9/24/2008

They Suffer Least: A note on Bishop Duncan's deposition.

"They suffer least who suffer what they chose."  David Ackles said and sang that, although I can’t find the reference.
 
I have not commented yet on the fact of the deposition of The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh. On the matter of the advisability of deposition I have made several comments. But today a friend wrote to know my views on the matter and Ruth Gledhill, writer for the London Times, wrote a column in which she suggested that Bishop Duncan was going to be viewed as a martyr.


She writes, “It has crossed my mind recently that Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is secretly one of the "orthodox". That can surely be the only reason that she has created a martyr who is now being venerated by evangelicals worldwide, and who is poised to become the sanctified leader of an orthodox movement that is demanding, and might well get, its own province.

Have we come so far from our Catholic tradition that we have forgotten the power of martyrdom, on which the Western church is built? Does no-one in TEC understand any more the meaning of sacrifice?

Because a martyr is what Bob Duncan now is. The Episcopal Church should not need a heretically catholic Anglican such as me to tell it that the next step up from martyrdom is sainthood.”
 

On a fairly impersonal note, let me begin by observing that Bishop Duncan is many things, some quite commendable, but he not yet a martyr and I hope and pray he never is.  As to his being a saint, who knows? 

I am writing from the Dominican Republic, where just yesterday I read an article about a local martyr, an Episcopal Priest. The article said, “In 1936, the Rev. Charles Barnes arrived in the Dominican Republic to serve the people of Epiphany Church, Santo Domingo.  In 1937 the armed forces of the dictator Rafael Trujillo were killing hundreds of Haitians along the border.  Fr. Barnes was sending information back to the United States in an attempt to end the killings.  Some of his messages were intercepted by the Dominican government.  On the night of July 26, 1938 agents took Fr. Barnes to the dictator Trujillo where he was beaten to death and his body deposited in the rectory of the church. A church employee was arrested for he crime and later found hung in his cell.   However there was proof that Fr. Barnes was probably killed by Trujillo agents.

 
Fr. Barnes suffered for his faith and apparently was killed for it. What he was doing carried a cost, not one taken up deliberately but one thrust upon him. He did not suffer what he chose. 
 

Bishop Duncan suffered what he chose.  He chose his path and was clearly set on it and provided a variety of support mechanisms in case the cost was deposition. He does not consider himself incapacitated in any way to be a bishop elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, and spoke openly of making the choice to move as he has moved. 
 

He has accepted without further contest that he is no longer licensed as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, but does not recognize that as removing him from abilities to act as bishop elsewhere.  There are many in the Anglican Communion who have decided to continue to recognize him as a bishop. These are the same people who have recognized the deposed bishop of Recife, Brazil.  These are the same people who have licensed clergy previously deposed by bishops elsewhere in the communion.  In every case it is claimed they were hounded from their ministries by bishops of ill will and evil intentions.   Well, these archbishops and bishops will have their reward and it will all come out in the wash.
 

Meanwhile, Bishop Duncan was immediately accepted into the Province of the Southern Cone. The actions of that Primate and the actions of other Primates who immediately recognized his new status as a bishop in the Southern Cone, are further confirmation that the Anglican Communion is not holding together.  The Presiding Bishop is required to notify all Provincial Primates of these actions so that Bishop Duncan would be understood widely in the Communion to no longer have license to speak as Bishop of Pittsburgh or on the behalf of the diocese. The assumption among churches in full communion is that they would not give him license either, at least until there was full agreement with the Province of origin that such license was in order.  Bishop Duncan has joined a church not in communion with this church.
 

He is not martyred: he is alienated. There is a considerable difference.

On a more personal note:
 

I have know Bishop Duncan for many years and have considered him a friend. I tried  never to fail to refer to him as Bishop Duncan or more often by his now past title as Bishop of Pittsburgh or Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership or the Network. I have a great deal of respect for him and his perseverance.  
 

At the same time I have been highly critical of his actions and the path he is taking and consider him destructive of the Anglican Communion as I understand it.  
 
In his constant returning to the phrase, “the faith once delivered,” and his touting the actions he is engaged in as part of a “new reformation” I find his reasoning shallow and his projections of a new Anglicanism either false or simply depressing.
 

Bishop Duncan may be the future of something, but unlike Trinity School for Ministry's Magazine banner proclamation from last year (on the left), he is not the new face of Anglicanism.
 

His deposition would be at some point necessary and the matter was only timing. It has been proposed that the timing was off and that the bishops should have waited until the vote to separate from the Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Pittsburgh was taken.  It is argued by Ruth Gledhill and others that this feeds the martyr identity.  If it does, shame on those in the Communion taken in.  But no matter, whenever it happens it is still food for the martyr identification. Deposition now takes him at his word and takes him seriously.
 

 So I believe Bishop Duncan is a bishop, but one without license, and were he bound by his vows that would settle the matter. He would consider himself restrained. He continues, however, on to the Southern Cone, but strangely still here.
 

I continue to wish him well.  But I believe the bishops were right to depose him.
 

On a most personal note,  I regret more than I can say that we have not been able to be friends.  I have doubts we ever will be again. Trust has left the building long before either he did.  The ecclesial difference between bishop and priest makes friendship hard, for it cannot easily bear the weight of the difference in responsibilities and outlook. But with all that has happened I doubt that our differences, now not only those pertaining to station but those pertaining to loyalties can be bridged.
 

At the same time the last thread of love for someone I no longer trust is still there. I wish things had never come to this. 
 

It was time to call it to a close. That is neither martyrdom nor suicide. It is what happens when the road diverges.

59 comments:

  1. Give me a platform. I would be very pleased to talk with you about "sacrifice" and "martyrdom". I am very near arguing with ++Templeton (or whoever the heck ABC it was who said that it exists but that nobody is there) about hell.

    Blessings...

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  2. "American Gothic", 1972. Title track.

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  3. It is true that Bishop Duncan should not be considered a martyr. Mark is right that such a status is better seen elsewhere.
    Bishop Duncan's actions got him put out of the HOB according to the rules of the day. I still say that the process of determining who is entitled to vote is broken. Under the current interpretation, one still has to ask, "How few bishops will allowed to make up a majority in attendance?" Will this House go on record as saying that as few as 50 bishops can depose? 40? 30? It's the number present that counts rather than the number entitled to vote. No answer.

    The crux of the matter remains that TEC is now going to lose another 12-20,000 members within a month after the diocese votes to be done with this Province. Note "Province", not Church. Anglican bishops are lining up and recognizing Bishop Duncan and the diocese. One can think that those voting and leaving are mind-numbed by hatred. Look again. A lot of energy, intellect, and dedication. Canterbury will recognize that. Bishop Duncan is still Anglican, which is all that matters. The flags have been planted and need no martyrs. The living are much more telling.

    It's a shame that this is coming, but the progressive takeover of TEC 40+ years ago is heading to its natural conclusion. How many more will leave with the shabby dismissal, "They are just a few"?

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  4. Bishop Pierre Whalon has an excellent report of the HoB meeting and his feelings regarding this deposition.

    Of note; "My own understanding of the canons that I followed with a priest of the Convocation who claimed to be received in another province--while continuing to want to minister in Europe for that province and against us--is that one can only be legally transferred to another province of the Communion by moving there."

    "Over the years, I have watched the once-great diocese become a shadow of its former self under Bishop Duncan's leadership. His clear schismatical intent to break up our church, as well as what I perceived as egocentric ambition to become its savior...


    I always feel that I can trust what I get from +Pierre. He seems very level-headed.

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  5. Mark,

    When good guys and bad guys "fight" the good guys lose because good guys play by the rules and bad guys have no rules.

    You may find this trite, I hope not. We all long for the time when we can sit down and talk this whole thing through. The Robert Duncans, Greg Venables, Peter Akinolas hope we continue to look for that time. They have been beyond that for years.

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  6. "At the same time I have been highly critical of his actions and the path he is taking and consider him destructive of the Anglican Communion as I understand it."

    Sir, many in the AC would say this of TEC's actions. Perhaps the fact that most of the AC is very sympathetic to +Duncan indicates that, as you say, the communion is not holding together.

    Rather then bringing further division and being divided by insisting on staying in the AC, TEC can more constructively take a lead and be the hub of a liberal Episcopalian communion - this would be better for TEC, those who sympathise with TEC and the rest of the AC.

    Property etc should be divided willingly and all allowed to join whichever communion they like....I think this would show that the AC had done what Americans sometimes suggest when they say, "Get real!" in the face of problems.

    TEC staying in the AC while rejecting what the ABC calls "the mind of the Communion" on certain issues, TEC being divisive and being divided, is helping nobody at all. Everyone needs to "get real" that, as you say, the communion is not holding together... and do something more constructive

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  7. Bishop Duncan is suffering tragically for his faith: He has subverted The Episcopal Church six years or more, committing numerous presentable offenses; he was then summarily deposed. He now suffers the indignity of being an international hero with his own Web site of fawning testimonials. He has tragically lost his salary as Bishop of Pittsburgh. Of course, he had arranged for a multiple-year “consulting” contract that was activated automatically on his deposition. He must suffer disgrace and alienation from his diocese for two whole weeks, after which he expects the Pittsburgh schismatics whom he has trained and nurtured to return him to his accustomed position. He fully expects to live out his life in a house on diocesan property provided for him.

    Yes, Bob Duncan is a martyr, like other great martyrs of the world: Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Stalin, and J.P Morgan. How tragic!

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  8. Well said, Mark. May Bishop Duncan go with God, wherever he goes. As for the martyr and sainthood suggestion by Ruth Gledhill, that's Ruth off on one of her strange tangents.

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  9. Thank you for putting all the "martyrdom" rhetoric into some much needed perspective.

    Might I suggest someone else who suffered and died for a cause, Fanny Ann Eddy who campaigned for the rights of LGBTs in her native Senegal. She was raped and murdered for her efforts.

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  10. A correction,
    Fanny Ann Eddy's native country was Sierra Leone.

    Apologies to Fanny.

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  11. Mr. Arabin25/9/08 2:53 PM

    To call Duncan a martyr is to grossly insult all of those who have laid down their lives for Christ. He isn't suffering a thing except the delusions of his own grandeur.

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  12. Anonymous (exactly who is "Anonymous"?) writes:

    "Perhaps the fact that most of the AC is very sympathetic to +Duncan indicates that, as you say, the communion is not holding together.

    "Rather then bringing further division and being divided by insisting on staying in the AC, TEC can more constructively take a lead and be the hub of a liberal Episcopalian communion - this would be better for TEC, those who sympathise with TEC and the rest of the AC."

    I'd be interested in what evidence there is that "most of the AC is very sympathetic to +Duncan." I'm sure he is gaining more sympathy than he deserves, simply because many in the AC don't understand the issues or the actual history of what has transpired, and have believed an incredible array of lies and slanders about TEC.

    But perhaps Anonymous is right, and we should split the Communion. One part would be Reformed Catholic Communion, which believes that God loves absolutely everyone. A second part would be the "Orthodox Evangelical" Communion, which is committed to No Gay Cooties. A probable third part would be a rump Anglican Communion headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (he does hold the trademark on "Anglican," after all), whose motto would be "Wha' happened?"

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  13. Bob Duncan will not suffer much. He will have a full pension from the Episcopal Church, generous medical benefits when he reaches 65 and even a resettlement benefit along with a consulting contract with the new Diocese of Pittsburgh. Not a bad deal for a "martyr". I understand he even called it a "Golden Parachute" to his clergy.

    "...let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill: God's truth abideth still, his kingdom is for ever." -- Martin Luther.

    Formerly of Pittsburgh.

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  14. Wsjm,

    I have gained new respect for you since you went to effort to deal with issues that I raised in other threads.

    Here's one more:

    How small can TEC become before urgency to change course take place? Your experience from the 60s/70s of a less-than-just Episcopal Church has meant that the pendulum had to swing to the far left for reform. Now the pendulum has to find it centre.

    The Diocese of Pittsburgh is about to leave. That means that TEC will lose 12-20,000 members by the end of the year. Add other dioceses leaving. Other parishes are leaving. The pendulum needs to find its centre. How do you propose to include what are clearly tens of thousands of disaffected, active members who reject the progressive swing?

    How small should TEC become to make the point that progressive Christianity is superior to the mainstream of Anglicanism? Most primates are in an impaired relationship with our Province. How much more isolated and reduced should this Province become? How many more active, participating members do you believe acceptable to lose? 20,000? 50,000? Where is this Province on record as replacing exiting members now? Why is it that we don't hear any more bragging or touting about/from the new Remain Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin?

    Lots of questions. None to do with Bishop Duncan. They are real questions not being addressed except by pronouncements.

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  15. Christopher (P.)25/9/08 9:11 PM

    Allen-- Whence come this sense of liberal conspiracy and cabal (in our highly decentralized church--or perhaps your diocese works in different way than mine)? Whence come this great need you express for radical change? Whence comes your great fear? God's church will prevail! All manner of thing shall be well! Take heart--the sky isn't falling!

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  16. 12 - 20,000 lost?! Oh, my! Oh, my!!!

    I wonder how many left Luther's churches? Calvin's? Knox's? How many did Orthodoxy and Catholicism "lose" in the Great Schism? How many did the disciples "lose" from the synagogues?

    Ridiculous? So is Allen's gadfly number game.

    It's "Surrender Dorothy!"

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  17. Here's why I left.. once doctrine and dogma are open to democratic vote, you're, well, you're screwed. And that's where TEC is... screwed. Sorry, it's late and I can't come up with a smarter way to put it. I'm sure that this polity will be defended, but I dont' know that it can be defended biblically. Jesus: " so what do you guys think that we should do?" Never happened. Shouldn't happen. Thus defines our problems.

    Joel

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  18. Most primates are in an impaired relationship with our Province.

    I do not believe that is true Allen. I do not recall any of the following Primates declaring that they are in either impaired or broken communion with TEC;
    Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Central America, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, South Africa, North India, South India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Pakistan, or Bangladesh.

    And neither have anyone from the extra-provential churches in Bermuda, the Falklands, Spain, Portugal or Cuba.

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  19. The Diocese of Ptsbg. isn't going to "go" anywhere. Some of the people may go, former Bishop Duncan has gone, but the diocese will remain. Granted, there may be a rather "disoriented" diocesan structure until TEC prevails in the courts, but the diocese will remain none the less.

    If the HOB had done their duty years ago, and deposed Duncan when he first started violating his ordination vows by promoting schism, then the current situation may have ben avoided, or at least, the effects of it reduced. As is is, he was allowed to be the Bishop of Ptsbg. long enough to pull the wool over the eyes of many by spreading misinformation, promoting discontent, and forming relationships with those who have their heart set on seeing the destruction of The Episcopal Church.

    Bob Duncan is many things, but he is certainly not a martyr

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  20. Christopher P:

    Whence cometh iteth?

    Have you ever seen the machinations at General Convention? If ever there was a body of decision-makers pummelled and assaulted by all things revisionist, it is that body.

    Many of the policies made in that setting have pleased the consciences of affluent guilty-feeling folks and those who were too late to tackle the wave during the height of the Civil Rights era. Apparently, in compensatory fashion, GC makes pronouncements to any and all about everything and nothing. Except, what to do to remain Anglican, and how to stop the continuing decline of participation and membership in TEC. That the 20 / 20 vision of a few GCs ago was laid aside is evidence. A recent resolution proclaiming that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the way to salvation was defeated! These are just some of the reasons given by those who are leaving, including the lately exited Bishop Duncan.

    We are 800,000 +/- and shrinking each year and now soon to be short about another 50,000 people by the end of this year (as the dioceses vote to leave at their assemblies). Leaders throughout the Anglican world are lining up against our Province in disgust for our innovations and claims that we have a new corner on the Spirit. There are resolutions appearing in Anglican Land condemning our Province and sympathizing with those who are trying to be mainstream Anglicans in America. The Anglican Covenant is going to happen with or without us, and then what?

    No, the sky isn't falling. The foundation is crumbling. Yes, God's Church IS prevailing, and we should wonder why TEC isn't.

    I want TEC to survive, but not as an isolated micro-Church at odds with nearly the whole Christian landscape.

    We used to have better leadership than this.

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  21. "A recent resolution proclaiming that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the way to salvation was defeated! These are just some of the reasons given by those who are leaving, including the lately exited Bishop Duncan."

    Until the American Medical Association passes a resolution as ridiculous that states they support the use of medication and surgery in the treatment of disease, I don't think we need to waste our time stating what our historic creeds already do.

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  22. A recent resolution proclaiming that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the way to salvation was defeated!

    I believe my bishop voted in favor, which I thought was a good idea. But surely the measure was defeated because it was a bit of unnecessary showboating - PECSUA already proclaims Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This, and the rest of the doctrine we subscribe to can be found in the BCP. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

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  23. Because numbers and majorities are exceedingly important to Allen, I indeed take comfort in Our Lord's words;

    For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
    Matthew 7.14

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  24. I move that Allen get his own blog.

    Do I hear a second?

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  25. "A recent resolution proclaiming that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the way to salvation was defeated!"

    The title of that resolution was cynically posited so that TEC could be accused of defeating it. It was seen for what it was, a cynical ploy by some members of the church. It's a bogus charge.

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  26. The Bible - once again - is a great paradox. It is not the end-all, be-all rulebook of life. It is a record of others' experience and presumptions about God. It is a record of people who are no more inspired than we ourselves are or can be, and people who are no less fallible, culturally-indoctrinated, and just plain wrong than we are or can be.

    The Bible is self-contradictory, fantastical and practical at the same time for one reason: to force you to seek out the Living God and make a relationship with Him - not Paul, not Moses, not Peter - but God.

    Joel, I understand what you're saying, and, of course, it can be biblically defended. It can also be biblically attacked. The same is true of every sect, denomination and belief-system out there. In the end, Bible or not, we have to do what is right, just and good, not worry about prejudices, fears and desires of the larger culture - even when that culture is the Church's culture.

    If you look at it from the perspective of this world, as is, every Christian is screwed. How blessed to be screwed, for you shall obtain mercy!

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  27. Here's why I left.. once doctrine and dogma are open to democratic vote, you're, well, you're screwed.

    You can't leave that to which you never belonged, Joel. And if you don't understand the way we discern Scripture, Tradition and Reason, is through representative democracy (GC), then you never were an Episcopalian.

    God bless TEC! (and particularly the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which ain't goin' nowhere---well, except further along the Via Crucis/Via Vita, like the rest of us Episcopalians, thank God!)

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  28. Did Lionel Deimel really mean to compare Bob Duncan with Stalin?

    bb

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  29. Duncan a martyr? definitely not. The resolution, not so sure.

    As a non-Episcopalian who watches this mess unfold because of friends and family involved and the way other mainline denominations are heading in the same direction, the resolution may have looked stupid to you, but to those watching from the outside, it seemed a valid question.
    From pagan and Muslim priests, Robinson's election, Lawrence's rejection,Bruno's apology for converting Hindus and especially +Jefferts-Schori's Time interview, a lot of people outside TEC think it's just Unitarian-Universalism's older, more respected sibling. All these things have played out in tv,radio, and newspaper articles, but I've never seen a newspaper article written or interview given by a progressive that clearly said, "That's wrong; we DO believe,....." including the local bishop, unfortunately.

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  30. nlnh,

    Supposedly one of the character traits of liberals is toleration and consideration. Apparently you sense that only like-minded voices should surround you. You can't be that fragile.

    When this (or any blog of a member of GC and the Executive Committee) turns into a mirror, then you will have proven that point.

    If liberalism isn't the goal after all then maybe this blog should have the same security features as the Deputy and HOB blog. Only the painstakingly cleared and like-minded allowed.

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  31. "Nlnh said...

    I move that Allen get his own blog."

    No, we need to remember that the illogic of the fundy is out there.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  32. ninh wrote: "I move that Allen get his own blog.

    Do I hear a second?"

    I second that motion.

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  33. Allen, although I feel that ninh's motion was out of line being that s/he is a guest on another's blog, I understand his frustration with the bovine fecal matter you continually pose as comments. You, and a few confederates, constantly submit the same tired criticisms and exaggerations regarding TEC and the Anglican Communion.

    Recently I encountered your methods explained while visiting another blog. In Narrative Techniques of Fear Mongering by Barry Glassner, he describes the techniques fear mongers use;
    1. repetition
    2. the depiction of isolated incidents as trends
    3. misdirection

    You use these "techniques" often. In my opinion they are tiring to constantly read over and over, and they contribute nothing of value to the conversation, neither as answers to the questions posed by Father Mark and others, nor as raising relevant or pertinent corollaries to the conversations at hand.

    No matter how often they are refuted by others here, you repeat them again in another post. Your constant repeat of lies, misinterpretation and misdirection will not make the things you say true. They remain lies, misinformation and misdirection.

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  34. If small numbers alone were enough to prove commitment, prophetic ministry or being a faithful remnant, the snake handlers of Appalachia would be the chosen few.
    David is being defensive and pitiful. He'll be the first to claim 'we were right all along' when/if liberal anglican numbers increase, even if only locally.
    Morally and intellectually dishonest.

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  35. Allen, the problem is that you just post the same crap over and over, no matter what is the actual topic of discussion and no matter what attempts anyone else might make to engage you.

    That's just trolling.

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  36. I think Gledhill's point is well-made. The Episcopal Church hurt itself by this canonically doubtful decision, and no one else. It is not +Duncan who has been isolated; TEC has been isolated, and truthfully, has been isolated for quite some time. Clearly, +Duncan has plenty of friends and sympathizers. TEC is no doubt more greatly unified them in his favor. Also, TEC presumes far too much on its relationships with the rest of the Anglican Communion, who have relationships with +Duncan as well -- and are also friends and sympathizers, especially now.

    I have given up any hope of seeing good leadership from TEC. Apparently they will continue to move forward by bending canons and using litigation. Because they have become so predictable, and because the "network" (or whatever they are now) really does have good, forward-thinking leadership, I expect that they will exceed all expectations, and certainly get their province.

    I'm convinced that if a more serious discussion was pursued in 2003, most of this could have been avoided. With this action, however, this is now no turning back.

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  37. Grezt post, Mark!

    I think this sums up him creating his own destiny, your words: "Bishop Duncan suffered what he chose."

    Yup, yup.

    Fred, you and I think so much alike! This from you is exactly what I have been thinking through this last year, as well: "When good guys and bad guys "fight" the good guys lose because good guys play by the rules and bad guys have no rules."

    As many have surmised here and in other places, we need to do a better job through the discernment process for clergy. Why? Because TEC is what it is... and we are not Donatists, or Baptists, or Methodists. We are Episcopalians who have long honored difference in our church without stomping out the door, candlesticks in hand.

    Yes there is room for a diverse amount of belief, but there is not room for those that undermine the big tent by walking a straight line that allows no others on it (literally and figuratively).

    I could draw political analogies to this, but won't. They should be obvious, though.

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  38. nlnh:

    Among Mark's comments-
    "In his constant returning to the phrase, “the faith once delivered,” and his touting the actions he is engaged in as part of a “new reformation” I find his reasoning shallow and his projections of a new Anglicanism either false or simply depressing".

    I guess that it is depressing to note that many more in the Anglican world than expected are moving on without TEC. That's part of this discussion, aside from the strained martyrdom comments by Ruth Gledhill. I just want some other bloggers to start doing more honest math and then comment on how things could've been, and should've been about reconciliation. Folks: we are LOSING nearly 50,000 people by the end of the year!!! Bob Duncan is gone. The problems that created Bob Duncan, Dar es Salaam, Windsor, and the Anglican Covenant, etc., etc., etc. all point back to the innovators of North America who keep blaming "reactionaries" who get sick of the failed trends. My point is that we lack leadership in TEC to truly reconcile because "via media" no longer means common ground on catholic-reformed theology and practice. Via media has been co-opted to mean blending any combination of ideas and baptizing them as holy.

    You call these realities "crap". Since people are part of these trends and failures I choose to believe that it's about failed stewardship by those left in charge of God's household (and I'm not just talking about guarding candlesticks).

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  39. Allen and RB,

    Bob Duncan has been deposed. David Schofield has been Deposed. The only thing that the Episcopal church did earlier that was wrong was to consecrate these two arrogant, bull-headed, misogynst, ego-maniacal people bishops.
    You are correct, if we had done a few consecrations different 20 or more years ago we would not be in the trouble we are today.

    BTW, we can all count. To the best of my ability, and I have been through at least three post-graduate statistics courses, numbers are neither right nor wrong, they are just numbers.

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  40. (Dan)
    Of course numbers are just numbers and who cares about numbers? Oh wait, I almost forgot. Each of those numbers is a soul and lest I am badly informed, God does care about souls. But heck - after all, they are only numbers.

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  41. Of course numbers are just numbers and who cares about numbers? Oh wait, I almost forgot. Each of those numbers is a soul and lest I am badly informed, God does care about souls. But heck - after all, they are only numbers.

    You would have a stronger argument if we believed that extra Ecclesiam Anglicanam nulla salus. As it happens, we don't.

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  42. Fred Preuss, because you are new here, I suggest that in your rush to get in here and spread turmoil and tension, you might stop a moment and let the silt obscuring your view settle to the bottom. Then through what has now become clear you might better see tongue-in-cheek statements.

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  43. OK, Dah-Veed, I'm relieved now; you DON'T expect me to take mini-churches like Cuba or Myanmar seriously.
    Whew.
    Thanks-I can be a bit thick, it's true.
    WSJM is correct-split up now and save yourselves time, trouble and lawyers fees. Radio, TV, clothing, cars, schools, foods, entertainment/leisure are all 'statements' of preference, class status/aspiration or taste. Why not religion? It only makes sense that the Episcopal church becomes "NPR/Patagonia at prayer".

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  44. Sacrifice? Martyrdom? You mean the deposed bishops will be forced to wear non-natural fibers?
    Shudderr............

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  45. In all the back and forth over denominational numbers, The whole numbers-through-the-door-and-bums-in-the-pews school of success reminds of a long past Soviet leader who once said to the USA, "We will bury you!"
    How did that work out?

    We should also remember that the fastest growing single denomination in the USA these days is "None of the Above."

    The right wing megachurches may have capacious entrances, but they have equally large exits. The always reliably right Southern Baptist Church now has terrible membership retention problems, especially among the young. Rome has had these problems for years. The Episcopal Church may or may not have declining membership, but the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is closing down and consolidating parishes all over town, and has been doing so for many years.

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  46. For the simple minded asses of the world (and this posting) the citing of numbers as an argument for truth is a logical fallacy. The fact that one or one billion believe something does not make it true. The fact that 20,000 or 50,00 follow Bob Duncan does not make Bob Duncan anything other than a person that has 50,000 fools for followers. You can take that s**t and peddle it somewhere else, the Epsicopal Church is beyond foolish, simple-minded bafoons.

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  47. Allen - have you not heard that "listening" is only supposed to be a one way "process" and it is fine in "ilberal" circles to censor out those who are not in favour of the "new thing" etc?

    You're expecting a fair hearing and people to look at the evidence of what is going on in the AC out TEC..... but you ain't going to get that from some supposed "liberals" - but then, the "Left" has always had a very authoritarian streak about it (eg whether you look at Russian communists or German "national socialists" of last century"

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  48. Fr. Mark Harris:

    It has been noted that my comments are often annoying. You note in the heat of such comments that "snit" time is alomost up. However, I do not see you getting your ire up about "schwartz's" "asses" and "fools" comment.

    I may be annoying but I do not lower others by name-calling. Why the free pass on this gutter language and "fools" slap to thousands of Episcopalians who disagree with a position that you (and others) are more sympathetic towards?

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  49. (Dan)
    It is quite amusing to hear TEC apologists explain why numbers don't matter. It is numbers and only numbers that govern your entire polity. As an example, a majority of deputies to GC determine doctrine and discipline. Why should the AC recoginze Gene Robinson's episcopacy? Because a majority of the voters at NH's annual convention wanted him. Numbers count for everything in TEC except when it is inconvenient to have them count at all. No one could make this stuff up.

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  50. OK gang...heads up: the famous "anonymous" comments keep coming, some good some bad, some from one person, some from another. As of now, no anonymous comments will be posted. You don't have to use your own name, you don't have to use a consistent name (although on a thread that is helpful). But you have to use some name.

    And Allen wrote, "It has been noted that my comments are often annoying. You note in the heat of such comments that "snit" time is alomost up. However, I do not see you getting your ire up about "schwartz's" "asses" and "fools" comment.

    I may be annoying but I do not lower others by name-calling. Why the free pass on this gutter language and "fools" slap to thousands of Episcopalians who disagree with a position that you (and others) are more sympathetic towards?"

    Allen...there are all sorts of name calling that goes on in the comments. I don't take many of them off line. There are name callers from the left and the right. There it is.

    I have several times suggested to you that you need to get your own blog. Maybe you have one. Let us know.

    Take heart, you are not the only one who gets near the edge. Mr Anonymous is there, as are several other notables.

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  51. Fred, I DO expect you to take mini-churches seriously, but not because of their numbers, because of the their faithful witness, as in your two examples, often under trying circumstances.

    BTW, most clergy already wear vestments of cotton/wool and synthetic blends. They do not have to be ironed. When traveling, just hang them in the bathroom and the steam from showering makes the wrinkles and creases fall out.

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  52. Mark,
    I apologize to whoever anonymous is for the language that I used. I apologize to you, it is your blog and I appreciate the fact you allowed me to use that language. I will not do that again. Frustration built up on some of the "arguments" being made as they have been made in many places. It is your home and I will faithfully abide by your rules.

    Peace +

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  53. And yet, the Reasserters are asking us to give in to the majority!

    "The rest of the AC . . . " we hear. "Most Christians . . . " we hear. It seems that we are supposed to regard belief as a popularity contest when it suits the allegedly-orthodox.


    Fred,

    You show great humility in your apology to Mark Harris.

    In truth, I regard there as being a great difference between someone whose avowed purpose is to annoy, antagonize and act as a "contrarian" to a community, and someone who uses the term "asses" about someone purposefully antagonizing him.

    Of course, it seems, once again, discrimination is suspended when it involves the "orthodox."

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  54. Why should the AC recoginze Gene Robinson's episcopacy? Because a majority of the voters at NH's annual convention wanted him.

    Dan, this is how we select bishops in the Episcopal Church. Yes, we ask that Bishop Robinson be recognized, just as we recognize those from other provinces that are not selected in other ways.

    Our lines of authority, checks and balances, and combination of lay/ordained leadership is what it is. You knew this when you took your ordination vows. I know that last sentence sounds snippy, but you honestly don't seem to care for the reality of TEC.

    I know TEC has changed in many ways. But it's alive again! Cranky, but alive. This from a cradle Piskie who left and came back home. I see the church of my childhood again...and yes, plenty of children in my church.

    It's true what they say, Dan. The door is always open, and it swings both ways. When your faith community does not bolster your faith, you should leave. And you are always welcome back.

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  55. When your faith community does not bolster your faith, you should leave.

    I'm not sure I agree with that, and I think it's what I've heard preached against as "religious consumerism." Maybe when things are wrong in your faith community it's your duty to stay, anyway.

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  56. Dah-veed wrote:
    Recently I encountered your methods explained while visiting another blog. In Narrative Techniques of Fear Mongering by Barry Glassner, he describes the techniques fear mongers use;
    1. repetition
    2. the depiction of isolated incidents as trends
    3. misdirection


    That's one of my main gripes about the so-called argumentation presented by "conservatives" in our little brouhaha - the mindlessly consistent use of logical fallacies. To wit:

    1. repetition. Argumentum ad nauseam.
    2. the depiction of isolated incidents as trends. Hasty Induction.
    3. misdirection. Various Correlative-based fallacies.

    Allen, you do your side no justice by resorting to such poor reasoning.

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  57. BillyD,

    Generally, I think there is a case for leaving or staying, it depends on the individual. Dan Martins often blogs about his dislike of our lay-drive polity, lack of central authority, and the inherent tension of via media. TEC's structure of governance was established at "birth," after the Revolutionary War. And of course the Elizabethan Settlement signaled the birth of the Anglican way. Dan's bio indicates he wasn't raised in the Episcopal church, and he often speaks of the tug of Rome. A lot of issues, particularly for a parish priest.

    Playing devil's advocate (in a rhetorical sense, of course) - the Reformation clearly established the concept of religious consumerism. The church of your baptism was selected by your family, and may be a bad choice for many. I made a thoughtful decision to become a Methodist as a young woman, and then another to return to TEC in my mid-40s. My life changed, but the entire church wasn't required to change with me.

    And we must remember - there is very little societal pressure to attend church, period. I say, go where God leads you. The revolving door/consumerism mentality can only be stopped by requiring a thoughtful period of education and discernment at each individual church.

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  58. lynn, my previous comment was mostly fueled by guilty knowledge, or maybe just plain guilt. I could be the poster child for religious consumerism. I seem to be in remission now, however.

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  59. "None of the Above" as a religous choice? Makes a lot of sense to me!

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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.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.