Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brian Cox appointed "pastoral presence" by Remain Episcopal in San Joaquin

Brian Cox. Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time, a long time. Last time I saw him was at an American Anglican Council gathering at a General Convention - was it Denver? Perhaps I have seen him since. He was the Associate Rector of the charismatic evangelical Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, Virginia (now with the Anglican District of Virginia), for many years. I would see him sometimes when he'd come over to Truro for meetings. My, my. And now "Remain Episcopal" (now renamed "San Joaquin Steering Committee" - that's a pip) has recruited Brian to be what they call "an interim pastoral presence" for the unhappy progressives in Fresno, backed by TEC.

Nope, I'm not making that up.

27 comments:

Greg Griffith said...

And exactly how is this 'presence' manifested? Is like a fog? A weird mojo? Or just a vague and unspecific miasma?

Tregonsee said...

Cox+ was also at one point in the "process" to select a new bishop for the Diocese of TN. Whew, dodged another bullet!

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Brian is a clergy colleague here in Los Angeles and heads one of the congregations that took +Jon Bruno up on his offer to provide Alternative Oversight for conservative parishes wanting to "remain Episcopal." Brian has an extraordinary vocation of reconciliation and will be a great pastoral presence to those in San Joaquin who want to remain in the Episcopal Church, regardless of their thelogical perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Yikes -- a reference from SR. Brian's reputation just took a huge blog there.

Will said...

Do I hear some real worry that reconciliation might actually take place in San Joaquin and leave fewer standing firm with the Southern Cone bishop?

I'd worry, too, if I were part of the separatist faction. The club is getting smaller. Enjoy GAFCON, y'all!

Anonymous said...

Wow, will, you've completely missed the story.

There are two rival factions within the EPISCOPAL diocese of San Joaquin. The "Remain Revisionists" and the traditionalists. The ANGLICAN diocese is already gone.

But just for the record, there'll end up being plenty of "being together" within the Episcopal diocese, but "reconciliation" -- not gonna happen [unless of course, "reconciliation" is defined fatuously as 'see there, we all voted in a convention -- we're now reconciled'].

The 'separatist faction', Will, is viewing all of this with detached amusement, safe in the Southern Cone.

Enjoy the lawsuits, 815! ; > )

Sarah

Will said...

Oh, I haven't missed the story at all. Some of the supposedly safe and solid Southern Cone parishes and people are not as safe and solid -- from a separatist point of view -- as perceived. There are a significant number who are finding during their period of discernment that Fresno or -- heaven forfend! -- even New York are more congenial environs than Buenos Aires.

"Voting together in convention" in an honest, open, free manner absent top-down control from a departed bishop and machinations by his minions would, in many minds, represent a significant form of reconciliation not to be sniffed at disdainfully; though, of course, those distant from the facts on the ground are free to do what they do best.

And though the lawsuits are immensely enjoyed by all parties, alas, this is no Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce and they will end shortly -- perhaps mid-year -- when the California Supreme Court rules in favor of The Episcopal Church in the property disputes. Count on it.

NB: It is unlikely that "the Primates" are going to swoop into to rescue anybody anytime soon. Parallel province?! Oh, that is sooo 2006. Not going to happen.

Enjoy the rump communion!

As someone recently noted, "The party's over"

Jadis said...

Turkish Delight anyone?

Will said...

Oh, how droll! Insinuation by literary allusion. I stand refuted, utterly humiliated by the poster's clearly superior knowledge of young adult literature.

Enjoy your Dumbledore-free church, "Jadis".

It is all over now, isn't it?

youknowwho said...

It ain't over til the fat lady sings.

Kevin said...

I guess there may even be some who went to bed after Tom Petty and woke up the next morning to put on their 19-0 T-shirt too ... ;-)

Will said...

Actually, it isn't "over" until Christ returns in glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom will have no end.

But for the separatists -- whom I still regard as my brothers and sisters in Christ though they smear me and "my ilk" with calumny -- the end game for their current earthly ambitions is now being played out.

Kevin said...

Oh my oh my, Will ... take a deep breath and count to ten ...

Will said...

How charmingly condescending, Kevin. May I suggest the same to you when thinking of, say, Katharine Jefferts Schori? Oh, but that's different, isn't it?

Perhaps amused distance isn't my strong suit today. Read this and perhaps you can discern why:

Broken Hearts On Valentine's Day

Your ideas have consequences, friends.

Kevin said...

Okay, I fully accept ideas have consequence, however, you have failed to prove causality. All kind of odd, since you don't know me, or how I fit into the overall scheme of thing, you tout separatists but seem to be moving far from the Church Universal but now blame me for a murder of someone across the country from where I'm sitting ... Oh well.

Will said...

... you have failed to prove causality.

That strikes me as a particularly bloodless, disembodied response. Without reading anything more into it, let me just kindly suggest that, for some of us, these are more than mere debating points. Ponder this prayerfully, please, and see where the Spirit leads you.

And I apologize for putting two ideas into my previous post. Let me be clear: I don't say you, Kevin, murdered this child.

But I would urge those of you reading this post to consider the impact your ideas have on real lives.

For a parallel, you might want to consider the powerful work done in the wake of the Holocaust as Christians honestly confronted unexamined teachings and practices of the Church that helped incubate that horror. Much of what we understand to be the teaching of the Church Universal today regarding Jews and even the Jewishness of Jesus grew out of that unflinching self-examination.

BabyBlue said...

Ideas do have consequences - that that's what happened when, after all the "instruments of unity" in the Anglican Communion, including the House of Bishops theological committee created just to handle this issue warned against, TEC went ahead anyway and consecrated Gene Robinson, knowing full well that it would tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

And tear it apart it has - ideas have consequences and we are now living through the consequences of that unilateral action by the Episcopal Church.

Ideas do have consequences, indeed.

bb

Will said...

It may surprise you that I agree that the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 was an ill-advised display of American hubris, though I support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life and ministry of the Church. It concerns me even now that we have a bishop of this Church in a relationship that has indeterminate canonical status. The right thing was done in the wrong way.

In general, I take a rather dim view of "prophetic" actions in contravention of the norms of our common life, hence my lack of sympathy for the separatist faction, their foreign prelates, and their penchant for property purloining. And "s/he did it first!" was not a compelling argument on the elementary school play yard nor is it in the marginally more grown-up world of the Ecclesia Anglicana.

But those were not the ideas to which I was referring. Nobody is dead because of those ideas.

What I'm asking Christians to consider, in this season of Lenten reflection, is to what extent our objectification of gay people (and in the particular case of Anglicans, our misuse of them as pawns in a contest of ecclesiastical chess) fosters an environment where a teenage boy can be shot down in cold blood for being gay.

Those ideas seem to me to be ideas with consequences.

Kevin said...

Will your logic is confused. You ask us to take up a Spiritual discipline to think about two sins?

Scripture clearly prohibits sexual immorality & murder.

Nope, sorry, your false guilt doesn't make much sense how there is causality if both sets are upheld. Now a reduced view of sin, I can see where that can lead to all sorts of evils, including murder, but the ones I see putting forth that argument are the 'progressives' thus it seems they would bare more responsibility for creating a culture where a teenage boy can be murder for any reason.

Those ideas seem to me to be ideas with consequences.

As for being the separatist faction, bad news is that is the Episcopal church in relation to the Church Universal, it's moving away from positions held by Rome, Moscow and SBC as well as the majority of the population of the Anglican Communion, thus it seems they are the ones separating, if one leaves and return to the larger group they would be staying.

BabyBlue said...

The Episcopal Church actions have had a chilling affect on the Christian-Muslim relationships in nations where Anglican Christians and Islamic Fundamentalists are in close proximity to one another. But does TEC care? Does TEC care? This talk of "MDG" goals is a bunch of hot air while at the same time out of their other side of TEC leaders' mouth we hear of "full inclusion" which means that all the orders of ordained ministry are open to those who are unmarried and uncelebate and do not conform to biblical principals. "Full Inclusion" is a code phrase and it's very well understood by Islamic fundamentalists who use such actions in the West to promote for their causes.

Does TEC care? Does TEC care?

bb

Kevin said...

Well, BB, if you're going to broaden the scope to the world, we might as well bring in the HUGE contradiction TEC has with "reproductive right for women" and murder. Not only is there a simple contradiction of right to murder in the womb verses outside the womb, but the vast majority of the unborn that are slaughtered world wide are female, thus something they tout is to help women is actually destroying the gender in sex selection.

Will said...

Again, I am simply asking you to consider what role charged rhetoric about a particular class of people might play in creating tacit sanction for violence against such people.

If I seem preoccupied with this point, it's because there is a dead boy lying in a morgue drawer three miles from where I sit and people are making serious arguments in other fora that he was "asking for it". Sadly, most of those making such arguments are doing so through an appeal to "Scriptural truth".

But, please, tell me more about how Katharine Jefferts Schori and The Episcopal Church made this all possible. It's a fascinating line of thought to follow.

Kevin said...

Well Will, I've considered it and murder is wrong.

I'd say that both are sins this was one shooting another over any number of reasons. I really don't care the motivation of the perpetrator or 'worthiness' to the victim. I think prostitutes should not be murdered. I may disagree with their sexual immorality, but I think the serial killers who often seem to prey on prostitutes are committing an immoral act. One is not lessoned by the other. The victim could be the 'good church girl' or a drug dealer, it does not matter because there is a moral imperative.

However, I think your logic is not rational. You are trying to assign a cause to saying something else it wrong. Thus you are actually the one committing an immoral act with your accusations if you can not prove causality but continue to insist on a correlation, thus you now move into risking making a false accusation.

I think you first need to think about the philosophy of ethics and why anything is right and wrong. Currently you are insisting we "consider what role charged rhetoric" without definition, but it seems holding forth an ethic plays in an action that you deem as immoral and that somehow we played a role.

I personally thing you need to consider how removing and breaking down of standards (on anything and everything, lets say the societal acceptance divorce and remarriage or pornography {sticking with a simple model of two ethics - sexual and life}) have played in the death of the man three miles from your house.

My position has not changed. The the is a standard in both realms that ought to be upheld or a lessoning of one or the other (or a myriad of other, but remember using a simplified model) will directly impact the other. Thus if one has less respect of life ethics the respect for sexual ethics will also decrease and vice a versa.

You point seems to be that it is okay to lesson one but uphold the other and not seeing any adverse effect, in fact you seem to imply that uphold the one you lowered is that cause of the other not being respected. That just does not bear out in rational thought, the correlation is direct, not inverse. Uphold a high standard of sexual ethics and life ethics are also upheld and vice a versa.

Where these really get tied is abortion. The lowering of sexual ethics has seen a drastic lowering life ethics and millions of babies created by sex are murdered. Value on life has become a judgment call if that life is deemed worthy to live. As sad as the events three miles from your house have been, unfortunately a murderer is being consistent with the logic that value of another's life can be determined by another. I saw both the mother that murder her child and this criminal in your neighborhood are immoral and such action should be stopped.

Will said...

It seems to me that challenging all people (including gay people) to live into Christian norms (monogamy within lifelong union, abstinence outside of such union) represents an overall raising of sexual ethics, rather than a lowering.

In fact, for Episcopalians, the lack of a "liturgical mechanism" for affirming those norms within the worshipping community for same gender couples creates an ambiguous situation that is serious pastoral issue.

(Please recall I've already stated that I have a problem with consecrating to the episcopate a man who is in a relationship that has no defined sacramental or canonical status within his Church. Let all things be done decently and in order.)

I suspect you would say there are insurmountable scriptural (or perhaps ontological) barriers to blessing same gender relationships. I would disagree. The arguments for either position are fairly well-understood at this point, so I'll not rehearse them again here.

You'll get no argument from me against the proposition that the normalization of abortion represents a coarsening of "sexual" and "life" ethics. I see it less as a root cause, than an as direct effect of a materialist, consumerist worldview that places self, rather than Christ, at its center. I suspect we would differ somewhat on strategies for reducing or eliminating abortion, however.

We seem to be talking past each other in regard to my ongoing question about possible links between "abomination" rhetoric, the objectification of gay people, and an implied approval of violence against such people. Whether cold-blooded murder and anal intercourse are equivalent or lesser/greater sins is beside the point.

So let me be clear: I believe there is a link, because people who attempt to offer rationales for such violence frequently do so in religious terms, the argument against homosexuality from "nature" having fallen on hard times (at least in the popular mind) in recent years.

When people who condone violence do so using the same imagery, language, and references we are using (even in a different, arguably more benign context), it behooves us to consider the impact of our continuing to employ that rhetoric.

Kevin said...

I'd disagree with your logic. People who murder abortionist often quote religious reasons as well. Now if the rhetoric is Phelps like with "God hates abortionist" than I can see how there is a connection, but to speak against sin means all sin (including my own), in which case that means both the one murdering in the name of choice or the one who thinks they are acting "prophetically" by violating some insurmountable scriptural (or perhaps ontological) barriers to murdering the abortionist.

If my rhetoric was comparable to "death to all adulterers" then I could see how it would connect if someone murdered an adulterer walking down the street. I do not say there is any culpability to say adultery is a sin which distorts the image of God given through the marriage convenient,a gross violation of the convenient and causes a spiritual death inside the ones committing the sin not to mention the destruction and heartache that it causes so many people, not just the aggrieved spouse. Now if someone does not listen to Scripture and shoot an adulterer down in the street, I do not think there is the connection you keep insisting that I'm guilty by speaking against an action.

Now, I'd agree the Catholics do a better job at consistency, upholding marriage ethics, life & sexuality ethics, thus when they speak there is less a tone of hypocrisy if they do not allow any of the above mentioned sins. Catholics Against the Death Penalty logic is that it cuts short a criminals time he could repent and be saved. Logic like that certainly speaks against murder of a teenage boy. Just because they are better at being consistent does not mean we need to "consider the impact of our continuing to employ that rhetoric" to stop rather improve the stance across the board. Including many heterosexual sins we wink at, that's the correlation! Young adults need to remain chaste until marriage, remarriages need to be investigated to see if they are the victim of adultery or the first spouse was a non-believer, there may be people asked to step down from vestries or staff positions. I think you have every right to claim uneven treatment between heterosexual and homosexual sins.

Just because John Hinckley, Jr. cited he shot Reagan for Jodie Foster does not mean she is anyway responsible for his actions and it would be unethical to continue to insist she spend Lent considering how she was connected.

Will said...

Kevin, thank you for taking the time to engage with me thoughtfully.

I apologize if I've given the impression that I believe you personally use destructive rhetoric about gay people that incites (even indirectly) violence. I certainly haven't seen any evidence of that in our exchange. I realize now the way I phrased things I inadvertently could have put you on the defensive. English needs more precise forms of "you". Please forgive me.

In one sense, I'm hoist on my own petard here, but in another I've proved my own point. The intent of my words was one thing, the impact was another.

May I respectfully suggest that we all consider that the impact of our words -- and especially those we use in service of capital "T" Truth as we understand it -- can go far beyond our intent, sometimes in destructive ways.

I have been guilty, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly, of using language that objectifies, demeans, and does (perhaps "only" spiritual, but that's bad enough) violence to others. I pray that I can be given grace to seek, serve, and honor Christ in others, and especially those with whom I disagree.

I'm off for a long weekend, so you can have the last word, my brother!

Kevin said...

No real offense taken, but I had notice the the irony of doing the very thing one exhorted us against -- so pointed it out a few times mostly figuring I was being too subtle to be noticed at first.

I also am off to a busy weekend, regrettably not a long one.


May you have a restful Sabbath and enjoy your Presidents Day Holiday!