Rewarding Rebellion, Episcopal Style

The Episcopal Bishop of Western Kansas has a point:

Now I read that the “New” Diocese of Fort Worth passed a $632,466 dollar budget for a part-time bishop, a little over 19 priests and 62 delegates who represent way less than a thousand people, and $200,000 is from the General Convention budget!…

If I, as a Diocesan Bishop, left TEC (which I am not saying I am) with 10 of my churches, could the other 21 get $200,000 to carry on? Since our entire budget for the year was less than $400,000, it would go a long way to let this Diocese be in a better financial position. I am compelled to ask such things because it does not appear that anyone else is and we are about to spend 10’s of millions of dollars on another General Convention to set a budget. Can others apply for general budget funds? I know that we can not.

This kind of thing is a product of the unintended consequences you get when you entrust a “cause” (in this case the radicalisation of a church) to a bureaucracy.

It’s one thing to say that you want a church that is “inclusive” and “caring” and all that.  When you resort to worldly (bureaucratic, monetary, etc.) means to achieve that, you’re going to get situations like this all of the time.  It’s one of the major Achilles heels of liberalism in all forms; it sounds great until you hire the bureaucrats to carry out the work, and then the result doesn’t look like anything you thought it would.  The Obama Administration is about to get a hard lesson along these lines.

KJS has decided to enforce her vision of what a church should be using strong-arm tactics, both ecclesiastical and civil.  To make that work you primarily need to use a stick, but you also need to dangle the carrot (the accurate term for this is “money-favouring”.)  That’s what she’s doing in Fort Worth, but now she’s inspired the envy of those (such as the Bishop of Western Kansas) who have “stuck with the program” but now find themselves on the short end.  It’s like the long-term cell phone customer who asks about this “great deal” only to find out it’s only for new subscribers.  (And they wonder why cell phone customers change carriers so frequently…)

A more sensible solution would be to fold the seceeding dioceses into existing ones, either as a whole or on a piecemeal basis.  At this point TEC has way too many dioceses and bishops relative to their local churches.  But, for legal reasons, KJS can’t (or won’t) do that.

What will happen if she continues this is that everyone else–irrespective of their idea, be they revisionist or orthodox–will become less and less willing to “kick money upstairs.”   And that will be an unpleasant result for the power holders at 815.

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