Monday, November 30, 2009

Where's Andrew Waldo+?

Andrew Waldo+ appears to have successfully bamboozled moderate folks at our recent walkabouts. I have heard from conservative people who had not studied up beforehand who were likewise fooled by his "march to the middle." Therefore, some reiteration is in order.

In my pre-walkabout evaluation of this nominee for bishop of Upper South Carolina several problems were noted. Rather than direct you to that post, I will copy some of it here.

Old sermons curiously were not accessible from his church's home page, but I was able to dig out an old link using a different search engine and find sermons from 2003-2007, with the interesting note,
"FYI - Since June 2006, most of Andrew Waldo's sermons have been from notes, so PDFs are only occasionally available. We hope in the near future to offer MP3 files of sermons."

I did find a sermon from 01/30/05 entitled "Humility" that had some interesting things: we as individuals and communities define the authority of scripture affects how we believe and act on the current Social Security debate, how we respond to poverty, the war in Iraq, questions around gay marriage, and within the church, how we view the ordination of my old friend and mentor, Bishop Gene Robinson. ."

Rev. Waldo's "old friend and mentor" is +Gene Robinson. Does that leave any doubt as to where we would be headed with Waldo+ in the House of Bishops with his old friend and mentor?

Let's take a look at his answers to the search committee:

Part A - Faith Story:

He honestly tells of his anti-Christian early years, and about his divorce he says,
"An unwanted, soul-crushing separation and divorce from my first wife at the tender age of twenty-five assured me that I was not as in control of my life as I thought."

I had to remind everyone about those verses we don't hear from the pulpit any longer:
1 Timothy 3:1-7
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Part C - How would you counsel a rector who was asked to bless a same gender relationship and how would you lead us beyond our divisions?
He started out by commenting on same sex relationships,
"I don’t know how the Church will ultimately articulate—in liturgy or in canon law—the status of same-gender relationships without some division."

Sounds like he might be okay with schism.
"We have not however performed any same-gender blessings at Trinity Church because neither the vestry nor the larger parish community has come to one mind."

And what about the rest of the Church, what about the Anglican Communion? I guess it all boils down to the discretion of the rector, vestry and "larger parish community." What about the bishop?
"The guiding principle for such dialogue at Trinity has long been that 'It is more important for us to stand or kneel together as brothers and sisters around a common table receiving the Body and Blood of Christ than it is to be ‘right’ on a matter of doctrine.'”

That tells us where he stands on doctrine. I can almost use this reasoning to justify anything as long as I show up for Sunday service.
"My approach as bishop would continue to follow this pattern—not permitting blessings until the Church has come to one mind..."

Guess what, the Episcopal church has spoken, just ask the Bishop of Eastern Massachusetts who on 11/30/09 was reported to have given approval for same sex marriages to be performed by his priests in accordance with his interpretation of C056.

Waldo+ is clearly in the camp that will go along with the wishes and desires of the General Convention, which are to accept same sex blessings and gay ordinations as "facts on the ground" and it is "time to move forward." Here are his words:
"The answer here must follow from what I’ve said above: that because our Church is not of one mind on this issue we cannot act unilaterally, and I would not therefore sanction such blessings in the Diocese until we have, through General Convention, reached a decision..."

I would be willing to bet that he will permit clergy to perform a SSB in their parish once GC approves liturgies which could be in 2012 or 2015.

And what about D025,the one about ordination of partnered gay clergy? At the walkabout he claimed that if he were at the last General Convention, he would have voted against it. Well, Bill2 who claimed to have been present in Minnesota witnessed, (you can see the comment at the following URL:

" think it was in the run-up to GC 2003. Trinity was going to hire a new assisting clergy person and Waldo was bemoaning how awful it would be if someone were disallowed because they were GLBTQXYZ. He let fly with all the usual shibboleths against conservatives." (Update from Bill2 on 12/1/2009 who adds, "I didn’t witness Waldo whining about excluding candidates based on their GLBTQXYZ status. They were on Trinity’s website, either as the rector’s column or a sermon. So in one sense I did witness it, but they weren’t spoken words I witnessed, rather typed. A fine distinction, but one that needs to be made."

I have to reiterate where I referenced our profile as a diocese:
15. Our current Bishop and the diocese, in
convention, have affirmed that we are a
Windsor Diocese. In that light, I believe our
next bishop should be supportive of the
Windsor Report and the ongoing Windsor

48 % Strongly Agree
20 % Somewhat Agree
26 % No Opinion
4 % Somewhat Disagree
2 % Strongly Disagree

21. I support the marriage of gay and lesbian
persons in the Episcopal Church.

17 % Strongly Agree
11 % Somewhat Agree
7 % No Opinion
12 % Somewhat Disagree
53 % Strongly Disagree

I am sorry, but IMHO Waldo does not match our profile.

How about Q 30?
30. I would like our next bishop to be a strong
preacher / orator, fully committed to evangelism
and outreach to the unchurched.

46 % Strongly Agree
39 % Somewhat Agree
9 % No Opinion
6 % Somewhat Disagree

At the walkabout, I did not hear one word about how he has successfully grown his church or helped grow his diocese. Instead I heard about the closing of their church camp and conference center and his not doing Cursillo because he had heard it was "divisive."

Lastly we have the problem of his practice of "open communion" or "communion of the unbaptised." This may not be a problem that most pewsitters can understand. What should be understood is the manner in which Waldo+ flip flopped on his position. He simply caved under the pressure of his assistant rector and the "wave" that was sweeping the diocese of Minnesota.
Does he fit our profile's requirement that our bishop, "Have a strong theological background, interpreting the Gospel and standing on Christian principles, even if standing alone" (p.33)?

Another thing to consider is what one commenter sent me:
"Someone who blatantly violates Church law should not become a bishop and, in this case, he wantonly and egregiously violates Canon I.17.7 every Sunday. His acceptance of 'open Communion' is on the record and should not be ignored by the voting delegates."

This is the Canon:
Sec. 7. No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.

Could that be a problem in getting consents from other dioceses if elected?

Where is Wadlo+? HE IS LEFT OF DORSEY+!

Where will he leave us? LEFT OUT!

Episcopal Priests Working Outside the Prayer Book Box

If there was ever any doubt as to the meaning of resolution C056 passed by the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal church, please be reassured that there is no truth in the rumor that the resolution restricts in any way an Episcopal priest from officiating at a same sex marriage.

What was C056? For the uninitiated it said,
* FINAL VERSION - Concurred Resolution: C056
Title: Liturgies for Blessings
Topic: Liturgy
Committee: 13 - Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music
House of Initial Action: Bishops
Proposer: Diocese of Missouri


Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further

Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort.

Here is the headline from
"Five years after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, the local Episcopal bishop yesterday gave permission for priests in Eastern Massachusetts to officiate at same-sex weddings."

The article quotes renegade Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III,

“The time has come,’’ Shaw said in a telephone interview. “It’s time for us to offer to gay and lesbian people the same sacrament of fidelity that we offer to the heterosexual world.’’

Another blatant violation of ordination vows as well as the doctrine and discipline of this church. Will the bishop be disciplined? I doubt it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crape Murders in the Rue Garth

Were there any witnesses?

Where were you the week of Nov. 8, 2009?

Did anyone notice the disfigurement?

Alas, one consequence of the departure of the parish master gardener was the demise of the flower bearing tops of the crape myrtles in our once lovely garth garden. The trees' sole defender against the wrath of the rector was not present to plead their case in front of the Buildings and Grounds committee. In fact, the committee was not informed of the case, and the beheadings took place in the absence of due process.

This was clearly a premeditated case of CRAPE MURDER!

Inspector Pewseau of the Sûreté has been called in, and is questioning suspects in his usual bungling style. It is unlikely that he will solve this most challenging case.

The perpetrator will probably have to be exposed by an inspired amateur. Do we have a C. Auguste Dupew amongst us?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Walkabout Hokey Pokey

The walkabouts were an interesting experience, but I couldn't heelp but think about "Doing the Harry Potter,"

Instead I got treated to the real Hokey Pokey:
You put your left foot in,
You put your left foot out;
You put your left foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

This past weekend we saw what is commonly called in politics "the great move towards the middle." As election day nears, real politicians know that they have to try to attract moderate voters. My impression of our three liberal candidates for the next bishop of EDUSC was that they were tripping over their their albs as they raced to say whatever it took to convince people that they were really "moderates." It was an embarrassing time for this observant pewster to see these men shed their liberal clothing and expose themselves, not as the moderates they wished to seen as, but as sorry politicians. Perhaps I am being too harsh on David Thompson. He, for one, at least revealed his true liberal nature in his answers to the question of D025 and C056 by saying in moderate style "Yes, Maybe" he would consent to partnered gay bishops or clergy as well as SSBs, for if and when they are authorized, he would bring it back to the diocese, and see how it would be implemented. He also said that he “sees sexual orientation as a gift from God.” Knowing that would not go over well, he added that, if elected bishop, he would have conferences so we “could understand one another.” We have all heard that before. That is the famous "listening process" which invariably drags a diocese leftward. That was still the boldest moment in an otherwise ineffectual presentation which brought out the indecisiveness that I had seen in his earlier answers to the search committee. Points for honesty to Thompson however.

I have no sympathy any longer for the next two men. They appear guilty of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the sheep in the audience. Such behavior alone should disqualify them for the position of bishop. Integrity was one of the most important qualities our diocesan profile (p.32) pointed to in our choice of a bishop. Let's see what I mean.

Andrew Waldo+ when asked about open communion being practiced in his parish said that he was “a vocal critic for 10 yrs in his diocese,” but the movement came to Minnesota, and there was a great wave of parishes adopting communion of the unbaptized. He said that his parish decided to “call all seekers to the table as a compromise, and he tried to woo us by creating an analogy to the 1928 prayer book. I thought this was a lame attempt at pandering to moderates who might mistake him for a 1928 Prayer Book type. Since no follow up questions were allowed, I could not ask him to identify which service at his church uses the 1928 Prayer Book.
Then he said that he would not “foist it” (open communion) on us. Let me see, he was against it, then caved in under the pressure of the people around him, and he wants us to believe that he can be trusted under pressure? Does he fit our profile's requirement that our bishop, "Have a strong theological background, interpreting the Gospel and standing on Christian principles, even if standing alone" (p.33)?
Reports from one of the other rooms indicate that he claimed that if he had been at GC 2009, he would have voted "No" to D025! I don't buy it, this coming from a man who claims as old friend and mentor none other than Bishop Gene Robinson. Does anyone not believe that +Robinson could have persuaded this old friend to say "Yes."
Read the profile again,
"Be of the highest integrity..."

And then in closing, he said he can hold left and right together. I believe he is referring to Minnesota Left and Minnesota Right which have no relevance to EDUSC.
He was not asked about his parish's dropping average Sunday attendance, to me that sounds like even the Minnesota Right can not be held by Waldo+.

Judging from the decline in the Diocese of Minnesota (remember he admits they let their very own camp and conference center "die"), can anyone honestly believe that importing one of their liberal rectors into EDUSC will turn around the decline here? A vote for Waldo+ would be a huge mistake for the future welfare of the Episcopal church in Upper South Carolina.

That leaves liberals forced to consider Philip Linder+. His presentation should have made even the most die hard liberal extremely suspicious. He was the one candidate who spoke badly of the other candidates when he said, “I am ready, we do not have time to wait for someone to get to know us.” He was of course referring to the other candidates from outside this diocese who had mentioned in their introductory remarks that they were still learning about us. Cheap, cheap, shot Phil. That was unbecoming of a bishop.
"Be of the highest integrity..."

And then there was his famous quote to the large group,
“I am a passionate moderate” and a "believer in the Via Media.”

For one thing, he has shown by his op-ed pieces in "The State" newspaper, and his vote for D025, as well as his staffing of Trinity Cathedral that he is passionate about "full inclusion," which is not being moderate in any way shape or form. This was the big bold faced lie that should have resulted in a Joe Wilson moment for this pewster who was too shocked and too busy taking notes to do anything but to sit quietly and think, "the Lord's will be done."
For another thing, a "passionate moderate" is an oxymoron. Such a creature, if one could be found, would be an indecisive, directionless, non-leader, yet Linder+ says he wants to lead us. The only direction I see him leading us is to continued diminution.

When I heard all about how he would transfer the methods that he has been using at Trinity Cathedral to the wider diocese, I had to recall the falling demographics of the cathedral and thought, "No, that is not the kind of success that we need!"

And then there was his saying that he had a “deep sense of call.” He is the one candidate who says he was "persuaded" by his wife and fellow clergy and not "called" in the first place! Then the "deep sense of call" called him (I wonder if it was a phone call?) to conveniently remove his name from the selection process when rumors surfaced that he might not make the final cut. After the final slate of candidates was announced, the "deep sense of call" must have phoned him and said, "You can beat these guys." Eventually his wife persuaded him that the "Spirit was really calling." This is not a "deep sense" of call. The truth may never be known about the Linder Hokey Pokey, but a partially truthful answer might have been that discerning God's call has been very, very difficult for him, but he wouldn't say that.
"Be of the highest integrity..."

Finally he felt he was qualified because of his “strong knowledge of our diocese.” Does that mean that he was not qualified when he was a nominee for Bishop of Eastern Tennessee in 1997? That “strong knowledge of our diocese” can't be because of any actual work he has done on the diocesan level or because of site visits to the churches. I had never even heard of him until this election. When was the last time you saw him at your church? How much time has he put in with his own convocation? Oh, Joe Wilson where were you?

I also need to know, what self-respecting liberal would vote for a priest who lives in a gated community?
"Be of the highest integrity..."

You put your backside in,
You put your backside out;
You put your backside in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Walkabout Rough Notes

Walkabouts for the nominees for the next bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina are being held this weekend. I attended the Saturday session and will present my personal notes. Enclosed in quotation marks are some quotes, but many of the terms used such as unity, vision etc are not marked with quotation marks but should be so marked. I thought of titling this post "The Walkabout Hokey Pokey," but maybe I will save such comments for Wednesday's post.

At registration everyone was given an envelope with one of 6 colored dots on the outside. This dot was to indicate which room to attend. This was a random process and not assigned by attendees name. This was to ensure no overcrowding in the 6 rooms. After a service of Morning Prayer in St. John's Episcopal church in Columbia, the nominees were given a few minutes to introduce themselves. Next, we went to the breakouts. The nominees were shuttled between the indicated rooms and given a carefully limited amount of time to respond to questions. A timer was present to signal 30 seconds remaining and 15 seconds remaining for each response. An initial common question which was known ahead of time was given every nominee. Then, questions which had to be hand written on 3 x 5 index cards placed and in a basket were randomly pulled by a moderator. My notes do note give any real sense of body language, physical bearing or speech patterns.

Shorthand notes from 11/21/2009

Stockton Williams Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group:

Great sense of humor broke the ice well had everyone laughing. Was the first to introduce his wife. Talked about his sense of call, his sense that he fit the profile, his desire to unify, be a bridger, a vision caster, importance of staying in the Anglican Communion.


Core belief- God is at the center, loves us, came to Earth to be born and to die, He is here constantly working in your life, make it known, His name is Jesus.

Common Q1 What have you done to develop leadership esp youth.

Ans: Look to past performance, identify the quiet types , talked about his love of youth, his all time favorite job is working with “Happening.” He believes that Bible study and discerning peoples gifts are both needed to develop leaders.

Q2 What would he do about the Church in Uganda's stance on homosexuals.

Ans: This required some explanation from the person who wrote the question as Stockton was not sure what the issue was or what the question meant. After some explaining he said that he was not in favor of the church putting homosexuals in jail if that is what the questioner meant.

Q3 How would you go about church planting.

Ans: Related story of earlier experiences with this and concluded that it is best to start with a house church built around the unchurched and grow ASA before investing in property. An example from his area grew to an ASA of 100 before building a facility.

Q4 Describe worship schedule at St. Peter's.

Ans 3 Sunday services, MP daily M-F, Wed 5:15 pm short Eucharist then classes, Bible study, Thursday healing service at 10

Q5 As Bishop what would you do for gay people who are impatient at the lack of progress in their 40 year struggle to full inclusion? (my paraphrase of a long question).

Ans: He started a group “All Gods Children” of gays which was contrary to his conservative parish. They used a method “Circle of Peace” where people could speak without interruption which proved helpful. He is open to discussion and puts an emphasis on parish led discussions.

Closing: Emphasized he is a “stayer” in TEC despite being opposed to the controversial resolutions. Invites us to join him on Facebook.

John Burwell Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group: Describes desire to build churches, a uniter, loves our profile.
“I love the Episcopal Church.” Talks about DSC, “Can anything good come out of South Carolina? Come and see!”
Breakout Intro: Discusses differences from stereotype of DSC.
“I am a uniter not a divider.”

Q1 Common question on building leadership.

Ans: “Bottom up Principle” empower people to know the Bible, the BCP, the Lord. Describes typical staff meetings and use of Bible study in staff meetings as well as 30 min of prayer

Q2 How available would you be to the clergy?

Ans: Currently works with a large staff (experienced) and want sot be on the road to the churches and to build the clergy up.

Q3 What about small mission churches?

Ans: They all can grow. First remember what our purpose is. The church exists for those who are not yet members. Accept people where they are. It is about relationships not religion.

Q4: In the Prayers of the People do you or do you not pray for the PB by name?

Ans: They use form 3 which does not use personal names for church leaders. Adds that he disagrees with the PB but would be loyal. He recognizes unspoken stereotype of DSC in the question.

Q5 Would you have clergy vote your way or their own conscience?

Ans: Conscience, of course they would take in counsel, team would be built.

Q6: Relationship between Diocese and Camp/Conference Center.

Ans. Build them up, “I know how to raise money.” Camp vision=church vision

Q7 How to develop ministry of Deacons

Ans: Refers to Acts, Deacons came first, 3 fold ministry, he teaches homiletics in diaconate program, every church needs a deacon

Q8 You voted with DSC to withdraw from participation in parts of TEC.

Ans: Says if he were bishop he would not have wanted that resolution to move forward.

Closing: He debunked rumors about him and W.O.., about DSC hating TEC, misinformation about DSC, etc.

Phil Linder Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group: He led off, did not mention his wife. (Made up for it in Breakout) Described himself “I am a passionate moderate” and a believer in the "Via Media.” Explained his call and recall, I was not called but was persuaded.”

Intro to breakout: Related his “deep sense of call” and his “strong knowledge of our diocese.”

Q1 Common question

Ans: Bishop should be visionary and a leader. Talks about having a clear goal. He asks “How may I serve?” “How are we going to change lives?” Says we need strategies just like Trinity Cathedral has developed. Need to look at “mutual ministry.”

Q2 How to reach the unchurched was in this Q but not really addressed.

Ans. “I have not been a micromanager” at “Trinity I surrounded myself with stars.” “The diocese needs me.” Again mentions strategic plan that has worked at Trinity, says need to reach out to those with a sense of ordained ministry.

Q3 What about those small mission churches?

Ans: They “need me most,” will “translate what he has done at Trinity and serve as a pastor” to those clergy, and get to “know the lay people.” Send them the money they need for resources.

Q4 About his withdrawal from the nominating process

Ans: “I do not want to be a bishop, I feel persuaded to be your bishop.” (meaning the people and clergy want him) “We withdrew” meaning Ellen and he. He spoke of this being a critical time for our diocese. Then he said, “I am ready, we do not have time to wait for someone to get to know us.”
Q5 Do you prefer a progressive or an Orthodox diocese?

Ans: “I am Anglican Orthodox in the truest sense.” Says he is a “centrist” a “passionate moderate” a progressive on “social justice” is “embracing.”

Q6 Describe your USMC training.

Ans: He had a USMC scholarship to Nova, and loved it but fell in love with Ellen, God called and he couldn't be a Catholic Priest because of his love for Ellen, so gave up the scholarship. But still loves his “military” background.
Q7 Why does it look like you side stepped the tough part of the search process

Ans: “Ellen said we should withdraw when we did.” He says he “never dreamed he would be back in” and says it “was not a sidestep.”

Closing: “I very much want to serve.”

Waldo Columbia Walkabout

Group Intro: Stressed Alabama roots, what he as learned about EDUSC, says we have a “shared vision” of keeping people together. States he is committed to the Anglican communion and the doctrine discipline and worship of TEC.

Q1 Common Q

Says leadership grounded in Bible study, uses inventories in discerning lay leaders gave an uninspiring nod to youth says the use of chanted psalms helps leaders work together. (music nod)

Q2 What about Cursillo?

Ans: “I have never done it.” Heard it was “divisive” and it is non-existent in Dio of Minn, but he is “open to it” because relatives have reported good things about it. He says in Minn they have a “Teens Encounter Christ” program that he supports.

Q3 x 2 Asked about open communion.

Ans: Says he was “a vocal critic for 10 yrs in his diocese” but the movement came to Minn and it was a great wave. He says they decided to “call all seekers” to the table as a compromise and he sees an analogy to the 1928 prayer book (which he admits assumes only the baptised would go to the rail) Says he would not “foist it” on us.

Q4 Deacons

Ans: Supports them, but does not know much about our #s or program.

Q5 Relations between camp/conference center and diocese.

Ans: Minn. Let it die. He grew up in Alabama and camp was the place that unified, he thinks it is a very important part of a diocese.

Q6 Leaving TEC

Ans: Not an option. States “GC is the governing body of TEC.”

Q7 How would you support EDUSC School for Ministry?

Ans: “It is a great resource.”

Q8 What about small “broke” ($) congregations?

Ans: First get to know them, consider “Total Ministry like they have in Minn, non seminary trained priests, sacramentalists, etc. They have 38 such churches in Minn, this “enables them to survive” but adds “occasionally you have to close one.”

Closing, he says he can hold left and right together.

Neal Michell Columbia Walkabout

Intro to group: “I do not bring a vision to you.” He has one, we have one and do they match? He has a passion for the Gospel, a focus on mission, wants to reduce diocesan assessments, work on congregational development and church planting, relates experience.

Q1 Common question how to educate and empower others to be leaders esp youth.

Ans: 2 parts Leadership vs growth in faith. “Leadership is influence” to “move people in ways they may not have moved on their own.” Prayer with leadership and for them, would like to have more workshops even in convocations.

Q2 Does your diocese have minorities in leadership specifically, race, gender, sexual orientation?

Ans: Cannot give precise #s, but he accepts W.O. And related all the new minorities and start ups in the Diocese.

Q3. The Dio of Dallas is minimizing its relationship with TEC as evidenced in removing the word Episcopal from churches.

Ans: Not true, we are not separating, “leaving is not an option,” and “we function fully in TEC.
Some churches have the Anglican name on sign as newcomers from other parts of the world are “more familiar with the term.”

Q4 Where will you cut the budget?

Ans: First need to prioritize based on strategic paln. Dio of Dallas 20% goes to planting.

Q5: Age of Confirmands should it be mandated?

Ans: He would not mandate. Canons state age for membership is 16.

Q6: This Q was confusing but the answer was as follows:

Ans: He fasts, prays, believes in spiritual disciplines, prayer groups, leads to personal peace.

Q7: Relationship of Dio to camp/conf ctr

Ans: “Let's figure out how to do this best” it “Can't be done piecemeal”

Q8: Would you consent to the election of another partnered gay bishop?

Ans: “No.” Explains we have been asked not to by the larger church; explains Anglican Communion, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox all opposed.

Q9: Are You high church , low church, Anglo Catholic?

Ans: “I am Catholic Evangelical” (Cues the pewster in on the fact that “liturgical dance” is being tried in Upper SC)
Closing: “I don't want to be bishop, I want to do bishop” Talks about the decline of TEC and that we have to “reverse the flow.”

Thompson Columbia Walkabout

Group intro: Talks of challenges, of ministry to small congregations, we have lost our missional emphasis, against congregational isolationism (stammers on the word) Read his speech, voice weak, high pitched)

Intro to breakout: Need creativity in planting, need to try different ministerial models, would use input from others and not dictate as bishop.

Q1 Common question

Ans: Talked about how his congregation came up with ideas for ministries, he does not make decisions in isolation. They have MP M-Th.

Q2 Give examples of planting..

Ans: Has not planted one, talks about others input on ideas for planting.

Q3 What about youth/college students?

Ans: Raise money for endowments. Have college chaplains a minimum of one per convocation.

Q4 Of 2 models for bishop Roman or Celtic, which do you embody.

Ans: Celtic although he would love to be carried in a chair. Celtic is more about relationships and support of congregations and ministries.

Q5 Would you call partnered gays or consent to another gay bishop

Ans: “Yes Maybe”
No authorized SSBs so he would toe the line, but if and when they are authorized, he would bring it back to the diocese and see how it would be implemented. He “sees sexual orientation as a gift from God.” and he would have conferences so we “could understand one another.”

Q6 Will the PB be invited and welcome to EDUSC?

Ans: Yes

Q7: How would you work with retired priests and spouses?

Ans: Yes

Q8 What about small congregations?

Ans: need to be creative

Closing: Never expected to get this far, will need to work together despite our differences.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What Do Revisionists Fear?

In conversations with liberal laity and clergy about the candidates for the next bishop of Upper South Carolina, I encountered a number of prejudices and fears. Most of these were off the cuff, unofficial, and even non-verbal or unspoken. I have been bothered by this, but I have been hesitant to put it in words because I don't see the world in their way, and I would rather attempt to heal their prejudice than simply criticise them. In general, the persons I am referring to are revisionists although some are moderates. To be fair, there are things that frighten the orthodox, the reasserters, the conservatives, and should frighten the moderates, but that might be subject for another post.

Dad used to say that the root of all of the world's problems could be found in the front pocket of a man's pants. There, the hand could find money (change), car keys, and, well in this analogy let's simply say, sexual issues.


This one might sound crazy, but revisionists, once firmly ensconced in a parish, in a vestry, or in any position of power, are afraid of change. I know, these people in general are considered to be open to change, but they are not open to any change in a conservative direction.

Why do they fear change? I think it is because of the inherent weakness of their theology. Remember that the "shellfish argument" and "the Church was wrong about slavery" argument as the best arguments most can raise regarding "The Issue." Logical argument is an obstacle to them because the final conclusion would require them to change what to them was conclusively apparent through the use of the illogical and the non-scriptural, their "feelings" as their foundation.

The other thing that change refers to is "spare change" or money. To revisionist clergy in a revisionist national church, there is always present the possibility of advancement to bishop, or even to presiding bishop. There is probably little hope of advancement of the liberal clergyman in a conservative diocese, and the election of a conservative bishop would reduce these clergy's chances for "advancement."


This relates to power or the loss thereof. Intoxicated by power, revisionists will not listen to the very thing they believe led to their current position, and that is "Reason." Reason should tell them that their ideas do not spread the Gospel, do not build up the body of Christ, and lead to a falling membership and degradation of the "brand" name "Episcopal." Why on Earth revisionists fail to acknowledge the failures of their time in positions in power is beyond reason and can only be attributed to intoxication. These revisionists, drunk with power, refuse to give up their keys and thereby commit their church to its own death by DUI.

Sexual Issues:

This should be obvious, but a little exposition might be helpful.

One, the revisionist clergy honestly believes that 2000 years of understanding of the apostolic teachings of the church are flat out wrong. If an orthodox bishop were to put the kibosh on the revisionist agenda of re-writing the Gospel message, the revisionists would be put in a position of being opposed to their bishop. This would make these foundationless preachers very uncomfortable, and they might have to consider moving to another diocese. That would interact with monetary issues already commented upon.

Two, some clergy might be involved in same sex relationships, might have youth ministers whose "lifestyle" present a danger to the youth, or they themselves might have sexual relationships outside of marriage, and would have to face the music under a more conservative headmaster.

There are other fears to be sure. I will briefly mention a prejudice or two that I have encountered.

One is the prejudice of "Evangelicalism." This came up when someone commented that one of the nominees for bishop was "Too Baptist." I was shocked by the comment. Having attended various services of Baptists in the past, I don't understand the fear. For one thing, the candidate so named is clearly Anglican in calling. For another, I think the insinuation is that anyone who even mentions the word "Bible" can be cast out of consideration for bishop as "too Baptist."

The other prejudice is the label of "orthodox" or "conservative." How this has become a negative stereotype is beyond my pay grade, but suffice it to say, the stereotype is cast, and the revisionist cannot see beyond the stereotype. Again, an "idée fixe" is unbecoming of a true liberal.

So what do revisionists fear?

They fear the loss of their jobs, a loss of power, a failure of their sexual liberation, and the humbling of their prejudiced natures.

I admit that this exposition is a bit above my pay grade, and I do not know how to heal the broken revisionist. I pray that they might abandon their agendas, and turn back to their first love: the love they experienced when they first accepted Christ as their personal Saviour and the Bible as containing within it everything they needed for salvation.

If there is anything any of us need to fear in the upcoming election of a new bishop, it is the fear of the ramifications upon the souls of others. A terrible responsibility indeed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the Feminization of the Species

From the U.S. Geological Survey (one of my favorite late night reads) it appears that researchers are pondering the strange increase in numbers of intersex fish in our rivers and lakes. Yes, male black bass are shedding their stereotypical behavior and adopting roles that were traditionally considered feminine. Okay, it does not just affect males,
"This condition is primarily revealed in male fish that have immature female egg cells in their testes, but occasionally female fish will have male characteristics as well."

It sounds like something is hacking into Big Mouth Billy Bass' genes.

Where is this being found?
"Although intersex occurrence differed among species and basin, it was more prevalent in large mouth bass in southeastern U.S., where it occurred at all sites in the Apalachicola, Savannah, and Pee Dee river basins, said Jo Ellen Hinck, the lead author of the paper and a biologist at the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center. The researchers also documented intersex in channel catfish for the first time."

No, not the catfish too!

So what is causing this change? It can't be a simple choice of lifestyle? There must be an external force at work. The researchers can't say yet, but they are not talking about genetic mutations, although they might want to think about the new science of epigenetics.
“We know that endocrine-active compounds have been associated with intersex in fish, but we lack information on which fish species are most sensitive to such compounds, the way that these compounds interact to cause intersex, and the importance of environmental factors,” Hinck said. “Proper diagnosis of this condition in wild fish is essential because if the primary causes are compounds that disrupt the endocrine system, then the widespread occurrence of intersex in fish would be a critical environmental concern.

You know what? We drink that very same water...hmmm...

This might explain a lot.

I remember my Dad saying, "You are what you eat, so gobble up!" as he carved the Thanksgiving turkey.

So, the next time you put ice in your drink, or water in your glass, think...

"Why am I drinking this sissy stuff when I could have had a shot of Scotch?"

Uh, on second thought, maybe they should test the fish in Josie's Well before you drink that scotch.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

e-Pravda: Conservatives are Racists, Homophobes, and Murderers

And I forgot to mention, secessionists.

Not content with the "Crosswalk" as its sole source of misinformation, the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina (EDUSC) is now using its electronic mouthpiece, the e-DUSC, to turn up the heat on conservatives. What do I mean? First look at the lead page. Highlighted and in headline position is,

_____________e~DUSC specials!______________

A sermon by the Rev. Furman Buchanan about what the life of a former SC bishop has to say about the upcoming episcopal election

I am getting tired of reading sermons, but felt it was my duty to suffer through this one in order to see what the Diocesan House wants us lowly pewsters to hear to guide us in the difficult task of choosing a bishop.

Let's take a look at this sermon. Buchanan starts with words that should pique the ears of any sharp eared pewsitter,

"We just heard what St. Paul wrote to the Ephesian congregation, 'Pray for me…to make known the boldness and mystery of the gospel…pray that I may declare it boldly…'"

I think that is from Ephesians 6. You remember that chapter that no one trusts anymore because of all that nonsense about slaves obeying their masters.

"When the air is thick with controversy, and there is deep tension and strife, when people are confused or abandoning ship, it is just plain common sense not to preach too boldly. In the life of the Church, or of a diocese, or of a congregation, these are the times when it is just plain common sense to avoid 'rocking the boat.' "

When a liberal preacher starts out this way, he is gearing up to "rock the boat."

"What would Jesus do? One of my teachers put it this way: 'Jesus was in the middle of everything but the road!'"

Is he going to attack the Via-Media folks? No way. Read on,

"I want you to notice what has happened in the story according to John’s Gospel that we have been hearing for the past month. In a lovely, green, grassy field by the sea; five thousand people gathered to see what Jesus was all about, and they ended up having an incredible picnic—a sort of holy communion on the hillside.
Jesus slipped away in the night, along with his closest friends; but the crowds came after them. They greeted Jesus, but he challenged their motivation for coming; and then he preached boldly, 'I AM the bread of life!'
You can guess what happened next. The religious folks in the crowd began to complain. (This is what we 'religious folks' do when we get offended.)
But what did Jesus do? He preached even more boldly, he kept on rocking the boat by saying, 'Your ancestors ate the manna …and they died. I am the living bread. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.'
There was even more confusion, tension and disagreement in the crowd. This is when good common sense should’ve kicked in. It is not hard to imagine one of the disciples—someone like you or me—pulling Jesus aside and saying, 'Let’s adjourn debate on this whole “bread of life” thing for the day. It’s not polling well in the crowd. Your numbers are dropping. Let’s sleep on it, and start fresh in the morning.'
But what did Jesus do? He preached even more boldly, he kicked it up another notch by saying, 'Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life…' I remind you that Jesus is speaking to people who observed unbelievably strict dietary laws. He just said the most offensive thing imaginable. Flesh-eating and blooddrinking were just too much for the crowd to stomach."

I think he must be talking about traditionalists/orthodox/conservatives! Yes, that must be it.

"John records that the congregation declined from 5000 to 12. And so Jesus asked the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?'

I want you to consider what it would be like to serve on a vestry for a congregation that experienced a similar, breath-taking drop in numbers. What would you say to a preacher like Jesus?"

Could he be drawing a parallel to his own ministry? I don't know how long he has been at St. Martins in Columbia, but the growth and development charts from the Episcopal church pages show a membership of greater than 1000 in 2002 dropping to about 650 in 2008.
UPDATE: I received word from an anonymous commenter that most of the decline was during the tenure of another rector. I hear that one got promoted to canon of the Ordinary.
(A note to the uninitiated, the liberal preacher is quite happy with the departure of those annoying conservatives. It is amusing to watch this one use scripture to justify the shrinking Episcopal church, I don't think I have seen this before although I have heard the quality over quantity argument in the past.)
I would feel right at home in this congregation.

"Now imagine standing in the pulpit of that same congregation trying to summon the courage to preach boldly.
What would you say to those who were leaving?
We would much rather hear some 'common sense' preaching, wouldn’t we? Maybe some helpful hints for happy living!
How do you think this would fly?
'Dear people of God, it is time we had a black bishop for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina!'
Does this sound too bold, given the tension that is already present in the Episcopal Church and in our nation?
Does it feel like I’m trying to rock the boat, when our diocesan numbers are declining?"

Oh, I see now. He is obviously going to show how the issues that he thinks are causing the current decline of the Episcopal church (same gender marriages and ordinations of openly gay, divorced men) should be declared boldly and openly because they are the equivalent of racism.

And don't you see, conservatives are racists and homophobes? He is not through and wants to pile it on with even worse associations. Let's see if you pick it up in the following interesting history lesson:

"Well, listen to another story about bold preaching that cuts very close to home.
On Christmas Eve of 1860, God was working yet another miracle inside a young woman whose name was Margaret. She was married to a preacher in Eastover, S.C. They were probably at Church, singing hymns about the Christ child, and dreaming about the child they were expecting. On Christmas Eve—of all days—our state government declared its intention to secede from the United States. It was the 'common sense thing to do' given the tension, strife and disagreement that was all around."

Okay, there are those common sense folks again, remember, this is code for "conservatives." This time he is equating them with secessionists.

"In 1861 the American Civil War began, Abraham Lincoln became President, and Margaret gave birth to William Alexander Guerry. Things were falling apart—Margaret died when William was just a boy. His father struggled to make ends meet. And his grandmother read to him on Sunday afternoons out of the Bible and the Prayer book. Many Episcopal Church leaders in the South wanted to secede from the Church during this time, much like the confederate states. Given the tension, disagreement and strife in the Episcopal Church back then, it was the 'common sense thing to do.'"

Here he uses repetition to emphasize the parallel he is trying to draw between the present day issues of the church and the issues of the 1860's.

"William graduated from high school in Charleston around the end of the Reconstruction Era. It was a time of great tension and uncertainty. He went to Sewanee on a scholarship, and not long after graduating from college decided that he was called to ordained ministry.6 There continued to be much volatility and fear within the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. For example, black clergy and lay persons from St. Mark’s in Charleston were rejected as delegates at the diocesan convention.
In 1888, William graduated from seminary and was ordained at Christ Church in Greenville. He served capably in a number of capacities in South Carolina and beyond during this tense and ambiguous period in the Episcopal Church in S.C. At one diocesan convention there was even a resolution to segregate the blacks into a distinct, and separate organization. In 1907, at Trinity Church (now Trinity Cathedral) in downtown Columbia, William Guerry was elected bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. It was a time of tension and fear not unlike our own time. There was anxiety about a new scientific theory by Charles Darwin,"

Throwing in Darwin is another liberal tactic. It is commonly used to demonstrate the ignorance of traditionalists.

"strife about developing new liturgies for a new 1928 prayer book, tension about race relations, and fear about the economy and about war. And South Carolina Bishop William Alexander Guerry preached boldly about striving for unity, and not uniformity in the Church. He preached boldly that (quote) 'the Church should be broad enough to embrace within its communion…every living soul.'"

Code word warning: "Broad church" means embracing heterodoxy and bad mouthing orthodoxy.
He is trying to draw that parallel again because this is the same language liberals of today use to justify rejection of the Apostolic traditions.

"So now you know that roughly one hundred years ago, a man who grew up in Charleston, S.C., someone whose immediate relatives fought as Confederate Soldiers in the Civil War, someone who was educated at a college chartered to serve young white men from the south—this person stood up in the building we know as Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, S.C. and preached boldly when he said:
“Dear people of God, it is time we had a black bishop for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina!”
Bishop Guerry’s vision of the Church can be summarized in the opening sentences of what we proclaim at a Holy Baptism. There is One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. One God and Father of all. Bishop Guerry wanted all people, regardless of race, to be part of the community of Christ in the diocese, and he wanted a black Bishop Suffragan to work alongside him to build up the Body of Christ in this state."

Without a doubt, Bishop Guerry was bold, a martyr perhaps, and ahead of his time. So what happened to him?

"Bishop Guerry’s dream was never realized. And in 1928, a priest who passionately insisted on the principle of white supremacy walked into the bishop’s office in Charleston and shot him. He died several days later, as a martyr—a witness—for the faith. Bishop Guerry preached boldly, not only with his lips, but with his very life."

We should at this point thank Bishop Guerry for his sacrifice, but what does this have to do with the present issues of sexuality in the church? It is an old liberal argument that says, "The church got it wrong about Darwin, wrong about slavery, wrong about racism, and is wrong about human sexuality."

So why doesn't this preacher come out and boldly state what he believes? (In case you can't guess, he appears to believe in the ordination of non celibate homosexuals) Didn't he start out with, "Pray for me…to make known the boldness and mystery of the gospel…pray that I may declare it boldly…?" I think the only bold thing he did was to mention Lincoln's name in a Columbia South Carolina church.

Why does he instead openly and boldly paint a negative picture of traditional belief?

Because the liberal message does not work. It is ultimately a message of despair. After all, once you throw out all that sexual moralism, all that "Southern obsession with sin" (sorry for the quote from my rector), all that stuff about original sin and the sinful nature of man, and the liberal preacher is left with no explanation for why God became incarnate and died for us. Who needs Jesus, who needs the church? He will fight with his dying breath any attempts to get the congregation to study and appreciate doctrine and tradition, for he knows that once they do, they will be free of his control, they might challenge his personal agenda, and they might boldly turn "his" church on its head.

This preacher should be honest enough to admit that even his "common sense" and the ruling liberal thought in the Episcopal church might be in the wrong.

I can only conclude that his sermon points to his opinion that,

Conservatives/traditionalists = secessionists/racists/homophobes/the cause of all devisiveness/and...MURDERERS.

Okay, he didn't say it directly, but I think it is there, and I think it is a despicable use of the pulpit. This probably explains where all the people have gone.

He concludes with an appeal to God to keep those evil conservatives out of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

"I don’t know who the candidates for bishop will be when we gather at Trinity Cathedral this December, but I pray that they will be women and men who are eager to preach just this boldly with their lips and in their lives. I pray they will insist upon a diocese that is broad enough to embrace within its communion every living soul."

(More coded speech and another use of repetition to emphasize a point).

The next question that needs to be answered is this. Who in the diocesan house picked this particular sermon to promote as a "must read" before the bishop election?

If there was ever any doubt as to the leftward bias of the leadership in Columbia, the "Crosswalk" article praising Philip Linder+'s work at the General Convention 2009, and this e-Pravada recommended reading should be sufficient proof that a good old fashioned house cleaning is in order. Diocesan funds should not be used to promote this destructive liberal agenda.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Copper Coins

Today's sermon was preached by Mary Cat and I thought she did a respectable job on the Gospel lesson, Mark 12:38-44, also known as "The Widow’s Offering."
"As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’"

Mary Cat showed her example of the "mite" offering. Two mites might be misheard as in the following cartoon,

The anthem for today was "Tu Pauperum" by Josquin, and the English translation of the words fit the scripture quite well.
"Thou art the refuge of the destitute/poor,
Alleviator of all weakness, hope of the exiled,
strength of the heavy laden, path for the erring,
Truth and life.
And now, Lord Redeemer,
I take refuge in Thee alone; I worship Thee, the true God.
In Thee I hope, in Thee I trust, My salvation, Jesus Christ, uphold me, that my soul may never sleep in death."

I found a nice interpretation by John Lienhard of the University of Houston who, in putting in his two cents worth, wrote,
"My favorite among Josquin Des Prez's motets is an odd piece, Tu Pauperum Refugium -- Thou art the Refuge of the Poor. It begins with soul-settling chords. Then it moves off into the complex polyphony Josquin so perfected 500 years ago.

The text recites the attributes of God -- 'alleviator of weakness, hope of the exiled.' But when Josquin reaches the line, 'path for the erring,' a strange thing happens. The grand order of the music seems to break down. The countertenor line stumbles about like a man lost in the woods. Where is it going?

Josquin had the mind of a linguist. His music is rich in word games and subtle text settings. What he does here is to teach us all a lesson about the word error.

It's from the same root as errant, which means embarked on a searching journey. Five hundred years ago, the two meanings were closer together. A person in error was a person searching for the truth. So Josquin's errant countertenors search for order."

Two mites = One penny.
Eternal life = Priceless.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Style over Substance: Philip Linder+'s Responses to the Search Committee.

The once in once out and then back in again petition nominee Philip Linder+'s responses to the search committee's questions have been posted via links from the Bishop Search web page. I needed a little help because I was not sure that I was learning much from his answers. One of the most interesting comments I received was from a parishioner in Columbia,
"His eloquent non-responses are very typical of his long-winded evasive responses to most issues..."

I had a similar impression, but I did not have much experience listening to him respond to the issues. Let us think about this style over substance question as we examine his responses.

A. Faith Story: He begins with his faith story where we find,
"I said to God, 'If you really want me to be a priest, then when I flip open this Bible the page has to tell me so!' My Bible opened to John 15: 'I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.'"

I tried to duplicate this style. So, I isolated the NT between my hands and opened it randomly (try it yourself), and you would not believe what I came up with, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8,
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit."


Continuing on in the faith story we find,
"The Reverend Martin Gable of St. Martin’s, Atlanta, taught me that one is always a priest and pastor—you cannot step in and out of that call"

Wait just one minute! As I recall, Linder+ was first called to run for bishop, then recalled and dropped out, then called back and went in by petition. In cell phone speak we call that style "Call Roaming."

"—and above all else you must be an individual that never breaks trust with the people whom you serve. Today my wife and I continue to struggle with God’s will and call for our lives and ministry."

Breaking trust...maybe some other Trinity folks can fill me in on the rumor that he told some church leaders that he would not run for bishop, and then he went ahead and accepted the nomination. Others can explain the level of trust they gained from his letter to the parish after he withdrew from the bishop search process, and how they felt when they found out that he agreed to be a petition nominee.

Question B

“I would work hard to establish a strong personal relationship with every clergyperson, congregation, and institution I serve.”

Where is the substance? His resume indicates that the only diocesan office which he has held is Deputy to the General Convention. In ten years in this diocese, he has not served on the Diocesan Executive Council, and as a result, he was an unknown in this neck of the woods until his escapades at the 2009 General Convention became known in that infamous "Crosswalk" article.

C. The SSB questions:
Remember earlier, I think in part A, he said,
"I am deeply passionate about my love for Jesus, The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and my desire to serve the people of God."

The substantive facts on the ground (his work at GC 2009) show that his passion for the Anglican Communion is not in its preservation.

"I gave much time, prayer, and voice to the development of Resolution D025 called, 'Anglican Communion: Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion.' In 2006 I voted for B033, dealing with 'manner of life' and the election of bishops, as the best way forward at that moment in time. What became clear at this General Convention was that B033 would not hold anymore on its own, so the deep question for me was how can we find that Anglican place of middle ground? I felt we must come to the great Anglican principle of the via media—that the truth lies in the tension of the extremes."

Apparently, Dean Linder voted for D025 in 2009 largely because he sensed that most other bishops would no longer abide by B033 not because of any stated theology or doctrine. He follows the decisions of others. Style point.

His via-media style points are not backed up by substance. I am beginning to think that the via media is a convenient chasm into which the left tosses claims to "Truth," hoping that the real Truth never emerges.
"I saw our passage of Resolution D025 as our acknowledgement of what is, as a way forward that is not perfect, but nonetheless a way for us to state boldly that we as Anglicans, as Episcopalians, are now recommitting to our faith and love in Jesus Christ now with a desire to fully focus upon mission and ministry in His name."

He knows the way forward that he has prepared, he just is unwilling to admit it.
“Some may choose to interpret this differently, however I firmly believe that we have respected the spirit of the worldwide Anglican Communion.”

And just who might see it differently? Not just this lowly pewster...

The Archbishop of Canterbury himself visited the General Convention and asked the deputies not to take any action which could strain the Anglican Communion further. After the Convention passed D025 (which Linder+ worked mightily to put together) and DO56, the Archbishop said, in his understated, English way, “a realistic assessment of what Convention has resolved does not suggest that it will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces.” While the Dean professes that the General Convention honored the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop disagrees. Via media indeed.

" the 76th General Convention I was not able to support the House of
Bishops’ recommendation to study and develop resources for the blessing of same gender
relationships. I firmly believe that neither The Episcopal Church nor the Anglican Communion is in any way prepared theologically or emotionally to embrace such a practice as 'official.' Clearly the blessing of same gender relationships are unofficially taking place in certain dioceses and other jurisdictions within the Anglican Communion, however that is very different from the Church officially sanctioning them as a body. Within the Diocese of Upper South Carolina I do not believe that our congregations or people as a whole, support the blessing of same gender relationships either from a scriptural or theological understanding, and as bishop I would not allow this practice. If a priest in our diocese were asked to perform such a blessing, I would not allow it, but rather invite the priest and the church members involved to meet with me to discuss why their bishop and our diocese stands in that place. I would offer to them my love, prayers, and concern; and, yes from a pastoral perspective it would be very difficult."

Not ready for "official" (his quotation marks) blessings of same sex marriages. He thinks the theological foundations have not been done. I wonder what he thinks of the theological work that has been done that opposes SSBs? I wonder, would he allow SSBs to be done as long as they are kept in the closet, or on a don't ask/don't tell basis as part of that "generous pastoral response" approved by the General Convention? He appears to say, "No, not here because that is not what the people want." It would be preferable if he could say that the apostolic teachings are against it!

Question D

“although I have not been able to give my time to this as dean, as bishop and one who has previously been active in Cursillo, I will fully support these ministries by my presence at weekends and their continued incorporation into the diocese’s vision as a tool for evangelism and renewal.”

It is unclear to me why Linder has not had time for Cursillo as Dean but would have as Bishop. Moreover, he professes an interest in evangelism. Yet according to statistics provided by the Episcopal Church, the Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) at the Cathedral has remained stagnant.

My overall impression of his responses are that he is trying entirely too hard to appear as a moderate (style), when in actual fact he is part of the revisionist class (substance) that is wreaking havoc on the ever shrinking Episcopal church. This nominee, if elected, would continue to move the church away from its sure foundation and towards the shifting sands of the secular world because, recall his build up piece from Crosswalk, where he described D025,
"The resolution," Linder said, is "a truthful acknowledgement of what is, a way forward that is not perfect but nonetheless a way for us to state boldly that we are now recommitting to our faith in Jesus Christ with a desire to focus fully upon mission and ministry in his name. I believe," Linder continued, "that we have turned a major page in going forward...and we have done so in a most Anglican way that respects the worldwide Anglican Communion."

Acknowledge the "What Is." Bow down before It.

And I still don't get how anyone can "state boldly" a "not perfect..." "...way forward."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bishop Nominee Neal Michell+ Address to the Diocese of Dallas

I have been hunting for pre-walkabout material on the nominees for the next bishop of Upper South Carolina. This is something everyone should do in order to know these guys better. I came across an address to the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas by the Rev. Canon Dr. Neal Michell given on 10/16/2009. I will excerpt some of it, but for those wanting the full text, here is a link.

He starts with a picture of himself and the diocese,
"I stand before you as one of the most hopeful and hope-filled people in the Diocese of Dallas.
Take a moment and look around you. As you look around you will see why I am so hopeful. What you will see are leaders. This room is full of some of the best leaders in the Episcopal Church. I wish you could spend a week with me. If you could, you would spend time as I do with some of the best leaders of our diocese. You make me hopeful for our future.
If you were to spend a week with me, you would talk to a number of clergy from other dioceses, many wanting to come serve in the Diocese of Dallas. Every week I get a call from one or more priests who want to come here because they have heard of all the exciting things going on and what a positive place for ministry it is. We are truly spoiled here in the Diocese of Dallas because this is such a positive, innovative, and supportive diocese to be a part of."

Okay, I don't want any anonymous comments suggesting I move to Dallas (find out why at the bottom).

Later on, Michell+ touches on something else of interest to us in SC. Our diocese has been working to create Spanish language ministries and he notes the progress being made in the Diocese of Dallas. Experience with these congregations and the Spanish liturgy is a plus. Interestingly, they have an active Kenyan and Tanzanian congregation as well as a Korean congregation in the mix.

"• Funding Fr. Noe Mendez on a full-time basis at Holy Nativity, Plano
• St. Mary’s, Irving – Fr. JJ Bernal – from about 75 on a Sunday to about 300 in the Hispanic service; parish called him as rector
o Several families have been added to the non-Hispanic congregation
• St. Luke’s, Dallas – Aquilino Lara, a graduate of Instituto Teológico San Mateo had about 15-20 on a Sunday when he came to assist there less than a year ago; they
now are drawing 75 people per Sunday.
New Hope Church – Korean, meets at St. Andrew’s, Farmers Branch
• Fr. Augustine Lee – they have about thirty in that congregation, and they have a young man that is interested in pursuing holy orders.
Trinity, Dallas, on Hillcrest has over 150 Kenyans worshiping there weekly. They have recently added a worship service targeting Tanzanians. They are currently ministering to about 65 persons.
Ascension, Dallas, is sponsoring their first Sudanese Aspirant for Holy Orders – he is attending Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. He is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan."

And how diversified and improved is their discernment process?
"• We currently have 21 people in the discernment process.
• Nine are scheduled to graduate this coming spring.
o Five are under the age of thirty
o Seven are under the age of forty
o Four are pursuing the Diaconate
o 19 the priesthood
o 7 are women; 14 are men
• In addition, we have four candidates in the Titus Project for rural areas"

Hopefully they are more organized than our process.
Later in the Strategic Planning section he addresses my concern,
"• We have made streamlined the discernment process. As I mentioned above, over half of those in the discernment process are under the age of forty. Those in the discernment process will tell you that our discernment process is more supportive and less adversarial than it has seemed to be in years past."

And speaking of the strategic plan,
"• We have continued to plant churches. We have planted five churches and several new communities of faith, targeting Latinos, young adults, Koreans, and African Immigrants. Approximately ten percent of our average Sunday attendance is traceable to these new communities of faith.
• We are have increased the number of people going on short-term mission trips.
• We have been more intentionally involved in more and more local outreach. We are leaders in the City of Dallas Justice Revival.
• We are revising the way we do communications.
• All Saints Camp continues to be a place where leaders are developed and people deepened in their relationship with Christ.
Have we accomplished the goals we set for ourselves? No. Are more passionate about the gospel as a diocese? Yes. Have we made great strides? Yes. We are a remarkably different diocese than we were nearly nine years ago when we first embarked on our Strategic Plan. We are more mission oriented, more evangelistic, more strategic at every level."

and towards the finish,
"We have not been ritually stringent. Some prefer 'smells and bells,' others use guitars and drums. But the overarching character of our diocese is that we have a passion for the gospel and the apostolic faith, and the unity of the Church is of paramount importance. Apostolic faith and Catholic Unity. "

He appears to be committed to unity, and as Canon of the Ordinary, he has experience with the work of the diocese.

I have one reservation however, and that is, will he hold it against me that I can't stand the Dallas Cowboys?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Stewardship, Burwell+ Style.

This past Sunday we at ECOOS listened to a skit put on by the stewardship committee. ECOOS stewardship campaigns are generally low key and only sometimes come off as desperate pleading. On occasion, we might hear a word from the pulpit about tithing, but it is generally all handed over to the stewardship and finance committees to discuss such matters. During the stewardship committee's skit, I chanced to wonder what was going on in the churches of the various nominees for bishop of Upper South Carolina. Given that each has only a one in six chance of being elected bishop this go round, I suspected that it would be business as usual in those churches. Later, as I relieved myself after coffee hour, imagine my horror as a gnarled, blotched, ancient hand reached under the stall door, pushing an envelope towards my feet.

I whispered, "Deep Pew, is that you?"

I heard no response except for the sound of the door closing. Opening the envelope, I found that Deep had obviously been to church at Holy Cross Sullivan's Island and documented John Burwell's sermon on stewardship. I knew there was some cross pollinization between the two dioceses of South Carolina, but I never guessed that Deep Pew buzzed between here and Sullivan's Island. Thanks Pew, that saved me the trouble of searching through and listening to the recorded sermons on-line (which would have been a little awkward at the time).

Here are some highlights from a sermon given by John Burwell+ on 10/25/2009. He starts off with,
"This morning, Let’s talk about expectations, and impossibilities, and the power of God!
Look with me again at our middle lesson – From the Book of Hebrews, chapter 13. I want to call you attention to verse 6:
'So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?!' Have you seen this verse before? Recently? Anybody looked closely at the pledge card in your possession this morning? (That’s right, it’s on the pledge card!)
Do you know why that verse is printed on our pledge cards? It has to do with expectations, impossibilities, and the power of God."

After an exposition on Exodus, we get to where the Israelites are trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea,

"With the calm confidence that only comes from a life surrendered to the Lord, Moses told the Israelites, 'Fear Not!' It’s verse 13. You see it? Middle of the page. Left hand side. Moses says, 'Do not be afraid!'"

Is he actually asking people to read from their Bibles?
"He says 'Stand firm. The Lord will fight your battles, you need only to stay out of his way!'
The only way to become free of fear is to know that God is with us. To know that HE is in charge of all our impossibilities!"

A bit further on,
"What seemed to human eyes to be a cul-de-sac of impossibility wasn't. God still had one more move to make. And the parting of the Sea became a metaphor of what God can do with impossibilities!!"

And towards the end,
"Now, what has this to do with you? In particular, what does MOSES and the Red Sea have to do with the pledge cards you now have in front of you this morning?
Well, God has led you here, to this place and time - Just like God led the Israelites out to the Red Sea. And today – this morning - I'm asking you to place your faith in God's almighty power.
I’m not just asking you to put a dollar amount on the pledge card. I’m asking you to consider what God can do with impossibilities!!
I’m asking you to tithe!

The last time we heard that at ECOOS was about $100,000 ago.
Today is Stewardship Sunday. Today is the day to fill out that Stewardship card and hand it in and make a pledge to God that shows that you trust Him.
...We’re talking this morning about expectations, and impossibilities, and the power of God! All throughout the Bible – in both the Old and the New Testament – the tithe is God’s expectation of his people.
Not because it’s easy to give that much - but because He wants you to trust Him.
Most of us today look at pledging 10% of our income as an impossibility! ...God’s expectation is a tithe, and the majority of us don’t even pledge, so let me tell you I understand if tithing sounds like an impossibility to you!"

He is playing the "T" card, but tying it in with scripture and his theme, clever...
"Hear now the good news!
That Same God, who did the impossible in opening the sea, is the Lord who came and lived among us. All the power of God dwelt in Jesus Christ!! And that Same Power is available to us today through his constant, ever-present, living presence! Make no mistake - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever! The same love that blessed Israel long ago, has liberated us from the bondage of guilt and sin and self-doubt and condemnation!
Stack up the impossible against that! Go ahead!!!"

"Hmmm...I really should listen to more of those recorded sermons on-line," I thought.

Is the stewardship campaign being conducted at Holy Cross Sullivan's Island really any different from the campaign going on in your church? If so, in what way? If different, does John Burwell's approach work for you?

In fact, I need to find more sermon material from the other nominees too. It would be fun to compare their stewardship sermons. In the absence of any reports from the field, I guess I shall have to keep on digging. After all, there are only six weeks to go before the election.

Oh Deep Pew, where are you?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Go Saints Go!

My old High School team was nicknamed the Saints (after St. Martin). We had rather simple cheers, like "Go Saints Go," and "Block that Kick." The only time we ever had a band was when we bought a bunch of kazoos and played "When the Saints go marchin in." If only we had Satchmo, for just one game, I am sure we would have come out on top more often. I can just picture the crowd in the bleachers, singing this song, stomping their feet, and clapping us on to victory.

Today at ECOOS we celebrated All Saints Day and the Commemoration of the Dead. Fr. Foss delivered the sermon, not from the pulpit, but from the center aisle of the nave. He did a good job of sticking to the Gospel story of Lazarus, although I was a bit skeptical about his use of the term "soul mates" to describe Jesus' relationship to Lazarus' family. I guess it was because our Governor recently used those words to describe an altogether different type of relationship that my mind wandered into no-no land.

Wanting to learn more about the Saints, as well as how we relate to the deceased, I browsed the web a little. As a result, I find myself recommending Father Dean A. Einerson's post for All Saint's Day at A North Woods Anglican. Let me tease you with a sample:
"Ever since the first century there are those who have tried turn the Gospel into myth, into an engaging story to teach timeless truths. There is a great advantage to that approach because it means that then the Gospel is just another tale, just another story, and it will have no more claim on how anyone lives his or her life than any other myth or, for that matter, any other movie. And that is what makes All Saints’ Day important."

"In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read these words: 'Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.' (12:1) The image here is of a stadium filled with all those who have gone before us, cheering us on as we too run our race."

Read it all.

I often kick myself for being so focused on playing the game that I forget about the cheering crowd. Athletes might call that focus, or "being in 'the zone.'"

Might it not be better for us to step out of "the zone" that we find ourselves in, and instead, pay heed to the great cloud of witnesses in the bleachers cheering us on? I want to be on their team!

Let's see, how did that old fight song go?

"Oh when the Saints go marching in,
Oh when the Saints go marching in,
Oh yes I want to be in that number,
When the Saints go marching in.

Oh when the Saints refuse to lose,
Oh when the Saints refuse to lose,
Oh yes I want to be in that number,
When the Saints refuse to lose.

Oh when the score begins to rise,
Oh when the score begins to rise,
Oh yes I want to be in that number,
When the score begins to rise."