Total visitors right now: 91

Click here to check your private inbox.

Welcome to Stand Firm!

Dispatches from the HoB/D: You’re All Liars and Thieves

Monday, December 15, 2008 • 12:45 pm


At least according to Ann Fontaine, lay clergy delegate from Wyoming:

I used to be much more tolerant of those who have now split away from TEC. Sad to say my experience has not supported continued tolerance. They have smeared TEC around the world with their claims that “it is not about honestly gay bishops” (oh sure - so far have not seen any credible evidence of any other complaint [Greg’s note: Might want to skim this thread, Ann]), made videos like Choose the Day, made overt plans to bankrupt us (see Chapman report [Greg’s note: Technically, the Chapman memo was covert]) and take every last cincture. More and more I have come to see them like those parishioners who every other week come in threatening to take away their pledge because the local church did or did not do something. None that I have encountered in real life have done anything but lie. One, here in Wyoming lied to the bishop the day before leaving with a bunch of his groupies. He even preached an all sweetness and light - don’t we all love each other sermon at an ordination the night before. All along plans were being made to see how much they could take out the “back door.”

This has been my lived experience - so whatever you might say about how honorable all these leavers are - I don’t see it.

I think one bishop’s approach from day one - “not one candlestick”—- is one I now find wise. I understand that they think we are going to hell and they don’t want to go with us—- no problem—I offer prayers and blessings on their journey wherever we all end up. Placating them - negotiating - etc. is seen as an open door to more abuse.

Wish my experience was different but it is not. Ann

I just love it when the hyper-revisionist crowd gets indignant about people saying one thing and doing another. Gee. Who would do a thing like that?


235 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook
Comments:

No use in trying to change these minds.  Keep moving forward.  They will not examine the evidence, they will not listen to explanations, they will not accept your version of events.  Just keep moving one foot in front of the other.  No distractions, no delays.

Do document the actions they take.  Do document the hypocrisy.  Do document the chain of events as they occur.  These will be needed for future generations.

[1] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 12-15-2008 at 02:12 PM • top

I would say that the leavers must be making at least somewhat of a dent in the general TEC population or this nice lady wouldn’t be filled with such angst.

“Once to every man and nation….”

GMM

[2] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 12-15-2008 at 02:34 PM • top

Out of curiosity, is the lady in the blue cope +Schori? If not, where is she in this pic?

that?

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[3] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-15-2008 at 02:57 PM • top

Denial is not just a river in Egypt and projection doesn’t just happen on movie screens.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[4] Posted by Philip Snyder on 12-15-2008 at 03:01 PM • top

Yes, Phil, pure projection….

[5] Posted by Creighton+ on 12-15-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

Just once, once I tell you, I would appreciate it if one of these raving revisionists would admit that the orthodox did not one day just wake up and say, “Let’s see if we can steal us some loot.”  Admit openly that they have rejected the teaching of the last 2000 years.  Admit openly that they seek to take the Anglican Communion where the majority of Christian churches will not go.  Admit that it is they who have sought to change the rules of the game and steal away with the goods while the trusting pew sitters, who believed that those who serve God would never do something like that, slept. Just Once I tell you, just once.

[6] Posted by JackieB on 12-15-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

Jackie, there is no denying the fact that this is what happened.  Episcopal Progressionism has led them out of Christianity and into Secular Humanism.

[7] Posted by Cennydd on 12-15-2008 at 03:49 PM • top

Greg, I checked with Ann Fontaine and discovered that you did not ask for or receive permission to use her posting to HoBD list. It has been made clear for well over a year that such use is not permitted.

I have worked long hours at the request of former bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson, in finding ways of reconciliation or at least the means to move towards relationships of mutual respect in what has been a very divided diocese.  My experience has been what Ann has described, with the one exception of Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas (I was not involved in that resolution, but have spent a lot of time with those who were).

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement? Any which have apologized for their language such as “heretics” and “apostate?”

I hope you have apologized to Ann Fontaine for your unauthorized use of her posting—if not, I hope you will do so.  Were your roles reversed she would have offered you an apology by now.

[8] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-15-2008 at 04:06 PM • top

Actually Tom no. If Greg were a kibitzer that would be true. But he is not. He is forwarded HOBD emails from a number of sources and, having made no such promise or obligation, he is under no obligation to keep them private.

Your ridiculous assertions are a bit like suggesting the NYT needed to ask Chapman+ permission before publishing his memo.

A leak is a leak.

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-15-2008 at 04:11 PM • top

It is, however, painful Tom…and here I sympathize with you…to have the poisonous bile that is routinely shared on that list spewed forth for all the world to see.

[10] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-15-2008 at 04:13 PM • top

TWBSantaFe writes “Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement?” 

I know of many, the Virginia parishes, just to name a few.  Not only did they ask for reconciliation, the Diocese of Virginia ironed out an entire protocol so that this could happen.  Then the Diocese did a 180, and abandoned the “reconciliation” after having offered it up in the first place.

As is evident from Matt’s tales of his parish, they tried reconciliation too.  A lot of dissidents have—only to be stabbed in the back.

[11] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 12-15-2008 at 04:16 PM • top

Tom,

A few weeks back Ann posted Greg’s interview with Jack Iker without his permission, without a link to StandFirm, and without crediting her source at all!  Would you please ask her to apologize for that on the HOBD listerv, crediting Greg by name?  She is the absolute wrong person to throw stones in this case.

[12] Posted by pksundevil on 12-15-2008 at 04:17 PM • top

Tom,

In this post I explain why I consider the HoB/D “privacy” statement null and void, and of no effect. In the future there’s no need to check with Ann or anyone else as to whether I have obtained permission to repost their emails - it’s safe to assume I haven’t.

[13] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-15-2008 at 04:25 PM • top

pksundevil,

Not really the same, though.  After all, Greg is merely the receipt of a leak and certainly did give credit.  ; > )

[14] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 04:25 PM • top

pksundevil—I assume Ann will read your request. I am not her messenger. What I noted here was on my own—and I am still waiting. Maybe you could prevail upon Greg?
Matt, I think the bile is unacceptable on either site. There is a lot on SF; however, you do have several regulars who do strike a respectful tone—you included—and for that I am grateful. There are a good number of people on HoBD who serve the same function—including Ann Fontaine.

The NY Times will have to answer for itself. It should be well known by you and Greg that HoBD does not permit reprinting without permission. Were you to ask me for permission to reprint one of my posts on HoBD in order to garner comments or to generate general outrage, I would give you that permission—Ann gets to make that decision for herself.  To say that Greg does not have to abide by restrictions he knows well just because he received this from several sources is disingenuous—under that rubric no one would have to take responsibility for anything, all you have to do is to have a friend or spouse forward to you what you already have or know about.  Integrity and honesty are what is at stake here—and for those we need to do more than Greg did.  I hope his apology will include the little “cutesy” with the lay/priest. That is neither funny nor appropriate.

I don’t know what is outrageous in my earlier note on SF. I talked about my experience—you will not find anyone on our Task Force on Communion who would differ.

I am aware of the Virginia congregations beginning a process of exploration with the Diocese of Virginia—however their reporting of what upset that process is opposite of what we heard from Peter Lee and others. I know Peter well, having worked with him for three years, and trust his reporting—but this is a matter of “he said, she said.”  Do you know of any others?

[15] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-15-2008 at 04:39 PM • top

#8 - the Virginia Protocol for Departing Congregations is here:

http://www.thediocese.net/News_services/pressroom/docs/special_committee_report.pdf

It was negotiated with the Bishop with the assistance of his chancellor who was, I beleive, at the time a member of TEC’s Executive Committee.  It was accepted/received/approved by the Standing Committee (they voted positively on it, but it does not appear to be resolved which the Standing Committee thought they were doing at the time, or whether they understood the various distinctions under Roberts’ Rules).  It provides for a sale of the property at a price to be negotiated. The bishop told the congregations to proceed under it, and they did.  After the congregations filed the vote with the county, as required by the statute involved and a stand-still agreement said they would do, and there was even one meeting with the property committee appointed by the bishop scheduled, the bishop and the standing committee reneged.  They had either been acting in bad faith all along, had seller’s remorse, or were made to do so by Schori, or some combination of the above. 

But, of course, you knew all that.  So tell me, why should any other orthodox congregation be expecting to be treated differently?

[16] Posted by pendennis88 on 12-15-2008 at 04:50 PM • top

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement? Any which have apologized for their language such as “heretics” and “apostate?”

  The orthodox remain firmly in agreement with the rest of Christendom.  The word dissident is more aptly applied to the leadership and those who follow in the path of revisionism.  It therefore begs the question why on earth would they apologize for language such as heretics and apostate?  Are these words now like the middle name of Barrack Hussein Obama?  According to my dictionary, they fit perfectly the actions of the majority of the leadership of TEC.  While we do strive to use the Queen’s language here, it’s the one in England, not the one who converses with Alice.

I am left to wonder why the only negotiation you have not been involved in is the only one that has had an amicable resolution.  Is there a hidden meaning here?

[17] Posted by JackieB on 12-15-2008 at 04:50 PM • top

All the churches that left that I know of, with the exception of All Saints, Waccamaw in SC, have asked for mediation or arbitration. They have been mostly turned down.

I’d love to see a list of churches that declined such negotiations. I’d also like to see what conditions, if any, were imposed on the negotiations.

Not that cynicism is ever justified in dealing with the Episcopal Church or anything.

Embracing diversity is more than having two varieties of whisky in your bar.

[18] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-15-2008 at 04:54 PM • top

Tom,

I don’t know what the issue is with the lay/priest strikethrough. I originally posted “lay,” then was corrected in an email by a reader that Ann is a priest. I then crossed out “lay” and added “priest” in case anyone in the comments had noted my error, so as not to make them look like they were making an error in correcting me. I’m unaware of any event or circumstance that makes the strikethrough/replacement “neither funny nor appropriate,” but perhaps with some explanation it would turn out to be at least one or the other.

At any rate, there will be no apology. As I’ve explained, I consider the HoB/D listserv “privacy” statement null and void because I reject the notion that the members of the Episcopal Church should be required to audit the listserv in order to read the communications of their bishops and deputies.

[19] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-15-2008 at 04:55 PM • top

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement?

I can give one example, from personal experience.  Some of the story of St. John’s, Bristol, CT, is well known—especially that the rector, the Rev. Dr. Mark Hansen, took a sabbatical because of needing to attend to personal issues involving his son, a sabbatical for which Fr. Hansen was later deposed for “having abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.”  (Ironically, three years later, Fr. Hansen is still attending an Episcopal Church.)  During that sabbatical, the parish’s clergy needs were met by Fr. Clayton Knapp, a priest visiting from another diocese, under the provision that a priest can serve in a diocese for thirty days without the bishop’s permission.

At the end of that thirty days, the congregation requested that Fr. Knapp approach Bishop Smith and request that he continue serving the parish, for which Bishop Smith gave permission, on condition that Fr. Knapp go through psychological testing, and fill out paperwork to serve in the diocese.  Fr. Knapp did so, and Bishop Smith agreed to allow him to serve in the parish.  Fr. Knapp announced the next Sunday that Bishop Smith had graciously allowed him to serve the parish—to the great relief of the congregation, who were happy to have the tensions between themselves and the diocese finally behind them.

The following Wednesday (July 13, 2005), Bishop Smith and twelve others arrived unannounced at the church building, changed the locks on the doors, brought in two computer hackers to break into the parish computer, deposed Fr. Hansen, and (contrary to the canons) appointed a “priest-in-charge” without permission of, or without first consulting the vestry.  Bishop Smith made it clear to Fr. Knapp that he could continue serving the parish only if he agreed to be subordinate to the illegal “priest-in-charge.”  The new “priest-in-charge” later removed the vestry for not attending vestry meetings that (again, contrary to the parish by-laws), she had no right to call.

BTW, the “priest-in-charge” now works for 815, being the person who is directing a fund-raising appeal to lawyers who wish to help TEC sue former Episcopalians.

So, yes, I know of a case in which a parish asked for reconciliation from its bishop—and received a rather unexpected response.

[20] Posted by William Witt on 12-15-2008 at 05:07 PM • top

“I consider the HoB/D listserv “privacy” statement null and void because I reject the notion ...”

Making it crystal clear, once and for all, that it really IS “all about you.”

Thanks for the clarity, Greg. Happy Advent!

[21] Posted by Susan Russell on 12-15-2008 at 05:09 PM • top

RE: “Integrity and honesty are what is at stake here—and for those we need to do more than Greg did.”

Not certain why Greg would apologize for rules he didn’t sign up for—he’s not a member of the listserve.  Further, why on earth any of us would give a hoot in the holler about Tom Woodward’s definitions of “integrity” or “honesty” I have no clue.

RE: “There are a good number of people on HoBD who serve the same function—including Ann Fontaine.”

Yes—we can all tell by the loving, respectful email from her that Greg posted above.

There we go—“integrity” and “honesty” and “respectful” and “Scripture” and “resurrection” and “sin” and “Jesus” and “gospel” and “cross” and “creed”—among many thousands of other words that have to do with the opposing worldview of Tom Woodward’s, simply don’t have the same definitions in his world as in ours.

Like I’ve been saying—two gospels, one organization.

[22] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 05:12 PM • top

Of course the HoBD mailing list remains replete with examples of Christian forbearance and charity. With such stellar examples as the Elizabeth Kaeton, Michael Russell, Walter Righter, Ann Fontaine, Bruce Garner and Tom Woodward how could it be other?

I’m not one of the ones who is forwarding mailing list info to StandFirm. However, I can state with complete honesty that I have rarely read such a collection of heresy, dissimulation, half-truths, lies, hyperbole, distortion and bile as is regularly spewed onto the Internet by the leaders of my church.

I commend to the lefty readers of this website the emails proposing that the Episcopal Church wage mediation and reconciliation instead of litigation. To be blunt, one of my touchstones for determining who is or is not a Christian is the willingness to talk.

Tom Woodward is not one of the ones who has advocated discussion. At no point has he ever gone on record in favour of discussion.

Mr Woodward, I would very much like to be wrong as to the above statement. Can you prove me so?

We are not called to serve the God of Truth with the tools of the Prince of Lies.

[23] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-15-2008 at 05:13 PM • top

PS: Greg—thanks for posting these occasional marvelous examples from the HOB/D listserve.  It’s good for Episcopalians to be aware that these are the deputies that go to General Convention.

[24] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 05:14 PM • top

Give me a break.

Many of us, over the years, made the mistake of giving hundreds of thousands of the Lord’s funds to TEC parishes, some of which went to the Diocese/national church and were thus used to advance an anti-Christian agenda.  We have walked from that investment, repenting for being bad stewards, and committing to not making the same mistake in the future.  Ann can keep her candlestick.

[25] Posted by Going Home on 12-15-2008 at 05:14 PM • top

Isn’t it just awful that other people can make it about themselves?  Obviously this is a right restricted to…??

[26] Posted by Elizabeth on 12-15-2008 at 05:15 PM • top

“I consider the HoB/D listserv “privacy” statement null and void because I reject the notion ...”
Making it crystal clear, once and for all, that it really IS “all about you.”
Thanks for the clarity, Greg. Happy Advent!

It’s his website. The discussion was why he’s posting the info.

Thanks for the drive-by though.

In the Episcopal Church, charity is only for those who are fashionable.

[27] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-15-2008 at 05:15 PM • top

Season’s Greetings, Susan.

[28] Posted by paradoxymoron on 12-15-2008 at 05:21 PM • top

“Stayers,” are not “groupies,” They’re “group thinkers.”

[29] Posted by The Templar on 12-15-2008 at 05:23 PM • top

It’s not that anyone is sorry for the uncharitable, bellicose remarks they make on that listserv. They’re just sorry that those remarks are being openly discussed instead of being read in silence by people who had to put gags over their mouths for the privilege of reading compassionate, conciliatory, Christian messages like the one quoted above?

Maybe we should chip in for a few candlesticks for Ms. Fontaine+ for Christmas?

[30] Posted by oscewicee on 12-15-2008 at 05:27 PM • top

I almost laughed when I read the original post from Ann Fountaine, whether she be clergy or lay. Except it wasnt really anything to laugh at.  I am a cradle Episcopalian, and have survived the changes in liturgy, the prayer book and hymnal, changes in clergy in terms of expectations and duties.  I watched folk music come and go, and even participated in dancing in some aisles from time to time.  And I have NEVER been treated as shabbily and rudely by any group of people as I have those in Fort Worth who are choosing to stay with TEC.  That is their right, but it is not their right to continually lie and slander and abuse those with whom they disagree.  I have watched them as they bullied d harassed some of our older members into leaving the church they have attended for most of their life with blantant lies about both churches and people. They have embarassed themselves with scheming and abusing people with whom they have prayed for 40 years.  Now they are preying on them. I have watched in horror as they have broken promises and confidences as they brag about how right they are.  Their self righteous attitude and behavior is anything but living.  They have by their actions, run off a number of faithful members to other denominations or away from church altogether.  If “by their fruits you shall know them”, no theological argument is loud or righteous enough to overcome their dismal, hostile, angry, deceitful and hateful behaviour.  I certainly would not be attracted to join their cause.  Believe me, Ms. Mrs. or whatever Fountaine, this is not a one sided venture. A few buildings are not the church anyway.  Your life is.  Peace.

[31] Posted by mhmac13 on 12-15-2008 at 05:28 PM • top

TTBW SantaFe,

So just to be sure I understand you,

1) On the basis that “you know Peter well, and trust his reporting”, you have decided to ignore the historically accurate response from Nasty Brutish and Short?

2) Without any basis at all, you ignore the situation of Fr. Kennedy, though both cases demonstrate what you have asked us to demonstrate.

And so after ignoring the many examples given (14+, in the Virginia cases), you conclude that no examples have been given? You must realize that we cannot give “appropriate examples” if you label the multiple examples given as “inappropriate”. You already have your opinion, and if you won’t accept anything that would contradict that, what is there for us to talk about? The basis of a debate is the admittance that you may in fact be wrong, and that your views may have to change.

Furthermore, you believe Greg has done wrong by posting publicly from the HoB/D what it has listed as “secret”. Yet when Greg responds in defense of his actions, you ignore his stated position all together.

You believe that because the HoB/D has rules, Greg needs to abide by them. When given an example (by Matt+ that this is not the case even in major journalism, (admittedly a loose example), you disregard it on the basis that you are not the NYT. While that is true, it is irrelevant.

I’m noticing a pattern here. Actually two, aside from the one I have illustrated above, there is another.

When given examples that contradict your stated position,

1)  In regards to Ann, you state that you “aren’t her messenger”.
2)  In regards to the rules of professionalism in America as expressed by the NYT (a credible source, mind you) you state “the NY Times will have to answer for itself”

While both of these statements are true, your comments do not address the issues.

It was fascinating however, when you said:

<blockquotes> Were you to ask me for permission to reprint one of my posts on HoBD in order to garner comments or to generate general outrage, I would give you that permission </blockquotes>

Notice two things:

1)  The intentions of Greg in posting from the HoB/D are coming from you, not Greg. I doubt very much He would agree with your assessment. I imagine he would state his intentions more along the lines of “transparency between government and governed”, “education”, “honesty and accountability for those in authority”, or something along those lines. Certainly all three intentions are praiseworthy I think.

2)  The intention as you state is to “garner comments and generate general outrage”. But please see that Greg doesn’t do any of those. Ann’s post does. If general outrage is generated, it is only generated by Ann Fontaine. Certainly postings are more acceptable in some circles than in others, but the bias isn’t what Greg has been objecting to. It’s the lack of consistency and double standards held against those of a certain leaning.

I thank you for calling bile on all sides “unacceptable” and I welcome the opportunity to work along side you in calling people accountable when they issue bile, rather than reason. And while I am not Greg’s messenger, I imagine he shares a similar sentiment. This entire posting remember, is about a lack of consistency and double standards. I have no doubt you would consider such things “bile”.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[32] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-15-2008 at 05:29 PM • top

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement? Any which have apologized for their language such as “heretics” and “apostate?”

Yes, I can: Along with Dr. Witt above, we were among the “CT6” parishes.  We collectively asked for reconciliation and mediation mulitple times, directly and then between our lawyers.  Our positions were beyond reconciliation, and we were frankly told that there would be no mediation.  Ultimately, when my own parish decided to simply walk away, we gave up all claims, told the bishop of uor plans, and had him in for a meeting.  We bagn with mutual repentance for the harsh words from both sides, then had a grace-filled parish meeting in which we prayed for him, and he for us.  We politely asked for, and were granted, a few tokens to assist in worship with our new church plant, and as a remembrance of our congregational heritage.  [As an aside, and I do not mean this in a mean-spirited way, it seems that the bishop was very happy to be gracious and work with us… once we had explicitly laid down our arms.  So I’m not sure if that counts as ‘mediation’!]

I think Calvary v. Dio Pittsburgh might be a different example of how the “dissidents” offered reconciliation and mediation, and were graciously sued for it.

[33] Posted by Connecticutian on 12-15-2008 at 05:39 PM • top

Susan Russell,

Merry Christmas! Granted it’s Advent still, but I doubt you’ll begrudge me.

But I do wonder why you think Greg wouldn’t have the right to decide what he does or doesn’t post on this site. I was under the impression that he has that right, by virtue (not David, mind you) of his position on this site. If you are under a different impression, please explain. I am open to learning on this one. But if not, why would you criticize him exorcizing such a right as making it “all about him”?

Certainly in your blog, you exorcise similar rights, yet would classify it as “all about Jesus” am I right?

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[34] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-15-2008 at 05:42 PM • top

...I checked with Ann Fontaine…  I hope you have apologized to Ann Fontaine…  she would have offered you an apology by now.

Curious that Tom posits himself as a mediator, then clarifies that he’s not a messenger.  Glad that’s cleared up, because otherwise his statements might be misconstrued to indicate that he’s speaking to her about Greg, speaking to Greg about her, then asserting what she would have done.  grin

[35] Posted by Connecticutian on 12-15-2008 at 05:47 PM • top

Susan,

Thanks for <strike>driving</strike> stopping by! Just two things:

1. It’s all about the folks in the pews, not me.

2. Your accusing me of being self-centered is… gosh… well, rich is the kindest word I can think of at the moment.

[36] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-15-2008 at 05:48 PM • top

PS: Any ideas as to whether the bishop in the blue cope (Second link after text) is Schori? Looking at the Mitre on the far right chair, and considering her…interesting…wardrobe choices, I think it is. Anyone who can verify that?

Rev. Russell, do you know?

~j

[37] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-15-2008 at 05:48 PM • top

Rules that should be followed?
You mean like canons?
Run that one by again, Inflammed Enthusiasts; just run it by the PB, the HOB, and the lawyer dude.

And thanks for your righteous indignations.  Best laugh of the day.  Really.  Ya’ll ought to go on the stand-up circuit before the ECUSA/TEC/GCC/EO-PAC folds.  You’ll pack ‘em in!

[38] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 12-15-2008 at 05:53 PM • top

As one who posts fairly regularly on the HoBD listserve and a friend of this blog (if I may be so presumptuous) I must say that it is discourteous to the people who post on that list to reproduce their comments without their permission.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Just because someone else has violated the terms of that list doesn’t make it right for the writers on this blog to do so. 

If something is clearly in the public domain, then it is fair game.  Some of the posters to the HoBD list have given blanket permission to reproduce anything they post on that list.  However, for Greg and others to reproduce those comments without knowing whether such permission has been granted only increases the bad blood between the two sides.  And to do so with such a cavalier attitude only exacerbates the conflict.

Please know that if you good folks at Stand Firm ever post any of my comments from the HoBD listserve without my permission, I will cease posting on your site.

I just think courtesy should extend to the intention of the author, whether or not you agree with him or her.  Can’t we disagree without being disagreeable?

[39] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 12-15-2008 at 05:58 PM • top

I have never understood how a list that anyone can join can be considered anything less than public. But then, I have never understood, nor joined, a list that invited anybody to join but not allowed them to speak.

[40] Posted by oscewicee on 12-15-2008 at 06:04 PM • top

As one who posts fairly regularly on the HoBD listserve and a friend of this blog (if I may be so presumptuous) I must say that it is discourteous to the people who post on that list to reproduce their comments without their permission.

I think is discourteous for them to say things that they are unwilling to say in public.

[41] Posted by AndrewA on 12-15-2008 at 06:07 PM • top

Neal—is it your position, then, that any documents that SF has posted in the past that were leaked to us should not have been posted without permission?

[42] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 06:12 PM • top

Andrew41,

The HoBD list is a community of conversation.  It is a “closed list” because it is a conversation among a discrete group of people, namely, deputies to General Convention.  As a courtesy to “kibitzers” they are allowed to listen in on those conversations.  Sometimes the comments are related to previous comments.

I don’t know about others, but for me it is a place to think out loud.  Although I am not embarrassed by the things I post on that list—believe me, I get slammed an awful lot on that list—those things are said to a particular audience and within a particular context.

Businesses place privacy statements in the emails of their employees all the time.  Is that so bad?

[43] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 12-15-2008 at 06:16 PM • top

#37 ... It’s Barbara Harris

[44] Posted by Susan Russell on 12-15-2008 at 06:20 PM • top

Neal, is The Episcopal Inc. a for profit buisness that has confidential buisness information it needs to protect in order to give it an advantage over competitors?  Is anyone’s personal information (SSN, address, financial information, medical information etc) being revealed?

[45] Posted by AndrewA on 12-15-2008 at 06:27 PM • top

Oh, thank you! Do you by chance see +KJS???

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[46] Posted by Jacobsladder on 12-15-2008 at 06:29 PM • top

Businesses place privacy statements in the emails of their employees all the time.  Is that so bad?

But would any business put a privacy statement on a message, make it available for everyone to read - then ask them to keep it “secret”? I apologize if I seem rude. I just really don’t get the concept.

[47] Posted by oscewicee on 12-15-2008 at 06:34 PM • top

Well, Susan and Tom, no you know how my dad’s subject matter felt when he published a story that a source gave him. They were often as red faced as you, some even calling the home phone to vent their frustration. Then after the Pentagon papers, the rule of the land for the public interest.

[48] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-15-2008 at 06:36 PM • top

The Church of St Andrew & St Philip in the Diocese of Rhode Island successfully negotiated with Bp Wolfe and came to an agreement for departure from the diocese with property.  They paid several hundred thousand for the property, withdrew, and formed an independent parish - one of the few withdrawing congregations that did not go under a foreign bishop or one in AMiA. All Saints, W Newbury, MA, negotiated a settlement with the Dio of MA regarding unpaid assessments.  They had already outgrown their facilities, and so left the building behind - and grew even more when they began worshiping in a formerly RC church building in nearby Amesbury.  The Pro-Cathedral of St Clement in El Paso, TX successfully negotiated with Bp Steenson to leave with their property - to the wailing of Bp Schori, as it was just before he resigned.

Those are three examples of negotiations in good faith that had a satisfactory conclusion - nobody got everything they wanted, but both parties had agreements that they could live with.  It is not impossible; it is simply rare.

As for withdrawing assertions of heresy and apostasy - when the “progressives” stop omitting the Creed, affirm that they believe it in it ordinary sense, and return to historic teachings on morality, it will be time to say that they are not teaching and doing heresy.

[49] Posted by AnglicanXn on 12-15-2008 at 06:38 PM • top

Reconciliation?

Most Bishops were completely unwilling to negotiate a fair property resolution, most of those that were were quickly fought by the PB and her chancellor.  Now, as has been reported here, no negotiations are possible, Episcopal Diocisian Bishops have refused to even rent a building at fair market price to a new Anglican Building, even after closing the Episcopal church that once occupied the spot. Understand what that means—an Episcopal Bishop would rather have a building dark than occupied, at fair rent, by another church with the name “Anglican.”

[50] Posted by Going Home on 12-15-2008 at 06:40 PM • top

The following are examples of how negotiation and reconciliation work in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.  In the first photograph, former parishioners of St. Trinity Episcopal Church, Bristol, are shown worshiping in a school gymnasium.

The second link is a slideshow of the now empty building where the parishioners used to worship—another case of where the diocese would rather the building stand empty than that orthodox Anglicans uses it.

Ironically, the slide show is linked from the web page of St. John’s, Bristol, or, rather, the rump congregation who chose to remain after the bishop changed the locks on that building and installed a “priest-in-charge.” (Note that three years after the invasion, the website lists the priest as a “vicar,” as the once thriving congregation is clearly not able to afford their own priest.) The link to the slide show is entitled “Remembering Trinity Church,” as if the members of that church simply disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the night, victims perhaps of an earthquake or a plague.

[51] Posted by William Witt on 12-15-2008 at 07:02 PM • top

Neal:  A couple of thoughts on the HOB/D list and reproducing comments from there without permission on StandFirm.

1. Given the easy access to the HOB/D list for kibbutzers, there really is no expectation of privacy to anything that is posted there.  If an attorney loudly discusses legal strategy with his client in the middle of the police station, he can hardly claim privilege if he is overheard.

2. The nature of the conversations on the HOB/D listserve is such that there is a very real and very strong public interest in having them public and accessible.  These are comments by members of the supposed (by the progressive ruling cadre anyway) highest authority in TEC.  Rank and file Episcopalians have a very strong and compelling interest in reading what these individuals really think about the critical issues affecting us.

3. I used to kibbutz the HOB/D list but found it to be such a spiritually toxic environment that I no longer do.  However, I recall that the privacy rules are imposed on the actual kibbutzer.  That means that the person who is forwarding the posts is the person who is violating the rules.  Greg is simply receiving a leaked document which, by virtue of my points 1 and 2, does not have any reasonable standard of privacy attached to it, and which is strongly in the public interest to make accessible.

I think that the HOB/D privacy rules are just one more example of the utter contempt and disdain which TEC’s progressive ruling cadre have for the average layperson.  It is a cheap way to spout venomous bile amongst the “chosen few” and then cite some out-dated rule to prevent this bile from being made public.

[52] Posted by jamesw on 12-15-2008 at 07:11 PM • top

Tom, it takes a lot of gall to demand an apology for “heretic” when one of the very early public statements of the PB was that Jesus is “a way” to salvation, thus denying his divinity and the words of scripture in one fell swoop.
desertpadre

[53] Posted by desertpadre on 12-15-2008 at 07:13 PM • top

I worked in Government for many years, and worked with materials that are classified as confidential; if I released confidential materials to the press or to other third parties, I could be convicted of a felony.  But the confidentiality rules never applied to the downstream recipients of leaks.  The Washington Post has published leaked materials off and on for years—remember the Pentagon Papers…? 

So Greg is a journalist.  Why should anyone expect him to give special dispensation to this unusual set of house rules on the TEC listserv?  There is simply no rationale for expecting StandFirm to suppress leaks from this pretentious listserv.  If the hosts expect the listserv to be truly confidential, it should bar kibitzers, and set enforceable rules on participants.

  And the comments on the HOB/D listserv are certainly not the equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.

[54] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 12-15-2008 at 07:24 PM • top

#53, did Tom ask for an apology for the word heretic? I did not see that?

[55] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-15-2008 at 07:27 PM • top

Matt (#53), see comment #8, by TBW

[56] Posted by AnglicanXn on 12-15-2008 at 07:35 PM • top

Matt+,
I think the words 53 was referring to were in #8-
“Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement? Any which have apologized for their language such as “heretics” and “apostate?””

Apparently, in order to be reconciled, all property must be handed over to TEC, TEC must be allowed to depose the clergy who had the audacity to take their congregations out of TEC, AND they must apologize for their use of the words “heretic” and “apostate”.

[57] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-15-2008 at 07:39 PM • top

Yes, and those little files gleaned from the Russians with the words “top secret” (in Russian, I suppose) should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be used by the CIA after being forwarded to us by our spies within the KGB. After all, the folder is clearly marked “top secret”. Simple integrity demands that these secret files be returned unexamined to their sources.

[58] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 12-15-2008 at 07:49 PM • top

I don’t understand the reasoning which says that you post on a publicly-availble blog, and then claim that the posts are private. That just doesn’t seem to follow. Of course a lot of what comes from the revisionist side doesn’t follow logic.
Matt, I was referring to #8.
desertpadre

[59] Posted by desertpadre on 12-15-2008 at 07:54 PM • top

RE: “pksundevil—I assume Ann will read your request. I am not her messenger.
Tom…..How convenient! You have no problem being her defender and slamming all of us Traditional Orthodox Conservative Christians by your own words on the HOB Listserv…..I know! I read them! I see how you post here then you post very differently on the HOB Listserv! You are a shifty one!

[60] Posted by TLDillon on 12-15-2008 at 07:56 PM • top

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement? Any which have apologized for their language such as “heretics” and “apostate?”

Oh, Tommie - are you blind are just presuming to be so?

There was my former parish - where we left and didn’t even take a candlestick and the Diocese STILL wanted to sue us.  I guess leaving the Episcopal Church is a sue-able offense…

Like my father said a few years back - “The Episcopal Church is like the Roach Hotel - you can go in but can never leave…”

Get a grip - and TRY please TRY to argue from a point of reality…

[61] Posted by Eclipse on 12-15-2008 at 07:57 PM • top

Ha! Ha! He! He!....A Susan Russell drive by! And calling Greg self-centered! Ha! Ha! He! He! Now of that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black! Susan….your holiday humor is getting dull!

[62] Posted by TLDillon on 12-15-2008 at 08:05 PM • top

Fr Woodward,
People are bringing up a good point, you are purporting here to be a reconciler, when any of us who read you on the list serve know otherwise.  Do we have your permission to quote the emails you sent to us via the listserve?  I am sure many of us read them, but it might be edifying for those who do not to know what you personally have actually said there.  Unfortunately, a couple months ago, I deleted my “back issues” to unclog my mailbox, so I will only have the recent 60 or 80 digests to work from.

[63] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-15-2008 at 08:08 PM • top

#52 James,

Your points are all well taken.  I suppose it is really unreasonable to expect such a public conversation to go unreported.

I suppose it is also unreasonable to expect Greg NOT to post something that others have sent him.  Such things are done all the time.  Certainly those on the “liberal” side have made enough hay about the Geoff Chapman memo, and those on the “conservative” side have made an equal amount of hay on the plans of the Remain Episcopal group in Fort Worth.

There is enough righteous indignation and “do as I say and not as I do” on each side.  At least Greg is forthright in his reasons for posting things he has received. 

Greg, I apologize as I spoke in haste.

[64] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 12-15-2008 at 08:10 PM • top

“...for Greg and others to reproduce those comments without knowing whether such permission has been granted only increases the bad blood between the two sides.  And to do so with such a cavalier attitude only exacerbates the conflict.”

WOW!!! Like what you all say on the HOB Listserv doesn’t already do that? Like all the vile lawsuits that you and most of the HOB Listserv support don’t already do that? Like all the times you and many in TEC have said one thing and then done another, i.e. DES, SSB’s, haven’t already done that? Neal in Dallas….you, Susan Russell and any other revisionist need to stop and think before you speak! You are not helping your case one iota!

[65] Posted by TLDillon on 12-15-2008 at 08:12 PM • top

Matt+ @ 9 said:

“Your ridiculous assertions are a bit like suggesting the NYT needed to ask Chapman+ permission before publishing his memo.
A leak is a leak.”

  This might have been true if it had been the New York Times that leaked Chapman, but, in fact, in was the Washington Post.

[66] Posted by EmilyH on 12-15-2008 at 08:29 PM • top

I see the way-back machine is still working.  Oh, wait, this is a current thread.

Oh.  But all the usual people are saying all of the usual things.

Okay, someone sends an email to Greg with something posted to the HOB/D.  He posts it here.  The usual liberals drive by to decry the absolute abrogation of privacy.  Greg says he never signed up to the HOB/D, and doesn’t need to respect the privacy.

I would think that after the fifth time this happened we could talk about the content of the posting, instead of the expectation of privacy or not.

Posters on the HOB/D - you may at any time end up here.  If you would be embarrassed or ashamed or chagrined by having the people here read what you post, maybe you should think about what you are posting instead of pleading for secrecy.

[67] Posted by Paul B on 12-15-2008 at 08:35 PM • top

If you would be embarrassed or ashamed or chagrined by having the people here read what you post, maybe you should think about what you are posting instead of pleading for secrecy.

Yes.  Of course that would spoil the whole feeling of the HoBD list—running a conspiracy while pretending that everything is open and above board.

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[68] Posted by gone on 12-15-2008 at 08:39 PM • top

Hmmm, I always understood that if our dimension and an adjoining one should merge, nothing good could come of it.

It appears the conjoining of the HoD Listserv and SFIF produced about what I expected:  matter and anti-matter exploding upon contact.

I kibbitzed on the HoD listserv for about a year.  I guess everyone needs somewhere to vent, and certainly a listserv is cheaper than therapy, but there is definitely no “Matthew 5:43-45” admonitions there.  None at all.  And of course the Orthodox are the fairest of the fair game.

I have heard shrill protest and complaint here as well, but nothing to match what goes on there.  But having said that, I can faithfully, without quoting a single word reproduced on that Listserv, say that the folks there write as if to a diary, not as if to a public posting, and that is why they are so offended if a comment is reproduced in another arena.

We can debate the wisdom of using an easy-to-join listserv as a substitute for real dialogue another time.

Oh, and I definitely want to dispense with the “Happy Holidays”, “Season’s Greetings” and any other secular claptrap greeting you can think of and wish everyone here, including Ms. Russell, MERRY CHRISTMAS! God Bless Us, Every One.

KTF!...mrb

[69] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 12-15-2008 at 08:55 PM • top

Actually, the huge irony is unless the HoB/D is sending there messages in a secure message format then it is recorded on each hop in the journey from their list server to every POP3 mail box of the subscribers. The host may have a privacy agreement and the email provider probably has one, but all those hops in between do not and if it lands in the office email, then there really is no privacy agreement.

[70] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-15-2008 at 08:55 PM • top

Merry Christmas, Mike!

[71] Posted by oscewicee on 12-15-2008 at 08:57 PM • top

Fr. Woodward, are you expecting an apology for language like “apostate” and “heretic” even when those using it sincerely believe that the Episcopal Church is in fact apostate?

If so, surely you are expecting one side to surrender their key position before the “dialogue” has even begun?

The reason “dialogue” has such a bad reputation among some traditionally minded Anglicans is that it is perceived to mean “We’ll talk until you agree with me.”

Can you sincerely ask people to surrender their convictions simply because it’s the allegedly “nice” thing to do? I would value your remarks on this—and the Rev. Susan Russell’s, if she cares to give them. Speaking personally, I think if you really believe you are called to be prophetic as progressives, then you ought to pay the toll in terms of the rest of the Communion and do it. And I think similarly, that if we really believe TEC is apostate, then we ought to be able to either work for her reform, or leave with parish property.

[72] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-15-2008 at 09:08 PM • top

And Happy Advent back to Susan—and a Merry Christmas to all.

[73] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-15-2008 at 09:09 PM • top

Mousetalker - as evidence of my talking about discussion, I was asked by Bishop Steenson to facilitate such in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. I would cite my friendship with many on the “orthodox” wing of the church, with whom I have warm and supportive interchanges.

When you write “However, I can state with complete honesty that I have rarely read such a collection of heresy, dissimulation, half-truths, lies, hyperbole, distortion and bile as is regularly spewed onto the Internet by the leaders of my church.” referencing me and others you are wrong—and exhibiting the kind of behavior you say is wrong. I would advise you gather a few people at Stand Firm and bring charges of heresy against me and the others you cite. That is how heresy is defined, not by hurling phrases about. If you want to do a Bile Check, reread your posts and those of a lot of regulars here at SF—you won’t find anything like it at HoBD, except by Don Perschall+ and a few others; but for Don it is not personal.

Greg, I read your justification for your not being bound by rules of courtesy or honor in dealing with those with whom you differ. Your justification reeks of hubris and is self-serving (perhaps better, self-revealing). I believe you lack integrity in this matter, so am not surprised that you would apologize. In this process, Ann looks taller and you seem much smaller.

Jacob, those who pay attention to HoBD will remember that I have stood against both progressives and conservatives making harmful comments there. Again, I believe integrity matters - it is not about winning or losing. By the way, contrary to your assumptions, I am thrilled to hear of dissident congregations (I don’t use that term in a perjorative way) seeking discussions. That has certainly not happened in Rio Grande.

Going Home - you should be ashamed of yourself for your charges of “anti-Christian” activities by TEC. Have you really looked at ERD’s activities, the support of Christian education and outreach, etc.. It all looks far more Christian than the record of those leaving TEC.

Oscewicee—the issue is not whether people can read something at HoBD. It is reprinting those comments without permission.

AnglicanXN, thank you for your list of churches which sought and were involved in discussions. However, the PB was right to wail at the St. Clement’s settlement. Even our Standing Committee has apologized for settling for a small fraction of the worth of the property and endowments. There is credible evidence, too, that St. Clement’s hid assets, in particular, cash.

Desert Padre, there is a huge difference between a SF’er charging “heresy” and the PB making statements that probably every Christian body, including the Roman Catholics, asserts is doctrinally correct. Apparently God is slightly bigger than the “orthodox” can conceive.

JamesW - someone has misled you about HoBD policy (which someone earlier assured all that it is Louie Crew’s domain—not so for a long, long time). If a kibitzer or anyone from anywhere wants something posted on HoBD, he or she needs to have someone with posting privileges post it. I have posted such from progressives and from conservatives and dissidents—I don’t have to agree with the post, but I have to take responsibility for posting it. Often someone who disagrees with me asks me to post his or her response (or attack). I have not refused any such requests.

Dr. Witt, I am sure you are aware there are credible accounts about the CT churches that differ significantly from yours. I read your account and take it seriously, but not as completely truthful (bad source, not intention). I have had friendly, on-going conversations with some of the clergy invovled—so I am attentive to their experience.

tjmcmaho —priests, deacons and bishops have made vows regarding the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of TEC—not what they wish TEC to be or what African or South American prelates believe TEC should be but to the Episcopal Church as it is. When they break or abandon those vows they are subject to discipline. Those who realize they can no longer act under those vows and leave TEC have, I believe, integrity: those who stay to villify the Episcopal Church and urge others to leave it while drawing their salaries and increasing their pensions seem to me to lack basic integrity.

Eclipse—if your former parish left without taking property, whatever could the diocese have sued you for? I am interested. You can respond to my email if you wish: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

tjmcmahon—I would be happy to receive your request to publish my posts to HoBD. I have made some blunders from time to time, so am not providing a blanket permission. My email is above.  Honestly, I don’t think I have written anything at HoBD that I wouldn’t have written on SF.  If you or anyone else want to know what I really believe about the theology and doctrine espoused on SF, check out my four part series on “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church.” You can find it at either:
http://www.episcopalmajority.blogspot.com or
http://www.turningthingsupsidedown.blogspot.com—at the latter site, my blog, you will have to skip over several audition scripts from my plays being produced.

[74] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-15-2008 at 09:10 PM • top

Andreweson—charges of heresy are serious charges, indeed, so serious that the church over the centuries has reserved that term to apply to judgments made by the church in an official way rather than to private convictions. There is a process to test your and others’ charges of heresy. It is spelled out in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

I don’t ask that anyone lay aside firmly held convictions in or preceding dialogue or discussions. I ask that all attempt to honor the other’s intentions to follow Jesus Christ and that we are all members of the Body of Christ. I have never suggested otherwise, though I do believe that the doctrine and theology as expressed by the SF stalwarts does undermine traditional Christianity.

[75] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-15-2008 at 09:17 PM • top

Tom+, no apology is required for the charge of heresy. The Episcopal Church departed from apostolic teaching in 2003 and has been a heretic body since that time. And in so far as your teachings are consistent with hers, the charge of heresy applies to you as well. When a church officially sanctions behavior explicitly and plainly condemned in scripture she ceases to be a church. Paul did not ask the Galatians to call a Council or to check with Jerusalem, but to compare any new teachings with the teachings delivered by the apostles:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-9)

It is unfortunate that the label is not something you appreciate but it is a true one. There is a way to remove it…and that is to distance yourself from the false teachings of the Episcopal Church and to repent and recant of your participation in them. And I pray that you do so.

[76] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-15-2008 at 09:34 PM • top

Neal, no apologies are necessary. However, I should probably take this opportunity to expand on my rationale for ignoring the HoB/D’s “privacy” statement.

One: We are engaged in a conflict, and the listserv is host to many of those with whom we are in conflict. I entertain no illusions that there is any “reconciliation” to be had between us and them; therefore I have no expectation that by obeying their privacy requests I will enjoy the fruits of “reconciliation.” I am not interested in anything they define even remotely as “reconciliation.” Indeed, if I am interested in anything as far as that group goes, it is in taking the fight to them in as direct a way as possible, as often as possible.

Two: I disagree sharply with two key principles that so many of the deputies assert. One is that they do not so much represent the interest of communicants as much as they are to “vote their conscience” or to be “proxies for the Holy Spirit.” It is communicants who send them to GenCon; for them to announce, upon being elected, that they are no longer accountable to those communicants for their actions, words or votes in their capacity as deputies is beyond irresponsible, and disingenuous to put it kindly. The other is that they enjoy some expectation of privacy as members of the HoB/D and as posters to that list. They do not, and just because there is a disclaimer on the end of every post does not make it so.

Three: Whatever apprehension I might, under different circumstances, have had with posting these messages, the nature of the conflict in which we are engaged, and the character, words and actions of many of them, combine to erase that apprehension completely. The five bloggers here at SF had lengthy conversations about the ethical questions surrounding this decision. We post these messages with clear consciences.

Four: Put as simply as I can put it, Episcopalians have a right to know what kind of people are making decisions for them at General Convention, and what they are saying to each other. The claim may be made that it’s easy enough for anyone who’s interested to subscribe in audit mode, and my reply would be that I’m making it even simpler, plus I’m providing those people - who would normally be forced into silence due to their kibbitzer status - a forum in which to discuss the things they read.

Five: As you can see, and as is clear every time I post one of these, the reaction is always some combination of justifiable disgust and shock. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, so many of the revisionist posters to the list engage in duplicity, yet demand honesty and transparency. They commit treachery, but demand honor. I plan to continue exposing this hypocrisy. As I believe I wrote in my first post of an HoB/D message, I realize that some of our allies are going to have problems with this decision. I respect their positions even though I disagree with them. We have taken our stand; they must do the same. For my part, I will continue to post these messages when I believe they need to be viewed by our readers, and I will let the chips fall where they may.

[77] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-15-2008 at 09:37 PM • top

Andreweson—charges of heresy are serious charges, indeed, so serious that the church over the centuries has reserved that term to apply to judgments made by the church in an official way rather than to private convictions. 

Good gracious, Father Woodward, could you be referring to the norms of Catholic Christianity which we have received from the Apostles, such as, for example, the conviction that same gender sexual activity is sinful? A conviction repeated by every Church which teaches in union with the said Apostles, at every time, including the Lambeth Conference as recently as 1998? It is not private judgement we defend, but the settled teaching of the Church.

There is a process to test your and others’ charges of heresy. It is spelled out in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

This hubristical statement is puzzling. The Episcopal Church is a constituent body of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is a constituent part of the One Catholic Church. Are you suggesting that a vote on the heresy or otherwise of a proposition at the lowest level should be normative for the larger bodies?! Besides which, we have attempted presentment in the Righter trial, and it was unsuccessful. Our convictions on the matter dictate that we must not let it rest there.

I ask that all attempt to honor the other’s intentions to follow Jesus Christ and that we are all members of the Body of Christ

IS the new teaching a legitimate following of Christ? Are those who teach it members of His Body?
Is this not exactly the question we’re fighting about?

And by the way, it’s Andrewesman, as in the Rt. Revd. Father in God Bishop Andrewes. I dare not claim sonship of such a man, the latchet of whose sandal… grin

[78] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-15-2008 at 09:42 PM • top

They have smeared TEC around the world with their claims that “it is not about honestly gay bishops”

Um. It’s not about honestly gay bishops, +Ms. Fontaine. It’s about Christ and where the chuch places its authority. When TEC made a bishop of a non-celibate gay, it called into question where the church places its authority. But that question and questions about the church’s understanding of Christ have been with us for a long time and are the true heart of the matter. One feels that +Ms. Fontaine would *like* it to just be about gay bishops.

[79] Posted by oscewicee on 12-15-2008 at 09:48 PM • top

It seems to me that what needs to happen is the the GC listserve stop allowing people to listen in.

Secondly, Greg, I’ll wager that the conflict over your crossout above is because it suggests to some that you are questioning the woman’s holy orders in a sarcastic manner.

[80] Posted by Vintner on 12-15-2008 at 09:57 PM • top

#79 Oscewicee, much as the late 19th century physician’s assumed the syptoms WERE the disease, we are often accused of the same when it comes to the ails of TEC.

No matter that the organization allows for teachings and actions that are contrary to its own canons.  No matter that abortion is supported.  No matter that non-celibate un-married people are allowed to hold the title of “priest”.  No matter that Jesus is not proclaimed as The Way, Truth, and the Life.  No matter that the Presiding Bishop HERSELF lowered Christ to just another run of the mill stream in the vast array that will carry us to heaven.  No matter that vows to “protect the church from strange doctrine” have been replaced by “protect the church from whoever I tell you to.”  No matter that God’s Commands have been reduced to guidelines.

It’s us that has it wrong.  We, the ones who don’t want the church cut loose from the moorings that have held it fast against storm and pestilence for 2,000 years, are obviously in the wrong.

Or are we wrong because we don’t bend over and take it?  Or are we wrong because we dare to disagree?  Or are we wrong because we want to take seriously what a national organization does with our time, talent, and treasure?

Or are we simply wrong because the “New Thang” sounds a lot like “honor my feelings, since there is no Objective Truth in Christ anyway.” and we’re not buying in?

I weep for the masses who are being misled.  It doesn’t matter what words we use, if we never again uttered “apostate”, “heretic”, or “usurper” it would change nothing.  We have been called to Stand.  Inside or outside; FedCon, Con, or Lib; reasserter or reappraiser; all just words.

We have seen evil, and we dare to call it out, and for that we MUST be eliminated. 

Not today, Fr. Tom.  Not today.

God Bless You,and KEEP the Faith.

mrb

[81] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 12-15-2008 at 09:59 PM • top

Vitner,

Ah, I see. Well, for the record, what happened is that I posted this piece at 12:45pm with the word “lay.” At 4:22 I got an email from someone telling me that Fontaine is a priest. By that time there were several comments. Not having time to read them and see if any contained similar corrections, I simply struck through “lay” and added “clergy,” so that anyone correcting me in an existing comment would not be made to appear themselves to making a mistake. I realize we use that strikethrough mainly for comedic effect around here, but fwiw, I meant nothing more than what I just described. Thanks for hazarding a guess as to what Tom’s indignation was all about.

[82] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-15-2008 at 10:03 PM • top

Step 1:  Greg tosses out some red meat—“Episcopalians sick and tired of being called heretic and apostate; respond by calling those leaving liars and thieves.”  (Scoop!)

Step 2:  Reappraisers demand apology from Greg for ignoring “rules” he never agreed to, and ask the absurd question of whether there’s ever been a congregation even slightly interested in settlement.

Step 3:  Slice and dice the reappraiser.  Horror stories about litigation.  Susan Russell posts.

A great thread. 

How much less interesting the HoB/D listserv would be if people thought for a few moments about advice my mother has given me for at least 15 years:  don’t put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.  Especially before you e-mail it to hundreds (thousands?) of people, including many of your best anonymous friends.

Apologies in advance if this is hijacking, but there are some pretty badly erroneous statements about the Virginia “Protocol” that seem to be drawing general acceptance as fact (from post 16).  So let’s do a bit of analysis…

It was negotiated with the Bishop with the assistance of his chancellor…

Not quite.  It was a report from a committee appointed by the Bishop to “get on with their mission in as close a union as possible with the diocese.”  The half of the committee (including a lawyer) that had already decided to leave TEC liked it because it bolstered the division statute legal actions their lawyers had been planning for years.  The half of the committee from the diocese (one of whom was the chancellor) were fine with it because it required approval of diocesan authorities for any deals and contained language that suggested the diocese had at least some degree of rights to the property.

It was accepted/received/approved by the Standing Committee (they voted positively on it, but it does not appear to be resolved which the Standing Committee thought they were doing at the time, or whether they understood the various distinctions under Roberts’ Rules).

Again, not so.  The Standing Committee and Executive Board, reluctantly, “received” the report specifically because they were unwilling to approve or endorse it.  And everyone knew exactly what that meant:  the report was going nowhere fast.  Just ask the member of the Standing Committee (and friend of Truro) who testified at trial:

      Q   Did the Standing Committee approve it?
      A   No.
      Q   Did the Standing Committee ratify it?
      A   No.
      Q   Did the Standing Committee endorse it?
      A   No.
      Q   Did the Executive ... Board approve it?
      A   No.
      Q   Did the Executive Board ratify it?
      A   No.
      Q   Endorse it?
      A   No.
      Q   Has the Standing Committee approved,
  ratified or endorsed that Protocol?
      A   No.
      Q   Was this meeting that you just referred to,
  you said in November?
      A   Yes, I think it was early November.
      Q   All right.  That was before the Standing
  Committee knew the position of the Presiding Bishop
  with respect to the property issues involved in this
  litigation, correct?
      A   Yes.

Or, better yet, ask Dr. David Allison, current Chief Financial Officer of the Anglican District of Virginia Board of Directors and former Church of the Apostles vestry member:

      Q   You understood that the Protocol was not
  fully accepted by the Diocese and the National Church
  when it was announced.
      A   We did.
      Q   You understood that the Standing Committee
  of the Diocese never accepted the Protocol.
      A   We understood at the time that it was
  announced that it had not yet accepted it.  We
  obviously hoped that it would accept it, but we
  understood that it had not yet been accepted.
      Q   And it was not accepted by the Standing
  Committee at any point prior to when the Church of the
  Apostles voted to disaffiliate?
      A   That is correct.
      Q   And you understood that the Executive Board
  of the Diocese never accepted the Protocol.
      A   We did.

The previous poster mentioned Robert’s Rules.  If you’re curious, the 1893 edition (sections 30 and 46(c)) equate “receiving” a report with it being read aloud, a very different thing from a vote to “accept” or “approve” it.  (I will not be nearly so condescending as the previous poster and assume and insinuate—without any basis whatsoever—that they simply had no idea what they were doing.)

The bishop told the congregations to proceed under it, and they did.

Nope.  He told the members of the committee a week after they reported that he would “share” it “in due course with the Standing Committee and Executive Board.”  See above for how that turned out.  Then a couple weeks after the chilly reception there, and after the congregations had begun to leave, he wrote the congregations (among other things) to remind them that “neither the Executive Board nor the Standing Committee has endorsed or approved it” and that “You should not assume the Episcopal Church will endorse or approve the steps outlined in that report.” 

The CANA folks proceeded to do what they’d planned to do anyway, of course—completely ignoring the parts of the “Protocol” they didn’t like in the process.  And two years later, there everyone is, waiting for final decisions and the appeal.

After the congregations filed the vote with the county, as required by the statute involved…

Only if you seek to have a court award you the property.

the bishop and the standing committee reneged.  They had either been acting in bad faith all along, had seller’s remorse, or were made to do so by Schori, or some combination of the above.

Drinking the BabyBlue Koolaid again, I see.  I’m sure the cold water above will have no effect.  Carry on.

[83] Posted by DavidH on 12-15-2008 at 10:13 PM • top

I’m still not comfortable with publicizing what is said on the HOB/D listserv, but the post has been made.  However, Paul B. is right.  We haven’t really discussed the post itself much yet.  There is one issue here which has gone neglected in this thread.  Rev. Ann Fontaine’s complaints about us, while certainly uninformed, have been heard before.  Yes, the words “heretic” and “apostate” are appropriate for many in TEC, but not for everyone in TEC.  There are many people in TEC (I don’t know Rev. Fontaine, so I cannot comment on her doctrine at all.) who still do not know what this war is about.  They are not heretical or apostate and think that we aim those words at them.  We make them our opponents by wounding them with our carelessness.  They are shocked and confounded by what we say and do. 

Yes, we are doing what we must do in order to remain faithful witnesses of His Word and Sacrifice.  I am not saying otherwise.  However, are we doing it in the most loving way possible?  Just because we are right does not necessarily mean that we are righteous.  Certainly, I am sure that denial is active in TEC, but is that all it is?  It is far too easy to dismiss people like Rev. Fontaine, Tom, Susan, and others by slinging mud at them and justifying our bitterness by their actions.  We are to be a peculiar people not a prickly people.  This thread is quite prickly, and not at all peculiar.  I fear for our precious new provine if we cannot forgive and love those who would call themselves our enemies.  Was anyone listening when ++Duncan said that we should forgive those in TEC who have hurt us? 

I would ask Rev. Fontaine why she thinks that we seek to “bankrupt” TEC.  What good would that do for us?  What would be the point?  People don’t go on a destructive bent without reason.  However, sadly, she answers that very question in the line above, but she doesn’t believe our explanation.  It is not about gays in the Church.  It is about the authority of Scripture. 

It was recently brought to my attention that there are some people even in the orthodox fold who do not know what is going on.  They are with us in principle, but have been left behind in events.  I wonder if the same has happened in the general poplace of TEC.  Since we have Tom, Susan, and Emily here on this thread, perhaps they can answer from their own experience and what they have heard.  Have the orthodox been clear about their reasons for dissent and departure?  Can you articulate what you understand those reasons to be (respectfully of course)?  As I was reminded recently on another thread, we often use the same language but mean entirely different things.  I am curious what we have communicated.

Greg, perhaps it would be better to print a retraction beside the mistake rather than crossing it out.  I did not assume any slight toward Rev. Fontaine, but I was confused by it.

[84] Posted by Modest Mystic on 12-15-2008 at 10:37 PM • top

DavidH,

Does Mr. Beers like his coffee black or with cream?

[85] Posted by Phil on 12-15-2008 at 10:38 PM • top

Wow—I’m just back from a movie . . . and what an awesome thread!

I can’t help but note just a few gems of quotes with which I heartily agree—people have just been so eloquent.

It’s not that anyone is sorry for the uncharitable, bellicose remarks they make on that listserv. They’re just sorry that those remarks are being openly discussed instead of being read in silence by people who had to put gags over their mouths for the privilege of reading compassionate, conciliatory, Christian messages like the one quoted above?

I think that the HOB/D privacy rules are just one more example of the utter contempt and disdain which TEC’s progressive ruling cadre have for the average layperson.  It is a cheap way to spout venomous bile amongst the “chosen few” and then cite some out-dated rule to prevent this bile from being made public.

Apparently, in order to be reconciled, all property must be handed over to TEC, TEC must be allowed to depose the clergy who had the audacity to take their congregations out of TEC, AND they must apologize for their use of the words “heretic” and “apostate”.

Yes, and those little files gleaned from the Russians with the words “top secret” (in Russian, I suppose) should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be used by the CIA after being forwarded to us by our spies within the KGB. After all, the folder is clearly marked “top secret”. Simple integrity demands that these secret files be returned unexamined to their sources.

I see the way-back machine is still working.  Oh, wait, this is a current thread.

Oh.  But all the usual people are saying all of the usual things.

Okay, someone sends an email to Greg with something posted to the HOB/D.  He posts it here.  The usual liberals drive by to decry the absolute abrogation of privacy.  Greg says he never signed up to the HOB/D, and doesn’t need to respect the privacy.

I would think that after the fifth time this happened we could talk about the content of the posting, instead of the expectation of privacy or not.

But having said that, I can faithfully, without quoting a single word reproduced on that Listserv, say that the folks there write as if to a diary, not as if to a public posting, and that is why they are so offended if a comment is reproduced in another arena.

It seems to me that what needs to happen is the the GC listserve stop allowing people to listen in.

[86] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 10:39 PM • top

Which movie?

[87] Posted by AndrewA on 12-15-2008 at 10:42 PM • top

Let me know when #83 is done please so that I can resume reading this thread.
Sincerely,
Intercessor

[88] Posted by Intercessor on 12-15-2008 at 10:48 PM • top

And then there were the couple of comments from Tom Woodward that were a scream.

Greg, I read your justification for your not being bound by rules of courtesy or honor in dealing with those with whom you differ. Your justification reeks of hubris and is self-serving (perhaps better, self-revealing). I believe you lack integrity in this matter, so am not surprised that you would apologize. In this process, Ann looks taller and you seem much smaller.

How long do ya’ll think it will take for Tom Woodward to figure out that when he attempts to insult Greg . . . Greg swells with joy and pride and all of us slap him on the back. 

When Tom says “courtesy” I think “bullying.”  When Tom says “honor” I think “shame.”  When Tom says “hubris” I think “humility.”  When Tom says “self-serving” I think “sacrificial.”  When Tom says “integrity” I think “lies.”  And when Tom says “smaller” I think “standing tall.”

In short, whatever Tom deems to be negative, I see is positive.  What Tom sees as positive, I see as low and dastardly.

RE; “If you or anyone else want to know what I really believe about the theology and doctrine espoused on SF, check out my four part series on “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church.”

And if anyone wants to know what Tom really believes in general, they need to truck right over to this lovely post right here put on by some anonymous but heroic people to whom we are all grateful:
http://episcopalmajority.com/?p=44

I wish they’d return.

Thank you, whoever you are.  You did great work.  And the revisionist activists’ eyes bulged with rage whenever you posted.

With admiration,

Sarah

[89] Posted by Sarah on 12-15-2008 at 10:49 PM • top

DavidH,
That is a spectacular post, and I won’t take issue with it, except to say that I think the CANA people genuinely thought they had a deal, that the negotiations and the protocol had meaning and that the DioVa would work out something with the separating parishes.  Not quite so.

Civil litigation leaves a bitter heritage, one that will last for generations, whoever is right.  I am sure the Romans had a very good case against the Christians they threw to the lions, but our collective memory does not kindly recall that the Roman side of the conflict.

The litigation that is now upon us will likewise leave a strong memory, “blood of martyrs” and such.  And from time to time, there are posts by folks who do not observe the Matt. 5:43 caution.  Such is the fruit of litigation.

The pending litigation, the depositions, the quarrels over canons, are dreadful.  Whether someone has inappropriately snitched a posting from a listserv or used a naughty word (e.g., “apostasy”) pales in comparison.

[90] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 12-15-2008 at 10:49 PM • top

Sweet!
I’ve made a startling discovery, and I feel compelled to share it in light of the seriousness of this topic and post. 
I’ve often wondered what the source of the “New Thang” was.  I mean, BeerKat et. al and the PHIPS always seemed to have some vision, some agenda, some playbook they were following, almost as if they KNEW what they wanted TEC to look like…..

Riding back from picking up my youngest at gymnastics just this minute, I played a few cuts from The Temptations Greatest Hits.  In this album did I discover the TEC Master Plan!!!  THis is SOOOO Good! 

See if you know it (sing along if you do)

Let me tell you about a place I know
To get in it don’t take much dough
Where you can really do your thing, Oh Yeah!
It’s got a sign outside that says
Come on in and take a look at your mind.
You might be suprised what you might find, Oh Yeah!

You can have your fortune told
You can learn the meaning of soul
There ain’t no such thing as time.
Incense in the air, signs painted everywhere
I guarentee this place will blow your mind, Yeah
Music so high, you can’t get over it,
So Low, You can’t get under it.

...People I’m talking about….
The Psychedelic Shack!  That’s where it’s at!
Psychedelic Shack, That’s where it’s at!
(with apologies to any Temps still alive)

Ok, now we know where they got it from….

KTF!...mrb

[91] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 12-15-2008 at 11:05 PM • top

One wonders if Episcopal clergy swear to uphold the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Episcopal Church, or the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?  Is it institutional loyalty in they preferring the former?  It appears so.

[92] Posted by Cennydd on 12-15-2008 at 11:15 PM • top

Strike out “they.”

[93] Posted by Cennydd on 12-15-2008 at 11:15 PM • top

Liars and thieves….
Seems I remember that one of them was crucified with Jesus and promised paradise. Maybe +Ann was offering a veiled compliment!

[94] Posted by RalphM on 12-15-2008 at 11:23 PM • top

Whether it is over at Daily Kos, or from some of the liberal posters who visit Stand Firm, I am surprised, even to this day, at the rage and vitriol expressed, whether it be in politics or religion. Aren’t you guys ‘winning?’ Why aren’t you happy?

At Stand Firm, on the other hand, as at Rush Limbaugh or over in The Corner at NRO Online, there is seriously, yes, but there is also humor even playfulness.

I draw two conclusions from all this:
1. TEC has been badly hurt, strategically, by their cold inflexibility and harsh response to (what were originally a few) parish departures and property disputes, and they have done it to themselves. Every situation that I am aware could have been better handled through prayful negotiation with their departing Chritian brothers and sisters.
2.

[95] Posted by rkreed on 12-15-2008 at 11:26 PM • top

#92 Cennydd, I like that change.  I hope that gets into the canons of the ACNA.  It’s a broader responsibility.

[96] Posted by Modest Mystic on 12-15-2008 at 11:28 PM • top

Sorry. Clumsy fingers. #2 was that except for situations of brutal force (example - dictatorships, etc.) the happy, optimistic side usually wins, in the end. Relentless, mindless rage in not only unholy, it also wears one out.

[97] Posted by rkreed on 12-15-2008 at 11:30 PM • top

Not certain why Greg would apologize for rules he didn’t sign up for—he’s not a member of the listserve. Further, why on earth any of us would give a hoot in the holler about Tom Woodward’s definitions of “integrity” or “honesty” I have no clue.
                      Sarah Hey

I have never understood how a list that anyone can join can be considered anything less than public. But then, I have never understood, nor joined, a list that invited anybody to join but not allowed them to speak.
          oscewicee

Each and both of these excellent remarks indicate the self-aggrandized view TEC has of itself.  No one is bound by rules s/he has never consented to, of a voluntary organization s/he has never joined.  Why would anyone be unable to grasp this point, unless he thinks the group rather than its constituent members appoints members without their consent?  Listserv as politburo, anyone?  That anyone really believes this about a silly listserv, of all things, is a sign of just how ridiculous so much of TEC, including the entire accusations against Greg, are.

And there are numerous other examples of the lawlessness, inability to establish, recognize, understand, much less, abide, by common rules of procedure in TEC or the Anglican Communion.  It is one of TEC’s most essential and defining characteristics: anarchy is The Episcopal Church.

[98] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 12-15-2008 at 11:38 PM • top

Phil, 85, beats me.  Are you searching for the perfect Christmas present?  All of the above is from materials on the ADV and Diocese of Va websites.  You just have to have the interest and time to go through it.  And nothing better to do.  (Sad comment on myself I suppose.)

Intercessor, 88, I thought you’d be happy that I’m disagreeing with people again.  (But don’t overlook the first part, before the long tangent, where I agree with Greg and the many other posters on publicizing HoB/D posts.)

Dick Mitchell, 90, I think you’re right.  It’s part of being human to see what we want to see.

[99] Posted by DavidH on 12-15-2008 at 11:55 PM • top

Those on the HOB Listserv are blinded by their secular humanist thinking….they will not change unless a miracle from God deems it to be so!

[100] Posted by TLDillon on 12-16-2008 at 12:08 AM • top

Sorry to hear that Neal M., who is on the HOB Listserve, is blinded by his secular humanist thinking.  I thought he was an okay kind of guy, myself.  Still do, in fact.

[101] Posted by Vintner on 12-16-2008 at 12:30 AM • top

Vitner,
You are a stickler for names! I am not going to list every one to whom the Secular Humanist applies. Most everyone here on SF knows who they are and no Neal is probably not in that category and I would say neither is +Don Perschall or Dan Martins+! But the likes of Tom Woodward, Elizabeth Kaeton, Ann Fontaine, Walter Righter, Tom Fitzhugh, Roy Murphy, Bart & Tony, Richard Brewer, Liz Zivanov, Michael Russell, and Lilith Zoe, just to name a few….well….their words and actions speak volumes!

[102] Posted by TLDillon on 12-16-2008 at 12:55 AM • top

The members of HOBD are claiming a form of “Executive Privilege” regarding their communications on the listserv.  Essentially they are accusing Greg of facilitating the violation of a confidence. Evidently the leadership of TEC needs a forum in which to communicate apart from the watchful eyes of their constituents; a place were ideas can be expressed without fear of oversight. 

Executives consistently seek such a privilege.  It allows control and management of the message presented to the public even as the real motivations are hashed out behind a curtain.  Liberals in general dislike claims of executive privilege - unless it happens to be their privilege. Whatever happened to their loud professions on the benefits of openness?

carl

[103] Posted by carl on 12-16-2008 at 01:13 AM • top

Excellent comments above by many.  Once a few months ago the UK Guardian newspaper took my comment off the T19 blog and published it without permission.  They did mention the blog and the name I post with, which happens to be my real first name.  I wasn’t offended; rather, I emailed the link to my friends!

I question the wisdom and common sense of having a semi-public blog for HoB/D members and expecting it to be “private.”  Even the creation of such a thing brings the reasons into question.  Church business is the business of church membership, especially in a place like TEC which so highly values, it says, its democratic polity.  General Convention is not a social club; it’s a representative body which makes decisions for the whole.  If factions among bishops and deputies wish to establish a truly private list for discussion of issues and strategy, they can do so easily.  I see no difference in essence between posts to this official HoB/D listserv and debates and committee deliberations at GC itself.  It’s TEC public business.

[104] Posted by Katherine on 12-16-2008 at 01:32 AM • top

This thread and the HoBD mailing list itself confirm that the more you read the writings of the leaders of the Episcopal Church, the more you appreciate Judge Bellows’ pithy summation of them.

The Episcopal Church: We blink at reality more than fifteen times a minute.

[105] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-16-2008 at 05:15 AM • top

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

[106] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 12-16-2008 at 05:58 AM • top

Those on the HOB Listserv are blinded by their secular humanist thinking

vs.

You are a stickler for names!

I’m not a stickler for names.  I’m simply opposed to hearing or reading groups of people unfairly accused of something simply because they belong to a group, i.e., “All democrats favor abortion” or “Every Anglican in the pre-supposed diocese of San J. is an Anglo-Catholic homophibic woman-hater.”  For what it’s worth, I agree that some who post on the list serve are off the wall in their thinking.  I don’t agree that all of them are, though.

[107] Posted by Vintner on 12-16-2008 at 07:36 AM • top

Dr. Witt, I am sure you are aware there are credible accounts about the CT churches that differ significantly from yours. I read your account and take it seriously, but not as completely truthful (bad source, not intention). I have had friendly, on-going conversations with some of the clergy invovled—so I am attentive to their experience.

Tom Woodward,

What a polite way of calling me a liar.  I posted nothing in my summary that was not from my own first hand experience.  I was the clerk for the vestry meetings in which Fr. Hansen’s sabbatical was announced, and discussed.  I was present when the vestry asked Fr. Knapp to approach Bishop Smith and ask that he be allowed to stay on.  I heard the sermon in which Fr. Knapp announced that Bishop Smith had agreed with him to stay on.  Three days later, I spent an entire morning and afternoon in the parking lot of the church the day that Bishop Smith and his entourage moved in and changed the locks.  I spoke with Smith face to face.  I read the actual letter of deposition accusing Fr. Hansen of “abandoning the communion” on the grounds of having taken a sabbatical without permission. I saw the locksmith and the computer hackers with my own eyes.  I spoke face to face with the church secretary, who was in tears, several times on the day of the break-in, and who told us what she had personally experienced that morning.  We could see through the church office windows and observe the hackers working at the computer.  I saw the persons that were posted at the doors to prevent the church members from entering the building until the locks were changed. I was with the parish when Fr. Knapp told us how shocked he was that Bishop Smith had broken his agreement.  And I was the parish spokesperson at the parish meeting when Bishop Smith ventured to explain his actions to us.  And, finally, I was one of the vestry persons who received the registered letter telling me I had been removed for my (unspecified) “many offenses.”

So, if you don’t believe me, call me a liar directly.  But do not tell me that I am “misinformed” or that I am relying on a “bad source.”  I am the source.  I was there.

[108] Posted by William Witt on 12-16-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

Dear Vitner #101,

Thanks for the back-handed compliment (I think).  I suspect that “none of the usual suspects on the other side of the HoBD listserve” would ever accuse me of secular humanist thinking.

Having said that, I hope you mean secular to be an adjective further distinguishing forms of humanism and that you don’t intend for it to be redundant—as some do.

Humanism gave rise to the Reformation.  An appreciation for the arts and learning (hallmarks of humanism) is not in itself a bad thing, so long as we understand GOd as the source and ultimate center of all our arts and learning.

Well, gotta go to work.

[109] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 12-16-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

Two thoughts:

1) Since the HoBD list goes readily to individuals who are not members of congregations under The Episcopal Church, under what stretch of imagination should said individuals be bound to keep it to themselves?

2) Once you realize that the predominance of posters to HoBD are simply Marxists (social, economic, or both) and not Christians, it’s a much less “toxic” spiritual environment. smile

[110] Posted by Allan Bourdius on 12-16-2008 at 08:33 AM • top

Tom:

If that puzzles you, then you can join the rest of my congregation - sorry, nothing there to add except they chose not too - probably finally figuring out that since we had nothing, there was nothing that could be taken. 

The reality is, try as one might to make these people look otherwise, there is a strain of anger, malice, bitterness and greed there that cannot be gilded by any canon law OR their ‘rights’. 

It’s sad but true.

[111] Posted by Eclipse on 12-16-2008 at 08:41 AM • top

Tom owes William Witt an apology, but he will never give him on.  Tom is a believer in the cause.  I know Tom personally from the HOBD listserv.

As a former frequent poster to the listserv, I disagree with Neal’s assessment.  I once would have agreed that HOBD Listserv posts should be kept private.  But, I don’t think so anymore.  The HOBD Listserv has allowed mice to roar long enough without accountability.

I frankly don’t read the listserv much anymore.  It is frankly pointless.  But, when gems like Ann’s posting come up, it should be made public so that folks who disagree with the direction of TEC will realize there is no place for them, they are not wanted in TEC, and there can be no reconciliation.

[112] Posted by Brad Drell on 12-16-2008 at 08:48 AM • top

Neal, I was quoting #100.  And it wasn’t a back-handed compliment.  I don’t agree with you on everything but you’ve certainly got my respect and I’m grateful for the recent book you wrote on Vestries.

[113] Posted by Vintner on 12-16-2008 at 09:41 AM • top

There are days, Vitner, in which I don’t agree with everything I say, either.

[114] Posted by Neal in Dallas on 12-16-2008 at 10:01 AM • top

#83.  All can read the court transcripts and related documents if they want, and I encourage them to do so.  I stand by my summary.  And you confuse the authority of the bishop with the authority of the standing committee.

As you acknowledge, half the committee (including the bishop’s chancellor) were representing the bishop.  They were acting on his behalf - or if not, were misleading the representatives of the orthodox churches.

As you also presumably know, the standing committee does not, under the Virginia canons, have any express authority over any part of the protocol other than the transfer of property.  Which is why the protocol refers to the standing committee in that section.  And it does so because the bisop’s chancellor knew what he was doing.  All the rest of the protocol was within the power of the bishop (as it does not involve property) and was agreed to by the bishop (or he lead the orthodox to think so), and that is why it was not contingent upon the standing committee’s approval.  For the bishop to then renege on the grounds that the standing committee did not approve is just seller’s remorse.  He didn’t need their approval (or the Executive Committee’s) for anything but the property transfer. 

The protocol is addressed to the bishop, but what it says is “The Committee offers the following protocol to departing members.” It does not say “this is a proposed protocol subject to the approval of the standing committee”.  Nor does it say “These are just a bunch of nonbinding ideas”.  It says the committee representating the Bishop are offering this to the parishes.  Period. 

Furthermore, unless the press reports are not to be believed, (1) the protocol was coauthored by the chancellor to the diocese, who presumably knows how to draft documents (and took 9 months to do so in this case, during which time I’m sure he talked to the bishop a time or two); (2) the parishes followed the protocol “in repeated consultation with the Diocesan leadership as evidenced, in part, by materials the Diocese contributed to the public web site”, so the Diocesan leadership encouraged the parishes to follow the protocol and thought it was agreed to; and (3) the Bishop “stated to representatives of both churches on October 16 that he saw the protocol as, in his words, ‘the right way forward’”, so the Bishop agreed to the protocol, encouraged the parishes to follow the protocol as well, which they did, and he was aware of all this as it was goin on.

This question of standing committee approval, by the way, raises a number of questions.  First, why wasn’t the protocol already effective?  No one has explained why it needed Standing Committee “approval” at all.  The committee appointed by the Bishop approved it, as did the Bishop.  The special committee had already “offered” the protocol to the parishes.

Also, since you are arguing Robert’s Rules (which, though I raised them first, I’m not sure are actually the rules the diocese operates under), when does a body need to vote to “receive” a report?  Does receiving a report require any vote?  No.  There is nothing about it in the US or VA canons.  Robert’s Rules of Order suggests that there only need be a vote by a committee to “receive” a report if the report is not on the agenda, and the purpose of the vote to receive is only whether the committee will take the time to look at it.  (For example, “A very common error is, after a report has been read, to move that it be received, whereas the fact that it has been read shows that it has been already received by the assembly.”) If they were not communicating approval, why would they have a vote?  Error?  Could it possibly have been an attempt to mislead, to kick the can down the road until the time it looked like the diocese would lose the vote?

And how much did the Standing Committee know about the special committee report, why did they wait so long to, apparently, claim they needed to approve as well, and on what basis did they do so?

On a quick perusal of the canons of the US and VA, I see nothing that says that such a protocol needs Standing Committee approval once a Bishop has agreed.  See US Title III, Canon 18.  The “order, government and discipline” of the diocese of Virginia is vested in the bishop, not the standing committee.  VA Const. Art I.  In fact, the standing committee only serves to advise the bishop.  US Title I, Canon 12., VA Const. Art 15.  The standing committee has a say over disposition of consecrated property, but not over any other church property.  VA Canon 15.  I suspect that that is why the protocol stated that the disposition of property had to be approved by the standing committee, but did not say that about the protocol for departure itself - because under the canons, it is not required, and the chancellor for the diocese who drafted it that way knew it.

The bishop even participated in the 40 days of discernment process which was part of the protocol by sending a representative to speak to the congregations (a standing committee member who was so antagonistic that it probably lost the bishop votes - which in hindsight probably was a signal the standing committee was beginning to revolt against the protocol negotiated by the bishop) and a video, all following the protocol. 

As you acknowledge, it was only at that point, Dec. 1, 2006 right before the vote on Dec. 17, that for the first time the bishop issued his letter that they might not follow the protocol.  And the bishop even after that still appointed another committee to negotiate and entered into a standstill agreement on December 18, 2008, which, among other things, stated that the congregations “may report their congregations determinations by filing a petition/report with the relevant VA Circuit Courts pursuant to Va. Code 57-9 without violating the agreement.”  But then the committee to negotiate never met because the diocese chose to begin litigation.

You can argue all you want that “well, it wasn’t technically, really, a legally binding contract”.  On that you are probably right.  But it is clear that Lee pushed the protocol down the road, lead the orthodox parishes to believe they could follow it, and allowed them to do so on reliance of his representations and those of his representatives on the committee, and for 9 months the standing committee was silent, right up until the point when it became apparent the bishop would lose the vote and Schori told him what to do.  Did at any time before that did the bishop say “you can’t leave” or “don’t follow the protocol”?  No.  The bishop and the standing committee lead everyone to think they had a process to leave and negotiate over property.  And then when they saw it was going to happen, they reneged, because they could do so.

Whatever it technically was that the bishop was saying or doing, it was not “trust me; I’m acting in good faith.”  It was the opposite.  The bishop could not be trusted.  It is nothing for you to be proud of.

[115] Posted by pendennis88 on 12-16-2008 at 10:11 AM • top

There is an old saying which is probably considered trite by some. “Tell the truth and shame the devil”.
I thank God for the good men and women here (with special affection for Fr William Witt and Brad Dell) for not allowing dark deeds and words to stay in darkness.  Because if they did they would not be servants of the truth.  And all truth with a small “t” must be measured against the Truth of Jesus Christ.  This Truth does not allow us to be silent when malice, envy, scandal, defamation, lies, misrepresentation, contempt, and outright hatred are bandied about against others.  And the fact they try to benoble this behavior by hiding behind a spurious confidential agreement is beneath contempt.  It could be described in more high falutin terms but the most apt and simple is cowardice. 

So thanks all who bring light upon this corner of darkness.

[116] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 12-16-2008 at 10:24 AM • top

special affection for Fr William Witt and Brad Dell

Paula,

In the interests of the truth you so much value, I should point out that it is “Dr. William Witt” or (these days) even “Prof. William Witt,” or, as my students call me (alas! where’s the respect?!), “Witty Witt,” but not “Fr. William Witt.”  I am a lay person.

[117] Posted by William Witt on 12-16-2008 at 10:44 AM • top

My apologies Dr. Witt I plead ignorance and laziness for not knowing your proper title.

[118] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 12-16-2008 at 10:47 AM • top

Pendennis and DavidH—this isn’t a thread on the Virginia property issues.  Please take it off list—or wait until an appropriate thread when DavidH can bring up his boilerplate.

[119] Posted by Sarah on 12-16-2008 at 11:09 AM • top

Sarah [119] - agreed. And we get some more pithiness in the comments?

[120] Posted by texex on 12-16-2008 at 01:37 PM • top

Susan Russell and sophistry:

““I consider the HoB/D listserv “privacy” statement null and void because I reject the notion ...”

The three periods denote an ellipse or something that was left out of Greg’s statement. It was left out because it conflicted with the idea she was trying to cook up about Greg. Susan is not about truth which is why there is this ruckus in TEC about her type serving the Lord. You have to be honest in all your actions to serve the Lord. She by her own admission is not like the rest of us. As she feels that she is not bound by Christian teaching on sexuality, so Greg feels that he is not bound by Louie Crews internet rules in a public domain. Which is the greater sin Susan? I’ll let your silence be your answer of consent as it is in Latin law.

[121] Posted by ctowles on 12-16-2008 at 03:32 PM • top

ctowles, Greg’s view on how the listserve participants seek to keep their thoughts out of public view aren’t an issue. He’s not on the listserve nor did he jailbreak the posts from the listserve-of-silence.

[122] Posted by texex on 12-16-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

pendennis, I appreciate the detailed response.  I’d hazard some analysis of some of the things you mention, but Sarah is right that this was a tangent from the beginning, so another day and another time perhaps.

Sarah, it’s interesting both that you chose to level a final jibe only at one of us and that the word you used was so entirely inapt.  But thank you at least for encouraging me not to waste any more time on this thread.

[123] Posted by DavidH on 12-16-2008 at 06:33 PM • top

Gregs comments in number 77 were very good.
1) Note to HOBD posters - dont ever put anything in writing that you would not want to see on the front page of the NY Times or your parish news buletin.  The internet is not conducive to privacy.  To think otherwise is ludicious.
2) There is a cultural war in America - and in TEC. Its the same war people - it just so happens that the Crews, Russells+, +Pikes, and +Spongs happened to do politics much better than the traditionalists - they were on a mission - to distroy the faith once delivered in order to make their lifetyles and/or political views safe from traditional Christianity (which was and largely is their ancient foe)
3) Now that the ACNA is launched (or launching) the war within TEC is no longer just a guerrilla campaign.  It will now be fought Dioceses against Dioceses, region by region, town by town, village by village, and within many parishes and families.  Civil Wars are nasty affairs - but this one is being fought by anti thetical people and belief systems. Most of the HOBD never liked the people on Standfirm and vice versa - there will be some who will lose real friends - but that is the nature of civil wars.
4) TEC’s biggest remaining problem (other than the fact that a Church that does a poor job of evanglism and reproduction does not have a bright future)- is that it still has a large number of traditionalists inside its ranks to wage a guerilla campaing from within.
4) Tom+ of Santa Fe has always seemed entirely too thin skinned - stop enabling his whining.
5) Remember a Churchill maxim - “If you have to kill a man it costs nothing extra to smile”
6) Stop expecting the revisionists to behave like traditional Christians - they arent traditional Christians and they will not behave as such. They cant make rational Christianlike deals because there will be a rush for the exits - they want the earthly treasure to 1) continue to operate; and 2) deny a competitor the resources to kick their butt.
7) Since TEC already has plenty of lawyers in purple - ACNA needs to get either more lawyers or better ones (and PR Flacks).  With all due respect to Father Radner this is not a war that will be won by clerics - hire paladins and play to win.

[124] Posted by chips on 12-16-2008 at 07:12 PM • top

RE: “Sarah, it’s interesting both that you chose to level a final jibe only at one of us and that the word you used was so entirely inapt.”

Not particularly interesting.  But pretty apt since your boilerplate is awash on multiple blogs over the past year, and you took the first opportunity you could grab on this thread to introduce the boilerplate.

And pretty apt . . . since we can all see that my point didn’t at all rankle.  ; > )

RE: “But thank you at least for encouraging me not to waste any more time on this thread.”

Any time.

[125] Posted by Sarah on 12-16-2008 at 10:02 PM • top

Congratulations Sarah, you found a smear piece on me from a web site set up to smear Episcopalians! It is the kind of stuff SF seems to relish.

Matthew, I tire of your reiteration of the old mantra “You and the Episcopal Church have abandoned. . .” You are wrong. Dead wrong. If you read “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church” you will see where the self-styled “orthodox” are the ones subverting traditional Christianity and Anglicanism. Sarah, apparently, can help you find it.

The tearing of the fabric of the church by you and others throwing around “heretic” and “apostate” has not been the work of Jesus Christ. You will not find that kind of recklessness on HoBD—unfortunately it is constant fodder on Stand Firm.

[126] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-17-2008 at 01:11 AM • top

[126] TBWSantaFe wrote:

You are wrong. Dead wrong. If you read “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church” you will see where the self-styled “orthodox” are the ones subverting traditional Christianity and Anglicanism.

It’s like trying to tell a gnostic he doesn’t really have access to secret divine teachings.  The only response you get is “O, yes, I do!  And my secret teaching proves it!”  The argument amounts to nothing more than presuppositions passing in the night.  This is where you see the wisdom of rebuking someone and then leaving him alone should he stiffen his neck. 

Amusing btw that TBWSanteFe should request a heresy trial of all things to prove his point.  It would amount to little more than the Case of Little Red Riding Hood v. B B Wolf - with a jury of wolves to adjudicate.  For whom do you suppose would sit in judgment?  Should I prove myself a prophet and predict the outcome?  Perhaps that is why he feels so sanguine in his request. 

carl

[127] Posted by carl on 12-17-2008 at 01:41 AM • top

TBWSantaFe, I wouldn’t place your entire argument on Woodward. In Part II he states:

“And to think that up until just five or six years ago we all thought that “Christian” meant one who is attempting to follow Jesus as Lord.”

That’s a semi-Pelagianian statement and at odds with Christian teaching going back to Paul and confirmed through out history. Ever notice how the Creeds don’t talk about what we do other than believe?

Woodward’s assertion that same-sex couples are blessed by God can only be true under one of the following conditions:
a) God’s changed His mind on the subject (forcing us to discard our understanding of God as unchanging… and destroying our hope in the promise of salvation and victory over death)
b) The OT and NT writers got it wrong (undermining the reliability of the Scriptures and calling the whole of Christianity into question).

You pick which option fits best in your theology.

[128] Posted by texex on 12-17-2008 at 01:47 AM • top

Tom, sorry for the awkward reference to your article - I didn’t connect the dots on the handle. I stand by the semi-Pelagianian charge.

[129] Posted by texex on 12-17-2008 at 01:51 AM • top

Congratulations Sarah, you found a smear piece on me from a web site set up to smear Episcopalians!

I see.  So, the article can’t be true, because the website ‘Episcopal Majority’ is set up to smear Episcopalians.  Thanks for clearing that up for us.

[130] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-17-2008 at 05:42 AM • top

Dear Heavenly Father,
You are a holy God, and You cannot share Your glory with lies.  We are fallen creatures, blinded by the world and bound by lies. 
Take pity, for our hearts’ desire is You.  Teach us Your truth.  Open our eyes so that we may see as Jesus sees. 
Bless those that post on the HoB/D Listserv and those that are anathematized there, either intentionally or not.  Bless those that post on SF and those that are anathematized there, either intentionally or not. 
You are omniscient and omnipotent.  You know each of our needs, better than we know our own.  As we read Holy Scripture, lead each one of us to those passages You would have us learn and open our hearts to Your good work.  Amen.

[131] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 12-17-2008 at 05:54 AM • top

If you read “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church” you will see where the self-styled “orthodox” are the ones subverting traditional Christianity and Anglicanism. Sarah, apparently, can help you find it.

No need.  Here’s the link

Thumbnail version:  A revisionist pays lip service to the importance of Scripture, then turns around and attempts to neuter the marriage covenant. 

(yawn)

[132] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-17-2008 at 05:55 AM • top

TWSanteFe:
“Matthew, I tire of your reiteration of the old mantra “You and the Episcopal Church have abandoned. . .” You are wrong. Dead wrong.”

No Thomas, your protestations of orthodoxy, when compared to your various writings:

http://episcopalmajority.com/?p=44

...are quite humorous however.

“If you read “The Undermining of the Episcopal Church”

Oh, I read it. Case in point.

“you will see where the self-styled “orthodox” are the ones subverting traditional Christianity and Anglicanism.”

I agree Thomas. The “self-styled” orthodox are indeed the ones subverting Christianity and Anglicanism.

[133] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-17-2008 at 06:13 AM • top

#126, What the above commenters wrote. When I use the word ‘heretic’ I do not use it lightly. Can you honestly say that Archbishop Cranmer would be in accord with your theology? Or Archbishop Laud?

You see, we’ve read your writings and we’ve heard your talks. We read the HoBD mailing list. Greg’s foray into investigative reporting was not news to me (and no I wasn’t one of the ones who relayed Ann’s post to him).

To be explicit, you are a heretic. You are in a position of leadership of a church that purports to be Christian and that used to be so. That is bad. Most of those who comment at StandFirm do so because we are concerned about that sort of thing.

My ideal resolution to this conflict between the heretics in power and the Christians who are opposing them is that you lot will repent of your sins, confess your errors and convert to Christianity. The very reason I, and others, engage in dialog is to reach that resolution.

Some of us had hoped that the impaired or ruptured communion tat the Episcopal Church is in with a large portion of the world’s Anglicans would have been a wake up call for our leadership. Instead of repentance, we saw self-justification, rage and denial. None of those emotions are the fruits of the Spirit.

You and your fellows have set yourselves up as arbiters of who God is, what He is like and how He operates. You have corrupted the word ‘Love’ to serve your ends, and you presume to tell God that He must change to conform to your vision of the world.

On a more personal level, nothing would make me happy than to know that you have stopped telling God what He is, what His limits are and how He should operate in this fallen world. If you could repent of your pride and ask God what He would of you, and seek to serve Him in humility and charity, then any conflict we might have would end.

We are the unworthy servants, and He is our master. He will not allow any other God before Him. And He loves you and me and all of us too much to allow us to continue in our sin.

I will continue to pray for you, Tom Woodward. I fear for your soul as well as the souls of your fellows.

No funny saying or link to my blog.

[134] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-17-2008 at 06:36 AM • top

Why thank you very much, Tom Woodward.  If you characterize a “smear piece” as an essay that points out your rankly heretical beliefs, clearly expressed in writing, then yes sir it is. 

And it does it very nicely.

What a pity that your own words and beliefs constitute a “smear.”

In fact, I’ll be posting it soon, just to remind everyone of what you believe.

What a fraud you are, Tom Woodward.

[135] Posted by Sarah on 12-17-2008 at 07:57 AM • top

TBW-Santa Fe-Tom Woodward+, I would like a very simple answer from you.  I realized months ago that you will never answer the question I asked you several times here in response to your assertions that the Bible is full of contradictions so it cannot be trusted as authoritative.  I asked you to state in detail just one of those contradictions, but all you came up with was some contradiction between Matthew and Mark that made no sense at all when I looked it up.

My very simple question with a very simple answer, yes or no, is this:
Did you or did you not write what the Episcopal Majority piece that Sarah linked quotes you as writing?  Yes or no? 
If yes, then you are in simple descriptive terms, not perjorative terms, a heretic, as compared to traditional Christian hermeneutics, doctrine and teaching largely accepted until sometime in the last 200 years.  If no, then it seems you have a slander case against Episcopal Majority to pursue.

Sarah, you go, girl!  Thanks for linking the EM post.  It was a shocker and an eye-opener even after reading TBW’s many comments here, and one that deserves a post with fisking-dissecting-fileting-sauteing-garnishing-presenting-serving as could only be done justice by one of the choicest recipes from your elf cookbook!

#134 mousetalker, what you said!  The revisionist viral infection, takeover, and transformation of TEC into a virus-making host, soon to be killed by its viral parasites, is too serious a matter to be met with by anything but your frank, compassionate and stalwart response.  TBW, he who has ears to hear, let hin hear, not listening but not perceiving, be no longer unbelieving, but believe.

[136] Posted by Milton on 12-17-2008 at 10:21 AM • top

Quick reminder - truth is an absolute defense against charges of slander.

[137] Posted by texex on 12-17-2008 at 12:37 PM • top

texex, I think Episcopal Majority is quite safe. wink

[138] Posted by Milton on 12-17-2008 at 02:43 PM • top

Dr. Witt, I did not call you a liar—I merely noted that there are credible accounts that differ from your own. I have no reason or inclination to call you a liar. Brad Drell believes I owe you an apology - I believe you misunderstood what I wrote. I hope this clears it up. Brad knows me as one who apologizes when wrong.

Sarah, your calling me a “heretic” is foolish. I have been honored in both “orthodox” and conservative dioceses. I think the problem is that you misunderstand the term: it does not refer to “one who disagrees with Sarah Hey’s peculiar theology.” As to the little clips on the WEB SITE you reference, I object to the Marcionite smearing—just as you would to a similar job done on your work by a web site dedicated to attacking you and your allies. That web site was created to nab the url for The Episcopal Majority before we were able to procure it for ourselves—and then existed to smear us.

Matthew, Sarah—Who is it in authority that categorizes your fairly bizarres theology and ecclesiology as orthodox and not heretical?  Not any recognized authority other than the readership of SF. I’ve got the personal imprimateur of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Episcopal Church and several Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholics, who publish my books and articles. And Sarah wants to call me a “fraud?” 

texex, yes that definition of a Christian has been pretty universal—it is in part what allows the various denominations around the world to make common cause in Bible translations, missionary work and all the rest.  The folks here seem to believe that a small segment of the Episcopal Church (and those who dislike the Episcopal Church) are the only ones who are Christian!  As Santa Claus would say, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Milton—here is your contradiction. In various instances Jesus rejects the authority of the Purity Code of the Israelites, yet in Mt. he says “Not one jot or tittle of the law shall be denied until all is complete.”  There are contradictions surrounding the time of Jesus’ death and in the details surrounding the crucifixion as well as in the chronology of his ministry. When Mark is recorded as citing Isaiah in Mark 1:2 he is quoting Malachi. Now do these contradictions or inaccuracies undercut the authority of the Bible? For Biblical literalists, yes—but not for most of Christendom, including myself.

Sarah, again, if you want to post anything from that spurious/scurrilous web site, go for it. Such a decision will reflect poorly on you, not me.

[139] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-17-2008 at 04:57 PM • top

Tom, I believe Milton’s question *this* time was whether or not you actually wrote the things attributed to you on the Episcopal Majority website.

Direct quote from his post:
Did you or did you not write what the Episcopal Majority piece that Sarah linked quotes you as writing?  Yes or no?

It’s hard to call reporting your own words as a “smear.”

[140] Posted by oscewicee on 12-17-2008 at 05:04 PM • top

My, my, I think that Tom Woodward has just crossed over the River of Sanity.  He is not accusing William Witt of being a “liar” he is just saying that Mr. Witt recounted things (which Mr. Witt claimed to see first hand) which were not true.  Obviously, according to Tom, Mr. Witt had to recount falsehoods knowingly or unknowingly.  Recounting a falsehood knowingly would make him a liar.  Recounting a falsehood unknowingly, which a person believes to have witnessed firsthand, would raise serious questions about that person’s state of mind.  So Tom is either saying that Mr. Witt is a liar or insane.  Similarly, I would love to see Tom’s “personal imprimateur of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Episcopal Church and several Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholics”.  Perhaps he would be kind enough to scan this into his computer and forward it on to Sarah for display on SFIF!  After all, everyone knows that when a Roman Catholic publishing company publishes your book, it includes a “personal imprimateur” from the pope.

I would also suppose that Tom’s anger that his own words quoted in public are enough to “smear” him is closely linked to his anger that liberal rants on the HOB/D list not be publicized.  Clearly, to quote a liberal spouting theological nonsense is to “smear” that person.  Liberals may spout theological nonsense privately to each other, but such may never, NEVER be publicized where any ordinary lay person might read it.

I also recall Tom Woodward’s interpretation of TEC’s canons elsewhere.  His arguments for canonical interpretation are simply nonsensical.  Really, I don’t see why anyone here would bother trying to debate with someone like Tom who obstinately refuses to deal with reality.

[141] Posted by jamesw on 12-17-2008 at 05:33 PM • top

TBWSantaFe [#139]

When Mark is recorded as citing Isaiah in Mark 1:2 he is quoting Malachi.

Unless, of course, he is quoting Isaiah 40:3.

[142] Posted by Ameryx on 12-17-2008 at 05:37 PM • top

RE: “It’s hard to call reporting your own words as a “smear.”

Oh no it’s not.  It’s easy for Tom Woodward to say that noting his words is a “smear.” 
; > )

RE: “Such a decision will reflect poorly on you, not me.”

To be thought of poorly by Tom Woodward and those like him is an honor and a privilege.

I feel blessed.

May it happen more and more, and I will try not to get puffed up over it or lord it over Greg and Matt and Jackie, who crave the honor as much as I do.

[143] Posted by Sarah on 12-17-2008 at 07:15 PM • top

Tom+, you disappoint me!  Intimating that there are all sorts of inaccuracies and contradictions in the Bible, and that they undercut its authority only for such “literalists” as myself, but not for the shining city of Christendom, of whom you are no doubt a pillar!  I am a literalist in that I believe the Bible means what its human authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, intended it to say, each passage taken in the genre in which it was written, whether descriptive narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, parable, figurative language including hyperbole and metaphor, etc.  But if words have any meaning, the Bible cannot be made to say the opposite of the consensus of competent translators and interpreters, and your words (I assume, since you have not denied they are yours) on EM mean what they say also, in direct contradiction to any revelations of God’s person and nature in Scripture.

About 2 minutes of “research” on Google (“bible mark1:2 isaiah malachai”) reveals that you stopped looking after you thought you nailed a mistake.  You also used a frequent deception of revisionists - stop the quote just short of something that will knock over the house of cards you are trying to build.  Try references to Mark 1 verses 2 and 3.  Mark is indeed quoting Malachai 3:1 in Mark 1:2 and quoting Isaiah 40:3 in Mark 1:3.  Below is your Gordian knot in your knickers untied: (all from NASB)

Mark1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSANGER BEFORE YOUR FACE,...”

Malachai 3:1a “Behold, I am going to send My messanger, and he will clear the way before Me. ...”

Mark 1:3 “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’”

Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God, ...”

You may be interested in just such a “contradiction” I wondered about and similarly researched just this morning that applies in principle to this passage that shook you so.  The question is summed up well by this quote from one of the Google results to my search:

Matthew 27:9-10 says: Then what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me”. Yet where is that found in Jeremiah? Was Matthew confusing Jeremiah with Zechariah? In Zechariah 11:12-13 it says “I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter” - the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.”

Looks like Matthew flat messed up or was edited into a mistake, doesn’t it?  A similar Google search (matthew 27:9-10 zechariah jeremiah) pulled up several helpful pages, all with the same principle that applies to Mark 1:2-3.  Two links that sum up the idea well are http://www.christian-thinktank.com/judas30where.html and http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/527.  I hope you will forgive the length of the quote in appreciation of it giving your astute mind (and those of other readers) something meaty to chew on and digest.  Here is the general principle:

“Jewish scholars could cite some texts while simultaneously alluding to others. Matthew here quotes Zechariah 11:12–3, but by attributing it to Jeremiah he also alludes to a similar text that he wishes his more skillful readers to catch (Jer 32:6–0; cf. 19:1–, 10–1). (The quotation is almost verbatim, and it is unlikely that Matthew would have known the text so well yet attributed it accidentally to the wrong author, unless he is using a list of standard messianic proof texts instead of citing directly from Zechariah, or he is purposely “lending”texts, as I suggest here.) Zechariah 11:12–3 refers to the low valuation God’ people had placed on him; they valued him at the price of a slave (Ex 21:32). [IVP Bible Background Commentary, New Testament]

“Matthew viewed these events as the fulfillment of a prophecy of Jeremiah. But the prophecy Matthew quoted was primarily from Zechariah, not Jeremiah. There is a close resemblance between Matthew 27:9-10 and Zechariah 11:12-13. But there are also similarities between Matthew’ words and the ideas in Jeremiah 19:1, 4, 6, 11. Why then did Matthew refer only to Jeremiah? The solution to this problem is probably that Matthew had both prophets in mind but only mentioned the “Major”prophet by name. (A similar situation is found in Mark 1:2-3, where Mark mentioned the Prophet Isaiah but quoted directly from both Isaiah and Malachi.) In addition, another explanation is that Jeremiah, in the Babylonian Talmud (Baba Bathra 14b), was placed first among the prophets, and his book represented all the other prophetic books. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]...

The quotation is not entirely a quotation of Zechariah. The majority of the quotation does come from Zechariah 11:13, but there is a change from the first person singular (“” to the third plural (“hey”. Furthermore, there is no field mentioned in Zechariah (in fact, in Matthew the NSRV follows the Syriac translation and has “he treasury”instead of “he potter”because Matthew clearly is not quoting Zechariah about the location). Finally, Zechariah does not include the phrase “s the Lord commanded me.”

Second, Jeremiah is also involved with potters (Jer 17:1–1; 19:1–3—n this second passage he purchases something from a potter). Furthermore, Jeremiah purchases a field (Jer 32:6–5), although the price is seventeen pieces of silver rather than thirty. Finally, Jeremiah 13:5 has the phrase “s the Lord commanded me”(RSV) (which also has to do with a purchase).

(rest of this LONG comment in next comment)

[144] Posted by Milton on 12-17-2008 at 07:58 PM • top

(1st comment cont.)

In the first century the Old Testament did not come as a bound volume with chapters and verses. Instead, the work was a series of scrolls. Shorter books were often put together on a single scroll. For example, Zechariah would be part of “he Book of the Twelve,”a single scroll containing all twelve minor prophets. There were paragraph divisions, but they were not numbered. It would be after a.d. 1500 before chapter and verse divisions and numbering were introduced. That means that Jesus in Matthew would have cited an Old Testament passage simply by the name of the author.

When it came to interpreting the Old Testament, it was common to bring passages together based on words they had in common (this is the second of Hillel the Elder’ seven rules of interpretation). In this case, it is clear that Jeremiah and Zechariah have several words in common, especially potter and shekel. Probably potter is the key term. As even the English reader might suspect from the information above, the quotation in Matthew is really Zechariah mixed with several phrases taken from Jeremiah. Again, we need to remember that while this may not be an acceptable way of citing Scripture today (although it is still done by accident!), it was a perfectly acceptable technique in the Palestine of Matthew’ day. (Matthew was probably written in Syria or northern Palestine; he is certainly focused on the Jewish community. Thus he reflects the usage of Scripture in such communities.)

What we have, then, is Matthew pulling together at least two texts in Jeremiah with one text in Zechariah to show that there was a type of biblical prefiguring of Judas’ actions, down to the amount of blood money and the fact that it was given to a potter and was used for the purchase of a field. While the logic of this type of exegesis is strange to the modern Western way of thinking, it would have been viewed as quite normal in Matthew’ time. Likewise it was normal for Matthew to cite the more important prophet, Jeremiah, despite the fact that most of his material came from Zechariah. Thus judged by first-century standards, Matthew is quite accurate and acceptable in what he does. [Hard Sayings of the Bible]

Jesus never rejected the authority of the purity code of the Mosaic Law; He simply pointed out both that the Pharisees made a great show of the minutiua of the Law and especially of their additions to it while negating its principles, and pointed out that He was the New Covenant, new wine for new wineskins that would have burst the old wineskins. (bolding mine)

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law; justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these (tithes) are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

(the next quote also addresses your 1st “contradiction”, produced again by your cutting out the inconvenient part of the passage)
Matthew 5:17-18   17“Do not think that I came to abolish the (A)Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, (B)until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Relevant NT passages also shed light on the relationship between law and grace as well as Jesus’ atoning (for sin) sacrifice of Himself on the cross being the only true and the final fulfillment and satisfaction of the Law’s impossible demands upon all us sinners.  Try:
Acts 15:1-31
Romans chapters 5-8
1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 5:1-13
2 Corinthians 2:1-11; 7:1-12
Galatians 1:11-24; 2:1-21 (one might profitably read the rest of Galatians on the subject)
Colossians 2:6-23; 3:1-17
Hebrews chapters 5, 7-10

Not to cherry-pick or proof-text! smile
Your other problem(s):

There are contradictions surrounding the time of Jesus’ death and in the details surrounding the crucifixion as well as in the chronology of his ministry.

I’ll point some obvious things, since you basically asked for it. 

Several places in the Gospels mention times of day that are explained in the footnotes of some editions as differences between Roman and Hebrew naming conventions.  You may inflate those differences into contradictions if you wish, but they simply aren’t there in reality.

Reading several media accounts of something that happened literally (:)) yesterday will reveal “contradictions” that are simply the observers’ focus and memory of events that differ according to their personal background and mental filter, without being false or deceptive, allowing for personal slant.  So also for accounts of the events of the crucifixion and all the events of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.  On a close examination (helped by standing on the shoulders of giants who have gone before), the differences are not mutually exclusive, and so are complementary and not contradictions.  They actually flesh out the picture of Jesus’ life more completely.  One accusation made against the synoptic Gospels is that they are a fabrication and the product of collusion between the writers.  You have simply noticed evidence to the contrary - that collusion would have produced identical clones, where personal remembrance produced true and factual accounts from different perspectives intended for different audiences.  But you knew all the above already, didn’t you?  I would almost never post such a long comment, but you and the other readers here deserve an answer worthy of the questions’ weight.

[145] Posted by Milton on 12-17-2008 at 08:02 PM • top

I neglected to mention that problems with the chronology of Gospel events may be resolved with the help of any of the standard Bible reference tools known as a Harmonization of the Gospels.  Your other contradictions may be illuminated by a book referred to in one of the blockquotes in my 1st long comment, “Hard Sayings of the Bible”, among others.

[146] Posted by Milton on 12-17-2008 at 08:12 PM • top

#139, Congratulations on being a published author. Spong, Borg, and Crossan are also published authors. Pike wrote best sellers. So did Mary Baker Eddy.

I’ve read your writings. As has been cited above, you have written heresy. By attacking, you are wasting a wonderful opportunity to either 1) distinguish what you wrote from heresy and demonstrate the orthodoxy thereof, or 2) repent and recant.

Just so you know, your credentials do not matter as much as you might think. Dr Witt, who posts here has a doctorate, in theology no less. Many of us, including yours truly, have had an excess of good education. Many of us have learned to think critically, logically and precisely. Your credentials do not impress. Your thoughts are what will win the prize here.

Calling what you do ‘critical thinking’ does not mean you are actually thinking critically.

[147] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-17-2008 at 08:57 PM • top

RE: “Spong, Borg, and Crossan are also published authors. Pike wrote best sellers. So did Mary Baker Eddy.”

All completely orthodox, mousestalker.

[148] Posted by Sarah on 12-17-2008 at 11:00 PM • top

Many of us, including yours truly, have had an excess of good education.

Yeah, I think my Dad is still trying to collect on this one!  Good thing we are all solid readers and talk so good!

Maybe Sarah, Greg, and Matt need a new logo:  Troll Bait!

KTF!...mrb

[149] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 12-18-2008 at 10:17 AM • top

Troll bait! Love it!
Shalom,
Intercessor

[150] Posted by Intercessor on 12-18-2008 at 11:46 AM • top

I was a ‘kibitzer’ on the HoB/D listserv for several years. (More than two years and less than four years.)  The experience of daily reading of the listserv provided an unexpected and unintended blessing.

I am grateful that frequent and extended reading of the writings of Tom Woodward, Ann Fontaine, Walter Righter, Elizabeth Kaeton, Richard Brewer, Tom Fitzhugh, Liz Zivanov, and others provided the irresistible catalyst to compel me to flee E"c"USA.  I owe each of them a personal debt of gratitude for their instrumental roles in convincing me that the spiritual health of my children required my family’s complete departure from any organization which accorded them even an iota of spiritual or legislative authority, and failed to exercise scriptural discipline.

Reading the HoB/D listserv provided more of a glimpse of the gaping maw of hell than I ever feared experiencing.

For years I watched the attempts of Brad Drell, Dan Martins, and others to introduce light into this pit of darkness.  For years I watched the unholy reaction to the message.  Darkness indeed tries to hide, as the listserv’s policy of confidentiality evidences. 

Gen 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

[151] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 12-18-2008 at 02:13 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic; commenter warned]

[152] Posted by DavidH on 12-18-2008 at 11:03 PM • top

Ameryx, where when one responds to questions asked does one get attacked? Stand Firm!! Mark says he is quoting Isaiah and he quotes Malachi - then Isaiah. There are a lot of contradictions, but why not given the way the Gospels were written.

As for the other “responses,” please note that you crap on people like me for not responding to your questions and when we do respond you crap all the harder. What does that say about you?  What is it in Sarah that brings out such venom and self-satisfaction.

Let me ask you all a question— like a respectful person I will read your answers and not attack you for your responses (odd as that may seem to you). Who in the full Body of Christ or Christian Church around the world do you believe are faithful Christians? Is it only those who have left the Episcopal Church—or are the Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, etc. also faithful Christians?
Feel free to send your responses to my email:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

[153] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-19-2008 at 12:10 AM • top

RE: “What is it in Sarah that brings out such venom and self-satisfaction.”

Thank you for your compliments, Tom Woodward.

Greg, Jackie, and Matt are melting down with envy over this, believe me.  ; > )

[154] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 12:27 AM • top

Tom+, are you calling my responses to your answers about contradictions in the Bible “being attacked” or “being crapped on”?  Did I not address the substance of your comment respectfully, with a fleshed-out reply instead of a flippant insult, name-dropping or name-calling (as you have done on most of your comments on this and related posts) without attacking you personally?  And just what specifically do you believe is “the way the Gospels were written”?

As for your last question, all those in the groups you named are faithful Christians if they hold to the faith and doctrine their churches have held for their existence on earth, notwithstanding the rebels and heretics that rise up in every church and have done so even since the early church against which Paul warned believers.
Essentials:
1. God is holy and created the universe, angels and men without corruption to reflect His glory.
2. First some angels and then the first humans sinned by trying, each in their own sphere, to live as gods themselves, following their own will and rejecting God’s perfect and loving will.
3. By sin, God’s breathed-into-us spirit left us and Adam and Eve and all humanity as their descendants and thus inheiritors of their sin nature became mortal and under judgment.
4. Only sinners need a sacrifice to atone for their sin; only a sinless man could be that sacrifice; and only one with a human nature inheirited from a woman and divine sinless nature from God could be that man.
5. The unique, unrepeatable Incarnation of Jesus the Christ in the virgin birth (so no sinful human father) produced by the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies and gave all humanity the only possible sacrifice for sin and the only possible reconciliation to God and to each other.
6. Jesus rose physically, bodily from the tomb with a body of a new, immortal nature that is the preview of the immortal bodies the redeemed and saved will have in the general resurrection.  He also “ascended” bodily (was translated) into heaven, to return again to establish His kingdom on earth forever, the recreation of Eden now redeemed from corruption.
7. Salvation by grace is given when we confess our sins, admit we need salvation, believe that Jesus is the only Lord and Saviour, and receive Him as our own Lord in submission to His rule over our lives and receive His mercy and saving grace by His shed blood that washes away all sins, first in salvation and daily in sanctification.

I think that small-o orthodox Christians of any denomination could sign on to those essentials no matter what their differences. Those stand together as the overwhelming majority of self-identifying Christians around the world in stark contrast to the tiny and shrinking revisionist Western churches exemplified by the current Episcopal Organization, which holds to a form of godliness while denying all its transforming and life-giving power.

[155] Posted by Milton on 12-19-2008 at 01:25 AM • top

TBWSantaFe [153],
The sum total of my posting was to point out that Mark did indeed quote Isaiah. Milton then did a nice job of explaining how the combining of two passages, with the whole being attributed to the more prominent prophet, was SOP in those days. How does my observation constitute an attack?

And in your second paragraph, you say “you crap…”. Since the only antecedent in the vicinity is me, I am forced to wonder how my statement equates to defecation.

With no hint of irony, you then claim to be “respectful” in asking what constitutes Christianity. Again, Milton has answered well. I would put it more briefly: a Christian is one who confesses:
Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

Everything else is subsidiary to, and flows from, that confession.

IMHO.

[156] Posted by Ameryx on 12-19-2008 at 01:55 AM • top

Tom writes

like a respectful person I will read your answers and not attack you for your responses

Sounds like a nice moderate guy, right?  But wait, earlier on, in response to this quote from Ann Fontaine

None [of the conservatives] that I have encountered in real life have done anything but lie.<blockquote>
Tom said
<blockquote>My experience has been what Ann has described

Then he asks his own question

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement?

When Tom was given numerous responses by eyewitnesses that contradicted Tom’s version of “reality”, Tom politely but clearly repeated his initial charge that they were all liars.

Sorry Tom, you just can’t get away with it.  You specifically and clearly included yourself in with Ann’s “all conservatives are liars” comment.  And your statements of disbelief in what conservative eyewitnesses have testified to, on the grounds that you believe other “credible” accounts, is simply a polite way of calling the conservative witnesses liars.

[157] Posted by jamesw on 12-19-2008 at 02:23 AM • top

#153, you asked:

Who in the full Body of Christ or Christian Church around the world do you believe are faithful Christians? Is it only those who have left the Episcopal Church—or are the Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, etc. also faithful Christians?

There are Christians in all of those bodies and many many more besides. Last I checked the Roman Catholic Church, the historical Orthodox churches were all Christian churches. I have a quick and dirty test for orthodoxy (non-heresy). If the greeks and the romans think you’re ok, so do I. Or to be a bit fancier, if your beliefs and the beliefs of your leaders conform to the Gospel as historically understood by way of the creeds then you are a Christian. The filioque is pretty much a blind issue (let’s be honest here, they were looking for a reason to split). Or to put it another way, if Athanasius would call you brother, then so will I.

Athanasius is appurtenant to the discussion as he too lived in a time of doctrinal upheaval and assertions of the Holy Spirit introducing novelty.

If you wish a more detailed theological explanation with nuanced explanations, fine distinctions grounded upon Scripture and tradition, the superiority of nominalism, as well as a discourse on Hooker and Newman and how the Anglican Tradition can and should represent the flowering of Christian thought and practice, I’m afraid you will have to wait. I work for a living and my leisure time is consumed by other pursuits right now.

The Episcopal Church: We blink at reality more than fifteen times a minute.

[158] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-19-2008 at 07:14 AM • top

Dr. Witt, I did not call you a liar—I merely noted that there are credible accounts that differ from your own. I have no reason or inclination to call you a liar. Brad Drell believes I owe you an apology - I believe you misunderstood what I wrote. I hope this clears it up. Brad knows me as one who apologizes when wrong.

Tom,

JamesW has already dealt with the sheer illogicality of your statement, but I would ask: who are the sources for these “credible accounts” that differ from mine?

There are only a handful of people who know the events concerning St. John’s, Bristol, firsthand.  Concerning the pastoral relationship that had been arranged between St. John’s, Fr. Knapp, and the diocese, they would include: the vestry (I was the clerk), Fr. Knapp, and Bishop Smith.  Fr. Knapp’s response after Smith imposed Susan McCone as priest-in-charge was (and I heard him say these words firsthand): “He lied to me.”

The only people who know firsthand the events concerning the takeover of the parish on July 13, 2005 would be: (Representing the parish) The church secretary (present in the building when Smith & Co. arrived), The Sr. Warden (who was the first parishioner on the scene), myself (the second parishioner on the scene), Fr. Hansen’s lawyer (who received the deposition), a handful of several church members (who arrived within a half hour or so), (the invaders) Bishop Smith, Susan McCone (the new priest-in-charge), Jack Spaeth (diocesan chancellor), approximately nine or ten other people (unknown to me) who (at various times) did things like guard doors to prevent the parishioners from entering the building, two computer hackers, one locksmith; (neutral parties) numerous people attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, two police officers in a cruiser (who arrived much later, and who never spoke to any of the church members in the parking lot), a local news team (who interviewed both the bishop and some of the parishioners).

If these “credible accounts” that differ from mine were not among the above group of people, then their information is hearsay, and they do not know what they are talking about.  If these “credible accounts” were one or more of the above mentioned people, then (if the accounts differ from what I wrote) I would be so bold as to say that your “credible accounts” are liars.

Because (if the accounts are firsthand) someone is lying, and I am claiming to tell you what I know as one of the few firsthand witnesses to these events. 

So if you disagree with my account, have the integrity to admit that you believe I am a liar, because I am now claiming that there are no credible accounts that differ from mine.

If you disagree with my account, please tell me the specific incidents where you believe I am misrepresenting, and the basis for your claim otherwise.

If you are not willing to do either of the above, then you do indeed owe me an apology.

[159] Posted by William Witt on 12-19-2008 at 08:16 AM • top

Ameryx and Milton, if you could lighten up on quoting the vulgarities, that would be great.  I know he used them first—but he’s a revisionist and it’s different. 

Thanks,


Sarah

[160] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 08:34 AM • top

In other articles, Tom Woodward has tried to appeal to the mainstream by putting distance between TEC and Bishop Pike. Why would he do that when he paid a very loving tribute to Bishop Pike. This post is on Louie Crew’s website:

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j495.html

[161] Posted by hellcat on 12-19-2008 at 08:42 AM • top

You know as I mentioned on another thread, it is beyond confusing to me. I’ve experienced many times on the progressive blogs, hearing words of praise without qualification for teachers that are clearly heretical.

Instead we should be in mourning, and praying for them with tears.

Then the same person will often claim to be orthodox, and become offended about any concern expressed.

I’m not willing to judge the heart of these folks. Truly, only God knows. But, surely something is spiritually amiss.

[162] Posted by Grace2000 on 12-19-2008 at 08:49 AM • top

Sarah, will do, with pleasure! (If Tom+ even has any rebuttal he cares to post here, that is.)

[163] Posted by Milton on 12-19-2008 at 08:54 AM • top

You know he can’t, Milton.  He doesn’t have the intellectual chops to create a coherent one.

[164] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 08:59 AM • top

Apparently, Dr. Witt, you have been taught that if someone differs from you they are calling you a liar. I have not called you a liar—in fact, I acknowledged the sincerity of your perspective on the events in CT.

Ameryx - I owe you an apology. While I addressed you in my note, I was addressing others with my remarks. I am sorry for the confusion.

Jamesw—if you are playing a game of “Gotcha,” you got me. I trust Ann’s experience with people lying - I would characterize my own experience as dealing with people who lack integrity in what they are saying (and almost always am explicit in that). Reading through the transcript of “Choose This Day,” I can say without equivocation that those featured (with a couple of exceptions) are either lying or have one or more pathological conditions.

Milton—I have nothing but admiration for your gracious and thoughtful response to my brief response to earlier questions. When the SF board asserts that SF is a place where discussions are open, most less than hard liners tend to laugh—you have given credence to their claim.

My claim of credentials was in response to Sarah Hey’s claim of authority to label me a heretic, etc.. She stands pretty much alone, except for the SF hardliners. Her authority is simply her word - and that is so polluted with ad hominum attacks and catch phrases as to lack credibility with anyone outside her circle. I’ll take my stand with Nashotah House, the ABC, Abp Tutu, the other three seminaries where I’ve taught, etc..

I hope you all will read David Rhoads’ book, “The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels.”  Rhoads paints a quite different picture of the faith of the early church than found here at SF. The closer you look at “the faith once delivered to the saints,” the clearer it becomes that your (SF’s) certitude about your faith being the one, true statement about the “faith once delivered to the saints” is wrong. Things are more complicated than you suspect.

[165] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-19-2008 at 12:17 PM • top

Father Tom, I don’t think it’s possible to judge who are faithful Christians just based in denominational affiliation. In every mainline denomination, there are people who know, and love God who has revealed Himself in Christ. And, there are also many who may have just been enculturated into an institution, with their hearts far from the Lord, who actually may have a real contempt, and scorn for the reality of the incarnation, and the cross of Christ.

We can only discern by outward confession, and appearance, but God knows the heart.

[166] Posted by Grace2000 on 12-19-2008 at 01:47 PM • top

Apparently, Dr. Witt, you have been taught that if someone differs from you they are calling you a liar. I have not called you a liar—in fact, I acknowledged the sincerity of your perspective on the events in CT.

Tom,

People “differ” with me about many things.  This is not a disagreement about opinions, beliefs, tastes, sincerity, or perspectives, but about my claim to having observed certain events.  I am intelligent enough to know that if I claim that I saw certain events happening with my own eyes, and someone else denies that those events took place, they are claiming that my words are untruthful, or else that I am imagining I saw things that I did not actually see.

If you believe that I have misrepresented events which I claim I personally experienced, please have the integrity to inform me which facts you challenge, and the basis for your superior knowledge.

Remember, your challenge was: “Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement?”

I responded that during the conflict with St. John’s, Bristol, the vestry of St. John’s and Fr. Clayton Knapp asked for Bishop Andrew Smith to allow Fr. Knapp to continue in an interim relationship with the parish, to which Bishop Smith agreed.  Only a few days after this agreement, Bishop Smith and others invaded the parish, changed the locks, and imposed a “priest-in-charge,” thus violating the agreement between the vestry, Fr. Knapp, and himself.

Are you claiming: 

There was no such request by Fr. Knapp and the vestry of Bishop Smith?

Bishop Smith denied Fr. Knapp’s request, and Fr. Knapp lied to the congregation when he announced that Bishop Smith had agreed to our request?

Bishop Smith did not invade the parish, depose the priest, change the locks, and impose a priest-in-charge less than one week after he had reached the agreement with Fr. Knapp?

I suspect that you know you have no basis to deny any of the above, since you are singularly uninformed about the events concerning St. John’s, Bristol—which is not unusual since there is no reason you should be—yet, you seem constitutionally incapable of simply admitting that you spoke when you should have kept silent.

[167] Posted by William Witt on 12-19-2008 at 02:28 PM • top

Oh TBWSantaFe- when did you teach at Nashotah House? And if indeed you did- do you think they would have you back?

[168] Posted by via orthodoxy on 12-19-2008 at 02:50 PM • top

Tom:  You bet I “gotcha”!  Allow me to remind you that in response to Ann Fountaine’s comment

None that I have encountered in real life have done anything but lie.

you said

My experience has been what Ann has described

and then you specifically listed a single exception.

Tom, Ann stated that her belief is that not a single conservative who left TEC did anything but lie.  You explicitly agreed with that, specifying only a single exception.

And yet you have the nerve to lecture us that

Apparently, Dr. Witt, you have been taught that if someone differs from you they are calling you a liar. I have not called you a liar—in fact, I acknowledged the sincerity of your perspective on the events in CT.

and

Things are more complicated than you suspect.

Your mask doesn’t cut it here Tom.  We see right through it.

[169] Posted by jamesw on 12-19-2008 at 03:44 PM • top

RE: “ad hominum [sic] attacks . . . “

Tom—it’s “hominem” . . . I need you to have all the credibility that you can have, please, over here.

Please see to a tad better spelling.  If I am to win Anglican Blogger of the Year, after a year of steady blogging, off of in part my success at achieving a second-rate revisionist’s rage and sputtering over here, it would be helpful if you could spell the words.

And like I said on another thread . . . if you could add a tad—just a touch, nothing too obvious—more variety it would be helpful.

[170] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 03:52 PM • top

Here—the death scenes here might inspire you:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/18869/

[171] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 03:54 PM • top

[off topic comments edited—commenter warned a second time]

jamesw, 141, you’re creating a false dichotomy by ignoring a third possibility:  honestly mistaken.  It happens to those who experienced something first-hand all the time.  (Note:  I know nothing about the facts being reported by Dr. Witt and am not saying he’s mistaken.  I’m just criticizing the logic.)

[172] Posted by DavidH on 12-19-2008 at 07:59 PM • top

Sarah [160],

My apologies. I didn’t realize it was a breach of decorum. I am something of a noob here, and did not know that revisionists were held to a lower standard; though you might want to consider whether you are doing them a kindness by defining deviancy down just for them.

Nevertheless, I will heed your direction, and henceforth quote TBW by word count. (“As he said in post X, 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence, antepenultimate word…”)

[173] Posted by Ameryx on 12-19-2008 at 08:34 PM • top

RE: “though you might want to consider whether you are doing them a kindness by defining deviancy down just for them. . . . “

Just acknowledging and accepting the reality of their behavior.  ; > )

[174] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2008 at 10:37 PM • top

Do you or others know of dissident congregations who have asked for some form of reconciliation or mediated settlement?

How about Ressurection - West Chicago (Rev. George Koch)?  Their written request for “some form of… mediated settlement” is a matter of public record.  Memories are conveniently curtailed sometimes.

[175] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 12-19-2008 at 11:25 PM • top

Her authority is simply her word

Sarah Hey doesn’t call you in error, Father Woodward. The Scriptures, the Ecemunical Creeds, the tradition of the Church received from the Apostles and the settled teaching of the Catholic Church do.

I am happy to define an orthdox Christian as one who believes the articles set out in the Nicene Creed, but I would add, (quoting Dorothy Sayers) “interpreted in the sense that the Catholic Church has always interpreted them, and no other…”

By those standards, and based on your published statements, you are in error. Unless of course (to return to a question you have not answered) the EM webpage quoted you out of context, or misrepresented your views. Much like your dispute with Dr. Witt, these are not questions impenetrable to human reason—do you in fact affirm the Creeds, interpreted in the traditional sense? Can you in fact demonstrate that the EM webpage is a “smear” without simply repeating the word over and over again? If it really is a smear, then you ought to be able to show that, surely? From what I can see, the site has not taken you out of context—can you set me straight on that?

[176] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-20-2008 at 05:14 AM • top

I forgot to add that the publishing of articles, and or books, and the commendation of certain initiatives hardly adds up to “imprimatur” either of the Roman Church or the Archbishop of Canterbury. Unless Rowan Cantuar has said something like “Tom Woodward is my guiding light in all matters theological…” then you will have to expand on what you mean. I’m willing to bet he just said something like “promoting reconciliation is good” if indeed he said even that.

I’d put more money to bet that the Roman Catholic Church hasn’t endorsed your theological opinions either—imprimatur? Nothing in this text is incompatible with Catholic teaching? Really really? You can’t even write on the internet without contradicting settled Church teaching.

[177] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-20-2008 at 05:30 AM • top

Thanks for the correction, Sarah - next should come an apology for your slander. There are a lot of words to describe your behavior recently—I think I’ve got the spelling right but they are hurtful, so I will keep them to myself.

Please re-read the memo beneath your space for comments. Jesus wants you to read it—and obey it. The cute and snide laughs you get from your cohort count little compared to the scorn you pour out on Christians who dare to differ from you. The Body of Christ is, after all, a little bigger than Stand Firm—Pharisees are part of it (solace for you) but not all of it.

[178] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-21-2008 at 01:20 AM • top

[165] TBWSantaFe

Save one comment, I have deliberately stayed out of this thread.  But I have to ask a question, and please consider it a serious question.  I don’t mean it flippantly.  Why are you still posting on it?  Given the way you say you have been treated, the logical behavior on your part would be to shake the dust from your sandals and withdraw.  And yet you stay.  Whether intentional or not, you thus give the impression of greatly desiring to justify yourself.  But that only serves to highlight the truth of the charges against you. 

I was badly treated on FrJake’s old sight.  So I walked away.  They didn’t notice.  I didn’t care.  Life went on.  It cost me nothing to leave.  Frankly it mattered to me not at all what they thought of me.  And the courtesy was returned to me sevenfold, I assure you.  If you didn’t feel the prick of this thread, I think it would already be dead and forgotten.  But it does prick.  Why?

carl

[179] Posted by carl on 12-21-2008 at 02:21 AM • top

RE: “Jesus wants you to read it—and obey it.”

Oh I thought I’d been clear.  The gospel you believe is not the Gospel I believe.  We don’t share that in common.  But then, we both know that we don’t share the same gospel.

As I said above in the comments:

“There we go—“integrity” and “honesty” and “respectful” and “Scripture” and “resurrection” and “sin” and “Jesus” and “gospel” and “cross” and “creed”—among many thousands of other words that have to do with the opposing worldview of Tom Woodward’s, simply don’t have the same definitions in his world as in ours.

Like I’ve been saying—two gospels, one organization.

And:

How long do ya’ll think it will take for Tom Woodward to figure out that when he attempts to insult Greg . . . Greg swells with joy and pride and all of us slap him on the back.

When Tom says “courtesy” I think “bullying.” When Tom says “honor” I think “shame.” When Tom says “hubris” I think “humility.” When Tom says “self-serving” I think “sacrificial.” When Tom says “integrity” I think “lies.” And when Tom says “smaller” I think “standing tall.”

In short, whatever Tom deems to be negative, I see is positive.  What Tom sees as positive, I see as low and dastardly.

Again—as our gospels are mutually opposing, and as our foundational worldviews are inherently contradictory, you do me great honor.  Your attempted admonitions—since honor means shame, and good means bad, and sin means righteousness, and slander means truth, and snide means appropriate in your worldview—have as much effect as arrows on water.

Tom Woodward—we do not agree on the basics or the deep things.  We don’t agree on the definitions of such words as “hate,” “love,” “enemy,” “neighbor,” “pray,” or “persecute.”  And most especially, we do not agree on the definition of “your Father in heaven” or of “sons.”

Were you to approve of my words that would give me cause for concern, since you believe as you do and you are as you are.

But I can be easy, given your hearty disapproval.

[180] Posted by Sarah on 12-21-2008 at 08:57 AM • top

RE: “Why are you still posting on it?”

Carl, I think that initially he was simply outraged that anyone would call him out, point out their utter disrespect for his rhetoric and rationality, and then post to the watching readers the excellent post from another blog detailing his ancient heresies and rather passe modernist belief system. 

RE: “Given the way you say you have been treated, the logical behavior on your part would be to shake the dust from your sandals and withdraw.”

But where would be the drama if he did that?  Where would be the attention that he so craves and needs?  No—to not be able to come here and comment would give up a useful drug.  Oh sure—he’ll eventually say he’ll Nevah Nevah return. 

But unlike you with Terry Martin—evangelist extraordinaire for 815—he won’t be able to resist the attention.

[181] Posted by Sarah on 12-21-2008 at 09:03 AM • top

But now, given that I have, I believe, made my opinion of both Tom’s beliefs and his accompanying deceit crystal clear, and given that there can be no real communication between people who exist in alternate universes, and given that further responses will only further feed his narcissism and cravings, and given that in future I need merely link to my opinions in future responses to him on other threads, I will retire from this thread.

He is welcome to the Last Word—and should he not receive the necessary hit from that Last Word, the next Last Word—and the following Last Word, and the next next Last Word and The Penultimate Last Word.  He can just keep punching that delivery system button and maybe relief will come to him eventually.

[182] Posted by Sarah on 12-21-2008 at 09:20 AM • top

Sarah,

Is it possible there really is a misunderstanding going on here between you, and Fr. Woodward? He’s a retired priest. I don’t want to be naive, but what benefit is it for him to deliberately lie to you, or to anyone?

Could there be a misinterpretation of his statements, and intention? (I admit it is confusing.) Or, maybe there is a different interpretation of “orthodoxy,” going on here. I’m not sure. But, I think we should hang in with each other, reflect the love of Christ, and be committed to work through our differences if at all possible.

Jesus prayed for us to be one in Him.

[183] Posted by Grace2000 on 12-21-2008 at 09:55 AM • top

Please re-read the memo beneath your space for comments. Jesus wants you to read it—and obey it. The cute and snide laughs you get from your cohort count little compared to the scorn you pour out on Christians who dare to differ from you. The Body of Christ is, after all, a little bigger than Stand Firm—Pharisees are part of it (solace for you) but not all of it.

Please.  William Witt took you to task in a calm, objective, academic manner and your resultant squealing would have embarrassed a little girl. 

As for Pharisaical outcries against a dissenting group, Robinson refers to those who disagree with him as idolators.  I disagree with him on that point, but commend him for at understanding that one side of the debate has to be steeped in idolatry. 

As for your qualifications, I’m not really impressed.  And I say that having been steeped in that culture myself, at one time in my life.  Academia is often a haven for ne’r-do-wells, Johnny-come-latelies, and Those Who Cannot Do, from the world that real men and women have to live in. 

In short, calling you girlish is an insult to girls, the Pharisee charge is inept, and the qualifications don’t cut it. 

I suggest you crawl back to your sycophants, and let them lick your wounds.  At least, as long as they can stand it. 

But that’s just a suggestion.

[184] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-21-2008 at 10:05 AM • top

Y’all don’t understand how truly Christian it was of the good Reverend to condescend to post here. He’s a published author, playwright, theological maven and he has his own wikipedia entry.

He really is too good for us, don’tcha know.

Note to Loyal Episcopalian Hierarchs. My God can beat up your god.

[185] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-21-2008 at 10:36 AM • top

..his particular theology of “church discipline” is important to him.

Er, what theology??

Hokay.. I need a beer.**

**(No, I don’t really need a beer, and I probably won’t go home and drink one.  However, if I were a moderate drinker, I would definitely have a beer right about now)

[186] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-22-2008 at 12:07 PM • top

D’oh!

[187] Posted by J Eppinga on 12-22-2008 at 12:07 PM • top

It is sad to see such language on a Christian website and such delight at jabs and mischaracterizations. In response to Carl’s question, I am posting here what I did at Sarah Hey’s thread on the Gospel of Thomas. It includes a sincere appreciation for the ministry of StandFirm:

On this, my 45th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, I want to share with you a couple of reflections - mostly in response to direct questions from several of you “Why do you continue to post to Stand Firm?”

My first introduction to Stand Firm was when Matthew featured his four part response to an article I had written for The Episcopal Majority, “Falsely Accused.” In the back and forth with Matthew (and later) I found the basis for discussion and dialogue. I think most of my time here has been with the hope of that in mind.

So, why continue? A major element of my service to the church over the years has been my work in building bridges between the church and groups of people outside the church (that has always been part of the church’s charge to our deacons) and between groups within the church. This ministry has been a traditional part of our campus ministries—so with 23 years in campus ministry it is part of my being.

I don’t think I have been successful here at Stand Firm, but in other venues I have. At the last General Convention the Network endorsed my candidacy for Trustee of the Church Pension Fund—I was also backed by the Deputies of Color and the consortium of liberal groups such as Integrity, The Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the rest. I have relationships of trust with Kendall, Chris Cantrell, Dan Martins, several of the most conservative bishops in TEC, Don Perschall, John Liebler and many others. Needless to say, we all have had to work at this and be committed to building and maintaining relationships of trust and respect with those with whom we differ most. It probably goes without saying that in the heat of things we all say or do things that threaten those relationships. As an example, my choice to post “An Ode to Stand Firm in Faith” on my blog rather than deal with my anger with Sarah Hey and others directly (actually there is no means for doing so really directly) resulted in hurt in people at SF who have reached out in kindness and respect—so I am taking it off by blog and not posting it elsewhere.

There is something in this that is very important. One of my heroes in the life of the church has been Will Campbell. He is a modest Southerner who came out of the Southern Baptist tradition into the Episcopal Church. As you look at some of the old pictures of the civil rights marches involving Dr. King, you can usually find Will on the first or second row. In the early 70’s Will addressed the national gathering of Episcopal campus ministries. He began his talk this way: “The only reason I’ve come here to talk with you all is that I want to remind you that Spiro Agnew (much hated by liberals of all stripes)—Spiro Agnew is your brother.” We were furious at Will for that – absolutely furious – but we knew that he was right.  No human voice has touched me deeper. So I have continued to post at Stand Firm because Greg and Matt and Mousetalker, Sarah and Jackie and all the rest of you are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I have not always lived up to that—and neither have you all. When Will Campbell was not walking with Dr. King, he was often waiting tables at a KKK gathering—because, as he said, even though we despise what one another does, we are still brothers in Christ.

Neither I nor you is the KKK—and neither of us is MLK, Jr.,  but we are all part of the Body of Christ through His invitation and incorporation. It is through the adoption as His children and His continuing grace and forgiveness that we continue in that embrace—even as we too often believe that we, alone, belong. I believe the Anglican tradition is the best incarnation of that reality—even as we struggle for what we believe is the best in that tradition.

To paraphrase what Sarah observed a couple of days ago, we seem to believe in different emphases in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I admire the way you represent the tradition of holding the purity of the church and its individuals as primary. That strain has not always been visible in the Episcopal Church—as it has been visible in the peace churches, the early Methodists and the Assemblies of God and the Church of the Nazarine. That, I believe, is a crucial part of the Gospel, but is not all of the Gospel. I come out of a different, but equally important strain of Anglicanism – one that values the sacramental presence of Jesus Christ in the world and is focused on being the hands, legs, vision and heart of Jesus Christ as we interact with the world around us, often moving beyond comfortable boundaries in His service. Again, that is a crucial part of the Gospel, but not all of the Gospel. The better each of us does our calling and vocation, the stronger the church will be—and the more praise to our Father.

So, when I return to SF, it will be to discern what I can appreciate in your vocation as fellow members of the Body of Christ – not to defame or demean you. I will leave the wisecracks behind. That is all I can control. If some of you reciprocate, so much the better. I can assure you that my faith is strong and it is deep—and I have been teaching the Nicene Creed longer, I think, than most of you have been alive. Like it or not, I am your brother.
Tom Woodward

[188] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-22-2008 at 05:21 PM • top

#188, my motivations in replying to you are somewhat similar to yours. However, where you wish to build bridges and engage in dialog to no real purpose, my goal has been and continues to be to bring you to the fullness of Christian fellowship under the Lordship of God Our Father and His Only Son Jesus Christ. I continue to hope that you may yet repent of your heresy and accept His forgiveness. You, and a number of your colleagues on the HoBD continue to be in my prayers.

Liturgy is more than a script. A church is not a theatre.

[189] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 12-22-2008 at 05:34 PM • top

Mousetalker, I appreciate your prayers, but I have no need to repent for any heresies. I am well certified as fully and completely orthodox by people qualified to do so.

Because people understand the witness and teachings of Jesus differently, that does not make one set orthodox and the other heretical. As some have said, the greatest heresy of all is the assumption that one knows the mind of God.

That we affirm that we both belong to God and are attempting with all our will to be faithful to God as revealed by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the most important thing.  I hope I hear an Amen.

[190] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-22-2008 at 07:10 PM • top

[190] TBWSantaFe

I am well certified as fully and completely orthodox by people qualified to do so.

Yes, well that’s the rub, isn’t it.  The qualification is only as good as the standard of orthodoxy applied, and the faithfulness of its application.  You will never be adjudged a heretic by TEC.  But then neither would Bishop Spong be so judged, and he is a functional atheist.  That doesn’t say much for the qualifications or the qualifying organization.

carl

[191] Posted by carl on 12-22-2008 at 07:17 PM • top

I am well certified as fully and completely orthodox by people qualified to do so.

Exactly, Carl. By whom are you certified?

[192] Posted by Andrewesman on 12-22-2008 at 10:06 PM • top

As some have said, the greatest heresy of all is the assumption that one knows the mind of God.

Even if one accepts such an assertion as true (I don’t) it cuts everyway doesn’t it? Considerably more humility from the proponents of “inclusion” about their knowledge of the mind of God might be have been helpful.

Just out of curiosity, who are the “some” who have said such.

[193] Posted by driver8 on 12-22-2008 at 10:33 PM • top

When the very orthodoxy of some beliefs held by many in authority in TEC is in question, it seems rather circluar to assert that certification by such authorities settles the matter?

[194] Posted by driver8 on 12-23-2008 at 10:18 AM • top

I guess a good question would be to the commentors above is “Who certifies that you are orthodox Christians?” It isn’t Scripture, as Scripture supports a variety of positions on a variety of doctrinal matters (e.g., in the NT there are at least three different theories or doctrines of the atonement - do you subscribe to the correct one - or, heaven forbid, are there more than one which is “orthodox”).

So, who has “certified” me as orthodox:
The Archbishop of Canterbury in an official act,
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, one of the favorites of SF
Author, co-author of books published by Pueblo Press and The Liturgical Press (both RC) and Seabury Press.
Fellowships at Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest (1985, 2003) and The Sewanee School of Theology (2002).
Lecturer: The Graduate Theological Union, CA; Pacific School of Religion, The Ghost Ranch Conference Center;
Endorsement by the Network (ACN) at General Convention.

And I’m sure you don’t want to see more. The response in the past, when I have been asked about my credentials, has been to accuse me of bragging and worse. I don’t need to brag. I’m proud of my accomplishments and of what I have done in the Church of God. If you have asked the question, not wanting an answer but another opportunity to belittle or snipe, let this one go.

So, who certifies Sarah, Greg, Mousetalker, etc.? Actually, I don’t need to know. They assert they are people of faith and that is good enough for most people, including me. We are in the Body of Christ together.

[195] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-23-2008 at 01:29 PM • top

I think it better to focus initially on the argument that ideas can be heretical. I take this as theologically uncontroversial. Who is it who decides that ideas are heretical. Well, within, Anglicanism this is a question that we are attempting to resolve. The orthodoxy or heresy of particular ideas is certainly not resolved by invoking professional appointments. At the least it is appropriate to demand that a case be made for novel theological ideas and to expect time be given for persuasion and critique. Sadly this repeatedly failed to happen as dioceses and then the whole of TEC acted unilaterally. In other words, in contrast to TEC’s assertion, claims to orthodoxy are not self authenticating

[196] Posted by driver8 on 12-23-2008 at 02:06 PM • top

RE: #195 “We are in the Body of Christ together.”

Which Christ are we talking about, Tom?  The Christ who literally, physically, rose from the dead, or the Christ whose resurrection as literal history is a factoid, important only in its meaning? 

When we don’t believe in the same Christ, and we don’t believe in the same Gospel, is it really true that “we are in the Body of Christ together”?

We’ve been going around in circles for days.  We have such disparate worldviews that, IMHO, this is an exercise in futility, Tom.  I give up.  I’m going to Wal Mart.  Merry Christmas, Tom.

[197] Posted by Moving Forward on 12-23-2008 at 03:04 PM • top

[195] TBWSantaFe

You have answered the ‘who’ question, but not the ‘according to what’ question.  What standard of orthodoxy was used in your certification?

carl

[198] Posted by carl on 12-23-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

Again, I find the lengths the above posters will go to call me and others into question simply unbelievable. So, well established seminaries and the previous Archbishop of Canterbury aren’t enough? One of the most conservative bishops TEC has had over the past 100 years is not good enough? Conclusion: you are not asking a question or looking for an answer.

Moving Forward: “What Christ?” You have got to be kidding. I follow the Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture and worshiped in the church for all these years. I believe in the truths of the Nicene Creed - always have, always will. I believe what he teaches, especially in the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 25 and in the parables. I do believe what Jesus teaches in the parables is quite different from what I read here from Sarah, Matthew and Greg (as would almost any mainstream Biblical scholar). Does that mean that S, M & G are heretical? That is not for me to decide. Does that mean that they are not people honestly devoted to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith? No, of course not.

Interesting: you and others seem to be seeking every reason possible to exclude—Jesus, on the other hand was constantly looking for reasons to include. That is worth looking at—as is the language in any of the strings at SF in which someone offers an alternate reading of Scripture and Tradition.

[199] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-24-2008 at 03:15 PM • top

Look - argument from authority is bound to have little sway when authority is one of the central areas being disputed.  It seems obvious to me and I’m baffled that you think folks are being in some way obtuse or difficult. You surely see that the orthodoxy or heresy of any particular idea of yours is can hardly be seen as reasonably argued because you have published a couple of books or lectured here and there.

As I said above assertions of orthodoxy are not self authenticating (I take that as an implication of the catholicity of the church. Thus I believe you are committed to it by your stated belief in the truthfulness of the Nicene Creed). So novel theological claims - such as those to which it seems you are committed regarding human sexuality - may (indeed must) argue they are orthodox - but should expect to have to reasonably persuade and to face critique. Indeed their assertion of orthodoxy may in the end be repudiated.

[200] Posted by driver8 on 12-24-2008 at 04:39 PM • top

I think it’s an error to say that Jesus “included” whereas those who happen to disagree with you are “excluding”. I see it repeatedly made and feel its rhetorical force but believe it actually to be imprecise and often rather untruthful.

One needs to specify what kind of inclusion Jesus is argued to have promoted and note how it is relevantly similar and/or different to its contemporary comparand. I simply note that however we describe Jesus’ way of “inclusion” then it has to be coherent with his warnings about the danger of “exclusion” (“weeping and gnashing” etc.).

[201] Posted by driver8 on 12-24-2008 at 04:59 PM • top

D8 - please reread what I wrote. I am not going to debate you on the standards of orthodoxy. I believe the standards here at SF do not reflect those of the Christian church over the centuries. It is largely nitpicking and “gotcha.”

You ask for authorities (as though you were my judge). I give you giants in the church, respected by conservatives and liberals alike—and you say, not good enough. So, what makes you believe you are on the right track? I guarantee you that I and a whole lot more people will be able to poke holes in what you say—but that is not the point. I don’t answer to StandFirm: neither you nor SF has been appointed to judge the faith of others.
Take a look at the healings and the miracles and the parables—then you will understand Jesus’ preaching about those who believe they are “in” are out—and those the religious authorities believe are out or excluded are included.  It’s on every page on the Gospels
in my NT

[202] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-24-2008 at 06:00 PM • top

I am not going to debate you on the standards of orthodoxy.

In other words:

1.  I am orthodox.
2.  TEC says I am orthodox.
3.  TEC has the right to say I am orthodox.
4.  I won’t say what orthodoxy is because then you could object to my definition.
5.  It is enough for you to accept the judgment of a duly certified orthodox organization like TEC that I am orthodox.
6.  No, I don’t want to talk about Bishops Pike or Richter or Spong.
7.  So there.
8.  Oh, yeah, I believe the Nicene Creed.
9.  No, I won’t tell you what the clauses in the Nicene Creed mean, either.
10. You are just trying to be sneaky and get me to define orthodoxy after all.  I won’t fall for it.

That was pretty clear.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I am convinced. 

carl

[203] Posted by carl on 12-24-2008 at 06:23 PM • top

Take a look at the healings and the miracles and the parables—then you will understand Jesus’ preaching about those who believe they are “in” are out—and those the religious authorities believe are out or excluded are included.

In one of these instances, in John 9:27 the man healed says to the Pharisees, “I have told you already [how I was cured of blindness], and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?”

So in other words, this man believed he was “in” (a disciple) and the Pharisees were “out” (not disciples). Does that mean the Pharisees were actually the one following Jesus’ teaching, and the man was self-deluded and self-righteous? Of course not. Tom, I’d just ask you to consider that your left leaning notions of ‘inclusivism’ are reductionistic and self refuting.
Sometimes ‘in/out’ is good (think 1 Co 5), sometimes it is motivated by sin and tempts people to sin by looking down on others. But just observing things as they are (such as whether someone’s words square with orthodoxy) is not sinful in and of itself. Life and the Bible is too complex and messy for such pronouncements. You are looking for simplicity in the wrong place.

[204] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 12-24-2008 at 07:23 PM • top

OK - I understand, one doesn’t have to debate on every occasion on which debate is offered and some contexts may be more propitious than others for reasoned conversation (as long as you self consciously bear that in mind when you wonder why “traditionalists” don’t join in the conversation in other places).

As I hope you realize I disagree with you about biblical interpretation. I disagree that the Borg/Crossan/Funk etc. “inclusivity” argument represents the consensus of NT scholarship. (Of course, I also recognize, that an argument from consensus (authority) will have little weight with you - just as your same argument carried little weight with me). But FWIW Dale Allison has a fantastic and very balanced essay on Jesus and Gehenna (in his book “Resurrecting Jesus”) that you would, I think, enjoy.

[205] Posted by driver8 on 12-24-2008 at 10:06 PM • top

driver 8: Jesus defied the religious authorities (the Stand Firm of his time?)in his treatment of women, sinners (he called Matthew while he was still employed as a tax collector), Samaritans, the Centurion and on and on. Then, remember the Parable of the Wedding Feast? Who attended the banquet? It wasn’t the in-crowd, but folks way beyond the normal boundaries.

Jesus clearly had a vision of the Kingdom and of his own community far different from the righteous and the orthodox.  When those on this string come to terms with that, I will seem like the moderate I am. But, again, the issue is not Tom Woodward, it is Jesus.

[206] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-27-2008 at 07:36 PM • top

#206, these are good points you make.  The challenge is to reconcile these with some of Jesus’ other teachings:

“Go and sin no more” to an adulterous woman.
“Separate sheep from goats” clear indications of an “in” and an “out” crowd.
“Not one jot or tittle…” indicating that he would not change the Law (meaning the MORAL LAW he was referring to in the prior passage, not Temple or Dietary Codes).

Then there was that little thing with John the Baptist, where Jesus didn’t bother to tell him how the LAW was no longer valid, so go ahead and keep criticizing Herod’s sleeping activities so you can get your head chopped off.  Seems that if He thought so little of the Law (as you have implied) He could have easily told John “lay off” and then had him released from prison. 

But he didn’t.

These things guide my “coming to terms with Jesus visions of the Kingdom” just as much as the behaviors you have cited.  The net result seems to be, as it has for me these last 27 years since I first asked the question, that he loved all sinners, and defined and ABHORRED their sin, He did not embrace or recommend that they keep it up.  But he clearly indicated there is such a thing as “off limits” behavior and that we were to strive not to engage in that.

My 2 cents.  Merry Christmas!

KTF!...mrb

[207] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 12-28-2008 at 02:19 PM • top

Yes, Jesus called sinners to repentance. It’s the clarion call at the beginning of the Gospel. He proclaimed good news to the poor, cast out demons, showed the defeat of Satan, healed the sick, called the disciples, blessed those who responded to him and cursed those who did not (poor old Chorazin, for example) - as he said - the Kingdom is at hand.

You mentioned the parable of the wedding feast - but not the man who was thrown out. It is not simply a story of “inclusion”. Jesus repeatedly warns of the danger of rejecting him (and even of his disciples). The problem with pharisees is not simply that they are self righteous, or that they have social status (though Jesus teaches that both of these are potentially very spiritually dangerous) but that they can’t recognize who Jesus is. They are, to coin a phrase, “blind guides”.

The image of Jesus you present, is an updated version of late nineteenth century liberal protestantism. A Jesus who reflects back to us our ideals. I take Schweitzer to have destroyed forever the credibility of this theological option. Better to have one who comes to us, as a stranger and simply says “follow me”.

[208] Posted by driver8 on 12-29-2008 at 02:31 AM • top

Here—let me model good commenting protocol by explaining on this appropriate thread to William Witt how depressing it will be to eliminate the commenting privileges of Tom Woodward.  I greatly value him as a Primo Example of a Wholly Orthodox, Entirely Traditional revisionist Episcopal priest.

To miss out on his future examples and samples of rhetoric will be a tragedy.

My only comfort is how indelibly imprinted all of his past commenting examples are on the StandFirm servers.  And that should be of some comfort to you, William Witt.  We have such a treasure trove of Wholly Orthodox, Completely Traditional quotes to choose from over the coming years.

I also offer this comment as a courtesy to Tom Woodward so that he can return to this thread and issue his complaints about StandFirm criticisms on the appropriate thread.

[209] Posted by Sarah on 12-31-2008 at 08:46 AM • top

And I will model good commenting protocol by responding to you here.  I value Tom Woodward for the same reasons. And, as so many here refer to you simply as “Sarah” and Fr. Kennedy as “Matt,” I would be more than honored if you would address me simply as “Bill” rather than “William Witt.”  Tom Woodward has permission to address me as “Dr. Witt.”

[210] Posted by William Witt on 12-31-2008 at 09:11 AM • top

I hope I am not endangering my posting privileges by responding directly to the above off-topic comment to me by Dr. William (“Bill”) Witt.

Kind Sir, I read your slight or slur and have compared it to the quote from Matthew 5:43-45, noted below the space for comments. On that basis I choose not to take the bait, but to wish you will in your academic pursuits.

[211] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-31-2008 at 12:01 PM • top

Mr. Woodward -

Jesus also defied the religious authorities (the General Convention of his time?) in re:, for example, saying that it wasn’t good enough to be faithful to one’s wife for as long as one chose not to casually write her a writ of divorce, but that one shouldn’t even idly fantasize about another woman, nor should one ever divorce for the sheer heck of it – marriage is for life.

That is, he tightened the understanding of the rules that came to be bastardized in such a way as to make it a little easier for some to get their rocks off.  Sound familiar?

[212] Posted by Phil on 12-31-2008 at 12:11 PM • top

Phil, I don’t know where you got to “easier to get their rocks off.”  Jesus is talking about relationships and about religious traditions which treat women as property. I believe the inference here, as in other parts of the Gospel record, is that women are fully human and equal to men, inside and outside of marriage.

Unfortunately, the history of marriage in the Christian Church does not reflect these concerns of Jesus. Until recently marriage was largely a business transaction (that is still reflected in the custom of the father “giving away” his daughter). Here, it is clear that Jesus is the first Revisionist (also wherever he says “you have heard it said that. . . but I say unto you.”).  So much for the “faith once delivered to the saints.”  I don’t think there are many who would want to go back to the practice of marriage before or after Jesus.

The second thing instructive about this passage is that Jesus internalizes the religious codes of the past. That is very important for understanding the theological stance of traditional Anglicanism and of the Episcopal Church.

[213] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 12-31-2008 at 02:19 PM • top

Mr. Woodward:

1. Nothing about Jesus is helpful in understanding the theological stance of the Episcopal Church - which doesn’t have a “theological stance,” in any case, since anybody can believe whatever they like and be affirmed in their Seinfeld approach (“church about nothing”) by that organization.

2. Thank you for demonstrating that, just like Katharine Jefferts Schori, you appear to reject Jesus self-identification as the only begotten Son of God.  That is, when you claim Jesus’ license at revising religious understandings of His day is analogous to your own license at pushing a Woodstock sexual agenda over against the Church’s (Christ’s Church, in Christian understanding), you therefore equate your authority to His.  It’s a pity that someone can be certified as a “priest” by the Episcopal Church and not understand why Jesus might be in a unique position - a position not shared by you, and not even by the collection of zealots known as “General Convention,” if you’ll excuse my blasphemy - to authoritatively teach and/or revise whatever He likes.

[214] Posted by Phil on 12-31-2008 at 02:32 PM • top

Phil, I find your assumptions mind-boggling. Actually, the beliefs of The Episcopal Church, embedded and described by the historic Creeds, the Book of Common Prayer and in Holy Scriptures are as full and as complete as any you will find in any Christian body. The theologians most widely read in the Episcopal Church are firmly rooted in historic Christianity—and are widely respected across denominational and party lines throughout the world.

I “reject the self-identification of Jesus as the only- begotten Son of God??”  Where is that coming from? Actually, I honor both that tradition from John’s Gospel and the quite different tradition from Mark’s Gospel, echoed by Mt. and Luke. My theology is fully within the Chalcedonian definition of the Person of Jesus Christ. Is yours? Is Greg’s? Is Susan’s or Matt’s?  I am not sure.

“Woodstockian?”  Wow!  How would you characterize your own position on human sexuality—and what is your sexual agenda?  As you must know, almost all of Christianity has shifted much of its theology of human sexuality. Few boys or men are consigned to eternal damnation for masturbating, we approve of the judicious use of birth control, women are treated as full partners in marriage—are you on board with all that? I would be interested to know if you and others on SF are “revisionist” like the rest of Christianity in these matters.

With a very, very few exceptions, people in the Episcopal Church do not teach “what they like.” I’m not sure that can be said of the SFiF group or sect.

I do not understand your need to demonize and to attack. Is it that you will feel more safe in your beliefs if you can demonize those who differ from you in any matter? Who gives you authority to do this—and, like it or not, it is not Holy Scripture.

[215] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-01-2009 at 02:49 AM • top

1. The substantive discussion is interesting, and I am committed to these kinds of engagements, but I IMO your exegesis and history is weak. I think it would help if you could lay out some principles of justified theological change (what I think is better called authentic doctrinal development) and changes that lack adequate theological justification. (In other words, I see you repeatedly eliding the gap between the descriptive and the prescriptive -  moving back and from between a sociological/historical analysis (X happened or happens) and a theological analysis (X was right to happen)).

2. Jesus claims to be correctly interpreting the Law (Mt 5. 17 - 20). Doubtless some others - then and now - disagree. As christians don’t we want to argue that he was right to claim that his interpretation was correct. Indeed Mt 23 might suggest that Our Lord’s contention with the pharisees was, not exactly, over their interpretation of the Law - but their doing of the Law. Hence the charge of hypocrisy. In some ways - such as divorce, anger, lust - Jesus interprets the Law more strictly than at least some first century pharisees. (So your truthful claim that Jesus argues that intentions matter in action - is more demanding not less). Yet, in other ways, without ending the Law (which he explicitly says he is not doing) - his interpretation is more “liberal” than than at least some pharisees. So Jesus makes an argument from Scripture that what he or his disciples do - healing, picking grain - is not breaching the sabbath. Others, obviously disagreed. But it is not simply a case of the Law being abandoned - rather the right teaching about the Law is revealed. Scripture is, in other words, rightly interpreted. (Note - that’s a theological and not merely an historical or sociological claim).

3. I do find the relentless cod psychologizing of opponents - from every side - rather unhelpful.

[216] Posted by driver8 on 01-01-2009 at 04:02 AM • top

I should add one thing - in my limited experience - there is, within TEC, a significantly greater influence from process theology and Tillich than I have encountered in other provinces. I’m working from a limited sample - so my anecdotal experience has no statistical validity - but, up to this point, it does seem true. This bears on your claim about the rootedness of at least some clergy in TEC in historical Christianity.

[217] Posted by driver8 on 01-01-2009 at 04:11 AM • top

One final thing - beliefs are surely held by people - not by books. The concern is over the kinds of prima facie unorthodox beliefs apparently held, and apparently accepted, by some clergy and even bishops within TEC.

[218] Posted by driver8 on 01-01-2009 at 04:25 AM • top

Tom,

Happy New Year.

First of all, I agree with driver8’s point in #218 – a point you surely understand but choose to ignore.  All of your creeds and books really mean nothing, inasmuch as ECUSA tolerates, and even celebrates, naked heterodoxy at its highest levels.  On top of that, the theologians identified with the Episcopal Church – Spong, Crossan and Borg, as good examples – are most certainly not, “firmly rooted in historic Christianity.”  Far from it: their stock-in-trade is debunking historic Christianity, if not, in the case of Spong, outright spitting on it.

Second, where I’m coming from was made clear in my earlier comment.  In theorizing that Jesus was the “original revisionist,” you were quite clearly attempting to set Him up as a model for ECUSA’s departures from the Faith delivered by the same Jesus; thereby, you were equating your authority with His.  As I explained, this follows logically from your apparent view of Jesus as a proto-hippie, revolutionary thinker – a 1st century Che Guevara, if you will – upon whose philosophizing, you, as one of today’s Beautiful People – and smarter, naturally, as are all moderns – are free to improve.

Nobody who understood Jesus to be the Christ of God, God Himself incarnate, would or could take such an arrogant position.

With very, very few exceptions, Episcopalianism teaches what feels good or what seems to make sense to the (fallen) human mind, the hell with whether it lines up with the revelation of God in Christ or not.  As your many writings here alone have demonstrated, you are not one of those exceptions.

[219] Posted by Phil on 01-01-2009 at 12:37 PM • top

“The second thing instructive about this passage is that Jesus internalizes the religious codes of the past.”

No, Tom, he does not.  That’s putting a Victorian-Romantic spin on things and we don’t do hermeneutics like that, that’s Schleiermacher & Dilthey.

[220] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-01-2009 at 01:00 PM • top

Tom, also, to avoid a pre-structuralist hermeneutic, see Barthes and Foucault - especially Foucault’s notion of the “author function” - to see how the Modern approach to “quotes” differs in expectation from pre-modern discourse.

And Happy New Year wink

[221] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-01-2009 at 01:42 PM • top

I’m not sure what “internalizing” in this context is. I wonder if Tom is thinking of something like Mk 7 - where Jesus teaches that the defiling power of impure food is less important (or not important at all, as one interprets) than the defiling power of evil intentions?

But this may run against his intuitions about Jesus:

1. Jesus affirms the power and significance of purity - except he makes it not a matter of food but of ethical intention and behaviour.
2. Jesus explicitly affirms that impure sexual desire defiles.

[222] Posted by driver8 on 01-01-2009 at 02:09 PM • top

Did not Tommie say he was done with this thread about 2 years ago? Does narcissism have no end?

[223] Posted by Intercessor on 01-01-2009 at 04:25 PM • top

FWIW I’m glad he’s decided to keep writing. The frustrating thing is that we relentlessly seem to talk past each other. I try to respond carefully to points being made and then the discussion moves on to new claims so or points are simply restated as if critique didn’t merit any kind of response. I take reconciliation to be premised on, at some level, a mutual acceptance of truth. I take mutual understanding to require at the least that the one you are speaking with understands the truth claims you are making. Far from broaching reconciliation this kind of dialogue makes me wonder if we even understand each other.

[224] Posted by driver8 on 01-01-2009 at 04:46 PM • top

Driver 8 and Phil—I will address the issues you address tomorrow. I appreciate the engagement and hope others at SF do as well.
It is wrong to infer from Borg, Spong or anyone else that TEC is lax or permissive.  I would not want to smear all of SF people because there are some way over the top, irresponsible people who are more interested in condemnation of others than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Attend an Episcopal Church near you, expecting to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you will hear it—go expecting to find holes in one or more parts of the service and you will find them—as they would do with you. Gotcha is not an ecclesiastical virtue, finding our commonness in Jesus Christ is.

“Intercessor,” I just note that is an odd choice of a moniker for someone who treats others with such contempt. I will intercess for you.

[225] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-01-2009 at 11:54 PM • top

Dear Tom….Thanks..I pray for you daily…you and Jerry Lamb…
Intercessor

[226] Posted by Intercessor on 01-02-2009 at 12:23 AM • top

Happy New Year, Father Tom.

[227] Posted by driver8 on 01-02-2009 at 12:26 AM • top

There are so many heavy laden words in these discussions and “permissive’ is one (“lax” is even worse). I always avoid using them because it more or less ends any rational discussion immediately. But as you’ve used it Tom let me address it. I would want to define the sense in which Crossan or Spong are “permissive”. Namely they permit and even encourage the adoption by the church of doctrines that are heretical and permit (encourage) the abandoning of doctrines that are orthodox.

If we were to be specific we might consider their views on the truthfulness of Chalcedon’s doctrine of the natures of Christ (and what they propose the church should hold in its place).

[228] Posted by driver8 on 01-02-2009 at 12:52 AM • top

Perhaps it may also help to know that I consider Crossan (and Borg for that matter) serious NT scholars. So I would hope that you see my critique of some ideas of theirs is specific. It’s not meant to be a general judgment on their intention or their ability. Both have produced some significant NT scholarship (regardless of whether in the end one is persuaded by any specific exegesis). On Bishop Spong on the other hand my views are too impolite for public company…

[229] Posted by driver8 on 01-02-2009 at 03:31 AM • top

Spong proves the laxity of TEC in that he is a bishop who has denied the Resurrection for many years without any attempt at discipline.  That’s just one example.  There are plenty of others.

How long do you think a Russian or Latin bishop could get away with that>

[230] Posted by Ed the Roman on 01-02-2009 at 09:30 AM • top

As promised, mostly to Driver 8:
First, I hope neither Borg nor Crossan is held up as a concern for any brand of orthodoxy. Their scholarship is not done in the service of the Roman Catholics, the Episcopalians, Stand Firm or any other organization. It is scholarship, open to criticism and correction. That’s all. In the same way, Jack Spong has never claimed to be speaking FOR the church, but TO it. For anyone to condemn the Episcopal Church for his statements is off base. I believe my friend, Fred Phelps, would agree with much of what appears at SF, but it would be mistake to use that agreement to smear everyone here.

Regarding Doctrinal Development and Principles of Theological Change or Development:
Here are some familiar developments, embraced by most of Christianity:
—Impassibility of God has been challenged successfully by Abraham Heschell, from Scripture.
— Our Sacramental relationship to God.
—The Doctrine of the Real Presence.
—Enormous developments in our theology of marriage.
—Nature of ordination.
—Our Baptismal Covenant
—Full humanity of women – in marriage, the family and in the church.
—The Council of Nicea, distinguishing between homoousios and homoiousious.
—The Chalcedon Statement on the Person of Christ.
—The Relationship between the Body of Christ and the Jews.
—The Relationship between Christians and State Sponsored Violence, in support of Capital Punishment, in acceptance of Abortion in certain circumstances.
—Relationships with other Christian bodies.
—The effect Biblical scholarship and the discovery of ancient texts has had on Biblical interpretation.

I think one of the best explication of some of the more controversial developments is addressed here:
http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/2006/09/authority-of-experience-coats.html

Jesus and the Law
There is more than one strand in the Synoptics. Matthew has “not one jot or title shall. . .until all is fulfilled” (but by the time of the writing of Mt., hasn’t “all been fulfilled?” That is pretty much the assumption of most here at SF.

Yet Funk’s analysis of the Leaven (echoed by almost all NT scholars since), the fact that the mustard seeds in that parable are planted in a garden in direct violation of the Purity Code, Jesus’ calling of Matthew (apparently unrepentant at the time for his occupation), Jesus’ dealings with the unclean Samaritans, Syro-Phoenician woman, the “you have heard it said. . .but I say to you,” the welcoming of the unrepentant pig smelling son into the bosom of the family while the Law and rule observant brother is left out in the ProdigalSon, Jesus’ dismissal of his mother (punishable by death, is it not, in the Law)  – all this, and much more, show a break from the authority of the Law and a quite different strane.

I would add to that the statements of Jesus about those outside the Law and without what most would call “saving faith” in Jesus that they are within the Kingdom.

Here is part of what I posted to a priest in the Diocese of Dallas yesterday:
While you can cut and paste the Hebrew and Scripture to support such a view (that only the orthodox will be saved), I believe the overwhelming consensus of Biblical writers is quite different. Thus,

— It is God’s will that all return to Him.
— Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it
— Jesus announces many times the saving faith of those who do not believe in him the way you do.
—You assert that God does not change; Abraham Heschell blew an enormous hole in that doctrine of the impassibility of God, supported I believe in the changes and shifts in Jesus’ own understanding of who is saved/not saved and whose faith is “sufficient” in his day to day encounters.  For evidence of this (and of the passibility of God) Check out the encounter with the Syro-Phonecian Woman, the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, of the Prodigal Son (the dutiful older brother is unable to enter the newer, broader definition of the “saved”). Check out the Parable of the Leaven, in which the Kingdom is described as the co-mixing of the pure and the corrupt.
—Check out Colossians, in which the author (Paul?) writes clearly about a doctrine of universalism.
—Check out the Beatitudes, Matthew 25, Galatians 5 in which the marks of salvation/blessedness are spelled out without the qualifications you want to impose.

That is a smattering of the Gospel record,. . .. Is there a similar hardline, narrow path open only to those who have chosen Door B?  Yes, it’s there.  However, it is complicated by the huge diversity of belief in the early church, with at least three different notions of the Atonement in the New Testament, various ethical systems and a whole bunch of commands that even you now scoff at (are you still requiring women to have their heads covered in church and restricting them from speaking at Vestry meetings?) .  Do those who choose Door Three (knowing that one of the New Testament doctrines is there) get consigned to eternal damnation because it is not the darling of the new fundamentalists?
The tradition you uphold is clearly a minority position in our Scriptures. No one faults you for holding it. The problem comes when you and others use it as a club for pounding on those who respond to the Gospel in a quite different way (which, I think it is clear) is by far the predominant witness of Jesus and the canonical epistles).

Here is another fine articles about absolutism and doctrinal development:
http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/2006/11/absolutism.html.

I hope this is helpful. Again, what I am arguing about is that there are several strands in the Gospel record that still resound today—to choose one and call those who are drawn to the other “heretic” and worse is to pay little respect to Scripture or to fellow members of the Body of Christ.

[231] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-02-2009 at 01:38 PM • top

Thanks Tom for taking the time - I really do appreciate it but I don’t know where to begin.

1. Crossan and Borg are biblical scholars their ideas about history (plausible or implausible) stand or fall on their own merits. Theology (as it concerns speaking truthfully about God) is a matter for the church - insofar as they encourage the adoption by the church ideas that are heretical (untruthful) then of course they demand call for rational theological critique by church leaders.

2. Bishop Spong does speak on behalf of the church (whether he thinks so or not). He is a bishop in the church of God, a symbol of the unity of the church and when he teaches as Bishop his words are not his own but the church’s. I refrain again from expressing my considered view of his wrds and actions…

3. Once again - you slip back and forth between X happens and X was right or fitting to happen. Some of those items I disagree with - in other words I think they are untruthful - eg the claim about impassibility of God. Other I do think are truthful - eg the Chalcedonian doctrine of the persons of Chris is a case of authentic doctrinal development.

I never challenged the fact that development occurs. I asked for some possible criteria. How should the church dstinguish inauthentic from inauthentic development? Simply listing things that have occured doesn’t, IMO, take us any further forward.

4. I’m amazed your are still repeatng your claim about Funk and the Leaven. You may recall that the last time I read you make that claim I actually looked up the relevant passages in perhaps a dozen scholarly commentaries and not one supported Funk’s claim. It is discouraging to see that you simply repeat it as if I had never bothered. I took your claim seriously, checked it and showed it to be, at first glance, untruthful. At the least you need to make a counter argument.

5. You stated earlier that TEC priests are grounded in “historic Christianity” yet you deny one of the central planks of christian thought about God until the twentieth century. Namely, the simplicity of God. I suggested that the influence of process theology had been more important within TEC than esewhere in the Communion. At the least you accept one of the key claims made by prcess style theologians (indeed acceptance of the claim that God changes his mind - a claim I take to deny divine perfection - seems to be often underlying those who favor the novel theology on human sexuality). FWIW if you want to read a defense of the traditional doctrine of divine impassibility - Thomas Weinandy, “Does God suffer?” is a good starting point.

6. It’s so hard to argue - when you simply assert concsions. Almost all of your exegesis seems weak to me. Take the Prodigal Son - the son changes his mind (Lk 15. 18-19) - that is repentance. Such an exegesis - seeing the Prodigal as being about repentance - is suggested by the structure of Luke 15 as a whole. Thre parable of the Prodigal Son is preceeded by two parables explicitly concerning repentance - such that we see three parables about repentance in Luke 15 - the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. (I could go on - the SyroPhoenical/Canaanite women is a tale of a pagan woman acknowledging faith in the God of Israel and His Messiah. In other words one might call it a conversion narrative).

7. Finally - I have never claimed that only those who hold orthodox ideas will be saved. That’s a whole other conversation. I have said that truth matters for the church. Of course, we want to speak truthfully about God. It honors him and edifies our folks. That’s why we make those being baptised affirm the truth about God in the creed. We’re not free simply to reinvent. As those who belive in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we know we received truth.

8. Thank you for taking the time to engage.  I feel, for the moment, our conversatrion has run its course.

[232] Posted by driver8 on 01-02-2009 at 02:37 PM • top

Driver 8—thank you for your direct responses to what I wrote. It is probably inappropriate to use this string to follow through. I believe you are right in so much of what you write here. If you have the time and the interest, I would be happy to do it privately. The best place to begin would be at:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) - I can then shift things to the email I use on a daily basis.  You are one wise dude.
Tom

[233] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-02-2009 at 09:14 PM • top

Hi Tom, another occasion perhaps - now the holidays are over I will have a bit less time.

[234] Posted by driver8 on 01-02-2009 at 10:46 PM • top

Tom, you’re wiggling around again.  You’ve been asked particular questions and you’re using the shotgun approach to get out - bring up a large number of superficially related issues and dodge having to answer the question you’ve been asked.

When one’s cornered, one can also learn from the event - refine one’s own view, or perhaps even change.  Care for a change, Tom?  You might like it.

It would also help others here if you’d keep on topic a bit more.  The other issues you bring up are indeed interesting, but we can discuss them in different threads.

I respect your intelligence, Tom, you are clearly an intelligent man.  You don’t seem to be using that intelligence very wisely, though.  You could sharpen your own critical capacities if you would agree to muddle less and argue the points being argued, and the readers here would also benefit more from what you have to contribute.

[235] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-09-2009 at 03:05 PM • top

Registered members are welcome to leave comments. Log in here, or register here.


Comment Policy: We pride ourselves on having some of the most open, honest debate anywhere about the crisis in our church. However, we do have a few rules that we enforce strictly. They are: No over-the-top profanity, no racial or ethnic slurs, and no threats real or implied of physical violence. Please see this post for more. Although we rarely do so, we reserve the right to remove or edit comments, as well as suspend users' accounts, solely at the discretion of site administrators. Since we try to err on the side of open debate, you may sometimes see comments that you believe strain the boundaries of our rules. Comments are the opinions of visitors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Stand Firm, its board of directors, or its site administrators.