Thursday, April 12, 2012

815 Bleak House

Via Episcopal Café we have this highly cogent analysis of the proposed budget by the Rev. Susan B. Snook of Nativity, Phoenix. Public reaction to the proposed budget has often been negative due to the elimination of any funds for churchwide christian formation. Snook makes a run at an overall budget that is less plainly suicidal, and while I have not looked over her proposal at any length, at least she hasn't come up with something that is as automatically dismissible.

Far more to the fore, however, is how she associates 815's approach to this with the legendary probate case of "Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce" of Bleak House infamy. Snook points out how the case ends: not with resolution, but with an inability to continue because the estate in question has been exhausted in litigation costs. But that's quite consistent with the relentless prosecution of cases against schismatic parishes over the properties, is it not? The liberal clerisy's obsession with its right to the inheritance of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Unites States of America (to give the full, now never-used name of the body) really is right out of the book. And spending the inheritance away, they have: banking on our now-vanished prestige and authority, looking at properties and endowments as "fiduciary responsibilities", expecting theological loyalty when they have betrayed their responsibility to their own tradition.

And it's destroying the institution. The hardcore conservatives are largely gone, having been deliberately unhorsed when they couldn't be pried off the reins. Other people are trickling away, and there is now a large clump in the middle, whose unity transcends political alignment, dismayed at the continuing push for heterodox positions. But the administration doesn't seem to be concerned about that; indeed, the presiding bishop herself seems to incapable of maintaining at least a front of orthodox belief, if her Easter message is any indication. No, it all seems to be about keeping their hands on the power and the money, while both dribble away with the losses in membership and attendance. Eventually the legacies will be gone, the buildings all sold to developers and other churches or religions, unless they repent. Our institutions can grow, and our inheritance maintained and increased; but only if we return to the religion we also inherited, and work towards that faith's transmission to the next generation.

1 comment:

Bill Dilworth said...

In my worst moments I find myself thinking that, far from not caring about the large clump in the middle, the PB is hoping that we will be the next group to go.