January 05, 2004

Episcopal Incompetence

In a larger story on the influence the Internet is having on the schism in the making Episcopal Church, an absolutely astounding quote appears.

"I have drawers full of hate mail. The Internet has enabled the technological equivalent of drive-by shootings," Bishop Ingham told a Canadian magazine, MacLean's. "I've had to learn to deal with a level of malevolence and sheer hatred that I frankly didn't know existed in the church."

For those who aren't members or don't understand the purpose of bishops in apostolic churches, think of them as managers. They have their own division (diocese, eparchy) and manage a team of religious workers (priests, deacons, monsignors, protopops) that can vary in size from a dozen to thousands. They service they provide is facilitating a connection with God. They are the successors of the apostles and are supposed to be know what's going on in their entire territory.

For a bishop to not understand, spiritually, where his flock is, is to confess a great betrayal of his duty as overseer. Put aside the wisdom of the course the bishop has set. He's supposed to know what's going on among his people and not be taken unaware by their reaction. Bishops can set hard courses for their flocks and sometimes the flock will push back and nip a bishop in the behind but that's something that a bishop should be prepared for.

If he truly is surprised, he hasn't prepared his flock because he doesn't really understand their spiritual state. That translates into just being a seat warmer playing at things that are peripheral to his responsibility and ignoring the central goal of maximizing the flock's chance at Heaven.

The original Macleans interview is available here.

Posted by TMLutas at January 5, 2004 12:42 PM