Comments: Monday press reports on Columbus

Is the Telegraph a right wing newspaper? I know that the Times is one of Murdoch's mouthpieces, but I am not familiar with the Telegraph.

Posted by New Here at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 7:27am BST

Well, the changes keep rollin' in. And, depending on your perspective, the news from Columbus is glorious and redolent of a grand new day, or something akin to the trump of doom. However, one way or another, there is this to say: When you take a wrecking ball to the grand old cathedral, you had better be prepared to construct something even more wonderful in its place.

The wrecking balls have been swinging for some time now. At first, it was just a bit of a remodel they had in mind, a change here and there, a bit more light and air. As time has gone on the wrecking balls of liberalism have increasingly sought to gut the old edifice rather than merely "fix" it. So it goes. They've got the power and they intend to use it come what may.

And, to that I and many others can only say: The responsibility is yours, both for the destruction and for whatever you construct in its place. Just remember, in order to justify the destruction what you build will have to be more wonderful than the grand edifice you are in the process of destroying.

It is an awesome responsibility and frankly, I don't think you're up to it. Not in a million years.


Posted by Steven at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 2:05pm BST

The Telegraph is traditionally a conservative paper.

Posted by lizw at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 2:11pm BST

Ah, I think most liberal or progressive believers, ah, well, ah, mainly discern these things as they try to, ah, follow Jesus. Thus, if anybody is pledged to be in charge, it is God, not any of us.

You'd think some conservative or orthodox people were still upset that they were necessarily carried for nine months in their mother's wombs, the damage or fear of some agitated and uncanny contamination they associate with women is so often stated so strongly. I have to admit that I just don't get it, yet, all this talk about women causing damage. As if men never did. As if.

But maybe I'm just missing the suggested point: Maybe lots of people, especially men, do feel wrecked by their mothers in particular, and have discovered that a conservative church which institutionally vests most important powers, only in men's hands, is the healing balm for which they yearn. Oh well I am the puzzled one now.

Meanwhile, I do give thanks for PB Schori's background as an empirical scientist, especially since I live in a nation which is sometimes wracked by controversies about Darwin, frequently provoked by believers who say that the core issues are, no surprise here: God vs. Darwin. Above all, one prays and hopes that PB Schori will be a vigorous and clear voice to resposition this false dilemma, each and every time it comes up during her presidency.

Part of why ECUSA made sense, way back in college, is that it often refrained from rushing to begin every imagineable conversation about anything important with a false and narrow starting point, all or nothing.

We will more likely suffer more from global warming, probably, than anything PB Schori ever does in her provincial and international ministry.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 2:56pm BST

Steven ; that 'grand edifice' is rotten to the core. It needs to be destroyes. We need revision and renewal.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:10pm BST

None of the news stories I've loked at mentions the Bible, Christ or even God, though there are some slanting references to sin - as in, do you really believe in it. "Christianity with a difference", here we come, or at least those who stick around. If we were interested in these debates, we could form a debating club, but someone please explain to me how any of this resembles Christian ministry.

Posted by Honza Prchal at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:18pm BST

The negative, rejecting tone of the published conservative comments so far suggests to me that the realignment campaign leaders were not much inclined to do anything except push for their next steps to take over power, no matter what ECUSA voted. These pressures will now probably be brought to bear upon other provinces which will probably be pushed further to define things according to the preferred Either/Or (Nazir-Ali), then take sides: God vs. ECUSA. This is a winner takes all, Top Dog game in play, nothing else. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:25pm BST

The Telegraph is (or was) owned by Conrad Black. Its even more right-wing than the Times (IMHO).

Posted by Charles at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:29pm BST

OK Steven, fair enough. Let's see "your side" finally start being true to what you claim to profess, leave the rest of us in peace, and go off to build something "more wonderful than the grand edifice [we] are in the process of destroying." If you can.

Then, well, we can always use the Gamaliel test to see which vision turns out the best...

Posted by David Huff at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:36pm BST

New Here - the Telegraph is indeed a right-wing newspaper - an honest and rather fogeyish one, and usually rather a good one, although their religious reporting sometimes leaves a lot to be deisred. They can be rather papistical and anti-CofE.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:47pm BST

now steven, is that appropriate? didn't the windsor report hold out the way the US dealt with the ordination of women, including women bishops, as a hallmark of things being done rightly?

i think this shows up the bullies for what they are.

can all the bullies please just write down a list of their demands, instead of making a demand, and then another, and then another? nobody demanded we should not elect a woman as presiding bishop, nobody raised a single worried voice when the nomination came out.

seems like a convenient excuse, and from the very people who were holding up the issue of women in the episcopate as an example of how things ought to be done!

Posted by thomas bushnell, bsg at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 5:00pm BST

Yes, you could say The Telegraph is right wing ! :--)

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 5:57pm BST

"It is an awesome responsibility and frankly, I don't think you're up to it. Not in a million years."

Or a billion. Or until the End of Time.

Good thing, then, it's NOT up to us Episcopalians (treasures in *extremely fragile* earthen vessels).

We depend ENTIRELY on Our Lord Jesus Christ: there, Steven, is your "awesome"! :-D

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 6:33pm BST


You seem to forget that it is you and not we who are destroying that Grand Old Edifice. We are the ones who built it, you are the ones who are tearing it down. The responsibility is yours. You are the ones whose destruction of the old paths can only be justified by the creation of something better. Will you be able to do so? Merseymike certainly seems to think so as do JCF and many others. Time will tell I suppose, and I am quite content to rest on Gamaliel's maxim.

However, here is what I project: TEC will continue to go "blue" as it purges and drives off the last of its traditionalists. It's said that death begins at the extremities. I expect this will be true for the TEC. The fading away of any TEC presence anywhere outside of the blue zones will continue and accelerate. Virtually all of the TEC churches in the red zones and all self-supporting small churches in the blue zones will disappear. In 10-20 years TEC will continue (bluer than blue) to exist in rich and elaborate big city churches, but the demographic clock continues to tick. In 30-40 years it will be an irrelevant shadow of what it once was, selling off property to survive and sustain its tiny aging congregations.


PS-Yes, we will do our best to pick up the pieces and go on. This is rendered more difficult by the fact that liberals are in possession of and are busy squandering the spiritual and material patrimony of the church. However, life goes on and God provides. Time will tell how successful we will be in salvaging/rebuilding the life and heritage of the Anglican Church in the USA. /s

Posted by Steven at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 6:56pm BST

Thanks for the info about the Telegraph.

Is anyone else wondering if Jeffert Shori's election might have something to do with the English bishops rushing into Columbus to tell us how to run our church? A little backlash?

Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to send bwana over to whip the colonials into line.

Posted by New Here at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 7:09pm BST

David Huff wrote: "Then, well, we can always use the Gamaliel test to see which vision turns out the best..."

Dear David, I hope that we can. At least it stops so much energy being wasted on internal disagreements. Maybe each Province can allow liberal churches and dioceses to join the EC and conservative ones to stay in the AC. Along with proportionate distribution of the buildings, funds (and debts).

Posted by Dave at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 7:28pm BST

None of the news reports capture the atmosphere on the floor of the House of Deputies when the news was received. There was one voice raised in opposition to this election, and many raised in support. When the vote came (by orders, so that the clergy half of each deputation voted as a unit, and the lay half voted as a unit) the support for confirmation among both the lay and clergy orders was overwhelming - well above the approximate 2/3 support for Bishop Robinson's confirmation. For most this was a great surprise, and a great pleasure, taken in its unlikeliness as a sign of the movement of the Spirit.

Reports are that the House of Bishops was quite calm and contained - no politicking before or between ballots, no cheering or crying at the results - just prayerful attention to the process. Some were certainly unhappy: but few made any expression>

There are certainly reports of how "controversial" this is; but it has clearly not been controversial in Columbus.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 8:33pm BST

I would like to see a broader perspective on religion in America in news about ECUSA. US Anglican conservatives are as much a minority in US society as they are in the ECUSA. ECUSA may be out there on gays, but it is mainstream on the position of women. The number of women in the ministries of most mainstream American Protestant denominations continues to increase. Many Pentecostal churches here are founded and led by women. At the same time, American Roman Catholics are the Vatican's biggest headache, flouting prohibitions on birth control, abortion, and in vitro fertilization. Rome can't get enough priests and American Catholic parishes are being closed right and left. Bishop Schori has been very successful at expanding her small diocese in Nevada. And Bishop Parsley, the runner-up, has also been successful at planting churches in ultra-conservative Alabama. In the small Southern city where I live, there are two large Episcopal churches and several smaller ones. Two of those smaller churches, my own and another have female rectors, and both congregations are growing. As a white Southerner, I find it particularly ironic that conservative churches in the ECUSA are willing to align themselves with black Africans rather than tolerate a woman at the altar -- while their members play the same old racist politics at home in South Carolina and Texas. As Senator Danforth said, it's the conservatives who are meeting in mortuaries. I do not wish to see us divided from the Anglican Communion. I think there are gays who are willing to go slowly on confirmation of bishops, but there will be no backing down on the ordination and elevation of women. How can there be in a society where women serve as Supreme Court justices, Secretaries of State, senators, representatives, and governors? If some sort of alternate affiliations within AC are allowed, it is entirely possible that parishes and dioceses in the global South would be eager to associate with ECUSA. The global South is not a monolith anymore than the ECUSA is. As for Scripture, evangelical church leader Gregory A. Boyd notes that there are plenty of things in Scripture that are not Christ-like and many Christians today call Jesus Savior but follow Paul as Lord and Teacher and there's something askew with that. My own private and admittedly fantastic conspiracy theory is that some primates in the Global South are using ordination of women and homosexuals as a pretext for a power grab while criminally neglecting their own flocks. The greatest pressure on and threat to the Christian family comes from consumer capitalism and economic imperialism. And finally, the financially hard-nosed would note: if AC throws out the ECUSA, it throws out its money as well.

Posted by Susan at Monday, 19 June 2006 at 11:36pm BST

Dear Susan, how American society is changing (or any other human society for that matter) is not the way to decide what Christianity is... Christianity is not liberal democracy - it is a revealed religion. You will always have some human societies to the right of Christianity and some human societies to the left of Christianity!

And as for financing - to me Truth is more important than Money!

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 20 June 2006 at 7:28pm BST

Hi Susan
Do you think that social change is the way to decide what Christianity is? On what basis?
Social change happens for all sorts of reasons. Economic. Media-led. All sorts of reasons that one cannot guarantee to be moral.
If you see society as the leader and the church as the follower, then clearly it would be dumb to be part of the church, since the church is so clearly 'behind the game'.
If you see the main question to be 'Is something fashionable or not?' that is such an odd position to take that you must surely defend it. Surely you know as well as the rest of us that fashions are fleeting.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 21 June 2006 at 9:21am BST

Alternate future:

The pope after Benedict XVI permits the ordination of married men to the priesthood and clarifies papal infallibility, and Fort Worth and San Joaquin go to Rome as well as many African, Latin American and other South Anglicans.

Divested of its reactionaries (and perhaps some property) and unyoked from Nigeria and Sydney, ECUSA can finally speak with more clarity in a country that's not known for appreciating nuance (as our Democrats are continually taught but never learn).

Brits and Canadians will kindly note that it's not the US that has approved laws allowing gay marriage or civil unions. They will also note that their record for electing women to positions of power is far superior to ours.
That means that only will TEC have incredibly ripe and woefully neglected fields to harvest.

Laborers for the work will not be lacking. American expats who prefer +Schori to +Akinola will start looking for similarly-attuned expats and sympathetic locals to share Communion with, and you'll all have little TEC missions in your cities, and some of them will become large TEC parishes.

Posted by Warren Eckels at Wednesday, 21 June 2006 at 10:20am BST

Thank you so much for your Monday post Susan.
Also Warren for your Wednesday post.

I appreciate each of them very much, and am reflecting on their wisdom.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 21 June 2006 at 4:27pm BST
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