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A Response to Teresa Mathes' "Don't Call Them Conservatives"
Stand Firm ^ | 8/05/2006 | Jackie Bruchi

Posted on 08/06/2006 5:35:06 PM PDT by sionnsar

If we are going to throw stones, could we be sure and hit all the houses on the block?

[background is here]

Dear Mrs. Mathes:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Could you take a few minutes and read mine?

I, too, have a conservative background. I’m Southern - through and through. My family, like all families, had challenges and we were taught that it is not the challenge itself but how one faces it that really matters. I, too, came from a town with a strong sense of family and community obligation where respect of others was taught from an early age. Funny, but my mother also had a similar saying to yours. She used to tell us don’t do it if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the next day’s newspaper. I guess mothers are smart that way.

I, too, was raised Episcopalian. Although, my affiliations are much more humble than yours, my heritage does include bishops, priests, a dad who was superintendent of the Sunday School and more relatives and friends than I can count who cling to Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I would like to think that my husband and I have helped carry on the tradition but, more importantly, have been a part in securing the faith for our children and grandchildren.

The Episcopal Church that has been a part of my life since birth was indeed a church of civility. Many believe that sometime in the 60’s (and some believe earlier) it was a church that did not think enough before it spoke and some believed it allowed the voice of the world to determine what it spoke. So I, too, am being very clear here about the position from which I speak. I believe that your definition of a conservative has likely caused your confusion about the label itself.

You state,

"For instance, both the AAC and the ACN attack the idea of gay marriage as a violation of orthodoxy, yet they enforce no position on divorce, even among their own clergy."
This is incorrect. In fact, the ACN document entitled, "A Place to Stand" clearly states:

"Marriage, Family, and the Single Life. God has instituted marriage to be a life-long union of husband and wife, intended for their mutual joy, help, and comfort, and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation and nurture of children. Divorce is always contrary to God’s original intention, though in a fallen world it is sometimes a tragic necessity. The roles of father and mother, exercised in a variety of ways, are God-given and profoundly important since they are the chief providers of moral instruction and godly living. The single life, either by call or by circumstance, is honored by God. It is therefore important for unmarried persons to embrace and be embraced by the Christian family.

Could I ask how you can make such statements without first examining the log in ECUSA's eye? Surely, you are aware that consent to become Bishop was given to a man in your very own state of California who is twice divorced and thrice married? Do you discount this because you believe Jesus’ words to have been too "hard line" when he said "Don’t?"

Could we agree that if every family applied Christian values most marriages could be saved? If every husband would chose to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, would you agree that would make a difference in the divorce rate? If every couple who claimed Christianity made Jesus head of their lives and then head of the household, could we agree there would be a difference? Most importantly, could we agree that the Church should be preaching and practicing these values? I am truly not seeking to throw stones. My life has way too many moments that required repentance and I find it is a trek I must make daily. None of us are sinless and we all fall short of the glory of God. We do not see it as our job to judge our brothers and sisters or to determine their relationship with God. Our agenda asks only that we be allowed practice our faith and to bring the Word, as we have received it these many years, to each other and the world.

Your statements indicate you relied solely on the website information to make your assumptions. Is that how we should judge St. Paul’s Cathedral? When I visited the site I found a lot of information but could not find one link on pre-marriage, marriage or even family counseling. Does that mean that St. Paul’s does not work toward building Christian families? No, I am sure that is not what it means. It means I did an inadequate job of researching the "who and what" of the congregation called St. Paul’s. Could it be that your research on the AAC and ACN would have been greatly bolstered by placing a telephone call to them or better yet visiting a church that is actually affiliated with them?

You state:
"Problem is, they’re more clique than community. AAC priests in this diocese routinely avoid diocesan gatherings, even social ones."

If your Diocese reached out to the Network parishes with even a fraction of the intensity it does to the LBGT community, you might see another story. I saw Integrity events at St. Paul’s, but not one outreach to those who believe we have broken the bonds with the wider Communion not to mention Biblical standards. How about a dinner just for the conservatives and Network minded? When is the last time your Bishop asked to sit and listen to the theological reasons that these priests and laity feel ostracized from the Diocese? Or are we to assume that only the conservatives are to listen? Are the conservatives now required to "check their brain at the door?" Unfortunately, that is the way we feel along with a requirement that we "check our faith at the door."

As for your comments about the Network Bishops, I would ask, "Have you talked with any of them?" I would urge you to fall back on your roots and try talking with them. Go ahead, pick up the phone and call one of them. It would shock me if Bishop Duncan did not take your call. I found him to be one of the most earnest and faithful leaders I have ever met. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of one person in Network leadership that would not be delighted to share a moment with you in honest conversation. Why not call the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon? Or send him an email. I truly believe he will respond. I think your husband probably has all their numbers and email addresses.

You are very correct when you state:
"To many conservatives, Gene Robinson’s election represented a profound challenge to the traditional understanding of moral fitness for ministry, and it did so without even stopping to define what a new understanding might be."

You are, however, very short sighted when you condemn those very people for seeking the only way they could to preserve the traditional understandings of their faith. Did Presiding Bishop Griswold offer shelter? Was it offered in the Diocese of San Diego? There can be no doubt that you realize a Bishop is not just a Bishop in his own Diocese but all of the Anglican Communion. Where could the conservatives find shelter from this? How should clergy or laity have responded when faced with the fact that we are being required to pronounce (in the Bishop’s discretion of course) God’s blessings on same sex unions? Most importantly, the very authority of Scripture has been challenged. Until such time as the communion changes it’s thinking on sexuality, it is wrong to attempt to force feed new innovations. We are not talking about the color of the fair linen or the fabric of the vestments. We are talking about how we allow Scripture to shape our lives. That’s pretty important to us conservatives. It is well understood that many within ECUSA feel the thinking needs to be changed, but there are just as many who disagree.

"The Internet now bristles with memos" correct. Have you read the Via Media plan for the day after convention? If not, you can read it at Drell's Descants. If we are going to throw stones, could we be sure and hit all the houses on the block?

"The conservatives I know would be ashamed of such behavior. I know I am."

We can agree on that statement but it would be for different reasons and different behaviors than you mention. You see, the conservatives I know are indeed honest, civil people who do not choose to meet behind closed doors. They are a faithful people who feel called to defend the faith once delivered. They are a faithful people who do not seek to deny you your right to practice your faith however you choose. They simply are not willing to allow those who would deny them those very same rights to steal their church.

I would ask you, did you happen to notice what four bishops are attempting to do to a fellow bishop when the duly elected people of his diocese voted openly and did not meet behind closed doors?

When you can answer these questions and explain why we should be denied the privilege and rights that are claimed so boldly for the liberal factions within the church, please write us again. We will be listening.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Other non-Christian

1 posted on 08/06/2006 5:35:07 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; fgoodwin; secret garden; MountainMenace; SICSEMPERTYRANNUS; kaibabbob; angeliquemb9; ...
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 08/06/2006 5:35:46 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Iran Azadi | Appeasement is Capitulation is Suicide)
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To: sionnsar
Well, THAT would leave a mark . . . if good ol' Teresa cared. But I doubt she does.

She ought to be ashamed, but she won't be, and Jackie will get no response. That is because Teresa wasn't honestly seeking information; she was being a good soldier in the propaganda wars.

3 posted on 08/06/2006 5:47:51 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: sionnsar

Hello sionnsar - was wondering if you could elucidate for me the differences between all these provinces. Is it a matter of Protestant vs. Catholic in their liturgy/theology, or conservative vs. liberal (or vs orthodox, as the case may be)? I got into a conversation with some church members today and I had asked them what they thought. They suggested that perhaps the ACC is too Catholic for Protestants, and too Protestant for the Catholics. This is a point of frustration for me, as I would love to see Anglicanism as a whole grow, but our particular branch of it doesnt seem to fit the bill for some people.

4 posted on 08/06/2006 5:53:31 PM PDT by Alkhin ( ~ Tributaries)
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To: Alkhin

Pardon me for jumping in, but...

When we refer to "leftism," we're usually thinking of economics or politics. However, leftism has moral dimensions as well, which means religious dimensions.

One could think of political leftism, economic leftism, moral leftism, and theological leftism, but I don't know that it would be useful to do so, as all leftism is the same contaminent with the same source.

5 posted on 08/07/2006 2:55:21 PM PDT by dsc
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