Saturday, August 30, 2003

Latest Form Letter. Responding to Bishop Peter Lee's last form letter, I sent a terse reply:
Thank you for responding. I had hoped you would at least read my letter before sending off a form response.

and received this response
Mr. William Sulik (a20)
Dear Mr. Sulik,
Your most recent message was forwarded to me in South Carolina where I am on vacation.
I assure you that I read personally every email and every letter I receive. I recognize I am a servant of the Body of Christ and try to listen to members of the Body, even when they are unhappy with me.

Faithfully yours,
Peter James Lee

Monday, August 25, 2003

The road must be trod I received a message with this J.R.R. Tolkien quote attached as a .sig file. This speaks to me in so many ways:
"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Thanks, Angel.
The Calf. Thinking more about Lee's letter yesterday and talking with my wife, it finally occurred to me what this situation is like. Peter Lee is like Aaron taking up an offering: "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." (Exodus 32:2). Some of us have the temerity to refuse to make an offering for the golden calf he and the other caretakers are building.

One more thing -- now, when it suits his pleasure, he cites to the Bible (did you leave your Bible in Virginia while you were in Minneapolis, Peter? Didn't your hotel room even have a Bible?). The only problem -- he gets it wrong. He writes:
Since the First Century, the church has made allowances for differences in the way believers live together in marriage. Jesus' prohibition of divorce was absolute. By the First Century, the church made allowances for divorce in certain circumstances."
Let's go to videotape, err, Scriptures. Jesus, speaking in the Sermon on the Mount, does, indeed provide an exception allowing for divorce:
It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
(emphasis added). See also, Mt.19:1-12, which containst the same exception. (But see Mark 10 or Luke 16:18, which do not contain this exception.

More. Sorry for not posting the text of the letters, I'm a slow typist. To read the original letter from the Truro Vestry, go here. To read a .pdf version of Lee's response, go here. To read the Vestry reply to the Lee response, go here. If you can't get the .pdf versions from those links, you may have to go here instead.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

He Still Speaks. I'll tell you, the readings in the lectionary are so on point for the Episcopal Church, it makes me wonder if our "leaders" ever read them. Today's readings were from Joshua 24:1-2a,14-25 (" for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."), Ephesians 5:21-33 (comparing marriage between husbands and wives to Christ and the Church) and John 6:60-69 ("... the spirit that gives life, the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." )
The Saga Continues. Since I last updated this, there has been an exchange of e-mail between Peter Lee and the Truro Vestry. I'll try to post the letters later. What has me really ticked off is that Lee has taken to calling our Vestry's decision to escrow it's pledge to a clearly apostate denomination a "financial weapon."

This is a profoundly wrong reading of Biblical stewardship -- but it does indicate that Lee views his vote, and that of the Virginia delgation, as a "weapon" against the Biblical model of the church.