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Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you can't sing it, well, I will . . .


Well, it's official.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has left The Episcopal Church.

Here's the full story from ENS.

The full text of Bishop Iker's convention address can be read here.

Katie Sherrod has been faithfully blogging away at Desert's Child.

I won't link to the ultra-orthodox, uber-Christian blogs. You know where to find them. I wore out my kevlar vest and asbestos sneakers on my last visit there and I haven't had time to replace them.

I have been reflecting on the election of Jack Leo Iker as bishop of Fort Worth, TX. I had just come into the Diocese of Newark and was asked to join a group of women who were protesting his election, specifically, and Jack Spong's tie-breaker vote for him (despite the negative vote from his Standing Committee) in the House of Bishops.

The Bishop of Newark, true Liberal that he is, explained his vote at the time by saying words I'll never forget: "If there's room in the House of Bishops for someone like Jack Spong, there's room in the House of Bishops for Jack Iker."

It was in that moment that I knew I was not a Liberal. I am a Progressive Christian.

I love Jack Spong, but I thought he was wrong then and I think time has proven that to have been a correct assessment. The House of Bishops could have only big big enough for someone like Jack Leo Iker if there were an addition added for women who are bishops.

With a lock on the door to the men's side.

And, Jack Iker had the key.

I am sad for the pain and turmoil in The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and all those faithful Episcopalians who will try, against formidable odds, to stay and rebuild the Episcopal presence there.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Cone, under the direction of Jack Leo Iker, will try to take the diocesean property that no longer belongs to them. There will be court battles they know they will lose, but they already have the conservative oil money in the bank.

From the depths of their great Christian love and charity, they will try to kill The Episcopal Church with death by a thousand legal paper cuts.

They also have the money to rebuild their own churches. That's not the point. They'll do that after they make The Episcopal Church bleed green.

So, you'll forgive me for not being gracious. You'll forgive me for not weeping and moaning and wailing and gnashing my teeth.

There is plenty of that in the Via Media Fort Worth. They have worked very hard to be kind and civil and Christian.

Me? I'm with Ray Charles and the ladies.

I understand from Katie's Blog that someone played a tape of this song after the vote results were revealed. That was neither the time nor the place for that. This is.

I think, eventually, even the members of the Via Media Fort Worth will come to see that this was the best thing that could have happened for them - as well as their "orthodox" brothers and sisters.

And, they will sing with me. Eventually. Not tonight. I understand. But, eventually.

This too, shall pass. And all will be well. In all manner of things, said St. Julian, all will be well.

Until then, hit it Ray . . .

7 comments:

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well, and there is something to be said for tough love. The schismatics, to me, are no different when you have an angry, dysfunctional child who undermines your family life. They are free to leave at any time with your blessing, and probably should, if they're that damn unhappy. But as is the case with the dysfunctional child, keep a close eye on the cookie jar with the stash of money, and the silverware right up to the minute they leave.

marnanel said...

It was in that moment that I knew I was not a Liberal. I am a Progressive Christian.

Hurrah-- well said. I'm tired of people assuming there's only one opposite to "conservative".

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I quite agree, as usual ;=)

There is no point in pretending there is Love, where there is Hate.

OT the comments seem to work only when I am logged to my own Blog, as I am now ;=)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Love that Ray. I wore those dresses.

Many prayers for Via Media of Fort Worth.

Bp. Spong, huh? What is he thinking now?

Jim said...

So here is a question for the departing. They got their orders from this church under our canons. If we are so unholy they have to leave us to the Devil, how can they claim those orders are valid? Especially if they were ordained by Jack who got his orders because of a vote from that other Bp. whose name they so frequently associate with evil, how do they claim sacremental authority now? How does Mr. Iker?

Forget the almost inevitable deposition of this bunch for their transparent abandonment of the community, how do they claim to be clergy with anything even approaching intellectual honesty?

Schism on laity!

FWIW
jimB

The Restless Heart said...

Geez, Elizabeth, you really need to get out more. Your comments reveal powerfully that you have no clue about Fort Worth.

"I am sad for the pain and turmoil in The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and all those faithful Episcopalians who will try, against formidable odds, to stay and rebuild the Episcopal presence there."

It's not all "pain and turmoil" here. By an 80-20 majority in both clergy and laity, we voted to disassociate with TEC. And that 80 percent majority has been pained for decades by the heterodoxy of TEC.

"The Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Cone, under the direction of Jack Leo Iker, will try to take the diocesean property that no longer belongs to them."

Visit the Diocese of Fort Worth web site. Read what's there -- and try to pay attention. The bishop and standing committee have made clear that they have no intention of prohibiting parishes that choose to remain aligned with TEC from maintaining ownership of their property.

"There will be court battles they know they will lose, but they already have the conservative oil money in the bank."

I grew up in the Midwest but have lived most of my life in and around Fort Worth. "Conservative oil money" is ignorant, prejudicial code language that bespeaks bigotry of anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line -- as if some stereotypical J.R. Ewing types are dictating with their money what happens in Fort Worth.

"From the depths of their great Christian love and charity, they will try to kill The Episcopal Church with death by a thousand legal paper cuts."

The only implication of pending legal action thus far has come from 815 in New York, not the diocesan offices in Fort Worth. We have better things to do with our money here in Fort Worth -- like Christian mission. How will 815 waste theirs?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, let me guess, Restless, you're one of the "orthodites" - or, at least, a sympathizer.

Oh, I don't know. Just a wild guess. But then, I guess I just don't get around much anymore.

Here's a news flash: It's over. Well, the worst of it, anyway. Time to rebuild. Time for you to move on. This essay was posted on November 15. Today is December 30.

This is really old news, dear. You really need to get out into the progressive blogs more often.

Merry Christmastide to you.