The Living Church reports that Bishop John Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida - who ought to know better since I am sure he has read the First Amendment at some point in his life - has called for everyone to make like ostriches and stick their heads in the sand for forty days and call it a fast. Obviously he thinks that "TEC" did an excellent job at General Convention 2006 and gosh darn it, let's do it again! He calls for a fast from blogs - not from the Official Press Releases of 815 - and stick our heads in the sand and call that clarity of mind.
Sticking your head in the sand and calling it a fast, while calling Americans to exercizing their freedom to exchange ideas and have open conversation (what the heck happened to that?) is an example why the founders were so amazingly wise and did not make the Episcopal Church the state church for the United States. Otherwise, we can certainly see that these bishops would be shutting down the free press - calling it a fast - and telling the rest of us to go stick our heads in the sand until we receive the "official" version from 815.
Those poor people in his diocese who read his column respectfully - the bishop writes something and what are folks suppose to say? That the free press is bad because it's a primary source of misinformation? Someone get PRAVDA on the line. Does Bishop Lipsomb honestly think that his laity are a bunch of dunderalls who can't think for themselves? Does he seriously think that making statements like this encourages trust - the answer, sir, is no. Blogging is the closest thing we have now to what the founders enjoyed with their early newspapers and look what happened in America. We threw off the tyrany of fuedal rule and embraced freedom - including freedom of the press.
It is the responsibility of every American - including Episcopalians and Anglicans - to be fully informed as possible. I read blogs I don't agree with, that say outlandish things that get me upset, but I want to listen to what they have to say. I would be very happy if some of the stuff they print is not believed - but do I defend their right to say it? You bet I do! Is it healthy thing to do? You bet it is. It's the reader's job to decide if what we read is stupid, evil, or true. How are we supposed to be disciples of Jesus Christ if we don't actually walk it out? Episcopalians are supposed to be the one denomination that flounts its brain power. Are we all supposed to stick our heads in the sand until those that got us into this mess tell us how it really is? Someone get George III on the phone. Bet if he lived today he'd call for Episcopalians to stop reading blogs because they are "endless rounds of conjecture and hearsay." Someone get Ben Franklin on the phone. I'd bet George III would have loved for those revolutionary Americans to fill their heads with his type of prayer and quit writing the truth about him. That little document they wrote up in 1776 is darn right nasty. Thank God.
I can appreciate being charitable, of not buying into tinfoil hat conspiracies and think that some organized dark forces are gathering into a bulldozer to take down the church. It would be nice to take a rest from reading the lastest conspiracy theory to come down the pike (okay, so it's a pun). But an energized press - a free press, a truly free press - that is there to listen carefully and hold officials accountable for what they do and say is what we need more of right now - not less. Let's be nice for Lent, but let's also be on our guard, discerning, listening very carefully and doing all we can to find what is true.
Here is the Living Church article:
The damage inflicted by half-truths and outright lies has taken a far greater toll on the mission of the Church than any erroneous teaching, according to the Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida. In his monthly column for the diocesan newspaper, The Southern Cross, Bishop Lipscomb encouraged members of his diocese to join him in a 40-day fast from reading weblogs, which Bishop Lipscomb cited as being a primary source of misinformation.
We desperately need a Sabbath rest from these endless rounds of conjecture and hearsay,Â” Bishop Lipscomb wrote. Â“We need a season of prayer, self-examination and confession. Even though we are only part way through Pentecost, perhaps we need to declare an emergency Lent. The leaders of the Church need your prayers for strength and clarity of mind.
I would encourage you instead to join me in a 40-day fast from reading the web blogs. Instead, fill that time with prayer, join other members of your congregation to reflect on the scriptures, and allow GodÂ’s Holy Spirit to guide the Church through these difficult times.
Recently Bishop Lipscomb was asked to serve as co-convener for a meeting of some bishops scheduled Sept. 11-13 at the Church Pension Group headquarters in New York City. The announcement, he said, set off another round of speculation, most of it anonymous, on the internet blogs.
I am amazed to see self-proclaimed prophets write minutes and resolutions for a conference that is yet to happen, he said. Perhaps it is time for us to allow the unfolding of the future in GodÂ’s time and not our own.
NOTE FROM BB: Excellent article from Greg at StandFirm here: http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/1124/
Read TitusOneNine energetic discussion here: http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=15076