Monday, August 20, 2007

How low will the Schism Mongers sink?

It's a good question ... and the kind one asks with a certain measure of fear-and-trembling because one doesn't REALLY want to know the answer.

Recent case in point: David Anderson's rant on the Apostate American Episcopal Church which included this "accusation" in the laundry list of our crimes against the Anglican Orthodox State:

It is not just the top level of TEC's leadership that has theologically and spiritually gone astray. The Rev. James Knowles of Grace Church in Syracuse, New York, during a service in 2005 dipped an eagle feather into cedar ashes and brushed the smoke towards worshippers and asked the congregation to face the four cardinal points as he read a prayer praising the sun, the moon, the alligator and the turtle. I imagine they skipped the creed at that service.


Here's the "back story" from an email I received yesterday:
"I went back to Anderson's article and caught that the Native American smudging ceremony happened to occur in my diocese (CNY). I was curious about the context in which it occurred and started googling. No surprise but Mr. Anderson certainly distorted what reportedly occurred. While he left an unspoken implication that the ceremony occurred inside the church and perhaps even at the altar right before the Eucharist (note the crack about no creed likely was used), even the free excerpt from the archived newspaper reports something quite different:"


From: The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
Date: April 17, 2005
Byline: Renee K. Gadoua Staff writer

The Rev. James Knowles, of Oklahoma, dipped an eagle feather into a small pot of burning cedar Saturday and brushed the smoke toward worshippers gathered outside Syracuse's Grace Episcopal Church. "It's just a way to recognize cleansing," Knowles told about 80 people who stood in the garden of the church at 819 Madison St. After walking among the crowd for the traditional Native American smudging ceremony, Knowles asked the people to face east to begin a prayer to the four directions ...


My email correspondent went on to say: "Now I haven't checked with anyone involved, but there is also this pdf document on the event available online which shows that it was all about dedicating a stained glass window in the name of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a Native American who was an Episcopalian, who was baptized and ordained deacon in the Syracuse area, who returned West and, among other things, founded Christian missions. He was recognized as a saint by the church at GC 1985. (And pictured above in a stained glass window from St. George's, Dayton OH)

Anderson's statement "The Rev. James Knowles of Grace Church in Syracuse, New York, during a service in 2005...." erroneously suggests that a priest "of Grace Church" was officiating, when in fact he was visiting from a mission church in Oklahoma. Needless to say, whether it occurred outside or inside, to suggest that any of this reflects some kind of regular or irregular liturgical practice in the Episcopal Church is nonsense, and it is horrific (though not surprising) that Anderson would slander the commemoration of Oakerhater and the stained glass windows in Grace Church in order to advance his political agenda in England.

Don't know if any of this matters much now, but I thought I'd bring it to your attention in case you did not know it already."


Yes, yes I think it DOES matter. I think it matters because for too long well meaning folk in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion have allowed the architects of this looming Schism to represent fiction as fact, to slander, lie and misrepresent the truth of our corporate lives as members of this Episcopal Body of Christ and to bring into being the very rupture of the Communion they are now bewailing.

I think it matters because I believe the time has come to draw a stark, marked, clear distinction between faithful members of church-at-large with differences on matters theological trying to work to stay together in relationship in spite of those differences and the Schism Mongers who have been orchestrating this rupture of the Anglican Communion for the last decade and now want us to foot the bill for the sackcloth and ashes they wear in mourning for the rupture they have wrought.

It's like the old story of the man who killed both of his parents and then looked for sympathy because he was an orphan. The commentaries and comments on conservative blogs (and you know who you are) make it abundantly clear that there is NO room for reconciliation for those who profess the absolutist abberation of Anglicanism which David Anderson, sinking lower and lower all the time, defends as "Orthodoxy."

It is time for us to echo Mark Harris who is willing to call Rot when he sees Rot. It is time for us to speak out -- to step up -- to remind our bishops and our congregations and our clergy and and our colleagues that what unites us in Christ is far greater than that which divides us. Let those waiting for September 30th with the same sense of expectation the rest of us wait for Advent each year wait alone. Let the verses of their hymn -- "Come Thou Long Expected Schism" -- fall on deaf ears.

Come, Thou long expected Schism
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears of queers release us
As we quest for Purity.

CANA’s strength and consolation
Hope of homophobes thou art
Dear Desire of “Network” nations
Joy of every “Windsor” heart.

Reasserters you’ll deliver
As you split the church apart.
Come thou long expected schism
Let the glorious rupture start!

May our absolutist spirits
Rule not just our hearts alone
But exclude all who resist us
‘Til we capture Cantaur’s throne!

Make no mistake about it ... what they are after is not just the cleansing of the church of LGBT folk or women clergy or Native American smudging ceremonies. These are the people who believe the Archbishop of Canterbury is no long "necessary" for Anglicanism ... and it is truly hard to imagine how much lower they can sink than that.

Stay tuned!


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

How low will they sink?

I fear they have only just begun to sink.

PseudoPiskie said...

I agree that they may sink further. Things seem to be falling apart in their plan to control the AC. The reports from the meeting in Spain indicate that many African bishops are willing to talk and share the eucharist with Americans. They may not be reliable partners for schism. So far the property lawsuits have been worrisome. The IRD's political aspirations are looking less promising as Bush's intelligence is leaving the administration and the Democrats are getting too much attention. Desperate people will try desperate means. And they already have the well-oiled machine in place to spew enough venom for the uninformed to believe what they read and hear.

Where is the counteroffensive in the media? TEC can't confine the good news to the blogs. Perhaps the HoB will find a way to make enough quiet noise to equal if not drown out the hysteria from the failing "right"?

Linda Ryan said...

At the GC91 in Phoenix the initial Eucharist was preceded by a Navajo smudging the altar and the four directions. He was accompanied in this by, IIRC, the Presiding Bishop. Nobody thought it particularly out of place since there are Navajo Episcopalians in our diocese and the altar frontal and the vessels for the daily Eucharists were made by Native Americans in this diocese. Some people, however, will stop at nothing to try to smear every single thing that doesn't meet their approval as "orthodox."

How sad that the God we worship is so small that God cannot enjoy the sincere and honest worship of people who may not wear albs and chausibles and read Shakespearean English from a book with red covers.

Suzer said...

When my former choir traveled to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine almost 9 years ago, the Sunday we sang also coincided with a celebration of Native Americans in the church. The service was a unique blending of Native American, our choir's African American spirituals, and the traditional Episcopal liturgy. It was beautiful and inspiring. The censer (sp?) came first swinging incense, and a Native American chief followed, with the censer swinging the incense toward all four sides of the cathedral in the shape of a cross, and the Native American chief doing the same with his smudge stick (I think that's what it was called). Doesn't everyone see that this is symbolic of the four points of the cross? That's how I viewed it, anyway.

And is there not room enough for African American spirituals also? I wonder....

(As an aside, I'll be honest -- what I perceive as the snark in your post makes me uncomfortable, as I've seen the same kind of snark used by those who oppose us. However, I do respect you, tend to agree with your views and see the point you are trying to make.)

I'll leave you imagining the image we, as the choir positioned in the front of the cathedral, saw that Sunday. At the beginning of the service, as the clergy processed up the aisle, the censer came first, creating a dense cloud in the dimly lit space. Through this cloud appeared two small flames, in the middle of which appeared the cross through the smoke. They almost seemed to float through the air, as the acolytes and crucifer were barely visible. Then through the smoke came a proud Chief in full regalia, and the Episcopal clergy with him. My breath stopped for a moment, I think, as I experienced a moment of God's Love. It was incredible, and certainly nothing to be ridiculed, as we all worshipped together as Christians.

Anonymous said...

Half truths and outright misrepresentations about the Episcopal Church from "Canon" David C. Anderson to incite the schismatic base are to be found all over the Anglican landscape. He still calls himself a Canon, although his honorific title was conferred by an alleged heretic, the Bishop of Los Angeles, Mr. Anderson's former TEC bishop. Is Mr. Anderson an honorable gentleman? Hardly!

John Henry

Anonymous said...

I remember reading about the "Sacred Hoop" liturgy from GS '91 while I was a Senior in seminary. Combined with Prayer Book Studies 30, it's part of what prompted me to seek Chrismation in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

I'm not saying this to defend schism mongering. I think anybody who can't make peace with the theological diversity in faith and practice within the Episcopal Church should quietly leave and find a place where they can worship the Trinity in peace.

But Felida's assertion that "nobody found it out of place" must be false. I'm sure I'm not the only person who found this "syncretism," extremely problematic and painful.

Fr. J. said...

I think it matters because I believe the time has come to draw a stark, marked, clear distinction between faithful members of church-at-large with differences on matters theological trying to work to stay together in relationship in spite of those differences and the Schism Mongers who have been orchestrating this rupture of the Anglican Communion for the last decade and now want us to foot the bill for the sackcloth and ashes they wear in mourning for the rupture they have wrought.

Susan, I think you are forgetting that the possible schism was brought on by the actions of TEC in clear rebellion against Lambeth 1998 and the Winsor Report. Schism, if it comes, will be a direct result of a profound theological break, not the political machinations of a few conservatives. TEC simply has to decide whether it wants to remain in the AC on the AC's terms acording to the mind of the primates gathered in session. September 30 is the deadline for such a decision. Think hard, pray hard and action in the right and no schism shall come.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your consistently well-reasoned and level headed posts. I appreciate you pouring light into dark corners with such forthrightness and care so as to present the facts without the hyperbole that others try to get away with.

Anonymous said...

Someone ought to tell David Anderson a few more things about SAINT David Pendleton Oakerhater, Deacon in the Episcopal Church, and instrumental in the territorial Oklahoma Church. Go here to read about him. Also, this bit of news-

....."In 1985 in the closing hour of the 68th Episcopal General Convention, the culmination of efforts led by the Oklahoma Committee on Indian Work, spearheaded by Lois Clark, resulted in both houses voting to include David Pendleton Oakerhater among the notables of the Episcopal Church. From that moment forward David Pendleton Oakerhater would forever be known as Saint David Pendleton Oakerhater."......

There is also an Oakerhater window at St. Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City

Muthah+ said...

As one who was at the service at Grace Church, it was a wonderful affirmation of the long history of the Episcopal Church and the Onandaga nation as well as First Nation people from all over.

It is the twisted reporting of this ritual that Anderson is guilty of, not the laxness of ritual by those at Grace. The kind of rewriting of history that Anderson has done in this report is the same sort of thing that he does with the Gospel. He twists the Gospel to mean exactly the opposit of Christ's intension and the intention of the Church for 2 thousand years.

What we are seeing this summer is the general shaking out of the truth underlying the whole Christian message. TEC will survive; the AC will survive and so will all of us. And we will be better for all of this.


arthur ... nope, not "forgetting" -- giving credit where credit is due ... and where credit should increasingly obviously be directed: to those who have and who CONTINUE to orchestrate this "agonizing journey" ... the puppetmasters from Virginia and elsewhere pulling the strings that are splitting the church.

And it is WAY past time for it to end.

PS - And, for the record, I just checked AGAIN and nobody died and made the primates "boss." September 30 is their deadline ... what I'm coming to think of as St. "Whatever" Day.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I think the letter from Akinola written by Martyn answers your original question.