Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thought For The Day

Sometimes it's best to let folks do themselves in with their own intemperate words, instead of piling on them with words upon words that may distract from the original intemperate words.

Of course, I could be wrong.


  1. yes, but often it is important to point out to others the intemperate words that certain rightwingers over at standlimp have uttered.

    this is a golden chance to see that site discredited - after all of the damage that they have caused.

    I am hoping that we push this point until the so-called windsor bishops are forced, in embarrassment, to announce that they don't support or agree with SF.

  2. Well, Mimi, you are prolley right. What was that old Pirate saying? "Aye, Matey, he was hoist on his on petard"...or something like that...oh and the one about "It is better to keep your mouth shut and let folks wonder if you are a fool than to open your mouth and prove it."... or something like that.

    Tutti Frutti, ah Rutti! That will be my new answer to everything!

  3. I am of two minds on this one, Mimi. I have traditionally been of the "take the high road" persuasion.

    But I think Dennis makes a very strong case for shining the light in their dark little hole and calling them what they are. They do evil in the name of Christ. When we ignore that, we both embolden them to keep doing it, and we are, IMNSHO, complicit in it.

  4. What Doxy said! Saying nothing can't be an option for the radical.

  5. But what would my blog be about if I rejected cheap sophomoric humor? And I know, some of you are probably trying to reconcile clumber with the word humor right now, but such is life. If you can't say something nice about someone, come up with a crude PhotoChop, that's my motto!

  6. Of course, you could all be right.

    TheMe, you are correct in your sermon, and I hope that I do express my desire for inclusion and the wrongness of exclusion.

  7. I've been thinking a lot about this, too. I guess I'm in the middle. On the one hand, light must be shed in those dark places because, well, truth must out. The problem over there is not just the factual errors (and the careless disregard about whether any are made), but the hyped up bravado leaning towards violence and the clear intent to whip folks up into an emotional frenzy over and over and over again, even when (or maybe especially when), as in this latest instance, the "issue" has nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called theological differences that divide "them" from "us."

    But.... I seriously doubt that anything anyone -- including Jake and EDOW -- can do will seriously discredit them or even result in any staff changes. They will stand by their own no matter what. Although I haven't checked lately, I suspect there will continue to be a great show of support for the offender(s), the usual talk about an apology being more than sufficient, the mistake being "honest" or "inadvertent," and the critics being a bunch of wimps (to put it nicely), whose opinions don't matter.

    Meanwhile, the more that progressives focus on this incident, the more it strikes me as risking turning it all into some kind of high school-esque blog war. The posts by the person in question are often juvenile and simplistic, and although he should get called on them, the fact of the matter is that there is much more going on at the site than that. Actually, letting the clearly stupid stuff stand side by side with the attempts at serious theology may do more to discredit the place than pressuring to get someone removed. The only danger (which Jake and others have suggested) is that there is a tendency towards violence or the kind of emotions that might engender violence. I honestly don't know how serious a danger that is, but, if it's there, it needs to be addressed.

    In the end, however, I think too much attention paid can be harmful. First, to the extent that it has given more life to the original thread over there and engendered more discussion on peace parades and support for the Palestinians, it has meant that "they" got their way after all -- got to use a fringe issue to whip up emotions against TEC, even if no one from TEC was involved (the discussion going off onto "what if..." someone was there anyway).

    Second, it is very difficult to not get lost in a black hole of negative energy and emotions over incidents like this. Every time I, for one, get incensed over what They are doing, I start to inflate myself with a kind of self-righteousness that is not healthy or productive. Maybe others are better disciplined than I, but it is an ongoing temptation for me.

    Third, while the blogs are worthy of some attention because of their potential for (and often intent of) shaping the larger debate and public perceptions, to the extent that any of us get too invested in the "Them" and "Us" modes of looking at things, we may be mislead into believing that various blogs represent large numbers of people or the views of people across the country. I think there is some truth in the view that a lot of the ugliness that appears at some the neocon sites lurks behind many of the more temperate expressions of conservatives, conscious or not. Nevertheless, taking Them as the Other Side can also lead to misperceptions about where the state of the church really is, as, I think happened over the HoB meeting in New Orleans -- i.e. there's a big wide world out there between Pittsburgh, San Joachin, and Truro and N.J., N.Y., and L.A. While it may be that the time for compromise has long past, it does no good to ignore the reality that there are many in TEC who are trapped in "Windsor" as well as openly schismatic dioceses as well as lot of "loyal" moderates and conservatives within progressive dioceses. While one can hope that losing the most extreme on the right will improve the situation, I don't think that the hard work that needs to be done in preparation for GC2009 is going to get done if people are lulled into thinking that the opposition consists solely of neocon crazies or the obstacles consist only of institutional moderates who blindly care of nothing but mitres and tea parties. The reality is far more complex than that, IMO.

    Fourth, one of the things that grabbed me a few weeks ago was the part of Tobias's sermon that dealt with Jacob's struggle with the angel. As some of you may imagine, the story of the stolen inheritance caused my ears to pick up. But it struck me much deeper than that. While God calls us, as he does the saint, to speak out for truth and justice, in the end, we cannot wrestle and win over the forces of darkness (no matter which "we" one identifies with) -- only God can. So, I think, it is one thing to point out the errors and injustices propagated by others and, when necessary, take sober and judicious action to correct them. It is another to put ourselves in the place of God's angel and get lost in emotional and spiritual wrestling matches we cannot win -- especially when it detracts from doing God's everyday work -- the toughest of it all -- loving our neighbors as ourselves and trying to build communities accordingly.

    That's it for now. Happy Monday, Mimi!

  8. Klady, thank you for that long and thoughtful comment. It's far better than my wee thought for the day. You say far more eloquently than I what troubles me about the whole affair.

    I think Greg's words had to be brought into the light, but then, once they were, might they not be left to speak for themselves?

    My concern in fighting the good fight is the ever-present danger of becoming that which we oppose and taking on their ways, their methods.

    Also, a blog flame war amongst "Christians" is an unedifying sight - at least to me - and I wonder how much our righteous causes are helped by them.

    Happy Monday to all!

  9. It's not going to make a blind bit of difference to the way things are handled over there, or to SF's popularity with the core supporters, who demand the in-your-face, radical-right, red meat that can be found on the blog. Most of the truly hard-core hate over there comes from individual bloggers - the initial posts serve to get them wound up, an easy enough thing to do. Greg Griffith got it caught in the wringer this time around and he owned up to it, but otherwise, they will continue to serve up what their public wants. Business as usual. Nothing will change. My guess is that more than a few of the "regulars" over there (right now my blood pressure will not deal with checking out for myself) will be taking the stance that Barbara Harris would have done it if she could have done it, so where's the difference? None so blind .....

    What has to particularly rankle over there is that the letter is addressed to Elizabeth. Let's just enjoy that.

  10. What has to particularly rankle over there is that the letter is addressed to Elizabeth. Let's just enjoy that.


  11. somebody should pass out a couple of books by Chicago's own Saul Alinsky for this crowd.

    If we just pound them nothing happens.

    If we ask a few of the conservative-on-the-fence bishops to renounce such racist behavior, and they do, then we've accomplished something. The far right is best separated from the middle right when we point out the antics and behavior of the far right. This is how to divide them from their real source of power.

    Anyone in a moderate-to-conservative diocese who has a bishop visitation to their parish in the next couple of months should stand up at coffee hour or the adult sunday school or wherever and say,

    "Your Grace, last (week, month, etc) a conservative site called SF attacked Bishop Harris because they found a picture of a black woman & etc. Your Grace, do you think that they went too far and that the church should distance itself from such websites?"

    If the B says yes, post it around the web. This is how to weaken their hand a little bit more.

  12. Dennis, that is an excellent suggestion. However much I may appear unreality-based, I am interested in activism that may bring about actual results. Yours is a fine, concrete example of something to do that might actually help.

    I don't call the bishop "Your Grace". I call him Bishop Jenkins. Maybe that's why he won't answer my correspondence.

  13. "Your grace" is the correct, formal English form of address for an archbishop (C of E or RC). It is used because the two Anglican archbishops enjoy a similar status to dukes, the only other group addressed formally in this manner. Except in very formal circumstances, one would address an archbishop as "Archbishop", "sir" or "Dr. --- (see below).

    English diocesan bishops (suffragans, etc., I don't know) are formally addressed as "My lord bishop" (no lady bishops yet), principally by virtue of their parliamentary status. Normal form of address - "bishop". "Sir" is a good backup in either case if one is being polite.

    "Dr Smith" (insert correct surname) is also appropriate - I believe that all English bishops are still automatically awarded Lambeth Degrees (go Google it - I don't have the time!)

    While I suspect that +Bob Pitts would love to be addressed as "My Lord Bishop", "bishop", "sir/ma'am", or "Dr. Blank" would seem to me the appropriate forms of address for a US bishop with whom one is unacquainted.

    Here endeth .....

  14. Dennis,

    That's a thought, but I guess I'm skeptical that it would do much good and I have some concern that it might actually do harm. OCICBW. I'm just very weary of them and their antics. I don't think they have near as much power as either they or we think they have. I'd hate to give them any further delusions than they have already.

  15. I like Dennis' practical approach to getting bishops on the record... with the proviso that note be taken of lapinbizarre's correction on forms of address. I always wince when I hear anyone but a Duke/Duchess or Archbishop called "your Grace."

    More to the point, here in the United States we may have a de facto monarch but we don't have lords and graces. Using (and mostly misusing) English titles only fuels episcopal pomposity and should be eschewed.

  16. Well, then, Lapin of the encyclopedic mind, my instinct led me right, didn't it? Bp. Jenkins is not answering my correspondence for another reason.

  17. sorry. I was told years ago that bishops were "your grace" and the few times I've called one by such a term they have seemed to positively glow about it.

  18. of course, if you remember the conversation that a bunch of us had on this months ago, I personally don't care if a bishop is called "Your Supreme Insufferableness."

    When it comes to an understanding of the church I'm closer to congregationalism than anything else, and think that a bishop doesn't have any special "magic" about them, just a few more robes. Of course I also think that all clergy don't really have any special magic about them and are but mere laypeople who found a way to get the church to employ them. Kind of like sextons in robes. Bishops are thus only the more glorified among the hired help.

    Anyway, the point I had hoped to make was the time has come to start getting the so-called "windsor" bishops, who are leaning on the fence and trying to be all things to all people, to have to start answering questions about their friends on the right. That is it. Simple point. If every time the far right nutters say something off the wall these bishops had to comment and say what they thought about it you and I could count on the religious right suddenly having a lot less room to cause trouble.

    The religious right has room to cause trouble because certain "Windsor" bishops have been able to sit on the fence and have found the religious right useful. If they had to explain a few comments by the religious right in this church, and go on the record, then the story line might move a bit.

  19. Grandmère, I am sure you do express against injustice. Thanks for taking the time to read my wee sermon.

  20. An excellent thought. I do become concerned sometimes, seeing some reactions, that we not develop the infernal "glee" that SF seems to take in pouncing on what they see as the foibles of the left. I want to adopt the grave seriousness of a child, who has found out its father or mother in a lie.

  21. I want to adopt the grave seriousness of a child, who has found out its father or mother in a lie.

    Exactly, Tobias.


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