Friday, November 24, 2006

Questions for Katharine Jefforts-Schori

I saw a great comment posted on Amy Welborn's Open Book that I wanted to share with you all. It is in reference to The Episcopal Church (TEC) new primate, Katharine Jefforts-Schori interview in which when questioned on why TEC is shrinking she references Catholics as having large families and Episcopalians as smarter with smaller families and are more responsible with stewardship of the earth (I'm paraphrasing). So a comment by Terry had some choice questions for Katharine Jefforts-Schori: Bishop Jefferts Schori’s interviews always feature softball (or even NERF-ball) questions. Here are some questions I would like to see a reporter ask her (I can dream can’t I...) In your papers and press releases prior to your election as Presiding Bishop, you made a big point of “el buen Samaritano” and your deanship of the “Good Samaritan School of Theology.” Yet, you have admitted both of these were inflated terms. They have also disappeared from any post-election materials (such as the Episcopal page ‘Who is the Presiding Bishop?’). Why did you lie on your resume? Why were you elected? On paper, even with your inflated claims, you were clearly the least qualified candidate. Were you elected solely because of your gender? During your tenure as Bishop of Nevada, you used the Kairos Prison Ministry materials inappropriately. This organization considers the breaches significant enough that they are suing the Nevada Diocese for copyright violations. Would you care to comment? The Kairos organization feels that their approach of gender-specific ministers for prison populations is both sound Biblically and practically? Would you care to comment. What happened to “el buen Samaritano?” Reporters seem to be very impressed by your experience as an oceanographer and as a pilot. Why are these relevant? During you tenure as Bishop of Nevada, how much did the diocese grow? In that same period how much did the state of Nevada grow? Why do you think the Episcopal percentage is so much lower? Jesus said, “No one comes to the father except through me.” What does that mean? The Episcopal Church has been losing members for many years, why? Do you really think, as you said in a New York Times Magazine interview, that the conservatives (such as Catholics) are “outbreeding” the Episcopalians? Is it not possible that the liberal social gospel and ordination and promotion of gay ministers bears some responsibility for the membership loss? In recent memory, two ministers confessed to breaking their wedding vows, one left his marriage and one did not. Why has one been made an Episcopal bishop and the other has resigned his position in disgrace. Compare and contrast - Vicki Gene Robinson’s marital breakup and Ted Haggard’s fall. You state in the New York Times Magazine interview that we “are all hypocrites.” Isn’t the Christian belief that “we are all sinners?” What is sin? The Episcopal Church in America was at one time named the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. With this Protestant background, how is “deeds-based evangelism” consistent with the Protestant principle of “faith alone?” Why was one of your first acts as Presiding Bishop the formation of a committee to make sure property does not leave the TEC when parishioners leave the TEC? Why does all material related to the issue of gay sexuality refuse to include references to Dr. Gagnon’s work. For example, the study guide prepared by the association of Episcopal Seminary Librarians has expressly excluded Gagnon’s work. This is so, even though Biblical scholars consider it a masterful treatment of the Biblical issues. If the Millennium Development Goals are so important, why is the TEC allocating only seven-tenths of one percent of its budget to them? If the MDGs are a sign of our deeds-based evangelism, how do you justify the buildings, salaries, and budget of the TEC bureaucracy? Why have you singled out eight dioceses as “problem dioceses?” What exactly is the problem? Has the Dennis Canon ever been tested and upheld in a court of law? You and your supporters often criticize the African Bishops for turning a blind eye to polygamy. Where is the evidence of this? You have an “honorary” doctorate from CDSP. The African Bishops, as a group, have a significant number of earned doctorates from major Western theological schools. Why should we listen to your theology rather than theirs? Why is the Episcopal Church in Nigeria one of the fastest growing churches anywhere on earth? Who is Jesus? In what way is threatening churches consistent with deeds-based evangelism? Two churches in Virginia have just proposed leaving the TEC. Their Average Sunday Attendance exceeds that of the entire Nevada Diocese. Shouldn’t their concerns be taken seriously? In your New York Times interview, you discuss the relative childlessness of Episcopalians in terms of stewardship of the Earth’s resources. In light of this stewardship, what percentage of the TEC budget could be reduces if the offices at 815 were moved to say, Topeka or Omaha? In this day of instant communications and the Internet, surely a less expensive and wasteful location could be found for the headquarters of such an environmentally responsible church. Why should I be Episcopalian rather than sleep in on Sunday morning? I understand your mother became an Orthodox Christian in the 1970’s. What was that like? You have criticised some for placing God in a “little box.” Jesus speaks of the “eye of the needle” and the “narrow way.” Compare and contrast your and Jesus’ viewpoints. Why has the outreach to LGBT individuals been such a failure in terms of growing the Episcopal Church? A significant portion of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) does not allow women to be priests. What is your response to this fact? At your investiture, I noticed that none of the major celebrants nor you had any cross symbols on their vestments. Was this intentional? What is the Resurrection?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the new "Bish" is not a Christian. I believe the Episcopal Church is literally going to hell in a handbasket. I am thankful I am part of the Fort Worth Diocese, where we are steadily working to distance ourselves for the Bish and TEC.

rebecca said...

http://www.suntimes.com/news/steyn/149527,CST-EDT-steyn26.article

Which brings me to our second Jill: the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to run a national division of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"

"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

Now, that may or may not be a great idea, but it's nothing to do with Christianity, only for eco-cultists like Al Gore. If Bishop Kate were an Episcogorian, a member of the Alglican Communion, an elder of the Church of Latter-Day Chads, this would be an unremarkable statement. But, even in their vigorous embrace of gay bishoprics and all the rest, I don't recall the Episcopalians formally embracing the strategy that worked out so swell for the Shakers and enshrining a disapproval of reproduction at the heart of their doctrine.

Tito said...

Sioux,

I really feel for you orthodox Anglicans having to put up with Integrity USA's takeover of TEC. I've heard many good things about the Fort Worth diocese and pray and wish you all many blessings.

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