Caution, May Contain Poison.

Fr. Jake has proclaimed his site to be "Network Free," having in disgust decided that the Anglican Communion Network has worn out its chant. He writes:
"Go play your "outraged" role somewhere that will appreciate your dramatic flair. Such performances are no longer welcome here. I'm so tired of these people. From now on, I am declaring Jake's place as a "Network-free zone". At least on this tiny corner of the universe, their game ends now." On Wednesday, April 10th, he updated his essay to make it clear that he was speaking of the Network leadership. Fr. Jake's irritation and his willingness to step back from too broad a critique of all in the Network are both helpful and a witness to the problems that accrue when traveling about in Anglican blog land.

Susan Russell and I have proclaimed that our websites are not "Windsor Compliant" having decided that the crowd that constantly harps on the need for the Episcopal Church to be"Windsor Compliant" has no intention of making any effort to be so itself.

And now, after a long time coming, I have to say that I have had it with some of what is happening over on the Stand Firm site. One of its writers ends a testy article titled, "Evidence Of More Litigation Demands By the PB?" with the following,

"This should remove any doubt from any observer's mind that the national church cares one iota for ensuring the promotion of the Gospel. It amazes me that the Presiding Bishop and her followers can scream about social justice and peace but exhibiting those qualities within the church is anathema to them. When viewed objectively one wonders exactly how many copies of Mein Kampf one will find at 815. "

As far as I am concerned, this contains and is poison.

It is hard for me to say this. because the people at Stand Firm are often the first to have access to very useful information (at least useful to people in Anglican blog land). More, there are significant articles on the Stand Firm site that people across the ecclesial political spectrum ought to read. And, I must confess that some of the Stand Firm people I count as folk I'd like to know better, etc.

Still what is to be done in reference to the comment at the close of this piece? It does not stand alone.
Other postings and many comments build on the opinion that the Presiding Bishop and the leadership of the Episcopal Church are evil and totally without Christian faith.

Indirect suggestions that what is being done by "815" is the work of folk who read Mein Kampf for direction, that is that the Episcopal Church leadership is following Hitler and his methods, is bad enough. But Stand Firm has also published an article by "Hills of the North" that ends,

"Let's put it more plainly, and say what few seem willing to say. If this is what what the Presiding Bishop believes is the Gospel, and this is what she believes Easter is about, then the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is not a Christian.

Statements suggesting that the Presiding Bishop is not a Christian or that the staff at 815 are guided by reading Hitler's Mein Kampf are mean spirited and poisonous.

So in addition to being tired of the feigned outrage of the Network bishops, unmoved by the demands for Windsor compliance, it seems to me Stand Firm must be read with a warning label, "Caution, may contain poison." Future references to Stand Firm articles (and I admit I will have to make such references) will be accompanied, when I feel it necessary to warn readers, by this label.

Stand Firm has a feisty group of folk that comment regularly and some of these comments border on threats to the safety of the Presiding Bishop and other leaders of the Episcopal Church. Here is an example:

"Satan has come in human form many times throughout history—most recently in the likes of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Idi Amin. Their kind of evil was easy to recognize as having come from the evil one.

Having looked at the increasingly venomous actions of KJS, I have come to believe that Satan has now come in the most frightening form of all—one who pretends to be Christian and who wears the garb of a shepherd while acting as the devouring wolf. I have not wanted to believe that this could be true, but the evidence is clear and continues to mount. Heresy and bald-faced lies abound. Her ego and thirst for power seem to know no bounds. The Father of Lies has found a willing dupe who should have a millstone hung about her neck as she is cast into the sea.

We have joked about Schoria law, the Presiding Litigator, the GCC and other terms of derision. But it is far more serious than even those thoughts suggest. This is a person who is leading a once Christian church astray and taking many people down the smoothly paved road to perdition. And unfortunately, the blame needs to be shared by the bishops of TEC who are either encouraging this evil or allowing it to go on and on. This has become a decade of shame for TEC."

and this:

"Schori is the fruit of a tree whose roots have drawn the poison of faithlessness for decades. The tree is corrupt and must be destroyed root and branch."

We may from time to time have to reference Stand Firm and read its postings, but let the reader beware.

And yes, I know, to condemn others is to condemn myself. I am sure there are those who believe reading PRELUDIUM is bad for one's spiritual health.

There it is.

I believe that the people at Stand Firm and I at least can pray, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls." That being given, perhaps too we can pray for forgiveness from one another as well.


  1. I think that the people who have writen the comments on Stand Firm that you quoted have more than lost perspective; these remarks reveal a moral and spiritual sickness that is frightening in its implications. They ought to examine their own statements to see if the Father of Lies is at work there.

  2. Mark, don't forget the time they defended the commenter who wondered whether killing the PB would be worth the cost of the bullet required to do the job.

  3. Well done. The SFiF folk are now claiming that there is no violence being done to LGBT folk and are ridiculing the ABC's statement to end the violence documented by Changing Attitudes. Imagine!

    The American Sign language symbol for "Enough" is to close the left hand into a fist and wipe the palm of the left hand over it.

    Enough, already.

    OTOH, when the rhetoric stoops to this new low (and I am constantly amazed at the depths they reach) , it is a pretty clear indication of just how scared they all are.

  4. Rev. Harris, I agree with you that these comments are way over the line. I’ve been very tough on the Presiding Bishop and ECUSA’s direction. Save for the last line you quoted from “Hills of the North,” I think most of the post is a legitimate criticism. At the same time, I think we’ve exceeded the limits when we start comparing people to the anti-Christ, etc.

    On the other hand, one of the things that stands out in this conflict is the tendency of the other side of the aisle to condemn conservatives for behavior found liberally within itself, as well. You’re too humble in including Preludium in that category, but in the very post to which you linked at Fr. Jake’s, there’s plenty of poison to go around:

    “I once said that we see God in everything, they see God in nothing, but I was wrong. We see God in everything, they see themselves in everything.”

    “These men are psychopaths.”

    “They are easily seen here today at Jakes...they ARE religious psychopaths who intend to harm their fellow Christians/others as they try to appear holy, concerned for OUR well being and just...they are emotionally/spiritually sick people and I'm PLEASED you've stopped defending yourself Jake! It's best to try not to make ‘sense’ out of insanity...they are insane, on the street and casting about trying to find others to join in their networking and ‘common’ lynch mob...indeed, premeditated criminals all who demean the name of Christ.”

    “The Evalgelical [sic] Anglicans are full of hate and have shown themselves to be anything but 'pure' in their motives and actions. I guess if they are willing to worship a book rather then God then nothing they do should surprise us in the level of evil and hate that they are willing to preach.”

    “Geez, to see people defending xCox on the basis of his age/infirmity, I can see why Sen. Strom ‘Black daughter? What black daughter?’ Thurmond got re-elected, and re-elected, and re-elected...”

    Shouldn’t the reader also beware in this case?

  5. It's called "Godwin's Law" or "Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies," and goes back to 1990: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” The effect of this is that the first person in such a discussion to call the other a Nazi loses the argument. Enough said?


  6. Thank you for saying this. Like you, I would like to know some of the folks at SF better, but there is poison there for sure. It's gone beyond honest (whether misguided or not) theological disagreement.

    As Elizabeth+ said, ENOUGH.

  7. Some time ago, I added a page to my Web site of original aphorisms. One of them is appropriate here: “No analogy involving Hitler or the Nazi Party, however apt, is likely to advance one’s cause.”

  8. The truly sad thing is that one often begins to forget that these venom-spewing extremists do NOT represent the breadth of conservative opinion.

    There are any number of conservatives who are prepared to engage - really engage - in open and honest discussion of the issues. On the present issue, they argue that we are wrong - but they do not argue that we do not believe in God, that we reject Jesus or that we do not acknowledge the reality of sin. They do not do these things because they are honest people.

    We owe it to those conservatives to remember that they are conservatives, not "conservatives." We owe it to them to return the same consideration - to treat them as people we believe are wrong on the issue, without claiming that they necessarily must hate homosexual persons or advocate violence against them.

    We have seen the false dichotomies played out in the comments section of your blog this week, with accusations that liberals do not believe in sin, and when that is challenged, to have the dearth of supporting evidence written off as proof of our deviousness. Such dishonesty needs to be named.

    One of the unfortunate things is that there are those - yes, on both sides - who will do anything in their power to derail or disrupt an honest exchange between liberals and conservatives.

    On a conservative Canadian blog during Holy Week, one "conservative" attempted to do just that by claiming the sole liberal participating was troll. The discussion had been respectful and honest to that point - clearly a terrifying prospect to this "conservative."

    In the best Anglican tradition, the blog owner and at least one other conservative commentator came to the liberal's defence. Of course, the great irony was that the only "troll" was the person tossing about accusations of "trolling."

    In the last couple of months, I have made posts on my own blog that praise particular articles by conservative authors on conservative websites. I know that you have done likewise. All honest Anglican bloggers - liberal or conservative - should keep doing that.

    Listening to each other is essential if there is any hope of Anglican reconciliation - and still essential if separation is inevitable.

  9. Generally if one believes without reservation that God is on his or her side, then the only view of the "other" side is that they are somehow evil. That appears to be where we find ourselves in Anglican land. Both sides might better recall Lincoln's wish that rather than asserting that God is on his side, he would pray that he would be on God's side.

  10. Counterlight10/4/08 1:26 PM

    As Montesqueiu said:

    "There has never been a kingdom so given to so many civil wars as that of Christ."

    I doubt that it was much different in the sainted days of the Nicene Council (the Council would not have been necessary if the early Church was in agreement and free of conflict).

    People are behaving so badly because there is so much at stake for both sides.
    I should point out that I am definitely a partisan in these conflicts with "skin in the game" as they say. In no way do I claim any status of "moderate" or "above the fray." I'm in the trenches dodging the shrapnel with everyone else.

    I don't condone the verbal violence I've seen in this conflict - especially when one side or the other calls the antagonist "unchristian" or "antichrist" or whatever, and when one side refuses fellowship with the other, especially at the Altar.
    However, as has been pointed out, niceness can be the enemy of fairness. Certainly my feelings get pricked often in all this, and I'm not afraid or sorry about using terms like "bigot" and "reactionary" and making comparisons to fundamentalist Islam or rightwing parties like the Falange, especially when they seem to fit. When I get called all kinds of things from "apostate" to "narcissist" to "pervert" and I decide to pick all that stuff up and throw it right back, I'm astonished at all the weeping and wailing. What do you expect, dinner invitations? If you hit me, or my friends, I'll strike back. Why should the "turn the other cheek" rule apply only to me? Perhaps the best policy would not be to throw things in the first place.

    I'm sorry that my brethren over there on the right side of the altar can no longer bear my company, or the company of those with me. But, you are leaving. I'm not throwing you out or driving you out. The porch light will always be on, and no questions will be asked if you return.
    I will always note the contrast between ++Akinola's horror and revulsion at lgbts and liberals, his stated desire to see them both jailed, and +Robinson's desire to see ++Akinola and his followers remain in the Communion.

  11. Malcolm+,

    Such dishonesty does need to be named. Since I’m the commenter you’re referring to, I challenge you to support this:

    We have seen the false dichotomies played out in the comments section of your blog this week, with accusations that liberals do not believe in sin, and when that is challenged, to have the dearth of supporting evidence written off as proof of our deviousness.

    with actual comments. That means both the first part (not believing in sin; and I recommend you read carefully) and the second (writing off the dearth of supporting evidence as proof of deviousness). Feel free to do so on that thread so as not to take this one further off-topic than I’ve already taken it.

  12. I don't read standfirm anymore. I was banned from posting there last year, an action that I thought (and still think) was unjust. I do agree that articles there are sometimes informative and sometimes god-awful, I would never question the sincerity of most of the people who participate there. It's a mystery: People who are bright, intelligent, informed, utterly wrong, and drowning in their own invective. I consider them a warning and an object-lesson.
    Kendall Sims

  13. (Dan)
    I don't disagree that comments in blogland are sometimes over the edge. So I will ask you Mark if you don't think that Fr. Jake conducting a poll on whether his readers believe Peter Akinolas is complicit in a massacre of Nigerian Muslins is not likewise over the edge. Should you not advise your readers about the dangers of reading his blog? We could all do with a ratcheting down of the name calling.

  14. The statement "This is a no-whining no-freakout zone", placed immediately above the space for new posts on every Stand Firm thread, used to leave me near-speechless until I concluded it is has to be a joke.

    Has anyone else read Greg Griffith's recent post concerning Changing Attitudes' "smear campaign" against the Nigerian Church, orchestrated, it seems, by "Colin Coward and his sock-puppet Davis Mac-Iyalla"? The piece, entitled "Calling out Coward" states of Rowan Williams' new condemnation of anti-gay violence, that "the Archbishop has been suckered into releasing a statement on an "attack" that never happened".

    Two observations on Godwin's Law. a: At least as usually quoted, it is quite badly written. Something referred to this frequently might surely be framed in slightly more literate terms. b. There are occasions on which the Nazi analogy can validly be made. It would be nice if this could be done without irritating twerps popping smirking out of the woodwork squawking "Godwin's Law! Godwin's Law!".

  15. May I capture a copy of that graphic for use, if I need it, on my blog?


  16. Well done, Poet Mark! Now sit back and wait for the outraged "We're Not Being Included!" protests to start.

    Maybe we could try, "Love the Poisoner; Hate the Poison" and see how THAT works!

  17. I appreciate your comments, Mark. Sometimes I have gone over to read some of those blogs, only to be informed as to what they are saying, and about the current issues. I always leave feeling affected by an atmosphere that seems vindictive and hateful, and that's just my opinion. There never seems to be a dialogue. It's to point out what awful thing is being done now by 815, and then others chiming in and agreeing. One time someone took one sentence out of something I said at Father Jake's blog, out of the context, of course, and published it over at Stand Firm. I was horrified because I CHOOSE not to make any statements on that site.

  18. Thank you for a very good laugh, Susan!

  19. I have RSS feeds to a number of blogs including Preludium, Jake's Place, An Inch at a Time, and T19. I used to have SFiF until my computer died; after they implied that all gay men are pedophiles, I couldn't handle the venom anymore.

  20. Mark,
    Does the old saying '--the pen is mighter than the sword' come into this fray? I think so. Sometimes if one reads something in print long and often enough, it can become "truth" if you know what I mean.

    There was an interesting article over at the "Cafe" which encouraged us all not to think of this argument we are in as one between liberals and conservatives, but by some among us drawing lines in the sand. (Sorry, I don't have the link or citation handy--but it is recent enough to still find it.) While there may be some nostalgia and wishful thinking about Anglican breadth and the middle way, that sure doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it.

    I like coming to your site because you do strive for breadth. And I have come to respect your take on things. I do read T19 and SF to see what my brothers and sisters are thinking. What is so painful and discouraging is the venom--the poison.

    I agree with you --the only way forward is to pray for the cross to come between us (all) and judgment. But that sure is not what I'm hearing elsewhere--just derision and condemnation. We really do need to put the swords down. People are getting hurt.

    (And Phil, in case you are reading, I was not thinking of the quote you gave me about swords, thank you--I was thinking instead of the garden of betrayal, and Peter had drawn his sword and cut off an ear of a slave, and Jesus told him to put it away and healed the slave. I kinda feel cut up, like the slave, and I'm searching for healing in all of this--not more bloodshed.)


  21. I often read the articles on Stand Firm, but have stopped reading the commentary.

    The essaies at SFIF are often enlightening and always provocative, but the commentary often deteriorates into name calling and hyperbole.

    I am beginning to understand the neo-conservatives better while I cannot agree with their take on the future of the Communion and TEC's place in it.

    I miss the days when the Anglican Communion and the Church were big tents with room for everyone to gather around the table...

  22. No, Phil. I'll answer it right here since it is a reflection of the topic.

    Phil at 8/4/08 9:38 AM

    'One of the central questions dividing mainstream Christianity from its revisionist versions is, “Are there things we do that are unacceptable to God?” Leaving aside the potential consequences, most of us recognize the answer is “yes.” Revisionists, whatever they may say, teach and behave as though the answer is “no” – God has no standards for us, and He is indifferent to whether we change our lives in response to His call.'

    To a fairminded reader, a very clear accusation that "revisionists" (and it is perfectly clear who you mean) reject the very idea that anything a person does could possibly be unacceptable to God.

    So I challenged you on that at 8/4/08 5:09 PM

    Now, had I been misinterpreting you, you might have said "no, that's not what I meant."

    Instead we got repetition of the canard. No evidence. No example. The the broad and repeated claim that the people who disagree with you don't believe in sin.

    These have become the stock in trade of the "conservative." Why discuss the issue at hand when you can write off anyone who disagrees with a few choice epithets and an accusation of a heresy or two.

    Yes, the Episcopal Church is not to be called by its name, instead calling it the General Convention Church. The Presiding Bishop is to be accused of rampant heresy based on twisted interpretation of what she has said - or often what she has not said. And should she ever say anything you and your allies can't easily twist as heresy, we'll get the treat of hearing (as we saw on a recent Dan Martin thread) that is what she said is orthodox, then she didn't really mean it.

    "Apostate," "unitarian," these are no longer meaningful labels for states or sets of belief. They are now empty epithets to be tossed willy-nilly whenever a "conservative" starts losing.

    The most amusing thing from you on the other thread, Phil, had to be this line at 9/4/08 1:30 PM complaining that "area weapons are being used when a rifle would suffice."

    Indeed, it would be helpful (and probably a relief to honest conservatives) if you and others would actually discuss the issue instead of launching into these unsupported accusations of random heresy and apostacy based, not on facts, but on contempt for anyone who might disagree with your particular take on a particular issue.

    Perhaps before mewling about someone else's broad brush, you should put your own down.

    In the meantime, I've just gone through the other thread. I feel no hesitation at all repeating my charge that you lied, repeatedly.

    Note, please, that this is not a charge against any conservative or against any person who opposes same sex unions, the ordination of homosexuals etc. This is an accusation against one person who lied, falsely claiming that anyone who disagrees with him on the sexuality issue does not believe in sin.

  23. Mark,
    The article I cited incompletely is at the Lead: 2008.04.08 "Protecting the Anglican Soul" by Mark Oakley.

    Here is the gist of the main body:
    Following the first approach, and contrary to much reporting, there are Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals, conservatives, liberals, radicals, and everything in between — all knowing where they stand, but, in generosity of spirit, acknowledging the different but faithful approaches to the Bible, tradition, and reasoning that there are legitimately other than their own.

    These people believe that the Church is a Noah's ark, where every animal has to budge over in the straw to let someone else nestle down. This is a Church where friendships count for more than sound-bites, and which understands that something of God is shadowed every time a believer forgets that Christian faith is an exercise in humility. This has been the Anglican spirit at its best — with a resistance to over-definition of doctrine, in preference to worshipping together in common prayer.

    The second approach, however, challenges this spirit. It argues that there is only one way to interpret scripture or tradition on the issues that are presenting themselves, and that all other views are in error and should not be given any oxygen. Some bishops feel so strongly about this that they cannot even meet in conversation and prayer those fellow bishops with whom they so profoundly disagree. An irony emerges: those who argue so fiercely for family values do not set a good example of how to be a family. Communion needs communication.

  24. I continue to look at SFiF because, as you noted, they occasionally get some news items before others do. But I stopped taking them at all seriously when, sometime ago, one of their main writers and several of their commenters proclaimed that Desmond Tutu was not a Christian. Well before making the same statement about Bp. Jefferts Schori.

    Thanks to Susan Russell for "Love the poisoner. Hate the poison."

  25. Margaret – OK, fair enough.


    Since you didn't take my recommendation, I'll spell it out for you: what I wrote was that the practical effect - de facto versus de jure - of what revisionists say is exactly what you wrote. And here is where your own obvious anger seems to blind you to reality, because:

    1. You didn't "challenge" that conclusion. You limited your response (such as it was) to, "Phil, grow up and stop lying."

    2. Far from writing off the "dearth of supporting evidence" "as proof of [y]our deviousness," I didn't even admit there was a dearth of evidence - I gave it to you.

    3. Specifically, I asked you, if my original theory is wrong, why revisionists constantly resort to arguments that undercut the entire idea of moral standards, and I gave you those arguments as I've experienced them:
    - The conservative position is simply an attempt to impose a "purity code";
    - Neither we nor the Church are permitted to judge people's behavior;
    - The conservative position is only a bid to get our kicks from power and control over others;
    - The church has a blank slate to reinvent its moral teachings as revelation unfolds.

    Your substantive response? "... lying is a sin. Indeed, lying (bearing false witness) made it to the 'top ten' list of sins. And you, sir, are an unrepentant liar. ... Instead, you lie. ... slanderous canard ..."

    It's certainly not a lie; it's an opinion based on my experience conversing with a lot of revisionists whose side of the conversation went beyond, "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

    Given that's the best you can do, I stand by my position.

  26. “I once said that we see God in everything, they see God in nothing, but I was wrong. We see God in everything, they see themselves in everything.”

    Oh, Phil, Phil, Phil! Do have the courtesy to give credit!

    I said that, and stand by it - absolutely. What's more, you've rather demonstrated its truth here, haven't you?

    The fact is, you had to dig for those, or carry them around as having hurt your feelings - what was it said about liberals feelings? "Well bless their little hearts," wasn't it?

    Well bless your little heart, Phil!

    But I mean that, and that's the difference. I'm happy to let you go your way, but you are trying to beat me down. What have I posted on SFiF or the other conservative sites? I am sorry if I've hurt you, more because it is something that the worst part of me enjoys.

    The fact is, Phil, that you guys have shown us how you really feel about us. You claim to have the higher moral ground, and might've responded as such, but you didn't. You claim to have the greater moral maturity, but responded with "They did it, too!"

    And here we are. I can see that God is making a new place for you, that you may be comfortable in your worship and level of understanding. You, on the other hand, see only the same base instincts that infect you - and all of us - in what we are doing, and what we may have yet to do.

    This is sad, but, if you really find us so unbearable, why wander in amongst us? Why do that to yourself? I don't go among you. You can ban us. It's certainly not because you want to keep us in communion with you, as that level of rage you aim at us could not possibly be loving.

    There has been an unhealthy relationship, and you're furious because we, like Mark Harris and Father Jake, are choosing to end that unhealthy relationship. Yet, I still have good hope of you, once you no longer have us to fight with.

  27. Sir,

    This site has high standards....for which, thank you.

    You make strong points....but they apply to "liberal" sites to when nasty, hate-filled comments are made about Akinola, Duncan and even the ABC when he does not do what CA or Integrity want.

    I have tried a couple of times on other sites to challenge the negative attitudes and language and encouraged people even whencriticising Akinola to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"....but have been told to get lost by some and to stick to more "gentle" sites, like yours, by others.

    Both sides sin in the same way....both sides have people who demonise and hate and spin to further particular points of view.
    Both sides need to meditate on the one who said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

  28. Mary Clara11/4/08 6:59 AM

    Mark, since reading this post I have actually become concerned for Bishop Katharine's safety. It has also provoked some thinking about why it is that some people who have presumably left TEC cannot seem to actually leave and let us be, but instead continue to attack and undermine the Church and the PB as vigorously as possible.

    We are having serious disagreements in TEC. When people disagree about important matters and want to pursue very different courses of action they may get angry or insensitive or oversensitive, they may think badly of each other and at times say intemperate things. Sides tend to become polarized against each other, which aggravates misperceptions and leads to greater likelihood of hurt feelings. This is all to be expected in a family quarrel where there is a lot at stake. However, while people may be hurt and upset, they are not in danger of being physically assaulted or killed, nor are they deemed to be tools of the Devil and beyond all redemption. There is still room for reconciliation and the restoration of community, even if not under the same roof. Nor is the temple pulled down, desecrated and burned.

    We are in a whole different universe when people can remark that our Presiding Bishop is not worth the bullet it would take to shoot her, or can write such things as:

    "The Father of Lies has found a willing dupe who should have a millstone hung about her neck as she is cast into the sea."

    "This is a person who is leading a once Christian church astray and taking many people down the smoothly paved road to perdition."

    "Schori is the fruit of a tree whose roots have drawn the poison of faithlessness for decades. The tree is corrupt and must be destroyed root and branch."

    It appears (not only from these comments but from similar remarks posted elsewhere) that there are some for whom the battle for TEC is a holy war involving the cosmic forces of good and evil. In this apocalyptic vision there is no "agreeing to disagree" and no traditional big-tent Anglican embrace of tolerance. Instead there must be all-out war against the Devil. The PB must be denounced as a monster and an exponent of evil, intent on carrying out a deliberate plan of destruction. Her every word and act, and those of the House of Bishops or GC, must be interpreted as evidence of utter moral depravity and irredeemable theological error.

    I have to assume that this perception, and the ferocity with which the attacks are pursued by some commenters on these blogs and even on the HOB/D e-list, reflect a distinctive theology in which we are saved not through baptism, not through grace, but via correct (fundamentalist) opinion. There seems to be a sense of moral obligation to continue trying to destroy TEC even from outside (or while standing in the doorway with one's bags packed, waiting for the taxi to arrive).

    Most of us on both sides of the sex debate (which, frankly, is what most of this is about) remain in communion with each other, ready to hear each other despite fatigue and frustration, and convinced that God is with all of us and will help guide us to a better place. What we can't afford to ignore is that there are some parties to the dispute for whom the aim is not dialogue, negotiation, persuasion, mutual discernment or resolution, but the destruction, on theological grounds, of our Church and our Presiding Bishop.

  29. Counterlight11/4/08 8:32 AM

    I second Mary Clara's comments.

    The Gospel is not a True/False test.

  30. Any chance of persuading you to do your own blog, Mary Clara? Lot of work, of course, but I know of no-one currently posting on sites like this and TA - you can even talk intelligent good sense on OCICBW and be praised for it, for Heaven's sake! - who is more observant and interesting to read than you are.

    Not, be it noted, that I intend to belittle the few who are as interesting as you.

  31. I didn't write Godwin's Law, I simply cut and pasted it from Answers.com. Whether it passes someone's literacy test, therefore, is not this smirking, irritating twerp's concern. Regardless of how the "rule" is crafted, however, its fundamental premise is the same, and equally valid, whether applied to the folks at Stand Firm or the idiots who hold up signs that say "Bush = Hitler." Making the comparison between Nazis and someone whose offense is anything short of systematic genocide and waging world war shows an appalling ignorance of history or, in this case or an exhaustion of ideas. In most case, of course, it is some of both.

    And don't go off say that Bush really is committing genocide and waging world war. The comparison just doesn't pass muster.


  32. (Dan( Repeating my question: " So I will ask you Mark if you don't think that Fr. Jake conducting a poll on whether his readers believe Peter Akinolas is complicit in a massacre of Nigerian Muslins is not likewise over the edge. Should you not advise your readers about the dangers of reading his blog? We could all do with a ratcheting down of the name calling."

  33. Dan. re your question about Fr. Jake's poll on "whether his readers believe Peter Akinolas is complicit in a massacre of Nigerian Muslins is not likewise over the edge."

    Fr. Jake has a large community / gang of readers and he encourages them to interact in a wide variety of ways... he does polls, asks questions, pokes people to react, etc. Questions tend to get asked from one side or the other, so "being over the edge" is sometimes a matter of perspective. If you think he asked the question the wrong way or worse deliberately slanted the question, I am sure you can raise that as a concern.

    Fr. Jake and I have different ways of being in blogland. I trust his site to be provocative and at the same time not supportive of hate mongering. Occasionally he and I and everyone in Anglican Blogland steps over the line. The manner of how we step back is perhaps more telling. Fr. Jake steps back with grace. Sometimes I wish the same could be said of me.

  34. mary clara

    Is TEC not creating this situation in the AC by wanting both to be in the AC but at the same time completely reject Lambeth 1.10's prohibitions even though these represent "the mind of the Communion" in the words of the ABC? Is it not TEC that will not leave the AC alone rather than conservative Episcopalians who will not leave TEC be, as you say?

    I never understand why TEC wants to stay in communion with around 40m out of maybe 50m Anglicans in the AC who will not let go of the prohibitions of Lambeth 1.10 because they think they are scriptural......and they will not be forced to do so by single provinces consecrating bishops regardless of those scriptural prohibitions.

    The reason the ABC does not invite Gene Robinson to Lambeth or directly support what TEC has done is precisely because of the unliateral action of the TEC in 2003....action before much of the AC was persuaded of the scriptural case for TEC's actions......

    I am afraid it is a bit rich to claim or imply that all the trouble is being caused by pesky conservatives in TEC.....or in Nigeria.

    I think all have to be honest. The AC contains 3 large groups: anglocatholic, evangelical and liberal. These groups are pulling apart as their differences are much greater than they were 20 or 50 years ago. The differences cannot be reconciled in reality. So, the choice is turning a blind eye or splitting. I want a split but I would prefer it to be amicable....with all in the AC to join the "conservatives" or the "liberals" with property and pensions and then we can all get on with our lives......

    +Virginia had the right idea....he was working for peace when negotiating an amicable split in property. Shame he was encouraged to drop his plans which were more in line with the teaching of the Nazarene carpenter.

  35. Sharon, since you raise the matter Lambeth resolutions.

    Lambeth 1988 #72 - Episcopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries:


    Lambeth 1998 #v.13 - also entitled Episcopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries (ten years longer to ignore resolutions on this topic)"


    Sauce for the goose?

  36. Phil, I went back and looked again. You claim you provided "evidence." You didn't.

    This is not unlike your tactics on another blog where you spin, spin, spin but never really offer up any substance except outrageous allegations.

    It seems you are not only a liar, but a wilful liar.

  37. (commenter) Mark, do tell: how have I demonstrated the truth of that statement?

    The point is the hypocrisy - you and your friends like to talk about how hateful the big bad conservatives are, yet you ignore the fact that you're no better. Worse, there's a level of drama and delusion about the whole thing that's a little disturbing. I've never said I find you "unbearable," just wrong, but you seem to have to take it there, anyway. As far as rage, read your own comments. As far as my maturity in saying, "They did it, too," read what your colleague 'counterlight' says.

    Again: hypocrisy. Or, to put it another way: let him without sin cast the first stone. I don't know if that's in the ever-shrinking part of the Bible Episcopalians accept, but it's good advice on its own merits.

  38. Malcolm+, no, I gave you an opinion, one which you're apparently no more equipped to refute here than you were elsewhere. Hopefully, you don't teach your congregation to carry around hatred for and grudges against others. Your comments speak for themselves.

  39. Counterlight11/4/08 1:35 PM

    As I recall, there are still lingering questions over the legitimacy of the notorious Lambeth 110. It seems to have passed only with a combination of intimidation and parliamentary trickery.

    As for the Communion, if it's unity can only be preserved at the expense of justice and at the price of some group being thrown under the bus, then it's not worth keeping.

    The Episcopal Church returning to its historical status as an autonomous national church would not be a disaster for us, but would be so for a lot of other people in the world who look to us for leadership and support (and I'm talking about far more than money).

  40. (Dan)
    I believe yourr answer to my question speaks volumes, Mark. I think Fr. Jake's poll is as poisonous as any comments about the PB to which you make reference. Your waffling makes it abundantly clear that if it is your ox (the PB) being gored, it is poison. If it is Peter Akinola. it is a matter of "perspective." Calling someone a murderer with no evidence is not merely provocative. It is incendiary - even more so than questioning the bona fides of someone's faith. I say both of them are wrong and you should not be hesitant to say so yourself.

  41. This whole affair takes me back ten years ago when on a cold Wyoming night, Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked and left for dead on a fence. There were some at that time that tried to lay the guilt for this on Dr. Jim Dobson's doorstep. With the fact that McKinney and Henderson (The killers) had no more Christian sensibilities than a mud fence, the Dobson link overstretched credulity.

    I mention this only to point out that there are light years between ++Peter Abuja's moral settlement and his belief that homosexuality should be a criminal offense, and that of some sub-christian/sub-human brutes who see no issue in assaulting homosexuals.

    My view on human sexuality has no bearing on the fact that I see ANY assault as a hate crime, as it is an attack on the image of God. Followers of the way, above all people should know and practice this truth.

  42. Mary Clara11/4/08 2:11 PM

    Counterlight and Lapin, thank you for your affirmative and gracious remarks, both valued because they come from such intelligent and insightful commenters. Lapin, thank you for the suggestion. Perhaps I will start my own blog one of these days, once I have taken care of some other obligations.

    Sharon, in answer to your initial question: No.

    I will not engage with the remainder of your comments because they do not address the topic of Mark's post or my comment. I will simply point out that they fit your usual pattern, which I find unhelpful. If I am not mistaken, you are the same individual who was for quite some time a regular commenter at 'Thinking Anglicans' under the name NP (no, it doesn't take a forensic scientist to draw this conclusion, based on your distinctive writing style, your logic and rhetoric, and the tone and content of your remarks). At that time you indicated that you were associated with a Church of England parish. Perhaps the underlying agenda is that you want a schism in the CofE, with property being divided, and provoking schism in TEC and division in the Anglican Communion is a way of working toward that goal. You grind away at the same themes year by year, using any topic that comes up as a 'hook' to raise your issues. You pose many of your statements in the form of questions as though you meant to engage in listening and discussion but with no intention of actually doing so. The goal is to wear away at TEC's position by constantly repeating the same tired arguments for schism over and over and over again and introducing doubt and dissension wherever possible (all under the guise of being 'reasonable' and doing what is best for all concerned). I'm just not buying it.

  43. The problem is, phil, that you actually think you're without sin. Now there's a telling slip of the pen...

  44. Well, Phil, I suppose if I were to say "all of the 'reasserters' are homophobic hatemongers who advocate violence against homosexuals," then that would be an "opinion."

    I wouldn't say that, however, because it isn't true - and hence it would be a lie.

    Oh, certainly there are homophobic hatemongers on that "side" of the issue. And some of them even incite (advocate is probably too strong a word) violence against homosexuals.

    So, I guess, Phil, that it is my "opinion" that making broad brush accusations against everyone on the other side and accusing them of holding opinions which few (if any) have actually expressed constitutes a lie. An "opinion," I might add, that you have failed to refute.

    You see, Phil, you are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    Now, Sharon, I do note that several Lambeth conferences have deliberately and explicitly eschewed the sort of binding juridical authority you claim for Lambeth 1.10.

    Lambeth resolutions carry only the collective moral (but not juridical) authority of the participants. That said, whatever moral authority 1.10 has, it is no greater moral authority than the resolutions already quoted rejecting cross-border incursions. And the clause of 1.10 which rejects homosexuality as "incompatible with scripture" carries no more moral authority than the clause of the same resolution which commits bishops to engage in a deliberate process of listening to the experience of homosexual persons.

    Finally, Dan, there is a distinction between taking a principled position in opposition to homosexuality on the one hand, and on the other decrying homosexuals as "cancer" or "less than human" - both of these examples taken from the actual comments of a specific GAFCON leader. The use of dehumanizing language, even if it does not specifically advocate violence against the dehumanized group, is not morally neutral.

    Note, please, that the open letter to the GAFCON leadership does not say that any of them have openly advocated violence against homosexuals (although, in my opinion, some have trod the line pretty closely). It does, however, note that the use of dehumanizing language has a broader effect.

  45. Mark:

    The remarks you point out on Stand Firm are poisonous. And many remarks on Father Jake's site are just as poisonous. And sometimes your remarks are poisonous, though you do show considerable restraint, I think. And I'm hardly innocent myself.

    But the truth is, we like poison. Why else do we engage in it so much? If we had Anglican blogs that showed proper restraint, kindness, and respect, we'd probably find them boring, and visit them infrequently. No: rancor, insults, and accusations are what too often we crave.

    And I cannot help but notice that we see it much more readily in those we oppose than in those with whom we agree.

    Yes, we all are the poisoners, and we enjoy drinking the poison.

    Most merciful God, we confess to Thee ...

  46. Dan,

    In 2004, a group of men attacked the city of Yelwa, Nigeria, and killed over 600 Muslims. Some of those men were identified as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria. At the time, Peter Akinola was President of CAN.

    When asked if CAN sent those men to Yelwa, Akinola grinned and said "No comment."

    I response, I asked the Archbishop to publicly state what, if any, was his involvement in that massacre. I received an email and comments on my site from his communications director, Tunde Popoola. He attempted to steer the conversation away from Yelwa, and instead made a statement about another incident that occurred in 2006.

    My repeated requests for answers to questions about Yelwa have been met with silence. That silence troubles me.

    Consequently, the International Criminal Court has been notified, with the hope that they will investigate this matter.

    As an Anglican, I cannot remain silent when one of our own is implicated in such violence.

    I will continue to ask those questions of Abp. Akinola, although his reluctance to simply deny his involvement in the massacre in Yelwa seems to me to give us the only answer we may ever receive.

    If it does not bother you that one of our Archbishops may have been involved in the killing of 600 people, so be it. But asking questions about the matter, and continuing to keep it in the public eye, is only poisonous if one has a low regard for human life, or considers those Muslim victims to somehow be less than human.

  47. Mary Clara, Counterlight. Dang, I love you guys! Thank you. Keep the faith and keep writing/painting. You keep the likes of me going.
    Many blessings, margaret
    PS...Mark, aren't Lambeth resolutions merely voluntary? --as are our own resolutions of GC? I would hope so--and such is the liberty of true autonomy. Perhaps a review of what hierarchical and autonomy mean is in order. As to other stuff mentioned above--people may always leave but parishes and dioceses cannot. And clergy cannot just transfer themselves someplace else--they must ask permission. Is the same true with bishops?

  48. Canon Harris:

    If I were to invent a heaven, a major test for entrance would be the way we treat those who we believe are going to whatever real or self- defined hell we believe in.

    We are called to grace, forgiveness, understanding and respect for others. No matter how strongly we believe we disagree with them.

    Blessed are the peacemakers. Just tell me where I can find them in the current climate.

    As for SF. Blessings upon them. My lenten discipline led me to limit my exposure. I believe my spiritual health has improved because of it.

    Maybe Anglican blogland should take a lesson from those of us in the legal profession. We often disagree mightily 'on the clock' and still have the ability to have fellowship together 'off the clock'. Sort of 'via media/the lawyer's edition'.

    May we all believe our adversaries to be worthy until we come to a place where we don't have to see them as adversaries.

    -miserable sinner

  49. SF exists for one purpose only: to be a useful weapon in destroying the Episcopal Church.

    That is the entire goal. So of course it's a toxic site. Mark is as usual too cautious about his label.

    If SF should ever be successful in its goal (which I increasingly doubt), it will turn its guns on Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans. They all belong to the National Council of Churches (aka the antichrist)!

  50. Akinola's response to questions about Yelwa is unsettling. On my own blog, I have chosen to attribute it to the fact that his communications director is incompetent and continually gives him bad advice. (And Archdeacon Tunde truly is inept at his supposed job.)

    I really hope that's all there is to it.

  51. Phil,

    How do you prove my point?

    Here you come, having culled all the bile you can find (which, when compared with direct statements from your side, while it show us no better, shows us less, shall we say, primal in our expression), yet you don't acknowledge that your side has done wrong. You look to deflect. I look, and I see you trying to do your best by the best and limited light God has given you and must be allowed to go and do so, while you look and see that I am doing WRONG and must be STOPPED - I'm sure you'll deny such, but such denials are cheap and easy.

    And, you never bothered to answer, or acknowledge the questions I asked you in good faith on Fr. Jake's site - asked respectfully, as well. All you did, was to throw out accusations and projections on us, then cull what you could of our admitted anger.

    Dishonest, Phil.

    I've yet to be convinced by your arguments, as your appeals to Scripture and Tradition are no more firm than that of the opposing side, and no real rational basis at all to compet with that of the opposing side. I am willing to be, but you seem to see in me your own unwillingness to analyze or question.

    You see only base humanity in our decisions, you see only base humanity in our relationships, you see only base humanity in us, no God, no Spirit, yet I can see the Spirit moving you to do what you can.

    If you wish for people to see God in your message, they must see God in you -- which is why my message so often fails . . . and so does yours, Phil.

    I see no love in the Gospel you speak, and that is why I believe we are unbearable to you. If we weren't you wouldn't be here, Jake's, etc. trying to get us to change or leave.

    Before you ask, I'm not saying that we aren't suggesting the same. Yes, we're no better, but that doesn't excuse you any more than it does us, Phil, and that was my point.

  52. (Dan)
    Jake -- If Peter Akinola had any obligation to respond to your blog questioning, you might have cause to ask yourself why. He does not. You don't even know he is aware you exist. Yet you reason from his silence that he must be complicit. That is pure poison. Perhaps he is aware of your blog and perhaps he reads it and sees so much hate and vitriol that he refuses to engage with you. That is as likely as any other explanation.

  53. Mark,

    I appreciate your answer. Let me just point out that I did acknowledge my side has done wrong. My first comment said, "I agree with you that these comments are way over the line. ... I think we’ve exceeded the limits when we start comparing people to the anti-Christ, etc."

    Maybe that isn't enough, so I'll say it more clearly: my side has done wrong. I've done wrong. This is a heated issue on both sides, and I know I've said lots - too much - that I wish I could take back. Probably, I've said a few things like that to you over the years. Forgive me, Mark. I do see the humanity in you. I told you once when you asked people at Jake's for prayers that I would pray for you; I did, and I do. (Please do the same for me.)

    I strongly disagree with your characterization of how I conversed at Jake's site. I spent a lot of time there, and I did answer questions - and ask them - in good faith. Several times, I apologized for things I said and asked forgiveness for the fact the very nature of the discussion touched on issues so close to people's hearts. How many conservatives do that? And the end result of it all was for nothing. All the time, all the prayers - hey, I even shared the recipes and a few jokes - for nothing. Still, at the end, people telling me to get lost. Anyway, it's all in the archives. Sadly, my comments elsewhere have gotten much more strident since then, because I feel I've learned something about the good faith of your own side.

    As I always was, I'm sorry you've come to the conclusions you have about me. No doubt there's a lot of truth in what you say. Forgive me, a not-humble-enough and faithless sinner. Peace.

  54. Dan,

    You may have missed the bit where I mentioned that Abp. Akinola's staff contacted me by personal email, and also left comments at Jake's place. His defense was to attempt to divert the conversation to a 2006 incident, instead of address the questions regarding the Yelwa massacre in 2004.

    So, yes, at least Abp. Akinola's staff reads Jake. Consequently, I find it quite disturbing that the current response is silence. That suggests to me that the only response would be incriminating.

  55. “Geez, to see people defending xCox on the basis of his age/infirmity, I can see why Sen. Strom ‘Black daughter? What black daughter?’ Thurmond got re-elected, and re-elected, and re-elected...”

    That quote (cited by Phil) is by Yours Truly.

    I was drawing an analogy (advanced age makes one held to be blameless, for both Cox and Thurmond). If it works for you, fine. If not, OK by me, also. I can't see how it's (per Phil) "poison", however.


    This whole affair takes me back ten years ago when on a cold Wyoming night, Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked and left for dead on a fence. There were some at that time that tried to lay the guilt for this on Dr. Jim Dobson's doorstep. With the fact that McKinney and Henderson (The killers) had no more Christian sensibilities than a mud fence, the Dobson link overstretched credulity.

    Irrelevant. Sheppard's killers didn't have to be FotF subscribers, to subscribe to the shared worldview that "gays are an abomination". It is the responsibility of those who hold such opinions, like Dobson, to simultaneously clarify as to why THIS "abomination", shouldn't be literally destroyed (as they were in Hebrew Bible times).

    I mention this only to point out that there are light years between ++Peter Abuja's moral settlement and his belief that homosexuality should be a criminal offense, and that of some sub-christian/sub-human brutes who see no issue in assaulting homosexuals.

    Maybe you could spend some time in an Nigerian jail FIRST, Andy, before you declare that there is such span of difference in treatment?

  56. I like it, Mark.

    I read sometimes on SF, however, I rigorously avoid the comments (and commentary.

    Akinola has two present problems, both quite serious: 1) Neither he has cleared himself of any involvement in the Yelwa Massacre, nor has any human rights group, nor has an investigation been done by the church. 2) Despite claims to the contrary, he openly and clearly supported legislation to jail GLBT persons. His inflammatory rhetoric against GLBT persons has no doubt emboldened and justified violence against GLBT folks on and off his "turf".

    I also wrote letters to the International Criminal Court, Rowan Williams and our PB Schori laying out a case for (in order): An investigation into the Yelwa massacre, the need for pastoral reigning in of Akinola for the sake of human rights and morality, and to Schori to let her know of my grave concern where out TEC churches are in process of aligning with someone that has so little caring for those among us and, who has, imho, stepped over the BRIGHT line of personal opinion and pastoral regard, as a Bishop in the Communion, in advocating hatred and violence against other human beings.

    So I ask it again: When it is EVER acceptable for one in our communion to advocate jailing of those among our human family, and exactly WHEN it is EVER okay to use the kind of language, as a Bishop, that he has used against a group of our brothers and sisters, human and in our Communion?

    If Akinola was truly interested in stopping the Yelwa kind of violence, and bringing those that perpetrated the horrible violence to answer legally and morally for taking lives, he would most certainly and openly advocate AGAINST it in favor of multilateral discussion.

    He has done none of these things.

  57. Although I have been blogging for a couple of years now, I have mostly been in the Edusphere. I have just recently started dipping my toes in the religious stream.

    All through my blogging career, however, I have been appalled by the fact that some people use the anonymity of the internet to engage in just vicious ripping into the personal character of people whom they have never even met.

    People who compare ANYONE in this debate to Nazis apparently have forgotten who the Nazis were, (says the history teacher). Now, I tend to be a progressive-leaning moderate. There are things about both sides in this debate that absolutely frighten me, and I pray we could disagree and try to work out our differences sincerely while not forgetting that we are called to better things. When it comes down to it, however, I am always repulsed by those who want to draw a tiny magic circle for the "saved" and consign any one else to damnation.

    The level of discourse needs to be serious, not hyperbolic. Threatening to kill people? Those who do not agree called Nazis? Come on! Who do we think we are-- or claim to be? This is not OUR Church-- it is GOD's Church. It is CHRIST'S body.

    Just call me naive. I've been called worse-- although "Nazi" has not been one of them, I'll admit.

  58. mary clara - my initial post was absolutely "on topic"....then I responded to your points and you say I am off topic and change the subject totally to speculatively attempt to link my posts with others......rather than addressing the issues. Very telling.

    So, you want me to stay on topic....even when you do not. Ok.
    Fact is, both sides have rhetoric which is negative (see some commentators on Jake and compare to some on Virtueonline)

    Funny thing is that some people only want to apply higher standards to "traditional" voices.....
    but I still contend, all should be focused on the one who said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." WE would all be better off that way.

  59. Sharon said: "Funny thing is that some people only want to apply higher standards to "traditional" voices....."

    I'll happily admit that there are people on "my side" who suffer from such inconsistency.

    If Sharon believes that the same does not apply to "her side," then she's not paying attention. "Her side" would be a bit presumptuous to be casting stones.

  60. Yet I do wonder if Mark Harris+ will hold some of the blogs on "his side" to the same standard.

    I've often read someone has "interesting things to say" on posts that may just generate the same passion of discord in me as the linked posted seems to have him and other commenters on this blog.

    I'd rest assure that anything that is truly offensive against God will be held to account. The terrifying thing is that includes me as well as those with whom I disagree!

  61. Malcolm - have you even read my post directly above yours?

    Your post asks if I will do...exactly what I have already done...i.e. treat both sides the same, saying,
    "Fact is, both sides have rhetoric which is negative (see some commentators on Jake and compare to some on Virtueonline)"

    But, if your aim was just to throw a stone at me, you would not have read what I said that carefully.

    Just so you get it, Malcolm, I am saying that hate-filled, nasty posts from "conservatives" ain't acceptable in just the same way as some "liberals'" comments on the ABC, Akinola etc are not acceptable - got it now, I hope?

  62. Sharon, I've read the entire thread. I was responding to a particular post in an entire thread, and specifically to the following: "some people only want to apply higher standards to "traditional" voices....."

    There is a two fold issue here.

    1) Both sides have some commentators who routinely cross the line of decency and civility. Virtually every commentator on both sides is prone to slipping over the line from time to time. Neither side is immune from arrogance and rudeness.

    2) Commentators on both sides have discussed the lack of civility. It is inevitable that such commentators will be more sensitive to the rudeness of the other side. Nonetheless, most commentators on both sides will acknowledge and will criticize the excesses of their own side - albeit usually with less passion than they criticize the other side.

    Your comment to which I was responding was not about the rudeness - which you have acknowledged exists on both sides - but rather on the matter of selective outrage. Your post seems to suggest that your side is evenhanded in its outrage while the progressives are only interested in criticizing "traditional" excesses.

    Yes indeed, Sharon, ""some people only want to apply higher standards to "traditional" voices....."

    And others only want to apply higher standards to progressive voices.

  63. Jim of Michigan16/4/08 6:21 PM

    And this is what passes for kind and gentle from the "liberal" side of the church. Posted today with a story on the Pope's visit to America and his expression of regret and embarrassment of pedophile priests on "Telling Secrets:"

    "Yeah, well, he ought to be (embarrassed). That's a good place to start.

    Next up: he ought to be ashamed of his own ignorance with regard to human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. Pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual. To continue to scapegoat gay men is a continued embarrassment from a leader in the Christian church. Oh, and then we can move on to reproductive rights.

    I know. I know. I'm moving too fast for the poor old guy. Deep sigh. I guess embarrassed is one small step forward for the pontiff, one 1/2 of one baby toe forward for LGBT people. It was ever thus in the institutional church.

    Oh, and look! There's the embarrassed Man of God with Our National Embarrassment. Quite a statement, eh?

    This from one of your kind and gentle priests in TEC. If that's a pastoral and Christian way of reacting, then leave me out.

    Jim of Michigan

  64. Malcolm,
    Methinks you wriggle too much.

  65. Sharon - no wriggle there. Just an honest answer to a silly post.

    Jim - one can easily find comments as offensive and even more offensive on conservative blogs.

    But then suggesting that the Roman pontiff should be embarrassed over the sexual abuse scandal is hardly offensive. Indeed, it seems so mainstream an opinion that even the pontiff himself agrees.

  66. OK Malcolm, I'll try to write slower so you can get it.

    Certainly, the Pope should be embarrassed over the pedophile scandals, no one is arguing that. Heck, Bp. Bennison and his brother should also be embarrassed as well as the TEC over the same issue.

    My point, and I'm writing really slowly now, is the tone so I'm going to rewrite the Telling Secrets item and see if you would find it offensive or at least negative towards your PB.

    "I know. I know. I'm moving too fast for the poor old girl. Deep sigh. I guess embarrassed is one small step forward for the PB, one 1/2 of one baby toe forward for orthodox people. It was ever thus in the institutional church.

    See I would never write something that negative about your PB, someone I vehemently disagree with because I would believe it to be demeaning and disrespectful to her position.
    But, hey, what do I know I just a layperson. So maybe priests are allowed to be smart mouthed negative people.

  67. Okay, Jim. I'll type even more slowly.

    I don't dispute that there are bloggers on "my side" of the current division who go over the top.

    Nor do I defend it.

    (Nor, to be honest, am I immune from it.)

    However, your initial post on this seems to imply that this is a problem unique to bloggers on "my side."

    My point - my only point - was that this is not a phenomenon restricted to one side of the divide.

    I'm glad to hear that you would not write something so negative about the Presiding Bishop. That wouldn't make you unique amongst bloggers and online commentators from "your side," but I suggest it would put you in the minority. I have seen and read vile comments on fairly prominent "reasserter" sites which would make the quoted comments about the Pope sound like friendly banter.

    Inevitably, controversialists are going to be more sensitive to the offences of the "other side." That is no excuse for pretending that the "other side" has a monopoly on offensive comments.

    Perhaps you post comparable messages on "reasserter" blogs telling them that it is out of line to call the Presiding Bishop a prostitute, for example. (And yes, I've read that on reasserter blogs - although the person used a cruder word to refer to the oldest profession.)

    If so, good for you. But there was no evidence of such balanced honesty in you post of 16/4/08 6:21 PM.

    (She's not "my" Presiding Bishop, by the way. I'm a Canadian, not an American.)

  68. Yes, Anglicanism is poison. Not just contains. Is. Nothing more need be said.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.