Skip to comments.Hope Amid the Sign of Jonah: Tales from Diocesan Convention, Chapter 3
Posted on 04/07/2005 4:13:07 PM PDT by sionnsar
He answered them, A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
Can you believe it has been over a month since the 174th Diocesan Convention? By every measure, time as we know it on this earth is screaming by. Tell me it isnt true. Doesnt it seem like just yesterday that you trimmed your toenails and now its time to do it again? (You can do it while you read this.) But why has it taken me over a month to post anything about Bishop Andrus address on the Saturday morning of convention? Was the address so profound as to be difficult to comprehend? Did Easter and spring break activities become too much of a priority?
The answer is no on both counts. I confess that the main reason for the delay is a lack of motivation. Communicating another instance of the depravity of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Alabama would do as much good as Jesus showing the Pharisees another miraculous sign. While the communiqué from the February 2005 Primates meeting in Belfast should have been a wake up call to all, sadly it barely stirred the House of Bishops. The Covenant Statement from their March meeting in Texas was like a belligerent and rebellious teenager negotiating a better deal with his disciplining parent. There is some remorse over consequences, but no concern for relationship. Declaring unity in diversity, the Diocese of Alabama joins ECUSA in shunning repentance. Ignorance, apathy and denial continue regarding our future in the Anglican Communion. Over a year ago I asked the question, Why should I care about the Anglican Communion? I now have an answer, but many still are not even bothering to ask the question.
But we do not lose hope! Like Gideons army and the apostle Paul, we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. Proverbs 13:12 says hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. The primates of the Global South have communicated their coming of age in the Dromantine Communiqué. A Common Cause movement of true unity in the Spirit is developing from what once were several North American Anglican factions. These events are indeed a longing fulfilled and a tree of life. Stand Firm Alabama is standing firm with the majority of Anglicans worldwide in proclaiming the truth of the entire gospel and the word of God.
This personal realization that the time is almost upon us to change the clarion call of warning to a trumpet call of advance marks the end of the beginning of this crisis in Anglicanism. We are now in exile, but it will not last forever. We will soon be liberated to proclaim the gospel of life in Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that has already begun to work new life in those who have received the gift of faith in Jesus saving blood. We will be given opportunity to right past wrongs, particularly those we have committed against people we have neglected for decades, and God will restore to all of us the years the locusts have eaten. Stay tuned for fewer messages of warning and more messages of hope. Take to heart the words of Romans 12:12:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Meanwhile, we are where we are at this moment. So for those in the Diocese of Alabama who are not asking for proof of anything, nevertheless, heres your sign! You are invited to join Gideons army. This is a summary of Bishop Suffragan Mark Andrus address on February 26, 2005. It is totally devoid of any message of Jesus being our hope of salvation and the way to a relationship with God the Father. Most of it is just the facts, but some supporting information and yes, some commentary, is included in italics and parentheses. My thanks to those at convention who provided me with notes on this. You know who you are.
Notes on Bishop Andrus address follow
The content of Bishop Andrus address was largely composed of stories narrating his encounters and/or relationships with four significant personages: Paul Zahl (former Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent), Desmond Tutu, Sister Maurus Allen, a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun from northern Alabama (his spiritual director until her recent death), and Olympia Dukakis. These stories were woven together throughout the address.
Bishop Andrus told several stories concerning himself and Paul Zahl prior to and during consideration for, and after becoming the Suffragan. While Andrus was Chaplain of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, Zahl came as the second speaker in a series endowed by the husband of Fleming Rutledge. Andrus became ill prior to the visit and Zahl visited him during his illness before returning to Birmingham. Later, Andrus visited the Advent and delivered two sermons as part of the Lenten Preaching Series. At least one of the sermons drew considerably on the Norse mythology of the Sigurd saga, especially the tale of Sigurds slaying of the dragon Fafnir. Zahl complimented the first sermon publicly, but not the second.
While under consideration for Suffragan, several notes were sent from Zahl to Andrus, assuring him of Zahls support. He noted also that Zahl mentioned that the Reverend Ruth Lamont (a proponent of the gay agenda) was also supporting him. After becoming the Suffragan, he and Zahl maintained a cordial relationship until the controversy stemming from General Convention 2003 when everything went to hell. He said that Zahl would not speak to him or even acknowledge that he existed. He mentioned getting 300 or so hate emails many coming from people in the convention hall. (The point of highlighting the support Andrus received from both Zahl and Lamont seemed to be to show how great we all got along as long as a silly little thing like pansexuality was not openly discussed. It also served to show how silly Paul Zahl was now behaving toward Andrus over such a trivial little thing.)
Bishop Andrus told several stories concerning his experience(s) of the Feminine Divine. He said that these experiences were, on several occasions, the topic of conversations with his spiritual director with whom he had developed a close bond. Bishop Andrus focused his remarks on one particular experience of the Feminine Divine that Olympia Dukakis apparently recounted in her biography. (Dukakis claims a profound relationship with the Great Mother, the feminine aspect of God, long venerated in the ancient cultures of the Indus River Valley. The Indus River Valley, in the area know today as Pakistan, is the place where Indias first major civilization flourished for one thousand years, from around 2500 B.C.) Dukakis tells in her biography that, while coming out of a PATH train station in suburban New Jersey and seeing the rather large crowd of people emerging from the station, she heard the voice of the Feminine Divine saying, She loves them all.
Bishop Andrus told one story of the visit by Desmond Tutu to the Cathedral Church of the Advent. He focused on Tutus sermon in which the phrase, he loved them all, was repeatedly used to stress Gods love for all people.
Bishop Andrus briefly recounted the tale of Sigurd and the dragon and how, as a young man, Sigurd slew the dragon Fafnir and seized the golden ring (made earlier in the myth by one of the Nibelung dwarves). During the battle with the dragon, Sigurd accidentally tasted the dragons blood which gave him the power to understand the forest birds.
Bishop Andrus concluded the address by asserting that, since the controversy which has ensued subsequent to General Convention 2003, he has (eventually) been able to hear the voices of all the birds in air, the beasts in the fields, and even the mollusks on the creek bank, i.e., to listen to those in the diocese who have spoken, regardless of their viewpoint. (Bishop Andrus did not explicitly state how he received this ability but he seemed to be saying that the controversy following General Convention was, for him, like the battle between Sigurd and the dragon and that his experience(s) of the Feminine Divine was somehow like Sigurds tasting of Fafnirs blood.)
The address reached a sort of crescendo with a kind of oracular assertion of the character of the Feminine Divine in which Bishop Andrus, a la Tutu, repeatedly said with reference to various kinds of people that, She loves them all. This assertion included men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women. (Bishop Andrus clearly intended to imply his universalist understanding of salvation; the absence of any concept of sin; and a false analogy of race, which is immutable and unchangeable and which is therefore not a sin, with same sex behavior which is expressly described as a sin.)
Note: After the first mention of the Feminine Divine, Bishop Andrus recommended a book on the subject. It was either "The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women" by Sherry Ruther Anderson and Patricia Hopkins or "The Divine Feminine: Exploring the Feminine Face of God Throughout the World" by Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring. There are numerous books with similar titles.
Is the heresiarch of Alabama a nut? As for Olympia Dukakis, well she's just a disgrace. You know, her mother was a fine Greek woman and I suspect that she'd be very ashamed of what her daughter has apparently become.
It would seem so. One wonders if those "mollusks" he heard were zebra mussels, an invasive and destructive species.
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