Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We have nothing to fear but fear itself - and an 88 year bishop with coke bottle glasses

LATER: Let's just see who Bishop Schori and the Episcopal House of Bishops ecclesiastically whacked just before Easter:

























No wonder Bishop Howe, who has tried beyond measure to work within the system that was once the Episcopal Church, is outraged.

Here's Dean Robert Munday, of Nashotah House on Bishop Cox:

Stocky, bald, wearing round glasses with his eyes appearing large through lenses as thick as Coke bottle bottoms, it is easy to imagine one is talking with the Apostle Paul when speaking with Bishop Cox. His voice is both warm and rich, and conveys genuine love and appreciation for everyone with whom he speaks. If an article were ever written explaining what it means to be a godly bishop, it would be incomplete if it were not illustrated by the example of Bishop Cox. Even though technically in retirement, Bishop Cox has continued an active ministry. Now age 87, he has been the Episcopal Church's oldest living bishop. It is so hard to envision him as anything but a bishop that one is surprised to hear of his early military service and that he became a civilian pilot after he was in his sixties.

Today (March 12th), the Episcopal Church's House of Bishop, acting on the recommendation of Presiding Bishop ☠ Katharine Jefferts Schori, voted to depose Bishop William Cox. What had Bishop Cox done that led to his deposition?

In June 2005, Bishop Cox ordained two priests and a deacon at Christ Church in Overland Park, Kansas, after he was asked to do so by the Primate of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi. The following month, Bishop Cox returned to Christ Church and led a service of confirmation.
In April 2005, Christ Church agreed to pay the Diocese of Kansas $1 million over the next 10 years as part of a separation agreement which allowed the congregation to retain its property, and for the clergy to be relieved of their canonical obligations to The Episcopal Church. Christ Church and its clergy subsequently affiliated with the Province of Uganda.

It is important to note that Bishop Cox did not perform acts in any congregation of the Diocese of Kansas without the Bishop of Kansas' permission. He ministered to a congregation that had left the Diocese of Kansas and had been received into the Province of Uganda. Bishop Cox, as an Anglican Bishop, ministered at the request of an overseas Anglican bishop (in this case the Archbishop and Primate of Uganda) to a congregation that was under his jurisdiction.


In 2006, two bishops—the Rt. Rev. Dean Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas and the Rt. Rev. Robert Moody, Bishop of Oklahoma—presented then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold with charges that Bishop Cox had violated the Canons of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Griswold forwarded the charges to the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee, which determined that there were sufficient grounds to proceed to trial.


Concerned that his presentment trial would be a financial and public relations disaster for The Episcopal Church, retired Bishop William J. Cox informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on March 29, 2007 that he had left The Episcopal Church and had been received into the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, by Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Read the rest of Dean Munday's post here.

The Presiding Bishop did not accept his resignation - instead, she charged him with abandoning the communion. The irony is not lost on many.

Last time we checked, the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone is in the Anglican Communion. Or is the American Episcopal Church now a communion all unto itself? What is that we hear?

With that in mind we are reminded of Jesus' words to the crowds in the Gospel of Mark:
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
-Mark 8:34-38

God bless you, Bishop Cox. What sort of person really would declare an 88 year old retired bishop has rejected the faith of Cramer, Latimer, and Ridley? What kind of "communion" is that?

And then why try to whack him with the majority of a quorum, for God's sake? What do they fear?

The question remains: Why didn't she carry out the salacious deed at last September's House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans as the canons dictate, instead waiting almost a year after the charges were certified (the House canonically required to place the matter on the agenda lat the first meeting after the certification - which of course was New Orleans in September)? Was it perhaps to avoid a public relations disaster with all the national and international press and the Archbishop of Canterbury present to watch her carry out an ecclesiastical shove down the stairs of an elderly bishop - a man who has been a faithful bishop of the Church since she was an eighteen year old co-ed thinking about squids? Is this what has become of the Episcopal Church?

Just why does the presiding bishop and the majority of a quorum of the Episcopal House of Bishops fear this man so much?

UPDATE: Excellent post here on the numerous canonical violations committed by the Presiding Bishop in her attempt to depose Bishop Cox. Read the whole thing, as well as Dan Martins comment here.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Just why does the presiding bishop and the majority of a quorum of the Episcopal House of Bishops fear this man so much?"

While I have never met +Cox, I have observed that those of his age are often known to speak the truth. There is nothing like hearing the truth to instill fear in the HOB and the Presiding Beastress.

RalphM

Alice C. Linsley said...

The truth roars from him in a gentle and rich voice.

Kevin said...

When asked n SC about why she was proceeding with a case against Cox didn't KJS answer 'rules are rules' or something similar? Pity she doesn't follow them or even check the specifics to get the document correct after an illegal vote ...

(Please note yet one more irony with the SC consent process!!!)

Andy said...

I see this gentle saint and my mind conjures up an Image of St. Polycarp, a winsome and wise Bishop.

I'm saddened too, that Mr. Booth-Beers and the PB have apparently declared an open season for the hunting of old lions.

Tom Woodward said...

Bishop Cox violated basic canons of the Episcopal Church and acted in defiance of the bishops where he was acting for a foreign diocese which has been attempting to undermine the Episcopal Church.

What Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops did was to confirm the decisions Cox had previously made. Bishop Cox did not challenge the decision to depose him.

There is nothing the Episcopal Church has to fear from this man. He has chosen to obey a foreign primate rather than his own Presiding Bishop and diocesan bishops. To do so, in the Episcopal Church is to have abandoned this communion for another.

Both Cox and Duncan have been very public in their repudiation of the Episcopal Church and in their scorn for our rules, procedures and legitimacy. They can continue their diatribes outside TEC or they can honor their ordination vows, which both have broken with seeming impunity.

Kevin said...

"Bishop Cox violated basic canons of the Episcopal Church"

Oh, those precious canons that your presiding bishop seems to ignore on her whim?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tom. Well stated.
In Christ's love, Anon

BabyBlue said...

We're now learning more about what Bishop Schori and Booth Beers did and did not do and it's troubling friends. See George Conger's story above.

bb

Roger said...

Interestingly enough, neither Bishop Cox nor Bishop Schofield have expressed the slightest bit of outrage or surprise about the depostions. Bishop Cox matter-of-factly says (in response to the charges) "I did it" and Bishop Schofield says he's no longer subject the discipline of TEC and (by implication) it matters not one whit to him what TEC does or says.

The usual suspects, however, are howling with the usual bluster.

May I respectfully suggest that, if one doesn't find 24/7 outrage corrosive to one's soul, at least consider that it's ineffectual for your cause: when you're screaming all the time, people just tune you out after awhile.

BabyBlue said...

Doesn't that describe what King Herod thought about John the Baptist?

bb

Anonymous said...

RE: "May I respectfully suggest . . . "

Well, you can try, of course. ; > )

RE: ". . . that, if one doesn't find 24/7 outrage corrosive to one's soul" . . .

Heh -- we learned from the best -- progressive activist Episcopalians who are still outraged four years after they won their important battle at GC03.

RE: " . . . at least consider that it's ineffectual for your cause: when you're screaming all the time, people just tune you out after awhile."

Really? Because you lot are still commenting on conservative blogs telling us all that you are "tuning us out"?

Heh.

Besides, we're not particularly interested in what progressive Episcopal activists think of our behavior. We're more concerned about what other parties are thinking, saying, and doing.

And we're pretty well satisfied with our efforts at getting the word out to them.

But thanks all the same for your advice! ; > )


Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
Do you believe that the Bible is all that God had to say?
In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

I believe that everything that God says now is congruent with the truth of His word written. The Anglican articles, of course, address this issue with eloquence.

In other words . . . I'm a traditional Anglican and believe an utterly opposing and contradictory gospel from that gospel which progressive Episcopalians believe, which is nothing new, I suppose from the past four years of all of us so beautifully "dialoguing". ; > )

What that has to do, however, with progressive Episcopal activists letting us know that they are going to tune us out [oh the terror of that thought] is beyond me.

Sarah

Kevin said...

"Do you believe that the Bible is all that God had to say?"

Okay, Anon, you have really confused me. Sarah's post made not a single Biblical reference, in fact all she did was respond to advice that also made no Biblical reference. So how you get from "A" to "L" is beyond me ... unless your hiding behind "Christ's Love" and throwing that out on thread about +Cox and actions taken by 815 with which some alter motive ... you wouldn't do that ... would you?

BabyBlue said...

Last time I checked, the scriptures are the Word of God. From the prayer book we are instructed to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the Word of God, the Scriptures. From there we judge revelation, personal or otherwise.

As Sarah says, progressive activists appear to begin with personal or corporate revelation and work their way backwards to the Scriptures. What does not conform with the personal or so-called corporate revelation is marginalized or excluded. The Prayer Book, which is built on a biblical foundation (so much so that Cranmer got himself killed over it) is then rewritten to fit with the personal or "corporate" revelation.

The Word of God is alive. When we read the scriptures are hearts are set on fire. Jesus is the Word made flesh and through Him the Word is set free to live in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet.

bb

Anonymous said...

Do you believe in the mystery of God?

Have you ever wondered what it may have been like when Jesus walked the earth? The law of the land at that time was the Torah. When Jesus came, he told the people completely contradictory things to what the Torah stated. He must have seemed like a huge radical to these people.

Do you think that if Jesus walked the earth today that we would yell, "cruxify him"?

Anonymous said...

The law of the land at that time was the Torah. When Jesus came, he told the people completely contradictory things to what the Torah stated.

a) can you provide even one example? I was under the impression Jesus corrected their distortions of scripture.

b) do you think anyone who comes along and contradicts your understanding should be listened to? Remember 'Take the Money and Run', where 2 gangs of bank robbers showed up at the same bank? What if two or more groups contradict your beliefs? Whom should you follow? Clearly you have your own standard (secular humanism?). Why not just cut to the chase and defend that instead of trying to imply that mere contradiction proves theological correctness?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,

Why are you so angry?
What do "take the money and run" and "2 gangs of bank robbers" have to do with our discussion?
I understand that this is not about me (us)...it is about God's will. One thing is sure, we need to show the face of Christ to one another. It is not helpful to insult one another.
Perhaps it would be more helpful to stay focused on the topic and not attack the messengers.
As Jesus was moving through our world in the flesh, he was instructing us about the changes...there was no book and page to refer to....it was all about the mystery of God.
Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I'm not angry anon, just a little weary. The question is - lots of contradictory people instruct us of social/theological changes they would like to see. How do you determine God's voice from theirs?

As to mystery, I believe this is a false dichotomy. We can have mystery about certain things the Bible does not address (why bilateral symmetry? Why create?), but there is no mystery where God has spoken with clarity.

On your view, how are you not muting God by saying everything is up for grabs because of mystery? If that's a mischaracterization, how do you draw the boundaries of what is up for grabs?

Btw, the "2 gangs" I was thinking of were led by Dawkins and Ahmadinejaad respectively. But come to think of it, we could add Beers and Spong to the list as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon:

I am not professing to know the answers....except that God has not changed. Humans continue being human but God has not changed.

I do not think the answer is in building new buildings and new churches. The answers are in our actions toward one another. We must stay on His message and continue to fed the hungry...clothe the poor...et cetera.

The one thing that Jesus made very clear was that we are to love God with all of our hearts and all of our souls....and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Humans make this complicated. I am all for bringing humanity together, in love. God is love.

My mother used to tell us that if it not about love then it is not about God. I believe that.

In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

RE: "What do "take the money and run" and "2 gangs of bank robbers" have to do with our discussion? . . . Perhaps it would be more helpful to stay focused on the topic and not attack the messengers."

Heh.

Pot. Meet kettle.

Kettle, Pot.

; > )


Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
I know that you are not speaking of me. I try very hard to not attack people. I also know that this is a tactic to change the subject. Why is it so hard to talk about the mystery of God?
We need to show the face of Christ to one another.
In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

"I do not think the answer is in building new buildings and new churches. The answers are in our actions toward one another. We must stay on His message and continue to fed the hungry...clothe the poor...et cetera."

Amen. Amen. Amen.

"The one thing that Jesus made very clear was that we are to love God with all of our hearts and all of our souls....and to love our neighbors as ourselves."

Yes, as long as we define love correctly. Love (as an impulse to kindness) isn't God's only attribute. He is also just, righteous and holy. Therefore if we really love our neighbor, we will correct them (Lev 19:17-18). If we see others leading those we love into error, we will oppose them (Gal 1-2).

I hope you don't let your conception of God's love lead you into universalism - even the nature of this fallen world is enough to disprove that. If God were as some universalists and liberals think he is, he'd have laughed off Adam and Eve's disobedience and we'd still be in Eden (a debauched Eden - who'd want that? You see, we deep down agree with God's hatred of sin).

"Why is it so hard to talk about the mystery of God?"

Because (& I don't mean to be a wiseacre) if it were easy it wouldn't be a mystery. There are a number of seemingly contingent things about the world - and that's about all we can say about it.

Anonymous said...

WOW. You are mighty judgemental, don't you think? I continue to pray for you.
In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

Gah! I thought I was being irenic. I was just trying to calmly discuss stuff... Never mind. I'll just go slam my head in the door.

Okay, one more attempt at "dialogue". I don't think it's being judgmental to point out error per se, or to worry about falling into error. "Judgmental" is misused by the liberals.

If you are bullying about an issue of adiaphora (Rom 14), or if you tell yourself *you* are intrinsically more virtuous than your fellow (unrepentant) sinner (Mt 18) *then* you are being judgmental. That's what Jesus was talking about in Mt 7. He wasn't talking about the mere *observation* of sin and the attempt to correct someone. Otherwise the following things he says ("Cast not your pearls before swine") *make* *no* *sense*. How can He say that if we're not allowed to observe swinishness?

Look, I do admit I've thought and done horrible things in my life. I'm no better on my own than any unrepentant sinner, and by nature a whole lot *worse* than most I have met. It *is* possible to correct in love.

BabyBlue said...

That's is true - and the "correction" was done on the cross. The fact that we are fallen and broken is no surprise to God - and so He has provided us a way through and that way through is through the cross of Jesus. We do not as Christians have a direct relationship with one another, but through Jesus, our savior and redeemer.

If I wasn't broken what would I need a savior for.

And He is risen! That good news and the understanding of how much I have been forgiven pours out of me such gratitude - we can love because He first loved us. By deepening our relationship with Him, in obedience to His Word and trusting in His promises He sets us free to love one another.

What concerns me about progressive theology is it starts with a very optimistic (and I would say naive) view of human nature. There is a presumption of goodness in our creation in the image of God. And that was true, until our rebellion and that image is now broken. That is the reality, the truth of the human condition.

Yet, God loved us so much that He wants to be in relationship with us. So He provides the way to wholeness and restoration in the power of the Holy Spirit - but this made possible through the Cross of His Son, our Lord.

When we are reconciled to God through the atonement of Jesus Christ then we are set free to love one another, as we are loved.

The mystery - and there is mystery - is why He does love us so much. But He does, He really does and so, in His eyes, we are lovable. What an extraordinary thing, what an extraordinary gift - how can I do anything else but praise Him?

That reminds me of a song - it just came to mind as I was writing this post. Here are the words:

My life goes on in endless song
above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
while to the Rock I'm clinging.
Since Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth
how can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble sick with fear
and hear their death knell ringing,
when friends rejoice both far and near
how can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
while to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
how can I keep from singing?

My life goes on in endless song
above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
How can I keep from singing?


And from this we sing:

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
was blind but now I see.


bb

Anonymous said...

To be Irenic is to promote peace and to be conciliatory, which comes from the Greek. I don't consider myself a liberal. I think painting a picture with suh broad strokes has the opposite effect than you may be going for.

I think the whole point of the Gospel of John was that God sent his only son to redeem the sins of the world and to point out that Jesus was in conflict with those who used the Torah as a weapon to control rather than to liberate.

Do you believe that the Bible (our Torah) is all God had to say? We are first and foremost called to love....to even love me.

In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

RE: "I try very hard to not attack people. I also know that this is a tactic to change the subject. Why is it so hard to talk about the mystery of God?"

Not hard at all -- but that's not the subject of this post. The subject of this post is . . . [drum roll] . . . the attempted deposition of Bishop Cox.

It's amusing to see you lecture others on staying "focused on the topic" when in reality your comments here are all about not focusing on the topic at all, but engaging in rabbit trails about whether people believe in scripture to your liking or not [which being translated, of course, is all about believing the parts that progressive Episcopal activists like and ignoring the parts that progressive Episcopal activists don't like.]

As I said.

Pot.

Kettle.

Kettle, Pot.

I have precisely zero interest in faux dialoguing with people who -- as is demonstrated daily by their sermons and interviews -- don't have the same foundational worldview as I have. We don't have a basis in common language to start with on matters of the gospel and Christianity. I'm more than happy to have coffee with you and discuss sports that you are interested in, or fine books and movies. Or fantastic hiking trails. We might -- or might not -- have something in common on that.

But dialogue about the mutually opposing and contradictory gospels which reasserting Episcopalians and progressive Episcopal activists believe? Not gonna happen. It will only be assertions made by one and the other.

And certainly not on this thread -- which if you'll recall before you began frantically asking silly red-herring questions -- is about the non-canonical and now faux attempted deposition of Bishop Cox.

I can, though, certainly see why you'd wish to change the subject. ; > )

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I continue to hold you close in my prayers. I hope that you work out your anger and that you find peace in our risen Lord.

Christians do not attack one another in this way....that is why I know that you must be hurting. My God fills me with love and joy. May the peace of the Lord always be with you.

In Christ's love, Anon

Anonymous said...

RE: "I hope that you work out your anger and that you find peace in our risen Lord."

Very rarely angry, too busy and full of hobbies for that. As I explained to you several weeks ago . . . and as I am quite confident you read. ; > ) But what anger I occasionally experience is usually a good thing. Emotions are wonderful signs given by God to human beings -- like train signals and other signs. I am pleased with any emotions that I may experience, as long as I do not sin in my response to those feelings.

Tell me. When you are beaten at your own rhetorical games, and calleld on your manipulative efforts, as occurred on this blog post, do you always then attribute such failures on your part to another person's "anger"?

When you are in a losing battle with your daughter, or partner, or friend, and you are unable to convince them to change their minds, or unable to foist off various pious subterfuges as you did here on this comment thread, do you always try to attribute such vexatious losses to other people's "anger"?

One cannot help but notice such ploys as somewhat desperate.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
May the peace of the Lord alwsys be with you!
In Christ's name, Anon