You can read more about the search and selection process in the Diocesan newsletter, here (click on "Latest Issue" - it's PDF).
On page 5, you can find a discussion of "Ten Things Christians Should Ask When They Choose a Leader." This is a presentation of Canon David Seger to the Nominating Committee. I will list the questions, with my comments in italics.
1. Is the person not only able to lead, but lead in difficult times? A great question, if actually asked and investigated. How did someone like +Katharine Jefferts Schori, with no significant leadership record, become Presiding Bishop? It is interesting that nobody from Good Shepherd, the most dramatically growing congregation in the diocese, was appointed to take part in the nominating process. You would think that a church bucking the downward trend of the diocese would have something to offer to this analysis, but go figure...
2. Does the person understand what is going on in the culture, where it is leading us, and its imprint on the churches? Good missionaries, like the Apostle Paul, always pay attention to culture. If you read something like Timothy Keller's "The Reason for God", you can see this in action in our own day. But that phrase about "where the culture is leading us" troubles me - as The Age to Come says under the blog title: "Those who marry the spirit of this age will find themselves widows in the next."
3. Does the person understand theology? OK, what the heck does that mean? Every person has a theology (some working assumption about God or an ultimate value that guides their life.) The question should be, "Does this person understand the theology of the Holy Bible, as reflected in the Book of Common Prayer?" I fear that this question will be used to say, "No candidate who has not received the secret illumination of the new thing of the spirit like us need apply."
4. Does the person have a vision for the future? Well, the Diocese of South Dakota does not care. From the diocesan website: "We seek to call as our next Bishop a visionary who will help the clergy and people of our diocese to bring to fruition the Kingdom vision which God has already planted in our hearts and minds." The inner circle already has a "vision" of some sort (supplied from New York, no doubt), and the new Bishop is to shill for it.
5. Is the person "slick"? (this is not desirable). My worry is that this kind of subjective language will be used to screen out the very candidates sought in question #1. If a person like Canon Neal Michell showed up loaded with practical experience in church leadership, diocesan support of congregations, and theory and practice of church development, might he be written off as "slick"? This question can ensure a slate of bloodless, mediocre candidates.
6. Does the person have some managerial and administrative skills? Good question - but must be asked in conjunction with #1. The diocese is struggling (some might be so blunt as to say "dying") - a manager who is not a leader is not adequate to the need here.
7. Does the person have staying power? Good practical question. South Dakota is "flyover country", and does not need a "bishop" who wants to pump up a resume and then go off to run a seminary or sit in the New York bureaucracy.
8. Is the person prayerful and a student of scripture? Sigghhh. If only they meant it. In today's church, somebody who channels spirits and reads Bishop Spong meets these criteria.
9. Does the person have inner humility? Like +Gene Robinson? Like +John Spong? Like this guy ?
10. Is the person able to listen to and take good advice and wise counsel from godly clergy and laity? +Katharine Jefferts Shori's visit to South Carolina, anyone?
My suspicion is that we are going to get a slate of the usual folks who dance around the mitre tree, courtesy of the managment at 815 Second Ave., New York, NY.