Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lawrence Contracts Dangerous Disease

One of the chronic ailments of so many "Angricans" is a poorly developed sacramental theology.  Many of them near Charleston -- apparently suffering a dual diagnosis -- are also infected with what I call Mons Presunzionus. A disease North Carolinian scholars tell us was first identified by Mary Oates Spratt Van Landingham.  Whether or not I agree with the scholars, having myself lived in both South Carolina and Virginia I agree with Ms. Van Landingham, and also believe the condition has worsened since her turn of the century.  The disease apparently now produces or exacerbates a conceit or blindness to one's own reality or is a delusion that allows those infected to act as if volume or style of utterance or repetition can make something true or factual that previously was not. 
The example in the case of ex-bishop Mark Lawrence is his most recent calling Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori's accepting of his November 17th statement as a resignation and further her announcing his canonical removal from office -- thus ex-bishop -- "superfluous." Mind you, it will do no good to attempt a logical or historic recounting of events in this matter.  Beside the circularity of his logic, Mons presunzionus prevents any constructive dialogue when facts are in question.   
But the sacramental problem matters more to me in this case because of how, bless his heart, the ex-bishop continues to claim and even worse to believe he is a Bishop.  Somehow -- and I have posited Mons Presunzionus as a possible and perhaps best defense -- he believes:  
“Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ — But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church,” Lawrence said in a letter posted on the diocese’s website after the presiding bishop’s announcement. “We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.”
Did he "take action" equal to renunciation "long before" the BP's acceptance of it or not?  How can he on the one hand say that he is still a bishop and on the other hand admit to his November 17th presiding over the -- his words -- "legally and canonically" accomplished withdrawal of his diocese from TEC.  You can't have it both ways.   You can't be baptized and not baptized at the same time.  Find me the sacramental theology that allows you to spit out the host and still call it communion. 
Not only does a good sacramental theology prevent such duplicity it also protects against the gross idiosyncrasy Lawrence and his minions require to keep meeting as if they are the Diocese of South Carolina and that he needs only their assent to be a Bishop.  Either the action of the church that ordains you carries the force of an authority to which you have publicly consented and submitted and promised to uphold and vowed to obey with God's help or it doesn't.  In other words, you do not get to declare yourself a bishop, especially when the body that ordained you says you are not.  You do not get to declare yourselves as a diocese when that is not your status to grant.
Granted, in this part of the country we let people slide more than a little as long as they mean well.  But the ex-bishop's statement is not sincere, it is delusional.  He can't have it both ways,  He can't leave and stay.  His followers can't claim a membership status from a body they have quit. Those are conceits that have already lost one war of secession and look to be on their way to losing another.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bishop Lawrence's Minorities

The expiration date on victim/minority status for DioSC’s Angricans ran out as soon as Lawrence presided over the wrongly deciding diocesan conventions and wrote those quitclaim letters. Granted, TEC contains no Supreme Court as a protection for the minorities the decisions GenCon "creates."  The impact of change being moderated by meeting triennially and requiring two readings for enforceable matters of canon or liturgy is some protection. But as far as the minorities Lawrence's decisions create, I think the inhibition should have happened much earlier. 
Maybe the solution then is to cast lots when decisions like TEC’s A049 AND DioSC's “Corporation” are made. Until Lawrence is willing to protect the minorities his votes create then I guess we’ll just have to pray for mercy and a consistent application of the standing TEC canons.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reckless Mormonism

Spiritually, I have a lot in common with Frank Schaeffer. So I offer this link less to make a pretty much unavoidably partisan statement and more to encourage some thoughts on the role of religion in politics and even more importantly on the relationship of our Episcopal version of Christian faith -- carefully practiced -- as it hopes to provide some of the benefits to a civil society our first amendment intended. I know what I mean by the euphemism "carefully practiced." The shortest way to explain my use of the phrase in this context is to say that Mormonism is mostly a reckless (read "not carefully practiced") and outlandish "midrash" imagined by Joseph Smith in upstate New York whose thinking was accelerated by the same kind of "Great Awakening" ego that empowered Mary Baker Eddy, William Miller, and more lately L. Ron Hubbard. Read Harold Bloom's The American Religion for more on where this opinion gets it's start. Regardless, I think Schaeffer is onto something important about how religion ought to inform citizenship and ultimately the Presidency.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Invocation for UGA Summer Commencement 2012

We are gathered here
and to make our gathering proper we must give thanks

We give thanks
for the air we breathe
and in breathing share in the spirit of all living things

for the rain and water we drink
and in drinking are joined to the very beginnings of life

for the light we see
and in seeing . . . know and are known

for the earth, this fragile earth our island home,
where we live and move and have our being.

We give thanks
for the generations before us
for this generation around us
for the generations who will follow us

We give thanks
for bestowed on them is
a wisdom that is awesome
It protects us and astounds us
an imagination that is powerful
It excites us and moves us
a hope that is everlasting
It inspires us and does not disappoint us.
a love that is transcendent
It nurtures us and embraces us
a calling to sacrifice that is holy
It honors us and sets us free.

We give thanks
and pray in celebration
for our colleagues
for our professors
for our regents, administrators and staff
for our family and friends
for taxpayers and lottery players
for all those who have supported our studies

We pray in celebration and we sing a new song
for Classrooms and labs,
with their loud boiling test tubes,
for Athletes and bands
with crowds of cheering people

We sing a new song
but it is not only we who sing.

our hymn is joined to the praises heard in
the hum of background radiation as old as the universe
the buzz of insects skipping from plant to plant
the whirr of hard drives backing up our data
the squeak of sneakers on a gymnasium floor
the honk and grind of gameday traffic
the shouts and applause of a stadium in victory
the very words spoken from this podium today

We sing a new song
We pray in celebration
and we give thanks.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Free Markets Fail to Trump Free Speech . . . This Time.

Finding out that SB 469 failed to pass raises a another concern: Why is the Chamber of Commerce writing legislation for Georgia?