Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Broken Dioceses: Duct Tape Meets Its Match?

I saw a recent story on yet another use for duct tape. What was it used for? To restrain unruly airline passengers of course (See story and picture here) .

I wonder why the airline had duct tape on board in the first place. In case the wings started to fall off?

Do you think the Church has a closet full of the stuff somewhere just in case?

As the reactions to the recent announcement by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi to allow same-sex blessings in his diocese ripple out into the ether, I wonder if Bishop Gray is hoping to hold Mississippi together with duct tape because he can't do it on the basis of scriptural and moral authority any longer. It appears that he has gone back on his word to the orthodox to not permit same-sex blessings in the Diocese of Mississippi.

We Episcopalians in Upper South Carolina will not have to worry about feeling betrayed by our Bishop Waldo when he starts permitting the blessed sacrament of same sex intercourse to take place in his temples. Bishop Waldo has made it clear that this is what he wants, and what an Episcopal Bishop wants, he or she gets as long as it does not go against the Zeitgeist.

The failure of our Episcopal bishops is the failure of all who look to someone or something other than the living God for healing and unity. We see this reflected in an event in the life of Jesus described in the optional part of last Sunday's Gospel reading,
"On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.’ While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God..." Luke 9:(37-43a)

This section, at first reading, may sound harsh and condemning because we have grown accustomed to an image of Jesus as loving Good Shepherd, and, as a consequence, we respond negatively to any image of Jesus the Judge. I am reminded that even a good shepherd comes armed with a crook. Plus, He saves his sternest warnings for the ones He loves the most. We should also remember that at this point the disciples had not been armed with the Holy Spirit, and later in the Acts of the Apostles we will witness many healings on the part of the Apostles, but it must also be remembered that these healings are done in the Name of Jesus. The people in Luke 9 appear to be asking the un-empowered disciples to do this thing on their own, and not necessarily in Jesus' name, and they quite rightly get called out for it.

In thinking about this section of Luke's Gospel, our priests and bishops might find themselves humbly remembering their un-empowered state when trying to solve our earthly problems with duct tape of their own making.

We lay people also must eat humble pie since we are guilty of not looking to Jesus when we should know that He is alive and present even to this day.

When your Diocese of Humpty Dumpty falls, who will you blame, and who will you look for to put it together again?
There are some things that even duct tape can't do.


  1. I am too wondering how this is going to go oin the ground in Mississippi

  2. Things tend to happen slowly in "Church-time" James H. I suspect the Diocese's stats will show another dip, any new clergy coming into the diocese will be liberal, and the decline will accelerate.

  3. Institutions were dismantled, in-synch with society.