Tuesday, February 2, 2010

...and less of this.

Phil Ashey, an Anglican priest and attorney, writes an extensive expose of The Episcopal Church's (TEC) frenzy for lawsuits and its twisting of its own rules to get rid of hundreds of traditional Christian clergy and tens of thousands of faithful lay people.

The contrast with the Jenkins article on the Super Bowl ad (see prior post) is amazing:
  • Instead of relying on its own Constitution and Canons to establish boundaries and protect the faithful, TEC has ignored or twisted its own documents to punish and get rid of members who simply practiced the faith as the denomination taught it to them and asked them to affirm when they were baptized, confirmed and ordained.
  • Instead of facing disagreement honestly and charitably, TEC leadership has relied on denial and deception, constantly changing its reports and message. Its denominational journalists were replaced with contracted public relations consultants. The Presiding Bishop told gatherings "All is well" while internal reports were showing widespread conflict and denominational decline. When conflicted dioceses worked on plans to allow for amicable separations of dissenting congregations, the newly proclaimed "national church hierarchy" claimed authority to override these and instigated lawsuits - mainly to take church buildings which sit empty once the congregants are expelled.
  • Instead of making space for traditional Christians, TEC slashed its budget for mission work and staff and pumped millions into the lawsuits, while seeking to hide the spending with creative budget labels.

In a polarized, conflict-plagued world, the last thing Jesus Christ or the human race need is a "church" devoted to polarization and conflict over bank accounts and real estate. Jesus said, "...where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." TEC's heart is not in its words of "inclusivity." Follow the money and you'll find a heart of stone.


A friend in TheAM said...

Fr. Tim,

What continues to surprise me is that, other than exposés such as Fr. Ashey's, NOTHING is being done to call TEC leadership to account for their outright lawlessness. These leaders have permanently, willfully, callously, and irreparably harmed the very ones they all took ordination vows to care for. All actions of these reprobates (TEC leadership) are illegal and immoral.

What can be done beyond praying and exposing these frauds for what they are?

TLF+ said...

Hi, AM, and thanks for posting.

Because the Canons are ignored or twisted, the usual means of calling people to account are unavailable. I suppose that people could try to file a "presentment" against the Presiding Bishop and/or others -- except that control of the process would be by the Presiding Bishop and/or others in her circle of friends.

With the departure of most traditional clergy and people from TEC, we are left with failures like myself - isolated and ineffective - and with an older membership who don't want this ugly stuff intruding into their lives, and are formidable in their denial of the problem.

For some faithful people, leaving to ACNA or another Christian body - going away to start fresh - is the answer. For others, dropping out of church altogether seems to create space for healing. For some of us, God seems to say "Stay put." I haven't the foggiest idea of His purpose, since TEC will not be "fixed" by a pathetic little group of people like me. Matthew 10, especially the Lord's teaching from verse 5 on, seems apt.

A Friend in TheAM(ia) said...

Fr. Tim,

Hang in there. Prayers coming your way.

Your "isolated and ineffective" stand could be judged foolish by some in TEC, but remember http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20cor%201:27&version=ESV !!

Grace & peace in overflowing abundance to you & your parish!

TLF+ said...

Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. Having to do things on God's terms is painful, and even in midlife I come face to face with my own spiritual immaturity. To be used as a mere tool, to be weak and foolish, to have all the glory go to God? I mean, where are the trophies for my shelf?

I read recently that the traditional tomb of Ezekiel is in Iraq (Babylon). He was called to "stay put" in the exile, yet in visions God gave him a message to inspire the rebuilding of Jerusalem and to point the people toward something greater. His whole mission was "Say what I (God) tell you and don't worry about the rest." That is not appealing, but it seems to be what some of us are called (compelled?) to do. Just got an email from friends in Mississippi who are in the same place.