Opening Comments 5-2-2001

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Tue May 1 23:05:27 EDT 2001

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today's lead story revolves around remarks made by Bishop Steven Charleston,
President of Episcopal Divinity School to more than 200 Episcopal
communicators recently near Houston, Texas. It is an annual event when
goodies are handed out to Diocesan editors for publications that look bright,
shiny, contentless and largely irrelevant.

Now it will probably come as a profound shock to y'all to learn that I was
not invited. Hold the tears.

The bishop opined that a "propaganda war" now exists in ECUSA because of the
Internet revolution which he and his fellow liberal and revisionist bishops
cannot control. It is their worst nightmare come true. Modern technology,
which unleashed the Age of  Global Information has become, for Griswold, the
curse that has bruised his heel.

For the first time in 200 years, The Episcopal Church now stands in real
danger of having its sins publicly aired for all the church, and the world to
see. The very tool that has so much potential to teach the world to sing, in
perfect harmony, is slowly becoming the undoing of The Episcopal Church.

The Hi-tech world of palm pilots, hand held computers and cell phones, so
ballyhooed by John Spong that he is building a new religion to keep pace with
it, is the Episcopal Church's worst nightmare. And Bishop Charleston is angry
and offended that the medium is conveying a message that is slowly and
inevitably destroying the very image he and his like-minded fellow bishops
are trying desperately to create.

Despite the hiring of high-priced flacks to unspin the spin that I unspin,
Griswold finds that he is being mocked and shown up for the 'emperor' he
really is. A bishop with no theological clothes, and the pluriform ones he
wears grow more tattered by the day.

He faces a revolt over Washington Bishop Jane Dixon's refusal to allow a
simple traditionalist priest to take a small rural parish in Maryland. Now
none of this would have been known, or if it was, it would have been hushed
up or played down, if it wasn't for the Internet. You would have gotten the
spin from Episcopal Life and gone to bed thinking all was well with the
church. Well it isn't.

The Internet now makes it possible for bishops in Southeast Asia, Africa and
the UK to know, in minutes, what Griswold and Dixon are up too, they cannot
hide their venalities behind stain-glassed language and pious sentiments. It
is out there and everyone can read it.

One can only imagine the level of strain these bishops must be under knowing
that their every move and statements are being monitored. Can heart attacks
be far behind? Furthermore there is no danger of it ever letting up. Never.
That, at least, I can promise you.

And in the latest round in the Accokeek boxing ring, the Rt. Rev. John
Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida has weighed in with his own letter
calling on Dixon "to put the mission of the whole Church and the care of
those who are a minority within your diocese above this current controversy."
Nice try bishop, but Dixon will have none of it.

Lipscomb has offered to mediate the situation. But mediate what exactly?
According to Dixon this is a cut and dry situation, there is nothing to
mediate. All Fr. Edwards has to do is accept her 'generous' buy out offer and
take off for North Carolina. She'll even pay the movers.

If it wasn't for the Internet, Lipscomb and the other five bishops who are
demanding that Dixon relent, would not have known anything about Dixon's
actions, and probably would only have learned, after the fact, what had
transpired, when the damage had been done.

Now from the Internet flow other interested media in the Accokeek saga. FOX
news weighed in with a four-minute piece on the dispute yesterday, described
by my good friend Fr. Joe Wilson, "as a good run-through on the whole
situation. Father Edwards was interviewed, the commentator very fairly went
through the background and some of the chronology of the dispute. Ms Dixon
had declined to be interviewed, so her presence was confined to shots of her
celebrating the liturgy in the cathedral. Fr Edwards came across as sensible
and balanced."

So Jane Dixon refused to be appear on FOX news thus heightening the drama,
and making it look for all the world, that she too, is running around
Washington's streets theologically nekkid.

This barn door won't close in a hurry and Dixon is going to be in the
spotlight till Hell freezes or she makes it there in time to meet Jim Pike.
The world is closing in on Dixon and she cannot hide from the media and the
accursed Internet.

In another interesting aside, Virtuosity has learned that Dixon could not
find a bishop willing to sit in the pews at St. John's, Christ Church, this
past Sunday. Whoa. Is  "jack- Boot" Jane running out of bishops willing to
pinch-hit for her? She vowed to have a flying bishop in their every week till
Edwards had gone. Is the worm turning?

IN COLORADO YESTERDAY another parish priest upped and fled taking the bulk of
his flock from under the less than viable wings of Bishop Jerry Winterrowd.
This is the sixth parish to fly the Episcopal House of Death in that diocese.
Bishop Chuck Murphy is having a field day ordaining, blessing, and confirming
all that come unto him. Sources say he is so busy they wonder if his feet
ever hit the ground.

This is an ongoing nightmare for Bishop Winterrowd. First he voted for D039
at GC2000, the resolution that recognized sex outside of marriage as
acceptable, and then he allowed a Queer Eucharist to take place in the
cathedral during General Convention. Then last week he told a parish that
they could not hire a non-celibate gay as rector, and now, because of his
lack of inclusivity he is catching it in the neck from Iliff Theological
Seminary, where he is supposed to give a lecture, because he is now being
perceived as homophobic.

Being a moderate clearly has its drawbacks. If you stand for everything, and
have no clear theological principles, sooner or later everybody will stab you
in the back. Better to stand for something than lie down for everybody. If
you do that they will all roll over you. Jerry is learning this the hard way.
It must be hell being bishop when you find nobody loves you anymore, and
worse, nobody knows what you stand for. I think Scripture has something to
say about this. My suggestion is that Jerry goes on a private retreat with
just his Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in hand and pray a lot. He can
only come back more enlightened than he left. However, it's unlikely he will
draw back to the fold those who have left. But he might have a few words to
say to pluriform Frank that would be worth recording.

IN OTHER STORIES TODAY, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is still recovering
from a day with Jane Dixon and a clear 'nyet' on how to handle Fr. Edwards,
now must face the realization that the Church of England faces ruin with
steadily deteriorating finances, according to two writers with The

IN OTHER INTERNATIONAL NEWS, a Rwandan Anglican bishop has been arrested and
charged with genocide in his country. I am also posting a couple of stories
on the continuing troubles in the Sudan. In New Westminster, BC Canadian
Anglicans revisit same-sex issues and Bishop Ingham says he will abide by the
decision not to allow same-sex marriages.

Nationally, syndicated columnist Mike McManus weighs in on Bush's faith based
community ideas and Sarah Tippit of Reuters talks about children being raised
by homosexual couples. I am delighted to have Sarah contribute to Virtuosity.
She is a fine writer. There's a Barna report on church life in America and a
disturbing article on web porn. As usual I close with a devotional.

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All blessings,

David W. Virtue

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