Monday, September 15, 2008
'Spain it to me, Lucy
I'm not a lawyer or a canon lawyer (and I don't play one on TV), I'm just a white girl, a lover and follower of Jesus, who, like a whole whack of other people, is trying to make a difference in the world.
While it may be at least partly true in certain circumstances, I've never found myself accused of being simple-minded. Perhaps the charge might stick in this instance, but I confess that I don't understand the apoplexy around the anticipated deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan.
I didn't understand it when it happened for Bishop John-David Schofield's deposition. I'll likely not understand it when Jack Leo Iker or Keith Ackerman and, perhaps others (if they don't retire before actually, formally 'leaving') are, eventually, deposed.
Here's what I know about the actions of the Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh without looking at the report of the Task Force or the letter from the Presiding Bishop and without breaking a sweat:
1. He had a primary role in the widely-distributed and equally widely viewed film "Choose The Day" in which he said that TEC was apostate and followed a counterfeit Bible.
2. He has led his own diocese in changing their canons to disassociate from TEC, and is leading them to ratify these changes in their convention next month.
3. He has led and organized other disgruntled congregations and religious congregations who have left TEC or are considering leaving TEC who identify themselves as "Anglican" but are not in formal communion with Canterbury.
4. As "moderator", he has taken a leadership position in this network of "continuing Anglican" churches which places him the role of leading the charge to actively promote schism in TEC.
5. He actively promotes the punishment and banishment of TEC for legally electing and duly consecrating an honestly gay man as the bishop of NH.
If I'm wrong or have misstated any of these things, I earnestly desire to stand corrected.
A question: If Bishop Duncan were accused of boundary crossings, would he be rightly convicted?
I dare say that if someone in Duncan's own organization did these things, his actions would be swift and punitive and would leave little doubt as to where he and his organization stand theologically, philosophically and legally.
And yet, the charge is made by him and other "orthodox evangelicals" that the process of his deposition is "unfair" and "punitive" and "illegal" and the Presiding Bishop as "mean spirited", "incompetent" as well as a "coward and a wretch". Those are just the charges I can reproduce in a 'family' listserv like this.
George Conger's article which describes how "legal doubt" concerning the process is being raised is yet another thinly veiled attack on what is - and, it is as clear as the Iberian nose in the middle of my face - what Bishop Duncan obviously and earnestly desires: to no longer be part of this apostate, impure church with its counterfeit Bible, inaccurate understanding of Jesus and insufficient spirituality.
If Bishop Duncan really wants to leave and take the diocese with him, what would have prevented the diocese from petitioning the General Convention to mutually dissolve the union between the diocese and the General Convention? You're right - it probably would not have passed with sufficient votes, but at least it would be using the appropriate channels of canon law in an honorable fashion.
The process would then be to salvage your losses, take what you can, resign your post, reorganize your base, put down your roots and bloom where God has planted you. If this truly is a "breaking anointing" as someone prophesied the year 2008 would be for Bishop Duncan, then the gate will be opened. If you believe the first part, is it too simple minded to think that one would believe the second part?
So, is all of this really, only, about the property? Is THAT it?
After all the high-flung language about Jesus and scripture, all the outrage at the "immoral and deficient theological drift" of TEC, it's finally, ultimately, all about the property? Are things 'of this world' more important than working to bring about the Realm of God as you understand it?
Really? I don't get it. Someone 'spain it to me, Lucy.