Saturday, March 29, 2008

Repeating Lies Does Not Add Up to Truth

From Episcopal Life's coverage of today's proceedings in San Joaquin:

Jefferts Schori had told the participants earlier that the convention had been called because Bishop John-David Schofield had been deposed or removed from his diocesan seat after having abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church, and because the Standing Committee removed because it took actions "which violated their ability to hold office in this church."

The first count is debatable, since the deposition of Bishop Schofield was canonically flawed--a reality clearly evident to any rational and literate person--and the second count is simply a lie. I hate to make such a bald statement, but there's no way around it. If the Standing Committee took any such disqualifying action, no one has yet named it. Quite the contrary, they took actions which clearly demonstrated their intention to act as the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese.

Tragically, the issue is almost moot--given that 815's abusive actions have driven most of the key players into the arms of either Bishop Venables or another offshore jurisdiction. But not quite: Father Rob Eaton reportedly showed up in Lodi and publicly protested his removal, reminding the convention that he was duly elected and never resigned his seat. Once again, the revolutionaries squandered an opportunity--handed to them veritably on a silver platter--to cloak themselves in some semblance of credibility, and go a long way toward proving their assertions of being in a reconciling mood. They could have seated Fr Eaton and elected only seven others. But wait ... that would actually have made sense.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic, that after weeks of silence,Fr Eaton shows up, announces he is remaining with TEC and then announces Tulare is present but will not vote. I cannot imagine that he would have been overlooked at any point in the last few months if he was clear in his position. Did he meet with Cns Moore and Cox? Did he and vestry go to the Deanery meeting in Fresno? He wasn't at Hanford. Why now?
There will be ample opportunities for Fr Eaton and the folks in Tulare to get involved over the next 5 months leading up to convention. We heard it loudly and clearly today, you need not be in a "leadership role" to participate, in fact we are all beholden to do just that. So glad they are remaining with us, I am sure many folks will be reaching out to them very soon. No one should be in a position of feeling disenfranchised, faithful Episcopalians in San Joaquin know that all too well, we have lived it for twenty years.

JamesW said...

Anonymous of 1:26 am - so let me ask you this. Let's suppose that the George W. Bush mobilized the US Army, invaded your state, arrested your Democrat governor and declared that your elected majority Democrat legislators were no longer recognized as the state legislature. Let's assume that George W. Bush made vague references to the US Constitution to support what he did and when confronted, simply replied "well, my interpretation is that the Constitution gives me this authority."

Suppose that George W. Bush then appointed Republican legislators to form the new legislative majority.

Then if he said to the state's population of Democrats "no one should be in a position of feeling disenfranchised. We will reach out to you soon" - how would YOU feel?

The evidence shows that Rob Eaton and the other six on the Standing Committee contacted the Presiding Bishop PRIOR to her purported dismissal of them pledging to work according to TEC's canons to rebuild the TEC diocese of San Joaquin. The Presiding Bishop's response was to publically declare that she did not recognize them and then proceed to act as if they did not exist.

Anonymous said...

jamesw,

Pretty good summation, except you might as well use the historical references. Replace George W Bush with Abraham Lincoln, and you're 90% there -- at least with the Confederate states.

Anonymous said...

7.28?

sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Jane Ellen+ said...

The first count is debatable, since the deposition of Bishop Schofield was canonically flawed--a reality clearly evident to any rational and literate person...

I do not agree that Bp Schofield's deposition was less than valid; and, while there are any number of people out there more highly educated than I am, and an even larger number who are more intelligent, I think I qualify as both rational and literate. If nothing else, the odd combination of an M. Div preceded by an Engineering degree will do that to a person.

With due respect, I hope that you continue to make your arguments and state your opinions as clearly as you may; but please consider ways of doing so without the arrogant tone. It is not necessary, and does more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Did he meet with Cns Moore and Cox? Did he and vestry go to the Deanery meeting in Fresno? He wasn't at Hanford."

What that has to do with being an Episcopalian and a member of the duly elected Standing Committee I don't know. The Presiding Bishop does not have the power to appoint bishops and certainly no Episcopalian need "meet with" whomever the Presiding Bishop decrees.

RE: "Why now?"

I would think it's good to go ahead and get in a public, formal protest at the faux convention.

RE: "So glad they are remaining with us, I am sure many folks will be reaching out to them very soon."

Oh I'm sure. Hopefully Rob will continue to refuse to recognize the non-canonically appointed people by the faux "convention" -- but who knows.

If I were him, I'd start preparing for the inhibitions and depositions, as he continues to speak out against the non-canonical actions of the PB. It won't be pretty for him, as of course the progressive Episcopal activists will be unable to endure his truth-telling.

Should be quite a spectacle over the next several years, and I am looking forward to blog-land covering it quite thoroughly and publicly.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, forgot to add -- major kudos to you, Dan Martins, for your excellent work on these issues. Fine fine blogging up a storm!

And when you receive flak . . . well, you're over the target. So take it as a sign of the good work you are doing that you receive the revisionist readers that you do.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

The thing that puzzles me is that, as Fr. Dan has observed, the new leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin could have easily given itself more credibility by allowing Fr. Eaton to retain his seat and elect only seven replacements. He would have been outnumbered and unlikely to be able to seriously influence any of the committee’s business, and he would have been a living, breathing example of the inclusive nature of the diocese that we keep hearing about. He is a TEC loyalist, but apparently not the right kind of loyalist.

As far as the charge of “not trying hard enough” to oppose the actions of Bp. Schofield, and the argument that this constitutes grounds for summary removal from his office, there is already an established procedure for removing inadequate elected representatives. They are not reelected. While I was in the Diocese of San Joaquin I attended monthly deanery meetings with Fr. Rob, and ever since the trajectory of the diocese out of TEC became apparent, he has been saying that he feels strongly called to remain within that province. He was elected to the standing committee by persons who presumably knew that he didn’t share the Bishop’s desire to depart, and that he would likely use his considerable gifts of persuasion and understanding of the canons to oppose that move. His views weren’t a big secret, and the continued descriptions I keep seeing of him as a collaborator and major supporter of the recent developments in DSJ are simply not supported by facts that were available to anyone who would have cared to research them.

Finally, losing Fr. Rob is a defeat even for those who oppose him theologically. He is exactly the kind of “opposition” anyone would want to have – polite, respectful, and completely committed to keeping the rules.

Craig+

Phil said...

What really excites the Potemkin diocese is finally having an Integrity table at a diocesan event. That's what this is all about, after all. Once the reporters are gone, they can put the MDG placards up over the altars, too. We should start a pool: when does the first gay "marriage" get done? I say by December.

Jake said...

Let's suppose that the George W. Bush mobilized the US Army, invaded your state...

You mean, kind of like Gregory Venables did to The Episcopal Church, contrary to not only our constitution and canons, but his own? Yea, the analogy works that way.

John-David Schofield brought this all on himself, and you know it, as the ugly tone of your rhetoric reveals.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't someone from Father Eaton's parish have nominated him from the floor, so to be properly elected? He could then have been elected with the other members in an orderly way. Otherwise, this group would have taken a muddled course of recognizing members from two different standing committees.

The news reports say that Bishop Lamb was not appointed by PB Jefferts-Schori; that hehe was elected, and his post is provisional. The procedure seems pretty standard.

There are Episcopalians in the area that need leadership and structure. The parishes that remained with Bishop Schofield are proceeding with their lives as part of the Southern Cone. I'm glad both groups can worship in their own way.

May both groups in the San Joaquin Valley receive many blessings, and unfathomable love from God - in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Lord, hear our prayer.

Anonymous said...

RE: ". . . and you know it, as the ugly tone of your rhetoric reveals."

Uh oh . . . somebody needs to let Jake know that he's confused the reasserter rhetoric with his revisionist allies posting over here. ; > )

Sarah

William said...

I am curious to learn if Fr. Eaton was given credentials by the Special Convention (in which case, if I understand it correctly, he would have signed a statement attesting to his intention to operate under the C&Cs of The Episcopal Church) or if he was given the opportunity to speak as a courtesy but was not present as a credentialed delegate?

Exercising 20/20 hindsight, the Standing Committee could have responded the Presiding Bishop's letter stating she did not "recognize" them with a firm declaration that were, indeed, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and operating under the C&Cs of The Episcopal Church and would continue to do so.

They did not, of course, and chose to shoot off a blustery salvo that reinforced suspicions of separatist intent on their part. It's not surprising their response was read as an abandonment of their office in The Episcopal Church.

As late as last week, a simple declarative statement could have changed the picture entirely. Now, as someone noted, that issue is closed.

The battle now moves to the corp sole. I suspect +JDS' resignation letter will carry more weight with secular courts than any canonical murkiness whether a valid quorum deposed him.

JamesW said...

Jake - pray tell, did you just compose a new dictionary: "Ugly tone of rhetoric" = arguments Jake is not able to refute.

Jake - seems to me that the Diocese of San Joaquin, by majority vote and non in violation of any canon of TEC voted to ACCEPT an OFFER from Venables for oversight. I agree with you that the Canons of the Province of the Southern Cone may have been set aside by this arrangement, but it hardly constitutes an "invasion." I don't recall Venables derecognizing any priest or lay person who stated the desire to come under the Southern Cone.

In contrast, KJS was contacted by 6/8 remaining members of the TEC Standing Committee with the offer to work with her to canonically reconstitute the TEC Diocese of San Joaquin. But the existing SC didn't hold the theological positions KJS wanted them to hold and so she "derecognized" them and ignored them in complete violation of the canons. Now THAT, Jake IS an invasion.

The fact is, Jake, that the Presiding Bishop had two options:
1) Act canonically, work with the existing Standing Committee members that did not choose to go to the Southern Cone, rebuild a truly inclusive Diocese of San Joaquin, but one which would have retained a theologically conservative majority.
2) Act in disregard of the canons, "derecognize" anyone whose theology she didn't like, and create a new diocese that snubs and excludes from positions of power anyone whose theology differs from hers.
The Presiding Bishop chose the second option. It's as simple as that.

JamesW said...

anonymous of 7:28 am - are you suggesting that Lincoln was acting without regard to the US Constitution and that "might makes right"? Are you suggesting that in the TEC crisis, violent warfare is just against those with whom you disagree? Are you equating those with whom you theologically disagree with the ugliness of slaveholding? And finally, do you consider yourselves open-minded, inclusive of other opinions, and willing to work towards an amicable solution?

William said...

A note to JamesW:

When one is referring to elected officials of the Democratic Party, that adjectival form should be used, as the improper usage "Democrat" Party, "Democrat" legislator, "Democrat" governor, etc. is a neologism associated with polemical cryptofascist mouth-breathers marinated in far too much Free Republic and Fox News. Certain as I am you wouldn't want to be tainted with such an association in the midst of a discussion of things ecclesiastical, I offer this mild correction in a spirit of Christian charity.

Anonymous said...

Sarah @ 12:59
Do you not think it reasonable, that if you were a priest, part of the SC, in a diocese which illegally headed south and you have a bishop who has rejected TEC and you want to remain, that perhaps you might want to meet with representatives sent by TEC for pastoral care to work out the details of moving forward? After all,if he truly understood his position on the SC, he would have contacted rectors within the Diocese to meet with them or parishioners, He did not. His parishioners could have added his name to the slate for nomination back on the SC, and then lets see how people would vote. The one thing I have learned from all this is, that the laity need to be more pro active and informed.
Fr Dan, we will disagree, but the SC was painfully inept. If so many, including you, knew what John David was doing was not in the best interest of this Diocese as you have said before, some how I feel you were obligated to move it beyond what you did. The Standing Committees for the past 10 years or more, allowed this travesty to happen either by colusion or silence. We have now moved beyond this, we deserve to have a fresh beginning with those that truly have our best interest at heart, and support our mission in loving our Savior and focused on the mission work so desperately need here in the Central Valley. The Lord will work through each of us, and we will all land where HE sees fit.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Do you not think it reasonable, that if you were a priest, part of the SC, in a diocese which illegally headed south and you have a bishop who has rejected TEC and you want to remain, that perhaps you might want to meet with representatives sent by TEC for pastoral care to work out the details of moving forward?"

Nope -- not a bit reasonable. "Pastoral care" of course is a euphemism for "control what remains." And the PB had no authority -- none whatsoever -- to appoint "pastoral care" [sic] authorities over the diocese. A bit like meeting with the Vichy government authorities, that.

RE: "After all,if he truly understood his position on the SC, he would have contacted rectors within the Diocese to meet with them or parishioners,"

Nonsense. The Standing Committee's job begins when the bishop is deposed. Unfortunately, the PB muffed the job and is now attempting to cover up the mess she made of the canons. Not gonna happen.

RE: "His parishioners could have added his name to the slate for nomination back on the SC, and then lets see how people would vote."

Vote where? And at what? A meeting of Episcopalians in Lodi? LOL.

RE: "we deserve to have a fresh beginning with those that truly have our best interest at heart . . . "

Heh.

Heh heh.

We'll talk again when TEC folds the faux attempt into its choice of another diocese.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Yes, Sarah, at the meeting in Lodi with the faithful Episcopalians,the folks Fr Rob says he represents on the SC, the folks he said he has chosen to stay with.
It is quite evident you do not live in this diocese, therefore I can accept quite freely your ignorance to what has happened on the "ground"and within the churches over the years,afterall, I live here and for years accepted the rhetoric and dogma from John David. I knew something wasn't quite right, having been in four other Dioceses.
And yes, we will see what the Lord has in store for us, not TEC, not the ABC,not a pirating Primate and most certainly not incompetent, self gratifying clergy who feel obligated to JDS.
God Bless you.

Phil said...

Yes, poor anonymous, having to live for years under the tyrant Schofield. No crosses pulled down to be replaced with MDG placards. No gay "marriages." No diocesan officials marching in "gay pride" parades. No Muslim-Episcopalian priests. Nobody assuring us all the Resurrection is a myth. Nobody preaching we have enough Christians in the world already, and Jains have an equal claim on the truth, anyway.

The horror of it all.

Malcolm+ said...

Phil: "No crosses pulled down to be replaced with MDG placards."

Please provide evidencde that this is a common occurence elsewhere in the Episcopal Church. (Frankly, on this one, I don't think you'll even be able to come up with a single, isolated example.)

Phil: "No gay 'marriages'."

Caught in your own rhetorical overkill on this one as well, Phil. The handful of same sex marriages that occured in the US were done by secular officials or by clergy of the Metropolitan Community Church (which is not a part of the Episcopal Church).

Even in Canada, where same sex marriage is the law, this isn't happening.

But then, you were never one to let facts get in the way of your overblown rhetoric, were you?

Phil: "No Muslim-Episcopalian priests."

Yes, here we go back to the isolated case of one clearly troubled individual and falsely proclaim it as the norm in the Episcopal Church. Hell, Phil, there weren't any Muslim-Episcopalian priests in the Diocese of Newark the whole time John Spong was Bishop there.

Try basing your arguments on the truth, Phil. You may want to consider the title of Fr. Dan's thread.

Fred Schwartz said...

Not to allow truth to get into the way of this blog -- ALL parishes within the diocese of San Joaquin were contacted and asked to participate. That meant, initially, in any way they deemed important. Now, in keeping with this blog, I could jump to the conclusion that they did not deem this important but I will resist. For whatever reason, they simply did not. Fr. Rob and his parish included. They waited for the opportunity to seize the moment. They did and they were treated fairly and with dignity and respect. By the way, and for what it is worth, I would say the point to be made is NOT that Integrity was there per se, it is the openness the welcoming that makes a difference. Everyone is welcome to come to church and worship. I thought that was what we were all about.

Anonymous said...

So Fred Schwartz,
"They did and they were treated fairly and with dignity and respect."
You call Mark Hall telling Fr. Rob Eaton after he stated his protest about the failed deposement of Bishop Schofeild and the uncanonical process of that "Special Convention" by ignoring the duly elected Standing Committee of which Fr. Rob is a part of that "That has been dealt with and is a done deal" basically in essence saying sit down and shut up is being trerated fairly and with dignity?

I know at our General Convention Mark Hall as well as Keith Axberg, as well as Beryl Simkins, as well as all those from Holy Family, St. Anne's, St. John's Lodi, etc...who came to the microphone to voice their opinions and protests were never told that "It has already been dealt with its a done deal! Fairness and dignity was given to them in Dec o7 but it was not given on MArch 29th 2008 to those who are not in teh remain Episcopal camp!

Regards
One Day Closer

Phil said...

I’m glad you asked, Malcolm+.

See here:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7387
A Picture of TEC’s New Gospel

And here:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/9393/
Stations of the Millennium Development Goals

Of course, what I was doing was speculating on why poor anonymous was so happy to be out from under +Schofield’s iron boot. I believe this is what he, and others, want. After all, we here in the U.S. did have a Muslim-Episcopalian “priest,” who was lauded by her local bishop with an exultation Mrs. Schori couldn’t even find for her Easter message. Fortunately for the GCC, its public relations bacon got saved because the “priest” in question was canonically resident elsewhere. The respective bishop was savvy enough to see the thick, messy egg all over GCC’s face, and cut the whole thing off at the knees.

Then, we have to ask what was wrong with Bishop Schofield's teaching that so ground down anonymous. I'm just telling you what I see as a possible list. Assuming from your tone you agree with me the things I mentioned are outrages, what's yours? Why be so happy to be free of Bishop Schofield?

Speaking of rhetorical overkill, you might want to make your casuistry a little less obvious. Those involved with “same-sex blessings” usually use a form of the marriage service. The clergy think they’re marrying the couple, and the couple think they’re getting married. The GCC says these ceremonies are “within the bounds of our common life.” Check. (In this case, that means the common life of the secular activity you mention, and not the Church. I agree with you these aren’t marriages, but for a different reason.)

These are facts, Malcolm. Unfortunately for you, they’re not getting in the way of my argument.

Don’t feel bad, though. When you’re in the middle of Canada, it can be hard to understand what's really going in the GCC.

Anonymous said...

Craig+ @ 1:52
I do not remember Church of Our Savior in HAnford, CA being so liberal when Fr. Greg Waddington was rector, may his saintly soul rest in God's peace. What happened while you were there? I remember a great amount of orthodox believers, many of the youth in the ministry of acolyting and Sunday School events. But, I now hear that all that went away a year or two after you came aboard and now it is a very liberal church and has shrunk in numbers and then you left! I'm in shock and dismay! What happened pray tell?
One Day Closer

Ron G said...

My family is moving to the central valley next month where I've gotten a job. I've been reading local newspapers online to get a feel for what's happening in our new hometown. In the process, I've seen a number of articles on this dispute. I was interested in learning more and Googled my way to this blog and some other websites.

I'll admit I don't understand the details as well as you all do and, in fact, don't know much about your denomination at all. We aren't church goers right now (we're just emerging from having three babies in four years!)but would like to find a home church after we move. One of our neighbors thought we might like an Episcopal Church since my wife was raised Catholic and I went to Methodist Sunday School for awhile.

But from what I've read and the comments you've all made here and on other websites, believe me when we look for a church we will avoid anything Episcopalian or Anglican or whatever you're calling yourself.

To be blunt, we just don't want to expose our kids to this sort of stuff. I don't have a problem with gay people or someone with different ideas about the Bible. I don't really care who your bishop is or what your canons say. But I do have a problem with hateful jerks intent on running each other down. I wouldn't sign my kids up for a soccer league where people behaved this way, much less a church!

I probably should just keep my mouth shut and let you duke it out. But maybe you don't realize how you look to outsiders. I'm sure you think it's all the other guy's fault. But I can't really tell the difference, you all look pretty bad to me.

JamesW said...

Anonymnous at 12:41:

You said to Sarah "Do you not think it reasonable, that if you were a priest, part of the SC, in a diocese which illegally headed south and you have a bishop who has rejected TEC and you want to remain, that perhaps you might want to meet with representatives sent by TEC for pastoral care to work out the details of moving forward?"

Except that according to TEC, it is not possible for "a diocese" to "illegally head south". Or didn't you hear the "it's not possible for a diocese to leave, only for INDIVIDUALS to leave." So the simply questions to ask are: Was Rob Eaton elected to the DSJ Standing Committee per the canons of TEC? Yes, he was. Did Rob Eaton choose to leave the TEC DSJ? Again, a very clear answer - no he did not, and he furthermore made that very clear to KJS.

What is happening Anonymous, and I thank you for pointing this out, is that KJS is saying one thing (dioceses can't leave) but then acting as if one just did.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Yes, Sarah, at the meeting in Lodi with the faithful Episcopalians,the folks Fr Rob says he represents on the SC, the folks he said he has chosen to stay with."

No -- at the meeting in Lodi with "Remain Revisionist" Episcopalians.

And Rob stated that he has chosen to stay within TEC -- he and his parish. Hard to do while avoiding "Remain Revisionist" but hopefully he'll bear up.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

RonG, I wholeheartedly agree that you should probably not try the Episcopal church.

We're a church at war, and this blog is but a small microcosm of what goes on parish to parish to parish to diocese to diocese to diocese. In fact, I would say that this thread right here nicely demonstrates the polar opposites in foundational worldview that are in the Episcopal church.

I'd guess -- although it's up in the air -- that this church will be at war for a good 10-20 years more. That's my best guess. And believe me, it will get far worse, in my opinion, than what you see here. My bet is that the lawsuits will quadruple in number, maybe up to 10 times the current number. And I wouldn't be at all surprised for a class action suit or something else similar to occur sometime within the coming decade.

I don't think that there will be one diocese untouched by lawsuits come five years from now.

And just think -- we also have a General Convention every three years, where basically the radical progressives have about 50% of the vote, and the centrist progressives another 40%. Every three years, the fight between those two segments -- with the remaining 10% looking on -- will be a sight to behold. And every three years, the clergy and laity deputies will have to return home to far far more conservative to centrist pew-sitters . . . and increasing and escalating furor.

Good luck with your church search. Tough days, these days, to find a church that is not riven from within with groups who hold two utterly opposing and disparate gospels. Once a church has significant segments holding mutually contradictory foundational worldviews . . . well, it's always going to be a figurative bloodbath.

JamesW. said...

ron g.: I think you'd be wise to avoid the Episcopal church right now, as you are correct that it is in the midst of serious rancour and it will probably only become nastier as the court fights begin. Many folks have left the Episcopal Church because they did not feel comfortable inviting newcomers.

I have long suggested that the choices facing us as Episcopalians/Anglicans is between that of
1) Mutually Assured Destruction - keep fighting each other as currently; or
2) Mutually Agreed Upon Seperation - acknwoledge irreconciable differences and let each group keep their own church buildings and come to a mutual agreement to seperate.
For whatever reason, it would appear that the leadership of the Episcopal Church has chosen Option 1 (the conservatives have actually repeatedly suggested option 2 but have been rebuffed), and so it goes. Clearly TEC's leadership feels that it would be giving up too much in a mutually negotiated seperation agreement, and have decided that the public fight is acceptable collateral damage. Similarly, the orthodox Anglicans have decided that the public fight is the preferable alternative to unconditional surrender of their church buildings to the national leadership of TEC.

Unfortunately, this fight will go on until the leadership of the Episcopal Church either (a) changes its strategy, (b) runs out of money, or (c) suffers a catastrophic set-back in the courts.

I, for one, recognize the extreme damage that this will inflict on North American Anglicanism and it grieves me. The above, by the way, does not describe what I would "want", 'wish for" or "advocate". Rather, it is my best stab at defining what actually IS.

Bob said...

And Ron G. is absolutely right.

They will know we are Christians by our love? Well, they surely know that we are not!

This is all pathetic and everyone of us is to blame.

But, of course, we don't really care. All we care about is "winning!" We win, we get all the furniture and all the money and feel all justified like God baths us in sweet honey of approval.

The rot is all too apparent to too many people - and none of us escape clean. The world sees it and the people shake their heads and stay away. I don't blame them.

Love God and our neighbors as ourselves. We can't even love those who claim Christ with whom we disagree, and the world knows that we cannot then love them.

Why don't we all just shut-up, really - all of us just shut-up and try to live by the two great commandments of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Well, reading back over what I wrote, I probably came off a bit harsher than I intended. But, folks, people like me who don't have a dog in this fight are not going to be interested in jumping in the middle of it all.

I'll admit that I'm not much of a Christian and I can't really say I thought much about God seriously until the first kid came along. I went to Sunday School until I was 11 (when my mom died, she was the Methodist) and can't say it really "took." But when the twins arrived, I knew I needed a higher power! :-) My wife would go to mass sometimes, but stopped when the child abuse stuff started popping up. She will not go back.

We just want a place where people are decent and will support us trying to raise kids with good values. We don't sit around expecting to be catered to, either. We want to do right by others, too. When we get involved with something, we work hard to do our part.

It's not like we haven't tried, though. We tried going to the Methodist church in our town and people were very nice, but it seemed like we were the only ones under 50 there. (I'm 31 and my wife is 28.) They weren't really set up for kids. The Assemblies of God church is big and has lots of kids, but I don't really think its our style -- lots of bad rock and roll. And, sorry if this is offensive, but the tongues speaking and crying and shouting just creeps us out. It just seems show offy. First Baptist is where all the hardcore Republicans go (nothing wrong with being Republican, but we're not interested in getting involved in politics) and the Presbyterians in our town are going through a "church fight" of their own over some money that apparently got embezzled. Oops! The Mormons are all over us and they're nice, but maybe just a little too intense for us. Attack of the killer pod people!

Maybe we are too picky, after all!Maybe its just the nature of the beast and we're expecting too much. We'll give it another try in Stockton when we settle in and see where that leads.

In the meantime, best of luck to you all. I hope it works out. But something to keep in mind, if you're interested in getting people to join up with you. If there's two guys fighting out in front of store, most folks aren't going to take the time to find out who's right and who's wrong. They're just going to go down the block to another store.

Ron G said...

Oops! Sorry -- that comment was from Ron G, not anonymous.

Thanks for listening. I'll shut up now. :-)

Phil said...

Ron G - how about Orthodoxy? Just a thought.

Ron G said...

Phil,

I'm embarassed to say I hadn't heard of the Orthodox church before. But thanks to you and Wikipedia, I know a bit more now. If there's one in Stockton, maybe we'll check it out. Sounds interesting.

If we were at a different place in our lives, maybe we wouldn't shy away from controversy so much. I'm not so naive I think there's a perfect church filled with perfect people out there. Lord knows we're far from perfect ourselves. But with three young kids and a job-and-a-half (my wife works part time so we can make the mortgage), we just don't have the energy to be in a angry place where people will want us to pick sides. A place where folks can disagree without being disagreeable and is welcoming to young families is probably all we need.

Anonymous said...

Ron g,
You may want to try St. John's in Sotckton. That was Fr. Dan's previous parish before he left for Warsaw Indiana. It is a great church and teaches the Gospel and I think you wife will feel right at home.

A Christian walk isn't usppose to be easy and comfy and yes we are in a struggle with ourselves but the Good News is God is Alive and has Risen and can do all things. go with an open heart to Him and I am sure you and your lovely family will feel good there!

Blessings
One Day Closer

Phil said...

Ron, I don't blame you. Sorry to be part of the bad witness. I know both sides are fighting for what they think is right, which may not be worth a whole lot in the end, but that's what we're doing.

I can only speak for myself, but I try hard not to hate the people I tangle with in these discussions. Many, I pray for (and not that they might see the light my way - I mean I know they have health issues, etc. and need all the prayer they can get). That isn't loving each other as Christ would have it, but, hopefully, it's a step.

There isn't any question to me both sides of the Anglican divide need separation right now, so that reconciliation might be possible later.

Peace and best of luck with your search for a church home.

JamesW. said...

Ron G.: Let me offer a few suggestions. If you would like to try an Anglican/Episcopal church, you can try to find one that will likely be the least affected by litigation and argumentation. Three options there.

First, you can head up the road north for about 30 minutes and get to Galt. It is in the Diocese of Northern California and has St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The vicar there is conservative but has no interest making the sexuality issues the dominant ones in the Church, but neither will she keep meekly quiet. The parish is made up of liberals and conservatives and everyone gets along fine. No danger of litigation because the Diocese holds title to the property and the conservative folks inclined to leave would simply leave and go to another church. You can check St. Luke's out at www.stlukesgalt.org.

Second is to try one of the local Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin parishes. They will likely be sued by the Episcopal Church soon, but I would regard the likelihood of the Episcopal Church winning at being very low. So there is probably not too much risk there.

If a liberal Episcopal Church is more to your taste, you can try St. Ann's in Stockton. Bishop Schofield of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has stated that he will not sue parishes for their buildings unless a debt is owed to the diocese. To the best of my knowledge, nothing is owed at St. Ann's, so they are probably safe from litigation.

The parish to avoid is St. John's in Lodi as they owe a big sum to the the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin but will not want to pay it, and so there is likely to be some litigation there.

Hope that helps. Anglicanism, by the way, is not for everyone. I was a convert in 1990 up in Canada. I loved the international connection. But I have siblings who could never get used to the liturgy.

Dan Martins said...

Ron G: You observations should be humbling to all of us. It is bad enough that there has to be conflict, but for our disputes to ever be characterized by bitterness or bile is inexcusable. My faith in God, and in his Risen Son, persuades me that God can love you through the church despite our flaws and conflicts. As one of the commenters has pointed out, I left Stockton about seven months ago. There are many fine and lively people in my former parish, and the church building is incomparably beautiful. I wish I could tell you it is free from conflict, but I cannot truthfully do so.

There is indeed one Orthodox parish in Stockton. It is Greek--St Basil's. I have heard that if you are not ethnic Greek it is a tough nut to crack, but many have done it. May God bless you and your family richly as you prepare to move.

Anonymous said...

A word of warning -- if you're a family with young children, you most likely won't find many Episcopal parishes with folks under fifty. I'm a rare one -- in my late 30s, but it is awfully rare.

And the more crazed-foaming-at-the-mouth revisionist the parish, the fewer young people.

No need to believe me -- just visit the Episcopal parishes in your area, and you'll be able to pick it up pretty quickly.

Honestly, though, even if you go to a conservative parish, the demographics will be far older than your average evangelical non-Episcopal church. And whatever parish you attend, there will be much conflict over the issues confronting us. It just is what it is.

I understand your not wanting to be involved in the mess -- I have a younger brother with wife and two young kids, and they left a dearly loved parish, because 1) they needed it to take some sort of stand, and 2) didn't want the conflicts and battles that they knew would go on for a long long time.

Good luck with your quest!

Sarah

Ron G said...

Thank you, everyone. I realize I came in here with with some very critical comments and maybe I wasn't completely fair -- I do know better than to think that someone's blog commments represent the sum total of who they are as a person (or a Christian, for that matter). I appreciate your gracious suggestions.

Malcolm+ said...

Ah, Phil.

Your usual level of honesty at play.

First, one picture of what is clearly some sort of conference event with a eucharist - probably at the end.

Second, a Good Friday liturgy that draws a comparison between the suffering of Christ and the suffering of the poor. (Doesn't do a particularly good job of it, but that's beside the point.

In neither case, clearly, was a cross "torn down." And you've certainly done nothing to uphold your case that any of these things constitute some sort of norm.

But please, don;t let me stop your bilious dishonesty.

I don't do well with people who refuse to conduct themselves honestly in discussions, Phil. It tends to bring out the worst in me. So I'll just withdraw now and let you get on with your slander and baiting.

Anonymous said...

RE: "(Frankly, on this one, I don't think you'll even be able to come up with a single, isolated example.)"

Phil -- it's like spearing fish in a barrel to come up with these isn't it? ; > )


Sarah

Bob said...

I'm reading a very interesting book right now entitle, "True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society," by Farhad Manhoo.

Just like "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity" by Philip Jenkins foresaw (predicted) what we are experiencing in the Anglican Communion with the rise of the "Global South," Manhoo's book and thesis describe in eerily applicable ways what is happening within TEC and the Communion regarding our perceptions of what is going on and our attempt to assert the "truth."

His premise is that we have come to a point in society where "facts" are no longer objective, but subjective according to what we want to be true, not necessarily what the empirical evidence shows to be true. It depends on what "facts" we are willing to accept. As he writes, "Welcome to the Rashomon world, where the very idea of objective reality is under attack."

I see/hear/experience this more and more among those with whom I interact.

I am amazed at how so many on the Anglican-related blogs interpret the same event(s) in such drastically and diametrically different ways.

When we are determined to win at all costs and we refuse to accept that we may be wrong and when we listen only to those with whom we already agree, when compromise is no longer possible and acrimony and hubris rule the day, we have already failed God, ourselves, and the lost of the world. We simply play into the "worldly system" and into the schemes of the Enemy of our Faith.

The question in my mind is whether we will continue to abide by the "systems of this world" or whether we will begin to live in such a way that demonstrates some sort of legitimacy for our claim of a different kind of life in Christ for those who are yet to discover God. Again, the question applies to both the conservatives and the liberals and all in between.

None of us are without fault, none are without sin, none are without the need to repent (to God and one another) for the defamation of Christ's cause we have flaunted before a lost world all in the name of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Ron: Several years ago, after our parish became divided and eventually split, my wife and I took refuge in a Lutheran congregation and were warmly welcomed. Lots of kids there, too. We are back in an Episcopal church now, in a different part of the country, but we have always been thankful to the Lutherans for their graciousness and hospitality. You might consider them. Good luck!

Ed

Malcolm+ said...

"Phil -- it's like spearing fish in a barrel to come up with these isn't it? ; > )"

Since he failed to do so, apparently not. ;>)



BTW, is it reasonable and fair to argue that all Republicans engage in illicit and illegal sexual activity? After all, Congressman Foley (sexual harrasment of subordinates) and Senator Craig (soliciting sex in a public place) did. That must pretty much prove that such behaviour is the norm amongst Republicans - or at least conservative Republicans. Right?

Anonymous said...

RE: "Since he failed to do so, apparently not."

Sure he did. You told him he coudn't come up with one -- he then did, as usual.

Fish met spear . . . yet again.

And the fun of it is . . . he's done it to you, and in public, time after time on this blog.

The fact that you need to cling to your public denials of these occurrences is neither here nor there, and it's not particularly important for you to publicly acknowledge it . . . since people merely have to observe it as they read.

But he has you at a disadvantage. So many many fish -- all swimming in a very tiny barrel.

And you know . . . he doesn't state a generic example without having the specific incident in his mind. So you fall into the trap every time -- he names a general example, you sputter a denial and demand he prove it, and he provides a specific incident with link. But remember . . . he already has the specific example in mind, which was how he came up with the generic in the first place.

Reminds me of Hills of the North's classic April 1 post:
http://hillsofthenorth.blogspot.com/2008/04/fools_01.html


Sarah

Anonymous said...

Here's a better link to the April Fools post from Hills of the North:
http://tinyurl.com/33umqb

But I don't think you'll like it very much . . .


Sarah

Phil said...

We've been through this, Malcolm+. Sure, if the Republican Party treated Mark Foley and Larry Craig as heroes pace the GCC's and its cheerleaders' treatment of Spong, Pike, Chane, etc., then you would be making a valid accusation. Or, if the typical Republican reacted with outrage at any criticism of Mark Foley, very noticeably forgetting to condemn his behavior in the process - you know, kind of like you've been doing here, and elsewhere with the sad reality I'm raising for you - then, again, your comparison would hit home with a lot more effectiveness.

Look, the Stations of the MDG was propagated by the official GCC. The Republican Party didn't suggest Mark Foley could blow off some steam by preying on congressional pages.

(By the way - some advice: Larry Craig isn't a good rhetorical tool for your side.)

Malcolm+ said...

No question that the Episcopal Church (your denial of their name is just childish) supported the Millenium Development Goals. There is nothing unChristian about that.

Your charge is that the MDG have replaced the cross. Despite Sarah's brave revisionism, failing to take down a sign before an end of conference or mid conference eucharist hardly constitutes tearing down the cross.

Senator Craig isn't so much a rhetorical tool for any side as he's a tool, plain and simple.