Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Bishop Iker gets another letter

Updated Wednesday evening

The Bishop of Fort Worth has received another letter from the Presiding Bishop.

You can read the letter here (PDF). The full text is here below the fold.

Earlier correspondence is here.

The Living Church reports this as Bishop Iker Receives Another Letter Threatening Disciplinary Action.

Update
Bishop Iker also wrote a message to to all Clergy and Convention Delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. And he commented to the press on both the letter from the Presiding Bishop to him (the letter itself is included on the same page) and on the letter from the Presiding Bishop to Bishop Duncan.

January 9, 2008
The Rt. Rev Jack L. Iker, D.D.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
2900 Alameda
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Dear Jack,

Thank you for your letter. I believe you have misinterpreted my previous letter. I gave no “acknowledgement that dioceses can and do leave the Episcopal Church.” On the contrary, I continue to aver that individuals may leave, but congregations and dioceses do not. I continue to urge you to withdraw from any encouragement of such a belief, or action toward departure, as i believe it to be a violation of the vows we have both repeatedly taken to “conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.”

I lament your belief that clergy and laity with your theological position are being systematically eliminated from positions of leadership and influence. If they are disappearing, it is by their own decision and at their own hands. I note how carefully the current and former Presidents of the House of Deputies have been to ensure broad representation in appointment to various church bodies, and know that my predecessors and I have also sought to include all theological positions in appointments within our purview.

You state your concern about those who would stand by their convictions being threatened with depositions and lawsuits. I would also note that depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same.

I pray that your ministry may be one of abundance in the coming year, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 4:13pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Oh, but I love our Presiding Bishop.

"Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same." Touche'!

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 4:52pm GMT

Wow! Compact and energetic and to the point. Compare with the windy Advent letter of the ABC. I think Our Katharine should give him some tutoring in communication.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 6:48pm GMT

After reading through the two sets of requests to the review committee, I am again most struck by the unquestioned and underlying presumption.

Is is comprehensively and completely true that, if say queer folks are known in our worlds as citizens who work productively, care committedly, and pray as well as they are able from time to time to time - that con evo believers cannot work, do their special con evo version of family, and pray as well?

Does this key presupposition not equally well simply presume almost all of the old negative stuff we formerly believed to be nothing but true of queer folks (and varied others?) as neighbors?

Where has Duncan and company been, since, say, about World War II (when our facts slowly but surely began to challenge our received negative views), and after?

I really find all of this negative presupposition to be nearly incomprehensible, on a common sense basis. Does Bishop Duncan really know no - absolutely none - of the many available competent and caring people among us, who nevertheless might disagree in conscience with him on this or that or the other sort of hot button Anglican issue?

And just exactly where does he think he gets to go, if his realignment is successful? He will still, afterwards, be living and working and praying, right among all those of us whom he has so consistently trash talked and disavowed as real live decent human beings in so much of his leadership. We will not have actually gone anywhere at that point, besides where we were before his realignment campaign, and where we will be even if it achieves its goals. Nor will Duncan be anywhere else, other than right there, among and with all the rest of us.

How remarkable, then.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 9:04pm GMT

Bishop Katharine (PhD) apparently never took "Anglican fudge" -- she says what she means & she means what she says -- no wonder the schismatics are terrified!

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 1:08am GMT

Yeah, +Jack, it's all just a great big secret conspiracy.

You'd know all about how that works, wouldn't you?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 2:00am GMT

"And just exactly where does he think he gets to go, if his realignment is successful? He will still, afterwards, be living and working and praying, right among all those of us whom he has so consistently trash talked and disavowed as real live decent human beings in so much of his leadership. We will not have actually gone anywhere at that point, besides where we were before his realignment campaign, and where we will be even if it achieves its goals. Nor will Duncan be anywhere else, other than right there, among and with all the rest of us." drdanfee

Duncan's not going anywhere. He's never gone anywhere...it's round-and-round-he-goes-and-where-he-stops-nobody-knows but it won't be different there/where he's turned a "blind eye" before...that's the problem with endlessly playing pretend and living in dangerous denial, there is no place to hide when *things* get REAL...what to do, oh, what to do, Duncans disoriented, dismal, tiresome and trying to exclude queerfolk from Church too.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 4:06am GMT

+Jack Leo is a tempermental man who throws tantrums. +Jack Leo leaves rooms/refuses to "listen" if speakers are going to discuss ANYTHING which he condemns as unworthy, unholy or in conflict with his demands.

+Iker refused/refuses to attend meetings (HOB and NY TEC offices) where offering The diocese of Ft Worth are on "alternate Episcopal oversight" are on the table/agenda. Bishop Jack Leo, diminishes the spiritual worthiness of fellow Christians/human beings at The Body of Christ and DEMANDS a direct relationship with the ABC.

As Bishop of Fort Worth, Bishop Jack, excludes and demoralizes members of his "flock" on a regular basis (see Ft. Worth "Via Media")...some members of the diocese of Ft. Worth are intimidated and dare not disagree with his all important version of religious pedigree/eligibility. Other Episcopalians in the Diocese of Ft. Worth are ONLY NOW discovering what is going on...such is the reach of Bishop Ikers wish to keep his membership under "control."

The attitude of excluding, self-importance and know-it-all arrogance at the Diocese of Ft. Worth, reeks of grandstanding, grandiose insisting, lack of hospitality, abusive, out-of-control, despotic behavior .

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 2:56pm GMT

"BISHOP STANTON OF DALLAS AND I had a very good meeting yesterday at St. Vincent’s, where we discussed how to make provision for any parishes in this Diocese that may choose to remain in TEC if the Diocesan Convention votes to separate from The Episcopal Church."

I hope and trust the faithful Episcopalians in Fort Worth and Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori will tell both Bishop Iker and Bishop Stanton how little they care for whatever "provisions" they cooked up in their meeting. Bishop Iker will be an ex-Episcopalian in the event he departs so his opinion will count for nothing. Bishop Stanton is hyper-critical of our National Church, and he has lead his diocese to the Network. He is the last person who should try to shepherd faithful Episcopalians in Ft. Worth who are finally breaking free from those opposed to TEC.

I hope Bishop Katharine sends another one of her wonderful letters to Bishop Stanton telling him in no uncertain terms the fate of Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Fort Worth is none of his concern. The Diocese of Fort Worth could continue on as a legitimate diocese in TEC - Bishop Iker and his followers are simply leaving and the Diocese will remain intact. Or a decision could be made at General Convention to dissolve the diocese and align Fort Worth churches with another diocese. A network diocese would be the last place faithful Episcopalians should go.

The arrogance of Bishops Iker and Stanton is appalling but not surprising. They presume to determine the fate of faithful Episcopalians - this can not stand. Though selfishly as a parishioner in the Diocese of Dallas it would be nice to have more progressive votes at our convention, I can not in good conscience say anything to faithful Fort Worth Episcopalians except run don't walk away from Dallas. After all of your suffering you deserve to be in a Diocese lead by those who love the Episcopal Church.

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 7:02pm GMT

As a cradle Episcopalian, born and raised in the Diocese of Dallas, I thank God that we have an intelligent, rational, and God-fearing Bishop. The Diocese of Ft. Worth is our nearest neighbor, and they most certainly ARE our concern. They, and we, still believe that the Bible is the word of God, that Jesus Christ was and is the only-begotten Son of God, who lived and died and rose again to save us from our sins. And, yes, most of us still believe that homosexuality IS a SIN, no matter how you try to whitewash it. Unless, of course, you disbelieve the Bible, in which case, why claim to be Christians at all? "In vain do they worship...teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." May God have mercy on The Episcopal Church, and on those of us who struggle to live "in and not of" this "brave new world." Angela Norton, Gilmer, Texas

Posted by: Angela Norton on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 1:16am GMT

""In vain do they worship...teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Find a commandment in the gospels...not the OT, not Paul's letters, not anywhere but the gospels...that condemns homosexuals. I dare you.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 12:17pm GMT

"And, yes, most of us still believe that homosexuality IS a SIN, no matter how you try to whitewash it. Unless, of course, you disbelieve the Bible, in which case, why claim to be Christians at all?"

See, despite the past several centuries, some of us still believe usury is a sin, no matter how you whitewash it, unless of course you disbelieve the Bible, in which case, why claim to be a Christian at all? Many of us believe that it is a sin to take another human life, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Many of us believe divorce to be a sin, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Many of us believe that reviling others is a sin, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Why is it that you seem to think that it was quite acceptable 500, 400, even 40 years ago to proclaim some things no longer sinful, despite the fact that they had been considered sinful for eons, yet reconsideration of homosexuality means one no longer believes in the Scripture? Might it be that, you being a heterosexual and all, you might at some time stand to benefit from a change of doctrine with regard to divorce, say? Or are reluctant to stop earning interest on your various investments, so calling that no longer a sin, despite it having been so for well nigh 1500 years, is actually in your benefit?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 2:34pm GMT

Bishop Stanton has no more authority to decide the fate of faithful Episcopalians in other dioceses than anyone else. He can not simply sit down with another bishop (much less one about to be deposed)and carve up Fort Worth like they were partitioning Poland. The Diocese of Fort Worth does exist and will continue to exist when Bishop Iker is gone. Only General Convention can decide otherwise. Fort Worth is about to be liberated from the Network. For that I envy them and I pray that one day we in Dallas will experience the same fate. The ice is already breaking in Dallas as radicals are leaving in droves while we who love the National Church remain. One day normal, moderate Episcopalians in Dallas will be back in control of this diocese. For the sake of our children growing up in the toxic stench of right wing "theology", let us pray that day comes soon.

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 3:29pm GMT

Angela Norton, of Gilmer, Texas posits that being eligible to claim that one is a Christian comes down to acceptance that homosexuality -- regardless of circumstances, regardless of orientation, regardless of whether we speak of two people in a committed and monogamous relationship -- is a "SIN".

Ford Elms, in the following post, points out the hypocrisy and absurdity of Angela's contention, and as a heterosexual father of three and grandfather of one, I endorse Ford's brilliant exposé.

Oh, and though I have only been an Episcopalian for thirty-two years, and cannot claim the honor of being a "cradle Episcopalian," Angela, I am rather well trained in the historical beliefs of the Church Catholic, and find your claim shallow and self-deceptive. Neither you, nor the schismatic bishops, can redefine the historical Anglican beliefs in scripture plus tradition plus reason.

Ford Elms: "See, despite the past several centuries, some of us still believe usury is a sin, no matter how you whitewash it, unless of course you disbelieve the Bible, in which case, why claim to be a Christian at all? Many of us believe that it is a sin to take another human life, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Many of us believe divorce to be a sin, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Many of us believe that reviling others is a sin, unless you don't believe the Bible, in which case why be a Christian at all? Why is it that you seem to think that it was quite acceptable 500, 400, even 40 years ago to proclaim some things no longer sinful, despite the fact that they had been considered sinful for eons, yet reconsideration of homosexuality means one no longer believes in the Scripture? Might it be that, you being a heterosexual and all, you might at some time stand to benefit from a change of doctrine with regard to divorce, say? Or are reluctant to stop earning interest on your various investments, so calling that no longer a sin, despite it having been so for well nigh 1500 years, is actually in your benefit?"

Thank you, Ford.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 4:53pm GMT

"I endorse Ford's brilliant exposé."

But it isn't my brilliant expose, though thank you for comments. This is the position of everyone I know. That's what I keep saying. As far as I can tell, from everyone I have spoken to, from everything I can see, this is the image of Christianity the world has: people who are quite willing to sell out their principles when it benefits them, then turn around and savage anyone who seeks to do the same thing if they don't agree. It is a religion that is not worthy of respect, that is, in the words of one person I know, "despicable". But some just can't see it. Just last week I pointed it out to a conservative on this site, and the defence was that if people didn't understand what Christianity was about, they were just too lazy to find out! Now, the idea that people have to come to us to find out what the Gospel is instead of us going to them is an odd thing to hear from an Evangelical, in my opinion. But, no, better blame those who don't understand us for their ignorance than examine ourselves to find out what has caused this situation! I am just reading about congnitive dissonance, and it explains a lot about this attitude, actually.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 1:59pm GMT

Jesus was "in but not of" this world, and Jesus loved this world. In the Lord's prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for God's will to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.

God befriended all sorts of people, he scandalised the teachers of the law and even his own disciples.

He began his public ministry by introducing himself to a Samaritan woman by the well - the social pariahs of that time - see John 4. He rebuked Peter for trying to limit forgiveness - Matthew 18. He taught the disciples that anyone who preaches in Jesus' name has Jesus authority - for no one who speaks for him can later speak against him (Matthew 9:38-41) Anyone who gives you a cup of water in Jesus' name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose their reward.

See also Mathew 25. Those who refuse to give, provide and bless the least of us did not do this to Jesus either.

It is unbiblical to refuse to offer grace to others; it is contrary to everything that Jesus stood for to refuse hospitality and to accuse others; it insults God to deny God's desire for grace and peace, not just for a "holy people" but for all of humanity and Creation.

Jesus did not come to rebuke the teachers for the law to have another generation of teachers of the law purport that Jesus stood for everything he fought against. Such priests have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear, they are looking for power-broker sponsor that will "back them up" as they commit violence and desecration. They should have chosen a figure head that loves power and holds humanity and this planet in contempt. Jesus is not that guy.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 8:01pm GMT
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