Friday, November 16, 2007
Call me a coward, but my spiritual and physical health could not take the toxicity of two days of our diocesan convention. Even reading e-mailed reports from home fill me with grief.
Many friends and observers have reported that there was an armed police officer at the opening Eucharist, standing within feet of the altar. He patrolled the church aisles prior to the start of the service, apparently making sure no lavender storm troopers were there.
And, as my friend Marvin Long said, we ain't done crashin' yet.
How did it come to this?
The truth is, this crash was inevitable. It has been years in the making.
Our diocese was born out of negativity. It was carved out of the Diocese of Dallas, its founding principle being opposition to the ordination of women. The resentments and piques of its founding bishop were imported into its DNA.
All three of its bishops have defined themselves by what they were not, ie. the national church. Theirs has been a leadership of us versus them, the "us" being them and their cronies, and the "them" being anyone who disagreed with them. All three have worked out of a theology of scarcity -- if God loves you, then there's less love for me; if God approves of your interpretation of scripture, God must disapprove of mine.
From the beginning, the concept of a loyal opposition has never never been recognized. Disagreement is disobedience, and, according to some, proof of complicity in heresy. In recent years this has escalated into blatant statements that those who disagree with Bishop Iker "don't love Jesus."
Both of Bishop Jack Iker's predecessors have left The Episcopal Church. Donald Davies formed his own breakaway church and Clarence Pope left three times for the Roman Catholic Church, and this last time it seems to have "stuck." Jack Iker has acted as if he had one foot out the door since he was consecrated as bishop coadjutor, although he, like Clarence, reassured us he had no intention of leaving The Episcopal Church. [Clarence told us this right up to the first time he left.]
Bp. Iker has surrounded himself with mostly young, white, male priests who treat him like a rock star and who seem to have serious "father" issues as well as a constantly outraged sense of entitlement being thwarted. Many of them seem to think it is their birthright to be a bishop one day, and the fact that The Episcopal Church at large doesn't share their wizened sense of who is worthy of inclusion enough to confirm them in this belief is cause enough to leave it.
Many of these priests control their parishes by telling them horror stories about the national church, and then assuring them that "father" will keep them safe from the bad ol' presiding bishop. They define who is "good" and worthy of inclusion in God's love and grace by telling their followers who is "bad" and not worthy of God's love and grace. Lots of energy is spent on excluding people.
Bishop Iker believes that women are not "proper matter" for ordination. He forbids the use of supplemental liturgies, any use of the New Zealand Book of Prayer [especially it's "heretical" version of the Lord's Prayer], and even the mildest forms of inclusive language. My husband was once called an apostate by another priest because he, in a reading at a clergy retreat, used God as a second reference instead of "his," as is "God and God's people."
When it became clear to Bp. Iker that he was losing traction on the issue of women's ordination -- it just wasn't that hot an issue with most of the people in the pews -- he borrowed a page from the Republican Party's book of wedge-issues-good-for-fear-mongering-and-fundraising and took up the issue of homosexuality. Here in the heart of the Baptist Bible Belt, it was a guaranteed way to make people afraid of a national church that was not only baptizing gays and lesbians, but also ordaining them. Iker and his cronies constantly warned that "the national church" would soon be forcing him to not only ordain women, but also to ordain homosexuals and put them in charge of the churches here.
The ugliness and mean-spiritedness began to go off the scale in the last few years, culminating in this last diocesan convention.
Those of us who have no wish to leave The Episcopal Church can only watch in grief and dismay. There was no hope of stopping this crash, because it's been happening in slow motion for decades. Bp. Iker and his predecessors have been building toward this day for years. I could have told you the vote -- at least 80 percent for, 20 percent against every measure the bishop favored -- long before convention convened.
So now we enter a time of terrible uncertainty, a time when pressures will increase exponentially on those few clergy who ain't leaving, and on lay people who are trying to understand all the ramifications of what their leadership is telling them.
In a sad way, I guess I'm glad we've finally reached this point. Maybe once the flames of all Bp. Iker's and his followers rage has burned out, and all the court cases are settled, those of us Episcopalians left can start over.
A new diocese will rise from these ashes. But getting from here to there is going to be a long hard painful journey.
I pray God will give us the strength, wisdom, and fortitude to overcome our history and create a new healthy place where all people can grow in God's love and grace.
Please pray for us.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
From the San Jose Mercury News:
California's first female Episcopal bishop ordained in Saratoga
Mary Gray-Reeves appreciates being a role model
By Kim Vo
After she was ordained bishop of the local Episcopal diocese - the first woman to reach such heights in California - Mary Gray-Reeves gathered the female clergy for a picture. What was supposed to be a quick photo-op turned into an impromptu celebration as the women swayed, clapped and cheered around her.
"We are marching," they jubilantly sang, "in the light of God."
Saturday's ordination marked several milestones, not just of gender lines but a new relationship between the faithful and their bishop. Gray-Reeves was the first female bishop ordained by Katharine Jefferts Schori since the latter was elected last year as head of the national Episcopal Church. The sight of the nation's first female presiding bishop consecrating California's first female bishop was inspirational to those in attendance.
"It's thrilling - and to have my 11-year-old daughter see it!" said the Rev. Katherine Doar of St. Francis parish in San Jose. "My daughter didn't even know there was such a day when there weren't women bishops."
And the article concluded:
On Saturday, she reflected on her first inkling of being called to the priesthood. She was 9. And when she announced her intentions, the women in the room laughed. It was 1971 and they knew women weren't allowed as priests.
Gray-Reeves imagined another 9-year-old seeing Saturday's photo. Perhaps the girl lives in a country were women aren't currently allowed in the priesthood but feels the call nevertheless and thinks to herself: "If they can do it, I can do it."
This story caused me to commit a sin. I wept with envy -- even as I rejoiced for Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves.
I live in one of those "countries" where women are barred from the priesthood, and where the holy orders of both Bp. Mary and Bp. Katharine -- or any female bishop or priest -- are not recognized as valid. Nor would the orders of any male priest that they ordain be recognized.
I pray that Bp. Mary's consecration gives inspiration and hope to countless women and girls.
I know so many women -- and wonder how many girls -- who have stuffed their call to the priesthood so far down for so many years that they may not be able to find it any more. Martin Luther King got it right -- a dream deferred is a dream denied.
When a woman kills a call to ordination with her own hand because of seemingly impossible barriars, because of the incredibly hostile response to her call, because she knows what the cost could be to her family, what does that do to her soul?
What does it do to God's heart?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
NOTE: Go to this link to see Dave Walker's take on the Southern Cone:
ANY information on the Southern Cone will be helpful., especially their polity. I know the basic stuff -- that it is a small province with only about 30,000 members spread over several countries. I know they don't ordain women to the priesthood or episcopate. Duh! Why else would Bp. Iker even consider being rescued by them?
I ask these questions because here is the new resolution that will come before the Fort Worth diocesan convention this weekend:
A Response to the Invitation of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Whereas, it is the resolve of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to remain within the family of the Anglican Communion while dissociating itself from the moral, theological, and disciplinary innovations of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America;
And whereas, the Synod of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, meeting Nov. 5-7, 2007, voted to "welcome into membership of our Province on an emergency and pastoral basis" those dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America who share this resolve;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 25th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth extend its sincere thanks to the Synod of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and to its Primate, the Most Reverend Gregory J. Venables, for the generous and fraternal invitation to join their Province;
And, be it further resolved, that the Bishop and Standing Committee prepare a report for this diocese on the constitutional and canonical implications and means of accepting this invitation.
It is in reponse to this resolution passed by the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone on Nov. 7:
Resolution of the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of America
We, recognizing with great thankfulness the dioceses and parishes, clergy and laity of the Episcopal Church in the USA who have continually made clear their desire to remain faithful to the historic faith and order of the Anglican Communion 1,
Given that Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 articulated the clear teaching of the Anglican Communion with regard to human sexuality, and that this teaching has been widely ignored by many dioceses, parishes, and clergy of the Episcopal Church in their life and teaching,
Given that the Episcopal Church, against the clearly expressed voice of the Primates at their meeting of October 2003 2, notoriously consecrated as bishop a priest who was in a known homosexual relationship, an act which has torn the fabric and trust within the Communion,
Given the failure of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church to give a clear and
unequivocal response to the Windsor Report 3,
Given that the House of Bishops and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church have rejected the pastoral scheme proposed by the Primates in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007,
Given that no adequate response has been made by the Episcopal Church to the questions set by the Primates in Dar es Salaam4 and that a significant number of bishops have publicly expressed their intention to permit the blessing of same-sex unions,
Given the widespread use of lawsuits and threats against dioceses and parishes, as well as bishops, clergy and laity who seek to remain faithful to the historic faith and order of the Anglican Communion,
And until the Episcopal Church
* Repent and comply with the requests of the Windsor Report
* Respect the conscience of the parishes and dioceses which wish to adhere to the
theological moral and pastoral norms of the Anglican Communion once held by the
* And its Presiding Bishop and officers cease to pursue and intimidate these dioceses and parishes by means of lawsuits, confiscations, and depositions
* Until adequate effective and acceptable alternative Primatial and Episcopal oversight be offered as recommended by the Primates in Dar es Salaam
* Until the Archbishop of Canterbury take clear action and respond effectively to the
legitimate and urgent concern of the alienated parishes and dioceses of the Episcopal
Church, offering pastoral leadership to protect them
WE the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America meeting in Valpariso, Chile, in November 2007 welcome into the membership of our province on an emergency and pastoral basis those dioceses of the Episcopal Church taking appropriate action to separate from that Church.
We do this in order that such dioceses may continue in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion and be faithful to its Biblical and historic teaching and witness; and we pray for God's grace and help to resolve the painful, critical situation in our beloved Anglican Communion.
Received 11/09/07, emphasis added to final two paragraphs.
1 These norms were held by the Episcopal Church until recent years.
2 Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold signed the letter from the Primates requesting ECUSA not to proceed with the consecration, and then within days presided at the consecration.
3 Accepted by the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council.
4 The Dar es Salaam Communiqué asked the Episcopal Church to make clear that they would not approve the blessing of same-sex unions, nor approve the consecration of bishops living in sexual relations outside holy matrimony, between a man and a woman in lifelong union. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was at this meeting and publicly accepted the content of the Communiqué.
There. Do you think we have enough manly men coming to rescue the poor guys in this diocese who are being threatened -- threatened!! -- by a woman!
That's how Bp. Katharine's letter is being spun here -- as a threat of reprisal if Bp. Iker dares to try to protect "the faith once delivered". These guys aren't big on accepting consequences or on being held accountable for their actions.
While the news of the invitation from the Southern Cone is absolutely no surprise to anyone who have been paying attention here, the reaction to the hard reality of this will be interesting to watch.
I have this mental picture of all these very small people whistling as they go off down south -- metaphorically speaking, of course. No one intends to actually GO to South America. Oh no.
They all intend to stay right here in Fort Worth, in the same buildings they are in right now.
That is going to be a problem for all the Episcopalians who are already in those buildings and who have no plans to "go" anywhere.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
First, let me introduce Marvin and Gloria Long . Marvin and Gloria are long time members of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. They have been deeply involved in the parish for years, giving of their time, talent, and treasure in countless ways.
Christ the King has long had a special place in my heart because my husband, Gayland Pool, was rector there back in 1976. (This was many years before we were married.)
That was when they located an abandoned Methodist chapel being used to store hay. They bought the Texas Gothic building, moved it into Fort Worth and restored it in time for the July 4 Bicentennial celebration. The little white church on the west side of town soon won the heart of the city with its simple elegant beauty.
These days, the rectors and interims at the parish are firmly in the bishop's pocket, even if many in the congregation are not. The reference to "saddle your own horse" was from a speech given by Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, in Fort Worth in September.
I'll let Marvin tell his own story:
By way of introduction, my name is Marvin Long, a parishioner of Christ The King Episcopal Church in Fort Worth Texas since 1992. I am 67 and was confirmed an Episcopalian in 1963. I have served on the vestry and as Senior Warden and as Lay Minister. Until last week I edited Celebration, the church news letter. I would like to recount what happens in the diocese of Fort Worth when one `saddles up his own horse and stands up for ECUSA.'
On October 2, 2007, the diocesan office released the amendments to the diocesan constitution and canons that would "begin the process of affiliating with another Province of the World Wide Anglican Communion." Subsequently, my wife and I wrote the vestry of Christ the King parish and requested that they pass a resolution stating their intention to remain with ECUSA and withdrawing the congregation from the Anglican Communion Network.
On Sunday morning Oct. 21 at both services our interim priest preached a sermon maliciously attacking ECUSA. The senior warden attended the vestry meeting that day and handed out the old attack on ECUSA by Bishop Harold Miller of the Church of Ireland with a cover letter from Bp. Jack Iker.
I decided to include four polite articles in the November issue of Celebration that support ECUSA. For my efforts, I was removed by the interim priest as editor of the newsletter and from all other church functions. My lay minister's license was revoked (an act reserved for the bishop) and I was forced to shut down the church's web site. The small weekly healing service I and a few other liberals regularly attended was cancelled until further notice.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, I was publicly excoriated for the Celebration in both church services by the priest and the Sr. Warden. So there you have it: what happens when you saddle up your horse in Ft. Worth.
The bright side is that there is support for ECUSA here. Although I am saddened by the current state of affairs, I hopefully look for the national church to reassert itself. Come soon. I'm still on my horse.
Marvin posted this on the Fort Worth Via Media listserve, and received many replies sympathizing with him and offering encouragement. His reply is below:
I want to thank you all for your expressions of love and support. You keep me with my head up and a smile on my face. That goes for Gloria, too.
As far as giving up is concerned, I will share one of my favorite stories.
After an aircraft is repaired, it must be test flown and certified OK by a pilot. An old Cessna Citation (Number 123WB) had some repair work done at Alliance airport and was taken for a spin by a test pilot. As he approached for a landing, he saw the three green lights that say the landing gear is down and locked, but when he touched down the gear collapsed and he went screeching down the runway at 125 mph trailing a plume of sparks and smoke.
The tower operator saw him go by and shouted into the radio, “Citation Whiskey Bravo! Do you need assistance!?”
The pilot radioed back calmly while keeping the wreck lined up on the centerline, “I don’t know yet, I ain’t done crashin’.”
Well, I ain’t done crashin’. I’ll stay ‘til the end and I plan to come out on top. Good things are going to happen at CTK because of this.
No, we ain't done crashin' yet here in Fort Worth. We know it's going to be an ugly wreck. But we're hanging on and we plan to walk away from in in one piece -- spiritually battered, physically and emotionally exhausted, but steadfast in our resolve. We are Episcopalians, whether Bp. Iker and his minons like it or not.
UPDATE: If you want to see the Celebration newsletter that caused all this, go to
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Here's the story from the KAUZ web site:
Following Faith: Controversy in the Episcopal Church
See the video here:
A battle is raging within the national Episcopal Church. The debate began when the Bishop of Canterbury began ordaining openly gay bishops.
Father Scott Wooten of Church of the Good Shepard in Wichita Falls says, "It's very simple. God blessed Man and Woman. If If he had wanted same sex i'm sure he would have created Adam and Adam, not Adam and Eve."
Wooten says the Regional Bishop over the Diocese of Fort Worth should have something to say about Canon law.
Wichita Falls is part of the Forth Worth [sic] Diocese. Currently, the Church's National Bishop is making the decisions.
"They want to force us to do their theology and essentially put down our holy scripture and pick up their new modern scripture that they have
written themselves," Wooten says.
This battle over authority has raged for more than ten years, and Wooten believes it will end with the Forth Worth [sic] Diocese separating from the National Church. The Diocese of Fort Worth will meet November 16th and 17th to review Canonical law. If the church decides to split, It would align with the Anglican Church.
Nov 5, 2007 at 4:23 PM CST
Story Updated: Nov 5, 2007 at 7:55 PM CST
Some of the worst reporting you've ever read, right? Right.
But give the reporter a break. Her ONLY source is not exactly a sterling example of accuracy.
Some of you may remember Scott Wooten from General Convention 2003 in Minneapolis. At the time, Wooten was rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Graham, Texas. Here's the blog I wrote in August of 2003 about what Wooten said happened there, and how the truth unfolded:
On August 5 at General Convention, right after the House of Bishops joined the House of Deputies in consenting to the election of Gene Robinson, I witnessed an astonished outbreak of male hysteria among privileged white bishops.
They quickly gathered their equally distraught clergy and laypeople around them and retreated to participate in very public displays of grief and drama for the benefit of the gathered media.
On August 6 the bishops were conspicuously absent, but many of the clergy and laypeople appeared wearing huge globs of ashes on their foreheads as symbols of their grief and alienation.
It was in the middle of this fraught atmosphere that the Rev. Scott Wooten of the Diocese of Fort Worth got word that some time the night of August 5, someone had vandalized his church, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Graham, Texas.
In a statement quickly posted on the Fort Worth diocesan website and then around the world via the Internet, Wooten described some writing on the wall as saying, ‘God and Jesus loves Homosexuals” and wasted no time at all calling it a “hate crime, probably; committed against orthodox Episcopalians” and laying the blame for the vandalism at the feet of “Biblical revisionists.”
He wrote, “The thought of active persecution crossed my mind when I decided to take a stand against Biblical revisionists, but it turned very personal when it hit my church.”
Wow! This is the stuff of martyrs!
Problem is, none of this is what happened.
But Wooten was reluctant to give up his martyr story, and soon he was joined in his talk of the “politics of hate” by Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker. A second, more damaging fire burned much of the Holy Spirit parish hall on the morning of a visit by Bishop Iker, described by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as “a prominent national critic of the church’s decision to affirm the election of [Robinson].”
In that August 23 story, Wooten told the paper “that he is not certain that the fires were the result of Robinson's confirmation but that ‘it's probable.’
“‘I'm not saying it's not a hate crime, I'm just saying I don't know if it's a hate crime," Wooten said. "I know it's being investigated as one and that the timing of the whole incident, with the first fire coming the day after the vote in Minneapolis, is questionable.’
“Iker, who was in Graham on Sunday when Mass was moved to the local high school auditorium, said earlier this week: ‘It has to be characterized as a religious hate crime. It's totally immoral to destroy a church, even when you don't agree with what the church teaches.’
But the Graham police weren’t so sure.
“’The fires have not been classified as a hate crimes and ‘are more like an arson,’ [Graham] Police Chief Jim Nance said.”
The closer one looked, the more Wooten and Iker’s hyperventilated claims fell apart. Turns out Wooten’s original claims that the message said, ‘God and Jesus loves Homosexuals” was based on a telephone description from a parishioner. But only the words “God Jesus” were clearly readable, according to another parishioner. Wooten told a reporter he now read the message as ‘God and Jesus love Holysexuals” – a very different message than the first one. Wooten then said that police and federal investigators had asked him not to describe the message.
Finally, Wooten said, “ I can no longer say that this was any part of backlash.”
What it was, was two teenagers in Graham who got bored and went on a crime spree.
The Graham Police Department and Young County’s Sheriff’s Department say Brian Reger and Sean Hadaway, both 18, admitted to setting fire, on two occasions, to the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. They also claimed credit for cutting down a power line pole and burglarizing nine storage units.
“They gave the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard for doing something like that,” said Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Balderson. “They did all that because they were bored.”
“They said they didn’t have anything constructive to do and liked to tear things up,” said Young County Sheriff’s investigator Michael Davis.
Gee, that description matches that of some conservatives I know.
So, Bishop Iker, Scott Wooten and all the websites that rushed to name this a hate crime committed by “Biblical revisionists” and gay activists have rushed to apologize and correct the story, right?
So far, there’s been only silence, while the original story remains posted on various anti-gay websites.
I can understand speaking out in the midst of hurt and anger. I can understand jumping to conclusions. I can understand pointing fingers when faced with such crimes. I can even understand the blaming and shaming – it’s typical behavior of our bishop and his crony clergy in this diocese.
What I can’t understand is the silence when all the conclusions, all the finger pointing, all the blaming and shaming turns out to be aimed at the wrong people. What I can’t understand is letting a lie stand as truth.
This isn’t politics of hate.
This is the politics of the pathetic.
That was in 2003. It's now 2007. See how much Wooten learned from his experience?
Sunday, November 04, 2007
In case you lead a sheltered life, Stand Firm is one of the most testosterone poisoned web sites of those claiming to represent "Traditional Anglicanism in America." They are easily upset by many things, but women in authority appear to make the manager of the site and those who comment on it lose all reason.
The latest woman to upset them appeared to be Bishop Barbara Harris. Greg Griffith, the site manager, posted a photo he identified as Bp. Harris. The person in the photo was wearing a scarf patterned after a keffiyeh, the traditional headdress of Arab men. The pattern on the scarf in the photo was made famous by Yasser Arafat, who Stand Firm called a Hamas terrorist. Well, they got that wrong too. Arafat's party was Fatah, not Hamas.
Griffith called on Bishop Harris to apologize for "supporting terrorists." Here is just one of the comments made in response to the photo and Griffith's comments:
"God, I have for years tried to control my temper and you have blessed me with a modicum of patience and allowed me to lean on You and to refrain from my violent tendencies. But God, when I see these idiots mocking you and turning their backs on your people and the young men and women who lay down their lives for the freedom that allows them to exhibit their blatant and boneheaded betrayal of You and of this their country I really, really want to do them extreme bodily harm. Forgive me, dear God.
Your trying to be Christian servant, John, the AP+"
Fr. Jake has identified John, the AP, which stands for "Anglican Papist" as "none other than the Rev. John Cornelius of the Church of the Holy Cross, Warrensburg, NY."
This is a priest making this threat.
Well, guess what? As several people suspected, the person in the photo they were frothing at the mouth about was NOT Bp. Barbara Harris. We were immediately suspicious of the photo because the person was much bigger than Bp. Harris, and Bp. Harris has never been dressed that untidily in her entire life. I suspect she gets out of bed looking more fashionable than a Vogue model.
Here is how Bp. Harris responded to a note from Elizabeth Kaeton telling her of the Stand Firm postings.
Thanks for sending me the "report" of my participation in a rally I knew nothing about in a city I have not visited for several years and from a web site and its freak bloggers of which I have never heard. Of course as a Black person I know that we all look alike to many, if not most, white folk, so I am not surprised that a short afro, small glasses. a purple shirt and collar, etc. would peg the person as me. I also have been identified and addressed as The Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Sandye Williams, the Rev. Mary Adebonojo and several other Black women, twice my size and in no way similar in appearance. But that's the way it goes in this wonderful racist country of ours and this lovely hate-filled church we know and love.
While I do have a concern for Palestinian people, I also have a deep concern for so called "orthodox Anglicans" who think they have cornered the market on revealed truth and righteousness. (They remind me of Fred Phelps and his squad). It must be a heavy burden to be so freakin' right all of the time.
Again, thanks for letting me know what is being said about me these days. Back in 1988 when I was elected bishop the then Episcopal Synod of America said: "The final crisis has come upon the Episcopal Church." Well, here we are almost two decades later and the Church, by the grace of God, continues to press on and will, by Christ's promise, endure.
If you are so inclined, you may pass this on to that wonderfully "Christian" website. I have no clue how to do that myself since I don't get involved in that kind of exchange (translate "crap"). I DO have a life.
Peace, best regards, love and prayers,
Stand Firm has taken the exchange down, but you can read the whole sorry thing for yourself at the Episcopal Cafe, where they cached it.
Greg Griffith apologized in his usual style, taking more swipes at Bp. Harris along the way. And the commentors managed to insult her several more times while commenting on the apology. Geesh, these people are amazing.
See the apology and comments at:
So why write about all this? It just calls attention to them.
I do so because violence is a disturbing theme on Stand Firm, and a subtext to much of the swaggering rhetoric of the 'traditionalist" camp.
Thanks to Fr. Jake for pointing out this Stand Firm exchange:
"For instance, consider this conversation that occurred recently at Stand Firm, an ultra-conservative site that is managed by Greg Griffith. The responses were to some "notes" from Bob Maxwell of a clergy conference. Here is part of those "notes." "Jeffrey" is a reference to Bp. Steenson of Rio Grande, who recently announced his intention to resign:"---------------------------------
...Third, two bishops threatened +Jeffrey, over this agreement with St. Clement. CO and I believe XX were the bishops. He was really upset by this –in tears and shaking- and it included deposition, law suits, not allowing him to resign. . . We were quite angry on hearing this and wondered if they realized they were talking to a NM – TX bishop. Their cities may have a lot of urban gang problems; but, they don’t realize most of us have guns, know how to use them and nobody’s gonna mess with our bishops!
And then Jake reprints this exchange:
Greg Griffith: I’m already reaching for my pistol…
Anthony: Threatening in a blog to shoot people is serious. Just sayin’.
Greg Griffith: Anthony, Agreed. However, “reachin’ for my pistol” is an old expression I use around here. No threat is being made.
Charles Nightingale: Alisdair+: Perhaps it’s time for the “Small band of former paratroopers” to mobilize and deploy!
Virg: "they don’t realize most of us have guns, know how to use them and nobody’s gonna mess with our bishops!...”At last… a perfect solution to all this bickering going on in the church. We’ll just kill the sobs. God help any dissenters on Fr. Maxwell’s vestry.
the snarkster: "I’m already reaching for my pistol…"Hey, what gives with this? The Commenatrix (Blessed be her name) got on my case for saying a lot less than that.It should be quite evident to all by now that our Presiding Marine Biologist and all the 815 gang are not liken to a school of angelfish. They are sharks, pure and simple.
Frances Scott: Frankly, Fr. Maxwell, I wouldn’t waste a bullet on her.
Greg Griffith: Of course, no one is threatening anyone with anything here. I’ll caution anyone pondering a real threat to read our comment policy, but I’ll also remind those who think we’re under orders to keep everything here cupcakes and bunny rabbits not to fall for the caricature of Jesus that our Worthy Opponents have tried to sell us… how was it put the other day? - A sort of zoned-out hippie pacifist, wandering from town to town, spouting Zen koans and harmless parables?Let’s not forget that the people in these churches have in many cases put their life’s work into them; that their parents and grandparents are buried in the graveyard; it’s where their children were baptized, confirmed and married; and that the people we’re up against are nasty - there’s no other way to say it - and they’re playing for keeps. I won’t criticize those who think the best course is to play the pacifist, but they shouldn’t find fault with those who want to pick up their sword along with their trowel.
Fr. Jake commented on this, "The manager of one of the most popular ultra-conservative web sites read by many Anglicans is advocating for a place for those who want to "pick up their sword." Unbelievable."
To which Greg Griffith responded, "...I refuse to conform my posts to the delicate sensibilities of Jake and his gals. This will always be a place where men can feel free to be men… the kind of place our church used to be, once upon a time..." [Emphasis added]
And there you have it -- the underlying reason for the deep rage -- and violence -- simmering just below the surface in so many of the men AND women in the "traditional Anglican" camp. White men aren't in charge anymore, at least not they way they think they are entitled to be. They are being challenged by women, minorities, and --worst of all -- gay men!!!!!
But why use all this gun talk? Because even those with the most passing knowledge of psychology know what a pistol is a symbol for. It's not subtle at all.
Both the presiding bishop AND the president of the House of Deputies are women. That alone is enough reason for these men to be enraged.
Priests who are women have sullied the priesthood for these men. We have "girl" bishops and even a gay man as a bishop, and that's just spoiled the whole episcopate thing for all those manly priests out there who are convinced it is their destiny to be bishops.
There's a word for this, folks. It's misogyny. At the heart of it is the ancient belief that women are alien -- after all, we bleed and do not die -- and unclean, that we are somehow not as human as are males.
Priests in my diocese have shored up their claim that women cannot be priests by saying things such as "a menstruating woman would pollute the altar," and "The Eucharist is a joining of the priest and the Mother Church. If a woman did it, it would be a lesbian act."
Note how Griffith derides Fr. Jake's readers as "gals" -- the ultimate insult in his crowd. There is nothing worse than being a woman, unless it is being a man who acts like a woman -- their idea of any gay man.
Why would women join in all this? After all, some of the worst commentors on Stand Firm appear to be women. It's because women are as susceptible to sexism as are men. Just as minorities can internalize racism, women can internalize sexism. They begin to believe they ARE less worthy than men. This manifests itself in women in many ways -- by blatantly preferring the company of men to that of women; by angling to be the "good girl" as defined against the "bad girls" who defy male authority; by always trying to please male authority figures. These women work hard to be what I call "honorary men," and one of their favorite ploys is to attack other women.
Misogynist men love having women attack other women. That's why at our last diocesan convention, our leadership lined up several of the women deacons to attack Katharine Jefferts Schori.
But at the end of the day, these "good girls" are still "just" women, being used by the men to further the men's goals. Eventually some of them "get" this -- which is why a few of the ordained women in the Network are getting increasingly uneasy about the alliance they have made -- but most don't. They are convinced they are better off being "protected" by the manly men than relying on their own resourcefulness and talents.
It's a sad, sick remnant of the bad old patriarchal days. As The Episcopal Church works to rid itself of the worst manifestations of patriarchy and live into the fullness of the Gospel teachings and our Baptismal Covenant, these kinds of attacks will ramp up.
I just pray that they will continue to use words.