Skip to comments.Complicit in Excuse [TEC]
Posted on 10/31/2006 5:32:31 PM PST by sionnsar
Or The Unhappy Reformation Day
Today is celebrated by some as Reformation Day. I used to remember that day before I was Catholic, but now after spending two years in the Episcopal Church, I see the logical end of Reformation Day. I used to get together with friends and celebrate, and now I get together with friends and cry. Why should anyone celebrate schism and heresy within the Church as a good thing? One of the logical ends of Reformation Day brings us to the teachings of Katie Sherrod and her friends at Via Media Fort Worth.
Ms. Sherrod, one of the most vocal objectors to the leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth, published an essay trying to accuse the leadership of different kinds of abuse. She starts out her piece with an emotional account of a typical police case, in which women are the victims. She writes,
The thing that has helped me most in understanding what is happening in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is writing about domestic violence as a reporter since the early 1970s. In those days, police referred to its victims as battered women. Most district attorneys offices would prosecute the batterer only if the wife agreed to divorce him. That is, if the police even bothered to arrest him. Usually one officer would walk the man around the block to cool him off while the other office stayed with the woman to find out what she did to set him off and to urge her not to do that again. After all, if shed just act right, everything would be OK. Any of this sound familiar? You can see why many womens advocates felt it was important to do some educating of the police, DAs, and the public. Thats why October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In some places its called Domestic Violence Prevention Month. In either case, the drive is to encourage people to get involved in domestic violence prevention efforts and to intervene if they know someone in an abusive relationship. (Sherrod, Complicit)
No doubt that many cases like this occurred. Thank God that women like Sherrod have stepped up to speak out against these abuses and have volunteered to educate people. But she assumes something very large when she compares a policeman who automatically sides with the male abuser to the leadership of our diocese.
She assumes that in malicious intent, our leadership is, determined to wreck the Episcopal Church and/or to replace it with their own purified NeoPuritan version. She insinuates that they are trying to make people feel guilty when they pass on reports, claiming that Christians are being killed in majority Muslim countries because TEC elected and confirmed an honestly gay man. She says that the leadership is playing mind games by, claiming that Lambeth resolutions have the power of laws, or that TEC has been kicked out of the Anglican Communion, or that the Windsor Report is some kind of judgment from on high against us. She further says that our leadership is trying to coerce and threaten by making, threats of leaving, again and again and again and again. She also mentions the fact that our diocese withholds money from the national church, as if it were economic abuse! Finally she claims that the diocesan leadership abuses people by, using gender privilege.
Fact or Fiction?
Where to begin? Well lets start off by separating fact from fiction. It is a fact that Christians in lands with a Muslim majority are being persecuted, and even killed, because of the reports that Christians in America have ordained an openly homosexual man. Giles Fraser, the vicar of Putney, wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian in which he criticized Archbishop Akinola. Even hewho openly wants non-celibate homosexuals ordainedwrote that,
It is observed, in Akinolas defense, that his real concern with a gay bishop in New Hampshire is that it lands a propaganda coup to Muslims keen to depict the Anglican Church as the bastard child of the sexually decadent west. Indeed one reason Rowan Williams is wary of expressing his own views on homosexuality is that he believes liberal pronouncements from Canterbury may translate into lives being put at risk in northern Nigeria, where Islam and Christianity are locked in an often-violent struggle. (Fraser, Rebuff)
I think relaying this kind of information is anything but trying to make people feel guilty. It is a simple, but sad, fact of life.
While she is technically correct in that Lambeth resolutions do not have the power of laws per se, they do give guidelines for appropriate behavior within the Anglican Communion. If a province is outside the will of the Communion, there will be consequences. This is demonstrably so. The upcoming Primates meeting in February is just one example. The idea of an Anglican Covenant by Archbishop Rowan Williams is another example. Also it is inaccurate to say that TEC has been kicked out of the Anglican Communion, but it is sure headed down that road quickly. Again, just read what the Archbishop wrote regarding this issue. As for the statement that the Windsor Report is some kind of judgment from on high, I think it simply is another way of the Communion to draw a line in the sand; a sort of bare minimum. Clearly Ms. Sherrod wants TEC to cross over that line, but not face the consequences (because she will have you to believe that there cannot be any). Well, I think what Bishop Okoracha of Nigeria said in another report answers our problem succinctly:
[T]he normal Muslim would rather talk with a Christian he can predict, that hes sure of. Now, they turn around today and say to us if you people can no longer believe in your own faith, if you can no longer honour and respect your founder and his teachings, how can we trust you? And their distrust is growing. (Interview, Religion Report)
Muslim distrust is growing towards Anglicans, but Anglican distrust is growing amongst each other. How can two religions peacefully co-exist within the same structure? Again, the line has to be drawn somewhere.
Katie Sherrod also would have you believe that our diocesan leadership is, determined to wreck the Episcopal Church and/or to replace it with their own purified NeoPuritan version. This hits upon the crux of our disagreement, does it not? Is the current majority within TEC staying within the Apostolic Tradition that TEC was founded in? Will it remain a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, as the Preamble says? The answer to both of these is firmly no. Therefore, this majority within TEC is no longer the Episcopal Church, but has transformed into something else all together. Because the majority within TEC have left the Catholic Faith by changing the very moral and doctrinal foundations TEC was founded upon, it is Sherrod who is determined to wreck the Episcopal Church and/or replace it with her own revised Inclusive version (which is not inclusive of her own diocesan leadership, ironically).
As to her whining that our leadership is trying to coerce and threaten by making threats of leaving, again and again and again and again, that is her own twisted viewpoint. It has bias written all over it. To say you want to leave to secure the future of orthodox Anglicanism in Fort Worth is different than coercing and threatening people. This is based on the fact that TEC has left the Apostolic Faith, of which it claims to be a part.
This leads me to address her final concerns. Our diocese withholds money from the national church. Well, if Ms. Sherrod can demonstrate that TEC has remained faithful to the Faith of the Apostles, then maybe she can have some leverage with the diocesan leadership in regards to this issue. See, it is foolish to give money into the hands of those who want to destroy you, and if Fort Worth believes that they are following Christ and the majority within TEC are not, then why would they send money? Again, for her essay to have any weight, she must demonstrate why she is justified in making the claims she makes, otherwise all the points in her essay fall down.
Given that Ms. Sherrod did not write anything but a general complaint about gender privilege, I am assuming she is referring to the ordination of women. She obviously feels lonely in her cause for she wrote,
For at least fifteen years those of us in the Diocese of Fort Worth who support the ordination of women and the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life and work of the church have been trying to get some help, or least encouragement, from the national church as our diocesan leadership moved year after year to isolate and separate us more and more from the national church. (Sherrod, Complicit)
Without mentioning in detail the arguments for the ordination of LGBT people, it is a fact that she is going against the received Tradition if she thinks it good to ordain non-celibate homosexual men. If she wants to object to this let her do so by citing Scripture or the Church Fathers. But to briefly address the ordination of women, I would like to mention that to defend this innovation, one must reject the notion of individual ontology as the Church has always understood it (and must defend why the historic understanding that the Church collectively has always held, is wrong). Reasons people give for why women should or can be ordained to the deaconate, priesthood, or episcopate are numerous. Nevertheless, the Church has never seen anything but deaconesses (which are a separate order from deacons). The reason womens ordination is not a part of Holy Tradition is due to the distinction between the equal worth and equal composition. We are all created equally valuable in the sight of God, but are created individually unique. We may be one in Christ Jesus by virtue of being collectively a part of His Church, but we are all composed differently than each other. Women have ontological potential to be certain things that men cannot be, such as a deaconess or a mother. Men have ontological potential to be certain things that women cannot be, such as a deacon or a father. Ms. Sherrod needs to understand that it is not the traditionalists who are being abusive by embracing these truths, but rather the abuse comes when the natural laws of God are ignored or taught to be something they are not. The Sacraments are bridges between the physical and the metaphysical, and one cannot change the natural laws they operate under simply by believing the laws are not true.
For anyone to take seriously the claims of Ms. Sherrod, she must first demonstrate theologically, just how exactly it is that the leadership of Fort Worth has left the Apostolic Faith and how she is fully within. But she never did that. Instead she just wrote an emotionally charged essay with some weak analogies and some moving stories. She merely assumes that her understanding of social justice (and gender roles, especially regarding the priesthood) is Gods understanding, without arguing and defending it theologically, from the Sacred Scriptures or Holy Tradition.
Anyone can assume something. I can assume the moon is made out of green cheese and can make an emotionally charged essay appealing to the cheesiness within us all because of the moons influence over us each cloudless night. I then could even redefine words and passages in the Bible to support my groundless claim, so that it appears to have a solid foundation. But surely this is a silly example because nobody has the inclination to want to be cheesy, in order to motivate anyone to develop such a theology. But people do have the inclination to want non-celibate homosexuals and women ordained, do they not? This then leads to the gay and lesbian interpreters spending quite a lot of time discerning the real wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and feminists closely examining the words of St. Paul in regards to deacons, priests, and bishops.
Today is a historical landmark. We have reached the logical end of Reformation Day on October 31, 2006. Once people believe it is acceptable to interpret the Scriptures themselvesand do away with the received philosophical foundations upon which they standoutside of Holy Tradition, then the entirety of the Christian faith can be so radically changed, that it becomes a new religion altogether.
October 31 Reformation Day: It started with Martin Luther posting the 95 Thesis way back in 1517. Only four hundred and eighty-nine years later a woman who denies the basics of the Christian faith claims the title of a Primate of a Church in 2006. Is not the art of eisegesis a powerful one?
I heard all my life that Episcopalians were very close to being Catholics... sounds like the distance is getting further.
Interesting. Growing up Episcopalian it was Orthodoxy I heard we were closest to.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.