Monday, June 30, 2008

Spin Meter in the Red Zone

The Presiding Bishop has issued her response to GAFCON. It is pithy:

Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON. Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

As I have mentioned before, if Bishop Jefferts Schori knows what she's doing, it's scary, and this is one more example. The other possibility is that she is authentically clueless, which is even scarier.

"Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting..."

How much is "much"? On sheer raw numbers alone, and just considering bishops for the moment, those who were in Jerusalem last week account for a considerably larger portion of "the Anglican world" than the Episcopal Church does. But when you factor in the actual number of Anglican Christians represented by the GAFCON bishops, it is an overwhelming majority of said world. So ... how many does that leave to do the lamenting?
"...the latest emission from GAFCON."

Hello? Emission? What an odd choice of words. Either the PB needs to dust off her thesaurus or she deliberately chose an incredibly demeaning and belittling term by which to refer to most of "the Anglican world." The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word emission is flatulence. Maybe that's how she really feels. But to say so publicly demonstrates a bit less ... well ... class than we should be entitled to expect from a Presiding Bishop.
"Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable."
No news there. But even the much-vaunted comprehensiveness of Anglicanism has its limits, as the Archbishop of Canterbury's own response to GAFCON today reminds us.

This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers.

This is getting pretty rich. Can she say this while looking in a mirror and keep a straight face? If she can't, it indicates that she is being deliberately dissembling. If she can, it confirms suspicions that she's clueless.

Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe..."

Ah, yes. But what is worship? Is it the adoration of the triune God of the creeds--i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--or the designer god, trinity-like, that seems to be the object of much of the worship in many Episcopal churches? And does she have in mind serving the hungry and needy in ways that seek to satisfy the hunger in their souls with the news of what God has done in Jesus, or, per the recent video ad campaign of TEC, handing out a bowl of soup with no accompanying word that it's being done in the name of Christ? And while I'm not sure what she means by "missional relationship," I have it on good authority that the officially appointed missionaries of the Episcopal Church are instructed in their training that their work is not about changing anybody's religion. That is, to say the least, a bizarre notion of a "missional relationship" in most of the Anglican world. Indeed, a lamentable one.

"...despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel."

A few leaders? Another head-in-the-sand comment. See above.

We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.

I'm sure she does look forward to Lambeth. But, according to the Windsor Report, she should be voluntary absenting herself from the councils of the Communion. The honest thing for her, and several other TEC bishops, to do would be to stay away from Kent next month and find a nice place in, say, Scotland to have a restful vacation.

Yeah, these are sharp remarks. And, hey, I'm not even a GAFCON-ite. Some of the GAFCON-ites think I'm suspiciously left-leaning. That should be a big clue.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan,
It's intentional. She is no dummy [clueless]. She writes to the audience of TEC, who will be thrilled [titillated] at the "witty and smart" comeback. There is no substance there...just words and mean spiritedness. Even Rowan had a better response to this. Even though his was sprinkled with lofty intellectualism and unworkable thoughts, his words did not demean or dismiss the 1200 people who were at GAFCON. His heart shows grace when he says that every participant @ Lambeth would agree to the outline of the faith of Anglicanism [GAFCON 14 points]. Of course we know [by words and deeds] many TEC & Canadian Bishops who could NOT accept these 14 points.

The PB's response is an emission of the embarrassing kind. Real Episcopalians don't do those kind of things in public.

tjmcmahon said...

Would it be appropriate to point out to the PB that more people attended GAFCON than attended TEC churches of this diocese (N. Michigan) last Sunday?

And that does not count the 35 million plus Anglicans represented by the people attending Gafcon.

Maria said...

"But to say so publicly demonstrates a bit less ... well ... class than we should be entitled to expect from a Presiding Bishop."

That's because she was never qualified for the job. She doesn't qualify for any clergy position whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Big Dan!!!


NO NO please don't send them to Scotland!!! +Waynick is already going there to the Diocese of Edinburgh and --New Hampshire is presiding and preaching at the Cathedral Church of Glasgow and Galloway.

Mind you the SEC is basically a clone of TEC

Peace and Blessings in your new parish.

Alasdair+

Anonymous said...

Fr. Dan
I am shocked that there are some who are accusing you of leaning to the left!!!! They obviously do not know you at all well! Anyone who does know you knows that you neither lean to the left nor to the right. You simply walk a very careful line down the middle. A very careful tight rope line down the middle. Be careful that you do not fall!
ODC

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

OK, I have two issues: One with a portion of the post, and one with a response. First, the post:

First, Dan wrote:

"...actual number of Anglican Christians represented by the GAFCON bishops..."

It what sense do the African bishops "represent" the flocks under their care? Few, if any, are elected, we have no idea what individual clergy and laity in their dioceses think, and yet there seems to be a huge assumption that they somehow "represent" millions of Anglican Christians.

Second, "Anonymous" wrote:

[Archbishop Rowan's] heart shows grace when he says that every participant @ Lambeth would agree to the outline of the faith of Anglicanism [GAFCON 14 points].

Excuse me? Did someone replace the Catechism with the Jerusalem Statement while I wasn't looking? Exactly how, in the absence of any endorsement by the Instruments of Communion of this statement, that it is the "outline of the faith" of any church or communion whatsoever, not least the Anglican Communion?

While I am underwhelmed by the Presiding Bishop's brief reactionary paragraph and am heartened by Archbishop Rowan's much more thoughtful one, I am hardly convinced that the Jerusalem Statement represents a viable Anglican identity or statement of faith---especially when much of it has been written before.

monologistos@gmail.com said...

Let us assume that Christianity doesn't require re-inventing, that it already exists. GAFCON's job is not to rearticulate Christianity but to call Christians to it ... to take out some of the wiggle room. GAFCON need not speak to all Christians everywhere but to Anglicans now. It need not obtain authority over every jurisdiction for it is a voluntary internal discipline that presents no new thing to Anglicanism apart from the necessity of acting given the reality of apostate churches when even the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of TEC have lost their way. And yes, let's not assume that Rowan Williams is clueless. He has worked tirelessly for the liberal cause but his emissions have been mostly silent ... but deadly to the Communion. It is past time and no longer charitable to assume these characters are "clueless". Clueless they may be but that is not a sufficient explanation much less a vindication.

Jon said...

Yeah, it's a big clue that there's something about the PB which gets under your skin bad enough to make you somewhat less than objective. Her response certainly leaves something to be desired, but her points aren't entirely mistaken. 6 primates (well 7 once Tanzania's HoB has a chance to sign off on it) really is only a few primates, and the same pattern appears with the TEC bishops at GAFCON, they're no where near a majority of TEC's HoB. Tom Sramek, has already pointed out that it isn't entirely clear how well the primates represent their pew sitters, and I've certainly heard complaints from Kenya about their primate focusing on American issues.

Really, her response is about as high in quality as the communique. Her response had very little actual content, and the communique looks like an attempt by a group of conservatives to wrap themselves and their assumptions in the documents of Anglicanism without bothering to actually pay attention to what those documents contain.

Jon

Anonymous said...

"This is getting pretty rich. Can she say this while looking in a mirror and keep a straight face? If she can't, it indicates that she is being deliberately dissembling. If she can, it confirms suspicions that she's clueless."

I honestly don't quite understand this. How is what she says rich? Dissembling how? Or clueless? To me her words were merely... incomprehensible.

Dan Martins said...

A reminder: I have a policy against responding to anonymous comments. You can comment anonymously, or pseudonymously, but please don't ask me any questions without telling me who you are in the real world.

Etienne Bonhomme said...

Dan,
I would agree with your analysis. What we are seeing in the Presiding Bishops posture and actions is a trend that seems to taken hold of much of the TEC. This trend is a latitudinarian approach to virtually everything. It perverts Hooker's and other classic Anglicans from the defense of a polity which best preserves the faith to one where polity is the only non-negotiable principle.

She articulates in her statement exactly the issue and challenge for Anglicans as followers of the Gospel. Our faith (orthodoxy) should manifest itself as good works (orthopraxis). To say that the TEC is engaged in all of the noble things her statement(s) do is not to say that the Gospel is being proclaimed.

I hope that one outcome of the GAFCON statement is for all of us to reexamine the foundational documents cited (1662 PB, the Ordinal, the 39 Articles and most importantly the Bible). From this examination should flow a new commitment to proclaiming the Gospel rather that once again getting enmeshed in polity, liturgics, property disputes, and all the other stuff that has occupied our time.

Not that any of these topics might not improve important in proclaiming and living the Gospel but that should not be our focus. For this reason, perhaps PB Schori's terse remarks may prove beneficial focussing our attention on what is important. This Gospel-focus is what most clearly comes out for me from GAFCON.
Pax et Bonum!
Steve Goodman

veritas2007 said...

BINGO, Fr. Dan!

Scott Kammerer said...

I suspect that she is not being intentionally obtuse. That's giving her the benefit of the doubt concerning her motivation for being so dismissive. Unfortunately it leaves one with the conclusion that she is UNintentionally obtuse!

Actually I think the problem is that she is a poor communicator and doesn't know how to craft a message so as to take into account how that message will be received by its audience.

Dan Martins said...

Scott,
I’m told that on the Myers-Briggs scale she’s an INTJ, which would be consistent with this pattern of behavior. INTJs tend to come across to those who do not know them well a cold, aloof, even arrogant, unaware of the emotional dynamic in their human interactions. I know this well because I *am* one! But I have worked hard and intentionally over the decades to take advantage of this self-awareness and develop strategies for overcoming the downside of my INTJ-ness while not losing its advantages (which are legion!). One would think that Katharine would be reasonably self-aware to have risen to the position she holds, but perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Martins,

You wrote that "INTJs tend to come across to those who do not know them well a cold, aloof, even arrogant, unaware of the emotional dynamic in their human interactions."

I will have you know that I seriously represent that remark. ;-) I have known I was an INTJ since I first took a Myers-Briggs test in the very early 1970s, although less dramatically so as I have both lived and prayed to be made more whole through Christ.

I also see hints in her writings that her reported Myers-Briggs typology might not be accurate, although this is simply my perception.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Töpfer, LCDR, USN (ret)
alias Martial Artist

Anonymous said...

I also have to add that, although of predominantly German ancestry by birth, I am part Scot by marriage (complete with permission of my wife's clan Chieftain to wear the tartan and the clansman's hat badge on my Balmoral bonnet). As a result, I must register my agreement with Alasdair+ that Scotland has enough theological liberalism, thanks to the SEC, that it does not need members of the TEC HOB vacationing there during Lambeth.

Blessings, regards, and Slàinte mhath

Keith Töpfer

airedale said...

Dan, One of these days you are going to have to get off the fence.
+Airedale

Dale Matson said...

Dan,

One person said you were walking a tightrope and another said you were sitting on the fence. Perhaps there is a third metaphor for my former instructor. I think you have one foot on the dock and one on the boat. The boat is leaving which leaves you with three options.

Anonymous said...

ADC, Airedale, Dale: I trust that Dan knows this isn't about options; it's about obedience. I respect this fine priest as someone who will act with informed conscience. These are difficult times, and many of us will be required to proceed in ways that are easily misunderstood. Let's extend grace by not gainsaying one another's best effort to do what we must, indeed what we are asked by the Lord. - Jim, Portland

Rob Eaton+ said...

Yeah, I'm with Jim on that one.
BTW, Go Pilots.

ODC, Airedale, you've thrown some zingers at Fr. Dan, and I don't see the connection between what he wrote and your exhortations.
And Dr. Dale, you should know better than to follow suit; at least you have the rational skills to engage in debate, if that is what you feel is warranted here.
Can any of you three explain yourselves?
What is it in this post that commands your (apparent) condemnation as fence-sitter, water-straddler?

Rob Eaton+ said...

Scott,

I wrote the PB last year and asked her to stop speaking in public; everytime she opened her mouth, especially to speak theologically, her other foot fell out. It was shortly thereafter (there were others who complained publicly at that time) she hired an assistant who would help her in that regard.
Things haven't changed much when she gets to speak out: Easter bovines, GAFCON emission, the very frustrating meeting with South Carolina clergy, etc., etc.
She needed a lot more refinement prior to becoming the PB than OSU and Nevada afforded. Not that she should have become PB. And not that the Lord doesn't have something up His sleeve.
This statement that Fr. Dan has fisked is only the latest. Perhaps her Canon asst. wasn't around to proof.
For all the reasons Fr. Dan listed, and a few more, this is a ghastly statement.
Why, even Jon said so.

Dale Matson said...

Rob,
I realize I was Piling on Fr Dan and I am sorry for that. It was wrong. I sent him a private note about this, however I think there comes a time when constructive criticism just becomes criticism. It is not good for the individual offering it and it is no longer productive within the organization. I left the Episcopal church mainly because of what I was doing to myself and the good people around me. Would anyone want to become an Episcopalian based on Fr. Dan's comments about the church and the PB? If one wants to remain an Episcopalian then they should be able to talk about what is good predominately about this church. I realize there is a prophetic aspect to Fr. Dan's calling and it takes courage to put yourself out there. The question I continue to ask myself is, "how can I hasten the coming of the kingdom?" It begins with understanding that I am here to focus on speaking the truth rather than fighting against error. There is a difference. I have offered the same comments to Ephraim Radner who is also a prophetic voice within the Episcopal Church. Each person must decide whether to brighten the corner where you are or come ye out from among them. I was no longer brightening the corner where I was.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Rob Eaton.
I have nothing to apologize for! I stated a fact and I have no idea why you are so taken with my post. If Fr. Dan is not offended why should you be? Fr. Dan has a very distinct capability of walking the fence of being a moderate. I do sometimes wonder what his vote would have been in Dec. had he stayed in Stockton at St. John the Evangelist. Would he have lined up against the wall with you and all the others for a vote of "Yes" secede from TEC or "No" do not secede from TEC and then had his name written down by Fr. Mark Hall for the recorded record? We will never really know....to state what one would have done now is not an honest enough answer since it is done and over and now we see that even a few of those who lined up against the wall to be counted as "Yes" have turned to say "no" such as yourself. And please know that this is no condemnation at all. I'm just stating the facts as they are. You need to do what is right for you and you are doing it. May the Lord who knows your heart better than even yourself bless you.
One Day Closer

Rob Eaton+ said...

ODC,
I have not taken offense for Fr. Dan, nor was I "taken" by your comment. In fact, I was asking you to explain what you meant. So what was the fact you were stating, then? I must have missed it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not certain why there is confusion about Dan Martins' stances.

It's pretty clear to me that had he stayed in San Joaquin, he would have chosen to stay in TEC, and continue to be conservative.

No big deal.

Many thousands of Episcopalians are doing this in all dioceses. It remains to be seen as to whether they will *continue* staying for all eternity -- or at least their lifetimes -- but I don't see how those decisions are "on the fence." Dan is off the fence: he's clearly stayed, and he's clearly conservative.

The most interesting thing to me about the future for conservatives in TEC is, should they decide to leave, in what body will they choose to exist.

I've already made my suspicions clear about that one -- I don't think that most of the conservative Episcopalians who are staying in TEC will leave for an alternate Anglican entity when they finally decide to leave.

I hope I'm alive to see where they go.


Sarah