Dan Martins Says What Many Of Us Have Been Thinking

From here:

I am also heartsick and pessimistic, specifically, that is, about the institution into which I have poured my life for more than three decades–the Episcopal Church–as well as the larger family of Anglican Christianity. I feel like Captain Kirk in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as he labors in hand-to-hand combat with the evil Klingon commander Kruge while the planet literally disintegrates underneath his feet. Anglicanism is disintegrating. The last three and a half years have been like watching a train wreck in slow motion–not just an imminent wreck, but an actual wreck. It’s not just a prospect; it’s a reality. The collision is not merely poised to happen; it is in the process of happening. Fresh damage is being done every day, damage that–by any conventional wisdom, at least–is irreparable.

When I became an Anglican in 1975, it seemed to me–at age 23–an eternal verity. It seemed as stable and immutable a part of the worldwide ecclesiastical landscape as … well, the polar ice cap was a part of a natural landscape. Unthinkably, the polar ice cap now appears to be in considerable jeopardy. Anglicanism is beyond jeopardy; it has crashed into the sea and is melting. Gone are the days when we could confidently expect to “muddle through” the next crisis over the horizon. Gone are the days of clear and simple Inquirers’ Class explanations of the Tudor monarchs and the Caroline Divines and the three-legged stool and Seabury and the creation of the PECUSA and so on an so on, et secula seculorum.

This is not ipso facto (yeah…whatever…go learn some Latin…I’m in a bad mood) a hopeless state of affairs. Change happens, and God is ever an opportunist. But change is an occasion of grief, and so I grieve (grief is a feeling, so it gets to be in bold print). I grieve the passing of a familiar status quo that I know how to talk about and how to explain coherently to others. But it’s gone, and it’s not coming back. I–along with all other Anglicans who fancy being informed and responsible–are going to have to learn to travel light for a while, because the ground is shifting under out feet, and we don’t want to get swallowed up alive into the abyss.

I’m also angry. Not in the deadly sin way, I hope, but in the feeling way:

I am angry with Episcopalian liberals for pushing their agenda of the “normalization” of homosexuality–which I acknowledge they believe is a gospel-mandated matter of basic justice–with no demonstrable regard for the collateral damage their efforts have caused.

I am angry with the Bishop of San Joaquin for using exaggeration, half-truths, polarizing rhetoric, secrecy, and manipulative tactics in order to persuade a sizable majority of delegates to two consecutive conventions to vote in favor of seceding from the Episcopal Church, all with no demonstrable regard for the collateral damage caused to hundreds–yea thousands–of unsuspecting faithful, most of whom agree with him on the presenting issue but who have now been ripped away from a network of networks than has connected them to thousands of other largely unsuspecting Episcopalians in other dioceses.

I am angry with the Presiding Bishop for disingenuously misrepresenting facts in her ham-fisted effort to alienate key clergy and lay leaders in San Joaquin who do not wish to follow the Bishop to the nether regions of the western hemisphere but who happen to hold orthodox theological and moral views and who have no desire to be complicit in her canonically illegal putsch to establish a liberal 815 hegemony in the Central Valley of California.

I am angry with the House of Bishops for so thoroughly “not getting it” last March with respect to the Dar es Salaam Communique of the Primates. With their attitude they probably did more than any other party at any other time to ensure and hasten the demise of the Anglican Communion.

I am angry with what had been the leaders of the Anglican Communion Network–now morphed into the Common Cause Partners. If they had remained united, and not spoken with any voice until they were able to speak with one voice, the train would still be careening toward disaster rather than already having arrived irrevocably at that destination.

I am angry with the allies of the Common Cause Partners, aka the Global South (Primates, mostly), and their petulant desire to deal a death-blow to the Anglican Communion by snubbing the Lambeth Conference in favor of GAFCOM. As a vitual lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, I know all about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I recognize it when I see it. If cooler heads had prevailed, we would now be on the brink of a Lambeth Conference that would have offered a ringing re-affirmation of the sexuality statement from 1998, investing it with veritably canonical authority as the received teaching of the Anglican Communion. Lambeth ’08 also would have commended to the provinces a strong Anglican Covenant, one that General Convention 2009 would have choked on like a snake swallowing its own tail, thus ensuring the sort of “communion discipline” that conservatives (including myself) have been agitating for. But noooooo. We couldn’t just hold our horses and keep our shirts on. We had to get all inflammatory and fissiparous and piss off people who probably would have turned out to be on our side when the battle heated up. Talk about the blown opportunity of the century.

I am angry with the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, the members of which are already en route to to Quito, Ecuador–first, for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in diocesan contribution to 815’s program budget by meeting in South America for the sake of political correctness, but mostly for what I suspect they will do: Affirm the Presiding Bishop’s declaration of non-recognition of the duly-elected Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. The sad fact is, politics and due process do not mix. Executive Council is about as political a body as one can imagine. Their members are elected, but the committee itself controls the nominating process, so they are effectively self-perpetuating. Between meetings of the General Convention, the Executive Council speaks with the voice of the convention. Their interpretation of the Constitution and Canons does not have to be rational and coherent in order to carry the weight of ecclesiastical authority. It need only be their interpretation, and it becomes binding on the conscience of the faithful. We may say we’re a church under the rule of law, but we deceive ourselves. We are a church governed by a majoritarian tyranny that has the power to declare the color of the sky on a clear day to be green if the advocates for that position can get enough votes.

I am angry with my own Baby Boomer generation, now pretty much running the Episcopal Church. That we are also running the country is also true, but too scary to contemplate–we are a generation of Peter Pans. We walk and talk like adults but we have never laid aside the self-indulgence of youth, and the mantra that we learned just as we were starting school in the 1950s, that we are special because there are so damn many of us. In the Church, our dominance is seen in the hyper-individualism by which we apprehend the Faith, and the complete sentimentalization of its content.

I am fearful. (There’s another feeling.) If Anglicanism disintegrates, where can I go? It’s a very short list of alternatives, and don’t particularly care for any of them. And I have a vowed pastoral obligation to the people committed to my charge. I lead a parish the prides itself on being above and beyond controversial church politics. That’s an aspect of its culture that I personally find quite attractive, and I have no desire to inject the angst of the larger family into this particular corner of it. There’s a limit to how long I can or should keep them insulated. I owe it to them to know where that limit is.

8 Responses to “Dan Martins Says What Many Of Us Have Been Thinking”


  1. 1 Tregonsee February 12, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    “”I lead a parish the prides itself on being above and beyond controversial church politics”

    Fr Dan,

    We have those where I live as well. It is precisely those parishes, and their leaders, which have brought this situation about. When the sensible center is kept informed, honestly and in a timely fashion, the extremists have little chance. So you will understand my own hopefully Christian anger at those who in their superior pride have brought about the destruction of a church in which I have worshiped and served as a layman for 60 years.

    Treg

  2. 2 Jeffersonian February 12, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Can Fr. Dan reserve a brickbat for a double-dealing Archbishop of Canterbury who, had he acted with the slightest shred of resolve when Gene Robinson was elected, could have averted this catastrophe? The vacuum of leadership at the top has fed the disaster.

  3. 3 John February 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    IT’S TIME, IT’S WAY PAST TIME AND IT IS GOING TO BE MOMENTUS WHEN AT LEAST A HALF MILLION ANGLICANS, OVER 1000 ORTHODOX ANGLICAN PRIESTS AND THIS DYNAMIC POPE, ONE POPE BENEDICT 16TH JOIN TOGETHER IN WARM AND HUMBLE WELCOMING OF THESE ORTHODOX (ANGLICAN) CHRISTIANS INTO UNION & COMMUNION WITH THE SEE OF PETER THE POPE AND THE SACRED MAGISTERIUM. MILLIONS OF OTHER ANGLICANS WORLDWIDE ARE WAITING TO SEE HOW ROME RESPONDS TO THE BISHOPS AND LAITY OF THE TRADITIONAL ANGICAN CHURCH. THERE WILL BE AN ANGLICAN-RITE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND IT WILL BE MUCH MUCH SOONER THAN LATER. THE ORTHODOX ANGLICANS HAVE AN ABIDING FRIEND IN FORMER CARDINAL RATZINGER NOW POPE BENEDICT THE 16TH HE WILL NOT BETRAY THOSE MILLIONS OF ANGLICANS WHO ARE LEAVING THE MANIFEST/SECULAR REVISIONISM OF ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE ECUSA AND A WEAK & EQUALLY REACTIONARY MAN SITTING AND PONTIFICATING AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. ONE MAJOR SPIN ON ANGLICAN/CATHOLIC REUNION WILL BE THAT ANGLICANS CAN RE-TEACH US CATHOLICS HOW TO SING. AFTER VAT 2 SO MUCH CATHOLIC CULTURAL BEAUTY WAS ALSO DESTROYED BY THE REVISIONISTS IN OUR OWN MIDST. THAT TOO IS CHANGING WITH THE COMING OF POPE BENEDICT THE GREAT (16TH) AND THE MOTU PROPRIO SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM. TO OUR ANGLICAN BRETHREN WE CATHOLICS ARE, AS TRADITION RETURNS TO US,SIMPLY WAITING FOR THE DESTRUCTIVE LIBERAL BISHOPS IN OUR CHURCH TO DIE, RETIRE OR BE FIRED BY ROME OR END UP IN JAIL AS PEDOPHILE ENABLERS .IN CLOSING TO OUR ANGLICAN BRETHREN, MILLIONS OF CATHOLICS ARE PRAYER WITH AND FOR YOU AND THE REACTIONARIES LIKE CARDINAL KASPAR CANNOT HOLD UP YOUR REUNION WITH US FOR MUCH LONGER. SHALOM

  4. 4 Frank Adams February 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    As I read the words of Fr. Dan I realized he articulated exactly what I have been feeling. I have been in turn a United Methodist and a Lutheran, but left those churches when liberals began to control and veer away from historical, biblical teaching. My wife and I have have attended our local Episcopal Church but refuse to join because of the current turmoil and its foreseeable end. I cannot follow a priestess (although ours is a very nice lady she simply does not inspire me to follow Christ) – and I have a deep disrespect for +Schori whose words indicate that she does not believe Jesus Christ is the sole means of salvation! As for all the other ills within the Anglican Communion are they not directly traceable to an Archbishop who now sees little wrong with Sharia law among other anathema? And our leaders wonder why the parishners are shaking their heads in the pews with disbelief. (Our congregation is holding steady at 30 or so members weekly attendance at Mass – down substantially from years gone by.)

    I propose a new church body: The Catholic Christian Church of Christ – COPE (i.e. Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical) worshipping and governed after the Anglican Model. The CCCC would be ecumenical among believing, baptized and practicing members, devoid of the overbearing and crushing weight of hierarchy, and orthodox in its adherance to the 2000 year deposit of faith so lately discarded by TEC etc.

  5. 5 Alice C. Linsley February 19, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Frank, COPE sound quite inferior to the fullness that the Orthodox have and I can’t imagine any wanting to join. You should to visit an Orthodox church sometime, to se what I mean.

  6. 6 Ione July 16, 2009 at 6:08 am

    It is very kind of Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians to extend me an invitation to join their denomination. I thank them sincerely for their hospitality. But, you see, I am not Roman Catholic or Orthodox. I am Anglican. I believe the Creeds, the Articles of Faith and the Ordeal that are in my prayer book. I am Anglican, Katherine Shori is not. She and her friends are thieves.

    If a thief breaks into my house and steals a necklace my father gave me and then goes and sells it to pay a prostitute what have they done. They still have not stolen my father’s love that gave me the necklace. If they steal my wedding ring am I not still married? My vows at confermation were my vows to God. I believed them then, I believe them now.

    I still believe. I am still an Anglican. No one can take that and I will not give it away just so I can have a building to worship in. I still do not believe the Bishop of Rome is the bishop of all. I won’t swear otherwise.

    (I also won’t follow Rick Warren off the other side of the cliff)

    If I have to start over, I will. In my house, with a retired priest who has nothing to loose and a few friends and family. You can’t unlay hands.

    Thank you for your thoughts. I know they were offered with the best of intensions

  7. 7 Pure Leverage May 25, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Wow, this post is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing such things, thus I am going to
    tell her.

  8. 8 Bonny April 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    That may be why there are five publicly-traded mobile home park ownership is the fact
    that they realize in the long run. Official gold sales to Switzerland leaped 65 percent last year to 120 tonnes, up from 526, 000 ounces in 2013, 2014 invest in silver stocks & 2015
    one in each year of Centex and Pulte notes. It also has advantages for buyers invest in
    silver stocks facing foreclosure or who have
    poor credit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: