Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bottom-Feeder Fodder

or, A Bit of our History

I am astonished at the number of times each week that some former Episcopalian or never-was Episcopalian trots out the names of Bishop Spong or Bishop Pike or Marcus Borg as a sign that the Episcopal Church is apostate and heretical. I've read Borg and been challenged by his writings. I'm just old enough (chronologically, and in the Episcopal Church) to be familiar with Bishop Spong. But I didn't know anything about Bishop Pike ... beyond the occasional murmurs I heard from his friends (that he kinda "lost it" it in later years) or his detractors (that he was an out-and-out heretic).

If you want to know a bit more about Bishop Pike, Louie Crew has provided a collection of reflections. First, for background, go to the Grace Cathedral site -- where he was elected bishop of the Diocese of California in 1958. Then go to Louie's site and read the assortment of reflections from folks who actually knew the man.

I don't know how you will respond. I found it exciting to read of his work in the '50s and '60s. (The photo at right is of Bishop Pike with Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1965.) And the story of his resignation and of his death made me very sad. But this is the great thing: In the stories, he is portrayed as a very mortal man. Not an icon. Not an object for target practice. It seems to me that he was a bravely questing Christian.

Check it out. Thanks for another service to our church, Louie!


Blogger David said...

Yeah, mentioning Spong/Borg/Pike is definitely the hard, rightwing "Anglican's" version of Godwin's Law...

FWIW, I found Pike's contribution to the old "Church's Teaching Series" of books to be a fantastic introduction to the faith (believe it was entitled The Faith of the Church). Long out of print, it can still be had on eBay and such.

7/24/2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

David, thanks for the info about Godwin's Law, which I'd never heard before, but had observed. I also hadn't heard of Bishop Pike and needed the info. I like Borg and Spong and so probably would like Pike, too.

7/24/2007 7:00 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

I remember reading Pike's The Other Side when it came out in 1968 or thereabouts (I was only in 6th grade). What little I probably understood of it, it still was a very sad story of his trying to understand and reach out to his son who was addicted to drugs. When his son died, Pike ended up in the Israeli desert trying to communicate with him from the other side (at least that is what I remember of the book). He died a broken man from what I can tell.

7/26/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Caminante, check out the brief biography here. It gives more information about Bishop Pike's life ... and his tragic death in the Israeli desert. I'm with you, my sister! Though I was too young to know him or his work, it seems to me he was an ardent seeker after Christ and Christ's truth. I'm inclined to be gentle with him and his story.

7/26/2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You're right, David, my armadillo friend. Invoking Spong/Borg/Pike is the equivalent of Godwin's Law! Thanks for that link.

7/26/2007 11:14 PM  

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