Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reminder: the profile for South Dakota's Bishop Coadjutor

The slate of 3 to 5 will be announced in March, followed by April "walkabout" with various stops around the diocese. Election will be in May.

Our parish intercedes for the diocese and this election at all of our services. There is great potential here in South Dakota but also the strong possibility of an eventual facade church, with paper congregations, empty buildings, subsidized clergy and no flesh, blood and Spirit. In short, the choice is between the diocese's missionary heritage and an eccentric club.

Here's the relevant language from the profile, with my comments in italics...

WHAT WE SEEK IN A BISHOP

We believe the following to be what we seek in our next Bishop as a person of God, of faith, and of spirituality (this is an important word among Native Americans, contrasting a transcendent message with "programs"), bringing the love of Christ to this Diocese:
  1. Supportive of work with youth and young adults, all of whom are the future of this Diocese. This is an honest admission that the diocese, like many other mainline bodies, is aging and dying by attrition. The key here is to have pointed questions and evidence to establish which candidates have actual experience in fostering youth ministry. Nobody is going to say, "I am opposed to youth ministry." The issue is whether or not a candidate brings any valid experience to the work beyond opinions and platitudes.
  2. Knowledgeable and appreciative of our bi cultural identity. There is agreement across any ideological divides that this is important. Again, the important questions are about experience. All of the candidates will "affirm" multicultural ministry - have any actually shown ability to minister in a multicultural setting?
  3. An advocate for social justice and reconciliation. TEC boilerplate. Let's hope this search does not veer off into, "Who's the biggest gay advocate?" That is about the least pressing social issue in South Dakota.
  4. A pastor, mentor and leader. Amen - but so many of our people have been without positive, effective pastors, mentors and especially leaders that they will be hard put to discern these qualities in the candidates.
  5. An effective communicator. It will be interesting to hear how folks respond to this challenge. It is a very real issue here, given the distances and mix of communication media and styles (no one kind of communication will reach enough people to make an impact here.) Let's hope some of the candidates have worked in a similarly challenging setting.
  6. Is supportive of our programs, including Mutual Ministry and Partners with God, and brings vision and vigor to these and other programs. Again, we need to find out about real, measurable experiences. All of the candidates can give verbal assent to anything. What have they done that indicates what they will do?
  7. A sense of humor to help with one's own emotional and physical health, as well as the health of the Diocese. Certainly something for which we can get a feel during the "walkabouts."

The heartbreaking truth is that TEC has run/is running off exactly the kind of people who meet this profile. The wonky, "Politically Correct", bureaucratic clergy caste of TEC is the worst possible match with what is needed here. Pray for us.

5 comments:

The Archer of the Forest said...

There is certainly positive potential in South Dakota. If I did not think that, then I would not be taking a job there in a few months.

That having been said, I do pray for the next bishop. It's not going to be a cake walk for anyone in this diocese.

Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding the qualifications sought int he next bishop were, to a degree, insightful (though your apparent homophobia veritably oozes in #3) Question, did you offer this input when these qualifications were developed or are you "Monday Morning Quaterbacking," using hindsight to try and provide your version of insight?

The Archer of the Forest said...

I love when people take cheap shots under the Anonymous screen name.

midwestnorwegian said...

Anonymous: Comment all you want under anonymous, doesn't bother me any....but when have you known Pharaoh to readily accept "input"?

The biggest threat is actually none of the above. Rather, the biggest threat would be "affirmative action" like that which put Gene Robinson, Barbara Harris and Creighton Robertson in the cathedra. All of them unworthy of the office when nominated, and proven to be unworthy of the office long into their tenure.

In fact, the office of "bishop" no longer even has the meaning it once had. And, it never will. I look at today's House of Bishops with nearly complete contempt.

To what I'm guessing is a large portion of fence-post sitters in the church, a bishop is just one of those priests/priestesses who don't really do a whole hell of a lot but sit on their butts sucking the coffers dry.

I don't think this diocese should even have a bishop. How much sense does it make to have two bishops for North and South Dakota? I say merge the two dioceses and let Bishop Smith be the bishop for both. Oh...that's right...Smith is one of those neanderthal conservatives who believe in every word of the creeds. No...he'd never do.

TLF+ said...

Anonymous - I intend to use your comment as the basis for a post in the next few days. I know I was snarky in places, but I hope you will reread my post and see that I am contending for the criteria set out by the committee. I want us (I assume you are here in SD) to ask questions that actually result in the election of someone who meets the profile.

The people of Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, did fill out the surveys on the appointed Sundays. Our input is there with everybody else's. Maybe you refer to our walkout at Convention - I don't apologize for that. Why waste my peoples' time and gifts in an assembly that votes for financial cover-ups?

Archer - I've misplaced your address. Can you shoot me an email? I have some questions for you.