Monday, December 04, 2006

Traditional Rector and Liberal Bishop

The number of hits on this blog since early this morning has been astonishing. I have read a number of the comments on my post "Winner Take Nothing" that people have put on referring sources, and feel that a reply to some of them is needed.

I suspect that the Bishop's parliamentarian advised him poorly (to be as charitable as I can) and the Bishop was sorry when he was given the advice. In fact, I spoke longer than the time I was allotted and he did not stop me. I have spoken in a similar tone to gatherings of clergy in the Diocese (where the rules are different), and the Bishop supported and affirmed me. He has both privately and publicly made certain that my voice was heard whenever I wanted to speak up. He has never made any attempt whatever to muzzle me—on the contrary, there are times he has invited me to speak and even to teach other clergy.

I wrote that I bent as far as I could in a generous and irenic statement but can bend no farther. It is fair to say that the Bishop has also bent. We have nine vocationers to Holy Orders, all of them traditional, and the Bishop has supported each one. Those who have come to the Commission on Ministry have all been approved because of the Bishop's influence.

At the Convention, I spoke after the vote on purpose. I did not intend to make a difference to the vote since that was a foregone conclusion and it would have been pointless to speak against the resolution during the debate. I spoke immediately AFTER the resolution on a point of privilege 1) to get the last word—which I did; 2) fire my warning at the time it would have most effect—which it did; and 3) not be subject to a time limit, since normally points of privilege are not subject to time constraints. Since, unexpectedly, I was given a time limit, I had to think on my feet. I am used to doing that and did so effectively. I think I got 2 1/2 out of 3, which isn't bad, especially considering the circumstances.

I do not think it was the Bishop who was primarily responsible for limiting my time since he has not done so in other settings that were smaller but more intense. In fact, being somewhat badly treated worked in my favor, since a number of prominent liberals in the Diocese have expressed personal irritation at how it was handled. Mild persecution works in one's favor. The effect of my remarks has already had good effect in the Diocese of Los Angeles and beyond, and I have gained more than I thought one lone voice could do in so liberal a Diocese.

I have my strategy and I am following it and it is working. One person can make a difference.


Daniel Lozier said...

"I have spoken in a similar tone to gatherings of clergy in the Diocese, and the Bishop supported and affirmed me. He has both privately and publicly made certain that my voice was heard whenever I wanted to speak up. He has never made any attempt whatever to muzzle me--on the contrary, there are times he has invited me to speak and even to teach other clergy."

So the fact, according to your Convention remarks, that you have remained mostly silent on these issues is due to what? If you feel so affirmed by Bp. Bruno why hold back?

It is not my desire to argue or debate you, Reverend Sir. Most honorable men and women clergy who agree with you are no longer part of the L. A. Diocese...and not because the Bishop was so affirming. His actions and statements speak for themselves and require no defense from you or other clergy. Bishop Bruno believes his Hindu friends will be with him in heaven; and he blesses sexual acts deemed an abomination by almighty God. Yeah, he's a very personable guy. I hope his affirmation gives you great solace. Frankly, it would keep me awake at night.

revsusan said...

Bless your heart, David Baumann. You are a tribute to the Gospel you serve and I give thanks for your witness among us ... even when I disagree with you ... and I will be forever grateful for the title "Archlesbian of the Episcopal Church" you coined a few years ago at the clericus in San Gabriel.

All best blessings for a Holy Advent and Joyous Christmas,

Father David said...

Thank you for your very kind comment! However, I hasten to say that I didn't coin the title "Archlesbian of the Diocese"! I followed you when I spoke to the clergy in the fall of 2003, and I was merely quoting you and you were quoting David Virtue, who had coined the term for you. (I doubt he was using the term affectionately.) I abhor anything that seems like name-calling, but you seemed to like the title, so (to start off my remarks hoping to get a laugh as well as make a point), I began by saying, "Well, here I am following the archlesbian of the diocese, and that we're both here says something about the nature of our diocese."

Anonymous said...

Very well said. All the way around.

Joi said...

I wasn't originally going to comment on this. This subject is important to me, and I think I'm over-sensitive to it in some ways. Knowing that, I've learned to keep out of this subject, since I get hot under the collar pretty easily.
That said, I do want to comment on the assertion that staying in the church and dialoging with others who think differently than we do is not a disservice to truth.

I was in a church in junior high and high school that had an excellent pastor. Some people in the church decided that he had acted inappropriately in some areas, and that his teaching was not good. These people split the church; they sent "anonymous" letters undercutting Brother Scott's authority, trying to drum up support for an alternate service at which he would not preach. These letters were circulated by deacons of the church, AFTER a deacon's meeting in which it was agreed that the deacons would support the pastor. The church even had a reconciliation specialist come in to speak and work with us. The people who'd fostered the split came, just for a little while, then walked out in the middle of it, publicly.
They thought they were doing the right thing. They thought they were protecting truth. They ended up alienating 80% of the church, and hurting hundreds of people.
Where is that church now, now that they've purged the "corruptive" elements? About to close their doors. They can't afford a janitor, people continue to leave, and they're known as the most bitter, divise church in town. Is that serving truth? I doubt it.
Chesterton once said that the problem with the world is not the spread of vices, but the spread of christian virtues that have become disconnected from each other and run amok.The love of truth is important, and should be foremost for any Christian (and for any human being, really). But if it operates without charity and love, it is corrosive, and will burn anything it touches. Charity without truth is like a marshmallow, or an ameoba; it spreads over everything, but has no power. The two are insperable.
Dilution of truth? Never.
Absence of charity? God forbid.

There. See why I don't get into this debate often? I tend to go on. forgive my little rant!

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Baumann,

It is time that you get off the dime and live your religious convictions in a truly global witness. The fact that you are financially beholden to J. Jon Bruno is patently obvious. Do you seriously look to him for spiritual guidance? The mere fact that Susan Russell patronizes you in her inimitably facile way speaks to how marginalized your witness is in the Diocese of Los Angeles. In short, throw Baumann a few bones and he will be content with his Placentia fiefdom (for some 28 years!).

It is curious that you taut your membership in the Society of the Holy Cross. I believe Bishop Shaw of Massachusetts also claims that affiliation.

NEW FLASH! A parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California (led by that exemplar of marital rectitude, Barry Beisner) has just announced its secession from TEC. Will Blessed Sacrament be the next shoe to drop? Frankly, I'm not holding my breath!