Ides of March: State of the Church

As a follow up to the previous post, I felt I needed to at least say something about the Church, Anglicanism, and that failing institution, TEC. Frankly, at this point TEC is ecclesiologically analogous to a failed state in political terms. The Presiding Bishop has taken on authority never granted to her under the Constitution or Canons, the General Convention is at a point where folks within the church obey or disobey its edicts at a whim (whether on the left or the right), TEC can no longer interact normally with other churches in Christendom or in Anglicanism, and it is failing economically.

Oh, and as to the latest controversy of the Buddhist bishop of Northern Michigan, I’ve been a party to much discussion, solely listening and not saying anything, about Kevin Thew Forrester.

I just haven’t had much to say.

The reason I don’t have much to say is that when I said the church was going in the wrong direction over an openly homosexual bishop or a twice divorced thrice married bishop, the church didn’t heed the warning. Now we are worried about a buddhist bishop?

If TEC is a city, I hate to inform everyone but TEC isn’t burning anymore. It’s burnt.

Sure, I’m going to show up at Standing Committee and vote no on Forrester. But, it just doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing will happen internationally over this, no higher moral or ecclesiastical authority will be able to do anything about it. The House of Bishops will vote yes, a majority of the standing committees will vote yes, there will be much gnashing of the teeth over this, but nothing will ever happen.

Yes, there will be much debate over whether Forrester is a Christian, what is his take on the Trinity, and so on. For me, friends, the debate is over. I’m done with wishful thinking. If a member of TEC clergy couldn’t find enough to do and embrace within the Christian tradition to deepen his relationship with Jesus Christ that he has to embrace Buddhist practices (and forget even theology for a moment), then he doesn’t know the Jesus I know, who continually challenges me. I’m glad Forrester knows how to sit now. Jesus calls us to pick up our cross and follow him. Don’t recall him saying anything about sitting.

Forty years from now, TEC will likely reclaim being a Christian Church in a huge effort to regain its identity. It will affirm the thirty-nine articles, the Nicene Creed, the authority of the Bible, its relationships with other Christian churches. It will affirm Jesus as Lord and Savior. It will have to hit rock bottom in order to do this. Until then, and until all the garbage is out of the system, it won’t have any clue that anything is wrong. Many folks have said lately the TEC has already hit rock bottom. I say they are wrong; there is still dirt flying from the hole, TEC is still digging. When the shovel shatters on a diamond, then TEC might wake up and realize that something might be wrong.

It took the jewish prodigal son feeding pigs and want to eat what the pigs eat to go back to his Father’s house. Jesus knows us pretty well.

Moreover, TEC will be unable to rebuild until it becomes irrelevant to the political left. Hey, it may be burnt, but it belongs to them. Its gay bishop speaks at the Presidential inauguration, its national cathedral calls on the new President to come to church as if he’s someone new in the neighborhood, well, you get the drift.

Much like the economy, things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

The question before me is whether I leave the economic ER to go to General Convention this summer. The covenant will not be considered, according to the PB, and so this will largely be a waste of time. I’m seriously thinking not, but feel a serious obligation to the people of Western Louisiana to do what they asked me to do. I’m praying about it.

26 Responses to “Ides of March: State of the Church”


  1. 1 The Lakeland Two March 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    While it may be an exercise in futility, and you must do what God tells you, your voice – even if not heeded – is needed. While you would represent your diocese, you also represent all of us in every diocese who stand for truth and God.

    You are in our prayers.

  2. 2 George Gray+ March 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    GC will be a waste of your time and money. How much longer will you hang on in TEC?

  3. 3 anglicanprayer March 18, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Brad, I’ve been praying for you this week for wisdom re: whether or not to attend GC.

    I loved what you wrote about feeling the Lord’s pleasure in your work these days, knowing He has gifted you for this work. May He continue to pour out grace & strength in abundance and times of joy and rest in the midst of the busyness.

    Blessings,
    Karen

  4. 4 Ian Montgomery March 19, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Be the voice of warning at the gates as this is what God seems to have called you to do. Be Amos protesting as a “rube” on the temple steps. That is the role of a faithful prophet. May God give you Ezekiel’s forehead of flint.

    Meanwhile God has moved me to a place of serious mission overseas. He told me that enough was enough and time to move to another place.

    Let God move you around as he did so many of the apostles and prophets. Listen to Him. Trust in Him, He will guide you.

    Blessings from Lima, Peru – Ian Montgomery

  5. 5 Phil Moberg March 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    “… The question before me is whether I leave the economic ER to go to General Convention this summer. … I’m praying about it.”

    And I’m still praying for you and yours. Your faithfulness in all this, through all this and after all this is still an inspiration to me, Brad.

  6. 6 revrhino March 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I agree with the Lakeland Two. WIth you going I know I am represented even though I am not from Western Louisiana. I am not sure that is true from my Diocese. Blessings to you, Brother.

  7. 7 Kenith March 23, 2009 at 2:35 am

    God bless and keep you. Though I’m Presbyterian, I attend St. Michael’s in Lake Charles a good bit. Father Cook is a great guy and I know y’all similar concerns. I keep all of y’all in my prayers.

    What is said is all that you have written above is true. I hope your prediction of the future is also true, but the TEC leadership seems quite earnest in their desire to turn this once great assembly of Christ into a synagogue of Satan.

    Coram Deo,
    Kenith

  8. 8 trooper March 25, 2009 at 5:15 am

    your not going means as much as your going. take that as you will. many prayers,

    trooper

  9. 9 Dave March 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    If this is the way you truly and honestly feel, then I would think both bodies (yours and TEC) would be better off if you just left and got it over with.

    To live your life and faith feeling the way you described is not healthy.

  10. 10 Sarah March 27, 2009 at 3:49 am

    RE: “then I would think both bodies (yours and TEC) would be better off if you just left and got it over with. . . . ”

    Well . . . the Vichy leadership of TEC “would be much better off” if you left, Brad. They would really appreciate that.

    But TEC is much much much more than “leadership” like Jefferts Schori, Executive Council, et al. TEC is also 1) laity, 2) the BCP, 3) its history, 4) many other nice things.

    It’s just that right now, Vichy is in charge of France. But that doesn’t make Vichy congruent to France.

    But still, in one sense I agree with Dave — 815 would adore your leaving. ; > )

    I should also add that resistance of Vichy — faux France, so to speak — doesn’t always make the resister feel good. But feeling bad sometimes while engaged in resistance is par for the course, and Dave is incorrect when he calls it “unhealthy.”

    You’d have to be a bloodless human being to feel great all the time while resisting Vichy faux-TEC.

    Your friend in Christ,

    Sarah

  11. 11 Gregg L. Riley March 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Brad

    You have to go man, think of all the coins we will be able to put into the blue box!

  12. 12 Dave March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I stand by what I said, Sarah. It is indeed unhealthy to remain in a situation that makes you miserable.

    You are only kidding yourself when you say that remaining in a combative, unhealthy relationship with a particular church is not unhealthy.

    The forces of evil that put up barriers between us and God are always around us, so there is no reason for us to just add to them by remaining in a place that only makes us miserable.

    Unless, of course, it is the fight itself that is most valued.

  13. 13 The Lakeland Two March 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Brad, IMHO, is praying the same prayer Jesus did in the garden… “remove this cup from me, but not my will but Yours”.

    We’re glad Jesus didn’t just quit.

  14. 14 Elizabeth Kaeton March 27, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing you in Anaheim, Brad. The first round of Maker’s Mark is on me.

  15. 15 Athanasius Returns March 28, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Sound the trumpet loudly and clearly, Brad.

  16. 16 Sarah March 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    RE: “It is indeed unhealthy to remain in a situation that makes you miserable.”

    Great words for the man who is in an “unfulfilling” marriage.
    ; > )

    Of course, you are wrong. There are dozens — nay scores — of situations in life in which we will find ourselves troubled. That’s the nature of difficult passages of life.

    RE: “You are only kidding yourself when you say that remaining in a combative, unhealthy relationship with a particular church is not unhealthy.”

    No — you’re excusing people who take actions based on “I don’t want to feel bad anymore.” Not a good reason at all, in fact, and completely unBiblical.

  17. 17 R. Scott Purdy March 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Brad,

    As you well know, it is not your obligation to the people of Western Louisiana which holds primacy – but your obedience to Jesus.

    Your call may be to stand firm in EcUSA, or to build anew in ACNA, or something else altogether. But it will be your individual calling from Him.

    Prayers for your discernment of His will for you in this situation, and for your joyful submission to that will.

    YBIC

  18. 18 The Lakeland Two March 29, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Brad, we agree with R. Scott Purdy:

    Prayers for your discernment of His will for you in this situation, and for your joyful submission to that will.

    Whatever God tells you to do, you must. This only is what we ask of you, no matter what the answer is. And we know by your faithful witness that your desire is to follow His heart. Not our will or yours, but His. God bless you.

  19. 19 Milton March 30, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Ms Keaton+, love the hail-fellow-well-met denial of all that has gone before, not a few of the flaming missles coming from you yourself. Yes, I was a kibitzer on HOBD listserv for a year and a half until I could no longer take the reappraiser bile and venom and vitriol, (to use a favorite reappraiser accusatory term flung at reasserters) and your cheery invite for Brad to drown his troubles I am sure will not make him forget HOBD posts like Mike Russell+’s posted recently at SFIF, similar to many of his I read directly on the listserv.

    But your comment does show that one Episcopal tradition has not changed in some places. “Wherever you find four Episcopalians…”

  20. 20 Andy B. April 4, 2009 at 4:02 am

    The game is up, Brad. It always has been. Fr Kimel told us this long ago, but we didn’t listen very well.

    The reason Drell’s Descants is on wordpress.com rather than on classicalanglican.net is due to the so-called “re-appraisers” when the site was hacked. The hacker(s) said they were Islamic but the trace was ironically from an Episcopalian parish on the east coast. How liberal of them!

    The reason I mention that is because it reveals the nature of these so-called “re-appraisers.” Why can’t we call them heretics like we used to? Because Kendall Harmon said it’s “not nice.” (Remember what “nice” originally meant?) These people embrace the choice of believing something other than orthodoxy, so why is ‘heretic’ such a no-no word when ‘choosing’ is literally what it means? We’ve slowly but surely given up our ground (over the past 30 years or more really, going back to Pike) until now we ask ‘why’ and we can’t even remember how we got here anymore! We are allowing them to redefine our own words to suit their purposes, should we be surprised when our theology and morals come next? Now I see one of the most vocally heretical and vitriolic of them has the nerve to actually offer to buy you a drink, as if you two were simply on opposing sporting teams?! She claims not only to be a priest, but an orthodox anglo-catholic one at that! She who is an open homosexual and one who supports infanticide in the name of women’s rights! Is the church nothing but a cosmopolitan debating society?

    The choice is rather clear at this point. You have three real options: 1) ACNA, 2) the Roman Catholic Church, or 3) the Eastern Orthodox Church. The only way you could justify staying in TEC any longer is if your diocese and/or parish is planning on leaving corporately for one of those three options (regardless of whether buildings go or not), otherwise as basic catholic ecclesiology maintains, you must flee to save your own soul and the souls of your family.

    My prayers are with you, but it is no longer about if you’re leaving TEC, but it is now about when and how you’re leaving TEC. People may try to convince you that you are being schismatic, but you aren’t the ones who’ve committed the heresy of schism, TEC is. (Don’t believe the false dichotomy some try to create between heresy and schism, they are one and the same.)

    I recommend IRNS’s latest blog post. We cannot be high church congregationalists any longer.

    My prayers are with you during this time.

    In Christ,
    Andy B.

  21. 21 Alice C. Linsley April 5, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Brad, beware of those who would offer you the cup of fellowship. Therein is poison.

    If you must go to Anaheim, don’t allow anyone to believe that you are there for fellowship. There can be no fellowship with apostates, heretics, and those who speak abominations.

  22. 22 ted mcwhorter April 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Hey BD

    Go. It’s not often you get to plan ahead to watch a train wreck.

    Bring some white paint for the sepulchures.

    Teddy

  23. 23 Milton April 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    ted, ouch!!!

    But Brad, it might be worth going if only to see history made and poetry come to life as you see born, its hour come round at last, the rough beast that slouches toward Anaheim.

  24. 24 Anonymouse July 4, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Sarah and Alice are right.

    If TEC is Vichy, then you have three choices: collaborate, join the Maquis, and join the Free French!

    To join the Free French you need to go to APNA.

    To join the Maquis, well that is the much harder road. Because they ended up destroying large amounts of the infrastructure of France in order to save it, up to and including lighting flares to guide the RAF (and USAAF, but the USAAF came over in the daytime) to bomb them homes, towns, and churches flat.

    Staying as a Maquis takes more courage than swimming the channel.
    But the Free French could make a constructive contribution to the way:
    the Maquis mostly blew things up and smuggled airmen back to England.

  25. 25 Katherine July 7, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Kendall Harmon at T19 says you are not going. I am concerned about your reference in March to the financial ER. May your time off from ECUSA matters and your attention to home matters give you peace and refreshment, and may God continue to bless you. You have fought the good fight.

  26. 26 Alice C. Linsley July 7, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Brad, I’m glad you aren’t going, if this report is true. Anaheim will be more wandering in the desert without the benefit of the pillar of fire.


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