[This week is “Diocese of Georgia Meltdown Week” and so we’re bumping a few of the stories from the past that let us all know why the diocese is where it is today.]

As we’ve all recognized over the years, it’s always helpful to trawl through various diocesan websites just to see what’s new out there. 

This passage is from the revised Clergy Handbook speedily produced after Benhase was consecrated bishop.

I think it’s clear from the quoted passage below from the just how much the Episcopal Apparatchiks of TEC hate, fear, and loathe those ecclesial entities whom they believe to be actual viable competition to their own market.  One cannot help but smile at these two fearful, angry little paragraphs.

“Anglican” or “Continuing” Splinter Groups not part of TEC
These groups undermine the geographical authority of the bishop as defined in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and observed in historical Anglican practice.  Therefore, no clergyperson from these groups may participate in any service of worship, and no joint services may be held with any congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.  Episcopal clergy of the Diocese of Georgia may not participate in any service held in or by these congregations except with written permission from the Bishop.

Though you may choose to notify the Bishop, attendance at a wedding or funeral held in such congregation, for reasons of previous pastoral or personal relationship, is an exception to this more general statement and requires no such permission.

Just a few fun points.

1) How does ACNA or any other Continuing Anglican entity “undermine the geographical authority of the bishop” any more than the Roman Catholics do?  What a preposterously silly assertion—the only way it could be true is if Benhase is nervous that ACNA might someday subsume TEC.  Even I don’t think that will happen.  All he does with that assertion is reveal his anxiety and insecurity and spite.

2) One must be given another chuckle over a revisionist like Benhase opining about “historical Anglican practice”—as if the spectacle of blessing two men engaged in sex acts with one another is in any way remotely connected with “historical Anglican practice” other than that of Anglican revulsion and denunciation.  We all know that’s just a hackneyed phrase that Benhase ripped out of the ether just to try to feebly shore up his ridiculous pronouncement about clergy interacting with His Competition—and any of his informed flock in Georgia know the same thing and are having a good chuckle over the hypocrisy as well.

3) Does anyone recall the passage in I Kings 12 about King Rehoboam?  His subjects come to him and ask him for a lightening of the load his father had inflicted on them—a little help—and they will serve him joyfully.  Rehoboam takes council from the elders and the young men about how he should respond, and they give him two sets of advice.  Whenever I read about bishops like Benhase—someone who has been nothing but ridiculously autocratic and heavyhanded—I think of this passage detailing Rehoboam’s mistaken answer that he’ll be tough and strong and show his subjects who’s boss—and the consequences that followed it.

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

Does Bishop Benhase seriously believe that the various clergy and laity of the Diocese of Georgia won’t respond to these sorts of things, if only in their lack of attendance, giving, and joyful participation, as well as slow attrition?

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