Comments: developments in Connecticut

Wonder if Bishop Jack(or any of the Notorious Nine) has ever faced a clergyman who declared the bishop's pastoral office invalid, abandoned his parish on a ruse sabbatical, and had led the fiscal destruction of self-same parish? Andrew Smith's response to the pompous public rebuke of his "brother" Bishops should be reqired reading in every Network church this Sunday.Far from being instruments of healing, the meddlers seek only to incite further an unruly mob.

Posted by John D at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 1:26pm BST

John D. is correct, this *should* be req'd reading for the AAC faithful. It's about time someone stood up to the bullying of the "Network." Well said, Bp. Smith.

Posted by David Huff at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 2:20pm BST

Gee, I've never been referred to as an unruly mob before . . . or maybe you're referring to the parrishioners. Gosh, maybe its the whole vast right-wing conspiracy. Naw, they couldn't be an unruly mob--they're devilishly clever and organized, conspiratorial and machiavellian in their machinations. Hmm. I can never quite get it straight whether us traditionalists and conservatives are unruly mobs or cold and calculating usurpers. I guess there's just no room in the middle for us to be ordinary folk that just happen to be passionate believers.

Posted by steven at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 2:30pm BST

Obviously these unruly bullying conservatives clergy just want to be kicked out of their JOBS and their churches want to be kicked out of their BUILDINGs!

"He was asking for it" is the bully's excuse!

Posted by Dave at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 2:56pm BST

*"He was asking for it" is the bully's excuse!*

Bullying being something that the Network knows all about.

Let’s face it, a parish played chicken with their Bishop, and lost. They broke the rules and are now screaming because there are consequences for their actions. There are none so clear in their own sense of aggrieved rights than a bully, which is being proven out right now.

As a side note: 5 of the 9 Bishops (Beckwith, Stanton, Iker, Herzog and Schofield) who signed the letter either weren’t at the last HoB meeting or left early. Admittedly, Bishop Stanton went to the birth of one of his grandchildren, so not much ominous in that.

Posted by John Robison at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 4:01pm BST

As a member of a Connecticut parish, I may have followed this conflict with more interest than many. I signed a letter of recommendation for one of the Six during his ordination process.

I have read the statements by Bishop Smith and "the usual suspects". It is clear to me which more nearly reflects the Spirit of Christ.

I have never been more disgusted with the machinations of the nine bishops, which is a considerable qualifier, nor more proud of my current diocesan bishop than I am of Bishop Smith.

May God bless us all

Posted by JWood at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 5:00pm BST

The actions of the ECUSA establishment and Smith in particular remind me of what happened to Bonhoeffer and his colleagues. We now honor Bonhoeffer and his prophetic stance -- a martyr for the faith in the face of totalitarian rule, that was endorsed by a morally and spiritually bankrupt German Church. Fr. Hansen and his Ct colleagues are to be applauded and supported for their resistance. God bless these bishops whose actions give hope to the rest of us who have felt the jackboot of the ECUSA gauleiters.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 8:08pm BST

Somehow I keep getting confused here. Isn't the bully supposed to be the bigger more powerful party in a conflict? How could one little parrish (or even 6) bully the whole diocese? Similarly, how could the small number of conservative dioceses in the U.S. bully ECUSA? Haven't the actions taken already proved who holds the whip hand here. Folks like the Network and/or the recently invaded parrish may kick up a fuss--but bully??--get serious. That's a little bit like saying mean old Granada's been pickin' on the USA.

Posted by steven at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 8:27pm BST

If there's one thing conservatives know well about, its bullying - just like their hectoring, bullying god.

Of course, if they were really concerned about nothing but the purity of their religion, they would leave ECUSA and turn their splinter organisations into a fully fledged churech in waiting for Akinola, Southern Cone and Sydney's split.

But they want the buildings and the money - now, isn't that a surprise?

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 8:39pm BST

John Robison wrote: "Let’s face it, a parish played chicken with their Bishop, and lost. They broke the rules ...."

Back to the same sad old arguement... that the people who stand up for biblical faith and morality, against the wishes of liberal ECUSAn bishops, are "breaking the rules" and deserve to be run out of their jobs and churches.

In the meantime ECUSAn liberals reject the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, encourage immorality, spread doubt - instead of faith - in God, and oppress or persecute faithful Christians. But the rules presumably say that that is OK - as long as you don't hurt anyone (except non-liberals).

The sooner these "nice liberal" ECUSAn's are honest, and admit that they don't really want to be true to christianity or to anglicanism any more, the better. I wonder if they still have the generosity to consider leaving us amicably, rather than sacking and sueing everyone they can ?

Posted by Dave at Friday, 29 July 2005 at 10:55pm BST

Dear Merseymike:

Get real. Can't you recognize the irony implicit in your statement? Your statements indicate the true source of your own concerns: "the buildings and the money."

This thing is broken--irretrievably broken as the divorce laws would say. So, why not do what wise judges do in such situations and make an equitable division of goods and let people get on with their lives.

I speak from experience as a lawyer who has seen many a divorce in my time. And, just as in any angry divorce I see one of the parties (liberals) demanding that the "&%$#*&" get out and begone with nothing but the shirt on their backs. If you really want conservatives to get out and take their angry (or as we would say--righteous) God with them, go on and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done--divvy things up and move on.


Posted by Steven at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 1:34am BST

It is very inappropriate for the traditionalists (or shall we call them "reasserters" or "neo-puritans"?) to claim Dietrich Bonhoeffer as one of their own. The German Christians, whom he confronted, held positions very similar to those of the traditionalists. They praised Adolf Hitler for upholding "family values" (against gays and Jews), defying international law and conventions in the self-interest of their nation state ("Deutschland ueber alles"). For many, if not most, of the "reasserters," the American empire is justified in invading any country on mere pretense, such as alleged non-existent WMD. Bon-hoeffer would have supported none of that!

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 2:26am BST

I have watched Thinking Anglicans for some several months now, and even posted a few short comments. I feel truly stunned at the type, kind, and style of the comments that appear here, especially from a few regular commentors.

The use of equivalences between the absolute horror and evil of the Nazis and ECUSA, as in a comment above, and those possesed of views different from said Church with martyr Bonhoffer, of blessed memory, only demonstrate the bankruptcy of heart that has come to characterize so much of the commentary here. This does not mark the first use of similar language and comparisons, and it comes from multiple sides over multiple issues. The demonizing that I read on here, perpetrated by so many, breaks my heart, and I feel shamed by the utter lack of compassion and loving service one to another demonstrated here by those who claim the name of Christian. If I knew that people of religions other than our own read these comments, the depth of my shame could only increase, if such were possible.

I think that I shall no longer read the comments on this site, if I even return here at all. It seems entirely too much like watching bloody, vicious,armed conflict in slow motion...

Shame on us all.

I pray that the love of Christ may rise upon us and shine in our hearts. I pray that the Spirit help us to love one another as Christ loves us. Christe eleison.

Posted by friend_from_afar at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 7:02am BST

"The actions of the ECUSA establishment and Smith in particular remind me of what happened to Bonhoeffer and his colleagues."

Bonhoeffer was MURDERED BY THE NAZIS! This example is so not relevant.

Could we *please* tone down the rhetoric?

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 7:06am BST

The Diocese of Dallas and the Diocese of Ft. Worth make me ashamed that I live in Texas. I am grateful, however, that I live far enough south to be in the Diocese of Texas which, so far, has exercised some restraint. I have attended choral evensong on several ocassions in a large, beautiful church in Dallas. They have superb music. They are one of the great conservative places. Not once has anyone in that church ever greeted me or spoken to me following services. It is apparent they are carrying their lack of hospitality nationwide!

Posted by Jimmy at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 8:39am BST

I agree with those who are critical of the tone of some comments here. In particular, I agree with the criticism of Ian Montgomery's attempt to compare the situation of American conservative Anglicans with that of Bonhoeffer and his companions.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 12:24pm BST

Simon: I hope, in the interests of historical accuracy, you don't also agree with John Henry's absurd attempt to depict 'reasserters' as the latter day equivalent of the 'Deutsche Christen'.

John Henry: do you really know anything about this semi-pagan group and their actual 'Blut und Boden' theology? Are you really saying that 'reasserters' are Nazi sympathizers? Do you think they are anti-semitic? (There are many who say ECUSA's leadership is the anti-semitic party, given its one-sided attitude toward Israel and blindness to violence perpetrated by Palestinian Muslims!) Do you think that Dietrich Bonhoeffer approved of homosexuality, any more than Karl Barth did? I'm sorry, but your remarks seem to be little more than intemperate and wildly inaccurate rhetoric.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 2:26pm BST

Thanks to "friend from afar" for an eloquent statement of a troubling fact. I also agree with the criticism of Mr. Montgomery's historical analogy. As a historian, I am doubly suspicious of such comparisons made in heated argument, especially when one side is being equated with the Third Reich. I was saddened to see that Mr. Henry yielded to a response in kind.

I, too, am sick of these arguments which aim, not to convince, but condemn one another. I see enmity, anger, spite, quarreling; do we not agree on this, if nothing else, that these are not works of the Spirit? And do we say, "It's only to get that speck of sin out of his/ her eye"? Look at the secular press reports: do they say "See how these Christians love one another"? or "See how they take one another before the emperor's courts"?

Can we no longer pray for one another without setting conditions before our God: "Love them so they will change their hearts."? This time is hard for all of us; do we not care, or shall we say, "if they would be honest, they would admit they don't care about being true to the faith."?

Please forgive me if I have belabored the obvious, but all this hurts, and I needed to say that.

Posted by JWood at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 3:52pm BST

Dear JWood:

Very well put and timely. However, it raises a question. If the two sides here cannot live in charity together as part of the same communion--what should (in charity) be the next step? Shouldn't they try to come (in charity) to an amicable division of goods and properties and go their separate ways? Wouldn't this also (rather than a prolongation of an increasingly vicious conflict) be in the best spiritual interest of their "children" (i.e., their respective adherents)?


Posted by steven at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 5:50pm BST

I absolutely agree, JWood and friend from afar.

Posted by Anna at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 6:14pm BST

Let me join Anna in expressing appreciation for the words of "friend" & JWood -- sadly, I fear that steven is also correct -- but I believe that how it plays out may well determine who ends up where (at least in the short term)

The lines of the coming split in the Western Hemisphere are already coming into focus with the West Indies & the Southern Cone alligning themselves apart from the other provinces

Posted by Prior Aelred at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 7:38pm BST

Can we keep the comments here focused on the situation in Connecticut. There are other places on TA where the global Anglican situation can be more directly addressed. Thanks.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 8:43pm BST

Martin Hambrook posed the following question to me: "John Henry: do you really know anything about this semi-pagan group (i.e., the Deutsche Christians) and their actual 'Blut und Boden' theology? Are you really saying that 'reasserters' are Nazi sympathizers? Do you think they are anti-semitic?"

Although those questions have nothing to do with the situation in Connecticut, and ought not to be discussed on this thread, I firmly deny this mis-impression created by Mr. Hambrook that I even suggested that the "reasserters" are Nazi sympathizers and anti-semitists.

Not all Deutsche Christen bought into Alfred Rosenberg's Blut und Boden ideology. Their two stellar theologians Emmanuel Hirsch (Goettingen) and Paul Althaus (Erlangen) avoided Blut and Boden ideological references in their published theological works, while expressing themselves along those lines on occassion during university lectures (Helmut Thielicke). Dietrich Bonhoeffer's biographer, Eberhard Bethge, denies that either was even a member of the Nazi Party. However, both did sign off on Hitler's aggressive foreign policy, publishing appeals to that effect. Dietrich Bonhoeffer took a firm stand opposing the removal of Jewish Christians from the membership of German Protestant Churches as early as 1933/34. Did he speak out in support of homosexuals who were also persecuted by the Nazi state? There is no direct evidence. However, during the Third Reich homosexuals, socialists/communists and Jews were all lumped together as enemies of the German people. By defending the rights of Jewish Christians and of German citizens of Jewish ethnicity and ancestry, he also (indirectly) supported all the others deemed to be outcasts by the regime in power.

Anyway, Eberhard Bethge (Bonhoeffer biography), Helmut Thielicke (Memoirs: Zu Gast auf einem schoenen Stern) and Kurt Aland (A History of Christianity, Vol.II) provide us with valuable eye-witness accounts of the confessional conflicts in Germany from 1931-1945 and beyond during the post-WW II era.

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 10:45pm BST

Dear Simon:

I think your last comment effectively chilled further commentary on this subject. One of the main reasons any single battle or skirmish is interesting is by virtue of its place in a larger conflict and how it affects the overview, strategies, tactics, prognosis, etc. for that conflict. If we can't discuss Connecticut in the context of the total situation in ECUSA and/or Anglicanism, most of our reasons for discussing it at all are gone.


Posted by steven at Monday, 1 August 2005 at 3:15pm BST

battle? skirmish? conflict?
If military terminology is the only language that can be used to comment on Connecticut, it is rather sad.
But it is not as bad as using pre-World War II terminology.
Comments which discuss Connecticut, and do so by reference to other ECUSA issues, are welcome here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 1 August 2005 at 3:47pm BST

Dear Simon:

Yup, battle, skirmish, conflict--I see no point in euphemism. And, as far as I know, the terminology is not dated. However, I hope that it is not the "only" language used by myself or others in this context. As you imply, conflict between Christians is not and should not be the same as conflict between belligerents in the wider world.


Posted by steven at Monday, 1 August 2005 at 4:03pm BST

I usually just "lurk", but thought I'd share this link about "Godwin's Law"'s_law

This law states that whenever a comparison to the Nazis enters a thread the conversation is over and whoever fisrt made the comparison lost the argument!

Posted by James at Wednesday, 3 August 2005 at 2:42pm BST

Actually, it's not as simple as that, as the article says:
'Many people have extended Godwin's law to imply that the invoking of the Nazis as a debating tactic (in any argument not directly related to World War II or the Holocaust) automatically loses the argument, simply because the nature of these events is such that any comparison to any event less serious than genocide, ethnic cleansing or extinction is invalid and in poor taste.'
It isn't enough to think one has shamed the other into silence with a triumphant 'aha!' There are times when the behavior of an authority is intolerant, totalitarian, overbearing - even 'jackbooted'. But *Christian debate should seek the high road and be conducted with more than civility - with love, even.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Wednesday, 3 August 2005 at 8:59pm BST
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