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Monday, April 13, 2009

The 'inky-dinky diocese'

When Jim Kelsey, the former bishop of Northern Michigan who died in a tragic car accident a few years ago, was guest bishop in the Diocese of Newark, he joked that many considered his episcopal see 'that inky-dinky (insignificant) little diocese'.

Well, that 'inky-dink' little diocese has certainly become the center of quite a perfect theological storm which many consider of great significance.

Indeed, the reactions have ranged from outrage to hand-wringing anxiety, and in between, there has been a trans-Atlantic trial-in-cyberspace which has included unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo, and personal attacks - mostly submitted anonymously, of course - and outright challenges to the integrity of the process and the candidate it produced.

From where I sit and watch this lamentable spectacle, the 'perfect storm' is made up of one part ecclesiology, one part theology, one part anxiety and, in my opinion, one part revenge.

When he was in the Diocese of Newark, Bishop Kelsey gave a wonderful presentation on the concept of 'Total Ministry' which had energized and revitalized congregations in his diocese.

The idea of 'Total Ministry' is based solidly in the Baptismal Covenant and the Pauline notion of 'the priesthood of all believers'. It is egalitarian in its understanding of authority, and works to empower all the baptized in the mission and ministry of the church.

Many other dioceses - mostly rural and inner city, multiply challenged by small congregations, geography and limited financial resources - have also embraced this concept or adapted it to the particulars of their location.

The newest incarnation of this concept of 'Total Ministry' is that it has been applied to the election of a bishop in Northern Michigan - a process which was carefully overseen by two bishops and a lay theologian who is held in no small amount of esteem in The Episcopal Church.

The process followed the Canons to the letter which produced a slate of one candidate. While this is unusual, it is not unknown. Indeed, the Diocese of South Carolina's last election produced one, albeit, similarly theologically controversial candidate: Mark Lawrence.

However, this is in complete compliance with the Canons of the Church.

Not surprisingly for an innovative process, the slate in Northern Michigan produced an unusual candidate - a man who is well-known and loved by many in the diocese as a deeply spiritual Christian man and a strong, bold leader whose innovative liturgies and sermons challenge fellow disciples to think in new ways about the statements they make about the beliefs they profess about the Gospel of Jesus Christ within the realities of a pluralistic world.

Oh, and if you hadn't heard (says she, with tongue firmly placed in cheek), the candidate also walks the path of the Buddha.

Indeed, he maintains a spiritual discipline of sitting zazen meditation ('sitting' meditation, which is meant to 'open the hand of thought'), and has received lay ordination - which is not to be confused with priestly ordination in the Christian tradition (but apparently is confused with it, none the less).

This is not unusual in Christianity. Thomas Merton, a world-renowned and deeply respected Roman Catholic monk, also walked the path of the Buddha. From my very limited experience, they are highly complimentary spiritual paths, informing each other and calling the follower to a deeper, richer, more mature spirituality.

There is an old saying that, "there are many paths, but one way to God." A certain level of spiritual maturity is required to see that, and alas, therein lies part of the problem.

I won't rehearse the embarrassingly simplistic arguments that have been made of this particular spiritual position, including, on one notorious blog, an entire line-by-line comparison of the Nicene Creed strung together with bits and pieces of sermons and writings of the bishop-elect.

This, combined with unsupported and undocumented allegations, anonymous personal attacks, well-intended but ultimately unhelpful speculation, and all sort and manner of other forms of anxiety, have combined to produce the unseemly spectacle of an electronic lynch mob in cyberspace.


Well, anxiety is one of the clear causes - and, with good reason. The theo-political state of The Episcopal Church is in flux. The extreme Right has left and those remaining on the Right are working understandably hard to hold the line for the 'faithful remnant' of conservative and orthodox brothers and sisters.

The 'movable middle' is predictably sympathetic and well-intentioned and - this is important - much larger at this moment in time as we move forward toward General Convention in July.

Even 'traditionally' progressive and liberal folk are anxious not to appear too 'Left of center' so as not to scare the theological horses any more than they already have.

It's one thing, you see, to have endorsed the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, it's quite another to endorse the election of one who has been unfortunately labeled, "The Buddhist Bishop."

The unspoken but palpable anxiety on the part of some on the Left is that the episcopacy of 'The Gay Bishop' will some how be invalidated or further dismissed by the endorsement of 'The Buddhist Bishop'.

Add that together with a now defrocked Muslim priest and a newly appointed, widely known pro-choice (which for me, is to choose life) Dean of an Episcopal Seminary and you have proof positive that The Episcopal Church really is going to hell in a hand basket.

No one wants that, right? So, someone has to be 'sacrificed'. Northern Michigan, it would seem, has provided the perfect 'sacrificial lamb'.

Which leads me to yet another reason for this 'perfect storm':


Remember the horrible witch hunt of Bill Clinton? That was, in many a political analyst's view, clearly and carefully orchestrated by Right-wing Republicans as pay back for the forced Nixon resignation over Watergate.

Of course, Mr. Clinton, himself, provided enough collateral scandal to feed the scandal-hungry masses for weeks and months, but he was certainly no different than most politicians in power on both sides of the aisle, and his 'crimes' in no way rose to the level of Mr. Nixon's. Which is what made Mr. Clinton such a good candidate for the counter-attack.

I believe that a piece of the unconscious dynamic in the Right-wing reaction to the Northern Michigan election process has to do with pay back for the lack of consents to the first election of Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina.

And, payback, as they say, is a b***h.

To be perfectly honest, Forrester's Christology is way too low for me, and I find his doctrine of God a little higher than I'd like, and while some of what he has written makes me wince, it is all 'within the normal boundaries' of the Spirit of Anglicanism.

Then again, my Christology is way too low for the likes of, say, Matt Kennedy and his is way too high for me - which is part of the reason he left TEC for The Anglican Diocese of Kenya.

Oh, that and the fact that my sexuality renders me 'ontologically insufficient matter for ordination'. To others in that same camp, my gender has the same effect.

Deep sigh.

I also understand Forrester's penchant for liturgical innovation. I love the stuff myself and do so, like Forrester, with the authorization of the Diocesan Chief Liturgical Officer - that would be the bishop.

Here's the thing: When Bishop-elect Forrester gets the required consents from bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees, he will be held accountable to 'the doctrine and discipline of TEC' at a much higher standard than he is now as a priest.

Indeed, if he does not 'guard the unity of the church' or teaches doctrine that is antithetical to the standards of Anglicanism, he will be deposed - like Duncan, Iker, et. al, before him.

It's just a simple as that.

Does that mean that we shouldn't raise questions? Of course not. Questions should indeed be raised, but not innuendo, unsubstantiated allegations and anonymous, personal, ad hominum attacks.

Bottom line, for me: If there's room enough in the House of Bishops for Breidenthal, Gulick, and Wolfe there's room enough for Robinson, Chane and Forrester. They will hold each other accountable, as will the people of the Diocese of Northern Michigan.

It's about trust, which, in this Age of Anxiety, is a scarce commodity. However, we are not the 'church catholic' we profess in our Creeds because we are monochrome and march, lock-step, to the same beat.

We are catholic because we are interrelated, not joined at the hip.

The Diocese of N. Michigan is not the Diocese of Newark, which is not the Diocese of Alabama, which is not the Diocese of Texas, which is not the Diocese of Vermont.

And, the Dioceses of The Church of England are certainly not those of TEC. Bishops are, of course, appointed in the CofE, which is as foreign a concept to me as our elections must seem to some of them.

We are united but we are very, very different. A palm tree growing in the moist, sandy earth of the Central Gulf Coast would not transplant in the rich, dark, cold earth of Maine. Neither would a Northern Pine of Vermont transplant well in the soil of Arizona.

Same Planet Earth. Different soil.

Same one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Different dioceses.

Hopefully, we are mature enough adults and have sufficiently grown into 'the full stature of Christ' to understand and accept these differences.

We're all just 'inky-dinky' dioceses, until we do something out of the ordinary, something that challenges our understanding of the gospel, especially when it involves sexuality or gender or carries us to the interface with other world spiritual disciplines and practices and systems of belief.

Then, we're just easy fodder for the religious blogs and pundits whose appetite for this sort of thing is a bottomless, fiery pit. It's no accident that Hell is described in this way.

It's all done in the precious name of Jesus, of course, that inky-dinky Rabbi from the inky-dinky region of Galilee, in an inky-dinky town of which, you may remember, it was asked, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)


MadPriest said...

It is egalitarian in its understanding of authority, and works to empower all the baptized in the mission and ministry of the church.Egalitarian under a called leader who knows what's good for her congregation, I assume.

Pah! Part time socialist.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Up rater late, aren't we, darling? I really don't expect a CofE clergy person to understand the concept of 'Total Ministry', much less the application of the word 'egalitarian'. Both are really antithetical to the British way of rule, aren't they? And, it's back to name calling, is it? Stick to the issues, lad, and you'll have lots more credibility.

MadPriest said...

Hang on. You were the one who said she rode roughshod over her congregation, over on Lisa's web, not me. I said we shouldn't impose our wonderful ideas on them if they weren't interested. I never upset my congregation. If I did they might not love me anymore and that would be awful, darling.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Who is 'she', darling? To whom are you referring?

MadPriest said...

You said that you insisted on doing things your way in church and if people didn't like it they could "shoot you." Which is not much of an offer as murder is against the law - no matter how cross they get with you they're hardly going to take you up on your offer.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No, darling. I just went back over to Lisa's place and here's the direct quote:

"I have experimented with liturgy, too, with and w/o the bishop's permission.

Shoot me."
I have never ridden roughshod over my congregation, although some who disagree with my 'style' might claim differently.

One woman, the one who questioned my ability to serve the church because my credentials weren't 'Ivy League' like my predecessors, complained bitterly about my liturgical 'style'. Said it was too 'catholic' (she was Very Protestant).

So, I immediately formed a liturgy committee and put her on it. I worked very closely with the committee, explaining why I was doing things and getting their input. After six months she quit the committee. Several months after that, she left the church, saying that I was a 'RC control freak."

The difference was, I had an entire committee of people who would - and did - say differently.

I may be just a girl, but I ain't no dummy.

David@Montreal said...

as a foreigner I unfortunately know more about the noise and acrimony being generated by the usual suspects than I do about the theology, priesthood or practices of the Bishop-elect of Northern Michigan, and that's sad.

once again, I think you've done a truly remarkable job of cutting through all the posturing and self-righteous noise around this issue, and there are several real insights in your post as to what's really going on.

speaking as one who has 'sat' for more than 20 years in shanga, and who can honestly say that it was perhaps that same practice and insights gained from dharma study which got me through more than a decade of front line AIDS ministry, and that same practice which through God's unfailing grace still finds me in the Church, I find this latest installment of Anglican drama really sad.

of course i could be wrong, but it is my sense, that in their shameful acting out, the orthodites are displaying an inordinate ignorance of both the seamless generosity of Zen practice and its teaching- all to their own ends of course.

in more than 20 years of practice in a vaiety of Zen- Buddhist situations never were my boundaries as a Christian, my beliefs or theology ever challenged. at most, the roshi or shanga asked to understand my declining certain rituals. never once, was either my faith or my Church attacked, mocked, or called names- unfortunately not the same can be said of the dharma's treatment by these 'official Christian interests.'

essentially, I might suggest that what might really be at stake here is that old power/control stumbling block, which effectively distrusts even the working of the Holy Spirit and the grace which might be embodied by those outside the 'official' Church ie. outside the possible control/threats of the orthodites. i.e. once again we're having to deal with the insecurities of 'those guys.'

gassho ( a deep bow) Elizabeth
and thank-you for this post


MadPriest said...

And the lead and called stuff?

I expect you have an answer. As you say, you are a girl.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Now whatever are you talking about - "lead and call stuff"? I do so wish you would stick to the issue, but, because I love you, I will humor you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

David wrote: "essentially, I might suggest that what might really be at stake here is that old power/control stumbling block."

BINGO! It's one more agonizing grasp at power from the cold, clenched fist of the death grip of patriarchy.

MadPriest said...

The lead and call stuff you went on about at Lisa's.

It was all very dominant. I wouldn't mind it in the bedroom, but not in church.

MadPriest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadPriest said...

death grip of patriarchyNow, I really don't think you can accuse me and Renz of that darling, for all sorts of reasons.

And, whether you like it or not, this is a cross party issue. Or the socialists have joined the conservatives against the liberal purists.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Now, Maddy, that is David of North America, not Dhaveed of South America. You apologize right now.

And, I didn't 'go on' about 'lead and call' stuff over at Lisa's.

Honestly, Maddy, if you can't stick to the issues in this particular situation - which are . . .

(1) unusual process but was there canonical compliance?

(2) unusual candidate but is his theology within the bounds of Anglican Christianity?

. . .you obviously don't have anything to say. And, as my sainted grandmother used to say, "Better to say nothing and fear being called a fool than open your mouth and prove them right."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No one is accuse you or Renz of anything, darling. It is what it is.

Stick to the issues, lad. Stick to the issues, and we've got us a real conversation.

MarkBrunson said...

If he indeed will be held accountable, then, by all means, proceed with his installation as bishop. However, if he continues, as bishop, the same disregard for our common worship and discipline that he's shown as a priest, I would be the first to call for his deposition, at the risk of all the friendships I've made in blogland.

Liturgical innovation for a priest is fine - occasionally - with the full support of the parish established. A bishop is, finally, not a priest in a diocese, but the connector of the diocese to the rest of us.

I love the Prayer Book - not the '79 or '28 or 16-whatever - The Prayer Book. Without it, or using it just as a "suggested rite," we lose our catholicism, we lose our family ties, we lose our identity, and the fruit will - rightfully - wither on the vine. For a great many of us, even on "the Left," this is not negotiable, and we expect to be respected as family members in this.

Total Ministry has a great deal of promise in its model, and the model will prove itself or collapse as it becomes more organic and less theoretical. It's pristine form and conceptualization was doomed when it was given a management-seminar-type name.

Anonymous said...

I have an internet friend living in the UP (Upper Peninsula) who, way back around the first part of March, was all offended by an article printed by the Marquette Mining Journal (semi-local for him) and heavily influenced by the IRD (Institute on Religion and Democracy) . He said, other than the standing rule we like anyone the IRD doesn't, that Forrester sounds like his kind of bishop. Long story short, after a lot of sharing of links and talk, my friend decided he needed to check out his local TEC church. He's of one of those evangelical "fellowship" kinds of churches. He ended up at three different services last week, says he's taking the whole family back Sunday. Which is all to say that what we lose to the GAFCON folks, we potentially can get back in new converts who just like the sound of the new bishop.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Tell you what, Mark, if Forrester, as a bishop, shows what you consider "the same disregard for our common worship and discipline that he's shown as a priest", you will have to take a ticket and stand in line b/c I will be among the first to call for his deposition.

As I've said, I'm all for liturgical experimentation - I've done lots of it myself (read my Stations of the Cross for Families and Children on this blog) - and while I admit that some of his interfaith stuff has come right up into my Zone of Discomfort, I will also admit that Interfaith Worship is some of the toughest stuff to do and not insult anyone or compromise your own beliefs to the point of irrelevance.

I am not invited any more to some Interfaith stuff because I have said that if you get to say, "Mohammad" and you get to say, "Adonai" or "Elohim" or "YHVH", and if you get to say, "O Great Spirit" or "Wankantankan," then I get to say "Jesus."

Having said that, I agree with you to a point re: BCP. I'm fine with an adherence to the 'shape of the liturgy' to coin a phrase, and then experimenting with language. I think that keeps our catholicity intact - in fact, that's the principle Cranmer himself used. Keep the shape, change the language to that which is 'common' for the people in that time and day and culture.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Good on you, thejanet. Good on them. GAFCON is just a flash in the pan, which is why I pray for them. I fear some really good people will be burned.

MadPriest said...

But those in the diocese who oppose his election do so from past experience not future possibilities. It's not a matter of them "giving him a go." They have already done that.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm not suggesting that they "give him a go", either, Maddy. Look, the man was elected - fair and square. If enough people in the diocese felt the way Renz and a few others do, he would not have been elected.

I know that's a different model than you Brits have where your bishops are appointed. We elect bishops here. The folks in N. Michigan voted on his past performance as a priest among them as well as the potential for leadership they saw in him.

Are there unhappy people in N. Michigan? I have no doubt. There always are. When Gene Robinson ran against Jack Croneberger here, I was disappointed. When an African American man lost to Mark Beckwith in the last election here, many people screamed 'racism'.

Things have a way of working out in good order. Ah, and look at that - a Yank reminding a Brit about 'good order.' Who wudda thunk it?

MadPriest said...

I completely agree with you. In fact I heard this very same argument somewhere recently. Yes I remember. "It's better for one man to die for the many." That's it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hmmm . . . and where have I heard that 'tone' before? Ah, yes. I remember. It's when I was married and my husband would say, "Yes, dear."

MadPriest said...


JimB said...

I think you pretty much nailed the issues. If I were in UP Michigan, I might be happy or unhappy with the results of the election. But(!) I am an American and we understand that once the election is over, someone has won and someone has lost. Or at least we used to understand that.

The confirmation vote is not supposed to be as I read the cannon (and I actually have) a super referendum on the process used. It is supposed to be a way of discerning that the whole of TEC is able to accept this person's episcopal vocation.

It is valid then to argue with the bishop elect's theology and ask if it in fact lies within the boundaries of the church. I don't much like some of his ideas, but I think it passes. It was proper to ask if Bp. Lawrence was indeed committed to the institutional integrity of TEC and the question was asked and answered.

What is not valid is for outsiders to impose their idea of how an election must be conducted on either SC or WM. The second election of Bp. Lawrence was clearly a proforma exercise, so what? The process in WM was where the selection happened with the confirming convention vote exactly that, so what? Both were actions within the cannons.

Lots of us lay mystics out here follow disciplines that have Buddhist connections. The Benedictine monks who started the Centering Prayer movement were influenced by Buddhists. I guess I do not see a problem with attenuated listening. Jesus called the apostles to it a few hours before he met Pilate.

At the end of the day, when one looks at the most vocal critics one sees those who place patriarchy above love and power above all. I see a lot of 'if I don't get a miter I will start a church' people. I wonder if they would actually find the fit all that comfortable?

At this point were I (heaven forfend!) on a standing committee, I would vote to confirm. First because the process was legitimate, second because his theology while troubling is within the range of possibilities and finally because of the quality of his detractors.


Jake said...

...Even 'traditionally' progressive and liberal folk are anxious not to appear too 'Left of center' so as not to scare the theological horses any more than they already have...Good to finally see someone say that out loud. I suspect that's exactly what's going on; this bishop-elect will be sacrificed to "prove" how "Christian" we really are, and negate the shouts of the rabble rousers.

Anyone else see the irony in proving orthodoxy by victimizing the innocent?

RENZ said...

Hmmmmm. I've been quietly moving on here. Attending midweek services at a smaller church next town over, BCP service. Doing the cyber chapel ministry. I am still facinated by how the BIG argument going on isn't really reflective of what was happening on the ground. Both sides are arguing on a theoretical level.
I sent a personal e-mail to Elizabeth so she would understand my personal concerns and I feel she heard me even if she didn't agree with my conclusions. The same is true for MP. Regardless of who ends up bishop, this diocese will in all likelihood cease to exist in a few short years. I think one big irony here is the concerted effort to avoid going to convention with this for consents. In hindsight this has lead to a far greater scrutiny of the selected candidate and the process than if it was a single item on the agenda at convention. I also think much of the frustration brewing up here could have been avoided with just a wee bit more transparency, particularly at the end - namely that the primary candidate unexpectedly refused and that Kevin ended up a logical second choice given the lack of financial resources. Granted some of the higher level arguing would probably still have occurred. Incidentally, I have a fairly good idea who that anonymous post was that went up recently at MP's. If I'm not mistaken, she is an individual who has been battling the diocese over donated money for well over a year now - the language of the post is very similar to some of her e-mails that I still get. Elizabeth, I believe in a larger more geographically concentrated, younger diocese your logic would be unassailable - in this place, aside from the debates raging at St. Paul's - most people in the diocese are hanging on in little enclaves of elderly cradle episcopalians. The majority of them see KTF for the good man he is - they don't really know liturgically what has occurred at St. Paul's. What will be, will be.

MadPriest said...

Yes. That would work Jake, if I wasn't highly suspicious of this bloke. Because, as you know, I don't give a toss about politics.

In fact,you could make the case that it's you lot who are being political by trying to hold the ranks against the evidence provided from the ranks.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jake - I remember in 2006 when the bishops-elect came before the HOB for consents. They had already made Bishop-elect Bill Love stand before the HoB and promise not to take Albany out of TEC. Then Bishop Jerry Lamb stood up at the PB's request to give a long narrative of Barry Beisner's marital history and why he didn't think it was an impediment.

Bill Gregg, still bishop in Eastern Oregon, stood up and demanded that ++Frank apologize for putting both men on the spot, to pass a litmus test of one kind and another. The House did not ask for this, nor was it necessary. I was unseemly, he said. This met with a loud 'hear hear' and applause. They were all disgusted with it. And, rightly so.

It seems that, from time to time, the mean spirit that has fueled the Right drifts over and puts toxins in the air of the entire TEC.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

RENZMGT - Thanks for your input from "Ground Zero". I only wish more of you would be able to speak up. As you say, what will be, will be.

And, thanks for writing Jim. We need more voices of sanity in this discussion.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maddy, please make certain you read the note from 'Ground Zero' - I think Renzmqt makes some good points - specifically, this: "the majority of them see KTF for the good man he is . . ."And, here I thought I had given you the last word: "Whatever."

I sort of like giving Renzmqt the last word - despite all the airspace taken up by this conversation - "What will be will be." Whether either of us likes it or not.

Frair John said...

I'll be as concise as I can be:

1- I do not doubt he is a good man. I don't think that is the only qualifier for Bishop. This may not be "nice" to give a candidate a thorough go over, but "nice" isn't a Christian virtue.

2- The thing that really bothers me is just how (for lack of a better word) glib Fthr. Forrester is. I'm serious. I found his little bon mot about if it where a "bad thing" for a Bishop to meditate and pray to be almost insulating in it's dismissivnes. It's sort of like +Kimsey's little bit of emotional blackmail at the close of his letter. In both cases there was a sense of "how DARE you question me?"

3- Touching on the above I find his use and misuse of other theologians to be problematic. He rips ideas and quotes out of context and seems to like to play to a least common denominator form of theological language. Don't even get me started about Pelagius ala +Kimsey's letter Fr a man with a doctorate, he doesn't seem to be all that willing to sound educated.

4- One major issue I have with "Total Ministry" (other than the name sounds like it was born in the bowels of a Management seminar) is that it is a closed system. There is little to no outside interference in the "teams" once they get running and self perpetuating. There is a danger of group think written into the process and it seems to have spread. The "group zero" report sums up that there is a defeatist atmosphere in the diocese. From the sounds of it these little cradle congregations seem to be closed to any idea that they COULD grow since doing so would mean opening the doors to people different than what has come. So they chose a man who they seem to not know other than by reputation (the comment that they don't know about his liturgical experiments is telling) to hold their hands while they drift off into That Good Night. I'm damned tired of the defeatist attitude at all levels of TEC and think we could do better for all of our Bishops than to allow this nursing home Chaplain model to go unquestioned.

I could go on, but it's more of a rant for my own place.

Frair John said...

I really have to start doing a better job of proofing these things ...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, I think when people say he's a 'good man' they don't mean that he's 'nice' or some sort of wimp. Indeed, from everything I've read, he's pretty courageous about his faith. As I've said, his low Christology raises an eyebrow or two, but he is certainly within normal limits of Anglicanism.

I'm just fascinated that this has become such a powerful dynamic on blogs and listservs. Little old UPN.Michigan. Who wudda thunk it?

Frair John said...

I didn't mean to imply that he was a wimp or a coward. Far from it. It takes a type of guts to go through this process that I can only aspire to.

What I do mean is that there is an edge in some of the commentary that people with questions or concerns are not being "nice." Being "nice" rate up there with Dorothy L. Sayers' 7 deadly virtues. In the end it is the opposite of loving.

MarkBrunson said...

What I do mean is that there is an edge in some of the commentary that people with questions or concerns are not being "nice." Or are just trying to appease everyone else by showing how Christian we really are by "victimizing the innocent" whether he's any more innocent than the rest of us or not. Now we all get to be Caiaphas because we're not convinced by the arguments we're seeing. Nice. Very nice.

JCF said...

Hmmm. I left a post here a day or two ago, that's gone missing (I can't imagine you would have refused it, Lisbeth---I thanked you!)

I could be wrong, but I think it was in this post, that I quoted (someone I know, TELP, you'll be familiar with) Audre Lord: "the master's tools will never destroy the master's house."

In the evaluations of KTF, I've seen so many people (who should know better) "using the master's tools": self-selecting sermon quotes (i.e., proof-texting), saying things like "nevermind what he says---we can't trust him because he redefines words", and generally behaving like they have the Mind of God, as to what's going on in KTF's heart.

KTF could prove a TERRIBLE bishop . . . and you know, there ARE worse things, than a terrible bishop here or there (look how long we survived ex-Pittsburgh and ex-Fort Worth!). There's adopting what I can only term a McCarthy-ite process ("Prove you're not guilty!"), which poisons the Body of Christ far beyond what a given bishop's "defective Christology" could EVER do.

Oh well: this might be better than my missing post---and might NOT!

Whether KTF is confirmed as bishop or not, Jesus is still risen. Alleluia!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Friar - I have posted everything you've sent. Honest. I have recently begun using gmail in addition to aol, hoping to eventually fade aol into the darkness of disuse. I have noticed, on at least a few occasions, that sometimes things don't make it from aol to gmail. Oh, dear. I apologize. Thanks for your note.

"Prove you're not guilty" is exactly what it's become.

MadPriest said...

""Prove you're not guilty" is exactly what it's become."

Only if you keep going on about Buddhism and rigged elections. If, like me, you are simply saying he's a control freak that bullies people into adopting his illegal services and dodgy, new age theology, then the reverse is true. The proof is already before us and it is up to him to prove he will not continue to build an inky dinky diocese in his own image should he get the job.

And another thing. How come the local elections are democratic in your eyes but the voting in the episcopal college is not? If the bishops vetoed his appointment (which, of course, they will not) why would that not be due process?

I realise that the answer to this will involve female logic which may be beyond me, but I will give it my best shot.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

"Proof"????? What "proof"????? That a few folk who do not like his "liturgical innovations" have written to you??? That's "proof"????

The "proof" to the contrary is that the man never would have been considered a candidate for the episcopacy if the "proof" you have been offered weren't simply a minority opinion.

I don't doubt the reality of their perceptions - but they are not "proof" of a fact. They are simply the perceptions of a very vocal (albeit mostly anonymous) minority (10-12%, by most accounts).

If a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction and a majority of Standing Committees do not vote to consent to Forrester's election, that, in fact, will be due process - in the same way that Mark Lawrence's election was voided because he did not receive a majority of consents by Standing Committees and had to be re-elected on a slate of one.

What's not logical about that, Maddy?

MadPriest said...

The man has replaced official core liturgy with his own inventions. That is a fact.

You can argue that as he is a liberal and not a Duncanite that he should be allowed to do that. But you cannot argue that he didn't do it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maddy, as I have said, I have replaced "core liturgy" (I think I know what you mean by that) with my own . . . what did you call them? ah, yes . . . "inventions." It's called "experimental liturgy" on this side of the pond.

It's done all the time in many parts of TEC. In fact, I did it on Good Friday and again at the Great Vigil of Easter. I frequently adapt the liturgy in the BCP and BOS for the needs of the people I serve, as well as to accommodate the architecture of the building.

That may disqualify him for "appointment" as bishop in CofE, but it certainly does not disqualify his election in TEC.

That, sir, is a fact. At least, it is here in TEC.

MarkBrunson said...

I would like to see an option for an Eastern Rite liturgy in our Prayer Book - of course, it would easily double the size of the Prayer Book and septuple any parish's budget for liturgical items, but I'd still like to see it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The closest we get to it, Mark, is Eucharistic Prayer D - which I use on Maundy Thursday, The Great Vigil and Easter Day. I LOVE it.

MarkBrunson said...

Same with us, Elizabeth, but it's just not the same without the Gospel being chanted - well, everything being chanted (in a heavily-Baptisted area like this, people fear singing) - and the billowing clouds of incense, and everything being said three, four, forty-four times.

I'm being serious, just in case there was some confusion, btw.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Mark, I agree. There's nothing like good, high, smells'nbells liturgy done well - and, in the right place and by the right person.

There is absolutely nothing worse than to see Cathedral-like processional in a circa 1950s American modern sanctuary, with billowing incense that doesn't set off the fire alarm only because they have been temporarily disabled, with everyone all dolled up in ancient liturgical vestments up aisle in a church where the original architects had never been to an old, lovely Cathedral.

Well, the only thing worse is to listen the the sursum corda lovely and earnestly chanted by a priest who couldn't chant his way out of a brown paper bag or by a priest who is singing at the highest part of her range and sounds a bit like the squeak of a worn out fan belt.


MarkBrunson said...

Too true.

There again, my church - actually the parish hall as temporary worship facility until the actual church-proper is built - is bright, airy and very modern. I prefer the dark, mysterious churches that smell of old wood, but I find the intent counts for a lot, too. Fr. Jim, whom I love dearly, was no singer, but the purity of his devotion and joy in the service shone through. An aged Delmonico steak and fresh salad are preferable to oatmeal, but oatmeal's good if you got nothing else!

Of course, maybe that's just my Zen background combined with a deep interest in the mystics that are speaking there!