Thursday, September 30, 2010
We just finished our deanery meetings in anticipation of the convention on October 15 and 16 of this year. Yes, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is alive and well and ready to take on the next big challenge -- Title IV and the related canons. I realize this is old news to most but I thought I would raise one issue just for the fun of it.
This revision, given our experience in our diocese is a great thing and we are welcoming it -- but it does not go far enough. Yes it takes on errant bishops and clergy but there is, as I understand it, little room made for the laity, specifically, the laity seated on the Standing Committee. If a "good" bishop, such as JDS does his homework he will stack the Standing Committee with both laity and clergy that are "bought and paid for by him". So, the canons come into play and there are presentment charges against the bishop and they stick. So, the ecclesiastical authority devolves to the Standing Committee. So presentment charges are brought against the clergy on the Standing Committee, and those charges stick. There are still the laity residing on the Standing Committee (as the ecclesiastical authority) and they can still take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. Yes I know, then the presiding bishop can step in but that is not the point -- there is still no way to stop the process before it gets to the problem of the property has left the building. See, apparently the issue of the laity got derailed back in GC and boy is that too bad. The issue here is that the laity becomes THE ecclesiastical authority and as such should be subject to the same rules and regulations that all the other ecclesiastical authority is subject to. If I misunderstand then if someone would please set me straight I would appreciate it but this would have happened in this diocese, of this I have no doubt(the laity on the Standing Committee completingthe heinous crime of theft). The penalties must be swift and sure and severe so that the likes of what is happening in South Carolina can be stopped and should this start up in Springfield it can be shut down rapidly. As it stands, I see a major loophole that will continue to plague the Episcopal Church.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The big tent has now come to an end. It is unfortunate, but it is true, at least for the moment. For literally years, we were able to talk and work things through reaching a compromise with virtually everyone be they evangelical, anglo-catholic, high church, low church and everyone in between. It was not easy and from time to time we would lose one or two or three people along the way, but that was pretty rare. Let's face it, our entire political structure, the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop, even the Anglican Communion was based on the idea that we could talk and pray and reach agreement.
Along comes what is now known as the Chapman Memo, a memorandum authored by a priest from the Pittsburgh diocese and presumably at the behest (at least tacit approval) of then bishop Robert Duncan. Here is the final answer for those who became outraged at the election of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori:
1) Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil committed to biblical faith and values, and driven by Gospel mission. We believe in the end this should be a “replacement” jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism, emerging from the disastrous actions of General Convention (2003). We believe this goal is now pressed upon us by the Holy Spirit as a result of the rejection of the historic Christian faith and the rejection of biblical and Communion authority by the leadership of ECUSA. We will lead our congregations and partners in making the adjustment to adopt this strategy. We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment.
In effect, they moved to what can only be called a zero-sum game. What is a zero-sum game? Good question, glad you asked.
A situation in which a gain by one person or side must be matched by a loss by another person or side:
In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s).
Situation or interaction in which one participant's gains result only from another's equivalent losses
In decision theory, situation where one or more participants' gain (loss) equals the loss (gain) of other participants. Thus, a gain (loss) for one must result in a loss (gain) for one or more others. Also called constant sum game. See also negative sum game and positive sum game.
In 2007, the Big Tent changed for ever. In December of 2007 the diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave the Episcopal Church AND to take all the land and the buildings and the assets with them. The zero sum game became a reality. The Chapman Memo was put into play in a way that everyone could see. A few months later the diocese of Pittsburgh under the tutelage of Robert Duncan repeated the process taking all the assets of the diocese with them. Then, the diocese of Forth Worth. Along the way a variety of independent parishes moved in the same direction. Supported by the province of the Southern Cone and Rwanda and Nigeria and Uganda (among others) they found a home away from home, making the opportunity to win everything more appealing and the decision to "go it alone" less alone.
In 2010, the replacement Province was founded by Arch-puke Robert Duncan and took the name Anglican Church in North America. So now the decision to leave is one in which most can leave and go somewhere without ever leaving home (I think that is a commercial somewhere).
Robert Duncan, Leo Jack Iker, and John David Schofield have played the game, and won. Mark Lawrence and probably bishop-elect Dan Martins will/are playing the game and will win. And the big tent will get smaller and smaller and in fact, there is nothing we can do about that. There is nothing that can repair that breach when your win becomes my loss and my win becomes your loss.
We in the Episcopal of the United States of America need to develop a plan the answers that zero sum game in a fashion that creates a bigger loss for them tan for us. We need to create a balance that is not -- that is, the win cannot be as great as the loss. Until that happens, no one will come back to the table to negotiate. Until that happoens the arch-puke will continue his running amuck.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
There is much going on in the diocese of South Carolina these days and it seems like a whole bunch of "stuff" to write about. In a recent response to a letter from the Episcopal Forum (our version of Remain Episcopal) to the House of Bishops and the Executive Council Bishop Lawrence prefaces his remarks with this little gem:
I do not want to let these accusations stand or go without response. Perhaps in their anxiety they have done us all a favor—indeed, presenting me with a teachable moment for this diocese and, dare I hope to believe, for others as well who may have read their letter. I will strive to refrain from using ecclesiastical language (Episcopalianese) or unduly difficult theology. Unfortunately, due to the accusations, a certain amount of each is necessary. Nevertheless, I will tune my writing as well as I can for the person in the pew. I will proceed by first putting forth in italics the accusation. In most cases I will just use their language, then, give my response. This could be much longer, but there is little need to try your patience…
I am so pleased that Bishop Lawrence is going to use language that even I can understand. As a lay person in the pew it is important for me to understand why he is among other things, arrogant, insensitive, anti-women, anti-LGBT, against inclusivity and now he is trying to raise the level of my understanding to a point where even I might be able to comprehend the difficult language of the church. Holy S**T!!! If I had only known that was my problem I would have been to Bakersburg every Sunday so that he could instruct me. Little did I know that my current level of education, your current level of education, was insufficient to fully comprehend what is going on in the church!
Now, I am going to say this again, and again, and again, and again -- Dissolve the House of Bishops, take all the political power away from these poor fools, let them do their pastoral thing and leave the politics to the House of Deputies. The utter arrogance of these folks absolutely astounds me!
H/T Thinking Anglicans
Friday, September 24, 2010
The Reverend Martins is on record as being pretty much anti-Episcopalian, as in John David Schofield Anglican. We can anticipate a route and a routine very similar to that of Mark Lawrence, bishop of South Carolina. He was rabidly anti-Episcopalian while he was in the diocese of San Joaquin frequently being the front person for the antics of John David Schofield. He suddenly left the diocese just before the final vote and moved to Warsaw, Indiana where he "recanted" just enough to then be in the running for a bishop's position. His blog continues to champion themes and processes that are against the tone and tenor as well as many stated positions of the Episcopal Church.
All that being said, I cannot bring myself to say, Standing Committees must vote against the ratification of the consecration of this person as a bishop. He has violated no canon, no constitutional provision and to the best of my knowledge not violated any of his vows. Every fiber in my body says he will move Springfield out of the Episcopal Church in due time. But, we cannot act on that which has not happened nor on that which we think someone might think or that we might think someone might think (huh?). He was duly elected by the delegates to the Springfield Diocesan convention and they deserve to get what they voted for. Furthermore, to deny him the appropriate ratification is too allow the other side to deny say, Mary Glasspool, the same ratification. Our body is not formed like that. We are a democracy of sorts, and we must uphold the sum and substance of that formation. I want each diocese to get exactly what they want, what they deserve and the only way to do that is to allow them to elect the candidate of their choice.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Conservative Interviewer: What canonical options do you see for the Diocese of Springfield now over the next few months?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: The canonical options are for them to look at their diocesan canons and constitution and the canons and constitution of the Episcopal Church and to see what the direction is, it's that simple. The canonical option - there is no other option - that's it.
Conservative Interviewer: So, as you understand it, is it or is it not an option to hold the election again with you as a candidate, or as the only candidate?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: I'm not sitting here looking at the canons of the Diocese of Springfield, I don't even have them. I'm not looking at the canons of the Episcopal Church, but I know what it says, it says that the diocese shall hold another election. It doesn't say whether the person can be elected, I'm sure they can. It's happened before, so it can be. The question is what the standing committee will do - that's a simple one.
Conservative Interviewer: If, in fact, another election is held and you are eligible to stand for election, would you want to do so?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: In some strange kind of way, the heart of my wife, and my heart, have been knit to the people of Springfield over the last five months, and from the standpoint of whether I would want to go through this again, no I don't want to go through the abuse again, but I would consider it for the sake of the people of Springfield, if that was their choice, and if God called me to do that again, I shall do it. But nobody would want to go through this abuse. I've been asked questions and more variety of questions, as far as I could tell, than any other candidate in the history of the Episcopal Church, at least in the modern era.
I mean, they were parsing the word "intention." One standing committee member, who was trying to get his committee to focus not on what I have done, but on what I might do, asked me what my intentions were. So, I write in the statement on March 8, "My intention is..." and what happens on the House of Deputies listserv and just about every other liberal blog? "Martins says 'intention.' The path to hell is paved with good intentions."
What do they want here? Do they want me to bow my knee to the almighty institution, and elevate it over the Scriptures - over the teachings of the one holy and apostolic church - over the worldwide Anglican Communion - or successive Lambeth Conferences? I'm not going to do it. It is all those things together that make us Episcopalians. You cannot be an Episcopalian without those things. They define our canons. Our canons don't define them.
Conservative Interviewer: When you were elected, I think most people, at least those over here on the conservative side, assumed that it would be a somewhat closer call than normal. But most of us figured that only the real doomsday types were thinking, with any seriousness, "Oh, I doubt he'll get consent." Were you surprised at how difficult it was - how challenging the whole process was?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: No. I've been to General Convention in 2003 and 2006. I was on the committee for the consecration of bishops. I've been in the middle of the fray, whether I wanted to be or not, and it hasn't surprised me at all. What surprises me is how few people understand the gravity of the situation in the Episcopal Church.
As I said before, this whole election process has drawn back the curtain on the stage of the Episcopal Church, and what the whole world can see right now is the theater of the absurd. If you've been in the play before, you are not surprised at Act III.
Conservative Interviewer: Do you think this is being observed closely by the Primates and ++Rowan Williams, and what do you think their reaction is likely to be?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: I don't have the slightest idea what their reaction will be. I suppose it will be mixed. I'm so grateful, words cannot express how grateful I am to the Primates of the Anglican Communion for their communique issued at Dar es Salaam, for the sacrifice that many millions of Christians are making for the cause of orthodox Christianity in Africa, and the way they have extended themselves. I am also grateful for the Archbishop of Canterbury's role in Tanzania. I'm grateful for the things he has issued - for his letter issued after General Convention in 2006, and I'm grateful for his recent letter issued to the Episcopal Church and to the Primates summing up what the communique is all about. That is Anglicanism as I understand it.
Conservative Interviewer: Soon after your election, talk started circulating about the possibility of your not getting consent. A few influential conservative leaders speculated that should that happen, it might hasten a communion-wide split, because it would so clearly and finally signal to the rest of the communion that there's no longer any place for traditional Anglicans in the Episcopal Church, that orthodox primates would throw up their hands and say there's no hope of rescuing it.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: I think the jury is still out on that one. What has been going on in the Episcopal Church, let's say for the past 25 years - we can go back further if you want, but for the last 25 years - in my opinion, a radical group in the Episcopal Church has been pushing an agenda, it is essentially a political agenda, a social justice agenda. And the sad thing is that because they've always framed it as social justice, it has hindered the debate that needs to take place over the teachings of Scripture, the nature of a human being, and all sorts of other things.
For the most part, those of us in the orthodox camp have been pastoring our churches, preaching the Gospel, trying to grow our congregations, and ignoring the political issue at hand until, in recent years, in successive General Conventions, even before '03 and '06 certainly, but '03 and '06 galvanized the orthodox in a way that they weren't before. Anyway, in the orthodox camp - what I'd call mainstream Anglicanism in the Episcopal Church in the United States - we began to see that we had better enter into the political debate. That, then, began a polarization within the Episcopal Church between what some call the left and others call the right, whether one wants to call it - progressive or reappraising, reassertive, all sorts of those terms, it doesn't matter, we all know who the players are - that has grown so polarized that the broad middle has become very uncomfortable, many of them have chosen to put their heads deep in the sand. Others have chosen to say, "You know, I wish these people wouldn't fight so much."
Until the Primates communique, it was mostly those in the orthodox camp who talked about leaving, or who did leave. The dynamics have been like a dysfunctional family - where two members are quibbling with each other and the others don't want to get involved in the quibbling - when Mom says, "I can't take Dad's abuse anymore," and the children turn on Mom and say, "Mom, why are you ruining our family?" Now, the problem is, anyone who stands up to those in the radical camp, those who are pushing this political agenda, are immediately called homophobic, bigots, reactionary, and whatnot. Nobody in their right mind wants to be called homophobic, bigoted, or reactionary. I understand that. And so the broad middle have not gotten involved very much, and when they have, they've blamed those of us on the orthodox side who say, "We can't take it anymore. We're leaving."
Now, what happened in General Convention 2006, and the passing of B033, the middle said, "Hey, we don't want to leave the Anglican Communion." And so they rose for a brief moment. Now, the message that I think the rejection of my election in Springfield is sending to the broad middle of the Episcopal Church, which for the most part is uninvolved in this debate, is that it's time that you wake up, if you want the Episcopal Church to look anything like you've known in the past - one that really is a place where people of different perspectives can live out their Christian lives under the grace of Jesus Christ.
For the past 20 years, the virtue of tolerance has been the virtue before which all other virtues have bent the knee. I think people are beginning to see that without the other virtues, tolerance is not a virtue that can stand on its own. Without truth, without honesty, without integrity, without the classical virtues of prudence or wisdom, temperance, justice, courage, faith, hope, and love... tolerance will not survive. What we see in my election is that tolerance is not sufficient, inclusivity is not sufficient. That is why, in the wisdom of the ages, we've had seven virtues, to deal with the seven deadly sins of pride, envy, sloth, greed, anger, gluttony and lust. So, I think there will arise a generation who will see that tolerance is, of course, a precious thing, and ought to be honored, but she is not the virtue before which all other virtues must bend the knee. She is a virtue with which all of the other virtues need to live, and that tolerance needs to find her rightful place among the others.
We in the orthodox camp don't want to be painted with the brush that we are intolerant or that we are not inclusive. The irony of this is, I had more gay and lesbian parishioners here at St. Anne’s before 2003 than I have now. And here is the thing I'd love to have a research project done on: I bet that since 2003, evangelical Episcopal churches have lost more gay and lesbian persons to other denominations than progressive Episcopalians have brought in. And, that is because, as William Temple once put it decades ago, "The church must be very clear in its public pronouncements, so she can be very pastoral in her application." Now, isn't that ironic? I know gay persons who have gone from the Episcopal to the Roman Catholic Church. And I've asked them why, and they say "It's because homosexuality is a settled question in Roman Catholicism."
Conservative Interviewer: Back to the people in the unengaged middle. You say this should be a wake-up call to them, that this should cause them finally to get engaged. But why? Why should they get engaged over something as arcane as San Joaquin Prima Donna’s failure to obtain consent?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: It’s not really about that. It’s what that whole rejection represents. Here you have a priest who has served the church for almost 27 years in ordained ministry without a single black Prima Donna on his record, who has under God’s grace grown every conIntervieweration that he has been a part of - numerically, financially, spiritually - and who before that worked as a lay person in his parish church, who was put forward, drafted if you will, to be a bishop; and because he puts his allegiance to Jesus Christ, the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, the teachings and fellowship of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the teaching and communion of the Anglican Communion as essential aspects of what it means to be an Episcopalian... he has to be rejected. Therein lies the theatre of the absurd. Bishops have been approved in this Church who have failed to keep the most sacred of vows, and when I've gladly kept mine for three decades, they still question whether I'll keep the Oath of Conformity.
Conservative Interviewer: I have said often over the last few years that about the worst thing that you can say to folks in the unengaged middle is that there is something wrong with the Episcopal Church, that it's dysfunctional, it’s unhealthy, it’s sick and it needs help.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: Well we know what families do when someone faces the specter that there may be dysfunction there. The whole ethos of denial enters in and you have to do something with the person who is trying to intervene. You have to discount or discredit them.
Conservative Interviewer: You have to shoot the messenger.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: There you go.
Conservative Interviewer: What has been the most painful aspect of the past six months? I have a sense that the real story is not that there were irregularities that shaved off a few points from the score. It's like a football team in the playoffs that loses by a field goal, then blames it on a holding call in the second quarter.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: Right... it's not bad refereeing!
Conservative Interviewer: A team that deserves to win the big game has to put it out of reach, so that it won't be close. That is the story here. It would have been one thing if we had gotten what we expected: A slim but safe win. What we got, though, barely qualified as slim.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: I think it's hard not to see the hand of God in this. That it comes down to a church that has jettisoned the trustworthiness of Scripture and the historic teachings of the church, and relies increasingly on its polity, its constitutions and canons, that it comes down to canonical interpretation. Only God can so craft something to make it end up that way. A touch of irony.
Conservative Interviewer: Let's shift gears and talk about the challenges to you and your family over the past five months. Can you talk about some of that?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: Let me just talk about the whole process. It began for me, I think it was March 25, 2006. We had the Order of St. Luke's here at St. Paul's on a healing conference. They took the initiative to book Father Michael Flynn who came from Fresh Wind's ministry to lead a weekend on healing. On Saturday, late morning, after several teachings, he said, "I'm just gong to serenade you [the group] in the Spirit." He has a beautiful Irish baritone voice. As he began to sing I saw myself journeying through different lands. Then I heard the words, "The journey begins, the journey begins, the begins. Pack your things, pack your things, pack your things. Give your children your blessing. You've been in one place long enough." Then the Spirit of God came over me in such a way that I just began to weep there at the table quietly. I was just overwhelmed with the sense of God's presence, that He had spoken. During the break I met with my wife in the office and I said, "What happened to you during that time?," and of course she told me, and then I began to tell her what happened to me, and as soon as I began speaking the words of the prophetic word that came to me, "The journey begins..." the Spirit of God came upon her and she began to weep. She hardly heard the rest of the words, she was so overcome, undone. She quotes those words of St. Augustine, "He wrapped me in His splendor and sent my blindness reeling."
And, so, we didn't know exactly what that meant. We just lived with that through lent and the first couple of Sundays of Easter, and then, I think it was around May 1st, or the last Sunday, April 30, something like that, and I got a phone call from a friend in Columbus, Ohio, who's never done this before, and he said, "I was praying for you this morning, and God spoke so profoundly to me, and said that he was going to be moving you from being the pastor at St. Paul's Episcopal parish, and to move you into a role of preparing the faithful for the battle ahead." I didn't know what to make of that.
Wednesday of that week I'm in my office saying morning prayer and my devotions, and I get a phone call from the retired bishop of Pittsburgh, Bishop Alden Hathaway. He said, "Prima Donna," and he's tried to get me into episcopal elections before and I've just stayed out of them, "I wonder if you'd be willing to allow your name to be put in for the bishop search for the Diocese of Springfield." I didn't know anything about it. I hadn't been following it. You know, just doing my ministry here. And, given the prophetic word that I'd heard in late March, and what my friend had said, I just heard my self saying, "yes." The "yes" came out of my mouth before I could put it in. And, with the "yes" came a sense of ominous, "Oh my gosh." I couldn't get it back. It came out of my mouth before I could stop it. And, of course, Alden was completely surprised. He was stunned. He said, "I thought I was going to have to twist your arm." I said, "Bishop, you are no more surprised than I am." Well, suddenly I was sucked into the vortex, if you will, of this search process, and before you know it, there I am one of the finalists, and it was astonishing. The things I've noticed over the last couple of months, as some of these bloggers on the left have said, "Why in the world does he want to be a bishop?" I wanted to say, "Who in the hell said I wanted to be one!?" I was drafted. I didn't necessarily think I was called to be bishop of Springfield. I didn't know what I was called to me. I did believe that God had called me to be a part of the process. I mean, He said, "The journey begins," I don't know where it's going - where the destiny is. I just knew that I was on a journey.
I began to realize something just before the walkabout and the election taking place, and that was, "Prima Donna, you have to begin to own this. You can't see it as just God calling you to be a part of the process. You have to personally begin to own it." The thought of that filled me with dread. I can't tell you how profoundly dreadful it made me feel. It is beyond words to tell you how dreadful it was. After the election, I lived with that dread up until Sunday night before the deadline for consents, and it suddenly lifted. I don't even know how to go about describing that. It was a path I was prescribed to walk, and if I sound exuberant now - these reporters are probably surprised that a person is not downcast, that sort of thing - no rejection could be anywhere near the heaviness of that dread that I lived with for five months. Added to that is that my wife's heart was so profoundly inclined towards the good people of Springfield - she just fell in love with the people there and the whole place - so she was continuously having her heart go there and then seeing the developments and having to pull it back, so it has been an emotional struggle for her having to continuously relinquish and surrender this whole sense - she felt a sense of call, I just felt a sense of, "I'm in this. I will be faithful to this." I don't know what it means, but it's my burden to carry.
Conservative Interviewer: Ellis Brust and Steve Wood were the other candidates. Do you think there would have been a difference in the outcome had one of them been elected? In other words, was this a debate about the man San Joaquin Prima Donna, or about the Diocese of S.C. and how others perceive it and its future direction?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: If you had asked me in the first months of the consent process, I would have said it was about the issues, I think it eventually became, not about San Joaquin Prima Donna, but about the issues of APO and the theological debates within the church. I think it started out like that. I think pretty soon it did become about San Joaquin Prima Donna because certain persons made it about San Joaquin Prima Donna. I didn't make it about San Joaquin Prima Donna; others did. They did that because they are so committed to their agenda that anyone who stands in the way becomes part of the problem and needs to be dealt with. Eventually, they would have done the same thing to Steve, they would have done the same thing to Ellis, they would have just have had to take different tacks. I had certain things that I had written that they could try to exploit, misquote, misrepresent, decontexulize, whatever... and they did that. I don’t know if I take it personally, even though they have made it personal. This Sunday [March 18] I am preaching - I’ve been doing a series during Lent on the Lord’s Prayer - and this Sunday is "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." So I find myself asking, 'is there anyone in this whole process that I need to forgive, and if so how do I go about doing that?' If there is someone, then I’ve allowed it to become personal, too. I’m not sure, I haven’t had anyone come to mind. Certainly there are people who have led the charge against me. There are four stages of forgiveness: 'You’ve hurt me and you’ve hurt me badly" is stage 1. Stage 2 is "It wasn’t okay then, and it’s not okay now, and if I live to be 100 years old it won’t be okay." Stage 3 is "I surrender my right to get even." If there is a just universe and someone has done me wrong I have a right to get even. So in Stage 3, I surrender my right to get even. Stage 4 is reconciliation: "I allow you back into my life."
Now, one can only reconcile completely with someone who has acknowledged their part in the wounding. For the most part I haven’t allowed this to become personal with most of my accusers. But I do find their tactics unconscionable, and in some ways abusive, and, you know, if we are going to have a discussion, let’s have a level playing field. If you are going to quote someone, don’t quote them out of context. Don’t misrepresent their position because then you don’t get at what needs to be discussed. This church is in desperate need of a genuine conversation and debate about its future, and many, because of their commitment to their agenda, are truncating that debate.
Conservative Interviewer: One of the more controversial statements you've made was in response to a question regarding how hard you would work to keep the Diocese of Springfield in the Episcopal Church. You replied something to the effect of, "As hard as the other bishops of the Episcopal Church work to keep us in the Anglican Communion."
San Joaquin Prima Donna: Well, that is a turn of phrase that is meant not to be evasive but to be a call to mutual accountability. That is, Lambeth '48, Lambeth '78, Lambeth '88, Lambeth '98 - all used the term when speaking about the Anglican Communion, mutual accountability. The bishops of the Episcopal church attended those Lambeth conferences and up until 1998 for the most part went in favor of all those votes on all of the issues. Now what happened in 1998 is the shameful accusations that those on the orthodox wing of the Episcopal church began buying chicken dinners for the African bishops in order to get their votes. How insulting. How shameful, how racists. The reality is that those were bishops who have faced persecution and in some cases close to martyrdom; are in death struggles with political and religious struggles that we in the U.S. can't hold a candle to in terms of persecution, and to dare suggest that they could be bought by chicken dinners is insulting. Anyway, so you see, in all this debate about autonomy, the fact of the matter is that since the bishops of The Episcopal church have been participating in the Lambeth conferences and signed on in 48, 78, 88 and 98 to the mutual accountability phrase, we are already in a state in which we are called to live with mutual accountability by their own acquiescence to it. And that is somewhat, some would say, already a surrender of complete autonomy if we are to be Anglicans. But what has happened is there has arisen a generation of leaders in the Episcopal Church who know not Joseph. They know not the language of Zion, so to speak. They are ignorant of the history of the Anglican Communion for the most part and Anglicanism by and large, and now are describing us who are part of the mainstream of the Anglican Church as extremists. We are just trying to bring a little of reality into a church which has become increasingly marginalized by its commitment to in-house causes and special interest groups of the extreme political left.
That term, "mutual accountability." is a term used within the Anglican Communion for the national or the provincial churches of the Anglican Communion to keep in mind in all there deliberations and polity and national Christian life.
Conservative Interviewer: Right, but to describe TEC's leadership as "mutually accountable" could not be less accurate.
San Joaquin Prima Donna: Well that is the posture that some are taking and even as they look at the Primates' Communiqué, more than a few of them have stood up and said, we don't want to be accountable to you. Now let's hope that by September 30 there is a majority of Bishops who are willing to say we want to be mutually accountable, we want to be in a covenant relationship with the Anglican Communion. We see that one of the things that it means to be an Episcopalian is to be an Anglican.
Conservative Interviewer: Let me wrap up by asking you to comment on Jan Nunley’s recent rePrima Donna regarding the communique, which was, "It’s not an ultimatum unless you think it is."
San Joaquin Prima Donna: That term, "ultimatum," does not come from the communiqué. The term "ultimatum" is coming, obviously, from a church that is grappling with the appeal of the primates for the Episcopal church to seek the communion. To begin to use that kind of term - "ultimatum" - is already a breach of affection. It is like a family member responding to another family member's urge to be in love and fellowship with one another by saying. "Is this an ultimatum?" It comes out of a willfulness that is unbecoming of the Christian. And so to use that kind of term - to say that that is what the primates are doing - misunderstands the spirit of the communiqué. It misunderstands the heart of the archbishop. It misunderstands the heart of the primates. It is a sad self-indictment.
Conservative Interviewer: But don’t you think that kind of misunderstanding is what led to this crisis in the first place - to the crisis to which the communiqué is just the latest response?
San Joaquin Prima Donna: The willfulness of a church that will exalt its autonomy over others, that will function unilaterally, breaching the bonds of affection, is what has led to the need for the communiqué, but frankly that was seen coming by many within the church, when in '48, '78, '88 and '98 the term "mutual accountability" came to the fore. You see, we are not talking about a decade; we are talking about two generations of rising willfulness against the fellowship of the communion, and that has got to grieve the heart of God and it has to grieve the heart of every Episcopalian who sees what it means to be an Episcopalian, to be in communion with the See of Canterbury, to be a constituent member of this glorious thing we call the Anglican Communion, and to be what we have in the past rejoiced to call ourselves Episcopalians
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury the Episcopal Church, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with the Epsicopal Church. The noble Dan Martins
Hath told you the Episcopal Church was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath the Episcopal Church answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Dan Martins and the rest, --
For Dan is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men, --
Come I to speak at the Epsicopal Church's funeral.
It was my church, faithful and just to me:
But Dan Martins says the church was ambitious;
And Dan is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home from Rome.
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in the Episcopal Church seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, the Episcopal Churh hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Dan says the church was ambitious;
And Dan is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented to the church a crown,
Which the church did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Dan says the church was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Dan Martins spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love the Episcopal Church once, --not without cause:
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for the church?
O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason! --Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with the Episcopal Church,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
But yesterday the word of the Presiding Bishop might
Have stood against the world: now lies the church there,
And none so poor to do the church reverence.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Dan Martins wrong and John David Schofield wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of the Episcopal Church in the United States, --
I found it in the closet, --'tis the church's will:
Let but the commons hear this testament, --
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read, --
And they would go and kiss the dead church's wounds,
And dip their napkins in the sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of it for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how the church loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of the Episcopal Church,
It will inflame you, --it will make you mad:
'Tis good you know not that you are it's heirs;
For, if you should, O, what would come of it!
Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabbed the Episcopal Church; I do fear it.
You will compel me, then, to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of the church,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
Nay, press not so upon me; stand far
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever the Presiding Bishop put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in her church,
That day she overcame the earthquakes and floods:--
Look! in this place ran Jack Iker's dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Robert Duncan made:
Through this the well-beloved Dan Martins stabbed;
And, as he plucked his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of the church followed it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved.
If Dan so unkindly knocked or no;
For Dan Martins, as you know, was the church's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly the Episcopal Church loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble church saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquished him: then burst the church's mightly heart;
And, in the church's mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Rowan William's statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Episcopal Church fell.
O what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
O, now you weep; and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Epsicopal Church's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is the church, marred, as you see, with traitors.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable; --
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it; --they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no blogger, as Dan Martins is;
But as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my church; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of it:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you the sweet church's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Dan Martins,
And Dan Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of the church, that should move
The stones of the United States to rise and mutiny.
by (and with apolgies to) William Shakespeare
Monday, September 13, 2010
Keep in mind, I am not in the know and I do not sit on any committees though I do have proper credentials to go attend and vote in convention.
Let me start with the really big good issue. This diocese, or rather the laity and some clergy weathered the storm in an incredible fashion. There is a study that has been done that dispels the rumor that "we (those who remained in the diocese during the darkest hours) aren't victims. Our resiliency is documented by an independent study that reported that those who remained were incredibly strong, vibrant Christians of the Episcopal persuasion. We waited patiently for those in positions of power to recognize that we never left the Episcopal Church and we needed help. That was three months (some might say we are still waiting). parishes have since flourished in a way that only the strong could have imagined in December of 2007.
Now, for the three big downers. First, we are still struggling to regain property that we should have never had mistaken for Southern Cone property. This continues to be a function of the conelonialists who refuse to give back that which does not belong to them and barring that, they wish to try and bleed the Episcopal Church of all cash, excess and not excess. This we struggle with.
We struggle with the Episcopal Conference Center of Oakhurst. Currently, we have financial control but nothing else and yet we cannot even get the name changed back to what it should be. Currently, we must call it the Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst. Why, because "they" say so. Huh?!
Secondly, we have in our midst, a Communion Partner rector that "switched sides" when faced with the reality that he was going to have problems with his original choice to go south. So, he jumps back to the Episcopal diocese and then gives the diocese a ration of you know what at convention and continues to participate in the Communion Partners, an espoused group of renegades designed to "take over" should the Episcopal Church in the United States end up in the "tank". Here is the issue: we give aid and comfort to a person that is in a group that routinely circumvents proper channels of authority and rejects about everything the Presiding Bishop has done since SHE became presiding Bishop. furthermore, they support the Anglican Covenant, a document designed to be a poison pill for the Episcopal Church. They encourage cross border incursions and would do so themselves except that would "crush" their paper thin facadeof being within the Epsicopal Church.
So we go into our third convention since the split hale and hearty but weighted with some old baggage. The people in the diocese of San Joaquin are strong, resilient and effervescent. We are building a new diocese and a new day. Convention is October 15 and 16 -- come visit (see diocesan webpage) and see for yourself.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
"And, let's face it, friends, TEC has its faults and although it hurts to have one's faults pointed out. At least Mr. Jordan does so in a gentlemanly fashion."And this is only the most recent and reasoned explanation of whatever is Episcopalian. Mark does that at Preludium, and several others including Jake over at his place all liketo be reasonable and polite recognizing the failings we Epsicopalians exhibit from time to time. We are after all, a group of thoughtful, reasonable folks who rely on scripture, reason, and history to illuminate our way. We are, "nice" people.
Now, over at GAFCON, our wonderful doctrinal warrior gives us this little tidbit to chew on
: "Nine years ago today almost 3,000 people died because 19 gullible young men were convinced God wished them to commit an act of unspeakable evil. Today we call these murderers “fundamentalists”, but that's probably according them a degree of systematic coherence they clearly lacked. In reality they were just another teardrop in the vast ocean of post-adolescent males who’ve been seduced by a dangerously stupid cocktail of testosterone and religious idealism. A cocktail which continues to be served unimpeded, and not just in socio-theological basket cases like Iran and Afghanistan.
Sure the after-effects are rarely so obvious: the self-righteous drinkers in Pittsburgh might not execute homosexuals as their counterparts do in Tehran, and those imbibing in the ACNA Diocese of San Joaquin might not allow their revolting misogyny to express itself as blatantly as their Taliban equivalents in Quetta (although I fear it’s only a matter of time before someone emails with news of the evangelicals of Sydney stoning women caught reading the bible aloud while clad “immodestly”), but talk to any of them privately, when their guard is down, and you’ll invariably reach the frightening conclusion that their deepest hope is it’s only a matter of time…"
The Episcopal response to all the havoc and the mayhem set upon our beloved Church by the mob of Duncan, Iker, Schofield, and all the young fundamental radicals has been one of nice and genteel responses. You know, we love the sinner and hate the sin kind of stuff. Big tent stuff, even for those who would (figuratively) load the Episcopal Church into a rail car bound for nowhere good. That is correct. Has anyone seen anything from any blog or writing or memo or letter or communication that says, "Oh, ACNA just wants to allow everyone to live and let live. We mean the Episcopalians no harm. We at ACNA just want everyone to know that we can co-exist with the the Episcopal Church." Have you? Well, have you?!
So what, pray tell, are we waiting for? We formed the Anglican Communion, we are the driving force behind this confederation and we must have had a reason. Why are we so willing to allow ourselves to be beaten, besmirched, belittled, and bedraggled by a group of old men who lead young men into a battle to wipeout the Episcopal Church. When are we going to wake up and smell the coffee? It is past time to "gird our loins and put on the shield or righteousness" and do battle with the evil forces that are out there -- the evil forces mustered by Akinola, Orombi, the sneak of an Archbishop in South America, Mr. Schofield, Iker, Duncan and the whole lot of them. There is no reason to treat them kindly or gently. Why are we not insisting that those who have crossed borders are not brought to justice? Why are we not out there insisting that those who have been inhibited and defrocked are held accountable for their despicable deeds? Why are we not out in every province in every country insisting that the Episcopal Church is the one and only Anglican presence in the United States and there is no other.
We need to drop this facade of kindness and gentle loving and get on with the business at hand. Please be sure to understand, I am not suggesting we stoop to the tactics that they are currently using, though it is appealing, but rather we use those tools at hand and use them effectively. AND, we do not give quarter where quarter is not due. This idea that we can talk about the "Episcopal Church warts and all" aids and abets those who would bury the Episcopal Church. No more!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Well, we here in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America have a bunch of friends, they call themselves the "Communion Partners". The most current help they have given is the help in trying to unconsecrate Mary Glasspool as bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles. The document is called A Statement from the Communion Partners Clergy Steering Committee On the Bishop Suffragan-Election In the Diocese of Los Angeles. This is a nifty little article on the idea that sharing our faith with everyone is not quite what Jesus had in mind. Apparently we are too edgy for them as they echo the Global South and Mr. Duncan's stance on only some people get to fully share in the faith while others have to hope for the crumbs that fall from the table.
Then there is this little gem, Communion Partner Rectors Ask Global South Anglicans To Endorse the Anglican Covenant. In that little ditty apparently the Communion Partners really do wish to see the Episcopal Church removed from the Anglican Communion since that IS the REAL rationale for the Anglican Covenant. It is a poison pill setup by a few evil men to eliminate the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. The lone voice of inclusion would be silenced by male dominated imperialist leaders who would rather see the communion break into a million pieces than accept a power-sharing arrangement that includes all persons sharing fully in the gifts of Jesus Christ.
And in another "erudite document" the Communion Partners on behalf of the Episcopal Church "humbly accept" the admonitions and discipline from the Archbishop of Canterbury for having nominated Mary Glasspool as bishop of Los Angeles.
These friends are just wonderful aren't they? They go to visit the Archbishop of Canterbury without a so much as "by your leave" from our primate, Kathryn Jefferts Schori to talk about not being forgotten when the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Magesterium kick out the Episcopal Church from the communion; they accept the punishment on behalf of a grateful Episcopal Church and are all but ready to fill the gap if and when the Episcopal Church is removed from the Communion all the while professing to be our friends. All the while they do not want to leave the Episcopal Church. WOW! What are we waiting for? These folks need to get medals! Why have we waited so long? Can't we see that all we need are these folks to lead us out of the quagmire and into the bright sunlight? Hip Hip Hooray for the Communion Partners. And, what is even more astounding, we have one of those "great men" in our midst! That is correct San Joaquin. The Reverend Rob Eaton is one of these brave and true lads that is trying to be our friend. He can hardly wait to become a bishop -- in fact he is so anxious to do so it appears he left John David Schofield high and dry to come over to our side and help us. My God, are we lucky or what? When you see the reverend Eaton next at convention in October let him know how much you truly appreciate his help and his friendship!
Why does the Episcopal Church allow these fellows to continue to perform their duties as clergy in the Episcopal Church? Why can't something be done when all they are waiting to do is take over? The only difference between them and the others is the others have the guts to setup an opposing organization and face the Episcopal Church. The communion Partners are nothing but vultures waiting for someone else to do the killing so that they can pick the bones clean. There must be something, with friends like this, who needs enemies?
Thursday, September 9, 2010
"As archbishop I have articulated four areas that I believe need to become our distinctives:
1) that we know ourselves to be the beloved of Jesus;
2) that we become a people committed to personal holiness
3) that we understand our work as fore-runners of Jesus; and
4) that we are those who sacrifice for the sake of others.
Among other things, such distinctives would form us
into a different people than we presently are.
1) If they knew themselves to be the beloved of Jesus Christ would they not take more seriously the two great commandments. Notice I said to upon which "hang all the law and the prophets".
2) If they were committed to personal holiness would they not be more concerned with their relationship with God rather than someone else's relationship with anyone else?
3) If they understood more about how their work fore-ran Jesus Christ would they not be focused on their relationship with Jesus and not their attempts to help other people relate to Jesus Christ?
4) If they were folks who "sacrificed" for the sake of others why are they refusing to return property they hold that belongs to the Episcopal Church?
Sure makes you different.
In conclusion I call every one's attention to a Peter, Paul and Mary song/medley. The medley is a Union song but the part that most intrigues me as it pertains to this post is the following line:
"Put it on the ground boys, spread it all around boys". Once again the Grand Pooba has done just that.
BTW: Oral arguments on the property issues in San Joaquin have been postponed again. Whopee!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Now, someone is not playing with a proverbial full deck, yet, those who enjoy the fruit provided by unions are now thinking that unions are the cause of all our problems. There are many of "us" that think that pensions are "too high" and must be cut. There are still more of us that want so badly to have health benefits but will shop at non-union organizations and organizations that make a living on non-union non-full-time workers, Walmart.
There are those of "us" who now want to repeal social security and medicare and supplemental income because they are "too expensive". Where are their minds? When they get to 65 (or whatever) and there is no social security or it is so low that they cannot survive then what?
And what gives the Wall Street "whiz kids" the right to be bailed out and then dump on the American public when new taxes are suggested (actually not new taxes, just a repeal of the cuts made by my favorite president). A significant drawback to capitalism, particularly big corporations, ones that have been "bailed out" is that they now believe they are invincible -- or at least untouchable because they are "essential to our capitalism economy".
And one expects this from Meg Whitman, Daniel Loeb, Haliburton, and others but from Joe the plumber and Jim Sixpack?
Here is the new blog motto:
"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Forewarned is forearmed.