Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some Commentary About General Seminary

The author, an Episcopal priest, was one of my original dissertation advisers at Princeton.  As he now lives and works in Scotland, he has an interesting perspective on the larger issue at play in the Episcopal Church.

 Third, the administrative style on display in this tragedy coheres with the way leaders in the Episcopal Church have operated with increasing frequency over the past few decades. Everything must reflect orderly “process” when it serves power’s interests, when the outcome is assured, but if “process” would allow the possibility that the wrong people might be allowed a persuasive voice or permitted to initiate a change of direction, then executive action is required!

Speaking as one of those perennially on the outside of power in the church, he's got a point.

From a related post:

The silence in the church around this unconscionable manipulation by the Executive Committee, confirmed by the full Board of Trustees, to terminate employees without due process is what truly saddens Crusty Old Dean.  The silence around this cannot be from discretion, since the facts are all in the public domain.  Perhaps the silence is from fear: fear from people that those with the power who have manipulated processes to strip people of their due process and terminate them; fear that those who raise these concerns might find themselves subject to the same intimidation, since if the Executive Committee gets away with this it will surely embolden the church to intimidate others.  Perhaps it is cowardice.  Perhaps it is from ignorance.  Perhaps it is from avoidance of conflict, which only permits those who court conflict to run roughshod over those who avoid it.  What little comment there has been has come from without, not within, the church.  World-famous ethicist and theologian Stanley Hauerwas from Duke Divinity School has withdrawn from the endowed lectures series, the Paddock lectures, that he was to give.  The Jesuit magazine America has run an article expressing concerns about the situation.  

Actually COD, there have been some of us speaking out about this, but we are not heeded by any of the powers that be and have not been for some time.  This is why the once vibrant, intellectually diverse church has become this pale, wan, sad thing; like some piece of flesh unnaturally preserved in a laboratory jar.

When I was a firefighter we had a code, 99, that meant the structure cannot be saved; get out quickly.  If anything, it's time for Code 99 to be called for General Seminary.