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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Anglican Curmudgeon Tells It Like It Is -Unraveling the TEC Spin

Introducing - the Curmudgeon's Canon

The ersatz Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, through its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth Price, has circulated among its clergy a series of talking points, in question-and-answer format, which convey the official party line on the Diocese's dispute with Bishop Duncan's Anglican Diocese. The whole document calls out for fisking, so here we go -- the questions are in bold, the party-line answers are in green, my fisks are in blue, and I have added the italics for purposes of emphasizing the phrases I deem noteworthy [N.B.: for some unknown reason, Blogger's colored text is not reproducing, so I have temporarily put the official, party-line answers in italics, while my fisks are in regular type, and the previous simple italics are now all bold italics]:

Read it all here


  1. This deserves a Diocese-wide distribution - in BOTH Dioceses.

  2. SometimesWise

    It has been posted on the Anglican Diocese Facebook page. I am sure the TEC Diocese will not touch it with a ten foot pole. Remember John 8:32, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."

  3. Thanks, David, and I passed along his blog to my friends on Standing Committee, etc. Honestly, my own take is that some of his points are substantive. But some are built on conjecture and others are simply assertions of opinion on issues that are beyond proof one way or the other. Some people seem to want to argue that Judge James misunderstands now what all agreed he understood in 2005. In any event, the process of negotiation between parishes and the TEC diocese follows a specific direction agreed to and actually insisted upon by Archbishop Duncan and the diocese in the 2005 stipulation settling the Calvary Church lawsuit, and thus far as I understand it those parishes that have entered into the conversation have found a partner looking for a successful resolution of differences and an outcome meeting the essential needs and concerns of both parties. My understanding is that we all understand that there are entangled legal, moral, and relational realities here. If both sides will recognize that the "other side" will have its own needs, fiduciary duties, and political and relational contexts, if both sides will give each other some space, if both sides will be willing to work in a gray area rather than in the sharp relief of all-or-nothing, black-and-white clarity, we may just be able to move forward in Christian charity and affection. President Reagan went to the Soviet Union with the adage, "trust, but verify." Both parts of that are essential, in my view, for us to get where we need to be in the long run . . . .

    Blessings, my friend,

    Bruce Robison

  4. You are correct to assert that Bp Duncan insisted on the process of negotiation in the Agreement of 2005, the difference lies in the application between him and you. The Bp and our leadership was willing to allow any parish leave and do so w/o any financial burdens except to pay any indebtedness due to the Diocese (growth fund loans, past due assessments, etc.) KJS and DBB have now hung, and TEC PGh has apparently bought into, the iron-clad principle of "fiduciary responsibility" in insisting on fair market value in "selling" property. Mark Lawrence may be run up on Title IV charges because he refused to sue or "sell" St Andrew's Mt Pleasant their property but was a gracious Christian and let them leave without demanding the King's Ransom. No matter how you slice it it is hard to find moral high ground in the current TEC position

  5. Per the differences between the way the TEC-leadership have attempted to follow the terms of the 2005 Stipulation and the way Archbishop Duncan and the leadership of the Anglican Diocese "was willing" to follow those terms, I would just say that it's hard to know for sure. Although I very much opposed the actions of Calvary Church in bringing the initial lawsuit, I also felt that the contorted misreading of diocesan canons in an effort to punish and "disincorporate" Calvary Church was also wrong. I'm not sure there were any cowboys in white hats through that unfortunate period of our lives, and I honesty don't see anybody wearing purely white hats now. Shades of gray on both sides of the aisle. I am thankful for +Mark's witness in South Carolina and as well for the pastoral and caring approach taken by Bishop Councell in the Helmetta, New Jersey case. Every situation is different, of course, but I would simply point out that the words "fair market value" do not appear in any of the invitations or policy statements published thus far by Pittsburgh_TEC. And while the details have not been published, I would frankly be very surprised to learn that "fair market value" or even a "king's ransom" was required in the settlement with St. Philip's, Moon Twp. The 2005 Stipulation creates fiduciary roles and duties for Pittsburgh-TEC that are unique in the current mess, and I think within that environment people are trying to find the best way forward. Given all the competing interests, my view of a "successful" conclusion to all this will be that pretty much nobody is happy but that pretty much everybody finds a way to dust themselves off and, eventually, get back to the work of the gospel.