March 22, 2017

August 27, 2010


Update: Bishop Benhase says to “wade deep into the waters” with those “with whom we disagree”

An alert reader—and Episcopalian from the Diocese of Georgia—sent me this little gem from Bishop Benhase . . .

“Secondly, there is the gift of koinonia, that wonderful New Testament Greek word that is often translated as “fellowship.” That translation does not do it justice. Koinonia means more than mere fellowship. It means, as St Paul amplified: “to bear one another’s burdens; to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” So, koinonia insists that we not just tolerate the others in our community with whom we disagree. Toleration has a respectful, but rather arms-length connotation. We rather are called to wade deep into the waters with them, whether those waters be clean and pristine or murky and potentially dangerous. “I have no need of you” is not something koinonia could ever countenance.”

I’m confused.

I thought that clergy of the Diocese of Georgia were to spurn and avoid participating in ecumenical services with those in the Anglican Church in North America.

But Bishop Benhase says we should “not just tolerate the others in our community with whom we disagree. . . . We rather are called to wade deep into the waters with them, whether those waters be clean and pristine or murky and potentially dangerous. “I have no need of you” is not something koinonia could ever countenance.”

Oh, yeh . . . wait . . . I get it.  The above admonition just applies to how we conservative Episcopalians are supposed to treat those revisionist leaders—like, you know, bishops—in TEC who wish to affirm and bless gay relationships.

Really, this is incredible hypocrisy.  What self-serving propaganda for the Georgia Episcopal pewsters!

It’s clear by now to me that Bishop Benhase will be “the gift that keeps on giving”—I’m just hoping I’ll be able to keep up.


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32 comments

I wonder if anyone has pointed out his dichotomies to Bishop Benehase?  Love to know his reaction to being accused of speaking out of both sides of his mouth!

[1] Posted by Goughdonna on 8-27-2010 at 12:31 PM · [top]

The good bishop might just quote R.W. Emerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  But then the revisionists just keep making it up as they go along, so I suspect Bishop Benhase will not even try to defend his speaking from both sides of his mouth!

[2] Posted by Deacon Francie on 8-27-2010 at 12:38 PM · [top]

How old is Scotty anyway?  The boy’s got Presiding Bishop written all over him.

[3] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 8-27-2010 at 12:52 PM · [top]

In the Diocese of New Westminster the rule was “be intolerant of people who are intolerant.” As that is self-referential, and thus hard to parse, a clarification was issued: “people are only considered ‘Intolerant’ if they are intolerant of the ideas of the clerics who are in power.”

Thus, to simplify, this means: “be tolerant of us and the people we like.  Be intolerant of those whose ideas we don’t like.”

Totalitarian regimes from time immemorial have espoused this version of ‘tolerance.”

[4] Posted by Michael D on 8-27-2010 at 01:16 PM · [top]

He’ll just say he’s “engaging the post-modern culture, holding complementary realities in creative tension” or something like that.

[5] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 8-27-2010 at 01:26 PM · [top]

Oh my this is good.
 

holding complementary realities in creative tension

[6] Posted by Ed McNeill on 8-27-2010 at 01:29 PM · [top]

Tim #5

He will say we should engage the post modern culture but not those pre-modern one.

[7] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 8-27-2010 at 01:36 PM · [top]

That didn’t come out right. “The” not “those.”

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 8-27-2010 at 01:37 PM · [top]

Gee…these Benhase emmissions are kind of like watching Sally Fields in the movie Sybil. Forget his white noise just keep the tithes coming.
Intercessor

[9] Posted by Intercessor on 8-27-2010 at 01:50 PM · [top]

Have you ever checked into whether all these pronouncements from the TEC aristocracy are actually coming from an Episcobabble Random Generator (TM)?  I understand it’s a new app you can get for your iPhone.

[10] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 8-27-2010 at 02:34 PM · [top]

The above admonition just applies to how we conservative Episcopalians are supposed to treat those revisionist leaders—like, you know, bishops—in TEC who wish to affirm and bless gay relationships.

I think it’s more subtle than that.  The good bishop would assert that his admonition applies equally to both sides.  But in practical implementation, it means that:

1.  Liberals must tolerate conservative opinion.

2.  Conservatives must tolerate liberal action.

Of course, the assumption of broad doctrinal tolerance means the church must inevitably rachet itself in a liberal direction.  Each expansion of the boundary allows for greater heterodoxy, and thus causes further expansion.  This only happens under liberal leadership.  Conservatives can never be allowed to achieve power or influence, lest they try to undo the rachet.  What you end with is a church that preaches tolerance even as it progressively instantiates a more and more aggressive form of liberal religion.  Thus, the two forms of tolerance in view, slightly restated:

1.  Conservatives have to tolerate the liberalization of the church out from under themselves, and can’t seek to reclaim the church.  If they don’t want to abide by these terms, they can leave.

2.  Liberals are supposed to tolerate the continued presence of conservatives, safe in the knowledge that liberals get to run everything.  If liberals don’t agree, well.. no real consequences attach - other than eventual banckruptcy.

carl

[11] Posted by carl on 8-27-2010 at 03:32 PM · [top]

Good post, but double standards in this venue are not shocking.  Freakout about any clergy attending ACNA services, but we know TEC priests who have “concelebrated”(term used EXTREMELY loosely in this case) Wiccan ceremonies.

[12] Posted by Anti-Harridan on 8-27-2010 at 04:43 PM · [top]

Where in seminary or post-seminary training do you learn to think and speak this way?

[13] Posted by Going Home on 8-27-2010 at 05:22 PM · [top]

How do you hold anything in ‘creative tension’ when you’re doing your damnedest to pull it apart?  ‘Tension’ means pulling from both ends.

[14] Posted by cennydd13 on 8-27-2010 at 06:04 PM · [top]

Well obviously the superior intellect of this Leftist is lost on me.

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 8-27-2010 at 06:24 PM · [top]

John Wesley and George Whitefield are officially rolling over in their graves over what is happening in DioGeorgia.

Either that or they are gagging.

-Jim+

[16] Posted by FrJim on 8-27-2010 at 06:30 PM · [top]

[17] Posted by St. Nikao on 8-27-2010 at 09:02 PM · [top]

Bp. Benhase is certainly presiding bishop material, in all seriousness.  He was my pastor for years.  He runs a clean ship, is personally engaging, optimistic, and gives inspiring sermons.  He was one of the few who could give a sermon with which I completely disagreed, but I would still be engaged and not antsy in my pew.

Basically, he’s just a good guy who wouldn’t have all the embarrassingly amateurish baggage that the current presiding bishop brings.  The Episcopal hierarchy was able to keep up its revisionist game in the background without fuss for decades by keeping up a traditional, American mainstream facade and serve apple pie on Sunday.  They desperately need someone like Benhase to rebuild that facade.

[18] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 8-28-2010 at 07:27 AM · [top]

The letter appears to be addressing the Islamic center in NYC, and the reality that the US doesn’t have an established religion. I think it could use some polishing, but I don’t think it’s so bad. However, since Islamic dogma states that Jesus was only a human prophet, and is not God, I find it challenging to think about doing or saying anything that would be seen as affirming Islam.

in context with the ban on clergy participating with Anglican splinter groups, it’s an obvious inconsistency in thinking.

It’s good to see that alert StandFirm readers and bloggers are noticing such things. Im sure that the bishop is aware of these threads, and that folks in the diocese, and outside it, are watching his every move. Hopefully, the bishop will make appropriate revisions and clarifications.

[19] Posted by Ralph on 8-28-2010 at 07:30 AM · [top]

R&R, I’m afraid with his various and sundry clumsily transparent attempts at propaganda to his flock, as well as the other incidences of hamhandedness in his Opening Salvo Months as bishop of Georgia, I can’t agree.  He looks about as amateurish as Schori to me. 

I mean, maybe he’d have better vestments?

[20] Posted by Sarah on 8-28-2010 at 07:31 AM · [top]

I don’t see #18 as a glowing endorsement. A chimp, supported by a good staff, could do a better job at being PB than KJS. Saying that Benhase would do a good job of rebuilding the facade is quite an insult. TEC needs a complete interior rebuilding from cellar to attic.

He does seem to have better taste in vestments than KJS.

[21] Posted by Ralph on 8-28-2010 at 07:40 AM · [top]

Just to be clear, my #5 is not an actual Benhase quote.  But I have heard that justification for incoherence.

[22] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 8-28-2010 at 07:43 AM · [top]

The Episcopal hierarchy was able to keep up its revisionist game in the background without fuss for decades by keeping up a traditional, American mainstream facade and serve apple pie on Sunday.  They desperately need someone like Benhase to rebuild that facade.

The Episcopal hierarchy was able to keep up its revisionist game in the background without fuss for decades by keeping up a traditional, American mainstream facade and serve apple pie on Sunday.  They desperately need someone like Benhase to rebuild that facade. </blockquote>So long as TEC has bishops and preists presiding over gay marriages and SSBs, there are giant puppets of doomleading the procession and the epistle is from the Quran it really won’t matter what pastry you serve at coffee hour, people will notice that you are no longer a mainstream Christian denomination.  And it really will not matter much who your PB is.
  And how come I couldn’t find that Bruno story (see SSB link in my comment) when I was looking for it to counter the “not in my diocese” nonsense?

[23] Posted by tjmcmahon on 8-28-2010 at 08:25 AM · [top]

Rebuild the facade? Are you joking?  How does that square with what Christ taught?  Facades may fool us but they don’t fool - or please - God.

[24] Posted by Nikolaus on 8-28-2010 at 09:12 AM · [top]

R&R [18]: I believe Jesus uses the phrase “white-washed sepulchre” rather than “American mainstream facade”  (Matthew 23:27).

[25] Posted by Michael D on 8-28-2010 at 10:39 AM · [top]

Michael [25]—nice Biblical reference.  I had never picked up on that image before.  I think that describes what we were all served growing up in the Episcopal Church.

Sarah:

R&R, I’m afraid with his various and sundry clumsily transparent attempts at propaganda to his flock, as well as the other incidences of hamhandedness in his Opening Salvo Months as bishop of Georgia, I can’t agree.  He looks about as amateurish as Schori to me.

I mean, maybe he’d have better vestments?

First, Benhase is at his core plainly a revisionist.  He genuinely believes in incrementalism, which is strategically superior to scorched-earth tactics for liberals, which is more similar to Shori’s approach.  I think he also genuinely believes in this “wade deeply in our pluriform truths” fudge.  I know that there is inevitably an inconsistency with relativism and truth as you point out in this post, but he can surf that wave better than most.

That being said, all Episcopal bishops are being dealt a tough hand to play poker with—the mask is off, so to speak, and especially in the South, a lot of congregations don’t like what they see behind the facade.  So, especially to someone who is orthodox, he is going to be frustratingly inconsistent and theologically shallow.  For sure, Benhase is not a first rank theologian.  But his goal is not to win the valiant orthodox.  It’s to win the moderates and those who are orthodox but comfy in their pews and not inclined to raise fuss.  He’s pretty good at that.

Now, of course it’s a facade.  Eventually, the problems will rise to the surface and one can’t put but so much lipstick on contradiction and lip service, but TEC is obviously all-in on the revisionist game, and so it needs to be able to serve enough apple pie to keep the moderates happy or at least quiet.  That’s one thing Shori is terrible at.  I think Benhase is pretty good at winning that group over.

[26] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 8-28-2010 at 11:16 AM · [top]

Bingo R&R #26!  The valiant orthodox as you called them are expendable, but the mushy middle isn’t.  There’s too many of them and they make up the lion’s share of the income to the diocese.

[27] Posted by Anglican Presbyter on 8-28-2010 at 12:12 PM · [top]

#26 and 27-
You are only partly correct.  You have “revised” the term “moderate”.  The “moderates” (as defined in, say, 2003) are, now, the “right wing” of TEC.  Oh, there are a few pockets of orthodox resistance that remain to be mopped up, but the installation of 815 puppet bishops when the current bishops retire, and the rooting out of Greg, Sarah, Jackie and a few others scattered about the newly revisionist dioceses should handle that. 
  At this point (2010), when the likes of Tom Breidenthal are considered dangerously conservative for opposing Forrester, a TEC moderate (as defined by the median person in an average TEC parish) is a pro WO, pro gay, pro abortion divorced former Roman Catholic in favor of deposing any clergy who maintain the faith once delivered, and considers the 1928 BCP, Leviticus and Deuteronomy and most of Paul’s letters to be heresy, but draws the line at rewriting the Baptismal Covenant.

[28] Posted by tjmcmahon on 8-28-2010 at 12:44 PM · [top]

Reason and Revelation, I can’t speak of Benhase’s skills, but I wonder if TEC will ever go back to the a “traditional, American mainstream facade”. As you pointed out, it served the revisionsists well, but the battle for the core of the church is essentially won, leaving only mop up operations here and there. 

In any event, I think clarity is a good thing, even when I disagree with the positions expressed. At least it allows folks to make an informed decision.  Had I been a delegate, I would have voted for Schori over Parsley.

[29] Posted by Going Home on 8-28-2010 at 03:29 PM · [top]

Actually, TJ, the Baptismal Covenant will be re-written in the BCP of 2021—the part about “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship” will be deleted.

[30] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 8-28-2010 at 03:29 PM · [top]

[29]:

I think in the long run you’re correct.  However, to keep it from collapsing, TEC, especially a diocese like Georgia, has to keep up its “just a regular American church” facade for the time being.  The old boiling a frog analogy is appropriate.  The battle at the top is of course over, but they need the plate and pledge to remain good and to avoid any more public strife.

I think that is why this blog is so uniquely valuable—to uncover what is going on underneath, and to show the contradictions in various episcopal pronouncements.  I certainly didn’t have a clue about it until I stumbled on Titus 1:9 and this blog.  To this day, I’ll bet that a lot of (formerly) moderate Sunday churchgoers don’t know a thing about what the Anglican Communion is, Shori’s views, or the two-altar Lambeth Conference.

[31] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 8-29-2010 at 01:17 PM · [top]

A friend attended GC when it met in Columbus, OH and came back noting that TEC was in deeper trouble than he had thought. He had suddenly realized that Gene Robinson was one of the ‘moderates’.

[32] Posted by Grant on 8-30-2010 at 02:23 PM · [top]

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