Sunday, October 09, 2011

This Was Not in the Job Description: The Bishop's (Waldo's) Suit

Interestingly, today's Epistle was from Phillipians and reads like a prayer for the healing of a dispute involving women, Philippians 4:1-9
 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Interesting because we see that conflicts within the Church have always been a problem. I don't know if Paul's methods helped Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord, but at least he didn't advise them to take each other to court. 

Interesting because buried amongst all the disturbing news from the Episcoverse this week was a story reported in "The State" about a lawsuit against Bishop Waldo of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina that appears to stem from events surrounding the removal of the Dean of Trinity Cathedral last year. My report on that earlier problem can be found here
The "State" reports the allegation:
"'Bishop Waldo callously and blatantly defamed and humiliated Ellen Linder before the entire congregation of the church and the public at large by falsely accusing her, with absolutely no justification or investigation into Ellen’s side of the story, of conspiring with her husband to break the laws of the church that she devoted her life to,' the 56-page complaint alleges." (Read it all at "The State,")
This does not seem to have much merit, but I don't know all the details. It is however, a reflection of our litigious culture in which it has become almost impossible to fire someone without having to worry about the threat of a civil suit or facing the employment commission. I offer the same prayer for Bishop Waldo that I offered for Bishop Lawrence of the DSC who was informed by our very own former Bishop Dorsey Henderson of "serious" charges against +Lawrence this week. I offered the following portion of Psalm 119 that we read on the day both these problems went public.
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord. I will keep your statutes. 146 I cry to you; save me, that I may observe your decrees. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your words. 148 My eyes are awake before each watch of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. 149 In your steadfast love hear my voice; O Lord, in your justice preserve my life. 150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near; they are far from your law. 151 Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. 152 Long ago I learned from your decrees that you have established them for ever. 153 Look on my misery and rescue me, for I do not forget your law. 154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. 156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your justice. 157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not swerve from your decrees. 158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. 159 Consider how I love your precepts; preserve my life according to your steadfast love. 160 The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures for ever. 161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. 162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous ordinances. 165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I fulfil your commandments. 167 My soul keeps your decrees; I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep your precepts and decrees, for all my ways are before you. (Psalm 119)
St. Philip's, Charleston, SC, site of "Mere Anglicanism 2012"


  1. Missouri's courts have said time and time again, they will not get involved in ecclesiastical matters, if for no other reason than Missouri's First Amendment equivalent as well the the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbid it. A good rule, methinks.

    Better to leave and join another congregation or denomination. After all, that's what "protestant" means.


  2. I can't be sure, but defamation, pain and suffering, etc may be the angle the attorney is pursuing to avoid question of the 1st Ammendment.

  3. ToilNotSpin1:07 AM

    Apparently no one has informed any of the principals in this unattractive piece of drama, that South Carolina has a law in which any one can be fired at any time by the bosses, with no reason given. Occasionally the "hostile" workplace comes up, the the situations in which men and women are fired these days with no explanation are getting greater by the day.

    This will never come to court---there may be some sort of financial settlement and then it will all magically go away..

    On to another topic, I still can't understand what SPECIFICALLY Lawrence is supposed to have done--the web sites that purport to explain that are so wordy they have completely lost me. All they will say is "He's done something bad and betrayed the Episcopal church" which could mean anything.

    UP, you are our translator and clarifier---what specifically is he supposed to have done that he is about to be burned at the stake?

    Blessing to you as always

  4. TNS,

    +Lawrence is accused of "abandonment of the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of T.E.C."

    This is a clause in the canons which can be as open ended as whoever is in charge wants it to be.

    We already know that there is no core doctrine in TEc.

    We have seen no discipline of bishops who wander into heresy, but we have seen the orthodox deposed.

    In my opinion, this is the result of long standing opposition to his election in the first place (remember how the Presiding Bishop tried to block the election), and to actions of the DSC convention to "disengage" from some of the more nefarious things that T.E.c. has been engaging in such as funding the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, funding lawsuits against fellow Christians, and opposition to the "new thang."

    Most of the charges listed sound silly such as him calling the Episcopal church a "comatose patient."

    I have done worse.

    Complicating matters is the fact that the disciplinary canons were changed by TEc effective July 2011, and DSC did not change their constitution and canons at their last convention to accede to the TEc canons as DSC considered the Title IV changes to be unconstitutional. This could result in a constitutional crisis if DSC chooses to ignore any discipline or requests from TEc related to these charges.

    Also, since there is no Supreme Court of TEc to determine the constitutionality of its most recent changes to Title IV, the whole thing becomes a drama with a bunch of former lawyers turned priests acting like they are back in a law school's mock trial.

  5. Where I wrote "and opposition to the 'new thang'", I meant that DSC is opposed to the "new thang" and that puts them in TEc's crosshairs.

    No one, repeat no one, dares to oppose the "new thang."