recently (in the postmodern theology egroup), we have been discussing the actions of the episcopal diocese of connecticut and the actions of their bishop (bishop smith) to "fire" six priests that disagreed with the election of an openly gay bishop - now, i am not going to get into the "gay/straight" thing because i think that would take away from the real issue at hand - the power of one person to effect the lives of those who disagree with him in such a hurtful and mean way - and then to fall back on his office, power and christ to justify his actions.

if, those in church "leadership" abuse their power to "remove" people who disagree with them, that is disheartening and not the way of christ. i believe it is something everyone in the emerging/postmodern community should stand against. in my opinion, his actions are not christian at any level and are abusive. in the emerging/postmodern conversation we are quick to jump on the actions of the "evangelical" for the "disconnection" they cause in the body of christ - i think this is something that needs to be addressed. this bishop's abuse of power is disgusting, and so not in the walk of christ.


thekeez said...

Question: Would the Bishop's actions have been appropriate if the six clergy were resisting the ordination of an African American bishop?...thekeez

Anonymous said...

Well I think that is an invalid question - Because gender and "race" are not the same. You missed punk monkey's point. And you are looking at the "sex" issue, and if you will notice PM's concern was the abuse of power, not the sex thing - I think PM was saying it is too easy to turn this into a "sex thing" when in reality it is an abuse of power thing - Are you suggesting that it is ok to fire people who disagree with your point of view?

Turning this into a "sex" debate, when PM did not make it one, is playing on the wrong points.

thekeez said...

Ummm - no. I didn't say that race and sex were the same. I posed a direct question. I too, read the original post as being concerned with the use of authority. So, the question I posed concerns the use of authority.

I'm trying to find out more about the author's view of authority, and when it is appropriate to use authority.

The question remains unanswered...thekeez

smack said...

punky (john) love the point - keep pumping

thekeez said...

Final thoughts on this...the question I posed: "Would the Bishop's actions have been appropriate if the six clergy were resisting the ordination of an African American bishop?" was an attempt to see if PM could see any sort of situation at all in which "removing" someone was acceptable.

PM's original post seems to say that it is never acceptable - Christ wouldn't do it, we shouldn't do it. (I think the statement about Christ is scripturally debateable but that debate isn't integral to the points I'm trying to make.)

In a new post up above called The Shape of Water, PM writes: "we think accountability to that community is something we all need, and we have no problem with having accountability structures"

Isn't that what the Biship was doing in the original scenario - making the dissenting clergy accountable to the Episcopalian community? That community has certain beliefs and practices. Members are accountable to that community and expected to support the beliefs and practices. Apparently there were clergy refusing to to do that. So they were removed from the community.

This is not to say that a community has to define accountability that way. You could have a community that refuses to remove anyone for anything. But that practice does become one of the defining rules of that community.

I'm not so sure PM is totally committed to non-removal. He ignored my question - essentially removing me from the conversation...thekeez

john o'keefe said...


actually, i did not read your request as a "way of seeing" - i felt it was an open ended question and i did desire to fall into a "trap" :) i do not debate the "what if" game - it is not my style :)

i have no problem with accountability - none. the issue with the bishop was that of an abuse of power - a very harmful, spiteful, childish abuse of power and it has very little, if anything, to do with accountability. if the community desire to remove the clergy, all is good - but, if you research you will find that the communities they serve support the clergy in their community - and in fact, many of the churches have left the episcopal church.

you have confused accountabilty with authority - i have no problem being accountable - but i question the "suthority" others claime they have over me :)