March 22, 2017

December 12, 2011


Silence is a Bad Idea

Either we believe in openness or we don’t. If we believe in openness for others, then what does it say about us if we start talking about the virtues of a “respite” when openness becomes inconvenient for us or our allies?

Ever since this appeal for a “blogging respite” was issued, I’ve been looking for the right word to describe it, and I think I’ve finally found it:

It is offensive.

It is an offense against the intelligence of people who have - rightly - insisted on openness in TEC’s dealings, in everything from its own internal financial accounting, to its lawsuits against departing parishes, and everything in between.

I do not doubt the goodness or sincerity of those who desire a period of silence. But while silence in some contexts can provide space for healing relationships, in public affairs it most often serves as a cloak for dysfunctional and destructive actions, even lending them an air of legitimacy.

Matthew 18 is not a gag order. Nor does it right apply to the public actions of church leaders. There has been ample opportunity for everyone involved in this mess to follow Matthew 18. What we are seeing now is almost certainly the failure, of at some of those involved, to follow Matthew 18.


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27 comments

I agree with you 100%.  Thanks for keeping the light switched on.

[1] Posted by Judith L on 12-12-2011 at 04:33 PM · [top]

Next time they should time these things for the start of Pentecost.
With Advent you only get four weeks to make a plea for silence.
Really, they should have gone with Lectionary Year B.

“Our gospel of focus this church year is Mark.  Mark is the shortest of the gospels, pasing over many parts of Jesus’ life (such as his birth) in silence.  Therefore, as a devotional act honoring Mark’s Gospel, we request that no one speak about these matters until Novemeber, 2012.”

[2] Posted by James Manley on 12-12-2011 at 05:07 PM · [top]

To that end, we are requesting an ‘Advent Respite’ while leaders representing those clergy and congregations concerned can honorably and honestly work through their respective issues. We respectfully ask members of the different media sites and those who ‘blog’ to observe this respite as well. We recognize this situation has raised numerous questions, especially those of canonical status and future affiliations. We believe these situations will be addressed and questions will be answered “in a manner worthy of the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We also know that, in God’s time, there will be an opportunity to bear witness a positive and a Christ-honoring resolution to this painful situation.

A couple of quibbles to both sides of the fence:

i)  ‘Respite’ from what?  News or speculation about the news?  Or, from responding in anger?

ii)  The phrase, “in God’s time,” seems to suggest that the intent is avoid acting quickly, one unfortunate characteristic of the emerging AMiA crisis. 

Taken in tandem, I don’t get the sense that Hawkins+ is promoting some sort of Orwellian approach to the crisis;  just that the rate of conversation (and the rate of reporting) be adjusted appropriately.

Else, why not just say, “Y’all shut up.”  ?

[3] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-12-2011 at 05:19 PM · [top]

I’ll sing your praises Greg!

Honestly, it was a wacky group. Clergy held to account of laymen was an idea that was tolerate, not even if a Scriptural or presenting what other bishops had said (we’re also talking one on one, not even in a setting where their authority would be in question before others). So I’m not surprised they’d call for respite when its to their benefit. I’m agreement with you on this topic, which created some problems for me. Hopefully back in ACNA, there will be a memory of why openness, while a pain in the tush at times, is good!

[4] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-12-2011 at 05:51 PM · [top]

Not tolerated red face

[5] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-12-2011 at 05:54 PM · [top]

Hosea6:6:  Would restate your points please? 
I know Rev. Hawkins personally—and he’s a very sincere guy—about as un-Machiavellian as one gets.  I think everyone just wants a respite from this conflict to avoid distraction from the Main Point/Person of the season…

[6] Posted by banned4Life on 12-12-2011 at 06:41 PM · [top]

Even the Germans and the Allies took a break from fighting for Christmas, after all…. (in WWI, anyway).

[7] Posted by banned4Life on 12-12-2011 at 06:43 PM · [top]

Reporting news is not fighting.

[8] Posted by Judith L on 12-12-2011 at 06:56 PM · [top]

LuxRex - I’ll take your word for it, that was not the part of AMiA I was connected (maybe I’d have a much more positive view if all is as you say). Where I ended up, whatever accusation against +Murphy been made also seemed applicable to this group. In math terms, I remember it called “property of transitive.” I do apologies if this does not represent your friend, I’ve never met Rev. Hawkins, again, maybe my whole outlook might be different if I had been under him.

[9] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-12-2011 at 07:15 PM · [top]

I’ve been running this site for almost seven years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that whenever guys in purple shirts make an appeal to “be still and be quiet” or “take an Advent/Easter/Lent/insert-church-season-here respite from bogging,” it means one and only one thing: They’ve got something to hide.

[10] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-12-2011 at 10:43 PM · [top]

We L2 are firm that all light is good.  Jesus said everything will be brought into the light, every thing hidden will be revealed. 

We don’t agree that anyone should back off from presenting the truth, no matter what side.  Whenever we hear bloggers getting beat up, we know it’s because they are bringing light and accountability to the situation.  If you don’t like the light being shone on your activities, then you need to ask yourself why you are uncomfortable.

Keep up the good work, SF, as well as Kevin and George+.  You are doing God’s work.

[11] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 12-13-2011 at 07:31 AM · [top]

“they’ve got something to hide”

And/or likewise from the purples, “We really, really would like you to think that whoever questions us is spiritually inferior; and if you won’t do that, please stop thinking altogether.”

Thanks Greg, I found this offensive as well.

[12] Posted by alfonso on 12-13-2011 at 09:01 AM · [top]

The problem isn’t that there is something to hide, so much as it is not dealing with what everyone knows is true and just.not.wanting.to.hear.it.out.loud.for.the.upteenth.time. We have made fools of ourselves by annointing the Rawandans as John the Baptists, and then choosing non-bishops, who wanted to be annointed messiah—bishops, thinking we heard, “and these are my beloved sons in whom…” I’ll bet they want silence, in one quick moment in history,a promising movement’s hope was dashed on the rocks of stupidity, arrogance, and pride-glory…While some are left asking “are you the one, or do we seek another?” Others are saying “I told you so.” Still others are broken hearted, like those who bet their Christmas money on the lottery, and lost…” Those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. May God bless the poor souls who trusted, and are broken hearted, giving them a happy issue out of all their afflictions…At least, unlike the Rev. Camp, they did not claim the end of the world, just reminded us we all put on our pants one leg at a time, as my dad always told me when peple got too big for their britches…

[13] Posted by FrVan on 12-13-2011 at 09:09 AM · [top]

The whole thing stinks. That being said, bloggers want answers RIGHT NOW. The missives sent out thus far haven’t provided any clarity, just the opposites. I think it is OK to say, let’s be patient. I am hoping that ABp Kolini, et al, will show some wisdom (e.g., asking for the resignation of Bp Murphy). The Christian thing to do is get together in love and to leave one’s pride at the door.

[14] Posted by robroy on 12-13-2011 at 09:22 AM · [top]

robroy, while you are no doubt correct, the people willing to do that are not bishops, it is the good and decent lay and ordained folk, who in this system, as in TEC, really have no power…It is horribly sad. Although I did not follow in the train on this one, I could have written the closing. I am deeply hurt for all my bluster, for those whose pain I know is deep, and with embarrassment burning into their being…The ones at fault have no shame, like the Madoffs of this world, feel no guilt.

[15] Posted by FrVan on 12-13-2011 at 09:31 AM · [top]

When people perceive a turn in their anticipated futures, as they have in this recent unpleasantness, there are different means of adjusting to the change. Some will want to talk together, others will prefer to retreat into silence and work things through via prayer and reflection. The one cannot really demand of the other to adopt their way of coping.

Yes, blogging can get out of hand, but it does have a way of policing itself after a fashion.

OTOH, bringing down the cone of silence never worked.

[16] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 12-13-2011 at 09:40 AM · [top]

In addition, there is usually a whole lot of talking going on amongst the “silent” that they don’t tell you about.

Did that make sense?

[17] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 12-13-2011 at 11:16 AM · [top]

Some will want to talk together, others will prefer to retreat into silence and work things through via prayer and reflection. The one cannot really demand of the other to adopt their way of coping.

Yes, blogging can get out of hand, but it does have a way of policing itself after a fashion.

Well said, Pewster.  I took down my own posts that speculated on the doctrinal issues and the structure of AMiA out of respect for +Glenn and the letter from Apostles Mission Network.  I’m going to allow time for things to work out and for more clarity to come forth.  But I still agree in principle with Matt Kennedy’s point:

Silence and truth do not go together well.

[18] Posted by Old Hop on 12-13-2011 at 11:29 AM · [top]

People always have something to hide.  Unless of course, they live in a nudist colony. 

I think the Rwandan bishops and the Robo-bishops have been perfectly transparent:  “Every single vestry has a big decision to make.  Now go make it so you can drink egg nog and enjoy the children’s pageant in peace.” 

Beyond that, information can’t be made transparent at a rate faster than it is created. 

(shrug)

[19] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-13-2011 at 12:05 PM · [top]

Beyond that, information can’t be made transparent at a rate faster than it is created.

Absolutley agree,Moot. However misinformation and rumors have wings that move at the speed of the internet these days. That is the unfortunate nature of instant communication.

[20] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 12-13-2011 at 12:10 PM · [top]

RE: “In addition, there is usually a whole lot of talking going on amongst the “silent” that they don’t tell you about.”

Boy, have you ever got that right!  Truth is, there is plenty of “talking” going on—on the underground railroad and in private back-rooms.

It’s just that some people don’t like conversations being out there on the “InterWebs” where the peons can discuss stuff.

[21] Posted by Sarah on 12-13-2011 at 12:33 PM · [top]

I find this offensive on so many levels.  As a cradle Episcopalian, I am one who bought hook, line and sinker the plea to just ignore what was happening in those “crazy” parishes up North as it might interfere with the good work we were doing for Jesus.  As a consequence I am guilty of being a part in allowing ECUSA to degenerate into the - well - a cess pool of emotion ridden, feel good theologians that inhabit its halls today.
Even more annoying is that while we are being told to shut up and sit down so our betters can sort this out, they are making these announcements on - you guessed it blogs.  It is the same with ECUSA.  Bishops are denouncing the “internets” as an evil source for depraved individuals all the while Episcopal News is spewing its Pravda like articles. 

Possibly at some point in time the leadership will learn that they are not the head of the Church.  Jesus Christ is.  He would not have hidden that a priest molested a child and shuffled him off to Buffalo.  He would not have hidden that money has been misappropriated or lost.  He would not have hidden that a non-Christian was seeking to impersonate a priest.  No, He would have reminded us that sunshine is the best disinfectant and true repentance is the only cure.

For us to remain silent during this time would make us the worst kind of hypocrites.  If we did not remain silent when a plea to allow the Muslim priest to fly “under the radar” was issued, why would we be silent now? 

Either we shine our light in all the nooks and cranies or we don’t shine it at all.

[22] Posted by Jackie on 12-13-2011 at 12:35 PM · [top]

I guess for some, these are godly men and not TEC bishops therefore, we can trust them. Maybe we should take words of the six most influential Anglican, The Rev. Canon Dr. Ainsley Q. Pennyfeather, D.D., Ph.D, we, little ones should not fret (we’ll have to send him the current details, but I’m sure he can tweak the piece, after all, I’ve heard academics do that all the time).

[23] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-13-2011 at 04:45 PM · [top]

Infuriating.

[24] Posted by Christoferos on 12-19-2011 at 02:49 PM · [top]

Could someone post a link to what this article is all about?

[25] Posted by MichaelA on 12-19-2011 at 05:09 PM · [top]

Welcome back, MichealA, seems all the “old guard” is coming out of the woodwork.

This is the article in question

[26] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-19-2011 at 06:52 PM · [top]

Hi Hosea 6:6, all the best for Christmas and the holy season, to you and yours.

Thanks for the link. A very interesting comment from Anglicans Ablaze (Robin Jordan) on Curmudgeon’s site - his points sound correct.

Anyway, asking the blogosphere to be silent won’t work, nor should it. We are at a time of a revolution in media, where Christians on the other side of the world from each other can discuss details as though they were in the same room. Whether you view that as a good thing or a bad (I personally think its good) it is a fact and everyone has to adjust to it.

These times are similar to the Protestant Reformation, which was also affected by a revolution in media (the wide distribution of privately-owned printing presses). In 1517 the authorities could not cope with the fact that a list of theses by Martin Luther could be spread across Europe in the space of two weeks - they acted as though they were dealing with Wyclif 100 years earlier, whose writings took months to cover the same distance, and in much smaller volumes. Their failure to adjust to these new conditions proved fatal to their attempts to nip the Reformation in the bud (thank God).

Today, let all Christian leaders be wise as serpents and adjust to the new media reality - what you do today will be discussed by Christians across the globe tomorrow (if not sooner), just learn to live with it.

[27] Posted by MichaelA on 12-19-2011 at 07:37 PM · [top]

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