Comments: Colorado Springs: church court hearing

I am very tempted to become a conservative orthodox on-going Episcopalian and thus to witness against the errors of TEC. It all seems so warm, inviting, rational and fulfilling ...

.... and to think all I have to do is leave my partner of 30 odd years and become celibate and lonely....

A winning combination that.

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 10:42am BST

The conservative orthodox leadership is fragmenting. Ephram Radner resigned yesterday from the Anglican Communion Network. His resignation and explanation are here:

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/4770/

If I'm not mistaken he was buds with Armstrong from Colorado Springs. I don't know if he's still in Pueblo (near Colorado Springs) but it seems there has been a new dilution in wing-nut leadership.

Posted by Curtis at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 1:17pm BST

L Roberts - do you think there is any money in such a move?

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 2:00pm BST

Well....I hope he is not guilty of theft or fraud.....but if he is, he should certainly not be in ministry (after all, we would not want people in ministry who do not repent of their sin, would we....?)

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 4:07pm BST

And if he dipped into the till, shouldn't he make restitution, NP?

Of course, Don Armstrong went mountain bike riding rather than answer the charges brought against him yesterday.

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 7:49pm BST

I doubt it Pluralist.

It would be a total act of overwhelming masochism. But the american 'conservatives' seem to be replete with masochism --if yesterday's events are anything to go by.

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 7:52pm BST

"after all, we would not want people in ministry who do not repent of their sin, would we....?)"

You need to become aware of sin before you can repent. For most of us, that's a life long ongoing process. I suppose that means no-one should ever be ordained....

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 8:51pm BST

"L Roberts - do you think there is any money in such a move?"

Pluralist - depends on whether you get a decent divorce settlement from your Civil Partnership....

At least you don't have to worry about broken hearts. It's not love, after all, it's only sinful sex.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 8:53pm BST

Armstrong says that this court has no jurisdiction over him.

I wonder if he feels the same way about the Internal Revenue Service?

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 10:35pm BST

Surely. That's why all this wining about "taking (real) Christians to civil courts".

They want immunity, some of them need immunity.

Anarchy. A Polish Parliament.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 6:20am BST

Erika - no, people who repent of their sins are worthy of ordination.....those who say their sin is somehow exempt and the bible can be ignored on certain points, they are not worthy....not my creation but the clear position of the church even if it has been plagued by weak and duplicitous leaders who have not enforced it.

....and to become aware of our sins, we do not need to gaze at our navels, we have the bible......just ignoring what it says is sin because we have not come to a realisation which agrees with it is not a strong position.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 8:36am BST

It is the lawlessness and break-down of authority that concerns me. especially when it comes from those who had seemed most pro-authority. But who then reject it when it applies to themselves.

The way the authority of TEC has been fauted is really an own goal for the so-called 'conservatives' (who are nothing of the sort when it comes to the Canons and procedures of their own Church). They undermine all authority by their words and actions, including the very notion of lawful authority itself.

The AC by contrast has no authority,save moral authority--- the ACC does have more structural authority than most of the AC which is mainly informal --even the meetings of primates in informal and has no canonical basis--no authority.

The various small ecclesial groups like ACN., ACI, CANA etc etc., have undermined themselves, by their treatment of TEC and its authority structures. Especially s TEC's consultation, and decision-making processes are so wide-ranging and diffuse. So set up with checks and balances.

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 10:23am BST

L Roberts - you are right, most of us in the AC do not think TEC's rules and procedures are as important as scripture.......the questions is not what are TEC's rules or "polity"....but were they right or wrong in 2003 to ignore the pleas of the AC and go ahead with an action which directly contradicts an agreed position of the AC (let alone the bible)


If they were wrong, most in the AC want that recognised for the sake of order and unity in the AC

Posted by NP at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 12:46pm BST

NP
It's about motes and specks of dust in people's eyes. We do find it incredibly difficult to recognise the sin in ourselves and do not make the connection with what the bible says on those issues where we have our own blind spots. Becoming aware of our sins is a life long process.

It's slow, it's painful and it requires a huge amount of trust in God's love to guide us through it without becoming either blase or crushed by our increasing awareness.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 1:02pm BST

"were they right or wrong in 2003 to ignore the pleas of the AC and go ahead with an action which directly contradicts an agreed position of the AC (let alone the bible)"

And why is it that this so provokes your anger? Don't say it's because you don't approve of those who go against Scripture or fudge away its teachings. That is simply self delusion on your part. You ignore all the times this is pointed out to you. You willfully ignore in yourself of the very things you accuse others of. You insist on compliance to a Law you yourself do not observe, you dismiss as "fudge" the same kinds of arguments that support issues with which you have no quarrel, you dismiss the faith of anyone who doesn't follow your particular understanding of Scripture, you even deny history to justify your style of Christianity, as though you believe acknowledging its relatively recent origins makes it invalid. You defend unChristian behaviour in those who support your narrow legalism. Your arguments thus carry no force. It is not that they are necessarily wrong, just that your smug judgemental spiritual arrogance is pretty much the opposite of the Gospel you claim to follow.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 2:13pm BST

Ford, my problem with Armstrong if he is guilty is that he would not be fit to be a church leader according to scripture....the same scriptures apply to VGR

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 11:53am BST

Armstrong, if he is guilty, does not deserve to be a minister.....

It is just nonsense to say "don't judge because none of us are perfect"

Erika / Ford - even people who are sinful in other ways are entitled to a view.

Pls read 1 Cor 5:12 - we do have the right to judge the fitness of Armstrong....and anyone who would be a leader.

(In fact, reading all of 1 Corinthians might be a good idea because this idea that we must never make any judgments is just not biblical (let alone common sense))

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 2:02pm BST

Surely the point of a proper disciplinary process is to restore the person as far as possible to wholeness. If Fr. Armstrong is guilty, then the goal of any disciplinary action should be less about punishment than about restoring relationships.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 4:30pm BST

"Surely the point of a proper disciplinary process is to restore the person as far as possible to wholeness."

Hmmmm. I wonder if that's true. the purpose of the sacrament of reconciliation is to do that. The purpose of a pastoral relationship is to do that. And one hopes that Fr. Armstrong is getting that kind of pastoral care. (Though I suspect he isn't.)

The point of a disciplinary process is to protect the church from scandal. It's not hard to see defrocking as appropriate for theft and fraud on the scale that Fr. Armstrong stands accused of committing. I don't think you can really turn this around and criticize the diocese for taking action against a priest who likely stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a parish over the period of a decade.

Posted by ruidh at Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 9:49pm BST

I was not arguing against punishment for offences. And "defrocking" may well be an appropriate punishment in the particular case.

However, discipline is about making (and restoring) disciples. While punishment can (and sometimes should) be part of the process, it is not the point of the process.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 11:04pm BST
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