Sunday, November 25, 2012

ECUSA, ECUSA: Dysfunction Everywhere

Could things get any worse within the Episcopal Church (USA)?

Yes, of course they could -- but that admission does nothing to mitigate the sorry, sorry state of affairs that persists in that Church already.

This is still calendar 2012 -- barely six months since the last meeting of General Convention. Since that time:

ECUSA has lost another Diocese -- and not just "another" Diocese, but one of its largest, healthiest and most vibrant.

ECUSA's House of Bishops, spurred on by its Presiding Bishop, is preparing to depose one of its most orthodox and spiritual members ever, in a triumph of mediocrity over mission.

ECUSA points the blame at the Diocese (of South Carolina) -- but for doing what? According to ECUSA and its oh-so-wise attorneys, the Diocese hasn't left; only its people (and its Bishop) have.

So ECUSA, through its hopelessly conflicted Disciplinary Board for Bishops, blames the Bishop for the actions of the Diocese -- even though he had no vote on them to begin with, and no Constitutional power to set aside the acts of the diocesan convention.

And then the Presiding Bishop, while trying with one hand to lure Bishop Lawrence into further mediation talks, uses her other hand to sign a certificate restricting his ministry -- and then still wants to continue talks as scheduled while keeping his restriction "confidential." (Oh, yes, that would certainly work.)

To top it off, she then claims that "her hands were tied," and that once she received the certification that he personally had "abandoned" ECUSA by the actions the diocesan convention took, she had "no choice" but to restrict him.

Well, that is indeed the way the Abandonment Canon now reads -- but don't forget: it was Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori who decided she did not need the consent of the "three most senior Bishops in the Church" to restrict Bishop Duncan back when the Canon (before its amendment in 2009) still required such consent. Could she have obtained that consent to restrict Bishop Lawrence in 2012, on such flimsy charges?

I doubt it entirely. But she wanted the provision eliminated, and she got her way. So she now owns this process, and must take responsibility for bringing about the mess that exists in South Carolina today.

Meanwhile, she is also proceeding apace with the charges against the nine bishops who dared to disagree with her in open court, even though she is hopelessly conflicted in that situation, as well. (She sees nothing wrong with being (1) the person supposedly wronged; (2) the person charged with determining whether the charges are valid; (3) the person who decides what disciplinary remedy to impose; and (4) the person who actually imposes that final disciplinary remedy.) Prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner all in one? Move along, move along -- nothing to see here, just more dysfunction.

As for the complainants who filed the charges against the bishops, never mind that they are the chief opponents in court of the parties who wanted to use the bishops' testimony as part of their case. So now we have two lawsuits in civil court, in which the Episcopalian litigants seek to punish their opponents for using the same kind of expert testimony which they were using. And they see absolutely nothing wrong with that!

So also with those puny South Carolina Episcopalians who were complaining about Bishop Lawrence for what their own Diocese was doing. Do you see any signs of apology or regret for the trials and tribulation which their extreme minority views have now brought upon the Diocese? Again, move along, now; I said, move along! -- nothing to see here but still more dysfunction.

Then we come to the other bishops in the House of Bishops, and the other Standing Committees across the whole geographical span of the Church. Though a few here and there have published statements of regret for what has happened, the biggest single note that has been sounded is one of utter silence. The Standing Committees have not voiced any objection to the Presiding Bishop's actions taken in defiance of the jurisdiction of the diocesan standing committee in a diocese which she claims has not left the Church, and the Bishops are just biding their time until they can hide behind an anonymous voice vote to remove Bishop Lawrence next March.

Dysfunction, dysfunction everywhere, as far as the eye can penetrate.

To this long-time Episcopalian, it seems that the time has come to say, with David:

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith.1 A Psalm of David.

12 Save, O Lord, for mthe godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone nutters lies to his neighbor;
with oflattering lips and pa double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all oflattering lips,
the tongue that makes qgreat boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because rthe poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
sI will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the tsafety for which he longs.”
uThe words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us2 from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.


  1. But, but, didn't you hear all the raving about the spirit filled GC 2012? People were gushing that ECUSA was clearly spirit led, and thus I presume these folks believe that they are perfectly functional and can do no wrong.

    Whereas, DSC and its standing committee likely believes they are following the will of the Holy Spirit.

    Competing spirits(pour me another glass Curmudgeon)!

    If I were to vote on which action was most likely to be from The Holy Spirit, I would vote for DSC.

  2. Exactly, UP - "by their fruits shall you know them." The one is bent on spreading the Gospel; the other is bent on a lust after bank accounts and real estate.

    In fact, I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the spectacle produced in ECUSA by the Presiding Bishop is the real reason why the Church of England decided not to have any women bishops for the time being. "Thanks very much, but no thank you."

  3. We have moved on! Thanks be to God! Alleluia!
    Actually Mr. Haely, you are quite right. The Presiding Bishop's debacle that is TEC was the last argument in the Cof E debates over women bishops. There is no getting around the mess that is TEC. Even the Cof E understands now.

  4. Competing "spirits", Pewster! LOL.Perhaps we should call you the 'punning pewster' from now on?

    If the Diocese of SC were a "spirit", I would like to think we were like a fine wine with many different subtle flavors but an overall flavor and "aroma of Christ".

  5. Jeremiah summed up the current leadership of TEC quite aptly in a number of verses. To cite but one example, Chapter 7, verse 24: "But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward".

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  6. Saw this in a discussion about events in Egypt by Mark Steyn:

    "As America’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, assured the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Mubarak’s fall, the Muslim Brotherhood is a “largely secular” organization. The name’s just for show, same as the Episcopal Church."

    That pretty well sums it up. Another blogger calls it TEO, The Episcopal Organization. More like the Cosa Nostra, except fewer dead bodies. Even some impeccably liberal bishops are frightened of Dr. Shori.

  7. I sometimes wonder if the spirit TEC praises is that contained in a bottle. Many of their decisions point in that direction more than being led by the Spirit on high.

  8. I travel to Charleston with my wife and daughter every Summer. What jewel the Church there is. We are always welcomed warmly by by those good Christian people to their beautiful old churches. I am afraid that, after all the lawsuits, that most of them will be repurposed as condos and shops. Mrs. Sciori would rather see that result than thriving Anglican Churches not under her thumb.