Saturday, December 29, 2007

On the 5th Day of Christmas ...

I didn't get five gold rings ...

... but I did get a nice note from Greg Griffith (of Stand Firm fame) in response to my inquiry about the blog-blackout on the St. Nicholas, Atwater story in Stand Firm Land. His answer to my inquiry was, in part: "I just don't see what the story is. A bishop decided not to continue funding a failing mission with an ASA of... what, about 20? I don't see where the story is ... have I missed something?"

Feel free to weigh in but, yes ... yes, I think he has. Missed something.

Meanwhile, more commentary on the San Joaquin mess by blogger "Anglocat:"

What was it Tertullian identified as the distinguishing feature of Christians even in the eyes of disapproving Roman society? "See how they love one another."

Hardly in evidence, here--I'm an experienced litigator, and have seen timing of letters and documents as a ploy, but this takes my breath away. To put it with more charity than is probably reasonable, Schofield's unrestricted warfare against the public dissenters whose conscience he
claimed that he would respect--"no one is being asked to act against his conscience," after all--gravely undermines any claims that he has to act as a Christian leader.

His actions have further deepened the rancor between factions in the Church; to take but one example,
The Anglican Scotist, who previously praised the "surprisingly irenic tone" of Schofield's response to the Presiding Bishop, now understandably laments that "Schofield ... made an utter fool of me." (He didn't, Scotist; you're still one of the best. Your take on this story manages to go beyond passion and to tease out the theological dangers revealed by Schofield's action).

Interestingly, the "reasserter" blogs have been silent about this; as chronicled by the tireless
Father Jake, neither Kendall Harmon nor Stand Firm have addressed it--indeed, SF, as above linked, deleted a post on this story from what it called an "open thread" asking for "the most outrageous Episcopal stories of 2007," only to have a commenter declare it "[i]nteresting that not one of the revisionistas has posted on this particular thread."

Similarly, on
another thread, SF cut at least 8 comments on this matter, and subsequently banned the commenter.At a minimum, the "reasserters" seem aware that this action casts them and their cause in a revealing, and unpleasing, light. And, I would argue, this profoundly unchristian course of conduct--even if you agree with Schofield that he is still entitled to exercise authority over what was, after all, founded as a mission of TEC, he's violating the standard he set for himself, and punishing the parishoners for the dissent of their vicar--and all this on Christmas Day!--is consistent with the authoritarianism and self-righteousness displayed by other prominent "reasserters."

To take an example I've quoted before, it's of a piece with Archbishop Akinola's
official support for legal persecution of gays, lesbians and those who support their civil rights, and his astonishment that a gay man would dare shake his holy hand, which I would call quite literally pharisaical, except it gives the pharisees a bad rap. And the "burying the lede" by our "Worthy Opponents" (as they like to style us)? Rather like Martyn Minns's bland denial that Akinola is "an advocate of jailing gays" which was neatly bracketed--both before and after--by official written statements by Akinola advocating passage of a law which would do just that.

The plating is wearing through, revealing the base metal beneath.

Indeed. No gold rings today, kids. On this 5th Day of Christmas just more sad news from Schsim Central. DO pray for the Church!
UPDATE: Check out the story in today's Modesto Bee ...


Ann said...

And now this from Global South Anglican. The "old gang" seems to be breaking up faster than our river in the spring thaw.

JimB said...

Ann! You owe me a cup of coffee and a keyboard! IF you post a link to something that hilarious, at least warn people! Someone slap me, no one should laugh this hard.


Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

And yet, when people send you items of interest for you to post, but pershaps opposed to your beliefs and positions, you often advise: Get your own blog.
So why would you expect that a blog on the other side of the issue would pick and choose what they would report based on what you think is important?
As one who departed the TEC in 2004, the only amusement left for those of us who have moved on is how low will either side go to vilify the other.
The unseemly back and forth is painful to watch, yet like a car wreck impossible to turn away from.
A little Christian charity from both sides would go a long way to defusing the situation.
The liberal wing of the church cheers and urges on 815 as they try to take away property they had nothing to do with purchasing, improving or maintaining for 300 years, but make a mountain out of a vicar (of a diocese supported mission) losing his position.
If both sides were honest, which they are not, they would admit they have turned this whole thing into a political contest with winners and losers,even though both sides try to deny it.
I was admiring the beautiful decorations of your church in another post, but then feeling very happy and content with the small public auditorium our new Anglican continuing start-up congregation rents for $50 a week.
Pretty churches are simply pretty buildings. Kind, generous and charitable people make up good churches.
From the discussions (on both sides) it'll take a lot more pine roping to clean up your mess.
Every day I pray that the warring factions of your church will find a peaceful way to part so the harmful drama unfolding will do less damage to the more important message of salvation and redemption available through the blood of Christ.
Let's have a little Easter, and soon please.

A sinner saved by God's Grace

Jim from Michigan

The Vicar of Pontiac said...

If it's such a non-story, I wonder why the SF moderators have been so vigorous in deleting comments that refer to the events at St. Nicholas? According to commenters over at Jake's, some of those who posted those comments were also banned. A true non-story would elicit little more than a shrug.

Muerk said...

I'm a Catholic who enjoys eating popcorn and following Anglican issues, and I have no idea why the Stand Firm radio silence. Truth be told, I'm disappointed because even if you agree that it was fine to remove the vicar, the way in which it was done was just awful as far as I read it.

I mean Christmas Day, bodyguards, too weird.

Jim Costich said...

A note to Jim of I-town. Many, many people mistake the current conflict for being a matter of liberal heterosexual Christians and conservative heterosexual Christians arguing whether or not GBLT people should be allowed into "their" club as full members, or partial members like the Temple of Jerusalem was divided into layers of holiness with women and gentiles relegated to the outermost layers. Jesus blew away that concept with virtually everything he taught and exampled. But, just like Christian heterosexual males subjugated females, and white people subjugated people of color, sexual minorities have been relegated the position of children of a lesser God. These are not valid positions for any Christian, indeed for anyone. Christ changed things and our devotion to hierarchical social systems was one of the ones he demanded we change if we want to live in the Kingdom of God.

GLBT people, couples, family members and families have always been, and will always be part of the body of Christ. We ARE your neighbors, we ARE your family and we ARE the church just like straight people.

The "listening process" that has been ignored for 10 years was not supposed to be between "liberals and conservatives." It was suposed to be between those who are persecuting GLBT people within the church and the GLBT Christians being persecuted.

There aren't "two sides vilifying each other." There is are some very evil and scary bullies with delusions of grandeur using straight people's fear of sexual minorities to manipulate them into wasting their time and resources on hate and bigotry while the "leaders" play Napoleon.

What straight Christians face today is whether they are going to live in love with each other the way Jesus taught or the way the world teaches. Will they live in competition or collaboration? Mutuality or dominance/submission? Will heterosexuals ever declare a cease fire in their "war between the sexes?"

Same sex couples face our own challenges, but those listed above aren't ours. I'd like to challenge all my GLBT brothers and sisters that we enable straight people by not insisting that they start to clean up their own messes and stop using us as an excuse to avoid their responcibilities.

Arrogance on the part of heterosexuals is sad and shameful given the pathetic preponderance of failed marriages, divorce bankructcies, battered women, abandoned/neglected/abused children, teen pregnancy/poverty, and backlogged family courts.

Anyone and everyone, GLBT or Straight who have given ourselves to becoming people who love must join together to help all those who still live in the wasteland of hate, fear, winners and loosers, cruelty and vengeance.

Those who stomp off to stew in their own bile deserve prayer, and we can leave a light in the window for them in hopes they'll come home. But they don't get to steal the house while they leave. The house belongs to Episcopalians who remain, and the future ones to come.

Jim of Rochester

Jim of L-Town said...

To lilbearsings:

You have so completely misrepresented what and who I am I hardly know where to start.
So let me just say, I left TEC (my church from birth to 57 years) in the aftermath of GC2003.
Since you have decided that those on "my" side of the argument are haters and homophobes there isn't much I can say to counter that.
I hate no one, but your statement of "my" position holds no opening that my belief and long standing study of Scripture simply leaves me no room to agree with you.
My belief, backed by Scripture, is that we are all sinners and have fallen short (Rom. 3:23). I am no better, or worse, than other sinners. Actually, I may be worse, but let's not argue that.
The idea that sexual relationships outside marriage, of any type, are not sinful is beyond my understanding of Scripture.
In my belief you are hurting another person by not counseling or teaching them the wages of sin.
At the same time, I recognize it is not my place to judge and to recognize that my sin is as great as anyone else's.
Blessing what is not blessed by Scripture is simply foreign to me.
It is also, in my understanding, not a loving position to take to allow someone to continue in a sin without at least trying to help another out of sin.
If ignoring sin was love, then the people who helped and supported me during my battle with the sin of alcohol addiction would have left me to drown. I'm glad they called me on my obvious sin and helped me find a way out.
It is my belief we are called to do that for all manner of sinners. Without judging and with great humility, by the way.
That is simply my belief. You are free to disagree or belief otherwise. But please, do not assign motives to me that are not there.
The vaunted listening process is misnamed. Those on the left side of the church equate listening only with agreement and capitulation.
In other words, listening means I must come to your understanding and agree to accept what, to me, is unacceptable. There is never left open the door that I may be right.
When a liberal member of my TEC parish came up to me - after I organized an American Anglican Council meeting to discuss GC 2003 and told me "I was ruining 'his' church," I told my wife it was time for us to quietly leave.
I've never wanted to be a disruptive force and frankly in many liberal churches there is room for everyone except those of us who are the evil 'f' word: fundamentalists.
My wife and I didn't stomp off in our bile, we left behind the bile that had become the mess left by GC 2003.

A sinner saved by God's Grace

Jim from Michigan