Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words

So I looked up the term "motley crew" today. A definition on Wikipedia was "a cliché for a roughly-organized assembly of characters."

And here's the photo -- of the ACN Bishops gathered in Texas -- that I thought just may be THE picture worth a thousand words in the motley crew department ...

[photo credit: George Conger]

Entitled "Stamping Out Heresy at the ACN Conference" it was taken at St Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford Texas. July 31, 2007 and posted on George Conger's blog yesterday.

Need a scorecard? Here ya go:

Front Row:
Jon-David Schofield, San Joaquin; Jack Iker, Forth Worth: Bill Cox, Southern Cone/Asst. Oklahoma rt; Gregory Venables, Primate Southern Cone; Robt Duncan, Pittsburgh; William Wantland, Eau Claire rt; Keith Ackerman, Quincy.
Second Row:
James Stanton, Dallas; William Ilgenfritz, Forward in Faith bishop elect; Bill Atwood, suffragan bishop elect of All Saints Diocese Kenya; Bishop Ray Sutton, Reformed Episcopal Church; John Guernsey, suffragan bishop elect of Uganda; Richard Boyce, Anglican Province of America; Jeffrey Steenson, Rio Grande; Don Harvey, Western Newfoundland rt; David Bena, suffragan Albany rt/Asst Bishop Cana; James Adams, Western Kansas; William Love, Albany

My, My, My!


Anonymous said...

So, 19 (did I count right?) tubby, bald, white-haired males who look like purple-pajamed escapees from some assisted living facility! (Sorry if that's too snide; I'm getting up there in years myself:-)

Anonymous said...

My, my, my...what?


My, my, my ... WHAT a motley crew!

jason miller said...

"Purple People Eaters" -- HA! Very funny! (said the Southern Cone deacon who is proud of this group of bishops, but has to laugh at purple people eaters)

Stephen Bentley said...

Susan, Steve Bentley here... if you can remember me from your days at St. Clare's. Upon leaving Fontana/Rancho Cucamonga, I moved to Stockton, at the edge of the San Joaquin Diocese. I just wanted to make sure you got the spelling right for the bishop here, or as some of us call him "FB", Father Bishop or as I like to refer to him, "Fat Bastard". For a short while, I was in the process for ordination for the diaconate until I realized that had I continued, I would be making a vow to submit to the authority of Jabba the Hut (the way he sits in a chair conjures the image of the character). I'm fortunate to have landed in one of the more progressive and forward thinking parishes in the diocese, far enough from Fresno that the bishop refuses to make visits... thank God.

I know God is calling me to serve, and I am seeking another method to achieve His will.

I also wanted to mention that it's not just this motley crew of 19 backwards thinking nimrods to worry about, but also the clergy they choose to ordain as quickly as they can to surround them and the ones they call into the diocese.

Parishes are being closed and property sold in order to use the money to build a war-chest and separate from TEC.

Our little parish is working to Remain Episcopal even while some of our stalworth priests are moving to better pastures. Though there may be fewer parishes in this diocese, there are many, many faithful people working to maintain an Episcopal presence in the San Joaquin Valley


Frair John said...

It's nice to have a picture to go with this mess.
I would think a better caption would be "If you listen closley, you can hear the gears strip as they dump the ABC and Lambeth."


"Archbishop Venables, dispite the attemps by Bishop Duncan to restrain him , dose the 'Chicken Dance.'"

I may set up a caption contest ....

Anonymous said...

Soon enough that "motley crew," those "tubby, bald, white-haired males who look like purple-pajamed escapees from some assisted living facility" will be gone. The courts will likely rule they can't keep the property but that will make no difference at all to them, they still will leave. When you have TEC all to yourselves who then will you sneer at?

JimB said...


I think what the courts matters. In fact, it has already begun. One does not offer, 'mediation'while thinking, "the courts will rule for us."

Beyound that, for many layity, it will matter. They will stay with the winners for lots of reasons, but stay they will.

I think Bp. Duncan et al really overplayed their cards in this event. They have now marked themselves as those who do not observe the discipline of the community. As ++York observed, that places them on the slippery slope out.


Aris Rivera said...

I'll be honest, some of the comments on this post are very negative and un-Christ-like. It doesn't matter if these people have a different point of view or may seem "not progressive." They like all of us deserve some dignity, some sense of Christian charity . . in essence unconditional love as our Lord Jesus has shown to us.

(Additionally we should not be laughing as most of the Episcopal Church regardless of theological bias is old, aging, and out of shape -- not to mention lily white)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Aristotle ... you think THESE comments are negative you should check out Stand Firm or Titusonenine ... now THERE'S a "my, my, my!!!"

It's a funny picture ... posted in jest by George Conger (of evangelical CofE fame) and they ARE a "motley crew."

The point for me is why are we letting a minority of old, white, straight men hold the rest of the church hostage while they try to return the church to what they wanted it to be back in 1948?

It is WAY past time to move on ... IMHO ... so we DON'T look so old, out of shape and white as a church. The message of narrow exclusion isn't going to do anything to diversify the church and will do anything to preserve the partriarchy.



Steve Bentley! How great to hear from you after all this time! Of COURSE I remember you from Cucamonga days ... thanks for weighing in on this one ... an important voice and important witness! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Jim, you have GOT to be joking ...

"They have now marked themselves as those who do not observe the discipline of the community."

Unbelievable. The discipline of the community? Please, Susan, please let this comment go forward and do not edit it from this important discussion.

It is so very sad that each "side" (and I do abhor the model that jetisons us to sides, but it is reality nonetheless, it truly is, and that is sadder still) -- that each "side" points a finger and says "Look, you are not playing by the rules!"

Jim, I am past being shocked by Reappraisers' (Kendall's term) attitudes of how Reasserters are "the ones breaking the rules." Now I just see the sadness and upcoming ruin.

I suspect that many who read this blog are still in quite deep denial about the very real tragedy that The Episcopal Church of the US is facing within upcoming months. May God bless us all, and may we all find God's love and peace regardless of how events unfold. Peace and blessings.

-Susan R. from Tennessee


Susan R from Tennessee ... with all due respect I am equally convinced that there is deep denial by those who follow the "motley crew" depicted in the picture in question -- the ACN bunch -- about the very real tragedy of the spiritual damage being done to the LGBT faithful as their lives and vocations continue to be scapegoated in this struggle which has far less to do with either sexuality or sanctity than it does with power and patriarchy.

Thanks for taking time to write. Ditto on the peace and blessings.

Anonymous said...

Fred, are you saying because there is,regrettably, negativity on Stand Firm and titusonenine it is thus appropriate as a Christian to trash those with whom you disagree? Also, are the age, race and sexuality ("old, white, straight") of those with whom you disagree factors worthy enough to disqualify them as representatives of the Episcopal Church?

Anonymous said...

anonymous ... No ... I'm saying that those who are old, white, straight ... you left out male and I would add economically privileged ... have for too long held the power in this church and they aren't doing so well in the sharing department. As for "disqualifying them as repsentative of the Episcopal Church" a whack of them are pitching their tent elsewhere as we speak ... I do ABSOLUTELY believe they are not representative of the mainstream of the Episcopal Church willing to live with differences and not insist on agreement in order to be in communion with each other.

As for "trashing" I guess I just don't think that's in the eye of the beholder.


Anonymous said...

"tubby, bald, white-haired males who look like purple-pajamed escapees from some assisted living facility"


"Father Bishop or as I like to refer to him, "Fat Bastard" ... I would be making a vow to submit to the authority of Jabba the Hut ..."

So this is the example of behaviour from a "more progressive and forward thinking" perspective.

My, my, my ....

Feel the Love ...
The Inclusion ...

Anonymous said...

No ... I'm saying that those who are old, white, straight ... you left out male and I would add economically privileged ... have for too long held the power in this church.

Fred, I think your prayers are being answered. The "old, white, straight" and "male . . . economically privileged," no longer hold power in the Episcopal church or certainly will not do so for much longer. The old sinners, those who are "old, out of shape and white," are leaving the Episcopal Church in rather large number lately, with or without the property, and taking with them, sadly, their checkbooks. With the departure of those moneyed but undesirable faithful, I wonder how long the Episcopal Church will survive, regardless its striking an agreeable and esthetically pleasing balance its membership, ethnically and sexually.

Hadrian VII

MarkBrunson said...

While I don't approve of name-calling, I hardly understand why any Reasserter would be shocked by such anger and hurt, and I find it a bit disingenuous to decry inclusion then try to use it as an excuse to play martyr. It really doesn't do justice to God or Truth, which is what both sides are ostensibly reaching for.

On the other hand, it does reinforce what I've said about the necessity of an official and final split -- neither side can live up to God while locked into this monstrous parody of communion.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

Been a way for a week or two and just back.
Sorry to come back to this "inclusive" discussion of the divide.
The comments made here are why many of us just left. Despite your and others on the "winning" side's contention there is room for us at the table, the comments here show why that is sooo not so.
Pointing out that the group of bishops is "white" is just a little redundant and a tad hypocritical since the entire church is pretty much "white."
Interesting that while some commenters bring up race in this discussion they fail to mention how they have vilified the Africans who are holding fast to the faith that "we" delivered them.
I guess race is only important when it serves your purpose. As long as the Africans remain on the ECUSA (TEC) plantation and are good houseboys they are great. As soon as they show any independence or separate thought, they are now off the plantation.
A little like the old South where we heard that "really slaves liked their life on the plantation."
As an American, but Anglican resident of Uganda, I abhor the name calling on both sides.
As another famous African-American once said: "Can't we all just get along."
My, My, My

A sinner saved by God's Grace,

Jim from Michigan

Anonymous said...

I am the person who posted the first response on this thread. Come on, folks, it was a joke!

Since I am myself overweight and over the gray-haired line (though I admit I'm not bald or male), and since I spent many hours in an assisted living home when my mother was alive, I was not being perjorative. I was simply struck by the--how shall I say it--the sameness of these folks. I'd never seen them before. It really hit me that these people who are causing so much grief for the Episcopal Church are themselves, in their own human way, rather absurd.

Now, how should I respond to them? I could cry, and lament that there is room in my church for them, but no room in their church for me. But that is not helpful in the long run.

I could hurl vitriol as they and their supporters do -- as someone above pointed out, go to Stand Firm or Titus One Nine for examples -- so I could do likewise and say these men are apostate, heretical, unChristian, Satan worshippers who root for Voldemort and pull the wings off flies in their recreational time. But I would feel terrible having said that, and would need to go to confession.

So I'd rather crack a joke. It's much more therapeutic. Besides, now that I have looked at the picture again after reading Friar John's post, I can't stop laughing at Archbishop Venables doing the chicken dance.

Anonymous said...

Stamping out diversity would be more appropriate than stamping out heresy...

Anonymous said...

Susan, I agree with you that many are being unreasonably and tragically hurt in terrible ways. While I also agree that our crisis is about power, my experience has not been that it is based on patriarical issues, but that belief is simply my personal experience as a lay leader, former Senior Warden, etc., and I recognize others' differing experience and resulting views in that regard.

But back to the power aspect, it is not surprising that our struggle is one of power. I do not believe that our underlying struggle is primarily an LGBT struggle, although of course there are many LGBT goals that LGBT pioneers feel strongly about accomplishing. The power aspect is foundational, and it relates more to variances in basic beliefs such as Jesus' deity, sacrificial theology, application of Jesus' words regarding transformation from our old selves, the very nature and existence of sin ... to name a few.

And no, I am not a "Bible-thumping" evangelical who reads the Scriptures from a literal perspective. I am a Christian in the Episcopal and Anglican tradition who struggles daily with living out my faith, as do we all, and who struggles in answering the questions: What is essential? And what is adiaphora?

Reasserters' and Reappraisers' (Kendall's terms, flawed but better than most if terms are used) answers to these 2 questions, of essential-ness and adiaphora, are so vastly different, not mildly or moderately different, but vastly different. IMHO, that is why we are in this crisis.

Susan, thank you for your honest and respectful discussions. I wish you God's peace.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Russell:

If there is one sad outcome in all this division it is the denigration of the position of bishop.
I am one, who although I have left, always refer to you as a Rev. and Bp. Robinson, as Bishop Robinson. That comes, even though I am in disagreement with you.
For someone to refer to their bishop as "Fat Bastard" truly is an affront not just to that bishop, but the position of bishop, no matter what flavor.
Imagine, if you will, if someone changed just one letter in the "Fa- Bastard" reference and applied it to say another controversial bishop, what would the reaction to that then be?
People should be careful - and respectful - of those they differ with.
I only know one of the bishops in the photo - Bp. Cox - who is perhaps the most kindly, gentle and faithful man I have ever met.
Unless you have been to one of his healing services, or heard him preach you should not judge him or call him names.
In the several occassions I have been with Bp. Cox I have NEVER heard him speak ill of anyone, on any side, of any issue.
It is my hope and my practice that I will be able to say the same about my conversation.
Calling people names says more about the person using the slur than the person it is directed at. That's been true for a long time.....

A sinner saved by God's Grace,

Jim from Michigan


jim ... I did weigh carefully whether to post Steve's comment with his strong language in reference to his bishop. The deciding factor for me was that he was speaking about HIS bishop with whom he has direct experience/relationship. You might have made a different choice on your blog but there you have it.


PS ... And no, I don't know why my picture disappeared from earlier comments and is back again ... it's a blogger mystery. At least to me!

Anonymous said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

You don't need to publish this, but I wasn't questioning your decision to post the "Fat Bastard" comment.
I do not believe in censorship and my comments were directed only at the person who made the remark and not you.
This is your blog, I respect your right to edit or publish whatever you want.
Although I haven't come here as often in the past two weeks, I do enjoy stopping in and seeing what has been posted.
Again, my comment was not directed to you posting the ocmment, but to the poster.
Have a blessed day.

A sinner saved by God's Grace,

Jim from Michigan

Anonymous said...

a thousand words it may suggest to your mind but none of them worth speaking

some day the word "repentance" will to you be worth a thousand pictures

Stephen Bentley said...

Well, I suppose I should weigh in and justify my comments about the Bishop of San Joaquin since so many have made comments about refering him to "FB".

I have had a great number of exchanges with The Right Reverend John-David Schofield. I still have several letters from him where he has made accusations of my character, passed those same asassinations on as gossip and has boldly lied directly when confronted with those charges. I have also had one incident when I received a telephone threat if I did not submit to a request from him.

Allow me to clarify myself: When I made my comment, I was not speaking about the office of Bishop, I was speaking directly about the MAN. I have great respect for the office of Bishop and will listen to his authority an weigh his decisions accordingly guided by the same spirit which lead his conscience. For six years living in this diocese, I followed blindly to his leadership. I performed my tasks of ministry within the diocese with complete faith than the leadership had our best interest in mind. However, for two years he closed the summer camp that had given children a place for 50 years. Finally when families finally fought for the retun of camp, the bishop reluctantly agreed to its return. Unfortunately, it nearly destroyed youth programs and the potential of growth for the church. Youth leadership in the diocese was closely watched by the bishop. He brought in fundamentalist evangelicalcals to pastor to youth (no slam to FE's... some of my best friends are FE's, but it's not the Episcopal Church). It directly affects my relationship with the bishop because youth ministry is where I serve in the church and I see its decline.

Someone in these replies mentioned that my comment seemed contradictory for a forward thinking progressive perspective... well, I would have to agree. I may think that way, however this is the first time I have ever used it publicly. I have always and will continue to show the Bishop respect and I respect his depth of commitment to his faith and conscience. I think that shows that I can be inclusive.

I would appreciated it if he would respectfully agree to disagree and allow me and others within the diocese the same comsideration.

RonF said...

I've spent a fair amount of time on a couple of left-leaning feminist blogs. It is supposedly a hallmark of the left to decry and condemn even a hint of sexism, ageism, racism, classism, and any derogatory comments about someone's weight or physical appearance or condition.

It seems that this is not true here; it's just an issue of whose ox is being gored, if you'll forgive the cliche. Not to mention whether or not such attitudes are Christian.

Susan, this doesn't reflect credit on you, I'm afraid - at least, in my opinion, anyway.