Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Peer-Reviewed Episcopal Journal

(ENS, Prairie City) In a joint statement earlier today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson announced the founding of Episcopal Verities, a new peer-reviewed Internet journal dedicated to publishing "only the truth" about The Episcopal Church. "We see a great need, in this world where many Episcopalians are getting daily misinformation about their Church off the Internet, for a reliable and authoritative source of such information," the announcement said. "No article will appear on the Episcopal Verities website which has not first been reviewed and approved for publication by leading academics in the field," the announcement said. "Its Panel of Review has been hand-picked to ensure that only the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth will pass muster on the site."

Asked in a press conference for the names of the academics on the Panel of Review, the Presiding Bishop responded: "Well, President Anderson has a Doctor of Divinity degree, for instance. Ian Douglas, soon to be Bishop of Connecticut, has both a Master's of Divinity degree and a Ph.D. Bishop Stacy Sauls has a law degree. And I myself have both a Master's and a Ph.D., as well." The reporter followed up that question by asking whether there would be any articles about oceanography appearing at Episcopal Verities. "Not oceanography as such, no -- but I know that one author is working on a study of invertebrates and their importance to Church polity. And that, as you may know," she added modestly, "is my specialty."

Asked to give an indication of the site's content, the Presiding Bishop ticked off some of the articles that will appear when the site goes online, probably by St David's Day (March 1):

"We are republishing the classic paper by Stacy Sauls on the "Proper Use of Abandonment Procedures for Bishops", she said. It turns out to be very timely, as we are in the middle of determining how best to apply those procedures in respect to a certain diocese-which-shall-not-be-mentioned-right-now. But just be patient, and you will see how the truth leads to informed action."

"And we are publishing a brand-new study designed to help Episcopal parishes reverse the declining trends in their membership," President Anderson noted. "It is based on our recent discussions in Omaha, and will be called: "Why Are You There? Invitation as a Means of Expressing Your Episcopalness to Others. And I am proud to say that I contributed the section called 'The Top Ten Reasons to Get out of Bed on Sunday Morning'."

At that point, the Presiding Bishop looked at her Chancellor, and smiled as she said, "And I know you will all be delighted to hear that Episcopal Verities has entered into a contract for the exclusive publication rights to The Collected Sermons of David Booth Beers. We are beginning the series with the sermon David gave in the Cathedral in Omaha last Sunday. You will remember that he spoke without a text, but fortunately we recorded it, and it is being transcribed for publication as we speak."

"In sum, we hope to bring a new level of meaning to the term 'peer-reviewed'," the Presiding Bishop concluded. "Episcopalians will finally be able to go to a site on the Web where they can get the unvarnished truth, as vetted by all those who are the very best of peers. I mean --" she went on, "of course, all of us are peers, but you have to admit that some are better peers than others. And it is only the very best who will have the chance to make a splash in the pages of Episcopal Verities."

"So, watch for the site to be up and running by March first," she concluded. "St. David will be our patron saint in this venture, as a teacher known for his humility. (I owe that idea to Rowan, actually -- he suggested we make St. David the patron for our new venture. And by the way, he's offered to contribute an article, too, tentatively called "Keeping Everyone at the Table: Inter-covenantal Relationships in Dostoevsky.") And in the Saint's honor, I am passing out to all of you a recipe for cawl, the traditional dish for his Day, along with a leek to make it yourselves at home."

And on that note, the impromptu conference ended. Everyone took a leek, and departed.


  1. Sad, but I actually had to check the ENS website to make sure this was satire. I would not put ANYTHING past the "Lady TEC-ster" (my apologies to Louisiana Tech).

  2. I can't wait!

    In order to be truthful, Verities should start off by describing B.A.'s (Honorary from EDS)Divinity Degree properly.

  3. I have to laugh every I hear "peer review" invoked as a guarantee of truth. I is nothing of the sort. It simply means that someone was able to find a few other folks who would agree, nothing at all more than that.

    I have served as a reviewer for several peer reviewed technical journals, and I know the routine all too well. I have also submitted quite a number of papers to journals for peer review, so I know how it appears from that side. Typically, there are three reviewers, and only in the rarest circumstances are their reviews unanimous. It is usually two to one, either for or against publication. When you read the reviews, it is clear that many reviewers have barely read the work at all. As a reviewer, I know that I have all too often been asked to review papers that I was only marginally competent to review, and this happens all the time across the board. So, in short, "peer review" is no guarantee of anything, other than that there is a small group of folks that said, "Ok;" nothing more. We should not get excited about peer review and think of it as some sort of gold standard.

  4. "Everyone took a leek, and departed".

    St David's! leeks! classic!
    I belly laughed for 10 minutes

    David Wilson+
    St David's Church
    Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (ACNA)
    "The real diocese of Pittsburgh"