Monday, September 10, 2007

Twisted Knickers

So the bishop’s knickers are all in a twist…too bad.

When I first read Bishop Iker’s web letter stating that the Bonnie Anderson meeting was “arranged without prior consultation” with him, I thought he was saying that he didn’t know about it. Well, that was just an out and out untruth. He not only knew about it but was invited to attend. That is readily provable in this electronic generation. But looking at the letter again, as the petulant whine that it is, it shows so clearly how pathetic life is in this diocese.

Over the past two months, I have spoken with several bishops. One I adore – but he just retired. Another I like and respect and am hopeful to engage in more conversation. Another I respect his position but do not agree with him on some major issues. Within each one of these bishops, I find a great amount of ethical reasoning. The stances they take, they take because they believe it is the right thing to do. I do not believe that any of them would lie to get what they want. I feel fairly safe in declaring that none of them would be reduced to the act of the petulant whine.

Bishop Iker does not care whether or not the Fort Worth Via Media contacts him. He considers them as less-thans, worthy only of his disdain. We are the “revisionist opposition”, a minority group of people who “dissent from the theological positions of this diocese.” He has no need of us. I am sure that he would rather we all get caught up in some sort of rapture or Bermuda Triangle type of thing.

Bishop Iker was only upset because “Mrs. Anderson” didn’t call him and say, ‘Bishop Iker, Right Reverend Sir’ I, your lowly servant, humbly request permission to enter the geographical boundaries of your most honorable regime.’ Then he would have boldly stated, ‘ Permission Denied!’ and gleefully gone his happy way.

As has already been so eloquently stated by Katie Sherrod in her, “Mrs. Anderson” did not need permission to enter this diocese, attend a meeting or talk to Episcopalians of the area. She is bound by no such canon. She is a lay person who came at the request of a group of people so desperately in need of an encouraging word. Bishop Iker actually ought to be glad she came. Her main message? “Saddle your own horse.” It is up to the residents of this diocese to do something about the bishop that we elected, not the national church. If, after we actually saddle that horse, we need riding lessons, then the church can help us. Until then…it’s up to us.

Bishop Iker seems to like this martyr role he has donned. He certainly has no problem pulling it on whenever he thinks it suits his purpose. He reminds me of our eleven year old when we get on to him harshly for something he has done. He assumes this hurt look as if to say – why would you do this, talk this way to your only son, your loving child who only wants to please you – forgetting of course that he was just told in no uncertain tones for the umpteenth time not to do whatever it was he just did, knowing full well he should not have done it in the first place. The only thing real to him at that moment is the hurt he feels because he thinks he has been unduly wronged by our disagreement. This is the stance that Bishop Iker assumes on a far too often occasion.

My sympathy levels for that assumption continue to dwindle. I never held empathy. I would not make a good psychologist. I do not make a good audience for one who perceives himself to be the victim while others are lying in heaps all around him, bleeding and ignored. His web letter reads as though he has not only been cast aside by the national church but also defecated upon. Since Bishop Iker was not at the meeting and Suzanne Gill (Director of Communications for the diocese) was there all day taking copious notes and pictures, it might have benefited him to have read some of her notes prior to writing his letter. He might have actually learned that the only concern of Fort Worth Via Media is how to remain within the Episcopal Church while its bishop lays claim to the idea that he can take the diocese out of that same church – or in his words, “Realign”.

It is time for the innuendo and outright lies to stop. Bonnie Anderson told the group meeting on this past Saturday to get organized. We are. We are called Fort Worth Via Media. We have been working on this since January 2004. Fort Worth Via Media are the ones organized enough to invite and bring Bonnie Anderson to this strange little land of outcast priests. The problem is that the minions of Bishop Iker, with or without his permission to speak but certainly not told to stop, have cast outrageous aspersions upon the character of not only the group at large but also of the individual members of the group. I think it is called character assassination. There are good people in this diocese – a goodly number – who do not agree with the bishop’s stance about “realignment” but have bought into the rhetoric of the diocese that we are a “revisionist” group opposed to the theological positions of this diocese. They have believed the clergy when some have stated that we are only out to replace the bishop, to undermine his “authority”.

Rather, our mission is stated fully and without innuendo on the website We are an organization made up of lay and clergy people within this diocese who are intent upon remaining within the Episcopal Church as full members. We have no need of a “church within a church” nor do we need to be realigned. If Bishop Iker and those who agree with him, regardless of how many of them there are, have a problem with the Episcopal Church and their perception of its tenets, well, just fine. Go and make a new realigned church. Do what you feel called by God to do. You are not the first nor will you be the last.

However, might I make a suggestion? Rather than praying that the Episcopal Church might turn back or change her stance, why not pray that you can better understand God’s will for your own life and ways? There might be just a couple of changes that need to happen in your own thought process.

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