Episcopal HofD President Bonnie Anderson to Stir Up Trouble In Swing Diocese

david at virtueonline.org david at virtueonline.org
Fri Jul 16 20:30:27 EDT 2010

SPRINGFIELD: Episcopal HofD President Bonnie Anderson to Stir Up Trouble In Swing Diocese

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
July 14, 2010

 In legal terms, it is called tortious interference. In the common law of tort, it occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships. When it comes to the Diocese of Springfield, it ought to be called torturous interference. In this case, when Bonnie Anderson, the ultra-liberal President of the House of Deputies, is making an unwanted appearance into a diocese’s internal affairs so she can influence the diocese into electing a liberal candidate for bishop to replace recently retired, orthodox and godly Bishop Peter Beckwith.

Her presentation, “The Ministry of All the Baptized” is designed to strengthen the ministry of lay people and clergy throughout southeastern Illinois, according to the PR (fluff) handout out from the diocese. In point of fact, it is designed solely to politically arm twist fence sitting laity to vote for a liberal bishop so the national church can make sure this diocese doesn’t do a bunk and head out the door like the dioceses of Quincy, Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin have done. 

One local liberal blogger let it slip that there are still places in the church where inviting the president of the house of deputies is seen as a "provocative" act. He doesn’t know the half of it.

This diocese is almost evenly split (orthodox and liberal) among the clergy over who they would like to see as their next bishop. The laity, by a significant majority, is more orthodox than the clergy, which poses a problem for TEC’s hierarchy.

If Anderson needs reinforcements, the Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori stands ready to jet down to Springfield to cajole and charm the faithful and, if need be, send in David Booth Beers to reinforce the point. 

This is not the first time Bonnie Anderson has done her song and dance circus act to split dioceses that believe the whole nine yards of Anglicanism which includes the Gospel, the 39 Articles of religion, the Book of Common Prayer, Holy Scripture as authoritative, verses the Islamo/Buddhist/Wiccan/Sodomite/Lesbian/Inclusive/Diverse/Spongian (have I missed anything) Episcopal Church.

She has also taken her road show to other dioceses. Wherever she goes, she stirs up trouble. She is a mischief-maker. She does it with a smile and the promise of good things to come, if one is obedient to General Convention resolutions (which now supersede Scripture) and simply stays with The Episcopal Church.

Anderson made big trouble in the Diocese of Ft. Worth when she went there to consult with the handful of remaining Episcopalians who might, on a good day, fit into a Chinese rickshaw. She managed to tick off Bishop Jack Iker who ripped her presence in his diocese saying, "This visit by Mrs. Anderson further exacerbates an already tense, adversarial relationship that has developed between national leaders and diocesan officials. Unfortunately, she has sought to further divide the people of this diocese rather than to promote reconciliation. I regret that Mrs. Anderson has chosen to fan the flames of division and to advocate a rather one-sided view of the controversies that have overtaken The Episcopal Church in recent decades."

She did it again in the Diocese of the Rio Grande just as Bishop Jeffrey Steenson was exiting to Rome. 

She stirred up trouble in the Diocese of San Joaquin by working her brand of revisionist magic for her uber mistress, Katharine Jefferts Schori, with such groups as Via Media, who are about as far removed from the original intent of those two words as you could possibly find.

Anderson’s foray into the Diocese of Albany was downright trouble making as well as mischief making of the first order. She visited the diocese, which happens to be run by the godly evangelical catholic Bishop Bill Love, a sweeter man you will not find in the church. (Don’t mistake meekness for weakness). She was there to "encourage open conversation" and "unity" or so she said, but all she succeeded in doing was upsetting Bishop Love and strengthening the hands and wills of the liberals, just in case Bishop Love got any ideas into his head about pulling the diocese out The Episcopal Church. Bishop Love, it should be pointed out, is both a Communion Partner  and a Windsor Bishop. He has not, at any time, said he was pulling his diocese out of TEC, but just in case he had any ideas, Ms. Anderson was there to disabuse him of them.

She titled her address "Can we talk"? You have to know, that when liberals use words like "talk", "conversation", "communication", "models of unity" etc., what they are really saying is, please toe the line, don't get any ideas about leaving, and we can all stay together enforcing women's ordination and pansexuality on the whole church because we have brokered it all in by General Convention resolutions. If you have a conscience about any of those things, get over it. It's a done deal. Let your conscience be damned.

Bishop Love got a couple of shots off, one with this line, "Our disunity becomes a divisive force that cause people not to want to come to Christ." And that "disunity" is what exactly? Let's try Gene Robinson's and Mary Glasspool’s pansexual lifestyles and consecration, Spong's 12 Theses, and women’s ordination, to name but a few standing issues.”

Ms. Anderson just kept on smiling. Then Love took the gloves off. "This is a message that the church desperately needs to hear because we have been tricked -- we have been deceived by Satan, and, yes, Satan is real," he said. "The power of evil is real. We have been deceived into believing that those who don't think the same way that we do are somehow our enemies and they should be vilified; they should be destroyed if at all possible. We have only to look around the church to see how that is being lived out. It is a brokenness that is taking place, hearts that are being hardened and turned away from one another and, more importantly, turned away from God."

Tricked! Deceived by Satan! The power of evil is real! Now, them’s fightin’ words. Did Ms. Anderson really listen to what he said? Did she really understand what he was saying? Did she suddenly stop smiling?

When they finally got down to the real issue of sexual behavior, a light momentarily dawned. Said Love, "When part of us believes that Holy Scripture is quite clear" about how to live out our sexuality and another part believes that there is room for interpretation and change, "that is where we struggle. Holy Scripture, 2,000 years of church tradition and, until recently, much of society, agreed that human sexuality ought only to be expressed in heterosexual marriage."

Anderson responded, "Scripture is not 'static.' I believe that new truths are revealed through our life in Christ."

There's the nub of the problem, right there. Scripture is malleable and you can make it mean whatever you want it to mean. If that doesn’t work, then say God has further revealed himself and please consult the Bishop of New Hampshire for more divine revelation. (BTW, the Mormons have used precisely that argument. They allegedly found some golden tablets in upstate New York that got Joseph Smith into a whole heap of trouble. He was later attacked and killed by a mob in Illinois.)

Anderson (just call me Bonnie) later did her song and dance routine in the Diocese of South Carolina by writing two letters to the deputies from South Carolina to preserve their presence in this illustrious House. “It’s an opportunity for deepening relationships and getting to know each other,” she said. “This isn’t out of the ordinary, although the content of it is out of the ordinary,” she admitted.

The Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian to the Diocese of South Carolina, objected to the letter as an intrusion in the deliberations of the special convention. “I am interested in the issue of precedent. I can’t name a time when a House of Deputies president intervened in a diocese before a convention like this.”

When she came to the diocese it was apparent after meeting with diocesan leaders that there are now two religions in The Episcopal Church and that Bonnie Anderson owns one of them.

Anglican Communion Institute folk weighed in saying, “Neither she nor the Executive Council is the constitutionally-designated Ecclesiastical Authority in the Diocese of South Carolina. It is not her role to instruct or interfere with the lawful diocesan Authority.” Did that stop her? No.

Ms. Anderson's presence in Springfield, therefore, will be to remind them who really IS the boss. It isn't the Standing Committee (now that Bishop Beckwith has gone) and they had better elect a liberal who will bend over to Jefferts Schori and David Booth Beers. (At this point in time, we must now speak of the two in the same breath, as they are almost indistinguishable from one another locked in an unholy legal alliance suing whole dioceses).

"I am eager to visit the Diocese of Springfield as it prepares to elect a new bishop. Such elections provide the perfect opportunity for laity and clergy to collaborate on a new vision for their diocese, and to explore new ways of working together in building up the Church and reaching out to the poor and the marginalized," wrote Anderson.

There was something wrong with the old vision under Bishop Beckwith?

Right and when she comes, she plans to do that by grabbing as many pairs of you-know-whats as she can and squeezing them till they cry "ah see the light" or until “new visions” of Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool appear swimmingly before their eyes like Banquo’s Ghost.


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