Comments: Colorado Springs: further reports

Questionable ethics, just so that they advance one's own interests, are not the problem to Minns and CANA that they are to Drs Seitz, Radner and Turner. No surprise here: they've already shown the middle finger to the Windsor process behind which they stalked earlier in the day.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 10:14am BST

Paul Asay wrot in Oh, these Tangled Webs: "And frankly, all that confusion is central to the issues at play here. During the meeting, Grace senior warden Jon Wroblewski said that Armstrong's hired his own accountant to look through the books to find out just what went on, and that accountant won't likely make a report for a month."

Clever!

Unless, of course, you've seen this very thing before... ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 12:24pm BST

Lapin - the guy has not (yet) been proven guilty so perhaps we should wait before judging him, or his friends standing by him, as he tries to prove his claim on innocence.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 12:24pm BST

According to Paul Asay's blog, Minns spoke to the congregation last night. And there maybe a series of such talks before the vote. I wonder at what point Bishop O'Neill will be invited to speak to the congregation, or would that be considered unnecessarily exposing them to an alternative point of view.

Posted by C.B. at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 1:13pm BST

There's a follow-up article from Ms. Torkelson in this morning's Rocky Mountain News: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5492780,00.html

Though much of it's a rehash of the article yesterday.

Posted by Three-Star Dave at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 1:39pm BST

"Bishop Martyn Minns (spoke to) about 150 parishioners at Grace and St. Stephen's Church.

(The Rector Don) Armstrong hopes to persuade a majority of his parish's 1,500 to 2,000 members to join CANA in a vote May 20."

What's wrong with these figures? Why were there only 150 people at the meeting? Conflict with the Rugby would have been the excuse in Scotland. What's the equivalent excuse in Colorado?

RR

Posted by Raspberry Rabbit at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 2:23pm BST

NP, my comment related to Minns and CANA, not to Armstrong. It's not a matter of guilt, it's a question of the APPEARANCE of impropriety, as Seitz, Radner, et al. have so vividly demonstrated by their actions in recent days. "Caesar's wife", and all that. We are, you will recall, talking about validly-consecrated bishops, in communion with a portion of the Anglican Communion.

The matter of the Clarice C. Bowton Trust ought, in itself, to have given them cause to hold back. By the terms of this trust, income generated is expressedly designated for the use of individuals studying for the Episcopal ministry. In the absence of intended loopholes present at the establishment of a trust, trusts can only be modified through court action. The evidence of endorsed and cashed checks/cheques indicates that a substantial sum ($115,000+) of Bowton Trust income was used to pay the tuition, housing, and other expenses of Armstrong's son. I have yet to hear it claimed by anyone connected to this business that the junior Armstrong is a candidate for Holy Orders.

There's a strong smell of rotting fish, but it seems that Minns and CANA couldn't care less.

Posted by lapinbizarre at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 2:49pm BST

RR - I made a similar observation with respect to the number (300 out of a possible 2000) that showed up Saturday for the big reveal. And not all of them could be said to be his supporters either. The most publicly advertised presentment in the history of the diocese, a rector who has left the church and is asking you to go with him, and it's still not enough to make the other 80% show up and hear his side? Huh?

Posted by C.B. at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 3:13pm BST

"(The Rector Don) Armstrong hopes to persuade a majority of his parish's 1,500 to 2,000 members to join CANA in a vote May 20."

"What's wrong with these figures? Why were there only 150 people at the meeting? "

I have noticed that, since the congregation divided just before Palm Sunday, the numbers reported present for services or meetings w/Armstrong and others have steadily diminished.

It has been suggested that in some of the Diocese of Virginia parishes who left for Africa that a modest core of very committed people was the driving force behind the vote to leave, and that a great many parishioners simply did not vote. Now, I don't know how accurate that is.

But it seems to me that in this case it might be reasonable to supppose that parishioners initially in agreement with Armstrong may be having second thoughts in light of the presentment document. It's quite true that those charges have not yet been tested in courts, but the specificty and the number of charges certainly suggest there's something there to be concerned about.

Somewhere, Henry David Thoreau comments on 'circumstantial evidence' along the lines that a trout in the milk pail may be circumstantial but it's awfully persuasive.

And I still want to know why you would give 'the cable guy' a $200 tip!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 4:11pm BST

I see Lapin, sorry - if it is as you read it, I would encourage Minns and CANA to be more careful even if they are trying to be loyal to a friend.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 4:29pm BST

Another group housed at G&SS -- from the CO Springs paper:

Another nonprofit, the John Jay Institute for Faith Society and Law, is headquartered at Grace's 601 N. Tejon St. address. The "nonpartisan" research and education nonprofit has, in recent months, provided lectures speaking of the "problem of evil" in the context of post-9/11 Islamic radicalism and urging new theory to justify the use of force abroad.

Alan R. Crippen, the organization's founder and president, who's also serving as spokesman for Armstrong and the breakaway vestry, says the organization only seeks to stimulate discussion.

"Radical Islam is a very serious threat to liberal democracy," he says. "We just want to be helpful in facilitating that conversation in terms of our local community."

He adds that Grace has not given the John Jay Institute any money.

"They give us free rent here, which is kind of nice, but that's the only connection," Crippen says.

Armstrong, though, is on the John Jay group's board of governors. And though the John Jay Institute has not been publicly involved in the latest controversy, Stokes notes that both it and the Anglican Communion Institute have missions that contrast with those of some other Episcopal churches.

"Many are committed to serving the poor," she says.

Posted by Ann Fontaine at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 4:44pm BST

The website www.40daysofdiscernment.org mentioned in the "state of confusion" article appears to be a "how to" manual on breaking away from TEC rather than what I've always understood discernment to be.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 4:49pm BST

"the guy has not (yet) been proven guilty so perhaps we should wait before judging him, or his friends standing by him, as he tries to prove his claim on innocence."

Funny, NP, I don't see you showing the same forebearance to +Gene Robinson (and friends, TEC), in regards to the ALLEGED "guilt" (sinfulness) of his same-sex partnership (which we, in TEC, see as innocent)

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 7:49pm BST

Even if Don Armstrong's children were candidates for Holy Orders, the scholarship committee (of which the Bishop is an ex officio member) has not met since before 1993, and has not received any applications or granted any funds since then.

Don Armstrong, by terms of the trust, did not have the authority to make those payments from the trust.

Posted by Ken at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 8:27pm BST

CANA ought to be very cautious about that $2.5 million mortgage held by the junior warden's bank. If the insiders manage to foreclose on that and sell the property for big bucks it will bring down CANA in flames.

Posted by gyrovague at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 9:40pm BST

"Another nonprofit, the John Jay Institute for Faith Society and Law, is headquartered at Grace's 601 N. Tejon St. address. The "nonpartisan" research and education nonprofit has, in recent months, provided lectures speaking of the "problem of evil" in the context of post-9/11 Islamic radicalism and urging new theory to justify the use of force abroad."

Oh, great. Just what we need to further the Gospel. A Bible in one hand and an apache attack helicopter (metaphorically) in the other. Hey, guys, join our crusade....

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 9:45pm BST

NP, I do agree with you. However, Armstrong's attitude and ad hominem attacks on his bishop are not doing his image any good.

The article in Rocky Mountain News is perhaps the most telling for me. Hearing that his friends at ACI are terminating their relationship, he basically says never mind, their mission is no longer "valid" because the whole "house of cards" was tumbling down anyway.

I'm sure ACI still considers their mission valid. I'm sure Armstrong is hurt at an apparent betrayal, but if he's innocent, he should figure that they'll come back to him, and it would be best not to insult their efforts. If he's like this towards his friends...

I'm doing my best to consider him innocent until proven guilty, but as a person, he's a real piece of work.

Posted by Weiwen Ng at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 10:28pm BST

I am holding back on judgment until the facts are in.

It is the same standard that I applied when allegations were being made against Davis. The courtesy goes both ways.

All parties will benefit from considering how they handle potential improprieties at either end of the spectrum. If they incite slander and witch hunt for one group but clemency and patience for the other, then they are being inconsistent.

One of the bible's core teachings is about not throwing stones, lest you damage your own greenhouse. No soul is above sinning or making mistakes.

My other observation relates back to Ezekiel 18, if someone is guilty, does that automatically make others' guilty by association? Should a child be judged for a parent's error or vice versa? Should all women be judged and condemned for the error of a theoretical archetypal woman?

Those who advocate that all woman should be submissive to the superior males should not have a problem with any parishioners associated with corruption also being found guilty, will they? If they do, then maybe they should reconsider their misogynistic paradigms.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 10:38pm BST

"Anglican bishop to make case for leaving Episcopal Church" Rocky Mountain News Headline

Truly I ask you brothers and sisters at The Body of Christ, does this sound like a spiritually healthy thing to be doing at The Anglican Communion (of course CANA isn't really part of the Anglican Communion but only a campaign generated by the Akinolan Nigerian unfriendly temporary "takeover" mission)?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Thursday, 19 April 2007 at 11:54pm BST

One could ask more questions about the John Jay Institute. 1st, its President Alan R. Crippen served as spokesman for Armstrong. It was he who authored the March 26 (already with CANA logo) news release anouncing Grace's vestry's decision. And it was he who told the Gazette reporter that Grace's accounts had not been frozen by the bishop. He is not listed as a staff member or vestry member. This begs the question how did he know that the accounts were not frozen? A publicity piece frm the John Jay Institute refers in its FAQs section refers to the "partnership" it has with Grace and its really nice and tecnically update classroom teaching facility there,as well as additional study space. Crippen is the founder of the "quasi-academic" fellowship program there offering about 14 fellowships to recent college grads with excellent grades, desiring careers in law,religion and politics. No faculty is listed but a specific curiculum but clearly is looking for students with a teachable disposition. Prior to setting up John Jay, Crippen set up the Witherspoon fellowship program at the Family Research Council where he served for nine years as a vice president. The FRC is one of the most active conservative "family values" organizations in the US. Google it for its specific history, relationship to Dobson, etc.

Posted by EPH at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 3:11am BST

Ken adds to my earlier post on the Bowton Trust that "even if Don Armstrong's children were candidates for Holy Orders, the scholarship committee (of which the Bishop is an ex officio member) has not met since before 1993, and has not received any applications or granted any funds since then".

Officers of the trust do not include Armstrong, although, according to the presentment, he issued all the vouchers which authorized payments to his son. The three officers are the Grace Church senior warden, the bishop of Colorado, and Ms. Bowton's long-time attorney, who, one assumes, knows precisely what the terms of the trust and Ms. Bowton's intentions are. Criteria for the award of Bowton scholarships include financial need on the part of the applicant, in addition to the intent to pursue theological studies and to enter the Episcopal ministry.

So, by the terms of the presentment, although Armstrong had no authority in the matter, he funded his son's education and living expenses, along with whatever else is covered by payments made simply to "Donald Armstrong III", at the expense of those financially-needy candidates for Holy Orders for whose use and care the scholarship monies were intended and were specifically designated.

If true, beggars description, does it not?.

The allegations of the diocese in the matter of the Bowton Trust begin at the foot of page 3 of the presentment:

http://www2.gazette.com/interactives/pdf/Presentment.pdf

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 5:04am BST

JCF - if the guy is found guilty, I would support his removal.

The logical conclusion of your attitude to VGR is that Armstrong should continue, unrepentant, even if breaks the standards set by scripture for leaders.

Posted by NP at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 7:11am BST

Lapin - if true, it is a disgrace and the man should not be a minister - for the sake of the gospel and in obedience to scripture.

Posted by NP at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 9:00am BST

Okay - This is starting to get me really upset. According to Asay's latest blog post, Minns has given the congregation a "study guide" for discerning whether they should leave the Episcopal church. It was written by and for the folks at Truro and Falls Church. It is clearly biased, speaking about how serious the determination is, but in the end how God has great things ahead for those who decide to leave.

Again, if the Presentment hearing without Armstrong present is considered a kangaroo court, a vote on leaving by congregants who have only been exposed to Minns' and Armstrong's perspectives and intentions is a fraud. This is a joke. And how will the vote be counted? By majority of those who show up to vote, or by that of the 1500 who want no part of this charade and stay home?

Posted by C.B. at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 2:37pm BST

How will, the vote be counted ... depends on Diocesan canons for parish meetings. In Dio of Va you must have a quorum, which is defined in the canons as 10% of the active membership. No proxy votes, no voting in absentia. Am using that figure without first checking. Probably Dio of Colorado has diocesan canons on line?

C

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 4:57pm BST

If - and it's an unlikely "if" - Armstrong makes the move to CANA with church property intact, and if he is then prosecuted and found guilty on any of the charges against him in state or in federal court - or indeed by CANA, should CANA choose to exercise its new-found episcopal oversight of Armstrong - then CANA will be placed to assume full ownership of the Grace Church property. Provided, of course, there is no further jurisdiction-hopping. Bishop Minns now also has a dog in this fight.

Posted by lapinbizarre at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 5:02pm BST

Addendum - then again, haven't they already left? If this is a vote to confirm that, then diocesan rules would not apply. I wonder if CANA has generated canons for its constituents, or would they use Nigerian canons?

Sorry - it's been a rough week for college campuses in Virginia - you know what's coming, don't you? I can't resist.

I guess it's a case of loose canons....

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 5:14pm BST

CB. The "40 days of discernment" program is at this page, linked on the Grace Church site.

http://www.40daysofdiscernment.org/

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 5:30pm BST

Cynthia - Are you saying that if Colorado is like Virginia only 200 people out of the 2000 need to show up to vote and that if a majority of those 200 vote to leave, then that's what the church does?

Couldn't O'Neill charge that this whole process is invalid, that the other 1800 didn't vote because the whole thing is not being conducted within the church cannons and as such is out or order, and invalid. I know I would.

Posted by C.B. at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 7:10pm BST

CB. I hate to keep posting the January 4th "Washington Post" piece on Falls Church and Truro, but if Colorado is like Virginia, they won't even have to be Episcopalian to vote:

"At least two-thirds of the worshipers are Methodists, Presbyterians or Baptists, and there is no pressure on them to be confirmed as Episcopalians, said the Rev. Rick Wright, associate rector [of Falls Church]."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301952.html

Posted by lapinbizarre at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 8:12pm BST

C.B., I believe Bishop O'Neill has made it clear that the whole voting process (regardless of how many participate in the vote) is irrelevant, because a parish cannot remove itself from the church. Individuals may leave, but the parish remains.

Although the Episcopal congregation (the one worshipping at Shove Chapel) is being encouraged not to participate in the illegal vote, some of them may want to make known their wishes for the future of their own parish. I wonder what rules Armstrong and his vestry will use to determine who is eligible to vote? If they require church attendence and/or monetary support for the CANA congregation during the 40 Days of Indoctrination, or if they require active participation in the 40 Days of Indoctrination coursework, the CANAnites will have the deck stacked, indeed.

And who will be counting the votes? Because in the absence of a truly neutral party to provide oversight, the one who counts the votes controls the election.

Posted by Ladytenor at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 8:29pm BST

When Grace has been mentioned the media. I have heard this 2500 members mentioned. Is that their true membership? Or does it include people who have signed the guest book (which would include my family)?

In the short time I was there, I never saw attendances of over 600 (I roughly estimate) (September 2005)

Posted by Michael Cridland at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 10:08pm BST

Armstrong writes at length about the $170,000 loan Grace made to ACI here:
http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=18927#comment-2061769

Posted by John B. Chilton at Friday, 20 April 2007 at 10:09pm BST

"The logical conclusion of your attitude to VGR is that Armstrong should continue, unrepentant, even if breaks the standards set by scripture for leaders."

But "Thou shalt not steal" (what Armstrong is alleged to have done) is actually IN Scripture, NP.

"Thou shalt not have a same-sex spouse" is only in reasserters' (hypocritical) imaginations!

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 21 April 2007 at 12:07am BST

While readings Armstrongs remarks at titusonenine I find myself extemely saddened by the degree of denial, arrogance and tarnished terrorfilled behavior that has come to viewed as "normal" and "conservative" at The Body of Christ.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Saturday, 21 April 2007 at 12:58am BST

So Grace Church is "collateral damage" to the Diocese of Colorado, whose goal "has been and continues to be my own ruin as a human being, [&] the destruction of my family". At last an objective assessment of the root causes of the Colorado Springs situation.

There is an excellent reason why the diocese spearheaded the presentment against the Rev'd Mr. Armstrong - its "full frontal attack", in Mr. Armstrong's vivid words - with the issue of the Bowton Trust expenditures. Nowhere in the T19 post does Armstrong mention, let alone explain, them.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 21 April 2007 at 1:55am BST

Grace Church members commenting on T19 have said that Minns has asked for a report from the vestry on the matters in the Presentment. He will not conduct and independent review but rely only on their report to determine Armstrong's culpability. Armstrong has commented that he will not talk about where the scholarship money came from (though he seems willing to comment on everything else) until after the vestry has made its report. Armstrong contends "no ACI money" was spent on his kids scholarship. I don't believe the Presentment asserts that it did. Rather, ACI was used as a conduit to funnel monies through for such use. I think Minns has dug himself and CANA a big hole they may not be able to get out of. How surprising.

Posted by C.B. at Saturday, 21 April 2007 at 9:49am BST

I'm actually stunned that Minns is such a fool that he would involve himself and his new organization with the likes of Fr. Armstrong, whose pathology is now present for all to behold.And I'm not talking about the money.

Posted by John D at Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 12:36am BST

An open letter to the bishop of Colorado from Keith W. Stampher, M.D., a Grace Church vestryman, is posted on StandFirm:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/2850/#47427

At 7:55 this morning "Witness" posted to this StandFirm page the comment that "the vestry [of Grace Church] includes Fr Armstrong’s personal physician, electrician, and real estate agent". In reply to my request for clarification, "Witness" replied "Fr Armstrong has stated to the congregation, many times, that Dr Stampher is his personal physician, I don’t believe that the Doctor has denied it. The man whose electric company did all the work in the church for years, and given its age there is a lot not including the new Great Hall, is on the vestry. A close personal friend of Fr Armstrong’s, a high-end real estate agent, is on the vestry. And did I forget to mention that one of the owners of the Nebraska bank with a 2.something million dollar loan to the church is also on the vestry? Where’s the hoi-polloi man on the street in the room?"

This may well be "business as usual" at a great many vestries, but it's interesting in this particular context. Also of interest in this context is Dr. Stampher's comment "I was born a sinner, repented and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1968 under Presbyterian minister, Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony."

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 3:52pm BST

Quack quack, quack quack, quack quack!

Posted by Frank at Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 6:02pm BST

Lapinbizarre - And just as a reminder - to round out the group, the local DA was also on the vestry up until two days before the vote to leave. He resigned after being shown the Church Attorney's brief on the Presentment.

Posted by C.B. at Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 6:24pm BST

Always happy to hear an anatine opinion.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 9:31pm BST

"I'm actually stunned that Minns is such a fool that he would involve himself and his new organization with the likes of Fr. Armstrong"

Minns is a clever man, and no fool. When he was in the Diocese of Va, the more strident and distasteful comments about +VGR and especially Bishop Lee came from staff, not Martyn. He then could write more in sorrow than in anger, the anger having been discharged by others.

I believe someone has posted that he and Armstrong are long time friends.

None the less, I expect Martyn has several backup plans ready should Armstrong be found guilty.

Of course, he may have started making contingency plans when he read the extraordinary technicolor Easter sermon.....

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 3:58am BST

This seam seemed close to mined-out, but "Witness", over at StandFirm, clearly a firsthand observer, has posted an additional nugget on the Grace Church vestry. ".... we’ve had no input into the Vestry for years. Nobody got upset when things we’re going good, and things were good. Things turn odd and we realize that there hasn’t been an honest vote in 15 years. The 3 candidates are selected by the 3 outgoing members and announced to the congregation the week before the annual meeting. Nothing is allowed from the floor." Incidentally, discussion of the Armstrong business over at StandFirm is, for the most part, pretty low-key and considered. Another poster noted that the Armstrong son and daughter, who were receiving "scholarship" money through last year, are "now in their mid-to-late twenties".

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 5:10am BST

Lapin, I bow to your judgement sir. I was thinking along a more Hippocratic line and that was the first word or six that came to mind.

Posted by Frank at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 5:55am BST

Quting a post from another place: "The 3 candidates are selected by the 3 outgoing members and announced to the congregation the week before the annual meeting. Nothing is allowed from the floor" Good grief! That's iincest! And I would bet in violation of Colorado's canons. I looked and could not find them on the Dio fo Colorado website - perhaps someone from that diocese who reads this could enligten us.

In my parish the outgoing vestry members are a 'nominations committee,' but their job is to find multiple candidates for the 4 positions that will need to be filled. Often it is the case that a small core group of parishioners serve on vestry and other bodies fairly often, but I can't remember a time when we've had an uncontested election, and nominations from the floor are always in order.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 11:28am BST

"In my parish the outgoing vestry members are a 'nominations committee,' but their job is to find multiple candidates for the 4 positions that will need to be filled."

I strongly expect that your experience is the exception and not the rule. Most parishes I know have exactly enough candidates to fill the available positions on the slate. Nominations from the floor are permitted, but rarely exercised.

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 4:01pm BST

For as long as I can remember at the church where I have spent my adulthood, we have had twice as many candidates for election as there are slots to fill. I sat on the nominations committee once, although I've never been on the vestry (I ran once and lost). As I recall, the principles we used for asking people to run were that they were active in the parish (e.g. committees or ministries) and were perceived to be responsible and available. We asked quite a few people who declined the honor of being nominated; being a vestry member is a lot of work.

I have to admit that I'm not entirely comfortable with vestry members selecting the candidates; too easy for the vestry to insulate itself from fresh viewpoints.

Posted by Ladytenor at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 4:29pm BST

ruldh - I think you're probably right. But most parishes don't have 2000 members or a vestry member who can arrange for a 2 million dollar loan at a bank either. I think the point is that Grace Church is large enough to have a vestry that provides the congregation with representative oversight and arms length transactions.

Posted by C.B. at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 5:06pm BST

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, StandFirm has another long post (20 paragraphs, by my count) from Don Armstrong. It begins with the observation that "the writing styles of certain people in my parish with which I am familiar make clear that although there are number of different names being used, we really have only a couple people posting/attacking—and a far greater number speaking in defense of reason and justice". The parking tickets and the $200 cable bill get full coverage. Still utter silence on the scholarships, Bowton and other, for the kids.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/2850/

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 7:26pm BST

"the writing styles of certain people in my parish with which I am familiar make clear..."

They're trying to sap and impurify his precious bodily fluids!

Posted by JPM at Monday, 23 April 2007 at 11:42pm BST

if he is found guilty, how many here will rejoice in his downfall?

how many are hoping he will be found guilty?

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 11:11am BST

NP,
"if he is found guilty, how many here will rejoice in his downfall?"

I seem to remember something about those without sin casting the first stone. Now where was it I read that?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 1:06pm BST

>>>Also of interest in this context is Dr. Stampher's comment "I was born a sinner, repented and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1968 under Presbyterian minister, Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony."

For those readers not familiar with the more radical expressions of U.S. Christianity, Rushdoony was the founder of the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which seeks to replace secular law with that of the Old Testament.

In other words, they advocate stoning disobedient children and the like. It's no exaggeration to say that the Reconstructionists are more or less the Christian equivalent of the Taliban.

One of the most prominent followers of Rushdoony is Howard Ahmanson, the bizarre California banking magnate who has very generously bankrolled the Anglo-Schismatics in the U.S. and elsewhere. He was until recently a big mover and shaker at St. James in Newport Beach, the Episcopal parish famous for signing up with the Ugandans and taking the property with it, and is still one of the Institute for Religion and Democracy's chief sugardaddies.*

It is a very, very big deal when someone in American religious circles advertises an association with Rushdoony.

Despite the "reasserter" side's carefully cultivated image of itself as simple, old-fashioned, cucumber-sandwich-munching Episcopalians dismayed at the hostile takeover of their church by old hippies, communists, mincing fairies, and hairy-legged dykes, the truth is that many of these people are quite radical, no more Anglican than Mullah Omar.

*Interestingly enough, the rector of St. James, viewed as the conquering hero by the schismatics, had to resign from his post just last week for behaving inappropriately with "an adult female parishioner."

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 1:59pm BST

how many are hoping he will be found guilty?

I hope no-one.

What good would it do anyone ?

What an ordeal, for him, this already must be.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 2:36pm BST

NP. I believe that very few on this site would rejoice in Armstrong's guilt, which, viewed by the outside world, would reflect far more widely than his immediate circle. "Hate the sin but love the sinner" would, as I recall, be the appropriate mantra for such situations?

Innocent or guilty, he and his supporters were running a three ring circus over at StandFirm yesterday evening (URL above). In the course of it, Fr. Armstrong personally re-christened me "Mr. Bizarrelips". I like my new name and may well adopt it ("Lèvresbizarres"?) for the occasional blog excursion.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 2:40pm BST

Are we to assume, Lapin, that Fr Armstrong is therefore an Anabaptist?

Posted by cryptogram at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 3:59pm BST

I kinda like 'Mr. Bizarrelips'. But could you shorten it to something like 'bizlips'? I mean 'lapinbizarre' and 'Mr. Bizarrelips' are killing (as in WMD) my wpm.
cheers

Posted by Frank at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 4:21pm BST

I am outraged that an honourable rabbit should be abused in this way but glad the rabbit likes the new name!!!!

I am afraid the man is guilty of abuse of funds for scholarships but I really hope, for the sake of the gospel alone, that he is not guilty

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 5:16pm BST

Can anyone voice an honest concern about Rev. Armstrong's well being without being accused of trying to hurt him in some way. After reading his comments on various threads (yesterdays on SF was particularly troubling), his letters, his sermons, and his radio talk, anyone with any distance from this situation (and I am not saying I do) would at least have to be a little concerned, not to disparage his remarks, but to actually be worried for him.

Posted by C.B. at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 6:01pm BST

I am certainly concerned C.B., which is why I dropped off the SF site yesterday evening. I was obviously serving as a red rag to a bull and it seemed clear that my sticking around was serving no purpose, other than to get easily wound-up folks pretty wound-up. It was also being used to deflect attention from serious questions. I was glad that you and a few of others stuck around anyway ("Witness" is an interesting contributor,isn't he/she?), and managed to do so without arousing quite the same animosity. Maybe "C.B." is less annoying to folks than bizarre bunnies? On the bright side, it's encouraging how many of those folks have some basic French.

I do think that the StandFirm site has made a useful contribution this past couple of days to understanding Grace Church.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 24 April 2007 at 9:17pm BST

Is it possible that the best thing for Father Armstrong's eternal soul is that he be found guilty?

Posted by Walkerhound at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:11am BST

CB - I have voiced lots of concerns about his behaviour and said he should be fired if found guilty - the difference between my comments and some others is that I am not gloating about his pre-judged guilt and I am still hoping that he does not fall (since I do not have all the facts to convict the man)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 12:01pm BST

Paul Asay reports on his blog that the diocese has served Armstrong notice that he is subject to an Episcopal trial. He has until May 10th to respond. The trial might not be held for three months. Armstrong's spokesperson indicates that Armstrong intends to be a no-show in which case the diocese would have to decide whether to try him in absentia or go forward with a civil suit.

The vestry is having an independent forensic audit performed the results of which they hope to have presented to the church before the May 20th vote.

Amongst all the other things previously discussed, I would think a good number of congregants would want to at least have the results of the vestry audit, if not the trial, before voting. Just to have a better understanding of who is leading them, where and why. BTJM

Posted by C.B. at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:13am BST

Does anyone have any information about the Grace Foundation and the Carey Trust (the names may be not quite right) that used to be on the Grace Church website masthead along with the ACI, the John Jay Institute, and St. Stephen's School/Classical Academy? They just kind of disappeared into thin air sometime since the first of the year, I believe.

Carmen

Posted by Carmen at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 8:35pm BST

C.B. - Are you sure that the vestry is having an independent audit? The way I read it they are themselves auditing the books for the last 3 years with help from Fr. Armstrong. Also I note that Bishop Minns is having an audit done, which I hope will be independent. Anthony

Posted by Anthony W at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 10:03pm BST

I see that Asay has clarified his post in Faith at Altitude to make clear that there is an independent audit firm "involved" in the Grace and St. Stephen's audit. I put the word in quotes to indicate that it would cover a range of possible scopes of audit activity. Anyway, it's reassuring.

Posted by Anthony W at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 12:45am BST

>>>Armstrong's spokesperson indicates that Armstrong intends to be a no-show in which case the diocese would have to decide whether to try him in absentia or go forward with a civil suit.

Does it have to be just one or the other? Why not do both, and also send the results of the audit to the I.R.S.? They generally get pretty interested when people conceal more than a half-million dollars of income.

Posted by JPM at Sunday, 29 April 2007 at 4:29pm BST
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