Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bishop Duncan

Review Committee says Bishop Duncan has abandoned communion

The full story and some other links are included on the page linked above.

This is a tough one. I agree with much of the text of the Review Committee document, and believe their findings represent +Duncan’s departure from the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Church. However, I am not sure about the move to inhibit him now.

In +Schofield’s case, +Schofield made good on his saber-rattling. He took San Joaquin out of TEC. Ecclesiastical Discipline begin.

+Duncan is making the same noise, but the die has not been cast. It may only be a matter of time. It is probably only a matter of time, but the attempt to inhibit him seems a bit premature to me.

I have the utmost confidence in the Presiding Bishop. The PB might very well be considering an angle, this simple parish priest is not. Say what you want about the PB, but clarity and action appear to be no problem.


Anonymous said...

"I have the utmost confidence in the Presiding Bishop."

Interesting. What is the basis for this confidence? Your parishioners would like to know, especially in light of the fact that she agreed to a communique from the Primates and then changed her position when she came home (and a communique that asked for lawsuits to stop and for a more serious attempt at APO). And then there is the fact that she put pressure on Bishop Lee of VA to change from negotiating settlements with departing parishes to stepping up litigation and that she, under oath, said that she would have no problem selling Northen VA churches to anyone but those who bought and built them. And then there is the fact that she is using a canon meant for people who leave ECUSA for other denominations and do not contest their departure to (a) deprive DUncan of a hearing and (b) not deal with the issue of succession much less work out a negotiated settlement. And there is the fact that she recently said she was reprimanding "bad behaviour" by Duncan because, she said, it would be wrong to be quiet as the church was quiet in the past over "cases of abuse." Those are the first few things that come to mind when I think of her negatives, after which I think of the nice touch of paganism included in her consecration service, the smudging ceremony, and her Time Magazine article about Jesus being a 'vehicle' to God and there being other incarnations of God's self (NB, not other ways of knowing about God, but incarnations of God's self!).

So, please take the time to point out for us, why, beyond apparently agreeing with her on the contested issues, your confidence in her is at the top of the trust meter?

Chris+ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris+ said...

Dear Anonymous friend,

My confidence in the Presiding Bishop stems from her confident and non-anxious leadership in the midst of a very difficult climate. I believe the Presiding Bishop to be an articulate and careful leader at this time. In the post you comment upon, I called into question seeking the Inhibition of Bishop Duncan. I don't feel that the time was right for it, but this is a difference of opinion.

As for the property issues, I am no lawyer, but it is clear that there are complex matters of law involved. It seems that the Presiding Bishop is attempting to consult the proper experts, and is not acting in isolation. The Presiding Bishop appears to be dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Speaking only for myself, I don't know that we could ask anything more of a leader, working in the midst of our present situation.

It would be easy to go off the deep end, during these times. I appreciate the way the Presiding Bishop appears to be working methodically.

None of this means I embrace every aspect of the Presiding Bishop, or any other person for that matter, wholesale. Romans 3:23 comes to mind.

As for theological positions, I believe I read the same article you mentioned. I may have only seen part of it. The Presiding Bishop's statements were, not as precise as they might have been. I don't think I would have made an argument in the same way, but your interpretation is certainly possible, but it doesn't seem to be the only interpretation possible.

It is difficult to wade through all the he/said, she said out there. It would be easy to adopt various postures. On could become controlling, vindictive and autocratic. One could claim a position of martyrdom and persecution. One could become paralyzed. I don't see any of that coming from the Presiding Bishop. I think she is functioning from an authentic self. I think she is the real deal.

Don't know if this helps.


P.S.-I don't care for smudge pots either. I like my smoke coming from a swinging thurible.
P.P.S.-Romans 3:24 is not bad either.

Anonymous said...

"I think she is functioning from an authentic self." I will agree that "She is who she is." But that only restates the problem for me. She is earnest in her primary convictions. But I think her grasp of the gospel and certainly her articulation of it are very weak.

And I think, most crucially, you have not successfully answered or dealt with the the prevarication of her agreeing to the Primates statement and then saying she did not agree with it but only agreed to bring it back for consideration (as if she were a FedEx courier).

What is most sad of all is how her brightness, of one stripe, appears to the masses as theological brightness when, as near as I can tell, she is not theologically well versed, and by this I do not mean that I seek a wooden conservative who only parrots party-lines. What I mean is that she offers, in all I have heard her say, a minimalist if not reductive or dismissive view of Jesus--or even heterodox.

So I cannot concur with your verdict. She fails theologically with me, and administratively, too. And I think her own touted positions about reconciliation and inclusion are undercut by her failure to work out negotiated settlements with those who wish to realign within the same communion of which we are to be a part,

Anonymous said...

John 2007 writes

I wonder what Romans 3:23, or verse 24, has to do with this. Why is it used to defend approval of a PB, her policy, her statements, and your confidence in her?

+Duncan is called 'schismatic' (and boy, score one for Screwtape on that victory) for wanting to realign while the PB has shown not one ounce of energy toward making a parting amicable or charitable, and has not used her alleged intellect to find any creative solution.

I would say have a look at Paul's rhetorical question in Romans that asks "Should we sin so that grace abounds?" The answer, of course, is that we shouldn't. KJS is a very non-anxious version (you're right about that) of Barbara Harris who said conservative should leave the church and, if they did, she would say 'good riddance.'

Chris+ said...

Dear Anonymous friend,

I have read, as I assume you have, the reports concerning the primates meeting and the statement. I wasn't there and don't know exactly how it worked. I do know in the midst of all of the machinations of our present situation, it is hard to really know what is "for real" and what is hyperbole. Another valid consideration is to what extent can the PB make binding agreements on behalf of the Episcopal Church? I also believe negotiations are more difficult and nuanced than I imagine. My understanding is that APO had profound implications for property disputes.

I remain confident in the PB, and understand your reasons for not sharing that confidence, as you have articulated them. I wonder how much our differences are a reflection of our satisfaction with the Episcopal Church in general? I don't think the PB is perfect any more than I think the Church is perfect. But I believe, our expression of the Christian faith to be right for me and many I pastor.

I am not beating any drum beyond that of hope for the fullest expression of Christianity, as I understand it. For me, Anglicanism works. I know it doesn't work for everyone. I rely of the Bible, the Nicene Creed, and the structure of our Church, as we have received them.

I also believe those wishing to depart believe that they are preserving the faith. My opinion is that it is more destructive that helpful. I wish no one ill.

I remain faithfully yours,

Chris+ said...

John 2007,

My citation of Romans was not intended to be a defense of the PB or my confidence in the PB. It was intended in the paragraph, where it is located, to be a recognition of the pervasiveness of sin, and that none of us are immune. Romans 3:24 states simply our reliance on the grace that comes from Christ Jesus.

I think the PB is in the double bind of working to keep the Episcopal Church together and preserve the health and property of the same. It does not look like a win/win is possible. I have not come across the quote you cite from Bishop Harris. Although, I know some that feel that way. I don't share that sentiment in any way, and I have heard nothing from the PB that indicates she does.