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Miss Congeniality

Thursday, September 25, 2008 • 12:04 pm


From the Newsletter of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Savannah, GA

Anyone who expected to see an ogre in action at the diocesan meetings with Katharine Jefferts Schori this past weekend went away disappointed. She is Miss Congeniality - a formidably able woman of charm and intelligence to whom many responded with enthusiasm. Moreover, as far as I could tell, she is that rare bird, a liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity. My impression is that she believes adequate provision should be made for those who use the 1928 Prayer Book and for those who have theological reservations about the ordination of women. If these impressions are right – major caveat - then we do not have to fear much from her on those particular matters.

Nonetheless I went away from this meeting sad and sorry. For this very personable and intelligent woman lacks something critical to any Christian, but certainly to one holding public office in the church - an adequate understanding of the Christian faith, a commitment to upholding it, and an interest in engaging in rational discussion with those who do. It is not that she is not theologically educated: she dazzled the crowd with knowing references to the Athanasian Creed and the doctrine of perichoresis. But she employs such language only to evacuate it of its content - as theological baubles brought down from the attic to ornament a theological perspective that can only be called sub-credal, for it falls below the level of what the Constitution of the Episcopal Church speaks of as “the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer”. In so doing she perpetuates the illusion that the Church can be united as a spiritual community without coherent doctrine.

Let me illustrate. At her meeting with the clergy, she asked us to meditate on Mark 1:11, “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”, the words spoken by “a voice from heaven” to Jesus at his baptism in Jordan. We were to apply this text directly to ourselves, and to ponder what it meant to be assured of God’s unconditional love and approval. To judge from the responses, the assembled clergy loved this exercise, and in the discussion that followed the conventional themes of inclusiveness emerged - although a few did acknowledge a nagging sense that God might not be altogether “well-pleased” with them.

Be sure to read it all.


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Comments:

My impression is that she believes adequate provision should be made for those who use the 1928 Prayer Book and for those who have theological reservations about the ordination of women.

Notice the position occupied by each.  Those with theological reservations come as suplicants to whom KJS may dispense free grace as she sees fit.  They are not owed this treatment by right.  She may or may not grant it.  She may or may not revoke her forbearance at some future date.  It is for this generous exercise of power that those with theological reservations entreat - power they do not possess and will never again be allowed to possess.  There is no consideration of equality envisioned in this relationship.  There is only liberal power and conservative supplication.

carl

[1] Posted by carl on 09-25-2008 at 12:24 PM • top

The other was in the matter of church property - a “legacy”, she said, which she has no moral right to abandon, even though it means spending enormous amounts of church money on litigation. That’s a stark contrast to her attitude to the theological legacy of the Church – the priceless treasure of truth entrusted by Christ to his Church, the legacy which she is solemnly sworn to uphold, and which the constitution makes the fundamental commitment of the Episcopal Church. Apparently this legacy may be abandoned without a second thought.

I’m glad to read a real report of this rather than the smiley faces on the diocesan website.

[2] Posted by oscewicee on 09-25-2008 at 12:26 PM • top

Another dismissed the authority of Scripture and the Church’s teaching as irrelevant, because, he said, (I kid you not) he had heard the voice of God when Ms Jefferts Schori spoke! An over-excited response, no doubt – but virtually the whole room then endorsed his comments with a standing ovation.

Ah, the Mike Bertaut Pep Squad is at it again!

“Don’t feel bad about leaving TEC after 20 years of bliss, look how screwed up we are!!!  Surely you don’t want to be associated with us!”

You got that right.  But where does that leave my dear brothers and sisters who still believe in you, Bishops of a Church that has ransomed everything Christ has given of himself for a chemical reaction to immediate stimulus (feelings)?

I am so sorry that it has come to this.  I would never have believed it, frankly.  These Bishops are not Christians at all.  They have no clue who Jesus is, why He chose to set foot on earth, nor why He died.  They have rejected the priceless deposit of faith handed down to them at IMMEASURABLE expense by 100 generations of Christians who fought and died for it.  And what “pearl of great price” have they chosen to replace this deposit with?

Their own feelings.  Their own weak, flawed, evil, corrupt human nature that waxes and wanes from one minute to the next. 

Just the IDEA that what all present heard come from Heaven about Jesus is about US is so arrogant as to defy description. 

Can you tell I’m disgusted?  Potato-Heads in Purple Shirts!

KTF, no matter what, KTF!...mrb

[3] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 09-25-2008 at 12:31 PM • top

Well, I know he’s trying to say at least something nice about her, but this is rather naive:

My impression is that she believes adequate provision should be made for those who use the 1928 Prayer Book and for those who have theological reservations about the ordination of women. If these impressions are right – major caveat - then we do not have to fear much from her on those particular matters.

This is the “impression” she gives when she’s in Savannah?  I’d bet anything it’s not the “impression” she gives to people in Manhattan, when she speaks to them patronizingly about the rubes from Georgia.  An impression?  Come on!  She’s totally playing you Father, and I’m shocked it worked, even in this tiny regard (I know you see through her in other regards, I did read the whole thing).  And the “Miss Congeniality” moniker?  She might have been nice to you, Father.  But given the way she’s treated so many people like you, why are you so easily charmed?

I’d suggest you get her “impressions” about women’s ordination and the ‘28 Prayer Book in writing, but then we all used to get those “impressions” from liberals all the time—sometimes in writing, even—only to be betrayed.

[4] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 09-25-2008 at 12:34 PM • top

In TECWW there is nothing but Liberal Power and Conservative pacificism.

[5] Posted by BishopOfSaintJames on 09-25-2008 at 12:47 PM • top

An excellent example of reasoned, substantive, and respectful Christian discourse.  The Presiding Bishop has consistently failed to articulate an orthodox understanding of the nature of biblical revelation and seems uninterested in embracing a Christ to which we conform our beliefs and actions in favor of one who is force-fit into a pre-formed world of inclusion and acceptance.  “What does the biblical text actually say?” seems a lost question for our revisionist brothers and sisters.  It is tragic, sad, and deplorable that the PB and others charged to preserve a historic faith and lead others to salvation so twist and distort that very faith’s core meaning as to put those same souls in danger of spiritual delusion.  The biblical Christ is more loving, forgiving, merciful, and gentle than we dare imagine.  He is also fierce in his opposition to the abuse of the innocent and ignorant by those who can know and do better.  Cheap grace, as Bonhoeffer so eloquently wrote, without the cross, without repentance, is not what God offers, is not what we need, and is settling for the easy and convenient when we are called to so very much more.  By believing everything a little, too many Episcopalians come to believe alot not at all.  May this reflection remind us of our respective callings to uphold Truth as faithfully as we can, asking for the courage, clarity, humility, and costly grace needed to live and proclaim Good News of new life in Christ.

[6] Posted by JRandall on 09-25-2008 at 12:53 PM • top

...a formidably able woman of charm and intelligence to whom many responded with enthusiasm. Moreover, as far as I could tell, she is that rare bird, a liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity.

I believe it to be a facade.  But it seems to me that Father contradicts this statement above with this:

For this very personable and intelligent woman lacks something critical to any Christian, ...an interest in engaging in rational discussion with those who do.

and this

...she employs such language only to evacuate it of its content - as theological baubles brought down from the attic to ornament a theological perspective that can only be called sub-credal…

[7] Posted by Nikolaus on 09-25-2008 at 12:56 PM • top

she is that rare bird, a liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity. My impression is that she believes adequate provision should be made for those who use the 1928 Prayer Book and for those who have theological reservations about the ordination of women. If these impressions are right – major caveat - then we do not have to fear much from her on those particular matters.

What other jokes do you know?

[8] Posted by sactohye on 09-25-2008 at 01:07 PM • top

“Moreover, as far as I could tell, she is that rare bird, a liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity”.

ROTFLMAO

[9] Posted by Passing By on 09-25-2008 at 01:11 PM • top

Been there, said that…her actions speak volumes of her feelings towards traditionalists…more like “Missed Congeniality.”

[10] Posted by FrVan on 09-25-2008 at 01:12 PM • top

...a theological perspective that can only be called sub-credal, for it falls below the level of what the Constitution of the Episcopal Church speaks of as “the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer”. In so doing she perpetuates the illusion that the Church can be united as a spiritual community without coherent doctrine.

I’d substitute shatters for perpetuates in the above.

And so-called conservative bishops of TEC, the current Presiding Bishop has not been brought up on presentment charges because why???? 

Ooops!  Forgot your inability to answer this question. Please return to your slumber.  It’s okay.  We’ll shut the door on our way out…

[11] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 09-25-2008 at 01:20 PM • top

Fluff!

[12] Posted by TLDillon on 09-25-2008 at 02:03 PM • top

I have, in my life, met folks like Shori.  They are very charming and engaging in person, but are absolutely poisonous to organizations in every way.  You have to be able to stand back and remember all the awful things she has done to the TEC while you are in her presence.  It is very difficult to do. 

To date:
*  Deposed (I’ve lost count) many bishops, bishops who absolutely believe in Christ and the Bible as the inerrant Word of God
*  Sued (again I’ve lost count) churches so that TEC can take over the property (the property is legally held in trust by the diocese)
*  Has denied the deity of Christ in saying that He is “a way” vs. “the way”

[13] Posted by B. Hunter on 09-25-2008 at 02:27 PM • top

“...she dazzled the crowd with knowing references to the Athanasian Creed ...”

Why do I suspect she did not refer to this part:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. . .

[14] Posted by BobTXCPA on 09-25-2008 at 02:37 PM • top

BTW, do be sure to read the full letter.  Father makes a number of other commendable observations.

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 09-25-2008 at 02:45 PM • top

The day after the Houston HOB where +Steenson resigned from the house, KJS was at our RG Clergy Conference, hosted by the present Standing Committee President, Colin Kelly†. [This year’s annual RG Clergy conference ends today—but I am not with them. They were doing “New Life” Indaba style groups to promote reconciliation.]

My experience of her as leader is similar to the above report. She is as poised and civil as described. Her image is presented as “caring, concerned and inclusive.” She can be spell binding.

I ended up directly behind her in a long supper line so I quickly faced her down. She was stunned that a priest that appointed the first woman Sr. Warden in two different dioceses, served on the Urban Bishops Coalition Staff at a GC and helped found and organize the Episcopal Urban Caucus could be an orthodox evangelical. She was listening to a Wesleyan.

She is as cunning as a serpent and, in the real sense of the term, “enchanting.” [1 : to influence by or as if by charms and incantation : “bewitch.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enchant

[16] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 09-25-2008 at 02:53 PM • top

Rev. Dunbar has pointed out the serious problem that Christians who are familiar with Scripture have with regard to the current Presiding Bishops teachings.
Generations of Christians have correctly understood that God referred to Jesus when he said “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”. A reasonable person would obviously conclude this because God did not say it of any of the others who were baptized by John, but only of Jesus. The Presiding Bishop may be trying to create a new tradition for understanding Scripture but she is teaching a new religion, this religion is not Christianity.

[17] Posted by Betty See on 09-25-2008 at 02:59 PM • top

Face it folks, the Presiding Bishop’s entire modus operandi is to promote and extol HERESY.  Anyone who supports her “work” in any way is aiding and abetting HERESY.

[18] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 09-25-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

Hey, Bob.
A different facet of the same stone you are speaking to at the end of your comment(16),is the recognition of the tactic of non-anxious presence, which the PB does well.  My post on that a while back is at Surrounded.

[19] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 09-25-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

OK, we dressed her up a bit.  The hat.  We did the hat. Sombody’s tea cosy.  But I absolutely deny we did the nose.  And I distinctly heard her say, “I wood think so.”  This proves she’s made of wood.  Therefore ...

[20] Posted by monologistos on 09-25-2008 at 03:15 PM • top

oops.  Pasted in one too many “http”‘s for that link to work.  Do over:
My post on that a while back is at Surrounded.

[21] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 09-25-2008 at 03:20 PM • top

Does anyone know how the diocese was represented at this fol-de-rol? I believe parishes were given a base of two tickets with more “awarded” to parishes that give more to the diocese. I have wondered if there were representatives there from most churches or if the crowd was mostly local.

[22] Posted by oscewicee on 09-25-2008 at 03:24 PM • top

for more than thirty years, it’s been liberal power and conservative passivity, not pacifism.

[23] Posted by Dan Crawford on 09-25-2008 at 03:47 PM • top

Rob†, Face to face at our meeting she deliberately but anxiously chose to project a “non-anxious” presence that more than cracked on several occasions. This was her first outing in a moderate diocese, the day after the HOB. She is a charming overt and covert manipulator.

Bob†, All Saints Dio., Church of Kenya

[24] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 09-25-2008 at 04:24 PM • top

“But other persons present were quick to refute me. One appealed to the immediacy of his feeling of God’s love as proof that I was wrong about the need of mediation. Subjective experience trumped doctrine. Another dismissed the authority of Scripture and the Church’s teaching as irrelevant, because, he said, (I kid you not) he had heard the voice of God when Ms Jefferts Schori spoke! An over-excited response, no doubt – but virtually the whole room then endorsed his comments with a standing ovation”.

Elvis has left the building.  Either that, or the acid trips in the 70’s are finally catching up with all the hippies. 

hmmm

[25] Posted by Passing By on 09-25-2008 at 04:53 PM • top

Bob Maxwell+ [#23] How are you associated with the Church of Kenya?

[26] Posted by Sparky on 09-25-2008 at 05:26 PM • top

She is Miss Congeniality - a formidably able woman of charm and intelligence to whom many responded with enthusiasm. Moreover, as far as I could tell, she is that rare bird, a liberal who believes in tolerance and diversity.

Keep in mind this is how heresy succeeds.  The false teachers seem so reasonable and friendly.  They are nothing like the caricature devil with a pointy tail and pitch fork.

[27] Posted by Nikolaus on 09-25-2008 at 07:48 PM • top

But Nickolaus, isn’t that the very heart of the problem.  Sin and falsehood feel good, often better than truth and righteousness, because of our fallen nature.

[28] Posted by AndrewA on 09-25-2008 at 08:03 PM • top

This if off topic, but I feel compelled to say it at this moment.

The economic structure of the US and the world is in turmoil, in crisis.  I ask you to join me in praying that those in leadership in Washington and in other capitals around the world will transcend partisan political, even nationalistic, considerations and work to prevent a catastrophe which has the potential of affecting every sectarian and secular institution upon which we depend and each of us.

I hope Jill Woodliff and her colleagues might start something.

I am genuinely worried.  I am putting this on several threads in the hope that more will see it.  We need, our leaders need, Gods guidance.  Let’s pray for that.

God bless.

[29] Posted by Ol' Bob on 09-25-2008 at 09:37 PM • top

God bless the Reverend Gavin G.  Dunbar!!
What an outstanding letter.
And how grateful I am to think that there is a priest in the Episcopal Church who really gets it, and is preaching away week after week, the way the truth and the life.

  I am not sure why that is so very heartening, but I think it’s because I think I already know all of the orthodox people in TEc (bec. there are so few of us) and then this shining pearl of a letter comes out of Savannah, Georgia.

May God bless him.

[30] Posted by heart on 09-25-2008 at 09:40 PM • top

Please, fellow, Stand Firmers, read the letter in its entirety!  I think you will agree it is a tour de force as tto the true nature of KJS.

[31] Posted by heart on 09-25-2008 at 09:44 PM • top

In Nazi Germany, the beatitude about the meek in heart was rewritten, “Blessed is the one who is the good comrade at all times.  He will get on well in the world.”  One of the reasons this church is in crisis is because discerning Christians have been intimidated into thinking that nice people don’t make waves.  This is a lie straight out of the bowels of hell.  Nice people do make waves to defend the gospel, to defend life.

[32] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 09-26-2008 at 06:56 AM • top

Jill Woodliff #32,

Amen and amen and AMEN!

[33] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 09-26-2008 at 06:58 AM • top

#32 Jill Woodliff!
Amen sisiter! That is the difference between a strong christian and a weak christian. Those that take their baptismal vows seriously. We were not promised an easy walk in the life of christianity. We are to suffer like our Lord and He preached it, stood up for it, and claimed it boldly! As we all should!

[34] Posted by TLDillon on 09-26-2008 at 07:39 AM • top

Jill, thank you for saying that. I am trying to start doing that.

[35] Posted by oscewicee on 09-26-2008 at 07:42 AM • top

I am beginning to think I need to re-read, for about the 10th time, C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters! Why???? Because I truly feel as though we are living in the very pages of that book within TEc and Anglicanism as a whole.

[36] Posted by TLDillon on 09-26-2008 at 08:09 AM • top

When the devil appears, he never wears the horns, the red suit, and the pointy tail. He is charming, gracious, and well-dressed. He can even look Christ-like.

#16 writes, “She can be spell binding.” The meditation exercise has the features of a mass hypnosis session. Furthermore, if the dates at the diocesan website are right, this session with the diocesan clergy was held on the very Friday that her letter to the HOB, announcing the upcoming deposition of Bob Duncan, became public.

I’ve heard from another source that a member of the clergy brought up the question of “squashing dissedents” in the context of all of the lawsuits. He says that she artfully ducked the question, and that another clergy member asked her for a “theological rationale” for what’s going on. She ducked that one, too. Apparently, she is very good at spinning, and working a room.

One would guess that she has already decided who will be the next Bishop of Georgia, and one prays that their search committee and SC will have eyes that see and ears that hear.

[37] Posted by Ralph on 09-26-2008 at 09:12 AM • top

Sparky, # 26 After that face to face, I knew my tine in TEC was ending and that I must leave. I proceeded to get our lives in full order to ne ready. First, I had two interim interims to complete. The last was in St. Mary’s, by ritual still high church—my life as a child and new ordinand. [There are only two parishes remaining in RG that oppose WO, Our Savior, Abq and St Thomas, Santa Fe.] Second, we each are called to ministry and I continued seeking God’s leading. I’ve had numerous invitations from Accra to San Joaquin, but no clear leading by the Holy Spirit. New Year’s Eve Day, in transit from Charlotte back to ABQ, I spent a long lunch prayerfully and joyfully meshing with Bp. Atwood.

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, I wrote a formal request to the President of the Standing Committee as Ecclesiastical Authority, [our closest RG clergy and spouse friends and Bev’s priest,] for a letter Dimissory to the All Saints Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya. I made sure that it stated twice that I was not renouncing my orders and that the request was not a renunciation.

I emailed a copy of that letter to 200+ of my closest friends as our SC has defined such letters as “renunciations” without telling the clergy whose “renunciations” they accepted and published. Fr. Kelly claimed it was not possible for him to sign it, though the canons give him the authority, and all but said I would be deposed.

I believe that such depositions are worthy of framing and hanging on the wall. They are not from the PECUSA where I served after being ordained by a bishop using the 1928 BCP where one was not being ordained into the Episcopal Church. Thanks to the Sacraments, group reunion, ALANON & CODA, I will not be charmed.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bill Atwood is my supervising bishop,  [url=http://www.ekk.org]http://www.ekk.org [/url]is the website for Ekklesia, his organization for ministry worldwide. Sparky, take a look. Currently, I’m serving as an IT consultant, prayer supporter and friend. This means remote access/conferencing and occasional visits to the Carrollton TX area. I made the previous NTx Common Cause Fellowship gathering but not last Sundays as †Bill was TDY and I need to combine my trips with an office visit.

I highly recommend Here & coming . . . as it is in heaven as +Bill sets forth how God is building the Kingdom and what the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church looks like. It’s available at Amazon and Ekklesia. All proceeds go to Kenya Relief.

Bob†  All Saints Dio., ACoK

[38] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 09-26-2008 at 09:36 AM • top

In Nazi Germany, the beatitude about the meek in heart was rewritten, “Blessed is the one who is the good comrade at all times.  He will get on well in the world.” One of the reasons this church is in crisis is because discerning Christians have been intimidated into thinking that nice people don’t make waves.  This is a lie straight out of the bowels of hell.  Nice people do make waves to defend the gospel, to defend life.

“Nice People”.  You got that right, Jill.  Reminds me of an article written a long time ago in First Things

[39] Posted by slanehill on 09-26-2008 at 02:04 PM • top

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