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The Episcopal Church is getting tough with an openly schismatic bishop who has been one of the Akinola Anglicans cheered and supported by the neoconservative Institute on Religion and Democracy.  Similarly, local breakaway parishes are discovering that they can leave the church, but they can't take it with them. (For those who are not familiar, Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola is a rightwing, vehemently antigay prelate with whom a number of renegade American Episcopal churches are affiliating.)

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori warned Pittsburgh Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. that he would face civil suits and possible expulsion as bishop if a proposed resolution enabling the diocese to leave the denomination passed during a diocesan convention the other day. But he and the Anglican confederates, voted to secede anyway:

Representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve constitutional amendments that are the first step in leaving the national church in a widening rift over homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture.

Pittsburgh joined dioceses in San Joaquin, California, and Quincy, Illinois, in granting preliminary approval to separating from the national church, which the dioceses contend have wrongly abandoned Scriptural authority and traditional teachings on truth, salvation and the divinity of Jesus Christ.

"As a diocese we have come to a fork in the road," Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan said before lay delegates approved the measures 118 to 58 and clergy voted 109 to 24. "Indeed, it has become clear that our understandings are not only different, but mutually exclusive, even destructive to one another."

And in Connecticut, the national Episcopal Church joined a local lawsuit against an Episcopal parish that left the denomination to join the Anglican empire of Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola. The Hartford Courant reports:

A bid by Connecticut Episcopal leaders to force members of a renegade Bristol parish to vacate their church building is getting some extra legal muscle.

The national church has filed papers in court seeking intervenor status in a lawsuit against Trinity Episcopal Church brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. It accuses the Rev. Donald Helmandollar and church leaders of trespassing on church property.

Members of the Trinity parish voted to leave the Episcopal Church last May because of disagreement over the 2003 election of an openly gay New Hampshire bishop and the church's blessing of same-sex unions. Around the same time, Trinity members voted to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a self-described mission of the conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.

According to the lawsuit against Trinity, the property in Bristol is held in trust for the diocese and does not belong to the parish.

Such legal battles are sprouting up all over the country, and are likely to continue for the forseeable future. As one conservative bishop, who does not want to leave the church and does not want to have to litigate told the Orlando Sentinel.

"Individuals who wish to leave the Diocese of Central Florida and form another congregation are to be honored as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Diocese will do everything in its power to make their departures from the Diocese of Central Florida and the Episcopal Church a peaceful one, without rancor or recrimination."

However, he added, "We have a solemn responsibility to protect the interests of the Diocese and the larger Church. We cannot and will not abandon those [parishioners] who wish to remain."

The IRD and its affiliates, notably the American Anglican Council have made signficant headway in their decade long march to foment internal factional fighting and secession from the Episcopal Church. So much so, that the IRD now describes its Episcopal program as "Anglican." Here is the first sentence of the IRD's Anglican Action program description.

Anglican Action seeks to promote orthodox teaching and practice within the Episcopal Church.

And there is the rub.

While the IRD trumpets the loss of church members and blames it on liberalism, it similtaneously organizes to pull members, whole congregations and even whole diocese out of the denomination. It is remarkable the double speak they have gotten away with. How can one pretend to be advocating for internal reform, when -- as the IRD has done -- advocate and organize for schism? Or collaborate with those who do? Reform and schism are just are not the same thing. Perhaps epitomizing the IRD approach -- even the staffer for the Anglican Action program is a member of a schismatic church in Virginia. Of course that would be consistent with what the IRD has always been about, as the board and advisory board have always had plurlalities of neo-conservative Catholics, as Andrew Weaver has detailed, as well as been fueled by outside, neoconservative financial interests with no actual interest in the life and health of these churches -- other than that the churches were obstacles to the agendas of their, conservative, neonconservative and religous right grantees.

Here is what Weaver wrote in 2006:

Father [Richard John] Neuhaus, 69, has been a leading culture warrior in the Neoconservative camp. Although his ideological positions have been challenged by fellow Catholics as inconsistent with church teachings, few mainline Protestants are aware of his activities or those of other influential Neocon Catholics such as Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Robert P. George. Fewer still realize that these Catholics direct a group of paid political operatives who work ceaselessly to discredit mainline Protestant leaders and their Christian communions. The Washington-based think tank that they lead is the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Six of the 17 current members of IRD's board of directors, a full 35 percent, are prominent conservative Catholics (Institute on Religion and Democracy, 2006). They include founders Father Richard John Neuhaus of the Institute on Religion and Public Life and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute, along with George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University, Mary Ellen Bork (wife of Judge Robert Bork), and [then] board chair, Professor J. Budziszewski of the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, four other conservative Catholics sit on the IRD advisory board:

Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University School of Law; Opus Dei evangelist and Catholic priest, Rev. John McCloskey; Russell Hittinger, Warren Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa, as well as Jesuit priest and professor, Rev. James Schall at Georgetown University.
These prominent Catholics confer their prestige and considerable power to encourage right-wing donors to finance IRD. They are key links to the patrons of IRD which include Richard Mellon Scaife, Howard Ahmanson and the Bradley, Coors, Smith-Richardson, Randolph, and Olin foundations with whom these Neoconservative Catholics have had a long working relationship.

All of these benefactors have a common political aim, which is to neutralize and overturn the social justice tradition of mainline Protestant churches because they are in tension with unfettered capitalism.

I wrote about the IRD and its Episcopal program in 2006:  

The longtime director of IRD, the late Diane Knippers was, according to Salon.com’s Max Blumenthal, "the chief architect" of an initiative "to ‘restructure the permanent governing structure’ of ‘theologically flawed’ mainline churches... in order to ‘discredit and diminish the Religious Left’s influence.’

The "initiative" is called the "Reforming America's Churches Project" and "the Religious Left" is IRD-speak for the mainline protestant churches and collectively the National Council of Churches.  The executive summary of IRD's funding proposal to conservative foundations surfaced and can be viewed here.   I continued:

A...schism campaign targeting the Episcopal Church had its origins in 2000. Members of IRD’s American Anglican Council solicited funding for the effort from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson— who had already contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to IRD.

Bankrolled with more $1 million from the Ahmansons in 2000 and 2001, and with Roberta Ahmanson now on the IRD board, the group eventually targeted the appointment and consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal church’s first bishop to be openly gay when elected. "With its war chest full and its strongest pretext yet for a schism, the group cranked up a smear campaign against Robinson," Blumenthal wrote, "falsely accusing him of sexual harassment and administering a bisexual pornography Web site." This encouraged wealthy dioceses and congregations to split with the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Council’s renegade network.

In September of 2004, IRD quietly organized a campaign to divert funds away from the church and towards "orthodox" Anglican groups. Tom Donnelly, one of the principals of The Jefferson Group, a Washington, DC lobbying firm, personally handled funding solicitations for the "United Anglican Fund" which he and two others incorporated in response the consecration of Bishop Robinson. "Since the goal of the UAF," wrote IRD staffer Lauren Whitnah, "is to provide a safe mechanism for giving, there are no ties between it and any entity of the Episcopal Church." By "safe," she means ensuring that "the funds stay out of the control of hostile dioceses..." and to fund "orthodox" projects "in North America and the world."

Since Robinson’s consecration, a number of dioceses affiliated with the Anglican Council have threatened schism and have increasingly aligned themselves with conservative Anglican churches in Africa and Asia. Indeed, Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll, Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University, a keynote speaker at a recent conference in South Carolina ("dedicated to the memory of [former IRD head, and schismatic Episcopalian] Diane Knippers") declared, "Liberal Anglicanism is reaping the harvest of unbelief," and, "The gates of hell will not prevail against His Church...The present order is passing away."

Evidently, the present order does not accept the premises of the Akinola Anglicans and their patrons. Indeed, the assets that the religious right wantsto march out of the churches, may stay right where they are, even as individuals depart to place themselves under the authority of Archbishop Akinola. This is a relationship that Americans may come to regret, as one Episcopal lay minister who has has gained considerable knowledge of Akinola recently wrote:  

By the time this schism is done there’s going to be hell to pay. Akinola’s American backers have hitched their wagon to a mafioso in a Mercedes; can blood be far behind?

Josh Thomas continues, commenting on a horrific report on human rights abuses in Nigeria and the state of Nigerian democracy:

The report does not detail the Anglican Church’s involvement, so let me add a few facts which, if more widely known, ought to embarrass American "Anglicans" who have been quick to pledge allegiance to Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola because of his assiduously publicized anti-Gay campaign:

• The Nigerian government donates the land on which many Anglican churches are built, including Akinola’s own cathedral in Abuja. There is no such thing as separation of Church and state in Nigeria.

This is a much bigger danger to the Church and the Gospel than it is to the government. When the Church gets co-opted, injustice invariably results.

• The Nigerian presidency, by common consent, rotates between Christians and Muslims. Christian presidential candidates choose Muslim VP’s and vice-versa. The previous president was an Anglican; the current president is Muslim, and his vice-president is an Anglican. Among all the Christian denominations in Nigeria, only Anglican politicians win the top slots.

• Government officials attend every important Anglican event—a school here, a bishop there—arriving in their Mercedes and BMWs and mixing with the "in" crowd. Indeed, belonging to the Anglican Church is seen as a way to get ahead financially and politically.

• The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria—Akinola until recently, when he was defeated for re-election by his fellow Christians for being too close to the government—is an automatic member of the government’s National Security Council. Akinola tried to stack the deck for his re-election by rescheduling the vote for a date when his main Catholic rival was out of the country attending a Vatican event. Akinola’s fellow Christians saw through his manipulation and denied him even the loser’s automatic vice-presidency. He’s losing prestige at home, even as he continues to attract homophobes in America.

Reporting on the state of the American Episcopal Church and its internal disagreements rarely shines a spotlight on the IRD and Archbishop Akinola, tending to treat the tiny minority conservative dissidents as somehow the victims of deviance from the true orthodoxy at the hands of diabolical liberals. But these matters are about much more than mudpies flung by the factions in an all too human institution. At stake is the generally progressive tradition of the Episcopal Church in America and its capacity to act on that tradition, not to mention billions of dollars in assets  -- land, buildings, pension funds, and more. The Episcopal Church is making news today. But as we have frequently discussed at Talk  to Action -- there are similar struggles in all of the major Protestant denominations.  

 

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:24 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank goodness (4+ / 0-)

    The thought that religion be used to force people into a particular way of thought is abhorrent.  Religion is all about discovery.

    The "Christians" out there have already damaged my country; don't let them get my religion, too!

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:25:31 PM PST

    •  This certainly (4+ / 0-)

      reflects the history of religion throughout the Western world.  It is just unprecedented that religion be used to force people into a particular way of thought.  After all, the relationship between religion and the authority of the State, giving each person and gender a particular role is something entirely new.  Religion has always been an entirely personal journey, right?

  •  The mainline protestant churches in America (31+ / 0-)

    Are generally prochoice, pro-gay and lesbian civil rights; advocates for separation of church and state; opposed to the war in Iraq; have long standing programs on the environment -- and much, much more.

    That's why the neocons and the religious right are trying to dismember them and take their assets.

    •  Hi Fred (8+ / 0-)
      I saw your diary and of course had to read it but then I saw what it was about and just can't take any more of this now. I'll save it and read it all later. We're waiting with bated breath here in Cleveland to see what happens with our dean who is one of eight candidates for bishop of Chicago. Her partner Emily told me that the response they got when they were up there for their interviews last week was overwhelmingly positive and she thinks they really had some impact for the good on peoples' hearts and minds. Everyone here of course thinks Tracey is the most qualified candidate, but I went to the website where they've posted the candidates; presentations and she does seem head and shoulders above the others. So....I think the decision omes at the end of this week. If they DON'T pick her (which of course would be good for us, because she's been an inspiring leader at a rapidly growing cathedral), we'll always wonder if they really believed someone else was better or if they just didn't want to go down that road. If they DO go down that road.....a second gay bishop, especially in a diocese as prominent as Chicago, could really rile things up.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:42:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, Fred (4+ / 0-)

      As upsetting and unsettling as these developments are, perhaps our moment is around the corner after all.  The more that committed liberal clergy can preach a vigorous Gospel from a liberal understanding, the more brightly that beacon can shine compared to a politicized group of schismatics fueled on homophobia and related issues.  As with political conservatives, I have no problem with committed, faithful orthodox believers of any faith -- but when it's about politics and power, it's a different matter altogether.  Neither orthodoxy nor liberalism in religion should be a smokescreen for a non-religious agenda.

  •  Thanks for a Great Diary! (4+ / 0-)

    I must confess -
    I like to call parishes that vote to leave the Episcopal Church and say,
    "Well, you'd better call Mayflower - cause you're moving!"

    My bad.

  •  Watch Fort Worth, too. Its diocesan convention (6+ / 0-)

    is week after next: Nov. 16-17. Standing committee is recommending secession. Read the committee's communique here.

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:40:54 PM PST

  •  The Episcopal Church used to be the last (11+ / 0-)

    bastion of not very much at all, but now, they seem to really have an agenda of social responsibility, inclusion, and fellowship among the members regardless of gender and expressions of sexual self identity.  They seem to be actually acting like Christians but some within their fold cannot seem to stand it.  This free thinker salutes them for their stand to be inclusive of everyone.  

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:43:06 PM PST

    •  Standing With Jesus Is Always Big Trouble (11+ / 0-)

      Too troubling for the power structure, for 2,000 years.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:46:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always amazed that Matthew 25 (11+ / 0-)

        which basically says the ticket to heaven is helping the poor, homeless, hungry, sick, and imprisoned--and has nothing whatsoever to say about doctrine or belief--is somehow passed by with nary a nod by people who claim to be seeking or having Salvation.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:57:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've sometimes thought (7+ / 0-)

          that Christianity has been the darkest of conspiracies against Christ.  By this I mean that the message you mention had to be clouded by superstition and diversion because it demanded just too much.  As a result, the philosophical teachings of Jesus were turned into their precise opposite--  Rather than messages of service, they were turned into narcissistic and self-serving messages of judgment and a personal sense of superiority.  It's no mistake that the issues the fundamentalists focus on are the least demanding of them: largely sexual issues pertaining to gender issues, rather than issues of charity and love of the neighbor.  It's hard to love your neighbor, especially when you're screwing them with your economic practices and they don't look like you.

          •  They've got a non-adult version of Christianity. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee, chumley, Philoguy

            You know how it's said in a black mass they turn the cross upside down? Falwell/Dobson's ilk turns Christianity upside down. "Well Jesus didn't mean the undeserving poor." Yeah, well why didn't He say that then?

            IMO, they are identical in one thing to the libertarians, racists, realpolitikers, greedheads, and sociopaths they've aligned themselves with to form the Republican party:

            They've all got a special, exceptionalizing, reason they don't have to show ordinary human decency toward their fellows.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:50:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know (3+ / 0-)

      that this is historically accurate.  The Episcopal church broke with the Anglican church during the revolutionary war, was the first to have female Bishops, and was among the first to form interfaith alliances with non-Christian religions.  It also has the honor of having Bishops like Bishop Spong (who married my parents and baptized me), who treat religious stories entirely as parables (rather than literal events that break the laws of science) and sees religious devotion as a devotion of service to others (rather than judgment).

      •  Decades ago, the Episcopal Church was one of the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee, homogenius

        most mainline establishment churches.  It used to be referred to as "The Republican Party at Prayer."  Yes, some churchs broke with the Anglicans during the American Revolution, but the majority of the American Loyalists also remained loyal to the Church of England.  Most of the British military in the American colonies thought of the rebellion as being Presbyterian inspired and there is some validity to that argument.  John Witherspoon, President of Presbyterian Princeton University was the only active clergyman to sign the Decaration of Independence.  When I jokingly referred to the church as the last bastion of not very much at all, I was not referring to recent chuch history, over the last 25 years or so.  Bishop Spong, female priests and bishops, all these developments have been building over the years.  I remember when some priests left over the ordination of female priests.  This new controversy is the most recent part of the reaction to liturgical and social justice.

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 10:15:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another way to look at it (0+ / 0-)
          is that the Episcopal Church,
          which is all about community,
          and has been from the start,
          is where social issues are seen clearly
          as it is unfettered by a 'single issue theology'

          and always have been

          It is the nature of community that has evolved from the colonial days in America

          Parish to parish, diocese to diocese, the Episcopal church has ALWAYS been chaotic, has always had dissidents, and has always been kicked forward. Progress is never neat and painfree (see Childbirth ) yet it has always moved along.

          Gene Robinson, to the everlasting agony of the neo-con schismists, was not chosen by a shadowy, lefty, hooded, conspiracy. In open elections, he was elected by the clergy AND people of New Hampshire. Voting for bishops usually follows a winnowing pattern, but Robinson was the clear choice of both the clergy and people on the second ballot.  In the realm of Live Free or Die, this was a remarkable event; probably more noteworthy amongst election watchers for it's decisiveness than for Robinson being gay.

          Abandon ideology. Instead, tell the truth. Always.

          by slowheels on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:00:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It is rather sad (7+ / 0-)

    Many of these folks are still upset about the new prayer book (new as in about 40 years old), ordination of women, moving the alter out away from the wall, priests facing the congregation instead of the wall, divorce, and many other "liberal" reforms.

    It is tempting to say... So long enjoy your "new" church. It is afterall, how new christian denominations get started. In 12 step groups they say that "All it takes to start a new meeting is a resentment and a coffee pot."

    But this idea of truly dismembering the church is something else altogether. And in an age when the Anglican Church has been working at ecumenical agreements with Lutherans and Roman Catholics... working towards agreement and reconciliation in belief... to have such divisive and schismatic folks tearing away at the healthy foundations that have been laid... well...

    it is rather sad to see.

    Peace,

    Andrew

    "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

    by Andrew C White on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:52:08 PM PST

    •  I know of one breakaway congregation that joined (4+ / 0-)

      the Orthodox Church, whose "Antiochian Rite" allowed it to use--and I figure this was critical--the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

      As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

      by ticket punch on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:00:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that IS critical (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee, homogenius

        for many of these people.

        Bishop Robinson was just the catalyst that set all these old resentments boiling over.

        "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

        by Andrew C White on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:13:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  LOTs of parishes still use the 1928 BCP (0+ / 0-)

        Over 400 hundred  years, the prayer book has been amended regularly in order to provide a basis for community worship.  The '28 was a pretty significant revison at the time, and the 1979 carried forward the direction of the 1928.

        The act of walking requires a dynamic balance, neither falling forward nor sitting still. Balancing faith and reason is a similar problem, and testing tradition by applying it to one's daily life can be pretty disruptive as well.

        The pattern of the Episcopal Church is one of human dynamic equilibrium: comfort, resistance to change, grudging change, reconcilliation, comfort, resitance to change, change ....  Progress is inevitable, and THAT is the most frightening thing to a Neo Conservative.  

        Abandon ideology. Instead, tell the truth. Always.

        by slowheels on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:22:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't San Joaquin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, aitchdee
      still cheesed off about women? I think I recall reading they are still fighting THAT battle.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:08:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee

        these are people unwilling to accept any change whatsoever.

        Forget that what they don't want changed was itself a radical change (King James) from a previous radical change (Henry VIII) from a previous radical change (Constantine) with a bunch of other stuff thrown in besides.

        "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

        by Andrew C White on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:12:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  By the way (3+ / 0-)

    Bishop Schori is a VERY impressive woman. I am very pleased to have her at the head of the Church.

    Peace,

    Andrew

    "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

    by Andrew C White on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 08:54:21 PM PST

    •  Bishop Schori is MORE than impressive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White

      I met her a couple weeks ago,
      she is VERY special.

      Her 'critics' make THEMSELVES seem small and foolish by comparison.

      Despite the attention given to the assault upon the Episcopal Church,
      it is a VERY healthy and dynamic organisation today. Schori is more than a match for the bitter and frustrated old farts of the Bitter Right.

      Too many grownups are inspired by Schori,
      and the Schismists are NOT the ones
      making the kids wonder at the world around them.

      She is 'a people's bishop' if there ever was one.

      Abandon ideology. Instead, tell the truth. Always.

      by slowheels on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:43:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Stuff Frederick (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frederick Clarkson

    Thanks

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:31:31 PM PST

  •  Especially glad to hear about Akinola-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee

    My spidey sense has been telling me all along that this is a thug in bishop's clothing. I've been waiting for the truth to start seeping out. This is an angry man with an agenda--this is not someone listening to the leading of the spirit. It's not consistent.

    I'm waiting to see what happens when he doesn't get his way. Ultimately, I have a feeling there's a lot less to that man than meets the eye.

    People are too literal about Donnie McLurkin's ex-gay testimony--it's the "faithiness" that counts.

    by homogenius on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 10:56:32 PM PST

  •  very interesting, Fred (0+ / 0-)

    It seems you can't separate conservative breakaway religion, schismatic intrigue, and scams.

    I've wondered at times whether fairly large denominations, such as the Episcopalians, could voluntarily segregate into orthodox and not-so-orthodox congregations, rather than go into this kind of schism.  I guess there are many reasons why it would not seem wise to create a halfway house.  But perhaps it would be enough?

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 11:15:27 PM PST

    •  at least we aren't beheading people anymore (0+ / 0-)

      although I have a list...

      No, struggle and progress is watch THIS church is about.

      And Reconciliation.  That, or nothing.

      And Reconciliation is so much harder to profit from than
      altar calls, revival meetings, and mega churches.

      Abandon ideology. Instead, tell the truth. Always.

      by slowheels on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:49:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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