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Sunday, July 12, 2009

They're baaacccckkkk!

And, this time, it's personal.


The incredible nerve!

Or, the stupidity!

This group of well-meaning folks actually tried to engage the "demonstrators" in conversation.

I was standing back, slack-jawed, wide-eyed and thoroughly disgusted and appalled, when I realized than Matt Kennedy of "Stand Firm" was right beside me.

His chin wasn't exactly on his chest, but he looked disgusted.

"They are taking scripture out of context," he said sadly, his distress unmistakable.

"I'm glad we agree on that, Matt," I said, my relief unmistakable.

"But you know, Matt, when people see them, they think they are from Stand Firm."

"I know," said Matt, "I know. It's an embarrassment."

We may hold down polar opposite ends of the theological spectrum, but I'd like to believe that we do so with a little more than a modicum of intelligence and reason.

We chatted a bit more - I shared his distress that he had not been authorized press credentials (that just doesn't make any sense when David Virtue and George Conger have their press passes. I promised to ask a few questions to see what I might discover) - before we went on our separate ways.

You know, come to think of it, that just might have been the highlight of my Saturday.


Suzer said...

At first I thought you might be joking when you share that Rev. Kennedy was distressed by and disagrees with those protesters. And it is true, given the tone and comments at StandFirm, I would have thought one of these protesters was indeed the good Rev. Kennedy himself, or perhaps one of the commenters there.

Does he not realize that much of what he espouses is unfortunately taken by people such as these protesters and twisted to suit their meaning? And, unfortunately, my opinion is they really don't have to twist his message very much to suit ther ends.

It is good to know, however, that at least he disagrees with those who spew the most virulent hatred. I would hope it might cause him and Mr. Griffith to rethink how Stand Firm and its commenters appear to the rest of us.

I, too, don't understand why he wouldn't get press credentials. I do wish the best for him and his family, despite the fact that he sadly would not wish the same for mine.

Lapinbizarre said...

Virtue, Conger, AND Phil, "blow things up", Ashley. Makes complete nonsense of the treatment of Matt Kennedy.

Ashley is currently complaining that "at this General Convention, the number of orthodox willing to stand against the tide of TEC's agenda is vastly reduced from previous conventions .... With such a numerically diminished opposition, TEC leaders have a free hand to draft and pass virtually any legislation they like."

"Boneheaded" doesn't begin to cover his inability to comprehend that actions have consequences.

Jane Priest said...

Okay, but I'd like to hear him say things like that more often. I'd like to hear him speak out on Stand Firm like that. I am glad for the moments you had with him. They sound very grace filled.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

"They are taking scripture out of context..."

Oh, the irony....

For some of us, it is a joy, rather than an embarrassment, to be known by the company we keep. Thanks be to God!


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Wow. You handled that ADMIRABLY. I hereby award you many "style points" for that. Sometimes rising above stuff works!

Catherine said...

Wow. To see ourselves as others see us. Sometimes it makes us change our behavior. On the other hand, has anyone at Stand Firm et al. considered that the voluntary departure of part of their bloc would change the balance of opinion at GC?

Thanks so much for the on-the-ground news. After so much walking each day, your efforts to keep us in the loop are greatly appreciated.

Jim said...

With one (Australian) exception, I don't think Stand Firm management is anywhere near that vicious and nasty. The pickets are more like some of the commenters that unfortuantely SF attracts.

I also thought denying him press credentials both petty and ill-advised. But then my view of the communications office is a bit uncomplimentary.


RENZ said...

Thanks for the post, Elizabeth, you just made my morning. It's moments like that that I hope for when I have the strength to engage folks at SFIF. There are some frighteningly ignorant comments posted at SFIF, but there are also more silent brothers and sisters who lean conservative but don't fall lock step into the extreme. I think it's also easy to forget that one sides disgust and sarcasm is the other side's hate speech and intolerance.

My name is Dan said...

Wow...reading about Rev. Kennedy's chagrin is rich. The amount of vitriol spewed and encouraged by Rev. Kennedy & company on StandFirm is astonishing. My breath is taken away every time I visit that site to be reminded of the spiritual nature of those who wish to destroy the Episcopal Church and any other church that is not right-wing in politics and theology. My personal favorite from StandFirm commentary this week was the phrase "leprous satanists" to refer to the Episcopal Church. I wish the "moderate" bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury would read StandFirm daily to familiarize themselves with the true face of those who proclaim themselves to be the "true" Christians.

Paul said...

I am glad you and Matt could have a basic human connection. That is what is so sadly lacking in our defense of opposing viewpoints. I am anything but irenic. This was refreshing to read.

LOL: verification word - unityw

the cajun said...

That exchange...Wow! Just wow! I am slack jawed.
A most unlikely conversation?
A most unlikely response?


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You know what? That conversation was just as natural and (dare I say it?) normal as I would have had with any brother clergy. Matt really is a southern gentleman and a devout Christian. His theology is just very different than mine - and mine to his - is all. And remember, the mean stuff that comes on SFiF is in the comment section - with the exception, of course, of one notable Board member, Mr. Melanie.

Bill said...

We can't write our views in the extreme right and left margins and then be distrought when some folks take it as gospel.

Marcia King said...

As a long time reader of SFIF, I can assure you all that there is no desire to demonize our worthy opponents in this debate. We do hold very opposing views and yes, there are some comments which are inappropriate (it is, after all, a public forum.) But we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I am glad you had a chance to meet Matt Kennedy and commend you, Elizabeth, on your very gracious comment here on your site.

Lapinbizarre said...

"... the mean stuff that comes on SFiF is in the comment section." And just as there's an element of hyperbole in a fair amount of the stuff posted at, for example, the blogs of Frs Troll, Heron & Hagger, so, I hope, there is a degree of deliberate exaggeration in at least some of the SF reader comments, which, for various reasons, we tend not to recognize when we see it.

It is also a well-known fact that progressives have sharper, less pedestrian wits than reactionaries.

["Copicaph". Nice verification word.]

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Marcia - I'm sorry. Just because SFiF is an "Open Forum" does not excuse some of the hateful, despicable comments made there. I expect the owners of the blog - worthy or unworthy opponents we are all still Christians - to not allow that kind of response. I expect a higher standard from Christians - excellence, edifying - you know, all the standards St. Paul calls us to.

You don't have to like me. You don't have to "approve" of my life or who I love. You don't have to agree with my theology. But, you must treat me as I treat you: As a child of God. With respect and common decency - even when you are talking about me.

Whenever I've been in the presence of Matt Kennedy, he has always behaved in this way, and I with him. I pray for the day when all blog behavior meets this basic, minimum standard.

Allie said...

To be honest, I am shocked that anyone would think those protesters would be from StandFirm. While people from StandFirm are often quite mean, that was simply too crass for Anglicans. Their arguments were not those of SFIF poster, simply I give SFIF posters more credit than these guys (for something).

The protesters also kept referring to Sodom and Gomorrah and I really wanted to refer them to Ezekiel 16, but I know better than to engage.

Elizabeth, I had heard similar comments from others about Matt Kennedy.

Muthah+ said...

My question is what is Matt doing at GC? This shows that his purpose is not freedom to worship and articulate the Gospel as they choose, the real purpose of Stand Firm and ACNA and all those naysayers is really to get their way even if they have to stand outside the Church and throw bricks.

Sorry, I can't be concilliatory to SF

Marcia King said...

Hi Elizabeth: true, the comments should be to the point and never hateful or vitriolic. They should also be directed to the topic at hand. However, wasn't it you who posted on line that social workers should visit Anne Kennedy after she lamented the busy life of a mom of several children? Wasn't that a little over the top? Guess Matt is very forgiving. As he should be. (Forgive me if my memory fails and it was someone else who said this)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

If I began to write things that raised alarms about my mental health, so much so that social workers and psychologists who read what I wrote became deeply concerned for me and for my children and grandchildren, it would not be 'slander' if someone from a blog like SFiF raised the question of whether or not I needed professional intervention.

Whether or not it were true (but especially if it were) I would be upset. I would feel insulted. I might even be shocked and hurt. But, at its core, it would not be slander or a mean spirit. It would be an expression of concern about a sister in Christ.

Yes, there was one comment that was intemperate, which was also removed as soon as a friend pointed that out. Alas, the hate-monger sharks (not the Kennedys) at SFiF smelled blood on the water and reprinted a google archived copy turned it into a three-ring circus of hate, hysteria and hyperbole.

Without agreeing or disagreeing on the facts at hand, the Kennedys and I have put that entire episode behind us. We are trying to model the gracious generosity of Christ in our relationships, which is the high calling of the baptism we share, despite our theological differences.

I suggest you do as well - unless, of course, you have another motive for bringing it up.

Indeed, just so y'all know - I will not be publishing any comment that refers to that incident. It will only bring hurt to all sides and serve no purpose of the edification and excellence of the Realm of God.

So, if you want to take your best shot at me, go right ahead. I'll not award that kind of bad behavior with exposure to the rest of the community that gathers here.

Lapinbizarre said...

Mutha raises an excellent point. A considerable number - the majority, I think - of SF regulars are folks who have left TEC with one or another group or diocese. Their continuing angry drum-beat of hatred towards TEC reminds one of nothing so much as the abiding hatred a spouse in a failed marriage can feel towards a divorced partner. Unhealthy. Need to move on.

Verification "quash". Real words are surfacing.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

BTW, I did have a conversation with the Director of Communications here at GC who reports that Matt Kennedy's credentials were not issued by the Credentialing Committee because there were two criteria which, according to the form he, himself, filled out, he failed to meet. I was not given the specifics, but that's the official word.

Paul Powers said...

Matt Kennedy is more than capable of explaining his continued interest in TEC either here or on his own blog, should he choose to do so.

As to why ACNA members in general have a continued interest in TEC (and why a proportionately smaller-but still significant--number of TEC'ers have a continued interest in ACNA), I think Lapin's divorce analogy is useful. In the first place, the divorce is still too recent for the scars to have had a chance to heal. Second, members of the extended family are starting to take sides in the dispute (some backing TEC, others backing ACNA), and each "spouse" is accusing the other of not really being part of the family and fighting over who should get invited to Uncle Cantuar's big family reunion in 2018. Finally, as with many divorces, especially where children are involved, dissolving the marriage doesn't completely dissolve the relationship, and both spouses can be affected by what the other spouse does.

Marcia King said...

Hi Elizabeth: sorry I touched a nerve there. No offense or rehash intended and obviously from your recent gracious encounter with Matt, all has been forgiven. I only brought it up as an example of occasional hurtful comments that can sometimes get out of hand.

We all need to reflect, pray and put our best foot forward when we disagree on theological and other issues. It is a shame that there are so few conservative voices left at the GC and indeed, in TEC. Even some of the the notes in the more liberal websites and "tweets" seem to lament our absence. Me too.

The Reverend Marcia King

Suzer said...

I don't know, Allie. I've seen everything from the childishness of referring to our Presiding Bishop as "Ms. Squid" to the completely unsupported and uncalled for allegation that TEC supports bestiality to the outright lies equating homosexuality with pedophilia on that site. In my admittedly brief forays over at SFIF, I have seen that and more. Seems pretty crass to me. There are some commenters there who I fear would sink to the lowest levels to disseminate their hatred for TEC and for GLBT people.

What is disheartening is the tepid response, or entire lack thereof, from Rev. Kennedy and Mr. Griffith to such behavior and lies. They do not remove such comments, though they remove comments from progressives who challenge their ideas with salient points. So, it would seem to me, that they actually agree with the more heinous commenters, but prefer not to say those things themselves. After all, if it's in print as their words, it can be used against them at a later time. It seems to me they would rather support it indirectly by letting it remain on SFIF without refuting it.

That isn't to say this doesn't happen on the progressive blogs, too. UnChristian behavior seems to be something both sides actually do have in common.

Thus -- no -- I would not have been surprised at all if Rev. Kennedy or his SFIF followers were among the demonstraters pictured in the post. It is nice to know Rev. Kennedy says in private that he disagrees with their theology, but it would mean more if he matched his actions to his words.