Monday, May 4, 2009

cp provides some more links to Bishop candidate walkabout recordings; my parish delegates compare notes

cp has posted links to recordings from the Bishop candidate meetings in Rapid City (the other side of the state from Sioux Falls).

Go to my posts here and here, scroll down into the comments, and you'll find several links, as well as some encouragement to pray. Grateful to cp for the work and contribution!

The election is this Saturday, May 9th.

Our parish delegates and several parishioners who had attended a walkabout met yesterday to compare notes.

None of us are willing to vote for Dunn. His answers have not been deep or have been theologically troubling - and questions about membership losses and uncanonical practice in his congregation have not been answered.

Tarrant - he was our front runner going into the walkabouts, and some of our delegates still have him #1. But he "fell a few notches" among some of our other folks, when he seemed overwhelmed by controversial issues. Even one of my more "progressive" members said of him, "I'm struggling with some of these issues - but I'm not running for bishop." There are questions about his ability to "guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church" in the tough national church meetings as well as locally.

Floberg definitely rose in our parish delegation's rankings and is the front runner for some. He has the most developed and clear theology of the four, he is able to state his positions on hard issues, and he has an established track record of work at the national church level. His ability to raise up vocations and youth ministry on the Standing Rock Reservation impressed some of my parishioners, in particular one who grew up on a Reservation.

Stebinger also came up in our estimation. His written responses seemed a bit formal and distant, but in person more of his warmth and humanity came up. It impresses several of our folks that he has grown a congregation in a diocese marked by decline. Also his statement of building consensus rather than jumping rashly into controversial decisions has appeal. Although he made an effort to explain his daughter's ordination issues during informal conversation, his failure to hit this head on in his public answers still does not sit well with some of our delegates.

Several of my delegates have significant life experience in government, non-profits and academia. They expressed several concerns about gaps in the process that make an informed decision difficult:
  1. The candidates are not asked to put forward a coherent statement of priorities for the Diocese. Something like, "What would be your primary investments of time and energy upon arrival as Bishop?"
  2. It would be helpful to have some sense of who nominated or endorsed the candidates, and to see references.


Anonymous said...

Well, I just watched the 15 segments from last Wednesday. Whew! A MUST for everyone. Highly recommended for getting a better picture of all the candidates.

Agreed about Dunn. However, I would add that he was the ONLY candidate on Wednesday to acknowledge his wife. (If I'm wrong, I'm sorry, listening to all of this has been overwhelming!!!) Take it for whatever it means.

I found Rev. Tarrant to be the most "energetic", at least the most visibly so. However, I thought some of his answers to be "talky", vague, and perhaps even a bit glib.

One aspect of Rev. Tarrant that is notable is his humility, I guess you'd say. "It's not about me. It's never been about me. It's about God," was part of his answer to the first question. THIS was THE answer I needed to hear.

Candidates' answers that used concrete examples impressed me most.

I didn't WANT it to happen, but Father Floberg was totally raised in my estimation. I will say it again, I did not look for this to happen, and I did not desire it.

However, I thought that Father Floberg often gave concrete examples, and his responses were thoughtful and prayerful.

He seemed to have reflected beforehand - - not that his responses were canned, not at all. If he got in points (like the mention that he is a hunter and a fisherman, or that he is his own secretary!!!) it was done subtly, but made an impression. (This would contrast with Rev. Tarrant, whose answers often seemed completely off the cuff.)

I was, I hate to say it, impressed.

I was very struck by Father Stebinger's question as to who is the bishop's spiritual director.

I'd love to hear what everyone else thought of that comment.

I was also struck by the fact that he was #2 in the search for the last sitting dean. Let's face it, the WRONG decision was made there .. . .and I would welcome comments on that.

(Or, maybe the wrong decision wasn't made, and Father Stebinger's the man for bishop.)

I am, to say the least, a bit overwhelmed. However, I did listen with an open heart and mind. Whew!

Anonymous said...

And more.

I agree fully with the comment #1 that no question was asked vis a vis the candidates' "game plan".

In contrast, we had questions like the one asking if the candidates had applied elsewhere in South Dakota. While the question garnered an interesting answer from Father Stebinger, that was NOT quite the question to be asking here. Not quite.

Ummmm. . . . I'm mildly "out of it" after having watched the vids and having the Holy Spirit hit me over the head with Father Floberg's being in TRUTH, but it seems to me that the ONLY candidate who made any sort of concrete forward statement would be Floberg who said that he would spend one day a week on funerals. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, which I probably am, given my current state.)

The #2 gap regarding who nominated or endorsed the candidates is very, very interesting. Has such information ever been "open" in bishop searches? Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow. You would surely learn something. I can't even imagine.

To me, this correlates beautifully to a previous comment I made that it's a crying shame, a HUGE mistake, that nobody went to visit the candidates' churches. I can't even tell you what a problem it is.

Well, I shouldn't be too dramatic, but it would sure fill in a lot of gaps and even gaps you can't foresee!

What is unsaid is sometimes just as powerful as what is said.

That's it for now. I'm STARVING.

Anonymous said...

From RC04 Youtube vid: Bishop Smith nominated Floberg. Ve-e-e--ery interesting, given the history there, which I don't like.

Anonymous said...

As for Rev. Stebinger's daughter, I think that if she cared for her father, she could make a public statement. She's an adult, she should take responsibility for her actions. If she didn't honor a commitment, or whatever she did or didn't do, she might at least say why.

He spoke of the "gospel of reconciliation, faithfulness, repentence and forgiveness" (sorry if not exact quote from Sioux Falls meeting) . . . so maybe some healing is possible if there is truthfulness.

Look, everyone has issues. Rev. Tarrant says he's had "lots of ups and downs". What, we have no idea. I get the feeling his seeming lightness of manner belies some sorrow.

Anyhoo, you can tell from Rev. Stebinger's P.A.U.S.E. when asked the question about homosexuality, that he's pained by the issue. It hits close to home.

Couldn't everyone tell she was a lesbian, anyway, when she was a seminarian? If not, why not?

David Handy+ said...

Tim+, as someone who is only FROM, not in SD, and thus as someone who doesn't have a horse in this race, I just want to thank you for providing such a thoughtful, fair analysis of the candidates in this election.

I won't be voting on Saturday, but I will be praying for you, for Good Shepherd, and for your long-suffering diocese. Sadly, SD has had to endure the long episcopate of one of the worst, most incompetent bishops in the whole Episcopal Church.

Anonymous said...

Another thought upon reflection - most of the candidates barely acknowledge their current congregations. Basically, with most of the candidates other than Floberg you wouldn't even know that their current flocks even exist.

I kept waiting for an anecdote that might bring the candidates to life. It didn't come. There are a few exceptions to this, but isn't it funny that most stories they told don't really relate to their own congregations. (There's Dunn with the altar guild, but that's more of a humorous bit rather than something revealing.)

I don't really know what to make of this, but I'm not all that impressed.