Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Er, Katharine

It has been very hard through the years of her presiding to praise ++Katharine Jefferts Schori. She has an ability to not quite get things right, or even to get things quite wrong. So, as the life of the Anglican church in South Carolina unfolds, we find her doing little to preside over a church which desires to include the Diocese of South Carolina in its polity. Now we find her mistaking the life of the Diocese of South Carolina for the projection of a single Mad, Murderous, Dictator. Despite that Diocese recently working out corporately and conventionally that its faithfulness to Anglican Christianity was best pursued through legal separation from The Episcopal Church, in remarks made at the weekend, ++KJS assesses the situation as being driven by one man (who can only be Bishop Mark Lawrence) whom she sees as not too far from being a mad dictatorial mass murderer ...

"I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places.  Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge.  It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors.  It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage.

Most human communities, from churches to governments to families, function more effectively in response to shared decision-making.  Most of us don’t live in a world where one person is the ultimate Decider – because, over and over again, we’ve discovered that better decisions are made when they’re made in communities with appropriate checks and balances.  Power assumed by one authority figure alone is often a recipe for abuse, tyranny, and corruption.  That’s why Jesus challenges us to think about how the shepherd acts.  The authentic ones don’t sneak over the wall in the dead of night.  They operate transparently, and they work cooperatively with the gate-keeper himself."

The source for this transcript is impeccable so we can take it for granted that she did utter these words. There is a savage irony at work in her words because ++KJS herself has not been beyond deciding what the canons of TEC mean as she has denounced and renounced various of its clergy, including bishops over the years. If I were living in South Carolina I would be glad to be part of the Diocese rather than part of a church whose leadership can say things such as cited above. For a masterful outline of the South Carolingian/TEC situation and the absurdities within it, read A.S. Haley.

All this is not thousands of miles from the life of our own church. On Thursday I fly to Auckland to be part of the fourth and final Hermeneutical Hui on the Bible and human sexuality. This hui is part of the journey out church is on in respect of being an Anglican church in a modern Western liberal democracy. We will connect with another part of that journey, the Ma Whaea commission. One of the questions in the air for us as a church is whether and how we will conclude our journey on these matters together. 

It is fundamental to being Christian that we love one another even in strong disagreement. Thus the incumbent obligation on any church as an institution is to explore every avenue in disagreement for remaining together. On the matter of human sexuality it matters that we ensure that every element of God's justice and love through the order, rites and offices of the church is available to all its members.

It equally matters that where we disagree on how God's justice and love is expressed in the life of the church that we ensure that we remain together in our disagreement: after all, we are united in being a people who have received God's justice and love through Jesus Christ and we are united in being a people who earnestly desire to spread that justice and love in our faith community and into the world beyond us.

++KJS has perhaps served a useful purpose in our life Down Under by reminding us that a church can get it wrong (as I believe TEC has done by making itself unwelcome to the Diocese of South Carolina and other dioceses) and a leadership can descend to an inane level of analysis of the situation. A question for ACANZP then as we proceed on our journey, which now includes electing a new pakeha archbishop, is whether we are determined to remain together and be well-led by our bishops and archbishops.

While hopeful (as always!), I am not complacent about our future!

15 comments:

Alexi said...

Peter, As someone who lives in SC and is part of the Diocese of SC that remains part of the Anglican Communion but never the less disaffiliated from TEC, the best way to understand this situation is as a warning to the rest of the AC. If division is what you desire, then embracing the TEC mindset to drive out the orthodox is surely the way to achieve that goal. If your goal is to be faithful Anglicans then that will take much more work for the re-educating of "progressive" minds back to orthodox Anglican teaching. That is only way I can see the orthodox winning back various churches. Just consider TEC a warning to the rest of the AC. God be with you as you fight for the soul of your church.

SC Blu Cat Lady

Father Ron Smith said...

Your legal-eagle friend, C.S.Haley (Anglican Curmudgeon), Peter, is just that - certainly a curmudgeon, I'm not sure, though, of the Anglican bit

I must say, I think you do place too much trust in his very biassed opinion about the Presiding Bishop, Katharine, who is a pragmatist - who see things as they are viewed by most Episcopalian Anglicans in America. Perhaps you need to actually meet her, before you form such a drastic opinion as you are wont to perpetuate of her.

You perhaps, also, need to read a little more widely about the real polity and situation of TEC, which, I believe, is leading the Anglican Communion Churches into a new era of Gospel liberation - seeking to de-throne the endemic homophobia and misogyny of the Daughters of the American Revolution-style Republicans, who might still prefer the old regime of male supremacy and death-to-Fags culture that used to rule the mid-West.

Katharine - despite her would-be assassins - has helped 'Justice to flow like rivers' in the Episcopal Church She is a woman of the world and, thankfully, of the Church, who respects the dignity of all who seek justice and liberty in their lives - as an example of Justice and compassion that God wants for all God's children - irrespective of class, race, gender, religion and sexual identity. That can't be too bad!

And, after all, 'Bishop' Lawrence - before his episcopal ordination - did promise not to 'take the Diocese of South Carolina out of TEC' - a promise he reneged on.
What sort of an example of fealty does that give to the Church?

Father Ron Smith said...

" A question for ACANZP then as we proceed on our journey, which now includes electing a new pakeha archbishop, is whether we are determined to remain together and be well-led by our bishops and archbishops.

While hopeful (as always!), I am not complacent about our future"

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Oh Dear, Peter, here you are casting aspersions about the TEC Presiding Bishop, while yourself trying to determine the future of ACANZP - in a manifestly pessimistic way - in which you cast doubt on the ability of our Church in this country to produce an Archbishop who might be according to your own understanding of what is needed to bring about justice for ALL people in the Church.

If I am wrong about that, please tell me what it is that you are fearful of - that in any way approximates what you see as the demise of TEC in North America. Is it the leadership of ACANZP that you are suspicious of (akin to that which has led Bp.Lawrence out of TEC?) or is it just that the path being taken by our Church is not consistent with what you feel is the direction in which we should be pursuing the Gospel.

As an educator in our diocese, I think it important that you have views consonant with the consensus of both the local and the national Church, of which you are a priest and teacher. Otherwise, one wonders whether our Church is bound for the same trajectory as that occasioned by Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina.

I realise that the Church needs prophets, but not self-appointed ones like Bishops Lawrence and Duncan in the U.S.

At least, Bishop Katharine has the TEC Convention behind her words and actions in the pursuit of Justice in the Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I am confident that our local diocese wishes to remain together as a diocese and wishes to remain part of a well-led and together ACANZP.

I am hopeful that as we progress through this year and next, electing an archbishop, preparing for GS in 2014, etc, that we will work on what holds us together rather than not. But I am not complacent. I see signs in the life of our wider church of people who are prepared to jettison other people in order to get their way.

I am also alarmed by your celebration of ++KJS' example and failure to acknowledge any substance to my criticism of her words spoken: such celebration is celebration of a very poor example of how to lead an Anglican church. Heaven forbid that we should ever have such archiepiscopal leadership in our church.

mike greenslade said...

er Peter,
++Katherine's emphasis on inclusive engagement is exactly the sort of archiepiscopal leadership we need in our church. Her analysis of the dangers of narcissistic leadership is bang on from a psychological perspective. Oh for more bishops who have her courage to say it like it is.

Shawn Herles said...

"As an educator in our diocese, I think it important that you have views consonant with the consensus of both the local and the national Church"

No. It is important for teachers to be true to the Word of God and obediant to Him alone. If the "concensus" is a demonic lie (that homosexuality is not a sin) or heresy, then teachers and leadewrs are duty bound to obey Go0d, not men, or for that matter women.

" is leading the Anglican Communion Churches into a new era of Gospel liberation "

No, it is leading the AC into enslasvement to the world, the flesh and the Devil.



"Katharine - despite her would-be assassins - has helped 'Justice to flow like rivers' in the Episcopal Church"

No, she has done the opposite. She has replaced Justice with liberqal politics. They are not the same thing.

"She is a woman of the world"

Exactly. WORLDLY. The very thing Jesus tells us not to be. KJS takes her cues not from God, but from the world. That is not Christian practice.

Real justice is proclaiming the love of Christ, who can lead those afflicted with homosexual sin into the light and freedom of the nHis healing.

Telling them they are trapped in their sin is not loving, or just, but a Satanic lie.

The Temple of the AC needs to be cleansed of false teachers and false gospels.

TEC, and KJS, must be expelled if they refuse to repent and turn back to Christ.

Shawn Herles said...

mg,

"Her analysis of the dangers of narcissistic leadership is bang on from a psychological perspective."

Except it applies to her own leadership, not to Bishop Lawrence.
Obedience to God is not narcissism.

Ron,

"as an example of Justice and compassion that God wants for all God's children - irrespective of class, race, gender, religion and sexual identity. That can't be too bad!"

Yes. it can be. It is a statement of Liberal political ideology and Cultural Marxism, not what "God wants". It has nothing to do with the Gospel.

Did Elisha affirm the religion of Baal worshipers? No. He exposed that their idol was false.

Does God affirm homosexualism? No. He says it is an abomination.

There is no such thing as "sexual identity" in any real sense. A person who gets their sense of identity from what they do in bed is making a false idol of sex.

But, thousands of men and women who have struggled with homosexuality have found true liberation and freedom in the healing power of Jesus and left their homosexual behavior behind for good, and gone on to live truly happy and fulfilled lives in Biblical marriage. It is THEIR voices and testimonies we should listen to. They are the true examples of God's redeeming love.

They found their true identity in the Father's love, not by continuing to sin, but through repentance, forgiveness, and allowing God's Holy Spirit to heal them.

Our identity comes from God alone, not the fashionable false idols of Western liberalism.

Peter Carrell said...

De-ad hominemized comment from Ron Smith:

"" WORLDLY. The very thing Jesus tells us not to be. KJS takes her cues not from God, but from the world. That is not Christian practice." - Shawn -

Even your own understanding of the scriptures will tell you that "God so LOVED the world" he did not despise it.
"

MichaelA said...

Mrs Katherine Jefferts Schori describes Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina in this way:

"It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage."

So, the bishop is comparable to mass-murderers, slaughterers of children, and terrorists (according to K J Schori).

Who is she going to compare those who disagree with her next: Hitler? Pol Pot? Dr Evil? Lex Luthor?

How farcical (and utterly lacking in credibility).

Shawn Herles said...

"So, the bishop is comparable to mass-murderers, slaughterers of children, and terrorists (according to K J Schori).

Who is she going to compare those who disagree with her next: Hitler? Pol Pot? Dr Evil? Lex Luthor?

How farcical (and utterly lacking in credibility)."

Totally agree. It is farcical, and also evil, to desribe Bishop Lawrence in this way. It is a frightening insight into the mindset of KJS, and we all should be very concerned about her influence.

It is also hypocritical. KJS has stated publicly that she supports abortion, the mass murder of innocent, defenseless children. I guess the so-called "inclusive gospel of liberation" in this case exludes the most defenceless and vulnerable of our society. It is not credible to talk about justice when you advocate murdering children in the womb.

"Even your own understanding of the scriptures will tell you that "God so LOVED the world" he did not despise it."

The Bible uses the term "the world" in two different ways. One is to describe creation as a whole, which is the world God loves.

The other is to describe the fallen world system created by generations of human sin.

This fallen world system we are to be in but not OF. We are not lead and guided by this world, but by God alone. This world is the world of injustice, corruption, oppression, murder, deciet, lies adultery, pornography, sexual brokenness and perversion, and so forth. It is the world ruled by Satan.

This is the world God tells us not to be led by.

God Himself says in 1 John 2:15,
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Thus we do not take our understanding of God, or theology, or morality and values, or human sexuality, from this fallen world, as some liberals claim we should.

Instead we take recieve our understanding of truth, right and wrong, and healthy sexuality, from God through His Word, incarnate and written.

A Christian who's understanding is led by the fallen world system is, at the very least, immature in their walk with Christ, and open to the influence of the demonic.

Such a person should not be a leader in the Church.

Anonymous said...

Shawn:

Back off, man, she's a scientist!


Martin

The Underground Pewster said...

Fr. Ron,

As a member of TEc, I can attest that the only thing flowing like a river in TEc over the past 6 years is the flow of people out the door. To some it may be regarded as a good thing to be rid of us right wing reactionaries living in Redneckistan, but it is actually more akin to ethnic cleansing of those who will not convert to what we see as a walk apart from the Apostolic Faith.

Kurt said...

“As a member of TEc, [sic] I can attest that the only thing flowing like a river in TEc [sic] over the past 6 years is the flow of people out the door. To some it may be regarded as a good thing to be rid of us right wing reactionaries living in Redneckistan, but it is actually more akin to ethnic cleansing of those who will not convert to what we see as a walk apart from the Apostolic Faith”—The Underground Pewster

It might be a good idea, Pewster, if you were come up for air once and a while and take a look around.

Certainly in my small, Anglo Catholic parish in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, people are coming in the door. We have more than twice as many folks attending than we had two or three years ago; two Masses on Sundays rather than one; many more baptisms than 10 or 12 years ago; last Christmas we had nearly three times as many attendees as 2011. I get around the NY metro region quite a bit, too, and from what I can see, attendance at such parishes as Trinity Wall Street, St. Mary the Virgin, Grace Church, St. Barts, St. Thomas, St. Luke-in-the-Fields, St. Mark-in-the-Bowery, etc. haven’t changed much, up or down, in the past 40 years.

Maybe it’s different in Redneckistan, where there are so many fundagelical flavors to choose from. But, as any poll here in the States will tell our friends Down Under, all major American denominations are losing members, not just us ‘piskies. Even the famous Evangelical landmark, the Crystal Cathedral, is no more!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Shawn Herles said...

"But, as any poll here in the States will tell our friends Down Under, all major American denominations are losing members"

The Assemblies of God continues to grow.

There is a vast difference between a small slide in membership, and the catastrophic demographic collapse in mainline liberal-Marxist churches over the last fifty years, a collapse that KJS has accelerated dramatically.

MichaelA said...

Kurt, no-one would doubt for a moment that there are individual parishes in TEC that do well, or even grow.

But that wasn't UP's point and you know it. TEC has steadily been shedding numbers and income for the last ten years or more - and you know that too.

There has been a steady stream of parishes closing down all over the country and this continues unabated.

The best performing diocese in TEC by far was the Diocese of South Carolina, which has now become the fifth diocese to leave TEC.

"all major American denominations are losing members"

It is true that every denomination has flirted with liberalism, and paid a similar penalty in losses of members and income. But TEC, which has embraced the liberal agenda most enthusiastically, is losing members at a MUCH greater rate than anyone else.