March 27, 2017

July 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal: What Ails the Episcopalians

Just in case your rector and bishop tries to tell you the usual line they try every three years—“so many other good things happened at the General Convention—it wasn’t all about sexuality” the answer is “no, actually—the other stuff wasn’t any good either.”

Interesting—and damaging—article from the WSJ:

Episcopalians from around the country gathered here this week for their church’s 77th triennial General Convention, which ended Thursday. Although other Protestant denominations have national governing councils, the Episcopal Church’s triennial gathering stands apart. For starters, it’s one of the world’s largest such legislative entities, with more than 1,000 members.

General Convention is also notable for its sheer ostentation and carnival atmosphere. For seven straight nights, lavish cocktail parties spilled into pricey steakhouses, where bishops could use their diocesan funds to order bottles of the finest wines.

During the day, legislators in the lower chamber, the House of Deputies, and the upper chamber, the House of Bishops, discussed such weighty topics as whether to develop funeral rites for dogs and cats, and whether to ratify resolutions condemning genetically modified foods. Both were approved by a vote, along with a resolution to “dismantle the effects of the doctrine of discovery,” in effect an apology to Native Americans for exposing them to Christianity.

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Hey, it takes a few GCs to get through all the post-modern shibboleths.  Glad to see the bishops are working those expense accounts.  The poor babies have it so hard.

[1] Posted by Bill2 on 7-13-2012 at 07:43 AM · [top]

This article has value insofar as it will certainly raise questions come Sunday morning. At the same time, I cannot help but think that it could have been written by the likes of Virtue. For instance, the author leads readers to believe that Schori chose her walking stick; it has been carried by the PB for decades. He leads readers to believe that Schori wanted a unicameral body; that was Bonnie’s gig and the HOB, including Schori, would have none of it. The author said that the bishops “could use” diocesan funds to pay for lavishness, not “did use”; and given the state of most diocesan budgets, what diocesan convention has that kind of plush-ness that it would grant their deputation such excess? That being said, his characterization of the PB as power hungry was spot on. I’d give this article more weight if it were more objective. Given the half-truths, though, it will not be hard for liberals to discount it to their parishioners. For the rest of the reading public, who may be thinking of joining a church well,...

[2] Posted by Pressing On on 7-13-2012 at 08:28 AM · [top]

“Bishop Schori is known for brazenly carrying a metropolitan cross during church processions. With its double horizontal bars, the metropolitan cross is a liturgical accouterment that’s typically reserved for Old World bishops.”

An interesting observation. Whether her predecessors used the same crozier is of course irrelevant. In the US, the PB is no metropolitan, whether or not she thins she might be.

[3] Posted by Ralph on 7-13-2012 at 08:44 AM · [top]

The Bishops will say “The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, what did you expect?”

The problem is that TEC is so small now, nobody really cares what they say or do.  Quite a shame.  Glad SFIF is here to document the hilarious hypocrisy the left catches itself on.

It seems to me that institutions that drift left, start establishing more and more new rules to bend others to their law.  In the end, they end up circling all the way back around, catching themselves on their own rules and regs they implement.  When someone points out that they are caught by their own rules, they just ignore the rules that they set up to control others, and do what they want regardles of what their rules say.

[4] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 7-13-2012 at 08:44 AM · [top]

The author, Mr. Akasie, a journalist and Episcopalian, lives in New York City.

[5] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-13-2012 at 08:53 AM · [top]

Am I the only rube that did not know about the full floor penthouse for the PB?  What opulence!your pledge dollars at work.

In sorrow,
NW Bob

[6] Posted by Northwest Bob on 7-13-2012 at 10:40 AM · [top]

BTW, some of those tweets from GC are hilarious!

[7] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 7-13-2012 at 10:47 AM · [top]

#6 NW Bob,

The article does say just that. Not to worry, I am sure that was installed by some previous male PB and that the current PB didn’t even know it was there.

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-13-2012 at 10:52 AM · [top]

I know that the apartment has been there since PB Allen. I have no issue with that - any more then churches that provide nice rectories or affordable housing allowances to their clergy.

[9] Posted by Pressing On on 7-13-2012 at 12:01 PM · [top]

The Doctrine of Discovery came from a 15th Century Papal Bull which gave explorers the right to claim lands they “discovered” and to claim those lands for Christians monarchs.  It also said that the natives on such lands could be converted to Christianity and if not, enslaved or killed.  In 1823, Justice John Marshall cited it to support the taking of Indian lands.  In all fairness, something seen rarely in this web site, the HOB, in trying to “dismantle” the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery, was not apologizing for introducing Native Americans to Christianity but for stealing Indian lands, the wholesale slaughter of native peoples, negating and/or ignoring treaties reached with native peoples, setting up reservations which in the 21st century continue to keep Native Americans poor, ignorant, and at the lowest standard of life and living in the US. 

As Bill2 suggested above, the article is full of half truths and much innuendo.  Maybe it’s time for Stand Firm to start telling the truth.

[10] Posted by Will B on 7-13-2012 at 12:33 PM · [top]

Will B. You need to address as to whether the article is truthful or not with its author not Stand Firm.  There is plenty in that article that is not true. For example the last sentence. Nuff said.

[11] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-13-2012 at 12:44 PM · [top]

While General Convention is repealing Papal Bulls, why no do away with the one which declared Anglican orders invalid. I am sure there are others.

[12] Posted by Pb on 7-13-2012 at 01:47 PM · [top]

This could be TEC’s new motto: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” Phil. 3:19

[13] Posted by Roland on 7-13-2012 at 04:50 PM · [top]

A similar account of GC and the sad state of TEC in the National Review is worth a read.

[14] Posted by hanks on 7-13-2012 at 06:11 PM · [top]

I don’t know why some here are so worried about whether the article is telling the truth or not.  That’s just hateful.  All I know is that the article makes me FEEL happy and isn’t feeling happy what’s important?

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-13-2012 at 06:24 PM · [top]

BTW, some of those tweets from GC are hilarious!

All the time I was reading them, I was wondering how many tithing folks back home were reading up on the deputies, the amount they were spending on wifi, how much fun they were having at this or that nightspot, the enormous amount of time they were wasting playing “Bonnieball” when they were supposed to be focused on the resolutions they were voting on.
But, most especially, the celebration they had after passing particular pieces of legislation, what they had to say about conservative delegates, the utter ignorance demonstrated on subjects such as theology and canon law (really, you should know what a canon currently says BEFORE you amend it), complete lack of familiarity with the Bible or Church history, and the lot of them forgot that any Piskie with a computer could read every word they posted.

So, now all the moderates and conservatives back home know exactly what their delegates think of them, what they spent on coffee, and how they REALLY feel about gay marriage, CWOB and church budgets.

So, I gotta think, there are a whole lot of people back home wondering just how much of their tithe went to the week long SSB party in Indianapolis.  The usual “we tried as hard as we could to hold the line at GC, but we were just overwhelmed” now only works in the few dioceses where the delegates actually voted against all the nonsense.

[16] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-13-2012 at 07:13 PM · [top]

Didn’t the penthouse used to go with the rectorship of Trinity Wall Street? (Does it now have a vicar instead, so the national church can keep a tighter rein on the real estate?)  My recollection is that the building was one of the ones Trinity picked up for a song in the 1930s (because they owned the property under it and the company in it defaulted on their taxes in the Depression). And Trinity gave or sold 815 to the DFMS at some point after the PB became a full time job. But its an old memory, so maybe I have it confused with something else.

[17] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-13-2012 at 07:18 PM · [top]

Will B- Given that TEC is, as a result of the Doctrine of Discovery, in possession of several billion dollars worth of land formerly belonging to Native Americans, much of it literally stolen from the Native Americans, perhaps we would take them more seriously if they gave back the stolen property- you know, returned it to the people they stole it from.  As opposed to apologizing and fixing the blame on a 16th Century Pope, although I am sure his church got its share as well.

[18] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-13-2012 at 07:23 PM · [top]

The Pope’s grant of the right of conquest originally applied only to Portugal. A later Pope extended it to Spain. I’m pretty sure no Pope would have approved of Dutch or English control of Manhattan!

[19] Posted by Roland on 7-13-2012 at 07:56 PM · [top]

TJ, I’m never again going to believe that line about how hard they all work at GC. They *did* put themselves through a lot of busy work and make work, but the Tweets? Yeah, like some of those deputies had any idea what was being voted on, let alone what it meant. They don’t want to know about canons, they don’t want to know about what is actually *in* either the Bible or the BCP.

Which raises a question for me - who in the heck can afford to go to a GC except people who don’t have to work for a living? And is there any limit on how many times people can go? It seems like they have lifetime passes. The healthiest thing they could do at this point, if they want to restructure, is condense GC into a three-day weekend, and don’t let anybody come twice. Those people who go time after time after time are after power, and they get it. Where is the voice that speaks for the working stiffs who can’t afford the $$$ or the time to go spend 8 days playing Bonnieball? Or do the dioceses actually foot the bill? If they threw out the politics, they could probably do it in a day.

[20] Posted by oscewicee on 7-13-2012 at 08:45 PM · [top]

Sorry for the rant folks - it had been building up for awhile. :-(

Re: Doctrine of Discovery -ever since there have been human beings, there have been other human beings taking their land away. Ask the Anglo-Saxons. Ask the Celts. Neither cultures nor kingdoms are forever. Nobody owns land forever. Only God is forever. The early explorers sometimes did cruel things. So did the Aztecs. The early settlers also did ugly things. There was also ugly retaliation. These stories are part of the human story that happens in any place where different cultures rub up against each other. It’s not pretty. It’s why we need God and why we seek to grow in Christ.

Oops - another rant. Sorry again!

[21] Posted by oscewicee on 7-13-2012 at 08:55 PM · [top]

TJ, Here most of the regular tithing folks were spending time at the beach and did not care one iota about what was going on at General Convention. I am sure if GC is mentioned at church this Sunday,  it will be met with a blank look.

[22] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-13-2012 at 09:11 PM · [top]

Public Service Announcement: Conger has a piece up at “Get Religion,” faulting this WSJ story for a number of inaccuracies and scatter-gun criticisms.  Bp. Dan Martins is critical of the piece for similar reasons.

As you are seeing in the comments, the lib wingnuts glom onto those factual errors to say, “See?  Only uninformed, reactionary idiots dare criticize us!”

On the other hand, TEC goes out of its way to be incoherent.  “We are a hierarchy!  We are a democracy!”  So there’s pretty much no way that the MSM, who tend to be pretty ignorant on religion, are going to get all the details right.  TEC spends so much time making up stuff, that it’s hard to get at anything remotely factual.

[23] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 7-14-2012 at 09:23 AM · [top]

Timothy+. You make several good points. The best one being that some TEC leaders spend so much time making up stuff that it is hard to get anything remotely factual. The story keeps changing because they want it to change. This sort of make stuff up as you go along reminds me why it is just easier to tell the truth. Making up lies and half truths just consumes too much time! Besides can you tell it drives me nuts? obvious…. i know. The only way to survive is to realize that this is the way it is going to be in the Episcopal Church for some time.  Hunker down folks!

[24] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-14-2012 at 02:30 PM · [top]

To No. 2: I will take the writings of “the likes of David Virtue” any day to the lies and heresies being propagated by the Episcopal Church. At least he has an excellent grasp of scripture and teachings of the early Christian Church (First four councils).

[25] Posted by NobleVan on 7-14-2012 at 03:06 PM · [top]

It did strike me reading the WSJ piece that it was written in the same frame of mind as the Ohl-Buchanon letter.  Which is to say, someone was in a bad mood and let fly, without fact checking or proofreading before publication.

There are enough document-able heresies and idiocies within TEC that we really don’t need to make stuff up.

As to how many bottles of wine were bought at GC I couldn’t say.  However, I was surprised by the “Starbuck’s” defense (the bishop responding that he spent his time in Starbuck’s buying coffee).  I thought there was an anti-Starbuck’s movement in TEC over the sidearms nonsense.

[26] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-14-2012 at 03:21 PM · [top]

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