"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

17 October 2011

TEC-Pittsburgh and Mark Lawrence

My friend the Anglican Yinzer has posted some entries which made me wonder a few things. I posted my initial remarks on his site, but I thought I'd expound here, because its still rattling around in my mind.

Way back, (a long time ago, children, before there was an ACNA... amazing, I know) when we were all one diocese here in Pittsburgh, the conservative clergy (or so called) gathered together to try to figure out what we should do about the problems we were facing. We had already pubically declared that we would stand for the Gospel "whatever the cost" and had begun to calculate that cost.

There were three major groups of opinions, all firmly held and boldly proclaimed, but the minority opinion was that we should "Stay in TEC and build a firewall" against the influence of the national church. The main proponent of that idea was Jim Simons, of subsequent TEC/PGH fame. Jim assured us that we could remain faithful and remain within TEC and protect our people from what the national church was doing. This was the start of the twelve conservative clergy who then broke ranks with the rest of us to attempt to maintain relationship with TEC.

Maybe I'm naive, but when the real split happened and those twelve stayed behind in TEC, I figured that would really be their strategy, made more difficult for the fact that the voting majority had just left (I can sympathize with that). I was a little shocked when it seemed that they were no longer trying to build that firewall and were in fact welcoming TEC into the diocese. Had something changed?

But now I really wonder. Over in South Carolina, Mark Lawrence has publically proposed exactly what the Pittsburgh Twelve once believed so strongly in that they were willing to be seen as betraying their bishop and friends, to stay in TEC and build a firewall. Bishop Lawrence has never made a move to leave TEC and it looks for all the world that he has no intention of leaving. All he's done is to attempt to make a firewall.

I understand why TEC is a little paranoid. There was a time after all when Bishop Duncan thought he could stay and work within the system, too. From the TEC point of view, that didn't work out so well for them. But what I don't understand is why the people who know best the strategy of working from within haven't made a peep in Bishop Lawrence's defense. Have they abandoned completely the idea of building a firewall? Is TEC-PGH now welcoming the alien overloards? Or are they just afraid for their own hides (understandable)?

Likewise where is the support from the other bishops who claim a conservative position but also plan to remain within TEC? Or has this become an all out witch hunt, wherein to even associate with the suspected is to bring suspicion on oneself.

Has no one here ever read the Crucible? And for those who have, need I remind you that the events of the book were no mere fiction? I'm too young to personally remember the McCarthy era (against which Miller wrote the Crucible, based on the true events of the Salem Witch Trials) but surely the current situation should ring some alarm bells for many who are watching these events unfold. Or have we failed to learn from history and damned ourselves to repeat it.


  1. TEC has passed the tipping point. It is no longer possible to speak out without consequences. The HoB could act, but +KJS is untouchable, "short of finding her standing over +Duncan's dead body holding a smoking gun." The quotes are because it comes from a senior, liberal, TEC bishop I know personally.

  2. Thanks for posting that. I don't think it comes as a surprise to hear, but in the interests of all honesty, its good that you said it.

    The thing is, the folks I know in TEC-Pittsburgh are capable of speaking out and taking the consequences. They didn't choose an easy road in staying in TEC and they weren't naive about that. So I'm kind of left to wonder what has changed that they're not willing to speak out and take the consequences now. If these guys were wimps, it would be a different story.

  3. A few things I once figured out ~~
    1. Once you're in the cattle cars heading East, you are lost.
    2. Appeasement never works. "I believe it is peace for our time."

    That was a long time ago, but it is still true.

  4. I have been saying that for over a year in various posts on my blog that among conservatives in TEC-Pgh "something has changed" in the areas of clergy discipline, property ownership and also belief about sexuality. IMHO many of them can no longer claim the moniker "conservative", "orthodox" or "evangelical" with any real integrity. Sad but true.

  5. And I hope that in years to come, after they have considered just what actions they have been party to, they will NOT say "We were just following orders."