Thursday, June 18, 2009

Louie Crew: "Over the Line" or "Right on Target"???

You be the judge:

Louie just posted this "open letter" (regarding the House of Bishops' "secret committee") to his blog ... and is already taking hits on some listservs for having gone "over the line." What think we???

An Open Letter to Bishop Henry Parsley from Two Named 'Louie Crew'

Bishop Parsley,

In 1911, when his son Erman was only six, the local Klan came in the dark to the home of my grandfather and demanded:

"Louie, it is time for you to do your civic duty."

Louie stood them down while Erman watched from behind a window, frightened by the torches and the hoods.

Then to Erman's amazemenet, Louie called out the name of every hooded man. Erman thought his father had magical skills, not realizing that as president of the local bank, his father had loaned the money used to buy most of the
buggies and horses of the vigilantes.

"John! Gary! James! Henry!......" Louie called to the panel before him; "you know that you are up to no Christian good when you have to hide your face to
do it."


+Henry, Bishop of Alabama, Ernest and I still pay taxes on Louie's property in Coosa County. You know that you are up to no Christian good when you have to hide the identity of the special panel that you have appointed to study us secretly.

Nor do you treat all parties equally. This week the MISSIONER, published by Nashotah House, identified The Rev. Daniel Westberg, a professor at Nashotah House, as a member of the secret panel and Dr. Ellen Charry, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, as the panel's chair. (See page 3 of the current issue)

The writer had sufficient knowledge to characterize the theologyical position of each member of the secret panel.

Why does one of our most conservative seminaries have access to information that you have denied to all who have requested it, including those of us who share fiscal responsbility with you at General Convention?

End the duplicity. Take the hoods off all members of the committee. Let there be transparency and decency.

I have been baptized.

Louie Crew, L1 Newark


Ann said...

The point was that hiding allows people to do things they would not do otherwise. But KKK is sort of like Nazi on listserves and blogs--- godwin's law.

susankay said...

As always -- if indeed Louie is over the line, that is where we all should be -- that's where we will find Jesus.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Brava, Louie! It needed to be said. These 'theologians' (ahem) are doing exactly what they want us to do - stay hidden and keep our lives in secret. No more. No more.

OCborn said...

Prophets use all kinds of words, phrases, and images to speak truth to Power. Although, they would not be words that I would choose (I don't have "Prophet Crew's" fortitude), they are still powerful words to call out those who *choose* a closet instead of being brave enough to stand out in the light.

Louie did not EXPLICITLY call anyone or a group Nazi or a Klansman. He used a story from his history (parable?) to illustrate his point.

In these days when our (supposed) allies throw us a mediocre bone (eg - Federal employess' health benefits) and marriage equality laws are given and then taken away, and when our brothers and sisters in Christ have to hide how they want to classify us/evaluate our lives in the Body of Christ, then our internal prophets need to call, in no uncertain terms, those in the closet to open the door and let the Light in.

Jim said...

I think it is quite a good letter and completely appropriate. I continue to think the comparison to the repression of places like China and Iran where the communications blackout is a standard technique is a fair comparison.


Athanasian said...

I don't think there's anything nefarious going on, but it's a great example of the truth of Ben Franklin's famous maxim: "Three may keep a secret, if two are dead."

If anything, some of the leaked details should soothe the concerns of folks on both sides of the issue. Maybe that was intentional? I dunno.

The whole article is available here. It's on page 3, if you're interested.

Paul said...

One does not need anonymity to have confidentiality. Since they have refused to be identified I lump them with Dick Cheney's energy policy panel. One can only assume the worst and is unlikely to be disappointed. Perhaps they will come out with some bland, temporizing material that will offend most and satisfy none. I will NOT be studied and theologized about by those behind masks.

I agree with Louie. They cannot be up to any Christian good. If they were, they would not need anonymity. An anti-Gospel means cannot produce a Gospel end. The element of secrecy brings shame to the process and to the church.

PseudoPiskie said...

If you are trying to hide your hood, you object?

it's margaret said...

I agree and like what susankay said --if Louie is over the line, that is where we all should be--that is where we will find Jesus.

And, perhaps some need reminding that it was not Louie that drew the line.... the line was created by forming a secret committee.... in which case we should all be stomping that line.

John said...

Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear but in these times, for the church to even think about doing something as important as this under cover of dark is unspeakable. Louie is spot on.

JayV said...

Unlike the HoB (and the PB must have given tacit approval to the secrecy, since she's been silent) - Louie Crew is telling it like it is.

Mark Friesland said...

This is such a powerful story and I am so glad Louie said what needed to be said. As a gay man (with a wonderful husband and son) it feels so strange to know that the Church I grew up in would (in the 21st century) set up some sort of secret society of theologians (with their identities hooded from public view) who are meeting to debate about the morality of my personal and family life. As far as I am concerned, the only line of propriety and decency that has been crossed was when our Church set up this hidden tribunal. Louie is not the wrongdoer in this situation. This secrecy has many elements of dishonesty, is very corrosive to our common life, and will only create more distrust and disunity. I am glad Louie is saying what needs to be said. I grew up in the U.S. South and was aware of the presence and activities of the KKK. There seems to be a resurgence of extremism in the USA right now and I think the Church is setting a horrible example by behaving this way in regards to a minority group. Ultimately, this clannish and deceitful secrecy in the Church will only provide cover for wrongdoing.

Milton said...

Louis is exactly right. If you have to hide to do what you are doing, then there is no Christian good in it.

I share Louis' outrage. I would like to hear from the PB on this and find how how complicit she was in this debacle.

End the closet!

Barbi Click said...

As we too well know, we can talk forever. We talk to stall. We keep things secret because we believe we have the answers and do not want input. This secret meeting is oppressive in that its intent seems more to postpone than to conclude. Let us dispense with the idle committee chatter. Let us get on with the work. I stand with Louie.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I'm with Susankay and Margaret and JimB!

Wormwood's Doxy said...

The truth smarts, doesn't it?

Louie is the kind of Christian I aspire to be---he is loving, forgiving, and absolutely dedicated to the Gospel. He does not hesitate to "afflict the comfortable" when it's appropriate--and this is certainly an appropriate time to do so. He's right on target.


KJ said...

Attempts are made to soothe those concerned by assuring us of the "breadth" of views represented on the committee. I'm sure that's true, but it begs the point. Has any leadership taken the time to explain to us why additional "study" is required?

And yes, the PB's silence regarding the study itself and the need for anonymity is disappointing at the deepest level. I had expected so much more.

Church nonsense. I guess I didn't leave it behind in my migration.

kiturgy said...

Louie's is always one of charity, humility, modesty and tact. If his behavior is perceived as "over the line" it probably means that we are dawdling way behind.

Erp said...

Are there circumstances where secrecy of identity could be justified? The only one I could think of would be if identification would lead to serious repercussions (e.g., in a country where homosexuality is illegal and members of the committee could be arrested) and this doesn't hold here.

Hiram said...

There are many things that ECUSA is keeping under its hat, such as the amount of funds being used to sue departing parishes and dioceses.

I imagine that one reason why an attempt was made to keep the members of this committee anonymous was so that they could do their work without being "lobbied" to get their answer correct.

It doesn't matter all that much. We already know what the conclusion will be. It appears to me that, just in case the report does not contain every jot and tittle of what your goals are, you want to be able to lean on the members of the committee to produce something of which you will approve.

Don't worry. General Convention is going to give you what you want.


Not at all "worried" Hiram ... just more than ready to get on with the work of the church

WilliamK said...

Over at Preludium someone who can't stand the "uppity" homosexuals had this to say about Dr. Crew:

If you want people to believe in the normalcy of the gay life then stop leaving the leadership to the loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders and start trotting out gay people that act a bit

My response was to ask if this person meant "um...normal" like +Akinola and +Orombi.

I was reserving judgment of the propiety of the letter, but after reading this bit of nonsense, I concluded that the letter was "right on target." We know we're doing the right thing when all the right people are upset.

Three cheers for our "loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders"!

Kay & Sarah said...

Ocborn called Louie a prophet. I like that and I think that is exactly what Louie is.

I think Louie's letter is very appropriate.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

William K,

I saw the reaction on that place (not to be named) too.

It's really extraordinary - and rather frightening. It seems the fringe in USA is going off the rockers.

But as you say, the over the top reaction is proof that this letter is right - just as the eating is to the pudding ;=)

Karen said...

Mr. Crew is kind. He is prophetic. He speaks the Gospel. He hides neither word nor deed from anyone.

Let him with ears to hear hear.

uffda51 said...

And Jesus said to the apostles, “From time to time, gather in secret to pass judgment on the marginalized, always citing tradition as your justification. Never let the facts get in your way. If all else fails, delay, delay, delay.”

I’ve been searching my concordance but can’t find the above passage anywhere.

Louie is right on target.

WilliamK said...

And Jesus said to the apostles, “From time to time, gather in secret to pass judgment on the marginalized, always citing tradition as your justification. Never let the facts get in your way. If all else fails, delay, delay, delay.”

I’ve been searching my concordance but can’t find the above passage anywhere.

It's in the Deuterocanonical Book of Equivocations, Chapters 100, verse 337, right after the Jesus' declaration, "Blessed are you when you exclude and marginalize and belittle, for yours is the archepiscopate!"

Susan Hagen said...

Well said Louie!

Lindy said...

To be honest, I don't blame the committee for wanting to stay in the closet. They certainly should be ashamed of themselves for participating in what is clearly just another delaying tactic. If I were involved in that sort of evil enterprise I wouldn't want to advertise it either.

larry salvadori said...

Concerning the sign at the bottom of this page: Actually, marriage is neither a human right,or a heterosextual privilege. Rather, it is a Godly right,privilege and covenent, which God got right the first time in Genesis. You cannot deny God, or his word.
(Thank you blog auther for posting this. Louie and I are old friends from GC2003. I write poetry for him.)

Larry Salvadori

larry salvadori said...

I have reviewed the HOB Theology Committee charge and the reasons for not sharing the membership at this time. I find Henry's motivation to protect the members from early harassment, bullying, scorn, and threats, to be reasonable. After all, this is what the far left and right loons (disturbed, eerie birds)do to those not of their ilk.
We in the left to right center will continue to do God's work and eagerly await the fruits of the committee's labor. Those obsessed, fearful, and ruled by curiousity(not in control) should take a page from Curious George: Take a Job, Ride a Bike, and go Fly a Kite. Hey, that's life in the big city!
Larry Salvadori