The Insulting Language of Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

The ability to demean, downgrade, insult and scapegoat reached a new high this week when the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church played down current tensions in the Anglican Communion by describing world Anglican leaders as being little more than “a bunch of teenagers growing up”.

She also said the Archbishop of Canterbury is little more than a “big parent” behaving in a way that does not allow his “siblings” the provinces over which he presides as Primus inter pares (first among equals) to grow up.

Continuing her predecessor Frank Griswold’s habit of demeaning African Anglican leaders when he was Presiding Bishop, later highlighted by the loose-lipped Bishop Charles Bennison who likened the growth of the Anglican Church in Africa to the growth of the Nazi Party, Jefferts Schori has consistently proclaimed her belief that her understanding of the Christian Faith is far superior to everyone else’s and is more than happy to preach her “gospel” to a spiritually famished world she thinks is dying to hear it.

Had she spoken of the Pope in that fashion, it might have made more ecclesiastical sense bearing in mind that Roman Catholicism does indeed run as a top down hierarchical church where to put it crudely, the buck does stop with the Pope.

Such is not the case in the Anglican Communion. As ACC secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon reminded Jefferts Schori and her Executive Council in Maryland, recently, Rowan Williams has limited authority with only the ability to call meetings of certain communion bodies, make some appointments and “occasionally articulate the mind of the communion.”

That hardly makes the ABC look like a “big parent”.

Her language indicates, first and foremost, that she would like to be the one to determine the future outcome of the communion. If only those fundamentalist African primates would get on board with The Episcopal Church’s pansexual agenda, all would be well.

But then rambunctious teenagers have a lot of growing up to do. Meantime, there is the need to rescue the Diocese of Haiti that needs $60 million (according to her) in order to rebuild. While TEC can only chip in $10 million and Jack Spong’s 12 Theses, it apparently has not occurred to her that ceasing litigation against four dioceses and countless parishes would net millions more for the reconstruction of the Episcopal Church’s largest diocese.

(Has anyone noticed how embarrassing it is that TEC’s largest diocese is part of its own colonial heritage, colonialism Jefferts Schori regularly decries in others? Is it not doubly embarrassing that the great State of Texas with all its mega churches and mega millions is in fact numerically smaller than Haiti.)

Jefferts Schori’s school marm approach to the rest of the Anglican Communion not only insults Dr. Rowan Williams, it patronizes, in the worst possible way, orthodox primates like Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria and Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda (among others) whose shoes Jefferts Schori is not fit to shine.

The entire ASA of TEC, now less than 700,000, could safely fit into one small diocese in the Province of Nigeria. Unless someone actually took notice, they would be lost without trace in the 20 – 25 million Anglicans who regularly worship there.

The notion that the whole Anglican world must now embrace sodomy because Colin Coward of Changing Attitude and Susan Russell of Integrity say so must have the halls of Hell ringing with wild, hysterical laughter. It is not possible to out satirize this. Trust me, I try.

That Jefferts Schori thinks the entire Anglican Communion should change its mind about human sexual behavior after 2,000 years of church history is so ludicrous that it warrants no further comment.

For the past 30 plus years, the Anglican Communion has spent millions (and I mean that literally on travel and more) trying to parse homosexual behavior in order to appease a handful of sodomites. This is money that could have reconstructed Haiti, employed thousands of evangelists, built hundreds of churches, created thousands of jobs and given Anglicanism a name, above most other names, as a place that stands foursquare on Holy Scripture, preaches an eternal gospel, saves millions of souls and earns the reward of our Father of “well done, thou good and faithful servants”.

Instead, TEC today, is a broken down institution. It’s scorched earth policies has resulted in lost parishes and parishioners by the week causing anguish to countless Episcopalians resulting in lost income, a few clergy deaths from heart attacks and more, as it slowly dissolves into a pile of ecclesiastical poop fit only to be flushed down the toilet. By its actions it forced the birth of ACNA, GAFCON and FCA.

In the meantime, academic papers are written about how to salvage it, save it, and they have produced endless reports, (Windsor) communiques and a Covenant aimed at keeping the communion together. Most of the writers seem oblivious to the fact that most orthodox Episcopalians in North America have already drifted away from TEC and formed their own more perfect union. Also, that most of the Global South doesn’t want to know or even talk about TEC or Jefferts Schori anymore.

The sad truth is that Jefferts Schori is the one out of sync with Scripture and at least 80% of the Anglican Communion. She can travel the globe schoring up her base, playing miter games in cathedrals, and whining about the ABC, but, in the end, she is presiding over a dying church. As much as she may wish it, demographics will not be the cause of the Episcopal Church’s death.

If the demographic argument had any cache, then one has to explain the rise of Pentecostalism in Latin America, Presbyterianism in South Korea, house churches in China, and Catholicism and Anglicanism in Africa.

TEC suffers from the lack of a coherent message to offer except inclusivity and diversity with a touch of liturgy and a smidgen of smells and bells. If all the church offers is the promise of the “good life” instead of eternal life, people are consigned to an unimaginable darkness from which there is no light or life.

Jefferts Schori is right about one thing, the Anglican Communion is not as solid as she or anyone of us would like it to be and won’t be till the Second Coming. The unpleasant truth is that she is to blame for the current Communion breakdown and no one else, except for the sycophants and those whom TEC can draw in using its vast wealth, wealth that was given to it to advance the gospel – a gospel she does not believe in.

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