Monday, January 31, 2011

What - is it Junior High all over again?

Remember Junior High?

Yes?  No?

Many people probably would rather not remember - even now we strain to remember those days when we were thirteen, fourteen years old, and then when the memories actually come back we think, well, maybe it might be better if we just forget.  Time to get some ice cream!

What is it about Junior High School that brings out the best and worst?  If we're not sure we can remember what those days were like, all we have to do is pause a moment and take a look at the recent Primates Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

It all comes back. 

One of the hallmarks of Junior High is the development and implementation and cultivation of cliques.

One is either in a clique or one is not.

If you are not sure if are in a clique, you are not.

It is vying for The Inner Ring, as C.S. Lewis wrote about.  Those who are not in are very conscience of the fact that they are out.  Some were once in but are now toiling away the hours wondering what the heck happened?  Those who are in spend a lot of time worrying about whether they will end up out.  At any moment the whole setup could falter and an insider becomes an outsider in a flash.  Crushed!  Devastation. When that happens one might as well call the rest of the year off.  If you are not in then you are out and when you are thirteen that is a fate few wish for. 

Unless you are one of those who brush off the dust and get a job making a few extra bucks at Baskin Robbins.

These were ones who just seemed to stay out of it - they came to school, they did their work, they did sports or clubs, and they went home to do their homework.  They never got pulled into the fray.  Often it seems these were the ones who actually went on to make something of their lives - in fact they often looked on with bemusement at the antics of their fellow Junior High colleagues.  Thirty years later they are still chuckling.  Ask my brother.

We have such antics of late with a group called the Anglican Primates.  There is the center hot shot, the Big Man on Campus (BMOC), that everyone wants to be seen with, but in the end everyone is mad at - and believe me, it's everyone.  Ask any BMOC.  At some point he will just gallop off into the distance and the remnant will wonder what all the fuss was about. His name then pops up as someone you might know on Facebook.

Then we have the cliques that just love drama.  They feed off the drama.  We can remember the thirteen year old girls that just lived for drama.  I was in youth ministry for many many years.  Thirteen years old are memorable and they still are memorable to this day.  Like the time that my roommates and I decided at the last minute to go to the beach for the weekend in New Jersey.  When we got home late Sunday afternoon we were met by a completely full answering machine filled with nearly hysterical thirteen year old girls who could not understand how we could go away for the weekend without consulting them and were just sure that we were lying on the side of the highway somewhere wrapped around a tree.

Drama-making is a hallmark of cliques - they compete with each other for the center of attention of the most popular guy on campus - in our case, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  One was either vying for his attention or telling everyone else what a horrid guy he was and get rid of him.  He was either wonderful or he was horrible, there was no in-between. 

In the case of our Anglican Primates, in fact, our Anglican Communion, we have cliques that are just engaged in one drama after another, crying out for attention and if it goes a few months without being the center of attention, institutes more drama.  It's no wonder that back at my Junior High School in San Diego some of these drama-makers sometimes found themselves headown in trashcans with only their feet showing as you walked down hallways on your way to class.  There are times when it may feel like Anglicans worldwide would like to take these drama-makers and do likewise.

Here is an excerpt from a 1978 film called Junior High - seem rather familiar, maybe too familiar.  Look at all the different cliques - does it seem like, to coin a phrase, it's yesterday once more?  Or were we so much older then, we're younger than that now?



A good example of this kind of drama-making was the perfectly-timed "wedding" earlier this month of two lesbian priests in the Episcopal Church with one being for extra drama points actually a sitting Episcopal seminary dean.  With professional pictures in place for world-wide distribution and a cherub diocesan bishop so pleased as punch to be the center of attention for once, the drama had the desired affect.  It exploded another clique to do exactly what happens in Junior High.  "Well is they are coming to the party, we are not!"  And they take their stuff and go home.  The Drama Makers are now beyond exstatic because now they have succeeded in being the center of attention (which is what they really want).  But is it enough?  Nope.

Truth be told, the Drama-Makers, actually want not just the attention of the BMOC but of the very ones who picked up their stuff and went home (otherwise, what's the point in belonging to a clique?) and so - more drama ensues.  Where are those trashcans?  So they pretend to ignore the clique that did not show up,  but it's all pretend and everyone knows it, except perhaps for those who didn't show.  Instead, they get to point and say,"see we told you so," and the Drama Makers, now without an audience, need to stage a new event.  Stay tuned.

But if Junior High is any indication of what the future may bring - it is the silent ones, those quiet ones so many thought were boring if they were thought of at all, the ones over in the corners eating their sandwiches out of paper bags from home or there in the library studying or out running around the track who will actually be the last ones still standing, the ones who don't get mixed up in the drama, the ones who are rather bemused by all the attention-seekers and find them somewhat entertaining.  These are the ones who do their homework, they show up for class, they scoop the ice cream.

We may not know their names now - but then again, maybe we do.  Who knows - maybe it's you.


In fact, there was someone on the periphery in my school days who followed that track without drama - he did his homework, he went to class, and yes, sometimes he did work scooping ice cream at the local Baskin Robbins.


22 comments:

Sibyl said...

This most certainly is NOT Junior High!!!

This is not about cliques of pretty people and personalities posing for yearbook photos, pretending to like someone, playing political games and power-brokering for popularity votes.


Both the Primates and Obama are dealing with serious, eternal, life and death, spiritual issues. Some are childishly acting out and promoting gratification of sinful (homosex)impulses and evil (abortion) actions.

Some are mature adults acting on principle, conscience and The Word and Law of God.

For some of them, choosing and living for Christ may very well cost them their lives.

Dale Matson said...

I second the comments of Sibyl. This is life and death to Canterbury and England. You are making all groups equal in this. There are those who would destroy the Communion. Jr. High is sometimes funny and sometimes sad. There is nothing funny about this, nothing funny at all.

Observer said...

maybe the error of the ABC, as he has ignored the Primates for 7 years in order to include revisionists with whom he agrees, is that he has assumed they are kids and want to be in his gang.... but they are not kids and he is not their ultimate leader.....

Anonymous said...

RE: "Truth be told, the Drama-Makers, actually want not just the attention of the BMOC but of the very ones who picked up their stuff and went home (otherwise, what's the point in belonging to a clique?) and so - more drama ensues."

Meh -- could be.

That's why those Primates who have opted-out of the Instruments as long as RW continues to prevent implementation of various communiques and decisions need to move forward with their plans and calmly continue rebuilding around something more than shallow revisionism.

I think -- and certainly hope -- that they do that.

We'll see.

Sarah

The Underground Pewster said...

I'm with BB, I think.

At least (most) teenagers grow out of the clique stage.

7 years after 2003, and so little maturation...A part of the AC is stuck in Jr. High. There is hope, but there are probably a whole lot of days scooping ice cream ahead.

Anonymous said...

Please do not diminish the honorable profession of scooping ice cream. The ABC and his sympathizers are scooping tofutti.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

BB - do we need to have a talk about respecting the dignity of all ice-cream scoopers?

BabyBlue said...

As a former professional ice-cream scooper, that sounds good to me, Anon! :)

bb

Anonymous said...

I've been following some of the discussion here for some time, but I've not had a chance to reply. I hope that you will forgive a rather long post, as this has been building for a while.

I remain a little concerned by the tone of attacks on the Episcopal church such as those by WILF and LL2 on other posts. I was especially concerned to read a recent attack against the PB here in which a commenter attacked her as a Hindu. I grant you, that the accusation is so patently and obviously untrue as to completely discredit the poster's point of view. No reasonable person could possibly take such an accusation seriously; and any organization or point of view that person represents is immediately discredited. As such, the poster is not really worthy of a reply.

I am concerned, however, that such wild and patently false charges substantially decrease the chances of a win-win settlement such as you and others have been advocating. I have voiced this concern before and I believe it is still a serious one. How can there be a settlement with a person or organization that is so lacking in "moral seriousness" as to say such things, let alone believe them? How can someone who is so committed to propounding such false witness be a serious partner in negotiations? The lack of personal integrity alone is enough to make consideration of negotiations seem pointless. Who could negotiate with such a partner?

There is plenty to disagree about without making such charges. Although I sometimes disagree with some of your particular conclusions, I would agree with the implications of some of your posts that most of our disagreements are not fundamental to Christianity, but are merely political. There is nothing fundamentally new about separating yourself (individually) from a denomination that draws moral and political conclusions with which you disagree.

We are all entitled to our point of view, but the poster should provide evidence for such charges, if it exists. The PB is one of the most thoroughly documented church officials in our country, there are full text copies of her sermons and homilies and interviews all over the internet. If she has advocated a Hindu (or any other non-christian) position, we need to see the evidence and that evidence MUST come ONLY from her own documented speech. Quoting more wild, distorted, and out of context charges by such biased individuals as Minns, Anderson, Duncan, or such internet sites as "StandFirm" is just more "trial by internet." That sort of innuendo and bearing false witness is, of course, not only illegitimate, but is outright counter productive to any sort of reconciliation or even negotiation.

Bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

My point is that speech has meaning and results in serious consequences. Who could ever negotiate a case with someone who would so lack personal integrity as to make such a baseless charge? Even more importantly, does not negotiating with such persons in some way legitimize their view, give the false impression that some remotest portion of these wild and baseless accusations might possibly be true? I don't see how the Episcopal Church can afford to negotiate with someone who would express such a view because to do so would legitimize and even endorse the view that we have compromised our fundamental faith. Whatever YOU or the poster may think, we loyal Episcopalians firmly know that our positions remain fundamentally orthodox, hewing to Christ's command to minister to all of God's creation, "even unto the least of these," To admit anything else would not only be untrue to our own position, but would actually do real damage to the orthodox faith that we both hold dear.

Try to look at this from the point of view of Episcopalians for a moment. From that point of view, what we have in Virginia is a group of well financed folks (who have disclosed NOTHING of the sources of their financing) who feel that they can take what does not belong to them (church property), have initiated a legal case in an attempt to legitimize that removal, and have consistently (and without any basis) attacked the Episcopal church as heretical/non-christian.

If the church in any way negotiates away some portion of church property with a group that claims congregational control of the patrimony, does that not in some way endorse the view that our faith is not apostolic, but congregational? It is a fundamental tenet of our catholic faith that the church is catholic and unitary, glorying in the apostolic succession and the creeds. I don't see how we can compromise that fundamental view of who we are in a way that would cast doubt on the legitimacy of that polity. Insofar as a negotiation might compromises that faith, it seems clearly impossible.

The way the parishes in Virginia have attempted use of oddities of a civil war era Virginia law has made any such negotiations even less likely. As I understand it, in that law the state has intervened to dictate faith to the church in the form of our ecclesiology.; essentially, the position of that law is that , when it comes to separations, all churches are to be consider congregational, that the local government of the church controls the faith, polity, and resources of the church, and that there is no other legitimate claim for a larger and catholic church polity.

This sort of interference by the state in the fundamental faith of the church is pretty clearly both unwarranted and unconstitutional. I believe that the courts can not fail to overturn it as unconstitutional. But the important point here is that , once that state interference in our faith in a catholic polity has been invoked, how can we compromise that faith by stopping before that challenge is declared invalid or by lending any legitimacy to that congregationalist claim? To negotiate at all with that position would be a fundamental compromise of our faith as orthodox catholics. Cost what it may in legal fees, I don't see how Episcopalians can ever afford to compromise that fundamental catholic position.

Bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

I've been watching the discussion of some possible win-win negotiations with some interest. As you may remember, I've been very seriously skeptical of the possibility of such a settlement for some time. Unfortunately, Episcopalians CAN'T settle with an organization that has (from our point of view) not only attempted to take property that does not belong to them, but has also consistently (both legally in the courts and publicly in the newspapers) attacked the basic foundational integrity, patrimony, ecclesiology, and historic polity of the church. I think that we can agree that these are important positions that are well worth any sacrifice to protect. In fact, I would agree with some of the wild claims here that TEC would rather sell a church structure to another faith rather than compromise that polity: a position that seems entirely rational under the circumstances. The property and it's eventual disposition is unimportant when compared to the fundamental integrity of our orthodox faith and polity. That's why the entire question of viability is also moot. Viability, eventual disposition of the property, and even who the individuals are who use the property (sorry Scout) are moot: unimportant when compared to the central question of the church's catholic faith and polity.

It is only through the blessings of God and the constitution that, so far, the Episcopal church's position has been consistently upheld in the courts. So far. But there is always the possibility that some court could overturn that polity. I couldn't agree more that it is time for all of us to find a way out of this situation that does not compromise the church's fundamental catholic integrity. I just don't see that happening in Virginia. Partly this seems impossible because of the comments by people like WILF and LL2 and, more fundamentally, by representatives of the ACNA like Minns, Duncan, Armstrong, and Anderson.

That said, there do seem to have been some steps forward in other locations. I was particularly interested in the case in New Jersey. Scout is absolutely correct in pointing out that that parish not only did not attack the basic catholic polity of the church, did not bring a legal case that attempted to alienate the church from her property, and did not question the fundamental orthodoxy of their Bishop or even the PB. From the beginning they acknowledged that the church is unitary, the assets and patrimony in their care belonged to the larger catholic church, and they sought to negotiate from that position. I don't see anything about the subsequent sale of the church to the departing parishioners as fundamentally compromising the catholic polity of the church. Evidently neither the Bishop nor the PB thought so either; both have a history of fighting vigorously on the church's behalf.

Bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

Although you may find it to be a negative, I also see important win-win settlement possibilities in the recent court decisions and settlement of cases in Pittsburgh. The courts in Pittsburgh (as in every other location in the nation) have continued to fundamentally respect the fundamental catholic polity of the Episcopal church. That's a good thing, since suggests that the courts are not buying the congregationalist claims of Duncan and the other departing members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Here is a link to the appeals court's decision against Duncan's group:
http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Cwealth/out/293CD10_2-2-11.pdf

Duncan's own reaction seems to suggest that, perhaps, he is finally beginning to recognize that the courts are not going to recognize his attack on the church's unitary polity.
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11033/1122422-100.stm

Even more interesting, has been the case of St Phillips in Moon in Pittsburgh.
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11034/1122607-455.stm
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_720921.html

In this case, the local parish has abandoned the claims of the departing individuals and has negotiated directly with the diocese on their own. Essentially, a win-win settlement became possible when the claims of a congregational polity were abandoned.

What's interesting here is that the win-win negotiation was possible, and a settlement reached, as soon as the challenge to the church's fundamental catholic polity were abandoned. As soon as the local parish separated itself from the individuals who were challenging the church's catholic polity and casting doubt on the church's fundamental orthodoxy, a compromise became possible.

What does this mean in Virginia? Perhaps it is possible for the departing parishes to repudiate the legal tactics they adopted from the beginning (including the constitutionality of the civil war era VA law) and to repudiate the individuals who attacked the church's orthodoxy (like Minns, Duncan, and Anderson), acknowledge the church's control of the church's property, and begin negotiations on a settlement that will not compromise the church's faith and ecclesiology? I believe that was what Bishop Lee was headed for in the first place, until that course was closed by the filing of the cases in the Virginia courts.

Bookguybaltmd

Dale Matson said...

Bookguybaltmd,

I'm glad that you are only "a little concerned" since your response was nearly 1,500 words (and I did read each one including the places you repeated yourself. I am more than a little concerned with TEC but will attempt to be more brief in adressing one of your numerous comments. "I would agree with the implications of some of your posts that most of our disagreements are not fundamental to Christianity" Those comments you refer to are not from conservatives. We are very concerned about disagreements which are fundamental to Christianity. We are very concerned when KJS says there are many ways to God in addition to Christ. We are very concerned when the head of EDS calls abortion a blessing under any circumstances. We are very concerned when KJS claims there is no such thing as individual salvation. We are very concerned when she spends 10s of millions of dollars to "protect" the TEC legacy. In reality she has driven out thousands of members who would have paid in millions of dollars to TEC. Many existing TEC parishes no longer send money to TEC. She has not protected the Legacy nor the faith once delivered.

Anonymous said...

@ DM

I'm sorry that your points don't meet with my understanding of the truth of TEC or of the PB. In fact, they seem so far distorted from what I know to be the orthodox reality of TEC that they seem very sadly kind of silly.

Can you please provide evidence of these accusations? They sound a lot like more of the same old same old trial by internet innuendo and deliberate distortion of the PBs actual stated positions.

How are those positions different, for example, from those taken by the pope or other religious leaders. Remember, evidence must be taken directly from things that SHE HERSELF has said, not what someone else who is attempting to defame her (like StandFirm). There are LOTS and LOTS of references that we can provide of her orthodoxy. She regularly posts her homilies on the internet for all to read.

I would point out that the PB has not driven anyone out of the church. You left on your own accord. As non-Episcopalians you have essentially disenfrancised yourself within the church, have chosen to leave the only true anglicanism in the US, and have no grounds for further comment.

I would also point out that, as I said above, there is no price which is too high in defense of the orthodox catholic polity of TEC. Any negotiations MUST be with such that do not compromise the historic integrity of that faith.

My statement that "I would agree with the implications of some of your posts that most of our disagreements are not fundamental to Christianity" was addressed to BB and was a direct reference to the post on which this is a comment.

I agree with BB, we are not in high school anymore. We are adults and we are dealing with the very serious business of our lord's commands. Our words have meaning and consequences. The implication I was reading from her post is that most of what is dividing us is political, rather than doctrinal. My point was that the implied rebuke applies to both sides of the discussion.

I grant you, my post is more than a little long winded. For that I offer humble apologies.

bookguybaltmd

Dale Matson said...

bookguybaltmd,
I realize your beliefs are irrefutable. Thanks for your posts. They speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

So much fun, so little time.

RE: "As such, the poster is not really worthy of a reply."

Which is why, of course, bookguybaltmd replied.

RE: "Who could negotiate with such a partner?"

Precisely what I've been saying about the current revisionist activists leaders of TEC.

RE: "I would agree with the implications of some of your posts that most of our disagreements are not fundamental to Christianity, but are merely political."

I can't speak for BB, but of course the disagreements between traditional Episcopal and Anglican Christians and the revisionist activists in TEC are fundamental and foundational. The two groups believe mutually antithetical gospels.

RE: "The PB is one of the most thoroughly documented church officials in our country, there are full text copies of her sermons and homilies and interviews all over the internet."

Yup -- and the revisionist activists agree with her gospel as documented in her sermons and homilies, and the traditional Episcopal and Anglican Christians do not.

RE: " . . . we need to see the evidence and that evidence MUST come ONLY from her own documented speech.

Right -- and we all have. And the results are the same. Those who believe one gospel love what she says and those who believe the Gospel do not.

RE: "Quoting more wild, distorted, and out of context charges by such biased individuals as Minns, Anderson, Duncan, or such internet sites as "StandFirm" is just more "trial by internet.""

Tee hee -- we now know who's gotten under the skin of BGBMD -- good to know.

RE: "That sort of innuendo and bearing false witness is, of course, not only illegitimate, but is outright counter productive to any sort of reconciliation or even negotiation."

I completely agree that, considering the mutually antithetical gospels that the two sides hold, any reconciliation beyond that of human interaction in food lines and such is not possible. I'm sure that we can all live in the same towns, shop from the same grocery stores and wish one another well in various jobs, etc. That's good reconciliation. But obviously, ultimately, sharing the same organizations with such antithetical foundational worldviews, goals, and values is not possible ultimately. So in that latter sense, reconciliation will not happen -- and that's a good thing.

RE: "Who could ever negotiate a case with someone who would so lack personal integrity as to make such a baseless charge?"

I personally agree that negotiation between the two parties is not possible. There's not enough in common in the way of values or foundational wordviews to make it possible or even desirable.

RE: "Even more importantly, does not negotiating with such persons in some way legitimize their view . . .

No, not really. But again, we don't hold similar enough values or foundational worldviews to be able to engage in the common language necessary to negotiation.

RE: "Whatever YOU or the poster may think, we loyal Episcopalians firmly know that our positions remain fundamentally orthodox . . . "

Well -- of course revisionist activists TEC's beliefs are orthodox to revisionism, yes.

RE: "To admit anything else would not only be untrue to our own position, but would actually do real damage to the orthodox faith that we both hold dear."

Certainly to admit anything other than revisionism would do damage to revisionist orthodoxy, yes. Not certain who the commenter means by "we" -- I myself am a traditional Episcopalian and certainly acknowledge that I don't share the same gospel as the commenter or other revisionist activists in TEC.



Sarah

Anonymous said...

RE: "Try to look at this from the point of view of Episcopalians for a moment."

Sure -- we should all try to look at things from the point of view of revisionist Episcopalians.

RE: " . . . and have consistently (and without any basis) attacked the Episcopal church as heretical/non-christian."

Yeh -- I protest too. It's only the current revisionist activists in TEC who are heretical and do not believe the Christian Gospel.

RE: " . . . does that not in some way endorse the view that our faith is not apostolic, but congregational? It is a fundamental tenet of our catholic faith that the church is catholic and unitary, glorying in the apostolic succession and the creeds."

Heh -- nah, it's no problem. We all know ya'll aren't remotely "catholic" or "apostolic" [unless you mean like Jim Jones] or [guffaw] "unitary" anyway. Negotiation won't hurt things one bit more.

RE: "The way the parishes in Virginia have attempted use of oddities of a civil war era Virginia law has made any such negotiations even less likely."

Yeh . . . I mean who needs all that old-timey "law" after all! Anything earlier than the past five years is obviously barely understandable, much less worthy to be followed, being antique and all.

RE: ". . . essentially, the position of that law is that , when it comes to separations, all churches are to be consider congregational . . . "

Nope -- actually you're misinformed. The position of the law in neutral principles is that the names on the deed are the people who own the property.

RE: " . . . and that there is no other legitimate claim for a larger and catholic church polity."

That would be incorrect -- as witness what has happened to Roman Catholic dioceses whose names are actually on the deed and which have gone bankrupt -- because the dioceses' names are on the property deeds, not the parish's.

RE: "To negotiate at all with that position would be a fundamental compromise of our faith as orthodox catholics."

I agree that to negotiate would be a fundamental compromise of the revisionist activists' unique and particular gospel.

RE: "I've been watching the discussion of some possible win-win negotiations with some interest."

I've always thought them impossible myself.

RE: "Unfortunately, Episcopalians CAN'T settle with an organization . . . "

Well -- the current revisionist activist leaders of TEC can't, that's true.

RE: "I think that we can agree that these are important positions that are well worth any sacrifice to protect."

Absolutely -- I've always understood that the revisionist activist Episcopalians have a very important gospel in which they believe and which they must protect at all costs.

RE: "Viability, eventual disposition of the property, and even who the individuals are who use the property (sorry Scout) are moot . . . "

I agree -- the church buildings [at least the historic kind] are The Brand for the current leaders of TEC -- they can't let those go and I've said that quite clearly for seven years.

RE: "But there is always the possibility that some court could overturn that polity."

Yes -- it's important for each and every state to eventually move to neutral principles. We just need to keep chipping away in the coming decades.



Sarah

Anonymous said...

Book Guy - you've thrown out a lot of stuff to consider. In the context of BB's post, the parts I focus on relate to whether one can settle property disputes with people who have seized buildings, have fundamentally challenged the Episcopalian polity and who have engaged in low-level personal attacks and demonizations (sometimes in so many words) on everyone from lay members of parishes to individual priests and Diocesan Bishops, to the Presiding Bishop and even the Archbishop of Canterbury. The question of settlements has to look beyond the behaviour of living people to the use of God's resources for many years to come. A less than perfect solution that stanches the flow of monies to lawyers and permits a re-focus on worship and mission over the next century or so cannot, in my imperfect view of these things, be displeasing to God.

There probably are, however, some guiding principles that should be maintained in these settlements that address your concerns:

1) No person or group should be rewarded for having just seized a property and then hung on long enough to tire out the remaining Episcopalians or their Diocese. To reward that kind of behaviour would encourage it to happen again, and it is important for both the polity of the Episcopal Church and the traditions of the Anglican Communion, looking backward and forward in time, that that sort of activity not be given any legitimacy. In every case where that has happened, there must be a return of the property to the Diocese. If that sort of thing is permitted, a settlement becomes just a momentary truce, until the next hot-button issue arises.

2) Conditioned future use of the facilities by schismatic factions may make sense in some cases where there is absolutely no remaining Episcopalian community. This could be made possible by lease arrangements that make clear that Episcopalian uses (weddings, funerals, meetings, Sunday services at reasonable times) cannot be excluded.

3) Rents must be paid for use during occupations. I think it would be fair and prudent to credit occupiers with contributions that they have made from their own funds for upkeep and maintenance.

4) All accounts and properties (in addition to real property) must be returned in good order as of the date of the initial occupation.

Your refer to the NJ and Moon, PA situations. In the latter, the Diocese insisted on a pledge of no ACNA affiliation for five years. I frankly
don't understand that restriction. There may be some local dynamic not visible to outsiders that made that acceptable to both sides. But it all looked like a Pepsi/Coca Cola distributorship arrangement to the uninformed.

A lot of the cheap abuse that has been heaped on the Presiding Bishop has to do with the National Church's insistence that disputed properties cannot end up in the hands of people who fomented divisions. I do not see this policy as particularly harsh. It is simply a sensible, bedrock principle of good order. If the principle becomes legitimized that a vocal faction can peel off not only parishioners, but also physical and financial assets, the structure of the Church (or any Church that is part of a hierarchical network) would fall apart and we would be left with a multitude of seething political conventions in each parish. This time the catalyst was non-celibate same-sex bishops, the next it might be something else. The traditional, conservative, workable solution for those situations is for people who find the issue as addressed by the Church to be an intolerable situation simply to leave. It works beautifully. Always has, always will. It should have happened here.

Scout

Anonymous said...

Scout,

Demographics and declining ASA strongly suggest there will be no "next century" for TEC.

Your arguments make perfect sense for a denomination that is rapidly becoming a holding company for properties acquired in another age. TEC cannot use or support the properties in dispute; they will never again be occupied by viable Episcopal congregations.

What is more important - protecting the brand or advancing the Good News? TEC has been successful in the first choice.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

RalphM - property holdings always have to be reviewed and adjusted, no matter the state of the Church. I don't accept your assumptions about the fate of the Episcopal Church. It seems to me that virtually all the traditional Protestant denominations in America and Europe are under some stress now for a variety of reasons, but there is also a lot of individual variation within denominations. It will just have to shake itself out over time. But, as BookGuy indicates, those demographic trends are irrelevant to the immediate issue of property settlements in Virginia (and probably elsewhere around the country). If, ten or twenty years down the road, the Episcopal "brand" (as you call it) isn't faring well, the wise heads of that time will have to do what vestries, bishops and standing committees have always done- make some hard choices about how best to use the properties.

Scout

Anonymous said...

RE; "I frankly don't understand that restriction."

Most of us traditional Episcopalians do, however. Makes perfect sense when you're anxious about the competition and also bitter.

A good non-compete is probably the best tactic that the TEC brand could come up with.

RE: "A lot of the cheap abuse that has been heaped on the Presiding Bishop has to do with the National Church's insistence that disputed properties cannot end up in the hands of people who fomented divisions."

Nah -- most of the good analysis of the nature of the PB's theology, actions, and character [not to mention her charming personality] has to do with her on-the-record sermons, essays, and interviews, along with numerous [and reported in writing] interactions with her in various dioceses.

RE: "If the principle becomes legitimized that a vocal faction can peel off not only parishioners, but also physical and financial assets, the structure of the Church (or any Church that is part of a hierarchical network) . . . "

Heh. Now who says that Scout can't learn a little? Smart to add on "part of a hierarchical network" *this* time around.

But actually churches which purport to be "hierarchical" can do just fine with allowing those whose names are on the deed to keep their property. There would be no meltdown of any sort.

Lutherans, Presbys, Baptists . . . all allow those whose names are on the congregation deed to take the property.

In the case of the actual *genuine* hierarchical church in the US -- the Roman Catholic one -- the *diocese* has its name on the property title. So in their case, neutral principles works quite well too.


Sarah

Anonymous said...

@ Sarah

I'm afraid that your sarcasm and 'point scoring' (while distinctly absent of point) just re-enforces my concern. How can TEC ever negotiate with people who are attacking the fundamental patrimony, ecclesiology, polity? Even to admit that there is a credible negotiating partner there would do a very real and serious damage to our faith (not just the church as an institution, the FAITH).

"...most of the good analysis of the nature of the PB's theology, actions, and character [not to mention her charming personality] has to do with her on-the-record sermons, essays, and interviews, along with numerous [and reported in writing] interactions with her in various dioceses."

You have yet to show anyone even so much as one instance that would substantiate these kinds of libels. The PB is one of the single MOST documented leaders in our nation. Her sermons and writings and interviews are all over the internet. Can you show even so much as ONE instance from within an endorsed context? No, you don't bother.

Remember, StandFirm. Minns, Anderson, Duncan and other libelous organizations of that ilk don't cut it as a source. Their libels have been ridiculously clear from the start. If you are going to show an instance, it needs to be from the PB's own words and published writings.

Frankly, your failure to engage these writings directly simply makes you appear all the more foolish and all the less credible. May I respectfully submit that you should consider seeking a better source of information on TEC and the PB than you have shown up until now? Using PRIMARY sources would be an important first step.

On your repeated neutral principals 'stuck record.' The courts have consistently upheld TEC's point of view. Your side has gone down to repeated flaming defeat in the courts. May I also respectfully submit that your sources of legal advise on this subject are strategically inept; for all of their - undisclosed - expense and all of their tactical savvy at drawing the issue out, they have yet to win a single case and your claims have been rejected by the courts with some contempt.

Your last claim makes my concern and my point for me. TEC is NOT a congregational faith; we are EPISCOPALIANS; this means having Bishops. We are a centralized and catholic faith. Any negotiation which compromises that faith is simply not possible. I would also note that, in VA and elsewhere, most of those denominations you cite, including the Romans, have repeatedly sided with TEC in friend of the court briefs.

The bottom line is that you have left TEC and, by leaving, you have disenfranchised your voice in the affairs of TEC and the Anglican communion. In all moral seriousness, you now have nothing more to say about TEC whatever you may think of them. The fact of the matter is that if you have left you are no longer Episcopalians and you have no further legitimate or practical claim on the term 'traditional Episcopalians.' That is for those who remain Episcopalians.

Go and preach the word in your own way, but leave the church's patrimony and Ecclesiology behind.

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