Thursday, November 4, 2010

Job Duty of a Bishop

Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, you have heard testimony
given that the Reverend Daniel Martins has been duly and lawfully elected to be a
bishop of the Church of God to serve in the Diocese of Springfield
You have been assured of his suitability and that the Church
has approved him for this sacred responsibility. Nevertheless,
if any of you know any reason why we should not proceed,let it now be made known

Much is still being written about the bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, Father Dan Martins. Much of that which is written is not based on personal experience but rather on what they read and what someone has told them. Many think that it is "unfair" and disingenuous of the clergy and laity in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. I must say, no I am obliged to say that many of you, most of you have not lived through the horror of a complete breakdown and breakup of some of the most fundamental belief systems one has. Whether Father Martins was the single most important person or just one of many, there can be no doubt he was a significant clergy person in the breakup of the diocese. But I am getting ahead of myself. I wish to approach this on a couple of additional levels.

First, the issue of "where is Father Martins when the chips were down?" Yes, he states that he did everything in his power to convince Bishop John David Schofield that what he was doing, leaving the Episcopal Church was all wrong. Over 20 or more years the drive by John David Schofield has been moving toward the split and Father Martins never had a chance to convince JDS otherwise? Well, Father Joel Miller stayed and fought, Father Glenn Kanestrom, stayed and fought and Father Mark Hall stayed and fought, to name but a few. Father Martins was is just incorrect in saying that there was not base for fighting the bishop. There was a basis and a group for staying and fighting.

Will you boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of
Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the
conscience of your people?

In addition, and perhaps a less known fact, is the reading public aware that Father Martins actually debated Father Joel Miller at St. Francis Episcopal Church on the efficacy of staying with the Episcopal Church? Father Martins taking the side that it was not in the diocese of San Joaquin's best interest to stay within the Episcopal Church. That not withstanding, IF Father Martin's changed his mind why did he not stay? There was support here for those that stayed, call Father Hall or Father Kanestrom.

Bishop Edward Little talks about how he knows Father Martins very well, and I suppose he should. They served the same Bishop in the same way for much of the same time -- And so did Bishop Mark Lawrence. Father Martins and half a dozen rectors from both Northern Indiana and Springfield (as well as one from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin) as well as two Bishops, one from South Carolina and one from Springfield belong to the Communion Partners. This group has specifically degraded the presiding bishop and the house of bishops for its actions in deposing bishops that have left the Episcopal Church. In addition, it has, without regard for the Presiding Bishop, gone over and around her to the Archbishop of Canterbury to assure him of their fealty and the erroneous ways of the Episcopal Church. Yet, they are two timid to actually take a significant action that would jeopardize their positions, rather opting to wait and "takeover" by subterfuge.

Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
Church of God?

Will you share with your fellow bishops in the
government of the whole Church; will you sustain
your fellow presbyters and take counsel with them;
will you guide and strengthen the deacons and all
others who minister in the Church?

Now, there is also the issue of SSB and all that that entails and there are two areas of real concern, or at least there should be.

As a chief priest and pastor, will you encourage and
support all baptized people in their gifts and
, nourish them from the riches of God's
grace, pray for them without ceasing, and celebrate
with them the sacraments of our redemption?

Okay, so you think SSB is bunk, and not a given and whatever? How about the fact that when the chips were down, Father Martins looked around and saw many, many good people, laity and clergy that were significantly hurting and what did he do? He did what any one might do -- he left everyone in the lurch. Maybe he wasn't thinking that this was going to ruin his run for bishop but what about the hurt and the pain that so many people felt during that time when he was still in the diocese of San Joaquin? Weren't they deserving of his love and care?

Finally, the issue of "but the Springfield Diocese has called him and the consents ought to be given." Well, let's not talk about several almost bishops that were not granted consents because they were Buddhist or Hindi or women, or gay, or whatever, lets talk about the stuff that ought to make a bishop. A bishop should be concerned about ALL the diocese and when the going gets tough the bishop ought not to leave? Or am I wrong? If there is a stand to be made shouldn't the stand be clear and unequivocal and shouldn't the bishop be the firstest with the mostest? How does that stack up against the Communion Partners "nibbling around the edges". A bishop should figure out what is the right course of action and not decide after 3,4,5,6,?? years that whoops! I need to change my mind and do something else. A bishop needs to care for all his flock not just those that are easy to care for and leave those that are difficult to fend for themselves. A bishop should be true to the doctrine and discipline of his church and not gallivant off to a foreign land for aide and comfort.

And oh, by the way, if he does not receive the necessary consents, does that mean he will not continue his ministry in the exact manner in which he has in the past? Oh, no, we cannot assume that since he has already demonstrated by his actions something different.


Leonard said...

Yes. One only needs to subscribe to the HOBD listserve to observe the self-importantlike/self-focused conversations over the years.

I´m certain the folks in Springfield haven´t been following these conversations unless they are simply self-destructive-schismatic types that enjoy obstinate chatter. We´re not talking about ¨speaking differences¨ we´re speaking of chronic and manipulative self-seeking...then, quite effortlessly, turning on a dime when things aren´t looking so good and the grass appears greener on the otherside. This isn´t a sign of healthy debate.

Most people identify this behavior as sociopathic/codependent and/or plain dodgy and selfish...not qualities often admired in a priest.

The bisectional vocalist said...

I agree completely. The last three years at St. Anne's have not been all. I can't imagine that he can perform the duties of a bishop when he has failed to be a priest, in so many ways. Springfield is in for a hell of a shock. They do not know what they are getting.