I realized something about the 12-point claim that Bishop Mark Lawrence (Diocese of South Carolina) has left the doctrine and discipline (and worship?) of The Episcopal Church:
The people who assembled those 12 points would not pass my ENGL 101 class. That would be the one I teach to freshmen. Lawrence’s accusers wouldn’t pass because a fundamental contradiction undergirds the allegations.
In The Episcopal Church USA, numerous bishops and priests have allowed or embraced innumerable innovations in theology, doctrine, and worship – so on what grounds can Lawrence’s attackers say anything about what anybody else chooses to do?
Don’t say the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the church provides any grounds. That’s ridiculous.
The innumerable innovations in theology and doctrine haven’t followed the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church as presented in the Book of Common Prayer. Numerous priests and bishops deny the basic historic formulas of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed, and they have received no discipline from the House of Bishops. So anyone who makes claims about violations against the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church has both feet planted in midair.
In this situation, I think my ENGL 101 students would realize that there’s no consistency in the church’s actions. The Episcopal Church USA has already allowed too many variations and violations.
The officials who put together the allegations against Lawrence call to mind the title of a Nat Hentoff book: For Me But Not For Thee. It’s a book about the left censoring the right and the right censoring the left. Hentoff argues very few people take a principled stand on free speech and free expression; most people claim it for themselves while censoring others.
Flagrant, rank hypocrisy, in other words.
The message of Episcopalian diversity seems to be this: there’s no single way for everyone.
If there’s no single way for everyone, then how can you condemn someone for choosing his own way? His own expression of Episcopal-ness?
Since when does an essentially pro-choice denomination stop anyone from doing anything? (Referring especially to No. 7 on the allegations list.)
I’m beyond worry – this is all just hilarious. Grown-up liberals are acting like petty tyrants and fascists. Maybe it’s not liberalism that has influenced high offices of The Episcopal Church. Maybe the folks in those offices are under the spell of daytime TV.
There’s a solution, however. Let all those who made the allegations against Bishop Lawrence attend my ENGL 101 course. Or, we could just let one of my sections of the course take over the accusers’ positions. I’m thinking the 11:30 a.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday group would do a great job.