Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Puzzling Observations

Reading Mark Harris’ marvelous blog today, I remembered that the schismatics are having a big meet-up this week in Fort Worth to create the Anglican Church in North America.

So I went over to TitusOne, which I view as the most reliable, least strident site in the “conservative blogosphere,” to learn what’s happening in Fort Worth. Kendall Harmon is carrying many, many news reports from the ACNA meet-up. It had been many weeks (maybe even a couple of months) since I’d visited his site.

And I was shocked by what I observed. His postings (especially about Big Events like this one purportedly is) used to get dozens and dozens of comments. But go look. His many ACNA-related posts are only getting a handful comments. Reports like these used to get dozens of comments. That is weird! What the heck is going on? T19 is still getting hits; it’s just not getting much discussion. How come?

I have a hunch that the True Believers have moved over to StandFirm because they’re weary of TitusOneNine’s fairly constrained links and excerpts. Maybe they want the screaming free-for-all that StandFirm feeds them in its posts and allows in its comments. But even over at SFiF, the posts don’t seem to be getting the volume of comments that they used to.

Meanwhile, there are true conservatives still within the Episcopal Church. Have they grown weary of the drama and the screaming? Where are they going? Where are they talking online? They’re certainly not at T19 or SFiF. I read what they write on the HoBD listserv, but I don’t see a major “conservative” blog where they are assembling and talking.

I wonder if there’s a parallel here to this week’s formation of the ACNA. The bishops and priests who’ve made their reputations by excoriating the Episcopal Church finally got what they wanted: a “pure” “Anglican” church. The Anglo-Catholics in man lace and the arms-in-the-air charismatic/Protestant “Anglicans” are having a love-fest in Fort Worth … for now. This small but fervent group is clearly happy about their deliverance out of Babylon.

But there are still a great many reasonable, articulate conservatives within the Episcopal Church. I have a hunch they may be willing to stay with us … if we will give them the respect and honor that we promise in our baptismal covenant. These few – this solid core of conservatives (like Fathers Tony Clavier & Dan Martins) – are perhaps still willing to listen and engage in dialogue. I hope we will give them that respect at GC09 in Anaheim.

Mind you, my look-see at these sites isn’t scientific. I don’t have any data. I’m just going with my impression of the dialogue. But I do think it’s intriguing that a blog that used to be the center of “conservative” discussion is getting very few comments, very little discussion. Even posts at SFiF don’t seem to gather the number of comments they used to.

But I see something similar on “my side” of the aisle. Since Father Jake left, we’ve never had a single behemoth site where we “liberals” gather. But at the sites I visit and love, the number of comments seems to be down. What’s going on? Are we all just getting weary of the battle? If so, that might be a good thing.

What do you think is going on?

30 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

I think they have what they think they want - and are sort of like a kid who finds himself alone in the sandbox with no friends. Any bets on the alliance that is built on avoiding gay and girl cooties?

6/23/2009 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lindy said...

I am bored with the Anglican thing, and I am bored with the internet in general... I don't know which of those is more pronounced but I'm not around the www as much as before. I think it's probably a cluster of factors.

Like you, I hope the conservatives will hang in there with TEC. But I don't think we should put up with their bigotry. If they don't want to do any gay stuff, well fine. But, they can't stand in our way any longer.

6/23/2009 11:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Good analogy, Ann.

6/24/2009 12:15 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm inclined to be with you, Lindy. I am weary of the battle.

6/24/2009 12:17 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Lisa, I read selected posts/comments and SF when "big" stories are breaking. It seems like a number of their current regulars aren't even Anglicans of any flavor. Interesting, isn't it?

6/24/2009 2:27 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I think that's been the case all along, Lynn. In fact, every now and then there's a great food fight between the TEC-stayers (including Greg & Sarah) and the "leavers" or "never-were-in" types.

6/24/2009 8:37 AM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Afterall, there is only one message...it´s ¨inclusiveness¨ at Church...what ¨inclusiveness¨ means can be anything from ¨Loving the Sinner (that would be you) and ¨hating the sin¨ (that would be them)¨ to OK, let´s be responsible for our own individual character (all skate)!

6/24/2009 11:12 AM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Lindy makes a wonderful point. It is boredom that is the best defense. They are banking it will upset us. I am learning to no longer get riled, but to just be bored.

The only part that still riles me is when they want to take the stuff.

6/24/2009 11:41 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm with ya, KirkE! I am getting bored with these boys' shenanigans.

6/24/2009 10:57 PM  
Blogger Restless Heart said...

For folks who claim to be bored with "these ... shenanigans," you spend an awful lot of time discussing them. Same's true of other blogs of this ilk. Why not just "live into" your mission and move on?

6/26/2009 8:53 AM  
Blogger Bill Carroll said...

On the progressive side, I've stopped commenting as much, because I'm busy with my day job as rector of a parish and campus chaplain, because I now read blogs with Google Reader, because Facebook and other social networking sites are a better place to be snarky with your internet friends, and because I'm fairly confident that truth will prevail not because of the internet but because of God and the good sense of God's people. Perhaps this won't happen as fast as we want it too. But it will happen and it won't happen any faster because of something that is said on a blog. I still enjoy reading what friends say and occasionally commenting. But blogging has lost its newness.

6/26/2009 9:52 AM  
Blogger Catherine S. said...

Couple of things:

“[T]here are true conservatives still within the Episcopal Church. Have they grown weary of the drama and the screaming?”

Yes.

You don’t know me, so I’ll tell you that I’m politically/socially very liberal, but theologically/liturgically/musically very much a conservative. I’m also a cradle Episcopalian, and the daughter of cradle Episcopalians, who are the children of – well, you probably see where I’m going. I’m very involved in my parish – I run a couple of guilds – and I can’t begin to imagine having to answer a question about my faith without being able to say, “I’m an Episcopalian.”

That said, I try to focus on my parish and simply not think about what’s going on in TEC as a whole. It’s just depressing, and a source of great distress.

I have watched people I have known and loved my entire life – as well as countless strangers – leave the church I have known and loved my entire life, and it breaks my heart. But what makes me really very angry is the glee with which these departures have been greeted by some. (Those reactions also remind me of the people who think the GOP should become more ideologically “pure,” because it will be stronger without the moderates. I think that would be great for us Democrats, but not so much for the GOP – that is, if they ever want to win back the presidency.)

Because of this, I was heartened to read something else you wrote, above:

But there are still a great many reasonable, articulate conservatives within the Episcopal Church. I have a hunch they may be willing to stay with us … if we will give them the respect and honor that we promise in our baptismal covenant. These few … are perhaps still willing to listen and engage in dialogue. I hope we will give them that respect at GC09 in Anaheim.

There are people who are willing to stay – indeed, who want very much to stay. And I think that showing us “the respect and honor [promised] in our baptismal covenant” would be a most welcome change and a very good place to start.

Then I read the comments. Well, there went that.

6/26/2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

Catherine S. says it well in her comment. Hasn't it all been said on both sides? Haven't both sides stated their talking points clearly and repeatedly? There really is such a thing as irreconcilable differences.

If you can wrap your heads around this analogy, imagine that you are a member of PETA. Representatives of poultry and egg producers who raise their chickens in small cages, greyhound breeders, owners of puppy mills attempt to join. When they are told that their activities violate the founding and defining principles of PETA, they object that you are bigoted and that they will join anyway. Over time, patiently, they join and talk the talk and play the act while subtly changing the bylaws and redefining ethical treatment of animals to include factory farming, disposing of racing dogs past their prime, and churning out puppies in overcrowded, disease-ridden kennels, many of which will be destroyed. They eventually become the majority membership and block membership applications of people who object to their practices and want to work to change for the better the treatment of animals. Would you stay for long in such a radically different PETA than the one you joined? Would continue to "dialogue" with those who only believe they have been "listened" to when they get their way and everyone agrees with them? No doubt you will say this is exactly how conservatives (reasserters) have treated liberals (reappraisers), but this is exactly the view from over here in the conservative camp of what reappraisers have done to TEC, ACoC, and, indeed, most of the western hemisphere Anglican churches with the exception of most of South America.

The comments have died down for the same reason as people leave the courtroom and stop talking after a divorce becomes final. You have won! Celebrate it, rejoice in it! You have caused most of those you call bigots, homophobes, Neanderthals, Biblioidolaters, fundamentalists, primitives, knuckle-draggers, redneck wife-beaters, etc. to leave as you said they should. Charlie Brown has at last walked away from yet another offer of Lucy's to kick the football.

As for what the few "articulate conservative voices" left in the Episcopal Church are saying these days, read +Mark Lawrence's (Bishop of SC) letter to the clergy of the diocese and the comments where it was posted on T19 and SFIF. Links are below:

DioSC website original letter - http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/23548/

T19 - http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/23548/

SFIF - http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/23549/

Remember how +Lawrence's consents were nearly successfully blocked on a technicality that was never brought before in consents to many a liberal bishop. Kendall Harmon is not even going to GC09 as a delegate this year, seeing no further point in it after witnessing GC06 and the further deterioration since. Talk amongst yourselves!

6/26/2009 10:55 AM  
Blogger Alice C. Linsley said...

If you are missing the rants and adrenalin rushes, this post will serve as a fix: http://college-ethics.blogspot.com/2009/06/susan-russells-god-politics.html

6/26/2009 3:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for (most of) your comments. [Milton's strained analogy is an obvious exception.] I've been totally occupied and will probably be offline for most of the weekend. More when I can.

6/26/2009 5:22 PM  
Blogger John (Ad Orientem) said...

Lisa & all,
The posts are diminishing because the controversy is diminishing. Most (though admittedly not all) of the orthodox are moving on. Many are in the ACNA, some swam the Tiber or joined other churches. Even the ones who are staying (like the bishop of SC) are openly admitting that the war is over and they lost.

Personally I am glad for them. Ecclesiastic civil war is spiritually unhealthy. I made the observation almost three years ago that they had no hope of winning and the best thing for them to do was leave with as much grace and dignity as they could muster. A house divided and all that sort of thing...

I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the ACNA (though I entertain no real hopes of a corporate conversion to the Orthodox Church as has recently been discussed in some quarters). They have already gained recognition from several Anglican provinces and more seem likely to follow. This is normal and to be expected.

Just as TEC divided so to will the Anglican Communion. There are fundamentally irreconcilable differences out there that can no longer be papered over with bland appeals to endless dialogue. I expect this process to accelerate in the coming year, especially with the GC coming up and no loyal opposition to even remotely slow the progressive agenda.

Indeed I would be mildly surprised if TEC does not drive a stake through the heart of the Windsor Process and force everyone in the Anglican Communion to choose sides once and for all.

In the meantime be happy. You won.

Under the mercy,
John

6/26/2009 6:12 PM  
Blogger Laura R. said...

Lisa Fox, you might be interested in the comment thread on your article today at TitusOneNine.

6/26/2009 6:14 PM  
Blogger Milton said...

Lisa, I knew the PETA analogy would not be easy for you or most of your regular commenters to hear, but I appreciate and respect your willingness to let it stand without deleting it or banning me. I bear no ill will toward you or any of the commenters here, many of whose names I recognize from our lively debates on other blogs, including a couple with you at Drell's Descants.

For conservatives, the Gospel of salvation from sin by the shed blood of the risen Lord Jesus Christ is not a justice issue but one of whether our immortal souls and those of others will enjoy transformed eternal life with Jesus that begins in this life, or whether we choose to turn from the light because our deeds were evil. God forbid I should receive justice from Him instead of mercy and grace, because then He would have to strike me down justly, the One whose eyes are too pure to look upon sin. But the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and gives us the grace, when we submit to it, to avoid further sin and to confess, repent and stand again in forgiveness when we do fall into sin.

That is the Gospel the Episcopal Church no longer preaches, having been changed from within a moment ago in historical terms, by dedicated and sometimes ruthless activism from within. Now the overwhelming majority of TEC bishops and clergy preach the new gospel which has made Jesus all but superfluous, taught by the seminaries that turn out still more reappraiser clergy and are the only acceptable choice for discernment candidates in reappraiser dioceses. Seen in those terms, perhaps the PETA anaolgy is a little less strained.

Perhaps a defining question each of us could ask ourselves is: "What difference would there be in my life today, 2009, if Jesus had not died on the cross and risen from the dead?" (Assuming the historical accuracy of the Gospel accounts for the moment.) The answer to that question for conservatives gets to the heart of what we mean by the Gospel, which Jesus commanded us to preach to the ends of the earth, making disciples of all the nations.

6/26/2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Christopher Johnson said...

For my part, I'm not all that interested in this stuff anymore. I've said over and over and over and over what I thought needed to be said and I'm tired of repeating it.

If the conservatives to whom all this was directed(Episcopal liberals stopped being part of this story five years ago)don't get it, I don't know what else I can tell them. Because basically, I no longer care all that much

WAY more important stories are going on right about now. In Iran, for example.

6/26/2009 10:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for the follow-up comment, Milton.

Let me say first and clearly: I don’t buy the “it’s a justice issue” line. Never have. Never will. (I wrote about that here.) My difference from the reasserters is that I interpret some passages of Scripture differently, and I do not believe gay/lesbian relationships are inherently sinful. I believe they can reflect the love of Christ because my Bible tells me so. I believe gay/lesbian relationships should be judged by exactly the same standards as heterosexual ones: faithfulness, charity, self-giving, monogamy … all that. I will be glad when the church allows us to participate in the sacrament of marriage, supports us in covenanted relationships, and holds our feet to the fire when we stray.

Without a doubt, Jesus has saved me. During two decades with no spiritual life or church involvement, I was horribly promiscuous. That changed through Jesus’ transforming love for me. Like you, I try to “avoid further sin and to confess, repent and stand again in forgiveness when [I] do fall into sin.” What I hope for now is a partner with whom I can faithfully share the love of Christ and live a life that glorifies him. I believe that’s possible; I am sure you do not.

I don’t know where you live, but I have no experience with Episcopal bishops or clergy who preach “the new gospel which has made Jesus all but superfluous.” Many reasserters claim that’s now the “vast majority” in TEC. But I see no evidence of that. Certainly, there are extremists on the “left,” but I don’t believe it. Frankly, I fear that’s handy propaganda.

You say: Perhaps a defining question each of us could ask ourselves is: "What difference would there be in my life today, 2009, if Jesus had not died on the cross and risen from the dead?" (Assuming the historical accuracy of the Gospel accounts for the moment.) The answer to that question for conservatives gets to the heart of what we mean by the Gospel, which Jesus commanded us to preach to the ends of the earth, making disciples of all the nations.
First, I do believe the Gospel accounts are true – that Jesus was and is the Christ and rose from the dead.
What’s the difference it makes in my life? If I didn’t believe it, I would have no hope, no joy, no reason to get up each morning, no reason to try to share that faith, no reason to be kind to other people.

I am writing in haste, as I’m visiting friends and must be brief. But I hope this gives you some better sense of my own beliefs and faith.

6/27/2009 4:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm just now home from a delightful weekend away.

Thanks, LauraR., for the heads-up. I just went and looked at my sitemeter. I had no idea T19 had linked here. Then I saw they hit this post with a vengeance. On a typical day, I get about 100 posts; T19 gave me over 600. I suppose I'll have to go over there at some point and see what they're saying ... but not tonight when I am feeling so good.

6/28/2009 7:53 PM  
Blogger Catherine S. said...

You wrote: I don’t know where you live, but I have no experience with Episcopal bishops or clergy who preach “the new gospel which has made Jesus all but superfluous.” Many reasserters claim that’s now the “vast majority” in TEC. But I see no evidence of that. Certainly, there are extremists on the “left,” but I don’t believe it. Frankly, I fear that’s handy propaganda.

To my everlasting dismay, I have to disagree with you; it’s really not just propaganda, handy or otherwise.

For the record, I’ve been to Episcopal churches in TX, CO, AZ, NM, LA, MS, AR, MO, IL, MT, KY, TN, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, DC, NY, and MA – and probably a few others, if I thought about it a little longer (and that’s not counting the Anglican churches I’ve visited all over Europe) – and I’ve met, spoken with, and/or listened to priests and bishops from all those areas and many more. (I know more clergy than I can count.) I’ve also been to diocesan conventions, general convention, even Lambeth. I know people on the far ends of the spectrum, and just about every point in between. In other words, my statements are based on personal experience – both direct/in-person and somewhat indirect – in all kinds of places and with all kinds of people.

But let’s leave that aside for the moment. I have to say that the thing that probably upsets me most is the way some conservative clergy have been persecuted. (Yes, I realize that word will upset some people, but sadly, it is all too accurate.) I cannot think of one liberal priest who has been deposed recently by a conservative bishop, but I can think of a whole heck of a lot of conservative ones who have been deposed by liberal bishops – such as the 42 who were deposed in the Diocese of Florida alone between 2004 and 2008. At a certain point, it begins to look like a purge – an effort to force out those who will not toe the line. Honestly, I’m not someone who gives much credence to conspiracy claims; usually, I hear that stuff and just think, ‘Yeah, right! Wacko!!’ I mean, think about it: 42 priests in just one diocese, within just 4 years. Do you really think the southern tip of Florida was swarming with a wildly disproportionate number of clergy who were completely unfit?

OK, that’s it for me today – I have to hit the road, go home, pack, and hit the road again…

P.S. Re: the 42 clergy in FL, see:
http://listserv.virtueonline.org/pipermail/virtue online_listserv.virtueonline.org/2008-May/008458.html

6/29/2009 5:09 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Dear Catherine S. if you believe everything that David Virtue writes - I have a bridge - as they say! The clergy were deposed due to their decision to no longer affiliate with the Episcopal Church. That is the technical term for taking away their license to be Episcopal clergy - they are not "defrocked" as it is sometimes called. There is no judgement on their character -just that they can no longer call themselves Episcopal priests (and since they have left - why would they want to be?)

6/29/2009 5:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ann already said it for me: Where great numbers of clergy are being deposed, it's because they've left the Episcopal Church. Deposition is the way we keep the clergy roll current. These priests weren't persecuted because of their beliefs; bishops have recognized their departure from TEC, and the only vehicle we have for doing that is through the canonical process of deposition. It's simple. It's bookkeeping. And it's certainly not persecution.

By the way, I believe those priests leaving TEC for southern climes could have requested "letters dismissory." That's similar to what I did when -- after 2 decades away from any church -- I joined TEC and asked my long-ago Baptist church to send my "letter" to the Episcopal parish I had joined. That's the honorable way to do it. If one wants to leave, one can do so.

Or ... like the priests going to AMiA, ACNA, Nigeria, etc. ... they can play the martyr card in an effort to get some "persecution press."

If memory serves, I believe that "playing the martyr" was one of the strategies outlined in the Chapman memo back in 2003. It is a ploy designed to give the pretense of persecution. But it's only a pretense.

Catherine, I appreciated your earlier comment. Sounds like we could talk. You mention you heard heresy in a Missouri parish. I'd like to know where you went and what you heard that you seem to characterize as heresy.

6/29/2009 8:35 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

No letters dimissory under these conditions - only for those going to other TEC churches - not for splitting up the church

6/29/2009 10:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for the correction, Ann.

7/01/2009 12:24 AM  
Blogger Bill Carroll said...

Of course, once a priest (or bishop or deacon) is deposed, it is not licit for any church that preserves catholic order to receive him or her.

7/01/2009 2:01 AM  
Blogger Catherine S. said...

Ann:
First: If you check, you will see that I never said anyone had been “defrocked;” I referred (twice) to priests who had been “deposed.”

Second: No, I don’t believe everything David Virtue writes. But I happen to know a few of the FL priests personally, so I can assure you that at least some of them were forced out of TEC. And again, that’s just in FL.

And incidentally, people who have to be pushed out, by definition, do not want to go.

Lisa:
When I referred to persecution, I meant it. I have seen some bishops engage in behavior that can only be described as stunningly vindictive – from big stuff like making demonstrably false accusations, to little stuff like revoking the licenses of all lay readers and chalice bearers in a one-priest parish right before Christmas to “punish” that priest (and also telling the priest that he had people in the parish who were reporting back to him on everything, and that it was his goal to depose the priest).

Also, while it is technically possible for a priest to request (and obtain) a transfer from one diocese to another – say, from MO to Uganda, to pick two options at random – the folks at 815 have learned that they don’t actually want people doing that, precisely because it removes clergy from their authority. For example, imagine that Fr. A gets himself transferred from MO to Uganda, Uganda in turn “sends” him to MO as a “missionary,” and then TEC decides they don’t like what Fr. A is doing in MO – what then? There is not a darned thing TEC can do about it because Fr. A is under the authority of his bishop in Uganda, not TEC; in contrast, if Fr. A had not transferred out of MO, TEC would have had several disciplinary options. 815 had to learn this lesson the hard way, of course: they approved one such transfer, found themselves without options to discipline the priest in question, and then tried to claim that the bishop who transferred the priest had done so on his own initiative, without ever consulting 815 and certainly without getting anyone’s approval. (Unfortunately for 815, the bishop was an intelligent and careful man who kept excellent records, and he was able to prove that he had consulted 815 – and the PB had approved the transfer.)

Lastly, I don’t really like to use the word “heresy,” so I’ll leave that aside… As for your question, though, a particular sermon springs instantly to mind. This priest is no longer at the parish where I heard the sermon – he’s now on staff at a cathedral, actually – and I think it’s safe to say that none of the clergy currently at that parish would say anything like this, so I’ll refrain from naming it. But I digress… The sermon was centered around the theme that “only kindness matters.” ONLY kindness, nothing else – not faith, not redemption, not God – only kindness. Now, I think that kindness is certainly of great importance – there’s not nearly enough of it in this world, if you ask me – but I have a problem with a priest standing there in the pulpit and instructing his parish that kindness is the only thing that matters. Worship services include sermons in order to give the priest an opportunity to “preach the Gospel” – explain what it is saying to us, how we are supposed to apply it to/in our lives, etc. I don’t recall reading any version of any of the Gospels which tells me that kindness is the only thing that matters.

7/02/2009 1:13 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I wrote a rather long comment on this thread and erased it. Catherine, I am sorry we have seen you and other conservatives harmed or at least thinking you have been. I know this is not something the conservatives believe but that was not the intent of anyone I know, and I know a lot of the progressives well.

Oh we have our bad apples. Not all the bishops and clergy who have been deposed are conservatives. Cf. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island where rather public cases have happened. I know of others but not with liberty to mention them.

As to heresy, I would really like to know what you heard?

FWIW
jimB

7/05/2009 7:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Catherine, I apologize for my delay in responding; I’ve been awfully busy with some other things. I hope you’re still subscribed to this post.

I have not seen credible reports of bishops who have been “stunningly vindictive.” Can you provide more details? And I won’t consider VirtueOnline links to be credible sources. T19 and some other conservative sites, yes.

BTW, you mention bishops “revoking the licenses of all lay readers and chalice bearers in a one-priest parish.” We’ve seen the same things done by “conservative” bishops and priests against gay/lesbian laypersons. On the HoBD listserv, Bruce Garner recently documented some of that, which had occurred in the state of Florida. (Not sure which diocese.) Let me tell you, I think it’s wrong in both cases.

You wrote about the possibility of priests asking for transfer “from one diocese to another – say, from MO to Uganda.” Catherine, such letters are allowed when a priest moves from one diocese or province to another and intends to minister in that other diocese. No reasonable bishop grants “letters dismissory” to a priest who wants to affiliate with a foreign province in order to foment discord in ours. You can bet Kolini, Akinola, etc. wouldn’t grant “letters dismissory” for some of their priests to affiliate with TEC and remain at home to “spread discord” back in their native provinces. That would be a recipe for bedlam. If the priests you mention wanted to move to Uganda and minister there, then I fully agree they should have been granted letters dismissory. No question about it!

Catherine, I would be right there with you if I heard a priest of our church preach that “only kindness matters.” I would be livid, and he’d probably get a piece of my mind during coffee hour! What matters are faith, grace, salvation, redemption and those other spiritual graces. Any humanist can exhibit kindness. For Christians, “kindness” is merely an outward manifestation of our life in Christ. Remember, I came out early and strongly against the theology and preaching of Bishop-elect Forrester. I would take a similarly firm stand against the sort of sermon you describe and its underlying theology.

I am not an “anything-goes” Episcopalian. I believe there should be lines and limits both on the left and on the right. Priests and bishops of our church all need to act within the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this church. We have always allowed a bit of “wiggle-room” within those vows, but some lines must be drawn – against the outright schismatics and against the wackos on the left.

BTW, you mentioned that you have heard “heresy” preached by priests in the Diocese of Missouri. As I said (in my comment on June 29 @ 8:35p) I would still like to know where that was and what you heard.

I hope this helps you understand a bit more about where I’m coming from. Thanks for the engagement.

7/06/2009 9:01 PM  

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