Ten Answers of Presiding Bishop Schori, er, Jefferts Schori

First, why is it that so many female “pastors” have three names? Just a curiosity of mine.

Time.com asks the new presiding bishop Ten Questions. Frankly, there isn’t a whole lot that’s very new, or very interesting, in her answers. Not a whole lot to get riled up about, since she pretty accurately sums up the state of mainstream (downstream?) Christianity.

Time’s got its questions; I’ve got mine (in brackets following her answers).

What will be your focus as head of the U.S. church?

Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to bed hungry, on providing primary education to girls and boys, on healing people with AIDS, on addressing tuberculosis and malaria, on sustainable development. That ought to be the primary focus.

[So, what makes you different than the U.N. or any of a thousand other social service organizations?]

The issue of gay bishops has been so divisive. The diocese of Newark, N.J., has named a gay man as one of its candidates for bishop. Is now the time to elect another gay bishop?

Dioceses, when they are faithful, call the person who is best suited to lead them. I believe every diocese does the best job it’s capable of in discerning who it is calling to leadership.

Many Anglicans in the developing world say such choices in the U.S. church have hurt their work.

That’s been important for the church here to hear. We’ve heard in ways we hadn’t heard before the problematic nature of our decisions. Especially in places where Christians are functioning in the face of Islamic culture and mores, evangelism is a real challenge. [But] these decisions were made because we believe that’s where the Gospel has been calling us. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has come to a reasonable conclusion and consensus that gay and lesbian Christians are full members of this church and that our ministry to and with gay and lesbian Christians should be part of the fullness of our life.

[But if the Gospel consists of coming to “reasonable conclusions” about “gay and lesbian Christians,” why aren’t you encouraging Christians surrounded by Islam to preach your “gospel”? Surely they should suffer for your “gospel.” (Which is to say, no Gospel at all.) Why don’t you just say what you mean, i.e., they are backwards and unenlightened, and you know better?]

Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?

We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.

[Jesus is our “vehicle to the divine”? What the #$%! (insert your favorite heresy-induced expletive here) does that mean? By “small box,” do you mean something like, “the Son of God being born as an actual man who was born into a particular family in a particular place at a particular time”?]

What is your prayer for the church today?

That we remember the centrality of our mission is to love each other. That means caring for our neighbors. And it does not mean bickering about fine points of doctrine.

[By “fine points of doctrine,” do you mean things like Christology and soteriology? If only those Fathers at Nicea could have moved past their “bickering on fine points of doctrine” and actually done something useful!]


Couldn’t Have Prayed Better

Lord God, dear Father in heaven, I am, indeed, unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and to serve this congregation.

But since Thou hast appointed me to be a pastor and teacher, and the people are in need of the teachings and the instructions, O be Thou my helper and let Thy holy angels attend me.

Then if Thou are pleased to accomplish anything through me, to Thy glory and not to mine or the praise ofmen, grant me, out of Thy pure grace and mercy, a right understanding of Thy Word and that I may, also, diligently perform it.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Thou Shepherd and Bishop our our souls, send Thy Holy Spirit that He may work in me to will and to do through Thy divine strength according to Thy good pleasure.


–Martin Luther