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Liar, Liar Pants On Fire

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 • 2:28 pm

UPDATE:  And to remove all doubt, click here.

Susan Russell has posted the following denial on her website:

In his May 22nd statement to the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Los Angeles, +Jon wrote:

I remind you that pastoral acts are personal decisions between clergy and members of your congregation.

We at All Saints Church have been performing blessings of same-sex couples for over 16 years within that parameter, while at the same time advocating for systemic change within the Episcopal Church to acheive the full and equal claim it has promised it’s gay and lesbian faithful since 1976. Now that civil marriage is legally available for same-sex couples in California we will be performing them within the same parameters.

Our bishop has not “authorized” us to “perform same-sex marriages.” He has reminded us that we are called to act as pastors to our people. And that’s what we’re doing.

Enter Ed Bacon with his rendition of So who exactly is kidding who?

“As a priest and pastor, I anticipate with great joy strengthening our support of the sanctity of marriage as I marry both gay and straight members and thus more fully live out my ordination vow to nourish all people from the goodness of God’s grace.”

And here’s Ms. Russell again (second half of video).

So, let’s recap. The Bishop of Los Angeles does not permit the performing of same sex marriages or blessings in his diocese with his permission, [pause here for BIG WINK] however, he also states that his clergy have permission to act without his permission.  Ed Bacon who acts (under the license of Jon J. Bruno) as pastor of All Saints Pasadena has publicly announced that a parish in Bishop Bruno’s diocese is performing same sex marriages.  Ms. Russell is in the public eye so often spouting how prophetic they (All Saints, TEC, California) are Bishop Bruno would have to be living in an undersea cave to be unaware of what is happening in his own diocese.  Has anyone seen one word from Bishop Bruno admonishing Mr. Bacon, Ms. Russell or All Saints in general?  I guess all that smog in Los Angeles is being created by the burnt offerings of the Windsor Report.

As we ponder these facts, let’s consider the players in this ever-unfolding drama.  Exactly what role is Bishop Bruno playing here?  Is he the cowardly lion who is afraid living into the tension will mar his legacy?  So cowardly, in fact, that he uses clergy such as Prophetic Full Steam Ahead Russell as a human shield? 

There are only a few choices here. 
Bishop Bruno does not really believe in the prophetic actions of the GLBTXYZ lobby but is afraid to come forward.
Bishop Bruno is using his clergy to hedge his bets.
Bishop Bruno is so naive as to expect the toothfairy will reward him for missing teeth. 
Clergy in his diocese are naive pawns who really believe the Bishop is able to authorize SSU/M and still NOT authorize them.
Bishop and clergy are part of a huge conspiracy to further destroy the Anglican Communion.

Here’s my vote.  A sham.  An attempt to deceive the Anglican Communion.  Outright lies.

The fact is that every minute that ticks by Episcopalians are voting with their feet and their pocketbook.  The really sad part is that other than missing the money, TEC could care less.

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Lesson in Basic Calipiscopalianism

We are sheep. They are shepherds. We exist to be sheared or fleeced by them. They are entitled to pull the wool over our eyes at will. They may also ram whatever changes they wish, regardless of what ewe may wish. Disregard anything ewe may have herd, if they wish ewe to know something they will tell ewe.

I get woolly here

[1] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 06-18-2008 at 02:39 PM • top

on target mousetalker.
this is a sad state of affairs. and the ewes are all across the country, no doubt bleating some song or other.

[2] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 06-18-2008 at 02:54 PM • top

The secular law of “agency,” which deals with one person’s authority to act on behalf of someone else, would have a good laugh at this mendacious bishop’s expense.

The law would say that Bp. Bruno (1) has given his clergy “implied actual authority to perform these ceremonies; (2) has also created “apparent authority” to perform them; and (3) in any event “ratifies” the practice by failing to object.

Although the terminology may be unfamiliar, the underlying ideas are commonsensical and part of everyday life.

Bp. Bruno is not only a thug but a liar.

[3] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-18-2008 at 03:06 PM • top

As I’ve stated in another tread, it doesn’t matter what Russell says. She’s help up a teenager who said belief in any specified doctrine isn’t required at All Saints as an example of model sermonizing. In practice that means Russell’s idea carry no weight since no one has to agree or believe them.

In blowing away the idea of doctrine and authority she’s made herself completely irrelevant. There’s not member of her parish or in the church at large that should give a wit about her notions since she’s blatantly said there is no standard.

I question her ability to provide any “pastoring” when any bromides she offers can easily be dismissed as just her opinion. The pressure test for any pastor should be answering the question, “how would I react if someone offered this to me an hour before dying?”

[4] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 03:10 PM • top

In my encounters with merely a few TEC bishops over the last 32 years it has been my experience on more than one occasion to hear from the bishop, “I cannot formally/officially approve of this, but I want you to go ahead with what we have just talked about.”  Sophistry.  Weasel words.  Wordsmithing.  It’s an epidemic.

[5] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 06-18-2008 at 03:13 PM • top

“We are sheep. They are shepherds”

OK, but they also have big eyes, long noses, and sharp teeth.

[6] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-18-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

Bp. Bruno’s green light for these ceremonies is far more explicit than King Henry II’s fatal words about Thomas Becket: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

[7] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-18-2008 at 03:18 PM • top

... and the Millstone award goes to (dramatic drumroll) Ed Bacon!  So many yet to be awarded… smile

[8] Posted by Soy City Priest on 06-18-2008 at 03:27 PM • top

All Saints.. willfully creating tension for over 16 years.

[9] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 03:34 PM • top

“... and the Millstone award goes to (dramatic drumroll) Ed Bacon!  So many yet to be awarded…” 

Of the two, I can tell you that Ed Bacon is no liar. I can’t speak for Bp. Bluto, but don’t get me wrong Ed Bacon ain’t no Popeye either.

[10] Posted by FrVan on 06-18-2008 at 03:35 PM • top

This new statement from Bishop Bruno should help clarify things:

Dioceses of Los Angeles

Bishop Jon Bruno has released the following statement:

“I have been asked to respond to questions about the policy of the Diocese of Los Angeles regarding the blessing of same sex unions and the performing of marriage ceremonies by clergy of this diocese.  On both these matters, consistent with the statements I made in New Orleans last September, I have personally authorized and approved clergy under my jurisdiction to conduct these services, using liturgies which I have also authorized and approved.

However, if such services occur, I want to be clear that they occur without my personal knowledge, even if I actually attend these services.  This is consistent with my new Spirit inspired doctrine of implausible deniability.  I trust that this explanation (helpfully suggested by Susan Russell) will provide sufficient clarity so that I need not ever be asked to answer these questions again.”


[11] Posted by hanks on 06-18-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

Oh yeah…the Church of Sporkentology…Bring it on Big Bruno [remainder of comment edited]

[12] Posted by Intercessor on 06-18-2008 at 04:07 PM • top

From +J. Jon (The Enforcer) Bruno:  “Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil.”

[13] Posted by Cennydd on 06-18-2008 at 04:16 PM • top

Jackie - I hate to disappoint you (or anyone who knows all of this already), but nothing will be done. +Bruno, the PB TEC does not care, nor ++RW, not even a majority of Bishops in the AC worldwide north of the equator. The real question is what are you, me and other Anglicans gonna do? I mean, we continue to wallow in our shock and horror, but that’s about it… or could GAFCON be the start of addressing the issues?

[14] Posted by Festivus on 06-18-2008 at 04:21 PM • top

I remember hearing years ago from a priest friend who had been talking with his bishop—who had told him, “Don’t tell me anything I don’t want to know.”

This kind of subterfuge has been going on a long time; it is simply more brazen now.

And since the House of Bishops is largely revisionists, none of them will call anyone else on the breaking of canons or agreements.  We will not see justice because they want what they want, not the rule of law.

[15] Posted by AnglicanXn on 06-18-2008 at 04:26 PM • top

When he performs a same sex marriage, Ed Bacon is under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Venerable of the Province of the Ice Cream Cone. It, in turn, is under the Archbishop of Cranberry.

[16] Posted by Gray Wolf on 06-18-2008 at 04:28 PM • top

Captain Yips used the ‘O’ word in reference to the Bennison cover-ups.  And that word made sense of some things that have nagged me about the problems with the structure and polity of TEC (the one-way accountability, the power and money in the hands of a few, who answer only to the others in the House of Old Boys Club)but I still have nagging questions… How did these people (on both sides of the Atlantic) get to be priests, canons and bishops?  How, when they aren’t really into Christianity?  How and why have they been tolerated so long?

Thank God for the blogs - the Holy Spirit is using them to open the windows and air out the closets and cellars in Christ’s Church.

[17] Posted by Floridian on 06-18-2008 at 04:39 PM • top

No, Gray Wolf, I am pretty certain that all the SSB’s in the US are being performed under the auspices of the rainbow bishop and her lesser purple shirted minions.  The Archbishop of Cranberry has his hands full with Dud the stud in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

[18] Posted by tjmcmahon on 06-18-2008 at 04:42 PM • top

I am still waiting for the letters from Rowan stating that acceptance of a Lambeth invitation is an acceptance of Windsor principles. What says the bishop of Durham who promised they would be forthcoming?

[19] Posted by robroy on 06-18-2008 at 04:43 PM • top

I ask this question not to be funny, sarcastic or hurtful, I only want to see if anyone else shares my thought on this.  In most pictures of homosexual couples I have ever seen, one of the partners tends to project a more masculine image than the other.  It seems more noticeable to me in lesbian couples.  One usually has a more masculine hairstyle and in many cases even dresses like a man.  On the other hand, in male homosexual couples, one often comes across like the stereotypical model sometimes portrayed on TV etc.  It makes me wonder if perhaps there is a genetic issue involved.  I’m not suggesting that it holds true in all cases, but enough to make me wonder.  Has anyone else noticed this. Again, this question isn’t meant to be sarcastic or funny,only curious as to what others think.

[20] Posted by The Templar on 06-18-2008 at 04:43 PM • top

Robroy #19, did you not know that the ABC himself came to observe and personally declared that TEC is most certainly compliant in the ‘spirit of’ Windsor?  Isn’t that the same as Windsor ‘principles’?

[21] Posted by Theodora on 06-18-2008 at 04:56 PM • top

I think the actions of Russell, Bacon, Bruno and Dudley are supremely politically stupid with Lambeth just weeks away. They are forcing the hand of every bishop not in the tank for the radical homosexual agenda and have certainly forced the Communion into a climactic moment. Either the moderates will wake up and say “enough” and stop the madness or the conservatives will see the moderates are never going to act and will have no more excuses for futzing around with these heretics. Either way, we’re in the final couple of months for the AC as we know it.

It seems a more politically astute crew would realize they could lay low until August and start some of this and sit tight until August of ‘09 and do what ever the hell they wanted (since that’s were this all originates) with the full blessing of the GC and stroll merrily along for another decade until Lambeth 2018. But that wouldn’t allow them to beat the other denominations to the bottom of the slope.

It would also cut the wedding season short by almost a third since we all know this party will get shut down by Cali voters in Nov.

[22] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 05:45 PM • top

Here’s my vote. A sham. An attempt to deceive the Anglican Communion. Outright lies.

Lying is such a harsh, excluding, judgmental word.  ‘Expressing a pluriform truth’ would be more descriptive, and would also serve to lower the tension so the conversation can continue.


[23] Posted by carl on 06-18-2008 at 06:28 PM • top

While the ABC, the BoY, the BoL, Bruno and Russell delay, waffle, equivocate, wink, blink and lie, here’s what American Muslims write about homosexuality (thanks to Alice C. Linsley)
Also great reading, Linsley’s essay Goodbye to America.

[24] Posted by Floridian on 06-18-2008 at 06:31 PM • top

Have you written the Bishop of Durham to find out?

[25] Posted by tjmcmahon on 06-18-2008 at 06:52 PM • top

“If such services occur, I want to be clear that they occur without my personal knowledge, even if I actually attend these services”—-Hanks [#11]

Nicely done!

[26] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-18-2008 at 07:55 PM • top

Well who’s gonna do anything about them? Really! I mean, there is no discipline. They may do as they please, well except preach the Gospel, you know the Good News of Jesus Christ’s transforming love for your life from sin to a life in Him and His Word! You may not teach that one must leave their sinful life and repent and trun. If you teach that then you will be immediately inhibited then following siftly a deposition.

[27] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 08:18 PM • top

oops! “swiftly”

[28] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 08:19 PM • top

To watch Bp. Bruno tell a whopper, watch the video here: (see 1:15-1:45)

Here’s a transcript of this Sept. 2007 exchange between Bp. Brutto and Neela Banerjee of the New York Times:

“Bruno: You have asked whether we will continue the process of General Convention. The fact is that we have never authorized same sex unions.

“NYT: it happens on the diocesan level all the time.

“Bruno: Not in my diocese. It does not happen with my permission.”

[29] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-18-2008 at 08:25 PM • top

Jackie Bruchi says that “Ed Bacon who acts (under the license of Jon J. Bruno) as pastor of All Saints Pasadena.”
In most of the Anglican Communion clergy are licensed by the diocesan bishop, who has power to forbid them to officiate by withdrawing the license. The Church of England congregations in British America operated under thus system from 1607 until the Revolution.  After the Revolution the church organized in state conventions with no bishop present and adopted a system of “canonical residence” with the right to seat and vote in diocesan convention. The license system was revived to deal with clergy officiating in a diocese where they are not canonically resident. Those who are resident either by ordination or by letters dimissory from another diocese are not licensed by the diocesan bishop. Once accepted in a diocese they have a right to officiate which the bishop must respect - or charge them with misconduct. And charges generally must be aproved by the Standing Committee.  Episcopal clergy have some formal protection against arbitrary action by bishops - provided the Standing Committee has some backbone.

[30] Posted by TomRightmyer on 06-18-2008 at 09:09 PM • top

Seldom have I heard such disgusting blather!

[31] Posted by Cennydd on 06-18-2008 at 09:16 PM • top

California’s gonna have a tough time with the Islamics.  So would the above bish and priestess:

run that past your interfaithfellowship, guys&gals;, guys&guys;, gals&gals;, ?&?, et alia….......

[32] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 06-18-2008 at 09:28 PM • top
[33] Posted by JackieB on 06-18-2008 at 09:37 PM • top

This tells us a lot about Ms Russel’s and Bishop Bruno’s character.

[34] Posted by Betty See on 06-18-2008 at 09:43 PM • top

Anybody noitice this cute little sign on MS. Russell’s webpage?

[35] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 09:49 PM • top

Forgot to add that +J. Bruno should have his Lambeth ticket pulled over that little sign. Kinda looks like a confession of non-Windsor compliance!

[36] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 09:51 PM • top

Tells a lot, doesn’t it, ODC?

[37] Posted by Cennydd on 06-18-2008 at 09:53 PM • top

Yep Cennydd,
Right there in vivid color for all to see!

[38] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 10:03 PM • top

Any idiot can see Russell should face presentment.

[39] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 10:45 PM • top

texex and all,
Who is gonna bring presentment charges agains Ms. Russell? Think about it! +Bruno isn’t going to do anything about it. KJS isn’t going do do anything either.
So whom do you purpose steps up and removes Ms. Russell’s fake collar?

[40] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 10:52 PM • top

ODC, that’s the point. No one will take action despite blatant rebellion. Part of this inaction is due to the expectation that what Russell and Bacon are doing will be sanctioned after GC09, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Russell’s done us a favor: she’s helping show the hypocrisy of 815 and the moral turpitude of the TEConfab on the eve of Lambeth. God’s using her in powerful ways…

[41] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 11:13 PM • top

Actually texex,
I think God is allowing her to be used!

[42] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 11:19 PM • top

ODC, either way it rarely ends well without the amazing grace of God.

[43] Posted by texex on 06-18-2008 at 11:21 PM • top

Now that is something that you and I both agree on!
Be Blessed…prayers abound!

[44] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 11:23 PM • top

Doesn’t all this depend on what your definition of “is” is? 


[45] Posted by Passing By on 06-19-2008 at 12:05 AM • top

“Doesn’t all this depend on what your definition of ‘is’ is?”

No, it depends on whether you accept “waterboarding” as a wholesome summer sport—-a warm weather counterpart to snowboarding.

[46] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-19-2008 at 12:50 AM • top

Combining the action in London with this, it seems that the same-sex activists are convinced no action will be taken against them, or they are convinced that identification as Anglicans doesn’t matter.

The London rector may face some sort of discipline.  Nothing will happen to Bacon.

[47] Posted by Katherine on 06-19-2008 at 12:55 AM • top

#45 and #46, you share with Russell (check the bottom of her blog) the willful mixing of religion and politics.  I do realize #46 was a response.  However, since the issue at hand is what words mean (Bruno’s claim that he has not “authorized” same-sex blessings) #45 is slightly more on the mark.

Wouldn’t it be better in both cases to fight together against evil in the church and leave our political battles on the front steps?

[48] Posted by Katherine on 06-19-2008 at 01:01 AM • top

Let’s see one of these Priests act without permission from their Bishop by deciding to sell Parish property and see how independent they REALLY are!

[49] Posted by fsbill on 06-19-2008 at 08:00 AM • top

Lies and evasions seem to be at the core of the revisionist “movement” - Russell’s response when caught in her own lies is “that was then, this is now.” Many seem prepared to tell any lie to get what they want. I think the games they have played with Scripture, with canon law, with each other - will bite them before they’re done. Can you imagine being asked to trust some of these people with anything? And the lie at the base of it all is the refusal to acknowledge that they are inventing a new “religion” - or at best, a new denomination - and to proclaim it proudly and honestly.  That is the lie they tell themselves.

[50] Posted by oscewicee on 06-19-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

“Wouldn’t it be better in both cases to fight together against evil in the church and leave our political battles on the front steps?”—-Katherine [#48]

I wholeheartedly agree. And I have made the same point as often as any other commenter on Stand Firm or T19.

The “willful mixing of religion and politics” on these blogs comes mostly from the right-wing end of the political spectrum. It often comes from people who see little or no distinction between the spiritual battle you refer to and conventional partisan politics. These commenters see nothing to lose by prating as though people they disagreed with over politics (e.g., 80 million Americans who self-identify as Democrats and 35 million who self-identify as liberals) were also spiritual adversaries.

Letting this stuff go unchallenged can simply lets it entrench itself. It also helps drive away readers and commenters who disagree with the secular politics in question.

We are heading into weeks and months that will be crucial for the future of Anglican Christianity. I would be delighted to join you in trying to keep Anglican-conflict threads from turning into secular-political pissing contests.

[51] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-19-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

Irenaeus, I will pledge to try to call out more of my fellow political conservatives when they veer into politics on non-political threads.  Probably it’s mostly from the right here because the majority of us are political conservatives as far as I can tell.

You could help by not taking the bait in quite such a combative fashion; that is, I thought your comment above was not logically related to the provocative comment.  Most unfortunately, a Democratic President did make the comment referred to.  To my knowledge, no Republican President has made the comment you did.

It’s a question of not feeding trolls.

[52] Posted by Katherine on 06-19-2008 at 12:19 PM • top

It’s interesting that when Irenaeus sees the line “depends on the what the definition of is is” he thinks “they’re beating up on the Democrats” whereas I think “ah, they’re beating up on the deconstructionists—excellent!”

But . . . that’s what happens when you view everything through a political-party grid.  ; > )

On another note, I don’t distinguish between the sacred and the secular, and so of course politics is theologically and philosophically based.  Irenaeus can make theological arguments for his political positions as do I—and to the extent where those arguments radically differ . . . is a theological matter indicative of theological divide.

In regards to the topics posted here, all of the five bloggers will continue to post off-topics posts—hopefully clearly marked as such—about subjects in which they delight and are deeply interested, which will include but not be limited to books, music, dogs, sports [particularly tennis], politics, outer-space pictures, and D-Day video footage.

I do agree with Irenaeus that threads which are not about national political ideas should not include commentary on national politics and ask that such commentary on all non-national-politics threads stop.

[53] Posted by Sarah on 06-19-2008 at 01:00 PM • top

Did anyone notice that Russell hasn’t shown any pictures of Gen X or Millennials? Instead we get middle aged men and octogenarian women. Take a look at the Integrity or Changing Attitudes publicans and you see the same dozen or so people and they all, as my dad labels himself, “gray and balding.”

[54] Posted by texex on 06-19-2008 at 03:00 PM • top

Katherine [#52]: Thank you for your reply.
I think we fundamentally agree, for which I am glad.

But for the record I’ll respond to what you’ve said about comments 45-46.

First, jibes equating President Clinton with lying had already been overused here in recent days. Here’s just one example:
I responded by alluding to the Bush Administration’s insistence that it has neither authorized nor practiced torture—-an argument that turns on a tormented and cynically postmodernist redefinition of “torture.” I thought the reference to word-twisting would be evident from the context; it evidently was not.

Second, you were—-quite unconsciously and in perfectly good faith—-applying different standards to me and #45. But for my #46, you would not have taken issue with #45. You thought about the “willful mixing of religion and politics” because my comment jarred you. In that limited sense, my comment may have served the sort of purpose I intended.

Let me close by underscoring my respect for you, noting that in recent years we’ve often had civil exchanges about politics, and reiterating my desire to keep spiritually oriented threads from getting derailed by gratuitous secular politics.

[55] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-19-2008 at 03:17 PM • top

#54, texex, That’s what embracing relativism does. To a great degree, the Episcopal Church has become the ‘Church of People Just Like Me’. The Episcopal Church is becoming more and more homogeneous, which is a sign that there is something truly wrong here. A church that is alive has all age ranges represented in significant numbers.

Next time you visit a church count the total people there, and then count the men, the women, children under eighteen. adults under thirty and adults over fifty. If the church is skewed significantly in any one direction, then there is probably a problem. If the church is mostly old, then there is definitely a problem.

The Episcopal Church: Challenging your Christian Faith for over thirty years.

[56] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 06-19-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

With all these pants on fire in the Episcopal Church, it would be nice to know where should we throw the water on them?

[57] Posted by FrVan on 06-19-2008 at 03:42 PM • top

Does the mocking, ridicule and juvenile humor make you feel better about yourselves? As an outside observer I don’t find a lot of Christianity here. I do find a lot of bigotry and ugliness. At one time the orthodox position of the Anglican Church was to not only support slavery but to actually own their own slaves, even as some within the church felt called to serve in the abolitionist movement. Can we not agree that those who chose to “stand firm” stood on the wrong side of history? Are we not all children of God, who did not choose our skin color, sexual orientation, height, eye color or the religion of our parents?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .

[58] Posted by uffda51 on 06-19-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

That is a simplification of the worst kind about the struggle to end slavery in this country.  You need to look a little closer at the tactics of New England abolitionists and some of the more prominent players, like Amos Lawrence.  Amos (and friends) did send “Beecher’s bibles” (hint; they weren’t bibles) to Lawrence, Kansas and he funded that highly religious and highly questionable as far as sane, John Brown.  John Brown went on to play a major role in bringing about the Civil War.

[59] Posted by Mrs. Lawrence on 06-19-2008 at 04:16 PM • top

#58: “Does the mocking, ridicule and juvenile humor make you feel better about yourselves?”

I can’t, and don’t, speak for anyone else here, but, yes it does, thanks for asking.

[60] Posted by FrVan on 06-19-2008 at 04:19 PM • top

Does the mocking, ridicule and juvenile humor make you feel better about yourselves?

Actually, it gives me relief from the frustration and grief I feel about what’s happened to my church. Not an uncommon use of humour, I believe.

[61] Posted by oscewicee on 06-19-2008 at 04:28 PM • top

Tell you what, uffda51.  You can advance the slavery argument when you can show me where in the Scriptures the children of Israel were commanded to own slaves.  Not before.  Because I can show you all sorts of places where what Gene Robinson does in his off-hours is forbidden by God.

[62] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 06-19-2008 at 04:39 PM • top

Does the mocking, ridicule and juvenile humor make you feel better about yourselves?

I’m not sure. How’s it working for you?

Are we not all children of God, who did not choose our skin color, sexual orientation, height, eye color or the religion of our parents?

I’m not sure why you threw sexual orientation and religion of our parents into a list of genetic factors…I’d love to see the science journal on that one, because I’m most certainly not the religion of my parents.

[63] Posted by Hammerstrike on 06-19-2008 at 04:46 PM • top

Hi Udda51,
Guess the irony of the post went past you, huh?  Well for those of us here who do take the Anglican Communion seriously and who value a church that lives by a Biblical standard, these issues are quite perplexing - especially having a Bishop who is ignoring the blatant violation of the beliefs of the Anglican Communion not to mention his own words.  It sure let’s us know the real definition of integrity for the institutional bishops who have pledged their allegiance to an organization before God.

[64] Posted by JackieB on 06-19-2008 at 04:59 PM • top

While i share your view on the main issue here, you might like to consider Deuteronomy 20: 10-15
10"When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13And when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. 15Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. (ESV)
We can trace the working out of this all the way to Solomon:
1 Kings 9:20-21
20 All the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of the people of Israel— 21(A) their descendants who were left after them in the land,(B) whom the people of Israel were unable to devote to destruction[a]—(C) these Solomon drafted to be(D) slaves, and so they are to this day.

You might wish to draw a fine distinction between “slaves” in the earlier OT law and “forced labor” here, but in fact the taking of a city or nation of people and putting them to work is closer to the US/European experience of enslaving Africans.

[65] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-19-2008 at 05:04 PM • top

uffda51’s post is so loaded with bias, venom, and historical inaccuracy that any comment I might post would provide me entirely too much fun.

Chris Johnson’s comment in #62 is spot on.


[66] Posted by FrJim on 06-19-2008 at 05:07 PM • top

At one time the orthodox position of the Anglican Church was to not only support slavery but to actually own their own slaves, even as some within the church felt called to serve in the abolitionist movement.

I am not at all sure that was ever espoused as “Anglican” orthodoxy.  Certainly, the ownership of slaves within the Church of England was almost exclusively by persons in the “New World” as very, very few slaveholders lived in the British Isles (although I will allow for a few large Virginia land holders among the royal court).  Beyond that, even within the Episcopal Church, the vast majority in the northern states opposed, or were at worst not proponents of, slavery (again, I will allow that in Colonial times and for some years after, the old South was a bastion of the Episcopal Church- so I am not certain which faction might have been in the majority).
  Even more to the point, even if a majority of Episcopalians at one time were in favor of slavery, majority does not equal orthodoxy.  Othodox means “correct belief”.  One would not accuse the majority of the current HoB with being orthodox.  There is no biblical argument that one must own slaves. Beyond this, for those societies in which slavery is permitted, there are biblical prohibitions against the mistreatment of slaves, the destruction of families (by the sale of family members) and other activities that were common in the anti-bellum US.  Therefore, it is only rational that the real orthodox position would have been to oppose slavery, regardless of what we now-a-days view as liberal or conservative.  Conservative does not equal orthodox any more than it equals Republican. (And remember, in 1860, the Democrats were the conservatives, and the Republicans were the “radical left” of American politics).  The main, underlying premis of orthodox (small o) Christianity is that what one does and does not do has a Scriptural or traditional basis.

[67] Posted by tjmcmahon on 06-19-2008 at 05:31 PM • top

Dear Mr. Uffda, Sexual orientation is a rather new concept.  There have always been sexual acts of all variations, but only recently have people been encouraged to focus on their favorite and join a culture that celebrates it.  Only very recently have these people insisted that established religious faiths throw their teachings out the window and join the party. There is absolutely no parallel between sexual preferences and race or gender. That is a skewed and dishonest attempt to ride the shoulders of already burdened minorities. Some are inclined to find a parallel between this new culture and mental illnes, but the political lobbies that control psychiatric diagnoses have put the kabosh on that concept.  So what is left?  Sexual brokenness and a loving savior who instructs the heavy laden to come unto him and receive rest.  I hope you can hear the hope and finally, the joy in that plea.

[68] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 06-19-2008 at 05:40 PM • top

Does the mocking, ridicule and juvenile humor make you feel better about yourselves?
Does pretending to see ‘mocking, ridicule, and juvenile humor’ in orthodox comments help you to convince yourself that your pet sins are not really sins? Just curious as to why you are making these baseless judgments about others. Remember Mt 7.

[69] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 06-19-2008 at 06:04 PM • top

You leave the West Indian colonies out of your analysis. Here is a link to an abstract of a paper that examines slaveholders records at the time of emancip[ation in the British empire. Slaves essay .
Because slave-owners were compensated for the loss of their slaves, it is possible to trace ownership patterns for this period. “across the Caribbean colonies as a whole more than half the compensation awarded can be traced to owners or other recipients in Britain. It acknowledges the widely-recognized importance of mercantile interests in London, Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow as beneficiaries of compensation, both as owners and creditors”.
Ownership of slaves among sections of the British gentry and upp classes was widespread not only in he colonies but also in Towns such as Bath, Brighton and other fashionable centres.
It is impossible to form an accurate picture of slavery in “Anglicanism” by focussing mostly on the Espiscopal and US situations.
Wilberforce, you will recall,  had to fight members of his own church to secure emancipation.

[70] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-19-2008 at 06:13 PM • top

Uffda, I believe the unwritten rule between our groups is that drive bys are only allowed if you actually leave an on-topic, substantive comment.  Just calling us haters is poor form and is to be avoided.

[71] Posted by Paul B on 06-19-2008 at 06:34 PM • top

Thank you for the correction. I was aware of slavery in the West Indies (as well as on white owned plantations on the African continent and, I believe, in India and other parts of Asia as well).  However, I will admit to being unaware of the extent to which British mercantile interests were involved in the ownership (as well as transport) of slaves.
  The point I was trying to make was that Wilberforce and others who opposed slavery were, indeed, the ones representing what is truly “orthodox” (ie: right opinion, or correct belief) Christianity.

[72] Posted by tjmcmahon on 06-19-2008 at 07:04 PM • top

Paul B - that’s all he’s got…

[73] Posted by texex on 06-19-2008 at 11:43 PM • top


I totally agree with your take on diverse demographics being a sign of a healthy church. I’m amazed at how much of the communal elements of Christian life are counter-intuitive to how we run other social groups. TEConfab demonstrates at least three axioms every active church member should be aware of:

a) The more the church looks like the large society the less relevant it is to the larger society. Our society needs the Gospel, not the Law dressed up in environmentalism and social justice
b) Watering down the Gospel goes a long way to making the church look like society. We can get therapeutic moralistic deism form many other sources… with less hassle! There is only one source for the Gospel.
c) If doctrine is not the basis of unity, something else will fill the void like demographics and socio-economic markers. If we don’t gather around Christ, let’s at least have good dinner parties where political disagreements are avoided.

None of these issues are unique to Episcopalians and you can find examples in liberal, evangelical and charismatic churches.

[74] Posted by texex on 06-20-2008 at 12:20 AM • top

Irenaeus #55, my apologies for the late response.  I am EDT + 7 hours, and I usually read these threads while you all are sleeping. I thought, rather, that #45’s comment, which I agree should not have been made on this thread, jarred you.  A fuller discussion doesn’t belong here.  While I disagree with your political leanings I hold you personally in great respect and will continue to do so.

I appreciate Sarah Hey’s request that throwing in political zingers in threads where they don’t belong should cease.  For all of us, why do what may cause our fellow Christians to stumble?  We only annoy them, and make ourselves disreputable in the process.  Since the majority of commenters here are conservative in politics, this means on this point we have met the enemy, and it’s us.

[75] Posted by Katherine on 06-20-2008 at 05:18 AM • top

obadiahslope #65, I think this passage from Deuteronomy about warfare is one of those that applied to the ancient nation of Israel but does not apply to us.  It would be the civil code of ancient Israel to which neither Gentile Christians nor even modern Jews are now subject.  For antebellum slaveholders to use it as a justification for slavery would be a twisting of the meaning.  It’s possible in any age to find individual Christians, sometimes in large numbers, doing something wrong, but that’s different from saying that Anglicanism officially taught slavery.

[76] Posted by Katherine on 06-20-2008 at 05:28 AM • top

In post 64 Christopher asked another poster to “show me where in the Scriptures the children of Israel were commanded to own slaves”. So I did in post 65.
Later the seperate but related topic of what Anglicanism taught during the enslavemant of africans was raised by tjmcmahon. He and I had a discussion of whether there were slaveowners in numbers in Britain (and among them Anglicans).
My comments were restricted to who owned slaves. But i guess we could examine the voting records of the bishops in the house of Lords during this period.
It is not hard to find leading theologians who taught that slave owning was fine. An American example is Dabney.
Are you saying that you have examined the teaching of anglicans during the period and discovered they did not teach that slaveholding was okay, or are you guessing?
Remember that the period in question centres on 1807, when slavery was abolished in the British Empire.

[77] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 06:15 AM • top

I cannot remember the source, but I have read somewhere that not only did members of the CofE own slaves, but the CofE itself owned sugar plantations and slaves in the Caribbean.

I did a paper on the NT and slavery in seminary, and concluded that Paul, while not opposing slavery directly, set in motion principles that would make slave-owning incompatible with being a Christian.

I think that is impossible to justify slavery from Scripture unless one uses the same methods of interpretation used by reappraisers to justify the acceptability of homosexual activity.

[78] Posted by AnglicanXn on 06-20-2008 at 06:33 AM • top

On the other hand, it appears that the Bishops in the House of Lords - or at least a number of them, supported Wilberforce with the the Archbishop of Canterbury a very early supporter. (I went and looke it up, inspired by Katherine).  But I think you are right that the church owned sugar plantations in the West indies. So a decidedly mixed result. Bear in mind that the anti-slavery cause soanned decades, it took time for people (and the church) to be converted to the cause. Wilberforce was written off as a “Methodist” by his opponents.

[79] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 06:44 AM • top

On the other hand, it appears that the Bishops in the House of Lords - or at least a number of them, supported Wilberforce with the the Archbishop of Canterbury a very early supporter. (I went and looked it up, inspired by Katherine who i was a little rough to).  But I think you are right that the church owned sugar plantations in the West indies. So a decidedly mixed result. Bear in mind that the anti-slavery cause soanned decades, it took time for people (and the church) to be converted to the cause. Wilberforce was written off as a “Methodist” by his opponents.

[80] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 06:44 AM • top

The update now about faces Ms. Russell’s previous about face.  Perhaps you would be good enough for forward the update on to bishop Bruno and the ABoC.  To demonstrate “compliance”.
  I’m guessing this was done because Ms. Russell and friends were feeling upstaged by Mr. Dudley’s antics in England.  Also, of course, to celebrate KJS’s 2nd anniversary in office.

[81] Posted by tjmcmahon on 06-20-2008 at 07:18 AM • top

I’m pretty sure slavery is now a non-issue in the West. Our pal Uffda was more or less a drive by troll.

Now if someone were to suggest we get behind ending slavery globally, like in the Sudan and Saudi Arabia, I could go with that.

As fresh as a blushing June bride.

[82] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 06-20-2008 at 07:27 AM • top

Agreed about uffda’s drive by appearance, but it occurred to me last night that slavery is a stupid argument for revisionist to use because it is a better illustration for us than it is for them. Slavery is an example of Christianity giving way to the *secular* culture. (And if anyone has ever read the whining letters Georgia colonists wrote to James Edward Oglethorpe *begging* him to allow slaves in the colony, you will know what I mean.) Slavery is an example of the church going along with the zeitgeist. As it is trying to do now.

[83] Posted by oscewicee on 06-20-2008 at 07:33 AM • top

Obidiahslope. wasn’t there a time, however, earlier than the New World slavery, where Christians did not own slaves?  Would not the owning of New World and African “savages,” then, be a “new thing” in those days?  A new thing that lasted four hundred years until the immorality of owning slaves was finally wiped out?  (at least in the Western cultures)

I will be happily corrected, because I am certainly not a historian.

[84] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 06-20-2008 at 07:41 AM • top

I wish you were right to say that slavery was a non issue for us. But in the same way that Wilberforce’s allies ran a sugar boycott to protest slavery, we need to watch what chocolate we eat. Because child saves are used today to picj the cocoa beans. Here’s an article from my local (Sydney) diocesan newspaper chocolate
In Britain it was christians and evangelicals in particular that created a demand for fair trade coffee -and we are trying to do the same in Australia. Your mouth is important.
GoodMiss Murphy,
I believe you are right. But then all those new things are old aren’t they?

[85] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 08:13 AM • top

oscewicee #83 makes an excellent point about the Zeitgeist.  obadiahslope, I certainly concede that individual Anglicans owned slaves or participated in the trade in some way.  Even the fact that some bishops voted against abolition in Parliament does not convince me, though, that Anglicanism as a whole “taught slavery,” not in the same sense that some Southerners misused biblical passages to teach that the enslavement of Africans was right and good when it was obviously brutal and dehumanizing.

[86] Posted by Katherine on 06-20-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

At one time the orthodox position of the Anglican Church was to not only support slavery but to actually own their own slaves.

I assume in the following that the reference to the Anglican Church is really a disguised reference to Scripture.  For any assertions of error on part of the church are by implication being attributed to Scripture - that Scripture is wrong, or lacks clarity.  “Anglicans once thought slavery was good because they thought bible said so.  Now they say homosexuality is wrong because they think the bible says so.”

Two things should be remembered about this line of argument.

1. This is not a specific attack on the biblical testimony about homosexuality, but is a instead a broad attack on the authority of Scripture in general.  There is no Scriptural imperative that could not be subjected to the same sifting function: “The Bible is unreliable in its testimony about slavery, and so the bible is unreliable in its testimony about (fill in the blank.)

2.  The argument assumes (in fact, demands) that there exists a standard external to and above Scripture by which men may know good from evil; a standard by which men may judge the correctness of Scripture. This standard is never explicitly stated.  Nor are we told how men obtain access to it.  But in fact we already know the answer. The standard is the experience of the self-selected enlightened few - those who by their own declaration “stand on the right side of history.” 

But who is it who gives correction to God?  The underlying assumption in this argument is that God is silent, and so men are left to their own devices when it comes to answering the question: “How then should we live?”  Coincidentally enough, that is exactly the question that man most wants the authority to answer.


[87] Posted by carl on 06-20-2008 at 08:28 AM • top

Katherine, the church owned slaves. Much of the upper classes did too. It took Wilberforce and the Clapham sect decades to change society’s mind.
It was not a church that took its teaching responsibility seriously - it took the evangelical revival to change that. Rectories were places to put the dimmer sons of gentlemen. The churches were empty.
Without surveying what people preached, I cannot tell what the church as a whole “taught”. And neither can you. But we know what they did.

[88] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 08:31 AM • top

To criticise how previous generations have mis-used the bible is not to undermine the authority of scripture. In fact to be open to correction in the interpretation of scriptures it is to take it very seriously, and indeed to live under it’s authority. For if we reject some of the things that scripture has been held to uphold: the divine right of kings, an infallible papacy, and yes, slavery it is to demonstrate that we want to be ruled by scripture itself and not the traditions of men about what it says.
It is precisely because God is not silent, that we must be driven back to scripture, again and again.
Semper reformanda!

[89] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 08:42 AM • top

“It’s interesting that when Irenaeus sees the line “depends on the what the definition of is is” he thinks “they’re beating up on the Democrats” whereas I think “ah, they’re beating up on the deconstructionists—excellent!””

Thank you, Sarah.  In reality, too, my point was to beat up on outright liars.  There was no need for others to get their defensive political knickers in a twist.  Gotta watch out for that “protesteth too much” phenomenon; it really has a bad habit of making people look silly.

[90] Posted by Passing By on 06-20-2008 at 09:42 AM • top

Well, thanks, Geek in Dallas.  Actually, I assumed, like Irenaeus, that it was a reference to Clinton per se.  I withdraw my criticism, then.  Irenaeus is right, though, that a lot of folks do throw in unnecessary political comments.  But your comment was on the mark as to the twisting of words to mean whatever we want them to.

[91] Posted by Katherine on 06-20-2008 at 10:52 AM • top

[#89] obadiahslope

To criticise how previous generations have mis-used the bible is not to undermine the authority of scripture.

You are correct.  But a critical distinction must be made between those who claim Scripture was mis-handled because of an intrinsic fault in the exegete, and those who say Scripture was mis-handled because of an intrinsic fault in the Scripture.  To blame the exegete is to require us to return to the common authority of Scripture for a better exegesis.  It presumes the Scripture can be properly understood, and can speak with authority when properly understood. 

But Liberals aren’t blaming the exegete.  Instead they adopt two contradictory avenues of attack on the Scripture itself - either that it contains comprehensible error, or that it is fundamentally incomprehensible.  First, they will assert that Scripture can be understood, but that it teaches wrong things.  They don’t say “Anglicans supported slavery in the antebellum South because they mis-handled Scripture.”  They say “Anglicans supported slavery in the antebellum South because they read the bible, understood what it said, and acted on what they read.”  Alternatively, they will say scripture is opaque and can never be understood.  They say: “Anglicans supported slavery in the antebellum South because the bible can made to say anything, and no one can really know what it means.”

In truth, the bible speaks with consistent and blinding clarity on homosexuality.  It isn’t possible to develop a credible exegesis that defends the behavior - as has been proven by every attempt to do so.  Attacking the exegete will not carry the case for the homosexual apologist, because it leaves him the impossible task of exegeting the scripture to show that homosexuality is good.  So his attack must be located against the Book itself.  He will therefore say that the author of scripture 1) didn’t have sufficient authority, 2) didn’t have sufficient knowledge, or 3) is not relevant beyond his own cultural context.  All three remove the Scripture from the discussion, and subject it to an external authority.  That authority is the spawn of man’s desire to be free from the commands of God.


[92] Posted by carl on 06-20-2008 at 11:54 AM • top

carl, I think you’re right but liberal Christianity doesn’t stop at “man’s desire to be free from the commands of God.” The ultimate goal is to place other people under the commands of the liberal Christian. Exhortations to use sporks, deeply engage with the MDG’s and combat your own internal homophobia are all attempts to cast you in the liberal Christian’s image using your faith as the means of coercion.

[93] Posted by texex on 06-20-2008 at 03:16 PM • top

Why yes. We are agreed on all of that. We live under scripture.

[94] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-20-2008 at 04:56 PM • top

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