Sunday, December 23, 2007


The Once and Future "No-Show"

The Bakersfield Californian is carrying a story called, "Local Leader has Vision for Future." They've been giving star coverage to Mark Lawrence (bishop-elect of the diocese of South Carolina) for quite a while, and this is the latest entry. Read the whole article.

Here's what caught my attention:
He said that, with the exception of a couple of occasions, he has not preached church politics from his pulpit at St. Paul’s.

“I use the pulpit to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

He did, however, at one time defend “the San Joaquin Diocesan Standing Committee’s posture for an appeal for an alternative primatial oversight,” by a leader other than Jefferts Schori.

“That was not a move to leave the Episcopal Church,” Lawrence said. “That was the overture that seven or so dioceses were asking from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“At that time, the question was, ‘How can we differentiate ourselves in such a way from the leadership in the Episcopal Church in order that we may maintain our place within the Episcopal Church?’” he said.
Uh-huh. He wasn't trying to leave the Episcopal Church. He just wanted a different primate than the rest of the church has.

And now we're going to admit this man into the leadership of the Episcopal Church.

Yeah. Right. Whatever.

The article continues:
Lawrence said he did not vote in the Dec. 8 diocesan convention, during which San Joaquin overwhelmingly supported a separation from the Episcopal Church. He was on sabbatical in North Carolina at the time, he said.

“The Diocese of San Joaquin made their vote out of the integrity of their specific situation,” Lawrence said.

When asked whether he would have chosen to remain in the Episcopal Church or vote to follow the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield into the Anglican Communion with direct oversight from a South American Anglican province, Lawrence replied:

“I do not know because, in reality, I haven’t had to face that situation. No one knows what they’d do in that set of circumstances.”
As we all know, Father Lawrence conveniently was absent from the 2006 convention in which San Joaquin took its first move to change the constitution in preparation for leaving the Episcopal Church. Now it is revealed that he just happened to miss the December 8 convention, too, in which the former diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave the Episcopal Church. Two hugely historic votes. And he just happened to miss both of them.

Reckon his notable absences had anything to with a desire to minimize controversy so he could get the fuschia shirt and the pointy hat in the church he hates?

I don't know about you. But I do know about me. If such a momentous vote were being taken in my diocese, I would move heaven and earth and the airline schedules to be sure I was there to cast my vote. If the airlines weren't flying, I'd rent a car and drive cross-country to cast my vote. I've taken such steps for personal reasons in past times – times that absolutely required my presence.

This Lawrence man seems to have an amazing propensity for missing important discussions and votes. If he had been at the Council of Nicea, would he have been out on a smoke break or shopping for bon-bons when the vote was taken? The man hasn't even donned the fuschia shirt, and he's already mastered the art of equivocation. Say what you will, he's a quick study.

It appears he has mastered the art of duplicity (also known as "plausible deniability") that former Episcopal bishop Schofield and President Richard Nixon modeled.

I believe we now have further evidence that "we" should not have consented to Lawrence's election in South Carolina. If the man can't say San Joaquin was flat wrong in pretending to leave the Episcopal Church, then woe betide the future in South Carolina under his "leadership."

When South Carolina was seeking consents, I did my best in lobbying my bishop and standing committee to vote "no." But these good Midwesterners seem to have the vice of trusting scoundrels. I fervently hope time will prove me wrong, and prove their trust was right.

Of course, I could be wrong ... And, frankly, I pray that I am.


Blogger Lapinbizarre said...

The Bakersfield Californian quotes Lawrence as saying that "with the exception of a couple of occasions, he has not preached church politics from his pulpit at St. Paul’s". What "couple of occasions", one wonders.

12/23/2007 6:59 PM  
Anonymous ChallengingMannerOfLife said...

He is really cute though! Why is cuteness wasted on conservatives? :-(

12/24/2007 6:45 AM  
Blogger Lapinbizarre said...

Finding conservatives "cute" is something that one ought perhaps to pursue with one's confessor or therapist. Or both

12/24/2007 7:07 AM  
Blogger John D said...

Cute as a rattlesnake.
Guess I'll be skipping mass the next time I visit Charleston.

12/24/2007 2:20 PM  

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