Comments: South Carolina bishop makes proposals

As some on the Episcopal Café site note, it would seem to be impossible to remain a part of the Episcopal Church and simultaneously "withdraw[ing] from all bodies of governance of TEC that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture..."--which in Bishop Lawrence's view clearly means the actions taken at last month's General Convention.

That seems to mean withdrawing from GC itself. If you don't accept the governing power of GC, I don't see how you can be part of the Episcopal Church.

And how kind of him to "give space" to those parishes not ready to take this step. I hope that means he intends to leave the real Episcopal Diocese with all its property while he goes on to lead something else entirely...but I doubt it.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:31am BST

This man is really good. Not overreacting, but working to stay true to his theology and convictions. Agree with him or not, it seems a balanced and thoughtful approach.

Posted by harvardman at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:44am BST

No worries, mates. The good bishop, when initially lacking the necessary consents for consecration, clearly stated he intends to stay in The Episcopal Church, and, such assurances having been received and believed, proceed to secure those consents. It's all here in writing:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/2507/

Can anyone doubt he is a man of his word? I thought not. Carry on!

Posted by William at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:50am BST

It certainly seems as though Lawrence's first "Guiding Principle," although entitled "The Lordship of Jesus Christ and the Sufficiency of Holy Scripture," is really more clearly pinpointed in the following paragraph:

"When the ordinand pledges himself to '… solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.' and variations thereof, 'in accordance to the canons of this Church…' does that imply adherence to these recent resolutions of GC’09? The Standing Committee and I are proposing a resolution for Convention to approve the reading of a letter prior to the spoken vow, and attached with the signed document of conformity, at every ordination in this diocese, thereby making clear what the Church has historically meant by such an oath"

Does Lawrence really mean, "Although I vowed to follow the 'doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church,' only *I* get to decide what that means" ?

How long until South Carolina presents us with the Orwell-like formulation that in fact it is TEC that is not in conformity with TEC?

Posted by Neel Smith at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:33am BST

Sad. Another leader that thinks that they can get closer to Christ by buying into bigotry and dividing the church. Pathetic.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:38am BST

Here we go again... o_O

Lord have mercy!

God bless the Episcopal Church!

Posted by JCF at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 2:25am BST

Nice try, Mark. Unfortunately, abandoning the communion of the church is still abandonment no matter how cleverly you try to couch it. Fortunately, Mark Lawrence's episcopate will be a short one after he is inhibited and deposed by +KJS.

Posted by pete at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 3:15am BST

Interesting that Mark Lawrence uses Nazir-Ali, Wright and Williams in his arguments.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 6:18am BST

It is interesting to note, on Father Jakes blog, that Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina only secured his episcopal office (after 2 tries) on his assurance that he was determined to keep his diocese within the ranks of TEC.

What he seems now to be doing, wuith his charge to his diocese, seems similar to the tactics of former Bishops Iker and Schofield - repudiating his assurance that he would be a loyal bishop in TEC by opening up the possibility of allying himself and his diocese with the dissidents of ACNA, who have removed themselves and their diocesan structures from the TEC fold.

It would seem good for TEC to step in here and do what it can to reduce the damage - before it happens. It could summon Bishop Lawrence before the Bishop's Conference, asking him to either re-affirm his loyalty to TEC or resign his post. Is this a possibility within the structures of TEC, or would it require some more subtle strategy to get rid of this viper from the Church's bosom?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 6:42am BST

There are very few semi-detached houses in America.

I think bishop lawrence realises the disaster that is going to culminate in San Joaquin, Quincy, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh..once the cash and buildings go.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 7:51am BST

The TEC Bishop of South Carolina, Dr. Lawrence, speaks of those who 'think' they are Gay or Lesbian. Does Dr. Williams now realise the looseness of his own language about 'life-style choices' and where that leads. The only people who choose are those who choose to be heterosexual when they are naturally homosexual or vice versa.

And I echo the sentiments of so many before me about how the TEC Bishop of South Carolina secured the confirmation of his election. If he is to chide General Convention about the brevity of its self imposed discretion, he should measure it against his own observance of promised intentions.

Posted by Commentator at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 8:57am BST

I have not put Lawrence's "promises"- made prior to his approval by TEC as the SC Bishop- under a microscope recently but,as I recollect, they were couched in terms that allowed him to recant if things TEC did were unacceptable to him.
I both laughed and cried when I read his "promises" then so I am not at all surprised - indeed expected - this. Unfortunately, his strategy is quite intelligent and Machiavellian so I suspect the legal and PR battle to be worse in SC than elsewhere.
Finally, this is a further indication of the sociological basis of so much of this battle centering around the attitudes of rebelliousness and clannishness imported into the USA from the border regions of Scotland/England and Northern Ireland so many years ago and that are so different from other regions of the USA that were settled from other regions of the UK.
Fort Sumter has been fired on again only SC did not fire first this time.

Posted by ettu at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:14pm BST

I should clarify one thing in my previous post. My comments regarding the "rebelliousness and clannishness" of the regions in question were not intended as a slur or to insult anyone but are a cold blooded and scientific assessment of the areas in question . This is not to take anything away from the positive qualities of the area - there is a strength and a love of family there that I have often observed first hand -- nevertheless with unbridled strength comes risks and we ae seeing that downside here.
I believe the Anglican communion wil be well served by using as many "lenses" as possible to evaluate happenings in the USA and I have not seen the sociological lens used much.. I hope I have added something to the process by opening the discussion a bit to this aspect of American life. I do not imagine UK and world wide readers are fully aware of such important nuances.

Posted by ettu at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 12:43pm BST

"Agree with him or not, it seems a balanced and thoughtful approach."

Really? Well, let's see. He is suggesting the diocese withdraw from all TEC structures that

"have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture"

yet, by virtue of associating with whatever the current acronym is for "his side", his diocese and he have "assented" to lies, slander, and misrepresentation about gay people, to unjust imprisonment and persecution of gay people, and slander and lies directed against those he judges less pure than himself. These are, I assume you agree, "contrary to Holy Scripture". This is besides the more "traditional" departures from Holy Scripture, like usury and remarriage after divorce. It also doesn't address the issue that "his side" also falsely presents themselves as persecuted, which constitutes bearing false witness. So, far from being balanced, I see it as one sided, self justificatory, and hypocritical. I guess it all depends on what you consider to be Church breaking sin and what is merely ignorable pecadillos.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:11pm BST

And this coming from a state whose Republican governor got caught jet-setting to Argentina with a mistress, the wife just moved out of the governor's mansion in Columbia, due to her disgust with him, but he still holds on to his position as he "tries to reconciles his shortcomings".

What's truly sad is that the region is dynamic, growing and a logistical focal point for the southeastern U.S. I was privileged to ring for an absent tenor soloist in a famous church in Charleston, while working a shipyard deck officer job just to the north, so this hits personally. A shame that a man can promise something to get consecrated, then renege when things don't go his way at general convention.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:26pm BST

Did anyone really believe Lawrence's promises?

I'm surprised it took him this long to contradict them.

Posted by JPM at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:56pm BST

Ettu has a real point. The sociological aspect of the TEC "wars" ought to have been brought to the fore much sooner.

It is true that wars don't start until or unless someone, somewhere, has an interest in fanning the normal differences and disagreements into angry polarization and, finally, violence. Still, over and over again, the same people in the same places are involved in these civil disturbances.

Angry South Carolinians burned down Catholic convents long before they fired on Ft. Sumter or tried to bring down TEC.

Western Pennsylvanians fought the Federal government in George Washington's time. Now they threaten and shout down Sen. Arlen Spector at his town hall meeting. In between, they back +Bob Pittsburgh and ACNA.

The citrus belt counties that now make up the Diocese of Central Florida not long ago led the nation in lynchings, but their (ahem) "interesting" viewpoints were kept in check as long as they were part of a larger diocese that included Miami and S. Florida. Once they were able to split off and form their own diocese -- well, we see the results in Bishop John Howe.

The right-wing Washington Times now hopes to destroy Obama's health care reform through rumors about "government death panels" it helped to fabricate, but a few years ago, its reporters were busy puffing Martyn Minns and denouncing TEC.

And so it goes. What surprises me is the naive credulousness Lambeth Palace displays toward the far-right perpetrators of these orchestrated attacks. ++Rowan Williams must believe that the town-hall mobs are honest citizens expressing their personal opinions.

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 2:44pm BST

If I read him right, I understand he is saying that "(...) Withdraw[ing] from all bodies of governance of TEC" will mean to withdraw elected members (if any) from Executive Council and/or CCABs, refraining to send deputies/alternates to GC, do not continue giving to the General Budget and, for himself, may be, stop attending the HOB meetings. It is a shame, because no one can say "I have no need of you." However, none of those are canonical/constitutional offenses, and no one can be forced to attend meetings against their will. Further, he will not breaching his promises. This is the same position that some Dioceses took (Quincy,... ?) I believe. And there are quite a few bishops that for years didn't show up at the HOB meetings.

Thomas+

Posted by Thomas+ at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 3:13pm BST

I would agree with Thomas+ that in this there is nothing that would result in a presentment (allegation of malfeasance). In fact, there's nothing in this that violates what he said before his finalized election, as long as when he leaves he and anyone following him leave as individuals, and not as institutional entities (as, for example, the Bishop Steenson, previous of Rio Grande, who resigned *before* taking his steps to swim the Tiber).

That said, I think someone ought to send him the Executive Summary of the recent report of the American Psychological Association that states explicitly the results of research that being gay or lesbian is not about "belief." (Start at http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/sexuality/apa_say_no_to_reparative_thera.html.) We have a genius, we Anglicans, of appropriating new knowledge because, since we see God moving sacramentally in our world, we see all knowledge as God's, even if it's new to us. Perhaps appropriating this would help - even though it runs counter to "2000 years" of received teaching.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 4:38pm BST

Look, Bishop L is being clear as far as .....

He's obviously keeping his options open for now, and above all keeping his powder dry.

The clear things right now include:

(1) buying whole hog into spin doctor repeats of the (mis)-readings the conservative realignment is using as high justifications for their fundamentalist Anglican power grab. (See Martin Marty's work at Chicago U., about global fundamentalisms in major world religions. Marty's work helps spell out, just what this fundamentalism is, along with its aims and patterns as a global surge movement.)

What is being read and spun is less important than that the misreading and spin all point in the bishop's favor. Reasonable, per modern best scholarship and best pratices tool kits? Ah, well, ... not so much.

(2) L is starting to follow through on his Puritan commitments, and little of any of that is very much of a surprise. Hence, the close questioning of his intentions during the drawn out consents to his election, in the first place. It is clear that L is already in conversation with whomever he regards as key figures behind his scenes, so that he feels backed up in what he decides to do next.

(3) For starters, testing the rules, he will just start having his own separate life - apart from what he regards as dirty TEC stuff. Don't expect him to be hanging out in dirty-smelly TEC venues, then. Nor sending representatives who after all, represent him and/or the diocese, to speak or associate in those venues. Has he signed an Advance Directive for Healthcare, making it clear that he prohibits being CPRd by a queer EMT worker, no matter what? Supermarket tabloid reporters wanna know.

(4) A lot depends on just exactly how the covenant plus signing shakes out. If exiting conservative dioceses all around the world can be recognized as signatory first track members - Canterbury talks about that being an open door, but framed it as more of a question? - then L will very likely sign up on first track, then immediately use the new covenant structures to press his claim that his diocese is an independent Anglican entity which just happened for a passing while to affiliate as a diocese of TEC. This can then be spin doctored in court as needed given circumstances and legal harangues about law interpretation-apps.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 7:11pm BST

"That said, I think someone ought to send him the Executive Summary of the recent report of the American Psychological Association that states explicitly the results of research that being gay or lesbian is not about "belief." "

I doubt it would do any good. Let's see what happens about property. Either he is convinced that the APA is controled by homos, in which case this is a waste of time OR it's really all about money and property and power, in which case this would be a waste of time.

I put my money on the latter. We'll see.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 7:15pm BST

Well now I've had a few more moments to read beyond the excerpts, and the whole of Bishop Ls address is worth your attention, posted on the diocesan website.

I must say, after reading his whole statement, I'm even more deeply perplexed than when I read the excerpts. It would no doubt be an instructive way of digging deeper into these gnarly matters, just to juxtapose Martin Marty's historical-analytic study of fundamentalism next to the bishop's address.

I think we would find it all there. The rigid complexities of gospel life as a set of rules to be followed. The presupposition of domination, control, top down authorities, and of course the implicit subtext of all that, a very muscular manly measuring up. The stark boundaries, inside is inside, and outside is outside.

How clearly Bishop L is caught in the net, then.

He glimpses that something is off, when believers use queer folks for nasty target practice. Dimly, he teeters on the brink, almost getting how queer folks and straight folks face similar goods and bads in life. Bishop L wants us to pity the Poor Queers. Not bash them. My guess? He will be most comfortable with queer folks who are needy.

Sexually broken. Down. Out.

What will rub him raw, fast?

Queer folks, thriving, in all out typical daily life goods.

Productive at work, safe at home with a beloved, parenting dear children, participating in the neighborhood and wider community - those are just the sort of queer folks the Bishop fails to comprehend as real people.

(If straight pairbonds fail, the heterosexuals either should have worked harder; or were a bad match from early on. If queer pairbonds fail, what can you expect, they're queer for goodness sake?)

I am guessing the Bishop will get pretty raw, pretty fast - if/when he is ever faced up close and personal with queer folks (and allies) who frankly celebrate those daily life goods. And, gasp, wish to offer up common prayers and praises together to God, for just those blessings.

Then, like the rest of the going conservative Anglican realignment, Bishop L will need his targets, his enemies after all – just one more big time.

We're blessed, if we live in a western democracy where queer folks and allies are not forced to live down to the bad faith expectations of Bishop L. Prejudice, not revelation truth, not gospel.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 8:46pm BST

"And this coming from a state ..."

Proverbial wisdom about SC:

Too small to be its own country; too big to be its own insane asylum.

South Carolinians are like the ancient Chinese: they eat rice and worship their ancestors.

North Carolina: a valley of humility between two mountains of conceit. [VA where I live and SC]

In fact, much is good about the state these days, as others have noted. And low country cooking is to die for. She-crab soup ... shrimp ... mmmmmmm!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 9:42pm BST

I don't remember where SC fell in the debate back at the Revolution about whether our church should have bishops but I suspect they were aligned with Virginia, which opposed bishops but finally relented. I also seem to remember reading that SC was settled by second and third sons of Cavaliers and Hugenots by way of the Caribbean, rather than immigrants from the British border lands who settled upstate NY, western PA, and the Appalachian regions, and then spread out from Indiana down to Texas. I do think that this is an interesting idea that the border culture of Britain was transplanted and shows up in the culture along the Appalachian spine of the East and the areas it fed. It is certainly plausible that the clannish and independent culture of the border regions got into the DNA of dioceses like Albany, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Springfield, Western Kansas, Texas, etc. and is still having an impact. Of course, that theory would not hold water if the families that became Episcopalians do not match up with the border country descendants. Anyway, it is an interesting theory.

Posted by Jim Cowan at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 12:18am BST

After readings all the comments, I am still wondering whether the House of Bishops deem Bp. Lawrencee's remarks to be in any way inflammatory and worthy of corrective discipline? In other words, what can be done with this troublesome cleric before he does more damage to the Church?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 1:19am BST

"Western Pennsylvanians fought the Federal government in George Washington's time. Now they threaten and shout down Sen. Arlen Spector at his town hall meeting. In between, they back +Bob Pittsburgh and ACNA."

Whoa Charlotte, I don't tell many of this, but I came from "copperhead" country in eastern Ohio.

As I said about South Carolina, Western PA was (and to some extent still is) a great historical example of the great beginnings of industry in the U.S. Pittsburgh early on transformed itself from a pollution-ridden city to a model of clean air years before the EPA was heard of. With institutions such as Carnege-Mellon and a landscape many of us would die to live in (there are few places as beautiful as the Laurel Ridge outside of Latrobe/Greensburg) it's a shame that the Diocese there was taken hostage by whackos from an upstart seminary down the river in an old company town named after American Bridge.

And although I'm not a Texan, I should think much could be said about Ft. Worth, along with the Great Central Valley of California.

Let's be careful about what we say of the regions that just happen to have bad bishops, and keep in mind that there are plenty of good Anglicans who aren't obsessed with gay-bashing their fellow Christians living in these fine places.

Now Cynthia will probably understand this joke...do you suppose +Mark Lawrence is a S. O. B.? It's an old Charleston joke.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 2:09am BST

"Did anyone really believe Lawrence's promises?"

I did. At least, I *wanted* to.

I'm an optimist. At least, I'd *like* to be.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 2:30am BST

Having just watched a video of 'Anglican TV''s take on a meeting of AAC Bishops (with people like David Virtue asking the questions) after the definitive statements of TEC at GC2009, I must say I was highly impressed with the measured responses of Bishop Love (Albany), who when asked whether he would want to take his diocese out of TEC, said that this was not, nor would be, his intention. What he was intent on doing was to remain faithful to what he interpreted to be the 'Great Commission, but remaining within TEC.

He also said that we should not mistake the fact that homosexuals are to be respected as children of God, but that, like anyone else, they needed to beware of engaging in sexual actions which are contrary to the teaching of the Church. (At least, he was NOT saying that being Gay, per se, is being in a state of sin. That's something!

He sounded very different from the vociferous Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, who, in answer to another question, stated that TEC was already in a state of schism from the Anglican Communion, citing Abp. Akinola as one of the leading lights in the Communion opposing LGBT and same-sex unions, and the Anglican Primate most dedicated to the Gospel.

I felt that Bishop Love was a sincere Bishop and Pastor of the Church, but could not say the same for +Springfield, whose readiness to fall in with David Virtue's selected topics of discussion , seemed to me to be at odds with his episcopal vocation.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 3:58am BST

"Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina only secured his episcopal office (after 2 tries) on his assurance that he was determined to keep his diocese within the ranks of TEC"

Didn't work with our Standing Committee and, believe me, we spent literally hours discussing whether or not to grant consent to the election. Ultimately, pre-election writings spoke the future: it seemed highly likely that down the line, he'd bolt TEC.

Posted by Lee at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 4:55am BST

"Now Cynthia will probably understand this joke...do you suppose +Mark Lawrence is a S. O. B.? It's an old Charleston joke."

South of Broad [a street name] but can't remember whether this is good or bad!

Jim Cowen reminds me of an excellent book about the results in the U.S. of where immigrants from various places in the British Isles landed. The title is "Albion's Seed." I don't remember the author. It's quite interesting.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 15 August 2009 at 11:31pm BST

'He is suggesting the diocese withdraw from all TEC structures that

"have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture"'

OK, this is not a rhetorical question. I don't know the answer; I'm not looking for a "gotcha". Maybe Bp Lawrence has a consistent answer to my question, in which case I'm happy to honor him for his integrity, even if I disagree with him otherwise:

Does anyone know what Bp Lawrence's position is on remarriage after divorce? Would his diocese withdraw from that practice as well? It's very clearly contrary to Holy Scripture -- Dominical words on top of everything. I could see allowing divorce -- after repentance and forgiveness for the sin -- but I can't see allowing second marriages to stand, since the previously married partner is still one flesh with his or her first spouse. And it's not like all of Christendom is with us on this one.

What else is the diocese of SC going to withdraw from as they drift away from TEC?

Posted by MarkP at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 12:36am BST

Question: I visit so called Liberal blogs and conservative blogs and this is what I 'v noticed and don't fully appreciate the significance of it.

On the more conservative blogs; they really seem to argue among themselves about the significance of a position: example + Wrights comments on TEC's Gencon. I read every conceivable interpretation of his postions (from right on the mark; to he 's way off base). On this blog and those similar to it. + Wright was just way off base. I'm not saying that I don't notice common assumption on those blogs, but it seems to me there are a more diverse set of arguments getting tossed around. Does anyone have an explanation of why that might be so? This is not a rhetorical question.

Posted by Edward Craig at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 2:42am BST

Billy D werote: ""Did anyone really believe Lawrence's promises?"

I did. At least, I *wanted* to.

I'm an optimist. At least, I'd *like* to be."

Maybe you need to be more careful in the future...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 5:55am BST

Cynthia Gilliat et alii - "Albion's Seed" is by Fischer --- South of Broad depends on your point of view - the family I am well acquainted with from SOB is excellent - we spent some time prowling that area's cemeteries, including the Huguenot one, recently. Huguenots were part of that region but not dominant just as the Dutch were part of but did not dominate the Hudson region. PS is this too much Americana for the Brits?

Posted by ettu at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 12:38pm BST

"it seems to me there are a more diverse set of arguments getting tossed around. Does anyone have an explanation of why that might be so?"

Might it be your perception? It is easy to read one's perception into what people are blogging. For instance, I get on conservative blogs, and what I read is deep fear focused at the "Evil Liberals". To read some blogs, you'd swear they believe there is an army made up of lesbians, gays, feminists, child molestors, and other assorted "liberals" right outside of town armed and on their way to burn everything down shouting "Death to Christians!"

There is also incredible hatred of the other, accompanied by massive self delusion. The situation I described above is NOT sarcasm. The profound misunderstandings of things like gay issues and the out and out lies that many on conservative blogs accept as truth, and not only about gay people, are astounding. An example of this is the conservative American attitude to Canadian styl;e health care. SOme of the things these people believe about health care in Canada are hilarious! It isn't only here that I have gathered evidence of conservative fear and hatred of non-conservatives.

Now, you see things quite differently, so how much of this huge difference between us is real, and how much of it is just our natural inclinations making us interpret things in specific ways? For instance, I can't remember ever seeing on a conservative blog any acknowledgment whatsoever that homosexuality is anything but a chosen perversion. Neither have I ever read a conservative even suggest that perhaps some of what passes for "persecution" of conservatives in TEC is actually justified in response to some particularly nasty behaviour by conservatives. I think this is largely because the selfjustification of the persecution myth makes it practically Gospel Truth for most conservatives.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 1:10pm BST

Mark Lawrence is a native Californian.

Surf's up, dude!

In fairness to him, he does recognize that it is hypocritical to hammer GLBT people nonstop while treating divorce as a mere faux pas:

We are approaching this whole GLBT issue as if it is in a vacuum, rather than in the whole context of human sexuality. And I think that until we, as a Church began to deal with our own compromises we will always come across as somewhat hypocritical to the world and to those who press its agenda.

When we recognize that the divorce level among evangelicals and godly Christians is at the same level (almost) as the rest of the world;* when we recognize the pervasiveness within the church of those who tinker with this or that in terms of sexual compromise – the things they allow themselves to engage with in terms of computers or television – we are in need of a profound repentance. [We must recognize] that we can not keep putting forward this standard for gay and lesbian people and allow ourselves to live in such profound compromise ourselves.

http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2009/08/other-shoe-drops-mark-lawrence-on.html

* Actually, the divorce level among fundamentalist Christians is higher than in the larger society.

Posted by JPM at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 1:14pm BST

"Maybe you need to be more careful in the future..."

Maybe. They do say that a pessimist is never disappointed.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 1:33pm BST

"Albion's Seed" was written by David Hackett Fischer. Don't mention Fischer around Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia), who is proud of his Borderer/"Scotch-Irish" ancestry and has written a book to confute what he regards as Fischer's slurs. Actually, I don't read Fischer as slamming the Borderers particularly; he's pretty evenhanded with his praise and blame across all four of the British root cultures, but the Borderers seem to have taken his book particularly hard. (New Englanders like myself just made notes in the margins.)

What intrigues me, though, is the thought that the very groups who believe they are doing battle with the culture for the sake of the True Gospel (TM) are in fact expressing their culture by doing battle with "lib'ruls." I do think the opposition are every bit as culture-bound as they claim the full-inclusion groups are.

Posted by Charlotte at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 6:21pm BST

Thank you Ford,

I actually read your comments on Anglican Left. I'm always challeged by your perceptions

Peace,
Edward

Posted by Edward Craig at Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 10:48pm BST

B. Lawrence is welcome to take his folks and go. The rest of us here in SC will pick up the pieces and carry on.

KC
Charleston

Posted by KC at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 12:11am BST

"On this blog and those similar to it. + Wright was just way off base. I'm not saying that I don't notice common assumption on those blogs, but it seems to me there are a more diverse set of arguments getting tossed around. Does anyone have an explanation of why that might be so? This is not a rhetorical question." - Edward Craig -

Perhaps, Edward, We 'liberals' tend to unite on the value of freedom in the Gospel; whereas as the 'conservative' bloggers are intent on showing us how wrong we are.

Liberals tend to be just that - liberal towards one another's different views, while still seeking to make our particular point. For instance on the issue of gays and women in the Church, we may have different ways of viewing how best to bring about their affirmation - while yet agreeing that the end result is more important than the means of achieving that end.

If you look on the blog about the appointment of a Candadian woman to the newly-constituted role of 'Unity, Faith and Order' Facilitator, you will find arguments from those disposed to outright affirmation of the fact that a woman, who is also from the Anglican Church of Canada; challenged by those who argue from the perspective of the fact that her appointment may just be a ruse to allow the ABC to get on side with the Canadian Church - in order to keep it within the covenantal fold of Canterbury. Liberals have always been known to be more liberal than conservatives.

In other words, Edward, most of us want to be seen as truly 'Thinking Anglicans', mostly liberal, yes, but not devoid of intellectual or moral rigour.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 3:46am BST

"My hope and prayer is that those orthodox Anglicans within TEC and those orthodox Anglicans who have departed to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will be able to work charitably together for the good of the global communion. The orthodoxy of the entire Anglican Communion is now at stake. TEC is pressing its false gospel overseas, and trying to keep the Archbishop of Canterbury in a state of paralysis. It is time for all the orthodox Anglicans in North America, Canadians and Americans together, to work with the orthodox Anglicans represented by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) Primates' Council, and with Dr. Williams if he is willing, to build a stronger, more cohesive, orthodox Anglican Communion that will be able to challenge the culture, the religion-of-the-day, and indeed Islam itself with the pure and convincing Gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord help us to discover our fellowship in that common goal. - The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr., President and CEO, American Anglican Council -

This recent letter - published by 'Virtue-on-line' - to all 'orthodox' Anglicans in TEC (including Bp. Lawrence) would seem to show a need for concerted action from conservative TEC clergy and others to join some sort of group to bring pressure to bear on the ABC and the ACC to recognise them and ACNA as a power base within the Communion.

I wonder what Bp. Lawrence's reaction will be to this invitation to open schism from TEC?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 7:11am BST

"to build a stronger, more cohesive, orthodox Anglican Communion that will be able to challenge the culture, the religion-of-the-day, and indeed Islam itself"

What? "Islam itself"? That's a rather odd thing to say. Referring to something "Itself" is a discourse strategy that serves to focus attention on something already assumed to exist in the universe of discourse, not unlike definite articles. So, for him and his audience, I take it that Islam is an assumed SOMETHING in their universe of discourse. That SOMETHING, of course, is to be part of the Axis of Social Evil along with teh gays and libruls and feminists, etc. that are arrayed against the True Faithful and the Gospel. And we all know that God is unable to protect the Gospel from destruction without the schemery of rich white American males and those they can manipulte through fear and hatred. Notice the amusing repetition of the word "orthodox" as well. It's all very self serving "We holy folks have got band together against the Evil One and the destruction of the privelege of rich white males is his primary means of attack."

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 1:37pm BST

Bp Lawrence says, "[We must recognize] that we can not keep putting forward this standard for gay and lesbian people and allow ourselves to live in such profound compromise ourselves."

Fair point. Now all he has to do is declare that anyone who is divorced has to either remain celebate or go back to their first spouse. As for remarriages: "A person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires."

Posted by MarkP at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 4:08pm BST

MarkP, you left out two possibilities for a divorced person marrying. One condition is death of the divorced spouse and the other is annulment.

Ford Elms, I was surprised by your comment that you have never read on a conservatve blog any acknowledgement that homosexuality is other than a chosen perversion. I assume your statement can be ascribed to rhetorical excitement. I've been reading Titusonenine, Stand Firm, and the blogs to which they connect for at least the past five years, and I don't recall even once any of those responsible for those blogs ever saying anything remotely like what you have said. I am fascinated to know if you really believe what you're saying. If so, could you cite an example?

Posted by phil swain at Monday, 17 August 2009 at 10:32pm BST

Thank you Mark P, for your deadly irony in your last post. The trouble is, that those who oppose the inclusion of the LGBT community turn a very blind eye to the hetero-sexual anomalies of divorce and re-marriage - most of which seems to be about infidelity to the first avowed partner. The anti-gay crowd seemingly don't see this as a sin equal to that of whatever homosexuals get up to in the bedroom. This neutral blindness on the part of the leadership in our churches needs to be treated with the notoriety it deserves.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 3:54am BST

Regarding the hypocrisy over remarriage, there's an interesting exchange in the comments thread here: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=23327221&postID=4307758196375900886&isPopup=true

Here's a particularly good one from an "orthodox" priest:

The second marriages at which I have officiated have come only after a season of mourning and repentance, with renewed intention that the second marriage be lived in the grace of God and that it not meet the fate of the first. That is a far different situation than a same-sex marriage which is conceived in sin to begin with, with the intention to live together in defiance of the plain teaching of scripture.

In other words, living in a continuing state of adultery is OK if you're really, really sorry!

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:29pm BST

phil swain

Have you been reading here? I confess that I find it difficult to read conservative blogs, it's hard to be faced with that degree of hatred for one'sself, especially when it is accompanied by falsehood, misinformation and selfjustification. I stopped doing it with any regularity for just that reason. I occasionally look now, but I usually stop when I encounter the propaganda that passes for "information" on most sites. So, I usually don't get very far in any particular thread. Perhaps the compassion is buried further down among the hate than I am able to reach without losing patience. So, no, I can't give you any citations. Here's something: give us some citations of conservative sites that are actually compassionate to gay people.

What's more, if you were surprised by the comment, you must be new. I have been saying it over and over for the past three years. I have tried numerous times to make the conservatives who post on this site see that it is NOT their message of gay celebacy that reveals their homophobia, preaching against what one genuinely bleieves to be sin is not a phobia of any kind. It is the way they preach it that is so revealing of their revulsion and hatred for us. Again, lies, misrepresentation, demonization, oppression, and threat do not reveal much love. And no amount of "We hate the sin but love the sinner" can cover that up.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:50pm BST

I think that many of you on this thread should be ashamed of yourself and how you are treating Bishop Lawrence through your writing. Most of you have no idea about the man, his devotional life, his spiritual walk and his heart. Even if you did you are disobeying scripture that demands you love your enemy and you do good to them. Even if you feel that Bishop lawrence has attacked you you should forgive him, love him and honor his position. I suggest many of you figuratively wash out your mouths with soap!

Posted by John Spencer at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 8:56pm BST

In other words, living in a continuing state of adultery is OK if you're really, really sorry!

Posted by: JPM on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:29pm BST

Tiny Correction: OK if you're really, really sorry' in advance !

In advance !

Talk about avoiding the occasions of sin.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 9:50pm BST

phil swain

I HAVE read the sites you cite, and find them to be as Ford Elms said.

They are very nasty, and certainly not for well brought up Christians to read, with-out good reason; and careful mental and spiritual hygene.

I wouldnt ahve believed it, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 9:56pm BST

John, Lawrence's heart might well be a mystery to us, but his words and actions are not.

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 5:06am BST

Bishop Lawrence's approach is the direct result of what he sees happening in San Joaquin, Forth Worth, Pittsburgh, and Quincy. Given that the other dioceses are experiencing legal difficulties in their attempts to remove properties from the Episcopal Church ... Bishop Lawrence is trying a new and different approach. He goal is to make it easier to transfer church property to ACNA ... nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by RHopper at Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 5:36am BST

"Even if you did you are disobeying scripture that demands you love your enemy and you do good to them."

Wow. That's one high horse you got there. Might want to get down before you hurt yourself, St. John.

I imagine you're operating from what you believe to be a Divine Imperative to rebuke your brother. So are we. Maybe we're both just jerks, but it's not just one of us and not the other.

Mote. Beam. Look it up.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 7:24am BST

Mark,
I was not speaking from a divine imperative - but the issue is what good are you doing for Mark Lawrence. How are you loving him if you believe him to be an enemy. Jesus' words are a command - you really must love him and do him good. Have you called the South Carolina Diocese office and spoke to him - told him your concerns. I bet he would speak with you. I bet he would treat you with respect even if you disagreed.
Love your enemy Mark. Jesus did, inclusively!

Posted by John Spencer at Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 11:38am BST

1. "Even if you feel that Bishop lawrence has attacked you you should forgive him, love him and honor his position."
2. "you really must love him and do him good"

- 2 comments by Mark Brunton -

Really, Mark Brunton, according to your statements here - as Mark Lawrence is a bishop in the Church - he himself needs to obey your commandments before expecting us to do the same. When has he affirmed the right of the LBGT community to be a functioning and ministering part of TEC and other churches in the Communion; whose Gospel initiatives he speaks of as being un-orthodox and indeed heretical?

Dont you think you and he are being a little naive, in thinking that we can 'love' him, in the way you and he might want, when he so obviously 'by his deeds and words' reviles us?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 11:46pm BST

Ah, I see!

So, it's that *you* are able to read our hearts, while we are incapable of reading Lawrence's actions. Mote. Beam. You never looked it up, did you?


Love isn't always permissive. In that alone, the orthodites are correct.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 6:10am BST

Fr Ron
"Dont you think you and he are being a little naive, in thinking that we can 'love' him, in the way you and he might want, when he so obviously 'by his deeds and words' reviles us?"

I don't do sanctimoneous very often and I certainly don't love this bishop.... but from a purely theological point of view, I believe that's precisely the challenge, to love those who don't love us.

It's just that the many who demand it from us are really saying "stop arguing back and stop criticising", which is not the same thing at all.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 10:02am BST

1: "Love covers many a sin" - Bible quote.

2: What (or who) exactly are your 'orthodites'
Anything like stalgmites or stalgtites? Explain.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 11:50am BST

Not me, gentleman, but Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior. Please, this is about what Jesus says not me. I am a priest in the Episcopal church. And while I disagree with the Presiding Bishop I have never attacked her in public. Jesus never qualifies his commands and our job is simply to obey them through the Holy Spirit. This is my last post in this thread - I pray that the Spirit will move ALL our hearts to hear our Savior's words

Matthew 5

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable a to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that b everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable a to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to c the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

AND

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But a if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

AND

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, i Love your enemies and j pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Posted by John Spencer at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 12:33pm BST

"Not me, gentleman, but Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior."

Touché.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 6:58pm BST

"from a purely theological point of view, I believe that's precisely the challenge, to love those who don't love us."

Amen, Erika. The only thing I would add is that it seems ather odd to consider it being "hard on" someone when you point out the inconsistencies in someone's actions. I mean, Bp. Lawrence considers homosexuality to be such an issue that he is willing to split the Church over attempts to be inclusive to us. Yet, he forges strong ties with people who lie about and slander gay people and their supporters, who seek to jail gay people and their supporters, who manipulate gay people's brokenness to coerce them into "ex-gay" programs where some are driven to suicide, and on and on. He seems not to think these are inconsistent with the Gospel, at least not so as to break the Church over them. He may be a nice man, he may have a kind heart, he may be a great Christian, but not so as you'd notice, not if he finds the things I listed to be acceptable, let alone consistent with the Gospel. How is it being hard on him to point this out? The world to which he seeks to witness can see this quite clearly and calls it hypocrisy, even hatred. This is the point, and I don't think it's unloving to acknowledge it. But, he doesn't have to change that before he can get some love from us in return. Christian love is free and unconditional. Too bad he can't seem to express it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 9:19pm BST

"Really, Mark Brunton, according to your statements here - as Mark Lawrence is a bishop in the Church - he himself needs to obey your commandments before expecting us to do the same. When has he affirmed the right of the LBGT community to be a functioning and ministering part of TEC and other churches in the Communion; whose Gospel initiatives he speaks of as being un-orthodox and indeed heretical?

Dont you think you and he are being a little naive, in thinking that we can 'love' him, in the way you and he might want, when he so obviously 'by his deeds and words' reviles us?"

If you mean Mark BRUNSON, I heartily concur, Fr. Ron, which is why I didn't say any of that; St. John Spencer, the much offended, did. I doubt he's as busy correcting the behavior of Lawrence, but he certainly can finger-shake here, can't he?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 21 August 2009 at 7:57am BST

Sorry Mark (Brunson). I must have missed the mark there. But jolly glad you agree with me about the gist of St. John Spencer's remarks. Agape!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 23 August 2009 at 3:35am BST

"On Sunday, September 6, I am asking that prayer be offered in every congregation for the court to rule justly on each motion and that everything that is done during the hearings on these motions by those acting on behalf of the Diocese will honor the Lord. In particular, pray by name for Shelby Sharpe, our attorney, and Judge Chupp, who will be hearing the case. I am also asking that all of you fast for this same intention on the morning of September 9, the day of the court hearing. Our trust is in the Lord who guides and sustains us in all things, as we seek to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
August 27, 2009 "

By asking his people to pray for 'the court to rule justly' in the ongoing litigastion saga in Fort Worth, former Bp. Iker may just be inviting disaster for himself and his cohorts. Justice may require that he and his clan may not be granted what their hearts desire - legal rights over what does not belong to them. Time alone will tell!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 30 August 2009 at 8:58am BST

How is former Bishop Iker's proposals not a do ut des?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 30 August 2009 at 3:09pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.