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+Brookhart: So Far, So Good!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 • 7:21 pm


This has got to be the howler of the day.

As a way of encouraging Episcopalians in Montana to pay no attention to the growing Bible-churches around them, Bishop Brookhart writes this in the latest issue of the “e-Vangel”:

...our approach has always been to embrace the slow, steady, solid way represented in diocesan and congregational life.  We have avoided, in the main, jumping aboard the latest trend.  For instance, in the nineteenth century it was revivalism, and in the twentieth the charismatic movement, both of which have not endured.  But our slow and steady approach has worked well for us in the long term.

So well, in fact, that we’re far and away the fastest-shrinking denomination in the country, and in the last couple of weeks we’ve closed 1/5th of our seminaries. And check the blue bars in this chart for Brookhart’s diocese.

Yep. All is not merely Well™, it’s fantastic!

H/T: Eclipse


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Comments:

Yes, Greg, this is indeed a hoot.  The charismatic movement has supposedly not endured, but TEC has plodded on, like the tortoisse, and overtaken those Pentecostal-like rabbits.  Yep.  Slow and steady wins the race, all right. 

I mean just look at the Assemblies of God.  They aren’t even 100 years old yet as a denomination, but they now claim 2.8 million members to our current claim of 2.14 million.  And they don’t count children as members, and we do.  Nope.  They are a flash in the pan.  All that charismatic nonsense, speaking in tongues and what all, it just isn’t going to last.

And as for all that trendy jumping on the bandwagon of the latest religious fad like conservatives do, boy am I glad TEC doesn’t do that!  None of that Toronto Vineyard blessing craziness, thank heavens.  Just sensitivity to the new thing that the Spirit is doing in terms of liberating the last oppressed minority in America, those despised outcasts, the gays and lesbians in our midst.

After all, Bishop Brookhart says it, so it MUST be true.  All is well.

David Handy+

[1] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 03-04-2008 at 09:07 PM • top

Yep. All is not merely Well™, it’s fantastic!

All is fabulousgrin

[2] Posted by Piedmont on 03-04-2008 at 09:15 PM • top

Its preposterous on so many levels; including the fact that we TEC has a Bishop for only 2,000 Sunday church attendees.  Soon, TEC may have more Bishops than people in the pews.

[3] Posted by Going Home on 03-04-2008 at 09:28 PM • top

Ah, but look at the pledge income… must be that those attending, since they have achieved a higher level of education; and fewer or no children, they are better equipped to support the church… I mean, isn’t that what counts, property & money?????

(As he toddles off to get some hot tea…)

[4] Posted by Opie56 on 03-04-2008 at 10:00 PM • top

Building onto David Handy+, I heard a Church of God pastor (holiness movement of 19th century) speak at a conference a few weeks ago, not only have they not been a fad, this parish was formed in early 20th century and has had three pastors, thus could claim they “have avoided ... jumping aboard the latest trend” more than this bishop.

You’re correct Greg, this has been strange day. I’m glad you have provided links to the source documents, else I might think you were going into <u>Weekly World News</u> with some of this stuff smile

[5] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-04-2008 at 10:04 PM • top

We have avoided, in the main, jumping aboard the latest trend.

... unless the “Holy Spirit reveals a new thing” like same-sex blessings, and the ordination of gay bishops

[6] Posted by MargaretG on 03-04-2008 at 10:10 PM • top

Two, these churches are beginning to fade.  When I travel to House of Bishops meetings in Texas, I drive for nearly an hour through the suburbs of Houston.  On that last trip I noted three buildings owned by these churches for sale; the congregations had closed.  My reading indicates that this is beginning to happen all around the country.

Can anyone from the Houston area comment on this?

[7] Posted by MargaretG on 03-04-2008 at 10:13 PM • top

Our church offers all the essentials of the catholic church (the sacraments, the Creeds, the episcopacy) while upholding the best of Protestantism (regard for scripture and for personal relationship with Christ).  No other church does this in the warm and generous spirit we do.

... and we are modest enough to keep a straight face as we lie though our teeth about our adherence to the Creeds and regard for the scripture ...

Read the whole piece ... it is beyond amazing ..

[8] Posted by MargaretG on 03-04-2008 at 10:14 PM • top

No other church does this in the warm and generous spirit we do.


He needs to look at the video deposition by KJS - “Sue? It’s what we do.”

[9] Posted by robroy on 03-04-2008 at 10:32 PM • top

To get any “trendier” than the LGBTIQ? is, well, pretty difficult, Bish.  But I am sure that if the opportunity presents itself, ECUSA/TEC/GCC will prophetically be “all in”-clusive for it!

Thanks for the BEST LAUGH of the day, probably the year!

[10] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-04-2008 at 10:36 PM • top

Actually read the whole magazine——most of the rest of it is about stewardship—- with a very strong emphasis on how and why you should give more to the church. I would have thought the “lets go slow and steady” argument would be made for money as well. [Yeah right]

Interesting it was also one of the three key points in the Bishop’s diocesean address:

At this point I need to make a little side tour through the sage grass. All the churches of this diocese face financial challenges—-large and small, no exceptions. Further, the assisted congregations are being challenged to become self-sustaining according to a five-year plan. The truth is that we cannot go on with the old patterns of the past in terms of our giving and budgets. I need to point out that we are trying here to play a quick game of catch-up; for a number of years the diocese was dealing with other matters, and something as basic as stewardship and tithing just slipped out of sight.  .... We lift up the Good News, and we live into it. That is the way. Trust the God of the resurrection, and live in confident hope. Remember the old bumper sticker: if you love Jesus, tithe. Anyone can honk their horn. That ends my little tour through the sage.

[11] Posted by MargaretG on 03-04-2008 at 10:40 PM • top

I am enjoying the Diocesean website—- sorry to be posting so much.

The budget is interesting and can be found here with a commentary also:
http://mtepiscopal.homestead.com/FinancialStuff.html
The two highlights for me were:
1. The payment to the national church
The commentary reads:
“This is an amount pledged to pay to the Domestic and Foreign “Missionary Society (i.e. the “national” church).  The annual asking is 21% of previous year’s income and this amount reflects 2.23% of the income.”
The figures show:
2007 Budget $83,945  
2007 ACTUAL $41,970   (so they failed to send c$42K—a lot of legal fees missing there)
2008 Budget $15,000   (ouch—that must hurt KJS)
2009 Projected $15,000 (so much for things looking up)

2.
From the commentary:
“Millennium Development Goals   No longer funded.”

From the figures:
2007 Budget $3,871 (a generous apportionment)
2007 ACTUAL $1,614
2008 Budget $0 ie zilch
2009 Projected $0

[12] Posted by MargaretG on 03-04-2008 at 11:01 PM • top

I though that Baghdad Bob was killed in a bombing raid.

Maybe American soldiers _are_ killing themselves at the gates of Baghdad.

[13] Posted by KevinBabb on 03-04-2008 at 11:58 PM • top

Our church offers all the essentials of the catholic church (the sacraments, the Creeds, the episcopacy) while upholding the best of Protestantism (regard for scripture and for personal relationship with Christ).

That sounds like a good description of one of the attactive things about Anglicanism.  Too bad it no longer applies to TEC.

[14] Posted by AndrewA on 03-05-2008 at 12:00 AM • top

I am enjoying the Diocesean website—- sorry to be posting so much.

That makes one of us - the color scheme is awful!

[15] Posted by Eclipse on 03-05-2008 at 12:11 AM • top

Color scheme? No that is visual assault. Ghastly.

[16] Posted by Ed McNeill on 03-05-2008 at 12:31 AM • top

I must be colour blind as I didn’t notice it—it was more the info that I enjoyed particularly the irony of the cut in expenditure to the two beloved causes of the TEC and the MDGs both of which seem to have happened with the same happy confidence that All is Well as the Bishop showed in the original piece.

[17] Posted by MargaretG on 03-05-2008 at 12:56 AM • top

PS
I thought this was an interesting take on the issue of tithing that the Bishop was so keen to push

“The annual asking [for the national office] is 21% of previous year’s income and this amount reflects 2.23% of the income.”

[18] Posted by MargaretG on 03-05-2008 at 12:57 AM • top

Firstly that webpage is ghastly. Secondly I would like to agree with +Brookhart on a few points, as commenter 14 pointed out, it sounds good, itis just that what he says does not apply to TEC any longer. Frankly those kind of Bible churches really don’t appeal to me much either and that is likely why I am Anglican. That said ,Bishop Brookhart is simply out to lunch . He is another wacky and sad TEC bishops trying to get us sheeple to not see the obvious.

Finally, isn’t +Brookhart one of the vaunted Windsor Bishops?

[19] Posted by Anglo-Catholic-Jihadi on 03-05-2008 at 01:02 AM • top

How many U.S. pentecostal congregations have a higher Sunday attendance than Brookhart’s entire diocese?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Ah, but look at the pledge income”

Yes, it’s now declining in nominal dollars as well as constant dollars.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Maybe ECUSA can pull off a merger of faltering dioceses and create a new Diocese of CaminoMontaNewarkLand—- in strategic partnership with its new friends at Lesley University.

[20] Posted by Irenaeus on 03-05-2008 at 01:22 AM • top

“Isn’t +Brookhart one of the vaunted Windsor Bishops?”

There goes the neighborhood.

[21] Posted by Irenaeus on 03-05-2008 at 01:25 AM • top

“We have avoided, in the main, jumping aboard the latest trend.”

...... Ecusa has been trending away from traditional Christianity for many decades - in so many ways.  How can he have the gall to make such a comment?

[22] Posted by Bill C on 03-05-2008 at 08:15 AM • top

What I find intriguing is that there is no data for 2007.  Since they had their ‘annual meeting’ in October, this information has to have been compiled, but I wonder why it is not posted. 

MaragaretG:

I think your analysis is great - I had not caught the ‘MGD’ goals information from the budget.  That is intriguing. 

Ed:

LOL!  Now that is funny. smile

[23] Posted by Eclipse on 03-05-2008 at 08:35 AM • top

One day two swindlers came to the emperor’s city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn’t a beautiful design and if the colors weren’t magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. “Gracious” he thought. “Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material.”

“You aren’t saying anything!” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!” said the old minister, peering through his glasses. “This pattern and these colors! Yes, I’ll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!”

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!” No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor’s clothes had ever before received such praise.

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

Finally everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.

[24] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-05-2008 at 10:14 AM • top

Greg:
“we’ve closed 1/5th of our seminaries”

Thats seems to be a false statement. The only thing that closed was one location of Bexley Hall.

EDS- has not announced any closures at all. A dean resigned, and there is a possibility of a relationship with another instituation (probably renting space).

Seabury- is retooling to do it’s ministry diffrently.

To say “we’ve closed 1/5 of our seminaries” is false witness.

[25] Posted by janetroya on 03-05-2008 at 10:30 AM • top

Sorry, Janetroya, but when Seabury-Western announces that it will no longer run a residential M.Div. program, Bexley Hall is a 20 student adjunct to the Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, EDS announces to alumni/ae (though not on its web site) that it is also rethinking its mission, and Berkeley at Yale is unable to identify for Episcopal Life how many students it has, the conclusion can be drawn that there are four fewer seminaries.

I worked for the General Board of Examining Chaplains from 1990 to 2002 and as I have watched Episcopal seminaries since I conclude that there are three fairly healthy stand alone mainline Episcopal seminaries: General in New York - which has converted the west end of its cmpus to an expensive conference center and also runs a number of programs in addition to the M.Div. - Virginia in Alexandira which also has a number of programs additional to the M.Div - Sewanee in Tennessee which is part of the University of the South. Two seminaries have a special ministry to extra-mural Anglicans: Nashoth House and Trinity. And four others are in one or another form of consortium: Berkeley at Yale, Bexley Hall, the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.

[26] Posted by TomRightmyer on 03-05-2008 at 10:42 AM • top

Greg—Your point about Bishop Brookhart’s pitiful apologia stands, but Kirk Hadaway (Director of statistics for TEC) made a comment on the Washington Times article, saying that the -4% was for two years. Last year was -2.3%—still equal with the Presbyterians as worst. Since TEC headquarters is still calling departures “a teensy minority” the loss is a significant amount.

[27] Posted by 0hKay on 03-05-2008 at 10:58 AM • top

Well, I’ll say this for the independent Bible churches - at least they aren’t being sued, padlocked shut and their pastors deposed.

[28] Posted by B. Hunter on 03-05-2008 at 11:14 AM • top

“Seabury is retooling to do its ministry diffrently”—JaneTroya [#25]

What if General Motors announced that it would no longer produce automobiles, would continue to produce locomotives and SUVs, and focus its energies on developing innovative motor vehicle design ideas (with Toyota, Nissan, and Honda as its intended clients)?

We could fairly say GM had “closed” its automaking business. A fancy press release about how GM would try to develop ultra-innovative ideas and sell them to the Japanese wouldn’t change that.

Saying that Seabury-Western has “closed” is a reasonable, though not indisputable, inference from SW’s own announcement.

[29] Posted by Irenaeus on 03-05-2008 at 11:41 AM • top

We have avoided, in the main, jumping aboard the latest trend.

Wow.

In fairness, TEC establishment has not bought into many *popular* trends of the “ignorant masses,” like revivalism and the charismatic movements. However, TEC has embraced virtually every progressive theological, academic, and social trend to come along. I mean, come on, if I met one more TEC priest who raved about Spong and Borg, I was going to throw up.

[30] Posted by DavidBennett on 03-05-2008 at 12:21 PM • top

so I have to ponder why so many of us are still here and why so many of us who have left are still hoping for a resurrection

[31] Posted by ewart-touzot on 03-05-2008 at 01:00 PM • top

SO FAR, SO GOOD!

Kinda reminds of the old saw about the guy who took a leap off the roof of a tall tenement building. All the windows were open and as he passed each floor on the way down, the residents could hear him say “So far, so good.”

the snarkster

[32] Posted by the snarkster on 03-05-2008 at 02:25 PM • top

To say “we’ve closed 1/5 of our seminaries” is false witness.

Unless I’m badly mistaken, we have 11 Episcopal seminaries. 2 of them are closing - Seabury and Bexley. That’s 18%. I rounded up to 20%. That’s 1/5th.

If I’m wrong in my calculations, I’ve made an error, but I have not made a false witness.

[33] Posted by Greg Griffith on 03-05-2008 at 02:37 PM • top

Greg, I can’t believe you didn’t remember the eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not roundeth up, nay not even a fraction of a percentage point, when this dost reflecteth badly on the heterodox.

[34] Posted by robroy on 03-05-2008 at 03:49 PM • top

To borrow a phrase from the Tony Kornheiser radio show.  The Episcopal Church:  “It’s CRAPTASTIC!”

[35] Posted by Bill2 on 03-05-2008 at 04:39 PM • top

There are 11 seminaries but a total of 12 campuses.  Bexley Hall in Rochester, NY is closing.  Bexley Hall in Columbus, OH is remaining open.

Michele

[36] Posted by Michele on 03-05-2008 at 06:41 PM • top

janetroya & Michele :

I tell you what.  When B. Brookhart finally is honest about the number of people in Montana who are actually Episcopalian (e.g. saying there are ‘6000 active members’ when their own Records indicate there are 5617 (7% less) on the books and only approximately 2000 (and THAT"S rounding up) active in 2006 - NOT TO MENTION not even putting his current numbers up - which would put that number much lower for 2007). 

THEN you can quibble to Greg about the difference between 10 - 20 % of Seminaries - fair enough????  Brookhart’s rounding comprises the population of an ENTIRE TOWN in Montana.  Not to mention, I can tell you from personal information that the ‘numbers’ reported for individual congregations are TOTALLY off - like by 2/3rds. 

If there is someone who is struggling with honesty, I don’t think it’s StandFirm. 

I personally thought this was very funny:

Does your church have pancake suppers, ice cream socials and Super Bowl parties?Do you wear aprons and t-shirts that say:

“Have you hugged an Episcopalian today??”

You don’t have any of these?

Go to Bitterroot’s Best Store on e-Bay and check out the selection of Episcopal Gear for sale.  Each purchase helps out Bitterroot Episcopal Ministries.  Episcopal dog collars, dog leashes, mouse pads, t-shirts, aprons, sweatshirts…. 

I’m not sure about a dog collar - but I’d take a dog chew toy…. smile

[37] Posted by Eclipse on 03-05-2008 at 07:04 PM • top

RE: “so I have to ponder why so many of us are still here and why so many of us who have left are still hoping for a resurrection . . .”

The same reason why some of the French remained resident in France and as French citizens after the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940, even as they remained within the German Occupation zone, or the Italian Occupation zone.

The parallels, shall we say, are simply delicious.  One may certainly leave France, if one is a French citizen, and dwell in, say, America on flowery beds of ease.  Or . . . one may join the French resistance.

[38] Posted by Sarah on 03-05-2008 at 07:08 PM • top

very good Sarah..yes, like the French resistance we are still fighting, not really the easy way but evidently the way God has for us…

[39] Posted by ewart-touzot on 03-05-2008 at 07:28 PM • top

The parallels, shall we say, are simply delicious.  One may certainly leave France, if one is a French citizen, and dwell in, say, America on flowery beds of ease.  Or . . . one may join the French resistance.

There is, of course, a third aternative: Collaborateur…

[40] Posted by The Pilgrim on 03-05-2008 at 08:04 PM • top

When I travel to House of Bishops meetings in Texas, I drive for nearly an hour through the suburbs of Houston.  On that last trip I noted three buildings owned by these churches for sale; the congregations had closed.

The churches he is describing have not closed, they have moved on to bigger buildings.  What the Bishop is describing are actually church buildings that have been outgrown by their former tenants, and are now on the market. 

I Googled “Churches for sale + Houston,” as well as “churches closed” and “churches growing.” There are no articles about nondenoms closing, but plenty of stories about churches growing (the largest nondenom in the US is now in Houston.)

[41] Posted by The Pilgrim on 03-05-2008 at 08:24 PM • top

With regard to Tom Rightmyer’s post #26, I think it’s premature to write off Berkeley at Yale as a fourth seminary to go down the tubes.  Now perhaps the fact that I’m glad to be a Berkeley alumnus has something to do with it, though I’m hardly a fan of BDS at Yale, I haven’t given a cent to it in many years.  But in terms of numbers, the Episcopal contingent at Yale is one of the largest groups of seminarians in the country, and they are operating in the black.

It’s just that it is indeed hard to distinguish those who are part of Berkeley from the larger group of Episcopal students at Yale Div. School.  Last I knew, ALL Episcopal students at Yale benefit from Berkeley sources of financial aid, even though many of them aren’t seeking ordination, and relatively few attend the Daily Office services at the Berkeley chapel.  At least, that was true back in my day in the early 1980s, when only a small minority of us attended chapel regularly.  But hopefully, that’s improved since then.

To be fair, I would have to admit that Berkeley does represent a sort of shadow seminary in many ways.  I certainly thought of myself as primarily a Yale Div. student and getting my certificate from BDS was just sort of a bonus on top of my YDS degree.  But even though the community life and priestly formation there is relatively weak, I think Berkeley is going to be around a long time.  Even though it’s been largely swallowed up by YDS, it’s still a very popular place, with both bishops and prospective students.

I guess I’m just wanting to nuance Tom Rightmyer’s comment a bit.  Berkely was one of the first seminaries to fold under growing financial pressure (back in the 1970s).  But it reached a suprisingly durable merger with Yale, due to the tremendous, persistent appeal of the latter.  I’m not at all sure Seabury-Western or Bexley Hall or EDS are going to fare nearly as well.

But as for the old Berkeley motto, “Into the regions beyond,” well that ceased to have anything to do with geography and either foreign or domestic missions a long time ago.  Now it seems to have been re-interpreted to mean, “into the regions beyond the pale of orthodoxy,” i.e., exploring new realms of innovative theology and religious practice.  Sad, so sad.

David Handy+
YDS and BDS grad, class of 1983

[42] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 03-05-2008 at 08:43 PM • top

Pilgrim (#41) is quite right in pointing out that +Brookhart’s feeble attempt at putting down conservative megachurches through some vague anecdotal evidence is totally misleading.  It’s true that very large churches are particularly vulnerable to big swings up or down in attendance, especially when there is a change of pastors or the senior pastor is somehow tainted by a scandal or the church faces bad publicity for some reason. 

A well-known recent example would be the giant non-denominational New Life church in Colorado Springs which was formerly pastored by Ted Haggart, the disgraced former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.  That huge church, with over 10,000 members, suffered a big drop after Haggart’s sexual infidelities were made public and he was forced to resign.  But even so, there were around 7,000 people on the church campus when that crazed gunman opened fire and killed a couple worshippers there recently.  That’s well over three times the size of the entire Sunday attendance claimed by the Diocese of Montana.

But taking a more objective look, there is absolutely no question but that evangelical and fundamentalist churches are faring much, much better than “mainline” ones overall.  Here is an interesting, objective example.  Back in 1900, if you complied a list of the 100 largest Protestant churches in America, the vast majority of them would have been downtown urban churches of some (then truly) mainline denomination with names like First Prebyterian, First Lutheran, Wesley Methodist etc.  Today, there are over 300 congregations in the U.S. with a weekend attendance larger than that of the whole Diocese of Montana, and no more than 10 of them have a “mainline” connection.  This is the kind of factual reality on the ground that lay people are noticing and asking the bishop about.  But he merely engages in denial tactics in typical TEC fashion and insists that we are doing just fine.  It’s pathetic.  Just pathetic.

David Handy+

[43] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 03-05-2008 at 09:06 PM • top

Sarah Hey,you’re so right…
Every time I read your comparisons of TEc to the French Resistance I start humming that song from Les Mis: “Can You Hear the People Sing?”
“Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?”

[44] Posted by HeartAfire on 03-05-2008 at 09:27 PM • top

I am grateful for David Handy’s comments about Berkeley at Yale. I was reacting to the comment in the Episcopal Life article that Berkeley could not state how many of the YDS students were also Berkeley students. There are probably appropriate biological terms to apply to the relationship of the seminaries in various forms of consortia.  As one who has labored in the ecumenical vineyard most of my ministry I am glad to see Episcopal students learning with those of other communions, but I’m also aware of the importance of maintaining the Anglican tradition.

[45] Posted by TomRightmyer on 03-05-2008 at 09:40 PM • top

A lesson on false witnesssing based on statistical interpretations could well be given to the formerly scientific PB Schori appropriately enough.  Have the statistics police called her on her “usage”?
.
.
.
.
.
.
I thought not.  But I am sure what she would reply would be classic.  So do please try and do keep us informed of your efforts and results.

[46] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-05-2008 at 09:49 PM • top

RE: “Every time I read your comparisons of TEc to the French Resistance I start humming that song from Les Mis: “Can You Hear the People Sing?””

I’m not certain that I like that vision as much as the French Resistance in WWII.

Keep in mind the depressing end of the fighters in Les Mis. 
; < (

But . . . think how many WWII movies have the military and the strategists and the spies and the escapees all depending on the mysterious French Resistance.

[47] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 07:57 AM • top

Yes, but think how many movies are crocks.

The French Resistance was smaller, less effective, and far more Communist than commonly believed.

The Resistance is romantic and appealing, but its saboteur model of church membership boils down to pretending to be in fellowship with people whom you intend to drive out, and pretending to acquiesce in projects that you intend to derail.  The resistance was never about convincing the Germans to drink red wine and read Molière; for starters, most of the educated Germans already did.

The Resistance model requires you to treat liberals in religion as The Enemy, to whom neither kindness nor good faith is owed.  Either those people are Christians or they are not.  If they are, you cannot treat them as ecclesiastical Major Strassers.  If not, well, you bailed on us in the 1530s, and Clement VII was nowhere as bad on theology as KJS and Louie Crew.

[48] Posted by Ed the Roman on 03-06-2008 at 10:45 AM • top

Sarah,

“One may certainly leave France, if one is a French citizen, and dwell in, say, America on flowery beds of ease.  Or . . . one may join the French resistance”

Or you could join the Free French Army and commit to overthrowing the invaders through an outside rather than inside strategy.

[49] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-06-2008 at 10:50 AM • top

Very true—I was not referring to those who have joined the Free French Army. 

I was referring to those who appear to look longingly at the flowery beds of ease strategy, whose denominations and churches I will not name.  ; > )

[50] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 10:55 AM • top

To further clarify . . . I do not believe that all people who go to other denominations and churches are using the “flowery beds of ease” strategy.  But whenever I discuss such matters with my fellow ComCons who are thinking of leaving, oddly, much of the talk seems to be along the lines of “the flowery-beds-of-ease” alternative.

[51] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 10:59 AM • top

RE: “The French Resistance was smaller, less effective, and far more Communist than commonly believed.”

That assertion may well be so.  But I am speaking of honorable options, and the French Resistance was certainly an honorable alternative for French citizens to take.

RE: “The Resistance is romantic and appealing, but its saboteur model of church membership boils down to pretending to be in fellowship with people whom you intend to drive out, and pretending to acquiesce in projects that you intend to derail.”

No one need pretend a thing—I’m certainly not pretending either of the above.

RE: “The Resistance model requires you to treat liberals in religion as The Enemy, to whom neither kindness nor good faith is owed.”

Both kindness and good faith are owed to all human beings, so this assertion is also false.

RE: “If not [Christians], well, you bailed on us in the 1530s, and Clement VII was nowhere as bad on theology as KJS and Louie Crew.”

But since I have far far deeper problems with the Roman Catholic church’s theology and truth claims than that of one man, Clement VII, his “badness” has little to do with my disinterest in that church.

As with many of us, the Roman Catholic church is not an option, since we do not accept a number of the foundational truth claims of that church.  Fortunately, this thread is not about the deficiencies or the wonders of the Roman Catholic church.

[52] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 11:04 AM • top

Sarah

Perhaps the behavior of France in WWII is not the best benchmark. 

The French Army itself collapsed in one of the most catastrophic defeats in world history, and very nearly handed the war to Hitler on a platter. “We are betrayed!” was the most martial battle cry they could muster.  Toward the end of the German invasion in 1940, French citizens refused to let (what was left of) the French Army mount lines of defense in their cities lest the Germans destroy their homes.  France swore no to make a separate peace with Hitler but yet did so, and would not even send their fleet to England. The British had to destroy the French fleet lest it fall into the hands of the Axis.  France provided no real difficulty to their German occupiers; French occupation was easy duty for the Wehrmacht.  Ah, but French martial valor was on display after the war when women who slept with German soldiers were dragged into the public square and humiliated - a fitting scapegoat for a behavior which pretty much describes French behavior towards their occupiers. 

Put frankly, my father fought harder for France then the French did.  And he only lasted four weeks past the breakout at St Lo.

carl

[53] Posted by carl on 03-06-2008 at 01:16 PM • top

and I could say the same for most Episcopalians…they are just sitting back allowing it to happen..in fact many don’t even want to be told what is happening (don’t send another email like that to me)...but with Christian charity in both instances perhaps both the French and Episcopalians are/were in such shock about what is actually happening that they are paralyzed…or I hope that is the explanation

[54] Posted by ewart-touzot on 03-06-2008 at 01:24 PM • top

Maybe this is a good analogy because WWI was fought on French soil and the Anglican Church had the battles over women’s ordination fought out in the Episcopal Church. So, the current battles in the Episcopal Church are like the French having to deal with WWII after just barely beginning to recover from WW I.

[55] Posted by Deja Vu on 03-06-2008 at 01:43 PM • top

RE: “Perhaps the behavior of France in WWII is not the best benchmark.”

But Carl, in your paragraph above, you listed the behavior of the French army—I am referring to the historic and very valiant actions of the French Resistance post the fall of Paris—and yes, it’s documented and historic and valiant, no question about that.  There are many allies who wrote paeans of praise.

So far, in response to my very valid analogy, I see that there has been some grudging acknowledgement and then there have been various embittered responses from people anxious for Episcopalians to have no such analogy at all.

I believe that the reasons for the latter are rather manifestly self-serving.

[56] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 01:49 PM • top

Just so I’m sure I understood, your complaints with Rome are orders of magnitude worse than your complaints with unitarianism and denial of the Creeds. I’m not going to argue any of them in detail, I just want to make sure that you view Rome as not merely worse, but MUCH worse.

Regarding kindness and good faith, I must then assume that you consider blowing up trains to be kind, but disapprove of operational deception and other ruses de guerre.

[57] Posted by Ed the Roman on 03-06-2008 at 01:50 PM • top

RE: “Regarding kindness and good faith, I must then assume that you consider blowing up trains to be kind, but disapprove of operational deception and other ruses de guerre.”

Absolutely blowing up trains may be considered kind . . . just as affirming the immorality of sex between same genders may be considered loving.

And operational deception may certainly be performed in good faith.  Bad faith and operational deception are not granted to be congruent at all.

RE: “Just so I’m sure I understood, your complaints with Rome are orders of magnitude worse than your complaints with unitarianism and denial of the Creeds.”

I did not at all rank the heresies of Rome nor the heresies of the Episcopal church’s national leadership.  I merely stated clearly that I and others like me do not accept a number of the foundational truth claims of that church, [thus it would certainly be wrong to convert to it] and that I believe those foundational truth claims are much much deeper than one man’s unfortunate actions and beliefs.

Hopefully now you “understand”.  ; > )

[58] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 01:55 PM • top

#53 Carl
We are grateful.

[59] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-06-2008 at 01:58 PM • top

Yes, I do, to a point.

I am not now arguing specifically that you should cross the Tiber; I have been questioning why you stay where you are.  That you stay is what I don’t understand.

[60] Posted by Ed the Roman on 03-06-2008 at 02:10 PM • top

I see.

Well, I’ve addressed that question in numerous other articles, and I recognize that many people will simply not understand it.

It is unlikely that further explanations will lead to any more understanding.  I’m okay with that and I think those with whom I am working in TEC are okay with that as well.

[61] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 02:16 PM • top

I was about to hasten to add that I don’t need to understand.  Good luck.

[62] Posted by Ed the Roman on 03-06-2008 at 02:19 PM • top

I am still in TEC not because I agree, or because I an even accepting of the direction we seem to be going all to fast but because I have not yet heard God tell me to leave…maybe there is set something I can do.

[63] Posted by ewart-touzot on 03-06-2008 at 03:35 PM • top

I am referring to the historic and very valiant actions of the French Resistance post the fall of Paris

If you are referring to the uprising in Paris in August 1944, then remember that the German Army in France was doing its level best to escape the Falaise Pocket, and get back to Germany.  It’s much easier to rise up against a defeated army.  Also remember that the uprising had much to do with who would control France post war. 

I am really not so much trying to deprive Episcopalians of a good example as I am trying to discredit the idea of valorous French military resistance during the war.  There are other more deserving examples for Episcopalians to follow.

carl

[64] Posted by carl on 03-06-2008 at 03:44 PM • top

Hi Carl—I am referring neither to the Paris uprising nor any kind of “military resistance.”

[65] Posted by Sarah on 03-06-2008 at 03:47 PM • top

Something to keep in mind about the French Resistance is that not only did it have minimum effect, but that it took the English and American invasions to rescue France.  Who are expecting to come in from the outside and rescue faithful Episcopalians?  England isn’t going to do it.  The Southern Cone and Africa are trying to, but South Carolina doesn’t seem interested in tacking that route.  If I’m correct in understanding Sarah’s that Sarah is in the diocese of South Carolina, I can understand her dedication to her bishop.  What I don’t understand it her diocese’s dedication to TEC.  Why haven’t they gone the way of the Ft Worth, Pittsburgh, etc?  I suspect that they will regret their decision, if not in 2009 then in 2012.

[66] Posted by AndrewA on 03-06-2008 at 04:08 PM • top

in re the “color scheme” of the diocesan website, it simply makes me want to ask “Couldn’t they find a few more garish and intense colors to pair up?”  Maybe something that would result in uncontrollable nausea, rather than the milder and controllable form that the current scheme induces.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[67] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-06-2008 at 04:09 PM • top

[46] dwstroudmd,

You wrote

…the formerly scientific PB

when what I believe you meant to say (or, failing that, it would, at least, be more correct to say) “…the allegedly scientific PB….

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[68] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-06-2008 at 04:20 PM • top

Martial Artist, I said what I meant and I meant what I said!  The PB was formerly scientific.  Her usage of statistics demonstrates that she is no longer credibly scientific and this point of “vaunting pride” for her sycophants/Windsor-Bishop-crowd is defunct.  One has to wonder, if her ECUSA/TEC/GCC statistical insight was applied to her degree programs, particularly her PhD, whether the latter might be the equivalent of her Dean-ing a School-of-Theology.  I’m just saying, it doesn’t look good, which is the one thing ECUSA/TEC/GCC does seem to care about (except vestments, of course)!

But you know that bit about a prophet is never well received, too, so I’ll probably be labelled an archconservative for this simple fact.

[69] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-06-2008 at 10:15 PM • top

Good point, B. Hunter, #28.

I forget the exact statistics for Nigeria.  Maybe someone else can post them.  But if it has, say, at least 17,000,000 Anglicans and had a bishop for roughly every 1700 of its members, about the ratio in Montana of claimed members to its bishop, Nigeria would have 170,000 bishops.  Instead they have a few hundred.

Maybe the Diocese of Montana should merge with one or more dioceses for cost-benefit efficiencies in episcopal management.  How much of their budget supports their imperceptive if not worst bishop?  Why tithe if your money impedes rather than supports the increase of the church and gospel?

[70] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-07-2008 at 07:36 AM • top

Re:  Brookhart’s Plans

One thing I have thought was intriguing was the fact that B. Brookhart wants to build himself a new ‘cathedral’ in Helena and had plans for it on the church links page.  This building would have been ‘a megachurch’ and probably been the largest church building in Helena - and the only one with a ‘meditation garden’.  We used to call it the ‘Airport Church Plans’ - b/c it looked more like an airport than a church building.

The plans are no longer on the website.

[71] Posted by Eclipse on 03-07-2008 at 08:35 AM • top

[69] dwstroudmd,

I presume from your emphatic response that I should have included a winking smiley at the end of my comment. I was not disagreeing with the implication of your post, but rather implying the same sort of questioning and backward-looking suspicions about her earlier career as an oceanographer as you so concisely, yet explicitly, made in your most recent post, namely

One has to wonder, if her ECUSA/TEC/GCC statistical insight was applied to her degree programs, particularly her PhD…

My humble apologies to you for being less than fully clear while attempting to be sardonic at the PB’s expense.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[72] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-07-2008 at 11:03 AM • top

MA, no apologies needed!  I merely took the opportunity to emphasize the statistical “reliability” of the current PB and her -therefore- questionable studies of various denizens of the oceans.  I should have included a smiley!  As the author of a MS thesis on the distribution of anaerobic and aerobic bacterial interactions, I have some experience with statistical analysis (remember data punch cards?) and the analysis of the statistics by one’s major advisors and committee.  So I’m not just blowing smoke when I say that the PB’s current usage of statistics fits into the category of “damnable statistics”.  If her science was as good as her statistics are, well, ... she’s giving science a bad name, never mind the “theology”!  What’ll happen to the claims for global warming?  No wonder the ECUSA/TEC/GCC and the MDGs are all aflounder!  Her science would seem really, really bathetic: very deep, very dark, and coprophagy IS life support!  But wait, that is the ECUSA/TEC/GCC….......;<)

[73] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-08-2008 at 09:36 AM • top

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