Comments: more American church reports

Here's my email to the Star-Telegram (deservedly known to many Texans as "The Startlegram"):

Today's article on the possible schism in the Episcopal Church is, without a doubt, the most unbalanced and poorly written piece I have seen on this issue, and I follow the subject closely.

There is not even the slightest pretense of balance here: both named sources in the article are members of the schismatic faction.

To quote, without challenge, figures from the American Anglican Council is equivalent to writing, "The Bush Administration has been an abject failure and will go down to ignominious defeat, according to the Democratic Party." The only actual person quoted is one of Jack Iker's staff, ignoring the fact that there are many, many Episcopalians in Fort Worth who do not support Iker's antics and are not going anywhere.

You might consider contacting Via Media Fort Worth, if indeed you are interested in balance. The Episcopal Church also maintains a fully staffed press office, and I'm sure that someone there would be happy to speak to you, if you can trouble yourself to make a phone call.

Your readers deserve a lot better than this article, which reads like a press release from Jack Iker's P.R. office.

Posted by New Here at Sunday, 3 September 2006 at 9:07pm BST

Nice letter, New Here.

It's a slight tangent and could be linked to a number of threads, but this is the most recent...
I found this today where the author rightly cautions us that we will always have the religious right. If you read the OT, there is evidence there that God found self-righteous puritanical scribes frustrating, as did Jesus find the hard core Pharisees. The author also warns us that a culture of ignorance and political expediency allows such souls to gain much more control than is appropriate. It is worth reading as the author refers us to a number of sites/blogs of souls who are responding or have comments. There is even a link to an Episcolian one:

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 4 September 2006 at 6:17am BST

"We will always have the religious right."

Hmmm. An interesting point, but one that leads to the obvious counter-point: We will also always have to put up with the religious left with its syncretism and orgies.

So it goes I suppose. And, even while it is true that the Lord found those that went too far in trying to be obedient to be a pain in the neck, it is also obvious from the whole witness of scripture that the opposite tendency towards syncretism and licentiousness was far more of a problem over the long history of the people of God.

Legalism (to the right) and syncretistic licentiousness (to the left) always form the two poles to be avoided in keeping to the Via Media. However, at this point in time it is very obvious that the key disagreement is who is keeping to the middle and who has erred to the extreme.

Those called "reasserters" believe they stand firmly in the middle on the Biblical witness, and (looking to their left) believe that the "reappraisers" have erred seriously from the truth. The reappraisers (meanwhile) look to their right and say the same thing of the reasserters.

Since there seemingly can be no agreement and compromise by either as to who actually holds to the true Biblical Via Media it is better that we part graciously.


Posted by Steven at Monday, 4 September 2006 at 4:07pm BST

Thanks, Cheryl. The Startlegram had a chance to educate its readers about this issue but instead produced another lazy exercise in journalism-as-stenography.

And Steven, I agree that a gracious parting of the ways would be best, but I don't think it will happen so long as things are being run by those who hope to "steal the franchise" because they "like a good fight."

Posted by New Here at Monday, 4 September 2006 at 8:36pm BST

"Those called "reasserters" believe they stand firmly in the middle on the Biblical witness, and (looking to their left) believe that the "reappraisers" have erred seriously from the truth. The reappraisers (meanwhile) look to their right and say the same thing of the reasserters."

Yep. However, the (your words) "reappraisers" are still quite willing to share table fellowship w/ the "reasserters"---trusting that *GOD* will decide who's right and who's wrong (most likely, BOTH are the latter! *g*)

If we can be "gracious" in parting, then why need we part? The Grace of Christ IS more than sufficient to keep us *together*...

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 4 September 2006 at 9:30pm BST

Steven wrote: "We will also always have to put up with the religious left with its syncretism and orgies."

Orgies ? Darn, I guess I've been going to all the wrong Leftist meetings ;-} All of us awful "reappraisers" here just sit around and talk about, oh, you know... the Bible, church stuff, how to remain part of TEC in a "Network" diocese, etc...

Posted by David Huff at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 1:56am BST

Let's just take a provisional guess. Read between the lines a little.

The reason we have to split the Anglican Communion is because if we do not split the communion, the slow, ever so slow, daily groundswell is for neighbors agreeing to disagree while they try to live in a modicum of peace. Standing ready for final doomsday war is hardly a stance that most people can manage as the core basis for leading their daily lives - except in deprived countries where indeed, survival cannot be daily taken for granted.

Who's probably closest to harming somebody, right now? Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire? Or, the lack of safe, fresh water in places all around the planet?

An object lesson in fear and domination is needed. Why else is so very much money and energy being put into trying to split us, and the sooner the better? Two daddies or two mommies move in down the street, and they are just raising their kids as well as they know how - well, except that some cards are stacked a bit higher against them than against the straight holiness majority. Yes, the kitchen table rumor mill tries to stir up as much drama as possible at first, but eventually people cannot exist in utter fear of other people who can be seen, taking out the trash cans in their slippers like all the rest of us.

Why interfere with Queer Folks who are just trying for the most part to live decent, productive lives in post-industrialized nations - more or less like other citizens? Because if something isn't done, harshly, and decisively, and soon, the younger generations will gradually inherit the levers of institutional power - and survey after survey reveals that they are harder and harder to rile up about the special violence, filth and danger their queer friends and schoolmates are supposed to be posing to them, just by existing.

The new conservatives may very well win some of these heated, pitched skirmishes. But they are losing the culture wars, generally, and at times it is difficult not to suspect that they already know it. Almost.

Finally, may we please have lots more gratuitous mentions of liberals, sycretism, and orgies. I'd almost forgotten how utterly disgusting everything except conformed religious allegiances are, and so came upon the latest reminder in just the nick, the nick of time.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 3:02am BST

Orgies? Well at least we have an honest conservative - who will publicly espouse in writing what they say about us "off the record". Ten points for honesty, and don't blush too heavily about the incorrect character assassination. My other favourites are the type who put on their Klu Klux Klan outfits and lynch a few people, and then hide the evidence and charm the grandmothers at the Sunday services. Or the modern version, who recommend to their colleagues that everything be done verbally, and most especially avoid in the internet as evidence has the habit of getting into the wrong hands.

They want us to stay together for the sake of unity? Why? When they have no respect for us, make up all sorts of fallacious lies about us and undertake covert slander to justify repressing us. Why do they even want us in the same communion?

I recall the words of Jeremiah to God 18:20 "Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them."

Their thanks for our prayers? When they can not win on honest theological debate - suppress and slander us. Then tell us it is for the "greater good". Whose greater good?

In my prayers to God, I have pleaded that God not replace this earth with the "new heaven and earth". If the corrupt bride Rachel wants to swoon with Jacob over the beautiful Creation they deserve, they can wake up each morning to face the Creation they deserve - because it is the one that they worked towards. If they want Creation to look better than what it does, then they can pull their fingers out and get on with working on it, because Leah has crossed her arms and downed tools and is smirking at the rewards of their "true love".

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 11:55am BST


Concise and nicely done, but you misunderstand my remark.


A very creative and doubtless heart-felt rant, sprinkled with plenty of "character assassination" for spice. (I, for one, have not worn my Ku Klux Klan robe in years--sarcasm intended). However, you also misunderstand my remark.

And, looking at it again, I can understand why. My apologies. The remark was made while in a historical frame of mind, thinking about the long history of the people of God (in the Old Testament particularly) where syncretism was generally associated with orgiastic assemblies--"orgies" if you will. And, while I definitely see some similarities here with liberal pansexualism, there is certainly not an exact match. Thus, I am not accusing anyone of holding orgies in the strict sense of the word. My language was poorly chosen from that standpoint.


Posted by Steven at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 2:47pm BST

New Here:

Your closing remarks make it obvious you do not understand what I mean by "gracious"--i.e., your "steal the franchise" verbiage indicates the usual "our way or the highway" attitude typical of most (but not all) TEC liberals.


If only for your sake, I wish it were so. You have your "off" days like the rest of us, but you are much more consistently gracious than most. However, for it to be true, someone must be willing to sit at the back of the bus in terms of this issue--to be quiet, submissive, and willing to let the matter rest and be determined according to the will of the opposition.

Conservatives are not willing to do this, and I am very assured that liberals (i.e., you) are not willing to do this either. I wish it could be different, but there is and will be no yielding on either side. Thus, the only way forward is a gracious division.


Posted by Steven at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 4:05pm BST

Steven, the "franchise" figure of speech is Canon Anderson's: "We anticipate that at some point, the global communion will remove the Anglican franchise from the Episcopal church and grant it to another entity."

It's disturbing to find the church discussed as though it is a hamburger joint, but then I'm just one of those heathen pansexualists, so what do I know?

Posted by New Here at Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 9:26pm BST

New Here:

I have no problem with what Canon Anderson said--though I find it a bit far-fetched. However, your addition of the word "steal" to his quote, as well as your inclusion of it within quotation marks, does give me problems.


P.S.-Even "heathen pansexualists"--borrowing your own self description--should know better.

Posted by Steven at Wednesday, 6 September 2006 at 4:36am BST


Your apology is accepted. There are those who accuse us falsely, and there is a plethora of documentation of how people have been black-listed based on lies and that black-listing has meant that the whole of their arguments are dismissed out of hand.

The latter is incredibly sloppy thinking, because they could at least be trying to pluck the gems out of the mess. But they often lose the whole bundle, which is sad because there are so many good things that could be done if people weren't so frightened of collaboration.

The fear of being unable to work with gays also extends to a fear of working with people from other faith and even secularists. It is a tragedy that players can not rise to a higher vision in the interests of the greater good because humanity is faced with common threats that do not respect boundaries of ethnicity, gender, religion or affluence (e.g. AIDS, global warming, wars trigged by violence in the name of religion).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 6 September 2006 at 9:44am BST

Steven, that was a mistake. I had heard the phrase elsewhere and assumed it was genuine, but a quick Google search doesn't turn it up anywhere.

So I stand corrected on that one.

Still, I find it very disheartening to hear the church treated as a brand name that can be handed over to a new management team. It certainly furthers the impression that all this is a squabble over property and power.

Posted by New Here at Wednesday, 6 September 2006 at 1:54pm BST

Re: pinching the franchise: what a pity Avignon is 'twinned' with Colchester (Essex, UK) and not with a Global South outpost.

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Wednesday, 6 September 2006 at 8:12pm BST

New Here:

No problem on the mistake. I know from personal experience that one can, in the heat of composition, sometimes make errors of this type.

However, I don't think the use of "franchise" in a figurative sense necessarily indicates that this is "only" a squabble over property and power. Just as equally, there is no doubt in my mind (whatever Anderson's intentions in making his remark) that these two issues play into the equations at some point -- on both sides. Otherwise, liberals would be urging conservatives to "have it their way" on all the issues and to take the property with them if they like. Likewise, conservatives would be doing the same in the opposite direction. Since this is not true of either side, I deduce that power and property do play a role.

This is not surprising, nor is there anything banal or evil about it. Theological ideas and conclusions ultimately have real consequences in the real world. A struggle in the arena of theological ideas will, if it gets big enough, ultimately impact the issue of who controls church property. That is why graciousness and compromise on such issues will be necessary if we are to effectuate a gracious and Godly parting.


Posted by Steven at Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 8:49pm BST

Twenty years of struggle against AIDS. Grassroots campaign against AIDS. The struggle to find a cure for AIDS has contributed to other areas... WBR LeoP

Posted by Leo at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 3:51pm GMT
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