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May 21, 2012


Presiding Bishop Schori:  A Study in Misunderstanding the Exercise of Dominion

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Creation Story beautifully expresses God’s power and majesty.  He speaks and the earth comes into being.  There is no doubt that God is Creator and Father of all.  He is indeed the Great I Am. 

It is for this reason that it is hard to imagine anyone, especially the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, turning it into a fairy tale of “earth creatures.” She leaves out the most important part of the narrative – God.  Rather than the hand that creates, He is relegated to a minor role mentioned almost in passing.  She takes pains to sterilize every passage to remove God as Creator, God as Father, God as the Great I AM.  Her version of God’s plan for man also falls short. 

The first biblical creation story tells of the creation of earth, sky, waters, creatures, and gives human beings dominion over the rest.  God pronounces what has been created good.

Having already distinguished between creatures and humans, why would she refer to Adam and Eve as earth creatures? 

The second creation story tells of what goes wrong – the first two earth creatures eat what they have been forbidden to eat, and are then expelled from the garden.

  Her explanation of why Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden is due to a “misunderstanding.” 

They have misunderstood what it means to exercise dominion toward life in the garden.

Scripture makes clear there was no “misunderstanding.”  Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden because they rebelled against God.

She doesn’t leave much doubt about what she thinks about God’s covenant with Abraham either. 

The prophets of ancient Israel cried out for justice when their ability to live in the land they saw as home was threatened.

Unfortunately, the presiding bishop’s history is as weak as her theology.  One is left to wonder if she learned it at The Good Samaritan School of Theology, the mythical school that existed only in her world of wishful thinking – well and in her resume

These religious warrants led to the wholesale slaughter, rape, and enslavement of indigenous peoples in the Americas, as well as in Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Pacific, and the African slave trade was based on these same principles.  Death, dispossession, and enslavement were followed by rapid depopulation as a result of introduced and epidemic disease.  Yet death and dispossession of lands and resources were not a singular occurrence that can be laid up to the depredations of benighted medieval warriors.  They are not akin to Viking raids in the British Isles, or ancient struggles between neighboring tribes in Europe or Africa.  These acts of “Discovery” have had persistent effects on marginalized, transported, and disenfranchised peoples.

History when read without the rose colored glasses, reveals a different story

As they expanded, the Norse were looking for three things: new victims to raid; new partners with which to trade; and new land on which to settle. In many cases, Norse voyages included all three activities.
The raids were usually opportunistic, against targets that could be attacked, plundered, and departed from quickly. Vikings stayed along the coast or on navigable rivers; overland marches were avoided. The goal was to grab as much valuable booty as possible before an effective defense could be raised. Typical booty included weapons, tools, clothing, jewelry, precious metals, and people who could be sold as slaves.

The presiding bishop fails to talk about the persecution throughout time of various peoples.  The Romans fed Christians to the lions, the spread of the Ottoman Empire was not a bloodless coup and the Vikings were not seeking to spread love and joy.  Where does this end?  Does Britain turn back the clock and give over her lands to the Celts?  Do we sort through the history of the world and dispossess any who cannot trace their lineage to those who we believe were the first peoples in that area?  And what happens when we find others with historical lineage more ancient than theirs?  Do we play a worldwide game of musical chairs dispossessing those whose long dead ancestors were not born where their descendants now reside?

Does anyone else see the deep irony in the Episcopal church’s stance on early immigration and current illegal immigration?  Why were the early settlers terrible people and the current wave illegal immigration comprises a good and healthy thing?  Why were impenetrable borders good for centuries past and deplorable today?  How can she hold such opposing positions?  She condemns slavery but advocates for abortion.  How can this be?  Let there be no doubt—Slavery is a horrid practice that has plagued us throughout the history of the world. Almost every culture, including the American Indians, practiced it.  It still exists today.  Deplorably, humans sell other humans for profit.  It also exists where governments seek to enslave its population by denying their freedoms.  And what is more enslaving than a mother who decides her child does not deserve the same chance at life that she had?  How can someone advocate for the disenfranchisement of generations of people to right what they consider an old wrong but fail to see the horror in murdering innocent children?  Who will advocate for the generations of people who will become disenfranchised in the attempt to undo history?

Possibly the most egregious part of her entire diatribe is filled with such hubris and arrogance to such a degree it should be criminal.

The blessings of creation are meant to be stewarded, in the way of husbanding and housekeeping, for the true meaning of dominion is tied to the constellation of meanings around house and household.  There have been strands of the biblical tradition which have kept this sacred understanding alive, but the unholy quest for domination has sought to quench it, in favor of wanton accumulation and exclusive possession of the goods of creation for an individual or a small part of the blessed family of God.

Sweet Jesus.  How much smaller a part can you find than the Episcopal organization that calls itself a church? (0.1%IF we are generous)  How can the leadership shout foul in the case of departing parishes and total denial of the first Anglicans taking of property from the Roman Catholic Church?  Why doesn’t her sense of fair play require a demand for the return of what was not originally owned in that case?  Why doesn’t the CoE have a claim to the property in the Americas, at least those that were started on their dime? 

How did the words wanton accumulation and exclusive possession come from the same mouth that uttered these words?

“We can’t sell to an organization that wants to put us out of business,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori, who added that her job is to ensure that “no competing branch of the Anglican Communion impose on the mission strategy” of the Episcopal Church.

How are the lawsuits that have stolen millions from the coffers of the episocopal church membership not all about wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  How are the demands that seek to deny parishioners the right to determine their own affiliation about anything but wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  Now, THIS is a misunderstanding about exercising dominion.

In a church whose very name means bishop, how can those who wear the mitre and carry the staff sit back and allow this woman and the revisionist leadership to further erode the foundation of a once great church that sought to bring the Gospel to a hungry and needy world.

Hypocrisy, Schori is thy name.  How many bishops will add their name to that description by simply allowing the progressive movement to dine on the foundation of the Church? 


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30 comments

It’s hard to tell whether this is simple ignorance (poor formation; not reading Scripture, but instead reading liberal commentaries without a “filter”), or deliberately using her position to confuse folks, when she actually knows better.

Never forget that the devil knows Scripture very, very well.

The old idea that Ezra and others wrote the Bible in their era, adding the part about the Covenant to further their own interests, isn’t generally accepted (or taught) these days.

[1] Posted by Ralph on 5-21-2012 at 08:11 AM · [top]

I hope she gets appointed as ambassador to the United Nations. She would be better accepted. The problem with this is that it sounds good to progressive folks who do not know scripture. “For the time is coming when the people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”  2 Timothy 4:3.

[2] Posted by Pb on 5-21-2012 at 08:38 AM · [top]

If she sees farther than others it is by standing on the shoulders of midgets.

[3] Posted by Rich Gabrielson on 5-21-2012 at 09:40 AM · [top]

#1 - please please please don’t give Shori or any of the other TEC leadership “a pass” when it comes to knowing Holy Scripture - they are not IGNORANT.  They ARE EVIL.

She is the PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE UNITED STATES - THE GRAND POO-BAH - NUMBERO UNO EPISCOPALIAN0.  Shori should know Holy Scripture better than anyone else in the entire church - she should be spending time in prayer and scripture night and day, keeping a right relationship with Christ at all times, right?

Instead, she deliberately misleads her flock by deception and twisting the truth.  She is EVIL - we know this by the fruit of her actions, right?

We MUST be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

[4] Posted by B. Hunter on 5-21-2012 at 09:48 AM · [top]

The whole TEC mess - the betrayal of the Gospel, the incoherent teachings and hypocritical behaviors, the mania for weirder and grosser, the retelling of Bible passages with God removed - it’s all duly noted:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:18-25 ESV)

[5] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 5-21-2012 at 10:32 AM · [top]

#4, I do know clergy who only read commentaries, because they haven’t been taught how to read Holy Scripture closely, and do classic text studies and reflection before consulting the commentaries. They think that this is only a time-consuming academic exercise. Besides, they’re not going to preach on the day’s irrelevant lessons, anyway. So, why bother with the commentaries?

I don’t think most of the TEC seminaries require basic Greek and Hebrew.

In TEC polity, the PB isn’t the numero uno anything. Simply, one of many who have the title “bishop” and occupy that office.

I’ve heard her speak, and I do believe that she is ignorant in some ways, certainly when it comes to things like Holy Scripture, Christian theology, church history, ethics, and theory and practice of ministry. She does OK with liturgical practice, seeming very reverent and sincere at times. However, in other ways she does come across as acting in malevolent ways. In the past, the bloggers here have not favored comments suggesting that she is possessed, a daughter of the devil, or a reincarnation of the Wicked Witch of the West - so, yes, I’ve been giving her a pass.

Will she continue on this course until dioceses lie in waste, churches without people, and TEC is desolate? Perhaps, so. But the seed that is left will grow again, and bear fruit.

[6] Posted by Ralph on 5-21-2012 at 10:49 AM · [top]

How are the lawsuits that have stolen millions from the coffers of the episocopal church membership not all about wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  How are the demands that seek to deny parishioners the right to determine their own affiliation about anything but wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  Now, THIS is a misunderstanding about exercising dominion.

Well said. I belong to one of the Northern Virginia churches displaced as a result of the lawsuits. Bishop Schori’s theology and strategy has left lots of pain in its wake.

[7] Posted by the virginian on 5-21-2012 at 10:56 AM · [top]

#6 - you may be right - she may be ignorant.  My point is that it is her RESPONSIBILITY as grand poo-bah is to be walking extremely close with Jesus; whether she (or her predecessors) actually do this is another matter - but if you are taking your position seriously wouldn’t that be a high priority, to ensure as leader of the church we are doing God’s will?

Also, God REVEALS his Holy Scripture to us.  It is nonsense to those who aren’t right with God.  Perhaps this might be part of the issue?  wink

[8] Posted by B. Hunter on 5-21-2012 at 10:57 AM · [top]

Schori doesn’t want to sell Church properties to any organization which she claims wants to put TEC out of business?  Then how can she justify selling those properties to Muslims who want to put ALL Christians out of business?  It’s ‘run, duck and cover’ for her when anyone asks her to explain that, isn’t it?

[9] Posted by cennydd13 on 5-21-2012 at 11:54 AM · [top]

“I don’t think most of the TEC seminaries require basic Greek and Hebrew.”

I’m floored. Stunned.

[10] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 5-21-2012 at 11:58 AM · [top]

I can’t believe I read the whole thing.

So in 2009, TEc repudiates an 1823 doctrine used in the age of discovery that has no relevance to the present age.

Aren’t we wonderful.

Whoopee!

[11] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-21-2012 at 01:48 PM · [top]

I know that Nashotah House does require basic Greek and Hebrew. Nashotah also offers more advanced courses in both languages. As for other seminaries, don’t know.

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 5-21-2012 at 01:56 PM · [top]

#10, me too. I don’t know what they do for the 3 years. Kum-ba-yah-in-da-ba, I guess. Back in the day one took Greek for 2 years (with advanced Greek electives being recommended), and at least a year of Hebrew. Now, some of them don’t even come across as being literate in English. My Jewish (lay) friends know the Tanakh better than any TEC priest I’ve known. The seminaries have courses like, “Old Testament Survey” and “New Testament Survey.” I would have assumed that would mean book-by-book study, as well as time for synthesis. Apparently not. I would have assumed that TEC has academic standards for ordination. Apparently not.

#8, I would think that someone who doesn’t take theological education seriously shouldn’t go to seminary, or go up for Holy Orders. There’s no place for that, not even in the tiniest mission church.

Perhaps you’ve hit the nail on the head with, “Also, God REVEALS his Holy Scripture to us.  It is nonsense to those who aren’t right with God.  Perhaps this might be part of the issue?”

Parts of Numbers do make me scratch my head. I know it’s all there for a reason…

Bishops should be selected from the brightest and best ranks of the priesthood. There are Scriptural criteria for that. Of course, if one doesn’t read the Bible, those criteria can be conveniently overlooked. And throughout history, the Church has ordained some folks who turned out very badly.

Since TEC is not hierarchical at a national level, the PB is not the grand poo-bah of anything. Well, this one seems to be the grand poo-bah of depositions, so I’ll give her a pass on that.

[13] Posted by Ralph on 5-21-2012 at 02:07 PM · [top]

Excellent post, Jackie. One of the things that I’ve concluded about Bishop Schori is that she is essentially incapable of thinking logically or constructing an effective, persuasive argument about pretty much anything within her purview. She emotes, she filibusters, she uses an AK-47 on the English language, she mindlessly repeats liberal bromides, but she does not think. She is the perfect modern mainline church bureaucrat, especially since she has risen so far above her level of competence (which I assume she reached when she finished her oceanography degree).

[14] Posted by David Fischler on 5-21-2012 at 02:12 PM · [top]

Heresy, Schori is thy name.

[15] Posted by gkissel on 5-21-2012 at 02:16 PM · [top]

Ah, yes…....the Queen of Heretics!

[16] Posted by cennydd13 on 5-21-2012 at 02:59 PM · [top]

I know that Nashotah House does require basic Greek and Hebrew. Nashotah also offers more advanced courses in both languages. As for other seminaries, don’t know.

Sewanee does not.

[17] Posted by Kubla on 5-21-2012 at 03:56 PM · [top]

Jackie, thanks for the excellent commentary on the Bishop’s remarks.

I too noticed “earth creatures” and it bothered me quite a bit.  Not only because it shows appalling ignorance of Scripture but I sense an agenda behind the use of the term.  That agenda is I believe to change beliefs about the hierarchy of creation.  No longer is it to be God as creator creating human beings in His image and likeness and forming a unique relationship with them.  No longer is the Fall about sinning against the Creator.  No longer is man’s place above lesser creation. 

Now it is about man just being one of the many creations God called good.  Now it is about failing to care for the Garden and abusing the environment by taking what is forbidden from it.  It is about abuse of the resources under their stewardship.  It is creation they have transgressed against.  Now man is creations equal or if creation is threatened by the actions of man, he becomes creation’s subordinate.  Man is not called to reconcile with God but with Gaia.

This is important because in this understanding of man’s relationship with God there is no need for a Savior.  God is the one we find our way to by whatever “vehicle of the divine” is most pleasing to us.  We do not need Salvation, we need self understanding and personal growth.  It is that which will let us live in harmony with creation and to stop seeking dominion.  If the first sin is no longer a rebellion against a God who loves us and who formed a personal relationship with us, why do we need Jesus? 

The savior of the PB’s sinful world is the MDG.  When you are an Earth Creature, that is all you need.

[18] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 5-21-2012 at 04:41 PM · [top]

Exactly, Paula.  Exactly.

There is much to unpack in that article.  Hopefully, other bloggers will help reveal her theology for what it is.  Unfortunately, it is not scholarly nor is it Christian.

[19] Posted by Jackie on 5-21-2012 at 05:29 PM · [top]

MASTERFUL beatdown, Jackie.

[20] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 5-21-2012 at 08:35 PM · [top]

The real question here is: are the earth creatures baptized?

[21] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-22-2012 at 04:51 AM · [top]

Trinity School for Ministry requires Greek and Hebrew.

[22] Posted by Br. Michael on 5-22-2012 at 07:45 AM · [top]

I think that you all are missing a powerful moving of the Spirit here, perhaps as a result of the awfully small box you’ve put God into. Contrary to #11, this holy statement has the potential for great practical applicability in the present. I rejoice that God has seen fit to bless Bishop Schori with this powerful message of revolution in social justice.

I believe that as the recipient of this mighty revelation, the honor of making the first move should go to Bishop Schori herself. With her brave leadership she could initiate this new age of the Spirit by transferring whatever property on the Island of Manhattan she has under her control to the Lenape Indians. Perhaps 815 Second Ave?

Oh, wait, I forgot the liberal’s motto: “Righting fashionable wrongs with other people’s money.”

[23] Posted by Ecclesiastes 1:18 on 5-22-2012 at 08:58 AM · [top]

#23,

Circle the wagons! I sense a whole new wave of Episcopal property litigation in the works.

[24] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-22-2012 at 09:28 AM · [top]

Tim Fountain, and others,

Manifestly, the text that came to mind as I read this thread is:

II Timothy 3.1-5 “This know, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

If these verses do not speak to TEC, nothing in scripture can!  Tim, your past three bishops, the PB, and many others fit this passage perfectly.

And this is why I am now Abishar, ministering to my own family in the Southern Black Hills.

[25] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 5-22-2012 at 10:27 AM · [top]

The Wicked Witch of The West

One has a great deal of trouble
Discerning the motives of the present
Presiding Bishop of what is now known
As The Episcopal Church.

Parenthetically, it used to be titled
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.,
But that designation vanished after the 1979
Publication of The Book of Common Prayer.

PECUSA never was a corporation,
Rather, a voluntary association of Anglican dioceses,
Formed after the American Revolution,
To meet periodically and formulate common rules.

A presiding bishop was elected to, well,
Preside over the triennial general conventions.
Wary of an authoritarian structure, the founders
Gave that person no primatial authority.

Now the incumbent in the post seeks
Absolute control over an ecclesiastical hierarchy,
Through rules that would permit her to
Direct bishops and clergy in doctrine and liturgy.

She is now unable to remove them directly,
But she has attempted to depose dissenters from Holy Orders.
She would have all matters of faith under her authority,
Thus becoming an infallible American pope.

Her current objective is to force all clergy
To perform certain ceremonies under church auspices,
Which, if they refuse as a matter of conscience,
Would result in their removal from office.

She has also set about cultivating
Like-minded Anglican primates in other lands,
As a possible worldwide alternative,
To the collapsing Anglican Communion.

It is said that this person regards herself as a prophet,
A proclaimer of a new interpretation of the Christian faith.
As a prophet, a radical, a revolutionary,
She must sweep aside any resistance to her mission.

So far, the results have been a major schism,
Establishment of a rival Anglican Church in North America,
A wholesale departure of members, and a marginalization
Of Episcopal thought and culture in American life.

March 28, 2011

[26] Posted by profpk on 5-22-2012 at 01:40 PM · [top]

Kate is the Theological equivalent ...........of a spork.

[27] Posted by anglicanlutenist on 5-23-2012 at 07:01 AM · [top]

I fired Shori as my spiritual advisor several years ago. A Bishop is supposed to be a spiritual advisor and she simply is not qualified for that role.  I actually got a response from 815; probably more because I also said I was removing the Episcopal Church from my trust. In my view, more people should let Shori know she is not qualified to be their Bishop (spiritual advisor). That could really help.

[28] Posted by little searchers on 5-26-2012 at 11:25 PM · [top]

#25, cj. Yep, I have thought the same thing when reading those verses.  They really do describe many people who are truly “believe” in these revisionist stuff. They are so deluded, they can not recognize what they believe is against what is revealed in scripture.

[29] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 5-27-2012 at 08:49 AM · [top]

Bp Schori has no knowledge of logic and her only pattern of consistency is to rail against orthodox Christian teaching whenever she encounters it.

My parents, who had no formal education beyond high school, but who read the Bible all their adult lives, knew more - and better - theology than Bp Schori or nearly every “progressive” cleric I have met in the Episcopal Church.  They knew their Bibles as well.  But that is not surprising - for they know the Author, and that makes a huge difference.  “Christ” seems merely to be a concept to Bp Schori, not a person.

[30] Posted by AnglicanXn on 5-28-2012 at 08:56 PM · [top]

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