Presiding Bishop Schori: A Study in Misunderstanding the Exercise of Dominion

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Creation Story beautifully expresses God’s power and majesty.  He speaks and the earth comes into being.  There is no doubt that God is Creator and Father of all.  He is indeed the Great I Am.

It is for this reason that it is hard to imagine anyone, especially the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, turning it into a fairy tale of “earth creatures.” She leaves out the most important part of the narrative – God.  Rather than the hand that creates, He is relegated to a minor role mentioned almost in passing.  She takes pains to sterilize every passage to remove God as Creator, God as Father, God as the Great I AM.  Her version of God’s plan for man also falls short.

The first biblical creation story tells of the creation of earth, sky, waters, creatures, and gives human beings dominion over the rest.  God pronounces what has been created good.

Having already distinguished between creatures and humans, why would she refer to Adam and Eve as earth creatures?

The second creation story tells of what goes wrong – the first two earth creatures eat what they have been forbidden to eat, and are then expelled from the garden.

Her explanation of why Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden is due to a “misunderstanding.”

They have misunderstood what it means to exercise dominion toward life in the garden.

Scripture makes clear there was no “misunderstanding.”  Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden because they rebelled against God.

She doesn’t leave much doubt about what she thinks about God’s covenant with Abraham either.

The prophets of ancient Israel cried out for justice when their ability to live in the land they saw as home was threatened.

Unfortunately, the presiding bishop’s history is as weak as her theology.  One is left to wonder if she learned it at The Good Samaritan School of Theology, the mythical school that existed only in her world of wishful thinking – well and in her resume.

These religious warrants led to the wholesale slaughter, rape, and enslavement of indigenous peoples in the Americas, as well as in Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Pacific, and the African slave trade was based on these same principles.  Death, dispossession, and enslavement were followed by rapid depopulation as a result of introduced and epidemic disease.  Yet death and dispossession of lands and resources were not a singular occurrence that can be laid up to the depredations of benighted medieval warriors.  They are not akin to Viking raids in the British Isles, or ancient struggles between neighboring tribes in Europe or Africa.  These acts of “Discovery” have had persistent effects on marginalized, transported, and disenfranchised peoples.

History when read without the rose colored glasses, reveals a different story:

As they expanded, the Norse were looking for three things: new victims to raid; new partners with which to trade; and new land on which to settle. In many cases, Norse voyages included all three activities.
The raids were usually opportunistic, against targets that could be attacked, plundered, and departed from quickly. Vikings stayed along the coast or on navigable rivers; overland marches were avoided. The goal was to grab as much valuable booty as possible before an effective defense could be raised. Typical booty included weapons, tools, clothing, jewelry, precious metals, and people who could be sold as slaves.

The presiding bishop fails to talk about the persecution throughout time of various peoples.  The Romans fed Christians to the lions, the spread of the Ottoman Empire was not a bloodless coup and the Vikings were not seeking to spread love and joy.  Where does this end?  Does Britain turn back the clock and give over her lands to the Celts?  Do we sort through the history of the world and dispossess any who cannot trace their lineage to those who we believe were the first peoples in that area?  And what happens when we find others with historical lineage more ancient than theirs?  Do we play a worldwide game of musical chairs dispossessing those whose long dead ancestors were not born where their descendants now reside?

Does anyone else see the deep irony in the Episcopal church’s stance on early immigration and current illegal immigration?  Why were the early settlers terrible people and the current wave illegal immigration comprises a good and healthy thing?  Why were impenetrable borders good for centuries past and deplorable today?  How can she hold such opposing positions?  She condemns slavery but advocates for abortion.  How can this be?  Let there be no doubt—Slavery is a horrid practice that has plagued us throughout the history of the world. Almost every culture, including the American Indians, practiced it.  It still exists today.  Deplorably, humans sell other humans for profit.  It also exists where governments seek to enslave its population by denying their freedoms.  And what is more enslaving than a mother who decides her child does not deserve the same chance at life that she had?  How can someone advocate for the disenfranchisement of generations of people to right what they consider an old wrong but fail to see the horror in murdering innocent children?  Who will advocate for the generations of people who will become disenfranchised in the attempt to undo history?

Possibly the most egregious part of her entire diatribe is filled with such hubris and arrogance to such a degree it should be criminal.

The blessings of creation are meant to be stewarded, in the way of husbanding and housekeeping, for the true meaning of dominion is tied to the constellation of meanings around house and household.  There have been strands of the biblical tradition which have kept this sacred understanding alive, but the unholy quest for domination has sought to quench it, in favor of wanton accumulation and exclusive possession of the goods of creation for an individual or a small part of the blessed family of God.

Sweet Jesus.  How much smaller a part can you find than the Episcopal organization that calls itself a church? (0.1%IF we are generous)  How can the leadership shout foul in the case of departing parishes and total denial of the first Anglicans taking of property from the Roman Catholic Church?  Why doesn’t her sense of fair play require a demand for the return of what was not originally owned in that case?  Why doesn’t the CoE have a claim to the property in the Americas, at least those that were started on their dime?

How did the words wanton accumulation and exclusive possession come from the same mouth that uttered these words?

“We can’t sell to an organization that wants to put us out of business,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori, who added that her job is to ensure that “no competing branch of the Anglican Communion impose on the mission strategy” of the Episcopal Church.

How are the lawsuits that have stolen millions from the coffers of the episocopal church membership not all about wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  How are the demands that seek to deny parishioners the right to determine their own affiliation about anything but wanton accumulation and exclusive possession?  Now, THIS is a misunderstanding about exercising dominion.

In a church whose very name means bishop, how can those who wear the mitre and carry the staff sit back and allow this woman and the revisionist leadership to further erode the foundation of a once great church that sought to bring the Gospel to a hungry and needy world.

Hypocrisy, Schori is thy name.  How many bishops will add their name to that description by simply allowing the progressive movement to dine on the foundation of the Church?

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