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Northern Michigan’s Only Nominee for Bishop “Walks Path of Christianity And Zen Buddhism Together”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 • 8:02 am

This is, of course, the natural progression of “progressivism” and something we continually warn against here: It starts with labyrinths, continues with Buddhist monks constructing mandalas in a cathedral, and over the background noise of pagan priests and books about love spells, proceeds to Muslim preistesses and now a Buddhist bishop.


When stories like this come along, it’s tempting to remind everyone of similar people and events that have turned the Episcopal Church into a laughingstock for reasons completely unrelated to homosexuality, if only so we can have them in one convenient place the next time something happens.

There’s the pagan seminar in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, Bill Melnyk the Druid priest, Maury Johnston the gay Wiccan lay activist, whirling with the sufis in Seattle, the ridiculous labyrinth trend, the Hindu mass in Los Angeles… but there are so many more that listing them all every time something like this happens threatens to become a full-time job.

A year and half ago, The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding was inhibited by Rhode Island Bishop Geralyn Wolf for claiming to be both Muslim and Christian. Now the Diocese of Northern Michigan has announced that its only nominee for bishop - The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester - is also a Zen Buddhist. Not the kind who lived down the hall from you in your college dorm - no, Forrester has actually received Buddhist lay ordination.

Forrester will succeed the late Bishop James Kelsey, who in his diocesan convention address from 2004 mentioned Forrester’s Buddhist ordination in a laundry list of diocesan happenings that could have easily come from a “Lake Wobegon” news break:

Manuel Padilla received his Doctorate of Ministry from Seabury-Western Seminary. Anita Wingert got married! (to Hal Martin) Jane Cisluycis (our new Diocesan Operations Coordinator) graduated last spring from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Communications. Kevin Thew Forrester received Buddhist “lay ordination” - so now he’s walking the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism together

This is, of course, the natural progression of “progressivism” and something we continually warn against here: It starts with labyrinths, continues with Buddhist monks constructing mandalas in a cathedral, and over the background noise of pagan priests and books about love spells, proceeds to Muslim preistesses and now a Buddhist bishop.

Few on the U.P. seem too concerned about this, certainly not this blogger who writes:

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan makes the upper peninsula of Michigan.  A beautiful place without very many people. They have been a leader in finding new ways to do church.  Once again they have selected their candidate for Bishop and have done it in a new way.  the continue to think out of the box and most of the things they have tried have worked very well.

Really? “Worked very well”?

Let’s go to the chart. Oh look - the diocese that’s about to consecrate a Zen Buddhist as Bishop shows a steady decline of over one-third in baptized members and average Sunday attendance over the past decade. Imagine that.

A page at the diocesan web site lists Forrester as being on the diocese’s “Core Team”, he’s head of “LifeCycles Formation Development,” he’s on the Relationships & Partnerships committee, and the Ecclesial Court. Forrester is obviously an active proponent of non-Christian spiritual formation, such as:

THE HEALING ARTS CENTER & THE INTERFAITH FORUM OF MARQUETTE are sponsoring an “interfaith conversation” and a workshop on Meditation & the Enneagram, to be led by the Buddhist teacher, Santikaro. On Friday, October 5th, Santikaro will lead an interfaith conversation open to the public. The exact time and place of the venue are still in process. On Saturday, from 10-4 at the Healing Arts Center, located in the Morgan Chapel of St. Paul’s, Santikaro will lead a practical workshop exploring the relationship between meditation and the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a system with ancient roots, which integrates spirituality and psychology.  Both events are open to the public. There is no fee, but donations are gladly accepted. For further information on either event,  contact Kevin G. Thew Forrester at (906)-226-2912 or email at Kevin.Thew-
Forrester@StPaulsMqt.org

That’s from the diocesan newsletter of September, 2007 [485kb PDF - I had trouble opening it, so beware]

Northern Michigan’s response to the primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007 is legendary around these parts (check the three “affirmations,” especially the last one, in the main post). Forrester is the author of “I Have Called You Friends: An Invitation to Ministry,” which was described by one reviewer this way:

He borrows heavily from feminist theology, and picks up Walt Winks’ concept of “domination”. He also hints at choas and organisation theory, implying that order emerges from chaos through a process of self-organisation. Hence church leaders should resist the temptation to impose order, since a liberated community will generate more creativity…
...
Jesus said, “I have called you friends…” Kevin Thew Forrester, would like to show us how to turn clerical domination structures into the kin-dom of heaven. Amen to that!

Over at MCJ, Christopher mentions that there are rumblings afoot by “one senior diocesan bishop” to the effect that “objections may be raised” to Forrester’s being seated in the House of Bishops, because the body is “still sufficiently faithful to recognize the total self-contradiction this would involve and deny consent.”

If you believe that the fey bedwetters in the HoB will do anything more than squeak briefly and weakly about “concerns” over Forrester’s full-on embrace of Zen Buddhism, I have some beachfront property in northwestern New Mexico I want to sell you.

Taking the broad view, though, one has to ask: Should this really be more of a concern than the theology espoused by the presiding bishop herself? I would say “yes,” but only by a nose, because it is one thing for the House of Bishops to be populated by many men and women who claim to be Christian only, but whose theology is, at best, suspect; and it being populated by people who publicly affirm their allegiance to a faith other than Christianity. Nothing like a little strange doctrine to show how inclusive we are, right?


Sarah Hey contributed much of the research for this article


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

Is this an April fools joke?  Nope, only January.  One can only dream. 

It’ll be interesting to see if this can get consents.

[1] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 01-27-2009 at 10:51 AM • top

Why does TEC have such small dioceses?  I’m sorry but there are WAY too many dioceses and WAY too many bishops.  There should be a minimum number of members in a diocese or maybe a minimum ASA.  Maybe 5000 members or 2500-3000 ASA.  It is not like the bishop has to be a circuit rider these days.  He can fly from city to city.  If the churches are all small maybe he does not have to get to each one every year.  They can be grouped together and he can rotate through the group over a number of years.

Maybe if there were fewer bishops they could be of a better quality, although it seems too late to get any truly orthodox bishops elected.  Perhaps this is what TEC has brought itself to.  The ONLY candidate is a Buddhist.

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy

[2] Posted by old lady on 01-27-2009 at 10:55 AM • top

Haven’t you heard?  Zen Buddhism is just madly fashionable, dahlings!

[3] Posted by st. anonymous on 01-27-2009 at 10:58 AM • top

Well, selecting a person who is already apostate would seem to save time and possibly forestall any subsequent controversy. It’s the church equivalent of pre-shrunk blue jeans.

These days, this only qualifies as ‘Fresh Heck’. As long as the candidate will promise not to sell vacant church properties to Anglicans, his approval should sail through the HoB.

There’s a difference between being a Christian and serving God and being a priest and playing at god.

[4] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 01-27-2009 at 11:11 AM • top

This is all like watching a trashing animal die.  It lashes out in all directions during its final convulsions.  All rationality is gone, it is lurching through the final impulses in its synapsis.  For TEC, those final impulses are revisionist, liberal, and profoundly non-christian.  It too shall soon die.

[5] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 01-27-2009 at 11:11 AM • top

Well darn…...that should have been “thrashing”......mia culpa…....

[6] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 01-27-2009 at 11:12 AM • top

become catholic, people.

[7] Posted by GoingtoRome on 01-27-2009 at 11:15 AM • top

Why is this guy even allowed to continue to serve as presbyter? No, don’t bother answering that, I already know.

[8] Posted by Boring Bloke on 01-27-2009 at 11:17 AM • top

I think this might be enlightening this interfaith stuff. We could take the best of both faiths and get -
Buddha + Episcopal = Buddpal
We could be best Buddpals! He could start a new interfaith foundation and called it Buddpalian.

[9] Posted by martin5 on 01-27-2009 at 11:18 AM • top

This is entirely consistent with Sufi +Frank Griswold and his “frankspeak”.  When asked seven years ago if there was anything that was solid and unchanging in the Episcopal Church, after 3 minutes of pondering, he answered, “The Prayer Book”.  He then talked for about an hour, and said nothing intelligible, but made the clergy present think it was wonderful, and they sang his praises, until I asked, “What did he say?” and no one could answer.  But it was just wonderful.

[10] Posted by Rev. J on 01-27-2009 at 11:19 AM • top

Well, we’ve had Episcopal-Druid clergy, Episcopal-Muslim clergy, isn’t the next logical step Episcopal-Bhuddist?  What shall we look for next?  Episcopal-Witch?  Ooops… already have that.

[11] Posted by Goughdonna on 01-27-2009 at 11:23 AM • top

Despite the unfortunate choice of words of the late bishop, I’d reserve judgement on this one (apart from the likelihood that Mr Forrester is a theological revisionist). At present the Roman Catholic Church has several respected priests who are not only clergymen but also hold legitimate ‘inka’ or the status, not of mere lay vows, as Mr Forrester has, but fully ordained Zen Masters (Roshi)! As well, there are several nuns and priests who old the rank of ‘Sensei’, or ‘teacher’, just short of full Inka. And this is with the permission of the hierarchy. No doubt you all remember, as well, that Fr. Bede Griffiths (Benedictine Camaldolese) founded Shantivanam, a RC Ashram in India which is a part of the Benedictine Camaldolese Order. Also, you all remember Pere Henri Le Saux, who became, with the explicit blessing of the Roman hierarchy, a Christian renunciate in the Indian tradition by the name of Abhishiktananda, and who wrote several notable books on the intersection of Christian and Hindu spirituality. While I depore the facile and stomach-churning shallowness of most TEC syncretic ‘interfaith’ rubbish, there is, dear friends, an authentic meeting which monastics of all religions experience, as Thomas Merton pointed out very forcefully in his Asian Journals.

[12] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 11:28 AM • top

I do not want to distract the thread, but, someone please help me complete this story (you may want to send as a PM),

Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…

[13] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-27-2009 at 11:29 AM • top

That we all may be all. 
Chorus: And all are right, and all are right, and we are right as right can be.

[14] Posted by SkyFox on 01-27-2009 at 11:30 AM • top

As bishop, his first order of business will be authorizing the use of lazy susans on the altar, on which will be placed the symbols of the various religions represented within each church in Northern Michigan.

wink

[15] Posted by tired on 01-27-2009 at 11:31 AM • top

How could they withhold consents? 

If I recall the reasoning prior to granting consent to a certain bishop from NH, the only relevant question is, “Did the Diocese of Northern Michigan proceed according to the canonical process that they, as a diocese, had established?” 

Since this candidate for bishop helped to craft that process, I’m willing to bet that all procedural steps were followed.  Assuming that there are no irregularities in the voting, drop that rubber stamp, baby. 

When it comes to consents for bishop, there is one, and only one exception: should the candidate be orthodox and be elected by an orthodox diocese (cough, Lawrence, cough) then Standing Committees and the HOB are free to break out the fine toothed combs and/or make stuff up as they go along. 

As this candidate is clearly not tainted by any suspicions of orthodoxy, however, I say, “Break out the mitre.”  I’m thinking a replica of the PB’s blue moon ensemble.

[16] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 11:32 AM • top

Given that Muslims have recently declared that doing yoga is banned - because it includes Buddhist spiritual practices - what will happen when the ‘Buddhist Bishop’ meets the ‘Muslim priest’?

Possibly what happens in India and in Sri Lanka when the two meet - they try and kill each other.

Do these people know nothing about ANY faith-group at all?

[17] Posted by Luthergibt on 01-27-2009 at 11:33 AM • top

Actually, a true practitioner of Zen Buddhism is probably closer to Christian ethos, than most liberal “Christians” are, on a day to day basis.

I think Buddhism takes a pretty dim view of homosexuality too. Perhaps if he pushes gay issues the Buddhists will excommunicate him and all shall be well once again.

Please don’t jump on me. I realize that Buddhism and Christianity are NOT the same and are not ultimately compatable. For one thing, Buddhism is a philosophy. There is not really a divine being in Buddhism.

Some of the ideas of Buddhist ideas of selflessness would be helpful for these liberal “Christians” to learn and practice, I think.

[18] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 01-27-2009 at 11:37 AM • top

Episcobuddism, Episcomuslim, Episcowiccan, Episcodruid, see! It all works beautifully together. Obviously The Spirit (tm) has led us to this as a further deepening of our mutual inclusiveness. God (tm) is calling the Episcopal Spirituality Organization to new revelations in our spiritual expressions. We need to shed the shackles of tradition that limit our spirituality and embrace this renovation of our calling Om mony podmy om amen and blessed be.

[19] Posted by masternav on 01-27-2009 at 11:37 AM • top

First came the oceanographer and now comes a Buddhist…is the next frontier the Church of Satan? When one leaves the path of the Law there is only wilderness and the beasts that lurk therein.

[20] Posted by George Hood on 01-27-2009 at 11:40 AM • top

Ah ... Umm .... Ur ....  Ug ...  confused

[21] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 01-27-2009 at 11:41 AM • top

Captain Jack, you are probably right.

[22] Posted by martin5 on 01-27-2009 at 11:41 AM • top

Rather than the usual Attack before Thinking, try reading Carrin Dunne’s “Buddha & Jesus” or Borg’s comparison of the teachings of Buddha and Jesus. Don’t worry, Borg doesn’t say anything that will detract from your own doctrinal commitments - but his work on the teaching of Jesus and Buddha will surprise you.

[23] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-27-2009 at 11:48 AM • top

Better yet, read what Pope John Paul II had to say about Christians and Buddhism.

[24] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 11:49 AM • top

Re: A Senior Priest (No.12)

Well, you know what they say about mysticism . . . it begins with ‘mist’ and ends in ‘schism’.

[25] Posted by William S on 01-27-2009 at 11:50 AM • top

And, Mr. Woodward, let’s say the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha overlap in certain areas.  So what?  What does that have to do with this situation?  “Even the demons believe,” after all.

[26] Posted by Phil on 01-27-2009 at 11:51 AM • top

TBWSantaFe
Last I looked, Jesus didn’t need Buddha to help explain his teachings.  I believe that they stand alone.  The Holy Spirit leads us to a deeper understanding and transformation, not Buddha.  I hardly think that Borg’s position and opinion are relevant to Christian Truth.  You may disagree; therein lies the division.

[27] Posted by wportbello on 01-27-2009 at 11:53 AM • top

This just gets better and better.  No need to make replica PB Moonwear vestments, or have her ship them FedEx.  She can bring them with her:

“Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Clay Matthews of the Office of Pastoral Development “have been very supportive” in the Diocese of Northern Michigan’s unusual search and discernment process.  Jefferts Schori will preside at the consecration of Northern Michigan’s new bishop and the commissioning of the Episcopal Ministry Support Team on October 17, 2009. (ENS)”

Although many names were put forward, the discernment team selected only Thew for the actual voting.  And who is on this uber-powerful discernment team?:

“The discernment team was comprised of 21 persons from throughout the diocese and was assisted by three “reflectors:” Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont, Bishop Bruce Caldwell of Wyoming, and Professor Fredrica Thompsett Harris of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Jo Gantzer, canon for lifelong learning for the Diocese of Michigan, served as “companion” for the discernment process.”

I thought “reflectors” were things on my bicycle.  Man was I wrong, so I’m not even going to try to guess what the role of a “companion” is in this process. 

Worried?  Don’t be. 

The head of the Standing Committee assures you that “the actions of the Diocese of Northern Michigan are in full compliance with both the canons of the diocese and the national Episcopal Church. ‘The new bishop of Northern Michigan will be duly elected,’ said Piper (ENS).”

Whew.  Now that feels better.  For a second there this all looked pretty sketchy.

[28] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 12:01 PM • top

Forrester either knows nothing of Zen, nothing of Christianity, or nothing of either.  They are, as Cpt. Sparrow notes, incompatible.  I have worked among the Buddhists in India for several years and although the majority keep to a higher moral standard than many Christians the two belief systems are antithetical.  At its core Buddhism is atheist and the Tibetan version is very dark and occult.  Neither actually keeps to the teachings of the Buddha but Forrester apparently doesn’t really keep to the teachings of Christ either.

[29] Posted by Edwin on 01-27-2009 at 12:04 PM • top

Tommy! KNEW you wouldn’t miss this one! Let’s not forget other equally magickal tomes of wisdom: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I’m OK, you’re OK, The Harrad Experiment, a little Timothy Leary, some Baba Ram Dass, a touch of Malcolm X to keep things spicy, stirred to the gentle tones of hare krishna in the background, some readings from Seth, Aldous Huxley, George Harrison, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, some Thoreau, Hunter S., Kerouac, Wolfe, and music by CSNY, Grateful Dead, Dylan, Moody Blues, Grass Roots, Simon and Garfunkel, Hendrix, a little Stones and some Eagles, stir inclusively.

[30] Posted by masternav on 01-27-2009 at 12:06 PM • top

#19 masternav,
Another brilliant cadenza!

[31] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 12:07 PM • top

I can just picture the souvenier stand at this “consecration”-Buddha on the cross. Why not? The Cathedral of St. John the Divine had “Christa” on the cross. The TEC Presiding Bishop has said there are several ways to heaven. TEC Bishop Robinson prays to a god of many understandings. Anything goes.

[32] Posted by hellcat on 01-27-2009 at 12:07 PM • top

Rather than the usual Attack before Thinking,

Thank you for your knee-jerk assumption on how much we may actually know on the subject. Which friend should I ask to begin to refute you? The PhD student in World Religions (specializing in Eastern) at CUA or the actual Buddhist I know? Maybe your pejorative and baseless accusation on SFIF commentors reveals more about your depravity than about our ignorance.

[33] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 01-27-2009 at 12:10 PM • top

I won a bet with myself that Tom Woodward would chime in that Buddhism and Christianity are completely compatible and that we are just stupid (which is a translation of “Read Marcus Borg” and so on.)

But the question I want to ask, is for a Bishop, why isn’t Christianity, the Bible, enough to form a spiritual life?  These people and this new Bishop always seem to be saying that Jesus isn’t enough.

You would think a Christian leader would be so enraptured with Christianity that there would be no need to incorporate other faiths into hers.  There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with having an interest in other faiths, or to even learn some things about life from them, just like some people enjoy learning about biology, physics, or history.  This is not what Forrester is doing.

Also, as time goes on, I always wonder why the line was drawn at Ann Holmes Redding and her foray into Islam.  If I was her, I would feel very much singled out.

DoW

[34] Posted by DietofWorms on 01-27-2009 at 12:10 PM • top

Don’t worry, Borg doesn’t say anything that will detract from your own doctrinal commitments - but his work on the teaching of Jesus and Buddha will surprise you.

‘doubtful, Tom.  My guess is that it’s a regurgitated version of Thomas Jefferson’s “bible.”  Very little about TEC surprises me anymore.

[35] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-27-2009 at 12:11 PM • top

Edwin,
I know just a bit about Buddhism, at least in terms of it’s teachings. As you point out, my understanding is that there really aren’t many Buddhists who actually practice The Buddha’s teachings. They are very difficult.

I think if Buddha had met Jesus, he would have believed after realizing that the real and truer way to what he was seeking was through relationship with Jesus, not by following principles or the Noble Truths.

I’m always amused when various movie stars, stalwarts of selflessness, claim to have become Buddhists. I’m not sure it is really possible to be American, as individualistic as we are, and keep to Buddhism. For us Westerners it tends to become just another way to improve the self—a truly American pastime.

[36] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 01-27-2009 at 12:12 PM • top

In such an egalitarian enterprise it should be of no surprise that a Buddhist or Muslim can be clergy when so many more are Animists, Witches, Druids and Atheists.  What I find strange is that religion need be a qualification at all in TEC.  Think about it- most of these folk would support forcing the Roman Church to hire homosexuals to teach in it’s schools or mandate abortion in it’s hospitals.  Why should the liberals set any barriers to their so called “episcopate’? I think they should be accepting of resumes from anyone without the prejudice of even having to be a priest first.

Ex.
Hollywood has actors that portray clergy very well and have the costumes so shouldn’t they be able to apply for the job?

Can anyone else think of other professions that should qualify for immediate acceptance>?

[37] Posted by Just Wondering on 01-27-2009 at 12:13 PM • top

Also, to be snarky, mixing Christianity and Zen Buddhism is something teenagers do until the realized that it is completely unnecessary and kind of stupid.  Jesus is enough.

[38] Posted by DietofWorms on 01-27-2009 at 12:13 PM • top

My problem, as someone who has studied Buddhism, is that for the most part the vows one takes to be a practicing declared Buddhist conflict with those one undertakes on becoming a faithful Christian. You can Tweedledum & Tweedledee the meanings to assuage your conscience, but on the face of it, they conflict. I’m kinda busy now, will go into more details on that later if anyone’s interested.

[39] Posted by ears2hear on 01-27-2009 at 12:13 PM • top

#23 Rather than just trot out the usual suspects let me recommend a book I guess you won’t have read. Written by someone who actually is a genuine expert in Buddhism (unlike both Borg and Dunne), Unexpected Way - On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism.

[40] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 12:16 PM • top

#12 A Senior Priest,
“...there is, dear friends, an authentic meeting which monastics of all religions experience, as Thomas Merton pointed out very forcefully in his Asian Journals.” 
Thomas Merton was well grounded in Roman Catholicism. Make no mistake, he knew and could articulate the differences. ‘Zen is a way of insight rather than a way of salvation, it comes from within the ground of being, not from a gift of love, as in Christianity.’ (Thomas Merton, “Mystics and Zen Masters”)
Merton saw the value in other faiths but also knew he had found and embraced the pearl of great price.

[41] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 12:19 PM • top

I don’t need to read about Buddhism to know it’s wrong - Jesus Christ Himself tells me that it is. “Only through me…”

IN CHRIST ALONE

[42] Posted by Luthergibt on 01-27-2009 at 12:20 PM • top

“I think Buddhism takes a pretty dim view of homosexuality too.” Quite correct. HH the Dalai Lama has explicitly condemned homosexual practice. Oh… and HH is totally against abortion, also.

[43] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 12:22 PM • top

As I understand it, Christianity believes that there is a kind and loving God at the heart of the universe.  Buddhism believes that the universe is an illusion and that we will end up reconciled into nothingness.  If the destination of the two beliefs are such different things, how can one walk both paths simultaneously?  It’s either Jesus or Nirvana, and they’re not the same thing or place—they’re polar opposites. I think that anyone who believes the two things can be reconciled is mistaking practice for substance.  Christians pray and Buddhists meditate.  Both fast.  There is some superficial resemblance between what the two systems have you do, but one says “Credo—I believe” and the other says “Consider the sound of one hand clapping”—a meditation on contradiction, not an affirmation of anything in particular—in fact, something that seems to indicate that affirmation of any firm knowledge is pointless.  One system says “Next to Christ, I know nothing, and man’s wisdom is folly” and the other says “There is nothing to know, everything is folly.”  You can reconcile the systems only on a superficial level—both systems contain men who wear robes.  But what they assert are, in fact, opposite things.  Both cannot simultaneously be true. 

The gentleman in Michigan needs to pick one.

[44] Posted by The Abbot on 01-27-2009 at 12:23 PM • top

Actually, he doesn’t need to pick one. He simply won’t take either seriously. Everyone’s spiritual insight is valid in TEC.

[45] Posted by hellcat on 01-27-2009 at 12:27 PM • top

[37] Spending the night in a Holiday Inn Express?

wink

[46] Posted by tired on 01-27-2009 at 12:28 PM • top

You gotta love clarity.  I’m all for it.  I truly hope this guy gets the secret handshake and the de-coder ring from TEC.

[47] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-27-2009 at 12:30 PM • top

There is a part of me that almost hopes that he gets the various approvals and is consecrated. Surely this would be the final `straw’ (and it is a statement of how far things have gone that this is just yet another `straw’) which will force the Archbishop of Canterbury to act. Surely? Please?

[48] Posted by Boring Bloke on 01-27-2009 at 12:36 PM • top

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me.”  Jesus Christ

[49] Posted by GSP98 on 01-27-2009 at 12:38 PM • top

TBW, by all means, enlighten us, we the unthinking masses, with the knowledge you have gleaned from what you have read of other peoples’ experiences of Zen Buddhism.

And by all means keep pushing Borg.  Continue to boldly cast aside the maxim “know your audience”, and instead choose to multiply references to Borg, Crossan, Spong, etc. (P.S.  In your comment, you forgot to make a single reference to Thich Nhat Hanh…a serious oversight.).

Can someone benefit from some amoral meditation/yoga techniques?  Or the general asthetic that charachterizes Zen art and literature?  Maybe.  It helps some folks deal with stress and anxiety.  That’s all fine and good. 

However, most of the folks who I come across who are seriously pursing Zen Buddhism are doing so as a substitute for Christian spirituality.

Attempting to have a foot in both camps is certainly made easier from the Zen side by the fact that many Zen Buddhists are indifferent to theism. 

But then that raises the obvious question, why would a priest or bishop accept/desire/participate in any sort of ‘ordination’ in a religion that rejects theism?

[50] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 12:38 PM • top

# 14 Tired:  “lazy suzan on the altar”  uff. that hurts!
  I can’t compete with that.  well….here goes.

  Say, did you hear about the U.P. Bishop who walked up to a Sabrett stand
    http://www.sabrett.com/  and queried:

  “Hey how ‘bout making me one with everything?”

[51] Posted by anglicanlutenist on 01-27-2009 at 12:41 PM • top

Greg and all: I’ve found an article by Forrester in the July/August 2004 edition of the diocesan newsletter that sheds a lot of light on what this guy is about. You can find it here. You can also see my comments about the Zenopalian here.

[52] Posted by David Fischler on 01-27-2009 at 12:42 PM • top

He is not the only bi-ecclesial priest.  Last year, a SF reader pointed out that Rev. John Beverley Butcher of the diocese of California is both an Episcopal priest and a member of a Unitarian Universalist church.

[53] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-27-2009 at 12:44 PM • top

#48 You bet, BB. I’m sure that the ABC is getting ready to hold a serious indaba as we post.
I don’t mean to be rude, but you just used the terms “Archbishop of Canterbury” and “act” in the same sentence, with regards to TEcs shenanigans. You HAVE had your coffee, no?

[54] Posted by GSP98 on 01-27-2009 at 12:45 PM • top

Funny, the venerable prophet David Virtue saw this day comming…
Buddhist Bishop

[55] Posted by aterry on 01-27-2009 at 12:45 PM • top

#34 DietofWorms,
“I won a bet with myself that Tom Woodward would chime in that Buddhism and Christianity are completely compatible and that we are just stupid (which is a translation of “Read Marcus Borg” and so on.)”
I would agree. If one asked The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, “What do you think of Homosexuality”? he would give you his answer as an “Episcopalian” not a Buddhist.  The fact is that these folks really don’t believe anything. They have never planted their flag anywhere. Because they don’t believe anything, they don’t experience any cognitive dissonance. Logic escapes them and muddled thinking is the order of the day. There never seems to be clarity and at first I thought this was intentional.  I have come to believe that the lack of clarity is a symptom of an A la carte belief system. And why don’t they believe anything? It is fashionable and fits the proud ego. I’m glad I started out as a plumber. I’ve never lost sight of the fact that poop does not flow uphill.

[56] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 12:46 PM • top

I think you all have made my point. In addition, if you knew some clergy who have also immersed themselves in Buddhism, you could here them tell you directly how Buddhism has deepened their understanding of the Christian faith and their own spiritual lives as Christians.  The same is true for Christian people who have immersed themselves in the religions of Native Americans. I don’t understand why this is not good news to the people of SF.

[57] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-27-2009 at 12:48 PM • top

Dear “The Abbot,”

Superficially, you are correct about the apparent contradiction in the two faiths. But I would suggest that your view of Buddhism is not accurate. It’s not your job to make it so, I understand. But the problem with TEC’s syncretism is failing to respect any faith whatever, or understand what it is about, so it would behoove us not to fall into the same trap through jumping to conclusions based on little study.

According to people with far better Christian credentials than me, Buddhism, at least in some sense, can be seen as more closely resembling the Christian “via negativa” than anything else, and it provides useful insights for those following that path to God. What Buddhism lacks is Christ, teleology, God the Creator, etc, so I’m not advocating it despite it having numerous good qualities. But, to be clear, Buddhism very definitely does not reject ordinary time and space and the truth of everything being connected to cause and effect; it does not reject the reality of what is seen—rather, it calls into question our ability to see what is really there (“things are not as they appear, nor are they otherwise”). It is not a form of relativism in the Western sense of the word and it holds very strongly to natural law and morality (they aren’t optional). However, I seriously doubt that the gentleman in Northern Michigan has anywhere near so profound an approach or understanding as to seriously approach the idea of the “via negativa,” or he would not play the “let’s mix ‘em all up together” game…

[58] Posted by ears2hear on 01-27-2009 at 12:48 PM • top

The election is to be held Feb 21.  If elected, will the consents be obtained diocese by diocese or at GC09?

[59] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-27-2009 at 12:50 PM • top

Two quick thoughts: 1) Where is TEC’s democratic polity in offering a diocese one - ONE - candidate for the office of bishop? Which also begs the question - why bother with the cost of an election, why not just announce to the hoi polloi what their Betters have decided is good for them? Beats making them pretend to “elect” him.

And 2) Regarding TEC’s predilection for other faiths than its own - isn’t this just the ultimate of American individualism? Rather than communion - with Christ and with each other, go on your journey little wayfarer, sample all the trees in the forest, add the fruits you like to your kit and eat which ever one suits your mood today. I think I read on a thread here yesterday, that I can’t find again, the hypothesis that the priestly class in TEC largely finds it doesn’t believe in Christianity/God. What strikes me is the shallowness of the “journeys” that are being made, the wilfull lack of understanding of what Christianity is as well as what Buddhism is. George Herbert is a man who went on a journey - read his poems to see how deep you can go in the sea of Christian faith. This picking and choosing from the world’s religions, adding several slices of Islam and Buddhism to your plate along with a dainty morsel of Christianity isn’t a journey, isn’t Christianity ... it’s the cafeteria line, and every bit as meaningless and egocentric (my preferences, my tastes, what I deign to believe/eat).

[60] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 12:52 PM • top

Oh dear it seems the good priest is simply letting his inner Jesuit emerge.  Catholic and loyal Catholic I am, I must admit I do remember reading of more than one priest who also claims to be a Zen Buddhist.  I believe these priests are usually from the Society Of Jesus.

[61] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 01-27-2009 at 12:55 PM • top

The article “Bridging the Gap:
Finding a Place in East and West” by Kevin Thew Forrester starts on top right of 3rd page of the PDF.

[62] Posted by Cathy_Lou on 01-27-2009 at 12:56 PM • top

#57 Because the syncretistic amalgam they concoct (let’s call it “dharmapalian” or more accurately, “vestments and prayer flags”) is the theological equivalent of a chimera.

[63] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 12:57 PM • top

I was trying to figure out a Biblical parallel here, and then it hit me: the newly formed Samaritan religion formed after the Assyrian deportation/importation (2 Kings 17).

[64] Posted by GSP98 on 01-27-2009 at 01:03 PM • top

A note to Senior Priest.  Please remember when you write “all this was approved by the Heirarchy” in the matter of religious orders it usually refers to the head of the order or in some cases the head of that chapter (I think that is the right word for an individual house of an order).  It very rarely means there is any kind of Diocesian or Vatican approval on those sheninigans.  Relgious orders experience an independence that unfortunately can allow beliefs and ideas which have no place in Christian faith to take route.

The sad state of religious orders in the Church are cause for our prayers and a reminder of wolves among sheep.  Happily these heteredox orders are in decline while those which are faithful to Christ and His Church are growing.

[65] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 01-27-2009 at 01:03 PM • top

Dang, has the cold winter frozen these folks’ brains?? wink  I agree with many of the posts - Zen Buddism is a philosophy; it is compatible in some ways with Christianity, but the bottom line is this - we are supposed to be focused on Christ - this is merely a distraction away from Him.  You know, the Son of God, who was there at creation, through whom all things were created, who became sin so we could be renewed and become sons of God, who is returning to kick some Satan butt and judge the wicked and the dead?  Or you can pay attention to Budda, who is a fat dead guy.  But you can’t do both…you can’t serve two masters…it’s being lukewarm…and God doesn’t like the whole lukewarm thing…

[66] Posted by B. Hunter on 01-27-2009 at 01:04 PM • top

RE: “...if you knew some clergy who have also immersed themselves in Buddhism, you could here them tell you directly how Buddhism has deepened their understanding of the Christian faith and their own spiritual lives as Christians.”

Yes, if only we got out more. 

The thing is, having been a priest in TEC, I have known priests (yes, that’s in the plural) who talked about how these experiences “deepened” their spiritual lives. What was obvious was that they were using these words to cover over what was actually a crisis of faith. 

I have also been a part of Christian Buddhist interfaith dialogues, in Buddhist countries.  And while I would say that I’m certainly richer for the experience, I would also say that what was crystal clear was just how far apart the two religions are on some very basic questions of theology.  At no point in the conversation would it have seemed logical that I, a Christian priest, might be ready for “lay ordination” in Buddhism.

[67] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 01:04 PM • top

A koan:
Buddhist + Catholic Light = Bud Light

If the diocese has any sense, they will vote, “no.” If the diocesan standing committees (or does this go to GC) have any sense, they will vote, “no.”

[68] Posted by Ralph on 01-27-2009 at 01:05 PM • top

Anglicanlutenist,

“Hey how ‘bout making me one with everything?” sounds like a great pick-up line.

Were I still single…..

[69] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 01-27-2009 at 01:09 PM • top

TBWSantaFe,

I don’t understand why this is not good news to the people of SF.

I have my theories, Tom, but suffice it to say that anyone with two brain cells to rub together can read the comments here and see perfectly well why it’s not.

[70] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 01:12 PM • top

#37 Just Wondering,
“Can anyone else think of other professions that should qualify for immediate acceptance”
1. Social Workers
2. U.N. Envoys
3. Massage Therapists
4. Personal Trainers
5. Hair stylists
6. Officers in the Sierra Club
7. Nobel Laureates
8. Most Hollywood Actors/Actresses
9. Journalists for the NYT
10. Bono

[71] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 01:12 PM • top

I won a bet with myself that Tom Woodward would chime in that Buddhism and Christianity are completely compatible and that we are just stupid (which is a translation of “Read Marcus Borg” and so on.)

Apparently DoW couldn’t find anybody to bet against Tom not chiming in with his usual drivel.

[72] Posted by Piedmont on 01-27-2009 at 01:17 PM • top

Logic escapes them and muddled thinking is the order of the day. There never seems to be clarity and at first I thought this was intentional.  I have come to believe that the lack of clarity is a symptom of an A la carte belief system.

Dcn Dale, I think there’s an acute assessment.

[73] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 01:19 PM • top

35 Moot,
The entry on this particular thread by TBWSantaFe is as predictable as Maynard G. Krebs (AKA Bob Denver) popping in on cue on Dobie Gillis (AKA Dwayne Hickman)with the phrase, “You rang”.

[74] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 01:23 PM • top

Speaking of the UP:
The TEC is taking on water so quickly that very soon the analogy with the Titanic will be replaced with one for the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

[75] Posted by Piedmont on 01-27-2009 at 01:26 PM • top

Given the attendance chart, one of the traditional koan (“What is the sound of one hand?”) might have a particular relevance here.

[76] Posted by Johng on 01-27-2009 at 01:27 PM • top

These people seem to believe that it is very important to think “outside of the box” but what they don’t realize is that the box they are creating is more constraining than the box they wish to escape from in that it separates them from the Christian Faith.

[77] Posted by Betty See on 01-27-2009 at 01:28 PM • top

It’s great to know that Episcopalians (USA) may have lost their church but NEVER their wit and sense of humor…mousetalker, etc., I’m LOL!  But what else can people do in this sick and sad situation? 

oh yeah—leave!  I did that a couple of months ago and am very happy at my new AMiA church. I may have had to sacrifice some of the ritual (nothing essential) in the transition but have gained so much “Spiritually” (which is the whole purpose of Church anyway) that I don’t even miss it anymore.

I truly was shocked to find how “oppressed” I’d become from trying to stay true to the Church and have a personal relationship with God. It was definitely my time to leave. And I was SO grateful to find an Anglican form of worship where Christ is Savior, King, Brother and Friend, and the Word is preached in Truth and Spirit!  But then, isn’t that the problem with the leadership at TEC? They’ve left “the basics” and gone seeking after other gods.

I am truly amazed how “frozen” (cold) I’ve become and how good it feels to start thawing out!

But to those of you who press on, God bless you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church may shun you but God loves you all!

[78] Posted by Mrs R on 01-27-2009 at 01:32 PM • top

Buddhists do not believe in sin, or that one need repent of sin. Don’t let the fuzzy bunny myth of buddhism fool you, even karma is one countless loophole after another, and is completely misunderstood by it’s western dupes. It means only that life, as we know it is an illusion, nothing has meaning, other than basic sensory imput, and even that is ultimately meaningless.

[79] Posted by mari on 01-27-2009 at 01:38 PM • top

#52 I’ve read his article. Look, he’s abandoned the core beliefs of orthodox faith (if he ever held them). So far from being a bishop if he had any integrity he should have resigned his orders long ago. Perhaps TEC gives him a rather well paid space in which to pursue his ersatz spirituality. Zen gives him an aura of spiritual seriousness when he’s actually an apostate.

[80] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 01:43 PM • top

Greg and all: I’ve found an article by Forrester in the July/August 2004 edition of the diocesan newsletter that sheds a lot of light on what this guy is about. You can find it here. You can also find my comments about the Zenopalian here.

[81] Posted by David Fischler on 01-27-2009 at 01:47 PM • top

I guess Clay Matthews has now thoroughly drunk the Kool-Aid.  He always seemed quite normal when he was suffragan in VA. 

Just because I might find it interesting to read “Living Buddha, Living Christ” to see how the two faiths are compared or expressed, it does not mean that I am suitable for the Episcopate.

[82] Posted by Passing By on 01-27-2009 at 01:48 PM • top

Oops, sorry for the double post—it’s been a busy morning, and I forgot that I’d already put #52 up. Driver8, you’re absolutely right.

[83] Posted by David Fischler on 01-27-2009 at 01:52 PM • top

And oh…  A Bishop who’s Dogma will chase Kharmas (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

[84] Posted by aterry on 01-27-2009 at 02:12 PM • top

Thanks for the links David.  I’ve never met this guy… and yet I have.  There are carbon copies of him all around TEC.  The process seems to go something like this:

1) Heterodox priest begins burning out

2) Begins dabbling in Zen Buddhism to cope with the stress

3) Finds some emotional peace through breathing exercizes

4) Returns to ministry having lost all vestiges of orthodoxy and saying stuff like: “Sin has little, if anything,to do with being bad. It has everything to do, as far as I can tell, with being blind to our own goodness. (Forrester)”

The next step is usually:

5) “works as an assistant at the National Cathedral,” or “runs the diocesan retreat house.”

During this time, the smarter ones try to cover their tracks by

6) reading alot about centering prayer and using that lingo, rather than the Buddhist stuff, or

7) committing to memory family systems practitioners (such as Friedman) and insisting that being “a non-anxious presence” is the essence of Christian spirituality.  These steps can potentially lead to:

8) Running for bishop.  This is not a new step.  What is new in the Forrester case, is the attempt to run for bishop without first having participated in steps 6 & 7.

Which reminds me of a poignant comment on SF from a few months ago.  “When you hear a priest say that he’s ‘on a journey,’ ....run like hell.  He’s having a crisis of faith and he’s gonna take you down with him.”

[85] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 02:14 PM • top

#84 LOL!!!

[86] Posted by GSP98 on 01-27-2009 at 02:18 PM • top

Wow!  What a great thread! Where to begin…

#13 UGP I can’t believe no one took you up on your challenge!:

Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…

When the oceanographer pulled out her holy Blackberry (TM) and texted the PHIPS for a pickup.  The PHIPS put the pickup item on the agenda at the next Standing Committee meeting and went out for coffee.
Growing tired of waiting, the divorced non-celibate gay man took out his embroidered I-Phone and sent a picture of the word “Help!” to Peter Lee in DioVA.  The response was instaneous “I’ve done all I can.”
Thus the Zen Buddist closed his eyes and engaged in Astral Projection, sending his essence back to the woods of Michigan’s UP to ask for help.  As his avatar approached a local woodsman, the man cried “Help!”, dropped his ax, and ran back to tell his wife what he had seen.  To which she replied, “Oh, honey, there’s no such thing as ghosts!  You’re Karma is all out of line, dark and purple.  Back into the closet for 30 minutes of thought clearing now.”

Having failed to attract any help, the three Bishops agreed to respect and help actualize the beliefs of the other, which precluded them from catching fish and eating them, and so they starved to death in great fellowship.
The End.

(I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself!!)

KTF!...mrb

[87] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-27-2009 at 02:33 PM • top

I have little to add specifically regarding this dharmapailian.  One side note caught my eye in the article from the diocesan newsletter: this priest took on a new, buddhist, name.  The pagans and wiccans did the same, Oakwyse and Ravenbeak or whatever. 

What is so bad about selecting baptismal and confirmation names from the among the list of Saints?

[88] Posted by Nikolaus on 01-27-2009 at 02:39 PM • top

#51 - does the sabrette vendor keep the change?

#60 - what is the sound of one candidate?

#66 - ‘who is returning to kick some Satan butt’  Just some?  How bout The Final, Never-Ending Butt Kick?

Looks like TEC’s got a genuine bishop-designate whose karma truly has run over his dogma.

[89] Posted by maineiac on 01-27-2009 at 02:42 PM • top

Q for the gentleman from UP:

What is the sound of 39 Articles?

[90] Posted by maineiac on 01-27-2009 at 02:43 PM • top

Seriously, when this guy becomes a Bishop, if I were Ann Holmes Redding I would call a lawyer and sue TEC for everything they have. 

She could seriously win a fortune in a settlement or a judgment.  This guy (a WHITE MALE) openly belongs to two religions and becomes a BISHOP.  Ann Holmes Redding (an AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE) openly belongs to two religions, and gets let go as a PRIEST.

We must start a legal fund to help her.  She needs to fully confront this obvious injustice.  Depositions need to start immediately.  If there is not a multi-million dollar settlement offer from TEC, she needs to take this to a jury of her peers.

DoW

[91] Posted by DietofWorms on 01-27-2009 at 02:57 PM • top

Mike, did the 3 bishops do any indabaing while on the boat?  I didn’t notice any indaba.  Maybe you forgot that part.  Oh yeah, did they “live into” their death?

[92] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-27-2009 at 03:02 PM • top

#71 Dcn Dale
Just one problem with Bono being an Episcopal Bishop…he’s rumored to be an actual Christian.

[93] Posted by thehymnistscousin on 01-27-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

Interestingly, back on the 13th, on this site, Mr. Woodward said this about a faithful, committed Christian: “My own belief is that Fr. Matt [Kennedy] should have renounced his vows months if not years before as he could no longer affirm loyalty to the Doctrine and Discipline of TEC.”  That doctrine and discipline (on paper, at least!) presumes Christianity, yet we now have Mr. Woodward cheering on the selection of a Buddhist as bishop.  Christian, bad; Buddhist, good: through the looking glass into the world of Episcopalianism.

[94] Posted by Phil on 01-27-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

Thanks Mike #87 and LFL #92!

[95] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-27-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

“Once again they have selected their candidate for Bishop and have done it in a new way. (T)he(y) continue to think out of the box and most of the things they have tried have worked very well”
I some situations, thinking outside the box may land one in the box for eternity…

[96] Posted by RalphM on 01-27-2009 at 03:09 PM • top

That’s “In some situations…”

[97] Posted by RalphM on 01-27-2009 at 03:10 PM • top

It is not just the Buddhism question that would make this guy a bishop worth schisming over. What passes for his Christian theology (the “domination” theory and what not) reeks of one who has traded the rich wine of the Gospel for unsweetened lemonade. He may say it’s divine nectar, but no one who cares for truth should want any in their cup.

We should not rejoice in a once-venerable church continuing its decline, but there is one small bright side to it if this man gets consents for ordination: this gives conservatives in the Communion another episcopal consecration to hold forth as a symbol of TEC’s departure from orthodox Christianity—one that does not have anything to do with homosexuality.  If he is consecrated, I hope the GS primates make a similar stink as the one over +VGR. Adjusted for six years of TEC constantly frustrating even the lowest of expectations, of course. The outrage tanks are getting quite depleted at this point…

[98] Posted by K-W on 01-27-2009 at 03:11 PM • top

Just my usual mild little protest that I think labrynths are ok for Christians to use.  I don’t perceive myself being sucked towards Buddhism.

[99] Posted by Tim Jones on 01-27-2009 at 03:16 PM • top

#94 Quite - I’ve learned, each argument is entirely tactical. It’s designed to strike home at the moment it’s made. It it comes back to bite you, then evade, redefine or simply ignore. For what matters is the strategic goal - assuming control over what TEC is and does - anything that will move towards that is good. So looking for reasoned conversation with the activist progressives is, to my astonishment, almost pointless. What then can one do:

1. Simply bear witness to untruth, illogic, inconsistency and deceitfulness when one sees it.
2. Satirize - pricking the evident pomposity is perhaps the most effective tactic. It’s also terribly easy.

[100] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 03:26 PM • top

“...reading alot about centering prayer and using that lingo, rather than the Buddhist stuff…” Ummm, wellll you might already know that what is called Centering Prayer was developed by Doms Thomas Keating, Wm Menninger, and Basil Pennington at their monastery in Spencer, Mass. You also might be interested to know that before that for many years they had a Zen Master come for intensive meditation retreats, called Sesshin. In essence Centering Prayer is nothing more than Samatha and Vipassana meditation under a new name. When we’re talking about natural processes of the mind (as distinct from the supernatural, which is the specifically Christian part), there’s nothing new under the sun. We’re all made the same way, including our brains, no matter where we’re born.

[101] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 03:27 PM • top

[87] Here is a try:

“Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…”

*The oceanographer turned to the two men and said, “One of you must swim to the east to see if we are close to California, while the other must swim to the west to see if we are close to Japan. I’ll stay with the boat.  When you come back, then we will know which direction to go.” 
*The Zen Buddhist said, “That sounds like a crazy idea, but I might as well.  You keep waking me up in the middle of the night, trying to get me to dive into the water by yelling ‘mandala overboard.’  At least I can go west, where they will be more respectful of my religious views.” He jumped into the water and was immediately devoured. 
*The divorced bishop blanched, “Did you see that?” he gasped.  The oceanographer said, “Nope, I guess I missed it.  But I’m pretty certain that camera crew over there caught it all.”
*Perking up, the divorced bishop jumped up in the boat, quickly turning about in unsteady circles.  He smiled winsomely while smoothing his wrinkled vestments, shouting “Camera crew! Where, oh where is it?”   
*“Over there!” shouted the oceanographer as she shoved the inattentive bishop into the water, where he was immediately devoured by sharks. 
*There was silence about the boat.
*The oceanographer dipped her hand in the water and moved it about.  One of the sharks came up to the boat and eyed the oceanographer.  She said to the shark, “Please tell David Booth and the rest of you guys to push me home.  I’m done here - the reconciliation was a success.”

wink

[102] Posted by tired on 01-27-2009 at 03:31 PM • top

#102, Thanks!

[103] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-27-2009 at 03:34 PM • top

#13 and #87,
My scenario would be somewhat shorter Mike.  The Oceanographer, would convince the others that the higher power wanted the other two Bishops to become Vegans. Then the Oceanographer would decide, being a pragmatist that the world was overpopulated anyway, to give up being a Vegan and kill and eat the other two Bishops.  The Oceanographer would eventually be rescued by Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill….Oh that’s a different story. Never Mind!

[104] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 03:35 PM • top

What “good” is Zen meditation intending to achieve. (I’m not saying it’s pointless - on the contrary). Rather it’s purpose is embedded in a network of beliefs about human nature, the universe, the world of gods etc. (in other words a particular metaphysic). Of course there will be a range of similarites and differences with other human practices. But Zen meditation can’t be reduced to a breathing technique, nor can Christian prayer. Both are enmeshed, and become intelligible, in the context of a wider set of beliefs and practices and are purposefully aimed at particular and rather different purposes.

[105] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 03:39 PM • top

I’m confused. Last month I thought, aha! I get it! TEC has gone Unitarian.  But now this month it’s Buddist.  (Knew about Wicka, et al before, no surprise there). Whatever TEC is trying to say, one thing is clear, “We don’t go for that Cross, sin and repentance thing.  Not “cool” enough.”  They may have lost us, but perhaps they are finally discovering what they truly believe in: anything but Christianity.

[106] Posted by Mrs R on 01-27-2009 at 03:39 PM • top

Senior Priest,

I think you and I would agree: an attraction to centering prayer is neither evidence of revisionism nor orthodoxy.  Most anyone can use these techniques.

[107] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-27-2009 at 03:41 PM • top

So I should hold my breath until the “fish doctor” accepts this article as his renunciation of his vows correct?

“although we have lost sight of our objective, we have redoubled our efforts”

[108] Posted by dazed&confused; on 01-27-2009 at 03:43 PM • top

Over one hundred posts about this one issue in a matter of hours.  It continues to baffle me how threatened some folks are by anyone who does not experience and/or express their faith exactly as they do.  It is doubtful than any on this list do not use some form of meditation when praying.  Have we forgotten about the divine mystics?  Are we dismissing Julian of Norwich?  In the noisy hustle and bustle of life, we often need a way to focus our minds and hearts on the One to whom we pray.  So why is it so terribly wrong for an Episcopal Priest to utilize the techniques of Buddhism in prayer?  What’s all this fuss about “lay ordination?”  Almost seems like a contradiction in terms.  Yet how many of us have graduated from programs that looked an awful lot like a lay ordination? 

The last time I engaged in a thread of conversation on the SF site, one of the most disturbing experiences I had was the number of people who seemed to think that they could evaluate or pass judgment upon my faith. 

Questioning the salvation of another is not within the purview of any of us my sisters and brothers.  We do not have the authority to tell someone that they are wrong about their own salvation.  Some hinted at it and some outright stated that they questioned my salvation. 

The fact that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour is all you need to know.  You do not have the right to question that.  Questioning another person’s salvation skates awfully close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  That’s a place I don’t think any of us wants to go.

I continue to marvel at the “laundry lists” of sins that are quoted on this site.  If some opened their hearts, minds and eyes for a moment, they would see that the sins under discussion are all based on not being in right relationship with God or one of our fellow travelers on this journey of life. 

Jesus proclaimed the Gospel as being grounded in us being in right relationship.  Why do we find that so difficult?  Can we not accept the beautiful simplicity of the salvation offered to us? 

Virtually 99% of the “sin lists” that we have, even from Paul, are clear that relationships that use, exploit or abuse another person are wrong or sinful relationships.  Adultery violates a covenant.  Prostitution exploits someone (Odd isn’t it that the only mention of this sin is it being committed by males.  I suppose that it was beyond anyone’s thought process that a female might engage the services of a male prostitute.) Sexual activity between males was by definition abusive or exploitive because it presumed that all such relationships mirrored the subjugation of conquered people by the conquerors.  Look behind the sin and we almost always find someone using, exploiting or abusing another person.

Are there not enough problems in this world where we might actually have an impact to continue to obsess on some of this?  The end of the 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel always comes to mind:  I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me no water, naked and you gave me no clothing, sick or imprisoned and you did not even visit me.  But Lord, when did we see you and not minister to you?  What you failed to do for the least of these, you failed to do for me.  And the “goats” were condemned to hellfire. 

Our obsession with minutiae indicts us…always has and always will.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[109] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 04:03 PM • top

Thank you, Father Gross, for your comment. Orthodox Hesychasm and their understanding of the Nous is not all that unlike the understanding of Rigpa in Dzogchen school Tibetan Buddhism. Oh, and someone made the supposition, above that in Zen Buddhism “...that one need repent of sin…” which is factually incorrect.

[110] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:11 PM • top

Bruce, no one is “threatened” by “someone” enjoying a different faith. I’d be surprised if there are any regular posters here who don’t have friends and/or family of other faiths whom they love.

We are no longer even much surprised at discovering a nominally Christian TEC priest following some other faith instead of the one he vowed to serve. It is more a cause of sorrow than fear or anxiety.

[111] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 04:12 PM • top

Yes I agree - but one should be clear that centering prayer is not Zen meditation. (Indeed it may be rather arrogant - in that it erases differences - to say that it is). It is in some ways similar and in some ways different - teasing those out is an important task in inter religious dialogue. In christian praxis for example, apophatic theology is essentially linked to cataphatic theology. Thus the author of the Cloud, is embedded and utterly assumes the sacramentalism, the creeds, the eucharists, the offices, in other words the communal life of the church of late medieval christianity. Insofar as centering prayer facilitates a deeper engagement with the communal life of the church then it is profoundly helpful. Insofar as it is just another expression of contemporary individualism - then one may want to be be critical of it. (And whatever its particular shape in different places, in my experience no one who adopts it is intending to live the communal life of a Zen monastery).

[112] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 04:16 PM • top

Re 110:

How is utilizing the meditation techniques of Budhism or First Peoples or any other faith community not in keeping with vows taken by an Episcopal Priest?  Following that logic to an extreme, clergy could not even read books about different faith expressions. 

A term like “nominally Christian” is a good example of passing judgment on the faith of another.  When I attended Southern Baptist churches in my youth, I was what I would term “nomially Christian” for much of the time.  But that’s my evaluation of my own faith rather than trying to evaluate the faith of another.

Bruce

[113] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 04:20 PM • top

Logistical question about the site:  Is there a spell check feature?  Fingers don’t always hit the right key!

Thanks,

Bruce

[114] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 04:22 PM • top

Bruce #109,
Maybe you should ask yourself whether over 100 postings in a matter of hours is much ado about nothing or just might be a legitimate concern about what is happening in TEC.  “So why is it so terribly wrong for an Episcopal Priest to utilize the techniques of Buddhism in prayer?”
I think the problem as many here see it is that he IS a Buddhist not that he is a priest using Buddhist techniques. Your presence here seems to revolve around judgment of us in your defense of your views. I would like to hear from you but without the attendant scolding.

[115] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 04:22 PM • top

I think, #111, above, that Mr Forrester isn’t following Zen *instead* of Christianity. Rather, he’s probably just using Zen technique in meditation, which is very much like the deeper kinds of Christian contemplation. However, I’m as sure as can be without questioning him personally that he’s a typical TEC revisionist.

[116] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:23 PM • top

#113 Bruce Garner:
Welcome!  I always enjoy your posts.  I do have one question, though.

The article above indicates the gentleman who is a candidate for Bishop is “ordained” into Budhism in some way.  This would seem to indicate a level of commitment to me far above that of just engaging in “centering prayer” or meditation.  Not that I consider myself to be an expert on Budhism, but I know there are obvious contradictions in form, substance and raison d’etre for Christianity and Budhism.  Should it not worry someone that an “ordained” Budhist would hold values or beliefs that were not compatible with Christianity?

That is what concerns me, in all seriousness.

KTF!...mrb

[117] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-27-2009 at 04:27 PM • top

Unless the person in question has stated that he is now a Buddhist and has ceased to be an Episcopal Priest, all anyone is doing is making assumptions.  How is it scolding to point out that fact?  As I have noted, I have attempted to express my views as irenically as possible…..only to be hit by dozens of arrows within a very short time.  Once bitten, twice shy.  I would like to think I have some responsibility to keep up a dialogue, but I wonder why.  The only acceptable position seems to be to agree with all on the list.

Bruce

[118] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 04:30 PM • top

Oops! my comment #110 above was ref the comment which alleged that in Zen one does NOT need to repent of sin, which I said was incorrect. Also, Centering Prayer is actually Samatha/Vipassana in technique. Its origin as a specific kind of teaching at St Joseph’s Abbey are beyond any doubt grounded in both the Christian and Buddhist meditative experiences of Thomas Keating, Wm Menninger, and Basil Pennington. The good Fathers, while surely orthodox Christians, at the same time definitely spent a lot of time at the feet of Zen masters. The kind of use of a ‘sacred word’ in Centering Prayer as an ‘anchor’ for Samatha meditation is also reminiscent of certain aspects of both Hesychasm and Buddhist Mantrayana.

[119] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:34 PM • top

The answer is pretty simple, Bruce.

When one goes from being simply a “civilian” to being a bishop, one also goes from being person of faith whose expression of that faith is rightly private and none of anyone’s business, to a person of faith who is responsible for leading others - for shepherding the faithful, and for bringing seekers into the faith.

Buddhism, as has been made abundantly clear here and elsewhere, is simply not compatible with the Christian faith. One cannot claim to be a follower of it - and Forrester is not just a follower, but an ordained follower - and also lay claim to being a Christian, much less to a bishop of the church catholic. Very simply: Forrester is a false teacher.

Therefore, for him to be the only nominee the diocese could find is bad enough; for him to be received into the HoB with such enthusiasm from KJS and probably most of the others is a sign that the HoB is happy to welcome false teachers into its midst. Not sure if you’re aware of this, but this is not how Scripture tells us how to deal with false teachers.

[120] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 04:35 PM • top

#114, The only way I know to spell check a comment here is to write it in some other program, such as Open Office, and then cut ‘n paste it here. You’d think with the major bux of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and IRD behind them, the illuminati here at StandFirm would have a spell check feature, but I’m reliably informed by senior sources that GG had to choose between a back up jacuzzi hot tub or spell checking.

As for your previous comment about the number of posts, I thought size didn’t matter?

The Episcopal Church: Putting the fun back into fundamentalism.

[121] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 01-27-2009 at 04:38 PM • top

The vows he took include taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma (Buddhist teachings specifically, and in Truth generally), and the Sangha, the community of Buddhist practitioners. One could if one wanted to interpret that as formal apostasy, except that he didnt specifically renounce Christianity. It would be interesting to enquire as to Mr Forrester’s views on reincarnation, which is DEFINITELY part of the Buddhadharma.

[122] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:39 PM • top

Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…

I actually know this one.  The rowboat founders on a rock.  The three can see an island a little ways off that appears to have water and fruit trees.  The Zen Buddhist bishop decides to swim for it.  He is almost ripped to shreds by the sharks, but makes it.  The gay bishop is inspired to try.  He too is completely shreded, but just barely makes it.  Finally the oceanographer bishop prepares to enter the water.  Suddenly the sharks line up in two sharp rows making a corridor between the rowboat and the island.  One of the sharks leaps up and causes the oceeanographer bishop to fall on its back.  The shark then swims between the two long rows of other sharks and deposits the oceanographer bishop on the shore of the island.  The Buddhist and the gay bishops stand there in amazement.  Finally one gasps out “That was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”  “Not really”, says the oceanographer calmly.  “Merely professional courtesy.”

[123] Posted by Catholic Mom on 01-27-2009 at 04:42 PM • top

#113 Of course I’m making a judgment about the priest’s beliefs. (Just as you are, too). He seems to believe that it is possible to affirm both the truths of buddhism and the truths of Christianity (indeed even this isn’t quite right - he is reinterpreting christian doctrine in the light of buddhism). Of course such pluralism is hardly unheard of within TEC. I’m simply saying that one cannot consistently affirm the truth of buddhism and the truth of orthodox christianity. As a baptized person, as a priest and as a bishop the church demands him to affirm his loyalty to the truth of christianity as expressed in the creeds. That implies metaphysical claims about truth incompatible with buddhism. Insofar as he is unwilling to do so - he is IMO clearly unfitted for his role.

Note I am not saying that he is not a pleasant, intelligent, knowledgable, compassionate chap. I have no knowledge of such things (and so am content to assume them). I am writing solely about those beliefs he holds as true.

[124] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 04:43 PM • top

#118 Bruce,
“As I have noted, I have attempted to express my views as irenically as possible…..only to be hit by dozens of arrows within a very short time.”
Dozens of arrows? By this I presume you mean what you consider to be hurtful comments? The number of arrows seems a little high.

[125] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 04:44 PM • top

Here is what Dr. Alexander Berzin (who one might consider an authority on the matter) writes on the subject:

Some people ask if taking refuge vows means converting to Buddhism and leaving forever their native religions. This is not the case, unless we wish to do so. There is no term in Tibetan literally equivalent to a “Buddhist.” The word used for a practitioner means “someone who lives within,” namely within the boundaries of taking a safe and positive direction in life. To live that type of life does not require wearing a red protection string around our necks and never setting foot inside a church, synagogue, Hindu temple, or Confucian shrine. Rather, it means working on ourselves to overcome our shortcomings and realize our potentials - in other words, to actualize the Dharma - as the Buddhas have done and highly realized practitioners, the Sangha, are doing. We put our primary efforts in this direction. As many Buddhist masters have said, including my own late teacher, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, if we look at the teachings of charity and love in other religions such as Christianity, we must conclude that following them is not counter to the direction taught in Buddhism. The humanitarian message in all religions is the same.

Buddhism isn’t really a supernaturally derived religion, but rather it’s closer to a nontheistic philosophical and meditative system.

[126] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:45 PM • top

That last line was my comment, not Berzin’s.

[127] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:48 PM • top

I would argue that Buddhists, and Tibetan Buddhists in particular, do not recognize sin as we would define it as Christians.  They see their “unwise actions” as a lack of knowledge or of an incorrect perception of reality, not as something basic to our nature as humans and a result of our broken relationship with God.

[128] Posted by Edwin on 01-27-2009 at 04:48 PM • top

This is just another example of the path TEC has decided to take. I am thoroughly ashamed that my own denomination has deemed it acceptable for the leaders of their church to be members of multiple religions that contradict eachother.
The issue is not that he has studied buddhism, or other religions. I would expect any priest in my church to know about other religions. The issue is that he IS a Buddhist. Buddhists are not Christians, and Christiansare not Buddhists, apparently TEC cannot defferentiate between the two, or they probobly don’t even care.
They are basically telling the church that you can do whatever you want, and they will be fine with it. Apparently sin deosn’t exist anymore…

[129] Posted by texaspiper on 01-27-2009 at 04:49 PM • top

RE: 121

ROFLOL….and thankful I did not have any liquid in my mouth when I read this!

So I need to either watch my fingers more or type in Word and copy and paste.  Oh well….

Bruce

[130] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 04:52 PM • top

Of course not, Edwin, since they do not posit a divine being in the sense that the divinely revealed Judaeo-Christian tradition understands it to be. At the same time, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ is a perfect description of the Hindu/Buddhist karmic system. Confession of wrong action in those traditions is an effort to purify negative actions and avoid their result.

[131] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 04:54 PM • top

#126, I think perhaps you may wish to delve deeper into Buddhism. It is definitely (even in the Zen form) a supernatural religion.

You may wish to ponder the differences in purpose between Zen prayer and meditation and Christian prayer and meditation. In particular, meditate upon the word “emptying”.

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

[132] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 01-27-2009 at 04:56 PM • top

Although the senior bishop mentioned in the article felt like Rev Forrester would not get the necessary consents, I think he has a good shot.  Why?  At a working level, there is no theological coherence across the denomination, although there are coherent subsets.  For example, the proposed resolution for deposing a bishop for holding and teaching any doctrine contrary to that held by the church [Canon 4 Sec. 1 (h) (2)] spells out no criteria for making such a determination.  Why?  IMO, because we can no longer articulate what is a doctrine contrary to that held by the church.  (BTW, I would kill that proposed resolution if I were a bishop because it deprives the bishop of due process since s/he does not even know what constitutes a violation.)
At one time, the creeds provided a theological coherence, but there is no longer a uniform belief in the creeds by our church leaders.

[133] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-27-2009 at 04:57 PM • top

#131 A Senior Priest,
Do you believe that the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester should be consecrated?

[134] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 05:01 PM • top

How is the creedally expressed ontology of divine being compatible with buddhist ontology? How is the christian ontology of love compatible with buddhist ontology of desire?

For a view of this incompatiblity see the book referred to above in post 40. Written by a former tibetan buddhist and Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy at Bristol University.

[135] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 05:02 PM • top

Bruce, if your standard is, “Unless the person in question has stated that he is now a Buddhist and has ceased to be an Episcopal Priest,” can I assume you think Ann Holmes Redding should still be a priest in good standing?  I don’t believe she stated she had ceased to be an Episcopal priest, certainly not before the media got hold of the story.

[136] Posted by Phil on 01-27-2009 at 05:02 PM • top

On a serious note, to follow up what Jill Woodliff wrote, there is a growing problem of finding candidates willing to take the job of bishop in the smaller dioceses. I know at least three small dioceses that had fits trying to assemble a slate of candidates. The Rev. Forrester may get the job simply by being the only one willing to consider it.

That being the case, and since he is not likely to swim the Tiber or or join ACNA, he may get the consents regardless of his theology.

It’s time to give up following the Peter Principle and return to St. Peter’s principles.

[137] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 01-27-2009 at 05:03 PM • top

Of course, he’s not going to resign since he believes buddhism and his version of christianity are compatible. It’s precisely this on which I am commenting.

[138] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 05:04 PM • top

Unless the person in question has stated that he is now a Buddhist and has ceased to be an Episcopal Priest, all anyone is doing is making assumptions.

He has sought lay ordination as a Buddhist yet remains Episcopal and appears about to become a bishop. Put another way, if he had ceased to be Buddhist, and affirmed his Christian faith rather than, as he appears to say in his own words in a newsletter linked above, used Buddhist thought to put Jesus in his “place”, there would be no problem. grin Why do revisionists feel so threatened by Jesus, Bruce? Why do the words, “I am the way, the truth and the life” frighten revisionists?

[139] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 05:09 PM • top

This is really quite simple:

Buddhists have no need for a savior. For Christians, the need for salvation through Jesus Christ IS the definition of the faith. Therefore, you cannot claim to have no need for a savior, and also claim to be a Christian.

Period. End of story.

So either Mr. Forrester is a Buddhist impersonating a Christian, or he is a Christian who is impersonating a Buddhist. In both cases there can be only two explanations: Abject ignorance, or deliberate dishonesty, both of which thoroughly disqualify him for the office of bishop.

Okay, maybe not the ignorance part, but still.

[140] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 05:11 PM • top

#113

At the risk of serious irony, but wasn’t this the kind of issue that Canon IV.9.1 as an “open renunication of Discipline, Doctrine and Worship” was truly designed for???

What am I saying he is following Doctrine of the TEO.

Not going off topic but this is a main reason over and beyond anything to do with SSB or the like, why many will agree Rome will be busy this Easter Vigil.

Alasdair

[141] Posted by Alasdair+ on 01-27-2009 at 05:11 PM • top

Bruce,

Several web browsers have spell checkers built into them. FireFox is one, which is what I use. We tried incorporating an inline spell checker but it interfered with hyperlinks and other formatting tags. That and the comfort of knowing we could have a backup jacuzzi, well…

[142] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 05:17 PM • top

Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…

Sixty days later, a Coast Guard ship runs into a lifeboat occupied by three skeletons.  Inscribed in one of the boards of the lifeboat are some curious words:

Resolved:
- The lifeboat is a new Anglican province, hereby known as Tuna of the Sea Episcopal Church (TSEC).  Rowan wasn’t around to approve of it, but we’re Americans so we know he’d agree. 
- We do hereby elect the most qualified member of our house of bishops, the oceanographer, to be the Grand Poobah of TSEC.
- The higher power (as each of us understands her) has seen fit to put us in difficult times. 
- Our non-celibate gay bishop notes that he has no potential sex partners for which to enjoy moments of grace.  This is a justice issue that will need to be addressed.  Unfortunately, there are no conservatives around to blame. 

Our venerable Zen Buddhist bishop adjourned with prayer:
“I am the boat.
the sharks are the boat.
I am the walrus.
Go goo j’goob.”
And all the people said, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaamen!

[143] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-27-2009 at 05:18 PM • top

#144 moot,

Moot you are a hoot!

[144] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 05:23 PM • top

Q: How many Zen buddhists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Tree falling in the forest.

[145] Posted by Going Home on 01-27-2009 at 05:24 PM • top

Are there not enough problems in this world where we might actually have an impact to continue to obsess on some of this?

This sentiment is quite popular with Episcopalians these days when you discuss the latest heresy their du jour.

The argument basically goes, if you worry about the this or that of the faith, you can’t feed the hungry / clothe the naked, and so on.  The choice is either to accept strange doctrine or feed the hungry.

It is a stupid argument, and the inverse of reality.

[146] Posted by DietofWorms on 01-27-2009 at 05:31 PM • top

Deacon Dale (#134)... as far as I’m concerned, the question of whether or not a certain person should or should not be ‘consecrated’ in TEC is no longer of any import to me. Since it is heretical and schismatic IN EXCELSIS I have the gravest possible doubt that valid Holy Orders are actually conferred in most cases. As for comment #135… there is no such thing as ‘ontology’ as commonly understood in western philosophy, since nothing really exists in itself. As for the Buddhist understanding of ‘desire’, I’d hesitantly suggest that the 5th century Christian understanding of the passions as an aspect of sin might be somewhat analogous to the Buddha’s 2nd Noble Truth.

[147] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 05:38 PM • top

Correction to #148: “...there is no such thing as ‘ontology’ [in Buddhism] as commonly understood in western philosophy.

[148] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 05:56 PM • top

#140 I’m not understanding you. All sorts of philosophies make claims incompatible with orthodox christianity. You see orthodox faith makes claims about truth. So do philosophies. Some central buddhist claims about what is true are incompatible with core orthodox claims about truth.

[149] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 06:02 PM • top

#110 [re: Buddism}” ‘One not need repent of sin’ which is incorrect.” It is always a step in the right direction to feel convicted of wrongdoing but are you equating Buddist repentance of sin (or any other faith’s) with “Christian repentance”? 

If so, the fallacy in your proposition is thinking that being sorry and even changing one’s actions and/or attitude can approach Christian repentance.

Christian Repentance goes far beyond any other faith’s “repentance.” Christian Repentance is inseparable from the Power of the Cross and the Forgiveness of God. When we are called to Repentance we are offered Divine Forgiveness by the Sacrifical Death of Christ upon the Cross FOR our sins through the unmerited Grace of God. Our part is to believe in the power of God’s Promise of Redemption which is the result of Christ’s love for us.  We are unable to right our own wrongs.  Therefore, any act of “repentance” aside from dependence on the Cross cannot be compared to God’s Gift of Forgiveness through His Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

To quote Billy Graham when asked what he would say upon approaching the Pearly Gates, his answer was swift: “Remember the Blood.” He explained that he wouldn’t ask God to recall anything he’d ever done, thought, or said for his life held no merit worthy of forgiveness in and of itself.  His understanding of what gave him the right to be in relationship with God was that God would “Remember the Blood.” Not that he followed the teachings of Budda or any other religion.

[150] Posted by Mrs R on 01-27-2009 at 06:08 PM • top

Just wanted to pause for a moment and savor the way that Garner, Woodward et al can always find room in the Big Episcopal Tent for Hindus and Buddhists, but Baptists need not apply.

[151] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 06:09 PM • top

If they are having a problem finding qualified bishops for these smaller Dioceses ..... then why don’t they just merged with a neighbor Diocese.
That is a rhetorical question, for I think we all know the answer to that one.

[152] Posted by martin5 on 01-27-2009 at 06:10 PM • top

texaspiper , actually, a Christian can be a Buddhist as Buddhism is a philosophy and Christianity is the road to salvation.

Actually, no. 

Buddhists reject Christianity’s claim to be exclusively the road to salvation.  A friend of mine has a son who is a missionary to SW Asia, and it is his observation that it very difficult to convert Buddhists.  They have no negative incentive to embrace Christianity, so they reject it in favor of a smarmy “I’m okay, you’re okay,” sentiment. 

Jesus Christ is -the- Way, -the- Truth, and -the- Life.  He is not -a- Way, -a- Truth, or -a- Life.  Show me a group that embraces a “philosophy” that rejects the definite article that Jesus uses to describe Himself, and I’ll show you a group of people courting eternal life without Christ.

[153] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-27-2009 at 06:12 PM • top

#152, I’m surprised at you. Hindus and Buddhists may wear funny clothes and sit on the floor, but Baptists either do not serve sherry or they drink it out of mason jars. Where are your standards?

[154] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 01-27-2009 at 06:13 PM • top

Yes - but the claim that nothing exist is broadly construed a claim that is fairly called ontological (though it is not language that buddhists use). In other words it is a claim about what really exists. Indeed, it’s a thesis that is present within the western philosophical tradition - though, as I say, not in orthodox Christian thought.

Yes - but one needs to understand the way in which desire and love are understood in the christian ascetical tradition (eg Evagrius or Maximus or even in Augustine). In christian theology love implies the reality of the other - a reality that is in no way reducible to a nondualistic nothingness.

[155] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 06:14 PM • top

“Widow Jones, so nice to see you during Christmas season!  What’s that?  Oh, yes, we usually do have the traditional creche this time of year, but, in honor of our new Bishop, we thought this nice, fat, Buddha would look good.  Well, we thought you would especially like it, as many of us commented on how he looked so much like your late husband, Fred, rest his soul.”

[156] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-27-2009 at 06:19 PM • top

Senior Priest #148, it’s funny, I was just thinking something along those lines as I was shoveling snow - are Episcopalian orders even valid any more?  If I were clergy moving to the ACNA, I might consider a conditional ordination.

More broadly: I wonder if anyone with access to the whole “succession map” of the ECUSA episcopate (or perhaps it’s “episcopate”) has gone through and accounted for the Spongs, Pikes and the like to see how many priests and bishops are (unknowingly?) in “dead branches.”

[157] Posted by Phil on 01-27-2009 at 06:20 PM • top

I know - it’s so cute and folkloric to have statues of Ganesh or dancing Shivas scattered around the place.

It often amazes me how more interested and sympathetic TEC clergy are in other faiths (at least in a kind of “introducing world religions” kind of way) than about their own christian tradition. I take it as a kind of theological version of orientalism (to use Edward Said’s term).

Truth is dragged out of the hat to bash those nasty fundamentalists or catholics who worship down the road, but heaven forfend that one should try to talk with them about the truthfulness of other religions.

[158] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 06:28 PM • top

Thank you for your kind suggestion, mousestalker (#132 ), ref your post, “I think perhaps you may wish to delve deeper into Buddhism. It is definitely (even in the Zen form) a supernatural religion. You may wish to ponder the differences in purpose between Zen prayer and meditation and Christian prayer and meditation.” In particular, meditate upon the word “emptying”.

I’ve not only taught Comparative Religions as well as Western Philosophy at university level for some years, I’ve intimately known a lot of the most important Buddhist teachers of the 20th c for the last 40 years. That we may disagree on certain key points has not prevented us from being friends.

Prayer in (Mahayana) Buddhism can be directed toward human beings, celestial bodhisattavas, and even nature deities (which has aspects of animism). However, those entities are quite firmly seen as impermanent and subject to time and conditional existence, if more long lived and powerful - they are creatures just as you and I are. Prayer in Christianity is directed only to the one and only self-existent, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent source of all Being, three persons in one substance, revealed through the Holy Scriptures and the autoritative, normative teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The essential difference, is Christian ontology and Buddhist non-ontology. One might mention cataphatic and apophatic approaches, but that would send the discussion spinning off into who-knows-where.

[159] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 06:29 PM • top

Greg (152), “Southern Baptist” is an expletive to revisionists. grin

[160] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 06:33 PM • top

Mouse, the worst thing is, most Baptists won’t skip church to meet you at the club for golf early a Sunday morn.  Heck, most Baptists don’t even belong to the club.

At least Hindu’s and Buddhist’s are….interesting, you know, in a global sort of way.  Baptists are so… so,... parochial. They are so country, in such a non-Town&Country;sort of way. My aunt on my fathers side was Baptist, and I thought I would never live that one down. Thank God it rarely came up.

[161] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-27-2009 at 06:36 PM • top

Thank you #[160] (A Senior Priest) for relating accurately to Buddhism and its deficits.

[162] Posted by ears2hear on 01-27-2009 at 06:42 PM • top

Three clerics in a rowboat scenario:
  (stop me if you’ve heard this one)

  The U.P. TEC Buddhist/Bishop and divorced non-celibate gay decide to strike out for a distant island , having had all they can tolerate of the exercise of attempting to self apply the “Thou are my Beloved Son/Daughter” passage to themselves. As close as they got to closure in their answers was: “Cold” or “warmer”  or “ice cold”, “a little bit warmer now,” (like after dinner parlor games with a drunken elf)  In their haste to vacate the discernment process, they upset the rowboat and all three went spilling into the shark infested waters with predictable results.  Two were immediately gobbled down.  The Presiding Bishop clambered back into the now righted dingy.  She alone escaped injury:
      Professional courtesy. 
(More of species than profession, actually.)

[163] Posted by anglicanlutenist on 01-27-2009 at 06:50 PM • top

It seems to me that the right way to approach other faiths is respectfully and lovingly, looking for that which points towards the Gospel and seeking to baptize it, and learn from it, in that truth the church has received in Scripture and tradition. The early fathers wrote of this as “despoiling the Egyptians”:

The catholic expert on buddhism, Paul Griffiths, writes about the way in which the Lotus Sutra might be said by christians to contain that which points beyond itself to christian truth and that which christians might learn from and use in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel:

What I’m advocating here is a version of what Christians have traditionally called ‘despoiling the Egyptians.’ This means taking from those who are not Christian (Egyptians) what is of help to the Gospel, rejoicing when truth is found and can be used—but always baptizing it, placing it under the name of and at the service of Jesus Christ. There is much to be rejoiced at by Christians in the Lotus, much that can properly be understood as derivative good news, much that can be baptized. In Acts 17, Luke represents Paul as explaining which God the Athenians were worshiping when they dedicated an altar to an unknown god. That altar was a half-understood sign pointing to the triune God—or so Paul construed it, reading it as a Christian. It is one of the tasks of Christians in reading the Lotus to identify that to which the Lotus points, that which is not present in it but to which it attributes maximal importance. And such identification is always and necessarily, for Christians, in terms of the triune God who creates, redeems, and sustains the world.

It is this kind of process rather than the route that Father Forrester has taken that seems to me to honor the claim of Christian truth on him as minister of the Gospel.

[164] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 06:56 PM • top

#148 Senior Priest,
Thanks, I like an unequivocal response when one is asked for and I agree with you.
#150 driver8
“#140 I’m not understanding you”
I feel your pain.
#147 DietofWorms,
“The argument basically goes, if you worry about the this or that of the faith, you can’t feed the hungry / clothe the naked, and so on.  The choice is either to accept strange doctrine or feed the hungry.”
You are right on!  TBWSantaFe used the same argument on another thread.  What angers me is that an individual would come on a thread of over 100 posts, minimize the distress expressed and scold the participants.  Wouldn’t you say to yourself that with this many posts some of the folks might have an opinion worth examining? Coming on this thread for some is what is referred to in Psychology as “parallel play”. They don’t want to discuss anything. They want to parade their egos in public.

[165] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 07:02 PM • top

To Fr. Woodward and Mr. Garner (and I am using Mr. here believing him to be a layman, no insult intended if he is ordained) and some others who are advocating for the Rev. Forrester, let me point out:
1) He is signatory, and I believe by his own admission the author, of the Responses of the Diocese to the Dar es Salaam Communique and the Saint Andrew’s version of the Covenant. The first includes the “Affirmations” which include the statement that we are each and every one “an only begotten child of God.”  The second includes language that we are all “incarnations of the Trinity.”  Both are available in slightly edited form on the diocesan website.  These statements are violations of the doctrine of the Episcopal Church.
2) The selection process was not canonical under the canons as available publicly on the website.  The process itself was approved at a convention, but no canon changes to allow it, as far as I know.  This is a violation of the discipline of the Episcopal Church.
3) The Rev. Forrester was a principal architect of the selection process used.
4) Mr. Forrester, as editor of the diocesan paper has edited all news and other reports available to laity in the diocese on the selection process.  He had control over information available to both the diocese and the selection committee.
5) Mr. Forrester participated in the selection committee. It is a conflict of interest.
6) In addition to the candidacy of Rev. Forrester, the process currently underway creates a committee to act as “bishop” with different members of the committee taking on different of the bishop’s roles.  This violates the canons of TEC by not vesting the responsibilities of a diocesan bishop in one person, and also displacing the standing committee- to whom the diocesan would be expected to delegate any duties or responsibilities as required.  In essence, this is “bishop by committee.”  There is no authorization for such an ecclesiology with TEC’s canons.  This is a violation of the discipline and doctrine of the Episcopal Church.
7) Rev. Forrester is reported (I have not gone to Marquette, but reported to me by 2 clergy, as well as laity) to frequently substitute a variant of the Baptismal Covenant for the Nicene Creed, omit the Confession, and use non-authorized rites in the celebration of the Eucharist, in his parish.  If the reports are correct, these practices violate the doctrine and worship of the Episcopal Church.

I do not mean this as a personal attack upon the Rev. Forrester, although I do believe his conduct demonstrates a conflict of interest exists. He is committed to helping the poor of this region, and I do believe him to be a “nice guy”, I think he has a real commitment to the people of the diocese. But I do not think that commitment extends to the Anglican Communion, or will be best “lived out” in the clergy of what claims to be part of the one, catholic and apostolic Church.  He might make a great college professor, but he is not a leader for Church catholic.
TJ
I am amazed and heartened that there are 161 comments up on this thread, and by the attention this story has garnered nationally.

[166] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-27-2009 at 07:04 PM • top

OOPS, I knew I forgot something….
Rev. Forrester’s parish practices communion without benefit of baptism, and indeed, if you look around the diocesan website, you will see that the soon to be “episcopal ministry team” has made it the policy of the diocese (unless, of course, they have changed it recently so they don’t look quite so bad), although individual parishes refuse to follow suit.  That is a violation of the discipline and the doctrine and the worship of the Episcopal Church. And specific canon.

[167] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-27-2009 at 07:18 PM • top

#162 Looking for Leaders,
I was raised a Southern Baptist.  I still have my Haley’s Bible Handbook I got when I graduated from H.S. I pretty much thought that if I was enjoying myself that I was probably sinning. Although I dance somewhat now (slow dances only)Being Baptist ruined my chances of ever getting into the chorus line of River Dance and being near Jean Butler.

[168] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 07:25 PM • top

Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. . .

. . . .A Christian motored over in a 110 foot fully outfitted search and rescue boat, but 2 of the bishops liked their own boat, and didn’t want to abandon it.  Their rowboat was handmade, of the finest rare woods, crafted like a violin, and varnished until the glare of the sun hurt your eyes, and completely unsuited to open water.  Plus, the bishops would rather be captains and mates of their own vessel, than passengers of anything remotely seaworthy, especially if it belonged to someone else.
Rather inclusively, they invited the Christian into their own boat, if only he would bail as the water came over the gunwales, and if he understood that he would never rate any higher than a swab.
While the Christian was rubbing the glare of the rowboat’s varnish from his eyes, the third bishop climbed aboard the Christian’s vessel, and promptly declared herself the captain, because she was the only bishop on board.  This didn’t bother the Christian, because the bishop knew nothing about navigation or propulsion, nor the stem from the stern.  She was given a chair that looked aft, so she could command the waves and the winds, while the Christian sailed forward and continued about his business of saving souls.

[169] Posted by paradoxymoron on 01-27-2009 at 07:25 PM • top

TJ, thanks for the additional information. I didn’t realize that Rev. Forrester was the author of those “affirmations.”

3) The Rev. Forrester was a principal architect of the selection process used.
4) Mr. Forrester, as editor of the diocesan paper has edited all news and other reports available to laity in the diocese on the selection process.  He had control over information available to both the diocese and the selection committee.
5) Mr. Forrester participated in the selection committee. It is a conflict of interest.

This is just not the way things should be done. Looking at the newsletters tonight, I saw that he does most of the writing - so he is source of diocesan news, designer of the selection process and participated on the selection committee that selected ... him.

[170] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 07:26 PM • top

Oooooommmmmm.  Oooooommmmmm.  Oooooommmmmm.

[171] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 01-27-2009 at 07:38 PM • top

Here’s a link to a lay ordination ceremony for a Zen Buddhist.
The ceremony began:

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha

These were his favorite lines from the ceremony:

“You have returned to your original nature free from attachments and limited ways. From now enlightenment is your teacher, Buddha is your teacher, all being is your teacher. Do not put another head on top of your own. This is the
path of mercy for all existence and things.”

[172] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-27-2009 at 07:44 PM • top

I had to google the name, Mad Potter.

[173] Posted by oscewicee on 01-27-2009 at 07:58 PM • top

I of course messed up,  the TEC argument is accept strange doctrine or you are not feeding the hungry.  If you protect doctrine, you are not feeding people.

It is strange.  My AMiA parish seems to be able to maintain the Christian teaching on sexuality as it has always been, not worship Buddha or oak trees, and STILL feed the hungry and clothe the naked, all the while being friendly, compassionate, forgiving, welcoming, and non-fundamentalist.  According to Episcopal rhetoric, we are a miracle.  In reality, we are just a Christian church.

[174] Posted by DietofWorms on 01-27-2009 at 07:59 PM • top

#172 that’s right - they like it - so keep out. It surely worked in New Hampshire. (Though there was a good bit of behind the scenes planning and assistance for such a “small” diocese. I wonder why that was?)

It’s weird how some canonical violations matter (Not the right signatures. Try again) and some don’t (heterodox beliefs, no problem. Open communion, no problem). I know the tactics don’t matter, only the strategic goal - so it’s pointless even trying to find some kind of consistency. As you admit, that “works for me” is about as rational an account of church policy as one can expect at the moment.

[175] Posted by driver8 on 01-27-2009 at 08:00 PM • top

I was getting ready to post here and then read this again:

Before you post, please remember Matthew 5:43-45:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

So, instead of worrying whether Thew Forrester will be bishop of NoMI, I will pray that the bishop of WV will move there in his stead.

[176] Posted by k8conant on 01-27-2009 at 08:03 PM • top

If you want to cook a live frog, you don’t dump it right into the hot water (it will jump out)—you put it in cool water and slowly turn the heat up.

I’m starting to get the feeling the water in TEO is getting mighty warm!

[177] Posted by elanor on 01-27-2009 at 08:09 PM • top

once upon a time being a priest in the Episcopal church would automatically eliminate any number of other options…guess that was then…..

[178] Posted by ewart-touzot on 01-27-2009 at 08:10 PM • top

I know.  We keep getting a guy (Mad Hatter, or something like that) who keeps coming on and muttering how Christianity is compatible with Buddhism.  Last week he was yammering about how Muslims and Christians worship the same deity, but need to convert members of Judaism (???). 

Perhaps he’ll be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, someday.  Until then, we’re just going to have to grin and bear the toxicity.

[179] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-27-2009 at 09:07 PM • top

So many excellent comments.
At least no one has used the Zenophobe line yet.

Oops…

[180] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-27-2009 at 09:16 PM • top

184 posts!  Question: Are ANY of them from ANY person in the Diocese of Northern Michigan?  If not, does anyone KNOW ANYONE up there to contact and alert them to the discussion?  “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

[181] Posted by Goughdonna on 01-27-2009 at 09:22 PM • top

Hi Donna,

Ever see the movie “Escanaba in da Moonlight?”  As a former Michigander I got the impression that the characters are only -slightly- characatured.  In practical terms, Yuppers would have more important things to do than worry about Episcopal bishops.  You know - fishing and hunting.  smile

From the looks of the trend in ASA and giving, it would seem our Yupper cousins have more going for them upstairs then they let on.  wink

An dats a good t’n, eh?

[182] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-27-2009 at 09:28 PM • top

“Just wanted to pause for a moment and savor the way that Garner, Woodward et al can always find room in the Big Episcopal Tent for Hindus and Buddhists, but Baptists need not apply.

[152] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-27-2009 at 05:09 PM “•

Please do not put words in my mouth.  I have gone on record here and in many public forums that I will make room for anyone to be at the table regardless of whether we agree or disagree on issues.  I will always make room, despite the fact that I rarely get reciprocation.  That includes making room Southern Baptists, particularly since over 90% of my kinfold remain of that persuasion. 

Don’t fool yourselves, folks.  Baptists do just about everything everyone else does, they just don’t do it in front of each other.  When the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Atlanta, the lounge and bar business is way down, BUT the liquor store, package store and room service business goes way up. 

I’m always somewhat amused at my Baptist kin and quite a few others who “find Jesus” but manage not find him until they have gotten to old or tired to sow any more wild oats, drink any more liquor or raise any more hell.  Even, then I welcome them with open arms at any table where I sit, particularly and especially at God’s table.

Again, don’t put words in my mouth.  It doesn’t become you. 

And with that, sisters and brothers, good night and good luck.

Bruce

[183] Posted by Bruce Garner on 01-27-2009 at 09:39 PM • top

“Three Episcopal Bishops were stranded at sea in a small rowboat. One was a Zen Buddhist, one was a divorced non-celibate gay man, and one was an oceanographer. They were running out of supplies and surrounded by sharks…”

The Buddhist threw himself into the ocean for he knew by sacrificing himself for others Karmic balance would be restored and in his next life he might obtain Nirvana.  But the sharks devoured him very quickly and they were not sated.  They continued to circle the boat and the ncgm and the oceanographer began to panic.  And in this panic almost tipped the boat.  They were brought back to their senses and calmed down.  Finally they agreed that the sharks might be satisfied if they had just one more person to rip to bloody shreds. 

But how to decide the person to be tossed over board like yesterday’s prayer book?  I know the Oceanographer said the one who has the most heavy mantle of victimhood shall live the other poor shmuck is a goner. 

So they debated long into the night.  They wailed about homophobia and patriarchy and glass ceilings and misogyny and prejudices and bigotry and the lack of a really good line of cosmetics for men and why Mattel never let Ken affirm his sexuality.  But still they could not decide who had been more downtrodden and oppressed.

As the sun rose they noticed all the sharks but one had left to follow the running of the blues.  We are safe cried the oceanographer and she was giddy with relief.  But with that the NCGM took a knife from his pocket sliced a cut in her hand and tossed her overboard.  As the shark honed in she cried out “why, why have you betrayed me so?”  The NCGM replied with full hauter “For me integrity is a noun not a verb. And your talk with me gave time for the other sharks to leave so that your being tossed in the water would not mean they would overtip the raft.  For the point as never been for there to be as many survivors as possible but that the boat would be lightened enough for me to complete my journey as quickly as I desire.

[184] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 01-27-2009 at 09:40 PM • top

Greg (152),
Its not get Baptists that can’t get in - Anglicans are on the ‘avoid’ list as well

Last I checked, telling the PH that you’ve taken a job within the Anglican Communion (but not in TEC) was enough to get you shown to the door.

[185] Posted by Bo on 01-27-2009 at 09:53 PM • top

Hmmm, I was hoping for a Greg, Sarah, Matt, or BB finish to the “three bishops in the dingy” scenario.  Maybe if I’m very patient.  I’ll just sit here a while and indaba with my plants….

KTF!...mrb

[186] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-27-2009 at 10:07 PM • top

Re #167 and 168: Canons mean nothing in TEC any more, unless it’s about money and property. To my mind, TEC is, as a result, now a tyranny.

[187] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-27-2009 at 10:21 PM • top

185- I think I am the only SF regular residing within the diocese.  I made a point of not formally joining the parish here, as quite honestly it is difficult to equate the diocese with anything resembling the church as I understand it (although there are some parishes, including the local one, that are trying to maintain some semblance of what we thought the Episcopal Church was).  If there are others in the eastern part of the UP, send me a PM or email.  I understand that there is an Anglican group forming in the Western UP (upper peninsula for alla yous trolls dat live below da bridge dere).

[188] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-27-2009 at 10:40 PM • top

#157—The Seer of Santa Fe

I don’t understand

Exactly….
Intercessor

[189] Posted by Intercessor on 01-27-2009 at 10:55 PM • top

Phil (59) I hope you will read what I wrote. I did not endorse a Buddhist to be a bishop. Only priests in good standing in TEC are eligible and I do not know this priest.

Fr. Gross (50) I will ignore your attempt at sarcasm, as well as others. The authorities hinted at on this string will tell you that Buddhism and Christianity are not competing religions. Buddhism is not interested in salvation or eternal life. Mostly it has to do with enlightenment—and in that way can be complementary. Very few of the world’s religions are interested in salvation the way Christianity is—we can learn from their experience of the Holy, as they can learn from us. Or would you throw Martin Buber, Rabbi Heschell, and the rest on a garbage heap?

You ask: “But then that raises the obvious question, why would a priest or bishop accept/desire/participate in any sort of ‘ordination’ in a religion that rejects theism?”  Strictly speaking, that religion does not “reject” theism, it just is not concerned with it. Their concept of “ordination” is not like ours—it is apples and oranges.

[190] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-27-2009 at 11:23 PM • top

Senior Priest,
Contrary to what TWB says, it is my impression that the Buddah did indeed reject the idea of a god.  Not that he was not interested in the question, he simply rejected the existance of a god.

Is that correct?

[191] Posted by Edwin on 01-27-2009 at 11:44 PM • top

BTW, I recommend the Lotus and the Cross, by Ravi Zacharias and
Jesus in a New Age, Dalai Lama World by Tsering

[192] Posted by Edwin on 01-27-2009 at 11:49 PM • top

195 Sorry, should have been TBW, not TWB.  Can’t type.

[193] Posted by Edwin on 01-27-2009 at 11:52 PM • top

Most of the folks in the U.P. are realists and pull for the Green Bay Packers. Even the prayers of a Godly Bishop would not help the Detroit Lions. Go Lions!
As Mike B. Would say KTF
and good night

[194] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-27-2009 at 11:56 PM • top

#194 Well at least some of the authorities (for example Paul Williams whose book I referenced in post 40 , I believe) quoted on this thread argue that Christianity and Buddhism sometimes do disagree about matters that Christians see as essential.

I repeat again that Buddhism is not to be reduced to a meditative technique. It is a complex network of practices and beliefs about human nature, the nature of reality and non-reality, the goal of spiritual life etc. Christians IMO will want to lovingly note that which in Buddhism points beyond itself to Christ, that which in Buddhism helps christians more faithfully understand and proclaim the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and that in Buddhism with which they will want to disagree.

One might want to think about, for example:

1. What space is there for transcendence (as orthodox christians understand it - and inescapably at the root of the apophatic tradition) within Buddhism.
2. Christians claim that God is love and that love is eternal - does that not imply an irreducible reality to the beloved not decomposable into nondualistic nothingness.

[195] Posted by driver8 on 01-28-2009 at 12:10 AM • top

There is no problem with religious cross-dressing in TEC. Here is another example:
http://www.trinitymiami.org/rumi.asp

The bishop nominee can safely buy a new wardrobe.

[196] Posted by hellcat on 01-28-2009 at 12:21 AM • top

#35 Moot
I am not a man, I am a woman…and I am married.  Tell Matt Kennedy (moderator) that I wouldn’t come back to chat on this web site even if he PAID me to do it.  Sarah Hey obviously thinks that she should act like its a life or death situation simply because I misunderstood a comment about a book which I believe is also a comment in a movie I saw…so there was miscommunication.  Someone who reacts the way she did to a mere misunderstanding regarding something so UNIMPORTANT as FICTION doesn’t deserve respect.  Its certainly NOT life threatening.  She and those like her are not people that I wish to be around.  She is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever met anywhere.  Makes me wonder about her mental health.  And I win, not her…because I am eliminating her and people like her from my life.  I have better people to hang around with.  IN fact, YOUR behavior is so far superior to hers and to much more gracious that she looks like a mental case next to you.  IN Sarah Hey was the one who contacted me the first time, not the other way around….and she did not tell me that she was a moderator or explain this site to me as you did…which I would think a good moderator should do.
Also, whether or not someone claims to be an expert or has a degree (Dr. Priscilla Turner)doesn’t make their opinions superior to others nor does it make them or their opinions more important than others.  The learned Pharisees were some of the biggest hypocrites and had the least understanding…nor were they teachable.  On the other hand, a handful of fishermen were the ones that Jesus chose to associate with and are the ones who helped change the course of history…because of their dedication to truth and their refusal to give up despite making mistakes.  Jesus is the best teacher…not a college institution.  According to Matt Kennedy’s standards, I suppose that I shouldn’t listen to Jesus either because he didn’t graduate with degrees or honors from an institution…nor was he wealthy and he didn’t flaunt his superiority because he was the son of God.  And had I lived in the time that Jesus was on earth…I suppose that I should have looked down on the disciples because they weren’t leaders of any kind.  I will not tolerate that kind of mentality.  I believe that people who claim to be superior to the rest of us because of their “learning” should be held to a higher standard when it relates to whether or not their “teaching” is correct or not.  And many of them use their education for the purpose of promoting their agenda…because they don’t study the Bible with sincerity of heart.  Not all their “mistakes” are mistakes…and so…make all the comments you want about MY credentials…because I have nothing to prove and if I do have credentials in anything I don’t need to try to impress people with them.  I flat out claim that I don’t consider myself to be an “expert” no matter how learned I am about the Bible.  And Matt Kennedy shouldn’t be so assuming regarding what my education/degrees/life experience/knowledge of the Bible is or is not.  After all, I am a virtual (LOL) stranger.  And you people don’t even know me well enough to be able to tell if I am a man or a woman!  Anyway, this web site isn’t what I am looking for and don’t bother to post messages to me online because I won’t be talking to anyone on this web site because I won’t be reading them.

[197] Posted by take action on 01-28-2009 at 12:22 AM • top

RE: “Tell Matt Kennedy (moderator) that I wouldn’t come back to chat on this web site even if he PAID me to do it.”

Yeh—we can tell!  ; > )

RE: “Someone who reacts the way she did to a mere misunderstanding regarding something so UNIMPORTANT as FICTION doesn’t deserve respect.”

Certainly I would not wish for respect from someone like Take Action—that would demoralize me intensely.  Thank goodness I need not fear.

RE: “She is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever met anywhere.”

Yes—it is certainly unreasonable for people to expect Take Action not to talk about things he knows nothing about.

RE: “she looks like a mental case next to you.”

I am Utterly Shattered, of course, at Take Action’s low opinion of me.  I wonder if I will be able to recover at all. 

RE: “Also, whether or not someone claims to be an expert or has a degree (Dr. Priscilla Turner)doesn’t make their opinions superior to others nor does it make them or their opinions more important than others.”

Very true—what matters is if Dr. Turner actually knows what she is talking about when she responds to the person who does not.

RE: “I won’t be talking to anyone on this web site . . . “

A blessing.

[198] Posted by Sarah on 01-28-2009 at 12:42 AM • top

I am not a man, I am a woman…and I am married.  Tell Matt Kennedy (moderator) that I wouldn’t come back to chat on this web site even if he PAID me to do it.

He won’t pay you because he can’t. There are currently no vacancies for paid commentors because of the hiring freeze.

[199] Posted by Piedmont on 01-28-2009 at 12:45 AM • top

Question for Greg:  When are the W-2’s going in the mail?

[200] Posted by Piedmont on 01-28-2009 at 12:49 AM • top

I also am not talking on this site.

Also . . . I am not reading even this comment that I am writing.

[201] Posted by Sarah on 01-28-2009 at 12:56 AM • top

I just wanted everyone to know.

To know that I am not commenting here.

Or reading.

Or responding to anyone.

Because . . . I have better things to do with my time than comment here.

Just letting everyone know this.

[202] Posted by Sarah on 01-28-2009 at 01:00 AM • top

I cannot help but quote Father Ray Kasch:
“Is Jesus Christ Lord, or Not ??”

[203] Posted by Anglican Observer on 01-28-2009 at 01:16 AM • top

Did Take Action post the comment #201 on this thread by mistake? I don’t see the comment from Moot #35 or #135. Isn’t comment 201 the first comment from Take Action on this thread? I am so confused what the fuss is about. I didn’t notice any comments from Moot or Sarah addressed to Take Action, or anything. I thought I was following the conversations.

[204] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-28-2009 at 01:43 AM • top

You might think so but I couldn’t possibly comment.

[205] Posted by driver8 on 01-28-2009 at 01:55 AM • top

Oh boy. If one of those Paid Commentator jobs opens up, I would myself, for a pittance, be happy to comment more. Or less (by popular demand). Or in German. Whatever pays the best. But IF we have a theological falling out, can I have all the buildings? And the rainbow-colored vestments? And the Zen videos? Thanks.

You can have the soup kitchen. That sort of outreach is so old-fashioned.

[206] Posted by richard reed on 01-28-2009 at 01:57 AM • top

Since this thread has gotten rather heated, please permit me to share something with you that will bless you & refresh your spirit in the Almighty. God bless.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntd18gxdSGk

[207] Posted by GSP98 on 01-28-2009 at 02:24 AM • top

What do you all know about the Taize Style Services that are being offered at some churches?  I haven’t had much luck in my research as to whether it is mystic, pagan, or an approved form of worship.  I would appreciate some input from those in the know.
Thank you

[208] Posted by carol on 01-28-2009 at 02:46 AM • top

Taize is a vibrant ecumenical christian monastic community in France founded in the 1940s. To their surprise they attracted large numbers of young people from all over Europe. The young people who come worship, work and study Scripture in small groups. They developed a simple chant style of singing in multiple languages (including latin) that could be prayerfully learned and sung by their multinational guests.

Their founder, Brother Roger, was murdered by a mentally ill woman during worship in August 2005. Though Brother Roger remained a Protestant he was given the eucharist by both of the last two Popes and his funeral was presided over by Cardinal Kasper who concelebrated with four brothers from the community.

[209] Posted by driver8 on 01-28-2009 at 03:16 AM • top

Take Action,

I’m really sorry to see you go.  I don’t agree that Sarah looks like a mental case next to me - the fact of the matter is that she’s saved my bacon once on this site, which is about one more time than anyone here deserves.  If anyone would appear like a mental case next to another person, it would have to be me seeming to be a mental case, as compared to her. 

Also, you are mistaken that I am a gracious person.  In my natural state, I am not gracious nor am I patient.  What I am madam is conscious of the fact that I am forgiven for being ungracious and impatient.  In gratitude for that forgiveness, I seem to have a soft spot for people like me.  And so from time to time, I’ll see if I can run between an errant commenter on SF and certain doom, pleading with them to stop spitting into the wind.  The reason I keep doing this is because sometimes all the pleading is effective. 

Regarding Dr. Turner, yes we know that it doesn’t take a PhD to be a Christian.  From doing my time in grad school, I also understand that sometimes (sometimes) PhD folk can be the most useless sorts of people around.  Other times though, they have insights and questions that people who don’t work in their area of expertise have.  Doesn’t mean that they’re right all the time in their area of expertise, or that we even have to agree with them when it comes to their area of expertise.  It does behoove us though to acknowledge their achievements and the hard work it took to get them there. 

Dr. Turner and I disagree on some things, and we agree on some things.  I’ve never insinuated that she’s an elitist snob, and she’s never insinuated that I’m a knuckle-dragging anti-intellectualist for not hanging on her every word.  Trust me, she’s one of the good ones. 

Godspeed.

[210] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-28-2009 at 06:18 AM • top

Is this the post about the karma sutra, or is that somewhere else?

[211] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-28-2009 at 08:38 AM • top

#215 Go to http://www.episcopalchurch.org and you’re sure to find it womewhere! wink

[212] Posted by Milton on 01-28-2009 at 08:53 AM • top

Take Action,
As one of the ones still here because of the willingness of Moot to work with the rude and crude, I’d suggest strongly that you heed his suggestions.

Moot,
The more I converse with Dr. Turner the more I agree with your last statement above.

[213] Posted by Bo on 01-28-2009 at 09:17 AM • top

#194 TBWSantaFe
“Buddhism is not interested in salvation or eternal life. Mostly it has to do with enlightenment—and in that way can be complementary.”
‘Enlightenment is a term used to describe a phase in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the eighteenth century, in which reason was advocated as the primary source and legitimacy for authority.’
Tom, I would posit that this definition captures your priorities in the balance of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
Hooker was in favor of the primacy of Scripture over Tradition and Reason. I would add that Hooker’s idea of reason was not detached from reason being informed by God. The values of the period of Enlightenment continue to distort the correct balance of Scripture, Tradition and Reason in TEC in this age.

[214] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 09:23 AM • top

Don’t fool yourselves, folks.  Baptists do just about everything everyone else does, they just don’t do it in front of each other.  When the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Atlanta, the lounge and bar business is way down, BUT the liquor store, package store and room service business goes way up.

Bruce, if you’re out there - even in a post in which you claim you “make room” in the big tent for Southern Baptists, you can’t resist making one cheap shot after another at their expense. I understand that you’ve been hurt by some Southern Baptists, and if you have Southern Baptists in your family, perhaps there is continual chafing there - but notice sometime how often you refer to that denomination insultingly, almost gloating at any failures you find. Do you even have real evidence for the snarky remark above or is it just what you want to believe? Do you know that there’s any difference when Episcopalians meet? (Oh, yeah, it’s higher priced liquor and the lounges are busy? Like that’s better?)

Sorry for the thread hijack - I think it is almost incumbent for us as Episcopalians in the South to make good-humored Southern Baptist jokes (we’re so few, they’re so many). But your remarks here and in other posts often go far beyond that.

Re: “they just don’t do it in front of each other” - i.e., they at least have a sense of shame?

[215] Posted by oscewicee on 01-28-2009 at 09:27 AM • top

Tom,

RE: “The authorities hinted at on this string will tell you that Buddhism and Christianity are not competing religions.”

You didn’t “hint,” you were quite explicit that Borg was one of your authorities.  That Borg doesn’t believe Buddhism and Christianity make competing truth claims wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

RE: “Buddhism is not interested in salvation or eternal life. Mostly it has to do with enlightenment—and in that way can be complementary. Very few of the world’s religions are interested in salvation the way Christianity is—”

That’s too bad because Jesus seemed pretty interested in salvation and eternal life, so exactly what a Zen practitioner is being ‘enlightened’ about is hard to say.  A higher state of consciousness?  A feeling of universal one-ness?  (Which in the case of Forrester, translates into among other things a denial of the gravity of sin.)  The experience of ‘enlightenment’ may be all fine and good, but if it doesn’t lead one into the mystery of Jesus than it is at best irrelevant, and at worst a substitute for the Christian message.  Either way, it’s not a very enlightening enlightenment.

RE: “—we can learn from their experience of the Holy, as they can learn from us. Or would you throw Martin Buber, Rabbi Heschell, and the rest on a garbage heap?”

Wow, what extremes.  You suggest that I have to either accept a Buddhist practicing candidate for bishop, or rid my library of Heschell & Buber.  Thanks, but I think I’ll take neither extreme.  I am quite capable of reading, enjoying, and learning from Heschell and maintaining Christian orthodoxy at the same time.  It’s quite possible to do both.  However, if you read Forrester, you find out that it’s also quite possible to do justice to neither.

RE: “You ask: ‘But then that raises the obvious question, why would a priest or bishop accept/desire/participate in any sort of ‘ordination’ in a religion that rejects theism?’ Strictly speaking, that religion does not ‘reject’ theism, it just is not concerned with it. Their concept of ‘ordination’ is not like ours—it is apples and oranges.”

Dear God, I recognize that you desire to have a relationship with me, but I’m doing my Buddhist thing at the moment, so I can’t be concerned with you.  You are neither an aid, nor an obstacle to my enlightenment, as I work towards complete indifference to the illusion of suffering.  However, at 10am once my meditation is complete, I’ll have time to reflect upon the significance of the cross, which was neither illusory nor indifferent. 

You said it best Tom: apples and oranges.

[216] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 01-28-2009 at 09:35 AM • top

Bisexual or Bireligious either or “a double minded person is unstable in all their ways.” The gentleman needs to fully embrace Jesus. Tools may vary. Yes. However there is only one WAY, TRUTH, and LIFE. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. The Great King Solomon made this mistake with his socio-political alliances in his multipling unto himself wives.

[217] Posted by RAPHAEL on 01-28-2009 at 10:05 AM • top

#220 Indeed. Given that Borg explicitly wants to alter central orthodox christian beliefs (and thinks the Nicene creed is false in important ways) how can he be considered an authority on the relation of orthodox Christianity to Buddhism?

Not only that but he’s an NT scholar not a scholar of Buddhism. He’s dabbing outside his field of scholarly expertise.

There are plenty of genuine experts who take his kind of view however (just read a few articles in Buddhist-Christian Studies). However it is boringly common for them to abandon or redefine standard Christological or Credal truth claims. Insofar as they do so, they purposefully give up or modify credal orthodoxy. Such is, of course, the proper liberty of those who write for academic journals. It’s surely not appropriate for a bishop in the church of god.

[218] Posted by driver8 on 01-28-2009 at 11:08 AM • top

Call me close minded if you will (I’ve been called worse) but here is my short answer to all this hoopla:

Buddha is not God

If you believe that Buddha is God, then you are not Christian and I fail to see how you can lead a Christian flock. Frankly I don’t care about comparative theology except from a scholarly perspective. Having “respect” for someone else means simply treating another person as one would want to be treated. It clearly does not mean that a believer has to explore, flirt with, or embrace another person’s different point of view. In fact, such actions clearly reflect spiritual weakness. The idea behind letting your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no” is that you are obligated to take a position and then speak for yourself truthfully with conviction.

Allowing non believers to continue in the flock reflects two failings: first, it reflects the failure of those who tend the flock to care for the spiritual welfare both of the erring individual as well as the flock in general; secondly, it reflects spiritual weakness on the part of all. The individual in question should either be corrected or, failing that, asked to leave.

Institutions have a right to protect themselves from subversion especially when such subversion strikes right at the core beliefs upon which the institution is founded. The issue in Northern Michigan is not a minor theological dispute. It truly goes to how the Church defines its belief system.

I am a strong believer in guardian angels. One of the concepts of that belief is that guardian angels often serve to challenge us spiritually by placing us in spiritually challenging situations so that we might learn and grow in our knowledge of God. Have you ever considered that the source of all this conflict in which we who believe now find ourselves may simply be the angels of the Lord calling the faithful forth to do battle in His Name?

Stand up, plant your feet, and prepare yourself to receive the onslaught of the enemy. I think that’s the least He has the right to expect of you.

[219] Posted by George Hood on 01-28-2009 at 11:09 AM • top

#99 Tim, it’s probably not so much the labyrinths themselves that are the danger.  Rather, the danger comes from the people one often finds walking them and the heresies they spout.  But then, why walk around in circles when Jesus is The Way? wink

[220] Posted by Milton on 01-28-2009 at 11:22 AM • top

anglicanlutenist, do you actually play lute?  The instrument has enthralled me since I heard recordings in college days long ago.  PM if you want to share more.

[221] Posted by Milton on 01-28-2009 at 11:27 AM • top

More proof that APCK is the place for me!......No enforcement of rules, doctrine, or beliefs in TEC! No matter your stripe in life you to can be a priest or a bishop in TEc! We are the new Unitarians of religion for the 21st century and beyond!!!!!!!!! (said in Buzz Lightyear’s voice of course!)

[222] Posted by TLDillon on 01-28-2009 at 12:08 PM • top

Well, isn’t that nice.  The hand basket to hell has a nice ribbon added to it! 

“There’s a long black train,
Comin’ down the line,
Feedin’ off the souls that are lost and cryin’,
Rails of sin, only evil remains
Watch out brother for that Long Black Train”

“I said cling to the Father and His holy name
And dont go ridin’ on that long black train
Yeah, watch out brother for that long black train
The Devil’s a drivin’ that long black train.”
                          -Josh Turner

[223] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 01-28-2009 at 12:42 PM • top

My. my! We got a bit cranky there. Best to keep the quote at the bottom of the comment input box in mind. I htink it’s possible to *charitably* know that someone’s a Revisionist, or heretic, or whatever, and at the same time be polite in conversation while saying what needs be said. Equally so, I learned a long time ago to not take things too seriously when posted on a thread. It’s best to assume that the author is only saying those things about one with the best intentions, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

[224] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-28-2009 at 02:26 PM • top

To whom it may concern Numbers chapter 23 verse 23 “There is no sorcery against Jacob , neither is there any divination against Israel.”

[225] Posted by RAPHAEL on 01-28-2009 at 04:06 PM • top

Closing in on 250 posts which represents 42% of the number of NM Diocese members:
Someday soon it may be one of TEC’s largest Dioceses….
Intercessor

[226] Posted by Intercessor on 01-28-2009 at 04:34 PM • top

#230 Intercessor,
You have a good point but don’t forget that many such as myself and perhaps even you are not members of TEC.

[227] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 04:38 PM • top

#231-Very truly I tell you Dcn. Dale that numbers are a keen indicator of trends. I admit that I have no dog in this hunt as you well know, but is it a sin to keep score?
IHS,
Intercessor

[228] Posted by Intercessor on 01-28-2009 at 04:58 PM • top

Potter - dude, it’s a toxic church.  No common language.  No common priorities.  No common prayer.  Leadership that has decided to drop as many of Christ’s people as necessary to entitle a small elite.
I agree with you - much snarky on this thread.  But are you really surprised?  Just hear the screeches from the HOB/D listserve, or any number of “illuminated” blogs.  Anglicanism generally and Episcopalianism in particular are pretty toxic right now.

[229] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 01-28-2009 at 08:15 PM • top

I’m just surprised that a “diocese” with an ASA of 600 can support a bishop.  The diocese of Eau Claire and the diocese of Fond du Lac Wisconsin are exploring consolidation with similar geographical challenges.

Under a church that has nearly no discernable discipline, allowing this type of making priests and bishops is a recipe for disaster.  I’m not surprised at this at all.  Under the Ottomans, the Greek Orthodox Church ordained laymen who had the Divine Liturgy memorized because that’s all they had available.

[230] Posted by Bill2 on 01-28-2009 at 08:39 PM • top

#233 Mad Potter,
“This was one of the most toxic threads I have seen here at SF.” OK, I get this but what does this mean? “It’s all good fun here…...at Stand Firm” Is the second sentence sarcasm?
It seems to me that you have made a few toxic references yourself when referring to the Bishops that left TEC.
Additionally, one of the missionaries from our church had a presentation during our adult forum this past Sunday.  He showed us a photograph of a Buddhist Monk that he had led to Christ in S.E. Asia (our Missionary is Asian also).
It seems odd to me that we are converting Buddhists in the mission field when we are making them Bishops in TEC.

[231] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 09:00 PM • top

I was waiting to see if this would finally make it to SFIF.  There is plenty of issues to question in the “process” as it played out in this Diocese - and, yes, the Bishop candidate played a significant role in designing the process.  The decision was made to forego the usual process and instead invite candidates - to ensure that the right individual who supported the agenda of “the diocese” would be selected.  Many suspected that the naming of Kevin Forrester was a given though the committee formed to “discern” the right candidate begged to differ.  Further, after meeting for the past few months this discernment committee announced that there would be no election - they would select the next bishop and the bishop’s Episcopla Ministry Support Team.  What WOULD occur at the special convention to be held soon, I believe, is that delegates would be given the opportunity to affirm or decline the team in its entirety.  This diocese has been without a bishop for 19 months now - there is talk that some of the congregations were told who their delegates would be.

Not only is Kevin Forrester a buddhist - but he is also very much a revisionist.  Apparently he has rewritten the liturgy used at St. Paul’s in Marquette on a regular basis, no longer using the BCP - it is too full of atonement theology - something with which he strongly disagrees.  I hear the congregation has welcomed a muslim man who has preached on a number of occasions.
Understand that this diocese is very “gray” and getting “grayer” all the time - many of the churches have fewer than 2 dozen regular attending members.  Geographically it is spread out over almost 400 miles from east to west.  Further the diocese has been practicing mutual ministry so you have congregations led by commissioned lay people with no seminary training, no background in theology or liturgy.  There are only a handful of missioners who “manage” these congregations.  So the situation was very ripe for an individual like Kevin Forrester to come in and push his new theology on an unsuspecting diocese - most of which are of a generation that believes the priest knows what’s best and trusts that they will be taken care of.  There was also talk in the diocese that this process was done to prevent having to bring this before the general convention.  It looks like they’ve succeeded.  It is a sad day in this Diocese.

[232] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-28-2009 at 09:13 PM • top

NMIepiscopalian—thanks for a great comment.  Appreciate the additional facts.

[233] Posted by Sarah on 01-28-2009 at 09:27 PM • top

If you have just a couple of minutes, go to this link from the GAFCON website and watch this video interview with a Bishop from Nigeria re: his experience with Buddhism.
http://www.gafcon.org/media/video/gafcons_first_convert/

[234] Posted by Virginia Anglican on 01-28-2009 at 09:27 PM • top

I have been following this thread for the past couple of days, and I must confess that the toxicity of many of the statements (on both sides of the discussion) is disturbing.  Frankly, I am disturbed that many who post on all of the threads at this site fail to afford respect to commentators, clergy and bishops with whom they disagree.  I am just as offended when someone refers to the PB by some of the disrespectful nicknames that have circulated on this site as I am when someone refers to my bishop as “Jack the Knife” and other such disrespectful misnomers.  It may be OK for the operators of this site to use nicknames, etc., but being OK with Greg or others in charge does not make it respectful or acceptable behavior.  This should be a forum where ideas are shared and issues debated; unfortunately, it seems to have devolved into a place where some of the contributors seem to compete in snarky comebacks, witty put-downs and outright rudeness.  I am thankful for those individuals (yes, even those with whom I strongly disagree) who articulate their positions in a thoughtful and respectful manner.  I was once advised by a very wise man that when the argument becomes ad hominen, it is lost.

[235] Posted by DFW Lawyer on 01-28-2009 at 09:29 PM • top

# 239 Mad Potter,
Here is the point of this entire thread.  Northern Michigan is going to to have a Buddhist Bishop. Is that OK with you?

[236] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 09:34 PM • top

And they’re going to have a bishop who had a large hand in getting himself made a bishop.

[237] Posted by oscewicee on 01-28-2009 at 09:41 PM • top

Mad Potter, #244
Then are you saying that an individual can be a Buddhist and a Christian concurrently?

[238] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 09:42 PM • top

Actually the Hiawathaland is edited by Kevin Forrester’s wife who is also an ordained priest, I believe.  Mad Potter, you missed my point - it was not to suggest that WE are too dumb - but rather too trusting.  Read it again.  The bulk of this diocese is well past 60 - many cannot regularly travel the distances in this diocese necessary to attend the “big” meetings. They are not of a generation that stands up against the church’s authority - regardless of who is claiming that authority.

[239] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-28-2009 at 09:46 PM • top

DFW Lawyer-242

I have seen probably the best and the worst of this site and this thread is far from either.  As for respect- it is earned.  The only title that sacred here is “God”.

If you are not comfortable with the hoi-poi here maybe this is not the place for you.  Try the ACI site.

In peace,

[240] Posted by Elizabeth on 01-28-2009 at 09:49 PM • top

Mad Potter,
Are you using a random answer generating machine because it doesn’t seem to make any difference what I say? Please don’t answer this question, I was just thinking out loud.

[241] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 09:52 PM • top

Watch the video at post 241…  WOW!

[242] Posted by Liz Forman on 01-28-2009 at 09:58 PM • top

#252 Dcn. Dale
Brilliant.
Intercessor

[243] Posted by Intercessor on 01-28-2009 at 09:58 PM • top

DFW Lawyer,

You’re more than welcome to share your opinions about “toxicity” of statements and acceptable behavior and lack of respect at StandFirm via the private message system for this blog.  . . . But not on a thread about Northern Michigan’s Buddhist Anglican nominee for bishop as your opinions about StandFirm and the tone of this thread are off-topic here.

Please don’t take the thread off-topic—and if there are others before DFW who have gone down that trail, please don’t as well.

Thanks.

[244] Posted by Sarah on 01-28-2009 at 10:10 PM • top

I would like to add that some posts seem to believe that Kevin Forrester has run the show that resulted in his selection.  That is not an accurate picture. He was a major player in designing the process - however once the discernment team got started he was no longer an active part of the team - they met on their own.  Who made up this team?  This is a small, overworked, thinnly stretched diocese and the members of this team had to meet twice a month on Saturdays in Marquette - some having to drive up to 2 1/2 hours one way to attend.  It was a question of who will volunteer to do this - no formal selection and the whole business of not having an election was not made public until AFTER the team was formed.  So an unelected, self nominated body has chosen the new bishop for N. MI.  The process was “affirmed” at the diocesan convention - but once again, the delegates are often the faithful few who essentially volunteer - remember most of the congregations are less than 2 dozen folk.  The information disseminated to the members of the diocese was not channelled through Kevin Forrester or written by Kevin Forrester.  The discernment team wrote their own notices which were in the form of Sunday bulletin inserts, articles in Hiawathaland, and e-mail via a diocesan list serve.  The real problem is that the diocese is tired of not having a bishop and the “delegate” once again read volunteers to the special convention, are likely to “affirm” this team rather than through out months of “hard work.”  No, Mad Potter this is not New Hampshire - Kevin Forrester has been a very divisive figure in this diocese, not well liked and not trusted by a healthy number of people.  This process though has been carefully crafted and the lay folk will really have little choice but to affirm this slate.  A large number of folk indicated early on that if Kevin Forrester was the candidate - which is what many believed was a forgone conclusion from the beginning and the discernment process just so much “show” they would leave - I am one of them - I do not know how many others will follow suit.

[245] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-28-2009 at 10:33 PM • top

#255 - I dunno Sarah, I don’t take that to be off-topic but a plea to keep the bar raised high in the form as well as content. As one who can allow my emotion to run high in passion in some comments, I often secretly am grateful for those types of rebukes and hope SFIF will allow them to continue.

[246] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 01-28-2009 at 10:35 PM • top

Mad Potter you seem to know very little about the make up and membership of this diocese unlike myself who reside here and attend church here.  I am sorry your nose is out of joint but you are the one who keeps using the derogatory word “dumb”  Frankly I don’t give a hoot if you agree with me or not.  What I am trying to relay to people is that this process was a set up to ensure that Kevin Forrester would be the next bishop.  Had it been an actual election between a slate of candidates he would not have been chosen - Buddhist or not.  I live here, do you?

[247] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-28-2009 at 10:40 PM • top

238, Thanks for saying what you did.  Somewhere well up above I expressed some of the same things, but I think you did so with less anger and more grace than I did.  I have either witnessed of had pretty reliable reports of everything you report.

What part of the UP are you in?  I am in the east, near Sault Ste. Marie.

[248] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-28-2009 at 10:41 PM • top

NMI- Mr. or Ms. Potter is engaged in the ancient blog art of trolling.  He or she reads through a thoughtful, well written comment, then pulls out one phrase, twists its meaning, and then posts his or her revision of what you just said in an effort to get a rise out of you. It’s the trollish way to convince themselves that they are very much more clever than the rest of us.  It tends to happen particularly on those threads where the opposition cannot find a rational argument.
The best way to combat them is to ignore them.  No answer you present will ever appease Mr. or Ms. Potter.  It is rather like trying to answer the repeated question “why” from one’s four year old.
Of course, another thing that drives them crazy is to refer to them constantly in the third person, refusing to engage them until they put forward a rational argument in favor of their position.

[249] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-28-2009 at 10:53 PM • top

tjmcmahon - thanks for the chuckle.  I am not a “regular” here but was counting on this space raising a ruckus over these shenanigans - I am choosing to keep myself low profile = this place is too small for all the square miles of geography - I have had conversations with members of the discernment group - they stayed true to their vow of silence but we were still able to have intelligent discussions - I was shocked that in the end the team still made this choice.  No information on whether this was unanimous or a slim majority or what - I am curious to learn how much dissent was present in the final decision.  I am already hearing reports of very angry folk and hope that people do stick to their guns and walk - he will then be bishop of nobody.  the financials are already very revealing - this place is broke and broken.  I went back and read your comments - we probably don’t see eye to eye on all the liturgical issues.  That said, there should be room for many views and the churches should be able to worship in a traditional manner if that is what is desired.  I fear that as bishop that will change - I have heard reports from St. Paul’s that much has been done to elimate completely what he (Kevin) doesn’t want included - and yet he glibly refers everything to the responsibilit of the Ministry Support Team even though he’s pulling all the strings - very sly this one.  That is my anger over this whole process - he couldn’t possibly win an election - and they made damn sure a real bishop didn’t get in here to start cleaning house - I can only hope that when the National Church awakens to the need to have what’s left of this diocese absorbed into other dioceses there will be anything left to absorb.  I for one will soon begin attending services at a Roman Catholic church - I feel I really no longer have an Episcopal church to attend.

[250] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-28-2009 at 11:10 PM • top

#260 TJ,The best way to combat them is to ignore them.  No answer you present will ever appease Mr. or Ms. Potter.  It is rather like trying to answer the repeated question “why” from one’s four year old.”
I’m beginning to think that MP was set out on the road by Brer Fox to trap us brer rabbits however, S.F. is our Briar Patch.

[251] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-28-2009 at 11:36 PM • top

NMI-
That’s OK, anyone who has read a lot of my posts probably figures that I don’t agree with myself on liturgical issues.  However, if your first alternative is the Roman Catholic Church, we are probably not so far apart as all that (I am one of the resident Anglo Catholics here).
  Quite honestly, were I not so engaged with “Anglican Issues”, I probably would have given up on the Dio. of N. Michigan 5 minutes into the first sermon I heard up here.
  You are quite right, if the presumed nominee is indeed confirmed, it will be the end of the diocese. Many of the parishes are already hard pressed to pay the heating bill, much less keep up the buildings or reach out to the community. I suspect that many who have been holding on in hopes that there will be a new bishop who will improve things will just give up and find a new church.  Which is what 10% of the ASA did during 2007-08.

[252] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-29-2009 at 12:03 AM • top

#238 you make an excellent point and one that I think some might have missed:

Not only is Kevin Forrester a buddhist - but he is also very much a revisionist.  Apparently he has rewritten the liturgy used at St. Paul’s in Marquette on a regular basis, no longer using the BCP - it is too full of atonement theology - something with which he strongly disagrees.

The reason Mr. Forrester has rewritten the liturgy is because he is a Buddhist. He is probably more Buddhist than he is revisionist. Buddhism does not deal with sin the way Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do. Within these religions, the sinner is answerable to an all powerful God. Buddhism does not even recognize such a God. In fact, there is not even a Lord responsible for creation in the Christian sense.

For that reason, there are some who do not even consider Buddhism to be a religion. These scholars view Buddhism as a system of applying a certain philosophical orientation to life. Indeed, much of Buddhism is focused on the idea of purity in thought, specifically thought in the sense of intention.

The highest aspiration for the practitioner is to reach an enlightened state. Those who attain such states become part of a Buddhahood. The founder of Buddhism is one such Buddha and is venerated as a teacher and as one who has shown the path to perfection.

It is this veneration, physically demonstrated by the display of the iconic Buddha, that has convinced me that Buddhism aspires to deify those who have attained perfection, particularly those who have transcended physical form and who have attained celestial states.

Attaining such a high state of purity, though, is not dependent on answering to God. It is simply a matter of finding the path to enlightenment. Sin, in the Christian sense, does not exist. The punishment for making foolish decisions is to be forced into another round of reincarnation—sort of a “fail and you have to do it again” kind of philosophy.

For a Christian, atonement or the answering for sin to God, is a key concept. The Christian doctrine of atonement centers on the life and death of Jesus with the logic being that since man sinned in the garden, it would have to be a man to redeem original sin. It was for that reason that God had to send Jesus, as a man, to “pick up the tab” for us.

I hope I am not being too tedious and I do recognize that there are many here who are much smarter than I am on the theology involved. My goal is simply to highlight what is happening in Northern Michigan. I will now attempt to come quickly to the point.

Mr. Forrester, if reports are correct, is incorporating Buddhist beliefs into Christian liturgy and the Christian doctrine suffers therefrom. Worse still, by diminishing the concept of atonement, Mr. Forrester strikes at the core of Christian belief, that is, the reason why Jesus had to come and why he had to die.

Further, who will ultimately pay for this subverted liturgy? I suggest it will be those who can least afford it: those who come seeking the strength of scripture to fortify themselves in their fight for their souls.

My argument is broader than TEC and its broken theology. In a great many churches, we are literally looking at either undisciplined minds accidentally undermining core beliefs, or worse, subversives hell bent on destroying Christian faith.

To hand the flock over to those who cannot even keep to the foundational doctrines seems to me to be lunacy on an unprecedented scale and an act that one day will have to be reconciled with God.

[253] Posted by George Hood on 01-29-2009 at 01:42 AM • top

There are already many examples of do-it-yourself theology and do-it-yourself liturgy in TEC.  I think the news of this nomination has caused such a stir because, should Rev. Forrester be consecrated, it would, in effect, be a formal acknowledgement of this approach.
Thank you, George Hood #264, for pointing out that, ultimately, we answer to God.

[254] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-29-2009 at 07:31 AM • top

“Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?”
This charge apparently was not considered important enough to be retained in the 1979 Prayerbook. I put part of the blame on the seminaries that prepare the Priests.  I believe that many of the new priests are more familiar with human rights issues than the historic faith once delivered to the saints.  It would be interesting to compare Syllabi in some of the current core areas of preparation to Syllabi from 30 years ago (maybe further back than that).  Even a comparison of the Nashota House syllabi to CDSP would probably be interesting. Trinity and Nashota are preparing priests to serve in a very different church than the other Episcopal seminaries.  I think there is now a four year bible study being used in Episcopal Churches that is intended to bring the lay folks into conformity with their ordained leadership.

[255] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-29-2009 at 08:23 AM • top

Dcn Dale #266,
Do you mean EFM?

[256] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-29-2009 at 08:43 AM • top

#267 Undergroundpewster,
Yes, A friend of mine is taking the course and I hope he gets out with his faith intact. The comments he makes to me tell me that there is a lot of questioning of the truth of God’s Word. I would appreciate someone with more knowledge about the course offering an informed opinion.  My impressions are only second hand.

[257] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-29-2009 at 08:51 AM • top

I just went online following Undergroundpewster’s link.
The following quote is from “Parallel Guide 1”
“As you talk in your seminar, remember that ultimately the group is there to encourage everyone to develop their own understanding of faith, tradition and theology.”
So much for the shared faith concept.

[258] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-29-2009 at 09:09 AM • top

Beginning:Ok, Ok, we know we’ve got some gay dudes as priests, what can we do about it?  They’re good guys, their wives know about it, they won’t do anything wrong.  We just need to keep it on the down low.

Later:  Ok, ok, well some of the gay guys are now bishops, well nobody’s really said anything about it, so it must be ok.  They’re still married, and most people don’t know or seem to care.  They love these guys.

Later:Ok, well, we’ll let some openlly gay and lesbians go through the process to become priests.  Not many people seem to care too much, and this is happening mainly in the educated part of the country, where most meaningful people are down with it.

Later: Ok, Ok, I know these gay and lesbian priests are pushing to get an openly gay bishop. Everybody here at 815 thinks its a civil rights issue, you know, like when we were good to all the black people.  That was great for us, as we showed up the redneck Baptists and Methodists.  It’s the same deal.  It’s prophetic, yeah, thats the ticket. I hope the we don’t get too much pushback from Canterbury.  Oh well, we’ve got alot money, so that should keep them from whining too much.

Later:  Ok, Ok, so you want this Bhuddist guy to be a bishop?  Thats a tough one.  Oh well, Let ‘er rip.  Nobody can do anything about it anyway.  If he’s our boy, then let’s go. By the way, does that mean Hindu’s can be bishops?

[259] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 01-29-2009 at 09:28 AM • top

#266 Dcn Dale:  Good Point!

“Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?”

 

Certainly the concept of Jesus’ vicarious suffering and sacrifice for the sins of mankind, that is, atonement, is a core Christian concept. Clearly Buddhist thought is at least “strange” if not outright toxic to Christian belief on the subject.

I would raise a question on this exclusion to the 1979 Prayerbook: even if the section you quoted had survived, who would enforce it? The problem is that once an institution, as #270 states, begins to use criteria other than belief in and loyalty to its foundational concepts to recruit, the institution invites its own demise.

I have seen time and again the scenario that #270 highlights. Once under qualified folks and people of questionable loyalty are brought into an institution, they tend to advance. It’s normal. It’s what happens.

Later, as the newcomers assume leadership positions, they put into effect the policies and doctrines they themselves want.

The key is to guard the door and to insure that those who enter will do the job expected of them. If that is not done, the newcomers will become bishops and they will use their new positions of authority to coerce those who remain faithful to the religion either to change or not to oppose the new program.

Sound familiar?

[260] Posted by George Hood on 01-29-2009 at 10:49 AM • top

Yeah,
Some, like me, are considering becoming Anglican….

[261] Posted by Bo on 01-29-2009 at 11:00 AM • top

Sorry for double posting.

It also seems as if the SBC is working to ‘cut the numbers’ even more by purging the rolls, and focusing on a regenerate church.  (One reason the SBC is upset:  with the roll being 3 times ASA, it is likely that they’re counting as ‘members’ those that are lost).  Imagine that, reacting to a decline by confessing that we need to fix the way we ‘do church’.......

[262] Posted by Bo on 01-29-2009 at 11:10 AM • top

Re: Muslims, Mad Potter - it’s only because they “claim to have the more important and last prophet” that they can’t be Christians. Is Jesus only a prophet in your eyes?

[263] Posted by oscewicee on 01-29-2009 at 11:10 AM • top

There are two kinds of syncretism. The first is what we easily notice, which happens when a single person consciously tries to put two (or more!) religions together. The second takes place over time, and is almost unnoticed. Let’s see… the Holy Archangels were worshiped as deities in ancient Ebla (1800-1650 BC), as was YA. Or, more clearly, Hindu Tantrism innoculated Buddhism to produce Indian Buddhist Tantrism, which was then taken to Tibet, which merged with the native Bon religion to produce contemporary Tibetan Buddhism. Of course, there is the example of the wholesale importation of Stoic, Platonic, and Aristotelian Greek philosophy into Christianity.

[264] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-29-2009 at 11:15 AM • top

You are quite right, if the presumed nominee is indeed confirmed, it will be the end of the diocese.

Tj and others…..I’m not so sure this is correct! The more I think about all of this mess in TEc the more I think that “Yes!” it will be the end of these diocese as we have known them but they will continue but in a different way and face. They will attract those who are confused or don’t care about morality, ethics, rules, etc… TEc will become the Worldwide Unitarian Church….all no matter your beliefs or backgrounds are not only welcomed but need not change to conform to a Holy Bile or a Book of Common Prayer. Will they run out of money? Maybe to some degree but with all those wealthy social activists writing a check to get their way on some issue, money really won’t be that much of an issue or a problem. Buildings are just a way to gain more money and power for TEc and are disposable just like people if they are not keeping up with the social agenda and Worldwide Unitarian ideas…..TEc has become the New Media….A victim making victims. What a legacy! :(

[265] Posted by TLDillon on 01-29-2009 at 11:30 AM • top

OOps! Typos…..(I gave up coffee) it should be “Holy Bible”

[266] Posted by TLDillon on 01-29-2009 at 11:45 AM • top

Yes, they do, but I am curious that you don’t find a weightier objection in that the Muslims deny the divinity of Christ.

[267] Posted by oscewicee on 01-29-2009 at 12:41 PM • top

Put another way, then, is not the Christian belief in the divinity of Christ the greatest bar to anyone being both Muslim and Christian?

[268] Posted by oscewicee on 01-29-2009 at 01:16 PM • top

These are comments I posted at another blog - I continue to read statements to the effect of believing this somehow is reflecting the will of the people of this diocese and that is so untrue.
“The real problem here is the propoganda campaign to suggest that this is the wishes of the diocese.  The leadership of the diocese in the absence of a bishop after Jim Kelsey’s tragic death formed (with Kevin Forrester’s leadership) an alternative to the traditional manner in which bishops are elected in this church.  With lots of fancy language they explained how we would form a discernment team to look at the process rather than a selection committee - this team would have to meet in Marquette twice a month for almost a year and they asked each congregation to send representatives.  This diocese is almost 400 miles from east to west and ASA is less than 700 - many if not most of the congregations have regular members of less than 2 dozen.  The result being that members of the team were often self appointed because of the taxing amount of time necessary to drive as much as 200 miles one way twice a month to attend an all day meeting.  So the “volunteers” gathered.  Also understand that as a diocese run by mutual ministry - there are only a handful of seminary trained missioners (less than 5) present in the diocese so there is a gaping hole in the knowledge of liturgy, church history, canon law etc. So these volunteers are not familiar and easily swayed by a good presentation.  Once the team was assembled - congregations were asked to hold meetings to discern “who we were” as a diocese - at my church this discussion essentially lead the people by the nose to come up with the “right responses” - very leading questions etc. and surprise surprise - the diocese said exactly what Kevin Forrester wanted them to say.  Then the next big surprise leaked out last summer - there would be no election.  The discernment team (not a true representative group where the politics are all on the table out in the open)would choose the bishop themselves and name the other members of the episcopal ministry support team - all that would occur at the special convention would be a thumbs up or thumbs down vote for the whole team.  No applications for candidates were accepted - rather the team invited individuals to participate.  It was also made clear that the whole process had an end date of late February in order to avoid having this decision be sent to General Convention for approval. <b>It was all about control and keeping things quiet.<b>  The initial thought by the skeptical was that this was a predecided issue and that Kevin would be selected all along though this was denied.  Kevin Forrester is a divisive figure in this diocese, he is by no means univerally acclaimed, there have been numerous individuals who have stated they will leave if this is the outcome.  All the propoganda coming out of the diocesan office over this is very upsetting.  The people of the diocese, many of an older generation, have not wished this at all.  Further, Kevin Forrester has demonstrated that he has significant issues with the traditional theology of the Episcopal church - he refuses to use the Book of Common Prayer unless he can rewrite the liturgy to his liking - excluding sin and atonement which he does not believe has a place in the church.  He has preached against the notion that Jesus died to cleanse us of sin.  There are sermons on line at the church’s web site.  Please, do not repeat statements to the effect of “let them pick their own bishop, and if they want one…”  This was railroaded through - against the wishes of many in this diocese.  Sadly the majority are of a generation that do not rise up to question the authority of the church - no matter who is claiming that authority.  This is a very sad day for this diocese.”

[269] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-29-2009 at 04:42 PM • top

NMI #238:

My prayers are with you and your diocese.

I once read a book entitled “Animal Farm”. Your sad tale, especially the description of how the process was hijacked, reminded me of that story.

Surely someone stands in the path of the usurpers and will not yield the way forward to them…or is that what the angels of the Lord await?

I am reminded of Jesus when he dealt with the moneychangers. I think the underlying message is that we who believe must defend the House of the Lord.

[270] Posted by George Hood on 01-29-2009 at 06:25 PM • top

Sorry, that should have been “NMI #283”

[271] Posted by George Hood on 01-29-2009 at 06:32 PM • top

Well, if this blog has members in many of the dioceses of the church, I ask you to contact your standing committees and your bishops and request that they withhold their consent on behalf of the many in this diocese who feel betrayed by this process - one designed very carefully by Kevin Forrester & Co.  Tell them you have concerns about (1) his theology in which he has not renounced buddhism or his lay ministry, that he rewrites the liturgy to cleanse it of any reference to atonement - so no confession statements, the creed was removed for a long while, his own crafted eucharistic prayers. (2) the process, devised by K. Forrester in which there were no open applications and the elimination of a true election, and (3) the method in which this process played out preventing any real participation by individuals who knew what was occurring (e.g., the concept of no election was introduced after the “team” was well in place.  At the very least, encourage them to delay this until it can be reviewed carefully and discussed at General Convention - this is too important a situation to allow it to go forward.  Please contact them regularly and ask them to withhold or wait.  This from an Episcopalian in this diocese.

[272] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 01-29-2009 at 06:59 PM • top

Wow, that is one scary diocesan website over at NM (and I live in CT):

God is Father. God is Son. God is Holy Spirit. – God is Mother. God is Daughter.
God is Holy of Holies. – God is Creator. God is Redeemer. God is Sanctifier. Are
any of these theological expressions of the Trinity literally true? Of course not.
They do, however, point us to theological truths that reflect our experience of the
living God in our lives. Each formulation acts as a prism, refracting experience, yet
as it refracts limits our perception as well.

I am reminded of the “rock, paper scissors” cartoon for the Trinity a few years back ...

[273] Posted by elanor on 01-29-2009 at 08:46 PM • top

Elanor (#287)... what you quoted is classically heretical modalism.

[274] Posted by A Senior Priest on 01-29-2009 at 09:17 PM • top

In CANA.  None of my business.  Too sad to comment on.

[275] Posted by CanaAnglican on 01-30-2009 at 12:22 AM • top

#283, et al.
Jackie was kind enough to post several documents (that were distributed to N Mich parishes by the diocese) a couple months ago here on Stand Firm, that will bear out what NMI said. I’ve never figured out how to find something here in the archives, but perhaps someone out there could post the link. The bishop selection process outlined in those documents did not draw a lot of response at the time. I think many were assuming that some run of the mill revisionist would get the job.  If TEC stays on its current course, the Rev. Forrester will take over as PB when KJS elevates herself to the see of Canterbury after accepting ++Rowan’s renunciation of orders.

[276] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-30-2009 at 12:25 AM • top

tjmcmahon:  Here you go:

What Is Going On In Hiawathaland?
Monday, December 1, 2008

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/18261/

[277] Posted by Piedmont on 01-30-2009 at 02:09 AM • top

Now nearly 300 posts…equating to 50% of the size of the DIOCESE before the real decline takes effects.
Could this thread be a TEO referendum?
Intercessor

[278] Posted by Intercessor on 01-30-2009 at 12:35 PM • top

Oops ..should not read effects but should read effect.
And there is another post!
Intercessor

[279] Posted by Intercessor on 01-30-2009 at 12:37 PM • top

A true abiding in the Vine, Spirit-led follower Christ would not want or need Buddha, Wiccan, Hindi,Islam and other religions and philosophies to complete their spiritual life, nor would they be unwilling to put to death any and all sinful abberant desires such as homosexual practice, pornography, etc..  These evil things would be repulsive and abhorrent to them.

The test of the true Bride of Christ is faithful exclusive love for the Bridegroom.  She isn’t running around kissing up to other gods and idols.

Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Living Word, Bread of Life, Who created and sustains all things is more than enough for a real Christian.

[280] Posted by Theodora on 02-01-2009 at 03:14 PM • top

#242

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

You are right.  This statement has been entirely forgotten on this site.  I come here to see the latest “original” post, but as I continue on to read through the posts I cannot help but wonder what Our Lord thinks of the name-calling, the put-downs, the offer of:  if you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit your fanny on the way out (you know, perhaps you should look for another site).  There is theology and there is the practice of it.  It’s like the two brothers, one who said he would obey his father, but didn’t, and the other who said he would not obey his father, but did so.  Once there is name-calling, insults, and not even a remnant of Christian love, the argument is lost.  The attitude is “thank God I am not like this publican, I fast. . . give alms, etc., etc.”

[281] Posted by Gigs Girl on 02-01-2009 at 10:52 PM • top

#295 Gigs Girl,
“It’s like the two brothers, one who said he would obey his father, but didn’t, and the other who said he would not obey his father, but did so.”
Please clarify how this statement relates to your concern about the S.F. site.
Thanks

[282] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-01-2009 at 11:11 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic]

[283] Posted by Gigs Girl on 02-02-2009 at 01:07 AM • top

P.S.  I won’t be back until tomorrow, so if you have a comment about that perception I am not ignoring you.

[284] Posted by Gigs Girl on 02-02-2009 at 01:08 AM • top

So GG [297] while the heat does rise herein and there are instances and moments of lese majeste by the denizens here. Do we truly love our neighbors if we simply allow them to continue to practice falsehood, or to do things that actually will hurt them. It is not nice to shout loudly “NO! DON’T!! STOP!!! at someone who is either deliberately or unintendedly seeking to hurt themselves - but it is kinder than saying, “far be it from me to interfere in your dousing yourself with gas and playing with that lighter, but I would like to mention, in the kindest and most polite way possible, that you could, if the circumstances are correct, and the authorities are to be believed, cause yourself great harm in what you are doing, however, realizing that you disagree and see this as a necessary means to warm yourself, pray carry on.”

We are called not to judge but to recognize when someone sins and in love address that sin with them. If they refuse to amend, then further action is warranted where elders need to be brought to the person, and so on. All very Scriptural and such. In fact if one is to be perfectly frank your missive above is just exactly the kind of judgement and intolerance that you decried within it. Therein lies the problem with, insisting that everyone “plays nice” with one another. We can of course assume the best of all possible intentions, but when time and again individuals in question demonstrate rather conclusively that their intentions are not, in fact the best, but deliberately otherwise, what then? Allow them to continue unremittingly in behaviors that are meant to be not nice? The Bible nowhere requires us to “be nice” to one another. It does require us to love your neighbor as yourself, as a part of loving God with all your heart, mind, and strength. So yes, on occasion some of us herein, (those with broken human conditions - mea culpa) do descend a bit on the ladder of conduct, and feel driven to respond to jibes and utterly heinous behaviors on the part of others to label those less nicely than we would otherwise wont. And most in fact confess their attitude, repent and continue to grow and learn. But let’s not mistake “nice” and “polite” as mandatory standards of behavior when the stakes are so high that being “nice” and “polite” could cause someone else to do themselves deep or eternal harm.

[285] Posted by masternav on 02-02-2009 at 01:54 AM • top

#297 Gigs Girl,
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt.23:33)
Would you would like to offer our Lord some corrective feedback on His statement? Maybe He should have said it in a less “condemning” way.

[286] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-02-2009 at 09:31 AM • top

#299—Well said and well done.

I might add that if one sees a car speeding the wrong way on a one way street and shouts “Hey, jackass, you’re going the wrong way”, it doesn’t mean that there is any hatred or lack of love for one’s fellow man involved. The choice of words may simply be an expression of incredulity, frustration and desperation on the observer’s part. As for me, I’d much rather you call me a jackass than mince words were I to place myself and others in such danger.

The problem with so many of these “be nice” folks is that they lack the strength of personality to function as Americans formerly did. They want everyone to talk to them in the manner you humorously described regarding the guy with the gasoline. That may be the problem many of the TEC revisionists have as they place themselves and their followers in spiritual danger.

So after they douse themselves with sin and Satan hands them a lighter, when you try to warn them, they make issue over your choice of words.

I’m a simple guy. If I ever engage in the same stupidity, I pray the Lord will provide me with a warner who shouts: “Hey, jackass you’re going the wrong way.” It’ll work just fine for me.

[287] Posted by George Hood on 02-02-2009 at 01:21 PM • top

#301 George,
1.  “Hey, jackass you’re going the wrong way.” Don’t try this phrase on the streets of Fresno CA.
2.  It’s usually me that is the recipient of the phrase.

[288] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-02-2009 at 01:40 PM • top

#302—Dcn Dale

#1:

A.  If your comment was a veiled reference to the goings on in DioSJ…I don’t intend to tell the good folks of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin that they are going the wrong way. They are right in their rebellion.
B.  As to the residents of the good city of Fresno: I wear boots and coveralls or work pants almost every day. My hands are calloused and so is my disposition AND I respect the same in those I encounter because it says to me that they work hard and are acquainted with the simple facts of life. Still I am not a man lacking the social graces. If I offend a man wrongly, then I offer my hand and my apology. If a man is offended by my rightly spoken words, then he can elect to do as he is inclined. Either way, I will walk away as a man and I will allow him to do the same.

#2: I don’t believe that you hear those words very often—I have read some of your comments. I certainly did not use or intend to use that comment in reference to you.

[289] Posted by George Hood on 02-02-2009 at 02:24 PM • top

George,
1. This was not a veiled reference at all.  I am am resident of Fresno and a member of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.  I meant exactly what I said about being careful about yelling out to folks in Fresno while driving.
2. I did intend to refer the Jackass comment to myself. I also leave my turn signal on for miles at a time.
Blessings and laugh a little,

[290] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-02-2009 at 05:32 PM • top

anyone familiar w/ this outfit?

People who are rather fond of the Episcopal Church

This is a group of hopeful people whose feelings for the Episcopal Church range from ordinary fondness to unbridled enthusiasm. In general we believe the Episcopal Church is authentic, relevant, and has never been better suited to speak to a new generation of spiritual seekers. Many of us think it’s the best vehicle around to get to know Jesus personally, intimately, and thoroughly. Some of us believe the Episcopal Church is the world’s best kept secret and that something should be done about that.

When you join you’ll get helpful and encouraging monthly updates (2-3 paragraphs max) and you’re always encouraged join the discussion below by telling us, among other things, why you’re rather fond of the Episcopal Church.

hosted by Chris Yaw, St Dave’s ch in Southfield, MI

Suppose that’s RAWTHER fond, as Eloise’s Nanny wd say?
A college friend belongs to it.

[291] Posted by maineiac on 02-02-2009 at 10:09 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic]

[292] Posted by Gigs Girl on 02-03-2009 at 04:30 AM • top

GG - It is not kindness to ignore evil…even at the cost of hurt feelings.

Silence and neutrality about evil is complicity and giving place to it. 

Not speaking the truth leaves people in deception, confusion, conflict, darkness that leads to death. 

Their blood is on our hands…even our own children’s blood if we compromise or supress the truth.  This is NOT LOVE.

Truth must guide Love.  A truthful witness delivers souls from hell…but a deceitful witness leaves people in bondage to sin that is separation from God and spiritual eternal death.  Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’  ‘This is eternal life, to know The Only True God and Jesus Christ, whom God has sent.’ 
Scripture says,  ‘Who has the Son has life, who does not have the Son does not have life.’  ‘There is no other Name under heaven by which we may be saved.’  The First Commandment is to Love only the One True God….not mess with other religions’ false gods and practices. 

A good parent must act with gentle loving truth and firm tough love, must teach, judge, enact fair but consistent pre-stated unwavering consequences for wrongdoing…to allow a child to grow up in with emotional stability, with reverent, worshipful, in intimate knowledge and union with God, respect for themselves and other human beings.  A good parent teaches by example…lives in reverence and submission to God, in holiness of life. 

Respecting God’s definitions and boundaries of love, truth and life as revealed in God’s Word… are the opposite of what the world teaches today.  In the Biblical world-view, Not teaching Christian Truth IS child abuse.  The secular humanist world believes it is evil to teach morality and religious practice (prayer is evil) to children. 

When we hold to and speak the truth of God’s Word is real love - but is called ‘hate’ to those who are perishing. 

When we stand for the truth and reality of the Gospel and the Power of God that sets souls free, these people mock, accuse, laugh, persecute, prosecute, spray paint or burn our churches…even kill rather than face and submit to the truth…and give up their self and other harming practices, beliefs, feelings and desires. 

Facing God’s Truth is painful, like a crucifixion, but afterward, it yeilds the peacable fruit of righteousness…and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  When our whole being, spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions) and body (I Thessalonians 5:23) comes into agreement with, is reconciled to God, (through His forgiveness and forgiving others) it allows us to enter into peace that passes all understanding, a peace that the world cannot give.  He (alone) is our Peace.  Worship in spirit and in truth connects us to God…to His holiness, healing, sustenance…makes His Word alive to us.  Heeding and doing God’s Word (makes Christ incarnate in us) allows His character and power to reign in and live in us. 

Secular psychology (or philosophy) cannot offer any of this.  It can approximate healing and supply homostasis (stability) only when it parallels the precepts and principles in God’s word…but cannot supply the deep healing, truth, power to change and does not discern God or evil, moral from immoral.  It is not true reality or true wisdom…because it does not discern the source of all good, the creator of all that is, Almighty Unchanging, All Good, All Knowing, All Loving God Whose Very Being Embodies and Defines and Sustains Truth, Love, Life.

Suppressing, diluting, polluting God’s truth leads to Romans 1:18-32; Galatians 5:17-24; I Timothy 6:3-6; II Timothy 3:1-12

When we depart from Truth, we do not, cannot Love.

[293] Posted by Floridian on 02-03-2009 at 07:36 AM • top

#306 Gigs Girl,
“Poster 300 then refers to the “viper” quote.  Yes, Jesus called the church leaders a nest of vipers; but try to remember that HE had the right and has the right to judge others.”
I thought you would say that and I would offer that St. Paul had a few comments along the same line. “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching a gospel to you contrary to what you received, let him be accursed.” Gal 1:9. I suppose because he was an apostle that he had the right to say that.

[294] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-03-2009 at 07:42 AM • top

#306 Gigs Girl,
“Poster 300 then refers to the “viper” quote.  Yes, Jesus called the church leaders a nest of vipers; but try to remember that HE had the right and has the right to judge others.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do [and say] nothing” Edmund Burke.

[295] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-03-2009 at 08:03 AM • top

GG - You are so critical of those who are not being “nice” in their expressions.  Can’t you recognize HURT when you hear it?  So many of us have gone to the wire with TEC, and been trampled in ways that are decidedly of Satan by people we trusted to act as Christian leaders.  This is how hurt comes out.  Have a little mercy yourself.  Stand Firm is also a safe space for hurt folk to “vent”.  As to “action”... there is a quote used in Cursillo outlines that says, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing”.  We are now finding out exactly how true that is!

[296] Posted by Goughdonna on 02-03-2009 at 09:21 AM • top

Dcn Dale:  Sorry to duplicate the quote.  Responded to GG before I read all of them.  We are on the same page!

[297] Posted by Goughdonna on 02-03-2009 at 09:24 AM • top

Rumblings from the HOB/D listserve

Friends,

I am writing to inform you that I have written the Presiding Bishop to ask that she intervene in the planned “election” in Northern Michigan and ask
that their search committee and Standing Committee not proceed until there is at least one other candidate nominated there.  I will not print here my
letter to her stating all my reasons because I think making such letters public information before the recipient even has the time to read it is in
poor taste.  However, I do hope others will join me in requesting this. 

This has absolutely nothing to do with the person they are nominating.  He sounds like an excellent candidate.  It has everything to do with their process.  They requested consent from Bishops and Standing Committees to
proceed with an election.  One candidate is an appointment.  It is difficult to believe that the search committee there could only find one person
qualified and willing to stand for election.  In TEC we elect our Bishops and we remain one of the few Anglican Churches where are lay leadership is given participation and choice.  This would set a very bad precedent IMHO.
I bring this up on the listserv because this election will probably need consent from Deputies.

[298] Posted by Intercessor on 02-03-2009 at 12:16 PM • top

This has absolutely nothing to do with the person they are nominating.  He sounds like an excellent candidate.

If by that you mean that you think that he would be an excellent representative of the confused state of theology in the diocese and in TEC then I would agree with you.

[299] Posted by AndrewA on 02-03-2009 at 12:24 PM • top

AndrewA:  Intercessor didn’t say that.  Some unidentified person wrote that on the HOB/Dlistserv.

[300] Posted by Piedmont on 02-03-2009 at 12:28 PM • top

Gigs Girl

It was also my impression that our behavior should reflect that of a Christian.

 

I agree:

Matthew 21:12 (King James Version)
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

Matthew 21:13 (King James Version)
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

 

There are many who speak of love and tolerance as a way of masking their true intentions. They come dressed as lambs but beneath are the wolves that would devour the flock.

Jesus tells us that we who believe must defend the faith against those who come not as brothers but more as wolves. You are my brother if you stand beside me and defend the faith.

If one twists the words to serve Satan then that person is not anyone’s brother and his words are nothing but lies.

This divergence from the thread has nothing to do with the subject of the thread and I and Dcn Dale have continued our discussion via PM. I hope that we can now return to the subject at hand—which is “Wolves (Buddhists) in Sheep’s Clothing Posing as Members of the Flock (Christians)”.

[301] Posted by George Hood on 02-03-2009 at 01:39 PM • top

Matthew 7:15 (King James Version)
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

[302] Posted by George Hood on 02-03-2009 at 01:51 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic]

[303] Posted by Gigs Girl on 02-03-2009 at 11:31 PM • top

Gigs Girl, 40 comments above yours I stated this: “You’re more than welcome to share your opinions about “toxicity” of statements and acceptable behavior and lack of respect at StandFirm via the private message system for this blog.  . . . But not on a thread about Northern Michigan’s Buddhist Anglican nominee for bishop as your opinions about StandFirm and the tone of this thread are off-topic here.

Please don’t take the thread off-topic . . .”

This is a warning.

[304] Posted by Sarah on 02-03-2009 at 11:38 PM • top

“Northern Michigan’s Buddhist Anglican nominee”
With due respect Sarah, I think that would properly be “Buddhist Episcopalian nominee”. The Rev. Forrester has rejected the Creeds, Anglican communion practices and substantial portions of the BCP (even the ‘79) and this sets him outside Anglican tradition.  I believe he would reject the “Anglican” description himself, as Anglican has so many “right wing” catholic and evangelical connotations- and would link him to people like ++Orombi and ++Venables.

[305] Posted by tjmcmahon on 02-04-2009 at 07:02 AM • top

TJ, wonder if he’s equally revisionist in Buddhism?

[306] Posted by oscewicee on 02-04-2009 at 08:50 AM • top

They had more than one candidate - the process was for the discernment team to only choose one - probably by vote and probably by majority only - the results of how they landed on Kevin Forrester have remained secret.  It is known that they all swore to accept the final verdict and probably swore to keep silent - so for all we know he beat out the other candidate by only a couple votes.  The irony here is that there was an election - only the people who voted were not representative in the usual fashion.  Read my other posts - they were self appointed before the full process was made known.  Thank you for writing to the PB - I encourage you all to do the same.  Kevin Forrester is very good at creating these processes that don’t follow the traditional methods.  And, no, he’s not an excellent candidate.  He is an intelligent man who might do better to teach at a university somewhere.  This will be the final end of what was already a dying diocese - unless you can call the few congregations that will remain as universalist churches a “diocese.”  Not only should the PB intervene in the election but the time has come to dissolve this diocese and merge with another (or split it between two).  The financials were already nosediving over all this before the economy tanked.

[307] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 02-04-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

I am appalled at the misunderstandings of Buddhism here, especially when joined to a narrow caricature of the Christian faith.

There have been notable Christian clergy who have also been deeply involved in Buddhism. There is every reason to honor Buddhism as a sister faith which is not in competition with the Christian faith. Perhaps the implied threat comes from the serenity and quiet joy of the Buddhist, so absent in thread after thread at SFIF. Quite seriously, search through almost any thread here and try to find even small traces of joy or serenity—what you will find is unrelenting negativity, something far different from the promise of Jesus about coming to bring life more abundant. Check it out—check it out with a neutral friend by asking “Would you read through this string and then tell me if this is more negative or more joyful?” I wish you well—while expecting only more negativity towards me and all with whom you disagree.

[308] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 02-05-2009 at 12:33 AM • top

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Intercessor

[309] Posted by Intercessor on 02-05-2009 at 12:45 AM • top

Thank you for the personal revelation, Intercessor, though I think you would do well to pay attention. Do check out the negativity of this string, you might learn something—unless that is what you desire as your daily diet.

[310] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 02-05-2009 at 12:50 AM • top

Do check out the negativity of this string, you might learn something—unless that is what you desire as your daily diet.

Thanks for the insight Tom. Five minutes on the HOB/D Listserve learning the new thingys is almost more than I can ingest.
Good night and God Bless you.
Shalom,
Intercessor

[311] Posted by Intercessor on 02-05-2009 at 01:13 AM • top

#323TBWSantaFe,
“There is every reason to honor Buddhism as a sister faith which is not in competition with the Christian faith.”
1. Tom, at least you recognize Buddhism as a “faith” which is not what many of the apologists for the Bishop have said.  They have called it a “Philosophy”.
2. If Buddhism is a faith, it is by its very nature in competition with Christianity. Of course since you (and TEC leadership) see it as just another way to God, why evangelize at all?
3. “Perhaps the implied threat comes from the serenity and quiet joy of the Buddhist…”.  Tom, if you are as old as I am, you too will not forget watching Buddhist monks dousing themselves with gasoline and setting themselves on fire in Viet Nam to protest the war. How is that an expression of serenity and quiet joy?
4.  “Quite seriously, search through almost any thread here and try to find even small traces of joy or serenity” It’s all in the eye of the beholder Tom.  I find many of the comments (coming from the ‘peanut gallery’, as moot would say) clever, witty and insightful.
5.  Keep coming back since your presence seems to re-energize any thread.
Blessings my brother,

[312] Posted by Fr. Dale on 02-05-2009 at 08:07 AM • top

Who are the notable Christian clergy that have been deeply involved in Buddism?

[313] Posted by hellcat on 02-05-2009 at 08:18 AM • top

I think TEC should consider coming down south and getting some snake handling hard shell baptists for bishop.  At least it would be entertaining, and since theology doesn’t matter, we don’t have that bar to get over.  I’m not really sure about the theology of snake handling, but it couldn’t be as far off as Bhuddism.

There are also some snake charmers from India that could be thrown in, you know, for diversity.

[314] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 02-05-2009 at 08:22 AM • top

Tom Woodward, cease taking this thread off-topic.  Your own speculations and values about your definition of “negativity” or the tone of this blog do compliment us tremendously—I would be disturbed if we received the approval of someone like you—but they are ultimately irrelevant to the discussion of the Northern Michigan nominee for bishop who is a Buddhist.

Thanks.

[315] Posted by Sarah on 02-05-2009 at 08:32 AM • top

And from drinking the TEC Kool-aid to drink poison isn’t that great a stretch, so part of the ‘snake-handling’ worship plan is already in place.

[316] Posted by Bo on 02-05-2009 at 08:34 AM • top

A little humor for your morning from an old copy of the Onion that I stumbled across:

LHASA, TIBET - Employing the brash style that brought him to prominence, Sri Dhananjai Bikram won the fifth annual World Yogi Championship Saturday with a world-record point total of 873.6.

“I am the serenest!” Bikram shouted to the estimated crowd of 20,000 yoga fans while vigorously pumping his fists.  “No one is serener than Sri Dhananjai Bikram – I am the greatest monk of all time!”

Bikram averaged 1.89 breaths a minute during the two-hour competition, nearly .3 fewer than his nearest competitor, two-time champion Sri Salil “The Hammer” Gupta.

The heavily favored Gupta was upset after the loss.

“ I should be able to beat that guy with one lung tied,” Gupta said.  “I’m beside myself right now, and I don’t mean trans-bodily.”

Bikram got off to a fast start at the Lhasa meet, which is a six-event affair.  In the first competition, he attained total conciousness in just 2 minutes 34 seconds, and set the tone for the meet by repeatedly shouting, “I’m blissful!  You blissful!?  I’m blissful!” to the other yogis…

Although winning the competition, Bikram’s hubris became his downfall, entangling him once again in the cycle of suffering/reincarnation. 

Currently he plays wide reciever for the Dallas Cowboys.

[317] Posted by Fr. Andrew Gross on 02-05-2009 at 09:06 AM • top

I will say once again ::big sigh:: the issue is that his Buddhism is causing him to alter significantly the theology and liturgy in the diocese.  If he wants to meditate and chant whatever that is his business but in his responsibilities to the members of this diocese he has thrown out the BCP because it contains references to atonement theology with which he strongly disagrees so he takes the eucharist prayers as models and rewrites them to HIS satisfaction.  He doesn’t believe there is a place for sin/redemption, he doesn’t believe Jesus died on the cross to absolve our sins, all this comes from his Buddhist beliefs.  For most of last year he removed the creed from the service for the same reasons.  He does not see a middle way - he sees his way and it is strongly influenced by his buddhism to such an extent that I don’t see how he is still “Christian.” and yet he will likely be the next Bishop.  This is wrong and I encourage you all again to speak with your bishops and speak with your standing committees and see what can be done to have this decision brought to General Convention because it was made very clear in this diocese that that was to be avoided at all costs - the schemers knew they would have a difficult time pulling the wool over the eyes of the entire church with this so called “new process” that Kevin Forrester devised which put him in as lead candidate.

[318] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 02-05-2009 at 11:13 AM • top

Folks, I think the selection process was wrong to start with, no matter what candidate it chose. In the present instance, the gentleman in question has opposing loyalties which lead him to pervert one religion and probably the other as well—things which surely disqualify him in God’s eyes if not 815’s. Mixing religions, as opposed to learning from other religions, is not part of Christian practice at the presbytyr/bishop level. Folk practices, which aren’t kosher either, are tolerated in some locations for the very good reason that they don’t actively contradict the core of our Christian beliefs. This fellow’s activities do. I would put it that in Bowdlerizing the services of the prayer book he is causing a scandal to the Christian community AND the Buddhist communities by his activities, which is in both faiths among the most awful things you can do.

On another note, Buddhism promotes neither peace nor passivity. It promotes a very active engagement with whatever is going on, not sealing oneself off from it. Officially it frowns very much on suicide (as practised by the Vietnamese monks) as well as other acts we also abhor. In the present instance, it’s useful to note that western students of Buddhism, however, often grossly misuse its tools to wall themselves off from pain and suffering by main force. I do believe it is possible to engage genuinely in Buddhist meditation practices, and contemplations of the need for compassion, etc., without compromising one’s Christian faith or practice. I know some otherwise quite orthodox Christians who do use Buddhist meditations techniques as adjuncts to their very lively Christian practice, whose example in faith and practice I am not worthy to criticize in any degree. However, with our venerable traditions which, including Jewish practice, go back at least eight thousand years, if one who is leaning toward Buddhism has a romantic attachment to antiquity and a belief that wisdom inheres in “old” religions, Christianity has a much better claim to have unbroken ancient traditions, practices, and faith than Buddhism.

[319] Posted by ears2hear on 02-05-2009 at 01:05 PM • top

Greg (70) “Anyone with two brain cells” knows I’m wrong? Sorry, Greg, you’re wrong. As several people have noted on this string, there are and have been important and effective clergy in several denominations and religious orders who’s Christian faith and life have been nourished and enriched by their immersion in Buddhism. My guess is that the more rigid forms of Christianity, such as espoused here as the only true Christianity, are not so amenable—so be it. However, the SFIF faith is one among many expressions of the Christian faith with nothing to commend it as superior to others except by its own assertions.

So it may be time to rub those cells together and look beyond the rigidity to a faith more faithful to the totality of God’s revelation (foretold in Scripture, as you know).

[320] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 02-08-2009 at 11:37 AM • top

The two brain cells rubbing together business reminds me of a joke one of the ICU nurses told me.

“The family of the patient is so dumb that they only have one brain cell each, and they need to hold hands to synapse.”

Tom, you could bolster your argument by talking about Thomas Merton who was a student of Buddhism. But unlike Merton, the theological lightweights of the TEClub don’t ascribe to Christian orthodoxy, but rather they espouse Universalist rubbish.

[321] Posted by robroy on 02-08-2009 at 11:54 AM • top

Fr. Woodward,
You may be ok with Rev. Forrester’s Buddhist ordinations.  But are you really ok with a priest who does not use the Nicene Creed in the Mass?  Are you ok with a “ministry developer” (see http://www.upepiscopal.org and look around) who encourages the clergy in his charge not to use it either? Are you ok with someone writing their own Eucharist liturgies?  Are you ok with “we are each and every one an only begotten child of God?  Are you ok with “each of us is an incarnation of God” or “incarnation of the Trinity”?  If you are ok with all those things, then he’s your man.

[322] Posted by tjmcmahon on 02-08-2009 at 02:43 PM • top

Well, to add just a bit of nuance to the above comment - are you ok with someone who espouses those beliefs and has forced those changes on an elderly congregation.  He is not trying to broaden people’s theological horizons while also respecting tradition.  He is all about forcing the change through.  I am fearful that he will gradually force these changes on the whole diocese that he has forced on his congregation.  Folks out there who are more liberal think this is simply a new jerk reaction to a priest thinking more broadmindedly and being open to wisdom from other faith traditions.  It is so much more than this - Kevin Forrester is attempting to change the theology of TEC - he’s not about a middle way, he’s about his way.

[323] Posted by NMIepisopalian on 02-08-2009 at 04:23 PM • top

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