Monday, March 01, 2010

Holy Cow

Church of England Newspaper reports via e-mail:

Episcopalians should pay no heed to the views of conservative scholars and bishops, but should place their trust in her, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said this week.

Her remarks came as a new front opened in the Episcopal Church’s civil war over homosexuality, with the national Church sending out skirmishers for an impending legal assault against the traditionalist Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev Mark Lawrence.

On Feb 9 Bishop Lawrence announced he was postponing the diocese’s annual synod from March 4 to March 26 to permit him time to respond to the “unjust intrusion into the spiritual and jurisdictional affairs of this sovereign diocese of the Episcopal Church” by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

With his announcement he provided copies of letters showing that the former chancellor of the diocese, Thomas Tisdale, Jr., had written to the current chancellor Wade Logan III seeking copies of the minutes of all standing committee meetings held since he took office. He also wanted a copy of oaths of conformity given to the new clergy, and the parish by-laws and other documents from four parishes that have indicated they may quit the Episcopal Church. In the lawyers’ exchange, Tisdale, who styled himself “South Carolina counsel for the Episcopal Church” told Logan, that it was his understanding that Bishop Lawrence would not take any legal action in response to “recent and ongoing actions by some congregations in our diocese that threaten to ‘withdraw their parishes from the diocese and the Episcopal Church.”

Logan responded that no parishes had quit the diocese during Bishop Lawrence’s tenure, and that “the bishop, was the sovereign authority in this diocese. Logan added that “it seems transparent that the Episcopal Church is trying very hard to find a reason to involve either the bishop or the diocese, or perhaps both, in an adversarial situation.”

Following the July General Convention’s vote to end the moratorium on gay bishops and blessings, on Oct 24 the Diocese of South Carolina held a special meeting of synod that declared the moratorium votes “null and void” in South Carolina. The synod also authorized Bishop Lawrence to begin withdrawing the diocese from national Church bodies that approve “actions deemed contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions.”

A spokesman for the Presiding Bishop declined to comment on the South Carolina letters when questioned by The Church of Eng- land Newspaper, but at the meeting of the national Church’s Executive Council in Omaha, Nebraska on Feb 19, the Presiding Bishop addressed the issue.

According to reports, the Pre- siding Bishop told the Executive Council that Bishop Lawrence had delayed the South Carolina annual synod in response “supposedly to my incursions in South Carolina.”

“He’s telling the world that he is offended that I think it’s impor- tant that people who want to stay Episcopalians there have some representation on behalf of the larger church,” she said, and asked for prayers for the diocese.

Asked at a press conference held on Feb 22, what prayers should be offered for South Carolina, Bishop Jefferts Schori said she “would hope that Episcopalians in South Carolina have a clear understanding” of the church’s polity and “not rely upon erroneous information.”

The focus on South Carolina arose from pleas to her office from distressed members of the diocese. “My understanding is that Episcopalians in South Carolina are concerned about those who have departed and are attempting to keep the Episcopal Church’s property,” she said.

Asked by CEN whether she was referring to the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) as the source of this “erroneous information” the presiding bishop said that “Episcopalians, like many others, often seek information from the internet. They are looking at sources that are not peer reviewed, or rely on opinions. The representations on the theology of the church as a whole are inaccurate.”

The President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, Mrs. Bonnie Anderson added that there was an “influx of information coming from sources outside the official bodies” of the Episcopal Church.

“The national Church should be the source of information on the polity and structures of the Episcopal Church,” Mrs. Anderson said.


Lapinbizarre said...

So you admit that she's holy?

Anonymous said...

“The national Church should be the source of information on the polity and structures of the Episcopal Church,” Mrs. Anderson said.

TEC still has structures?

Kelso said...

Always good to hear from the Presiding Oceanographer - I like low humor!

Anonymous said...

The first sentence has no relationship to the quotes from the Presiding Bishop or others in the body of the article. I'm not sure who wrote it, but it is either a reflection of poor or sloppy reading skills, or is deliberately and provocatively misleading. One would think with so many people set on hairspring triggers over some of the issues that confront the Church, that those who are interested enough to write about this or comment on it would choose their words very carefully so as to avoid causing more agitation than we are already experiencing.


Anonymous said...

Lapinbizarre, I don't think she is holy, but the cow part...

Steven in Falls Church said...

"Asked at a press conference held on Feb 22, what prayers should be offered for South Carolina, Bishop Jefferts Schori said she 'would hope that Episcopalians in South Carolina have a clear understanding' of the church’s polity and 'not rely upon erroneous information.'"

If she does pray, I presume it's not to Jesus as that would be putting God in an awfully small box, no?

Anam Cara said...

I confess that all this makes me weary. Not just the news, but the responses. Day after day there are gratuitous verbal abuses. Scott is right, there is no reason for the first comment. And then comes the comment by Anon at 11:23 PM. The sarcasm (like Steven's comment) is getting to be just too much.

And she is NOT the Presiding Oceanographer. Oceanography has nothing to do with her pronouncements as Presiding Bishop. What is all that about? If the next bishop was an accountant before he became a priest, would he be called the Presiding Bean Counter? This is nonsense!
(Although I am opposed to women priests, I do not use the term "he" to exclude the possibility of another woman bishop in the Episcopal Church. I use it because in the traditional grammatical structure of a sentence, "he" can mean either "he" or "she".)

There are too many valid points here to be treating it all so lightly. Can't people present their ideas and views civily anymore? Or do they not know how to properly present an argument?

I was confirmed in the diocese of South Carolina and will be forever grateful to the Episcopal Church of that time for the home it provided for me and the truths I learned there. That having been said, I realize that the Episcopal Church of today is not the Episcopal Church I joined and I agree with those in South Carolina who may want to disassociate themselves from the current teachings. And I have no problems with the majority of any group keeping the properties, if they so desire.

Of course, my opinion is worthless in this matter. I do not have a dog in this fight, since I converted to Orthodoxy following the 1996 fiasco with Bishop Righter of New Hampshire. I did not leave the Episcopal Church. It left me. To God be the glory.

Steven in Falls Church said...

I don't mean my comment as sarcasm at all. Schori said that holding to the belief that Christ is the unique and universal means to salvation is putting God in a small box.,9171,1211587-2,00.html

I think it is a legitimate question to ask that, if Christ is essentially a superfluous expression of God's divinity, which is how I interpret this statement, then do you really pray to Him?

Anonymous said...

Anam Cara,

"Can't people present their ideas and views civily anymore?"

Perhaps it's that lawsuit thingy..

Wilf said...

A most excellent article. Scout / Anonymous, do read the article - Schori is telling people not to "get information" (i.e., read opinions) about the church from sources other than "the national Church." So she's telling people to just ignore Lawrence and the ACI.

Daniel Weir said...

The lawsuit thingy?

I have sat in courtrooms and been amzed at how civilly the lwayers on each side treat one another.

I don't think the PB was proposing either/or, but both/and. Don't limit your information - or the expression of opinions and convictions - to one faction, but listen to all sides.

BTW, I continue to read and respond on this blog because I think that listening and speaking are essential, but I am often tempted by the rude comments of some to stop visiting this blog. I understand that it so easy to say nasty things about people when you aren't with them and don't even know them, esp. when one remains anonymous. However, I expect to spend eternity with you all and I would hate for us to waste time having to apologize for our rudeness.

Daniel Weir said...

I have commented on this before, but perhaps not here. As deep as my commitment is to Jesus, I am uneasy about making statements that rule out the possibility that other religions might have some understanding of God. I believe, as Bryan Green used to say, that Jesus is the fullest revelation of God that we have, but that does not rule out the possibility of other revelations. I judge any claims of revelation - even those that are made within Christian churches - against the revelation in Jesus.

When I pray - and I expect that this is true for the Presiding Bishop as well - it is to the Triune God.

Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

You are right about the snarkiness - I hope you don't feel it directed toward yourself, but rather toward the "top" of TEC. Think of all the luscious things TEC people were saying about George Bush a few years ago - I think you can compare the two - the top of the TEC heirarchy is doing things which make those who are effected by their choices very angry, and the temptation is great to say things which are snarky.

Re. the lawsuits - it's not behavior of lawyers in court that bothers people, it's their having to pony up thousands of dollars in cash to defend themselves if they are laypeople - or being told by their priests that ALL the money they gave the church, and for the property - is now in the hands of an entity that is conducting similar lawsuits across the country.

Re. to whom does the PB pray? I think ultimately she is praying to "the will of The Episcopal Church" - or a kind of ethical system. "God" for her, I believe, is just another word for things the church wants us to do - it's a word that can be used to motivate people, "God on our side" kind of thing. See this article. I think she's made it clear enough on various occasions it is not the Triune God - the God to whom we refer with this word - when we use this phrase.

I am happy indeed that you pray to the Triune God.

Daniel Weir said...


Reasoned criticism is one thing, but the anonymous "Lapinbizarre, I don't think she is holy, but the cow part..." is simply rude and something I might expect of a badly raised adolescent boy.

I don't recall TEC criticism of Pres. Bush's policies using anything like that kind of rude language. Whether or not you agreed with the judgment that the invasion of Iraq didn't meet the just war criteria, making that judgment was hardly snarky.

I am not happy that it has come to lawsuits, but the Canons have been clear for decades - and only put into words what was understood to be the case - and it is the responsibility of the PB to see that the Canons are enforced. I don't object to folks challenging the Canons in civil courts, although I think it's going to be a waste of time and money.

I tend to avoid making judgments about other people's relationship with God. The times that I have tempted to do so, I have been surprised to discover evidence that my judgment would have been wrong.

Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

I certainly do not wish to say things here which would end in alienating you from this place, as you strike me as a rational and charitable person, and many like you within TEC will be needed to train the coming generation how to be more charitable and interested in justice, amongst other things, in order to rebuild bridges between TEC and the Communion, if we still have a Communion.

I will say this though: I do not judge Schori's relationship with God, this is not for me to judge. Yet I do note that she denies the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the resurrection, thus - essentially, denying Christ Himself. And very very few within TEC seem to care, their responses are usually like yours here - "you judgmental fundamentalist type, how dare you say things about our PB." Yet I am simply repeating matters of open public record and not adding much of a gloss to them.

It would also be possible to reply: "I am proud that she denies Christ, since this shows how bold and open-minded and intellectual we all can be!" etc. etc.. Or: "No, she affirms Christ, as Christ is the same as the goodness we see in a child's eyes, or in a blade of grass ... and she affirms the goodness in childrens' eyes and blades of grass, much more so than the so-called "orthodox," so in fact it is the Orthodox who deny Christ, and not her, since they do not frequently enough laud the beauty and goodness of nature."

I am happy that you are a Trinitarian Christian, Fr. Weir, but I fear for the entire Communion given this situation with TEC and TEC's utter lack of concern over this matter. This is, I believe, the first time in history that such has occurred - a head of a significant church claiming to be Trinitarian, denying Christ. I do not attach values to this - I could be wrong - it could be that we all need church leaders who wax eloquent on goodness and beauty, and then affirm that the word "God" is simply a synonym for those things which we like.

However, as Trinitarian Christians believe in a God of judgment, I would think ... that more TEC people would also see a "justice issue" in allowing those churches to leave - they just believe something different about God - the believe that with these words, Schori IS denying Christ - and your Church is * not even providing any interpretation or way of "helping" those who are Trinitarian Christians to swallow these awful words. * It simply: doesn't give a rip.

So I think TEC people who are interested in justice, would have every reason to advocate more just settlements with those people who are being sued for the very things which they paid for themselves.

I am sorry this sounds to pointed - but I don't really think I can put it in any other way.

I hope that some day, people like you will be able to tell your congregations - "look, these people are not monsters - they really DO believe that church leaders should teach that Christ rose from the dead - I know that this might sound silly, but you know, in America we have this thing called 'freedom of religion' - and because we think this is all nonsense, well, they really should be able to leave if they want to, since we really aren't treating those things with respect which they believe we must." And that, if some day TEC again does come to the place where it roundly affirms the resurrection without saying "well yes AND the resurrection can mean nothing more than I feel great today" etc. etc.., because of the important work that you have done with your congregation, the bridges will be all the easier to make between TEC and the rest of the Communion.

Daniel Weir said...

I have come to the opinion that Fr. George Conger, the author of the article cited, is not a new reported by a propagandist. The story supports my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Prior to reading Wilf's comment, I was unaware that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church had denied the divinity of Christ or the Resurrection. That is news! When did this happen? No wonder people are feeling a little hot under the collar.

Unless, of course, it didn't happen. Then we have other serious problems that lie outside the Church and its Presiding Bishop.

Wilf said...

Scout, see this">this article, it was linked above. No it's not "news", it's been around for some time.

Wilf said...

Sorry scout, having trouble making links today.

this article

Anonymous said...

I respect Packer deeply, Wilf. I also feel that Schori, who is not my all-time favorite Presiding Bishop, particularly when she gets into interviews, has a regrettable tendency to pull back from bedrock doctrine in order to make Christianity more approachable to the un-churched.

But I think you over-read Packer and he over-reads Schori to reach a desired conclusion - that this person is essentially apostate or pagan. I have heard these words used all too frequently about her and others in the Church. If Schori comes out and denies the divinity of Christ, in haec verba, or similarly denies the resurrection, it will be front-page news worldwide and she will be removed from office and the priesthood.

Since this unpleasant period of discord began, there has been a regrettable tendency for people to act like this is a low-level secular political campaign - to "fire up the base" with hyperbole and invective. To speak disparagingly and uncharitably in broad strokes about the piety of those of different views. We have grievously lapsed into overstating the differences while obscuring the commonality of our shared faith in our God who appeared to us incarnate and who left us with complete guidance for salvation. I cannot imagine that these base human instincts are pleasing or harmonious with the divine examples that we were blessed with.

I also assume that even in a short statement like the one I have just made, someone as gifted as J.I. Packer could get into it, wiggle his prodigious scholarship around like a crowbar between bricks, and pry out some errancy in my formulation of doctrine. But it would not accurately reflect my devotion, and I doubt that his exegesis accurately reflects the devotion of the Presiding Bishop.

The post is about Schori urging people following events in South Carolina to pay attention to what the National Church is saying on the subject. The writer got off on the wrong foot immediately by mis-stating what the PB said in the first sentence. This is the bad habit we have fallen into in our discourse. It is not a pretty picture.


Wilf said...


Just to be clear - that article isn't by J.I. Packer.

Indeed, Schori does not ever say anything like "the resurrection did not take place," nor "Jesus is not God."

However, if you read down at the bottom with the expected rebuttals, the last one I believe, you will see why what she is doing - redefining "resurrection" and "divinity" to mean different things - how this is probably worse even than simply denying these things outright. God should not be defined as "the ethical system I try to comply to," nor anyone's ethical system. The resurrection is not a general metaphor for overcoming or getting past difficulties. The maistream media is not particularly interested in "theological subtleties," and given the enormous bloopers they tend to make regarding theology, this is the best way to change people's minds about Christ - don't deny anything, just redefine it all into something that TEC likes. It means that eventually we will not even have the divinity of Christ nor the resurrection - we will only have Schori-isms and those things that Schori thinks we should believe in.

These statements were also part of an official, open letter from a Communion primate to Archbishop Williams over a year ago, and Schori has not released any retractions.

Schori also invited Spong to teach her clergy, so this all shouldn't be a surprise.

I am sorry, in cases where God is redefined into a combination of ethics and therapy, and the resurrection re-defined so as to mean the human possibility of getting beyond where we are currently - the difference between Schori and Trinitarian Christianity is so great that addressing this difference is essential. It is all the more essential when she tries to paint those she is suing as homophobes who wish nothing to do with gay people, by denying that there is any difference between her Christology and theirs, and saying that the only reason they are leaving is a difference in opinion regarding homosexuality (and Canon Jim Naughton goes so far as to call them homophobic bigots to major media outlets).

If Schori indeed is a Trinitarian Christian, she would have taken these open complaints about these statements and addressed how some misconstrued what she was trying to say. But she knows very well: no one in her church that has any important voice really cares about any of this.

Wilf said...

Even she were to, it would be a most pressing situation for her and all of TEC because of her track record in the dishonesty department, and TEC's total neglect of this problem. By now it would seem disingenuous.

Scout, I am afraid that TEC leadership cares a great deal less about the resurrection and the divinity of Christ than you do. This isn't about firing anyone up. It's about bringing the Communion for repentance for having collectively fallen into this situation where we have a Primate who says such things, and a whole Province that doesn't care about it either.

You've read her words, you see how she clearly states that the resurrection is unimportant, and the divinity of Christ is the same as being a "great figure." As I take you to be in TEC - why don't you do something about * THAT * ? Ask your diocese to pass a resolution asking the Presiding Bishop to clarify her view of Christology, and to clear up previous misunderstandings, with the necessary apologies and repentance, as she has known about this for more than a year and done nothing, and known that more people were leaving TEC because of it, while at the same time tolerating Canon Jim Naughton smearing all persons who leave TEC because of the Christology as bigoted homophobes.

It is not Schori's responsibility to make Christianity "approachable to the un-churched," and one is dishonest if one implies that the resurrection is unimportant, and the divinity of Christ means nothing more than being a good guy. You'll note in the Parabola interview, that the interviewer was * affirming * (theoretically) the divinity of Christ, and Schori nonetheless took the opportunity to re-define it into something most positively non-divine and merely human - as if she were ashamed with the possibility of being associated with such a view. She had no need to, it was assumed here by the interviewer that she believed in it. She had to make clear that what "we" believe when we speak of the divinity of Christ is - "a great figure" ... a "higher consciousness, nonviolence" etc. etc..

Go back through her Easter sermons. You won't find the bodliy resurrection of Christ. It's all sporks and environmentally friendly lightbulbs. That's Easter for TEC these days.

The Anglican Communion should go out in sackcloth and ashes during this Lent. We have done something no other church claiming to be Trinitarian has done. We have no right to criticize any other Trinitarian Church, until this problem is rectified. We are denying Christ at the very highest level of our Communion. A shame this great has never befallen a Trinitarian church in history that I know of. This is Galatians 1 stuff.

Anonymous said...

something that i've noticed:

here we are discussing basic Christian views...the Trinity, the Resurrection etc...not "basic", because these are complex theological issues. "basic" in the sense that these are foundational to our faith. if you do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ...if you don't believe that through Him is the only way to salvation...if you don't believe these things you aren't a Christian. To quote Christopher Hickens, an atheist...

"I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."

I do believe that PB Schori understands basic Christianity...I do not think, from her own words, sermons etc...that she believes it. Her theology is a "choose your own adventure" book...pick this, pick that...throw this out...take this in your own context"'s a little ridiculous.

reason...and liberal tradition is what guides her. not Scripture. what is even worse is that almost everyone in TEC fails to take the example of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2, and rebuke her for her beliefs. These men and women entrusted to "defend the Faith" have done a pretty poor job of doing it...and so we have a gaggle of humanistic, "christianity=whatever you want it to", leaders who bow to her every theological whim.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we had more teachers like JC Ryle in the Anglican Church, we'd be better off...

"Those who think that unsound ministers ought never to be exposed and held up to notice, and men ought never to be warned against them, would do well to study this passage. No class of character throughout our Lord's ministry seems to call forth such severe denunciation as that of false pastors. The reason is obvious. Other men ruin themselves alone: false pastors ruin their flocks as well as themselves. To flatter all ordained men, and say they never should be called unsound and dangerous guides, is the surest way to injure the Church and offend Christ." - JC Ryle

Can I get an "Amen"?

Anonymous said...

Amen !!!

Anonymous said...

Fr. Daniel,
How do you deny foundational Protestant beliefs/theology and still call yourself a "Protestant Christian"? Isn't there point when ones "theology" is so far removed from Calvin, Luther, the 39 Articles, Heidelberg, Dort, Nicea, etc...and becomes unrecognizable? With such a rich Protestant history within Anglicanism it seems a bit strange to me that the very people charged with defending it are the same people who deny it.
Does there come a point when leadership in TEC says that revisionism has gone to far? That TEC has strayed to far from what Christianity is? Do you ever feel as though PB Schori and the like have moved your denomination more into liberal social causes and less into preaching the Gospel?
God Bless,

Also, you mentioned a dislike of the current lawsuits but that TEC is merely acting out it's canons. Any chance those canon's might be wrong? That you might be doing the wrong thing? That this current course is totally off-base? Since many in TEC are open to very loose theology it seems as though they might be able to comprehend that something they are doing is wrong.

Unknown said...

Does it not seem somewhat ironic that the same church leadership that publicly approaches scripture and the prayer book in a more "anything goes" sort of way, can also be the same church leadership that rigidly enforces the law in the most narrow and punishing sort of way?

Where have all the liberals gone?


Anonymous said...


That is an interesting observation, and one that I would agree with. TEC has dedicated themselves to enforcing the Denis Canon but their defense of Theological Canons has been pathetic at best. Those are re-written yearly but somehow the Denis Canon is "set in stone". Why?

Daniel Weir said...

I am once again in the position of responding to assertions made about by someone who prefers to remain anonymous.The temptation to ignore his/her is strong, but I will resist it.

This anonymous person has quetioned my theology in a rather confrontational manner: "How do you deny foundational Protestant beliefs/theology and still call yourself a "Protestant Christian"?"

I cannot respond to this, except to challenge Anonymous to give any evidnce that I have denied - here or elsewhere - any foundational beliefs/theology. If Anonymous fails to do this, I will assume that she/he is not at all serious about the question and simply wants gto dismiss me a a heretic unworthy of the name Christian.

Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

I am much in agreement with you that it's wrong to accuse you of denying Trinitarian Christian beliefs. I think "anonymous" probably meant, "how does one ..." instead of, "how do you" in the personal sense.

You've mentioned above that you find it wrong to question someone's salvation. In the article I mentioned though, salvation is not in question: it is the simple question: does the PB deny the doctrine of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ? Let's shift the question back to that.


Nowhere does the article accuse Schori to be pagan or apostate - you are adding this. It seems to me that the article in general is specific enough about what has taken place, and what has not. You are right that some may have been wrong in unjustly accusing her. However, it is pointed out specifically in the article as well that she is sometimes unjustly accused - you are in full agreement there.

What amazes me sometimes about Episcopalian loyalists is that when "rubber hits the road" and there is a possible moment of clarity, the topic of the argument is changed. E.g., Scout, after saying he doubted that the PB has denied the doctrines of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ, wants to leave this topic simply with his "doubts" expressed, but no substantial evidence or argument that the article is in any way wrong. Fr. Weir is correct in responding to the assertions regarding his own theology, but he then leaves completely unaddressed the question of whether the PB denies the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the resurrection as described in the article.

Both of these things are highly relevant, and also to the current litigation.

I like the way both of you sometimes respond to issues, especially Fr. Weir - I particularly like his integrity and honesty in postings here and elsewhere on the net.

You both leave me with the impression that these church doctrines are of little importance to you, and that you don't really care how the PB represents TEC when it comes to them - that you are more interested in personal slights and innacuracies which, however grevious, are very different from what is pronounced from the highest position of The Episcopal Church.

I do hope that it is the tremendous sadness of the situation, and possibly your fear of reprisals, rather than your own lack of care, which prevents you from addressing these. But I would add: it is the corporate lack of response as a whole of TEC which is so utterly telling. I do hope that both of you, "behind the scenes," as it were, are able to vigorously do whatever you can to bring TEC back to Christ, and to prevent these things from influencing wayward churchpeople and clergy in other churches, who are easily enough tempted to get press attention by doing things "shocking," or court secularists by denying who Christ is, the very things He told us about himself.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Daniel,

The question wasn't posed to was a general question. I didn't mean for it to come across as being pointed at you personally.
Sorry for any confusion.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

Wilf: I am in a traditional parish where none of these alarums have had the slightest impact on our practices or beliefs. This was true even before the division in our parish where a large number of our parishioners left for another church. I have suffered no personal slights and fear no reprisals. My spiritual life is serene.


Daniel Weir said...


I accept your apology, but I hope you see how the way yuou posed the question led to the misunderstanding.


Wilf said...


It sounds, then, like you have a more "congregationalist" approach to ecclesiology - "let the national church does what it wants, even if it denies Christ, we're safe and peaceful here." It's a bit odd, though, that you go so far in defending the national church.

I'd suggest that something about this situation leaves you without peace. This is a struggle which can inflict wounds and harm faith. And what the National Church believes will affect one if one is defending it. You seem avid to confess a faith of the creeds, but at a loss to know how to deal with the statements of the very leader of your church. You offer not a single rebuttal to the article other than you doubt that it is true - which is odd.

I would suggest that this struggle will be harmful to your faith. As much as I enjoy conversing with you, I would rather see you grow in Christ away from this utter mess. There are plenty of other Trinitarian churches without leaders who deny Christ - well, pretty much all of them outside of TEC. These can also provide you with spiritual family, sharing, and growth opportunities. Staying away from the Anglicans might be smart - that would likely also just rip open old wounds - and starting afresh could be good.

Daniel Weir said...

Anonymous wrote:
"That is an interesting observation, and one that I would agree with. TEC has dedicated themselves to enforcing the Denis Canon but their defense of Theological Canons has been pathetic at best. Those are re-written yearly but somehow the Denis Canon is "set in stone". Why?"

A question: which Theological Canons have been rewritten?

A correction: General Convention, the only body authorized to revise the Canons only meets every three years, so yearly rewriting can't happen.

These are the kind of unsupported assertions that make reading blogs so frustrating. I hope no one takes them as accurate.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the poster was implying that TEC wields the Denis Canon around as if it were part of the actual CANON...but other issues within the church are left to one's interpretation. Re: Jesus, His Resurrection, Authority of Scripture, Same-sex blessings, abortion, etc...meaning, there is no uniformity in theology within TEC. You've got Bishop Lawrence and you've got Bishop Spong, and the abyss inbetween. What I took from the post was that in many theological aspects, TEC is pretty loose in their definitions. But, when dealing with the Denis Canon they seem quite "fundamentalist" and strict on their interpretation.
Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

I was unaware that the National Church had "denied Christ," Wilf. I don't know how that could have escaped me if it had happened.


Wilf said...


If your PB denies the doctrines of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ, it's denying some of the most important parts of the identity of Christ - i.e., who Christ is.

Evidence in the article above, that the PB has done this and the National Church doesn't give a rip. More evidence in this thread: you and Fr. Weir not interacting with the article. Not that you are obligated to - but if you truly did care about the state of your Church regarding Christology, you would at least come to the plate with something more than "I doubt that." You have been implicitly taught that it's okay for your leaders to say pretty much whatever they want about these matters, and that you nonetheless need to defend the National Church to the hilt.

Thus I think it would be best if you had the opportunity to be fed spiritually by a congregation that takes the resurrection and divinity of Christ to be very real and concrete, and can also explain to you the power of Christ and how His power also has to do with faith in who He is. Amongst such things - the resurrection - as Paul explains in a number of places. And that you could learn this best away from the battle going on currently, without having to think that if you believe in these things and do find them important, that you are somehow "caving in" to a party that you don't like.

Daniel Weir said...

I have read the PB's statements about the resurrection and the divinity of Jesus, as well various critiques of those statements. I am reminded of a theologian's observation that there is a danger when particular way of understanding, e.g., the resurrection or the virgin birth, becomes so important that it becomes an obstacle to our being grasped by the Truth. To get stuck on a biological understanding of the virgin birth or a physics understanding of the resurrection may miss the point: the incarnation was God's doing and Jesus is alive.

I affirm the authority of Scripture, although I refuse to let Scripture take the place of God. Where I have to argue against some of my sisters and brothers in Christ is when they assert that only one interpretation of Scripture - theirs -is the right one. There is, I believe, a right interpretation of Scripture, but none of us has it. What is the generally accepted interpretation now may well in fifty years or so be seen as wrong. This happened with slavery and before that with lending money at interest. I do not know if it will happen with the issue of same-sex unions, but I hope so.

Daniel Weir said...

One of the theological positions that has been elevated to "canonical" for many Christians is Anselm's understanding of the Atonement. While I don't find Abelard's response to it satsfactory, I can no more embrace Anslem's theory that Abelard could. More than once I have been called a heretic because I will not subscribe Anslem's thery.

Daniel Weir said...

There is an issue for Episcopalians that seems to be overlooked in the discussions of the PB's theology. Disagreements about her theology or her suitability for the posistion should not be allowed to give Episcopalians permission to ignore the Canons of TEC, including the Denis Canon. No matter who is serving as PB, that person has a responsibility to enforce the Canons. Certianly negotiated settlements of property disputes are possible, but simply ignoring the Denis Canon is not, IMV, an option for the PB or for the Bishop of a diocese.

Wilf said...

You are correct on many points here Fr. Weir. I am wondering if that theologian you describe was Tillich in his history of the church where he describes "orthodoxy" moments. This is something which happens when a church is denying something - other churches sometimes lapse into various forms of protective behavior which we tend to associate with "fundamentalism." It is wrong when we clap to fast to some beliefs. But Tillich also describes the importance of these moments, that one musn't let wayward clergy take the church and deny Christ. It is wrong to tell our sheep that the core beliefs are unimportant, or can be replaced with other beliefs bearing the same name as "interpretations."

I agree with you by and large, but fortunately no other Trinitarian churches have a top leader who so denies the church's teachings of the resurrection of Christ or the divinity of Christ, which is truly a great, great gift, nor ever have, to my knowledge. That fate falls uniquely to us Anglicans during this decade.

I would say though that churches are also in danger when they find these things so unimportant that no one really cares, whether claiming not to care due to being more "open to the truth" or for whatever reasons whatsoever. I am denying my father if I don't care that he is my father, or that he loves me, or that he cared for me and put me through school, even if I care so much about the Truth that I would like to hold open the possibility of believing anything about him.

The resurrection can not be compared to any one teaching on the "how" of the atonement. No one teaches about "how" Christ rose from the dead, simply that He did. Though some Anglicans teach that He didn't or that this is unimportant.

Other churches have problems with unbelief and sometimes heresy in their clergy and bishops, this lot here is unique to us Anglicans. Never has this happened before in history.

We will all bear the consequences. We are collectively denying Christ - as PB Schori so rightly points out, a good part of our faith is collective. This is the fault of us all.

I am happy though that you admit that your church finds it satisfactory that its bishops deny the importance of the bodily resurrection of Christ, that is, that you admit this. I hope that this gives you personally food for thought. I hope that you come to see that this is a grave error and that the whole Communion is blackened by this. And I hope you find a loving way of doing your part to rectify it. If you don't do it for your own church - please do it for the rest of the Communion.

We should now decide collectively whether it would be better to inform the rest of the world that we are no longer Trinitarian in practice, but rather embrace a Christology which falls into the same "family" of beliefs as the Muslims, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses, and that we no longer in practice accept the Ecumenical Councils nor the creeds, since this practice has hit the very highest level of our Communion. This would only be honest so as to keep other churches from entrusting their own sheep with us.

We must remember Galatians 1 and give them due warning.

Perhaps the Communion could go for a period being collectively non-practicing Trinitarian until it recognizes the error of its ways and repents of them.

If we have been honest in this failing and warn other churches, we perhaps will keep open the possibility of ecumenism with the other Trinitarian churches if we later succeed in corporately repenting. They would, I think, appreciate the warning if it is given in a spirit of honesty.

Anonymous said...

Wilf - I have no reason to believe that the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior is less "real and concrete" or means any less to me than it does to you. Your pride in assuming otherwise, though undoubtedly well-intentioned, is out of line. And, to take it a step further, I frankly have no reason to believe that the Presiding Bishop is less moved and guided by the power of the Resurrection than are you and I, jointly or severally. You (and I) are not in a position to decide that.

My congregation is a lovely place for spiritual growth. It is an ancient church that has survived much. I doubt that it could be greatly improved on. My spiritual strength has been greatly augmented by living intimately with persons in exile from the properties they cannot access because people who left the church will not let them continue to worship where our forebears did for nearly two centuries. We are all the stronger for the experience. When we return, we will be spiritually renewed.


Wilf said...


Let me put it this way. I have given you a link to an article with evidence and a lot of careful analysis which shows that the PB has denied the church's teaching of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ. You have merely told me that you "doubt" this is the case. Episcopalians tend to rely on "reason" in places where they diverge from Trinitarian Christianity, or at least, allege that "reason" is what motivates them (and I believe them - only, I think that the reason is rather insular, poor, and misguided).

Thus I suppose that you don't really care much about whether your PB does or does not. Now you are very certain that she sees the resurrection as very "concrete." But you still haven't addressed the article in any way, other than saying you "doubt it." You should provide ground for such doubts, and describe what the article's weaknesses are. You are not providing me with any new quotes which could perhaps actually refute the content of the article.

Thus I see tension in what you allege of yourself - that the resurrection is important - and your Mother Church - and your own behavior here, saying that this is important to you, defending the National Church vociferously, so obviously having a stake in that - but then doing nothing but continuing on emotionally when it comes to this issue of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ. So I see problems for you in the long term with making these things fit.

I am sorry if I was arrogant, but I am concerned. I hope you can see why. Here you state that you have "no reason to believe" that the PB does not believe in a concrete resurrection when ample evidence has been presented to you. I fear that you will likely face, in the future, further such scenarios when confronted with the PB's sermons, other statements of your top TEC leadership, etc. etc.. And such will be a challenge to faith which probably has not been nourished much, from the evidence I see here. You may consider your congregation to be a place of strong "faith" in the sense that you meet together, you enjoy each other's presence, you have common purpose. You may have faith in a risen Christ or maybe, like the PB, you also really just think that the "Resurrection" is a notion that can be reduced to a metaphor for springime, ethics, social justice, and many other good things, but none of which are: the bodily resurrection of Christ. You may find me to be a "fundamentalist" for even caring about this. I do not wish to condemn you, if this is the case, if you share Schori's belief regarding the resurrection.

Perhaps you don't.

Wilf said...

I hope this isn't arrogant. I can't say much about my own spiritual state, I have my own difficulties. You may have gotten more "mileage" out of your own church than I have in my position. I can not say that your faith is any worse than mine, but I do see signs here of tensions. Thus my concern. Even if your faith is more in bloom than my own, your faith can still be improved upon.

In either case, removing yourself from this awful tension will allow you to grow in faith away from these terrible, blighting fights. Just leave - don't go Anglican, go Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, something like that - you don't have to "become" a Lutheran, just fellowship with them and grow in faith.

I certainly don't advise everyone in TEC to leave - not those who are strong in faith, and are willing to resist the National Church. But this doesn't seem to be the case with you, and what's telling is you seem to value the "bedrock" of faith, but here you are trying to support the PB's Christology, and you aren't even offering any evidence, or any interpretive gloss of the evidence which has been presented. This strikes me as ... an indication of elusive behavior. There may be tensions in your faith that you have been avoiding. Faith always has a cognitive aspect - so "reason" is very important, especially in our age. We musn't "intellectualize," but we also can't deny the importance of the minds which God has given us.

In this last post you also make clear that your main intent is arguing the case for the TEC side of things, especially since you don't bother to back your arguments re. the resurrection with anything substantial, and claim that "people who left the church will not let them continue to worship where our forebears did for nearly two centuries." We all know that all ADV congregations are "radically inclusive" and that this is simply not the case. Never have I seen a credible allegation of a TEC person being refused the opportunity to worship with the ACNA, and ACNA bishops have made very very clear that TEC people are welcome. At any rate I would not suggest this for you personally since you have been wounded by this debate and I think you would do better in a congregation separated from it all.

Wilf said...

This is a glimmer of good news since I think maybe - maybe you just aren't here to think about whether the PB does deny the resurrection or not, you probably didn't read the article carefully, or even at all, and that might be a good thing, that article might challenge your faith in a way for which you aren't currently prepared, especially since you put so much stock in TEC. A person can also be challenged in a "bad way" in faith when his church institution lets him down in such a dramatic way as this. But this might be an opportunity for you to think: I could also grow in faith and not even worry whether the PB says such things or not. I wouldn't be confronted with that awful question, "was it right or wrong of me to defend TEC to the hilt like this?" etc. etc., I could just make a clean break. Away with all these Anglican miseries and all the weird cooky Spong stuff and all the wacky things like president of the Episcopal Women's Caucus saying that women with more than three children are likely to drown them, just to get at an Anglican clergywoman, and advocating watching her via her state's social services regarding suitability to take care of her own children. Away from support for partial birth abortion. Away from a church with a bishop who thinks Muslim Christian priests are great, away from a church that is embroiled in all these lawsuits, away from a church that publishes a liturgy to the goddess Asherah on their website and never indicates that that was wrong (citing a copyright claim for removing the liturgy, as Scientologists tend to do), away from a church that tried to derail the carefully-worked out, incredibly expensive indaba process with a series of talking points clumsily handed around by its bishops, away from a Presiding Bishop who lied on her cv to get the position of Presiding Bishop and a church that doesn't even care about this awful breach of honesty, with no inquiry made.

The above things are things to be concerned about, but none of them really matters a jot compared to who Christ is. I'm more trying to motivate you on those things, since I think you may be very very fuzzy about the whole "Christ" thing and you seem to think the PB's take on Jesus is adequate. Your words here about the PB seem to indicate more your enthusiastic support for TEC than anything else, since you do nothing to ground them or back them up, they are more like emotional utterances, which of course have their own value, but can't be taken as rational grounds. So I do wonder: have you been taught about the relevance of the resurrection for the incarnation, for Christ's humanity, for Christ's divinity? Has this become a concrete part of your faith, upon which you can rely in times of need, is it a part of your daily prayer life in praising God? These are imortant of course in and of themselves, but you will be surprised at how much praise actually strengthens you personally, if you learn to do this in fullness of faith and truth. You perhaps have never had a pastor who knows how to communicate these things in a vivid and life-giving way. Thus the lip service to their importance, and defense of the PB, all of which flies in the face of the evidence presented.

A good friend of mine, who probably would have become Anglican, except for the fact that Anglicans have been so utterly wonky in all this TEC business, is considering joining the Orthodox Christians. That might be a good thing for you since it would immerse you in a very different approach to faith. Much would seem alienating, but it could be that a bit of a "completely new thing" would help you re-evaluate how you have been approaching God in the last decades. It could be, as you put it, "spiritually renewing."

Daniel Weir said...

Wilf has raised an important point. It is easy to be misunderstood when we speak about theology. Not to speculate about the PB's faith, but to speak about my own. I understand that the Church has taught that Mary conceived without a human partner. I also understand that there is a danger in that teaching, i.e., the danger that we will see Jesus as being not-quite-human because his conception was not-quite-human. There is, of course, the danger on the other side, i.e., of denying that his conception and birth was a sovereign act of God. Recognizing those two dangers is important and those who would hold firmly not to the "with Joseph" or "without Joseph" positions need to guard against the danger. It is also good to remember that the Church has often seen the Virgin Birth as a sign of Christ's humility: "When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb." (Te Deum) I think we should be cautious about condemning those who have reservations about the Virgin Birth - which is after all a statement about how Jesus is fully human and God from God - and see that the important question is "Do we have faith in God Incarnate, in Jesus the Christ?"

The same kind of discussion can be had about the Resurrection. The disciples expereinced Jesus as alive after his death. The experience was not of a ghost, but of a living person - I would say the Living Person. I accept that that was their experience, but it isn't mine. I am one who believes without seeing, although I have seen/experienced signs of Christ's presence within the life of the Church. Much more important to me than a discussion of what the disciples experienced is a discussion of what we experience and how that experience of the Risen and Ascended Christ is transforming us. How, I would ask, are we "participating in the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4) or being "filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19)? Are we being serious when we pray - as I hope we all do: "O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Wilf - so many words, so little time. I'll try to read them carefully over the weekend. But, you shouldn't fear for me. I worship in a delightful, traditional Episcopal parish. I'd prefer that you not spend a lot of time trying to pry me out of it.


Wilf said...


OK, I do look forward to your response.

Fr. Weir,

Thank you for your response, you sort of tied in another thread with its own legitimacy, and I acknowledge that the above was difficult to respond to.

I continue to be refreshed and encouraged by your tone, your thoughts, your emphasis on Christ. I do not doubt that you believe in a Risen Christ, in the sense that - Christ rose from the dead, and not in the sense of: "I really like springtime."

It seems, though, that you are here willing to substitute the bodily resurrection of Christ with something Schori or Spong-like, as long as one remains filled with attitudes you describe here, each of which, though, is re-defined if we re-define God to mean a particular system of ethics. I.e., it would mean for the greens, that they use efficient lightbulbs, and that using efficient lightbulbs is very green (and thus god and godly). For republicans, it would mean keeping government small and efficent, and doing so is exercising good governance (with the god being good governance here), for the inclusivists it means that all we do is lgbt-encouraging and promoting, etc., (the god in this case being a particular notion of social inclusion) - nothing less and nothing more. I.e., it's a little linguistic game we play with ourselves to exalt the importance of what we feel to be ethical, and to encourage others to vote for our cause. The smarter individuals in your pews will catch on to this sooner or later when given the Schori stuff, and they may like it, admiring the social engineering in convincing the masses of their particular ethic that "God is on our side" - or they may become despondent in faith, and feel like they have been led by the very body of Christ in a game of smoke and mirrors.

I will probably respond using the name "Schleiermacher" and discuss some inadequacies in a particular stream of 19th century thought, and the danger of the word "God" simply meaning "stuff the church wants us to do." Scout, Schori may find "God" to be very "real" and "concrete", just as she finds the springtime to be concrete. My point is: we should not have our church leaders teaching children of Christ that God is nothing more than civil rights, springtime, and other such good things. What matters is in which manner God is real and concrete. My academic background is in philosophy, and this makes me realize: how we think, and what we teach, matters a great deal. Someone might teach a thing which sounds very nice and beautiful, with a good conscience, while engaging in wonderful acts - and that thing he taught, half a generation later, can have its fruition in the loss of ethical sensitivities, a rise in fascist-like politics, or even a genocide. In Christian teaching, since faith has a cognitive aspect, it means we must examine the coherence of what we are saying. Things may sound very "nice" but nonetheless be quite false and dangerous. This does not mean we must go on a "witch hunt" of people saying things which are nice, but nonetheless false and dangerous - but it does mean we must do * something * about this. That * something * may be no more than warning others to stay out of our own churches until we have dealt with the problem, and providing extensive pastoral care ourselves for those within the church, especially those who are saying the dangerous things.

Wilf said...

God Himself inspired Paul to write about this in the most serious of language, with condemnations like none other found in the New Testament.

In the early 20th Century, l'Action Française espoused restoration of Catholicism as the official religion of France. The founder, an agnostic, Francois Maurras, wanted to do some beautiful things for France. He wanted a France that was truly self-determining, and social justice for the French people which would come from an end to various forms of corruption - things which many found to be good and beautiful. But he was an agnostic - he did not believe in the Trinitarian God, he believed that restoring the Catholic Church would bring back certain ethical principles. Of course those principles are very different from those of TEC. L'Action Française ended up becoming rather fascist and was condemned by the Vatican - not because it was fascist, but because of its misappropriation of God.

Something, later, occurred with "Positive Christianity" - a movement launched by National Socialists during 1930's Germany. It was also a rather utilitarian religion, stressing a certain desired social outcome, without much heed to who Christ is. Like Spong and Schori, such Positive Christianity teachers would simply say - "you have your ideas about Jesus, we have ours, let's all just get together and change the world." The political movement changed the world - though not in the way it dreamed it would - and fortunately the religious movement didn't get very far.

It matters not so much whether TEC's ethics is "right" or "wrong" - an ethic and an ethos for fostering that ethic are not the same as God, and when we confuse the two, even though ethics can be wonderful, liberating things - we are teaching "another gospel," just as Paul warned in Galatians, where other parties were exalting a particular ethic and ignoring the grace of Christ.

If Spong and Schori wish to engage in ethical theory and philosophy, this would be a good thing. At least they would be dissociating what they teach form God, and they would also be more beholden to principles of reason through the practice of peer review. Perhaps TEC could become an organization for the discussion and promotion of an ethical vision. This would be a truly wonderful thing.

Wilf said...

To conclude -

The attitudes you present here, Fr. Weir, are indeed crucially important. However, if the things to which they refer are rendered completely "subjective" and subject to re-definition, they are also diminished to mean - "am I participating in the divine nature?" - or "am I being green enough?" "am I being supportive enough of the principle of a small and efficient state?" "am I being inclusive enough" for the various ethical options presented above. Or in short, "am I being good enough according to my ethical preferences?"

Without good content of teaching, the Gospel is easily subverted into someone's political ends. An anthropologist would tell you that major religions tend to have their own internal "checks and balances" within the teachings to prevent the religion from going off-course. Though I do not believe that in the case of the Gospel, this is simply reducible to anthropology or man's intelligent forethought - I think that, like all religions, without the proper demarcations that we are speaking of God Himself - and not merely of ethics - our religion could become something very ugly indeed. In Europe, many countries have governmental agencies for monitoring religions to make sure they do not become "sects." It is the maintenance of a high view of Christ which prevents us Christians from reducing our vision of Christ to our own ethical preferences and eisegesis of the Biblical text, the high view of Christ which gives us reverent honor to the authority of Scriptures. It is the maintenance of an insistence on Christ's humanity which draws us to the texts as narrative and invites us to explore them in their human aspect as well. Both are necessary for Christian communities to avoid devolving into dangerous sects.

Daniel Weir said...


As Scout said, so many words, so little time.

You move very quickly from what I write to assertions that I seem willing to substitute the resurrection for something Schori or Spong like. There is nothing in what I have written that could lead you to that conlusion. I have never seen any reason to quote either of them - not in my sermons, not in the blogosphere.

You may be surprised, but politics - church or otherwise - almost never finds its way into my preaching. Parishioners may have some ideas about my political views, but not because I preach about politics. I don't even preach about ethics much, except the ethics of the summary of the law.

What I find disturbing about much of the duiscussion that goes on in forums like this is that people assume that a person's convictions about one issue can predict without fail that person's convictions about other issues. Because a person like me does not subscribe to the traditional position on same-sex unions one cannot assume anything about the person's convictions about other matters. My long-time friend Bp Gene Robinson is fairly conservative theologically, which drives some folks in "both camps" crazy.

Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

I by no means wished to imply that you substitute the resurrection with ethics or politics.

To the contrary, I am pleased and heartened by your words about Christ.

You seem, however, not to grasp the gravity of what is taking place, and seem also to be asserting that what matters is not a belief regarding a state of fact, but a subjective attitude one holds when considering whatever one's "interpretation" of the resurrection might be. I do not think that you believe these things - but you seem to be willing to leave the door open for them. This you have not yet revealed. You may believe in the resurrection, but: is it acceptable for TEC to foist upon the Communion a Primate who teaches against it?

I can not assume, I can only work on likelihoods from what you write.

I hope that I can get you thinking about the future of your church. If only a tiny percentage of your church care about Schori's Christology, we all, in the Anglican Communion, are in grave trouble. The above is an attempt to convince you of such trouble.

Wilf said...

I should clarify -

You yourself do not substitute - but you seem complacent enough regarding your Presiding Bishop's substitution, or seem willing to allow others who teach in the church to teach such substitutions. Please notice "seem."

I am also very much displeased with the number of words I am taking in this discussion, but I realize that decades of ambiguation about things which in the gospels and epistles are rather clear, plus a church political situation with thousands of TEC clergypeople with little regard for Christology (note how few complain about the PB's Christology) renders this a situation which unfortunately can not be clarified with only a few lines of text. I do wish we all could avoid all of this, that we had never been placed here. We all could be doing more enlightening, more edifying things.

Daniel Weir said...

For what it's worth, my preference is to focus on my own theological thinking and not on that of others with whom I may disagree. Whatever the dificiencies of the PB's theology, I would rather devote myself to expositions of my own theology - as I have on my blog. As a preacher, I am privileged to be able to explore theology in my sermons - which, as one might expect by now, are short on critique of others' theology.

One of my friends serves the Anglican Chapel in this village. From the beginning of his time there, he was clear that criticizing TEC or our diocese or our Epsicopal parish was not his agenda. He was there to celebrate the Sacraments and preach the Good News. The same Good News that I endeavr to preach. We disagree on some matters, but those pale by comparison with what we share in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Wilf - I have read through your lengthy comments quickly. They seem very sincere. I think they fail, however, to process the fact that Christians find comfort in their churches for different reasons and from different perspectives. I am perhaps, for a variety of reasons, some trivial, some profound, all based on my observations and experiences that will naturally differ from yours or anyone else's, more inclined to view these issues from within the fellowship and comfort of my local parish. I do not agree with everything that everyone in the Church says (this would no doubt be true if I were a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian - although there is probably less diversity of viewpoints in these more structured organizations). I do hear things from time to time that seem fairly wacky to me. But I also see a lot of hyperbole and exaggeration from detractors of the Church. To be perfectly frank, I think the PB is not a theologically deep person. I would have preferred a different sort of PB for this time and place, just as my Catholic friends sometimes would prefer a different Pontiff. Moreover, she does not seem to have the kind of staff around her to help her craft her public utterances in a way that would preempt much of the criticism she gets. On the other hand, there are people out and about, particularly in this medium, who will hit on any statement of hers like a pickerel reflexively hitting a bright spinning lure at the edge of a lily pad. I read the link, I've read considerable commentary on some of her statements,and I think it is hyperbolic and inaccurate to say that she has "denied Christ" or denied the Resurrection etc. "Denial" is pretty strong stuff. When she presides at a mass, does she recite the Creeds? Is she crossing her fingers, literally or figuratively, when she does that?

I love my church home. I'm sorry so many of my friends departed. But I also enjoy the Christian intimacy of what continues. None of us is under the slightest pressure to view any issue in Spong-like terms. This was true before the Schism. I see no reason to confirm a Bishop in New Hampshire who is sexually active (homo or hetero) outside marriage than I would to confirm a coveter, liar, graven image maker, or someone who did not honor his father or mother. But I am confident that my bishop, while not free from sin any more than the bishop in New Hampshire, is a righteous man who strive to serve God. Beyond that, I'm not sure what you want of me.


Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

I must say that I have enjoyed your blog postings which I am read and I am heartened to know how you address Scripture. I agree with your Anglican colleague that criticizing TEC should not - well, at least not be a significant part of one's pulpit ministry, as this leads people to despair. However I also don't want to judge those who do, on occasion, bring these things up. Parishoners who are likely to be in contact with certain views coming out of TEC also need to be aware of what one's own church teaches, and sometimes the most explicit way is to bring up the counterexample. It is painful, but I would contend that it is a painful situation, and simply looking away from it is only one way of dealing with the pain. This is a challenging subject which I tend to discuss with others on a one-on-one basis, outside of internet postings - where one also must be careful.

Scout -

Thank you also for your comments here. I cannot in truth ask you anything except your ear and your mind in engaging these issues and what it is that God calls you to do.

I'd like you both to know that I appreciate this exchange and that it has been quite thought-provoking - something which I don't always say, since, to be honest, a lot of dialogs on these matters don't get anywhere.

I have a response germinating slowly, it may be a while before you hear from me. It is a response which I believe you will, at first, find controversial, but I hope that both of you will later, with time, will find peace and repose in it, as I do. I think it helps heal some wounds in this debate.

Rick67 said...

Well anyways - back to the original news item eh?