Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Someone Must be "Walking Apart"

As I mentioned previously, I'm getting to really dislike the cliche, "walking apart." It is used so often that it has lost any meaning.

Bp. Duncan gave his address to representatives of the ten dioceses that make up the Network. You can read it here. I didn't find anything unexpected. More admission that the coup is still being attempted, but is just a little off schedule due to Dr. William's hesitancy to recognize the Network as anything more than a parachurch group, in the same category as the Brotherhood of St. Andrew or Cursillo. The same digs on TEC. And, yes, the "walking apart" line was used multiple times. It must be true, suggested the Bishop, after all, even the secular press are saying that TEC is "walking part." Now there's a reliable source, eh? If they used those words, what that proves to be true is that they got your press release, Bishop.

For some reason, Bp. Duncan seems to think that the name "the Episcopal Church" is a new innovation. One wonders why he would make such an obvious misstatement? Do I smell the resurfacing of Bp. Wantland's foiled scheme during the 90s to steal the name through legal shenanigans, and by so doing steal the pensions and who knows what else? After all, this is the same gang that was all hot and bothered back then. Any means to justify the end, I suppose. And what is the end? A purified church, with all "those" people kicked out, of course. I'm sure Jesus is so proud of their efforts.

We are told the seven diocese requesting AlPO (there's only six...Dallas clearly did not want to be counted as part of that group, but the Network has always been inclined to report creative numbers, so this is no surprise) have sent a fourteen page submission, including appendices (are we impressed yet?) to the Archbishop of Canterbury. What did they ask for?

1. Disassociation from “innovating” ECUSA.

Yes, a new attempt at coming up with creative labels. The Network is now "enduring" ECUSA, and the rest of us are "innovating" ECUSA. News flash, Bp. Duncan; none of us are ECUSA, because it doesn't exist! The Episcopal Church has not been limited to the geographical boundaries of the USA for some time. Don't believe me? Just ask Prior Aelred, right folks?

Now, in regards to enduring and innovating, they aren't exactly catchy. Not very biblical either. And they both start with a vowel; poor form for slogans. I know we can do better. Maybe, I don't know...sheep and wolves? Saints and sepulchers? Vipers and Vultures? Ok, that last set makes no sense, as there's no good guys...but it does seem to resonate somehow, doesn't it? Are there any good guys left? Sometimes I wonder.

Getting back to the point; I'm not so sure that the cute adjectives are enough to protect those who are now publically proclaiming that they are "disassociating" themselves from TEC from the charge of abandoning TEC. Actually, it's a pretty weak shield. But we'll let the lawyers figure that out, now that it's part of the public record.

2. Spiritual cover through re-assignment of the tasks normally assigned to the Presiding Bishop

Spiritual cover...a strange choice of words. They want to be "undercover"? Maybe they're borrowing a page from David "Under the Radar" Anderson's covert operatives play book?

It is worth keeping in mind that two of these six (or is it seven?) will not accept Bishop Jefferts Schori as PB because she is a woman. They would have bolted if Mother Theresa was elected. You see, women are inferior vessels...nah, I'm not going to go into it. It's pretty weird stuff. Has to do with women wearing men's clothes...I won't say more.

3. Recognition of Communion standing from Canterbury as required in the ECUSA constitution.

When someone figures out what this means, let me know. Do they want the Network recognized, their Province, or what? And why mention ECUSA (it's TEC, dagnabit!), when everyone knows the morning after Canterbury recognizes the Network as a separate entity they're outa here. Is this just another weak attempt to avoid presentments?

4. Commitment to accountability under the Constitution and Canons as an “enduring” ECUSA, and;

You mean the same way you've shown your "commitment and accountablity" over the last three years? Let's have a little talk with Bp. Lyons of Bolivia, shall we? Or how about we ask Bp. Akinola about the conversations during the dinner parties at Dromantine?

5. The creation of a practical “cease-fire” in the American Church such that the Communion Covenant process might run its course.

The "American" Church. Unbelievable. "Cease-fire". Is this just the kind of militant language one is to expect of Pittsburgh, or are we in a war? In light of the real blood being shed right now around the globe, such language is so inappropriate. The Covenant Process...you mean the one that is predicted to take 6 to 9 years? We're supposed to let these folks captivate the conversation within the Church for almost another decade? I think not.

One group that was not mentioned by Bp. Duncan was those faithful Episcopalians who find themselves within the six (or is it seven?) dioceses who are "disassociating" from TEC. The fate of those congregations seems to be of no concern to Bishop Duncan. This does not mean that they don't exist, however. As a matter of fact, an organization representing many of these faithful folks, Via Media, also issued a press release over the weekend. Here's part of it:

...We are disappointed, but not surprised, that eight dioceses have leaders who have rejected these efforts, this new leadership, and the Episcopal Church. Whether appealing for alternate primatial oversight, requesting direct oversight by the Archbishop of Canterbury, seeking to withdraw their dioceses into a new province, or highlighting how they think this church has abandoned the gospel, their actions show that they continue to walk apart from the Episcopal Church. As they do so, they make themselves a stumbling-block to the faithful, and a millstone around the church’s neck.

We find it regrettable that their message to our church boils down to, “I have no need of you.” However sweetly they phrase their words, these words are declarations of schism. These individuals seek to separate a part of this church from the rest of it, isolating dioceses and parishes from the church in the process.

That these actions have come so quickly—one might say precipitately—following General Convention shows premeditation. We hope and trust that our leaders will do what is necessary to protect the church and enable it to move forward faithfully in Christ’s mission. We must ensure that those who continue with the Episcopal Church have support so that the church’s ministries may not be diminished. Our website, http://viamediausa.org, and those of our alliance members, will contain updates as events unfold. Via Media USA has not initiated actions against any leadership. Our intent is to find and support the faithful Episcopalians who will rebuild the Episcopal Church in dioceses where it has been broken.
As you might expect, I agree with the content of this release, but I do have a couple of suggestions for the Via Media folks in regards to future press releases:

1. Read something by George Lakoff. I'd recommend Don't Think of an Elephant. Stop allowing the Network to frame the debate. What am I referring to? You used THE phrase; "walk apart." That brings to mind their claims, not yours, as they own the phrase through years of use. The same might be said for the use of the term schism or schismatic. I liked the "stumbling block" and "millstone" usage, however. Stick with those, and lose the Network lingo.

2. Drop USA from your name. As I've already mentioned, TEC is not limited to citizens of the USA. We are not a national church. By including that identification, you exclude members of TEC. Might I suggest The Via Media of the Episcopal Church?

Having said that, we need to do everything possible to support these faithful Episcopalians while the attempted coup continues to unfold.

I would greatly appreciate it if we no longer use the phrase "walking apart" here at jake's place. If you must say something like it, be creative. Tiptoeing through the tulips, skating away, dancing alone, something else. But please, spare me from having to read those words here!


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