March 24, 2017

February 4, 2013

Three Brief Positives for Mississippi Episcopalians

At first glance, you may not think these three positives are “happy things”—but as I’ve watched the past few days unfold, I’ve been struck by them afresh.

1) You can take heart that all over the United States, in almost every Episcopal diocese, Episcopalians who believe the Gospel have had done to them just what Bishop Duncan Gray did to you. One can go through and count up all the dioceses with bishops who have lied to you, manipulated you, calculated how to get you to stay silent and inactive, attempted to control you, tried to figure out how to keep you giving and supporting, and betrayed their promises to you—and it’s almost every single diocese. StandFirm and other blogs have posted details of those stories—over and over and over and over again—during an almost ten-year period; they’re sitting nicely archived for future research and wonderment.

That’s the way this generation of Episcopal bishops is.  We don’t know precisely why that is—it’s just the kind of leadership that has come up through The Episcopal Church over this past generation. It’s very very rare that a bishop has been open and aboveboard, honest and frank, in their public pronouncements. Instead, they’ve relied on sophistry, double meanings that confuse people and blur decisions, shamelessly lied, and bullied their way through their dioceses, hidden their intentions, and only when they feel safe to maintain their power, have they revealed their hearts—the truth about who they are and what they believe.  We may speculate about why that is—basic cowardice and self preservation, a scheming, grasping, sly disposition, or a simple sociopathic disorder—we just don’t know.  But we do know that the vast vast vast majority of Episcopal bishops in this generation have demonstrated what they are over a ten year period. They are not honest, and they do not serve the Gospel or you. You must protect yourself and your loved ones from them. Many many thousands now have chosen to leave The Episcopal Church in order to protect themselves. Others who have stayed have taken other steps to protect themselves.

But you have to take some comfort in the fact that you have many thousands of brothers and sisters whose hearts have been stunned and broken and horrified and repulsed by the deceit, guile, and gross betrayal of their bishops. 

You are not alone.

2) This will teach you a lot—and it has taught tens of thousands of other Episcopalians who believe the Gospel much too.  They’ll mull over the mistakes they made, the passivity they showed, and the misreading of character they trusted. They will carry the lessons they’ve learned, the caution and wisdom they’ve achieved, the ability to see manipulation and cowardice more easily, into all of their endeavors: their work, their churches, and please God, into secular politics, which I’ve noticed conservative Episcopalians entering.

If the Spirit of Christ is within us, we will learn from suffering and the evil done to us by those who purported to be our spiritual leaders.

It’s not wrong to be angry.

But far more important than emotions, which come and go, hold on to those lessons that you’ll discover, and remember the mistakes you made. People often get better at things by messing up. You will too.

3) The truth shall set you free indeed.

I really believe that. No matter how painful or devastating or initially horrifying truth is . . . we don’t get better until we see it. And if we live in not-truth, we become—our own selves become—more and more distorted and mis-shapen and dysfunctional to live in a delusory world that is false and misleading.

Be thankful that you see the truth about this one person who has claimed leadership and influence and power and authority over your life.

Freedom sometimes doesn’t feel fun, and casual, and breezy. But if we’re fortunate, freedom is what we get.

in one small area of your life, you have that truth that leads to freedom.

Thank God for His mercies!

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I have wondered why he did this, right as his time was coming to a close.  I have come to the conclusion that most of these guys, at heart, are pleasers.  They are post WWII “NOT our greatest generation” guys.  Wimpy, weak, vacillating types.

Of course, in the end, no one is pleased.  Not the pro-gay marriage lobby, who will rightly ask, “Why didn’t you do this so much earlier, so that we could be married in the church?”.  Those that have orthodox views will ask “Why did you do this, after all the talk and promises about how it would not happen on your watch, leaving us with this mess?”

While still a member of the Ep. church (in Mississippi), I havent attended in 6 years.  I attend at a different denomination.  My friends who remained in the Ep. church kept asking me why I was moving my family.  They were upset with the trend the church was taking, but said it just wouldn’t happen in our parish.  “Look at what the Bishop has said”, etc….  My only response was that the church was rotten at the top, and that this wouldn’t end well.

I have no joy in being right.  I am amazed at how much time has passed, and how long all of this has taken.  But here we are, the bishops decision landing with a squishy splat at our feet. It seems appropriate that most of us are just shrugging our shoulders, and going on with our day.

[1] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 2-4-2013 at 09:38 AM · [top]

The clarity of vision one gains seeing the Bishop in his new clothes will be helpful for Episcopalians in Mississippi (and elsewhere) in discerning their future path and in selecting their future leaders.

Yes, many will cheer the Bishop as he goes on parade. Take courage to be the child who sees through the charade and speaks out.

In the meantime, cover your own children’s eyes.

[2] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-4-2013 at 09:44 AM · [top]

RE: “I have come to the conclusion that most of these guys, at heart, are pleasers.”

I don’t think that’s the right read on Bishop Gray.

Sure he wants to be liked.

But at the end of the day, he’s a revisionist and wishes to institute his revisionist gospel. The end of his tenure was the perfect time for him to go out with a blaze of glory, enact what he’s always believed, and not to have put up with any of the fallout that his successor will deal with.

PLUS, it allows an excuse to the bishop search committee to declare that the whole blessing-gay-sex thing is “off the table” now that it’s all “settled” so the survey, diocesan profile, and candidates for bishop don’t have to deal with a “all settled now” issue.

No—this is calculation all the way—with of course, a nice gloss of spin surrounding it that the naive can choose to believe.

[3] Posted by Sarah on 2-4-2013 at 09:44 AM · [top]

For some time now (a few decades, at least) newly-elected bishops have been shipped off to “baby bishop school” for a week or two. I suspect that this has served as something of a re-education camp for them.  They have also been taught to “preserve the unity of the Church.” The main means has been to try to find common ground with everyone - which means the ground not in common is ignored.

In addition, for many, many years, Episcopal seminaries, or at least all but TESM and Nashota House, have taught that the Bible is not God’s Word, breathed out by him and so reliable and authoritative, but rather, the product of human hearts and minds seeking to grasp the meaning of an encounter with the divine - and so informative, but not really carrying all that much authority.

Combine these, and the “Spirit can do a new thing.”


[4] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-4-2013 at 09:46 AM · [top]

And btw, all those provisions (hoops to be jumped) about what the parishes, clergy, congregations, have to do to qualify to bless same sex unions, as well as all the claptrap blather about how these aren’t marriages is a bitter slap in the face to the orthodox.  It just adds insult to injury to pretend about what he is doing, while he is doing it.  The slippery nature of these guys is what is sooooo disgusting.  They really think they can talk and write their way around all of this.

In a way, it’s also insulting to the pro-gay union people.  If youre gonna do it, by damn just do it, and get it over.  No forms to fill out, no committee meeting, no writeups to the bishop.  In the end, we all know how its gonna be approved, just go ahead and fling the door open!  Can’t you even be honest about that?

[5] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 2-4-2013 at 09:50 AM · [top]

Sarah, you are probably right.
I really hate to think that this move, and it’s timing, was pre-meditated a long time ago.  It just adds more salt into the wound, really for both sides of this issue.  Very Rowan-like.

After thinking about it, I know you are right.

Bitter is the only word that comes to mind.

[6] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 2-4-2013 at 10:04 AM · [top]

I totally agree with AnglicanXn regarding the comments regarding the Episcopal seminary approach to Scripture.  The demise of TEC can be traced directly back to what this current batch of priests has been taught in seminary.  It can be described as an old computer term known as “garbage in/garbage out”.  I was told at St. James/Jackson back in the ‘90s that the Bible was just another “good read”, that, for the most part, it was just a book of myths.  We have a vast majority of priests who know very little about Scripture, much less believe it to be true.
This whole “gay” thing has actually been a blessing to me.  Prior to 2003 I was what I jokingly call a “pew potato”-went to church, looked good, acted good and hung out with all the “right people”. 
Gene Robinson’s ordination was a wake up call.  It was a defining moment in my journey as a Christian.  From that moment until now I have never studied the Bible and sought out other believers harder in my life.  I have strived to understand God’s word and tried to surround myself with other Christians who would be there to help me when I fell and I could help them in their struggles.
There are many among us who call themselves Christians.  However, there are those who walk the walk and talk the talk.  This particular Christian is a Godly person.  He is Grateful to God.  He has a soul of Obedience.  He has a mind of Dependence.  His compass is God’s word spoken to us through Scripture.
In Matthew 10:14 when Jesus is commissiong the 12 disciples, He says “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town”.  My friends, it is time to shake the dust off our feet and leave.  We have fought the good fight and it is now time to place the fight at the foot of the cross and let God have his way.  It is time to seek a body of believers who base their decisions on Scripture and strive to be Grateful, Obedient and Dependent.

[7] Posted by carpprop on 2-4-2013 at 10:40 AM · [top]

I left TEC in 2003, the very weekend Vicky Gene Robinson was consecrated, supported by our Virginia bishop. A church member for seven years, and one who had invested considerable passion, time and energy on vestry, in stewardship and men’s club activities, I never saw it coming. It broke my heart to leave (I still cannot look away from titusonenine, this and other related websites, tho I have joined another church).  I can only imagine that the Mississippi Episcopalians— to have remained in their pews for the last ten years, to have maintained their contributions, to have been willing to be counted in the TEC statistical base—I can only imagine most were not surprised by the latest development and either welcomed it or are indifferent to the issues. As for those who were taken by surprise and are in need of comforting by Sarah Hey, one wonders how they can be so cut off from the common life, whether as a citizen, a church member or as a mature and responsible adult.  There cannot be many.  God help them!

[8] Posted by Richard Hoover on 2-4-2013 at 03:59 PM · [top]

That’s the way this generation of Episcopal bishops is.  We don’t know precisely why that is . . .

Isn’t it obvious? For the past 50 years, young leftists have been raised as part of an implicit “progressive” conspiracy. Mainstream Muslims do not, as if often alleged, practice, taqqiya, but all totalitarians do, whether Muslim or not. They believe that their political ends self-evidently justify whatever means are required. This is so obvious to them that it goes without saying: the progressive vanguard must do whatever is necessary to take and keep control of the levers of power. For these ideologues, truth is not an end in itself, but merely a tool to be used when it suits their ends.

This conspiracy failed to take control of the Catholic Church only because of intervention from the Vatican. For better or worse, Anglicans have no Vatican to thwart the conspiracies of lying progressives.

[9] Posted by Roland on 2-4-2013 at 04:29 PM · [top]

Why did he do it?  Because he knows he can get away with it….in this life.

[10] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 2-4-2013 at 05:13 PM · [top]

RE: “I can only imagine that the Mississippi Episcopalians— to have remained in their pews for the last ten years, to have maintained their contributions, to have been willing to be counted in the TEC statistical base—I can only imagine most were not surprised by the latest development and either welcomed it or are indifferent to the issues.”

That’s certainly an interesting theory—one that I don’t buy.  After all, one might just as easily have said that about a man who “never saw it coming” in 2003, for of course there were all the signs a decade before, and many saw it coming who had left in the 1980s and 1990s.

RE: “one wonders how they can be so cut off from the common life, whether as a citizen, a church member or as a mature and responsible adult.  There cannot be many.”

Well.  One might wonder if one has thought that *his* ignorance in 2003 was “understandable” but not anyone else’s ignorance in 2013.  ; < )

RE: “in need of comforting by Sarah Hey . . . “

Oh, I don’t flatter myself.  My words above are not a “comfort”—they are simply clarifying assertions that I suspect others know quite well.  Sometimes, it’s nice to see it all written down tidily, however.

[11] Posted by Sarah on 2-5-2013 at 08:29 AM · [top]

In the days of Daniel, all those Jews then clamined to be orthodox and worshiped only the true God.  But in the plains of Dura when the King blew the trumpets they all bowed to the golden idol except for three.  It is when others bow down and the test is given that we ever know who really are the Lord’s servants.
    Only after the heirlings flee in the face of the predators do we know who the true shepherd is.  Ah, yes, Clarity.  That is another good thing out of this mess for the believers in TEC.

[12] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 2-5-2013 at 09:42 PM · [top]

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