Thursday, October 20, 2011

A word to my critics

Apparently even though one observes things faraway from little islands of isolation, one can share in wonderment. Here is the Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Andrew Waldo, on the situation surrounding the proceedings against +Mark Lawrence:

"I do not intend to prejudge the matters being considered by the review board; however, it is hard for me to see how the actions complained of against Bishop Lawrence rise to the level of an intentional abandonment of the communion of this church, as is charged. I have difficulty understanding why matters that are arguably legislative and constitutional in nature should be dealt with in a disciplinary context. I await the report and yet hope the review board shares my difficulty."
You can read all this wise man has to say here (H/T Thinking Anglicans, Titus One Nine).


carl jacobs said...

Quoth the Good Bishop

I am committed to being a voice within the church that pays more than lip service to theological diversity that includes both traditionalists and progressives fully and integrally in our common life. The diversity we claim is only as authentic as the diversity we live.

"Theological diversity" is not instantiated by simply acknowledging the presence of or 'listening to' the differing theological positions. There must be a place within the church where the theological presuppositions of each position hold sway. And therein lies the problem. The only way to do that is to create separate enclaves for each faction. Otherwise you get a situation where one side sees consonance between the church at its position, whereas the other sees only dissonance.

How does a church (for example) respect the integrity of opposition to women's ordination when ordained women exist within the authority structure of the church. How is an opponent of WO to realize the expression of that belief in his corporate church life? In the absence of a separate enclave, the simple answer is "He isn't." He is allowed to hold his opinion but only so long as it does not act on that opinion or teach that opinion. That is not diversity. That is the illusion of diversity.

It is not enough to say "We need conservatives" even as conservative doctrine and leadership are being systematically expunged. You can't include them while stripping the church of every expression of conservative belief. The attempt will simply force conservatives to leave.

Now, a clever liberal might say to me "Wait. Don't you wish to see the church cleansed of liberalism?" Yes, I do. But I don't blather on about 'inclusion.' I am up front and open about it. I also don't blame the liberals for doing what they are doing. It is consistent and necessary from their perspective. Mutually exclusive religions cannot co-exist. The point is not that liberals are hypocrites. The point is rather that Bishop Waldo is asserting an outcome that he is manifestly incapable of producing and would never want to actually produce even if he could. He wants to keep people from leaving by offering them the illusion of respect. What he actually offers is slow death by asphyxiation.

There is no place for a conservative in TEC because there is no longer any place in TEC where conservative doctrine is secure in its pre-eminence. It doesn't matter what the bishop says about 'the diversity that we live.' That lived diversity will have no expression in the functional theology of the church. And that ultimately is all that matters.


Father Ron Smith said...

One does wonder, if Bishop Mark Lawrence wants to continue in the fellowship of The Episcopal Church, he has insisted on the removal of reference to TEC in the official Constitutional documents of his diocese. This does rather sound like 'abandonment' to me - a deliberate move to distance the diocese from TEC. What else do you call it?.

If the doctrinal differences between Bp. Lawrence and his Church are important enough for him and the diocese to disregard that Church's polity, this is no less than dis-association.

Differences can be accommodated, intentional disassociation cannot. This is precisely why ACNA exists
- because of a doctrinal dispute with TEC which seemingly cannot be accommodated by the dissentient party.

Attempts by Bp. Lawrence to insist that he has no intention of taking the diocese out of TEC, on this basis, simply do not bear scrutiny.

Pageantmaster said...

Fr Ron Smith
"Attempts by Bp. Lawrence to insist that he has no intention of taking the diocese out of TEC, on this basis, simply do not bear scrutiny"
I have been following this carefully from over here, and would suggest that you read this factual analysis on T19 and all will be revealed to you:
Bishop Lawrence has made it abundantly clear all along that he and the Diocese of South Carolina are not leaving TEC but are resisting the attempts of the Presiding Bishop to make herself into an overarching Pope and in particular the latest Title IV discipline canons because it was anticipated that they would be used as a vehicle to attack the remaining conservatives in TEC, as we can now see is exactly what they are being used for. Is that now clear to you? Please don't listen to the mischievous propaganda being put about by some ill-intentioned people.

Pageantmaster said...

And there is more here on the way this process appears to be being used:

Brother David said...

Please don't listen to the mischievous propaganda being put about by some ill-intentioned people.

Folks could likely give you the same advice. In my limited experience with life there are at least two sides to a story and the truth usually lies actually somewhere between the two sides.

I am not reading either side. I would like to see the process be played out as the canons ask that it be played out, instead of decided in the internet's court of public opinion, with testimony from whomever is the noisiest.

Mark Baddeley said...

Of course, wanting the process be played out as the canons ask assumes that TEC is acting with integrity and is following all the canons (and the constitution) - the very thing that is being questioned. It also assumes that you think the canons past muster for basic justice and integrity.

I think it is hilarious that TEC, which, IIRC, opposed military courts for terrorists (a stance I agreed with) due to lack of proper checks and balances, then went and replaced its disciplinary canons that had good checks and balances and due process with ones that make a military court look good.

But yeah, I'll just trust them, and hope those canons function the way they're supposed to, to produce 'reconciliation'.

And I like the way in which reasoned public scrutiny is described as 'testimony from whomever is the noisiest'.

Brother David said...

You see Mark, you have your opinion about what is going on and I have mine. You think TEC cannot act with integrity. I think your alleged reasoned scrutiny is but a clanging gong and a crashing cymbal.

The two shall likely never meet.

Kelso said...

Diversity doesn't count if you're like me: I'm an Episcopalian who would be at home in 1955.

No banal liturgy - poetry instead; no cheap praise music - hymnody instead; no peace during the service - you shake hands in the parish house.

In other words, the Episcopal Church of my youth and young adulthood was the Church of Beauty composed of High, Broad, and Low wings.

Now there are two dominant wings: Holy Roller and Heretic.

The real Episcopalians left years ago and took the 1928 BCP with us.

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm sorry, Kelso, that you've left TEC for what you perceive to be the undisturbed pastures of the 1928 Prayer Book. As a renewed Anglican priest in N.Z., I still use the 1928 P.B. as one of a roster of clergy at an 8am Mass every Sunday at my parish church of St. Michael and All Angels in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We also have a 10am Sung High Mass (N.Z.Prayer Book Liturgy) every Sunday, with an alternately presiding Woman Priest, who has been welcomed into the parish as a non-stipendiary priest-assistant.

We are one of the few Anglican churches in New Zealand to still have Solemn Evensong & Benediction on 3 Sundays of the month, with the occasional Taize Evening Service - so plenty of good music, ceremonial and well-attended worship.

The only difference I discern in our ethos is that we now embrace ALL categories of human beings into our worshipping family - that includes Women and Gays, who are part and parcel of the community of God's Redeemed. If you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods, you would be welcomed, in Christ.