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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance: Follow up to "Something Has Changed Along the Way? part 2"

Apparently my recent blog entry “Has Something Changed Along theWay? Part 2” has generated some buzz in the TEC diocese. Click here. And read the comments. Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh member and blogger Lionel Deimel has devoted an entire posting on his blog to it, “David Wilson Complains, Warns”. Click here. Make sure to read the comments.

Two of the conservative clergy of the TEC emailed me off-blog and expressed private opinions and another clergyman requested we have lunch together – which we did. All very interesting. I also heard that there is some disquietude over the strategy TEC is directing toward our parishes. There is no deep unity in the TEC diocese, especially among the conservatives, to conduct a “scorched earth” or winner-take-all strategy. The difficulty is that the gracious engagers are so few within the power structures --- that is, those driving the bus, that their gracious voice is either ignored or drowned out. Even among the famous “gang of twelve” conservatives who posit they are committed to reform of TEC, there are a number who have enthusiastically embraced the 815 winner-take-all strategy.

Some of the buzz being generated among the TEC-Pgh conservatives could be the result of a term used in psychology, Cognitive Dissonance, which is defined as “A condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one's beliefs and one's actions, such as opposing the slaughter of animals and eating meat". Read more For example, in this case, believing it is right to remain in the Episcopal Church and also not opposing its draconian policies. Certainly as ACNA clergyman Ethan Magness points out that among humans there often is a conflict between grace and justice. Click here. See Comment One

The election of the Rev. Leslie Riemer, the progressive candidate and the defeat of the Rev. Jim Shoucair, the conservative candidate, for the Standing Committee clergy slot in last year’s diocesan election should give the TEC-Pgh conservatives pause. It doesn’t seem to bode well these days for being a conservative and remaining in TEC-Pgh and having any real voice. The real test, of course, will be the election of the next TEC bishop in Pittsburgh. That is why many of the progressives in TEC-Pgh will support the election of a candidate from outside their diocese. They want to make sure that a conservative who is gracious,largely respected, personally affable, and well spoken (and formerly supportive or even tolerable of former bishop, Bob Duncan) and from within the diocese has no chance being elected

At one time, and not too long ago, Western Massachusetts, Bethlehem, NW Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Lexington, Fond Du Lac, Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Western Missouri, Western Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Western Louisiana, Florida, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Central Gulf Coast, Montana, Wyoming, Rio Grande, Colorado, Arizona and San Diego were all fairly conservative dioceses. Guess what! Not no mo. It looks like TEC-Pittsburgh is soon to join this club.

I think the dilemma in which the TEC-Pgh conservatives find themselves these days can perhaps be summed up in a quote often attributed to Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" (or words to that effect). Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea for doing nothing. "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked". (Rev.3: 15-17) Sorry, TEC-Pgh conservatives -- You can't have it both ways.


  1. You might find this page interesting:

  2. Very interesting article. I never know so much could be written on one quotation. Where did you ever find it?

    As for Burke, I had forgotten he was an Irishman, I knew there was something I liked about him.

    I will edit the citation so to be more accurate, however, the sentiment remains.

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  5. Did you mean to include Western Louisiana in the litany? It seems a bit hard on +MacPherson, but perhaps you know something I don't.

  6. My bad. You're right, he hasn't fully buckled under -- yet.