selling out" your brother priests for a promise of 30 pieces of silver. Reprehensible is then leaving the diocese for a "call" in Indiana and being "forced" to vacate your position. Reprehensible is leaving all those laity that you convinced to go to the Southern Cone to face the music (whatever that may be) by themselves. Reprehensible is then saying "I never said any of that." Yes jamesw, Fr. Dan does know how to spell reprehensible, probably in capital letters.

Anonymous said...

Fred Schwartz explains what "reprehensible" means for progressive Episcopalians . . . proving once again that we simply don't even use words in the same way and do not have the same definitions of those words.

"Jesus" . . . "Gospel" . . . "sin" . . . "repentance" . . . "church" . . . "Scripture" . . . "transformation" . . . "the Fall" . . . "the Incarnation" . . . "the Resurrection" . . . "the atonement" . . . "baptism" . . . "Eucharist" . . . and now, of course, "reprehensible" . . . not to mention "integrity" . . .

Two mutually contradictory gospels, residing in one organization.

It'll be an interesting several decades or more as these two gospels duke it out in the Episcopal church.

I believe that that battle between the two mutually opposing gospels will ultimately destroy the Episcopal church -- but I guess that's "consequences" for the institution and for all of us.

At least we know it won't be a boring time!

Sarah

Phil said...

Not to mention, Sarah, that if Fred's objections were tweaked only slightly (even if still worded with as little class as his comment), we would find the General Convention organization to be equally "reprehensible."

ruidh said...

Two mutually contradictory gospels, residing in one organization.

It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt.

It's clear that there are a lot of hurt feelings on both sides of this conflict. Perhaps the DoSJ can move ahead in a spirit of reconciliation. That is my prayer.

Anonymous said...

RE: "It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt."

Heh -- and the good news is that one's opponents don't mind a bit being held as "beneath contempt" by the other side -- on either side. ; > )

But if there were not two gospels, there wouldn't be the meltdown that is currently occurring - -and there wouldn't be this blog -- and there wouldn't be the rage and fury as expressed by Ruidh -- and hosts of other things.

That's what happens when the two mutually opposing gospels come to the point of clash, which is what has happened in TEC. The holders of both gospels recognize that their gospels absolutely MUST be defended.

Otherwise -- if the two gospels were "adiaphora" -- the one would say to the other "hey -- we didn't realize that the whole blessing of same-gender sexual relations was such a big deal to you, we'll pass now that we realize that".

But of course . . . neither of the two sides may say that -- because in fact the blessing of same-gender sexual relations is not adiaphora at all, to either side. The blessing of same-gender sexual relations is all about even bigger, more mutually-opposing worldviews concerning scripture and all the other words I mentioned above that the two sides don't define in the same way.

Two gospels -- one organization -- lots and lots of conflict.

The fact that a progressive decides to post about how "beneath contempt" he deems his opponents to be [and that traditionalists don't particularly care one way or the other to receive esteem or affirmation from such progressives] is actually a side-note -- merely an interesting but not particularly important or noteworthy symptom of . . . the two mutually opposing gospels which exist within one organization.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Let's stop talking past one another and focus on the other "elephant" in the room: DSJ "Bishop-designee" Jerry Lamb. This is the Bishop who (with three others from California) filed suit against +Schofield for the changes he made to his corporate articles. This is the Bishop who abused Canon IV.10 to claim a priest who had been licensed in another Province of the AC had "abandoned the communion of this Church". And this is the Bishop who regularly announced at services, in violation of the rubrics of the BCP, that
"all persons---baptized or not" were welcome to receive Holy Communion. It is obvious, isn't it, why 815 has hand-picked him to complete their completely uncanonical takeover of the DSJ? He will no sooner be invested with his "office" than he will become the plaintiff in a lawsuit against +Schofield and the Anglican DSJ to seek an injunction requiring them to turn over all their assets and property to +Lamb.

Fred Schwartz, Beryl Simkins, ruidh and others should get ready to open their wallets/purses and enjoy the show.

N. D. Weiss

Anonymous said...

Fred: Heh, I've been around TEC quite a bit. I have also grew up in the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada. I have seen how a mild-mannered, "quiet about it" conservative woman priest has been treated by liberals. I have seen lies, illegal actions, and other truly reprehensible acts undertaken by liberal bishops, clergy and laity. Yes, even by one of the leaders of Remain Episcopal in your diocese - told a flat out lie with intent to undermine your bishop and put someone else in an untenable position - all to score a political point (BEFORE 2003!!!).

And this was all BEFORE 2003. So don't yammer on about reprehensible Fred. You and your liberal friends define that word, thank you very much.

JamesW. said...

N.D. Weiss - Don't forget Jerry Lamb's wonderful record in the Diocese of Northern California - from 2002-2006 (Lamb's last four years here) the diocese lost 14% of its ASA and 20% of its membership. And all that while openly violating the canons of the TEC every time he made a pastoral visit (open communion). I suppose KJS couldn't have picked a better stooge as bishop for the new Diocese of Remain Episcopal: committed to canonical violation from the very start (heh, its in DRE's DNA!), and to the quick demise of the diocese.

Anonymous said...

JamesW, I agree with your assessment of +Lamb's leadership of the DNC, but somehow I think 815 had a different criterion in mind when it had him named "Bishop-designee" (by what canonically established nominating committee, by the way?). It's his litigation background against +Schofield that was uppermost in their thoughts, I'll wager. (Of course, his "inclusiveness" at Communion should more than satisfy those who, like Beryl Simkins above, believe that inclusiveness ---without accountability---is the essence of Christianity.)

I do not wish anything bad for the good people of San Joaquin---but I think I can see what is coming. What I hope they will see is this: 815 does not have their interests as a priority. 815 has only its own interests at heart---the people who vote for +Lamb at the "convention" on March 29 will simply be tools for 815 to achieve its imperial ends. In four or five years, after all the litigation has left everyone drained and the infrastructure in ruins, there will be nothing left to call a diocese, and what is left will be folded in with the neighbors.

N. D. Weiss

Alice C. Linsley said...

TEC's "inclusiveness without accountability" has caused a number of us former women priests to leave TEC and the priesthood. In fact, the ease with which TEC slipped into a different religion forced me to look more objectively at Anglicanism as a whole. I have become friends with several former ECUSA women priests as a result of this wrong turn by TEC. It is interesting that each of us has entered the Orthodox Faith (deciding this independently of one another).

JamesW. said...

N.D. Weiss: I actually think that Lamb was appointed bishop of the DRE for these reasons:

1. He is reliably liberal.
2. He is supportive of TEC's litigation strategy.
3. He is retired and therefore won't cost 815 very much money and can be dismissed at anytime.

What are TEC's interests in central California?

1. To maintain the fiction of a continuing DSJ for 1-3 years.
2. To fold the diocese after a few years, reasons to depend on the results of their litigation.
3. To pull a few viable liberal parishes out of there.
4. To expend the minimum amount of money in so doing.

If TEC loses the California litigation, they can close down the diocese quickly and and blame Schofield and the nasty wascally courts. If TEC wins the California litigation, they can wait another year or so, then have the liberal parishes "decide" to join the surrounding parishes to "better manage their ministry" or some such thing, then 815 will sell off the empty buildings and pocket the money.

The selection of Lamb demonstrates that there is no long term strategy on 815's part for the continuation of the DRE.

Dan Martins said...

I have debated whether to respond to the personal attack from Fred Schwartz. I do not expect what I offer here to persuade him or others who think as he does. But for the sake of those with an open mind, I must say:

I never "wandered through the diocese" doing anything, let alone trying to persuade anyone that the diocese should join the Southern Cone. At the invitation of Remain Episcopal, I appeared at two public events sponsored by that organization and made a case that the Bishop's leadership was intended to secure our full communion with the See of Canterbury in the face of what appeared at the time to be credible threats of impaired status for TEC. My point was that to "remain Anglican" is more important than "remaining Episcopal." A lot has changed since then. The threat is still out there, but it's not immediately imminent. It will require the Covenant process taking its course. Plus, Bishop Schofield's commitment to Canterburian Anglicanism is now very much in question, and this is where I have parted company with him. At the time of these public appearances, the Southern Cone option was not even remotely in play. In fact, it was not made public (even to the Standing Committee) before I left the diocese last August. So I have never advocated for it in any forum.

I emphathize with some of the emotional energy behind Mr Schwartz's tale of church closings. I don't know whether I believe +J-D was intentionally trying to build up a "war chest." There was only one instance where, as a Standing Committee member, I was involved in the process leading to the closing of a church. This was St Dunstan's, Modesto. I attended a meeting with some of the parish leaders in June of 2005. I felt uneasy about the decision to close St Dunstan's, and I voiced those misgivings to other SC members. But it is not something I can recall the Standing Committee voting on. And I certainly had no hand in parceling out artifacts like stained glass.

I can understand how the timing of my departure from SJ could look "suspicious." All I can say is, it happened when it happened. I was at a point in my ministry when, for a number of very "normal" reasons unrelated to the current angst, it was prudent to be open to making a move. My present position is the door that opened, and I walked through it with a sense that I was responding in obedience to a call. I have God to answer to for the wisdom of that discernment, and no one else.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Why was St. Dunstan's closed?

Malcolm+ said...

Much of the angry and personal commentary on this thread is disheartening. However, there is only one clause in one post I find completely contemptible.

The clause in question is where Phil writes off "the other side" as "those that loathe Christian belief."

Ruidh has rightly pointed out that this is exactly the sort of over-the-top language which allows one side of a debate to dehumanize ad marginalize the other. It is also the preferred tactic of bullies and cowards.

In my blogging, I have tended to make a distinction between conservatives and "conservatives." The distinction, for me, is largely about how the person or persons approach the current issue tactically. The latte are those wh seek to overthrow the institution while claiming thy seek to preserve it.

I find their approach contemptible and more than a little dishonest.

But I will not write off every soul on "the other side." I am quite aware that the vast majority of people contending on all sides of this issue are motivated to be faithful to our Lord's intention for his church.

I am sorry, Phil. But when I see a poster writing off those who disagree with them as "those that loathe Christian belief," I cannt attribute that to any faithfulness. It is not fit language for those who would be faithful to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is viscious. It is hateful. It is fit only for those who would serve the father of lies.

Anthony said...

This thread is getting out of hand.

Anonymous said...

The Invitation to the Table which I grew up with said "ALL THOSE who are in love and charity with their neighbor and intend to lead a new life etc etc". I never heard a word about "Are you baptized?" "Are you g/l/t/whatever??" "Are you an Episcopalian?" It always seemed to me to be an opportunity for those who were "seekers" to receive those Holy Gifts and if what we profess to believe is true, would receive comfort and the prospect of a new life. What would Jesus have done?? He sat down with lots of those considered by some the undesirables of His time, in order, I believe, to show his followers that ALL were to be received at the Table. Hmmmmm.....
RE the depositions: many, many, many Episcopalians in Diocese of Fort Worth do NOT oppose the ordination of women, and would welcome a Bishop who is INCLUSIVE and nonjudgmental and approachable and who recognizes the hierarchical nature of The Episcopal Church.
I am rather new to these blogs, and am totally UNDONE by the nastiness and total absence of civility and love and charity with one's neighbor. Maybe that's why there's so much conflict: lots of people are making messes, and forgetting about the ones who are left behind to clean up the messes. Come on, people; get back to the real stuff: Love the Lord with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself. That was ALL Jesus said we were to do. The rest follows, as night follows day.....

Anonymous said...

RE: "Ruidh has rightly pointed out that this is exactly the sort of over-the-top language which allows one side of a debate to dehumanize ad marginalize the other."

LOL.

Ruidh, of course, did no such thing, instead indulging in precisely the sort of language that Malcolm claims on the one hand to dislike, yet then uses himself. Ruidh said, to be precise: "It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt."

Thankfully, that sort of language is not particularly troublesome to me.

If it were, than the language of Malcolm himself, . . . "bullies," "cowards," "viscious" [sic], "hateful," "contemptible," and "father of lies" . . . would be troublesome too.

I just stand back and note the hypocricy of someone piously proclaiming that one shouldn't use mean language to describe one's opponents while using mean language to describe his opponents.

And then, I recognize the fury that led to such language as well.

The good news, though, is that it's not particularly important to me [and I suspect to Phil] to have various angry progressive Episcopal activists be happy with their opponents or say nice things about them. Good thing too! ; > )

Sarah

Malcolm+ said...

Lumping together everyone who disagrees with you and writing them off with an odious and false accusation that they "loathe" Christian belief is the language of bullies and cowards. It has no place in Christian discourse and it is inspired by the father of lies.

If you want to tell us that we are wrong on the substantive issue, you are certainly entitled a) to your opinion and b) to advocate that opinion in reasoned debate.

Accusing the lot of us of loathing the God we worship, is something else entirely.

There is, as I noted, a lot of anger being expressed on this thread on all sides. Most of it is being directed at specific acts by specific persons. And even so, much of it is unhelpful and counterproductive.

Phil's offensive lie (and that is as kind a description as I can give it) is the only comment I saw which constituted an un-nuanced attack on any and all who disagreed with him.

If you consider such mass-slanders to be an appropriate means of discussion among Christians, then I can only pity you.

Fortunately, most of the people "on the other side" are more grown up that to use such evil tactics.

JamesW. said...

Malcolm: Have you ever been over at Fr. Jake's blog??? The comments there by those "on your side" make Phil look like a Bahai.

As for me, I don't question that most liberal Episcopalians follow "God." I don't, however, believe that the liberal Episcopal religion is historic Christianity as defined by the overwhelming consensus of historical and contemporary global Christians, the Holy Scriptures, the Creeds, etc. That is not to say that y'all are horrible people, you just have a different religion that happens to have taken the names and some of the terms used by historic Christianity.

I further see this as an objective fact. You take the statements made by, for example, the Presiding Bishop, and compare them to Holy Scripture and the plain witness of the catholic Church and they just don't fit. They are not the same faith, they don't ascribe to the same tenets about God, Creation, the Fall, and Jesus Christ.

This is America, though, and liberal TECan's have the right to believe what they want to believe, and they even have the right to think that they are catholic Christians. And I really don't bear any animus to them for believing such.

What I think we need to do in the case of TEC (and I think that this is what Sarah is getting at) is to admit to ourselves that there is, in fact, two religions in one institution and that these religions are incompatible with each other. The reasonable and rationale solution is to acknowledge this reality and then to take steps to permit the catholic Christians to organize under one jurisdiction and the "New Thing" believers to organize under another jurisdiction. Then let the Anglican Communion recognize who they will and presto! - you've avoided all the ill will, litigation, name calling and "church politics of ecclesiastical destruction" that is currently destroying TEC.

Liberals - y'all need to realize that you can't win this battle. By trying to keep hold of all the marbles, you will only destroy your church. Conservatives, I think have already given up and increasingly have no qualms about destroying TEC. I will admit that as an Anglican who moved to the US ten years ago, I have no great personal connection to TEC, and so I don't mourn its destruction like so many of you long-timers. But I do mourn the damage this is causing to the Anglican Communion.

At this point, we have two options, and ONLY two options:
1) Mutually Assured Destruction if we keep trying to hold on to all the marbles for our side, or
2) Mutually Agreeable Separation as I have described above.

But please, don't fight for Option 1 (MAD) and then feign sadness that you reap what you have sown.

Anonymous said...

"bullies", "cowards", "father of lies", "offensive lie",
. . .

RE: "Fortunately, most of the people "on the other side" are more grown up that to use such evil tactics."

Heh.

Of course.

Phil said...

Malcolm+: I suggest you read more carefully. I didn't "write off every soul on 'the other side.'" What I accused Fred of doing was giving "aid and comfort to those that loathe Christian belief." And I further said that this is "a proximate cause of the late actions in the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin."

That isn't writing off every soul; it isn't even writing off Fred's soul. That privilege is reserved to Christ our God alone.

What ECUSA has become is a haven for exactly what I said. It's very, very difficult for me to read the trash produced by John Spong - still a member of the HOB in good standing - and not see loathing for the teaching of the Church. Ditto a great deal of the sermonizing and commentary around ECUSA. You've heard it: the historic teachings of Christianity are bigoted, unjust, ad nauseum.

This the church that sanctions and publicizes the crypto-pagan "women's" liturgizing of Elizabeth Kaeton, then watches its left wing mythologize her in the blogosphere. This is the church that provides safe haven for the clown "mass," Wiccan priests, Muslim priests (the latter two dealt with only after the mainstream Anglican blogosphere made waves about them), leaders that scoff at the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the uniqueness of Christ (and, therefore, His divinity), the ability of Christ to perform miracles (while telling us not to "put God in a box"), a saving role for Christ's death on the Cross, etc.

If you spend some time at venues such as Fr. Jake's blog, you'll find that Christians that take Scripture seriously are "fundagelicals" or Baptists that ought to be kicked out of ECUSA. You'll learn that what Christians have always been about until this enlightened age is hate. You'll learn that most of the Scriptures should be ignored or severely downgraded in importance as products of ignorant, bigoted, culturally-bound, small-minded authors. You'll also learn, ultimately, that the conservatives in ECUSA, that is, those that believe nothing more than what the Church has always taught, are violent people that are ultimately, unless they keep their hateful beliefs strictly to themselves, to be expelled from ECUSA.

Go back and look in those archives: I struggled for a very long time to find common ground with them, often praising what I found written there. The end result of probably a year of conversation? Get lost - which I therefore assume is what's in store for any mainstream Christian in ECUSA.

Malcolm+: is that aid and comfort to those that loathe Christian belief? Yes. A thousand times, yes. And, as I've challenged your side over, and over, and over again, if you don't like people such as me pointing this stuff out, then join us in condemning these obscenities - even if it means losing those that are valuable allies in pushing forward your radical sexual agenda. When I see that, I'll take your ranting seriously.

ruidh said...

"But if there were not two gospels, there wouldn't be the meltdown that is currently occurring - -and there wouldn't be this blog -- and there wouldn't be the rage and fury as expressed by Ruidh -- and hosts of other things." -- Anonymous

"Ruidh, of course, did no such thing, instead indulging in precisely the sort of language that Malcolm claims on the one hand to dislike, yet then uses himself. Ruidh said, to be precise: "It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt."

Thankfully, that sort of language is not particularly troublesome to me." -- Sarah

I've carefully reread each of my posts in this thread. I have always responded calmly and with respect to the person I am addressing. I still don;t know what either of these posters is talking about.

I did say, "It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt.", in response to someone who accused us of following a different gospel -- a charge which is as absurd as it is insulting. I was observing that demonizing your opponent by accusing them of not being Christian does make it easy to dismiss them. I find that statement accurate.

If you wish to dispute the accuracy of that statement, please do so. If you find that I have done the same thing, please point it out to me directly so that I can correct myself.

Malcolm+ said...

What you have done, Phil, is to raise up a handful of isolated examples and proclaim that they represent the mainstream. Your argument is fundamentally flawed because it is fundamentally false.

To use the "Muslim Episcopalian priest" as one example, apart from one rather silly comment from one bishop, I saw not a single liberal defending that individual's attempted syncretism. I saw the liberal bishop with jurisdiction take immediate action when the matter became known to him. The only difference I saw between liberal and conservative commentary was that the conservative commentary I saw (which may not be representative) was universally nasty, whereas the liberal commentary treated the woman as though she was confused and needed help.

But it is easier to pretend that "the other side" is rife with pagan rituals and mindless syncretism. Saves you having to engage.

Fred Schwartz said...

Fr. Dan,
I apologize for the hyperbole. Let me be clear. You worked closely with +JDS for years as many a good and qualified priest was run out of the diocese. What did you do to stop that? You did appear at two meetings and you did represent leaving the Episcopal Church, I was at both those meetings. +JDS has been talking about leaving for years. What did you do publicly to admonish or counsel him not to break the bonds of affection? You were on the standing committee where you closed at least 3 missions not the least of which was St. Dunstan's under the guise that they were losing money. You allowed St. Dunstan's to be closed despite the petitions and appeals of at least on couple that was 80 years old and as STanding Committee members would not hear them. On the most significant issues at the convention, those that affected everyone the Standing Committee refused to give voice or vote on these issues to any parish that was "not current on their assessment even while the dicoese was not curent on it's assessment to TEC. You allowed JDS to bring a priest in and serve as a priest-in-charge who was known to have been de-frocked in another diocese. You allowed +JDS to warp the search process to meet his own personal agenda. Yo udid not speak up, you did not speak up, you did not speak up. Then, you left. It makes little difference why, in the middle of a terrible struggle you left -- you a clergy person on the Standing Committee "committed at that point to staying with TEC".
Hope that is less personal and more professional.

Dan Martins said...

To Fred Schwartz--
You give me too much credit as far as working "closely" with Bishop Schofield is concerned. All I can say is, "I wish!" There was a time, earlier in this decade, when I believed I "had his ear," but I was never in his inner circle. I was a Rural Dean since 2000, but he simply stopped calling Rural Deans' meetings early in 2006, turning instead to his own staff as a council of advice. Both the Rural Deans and the Standing Committee were effectively out of the loop in the final runup to the 2006 and 2007 conventions. And that I was on the Standing Committee when three congregations were closed is immaterial, because the Standing Committee was not in the loop on that either. The Bishop did talk about these situations with the Rural Deans, but the decision was his. I was personally quite sad over the St Dunstan's situation. That parish certainly had some problems built into its DNA to begin with, but I felt the decision was too hasty and I said so. As far as the participation in convention by congregations not current on their assessment is concerned, the Standing Committee had nothing to do with it. It's written into diocesan canons, and only the convention itself has the authority to change that. And as to bringing in a priest that had been deposed elsewhere, check your facts: That happened after I left. But I can tell you that the Standing Committee did warn the Bishop not to do so. He ignored their warning. Might I make a friendly suggestion that you refrain from making assumptions and inferences about matters you are not fully informed about? A lot more "speaking up" went on than you realize. But when a body is not consulted to begin with, it's pretty difficult to speak up.

Anonymous said...

RE: "I did say, "It's this kind of talk which makes it easy to dismiss one's opponents as beneath contempt.", in response to someone who accused us of following a different gospel -- a charge which is as absurd as it is insulting. I was observing that demonizing your opponent by accusing them of not being Christian does make it easy to dismiss them. I find that statement accurate."

Yes -- and I find my statements in the above thread accurate as well.

And so . . . there we are.

Except . . . when you use language like "beneath contempt" I don't indulge in hypocritical rants about how awful it is that somebody is using that sort of language. ; > )

RE: "If you wish to dispute the accuracy of that statement, please do so."

Not at all -- I have no interest in trying to convince you that you don't find folks who acknowledge that there are people representing two different gospels in the Episcopal church as "beneath contempt" -- indeed I take you at your word and am confident that you do find such people as "beneath contempt" and as I have pointed out I am indifferent to it.

RE; "If you find that I have done the same thing, please point it out to me directly so that I can correct myself."

Already done. You expressed your contempt of people like me while at the same time rambling about how mean people are. I pointed it out.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

RE: "To use the "Muslim Episcopalian priest" as one example, apart from one rather silly comment from one bishop, I saw not a single liberal defending that individual's attempted syncretism."

This is somewhat amusing as the bishop in question sang paeans of praise to the priest who was serving in his own diocese!

Indeed, if the bishop had not sung paeans of praise in a newsletter the issue would not have come to the attention of all the bloggers enough to complain.

Sarah

Fred Schwartz said...

Fr. Dan,

Well, we seem to disagree over of pointed issues. My (personal) challenge was to get you tho think about your legacy in the Diocese of San Joaquin, I have accomplished that. I am disappointed that you fail to see the damage you performed while here. Surely, you are not the only person and there are more who have greater responsiblity as everyone of us here in San Joaquin should share. I am hopeful that as you reflect on your days here you will use that knowledge for the betterment of the Episcopal Community in the United States.
Peace+

ruidh said...

"Except . . . when you use language like "beneath contempt" I don't indulge in hypocritical rants about how awful it is that somebody is using that sort of language. ; > )"

I'm really not understanding you. I didn't say that I held anyone beneath contempt. I didn't even accuse anyone in this thread of holding others beneath contempt. I merely observed that demonizing someone allows it.

"I have no interest in trying to convince you that you don't find folks who acknowledge that there are people representing two different gospels in the Episcopal church as "beneath contempt" -- indeed I take you at your word and am confident that you do find such people as "beneath contempt" and as I have pointed out I am indifferent to it."

Yeah, I think you completely misunderstood what I actually did say.

"Already done. You expressed your contempt of people like me while at the same time rambling about how mean people are. I pointed it out."

Sarah, I said not such thing, but if the shoe fits...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruidh, so you do not "dismiss" those opponents who believe that there are two gospels represented in the Episcopal Church as "beneath contempt"?

If so, thanks for clarifying.



Sarah

Phil said...

Well, Malcolm+, then we have two different points of view. You think my examples are isolated and outside of the mainstream; I don't - and, your denials of reality may make you feel good, but they won't stop the ongoing hemorrhaging of people from your organization. As with a drunk, only admitting the problem will put the GCC on the path to a solution.

As far as not engaging: like I said, I did plenty of engaging, and it's all in the archives. But you can ignore that (for a second time) if you choose. That saves you from having to engage.

ruidh said...

"Ruidh, so you do not "dismiss" those opponents who believe that there are two gospels represented in the Episcopal Church as "beneath contempt"?"

Certainly not. I consider them profoundly mistaken. It is the accusation of following a separate gospel which allows them to treat *me* with contempt.

Malcolm+ said...

Sarah, would you consider this argument valid? All Republican Senators engage in illicit gay sex in airport washrooms. After all, we have the case of Senator Craig.

Fred, I don't purport to know the whole history of Fr. Dan's involvement in the machinations of +JDS. What I do know is that he has chosen the path of institutional loyalty - despite some apparent misgivings.

Dan, I claim no expertise in the canonical subtleties of the Episcopal Church. That said, I'm not sure I agree with your take on the Presiding Bishop's actions and ultra vires. I do think, however, that her approach to the issue of the extant standing committee appears to have been clumsy and perhaps unhelpful.

Phil, you can state til you're blue in the face that these isolated incidents represent a norm endemic in the Episcopal Church. By the same token, I can argue that illicit bathroom sex at airports is endemic among Republican Senators. Constant repetition of a slander doesn't make it so. And even were heterodoxy rampant, that is a far thing from "loathing" Christian belief.

Phil said...

Malcolm+, again, I think these practices are widespread. Even if not, though, I think the proper analogy is that a senator engages in illicit activity at airports, and his leadership in the Senate a) says quite openly it has no problem with it and b) gets angry that the activity is reported. That’s the situation we have in ECUSA with regard to denial of the Christian Gospel. In that case, the argument that the leadership is both complicit and morally warped in some ways itself is valid.

Malcolm+ said...

Phil: "a) says quite openly it has no problem with it and b) gets angry that the activity is reported."

But there you are, Phil. Taking your isolated example of the Muslim Episcopal priest, this is exactly what did NOT happen. Despite some rather flighty comment from one bishop, the Bishop with Jurisdiction took immediate action to suspend the individual. And at no point did that bishop raise a fuss that the matter had hit the media.

Sorry to befuddle your disdain with facts.

Phil said...

Again, we disagree, Malcolm+. The comment from the local bishop wasn’t “rather flighty,” it was enthusiastic and encouraging. And, in my opinion, Geralyn Wolf’s action was only immediate because mainstream Christian blogs kept the issue at the forefront. This was nothing more than a public relations bridge too far, even for ECUSA. And, yes, the usual suspects were angry that this was publicized.

We’ve seen this before. The Wiccan priests in Philadelphia? Safely ensconced, until there was publicity. The witchcraft book at the 815 bookstore? Same thing.

But much of the life of the GCC goes on without disturbance, from Jack Spong’s good standing in the House of Bishops, to barely quasi-Christian parishes, to the denials of Christ’s uniqueness (and, thus, His divinity) or saving action on the Cross that are met with indifference by the good Episcopalian.

Look, it’s an organization about nothing, whose leader proudly says it has no answers, just questions. If you think that lines up with the revelation of God in Christ as The Way, The (capital T) Truth and The Life, then see Sarah’s comments above – we’re discussing two different gospels.

Malcolm+ said...

No helpful links, I notice, to your oft repeated claim about how the powers that be were "enraged" about the issue coming to light.

I also see that you have exactly no evidence at all to back up your charge that Bishop Wolfe only took action because of the publicity. I don't know a lot about Bishop Wolfe, leads me to give her a great deal more credence than I'm inclined to give to a random blog commentator with a destructive agenda. Further, I note that she is, in fact, one of the Windsor bishops, not some raving liberal extremist.

How shall I put this delicately, Phil.? I do not believe you are telling the truth.

Constant repetition of calumnies does not make them true - and certainly not true "across the board.

After all, we can point to no end of homophobes who deliberately incite violence against gays and lesbians. How I suspect you'd howl, Phil, were I to make a bald assertion that every conservative - or even just the "conservatives" - was complicit in the continuing tragedy of gays and lesbians who are beaten up and even killed on a regular basis here in North America.

And you'd be right to howl, Phil. The existence of violence-advocating homophobes is a fact, but it does not mean that every "reasserter" is advocating violence.

So, stop claiming that I "loathe" the gospel, Phil. It is a viscious lie, and it certainly does nothing to make me believe the rest of your wild accusations.

Anonymous said...

RE: "It is the accusation of following a separate gospel which allows them to treat *me* with contempt."

Nonsense.

Acknowledging that there are two gospels duking it out in the Episcopal church does not lead to "contempt" at all. It leads to reality and honesty and clear communication.

Truth is, the progressives have clearly and openly claimed a "gospel of inclusion" and the traditionalists have claimed a "gospel of repentance and transformation." Both sides have elements of the other -- that is, the progressives want everybody to repent of deeming same-gender relationships sinful -- and certainly traditionalists "include" people.

But the two gospels depend on different views of pretty much everything in the Christian life -- sin, church, the Fall, atonement, repentance, and on and on it goes. Both sides define the same words in entirely different, mutually exclusive and contradictory fashions. And . . . both sides are willing for the church to be divided for their gospels.

Were the blessing of same-gender sexual relations not a linchpin consequence of the progressive gospel -- progressives would give that up for the sake of "peace and unity." Same with the traditionalists.

But both sides recognize that to give up the whole same-gender sexual activity issue would be to give up a highly consequential part of their ruling gospel.

Hence, the warfare in the Episcopal church will continue, until one side or the other are eliminated from that church.

Acknowledging all of the above doesn't lead to contempt of the other. It leads to clarity and realism about both the stakes and the actions before us.

Indeed -- I have a lot of respect for progressive Episcopal activists. They have sought and worked for much, and gained much.

But it does no good to deny that there are two gospels in one organization, and continued attempts at denial leave most active engaged people rolling their eyes.

Goodness -- if it's not two gospels, then what on earth is all the extraordinary upheaval occurring in the church for?

No, I think most people involved in the church warfare going on -- no matter what side -- intuitively know that these issues are worth fighting over and that the issues are mutually incompatible. It's possible that the two gospels are neither one actually the Christian gospel. But I know one thing -- the two gospels are not BOTH the Christian gospel because they reach opposing conclusions. We could both be wrong. One of us could be right and the other wrong. But we sure as the dickens aren't both right.


Cheers,

Sarah

Anonymous said...

RE: "No helpful links, I notice, to your oft repeated claim about how the powers that be were "enraged" about the issue coming to light."

Heh -- that was easy.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/3831/

And actually, what Phil said was: "This was nothing more than a public relations bridge too far, even for ECUSA. And, yes, the usual suspects were angry that this was publicized."

And yep -- he is so so right.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

And just in case my link doesn't go through, here it is again as a tinyurl . . .

http://tinyurl.com/2jk4td


Sarah

ruidh said...

Sarah, what you call "two gospels" is nothing more than a different emphasis. It is undeniable that the Gospel both calls us to repentance and transformation through Christ and welcoming the stranger, the foreigner and the despised. One side deemphasizes the traditional teachings on sexuality; the other the injunctions from St. Paul not to judge the other's sin.

Same Gospel, different expressions.

ruidh said...

"We’ve seen this before. The Wiccan priests in Philadelphia? Safely ensconced, until there was publicity. The witchcraft book at the 815 bookstore? Same thing."

Yeah, not so much. Someone started passing similar scandalous rumors around about my wife. The diocese, counted among the "revisionist" diocese by those who count such things, was very concerned and investigated, finding nothing, of course.

It's just more false charges by those who need for TEC to be the "bad guys".

Phil said...

How I suspect you'd howl, Phil, were I to make a bald assertion that every conservative - or even just the "conservatives" - was complicit in the continuing tragedy of gays and lesbians who are beaten up and even killed on a regular basis here in North America.

Actually, Malcolm+, maybe you wouldn't do so, but ... well, read the lefty blogs. If I howled every time somebody accused mainstream Christianity of being responsible for violence to gays, I wouldn't have a voice left.

So, stop claiming that I "loathe" the gospel, Phil. It is a viscious lie ...

Sorry to keep repeating myself, but I didn't say you did -

... and it certainly does nothing to make me believe the rest of your wild accusations.

They were links to actual events, words and/or facts, not accusations, but, believe me, I was never under the impression you were going to believe them or otherwise deal with them.

The bottom line is, like your fellow-travelers, this stuff appears to be just fine with you (as I notice not one shred of agreement that they're wrong, even as "fringe" phenomena). And so, we've made a circle back to "aid and comfort."

Phil said...

ruidh, "finding nothing?" See, this is the problem with denial. Google "Bill Melnyk" and get back to me.

ruidh said...

ruidh, "finding nothing?" See, this is the problem with denial. Google "Bill Melnyk" and get back to me.

Why? My wife's name is not "Bill Melnyk".

Anthony said...

Phil, is it your position that TEC consciously and of set purpose teaches and encourages the practice of witchcraft? If not TEC as a whole, is it your contention that anyone in a position of episcopal authority in TEC approves and supports the practice of witchcraft? BTW I do not believe Melnyk is in such a position of authority, or is even a member of TEC at present.

One Day Closer said...

I don't post very often to Fr. Dan's blog but i have been readingthis thread daily ust to see its results. Amazing how it has evloved. BUt, I just couldn't help but post this "Sorry, I repent" for those who are in the discussion over Melynk. If only the consecraters and advocators of VGR could be so humble to Repent and turn:

"Bill Melnyk 'I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification'

Bill Melnyk 'I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification'
There is no greater cause for rejoicing today than in the public repentance of Episcopal priest William Melnyk and the reported repentance of his wife, fellow Episcopal priest Glyn Lorraine Ruppe-Melnyk, of their involvement with Druidism.

Recently it has been brought to light by several agencies and individuals that I have been involved in work with Druid organizations in the United States and England, exploring the relationships between Christian and pre-Christian Druid spirituality and theology. These individuals and agencies have presented you with pages of documentation of my activities from the internet. You and I have discussed this material, and you have pointed out to me that it is the opinion of the church that my involvement, writings, and activities go beyond the bounds expected of a Christian and a Christian priest.
I affirm to you with all my heart it was never my intention to engage in such error, but only to help others who had lost connection to the Church to find a way to reconnect. I also thought that there was much in our early British heritage that could help those of us in the Church to broaden our understanding of Anglican tradition.
I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification anything and everything I may have said or done which is found to be in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant, and the historical Creeds of the Church. With God as my witness, I reaffirm my belief in the historical creeds of the Church, and the Baptismal Covenant, and reaffirm to you my faith, as expressed in that covenant. I am resigning my membership in the Order of Bards, ..."

Malcolm+ said...

Phil, this discussion is pointless. You clearly have no interest in engagement, merely in calumny.

Oh, and BTW, I am quite happy to say that one cannot be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time and that Bishop Wolfe was right to suspend the priest in question. So please stop insinuating that I believe otherwise.

And I am also quite happy to say that one cannot be a Christian and a Wiccan at the same time either.

Now Phil, do you still beat your wife?

Phil said...

First of all, if ODC's post is accurate, I rejoice that the Melnyks have repented and returned to Christ.

Anthony, my opinion - I think that's a better word than "position" - is this: that, in many places, and among many leaders, the ECUSA culture is indifferent to most oddball, quasi-pagan practices - unless exposed to the media spotlight.

Malcolm+, and what "engagement" have you done? You've had to be dragged kicking and screaming (as I said, your side gets angry when the seamy side of ECUSA is exposed) to grudgingly criticize a couple of the instances I've highlighted.

What I asked you is not, "Do you still beat your wife?" What I asked is, "Do you think there's anything wrong with beating one's wife," which ought to be an easy one to answer. Yet, left untouched is the propriety of allowing a parish like Redeemer Morristown to exist, as well as Katharine Jefferts-Schori's lurid meanderings (linked above) to the effect that Jesus was one of the many equal products God has used to address different target markets of humanity. You studiously avoid addressing the scandal that bishops and priests that want to mark up major parts of Christian belief to mythology or ignorance are offered safe harbor in ECUSA.

The things we're discussing here happened; they're real; leaders like Schori said them. They aren't products of my calumniating. They're simply things those of your political persuasion are determined to shuffle under the rug, but they continue to exist, fester and rot out the foundation of your organization.

I have no interest in calumny, Malcolm+. My sincere interest is that the ECUSA culture should turn to the Lord, and live. I pray that you could overlook your hatred for me and other mainstream Anglicans - you can actually continue the hatred, if you must - and work with us to root out these cancers from ECUSA.

ruidh said...

Anthony, my opinion - I think that's a better word than "position" - is this: that, in many places, and among many leaders, the ECUSA culture is indifferent to most oddball, quasi-pagan practices - unless exposed to the media spotlight.

And, I tell you, that is absurd. My own experience in a "revisionist" diocese disproves the broader interpretations of this broad brush smear.

The fact remains, and we've seen it over and over in this thread, some on the right feel it's necessary to disparage the Christianity of their opponents. Whether it's ridiculous "two gospel" accusations or vague insinuations of "oddball, quasi-pagan" practices, it's so much easier to demonize and dismiss your opponents when you don't have to recognize their faith as authentic, if misguided.

(Some of our familiar Christmas and Easter rituals have pagan roots. One might even call them "quasi-pagan". If that's what you mean, then we're all guilty.)

Phil said...

ruidh, I have no problem recognizing the faith of the people in question as "authentic, if misguided." They have faith in the sense of being serious about their religious experiences. On that, we agree. I'm sure Katharine Jefferts-Schori would tell you Hindus, Jains and so forth have authentic faith, too. Authenticity isn't the end of the question, though, if the organization purports to be Christian. But, if you're going to offer up raisin cakes to the Earth Mother and the four corners of the Earth, we're in "two gospel" territory. If you don't agree, fine. You're just proving my point.

ruidh said...

if you're going to offer up raisin cakes to the Earth Mother and the four corners of the Earth, we're in "two gospel" territory. If you don't agree, fine. You're just proving my point.

Clearly that's beyond the pale. But it also doesn't happen except, perhaps, by one or two misguided individuals.

I refuse to take responsibility for their transgression.

Phil said...

ruidh, I'd like to tell you, in all sincerity, that by acknowedging that extreme is beyond the pale, I am thrilled that we've found common ground. Now, what's your feeling about someone who thinks Christ's Resurrection is mythology? Within ECUSA's boundaries, or not?

ruidh said...

I'm not sure what the point of this exercise is. Sooner or later we're going to disagree on something. (If I answer the current question, perhaps sooner ;^)

We're already way past the point of semi-pagan.

Ignoring the vast number of definitions and connotations for the word "mythology", there are clearly a vast number of potential positions for a Christian to hold. There are literal interpretations of the Resurrection as well as some much less well defined interpretations ("we don't know what actually happened other than the accounts -- he felt solid and eat and drank. Thomas put his hand in his side.").

My answer to your question depends on the status of the person. I have no desire to have "windows into a man;s soul". I have much less of an expectation on a lay person than I do on an ordained person. An ordained person might indeed have some doubts in this area, but as long as she keeps them to herself and has no issue with participating in the reciting of the creed, that's between them, their Spiritual Director and God.

"Mythology" is such a loaded word. I prefer to talk about metaphor versus literal truth. Clearly some parts of Scripture are metaphorical ("I am the door") and some are literal ("And he died"). Jesus himself taught more through metaphor than through direct statements. There's always a question about which parts of Scripture are metaphorical and which are literal. I have grave concerns about an insistence on literal interpretations of things which are well beyond our direct experience.

But then again, I'm actually a moderate and not a member of the raving loony party.

Phil said...

ruidh, perhaps the conversation does get pointless. Let me just say that on your comment about windows into the soul, and the distinction between what we should expect of a lay person and an ordained person, I completely agree.

Malcolm+ said...

Phil: "You've had to be dragged kicking and screaming (as I said, your side gets angry when the seamy side of ECUSA is exposed) to grudgingly criticize a couple of the instances I've highlighted."

That, sir, is a damnable lie.

You haven't got a clue who I am or what I think on issues. Inst4ead, you have simply started with a brazen assumption that I support such heresies. You have no basis for this, no evidence but your own arrogance.

Stop lying about me, sir.

Phil said...

Is that a damnable lie, now? Not until your fifth reply to me did you get around to agreeing that it's a problem if a priest claims to be both a Muslim and a Christian, or a Wiccan and a Christian.

Fifth.

Despite my encouragement, you’ve still had nothing to say about Katharine Jefferts-Schori’s comments, nor Redeemer Morristown (not the only one of its kind, we can be sure), nor the safe harbor ECUSA provides to clergy that preach the Resurrection was a myth, or Jesus’ death on the Cross was not salvific, or the Virgin Birth didn’t happen, or the Scriptures are the product of ignorant bigots.

“Vicious lie”? “That, sir, is a damnable lie”? “Your own arrogance”?

Sounds like kicking and screaming, with the bulk of the argument still avoided.

And, through it all, you repeat that I charge you with "support[ing] such heresies" - which I haven't done.

Stop calling me a liar, sir.

Malcolm+ said...

Phil, if you stop lying, I will stop calling you a liar.

I have never endorsed or condoned the kind of syncretism represented in these cases, and you have no evidence to support your false witness.

You are insinuating that I tacitly endorsed these things because I felt no great need to re-condemn what had already been condemned.

By your "logic," sir, I am well within my rights to accuse you of condoning the beating and murder of gays and lesbians because, despite much kicking and screaming, you have never condemned such violence.

Heck, I could even argue, by your "logic," that you've been involved in such violence your own self since you've never said you haven't.

This goes right back to my initial complaint about your first dishonest post. The broad brush comes out and anyone who disagrees with you about gays "loathes" the Gospel.

Guilty until proven innocent. The attitude of a thorough-going McCarthyite.

I now stand by for your further baseless insinuations.

Phil said...

Malcolm+, far from being re-condemned, I see no condemnation of these things coming from institutional ECUSA in the first place. In my opinion - not with intent to lie - the two cases to which you've responded were dealt with only because of conservative pressure.

There's been no condemnation from institutional ECUSA of KJS' remarks. Far from it; she's lauded as a conquering hero. Do you condemn her views, which I've linked to, above?

I'll say again: you're reading accusations I'm not making - especially with your final "broad brush" comment. Even so, forgive me for causing you offense.

I'll conclude by saying, once more, that it's my opinion that a disregard for the essentials of the Gospel is widespread in ECUSA. In some dioceses, it's encouraged; in most, it's tolerated. In neither case is it healthy.

If you talk to people that advocate for re-imagining Church teaching on homosexuality - again, read the archives at Fr. Jake's - it's clear that several tacks are being taken:
- Scripture is unreliable - the authors were no more clued in than us, they were hopelessly bound by their culture, or they were outright bigoted;
- The institutional church has a history of violence, racism, bigotry and hatred, and is thus unreliable;
- Tradition is a reflection of particular cultural constructs and is therefore to be remade at any historical point;
- None of this matters anyway, because we are to be bound by the latest (apparent) scientific discoveries.

It's crystal clear to me that these arguments, especially given the ferocity with which they're pursued, can be used to undermine the entirety of Christian teaching. I absolutely connect the arc of the agenda to normalize homosexuality to the other weirdness growing in ECUSA, as a logical result, and I make no apology for that. If the former will not be abandoned by ECUSA, then I refuse to relent on combatting the latter, no matter how many times you, or anybody else, calls me a liar or accuses me of slander.

Forgive me that our discussion has not been more civil. Please have the last word.

One Day Closer said...

Phil & Malcolm+
I have been reading your back and forth postings at one another and I must admit I was heart sick at the name calling (liar) going on and the attacks at each other. I am very offended that a priest would stoop to such level Fr. Malcolm. You as a priest are suposed to be

1 Tim. 3:2-3
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, [3] not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

The ones that I would charge you with Fr. is "self-controlled", "gentle", "not quarrelsome"

I do not see you exercising any of those things, even if Phil might have pushed your buttons, you should be above reproach. But, this is the very problem we laity are seeing more and more of in our priests, and bishops. They are supposed to be the very role models of that behavior. How can you expect to gain credibility and respect when you do not hold yourself to the higher standard that God himself has placed you in?

James 3:1
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Peace be with you both!

One Day Closer said...

"Bishop Schofield hasn't even been deposed yet, and there's already a "Bishop nominee.

To get a bit back on track with this I think Fr. Dan it is safe to assume that KJS feels quite within her comfort zone in getting way ahead of the process because she already knows that she can do and whatever she wishes with no reprocution! Who is going to do what to her for anything whether she violates yet another Canon or over steps her bounds? No one has stepped up yet in the past 3-4 years to call her to account nor bring presentment charges against her. She feels quite safe to do what she feels and when she feels the need to do so. Welcome to the TEc dictatorship of revisionism!