04 June 2010

Blogging, orientation and other thoughts

I have been thinking about closing this blog down. There are reasons to do that.
  • I have relatively few readers and generally fewer who comment on what I write.
  • My hope to start some conversations has not materialized.
  • My 3D conversations with folks who read but do not comment suggest I am missing my mark. I think this space is about my ramblings on things Anglican, Episcopal, Christian and political. They think it is about gays and lesbians.
  • It takes some effort to stay up to date on the ever churning Episcopal experiment and to write this stuff.

That leads to the observation of Rod McKuen in the 60's "People who cannot communicate should shut up."

I have then been thinking about what the issues really are and how I fail to communicate about them.

Among the many responses to Dr. Williams' effort to emulate Gen. "I am in charge" Haige and PBp Jefferts Schori's response ("Nope!") is this comment from Dianna Butler Bates:
The argument isn't really about gay and lesbian people nor is it about, as some people claim, the Bible or orthodoxy. Rather, the argument reprises the oldest conflict within Anglicanism--What kind of Anglicans are we to be? How do we relate to the world and culture around us? And very specifically now: What kind of Anglicans are we to be in the 21st century? And how to we relate to the plurality of cultures in which we find ourselves?
Her complete article is at: Click here!

I half agree. Yes this is really about whether Dr. Williams or an emerging curia consisting of a clutch of primates or the autocephalous and autonomous churches are in charge. But(!) I was there in the run up to the 2003 General Convention, the founding of the AMiA and the various church wannabe groups and the eventual publication (under "fiction") of the "Windsor Report." What I saw, and you can still see with some research is that the right wing disciples of Gen. Haige were as they remain, quite cynically willing to use lbgt inclusion as what they then called, "the wedge issue" to achieve their victory.

I agree that the "orthodox" are all about power. I recall asking one "orthodox Episcopalian" why what was then called "alternative episcopal oversight" would not allow his parish to continue its ministry in an effective and even comfortable way within TEC. He replied "the church would still be in charge!" That response is not about lesbians it is about power. On the other hand that same person is quite ready to start the fires if only he can burn some gays and quite confident that God wants the church to do exactly that.

Do you see the problem? It is true that the wall builders want exclusivity and power. It is no accident that the ACNA created as the alternative to the (evil apostate etc.) TEC, is led by a newly created "archbishop" whom I hear is very particular about being addressed as "your grace." Apparently "your holiness" is taken. But the wall builders while certainly intending to exclude those of us who think the church is about common prayer, social justice and inclusion, cannot say that is what they find objectionable. They instead concentrate on 'gay marriage' or 'lesbian sex.'

There are two conclusions I find here:

First, this is how the wall builders have co-opted Dr. Williams. He is a bit of an elitist and he wants to make laity especially vocal people like me, to shut up. Which requires power. He is quite willing to sacrifice his gay friends (cf. Fr. Jeffery Johns) to get it. He may be a theological liberal but he is also a wall builder.

Second, inevitably because the wall builders have done a brilliant job of selecting their battle ground, those of us who want to tear down walls, welcome the powerless, proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and feed the hungry find ourselves defending lesbian and gay ministry a lot. OK, I would defend it anyway -- most of us probably would. But it is only a part of the mosaic under attack by the wall builders who do not show their entire hand.

I don't want to portray TEC as some sort of democratic paradise. We have our authoritarian, elitist clergy. Quite a few of them allege to be liberals. Over all, none-the-less I think PBp Jefferts Schori nailed this one. No, I have not become a fan, but I do appreciate good work.



Rev. Raggsdale said...

Very interesting read. I'm still a relative newbie to the whole mess, but I can see that most of this has been a power grab.

Anonymous said...

Jim - I like your blog; why don't don't you have a sabbatical for a month & come back with lots blog about.

If you want lots of subscribers change your blog title to "Miley Cyrus - Nude" or "Why Christians Suck!".

Popularity isn't everything.

JimB said...


I am not so much concerned with popularity as I am the absence of conversation. I am thinking about some suggestions I have received including setting up a referral to a Facebook discussions page. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Okay, whatever you feel comfortable with.

John-Julian, OJN said...


I was finally able to chase you down -- after years of reading you at MadPriest.

You write some of the clearest, most powerful, most accurate, most uncompromised essays I read anywhere on the ecclesiastical Internet.

I'll be at your blog every day from now on. Please don't retire!

JimB said...

{{{BLUSHES}}} OK, Fr. J-J, I will keep it up. I can at least hope I annoy someone in England!


Tracie H said...

I read. I just don't always comment because a lot of the time I feel like for me to comment at all would be inappropriate. Besides, I'm trying to learn, quietly.

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