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My, oh my, how the worm doth turn.
Earlier this year the editor of Episcopal Life, Jerry Hames, went after a group of Pennsylvania clergy and laity for laying a presentment on Ed Browning, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA. They did this for his refusal to prosecute a presentment against PA Bishop Allen L. Bartlett for ordaining avowed homosexualists to the priesthood. They were roundly condemned for being mean spirited, uninclusive and all the other liberal labels that the spin doctors at 815 can summon in moments of crisis.
The Presiding Bishop's defense was to say that he was resident in the state of Hawaii and couldn't be prosecuted. His chancellor took up the refrain and naturally the action against the PB was dropped. No surprise there. And Pennsylvania Bishop Allen Bartlett got off the hook because of the decision of the Righter Trial, namely that The Episcopal Church has no canons on sexual behavior and sex between consenting adults in so-called 'marriage' arrangements meets the high biblical and lofty moral standards of the House of Bishops.
When I tried calling the PB's office to find out if Mr. Hames was speaking on his behalf I was told that he was not in. What a surprise. The truth is nobody's in. The phone has been off the hook for some time now (or is it me, and am I being paranoid). Ed is almost out the door and Frank has yet to be installed with his own personal crown of thorns in Washington DC.
His first day in office at 815 should be a real Adrenalin rush. His "in" tray will certainly look like a crucifixion. What with PECUSA Inc.; the simmering Trust Funds scandal waiting to blow like Mt. Vesuvius; the Synod Bishops clawing at his entrails wanting their own province, and the Spong/Carey sodomy crisis, etc. you can hardly blame whatever PB is allegedly running the show for not returning my calls.
Well now the boot is on the other foot and Jerry Hames, at the behest, presumably, of his new master, the centrist PB Frank Griswold, is now spinning out the news on the Carey/Spong Theological Sodomy Fight of the Century.
Now this is how it is being played out gentle readers.
Neither Browning nor Griswold want to get their hands dirtied in the murky theological soil of John Shelby Spong. One never knows what dirt might get stuck under their nails and for which they might be held accountable "in that day." Better not to know, better still SAY NOTHING AT ALL. Perhaps, if the Lord is merciful, Spong will take a short jump off a long pier into the Hudson River on New Year's Day to prove that the Messiah really did walk on water and Jack can duplicate miracles. Oh what joy. Or someone might even write a book "Rescuing the Bible from John Shelby Spong" or "Liberating the Gospels from John Shelby Spong". In either case we can anticipate even more joy. Perhaps a book on "What we can make the Bible affirm about Homosexuality" with an introduction by Walter Righter and a foreword by Louie Crew. Morehouse or Cowley can publish it. Even greater joy.
Well, Jerry Hames has now come to the rescue of his incoming leader. He has written an editorial distancing his new master Frank the alabaster PB from Spong, while gently slapping Spong's wrists at the same time.
In an editorial titled A Bad Approach, Even in a Good Cause, Hames, the master of liberal agit-prop, chides Spong by writing "...roasting the archbishop of Canterbury in a letter to each of the communion's bishops and in releases to the media may damage his own worthy cause."
As I said, a gentle slap, but enough to put a healthy distance between Spong and Griswold and it allows Griswold to get off the hook without actually commenting on the slugfest between Spong and Carey. Fiat Lux.
The fine art of weaseling is clearly not lost on the great contemporary and post-modernist minds of ECUSA's HOB. After all, what Presiding Bishop in the history of ECUSA has been such a terminal loser as Ed Browning. The man gave living proof over 12 years that the Peter Principle remains alive and well unto the third and fourth generation.
Could anyone holding a senior job in corporate America do so much damage, plead so much nonsense and still go on being employed? Impossible. Can you imagine John Gerstner, the CEO of IBM standing up in front of IBM's shareholders and saying that the mission statement of IBM is now defunct and we are changing direction. "I can't tell you where I'm going my fellow employees but trust and follow me anyway. Don't forget you are all included. No outcasts please. By the way my Finance Director has walked off with $2 million bucks and I want you to feel her pain as she does five to ten. We've lost over a million employees in the past 30 years, shareholder value has declined...and, oh, by the way I need a pay raise, and please upgrade my golden parachute.."
Well Ed did. He managed to get the vast unwashed, brainless middle in the church to feel his pain and then go on running the Episcopal ship of state into a theological iceberg and then slowly watch it sink like the Titanic, while singing his favorite hymn, "The Church thou gavest Lord is over." And the rats followed their pied piper right over the rails into sub zero waters. Inclusion to the end.
Please dear Lord, there has to be a moral in all this.
So now we have the smooth talking, handsome Frank, the ultimate in white male, urbane, liberal, middle management leadership who talks about the road less travelled for his church as being "in conversation." But conversation about what? Start with John Shelby Spong and his desire to foist a homosexualist agenda on the worldwide Anglican communion nex t year and split it...and he'll do it regardless of what the "conversation" is about. No never mind. "Come let us reason together", says Frank. There are no absolutes. You have your point of view I have mine and let's dine at Sardis when the conversation is over. The tab is on me.
If you want to look at the future dear reader, then take a look at the past, because you are about to see it repeated, but the administration might be better run. It better be for $145,000 a year. (And Frank still hasn't offered me the job.)
But it wont be for long. Time is running out for the revisionists. Ed has his pension coming to him in Hawaii and Spong won't be far behind. The orthodox and evangelical bishops have finally woken up from a long sleep to discover that the church they once thought was secure doctrinally and financially is full of holes... with theology and money leaking everywhere, its missionary focus dead. And to top it all off the Two Thirds World bishops are about to tell ECUSA at Lambeth next year where it can shove its dollars and its theology.
The truth is this. Frank Griswold has no theology worth listening too. All his talk about being "in communion and conversation" are puff words with no substance at all. He has said he is against "static propositions". Now there's enlightenment for you. I suspect that his definition of a "static proposition" is something like the Atonement or the Resurrection or the Virgin Birth, all of which doctrines Spong and the Koinonia bishops have long since abandoned. Frank is firmly in their camp and the orthodox bishops know it. If they don't they are breathing smoke out their backsides. Homosexuality as Louie, Integrity and the revisionist bishops know is the new litmus test for orthodoxy. The Episcopal Church will fall on the petard of sodomy being good and right in the eyes of God not on the validity of the 39 Articles, the 1929 BCP, or historical truth. They went by the wayside aeons ago.
Now Jerry Hames can only spin the truth out for his new master for so long before the great unwashed middle discover that they have been hoodwinked lo these many years and the new emperor Frank, like the old emperor Ed, is walking around with no clothes on. Then they'll turn on him and the ripping and tearing will be heard from sea to shining sea.
Don't say you weren't warned.
As I read David Virtue's article articulating how Spong's contentious debate with Archbishop Carey has put the fear of a split Church into the hearts of the "liberal" folks, it occurred to me that there is an even more profound reason why Griswold and the whole pseudo-liberal camp must distance themselves from John Spong.
It is indeed true, as David says, that there is serious danger of Spong's splitting the Church by pushing the issue so directly and confrontatively prior to and probably at Lambath, and that Griswold, no more than Browning, wants to inherit the whirlwind from the winds they have sown. But the reasons for their fear of Spong, I think, run much deeper than that.
For reasons known only to himself, Spong has betrayed the fundamental strategy of the whole "liberal" camp. He has put the entire "liberal" program at risk in a manner that the "liberals" know will torpedo their many-decade effort to get to where they are.
The pseudo-liberal program (to be distinguished from an honest liberalism) is built on perpetuating the illusion that there is no real truth about moral or spiritual issues (perhaps about anything at all), and that "Differing views are not to be argued, but honored as valid for that person." (As the pseudo-dialogue handbook stated, sponsored by the Episcopal Church prior to the 1994 General Convention. Human Sexuality: a Christian Perspective, p. 10.) Such a view is held by Frank Griswold, our new Presiding Bishop, who believes that we cannot know truth unambiguously -- and who thereby forfeits his claim to Christian leadership of any sort, let alone being a bishop in the Church of God.
Such a rule is promoted either by fools or by charlatans. It is illogical, self-contradictory, and has no place in honest discussion of any sort, least of all in formation of public policy. Furthermore, such a rule is allowed to be enforced upon them in public discussion by persons who equally are fools or who are party to the deceit. (My booklet, Dialogue in Darkness or Scientific Debate? explains the matter. See Shopping Mall for printed copy.)
Spong, however, in his recent debate with Archbishop Carey and more recently with Bishop Lee of South Africa, has violated that primary rule of the "liberal" camp for conducting spiritual warfare. He has demanded, of all things, that the whole debate be put on the basis of honest and open discussion of fact and logic.
By most people, that would be considered an admirable stand. But for the "liberals" of today, that is betrayal. It is treason against their covenant of koinonia, their fellowship of "no truth but feel-good".
It may be that Spong really believes that he has a case to be won in open debate. But his fellow "liberals" do not believe that for a minute. Their entire strategy has been to manipulate any discussion they are in away from fact and logic with techniques indistinguishable from the brainwashing practices of Communist China (and to be fair, every other communist nation, and probably fascist nations as well). They are the same techniques being promoted in After the Ball, by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, two primary homosexualist strategists.
Kirk and Madsen openly acknowledged their program as "propaganda", with the stated intent of manipulating the American public into accepting the homosexualist/pansexualist agenda. They clearly explain their program as manipulation of the public, and tell how they plan to do it with behaviorist, Pavlovian, stimulus-response techniques. The scary thing is that they have in fact been succeeding. But that whole program is now being put at risk, not by brave conservatives, but by the supposed "liberal" of "liberals", John Spong, himself.
The program depends on avoiding fact and logic, and concentrating on emotion, anecdotes, and "good stories". The program is a manipulation of "image" (primarily the "victim" image), not a presentation of fact or logic (all carefully explain in the book). It is a tool right out of Satan's pit -- which has worked. (For full documentation on this, read Kirk and Madsen, and see Good and Right in the Eyes of God? by myself and David Virtue on http://theRoadtoEmmaus.org)
But now Spong demands an open and honest debate based on fact and logic. Terrible! Terrible!
Either Spong really believes that he has a case which will win (in which case he is terribly ill informed, or carefully and efficiently self-deceived) -- or, he believes that his opponents are too cowardly to take him on in that arena of honest discussion and that he will win by default. In the latter case, he hopes to win by convincing the world that there really is a truth, and that he has it on his side (whether or not he really has it). In other words, either his self-deception/ignorance has gotten the best of him, or he is trying to pull off the intellectual coup of the century.
The irony is that Spong has taken now the position of the pseudo-conservative: one who believes that there indeed is a truth -- and that he has it all. But, bless his heart, he says that he is willing openly to debate the issue.
His fellow liberals are scared to death, not only that the Church will be split if Spong has his way (which it certainly will), but, far worse, that in the debate sufficient numbers of conservatives may prove themselves to be true conservatives, not "conservatives" (too cowardly to risk their own comfort or proper image to conserve anything).
The fear, in other words, is that someone might actually take up Spong's challenge and respond to him with the mountains of documented facts on the matter, and clear logical thinking from those facts, to honest and truthful conclusions about homosexuality (and its wider context, pansexuality). Then all the carefully constructed pseudo-debate techniques would be out the window. One suspects that Spong would fare better staying with their clearly "winning" strategy, i.e., that he will function more effectively as a pseudo-liberal than a pseudo-conservative.
In any event, an open and honest discussion of sexuality matters would mean the e-n-d of the pseudo-liberal establishment. As E. Michael Jones keeps reminding us, sexual bondage is one of the primary tools of the worldly powers. It is their sad substitute for the joy of the Lord, without which they would lose most of their considerable hold on much of the human race. Especially in the jaded west.
So the gauntlet has been thrown down by the rebel (yea, even reactionary) erstwhile"liberal" -- the good Bishop of Newark. The question now is whether there are sufficient persons among those who advertise themselves to defend the Biblical view of things, who will be willing to put their view also at risk by submitting their view to an open and honest examination based on fact and logic, and to let the truth and the Lord of truth do their own winning. I.e., to live by grace.
Or, as Elijah put is, "How long will we go limping between two opinions? If Baal be God, then worship him. But if the Lord be God, then worship Him."
Followed by a put-up or shut-up experiment with two bulls to find out who really was God....
Thank you, John Spong. Let the debate begin.
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